Wednesday, March 29, 2006

WWE Raw – 3/6/06

1. Shelton Benjamin vs. Ric Flair – 2
2. Kane vs. Triple H – 3
3. Shawn Michaels vs. Shane McMahon – 1
4. Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon – 0
5. Eugene vs. Kenny – 3
6. Maria vs. Lita – 2
7. John Cena vs. Big Show – 4

Now this is awful wrestling! Benjamin and Flair have worked some decent matches together in the past, but this one only lasted a minute or two, with a quick and lame finish seeing the referee disqualify Flair for poking him in the eye while Benjamin was simultaneously tapping out to Flair’s patented figure four submission. Next, Kane and Triple H, two main event players, put together a completely forgettable and disappointing match; thankfully, they kept it relatively short, because I don’t know how much longer I could have watched Triple H weakly selling Kane’s atrocious excuse for punches.

In a backstage skit, Michaels was drugged, leading him to get loopy in a losing effort against Shane McMahon. Then, in the first match I’ve ever given a 0 grade to, Vince, overacting as usual, climbed onto the unconscious Michaels to score a pin. Eugene worked Kenny of The Spirit Squad in a filler match, containing zero effort—thanks a lot, guys!

Do I really need to tell you how bad Maria versus Lita was? It sucked harder than Francine did backstage after bad ECW shows. How’s that? In the main event, Cena bumped around for Big Show in yet another throwaway match, all of which are leading to the upcoming WrestleMania pay-per-view spectacular, which if anything like this episode of Raw, will be a thorough failure the likes of your attempt to get Rob Van Dam to autograph your bong outside a Denny’s in Dallas.

WWF Confirmed Hits Video

1) Yokozuna vs. Diesel - 1
2) Razor Ramon vs. Goldust – 5
3) Bret “Hit Man” Hart vs. The British Bulldog - 7
4) Issac Yankem vs. The Undertaker - 4
5) Owen Hart, Yokozuna, & Hakushi vs. Bret “Hit Man” Hart, Razor Ramon, & Savio Vega – 5

The first bout lasted all of 90 seconds and didn’t do favors to anyone watching. The Razor vs. Goldust match was from the Royal Rumble. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t a show-stealer by any means. The 1-2-3 Kid interfered at the end and looked to me that he almost blew his spot. Otherwise, it was a decent contest. Hart vs. Bulldog was from the December 1995 In Your House event. They had a match that was just about near the quality of their match at SummerSlam 1992 but this one featured some juice by Bret and good mat skills from the Bulldog. Undertaker and Kane … err, I mean Issac Yankem, wasn’t groundbreaking at all and was soiled with some interference from Lawler. The six-man tag was fun to watch but was just your standard, run-of-the-mill, mid-90s house show main event.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Performer Analysis: Taka Michinoku

Taka Michinoku's real name is Takeo Yoshida. He was born October 26, 1973 in Morioka, Japan. He was trained by the Great Sasuke and made his wrestling debut in 1991 for Sasuke's promotion, Michinoku Pro. Most people recognize TAKA from his days in the World Wrestling Federation when he was brought in 1997 to bring Lightheavyweight wrestling to prominence in the WWF, where it had never been displayed. But, this gifted young performer was a crowd favorite in Japan and a hell of a hand, as J.R. may say. Now, to analyze:

1) Innovation- 5/10- Taka as an innovator in this business ranks fairly well. In the mid 90's, he and his Michinoku Pro cohorts were designing a break neck pace match with many nearfalls in giant tag matches, such would be the blueprint for exciting cruiserweight action in WCW. Now, Mexico has the patent on this style, but in Japan they showed their amigos that the match didn't have to be all slop; there could be finesse and hard hitting action, plus time for comedy, which Mich. Pro thrived on. Also, I would be remised for not mentioning that Taka is given credit for inventing the Michinoku Driver, which is a version of a upside down piledriver that you sit out with and throw your opponent down on his head. It is a widely used move all over the world and will continue to be so due to it's effectiveness.
2) Conditioning- 10/10- Taka was small in stature and height, but there was no questioning his condition. His compact body actually provided him much strength, especially in his legs. His springboard dropkick is one of the best ever seen, and without powerful legs and good balance, that move is next to impossible. Taka had great stamina as well, many times going to the 20 or 30 minute mark in Michinoku Pro wars.
3) Ring Skill- 8/10- Taka at this point in his career is a ring veteran and it shows. When he first entered the WWF, he was the leader of their new Light Heavyweight movement, and at that time he was barely 5 years into the sport, but now Taka is seasoned. His high flying was on par or better than anything else seen around the world at that time, and he could bump. In his time in ECW, he put together good matches with most of his opponents there and carried them. His time in Mich. Pro during the beginning of his career and after he left the WWF in 2001 was main event matches and was considered one of the two best in the promotion, bar none next to Sasuke. Now, his time is spent in All Japan Wrestling, where he was recruited by Keiji Muto once he took over. He works Main Event Japanese wrestlers on a regular basis now, and holds his own.
4) Character/ Psychology- 5/10- Taka never really had a character. When he started out in Mich. Pro, he teamed up with another young rookie, Shoichi Funaki, now known as Smackdown's No.1 announcer as Yume Karudo, which translates as Dream Hunters, a blue chip tag team gimmick. After the popularity of the NWO took off in the states, Taka decided to form a similar group in Japan called Kaientai Deluxe, with Funaki, Dick Togo, and Men's Teioh. Just like in the US, they were heels, but played out to the crowd doing the things they wanted to see which garnered them cheers. In the WWF, Taka was simply a basic babyface and then became a comedy character, which he did mediocre in. In-ring psychology for light heavyweights is sometimes a little light, or none-exsistent, but Taka was pretty consistent. Overall, not his biggest strength, but not every wrestler is great at everything.
5) American Appeal- 6/10 Taka had a fantastic run as fun babyface in early WWE lightheavy division, along with many stereotypical jokes made at his expense and of the Japanese people. But, he was largely over. His fun heel antics got some display also as the evil Kaientai, where he largely made his name in Japan. He also thrilled audiences with his high flying tactics in ECW , making his American run quite positive.

6) Face/Heel- 6/10- Taka's face work was just as many other workers: straight laced, baby in peril. He excelled in being a heel, which he worked for a little of his WWF career, and uses to perfection in Japan and in ECW. He is the snide, better than you Japanese star who gets a little dirty in the ring just because he can and he would love to rub it in the face of any American star that he can. His mannerisms played well to the crowd, and had a good heel face. He gets a six for being pretty good, but never took his character to the extreme like all great wrestling heels have gotten to at one time or another.
7) Basics- 7/10- Taka was trained by the Great Sasuke, who is an excellent performer and during all of Taka's matches, he does still utilize the basic tools which this profession is founded upon. Taka must have really practiced and honed his skills because he even tried his hand at shoot-fighting in such promotions as Pancrase and Battlarts.
8) Fans- 6/10- The fans, whether in Japan or America, can pick up and identify with certain wrestlers, depending on what they do or how they are being pushed. Taka definitely had a spark that fans could identify with. His smirk is one of his most defining features which he used often as a face, and then later as a heel, which works better. The fans also appreciate athleticism and Taka certainly gave that in his matches.
9) Match/Opp.- 5/10- Taka has wrestled a varying degree of talent, having the opportunity to wrestle in Japan in several organizations and here in the States, but not many different matches. I can't really remember any stipulation bouts he's been in, which doesn't necessarily make you a bad wrestler; it just indicates lack of storyline for you or a feud you were involved in. In the WWF, Taka's most notable feud was with Brian Christopher over the Light Heavy weight belt, which Taka never lost to him. But, in Japan, he has had a long running competitive feud with the man that trained him and put him to work, The Great Sasuke. Taka actually chose his name to mock Sasuke, the name he gave his promotion. From the beginning of Taka's career, he was choosing to put himself at odds with one of Japan's most loved characters. And it paid off. That feud help fuel the financial stability of Michinoku Pro and build a loyal fan base that still exsists today. Even the WWF itself brought this rivalry to the States at an In Your House event in July of 1997.
10) Gutcheck- 5/10- Of all of Taka's work, his best lies in his home promotion, Michinoku Pro. That's where the heart and soul of his work resides and where he will best be known to wrestling fans for. His time in the WWF was relatively mediocre after his debut, and whether due to not given the opportunity or lack of motivation, his work stands as being good, but not great. The same can be said for ECW. This category is not meant to be an insult, but I don't believe Taka ever peaked in his career, and I would like to have seen him go that extra mile in becoming a huge star for people to remember for years to come.
Final Score- 6
Ranking- Superstar
PO: Thumbs Middle
PS. I would like to give credit to for information needed for this article.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

WWE Survivor Series 2003

The Survivor Series is one of the big four of the year in the WWE. In it's heyday, it was one of the most unique and exciting shows there was. In recent years, though it's degraded down to just another no frills boring extravaganza of crap. Let's see how this one holds up.

