Monday, August 29, 2022

WWE Sunday Night Heat 8/16/98

 1. Mankind and Kane vs. LOD 2000 (Animal and Darren Drozdov) - 4

Pretty explosive. Lots of Beef 'N Cheddars flying around the canvas. At one point a chair is covertly slid into the ring just so Foley can take a bodyslam bump on it because this was '98 and he was all about sacrificing for DA BIZ~! Animal still had some nice pop on a shoulderblock. Kane's Tombstone on Animal looked potentially fatal.

 

2. Brian Christopher vs. Edge - 5


Edge in a trench coat like Morpheus with wild, long hair. Much cooler than he looks in 2022 with dad cut and Little Caesars belly. Heard Beth Phoenix likes hand tossed. Nasty little back suplex by Edge. Later while Edge is dazed on apron BC somersaults over him and busts out a sunset flip powerbomb on the floor!!! We're going to Korakuen Hall, bay-bay! Loved Christopher selling a spinebuster like a turtle stuck on its shell. Forgot how good BC's top rope legdrop was (even if he missed it here). Really dug this one

 

3.  Vader vs. Bart Gunn - 2


This is in the midst of the Brawl for It All fiasco. Jim Ross literally had to call a replay of Gunn knocking out his boy Dr. Death a few days prior as this got underway.  Vader hit one disgusting big slash on Bart. Was Gunn being taught a lesson here? Vader was def. giving him some potatoes and they weren't Idaho or even scalloped.

 

4. Gangrel vs. Scott Taylor - 3


The debut of Gangrel! He actually had a heck of a cool look here initially. His white frilly vampire shirt was covered in plasma and he was in better shape than he'd later slip into. Good squash.

 

5. Southern Justice (Dennis Knight and Mark Canterbury) vs. Degeneration-X (X-Pac and Triple H) - 3


X-Pac hit a GREAT spinkick in the corner on Knight. Sometimes in this era his kicks could be more Phantom than Billy Zane but this one was BOSS~! When I hear DK I think Donkey Kong or Dynamite Kid not Dennis Knight. Mark (aka Henry Godwinn) and Trips have some history. I've read Chaucer's Canterbury Tales but what I really want to do is read Mark Canterbury's Tales.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

1993 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

Show report done via off the cuff interview by Dave Meltzer of frat bro Colin Monaghan post-show on the beer-stained floors of the grandstand


Round 1

1. Bret Hart defeats Rick Steiner via submission "Dude .. Hart whooped the Dog-Faced Grem. But minus 5 stars for putting his shades on that fat chick"

2. Brian Pillman defats Jerry Lawler via pinfall "This ain't USWA territory homie, but Lawler had his working boots on! I don't like that he cat-called that sixteen year old on his way to the back, but he hustled out there with Pillman."

3. Yokozuna defeats Dustin Rhodes via pinfall "Woah .. Yoko crushed Dustin, man. That Bonzai Drop was devastating"

4. Lex Luger and Scott Steiner went to a double countout "Man, they gonna book a f*ck finish? Lex's sells were hilarious though. Looked like the time we poured cold water on my Uncle while he slept and shot straight forward like Frankenstein's Monster"

5. Mr. Perfect defeats Rick Rude via pinfall "This was a banger, yo! Minnesota boys rep. I caught Perfect's gum .. then I chewed it"

6. Jushin Liger defeats Ric Flair via pinfall "Back-to-back mat classics, son! Flair got color. Awesome sauce"

7. Marty Jannetty defeats Sting via pinfall "Is this a rib?? hahaha"

8. Vader defeats Davey Boy Smith via pinfall "Vader was crazy dominant last year. I watched on scramble vision in my basement. Harley Race bodyslamming Diana Hart was a nice surprise."


