Inside Pulse Wrestling » wrestlemania Wrestling news, rumors, reviews and commentary, from WWE to TNA to ROH and everything in between... Fri, 28 Mar 2014 17:37:27 +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 » wrestlemania CB’s Slant: How CM Punk Saved WWE WrestleMania XXX Fri, 28 Mar 2014 17:34:19 +0000 A couple of months ago, the rumored WrestleMania XXX card looked something like this when it came to five of the higher profile matches on the list:

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus

Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena

Triple H vs. CM Punk

Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

Randy Orton (c) vs. Batista

This, of course, was the list of matches that were planned BEFORE CM Punk decided to take matters into his own hands and walk out on the WWE (for now, if not forever).

As crazy as the Punk vs. WWE saga has been over the past few weeks, one thing that hasn’t been discussed too much is this:

With the way things have been shuffled around following his departure, CM Punk has actually saved WrestleMania XXX.

After all, if Punk didn’t walk out on WWE following the Royal Rumble, there’s a good chance that Punk would be feuding with Triple H instead of Daniel Bryan. That storyline just would not have unfolded as perfectly as Bryan vs. Hunter/Stephanie/The Authority has, and if Daniel Bryan was relegated to a match with Sheamus at WrestleMania it would have been an absolute nightmare for WWE.

Luckily for most parties involved, Punk did leave, WWE called the audible they needed to call, and now the WrestleMania XXX card looks something like this at the top:

Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena

Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker

Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan – Winner Enters the Title Match

Triple Threat Title Match: Randy Orton (c) vs. Batista vs. [Triple H or Daniel Bryan]

As for Sheamus, well, have fun with the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, fella!

That’s all from me — CB.×250.jpg×250.jpg×120.jpg×120.jpg

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HTC Wrestling Pulsecast – Top 3 Most Disappointing WrestleMania Storylines Fri, 28 Mar 2014 15:20:55 +0000 HTC Wrestling Pulsecast


The HTC crew of Matt Harrak, Justin Czerwonka and Cameron Dougharty continue their trek to WrestleMania 30 by discussing the most lackluster WrestleMania storylines ever with their special guest, Rob of “WWE Creative Humor” (@WWECreative-ish) on Twitter!×120-2013.jpg×250-wrestling-pulsecast.jpg

]]> 0 big show,Bray Wyatt,Brock Lesnar,chris jericho,cm punk,Daniel Bryan,Dolph Ziggler,Hulk Hogan,john cena,Kurt Angle,randy orton,Raw Rob from "WWE Creative Humor" joins us for our final Top 3 show of the WrestleMania XXX season! (   The HTC crew of Matt Harrak, Justin Czerwonka and Cameron Dougharty continue their trek to WrestleMania 30 by discussing the most lackluster WrestleMania storylines ever with their special guest, Rob of "WWE Creative Humor" (@WWECreative-ish ( on Twitter! Inside Pulse Wrestling no 2:00:32
A2Z Analysiz: WWE WrestleMania XX (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit) Fri, 28 Mar 2014 13:00:55 +0000 WrestleMania XX

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

Madison Square Garden – New York, NY – March 14, 2004

MATCH #1: United States Championship Match – Big Show vs. John Cena

Show has been the Champion since 10.19.03, and this is his third defense. This is Cena’s WrestleMania debut. Cena is fired up from the bell, but Show cuts him off and pitches him to the floor. Show tries to run Cena into the post but Cena snaps Show’s neck off the top rope. Cena goes for a cross body block off the top rope but Show catches him in a powerslam for two. Show dominates and keeps Cena on the mat. Every time Cena tries to fire up Show cuts him off with his superior size. Cena is able to get on Show’s back and try a sleeper hold but Show backs him into the turnbuckles to break it. Show puts on a Cobra Clutch to wear Cena down. Finally Cena is able to string together a series of offense and he hits the F-U! Show kicks out. Cena grabs his chain and the referee tries to talk him out of using it. The ref thinks he’s successful and he throws the chain out. Cena then hits Show with his custom knux and hits another F-U to get the pin and win his first title at 9:12. That was a good example of the right guy going over at the the right time. The match was fine, but the crowd reaction for Cena was great.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #2: World Tag Team Championship Match – Rob Van Dam & Booker T vs. Mark Jindrak & Garrison Cade vs. La Resistance vs. The Dudley Boyz

RVD and Booker T have been the Champions since 2.16.04, and this is their third defense. This is the Rob Conway and Rene Dupree version of La Resistance, which is the best version. Dupree and RVD start the match. RVD hits an early monkey flip and makes the tag to his partner. Booker handles both Dupree and Conway, tossing Conway to the floor. Bubba tags in and slugs away. He hits a neckbreaker for two. Bubba tries to Flip Flop and Fly but Booker kicks him in the face. D-Von hits Booker with the Saving Grace so RVD hits the superkick off the top rope. Jindrak and Cade get involved now and try to work on Booker. Conway tags himself in and tries to steal a pin. La Resistance isolates Booker and tries to wear him down. Booker catches Conway with a spinebuster and then tags his partner. RVD is a pothead afire, kicking everything that moves. He goes for the Five-Star Frog Splash but D-Von pushes him tot he floor. The referee completely loses control. The Dudleys go for the 3D on Booker but Cade breaks it up. Conway hits Devon with a DDT. Booker hits Conway with the Scissors Kick. RVD follows with the Five-Star Frog Splash for the pin at 7:52. That was a fun little chaotic brawl and they made the most out of the time they got. RVD and Booker actually made a pretty good team.
Rating: **½

MATCH #3: Chris Jericho vs. Christian

The idiot referee rings the bell while Christian is still outside the ring. Reprimand that man! Christian and Jericho talk trash to start and then tear into each other. I love that it’s heated right away; too many grudge matches on the Indies start off like any other match. Jericho is the aggressor early on. He dumps Christian to the floor and wipes him out with a springboard cross body block. Jericho throws Christian into the barricade. Back in the ring Jericho pours the pressure on. Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho but Christian wisely scurries to the ropes. Christian takes a cheap shot to the eyes and then dumps Jericho over the top rope to the floor. He slams Jericho’s head into the steps and then brings him back in the ring to continue the assault. Jericho tries to fight back but Christian goes to the eyes again and then hits a leg lariat for a two-count. They bonk heads in the corner and both men are down. Back on their feet they trade right hands. Jericho lands a flying forearm and then crushes Christian’s throat against the middle rope. He follows with a step-up enziguiri for a near-fall. Jericho hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. Christian bridges up and goes for a backslide for Jericho blocks it and hits the bulldog. Jericho goes for the Lionsault but Christian gets his knees up. Christian goes for the Unprettier but Jericho fights it off. Instead Christian is able to hit the Tornado Inverted DDT for a two-count. Jericho comes back with a sleeper drop, and Christian hits a neckbreaker. Christian goes up top and Jericho joins him to try a superplex, but Christian drops him on his chest. Jericho is able to roll through a cross body block for a near-fall. Christian kicks the knee out and locks on a Texas Cloverleaf. Jericho counters to the Walls of Jericho and Christian reaches the ropes. They roll to the floor and Jericho puts the Walls on again! Back in the ring Jericho hits a super double underhook suplex. That gets a two-count. Trish Stratus comes running out looking fine. Christian hits a huge Implant DDT for a near-fall. Trish gets on the apron so Christian physically abuses her. Jericho comes to the rescue and checks on his lady. Trish thinks it’s Christian and throws an elbow, nailing Jericho in the face. Christian then rolls Jericho up for the pin at 14:44. These two wrestled like they had something to prove with all the other big matches above them and they did a great job. This felt like a true grudge match, and I love the finish.
Rating: ***¾

After the match Trish tries to explain herself, but then slaps Jericho in the face! Christian hits the Unprettier and Jericho is laid out. Trish and Christian leave together and make out like teenagers on the entrance ramp. That was a great turn. #EvilTrish rules.

MATCH #4: Handicap Match – Mick Foley & The Rock vs. Ric Flair, Randy Orton & Batista

The Rock’s pre-match promo is a thing of beauty. Rock is wrestling his first match in almost a year, and Foley is wrestling his first match in almost four. This is an amazing collection of talent in one ring here. The Rock N’ Sock Connection charge the ring and here we go. They clear the ring, much to the delight of the crowd. The match settles with Rock and Flair in the ring, which is an awesome sentence to even type. They take it to the floor and Rock backdrops Flair, leaving him in perfect position for the Cactus Elbow. Back in the ring Orton and Foley tag in. Orton tries to go to the floor to avoid his rival, but Foley chases him and goes to work. Rock tags in and takes his turn too. Evolution uses the numbers game to take advantage on Rock. They keep Rock in their half of the ring and wear him down. Rock fires up and takes Flair down with a clothesline, but he can’t make the tag yet. Flair goes up top and obviously Rock slams him down. Rock still can’t make the tag but Flair can, and Batista goes to work. Finally Rock levels Batista with a clothesline and Foley tags in. Foley is a house afire. Once again Evolution uses their one-man advantage to cut Foley off and get back in control. After several minutes Foley punches Flair out and makes the tag. Rock is all over everyone but the numbers catch up to him. Batista takes Rock down with a spinebuster, and Flair sees this as the perfect opportunity to try the People’s Elbow. Flair takes too much time though and Rock nips up and goes crazy. Rock takes Flair down with a spinebuster and connects with the People’s Elbow. Flair pokes rock in the eyes and tags to Orton. Rock catches Orton in the Rock Bottom and covers for two. The referee is losing control. Batista this Rock with the Batista Bomb. Orton covers but only gets two. Foley gets tagged in and he cleans house. He hits Orton with the Double-Arm DDT and Mr. Socko comes out to play. Orton grabs an RKO from out of nowhere to get the pin at 17:01. That was non-stop action from five great performers and the match was laid out and executed tremendously. The crowd was hot for the whole thing too.
Rating: ****

Hall of Fame Class of 2004

This year’s inductees are Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Tito Santana, Big John Studd (posthumous), Harley Race, Pete Rose (first inductee into the celebrity wing), Don Muraco, Greg Valentine, Junkyard Dog (posthumous), Superstar Billy Graham, Sgt. Slaughter, and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. That’s a huge class and some of the greatest talent to ever grace the business.

MATCH #5: Playboy Evening Gown Match – Torrie Wilson & Sable vs. Stacy Keibler & Miss Jackie

Winner will be by pinfall or submission, so apparently they’re just wrestling in evening gowns. Sable and Torrie decide they’d rather do the match with their gowns off, so the girls all take their gowns off except for Jackie. Bummer. Torrie and sable don’t take too kindly to that, so they take it off for her. Sable and They actually do some wrestling moves, including a high cross body block off the top rope by Torrie, and the fish out of water spot from Torrie and Stacy. Of course the requisite “roll over the referee spot makes an appearance. Torrie gets the pin on Jackie with an O’Connor Roll at 2:34. At least they kept it short. The girls are hot and all, but I don’t mind that these kind of matches are a thing of the past.
Rating: ¼*

MATCH #6: Cruiserweight Championship Match – Gauntlet Series Featuring Akio, Billy Kidman, Chavo Guerrero, Funaki, Jamie Noble, Nunzio, Rey Mysterio, Shannon Moore, Tajiri, and Ultimo Dragon

Chavo has been the Champion since 2.15.04, and this is his first defense. Ultimo and Moore start the match. They take it to each other at a rapid rate and try to score a quick pin. Moore tries the Mooregasm but misses, and Ultimo hits the Asai DDT to score the first elimination at 1:20. Noble is next in the ring and he attacks Ultimo from behind. Ultimo tries the Asai DDT but Noble counters with a neckbreaker, and then locks on the guillotine choke to eliminate him at 2:15. Funaki comes off the top rope with a cross body block and Noble rolls over and holds him down for the pin at 2:25. Nunzio is next, and I recall that these two were cousins at one point. They go back and forth very quickly, keeping up the pace. Nunzio hits a nice missile dropkick from the second rope for a near-fall. Noble uses his momentum to send Nunzio to the floor, and then he follows him out with a cannonball senton off the top rope. Nunzio tries to get back in the ring but Noble pulls him off the apron and he lands on his face and gets counted out at 4:18. Kidman is next in line and these two have had some battles in the past. The fresh Kidman sends Noble to the floor, and then hits both him and Nunzio with a Shooting Star Press from the top rope! Kidman almost Lesnar’d himself on that one. Back in the ring Noble goes for the guillotine choke but Kidman breaks free. Kidman hits an enziguiri and goes up top. Noble joins him but pays for it with a BK Bomb and Kidman gets the pin at 6:09. Mysterio is next and he hits the seated senton off the top rope but Kidman comes right back with a hard dropkick for two. Chavo distracts the referee and Akio interferes, allowing Kidman to hit a spinebuster for a two-count. Kidman puts Mysterio up top and Mysterio is able to hit a super Code Red to eliminate Kidman at 7:29. Tajiri comes in next and locks on the Tarantula to a big pop. He tries the springboard elbow but Mysterio blocks it with a dropkick. Mysterio follows with the 619. HE tries the springboard splash but Tajiri avoids it. Akio jumps on the apron and holds Mysterio for Tajiri to deliver the green mist, but Mysterio ducks and Akio gets misted instead! Mysterio then rolls Tajiri up in a victory roll for the pin at 8:37. Akio I guess forfeits his spot and we’re down to Mysterio versus Chavo. Tajiri kicks Mysterio in the back of the head because he’s a sore loser. Chavo tries to steal a pin but only gets two. Mysterio comes back and hits a nice springboard rana. He dropkicks Chavo Classic off the apron and then tries to dive on him but referee Charles Robinson stops him. Mysterio then leaps over Robinson to wipe Classic out. He tries a sunset flip but Chavo kneels down and Classic grabs his son’s hand for additional leverage and Chavo retains at 10:30. That was fun enough for a sprint, but none of the mini-matches had time to develop into anything.
Rating: **

MATCH #7: Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar

I forgot how much of the buildup to this match focused on Lesnar versus Austin. The fans all know that Goldberg’s contract is up after this match, and news broke that Lesnar was also gone after this match to go try out for the Minnesota Vikings. The crowd loudly chants “you sold out,” and then sing the “hey hey hey, goodbye” song. Goldberg and Lesnar stall for a while while the crowd chants for Austin. They finally lockup about three minutes into the match. The crowd does not buy what they’re selling. They start chanting “this match sucks.” Goldberg finally military presses Lesnar and turns it into a bit of a Spear. That’s the first thing the crowd popped for. Goldberg goes for a real Spear but misses and collides with the turnbuckles. Lesnar goes to work now, wearing Goldberg down with a wide variety of boring submission moves. Goldberg fights back and connects with the Spear for a two-count. He argues with Austin, giving Lesnar the chance to recover and hit the F-5 but even that only gets two. Lesnar tries his own Spear but misses. Goldberg then hits another Spear and lands the Jackhammer to finally end this travesty of a match at 13:43. That was the most entertaining bad match in the history of the business I think. It was such a perfect storm of strange circumstances that are likely never to be duplicated – hopefully.
Rating: DUD

After the match Austin delivers Stunners to both men and drinks beer to celebrate their departure. The crowd pops bigger for that than they did anything in the actual match.

MATCH #8: WWE Tag Team Championship Match – Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty vs. The Basham Brothers vs. The Self Proclaimed World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The APA

Rikishi and Scotty have been the Champions since 2.5.04, and this is their second defense. Bradshaw and Shelton Benjamin start it off with some back-and-forth action. Doug Basham tags himself in and the Bashams go to work on Benjamin. More tags are made as all four teams try to set the tone and gain the first advantage. Scotty gets isolated, first by the WGTT and then by the Bashams. After a little while Rikishi gets the hot tag and he cleans house on everyone. Rikishi hits Danny with a DDT and Faarooq breaks up the cover. The referee has lost control. Benjamin tries to German Suplex Rikishi and fails miserably. Rikishi squashes Haas in the corner and delivers the Stink Face. Bradshaw takes Rikishi out with a big boot and then throws Doug over the top rope with a Fallaway Slam to take out Haas and Benjamin. He hits Danny with the Clothesline from Hell and goes for one on Rikishi but gets caught in a Samoan Drop. Rikishi then sits on Danny’s chest and gets the pin at 6:02. That was a fine mess for the time given, but no one really got a chance to shine or anything. Rikishi and Scotty were lame champions.
Rating: **

MATCH #9: Women’s Championship vs. Hair Match – Victoria vs. Molly Holly

Victoria has been the Champion since 2.23.04, and this is her first defense. They lockup right away and Molly takes the first advantage. Victoria grabs a quick schoolgirl rollup for two and Molly takes a powder. The Champion misses a baseball slide and Molly hits her with a clothesline. Back in the ring Molly covers for a one-count. Molly continues working Victoria over, focusing on the neck area. Victoria comes back and sweeps the legs into a jackknife pin for two. She hits a nice powerslam for two. Molly grabs Victoria and pulls her into the bottom rope. She goes up top and Victoria joins her. Molly is able to hit a Sunset Bomb. She tries the Widow’s Peak but it backfires when Victoria counters to a backslide to get the pin at 4:54. Ideally they could have gone twice as long but they did the best they could for the time they were given.
Rating: **¼

Molly tries to shirk the stipulations of the match but Victoria forces her into the chair and shaves her bald! Good for Molly for agreeing to this, and she didn’t look so bad bald either.

MATCH #10: WWE Championship Match – Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle

Guerrero has been the Champion since 2.15.04, and this is his second defense. They start with some mat wrestling and battle to a standoff. Eddie uses a side headlock and knocks Angle down with a trio of shoulderblocks. Angle takes a powder. Back in the ring Angle uses a front facelock to wear Eddie down. Eddie wrestles his way out of it and goes to work on the arm. Angle counters into an abdominal stretch. Eddie turns that into a vertical suplex. Angle turns that into a German Suplex. They take the battle to the apron and Angle goes for a German Suplex but Eddie knocks him back. Eddie dropkicks Angle back off the apron and then goes up top. He tries a cross body block but Angle moves and Eddie’s ribs crash right into the barricade. Back in the ring Angle covers for two. Angle is like shark smelling blood, going to work on the midsection and the ribs. He puts Eddie on the top rope and the tenacious Eddie repeatedly knocks Angle down and tries the Frog Splash but misses. Angle continues the abuse and Eddie fires up and asks him to bring it. Eddie builds momentum and hits a nice belly-to-back suplex for a two-count. Angle comes back with rolling German Suplexes but Eddie counters with a victory roll for two. Both men pop up and Angle clobbers Eddie with a clothesline. Angle goes for the Angle Slam but Eddie counters it with an armdrag. Eddie continues firing up and building confidence. He tries the Three Amigos but before the third one can hit Angle puts on the Ankle Lock. Eddie kicks his way out of it and drills Angle with a dropkick. He goes up top again and Angle pops up to hit the super belly-to-belly suplex for a near-fall. The straps come down and Angle cinches in the Ankle Lock. Eddie counters with another cradle for a close near-fall. Angle hits a German Suplex. He tries the Angle Slam but Eddie counters with a DDT! Eddie goes up top and this time hits the Frog Splash! Angle kicks out! Eddie tries to pick Angle up but Angle picks the ankle and puts on the Ankle Lock! The Champion almost taps but is able to roll through and send Angle to the floor. Eddie loosens his boot to relieve some of the pressure. Angle spots Eddie holding the ankle and once again smells blood. He puts the Ankle Lock on but Eddie slips out of his boot and surprises Angle with an inside cradle (with his feet on the ropes as well) to get the pin and retain the title at 21:33! What a brilliant display of technical wrestling, with great maneuvers and counters by both men. They didn’t rush anything,, their chemistry was incredible, and I absolutely love the finish. Only Eddie could pull something like that off.
Rating: ****¾

MATCH #11: Undertaker vs. Kane

Kane is less than pleased to see his brother after burying him alive five months ago. Undertaker is accompanied by Paul Bearer. Kane approaches Undertaker cautiously, not wanting to believe he’s real. As soon as Kane lays a hand on his brother, Undertaker unloads on him with right hands. Undertaker signals for the Chokeslam and Kane bails fast. Out on the floor Kane hits a few right hands but Undertaker comes back and whips him into the apron. Back in the ring Undertaker continues the onslaught. Undertaker goes for the Last Ride and Kane throws him up in the air. It looks like Kane was trying a back body drop and it almost ended very badly. Kane goes on offense now. He hits the clothesline off the top rope for two. Undertaker fights back and hits a big boot and a leg drop. How is that not the finish? Undertaker tries Old School but Kane grabs him bu the throat on the way down! That was neat. Undertaker grabs Kane’s throat at the same time, but Kane fights him off and hits the Chokeslam. For some reason Kane just stands there and celebrates instead of going for a pin. Undertaker sits up and Kane is in trouble now. The Dead Man hits a sloppy Chokeslam and follows with the Tombstone for the pin at 7:47. The crowd popped for the entrance and the finish, but little in between. It was a pretty dull match but it was a good choice to go on between the two title matches. Undertaker is now 12-0 at WrestleMania.
Rating: *½

MATCH #12: World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match – Triple H vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels

Triple H has been the Champion since 12.14.03, and this is his third defense. The crowd is heavily pro Benoit from the onset. Benoit and Michaels can’t decide which of them gets to attack HHH first. It doesn’t take long for them to start attacking each other instead. Benoit whips Michaels into HHH, sending the Champion to the floor. Michaels and Benoit do battle briefly, and then HHH comes back in at an opportune moment. HHH tries to pitch Michaels to the floor but Michaels skins the cat. Michaels throws Benoit to the floor and is now alone with his former best friend. HHH takes Michaels down with a High Knee and then targets Benoit’s back out on the floor. Michaels takes both HHH and Benoit out with a baseball slide and then wipes them out with a moonsault from the top rope. He throws HHH back in the ring for a two-count. HHH hits Michaels with the facebuster and goes for the Pedigree but Benoit breaks it up. Benoit hurls Michaels shoulder-first into the ring post. HHH takes control of the match and works on both Benoit and Michaels. Benoit cuts off Michaels’ comeback by clotheslining him to the floor. He then hits three rolling German Suplexes on HHH. Benoit goes up top and Michaels knocks him down on his groin. Michaels tries Sweet Chin Music on HHH but he ducks and hits Michaels with a DDT. Benoit tries climbing up again but HHH cuts him off and hits a superplex. HHH covers three times but can only get two each time. He tries the Pedigree but Benoit counters to the Crossface. Michaels breaks that up. Michaels takes a page out of Benoit’s book by trying Rolling Germans, and the crowd boos. The crowd pops just as hard when Benoit reverses it and hits all three. Benoit goes up top and hits the diving headbutt for a two-count. Michaels comes back with the flying forearm to knock Benoit to the floor. He nips up and unloads on Triple H. Michaels hits Hail to the King and has the adrenaline flowing. He tunes up the band and drills HHH with Sweet Chin Music! Benoit pulls HHH to the floor to save the match. He takes Michaels back to the ring and tries the Sharpshooter but settles for catapulting Michaels into the ring post. Michaels’ head is busted open now, and he is so good at blading that I had to rewind it and watch it slow to see him doing it. Benoit goes for the Crossface and inches it in. Michaels is about to tap but HHH literally grabs his arm to stop him from tapping out. HHH takes Benoit to the floor and Benoit slams his head into the steps. Benoit tries a whip but HHH reverses it and sends him into the steps. HHH dismantles the SmackDown announce table. Benoit takes HHH up to the Spanish Announce Table and tries a German Suplex but HHH fights that off. Michaels comes out to join them on the table and he joins forces with HHH to suplex Benoit from one table through the other! A bloody Michaels wants to fight HHH in the ring now, one-on-one. Benoit is seemingly out of the equation. Michaels and HHH slug it out and Michaels sends HHH into the turnbuckle and over, knocking out a camera man. Out on the floor Michaels throws HHH into the ring post and then elbows a camera man for being too close to him. HHH is busted open now as well. Back in the ring HHH hits Michaels with the Pedigree and both men are down. HHH covers and Benoit appears from out of nowhere to break it up! Benoit lights HHH up with chops, and then traps him in the Sharpshooter! The crowd is going banana. Michaels breaks that up with a nasty Sweet Chin Music! The camera angle on that was perfect and made Michaels look like he was coming from out of nowhere. Michaels covers Benoit but only gets two! He tunes up the band but Benoit ducks it and dumps Michaels to the floor. HHH goes for the Pedigree but Benoit reverses to the Crossface! The crowd is losing their collective shit. HHH rolls over but Benoit rolls through and keeps the hold on. Finally HHH taps out and we have a NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION at 24:47! I still remember this moment extremely fondly for the time it occurred. The match was phenomenal, with great effort from all three men. They did some good spots to get one man out, and did some great spots involving all three of them. HHH and Michaels really went above and beyond to show that this was Benoit’s night and Benoit’s moment. The finish was absolutely perfect and the crowd reacted to Benoit throughout the match.
Rating: *****

WWE Champion Eddie Guerrero comes out to celebrate with his best friend, congratulating him for his monumental victory. Confetti falls from the ceiling as Guerrero and Benoit celebrate. It’s too bad this moment won’t be a part of any WrestleMania video packages anymore because it’s truly one of the best moments this dark, cynical business has ever seen.

