Thursday, November 30, 2006

ROH: Death Before Dishonor IV

1 Seth Delay v. Delirious- 4

2 Jimmy Rave/ Sal Rinauro v. Colt Cabana/ Jay Lethal- 4

3 Nigel McGuiness v. Roderick Strong- 7

4 Irish Airborne v. Briscoe Brothers- 6

5 Davey Richards v. AJ Styles- 7

6 American Dragon v. Sonjay Dutt- 5

7 Samoa Joe, BJ Whitmer, Adam Pearce, Ace Steel & Homicide v. Claudio Castagnoli, Chris Hero, Nate Webb, Necro Butcher, & Eddie Kingston( Cage of Death)- 4

This was a pretty important show that I had heard a lot about, so I was very anxious to watch it. The opener featured Delirious, who can be hit and miss, and mostly loves comedy, but Delay had some very cool spots worked in. He looked like your cookie cutter rookie, and didn’t try and have a twenty minute ROH opener, but showed enough to make it a decent match. The next tag, of course, featured some comedy, none of which is very funny. I’m not a fan of really any of the guys in the match, but they pulled together a few good spots. Rinauro isn’t really a good fit for this group, and I don’t think Colt’s over the top mannerisms and Lethal’s dumbfounded face are a good combination. Nigel and Strong started out as any Pure title match, but took it up several notches in the course of their match. They started wailing each other with some incredible stiff, realistic shots that had me pretty excited. It was one of Nigel’s better outings and Strong showed why he is an up and coming star; I think he would be a great fit for Japan. The only problem was the countout victory for Nigel, which has happened so many times. This was on route to being my favorite match of the night, and probably still is despite the lame finish. The next tag match was worked very well and was given a good amount of time, possibly nearly twenty. The Briscoes have put on some much needed muscle mass and have turned into damn good workers. Irish Airborne proved they have some very commendable tag skills. The match built a good pace, and was fairly stiff with some cool double teams. Richards and AJ went out and had what more so resembled a fight than a match. It wasn’t as pretty as most of Styles’ matches, and at some points both men were falling all over themselves just to get a punch in on the other. It had a cool story to it and they worked it quite well. There were more strikes, kicks, chops and stuff of that nature than pure moves done, and that added to the drama of the match. Pretty good stuff. Dragon and Sonjay tried to put together a memorable match that was filled with tons of stalling by Sonjay( who is a piss poor heel) and some sub par wrestling by Dragon compared to what he’s capable of. Next, the Cage of Death. Before we watched it, I had heard it was possibly the best match in wrestling, ever. Yes, I heard that. The first half of it was pretty stiff with Joe and Claudio, but nothing new had been done. Dragon came in and turned on Joe, giving CZW a man advantage. The ring filled up with a lot of guys, most being very unrecognizable. I didn’t like the teams they chose; I mean, Adam Pearce, and Ace Steel representing ROH? So, the CZW guys beat the ROH guys down with weapons and other hardcore implements until Homicide, who had been teased as coming in the whole night, showed up and divied out forks to all his team members. The match picked up again and everybody started fighting and punching, and throwing ladders and bleeding and hitting cage. But, for me it was too little too late. The match had already nearly went thirty minutes and I was losing interest by the second. ROH picked up the win, then in an ego-driven angle to be sure, Cornette came in with JJ Dillon of all people, and handcuffed Homicide and whipped him with a belt. You star of the match and the show, and you put an over the hill manager over him. Bad Decision. Maybe Cornette could rant about that on TV.

WWF Armageddon 1999

Russo left the WWF in the fall of 1999 and pretty much left them spinning their wheels. Let’s see how they did in this endeavor.

1) Tag Team Battle Royal – 4
2) Kurt Angle vs. Steve Blackman – 3
3) Miss Kitty vs. Ivory vs. Jacqueline vs. B.B. – Four Way Evening Gown Match – 0
4) Rikishi Phatu & Viscera vs. Hardcore & Crash Holly – 3
5) D-Lo Brown vs. Val Venis vs. The British Bulldog – 4
6) X-Pac vs. Kane – Cage Match – 3
7) Chris Jericho vs. Chyna – 3
8) The New Age Outlaws vs. The Rock & Mankind – 4
9) The Big Show vs. The Big Bossman – 2
10) Vince McMahon vs. Triple H – No Holds Barred Match – 2

The tag battle royal was an interesting match to say the least. It amazes me that even in the heart of the “attitude era”, the WWF(E) had more tag teams than they have combined on all three rosters today. The Acolytes and the Hardys had a nice bit of teasing eliminations of each other at the end in a match that was mostly void of physicality and emotion. Angle and Blackman fought a decent match amidst throngs of boring chants throughout the arena. Angle was still pretty green and annoying but quickly got over that hump and Blackman faded back into obscure mediocrity. The evening gown match took place in a pool and was utterly ridiculous. I recommend you skip it because it’s nothing but garbage and an insult to wrestling. The tag match with the Hollys was interesting. They got in no offense but Rikishi hit his devastating finisher in this filler match. The three way with D-Lo, Bulldog, and Val wasn’t horrendous but wasn’t great either. D-Lo hit a nice dive but the subsequently botched a springboard move and accidentally dropped Bulldog on his head while executing a double-team move.

