Sunday, December 14, 2014

NXT Takeover R-Evolution - 12/11/2014

NXT is back with another live special on the WWE Network and I'll be damned if this isn't a loaded show ... Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville for the NXT Title, Finn Balor and Hideo Itami against the Acension, and the long-awaited debut of Kevin Owens. Strap in, this is going to be a wild ride!

1. Kevin Owens vs. C.J. Parker - 3

Right out of the gate we get the former Kevin Steen debuting against a guy who does a trippy hippy kind of deal. Owens just smashed this dude across the ring the few minutes that it was allotted. Parker hit a open palmstrike so hard that it just busted up Owens’ nose. The running cannonball style dive over the top rope was pretty wicked as was the powerbomb that sent Parker packing back to the 1960s. Parker makes a really good punching bag.

2. NXT Tag Team Titles: The Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) vs. The Vaudevillans (Simon Gotch & Aiden English) - 3

After watching Lucha Underground for a couple weeks now, there is no possible way I can take the Lucha Dragons seriously. The announcers kept harping the fact that they were paying homage to their Lucha culture but I seriously doubt you’d see La Parka, Mil Mascaras, or any other number of Lucha legends being a comedy team. The Vaudevillans are doing the old timey carnival wrestler type deal, complete with black and white entrance. The work was solid but not really notable. English went for a roll-up really close to the ropes which ended up being him throwing Sin Cara straight to the ground. What I’ve seen of the Vaudevillans in general, I haven’t been too impressed, although English seems like he could be a solid hand. Finish with Kalisto pinning Gotch with the sliced bread was a fun ending.

3. Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillenger - 1

Corbin destroyed Dillenger in about 30 seconds and then stared down a guy named Bull Dempsey in the crowd. Had the announcers not mentioned it was Dempsey he was staring at, I would have honestly though it was just a random dude in the crowd.

4. The Ascension vs. Hideo Itami & Finn Balor - 5

Here’s where things started to get good. Never did care much for the Ascension, always thought their names (Konnor & Viktor) along with their team name sounded like they belonged in some sort of metal band or wrestling for a random indy fed somewhere in the Midwest. Balor’s body paint was completely nuts and featured giant monster teeth painted on his neck like a mouth and whenever he moved his head and neck, the teeth opened and closed. Truly something to behold. This was probably the best Ascension match I’ve seen, mainly due to their opponents. They have the big guy look that WWE likes down pat but I’d like to see them use more moves that stand out. Right now, I couldn’t tell you which guy was which or what their trademark moves are. Itami and Balor worked good as a team and there were some nice nearfalls towards the end which really sucked the crowd in. Balor did some sort of wacky looking DDT move that dropped one of the Ascension dudes right on his head. I dug the double mushroom stomps from the top rope as a nice way to cap this off.

5. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks - 6

Women’s matches in NXT are usually very good however going into this I couldn’t really get excited for it. Charlotte has had a nice little run with the Women’s title in NXT and some good to great matches. Banks has the act down for the homegirl, ratchet type she’s portraying (someone out there correct if I butchered that completely please). If she was stuck in here with anyone else, this wouldn’t have been near as good. Charlotte has definite star power but that will quickly be squandered when she gets called up to the main roster and has to do 2-3 minute matches as an afterthought on Raw with Emma. The match istelf was one of the better ones she’s had as champion. Banks busted some wild stuff including a tope and got some good nearfalls. Charlotte retained with a top-rope neck snapper that just looked to ruin Banks night.

6. Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville - 8

Stipulation here was that if Zayn lost, he was done in NXT. This was an absolute classic and by the end, these two had me sucked in and on the edge of my seat reacting to every moment and every nearfall. The story that was played into this was that Zayn was tired of being the nice guy and needed to be more aggressive to win the title. Early on, this felt really basic but about halfway through, things kicked into high gear. Zayn did his trademark dive across the corner of the ring and kill the other guy with a DDT spot which added a nice touch since he hasn’t used that much recently. Neville completely crashed and burned doing the Red Arrow into Zayn’s knees which Zayn then transitioned into a submission hold. If this was an arcade game, he would have gotten bonus points for a combo move on that one. We got two ref bumps that were done effectively for a change. The big spot was the second ref bump where Neville brought the belt into the ring. However, Zayn got the belt and they did the Piper/Bret spot from WrestleMania 8 where in this case Zayn couldn’t bring himself to cheat to win the title, just like Piper couldn’t bring himself to cheat to retain the title in that match. After Zayn through the belt away and got rolled up by Neville, I though for sure that was it but HE KICKED OUT!!! Then, finishing it off, we get Zayn hitting the STO into the turnbuckle and nailing a big kick for the win. But wait … THERE’S MORE!! After the bout, the big celebration commences with the entire roster coming out, Zayn and Owens hugging, and then as Zayn is leaving, Owens comes out a second time and just floors the poor fucker who was just through a war with Neville. My jaw absolutely dropped when I saw that! This match was pro wrestling at it’s absolute finest. While I can’t vote it NXT match of the year (Charlotte vs. Natalya from May is my runaway winner in that category), this is an absolute must see match with a fantasticly done post-match angle.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Muta & Tajiri vs. Storm & Sanada

