Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Andre the Giant: Larger than Life

1 Andre v. Moondog Rex- 2
2 18 Man Battle Royal(including, Sg. Slaughter, Adrian Adonis, Dick Murdoch, Big John Studd, Superfly Snuka, Andre, Pat Patterson, Hulk Hogan, Victor Riviera, The Hangman, Salvatore Bellamo, Paul Orndorff, Tiger Chung Lee, Iron Shiek, Alexis Smirnoff, Mil Mascaras, Tito Santana)- 4
3 Andre v. Black Gordman/ Great Goliath- 4
4 Andre v. Jack Evans/ Johnny Rodz/ Joe Butcher Nova- 1
5 Andre v. Gorilla Monsoon (Boxing)- 3
6 Andre/ Superfly Snuka v. The Wild Samoans- 5
7 Andre v. Masked Superstar- 3
8 Andre/ SD Jones v. Big John Studd/ Ken Patera- 3
9 Andre v. Ken Patera- 5
10 Andre v. Big John Studd- 2

The only thing of note against the Moondog was Andre lifting him up by the front of his pants like he were his two year old infant wanting a new toy and crying, pitching a fit. The Battle Royal was fun, as in it was very old school, with tons of great legends in it and people actually paid to see battle royal matches. There were no inventive eliminations, but best bump was given to Smirnoff who looked like a bald guy wearing Russian pajama pants. This handicap match held great interest for me: Goliath was a bumpaholic who looked more like a shaven ape than a hairy human. Andre pulled both men into a squatting position in front of him, as if in a rowboat without the boat, then lifted them into the air and back down on their keisters in one of the most blantantly homo-erotic moves I've ever witnessed.

In the next handicap, Andre tried the same spots (including the gay row boat ride) but with way less success. These guys didn't look like they graduated jobber training school. The boxing match was interesting because they were throwing wrestling punches, not real boxing punches, but I thought Monsoon was a gargantuan beast and he way layed Andre quite a bit. The tag match was probably the best of the night, which featured Snuka getting worked over by a double tough, pre-Carlito afro tag team known across the dark waters of the Pacific as the Wild Samoans( shoe-ins for Hall of Fame this year) Andre shot Snuka off his shoulders for the finish and it was pretty damn cool. Masked Superstar was a joke and the Giant made short work of him, much like his after show 18 cheeseburgers and 36 prostitutes; no wait a minute, I can't even make an after show prostitute joke with Andre- wouldn't it take a Blue Whale's blowhole to find something his dick could fit in? Anyways, next was the infamous Haircut angle that Kurt and Big Show tried to pull off year's later- the match surrounding it lacked, what's the word… action, but Special Delivery tied himself up in a package and took a nasty bump to the outside at one point. Singlely, Andre took it to Patera, whipping him all over the place; Bobby Heenan got involved and worked Andre's face like an underpaid pimp near the end! He literally beat his ass to the ground with shots to the face! Insane. The last match was the classic bodyslam match from Wrestlemania 1, this time redubbed with Tazz and Michael Cole's expert analysis on the match.

Tazz- "Not for nothing, these guys are huge, man, hahahaha, not for nothing, Cole is gay." Cole- "Well, Tazz, this is a classic match between two Hall of Famers and if I'm gay, you're short. Hahahahaha!"
Ridiculous banter ensues as Andre give away all the money.