BONUS MATCH: The Dudley Boyz vs. Lance Storm & Val Venis, Sunday Night Heat, 3.7.04

The winner of this match gets to participate in the four-way match for the World Tag Team Titles next Sunday. I actually miss Heat, and Velocity. Jonathan Coachman and Al Snow are on commentary. It takes the crowd a couple of seconds to start chanting “We Want Tables.” D-Von and Storm start the match with some chain wrestling. Bubba quickly gets tagged in and he goes to work on the arm. The Dudleys make quick tags in and out to work Storm over. They hit a double-suplex for a two-count. Storm comes up with a kneelift to D-Von’s ribs and makes the tag to Venis. Instead of going to work on the ribs, he goes to D-Von’s arm. D-Von comes back out of nowhere with a clothesline and a bodyslam for two, and then tags Bubba. Do the Dudley Boyz even know what selling is? Bubba hits a release German Suplex on Venis for two. He goes up top and Storm kicks him down from the apron, and we go to commercial. We come back with Bubba powering out of a Storm chinlock. Storm hits a nice dropkick for two, and then tags Venis. They continue working Bubba over in their half of the ring, even distracting the referee to their advantage. Bubba gets a sunset flip for two, but Venis comes right back up with a hangman’s neckbreaker for two. Venis puts on a headlock, and Bubba counters with a belly-to-back suplex. Bubba makes the tag but the referee didn’t see it and will not allow it! Bubba powers out of another chinlock and levels Storm with a spear, and this time he makes the hot tag. D-Von is a house afire, hitting Storm with a neckbreaker for two. The match breaks down to a big brawl, and Bubba seems fully recovered. They hit the What’s Up on Venis. We end up with Storm and D-Von in the ring, and Storm locks on the Canadian Maple Leaf but D-Von makes the ropes. Venis gets tagged back in and they go for the Hart Attack clothesline. Bubba pulls the top rope down to break that up, and moments later the Dudleys hit the 3D to get the win at 11:46 (shown). That was pretty typical Dudley Boyz stuff, and it’s sad to realize that almost six years later they haven’t changed up their act at all. Storm and Venis were a solid team though, so the match was at least decent.
Rating: **×662.jpg×662.jpg

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Forever Heel: WrestleMania 30 Preview Fri, 28 Mar 2014 03:28:23 +0000 Okay last week’s Benoit article went better than I thought. People brought up some good points, and had me think a little more about my position. I was coming from the angle that Benoit’s actions could hurt others in a similar position. There are still a lot of athletes with damaged brains out there, and I worry they’ll be stigmatized. I also wanted to apologize for the sensational title of the article. I was very interested in hearing feedback from everyone. If anyone was offended I apologize.

Well enough Benoit. I’m ready to get back into the positive parts of pro-wrestling. Probably the highest point of pro-wrestling each year is WrestleMania. I have friends that never watch wrestling except for Mania. For me personally, Mania has just been one big blur since 2005. I remember HBK VS Taker, and nothing else. The main events have had the same three guys they built up for the previous year, and Undertaker has a match. So I thought for this year we could look at some goodies that might help remember this year’s event. Lets go.

Brock Lesner VS Undertaker: This sounds thrown together. I guess Brock was the only guy left that fans would care to see face Mark. I don’t know why they aren’t mentioning that this is Paul’s second guy to attempt to beat The Undertaker? They don’t even need to mention Punk. I’m personally not interested if Undertaker keeps the streak, or never comes back. We all know Brock will lose. Probably after a Tombstone. I guess the only thing to watch for is to see if Lesner injures Undertaker by accident?

Andre The Giant Battle Royale: I’m hoping this will be a yearly thing. No title shot for the winner, just the honor of winning. I would like to see Big Show win because it would be a fun little moment(I’m sappy like that). I wouldn’t mind seeing Big E or Ziggler win either. I don’t really see needing to give anyone a rub here because winning a battle royale is more of a crap shoot then a technical achievement.

Usos VS Ryabaxel VS Real Americans VS Los Matadores: These are four good tag teams. I like them. I know some aren’t sure why Matadores is in this match. Los Matadores are as good as any of the other three teams. Besides El Torito can dance around while JBL yells at him, which is always a treat.

Shield VS Kane and The Outlaws: I’ve heard that this was supposed to be Kane and The Ascension against The Shield, but the Outlaws wanted one final Mania match. That sounds like a dumb reason to change plans. I get the feeling that WWE is making too many decisions based on emotion, or people are just putting up idiotic excuses on their dirt sheets. It’s cool they turned the Shield face. I haven’t been this excited about a face turn since Alberto did it. Which brings up another fear, that Shield will be watered down and boring like Del Rio was. I don’t care who wins this match, but I’m hearing Reigns is supposed to get a push? Maybe Reigns will score the pin?

Triple H VS Bryan + Orton VS Batista VS (winner of Bryan vs Triple h): I’ve heard a lot of people who wouldn’t mind seeing the main event turn out to be Hunter, Orton, and Batista. Whatever the outcome, I think WWE should look at Orton again. I don’t care if fans like him or TNA wants him, or whatever stupid leverage we think he has. Orton is as boring as ever. It still takes him 20 years to get to the ring, he isn’t practicing what he’s supposed to say. At least Batista and Triple H look like they want to main event. I’m still pretty sure Bryan or Batista will come out winners.

Bray VS Cena: This has been built up well, and I like both these guys. I’ve grown used to the fact that Cena will always be the hero. Bray is a good foil for Cena. If Cena beats Bray, they could still have Bray laughing away as Cena leaves the ring? I’m still high on the Wyatts, and Cena hasn’t faced many insane heels. I think R-Truth was the last one? Anyway I left you a video present at the bottom here. Enjoy.


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A2Z Analysiz: WWE WrestleMania XIX (Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar) Thu, 27 Mar 2014 13:00:14 +0000 WrestleMania XIX

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

Safeco Field – Seattle, Washington – March 30, 2003

SUNDAY NIGHT HEAT MATCH: World Tag Team Title Match – Chief Morley & Lance Storm vs. Rob Van Dam & Kane

Storm and Morley have been the Champions since 3.24.03 and this is their first defense. Morley named himself and Storm the tag team champions when Storm’s original partner, William Regal, was declared too ill to defend the titles. The Dudley Boyz are outside the ring to watch Morley and Storm’s backs. The challengers dominate early, with both hitting planchas to the floor. We go to commercial and come back to Morley working RVD over in the corner. He gets a couple of near-falls before RVD makes the hot tag to Kane, who’s a Big Red Machine afire. Kane hits a tilt-a-whirl slam on Storm for two. He goes up top for a big clothesline but Morley breaks up the count. RVD takes Morley out with the one-legged missile dropkick. Kane clotheslines Morley to the floor, and then hits the Chokeslam on Storm. RVD goes up to the Five-Star Frog Splash, but Morley pushes him all the way to the floor. The referee gets distracted by Kane and Morley brawling on the floor, and thus doesn’t see the Dudleys hit Storm with the 3D. RVD goes for the cover, but Bubba has a change of heart, hitting an elbow drop to the back of the head and rolling Storm on top for the win at 5:47 (shown). Kane and RVD worked well as a team, and I enjoy Morley as well. I’m pretty sure they got to have a much longer match on Raw not long after this, and I actually want to see that now.
Rating: **

MATCH #1: Cruiserweight Championship Match – Matt Hardy vs. Rey Mysterio

Hardy has been the Champion since 2.23.03, and this is his second defense. Shannon Moore tries to attack before the bell but Mysterio runs him off. Mysterio backdrops Hardy to the floor and wipes out both Hardy and Moore with a corkscrew plancha. Back in the ring Mysterio covers for two. Mysterio continues the aerial assault. He tries a Sunset Bomb to the floor but Moore kicks him in the gut, allowing Hardy to take control. Hardy slams Mysterio chest-first on the barricade and rolls Mysterio back in for a a two-count. The Champ keeps Mysterio grounded and Moore interferes every chance he gets. Hardy tries a Twist of Fate but Mysterio counters with a prawn hold for a two-count. Mysterio tries to follow up but Hardy catches him in the Side Effect for a near-fall. Hardy slugs away but misses a charge in the corner and his shoulder hits the ring post. Mysterio starts flying around the ring and hits a Tornado DDT for two. He sets up for the 619 but Moore trips him. Hardy hits the Twist of Fate and Mysterio kicks out! The Champ goes for Splash Mountain but Mysterio counters with a rana! Moore interferes again and puts Hardy’s foot on the bottom rope. Mysterio hits the 619 but misses the West Coast Pop. He goes for a Victory Roll instead but Hardy drops down and grabs the bottom rope for leverage to get the pin and retain the title at 5:38. That was crazy short but they packed a ton of action and energy into it the entire time. It would have been nice to see Mysterio go over here but they pulled the finish off well.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #2: Undertaker & Nathan Jones vs. Big Show & A-Train

Jones was taken out by Show and A-Train in the showers earlier tonight on Heat, It’s probably for the better that he’s not in this match actually. Undertaker immediately sends Show to the floor and hits A-Train with a Chokeslam for a near-fall. That would have been great if it was the finish. Undertaker continues fighting off the two behemoths in the early going. He hits A-Train with Old School. Show distracts Undertaker from the apron, allowing A-Train to hit the Derailer. A-Train throws Undertaker to the floor and Show rams him into the ring post. Show and A-Train work Undertaker over briefly before Undertaker fights back and puts Show in a Fujiwara Armbar. A-Train breaks that up. Undertaker then puts A-Train in a Cross Armbreaker and Show has to break that up. Show and A-Train try to wear Undertaker down again, but it doesn’t last long before Undertaker hits A-Train with a back suplex. A-Train cuts him off with a clothesline. Undertaker comes back with a DDT. Undertaker dominates the two big men until A-Train blasts him with a Bicycle Kick. Show hits a Chokeslam and then Nathan Jones comes running down the aisle. When Show goes to meet him Jones takes him out with a spin kick. Jones then gets in the ring and hits A-Train with a big boot to the face. Undertaker hits A-Train with the Tombstone Piledriver to get the pin at 9:45. This makes Undertaker 11-0 at WrestleMania. This was a pretty lousy match and Undertaker never appeared to be in any actual danger. Also, why was Nathan Jones allowed to interfere if it had been officially announced as a handicap match? Eh, who cares.
Rating: *

MATCH #3: Women’s Championship Match – Victoria vs. Jazz vs. Trish Stratus

Victoria has been the Champion since 11.17.02, and this is her seventh defense. She is accompanied by Steven Richards, in perhaps his biggest WrestleMania role ever. Jazz attacks both women right away and covers Stratus right away for two. She puts Stratus in the Last Chancery briefly. Jazz kicks Victoria off the apron again, which gives Stratus time to recover and hit a Thesz Press. The battle spills to the floor and Victoria is back in it. Victoria and Jazz double-team Stratus briefly, but Jazz quickly dissolves that partnership. The Champion is able to catch Jazz with a nice powerslam for two. Stratus catches Victoria in a prawn hold for two. Victoria cuts Stratus off with a clothesline. Jazz gets back in the mix as the pace continues to be fast and all three women try to stake their claim to the title. Stratus is on fire, nailing Jazz with the Chick Kick for a two-count. Victoria goes to the second rope and Stratus takes her down with the Stratusphere. Jazz grabs Stratus in a half crab and then turns it into the STF. The referee gets distracted by Victoria so Richards sneaks in the ring and throws Jazz to the floor. The biggest pop in the match comes when Stratus gets Victoria in an O’Connor Roll and a tiny peek of Victoria’s butt crack shows. Wrestling fans are neanderthals. Jazz gets Stratus in a chicken wing and slams her down. Victoria drills Jazz with a boot to the face but misses a moonsault. Jazz charges and Victoria backdrops her to the floor. Richards tries to interfere with a chair but ends up hitting himself in the face. Stratus hits him with the Stratusfaction. Victoria goes for the Widow’s Peak but Stratus slips out and clobbers Victoria with the Chick Kick to get the pin and win the Women’s Title for a fourth time at 7:17. That was non-stop action and great work from all three wrestlers. I dare Kaitlyn, Layla, and Tamina Snuka to do that well this year.
Rating: ***

MATCH #4: WWE Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match – Team Angle vs. Chris Benoit & Rhyno vs. Los Guerreros

Interesting to note that three of these guys are in ROH, one is in TNA, and two are dead. Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin have been the Champions since 2.6.03, and this is their first defense. The champs charge into the ring and we’re off and running. I didn’t hate Charlie Haas at this time, like I do now. We settle with Haas and Chavo in the ring. Chavo gets the advantage so Haas tags Benoit. Eddie tags in and Los Guerreros are looking good early on. Benoit and Eddie go back and forth a bit and then Rhyno tags in. The pace in this one is fast, just like two of the previous three matches. Rhyno hits Eddie with a nice powerslam for a two-count. Benjamin tags in and goes to work on Rhyno. Momentum continues to shift as all three teams try to establish dominance. Benoit hits Guerrero with a superplex featuring a nasty landing for a near-fall. He follows up with the Crippler Crossface and Haas breaks it up. Guerrero comes back with a brainbuster for two. Chavo tags in and Benoit hits him with the rolling German Suplexes. Benjamin tagged in while the suplexes were happening and he tags Benoit with a superkick for two. The referee loses control and the finisher parade begins. Rhyno throws out Gores to Haas and Chavo, but Eddie pulls him to the floor. Benjamin picks up the scraps and pins Chavo for the win at 8:46. That was non-stop action and a fun little sprint of a match.
Rating: ***

MATCH #5: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho

This is Michaels’ first WrestleMania match since dropping the WWE Championship to Stone Cold Steve Austin five years ago at WrestleMania XIV. They start off slowly with some chain wrestling. This has potential to be a show-stealer. Jericho strikes with the first insult with a slap to the face and Michaels responds with a hard right hand. Michaels then tosses Jericho to the floor. He teases a dive and Jericho avoids it, but then he’s able to hit the baseball slide. Back in the ring Michaels hits a high cross body off the top rope and Jericho rolls through for a near-fall. Jericho lands a leg lariat and takes control. He goes for the bulldog but Michaels shoves him off. Michaels goes to work on the leg, but when he tries a Figure-Four Leglock for the second time, Jericho kicks him shoulder-first into the ring post. Jericho tries to throw Michaels out but just guess how that turns out? Michaels is awesome. He follows Jericho out with a dive. They fight in the aisle and Michaels tries a dropkick but Jericho catches it and puts on the Walls of Jericho. Obviously he releases it. Back in the ring Jericho hits the springboard dropkick. Jericho keeps Michaels on the mat and wears him down for several minutes. Michaels fights back but Jericho cuts him off with the flying forearm. Jericho nips up and does the HBK pose. That fires Michaels up and he nips up and starts building momentum with a flurry of offense. Michaels goes up top and hits the moonsault for two. They do the fish out of water spot and Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho but Michaels kicks out of it. Jericho hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two. He tries to hold Michaels down but Michaels bridges up and tries a backslide. Jericho blocks it and takes Michaels down with a clothesline. He hits the bulldog and lands the Lionsault! Michaels kicks out, twice. Jericho is starting to look frustrated. Michaels goes for a hurricanrana but Jericho catches him and locks on the Walls of Jericho! Luckily Michaels reaches the ropes. Jericho tries it again and Michaels catches an inside cradle for a near-fall. Some call it a small package. Jericho hits a double underhook backbreaker and goes up top to hit a flying back elbow. He then tunes up the band and drills Michaels with Sweet Chin Music! Somehow Michaels kicks out! Michaels comes back with a turn around cross body block off the second rope and he adds some right hands. He then catapults Jericho into the ring post and rolls him up for two. Jericho puts Michaels up top for a belly-to-back superplex but Michaels counters to a cross body block in mid-air. Michaels covers for two. He goes up top and Jericho kicks the referee into the ropes to knock Michaels down. Jericho tries a superplex but Michaels drops him down on his face. Michaels hits the Savage Elbow and then he tunes up the band! He misses Sweet Chin Music and Jericho traps him in the Walls of Jericho! Michaels reaches the ropes. A frustrated Jericho then walks right into Sweet Chin Music! Michaels is able to crawl over for the cover but only gets two. He goes for an Irish Whip but Jericho reverses it and Michaels takes the big bump to the turnbuckles. Jericho tries a back suplex but Michaels slips out and grabs Jericho in the prawn hold to get the flash pin at 22:30! That was a tremendous match between two of the greatest of all-time. Michaels wasn’t quite back to top form yet, making this performance all the more impressive. Both guys played off each other and the storyline perfectly.
Rating: ****¼

After the match, a teary-eyed Jericho and Michaels share a hug while JR and King applaud them. Then Jericho kicks Michaels in the nuts and storms off! That was awesome.

