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. 

SmackDown 2007: Episode 11 (16th March); The Animal gets mad!

We begin SmackDown number 11 of the year 2007 with Miz TV… Fortunately in this terrible early-day period of a segment that would go on to shine just like its star (although it took a while lol…); the guest this time is World Heavyweight Champion Batista. Batista got a mixed reaction coming out, and any mention of Undertaker during the interview got a cheer. Miz quoted an article from WWE Magazine where Batista said he was ‘unstoppable’.Miz played this down and said Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak was more unstoppable. He added if Undertaker wanted to he could come out here and kick Batista’s ass. The lights then went out, but came back on and Miz was laughing saying he had paid ‘some dude in the back’ and played this prank on Batista, The World Champion didn’t respond too kindly and soon enough he hit Miz with the Batista Bomb. 5 minute opening segment, what a concept, job done, good stuff, maybe modern day WWE should take note…

Matt Hardy defeated Mr Kennedy 

Update: I’m still bored of Mr Kennedy… This was a match between two of the eight men in the Money In The Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 23. They went even early on, with the crowd again behind Matt Hardy. Hardy seemed to target Kennedy’s arm early on, before Kennedy pushed him into the corner and struck away, backing him into another corner and hammering away, then smashing Hardy’s head into the top turnbuckle. Hardy eventually came back and hit a running clothesline off the ropes. And later Hardy tackled Kennedy through the ropes and to the outside. After the ad break Kennedy soon hit a suplex to Matt Hardy for a nearfall. Kennedy got Hardy in a rest hold on his neck, with Hardy eventually fighting out of it, kicking Kennedy in the face and then hitting his elbow to the back of the head off the second rope, but seemed to tweak his knee as he landed. Hardy tried to bulldog but Kennedy managed to block it and hit a chop block to Hardy’s hurt knee. Kennedy then targeted the knee after, as much as Hardy tried to fight back. He slammed Hardy from up high knee first onto him for another nearfall. Kennedy rammed Hardy’s knee against the apron, then used his elbow and knee to hurt Hardy’s knee more, then he attacked Hardy more before smashing his knee against the ringpost. Kennedy got another nearfall after a clothesline, he then took Hardy to the top and pulled him down so he was trapped upside down as Kennedy went more at the knee. With both men up high, Kennedy launched Hardy back first to the floor below, but only got another two count. Kennedy then locked in an Indian Death Lock to put more pressure on Matt Hardy’s knee, Hardy tried to fight out with right hands and he eventually reversed the pressure making Kennedy reach the ropes. Kennedy stomped away on Hardy then went up high looking for the Kenton Bomb, but Hardy rolled out the way in time. Hardy on one good leg hit multiple clothesline then a side russian leg sweep, then hit a second rope leg drop for a nearfall. The crowd were into Hardy’s comeback here. Hardy then got a side effect for another nearfall after reversing Kennedy’s move. Hardy tried to pull Kennedy down for a pin attempt but Kennedy stayed on his feet and then fell down on Hardy to try and pin him, even using the ropes for extra leverage but it wasn’t enough… Kennedy dropkicked Hardy in the knee to take him down, then hit a big kick to the face for another nearfall. Kennedy then picked Hardy up and tried for his finish, but with a great counter Hardy got out of it and hit the Twist of Fate (or more of an RKO or Diamond Cutter in this instance) and this got him somewhat of a surprise win. Crowd were delighted Matt Hardy got the win here, and he builds momentum heading to WrestleMania 23. Maybe not the most exciting match of all time, but a fine watch nonetheless.

Kristal spoke to Kennedy backstage. He said his loss tonight doesn’t affect him at all, and he will walk into WrestleMania and grab that briefcase. He said April 1st he walks into Ford Field as Mr Kennedy and walks out as Mr Money In The Bank… Bank…

MVP defeated ‘El Grande Latte’

MVP wanted the US title shot at Mania and asked Teddy Long for the shot last week. This was due to be against the US Champion but MVP took the mic and announced his opponent as the Honduran heavyweight champion who weighed in at 254 pounds and was undefeated… out came a pale guy in a mask who Michael Cole was unsure even weighed 150 pounds… MVP humiliated and dominated him very quickly. He beat him with his finish. MVP then cut a promo that brought out the US Champion.

Apparently on Raw the next Monday, after an agreement between SmackDown GM Teddy Long and Raw’s executive Jonathan Coachman there will now be a ‘WrestleMania reversal night’ were Opponents for Mania 23 will take on past opponents of eachother from previous WrestleMania’s; WWE Champion John Cena will be in action, as well as Shawn Michaels VS JBL… Hmmm… JBL said he had a little something special for Shawn Michaels come Monday night. A little convoluted an idea, but cool.

The WWE Slam of the week was a recap of the Miz TV; Melina – Ashley segment to set up their Mania Women’s title match.

MNM (Joey Mercury & Johnny Nitro and WWE Women’s Champion Melina) defeated SmackDown Tag Team Champions Paul London & Brian Kendrick and Ashley 

A tribute video aired to Earnie Ladd who passed away around the time of this show airing.

Maryse ‘speaks seductively in French’ (that’s a direct quote from the WWE Network annotations for this show)… we’re on week ELEVEN of this… and you thought Emmalina had a big build up…

King Booker and Queen Sharmell were backstage, with Finlay. It appears they were looking for the ‘luck of the irish’… basically Booker wanted to form an alliance again with Finlay ahead of his match with The Undertaker later… Finlay was looking for Hornswoggle, but Booker stopped Finlay before he left and asked for advice on facing The Undertaker, Finlay just said ‘RUN’ and Booker tried to catch up as Finlay walked off. Sharmell stayed and filed her nails… when Hornswoggle appeared and terrorised her. He said Happy St Patrick’s day and asked Sharmell for a kiss. She ran off and he drank some Guinness.

Another Battle of the Billionaires promo aired with more celebs mainly saying they wanted to see Trump bald.

On Raw monday we were shown Trump and McMahon and their representatives signing the WrestleMania contract. During which Stone Cold cut a promo on Trump and then Vince, it was so so good. Stone Cold is the man. Trump put an imagine on the screen of Vince if he was bald. Trump also shoved Vince over the contract table.

The WWE ‘smack of the night’ was Khali destroying Jeff Hardy in a match on Raw before Kane came out with his hook his character uses in his movie ‘See No Evil’. Khali wanted none of that and retreated. A not so subtle promotional bit their from WWE Movies…

Kane vs Daivari 

Daivari was in the ring after the break cutting a promo in Punjab before Kane came out. Kane battered Daivari, in a complete squash lasting a few minutes finishing with a Chokeslam onto the steel steps on the outside, he then went under the ring to get his signature hook, which he choked Daivari with before dragging him up the ramp, and then to the back where he pushed him against a wall backstage, he then dragged him behind a door that closed saying he wanted him to send this as a message to Khali from him… So yeah we didn’t really have a finish… This of course is building more to Kane’s eventual match with The Great Khali at WrestleMania 23. Daivari was the man who first brought Khali to the WWE the year prior.

Legendary manager Mr Fuji was announced as the latest inductee to the WWE Hall of Fame class for 2007.

Royal Rumble Winner The Undertaker defeated King Booker with Queen Sharmell

This wasn’t quite of the level of last week’s show, which was the best of 2007 so far, but I still had a lot of fun watching and writing about it. Just a couple more weeks now until WrestleMania. A reminder that I will be covering next week’s SmackDown, the week after as well as normal on a Friday, and then the weekend after that I will be doing a full review of WrestleMania 23. And not just the SmackDown matches, but the full show as it’s one of the ones I remember most well from my childhood so it should be a fun watch. I just hope it looks as good to me in 2020 as it was to younger me in 2007.

