Monday, December 29, 2014

TNA One Night Only: World Cup of Wrestling 2

Four team captains leading their units through the toughest task in sports entertainment. Insert laughter. Alright so maybe just me and another 26 other people domestically ordered this on-demand PPV and yes I had no idea what these teams were fighting for or toward but I watched all the same.

The show started with a terribly lengthy in-ring segment. Felt like a Béla Tarr film. Each captain choose their team one person at a time while those in attendance at Universal Studios wondered why they weren't in line for Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride or Men in Black: Alien Attack. Not much to say about the assembled teams. Except Team EC3 sucks a big 'ol floppy dick.

1. James Storm vs. Eddie Edwards - 3
2. Madison Rayne vs. Gail Kim - 4
3. Bro Mans vs. Sanada & Mr. Anderson - 3

First match starts 24 minutes into the program. Even the announcers are burying the confusing rules of this tournaments of sorts. Edwards slaps high-fives with yokels in the front row harder than Jarrett punches. Eddie's Asai Moonsault bombs like his hometown Boston's famed marathon. Now the announcers bury that's it's "World Cup" and not "TNA Cup" (the 2013 edition had an international theme missing here). Mechanically the opener wasn't terrible but it lacked a pulse to really register. When you've seen the same match-up roughly 30 times you watch closely looking for little touches and while too short to assign recommendation status I liked the Knockouts match, kept it reigned in, and even though they could have done this match in their sleep they made it click. Tag was full of goofy stuff, both intentionally and not, from Sanada doing Anderson's trademark intro on the microphone, to Robbie's pinball bumping for Ken's tired pastiche, this felt like a meandering joke with no punchline. Mr. Anderson looks like a janitor from the Wonka Factory. Finish with the laptop foreign object usage was a 4.5 on the Alexandra York scale.

4. Bobby Roode vs. Eric Young - 5
5. Magnus vs. Kurt Angle - 3
6. Angelina Love vs. ODB - 2

Young's blue and yellow attire calls to mind the colors of my elementary alma mater the Van Buren Vikings. I expected these two former Team Canada members to fight fiercer than Kevin Nash and his son this past Christmas Eve but this was pretty sporting and measured. Fan in front row appears to be wearing Professor Dave Jennings' rug. Two former World champions working this like they would a UWF-TNA armory show fills me with little hope but this was still the best thing on the show thus far (and the match-ending piledriver was pretty damn swank). Prevailing notion online is that Kurt Angle hasn't been good in years if ever but I happily disagree and can always go for a nice slice of my favorite atrophied Olympian. A smidgen of chain wrestling early left the crowd comatose -- you could hear an iPhone drop or the audience literally growing fatter from the theme park fare. I scored this low because they only laid out a quarter of a match. After doing some feeling out, Angle hit a few throws, then shortly and suddenly won with an Angle Slam with zero fanfare. Very telling of Magnus' career that after a short and problematic run as company ace they then demoted him to Bram's second. ODB looks like she's wearing a fruit leather bodysuit. I've seen chili stains with better fashion sense. Love's facial sell off a bodyslam looked like the clerk at Target when I returned all that stuff without a gift receipt. This match even had a chase sequence around ringside that was played like a bit from The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo.

7. Davey Richards vs. Ethan Carter III - 4
8. Gunner & Bully Ray vs. Kenny King & Samuel Shaw - 3
9. Team EC3 vs. Team Young - 10-Person Elimination Tag Match - 5

I've seen kids at my son's pre-school taller than Davey Richards. Watching most EC3 matches is like back in the day when you'd go to the house of the girl you were dating and her little brother would put way too much sugar in the Kool-Aid ("or purple drank") and you'd just grin and bear it. Not to be confused with the Kool-Aid that Paul Heyman was ladling out convincing people that ECW was ever good. I did like how Davey took Carter's One Percenter headlock driver right on top of his bleach-blonde skull. Shaw's dark attire looks like what Rob Feinstein probably wore when he was trolling playgrounds. King's side headlock on Bully was weaker than our economy. I hope Tommy Dreamer brings Gunner into House of Hardcore next year to work a TLC match with Danny Doring. Never noticed before that Ray takes whips into the buckles like Doug Gilbert. Or maybe Glenn Gilbertti. I was predicting a Team Angle vs. Team Roode final so color me surprised, and also chartreuse, just 'cause I like it. This went on like The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. Godderz makes a bad Tauriel. Gail and Bully actually had a face-off that kind of made me want to see that match -- on WWE 2K15 that is. Gunner doing a Randy Savage double ax-handle off the top complete with swirly finger was unexpected, he also scored an elimination for his team using Luger's Torture Rack, so clearly he'd been watching old WCW pay-per-views off the WWE Network around that time. It comes down to Young and . . . Magnus? Eric chose to sell a lariat like he'd just taken some bad LSD. It was cool seeing Magnus eat a second clean pinfall on one show -- really not a fan save for his tag stuff teaming with Samoa Joe in NOAH. Pretty fun main event tops off a mostly forgettable show. It this has been '94 I'd have recorded it while watching on VHS. Then likely accidentally taped over it with the "Das Bus" episode of The Adventures of Pete & Pete.

I ordered the next two subsequent TNA One Night Only shows (Knockouts Knockdown 2 & Victory Road '14) so once I get my notes cleaned up on those expect reviews. Also previewing next year here on Never Hand Over, expect lots more activity on the still relatively new NHO Podcast, as we've got lots of awesome show ideas (Starrcade '89: Future Shock retrospective, anyone?) we're excited to produce. On my own I'll also be looking at a lot of PWG stuff, as I now own all their shows from 2010-2014, as well as some of Tommy Dreamer's House of Hardcore shows, not one but two Sami Callihan 60 min. Iron Man matches, the NJPW/ROH War of the Worlds co-show, and a completely random and wild collection of misc. reviews analyzing both current stuff and things from my staggering personal collection. Late-quarter 2014 has seen some life breathed back into NHO and we're excited to continue refusing handing over in the new year!

Friday, December 19, 2014

NHO Podcast Episode #4: TLC PPV, 2015 Preview, Weekly TV Rundown, and more!

The NHO podcast returns and there is an absolute TON of stuff to talk about. In this episode, Brian and Adam dive into the recent WWE TLC (and Stairs) PPV, rundown the weekly TV schedule going into 2015, what to watch, what to skip, etc. There's also discussion in regards to previewing 2015 not only in wrestling but with what's happening and coming up on the blog, plus other discussion about NXT, ROH Final Battle, and loads more!

Feedback is appreciated. Find us on Twitter @neverhandover or email us at and be sure to subscribe on iTunes!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

ROH Final Battle '14

1. Caprice Coleman vs. Mark Briscoe vs. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Hanson - 4
2. Adam Page vs. Roderick Strong - 4
3. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Michael Elgin - 5

Event was held at Terminal 5 which both looks and sounds like a stage from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Ordering a live 3 hr. HD pay-per-view from Ring of Honor from the comfort of my luxurious living room is something I could certainly get accustomed to. Fairly fun opener. Besides one sequence where Caprice and Hanson couldn't get on the same page this went off well. Coleman was a bit all over the place but also the most engaging performer. I didn't care for Hanson's "spinkick" finish it looked like he barely got his leg up and felt like a weak throwaway strike not a bout ender. Page hit what might possibly be my favorite clothesline of the year (and that covers a ton of ground) when he flipped over the guardrail from out in the crowd springing forward into a devastating clothesline that crushed Strong. Sick finish as the Strong Hold looked like it was going to break Page in half. I loved Elgin's way of breaking out of a Testicular Claw was rearing back and punching Ciampa right in the teeth. This was worked like a big heavyweight boxing bout from yesteryear and had enough big impactful spots without dipping into overkill territory. A hotter stretch run would have warranted a higher score but I did like Elgin's new DDT variation finish.