MATCH #6: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Triple H vs. Booker T

Triple H has been the Champion since 12.15.02, and this is his third defense. He’s accompanied by “The Natura Boy” Ric Flair. They start off tentatively, which seems wrong given the things HHH said about Booker in the buildup to this match. Booker takes the first advantage. HHH catches Booker with a back elbow and foolishly goes to the top rope. Booker armdrags him down. They go to the floor and Booker slams HHH face-first into the ring post. Back in the ring Booker keeps up the advantage. HHH comes back and sends Booker to the apron, and then runs him into the ring post. Back in the ring HHH stays in control and hits a spinebuster for two. Booker comes back with a DDT. Both men rise and trade strikes. Booker wins that battle and hits a leg lariat and a side suplex. He follows up with a flying forearm for two. HHH grabs a sleeper hold out of desperation but Booker escapes it. Booker then runs his face right into HHH’s high knee. HHH covers for two. He hits the facebreaker but then runs right into a spinebuster. Booker covers for two. HHH comes back and goes to the second rope and jumps right into a superkick! Booker goes for the Scissors Kick but misses, and then goes for another one but HHH ducks again and Booker tumbles to the floor. Flair takes the opportunity to drop Booker’s knee on the steel steps. Back in the ring HHH goes to work on the knee and puts on an Indian Deathlock. As if this match needed any more racist overtones. Booker eventually reaches the ropes. HHH is looking dominant here. Booker grabs a sunset flip from out of nowhere and almost steals a pin. HHH goes for the Pedigree but Booker sweeps the legs and HHH kicks him back into referee Nick Patrick. it wasn’t a debilitating blow though. HHH then almost clotheslines Patrick but he ducks (you don’t see that every day) and Booker grabs a schoolboy rollup for two. Booker hits a flying back elbow and then nails the Scissors Kick. He crawls over to make the cover but only gets two. Booker goes up top and knocks Flair off the apron on his way up. HHH joins him up there but gets knocked back to the mat. Booker knocks Flair off the apron again and then hits HHH with the Harlem Hangover! He eventually makes the cover and Flair puts HHH’s leg on the bottom rope. That would have been a great finish. Back on their feet it appears that Booker’s knee is in bad shape. HHH hits a thunderous Pedigree and lays there for what seems like forever before crawling over to make the cover and get the pin at 18:47. That was a surprisingly good match right up until the last two minutes or so. The buildup to the match was HHH literally saying “people like you can’t be Champion” and then Booker proving him right. The Harlem Hangover would have been a great finish, but the bigger bummer is how long HHH waited after the Pedigree to make the cover.
Rating: ***

MATCH #7: Street Fight – Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. McMahon

This is Hogan’s twelfth and final WrestleMania match. McMahon slaps Hogan in the face before the bell. Hogan spears McMahon down and the bell rings so it is on. The Hulkster dominates the early going and McMahon tries to cover up. McMahon fights back with his awkward strikes. He then goes to work on Hogan’s arm, which is smart to try and neutralize Hogan’s power. McMahon uses a Greco-Roman Knuckle Lock to keep Hogan on his knees. Hogan powers up but McMahon sends him to the floor. McMahon looks confident and tries to use a chair but Hogan ducks it and McMahon hits nothing but post. Hogan throws McMahon into the post and then clobbers him with the chair. He sure doesn’t have to, but damn McMahon takes his chair shots like a man. McMahon is busted open. Back in the ring Hogan continues the abuse. They go back outside and Hogan wears out his former boss with a steel chair. Hogan tries to hit McMahon but accidentally hits Spanish Announcer Hugo Savinovich! McMahon fights back with a low blow and clobbers Hogan with the chair. Hogan took it like a man too. McMahon slams Hogan into the Spanish table and blasts him with one of the monitors. He then climbs up a ladder and leaps off with a leg drop! That’s a man bump right there. Back in the ring McMahon covers but only gets two! McMahon goes out under the ring and grabs a lead pipe, and the shot of his bloody face peering over the apron is amazing. Hogan gives McMahon a receipt via a low blow. Both men are down. Then from out of nowhere a guy in a cloak steps into the ring and he takes his hood off to reveal Rowdy Roddy Piper! The crowd is going banana. Piper picks up the pipe and appears ready to hit McMahon with it but he hits Hogan instead! McMahon covers but Hogan kicks out again! A frustrated McMahon tosses referee Brain Hebner to the floor and calls out his personal referee Sylvain Grenier. McMahon hits Hogan with the pipe again, and then hits a Leg Drop! The insult! McMahon should know better though, as this just makes Hogan Hulk Up! Hogan knocks McMahon down and then pitches Grenier to the floor.. He hits the Big Boot and three Leg Drops to get the pin at 20:47. That was ridiculously entertaining and both guys played their roles to perfection. McMahon is truly one of the greatest heels in the history of the business.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #8: The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

Rock’s entrance video during this run was awesome. They naturally brawl to start, and they fight out to the floor early on. Austin has the advantage and throws Rock into the railing and the steel steps. Back in the ring Austin stays in control, choking Rock on the middle rope. Austin jaws with the referee, giving Rock the chance to take Austin’s knee out. They go back to the floor and Rock continues attacking the knee. In the ring the assault continues, but Austin won’t stay down for very long. Rock is so brilliant as a heel it’s disgusting. He puts on the Sharpshooter, which Austin has certainly felt before. Austin reaches the ropes. Rock then wraps Austin’s leg around the ring post and slams it a few times. Rock puts Austin’s vest on just to be a jerk, but Austin fires up and they clothesline each other. Both men are down. They get up and start firing, and Austin lands a Thesz Press. Austin hits the F-U elbow to score a near fall. Austin brings Rock to the corner and stomps a mud hole in him. Rock fights back with a clothesline and nips up. He can’t help taunting the crowd, which gives Austin the chance to nail a Rock Bottom for two. Austin goes for the Stunner but Rock counters to one of his own for two. Both are up and Rock hits a series of right bands but Austin ducks one and hits the Stunner. Rock kicks out! The referee tries to reprimand Austin for something, so he shoves him out of the way and Rock takes the opportunity to hit a low blow. Rock sets up for the People’s Elbow, but Austin moves and goes for another Stunner. Rock blocks it and hits the spinebuster, throws Austin’s vest off, and this time hits the People’s Elbow. That only gets two. Austin turns around into a Rock Bottom but he kicks out! Austin gets up and Rock hits another Rock Bottom. Austin looks to be in legitimate pain at this point, but he kicks out again! Rock is pissed. He hits a third Rock Bottom and that is finally enough to get the pin at 17:53 and Rock has now done it all. I liked the match more than I remember liking it before, since it was so different than their other two matches. Also, it doesn’t matter that they each hit so many finishers because between the two of them they would wrestle two more matches in WWE (both of them Rock), so it’s not like they needed protection anymore. I think this match gets overshadowed because of Michaels versus Jericho and Angle versus Lesnar from this show, but it’s really quite good.
Rating: ****

MATCH #9: WWE Championship Match – Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar

Angle has been the Champion since 12.15.02, and this is his third defense. Lesnar has his ribs taped up. They take it right down to the mat and I expect them to spend a lot of time there. Lesnar asserts his power advantage because they are so evenly matched as mat technicians. Angle goes after the ribs, which is definitely good strategy. Lesnar scores the first near-fall with a nice powerslam. Angle comes back with a release German Suplex but Lesnar pops right up and hammers away on the Champion. Lesnar tries to follow up but Angle rolls to the floor, and then catches him with kicks coming back in the ring. Angle can’t keep the advantage though and Lesnar press slams him for fun. The momentum continues to shift between these two highly skilled athletes. Angle German Suplexes Lesnar into the buckles and takes control. He focuses on the ribs, trying to take Lesnar’s air away. Angle uses various suplexes and submission holds to wear Lesnar down. Lesnar tries to come back but Angle cuts him off and hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Angle knocks Lesnar to the floor but quickly brings him back inside. He charges right into a spinebuster and both men are down. Back on their feet Lesnar unleashes a flurry of offense. Lesnar hits a nice overhead belly-to-belly suplex and then another one for a two-count. He tries a third but Angle reverses to rolling German Suplexes. Angle goes for the Angle Slam but Lesnar reverses to an F-5, and Angle counters that into the Ankle Lock. Lesnar tries to escape so Angle turns it into a half crab and Lesnar makes it to the ropes. Angle charges in and Lesnar backdrops him to the floor! Back in the ring Angle ducks a clothesline and hits a huge release German Suplex for a near-fall. The straps come down and Angle hits an Angle Slam for two! Angle goes for another one but Lesnar counters with an inside cradle for two. Lesnar then connects on the F-5! Lesnar covers and Angle kicks out! Angle grabs the Ankle Lock and Lesnar once again reaches the ropes. Lesnar tries an F-5 but Angle gets a cradle for two. Angle tries the Angle Slam but Lesnar counters with another F-5! Lesnar goes up top and actually tries the Shooting Star Press and it looks great, but Angle was too far away and Lesnar spiked himself on the way down. A normal sized neck would have probably been broken by that. Angle covers for two. He tries to follow up but Lesnar picks him up for another F-5 and that’s enough to get the pin and win the title at 21:07. That was a different style than WrestleMania main events are accustomed to and I appreciated the difference. They did a lot of mat wrestling and both guys were believable in their attacks and their selling. If the Shooting Star Press had connected and been the finish this would be an all-time classic. Lesnar looks legitimately out of it, and he’s lucky that’s all that happened to him. They shake hands and embrace after the match, which actually makes sense in this context.
Rating: ****¼×120.jpg

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The Pulse Polls – WWE WrestleMania XXX Wed, 26 Mar 2014 16:38:04 +0000 Welcome to the Pulse Polls!  Yes this is up a little early, but really there shouldn’t be too much more announced for the Grandaddy of Them All.  This will be open until next Thursday!  Be sure to get your picks in and if you choose Mystery Entrant for the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, then specify in the comment section who you think will win!  Now without any delays… who do you think will win at WrestleMania 30?










That’s it!  Be sure to check out the Rasslin’ Roundtable for the results!×120.jpg×250.jpg

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THE RAGER! – The New Mr. Wrestlemania (Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro) Wed, 26 Mar 2014 15:00:22 +0000 So it’s been 4 years since Shawn Michaels went into retirement and even after that, we still get our share of HBK appearances, especially when it comes to Wrestlemania season. However, he doesn’t seem to be involved in Wrestlemania in any for the first in a very long time this year. This realization made me wonder if there will ever take up the “Mr. Wrestlemania” mantel and who might it be? Of course, that individual doesn’t necessarily have to take up the actual moniker itself but serve as that figure on a yearly basis.

So what am I looking for? Excitement in all aspects, mostly. That person that’s almost completely dependable year after year to have a good or at least exciting match. To the point where it could be a complete lame and boring WM but this person’s match is always guaranteed to give everyone a high point to remember. Of course, it’s easy to go with a scrappy, charismatic “smaller” guy just because it’s the template HBK put in place and you might want to avoid the menacing yet quiet big guy that’s dominating at WM at least a few years after Undertaker finally walks away for good. So that automatically takes Roman Reigns out of the equation but believe me, that guy will have enough accomplishments to hang his hat on over the course of his career, he’ll be fine.

The obvious first name that comes to mind is Daniel Bryan. He doesn’t matchup with HBK in terms of mic work but he can still hold his own and contribute a great deal to interesting story lines. The biggest thing is his matches and the excitement they generate. DB matches are almost guaranteed to become match of the night contenders almost regardless of his opponent. He’s a guy that’s going to have such a huge fan reaction for a long time and it would be so easy to take advantage of at WM. His previous WM experiences weren’t great but then again, he’s only had two matches. Of course, everyone thinks of the infamous 18 second match against Sheamus. But it was hugely memorable, fitting for the heel character he was portraying at the time and, to top it all off, began this whole yes craze that expedited his journey to the top of the company. The following year was a lot better for his win-loss record while also being part of an exciting tag team match that the crowd was incredibly into (him plus Ziggler in the same match tends to do that). And then there’s the potential this year of him being in two incredibly high profile matches, easily putting him in the upper echelon of Wrestlemania performers. If there was anybody that had the potential the match the Wrestlemania career of Shawn Michaels, it just might be his former student.

Dolph Ziggler is possibly the most gifted entertainers WWE has on their roster both physically and on the mic. His concussions really came at the worst time last year and I understand WWE’s reluctance to put a lot behind a guy prone to concussions BUT they’ve got to find a way to harness Ziggler. They’re missing out on a lot by not featuring him in prominent positions on weekly programming and pay per views. He’s got the personality and ring ability to be the guy that delivers at each and every Wrestlemania he’s a part of, clearly the fans already believe so given the reaction he’s gotten over the past couple of years. He’s absolutely a guy that can pull this off if he can stay healthy enough for WWE to be convinced to get behind him and rebuild his momentum.

Bray Wyatt could possibly be the heel version of Mr. Wrestlemania. I’m sure with his incredible mic skills that he could be a great face at some point but he really wouldn’t need to. He’s going into his first Wrestlemania and he’s actually making me excited for a Cena match. That alone should convince people to give him all of the accolades. And no, he doesn’t exactly fit into my “small guy” criteria but they’re my rules and I can easily bend them in order to include guys that I like. So suck it. But seriously, if Bray’s career continue to go the way it has been, he’s still really young and we could possibly be looking at the next Undertaker figure. Most likely, Bray won’t have the streak but he’ll definitely be that dark, opposing figure that we can also count on during Wrestlemania (possibly…hopefully…we’ll see).

Cesaro, he could easily turn tomorrow and become one of the biggest faces in the company. Honestly, I’m kinda wonder why WWE hasn’t pulled that trigger already but they’ve seemingly done away with the Real American breaking up teases. He has that Daniel Bryan factor in that he’s match is almost always assured to be a match of the night contender regardless of his opponent. If harnessed the right way, he could be a huge WM asset for WWE for a long time because it seems like it’s more and more difficult for fans to boo Cesaro in spite of his close proximity to Zeb.

Honorable Mentions:
I’d put CM Punk on this list if he didn’t despise the idea of working with HHH so much.

So the Shield are technically faces now, right? I’ll put Dean and Rollins on here because either/both would fit perfectly in this role but, honestly, I just want Shield to last forever.

Is Evan Bourne even alive?

Kofi Kingston could possibly pull it off if WWE didn’t put that 5-inch thick glass ceiling over him.

Cody has his chances. I’d be interested in seeing him take one more swing at a single career after CoDust is over but I’m not holding my breath. He’s a great tag team wrestler, perhaps he should stick to that.

Big E has a great personality if WWE ever decides to let him show it off. Still needs some work in the ring but I still very much dig him.

I’m positive WWE can do something with Sandow. We saw a brief glimpse of what an inspired Sandow can do when he was up against Cena last year. He plays a great snob character, WWE just needs to actually find an interesting feud for him because I think he’s only had like 2 or 3 during his tenure.

I still haven’t completely given up on Drew McIntyre even though all logic is telling me that I should. I just chalk it up to him joining the main roster at a very young age and was instantly in a high profile situation. Drew just hasn’t found the character yet.

Honestly, the Hunicara change has made me enjoy Sin Cara matches now that they have a more dependable guy playing the character and can work with people not named Alberto Del Rio (even though they’re still booking them together). WWE might actually get the payoff they were hoping for when they hired the original.

Odds are that nobody will be able to live up to the legend of Mr. Wrestlemania and that’s completely fine, I don’t think we really want a carbon copy of HBK because where’s the excitement in that? All I know is that is that Undertaker is closer to the end than the beginning and when he’s gone, he’ll be the last of all the things we look forward to every year at the showcase of the immortals. When that time comes, WWE will need somebody to step up and fill the impossible void of HBK and Taker and become the dependable figure for their biggest show. Daniel Bryan is the clear favorite right now but my column would be boring if I just left it there. Who knows who it will be or if that person is even in the company yet.

For the record, I still think WWE will find something for Shawn to do on April 6th. Just surprising plans haven’t been made public yet.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer: Coheed and Cambria did a cover of Somebody that I Used to Know and *spoiler alert* sucked way less than the original.×120.jpg×250.jpg

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JC’s Top Rope Report: What’s Left For The Undertaker At Wrestlemania? Wed, 26 Mar 2014 13:37:31 +0000 In two weeks, the WWE will roll out Wrestlemania 30 for every wrestling fan in the world to see. It is often the WWE’s opportunity to get casual fans to come back to the WWE product and showcase what they have going for them right now.

While the WWE often has a few big matches, one wrestler’s match that has become synonymous with Wrestlemania is The Undertaker. Some people might argue that The Undertaker’s match has become the biggest match on the card. The Streak is something that wrestling fans debate every year. It might be the one thing fans are very evenly split on as far as what to do with it go. There are some that feel The Undertaker should retire with The Streak intact. Others feel that someone should break The Streak and be made into the next big mega star in the WWE.

But are we getting to the point where this even matters anymore? In The Undertaker’s last five Wrestlemania matches, did anyone really think going in someone other than The Undertaker would win? I thought CM Punk had a very minor chance last year, but nothing more than like 1 or 2%. His previous four Wrestlemania matches were used against Shawn Michaels and Triple H, two veterans who don’t need to end The Streak. This past week on the HTCPulsecast, former WWE writer Andrew Goldstein brought up the fact that he was disappointed and surprised that four Undertaker matches were wasted on those two.

I’ve always said I had no problem with the two Shawn Michaels matches. First off, they were both great in the ring. And the story arc that played out from the first match to the second was very well done. I thought the WWE dropped the ball big time at Wrestlemania 27. Obviously, the first choice was Sting. It was probably the closest Sting ever came to signing with the WWE. Taker/Sting should have been done there, but it didn’t happen. Had the WWE not royally screwed up the Nexus angle, I always thought Wade Barrett was a possibility. After all, he did help bury The Undertaker in his Buried Alive match against Kane. But instead, the WWE went with another big name star in Triple H. Triple H had a ready made program with Sheamus, but instead HHH took care of Sheamus in one night on RAW. He effectively buried him in the process, and some might argue Sheamus never recovered.

The WWE could have done the exact same match with Undertaker and Triple H from Wrestlemania 28 without the match from Wrestlemania 27. Or, they could have done the match and storyline from Wrestlemania 28 at Wrestlemania 27. There was absolutely no reason to have two straight HHH/Undertaker matches at Wrestlemania. It was a waste of Undertaker and what his Streak means at Wrestelmania.

Nobody knows how many more Wrestlemanias The Undertaker has left. For all we know, Wrestlemania 30 could be the last one. I don’t think that is the case. Undertaker may be getting up there in age, but if he continues to only wrestle one time a year, I think we still have a couple more Undertaker Wrestlemania matches to look forward too. But we are past the point of seeing The Undertaker dream matches of years past. If you ask me, there is no reason left for him to take on anyone that’s been in the WWE for quite some time. Even a John Cena match has lost some of its luster. This was the year to do it, and they didn’t. The only true veteran left that I might want to see Taker wrestle is Sting. And I’ll be the first to admit that is a little personal bias because Sting is one of my all time favorites.

If Undertaker really does have a couple more Wrestlemania matches in him, then they should be used against new or rising stars that could use an Undertaker match to help establish them as main eventers. There’s no need for The Undertaker to face guys like Brock Lesnar, Triple H or John Cena anymore. That’s mostly because no one thinks those guys will end The Streak. Even a Daniel Bryan match isn’t necessary anymore because Bryan is already established as a top guy.

The Undertaker needs to be used at the next couple Wrestlemanias against younger talents that need to be established as either main eventers or solidified as the guy in the WWE. And there are a handful of guys that a program with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania could do wonders for. The first person that comes to mind is Bray Wyatt. As I said in my RAW report from this past week, you could take everything Bray is saying about Cena and almost trade him and Taker and it would make sense. The more I think about the more I wonder if the WWE should have done Bray vs Undertaker at Wrestlemania this year.

Then you have all three members of The Shield. The last time we saw The Undertaker before Wrestlemania he was put through an announce table by The Shield. By the time we get to next year’s Wrestlemania, my guess is The Shield will be split up. Remember, Taker worked a match with Dean Ambrose on Smackdown. And as my colleague Matt Harrak points out, I’m sure Taker had to at least approve that. An agent or writer just didn’t walk up to Undertaker and say “You’re fighting Dean Ambrose.” Ambrose has the right edge and personality to cut some great promos on Undertaker. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins are also possibilities, but I think they’ll be established as faces already. Personality wise, I think Dean Ambrose makes the most sense.

One person who I think could have an excellent match with The Undertaker is Cesaro. Cesaro has always been a good wrestler, but he has really stepped up his game in recent weeks. It seems like the WWE is finally serious about pushing Cesaro as a top threat. And there is no reason to believe Cesaro can’t become a main event player in the WWE. What better way to establish him as a top guy then a match with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. In ring wise, Cesaro might be the best match-up for Taker.

There are a lot of quality opponents out there for The Undertaker to face at Wrestlemania. It is up to the WWE to let some of these new guys get a chance to fight The Undertaker and not rely on their stable of veterans to have a match with Taker. The ball is in the WWE’s court and it is up to them to take the right path.

Until Next Time,

Justin C

Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka×250.jpg×120.jpg

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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…×120-2013.jpg×250-raw-2013.jpg

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Oh You Didn’t Know? Two More Matches Set for WWE WrestleMania XXX Tue, 25 Mar 2014 15:18:54 +0000 As announced on WWE Monday Night Raw 3/24/14, there are now two more matches that have been added to the card for WrestleMania 30 taking place on New Orleans on Sunday, April 6th.

The Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational: AJ Lee (c) vs. Nearly Every Other Diva on the Roster (including Tamina, the Bellas, Summer Rae, Naomi, Cameron, Aksana, Layla, Natalya, Emma, Alicia Fox, Eva Marie, etc.)

The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns) vs. Corporate Kane and The New Age Outlaws×250.jpg×120.jpg

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF WrestleMania X-Seven (Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock) Tue, 25 Mar 2014 13:00:16 +0000 WrestleMania 17

Reliant Astrodome – Houston, Texas – Sunday, April 1, 2001


SUNDAY NIGHT HEAT MATCH: Grandmaster Sexay & Steve Blackman vs. X-Pac & Justin Credible

The match starts as a brawl between all four men. Sexay and Blackman gain the first advantage, and we wind up with X-Pac and Sexay in the ring. Albert has accompanied X-Pac & Credible to ringside, and he gets involved by getting up on the apron and hitting Sexay with a clothesline. X-Pac makes the tag to Credible, who hits a sit-out powerbomb out of the corner for two. The X-Factor team makes some quick tags in and out, but Sexay weathers the storm and makes the hot tag to his partner. Blackman is briefly on fire, but he gets distracted by Albert and then gets nailed with a double superkick to give X-Factor the win at 2:46. That was okay but it’s not like they had any time to really do anything.
Rating: ¾*

Jim Ross and Paul Heyman are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Intercontinental Title Match – Chris Jericho vs. William Regal

Jericho has been the Champion since 1.21.01, and this is his eleventh defense. They start off hot and heavy and that’s a pace that favors the Champion. Jericho hits a leg lariat that sends Regal to the floor, and he follows him out with a house show dive. Back in the ring Jericho hits a reverse elbow from the top rope for two. They take it down to the mat and Jericho goes for the Walls of Jericho. Regal blocks it, and you can already see his chest reddening from the few chops Jericho gave him. Perhaps that’s Regal’s motivation, as he hurls Jericho shoulder-first into the ring post, twice. Regal works Jericho over for a bit, and when Jericho fights back and tries the Lionsault Regal gets his knees up. The challenger continues with the assault, wearing the Champion down. Regal removes one of the turnbuckle pads and throws Jericho’s shoulder into it twice. Jericho fights back with an enziguiri and then another one. He goes to the second rope and hits a dropkick for two. They battle to the top rope and Regal hits a Butterfly Superplex for a two-count. Jericho comes back and tries the Walls of Jericho again, but Regal counters it into the Regal Stretch! Luckily Jericho is able to reach the ropes. Back on their feet Jericho tenaciously attacks Regal with chops, but gets cut off with a kick to the shoulder. Jericho reverses a whip and sends Regal into the exposed turnbuckle. He hits the bulldog and a vertical suplex. Jericho follows with the Lionsault to get the pin at 7:08. I thought that would have been longer, but it was good while it lasted. They kept up a brisk pace and got the crowd into it, setting a proper tone for the rest of the show.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #2: Six Man Tag Team Match – The APA & Tazz vs. Bull Buchanan, The Goodfather & Val Venis

Steven Richards of course accompanies the RTC, while Jacqueline is with the APA and Tazz. RTC runs into the aisle to attack but Tazz, Bradshaw, and Faarooq are ready for them. RIchards tries to interfere before the bell even rings and Jacqueline hits him with a DDT! Buchanan and Faarooq start the match proper, and they trade control. The RTC is able to isolate on Tazz for a bit and work him over in their half of the ring. After a brief time Tazz makes the hot tag. Bradshaw is in and he’s a house afire. The referee loses control and it turns into a big brawl. Bradshaw hits Venis with a belly-to-back superplex. The ring clears out and Goodfather is left with Bradshaw. Goodfather tries the former Ho Train but Bradshaw moves and hits the Clothesline from Hell for the pin at 3:54. That was fine for the time they got.
Rating: *½

MATCH #3: Hardcore Title Match – Raven vs. Big Show vs. Kane

Raven has been the Champion since 3.19.01, and this is his second defense. It’s hilarious to hear JR say about Kane that “this young man may be the future.” Raven attacks Kane before Show even makes his entrance. Show makes his way out and starts using his size and power advantage right away. The fight quickly spills into the crowd and all the way to the backstage area. Kane throws Raven into a wall, creating a hole. Show comes in and slams Kane on some wooden pallets. A variety of weapons are used as they continue making their way through the backstage area. Kane chokes Raven with a garden hose and then throws him through a window! Show and Kane take it to each other and crash through a wall. Raven reappears and realizes what a bad idea it is to get in between Kane and Show, so he tries driving away on a golf cart. He doesn’t get very far. Kane commandeers his own golf cart and runs Raven down with it. Finally they make their way back out by the entrance ramp. Show picks Raven up in a press slam and Kane boots Show in the face to knock them both off the stage and through a piece of the set! Kane then follows them down with a huge elbow drop on Show to get the pin at 9:19. That was fairly ridiculous but it was also a great deal of a fun and I love variety at WrestleMania. This match was a pretty good summation of the Hardcore Title as a whole.
Rating: ***