Great Muta and Tajiri vs. James Storm and Sanada - TNA Bound for Glory '14 - 4

Main event of TNA's biggest show of the year. Muta appears wearing a disgusting helmet that resembles a fetid beehive with large insect limbs protruding from the sides in a nightmarish visage. For those not up on TNA storylines Storms plays a cultish leader who's brainwashed Sanada. Sanada, after some opening grappling with his original mentor Muta, sprays blue mist into the heavens marking the third color of mist ejected into the atmosphere. Sanada's chest looks like an abstract avant-garde impressionist painting with streaks of blue tainting the musculature. Storm should spit some tobacco juice to round out the foursome. Maybe Storm and Muta will splinter off and form the J-Tex Corporation 2.0? Terry Funk just rolled over on his grave colostomy bag. Tajiri throws some remarkably soft-looking punches but redeems himself selling a foreign object shot like a drugged Bill Cosby victim. If you had told me last year that Sanada would be in the main event of BFG I'd have spit my vegetarian chili all over your golf shirt in shock. Muta takes a Lungblower by Storm like a geriatric falling on their lawn while trying to pick up the morning paper. Ever watch any of SMASH Tajiri's vanity fed? If not I've got a whole spindle of their DVDs you can borrow for the small price of a salmon roe sushi dinner. Was totally not ready for a the finish so soon. Dueling mists were dodged between Sanada and Tajiri only for the duo of Muta and Tajiri to simultaneously mist Sanada. Then a head kick by Tajiri followed by a Shining Wizard by Muta finished Sanada. This was a fine match for the 2nd segment of an iMPACT! episode but as the main event of any sort of show, especially the company's biggest, was terminally short and dramatically inert. Give us 15 more min. and some nearfall sequences to build a little suspense and at least try to dress this up as a "main event" but they went a different route and just mailed this in from Ribera Steakhouse.

NHO Podcast Episode #3 - UFC's Early Days

The NHO Podcast returns this week with Adam, Brian and our friend Tim to chat about the early days of the UFC. We talk how we were introduced to UFC, our favorite events, rule changes, evolution of the sport, fighters who transitioned to pro wrestling and vice versa plus TONS more in an awesome, packed episode! Even if you are not a fan of UFC/MMA, we think you'll still find this to be an interesting discussion.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NHO Podcast Episode #2 - Survivor Series Recap, Final Battle, King Kong Bundy, Sting, and more!

The NHO Podcast returns! This week, Adam and Brian break down Survivor Series, figure out where Sting fits in to the WWE and theorize who could have main evented WrestleMania II besides King Kong Bundy. Then Brian discusses what's been announced for ROH Final Battle and some upcoming events he's attending. Finally, the hosts chat how Impact Wrestling will fit in to their new home, and then look at some upcoming episodes.

The show is also available in MP3 format for download!

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Monday, November 24, 2014

2001: A WCW Odyssey - WCW Monday Nitro 1/15/01

The night after Sin … what sins were committed last night?

Speaking of sins, the first portion of the show had Flair, Luger, Bagwell, Steiner, Jarrett, and Animal rambling on and having a funeral for Goldberg’s career that went through the first commercial break. Then, after all that, there was Kevin Nash coming out dressed all in denim, yelling at Scott Steiner and challenging him for a match. Then out came DDP, followed by Rick Steiner who everyone in the world had forgotten about. Nash, Scott, and Flair bicker some more and after all that, The Cat comes out, makes Nash vs. Steiner as the main event and brings and end to a never ending intolerable segment that was just plain brutal to watch.

1. Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Crowbar - 4
2. Rey Mysterio Jr. & Billy Kidman vs. Shannon Moore & Shane Helms - 2

As of this point, it’s 26 minutes into the show and we finally get the first match. Last night at Sin, Chavo retained the Cruiserweight title and it defending it here against Crowbar, who I’m not sure meets the weight requirement. The gist here is that Crowbar was comissioned by Ric Flair to show that he’s more than just a hardcore wrestler. In that aspect, I’d say he did a fair job here. There was a good nearfall by Crowbar off of a northern lights suplex followed up by a running splash off the apron. The end featured Chavo smashing Crowbar into a chair on the floor that was called a “slingshot face jam” by Scott Hudson on commentary that was followed up with a brainbuster and Chavo retaining the title. Better match than I expected it to be but the crowd was not into it at all. Tag match started off with all four guys going at it and this trend continued through the majority of the bout. Moore took a nutty bump on a backdrop off the apron, over the ringpost, and straight down to the floor. There were zero, I mean absolutely zero tags here as it was just a four man free-for-fall and a bunch of highspots that went about four minutes. Afterwards, there’s a Mike Awesome run-in … well, more like a jog-in and Lance Storm issuing an edict for Awesome to face Kidman in a hair match later on.