The cage match was utterly ridiculous. X-Pac looks like a stoner and probably snorted crack backstage to put on a decent performance. The Outlaws interfere by cutting the lock on the cage door and tossing Pac a chair and some handcuffs. Isn’t the whole point of a having a cage match so that no one will interfere? The only redeeming feature this problematic match had was a cool clothesline from the top of the cage by Kane. Chyna’s intercontinental title reign began the downfall of the once prestigious title and no one was really interested in this garbage. Rock and Mankind had the match of the night against the Outlaws but interference by Al Snow brought down the rating. Show and Bossman was one of the worst WWF Title matches that has ever been presented. Show’s reign here was a joke and is largely forgotten for the better. Albert came down with Bossman and ended up getting pointlessly chokeslammed through a table in this four-minute debauchery. Vinnie Mac and HHH had an ugly brawl which featured pointless brawling, Vince bumping off a scaffold, and other ridiculous absurdities. There was a huge dead spot in the match where Vince went outside looking for HHH and couldn’t find him and some fan chucked a huge soft drink at the ref. You have to see this match, not because it was good, but just for the pointless brawling that was carried out for absolutely no purpose.

ROH Death Before Dishonor IV

1. Seth Delay vs. Delirious – 4
2. Colt Cabana and Jay Lethal vs. Jimmy Rave and Sal Rinauro – 3
3. Roderick Strong vs. Nigel McGuinness – 6
4. Jay and Mark Briscoe vs. Irish Airborne – 7
5. Davey Richards vs. AJ Styles – 7
6. Sonjay Dutt vs. Bryan Danieslon – 5
7. Team ROH (Samoa Joe, BJ Whitmer, Adam Pierce, Ace Steel, and Bryan Danielson) vs. Team CZW (Necro Butcher, Claudio Castagnoli, Chris Hero, Nate Webb, and Eddie Kingston) – Cage of Death – 4

Seth Delay apparently took a break from mowing lawns and delivered a halfhearted at best effort in a surprisingly okay opener against perennial bottom dweller Delirious. I like tag team wrestling a lot, but found little of what was offered in the second match excusable. Lethal looked like an extra from Barbershop 2, and Rave’s desperate attempts at putting together a remotely memorable match fail yet again. I’ve grown a slight detest of Nigel, due to his incessant knack for not evolving or adapting. Here, Strong made the match physical, and it was shaping up to be a potential show stealer until the wretched countout ending. The tag match pitting Irish Airborne and the Briscoe’s was a good example of contemporary intensity splendidly mixed with old school work ethic. The two teams worked well together, and I nearly creamed after the double shooting star presses to the floor.

I’m really becoming a fan of Davey Richards, and his match with AJ is certainly worthy of your time. It wasn’t pretty or flashy in the usual sense, especially in contrast to most of AJ’s predictable work. It didn’t seem fabricated in that capacity, and gave off more of a sense that these two were really competitive and didn’t like each other, leading to a more hardnosed and rugged tone. I was thoroughly disappointed in the Danielson versus Dutt bout, and only gave it the grade I did for the rare KO finish you almost never see in professional wrestling matches. I had a lot of problems with the main event, especially when the Internet has been buzzing about how awesome it supposedly is. Sure, there’s a few exceptionally nasty bumps; but, they’re not strategically placed, but rather haphazardly mingled amongst tons of mindless brawling, nonsensical sequences, and altogether insulting wrestling. It’s bloody and violent, but not satisfying in terms of storytelling or believability.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

WWF WrestleFest 88

1 Killer Bees v. Rougeau Brothers- 6

2 Bad New Brown v. Bret Hart- 5

3 Honky Tonk Man v Hacksaw Duggan- 2

4 Bolsheviks v. Powers of Pain- 4

5 Jim Neidhart v. Lanny Poffo- 2

6 Rick Rude v. Jake Roberts- 6

7 Ultimate Warrior v. Bobby Heenan (Weasel Suit)- 0

8 British Bulldogs v. Demolition- 4

9 Dino Bravo v. Ken Patera- 3

10 Hulk Hogan v. Andre the Giant (Steel Cage)- 5

This first tag match had everything that we miss from the 80's tag scene: two men working over one body part, cool matching outfits and clean finishes. Both of these teams were underrated in their time and both were awesome athletes. Bret showed even early in his career that he could plull a good singles match out of almost anyone, as he and Brown unleashed a little badassness in each other. Honky and the Hacker threw a pointless match together that featured none of either of their strengths because Honky's isn't comedy and Hacksaw's isn't running. Barbarian and Warlord… as faces? They were brutalizing the Ruskies, but only Boris was selling in this match. Actually, he was bumping his ass off. I wonder if his job depended on it because he was taking some licks. Anvil smashed his way through Poffo, who showed some prancy fancy moves. I went on record a while ago, but I'll say it in writing: I think The Genuis is a gimmick that could still get over today. There it is. Rude and Roberts pulled another great encounter together, as they prove once again they use psychology as their finishing manuevers, but don't forget about the swank ass DDT and the atomic Rude Awakening! The fans still pop for that stuff, as do I. Warrior threw Heenan around, much to his dislike( as we would find out via DVD on Ultimate Warriors' Self Destruction disc.) Bulldogs and Demolition pounded the snot out of each other and not much else, but that was all I wanted to see from those two teams. Bravo and Patera wasn't long; but damn, was it stiff! There were shots thrown in this one that would scare off the Greasers and The Socs. The main event cage match held some interest to me, just to see "Andre, The" inside the sinister blue bars. They did what they could, and at least Hogan didn't try to take a semi hardcore bump like in their Wrestlemania match. I was pretty much asleep by the end of this one, but what I saw, was a treat.