MATCH #4: European Title Match – Test vs. Eddie Guerrero

Test has been the Champion since 1.22.01, and this is his ninth defense. Guerrero is accompanied by Perry Saturn. Eddie tries a sneak attack to start but Test is ready for him. Test uses his strength advantage and hits the falling powerbomb for a near-fall. Eddie wisely rolls to the floor but Test follows him. The brawl continues back in the ring and Test continues to throw Eddie around, hitting a huge Snake Eyes and a hard clothesline for two. Eddie fights back and tries a top rope rana but Test blocks it and then flies down with a reverse elbow for a near-fall. Test charges with a big boot and Eddie ducks, causing Test to get tied up in the top rope. He legitimately gets stuck, and the match comes to a standstill as Eddie and the referee have to work together to free the poor European Champion. Eddie wisely attacks the injured leg, wearing Test down. He locks on a sleeper and Test is fading. Test fires up and hits a tilt-a-whirl slam. He follows with a spinning tilt-a-whirl powerbomb for a close near-fall. Eddie is able to hit an undetected low blow, and then he distracts the referee so Saturn can sneak in and hit the Moss-Covered Three-Handled Family Gradunza. That only gets two. Eddie hits a brainbuster and goes up top. He misses the Frog Splash and Test connects with a big boot and the Pumphandle Slam. Saturn distracts Test so he can’t cover right away, and Eddie kicks out at two. Saturn tries to interfere again but Test kicks him in the face, and then delivers a huge boot to Eddie’s face. Test covers but Dean Malenko runs out and pulls him off. An angry Test pulls Malenko up on the apron, and as the referee tries to break them up Eddie grabs the European Title belt and clocks Test with it to get the pin at 8:06. That was a solid match, with Eddie cheating at a high level, and Test looking good in losing by having to fight off three men. Probably one of Test’s better matches.
Rating: ***

MATCH #5: Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle

They immediately start with mat wrestling, and Angle gets frustrated when Benoit is able to keep up with him. The crowd appreciates both men’s efforts, which is pretty cool of them. Benoit goes for the Crossface early and Angle is able to avoid it, btu Angle is clearly frustrated. Angle does not like the thought of anyone being on his level when it comes to mat wrestling. He takes a powder to collect his thoughts. Back in the ring Angle is able to take a cheap shot and then dump Benoit to the floor. Angle follows him out and throws him into various pieces of furniture around ringside. Back in the ring Angle starts dissecting his opponent. Angle unleashes the first belly-to-belly suplex and gloats about it. He hits another one and is definitely in the driver’s seat. Just as I type that Benoit fires off a clothesline and both men are down. Back to their feet Benoit absorbs some of Angle’s attacks and goes to work on him. Benoit takes Angle to the top rope to hit a beautiful superplex for a two-count. And now it’s time for the rolling German Suplexes, which Angle counters into the Ankle Lock. Benoit reaches the ropes, and then counters into his own Ankle Lock! Angle kicks his way out of it. They continue to trade finishers, this time exchanging versions of the Crippler Crossface. Benoit reaches the ropes. The referee accidentally gets bumped, and thus does not see Angle tapping out to the Crossface! Benoit tries to revive the referee, and Angle grabs him in the Angle Slam for a two-count. Angle slams Benoit down and goes for the moonsault but Benoit gets his knees up. Benoit goes up top and nails the diving headbutt for a near-fall. He tries to follow up with a German Suplex but Angle hits an undetected low blow. Angle is able to cradle Benoit with a handful of tights to score the cheap pin at 14:02. That was awesome stuff, great back and forth from two of the greatest mat wrestlers the WWE has ever seen. I like the cheap finish because this was not at all a main event match and the feud was to continue, so it works. This was great stuff.
Rating: ****

MATCH #6: Women’s Championship Match – Ivory vs. Chyna

Ivory has been the Champion since 11.2.00, and this is her thirteenth defense. Chyna looks confident, but the Champion strikes first with a belt shot before the bell. Ivory takes it to Chyna, trying to keep her off her feet. It doesn’t last long thuogh, as Chyna catches a boot and begins dominating. Chyna throws Ivory around a bit and then flattens her with a powerbomb. She follows with an Ultimate Warrior press slam to get the pin and win the Women’s Title for the first time at 2:39. Not a good match or anything, but it made sense in the context of the feud. Plus it was short so overall I’d call it a win.
Rating: *¼

MATCH #7: Street Fight – Shane McMahon vs. Mr. McMahon

Mick Foley is the special guest referee here. Vince has Stephanie accompanying him to the ring. They trash talk each other and Vince slaps his own son and takes him down with some awful looking punches. Shane fights back and takes his dad down with a spear. Stephanie gets in the ring to plead with her brother to stop, and she slaps him! She wisely runs and then the battle spills to the floor. Shane abuses his old man with one of the “keep off” signs and then throws him into the steps. He continues beating Vince up, even using a kendo stick. Shane has been dominant thus far. He takes apart the Spanish Announce Table and cracks Vince with a monitor. Shane goes up top for the big elbow but Stephanie pulls Vince out of the way and Shane crashes through the table. Now Trish Stratus brings the catatonic Linda out in her wheelchair. Trish goes over to help Vince but then slaps him in the face! Stephanie objects and we have a cat fight on our hands! Foley breaks it up and receives a slap to the face for his troubles. Trish chases Stephanie up the ramp and to the back. Vince recovers and notices his wife at ringside, and calls her a “bitch.” Foley stops him from going after her. He tries to move Linda away from the action but Vince cracks him with a steel chair! Vince puts Linda in the ring and sets her on a chair so she can watch what he does to their son. He throws a series of garbage cans into the ring and hits Shane in the head with one of them. Vince continues to abuse Shane with a garbage can, and when he turns his back Linda gets up from her chair! That’s the biggest pop she’ll ever get. Linda kicks Vince in the nuts and Foley makes his way back in to unleash the fury on the Chairman. Shane is up and he sets a can against Vince in the corner. He goes to the opposite corner and hits the coast-to-coast dropkick! That’s enough for Shane to get the pin at 14:13. That’s the perfect example of using multiple people who were not active or full-time wrestler to tell a compelling and thoroughly entertaining story with tons of bells and whistles. The crowd heat was off the charts, and you know when a stadium full of people are popping for Linda you’ve done something extraordinarily right. This is ridiculously fun and probably Vince’s best match.
Rating: ****

MATCH #8: TLC Match for the World Tag Team Titles – The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz

Bubba Ray and D-Von have been the Champions since 3.19.01, and this is their first defense. I expect it to be very difficult to keep up with all the action here. Matt and Jeff take the early advantage, but it takes less than a minute for Edge and Christian to bring in the first ladder and the first chair and use them as weapons. The Dudleyz pull Christian to the floor and beat on him, leaving Edge alone with the Hardyz. Christian makes his way back in, and the Hardys take him down and deliver a simultaneous legdrop / splash from atop two different ladders. The Dudleyz come back in and hit Edge with the Wazzup. Bubba and D-Von set up some tables and lay Edge across one of them. The Hardyz get in th ering nad Bubba catches Jeff in a powerbomb, right on top of Edge and through the table! Outside the ring the Dudleyz set up a 2×2 stack of tables, which I’m sure will come into play later. Meanwhile, three ladders get set up in the ring and all six men clumb up. The crowd is loving it. Matt and Christian get shoved off first, then D-Von and Jeff, and finally Bubba and Edge. All six men are down and hurting. Edge is up first and he sets up a ladder to climb, but Spike Dudley runs out and hits him with a Dudley Dog! Spike then hits Christian with another Dudley Dog, this one through a table at ringside! Now Rhyno comes running out and he starts demolishing everything in sight, hitting a GORE through a table on Matt. Finally Lita comes out to assist the Hardyz, effectively making this a nine-person tag match. Lita hits Rhyno with a Litacanrana, and then the Dudleyz hit him with the Dudleyville Device. Lita comes in and drills Spike with a chair shot to the head. She pays for it when the Dudleyz hit her with a 3D. Outside the ring Jeff sets Spike and Rhyno on a table and climbs up a very tall ladder. Jeff takes them out with a Swanton Bomb! In the ring multiple ladders are set up, and Christian and D-Von climb the tallest one and try to bring down the belts. Matt pulls the ladder out from under them, leaving them hanging. They both fall down, and then Jeff tries to climb over the top of the ladders to reach the belts but that’s even more difficult than it sounds. Jeff ends up hanging from the belts, and Edge climbs up a ladder and takes Jeff down with a Spear! That’s an iconic image for sure, and an amazing spot. Matt and Bubba climb the ladder and Rhyno pushes the ladder over, sending them crashing through the 2×2 table stack. Christian and D-Von climb the ladder now, and Rhyno puts Christian on his shoulders to give him a boost while Edge holds Rhyno back and Edge & Christian regain the titles at 15:40! Just when you think they couldn’t top themselves, the addition of Spike, Lita, and Rhyno did just that. This is the perfect culmination of the three-way feud between these teams and the greatest TLC match of all-time. They built up to the spots logically and all the big moments hit and looked awesome. This is one of the matches of the decade.
Rating: *****

MATCH #9: Gimmick Battle Royal

Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and “Mean” Gene Okerlund are handling the commentary for this 19-man battle royal. We’ve got The Bushwhackers, Luke and Butch, Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, Iron Sheik, Earthquake, The Goon, Doink The Clown, Kamala and Kimchee with Harvey Wippleman, Repo Man, Jim Cornette, Nikolai Volkoff, Freebird Michael Hayes, One Man Gang, The Gobbly Gooker, Tugboat, Hillbilly Jim, Brother Love, and Sgt. Slaughter. This should be a lot of fun. Hayes eliminates Repo Man, and Tugboat tosses the Gooker, Earthquake dumps Tugboat, and then Kamala gets rid of Earthquake. Kamala eliminates his handler Kimchee. Cornette actually eliminates Luke, and Hillbilly dumps Cornette. Doink clotheslines Droese out. Butch eliminates the Goon, Slaughter dumps Volkoff, and Doink tosses Butch. Kamala gets rid of Doink, Gang eliminates Hayes, and Kamala tosses the Gang. Slaughter eliminates Kamala and then Love. Hillbilly Jim eliminates Slaughter, and then the Sheik dumps Hillbilly out to get the win at 3:05. This match kind of defies the rating system because that’s not what it was about. I have an obsessive need to rate everything, but regardless of the star rating, this was tons of fun and a great addition to the card.
Rating: ¼*


MATCH #10: Undertaker vs. Triple H

The fight begins on the floor and both men are tearing into each other. They make it to the ring to start the match proper. Right hands aplenty are flying from both men. HHH hits the Harley Race high knee and Undertaker gets right up. Undertaker hits a back body drop and a powerslam. He misses an elbow drop. HHH fires off some right hands but Undertaker cuts him off with the flying clothesline. Undertaker goes for Old School but HHH throws him down to the canvas. HHH hits a neckbreaker for two. He takes control now, keeping Undertaker down. HHH hits the Facebuster and then goes outside for his sledgehammer. The referee stops him from using it. HHH goes for the Pedigree but Undertaker sweeps the legs and catapults the Game right into the referee. Undertaker hits a Chokeslam but only gets two. The referee recovered rather quickly. Undertaker is mad though, so he kicks the referee and then drops an elbow on him. They take the fight to the floor and Undertaker backdrops HHH into the crowd. They fight through the crowd and into an eagle’s nest type area with lots of tech equipment. HHH hits Undertaker with a chair repeatedly. Undertaker recovers and grabs HHH by the throat and Chokeslams him off the eagle’s nest. He follows the Game down with an elbow drop. They fight back through the crowd and make it back to the ring. Undertaker finds the sledgehammer. He tries to hit HHH with it but HHH kicks him in the nuts. HHH tries to use the hammer now but Undertaker delivers a big boot. They trade right hands now. HHH tries the Tombstone but Undertaker reverses to one of his own but there’s no referee to count. Undertaker goes for the Last Ride but HHH had picked up the sledgehammer and he drills Undertaker with it! The referee has recovered to make the count but Undertaker kicks out! Undertaker is busted open. HHH delivers mounted punches in the corner but Undertaker counters to the Last Ride to get the pin at 18:19. That match gets a lot of love but I’m not enamored with it. It is enjoyable and the crowd heat is good, but the spend a lot of time outside the ring and that wasn’t all that thrilling. The final minutes were great though, and while I hate that finish now it wasn’t nearly as overused in 2001 so it totally works.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #11: No Disqualification Match for the WWF Championship – The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

Rock has been the Champion since 2.25.01, and this is his third defense. Austin attacks Rock right away. Rock doesn’t back down, so Austin hits a Thesz Press and the crowd is white-hot. Both men try their finishers within the first two minutes, and then the battle spills to the floor. Austin takes advantage and back in the ring he nails a superplex and removes the turnbuckle padding. Rock soon recovers and they go back to the floor. The crowd remains hot. Austin hits Rock with the ring bell, and he’s busted open. Every time the Rock is on offense the crowd boos, and Austin gets super cheered for everything he does. Rock runs Austin into the exposed turnbuckle and goes to the floor and grabs the ring bell. He nails Austin with the ring bell but still can’t get the three. He stays in control though, and hammers Austin down several times. Back outside the ring Austin slingshots Rock into the ring post and then hits him with a monitor. Inside the ring Austin tries the Stunner but Rock blocks it and puts on the Sharpshooter. Austin breaks out and puts on a Sharpshooter of his own. Austin puts on the Million Dollar Dream but Rock Bret Hart’s his way out of the move for a near fall. Rock actually hits the first Stunner of the match but it only gets two. That draws Vince McMahon out to the ring, and the crowd heartily boos. Rock hits the People’s Elbow and McMahon comes in the ring and pulls Rock away. An angry Rock begins chasing McMahon, who has some wheels for a guy his age. Back in the ring Rock runs into a Rock Bottom from Austin and that gets two. Austin tries the Stunner but Rock pushes off and the referee goes down. He hits Rock with a low blow and then tells McMahon to give him a chair. Boy is this heel turn not really getting over how they must have wanted it to. Austin holds Rock for a McMahon chair shot and McMahon wakes the referee up but Rock kicks out at two. Then Austin goes for another chair shot but Rock scores with a Rock Bottom. Rock pulls Vince into the ring for a beating. That gives Austin a chance to hit the Atomic Stunner for a very near fall and the crowd is going ballistic. Austin levels Rock with the steel chair but it still only gets two. The challenger gets frustrated and delivers repeated chair shots all over Rock’s body and that finally is enough for the pin and Austin’s fifth WWE Title at 28:08. The heel turn didn’t really go over that well with the live TEXAS crowd so the finish felt a bit awkward. Other than that this is an amazing match almost as good as the one Austin had with Triple H just over a month prior. The pace is insane, the crowd heat is off the charts, and everything they did just worked. These two had such great chemistry, and were obviously the two biggest stars of a huge era for WWE, so it really doesn’t get any bigger than this.
Rating: ****¾×250.jpg×120.jpg

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Scott Hall to Round out the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame Class – Newspaper Ad Confirms Hall’s Induction ahead of WWE Announcement Mon, 24 Mar 2014 19:19:14 +0000 A newspaper ad has confirmed that Scott Hall will in fact be the final inductee for the 2014 WWE Hall of Fame class.

WWE should be announcing Hall’s induction as part of tonight’s episode of Monday Night Raw, where the man formerly known as Razor Ramon will round out a strong class that includes The Ultimate Warrior, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Lita, Paul Bearer, Mr. T and Carlos Colon.×250.jpg×120.jpg

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF WrestleMania XIV: X-Raided (Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin) Sat, 22 Mar 2014 13:00:00 +0000 WrestleMania XIV

For an easy-to-search archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

Fleet Center – Boston, MA – Sunday, March 29, 1998

Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Fifteen Tag Team Battle Royal – Bradshaw & Chainz, Flash Funk & Steve Blackman, LOD 2000, Savio Vega & Miguel Perez, Jesus Castillo & Jose Estrada, Skull & 8-Ball, The Godwinns, The Head Bangers, D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry, Faarooq & Kama Mustafa, The New Midnight Express, The Quebecers, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, Recon & Sniper, and Too Much

This is a tag team battle royal, which means when your partner is eliminated, so are you. It’s a massive brawl from the get-go, and it’s a little hard to tell what’s going on. I love how many actual teams WWE had at the time, but they did have to throw together a few that didn’t exactly make sense. Savio & Miguel are the first team to go, and then Kurrgan illegally enters the ring and eliminates Sniper & Recon. Funk & Blackman are gone. Barry Windham also comes in without being part of the match, and he eliminates Chainz. That screws over Bradshaw, whom Windham was feuding with at the time. The Quebecers go next, followed by D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry, but Henry stays in the ring. Kama and Faarooq are eliminated next, so no teams from the Nation are officially in the match. The legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll Express are unceremoniously elimianted next. The other bOricuas team, Jose & Jesus, are elimianted. The Head Bangers get tossed. Scott Taylor gets dumped out, so Too Much is done. We’re down to four teams – LOD, DOA, Godwinns, and the New Midnight Express. Henry eliminates either Skull or 8-Ball, but the DOA don’t want to go quietly, and they come back in to eliminate the Godwinns. That leaves us with the LOD and Midnight Express. Henry and Phineas get back in the ring and hit Hawk and Animal with their slop buckets. Even after that disadvantage, the LOD comes back to simultaneously eliminate Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart to win the battle royal and earn the title shot at 8:21. It was fun to see the re-packaged LOD get the win and all, but this was a bit of a cluster and not very memorable aside from who won.
Rating: *½

MATCH #2: Light Heavyweight Title Match – Taka Michinoku vs. Aguila

Taka has been the Champion since 12.7.97, and this is his fourth defense. This is the only time the Light Heavyweight Title was defended at a WrestleMania, for you trivia buffs out there. They start off at a rapid pace, with both men out to impress. Aguila sends Taka to the floor and hits a baseball slide dropkick. HE follows with a beautiful moonsault from the top rope. Aguila tries to suplex Taka back in, but Taka slips out and dumps Aguila back to the floor. Taka then hits a springboard flying body press to wipe Aguila out. Back in the ring Taka charges and Aguila backdrops him to the floor again. Back in the ring Aguila throws Taka aroun some more, and hten dumps him to the floor. Aguila takes him out with a corkscrew press. Taka tries a corkscrew press in the ring but misses, and Aguila hits a moonsault press for two. An awkward spot leads to Taka knocking Aguila off the top rope. Taka tries a splash but Aguila gets his knees up. Aguila hits a nice hurricanrana off the ropes, but Taka fights right back with a missile dropkick. Taka goes for the Michinoku Driver but Aguila escapes. Aguila tries a rana but Taka catches him in a powerbomb. Taka misses a moonsault and Aguila rolls him up for two. Aguila goes up top and Taka slices him out of the air with a dropkick. One Michinoku Driver later and Taka gets the pin at 5:59. There was no real selling or story, but this was a fun collection of spots. It’s not a great match or anything, but I miss this kind of variety on WWE cards.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #3: European Title Match – Triple H vs. Owen Hart

Triple H won the European Title back from Owen on 3.16.98, and this is his first defense. Chyna is handcuffed to Commissioner Sgt. Slaughter at ringside. Owen attacks right away and hits an Irish whip to the corner and a back body drop and he has Helmsley reeling. He goes to the mounted punches in the corner. He follows that up with a rana for a near fall. Helmsley reverses a whip and hits a back elbow and kicks Owen to the floor. Chyna takes a swing at him but Slaughter holds her back. Helmsley tries to take advantage of the distraction but winds up getting tossed into the guardrail. Back in the ring Helmsley tries a Thesz Press but Owen catches him and tries a Sharpshooter. Owen lowers his head and Helmsley hits the knee to the face. He backs Owen into the corner and chops, punches, and kicks him down. He hits the Harley Race knee for two. He hits a boot in the corner and a DDT for two. He goes to work on the ankle, as JR tells us that Owen just got his cast off today. Owen comes back and charges in the corner and avoids the boot to the face and pulls Helmsley crotch-first back into the ring post. A missile dropkick gets two. A belly-to-belly suplex also gets two. A leg lariat gets another near fall. Owen hits an enziguiri and hurts his own ankle. Chyna wants to interfere but Slaughter pulls her back. Owen tries another rana but Helmsley blocks it and hits a powerbomb. Helmsley puts Owen up top and Owen knocks him down and hits a high cross body for two. Helmsley comes back and tries the Pedigree, which Owen counters to a Sharpshooter attempt. Helmsley kicks him off, and Owen falls down landing his head right on HHH’s nuts. Owen counters another Pedigree attempt into the Sharpshooter. Chyna is able to help HHH reach the ropes, even with Slaughter trying to hold her back. Owen is pissed about that. Chyna throws powder into Slaughter’s eyes and Owen goes after her. HHH distracts the referee and Chyna hits a low blow and HHH finally hits the Pedigree to get the pin at 11:29. The wrestling was really good and the addition of Slaughter and Chyna at ringside was fun. After the match Chyna beats up Slaughter just for fun. Before she got crazy she was great.
Rating: ***½

MATCH #4: Mixed Tag Team Match – Marc Mero & Sable vs. TAFKA Goldust & Luna

Mero and Goldust start the match, and Mero takes the early advantage so Gldust scurries over and tags Luna. Sable tags in and Luna runs away. The men tag back in before any contact is made. Man, Sable was crazy over. The men tag back in but Mero actually tags Sable and she drills Goldust with a savate kick. Mero tags back in and unleashes some right hands, but Goldust pops out of the corner with a clothesline to take control. Goldust wears Mero down and Luna takes some shots at Mero from the apron. Mero responds with a cross body block for two. He then goes for a back body drop and gets punched in the face for it. The crowd chants for Sable as the men bonk heads. They get back up and make tags. Sable is all over Luna and the crowd goes nuts. Sable even knocks Goldust off the apron. She clotheslines Luna to the floor and screams for her to get back in. Luna sneaks back in and tags Goldust, who gets popped in the mouth by Sable. Mero tags back in and follows Goldust to the floor, where he whips him into the steps before throwing him back in the ring. He tries a slingshot splash but Goldust gets his knees up. Goldust then gets distracted with Sable, as does the referee, and Mero hits a low blow. Mero goes for the TKO but Goldust counters to a DDT for two. Goldust goes for the Curtain Call but Mero escapes and hits the Million Dollar Knee Lift. Mero hits a Merosault for two. He whips Goldust into the corner and then runs into an elbow. Goldust goes up top and Mero knocks him down. Mero hits a super hurricanrana for two. He gets distracted by Luna and goes after her. Goldust tries to come to the rescue but Mero moves and Goldust hits Luna! Mero rolls Goldust up for two. He hits the TKO and Luna breaks up the cover. Sable tags in and covers Goldust, but the referee is distracted with Luna and Mero. Luna tries to break up that cover too, but Sable moves nad Luna splashes Goldust. Sable hits a powerbomb on Luna for two. Luna comes back and works Sable over for a bit, but it doesn’t last. Sable catches Luna with the TKO to get the pin at 9:11. That match had no right to be that good as a mixed tag match with three heels and one babyface, but they booked it extremely well and the crowd was super into it, so kudos to all.
Rating: ***

MATCH #5: Intercontinental Title Match – The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock

Rock has been the Champion since 12.8.97, and this is his fourth defense. If he gets disqualified tonight, he will lose the title. Shamrock charges the ring and tears into the Intercontinental Champion. He sends Rock to the floor. Rock tries to get counted out but Shamrock follows him to continue the abuse. Rock gets a little bit of offense in, but when they get back to the ring Shamrock resumes his dominance. Rock rolls toward the ropes and grabs Shamrock’s tights to throw him to the floor. He throws Shamrock into the steel steps. Back in the ring Rock slams Shamrock down and hits the People’s Elbow (which was just starting to get a reaction) for a two-count. Shamrock fights back and hurls Rock over the top rope to the floor. He follows and hits a clothesline before throwing Rock back in. Shamrock brings in a steel chair, and when the referee tries to stop him Shamrock shoves him down. Rock grabs the chair and clobbers Shamrock with it but only gets a two-count. That was sick. Shamrock brushes off the brutal chair shot and unleashes a flurry, including a powerslam for two. He locks on the Ankle Lock and Rock taps out at 4:50! I’m surprised that was so short, but they packed a ton of action into it, and it felt like these two really disliked each other, whereas today Shamrock would have won a meaningless four-way match two RAW‘s before and would want to win the title to get a WrestleMania moment and cement his legacy or something.
Rating: **¾

After the match, fellow Nation members Kama Mustafa, Mark Henry, and D-Lo Brown try to attack Shamrock, but he fights them all off. Shamrock puts Rock back in the Ankle Lock, so Faarooq comes out but he tells Rock he’s on his own! Officials try to pull Shamrock off, but they all get beaten up as well. That causes the referee to reverses his initial decision and disqualify Shamrock, meaning Rock retains the title! Shamrock gets pissed off all over again and attacks Rock on the stretcher, beating him ferociously. Shamrock was kinda of awesome.