(Editor's Note: This is Jessie’s 100th contribution to Never Hand Over! We’ve been watching wrestling together for nearly two decades. I can’t wait until we immerse ourselves in hours of Disorderly Conduct matches this summer.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

ROH: Weekend of Thunder Night 2- Nov. 16, 2004

1 Chad Collyer v. Nigel McGuinness- 3

2 Carnage Crew v. Davey Andrews/ Anthony Franco- 1

3 Izzy v. Trent Acid v. Jack Evans v. Fast Eddie- 2

4 Jay Lethal v. Jimmy Rave- 3

5 Austin Aries/ Roderick Strong v. CM Punk/ Ace Steel (No DQ Match)- 3

6 Dixie/ Angel Dust v. Dunn & Marcos- 3

7 Homicide v. John Walters- 2

8 BJ Whitmer/ Dan Maff v. Rottweilers- 2

9 Low Ki/ Bryan Danielson v. Samoa Joe/ Jushin Liger- 6

Collyer and McGuiness; wow, what can I say that I haven't in the other six matches I've reviewed of theirs. They both have great scientific skills, yet this match falls as flat as a week old Diet Dr. Pepper. There was some really bad comedy spots in this match; something neither of them should ever do simply because.. They aren't funny. The tag match was a smash, not even worthy of comments. The four way featured more guys standing on the outside of the ring than that was in the match. About 5 minutes into this one, all four guys took turns doing more and more horribly contrived dives onto the massive crowd of jobber suck that clogged up the ringside area. The high flying was super athletic, but meant absolutely nothing to the match! They were flipping and diving for the sake of it, with not a thought put into why. Lethal vs. Rave is a match from my worst nightmares- and while trying to put together a decent encounter, I find myself staring at the white paint on the wall. Lethal exudes no emotion whatsoever in his matches; hopefully in another 10 years, if he's still around. The No DQ match was a mixed bag: Aries was absolutely sacrificing his body in hopes of a good review from Internet sites around the world and it was working. Strong also brought a little something extra and didn't leave it in his gym bag in the locker room, like Punk did with his amphetamines and Steel did with his nuts. A series of ridiculous botched table spots, one after the other nearly massacred this match. It was funnier than William Regal pissing on Big Show's sweatpants. Ace Steel showed no character or enthusiasm in this match at all, plus he blocked a few chair shots.

This tag match featured all lighter weight guys, that were trying to make something out of a throwaway match. Both teams had some innovative tandem offense, and were uber- athletic, but the match was short and devoid of any psych. Homicide put forth his worst effort ever seen by these wrestling watching eyes, as at one point he tried to climb the ropes and simply slipped and crashed to the floor. It was a nasty spill and Homicide was evidently hurt. But, instead of ending the match, he tried to do the "hardcore" thing and continue, except that he laid around the mat for nearly six minutes more and milked his pain. Finally, he got up and they pulled off the most exposing "187" from the top turnbuckle in ROH's short history. Both men should be ashamed of themselves and should have to take credit for Rob Feinstein's email account. Ouch! Whitmer and Maff in the past have looked sharp and brutal in tag matches, but they were taking a night off here, Maff especially. He was lazier than Al Bundy and his punches looked like Stan Hansen waking up from a drunken six night layover in Tulsa. The dream partner main event showed a little more punch than had been shown all night. Danielson was tripping over himself to pin Liger, and they did successfully work him over for the majority of the match. Joe and Liger made a big comeback and finished the men stiffly. It was the only passable match of the night.

WWE Monday Night Raw - 4/2/07

Pre-Raw Matches:
1) Steven Richards vs. Kofi Kingston – 2
2) Chris Masters vs. Eugene – 3
3) Victoria vs. Candice Michelle – 1
4) Viscera vs. Pat Buck – 1
5) Kenny Dykstra vs. Val Venis – 3

Richards and Kingston had fun little match while staying very basic. Kingston scored the upset victory and afterward Stevie had Lillian tell the arena that everything would be okay. The first match up for the Heat taping was Masters and Eugene. Eugene got a great pop despite getting his head shaved and looking like the bastard son of The Highlanders. Masters is still totally immobile and still sucks. His gimmick is totally dead now that his unbreakable masterlock full nelson was broken a few weeks ago by Lashley. Victoria and Candice did their standard fare and furthered the point that the women’s division is totally pointless except for Mickie James. Viscera ate Pat Buck from OVW and then went backstage and devoured the entire catering area. Rounding out Heat was Kenny against the long forgotten Val Venis. They definitely had the best match of the Heat taping and kept everything fluid and simple for a decent capper to an otherwise lackluster version of Heat.

