Fantasy Booking: THE INVASION (WWF VS WCW) – Part 2 (‘nWo fires the first shot’ and the road to Backlash begins)

So THE INVASION has begun! At least in my world it has… Now, hopefully you reading this will have read my previous post where I explained the ground rules and idea for this series of blogs. But in short I’m re-booking the WCW invasion of WWF, with a few differences namely the Time Warner guaranteed deals (that kept the big WCW stars at home collecting paychecks) not being a factor. At the end of Part 1 I explained what would happen on the Raw after WrestleMania X7, with the main stuff all coming at the end; in the main event we had a cage match between new WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin (alongside his new associate Vince McMahon) against former champion The Rock in a rematch from the night before at WrestleMania. The match, in my world, would go very much as it was in real life, until the finish… when Triple H comes out he doesn’t side with Austin, he instead stops Vince from ringing the bell and allowing Austin the win in a ‘screwjob’ type deal. HHH then goes after Vince when he has just broken up a pin attempt by The Rock. This leads to a pull apart brawl between Triple H and Vince, that sees a tonne of WWF officials and referees having to lead Triple H to the back. With this all going on The Rock is jumped in the cage by three masked men, who reveal themselves as the nWo. Hall, Nash and Hogan beat down The Rock, even hitting him with a pipe, and Austin crawls over to pick up the pieces and retain his title. Shortly after with a beaten down Austin and Vince still toasting the win, WCW legend Goldberg comes out and hits a huge Spear to Austin to close the show. Now… in Part 2 I’ll let you know what would go down in my world from then onwards as we look towards the next PPV event Backlash.

WWF SmackDown (5/4/2001) – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

On the next SmackDown in Oklahoma (no burial of JR on this show, because that long-running joke was the driveling SHITS), we open up with Vince. He explains to us all that Austin IS here tonight, despite the ‘viscous and criminal’ attack by Goldberg on Raw, and tonight he will take part in an interview with ‘Oklahoma’s own’ Good ‘Ol JR Jim Ross. He goes out of his way not to mention WCW by name during his promo, and says that HIS company are one of champions and winners. He says that should there be any interference at all during the show tonight from any ‘non WWF champions or anyone that isn’t a WWF contracted performer’ then he will have them arrested and he will proceed with filing criminal charges against them. He says his sole priority is the WWF and ‘the most prestigious championship in the world’, and that is the one currently held by Stone Cold Steve Austin. He says tonight we will find out who will Mr Austin will defend his championship against at Backlash. He says he is a fair man and holds no biased or prejudice towards anyone, because he simply doesn’t have time for negativity. He says The Undertaker will face Triple H with the winner facing Austin at Backlash for the WWF title.

Linda McMahon Wants a Divorce - 4-9-2001 Raw - video dailymotion

Vince is then joined in the ring by his wife Linda. She tells Vince that she doesn’t know how he can say he doesn’t hold any biased or prejudice towards anyone whilst keeping a straight face. She says the WWF was built on hard work and fairness, and rewarding those who had earned their spot, whilst always looking to progress and welcoming new ideas and new talent. She says with that in mind I would like to welcome out…

Shane McMahon tells his father WCW is taking over Raw: Raw, July 2, 2001 |  WWE

Shane McMahon comes out and addresses his father from the top of the entrance ramp. He exclaims how he’s not going to be as kind or as PC as mom and I’m here to tell you that “quite frankly Vince, you’re full of BS”. “Mark my words, you will face a Backlash alright, or my name isn’t Shane McMahon, the owner of WCW”… a FURIOUS Vince looks on and says he’s had enough of this crap… “dammit I’m Vincent Kennedy McMahon and this is MY company, the WWF… Shane, why don’t you sit back and watch the CHAMPIONS that are MY WWF superstars”… and with this the pyro of Kane goes off as he comes out for the opening match where he will defend his Hardcore Championship…

Now after the ad break Kane is in the ring awaiting his challenger, which turns out to be the debuting former ECW star Rob Van Dam. He gets a huge pop from the crowd. Kane and RVD have a pretty decent match (mid-way through we see Shane McMahon backstage watching the match on a monitor whilst he is on the phone, he is heard telling someone to get here right away and that he has a plan but you need to be quick), with both utilizing steel chairs, and RVD eventually setting up Kane for a huge five star frog splash through the announce table… with both men down that is when former WCW and ECW star Mike Awesome comes out and pins a lifeless Kane and claims the Hardcore title (which was defended under 24/7 rules of course). This plays off the real life angle where Awesome interrupted another Hardcore Title match and won the belt for himself. Awesome runs to the back amid the confusion. Backstage it is chaos with a furious Vince confronting Awesome and screaming ‘who do you think you are, this is my company, I’ll have you put in jail’… Shane then comes out and says ‘you said it Vince, he’s a champion now so he’s not going anywhere (referring to what Vince said about anyone not a champion or WWF performer etc. that gets involved during the show being sent to jail)’… Both Linda and Stephanie come out to try and calm things down and eventually a furious Vince is lead away as Shane and the new Hardcore Champion, WCW’s Mike Awesome, celebrate.

After this we see Triple H arrive at the building. He soon bumps into Shane McMahon and the new Hardcore Champion Mike Awesome. Awesome and HHH go nose to nose and HHH looks down at his WCW shirt, with a look of disgust. He then turns to Shane (who is smirking), and Shane wishes him luck in his match later in the night. And then HHH walks off as Shane has that smug-McMahon look on his face…

I’m cutting out a large point form this show where Vince gives a long promo. For a few reasons but mainly because the focus doesn’t need to be on Vince at this point. The story I want to tell is Vince’s empire falling around him, and we only here him speak at length when we are on the other side, and this is because we want to keep ‘heel’ Vince to a minimum to make it easier to… well, you’ll see…

Instead after this we have Triple H and his wife Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley backstage, with a concerned Stephanie and an agitated-looking HHH waiting for Vince. When Vince comes in and HHH goes nose-to-nose with him, HHH asks Vince if he’s gonna screw him tonight?, Stephanie interrupts saying absolutely not ‘he’s my Dad, he wouldn’t do that to you, TO US…’. After more tense looking at one another, Vince calmly explains to Triple H that I will personally ensure tonight that your match with The Undertaker will be totally and completely fair, ‘I will not in anyway help or hinder The Undertaker, and I will not help or hinder you in your attempts to become the number one contender for the WWF Championship… because quite frankly, it wont matter who wins tonight, because… whoever that is, will just end up losing to Stone Cold Steve Austin anyway’… and then Vince (with a grin on his face as he’s saying this) walks off screen with a huge smile as a furious HHH looks on.

Now on this show (being in Oklahoma) they had JR conduct a pretty good interview with his former friend Steve Austin, and then as became custom in his hometown JR got humiliated and beat up. I’d keep the interview as a thing, but change the angle massively… Firstly here we have a troubled -looking Jim Ross walking backstage. He’s met by backstage interviewer of the time Lilian Garcia, she asks Jim if he’s ok to which eh shakes his head. She asks what do you think is gonna happen tonight with you and Steve? JR says ‘I just don’t know Lilian, I really don’t. I just wanna find out where Steve is at, and why, just… ‘ Jim walks off just shaking his head and nearly in tears. My idea is to use Jim Ross as the metaphor of the fan watching at home. Heartbroken that their hero, their working-man guy, had sold out to the devil, and become everything he fought against. No need to humiliate Jim Ross AT ALL.

Next we had Johnathan Coachman interviewing the new Women’s Champion Chyna. She cut a really good babyface promo here about being an example for women, and men, and being your own person. And how she is proud to be Women’s Champion. Keep this as it was. We can sort a challenger for her later.

Next they did a couple of backstage spots where William Regal was backstage, Firstly he confronted The Hardys about being seen with Shane McMahon, and he warns them against being associated with a rival. His ‘punishment’ for there to be a singles matches tonight, Jeff vs Big Show.

After the break Regal meets with Kurt Angle. The two discuss a tag match tonight with Benoit and Jericho. As was in real life Angle thanks Regal for the match, asking that he get the win by putting Benoit in the Anklelock. Regal then disagrees, saying that his Regal Stretch could get the job done as well and Angle laughs, until he realizes Regal was being serious.

There was not a lot of wrestling on this show up to this point, so I’d put the tag match of the 4 IC title contenders on here. Angle and Regal vs Benoit and Jericho. Have them go 15-20 minutes and just put on a really great match… and then as we had seen Shane watching on backstage on a monitor nodding to the match in approval… so I’d go with Benoit beating Regal to win this match (Regal can take it)… and then Shane goes to the top of the ramp, and just stands and applauds. I’d then have Lance Storm come through the crowd and assault Benoit from behind. And he escapes again before Jericho can get to him. Another WCW star makes an impact on this show, despite Vince’s earlier proclamation. (We see Shane at the top of the ramp holding a WWF contract with Lance’s name on… and it is signed too. The WWF employee that has signed off on the deal… Vince McMahon. It later comes out that Vince had singed Lance Storm for the WWF, under a water-tight contract that ensures his employment, but that Shane had offered Storm a significantly larger amount of money to work for him as a representative of WCW).

Rhyno won a squash against K-Kwik here. Yeah sure keep that, have Rhyno as a monster still. Keep the angle after where Crash Holly tried to get one over Rhyno, but got Gored for his troubles.

We see Vince on the phone here, he suddenly looks shocked and then angry ‘WELL DAMMIT, GET THE US ARMY IF YOU NEED TO, THEY DO NOT GET INTO MY BUILDING, CALL THE POLICE’…

A annoyed Crash bumps into Shane backstage, who mockingly looks at his WWF Light Heavyweight title belt and says ‘You wanna get yourself a real championship’ before he walks off…

Keep exactly the interview Kevin Kelly did with Debra. Essentially she was not happy with what had happened to The Rock as his former manager, but as Steve Austin’s wife refused to discuss her personal life, and walks off when asked about his professional actions.

Then was the Big Show vs Jeff Hardy match. and with Matt and Lita at ringside we don’t have it go 3 minutes but closer to 8. We basically have Matt and Lita get involved when they can without the ref seeing, but Big Show being a dick all match and pushing them away and launching Matt beforehand, so he had it coming and despite being a heel it feels justified that he gets outnumbered somehow. Jeff would get the win, but Big Show would be angry with the ref afterwards and give him a chokeslam (he would later be fined for assaulting a referee, and be furious at ‘this place’…).

Retro Oasis: Nitro Charged: WCW Monday Nitro: August 26th, 1996

Instead of the 6 man tag between X-Pac, Albert & Justin Credible vs Grandmaster Sexay, Steve Blackman & Billy Gunn (I’d rather have fewer matches that go longer and mean more), here I’d do a huge angle… essentially we see Vince shouting and screaming backstage and then the camera cuts to outside the arena… the nWo do their won version of the DX invasion of WCW from the 90s. Instead of a tank it’s a big nWo black monster truck. Hogan, Hall and Nash quickly realize they can’t get in to the building, so just beat up anyone they can see (officials, security guards etc.) and they cause havoc to the cars in the car park, and anything with WWF logos on they spray over with nWo. Kevin Nash steals the camera form the man following them, and says into it ‘hey old man, we’re here, we just wanna talk (he then laughs to Hall and Hogan)’, Hogan takes it then and says ‘look, if you don’t want to speak to us, we can take our business elsewhere brother’ . Hall then says ‘for now… until we get a deal we like, and we don’t take no cheap pay off bruh, for now, the ONLY 3 letter that matter…’… Hall then sprays a WWF production truck with the letters nWo… Hogan takes the camera again and says ‘consider this the first shot Jack, the nWo wants a fight, and we’re ready when you are brother’. The nWo all laugh to one another as they get back in their truck and speed away, as another camera runs over to look over some of the damage they have left behind. Vince is absolutely furious and is on his phone saying he wants those men arrested. Shane is seen elsewhere nodding in approval, and getting on his phone with a smile on his face…

After an ad break a smug-looking Shane bumps into The Undertaker. Taker quickly says ‘No. Never ever. Don’t even ask’. The American Badass pinning his flag firmly to the mast of WWF.

Next we see it relatively similar to what really happened; We see Austin head out for his interview with Jim Ross. And we see Stephanie say to Vince she has got a video tape from Linda. In the video, Linda says that now she has been off the medication that Vince and the family had her on, she has had more time to think for herself, just like she did at WrestleMania. She says that whilst she will be keeping the name McMahon, after everything that Vince has done to her she will be making some changes, as she now resumes her role as CEO of the World Wrestling Federation. Linda praises her son Shane for standing up for what he believes in, and for standing up to Vince and putting the needs of his own company WCW before himself, something that Vince has failed to do with the WWF for some time now. Linda says she will reveal her plans on Raw regarding the future of the WWF… AND of WCW… and it is of the mention of WCW that Vince looses it, smashing up and throwing things around his backstage office as he screams and shouts, a upset Stephanie looking on.

As happened next we see JR walking to the ring backstage, the interview with Austin coming up next, prior to the main event match.

After the ad break Michael Cole, on commentary with Tazz, mentions how upset JR has been recently after what Stone Cold has done, with Tazz saying he just hasn’t been himself ever since WrestleMania. JR enters to a great hometown pop, but he has his business face on. He says he always enjoys being back in Oklahoma, but tonight isn’t about him, it’s about trying to get some answers from a man I thought I knew. And a man who I just don’t know where he’s headed anymore. He says this man has a lot of questions to answer, before pausing and saying in a much more solemn voice, ‘ladies and gentlemen, I would like to welcome out, the world wrestling federation champion, Stone Cold Steve Austin’. Austin comes out and does his usual posing, before glaring at JR for some time after his music stops. The crowd loudly boos Austin, before they begin loud chants of “GOLDBERG, GOLDBERG…” to which Austin says ‘you better shut the hell up right now, else imma just take my ass home”… the boo him some more… To begin the interview Ross asks why Austin would align himself with the one man he despises more than anyone else? Austin said with WrestleMania being in my state of Houston I HAD to win the WWF Championship, and I would do anything to make that happen. I don’t like losing, and so Vince was there to make sure I completed the biggest comeback we have ever seen. From the hospital bed, fearing for my life to winning the Championship on the biggest stage of them all. JR asks Austin why he would turn his back on all these fans, that have supported him all these years, that helped him on his rise to become the biggest star we have? Why Steve? Austin says he couldn’t give a damn about these WWF fans, that he never wanted to be their hero and he never asked to be. He said he does everything for himself because that’s all that matters to me. Austin then goes on to say that ‘You sit there with your stupid hat, always cheering me on, but then you still tell everyone that you can’t trust Stone Cold, and you call me a Rattlesnake, you pretend to be my friend, but your no more of damn SOB to me than anyone in this stupid town and anywhere that these stupid fans come to to pretend they care about Stone Cold Steve Austin. To hell with you, and to all of you’. (More crowd boos). Austin says ‘Why are you looking at me like that JR? I’m done answering your stupid questions. Look at you with your hat and your stupid glasses, and your stupid belt buckle, LOOK AT ME, you look like you just lost your best friend’. JR replies ‘maybe I have. When you came out of surgery there was one person in that hospital from the WWF waiting for you, me. When you wanted to talk to someone on Super Bowl Sunday from the WWF on national TV, it was me. There were only two people from the WWF that you and Debbie invited to your wedding, and that was me and my wife, so yeah Steve I do feel like I’m losing my best friend. And it don’t feel good’. Austin fires back saying how it feels like ‘you don’t want to be my friend just because I turned the voltage up a notch’. Jr denies this and Austin knocks JR’s cowboy hat off, and takes off his glasses as Jr again says he never said that. JR then gets angry and says ‘YOU LISTEN TO ME NOW STEVE, MY GOD I’M OUT HERE BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT YOU, THESE FANS CARE ABOUT YOU STEVE, AFTER EVERYTHING YOU’VE DONE, AFTER EVERYTHING YOU’VE COMEBACK FROM, DON’T GO DOWN THIS PATH, YOU NEED TO WAKE UP GOD DAMMIT’. JR then slaps Steve. The crowd gasp, and Austin even takes a step back, and Ross himself is shocked at what he did. Austin then gets real angry and with one hard punch knocks JR clean out. No need for a huge beatdown and to really bloody JR up as they did in real life, just no need. Impactful and straight to the point. Jr is the voice of the people, but Steve can’t take JR saying the truth and hitting him where it hurts so fires back. This will be a key element in my future booking. As will the relationship between Steve Austin and Jim Ross.

So finally we get to the main event. It’s Triple H against The Undertaker, a rematch from WrestleMania to decide the next challenger at Backlash to Steve Austin for the WWF Championship. Now many will say that HHH having lost to Taker has no real claim to challenge Austin, but it seemed that everyone seemingly forgot about the fact that at No Way Out, the PPV prior to Mania X7, Triple H beat Stone Cold in a 3 Stages of Hell Match. So having beat the champion on PPV two straight falls not long ago, I feel he at least deserves a chance to earn a shot at Austin and the title. So the key here is Triple H and Undertaker have a fairly solid match, but just prior to coming out as Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley was about to accompany her husband out for the match, she receives word that Vince needs to see his daughter urgently. As Stephanie states to Commissioner Regal the importance of this match to her husband and how she wants to be their to cheer him on tonight, but Regal insists and Stephanie reluctantly agrees, much to Triple H’s annoyance, but he smells a rat right away. The match between Taker and HHH goes pretty solid, 10-15 minutes between two of the top stars, and for the finish there’s ref bump, and Vince walks down to try and revive him. But seeing the ref and both men down, Vince gets a steel chair and looks set to hit The Undertaker, but unbeknown to him the ref is getting back up, HHH stops Vince just in time from hitting Taker. This would have got HHH DQ’d and therefore costing him the title shot. HHH is fuming with Vince asking him what the hell is he doing? Vince tries to claim innocence and says he was only trying to help. HHH turns around and an angry Vince pushes HHH into the ref (causing him to fall down again), and Vince then gives HHH a low blow. He says ‘don’t you ever disrespect me ever again, I’m Vince McMahon dammit…’ He looks up to see an angry Undertaker looking at him, and Vince quickly runs off. HHH get sup again soon after, and we have an exchange where Taker gets out of a Pedigree attempt and hits a Last Ride for the win. Taker wins and gets the shot at Austin. The show closes with Taker having gone to the back, and Vince walking back out to look into the ring from the top of the ramp at a beaten and furious Triple H.

OK… so that’s a pretty big show in the books. The fallout from WrestleMania X7 has unfolded, The Invasion has begun, and we are set for our next PPV event. From here on I’m just going to bullet point most of my shows. My play for the layout of these blogs is to just list the main points that link to the invasion. Sure I may book in full the important weekly shows and the PPVs, but to avoid my blogs being 100000 words each and there needing to be several hundred of them, I’m going to try and summarize my booking best I can. Some Blogs will be a ‘road to’ a pay per view and then the PPV results itself, others will be just one of those (I’ll dedicate whole blogs to the bigger PPV shows). My current plan has me to get up to Survivor Series 2001 in boking terms by blog 199 at the end part of this year. And at that point if people like them or I want to go on, depending on the state of the world, COVID-19 and the current climate of professional wrestling, THEN I’ll decide if I want to keep the series going… who knows… but let me know what you think of The Invasion so far. Part 3 will outline in bullet points mainly, my booking in the three weeks that leads up to the Backlash PPV, and then what happens on the show itself… in my world at least anyway…

Josh.

Fantasy Booking: THE INVASION (WWF VS WCW) – Part 1 (introduction, ground rules and the beginning)

Vince Russo Details The Pitch He Made to Vince McMahon in 2002 For A Second  WCW Invasion Angle | 411MANIA

I’ve had a brainwave… I’ve decided to combine some of my favourite things related to pro wrestling… fantasy booking and invasion angles. Now we all know the 2001 invasion angle had all the potential in the world, without the limitations that were in place via guaranteed Time Warner contracts held by former WCW stars such as Hollywood Hogan, Bill Goldberg and co. These deals meant they could sit at home and not have to come over to the WWF. Instead they were still being paid out on ludicrous contracts from the now deceased promotion. Instead what could have been the greatest angle in wrestling was a sham of what it should/could have been. Instead we got a miss-mash of ECW-WWF-WCW jobbers and mid-carders along with a heel Steve Austin (the WWF Champion by the way) and of course… it was all about the McMahons… URGH… BUT… what if… there was no such things as guaranteed deals from WCW… what if nothing was off limits… Well, I’ve seen many people talk about and give their own takes on what The Inavsion should have been (you should all watch the great ideas of Adam Blampied for a great set of ideas on just this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plIu3lh0w2w and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6Q5mKsIEac)… But I’m going to combine for fun, a mixture of fact and fiction… with no limitations that were in place at the time that handcuffed Vince McMahon and the creative heads of the victorious WWF in booking this angle… I am going to book from start to finish my very own WCW invasion of the WWF.

Now… let me lay the ground rules for my fantasy WWF/WCW Invasion angle…

– It will began from the Raw episode of 2nd April 2001, the day after WrestleMania X7. That in turn was of course a week after the famous simulcast of Raw with the final episode of WCW Monday Nitro.

– Everything that took place prior to that Raw (including everything at WrestleMania X7) will therefore be left exactly as it was… so Shane is still the ‘owner’ of WCW, and he still beat Vince at Mania, and everything else that happened is still totally left as it was (including the Austin heel turn and the handshake with Vince). I’ll explain how I’ll factor all that in to my ideas as I go.

– As mentioned… the guaranteed contracts from Time Warner are a non factor (basically a host of top stars in WCW had signed long term deals that, under the terms of the deals, were guaranteed. This meant that the parent company Time Warner were still liable to pay out the deals for as long as the contracts had left to run, despite WCW ceasing to exist). This is just going to make this a lot more fun. And as some have pointed out, the WWF could have just paid up the deals of who they wanted and brought them in right away. For the record the names under those deals were: Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan, Bill Goldberg, Rey Mysterio, Scott Steiner, Ric Flair and Sting.

– My CURRENT plan is to book up until Survivor Series 2001 (when the invasion angle ended and The Alliance was put to bed). If I enjoy it and I have fun I may well keep it going until the next year’s WrestleMania 18 (headlined by Rock v Hogan in real life).

– There will be NO ECW in my invasion angle. In the real world it ended up being ‘The Alliance’ vs WWF, mainly because the ‘WCW’ didn’t have the depth to take on WWF. This war didn’t need ECW and it just took away from the whole thing and all involved in my opinion. So this will be strictly WCW vs WWF.

So with the ground rules in place. Let’s just quickly recap where we are at come the April 2nd 2001 Monday Night Raw…

Of course the week prior was the famous simulcast of Raw (featuring the boastful Vince) and Nitro (which was a ‘night of champions’ show meant as a celebration of WCW… and of course ended with Shane and his shocking reveal as the ‘owner’ of WCW).

In an amazing coincidence Vince McMahon purchased his biggest competitor in the same week as his companies biggest show of the year, WrestleMania X7. X7 is many people’s GOAT Mania shows and featured (among others): the famous TLC tag match with Edge spearing Jeff Hardy from the belts, Shane beating Vince with help from Mum Linda, and of course in the main event Stone Cold Steve Austin won the WWF title from The Rock with help from mortal enemy Vince McMahon. And they tried to turn the biggest babyface in the company since Hulkamania Heel in the main event of the biggest show, winning the title… in his home state of Texas… which was met with… thunderous cheers… wrestling…

So now in my fantasy land there are two things… what will be the fallout from WrestleMania X7? and, to quote Vince himself, ‘what shall I do with WCW’? Well… lets get WCW sorted first…

10 Wrestling Illuminati Conspiracy Theories – Page 4

Of the WCW roster at the time (those both on guaranteed deals and those who did actually come over to WWF), these are the names who I WILL definitely be signing to deals with WWF:

  • WCW World Heavyweight & United States Champion: Booker T
  • Ric Flair
  • Scott Steiner
  • Rey Mysterio
  • Billy Kidman
  • Dustin Rhodes
  • Arn Anderson (not applicable for in-ring competition)
  • REFEREES: Nick Patrick, Charles Robinson, Brian Hebner & Billy Silverman
  • ‘3 Count’ (WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Shane Helms, Shannon Moore & Evan Koragias)
  • Chavo Guerrero
  • WCW Tag Team Champions: Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo
  • Kevin Nash
  • Scott Hall
  • Hollywood Hogan
  • Goldberg
  • Lance Storm
  • Mike Awesome
  • Shawn Stasiak
  • Stacey Keibler
  • Sting
  • DDP
  • Buff Bagwell
  • Torrie Wilson
  • Mark Jindrak
  • Lash Leroux
  • Jamie Noble
  • ‘Kronik’ (Brian Adams (Crush) & Bryan Clark (Wrath))
  • Kaz Hayashi & Yang
  • Bam Bam Bigelow
  • Hugh Morris
  • Chris Kanyon
  • David Flair

The following WONT be joining my WWF… for various reasons, mainly due to the heat or negative opinion held by those in WWF of the talents…

  • Randy Savage
  • Jeff Jarrett
  • Lex Luger
  • Shane Douglas
  • Rick Steiner
  • The Wall
  • Vampiro
  • Disco Inferno
  • Animal
  • Ernest Miller
  • Sid
  • I also wont be bringing over the WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship. I feel it’d get lost in the shuffle and become an afterthought.