MATCH #6: Dumpster Rules Match for the World Tag Team Title – The New Age Outlaws vs. Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie

Road Dogg and Billy Gunn have been the Champions since 11.24.97, and this is their ninth defense. They start off on the floor, as Charlie and Gunn pair off on one side of the ring, while Jack and Dogg are on the other. Gunn and Charlie make their way to the ring, leaving Jack and Dogg by the dumpster. Jack goes to the apron for the cannonball but Dogg moves and Jack hits the dumpster. Dogg whips Charlie into Gunn, who backdrops him into the dumpster! The Champs are halfway there. They take the opportunity to double-team Jack. Gunn is bleeding from the nose, but that doesn’t stop the Outlaws from dominating. Multiple weapons get involved as the violence continues. Charlie and Jack take control and show the young Outlaws what it means to be Hardcore. For some reason Jack climbs a ladder and Gunn joins him. Dogg hits Charlie with a cookie sheet, and Charlie falls into the ladder, knocking Jack and Gunn into the dumpster! Dogg helps Gunn out of the dumpster, and they powerbomb Charlie off the apron and into the dumpster. Ouch. The fight spills to the back and the Outlaws are throwing Jack around. Jack finds a chair and fights back with it. Charlie makes his way back and commandeers a fork lift. Jack puts both Champions on the forklift, and Funk drives it over to a dumpster and puts both Champions inside! Jack slams the lid and we have new Tag Team Champions at 9:59! That was fairly entertaining crap, and a nice win for the Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie team. It wouldn’t last, but that doesn’t take away from the moment. That is the one and only title Terry Funk would hold in the WWE.
Rating: ***

MATCH #7: Undertaker vs. Kane

They’re actually moving pretty quickly in the early going, with Kane initiating most of the offense and Undertaker being forced to counter him. Kane works Undertaker over, sending him to the floor and using the ring steps as a weapon. Bearer gets some cheap shots in too. Kane gets an early Choke Slam and pulls Undertaker up at two. He continues the punishment for a while, until Undertaker dumps him to the floor. He tries a big dive and Kane sidesteps him, and the announce table takes the brunt of the impact. Back in the ring Kane hits a clothesline off the top rope for two. Kane hits a Tombstone for another two-count. Undertaker recovers and hits a Choke Slam. He follows with a Tombstone but Kane kicks out! He hits another one and Kane kicks out again! Undertaker goes to the top rope and hits a flying clothesline. A third Tombstone is enough to get the pin at 16:58. The match was slow and plodding, and the crowd only popped for the big spots. Bearer and Kane beat Undertaker down after the match, with Kane hitting a Tombstone on a steel chair.
Rating: **

MATCH #8: WWF Championship Match – Shawn Michaels vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin

Michaels has been the Champion since 11.9.97, and this is his fourth defense. He has Triple H and Chyna with him. The Champ outmaneuvers Austin in the early going until Austin catches him with a big clothesline. Austin unloads with a flurry of offense and we see Michaels’ ass about two minutes into the match. The crowd is going nuts as Austin backdrops Michaels over the top rope and onto HHH at ringside. HHH attacks Austin and throws him into the barricade. Referee Mike Chioda ejects HHH and Chyna from ringside. For some reason the Fink’s voice is overdubbed making that announcement. Austin chases HHH to he back just to teach him a lesson. Michaels takes advantage and hits Austin with a clothesline and then a cymbal from the D-X Band’s drum set. He reverses a whip and sends Austin crashing into the side of the dumpster used in the Tag Team Title match. Back in the ring Michaels comes off the top rope and jumps right into a fist. Austin goes to work now and focuses on the back, an obvious weak point. He knocks Michaels to the floor and right into the announce table. Back in the ring Austin continues the abuse. Michaels comes back with a jaw jacker. Michaels tries to wrap Austin’s leg around the ring post but Austin pulls Michaels back into said post. Austin has been absolutely dominant here. He charges and Michaels backdrops him into the crowd. Back in the ring Michaels pounds away. Michaels focuses on Austin’s leg, even using the Figure-Four Leglock. Austin turns it over to reverse the pressure and Michaels quickly gets to the ropes. The challenger unleashes right hands and catapults Michaels into the top turnbuckle. Michaels comes back with a Sleeper to slow Austin down. Austin backs Michaels into the referee in the corner and Chioda is down. Now Austin takes control, unloading with a fury. Michaels hits the flying forearm and nips up. He goes up and hits Hail to the King. Michaels tunes up the band but a series of reversals ends with Austin hitting the Stone Cold Stunner and Tyson makes the fastest fast count in history to give Austin the win at 20:04. That was well worked and overall a good match, but I think the very, very obvious (but very, very right) ending of Austin taking the title did rob the match of some drama. Still, these are two of the best and Michaels put on a hell of a performance being as injured as he was. This helped usher in the style of main event matches Austin would ride on top for years.
Rating: ***¾

After the match, Michaels argues with Tyson, who punches Michaels out and then drapes an Austin 3:16 shirt over his fallen body, revealing his allegiance was with Austin all along.×250.jpg×120.jpg

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Road through Indymania: Walker (Part 2) Fri, 21 Mar 2014 19:00:39 +0000 Road through Indymania: Walker (Part 2)

Can you remember a time when John Cena wasn’t getting mostly boos?  My friends, it was a time in smarkdom prior to “Let’s-Go-Cena…CENA-SUCKS!”  Do you remember?  It will soon be a mere five years that have passed.  The event was Wrestlemania 25.  The match: Edge vs Big Show vs John Cena.  Edge enters the ring with the World Heavyweight Championship Belt around his waist.  The Big Show lumbers in like some kind of a big lumbering-lumberer.  John Cena enters…100 times?

I’m not sure if there were 100 Cenas because I haven’t counted.  Go back and watch Wrestlemania 25 on the WWE Network (or youtube) and if you feel the need to push the glasses up on your nose to tell me how “…everybody knows that number.” then feel free to leave a comment, you smark-scum!

The point is this: Part of the Main Event at Wrestlemania 25 featured Vordell Walker.  Vordell Walker was John Cena.

Well, one of his doppelgangers at least.

To preface the following account, it is important to know that there were other names in the pro wrestling world involved but to cut to the chase, the three main players are Vordell Walker, Raven and one Robert Rechsteiner better known as Rick Steiner.

Prior to becoming a one-time John Cena look alike, Vordell Walker was working on his craft in the squared-circle up and down the roads of the Southeast portion of the United States.  For the record, he’s wrestled in 21 different states including Puerto Rico.  Not a bad résumé  especially once you also take into account some of the names he’s wrestled.  Ahem…check out Part 1 of this story and share it…cough, cough.

One such event in Ocala, Florida for SCW (google it), Walker was in a tag-team bout on the opposite side of the ring against Rick Steiner.  I’m not trying to pull the curtain back too far, boys and girls, but prior to the match a certain someone refused to talk about what was going to happen in the ring.  This is widely known as a BIG no-no.  If you believe the certain someone was Vordell Walker, you are incorrect!

A certain number of minutes into the match, Walker took a punch to the back of the head.  Then a swift kick to the face.  Two more kicks to the face.  Folks, the pretend gun was ‘a smoking because ‘Ol Rick Steiner was ‘a shooting.  Then, according to all word-of-mouth and internet message board accounts of this match, Vordell got tired of taking Steiner’s garbage and let him know he wasn’t going to be bullied.  Rick was certainly not being a star.

There was some more back and forth, but eventually Walker got the best of Steiner.  Basically, Steiner was worked over by the very same guy he was trying to make look like a putz.  The anti-pushover match lived in Southeast Indy infamy for a little while but one person had a different account.  That person was none other than former ECW/WCW star Raven.

In a segment on the Raven: Secrets of the Ring DVD, Raven took the time to bury Walker, a guy he hardly knew.  The hardworking pro wrestler Vordell Walker, known for downplaying his own accomplishments in the ring, was sold as a disrespectful shooter with blatant disregard for the business.  That hurt him a little bit, but just as life rolls on, so does the business of pro wrestling.

Raven, known for being a colossal windbag, is always shooting about this and that.  I mean, the guy can only reminisce about bellowing into a microphone while stooped against the bottom turnbuckle for so many Shoot DVDs before all of his “flock” grows tired of the gimmick. Believe Raven’s past agenda if you’d like.  I don’t.

Vordell is not only a good hand in the ring, he’s a tough S.O.B. (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) who tends to be reluctant in taking garbage from anybody else inside or outside of the business.  Who in the hell could blame him?  Why would anyone take that kind of crap?

Consider the following:

If you’re at that paper-pushing, soul-sucking thing you call work and big fat Bob one cubicle over tries to push all of his TPS reports on you without any reason whatsoever, are you going to humor him just because he’s worked for the company 20 years longer than you?  No!  You’re going to tell big fat Bob where he can stick the paperwork!  Then you’re going to move on about your business because you know Bob is as lazy now as he ever was and that’s all he’ll ever be.  A lazy, marginal slob.  Nobody makes a big deal of you putting Bob in his place because pretty much everybody hates Bob except for nosy Tammy.  You know the make and model.  She throws other employees under the bus.  She helps Bob push his work on other people because she does the same thing.  If you stood up for yourself against Bob, she would trash your name and anything resembling a career that you have ever worked for.  Most people wouldn’t pay attention to Tammy’s idiotic gossip, but those who don’t know any better will assume she’s right and think you’re a jerk.  You can recover, but it will slow you down and take precious time away from your workday and/or any other goals you plan to achieve while on the job.

In case you didn’t catch it, Rick Steiner is big fat Bob and Raven is nosy, idiotic Tammy.

Walker says he was bitter about the whole thing but he’s moved forward.  He now draws crowds at many fine Indy promotions around the country.

My only problem with this is that Walker is not wrestling on my television (or computer screen).  I see plenty of spots he could fill on TNA wrestling.  I even see a couple of slots he could contribute in the hot-product NXT.
Every televised wrestling event I watch today whether or not its ROH or WWE, the fans are making their voices heard and -shocker- they are cheering and chanting, hooting and hawing for the guys who work the hardest.  I guarantee you that after a Vordell Walker match, his opponent is going to be sore the next day from trying to outwork the guy.

An easy route to the big time from the Indy scene is like a Superman movie without a real-estate scheme as the main plot; it doesn’t exist.

Today, wrestling fans chant for the organic worker, not the manufactured superstar. For such a fake sport, I don’t think the world has ever experienced a fan base who wants something so real.  Walker is what many refer to as, the real deal.  He tells a story, boils over with physicality and can put on a 20 minute match with no problem.  The road through Indymania is filled with more obstacles and pitfalls than upward mobility and gratification.  My hope is that Vordell will stick with it and grant everyone the opportunity to watch some of his matches live or record them on their DVR.  He can easily be the premium content you pay for when you watch a high-profile match.

I just wonder if he kept those Cena jean shorts…

Follow Vordell on twitter at @vordellwalker1

“Positive feedback or negative feedback.  I don’t really care what it is, as long as it is fair.” -Vordell Walker

Feel free to leave any comments below if you’ve seen Walker in action.×250.jpg

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HTC Wrestling Pulsecast – Top 3 Biggest WrestleMania Surprises (w/Andrew Goldstein) Fri, 21 Mar 2014 14:42:13 +0000 HTC Wrestling Pulsecast

Matt Harrak, Justin Czerwonka and Cameron Dougharty of debate the biggest surprises in WrestleMania history with special guest, former WWE writer Andrew Goldstein. Click below to listen to the show here or subscribe to the Pulsecast on iTunes here.×250-wrestling-pulsecast.jpg×250-wrestling-pulsecast.jpg

]]> 0 Andrew Goldstein,Antonio Cesaro,big show,Bray Wyatt,Brock Lesnar,chris jericho,cm punk,Daniel Bryan,Dolph Ziggler,Hulk Hogan,john cena,rey mysterio Former WWE writer joins the HTC crew to debate the biggest surprises ever to take place at the Show of Shows. ( Matt Harrak, Justin Czerwonka and Cameron Dougharty of debate the biggest surprises in WrestleMania history with special guest, former WWE writer Andrew Goldstein. Click below to listen to the show here or subscribe to the Pulsecast on iTunes here ( Inside Pulse Wrestling no 2:12:52
JC’s Top Rope Report: Putting Together A Wrestlemania Super Card Wed, 19 Mar 2014 21:21:47 +0000 With Wrestlemania 30 right around the corner, my next few posts in the coming weeks will be Wrestlemania related. And my first one takes a look back at some of the greatest Wrestlemania matches, and trying to put together a card that would be great. Some would call it a “Super Wrestlemania.”

It’s a fun little game to play. And it can be difficult to put together a card, because you are going to have to leave out some really great matches.

The rules of the game are simple. Pick a 10 match Wrestlemania card. I was going to go for eight but I expanded it to ten since most Mania’s have that amount. But here are the rule you have to follow:

1. You can only use a wrestler once. A wrestler cannot appear on a list twice.

2. You can only pick one match from each Wrestlemania.

3. Each Title can be defended only once. For the purposes of this card, the World Title and WWE Title are two separate Titles. So you could have one World Title Match and one WWE Title Match.

4. Only one gimmick match per stipulation. So if you choose the TLC Match from WM17, you can ‘t choose a Money in the Bank match, I know they are different stipulations but the gimmick is still the same.

So with those rules out of the way, lets get to my Super card!

1. Wrestlemania 22: Trish Stratus (c) vs Mickie James for the Women’s Championship

-If I did the eight match card like I originally intended, I probably wouldn’t have included a women’s match. But a ten match card leaves some room for one. And this is probably the best of the bunch. I thought Wrestlemania 22 was a good show and the women’s match tends to get looked over at times. Of course, we know Mickie James went full on x-rated on Trish at some points. But the feud and build up were solid to it, and the crowd was completely into the character of Mickie James. Two of the best women’s wrestlers ever deserve some recognition and they get it here.

2. Wrestlemania 16- Edge & Christian vs The Hardy Boyz vs The Dudley Boyz in A Ladder Match For The Tag Team Championship

-You could put either this match on here or the TLC Match from Wrestlemania 17. Either one works. I chose the match from 16 because it was the first of the set of three ladder matches between these two teams. And I always usually side with the first when it comes to those things. The TLC at 17 was good as well. But the ladder match at 16 was something that had never been seen before and was a sign of great things to come with these three teams in the future.

3. Wrestlemania 25: The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels

-Another match that would’ve been very tough for me to leave off the card. It is one of the best wrestling matches I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. There’s a reason Shawn Michaels is called Mr. Wrestlemania, and there’s a reason Undertaker always brings his A game to Wrestlemania. These two put on a classic at WM25. While there may have been more on the line at WM26, this one is better from a pure wrestling perspective. Plus, this is the first one and it is always tough for the second to duplicate it. For example, you knew at WM26 that HBK would kick out of the first Tombstone. You didn’t know that at WM25. Little things like that make this match better.

4. Wrestlemania 7: Randy Savage vs Ultimate Warrior

-One of my favorite Wrestlemania matches, and easily my favorite Ultimate Warrior match of all time. Randy Savage was a stickler for detail, and I’m sure he laid out this match numerous times with Warrior. The career ending stipulation didn’t end up sticking, but that didn’t takeaway from the emotion involved throughout the match. The ending adds to it as well with Elizabeth and Savage re-uniting, and it was a great way at time for Savage to go out.

5. Wrestlemania 10: Bret Hart vs Owen Hart

-It was tough for me to go back and forth between this match and Bret Hart vs Steve Austin from Wrestlemania 13. I started with one, then changed, then finally ended up with this match. What else could you ask for in an opening match at Wrestlemania? Quick near falls, fast paced action throughout the entire match. And you had the great little brother vs big brother story that played out here and almost all of 1994. Just a great match from a technical standpoint, and a nice coming out party for Owen Hart.

6. Wrestlemania 26: CM Punk vs Rey Mysterio

-The match itself just went a little over six minutes, but these two pulled out a quality three star match in the six minutes they were given. Rey and Punk had arguably the program of the year in the WWE in 2010. Punk was hitting his stride in the Straight Edge Society. His creepy singing of Happy Birthday to Rey Mysterio’s daughter was great. These two had longer matches in the coming PPVs, but they did a lot here with the little time they were given.

7. Wrestlemania 1: Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff

-This match isn’t a technical masterpiece by any means. But the spectacle of everything involved here was great. You had so many celebrities involved. We tend to forget how big a risk Wrestlemania 1 was at the time, but it ended up paying off. And this main event was a large part of it.

8. Wrestlemania 29: The Shield vs Randy Orton, Sheamus and Big Show

-It was the debut of The Shield at Wrestlemania. Anyone who reads my reviews of RAW knows that I love six man Shield tag team matches. This one wasn’t one of their best, but it was still a darn good match. I was nervous when it was announced as the opener that The Shield might lose, but it was nice to see them go over. All six men involved did a good job in the ring and the ending played well into the face team’s distrust of one another.

9. Wrestlemania 24: Belfast Brawl- JBL vs Finlay

-This one is just a personal favorite of mine. Two veterans who beat the crap out of each other and got the crowd into the show. Add Hornswoggle into the match and there was just fun all around. Sometimes the best way to get the crowd into the match is with a variety of weapons and two guys beating the crap out of each other with them. And with two ring veterans like these guys, you could trust them to do that and keep it safe at the same time.

10. Wrestlemania 17- The Rock (c) vs Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship

-These two had three great matches at Wrestlemania. All of them are great in their own right, but this one was the biggest one of them all. For a lot of people, this match signifies the end of the Attitude Era with Steve Austin turning heel and winning the Title with the help of Vince McMahon. The match was made No DQ beforehand and that added to the drama of the match. The match was just a brawl that incorporated both of these men’s past and you could actually feel the emotion of both me fighting for the Title.

So what would your card be?

Until Next Time,

Justin C

Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF WrestleMania X (Bret Hart, Yokozuna, Lex Luger) Tue, 18 Mar 2014 13:00:27 +0000 WrestleMania X

For an easy to navigate archive of all my WWE DVD reviews, please visit World Wrestling Reviews!