Quarter Finals

9. Brian Pillman defeats Bret Hart via pinfall "Crowd was MOLTEN!!!"

X. Yokozuna receives bye to Semis

10. Jushin Liger defeats Mr. Perect via pinfall "This was tasty. Perfect and Liger's long locks were going everywhere."

11. Vader defeats Marty Jannetty via pinfall "Total squash. What was that powder on Marty's face??"


Semi Finals

12. Brian Pillman defeats Yokozuna via countout "Pillman's dropkick sent Yokozuna off the apron! Thought he died. Couldn't answer the count. Crowd is loving this Pillman run"

13. Jushin Liger defeats Vader via disqualifcation "Harley Race was wearing a too tight Liger mask but got BUSTED trying to hit Jushin with a crowbar. Vader was furious"


Finals

14. Brian Pillman defeats Jushin Liger via pinfall "Five stars!! Dave, you gotta agree, right, man? Liger's mask was ripped. Pillman's nose was busted. This was a great way to end the night. Now I just got to figure out where I parked .."


Jessie's Tournament

Held in Denver, Colorado

Breakdown: WWF 8, WCW 7, New Japan 1


Opening Round

Match #1: (no. 1) Bret Hart (*2nd v. (no. 16) Rick Steiner (WWF Tag Team Champion)(*3rd)

Result - Kicking off this year's tourney, last year's winner is more aggressive than we're used to seeing him; almost bullying Rick with hard shots to the face and vicious kicks.  Steiner doesn't take that for long though and fires back with a barrage of suplexes.  Bret fires back and dishes out his very own flying bulldog off the 2nd rope for a near fall.  In the end, The Hitman just outsmarted his opponent when Rick hooked in a German suplex and before the 3 count, Hart got his shoulder up on and Rick did not.  

Time of Match: 7:18

Match #2: (Alternate) Brian Pillman v. (no. 14) Jerry Lawler (*3rd)

Result - Pillman went on the attack but Lawler was eager to trade blows; not much of a match, honestly, with a lot of punches being swung.  Pillman brought some comedy into the match by grabbing Lawler's crown and cape and wearing it in the ring as Lawler attacked him, sending his ridiculous costume flying.  Lawler snatched the scepter from Pillman and bashed him with it but the ref caught it and dq'd Lawler.

Time of Match: 4:34

Match #3: (no. 5) Yokozuna (WWF Champion)(w/ Mr. Fuji) v. (no. 12) Dustin Rhodes (WCW US Champion) 

Result - The match was all about pacing; Yoko was constantly trying to slow it down as Dustin was trying to keep it high.  He succeeded in points, but Yoko's mass was too much for him.  He eventually squashed The Natural in the corner then hit the Banzai Drop for the win.

Time of Match: 11:14

Match #4: (no. 7) Lex Luger(*2nd) v. (no. 10) Scott Steiner (WWF TAg TEam Champion)(*2nd)

Result - Both men matched up well with power moves- after kickouts on both a running elbow (luger) and twisting powerbomb (scott), Luger hit a powerslam and got the pin 

Time of Match: 14:00

Match #5: (no. 8) Rick Rude(*2nd) v. (no. 9) Mr. Perfect

Result - There was a certain air of respect amongst these two men before the match started.  Perfect, wrestling in his first World Cup, aimed to impress and was highly nimble, bouncing around Rude with chops and dropkicks like he was 10 years younger.  Rude did eventually catch him with a well time knee to the gut and slowed the match down.  Perfect, now a face, mounted a great comeback that stopped short of winning him the match- instead, Rude got a cheap eye rake in and tried a cradle pin holding Perfect's tights; but Perfect reversed it and held the tights of Rude's trunks on his legs where the ref had no eyeline and secured the pin! 

Time of Match: 10:09

Match #6: (no. 6) Ric Flair (WCW International Champion)(*3rd) v. (ALTno. 21) Jushin Liger

Result - It certainly was an odd styles clash but Flair gave him every respect.  Liger actually took quite a bit of the match, surprising Flair at every turn with fast paced moves, martial arts strikes and technical reversals.  Flair even said to the ref at one point "This kid can do it all!"  Some heavier moves were traded as this wound into the later minutes and Liger looked to have an upset win in his grasp as he laid out Natch and went up for a moonsault: he missed and came down hard on his knee and then the Master went to work; damaging Liger's knee repeatedly until he got the submission in his patented Figure Four.   

