Friday, April 28, 2006

TNA presents Best of Raven: Nevermore Disc 1

This is a huge undertaking. Raven is a major superstar in the world of professional wrestling and I am doing him a double favor by reviewing his DVD, and making him my fourth career analysis (Editor's note: Coming next week). So, let me delve into his world of sloppy russian leg sweeps and convoluded promos (boy, i started out positive!)

1 Raven v. Sandman( House of Fun Match)- 3- First off, Sandman looked drunker than ever before on his way to the ring and i am not putting him over for that. The rules of this match were never explained until the end which resulted in Sandman flying over a balcony with blow all over his face onto a stack of eight tables which he only broke about 3. Raven juiced after a RVD style legdrop from the apron while he was draped over the guardrail? I guess maybe he hit a random shard of beer bottle the lush in the front row dropped; I dont' know. This match was told by our buddy Adam as "anything but fun" but i laughed so hard during i pissed myself... twice!

2 Raven v. AJ Styles( Ladder Match)- 4- AJ sucks as the cocky heel prick and his headwarmer would have gotten his ass kicked in my high school. Raven juiced again in this one quite early, but it wasn't swaying my vote. Vince Russo was involved in this match, it was never explained why but it wasn't a good thing. stick to writing books, or not, because no one bought it. It had potential but it all fizzled away after a few moments of uninspired garbage wrestling.

3 Raven v. Jeff Jarrett( NWA Title)- 1- This was built as the biggest match in TNA history and i was really looking forward to it, but as it unraveled, it became one of the biggest cluster fucks produced as wrestling i've seen. The match for the first 10 minutes or so wasn't bad, and the heat for it was great. Then came about 10 random guys from the back, and all's i saw was Mike sanders whipping Mike Awesome's ass and i didn't know why. Then, a host of ECW stalwarts came out and wore Jarrett's ass out with some weapon shots. Then, out go the lights; even Panda Energy couldn't keep up with the electric bill. And in comes Sabu doing his weak ass table shit. Then, he perpetrated a moment that will always live in infamy: he jumped into the crowd for his get away and almost stepped on a fan, but really did crash into a woman's head knocking her down and out. The man next to her punched Sabu in the shoulder and he half heartedly began helping her up, then just ran away into the night. We watched that clip over and over again, and laughed until the heavens shook and God said "Be Quiet", so of course, we said "You have to see this, since you're going to be wrestling against the McMahons here on Earth at Backlash in your debut," and he said "Sure!" So, me, Brian, and God replayed that Sabu blunder about eight times and he laughed harder than we did. "Oh, man, TNA really doesn't have a clue, do they? Oh, well, i'm going to film a bit for WWE Byte this and then go kill Scott Hall. See ya later!" So, God bounced and we rated this match, LLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWW!

4 Raven v. Shane Douglas( Hair v. Hair)- 3- Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! No, Gomer Pyle didn't run in, but i would've believed it if he did. They were actually wrestling pretty well together until Raven tried to blade Mitchell which failed, then Shane Douglas remembered he didn't really have to try and Vampiro came in with an Ally Sheedy haircut.

5 Raven v. Vampiro( Gallows of Retribution Match)- 2- Another laugh riot! There were four dog collars tied to all four sides of the ring and i guess you had to choke out your opponent with them. Vamp's ring work was as inspired as the corpse his body tone represented and Raven bled just as natural he you would to eat a cheeseburger. At some point, a man in an all white linen cloak was hanging out in the ceiling; either he was a leper or Raven's father trying to hide himself from the embarassment. I'll go with the latter because he then held up a sign that read "Even Johnny Polo worked better!"

6 Raven v. Father James Mitchell( Last Man Standing)-3- Mitchell sold hard for everything because he knew no better and that made it fun to watch. He bled pretty bad( Raven had to pass duties) and then lost with no build.

7 Raven v. Abyss-2- Abyss really was green but eager and that was something that i wished he would have passed to Raven, like that girl passed him crabs back when he was in ECW and he could get laid because people thought he was actually banging Buelah.

Disc 2

1 Raven v. AJ Styles v. Truth v. Abyss- 4- Finally something to be proud of, until you actually analyze it. Abyss was actually the one working here, bumping big for Truth and AJ while Raven bled and did all his usual spots.

2 Raven v. Truth v. AJ Styles v. Chris Harris- 5- Now this was a big improvement. This was some kind of Royal Rumble entry match that was hard to understand but played out pretty good. I was really getting sick of seeing Russo involved, but Chris Harris did well to keep up his end of the bargain.

3 Raven v. Sonjay Dutt- 1- This is his best of? Why waste our time with a blow out. pointless.

4 Raven v. Sabu(1st match ever)-3- why so low? come on, are you that cruel, Mr. Robertson? No, just honest. I love different aspects of both men but they didn't try and bring anything new or exciting to their first ever encounter. The end was looking really good, except it was blown: a DDT from the top through a table but they collapsed one side of it, then just readjusted and broke through.


1 Raven v. Chris Harris- 4- Both of these matches were done with Raven and Terry Taylor commentary and it took away from both of them. Taylor was whining and bringing up situations that seemed to be taken right from his mid card career. I hated him during this and Raven tried to be funny but came off desperate. It's easier to grade their voices than the wrestling because it was more prevalent.

2 Raven v. AJ Styles- 5- These guys worked well together and the technical wrestling in this match was some of the best i've seen in TNA. AJ proved to me he doesn't have to rush a match to make it seem like a good one and this was the best Raven looked on the whole DVD, even though his commentary displayed him as the immature jackass he must be (i've been to his website: I only plug it for your own amusement.

Best of Raven - Nevermore

Raven is a bit of an enigma in professional wrestling. He has unquestionably left an impact upon all of the major American federations of the past decade. Offensively, he's no trendsetter; and on the opposite side of the spectrum, he's notorious for putting his hands up and blocking weapon shots, but his facials and sells aren't half bad. His biggest contribution is likely his character, as he's been involved in some historical angles and cutting edge storylines. This DVD, put out by TNA, is a collection of matches all pre-Orlando when they were still operating out of Tennessee.

