Sunday, July 31, 2022

1992 World Cup Tournament - Fantasy Booking

(Editor's Note: Former NHO contributor Jessie reached out to me about doing a series of fantasy booking tournaments inspired by the PWI 500 lists of yesteryear. Enjoy! - Brian)

Brian's Tournament

Opening Round

1. Shawn Michaels defeats Sting via pinfall (12:19). Great kickoff to this year's World Cup. In an upset, Michaels polished off last year's runner-up in the finals Sting after cracking him with a savate kick then executing his finishing back suplex.

2. Ric Flair defeats Steve Williams via pinfall (8:51). Williams had Flair begging off with the big power early. Flair started utilizing all his dirty tactics but it was well-concealed brass knuckles that lead to a KO shot for the crafty Nature Boy to advance to next round.

3. Bret Hart defeats Nikita Koloff via submission (9:44). Hart looked phenomenal in this opening round contest. Last year, winner Road Warrior Animal smoked Koloff, and this year he was systematically dismantled by the Canadian 2nd generation prodigy. Nikita tapped and on his way to the locker room a frenzied fan threw his VHS copy of Red Dawn him before being escorted from the venue.

4. Jerry Lawler defeats Steve Austin via pinfall (6:24). Brash Austin wasn't ready for veteran savvy. Lawler poked eyeballs, pulled those blonde locks, and compressed Austin's neck with a disgusting piledriver to advance.

5. Ultimate Warrior defeats Scott Steiner via pinfall (4:38). Warrior was shot out of a canon. Pure adrenaline. He steamrolled the equally muscular Steiner. At one point Warrior blocked a Frankensteiner attempt and turned it into an airplane spin that lasted 20 rotations.

6. Rick Steiner defeats Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat via pinfall (9:12). In a rematch from last year's opening round bout, this time the Dog-Faced Gremlin bested the Dragon. Ricky still had success in bursts but Steiner had a focused attack with more sheer force behind his big throws and suplexes. To make sure to slay the Dragon Steiner won with a devastating belly-to-belly overhead suplex into the turnbuckles crumpling Steamboat.

7. Rick Rude and Barry Windham went to a double countout (10:30). These two seemed to bring the pit bull out of the other. What started as a snug in-ring clash spilled to the floor. The brawl entered into the crowd as they exchanged big punches among the wild audience. Windham's hair blowing back after eating a right cross. Rude doing the stanky leg, a cross-legged wobble after being belted with a left uppercut. They ended up brawling over to the concession stand where Rude sprayed a bottle of mustard into Barry's eyes then picked up the soft pretzel warmer and crashed it over his head. World Cup officials then broke up the melee. Dave Meltzer slipped in some Diet Pepsi but no sold it.

8. Vader defeats Randy Savage via pinfall (8:09). Many gamblers ripped up their tickets as Savage garnered a lot of support by betters and bookies. He took the fight to the scary Vader but the monster was nonplussed. Vader nearly decapitated Savage with a lariat at one point. Harley Race donned Savage's trademark shades in mockery. Vader won with a huge powerbomb. Savage was stretchered out but put up a thumbs up to let the crowd know he was okay.


Quarter Finals

9. Ric Flair defeats Shawn Michaels via submission (19:13). Michaels idolizes Flair but didn't hold back. However the Dirtiest Player in the Game had too many tricks up his sleeve. At one point Flair begged off and Michaels pointed at his unmentionables in what some at ringside called a "crotch chop". And chop it Flair did -- nailing a knife-edge chop to the junk. When Flair locked in the Figure Four the young Texan was forced to tap like Bojangles.

10. Bret Hart defeats Jerry Lawler via submission (5:27). Hart hit a suicide dive to the floor completely crushing Lawler against the guardrail. Hart brought The King back inside the squared circle and proceeded to work over the legs before locking in a Sharpshooter for the victory.

11. Ultimate Warrior defeats Rick Steiner via pinfall (7:11). Warrior had a more difficultly with Rick than he had with Scott. Warrior seemed dazed by Steiner's non-stop forward momentum and finally in frustration hoisted him up in a gorilla press slam but walked up toward a corner and dropped him out ribs-first onto the steel ring steps below. Rick barely made it back in before the 10 count was rendered only for Warrior to do multiple running big splashes onto his mid-section.

We cut to a Vader and Race in a luxury skybox as it's announced he has received a buy. Harley Race eerily had his face painted like Warrior.

 

Semi-Finals

12. Bret Hart defeats Ric Flair via submission (18:45). Back-and-forth battle but Bret would not be stopped. The match ended as Hart reversed the Figure Four causing Flair to scream he quit locked in his own trademark maneuver.

13. Vader defeats Ultimate Warrior via pinfall (7:20). We'd never quite seen fear in Warrior's eyes like tonight when he couldn't faze the monstrous Vader. The ref inadvertently took a spill which allowed Race to slide Vader's massive mastodon helmet into the ring. Vader gave his deadly powerbomb to Warrior onto the helmet which shot off big flumes of smoke into the air as Warrior's body crumbled over it.


Finals

14. Vader defeats Bret Hart via pinfall (13:55). Race had his face painted like last year's winner Road Warrior Animal. Bret does a baseball slide kick under the bottom rope taking Harley out. Vader tries to smash Hart outside the ring but Bret dodges leaving Vader to eat the ringpost cracking his head open. As Vader starts shooting plasma out of his head Hart peppers him with shots but Vader grabs Hart by the skull and headbutts him so hard Bret drops like a sack of potatoes. And potatoes were definitely on the menu as Vader stomped and punched the Hitman like a vicious mugging. Harley sucker punches Stu Hart in the front row. Back in the ring Vader goes for the powerbomb but Hart locks in a triangle choke. The ref lifted Vader's hand twice but on the third time Vader scooped Bret and powerbombed him, dropping him directly on top of his head. Vader put a foot on a lifeless Hart as the ref counted the fateful 3.


