Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vader Maims Japan!

These are the early days of his destruction, evidence why he was, arguably, best big man in the history of the business, as well as most feared.

1) Big Van Vader v. Shinya Hashimoto- 6
IWGP Title Tournmanet Finals
Lou Thez referee

Two of the most legendary strikers in the game in a classic; Hash was sporting a devilish "Man with No Name" beard and Vader was evil incarnate in his black attire. He pounded Hash early and often, just bulling over him. One of my favorite sequences was when Hash came back from outside, regrouped, and attacked Vader's arm with pulverizing kicks which Vader screamed out loud selling. Hash worked a kimura every chance he got to make Vader tap but his offense was too much in the end. Both guys had really good game plans and this felt so much more real than a pro wrestling match should.

2) Big Van Vader & Bam Bam Bigelow v. Riki Choshu/ Koji Kitao- 4

I really was disappointed here, and for one reason: Kitao! This guy is a blight on the wrestling world, guess that's why he's not around anymore. He was more green than a frog's warts and couldn't sell for shit. He wouldn't go up for a Bammer suplex and nearly dropped Vader on his head trying to do a bodyslam. He was wearing this hideous one piece sporting the Lakers colors adorned with a cartoon drawing of a musclehead who resembled Duke Nukem. And he was mostly in the ring. My only real enjoyment came from watching Vader and Bam Bam work this dude over after he lost his wind. Choshu brought the fire and lariats when he was in but the one man show thing couldn't help pull this one to recommendable.

3) Tatsumi Fujinami v. Big Van Vader- 6
IWGP Title Match

For some reason the ref made Vader take his mask off before the match started? Another match similar to the Hash one where Vader used power move after power move and bullying strikes to keep Fuji down and out. Tats was a master of MOMENTUM and it was a beautiful thing, he would used Vader's forward mobility to keep getting him in compromising positions: hiptosses, slams, and drop toe holds. Vader got his eye busted open in a skirmish outside and Tats got bloodthirsty and worked it over something fierce. Finish was so out of nowhere it kind of caught me off guard as well as the crowd. Near level of classic title match.

4) Antonio Inoki v. Vader- 8
Inoki's Final Countdown

Surprisingly, this was my favorite of the show. First, a hilariously funny moment, Vader came out to the runway to greet Inoki, then went to hold the ropes open for him, but tripped and fell his fat keester. So, he must have decided to kill Inoki even more for his embarrassment. Match kind of started slow, really slow as Inoki looked like he couldn't deal with Vader's vicious strikes because he was constantly getting knocked down for a while. There was a brawling section early where Vader had no regards for the legend throwing a table on the prone dude, who was in his famous "Ali position" on the ground kicking up. Inoki came back with a stiff chair shot that sliced Vader's face like provolone and incensed the big man. After that, there's several spots that come to mind to highlight both the awesome immense strength of Vader and the demon like brutality and the first is his relase German: Kind of used as a transition move, in the context of the match, but it became quite possibly the ugliest landing I've ever seen. Inoki was launched, like he was in one of those kids' bungee bouncers in the middle of your local decaying mall, and landed knees to eyeballs and folded over. The camera did an awesome job of zooming in on only his face for this good 30-45 second shot as his eyes were completely closed and flittering. He looked presumbly dead. Later he takes a chokeslam that would make Kane quit the business and a top rope moonsault and gives the greatest dead man kickout of all time. The finish was very reminscent of the classic Flair v. Vader title change, as it's sudden but it's also less believable. This is still a sure fire classic and I'd highly recommend seeing this legends' final match. Puts Flair's retirement match to shame because this feels like a fight for his life, not a friendly affair with too many moonsaults.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Rise and Fall of WCW - Part 2

1) Ric Flair vs. Magnum T.A. (World Championship Wrestling, 6/15/85) – 6
2) Lex Luger, Barry Windham, & Sting vs. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, & Barry Windham (Main Event, 4/3/88) - 6
3) Dusty Rhodes vs. Barry Windham (Great American Bash ’88, 7/10/88) – 5
4) Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (Chi-Town Rumble, 2/20/89) – 8

(These are the first four matches from the second disc. Part 3 containing the other four matches will be up soon.)

First match was as good of a ten minute match as you will ever see. Magnum interrupts Flair’s promo and lays down $1,000 straight cash as a challenge to Flair. In laymans terms, if Flair beats Magnum, he wins the money. Flair accepts and they get after it. Magnum’s facials were splendid and Flair’s backtracking helped accentuate them. Ole and Arn came down and started doing commentary with Tony Schiavone. The ring sounded rickety as hell everytime someone would take a bump. Magnum got cut on the forehead and took a nasty spill to the outside. Late in the match, Magnum slapped on the figure four and Flair was just writhing as the bell rang for a draw. The Anderson and Flair did a gang attack afterwards. Flair came off the ropes with a flying knee into the shoulder. The beatdown continued until Dick Slater and Buzz Sawyer made the save. Great little ten minute match with non-stop action. Pretty much just a sampling of what should’ve been a huge feud with Magnum and Flair. Unfortunately, we know how that turned out. As if anything is apparent with 1980s NWA crowds, it’s the fact that they hang on every single moment of the match. Even before the first lock-up in this one, the crowd was buzzing with anticipation. Luger worked the majority of the match in the “face in peril” role while getting destroyed by the Horsemen. At one point, Luger and Arn were in there and the look on Arn’s face as Luger powered up from the mat was absolutely priceless. Windham got the hot tag and threw some deadly clotheslines. It seemed like Luger was the focal point of the match. Sting and Tully came in as needed for their respective teams. A foreign object shot from Tully got the win for the Horsemen, even though you never saw the object or the fact that JJ Dillon threw something in the ring. This was better the first time I watched it but still a good little six-man.

Rhodes and Windham started off good but fell apart about halfway through. Windham took some hellacious bumps including a wild backdrop on the floor. J.J. Dillon tried to interfere but Dusty knocked him down with an elbow and he landed ass first on the concrete arena floor. Damn, that had to hurt. The point where this fell apart is where Windham applied the claw. Not only did it seem to suck the life out of Dusty but it sucked the life out of the crowd as well. The remainder of the match was Dusty trying to make a comeback from the claw. There was an instance where Dusty fought back up and then just decided to no sell everything. A superplex spot knocked out referee Tommy Young (come to think of it, all the participants in this match, save for Dillon, are in the NHO Hall of Fame) as Dusty finally hit his trademark elbow drop. Ronnie Garvin comes in and for no reason knocks Dusty out cold. Huh? This could’ve been so much better. I know I reviewed Flair/Steamboat back in the beginnings of NHO but I didn’t speak of it in much detail. Much is talked about regarding the 60-minute match at Clash #6 and the final chapter of the series at Wrestle War ’89 but this match had everything that you could come to expect from a Flair/Steamboat match and more. The chops were spine-tingling and chest-numbing, the crowd was hanging on every nearfall, and the ring work was second to none. It’s really weird seeing Hiro Matsuda accompany Flair to the ring, mainly because I had forgotten that he had ever managed the Horsemen. Steamboat is wearing long, dark green tights which I totally dig. Steamboat was flying high off the top with a bevy of strikes and offensive moves. A wild cross-body sent both men tumbling to the outside and landing with a thud. Nice exchange on the outside that ended with Steamboat eating the ringpost. Flair was great a begging off and stalling at the beginning. Matsuda at ringside was merely an afterthough because he didn’t contribute anything to the match, aside from standing there looking like an evil Japanese businessman. Flair locking in the figure-four at the end with Steamboat fighting it was just wonderful and added a great dramatic effect. Steamboat hit a cross-body off the top and knocked down the ref as well. Flair tries the figure four but is cradled by Steamboat for the win. Just a downright fantastic match that is often over-looked.

To be continued ...

WWF Wrestlemania 16

I have fond memories of this one, recalling me, Brian, and my two cousins getting the All day WrestleMania package and reliving so many memories and watching so many interviews and skits that day. I have not seen this one since 2000, let's see how it holds up.