Disc #1
1. vs. Sandman - House of Fun - 3
2. vs. AJ Styles - Ladder Match - 4
3. vs. Jeff Jarrett - 3
4. vs. Shane Douglas - Hair vs. Hair - 2
5. vs. Vampiro - Gallows of Retribution - 3
6. vs. Father James Mitchell - Last Man Standing - 1
vs. Abyss - 2

Sandman and Raven had the epitome of a sloppy hardcore brawl, that was great fun to laugh at hysterically as it occurred. The end was a riot, as Raven sprayed Sandman directly in the face with a fire extinguisher, then Sandman got thrown off of a balcony through six tables with a white face. I had forgotten how Styles used to act cocky, even though back then he really had no clue how to actually put together a match. I thought him and Raven doing ladder bumps would be the cause of much celebration, but it was actually a flop. The match versus Jarrett started out surprisingly good, but then got more convoluted than a Quentin Tarantino script as all kinds of people interfered and mayhem ensued, ruining any chance this had at being halfway respectable. The match with Douglas was absolute shit, and I mean it, this was disgraceful. Douglas gets sick in the middle of the match, and pukes at least three times all over the place. No, I'm not kidding, this actually happened. He was totally out of it, and in no wrestling shape, although, some would say he hasn't been in 8 years. After the match, when they're shaving Raven's head they're being rough and shaving his scalp, too--that part was good, the match itself sucked. The match with Vampiro was essentially a dog collar match, where you had to hang you opponent over the top rope to gain a victory. They said it'd be bloodier than the famous Valentine/Piper dog collar match, which was an utter lie, as this match doesn't compare to that classic on any level. Vampiro's offense is so bizarre; he almost looks foolish, fumbling through this uninspired match with fellow idiot Raven. The match with Mitchell can be summed up as follows--Mitchell's blades, bleeds, and bumps poorly in this waste of time. The match with Abyss could have been good, but it followed the tradition set forth by other matches on this compilation by being ruined by sloppy inconsistent work and interference galore.

Disc #2
1. vs. AJ Styles vs. Truth vs. Abyss - 5
2. vs. AJ Styles vs. Truth vs. Chris Harris -7
3. vs. Sonjay Dutt - 2
4. vs. Sabu - 4
5. vs. Chris Harris - 4
6. vs. AJ Styles - 4

The second disc is by far much better. The first four-way is good, it's a bit chaotic, but good regardless. The second one, features some kind of gimmick where two guys start it, then every 5 minutes the next participant joins. It's the best match on the entire DVD, and I'd suggest seeking it out and procuring yourself a copy, as it's that good. The match with Dutt is a poor excuse for a squash, and completely forgettable. The match with Sabu is entertaining, although not either's best work, and full of some seriously sloppy spots. The finish is botched, too; which may or may not be a bad thing. The last two matches were bonus features, and include commentary by Raven and Terry Taylor. The commentary sucks, though, because you can't hear the noise of the action or crowd response. So, I have a feeling both matches were better than the grades they received, but were rendered nearly unwatchable as they were.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

ECW Massacre on 34th Street

This was the 2nd to last PPV for the company and their roster had been depleted and their storylines cut down to the bare minimum.

1 Simon Diamond/ Swinger v. Joey Matthews/ Christian York- 4- Good tag wrestling, with well-timed tags, but it had no time to really start cooking.

2 EZ Money v. Balls Mahoney- 5- A match I didn't expect to like, but their styles meshed particularly well. Balls impressed me and EZ should have a good job somewhere.

3 Nova v. Julio Dinero- 3- The thing about this that surprises me is how crazy of a highflyer Nova was. I had forgotten. Although, that route only could have led to Jeff Hardy land because Nova messed a few things up in this match, but good short action.

4 FBI v. Danny Doring/ Roadkill- 6- Great tag action with awesome high spots and good tag psychology. Roadkill's plancha onto Big Sal and Mamaluke's flying tornado DDT onto Roadkill were the highlights of the show. And I would be remised if I didn't mention Mamaluke testing the durability of his scrawny neck by landing on it whilst hitting a steel guard rail. That's a true highlight reel moment, not the shit we see on these Wrestlemania moments to remember on WWE TV.

5 CW Anderson v. Tommy Dreamer- 7- A bonified main event. Dreamer took some innovative table bumps all in an effort to put over a new star, that apparently didn't get the push they had planned for him. A true hardcore war.

6 Rhino v. Lil' Spike- 5 - this is what you would expect; Rhino being a complete bully and Spike loving the abuse. A choke out finish after brain splattering chair shots.

7 Mikey Whipwreck/ Tajiri v. Super Crazy/ Kid Kash- 5- A bit uninspired, and not what they were capable of, and they know it.

8 Steve Corino v. Justin Credible v. Jerry Lynn- 5- You know I don't have a lot to say here; well, not a lot good to say. I think Justin Credible was one of the worst World Champions in the last ten years, and Corino didn't trail far behind. Credible proved how much of a sportsman & an entertainer he was when he blundered a simple backdrop over the guardrail then got pissed visibally and no sold a shot from Lynn, only to fire an unprotected elbow of his own into Lynn's mouth. It was a dishonor to me as a wrestling fan, and for someone who has wrestled for many years, albeit in a back yard setting, to have witnessed that. Such a disgrace. Anyways, Lynn went out first (very disappointing) while the other two decide to do a crowd brawl. From there it's only magic. Let me give you the layout. Corino will hang from the balcony, Credible will knock him off, bask in the cheap heat surrounding him, then lumber on back to the ring and work a scientific match for about six minutes. Huh? Then, let's do some lazy ladder bumps and end it clean with a neckbreaker. Corino, hello, you're finishing move is a lazy ass neckbreaker, homie? You claim to be old school, but you're shit looks like pre-school. And Credible, you're anything but you're name sake. If anything, the only thing incredible about you is that you still get work. A severe disappointment of a main event. But, over all a great PPV by ECW that makes me wonder: How come WWE doesn't simply put on a show with just great ring work and leave the backstage vignettes in the edited pile?