Jessie's Tournament

Location: philadelphia, PA

Breakdown: WCW 8, WWF 5, New Japan 2, USWA 1

Opening Round (15 min time limits)

Match #1: (no. 1) Sting (*2nd) v. (no. 16) Shawn Michaels (w/ Sensational Sherri)

Result- It was an impressive showing for the youngster, taking Sting to the limit; with Sherri's help of course.  But, the Stinger hit a string of big moves near the end right before eating an errant superkick to the side of the face.  Michaels went for another one and Sting caught it and strapped him into a Scorpion Death Lock for the win in an exciting opening to the tourney

Time:  13:23

Match #2: (no. 3) Ric Flair (WWF Champion)(w/ Razor Ramon)(*2nd) v. (no. 14) Steve Williams (*2nd)

Result - This became a challenging enviroment for Flair as Doc was not playing around and was trying to dump him on his head every chance he got; with a Razor distraction, Flair took out the leg and worked it over for a bit- when trying to get a tapout win, Doc powered out of it and Flair had enough and took a walk and headed back to his locker room then onto a limo and a night of paryting- Doc wins by coutnout

Time of match: 12:34

Match #3: (no. 5) Bret Hart  v. (ALT) Nikita Koloff (*2nd)

Result- The Hitman takes his time preparing, gifting his glasses to a young fan outside; Koloff looks listless; Bret pretty much dissects the big russian for most of the match, giving some offense over and even takes a Russian Sickle but rolls out of the ring afterwards; Koloff slowly gets him in but Bret escapes.  After a boot in the corner and a bulldog from the 2nd rope, he locks in the Sharpshooter for the submission win

Time of the Match: 9:58

Match #4: (no. 7) Jerry Lawler (UsWA Tag Team Champion)(*2nd) v. (no. 10) Steve Austin

Result - Both men jaw with each other for a minute or so and the match begins; some boring dips out of the ring and the match has barely begun before Austin brings in the Tag Title to try and clobber Lawler but the perennial villain has his knucks ready to go and clocks Austin for the win but the ref catches him and he gets dq'd.  Bad, bad match

Time of the Match: 6:08

Match #5: (no. 8 Scott Steiner (IWGP Tag Team Champion) v. (no. 9) Ultimate Warrior

Result - Warrior tried to control the bout from early on and wasn't selling much: Scotty muscled Warrior into a few suplexes and the match quickly became bowling shoe ugly: the finish was bad too- STeiner and Warrior tumbled outside and Warrior tried a splash into the guard rail but missed and hit the steel hard and flew over the top of it- Scott bounded back in the ring to beat the 10 count and advance.

Result: 9:13

Match #6: (no. 6) Ricky Steamboat (*2nd) v. (no. 11) Rick Steiner ((WGP Tag Team Champion) (*2nd)

Result- as both combatants stare across the ring from each other, the Dragon remembers going down to this "Dog-Faced Gremlin" in last year's tournament and vows it will not happen again; but Rick's power is a lot to overcome!!  He tosses Dragon all over but Ricky comes back and starts using that quickness with hip tosses, armdrags and martial arts chops.  He climbs up top and goes for the body press and Rick catches him in a belly to belly, just like last year but Ricky kicks out this time!!  Rick goes for a Steinr line and Dragon cinches in the Chicken Wing then drops him and uses a back leg cradle to get the win in a hell of a match!

Time of Match: 13:54

Match #7: (no. 4) Rick Rude (WCW US Champion) (w/Madusa) v. (no. 13) Barry Windham

Result - Nothing fancy here; two bad hombres punishing each other and both in tip top shape- Madusa stayed mostly out of the match and Windham looked like he may have it when he hit his superplex off the top but a timely foot on the rope (w/ Madusa's assistance) saved the Ravishing One.  Windham had match in hand after that but missed a flying lariat and when he recovered, Rude kneed him in the gut, double chop to the throat and locked in the Rude Awakening to move on

Time of Match: 10:39

Match #8: (no. 2) Randy Savage  v. (no. 15) Vader (w/ Harley Race)

Result - Any normal man would have turned tail and ran versus this kodiak bear; but Macho was not a normal man.  He was all over Vader early on and shocking the big man by his aggression but eventually he got clotheslined out of his boots and Vader went to work on Savage.  After a big splash out of the corner, Savage barely got out at 2 and 3/4 but Vader was not happy with this and got in the ref's face.  The ref pushed back and Vader tossed him to the mat, earning himself a DQ.  But, this monster wasn't done, tossing the ref as casually as a piece of paper into a trash can, then he powerbombed Randy into the mat, drug him outside like wounded prey and rammed him headfirst into the steel pole, ripping open Macho's forehead.  Tournament officials finally got Vader out of there as Savage moved on, but worse for wear.

Time of Match: 8:07


Quarter Finals

Match #9: Sting defeated Dr. Death

Result- Sting was not intimidated by this legendary tough guy and both men traded a lot of clotheslines and forearms; not the greatest match honestly and was decided by a small package that Doc was not expecting as Sting moves on.

Time of Match: 8:56

Match #10: Bret Hart beat Steve Austin

Result: Bret was not impressed with Austin's preening before the match but it actually turned into quite a scientific battle.  Bret kept it more of a fight than you would expect as Austin tried to match him- Bret outworked the hard worker and got the victory as Austin came leaping off the 2nd rope with a forearm and Bret snatched his legs out of the air and lock in the Sharpshooter. 

Time of Match: 6:53

Match #11: Ricky Steamboat beat Scott Steiner

Result: Scott came in fire up, wanting revenge for his brother's loss early on.  Both men worked their respective style; Steamboat technical, Steiner power.  In the end, the Dragon's experience and flexibility won the day as he leaped over Scott's head as he charged the turnbuckle and while doing so, locked his legs under Scott's arms and latched in a sunset flip for the pin.