Josh.

SmackDown 2007: Episode 10 (9th March); WrestleMania preview?

We kicked off SmackDown this week with an opening video about Batista – Undertaker and their story so far. 

The show properly got underway with King Booker in the ring already alongside Queen Sharmell. We also saw a graphic advertising matches for both Batista and The Undertaker tonight. 

King Booker with Queen Sharmell defeated Matt Hardy 

With Sharmell joining commentary the match went 50/50 early on, although of course the crowd were much more behind Matt as he got two nearfalls. He then flew over the ropes to take Booker out on the outside just before an ad break. After the crowd continued to show their support for Hardy as he took over. We then had a line on commentary from JBL where he mentioned about the only thing Hardy was good for was Edge stealing his girlfriends… then there was a silence for a short time… so I’m going to pretend that he got a telling off in his headset for that one… Booker then went about laying the boot in in the corner, and had Hardy on top as he laid in strikes, but matt eventually fought out and then strikes Booker down from the top to the floor. To a big pop from the crowd Matt Hardy then tried a moonsault off the top but Booker moved out the way, and soon after Booker hit a hard neckbreaker for a nearfall.  Booker then locked in an arm hold and was also busted open from the mouth, but Matt fought out of it only for Booker to hit a big spin kick as Hardy came off the ropes, and he got a 2&1/2 count. Booker proclaimed he was the ‘king of the world’, and took his time setting up for a Suplex… but as he tried to lift Hardy countered with a Suplex of his own. a Side Russian leg sweep then got Matt a 2. King Booker then tried the scissor kick but Matt got in the side effect for another 2. The crowd were really into it now. Matt Hardy then went up to the second rope and dropped a standing elbow and then a leg drop, but again only got a 2 count. Sharmell was fuming at this point and got on the apron, and was then able to distract the ref, then as both men missed strikes, Matt goes for the Twist Of Fate but Booker kicks Matt against the ropes. And then as the ref is checking on a downed Booker, Sharmell strikes Matt (who is leaning against the ropes) with her shoe. Then Booker hits the scissor kick for the 123. Really fun opener. Solid stuff and a good match. Crowd not happy, but I loved that match a lot. Good stuff.

Kristal interviewed Batista backstage. They looked at Undertaker’s undefeated streak in a fantastic video that looked at all his past mania wins. After the excellent video package Batista put over how incredible 14-0 was, but said that he was walking into WrestleMania as World Heavyweight Champion and he was walking out as World Heavyweight Champion, and that at WrestleMania 23 The Streak is over. He then spoke about Kane and how tonight he’s gonna do to Kane exactly what he’s gonna do to Undertaker at WrestleMania.

There was a promo for Raw the next week where Donald Trump will appear to sign the contract for the match at WrestleMania… christ… 

Maryse welcomed us back to SmackDown. She let her hair down… will she just show up already ffs!?

We had a recap from Raw where, in one of the better segments of this era, after teases of Eric Bischoff, Mick Foley and Shane McMahon it was finally revealed to Mr McMahon that STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN was to be the special guest referee at WrestleMania. AWESOME stuff. 

Teddy Long was backstage with MVP, who teased the gm about apparently looking up Kristal on his laptop. MVP made a challenge for a United States Championship match at WrestleMania. 

Kane was backstage and was approached for an interview by Kristal. She tried to ask about what Batista said earlier. Kane asks what he said and she said he called Kane ‘sick demented and twisted’. Kane says he was right, laughs and adds that Batista has no idea how true that is.

The WWE Slam of the week was Ric Flair vs Carlito in a MITB qualifying match from raw, where Khali came out and destroyed both. He also Said he wants Kane.

World Heavyweight Champion Batista defeated Kane

There was a Mixed but LOUD pop for  Batista, and a big reaction for Kane too. The early stuff was just both men showing one another how strong they were but it soon got going. The crowd reacted big time throughout, particularly to Batista. They both his eachother with some big strikes throughout, and at one stage Kane reversed and sent Batista crashing into the steps outside, which he got a nearfall from. And after another nearfall off a big boot, Kane then added to the punishment by stretching The Animal around the ringpost as he seemed to be targeting Batista’s lower back. Kane later went to the top rope, but was caught by Batista with a clothesline on the way down… but Kane sat right up and grabbed Batista by the throat. Eventually Batista fought out and soon after hit a big boot of his own to Kane for a nearfall. After a Kane nearfall from a sideslam he went up top again and connected with the big clothesline off the top. Kane signalled for the Chokeslam, but Batista came right back and hit the Spinebuster. He then signalled for the end, but Kane drove him into the corner, then hit the Chokeslam… only for Batista to kick out at 2 and 3/4. Kane was annoyed and took off his elbow pads, and with Batista against the ropes he hit him towards the corner, stepping up to the second rope and struck down on Batista over and over. But… Batista then hooked his arms under Kane, and slammed him down for a Batista Bomb… and the 1,2,3. A really good finish to what was honestly a great match, which I didn’t expect these two to put on. A legitimate ****+ match which on WWE weekly TV in 2007 I think was rare. 

We had a video package promoting ECW Champion Bobby Lashley as Donald Trump’s guy for WrestleMania and looking back at his story in recent weeks. They really did try all they could with him in 2007 didn’t they?… 

We were shown another video promoting Trump vs McMahon, this time with various celebs giving their thoughts, the likes of Mark Cuban and John Travolta. The Majority wanted to see Trump bold which was funny. 

We had the debut next of MIZ TV. MY GOD was early days Miz the drivelling shits. His guest was Ashley, who’s long awaited Playboy was out that Monday. Miz tried to flirt but Ashley had none of it. Their interview was interrupted by the other guest that Miz didn’t tell Ashley about… Raw’s WWE Women’s Champion Melina. So… apparently Ashley was guest ring announcer for a Melina match on raw and Ashley knocked her down during it, hence their beef. oh and Yes… Melina did THAT entrance. It appears the angle here is Melina says Playboy couldn’t pay her enough to pose naked. And her body was sacred and only one guy could see and that was Johnny Nitro. Ashley said “that’s not what I heard honey” (WHAT). Melina said that was funny coming from someone barring it all for millions of people to see in a magazine. Crowd cheered Ashley for that… Ashley said it was time someone shut her up, and she had an idea for a match at mania for the women’s title… melina cheap-shotted Ashley and they fought. Crowd loved it ofc. Melina ran away as she could. Ashley stood tall. So there’s your big women’s match for WrestleMania everyone… 

Kane was backstage and Kristal tried to talk to him, as she wanted a comparison between Batista and Undertaker since Kane had now fought both… Kane said they were two of the toughest… when suddenly The Great Khali came in and battered Kane. He launched him into a nearby cage wall and roared for him to get up. Then headbutted him 5 times and Kane was busted open and knocked down as a result. Khali then launched Kane again and again into cage-like wall as he chats shit to him in punjab. It was a proper brutal beat down and Kane was left laying as Khali roared and posed after then walked away.

The WWE slam of the week was ECW two weeks ago where Kennedy beat Sabu to qualify for MITB in an extreme rules match.