TNA Impact 3/25/06

1. Diamonds In the Rough vs. Sonjay Dutt, Chris Sabin, and Jay Lethal - 3
2. Team 3-D vs. Team Canada (Bobby Roode and Eric Young) - Six Sides of Steel Match - 5

The six-man tag was a shoddy, sloppy spot fest. Elix's long legs and wild haphazard kicks combine for some of the oddest offense in professional wrestling. Lethal botched a springboard into the ring later on, looking totally amateur, like perhaps he should have spent more money on wrestling training than getting his hair done.

Team 3-D just annihilated Team Canada in a bloody cage match. It lacked the importance or execution of a major match, which it could have been. Young just bumped all over the place, bleeding everywhere. In the end, the rest of Team Canada got involved. Petey Williams tried to splash Bubba through a table in a laughable spot; there was so little impact that the only thing that broke on the table was the legs. Later, they set the same table up in the corner, whipped Bubba into it, where it proceeded to explode in tons of pieces. Both table spots provided me with some genuine laughter. A bunch of heels proceeded to bludgeon Team 3-D after the match.

TNA Impact - 4/13/06

1) Christopher Daniels vs. Samoa Joe - 6
2) America’s Most Wanted vs. Team 3-D – Street Fight - 5
3) Sting vs. Eric Young – 5

It needs to be noted that Daniels vs. Joe was joined in progress so the rating is predicated on what aired on television. Joe dominated Daniels to regain the X Division title. I honestly think that Samoa Joe could be TNA’s “big fight” type competitor if promoted properly. The street fight marks yet another match that has been done over and over again over the past few months. The only notable thing to come out of it was the TNA debut of Brother Runt (a.k.a. Spike Dudley). Sting and Eric Young did what it was designed to do and that was to prove to the home viewing audience that Sting still has what it takes. This was a fantastic debut for TNA on Thursday nights (it scored a record 1.1 rating) and hopefully good ratings will allow Spike TV to give TNA that two-hour timeslot that they so rightly deserve.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Hardcore Homecoming- Sep. 16,2005- Cleveland, OH

The 2nd show put together by that crack team of Jeremy Borash and Shane Douglas in the 2nd famous arena ECW competed in, well, wait a minute, that doesn't seem quite right. Cleveland? The arena looks almost empty. There's like a total of 5 rows of people at ringside, counting all 4 sides. This doesn't seem right. What, there's no entrances? Or barely any lights? And no commentary? I predict this will be hard to watch.

1 Blue Meanie v. Tracey Smothers- 1- Another dance off? More ref teaming w/ Meanie? Was this the encore of their first match? It didn't work the first time, why the hell would it work now?

2 Danny Doring v. Chris Chetti- 2- Before this started, I wondered why neither of these two got much work after ECW folded. Then, after this match, the answer was apparent. These guys weren't selling that much, didn't involved the crowd, and seemed to give a fuck less if they were wrestling or shopping at Dillards. Not good.

3 Roadkill v. New Jack-0- I would rather watch curling on the Winter Olympics than sit through another 4 minute weapon fest that saw New Jack pinning the ref as a finish and then hear New Jack ramble on, shooting on Steve Austin and then talking about how ECW was and I quote " that holiday that happens that you don't give a fuck about" I'd think the Atbash code of the Romans would be easier to decipher.

4 Raven v. Rhino- 3- An uninspired crowd brawl that was shrouded in complete darkness and complete stupidity and then a gore. Rhino tried to turn the crowd on him before the match by calling them "rednecks" and "stupid assholes", then after he said he "lied" and "loved the fans." Does this insult anyone else? Go play your mark games on your wife, oh, she left you because you beat her? Did you "lie" to her? Do you "love her like you love the fans?" Don't insult our intelligence or you'll end up in a deep depression like the last guy who did it. (Vince Russo)

5 Jerry Lynn v. Sabu v. Shane Douglas- 4- There was small glints of real wrestling and good spots in this, but the finish was a cheap Douglas win and then after the match, Lynn and Sabu busted him open badly and just took turns beating the open wound. What does any of this have to do with honoring ECW?
6 Team 3-D v. Ian Rotten/ Balls Mahoney- 1- Bubba made mention of wrestlers not appearing because there wasn't a sell out. That's obvious. Then, he glorified the Dudleys in the name of all tag team wrestling and insulted Ian and the guys that paid them a shitload of money to show up. Then, they really earned their keep by a crowd brawl, bad weapon shots, and a little blood thrown in just to keep us on our toes.

7 Sandman v. Justin Credible(Cane Match)- 3- Better than I had imagined, but it still sucked. Great, legit cane shots were the highlight. If they continue to do these shows, please, please put a little effort into the home video and the wrestling, well, and the match quality, and the arena you put it in, and get some commentary, and well, you need the change it completely from what this tape presented.

Hardcore Homecoming 9/16/05

1. Blue Meanie vs. Tracy Smothers - 1
2. Danny Doring vs. Chris Chetti - 2
3. Roadkill vs. New Jack - 1
4. Rhino vs. Raven - 3
5. Sabu vs. Shane Douglas vs. Jerry Lynn - 4
6. Team 3-D vs. Ian Rotten and Balls Mahoney - Table Match - 4
7. Sandman vs. Justin Credible - Singapore Cane Match - 3

I wasn't even going to write about this show because it was so bad. My review of the first Hardcore Homecoming was pretty scathing enough, so I put my thoughts on this show aside. Well, now much later, I'm bored in the office, so let's talk about this DVD for the hell of it. First off, for an E.C.W. reunion show, who decided it was a good idea to do it in Cleveland? Two things that really hurt this show were only 100 or so people showed up, and secondly, there's no commentary on the DVD so it's unbearable to watch. Meanie and Smothers do another dancing competition and I'm already irritated. Doring and Chetti sucked in '98, and they're twice as bad in '05. Roadkill and New Jack is the definition of hardcore slop--they actually paid these guys to do this? New Jack's promo was awesome, though, in a strange way. Rhino and Raven now make better money in T.N.A. and you could tell their heart was obviously not into performing in front of a small crowd of virgins and Serenity fans. The three-way could have been cool, but it wasn't given any time, and turned into a complete fiasco. My favorite match was the tag team bout; the Dudleyz are heat machines, and it's nice to see Ian again. The whole table match concept is a bit ludicrous, but this wasn't too bad on the eyes. Sandman should hit a gym, and Credible should hit his parents in the face for rubbing uglies and birthing such a sack of shit. This is not main event caliber wrestling, and you'd have to try awfully hard to prove otherwise.