Time of Match: 9:54

Match #12: Rick Rude beat Randy Savage

Result: Savage came in bandaged up but you wouldn't have known it; he took it to Rude, who at one point feigned leaving the match, but it was just a tactic.  Rude ripped that bandage off and re-opened the wound on Savage's head, as he bled all over the place.  But, he still fought back, with jabs and a big clothesline over the top rope that snapped Rude's head down.  Savage seemed poised to pull off a miracle and went up top but as he came down, Madusa pulled Rude out of harm's way.  With Savage in dire straits, Rude latched in the Awakening and got the win to advance.

Time of Match: 18:00


Semi Finals

Match #13: Bret Hart upset Sting

Result: Seeing these two incredibly popular stars staring across the ring at each other had the crowd buzzed before the bell ever rung.  There was a feeling out process to start but it got physical within 5 minutes.  Bret focused on Sting's legs but Sting hit power move after power move to weaken Bret's back.  Later in the match, both men tried their finishing submission but the other knew how to counter it so it was not helping either man.  After a perilous battle on the top rope, Sting pushed off hard with a superplex all the way down but as they landed, Bret snuck his legs into Sting's and landed on top of him in an inside cradle and score the pin in an epic encounter that was the match of the tournament.

Time of Match: 26:59

Match #14: Rick Rude pinned Ricky STeamboat

Result: Here were two men that knew each other very well; Steamboat blistered Rude's chest with chops all match long but Rude used a shortcut or two to regain the advantage, whether it be an eye gouge or Madusa getting involved.  AT one point, she high kicked Ricky off the top buckle and Rude nearly won with a elbow smash.  But, STeamboat was feeling it; he picked Rude up by his neck and when he dropped, he boucned into the buckle and came out and knocked heads with the Dragon; both men tried to cover each other and they both kicked out.  Rude got up and locked in the Rude Awakening but Dragon shoved him out of it and hit a powerslam.  He went up for a traditional splash off the top but as he came down, Rude jutted up both knees into his gut, then quickly scaled the top and came off with another knee, this time smashing into that old injured throat of the Dragon then cinched his legs tight for the 1,2,3.

Time of Match: 23:04


Finals:

Match #15: Bret Hart beat Rick Rude

Result: Both men are stellar athletes and this looked to be a fantastic match on paper.  Both men controlled sections of the match, with Bret working over that weak Rude back (with those amazing Rude back sells) and Rude worked on Bret's neck (including a nearly decapitating sell face first into the buckle by Bret).  Rude went for that knee off the top but missed and Bret almost got the sharpshooter locked in as Rude went to teh ropes; while there, Madusa reached in and claws Bret's eyes, gaining another advantage for Rude.  He hit the Awakening but the Hitman kicked out!! Rude went up for his flying knee but Bret countered and ran up, and used his own top rope superplex; as soon as they hit, he picked himself up and transitioned right into the Sharpshooter and Rude couldn't do a thing and had to submit!!

Time of Match: 24:19


Chris' Tournament

Round 1

Sting vs Shawn Michaels.

Sting overwhelms Michaels early until som interference by Sherri. HBK gives a fantastic showing with multiple near falls against Sting. Stinger wethers the fast paced attack and finishes HBK with the Scorpion Death Lock at 18:47

4Vs

Ric Flair vs Dr. Death

Ric Flair spends much of the match running, dodging and begging off Dr. Death. Razor gets involved multiple times to a chorus of boos, eventually hitting Williams with a chair while the ref isn't looking. Flair captilizes with a roll-up while also pulling the tights. Dr. Death rampages afterwards but can't overcome the duo of Flair and Ramon. 10:35

3Vs

Bret Hart vs Nikita Koloff

Hitman wrestles circles submitting the Russian in under 10 minutes.

2Vs

Steve Austin defeats Jerry Lawler in a typical boring Lawler match. Why is Lawler always on this list?

2Vs

Scott Steiner vs Ultimate Warrior

Warrior defeats Steiner 5:49 after blowing himself up during his ring entrance. The two exchange power moves until Warrior decides he's not going to sell anything else and hits whatever his splash was called.

1Vs

Rematch from 91 plays out much the same as the year before. Steiner is a suplex machine and on the lookout for the Dragon's reversal style ambush pinfalls. But The Dog Faced Gremlin still can't out wrestle the Dragon  Steamboat defeats Rick Steiner by reversing a German suplex into a roll-up.

3.75Vs

Tight contest that spills outside early and goes on for a 120 count with Windahm beating the tar out of Rude. Rude bounces back once the action rolls back inside and the tide turns. Rude defeats Windahm with the rude awakening at 13:17

3.75Vs

Macho Man Randy Savage vs Big Van Vader

Vader attacks savage as he's taking off his ring jacket and pours on hard heavy handed strikes and big power moves. Savage fights hard kicking out of multiple big moves but is never able to rally enough offense to overcome the blindsided attack at the beginning and is defeated after repeated Vader Bombs.

Vader defeats Macho Man with a Vader bomb at 16:11

3.5 Vs


Round 2

Sting vs Ric Flair

Sting and Flair go all out as if returning to their old feud. Flair bleeds within the first two minutes as the two brawl outside and into the crowd. Back in the ring the two return to form. Sting at his invlulnerable best manages to fight off multiple Ramon interference attempts and after Stinger splashing both men pins Flair at 25:47

4.5Vs

Bret Hart vs Steve Austin

Hart and Austin wrestle a superb technical match that goes back and forth into both men working towards a submission victory. Austin wins when the match is stopped by referee due to Hart passing out in a cobra clutch applied by Austin.