WWF Wrestlefest 1988

1) The Killer Bees vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers – 6
2) Bad News Brown vs. Bret Hart – 5
3) The Honky Tonk Man vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan – 4
4) The Powers of Pain vs. The Bolsheviks – 5
5) Jim Neidhart vs. Lanny Poffo – 3
6) Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Rick Rude – 7
7) The Ultimate Warrior vs. Bobby Heenan – Weasel Suit Match – 1
8) The British Bulldogs vs. Demolition – 5
9) Dino Bravo vs. Ken Patera – 4
10) Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan – Steel Cage Match – 5

This was a show that was shot exclusively for home video and was hosted by Sean Mooney, Lord Alfred Hayes, and Superstar Graham. Mooney and Hayes are alright but honestly, I could’ve done without Graham.

The Bees and Rougeaus had a very good, slow-paced match. Rougeaus worked the crowd and Bees were over huge. Brown and Hart had a knock-down, drag-out affair which featured a slick reversal of a roll-up by Brown to win the bout. Duggan and Honky was better than I expected it would be. Honky did his usual antics as did Duggan. Jimmy Hart ran in and got Honky DQ’ed. Duggan took his aggression out on the guitar. I never was a huge fan of either the Bolsheviks or the Powers of Pain, but they worked really good together here. Barbarian delivered a nasty powerslam and actually left his feet when he did so. He also dropped a top-rope headbutt for the win in a moment of true awesomeness. Neidhart and Poffo was a glorified squash but Poffo actually got in some offense as he tossed frisbees out to the crowd.

Roberts and Rude was thick with psychology. This was right in the middle of their rivalry that started with Rude doing the grind in front of Roberts’ wife on TV. The match would’ve scored higher but with the double count-out finish I couldn’t justify giving it a higher score. Roberts tossed his snake on Rude after the bout and Rude sold it like crazy. The weasel suit match was filler, comedy, and bad wrestling all rolled into one. Bulldogs and Demolition was another example of just exactly how thick the tag division was in the WWF in the late 80s. All four guys really put forth a good effort and I was really thrilled with the result. Bravo and Patera had a good match and was just about what you would expect from them. The main event was really intriguing. While it may have not been a mat classic with the best wrestling ever, the entertainment value was great. Andre was working the best he could because at this time, his body was close to giving out. Hogan was the consummate entertainer and even bladed to give the match an important feel. This was very special to watch because you will never see anything like this today and I hope I can find more video-exclusive events like this.

WWF WrestleFest ‘88

1. Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. Killer Bees – 6
2. Bret Hart vs. Bad News Brown – 5
3. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan vs. Honkey Tonk Man – 3
4. Powers of Pain vs. Bolsheviks – 4
5. Jim Neidhart vs. Lanny Poffo – 3
6. Rick Rude vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts – 7
7. Ultimate Warrior vs. Bobby Heenan – Weasel Suit Match – 1
8. British Bulldogs vs. Demolition – 4
9. Dino Bravo vs. Ken Patera – 3
10. Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan – Steel Cage Match – 6

Adam got this show and brought it over and it felt like being a kid at Christmas time. It’s one thing reliving memories of a show I haven’t seen since childhood, but it’s even cooler watching a show from my childhood era that I never even knew about! This show was pretty stacked, too.

The opening tag with the wily Rougeau boys and the always-loveable Killer Bees was pure bliss. There wasn’t a lot of major spots or moments, just good solid basic psychology. It was a nice way to start things. Bret and Bad News had a pretty solid match, too; one that in reviews elsewhere I’ve read, got a little too much credit, regardless, it’s still worth seeing. I remember seeing a commercial for some kind of Japanese fighting pay-per-view when I was young, and to my surprise, Bad News Brown was competing. I urged my Aunt to order it, as well as record it for me – which in retrospect was probably when I lost my mixed martial arts virginity.

Duggan and Honkey, two infamous characters, had a thankfully short match. Some of the shots were semi-stiff while it lasted, so I wasn’t too disappointed. Powers of Pain and Bolsheviks is more interesting in my mind than it was in actuality. I think I’d rather watch these four get inebriated on cheap wine at an Italian restaurant, and then try to convince their waitress to stop by the Holiday Inn they’re staying at in Milwaukee for an all-nighter.

Neidhart and Poffo is a complete squash, but not an altogether bad one. Neidhart rushed Lanny to start the match, and was greeted with a quick kick that startled me as much as it did him. Poffo had some talent, but it was ultimately squandered. I loved Rude versus Roberts, and frankly, I would have given this match at least a 5 even if they’d just done a couple minutes of nothing – that’s how great these two were then. However, they delivered as anticipated, with a great match filled with masterful selling and psychology. My only complaint is the weak finish, but the rest of it is essential.

Warrior and Heenan in a stupid fucking weasel suit match had been done before, was done all over this damn country, and was never any good. Warrior looked even more incompetent than usual. British Bulldogs were a great team to watch, unfortunately, their match with Demolition wasn’t too special. I think these two teams were capable of working a certifiable classic together, and maybe somewhere along the line they did, but this wasn’t it. Smash moved around like he had diarrhea from the Mexican food he’d ate the night prior, and Ax was as mobile as a fire hydrant. Demolition didn’t try, which was totally cool with Davey Boy Smith, as he’d been up all night fucking a Wisconsin transvestite prostitute over and over again with the same condom he borrowed from Danny Davis.