Mr Kennedy defeated CM Punk 

Kennedy did his usual style intro of himself. Michael Cole said Kennedy was his pick to win MITB at WrestleMania… which is interesting… CM Punk… whatever happened to him? This was a fun enough match but it went too short to be really good. Kennedy was on top for most of the start as the crowd were though behind Punk somewhat. Kennedy hit a series of punches and a rest hold but Punk fought out… and soon hit a spin kick and then a crossbody off the ropes and then some more strikes… Mr Kennedy tried to kick Punk but got hit with a boot for the nearfall. Punk hit a step-up knee to the corner and a bulldog for a nearfall. Punk was sent into the middle rope by Kennedy, and then off the top he was pulled down. Then Kennedy dropped Punk with a neck breaker off the middle rope for the 123. Seemed a very abrupt finish but meh… it was a fine match just short, Punk looked great, but ofc Kennedy had to win… if you told me in 2007 that one of these two would be a multi time WWE world champion and one would never hold a WWE title and then said which one was which, I’d be astonished…

Kristal Interviewed Finlay. He jokes he’s not scared and not afraid of the dark, death or Undertaker. He added he has pure hot Irish blood in his veins and says he’s been to hell cause he’s Irish and that we will not see fear in these Irish eyes… Ok then… 

As it’s getting late… here’s the main event in full for you all. Enjoy.

Finlay vs The Undertaker 

One of if not the best SmackDown of 2007 so far. It was jam packed with stars and names which helped. What a show, we are well and truly on the road to WrestleMania 23 in a big big way… and I cannot wait!

Josh.

Fully Loaded 1999 – Review

You all heard of the theory of the Butterfly effect right? How one event taking or not taking place can alter history forever? Well in Pro Wrestling that theory is none more evident, and for me there is none more perfect an example of a possibility that we can think about like that than at what took place at the WWF’s Fully Loaded PPV in 1999. The night where arguably the most important on-screen character in the history of the business, and certainly the biggest heel of all time, Mr McMahon was WRITTEN OUT and OFF WWF television for what was then supposed to be the final time. Now of course we know now that would not be the case and he would return some months later to television in his larger than life role, but in July 1999 during the peak of the Attitude Era, Vince McMahon the man in real life in charge of the World Wrestling Federation, it was felt by the boss that the Mr McMahon character had reached a point where it was time for him to depart. With Steve Austin as WWF Champion his top foe was now the evil Undertaker with both Shane and Vince McMahon by his side. Going in to Fully Loaded 1999 it was reaching near breaking point between the two entities and something had to give. So the ultimate do or die match stipulation was set; Stone Cold Steve Austin would defend his WWF Championship against The Undertaker in a First Blood Match… BUT… added to the match was the promise that if The Undertaker won the title then Stone Cold would never be able to challenge for the WWF title ever again… BUT… if Austin retained then Mr McMahon, by his own promise, would never be seen in the World Wrestling Federation ever again. And we all know that when the Mr McMahon character promised something, he ALWAYS meant it! And legit, as hard as this is to believe looking back, and apologies for the spoilers, but Fully Loaded 1999 was indeed supposed to be the final night we would see the Mr McMahon character EVER… So… why don’t we go back and take a look at the show as a whole then. Here is my review of Fully Loaded 1999!


The most amazing video package opened the show. It was a perfect mix of an ‘oldey-worldie’ song and black and white footage alongside similar black and white shots (as well as the line from Vince ‘somebody’s gotta go, and go for good’) that told the history between Mr McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin. It then transitioned to colour shots of the pair and a more dramatic music and the infamous commentary line of Jim Ross ‘Somebody’s gonna bleed, somebody’s gonna leave’. If you have the wwe network please go out of your way to see this, it’s just after the OG WWF opening video on the PPV.

Or…

 

After the usual crowd shots in the arena (filled with an unreal amount of crowd signs) we opened the show with Jim Ross and The King on commentary. JR led us to some footage from earlier in the night on Sunday Night Heat where we see an Austin interview with JR backstage be interrupted by The Undertaker. Taker battered Austin and bust him open. We could see Vince (who was on crutches) and Shane looking on in the background, both smiling.

Live on the PPV we saw medics attending to a frustrated Austin.

Michael Cole interviewed Vince McMahon and accuses him and Shane of orchestrating The Undertaker attacking Austin. They batted Cole off, and Vince guaranteed Austin will lose the WWF Championship tonight. He emphasised after saying he (Austin) will ‘never ever again be the WWF Champion’

Jeff Jarrett with Debra defeated Edge (C) to win the Intercontinental Championship 

So we were told and shown pictures from a house show in Toronto the night before, where Edge won the IC title from Jarrett. When Jarrett came out he got a pop but it was clear that the people were more cheering for the sight of Debra and her… assets… JR explained how on Raw Jeff Jarrett had received a bloodbath (the signature of Edge’s former Brood buddy Gangrel), but Edge was in the ring at the time so it couldn’t have been down to him. Double J cut a brief promo after he got in the ring saying the people weren’t going to see Debra’s puppies because they belonged to him, and he said he was the best Intercontinental Champion of all time. They had a solid opening match. Edge was fairly over, but by far the crowd were most into Debra (take that for what you will, but bare in mind it’s 1999), and we even got a ‘we want puppies’ chant in the opening moments of the match. Everything they did was solid, and the sequences they did towards the end were particularly good. The finish came about when the lights went out and we got a brief glimpse of Gangrel coming out… when the lights came back on Gangrel was on the floor and Edge was wagging his finger. We could also see a wet puddle on the mat floor nearby, so it was clear Gangrel had tried a bloodbath to Edge but it had failed. Edge then went back into the ring to go at Jarrett, and after some good chain wrestling Edge hit a Spear… but before he could go for the pin Debra got on the apron and tried her ‘let me show my tits to the guy to distract him’ gimmick, but as Jarrett tried to attack Edge from behind he moved and hit Debra by mistake, sending her to the floor. With the ref looking elsewhere Gangrel then pulled down the ropes and used them to spring Edge, and this allowed Jarrett to hit his finisher and get the 1, 2, 3. So Jarrett wins the IC title right back.

**3/4 

Steve Austin was shown backstage being told by the medics that he was fine, Austin said that was all he needed. Well, that was the gist of what happened anyway. It wasn’t exactly an overwhelming yes from the doctors but it was enough of what Austin wanted to hear to know he could compete later in the night.

Austin then came out into the ring area to a huge pop. He got in the ring and hit the Stunner to Jarrett (ok then…). Naturally the crowd went wild for this, and Austin then got a mic and told The Undertaker that he was going to bust him wide open and called him a big dead SOB.

The Acolytes (Faarooq & Bradshaw) defeated The Hardy Boyz (Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy) (C) & Michael Hayes in a 3 on 2 Handicap Match to win the WWF Tag Team Championship 

So the challengers came out (as this point the team that would evolve into the APA were well into their allegiance with The Undertaker and his pack of… weirdos…), and we then cut to Michael Cole backstage who was talking with The Hardys and Hayes, where Hayes spoke about how he had taken the Hardys from curtain raisers to the tag team champions. Apparently this match will be under ‘Acolyte Rules’ (basically no count out or dq)… One spot that did stand out from the match was when Bradshaw was in the corner, Jeff runs to the opposite side and Matt kneels down to give Jeff the boost for the Whisper in the Wind spot… but as Jeff came up off Matt’s back Bradshaw caught him and nearly took his head off with an awesome looking Clothesline (what an unbelievable clothesline big John Layfield had by the way). So as you can imagine The Acolytes got the win by pinning Hayes, after a double Powerbomb. And also as you can imagine it was a classic battle between the high flying babyfaces (Hayes did significantly less of that stuff of course) and the bigger, more-brawler style heel team), and it was pretty decent stuff as far as the match went. Hayes to his credit had good-looking offence and his selling was fun. Overall a good watch, despite the very obvious finish from a booking standpoint.

**1/2

Austin was again seen backstage. This time walking frantically in search of The Undertaker as he slammed a door behind him.

D’Lo Brown cut a backstage promo as he was interviewed by Kevin Kelly.