5Vs

Ultimate Warrior Vs Ricky Steamboat

Warrior again gases himself during his entrance. Upon the match starting Warrior begins yelling insane, mystical-warrior, nonsense that only he understands. Warrior comes out of the corner like he's shot out of a canon. He wails on Steamboat with clotheslines, shoulder checks, and slams  Steamboat wethers the early storm of power and aggression from Warrior. After tiring the powerhouse out with his impressive resiliency Steamboat begins rapid fire pinning maneuver combinations until Warrior dazed, and exhausted fails to kick out of one of the pinning holds. 18:23

Rick Rude vs Big Van Vader

Vader murders Rude in a butal 10 minute squash. Vader again uses multiple Vader Bombs to put Rude away. Rude was taken from the ring on a stretcher.


Round 3

Sting vs Steve Austin

Sting and Austin have a fantastic hard hitting bout. Both men have stellar efforts with Sting coming out on top submitting Austin with the Scorpion Death lock.

21:52

4.5 Vs

Steamboat vs. Vader

Steamboat starts out fast not letting the bigger man get a hold of him. Steamboat hits and runs trying to keep Vader chasing him. Harley race trips Steamboat up and Vader begins his brutal assault. Vader hits Steamboat with everything he's got and can't put Steamboat away. As the time limit draws near Vader goes up for the Vader-Sault and Steamboat counters by powerbombing Vader from the buckle. Vader showing his own resilience kicks out. Steamboat goes up for the flying crossbody. Vader catches him mid air, slam, Vader bomb. Steamboat kicks out. Vader begins beating on Steamboat in the corner, his frustration at not being able to put Steamboat away getting the best of him. Referee tries to pull Vader from the corner and Vader clobbers him for his effort. Vader continues assaulting Steamboat after his disqualification at 29:07.

Vader continues the onslaught until Sting comes to the rescue weilding a steel chair. Sting and Vader have a pull apart brawl.


Finals

Sting vs Ricky the Dragon Steamboat

Steamboat enters the ring with taped ribs and stumbled going through the ropes. He is obviously injured. The match begins with a respectful handshake before the two lock up. Sting works the leg setting up the Scorpion Death lock and maintiand advantage for a large portion of the match. Steamboat continues narrow submission escapes, and close kickouts. Sting catches Steamboat coming off the ropes with a tiltawhirl backbreaker sending Steamboat writhing in agony. He picks Steboat up for another backbreaker but hesitates at doing more damage to the ribs and back of his opponent. Steamboat captilizes with a reversal pinning maneuver. Sting kicks out but The Dragon has seized momentum and pours everything he has left into bringing down the Stinger. Steamboat hits the Flying chop, Sting kicks out, Flying cross body Sting rolls through covering Steamboat for a long 2 count. Steamboat head back up top for a missile dropkick, which Sting reverses into a scorpion death lock. Steamboat pushes up looking for the exact same reversal he used to defeat Sting in last year's tournament, but Sting learned his lesson and as Steamboat rolls under him Sting sits down into a pinning reversal of the reversal. 1…...2…….3!

Sting wins at 45:23

Monday, July 25, 2022

1991 World Cup Tournament - Fantasy Booking

(Editor's Note: Former NHO contributor Jessie reached out to me about doing a series of fantasy booking tournaments inspired by the PWI 500 lists of yesteryear. We were joined by some family and friends to submit our own versions if we were given the book. Enjoy! - Brian)

As a pure wrestling geek from a very young age, one of the most fun things about this sport was the fantasy and imagination of it all; I’d sit in my basement of my grandma’s house and re-enact The Von Erichs fighting the villainous Freebirds all the time.  At a certain age, I’d start making up my own matches, cards, etc.  Something I used to do was to take the PWI 500 and build a bracket of the top 16 guys in those tournaments and book out who I thought the best was.  Now, we’ve expanded!

Some of my lifelong wrestling compatriots have joined in the fun, so we present our Top 16 World Cup (as I’m calling it) brackets!!  These start in 1991 and move onto the modern day of today, building all of our own canons, so to speak.  And these tourneys are built around our imaginations- Countouts, Dq’s, Time Limit Draws, Interference, who knows- anything can happen.  And each person creates these differently, which is what’s so exciting about them!   Without further ado, here are the first tournaments back in the lovely year of 1991 (except for that Gulf War thing)

Jessie's Tournament

1991- held in Sunny southern California

Round One

Match #1: Hulk Hogan battled Sid Justice to a Double Countout, eliminating both men in 8:43- after a lot of posturing and preening, both men did wail each other around with power strikes, boots and slams- but they both got testy during the match and after a ref bump from an errant Hulk clothesline, Sid took him outside and they battled until a substitute referee came out and counted both men out.

Match #2: Ric Flair (w/ Bobby Heenan) def. Barry Windham in 10 mins, 36 seconds. 

Both men knew each other well and Windham looked sharp as Heenan tried to distract the referee.  After a huge lariat off the top rope, fellow participant Arn Anderson came down the aisle and stared at Windham as Flair hit a low blow as Windham stood on the 2nd rope talking shit to Arn- Windham collapsed and Flair pinned him with his feet on the ropes for leverage

Match #3: Sting def. Jerry Lawler in 8 minutes even- Lawler couldn’t help going back to his routes and tried to cheat Sting by using knucks fro his trunks; unfortunately for him, it didn’t work and Sting hit 2 Stinger splashes then came off the top with a cross body for the win

Match #4: Rick Steiner def. “The Dragon” in a big upset in 9 minutes, 9 seconds- Steamboat and Steiner had a great technical series on the ground before things got more heated; Steamboat seemed poised to win the match as he scaled the top and came off with a cross body but Rick reversed that into a belly to belly and got the pin!

Match #5: Dr. Death Steve Williams beats Arn Anderson after 12 minutes, 2 seconds of hard nosed action!  Arn’s partner Larry Z arrives and tries to attack Doc halfway through the match but he fights him off which gives Arn an opening to go on the offense, which he does.  Doc stays in the match and mounts a comeback with a big tackle meant for Arn but takes out the ref; Zybyzsko tries to attack with his Tag Team Title belt but Doc tackles him out of the ring, straight into Arn then rears back for a second big tackle to get the win.