Time of the Match: 12:56

Match #7: (no. 4) Sting(*3rd) v. (no. 13) Marty Jannetty

REsult - Both men came out in colorful garb with Marty having rainbow colored tassels everywhere and Sting wearing navy blue pants with white boots.  But, for Marty, the fun stopped there.  He got a few shots in but Sting really took no damage and won handily with a Stinger splash and a needless Scorpion for the submission.  

Time of the Match: 3:35

Match #8: (no. 2) Vader (WCW Champion)(*2nd) v. (no. 15) Davey Boy Smith

 Result - Davey came in with some fire as these two were rivals for part of the year and he never could get over on Vader.  He showed off that enormous strength as the WCW Champoin was reeling.  But, getting distracted by Harley Race had already cost him so many matches, you'd think Davey would learn his lesson.  It allowed the kodiak bear control; but in an impressive feat of strength, Davey caught Vader in a corner splash and hit his running powerslam for a very close 3 count.  In what proved to be his fatal error, Davey leaped up on Vader's shoulders and got powerbombed into the mat; for good measure, the Mastadon did it again to pin the Bulldog and advance. 

Time of Match: 13:00


Quarter Finals

Match #9: Bret Hart beat Brian Pillman

Result: This was a fairly evenly worked amateur type match at the beginning but Pillman made the mistake of slapping the spit out of the Hitman's mouth; so, Bret turned it on and didn't let up, eventually trapping the high flyer in his Sharpshooter submission for the win in a decent match.

Time of Math: 9:09 

Match #10: Yokozuna defeated Lex Luger 

Result: In a very reminiscent bout from Round 1, Lex Luger, a solid babyface, had not been able to beat his foe Yoko during the summer and now looked for revenge.  And again, he didn't learn the lessons already taught to him.  He leveled the big man up to around 75% defeated and even slammed the giant sumo but got distracted when Fuji pulled Luger's foot out with a cane as he tried a second body slam and Yoko landed on top for the win.   

Time of Match: 10:11

Match #11: Ric Flair submitted Mr. Perfect 

Result: Flair wrestled much smarter this time around, targeting Perfect's knees for the majority of the bout.  Perfect tried keeping him off them and even locked in his own Figure Four at one point but Flair honed in on that target area and wouldn't let up; he knew Perfect was in trouble once he tried to lift Natch up for a suplex and couldn't hold both of their weight.  Flair dropped a knee into the back of his leg and strapped on the Figure Four for another big win. 

Time of Match: 14:03

Match #12: Sting pinned Vader 

Result: What can you say about these two?  They had wars in the past and it looked like this would continue.  Sting took it to Vader like no one else ever had- and controlled, nigh, dominated the Mastadon for the first 8 minutes.  Finally, when picking Vader up for a suplex, Race nabbed his foot and Sting let go of the move.  Vader pounced.  He later ripped off the top buckle and was able to toss Stinger into it, ripping open his forehead.  Sting looked in trouble as the match wore, with Vader strapping on a bear hug that nearly sapped the life out of Sting.  But, he perservered.  As Vader hit a backwards splash out of the turnbuckle, Race instructed him to go up further; Sting stopped him and and hit a Samoan Drop off the top in a crazy spot.  Then he hit around 5 Stinger Splashes and went for a Scorpin but Vader still had power and kicked him back into the buckle, even up on the second.  Vader then climbed up outside and stood overtop his bloody opponent; He seemed to be attempting a, no, no way, a powerbomb off the top rope but Sting punched his face over and over until Vader looked dazed and hit a standing superplex from the top then lifelessly rolled over and it was enough to beat the big man and move onto his 3rd semifinal in as many years.

Time of Match: 19:45


Semi Finals

Match #12: Bret Hart beat Yokozuna

Result: Bret won last year and knows what it takes to make it to the end but he saw a tall task in front of him.  Yoko seemed a bit gassed from his last match but didn't let that slow him down.  He charged Bret immediately but missed and the Hitman went to work on his legs.  Yoko showed toughness though and hit a huge side suplex that put him in the driver's seat for a while.  Yoko repeatedly went to that corner splash and hit it twice and nearly stole the match.  After the second time, he went up top for the Banzai but Bret moved at the last second.   With Yoko dazed, Bret scaled up to the top and came off with a Bulldog headlock and got the win to move on to his second finals in two years!