WWF Supertape

1) Rugged Ronnie Garvin vs. Mr. Perfect - 5
2) The Bushwhackers vs. The Bolsheviks - 4
3) The Bushwhackers vs. Bad News Brown & The Brooklyn Brawler - 4
4) The Bushwhackers vs. The Powers of Pain - 3
5) Tito Santana vs. Rick Rude - 6
6) Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. Ted DiBiase - 5
7) Iron Mike Sharpe vs. Tugboat - 4
8) Randy Savage & Zeus vs. Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake – Steel Cage Match – 6

Garvin and Perfect was an interesting match of two pretty skilled technicians that had a soiled outcome. All three Bushwhackers bouts weren’t bad but they weren’t great by any means. Their matchup with the Powers of Pain was terribly wretched and almost had me reaching for the stop button. Rude and Santana had a fantastic encounter. Mind you, it wasn’t a show stealing bout by any means, but was definitely a formidable match. Snake and DiBiase had a little more psychology involved than I would’ve liked to see but was still solid. Sharpe and Tugboat was actually kind of intriguing and featured Tugboat pulling off a standing dropkick. Finally, the cage match was from they aired the movie No Holds Barred on pay-per-view and was actually one of the better cage tag matches I’ve seen.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hardcore Homecoming- 06/10/05- Philadelphia, PA

Former: ECW Arena
Now: The New Alhambra?

This show was done on the eve of WWE's pilfered tribute to the hardcore fed that made bingo halls cool. It was done by Jeremy Borash Productions, which makes me a little leery immediately, and apparently put together by Shane Douglas.
1 Simon Diamond/ CW Anderson v. Mikey Whipwreck/ Chris Chetti- 3- No better way to kick off an ECW tribute show by randomly throwing four guys together in a tag match. These guys really had no connection in ECW at all, except maybe they all liked chili dogs after the show. But, I digress. The match never broke down in typical ECW fashion nor did it have anything hardcore in it. It was just a straight wrestling match, which I'm all for, but shouldn't they have incorporated the spirit of ECW into this somehow? Lost points for that.

2 Tracey Smothers v. Blue Meanie- 1- This was pure garbage. A dance off. The referee becoming a tag partner to Meanie. I'm not sure what this is supposed to do, but entertain me it isn't.

3 Kid Kash v. 2 Cold Scorpio- 6- Now, this was worth watching. 2 guys from diff. eras of the company going out and putting together a 15 minute match to see what the other has. 2 Cold is a hugely underrated performer, which is maybe why he works mainly in Japan. Kash kept up best he could, and 2 Cold sold the best he could; they worked together like a married couple in the pioneer days. Neither really liked or dislike each other and times are hard, so let's make the best of it. And they did an admirable job.

4 Kronus/ New Jack v. The Bad Breed- 2- You know exactly what happened here.

5 Justin Credible v. Jerry Lynn- 6- A retelling of this classic feud, which was the only work Credible did that didn't suck farts. They redid their famous hurricanrana off the top through a table and they both seemed to really have a good knowledge of the other guy. A top rate match with hard work and effort shining through.

6 Raven v. Sandman- 5- you're bound to get stiff with Sandman in the ring, and I'm not talking about the shots of liquid cocaine he had before the match. There was some interference in it, but what else from ECW. This had the flavor of the '95 era there and there was some good blood and the crowd ate this match up with two hands.

7 Terry Funk v. Shane Douglas v. Sabu(No Ropes Barbed Wire Match)- 4- I'm not sure what I actually liked about this match, thinking back. Sabu looked particularly good and Douglas hit the wire a few times and Funk didn't totally hobble around the ring, fall in a corner haphazardly and wither away into a pile of ash, but he did break a ladder and fuck up a table spot. Mick Foley showed up to get booed for using Socko, so he wrapped barb wire around it. I thought Socko was a vegetarian. Anyways, all 3 guys blantaly said before the match they couldn't top what they had already done, but they still tried to send the fans home happy and they had a half ass decent match in the process, as far as Barb Wire Matches go.

This DVD was a pretty good presentation. I prefer it to the One Night Stand because it allows some of ECW's most prestigious brethren a voice on the disc, which was cool to hear. I'm sure being there I would have thought this was a great show, but only watching it and combined with the production of the disc, it was good, not great.

ROH Joe vs. Kobashi 10/01/05

1. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Colt Cabana - 5
2. Matt Sydal vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Azrieal - 6
3. Tony Mamaluke and Sal Rinauro vs. BJ Whitmer and Jimmy Jacobs - 6
4. Nigel McGuinness vs. Jay Lethal - 6
5. Rodering Strong vs. Jimmy Rave - 7
6. Ricky Reyes vs. Pelle Primeau - 4
7. James Gibson vs. Jimmy Yang - 6
8. Homicide vs. Jack Evans - 5
9. Kenta Kobashi vs. Samoa Joe - 9

Cabana is pretty well rounded, but Claudio should probably stick to making lasagna in his mom's kitchen. The three-way wasn't bad—mostly because Daniels led these guys through it. I liked the tag match a lot, honestly, it was one of the better matches overall. Sal and Tony are little guys, but they held their own. I'm not too big on Jacobs, but he has time to improve; he gets ahead of himself a lot in the ring, but he has potential. Nigel and Lethal doesn't sound too appetizing on paper, but they produced a watchable bout. Roderick is one of the most consistent performers on the independent circuit, and looked solid here against Rave. Reyes squashed Pelle--nobody cared. Gibson and Yang do in the ring what WWE would never let them accomplish in 4-minute Velocity matches. Seeing Homicide put overrated Evans over is laughable, as well as slightly insulting. Evans should have gone for a career in gymnastics instead of wrestling--he'd make better money. Joe and Kobashi is everything you've undoubtedly heard it is; it's stiff, physical, and intense. Is it a classic? I don't think so. For unknowing American fans, Kobashi works matches of this level and magnitude constantly in Japan, and has been doing so for years. Still, it's nice finally seeing Joe getting roughed up, and the hot crowd certainly helped make this match more memorable.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

WCW Slamboree 1999

1 Billy Kidman/ Rey Mysterio v. Chris Benoit/ Dean Malenko v. Raven/ Perry Saturn- 6- Six guys who cared about their profession stuck in the opening match, and they tear it up. Sounded like every WCW PPV in the late 90's. Benoit & Malenko worked well as heels and Raven was hughely over as a face. Some decent 3 man spots, but the crowd didn't care for mess ups- they were majorly into this.