The following names I won’t be picking up their contracts from WCW. Most of these were picked up by WWF and sent to the developmental territories, and none of them went on to be big successes, so I don’t see the point to be frank…

  • Elix Skipper
  • Kid Romeo
  • Reno
  • Johhny The Bull
  • Mike Sanders
  • Kwee Wee
  • Jason Jett
  • Midajah
  • Vito

Of course this is wrestling and fantasy booking, so I can bring in people or get rid of people at whatever time, should I need/not need them for storylines etc. but for now these are the WCW guys and girls that I’m getting singed on the dotted line as roster members of the WWF. As for the final WCW commentators of Tony Schiavone and Scott Hudson, I would get them signed to a deal, as I may or may not need them in the future…

So now that’s WCW sorted, I guess I should crack on with getting this fantasy world underway. So here is what will go down on the April 2nd 2001 Monday Night Raw, the night after WrestleMania X7:

WWF Monday Night Raw (2/4/2001) – Fort Worth, Texas

WWE Raw

So… you may be shocked but I AM NOT going to have the first show after one of the most shocking heel turns in the history of the business begin with… Stephanie McMahon… no, instead, shockingly, I’m going to have the show open with… Vince McMahon and Steve Austin funny enough… Rocket science I know… So largely this will be a replica of the same segment that was put in the middle of this show, where Vince comes out (disregarding anything of WCW, even banning mentioning of its name from commentary), and he has with him the WWF Championship belt. Eventually he welcomes out Austin, who doesn’t get booed but more a… well the fans are kind of confused as to how to react to their former hero who they still love, but has joined up with the devil. Heyman and JR on commentary are also crucial here, as was in real life we need Heyman to call it straight with JR just in a stunned, disgusted silence at how his friend Steve Austin sold his soul. Austin explains how now Vince helped him get what he wants… ‘if you want Stone Cold to stun Vince McMahon give me a hell yeah…’ Austin asks the excited crowd… ‘well it aint gonna happen tonight’… and just like that Austin puts the pin in the balloon of the atmosphere inside the Convention Center Arena… Austin then goes into his first heel promo, where he calls him ‘Mr McMahon’ and not ‘Vince’ and hammers the fans for disrespecting his boss. Vince goes to finish the promo segment saying ‘and that’s the bottom line, because Mr McMahon says…’

and THEN… This (in my world) brings out The Rock, who cuts a scathing promo on both Austin and Vince, with lots of S.O.B calling and monkeycrap and all his usual phrases. he challenges Austin to a rematch, but wants no interference and suggest a Steel Cage match (as actually took place), and before Vince can reply it is Austin who accepts. Rock finishes by telling Austin ‘JUST BRING IT, BITCH!’. Huge pop. Huge main event set up.

Next after the opening segment was a 6 man tag between new European Champion Eddie Guerrero, and fellow Radicalz Perri Saturn (with Terri) and Dean Malenko. They would face the man Eddie beat for the European title at Mania X7 Test, and The A.P.A (Bradshaw & Faarooq). I would keep this exactly as it was with the babyfaces going over.

Next we had Commissioner William Regal in his office, where Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley came in. She would complain to Regal about Trish Stratus and her involvement in the match between Vince and Shane the night before. And as was the case a Strap Match is made for later in the show… because… Attitude Era… Vince meets with Regal after an ad break to discuss the Trish – Stephanie stuff, so definitely no more awful Trish – Vince make-out sessions in my world. Here Vince asks Regal to make sure he does ‘the right thing’ with regards to the Strap match later in the night…

Next we have Michael Cole interviewing Triple H backstage. HHH as he did in real life explained he had respect for The Undertaker, but that he caught him on his ONE bad day a year during their match at WrestleMania X7. He is asked about Austin and Vince’s new alliance, and says he had no idea about it and that he never finds out anything that’s going on around here. So here we tease the discontent between Triple H and Vince.

Here I’d have a big video package recapping WrestleMania, with JR and Heyman putting it over, but focusing on the triangle TLC match for the tag titles. Have them say something like all 6 guys are hospitalized of something along those lines and therefore not here tonight, just to sell the brutality of the match. But really do everything we can to make this match get as much credit as it deserved.

There was some Right To Censor promo here, but I’m taking this out. I can’t stand that group and I’ll break them up soon… if I have space… terrible terrible gimmick.

We do the Trish – Stephanie Strap Match here. It doesn’t need to go too long, each get their big spots in, but quickly enough Regal comes out to try and help Stephanie… and to counter that Chris Jericho (the man who retained his Intercontinental title against Regal at Mania X7) comes out to counter the threat of Regal… and off the distraction Trish gets the win over Stephanie. After the ad break we have Stephanie furious at Jericho, and she screams her anger at Commissioner Regal. Regal makes a handicap match between Jericho and himself and Kurt Angle for later in the night (again pretty similar to how it went in real life).

Have it promoted that we will hear from Shane McMahon later in the show.

Rhyno squashed Crash Holly here. I’ll keep this.

Kevin Kelly backstage tried to interview Debra (Austin’s wife and The Rock’s manager), but she was so upset and confused she had nothing to say. Again keep this as it was.

Next we have Kane, the new WWF Hardcore Champion, defending against Val Venis of RTC. Kane wins of course, but here we have the rest of the group come out and try and beat on Kane. Here again we have The Undertaker come and make the save, and the two properly destroy all of RTC. If this is the end of RTC then it’s not quick enough but yeah, they’re done after this for me.

After the next ad break I would have the remaining RTC member Ivory berate the beaten members of RTC. They basically can’t be doing with her moaning at them and they go their separate ways (I’ll book Val Venis, The Good(God)father and Stevie Richards if and when I need to). With Ivory furious she turns right into new Women’s Champion Chyna. Having squashed her at Mania Chyna does the same backstage here. Maybe have her literally lift her up and ‘Time to put you where everyone in RTC belongs… IN THE TRASH’ and then have her dump Ivory in a nearby dumpster. So yeah, I’m not even sorry for burying RTC. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Triple H is then seen backstage furious looking for Regal and then Vince. Keep this as well as it was, with Hunter furious at being left in the dark over the Austin-Vince new alliance. Even have Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley come in and try and stop it getting physical.

I’d keep the same both the Jericho vs Angle & Regal handicap match, where Chris Benoit made the save for Jericho and have a 4 way feud for the IC title set. I like that mix of guys.

I’d also keep the Billy Gunn vs X-Pac match. I’m really not sure what I’ll do with either of these going forward, but we’ll see…

I’d have broadcast the Shane McMahon address from WWF New York. This would be exactly as it was in real life, where he spoke about his match against his father, hoping his mum Linda takes his Dad to the cleaners, and talks briefly about WCW, telling people to stay tuned…

I’d have the same pre-match promo from The Rock, as it was really good and he was PISSED.

And so now is time for the main event.

And again I’d keep much of this the same as it was. Rock coming out first looking angry, but getting a big babyface pop from the crowd. And second out comes Austin, introduced by Vince who walks with him down to the cage. And keep this largely as it was with it being a wild cage match brawl between the two biggest stars of the WWF in the middle of a blood feud. And as the finish comes in that’s when I’d ring the changes…

NO HHH-Austin alliance. That SUCKED. Instead I’d still have Triple H come out towards the end, just as Austin locks in the Million Dollar Dream submission he used to frequently use in a former gimmick, and he even tried during the WrestleMania match the night before. Vince, on the outside of the cage, goes to ring the bell, Montreal Screwjob style, but it’s a furious Triple H that stops him. He argues with his father in law as this is enough to distract Austin, who turns around into a Rock Bottom. At this stage Vince (having earlier opened the cage door to try and interfere, but Rock soon batted him away, but the door was left open), he comes into the cage and jumps on the ref to take him out. Triple H then comes into the cage to take his anger out on Vince, and these two brawl with officials having to come out to pull Triple H off and lead him to the back. With The Rock looking on, suddenly three masked me dressed in black jump the barricade and rush into the ring. They attack The Rock brutally, even hitting him with a lead pipe… the three men unmask and… well…

Hogan, Hall and Nash then run back over the barricade as the ref comes to, Vince is looking on in absolute shock, and then a bloodied Steve Austin crawls over to cover a beat down and bloodied Rock, and Stone Cold retains the title. I’d have Rock do the full stretcher job and really sell the nWo beatdown, as they take him out and raise the cage as Austin and Vince are shocked but happy. The story here is The Rock would take a few months off at this time to go and film The Scorpion King, so I’m making the most of it and writing him out in an effective way.

But we aren’t done there…

WATCH: SPINE-CHILLING! Goldberg makes WWE debut, spears The Rock!

GOLDBERG comes out and the crowd goes absolutely fucking mental. And here we keep it simple; Goldberg comes out and does his big entrance, and then he gets in the ring and Spears Austin in half. The show would close as Vince cradles his injured champion, and the one breakout star of WCW looks on from the top of the ramp.

THE WCW INVASION HAS BEGUN!!!

Josh.

When NXT was… GLORIOUS!!!

So recently we’ve seen NXT put on a quite spectacular 4 way match to crown a new NXT Champion (or… so they told us they would…)… and in the match we’re, whom were billed as, the 4 ‘pillars’ of NXT. 4 former NXT Champions who were destructed as the best or possibly the best former champions in NXT. Now… with obvious exceptions to former NXT WOMEN’S champion (and in my opinion the greatest NXT superstar of all time) Asuka, I have no complaints with the statement that Adam Cole, Tomasso Ciampa, Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano (who, although had a short reign as champion has been involved in a huge majority of the best matches in the history of the brand so his place in such company is secure, for me anyway) may well be the best of all time in NXT.

When I think of other contenders for that list, in terms of former champions you could maybe go back to Kevin Owens perhaps or maybe even Shinsuke Nakamura or Samoa Joe for their feud of the title. But I’ll tell you who’s run at the top of the Black and Gold brand doesn’t get talked about enough. Maybe that’s because his career since he made the jump up had been… not a complete failure at all, but those of his who saw his brilliance in NXT like me can’t help but be disappointed by his WWE career post his NXT run.

So… in this blog I’ll be looking back at a superstar who was in NXT for just over a year. He was pictured in the crowd at NXT TakeOver: Dallas the weekend of WrestleMania in 2016, and he debuted on the main roster on the SmackDown following NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 3 in August of 2017. In this blog I will tell you about the NXT run of the man formerly known as BOBBY ROODE. For me… ONE OF the best NXT Champions we have ever seen.

Pic: Bobby Roode ringside at NXT Takeover: Dallas - Cageside Seats

When WWE revealed during NXT TakeOver: Dallas that Bobby Roode was sat front row (the typical way in which they reveal new arrivals to NXT) you only have to hear the reaction from the live crowd to know how cool, and how big a deal the signing of the former TNA stalwart was. Roode was one of many who had outgrown Total Nonstop Action and was more than ready and deserving of his shot in the big time.

For weeks after Roode would appear sporadically on NXT TV (particularly during NXT TakeOver: The End when he was pictured walking out the office of NXT GM William Regal). Usually dressed immaculately in a smart shirt and jacket, with a basic mantra of wanting to make NXT a better place, but we weren’t fully sure how he’d do this or even if he was gonna be a heel or a babyface… Later, having made his in-ring debut during NXT’s annual shows at the Download Music Festival in the U.K., Roode would finally make his official NXT TV debut on the August 3rd episode. Roode revealed here intentions…

AT NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 2, Bobby Roode would go on to face Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas in his official debut. And we were treated to our first proper glimpse at the aspect of Roode’s WWE character that would define him… his entrance…

After defeating Almas in Brooklyn, Roode went on to beat No Way Jose in his Full Sail debut. Two weeks later, Roode try to form a partnership with a fellow Canadian ahead of the upcoming Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic…

And so the unlikely alliance of Roode and Dillinger would come up against the monstrous SAnitY on the October 12th edition of NXT… And with SAnitY putting a beating onto Tye Dillinger, Roode walked out on his tag partner and left him to be beaten… and the next week Dillinger vented his frustration…

and after the two exchanged beatdowns on another in the following weeks, the match was set between the two popular Canadians for NXT TakeOver in Toronto of all places…

Bobby Roode defeated Tye Dillinger 

If there was one way and one match you could put together in front of this crowd, in Toronto CANADA… then this was the match up to do it… The GLORIOUS Bobby Roode had a gospel choir sing him out, as he made a grand entrance typical of his time in NXT. Despite being the heel Roode was cheered as if he were the top babyface, which given he is billed from Toronto was hardly a shock but not something that was unusual even outside of Canada, given just how popular his character was at the time. The Niagara Falls-billed Tye Dillinger was given an unsurprisingly great ovation also. To put it into context how hot the ‘Perfect 10’ gimmick was at the time we were a little over 2 months away from Dillinger’s entry into the Royal Rumble match in the number 10 spot. If you made a tally of the amount of “10” chants during this match and all show and even into the next night at Survivor Series you’d lose count fairly quickly I’m sure. The match itself was very,very solid. They didn’t do much that was too complicated but what they did do was entertaining to watch, and given the crowd’s investment in both guys it made everything seem more of a bigger deal. There were ‘This is Glorious – Perfect 10′ chants at different points during the match, it went fairly 50/50 throughout but again the wrestling itself was good stuff. The best parts of the match for me were when Roode tried to mock Dillinger by hitting his Tye Breaker finishing move, and also the crowd going wild when Dillinger got in a Sharpshooter (which is seemingly the national wrestling move of Canada), only for the heel Roode to disappoint the crowd by getting to the ropes. Eventually Roode got the win with the Glorious DDT. Dillinger got a standing ovation and lots more ’10’ chants after Roode had left. A really strong good old fashioned ‘rasslin match to kick off the show.

***3/4 

After another big TakeOver win, Roode soon set his sights on gold… and on the December 21st NXT Roode took part in a fatal 4 way match to decide the number one contender to the NXT Championship, then held by Shinsuke Nakamura…

A few weeks later Roode and Nakmura made their championship match official… Nakamura at this time was the most popular star in NXT and had come out of a grueling rivalry and series of title matches with Samoa Joe as the victor… but Roode’s momentum was very strong heading to San Antonio and it was not beyond the realm of possibility that the dream reign of Nakamura could be over once again before it even got started…

In what I thought was a good, good match (****1/4) that some said went too long (just over 27 minutes) Bobby Roode made NXT… GLORIOUS!…

So after a long spell as one of the mainstays of TNA, Bobby Roode was now the NXT Champion in WWE.

To fill the gap of time between TakeOver shows, it was played up that the former champion Nakamura had suffered an injury, but would not need surgery. In the meantime Roode instead defended his title against a surprise contender… A couple of weeks later, the NXT Champion ruthlessly beat up No Way Jose. He won a match quickly against him and continued the beat down after, even using the single leg crab submission that he had injured Nakamura with… but of all people to make the save it was a returnee to NXT… having come out to run Roode out the ring, he took the mic to address the NXT crowd…

The week after Shinsuke Nakamura made his in ring return. And a week after that Kassius Ohno got his shot at the gold. Bobby Roode defending the NXT Championship against Ohno took place on the March 15th 2017 NXT, in a decent TV main event Roode retained.

But it was all leading to the big match in Orlando… the night before WrestleMania saw an NXT TakeOver headlined by Bobby Roode defending the NXT Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura. Again they went long (28 minutes) and again it divided opinion, but I liked it (****). It would turn out to be Nakamura’s last big night in NXT before he went up to SmackDown.

NXT TakeOver: Orlando results: It's a Glorious era in NXT - SBNation.com

So… with Nakamura gone what next for the NXT Champion Bobby Roode (now holder of the current incarnation of the NXT Championship belt, a VAST improvement I’m sure everyone would say)… well… what about someone Nakamura knows very well… A man who’s WWE run, before and sadly after this too, was blighted by injury… on the April 19th NXT we got our answer of what next for Bobby Roode as NXT Champion…

A month later at TakeOver: Chicago, on a show that saw the championship match take second place to the tag team ladder match in the main event spot, and was more overshadowed by the great UK championship match between Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate, Roode and Itami had a really fun, but somewhat forgotten match. In a little over 17 minutes Roode retained in another solid outing (****1/4).

With Itami descending into a frustrated heel after his title match loss, Roderick Strong then emerged as the next would-be contender for the NXT Title. On the June 7th NXT Roode took exception to Strong’s intentions…

As the two continued going back and forth on NXT TV, the rivalry soon got very very personal…

And so a classic tale of the hard-working, family man babyface versus the cocky, arrogant heel champion was set up… as TV feuds go this was quite the rivalry… one that (as it was only a tv only feud and not leading to a TakeOver) has been forgotten… especially given Strong’s heel run since this has been much better than his time as a babyface when he first came to NXT…

He’s just… he’s just the best heel isn’t he? WHAT A PRICK! And I absolutely fucking love how much of a cocky asshole he is!

Roderick Strong Archives - Page 3 of 8 - WrestlingRumors.net

On the July 5th 2017 NXT, in what was an excellent TV title main event, Roode and Strong went nearly 20 minutes, with Roode once again retaining the NXT Championship (****1/4).

After that things turned to one of the biggest NXT shows of the year… the annual pre-SummerSlam TakeOver show in Brooklyn. On the July 19th NXT two monsters went to war to decide who would go on to challenge the Glorious champion…

WWE NXT results: Drew McIntyre vs. Killian Dain

Drew McIntyre defeated Killian Dain to earn the opportunity to challenge for the NXT Championship in Brooklyn. Bobby Roode would face the biggest threat to his title reign yet.

After going back and forth the week prior, the final NXT before TakeOver saw McIntyre face off against fellow contender Roderick Strong, with The Messiah of the Backbreaker still eager to prove himself a worthy challenger for the NXT title…

WWE Photo

As the two crowd favorites were in the middle of a great match, the opportunistic champion made his mark, and jumped in to attack his future opponent. Roode had the advantage going to Brooklyn.

WWE Photo

In the main event of one of the all-time great NXT TakeOver shows. The Glorious Era came to an end in a GREAT match (****1/2). If you have access to the WWE network go out of your way to watch Drew McIntyre vs Bobby Roode from TakeOver: Brooklyn 3.

And with that… Bobby Roode’s time in NXT was effectively over. He would debut on SmackDown three days later, and wrapped his NXT run in a losing effort to Roderick Strong on the August 30th NXT show. He signed off with a farewell match, winning at an NXT live event in Toronto.

Bobby Roode. For me, one of the all-time best runs in NXT history. For character work, his build, his in-ring work, everything about him and his time in the black and gold brand was just the best. I love everything about him as a performer. And yes maybe his run on Raw and SmackDown hasn’t been such a spectacular success, but runs as a US Champion and multiple time tag champion can’t be considered complete failure can it? Now Robert Roode and having not been in a featured spot for a while now, who knows what the future holds for him… but nobody will ever be able to take away from his run and time that he spent blessing NXT with his presence…

…and everything about it was… absolutely…

WWE: Glorious (Bobby Roode Entrance)

Josh.

Super ShowDown 2019 – Review

Super ShowDown 2019 poster.jpg

Well… This has been a LONG time coming… Throughout the last few months I’ve written out various plans and schedules for my blog, and different posts on shows I was going to put out… and then ‘life’ has happened in one way or another and I’ve found myself either without the time, desire or chance to do more blogs… so I’ll stop short of explaining my latest plan to get me to a 200th post and beyond, and I’ll just get on with a show I have wanted to write about for a long long time.

Now, let me remind you all; I have watched this show start to finish a grand total of ONE time, and that was when I watched it live. And back then I was well under the influence of alcohol, as me and some friends were watching the show before we went out in town that night. I have in fact never seen the main event of this show sober in my life (I was positively hammered by the time it began, although the only one sober enough to recognise the attempt at a Jackhammer that… well I’ll get onto that…). So finally I’m taking the time to rewatch this god AWFUL show with sober eyes and mind.

So here is my review looking back at WWE’s SuperShitsh… sorry… WWE’s Super ShowDown from 2019, emanating from the country of SAUDI ARABIA…

Wish me luck…


(For the record their was a tag match on the pre show. If you think I’m taking anymore time than I need to on this show by having to sit through a fucking kick off show as well you are damn wrong!)

They did their usual Saudi job of making the show and the matches feel as if the biggest thing in the history of the business (If you think a 50 man battle royal, a main event from 15 years ago, 2 world title matches with very obvious results and a match between a top star and SHANE MCFUCKINGMAHON… oh and two guys in their 50s in the main event… are big deals they I’m sure this advert made you very excited indeed)… but yeah the ad played, and then the big firework display went off and the ‘fans’ in Jeddah seemed to be very excited… way more than I am right now anyway… One thing you can’t take away from is how incredible the stadiums in Saudi look aesthetically. Very impressive indeed. 