Heat Match: Tajiri v. Jamie Knoble- 4- A short match, but one filled with effort.

1 Team Angle( Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, John Cena, Bradshaw, & Hardcore Holly) v. Team Lesnar( Brock Lesnar, Big Show, A-Train, Nathan Jones, & Matt Morgan)- Traditoinal Survivor Series Match- 6- This match was built around Team Lesnar which was the biggest team ever, even surpassing Andre the Giant's team at the first SS. I think they should have calculated the brain power of Team Lesnar and compared it to President's Cabinet; I think you would find a stalemate. There were 3 quick eliminations, I'm talking the first 90 seconds, but there were all people you didn't want to see anyways. Angle got a hot tag and tore through Morgan & Jones, then was quickly pinned by Lesnar. Surprising. Benoit then made Lesnar tap out, and he and Cena went on to pin Show. This match had some surprise eliminations, which makes things exciting because it's different, a word I don't think shows up in the Mc Mahon vocab too often.
2 Lita v. Molly Holly- 2- Lita's offense looked comparable to Napoleon Dynamite trying to tackle Jerome Bettis. Molly tried to keep it together, and her only means of escape was to go for the finish early. I'm sure she'd rather eat stale carrots on the Kraft Service table than bump for Lita.
3 Kane v. Shane McMahon( Ambulance Match)- 3- This runaway train of bad encounters started with Kane being completely dropped on his head by taking a clothesline over the top. It was crazy. The only other highlight was Shane ramming the ambulance door into Kane's head stiff! We watched it several times. Some of the lowlights: Shane running around the arena like Bugs Bunny running from Elmer Fudd, then leading Kane to the garage where Shane backed a Jeep Cherokee into Kane, who busted through what appeared to be a glass bus station waiting thing. I don't think Ultimate Warrior could have written a more confusing scene. Overall, it was horribly planned and horribly executed.
4 Basham Brothers v. Los Guerreros- 5- A good tag match, although shorter than I would have hoped. The Bashams needed some experience, and the Guerreros were the right team to help them. I didn't like the finish at all, and Shaniqua grossed me out totally.

5 Stone Cold's Team( Shawn Michaels, Booker T, RVD, & The Dudley Boyz) v. Eric Bishchoff's Team( Chris Jericho, Christian, Randy Orton, Scott Steiner, & Mark Henry) ( Traditional Survivor Series Match)- 6- Another really good match that is what this show was founded upon. Great blade job by Michaels and they really pumped his comeback at the end, but the whole Austin chasing Bischoff away was sort of silly and left Austin looking like a fool when he came back to the ring. Not too much of a surprise here, and no one looked out of place.
6 Undertaker v. Vince McMahon( Buried Alive Match)- 3- The blood was flowing in this one! Vince bladed deep after the first punch in the match, and then was beaten from pillar to post as they say (they meaning the great Gorilla Monsoon). I wondered if this was Taker's way of getting all his frustrations out on Vince for anything he had ever done to him because he just beat his ass any which way he wanted for like ten minutes. I felt really bad watching it. Even the crowd had no reaction; it's like when you watch your best friend go up to a really hot chick and get shut down so coldly; there are no words for it, but the pity is definitely there. There was a Kane run in and Vince won but he looked like anything but a winner. The match wasn't really a match though, so it can't be rated too highly.
7 Goldberg v. HHH- 4- HHH really faked me out. I was ready to rate this one even lower, but he worked Goldberg's knee and ol' Billy Boy actually was selling it! They went safe with this one, with the big Goldberg comeback at the end, beating up all of Evolution. But one thing I don't get is why don't they swing that frickin' sledgehammer for the hills when they use it? I mean you're outnumbered 4 to 1 and you palm the metal part and hit them all in the gut? What is that? Anyways, not too awfully horrible.
So, overall, I enjoyed watching the show, and it had a lot of ups and downs. Probably one of the best in the last six or seven years.