Madison Square Garden – New York, NY – March 20, 1994

Vince McMahon and Jerry “The King” Lawler are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Bret “Hit Man” Hart vs. Owen Hart

They start with some chain wrestling, and Owen appears to have a mental edge in the early going. Owen tries a go behind and Bret uses momentum to send his younger brother to the floor. Back in the ring Owen slaps Bret hard in the face. Momentum continues to shift as both men try to pinpoint a weakness. Bret scores the first big sequence with a nice monkey flip and a clothesline that sends Owen to the floor. Owen tries to regroup but Bret hurls him back into the ring. Bret tenaciously goes after the arm until Owen escapes and hits a nice Spinning heel kick. Owen knocks Bret to the floor and rams his back into the ring post. Back in the ring Owen focuses on the back, which is smart strategy to set up for the Sharpshooter. Owen hits a nice belly-to-belly suplex for two. He tries a turnaround cross body block but Bret rolls through for a near-fall. Owen wisely goes right back on the attack and keeps Bret grounded. A German Suplex gets another close near-fall for the younger Hart brother. Bret tries to fight back but Owen cuts him off with a Tombstone Piledriver. Owen goes up top for a diving headbutt and Bret is able to move out of the way. Back on their feet Bret has a second wind and he starts using the Moves of Doom. Owen catches Bret with an enziguiri and tries the Sharpshooter. Bret reverses to an attempt of his own but Owen breaks out of it and goes to the eyes. Owen gets a quick cradle for two and Bret kicks him off to the floor. Bret follows him out with a house show dive. He landed poorly on his knee and appears to have injured it. Owen wastes no time in attacking the injured limb like a shark smelling blood. After a few minutes Bret gives Owen a taste of his own medicine with an enziguiri. Bret goes on the attack now, even hitting a swank piledriver for a two-count. He takes Owen up for a superplex but again only gets two. Bret tries a sleeper but Owen goes to the ropes and is able to kick Bret low without the referee seeing. Now Owen locks on the Sharpshooter, and Bret reverses it. Owen reaches the ropes. Bret tries a whip but Owen reverses it. Owen charges in and Bret gets a boot up. Bret tries a victory roll but Owen drops down and is able to score the pin at 20:20! What an upset! Simply put this is one of the greatest pure wrestling matches ever put on by the WWE. They didn’t do anything overly fancy and everything they did do made sense. The drama was there, the finish was great, and this puts doubt in Bret’s mind for his WWE Championship match against Yokozuna later on. Amazing stuff here.
Rating: *****

MATCH #2: Mixed Tag Team Match – Bam Bam Bigelow & Luna vs. Doink & Dink

Bigelow attacks right away and uses his size and power to his advantage. He even hits a dropkick! Bigelow hits a bodyslam but misses a senton and Doink takes control. Doink focuses on the arm, but Bigelow fights back with a back elbow. Bigelow misses an elbow drop and Doink makes the tag. While Dink is in the ring, Luna must also be in the ring. Dink uses his speed to outmaneuver Luna briefly, but the size disadvantage catches up to him and Luna goes go work. Luna slams Dink down and goes up top but misses a big splash. Doink and Bigelow are tagged back in. Doink tries a sunset flip but Bigelow sits down and squashes him. Bigelow charges into the corner but Doink gets a boot up. Doink connects on a huge DDT and goes up top. He misses the Whoopee Cushion and Bigelow capitalizes with some clotheslines. Bigelow goes up top and hits the Diving Headbutt for the pin at 6:11. That was short and fun enough. I do like my WrestleMania card with variety, and this provided that.
Rating: **

MATCH #3: Falls-Count-Anywhere Match – “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Crush

Crush has Mr. Fuji in his corner. Savage attacks Crush in the aisle and away we go. Crush survives the attack and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He then press slams Savage onto the barricade and scores the first pin. Savage has 60 seconds to get back to the ring. He gets to the apron and Fuji hits him with the Japanese flag. Even so, Savage ust barely makes it back to the ring. Crush continues to dominate, but when he goes for a handful of salt to the eyes Savage knocks it back into his face. Savage fires up, hitting an ax handle off the top rope. He slams Crush and hits the Diving elbow drop. Savage then has to roll Crush to the floor to pin him. Crush makes it back to the ring, and Savage charges him but gets backdropped to the floor. Savage throws Crush into the ring post and the steel steps. They fight through the crowd now and Crush goes for a piledriver but Savage backdrops his way out of it. Savage throws Crush through some doors to the backstage area, and he’s able to score a pin. He then hog ties Crush and hangs him upside down from some scaffolding. Crush is unable to make it back to the ring and Savage gets the win at 9:44. The “60 seconds to get back to the ring” rule is pretty dumb, but falls-count-anywhere matches were new to WWE at the time so I forgive them working out the kinks. This was another unique match for the card, and Savage’s last big match in the WWF so it has tons of cache.
Rating: **½

MATCH #4: Women’s Championship Match – Leilani Kai vs. Alundra Blayze

Blayze has been the Champion since 12.13.93, and this is her second defense. In a nice nod to history, Kai was the Champion at the original WrestleMania in 1985, and defended against Wendi Richter. Blayze starts off hot but Kai is plenty aggressive enough to keep up with the Champion in the early going. Kai beats on Blayze briefly, and then Blayze comes back with a hurricanrana for two. The veteran Kai comes right back and hurls Blayze to the floor. Kai retrieves the Champion and delivers a hair mare. She follows with a butterfly suplex for two. Blayze ducks a clothesline and hits one of her own. She hits a spin kick and a vertical suplex for two. Blayze hits two hair mares for a near-fall. A Gemerna Suplex does the trick and Blayze retains at 3:25. That was certainly brisk, but they packed a lot of action into that short time.
Rating: *¾

MATCH #5: World Tag Team Championship Match – Men on a Mission vs. The Quebecers

Jacques and Pierre have been the Champions since 1.17.94, and this is their third defense. They have Johnny Polo in their corner, and the challengers have Oscar. The Quebecers attack before the bell and quickly throw Mo to the floor and take Mabel off his feet. Mabel fights back and clotheslines both Jacques and Pierre down. Mo is the legal man and he gets the momentum on his team’s side. It’s not to last though, as the Champs use some dubious tactics to reclaim control. Pierre throws Mo to the floor and then lets Jacques backdrop him right on top of Mo. The Quebecers were underrated, yo. Back in the ring Pierre covers for two. They try to keep the pressure on but eventually Mo is able to make the tag. Mabel cleans house and throws both Quebecers around the ring. He misses a charge in the corner and the Champs are able to team up to hit a vertical suplex! That looked awesome. The Quebecers hit the Quebec Crash but Mabel kicks out! Mabel fights back and drills Pierre with a leg lariat. He clotheslines Jacques down and Mo goes up top to hit the Stacked Big Splash. The managers get into a scuffle and the referee is losing control. Mabel and Mo hit Pierre with the Stacked Big Splash on the floor. Polo pulls Jacques to the floor and has his men get counted out at 7:43. This was so similar in structure and style to the Money Inc./Natural Disasters match from WrestleMania VIII, even with the same finish. It was fine but pretty unsatisfying.
Rating: **

MATCH #6: WWF Championship Match – Yokozuna with Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette vs. Lex Luger; Special Guest-Referee: Mr. Perfect

Donnie Wahlberg is the guest ring announcer and Rhonda Shear is the guest timekeeper. Yokozuna has been the Champion since 6.13.93, and this is his sixth defense. They stare at each other for a bit and then Luger starts off hot with a flurry of punches and a clothesline. Yokozuna cuts him off with a clothesline of his own, but then mises an elbow drop. Luger knocks Yokozuna to the floor with a punch and then follows him out. He slams Yokozuna’s head into the steel steps twice, and then rolls him back in the ring. Luger goes up top and hits a high cross body block for a near-fall. He drops a big elbow for another two-count. Luger foolishly tries a bodyslam and Yokozuna falls back on top of him. The Champion is firmly in control and he exposes one of the top turnbuckles just for fun. Yokozuna locks on the nerve pinch of extreme discomfort and Luger is fading. Luger powers his way back to his feet and breaks the hold, but Yokozuna knocks him right back down. Yokozuna goes back to the nerve hold, and it doesn’t look like Luger has much left. This goes on forever until Luger breaks it again. This time Yokozuna catches him with a belly-to-belly suplex. Yokozuna tries to ram Luger’s head into the exposed turnbuckle but Luger introduces the Champion to karma. Luger finally takes Yokozuna off his feet with a clothesline, and then he bodyslams him! He lands the Running Forearm, and Cornette and Fuji both get up on the ring apron. Luger fights them off and covers, but Perfect won’t count. Perfect is adhering to the rule book that says managers are not allowed in the ring, so he’s trying to get them out before he counts. A frustrated Luger puts his hands on Perfect and gets himself disqualified at 14:40! I swear about half of that match was Yokozuna holding Luger in the nerve hold. It had a few good moments, but was pretty dull for the most part. The finish sucked, but in the grand scheme of things it makes sense given where they were going. Luger continues to be perceived as a choke artist.
Rating: *¼

MATCH #7: Earthquake vs. Adam Bomb

Bomb’s manager Harvey Whippleman makes fun of Howard Finkel, and when The Fink stands up for himself by shoving Whippleman down on his keester, Bomb comes out to manhandle the ring announcer. Earthquake comes out to make the save and the match is on. It doesn’t take long for Earthquake to hit a belly-to-belly suplex, a powerslam, and then the Earthquake Splash to get the pin at 0:36. Squash.
Rating: ¼*

MATCH #8: Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship – Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon

Ramon has been the champion since 10.11.93, and this is his fourth defense. Ric Flair basically describes this match as “Shawn Michaels wrestling a ladder while Scott Hall was there.” Sometimes Ric Flair doesn’t know what he’s talking about. They start with some pretty basic wrestling and Michaels throws Ramon to the floor, where Diesel levels him with a clothesline. Unfortunately for the challenger, the referee saw him do it and throws him out! Ramon is invigorated by his good fortune but it doesn’t last. He tries the Razor’s Edge but he’s too close to the ropes and Michaels back drops him to the floor. Michaels goes after the ladder, and winds up kicking it into Ramon’s midsection. It’s all Michaels now, as he creatively uses the ladder as a weapon. Michaels tries to climb the ladder, and we wind up seeing his ass instead. He gets a few more moves before Ramon can make a comeback. Now it’s all Ramon, and he too finds creative ways to use the ladder as a weapon. They go back and forth with the crowd getting louder with each new and awesome move. Michaels gets knocked off the ladder and gets tied up in the ropes, and Ramon takes the opportunity to climb up and grab the belts at 18:49. That’s another match that holds up remarkably well, as the psychology remain sound and Ramon’s selling for his smaller opponent was perfect. And what else can be said about Shawn Michaels? I also disagree with Flair; I think Ramon did his part, and there’s really no shame in being outshone by Shawn Michaels.
Rating: *****

MATCH #9: WWF Championship Match – Yokozuna with Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette vs. Bret “Hit Man” Hart; Special Guest Referee: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

The Bret Hart video package that used to have Tom Petty’s “Makin’ Some Noise” is now some crappy generic instrumental rock track. Even worse, it doesn’t change to something menacing when the video shifts focus t o the Champion. Burt Reynolds is the guest ring announcer, and Jennie Garth is the guest timekeeper. Yokozuna has been the Champion since 6.13.93, and this is his seventh defense. Bret gets attacked before he even gets all the way in the ring and Yokozuna has the early advantage. The Champion is dominant, and easily cuts off Bret’s comeback attempts. Yokozuna misses a big splash, buying Bret some time. Back on their feet Bret unloads with some right hands and foolishly goes for a headbutt. Both men go down from that. Back on their feet the tenacious Hit Man hammers Yokozuna down. Bret covers and Cornette pulls Piper to the floor. Piper decks Cornette to take him out of the equation. Yokozuna is able to reclaim control and he squashes Bret with a huge legdrop. He continues the abuse, but misses a charge in the corner. Bret follows up with a bulldog off the second rope but only gets a two-count. He goes to the second rope and drops the elbow for another near-fall. Bret takes Yokozuna off his feet with a big clothesline for two. He goes to the second rope and jumps right into a belly-to-belly suplex. Yokozuna drags Bret over to the corner for the Banzai Drop. Bret moves out of the way and Yokzouna crashes onto the mat. That’s enough for Bret to get the pin and win his second WWF Title at 10:39. Being the second match of the night for both of them, I think they did the best they could. They worked in some good spots and Bret looked great in felling the gargantuan Champion.
Rating: **¼

All the babyfaces and celebrities get in the ring to celebrate with the new Champion. Owen Hart comes out to watch, and just stares daggers through his older brother. Great ending.×120.jpg

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CB’s Slant: Of Course HHH-e Did! (Daniel Bryan, WrestleMania XXX, Batista, Randy Orton) Tue, 18 Mar 2014 11:57:59 +0000 Last night on WWE Monday Night Raw 03.17.2014, Triple H added a stipulation to his match with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 30 that actually broke the Internet:

If Triple H beats Daniel Bryan, he will enter the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match against Randy Orton and Batista

My reaction to these developments is: Of course HHH-e did!

This added stipulation makes perfect sense on two levels.

First, it adds higher stakes to the match and gives Triple H a storyline reason for giving Daniel Bryan that deal last week.

Second, it adds a ton of emotional investment to the Bryan vs. HHH part of the WrestleMania XXX proceedings because there is still a segment of wrestling fans that is jaded and cynical enough to believe that when push comes to shove, Hunter will book himself to go over Bryan and then win the title in the Triple Threat match.

While I know that won’t happen, part of me wouldn’t mind seeing that happen just for the fans’ reactions alone on WrestleMania night.

In all seriousness, I do believe Daniel Bryan will win both matches. And if he doesn’t, well, I’ll have my popcorn ready for the aftermatHHH.

That’s all from me — CB.×250.jpg×120.jpg

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A2Z Analysiz: WWF WrestleMania VIII (Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair) Mon, 17 Mar 2014 13:00:20 +0000 WrestleMania VIII

Hoosier Dome – Indianapolis, Indiana – Sunday, April 5, 1992

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

MATCH #1: “El Matador” Tito Santana vs. Shawn Michaels with Sherri

Michaels had just recently broken away from Marty Jannetty and this is arguably his biggest singles match to date. Matador take sthe early advantage, frustrating the Heart Break Kid with a headlock. Michaels thinks he’s making a comeback but Matador clotheslines him to the floor. Back in the ring Matador goes back to the headlock. Every time Michaels tries to go on offense the veteran Matador is able to cut him off and ground him. Finally Michaels is able to sidestep a charging Matador and pitch him to the floor. Back in the ring Michaels takes control and slows the pace down. Matador tries to fight up but Michaels cuts him down with a superkick, which was not yet the end-all finisher it would become. Michaels goes for the Slingshot Suplex but Matador avoids it. Matador drills Michaels with the Flying forearm smash that sends Michaels all the way to the floor. He follows him out and rams his head into the steps. Matador comes back to the ring with a slingshot shoulder block. He unleashes a flurry of offense, culminating in El Paso de la Muerte. Michaels rolls to the floor to avoid getting pinned. Up on the apron Matador tries to bodyslam Michaels back in but Michaels hangs on to the top rope and then falls on top to score the pin at 10:38. That was a great choice for an opener, as Santana was the perfect foil for an up and coming heel like Michaels. I feel like this match gets overlooked but it’s quite solid.
Rating: ***

MATCH #2: Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Undertaker with Paul Bearer

Roberts starts of with some right hands but they seem to have no effect. One punch sends Undertaker to the floor but he lands on his feet and pulls Roberts out with him! Undertaker throws Roberts into the post. Back in the ring Roberts continues trying to wear Undertaker down but Undertaker seems completely indifferent to it. Undertaker chokes Roberts down but the referee is too intimidated to do much about it. The Dead Man hits a big elbow drop and the flying clothesline. Roberts is able to catch a quick DDT and Undertaker sits up! The Snake hits a second DDT, but he gets distracted going after Paul Bearer on the floor. Undertaker goes out after him and hits the Tombstone Piledriver! Back in the ring Undertaker makes the academic pin at 6:43. Roberts was gone right after this so it was a good way to use him, once again making Undertaker look great.
Rating: **

MATCH #3: Intercontinental Championship Match – “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Bret “Hit Man” Hart

Piper has been the Champion since 1.19.92, and this is his fourth major defense. They start with some chain wrestling, trying to keep it a nice contest in the early going. Piper tries a go-behind and Hart uses momentum to send him to the floor. That angers Piper, who gets back in the ring and spits at his challenger. Things calm down and Hart goes after the arm. Hart hits a nice dropkick but appears to injure his shoulder on the way down. It turns out he was playing possum though and he grabs an inside cradle for a near-fall. Piper is furious now and things get heated. Hart tries a cross body block but Piper catches him and they both tumble over the ropes to the floor. Piper gets back in the ring first and holds the ropes open for Hart to come back in. The Champ then points out that Hart’s boot is untied, and Piper takes the chance to sucker punch Hart in the face. Awesome. Piper wisely targets the injured area, hitting a bulldog for a two-count. The Champion continues the abuse but Hart is able to fight back and knock Piper to the floor with a flying forearm. Piper gets back in the ring and the two men clothesline each other. Oddly, Piper’s head is covering Hart but I guess since all four shoulders are down the referee counts no one? That just looked weird. Piper gets up first and goes to the top rope. Hart pops up and pulls Piper down face-first. He has his second wind now and he hits Piper with an inverted atomic drop and a snap suplex for two. A side Russian Legsweep gets another two-count. Hart hits the backbreaker and goes for the Sharpshooter. Piper blocks it but Hart drills him with a hard elbow smash. Hart goes to the second rope and goes for the elbow but Piper gets hit boot up. The referee gets bumped accidentally, and Piper knocks Hart to the floor. Piper grabs the ring bell and appears ready to hit Hart with it. The crowd disapproves, and Piper has a change of heart. Piper instead locks Hart in a Sleeper hold. Hart climbs up the turnbuckles and pushes off into a cradle to get the pin at 13:51! That may be Piper’s best match ever, and a quintessential face versus face matchup. They clearly respected each other but things still got heated and it added a lot of drama to the match. Great finish too.
Rating: ****¼

MATCH #4: Eight-Man Tag Team Match – The Mountie, Repo Man & The Nasty Boys vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Big Boss Man, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan & Virgil

Family Feud host Ray Combs did the introductions for this match, and insulted the heel team to the point that they went after him so he never got to announce the babyfaces. The match starts off as a big brawl and the good guys send the bad guys reeling. Duggan and Nasty Boy Jerry Sags start the match proper. That doesn’t go so well for Sags, who gets beat up by Duggan and then Slaughter. Brian Knobbs tags in and he doesn’t fare much better. The heel team finally gets a little bit of offense in on the Boss Man, but Repo an blows it by getting punched in the groin. Virgil tags in and gets a few moves in. The bad guys cut Virgil off and isolate him in their corner for a bit. Things break down and the referee loses control. The Nasty Boys try to hit Virgil with his nose guard but Virgil ducks and Sags hits Knobbs. That’s enough for Virgil to get the pin at 6:32. Not much of interest really happened here but it was a fine way to get more names on the card and it was a good buffer between Hart/Piper and Savage/Flair, so it works.
Rating: *½

MATCH #5: WWF Championship Match – Ric Flair with Mr. Perfect vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage

Flair has been the Champion since 1.19.92, and this is his second defense. Savage runs to the ring and the fight is on. The bell actually rings while both men are on the floor, which is just poor officiating. Perfect interferes early on, and Savage is looking like a very angry man. Savage dominates Flair in the early going, as he’s fighting for both the Title and the honor of his wife Elizabeth. Flair cuts off a charging Savage with a back drop over the top rope and to the floor. The fight continues on the floor, where Flair goes to work on Savage’s back. They make it back to the ring and Flair is dissecting his challenger. After several minutes of abuse Savage fights back with strikes. Savage hits a swinging neckbreaker and both men are down. Back on their feet Savage unloads with punches. Flair pokes him in the eyes and goes to the top rope but Savage slams him down. Savage continues unleashing the fury, clotheslining Flair to the floor. He follows with an axhandle from the top rope. Flair gets busted open as Savage continues the brutal beating both in and out of the ring. Savage goes up top and hits the Diving elbow drop but Perfect pulls him off the cover. A furious Savage goes after Perfect, and in the melee Perfect gives Flair a pair of brass knuckles. Flair decks Savage with the knux, but can only get a two-count! Perfect hits Savage in the knee with a chair from the floor, and Flair smells blood in the water. Elizabeth makes her way to ringside, as officials (including a young Shane McMahon) try to convince her to go back to the dressing room. Flair is viciously attacking Savage’s knee, setting up for the Figure-Four Leglock. He puts the hold on, but Savage will not give up. Savage turns it over and Flair is able to slip out, only to walk right into an inside cradle for a near-fall. Flair goes back to work on the knee and talks trash at Elizabeth. Savage blocks a punch and decks Flair, and then rolls him up with a handful of trunks to get the pin and win the title at 18:03. I love this feud and I love this match so hard. The hatred felt real as these two just tore into each other with the title and Elizabeth’s pride at stake. Flair tried to goad Savage into losing his cool, and he did a great job of that, but in the end Flair was just a little too cocky. Savage cheating to win on “The Dirtiest Player in the Game” is just sheer brilliance.
Rating: ****¾

MATCH #6: Tatanka vs. “The Model” Rick Martel

They lock up and Martel takes an early advantage, but Tatanka quickly fights back and sends Martel scurrying to the floor to regroup. Back in the ring Martel tries to wear Tatanka down but to no avail. Martel misses a charge in the corner and his shoulder makes contact with the ring post. Tatanka capitalizes on the injury and works the arm. Martel responds with a choke takedown. He hurls Tatanka over the top rope and to the floor. Martel joins Tatanka on the floor and delivers a few strikes before throwing him back in the ring. He goes up top and Tatanka shakes the ropes to knock him down. Tatanka is a house afire now, unleashing a slew of offensive maneuvers. Martel fights back briefly but Tatanka ducks a clothesline and hits a high cross body block to score the pin at 4:32. That was adequate for a post-intermission bout. Tatanka looked good in beating the veteran Martel clean.
Rating: *¾

MATCH #7: World Tag Team Championship Match – Money Inc. with Jimmy Hart vs. The Natural Disasters

Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster have been the Champions since 2.7.92, and this is their first major defense. Earthquake and DiBiase start the match. DiBiase and IRS tag each other several times before any contact is made. Earthquake uses his size and strength advantage early on, and the Champions look overmatched. The challengers send the Champs to the floor, where they regroup with their manager. Back in the ring IRS tries going after Earthquake’s arm but that goes nowhere. Typhoon tags in and he throws IRS around. Finally IRS avoids a charge in the corner and tags DiBiase. The Champions still can’t capitalize though, as the challengers are just too big. Typhoon charges at DiBiase against the ropes and DiBiase moves, causing Typhoon to tumble to the floor (sort of). Now the Champions have the advantage, and they work on keeping Typhoon on the mat. DiBiase and Typhoon clothesline each other and both men are down. Tags are made and Earthquake is a house afire. All four men get in the ring and the Disasters are dominating. The challengers send DiBiase to the floor. Typhoon hits IRS with the Splash and Earthquake goes for the Vertical splash, but Jimmy Hart pulls IRS to the floor. Money Inc. decides it’s not worth it and they take the countout loss at 8:38. So the Natural Disasters win the match but not the titles. This was okay enough given the participants, but it didn’t exactly make the Champions look good.
Rating: **

MATCH #8: “The Rocket” Owen Hart vs. Skinner

Hart enters the ring with a back flip off the top rope, and Skinner takes advantage by spitting tobacco in his eyes. Skinner stays on the attack, delivering a shoulderbreaker and a series of punches. He delivers a boot to the midsection and then hits the Gator Breaker, but it only gets two because of his nonchalant cover. Skinner tries to throw Hart over the top rope but Hart skins the cat and grabs an O’Connor Roll for the pin at 1:11. Not much going on there, but at least Owen went over.
Rating: ¾*

MATCH #9: Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice with Harvey Whippleman

Sid attacks Hogan right as he gets into the ring and Hogan sends the big man packing while his music continues to play. The bell rings while Sid is still on the floor. Poor officiating! Sid makes his way into the ring and immediately takes the advantage, wearing Hogan down. Hogan fights back with a series of right hands to send Sid back to the floor. Sid gets back in the ring and they engage in a test of strength, which goes very well for the maniacal one. Sid backs Hogan into the corner and tries a whip, but Hogan reverses it and levels Sid with a clothesline. Whippleman distracts Hogan, allowing Sid to hit a huge Chokeslam. Sid knocks Hogan to the floor and continues the abuse. They head back inside and Sid keeps Hogan on the mat. Sid hits a side suplex and calls for the Powerbomb. He hits a weak-ass Powerbomb and Hogan starts Hulking Up! Hogan hits the Big Boot and then slams Sid, taking him off his feet for the first time in the match. He hits the Legdrop but Sid kicks out! As a 10-year-old that blew my mind. Whippleman gets in the ring and does exactly nothing, drawing the disqualification for the worst finish in WrestleMania history at 12:27. The match wasn’t exactly much to get excited about either, with lots of rest holds and punches. This is definitely bottom five worst main events in the history of the Show of Shows.
Rating: *

Papa Shango ambles out, apparently having missed his cue. Sid and Shango attack Hogan until some familiar music hits. The Ultimate Warrior is back! Warrior looks slightly different, and thus the “it’s a different guy” rumors are born. Hogan and Warrior pose to end the show.×120.jpg

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Creative Control: Corporate Approved Indy Darling (Sami Zayn, Daniel Bryan, Triple H, Batista, Alexander Rusev, Brock Lesnar, Cesaro) Mon, 17 Mar 2014 10:00:12 +0000 I am still not sure what to make of Occupy Raw from last week.  On the one hand, I thought the execution of the segment was good as it finally had Daniel Bryan getting a leg up on Triple H and left The Authority with egg on their face (even if momentary).  However, I am not sure about the repercussions.  The biggest one being the stipulation that if Bryan wins, he is inserted into the title match at Wrestlemania.  On the surface, it makes it seem like his victory against Triple H is a foregone conclusion.  Does the WWE (and more specifically Triple H), feel that this telegraphs Bryan’s victory too much and instead they should surprise everyone and have Bryan come up short?  Does Triple H put forward that having the unexpected happen be what’s “best for business” (and coincidentally, his legacy by not losing to the little goat-faced troll)?