D’Lo Brown defeated Mideon (C) to win the European Championship 

As D’Lo and Mideon of the Corporate Ministry were about to begin their match we were told that there was apparently a camera following Austin backstage and JR said that they’ll cut away if he finds The Undertaker or anything develops, which immediately took my interest away from this match that I wasn’t exactly hyped for to begin with. D’Lo dominated the start and did look good doing it to his credit, Mideon eventually cutting him off by launching him into the steps. The crowd kinda died midway through this once Brown was no longer dominating, and that’s not to say Mideon was bad… he was fine, but nothing better in my opinion. D’Lo won the title after a ‘Low Down’ Frog Splash, so we did get the right result here, but as a match it wasn’t much of anything and I was kinda bored at times and I wasn’t the only one. 3/3 title matches had resulted in new champions so far…

3/4* (0.75) 

Austin again was walking backstage and taking a camera man with him…

Michael Cole was backstage with the Hardcore champ Al Snow, who had apparently not been the same since his… Head… had a spike put through it. We were shown a clip from Raw where the Bossman battered him, and Snow had been handcuffed and asked to be put out his misery. Snow then cut a promo where I can only describe him as deranged…

Big Bossman defeated Al Snow (C) in a Hardcore Match to win the Hardcore Championship 

In this chapter of a feud which showed us some of the least fondly remembered moments of the whole Attitude Era, they had a wild arena-wide (and outside) brawl. Loads of random weapons and all sorts were used and it was fine for what it was; from plants to coffee cups to signs to golf carts, all sorts! Bossman whipped and choked Snow with his leather trouser belt, and at one point after hit Snow with a bulldog on concrete for a nearfall. They brawled out to outside the arena, at which point Al Snow kicked out at two after being hit in the head WITH A FUCKING BRICK (I CBA)… For the finish Bossman chained Snow to a fence (despite Snow smiling as this happened) and after being hit over the head with a bottle, with Snow cuffed to this fence Big Bossman took out his Police stick and smashed Al Snow over and over with it. He then pressed his foot against Snow who was against the fence and this acted as the pinfall. Big Bossman your new Hardcore Champion (4/4 title changes now), and he then jogged back to the ring where he celebrated with his newly won belt.

*3/4 

Big Show defeated Kane with Hardcore Holly as Special Guest Referee

We were shown a video explaining how Kane had recently turned good after turning his back on his evil brother of destruction. Holly was backstage with Kelly, where he explained that he was not in fact partial in favour of Big Show and he doesn’t have to be partial to anyone. He went on to say how Show had tried to suck up to him for weeks but it wont work and he IS law and order. Kane had as I’ve mentioned turned his back on Undertaker recently and aligned himself with his friend X-Pac (Taker and X-Pac have beef, remember that as we go through this show…)… In an amazing spot Big Show press slammed Kane over the ring ropes, and he dominated as Kane’s selling was really good. Show got a nearfall after with a powerslam and he did a less than enthusiastic cover as well. Kane did comeback though with a ddt, and followed later with a huge flying clothesline off the top rope. Kane then signalled for the Chokeslam, right as Hardcore Holly (the same guy who said he would not be partial to anyone in the match) chop blocked Kane’s leg out from behind. This allowed Big Show to hit the Chokeslam himself and even then Holly still did a fast three count. Big Show wins the battle of the behemoths with a finish I would describe as… well, shit.

*1/2 

X-Pac came out right after and knocked down Holly. Undertaker then came out and choke slammed X-Pac as Big Show took down Kane, before the two double teamed Kane. The crowd really wanted to see Austin make the save here but he didn’t. Taker then exited the ring and leaves as Show then helped Holly out. It’s odd now to see these sort of angles so frequently on a PPV when they’d be much more common on your regular weekly show, but I kind of like it and so do the crowd for the most part.

Austin and Taker then finally had a brawl backstage. The key part being that by the end, Undertaker was busted open too. So going into their FIRST BLOOD match later in the night both now had significant wounds to their head.

Ken Shamrock defeated Steve Blackman in an Iron Circle match 

We had a video showing Blackman attacking Ken Shamrock time and time again in the weeks before with his kendo stick, Shamrock even had internal bleeding at King Of The Ring after a beatdown. Ken did get his revenge the next night in a weapons match. So… in case you’re wondering what an Iron Circle match is we basically had a load of extras (Albert, Test, Sgt Slaughter, Mabel, Val Venis etc) and they were all alongside a circle of cars that Shamrock and Blackman were fighting in the middle of, and the first man to be able to leave the circle would be the winner. So they battled and brawled all around these cars, it was less of a match and more a parking lot brawl really (oh the match was in what looked to be an underground parking lot by the way). Blackman went to strike Shamrock with a crowbar at one point but he moved and hit a car instead. They both smashed eachother into the various cars and nearby walls as well, at later Shamrock wrapped a chain around his fist and hit Blackman over and over before choking him out with it. Shamrock then gave a crazed look before his signature roar before throwing a nearby bin away and walking off as his music played… so I guess he’s your winner then… I don’t really know what this was… 

3/4* (0.75) 

Taker was backstage with an interviewer, he wasn’t in a good mood at all as he launched in the poor guy into a nearby wall.

Michael Cole was (blimey they love a backstage spot or interview on this show don’t they) with Chyna and Billy Gunn. They cut a promo on Road Dogg and X-Pac.

Road Dogg & X-Pac defeated Chyna & Mr Ass (Billy Gunn) for the rights to DX

So the deal here was the former members of the DX supergroup were now fighting eachother for the right to continue the group themselves. Mr Ass and Chyna were in it for the money and the profits whereas Dogg and Pac were more about the way of life and feeling of what DX meant. Road Dogg of course cut a promo before the match to hype up the crowd which they loved. The crowd kept up their level of interest for the large portion of the match in fact. In terms of in-ring work all three guys helped Chyna along to make her look strong. And in a fun spot at the start Gunn was fuming with the crowd calling him an asshole. Gunn’s attire was notable too, as it looked as if he had a thong-like middle part of his wrestling pants which was funny (I guess to show off his ass). Everyone sold to Chyna really well as Road Dogg took a beating from her and Gunn early on (his selling was really good). Mr Ass looked good in the ring too, the match though changed pace once Dogg got his foot up to Mr Ass as he came down off the top, which eventually allowed for him to get the big hot tag to X-Pac. Pac then was later sent flying into the ropes by Gunn which got a 2 count, Chyna later go a nearfall after slamming Pac down, then we had a spot where Pac tagged out but the ref didn’t see it and so as he was dealing with an angry Road Dogg this allowed for Chyna and Mr Ass to then put the boot in on X-Pac. But the babyfaces did eventually get the win after Road Dogg hit a pumphandle slam on Mr Ass. The crowd popped big for the end sequence and the match itself was fine. The level of noise the crowd made during really helped it a lot.