WWE Survivor Series '03

1. Tajiri vs. Jamie Noble – 5
2. Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, John Cena, Bradshaw, & Hardcore Holly) vs. Team Lesnar (Brock Lesnar, Big Show, A-Train, Nathan Jones, & Matt Morgan) – 6
3. Lita vs. Molly Holly – 3
4. Kane vs. Shane McMahon – Ambulance Match – 3
5. Basham Bros. vs. Los Guerreros – 4
6. Team Stone Cold (Shawn Michaels, Booker T, RVD, & The Dudley Boyz) vs. Team Bishchoff (Chris Jericho, Christian, Randy Orton, Scott Steiner, & Mark Henry) – 7
7. Vince McMahon vs. Undertaker – Buried Alive Match – 2
8. Goldberg vs. Triple H – 5

Tajiri and Noble were relegated to Heat status, but still brought the wrestling magic and a short, albeit sweet match. For what little time they were given, they delivered, and Tajiri was especially on, firing up the crowd. Team Angle versus Team Lesnar was an inspired opening contest to kick off this major pay-per-view. Right off the bat, several eliminations happened within the first couple minutes; but, once it slowed down, we saw some quality work from Angle, Benoit, and Cena. Even the big guys on Lesnar’s squad provided sufficient work, that is, for being a bunch of slack jawed jerk offs.

Lita looked absolutely awful in the ring, and although Molly tried to hold this pile together, the end result was nothing short of abysmal. Lita’s contributions to this business are ridiculously slim. Next up, a match where you have to stuff your opponent into an ambulance? I’m one of the guys whom I feel is, sadly, in the minority, who can see right through Shane McMahon’s nonexistent wrestling skills. His punches are some of the weakest I’ve ever seen, and he only gets cheap pops through clumsy, and extremely contrived big bumps that work only on shocked social misfits who’ve been brainwashed to believe falling from large heights makes you a good wrestler. I call bullshit! This match is a choreographed cluster of poor garbage wrestling, with the only legit spot being McMahon swinging the ambulance door crudely into Kane’s skull, which had me laughing hysterically.

I like Los Guerreros and the Basham boys, and although not bad, I was hoping they’d pull out all the stops, and tear it up, which I assure you, they didn’t. I don’t recall a lot from this, outside of a disappointing finish. Team Stone Cold features an interesting hodgepodge of workers, from the multitalented (Booker T) to the overrated (Rob Van Dam) in a group strong in stature, but lacking finesse. Team Bischoff is equally odd, ranging from the drug addled (Steiner) to the completely lost (Mark Henry) in a torrid team of villains. Mix these combustible elements, and believe it or not, the end result was a terrific match that proved to be entertaining on all fronts. Although not quite on the same level of main event caliber Survivor Series matches from years past, this match will still likely hold up in the future, in no small parts thanks to D-Von Dudley’s attempts at selling.

Vince McMahon is even worse than his son, Shane, and this match, if you can call it that, is a sad excuse for professional wrestling. McMahon cut himself way too deep, and bled buckets. I mean, he was an absolute mess, in one of the all-time grossest blade jobs I’ve witnessed. This was a hindrance to the match, as he was obviously unable to properly perform, and Undertaker couldn’t even make this schlock worth watching. The main event could have been a big deal, but instead, we were given something comparable to a Raw headliner. Still, Goldberg was somewhat surprising, actually trying to sell, which was a rarity in his W.C.W. years, and Triple H did a fair job, working around his rigid opponent. This should have been one of the more important, and memorable main events of the last 10 years, pitting two of the biggest stars of the past decade against each other, but unfortunately it didn’t leave a lasting impression with fans.

WWE Saturday Night's Main Event - 3/18/06

1) Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, & Rey Mysterio vs. John Cena & Triple H - 6
2) Trish Stratus & Mickie James vs. Candice Michelle & Victoria - 2
3) Shawn Michaels vs. Shane McMahon – Street Fight – 6

This really had a good vibe to it. The opener was a terrific contest where everyone worked hard, including Cena. The crowd was really hot and reacted well to all the spots and sequences that were done. The women’s tag match was kept short and featured a Mickie James heel turn. Michaels and Shane had a terrific match which featured an insane table spot and moderate usage of a ladder. Also worth nothing on the show, was a fantastic segment with Edge and Foley which involved flaming tables and thumbtacks. Overall, a great return for SNME and a fantastic way to build up the big feuds for WrestleMania.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

HWA: War Games- December 2003

An Indy show War Games with no cage? Yeah, I'm going to love this.