Match #6: Road Warrior Animal outpowers Nikita Koloff in a longer than expected match that spilled outside into a brawl the ref let go on for a while- back in the ring, Koloff saw an opening and charged for his Russian Sickle but Animal snapped him over with his powerslam to get the victory in 10 minutes, 27 seconds

Match #7: The Great Muta def. Ted Dibiase in 13 minutes, 39 seconds; Dibiase showed he is a ring master and controlled Muta for a while, including help from Sherri and her long fingernails; but, it was one time too many as Dibiase pulled the ref aside as Sherri tried to go for Muta’s face, he blew the mist into her face!  Dibiase came at him, he dodged him and hit a bridging German suplex for the pin

Match #8: Lex Luger def Road Warrior Hawk in a titanic power match- at one point, it broke down as Mr. Hughes got physically involved but his partner Animal would not stand for it and came down and neutralized Hughes- but he didn’t account for Race who straight punched Hawk in the face, then Luger followed up with his patented piledriver to advance in 13 minutes, 40 seconds.


Second Round

Ric Flair parades out, unnecessarily and gloats about gaining a bye to the semi finals

Match #9: Sting def. Rick Steiner in a hard hitting bout that went longer than expected; at one point, Steiner realized he better get this high flyer down and work him over; eventually, Sting mustered a big comeback and reversed a Steiner German attempt with his own and got the victory in 14 minutes, 6 seconds

Match #10: Steve William def. Road Warrior Animal in 10 minutes 12 seconds- this match was like two bulls running up against each other- ending with Animal having Doc in a compromising situation in the corner and charged in and Doc raised up a boot that dazed Animal, then scaled the ropes and hit a flying tackle off the 2nd buckle for the win

Match #11: Lex Luger def. The Great Muta when Muta, in control, came in for a handspring elbow, Luger had his knee up right into Muta’s back as Harley reached in and pulled Muta’s foot and held it down as Luger covered Race’s body with his massive physique as he laid on top for the pin in 14 minutes, 1 second


Semi Finals

Match #12: Sting defeated his old rival Ric Flair in a great back and forth match with both men focusing on working each other’s legs and back, respectively.  Sting outsmarted Flair on one exchange and countered a chop into a backslide in a quick pin for the win @ 17 minutes, 1 second

Match #13: Lex Luger def. Dr. Death in a hard fought match; the ref was taken out at a critical point which prompted Mr. Hughes into the match; he squared off with Doc who both collided- but Doc dodged the next one and hit a huge tackle on Huges to knock him out of the ring; but he didn’t see Luger came in with the WCW Belt up side his head and got the pin as Race awoke the ref for the 3 count @ 15 minutes, 43 seconds


Finals:

Match #14: Sting won, defeating Lex Luger- in a brilliant move, Sting came off the top rope as he made his entrance and took out Hughes and Race both as he knew they’d been interfering all night long; this allowed Luger to get an advantage on him though and worked him over for a good portion of the match.  Luger made a critical error going up top as Sting sent him off with a press slam then locked in the Scorpion Death Lock and stretched Luger’s back until he submitted @ 17 minutes, 33 seconds


Brian's Tournament

1. Sid Justice defeats Hulk Hogan via pinfall (8:39) Tournament starts with huge upset. Hogan, drenched in sweat, tried to unload all his big arsenal in hopes to finish the giant early. Hogan went for his leg drop but Sid caught the leg in mid-air, mounted Hogan, then deadlifted him up for a vicious powerbomb in the center of the ring for the victory.

2. Ric Flair defeats Barry Windham via submission (14:44). Classic foes, but Windham had never meet this dastardly bowl cut incarnation with Bobby Heenan at Flair's side. Back-and-forth endurance battle. Late in bout Flair ran distraction on ref and Heenan clobbered Windham with the timekeeper's hammer KO'ing him. Flair wrapped in the Figure Four and the ref dropped a motionless Windham's hand three times to end the contest.

3. Sting defeats Jerry Lawler via submission (6:02). Sting runs roughshod over the King. After a series of Stinger Splashes in the corners Sting secured a tap out with the Scorpion Death Lock. Lawler seemed upset after the match and tried to come back into the ringside area to get at Sting but officials held him back.

4. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat defeats Rick Steiner via pinfall (7:35). Athletic contest with Steiner exhibiting power prowess and Steamboat using agility. A Steiner suplex attempt was countered as Ricky landed on his feet and quickly fired off a hard dropkick. Steamboat capitalized on the momentum and landed a big crossbody off of the top to get the pinfall victory.

5. Arn Anderson defeats "Dr. Death" Steve Williams via pinfall (10:11). Competitive bout that saw Williams KO himself with a running shoulderblock charge in the corner that Double A side-stepped, Williams crashed hard into the steel ringpost, and Anderson used his deadly DDT to put him down for the count.

6. Road Warrior Animal defeats Nikita Koloff via pinfall (2:23). Absolute domination. Animal looked like the beast of Road Warriors heyday. Run right through Nikita to a huge standing ovation.

7. The Great Muta defeats Ted Dibiase via countout (9:31). Technical marvel that had the purist fans foaming at mouth. Action spilled out to floor where a Muta spinkick knocked Dibiase's bag of money into the crowd. As the excited fans started picking up the $100 bills Dibiase went ballistic, allowing Muta time to roll back into the ring and get a countout victory.

8. Lex Luger defeats Road Warrior Hawk via submission (5:58). Luger's hired bodyguard Mr. Hughes gave Hawk a killer powerslam on floor then rolled him back in. Lex hoisted Hawk up with ease for the Torture Rack and when the ref saw he was unresponsive he called for the bell.


Second Round

============

9. Ric Flair defeats Sid Justice via submission (9:50). While Justice looked like a monster in the first round, some would even say "Vicious", Flair put on a clinic dismantling the big man. Dissecting him. Taking aim at his legs and setting them up for the inevitable Figure Four.