1) 10-Man Tag Team Battle Royal (Michaels & Cena retain) – 3
2) 10-Man Tag Team Battle Royal (Hardys win belts) – 4
3) Ric Flair & Carlito vs. Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas – 3
4) The Great Khali vs. Super Crazy – 0
5) Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga & Armando Alejandro Estrada – Handicap Match – 2

The first tag battle royal was fun and was used mainly to set up the second one which caught everyone off guard. To be honest, the whole show could’ve consisted of battle royals and it wouldn’t have bothered me a bit. The second battle royal was used as a vehicle to fully turn Michaels on Cena and to reset the Raw tag team division by giving the belts to The Hardys. Flair and Carlito have a good future as a team and I could forsee some quality matches between the two once Carlito finally turns on Flair. Khali beat Crazy so bad that the inside of his pants could’ve been mistaken for a green card. Finally, the main event was piss-poor and featured a mass exodus with nearly half the arena gone before the match was over. Lashley and Umaga do not work well together and I was mercilessly yelling negative things toward the ring before a guy a few rows in front of me responded to my comments with a rather warm “then go home, asshole!”. As soon as the bell rang, my group bailed and two of us hit up the Steak N Shake across from the arena where we met up with Ken Kennedy, Gregory Helms, Marcus Corvon, and Kevin Thorn. We spoke with the briefly on the way out and all four were very friendly and approachable. Of course, one could always wonder how nice they would’ve been had we not paid for their food, which we saw as a small way of giving back to them because they give us 52 weeks of entertainment a year.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

WWE Amargeddeon 2006

The final PPV of the year (Smackdown branded).

1 Kane v. MVP- Inferno Match- 4

A very unique gimmick match, but did this feud really warrant it? I mean, MVP beat him twice, is that worthy of setting him on fire? They did what they could (we've seen it before), then they did in a ring surrounded by flame. Its still cool seeing the flames rise every time they hit the mat. I guess it's the inner camper in me.

2 London/ Kendrick v. Regal/ Taylor v. MNM v. Hardys (Ladder Match)- 9

FINALLY, WWE gives back to the fans who spend their hard earned money on their ppv's by giving them a nice surprise. This would have been worth it to me to buy this show. The match was unbelievable; every guy in it tried new things and they pulled them off beautifully. Jeff Hardy has re-invented himself by being his old self- huh? But amazing! A Match of the Year for me. This hopefully could renew Tag wrestling in WWE and show that it still rocks all that is holy inside wrestling ropes. This was a living car crash and it kept replaying over and over again. And Joey Mercury!, Damn, that was sick! Watch this show, but more importantly, watch this match! BACK THE FUCK OFF OF SMACKDOWN! HOLLA HOLLA, PEANUT HEAD!

3 Boogeyman v. The Miz- 1

Miz looked like a child in Boogey's arms during this finish. The worm thing is still gross; neither guy has a long career in front of them.

4 Chris Benoit v. Chavo Guerrero- 6

Another solid effort from these two professionals. Suplexes are thrown around like morning papers and Benoit retains. Brian posed this question last night and I pose it to you fans: "Did Vickie Guerrero have to get tit implants?" I find that in poor taste. Eddie's widow trying to show off her old goods; for some reason I kept thinking they were going to go down that incest angle with her and Chavo; hell, Vince wanted Steph to be having his kid. That sick fuck.

5 Gregory Helms v. Jimmy Wang Yang- 5

A good match; maybe it is time for Helms to move up to US division. He has good mic skills; I liked his commentary the other week on SD. Yang has tightened his game a lot.

6 Undertaker v. Mr. Kennedy (Last Ride)- 4

This was a bust. Even the little kids in the sports bar watching knew Taker landed on a crash pad. I thought brawling in the castle was neat, but the payoff was a premature ejaculation. Taker rising up in the hearse got a huge pop where I was too; but ultimately this match felt flat.