Bravo and Patera are both interesting cases. If memory serves correctly, the mafia murdered Bravo. Now, Patera, I have a more personal connection to. One of the first wrestling videos I ever rented, and subsequently dubbed, as a young boy was titled “The Ken Patera Story” from the WWF. It dealt with both his feud with Bobby Heenan and his group of cronies, as well as his personal strife, stemming from an incident where he chucked a large rock through a fast food restaurant’s window. Anyway, he probably works at a health store in Tupelo now, where he gets the new female employee from the local high school to suck him off underneath the counter while he rings out customers.

The main event is awesome, in that, I feel like it’s a really cool gift from my past that I never knew I had, and recently stumbled upon. Maybe it hasn’t aged as well as you’d hope, but it stills captures that old spirit. I was going to rate it lower due to the lack of technical proficiency of both men, and because they didn’t do much outside of punch each other a lot. But, then I got to thinking, this is Hogan and Andre in a steel cage, the crowd is hotter than molten lava, and I love every second of it. They play up a couple near-escapes from the cage brilliantly, and there’s even some blood for you sick readers whom play first-person shooters and think you’ve actually got a chance of getting in Kelly Kelly’s stained underwear.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

WCW Super Brawl II

1 Brian Pillman v. Jushin Liger- 5

In 1992, this match blew the socks off of everybody; in this day and age, when almost every high flying manuever thinkable has been executed, this match looks passe. But, we cannot judge it on what looks better than it; only what the match itself presents. Both guys took to the air quickly and often, and Pillman's dropkick is still more beautiful than the Louvre in starlight. The match itself was edited; so, I'm not sure what the whole recipe looks like, but this was a tasty appetizer.

2 Larry Zybyszko/ Steve Austin v. Barry Windham/ Dustin Rhodes- 5

Windham and Zybyszko stayed occupied with each other as this match became a brawl right off the bat. Rhodes and Austin were working each other a million miles an hour and were quite impressive. Dustin, though for some reason, did three flips every time he got clotheslined, which was at least 5 times! It was cool for the first few, but god, he overkilled it. The match had a good finish and was fairly fun, if not long.

3 Bobby Eaton/ Arn Anderson v. Steiner Brothers- 6

A Dusty finish capped this classic off. There were a few miscues, but all together, it was very solid. Eaton and Anderson pretty much played Crash Dummies to Rick and Scott, with a few flurries of offense. They dropped Arn on his head several times; I see why he retired so quickly. This match was also long and didn't feature that many hot tags, but Arn and Eaton kept slowing the pace down to give it some mileage. The Steiners were super over too.

4 Rick Rude v. Ricky Steamboat- 7

This match was played up to be big; It was weird to hear them talk about how important the US title was. This match was similar to a match I saw between them at the first Royal Rumble in pace and content. Steamboat was selling everything up to par and Rude's psych was magnificent. His arm was worked over and he played it up the rest of the match; every time he would hit a clothesline or pose, he would hold his arm in pain. Steamboat hit a ground shaking superplex from the top turnbuckle late in the match in the best looking move of the night. This match could have gotten an 8 with a clean finish, but instead, they had a schmuck in a Ninja costume that was supposed to be Paul E. try and hit Dragon with a phone, even though he missed the first shot.

5 Sting v. Lex Luger- 6

The first few minutes of this match were supernova hot! I was literally shocked at the pace they started out with and the fans were eating it up with their bare hands. The rest of the match fizzled, but they kept a good chemistry. One of Luger's finishes at the time was a piledriver and when he did it, I could'nt help but think of Batista. It was fucking awful. Sting won after backdropping Harley Race onto the concrete then hit a flying body press on Luger. Kind of Anti-climatic but still had a lot of energy. Watching the match, they played it like Sting was going to win the whole time, so that was kind of defeatist.

WWE Cyber Sunday 2006

1) Super Crazy vs. Rob Conway (Dark Match) - 3
2) Umaga vs. Kane – 3
3) The Highlanders vs. Cryme Tyme vs. Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch vs. Charlie Haas & Viscera – Texas Tornado Match – 3
4) Jeff Hardy vs. Carlito – 4
5) Shawn Michaels & Triple H vs. Randy Orton & Edge (Eric Bischoff as referee) – 5
6) Mickie James vs. Lita – Diva Lumberjack Match – 2
7) Rowdy Roddy Piper & Ric Flair vs. The Spirit Squad (Kenny & Mikey) – 3
8) John Cena vs. King Booker vs. The Big Show – 5

I was at this show live and the crowd was pretty hot the whole night. The dark match was decent but not groundbreaking. I had forgotten that Conway was still employed. Kane and Umaga were somewhat stiff with each other but didn’t present anything new or exciting. Umaga went over to remain undefeated. The four-way tornado match was pretty wild with all eight guys going at it at the same time. The crowd seemed confused because the rules weren’t explained to them. Cryme Tyme won and stole Lawler’s laptop. Hardy and Carlito really had the potential to be good but they had some early miscommunications. They managed to salvage the match toward the end as Hardy went for the swanton and Carlito got the knees up in a nice spot. The tag match with Orton & Edge against DX was a pretty solid match but was way too heavy on the story with the referee for my taste. The heel guest ref angle has been done to death and Bischoff worked the exact same way he did when he was GM of Raw. Orton & Edge won after Bischoff let them blatantly cheat. Mickie and Lita had a horrible match. The stipulation didn’t work right and they blew so many spots that it wasn’t funny. Lita did hit a sick implant DDT to finish off Mickie but it left me longing for Trish to come back and resuscitate a division that’s near death. Piper looked absolutely terrible. He was very out of shape and made Flair look buff in comparison. Someone asked my friend who he was rooting for and he said “I’m rooting for Piper to put his shirt back on.” Flair and Piper won the tag belts for a nostalgia run. Wait … that means that I have to watch Piper wrestle on a regular basis. It’s not that I’m against Piper, I just think he has more value on the mic instead of in the ring. The main event wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and that was mainly due to the efforts of Cena and Booker. I was also extremely shocked that the World Heavyweight Title was voted to be on the line. There was a nice spot where Show had Booker on his shoulders and Cena dropkicked Show in the face from the top. K-Fed did a lame run-in at the finish thus costing Cena a chance to win Booker’s title a further a pointless feud. Like most of the past fan voting shows, if you missed this you didn’t miss much but it was fun to be there live.