4. The Addiction and Cedric Alexander vs. The Young Bucks and ACH - 6
5. Moose vs. R.D. Evans - 1
6. Jay Lethal vs. Matt Sydal - 6

Funny seeing Kaz and Daniels wearing '90's era X-Men attire when Daniels looks more like Professor X than any of its fighting heroes. First match of the show that really felt vibrant and alive and got the crowd rollicking. Bucks looked as fluid and smooth as ever and turned in quite fine performances. Proud of them for recently turning down WWE's offer. Wanted to take this grade a little higher and would have had Addiction offered a little more to the proceedings. Next match stunk like coming across a malodorous noisome pile of moose excrement in the forest while taking a hike. Couldn't tell if Evans was purposefully blowing spots or just that inept but three consecutive botches of a springboard is troublesome either way. I've been saying Lethal has quietly been an MVP of 2014. Not enough high profile matches to be considered a real WotY candidate but he's sunken deep into his role and has been a reliable ace. Sydal's hair looked composed like a Roy Andersson set. This was competently put together but would have fallen a point short of real recommendation status had it not been for the cool unique finishing stretch that saw Lethal catch Sydal in mid-air while he was hitting a Shooting Star Press on Jay's manager Truth Martini with a Lethal Cutter -- really cool spot.

7. reDRagon vs. Time Splitters - 5
8. Jay Briscoe vs. Adam Cole - Fight Without Honor - 6

I rate Kyle's work in PWG & NJPW a touch higher than a lot of his ROH stuff but in general think rDRagon have likely surpassed The American Wolves' reign. They haven't had enigmatic rivals like the Wolves did with Steen & Generico but turn in pretty consistently solid work as champs. Fish was flat in EVOLVE as faux-fighter but has developed some personality as the mustachioed muscle of the team. Shelley isn't getting any younger but is still a clever and capable hand. KUSHIDA's Swanton onto the dogpile out of the ring was on the right side of crazy. Saito suplex shouldn't be a transition move. Finish was fine for a random NJPW show undercard bout but for a PPV semi-main felt a bit anticlimactic with reDRagon narrowing their focus on Kushida and hitting a series of things on him until they put this to bed. They teased an early ending with Briscoe nailing a Jay Driller very quickly and soon after putting Cole through a ringside table. Also saw first signs of blood early with Jay getting his forehead stapled by Cole. Just like a Briscoe's family reunion soon everyone is bleeding. Cole would be great in NXT. I had to laugh when Jay poured out the thumbtacks. Having regrettably done some backyard wrestling in my past we'd buy huge bags of standard silver tacks but here Briscoe looked like he raided a second grade teacher's desk as only about 400 multi-colored (green, yellow, red, blue, etc.) tacks poured out. A backdrop is about as lame a bump to waste that garbage spot on too. They should have sent them to the principal's office for ruining perfectly good school supplies. Cole survived a second Jay Driller but a third one finally finished the job. I really anticipated giving this a "7" and briefly felt like it might get to that level but they never really let loose with the violence and allowed this to feel unhinged.

This was a decent PPV offering, I'd say slight Thumbs Up, but not a pulse-pounding, run out tell your friends, type of affair. Better than last week's WWE TLC (and Stairs?) pay-per-view by any means. 2014 has been a good year for Ring of Honor but they need to mix things up a bit in the year ahead and the recent signing of Alberto Del Rio is a good step. I'd like to see them do these quarterly or three times per year and perhaps go with Cole and Briscoe on top again on the next one but in a big blowoff gimmick match (Iron Man, anyone?).

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.

The show is also available in MP3 format for download here.

Subscribe to us on iTunes!

As always, feedback is appreciated,, follow us on Twitter @neverhandover, or leave comments below.

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!

Subscribe on iTunes!

Feedback is appreciated, or follow us on Twitter @neverhandover

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.

The show is also available for download in .MP3 format

Subscribe on iTunes!

Feedback is appreciated, or follow us on Twitter @neverhandover

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.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

2001: A WCW Odyssey - WCW Sin

The first PPV of 2001. Scott Steiner defends in a four way against Sid, Jeff Jarrett, and a mystery opponent, Goldberg’s career is on the line in a tag match against Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell, plus lots more!

1. Shane Helms vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. - 6

We open up with the cruiserweight title on the line. Some feeling out to start and then it started to really pick up. Scott Hudson on commentary really oversells a headscissor take over by asking if Chavo lost an ear or is still conscious. Chavo kept things pretty grounded and brought some subtle aggressiveness by throwing some hard crossfaces and smashing Helms face with a forearm on a pin attempt. Helms got a good nearfall off a German suplex, to which Hudson said Chavo got folded up “like a pair of pleated pants.” Both guys hit huge cross body blocks from the top rope to the floor, Helms got a nearfall on a super sunset flip from the top rope. Really good ending sequence with Helms reversing a tornado DDT, a counter exchange, and then Chavo getting the win with a brainbuster. Really good match to kick off the show and there was more good stuff that I didn’t even cover. Neither guy really got an advantage throughout the match and it was a constant back and forth.

2. Big Vito vs. Reno - 6

The story here is a grudge match between two brothers and it’s a giant brawl from the start. Reno just dominates with punching and kicking and Vito comes back with a vicious clothesline. Huge superplex from the top rope just rocked the earth with its impact. These two have just absolutely destroyed each other thus far with hard hitting blows and it came across and a complete hate-filled, hard hitting fight. Vito hit a mafia kick that just wrecked Reno’s night. Reno controlled the majority of the match but Vito came back with a big double underhook suplex and a top rope elbow which got him a good nearfall. These two were just worn out a gassed by the end and it was very visable. Reno got the win off a Roll of the Dice. This was a fun match with these guys going full bore into each other for seven minutes.

3. The Jung Dragons (Kaz Hayashi & Jimmy Yang) vs. Evan Karagias & Jamie Noble - 6

Lots of history between the Dragons and the former Three Count. Noble was once the masked man of the Dragons while Karagias was formerly a part of Three Count. Plus, this is an unadvertised bonus match! The flying started early with the Draongs hitting a big double Asai moonsault. Kaz Hayashi tried a dive from the top rope and was met with a dropkick in mid-air by Karagias. All four of these guys work really well together and even the random pairing of Karagias and Noble works really well. Kaz just absolutely KO’ed Noble with a brutal kick to the face. If this was UFC, the kick was so brutal that the ref would’ve called it off. There was a nice cool down section right in the middle but for the most part this was nothing but action from start to finish. Yang got a big nearfall off a sit-out powerbom from the top rope. Hudson reference Karagias using a “firebird splash” for a nearfall. Yang completely over shot Noble on what looked like it could’ve been the finish but quickly countered into an inside cradle. Quite the fun little match and so far I’ll say this show is 3 for 3.

