Wow, just wow, let's do this
1) Tito Santana v. Greg Valentine (Steel Cage)- 2
So Hammer has dropped some weight, it's dropped into his stomach which now hangs like a goober over his knees. Hammer does get blood in a gross looking spot. Both guys still got it in the strike department; finish was so out of nowhere. Aftermatch angle was so far beyond everyone's heads they may as well have been on Tatooine.
2) Generations of Elimination Battle Royal (featuring Hacksaw Jim Duggan, The Headbangers, Ronnie Garvin, Carlito, Zach Gowan, Doink the Clown, Superfly Snuka, Rob Conway, Eugene, Big Daddy V, Disco Inferno, Tony Atlas and Rikishi)- 3
So, to clarify, here at NHO, we do not give scores based upon just the wrestling skill involved in each match, there's tons of factors that go into our decisions, but the one most cited is how much could we recommend a match to you. If you look at some of the names and think about them circa 2011, it's a scary prospect and by all rights, the work here, largely whimpering. But there's an element of nostalgia, same with the WM Gimmick Battle Royal years ago that plays into all of it; when Superfly enters the ring and everyone in it stops and claps for him, that's something I can get behind. KG and Mick Foley, the announce crew for this show, are phenomenal in coming off as real people who like wrestling and know it's history, such a breath of fresh air beside the peddling, facetious people being fed scripted lines on USA network wrestling. I had a good time watching this; even toyed with a "4" but the embarrassing finish with Gowan and Big Daddy plummeted that right back down.
3) Rock n' Roll Express v. Original Midnight Express - 0
Jesus, Ricky Morton looks like Gollum wearing a Ricky Morton mask. Gibson's hair is so receding, it should be called receded. This went literally 30 seconds and besides Condrey throwing a few stiff jabs, completely pointless.
4) Philly Madness Match: Raven v. Balls Mahoney v. Shane Douglas v. Sabu v. 2 Cold Scorpio v. Rhino v. Al Snow- 2
This is the ECW guys chance to shine. Raven's top knot is hideous, Balls just left an alley with broken pipe under his nose, Douglas is wearing like 4 layers of clothes and the other 4 guys look in reasonable shape. The formula here was fine, guys coming in and out, hitting their big stuff while they still can, but just felt completely rushed. Some guys only did one literally one physical movement and seemed happy enough at that. 2 Cold looked good as usual, Foley even making the Fountain of Youth joke about him. I wonder if old ECW stars are like famous rock stars at the Gathering? Backstage, Raven gets head from a sloppy Juggalette named Bobbi while Sabu's playing beer pong with her 12 year old daughter? My imagination frightens me sometimes.
5) Bob Backlund v. Ken Patera- 0
Patera is so rotund he looks like he swallowed Optimus Prime. Backlund however looked transported right from 1994 and was especially spry. There was a little pysch in this, but unfortunately Patera was just immobile. To declare the rollup finish looking like a turtle was kicked on it's back is much too easy a comparison.
6) Dutch Mantel v. Koko B Ware v. Brickhouse Brown v. Doug Gilbert v. Austin Idol- 1
This was the Memphis legends match, which was a neat concept, probably a territory most would leave out on a tribute show as it's not as well known world wide. Gilbert actually was doing some great selling and everyone seemed to remember how to punch. Another rollup finish? this one even more sad than the previous couple, no thanks.
7) Tracey Smothers v. Tommy Rich- 0
Thought this was going to be a surprise hit, even though Rich looked like Hagrid's brother from the Harry Potter films. Both guys came in fired up throwing haymakers like they were fighting over the last beef jerky at a Circle K in Hendersonville. But, this went all of 30 seconds with you guessed it: Another rollup! Feels like a CZW circa 07 show.
8) New Age Outlaws v. Kevin Nash/ X-Pac w/ Vampiro as Referee- 3
I'm not sure what it is but the announcers kept mentioning how receptive the crowd was but it sounded deaf quiet to me. Scott Hall accompanied his NWO cronies and seemd to barely be able to comprehend where he was, moving like Karloff's The Mummy. Fuck the sobriety test, I don't think Hall had a pulse. Match was best of the night, in ring by far. Pac seemed motivated and was hitting spin kicks on target. Not that anyone had to do much but I thought everyone looked good for their time in the ring. Vampiro strangely was the ref, unannounced and side kicked the shit out of Road Dogg, but Nash continued to cover Gunn who had already kicked out once. That finish was dog shit and was as convincing as the moral code of most of the fans in attendance. Foley was bringing guys up to the announce booth all night, telling inside jokes and anecdotes to amuse himself with and even fauxed texted John Laurinatis saying "x-Pac looked good." Can you imagine receiving that if you were him? As if his Sat. night couldn't be anymore fucked up after giving Vince and Linda both ass-cials.
9) Terry Funk v. Roddy Piper- 2
The opening stuff was damn entertaining from Funk bitchslapping Dave Penzer to another of Piper's long list of classic promos. Both guys were peppering each other with really stiff strikes which I liked and Funk got blood. It's like, can this guy not get blood? I wonder if he ever goes to O'Charleys with the family and after he places his app order, just gigs himself out of habit? Bob Orton (still with cast) and Mick Foley get involved in a really sad brawl and the finish continues the pitiful streak of show with the most botched endings.
Overall, at 2 1/2 hours, with these scores, it may seem destined this show is at the bottom of the barrel, perhaps of all time reviewed here on the NHO blog, but I had fun with it, mostly due to seeing faces briefly remembered from my youth and teenage years as a wrestling fan, but also because of the superb announcing done. This is textbook how every show should be announced; these guys weren't pushing this show as great in ring, in fact the opposite, and every performer obviously knew that going out there. I think there should have been some assistance given to these guys though as everything was dreadfully short and sloppy, but I guess it was all about the almighty check at the end of the night. I think if anything I'd have rather been sitting where Mick Foley was, sitting back enjoying it all.