**3/4

Triple H defeated The Rock in a Strap Match to become the number one contender for the WWF Championship 

We had a really good video before the match that told the story of this historic feud down the years and how both men wanted to become WWF Champion. After Triple H made his entrance to his classic ‘My Time’ theme song we had ANOTHER BACKSTAGE FUCKING INTERVIEW… thankfully this time it was with The Rock, who just took the piss out of Triple H and it was great stuff. They brawled all around the ringside area as both were of course joined by the wrist with the strap. The crowd went wild whenever Rock was on offence, but died a little when it was Triple H’s turn. They brawled into the crowd as they (particularly the women) went wild whenever the brawl went near them. As it went on all I could think was this strap gimmick is killing this match a little for me… it was a wild brawl all round the crowd and ringside area but the straps slowed it in parts … at one point Chyna comes down to the ring area, just as Rock hit the rock bottom but as the ref dealing with Chyna he missed The Rock having HHH beat! HHH then hit a low blow, and took most of the match after that. He went on to use the strap to choke Rock in the corner, but The Rock was able to fight back and throw Triple H down from the top. HHH then took off the strap on his wrist and attacked Rock, before getting a chair only to walk into The Rock whipping him with the strap, over and over again down the entrance way. Rock then dragged Triple H back to the ring and got a 2 count after a ddt which got the crowd very excited. Then after as Chyna distracted the ref, ‘Mr Ass’ came down and hit Rock with a club. Triple H then went for the cover but Rock kicked out at two, which the crowd loved. Triple H then went for a Pedigree but Rock hit a low blow and followed with the powerslam set up for the People’s Elbow. Naturally the crowd went wild for the big move, but as the ref counted the two Billy Gunn pulled Rock off of the pinfall. Rock responded hitting the Rock Bottom to Gunn, but this allowed Triple H to get up and hit the Pedigree to The Rock for the 1,2,3. Crowd weren’t happy at all. It was a fun match but the strap didn’t help it at times. The Rock was super over and only behind Austin as most popular on this show, so he was a superstar. At this time the crowd didn’t respond to Triple H like was a top guy… not yet anyway… but it is HHH who goes on to SummerSlam to face the WWF Champion… whoever that may be after the main event…

***1/4 

The camera then focused on one of the three large pendants at the top of the ramp. The two on each side had images of Austin and Undertaker bleeding, but this focus was on the centre one with Vince covered in blood. Foreshadowing…

Stone Cold Steve Austin (C) defeated The Undertaker in a First Blood Match to retain the WWF Championship. As Per the pre-match stipulations: Vince McMahon must leave the WWF! 

We had a really great video; Austin won the title, Taker busted him open after, we had references to the previous year when Taker busted Austin open to cost him the WWF title, and then how Mr McMahon got involved to side against Austin again, Taker also helped Vince sign the contract for the match in Austin’s own blood, and we also had Austin attacking Vince whilst he was in a wheelchair and making Vince bleed too.

So to clarify, the stipulations are if Taker wins here then Austin can never ever again challenge for the WWF Championship. But if Stone Cold wins then Vince McMahon has promised he will leave the WWF, and we will never see him on WWF TV again. Somebody’s gonna bleed, somebody’s gonna leave.

Vince limped out before the match down, and he looked back to the giant pendant with him bleeding on it. Vince made his way with his crutches to join commentary, and despite the stakes he seems in a very jovial mood. Taker was seen walking backstage and he seemed really pissed off as he patted his head where he had earlier been cut open. Vince claimed to Jerry Lawler that Taker had his wound clamped shut. Taker came out to his evil SOB Corporate Ministry theme song which I loved. Vince gave a passionate speech during Taker’s entrance stating his case. We then saw Stone Cold backstage, and they did the boxing-style full walks to the ring, to really give this a big fight feel. Austin has the Smokin Skull belt. Austin ran right in and taker met him on the entrance walk and they fought… Vince on commentary going mad is SO great. Whenever Austin was on offence the people went proper nuts for him. They brawled round the ringside area too, as Austin had a big plaster on his head. They brawled into the crowd as the match went 50/50 for most of it. Taker later went for a chair shot but hit the ring post instead, and he tried again just after but Austin hit a drop toe hold to send Taker face first into steel steps, but he WAS NOT busted open. Later back in the ring Taker tripped over the ref and fell into the ring ropes so that he was trapped, and Austin went right away to get a chair, only for Shane McMahon to run down to try and save Taker… but he got a chair shot for his troubles. Taker came back in after and told Austin “you’re gonna bleed boy” but then got hit with a low blow and then a Stunner by the Rattlesnake. Vince then hobbled over from commentary and tried to use his crutch to attack Austin, but Steve Austin punched him down. He then grabbed a chair but Undertaker hit Austin with a chair of his own. Taker then threw the ref out the way, and then came a run in this time from X-Pac. Pac kicked the chair right into Taker’s face, and then Austin followed up with a shot with a nearby TV Camera to Taker right on his head… the crowd were going absolutely ape shit by this point, and their excitement only got louder when Taker got up and he was bleeding. Austin punched away at Taker as he got up, but Taker hit back as a terrified Vince McMahon looked on. Undertaker picked Austin up and was about to Tombstone him, but by this time the ref was back up and saw him bleeding and called for the bell. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were exceptional on commentary in this and the next part by the way I must mention. The ref called for the bell and Taker punched him as the announcement was made that Austin was still champion… and we know what that means…

***3/4

Austin then hit Taker with a Stunner as the crowd went nuts. Jerry Lawler desperately exclaimed it was indeed the end of an era. And Jim Ross excitedly told us that Austin was still the champion and Vince McMahon is GONE! Austin then stunned Vince he had come into the ring, before his future SummerSlam opponent Triple H came down and he fought with Stone Cold. The Rock then ran out too and he and HHH brawled up the ramp and to the back. Meanwhile a bloody Undertaker furiously wrecked the commentary and nearby ringside area, and he even busted Austin open too in the process. In Taker’s fury as both top guys fought he even hit Shane McMahon, as a load of officials tried to lead Undertaker away. The crowd loudly chanted for Austin as he went after him, but as Taker went up the ramp Austin stayed in the ring with the soon-to-be-departing Vince. Vince looked utterly devastated as he was offered a handshake and a beer by Austin… who of course gave him another Stunner to send him packing. Austin of course then posed and drank some beer to close the show in signature fashion.

This had all the hallmarks of a classic Attitude Era PPV, so take that for what you will be overall I enjoyed it. And they did a fantastic job all show of making the main event seem like a huge huge deal. And everything around that was the finest of GOOD SHIT!!!

Josh. 

SmackDown 2007: Episode 9 (2nd March); Kennedy’s Extreme Challenge

From this 2007 episode of Friday Night SmackDown we continue the road to WrestleMania 23. And with the card for the showcase of the immortals taking shape it looks to be another episode of tri-branded representation…


After the ‘Rise Up’ opening video makes its welcomed return, World Heavyweight Champion Batista begins the show to again talk about his WrestleMania match with The Undertaker… and yes once again he’s sporting the… iconic… All-White ensemble with the Turtle-necked jumper as well… A mixed reaction of sorts again for the world champion… he said after explaining last week about what he did at No Way Out, he said he was honoured when The Undertaker chose him, and that it will be a privilege to share the ring with the deadman. He really did put over Undertaker, but he did take issue with him Chokeslamming him and said now we know where both stand, and at WrestleMania it will get ugly. He says without a doubt it’ll be the match of his career.

Taker then cut somewhat of a weird promo video from the graveyard… Taken then dug a grave for Batista… a cut his weird promo… he ended saying his reign as champion will rest in peace. We then saw a shot of the grave that had been dug with smoke coming from it. We cut back to the arena where a visibly annoyed Batista looked on.

A graphic after the ad break showed that 5 men had qualified for the Money In The Bank ladder match; Edge, CM Punk, King Booker, Jeff Hardy and Mr Kennedy. Two more will be added tonight.

King Booker then came to ringside to join commentary ahead of the next match.

Matt Hardy defeated Joey Mercury in a Money In The Bank qualifying Match

Why do I feel like I’ve seen this match about 101 times recently??? Because it certainly feels like I have… At least this one had something properly on the line… King Booker was very excitable on commentary which was very entertaining. Hardy had the fans on side and the action wasn’t bad, but I’m so over this feud by now and the moves weren’t anything I hadn’t seen from both in the weeks before as well. King Booker and the commentary were honestly the most entertaining thing during this match, Booker putting himself over, and also at times drifting in to shoot territory talking about WrestleMania and at times actually calling the match… a sign of things to come maybe… Mercury took most of the match to get the heat, but the crowd were into Hardy’s comeback… Hardy got a close nearfall with a bulldog that the crowd were really into, then again with a Side Effect not long after. Hardy then took off Mercury’s face mask, then after Mercury was on the top rope hit a Twist of Fate to get the win. Matt joins his brother in the ladder match at WrestleMania. Crowd were very into Hardy particularly towards the finish.