WCW SuperBrawl II

1. Brian Pillman vs. Jushin Liger – 6
2. Larry Zbyszko and “Stunning” Steve Austin vs. Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham – 5
3. Bobby Eaton and Arn Anderson vs. Steiner Bros. – 5
4. “Ravishing” Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat – 6
5. Sting vs. Lex Luger – 6

The show started off with a fast-paced athletic encounter between two of the early-90’s lightweight luminaries. Liger did an incredible somersault off of the top turnbuckle out onto Pillman on the floor which Jim Ross called a “moonsault.” The utter idiocy continued shortly after, when Jesse Ventura said, “this is the greatest aerial match I’ve seen in my career”, after it had only been in-progress for less than 3 minutes. I have to note, Pillman had one of the best dropkicks in the history of the business. Afterwards, I can see them both flying back home to recoup – Pillman drinking Canadian beer and eating moose meat, and Liger drinking sake and eating geisha.

The following tag match started off wild, with action everywhere, and some particularly good punches thrown by Windham. Now I know where Chris Sabin stole that spinning back-kick to the stomach – Larry Zybyszko was doing it a decade ago! Austin’s trunks looked like a ’91 JC Penny store’s bathroom wallpaper. Windham did a DDT on Zybyszko that made the move look cool again – take notes rookies. Larry later dropped Windham nuts-first on a steel guardrail. And finally, Windham’s top-rope clothesline was titties; and by that, I mean it was great, and Kane should try to emulate it because his version sucks dong.

Eaton, Anderson, and both Steiner brothers were all considered superstars at this point, and often put forth great performances; sadly, this match wouldn’t make it on any of their highlight reels. Also, during the course of this match, I realized how utterly obnoxious Jesse Ventura was on commentary. I chalk some of it up to him playing the heel persona, but still, I found much of what he said highly irritable. I was somewhat distracted while watching this bout, as I was devouring some of my mom’s chili, but I do recall Eaton doing a pretty damn terrific flying kneedrop from the top buckle at one point.

I absolutely love both Rude and Steamboat, and would honestly watch these two wrestle each other for hours at a time – if that were somehow possible and legal. I’ve seen them work together before, and the end result was better, still, this match was pretty good minus the weak finish. What weak finish, you may be asking yourself? The one where a chubby man in a ninja costume, that for some reason was standing at ringside, I suppose as moral support for Steamboat, turned out to be the weasel Paul E. Dangerously who busted a humongous cellular phone on Ricky’s cranium. I definitely dig these guys’ work, though; their timing, athleticism, and psychology are topnotch.

The main event featured Luger and Sting, and earns some bonus credit for being a major title change, as perennial fan favorite Sting got the strap after a decent bout. It started out with both men talking to each other for what felt like a few minutes, I couldn’t make out entirely what either was saying, but I imagine it went something like, “I paid for the booze and prostitutes last weekend, it’s your turn Steve.” There are honestly not a whole lot of guys that I’d be particularly interested in watching Luger work with, but Sting’s on that short list of talent, as his energy brings out Luger’s better qualities. Get this match if you’re a big fan of either guy, or for the sheer historical significance alone, otherwise it’s about as important to me as a random Godfather match from Sunday Night Heat.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

TNA Bound for Glory 06

Here it is: TNA's World Series, their Superbowl, their Wrestlemania , for better lack of words. It was in Detroit( the first time they had done a PPV in another city besides Orlando) and the crowd responded mixed through the whole show.

1 Kevin Nash X Division Gauntlet- 4

Austin Starr( really Austin Aries) was the guy made in this match. Tenay said he had been pumped for weeks on TV, although I never saw one commercial for him( of course, I fast forward through most of their promos- thanks to DVR). By the way, speaking of Impact, it's one of the worst put together wrestling programs in the history of the industry. It needs immediate improvements, like yesterday. Back to the match, it featured your usual X Division culprits, including a woman, a midget, some Black Magic, and 5 seconds of work from the always fun Petey Williams. Starr won, but was the subject of every bad wrestling joke that happened in the match; and his Jesse Ventura needs work.

2 AMW v. The Naturals v. Team 3-D v. James Gang- 4

This was an average TV match. None of these teams were fueding and none of them had anything to gain from this. It wasn't even a No. 1 contenders match; it was giving them a paycheck. For the brief time the match was going, it was pretty stiff, and nothing was screwed up, so that's a plus.

3 Runt v. Abyss v. Raven v. Samoa Joe (Monster's Ball w/ Jake Roberts as the Guide to the Labyrinth in their minds)- 3

Roberts' involvement added little to this slop fest. Entertaining, yes, but good wrestling, that's a stretch Reed Richards couldn't make. Runt took a stiff chokeslam on his head from atop a scaffolding( I don't know how it's possible either, and I witnessed it) then Abyss jumped onto him like a little kid would back fall onto his bed before bed time. He looked pretty clumsy; but I'd be remissed if I didn't mention Joe's senton on his face into Thumbtacks. Or mention Raven wore a birdcage to the ring. (Insert your own Raven joke here)

4 Eric Young v. Larry Zybyszko- 0

I couldn't tell you a single move performed in this match. Larry looked like a lecherer in his skin tight bicycle shorts and no shirt. He looked like he was Bound for a Glory-hole in this match.