4. Mike Sanders vs. The Cat - 3

This is probably the 15th match for the commissionership in the last three months. Before we even begin, there’s a bunch of useless talking. Sanders has decided to wrestle in a sleeveless “Natural Born Thrillers” shirt. I think that all Sanders knows how to do is basic offense as he did a lot of punching, clubbing blows to the back, and generic heel stuff. The sunset flip he attempted looked really awkward. Theres some intereference from Jindrak and Stasiak who are then jumped by Kronik. Kronik then blatany jumps in the ring and gives Sanders a double powerbomb that Cat follows up with a giant kick for the win. Not a whole lot notable here, more story than match, but it was entertaining.

5. Penalty Box Match: Rey Mysterio Jr., Billy Kidman, & Konnan vs. Lance Storm, Elix Skipper, & Mike Awesome - 4

Jim Duggan is the special referee here based on the fact he turned on Team Canada late in 2000. The stipulation is that if someone breaks a rule, then they are thrown in the penalty box. Tony calls Konnan’s shades “like something out of Mad Max” as he looks like he just came off the street cruising around in his low rider. Duggan explains the rules and we’re off. Awesome and Skipper are the first in the penalty box for bumping the referee and interference, respectively. So far, while the action has been good, it feels like the penalty box stipulation is hampering this. Skipper hit a few nice offensive moves while in with Konnan including a walking top rope dropkick and dodging a clothesline Matrix style. The scrap between the ladies on the outside felt really forced. Kidman and Storm had a nice exchange with Kidman getting a nearfall on a sit-out powerbomb. Awesome has spent more time in the penalty box than actually wrestling, but in the mean time he managed to destroy Mysterio with a sick Awesome Bomb. Storm got a tap-out from Kidman to pick up the win. As was mentioned earlier, this was really hampered by the stipulation and the special referee. There were numerous times were Duggan would stop the action mid-stream to issue a penalty, which in turn would kill the momentum. Not a whole lot here that was interesting.

6. Hardcore Match: Terry Funk vs. Crowbar vs. Meng - 4

Funk just shows up in the most random places at the most random times, including here in the dying days of WCW. We start off with a brawl between Crowbar and Terry Funk that wandered into the restroom. Meng brings an element of toughness and brutality to the match whereas if it was Crowbar and Funk, it may have just been a meandering brawl. Big spot of the match was Crowbar jumping off the first row of bleachers with a leg drop and putting Funk through a table. Funk found a random snow shovel and started pummeling Meng and Crowbar and then slammed Crowbar through a length of guardrail. Holy shit, did I just see Meng jump off the top rope with a splash? You’re damn right I did and it completely flattened Crowbar. First bit of this match, Meng seemed as a afterthought but once the action eventually made it back to the ring, Meng was more of a focus of the match. Ending was odd with Crowbar hitting Funk with a chair and then Meng getting the pin. Wasn’t much of a hardcore match and felt sort of aimless at times. A historical sidenote though, the appears to have been the last televised defense of the WCW Hardcore Title as the next week after this show, Meng re-debuted in the WWF as Haku in the Royal Rumble.

7. Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo vs. Kevin Nash & Diamond Dallas Page - 4

Before the match, Mike Sanders tries a power play to switch out competitors in the match as he sees fit. However, Ric Flair comes out and pretty much tells him and the rest of the Thrillers to fuck off and not to interfere. DDP and Palumbo start this off and Page gets a really close nearfall off a urinage that Schiavone incorrectly called a “chokeslam”. Really enjoyed seeing Nash and O’Haire tie it up. Nash hit a stiff big boot but O’Haire got the momentum back by doing an insane parkour style move running up the turnbuckles, backflipping over Nash from the top rope, and drilling him with a side kick. Palumbo drilled DDP with a stiff elbow as Page was charging into the corner. O’Haire and Palumbo did a good job of double teaming and isolating Page. Palumbo goes for a tombstone of all things and is reversed by Page. Nash comes in and just completely destroys the Thrillers. What the fuck is Lex Luger doing out here? Then, there’s a Buff Bagwell run-in dressed as some sort of auto mechanic who KO’s Nash with a wrench. Thanks to all this bullshit, O’Haire is able to hit the Seanton Bomb for the win and gain the tag titles. Some decent stuff here and O’Haire probably looked the best out of everyone involved. Felt sort of bland in the middle as the crowd was pretty dead and only popped when Nash got tagged in. Probably could’ve done without the run ins at the end though.

8. First Blood Chain Ladder Match: Shane Douglas vs. Gen. Rection - 4

This is for the U.S. Title and what a completely horrible stipulation. You can use the ladder to get the chain that hangs above the ring but if you’re bleeding, you lose. The was just a basic brawl, nothing notable in the first part. Rection tried to bust open Douglas by repeatedly hammering hit in the head. Rection went for a moonsault and Tony theorized on commentary that Rection was going to try to jump from the turnbuckle to the middle of the ring to get the chain. Somehow, I don’t think that would be possible. Early on, felt like they were really pre-occupied with the first blood stipulation. Smart move by Douglas to work over the General’s knees to try to prevent him from climbing to reach the chain. Lame ending with Rection retreiving the chain, a ref bump, and Douglas pulling a chain out of his boot and hitting Rection with it to barely make him bleed. This probably would have been better without the wacky stipulation but it was decent.

9. No DQ Match: Lex Luger & Buff Bagwell vs. Goldberg & DeWayne Bruce - 4

In the pre-match video package, it was still never explained how or why Goldberg is teaming with the head trainer of the Power Plant and a guy who last appeared on pay-per-view six years prior as a member of jobber tag team The State Patrol in a battle royal. The stipulation here is that if Golberg’s team loses, then Goldberg must retire. Goldberg has the biggest and best reaction thus far of anybody on the show tonight. Luger gets completely mauled by Goldberg in the opening as Bagwell looks absolutely terrified on the apron. Bruce gets the tag and is nearly immediately worked over by Luger and Bagwell. Sorry to say that Bruce didn’t show any fire at all. Goldberg gets the hot tag, destroys Luger and Bagwell, and get maced by a fan. What the hell? Luger introduces a chair, lays in a few choice shots, and a sloppy looking super Blockbuster allows Luger and Bagwell to get the win. Not a great match, especially when Bruce was in and the only person who actually seemed to care was Goldberg. The crowd at the end though was in complete shock when Goldberg lost as they expected him to mop the floor with these two buffoons. Sort of a comparable reaction to when Brock Lesnar beat Undertaker at WrestleMania.

10. Four Corners Match: Jeff Jarrett vs. Sid Vicious vs. Scott Steiner vs. Mystery Man - 3

Flair comes out before the match and says the Mystery Man will show up when he feels like it. Well, alright then. I supposed it’ll be a three way match. This was essentially a handicap match as Steiner and Jarrett double teamed him. Sid’s double suplex on both guys looked absolutely awful as he dropped them both right on their heads. We get a cut scene to the back where Flair gets the Mystery Man and this is the point where Sid’s leg break happens as once they cut back to the arena, Sid is down and barely moving. A quick finish once the Mystery Man shows up as Steiner pins Sid and the Mystery Man unmasks as Road Warrior Animal. Well, that was not quite who one would expect under that goofy costume

Overall, I’d say this was a pretty good show. While not great, it’s certainly one of the better offerings that WCW put out during its dying days. The first three bouts were really good but then things started to sort of fall off the cliff. The Penalty Box Match was not good, neither was the main event. Everything else was watchable but not notable.