Kristal interviewed MVP backstage. He is in a triple threat later tonight to qualify for the Money In The Bank match. MVP said he would punch his ticket to WrestleMania.

Maryse welcomed us back to SmackDown.

Jimmy Wang Yang, Scotty 2 Hotty & Shannon Moore defeated Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero, Daivari & Gregory Helms

It was all action, but very much not the sort of 205 live action you’d expect from Cruiserweights. Crowd seemed into it enough though, but I can’t say I was… I’d say these were all solid in ring guys though, and the match was fine, I was juts kind of bored during it… Crowd seemed most into Scotty 2 Hotty and also the hot tag and following offence by Jimmy Wang Yang, who was positioned as the top contender here. Crowd booed loudly when Scotty was stopped doing the Worm by the referee… the finish came when the other four guys were in the outside leaving Yang and Daivari as the legal guys, and Yang got the win after a moonsault.

They recapped the Rey Mysterio segment from last week… and the interruption by Mr McMahon that led to Umaga coming out and destroying Mysterio.

Mr McMahon came out for a promo. He was booed heavily, as he put over Umaga’s attack of Mysterio last week. He said WrestleMania was the single most important match of his career. And he cut a promo on Trump saying it was about embarrassment (‘Trump will be a baldie’) and ego (‘Trump defeated by McMahon’) as Vince proclaimed his case for winning. They then recapped the segment from that week’s Raw where Donald Trump revealed that Bobby Lashley was his representative at WrestleMania, and the ensuing brawl after. They then recapped the match from ECW that week where Lashley retained his ECW in a cage match… and then jumped against the cage wall to knock it down onto Umaga who was at ringside. Vince said the referee will be named on Monday by the board of directors… Out then came the ECW Champion himself Bobby Lashley. They stood facing one another in the ring, Vince was appalled Lashley dared come out to interrupt him, and thought he must be out here to make a deal and offered him twice as much to turn against Trump. Lashley said it was an honour to be chosen by Trump, but it will be his pleasure to beat Umaga. He then emphatically said No to Vince’s proposal, who then slapped Lashley and screamed at him that nobody says no to him. Lashley turned back looking furious so Vince quickly made his exit.

Backstage Mr Kennedy approached Mr McMahon with an idea… he said he wanted Lashley tonight. And he begged. Vince said he didn’t have to beg and he had the match, and said lets make it a title match tonight and No Holds Barred, but it was only for Kennedy, and Lashley must abide by the rules and if he is disqualified or counted out he will lose the ECW title to Kennedy.

Ashley Massaro defeated Jillian Hall

Ashley was announced as Playboy cover girl and they had her cover shown in large at the top of the entrance way. They then showed a mini video of Ashley preparing for her photoshoot. Jillian tried to sing before the match… but Ashley turned her around and hit her. A really clunky hurricanrana and a nearfall after, then Jillian got a nearfall and went on the attack… Jillian tried to sing into her headset mid match but Ashley got a school girl nearfall. Jillian tried a pinfall but clearly had the ropes, Ashley then hit some form of reverse neckbreaker then hit a second rope elbow drop for the win. It was quick at least…

Finlay won a triple threat match involving MVP to qualify for the Money In The Bank ladder match at WrestleMania

Before the match the Little Bastard attacked the commentators before the match, before Finlay shoved him back under the ring. He then emphatically told Cole that his name was ‘Hornswoggle’. Match was solid in-ring wise. I just can’t bring myself to talk about any matches of the other in this match. Finlay got the win using his weapon (I cba to type it out again) when Hornswoggle distracted the referee. Finlay is going to WrestleMania.

They announced the third member of the 2007 Hall of Fame class as Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. People will forever have their views on him the person as some of the things he may or may not have done, but he’s had an amazing career and more than worthy of his spot.

We were told that next week Undertaker and Batista will be in the same building since No Way Out. Undertaker will take on Finlay, and Batista will take on The Undertaker’s brother Kane.

Bobby Lashley (C) defeated Mr Kennedy to retain the ECW World Championship in a match where it was No Holds Barred but for Mr Kennedy only and if Lashley was DQ’d or counted out he would lose the title 

I think this is an odd match to make given where both end up and that neither should be losing right now for me… but whatever… Kennedy undid the turnbuckle pads as soon as he got into the ring. Then did his usual self-announcing gimmick. Solid enough match but little heat from the crowd sadly. Kennedy tried a few times to get Lashley counted out, and went out after him launching him into the steel steps. Again after he waited in ring as Lashley got in in time. Kennedy back in ring hit Lashley a few times then used his wrist tape to try and choke Lashley out… Lashley powered to his feet and backed Kennedy into the corner, he tried to pick him up after but Kennedy raked his eyes and then chop blocked Lashley. Kennedy then smashed Lashley with a chair to the head, but only got a nearfall. Kennedy then drove Lashley into the chair for a nearfall, then hit him multiple times with the chair, until Lashley then caught the chair, and went to go and use it but had to stop himself or risk DQ. Lashley then powered up on Lashley with strikes, later jumping over a attempted chop block. He would soon after pick Lashley up and hit the running powerslam for the win. Lashley retains clean. Crowd did cheer for the finish, but I think most expected that result so it suffered heat wise.

Kind of a ‘meh’ episode of SmackDown to be honest… but Taker and Batista in action next week so should be better then.

Josh. 

SmackDown 2007: Episode 8 (23rd February); No Way Out fallout!

So this edition of Friday Night SmackDown sees us well on the road to WrestleMania 23 now… it comes after the previous Sunday’s No Way Out PPV where the results were as followed: The Hardys won a 6 man tag against MNM and MVP, Chavo Guerrero became the new Cruiserweight Champion after winning a multi-man open match, Finlay and Little Bastard (Hornswoggle) beat The Boogeyman and Little Boogeyman (Yes, that really happened), Kane beat King Booker, London and Kendrick retained the tag titles against Deuce and Domino which is somewhat surprising given the challengers’ two wins against the champs in previous weeks, Mr Kennedy caused Bobby Lashley to get so mad he got himself DQ’d in their ECW title match, Ashley Massaro won a divas invertational… and finally in the much hyped tag team main event of the show… it was Raw’s World Tag Team Champions (and future WrestleMania opponents) WWE Champion John Cena & Shawn Michaels who got the win against Royal Rumble winner The Undertaker and his partner and Mania opponent of choice in the World Heavyweight Champion Batista. The finish of that one occurring when Batista turned on Taker and left him alone for HBK to superkick and Cena to then hit with the FU for the pin. So it was quite the eventful show, and this SmackDown will have all the fallout from that, as we finally embark on the final leg of the road to WrestleMania 23!!!


We got a full recap of Taker’s story after winning the rumble; him choosing Batista and the eventual tag match at No Way Out. Batista said that payback was a bitch… and they cut to No Way Out where the turn eventually came.

Michael Cole then began the show with an interview in the ring with World Heavyweight Champion Batista. Interesting that he got a mixed reaction from the live crowd… after being the top babyface, even more so than The Undertaker, since I started watching these shows back again. Batista quickly took the mic and he did put over The Undertaker, saying he had nothing but respect for him, but that he cannot apologise for what he did at No Way Out. He said now they were even, and now they can go to WrestleMania and give people a match they will never forget. He said he was not intimidated by The Undertaker (he really was getting more negative crowd reaction than positive at this stage)… Batista says he plans on walking in and out of WrestleMania as your World Heavyweight Champion.

They looked back at Rey Mysterio’s career, this time him winning the tag titles with Eddie Guerrero.