Seth Rollins (C) defeated Baron Corbin to retain the Universal Championship 

Crowd seemed very in to Seth from the start, and loudly did the ‘BURN IT DOWN’ when he made his entrance. They recapped the beatdown given to Rollins by Brock Lesnar (who was of course Mr Money In The Bank at this time), and with Lesnar making clear he would cash in his briefcase for a title shot ‘Friday’… so not at that time but indeed on this night at Super ShowDown. The open suit-shirt and jeans wearing Baron Corbin came out to a less than overwhelming reaction. Should also note that the champion had his ribs tapped up here to sell the attack from Lesnar. Greg Hamilton read out a note during his introductions which listed the many ‘accomplishments’ of Baron Corbin, the crowd booed as this was read out and cheered Rollins as he was given his introduction after. They did some basic stuff at the start, until Rollins went rib first onto the ropes in the corner and then Corbin took over. Corbin hit a big punch to the ribs in the corner and then stood on his ribs, causing the ref to count him to get off. Corbin again dropped Rollins onto the ropes for a nearfall, Rollins though tried to figthback, but Corbin got another nearfall with that cool spot where he goes under the ring ropes one side, then comes back in from around the other side of the post and then clotheslined Rollins to the ground. Rollins got hit with a big bearhug type move from behind, with Corbin hitting right hands to the ribs as he held his opponent down (this was a really dull match so far not going to lie)… Corbin hit a side suplex but again only got to two with the pin, much to his frustration with the ref. The crowd booed Corbin and seemed kind of flat when he was on offence, but they came alive a little when he hit a step up enziguiri kick. Rollins fought back with some strikes, and soon hit a slingblade, following that with a suicide dive to the outside. Corbin rolled out the other side of the ring but got hit with the same dive again. Rollins rolled Corbin back into the ring, but got caught at the top by Corbin… eventually though he rolled through from whatever Corbin had in mind and got a sunset flip pinfall attempt… but Corbin kicked out at 2. Rollins hit a kick to the face  after and got another 2. Rollins sent Corbin fleeing to the outside as he set up for the Stomp, but Corbin soon caught him with an elbow to the face and then a backdrop, which caused more damage to Rollins’ injured ribs. Corbin still couldn’t get the win and after getting more and more frustrated he soon hit a Deep Six, but again couldn’t get the win. Corbin really got in the ref’s face after this expressing his anger, and he tried the End of Days, but again got knocked out the ring. Corbin then got a chair of his own. but the ref managed to stop him using it, the ref again got a face full of Corbin, but this time the ref had finally had enough, and John Cone (to the roar of the crowd) went back at Corbin, asking him who he thought he was… (this played into a future storyline where Corbin got to hand pick the referee for a future title match)… And Rollins off the ‘distraction’ rolled up Corbin for the win. The crowd popped big for this. As a match it was… well about as bang average you could get… 

**1/4 

As Rollins just about had chance to celebrate his win, Corbin went from behind and hit Rollins with the End Of Days, and then soon after… Mr Money In The Bank Brock Lesnar came down along with a ref and a steel chair in hand, Paul Heyman by his side carrying the briefcase, to make good on his promise from Raw to cash in his contract tonight… but after Brock got in the ring Heyman somehow tripped on the ring ropes getting in and dropped the briefcase… this weird moment allowed Rollins enough time to low blow Lesnar, and then use Lesnar’s steel chair to batter The Beast, and then a stomp onto the Briefcase… and after beating him down Rollins took his championship, and left Lesnar and the briefcase unused… so no cash in just yet, Rollins lives to fight another day as Universal Champion… This was… well contrived a little but… meh… It was odd at the time but given in hindsight we know how this all goes it is what it is… 

They showed a couple of the ‘sights’ in Jeddah (they mentioned about how a mountain there was the tallest in the world… thanks for that…)… And then they went back to Lesnar still smarting in the ring from the Rollins beating… Lesnar sold it great to be fair as he walked to the back, and showed he was really annoyed with a sorry Heyman too…

Demon Finn Balor (C) defeated Andrade to retain the Intercontinental Championship

Andrade was without his trusted business associate Zelina Vega when he came out for this one… funny that… I’m going to guess either this crowd didn’t care about either of these two or they didn’t really know who either was, because they were notably quiet during the entirety of this (aside from the opening of the Demon entrance). Balor seemed to have Andrade figured out early on, but eventually hit a high knee in the corner, and after looking like he was about to hit the hammerlock DDT he was rolled over and got a dropkick to the face from Finn. The Demon took Andadre down and then stomped on his chest, and Andrade in frustration tried the big knee in the corner again but ended up taking a heavy bump over the ropes to the outside after Balor moved out the way. Balor dropkicked Andrade through the ropes but then got knocked down and fell on the apron. Andrade then threw Balor back into the ring and hit a missile dropkick off the ropes for a nearfall. It’s absurd and actually triggering me a little how silent this crowd are for a match between two of the best in-ring talents on the roster… yet later on in the show… well, I’ll get onto that later… Andrade then hit the ‘3 amigos’ suplexes in a mocking of Rey Mysterio and the late great Eddie Guerrero, but Balor kicked out of the pin. Anadrade had a rest hold in, but soon after Andrade hit what looked to me like a reverse neckbreaker off the corner ropes for a nearfall. Andrade with a rear chinlock , and after some chops Balor hit a dropkick to Andrade right on his chin. Both men hit a clothesline and after sending him to the outside Balor did his big dive to the outside onto Andrade. Balor hit a series of kicks to Andrade, and a huge chop in the corner and then in another, but after Andrade hit a kick to the face he tried the reverse neckbreaker off the corner rope he hit earlier in the match, but Balor turned that into a regular neckbreaker-type move of his own and then got a nearfall off a slam after. Finn’s paint was really coming off at this point (I’m guessing a lot because of the heat). Finn tried the slingblade but Andrade moved out the way, and got hit with a big chop across his chest. Balor then did hit a slingblade. Balor got caught with another kick to the face, but ‘demoned’ up after, and the same after a big back elbow to leave Andrade perplexed… El Idolo then hit a crazy summersault move that he kicked Balor in the face with, then hit the double knees to the corner… but Balor kicked out of the pin attempt. Andrade went up top after and tried a moonsault but Balor moved, and even after he did another flip to try and hit Balor Andrade got caught by a knee of Finn. Balor fought off the apron, and after getting hit with some strikes Balor fought off was looked to be a pretty gruesome attempt at a sunsetflip powerbomb into the crowd barrier (gruesome by the way because the bump would’ve been horrid, the move attempt was executed perfectly), Balor then double-stomped on Andrade again. Balor then chucked Andrade back into the ring, and came off the top stomping again with the double stomp onto the back of Andrade’s neck… but he kicked out at 2. Balor tried a powerbomb but this time Andrade rolled through and dropkicked Balor… he picked him up after and hit the hammerlock ddt… but Finn kicked out! Balor eventually powered up and powerbombed Andrade, then hit the dropkick to send Andrade against the corner post, but as he went up top Andrade got up and tried to strike him down… but eventually after Andrade tried some form of springboard move it was Balor who got the momentum with a crazy ddt-type move off the top rope (almost like a top rope 1916). And then Balor went up top on the other side and hit the Coupe de Grace for the win. Balor retains. They both tried SOOOO hard here to put on a great match, and it really was good stuff in between the ropes… but the lack of crowd noise killed it for me. Shame on that country for a whole host of things, among them a lack of interest in this match. It was of no fault of Finn or Andrade that this was only a good and not a great match.

***1/2

The Miz talked up his chances of winning the big battle royal later, and tried to make it into a big deal… UUUUUURRRRRGGGGHHHHHH… Jinder Mahal then did the same… as well as moaning about his 24/7 title loss ON THE PLANE OVER TO JEDDAH to R-Truth.

Shane McMahon (with Drew McIntyre) defeated Roman Reigns

They made a point to mention during the opening graphic of the match that it was last year at Crown Jewel that Shane McMahon won a tournament to become THE BEST IN THE WORLD. The beef here began when Roman Superman Punched Vince after him being announced as a SmackDown superstar during the Superstar Shake-Up. So Shane decided to join up with Drew to take on THE BIG DOG… Who thew fuck could possibly give a shit about this as a feud… I guess we went on to get the tag match with Undertaker out of it not long after this… but… URGH… The imagery by the way of MONEY falling from the sky as Shane skipped down to the ring is something else, given the blood money Saudi gave to WWE for these shows… They had Greg Hamilton do his OTT intro for Shane, and the World Cup Trophy was ringside. For some reason McIntyre got his own proper entrance and ring introduction as he came down to the ring (I forgot this was a triple threat or Drew was officially in the match…) Roman got a huge cheer as he came out. ANYWAY… the glorious match… Pretty much as soon as is started Shane charged at Roman after a brief distraction by Drew, and UNLEASHED his god-awful punches, knees and kicks on Reigns… Shane gave Roman a headlock and then more strikes… before Roman cameback with some big punches and Shane sold big for them (I can’t even type this seriously that ROMAN REIGNS (chiseled out of Stone) had to mount a comeback against SHANE MCMAHON (A OLD SWEATY DAD)… anyway… Shane moved out the way of a Roman charge as he collided with the ring post, and then he laid a beating on him some more… and Reigns soon after went flying into the ring post on the other side… Shane distracted the ref whilst Drew hit Roman on the outside. Back in the ring after Shane out-right tried to choke Roman, and then hit more strikes… Shane hit a side russian leg sweep, and got a nearfall before more strikes. Roman came back with big punches, and dropped him twice with clotheslines before both came off the ropes and… SHANE got the upper hand with a flying back elbow that got a nearfall… as Michael Cole in his eternal wisdom said “that was vintage Shane right there”… I cba… Shane hit more strikes then had a rest hold pulling Roman’s head back, Shane got another nearfall, then tried a CHINLOCK (yes Shane is DOMINATING this match… UUUUUUUURRRRRGGGGHHHHH…)… Roman powered up then went at Shane in the corner, he came off the ropes and hit a kick to Shane’s head to take him down… Roman signaled for the Superman Punch, but the Wrestling Machine Shane dived at Roman in mid-air to take down his legs and Roman went crashing down… this got Shane another nearfall… Shane then tried to get in a Triangle hold as commentary made note and put over big the possibility of Shane making good on his promise to be the first person in WWE history to tap out Roman Reigns… but The Big Dog lifted Shane up and slammed him down, but of course McMahon kicked out because he’s THE BEST IN THE WORLD. As the ref saw to Shane after Roman threw him back into the ring, McIntyre launched Reigns into the barricade, but soon after it was Drew who went into the ring post on the outside, then Roman hit Drew with a Superman Punch. And as Shane came flying from the ring to the outside, Roman caught with him a punch too. Shane kicked Roman in the leg as he got back into the ring, then came off the ropes and Shane hit a Spear to Roman… but only got like a 2.9 count it looked like. Shane dropped some elbows to Roman, then kicked him in the corner, then he went to the opposite top rope looking for the Coast to Coast, only for Roman to get back up and Superman Punch Shane off the top rope… but Shane kicked out at 2… Roman went to the corner looking for the Spear… but Shane kicked Roman in the face… Drew then came into the ring and as the ref’s back was turned after being hit accidentally by Shane as he fell back from Roman’s punch, McIntyre hit a Claymore (HOW ON EARTH THE REF DIDN’T HEAR THIS IS BEYOND ME) AND THEN SHANE FELL ON ROMAN AND GOT THE 1,2,3. YOUR WINNER IS THE BEST IN THE WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORLD… SHAAAAANNNNEEE MCMAAAAAAAAAAHONNNNNNNN!!! And as Shane was on Drew’s shoulders at the bottom of the ramp we had all the fireworks go off in the background. What a wonderful moment hey… So in answer to your quiz questions in years to come.. the first person to defeat Roman Reigns after he returned from fighting CANCER… was Shane McFUCKINGmahon… GET IN THE BIN!!! I fucking H-A-T-E-D THIS!

*

They showed us a shot of the tallest building in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia the ‘Headquaters Business Park Tower’… Why we needed to see that I don’t know… They also showed a mini-graphic showing the actual temperature (as opposed to the fake one?) was 94 degrees, as commentary stated on the floor was a real feel of 101 degrees.

We then got a shot of the door to the locker room of Goldberg.

Byron Saxton was backstage spoke to the WWE Champion Kofi Kingston as he and Xavier Woods came into shot. Saxton asked about Ziggler and asked Kofi if given everything physically he had been through in recent weeks if he could match Dolph’s intensity… honestly these WWE backstage interviewers just ask the dumbest questions… like what do you expect Kofi to say ‘no Byron I think Dolph is way ahead of me and I’m fucked?’… bore off… In short Kofi and Woods talked up Kofi’s chances and the importance of the match.

Lars Sullivan defeated Lucha House Party (Kalisto & Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik) in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match by DISQUALIFICATION

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK WAS THIS MESS?!

So as The Luchas made their entrance we were told on commentary about how on Raw the three of them had taken the fight to Sullivan, but on SmackDown Lars did an interview and compared the Luchas to three blind mice being caught, and how their tales would be ripped apart by his bare hands and how a beautiful portrait would be painted with their bodily fluids… this was honestly the most random feud in recent WWE history… Commentary pointed out how this was Lars’ FIRST MATCH IN WWE (because as evident by their lack of knowledge of The Demon Finn Balor having actually lost to Samoa Joe in NXT, NXT doesn’t count)… what a debut match this was… Kalisto started in ring with Sullivan, who quickly wrestled him into the corner and hit shoulder charges. Lars clubbed Kalisto across the back, then Gorilla pressed him face first onto the turnbuckle. He threw Kalisto into the corner so he could tag in Dorado. Lince tried to take it to Lars but soon got flattened. Lars picked up Dorado but Lince fought out, and then Lars sent him over the ropes to the outside. Sullivan rolled out after Dorado and threw him back in the ring, then came off the ropes and hit a running shoulder charge to send Dorado flying. Lars picked up Dorado, and placed him on the top rope, knocking down Kalisto as he did so before sending Lince packing too. Sullivan was bleeding from the mouth, and got a kick to the face as Metalik made his way into the match. Metalik came off the ropes with a somersault but failed to take Sullivan down, then hit a few kicks as Kalisto tagged in, but he flew right into Sullivan who caught him, but Kalisto got out of trouble and kicked Lars away after in the corner, then came off the middle rope but got clobbered in mid-air by Lars on the way down. Sullivan was somehow sent over the ropes as Kalisto had pulled them down as he charged at him… Sullivan looked angry as he got into the ring and ran right over to take down Metalik. He got a kick from Kalisto before Lars slammed him down hard. Sullivan hit strikes to Kalisto again, then went TO THE TOP ROPE… but he was stopped by Dorado and Metalik who striked and kicked him down. AND AS THE TWO OTHER LUCHAS BEAT HIM DOWN THE REF RANG THE FUCKING BELL FOR THE DQ!!!!!! WHAT THE FUCK WAS THE POINT OF THIS MATCH!? The three combined to take down and beat on Lars… Dorado hitting a splash and Metalik a flying elbow before they made their exit. Sullivan looked on furious and chased them up the ramp. He backdropped Metalik and then ran over Kalisto before throwing Dorado. He slammed Kalisto onto the entrance ramp hard, then eventually smashed Dorado on the ring apron. He screamed and shouted a lot, then hit music played as he finally left the the three Luchas laying. He laughed as his music played and he walked to the back. The crowd was completely silent for this whole match. And for once I can’t blame them.

DUD

Randy Orton defeated Triple H

I LOVE both these guys, but on this show this match went way too long (25 minutes) and for the most was BORING AS FUCK! Both guys were really over with the Saudi crowd. HHH came out on a trike similar to one he has used at previous WrestleManias. They stared off to begin with, as the crowd chanted ‘NXT’ in support of it’s founder Triple H. This very slow paced match had fans chanting “This is Awesome” (for what I don’t know…). They had a series of stare downs and lock ups to begin with, and a number of basic holds and reversals as well as both coming close to hitting their finish, with the other quickly getting out of it and trying theirs. They locked up again after and Orton hit some punches in the corner, he then tried an Irish whip to the other corner but HHH moved out the way, and Orton went into the post. Triple H then began to work on Orton’s arm, yanking at it and then hitting it against the barricade, the steps and then his shoulder into the ringpost. Triple H broke the count and then smashed Orton’s arm against the apron. Randy was in pain on the outside but as soon as Triple H went back at him, Orton hit him with a backbody drop onto the announce table, and HHH’s back hit one of the monitors which looked horrid. Orton broke the count, and soon after HHH was sent shoulder first into the steps. Orton rolled him into the ring after and got a nearfall off the pin. Orton then hit his signature stomps all over HHH as he was down, Orton then posed to the crowd and then went back to beating on Triple H. He got a nearfall after, and then had a chinlock in for fucking ages… HHH tried to punch out of it but then Orton yanked his beard and striked him down. Orton got another nearfall after and then got another chinlock in… HHH powers up, and they exchange strikes before Triple H hits his high knee strike to Orton, and soon then a clothesline in the corner before a face buster soon after with his knee hitting Orton’s face. HHH tried a Pedigree, but Orton wriggled out and Catapulted HHH into the corner, only for Triple H to come back with a bit clothesline for a nearfall. Orton then kicked Triple H away in the corner before he again got out of a Pedigree attempt by sending Triple H over the apron. Orton tried the draping ddt but was striked out but then Orton cameback with a dropkick. Orton placed Triple H on the top turnbuckle and hit him a few times… back in the middle of the ring after and Triple H tried a Spinebuster, which Orton then tried to hit the RKO but he got hit with a big strike on the back of the head that sent him down. HHH hit the DX chop and then ran to Orton but got hit with the scoop slam for a 2 count. Orton then hit the draping DDT… and then set for the RKO but didn’t get it and HHH hit a Spinebuster for a nearfall. In fact he tried 3 times in a row to pin Orton but got kicked out of every time. He then put Orton in a crossface for ages before Orton eventually got the bottom rope to break the hold. In the best sequence of the match; Orton punched Triple H away then tried the RKO… Triple H tried a Pedigree… then tried a backbody drop… but then Randy hit the RKO… but only got a two count after the pin. Orton then tried the Punt kick, but Triple H grabbed his leg and soon hit the Pedigree for a nearfall that got a big pop from the Saudi crowd after the kick out. Orton went to the outside, HHH went after him but Orton pokes him in the eye, he then tried to backbody drop HHH like he had earlier… and then HHH turned it around and hit the same move onto the announce table 4 times in a row, but the table just wouldn’t break! HHH then sent Orton back into the ring, and posed for the crowd, and then got into the ring, ran at Orton, and then got hit with the RKO (which really did come “outta knowhere”) and that got the 1, 2, 3. This was fine and had it been half as long I’d have considered it pretty good. But it was way too long and slow in parts and that really dragged it down.

**

Commentary spoke about the 24/7 title scene. They then showed two videos from over the past few days, the first showing R Truth on the phone on the tarmac about to board a Plane, and as he was on the phone Jinder Mahal rolled him up and won the title. The next clip showed Jinder asleep on the Plane and Truth pinning him to win the title back. He then as new champion had to run away from the rest of the roster chasing him, and he eventually locked himself in the plane toilets, class. I love me some R-Truth I think he’s hilarious.

Byron Saxton was backstage again, but was soon interrupted by an angry Baron Corbin. He was fuming that the ref cost him (in his mind at least) the match earlier and the Universal title. As I mentioned this leads to the next PPV and a special guest referee angle.

Braun Strowman defeated Bobby Lashley

Lashley really may have the best physique in wrestling. During his entrance he posed and showed his body off and fireworks played in the background. It was a cool entrance tbf. They showed a clip from Raw of these two in an arm wrestling match, that Braun won. They brawled after when Lashley threw chalk in Strowman’s eyes, and even hit him with the running Powerslam, which doing that to a 340 pound guy was some sight. They showed a ‘Tale of the Tape’ comparing the two, these are freak athletes and specimens they really are. They had several lock ups and shows of strength at the start and it was about even (crowd is and was all match pretty much DEAD by the way). Lashley failed twice to take down Braun with running shoulder charges, and he then took Braun down to a knee before a pretty cool sequence where Braun rolled through to get away from Lashley, Lashley leaped over Braun running at him, but eventually Strowman got the advantage taking Lashley down with a big running charge. He then hit a splash to Lashley in the corner, but missed another when Lashley moved out the way. Lashley then hit a running slam for a 2 count off the pin. Braun took some damage after via some punches and rest holds, but Braun ESPN fought back and hit a big Spinebuster. He then hit some more running charges to Lashley in the corners, and with Lashley outside Braun did his running round the ring and taking some down spot twice(catchy title from me hey…)… Braun tried to run at Lashley in the corner but Bobby Lashley moved and a Strowman crashed into the post. Lashley than ran Braun into the barricade on the outside. Then hit a vertical Suplex to Braun on the ramp way which was impressive to be fair. But back in the ring Braun kicked out of the pin at two. Lashley then went to the top rope but Braun got up and pulled him down, then hit a standing and then a running powerslam for the 1,2,3. This was very very basic big man stuff. A match that seemed more fitting for an 80s or early 90s TV match. Dull as shit tbh.

*1/2

They again promoted the battle royal. Ali and Samoa Joe cut promos to camera talking up their chances in the match.

Kofi Kingston (C) (with Xavier Woods) defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Championship

I think Big E was still injured at this time, hence it was just Woods with Kofi. I quite enjoyed the ‘It should have been me’ promo stuff from Dolph before this. But the idea of Ziggler in his usual cycle here of being a temporary WWE title contender that’s never winning it again here is questionable surely. Then again after the job he did with Goldberg at SummerSlam that year he has my eternal respect so fair play to him. They took turns taking eachother down. Kofi hit some aggressive punches in the corner, before Dolph took over and beat on Kingston pretty much the majority of the match. The crowd was really dead for this and at this stage I really did reach the end of my tether with this show. None of the wrestling has been really bad, it’s just been BORING AS FUCK. Dolph for the rest of the match hit a series of rest holds, strikes, got a load of nearfalls… Kofi got into it a little with a boomdrop and he tried to hit Trouble In Paradise but Dolph got out the way and soon after hit a ddt for a 2 count. Then later after coming off the top for a crossbody Kofi was rolled over by Dolph for another nearfall. Then they had a series of nearfalls each in a quick exchange, then the action spilled to the outside after Kingston came off the top onto Ziggler. Dolph sent Kofi into the barricade then the steps. Then Ziggler decided he would SuperKick Xavier Woods for some reason… but Kofi striked Dolph and they got back in the ring. Then after Kofi came off the top rope Dolph moved out the way leading to Kofi trying Trouble In Paradise again but Ziggler rolled him up for a pin attempt, but Kofi kicked him away… right Into the apron where Woods got up to kick Ziggler as the ref had his back turned. Then as Dolph turned back round Kofi hit Trouble In Paradise for the win. Kofi retains. Obviously.

**1/4

Byron Saxton interviewed Dolph as he came through the back. Ziggler was not happy at all, saying he outperformed Kofi and fumed at Woods’ interference. So he challenged Kingston to a rematch… in a Steel Cage!

In a sadly ironic moment, we had an advert for a WWE Network exclusive programme that would be on immediately after Super ShowDown… it was on Ronda Rousey… you know… a female wrestler at one time… shame they didn’t plug this on the big screen in the arena for all the Saudi fans to see…

We had a recap of the Universal title match and aftermath from earlier in the show.

Michael Cole talked about the ‘passion’ of all the fans they’ve encountered this week since WWE has been in Saudi Arabia. I’m guessing none of those passionate fans were at this show then given the DEAD crowd most of the night… my god… They then played a number of clips of excited ‘fans’ before the show, making sure plenty of them were women and kids of course… fuck my life…

WISH ME FUCKING LUCK WITH THE NEXT TWO MATCHES…

Mansoor won the fucking battle royal

I cba anymore. It was a battle royal with 50 (51 actually according to the Internet) guys in so OBVIOUSLY it sucked. Mansoor (the guy from Saudi Arabia) won of course, and his reaction after and the crowd pop and interview after were like he’d just won the title at Mania. Is what it is. But what it is can get fucked as far as I’m concerned. For the record the poor souls also in this match were: EC3, Sunil Singh, Samir Singh, Karl Anderson, Eric Young, Humberto Carrillo, Mike Kanellis, Luke Gallows, Heath Slater, Curtis Axel, Oney Lorcan, Akira Tozawa, Bo Dallas, No Way Jose, Mojo Rawley, The Brian Kendrick, Drew Gulak, Tony Nese, Tucker, Akam, Rezar, Ivar, Erik, Titus O’Neil, Buddy Murphy, Shelton Benjamin, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Chad Gable, Apollo Crews, Jinder Mahal, Otis, Xavier Woods, Rowan, Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso, Dash Wilder, Scott Dawson, Matt Hardy, Cedric Alexander, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sin Cara, Rusev, Robert Roode, The Miz, Samoa Joe, Ali, Ricochet, and Cesaro.