2 Konnan v. Stevie Ray-2- short and sour. No spots in this worth even performing.

3 Brian Knobs v. Bam Bam Bigelow (Hardcore Match)- 5- this was very entertaining and stiff; neither guy gave a shit about the other and just kaboshed the hell out of each other. Exactly what you'd want from these two.

4 Booker T v. Rick Steiner- 5- Rick kept Book pretty grounded the whole time, but he wouldn't let Rick bully him. Book laid some stiff kicks in on old' DFG.

5 Gorgeous George v. Lil' Natch- 4- For all it's ridiculousness and interference, there was about 5 minutes of actual basic wrestling that was morbidly entertaining for me to watch.

6 Scott Steiner v. Buff Bagwell-3- these guys looked like two big turkeys magically animated to come alive and fight. A lot of muscles being flexed, and a lot of bumps being avoided

7 Roddy Piper v. Ric Flair-3- Piper loved kissing ugly women. He planted a tongue tango on Asya, the body builder who accompanied Flair. Got to see AA hit a spinebuster on Piper; that was about it.

8 Goldberg v. Sting- 5- this was building up like a Hogan v. Warrior match, and then Bret Hart came in and bashed them both with steel chairs. Fun to watch

9 Kevin Nash v. DDP-2- an embarrassment to wrestling. And it wouldn't end. It just kept going. And going. I wondered if they had had batteries installed in them a long time ago, to keep their wrestling careers a float.

HWA War Games 12/2003

1. Big Jim vs. Ala Hussein - 3
2. Hussla vs. Mike Desire - 3
3. 80-Man Battle Royal - 3
4. AJ Sparkx vs. Hellana Heavenly - Hardcore Match - 2
5. Crazy J and Lotus vs. Jt Stahr and TJ Dalton - 4
6. Team B.P.W. vs. Team H.W.A. - War Games - 4

Big Jim is a big joke, and a big insult to wrestling fans' intelligence. My buddies and I used to vocally assault Hussla at H.W.A. shows all the time. He looks like he should be a gas station attendant, not a pimp. I don't buy him as a wrestler, nor I would I buy prostitutes from him. The 80-man battle royal was a disaster of epic scale--maybe live it would have been enjoyable to witness, but they only use one camera angle on the DVD, and it's nearly impossible to see anything whatsoever. The woman's hardcore match was absolute junk. 5 years ago when I was working at a movie theatre, Heavenly would come in without makeup, wearing sweats, and looking about as attractive as Dino Bravo. I don't buy her as attractive, and I definitely don't buy her as a professional wrestler. Get back to your couch, bitch! The tag match was easily the best on the card, which isn't saying anything. I have a couple friends who worked an independent show in Indiana with Louts and J, they're apparently real douchebags. Then, one night after an R.O.H. show in Dayton, I ran into one of them at a Denny's and he approached my entourage and started shaking hands, trying to put himself over like he was Ric fucking Flair. Anybody using Insane Clown Posse references as gimmicks should be given the "Bruiser Brody Puerto Rico Special" if you catch my drift; if you need a hint, let's just stay knives are easily accessible. All kidding aside, to my more impressionable fans, I’m not advocating their murder—but I’m definitely not a fan. The "War Games" was a mess of epic proportions, much like former H.W.A. owner Les Thatcher's underwear after seeing what became of his former federation.

WWE Survivor Series 2005

1) Chris Benoit vs. Booker T – 6
2) Trish Stratus vs. Melina – 5
3) Ric Flair vs. Triple H – Last Man Standing Match – 8
4) John Cena vs. Kurt Angle – 5
5) Eric Bischoff vs. Teddy Long - 1
6) Shawn Michaels, Big Show, Chris Masters, Kane, & Carlito vs. Batista, JBL, Rey Mysterio, Bobby Lashley, & Randy Orton – Elimination Match – 6

Not really much to say here. Benoit and Booker had a solid contest that had a lame finish. The divas match was a shining spot in a dying division that has more inflatables in it than the lazy river at your local waterpark. Perhaps the best match of the night was HHH vs. Flair. They used a lot of psychology to reel the fans in and didn’t do any lame hardcore spots, save for one spot where Flair backdropped HHH through the Spanish announce table. Cena and Angle wasn’t bad, wrestling wise, but with the built in referee angle, it dropped a few notches. The Long vs. Bischoff match was a pile of dog shit. As for the main event … well, there’s really not much to say there either. I couldn’t understand a thing that the announcers were saying because they opened up all five mics and it was basically them taking pot shots at each other. Aside from HHH vs. Flair, the whole show was basically a throw-away. Man, I’m sure glad I didn’t pay twenty bucks on DVD for this thing.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

The Greatest Wrestling Stars of the 80s

Disc #1
1. Greg Valentine vs. Roddy Piper - Dog Collar Match (Starrcade 11/24/83) - 8
2. Sgt. Slaughter vs. Iron Shiek - (MSG 5/21/84) - 5
3. Greg Valentine vs. Tito Santana - Lumberjack Match (MSG 3/17/85) - 7
4. Junkyard Dog vs. Randy Savage - (Wrestling Classic 11/7/85) - 2
5. Ultimate Warrior vs. Bobby Heenan - Weasel Suit Match (MSG 6/25/88) - 2