1) Godfather/ D Lo Brown v. Big Bossman/ Bull Buchanan- 3
2) Hardcore Battle Royal featuring Tazz, Funaki, Taka Michinoku, Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Viscera, Hardcore Holly, Crash, The Headbangers and the APA- 4
3) Al Snow/ Steve Blackman v. T & A- 2
4) Hardy Boyz v. Dudley Boyz v. Edge/ Christian (Triple Ladder Match)- 6
5) Terri v. The Kat (Cat Fight w/ Val Venis as Special Ref)- 0
6) The Radicalz v. Chyna/ Too Cool- 2
7) Kurt Angle v. Chris Jericho v. Chris Benoit (Euro & IC Title 2 Fall match)- 5
8) X-Pac/ Road Dogg v. Rikishi/ Kane- 2
9) HHH v. Big Show v. The Rock v. Mick Foley (4 way Elimination Match)- 3

Nothing gets the kids into a wrestling show like Ice T coming out screaming "Pimp or Die." The heels were a much better unit in our opener, kept it simple, timed their spots well where as Godfather was all over the place, performed moves sloppier than the clean up after one of his hoe's goes down on Ice in the back, but chokes on his meat stick and vomits everywhere. D'Lo stuck to punches for most of his tenure in the ring and looked really stupid performing a top rope hurricanrana. I was pleased to see Bossman get the clean win, even if in the background JR was telling bad XFL jokes. The Hardcore match was damn brutal and fun to watch. The thing about hardcore is you want people to really try to hurt each other, or the pretense of swinging a garbage can is gone, like in 90% of WWE's stuff like this. This one felt more like a Big Japan brawl of '98, you had Crash & Pete get some nasty blood, ridiculous weapons all over the place including glass and dudes running into each other everywhere. I think the 15 minutes was far too long as stalling came into play during last 4 minutes, as well as no one but the Holly's attacking champion Tazz for ending spot. Big Vis took some huge bumps in this one and Tazz was still popular, please exit to the left of your time warp now. Our next tag match opens with the camera shot purely of Trish's large breasts, pushing her top to it's maximum weight capacity. It was hard to focus on the match after a camera shot of her because well, just search a screen shot of what she adorned at this show and you'll see why. As for the work, match rushed through 100 moves in like 1 minute with no one selling anything. Test looked the worst, sailing over the top rope like a Crash Test Dummy, but Blackman wasn't far behind him, with every move he did looking absurdly amateurish and weak. The cheese dude they brought out upped the stupidity factor and this match had nothing to offer anyone.

Triple Ladder match thrilled and spilled and I kind of miss when the Dudleys played the psychotic backwoods rednecks. High spots were paced out accordingly but as with most ladder matches, this felt like a collection of big spots less than a put together match. More so than most of these, this one had numerous spots where guys set up ladders, climbed them, only to take a big move off the top of them, w/o even reaching for titles. Jeff was abusing his body with no regards, but I guess art imitates life? Last 2 bumps were pretty outrageous, especially Matt doing a Circus like front flip through a table just by being pushed. Still this match had high lights galore and all 6 guys put their bodies on the line in an innovative match. The Cat fight was pure garbage, how can a match only 1 min. long have 2 interference spots and a ref distraction? Val was completely wasted here. The face team here is too ridiculous to believe and I can't imagine anyone being into them. Dean was really going out of his way to bump for these 3 morons and I couldn't believe how protected Chyna was here. Eddie seemed in a fog, probably of prescription medication, but who could blame him when his marching orders were to make Chyna look like a "Stone Cold" wannabe? Her hot streak at the end of this wasn't even laughable, I felt like crying. Saturn was barely involved but the first move done to him: The Worm? He was that hurt after one move to lay on the mat a good 15 seconds? Terrible match.

Jericho takes two big risks right off the bat here, Angle is being led by the hand but this is how you learn. The crowd wasn't really feeling it though, and but it moves along, Benoit as normal giving some nice grimaces after taking apunch. There's been like 100 suplexes thrown, which even JR makes mention of. The finishes came out of nowhere, especially Benoit's. Kind of overbooked but I did like Jericho and Kurt's reversal exchange near the end of the match. Lot of stuff came off flat but they all worked hard. This whole match was a punchline for Pete Rose and a Dance off, vomit. "Kishi looks really disinterested like he'd much rather be checking his Live Journal backstage. Dogg shows a couple good heel facials but this was a glorified squash. Our main event was a match of disastrous proportions. It had some high's and lows' but the high's were never that high and the low's were six feet under, and reminds me how much McMahon I've had to stare at in my life. Show goes on a tortoise like hot streak before he's eliminated barely 5 minutes in. Foley and Rock together looked crisp and alive, where Foley and Trips felt boring and tame, just a lot of punch exchanges. Foley completely killing himself on the table spot wasn't a good thing for once and the Game's covering the spot looked like a Sabu fumble except even more pathetic. Him trying to maneuver around the camera man to drop a shitty elbow from a foot up made me rewind several times to bask in it's overall crappiness. From there, long crowd brawl sections that wish they had Stone Cold involved. Back to the ring for a bunch of McMahon interference, I mean at one point, Rock and Trips take a break for a good 3 minutes while Father and Son bring brawling to new lows. You could have written Vince's heel turn in Hieroglyphics in Nefertitti's tomb it was so obvious and the finish here was the same as it would be in 17's much criticized ending: couple of chair shots to Rock's head, completely lacked creativity. Rock and Trips executed a few spots relatively well but the amount of in ring action in this 36 minute turd was astoundingly low. Please avoid this match like you would the Swine Flu, Chinese buffets past 4 pm and any of the "Real Housewives" shows.

XIII= 49%
XIV= 44%
VIII= 43%
II= 43%
XII= 43%
XVII= 43% (reviewed last year)
X= 42%
III= 39%
VII= 34%
V= 34%
XI= 34%
IV= 34%
IX= 33%
I= 32%
VI= 32%
XVI= 30%
XV= 29%

Thursday, September 17, 2009

WWE Bad Blood '03

I remember when this show originally aired. Back in 2003 I ran heavily with a group not all too dissimilar from the guys of Jackass, stayed up all night just about every night, was having wild, experimental sex, and generally fucking off and not taking anything very seriously. I remember sitting in a former friend's room watching this show as it aired live on pay-per-view and very vocally bemoaning all of it. My distaste for the show even birthed a lyric I used in a rap song: "Which idea was worse? / Eric Bischoff in a belching contest, of course!" Now, six years later, my life is completely different, but would my opinion on this show have changed as I have myself?

1. Dudley Boyz vs. Christopher Nowinski and Rodney Mack - 2
This had a lot of slop in it, timing miscues, etc. Being a Harvard graduate doesn't really translate well into being a worker, Nowinski looked lost here, and even botched a single line three consecutive times in a promo earlier in the evening on Sunday Night Heat. The finish was dumb as Teddy Long stood on the apron trying to convince D-Von he was being racially abused by always being the one sent to get the tables by his white "brother". If he really wanted to prove racial stereotyping was happening he should have just snuck a cassette recorder into a booking meeting. This confusion allowed Nowinski to hit Bubba with a "steel mask" which is as dumb as it sounds.

2. Test vs. Scott Steiner - 4
Scott was supposed to leap off the apron to attack Test from behind in the aisle to start but slipped and crashed face-first into the ground. That was almost as big a shame as Test leaving a half-finished pizza and two-liter when he died. Steiner eats a whip into the steel steps good. Scott almost kills Test with an ugly belly-to-belly suplex. The score may seem a bit generous but the physicality helped here as it was sorely lacking most of the show.

3. Christian vs. Booker T - 3
They were in Booker's hometown of Houston so was over. Booker was so much more explosive and fast than nowadays in TNA. Booker had some good slams and power offense, but really didn't do much in the way of transitions, this could have used some more meaty strikes of which it had little. Booker's missile dropkick was solid and better than Jericho's later. The finish was lame, Christian gets intentionally counted out, referee won't allow it, so Christian comes back and gets intentionally disqualified instead.

4. La Resistance vs. Rob Van Dam and Kane - 2
I don't have much to say here. It only lasted six minutes or so. RVD ate a DDT by Dupree well. The double chokeslam La Resistance used for the victory and subsequently the belts wasn't bad but the rest of their stuff was tepid. A pretty awful outing.

5. Chris Jericho vs. Goldberg - 5
It starts with some hard knees and Goldberg tossing Jericho around. It's weird as Goldberg just doesn't have that magic chemistry with the crowd he did in WCW. Goldberg does a spear on the floor that Chris dodges and he blows through a security wall. Wait, he's bleeding? From running into a padded wall? Goldberg is so loose and sloppy, you can tell it's hard for Jericho to work around, but his lack of style is kind of entertaining in a car crash sort of way. Goldberg actually sells his arm pretty damn well for the entire second-half of the match, including remembering not to use it on stuff and it actually being a factor in the match itself.

6. Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair - 5
Some nice slaps and chops to get things started. Both guys look much better than they did at WrestleMania 24 in Ric's "retirement" match. HBK sells being stomped on his legs like his kid accidentally knocked his plate of pancakes and sryup all of Shawn's lap at the kitchen table. The patented "Flair Flop" flopped, as Ric nearly didn't get over, then he ran to another post to where he could hardly climb the buckles, only to jump off face-first into Shawn's fist in a terrible looking sequence. Michaels gets out a table and sets it up on the floor. Wait, why'd he do that? You'd figure he could leave the cheap garbage heat for mid-card acts that need all the help they can get. Shawn does a crossbody off the top onto Ric driving him through the table in an admittedly explosive spot. Orton comes in and uses a chair to get Flair the tainted victory while the ref completely misses the entire incident while it happens, loudly, mere inches from him.

7. Kevin Nash vs. Triple H - Hell in a Cell - 6
HHH eats a couple whips into the cage well, then later, a backdrop onto the floor. Hunter is screaming in anguish like a girl after Max Hardcore got done with her. Foley as guest ref looks like a guy that just went dumpster diving. Nash bleeds from a shot with a hammer. The use of a barbwire board makes me bored. HHH pulls out a wooden crate straight out of Double Dragon and busts it on Kevin's head. It starts drifting rapidly into overkill when both guys and the referee have bladed. I think for the two guys involved this was a satisfying match although suffers from being overbooked and Nash's knobby knees.