1/2* (0.5)

They ran down the card for the next PPV Stomping Grounds… GIANT POP from the fans for the graphic showing the match between Bayley and Alexa Bliss… funny that… same sort of reaction for the graphic advertising Becky Lunch vs Lacey Evans too… hmm…

Oh boy…

The Undertaker defeated Goldberg

They played a pretty great Promo package hyping the match up beforehand… that was where anything great ended… Goldberg did his classic entrance and got a huge reaction. But it was nothing compared to the reaction for The Undertaker, who always gets the loudest pops in Saudi by a mile, this show was no different. For his grand entrance he had a number of flaming-torch bearing druids and COFFINS appear (again in SAUDI ARABIA I’m not sure the imagery of coffins is OK at all…), once this was done and the weird music stopped, The Phenom came out to a HUGE pop. Lots of fire and smoke and lasers and all the classic stuff for a proper, as OTT as possible Undertaker entrance that may have legit been longer than the match that followed. They stared down to begin with, Goldberg did Undertaker’s throat slit, then Taker punched him. Then he got Speared, then Goldberg hit a second Spear but Taker kicked out at two. Undertaker then did his sit up, Goldberg punched anyway at him, missed a right hand as Taker looked for a Chokeslam, but Goldberg powered out and tried a KNEE BAR. Taker eventually got the bottom rope to break the hold, then as Undertaker was in the corner Goldberg charged towards him but Taker moved out the way and Goldberg went crashing into the ring post HARD… and… this was where EVERYTHING went south very quickly… Goldberg was bleeding terribly from his head as a result… and he just fell to the ring floor after with blood coming out the top of his head (he was knocked out apparently briefly and suffered a concussion)… Taker went over to him and picked him up and teed off right hands on a staggered Goldberg in the corner, Taker then hit a number of shoulders and easily batted off a fightback from Goldberg. Then Taker did Old School, and Taker signalled for a Chokeslam as Goldberg was slumped against the ropes, somehow Taker hit the Chokeslam. He signalled for the Tombstone after, and he hit it… but my god if you know anything about wrestling and have watched as many Undertaker matches as I have you know they aren’t actually meant to go head first onto the ring floor, because.. that HURTS… For one reason or another (I’m gonna take a stab and say it was because he was concussed) Goldberg looked to be able to make no attempt to lift his head and tuck his chin, and so his head went crashing into the ring floor, and I audibly winced watching it back. A Horrible moment. Goldberg somehow had the state of mind to kick out of the pin attempt. Goldberg was somehow on his feet, and Taker punched away at him in the corner, after running the ropes both men collided and went down in the middle of the ring. Both men staggered up and exchanged strikes, Taker hit Goldberg in the corner and did snake eyes, but Goldberg ran back with another Spear. Goldberg signalled for the Jackhammer… and… if you thought the Tombstone was bad… this Jackhammer (or more like a god damn brainbuster) was the shits… he did get Taker up but almost as quickly fell down with him and dropped Taker neck first into the ring floor. He just seemed to collapse with the weight. Undertaker could easily have broken his neck right there, and it’s a MIRACLE he can still freely move about today. Taker kicked out of the pin after. And then Goldberg wanted more, Taker got up too and Goldberg looked like he wanted to try a Tombstone but as he lifted him up they both just fell to the floor. Because of course a concussed guy in his 50s aint gonna be able to lift another human up like that. It looked awful, they both just collapsed in a heap. At this point Undertaker just looks miserable and done with life, and mercifully for everyone watching and the two involved in the match they went right to the finish after, and Taker hit what was at best the second worst ever chokeslam of his career and got the pin. Undertaker looked FUMING after the bell rang. He was PISSED and I could see why. It wasn’t Bill’s fault of course he got the bad knock on the head, but the match fell off the biggest of cliffs after what was a promising start. It was sad to watch and you can see why both men had matches later that summer to redeem themselves somewhat. A furious looking Undertaker closed the show with all his gimmicks going off as his music played. But this felt like no time to celebrate despite the fireworks that closed this show.

They say you should always try and conquer your fears. To face them head on… well, as a wrestling fan this match was mine. And now over a year on I’ve finally watched it sober. And I can confirm I do not feel better for having done so. It was utterly horrendous and hard to watch. How neither Mark Callaway or Bill Goldberg didn’t walk away from this match with life changing injuries is beyond me. This was… well I’ll use a wrestling term to describe it… and you may not know it as a wrestling term but it once was, and of course it has another much more commonly used meaning in wider society… but its the C word level adjective for wrestling… This match was an abortion.

-***** (MINUS 5 STARS)

Josh.

SummerSlam 2019 – Review

WWE SummerSlam 2019 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and ...

Well… what can I say about this show. Incredible that a whole year has passed since one of the most fun shows I’ve seen from WWE in a long time. A show I, as was the I guess now former norm for me, watched in Huddersfield with my friends at Warehouse bar. It came 7 days before my birthday and I couldn’t have got a better present… So as I don’t do it last year, let me make up for that and review for you one of the best two WWE main roster PPVs of the year for 2019. Enjoy!!!


So I don’t usually touch on the Pre shows much of any ‘retro’ show I’m talking about, however in this case given what went on (and more what went on since this show) I’ll make an exception. As far as matches go it was your standard pre show stuff, albeit a tad more important given it was a Big 4 show. We were treated to…: 

  • Drew Gulak defeated Oney Lorcan to retain the Cruiserweight title. It was too short and ruined by an advert being in the middle of the match. It also seemed like they held a bit back and could’ve done more if they were allowed (time-wise and spot on the card). For what it was it was OK, but maybe a little underwhelming.  **

 

  • Buddy Murphy vs Apollo Crews ended in DQ. It was very short, but what they did was good. This was all about getting Rowan over, who interfered for the DQ. There was no real reason for this match to happen otherwise. The story here was Murphy had been accusing Rowan of attacking Roman Reigns on previous editions of SmackDown, hence he beat him down here. *3/4

 

  • Elias came out for a performance. We know the story here… he comes out about to sing a song clowning on the city he is in… and then someone comes out to interrupt him… but this time in Toronto we got a pretty special treat, and something we thought (based upon what we knew at the time) we’d never ever see again… little did we know…

Watching this live I SCREAMED so loud!!! A guy I thought was one bad bump away from disaster had done his signature move. I was gobsmacked to say the least… and we didn’t have a clue how good it would get for him after that… 

  • Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross defeated The IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team titles. The wrestling wasn’t exactly great, but the match was very funny. All 4 played their characters well, and Bliss played her Buzz Lightyear attire into the match at one stage. **1/4

Becky Lynch (C) defeated Natalya in a Submission Match to retain the Raw Women’s Championship 

This was a good match. Both performed some unique submissions and spots well. The crowd was more split than anticipated, possibly more in favour of Lynch. It was the best Natalya match I can remember for some time and the best of Lynch’s title reign up to that point. Maybe I’m wrong and maybe this is harsh, but I felt Natalya was only getting this shot because the show as in Toronto… Technically this was phenomenal, both women had great looking offence, it was a real good brawl/technical battle all rolled into one. Becky tried a triangle hold early that Natalya tried and tried again with slams to get out of it, the ropes (no rope breaks in this one) didn’t save her. They eventually went to the outside and brawled as Becky tried a guillotine but got launched into the barrier for her troubles. Natalya targeted Becky’s legs (weakening her for the sharpshooter) and even suplexed her into the ropes making sure her legs crashed into the ropes. The story of the match saw Nattie target Becky’s legs mostly (the sharpshooter around the ropes was particularly impressive), with Becky fighting back with strikes and a few submissions of her own (including the sharpshooter of her own, which Natalya eventually batted back herself later locking in Becky’s Diss-Arm-Her). And after a pretty decent fight that the crowd enjoyed, Lynch was stuck in the sharpshooter (the crowd really got behind Natalya at this point), but Lynch crawled out the ring which even though she was pulled back gave her time to wriggle out, and she flipped Natalya over into the Diss-Arm-Her to get the tap out and the win. A really good show opener from these two women. 

****1/4 

WWE Hall Of Famer and Toronto’s own Trish Stratus was interviewed backstage ahead of her match with Charlotte. Naturally she got a huge pop from the crowd watching on. Trish said she felt great and that she thrived on pressure. 

Goldberg defeated Dolph Ziggler 

As a squash match this was tremendous. Goldberg looked like a monster, and Dolph was a moaning asshole and played that role perfectly. Ziggler’s selling of the Spears made it look like he’d been legitimately snapped in half. So story here is Dolph had been mocking a series of legends in the build to SummerSlam, and this lead to Goldberg coming back to shut him up. Ziggler looked as confident as ever coming out, and even got on the mic after he came out and said that he was the best thing that could happen to this show, and WWE, and to pro wrestling. He said legends come and legends go, but old DZ is still here stealing the damn show. He said Goldberg fears Ziggler. LOL. Anyway old Bill did his legendary entrance with loud Goldberg chants accompanying him as always. There was a guy sat front row dressed as Bret Hart who was the only person seemingly not happy to see him, which made me laugh. Match began and after an extended stare-down Ziggler surprised everyone and hit a superkick and got a one count off the nearfall. Then the same exact thing again, and he tried a third but got speared in HALF! Goldberg then hit the Jackhammer for the win. After Goldberg posed and went to go to the back, Dolph crawled to a microphone and called him back. He said any *expletive* can hit one move on me, he said it was like being hit by a little baby and that he didn’t have the guts to fight him man to man… So Goldberg walked back to the ring, with Dolph still down, and Goldberg waited for Ziggler to stagger up and he Speared him. Goldberg’s music played as Ziggler rolled around in pain. And Goldberg went to the back. THEN… Ziggler wasn’t done, he got a mic again and said to Goldberg that anybody can lucky twice, and that he knew he didn’t have the balls to face him man to man, he called him a laughing stock in this business and that he was the best. This eventually brought Goldberg back out, and he hit Dolph with yet another big Spear. And that was that, after Taker had his at Extreme Rules this was Goldberg’s own Saudi redemption. 

**1/2 

AJ Styles (C) with Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows defeated Ricochet to retain the United States Championship 

The story was all about Ricochet selling his leg and Styles targeting it. It was maybe a step below what you might expect from these two, bit it was still fine. The finish saw AJ catch Ricochet and hit the Styles Clash, it was done excellently. Crowd was pretty flat for this though considering who was in it, maybe more down to it’s spot on the card than anything else. Gallows and Anderson helped beat up Ricochet after, which felt like it did Ricochet no favours having lost the match as well… Also during Ricochet’s entrance they cut the all the foreign announce teams as always… and one of them was Carmella and R-Truth dressed up hiding from people chasing Truth’s 24/7 title, with Drake Maverick making an appearance too looking for them… as you do… Anyway this match was harder for me to enjoy because I expected a classic and it felt just… fine… It was still a pretty decent match though so let me make that clear. It’s always felt to me everyone involved here should be way higher up the card, which given a year later none of these guys are on the SummerSlam 2020 card and Gallows and Anderson not even with the company, it’s clear those in power at WWE don’t share my opinions on these four, which is such a shame. 

***3/4 

We had a super fun backstage segment; The Street Profits are backstage and they hyped up some of the matches on the SummerSlam card… and then Ric Flair walks in… and he cuts a classic Nature Boy promo and lots of wooing ensued… I’ve done a terrible job explaining it but the live crowd loved it and so did I watching it back. Simple but really fun stuff. 

Bayley (C) defeated Ember Moon to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship 

The crowd was DEAD for this. It was a fine match, but it was just… fine… they tried their best but it was just kind of there… Bayley hit a top rope Bayley to Belly, which looked great, for the win. This was still in the early days of Bayley’s heel-ish run so she was still finding her feet, in fact she wasn’t even proper heel yet she was just a more aggressive version of the Bayley we had always known, and for me Ember Moon is one of the more underrated performers on the roster. But this was pretty boring overall and by far it was the match that felt it had the least riding on it on the whole card. 

**1/4 

Kevin Owens defeated Shane McMahon with Elias as special enforcer (If Owens lost he would have had to quit WWE)

Owens was a GOD to the Toronto crowd. Shane was bad as always, but Owens did his best to drag him to a fine match. KO showed he was smart enough to get round all the shenanigans that Shane and Elias threw at him. Shane at this time had his gimmick where he would repeatedly get the ring announcer to introduce him as the best in the world and it got OLD very very quickly… At this point in time I was of the mindset they needed to turn KO into the top babyface in the company, I just felt he had the combo of everything needed to be a top WWE star, and crucially he was beloved by the majority of fans. I think he’s absolutely a top top star. Shane was very good at being a chicken shit asshole, but his in-ring work is near repulsive. Shane tried to put the sharpshooter in at one stage, with KO soon getting out of it and hitting a pop-up powebomb. Although Elias stopped him from getting the win by distracting the referee. Elias tried to anger KO further by sliding a chair into the ring, but Owens resisted the temptation to use the chair on Shane and risk his WWE career… instead he moved out the way of Shane running at him and let Elias get knocked down instead. Owens then hit Shane with a superkick, a swanton and a frog splash… but Elias yanked the ref out the ring before he could count the pin. Owens took out both officials on the outside with a cannonball off the apron, then he did indeed get the chair and tried to attack Shane (and Elias) with it, much to the delight of the Toronto crowd, but after sending Elias packing the ref got back up in time to catch KO just before he hit McMahon with it… Owens held his hands up and allowed the ref to get rid of the chair… and Owens took this chance to punt Shane in the balls (as the ref had his back turned) and then hit the Stunner for the win. Fun for what it was, but this was indeed The Kevin Owens show here. What a star this guy is. 

**3/4 

Charlotte Flair defeated Trish Stratus 

Having not had a singles match since 2006, Trish was great. Flair carried most of the match as expected but Trish stayed with her for sure. Unsurprisingly the crowd adored Stratus. As a sendoff match could have gone, this was just about a perfect way to end the illustrious career of the WWE Hall of Famer. Trish really took it to Charlotte and had counters to most of The Queen’s early offence. Crowd fell off a bit in the heat spots, but it was needed to tell the story of Charlotte being the current day star, Flair even mocked Stratus by pointing to the sky as Trish often does. Charlotte often bragged that the match was easy for her as she beat on Stratus, but after getting caught with a crossbody and a nearfall, Charlotte soon went back to being ultra-aggressive slamming Trish’s head to the mat. When Trish took done Charlotte and then followed up with punches on the floor and in the corner the crowd loved it, until Charlotte knocked Trish off the apron with a hard big boot. Flair hit a series of hard knees after Trish beat the count, and the self proclaimed ‘Queen of All eras’ went to hit a moonsault off the top but Trish moved out the way. She then hit a great facebuster type move to get some breathing space, they exchanged strikes before Trish hit a series of chops. They exchanged strikes again on the top rope, with Trish eventually hitting a top rope hurricanrana for a nearfall that the crowd loved. Trish kicked out of a big boot at two after missing a chick kick of her own. Charlotte targeted the knee of Trish after but Stratus rolled her up for nearfall after getting out of a figure 8 attempt. Trish then got a figure 8 of her own locked in, and Flair sold it great screaming in pain. Charlotte eventually got to the bottom rope, but soon hit the middle turnbuckle looking for a spear, and Stratus hit a Stratusfaction after… but Charlotte kicked out at 2. They exchanged chops and Trish got another nearfall with a jackknife cover, and again after a Chick Kick… and finally Charlotte Flair picked up the win after a big boot and the Figure 8. After Charlotte left the ring Trish took in the adulation of her adoring Toronto crowd. This was good stuff. 

***1/2 

Bret Hart caught Seth Rollins backstage and wished him luck for his match against Brock Lesnar later in the night. 

Kofi Kingston (C) vs Randy Orton for the WWE Championship ended in a double countout 

The match was slow and methodical, which would’ve been fine… but the finish killed it. It went way too long for the type of match it was. It was made vert cleat that the feud wasn’t over here.  I can’t even be bothered to talk about it all that much, I love both these guys but this match was so dull… it was like the Samoa Joe – AJ Styles match the year before, way too long and boring and really underwhelming… but it was part of a longer feud so we had to accept it. Towards the end Randy hit an RKO as Kofi came off the top rope, and that is always a sight to behold and one of the best finishers of all time. Kingston after rolled to the outside out of exhaustion, and Orton followed him but went face to face with Kofi’s kids in the front row… and this made Kofi just go nuts hammering away at Orton. But just as this took place the ref must have counted them both out so the bell rung just as Kofi began to fire up, so everyone booed. Kofi battered Orton all around the ringside area, eventually using a kendo stick (as the crowd chanted ‘bullshit’). After with both men back in the ring Kingston hit Orton with the Kendo stick some more and then the Trouble in Paradise and then posed with his WWE Championship. 

**3/4 

The Fiend defeated Finn Balor 

The match was what it was, and what it should have been, a glorified squash match designed to make The Fiend come across as exactly what he is intended to come across as, a monster. But it was all about the presentation of The Fiend here. Finn awaited his foe in the ring, and the opening to the Firefly Fun House vignettes played, before the words ‘Let Me in’ appeared, the lights went dark and then from the shadows emerged… him… a rock/electric guitar sound played before a remixed version of Bray Wyatt’s previous theme song played as The Fiend made his way through the darkness. The camera work here was outstanding and really made it come across as something unique. It should also be noted The Fiend came to the ring holding a lantern that was dressed up with what appeared to be a severed head of Bray Wyatt in his previous form. The firefly’s from the crowd were out in full force, and as The Fiend stood in the ring he got probably the loudest reaction of the whole show. At this point watching with my Yowie Wowie t shirt on, I was nearly in tears, and the match hadn’t even started. Simply the most unbelievable entrance I’ve ever seen, it blew away all expectations I had. As I’ve said the match was essentially a squash. Finn showed some signs of life but Bray no-sold most of it and batted him down with ease at others, although at one stage a seemingly conflicted Fiend went for the Sister Abigail, but Finn got out of it and hit multiple slingblades, before a double dropkick sent The Fiend crashing into the corner. Finn then went up top looking for the Coupe de Grace but was caught as he came down by The Fiend with the Mandible Claw. After valiantly fighting Finn was done, and with the hold in The Fiend pinned Finn for the win. After the bell the lights went dark again, as The Fiend stood in the ring posing, they then went dark again as we heard the ominous Bray Wyatt laugh and then the eerie noise that had become signature of The Fiend attacks by this point, as the monster stood at the top of the entrance ramp and looked back at the destruction he had left. Before the lights went out and back on again and The Fiend was gone. As a beaten Finn was just coning round back in the ring, chants of “that was awesome” echoed around the arena. Yes, yes it was awesome indeed.

** (****** for the whole presentation of The Fiend) 

Seth Rollins defeated Brock Lesnar (C) with Paul Heyman to win the Universal Championship 

I felt at the time Rollins had to win this match. I felt if he didn’t, after what he had said in the weeks leading up to this match that his credibility as a top babyface was OVER should he lose this match. And yes I’m well aware it is BROCK LESNAR he is dealing with, but Seth talked the talk before his WrestleMania re-match, and now he HAD to get the job done… again… Rollins was booed coming out but cheered like a hero by the time of the finish. Lesnar was great all-round and Seth was great too… so they had a GREAT match! Having guaranteed a win beforehand, Seth Rollins walked to walk here, so fair play. The crowd was flat when Brock was on offence, but came alive when Seth went on his run towards the end. In an amazing spot, Seth had Brock on the announce table, and hit a huge picture-perfect frog splash from the top rope to put Lesnar through the table, and the crowd popped huge. With just 6 minutes left of the PPV, Heyman looked on very worried for his client, as Rollins got out of an F5 and hit a superkick, followed by the third Curb Stomp of the match… and FINALLY this was enough to put Brock away. Rollins was very very emotional after the match as his held the Universal Championship belt up high. A quite brilliant match that more-than lived up to it’s position in the main event of a big 4 show. Bravo to both men, this was fantastic. 

****3/4


 

Overall this was a really fun show all round. One of the top two main roster PPVs of 2019 (along with Survivor Series). The Fiend was incredible and the whole presentation of it exceeded all expectations. And the show only went 3 1/2 hours for the main card… PRAISE THE LORD!!! 

Josh. 

        

Usain Bolt – Sport’s Laid-back Living Legend

London 2012: Usain Bolt Is Again The 'World's Fastest Man' : The ...

In May of this year, Usain St Leo Bolt and his long-term girlfriend Kasi Bennett became parents to their daughter, as Bennett gave birth to Olympia Lightning Bolt. Many would say it be the highlight of the great former sprinter’s entire life. But during his illustrious competitive career as a sprinter he achieved maybe more than anyone before him, and if that is disputable what inst is the manner he did so in. What makes, for me, Usain Bolt not just the greatest athlete we have ever seen, but my sporting hero, was the way he conducted himself both on and off the track. His Jamaican heritage leant to a relatively laid-back and relaxed approach to his profession which he excelled beyond belief at. His natural charm and charisma won over the sporting fans worldwide as he dominated his sport with it.

In my time as a sports fan I’ve been privileged enough to live in an era where legends are aplenty… Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novac Djokovic, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Floyd Mayweather, Phil Taylor, Michael Phelps, Ronnie O’Sullivan to name a few… I’m 25 next month but so far I’ve been lucky enough to live in a time where I’ve got to see true greats at their sport excel on a consistent basis.. but none of them have done so with the swagger, the class and the all-round… just absolute star-power of the fastest man over 100 and 200 metres we have ever seen. Recently I went back and watched ‘Usain Bolt – The Movie’ , a 2012 behind the scenes look at the great man. In it it charted his rise from Jamaican sprinting prodigy, to the fastest man alive, but also looked back at his infamous false start in the 100 metres final of the 2011 World Championships. The documentary concluded by saying that if Usain could put that behind him and win gold in the Olympics the next year in London, he would go down as one of the all time greats… well, we know how that ended up.

Now three years after the legend called time on his incredible career as a sprinter, I feel it only right I go away from my usual blog topic of Professional wrestling to look back and pay my own tribute to quite simply the greatest athlete that ever lived.


usain bolt olympics rio 2016 gold medals - 2LUXURY2.COM

So… where do you even begin when trying to summarize the career of Usain Bolt? I mean, you can go onto the internet and just see his incredible list of accomplishments, so I’ll try and make this blog more of a personal tribute with some of my own memories of watching this incredible athlete perform. But… just for fun… here’s just some of what he took home when it was all said and done…

 

  • 100 Metres World Record (9.58 seconds)
  • 200 Metres World Record (19.19 seconds) 
  • 4X100 Metres World Record, representing Jamaica alongside Yohan Blake, Michael Frater and Nesta Carter, (36.84 seconds) 
  • 8 Olympic Gold Medals (including Gold in the 100 and 200 metres at 3 consecutive games)
  • 11 World Championship Gold Medals (and 2 Silver and 1 Bronze)

 

And I could go on and on… but for me something else sets him apart from the rest… I found an amazing image… (https://twistedsifter.com/2017/08/fastest-100m-times-with-people-caught-doping-crossed-out/)… Below is a list of the fastest 100 metres sprint times ever recorded. BUT crossed out from the list are times from athletes that have at one point or another in their careers been found out as doping drugs cheats… and THIS is what sets the great man apart…

the fastest 100m times ever with names of people caught doping crossed out The Fastest 100m Times Ever with the Names of People Caught Doping Crossed Out

Simply the best, and CLEAN!

But as I’ve said, Bolt is naturally a laid-back kind of guy. From watching the movie on him I did (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Usain-Bolt-Movie-DVD/dp/B008LX4018) it is clear to see Bolt very much liked to mix training hard with leisure. He comes across as such a down to earth guy, and yet he is billed as this superhuman. From hearing him talk and seeing the type of man he is, he doesn’t come across as the fastest man there ever has been. And if there is a more endearing quality in a sports idol than humility I’m yet to know of it.

And Bolt, despite his superstardom, never seemed to lose track of where he came from.  Bolt hails from Sherwood Content, a quiet farming-based community bereft of crime. His childhood friend Nugent Walker was Bolt’s personal manager having known him since the two were young, they went to school together. Walker’s role was, in his own words, “he wants me to structuralise his business aspects of his life… he wants me to ensure that when he finishes athletics everything is safe”.  Bolt is seen in the documentary sharing a house with some friends in Kingston, Jamaica. A nice house, but no mansion or anything over-big. His friends even join in some training drills with him in a pool, even when socializing Bolt is still active. And in the evening Bolt and his friends really relax and enjoy themselves… but not with an extravagant party or anything too wild… friends gather… to play dominoes… wild hey?…

A touching part of the documentary comes when Bolt revisits a setting where he would get some of his first successes as a sprinter. As he attends that year’s ‘The Champs’, a sort of mass athletics trial event for Jamaica’s top prospects from every school in Jamaica. It was where Bolt himself once got his big break, and here we see him return as a superstar. We also hear the story of how a young Usain had many offers from abroad to help him on his way to beginning his career, but instead chose to stay in Jamaica. Albeit still it was a big leap for a young man from a small village to go to the big city.

 

Bolt’s incredible career as a senior pro didn’t exactly get off to a LIGHTNING start. His incredible run as a junior was followed by disappointment at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. An injury-plagued Bolt was eliminated in the heats of the 200 metres. Had this incredible prospect failed at the big stage? No. As would become a theme of his rise to legendary status he would comeback from disappointment in amazing fashion. And it was shortly after that that Bolt made a decision which would change his career…

London 2012 Olympics: Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake's coach Glen ...

Usain hired Jamaican coach Glen Mills, who together they moved Bolt’s focus to the 100 metres primarily. Through a combination of compromise and hard work between the pair Bolt continued to flourish. He recorded a 100 metres time of 10.30 and in 2007 broke the Jamaican record, that had stood for over 30 years, for the 200 metres with a time of 19.75 seconds. Mills helped perfect Bolt’s technique, balance and helped him employ a more efficient stride frequency. Going into the 2008 Olympics Coach Mills worked on Bolt’s 100 metres speed as well as the required stamina when it comes to running the 200… and well… 2 events, 2 gold medals, 2 world record times. A great was born. Not just a great, but by some distance the very best of his or any generation.