10. Sting defeats Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat via submission (13:27). Excellent bout. Steamboat showed the sheet writers like Meltzer who was in attendance that he could still go. A disgruntled Jerry Lawler came to ringside and tried to bash Sting with his royal scepter but The Dragon was not about to be disqualified and took The King out with a wild dive over the ropes out onto the floor. Sting used the Scorpion Deathlock to defeat his opponent and both men shook hands after the contest.

11. Road Warrior Animal defeats Arn Anderson via pinfall (7:49). Anderson's eyes bugged out of his head when Animal kicked out of his DDT. Animal debuted a new maneuver, modifying the two-man Doomsday Device into a devastating Doomsday Piledriver.

12. The Great Muta defeats Lex Luger via pinfall (9:32). Muta was angering Luger by his speed. Ref went down and Harley Race climbed to the top to deliver a flying headbutt but Muta did a kip-up and shoved Luger into Race. Harley flew to the concrete floor breaking his hip while Muta rolled up Luger for the three count.


Semi-Finals

============

13. Sting defeats Ric Flair by disqualification (20:51). These two know each other well and tore down the house. This time Heenen used the ringbell itself but caught in the act. The blow busted Sting's head open. A bloody Sting's hand was raised but he was dazed as an enraged Flair threw a tantrum with the officials.

14. Road Warrior Animal defeats The Great Muta via pinfall (11:09). Muta attempted to spray green mist in Animal's face, but Animal put on a Legion of Doom helmat just in time, saving him from being blinded. Animal then hit a huge powerslam that made both men bounce for the huge win.


Finals

============

15. Road Warrior Animal defeats Sting via pinfall at (16:44). Instant classic. A bloodied Sting battled with all he had. Crowd was buzzing for an upset. Sting had a downed Animal sitting in a chair in a corner outside where two guardrails met. He ran to do a Stinger Splash but Animal slipped on his spiked shoulderpads and gorged Sting. Animal tossed the shoulderpads to the floor and gave Sting a powerslam on them, bloodying his back. The loss of blood had Sting in a haze and Animal then executed a Doomsday Piledriver to pin his bloodied opponent to win the tournament as the crowd erupted.


Chris' Tournament

Round 1

Match 1:

Hogan vs. Sid Justice

Sid starts hot his power and aggression overwhelming an overconfident Hulkster. 5 minutes in Hogan Hulks up and destroys Sid with his classic comeback, Big boot, BodySlam, Leg drop 1. 2. 3. Hogan wins. 

2.5 V-Slaps therefore referred to as VS

Match 2: 

Flair gains control early by attacking Windahm from behind while he's taking off his ring jacket and retains control for a time until Windahm gets hot from the crowd. After a few minutes the Brain causes a distraction letting flair slip in a low blow, followed by a pile driver. 1. 2. Kick out. Windahm mounts a comeback working Flair into a superplex which flair kicks out of at 2. Windahm stays on him and hits the lariat but doesn't cover instead going for the figure four. Heenan distracts the ref but Dustin has run out pulling The brain from the apron. Windahm releases the figure four and moves to the ropes. As the ref is arguing with Dustin and Barry, Bobby slips away and slides brass knuckles into flair. As Windahm turns around he's smashed with the knucks. Flair so he's in the figure four to a chorus of boos and the ref counts Windahms shoulders down 1. 2. 3. Flair wins!

4VS

Match 3:

Sting's speed, power and aggressiveness smashes the overrated Lawlyer in under 5 minutes making him tap to the scorpion death lock. Sting will enter round 2 fresh. 

1 VS

Match 4:

Steiner is overwhelmed by the Dragon's speed for a time, until he manages to catch him coming off the ropes into a huge belly to belly. The dog faced gremlin takes it to Steamboat hitting huge suplexes one after the other. Steiner sets steamboat up for a superplex when Steamboat counters in mid air landing on top of Steiner for the cover and pinfall. 

3.5 VS

Match 5:

Dr. Death wins a hard hitting stiff battle with the Oklahoma Stampede. 

2.5VS

Match 6:

Nikita Koloff attacks Animal during his entrance hitting the Russian sickle outside the ring and leaves him laying outside. Animal makes it back in on an 8 count but the damage is done. Animal gets a few offensive moves in out of desperation it Koloff proves too much to handle after the surprise attack and hits anoth Sickle to finish the road warrior. 

3.5VS

Match 7:

Muta and Diabese go blow for blow and hold for hold. Muta hits the moonsault just as Sherri distracts the ref giving MDM a second life and he seizes control going on offense. Working towards securing the million dollar dream which muta evades diving out of the ring. Dibiase distracts the ref while Sheri takes cheap shots on the outside. Ted rolls out and Sheri goes back to distracting the ref while Teddy gets a steel chair. As he raises the chair over his head Muta hits him with the mist in his eyes, takes the chair and drills him with a headshot. Muta rolls him into the ring and hits the moonsault for the win. 

4VS

Match 8:

Luger and Hawk trade power moves going back and forth for a while. Eventually Luger proves to much for the road warrior and ends him via Torture Rack submission. 

2.75VS


Round 2 

Hogan Vs. Flair

Hogan dominates early touch fanfare however the wily Flair while begging Hogan off sneaks in a classic low blow and the. Begins to use The Brain to aid him in cheating in nearly every way imaginable. Hogan begins to Hulk up. Flair sees the momentum shifting and bails out. Sliding back in and out three times . Hogan now furious chases Flair outside and around the ring where he's intercepted by Heenan. Hogan grabs the brain and picks him up for a BodySlam on the floor. As the ref leaves the ring to check on Heenan flair hits Hogan as he is entering the ring, as Hogan slumps forward through the ropes Flair rolls him into a small package and the ref counts 1...2…..3. Flair wins and cuts a Hulkamania dies promo. 