DVD Bonus: Ivory vs. Molly - 2
From Sunday Night Heat earlier in the night, gets three minutes, but on that scale, arguably better than the majority of the '09 WWE women's TV output. Molly does these great rag doll sells that I didn't remember her for. Ivory is mostly on the defensive, but gets the victory with the "Poison Ivory", or a facebuster.

Overall, still as shockingly disappointing as recognizing your parents' voices on the other side of a glory hole. I didn't even recap or give my thoughts on the atrocious "Redneck Triathlon" bits between Austin and Bischoff. It seemed like most of these guys were just coasting on this show and there's nothing worth actively seeking out here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nous observons chaque seconde #5


Raw is Chore 9/14.. not a very good show.. - HBK looked especially laughable.. - his Thesz press and mounted punches looked so awful.. - Trish did the same spot later and it looked much better.. - henry's explosive shoulderblock on the floor was great.. right after a phat-ass MVP crossbody that crushed jericho.. - six-person match had some nice moments in all.. - liked chavo/carlito stomping the shit out of bourne in one small moment but the rest of that was garbage.. as was wasting those four guys in the opener in a two min. tossaway.. - alicia fox push? i'm on board..


i'm close to finishing it, nothing too entertaining, although prospect of cena v. orton in cell is almost too good to believe
yeah i'm over these few minute tag matches


watched another late-July ROH on HDNet.. - funny moment at the end of the opener.. - ref is raising Necro and Grizzly's hands but Necro accidentally steps on a fallen "Dirty" Ernie Osiris' head and they stumble over his body falling drunkenly.. - Necro sock Ernie in the head a few times for good measure.. - WWE would have cut something like that.. because you know superstars don't trip.. - Kingston/Hero backstage brawl was fun.. - Eddie popping innocent bystanders like Sal Rinauro in the face was a nice touch.. - main was Black vs. Danielson III.. - loved how almost all of Bryan's strikes were stiff slaps throughout the match.. - Tyler who usually has some of the weakest looking strikes in the co. actually had a couple kicks that looked brutal.. - both guys took real wicked spills from the top rope out about four rows deep into the audience..

started watching DG USA's Open the Historic Gate.. - downloaded this out of compulsion more than anything.. figured it'd be Open the Overkill Gate.. - although am excited for the new Infinity episodes with the Tag League.. - go team Kensuke Office! - anyway.. YAMATO who has great goofy, heel facial expressions (one of the best grins in the game) took on BxB Hulk to start.. - did drift into flashy excess a bit and some stuff came off showy like anything on the mat but a lot of the big aerial moves landed with impact and some of Hulk's kicks looked surprisingly nasty.. - will finish the PPV over the next few weeks..

started watching the build for Minoru Suzuki vs. Tajiri.. - some funny bits where Suzuki kept getting misted, tied to the guardrail, etc. - will watch the match itself on my next class break.. as well as some other misc. stuff


what's the suzuki v. tajiri match coming up for? All japan?
no superstars never trip, tripping it outlawed in the universe, and the only old person allowed to be over is vince himself
thought cena's promo on raw to build hell in a cell actually worked though because it got me pumped to see it
another tame brawl with DX and legacy as well, Hunter looks like a tool in that tight hat


it's All Japan circa '07 I believe.. - caught the UFC 103 Countdown special last night.. - did a hell of a job pushing Belfort.. - i'd seen his run in Affliction but never knew his backstory.. - his sister disappearing, his three wars w/ Couture, and how he's turned to Randy now as a mentor, and that bit with him jump roping was slick.. - didn't real say much in the way of Franklin.. even though he trains a few miles down the road from NHO headquarters and is a local boy i've never been a big fan.. - liked the Trigg/Koscheck stuff, too.. - Josh is great at being hatable.. one their better heels sans Lesnar and BJ when he wants to be a douche.. - the Dos Santos/Cro Cop bit didn't real cover any new ground.. - bummed Swick got hurt, too.. what if Daley upsets Martin? - thought trish was good for the most part last night.. maybe a little lost on her opening mic work but was sent out there cold and had to push the PPV, too.. - i concur on cena's promo.. a more intense Cena is always awesome.. remember the last time he went off the deep end at Armageddon '04 absolutely slaughtering Zodiac of AJPW..


oh thought it was new
ididn't know it was on so early last night, had to DVR it for 1 am
check it out tonight and looking forward to it
yeah she was, i thought they'd do more with her, was a given she'd have a run in with jericho
told your bro to have us over for beatles before his vacation is over


forgot to mention i finished last week's impact.. - main of Angle/Samoa Joe vs. Styles/Daniels wasn't bad for time allotted.. - i like Angle's European uppercuts and some of Joe's strike flurries on Daniels actually held a modicum of the stiffness he used to be so loved for.. - hoping Joe/Daniels at the PPV this weekend gets time.. - think its weird that they brought in Taz as a dark heel mentor and now he's on commentary doing goofier shtick then even Don West at his best/worst.. - during the Sarita/Wilde vs. Daffney/Flash tag he was going on and on with corny jokes and talking about how Daffney was "zombie hot", etc. - can't believe i once believed he was a badass over a decade ago.. - going to try to watch a match or two before class.. and tonight i'm going to def. study some footage when i get back home.. - how were the satanico/dandy and hero/danielson two out of 3 falls matches?


that sounds like a really good match, given some time, would have loved to have seen it main event an ROH show in 05
i nearly forget the stiffness he was known for, and Taz, i've never been a big fan of his commentary, which is why i was surprised TNA wanted him, he always tripped over his words. only thing he was good for was calling the moves and giving some history on what they do and when he worked diff. guys, but he's mostly used as comedy but thing is he's deadly un-funny.
i'm hoping to watch some stuff tonight too

actually that's the match i'm on now, Satanico v. Dandy
that was the match I was telling you about going to a 30 min. draw, but it was fun. Nothing too dramatic or serious, 1st fall was all light ground work with the fall just coming out of a simple reversal, i'm liking Hero more and more, some of his stuff from Mid South really holds up, He was matching hold for hold with Dragon and his forearms/ elbows are so damaging and accurate, overall i'd probably say if you like a good clean 30 min broadway, it'd be a 6, but if not, work is good enough to merit a 5 or so. I enjoyed it for it's simplicity in structure, but the work was pretty intricate.

The Rise and Fall of WCW - Part 1

So the fine folks at the WWE finally released a DVD on their top competitor in the 1990’s, WCW. I had my reservations when this was first announced that the documentary wouldn’t be overly truthful and a lot of things probably wouldn’t get looked at in detail. I also expected a documentary that would rival “The Rise and Fall of ECW” as one of the best they’ve ever done. While I won’t reveal my thoughts yet, let me just say that I was really looking forward to this DVD. Since I sorely miss WCW, I plan on covering this DVD set in three different posts, one for each disc, as sort of a tribute to WCW to go along with the “Creepier by the Dozen” articles coming in October. There are also some bonus segments on the first disc which I will simply score with an “Up” or “Down” depending on whether I liked it or not.

Depending on your level of wrestling expertise, this was either a colossal failure on a basic introduction. For me, it fell in the “colossal failure” category. First we start with a history of Jim Crockett Promotions and how they got started. Next, we’re fed some stuff about Georgia Championship Wrestling and Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, of which they actually included footage of GCW. Ok, that’s all good. However, once the documentary hit the topic of what’s known as “Black Saturday”, the waters became a little murky. The DVD claimed that Vince McMahon bought the time slot of World Championship Wrestling from Jim Crockett himself, when in reality, the time slot was actually purchased from Georgia Championship Wrestling. It was never explained how Crockett Promotions “re-acquired” the time slot. Covered with some detail was how Crockett expanded out of the south and how it caused him to go broke. No mention was made of his purchase of Bill Watts’ UWF promotion or the angle they ran with it. It was mentioned, however, that Crockett had to sell to Turner to make ends meet. David Crockett mentioned how he didn’t want to sell.

Let’s talk about Jim Herd in reality for a little bit. In reality, Jim Herd was a former executive at Pizza Hut who had no knowledge of wrestling whatsoever. However, his most infamous debacle is never mentioned at all, period. That would be the contract disputes with Ric Flair that led to Flair jumping to the WWF with the World Title. No mention was made about Flair showing up on WWF television with the title nor how Herd caught so much hell from everyone involved that a lawsuit was filed to recover the World Title belt. Nay was anything mentioned from the disaster known as the 1991 Great American Bash (of which I’ve covered in detail on this very blog) or anything else from 1991. After the brief Jim Herd discussion is over, the talk turns to the Bill Watts tenure. Wait … wasn’t there somebody in between Herd and Watts? Oh yeah, Kip Frye … who was barely mentioned at all. The Watts era was covered in some detail, with Watts himself commenting on a few items. Rant and rave all you want about how Bill Watts took WCW backwards but, according to him, he took a company that was losing about $3 millon a year and turned it around to the point where it only lost $300,000.