Moments that made 2008: Usain Bolt | The Independent

And yet still his coach kept the now double-Olympic champion and world record holder grounded, feeling that still improvements could be made to Bolt’s strides and technique. Something that makes top level sports stars what they are and to keep on winning is that constant strive to improve and for perfection. Usain Bolt was no different. It was at this point aged 12 that he first caught my attention. He was like a superhero, a real-life superman. There’s just something magical about the fastest man in the world dominating everyone in his path. I was in awe.

An article summing up the defining images of 2008 by The Independent summed up the relaxed nature of the man…

“The day after his triumph, Usain Bolt sat eating chicken McNuggets and laughing at the stir he had caused. He said that running was only part of the enjoyment of his life. He wasn’t going to spoil any of it by taking drugs. He wasn’t going to tarnish that moment made of gold or the miracle of trust it still represents.”

(https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/olympics/moments-that-made-2008-usain-bolt-1216264.html)

By this point Usain Bolt had become the star of the athletic world. The next year he went one better… During the 2009 World Championships in Berlin the Men’s 100 metres event took place over the 15th and 16th of August. With me turning 14 on the 18th and it being during the school holidays all I had was watching sports. And so I tuned in to watch the meetings premier event. I can’t quite recall why but something happened and it meant I missed the actual 100 metres race, and by the time I tuned back in all I saw was the BBC broadcast team talking about this unbelievable race they had just seen…

Indeed unbelievable was exactly what it was…

 

9.58. Over a tenth of a second taken off his own world record set only a year prior. And they say lightning doesn’t strike twice… well this Bolt does… A few days later in the 200 metres he did this…

 

19.19. The runner up in this race was 0.62 behind him. In terms of sprinting, although it may not sound like a lot let me tell you, Usain Bolt absolutely dominated and annihilated the competition in this race. For me this performance was the greatest in athletics history. He won, and by an absolutely landslide against the very best competition. I can tell you for sure one 14 year old watched on gobsmacked. I’ll never ever forget watching that race as long as I live.

In another part of the great documentary I watched we get more insight into Bolt’s lifestyle. And are also introduced to his trusted agent Ricky Simms, who managed his best interests contract wise since 2003.

 

By this point in time Usain was unquestionably the world’s top sprinter. Simply an unbeatable, unstoppable force. For me as a sports fan it was hard not to be engrossed by him as an athlete to admire, here is the nicest guy, clean living and yet can still have a good time. It was hard not to be a fan of Usain Bolt, especially as he just kept on winning…

The summer of 2011 brought around another World Championships. A chance for the double world record holder, Olympic and World Champion to stay on top of his sport. He had many contenders to think about (Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and even his training teammate Yohan Blake), but Bolt was still heavy favourite. First up for him was the 100 metres, he sailed into the final, business as usual… or so we thought…

In possibly the biggest disaster of his incredible career, Usain committed a false start coming out of the blocks, and given a controversial rule change passed it meant disqualification from the race. The absolutely unthinkable, unfathomable outcome had somehow happened. He wasn’t beaten in the race, he didn’t even start it. For me as a fan this was up there with England losing to Iceland. Total disaster. In his absence his friend Blake became the new 100 metres world champion, but Bolt and his unthinkable disaster took all the headlines. With the next Olympics a year away, was Usain Bolt’s seemingly untouchable place at the top of the sprinting world under threat. As a fan, I was worried but still my faith remained. It was a freak occurrence I thought, and Bolt would regain himself. The cream will rise again. I remained loyal to my guy. And after all, he put his 100 metres failure behind him and did retain his world 200 metres title as well as helping Jamaica to Gold in the 4×100 relay. All was not lost yet…

False start knocks Bolt from 100 final

The Olympic Games is one of the biggest sporting events there is, with maybe only the Fifa World Cup as a serious competitor. So for me as a young sports fan to have the games in my country was a dream. It couldn’t get any bigger for me. And so what a stage and a place for Usain Bolt to silence his doubters and remind the world just how great he is. It got to the point I became to get annoyed by those doubting him. Everyone suddenly became enamoured by Yohan Blake. Yes true the world champion, but he did it in a race Bolt wasn’t even active in. So he wasn’t the real number one for me. The BBC pundits backed Blake. Not me. Bolt would show the world the real champion…

With a quite unbelievable performance Bolt surpassed his then world record time from the Games 4 years prior to retain his Olympic Gold. With the eyes of the world on his again he shone. And this was followed by Gold again in the 200 metres, and also in the 4×100 metres where he helped Jamaica to a world record time that still stand today. 3/3. Bolt had come to London and left the dominant king once again. I must say as a sports fan, when your team or the person you are behind wins and proves all doubters wrong it’s a heck of a feeling.

After this was when Bolt really went to another level in terms of his dominance in his sport. The next year came the next World Championships, where Usain would have to put behind him the ghosts of Daegu to become the world champion again… and guess what… yep; 100 metres, 200 metres, 4×100 metres WORLD CHAMPION once again. In winning the 200 metres title again Bolt became the first man to ever retain that crown 3 times in a row. And he did so the day before my birthday, which was a pretty cool gift.

Going into the next Worlds in 2015, Bolt returned to Beijing. And this time he had a real battle on his hands. Somewhat of a good vs evil battle that both circumstances created, but certainly the world’s fans and media alike talked and hyped up. On side we had the quote ‘hero’ character, played by fun-loving, very much likeable guy Usain Bolt. The ‘Villain’ was American Justin Gatlin, who simply put is a drugs cheat. But had served his time and now was back competing. And his form leading to the event showed Bolt, for the first and maybe most serious time in his career, had a credible threat to his status as the World’s best…

Usain Bolt won the 100 metres world final in 2015 in 9.79. Gatlin in 2nd recorded a time of 9.80. Remarkable stuff. And what a line on commentary from Steve Cramm there ‘He saved his title, he saves his reputation, he may have even saved his sport’. Those words couldn’t have been more true. The 200 metres went the same way with Bolt getting the better of the American Gatlin. and Jamaica took the men’s relay race too. Bolt was on top of the world. STILL.

By the time the next Olympics in Rio, Brazil in 2016 came about it was now somewhat of a formality. People were as much tuning in to the 100 metres (traditionally the premier event) as much as they were to see it’s star Usain Bolt perform. And AGAIN perform he did. In the 100 metres with both Gatlin and Blake up against him he took the Gold, came back on my birthday to do the same in the 200 metres, and AGAIN helped Jamaica to relay glory. By this point Bolt had become the only sprinter ever to win the 100 and 200 metres at THREE consecutive Olympics. and he would’ve had a ‘treble-treble’ of sorts had his part in Jamaica’s 2008 relay win not been tainted by drugs cheats. But still I’d say 8 Gold medals across three games is a quite incredible accomplishment. An he did it all CLEAN, and he did it all with a smile.

Athletics - Olympics: Day 9

 

Going in to the 2017 World Championships in London, Bolt had made it known that he would be ending his career as a sprinter at the conclusion of the event’s 100 metres. I paid my own tribute at the time on Instagram ( www.instagram.com/p/BXZ4kh9Bx9nOIaCKK_4ZgZr9nelP-SpzLNcP8I0/ ) … sadly Bolt wouldn’t be able to end his career as a winner as he went home with a bronze medal.

And in a poignant scene that said everything about the man and the respect he had from his peers, during his leg of the men’s 100 metres relay for Jamaica, Bolt pulled up with a hamstring injury… and yet he refused the assistance of a wheelchair and isntead he did indeed cross the finish line one final time, with his teammates Yohan Blake, Julian Forte and Omar McLeod helping him. Father Time beats everyone, even Bolt, but even then he was still not be beaten. A competitor until the very end. But his legacy was already secured. Simply put the greatest athlete that ever lived. An absolute pleasure to be able to grow up watching him become the best ever. The fastest man alive. The greatest of all time. Usain St Leo Bolt. Simply THE best.

BBC World Service - Sporting Witness, Usain Bolt - The Birth of a ...

Josh. 

HOW TO FIX WWE TV

Right now, for a variety of reasons, WWE is in… well if not a crisis it’s not in a terrific place is it? WWE’S down turn in their TV product for me can be traced back to even before the current pandemic changed the entire face of WWE and the wrestling business as a whole. And what makes this all harder to take is that just a few months ago WWE seemed like the ‘cool’ promotion once again… take January’s Royal Rumble for example. Overall for me watching I don’t think me and my friends in Huddersfield have enjoyed a WWE PPV that much for a long time, no more so than the EXCEPTIONAL Men’s Rumble… I mean EDGE returning from retirement, the fantastic story told by Brock Lesnar and everything that came with his involvement, and of course the beast-conquering Drew McIntyre getting the big W at the end… not long after that NXT followed up with one of the best TakeOver’s for some time (which given their lofty standard says so much). Heading towards WrestleMania in 2020 set for Tampa Bay we had the prospect of Lesnar vs McIntyre in the main event, rumours of a dream match between The Undertaker and AJ Styles, and the long-awaited grudge match of Randy Orton and Edge… add to that the potential of the FINAL fight between Tomasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano at the proposed TakeOver that was to come before it… AND a Hall of Fame ceremony headlined by Batista, and featuring the likes of The Bella Twins and Japanese legend Jushin Liger.. My oh My was I looking forward to WWE putting on one of the more memorable Mania weekend’s in wrestling history… and then… well the latest Saudi show happened and gOLDberg stole the Universal title from The Fiend… but we were quickly supplemented for that travesty with the prospect of Bray Wyatt finally getting his revenge on John Cena, so everything LOOKED to be ok… and then… well that little Virus changed the world, and professional wrestling.

Given the unique circumstances, and everything that had to either be completely changed of altered as a result of the Pandemic, I generally felt that WrestleMania this year was a fun two-night event. I enjoyed myself both nights. And, they didn’t do this obviously, but I expressed my opinion to a few people that I felt given the momentum and where everything stood at the time, and given WrestleMania is traditionally seen as the end of one WWE ‘season’ and the next night’s Raw seen as the beginning of the next, I felt that WWE should have taken a break. Put day to day new programming on hold. YES I get nobody knows (and we still don’t) how long it will be until we get people back in arenas, so the question would then be how long does WWE ‘break’ for… but they have HUNDREDS of hours of archive footage, documentaries and other such content they could put in it’s place… and YES I get legally maybe given contracts and such with the TV companies might not allow X amount of non-live shows or archive stuff, but that was my idea then and I stand by it.

WWE for me since WrestleMania has been… well it’s been odd. Tonnes of cutbacks and people fired, maybe it had to be done maybe it didn’t, but that’s another issue… there were people let got that for me it’s a travesty that a space for them couldn’t be found… Gallows and Anderson go from tag team champion contenders and alongside AJ STYLES in The OC and a part of the night one MAIN EVENT of WrestleMania… FIRED… RUSEV, one of the most underutilised and wasted TOP LEVEL talents in the business of the last few years… FIRED… Countless hugely knowledgeable producers like Lance Storm, Shane Helms and even MIKE CHIODA who had become somewhat of a company institution… FIRED!!!

I remember on the first WWE TV PC show of the ‘pandemic’ era, Triple H dominated on screen in a very light-hearted and entertaining SmackDown. He led the line that WWE was hoping to be an escape from the madness that the world had become. I needed that. We all needed our escape… but… they’ve at times not just insulted our intelligence, but honestly infuriated me at times with just some ludicrous booking. Classic WWE you might say, but more shined a light on it now given that ratings on TV are at an ALL TIME low. And it’s getting worse and worse and the TV product shows absolutely no sign of changing. How much the decision by Vince McMahon to remove Paul Heyman from the creative head position of Monday Night Raw and install Bruce Prichard instead, combining his role as head creative of SmackDown, will steady the ship and change fortunes remains to be seen. But given some of the dross and classic-Vince pleasing toilet humour we have seen from the Prichard SmackDown shows (King Corbin being covered in DOG FOOD comes to mind right away)… I get Paul Heyman isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (see the latest comments by AJ Styles and Gallows & Anderson for that), but he builds people into stars, he has long-term stories… sure not always hits (Lana-Lashley-Rusev) but the track record isn’t bad… Drew, Asuka, Street Profits, Aleister Black, Apollo Crews… all of these have seen an upturn in fortunes since Heyman took charge…

I was saying to a few people I was giving WWE a pass during the pandemic era as times were certainly… different… but then I see AEW. Dynamite each week is a fun show at worst, the wrestling is good, they actually acknowledge that COVID-19 exists, and they do their bit to try and give us some escapism, and their big Pandemic-era PPV was a super-fun show that featured a great world title match between (and shout if these names ring a bell) a guy once called Dean Ambrose and the former Luke Harper as Jon Moxley and Brodie Lee had a solid world title match. Then they did the excellently put together and super-fun Stadium Stampede Match that was awesome… compare All Out to the recent WWE Extreme Rules show…

WE HAD (in ONE show… the SAME PPV): A guy getting his EYE BALL POPPED OUT (yep, they ‘did’ that), a women’s title match ending with someone’s friend putting on a ref shirt and counting the pin so the challenger literally stole the title belt, a championship match not happening and instead the challenger coming out and cutting a promo and awarding himself the new title belt, a WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH where the challenger had every single rule in his favour and yet he still got beat (BURIED)… and on top of that each week on Raw they bring out people like RIC FLAIR (A MAN IN HIS 70s BY THE WAY… think about that and COVID-19… oh and his wife tested positive by the way)… they put on BIG SHOW VS RANDY ORTON IN 2020 as a TV main event… my GOD… And in classic WWE style they bring up Matt Riddle (one of the most popular NXT stars) to SmackDown… and a month or so in they’ve already beaten him clean in a big title match… cool…

Basically I think WWE is in a proper crisis right now. Particularly Monday Night Raw. And WWE like they always do are going back to what they know… they bring out the old guys and they do the most odd and bizarre and wacky booking to try and grab some attention. That’s not cool. That’s not listening to what the people want. Extreme Rules at times reminded me of a company I have read books on and gone back and watched A LOT of shows of… this might be the worst thing I can say about the TV right now but it reminded me of 1999/2000 WCW. Just seriously not cool, not interesting and just downright stupid. It’s 2020, I don’t need to see a storyline all about a guy getting his EYE BALL pulled out… come on guys, it’s hard enough to keep people interested in wrestling at the best of times but if you’ve got BULLSHIT like that on your shows… my fucking GOD… These fuckers are beyond lucky they have multi-million and long term TV deals with USA and FOX… but it’s notable that Sky in Italy just dropped WWE in favour of AEW… not HUGE but notable… they NEED to sort this out NOW!!!

And you may disagree… but I’ve got some suggestions…

  • Acknowledge that COVID-19 is a thing, and give us reasons to forget all about it

It was only a small thing, but during one of their shows the AEW commentator Excalibur cut a really great speech acknowledging the current situation we were all in, added to the recent passing of Hana Kimura (a top japanese female wrestler who took her own life, largely down to negativity she received online), and he basically told use all that they hoped AEW would be an escape for them and to put smiles on faces in these dark times. And they went out and put on some great wrestling, some fun stories and I genuinely had fun watching it… and for a few hours I forgot all about lockdown and the pandemic. WrestleMania I did that… Extreme Rules? Not so much. I had my intelligence insulted and I was frustrated. I don’t think any of us need anything else to be getting mad about right now, so no wonder less people than ever are watching the tv shows now. They don’t even say COVID-19 on TV hardly, just tell us you’re doing everything you can to keep your performers and staff safe, tell us your going to put on a fun and great and compelling TV show… then actually DO IT!!! We need cheering up. SO CHEER US UP!

  • Get a roster of people… and stick to it!

So I get this may not be as easy as it sounds given people can fail a test or not want to travel etc… but in recent weeks we’ve seen people like Bianca Belair and Shayna Baszler spend weeks off of TV… meanwhile the likes of Big Show, Christian and Ric Flair are wheeled out for apparent storyline reasons… yet somehow I don’t think many will remember the two week run of Big Show in years to come… I’m just saying surely WWE should concentrate on making and sustaining newer stars rather than focusing on the past? Of course we know this is far from a new problem for WWE… but if they start pushing newer people NOW then once we are back in full arenas people will be clamouring to see and get behind people like Belair and Baszler, and maybe even get more behind Drew as champion now they have the chance. I just think now is a better time than ever for WWE to build new people, which is why the removal of Heyman is such a disappointment, aside from the reasoning for it behind the scenes…

  • LOGICAL and REALISTIC matches & finishes

The amount of times I’ve either read of written myself with regards to WWE matches, particularly recently, something along the lines of “great match until the finish which really took it down”… Asuka vs Sasha this past Sunday was a very good match with a bullshit ending that was confusing as heck, infuriating in fact. What’s the point in doing the hard work to let us all down at the end? I’m sure they have reasons for that particular example storyline wise, but come on… they must be able to come up with better shit than that… surely??? And as for the Rollins vs Rey stuff? None of that horse crap, ever again. I could even go as far as the Money In The Bank match/matches a couple of months back… was a bit random wasn’t it? Can’t lie and say I wouldn’t have preferred just your standard ladder matches rather than the convoluted mess we got… I get they want to be different and do something that’s gonna get headlines, but is there any need to be different for the sake of it? If it ain’t broke don’t try and fix it… right? Come on WWE it really ain’t all that hard!!!

  • ENOUGH of the cinematic matches

Ok so we are all agreed that the Boneyard and FireFly Funhouse “matches” from WrestleMania weekend were great, yes? Well if nothing else WWE haven’t come close to those epics since. Maybe down to the fact each of those had a plethora of people working on them for weeks at a time, and with a host of different creative influences making every little detail make sense and relate to the story told. Since then WWE have tried again and again to produce just as epic pieces, but for me haven’t come close. MITB as I’ve said just felt like a mess, you can’t even call it a match for me. Whatever the heck the whole Street Profits/Viking Raiders/Tozawa and the ninjas THING was from Backlash was awful. Even the Wyatt Swamp Fight (and I am an avid Bray Wyatt fan) whilst for me personally was fine, I could see why people thought it was trash. Just knock them on the head WWE. Sure, maybe we don’t want wrestling after wrestling on a show and difference is good… but it’s taken until now for these cinematic matches to become a big thing in WWE and we lasted for long enough without them relatively fine… on the whole and since Mania they’ve not been good, and have just taken up time overall. Enough of them. You’re wasting our time now.

  • Build a strong card for SummerSlam!

Now this is where I give myself a little creative license, and this is more down to opinion more than any of the points I will make I feel, but the creative on WWE TV at the moment feels so flat and the same. I feel like I’ve seen Aleister Black vs Seth Rollins built as a dream match a handful of times now. And we’ve had MVP and Lashley prance around in recent weeks as if they’re the big dogs, when what have they done? Lashley lost his WWE title match and MVP awarded himself the United States Championship… great… now what? Well here’s a few ideas I have for Raw, just to get the ball rolling, and after this (god please forgive me) is down to them to decide where they go: Drew vs Orton for the title, Andrade & Garza vs Street Profits for the tag titles, Rollins against Samoa Joe (because as good as he is as a colour commentator if he’s anywhere else but in that ring it’s such a waste) and Asuka vs Baszler as your matches for SummerSlam. I also heard rumours about MVP, Lashley and Shelton Benjamin doing a modern day Nation of Domination gimmick. Which is both relevant in 2020 and interesting, and I feel given modern times it would be tough to keep that gimmick as a heel team for very long so they’d need to tread very carefully. For SmackDown they NEED to get far far away from that awful Sheamus – Jeff Hardy storyline for starters. Then looks like they’re going The Fiend vs Braun for the title (who or what after that is anyone’s guess), Id go with Big E vs AJ Styles for the IC title given it looks like E will get a singles run with Woods and now Kofi out and I think this would be a super fun and new match up, I’d have Matt Riddle squash King Corbin on a big stage like a SummerSlam to really kick start his main roster run, You could go Cesaro and Nakamura vs The Luchas of Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado for the SD tags in what would just be a great wrestling match… but for me, and this is dream world stuff at this stage, but for me the main event (and it would have been perfect for a Boston SummerSlam that never was…) but I think in the weeks that remain, they need to do the first of a few between Bayley and Sasha Banks for the SmackDown women’s title. It’s early and I’m sure that’s the direction they are heading for the future. But why not at SummerSlam? It’s one of the big shows of the year… why not? There’s just a few ideas which I think people would be in to and it would just liven up the TV we have in the meantime before the PPV on August 22nd…

  • We need to talk about Otis…

I bet until last night’s SmackDown when they aired a vignette staying that Mandy Rose and her beau Otis would be returning next week for the latest chapter in their ‘love story’ , you all kind of forgot about them. And the fact that Otis is the holder of the Money In The Bank briefcase!!! Yes the same briefcase that earns you a world title match whenever you like… I know at the time it was all fun and we all cheered that somebody different, and a guy that had worked his way up and gained a very organic following through the whole Mandy-Dolph-Sonya story, but let’s get serious… could you honestly see Otis defeating either Braun Strowman or The Fiend for the Universal Championship? The answer is no. And I know it’s harsh, but he’s just not ready. And you could tell much more of a more app and longer term story with him if he were to lose the opportunity rather than be squashed by Braun or The Fiend in a title match. I just don’t feel it will do Otis any good right now to do a one and done feud or match for a world title. It’d be pointless and a proper burial, would be similar to when Corbin lost his cash in. So if I don’t want Otis to have the case, then who? Well… I’ve someone else in mind… BAY BAY!!!

  • Make the main roster UNDISPUTED

ITS TIME! It really really is. Adam Cole having lost the NXT Championship may go down as the greatest holder of that title there has been. Add to that the accomplishments of Fish, O’Reilly and Strong and it’s safe to say that Era have owned NXT. So now I feel is the time to conquer the main land… and first target I’d say should be the naive yet courageous Otis. There’s so much you could do with the story and so many elements that I think would truly shock the SmackDown system; have Era flirt with Mandy (an easy one), you’ve got Tucker and him being jealous or annoyed at his friend’s success, or if you don’t want to do a direct feud have just a minor fall out due to Era interference, and eventually have Cole win the briefcase from Otis and go from there. You could even have Sonya Deville gain more revenge on her former best friend and become the long awaited female member of the Undisputed Era? Further a field I’d have a tag title programme between Era and Heavy Machinery as Adam Cole was off in pursuit of a world title… what a time to be alive that would be…

And off the top of my head those are just the ideas I’ve come up with. Not fool proof sure but they’d make the tv show more entertaining I’ve no doubt. There’s a few minor changes I’d do right away as well like getting people looking into the camera and just making the people that are put into the crowd act more natural. I may be wrong but it feels the dynamite crowds are just watching the show, it feels like the WWE pandemic era crowds are given directions and it comes across as very false at times. I’d protect people more too, this past week we had Aleister Black lose (he shouldn’t be losing full stop, he’s a future world champion) and then Andrade and Angel Garza lose to the tag champions and then be announced in a number one contenders match for the next week… WHAT!?

There’s a lot of things WWE should and needs to change right now. Hopefully someone somewhere does something… or else this incredibly alarming fall in TV ratings and the quality of the weekly product is only going to get worse and worse… and it may not hurt them today, tomorrow or even for the next few years… but don’t think it can’t get any worse and drop to new lows. It can. But it cannot be allowed to happen.

Please WWE. Save yourself before it’s too late!!!

Josh.

ECW One Night Stand 2005 – Review

Is WWE’s acquisition, attempted revival and ultimate failure to bring back ECW just as big an own goal as what they did with WCW? Quite possibly. But there was a very brief time when the deceased former underground turned ultra-cool brand of the rebellion, that ultimately became a sort of developmental territory for the likes of Monday Nitro and Raw… Extreme Championship Wrestling really was a company that changed the wrestling business. Sadly a combination of financial… shall we just say ‘miss-management’… and the cherry picking of the promotions top stars by World Champion Wrestling and the WWF meant that Paul Heyman’s greatest gift to the business of Pro-Wrestling died a very sad death. And yes WWE ECW sucked ASS… but for one night, we got as close to the original ECW as we will ever get. It ended up as an emotional night for many, and one Paul Heyman has described as one of his career highlights. I know I say this a lot but I absolutely implore you, before you read this blog, please go out of your way to watch this show. And now, here is my review of the one night WWE got the revival of ECW spot on. Here is my review of the One Night Stand show from 2005. Enjoy!