Time of Match: 16:50

Match #13: Ric Flair beat Sting

Result: This match had the fans buzzing; both men were good guys in WCW and had this mutual respect; but they went through all of their old spots like they were still wrestling every single week in the 80's.   in the end, the match didn't end with one of these titans submitting to the other's finishing hold; it came almost as a fluke: Sting had Flair set up on the ground and came off the top rope with a huge splash; but when he hit, he busted his knee on the mat hard: Flair absorbed the shock of the splash but was able to cradle Sting up as he held his knee and get a quick 3 to move on.  

Time of Match: 21:05

 

Finals:

Match #14: Ric Flair beat Bret Hart 

Result: There was both resepct and fire in both men's eyes as the match started.  This was an extremely old school match that was maybe not as exciting as a lot of other matches in this tournament.  Both men grabbed a body part and went to work wearing it down.  The more entertaining battle was in the stands; the crowd was split evenly, cheering one fan favorite and booing the other.  Both men got on their signature submission hold for a time and pressed hard to win.  With both men wounded (Hart's knee, Flair's back), a pivotal exchanged ended the match when Bret landed a series of clotheslines and missed the last one, when Flair viciously took out his knee with a chop block and rolled him up tightly to get the huge win! 

Time of the Match: 24:54


Didge's Tournament

Match #1- Bret Hart v. Rick Steiner

Steiner out the blocks early but Bret slows him down with some ground holds and never let's him up. Brets small package wins it in16 minutes. ***

Match #2- Jerry Lawler v. Brian Pillman

Pillman seems uninterested, don't blame him.

Lawler controls the action and puts on a snooze fest. Lawler wins with the fist drop from the second rope. Pullman wanted to be anywhere but here. 12 minutes 1/2*

Match #3- Yokozuna v. Dustin Rhodes

Just like all challengers to Yoko, Dustin come in hot and hits a brick wall that is a Yokozuna saviat kick. Dustin never gets back off the mat when hit with leg drops. Banzai drop at 11 minutes ends it. **

Match #4- Lex Luger v. Scott Steiner

Very competitive match with both men showing out. Think Scotty had the advantage slightly in speed. Lex ducks under a frankensteiner and hits a running forearm for the 3. 11 minutes **1/4

Match #5- Rick Rude v. Mr. Perfect

Actually a very fast paced match with Perfect mostly coming out on top in the exchanges. Rude has a fit on the floor in frustration. Rude takes some shortcuts but Perfect wasn't having it. Perfect-plex for the win in 18 minutes. ***3/4

Match #6- Ric Flair v. Jushin Liger

Most interesting match of the night with Flair trying to keep up with Thunders high flying style. Ric "Flair" flop sells Ligers palm strike, its beyond entertaining. Ric with some classic mat work for bout ten minutes till Ligers firery comeback. Flair awkward sell on a Liger Bomb for the upset win. 19 minutes ***1/2

Match #7- Sting v. Marty Jannetty

Stinger make quick work of Jannetty, no selling all of Marty's offense. Taps to Scorpion deathlock. 5 minutes. Move along people, nothing to see here. *

Match #8- Big Van Vader v. Davey Boy Smith

Davey stands toe to toe with the big man early. Anyone else Bulldog wins that exchange...not this one. Vader dishes out a hellacious beating. Vader powerbomb put Davey to sleep. 13 minutes. ***1/2


Quarter Finals 

Bret Hart vs. Big Van Vader

Bret's not ready for Vader's combination of speed and power. Rock v Clubber Lang 1 comes to mind as Vader makes quick work of Bret and a Vader Bomb off the ropes stuns Bret and the crowd in 10 minutes. Bret leaves hurt and bewildered. **3/4