2001: A WCW Odyssey Master List

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

AWA Championship Wrestling 7/22/86

Venturing back to the 80’s with some AWA on ESPN. This should be fun … hopefully.

1. Larry Zbyszko vs. Chad "Babyface" Bardo - 3

This looks like it was filmed at a high school gym somwhere. Not sure who this Bardo character is but I’m guessing he’s probably just a local dude they found on the frozen tundra of Minnesota somewhere and offered him a ten bucks and a hot meal if he would get beat up by Zbyszko. Zbyszko takes his time picking apart Bardo with two piledrivers and taps him out with a stump puller. Pretty basic squash.

2. Curt Hennig vs. Don Fargo - 4

Don Fargo is an old outcast from the peak of the territories and looks like he’s been through the wars. He’d be more apt for an appearance in Game of Thrones instead of here taking on Curt Hennig. Not sure what’s so special about this match as Curt’s dad, Larry “The Ax” Hennig is doing guest commentary and Curt is being put over big. Loving Fargo’s selling of everything as he’s so animated and has a lot of good facials. Fargo met his doom after a brutal forearm smash and a big second-rope dropkick. Hennig looked fine but the world needs more Don Fargo.

3. Boris Zhukov vs. Tim Patterson - 2

In the next match, Boris Zhukov attacked right at the bell and just destroyed this poor sap. Zhukov used the hammerlock frequently and worked over Patterson’s shoulder pretty much the whole match. Horrible looking kneedrop ends this mercifully. Another basic squash that went a bit too long and felt really bland

4. Midnight Rockers vs. Rick Renslow & Pete Sanchez - 3

The opponents here for the Rockers are really thick dudes. Rick Renslow looks like a guy you’d find hanging out at a seedy biker bar after hours throwing back Budweisers. Wait, I’ve heard of Pete Sanchez, wasn’t he the guy that wrestled Flair in his first MSG match back in 1976? Michaels had to really work for a powerslam late in the match with Sanchez really didn’t want to go up for. The Rockers looked crisp and definitely made Sanchez & Renslow work for their nights pay.

5. Stan Hansen vs. Jerry Blackwell - 5

The backstory to this one is that Hansen was the champion at the time and this was his last defense before refusing to defend the title the next night in Denver. Blackwell just opened up on Hansen with some big punches to the face and split open Hansen within the first two minutes of the match. Blackwell just seemed content to throw punches and not much else and seemed winded within the first few minutes. Hansen dropped Blackwell with a big boot to the head after he attempted a charge to the corner. Big bearhug from Blackwell slowed this down to a stop. Ref bump followed and Hansen went crazy just killing Blackwell and two referees with a cowboy boot. I was hoping for a match where two big dudes just laid into each other and unfortunately, this was not what happened here.

6. Brad Rheingans vs. Ali Khan - 3

Rheingans, for all of his amateur credits, comes across on TV as one of the most bland and vanilla guys possible. I’ve seen milk cartons with more personality. Khan is nothing but a crazed lunatic. Some decent looking mat work from Rheingans after the first few minutes was nothing but stalling from Khan but thus far not much to really see here. Well, shit, the referee gets knocked down for no apparent reason. I’m not going to even try to figure that out. Match breaks down into chaos and apparently Khan got disqualified. What for? Not sure as it’s never explained.

Overall, an OK episode with the only real notable thing big thing being the Hansen/Blackwell match. The Hennig match was fun just because of Fargo’s invovlement but everything else was pretty bland.

Friday, October 24, 2014

2001: A WCW Odyssey - WCW Thunder 1/10/01

It’s the final stop before the Sin PPV!

1. Kwee Wee & Big Vito vs. Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo - 3

This was set up on Nitro by way of Vito and Kwee Wee interfering in the wacky Minnesota Massacre match and fighting off the Thrillers. Palumbo comes out swinging with some punches in the corner as Tony and Stevie talk about “yak problems” and the vast difference in hair styles between Vito and Kwee Wee on commentary. Palumbo hits, as Tony calls it, a “forklift belly-to-belly” suplex. O’Haire was a top prospect at one time but didn’t show much here. Kwee Wee gets the hot tag and goes absolutely apeshit throwing punches and hitting Thesz presses and DDTs. Reno comes down and beats up Johnny the Bull for no apparent reason. A sick Seanton Bomb finishes this off.

2. Rey Mysterio Jr. & Billy Kidman vs. Lance Storm & Elix Skipper - 4

More of the ongoing Filthy Animals against Team Canada feud. Jim Duggan is doing commentary in a Cosby sweater to help promote the Penalty Box match at Sin that features him as the special referee. Nice double spinebuster early on by Kidman and Mysterio. Storm comes in and squares off with Kidman which culminates in a huge top-rope superplex that was both unexpected and awesome. Storm really is the glue that holds this mess together. A lot of this was Storm against Kidman, which I’m not complaining about. Skipper got a nearfall on a full-nelson dragon suplex. Duggan is really annoying, yelling “penalty box” whenever Storm and Skipper cheat. Lots of craziness at the end with all four guys brawling, Tygress and Major Gunns getting into a “yak fight” according to Stevie Ray, and Mike Awesome and Konnan fight just because. Storm catches Mysterio in the middle of a springboard off the ropes and finishes him off with a half crab.

3. Shane Douglas, Shawn Stasiak, & Mark Jindrak vs. Gen. Rection, Kevin Nash, & Diamond Dallas Page - 4

Nash and DDP are subbing for Lt. Loco and Sgt. A-Wall after they were jumped in the trainers room by the Thrillers and a bottle of ether. Not sure about you but I’d consider Nash and DDP quite the upgrade. Douglas does his typical pre-match promo of bile and filth. Rection, DDP, and Nash storm the ring and we’re off. Douglas barely got in the match until Rection was beaten down and let Stasiak and Jindrak do most of the heaving lifting. Rection fights back and the remainder of the Thrillers run down. Meanwhile, Douglas tries to get the win by using the old chain in the boot trick but is trumped by Rection and gets KO’ed as Rection get the pin. I was hoping for a fun six-man tag but instead we got a match with a bunch of guys on cruise until the end with the big brawl.

4. Don Harris vs. Meng - 2

This started off hot with a big brawl. Meng tried a running big splash, got thwarted, and then hit a ton of big clotheslines in the corner which looked like they gave Don some serious whiplash. We get the switcheroo from the Harris Brothers but that didn’t help as Meng gets the win with the Tongan Death Grip. Wish there was more to this besides brawling but it just felt like something put in to kill time.

5. Lex Luger & Buff Bagwell vs. Kronik - 3

Another match that was set up on Nitro when Bagwell and Luger interfered in Kronik’s match against Goldberg and Sarge. So now we’ve got this match which featured Kronik charging the ring and trading punches with Luger and Bagwell. Luger looks like he'd rather be anywhere else but here. Halfway through, we get a cutaway backstage with Goldberg showing up in his car and running into the arena. Kronik’s punching, especially from Bryan Clark, is really bad. Adams hit a wild gorilla press into a gutbuster. Meanwhile, Goldberg casually jogs into the arena, as if he were out on his morning exercise, and spears Adams leading to a DQ.