We open with a panoramic shot of the crowd in the legendary Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, which plays hosts to our festivities. It takes seven seconds for the crowd to burst into the famous “E-C-DUB” chants. There are crowd signs everywhere, and plenty of OG ECW shirts from those in the audience. Already it appears members of the core audience of the old promotion are out in force for this reunion show. A play of the ECW theme song is greeted with a huge cheer, and an even bigger one greets the arrival and walk to the ring of the voice of ECW, the legendary (I feel like I might use that word a lot during this blog, or words to that effect) Joey Styles. An amazing ovation from the crowd brought Styles almost to tears, and how mad is it this guy used to call ECW pretty much solo, something you just wouldn’t see in 2020. I must say I absolutely love the set up they have for this show in the arena; it’s a ballroom so there’s fans on the floor and in the upper decks too, but it’s more like a bowl and less like an arena or a stadium so the atmosphere is tremendous. A passionate audience will help that too of course, and it’s evident in the opening minute I’ve been watching this show that’s what we have for this one. After soaking in the crowd noise and chanting for him Styles opens up the show saying “OH MY GOD (his signature phrase, which gets a big pop)! … Hello everyone, and welcome to ECW One Night Stand”. Joey then welcomes out his broadcast colleague for the show MICK FOLEY! Foley of course is another former ECW star under his Cactus Jack gimmick, and naturally gets a huge ovation from the crowd as he comes out with his Cactus Jack shirt on and music playing him out.

We then get the old school ECW opening title sequence play. Or if not the original one that was very much made to look and come across as if it was. It then transitioned into the more modern ECW theme of ‘Bodies’ by Drowning Pool.

Lance Storm with Dawn Marie defeated ‘Lionheart’ Chris Jericho

Storm got a huge ovation, as I think everyone on this show may well do. After he came to the ring they cut in footage of his time in ECW as tag champion alongside Justin Credible. I hope this is something they do all show, as it was cool to see clips from ECW of old alongside the live stuff. Jericho went by ‘Lion Heart’ (which he also had on the back of his jacket he wore to the ring) as that was his guise during his days in ECW, despite him being a star in WWE at the time of this show. So little callbacks like that I like a lot. Storm and Jericho broke into the business together so this is a cool match up between two former ECW stars who actually also had their first match against one another. The two quickly shook hands before they locked up and exchanged as series of takedowns, counters, then a monkey flip by Storm landing on his feet and he then got an armdrag takedown, Jericho got one too and then they stood across from eachother for the stalemate as the crowd’s applause rained down. Jericho took Storm down after with a waist lock, before what Joey Styles called ‘a professional wrestling style bow and arrow’ was put on Storm by Jericho. The… lively… ECW crowd chanted “SHE’S A CRACKWHORE” presumably at Dawn Marie… After Storm powered out of a brief pin attempt by Jericho he then took Lion heart into the corner, ramming his head into the turnbuckle before hitting a hard chop, before Storm jumped back over Jericho after he was whipped into the other corner, with Jericho then hitting a nice dropkick off the middle turnbuckle. Jericho then came off the ropes and hit a baseball slide to send Storm to the outside. Joey Styles on commentary pointed out that Storm was lucky the New York State Athletic Commission made ECW have protective mats on the floor outside the ring, as ECW usually do not, and again it’s the little details of this show I already love. Jericho tried to dive onto Storm from the apron, but instead he moved him into the steel barricade. Lance then took advantage stomping away at a wounded Jericho back in the ring, himself then coming off the ropes and he hit a beautiful dropkick of his own, which was so good it good applause from the crowd on the floor seats visible on camera. This got Storm his first nearfall of the match just after. Storm then hit a great-looking delayed vertical suplex, but Jericho kicked out of the pin at two. Storm wasted no time in putting the rest hold in, but Jericho powered up and elbowed Storm, striking him again before Lance put him back in the corner and hit another big chop, and after Jericho sent Lance into the other corner he immediately jumped up onto the top rope, but came down right into a mid-air dropkick to his back from Jericho. A tremendous spot that the crowd loved. Jericho sent Storm down after three times in a row with clotheslines, slams and then a kick to the back of Lance’s head doing the job. Storm tried the German Suplex, but Jericho stopped it, and they exchanged the advantage and attempted suplexes until Jericho caught Lance with a roll up pin attempt for a nearfall. At this point the crowd chanted the name of Chris Candido, another former ECW star who had sadly died less than a couple of months before this show took place. Storm in this time reversed the pin for a nearfall of his own, before Jericho hit suplex he didn’t release and got a nearfall from it. He followed up with a couple of hard knees to the head of Storm, and he tried to slam him down only to be sent against the ropes and hit with another dropkick this time to his back by Storm. Storm tried for a cradle Piledriver but Jericho got out, then Storm his a textbook Superkick and got a close nearfall from that. Lance placed Jericho on the top rope, but after a quick exchange it was Jericho who slammed Storm down, and Lion heart then hit a flying elbow strike to send Storm down… but Lance kicked out of the pin at two. Jericho kicked and chopped Storm, and after both came off the ropes Storm slid underneath Jericho and somehow locked in a single leg ‘Calgary’ crab submission which was beautifully set up. Jericho though rolled out of it and looked to try for his own Walls Of Jericho, but he instead catapulted Lance into the corner, then hit a running bulldog, then went for the Lionsault to end it but Storm got his knees up… although to the awe of the crowd Jericho seemed to see this coming in time and himself went to put the Walls Of Jericho in, which he did get. Just as this happened though Dawn Marie got onto the apron and this distracted the referee, just as Lance was tapping away… and as this was going on both Jason Knight (another former ECW star) and Justin Credible tried to get involved but Jericho beat both them away, and then rolled over Storm as he came at him for a nearfall pin… but Storm kicked out in time and kicked Jericho towards the ropes, and this was where Credible (behind the refs back) hit Jericho right in the face with a huge kendo stick shot that the crowd went mad for. And this allowed for Lance Storm to get the 1,2,3. Crowd loved this match and so did I. I’d have happily watched more, but they went in, had a solid and very fun to watch professional wrestling match. Great stuff, great wrestling and we got our Extreme stuff in their too. A great opener. Storm and the rest of the ‘Impact Players’ posed in the ring before making their way to the back, and Jericho later got a standing ovation from the crowd for his efforts.

***3/4 

Styles and Foley then briefly spoke about, and we indeed saw the empty seats on a balcony above. This is where a selection of both Raw and SmackDown superstars will be sitting later in the show. They were invited to attend by ECW’s head honcho Paul Heyman. The idea is the WWE guys look down on ECW, so expect fireworks when they show up later…

We had ‘The Pitbull’ Gary Wolfe (another ex ECW guy) briefly say from backstage that tonight has already gone to the extreme, but he lead us into a package looking at ECW stars of the past sadly not around to see this show. The ‘ECW remembers’ package that followed showed: Rocco Rock of Public Enemy, Terry Gordy, Mike Lockwood (aka Crash Holly in WWF), The Original Sheik who was one of the all-time great heels of the business and also the Uncle of Sabu, Mike Lozansky, Pitbull Anthony Durante, Big Dick Dudley and the aforementioned Chris Candido. This was a really well done video. May they all Rest In Peace.

Super Crazy defeated Little Guido with Big Guido, JT Smith, Tony Mamaluke and Tracy Smothers and Yoshihiro Tajiri with Mikey Whipwreck and The Sinister Minister 

Tajiri came out first with Whipwreck and ‘The Sinister Minister’ who I know more as Father James Mitchell in TNA (famous former manager of Abyss). Little Guido of the F.B.I (Full Blooded Italians) was known as Nunzio in WWE. As you can imagine by the people involved, this three way dance match went a million miles an hour in-ring wise. A three way dance by the way means it’s basically an elimination match and not just one fall. There’s six people on the outside so if this is a completely clean match I’ll be astounded. Little Guido got the action underway rushing at Super Crazy, with Tajiri then kicking and hammering away at Little Guido from behind. Then with Guido out the way Super Crazy pikced up Tajiri off the ropes and slammed him down with a tilt-the-world backbreaker. Then he tried to throw Tajiri against the ropes but the Japanese Buzzsaw somersaulted off the ring ropes and hit a reverse flying elbow to send Super Crazy down. Tajiri then kicked and chopped at Little Guido, then Guido was thrown against the ropes but then spun Tajiri down and into a form of armbar, but Super Crazy then came in and stomped on Guido, before hitting a standing moonsault. Crazy got a waist lock on Guido who elbowed him away, then tried to hook his leg but was kicked away, then Guido tried a sunset flip pin but Crazy rolled out of it and hit a standing dropkick right to Little Guido’s head which looked awesome. Tajiri then got hit with one himself after Super Crazy did a roll into it. Crazy then hit a baseball slide to Tajiri who was taking a breather on the outside, then as he was back in the ring Tony Mamaluke pulled him down from the outside, and Little Guido then went up to the second rope and hit a leg drop to the back of Super Crazy’s neck. Guido went after him but ended up himself getting launched into the steel barricade. Super Crazy in fact went into the crowd after Little Guido, and after Super Crazy knocked him down he then went and climbed the stairs on a nearby balcony fans were stood watching on from…  Super Crazy then balanced on the barrier as a nearby security guard held the fans back, and then SUPER CRAZY HIT A MOONSAULT OFF THE BALCONY ONTO LITTLE GUIDO BELOW!!! It was a heck of  a visual spot that the crowd went absolutely wild for and rightfully so! Crazy in fact fell onto Guido and a number of fans who were nearby so it was very authentic-looking. Super Crazy then flipped over the barricade and wildly went back into the ring. Tajiri then tried to flip over the ropes and pin Super Crazy, but Crazy held onto the ropes to stop him and then was turned round the other way, so Tajiri had his famous ring ropes-assisted submission the ‘Tarantula’… then Crazy after this chopped away at Tajiri and punched at him in the corner, as the crowd counted along with the number of punches, in Spanish. Class. Tajiri reversed a whip into the corner then got a kick to the face, before the FBI then pulled Super Crazy down and yanked him against the steel ring post, and beat on him on the outside, and this led Big Guido to take Tajiri in the ring as Little Guido went up top… Big Guido had Tajiri set for a powerbomb but Tajiri was in the perfect spot to spit the Green Mist right into the eyes of Little Guido! The Sinister Minister ran in the ring and chop blocked the leg of Big Guido, and Tajiri caught the big man with a kick to the head, and then hit another kick to Tracy Smothers as Mikey Whipwreck came in and striked away at Little Guido before he hit the ‘Whipper Snapper’ (a rope stunner), and Tajiri pinned and eliminated Little Guido. After a brief staredown Crazy kicked Tajiri in the chest, and shortly after Super Crazy came from the outside of the apron, off the ring ropes inside the ring and hit a moonsault to Tajiri, but only got a nearfall. Super Crazy straight after tried for a powerbomb but got reversed into a ddt, which also got a 2 count. Tajiri kicked away and didn’t seem too happy as the crowd loudly chanted for ‘SU-PER CRA-ZY’, Tajiri hit more strikes as Crazy reversed a vertical suplex attempt and then slammed Tajiri down from a fireman’s carry, and then hit a moonsault off the bottom rope, then off the second (both of which perfectly executed), and he then tried for another right after from the top, but Whipwreck shoved him down. Tajiri tried the Buzzsaw kick in the ring after, but Crazy dodges it and then hit a couple of hard strikes, then a big powerbomb (the crowd chanted ‘YOU FUCKED UP’ at this point but I’m not sure what at to be honest), and then Super Crazy went up top and hit the moonsault off the top for the 1,2,3 and the win. Some match that. Again I’d have happily seen it go longer, but in the time they were out there for they went a million miles an hour and it was all good, fun stuff.

***1/4 

They showed a video of some old ECW moments. Christ… this stuff wouldn’t even be remotely possible today, all sorts of weapon spots and usages, crowds getting in the ring, chairs getting launched in from the outside, all sorts, certainly was EXTREME!

Rey Mysterio defeated Psicosis 

Psicosis came out wearing his Lucha mask with the long hair attached, but took it off once in the ring. Commentary put this over as a big deal of him showing respect to the fans and to ECW, and Foley stated this was the first time this has been done by Psicosis in North America, but Styles corrected saying it was the first time he’d worn the mask to the ring and then took it off as a show of love and respect to the fans. This was dubbed an ‘Extreme Lucha match’. These two had a feud of the year in 1995 in ECW. After locking up they exchanged wrist holds with each man rolling out of it before they grasped hands and eventually Psicosis hit an arm drag out of the corner and the two had a stalemate stand off. After locking hands again Rey found himself balancing by his knees on Psicosis’ shoulders and then he rolled down for a nearfall pin attempt with the victory roll. Another stalemate. After a side-headlock by Psicosis Rey eventually came off the ropes and springboarded onto Psicosis to take him down, but Psicosis rolled over and picked Rey up, and then slammed him down face first into the ring floor. Psicosis then stomped on Rey, dropped an elbow and then hard irish-whipped Rey from one corner to another, this got a nearfall. Rey then springboarded off the ropes to takedown Psicosis for a nearfall. Mick Foley noted on commentary that some of the audience were chanting that this was ‘boring’, and put across that Irish whips and the sort was not the sort of thing they wanted to see from Psicosis. After Rey came off the ropes Psicosis caught him with a sleeper hold, which only further angered the crowd. Psicosis again threw Rey into the corner as Joey Styles said on commentary how maybe the reason Psicosis isn’t doing his more typical lucha-style is he doesn’t believe he can out-quicken Rey anymore. Psicosis got another nearfall after throwing Rey to the ring floor again, and then threw Mysterio out of the ring. He went after Rey some more on the outside, dropping a strike off the apron then launching him into the barricade. Psicosis then went to the top rope, and with Mysterio hanging over the steel barricade he hit a tremendous leg drop. NOW the crowd were into Psicosis. He then got Rey back in the ring, but only got a 2 count as Mysterio got a leg on the rope. Psicosis chopped Mysterio in the corner, but then whipped him into the other corner before Rey kipped up over him then Psicosis shoved Rey backwards into the corner turnbuckle, and he went for a running dropkick but Mysterio moved out the way in time. After hitting a strike and running the ropes a couple of times Rey hit a facebuster type move and got a nearfall of his own. Psicosis went flying at Rey in the corner but again Mysterio dodged it and Psicosis went shoulder first into the ring post and to the outside, and into the front row even over the barricade. Rey Mysterio responded by going to the top rope himself, and leaping onto Psicosis into the crowd with a seated senton. Crowd went wild for that. Eventually back in the ring Rey hit the springboard dropkick to set Psicosis into position for the 619, which he hit, and then the West Coast Pop for the 123. A fun match but it wasn’t as Lucha as I or I think these fans wanted it to be. Good fun mind but I can’t help feeling a little shirt changed.

**3/4  

The SmackDown superstars who had come to invade their way into the show made their way to their seats. Among them were Kurt Angle and JBL (both of whom took great glee in showing off their ticket to the nearby fans), Orlando Jordan, (the crowd chanted ‘YOU SUCK DICK’ as JBL walked up some stairs), The Bashams, Carlito (we had ‘FUCK YOU SMACKDOWN’ chants).

Joey Styles said on commentary that he longer wanted to look at these guys and said to ‘roll anything’, then they went into a package of old ECW stuff. Just a load of ECW stuff and extreme highlights basically. All good stuff.

We had ECW alumni Joel, who got a big pop, appear with a mic in the balcony bit where the SmackDown stars were. JBL pushed him away and over. Big timed him fully and came across as a bully. Angle told him to get his ass out of here, and said ECW fans were the lowest form of scum walking God’s green earth. He said the people SUCK, and when the fans told him he sucked dick he said “Your Mother taught me how”.  He added the last ECW event he was at he left half way through because it sucked, that it wasn’t wrestling it was humiliation and that ‘you people are morons’. As the crowd loudly chanted in union for him to ‘SHUT THE FUCK UP’ he said they (the WWE guys) would make sure every ECW star who stepped in that ring tonight would get their ass kicked, and there wasn’t a damn thing anyone could do about it. Then before JBL could even talk the crowd loudly called him an ASSHOLE. JBL then said that Madison Square Garden was one block away, and that if you put his name on the marquee it sells out, ECW can barely sell up a bingo hall. And that them being there reminds them how bad their world is, and when they sit on their internet (in between their porn sites at their mummy’s house) – I’m paraphrasing but he said all of this by the way – and they exchange emails with their buddies saying that they were Hardcore, and we love ECW (loud shut the fuck up chants), that they love ECW because they could be ECW. He then pointed out a couple of fat members of the audience and said they could go to the ring and mutilate their body and that was ECW. And that JBL being here reminds them that he is above that and that he is a wrestling god. JBL said nobody in that ring will ever make it to his level, and that the only chance this Pay Per View succeeds is because he is here. He was then the victim of a perfectly timed interruption…

The music of Rob Van Dam played. RVD as arguably the most successful ECW guy in WWE that there has been (and who one year later at this show WON the WWE Championship), could well argue he was at JBL’s ‘level’ in my opinion. Huge ovation for RVD of course, who came out with a knee brace on and alongside Bill Alfonso (a former manager in ECW). This whole event was actually RVD’s idea in fact, or at least he made the suggestion to Vince McMahon. JBL tried to talk down RVD as he came out, but he conveniently had some mic issues… RVD asked Alfonso if he remembered this (pointing at the ECW fans and atmosphere)? RVD then spoke to the SmackDown stars that it sucked bad enough they were in this building that they’ve got absolutely nothing to do with, and to ‘shut your mouth, this has nothing to do with you, tonight is gonna be one of the biggest Pay Per Views all year and that’s exactly because these people, just like me, just like Fonzy, are sick and tired of having to have you and your likeness shoved down our throats everytime they wanna watch wrestling, tonight we give them what they wanna see, ECW.’. After a series of ‘E-C-DUB’ chants RVD went on ‘you deserve zero credit for tonight’s success, the office might be blind to it, but these people are gonna let you know… that’s right, I don’t have any ‘creative geniuses’ writing my script tonight folks, so I’m gonna be shooting from the heart, and I’m gonna take you back, to a time before RVD’s vocabulary was limited to ‘whatever’ and ‘cool’, remember that Fonzy?, remember when RVD had vocabulary, when I had a voice, you remember when these people would chant my initials from the opening of the show, through intermissions all the way through to the main event, remember that? (loud RVD chants right on queue of course)… talk about the pressure, no sweat, I didn’t sweat it, you know why? Because I was going to have the opportunity to come out and actually use my abilities and my skills to make sure that everybody watching went home happy. As long as I got the chance to do my part that’s all that mattered, you know why? RVD pointed the mic at Alfonso, who took the mic and RVD then went into it (whilst doing his signature points) ‘I’m the whole, FUCKIN, show’. RVD carried on ‘Mr Pay Per View, Mr Monday Night’ and then he asked Fonzy if he remembers what RVD 420 means? And both mean said into the mic ‘I just smoked your ass’ which I thought was a great line. He then asked Alfonso how long he held that World Television title for to which he said it was 1 year, 11 months, 18 days, 2 hours and 42 seconds DADDY! Van Dam said ‘are you kidding me? That was the best time of my career, yeah I said that, that is how you showcase RVD, I know, I know, I understand, I feel the love (More RVD chants at this point), I understand the respect, and that is why we are here tonight, that’s why I, went to the boss man and said Vince have you ever thought about doing an ECW pay per view? He said ‘well actually (RVD deepened his voice a little to do his Vince speak which was great) I hadn’t thought of that’, I said that it would be huge, you gotta do it, all of us ECW guys that were there back in the day they shared that energy with the ECW fans, let us go out there the way that we wanna be seen, balls out, we’re your toughest guys, we don’t want any of use getting hurt, we don’t even need a storyline, just one night only, you don’t even have to turn the lights on for the whole building because we weren’t about that, let us show you what we were all about. Yeah, and then he liked it, he liked my idea, and the dream became a reality and the date was set, June 12th, One Night Stand, ECW, I can’t frigging wait… (E-C-DUB chants). RVD then spoke about how he had to then get knee surgery, and he wouldn’t be able to wrestle on the show tonight to which the crowd booed. He said his torn ACL and torn Meniscus meant he wouldn’t be cleared to wrestle on this Pay Per View, and he said it sucked worse than anything for him. He even said it was way worse than missing the overseas tour, Booker T’s wedding and Wrestle-frigging-Mania, and that he’d gladly pass all that up to be here because this was what he was all about, RVD is ECW…

Then out of knowhere Alfonso told RVD to turn around… and who should be there but the final ever ECW World Champion Rhyno! He hit a huge GORE on RVD, and then attacked the injured leg with a series of stomps… (the crowd with their chants kinda spoiled what was next, but cool that they would get what they chanted for). As Rhyno took off RVD’s knee brace… the lights went out… huge pop from the crowd as when they came back on SABU was in the ring… and as the two ECW legends starred off, a referee came in and we had a match be made!

Sabu defeated Rhyno   

Sabu dived at Rhyno as the bell rung but he moved out the way. The two locked up soon enough, although Rhyno took charge taking Sabu down with a shoulder block, and then got an overhead belly to belly suplex before he kicked away at the back of Sabu’s head. Rhyno whipped Sabu into the corner and elbowed him away after, then got to the middle rope, but seemingly out of nowhere Sabu whipped out a steel chair and smashed it at Rhyno to the delight of the crowd. Sabu then used the chair as a boost and came off the ropes and used the chair he had set up to springboard off and hit a huge dive onto Rhyno on the outside at the entrance aisle. Sabu threw Rhyno into the barricade then hit him with the chair, then set Rhyno on a table but Rhyno hit Sabu off the apron before. Rhyno got Sabu back in the ring and hit shoulders in the corner, then hit a huge running kick as Sabu was rested against the ropes, this eventually got Rhyno a nearfall. Rhyno slammed Sabu, then went to the top, although Sabu went after him and hit strikes, then took him down with a Hurracinrana off the top, then came off the ropes for the back elbow, but Sabu only got a 2 from the pin. Alfonso, who was still on the outside, then threw Sabu a chair, which he then set up a flew off to hit a forearm, causing Rhyno to then fall throat first onto the set up chair. Sabu then got a leg drop off the chair for a 2. As Sabu tried to come off the ropes again Rhyno tripped him and Sabu went head first into the chair. Rhyno took the chair and dropped Sabu onto it, and again got a nearfall. Rhyno dropped Sabu backwards head-first into the top turnbuckle pad, then he went to the corner looking for the GORE, but he accidentally hit it on the poor ref of the match! Rhyno then hit a piledriver to Sabu, and then RVD and Alfonso (with a chair) came in, RVD limped across and caught the chair from Alfonso, and then he threw the chair at Rhyno’s face! With Rhyno in the corner RVD took the chair and double dropkicked the chair into Rhyno (injured leg and all). Alfonso then slid the table into the ring, which RVD set up, Sabu went up top as RVD put Rhyno in position, Sabu caught a chair threw to him, and then Sabu came off the top and leg dropped Rhyno threw the table, taking the chair with him for extra impact. To a chorus of EC-DUB chants Sabu then pulled himself across Rhyno and got the pin. This was exactly what these people wanted from a Sabu match, crazy hardcore spots and a big finish. Good stuff.

***

Al Snow (and HEAD) spoke to camera from backstage. He spoke to HEAD, I’m not quite sure what about, but he seemed to be blaming HEAD for inviting the ‘SmackDown Assholes’ to the show, which Al claimed was for the fans etc. He told HEAD they would talk about it when they got back to the room, right now he just wanted to reminisce about some more ECW Memories. Another ECW highlights package aired after.

The Raw superstars arrived to their balcony seats. Led by Eric Bischoff (who exchanged ‘fuck you’s’ with some nearby audience members) and Jonathan Coachman, with them were the likes of Edge, Christian, Tyson Tomko, William Regal, Gene Snitsky, Renee Dupree, Maven. Mick Foley and Joey Styles on commentary called Bischoff the anti-christ of ECW, and Foley added that nobody had ever spent more money in the past trying to screw over ECW.

Eddie Guerrero in singles action 

You’re welcome to go and watch this match back if you so please. It was great.