Talk then turns to Eric Bischoff, with Mike Graham dropping some knowledge on us. Graham came across as someone who was completely full of himself and took credit for most everything, when in reality, he barely amounted to a popcorn fart. He claimed it was his idea to run 12 pay-per-views a year and to eliminate the popular Clash of the Champions specials. This totally contradicts Eric Bischoff’s comments in the Monday Night War DVD where he stated that he decided to move increase the pay-per-view schedule to compete with the WWF. Bischoff appeared on this DVD in clips from other DVDs, since he didn’t want to be involved with it at all. From here, the history stays on the right path. Topics covered include the debut of Hulk Hogan, the debut of Monday Nitro, and the birth of the n.W.o among other things. Basically, it was everything that you could predict that would be covered in a history of WCW DVD and it was everything that’s been covered and talked about multiple times over. In a complete shocker, someone finally admits that the n.W.o. angle was stolen from the New Japan vs. UWFi angle from 1995. Goldberg was also discussed, as were the cruiserweights (who Goldberg himself put over on the DVD, but at the time (97-98) he didn’t give two shits about them). Celebrity involvement is another topic that was covered in great detail. How much in detail was it covered? They spent ten minutes talking about how Jay Leno put Hollywood Hogan in an armbar. Seriously WWE, you though Jay Leno was more important than how WCW fucked over Ric Flair in 1991?

I’ve mentioned topics they they actually included in this DVD, but the laundry list of important topics that were skipped over is mind-boggling. Basically there was zero mention of Starrcade ’97, or how the Hogan/Sting finish got royally fucked up. Also no mention of Bret Hart jumping to WCW or the man who was actually responsible for killing the company, Jamie Kellner. You cannot accurately talk about the demise of WCW without just mentioning Kellner and how, with one fell swoop, he canceled all wrestling programming on TNT and TBS. It’s noted in this DVD that the demise started at Halloween Havoc 1998, when the pay-per-view went 30 minutes over its alloted window, cutting off about 90 seconds into the Goldberg/DDP match. Other mistakes that are mentioned is Nash beating Goldberg and the infamous “finger poke of doom” title change on the January 4, 1999 episode of Nitro. It’s convieniently left out that that’s the same broadcast that Tony Schiavone buried Mick Foley on commentary by making his “butts in the seats” comment. Bischoff getting the boot wasn’t really covered but the arrival of Vince Russo was. The major issue that was glossed over was the angle at Bash at the Beach 2000 where Russo did the work-shoot angle with Hogan and Jarrett. It’s only covered briefly and today’s WWE fan, who had no previous knowledge of the incident, would most likely be utterly confused by the issue. I liked the fact that there were some comments from Dr. Harvey Schiller, who was the president of Turner Sports during WCW’s heyday. I found his comments intriguing although I couldn’t tell you about a single one he had.

The documentary as a whole runs just over an hour and 40 minutes. That’s not nearly enough time to cover all the important aspects of WCW’s history and the mark that it left on the business. You’ll notice that there is very little mention of either Sting or Ric Flair on the DVD. Flair is mentioned in the early parts when Jim Crockett Promotions is eventually completely forgotten about. I can understand why Sting was never mentioned, he works for TNA. It’s also never mentioned that Bischoff had a deal in place in January 2001 to buy the company until the plug was pulled on TV. For a complete and accurate description of the inner workings and the history of the company, I would highly recommend reading The Death of WCW by Bryan Alvarez and R.D. Reynolds. The book covers WCW’s history in depth and exactly what caused the company to collapse. What was the final nail in the coffin of WCW? Was it Russo’s shoddy booking? Was it Kellner pulling the plug on wrestling? It’s neither of those. The final nail in the coffin of WCW may very well be this documentary.

Bonus Features (“Up” means good, “Down” means bad.)

Lost in Cleveland – Down
This was basically Dusty trying to defend the “Lost in Cleveland” vignettes that featured Cactus Jack as an escapee from a mental hospital. Nothing of any substance is said. The reporter in the vignettes looks ridiculous and very out of place. Dusty says that these aired during the Jim Herd era but if my memory serves me correctly, these aired in 1993 after Vader knocked Jack senseless on an episode of Saturday Night.

Bill Watts Defends Himself – Down
This is Watts defending the fact that he’s not a racist as many in the business have claimed he is. He starts off by noting that he didn’t get fired from WCW, that he had already quit before they were going to force him out. He notes that his track record of using blacks in prominent positions speaks for itself. Not much here that can’t be found on the two shoots he did with Cornette a few years ago.

Spam Man – Down
Dr. Harvey Schiller (still not sure what he’s a doctor of) tries to explain the origin of a character they were going to call “Spam Man”, as a deal with Hormel, the makers of Spam. Needless to say, Hormel vetoed it. Probably a good thing because I sure wouldn’t have wanted to see anyone wrestling in a Spam costume.

The Origin of Goldberg – Up
This is probably the only thing in the extras that will get positive marks. I found this somewhat interesting that he said he was trying to come up with a catchphrase at a restaurant and the waitress said “Who’s next?” and that was it. One thing that wasn’t right about this was they confused 80’s star Manny Fernandez with a jobber of the same name. There wasn’t much meat to this but it was decent.

Bischoff Gives Away Raw Results – Down
Clips of McMahon and Bischoff talking about Bischoff giving away the Raw results. Not much to this either. Bischoff said in hindsight it was a bad thing to do but I’m sure he’s still proud he did it.

Well, that’s it for the first disc. The next part will start covering the matches and that’s still to come.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Nous observons chaque seconde #4


okay some Breaking Point thoughts:
opening tag match i enjoyed for it's simplicity although few oversights, ex. Jericho throwing a sad looking forearm that somehow knocked Show backwards. really putting over Show's KO punch & the champs overall- how come they can't do that for anyone else?

Kofi v. Miz was fun, got some time, but exposed that the quick paced match comes with experience, both guys had some amnesia moments where they were lost, match was a sprint, but it's forgettable

the DX v. Legacy submission match, what a blasphemous mindfuck this was! just the visual of Michaels having a front guillotine choke on Cody while draped over the guard railing in the crowd was so ridiculous. the idea of using submissions in the middle of a wild brawl all over the building doesn't make a lick of sense, but I think given their limitations, all 4 tried their hardest to make it work, it just didn't

Kane v. Khali was best you could expect with the progression of this feud, both guys have immense power and whacked the hell out of each other's backs and shoulders, always feel weird seeing Khali take punishment, don't know why, they even worked some near falls

ECW Title match I was much happier with, Regal's movements in the technical spots and his transitions still look crisp even though he's getting up there in age, Christian's nasty bump off top rope and repeated sick slaps, as well as Regal's brutal JoMo knee on the ground pushed this into my 2nd favorite of the night, would have liked to seen more time given though.

Cena's 6th World Title win was absolutely deserved as I believe these two didn't just have a pro wrestling match, they put on a dramatic physical performance that's almost second to none. As far as pure # of spots, not as many as a general wrestling match, but Orton's medieval like torture of Cena was animalistic at points. For Cena to have taken those cane shots to the ribs takes a special person to mentally prepare themselves for that brutality; he truly has put himself in the upper echelon of top wrestlers with his gutsy performance here. And Orton was at his most deliciously evil in this, selling as usual top notch and shock and awe at Cena's will to survive again place him at the top of the heap performance wise. A match I could watch over and over again.

Main event had a large hill to climb to top the previous bout and was generally happy with most of it, Punk was frothing at the mouth to bump big for Taker, which he did, and Taker was sufficient in his role, it's just that dumbass Montreal screwjob thing is a terrible way to end a PPV and a match. look forward to their next encounter.


at class now with a few spare minutes.. will chime in.. - opener was good but felt flat and didn't improve upon the bevy of Jericho/Show TV defenses.. - miz showed some aggression but felt like a supserstars main.. not so much their fault as just bad booking to include a match a day or so before a ppv and the audience reacted accordingly. - the dx match had me laughing my ass off.. - triple h disappears for ten minutes because he was hit with a fucking cooler? - figure four on ringpost by cody had bret rolling over in his grave.. - oh, wait, he's not dead?

kane versus khali.. alright its no mat classic.. but i was damn entertained watching these two big idiots bludgeon each other.. - i like my wrestling physical and just was enough to suffice in that regard.. - better than seeing 'em working a standard singles by far.. - ecw title was tits.. - not sure if i'd rank it above their match on syfy a few weeks ago but the delicious matwork to start followed by some physical strikes and slams set this apart from the rest of the show which felt watered down.. - really digging third-quarter ECW sans tyler reks' springboards.. - i loved cena/orton.. - as jess stated.. this felt like a broadway performance as i was twitching in my chair watching cena get punished like a wrestling martyr.. - orton was just diabolical and better than any big screen villain in '09.. - great facials, story telling, energy, emotion, etc. - one of my favorite wwe singles matches this year.. - main was a fun first chapter (or foreword) on the taker/punk feud.. - hoping we get a longer, more brutal match in a hell in the cell next month.. - all and all a pay-per-view i didn't take offense to but couldn't wholeheartedly recommend either.. seek out the regal and cena matches for sure..