7 Batista/ John Cena v. King Booker/ Finlay- 3

They've done better shit on Smackdown and wrestled longer. Get Dave and the King out of the ring with each other! They just can't figure the other one out and it's messing up my TV when they wrestle. This was a flop of a main event.

WWE Armageddon 2006

1) Kane vs. M.V.P – Inferno Match – 4
This was an interesting match to kick off the show with. There’s only so much you can do in one of these matches and they did just about it. Kane tried to light a turnbuckle pad on fire and the flames on one side went out. M.V.P. got tossed outside and Kane did a decent clothesline. The finish came when MVP’s ass was set on fire and he ran around like and idiot. A decent match mainly because the inferno stipulation hasn’t been done to death like everything else.

2) Brian Kendrick & Paul London vs. William Regal & Dave Taylor vs. The Hardys vs. MNM – Four Way Ladder Match – 8
This was originally supposed to be Regal & Taylor against London & Kendrick. However, the ladder stip and the additions of the Hardys and MNM cranked the awesomeness factor up several notches. Needless to say, I actually had a chill down my spine before the bell even rang. Once it did ring, it was total chaos. It started off slow and Regal & Taylor eventually got lost in the shuffle. There was a sick teeter-totter spot midway through in which Mercury got smacked right in the face and damn near got his nose ripped off. He was immediately hauled out. I thought the match was over early but no, they kept going! Kendrick tried his Sliced Bread #2 on Regal and kinda botched it. Jeff got kicked off the super ladder and fell throat first on the top rope. London scaled the ladder in the end to keep the belts for him and Kendrick. This was an awesome, awesome match and definitely worth going out of your way to see.

3) The Boogeyman vs. The Miz – 1
A retard against a caveman … need I say more? Boogey wins after a two-minute squash. Yuck.

4) Chris Benoit vs. Chavo Guerrero – 6
The pace slowed with this one. They worked a little better match than they had at Survivor Series and they didn’t seem as rushed. Benoit hit eight Germans in a row on Chavo in a somewhat memorable spot. Vickie tried to interfere in the end and Benoit teased putting her in the sharpshooter. Chavo got the roll-up from behind and Benoit reversed that into a sharpshooter to make Chavo tap. Again, nothing memorable but they worked hard and put together a solid match.

5) Jimmy Wang Yang vs. Gregory Helms – 5
I hate this damn gimmick that Yang has. This wasn’t your typical cruiserweight match and the crowd was not liking it at all. There were numerous “bor-ing” chants throughout the match. Helms scored with a nice neckbreaker on the outside and a swank top-rope neckbreaker. Yang missed the twisting senton and Helms was dripping blood from his mouth following the win. Once again, a solid match and I liked the pace they were working but the crowd hated it. JBL went off on a rant about the crowd afterward.

6) The Undertaker vs. Ken Kennedy – Last Ride Match – 5
The object of this one is to put your opponent in a hearse and drive it out of the arena. Taker worked Kennedy to start by flinging him into the ring apron. They did the leg drop spot from No Mercy where Taker hung Kennedy over the apron. Taker got thrown off of the set and onto a badly disguised pad. Kennedy stuffed Taker in the hearse and then got caught in a triangle choke and dragged out the back. Kennedy got busted open and was finished after a chokeslam and tombstone on top of the hearse. Good brawling in this one and nothing less. I’m not sure where Taker goes from here.

7) King Booker & Finlay vs. John Cena & Batista – 3
This was a total mess. It started hot but quickly lost everything. All four men ended up brawling in the ring. Finlay’s leprechaun kicked himself in the face for no reason and Batista and Booker had no communication whatsoever and loitered around worse than Jay and Silent Bob. They couldn’t even pull off a simple side slam! Booker started sandbagging towards the end. I say good for him because maybe that’ll make Batista work. Batista got the pin with a shitty powerbomb. Quite possibly the worst pay-per-view main event of the year from WWE. A bad ending to an otherwise good show.