****

The camera panned back up to Bischoff and co. Joel was up there again, Bischoff took exception to Joel’s question ‘on behalf of ECW’, the question was ‘can I please have a job’… Eric gave him his drink to hold as Coach laughed hysterically, then he said HELL NO he wouldn’t hire him. He cut a promo on poor Joel, saying he was the General Manger of the best sports entertainment show on the planet, Monday Night Raw. Adding that he didn’t wanna see any of ‘you scabs’ at any Raw events after what he had seen tonight, because they didn’t have the class. He said ECW sucks.

Mike Awesome defeated Masato Tanaka

I’ve never been a Mike Awesome fan, but he got a big reaction here. The Raw guys then turned their back on the show now. This was… well… it really has to be seen to be believed…

Apparently Awesome didn’t actually end his opponent’s life in this match…

***1/4

Styles and Foley talked directly to camera about this show tonight. Joey said about how much fun he and everyone was having tonight, and that even if it was just tonight he thanked the fans for making the night possible.

Next is one of the all time great promos…

PAUL HEYMAN came out, and when I say he got a big ovation you need to think Austin attitude era level of noise. Heyman was so emotional coming to the ring, it was beautiful to see. He got in the ring and bowed to each side of the venue. Chants of ‘thank you Paul’. Heyman said his eyes were only red as he was in the back smoking a joint with Van Dam (pop), he then thanked Todd Gordon for giving him the chance to be creative and to book for ‘you crazy bastards’. He then thanked two guys sat front row (Ron Buffone and Charlie Bruzzese) for sticking with them and sitting in the tv studio and running their tv show for years. He said the fans were some of the craziest bastards he had ever met in his life and he loved everyone one of them. He said he was going to take the high road and just say thank you and leave, “BUT I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY TO YOU” as he turned and pointed up to the WWE guys in the balcony… and THEN (here we go)… he said he had waited a long time to say this to you ERIC BISCHOFF (who he and Coach had their backs turned), he said in case he didn’t notice it’s not Paul Heyman with his tail between his legs going to a WCW pay per view, you are in our house BITCH (Eric then gave Paul the finger). Heyman then stepped up to the middle rope of the near corner turnbuckle and said “hide your wives, it’s EDGE (you screwed Matt chants)… well Edge, I no one with a written promo has the balls to say this to you, but I have two words for you… MATT FREAKING HARDY!’. Edge spits his drink out, big pop from the crowd. Awesome stuff. Heyman looks like he’s done… before… “I almost forgot about you (big smile) Mr shoot promo (talking directly to JBL)… since you wanna shoot cowboy… the only reason you were WWE Champion for a year, WAS BECAUSE TRIPLE H DIDN’T WANNA WORK TUESDAYS!!!’. HUGE pop for one of the best put downs I’ve ever heard in wrestling. He finishes with the classic… ‘this aint WCW, this aint Monday night Raw, this aint SmackDown, this aint even WWE, THIS, IS E-C-FUCKING-W!’, he then gives the double birds to the Raw and SmackDown stars before making his exit. Truly one of the all time best promos from a master of the microphone.

The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defeated Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman

Huge pop for the Dudleys. And again for Dreamer, who was actually co-promoter of this show apparently (and might I see what a fine job he did in helping put it together)… but then, and to my great sadness the original version isn’t on the WWE network due to copyright over the song, and I’m about to make a very big statement… but… The Sandman then made what I believe to be THE single greatest entrance in the history of Professional Wrestling. Here is the original, and if for whatever reason this video wont work for you I absolute demand you g out of your way to find it. Make sure it is the original with the ‘Enter Sandman’ Metallica song too.

A thing of true beauty, gets me every-time. After the first bumps all round to begin the match, the music of the bWo played… and out came Blue Meanie, Stevie Richards and Nova. As they came out Joey Styles was losing his mind laughing, and then said “If any gimmick never deserved to make a dime and made a boatload of cash, this is it! And the best part is that they (WCW) couldn’t sue us, ’cause it’s a parody!” Richards cut a promo after in the ring talking about invading and crusading, and that they couldn’t have a hardcore invasion without the bWo! Richards then said they had three words for ya “We’re taking over”! Stevie then kicked Sandman, then Dreamer, before Bubba and D-Von attacked him and a huge brawl ensued. Then… the music of KID KASH played and out he came! THEN… Axl Rotten and BALLS MAHONEY came out with Balls and the bWo brawling (the crowd taking great delight in chanting ‘BALLS, BALLS, BALLS’)… As the brawl went on Kid Kash hit a huge dive from in the ring and over the ropes to everyone on the outside (more ECDUB chants). Bubba then got a trashcan into the ring, as the bWo and Balls&Rotten brawled up the entrance aisle, then Bubba got smashed with the trashcan lid by Tommy Dreamer as the bell FINALLY rung. D-Von and Sandman fought outside as Dreamer took a cheese grated to Bubba’s head in the ring, as you do… or at least he tried before Bubba caught him with a backdrop suplex. As Bubba smashed Dreamer with some form of sign that was in the trashcan, we had a great commentary line as the crowd chanted ‘CACTUS JACK’, Styles asked Foley what they were chanting… ‘some hardcore hero’ Foley said… Bubba got the grater then and raked at the already bleeding head of Dreamer. Bubba wiped Dreamer’s blood over his own face, then came off the middle rope looking for a back splash but Dreamer moved. D-Von helped Bubba hit a double team neckbreaker after, Sandman used a ladder to smash the Dudleys, then Dreamer wore it on his neck and swung round hitting both Dudleys with it. Dreamer used the grater on the busted open Bubba, then Sandman hit a drop toe hold on D-Von onto a trashcan, as Dreamer blasted Bubba into the steel barricade on the outside. Sandman got a nearfall on D-Von, Dreamer smashed Bubba with another sign of sorts, Sandman put the ladder on D-Von as Bubba hung Dreamer onto the barricade, Sandman then came off the top and hit a senton onto D-Von, as Bubba then came in and smashed a chair at The Sandman’s head (you keeping up with this?!). The Dudleys then put Sandman on the ladder, as Bubba came off the middle rope and hit a big splash onto Sandman who was held down by D-Von, which got the Dudleys a nearfall. D-Von hit Bubba with the Singapore cane after Sandman moved, and he then hit a white russian leg sweep to take down D-Von. Dreamer and Sandman then dragged the Dudleys and both used a figure 4 leg lock, at which point both Lance Storm and Justin Credible came in and beat on Dreamer and The Sandman… Credible had what was described as a ‘barbed wire sphere’ and then he picked up Sandman and slammed Sandman on it! Dreamer was picked up by the Impact Players when Francine (who herself has ECW history with Dreamer) came in and she low blowed Dreamer, Beulah McGillicutty (another former Dreamer ECW valet, and his IRL wife) then came in and her and Francine had a cat fight. Credible pulled Beulah off, and Storm went to go at her but she moved and he hit Credible instead. Beulah punted Storm in the balls, and then Dreamer threw him over the ropes and out the ring. With Dreamer, and his blood drenched face, in the ring he looked across at his wife with a big smile and they hugged, and then as The Dudleys tried a sneak attack both Dreamer and Beulah hit ddt’s, and BOTH made pin covers and the ref counted BOTH, but both were kicked out of. As the crowd chanted “she’s hardcore”, back in the ring The Sandman got a chair and put it between D-Von Dudley’s legs, then held his legs open so that Dreamer could then smash a sign into the chair for added impact. D-Von sold it huge and was bouncing all over the ring which was hilarious, and as Joey Styles said the amazing line of ‘MY GOD HE JUST CRUSHED A MAN’S BALLS’ Bubba hit the cane across Dreamer’s back, then to The Sandman’s head! Bubba then said “FUCK THIS” as clear as can be (on the WWE network by the way), and of course he then got… A TABLE! Another cane shot to Sandman, the Dudleys set up a table, powerbombed Sandman through it, but he kicked out at two (D-von bleeding now too). Dreamer smashed Bubba with the cane and then to D-Von, then The Dudleys hit the 3D to Dreamer. The Bubba got another table… then Bubba signalled to the back and out came SPIKE DUDLEY! D-Von took down Sandman, as Spike had with him LIGHTER FLUID… bubba then sprayed it over the table… as did D-von, the… well they lit the table ON FIRE!!!! Then… well they powerbombed Tommy Dreamer through it!!!! HUGE pop and HOLY SHIT chants, and Bubba covered him for the win. Now THAT was HARDCORE! Sandman saved Beulah from The Dudleys after the match, hitting them all with the cane, then as Sandman went over to see Tommy instead of calling for a doctor he said ‘somebody get me a beer’. Just tremendous.

***3/4

After this was when things really got wild. Sandman asked for a beer right? So who came out… STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN!!! Former ECW star and universally loved, he got a great reception. It was cool as well that THE WWE guy was not only a former ECW star, but was adored by this loyal ECW crowd and as Foley said on commentary Steve was proud of his ECW past. Austin looked over at Sandman, asking if he wanted a beer? ‘Sandman I’ve seen you drunk son you don’t need a beer, you need a case of beer, wherever Stone Cold Steve Austin goes I always got a beer but I aint only just serving you a beer’. Austin then asked everyone in the back flying those ECW colours to come out and join the beer bash. And so all the ECW stars from the show so far all came out, much to the displeasure of the Raw and SmackDown stars looked down on them. Austin said he was ready to drink some beer with them, but he came out here to see a damn fight! He then talked to the WWE stars on the balcony above and challenged them… . Austin then demanded a beer before they all came down and got himself a chair and a beer to watch the fight unfold. Austin taunted them some more and said as they wouldn’t come down he would count backwards from 10 and then he would walk up there and slap the piss out of each and every one of them. He counted, and then as he got to about 4 they started to come down “ah you lucky bastards” Austin said… to which the WWE stars did just that, they came all into the ring. One side we had ECW and the other Raw&SmackDown… , then (as if this crowd couldn’t be more delighted) they chanted for and then got… TAZ! Taz came out just as Coach grabbed a mic at the commentary desk… (Bischoff was now sat next to Foley as well). After some back and forth a huge brawl ensued (go out of your way to look up why the Blue Meanie of all people was busted open hardway during the melee… and it’ll just reinforce everything you think of a certain SmackDown loudmouth…)… Taz and Angle fought up the entrance aisle, and Taz had the Tazmission in and choked him out. Eric and Styles and Foley and Coach talked trash back and forth on commentary, and as the brawl went on Austin got on the mic again… just as ECW appeared to have cleared the ring of the WWE stars. Austin got in the ring and told WWE they just got their ass whupped, he asked where the beers were at… then told everyone to hold on a minute… He told the ECW stars he thinks they got everybody’s ass whupped except for Eric Bischoff… he then asked Mick Foley, being the hardcore legend, if he would see fit to grab Eric and escort him to the ring. Foley then did just that… as the Raw and SmackDown stars retreated. Once Foley had brought Eric to the ring, Austin played leader and in turn called for Eric to receive and indeed got: a 3D from The Dudleys, a flying headbutt from another former ECW star, a 619 from Rey Mysterio… Austin then asked a downed Bischoff “Eric… can you hear me?… This is Austin calling Eric, I thought maybe I would take this time to conduct a post-show interview, your thoughts on the evening?”… to which Bischoff replies “F*** ECW”… Big boos from the crowd to this… then he got dragged up and got a Stunner for his troubles. Then they played Austin’s music and the beer bash was underway. The Duleys took Bischoff out to the back (in fact the cameras followed them until they did infact throw Eric onto the back of a truck), as the ECW stars drank beer in the ring. Austin posed with his beers in the corner on the turnbuckle as ‘Bodies’ played and the ECW stars drank beer and celebrated with the fans. Styles on commentary thanked fans around the world who cried out for the return of ECW, having just prior said this had been the greatest night of his professional career. In an iconic image to close the show, The Sandman and Stone Cold Steve Austin both stood at the top of the entrance ramp, as Austin help up Sandman’s arm in the air.


Now I’ve watched this show and properly gone through it, and in my time I’ve seen some amazing wrestling shows; New Japan have had a few (the Dominion when Omega won the title, and the last few Wrestle Kingdoms are right up there), NXT TakeOver New York and New Orleans, AEW’S first Double or Nothing, WWE have had some great shows also (some of which I will be covering in the next few months). But if you’re looking for fun, emotion, and great in-ring stuff then this show is hard to top. It had it all. Of course if you’re not into the more violent side of the wrestling then you wont love it so much, but even that wasn’t every match. I loved this show so much. There is a reason it’s revered by wrestling fans. The last proper night of ECW was one for the ages… if only WWE had quit whilst they were ahead… of course 12 months later they did it again, this time with much more of a WWE influence on the card, which meant the show didn’t get as well a reception from the ECW loyalists… but it did bring the ultimate of a ECW legend RVD winning the WWE title. So maybe One Night Stand 2005 should have been it… but I’d have done the 2006 show and changed it; had (like 2005) an ECW heavy card, and kept the main event with RVD winning the title. THEN I’d have put ECW to bed… but they didn’t… Nevertheless ECW One Night Stand 2005 remains one of the all time great wrestling shows.

Josh. 

SmackDown 2007: Episode 12 (23rd March); CEDRICK VON HAUSSEN!!!

RISE UP was back this week. They NEED to play the SmackDown opening video every single week without fail!!!

To kick off the penultimate SmackDown before WrestleMania 23, we have Vincent Kennedy McMahon open the show. On Raw that week, McMahon was involved in the shaving of… Eugene… He said he had so much fun on Monday night. Umaga had destroyed Eugene in a match beforehand. He cut a promo on Trump and then the crowd too. Great Vince heel stuff. He said he had made a match on Raw for the next week; Bobby Lashely vs … himself… he guaranteed he’d beat him. He wants to have fun tonight too, and makes a match for Bobby Lashley tonight. He then introduces Bobby Lashley’s opponent… and out comes Mr Kennedy. My GOD I’m so bored of Mr Kennedy… Anyway Vince does Kennedy’s announcing gimmick, then introduces Lashley’s other opponent… and out comes Raw’s RANDY ORTON (THIS is more like it)! Vince then goes to the corner and does Orton’s pose. Randy said it was great and thanked Vince for the opportunity tonight. Kennedy did the same. Both of these had lost to Lashley in recent weeks one on one so Vince now had the idea to put them together… in a handicap TABLES match!

WWE Tag Team Champions Paul London & Brian Kendrick with Ashley vs MNM (Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro with WWE Women’s Champion Melina) for the WWE Tag Team Championship 

Mercury and London began, but Nitro and Kendrick soon came in and London got a nearfall after a double team. But Nitro then helped his partner out after helping Mercury move out the way of a dropkick. A reminder here that Ashley and Melina are the ones who are actually on the WrestleMania card, yet they’re stood on the outside as valets here… Nitro got a nearfall after. MNM sent London crashing into the top ropes before Mercury followed up squeezing his chest, London tried to get the tag but Mercury rolled him over for a nearfall, and as this happened London got away and ran for the tag to Brian Kendrick. Kendrick ran wild at both Mercury and Nitro, Kendrick getting a nearfall after a kick to the jaw on Mercury. Kendrick went for Sliced Bread and knocked Nitro off the apron in the process, but Mercury pulled him down off the top for a neackbreaker, but only got a 2 count off the pin. Melina was PISSED at ringside. Kendrick tagged out to London who hit a top rope missile dropkick that Nitro had to break up the pin from. MNM tried the snap shot but Kendrick came in and broke it up. London got out of a nearfall from Mercury, Mercury then had London on the top rope and the two brawled, then as London knocked him down then Melina tried to (behind the refs back) pull London down, but Ashley put a stop to that, London hit a cross body off the top rope and then pinned Mercury. The champions retain.

Kristal interviewed Kane (and his giant hook) backstage. Kane got uncomfortably close to her, as she asked about his attack on Daivari last week, they showed pics of his injuries too as she asked how far he was prepared to go in his battle with The Great Khali at WrestleMania? Kane revealed the hook and said in a sinister voice ‘all the way’ before a menacing laugh as Kristal ran away scared. Kane is the babyface by the way…

Maryse was on (I can’t even be arsed with her segments anymore)…

Cruserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero vs Jimmy Wang Yang

Chavo got the better of the start, but Wang Yang came back with a back kick off the top. Then he hit a weird looking kick, and then flipped off Chavo’s back and then dropkicked him out the ring. He went after him and bounced him off the announce table, then went to the top for a crossbody but Chavo countered with a kick to the midsection in mid air. Chavo then stomped on Jimmy, then hit a hard punch for a nearfall. Jimmy got out of a rest hold but soon got hit with another dropkick for a nearfall. Chavo again had Jimmy in a hold, this time wrenching at his arms, but Wang Yang again after getting out of it got hit with another dropkick for another Chavo nearfall. Guerrero bounced his opponent off the top rope, then twisted Wang Yang’s arm, then into an abdominal strect, Jimmy hit an arm drag to escape, then soon after hit a hurricanrana, dropping Chavo over him, mutliple clotheslines and then soon after he got hit with the three amigos suplexes… only Wang Yang escaped a third, then after dodging another attack he came off the top for the standing moonsault and got the win. The champion pinned! Chavo couldn’t believe it after dominating most of the match.

A memorial video for Arnold Skaaland played. It was very very well done.

HERE IS THE MOMENT I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR!!!!!

MVP came out… he took the mic and introduced his opponent, saying he had searched the globe looking for the best champions. He introduced the champion of Liechtenstein… CEDRICK VON HAUSSEN!!! I’m not going to say anything but I implore you to google this guy… then you’ll get it…

MVP defeated CEDRICK VON HAUSSEN 

MVP clotheslined him before the bell, then stomped at kicked at him. He hit a scoop slam, danced around, then hit his ballin elbow but lifted him up before the pin counted for three. He hit a running kick in the corner, kneed at his midsection, then hit the playmaker for the win in about a minute. Maybe less.

MVP cut a promo after saying he was on a roll to WrestleMania and to his first title, the United States Championship.

Another battle of the billionaires video aired; the likes of Tony Hawk, Ricki Lake and Kevin Federline offered their thoughts on who they wanted to see their head shaved. The Large majority said Trump. Figures.

ECW World Champion Bobby Lashley vs Mr Kennedy & Randy Orton in a Tables match 

Kristal interviewed Batista. They looked back at what happened last week, when Taker threw Finlay into Batista at ringside. Batista said he was a little angry, but it’s not about getting angry it’s about getting even. He said he thought they would co-exist tonight just fine… during the match… hmm…

Gregory Helms had a match against the US Champion. 

The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) were revealed as the next inductees to the WWE Hall of Fame class for 2007. This was one of the most stacked years they have ever done for the hall for sure.

JBL left the commentary desk… saying he had something to do… after the ad break he was backstage where he spoke to GM Teddy Long (who he interrupted giving Kristal a rose)… he said he had a proposition to him, he said next week he John Bradshaw Layfield wanted to interview both Batista and The Undertaker in the same ring at the same time. JBL said he knew what he was doing, and Teddy Long made it official.

King Booker ran into Batista backstage. Finlay jumped him from behind and both men ambushed him. They were eventually pulled away by various refs and officials. They really laid the boot into the World Champion…

King Booker with Queen Sharmell & Finlay vs World Heavyweight Champion Batista & Royal Rumble winner The Undertaker 

After Booker and Finlay made their entrances, Undertaker came out… but no sign of Batista….

Josh. 

 

 

WWF Badd Blood: In Your House (1997) – Review

Now when you talk about nights when wrestling changed forever, many rightfully will bring up WrestleMania 1,3 and X7… some will say when Vince brought WCW… but how about the first ever Hell In A Cell match, the debut of a character that would be synomous with the company for the next 25 years, the final night as lead commentator of one Vince McMahon… how about all of those happenings taking place on the same night during the same PPV!… Oh and did I mention how the main event sent Shawn Michaels on his way to face Bret Hart for the WWF title at Survivor Series in Montreal in another of the more (in)famous nights in the history of professional wrestling? Well… the Badd Blood edition of the In Your House series the WWF put on in the 1990s was one heck of a show, most famous of course for it’s quite remarkable main event, but it’s one I haven’t actually watched back in full… so join me here now as I go back and watch and review for you all one of the most historic shows in company history. Enjoy!


(Apologies to start on a sad note… but after the opening match of this show (after announcing it during a preview show that aired at the time and was touched on during the ring entrances for the opener), Vince McMahon on commentary spoke directly to camera. He spoke of the sad news that Brian Pillman had passed away earlier that day. Pillman is widely known as one of the most underrated performers (particularly as a talker) in the history of the business. He competed in WWF, WCW and ECW, and is probably most famous for his association and then eventual feud with Steve Austin. He was just 35 years old.) 

The opening video of the show told the story that has led to the main event; the cocky Shawn Michaels locked inside Hell in a Cell against The Undertaker. 

Vince McMahon welcomes us to the show, he’s alongside Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler on commentary. As the announcements were made for the opening match by the legendary Howard Finkel, Lawler stated his case for McMahon and ‘some of these people’ to be locked in a cell for what they’ve done, and the situation they have forced Shawn Michaels in tonight. 

Twice already in the opening 3 minutes of this show, it has been made perfectly clear that there is no escape for Michaels, and that nobody will be able to help him… 

The Nation of Domination (Rocky Maivia. D’Lo Brown & Kama Mustafa) defeated The Legion Of Doom (Hawk & Animal) in a 3on2 Handicap Match 

Rocky Maivia… whatever happened to him I wonder… might be worth a google if you have a spare moment… Kama Mustafa by the way is the FKA Papa Shango and later more famously as The Godfather. LOD got a big pop coming out. The story here is it was supposed to be a 6 man tag with Ken Shamrock joining LOD, but after sustaining internal injuries at the hands of the Nation’s leader Faarooq 3 weeks prior, he was not cleared by doctors to compete in this match despite himself wanting to. LOD cut a promo before the bell saying Shamrock was spitting up blood and said if they thought it meant the two of them wouldn’t beat the two of them they were deadly wrong. D’Lo began the match up against Hawk, they went back and forth until D’Lo tagged out to Rocky Maivia… he immediately irked the ire of the crowd with loud boos and ‘Rocky SUCKS’ chants almost right away. Maivia really wasn’t happy and even had to be persuaded to get back into the ring by Kama Mustafa and Brown, in spite of the negative crowd reaction to him. Maivia’s offence on Animal looked really crisp and his selling was excellent as Animal hit a dropkick to send Rocky outside again. Animal and Hawk then took turns beating Rocky up, before Maivia tagged out to Kama Mustafa (who looked HUGE by the way). After Mustafa and Hawk went at it, Maivia came back in and later hit a great looking ddt, but as he wasn’t legal the ref told him off. Kama hit a ‘martial arts heel kick’ (so said Jim Ross) as Vince delightfully said his signature ‘WHAT A MANOEUVRE’ line. The ref became distracted in the ring as Rocky and D’Lo beat on Animal on the outside, before throwing him back to Kama in the ring. Kama tagged out to Brown, who hit strikes and then a clothesline on Animal in the corners, before the LOD man cameback with a big clothesline of his own to send both men down. D’Lo cut off the hot tag, and hit a snapmare and 2 leg drops to get a nearfall before tagging out to Rocky Maivia. More ‘Rocky SUCKS’ chants came as Maivia went on offence, and as he took down Animal with a right hand he feints an elbow at Hawk on the apron to anger him, the ref is then distracted making sure Hawk doesn’t get into the ring as Rocky badmouths him, but this in-turn allows Mustafa and Brown to sneak in and beat on Animal behind the ref’s back. D’Lo opens Animal’s legs and Rocky Maivia hits a hard right hand to the ‘lower abdominal area’ according to Vince McMahon on commentary, this gets him a nearfall. After Kama came back in he hit Animal with a spin kick and sent him into the corner where he tried a running charge, but Animal moved out the way and scrambled to tag in Hawk… BUT… Rocky tried to get in the ring to stop the tag, so the ref was busy dealing with him and so didn’t actually see the tag take place… so when he turned round to see Hawk he went over to tell him to get back on the apron as he wasn’t legal. The further distraction as a result of this of the ref allowed for Rocky and Mustafa to hold down Animal and D’Lo Brown came off the top with a Splash… but Animal kicked out from Mustafa’s pin attempt at 2. Rocky and D’Lo threw Animal to the outside and into the steps… but soon after he scrambled for a tag to Hawk, who immediately ran wild and hit a series of punches and then a powerslam. After a double clothesline to Maivia, LOD went for their finisher when Faarooq (the leader of the NoD) appeared on the apron to cause the distraction, and with the ref’s back turned Kama kicked Hawk in the head and then Maivia hit the Rock Bottom for the 1,2,3. This was a solid opener, and the 3v2 dynamic was factored in well and made for a good story of the match. The crowd did fall flat at the finish, but I think that was more because the babyfaces got beat. 