class is starting.. - will say this.. watched some roh last night.. - cabana vs. punk from final battle '02.. - not structured as well as their later stuff and some dangerous moves sans context but a fun opener.. - weird thinking seven years later punk would be working undertaker.. - watched some july hdnet stuff.. - brodie lee vs. delirious was fine but felt like a chikara undercard bout.. - young bucks vs. bobby fish/silas young was a fine opener, too.. - bobby fish working puro-styled kick offense seems odd but guess it's fine.. - didn't finish the main before i left for school this morning but was fun and physical.. hero and the wolves vs. generico, steen, and kenta.. - i like watching people bludgeon each other..


so far the jericho/ show fueds have been better in builing up than finishing, Cryme Tyme and now this team. thought it was another solid performance in Jericho's '09 catalogue. good point on the one day notice for that match, finish did come off well but miz looks like a jericho clone, in fashion only and is still missing something, it's not charisma. Shawn's crash pad bump should be his own personal hell, reliving it over and over again on a monitor, and yes, that figure four was shit, i guess good thing Michaels was there to put his leg in right position. i've grown tired of HHH's Shit-Buster Spine-Buster. Amen on the physical part, neither man was going to get any prettier so at least they went full swing on it. I almost think the SyFy match was better, no time constraints. We must mention that abominable and tasteless Ziggler attack on Patterson, that should have been an automatic "No" in the creative meeting before show started. It's quickly become my favorite match so far this year i believe, right next to that NOAH tag w/ Kensuke & Nakajima v. Go & KENTA. Good beginning to hopefully an upcoming nasty feud, that's hope teddy long's chicanery doesnt' get in the way.

was watching Fish against Kensuke & Mori last week, had good enthusiasm, just delivering himself gift wrapped to their clotheslines, looks like Masters though


Opener was decent, nothing too memorable for me aside from Henry trying to lift Show like he did on Raw last week. Miz/Kofi was good for what it was, the near falls at the end were exciting and it delivered more than what would've been a two-minute throw-away on Raw. DX and Legacy was a mess. The crowd brawling was the shits and Shawn trying to choke Cody on the railing made me laugh. The lighting was terrible during the brawl on the concourse. Shawn took a terrible bump on a crash padLater, backstage, Trips was put through the "catering" table and walloped with a water cooler, thus putting him out of the match for ~TEN MINUTES~? I guess the combination of Dasani water and the chili-cheese Fritos is too much for any man to withstand.

Kane and Khali bludgeoned themselves much to my delight. Khali's shots looked way more effective that Kane's.. Speaking of Kane, his chokeslam to Khali at the end was especially shoddy, but for him lifting a man that size, I guess it was acceptable. Regal and Christian I thought fell flat. Everything was uniformly solid but their match weeks earlier on TV was yards better. Then, Pat Patterson, who was wearing a shirt that no person on earth should be caught dead in, was introduced in an awful segment in which Dolph Ziggler came out to berate him and then beat him up. His match with Morrison was scrapped for this? Not sure why anyone alive thought it was a good idea.

The psychology in Cena/Orton was thicker than a morning fog on Cape Cod. Cena getting wailed on by Orton with the kendo stick while he was hanging from the ringpost in a crucifixiton position from the ringpost was cringe-inducing. Not for the imagery, mind you, but for the physicality. Not a big fan of the ending as Orton quickly submitted to something simple. However, he was handcuffed to Cena, I guess that adds to the effect. Punk bumped his ass off for 'Taker in a quick match that ended very suddenly with Taker choking out Punk in the Hell's Gate submission. However, Teddy Long comes out to announce that a ruling Vickie Guerrero made TWO YEARS AGO that nobody remembers still stands and the match must continue. Then we get a quick, screwjob finish to end it. They're really doing their best to kill any business they have in Montreal ... no wonder less than 10,000 tickets were sold. Seek out Cena/Orton (and DX/Legacy if you need a good laugh) but I would avoid everything else.


it was refreshing for a undercard title match to get time, and i think given a few more years experience in the biz, both guys could have a good career ahead of them, but they need to learn some fundamentals.

that was odd they didn't have lighting up there, especially if they knew it was happening. that double figure four spot must have had Natch rolling in his lear jet in fits. While I agree Patterson's shirt should be illegal, I really dug Christian and Regal's match; think they've been two of the stronger components, not just in ECW but all Universe for 2009. But again, the longer and more effective Sy fy match ranks a little higher with me. yeah Cena's just a soldier for taking those cane shots, but the simple move you referenced was actually the STFU with the handcuff in Orton's gullet. R.I.P. Montreal. I don't necessarily have problem with the move being banned because I think WWE needs some continuity, my problem is how they pick and choose which things they want to keep as standard and which things can be forgotten. Just like in Marvel Comics, but hopefully Disney will take care of that shit! (for the fanboys)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

NWA/WCW Power Hour 1990 Top 25

Top 25

(1) Midnight Express v. Brian Pillman/ Tom Zenk (04/20)- 70 pts
(2) Sting, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson v. Great Muta, Buzz Sawyer, Dragon Master (01/26/)- 68 pts
(3) Arn Anderson v. Great Muta (01/12)- 64pts
(4) Steiner Brothers v. Doom (03/30)- 54 pts
(5) Ric Flair v. Tom Zenk (02/02)- 49 pts
(6) Road Warriors v. Doom (02/23)- 41 pts
(7) Doom v. Tom Zenk/ Brian Pillman (06/16)- 40 pts
(8) Brian Pillman/ Tom Zenk v. Samu/ Joel Deaton (05/04)- 39 pts
(9) Tom Zenk v. Galaxian II (01/05)- 34 pts
(10) Ric Flair v. Tommy Rich (03/09)- 33 pts
(11) Midnight Express v. Lightning Express (08/31)- 32 pts
(12) Cactus Jack v. Eddie Gilbert (03/23)- 29 pts
(13) Rock n' Roll Express v. Doom (07/01)- 28 pts
(14) Ric Flair/ Arn Anderson v. Tim Horner/ Mike Rotunda (10/26)- 25 pts
(15) Brian Pillman v. Tim Horner (09/14)- 24 pts
(16) Freebirds v. Southern Boys (06/23)- 19 pts
(17) Ric Flair v. Robert Gibson (04/06)- 18 pts
(18) Midnight Express v. Tom Zenk/ Brian Pillman (06/09)- 17 pts
(19) Scott Steiner v. Ron Simmons (04/27)- 17 pts
(20) Michael Hayes v. Tracey Smothers (07/14)- 17 pts
(21) Tommy Rich/ Tim Horner v. State Patrol (07/07)- 17 pts
(22) Midnight Express v. Tommy Rich/ Tim Horner (07/22)- 16 pts
(23) Ric Flair v. Eddie Gilbert (01/12)- 16 pts
(24) Arn Anderson v. Buzz Sawyer (01/19)- 15 pts
(25) Bobby Eaton v. Tracey Smothers (09/28)- 15 pts

Other Point Getters:

Nasty Boys v. Tim Horner/ Mike Rotunda (09/21)- 15 pts
Ole & Arn Anderson v. New Zealand Militia (01/05)- 14 pts
Rock n' Roll Express v. The MOD Squad (06/23)- 14 pts
Freebirds v. Johnny Ace/ Paul Drake (06/09)- 14 pts
Tommy Rich/ Johnny Ace v. Samu/ Cuban Assassin (03/30)- 13 pts
Cactus Jack/ Bam Bam Bigelow/ Kevin Sullivan v. Abdullah the Butcher/ Norman/ Mike Rotunda (05/11)- 13 pts
Brian Pillman v. Bam Bam Bigelow (05/25)- 12 pts
The New Fantastics v. Doom (08/26)- 11 pts
Buzz Sawyer/ Great Muta v. Zan Panzer/ Italian Stallion (02/09)- 10 pts
Brian Pillman v. Cactus Jack Manson (01/05)- 9 pts
Scott Steiner v. Bobby Eaton (09/21)- 9 pts
Steiner Brothers v. Doom (04/13)- 9 pts
Sting v. Jack Victory (02/09)- 9 pts
Lex Luger v. Samu (03/23)- 6 pts
Rock n' Roll Express v. Freebirds (06/16)- 5 pts
Rick Steiner v. Butch Reed (04/20)- 5 pts
Barry Windham v. Johnny Ace (06/16)- 4 pts
Cactus Jack v. Keith Hart (03/02)- 3 pts
Arn Anderson v. Tim Parker (07/07)- 2 pts
Cactus Jack/ Kevin Sullivan v. Ranger Ross/ Tommy Rich (03/16)- 2 pts
Brian Pillman/ Tom Zenk v. Freebirds (03/02)- 1 pt

History of the Intercontinental Title

First, a quick word: I, like many WWE superstars you'll hear today, I always loved watching Intercontinental Title Matches, it was where the real talent was, especially with up and coming superstars. Back in the day, if you won the IC belt, it was a stepping stone for you to become a bigger superstar and challenge for the World Title down the line. In recent years, the worth of this belt has been significantly lowered, much to my dismay. It used to be a staple of WrestleMania, but hadn't been defended since WM 18 until this year's 20 second excuse for a match. Hopefully, this belt can restore itself to it's former glory, but it's hard when there are so many other titles gobbling up TV time and storylines. So, when this set was released, I was stoked; and w/o further adue, a look back at the IC Title.