1 Ala Hussien v. Big Jim- 3- I have an uncle we call Big Jim, but he's no wrestler. God, I don't even want to imagine him in tights or in anything that's not oversized and loose fitting so I don't ever catch a glimpse of what his true figure is. I love him, but he's pretty damn large and I don't want to know the contours of his largeness. Hussien bumped twice good and that was it.
2 The Hussla v. Mike Desire- 4- These guys tried a little more than the first match. Hussla has been a HWA midcarder for like 6 years and he doesn't do anything different today than he did when he first started: maybe that's a clue, Mr. Hussla?
3 80 Man Battle Royal- 1- I simply give this a one because people were actually wrestling. The camera shot of this match was horrible. I had no idea what was happening in the 2nd ring and I had no idea who was really in the match or leaving it. I couldn't tell you one thing that happened.
4 AJ Sparxx v. Helena Heavenly( Hardcore Match)- 2- I don't know why Les Thatcher thought anyone would enjoy this. Maybe he was heavily medicated. Actually, I'm quite sure he was heavily medicated. I don't know who won this or how, and it matters as little as my vote for John Kerry in 2004.
5 Crazy J/ Lotus v. JT Stahr/ TJ Dalton- 4- Stahr looked like Shannon Moore, and Lotus looked like Lance Storm if Lance Storm had ICP tattoos on his ribcage. I didn't really like this match. I've seen J & Lotus before and they are very acrobatical, and the match had a few good spots, but it's the bad ones we all remember, and it had it's share of those two. I give them a four not for the match they presented me, but for the the match they couldn't make happen.
6 War Games( Team BPW v. Team HWA) - 4 - This match was such a mish mosh of HWA wrestlers pretending to be BPW wrestlers, I couldn't tell who was on who's team. The final participant, Chet the Jet was locked out of the match by his brother Dean, by interlocking the guard rail together. If only Chet would have learned to climb fences, he would have been more than aptly prepared to scale the two foot barricade keeping him from his wrestling destiny. Such a pity. Overall, not a good show by any means of the imagination, and I can make up a story simply by looking at a PEZ dispenser. Ew, Burn.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

WWF WrestleMania III

1) Cowboy Bob Orton & Don Muraco vs. Rick Martel & Tom Zenk - 5
2) Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules - 4
3) King Kong Bundy, Little Tokyo, & Lord Littlebrook vs. Hillbilly Jim, Little Beaver, & The Haiti Kid - 3
4) The Junkyard Dog vs. Harley Race - 3
5) Greg “The Hammer” Valentine & Brutus Beefcake vs. The Rougeau Brothers - 4
6) Hair vs. Hair Match: Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Adrian Adonis - 5
7) The British Bulldogs & Tito Santana vs. The Hart Foundation & Danny Davis - 6
8) Koko B. Ware vs. Butch Reed - 3
9) Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat - 8
10) The Honky Tonk Man vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts - 5
11) The Killer Bees vs. The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff - 3
12) Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant – 6

There are two matches that make this event so memorable, Savage vs. Steamboat for the Intercontinental belt, and perhaps the biggest match in the history of professional wrestling, Hogan vs. Andre. Had these matches not been on this card, then no one would’ve remembered it and it wouldn’t have drawn 93,173 people (the acutal number was around 78,000) to the Pontiac Silverdome. That being said, the remainder of the card, with the exception of the hair match and the six man tag match, didn’t really have any story behind it and the bouts themselves were kept less than ten minutes.

Out of the first six bouts, the only one that was some enthusiasm behind it was the opening tag match. Even though it only got five minutes, all four guys looked pretty good. Haynes vs. Hercules was your basic match against two guys who were inflated more than they really needed to be thanks to the miracle of steroids. The match where they had midgets team with Bundy and Hillbilly was ugly. Honestly, why not give the fans something they cared about. Race’s match was supremely subpar and is probably one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen him compete in. Our second tag match of the evening wasn’t too terrible but once again they were given limited time so nothing was able to click. Closing out the first half was the Piper vs. Adonis hair match. This was billed as Piper’s farewell match, but he’s retired and unretired so much since then, that now it doesn’t mean a thing. The only real memorable thing out of this bout was that it was Adonis’ last WrestleMania match as he was killed in an auto accident a year and a half later.

The second half kicked off with a pretty techinically sound six-man tag. Davis was really the weak link on the heel team as he was just a referee turned wrestler and really had no skills whatsoever. Forget about the Koko B. Ware match and let’s move on to the best match of the entire show, Savage vs. Steamboat. These two had a knock-down, drag-out affair that was probably one of the best matches of the 1980s. There was hardly any interference on either man’s behalf and they told the story in the ring just about as good as anyone. The funny thing is that they were actually scolded backstage after the match because Vince thought their match was so good that it completely overshadowed the main event. It was a tremendous contest, probably best match of Savage’s career, and is still talked about to this day. Now then, how do you follow up an instant classic like that? Why you present two matches no one gives two halves of a shit about. Honky and Jake blundered through about eight minutes or so. Following that, we get a tag match that featured the Killer Bees trying their best to make Sheik and Volkoff look productive. Hacksaw Duggan interferes and it ends mercifully in a DQ after about five minutes.