***

Max Mini & Nova defeated Mosaic & Tarantula

Yep… this was a ‘minis’ match… Mosaic and Tarantula were dressed up like superheroes… as were Max Mini & Nova… oh boy… I cba with all the jokes and comments from commentary… No disrespect to these guys as performers or for getting their big day, but this was the last minute replacement for the scheduled Brian Pillman vs Goldust match… I mean… if you want to go out of your way and spend 6 minutes and 43 seconds of your time watching this match then feel free. Nothing they did offence wise was awful, if not a little (pun… well I cba with) basic at times. But they flew about and the crowd seemed entertained enough, but watching this in 2020 it was very difficult to take seriously. Apologies. For the record the winners were Max Mini and Nova after he reversed some form of slam into a form of armdrag takedown, which he then used to pin Tarantula’s shoulders down. And despite Mosaic coming in and kicking at the pin at the three it was deemed enough for the win. I honestly would rather they not have done this match.

Sunny (erm, known for… a few things, but in 1997 she was the hot stuff in WWF) made her entrance. She played guest ring announcer for the next match. 

The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn & Phineas I. Godwinn) with Uncle Cletus defeated The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher) (C) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship 

If you aren’t aware, The Godwins were… erm… hillbillies… Mosh and Thrasher were… odd… but they were over with the crowd so we will give them that… Apologies if this report is a little all over the place as I’m not going to pretend I have extensive knowledge of any of these guys, so distinguishing who is who is gonna be really hard for me… and I’ll be completely honest; of the matches on this show this may well be the one I have the least interest in (doing a great job selling this aren’t I…). Anyway… to start off with The Headbangers cleared the ring and sent both of The Godwins to the outside. Mosh (I think it’s Mosh…)… when he was in the ring waiting for properly start the match after the opening melee legitimately SPAT INTO THE AIR… AND THEN CAUGHT IT IN HIS OWN MOUTH (You can actually hear people groan in disgust as he does it)… we are maybe a minute in and I already cba… Phineas hit a series of elbows to Mosh in the corner, then was sent flying into the other corner. But as Phineas tried (I think) to powerbomb Mosh, Mosh somehow hit a type of hurricanrana to send him to the outside. Then Thrasher hit Phineas on the outside form the apron… only the camera was on Mosh in the ring at the time so we only heard Vince’s excited commentary of what happened… Mosh hit Phineas and then hit a clothesline off the top to knock Phineas off the aporn. We then got our replay which showed Thrasher used a pretty terrible hurricanrana to down Phineas. Mosh got a nearfall in the ring, before tagging in Thrasher. The Headbangers hit a brutal looking flapjack on Phineas who landed right on his upper back, not good, which gave them another nearfall. Phineas hit a couple of strikes before tagging in Henry, who went at it with Thrasher… Thrasher got a nearfall with a schoolboy, and to end another exchange Thrasher hit quite the dropkick to be far for a big guy, this sent Henry to the outside. Uncle Cletus (yes that’s his name) seemed to rile Henry up enough to motivate him to go back in, but he soon tagged out to Phineas. Phineas and Thrasher locked hands, and Thrasher yanked on Phineas’ arm over and over, before tagging in Mosh and the two combined to hit a form of leapfrog move where Phineas was held drapped against the ropes as Mosh leaped over Thrasher onto Phineas. We had a unique move where Thrasher held Mosh up on the top rope as if for a suplex before dropping him onto Phineas below, this got a nearfall. They actually showed a replay of Mosh and his pierced tongue… yes in 1997 that was deemed worthy of a replay… I CAN’T BE ARSED WITH THIS DUMBASS MATCH ANYMORE AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!… Fuck this shit… a few minutes later The Godwins got the win and became new champions after Mosh came off the top and JUST ABOUT got caught in time and hit with a clunky-ass powerbomb by Phineas, as Thrasher was held back by Henry  … this match was DUMB AS FUCK… ZZZzzz… They beat on The Headbangers after… as we had a sign which read ‘The Godwins are inbred’… christ… Then we heard from the ring announcer that the referee had ruled that if they didn’t leave the ring they would be stripped of the titles… WOW… 

1/4* (0.25) 

We were shown a cool video about some guy called ‘Stone Cold Steve Austin’… wonder if he’ll ever be somebody in the business… He is of course injured right now as a result of the infamous Tombstone given to him by Owen Hart… it was this period of not being in action wrestling but still doing stuff on TV that was probably the key time in his whole career, when he really did smash that glass ceiling. Followed we had a video showing a confrontation between Vince McMahon and Austin from Raw that Monday where he was given three options over his future. Apparently we would get Austin’s answer on the next week’s Raw. 

Michael Cole was backstage where he said Austin was in the arena that night but would not speak to him or anyone else, but apparently would be forfeiting the Intercontinental Championship. Owen Hart interrupted Cole and cut a promo on Austin (whilst wearing an Owen 3:16 shirt, tremendous stuff). 

Jim Ross hosted a ceremony in the ring where he led a wonderful showcase of wrestlers of the past who had made St Louis such a famous wrestling hotbed. He thanked the legendary promoter Sam Muchnick, before welcoming out: Gene Kiniski, Jack Brisco, Dory Funk Jr., Harley Race, Terry Funk, and finally Sam Muchnick himself alongside Lou Thesz. This was really fun and a very old school throwback but actually quite educational as they played a brief video about each guy once they were introduced which was cool. 

Doc Hendrix (Michael Hayes) interviewed Faarooq and the rest of The Nation. When Hendrix suggested Faarooq held a trump card over Owen, in the form of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Faarooq was not happy and played down Austin saying this was Nation business. And that Austin was just a name to him. 

Vince McMahon spoke to camera again with an update on Brian Pillman. He said at this early stage authorities had said there was no sign of foul play. He said signs pointed to a drug overdose, something McMahon said was a problem in all sports, but this would not be clear for another 7 days when the toxicology report was released.   

Owen Hart defeated Faarooq to win the vacant Intercontinental Championship 

Owen came out with his 2 slammy awards and a Canadian flag. Faarooq came out on his own. This was clearly a heel vs heel match which is odd… On the back of Owen’s 3:16 shirt he had ‘I just broke your neck’ in further reference to his legit injury he caused to Austin. Such good shit. With both men in the ring Steve Austin then came out to a big reaction from the crowd (of course he did, HE’S STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN FOR GOD SAKE), he had the IC title belt with him, which he flunged over the announce table before McMahon instructed him he was supposed to be sitting at ringside during the match and then vacate the title to the eventual winner of this next match. Commissioner Slaughter showed Austin to his seat (in the timekeepers area). Austin even did a bit of colour commentary at the start and he was tremendously fun… Owen and Faarooq eventually locked up with Faarooq overpowering him twice, slamming him down the second time they tied up. Faarooq hit a series of hard strikes to Owen, before Owen came back with a spinning heel kick to send The Nation’s leader down. Hart then kicked away at Faarooq’s leg, then dropping down on it and wrenching it over and over. As Owen was working on Faarooq’s leg we had a double screen with Austin on the other using one of the spanish commentators headsets to talk through. Austin then went over and did the same with the French announcers (between this we had a subtle comment from McMahon where he said Austin always puts the attention on himself and away from the match… along those lines anyway). In the ring as Owen tried a figure 4 he was kicked into the ringpost by Faarooq, who then stomped down on Hart, and eventually getting a nearfall. As Owen fell down on Faarooq to get a nearfall, McMahon commented how Stone Cold disrupts everything… Faarooq hit a hard clothesline to send down Owen, and then a slam, before heading to the second for a leg drop, but Owen moved out the way. Owen tried to lock in the sharpshooter but Faarooq kicked him away. Faarooq got a nearfall after a powerslam… and then Jim the Anvil Neidhart appeared at ringside, as Faarooq gave Owen a hard spinebuster as he came off the ropes… but this only got a two count. Faarooq then trapped Owen’s neck against the ropes by pressing it with his knee, just as The Anvil got on the apron which distracted the ref, as this happened Faarooq came off the ropes but landed on the opposing ropes as Owen moved out the way. Then Stone Cold leaped up and hit Faarooq with the Intercontinental Championship belt… and then Owen pinned him for the win just like that. Owens wins the title! Austin walked away up the ramp after (having earlier said when he spoke to the french commentary team that he would be at Survivor Series in Montreal). Faarooq was not best pleased, as Owen walked off with Jim Neidhart and his newly won title. The story here seems to be that Austin wants Owen to be champion so he can beat him for it again and get his ultimate revenge. This match was far too short for who was in it, despite what they did do being basic it was still pretty good stuff. 

**

We were shown footage from last week’s Raw where The Hart Foundation beat on The Patriot and Vader. A 4 on 2 assault with the heels waving the Canadian Flags and draping them over the babyface Americans. 

The Disciples of Apocalypse (8-Ball, Chainz, Crush & Skull) defeated Los Boricuas (Jesús Castillo Jr, José Estrada Jr, Miguel Pérez Jr & Savio Vega)

Can’t say I care a bit about anyone in this match to be honest. I only have somewhat of a knowledge of who Savio Vega is… the rest? Pass. This appeared to be another match thrown together last minute as a result of the card being changed due to the passing of Brian Pillman. This appears to be somewhat of a ‘gang war’ between the Puerto Ricans and the biker-type group. The DOA were all big, bad-looking guys. Anyway this was a decent enough match… well it wasn’t terribly exciting but it wasn’t bad. A group of big guys as bikers against a group of other big guys… crowd was absolutely silent for most of the match. It really wasn’t one I’ll remember for a long time, lots of punches, big slams and just really a big multi-man fight. For the record the biker gang won after tilt the world backbreaker … Sorry (not sorry) for the lack of review, I was very bored watching this one… 

*1/2 

The Hart Foundation (Bret and Bulldog) cut a promo backstage in an interview with Michael Cole. They said they wanted to set an example, and he said that Americans like to dream and the example they would set is that they are better than any two americans. 

WWF Champion Bret Hart and The British Bulldog defeated The Patriot and Vader in a Flag Match 

In a change to usual flag matches, you can also win this one apparently by pinfall or submission (as well as climbing the respective pole of that team and climb the flag). The Harts had the Canadian flag on their pole and the US flag on top of the pole in the opposing corner for Vader and The Patriot. Doc Hendrix spoke with the two babyfaces backstage before they came out, The Patriot cut a decent promo, Vader said that ‘The Best there is, The Best there was and The Best there ever will be’ was a load of bullshit, which made me laugh a lot. In a good bit of trivia the music of The Patriot was the same music that a guy called ‘Kurt Angle’ would also go on to use… he did ok didn’t he? … They brawled as soon as the match began and The Patriot hit Bulldog with a flag pole as Vader hammered Bret with the canadian flag and then all over the commentary table area, as the crowd chanted ‘USA, USA…’. Both heels then used the flags on the babyfaces… and I noted just how stiff Vader’s punches looked to Bret… OUCH… The babyfaces seemed on top as The Patriot choked Bulldog with a flagpole and Vader beat on Bret down the entrance aisle. Vader and The Patriot posed in the ring as Bret and The British Bulldog tried to regroup on the outside as the bell finally now rung to start the match. Eventually as The Patriot tried to get the flag then Bulldog got in and stopped him, and the two went at it. Patriot hit a great suplex as Bret had to stop him grabbing the flag, but Vader came in and with the refs attention on him this allowed Bret to get a cheap shot in. Vader then tagged in, hitting big body shots to The Bulldog, before Hart was tagged in also. Bret sold Vader’s strikes big time, and was took down by a clothesline. Although Bulldog took him down with a shot off the apron after Vader collided with the corner turnbuckle… Bret climbed the pole to get his flag but Vader striked him down, then hit a big sit out move ala Rikishi for a nearfall. Bulldog and Patriot then tagged in, Patriot hit a big dropkick for a nearfall. Patriot striked at Bulldog in the corner then soon hit another slam before he went after the flag again, Bret and Bulldog stopping him again. Vader then came in the ring to help his partner, but the ref was too busy dealing with him to notice Bret with his foot on The Patriot’s face in the other corner, so another double team by the heels. Bulldog went for the flag, but Vader manhandled him down with some force. Patriot ran into the corner post after Bulldog moved, and then Bret went to slam his leg against it but moved away once Vader got near, only for the ref again to march Vader away allowing Bret to slide in and slam Patriot’s legs against the post and use a figure four hold against the post… It’s actually beginning to irritate me a little the amount of times this kind of thing has already happened in this match… Soon after this, Bret got the sharpshooter on Patriot, but somehow he reversed it until bulldog clotheslined him down. All four men were in the corner, but Patriot climbed above them all after his flag until he was dropped down right on his shoulder. I must comment on how good the offensive moves of Bret, The Bulldog and even The Patriot looked, and Vader… well he was a very different wrestler to the other three so hard to compare… he was a good scary big man though I’ll say that. Vader hit a huge standing splash for a close nearfall to The Bulldog, and somehow tried to go after the flag, only for Bret to come in and hammer him down. Bulldog now was legal and went at it with Vader, stomping on him and having him in a neck hold before going over to tag in Bret. The Hitman hit a huge slam to send Vader down, and did get the Sharpshooter in but Vader got the ropes and then The Patriot came in hammered on Bret. Vader soon after dropped an elbow to Bret’s gut on the floor, and then locked in his own Sharpshooter, or at least tried before Bulldog came in and clotheslined him. Patriot was then in and got a figure 4 on Bret, but Bret tagged in Bulldog whilst in the hold to escape from it, and then he striked Vader too for good measure. Bulldog got a nearfall after a vertical suplex on Patriot, Patriot got his own nearfall after. Bulldog stomped on Patriot who was trapped in the corner, then Bret came in and followed up with the same. Bret hit a big suplex as the crowd chanted for ‘USA’… Bret went for the flag again but Vader grabbed him from behind like he was a child and bearhugged him down. Bulldog also came in and took down The Patriot. Vader and Bulldog both tagged in, Vader slamming Bulldog down in the corner and then looking to climb the turnbuckle and come crashing down after for the Vader Bomb, but in an unbelievable spot he went to the top rope and VADER hit a MOONSAULT… but unfortunately The British Bulldog moved out the way, but Vader seemed to land somewhat on his feet which was something else. Crowd were really into the amazing feat from the big man though. Vader hit a series of strikes to Bulldog in the corner, then went to the opposing corner after his flag, but Bret grabbed his leg to stop him. Patriot also had Bulldog in the other corner whilst this was going on. Vader hit a huge clothesline to send Bulldog over the ropes to the outside, but as Patriot was in the ring Bret went to hammer at Vader, and the two heels double teamed him. Patriot got hit with the ring bell for his troubles, then Vader got a seriously hard looking bell shot when the ref was distracted. Bulldog tagged in Bret who amazingly slammed down the hurt Vader, Bret went to the second rope to strike down on Vader. Then struck Patriot off the apron, then a big ddt to Vader for a nearfall. Bulldog was tagged in, but soon Vader hit a double clothesline to send both down. With The Patriot tagged in he ran wild on both the heels, and hit a full nelson slam to Bret for a nearfall that Bulldog broke up… then what was described as A FAN actually came into the ring, that the ref and bulldog had to get out of the ring, so that was something… Bret was legal in the ring with Patriot as most the crowd seemed distracted by the security outside the ring dealing with the wild fan… Vader went up and hit the Vader Bomb on the WWF Champion, but of course he wasn’t the legal man. Bulldog drove Vader’s into the steps on the outside, whilst in the ring Bret rolled over The Patriot and had a handfull of his tights and this was enough for him to get the pin. Just… Patriot immediately stomped and beat on Bret after, until the heels made their escape. A cheap win for the heels was fine, but the crowd really wasn’t as hot for this as I thought they might be during it. Although they popped for Vader’s big stuff. This match was… fine… 

***

They aired a video advert for Survivor Series the next month in Montreal… I wonder what will happen on that show… 

The Hell in a Cell structure lowered down as commentary put over it’s uniqueness. Vince said this will spell the demise of Shawn Michaels. JR said of the cell that once you get in there there is no where to go, nowhere to run. King said Michaels had been forced inside this cell tonight to face hell. 

DX (HBK, HHH, Chyna and Rick Rude) were backstage with Doc Hendrix. Michaels said the match was not for his ‘coveted European Championship’, but said the bad news was the fifteen foot high steel cage. He told his troops he would have to go this one alone, then put himself over big time. He said ‘aint nobody crazy enough to do this gig except for the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels’. 

Really great video aired before this explaining how Michaels had become the biggest of ASSHOLES, and then how he went after Undertaker, leading to this extraordinary match up tonight. 

Now everyone… strap yourselves in, get a nice beverage and sit back and enjoy an absolute work of booking artistry…

Shawn Michaels defeated The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match to determine the Number One contender for the WWF Championship at Survivor Series

Commissioner Slaughter used a flashlight to check under the ring in case anyone was there, before signalling the cell could be lowered. I love little details like that. Michaels came out slowly with the rest of DX. They did come into the ring with him where he did his typical showman like entrance and posing, as the cell began to lower towards the ring… Taker’s gong for his entrance and the lights going down got a huge pop from the crowd. DX exited the ring as the cell came down, but Michaels still seemed bouncing and confident enough… Taker made his typically methodical entrance, but as he got towards the ring and the lights came back up suddenly Shawn appeared to realise what was really about to happen… he was trapped inside a huge cell that was locked… with a big, bad Undertaker who wanted to destroy him. HBK really was panicking as it appeared HHH was trying to console him. Taker appeared to almost stalk Michaels around the outside of the ring, and the bell sounded with Michaels still backing away. He immediately got a big boot and a big punch once he got in the ring, Taker smashed HBK’s head against the ring post twice, and to the other corner post, and he grabbed Michaels off the ropes but HBK hit punches back, then in the corner, before an irish whip was reversed and then Taker took HBK down with a huge clothesline which got a nearfall. Taker hit Michaels with a few shoulder blocks as he held his wrist, then hit Old School to send HBK flying. Taker continued to beat on HBK as Michaels bumped his ass off, he really does take a proper ass whupping here. Taker got a nearfall after a big leg drop, then hit a huge back body drop, and a huge couple of punches after HBK had a strike blocked. Taker then sent HBK over the ropes flying to the outside of the ring after he ran at Taker, which of course didn’t end well. Taker lifted and then choked HBK, until he hit Taker in the eye and tried to climb away to safety, but Taker pulled him down, and then launched him into the cage wall and then struck him down again. Taker really taking his time with this beatdown. He again did the exact same set of moves to punish Michaels some more. Taker had HBK in a powerbomb position, and lifted him up only for Michaels to grab the cell wall and punch away at Taker from up high best he could. Taker though soon slammed him against the cell wall twice. Taker threw HBK into the ringpost then punched away at him with rights and lefts, then picking Michaels up and driving his back from the ringpost to the cell and back again. He then picked Shawn up but he soon scrambled out of it, only to be struck down soon after… Taker then rammed his head against the steps, then punished HBK more… launching him into the cell wall but it appeared HBK got out of trouble as he was soon hammering away at Taker who was down. Shawn rolled his way into the ring to get a breather, he punched away at Taker who was on the apron, Taker though used the ropes as leverage for a stunner type move to send Michaels to the ring floor. Michaels though ran at Taker when he got on the apron, which sent Taker into the cell wall. Michaels then flew through the ropes right into Taker and he went into the cell wall again. HBK dropped an elbow off the cell wall, then went on the apron, and flew into Taker. HBK seeming to get back into it now. Michaels then got the steel steps and smashed Taker across the back twice with them, and then a third time. He then tried to Piledrive Taker into the steps, getting it on the second time. Michaels swore at the camera man nearby to him to move, and then he stomped down on Taker for good measure. HBK went to the top rope and dropped down again onto Taker, and with both in the ring HBK hit a big punch to Taker then got a steel chair. HBK smashed Taker in the back with the chair, and then eventually a second time, before crawling for a cover… but Undertaker kicked out at two. Michaels hit strikes in the corner, but Taker came back with punches of his own to excite the crowd, although HBK hit a kick to the mid section and then more strikes, then got Taker all tied up in the ring ropes with his arms all wrapped up. Michaels then hit a helpless Undertaker with punches, although Taker then kicked away Michaels, and as HBK ran at Taker he got flipped over the ropes and Shawn fell right onto a cameraman. HBK in his anger and maybe embarrassment then kicked away at the poor cameraman, much to the disgust of McMahon and Ross on commentary, and to the fury of Earl Hebner the referee. Michaels then pushed away the cameraman… then going back to Undertaker not before he had a word of abuse in the direction of Vince and co. Back in the ring HBK came off the ropes to take Taker down with a flying forearm, then did a big kip up and then went to the top rope and dropped the big elbow. HBK really in control and having it his way at this point. 

In what would become a huge development in the match, Slaughter came back down to unlock the cell door so treatment could be given to the downed cameraman. Hebner unlocked the door, as Michaels tuned up the band in the ring, and as Slaughter carried the cameraman out the cell via the door HBK hit a picture perfect Sweet Chin Music… but The Undertaker sat right up to a huge pop from the crowd. Business just picked up as JR said, and he was right. Michaels best move and Undertaker took it and got right back up… Michaels maybe wisely decided he was indeed fucked, and made his way out the still open door of the cell, as Taker went after him. Both brawled outside the cell now, with Taker launching HBK into the cell wall with a catapult. This busted HBK open big time. Taker punched away after, ramming him head first into the cell wall again after. And again. Michaels though hit a low blow kick, and then tried to crawl away… and this is when he decided to CLIMB the cell!!! Taker couldn’t stop him, as Michaels went to the top of the cell as Taker went up after him. Both men were now on top of the cell on the roof as the over 21000 crowd went wild. Eventually Taker back body dropped Michaels onto the cell as he then ravaged HBK’s face against the steel cell roof, Michaels tried to crawl away down the other side, but Taker picked him up again and slammed Michaels again to the cell roof. Shawn Michaels tried to escape, and was punched to near the edge of the cell, he managed to hang on to the side of it but barely.. and Taker stomped away at Michaels clinging on… and then in the first of many similar spots Michaels fell from the side of the cell and went crashing through the commentary tables below it. We have seen many many spots even more dramatic than this in cell matches since, but this at the time as the first of it’s kind was spectacular. Taker went after him and launched a very very bloody Michaels around and all over the place. Michaels and Taker made their way back into the ring, as the cell door was then re locked. Taker took HBK down with a big clothesline, then sent him up top and hit a right hand and then a chokeslam off the top rope! Taker then went outside to get a steel chair as revenge for earlier in the match, hitting HBK with a huge chair shot to the head… Taker then signalled for the Tombstone… and then… it happened… the lights went out… the music played… and from the fire, with Paul Bearer alongside him… KANE entered the WWF! “oh my god wait a minute, it’s Paul Bearer, it’s Paul Bearer and that… THAT’S GOTTA BE… THAT’S GOTTA BE KANE… THAT’S GOTTA BE KANE!!! (Undertaker looks on in absolute disbelief) … oh my god he just ripped the door off its hinges! Jim Ross: look at the size of this human being, or is that a human being? (Kane stands in the ring eye to eye with his brother Undertaker). VM: Kane, that’s gotta be Kane, The Undertaker , looking at him, looking to the eyes of that giant who stands in front of him, is that his younger brother? JR: HES HUGE WHOEVER HE IS! HE’S AS BIG AS THE UNDERTAKER! Kane then makes flames rise from the 4 ring posts before he kicks The Undertaker in the stomach and Tombstone’s him before leaving. HBK then crawls over and covers the deadman for the win as he is then dragged to the back by Chyna and Triple H.

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With most amazing debut in WWF history to help him, Shawn Michaels had secured his place in history at Survivor Series against Bret Hart. The Undertaker had come face to face with his brother, as KANE had arrived in WWF. An unbelievably historic finish to an amazing match. Even in 2020 this one holds up still as a classic. 

*****

Certainly a show of ups and downs. Not all great, some very bad, but the good stuff (particularly the main event) was incredible. 

Josh.