Jerry Lawler vs. Sting

Sting exposes and embarrasses Lawler at every turn. Doesn't take long for frustration to set in as Lawler literally tucks tale and runs out the building in 7 minutes. Sting advances via countout. *

Yokozuna vs. Justin Liger

Poor Liger never had a chance as Yokozuna no sells everything. A Liger spinning heel kick wakes up the big man who violently hits a belly to belly for the finish. 3 minutes. *1/2

Lex Luger vs. Mr. Perfect

I'll never get tired of Henning's leg kick spot in the ropes. Perfect is overselling all of Lex's strikes, making him look like a million bucks worth of steroids in a box delivered on Vince McMahon's doorstep. Lex wins with another running forearm in 16 minutes. **


Semi Finals

Big Van Vader vs. Lex Luger

Vader tries to make Lex's feet touch the back of his head on the ground. Doesn't come close. Lex don't bend. Luger has some flashes of offense but never gets Vader in any real danger. Powerbomb makes Lex go splat. In 10 minutes **1/4

Sting vs. Yokozuna 

Sting dips and dodges Yokozuna's lariat's and hits a dropkick to Yoko's mush mouth. Yokozuna know he's in for a challenge. Stinger actually holding his own till he misses Yokozuna with a Stinger Splash on the outside guardrail. Yoko then dishes out amazing bodily damage to Stingers mid section. Sting spits up blood as he get destroyed by a violent banzai drop at the 20 minute mark. ****


Finals

Big Van Vader vs. Yokozuna 

Big man spots a plenty! This is a slugfest as no one has ever seen either man meet a physical equal. Vader's lariat makes Yoko take a dangerous bump threw the ropes too the floor. Both men miss their finishers off the ropes. Vader cant get his arms around Yokozuna's waist for the powerbomb. Yoko takes advantage with a belly to belly that blows out windows 10 blocks away. Banzai drop for the win.  18 minutes ****

Winner: Yokozuna 


Chris' Tournament

The 93 Vortex Invitational Cup

Bret “ The Hitman” Hart Vs. Rick Steiner

Hitman weathers an early suplex storm from Steiner and begins strategically working the leg of Steiner. Hitman’s brutal efficiency leaves Steiner unable to mount a comeback as he goes for a huge avalanche belly to belly his leg gives out and he falls from the top turnbuckle. Hart drops a second rope elbow and wraps Steiner up in a Sharpshooter. The Dog Faced Gremlin is forced to tap. 10:47
3.5 Vs

Jerry “The King” Lawler Vs. Brian Pillman

Pillman runs circles around the out of shape Lawler, but Lawler’s shenanigans are too much for the high flying Pillman. Pillman goes up for a top rope dropkick, Lawler seizes the opportunity and pulls the referee in front of himself. Once the ref is out lawler goes full on Ken Griffey Jr. with a steel chair and takes Pillman’s head off. Lawler wakes the ref and gets the 3 count on a likely concussed Pillman. 11:27
2Vs

Yokozuna Vs. Dustin Rhodes

Rhodes makes the mistake of trying to stand toe to toe with the much larger man and while at first his strikes land hard and send the Sumo falling backwards into the ropes. Yokozuna uses that momentum for a shoulder block knocking Rhodes to the ground where with surprising speed Yokozuna follows with an immediate Leg Drop. From there Yokozuna slowly crushes Rhodes using his massive weight to keep the Natural off his feet. Rhodes shows a ton of heart with continued kick outs, but eventually a Banzai Drop puts an end to the Natural.
8:47
2.5Vs

Lex Luger Vs. Scott Steiner

The two men hit each other with powermoves and hard hitting strikes. Steiner is obviously the technically superior athlete in this matchup and begins countering Luger’s every move with huge suplexes. Steiner hits a bridging german and gets a questionably close 2.9 count. As he argues with the referee Luger recovers and just as Steiner turns back to business Luger hits the running forearm and puts the younger Steiner down for the 3 count. 12.16
3Vs