Finally, we get to the main event. It’s been almost 19 years since this match happened and people still talk about it today. Of course, it’s the biggest match in the history of professional wrestling, Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant. Never before had a match of this magnitude been signed. The buildup was nothing short of tremendous and the crowd was definitely buzzing once it rolled around. That being said, the in ring action wasn’t that great. Andre and Hulk had about ten moves combined but we’ve all seen the match and know the outcome by know, so there’s really no use for going into great detail.

For all that I’ve ragged on the undercard bouts, this WrestleMania is truly the biggest event ever promoted by anyone … ever. Do your best to get your hands on a copy of this. You can find old-school Coliseum Video VHS copies on Ebay or you can pick up volume one of the WrestleMania box set. Either way, anyone who has not seen this event, really needs to just so they can say that they’ve experienced WrestleMania III. I would recommend the box-set version because it’s straight from the original broadcast and doesn’t have any wacky editing that the VHS version has.

Monday, March 6, 2006

ECW Massacre on 34th Street 12/3/00

1.Simon Diamond & Johnny Swinger vs. Christian York & Joey Matthews - 2
2. Balls Mahoney vs. E.Z. Money - 3
3. Nova vs. Julio Dinero - 3
4. Danny Doring & Roadkill vs. Little Guido & Tony Mamaluke - 6
5. Tommy Dreamer vs. C.W. Anderson - 7
6. Rhino vs. Spike Dudley - 4
7. Super Crazy & Kid Kash vs. Mikey Whipwreck & Yoshihiro Tajiri - 4
8. Steve Corino vs. Justin Credible vs. Jerry Lynn - 5

The opening tag match was just too short. The great thing about tag wrestling is, the format lends itself to good storytelling, and plausible psychology. Here, that was thrown out the window—we got a smattering of highspots and before you knew it, the match was history. I was somewhat intrigued by Mahoney versus Money, if not for any other reason than I couldn’t remember them ever working together. Besides the heavy interference rampant throughout it, this was still a fun match to watch. The aforementioned interfering birthed the next match, in typical E.C.W. styling, giving us Dinero and Nova, who put together a nice little match.

The next match, another tag team bout, was probably my favorite to watch. I was never a big fan personally of Doring and Roadkill, nothing to do with their work—I just never bought into their gimmick, or lack thereof. But, there are certain things they do well; and their opponents, the FBI, for two tiny guys, can work their asses off on occasion. Mamaluke was involved in two of my favorite spots of the entire show: first, he leaped off the top rope out to the floor, grabbed Roadkill’s head, and gave him a tornado DDT on the concrete entrance aisle and what appeared to be a rough landing; secondly, he took the bump of the night when while on the apron, Doring gave him a savate kick, and he somersaulted off directly onto the metal guardrail and out into the crowd. This match and some great back and forth stuff, and was a superior example of their tag division.

I recently watched their last pay-per-view, Guilty As Charged 2001, and Dreamer and Anderson stole the show in a grueling I Quit match. They do the same here, in a brutal match featuring two of the more unique and inspired table bumps I’ve ever seen. First, Dreamer gets superplexed off the top turnbuckle onto an unopened table lying on the mat; secondly, Dreamer gets driven through a table that was set up backwards against one of the corners of the ring, with the metal table legs pointing out and everything. I don’t think these original bumps happened by accident, and I give a nod to Dreamer, who likely crafted these spots, for trying to breath a little fresh air in the stale hardcore wrestling scene.

I liked Rhino versus Spike more than I expected. It was short, but the psychology was pretty sound. Rhino dished out tons of punishment, including a couple of the sickest chair shots I’ve witnessed in a very long time. I liked the finish, where essentially Spike was beaten into unconsciousness. The following tag match was a bit of a disappointment. I like Tajiri and Crazy’s work generally; but I expected this match to go one of two ways, either be a stellar bout showcasing their abilities, especially due to its spot so high on the card, or more likely, a highspot marathon lacking any real depth. Instead, we got neither of these—the alternative was them cruising through an unforgettable match. It seemed like these guys weren’t giving us 100% and even their signature spots and sequences looked lackadaisical and laissez-faire.