Maryse welcomed us back to SmackDown…

Matt Hardy and WWE Tag Team Champions Paul London & Brian Kendrick with Ashley vs Joey Mercury and Duece & Domino with Cherry 

Duece and Domino were fuming as they came to the ring and the match began, still smarting from their loss at No Way Out. This was good fun, everyone got their stuff in and it was a great choice for show opener. Kendrick and London in particular were unbelievable. What’s funny is that only two people in this match appear on the mania main show… and one of them is Ashley Massaro… Mercury and Hardy meshed really well with their tag partners… The heels were on top for most of it, as they have been in the tag matches of recent weeks, and this continued after an ad break with Kendrick being isolated for a long period and being subjected to a number of pin attempts too. Kendrick was cut off making a tag once by Mercury but at the second attempt tagged in Matt Hardy who went right on the attack on Mercury, getting a nearfall after a Side Effect. He then went up top and got another nearfall after a leg drop. London and Kendrick took out Duece and Domino with double dives, back in the ring Hardy hit the Twist of Fate on Mercury after Joey tried to use his noseguard as a weapon. The babyfaces win a fun opener.

Kristal interviewed Vickie Guerrero backstage. They never actually did explain why these two are friends or where all this helps them both… I recall where this ends up but if they explain Kristal and Vickie’s true motives I guess I’ll find out… Anyway… They were very friendly, apparently Vickie said she had something very important to take care of at No Way Out for tonight, and when asked she said it had already been taken care of.

They recapped a match from Raw where Edge beat RVD to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match, after interference from Randy Orton. CM Punk also qualified on that week’s ECW.

We had another Rey Mysterio moment, this time it was him winning the 2006 Royal Rumble match.

Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero vs Scotty 2 Hotty 

I thought Chavo in 2007 was one of the most underrated guys on the whole roster, loved his charctaer work and in-ring he was excellent. Naturally in Rey Mysterio’s hometown Chavo got a negative crowd reaction. This was a fairly basic match but it was fun enough, and the crowd were into it. Chavo sent Scotty outside and waited right til near the end of the refs count until he went on the attack again, after Scotty got a few shots in but Chavo was largely on top for most. Chavo used a really unique submission where he wrapped Scotty’s legs and then pulled back on his neck and then arms, he kept Scotty in a hold for a while, and pretty much most of the rest of the match was Chavo with Scotty in holds and wearing him down. Scotty got a series of strikes in, then hit a big backbody drop, before he looked for the bulldog to set up the worm, but Chavo kicked Scotty in the chest, then looked for the three Eddie Guerrero vertical suplexes, but as he went for the 3rd Scotty hit a bulldog. He then went for the Worm… but Chavo rolled out the ring after he got hit with the move, Scotty dived off the apron to take Chavo down, then back in the ring they did a really cool-looking pinning sequence where they exchanged rolling pins and it ended with Chavo pinning Scotty with his feet on the ropes for the sneak win. As Chavo celebrated we saw a shot of Gregory Helms watching on backstage.

We had a look-back from Raw where Mr McMahon showed a series of imaginative pictures of Donald Trump with different hair. He also announced Umaga as his representative at WrestleMania, before the Samoan Bulldoser won the Intercontinental title from Jeff Hardy.

Our next Rey Mysterio clip was him winning the World title at WrestleMania 22.

King Booker with Queen Sharmell vs Kane in a Falls Count Anywhere Match where the winner would qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania 23

Kane 2007 was THE SHIT. Just that theme song alone is so so great. Booker began on top and rained down strikes on Kane throughout the early going, with Kane coming back after with some really hard offence. They exchanged nearfalls early on and it was kind of just plodding along, crowd weren’t all that into it either… They brawled back to the top of the entrance ramp area, with Booker getting a neafall after a ddt… Booker later tried the Scissor Kick but Kane dodged it and got a big strike in… they brawled back to the ringside area, with Kane smashing Booker’s head off the steel steps and then sending him spine first into the steel post. After Sharmell tried to get at Kane it provided enough of a distraction to allow Booker to hit Kane with the ringbell. After an ad break Kane hit a sideslam and soon powered out of Booker arm hold with an arm drag… Booker hit a clothesline to take Kane down again, and then again with a kick to the head which got a nearfall. Booker then hit a number of strikes to Kane on the ground, getting another nearfall. Booker then got a steel chair on the outside but Kane kicked it into the King’s head and got a nearfall of his own. Kane went to the top rope and got the big clothesline for another nearfall, Kane later hit a sidewalk slam for another near pin attempt… Booker not long after came off the apron and Kane caught him by the throat looking for a Chokeslam when… urgh oh boy…

THE GREAT FUCKING KHALI CAME OUT… he clobbered Kane on the back and chopped Kane down, he later hit massive headbutt and launched him through the nearby barricade… apparently on Raw Khali said he wanted some competition… King Booker looked on shocked. And as Khali walked away Booker crawled over and got the pin. King Booker goes to WrestleMania!!!

Booker and Sharmell were backstage after… They were soon confronted by Khali… Booker tentatively put out his hand which Khali shook firmly then walked away…

They recapped Ashley revealing her playboy cover last week.

I think they showed another Rey clip, him beating JBL I think, but I skipped it as I didn’t need to see Ashley and her stuff again…

Finlay & Little Bastard vs The Boogeyman & Little Boogeyman 

Because this was the No Way Out rematch we needed… Basically it was Boogeyman and Finlay wrestling after the break, with Little Boogeyman on the apron and Little Bastard hiding under the apron… Crowd were dead pretty much, I think they just wanted to see Mysterio at this point. Finlay grabbed the bag of worms, Little Boogey tried to stop him and Finlay pushed him away and then stood on the worms and launched them away… Little Boogey hit Finlay with a low blow and then attacked Finlay… Little Bastard then came in and tried to brawl too… the two little people had a brawl and Finlay kicked Little Boogey in the head (yep he really did)… then Boogeyman (the big one) attacked Finlay… and it was a bit mad and it ended with Little Bastard pinning The Boogeyman after a ddt… yeah it was interesting that’s for sure…

They recapped Dusty Rhodes being in the hall of fame. The announced Mr Perfect as the second inductee for the 2007 class. Arguably the best of all time never to be a world champion. An absolute legend.

Maryse Welcomed us back to SmackDown…

In his hometown of San Diego, Rey Mysterio made his return to SmackDown for the first time since taking time off due to injury. He got a huge pop of course, as he came out in a suit and walked with a cane. He cut a great babyface promo saying it was great to be back in a WWE ring, but even better to be back in his hometown. He said the progress in his recovery was ahead of schedule, he then cut a promo in Spanish…

then Mr McMahon came out… along with an insane amount of security personnel… whom all surrounded the ring… Vince put out his hand to shake Rey’s but took the mic instead… Vince said he just realised just how big he really is (compared to Rey), he also called Mysterio ‘cute’… he then spoke about WrestleMania and said it was too bad Rey wont be able to make it. He promoted the battle of the billionaires, and assured Trump he would be humiliated. He said Donald Trump would be a bald billionaire, and that he would make Trump ‘squeal’ before blabbing on some more about how he would yank Trump’s hair off (god I hope this segment has a good ending because it’s just….urgh…). Vince asked Rey for his opinion on who would win the match, and told him to think about it… he then got on one knee and asked Rey again (the crowd were booing this of course…)… Rey called Vince a loser and got a big pop. Vince was far from pleased, and eventually… Vince brought out UMAGA! Umaga took his time getting into the ring, as Rey was stuck in the corner of the ring… Vince said he had an idea and asked Rey if he had a change of opinion on who would win the match… Umaga looked ready to beat the shit out of poor Rey before Vince used Rey’s cane to hit Mysterio and then threw him to Umaga who hit him with a Samoan Drop. Crowd booed this like crazy… Vince went to leave the ring then instructed Umaga to get Rey into the corner and then do his running side-charge, of which Umaga obliged. This absolutely killed the crowd so I hope whatever dark match they got cheered them up. Umaga’s music played but then he went and dragged Rey out of the corner as Vince talked trash. Umaga then hit the big splash from the top right onto Mysterio’s injured knee. Vince led Umaga away as doctors and officials tended to Rey.