Disc I
1) Pat Patterson (c) v. Ted Dibiase (10/22/1979)- 4
2) Ken Patera (c) v. Pedro Morales (10/20/80)- 5
3) Pedro Morales (c) v. Don Muraco (12/28/82)- 3
4) Don Muraco (c) v. Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka (Steel Cage Match- 10/17/1983)- 4
5) Greg Valentine (c) v. Tito Santana (Lumberjack Match- 03/17/1985)- 6
6) Tito Santana (c) v. Randy Savage (02/08/1986)- 4
7) Randy Savage (c) v. Ricky Steamboat (03/29/1987)- 8
8) Ricky Steamboat (c) v. Honky Tonk Man (06/02/1987)- 3
9) Honky Tonk Man (c) v. Ultimate Warrior (08/29/1988)- 1
10) Ricky Rude (c) v. Ultimate Warrior (08/28/1989)- 5

Patterson stalls with the best of them; they are probably even posters memoralizing it in bath-houses all over San Fransisco. Dibiase is a fiery young babyface here and is coming with those big brawny punches; probably why he did so well in Mid-South. The match actually has a nice back and forth, with some rest holds in between and the finish is perfectly acceptable for a heel win. The pop for Morales blows me away!!! Dude was the man in his time. I thought they had a well paced match with good dynamic, Patera kept cutting off Pedro's comeback and wearing him down unti his Latin temper got the best of him and became a big schmoze. Next match had the same exact fin and while I think Muraco is the better worker, this match was much abbreviated. You have to love Pedro's mid match fit; he gets his ass whipped, then throws an object and the crowd goes into hysterics! Then we have the much ballyhooed cage match that Mick Foley has popularized when he hitchiked as a teenager to New York to see it. I think I would have threw myself in the Hudson after that wasted money. The match was barely 6 minutes long! The intensity was there, the blood was there, the cage bumps and brawling all there, but they did a quick accidental finish probably because they booked themselves in a corner. The famous splash comes after the match and still looks good, although Snuka's feet always landed first. The Lumberjack match was exactly what Todd Grisham said it was: a fight! Both guys were just pounding the hell out of each other, forearms, punches, and Tito's lethal knees were definitley peaking my interest; those Top Chef episodes on my DVR would have to wait for later. Valentine was playing the lumberjacks up big time, and there was no messy brawl at the end which is the norm these days. I dug this match the most so far. Next is the first title change on the disc up to this point. Savage uses what looked like a handweight to clock Tito in the mush for the win. Match was okay, but I expected more out of these two stellar workers. Savage was falling all over the place, but the match was like a bad Michinoku Pro sprint with no meat to it. The next match has been reviewed to death, so I won't reiterate anything me or the boys (Brian and Adam) haven't already said before about it. It does still hold up as a scientific battle of counters though. Next Dragon must do the ultimate job: to Honky. This was on Superstars, WWF's Saturday morning TV program so you can see the importance. Dragon leads Honky by the hand like a blind pedestrian through a funhouse. Only time Honky takes offense he throws these hideous punches Vince himself wouldn't use. The ending is a complete joke, as Dragon's shoulders weren't even down and the count was fast. Honky's famous reign ends quickly to Warrior in a pretty replayed squash. Nothing of note here. And finally, Rude proves again why he was such a superior talent, being Warrior's best opponent over the course of his career. He gets a lot out of Warrior here, with good timing and killing himself by taking every unprotected power move the face painted peon could dream up. One thing I found odd was the whole 3 minutes the referee is knocked down, Heenan nor Rude tried to cheat. It was kind of strange. They used some big moves but the match kind of lost steam towards the 20 minute mark as they were both repeating moves the other person did. Then the Piper interference was completely asanine and made Rude look like a fool.

Disc II
1) Mr. Perfect (c) v. Bret "Hitman" Hart (08/26/1991) - 8
2) Bret "Hitman" Hart (c) v. Davey Boy Smith (08/29/1992) - 7
3) Razor Ramon (c) v. Shawn Michaels (Ladder Match- 03/20/1994)- 7
4) Razor Ramon (c) v. Jeff Jarrett (01/22/1995) - 6
5) "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (c) v. The Rock (12/07/1997)- 4
6) The Rock (c) v. Triple H (2 out of 3 Falls Match- 07/26/1998)- 4
7) Jeff Jarrett (c) v. Chyna (Good Housekeeping Match- 10/17/1999)- 3

This is a classic tale in the fabric of the wrestling world; long dominant champion, having to back down due to injury, new rising star ready to take his mantle; does the champion leave on top, defiling the new star's aura, or does he do the right thing and make this rising warrior even better? This left a great taste in my mouth (that didn't sound good) as I think back to Mania 14 (which I just reviewed here) where Michaels was leaving the sport and made his final hurrah all about him, but Hennig couldn't have crafted a better portrayal of just being outworked and outclassed by Bret here. He couldn't do what he once did on defense, but he made sure Bret had a counter to everything he did and the match was superb with that formula. Crowd was great (MSG audience) and Piper especially on commentary really put over Bret's hard work so much better than Hitman could with his bumbling promos. Next match is another bonafide classic, as I have fond memories of this taking place the day before 6th grade and me staying up late watching from my bedroom floor at the amazing match before me. After reading the brilliant Bret Hart book, we know that Smith was a walking comatose zombie going in to this match and forgot the majority of his spots during it, so this is the Bret Hart Show. He's a fucking DAWG in this too, and pulls off some huge spots (superplex), and works a lot of little subtle things into his performance. Smith does his best to hide his intoxicated state, but there's several long rest spots where you can tell he's staring at the white spots before his eyes and one spot, where Bret planchas outside onto Smith, who's trying to get back in the ring so Bret grabs him by the neck and hurls him to the ground, like he wrestled a wild mare; that gave me a hearty chuckle. But all in all, including the memorable finish this probably still ranks up there with the greatest IC title matches of all time.

Again, here's another classic which I reviewed in full on Mania X review, so I won't go into detail here. It's the first star making ladder Match, and it has earned it's place amongst them. I think there have been many much better since then but the story was simple and made sense, as well as all the breathtaking spots. Enjoy it again if you're waiting for a TV dinner in the oven or some late night Skinimax to play before you pop a solo nut. I was more surprised by this match than anything; Jarrett was awesome at chicken shit heel and I loved Roadie's little touches to his character, spritzing Jarrett down with a water bottle and such. Ramon was confident in his performance and this was one of his better sympathy garnering performances of all time for him, not including backstage cries for help from his alcohol addiction at Nitro's in '97. The false finish and near falls that led to the end were stuff usually reserved for main event slots so it's refreshing to see it here. Definitley re-watchable. Austin v. Rock, as Todd Grisham informs us, was by far the best vote-getter from the fans when putting this comp. together. I guarantee they voted for the names only because outside of D-Lo's big backdrop through the truck window this thing dragged. The excitement is palable in the arena, as the Attitude era loomed, but why break out 2 , count 'em 2! seperate chinlock sequences for an 8 minute match?! Interference and ref bumps both littered the landscape of this battle and bogged it down with unecessary shit when they should have just let these 2 work. I love 2 out of 3 falls as a gimmick, you can really tell an elongated story and you get to see what a performer is made of when they have to go to extra innings, but this match was dirty with Russo's fingertips. 1st fall was eternal, with the high's and lows of any great title match with minimal work all for multiple people to infringe in the match to end the fall. 2nd was the same and by the time it was over the 30 minutes was near up, except we didn't know that until they had 2 minutes to work, which if you're going to do a draw gimmick, you have to build the suspense, not for 2 minutes! Another thing: Rocks' stomps were pitiful, his offense wasn't well executed and how many clotheslines could Helmsley do in one match! Should be a Trivial Pursuit question. It was hard to get into this match for any sheer number of those reasons but mostly because this was one of the most poorly contrived 2 of 3 falls matches I can remember. Jarrett's last WWE escapade ended in this hardcore (ad nasuem) snorefest. Chyna had no offense to speak of and was content on just bashing Jarrett repeatedly with a handful of household items at her convenience. Only thing I enjoyed was when Double J took liberties with the she-beast when he used a garbage can on her. Rest of this would be recycled for several years to come with different slobs and lazyasses and passed off as a "Hardcore" division, which even had it's own pathetic title belt. Remember, if we learned anything here, it's that the IC title belt is NOT a household item! Thanks for the clarification Vince, next time I try to use it to clean my fish tank I'll think back to this steaming turd.