Rick Rude Vs. Mr. Perfect

Rude and Perfect go hold for hold, and strike for strike as they vie for the upperhand. Neither man gave an inch. As the match wears on both men attempt their respective finishers, both men counter. As the match enters it’s final minute Rude hits a nasty piledriver. Perfect is motionless. Rude has trouble lifting the deadweight up into position for the Rude Awakening and instead opts for placing Henning on the top turnbuckle. Rude pulls Perfect's head down, suspending him from the top turnbuckle onto Rude’s shoulder. The hips girate and Rude brings Henning down with a top turnbuckle rude awakening for the 3 count. 19:37
4Vs

Ric Flair Vs. Jushin Liger

Flair is overwhelmed by the speed and ferocity of the younger and quicker Liger, who starts strong hitting flair with slams, kicks and dives. Flair rolls out putting distance between the two men. Liger dives over the top rope as Flair catches his breath, and the two begin to brawl on the outside. Flair gains the upper hand as he is the more seasoned brawler and once the action returns to the ring he begins methodically taking out the leg of Liger. Liger bounces back and hitting flair with a German Suplex, then to the top rope for the shooting star. Liger’s leg gives out as he stands to hit the high flying move. Flair seeing the opening begins landing strikes to the leg stretched out across the top rope, then hits an avalanche dragon screw. Liger writhes in pain for the leg screw, Flair capitalizes and wraps him up in a figure 4. Liger is forced to tap at 18:52
5Vs

Sting Vs. Marty Jannetty

This is a total squash match that should have been on a saturday morning show. Sting made everyone remember that Janetty is a jobber and submitted the lesser of the rockers in 5:15
1Vs

Big Van Vader Vs. Davey Boy Smith

This is a hard hitting power contest. Vader smashes and Slams the Bulldog around the ring, but Smith gives as good as he gets and fires back at the monster. Multiple times getting the big man up for body slams. A match highlight is Smith holding Vader up in the stalling vertical suplex while the crowd counted the 10 count. The move however took as much wind from Smith as it did from Vader, and after kicking out of the pin attempt Vader took control back and began a series of vicous clubbing strikes, leading to A Vader Bomb followed by a Vader Sault, the ref counts 1……..2………..Vader lifts Davey Boy’s shoulder off the mat and gives Bulldog another Vader Bomb finally finishing the powerhouse off. 16:32

4.25Vs


Round 2

Bret “The Hitman” Hart VS. Jerry “The King” Lawler

Bret completely outclasses Lawler and wrestles circles around “The King” Lawler spills to the outside to escape the tactician that was picking him apart and gets distracted sexually harassing a hot chick in the front row. Hitman wins by count out 7:33
1Vs

Yokozuna VS Lex Luger

Luger charges Yokozuna right at the start and is shoulder checked out of the ring for his efforts.Fuji takes a few cheap shots on Luger while Yoko distracts the ref. Yoko is on Luger the second he rolls back in and begins dismantling Luger using his massive size and strength to smash and squeeze the life out of Lex. Luger rebounds for a few minutes of offense complete with body slamming the enormous girth of Yokozuna. Yoko kicks out and Luger continues his attack. Luger hits the ropes going for the running forearm (why is he still using his heel finisher as a face? The whole point of the forearm is the steel plate in there that was knocking people out. Doesn’t seem very face-like to me.) Yoko counters with a giant size super kick, Bonzai drop and it’s over.
15:15
2.5Vs


Rick Rude VS Ric Flair

This match comes out of the gate hard. Both men’s animosity for the other showing in stiff strikes and an extended outside the ring brawl that has both men bleeding. The match continues aggressive and stiff. Rude continues working Flair’s cut who is not wearing the proverbial crimson mask. Flair catches rude showboating and pulls his legs out from under him, latching in the Figure 4. Rude turns it over and Flair struggles to the ropes. Flair gets the rope break but isn’t moving. Rude drags Flair to the middle of the ring holding both of Flairs legs up, he girates for the ladies, and slaps the figure four onto an unconscious Flair. Flair doesn’t move as he appears to be out from loss of blood. Ref stoppage at 23:57