I feel it is a legitimate concern.  Remember, from the rumor mills circulating, Triple H was scheduled to face CM Punk at Wrestlemania with Bryan taking on a heel Sheamus.  While most fans were viewing Bryan on a hero’s quest against management that started at SummerSlam and would culminate at Wrestlemania, Vince McMahon and company only saw him as a minor storyline compared to the huge event of the return of Batista.  They may be calling the audible to insert Bryan into the title match, or they may feel that giving the hope he will be is sufficient for the audience to shut up and take what they are given.  Just be prepared for the worst.  If the worst does happen, I encourage everyone attending Wrestlemania to leave as Orton and Batista make their way to ringside.  Remember, silence can speak volumes.

Second Thoughts:
Huge response last week to my column looking at the issues with women’s wrestling in the WWE and my proposals to improving them.  Many people agreeing with my assessment and desire to see women treated as real competitors.  Some felt they were very basic suggestions, but with the current state the division is in, they have to be.  A lot of people agree that there is very little chance of significant change until at least Vince McMahon dies and no longer is forcing his view of women as the standard for the company.  I do apologize for the sloppiness of my editing last week.  Just goes to show when you are a morning person, do not try editing your work at 10:30pm.  When I went back and read it after it was posted, there were some glaring typos, hanging thoughts, and poorly worded opinions.  The most significant issue being that I seemed to leave the impression that I do not think that “attractive women” are capable of being wrestlers.  That was not what I was trying to go with.  The crux of my argument was that talent should be the first deciding factor, not looks.  I feel that there should be a multitude of body types (just like with the men).  However, to again just hire a woman because she is big and not paying attention to her talent is no better than hiring a skinny model who equally does not know the difference between a wristlock and a wristwatch.

Case in point, my wife and I did sit down and watch the Paige vs. Emma title match from NXT Arrival and were blown away.  My wife likes Paige and Emma as while attractive and skinny, they are extremely talented.  She likes Emma’s klutzy personality that goes away when competing (something that they have not allowed her to effectively show on Raw and Smackdown), and she is blown away by Paige’s talent.  She really loved Paige the moment she hit the ramp for the match.  As she pointed out, Paige had this look as she paused at the ramp that is reminiscent of many of the men.  Paige stood there, looking at Emma in the ring and had the look of determination to beat her opponent.  She was a competitor.  What was great about the match was something one commentator lamented on was the lack of real rivalries in the women’s division of the WWE.  Paige and Emma are both faces, but they (and the commentary) sold that neither liked each other and were determined to beat one another to claim the belt.  One of the best moments was just before the end sequence when Emma had Paige in yet another submission hold and is screaming “Give up, Paige!  Just give up!”  Emma, the space cadet.  It sold the importance of the match, the bad blood between the two, and the legitimacy of the two women as wrestlers.

Speaking of the commentary, it was some of the most refreshing I have heard in ages in professional wrestling.  Now that I have learned I do not need to subscribe to Hulu or the WWE Network to watch it, I plunged into some more NXT goodness.  Next week, David Spain will get his wish as I will tackle the issue of the commentary within the WWE.  I just need to do a little more binge watching before I immortalize my conclusions.

Can’t Beat Him? Replace Him
We are back into more traditional fantasy booking this week.  After finding Emma vs. Paige, I went and watched all of NXT Arrival.  I was blown away by Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro for the opening bout.  Zayn is amazing and this was my first view of him.  As a more casual fan versus other writers on this site, I have not seen his Ring of Honor work as El Generico.  I’ve read write-ups of his matches and his name and gimmick I felt was a great idea.  He proves however, he does not need the mask to sell himself.  After wrapping up Arrival, I went and watched a few more of his matches and some of his promo work.  It got me thinking on the most effective way of bringing him up to the main roster (which he is more than ready for).

I take you now to about mid to late June of this year.  Daniel Bryan has fulfilled his quest and captured the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania.  He fought off Orton and Batista in a grueling hardcore-style match at Extreme Rules, and then withstood the power of the Animal in a one-on-one match at Payback.  With each victory, the Yes Movement continues it ferocity of vocal support for Bryan.  One would think that three months of this would be enough to satisfy The Authority that Bryan is a A-list talent.  Of course not (otherwise where would be the conflict, or the reason for Triple H to still be on our television).

Also immediately following Wrestlemania, Sami Zayn makes his debut on the main roster.  He wows the crowds with his moves and puts on some stunning matches.  There are also several backstage vignettes featuring Zayn and Bryan.  The first is the two meeting and Zayn talking about how Bryan as champion gives him hope, since they both cut their teeth on the global and independent circuit.  If someone like Bryan can become champion, surely Zayn can.  The two talk about keeping an eye on each other’s business, and on an occasion or two tag together.

Following Payback, Triple H makes it known that he is still not happy with Bryan in the position as champion.  He still thinks of the Yes Movement as a flash in the pan and that while business is booming for the moment, it is just a fad, like Tamagochi (come on, you know the WWE will use a way-outdated reference to make the point). Triple H is all about finding talent that can sustain a crescendo; talent that will lead to the next Hulkamania, the next “people’s champion,” or the next Cenation. One night, Triple H puts Bryan in a gauntlet match to test the Yes Movement against a series of competitors he feels has the potential for that kind of momentum.  After taking on a series of opponents that include Cesaro, and Alexander Rusev, the opponents surround the ring, looking to gang up on Bryan.  The champ stands alone, but the crowd erupts as Zayn runs down the ramp and slides into the ring to join his inspiration.  Only Zayn instead nails Bryan with his version of a superkick followed by the Blue Thunder Bomb.

The next Raw, Triple H comes out and talks about how his quest is over.  He has found the perfect face for the company and the next craze in professional wrestling that will last for decades.  He introduces the leader of the Ole Initiative, Sami Zayn.  Zayn comes out, his beard a little tighter trimmed, and looking sharp in a three-piece suit.  Triple H puts over how Zayn is absolutely perfect for every possible demographic for a company like WWE.  He is Canadian and of Arabic descent, therefore giving him instant international appeal.  He started out wrestling in high school gyms and bingo halls therefore he gets the thumbs up from the internet crowd who live in their parent’s basements.  Further, he has a beard, which will appeal to all the Bryan fans.  Zayn, unlike Bryan though, has the look of a champion.  He is the right height, has a better body, and has the face that actually makes women swoon, and men envious.  This naturally brings Bryan out to confront a guy he thought had his back as he promised to help.  Zayn retorts Bryan is helping him.  It is because of Bryan that Zayn after only a few months is on the fast track to being champion.  It’s just not how Bryan thought the help would play out.

From there, a bitter feud emerges between two as the Ole Initiative is pushed to oversaturation in an effort to counteract the Yes Movement.  T-shirts, signs, and endless discussion by announcers and The Authority look to make it a household term.  Bryan and Zayn though are kept apart from physical confrontation.  Zayn continues to compete with stealing the show from Bryan, determined to upstage him at every turn, and gets every chance to do so with the backing of The Authority.  Zayn is entered and wins Money in the Bank.  Bryan himself continues to take whatever challenges are thrown his way, including having to fight off Bray Wyatt for his WWE Title at Money in the Bank.

At SummerSlam, it is déjà vu for Bryan.  After a grueling match against Brock Lesnar for the Title, he stands victorious in the ring, only to have his music interrupted by Zayn’s, who walks out with the briefcase.  Zayn makes his way to the ring, and stands toe-to-toe with Bryan, smiling and teasing handing it to referee.  Instead, he announces that The Authority felt it more fitting to wait and have Zayn crowned at Night of Champions, therefore he puts Bryan on notice that the countdown to the changeover has officially begun.

For the next three weeks, Zayn launches full-scale psychological warfare against Bryan, backed by the Authority.  He tag-teams with Kane, he challenges and beats John Cena (with some shenanigans), and takes out Sheamus in a match in under 18-seconds.  All the while, Zayn hangs around ringside or on the ramp whenever Bryan has a match.  The Titantron even starts showing a “Countdown to Changeover” Clock (which also is presented on screen), ticking off the time until the match at Night of Champions.  The match eventually comes and the two finally face off after four months of circling.  The match itself brings the house down, but Bryan claims victory with a running knee that echoes throughout the arena.

The Authority is not happy with the outcome naturally, and immediately books the two in a rematch for Battleground.  Given the short time between the pay-per-views, management looks to run Bryan ragged having him compete in match after match on every show, while Zayn is given only a couple of “tune-ups.”  In another breathtaking, show stealing affair, Bryan again comes out victorious, but his victory is short-lived as once again, he is greeted by the specter of Lesnar, looking to lock the champion in the Hell in the Cell.  Zayn on the other hand is shuttled down by management, feeling he was given too much too soon.  He easily captures the WWE Intercontinental Title and takes on a bitter persona looking to hurt his opponents and climb his way back to the top of the company.

The inspiration for this storyline is a blend of the 1998 Corporate Rock with MeccaRabbi’s comment from two weeks ago suggesting CM Punk return to Raw in Chicago only to turn on Bryan and go corporate sell out.  When I watched Zayn, I could see him being used as a “Corporate Bryan.”  He has the beard and the moves, but also has a little more of the look that the WWE likes.  He’s not an instant pretty boy, but they could do a couple of minor things to give him a more clean cut look such as having him wax his chest and do a little bit of a spray tan for that unnatural glow they feel their champions need.  Is it far-fetched for them to take someone from their developmental system that is not a monster and slot him into the main event?  Yes it is, but it is also different and it plays off the idea of The Authority going a new route in dealing with Bryan.  They tried their prototypes of champions and failed, so instead they go with someone like Bryan, but more willing to play their game.  There is a risk of this meteoric rise and collapse leading to Zayn’s burial, but I think there is an easy route to avoiding this.  Like I said above, have him immediately win the Intercontinental Title, to show he is elite and hold it for an extended time, beating everyone viciously, looking to show that he has what it takes.  From there, it is a matter of letting him climb back up, hopefully to an actual WWE Title run.  With his skills, the fans will rally and support him.  It is then up to the company and use him to his full potential and not squander it (cough Ziggler cough).


Until next time, I relinquish creative control.

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View From Down Here – Mandatory Daniel Bryan Column Sun, 16 Mar 2014 07:45:34 +0000 Apparently it is now compulsory that everyone who writes about wrestling online must express their opinion at least once on the whole Daniel Bryan thing in the WWE at the moment. If not, then apparently terrible things could happen. Honestly.

Even worse than this. Allegedly.

Even worse than this.

Okay – here’s mine. Daniel Bryan has been given a match against HHH. If he wins, then he is inserted into the main event, making it a triple threat. I think that’s fine.

Aaaaand... I can go home.

Aaaaand… I can go home.

What? More? Needy, aren’t you? Okay then. Fine.

It does seem that, looking at it from the outside, this was not the original plan. Punk was being set to go up against HHH, Bryan was going to get Kane or maybe Sheamus, and Orton-Batista was going to be YOUR main event.

Smell the excitement!

Smell the excitement!

But then Punk left. No-one knows why, but he just apparently decided out of the blue that he’d had enough and wanted to get the heck out of Dodge.

"Screw you guys, I'm going home."

“Screw you guys, I’m going home.”

This left a booking hole, one which was filled by actually listening to fan sentiment (or at least, one segment of fan sentiment) and plugging Bryan into the HHH match. Fine, wonderful, actually listening to your fans is generally not a bad thing.

And then the Royal Rumble happened.

The new WWE so-called “movie star” (term used advisedly) won, Bryan was beaten in an earlier match, and to say fans weren’t happy is something of an understatement. But they’re fans. I mean, it’s not like they did anything except chant some mindless slogans and engage in spleen venting on numerous online forums (or fora, if you’re being pedantic about this).

Prepare to be vented!!

Prepare to be vented!!

But some-one somewhere hit the ol’ panic button and suddenly we had the “occupy Raw” situation which provided a stunning visual and gave the impression that the fans had actually influenced the product. So much better than, say, having Hulk Hogan act all heroic and whatnot and making the match, and not as anticlimactic. It was meant as a feel-good moment.

Better than cat pictures any day of the week.

Better than cat pictures any day of the week.

So, how this will all pan out depends, but for the moment I’m more than happy to take a “wait and see” approach. As much as I don’t watch WWE, one of my mates is getting Wrestlemania XXX, and so I will be joining him and will watch events unfold. So yes, even I shall wait and see.

What I don’t get is why fans are so against this. Sure, numerous reasons abound, but none of them really make any sense.

And neither do their senses of foreboding.

“HHH buries people!” is a common cry.

I mean that literally.

I mean that literally.

So… he has set this up just to beat Bryan, bury him, and to swerve or screw with the fans, who he is suddenly pandering to with his booking decisions? What? That makes less sense than the Great Gazoo.

Another complaint is that Daniel Bryan is “too small” to be the face of the company.

Daniel Bryan (check before posting)

Daniel Bryan
(check before posting)

Odd, considering Eddie Guerrero is still much-loved as a wrestler and former world champion, and yet he’s the same height. Hmmm… Look, while size and musculature are the sorts of things are the sorts of things that used to set wrestlers apart, footballers and baseballers have reached the same ridiculous extremes.

And then there is UFC. Ever watch those in the lighter weight categories fight? Daniel Bryan is bigger. Want to face a UFC middleweight? UFC has taught us that bigger isn’t necessary better, and that small definitely isn’t weak.

Go on, you take him on. I'll watch.

Go on, you take him on. I’ll watch.

And finally, it is said that the fans are too fickle and don’t know what they want.

Yeah, okay, you’d almost have to give them this one. The problem is that there are two sorts of fans – hardcore, lifelong fans who watch the product no matter what and buy the occasional DVDs and PPVs, and the newer (possibly more casual) fans who accept a lot of what the WWE has force-fed them and buy the merch. Lots and lots of merch.

"Dad! Gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme!" "No."

“Dad! Gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme!”

The WWE knows that the majority of hardcore fans will stay with them, while the casual fans probably won’t, so they cater to the casual fans more in order to extract as much money as possible from them before losing them.

Kindling in the McMahon household.

Kindling in the McMahon household.

Daniel Bryan has been a wonder because both sets of fans seem to like him. Hardcore fans like him because of his skill in the ring; casual fans like him because he has this cool “Yes!” thing going.

And then there are those who hate him because… well, they just need to be contrary, I think. I’ve never understood it myself.

"I just hate him, okay? Leave me alone!"

“I just hate him, okay? Leave me alone!”

Okay, there you go, my Daniel Bryan column. Comments, etc can be left below, and if you truly disagree and want to fight me over it (as I’ve noticed more and more often in various online communities)… get a life.



(Have you checked out my writing blog yet? Why not? Hmmm? Warning – it is about, you know, writing.)

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Wrestling Videos From Around The Web: Weekly Roundup 3.15.13 Sat, 15 Mar 2014 21:06:03 +0000 Wrestling Videos From Around The Web 500x250




Adam Cole – When The Belt is on the Line I do Not Lose Chris Hero

Eddie Kingston – The Locker Room is Full of Pretenders



3/5/14 West Virginia Championship Blast “Daily Blast”

Starbuck on @The Apter Chat

Reality of Wrestling’s Huge Announcement by Owner Booker T

“Dad You Don’t Work, You Wrestle” (Episode 63)

3/6/14 West Virginia Championship Wrestling “Daily Blast”

Top 40 Moves of Shuji Kondo

Zane & ? #POTW: Casting Call

West Virginia Championship Wrestling “Spotlight” (Episode 95)

Top 85 Moves of B Boy

“Worst Promo Ever” (Episode 54)

Schamberger Labs (Episode 37)

Top 25 Moves of Kana

Top 30 Moves of Jazz

3/11/14 West Virginia Championship Wrestling “Daily Blast”

3/13/14 West Virginia Championship Wrestling “Daily Blast”

“Dad You Don’t Work, You Wrestle” (Episode 64)

Southside Wrestling’s Five Questions with So Cal Val

The Candice & Joey Show (Episode 28)

3/13/14 Kevin Steen’s Weekend Escapades

3/13/14 West Virginia Championship Wrestling “Daily Blast”

3/14/14 West Virginia Championship Wrestling “Daily Blast”

3/13/14 NWA Smoky Mountain “Wrestling Spotlight”

Top 50 Moves of Brian Cage

3/13/14 Bill Apter Reporting


2/26/14 Snakepit Adelaide Pro Wrestling “Powerslam” TV

All-American Wrestling TV (Episode 1)

2/22/14 Future Stars of Wrestling “High Octane” TV

3/2/14 Future Stars of Wrestling “High Octane” TV

3/9/14 Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling “Wrestling Explosion” TV

Vendetta Pro Wrestling TV (Episode 18)

Insane Championship Wrestling TV (Season 2, Episode 5)

Culture Shock Wrestling “Viral!” (Episode 40)

West Virginia Championship Wrestling TV (Episode 166)

New England Championship Wrestling TV (Episode 49)

Florida Super Championship Wrestling TV (Season 2, Episode 7)

Ohio Valley Wrestling TV (Episode 759)

3/2/114 Southern States Wrestling Power Half-Hour TV

East Coast Wrestling Association TV (Season 1, Episode 5)

3/8/14 NWA Smoky Mountain TV

3/9/14 NWA Championship International Wrestling TV

Anarchy Wrestling TV (Episode 423)

3/8/14 NWA Southern All-Stars Wrestling

Traditional Championship Wrestling TV (Episode 14-02)

3/9/14 Southern States Wrestling TV

3/7/14 Canadian Wrestling’s Elite TV

West Virginia Championship Wrestling TV (Episode 167)

3/16/14 Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling “Wrestling Explosion” TV

NWA Mountain State TV (Episode 202)

3/12/14 Future Stars of Wrestling “Lowdown” TV

All-American Wrestling “Pro Wrestling” (Episode 2)

New England Championship Wrestling TV (Episode 50)

Culture Shock Wrestling “Viral!” TV (Episode 41)

Resistance Pro TV HD 2.0 TV (Episode 12)

3/14/14 NWA Smoky Moutnain TV

Primos Wrestling Canada TV (Episode 67)

3/15/14 Covey Pro Wrestling TV

Ohio Valley Wrestling TV (Episode 760)

East Coast Wrestling Association “Code Red” TV (Season 1, Episode 6)



Is Triple H Scared of Daniel Bryan?

WWE Inbox (Episode 110)

Five Things You Will Discover From WCW on WWE Network

3/7/14 WWE SmackDown Fallout – Total Divas Reign Supreme

The JBL & Cole Show (Episode 67)

3/6/14 NXT

WWE Top Ten – WrestleMania Championship Changes

3/3/14 WWE RAW “Slam of the Week”

3/7/14 WWE Smackdown “Slam of the Week”

WWE in 5 – Week of 3/3/14

30-Second Fury – Faithbreaker

Zack Ryder’s Last ReZort (Episode 1)

3/10/14 WWE RAW “Fallout” – The Occupy Movement

Man Wars (Episode 3)

Triple H to Address “Yes” Movement on SmackDown

WWE Inbox (Episode 111)

WWE Top Ten - Unexpected Arrivals

3/14/14 WWE SmackDown Fallout – Usos Issues A Challenge

The JBL & Cole Show (Episode 68)

3/10/14 WWE RAW “Slam of the Week”

3/14/14 WWE SmackDown “Slam of the Week”



3/5/14 Tercera Caida

3/12/14 Tercera Caida



#IMPACT365 – Lockdown Miami Fan Interaction

#IMPACT365 – What Happened After TNA Lockdown Went Off the Air

#IMPACT365 – Bobby Lashley Comments After his Return at TNA Lockdown

#IMPACT365 – Magnus at Fanfest Talks Sunday’s Lockdown Main Event

#IMPACT365 – Ethan Carter III Press Conference With a Message For Kurt Angle

#IMPACT365 – Bobby Roode at Fanfest Comments of Sunday’s Lethal Lockdown

#IMPACT365 – Post-Lockdown Comments from Muta, Sanada & Yasu

#IMPACT365 – Kurt Angle Talks About His Hall of Fame Shirt at

#IMPACT365 – MVP on Competing at Lockdown in his Hometown in Miami

#IMPACT365 – Gunner After the Last Man Standing Match at Lockdown

#IMPACT365 – Magnus on Surviving Samoa Joe at Lockdown

#IMPACT365 – MVP and the Wolves React to their Lethal Lockdown Victory

#IMPACT365 – Mr. Anderson on Losing to Samuel Shaw “No Excuse”

#IMPACT365 – Samuel Shaw on what Happened With Christy Hemme at Lockdown

#IMPACT365 – After IMPACT Went off the Air×250.jpg×120.jpg

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Road through Indymania: Walker (Part 1) Fri, 14 Mar 2014 13:30:00 +0000 vordell2

Road through Indymania: Walker (Part 1)

Confession time:  Until 2011, I’d never been to an Indy wrestling show.