6. Sid Vicious vs. Scott Steiner - 2

This is a rematch from Starrcade and Sid spews an incoherent, babbling promo beforehand where he says “there’s only two things I care about and that I’m gonna see that who’s the man that wins the WCW title” or some such nonsense. I should note also that this was Sid’s final singles match before his accident at the pay-per-view (which is the next review in this series). A slugfest starts this off which spills to the outside. Sid gets a couple shots in with a DDT and a big boot. Mystery Man interferes in his ridiculous get up and ruins the fun with some awful shots to Sid’s back. Steiner looked to be on cruise control and nobody bought the fact that even though this was for the title, that they would dare do a title switch four days before the pay-per-view.

Up next, the first PPV of the year … WCW Sin!!

2001: A WCW Odyssey Master List

Monday, October 20, 2014

2001: A WCW Odyssey - WCW Monday Nitro 1/8/01

It’s the first Nitro of 2001 and the final Nitro before the Sin pay-per-view!

1. Shannon Moore vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. - 4

This was originally supposed to be non-title but Chavo decided to put the Cruiserweight Title on the line here against Moore so that way if Moore won, then it would be a Chavo vs. Moore rematch on the PPV. Moore rushed out of the gate with some fiery offense, leading you to believe that he may have a chance, albeit a slim one, to win the title. This was a nifty little match with Chavo playing a good heel. Moore hit a nice springboard fameasser followed by a glorious botch trying to do some high risk move in the corner. The brainbuster at the end from Chavo was all kinds of nasty and pretty much ruined Moore’s night.

2. The Cat vs. Ron Harris - 2

Before the match, Cat just had to run his mouth about the Harris Brothers. This immediately led him to getting double teamed when the match started. Cat’s karate moves didn’t phase Harris at all and amounted to exactly squat. The referee was completely incompetent, allowing the Harris’ to do an illegal switcheroo and double team Cat right in front of him. Quick match, nothing exciting.

3. Lance Storm vs. Billy Kidman - 5

This is yet another continuation of the Filthy Animals vs. Team Canada feud that feels like it’s never ending. For a TV match though, this was good. The action kept up at a decent pace. Storm hit a nice forward roll and then dropped Kidman sternum first on the ropes. Kidman countered a Storm jump off the top rope with a sick dropkick that caught Storm in mid-air and then got a really close nearfall off of a Lo-Down. For some reason, a chair was thrown in 90 seconds in. Not sure why as it didn’t really come into play until the last bit of the match when Storm took a header into it. The finish had Kidman getting the win with the Kid Crusher. Worst part of the match was the brawl on the outside with all of the Animals and Team Canada that seemed to just inexplicably stop since the match in the ring was in the final stretch. Probably the best match I’ve seen from this project thus far.

4. Shane Douglas vs. Sid Vicious - 3

Sid and his jean shorts look really old. First move that Sid did in this match was a clothesline and it was awful, therefore that meant that pretty much the rest of the match that’s all the offense he threw. Douglas did his best to make this watchable but Sid is just so stiff and rigid that there wasn’t much he could do. Douglas got finished off with a powerbome and Sid showed no expression whatsoever though this whole thing while going through the motions.

5. Kronik vs. Goldberg & DeWayne Bruce - 3

I wish someone would actually take the time to explain how Bruce wound up getting involved with Goldberg. Does he have a deep, dark secret on him or something and is therefore forcing him to kill his career by teaming up in bad matches on national television? Anyway, we had a lame brawl on the outside with Goldberg taking one of the worst leg trips into the railing I’ve ever seen. Bruce is just brutal to watch. For all the hype he has for being this hard-ass at the Power Plant, he’s showed absolutely nothing the two matches of his I’ve seen. Kronik nearly got the upset with the High Times move but Goldberg fought back with a series of kicks, a spear, and a jackhammer to win.

6. Minnesota Massacre Match: Kevin Nash & Diamond Dallas Page vs. Mike Sanders, Sean O’Haire, & Chuck Palumbo - 3

This was a mess. Earlier in the show, Commissioner Mike Sanders announced this match and explained the rules, which seemed very complicated and that it would involve “randomly selected opponents” for the Thrillers (himself, O’Haire, and Palumbo). Then, later, a disembodied HAND reached in a suit coat that supposedly belonged to Sanders and swapped out the envelope that had the “randomly selected opponents” with a different one. Finally, to the match, and it turned out the that the MYSTERY HAND made Kevin Nash and DDP the “randomly selected opponents” for the Thrillers. The match itself then started and no one seemed to know what the rules were. On commentary, Schiavone kept saying it was “last man standing” so I guess that works. O’Haire and Palumbo both tried to kick DDP at the same time but collied with each other and fell to the mat in a heap in an unintential moment of hilarity. So much punching from all participants that it wasn’t even funny. DDP hit a Diamond Cutter and Nash hit a powerbomb for the win in what was essentially a handicap match.

7. Scott Steiner vs. Jeff Jarrett - 3

Before the match started there was a LOT of talking. So much, in fact, that when the bell actually rang to start the match there was only five minutes left in the show. They had a match that was decent but in no way memorable. A brawl on the outside culminated in a low blow on Steiner. Then, we get a random run-in from Sid, who seemed to be moving faster than he was in his earlier match, and the Mystery Man in his black and white bumblebee outfit. All four brawled and the show ended.

Not much of a go-home show for the PPV.

Next up: Thunder, the actual last stop before Sin!

2001: A WCW Odyssey Master List

Thursday, October 16, 2014

WWF Wrestlefest '95

This tape is part of the rare and hard to find “500 series” released in by Coliseum Video in 1995 and 1996. This particular series is the rarest of the rare, the holy grail as far as collecting Coliseum Video WWF tapes goes. These ten tapes were mail order only and couldn’t be bought in stores. This is one of the cheaper tapes in the series, that can currently be found for about $70 on Ebay while most of the others will set you back over $150 or more. Let’s see if there are any rare gems on this rare old VHS tape.

1. The Undertaker vs. Jean-Pierre LaFitte - 2

This appears to have been filmed in what looks like the gym at the local YMCA darkened to look like an underground fight club. LaFitte was a well known pirate. He dominated the high seas in the 1700s by attacking American and British ships, peddling knock-off Oakley shades on a street corner in Boston, and then hocking bootleg DVDs in Baltimore. Years later, he made his way to the WWF. If you don’t remember this, don’t feel bad, most people don’t. He was around for about six months and his biggest feud was with Bret Hart over a leather jacket. Welcome to 1995 WWF. Both guys pretty much stuck to the basics here and seemed to be in cruise control. Match wasn’t long, maybe about 6-8 minutes and looked like it was filmed in a gym somewhere. Crowd wasn’t into this at all either, I’ve seen more livelier crowds at funerals. Taker polished off Pierre with a chokeslam and people yawned.