Valentine and Piper beat, bloodied and bludgeoned each other in what is arguably the best dog collar match in the history of the business. It's a joy to see these two pummel each other, especially Valentine working Piper's left ear into a bloody pulp. Sheik and Slaughter is equally as gory, as Slaughter bleeds buckets in a less impressive bout. This got a lot of heat; I guess people were more patriotic back then. I loved how Sheik slapped Slaughter in the face a few times before the match, and I love how vile he was throughout this grudge match. Tito versus Valentine was rather excellent, Valentine has said in interviews that Tito was one of his all-time favorite opponents because he wasn't afraid to fire back shots and nail him. Lumberjack matches are usually throwaway bouts, but this was one of the better executed ones I've had the pleasure of watching. The finish was neat, too, where they both collapsed, but Valentine happened to land on top of Santana, scoring the questionable victory. I had high hopes for Savage and Junk Yard Dog; boy, was I thoroughly disappointed. This was worse than sitting next to The Boogeyman on a plane. The Heenan match was comedy, as expected, and I guess it worked on some level back then, even if it's hard to sit through nowadays.

Disc #2
1. Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair - 1 Million-Dollar Challenge Match (Starrcade 11/22/85) - 4
2. Ole & Arn Anderson vs. Wahoo McDaniel & Billy Jack Haynes - (Starrcade 11/28/85) - 4
3. Jerry "The King" Lawler vs. Kerry Von Erich - (AWA Superclash III 12/13/88) - 5
4. Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric Flair - (Chi-Town Rumble 2/20/89) - 8
5. Ric Flair vs. Jay Youngblood - (Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling 2/3/82) - 3

Rhodes and Flair isn't one of their more legendary battles. It doesn't seem to ever really get going, and then the referee, overrated boxer Joe Frazier, stops the match due to blood loss by Rhodes, who isn't even that messy. The tag match is a throwaway. Haynes looked ripped and lost, Wahoo should have seriously been retired at this point, Arn looks good as always, and Ole looks sadistically stiff. This match runs a little shy of 10 minutes, but there's really only about 3 minutes worth of quality work. As soon as the Lawler versus Von Erich match starts, Jerry dodges a punch in the first few seconds and rams Kerry's bicep into a turnbuckle, which somehow cuts him open. This isn't played for dramatic effect as much as it just shows Von Erich, looking very petty, checking his little "boo boo" every 15 seconds instead of concentrating on this huge title unification match. Not too long after, Von Eric is really bleeding heavy, this time from his head and eye. The referee eventually stops this; although it's important, it's not really all that good, unless you're interested in watching Lawler do his same old heel shtick, where he hides a foreign object in his trunks, that he's been doing the last 25 years. Flair and Steamboat is solid, it's not the best match they’ve ever had, but its still quality. The chops are especially solid. Steamboat's green trunks and boots here are some of my all-time favorites. You should probably own at least two copies of this match. Youngblood looked about as green as Ricky's aforementioned trunks in his bout, the most oddly selected match on the entire set, and a completely forgettable waste.

Disc #3
1. Jimmy Snuka vs. Bob Backlund - Steel Cage Match (MSG 5/19/80) - 6
2. Iron Shiek vs. Bob Backlund - (MSG 12/26/83) - 4
4. Paul Ordorff vs. Salvatore Bellomo - (MSG 1/23/84) - 4
5. Iron Shiek vs. Hulk Hogan - (MSG 1/23/84) - 5
6. Bob Orton vs. Jimmy Snuka - (MSG 2/18/85) - 6
7. Roddy Piper vs. Hulk Hogan - The War To Settle The Score (MSG 2/18/85) - 5

Backlund and Snuka is one of the industry's most famous cage matches, and rightfully so, although it's not entirely spectacular. It's shorter than I expected, and Backlund looks completely out of his environment. The MSG crowd is hot, per usual, and that helps a lot. The big moment is Snuka's splash off the top of the cage, which was 10 years ahead of its time, and every bit deserving of the praise heaped upon it by smart marks worldwide. Snuka went balls out, and single-handedly made this match a major one. Backlund and Sheik is important because Sheik ended Backlund's long reign as champion, and we all now it was only so he could put the strap on Hogan's tanned waist. Backlund is selling the injured left arm to an almost absurd degree, and this entire plodding match features little but Sheik working it and his neck. They allowed Bob to save face by having his manager toss in the towel, but if they were really genuinely worried about saving face for him, they should have destroyed all footage of this match and denied its existence. The grade I gave the Orndorff match is probably a bit misleading, as I actually enjoyed it, far more than I thought I would too, since I'd heard it stunk worse than a flight attendant after Regal pissing on them. There was a ton of stalling at the beginning, but this was Paul's MSG debut, and he pummeled the Italian Bellomo, who adorned in purple trunks looked oddly like Grimace of McDonalds lore. For those of you wanted Samoa Joe to come to W.W.E., imagine him wearing these exact purple trunks, being dubbed the "Purple People Beater" and then rethink that decision. Hogan squashing Sheik for the title is a classic bout, because it birthed Hulkamania. It went a little longer than I'd remembered; what it lacked in technicality, which was a lot, it made up for in sheer heat. Orton versus Snuka was really good, arguably the hidden gem on this entire set. The end was all kinds of tasty, including Snuka doing a kickass leap from the apron over the ropes, hooking Bob in a sunset flip. Snuka shined on this DVD--all bow down and suck his shoeless feet. The last match was the MTV bout that was the big set-up for Wrestlemania, it's filled with mega heat and story galore, including an appearance by Mr. T. It's memorable for those reasons only, as the actual wrestling blows like girls hooking up executives during Nitro Girls tryouts.