Lastly, the main event was a thorough disappointment. I’m part of the large crowd who never bought Corino, let alone Credible, as champions. This was a convoluted, piece of shit three-way. Firstly, they eliminate the best worker in the match first, that being the talented Jerry Lynn. During the subsequent fall, they brawl towards the balcony, do an uninspired and completely unnecessary balcony spot, then brawl lazily back to the ring… completely fucking negating any sense of psychology and realism! I mean, and I’m a stickler on this one… professional wrestling is supposed to be fighting as a form of art and entertainment. A good wrestler can craft a story, and make us believe in what he’s doing. Under those terms, how can we buy that if this was a real fight, and a guy was to be hung off a balcony and then plunge from it, that in mere moments later he’d be doing restholds like chinlocks in the middle of the ring?

And even more absurdly than that, in a spot that drove me absolutely insane, was Credible proving how big a pussy he truly is. He’s brawling with Lynn out on the floor, and Lynn attempts to backdrop Credible over the metal guardrail into the audience. Somehow, Credible miraculously doesn’t make it over, and lands awkwardly on his leg. Does he maintain composure, like a professional, and sell the inflicted damage? No! He gets up, completely out of character, now Lynn tries to capitalize and cover up the botch by attacking him, but Credible throws a cowardly elbow, which was legit, right into Lynn’s face, and hobbles away from the cameras noticeably pissed and cursing. I mean… what the fuck? Come on, man! You’re getting paid for this shit! If you were wrestling at a lousy X.P.W. show this wouldn’t be excusable behavior, let alone for E.C.W., further more, in the main event of their pay-per-view! I was involved in a backyard wrestling federation for nine years, we never made a dime, and I still never saw anybody act so unprofessionally in the course of a match.

After the match, Sandman comes out and gets himself over at the expense of the guys who just finished a match—at this point; I can’t take any more, and barf on my floor. In conclusion, I think a lot of the workers knew E.C.W. was on their last leg, and could be dying soon. With that in mind, a lot of guys worked hard this night. What I like the most about this show, though, is that it’s not as over the top as most of their pay-per-views. The emphasis is almost entirely on the in-ring stuff, not bad storylines, etc. With the exception of Heatwave ’98, offhand, I’d have to say this is one of the better E.C.W. pay-per-views I’ve ever seen.

WWF WrestleMania II

New York Matches:
1) Paul Orndorff vs. Don Muraco – 2
2) Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. George “The Animal” Steele - 2
3) Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. George Wells – 2
4) Boxing Match: Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T - 3

Chicago Matches:
5) The Fabulous Moolah vs. Velvet McIntyre - 1
6) Flag Match: Nikolai Volkoff vs. Corporal Kirchner - 1
7) 20-Man NFL vs. WWF Battle Royal - 4
8) Greg “The Hammer” Valentine & Brutus Beefcake vs. The British Bulldogs - 6

Los Angeles Matches:
9) Ricky Steamboat vs. Hercules – 4
10) Uncle Elmer vs. Adorable Adrian Adonis – 1
11) The Junkyard Dog & Tito Santana vs. Terry & Hoss Funk - 3
12) Steel Cage WWF World Title Match: Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy – 4

To be quite honest, this was a miserable show that belongs down at the bottom of the barrel next to AWA SuperClash 3. Everything on this show seemed half-assed … even the commentary. By the way, whose idea was it to put celebrities on commentary? Whoever it was needs to have their head smashed about 30 or 40 times with a golf club. But, I digress. The first six matches were total dog shit, with the highlight being the sorry excuse of a boxing match between Piper and Mr. T. Probably the best part of the first half wasn’t even a match. It was Jesse Ventura interviewing Hulk Hogan. Now, knowing the history between these two, I really wonder how McMahon even got them in the same room together. Now then, the battle royal wasn’t all that bad … but it wasn’t all that great either. The six or seven football players who were involved were totally lost and were disposed of with relative ease.