JCW SlamTV! #1

The Insane Clown Posse recently presented the first episode of their new weekly web show Slam TV, containing matches from their ridiculously mediocre wrestling federation Juggalo Championshit Wrestling.

1. Nosawa vs. “Holy” Trent Acid – 3
Trent looked like a mall goth kid and attempts achieving cheap heat via sub par mic work pre-match. Nosawa rips off stuff from Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Piper, Tajiri, Hulk Hogan, and especially Great Muta/Keiji Mutoh. Out of the hundreds of guys that use the “super kick”, Acid’s easily ranks near the bottom of the list. Nosawa tossed Trent to the filthy floor, followed him out, and then threw a chair at Acid's face that he subsequently blocked, but still sold the damage he never accrued. In the spot of the match, Nosawa nailed Acid with a superplex onto a hastily made structure of three steel chairs. Acid scored the victory by hitting Nosawa with… you guessed it, a golden Bible.

There’s a video package of the team of Necro Butcher and Mad Man Pondo. I don't mean to make a mountain of minutiae, but I think the announcer’s description of Necro as "the ugly faced redneck" was the most brilliant thing uttered as of yet in ’07.

This was followed by a Tracy Smothers promo… in a shower.

2. Zack Gowan vs. 2-Tuff Tony - 1
This sucked harder than Violent J’s lyrics, limp dick, and Faygo obsession. Gowan is playing the role of the pompous asshole, and Tony, well he’s just playing a trailer park piece of shit – wait, you mean, he’s not playing a role, that’s who he actually is? Classy! Gowan only has one leg, for those not familiar with his brief and totally forgettable WWE run. This was so painful to watch I started to hate the concept of being alive.

In conclusion, I think SlamTV!, and furthermore, JCW as a whole, should be eliminated completely from the professional wrestling zeitgeist.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Performer Analysis: Juventud Guerrera

1) Innovation- 4/10-
Some may say this is a harsh grade, but as far as innovation in the wrestling business, Juvi wasn't the biggest influence out there. He was apart of the Lucha movement into mainstream American wrestling in the mid to late 90's, but so were a lot of other wrestlers. He also lost his mask early on in his career, usually the kiss of death to most Mexican wrestlers, but Juvi's career flourished. As far as the Lucha style, it is still being employed today by several different athletes in America, and was not the foresight of Juvi alone.

2) Conditioning- 4/10-
You might say "How can you give Juvi a 4 and Dusty Rhodes a 7?" Well, for a number of different reasons. Juvi has never been big, but has been moderately in shape. He had a terrific schedule in his AAA days, but since coming to the US, has rarely had to wrestle past 20 minutes. Plus, take into account his numerous injuries- I'm recalling a major arm injury late in 2000 and another one upon his entrance into WWE last year. Not that injuries are anyone's fault, but once you start getting hurt constantly, it's a sign your body is giving out on you. Plus, take into count his well documented alcohol and drug abuse, and you have a recipe for disaster.

3) Skill- 6/10-
Juvi was an amazing talent in his prime and was breed to be a wrestler. He is a 2nd generation competitor (as most Mexican wrestlers are) and he excelled in the Lucha Libre style, which is very hard to master. During his time in WCW, he put on four and five star performances for several years, using great chain work (Lucha style), selling his ass off and using high impact moves. He also showed signs of brilliance in his last few WWE shows, but Juvi has always been a hot and cold wrestler, meaning when he's on, he's really on, but when he's off, he's really off. I think Juvi had the potential to be a great competitor, better than he was, but the potential fizzled somewhere along the road.