Greatest Wrestling Stars of the 1980s DVD

Disc One:
1) Dog Collar Match: Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine – 6
2) The Iron Sheik vs. Sgt. Slaughter – 4
3) Lumberjack Match: Greg “The Hammer” Valentine vs. Tito Santana - 5
4) Randy “Macho Man” Savage vs. The Junkyard Dog – 3
5) Weasel Suit Match: The Ultimate Warrior vs. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan – 2

Disc Two:
6) Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes – 6
7) Billy Jack Haynes & Wahoo McDaniel vs. The Minnesota Wrecking Crew - 6
8) Jerry “The King” Lawler vs. Kerry Von Erich – 5
9) Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat - 8
10) Ric Flair vs. Jay Youngblood - 4

Disc Three:
11) Steel Cage Match: Bob Backlund vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka – 6
12) The Iron Sheik vs. Bob Backlund – 3
13) Paul Orndorff vs. Salvatore Bellomo - 2
14) The Iron Sheik vs. Hulk Hogan - 5
15) Cowboy Bob Orton vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka - 5
16) Hulk Hogan vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper – 4

The good news is that the two NWA World Title matches and the dog collar match saved this one from a complete snorefest. The Savage/JYD match was beyond abysmal as was the Weasel Suit Match. The unification match was nothing but a blood letting but that was it’s only redeeming feature. On the bright side, the Steamboat/Flair match from the Chi-Town Rumble pay-per-view was nothing short of incredible and is probably the best match I’ve seen between the two. Flair and Rhodes put together a decent match with Rhodes bleeding like a horse. Like I mentioned before, this DVD set is a must have for fans of 1980s wrestling. I’d purchase this just for the dog collar match, Flair vs. Rhodes, Flair vs. Steamboat, and Backlund vs. Snuka. Recommended.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

WCW WrestleWar 1992: War Games

This is a show I've been wanting to re watch since I was a child. The War Games is a very cool concept that WWE wishes they came up with. 2 teams of 5, locked inside two rings, with a low ceiling cage encasing you. The only thing to do is drain your arteries of it's life giving blood and hope no one on your team submits or surrenders! Very good television.
1 The Freebirds v. Greg Valentine/ Terry Taylor- 6- Wow! Did I just write that? A 6? Well, Just because I didn't like "Hard Times" doesn't mean that I can't say Charles Dickens wasn't a master of prose. The names in this match read like a who's really never was, but they were all seasoned vets and they could work a crowd better than David Lee Roth. This match had the true essence of tag psychology and the crowd ate it up. The match was well paced and all the punches landed solid and looked legit? That's all you can ask for. It also had a great finish.
2 Ron Simmons v. Mr. Huges- 3- This was supposed to be a tag with Cactus Jack and JYD as partners! I love this show. What a great idea to have those two opposite a ring from each other. Cactus knocked Dog off the long rampway WCW had( which was a great idea) and dropped the elbow off of it, and Dog sold it like his heart just exploded. So, to singles action we go. Huges sold big for Simmons and Ron tried to keep pace slow for Huges. Decent match to put over the legendary Seminole.

3 Brian Pillman v. Tom Zenk- 6- This match told a story. Former partners, now with a belt in the middle, and the classic who was better? Who carried the team? And this wasn't all high flying; there was some real wrestling spots that was saying to each man "yeah, I'm showing you up and you know it? What do you have?" Pillman was the 90's Kurt Angle. He took to wrestling so quickly and just made it exciting to watch. He tried something new almost every time out there and really had a brilliant career ahead of him and should have been a huge star still today. Zenk held his own too, and I'm really not sure why he didn't wrestle longer. Anyways, these two tore down the house.
4 Steiner Brothers v. Tatsumi Fujinami/ Takayuki Iizuka- 7- Now, this is a tag match! None of the four of these men were going to give an inch and my god, I loved watching them try and take that inch like it was the last piece of steak at the George Foreman household. Let's really set the stage: The Steiner Brothers were the best tag team in the world, scientifically and physically. Fujinami was perhaps the best wrestler in Japan at that time or any other. Iizuka was a young pup who could stiff with the best of them and he wanted to prove it. There were some spots in this I hadn't ever seen and have never seen since, including a belly to belly to Iizuka who was jumping off the top rope towards Rick who was on Fujinami's shoulders! Unbelievable, except I saw it!
5 Sting's Squadron( Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes, & Nikita Koloff) v. The Dangerous Alliance( Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, & Larry Zybyszko) w/ Paul E. Dangerously & Madusa (War Games: The Match Beyond)- 9- This was by god the greatest War Games that ever took place. There was so much story in this, inlaid into each team, every one played an archetype, and then there was the action and the violence and the blood! I don't know where to begin. Let's see, Austin, Windham, Rhodes, Anderson, & Rude were all bleeding badly, which in this case means goodly. Sting was flying over both rings, Steamboat was hanging from the cage, Austin was eating steel, Anderson was hitting spinebusters, Windham was being old school and throwing great punches, Rhodes was being the rookie who wouldn't die, Larry Land was selling awesome, Rude was being spectacularly heelish, Eaton was fighting for his life, and Koloff was teasing a turn on Sting that didn't happen and then he got really stiff, plus they finished by taking the turnbuckle hook completely off and Larry accidentally bashed Eaton in the arm with it, and Sting won with an armbar! An armbar! A wonderful, feel-good, meat and potatoes, tingling, electric, soda pop fizzing, orgasm bursting, Star Wars ending armbar! God, I need a cigarette. This was a great old school tape and I loved every second of it. I want to thank our fellow writer, Adam for providing it. Good looking, bro.

WCW WarGames ‘92

1. Taylor Made Man and Greg Valentine vs. Freebirds – 6
2. Mr. Hughes vs. Ron Simmons – 4
3. Tom Zenk vs. Brian Pillman – 6
4. Tatsumi Fujinami and Takayuki Iizuka vs. The Steiner Bros. – 8
5. Sting’s Squadron (Sting, Ricky Steamboat, Barry Windham, Dustin Rhodes, & Nikita Koloff) vs. Dangerous Alliance (Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, & Larry Zybyszko) – WarGames Match – 9

On paper, you may see that first match and scoff, but that’d only show how little you know about professional wrestling. In that match are four certified legends, and although you won’t be seeing a moonsault through a flaming table, which any teen lacking self-esteem can do in their backyard, you will see terrific performances. These guys know how to absolutely drive the crowds wild, which is something I think a lot of wrestling writers don’t figure into their reviews, and is something I’ve been watching with a much more keen eye lately, as it’s one of the most important factors in the craft of telling a good story, and having a solid match.