2. Owen Hart, Yokozuna, & Hakushi vs. Bret Hart, Savio Vega, & Razor Ramon - 5

Six of the marquee guys of mid-1995 in this match. Action starts between Yokozuna and Razor as Gorilla Monsoon drones about how Yokozuna was weighed in an airplane hangar in Singapore for this match in West Virginia. What? Some good action between Razor and Owen highlighted by a stiff looking heel kick from Owen. Bret and Hakushi had a nice exchange as well that saw Bret absolutely plant Hakushi with a DDT. Haven’t seen a whole lot of Yokozuna yet, except to come in and just beat down people. He was pretty much working the Andre the Giant role the whole match, coming in as needed to lay a quick beatdown to quell some offense from the opponents. Savio did this horrible looking and telegraphed dive off of Yokozuna in the corner onto Hakushi, who was way out of position. Wait a second, did I just see this match end on a clothesline of all things? Yep, I sure did. This was a fun little match with some pretty good action but nothing worth going out of your way to see.

3. Shawn Michaels vs. Dr. Tom Prichard - 4

Here's a random match from an episode of Superstars that has since fallen somewhere into the ether. Michaels seems to be in complete showboat mode thus far and doesn’t look to be taking anything seriously. Prichard and his entourage consisting of Jim Cornette and Jimmy Del Ray seem to be in no mood for Michaels’ high foolishness. Quite honestly, neither am I. Prichard worked the first bit of the match as a punching bag and foil for Michaels, with Jimmy Del Ray getting the most offense in. No, seriously. The illegal guy in the match, got the most offense in for the heels. Prichard though, after the interference, kept things moving by working over Michaels’ back. Ending seemed rushed with Michaels making a quick comeback and finishing off Prichard with the Sweet Chin Music.

4. Jerry "The King" Lawler vs. Adam Bomb - 5

On paper, this sounded like an interesting match and turned out to be a true study of how to be an effective heel and a one-man show. Lawler ran this whole match by using basic psychology and doing some really good selling of Bomb’s big-man offense. The most offense he got in the whole match was when Bomb took a big fall to the outside and Lawler shoved his head into the steps. Lawler was so good in this match that I forgot he had an opponent and it seemed like he was just wrestling himself. Even the end with Lawler getting the pin by putting his feet on the ropes fit it perfectly with the flow of everything.

5. Bob Holly & Alundra Blayze vs. Hakushi & Bull Nakano - 3

Let's pause a moment before we even go to the match. The host of this tape, Stephanie Wiand introduces this match and calls this a “Sadie Hawkins mixer” in the most cheesy way possible. What the hell did she even mean by that? Anyway, the women start this one off highlighted by Bull flinging Alundra across the ring by her hair numerous times. Holly and Hakushi managed to screw up a simple Irish Whip. Nicely done, gentlemen. Monsoon calls this “a main event in any arena across the entire world”. Well, OK. Not sure I’d plunk down a twenty to see this match top the card. Action breaks down and Holly and Alundra do a double dive spot. Blayze hoists up Bull in a German suplex to get the pin. The women were pretty much the shining stars of this match, otherwise, this was not good at all.

6. Bret Hart vs. Jimmy Del Ray - 4

Bret Hart and Jimmy Del Ray looked like it could have been from the same Supertars taping that the Shawn Michaels/Tom Prichard match from earlier was, maybe even the same episode. Bret controlled the majority of the match with an assortment of technical stuff. Really liked the takedown he had after catching a spinning kick from Del Ray. Del Ray tried a moonsault, I give him a 9 for form but a zero for landing it as he missed completely. Bret’s comeback with the leg sweep, the elbow, and everything else led to him quickly polishing off Del Ray. Basic TV match here, nothing more, nothing less.

7. British Bulldog & Lex Luger vs. Jeff Jarrett & The Roadie - 3

The commentators keep referring to Roadie as “Road Dogg”. They must’ve been able to see into the future. This match has been going nowhere fast, watching Jarrett strut, Luger work a hammerlock, and Roadie doing the most action of anyone thus far. Bulldog seemed to be an afterthought except for pretty much the beginning and getting a hot … well, lukewarm tag to clear the ring as Stan Lane put it on commentary “like a lawn mower”. Again, nothing here worth checking out a second time. A colossal mess of a brawl led to Luger and Bulldog getting the win in a match that accomplished absolutely nothing.

8. Men on a Mission vs. Smoking Gunns - 4

The Smoking Gunns rush the ring and this starts out with more fire in the first 30 seconds that anything else on this tape combined. Not sure when this match was filmed but it appears to be before Mabel won King of the Ring. If there’s one thing that I love about wrestling, it’s seeing big dudes like Mabel, Vader, and Yokozuna just completely wreck shop and ruin peoples lives, and that’s exactly what Mabel did. Mabel did some sort of back suplex looking move that looked completely nasty and had to destroy Bart Gunn’s back and probably made his night absolutely miserable. Billy got a hot tag after what seemed like an eternity (seriously, I've seen epic ten-part documentary films from Ken Burns that were shorter than Bart's face in peril segment) and managed to get a pin with a small package.

9. Jeff Jarrett vs. Razor Ramon - 4

Finally, the last match on the tape and it's for the Intercontinental Title. Has there ever been a title change on a match filmed exclusively for Coliseum Video? I doubt it. First five minutes of this was stalling from Jarrett and Roadie with Razor cutting a promo. Finally, the action starts and the pace stays pretty quick. Crowd is pretty hot from the get-go as well. That shark cage Roadie is in doesn’t look sturdy at all. There’s a ref bump and Roadie sends down a mystery object on a rope from the cage that Razor tries to use and is unsucessful. A vicious Razor’s Edge on Jarrett led to a lame double count-out finish as Jarrett scurries away and Roadie gets a post-match beatdown. I’m guessing this same match was done around the circuit numerous time with the same finish.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

WWE SmackDown! 15th Anniversary Celebration 10/10/14

WWE SmackDown! 15th Anniversary Celebration - 10/10/14

1. Adam Rose vs. Kane - 1
2. AJ Lee vs. Alicia Fox - 1
3. Seth Rollins vs. Kofi Kingston -
4. Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler - 3
5. Team Teddy (Usos, Los Matadores, Mark Henry, Sheamus, Jack Swagger, and El Torito) vs. Team Johnny (Cesaro, Heath Slater, Titus O’Neil, Goldust, Stardust, Bo Dallas, Damien Mizdow, and Mini Gator) - 3

So the show starts with a video package highlighting the craziness of fifteen years of SmackDown! I have a soft spot for it (especially the 1999 season because we tackled ranking it in its entirety here) even if recent NHO returning staffer Adam hasn't watch a full episode since WWE went to HD programming.

Opener could have been fun but they only gave it about a min. Rose's posse looks like a walking PSA on identifying potential rape risks on campus. Divas match only got 90 sec. or so. Alicia busted out a swank tilt-a-whirl backbacker. Fox is easily the most underutilized woman talent they've had on the payroll in a decade maybe ever. Rollins' pants are tighter than Foley picking a motel for an overnight stop. Seth's offense a little stompy for my tastes. Kofi would have made an excellent member of the Age of the Fall, or go more subversive and do Emmanuel Newtown as the angry young man from the neighborhood's only black family who turned to hardcore punk music as an outlet for his hostility. It was about as one-sided as a squash as they go -- 3 min. of Seth dominating Kofi which isn't an objectionable use of either guy at the moment. Before his athleticism starts declining with age I believe Kofi deserves at least one bigger run given he's been one of the more active, consistent regular workers on the roster for over a decade.