3. Kronik vs. Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo - 4
4. Hair vs. Hair Match: Konnan vs. Mike Awesome - 4

Tag titles were on the line next and not even a minute in Bryan Clark hits a fucking running somersault splash off the apron on Palumbo for absolutely no apparent reason. Later, Adams, not to be outdone, hit a fucking JUMPING MULE KICK! What the hell got into Kronik? O’Haire’s intensity is just off the charts, screaming and hollering and being a general crazy man but Palumbo was basically forgotten about and lost in the shuffle. End was really sloppy as Adams hit one of the worst superplexes on Palumbo as he landed completely out of position and O’Haire, who was perched on the opposite corner and hit a Seanton Bomb allowing Palumbo to get the win. Where was Bryan Clark in all this you wonder? Why he was busy getting a lame beatdown from Shawn Stasiak and Mark Jindrak who had wandered down to ringside. Let’s stop for a second and think about something … Konnan is in a hair vs. hair match. Konnan, who is completely bald, is in a hair vs. hair match. However, I guess the fact that he’s defending Kidman’s hair is acceptable. Nice quick start and then Awesome just got smashed with a rolling clothesline. Wild spot where Awesome got the ring steps and tried a running springboard off of them which resulted in Konnan throwing a chair into his face in mid-air. Good nearfall by Konnan off a facebuster. Sloppy and awful looking top-rope DDT on Awesome polished this off. Awesome seemed to be on auto-pilot for most of the match but did hit a nice top-rope splash. This was a fun little match although I probably would have liked to have seen them get some more time.

5. The Cat vs. Bam Bam Bigelow - 1
6. Shane Douglas vs. Gen. Rection - 2
7. Scott Steiner vs. Kevin Nash - 4

Before his match, Cat issued an open challenge and out came Bam Bam Bigelow of all people wearing a black button-up shirt with no sleeves. Cat got smashed early on a few times in the corner to start with but aside from that, there was nothing much here. A superkick polished off Bigelow in about two minutes. Douglas and Rection was a rematch for the U.S. Title from Sin. Douglas in his pre-match promo says the U.S. Title is “16 pounds of gold” and that he’s “fulfilling his destiny”. I’m sure that when he was growing up as a kid, his ambition was to become the U.S. Champion and feud with a guy named Gen. Rection. Rection missed a big elbow drop and so far I’ve found this a bit more enjoyable that the match they had on the PPV as they weren’t distracted by random stipulations. Douglas went for a chain in his boot and got a huge press slam for his efforts. Interference by Chavo by hitting Rection with the chain that Rection through away and the referee looked completely clueless. Main event was for the WCW Title and Nash got clobbered with some smashing forearms and chops to start and hit with a big belly-to-belly suplex from Steiner. This is the liveliest this crowd has been the whole show. Both guys hit their normal offensive moves but I’ll be damned if they didn’t have a bit more juice to them that they normally did. From the beginning it was a stiff, hard hitting slugfest. Everything was going good right up until the end when Luger, Bagwell, and an assortment of others interfered and beat down Nash until DDP, Cat, and Rick Steiner made the save. I’m deducting a point for the end but otherwise this was a lot of fun.

2001: A WCW Odyssey Master List

Thursday, November 20, 2014

NHO Podcast Episode #1 - Survivor Series Preview, Diesel, TNA, and more!

It's the debut edition of the Never Hand Over Podcast! In this episode, hosts Adam and Brian chat about the 11/17 Raw, Bellator and UFC from 11/15, preview the upcoming Survivor Series PPV, play a game of "If not Diesel, then who", discuss Lucha Underground, what happens if TNA goes six feet underground, and preview upcoming episodes.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bobby Roode vs. MVP

Bobby Roode vs. MVP - TNA iMPACT! 11/5/14 - 3

I'm not sure anymore what to believe in regards to TNA's impending fate but if you buy the current rumor this'll be one of the last-ever televised main events (or, at least on Spike, who knows?). Anybody else find it a little strange Roode wasn't even booked on their equivalency to WrestleMania (Bound for Glory) last month? Roode's just not that likable to be a face "ace" champion -- not even remotely warm or personable in fact. Bobby's bump into the steel ring steps was a tenth as gnarly as Gail Kim's earlier in the show. I'm hoping for a run-in from Stephan Bonnar's masked associate, not to promote Bellator's big show on the 15th, just to make this less milquetoast. Saw an MVP versus CM Punk bout off an '08 SmackDown! the other day that smoked this like RVD's water bong filled with Paul Heyman's Kool-Aid. Roode Bomb finishes this. I guess he's finally settled on that as a finish? A fireman's carry neckbreaker slam? Now that doesn't say ace champion to me. That says JAPW midcard finish. MVP threw a couple decent downward elbows in a transition but this was farcical. Guess I'm going to go run this match in Fire Pro now or finish watching Alexander Nevsky.