Mr. Hughes and Simmons don’t steal the show, by any means, but they’re making an effort, which is something I can’t say about many mid-card wrestlers these days. Hughes’ sells aren’t good, he really needs to slow down and help us buy his opponent’s offense. Zenk and Pillman was just fantastic, it had a slow build, was the payoff to a major storyline, and featured an excellent finish. I’ve always been a Pillman fan, and Zenk held up his end of the deal, too. It was a very athletic and refreshing match.

I absolutely loved the Steiner Bros. versus Fujinami and Iizuka match. I urge you to seek it out as it’s the epitome of why I love wrestling. These guys held nothing back, and they all worked so hard in a very hard hitting and competitive match. The Steiner’s experience in Japan was very visible, as they went toe-to-toe with legend Fujinami and young gun Iizuka. There were so many huge spots and sequences in this match that I can’t do it justice by detailing them now. Scott Steiner almost broke his neck attempting a moonsault slam, a move the likes of which I’ve never seen attempted before or after this match. The best spot of the show saw Rick Steiner, who was perched on Fujinami’s shoulders, catch Iizuka in mid-air, whom had just leapt from the top turnbuckle, and give him a belly-to-belly suplex. It was an amazing and innovative spot—I’ve never seen anything like it. Guest writer Jessie and I exploded when we saw it, and re-watched it several times before finally settling down.

The main event is a classic match, arguably the best WarGames match ever, featuring a whole host of brilliant performances and more blood than the goriest of horror films. There are so many talented workers in this that you’d be insane to not want to see it, as some of the best wrestlers of all-time are on display in a chaotic cage match that has no parallel. Do yourself a favor and seek this video out, I guarantee you’ll be impressed. I can only speak for myself, but I’d rather see Bobby Eaton truly selling the effects of a chinlock, than see one more convoluted Ultimate X match or Elimination Chamber fiasco.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

WWE Wrestlemania 22

1. Big Show and Kane vs. Chris Masters and Carlito - 3
2. Shelton Benjamin vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Ric Flair vs. Fit Finlay vs. Matt Hardy vs. Bobby Lashley - Money In the Bank Ladder Match - 7
3. Chris Benoit vs. J.B.L. - 4
4. Mick Foley vs. Edge - Hardcore Match - 5
5. Booker T and Sharmal vs. Boogeyman - Handicap Match - 2
6. The Undertaker vs. Mark Henry - Casket Match - 5
7. Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James - 6
8. Shawn Michaels vs. Vince McMahon - No Holds Barred - 3
9. Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle vs. Randy Orton - 6
10. Candice vs. Torrie Wilson - Playboy Pillow Fight - 1
11. John Cena vs. Triple H - 7

The opening tag match wasn't memorable--roughly your basic Raw opener. I guess it was a good choice to start with, though, as it would have came off even worse had they done it later in the show. Afterwards, they teased a Carlito/Masters split; can you imagine the matches that feud would birth? The ladder match was admittedly fun. These clusters can become tedious when they're overused, but this was enjoyable. Shelton and Flair looked especially good, with Benjamin showcasing his agility and Flair taking a nasty suplex off a ladder by Hardy. Van Dam won in the end, but most of us didn't care who got the victory, it was watching them all get to that point that interested us. Benoit and Layfield worked a slow, mostly unspectacular match. Benoit's always a joy to watch, but Bradshaw's sells of his suplexes were lazy as hell, and the ending was disappointing.

I used to dig Foley, but it's hard watching him to do the same old shit, again and again, whenever they need him to bump. Yes, he took some nasty spills, but ultimately, I never truly got into this match. Credit goes to Edge, too, as he took a few nasty bumps, including a back suplex into thousands of thumbtacks. The ending, involving a flaming table, was inventive and kind of cool. Boogeyman looked completely awful, he's supposedly legit injured, but even that's no excuse for this pile of shit. I feel bad for Booker, who in past interviews had hopes of being in the main event of a Wrestlemania, and instead, is using his career and wife to put over a silly gimmick. Henry and Undertaker was about as good as anybody could have expected, Henry didn't do much, but Undertaker worked hard as always. This was relatively short for a stipulation match, with the major highlight being Undertaker doing a huge dive over the top rope onto Henry on the floor.

Trish and Mickie had a very good match together, the crowd turned on Stratus about halfway through it, and Mickie was just eating it up, playing the evil bitch perfectly. They ruined the finish, just absoultley botching James doing Trish's Stratusfaction finisher, as both slipped and crumpled to the mat. Besides the ending, this was rather solid. I didn't want to see McMahon wrestle, and this was the mess we all knew it would be. The Spirit Squad and Shane McMahon got involved, adding to the absurdity. The big bump was McMahon, with a garbage can covering his upper torso, being driven through a table by a Michaels elbow drop off a ladder. This was uninspired drivel. The three-way match was good, albeit short, only 9 minutes or so. Angle was over huge, and all three guys looked mostly good. Rey botched a ringpost 619; slipping and falling on his ass, looking like a complete idiot. Rey won the World title, which years ago I would have never believed; I'm interested to see how his reign turns out.

Candice and Torrie was worse than anticipated, fumbling in lingerie through a ring with a bed and tons of pillows in it. I wonder how Kidman feels, his wife Torrie is working a premier match at the biggest wrestling show of the year, and he's stuck working the drive-thru window at a Sonic restaurant. The main event was--interesting. The crowd was so into this, in a really odd way, their newfound hatred for Cena very present. The build was very slow and methodical, but the heat they had was tremendous. From a technical standpoint, it was flat, but from a heat standpoint, this was truly a major moment. The crowd was eating everything up, including Triple H's typical tame move set. The ending was genius, though, as Cena won clean, making Triple H tap out to his patented STFU. The crowd was stunned, as most people figured politician Triple H would reclaim the championship, for yet another run of mediocrity. Overall, this was an entertaining show, easily the most solid Wrestlemania since 19 in Seattle. There were a few throwaway matches, that did little except hurt the event, but for the most part, the pace and tone of the show was fine. I'm hoping next year's Wrestlemania in Detroit takes what was good about this show, improves upon it, and delivers a truly memorable show, worth being compared to the truly classic Wrestlemania events of the early 80's.