Sting VS Big Van Vader

Sting jumps on Vader before the bell rings and the two trade stiff attacks and power moves for some time before spilling outside where Sting slides multiple tables into the ring. Sting takes control hitting a Stinger splash through a table, but Vader kicks out. Sting goes for the Scorpion Deathlock but Vader kicks him off and begins hammering the Stinger with stiff forearms and punches, leading to a Vader Bomb through a table. Vader is slow to cover giving Sting enough recovery time that he is able to kick out. Vader drags Sting towards the corner where he Vader Bombs Sting intot the turnbuckle, followed with a Vader Splash. Sting Kicks out! Another Vader Bomb finally puts Sting away at 25:02
5Vs


Semi Finals

Bret Hart VS Yokozuna

Hart starts fast with a running low dropkick taking the leg out from under Yokozuna and Hart doesn’t let the bigman up for the next 10 minutes. Hitman works the leg with various holds, and drops. The big man can’t control Hitman while he’s being grounded by the technical assault. Hart makes a mistake going for the sharpshooter before Yoko is fully ready and gets kicked out of the ring. Yokozuna comes back now but is visibly favoring his leg, this causes his movement to slow and his offense to have less impact. Yokozuna hits a belly to belly and drags Hart to the corner for the Bonzai Drop. Hart was playing possum and pops up to his feet and onto the second rope where he Russian Leg Sweeps the Sumo to the mat, followed with a second rope (the most dangerous rope) elbow drop. Yokozuna kicks out, tossing Hart back to his feet where Hart proceeds to work the leg again, wrapping Yokozuna into the figure four leg lock using the ring post. Once back in the ring Hitman struggles to lock in the Sharpshooter and instead opts for hooking the legs and bridging over the big man, pinning Yokozuna at 17:43
4 Vs

Rick Rude VS Big Van Vader

Vader charges Rude at the bell and dominates the opening minutes of the bout. Rude battles back but is fighting from his back foot the entire match. He never appears completely
comfortable handling the big man’s intensity. Everything Rude throws at Vader is shrugged off within seconds as Vader dominates the bout. Vader wins with a Vader Bomb 15:36
3Vs


FINALS


Bret “The Hitman” Hart VS Big Van Vader

Hitman has already defeated one monster this tournament and adopts a similar strategy by initiating the bout with a basement drop kick and then working the leg in a methodical mat technician master class. At times it appeared as if Hart were teaching a class in the Dungeon. Around the 10 minute mark Vader gets a rope break and rolls outside where he rages, throwing chairs, turning over the announcer and time keeper tables, destroying the guard rail. Just as Vader begins harassing the young boy Hitman gave his trademark sunglasses to, Hitman spins Vader around and plants one of the best punches in wrestling into Vader’s jaw. Vader shrugs it off and slaps himself a few times for good measure. Hitman has awoken the monster. Vader gives Hitman a right hand of his own, Hart does not shrug it off but instead hits the ground hard. At this point the ref has given up counting and is trying to bring the two men back in the ring. Vader is having none of his shit, and continues pummeling Hart outside the ring. The brawl culminates in a Vader Bomb through a table. Vader tosses the lifeless Hitman back in the ring and as he approaches Hart rolls the bigman up into a small package…..2.9! Vader kicks out and turns right into another stiff assault. Vader hits a series of big power moves, leading to the Vader Sault……….2.75! Hitman kicks out! Vader complains to the ref about a slow count, and as he reaches out to grab the Referee, Hart wraps Vader’s arm into an Armbar, then a full on arm captured triangle choke. Vader is fading when he begins punching himself in the face over and over, each punch giving him more life and anger until he’s standing with Hart still holding the submission manuevar. Vader lifts The Hitman above his head and slams him to the ground in a modified powerbomb counter. Hitman still has the hold locked in. Again Vader lifts and bombs the Hitman back down. Hitman still holds on! Vader is fading and he falls to one knee. Yet again Vader lifts the Hitman up and brings him down hard on the back of his head with another bomb. This time The Hitman falls limp. Vader hits The Vader Bomb…….1…….2…..3!
Vader wins with the Vader Bomb at 29:23
5Vs

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.