5 Senshi v. Chris Sabin- 6

These guys were the first to legitamitely work hard this night. In the past, their chemistry together has been questionable, but they pulled together a great match. Senshi's kicks were dynamite, and Sabin executed all his moves superbly. A Sabin title win was surprising and helped kick the grade up a little bit. But, his alien trunks and teenage girl haircut still make him look like Jeremy Borash's after show date.

6 Christian Cage v. Rhino (8 Mile Street Fight)- 2

When you look at the match, then the grade you may ask yourself, why? Certainly you thought this was better than a 2? Well, watch this match and tell me one thing that went right. You'll hurt your brain doing it. The brawl in the back- SUCKED! The ride on the Zamboni- Rhino stalled the thing out! Then, the weapons- we had a fake lamp post that looked like a prop from a bad Sherlock Holmes movie, an official "8 mile" road sign and the usual ladders, tables, and chairs, oh my. Nearly every weapon shot was blocked by one of the two guy's hands, and the finish was worse than a backyard federation. This match sucked my ass.

7 LAX v. Christopher Daniels/ AJ Styles (6 Sides of Steel)- 7

The best match of the night, hands down. Homicide got sick with the fork AND a coat hanger. Daniels bleed like a freak. AJ got suicidal by coming off the top of the cage and Hernandez, well, looked cool climbing the cage, but pretty lame coming off of it- but regardless, he was more brutal than Cobra Commander with blue balls. All 4 guys left themselves in the ring and beat each other down. Homicides' Gringo Killa finisher on AJ was the closest TNA's ever come to looking like they belonged in a Japanese ring. Awesome tag match and so refreshing to see a clean finish.

8 Sting v. Jeff Jarrett ( w/ Kurt Angle as Guest Whatever he wanted to be)- 5

I nearly gave this a 6 because the match itself, the pace and the plot of it, was pretty solid. Angle I would say, was only there to get himself over, ex: by beating the ref's ass several times and added nothing of substance to the match. Sting and Jarrett showed they can still wrestle and punch to a lesser degree. Sting's psych was right on, acting very nervous about his career being on the line and his new gear was a refreshing change. Another clean finish was what the doctor ordered and another TNA show is in the books. An average show overall, with a few very good matches.

TNA Bound for Glory 2006

1) Kevin Nash X-Division Invitational Battle Royal – 6
2) The Naturals vs. America’s Most Wanted vs. Team 3-D vs. The James Gang – 4
3) Samoa Joe vs. Brother Runt vs. Abyss vs. Raven – Monster’s Ball Match – 5
4) Eric Young vs. Larry Zbyszko – Loser Gets Fired Match – 2
5) Senshi vs. Chris Sabin – 6
6) Christian Cage vs. Rhino – 8 Mile Street Fight – 4
7) A.J. Styles & Christopher Daniels vs. LAX – Six Sides of Steel Match – 7
8) Jeff Jarrett vs. Sting – 5

The battle royal was a fun match to open the show with. Austin Aries debuted with a new character (as Austin Starr) and ended up winning the match by lasting the whole way through. Petey was way over with the Detroit crowd. It was also cool to see guys like Norman Smiley and D-Ray 3000 to fill out the match. Afterwards, Nash presented Starr with a giant bowling trophy. The tag match was about what you would expect when these four teams get together. There was a pretty cool Tower of Doom spot but that was about all that was notable. Jake the Snake was the referee for the Monster’s Ball match which was a disappointment in general, mainly because it wasn’t as insane as the previous ones. Runt bumped his ass off and got thrown from the set by Abyss. Raven came out wearing some weird mask that looked utterly ridiculous. Joe bumped off the ramp through two tables. Abyss used his usual sack of tacks and ended up getting put through them face first. Joe won with a muscle buster. It was a fairly decent match but I would’ve liked to have seen more hardcore action. Eric Young closed down Larry Land permanently in a match that was nothing but three minutes of slop.

Senshi and Sabin tore the house down as was expected. There was a nice spot were Sabin kicked Senshi in the face in the middle of a cartwheel. Sabin won with a clean roll-up from out of nowhere which instantly gave the match a bonus point. I really found it interesting that there was little to no ovation for Rhino when he was introduced in front of his hometown crowd. His match with Christian was so reminescent of late-90s WWF hardcore matches that it wasn’t funny. They started the match outside, then fought on a zamboni, then started using plastic street lamps. Rhino did give Christian a pretty swank ECW-esque piledriver through a table in what was probably the highlight of the terrible match. To finish, Christian piled a bunch of crap like chairs, broken tables, and ladders on top of Rhino and then beat all of that with a chair in what was probably one of the most convoluted matches on pay-per-view this year.