This was actually really effective and a great place to make Umaga look like a monster and to get some heel heat on him. A very effective way to close the show and promote Umaga ahead of what was the mainstream main event of the upcoming WrestleMania.

Josh. 

 

Thank You Becky Lynch: The Man and a baby

Last night on Monday Night Raw, in one of the most genuinely heartwarming moments in Wrestling history, Becky Lynch vacated the Raw Women’s Championship. She revealed to Asuka that the Money in the Bank briefcase she had won the night before was not for a championship opportunity, but for the Raw Women’s Championship itself… Becky went on to tell an ecstatic Asuka that now she had to be a warrior, because she herself was going away to become a mother.

Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins are having a baby. What a wonderful time. Just the sort of incredible news I think we could all do with right now.

Of course, all the congratulations to them both as people and as performers, both of whom has dazzled and delighted us all for some time. But with Becky vacating the title she won at WrestleMania last year, so ends a nearly 400 day reign at the top of Raw’s women’s division. And brings a wonderful end to one of the most memorable runs of any wrestler man or woman of all time.

Before Summerslam of 2018 Becky Lynch, then seen by many as almost the forgotten horsewoman, was building up a steady winning streak in the upper mid-card of SmackDown… and yet once again when it came to the big show, Becky wasn’t chosen… Charlotte got the nod and the win and the championship. Becky turned on her former friend afterwards, but right away the crowd rejected her supposed heel turn. Even the next week when Lynch cut a heel promo against the fans, it was just as quickly wiped away from history. Lynch won the title, beat Charlotte at every turn of that run, yet still wasn’t allowed to be cheered by WWE. Come survivor series, after the memorable curtailing of a supposed dream match against then Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey, it could go on no more. The crowd and their love of Becky Lynch as The Man was indulged upon, and suddenly Lynch was the hottest star in the company.

After losing her SmackDown title to Asuka, Lynch tried to get it back at the 2019 Royal Rumble, but she failed with Asuka tapping her out the kick off the PPV. Fans were in disbelief, how was there favourite going to go on to WrestleMania now? Well… she found a way, and symbolic of her real rise to dominance where she let nothing get in her way, Lynch came out again during the Women’s Rumble match later that night and demanded her shot to replace the injured Lana… and suddenly, to one of the biggest pops from a crowd I think I’ve ever witnessed, Becky Lynch was in the Women’s Royal Rumble match… and then Becky Lunch WON that same match. The Man was going to WrestleMANia!

The next night Lynch went about setting up her road to immortality. And when it came to the big night Lynch was to be an afterthought no more.

In the main event of WrestleMania 35, a spot that women were in for the first time ever, Becky Lynch won both the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championship by winning a triple threat match against former champions Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair. Becky 2 Belts was at the top of the biggest of mountains.

Across the next year plus Lynch would go across a variety of stipulations and match types, and even a mixed tag with her fiancé Seth Rollins, and after getting the better of Lacey Evans, Natalya, Sasha Banks, Asuka and Shayna Baszler amongst others, Lynch has now concluded what will go down as one of the Most historically significant runs of any WWE superstar of all time. The peak and heights she reached were unimaginable for her a few years ago, and the sheer volume of fan support that was behind Lynch, I can only really think of Daniel Bryan at the height of the Yes Movement that we’ve seen a babyface be that adored by the overwhelming majority of fans. She really did scratch and claw and fight her way to the very very top.

I’ve so many memories of this run from Lynch, her winning the rumble was such a rush to see as a fan, drunk me and all my friends were very very happy. Her taking an End of Days from Baron Corbin was such a fantastic and unique moment. And she’s had some tremendous matches too, the Hell in a Cell with Sasha Banks comes to mind first and for what it’s worth I actually didn’t mind the Lacey Evans feud and the stuff with Corbin and Rollins too.

She made a submission match work too as her and Natalya has a very good match at SummerSlam. And just her star power and her position as a representative of WWE as it’s Champion has been tremendous. Lynch has become such a sold and reliable top top star now, and I don’t think anybody would’ve predicted it be Lynch and not Banks, Bayley or particularly Flair who would be the top star of the company first, and credit must go all to Lynch for that.

So now the future holds a newborn baby and many months away from the ring for The Man. I think the women’s division will be fine, but of course if you take Messi from Barcelona, or McGregor from UFC or Tyson Fury from boxing, they’re always going to be lesser for it. But with Asuka at the helm and with a host of undercard contenders waiting in the wings (Nia Jax returning, Baszler always a threat, and Bianca Belair arriving) Raw and SmackDown and NXT for that matter I’m sure will continue to flourish.

But for now let’s rejoice in Becky Lynch’s fantastic news, and say a big congratulations to her and Seth Rollins. And thank you for everything you have done and for the many many memories and moments you’ve given this wrestling fan for one, and I’m sure many many others, during what has been one of the best runs of any WWE superstar of all time.

And you can be assured that at some point in the future, The Man will come back around.

Josh.

30 Day Wrestling Challenge: Day THIRTY = Feelings on the Current State of the Business

Well… the idea of me doing this series was so in my mind, I had a visual end to lockdown. I thought when beginning this series that by the time it was done that the lockdown would be over… but it hasn’t turned out quiet like that. Nevertheless here I am… blogging has really really helped me at times since I started it in February of 2018 (I think…), and during this lockdown getting into a habit of blogging everyday has helped me so much. So I’m not sure what I’ll blog over the next few weeks and months. But I’ll keep you all posted…

That leads me nicely onto today’s subject. Usually I’d be reviewing all the current WWE PPVs on rn… but I just can’t bring myself to watch the empty arena shows at times, let alone review them. Just not the same is it. It’s the crowds… a crowd absolutely is a crucial part of any wrestling show. It can enhance the product so much, think of your fave ever match or show… I bet the crowd went wild for it didn’t they? Just not the same rn is it.

To the credit of WWE and AEW even, the empty arena shows have been as good as empty arena shows can be. Sure not always a hit but what you going to do? WrestleMania I thought was an excellent show and I very much enjoyed both nights. Raw has been the Drew show with a lot of help from the growing star power of Zelina Vega, who as always when she is given the chance (like in NXT) has absolutely shone. NXT has been as good as it can be. You can very much tell just watching that HHH is in charge, whereas SmackDown at times has been great but at times has dragged. So kind of as they would be in full arenas…

I was very much looking already towards SummerSlam in August… it was supposed to be in Boston. Which history has shown always puts on a show… I had visions of Sasha Banks vs Bayley in Banks’ hometown, I had Brock vs Drew rematch infront of a crowd. I visioned Ronda, Taker… a proper Hall of Fame ceremony, NXT TakeOver the night before… but recent comments from local government officials are making another major WWE PPV behind closed doors look likely… 😦

So as I write this it is in fact the day of the Money in the Bank PPV… again we have another PPV that will be very much different to the norm. And again we have advertised a unique match… this years “ladder” match for the briefcase will see the men’s and women’s matches take place at the same time with the match happening at WWE Headquarters. As with WrestleMania I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this show, but like then I’m just grateful it’s happening to be honest. Let’s hope it’s a good and fun show and takes us away from life as it is for most of us right now.

Wrestling is always there to make us smile. Now more than ever I think we need it.

Josh.