4) Psychology- 6/10-
Juvi's strength was the Lucha psych, which is very comical, but also very fast paced. There are so many little nuances that only Lucha wrestlers and fans pay attention to and Juvi had them down. He also worked great with big men, like Rey jr. His faults come at a botched spot, or a messup; he often flubs several spots in a row after and has a hard time getting back on track. That's not a bad thing; a lot of wrestlers have the same issue, but it's the really seasoned ones that don't lose a step, a skill Juvi never picked up on. I think botching a spot, then physically showing the fans something didn't go your way, is a major psych problem. It exposes the business and hurt's the credibility of said performer acknowledging "hey, we messed up."

5) Interviews- 8/10-
Here's a category where Juvi excelled, but who knew? When he was injured in late 99-00, Juvi was put down at the announce table and who knew? He was hilarious! His garbled Spanish accent was wonderfully funny and really endearing. He almost spoke in a language all his own and it translated into really great television. Juvi had a charisma that he had never displayed before and it brought a whole new dimesion to his character.

6) Character- 6/10-
"The Juice," was a take on, well, pretty much a blantant rip off of The Rock, but for some reason fans loved it. He worked the character the whole time he was injured and when he came back to action, he wrestled completely different, and the higher ups were giving him mic time to get over, which he did in spades.

7) Fans- 6/10-
I'd say the fans are pretty happy with Juvi and usually pop when he shows up on their TV. He's a recognizable face and has a very funny gimmick. He's not the most prolific guy in getting fans into his match, probably mostly due to starting out in Mexico where crowds are usually into whoever is wrestling.

8) Basics- 7/10-
At the entry level to any technique is the basics and that is no different than with Lucha Libre. Most luchadores have a very solid fundamental wrestling background, which includes numerous fancy rollups and unique submission holds. It's the polar opposite to their high flying antics. Juvi has this background and has went to the mat with many matches. His kicks are swift and strong and his punches are average.

9) Matches/ Feuds- 4/10-
Juvi has taken on nearly every great Luchadore that has stepped into the ring in the last ten or so years; which counts for something. As far as feuds go, he has had a few, but nothing ground breaking. Losing his mask to Chris Jericho was a big deal at the time that it happened and he had an ongoing feud with Rey Mysterio for years. But, not a great variety of opponents for him in his career.

10) Gutcheck- 5/10-
Juventud Guerrera started out with a dream in his heart of becoming a Luchadore wrestler just like his father and he accomplished that dream. He became one of the more famous ones in wrestling history and a damn fine wrestler. He even got the opportunity to travel to America and help popularize Lucha Libre in the US and made some money along the way. But, I'm sure he didn't realize how badly his mistakes would cost him as well; the injuries, the drinking, the outbreaks in hotels in Australia but it ultimately does. But, if there's one thing we learn from wrestling history is that you always get a second chance..and a third, a fourth, a fifth and so on. It takes determination to keep coming back after you have messed up so badly in the past and that's what Juvi gets points for.

Final Score: 56
Rating: Midcarder
PO: Thumbs Middle

ECW on Sci-Fi - 4/3/07

1) C.M. Punk vs. Steven Richards - 3
2) Hardcore Holly vs. Snitsky - 2
3) ECW Originals (RVD, Dreamer, Sabu, & Sandman) vs. New Breed (Burke, Striker, Corvon, & Thorn) – Extreme Rules Match – 5

Punk did a nice job of selling the ribs from the Money in the Bank Match at Wrestlemania in a very sound match with Richards. Crowd was very hot for Punk and afterwards, Punk was shown talking with Striker and Corvon about joining the New Breed. Holly and Snitsky was a throw-away bout that provided the crowd with a bathroom break. Snitsky did the old break the arm in the stairs trick to get him over as a monster. It doesn’t really matter because Snitsky will still suck. The main event was a fun little brawl that got the crowd really into it. Sabu and RVD did their trademark double team spots. The end was Burke delivering the double knee to Sabu who went headfirst into a table for the win. Everything really clicked and oddly enough, I found myself cheering for the New Breed mainly because I’d met Corvon and Thorn the night before at a Steak N Shake, but that’s another story for another time.