Dolph and Rusev make a good pairing and this may have been their first singles bout but I'd definitely like to see more as Ziggler's penchant to bump like a madman complimented Rusev's physical style well. Wow the apron is busier on this sixteen-man tag than the corner of the locker room Axl Rotten designated pill handout at an ECW show. 2-3 of these guys tops will end up on the actual WrestleMania card next year. But don't worry Titus you can work the Saturday afternoon match at the Fan Axxess event with guest ring introductions by local radio personality Riley Ballz. Would you have still bought a ticc\ket to the this event if you knew Damien Mizdow was working the main event? Think Heath Slater must have been watching some Eric Embry on his iPhone on the flight there. Is it too soon for a Sheamus three-disc DVD set? That'd be a lot of clobbering. Since he does the White Noise named after a bad supernatural thriller maybe he should do a secondary move after its sequel White Noise: The Light. He could steal T-Hawk's Night Ride END but I doubt he's got time to be hip to current DragonGate doing so many personal appearances signing merch at Payless Shoe stores.

I wonder if it was like after they finished filming the Lord of the Rings films and the cast got matching tattoos if all the crew got #SmackDown15 ink after the show.

NHO Road Report: HWA Cyberclash 7.0 - Middletown, OH - 7/5/2014

Over the Independence Day weekend, my friend Tim and I decided to go check out some live HWA wrestling over in Middletown, Ohio. The building isn’t big, as it used to be a Ponderosa restaurant way back when, but there was a good turnout of may 50-60 people. I like the fact that it’s a small, intimate, unique venue where there isn’t a bad seat in the place. The parking, however, left a lot to be desired as there was a line already when we got there about 6:45, which meant the lot was already full and we had to park over at a paint store the next block over. We got some seats in the third row, right in front of the hard camera, sat back, and prepared to enjoy some local indy wrestling.

1. American Kickboxer #2 vs. Devon Nos vs. Sid Fabulous - 3

Kickboxer and Sid Fabulous used to be a tag team a few years ago and had a good run as a mid-card team doing a male dancer gimmick. Eventually, the two went their separate ways with Kid Fabulous morphing into the second coming of the American Kickboxer. I’m not entirely sure how Devon Nos fits into this whole thing but apparently he’s friends with both guys. Kickboxer and Sid, who is still doing the aforementioned male dancer gimmick, had a brawl to start that you could tell was a little heated. Aside from that, this felt pretty much like a standard three way match where two guys would wrestle and the other would wait until it was time to join the fray. Take that, rinse and repeat for about 5-7 minutes and you’ve got the basic idea here. This was short, got the crowd motivated, and was a good choice to open up things with.

2. Kongo Kong vs. Brian Dewey - 3

Dewey is a local who wrestles for a bunch of other companies in the area and was a fill-in here for Mustafa Aziz, who was Kong’s original opponent. Kong came out with a scrawny heel manager with a really growly voice, which doesn’t fit the stereotype at all. If I were him, I’d maybe lay off the Marlboro’s a little bit. Anyway, if you haven’t seen Kong before, he’s a very large human with a fro, tribal face paint, Rikishi-esque gear, and a generally mean attitude. Dewey’s night was absolutely ruined by Kong who just destroyed him with an assortment of hard hitting big man offense, including a giant top rope splash that not only shook the ring but the Richter scale as well.

3. Heidi Lovelace vs. Amber Rodriguez vs. Cherry Bomb - 3

Another three way match, this time with the ladies. Lovelace is the only person in this match I’ve heard of but I’ve never seen her actually wrestle before. Cherry could easily pass for Sara Del Ray from a distance if you weren’t paying close enough attention. Lovelace felt like the glue that held this together. Another basic three way match in the same formula of the opening match. Rodriguez showed a bit of dimension to her characted shaking her “ghetto booty” quite a bit and being a complete ditz and claiming victory after the referee counted three on a rope break. These three stuck to the basics pretty well, things moved at a reasonable pace, and wasn’t entirely inoffensive.

4. Dean Jablonski & Pepper Parks vs. Black Wallstreet - 4

HWA originals Jablonski and Parks, who were accompanied by local indy manager Brock Guffman, took on Chet Lennox and "Human Terminator" Solo who are collectively known as Black Wallstreet. Parks has grown a beard and has bulked up a good bit since I last saw him. Jablonski looks like a marine drill sergeant. I could easily see him shouting at young recruits in boot camp. The opponents I’ve never heard of. Solo comes across and a sort of plain, generic looking dude and I completely forgot his name five minutes in. Lennox did most of the work for his team and Solo came in for a few power spots. Again, nothing too notable but a solid match. It was nice to see Jablonski and Parks coming back home to team together one more time, even if it was for one night only.

5. Dru Skillz vs. Shark Boy - 4

Shark Boy was up next against one-half of the Soul Shooters Dru Skillz. He's still doing the Stone Cold character from about six years ago in TNA when he was teaming with Curry Man. Skillz is a mean looking dude who seemed to enjoy punking out some of the little children in the crowd during the match. I enjoyed the crowd participation as it helped the match a lot. Shark Boy would have an armbar applied, bite the fingers, and the referee would turn to the crowd to ask if Shark Boy really bit the fingers. Skillz would taunt the crowd and everyone shouted back “What?” continuously. That’s probably the only time I can think of recently where that chant wasn’t completely annoying. A fun little match that was enjoyable for Shark Boy’s antics and the participation.

6. 11-Person Battle Royal - 4

Kicking off the second half of the show was an 11-person battle royal. I have no idea who was all in the match but a few of the people I recognized were Necro Butcher, “Hebrew Hammer” Joseph Schwartz, Jerry Andrews, and “Honey Badger” Brendan James. The thing here was that the winner would become the number one contender to the HWA Heritage Title. Necro was in up until the end of the match and spent pretty much the whole match just wearing people out. He destroyed some hapless mystery man in the corner with a steady diet of Kobashi-esque chops. Honey Badger is a local wrestler from Rockstar Pro Wrestling and his contribution to this match was a hard, hellacious bump on the floor. Schwartz is a good comedy wrestler when he’s in singles competition but got lost in the shuffle here. It should be noted as well that he was working on a Saturday, the Sabbath, which is the Jewish day of rest. Necro and Andrews were the last two in and had a good exchange on the apron teasing eliminations. Andrews eventually won and I was not happy.

7. B.J. Whitmer vs. Jeff Holloway - 5

The HWA Heritage Title was on the line next as champion Jeff Holloway defended against B.J. Whitmer. This was probably the most technically sound match of the night. Whitmer always seems to show up on HWA shows, maybe it’s his way of giving back to the place he got his start. Holloway seems to be a good hand in the ring but needs to add a bit of dimension to his persona and he felt a bit plain. Despite the low turnout, Whitmer seemed motivated to put on a good match regardless and as I mentioned, they put on a good, technical match. The work was solid, not outstanding or noteworth, but very solid. I was surprised to see Holloway get the win and this sets up a title match between Holloway and Andrews who I believe are a regular tag team, but I could be wrong on that.