The seats were hard and unforgiving of my back.  I’ve never even had a bad back but I think there are certain brands of bleachers manufactured to produce that “scoliosis” feeling that one might be missing.  The smell of half-stale tortilla chips and hot, yellow cheese product purchased by guy a few rows down wafted it’s way up to me.  I was tempted to go spend a buck-fifty on some but instead opted for the room temperature pizza.  It was a half dollar cheaper.

There was an older lady next to us.  Loud.  Boisterous.  Speaking to everyone as if she knew them.  She was holding a cheap, plastic tumbler.  The mismatched lid concealed the identity of the liquid.  There were a couple of young kids across the way playing Yu-Gi-Oh or some other young fad card game.  Many of the folks there seemed to be old friends.  For all we knew it was a family reunion of sorts.    Being in a middle school gym for the first time in years was odd.

My friends and I weren’t there to people watch though, we were there for the rasslin’.

We knew who absolutely no one on the card was.  That’s not to say that no one on the card was good.  It was a very entertaining show filled with some face-paced action, an apparent continuing feud, a tag team bout and a valet who interfered in a match a la brass knuckles.*  It was totally classic pro wrestling!  It was by no means a 1998 WWF show, but it was still cool.

Just when I thought the show was over, I heard the bell again.  ”More rasslin’!”, I thought.  I was ready to hurt my back a little more on the bleachers.  Soon, two opponents were in the ring locking up.

I look to my right and seemingly every wrestler on the card was sitting on the bleachers next to us watching the match.  Just like us.  Like fans!

Still, it is one of the most memorable matches I have ever seen. The match featured, again, a wrestler I had never heard of at the time.  His name was Vordell Walker.

Great high-spots.  Unmistakably seasoned ring psychology.  Power-bombs, running sidewalk slams, pile-drivers and beyond.  The match had everything!

After the event, I went home and did some research.  Vordell Walker had been around the block a time or two.  He’s been in the ring with Stevie Richards, R-Truth, Samoa Joe, Billy Gunn, Al Snow, Raven, Steve Corino, and CM Punk just to name a few.

Walker has been on ROH and TNA show cards, although he downplays them…there’s something to be said for that.

I find myself often wondering why a talent like Vordell Walker isn’t at the very least signed to a deal in ROH.  Right now, he’s an Indy King without a crown yet he has all the natural talent in the world.

You’ve seen him on Wrestlemania before but I’ll bet you wouldn’t know it…

To be concluded next week in Road through IndyMania: Walker (Part 2)


*Note:  At some point during the show, our friend, the older lady drinking God-knows-what, accused the valet of  producing the brass knuckles from a certain non-PG area of the female anatomy.  The line was an instant classic and is often quoted when my friends and I are together.

Feel free to leave some comments below if you’ve ever seen Vordell Walker in the ring.

]]> 2
HTC’s Wrestling Pulsecast – WrestleMania Trivia Fri, 14 Mar 2014 03:06:43 +0000 HTC Wrestling Pulsecast

Justin Czerwonka and Matthew Harrak battle it out, WrestleMania Trivia-style! The “Wrestling Wife” makes a guest appearance as Justin & Matt test each other’s pro-wrestling knowledge all in the hopes of bragging rights and a shiny new gold (Mattel) championship belt!×120-2013.jpg×250-wrestling-pulsecast.jpg

]]> 0 aj lee,batista,Bray Wyatt,cm punk,Cody Rhodes,Daniel Bryan,Hulk Hogan,Jeff Hardy,john cena,Kofi Kingston,Kurt Angle,Mark Henry With special guest host: the Wrestling Wife! ( Justin Czerwonka and Matthew Harrak battle it out, WrestleMania Trivia-style! The "Wrestling Wife" makes a guest appearance as Justin & Matt test each other's pro-wrestling knowledge all in the hopes of bragging rights and a shiny new gold (Mattel) championship belt! Inside Pulse Wrestling no 2:02:21
A2Z Analysiz: WWF WrestleMania III (Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant) Thu, 13 Mar 2014 13:00:19 +0000 WrestleMania III

Pontiac Silverdome – Pontiac, Michigan – Sunday, March 29, 1987

Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura are on commentary.

MATCH #1: The Can-Am Connection vs. “The Magnificent” Don Muraco & “Cowboy” Bob Orton

Muraco and Orton have Mr. Fuji in their corner. Rick Martel and Muraco start the match. Muraco uses his brute strength and Martel uses his impressive agility to thwart him. Tom Zenk tags in and the Can-Am Connection uses impressive double-teams on both Muraco and Orton. Everything Muraco and Orton try the Can-Ams have an answer for. Finally Orton drives a knee into Zenk’s back from the apron to take control but it doesn’t last long. Zenk and Orton knock heads together and then tags are made. Martel is a house afire and sends Orton to the floor. Zenk goes down on all fours to trip Muraco up as Martel executes a cross body block to get the pin at 5:38. That was a perfect choice for an opener, as the babyfaces were flying all over the place and got the crowd right fired up, which is exactly the goal.
Rating: **½

MATCH #2: Full Nelson Challenge – Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules

Hercules has Bobby “The Brain” Heenan in his corner. The two powerhouses come face to face at the bell as things are already heated between them. Haynes takes an early advantage and hits an impressive press slam. He goes for the Full Nelson but Hercules avoids it. Haynes continues to unleash fury, but Hercules cuts him off with a hard clothesline. Hercules is fully in control now, working Haynes over. He hits a vertical suplex and picks Haynes up at two for some reason. Hercules continues to work the back in preparation for the Full Nelson. Moments later he puts on the Full Nelson but he cannot lock the fingers. Haynes fights his way out of it and then they clothesline each other. Back on their feet Haynes hits an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline. Haynes hits another clothesline and hits a legdrop (on a show with Hogan!) He goes to the second rope and delivers a fist drop. Haynes locks on the Full Nelson and Hercules is able to use momentum to pull Haynes to the floor with him. Out on the floor Haynes puts on the Full Nelson and the referee counts both men out at 7:53. That’s an odd finish for WrestleMania, but the match was pretty okay for two limited power guys.
Rating: **¼

Heenan attacks Haynes and distracts him long enough for Hercules to attack. Hercules hits Haynes with the chain, busting him open.

MATCH #3: King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo & Lord Littlebrook vs. Hillbilly Jim, Little Beaver & The Haiti Kid

The big guys must wrestle the big guys, and the little guys must wrestle the little guys. Haiti and Tokyo start the match with some classic midget wrestling. It doesn’t take long for Beaver and Littlebrook to get involved. The good guys control the early going, so Bundy tags in. Beaver and Haiti run around Bundy for a bit to frustrate him before making the tag. Jim comes in and takes Bundy down with a clothesline. He follows with a big elbow drop and covers, so Beaver and Haiti pile on for a two-count. Bundy kicks out anyway. He takes Jim down and goes to work on him. Beaver comes in to make the save and continues poking the bear. Finally Bundy gets fed up and scoops Beaver up and slams him down to the mat. Bundy follows with an elbow drop and the referee calls for the disqualification at 4:24. Tokyo and Littlebrook take umbrage with Bundy’s actions and the four midgets and Hillbilly Jim run Bundy off. That was hardly a classic but I like my WrestleMania cards with variety, and this certainly provided that.
Rating: **

MATCH #4: Junkyard Dog vs. Harley Race

Race is accompanied by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and Fabulous Moolah. If JYD loses, he is required to bow to the King. Race tries to avoid JYD at first, and when JYD goes on the attack Heenan interferes to give his man the advantage. Race throws JYD to the floor and attempts a headbutt off the apron but JYD moves out of the way. That’s quite a spot for 1987. JYD brings Race back in the hard way and quickly knocks him back to the floor. Back in the ring JYD puts on an abdominal stretch, which Race breaks with a hiptoss. Race tries a headbutt, which is terrible strategy. JYD throws Race to the floor once again. Race comes back in and JYD unloads with some headbutts. Heenan distracts JYD, allowing Race to hit a belly-to-belly supelx for the pin at 3:23. JYD is now supposed to bow to the King. He does indeed bow, but then hits Race with the chair! JYD then puts on Race’s robe and leaves with it. That’s pretty poor sportsmanship on display by the JYD. As for the match, these are two Hall of Famers and deservedly so, but this was kept short for a reason.
Rating: *¾

MATCH #5: The Rougeau Brothers vs. The Dream Team

The Dream Team is Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake, accompanied by “Luscious” Johnny V and Dino Bravo. The Rougeau Brothers are of course Jacques and Raymond. Beefcake and Raymond start the match. It’s interesting to see the Rougeau Brothers as babyfaces, as I don’t think that lasted too long. They control the early part of the match with their impressive high flying and double-team maneuvers. Jacques misses a turn-around cross body block off the second rope and Valentine goes to work on him. Beefcake tags in as well and gets his shots in. Valentine comes back in and puts on the Figure-Four Leglock as Bobby Heenan invades the commentary booth. Heenan brags about being two for two, since Hercules didn’t lose and Harley Race won his match. He doesn’t count Bundy’s loss because “I don’t deal with midgets.” I love Heenan. Meanwhile, Raymond gets a hot tag and locks Valentine in a sleeper. Beefcake tries to break it up but he hits his own partner. The Rougeaus hit La Bombe de Rougeau and while Raymond has Valentine covered the referee gets distracted with Beefcake and Jacques brawling. Bravo takes the opportunity for a cheap shot and rolls Valentine on top for the win at 4:04. Valentine, Luscious Johnny, and Bravo leave Beefcake behind for some reason. The match was a solid four-minute affair, but was made infinitely more entertaining by Heenan’s brief foray into the booth. Jacques and Raymond were incredibly underrated.
Rating: *½

MATCH #6: Hair Match – “Rowdy” Roddy Piper vs. Adrian Adonis

Adonis has Jimmy Hart in his corner. This is Piper’s “last match” – win, lose, or draw. They immediately start to brawl and Piper uses his belt as a weapon, which somehow is not a disqualification. I guess the referee is going to be lenient here. Hart distracts the referee, allwoing Adonis to use the belt. Turnabout is fair play. Piper regains control and drags Adonis and Hart into the ring, and then throws them both back to the floor. Back in the ring Adonis cuts Piper off and goes to work. They head back to the floor and Adonis slams Piper’s head into the timekeeper’s table. Hart gets some cheap shots in where he can. Back in the ring Adonis wears Piper down and locks on Goodnight Irene. Hart and Adonis think that Piper is out and they prematurely celebrate. While the referee tries to tell them they haven’t won, Brutus Beefcake comes in the ring for some reason to revive Piper. Adonis tries to attack with a big pair of shears but Piper ducks and the shears bounce off the top rope and Adonis hits himself in the face! Piper then locks on the Sleeper and Adonis is out at 6:13. The crowd was insanely hot but the match was not so good. I don’t really understand Beefcake’s involvement. It is fun to see Piper as a babyface in the 80s though, so this match is not without its charms.
Rating: **½

After the match, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake is born, as Beefacke helps Piper shave Adonis’ head. I don’t recall if there was any sort of set up for Beefcake to help Piper, or to be a barber, but it reinvigorated his career and was his most successful gimmick by far, so it works. Adonis is embarrassed and hightails it to the back with Hart.

MATCH #7: Six-Man Tag Team Match – The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis vs. The British Bulldogs & Tito Santana

Danny Davis, Bret Hart, and Jim Neidhart are accompanied by Jimmy Hart. Hart and Neidhart are the current World Tag Team Champions, and this is Davis’ debut match. Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid have Matilda with them. Matilda goes after Hart, and the Bulldogs and Santana follow suit, beating up their opponents before the bell. The match officially starts with Santana and Hart, which is a great combination. Several tags ar emade as the feeling out process continues, and the Hart trio is able to isolate Santana in their part of the ring. Santana leapfrogs over Neidhart and makes the tag to Davey Boy, who is a house afire. More tags are made and momentum shifts back and forth some more, and we wind up with Dynamite getting worked over in the wrong half of the ring. Davis tags in and tries a splash but Dynamite gets his knees up. Santana tags in and he unleashes fury on Davis, the man who cost him the Intercontinental Title over a year ago. He goes for the Figure-Four Leglock and Neidhart breaks it up. Davey Boy tags in and continues to dismantle Davis. He hits a Tombstone Piledriver and a vertical suplex. Davey Boy then executes the Running Powerslam but Neidhart breaks it up. Santana comes to the rescue and then Dynamite and Hart get in the ring as well. With the referee distracted, Davis hits Davey Boy with the megaphone and gets the pin at 8:52. That was certainly plenty of fun, but it felt very short. And, how awesome would a straight up title match between the Hart Foundation and the British Bulldogs have been with 15 minutes in front of this crowd?
Rating: **¾

MATCH #8: “The Natural” Butch Reed vs. Koko B. Ware

Reed is accompanied by his manager, “The Doctor of Style” Slick. Koko starts off hot so Reed tries to slow him down by stalling. It doesn’t work though, as Koko dropkicks Reed to the floor. Back in the ring Koko goes for a back body drop and Reed clubs him across the back of the neck. Reed gets a little bit of offense in but Koko isn’t done yet, and he fires back. Koko tries a cross body block but Reed rolls him over and grabs the tights to score the pin at 3:39. That was adequate for the time given. The crowd was hot for Koko.
Rating: *½

Slick attacks after the bell for some reason, so Tito Santana comes out to make the save. Santana and Koko run both Reed and Slick back to the locker room. I don’t remember what Santana’s issue with Slick was.

MATCH #9: Intercontinental Championship Match – Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage

Savage has been the champion since 2.8.86. I’ve seen this match about a million times but I’ve never reviewed it. Steamboat cuts the best promo of his life before the match. Savage tries to stall early on, but Steamboat is undeterred, hitting a series of armdrags. He lifts Savage up by the throat and tosses the champion down. Savage gets Steamboat to chase him outside the ring and then hits an elbow when they get back in the ring. They trade control back and forth, both being aggressive with each other. Savage continually throws Steamboat to the floor, and the champion has finally gained a firm advantage. Back in the ring Savage hits an ax handle off the top rope and an elbow to the face for a two-count. Savage stays in control for a bit, until he charges at Steamboat up against the ropes, and Steamboat back drops him all the way to the floor. Ventura calls for a DQ, but that’s never bee against the rules in WWE as far as I’ve ever heard. Back in the ring Steamboat hits a chop to the head off the top rope and that gets two and the crowd is buying Steamboat right now. Steamboat throws some chops, which Ventura says are illegal since they’re in the eyes. How many rules is he going to make up tonight? Savage tries to bail but Steamboat is able to catch him with a series of pinning combinations for a bunch of near falls. The referee inadvertently gets bumped and Savage looks to take advantage. He hits the Macho Elbow but with no referee there is no count. He goes outside and grabs the ring bell, and that’s how this whole thing got started. George ‘The Animal’ Steele stops him from using it though. Savage tries a bodyslam but Steamboat rolls through to get the pin at 14:35. Like there’s any mystery what rating this match gets.
Rating: *****

MATCH #10: Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Honky Tonk Man

Honky has Jimmy Hart in his corner. Jake of course has Damien, as well as Alice Cooper. Honky isn’t even able to get in the ring before Jake goes after him. Jake is a house afire and he sends Honky to the floor. Honky wasn’t even able to get his Elvis jumpsuit off, but Jake is happy to help him with that. Back in the ring Jake charges into the corner and Honky gets his boot up. That gives Honky the advantage but Jake quickly cuts him off and hits the Short Clothesline. They head back to the floor and Honky is once again and to claim the advantage. Honky takes Jake back in the ring and works him over with his basic offensive attack. He tries the Shake Rattle N’ Roll Neckbreaker but Jake backdrops his way out of it. Jake hits an inverted atomic drop and follows up with punches. He hits another back body drop and more punches. Jake goes for the DDT but Honky avoids it. Hart grabs Jake’s leg, and Honky capitalizes with a rollup and a handful of top rope to get the pin at 7:05. That was pretty basic but they had a good feud going so the crowd was into it.
Rating: **

Honky bails to the back right away, leaving his manager to get double-teamed by Roberts and Cooper, who introduce Hart to Damien up close and personally. Hart quickly slips out under the bottom rope and Honky comes back to help Hart get away.

MATCH #11: The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff vs. The Killer Bees

Sheik and Volkoff have Slick in their corner. Volkoff tries to sing the Russian National Anthem, but Hacksaw Jim Duggan comes out and runs them both of with the 2×4. Hacksaw says this is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sheik and Volkoff attack before the bell, as Duggan lurks around at ringside. The Bees use their double-team skills and their agility to send Volkoff and Sheik regrouping to the floor. Blair and Brunzell focus on the Sheik, keeping him in their half of the ring. The powerful Sheik and Volkoff are able to recover and now they work on Brunzell. After a few minutes Brunzell is able to catch Sheik with a high knee. Tag is made but the referee was tied up with Volkoff so he didn’t see it. Sheik goes to the second rope to gloat. Duggan chases Slick and Volkoff around the ring, and then he actually gets in the ring. Sheik has Blair locked in the Camel Clutch, so Duggan comes in the ring and waffles Sheik with the 2×4, getting the Bees disqualified at 5:39. The matchw as pretty pedestrian and the finish was stupid. It was a decent way to get Duggan on the big stage though.
Rating: *¾

MATCH #12: WWF Championship Match – Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant

Hogan has been the Champion since 1.23.84. Ventura is not exaggerating when he says “this is the biggest match in the history of professional wrestling.” Hogan and Andre have an epic stare down to start. They trade a few punches and Hogan tries an early slam but Andre falls back on him for a very close near-fall. Hogan has injured his back early on and Andre takes advantage. Andre has no trouble slamming Hogan, and he does so multiple times. He works the Champion over for several minutes, looking dominant. Hogan eventually fights back with a series of strikes and backs Andre into a corner. He charges in and eats nothing but boot. Andre then locks on a bearhug. After a while Hogan punches his way out of it. Hogan tries a few shoulderblocks but Andre slices him right back down. Andre boots Hogan to the floor and follows him out. He goes for a headbutt but he misses and hits the post! Hogan moves the ringside padding and foolishly attempts a piledriver. Andre reverses to a back body drop and Hogan takes the sissiest bump ever. Back in the ring Hogan ducks a boot and knocks Andre down with a clothesline! Hogan then hits the most famous bodyslam of all-time and follows with the Legdrop to get the pin and make history at 12:09. I know people dump on this match, and while it pales in comparison to Savage versus Steamboat, it’s really not that bad. Sure, Andre was not all that mobile but they worked a good David versus Goliath formula and the crowd heat was off the charts. It also is the biggest match of all time and that counts for something. I rather enjoy this match.
Rating: ***½

BONUS MATCH: Intercontinental Championship Match – “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. George “The Animal” Steele, Saturday Night’s Main Event, 1.3.87

Steele attacks right away and starts throwing Savage around. Savage quickly fights back and begins to methodically wear Steele down. He goes up top and some familiar music hits as Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat makes his way to ringside! Savage is distracted and Steele slams him off the top rope. Steele then hurls Savage over the top rope, almost wiping out The Fink! “The Animal” then grabs Ms. Elizabeth and carries her back to the locker room. Savage and Steamboat argue while officials try to corral Steamboat away from ringside. Time for a commercial break, and when we come back Steamboat is still trying to get at Savage. Finally Steele makes his way back to the ring (how did he not get counted out?) and rips apart one of the turnbuckles. He rubs it in Savage’s eyes and then goes after more turnbuckles. Steele goes for a bulldog but Savage shoves him off. Mometum continues to shift back and forth, so Steele bites Savage’s arm. Savage clotheslines Steele to the floor, and Steele gets back in the ring and throws Savage out. The referee gets into an argument with Steele and gets shoved down. Savage takes the opportunity to hit Steele with the ring bell and gets the pin at 8:07 (shown). Savage goes to the top rope but Steamboat makes the save and Savage bails. The match was not great, and it makes no sense how Steele was neither counted out nor disqualified. However, it put a great deal of heat on Savage versus Steamboat, which turned out to be one of the greatest matches of all-time so who’s complaining?
Rating: *¾

BONUS MATCH: Battle Royal – Andre The Giant, Ax, B. Brian Blair, Billy Jack Haynes, Blackjack Mulligan, Butch Reed, Haku, Hercules, Hillbilly Jim, Honky Tonk Man, Hulk Hogan, Jim Brunzell, Koko B. Ware, Lanny Poffo, Nikolai Volkoff, Paul Orndorff, Ron Bass, Sika, Smash, and Tama, Saturday Night’s Main Event, 3.14.87

Hogan and Andre stare each other down, so Orndorff takes the opportunity to attack Hogan to get the match underway. No matter, as Hogan is able to score the first elimination by dumping Honky Tonk out. Andre gets rid of Sika next. Haku goes next via the Giant. Andre headbutts Poffo, splitting him open before throwing him to the floor. Hogan is able to send Bass to the floor. Andre responds by throwing out Mulligan. Hogan tosses Volkoff. Andre dumps Blair. Finally Hogan and Andre come face-to-face, but the other participants quickly break that up. Hogan gets mad and dumps Orndorff out. Andre grabs Hogan and headbutts him before eliminating the WWF Champion! That’s awesome. The referees have to force Hogan to the back, even though he got eliminated fair and square, as we take a commercial. Back from the break Andre eliminates Brunzell. Then Hillbily, Koko, Demolition, Hercules, Butch Reed, Tama, and Haynes join together to eliminate Andre. Hercules gets rid of Tama, Hillbilly eliminates Ax, Smash eliminates Hillbilly, and Koko elimiantes Reed. We’re down to the Final Four: Hercules, Smash, Billy Jack Haynes, and Koko B. Ware. Plenty of brawling ensues. Hercules says goodbye to Koko, and Haynes gets rid of Smash. That leaves two heated rivals in the ring, and Heenan jumps up on the apron to distract Haynes, and it works. Hercules then sneaks up form behind and eliminate Haynes to get the win at 11:23 (shown). This was okay for a battle royal , but it quickly lost steam when Hogan and Andre were eliminated. Still, it was there to build heat on Hogan/Andre and to a lesser extent Hercules/Billy Jack Haynes and it worked.
Rating: **×250.jpg×120.jpg

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