The six sides of steel match was the perfect match to finish up the LAX feud with. Styles and Daniels were both busted and got worked over with a fork by LAX. There was another pretty awesome tower of doom spot but it looked like A.J. got stuck on the top of the cage. Immediately after, he hit Hernandez with an incredible dive from the top of the cage. A sickening Gringo Killer move from Homicide recaptured the belts for LAX and capped off one of the best matches of the year. For those who viewed the Hard Justice pay-per-view from August, you may remember the abysmal Jarrett/Sting main event which featured pointless brawling and tons of interference. Well, this was nothing like it. As a matter of fact, it may have been the best match that either of these two have had since their days in WCW. Sting even broke out a long lost powerbomb and seemed to have a new fire lit under him. Kurt Angle was on the outside and slammed the referee for no apparent reason halfway through the bout. Sting no sold a Jarrett guitar shot and the crowd went absolutely apeshit. Sting’s deathlock looked the best it had been in years and helped him recapture the NWA title and end one of the best shows of the year on a very high note.

TNA Bound For Glory ‘06

1. Kevin Nash Open Invitational X-Division Gauntlet Battle Royal – 3
2. James Gang vs. Team 3-D vs. AMW vs. Naturals – 2
3. Abyss vs. Samoa Joe vs. Brother Runt vs. Raven – Monster’s Ball – 4
4. Eric Young vs. Larry Zbyszko – Retirement Match –1
5. Senshi vs. Chris Sabin – 6
6. Christian Cage vs. Rhino – 8 Mile Street Fight – 4
7. LAX vs. AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels – Cage Match – 7
8. Sting vs. Jeff Jarrett – 5

This was TNA’s first-ever pay-per-view outside of Orlando, and one that they sincerely hyped to the point of nausea. The Detroit crowd was pretty raucous, which helped the show have much needed energy. Would they succeed in what they promised to be their biggest show ever?

The opening battle royal had too much going on in it for my tastes. There were so many people involved, nobody even considering psychology, and I won’t even touch on the one-legged guy and dwarf. The subsequent four-way tag team match was also a mess of massive proportions; there were eight guys involved, and yet I still can’t recall anything that anybody did. That’s how little I, as well as the general viewer, care about these teams – and the writing staff of TNA is largely to blame.

Monster’s Ball was a ball, and also a complete melee of sloppy brawling and void of any structure. Granted, there were a couple highlights, one being legend Jake “the Snake” Roberts as referee, or as he liked to be referred to, “guide.” The less said about the retirement match debacle the better.

Senshi and Sabin was definitely more up my alley – although I know they’re capable of even better, this was still arguably the best bout of the show. Senshi is intense and I love it, all though he’s seemed homogenized since joining the ranks of TNA. Sabin, well, ever since he frosted his hair and started putting lame alien heads on his tights, I’ve kind of lost a little respect for him. When he’s on, he’s on, but he’s definitely lost that fire I admired in him in this past.

Christian and Rhino had a pretty lame brawl, very reminiscent of late-90’s WWF hardcore division crud. My favorite moment was Rhino giving Cage a piledriver off of the apron through a table. The finish, seeing Christian pile a bunch of garbage (literally) on top of Rhino, then repeatedly bash it with a chair was inexcusably bad. The steel cage match was pretty awesome; I definitely applaud all of these guys for their efforts and hard work. LAX are really becoming the team to watch on the scene this year, and Daniels and Styles are almost always a joy to watch. I kind of don’t want this feud to ever end.

The main event was surprisingly good, not great, mind you, but perfectly okay. At their age, you can’t expect much better out of them honestly. There were a couple miscommunications, but ultimately, this felt like a main event and was delivered like one. Jarrett took a delicious suplex on the entrance ramp, and came off for once looking like he belonged on the top of a card. The ending saw Sting win his first major championship in a long time, which was kind of a nice moment, even if Kurt Angle lurked around the entire match getting himself over at the expense of the guys busting their asses in the ring.

Overall, it might sound like I didn’t enjoy the show, but that’s not necessarily true. Like almost all wrestling, I had a lot of fun watching it, and was entertained throughout the duration of the pay-per-view. The quality of matches wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped, especially given the heavy hyping. One nice surprise was seeing three clean finishes in all three title matches – something exceedingly rare these days. We renamed the show as “Bound for Gloryholes” -- if you don’t get that reference, go to the seedy public bathroom of a nearby truckstop in the middle of the night. It’s an interesting time to be a TNA fan right now; they’re potentially on the cusp of becoming huge, or failing miserably. Either way, I’ll be watching intently, and never handing over.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

WWE Taboo Tuesday 2004

This is an interesting concept because by letting fans vote for stips on all the matches, you get them involved even in the ones they could care less about. Until the stip is named, and then they grimace. Coach emceed the show, which is to say a charisma stripped announcer has been did. (no, not you King Lawler, you were at the announce booth.)

1 Chris Jericho v. Shelton Benjamin- 4
the gimmick was Jericho didn't know who the fans were choosing between about 16 guys in the back. Jericho had a look on his face that said "okay, i could have a passable match with about three of those guys." Anyways, that's what he had with Shelton. Jericho wasn't really selling anything but the big spots, which they were only really two: a crazy superplex and a back drop to the floor. Jericho played up the upset win by trying to kick his legs out of the pin. Good psych, but this ain't for college credits. the fans were really into this too.

2 Divas Battle Royal( School girl outfits)- 0
there was no wrestling at all in this, and Stacy was the most over. She was the center of attention, just like back in the Baltimore Ravens locker room, when they had that pin the dick in Stacy's ass game.( the donkey was taking bets.) or when she was at the Flair family Christmas and she was the only girl there that David and Ric had both slept with( except the maid)

3 Kane v. Snitsky( Chain Match)- 2
slow- plodding- void of enthusiasm- lackluster-Kane-Calvin Klein- Obsession

4 Eric Bischoff v. Eugene(Loser gets Shaved)- 0
This was when Eugene was over and Chris Benoit got outvoted by a second tier heel(Edge) Vince came out to get over on Bischoff, which he does every chance he gets, done to no one's entertainment.