Disc III
1) Chris Jericho (c) v. Kurt Angle (02/27/2000) - 4
2) Eddie Guerrero (c) v. Chris Jericho v. X-Pac (10/12/2000)- 3
3) Triple H (c) v. Jeff Hardy (04/12/2001)- 4
4) Rob Van Dam (c) v. Jeff Hardy (IC Title v. European Title Unification Ladder Match- 07/22/2002)- 4
5) Randy Orton (c) v. Edge (07/11/2004)- 7
6) Ric Flair (c) v. Triple H (Steel Cage Match- 11/01/05)- 7
7) Shelton Benjamin (c) v. Rob Van Dam (IC Title v. Money in the Bank Briefcase- 04/30/2006)- 5
8) Carlito (c) v. Johnny Nitro v. Shelton Benjamin (06/25/2006)- 4
9) Umaga (c) v. Jeff Hardy (07/22/2007)- 6
10) Jeff Hardy (c) v. Chris Jericho (03/10/2008)- 5

Man, Angle badly needed that shaved head look- he's got a hair comma growing from his forehead. Angle grabbed a nice armlock out of a pin attempt and that concludes our highlights from him here. Jericho pulled off a moonsault off the steel stairs that was visually a treat but executed with the impact of a fly landing on an picnic table. Angle was clearly still learning as Jericho mapped out an easy match for him to remember that included such blunders as Chyna intervening and getting bounced into the steel stairs. Angle's forearms were so telegraphed you could have handwritten a letter to Elizabeth Bennet and mailed it to LongBourne and still had time to block it. Not sure why this 3 way was even on here because besides the first quick dive sequence it was more bland than expired mustard. Eddie and Pac looked hung over. Loved Jeff's enthusiastic sells on Trip's punches here, just pushing himself back like he tried to cop a feel on Jean Grey and she tossed him across the room. They blew a powerslam spot off the apron so they redid it and even though it's a cool spot, it killed the impact. Title change was a shocker but this match didn't have much weight to it, just kind of a brawl to kill time on the show. The final European Title match was a sidenote here, but it felt too much like they were both going through the motions. Jeff taking a rolling Thunder on the ladder and you could see nothing was in his eyes, he looked near comatose. RVD didn't take time to sell much of anything, just whispering out the next spot. Only point garnering spot was Jeff getting the ladder kicked from underneath him and front flipping off hard to the mat. The "Young Lions" match as it was titled was actually as old school as jousting matches or green colored shoe strings and delivered big time. A classic shoulderblock sequence started this out and it was perfect for Orton's methodical style. It had it's share of big bumps and high impact moves and the crowd was kept into it the whole time despite cheering for Orton who was supposed to be the heel. Run time was nearly 27 minutes but the pace was pitch perfect and was a thrill to see such a old style match in so recent a time. Next match was equally as good but for different reasons: it was a sadistic affair that featured some of Hunter's finest facials before the match started, a cold dead stare, and possibly Flair's best and most dramatic match during his latter WWE tenure. These guys were best friends and if you're going to fight your best friend, it's going to be bloody and it's going to be violent. The blood flowed on both men and even though I wasn't a fan of how Flair hit the mat on some of Hunter's power offense, no one can sell pain and agony like Natch. The barbarism was turned up a notch as both men tried to channel Ric from the 80's and allowed themselves to be grated like parmesan cheese at an Olive Garden against the cage. Using simple steel chair shots to win isn't creative, but just felt right here.

RVD and Shelton was surprisingly everything opposite you think if you would hear those 2 names: All the high spots came off smoothly and accredited the athletic talent they are toted on so often. It's usually botch city with Shelton but RVD took some cool offense from him (powerbomb outside, samoan drop) and Shelton was on time for every spot and pulled it off. Finish was a little muddled but it kept both guys strong and I was pleasantly surprised. The next 3 way spot fest was basically that: a Collection of decent to well done high spots that the crowd popped for every time with nothing in between. No one really knew what to fill the time with when they weren't jumping off the ropes and it looked tepid and amateurish. That's my major complaint here and what basically classifies this as a glorified indy match. These two dudes were made for each other; Jeff was in complete Jack Skellington rag doll mode and had to have downed a bottle of green pills after the match to satisfy the pain inside. The Samoan beast was as relentless as any monster heel in recent memory and the match went off really well with that factor in place. Some cool near falls as well and I think this is what got the ball rolling with Jeff in higher spots on the card. The crowd was living and dying on his every move, that's how you get a crowd into a match. Our final bout was Jericho's record setting 8th IC Title win (which was since been broken by himself), it was an interesting chess game where both men was a move ahead of the other. The perfunctory Raw commercial break dropped a big wall into the pacing of this match but both men's timing on getting out of pins or moving away from offense at the right time made this into a different kind of match that's both thrilling to watch and rewatch again. Crowd ooh'd and aah'd appropriately along with it's ebbs and flows.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Castagnoli vs. Albright - Flag Match

Claudio Castagnoli vs. Brent Albright - Flag Match - ROH on HDNet 7/11/09 - 4

I'd say that Claudio and Brent have had one of the worst feuds of the year. I think you could make a fairly easy argument that Brent is the lousiest performer on the current ROH active roster. The matches have largely felt the same, haven't really helped elevate either guy, and have generally stunk like Gabe Sapolsky's underwear when his mom forgot to do the wash. But, all that being (cruelly) said, this match was sort of actively fun. Thanks in part goes to aging commentator Mike Hogwood, who sells Claudio's discretion of the United States' flag hilariously throughout. Both guys take big bumps outside of the ring, my favorite, a backdrop that sees Castagnoli sit upright and sell by raising an eyebrow inquisitively as if hearing a particularly interesting bit of oratory during the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. The ending is campy, too; as to win you have to enter the ring with your respective flag, after Brent pulls it off Claudio sells disbelief as Albright runs around wearing the flag as a makeshift cape, showcasing the exact opposite of equanimity as he looks like a child hopped up on sugar doing a celebratory lap around the playground.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Best of Puro and Lucha 2005 Vol. 2

1) Kaz Hayashi v. Taka Michinoku (01/10) - 8
2) Milano Collection AT v. Ryo Saito (01/14)- 5
3) Osamu Matsuda (El Samurai) v. Shinsuke Nakamura (01/29)- 5
4) Takashi Iizuka v. Yutaka Yoshie (01/29)- 4
5) Mistico v. Averno (01/30)- 7

I believe this is the best Kaz Hayashi I've ever seen. His slow, patient and calculating dismantle of Taka's leg was like watching a ninja sneak up on his prey and disembowl him. High spots were still there, as token with the style that made them famous but this was fought like a big match main event and both men brought everything they had to the table. Taka's desperate cries of pain were as dramatic as anything Leo has ever done on the silver screen; I really found myself drawn into his struggle against Kaz's attack. And Taka showed a lot of conscious selling even when on offense. Another thing I liked was teasing moves, really well done, we didn't see half ass attempts at putting a move on then getting out of it, like everywhere else, they were literally going down on the move when the other one would reverse. I dug the hell out of this match. Milano's lanky frame just reminds me of a human grasshopper for some reason. This match was fine, had a good control section by Milano, although I question his ground work. Had your usual Dragon Gate sprint to the end where every finisher known to man was used, and all your 2.9 counts; more close calls than a faulty pregnancy test from Bigg's supermarket. Saito didn't sway me one way or the other, facially and expressively he's years away from having the tools while Milano has down the cocky character and mean streak, but his selling is pretty poor. Our next 2 combantants are personally 2 of my favorite performers in New Japan history which was basically the match I bought this disc for. They were having a match with 3 minute rounds. The technical aspect of both men's games could not be questioned after this because they were like the MacGuyver's of ground wrestling, just situating and moving body parts here and there to lock on different holds. Really fun to watch this stuff; reminded me of some of that old 60's shit where all the hookers used to roll on the ground. Nakamura busts out that phat armbar for the tapout; Samurai unmasked looked like an aging Rat Fink. Next match was also contested in rounds, but I wasn't that into it. Far less technical skill shown but the bout was longer and attempted as much ground stuff as the previous. Yoshie was a goofy Manga drawing brought to life, but the big guy worked hard, I give him that. Most of the power wrestling moves came off well, but they were sucking enough wind they could have powered a Wind turbine next to the ring. Final match was a Lucha offering and a breath of fresh air. Mistico is the 2nd coming in Mexico and it's easy to tell why, breathtaking moves, basically he's a stunt show without the wires. You could tell he knew Averno inside and out, their styles meshed perfectly, like turkey and lettuce on a sandwhich. And the pace was what really kicked this up a notch; sometimes you see a lackluster 2 falls in Lucha matches but they spaced everything accordingly and Mistico showed how to execute a babyface comeback for all future young boys to learn from. Bravo, muchachos!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Legends of the Arena - 6/27/09

This is show #324 in a series of ECW reunion shows and was probably the worst one of all. Let’s go down the checklist shall we? Drunk Sandman? Check. Wrestlers shooting on the mic? Check. Required appearances by Tod Gordon and Blue Meanie? Check. Shane Douglas no-showing? Check. Great … everything’s there. First off, however, allow me to offer a disclaimer. Francine promoted this show as a benefit for cancer research because her father and her sister passed away from cancer last fall within four days of each other. Now, I can not fault her cause, as my aunt is a cancer survivor, but I can and will fault any and all of the following … lazy ring work, out-of-shape wrestlers, drunkeness, botched and/or completely blown spots, ridiculous in-ring segments, dance-offs, general stupid shit, etc. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get extreme!