8. Brian Beech vs. Apollo Starr - 3

IThis was set up earlier in the night when Starr and Dru Skillz interrupted Cody Hawk’s return speech to HWA. Beech is one of Cody Hawk’s guys and has been working indy shows in the southwest Ohio area forever. He’s also subbing for Cliff Compton who I was really looking forward to seeing live. Not long ago, I went to a CZW show in Indianapolis and I remember Starr working a pre-show match there. He’s improved a good bit since then I would say. Never was really a big fan of Beech but he put on a good showing. Both guys brawled their way through this and again, nothing special here, but a good effort.

9. Chance Prophet vs. Dustin Rayz - 5

This was the  main event of the evening and was  for the HWA Heavyweight Title. My enjoyability of a Chance Prophet match is mostly dependent on who he is matched up against. The last time I saw him live, he was matched up with a giant, bulky, immobile dude who hasn’t been seen since. This time, he was matched up against Dustin Rayz, a guy who is a pretty decent hand in the ring and wrestles quite often in this area. This was the first shot at the HWA Title I think Rayz has ever had and this turned out to be a nice little match. The crowd brawl at the beginning didn’t seem like a crutch to cover up one or the other being lazy, it felt like it had some meaning to it, which was nice for a change.  The work was mostly solid and both guys put forth a good effort and showed they can go when given the main event spot. Rayz capitalized on his opportunity and won the title with a vicious pedigree style piledriver that looked to have messed up Prophet something awful. This was a better match than I had envisioned but felt a little constrained by time. Rayz winning the title was a shock to me but a surprise title change was a nice way to close out the show.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2001: A WCW Odyssey - WCW Thunder 1/3/01

The first WCW TV show of 2001 and right off the bat Tony Schiavone welcomes us to "2001, a wrestling odyssey". How appropriate.

1. Shane Helms vs. Jamie Knoble - 2

Helms is the number one contender for the Cruiserweight title after beating Shannon Moore on Nitro two weeks ago. Stevie Ray calls a wacky submission hold Helms hooked a “possible submission hold” on commentary. Noble took pretty much all of Helms offense including both a Vertebreaker and the Nightmare on Helms Street. This was essentially a three minute squash match to get Helms over, nothing more, nothing less. Afterwards, a run-in by a litany of dudes including Evan Karagias, Shannon Moore, and Chavo Guerrero which amounted to absolutely nothing.

2. Cpl. Cajun & Sgt. A-Wall vs. Sean O'Haire & Chuck Palumbo - 2

This match feels so non-descript its not even funny. Lots of punching, kicking, and clubbing blows. The Misfits are working in t-shirts. I can’t stand it when people work matches in t-shirts. It feels so low rent and and lazy. End of this was complete chaos with Stasiak and Jindrak outside beating up on A-Wall and O’Haire and Palumbo double teaming Cpl. Cajun with Gen. Rection doing absolutely nothing to help him teammates. Ugh.

3. Chair on a Pole Match: Crowbar vs. Meng - 3

Yes, you read that right, it’s chair on a pole match. It’s never explained how to win, I guess it’s by pinfall or submission? Crowbar grabs the chair 90 seconds in. I guess he pressed the easy button from Staples. Then, we get a brawl on the floor which featured Crowbar trying a Vader Bomb off the guardrail and then Daffney and Paisley getting into a scrap. Meng wins with the Tongan Death Grip and Schiavone goes absolutely crazy on commentary. Not a whole lot to see here.

4. Mark Jindrak vs. Goldberg - 3

Well, I think we all know how this will turn out. Tony on commentary plugs a Goldberg t-shirt and remarks “I’m sure Jindrak would rather be there”. Yeah, I’m sure Jindrak would want to buy the shirt of the guy who’s about to beat the hell out of him. Goldberg runs over Jindrak in about two minutes. Pretty sure Goldberg’s entrance took longer than this match.

5. The Cat vs. Reno - 2

Only five matches in to the first episode and I’m already sick of hearing the lame music for the Natural Born Thrillers. Did I just hear Stevie Ray call a small package a brainbuster? Reno took a rough looking face plant into the buckle and ate a kick from Cat to polish this one off. Another very non-descript match with zero crowd reaction.

6. Mike Awesome vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan - 4

This was set up when Duggan beat up Elix Skipper in a bus earlier in the night. Let’s not question the logic behind that. This has been the most entertaining thing on the show by far. I enjoyed every second of watching these guys just wail on each other. No bullshit, no major interference during the match, just two big dudes pounding each other non-stop for five minutes or so. This was lots of fun.

7. Buff Bagwell vs. “Sarge” DeWayne Bruce - 2

Longtime WCW fans will recognize Bruce as Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker of the tag team The State Patrol from early to mid-90s WCW. Never really cared much for Bagwell and this felt like they were on auto-pilot until Bagwell hit a completely random double arm DDT. We then get a random cut scene where Kronik attacks Goldberg, shoves him in a box, and makes some hapless bystander haul him out in a forklift. Cut back to the ring where the bell randomly rings and Bagwell and Luger beat up Bruce and break his arm with a chair.

8. Jeff Jarrett vs. Sid Vicious - 2

This was set up earlier in the night by Ric Flair who said the winner of the match gets the third spot in the Sin main event. Sid got some offense early on, which was mostly a really tepid brawl outside the ring. Jarrett controls with a sleeperhold, Sid then gets a comeback which involves a clothesline, a big boot, and a kick to the gut before interference from the Mystery Man and the match is thrown out. Ok, great, that accomplished exactly nothing.

Pretty mediocre show overall with a lot of guys that seemed like they were just going through the motions. The Duggan/Awesome match was a fun five minute brawl but that was the highlight. This review came across pretty much just like the show, very bland.

Next up in this series ... Monday Nitro 1/8/01

2001: A WCW Odyssey Master List

2001: A WCW Odyssey

(Author's Note: It's good to be back! - Adam)

Reading the WCW Highway to Hell thread over at Pro Wrestling Only inspired me to revisit something I did last year, and that's watch the whole year of WCW in 2001. I've got all of the Nitro and Thunder episodes and all the pay-per-view shows ready to go. So, over the course of the next few months, I'll be looking back at WCW 2001 in chronological order and then sharing my thoughts overall at the end of the project. Hopefully, this isn't too painful.

Listed below are the dates of each show individually, I'll be updating this master page with the link to each show as the project progresses so you can track everything.

1/3/01 - Thunder
1/8/01 - Nitro
1/10/01 - Thunder
1/14/01 - Sin PPV
1/15/01 - Nitro
1/17/01 - Thunder
1/22/01 - Nitro
1/24/01 - Thunder
1/29/01 - Nitro
1/31/01 - Thunder

2/5/01 - Nitro
2/7/01 - Thunder
2/12/01 - Nitro
2/14/01 - Thunder
2/18/01 - SuperBrawl Revenge PPV
2/19/01 - Nitro
2/21/01 - Thunder
2/26/01 - Nitro
2/28/01 - Thunder

3/5/01 - Nitro
3/7/01 - Thunder
3/12/01 - Nitro
3/14/01 - Thunder
3/18/01 - Greed PPV
3/19/01 - Nitro
3/21/01 - Thunder (Final Episode)
3/26/01 - Nitro (Final Episode and Final WCW Event)