5 La Resistance v. Chris Benoit/ Edge- 4
Benoit showed a lot of intensity( Duh!), La Resistance showed a lot of greenness( Duh!) and Edge showed his ability to make me really not care if he lives( Triple Duh!) There was some good stuff, when Benoit was in, but Edge showed me he couldn't pull the two French Canadians through a decent match.

6 Christy v. Carmella( Lingerie Pillow Fight)-0
The match started out with Christy pulling out Carmella's fake boobs. Reading this you would think it's a good thing, but watching it was something too altogether horrifying. in fact, I'd rather not speak of this again.

7 HHH v. HBK- 4
A match that had potential. I'm a huge fan of Michaels, not as much as I used to be, but still a fan of his work. I think he severely overplayed his knee( even though i heard it was legit.) the match was pretty short on time and action, and even though the fans came alive at the end of this, I wasn't hooked in. I've seen much better from them.

8 Randy Orton v. Ric Flair( Steel Cage)-6
I'm becoming an Orton fan. I like his work, and he proved that he wants to play with the big boys in this one. He and Flair busted each other open badly( badly meaning really good) and just fought. Flair got his occasional main event, and tried to make something out of it. I enjoyed what i saw.

WWE Monday Night Raw - 10/9/06

1) Umaga vs. Kane – Loser Leaves Raw Match – 4
2) The Big Show vs. Jeff Hardy – 3
3) Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch vs. Shawn Michaels & Triple H – Street Fight – 4
4) Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Benoit – 4
5) Rey Mysterio, Bobby Lashley, & Batista vs. William Regal, Chavo Guerrero, & Finlay – 5
6) Torrie Wilson vs. Melina – Lumberjack Match – 2
7) Rob Van Dam vs. Booker T – 5
8) Ric Flair vs. Mitch – 1
9) John Cena vs. The Undertaker – 3

Umaga and Kane had a pretty hard-hitting match. While it was your basic TV match between the two, it was worlds better than their match at Unforgiven. Show and Hardy was a joke and why did it even happen? Show very sloppily sold Hardy’s standard offense and Show won with that leg smash thing he does. DX continued their burial of the Raw tag division by utterly destroying Cade and Murdoch in a very unrealistic street fight. A note to DX, stop putting yourselves over at the expense of everyone else and learn how to tell a fucking story! Benjamin and Benoit was a little bit too short for my liking but still managed to entertain me. The six-man tag from Smackdown was probably the match of the night. It was a breath of fresh air on a show that mostly has a less that stellar undercard. Finlay yelling out “I’ll beat your head in!” when they went to a commercial was definitely a highlight. The women’s match was a joke and only helped put over strip poker on ECW. Also, everyone has already forgotten about the women’s title so why even bother with a tournament. RVD and Booker had another good match and the commentary with JBL and Tazz taking shots at each other was pure gold. Flair and Mitch was nothing and only got a score because Flair had Piper, Anderson, DiBiase, and I.R.S. as backup. Cena and ‘Taker went about five minutes before Booker and Show ran-in to build up the main event for Cyber Sunday. Afterwards, Cena gets Big Show in the STFU and Big Show taps? What the fuck? That’s not fucking realistic. On another note, Raw now has new graphics and music that make it feel refreshing. That was actually long overdue in my opinion.

WWE Taboo Tuesday '04

1. Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Jericho - 4
2. Trish Statrus vs. Victoria vs. Molly Holly vs. Jazz vs. Nidia vs. Gail Kim vs. Stacy Keibler - School Girl Outfit Match - 2
3. Gene Snitsky vs. Kane - Chain Match - 3
4. Eugene vs. Eric Bischoff - Hair vs. Hair Match - 1
5. La Resistance vs. Chris Benoit and Edge - 5
6. Carmella vs. Christy Hemme - Lingerie Pillow Fight - 0
7. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels - 3
8. Ric Flair vs. Randy Orton - Cage Match - 6

I'd been trying to track this show down for a long time now; boy, I wasted my time. This was a stinker, through and through, especially the tremendously weak first-half. Jericho looked lazy, as if his heart was no longer in the business that puts food on his table, and had a match with Benjamin that felt too akin to your typical TV bout to properly satisfy me. The women's fiasco was a waste of time, and sadly only registered any points whatsoever because Trish and Stacy looked superb. Snitsky and Kane was a mess, as expected, but there's something strangely compelling about watching two giant dudes sloppily beating the hell out of each other, which this match offered in spades.

Eugene and Bischoff are both not welcomed on my TV -- I'd have rather the stipulation been the loser had to let the winner shave their pubic hair. Edge looked weak and eventually left Benoit to fend for himself, which was perfectly fine with me. They let this one fall apart, a couple times, but it was still arguably the most solid offering of the night. Christy and Carmella stumbled threw a heinous pillow fight; personally, I wish they would have thrown Rodney Mack vs. Rosey or something on instead, but who knows what they're thinking most of the time.

Shawn was legitimately hurt, and shouldn't have wrestled; he opted instead to make us suffer through a painful match with Triple H. Michaels' extreme overacting and ridiculous facials had me laughing my ass off -- this match stunk like a Von Erich corpse. Flair and Orton was fun, albeit shorter than hoped for, with Orton bleeding early and Flair taking his trademark old man bumps. It didn't live up to the hype, but WWE main events rarely do.