1. Too Cold Scorpio vs. C.W. Anderson – 5
2. Bilvis Wesley vs. The Musketeer – 0
3. Chris Hamrick vs. “Crowbar” Devon Storm – 3
4. Rhino vs. Jamie Dundee vs. Scotty Anton Riggs – 1
5. Balls Mahoney & Axl Rotten vs. The Baldies (Devito, Angel, & H.C. Loc) (Philadelphia Street Fight) – 2
6. The Blue Meanie & Nova vs. Little Guido & Big Sal – 0
7. Al Snow vs. Jerry Lynn – 3
8. The Sandman & Sabu vs. Justin Credible & Raven (Special ref: Terry Funk) (Anything Goes Match) – 1

Before the first match, Joel Gertner comes out and does his regular routine of jokes and such to commence the evening’s activities. Scorpio and C.W. had a very good match. It was very fluid and both guys took their time to work a good pace. Scorpio's high-flying moves at the end were very nice and looked crisp and clean. Anderson was in good shape and looked a hell of a lot better than he did when he had his brief spurt in WWE in '06. Nobody tried to rush anything and your initial thought is “Wow, this will be a good show”, but that theory was quickly put to rest once the next match started. You get two guys who didn’t amount to anything more than a cum stain on Tammy Sytch’s clothes after the boys were done nailing her in the back. Of course, I’m talking about Bilvis Wesley and the jolly old Musketeer. Wesley came out to an old Elvis song and nobody even knew who he was. Musketeer was flabby and looked like shit. I remember exactly one … count ‘em ONE skit on television he was involved with, and his involvement in that was about 15 seconds. Anyway, New Jack’s music mistakenly played throughout the arena yet he never appeared. Bilvis got the win and totally did not give a shit. Next up was Hamrick and Crowbar. This had potential but that was all flushed down the shitter when Crowbar started shooting on Taz before the match. Hamrick was totally expressionless and was just going through the motions. Crowbar tried to do a plancha on a prone Hamrick who was laying across a gaurdrail but lost his grip on the ropes and fell on his ass in a moment that left Brian and I laughing so hard that we re-watched it a few times. Afterwards, Crowbar proceeded with his plancha and missed totally. And yes, that was the high point of the entire match and the only reason it got that score.

The three way match was only a few minutes long. Dundee did his usual schtick by berating the crowd with slurs and insults. Anton looked awful, like a bloated toad, with some ridiculous goatee. Oh yeah, he still had the clap. Following the brief three-way, there was some sort of a hall of fame ceremony that featured Tod Gordon and his kids, a drunk Sandman, Bill Alfonso, and the dude who apparently now owns the (ECW) Arena. This went on for way too long with Sandman talking shit about Raven, who came through the crowd and told Sandman “I’m signing autographs over here. Fuck you.” The valuable lesson to be learned from this would be to never, ever give Sandman a case of Coors and a live mic because you will regret that decision later, much like that decision to get those four sliders and chicken rings at White Castle at two in the morning. Next bout saw Balls and Axl re-unite after many years and go up against The Baldies. After about 90 seconds, the referee (H.C. Loc) joins the baldies with no explaination what-so-ever. All five proceeded to stumble around while flinging chairs at each other. For the next bout … I’ll give you a chance as to guess what happened … hint, it happens in every fucking Blue Meanie match … time’s up. If you said a dance-off, you would be correct. I’m not even going to bother recapping it because you know what happens. Nova cut a promo afterwards about how he sells the Simon System for a living now and … oh, wait, wrong character.

I was looking forward to the Jerry Lynn bout, mainly because somebody online had nominated it for “Indy Match of the Year”. Not sure why said person would do such a thing as this was unacceptable, even for Al Snow’s standards. It was like they were going in slow motion with no real direction. They tried the lights out trick to introduce Lynn but it was only to a lukewarm reaction. I was just so disappointed in this. Finally, the main event … really sucked. Francine, who looked like she was about to pop, did a promo beforehand thanking everyone for coming out to the show. Sabu thinned down and shaved off all his hair. I guess he was going for that “cancer patient” look, since the show was a cancer benefit and all. Sandman was still tanked from the bullshit earlier with Tod Gordon. Actually, the only one who was even remotely trying was Credible. He took some good litte bumps and actually was the reason the match didn’t get a “0”. There was a sad table bump at the end with Sabu that was pretty pathetic. Funk was immobile as shit and could barely get down to mat to make the counts. Raven got on the mic and proclaimed that he’d rather be at home watching Golden Girls then wrestling in the match. Don’t really agree with Raven on his choice of television viewing but I’d rather watch whales fuck on the Discovery channel than have to watch this show again.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fully Loaded '98 vs. Fully Loaded '00

This is the first in a series of “versus” articles I’ll be doing where I take two shows or DVDs and pit them against each other in terms of the quality found in the work within.

WWF Fully Loaded '98

1. Val Venis vs. Jeff Jarrett - 3
2. D'Lo Brown vs. X-Pac - 2
3. Faarooq and Scorpio vs. Terry Funk and Justin Bradshaw - 4
4. Mark Henry vs. Vader - 2
5. Disciples of Apocalypse vs. L.O.D. 2000 - 3
6. Owen Hart vs. Ken Shamrock - Dungeon Match - 6
7. The Rock vs. Triple H - 2 out of 3 Falls Match - 5
8. Undertaker and Steve Austin vs. Kane and Mankind - 6

Overall Score: 38.75%
Analysis: The “Attitude” era has a bit of a negative stigma in that the shows were congested, overbooked pieces of garbage in large part. I tried to keep any preexisting biases out of my head. The end result was a mixed bag but overall not terribly disappointing. The worst parts were the X-Pac match, which I assumed would had been good, but he looked lethargic and on drugs, the Vader match, who looked visibly miserable as they botched the first spot and later having to put Henry over so cleanly, etc. The middle of the road stuff was the tag match, which was especially fun when Scorpio was doing his best Funk impersonation bumping wildly on the floor for Terry, and Rock’s match, which albeit him performing quite well in, died a sudden death when the match ended in a time-limit draw thus rendering all the build for nothing. The match in Stu Hart’s basement needs to be seen to be believed. I gave it a bonus point for the rarity and uniqueness of the concept, and the work itself is solid, as albeit short, these guys throw some hard strikes, trade submissions, nearly put a hole in the wall (and succeed putting one in the ceiling), etc. The main event is the type of match that detractors of this era would initially wince at, but for what it is, the workers kept the crowd emotionally invested in this, Austin’s work ethic is second to none at this point, and time has dulled the aura of being forced feed this stuff weekly, so now you can look at it more objectively and it’s a pretty solid main event.

WWF Fully Loaded '00

1. T&A and Trish Stratus vs. Hardy Boyz and Lita - Mixed Tag Match - 6
2. Tazz vs. Al Snow - 3
3. Eddie Guerrero vs. Perry Saturn - 3
4. Acolytes vs. Edge and Christian - 4
5. Val Venis vs. Rikishi - Steel Cage Match - 5
6. Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle - 5
7. Triple H vs. Chris Jericho - Last Man Standing Match - 7
8. The Rock vs. Chris Benoit - 7

Overall Score: 50%
Analysis: I was blown away by the freshness and fun of the opener. Offhand, I’d have to make an argument for it as one of the better contemporary mixed tag matches in history. The Boyz were firing on all cylinders, Albert looked great (still think he wasn’t utilized correctly in WWE—their loss!), and Trish, sorry for sounding like such a red-blooded American male, but watching her big ass hang out of a pair of tiny hot pink trunks made the entire show. A real good way to start a show. The next matches dulled my initial feelings, as Tazz and Snow was physical enough and would have been fine as a ECW on TNN main event, but neither guy connected with the deafeningly quiet audience, and Saturn sandbagged Eddie badly, looking like complete shit, using dull power offense and having poor timing. I liked the cage match, sort of felt old school, they dropped the ball on Val who worked hard on both shows, and Rikishi’s splash off the cage was arguably the biggest “holy shit!” moment of either show. Undertaker and Angle was good, but for all of the hype and vignettes throughout the show, they only gave them eight minutes so I couldn’t go any higher on their score. I forgot how fun the “American Badass” character was, as well as goofy Angle. I liked the pace and brutality of the Last Man Standing bout, Hunter bled well and I contest ’00 was one of his better years, only thing I didn’t enjoy was the match-ending back suplex off the security railing through an announcing table as HHH didn’t get any air and made the big spot look sort of pussy. The main event was terrific, both guys work at such a frenetic, breakneck pace—I loved it. Rock juices and Benoit’s a raging manic, the finish is screwy, as Foley re-starts the match but even that didn’t hurt its overall impact on me. I could watch both of these guys’ work of that era endlessly and even if the crowd wasn’t completely sold on Benoit both guys still put a lot of themselves out there in the ring in an under the radar classic.

Winner: Fully Loaded ‘00
Final Thoughts: Well, all things considered, ’00 beat ’98 by a pretty sizable margin. While ’98 wasn’t as bad as I’d initially feared, it definitely had the weaker card and delivery. ’00 was no golden year in general but I think this pay-per-view slips through a lot of fans’ memories because its actually a fairly solid outing and the second-half is full of quality stuff. In closing, anything I scored 6 or higher is worth actively seeking out. If anyone does watch any of it, drop a comment, let us know your thoughts. Future “versus” articles will include battles between the best of Mickie Knuckles and Eddie Kingston, a rumble between two early-90’s Royal Rumble shows, and many more.