3.5VS

Match 2 

Sting vs Steamboat

The battle begins respectfully with a mid ring handshake. The men lockup and Ricky as the early technical advantage. Sting battles back and shows his power and speed. Both men begin hitting big spots as the time keeper cries out 5 minutes remaining. Both men begin striking hard. 1 minute remaining Steamboat hits Flying cross body. 1…..2…..2.5! Stinger kicks out! Sting is pumped WOOH! Stinger hits the clothesline, again, again. Stinger hits the Stinger splash. As the timekeeper screams 20  seconds remaining Sting cinches in the Scorpion Death lock. Steamboat reaches his hand out to tap 10. Steamboat pushes up from the matt 9 rolling under Sting 8.  Grabbing him around the neck 7 Steamboat rolls Sting into a modified small package 6. 1. 2. 3. The Dragon pins Sting with 2 seconds remaining. The match ends with the two men shaking hands in the middle of the ring. 

4.75Vs

Dr. Death vs. Nikita Koloff 

Nikita Koloff with the Russian Sickle. 

Hard hitting, not flashy.

3 VS

Lex Luger VS. Muta

Muta with the Moonsault at 15:49

3.75 Vs


Round 3

Match 1

Ric Flair VS. Ricky the Dragon Steamboat

Back and forth catch as catch can technical wrestling. The final 2 minutes Flair goes for the figure four. Steamboat wraps him up in a small package reversal 

1…...2…...3! 

5Vs

Match of the year!

Nikita Koloff VS The Great Muta

This one seems weird. 

Muta does he absolute best to pull a great match out of Koloff. Muta with the mist and moonsault combo for the win. 

4Vs


Finals 

Ricky the Dragon Steamboat

VS. 

The Great Muta 

EPIC!

At 62:23 Ricky The Dragon Steamboat with the cross face chicken wing submission. 

5Vs

Match of the Year!


Didge's Tournament

Match 1: Hogan and Sid are especially slow tonight. Split crowd to Hogans surprise. Hogan no sells the choke slam cause hes never seen it done before. big botch.

Hogan wins via Leg Drop. forgettable.  *

Match 2: Flair Windham good back and forth. Barry has real babyface fire being in Greensboro. False finish with Flair rolling up Windham with the feet on the ropes. Heenan gets involved on the outside behind the refs back. Out comes Dustin to even the odds but Heenan ducks a lariat and hits Flair for the DQ. Flair advances.  ***

Match 3: Sting v. Lawler is a total squash. seems Lawler has no offense outside of Memphis. Sting wins via submission scorpion death lock. *

Match 4: Steamboat v. Steiner goes 30 with Rick bruising Ricky all the way but gets blown up in the process. Steamboat wins with a cross body block off the top.  ****

Match 5: Dr. Death vs. AA, even bout. Arn has a scary sell on a backdrop. Large left fist for a receipt. Dr. bomb get Williams the w 20 min. in.  ** 1/2

Match 6: Nikita/Animal is 8 minutes of pure hell. off night for both men but Nikita looks especially drunk. Animal wins with a powerslam and storms to the back straight away.  1/2*

Match 7: Muta vs. Dibiase is a classic with Ted dominating with ground holds. Muta get loose, runs wild, poison mist to Sherri on the apron but gets locked in the Dream afterwards and goes out. ****

Match 8: Luger v. Hawk ends in a count out via Luger walks out after shoot fight with Hawk 7 minutes in. alot of confusion with Hawk telling the ref to count him out after Luger bails. Luger sports a shiner for 4 weeks.  1/4 *


Quarter finals:

Hogan vs. Hawk: surprising good match with Hogan not backing down to Hawk. Still a split crowd with Hawk winning some fans punking out Luger. Hogan no sells Hawks neckbreaker and snufs out Hawks momentum. Hogan wins.  ***

Dibiase vs. Flair: A little slow for my taste. Heenan and Sherri are more entertaining going back and forth on the outside. picks up and the end where each man catches the other trying to cheat. Dibiase win with a schoolboy and a handfull of tights. **1/2

Sting vs. Animal: Much like Hogan/Hawk this was very good. neither man has an advantage for long. Animal tweaks the left knee missing a lariat off the top. Sting slaps on the death lock but Animal wont tap. Ref stops it after 3 minutes in the hold. Sting wins. Crowds pissed. **

Steamboat vs. Dr. Death is phenomenal. everything you could want from a match. Ricky reigns supreme out working Williams and dodging power moves. Dragon wins with a sunset flip over the ropes. ****1/4


Semi Finals:

Hogan vs Steamboat: Crowd heavily in Rickys corner as Dragon been fire tonight and Hogan is meh. Hogan working heel. Chop fest with Dragon coming out on top. Flash pin small package by Dragon out of a suplex. Hogan is stunned. **3/4

Sting vs Dibiase: Sting looks fresh, no selling Teds strikes but cant take a thumb to the eye. Ted punishes Sting on the outside with a gutwrench suplex on the floor. Sting rally's, Sherri on apron to stop the death lock. Sting grabs her. they swap spit and makeup. But Sting turns into a brass knuckle shot and a pin with Teds feet on the second rope. ***


Finals:

Steamboat vs. Dibiase is one for the ages even though Ted is obviously blown up. Dibiase get upper hand on outside with a Sherri back rake behinds the refs back. Ted ducks a running cross body block and Ricky lays out the ref. Sherri in and she and Ted are putting the boots to Ricky. Sting hits the ring and runs Sherri out the building. Dibiase with the brass knucks now but steamboat misses and eats a ddt from Ricky. Ref sees Ricky with the Knucks now as the Dragon takes them off Teds hand. Back and forth with the ref but Ricky dont notice Ted back to his feet. Million Dollar Dream. Ricky fights for the ropes but passes out a foot from the bottom rope. Ted wins. ***1/2