The best match of the night had to be the tag title match because it was actually a match that people wanted to see and cared about. All four guys brought the show to life with a fantastic match, which was probably the single greatest match in the career of Ed Leslie (Beefcake). On to LA where Steamboat and Herc provided a solid opener for that portion of the show. The next two bouts were terrible followed by a lackluster main event. The Funk match was probably the worst performance of his career. Truthfully, after a performance like that, it’s no wonder he left the WWF and returned to the NWA. The cage match was a subpar match to cap off a horrendous show. If you really must see this event, the only four bouts you need to watch are the battle royal, the Tag Title match, Steamboat vs. Hercules, and the cage match. On second though, the cage match is only worth watching if you worship the ground Hulk Hogan walks on.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

WWE No Way Out – 2/19/06

1. Gregory Helms vs. Funaki vs. Kid Kash vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Nunzio vs. Paul London vs. Super Crazy vs. Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Psicosis – 4
2. JBL vs. Bobby Lashley – 3
3. Matt Hardy and Tatanka vs. MNM – 5
4. Chris Benoit vs. Booker T – 6
5. Randy Orton vs. Rey Mysterio – 5
6. The Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle – 7

The opening cruiserweight match featured a lot of talented workers, but nobody got a chance to showcase much of their talent in this quick, forgettable match. JBL and Lashley went a little too long, exposing Lashley’s lack of experience, and Bradshaw’s inability to carry a rookie to a decent match. The odd team of Tatanka and Hardy worked an old school styled tag team match with MNM. It wasn’t groundbreaking stuff, but a refreshing mid-card bout.

Benoit and Booker worked a long match, at least 20 minutes or so, and it was pretty solid. There weren’t a lot of major highspots or sequences that called attention upon themselves, and the general pacing kind of slow; still, they achieved wrestling nirvana even if the live crowd was unappreciative. Orton and Rey had a lot of story going into their high-profile match, but didn’t deliver inside the ring. It wasn’t that they didn’t work well together, and certainly they were capable of delivering so much more—unfortunately, they opted to give us rather unremarkable performances. Undertaker versus Angle was great, and was a nice closing match on a pretty blasé pay-per-view. These guys went long, too; there was some quality intensity, and the ending sequence with Undertaker using the triangle choke, but Angle’s wrestling smarts saving his ass in the end, made for a perfect finish.

WWF WrestleMania

1) Tito Santana vs. The Executioner - 4
2) King Kong Bundy vs. S.D. Jones - 0
3) Ricky Steamboat vs. Matt Borne - 5
4) Brutus Beefcake vs. David Sammartino - 3
5) Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs. The Junkyard Dog - 4
6) Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo vs. The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff - 5
7) $15,000 Bodyslam Match: Andre the Giant vs. Big John Studd – 3
8) Leilani Kai vs. Wendi Richter - 3
9) Rowdy Roddy Piper & Paul Orndorff vs. Hulk Hogan & Mr. T – 4

From the heart of the “Rock-N-Wrestling” era, comes the very first WrestleMania. Now, by no means did it have the grandeur and the spectacle of recent editions, but it was a damn fun show to watch and reminisce about. Tito Santana opened up against a mysterious man known as the Executioner. Not much to be said about this one as Santana goes over to re-establish himself in the intercontinental title picture. Bundy vs. Jones was a complete squash. The thing that gets me about this one is that the fall was announced as eight seconds but in reality, and you can tell by watching the timer on the DVD player, it was about 24 seconds. Steamboat vs. Borne was suprisingly solid and was probably the best overall bout on the card. Beefcake and Sammartino ran way to long for my tastes, as both men were fairly green and really had no idea what to do in the ring. Actually, because he never amounted to nothing more than a pile of crap, Sammartino disappeared for good shortly after this event.

The second half of the show began with the Intercontinental Title match. While it was a pretty even contest, the finish was screwed up so much that it involved Tito Santana and a count-out victory, need I say more? The duo of Windham and Rotundo really had to carry the load for the largely untalented duo of Volkoff and Iron Shiek. The bodyslam challenge didn’t involve anything more than the most basic of wrestling manuevers. I never was a big Andre fan in the first place because the guy only did a few elementary moves but I’ll give both guys credit, they did their best to make it at least watchable. The women’s title match was nothing but a God-awful blunder. They blew the finishing spot so poorly I couldn’t believe it. The main event was loaded with celebrities such as Muhammad Ali, Billy Martin, and Liberace. Now, I’m not a fan of guest ring announcers but of all the guest RA’s they’ve had, Billy Martin was by far the best one. Now then, as for the match itself. It started out fine but then just turned into a blunder. The finish came when Cowboy Bob Orton accidentally whacked Orndorff with the cast. All in all, the first WrestleMania was a pretty entertaining show and it was certainly fun to see the WWF way before it became the gigantic media conglomerate that it is today.