Winner: Ted Dibiase and mostly Sherri


Daryl's Tournament

Round 1

Match 1 Hulk Hogan v. Sid Justice= Sid Justuce wins due to outside interference from Sgt. Slaughter

Match 2. Ric Flair v. Barry Windham=  Ric Flair wins with figure 4 leglock at 14:50

Match 3  Sting v. Jerry Lawler= Lawler wins with 4 pile drivers at the 10 minute mark

Match 4 Ricky Steamboat v. Rick Steiner= Ricky Steamboat wins small package 1:32 into the Match

Match 5 Dr Death vs Arn Anderson= Arn wins with help from Larry Zybysisco distracting ref and Arn knocking Dr Death out with steel chair

Match 6  Koloff v Animal Match is a stiff feat ending in a time limit draw

Match 7 Muta v. Dibiase= Muta wins with moonsault at the 12 minute mark

Match 8  Luger v. Hawk= Luger wins with torture rack


Round 2

Match 1 Sid Justice v. Ric Flair=  Flair wins via low blow and a school boy at 17 minutes

Match 2 Lawler vs Steamboat= Lawler wins via piledriver at 18:35

Match 3 Arn Anderson receives a bye due to no opponent

Match 4 Great Muta v. Lex Luger= Great muta wins after blowing green mist into Luger eyes after Harley race distracting the ref backfires on luger.. 


Round 3

Match 1 Ric Flair v. Jerry Lawler= Lawler wins a hard fought victory via pinfall at 29 minutes after the Match Ric Flair and Mr Perfect attack Lawler beating him unconscious and leaving him bloody and injured

Match 2 Arn Anderson vs the Great Muta=  Arn wins after a long hard fought 25 minute Match via Spinebuster


Final

Jerry Lawler v. Arn Anderson= Jerry Lawler wins via pile drivers in a 40 minute brawl where he is bleeding bruised and taped up after his Match with Ric Flair

Sunday, June 12, 2022

WWE Monday Night Raw 4/12/04

1. Kane vs. Grandmaster Sexay - 2
2. The Masked Ninja vs. Tajiri - 1
3. Lita vs. Trish Stratus - 3
4. The Hurricane vs. Sylvain Grenier - 2
5. Evolution (Triple H, Ric Flair, Randy Oton, and Batista) vs. Chris Benoit, Mick Foley, Shelton Benjamin, and Shawn Michaels - 4

Sexay was announced as making his return after a 2.5 year absence. Kane has made some horrid comments in the media this week downplaying gun violence in America on the heels of the Uvalde school massacre -- so fuck him. Grandmaster puts his goggles on a kids' face a la Bret Hart. Wonder if he kept them over the years and now they take up the right corner of his sock drawer. Basic squash to give Kane some momentum heading into whatever tedious feud he'd be booked into next. Jonathan Coachmen brings out a masked ninja portrayed under the costume shop outfit by Al Snow's hockey jersey collection. Some real mistimed strike exchanges. Ninja's kicks are Bischoff-level strip mall dojo quality. What agent thought it was a good idea to give Ninja 80% of the offense. Lita was to be a guest on Jericho's Highlight Reel but Stratus attacked her on the ramp which was then turned into an official bout. All kudos to Stratus who, we can now look back 20 years removed, was not just ahead of her peers at the time but one of the more complete women performers in the co. the last several decades. Bulk of action is a side headlock which Trish somehow keeps completely captivating by wrenching it and mugging. Dug Lita doing a monkey flip but keeping a hold of her opponent's hair to help her roll through to a top mount position to drop ground and pound. Gilbert Yvel take note. Bad fashion reigns from Trish's parachute pants to Christian who was at ringside wearing a shirt that looked like a Magic Eye picture. If you stop and stare at it closely, subtly crossing your eyes, it'll unlock an image of Gangrel holding a chalice and his pud. Non-finish brought it down as otherwise that was heading into recommended levels.

I'd like to say further study has proven Sylvain to be some under-appreciated lost super worker of the early aughts but that is not the case. I'd forgotten Helms' Green Lantern tattoo. I wonder if he was a fan of Ron Marz's run as head writer. Today's WWE product/content seems as assembly line as possibly ever with no rough edges -- but back in this era I was living within stone's throw of both OVW and HWA the farm league system for WWE, so had a lot of firsthand experience seeing guys who were being brought up to the big show or older talents not deemed needed for TV squandering last years of their in-ring career in-front of crowds of dozens (never forget Brian Adams aka Crush/The Demon walking in mid-show through fan entrance at an HWA show as a failed mega surprise appearance to a chorus of laughter). Other than one mean kneelift by Grenier and a silly finish involving Eugene's stuffed rabbit having its head ripped off this was utter dross. And now the reason I picked this random show, I woke up wanting to see a wild multi-man tag bout, and a cursory scroll through the 'net lead me to this listing, so here we are. Why didn't someone stop Flair at this point? Foley didn't even have to change when he arrived at the arena. Just "working" in black jeans and a Backlash t-shirt with a Wendy's chili stain. Crowd livens up for Benoit and Triple H squaring off. Shawn has worse hair of the whole bunch. The #1 movie in the country the week of this episode was Home on the Range and Flair's rubbery breasts look like udders. Michaels does a slingshot tumble over the top onto Evolution on the floor that looked on par with Papadon at a JAPW show. Give me Monsta Mack or Groot over Batista any day of the week. Fun to see Benoit and Flair trading chops and shots. Watching Shelton work the likes of T-Bar and Karrion Kross on WWE Main Event this past year he's looked so much slower, but back then he had crazy speed. Orton had taken crazy (amounts of) speed in the plane traveling to Chicago for this show. Overwritten choreographed vapid finishing stretch where all eight guys had to (attempt) to be in the right spot to make it all go off. Ultimately, Orton took the fall, then HBK and Benoit shared a moment together staring into each other's eyes as the show faded to black.