The Best All Elite Wrestling PPV so far (Revolution 2020) – Review

AEW Revolution 2020 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights |  Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

In the last days before the pandemic, it seemed as if pro-wrestling was in an incredible place; WWE were off the back of a phenomenal Royal Rumble and well on the road to a star-studded WrestleMania show in Tampa, NXT the same having just had a great TakeOver show in Portland, and AEW were in their first few months still of existence, and they were thriving. Still now as we approach the back end of this living nightmare, wrestling is still doing OK, but lets rewind a little and talk more about the newest player in the game… How would AEW respond to an incredible standalone show from NXT? Well, they put on what I believe was their best show yet. The Revolution PPV in February of 2020 was STACKED; with blockbuster matches and personal feuds all over the card, and the added elements any great show needs with variety and new stars getting the big spotlight. In the main event we had inaugural World ‘Le Champion’ Chris Jericho defend his gold against the almost indestructible Jon Moxley (who Jericho and his Inner Circle crew had tried to BLIND in the build up), Cody finally getting his match with former friend turned mortal enemy MJF, and in a dream tag team match we had a real all ELITE affair as The Young Bucks challenged for the AEW Tag Titles against the team of Kenny Omega and ‘Hangman’ Adam Page. We looked set for a spectacular show. And it was absolutely that. So join me now as I look back at All Elite Wrestling’s ‘Revolution’ Pay Per View from February 2020.

The show came from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois (so a great crowd was almost guaranteed), the commentary team were a great trio of Excalibur and the legendary Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone. I think these three mesh so well together and are probably one of the best commentary teams in the game today. Justin Roberts is the AEW ring announcer, and he still is one of the best to do it.

Before the show itself got underway there was a match filmed in the arena for a future episode of AEW’s YouTube show Dark. In that we had Britt Baker and Penelope Ford get a win against the babyface Japanese joshi duo of Riho and Yuka Sakazaki in a tag team match.

AEW’s version of a kick off show is entitled ‘The Buy In’, the idea buying you’ll watch this preview before the main PPV and then you’ll ‘buy in’ to the show itself… Taz joined Excalibur to commentate for the PPV warm-up. Along with various videos and interviews promoting the main card, we did also have a match to kick us off too. This saw The Dark Order’s Evil Uno and Stu Grayson (with Alex Reynolds, John Silver and a few of the “creepers”, AKA goons accompanying them) getting a win of SCU’s Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky. This was still in the very early days of the Dark Order group when they were pure heels trying to take over and infect all of AEW. The heel team got the win with Grayson pinning Sky by rolling him up and holding on to his tights for the win. The big angle came after the match when Indie wrestling Icon Colt Cabana made his AEW debut trying to help Sky and Kazarian fight off the various Dark Order members. SoCal Uncensored teammate Christopher Daniels came in after and the babyfaces stood tall in the end despite losing the match. Solid match, good angle after, and overall The Buy In was very much a great way to promote AEW to get people to buy the PPV. The Buy In finished off with the main commentary team being introduced alongside Excalibur, with Tony Schiavone and, in what has become one of my favourite parts of the AEW PPV Buy In’s, Jim Ross gets his full entrance and the crowd give him a great reception. NOBODY in wrestling deserves a good pop every time he comes out more than JR. Very much the GOAT of what he does.

And after that it was time for the main show. 7 matches on the card (the perfect number in a 3 and a half hour show in my opinion), all of them an attraction for different reasons.

The introductory video for the show was very good in telling the stories of each match on the card. Seeing this great video reminded me how many incredible moments and segments we got in the very first few months of AEW.

The singer Dezirae Schalice sang the American national anthem.

We started off with… well not quite a hot opener but it was a first match in the company for one guy, coming up against a veteran and legend of the business.

Dustin Rhodes vs. Jake Hager set for AEW Revolution

Jake Hager defeated Dustin Rhodes

Hager had fractured Rhodes’ hand a few months before this, and they’d feuded since. The MMA fighter was making his AEW match debut after first appearing at the end of the inaugural dynamite the previous October. They heavily talked up his 2-0 MMA record on commentary. Hager made out with his wife, who was sat front row, before the match. Hager was booed and Dustin was cheered as they came out. Rhodes wore a shirt before the match that said “I’m here to fight Jericho’s bitch”, which was later chanted by the crowd during the match.

Given the build it made sense this was more of a brawl… they fought into crowd… and outside of the ring… There was a spot where Dustin snogged Hager’s wife after she verbally went at it him, which I didn’t think we needed but oh well… Dustin went with a head of steam after Hager had been dominating up to that point… Hager later took a big bump over turnbuckle and ‘landed’ face first on the steps (his head whiplashed to the floor below too which didn’t look fun). Hager later reversed a cross-arm breaker into an ankle lock (which given his wrestling background seemed very logical he could and would do something like that). The crowd got really behind Dustin when he was in the hold, and although he did power to the ropes there was a spot not long after where they were both in the corner, and it manifested where the ref’s back was turned. That was when Hager hit a low kick. Not long after he hit a series of hard knees to Rhodes’ mid-section, and then he used a sleeper/arm triangle type hold (that commentary informed us he had won Bellator fights with previously, so a very clever finish). QT Marshall came out to see to Dustin after Hager had left with his wife.

**3/4

They showed a video promoting the ‘Blood and Guts’ (a take on War Games) match scheduled for the March 25th 2020 episode of Dynamite to take place in Newark. Of course it was never to be, but at least in current day we have the match back on in 2021… although the line up is very different from the year prior.

Commentary then ran down the rest of the card.

Darby Allin defeated Sammy Guevara

AEW Revolution: Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin | Wrestling News

Guevara had smashed a skateboard into Allin’s throat, with Darby returning the show prior to this PPV to confront Sammy. There was a really cool video before Darby’s entrance (something that has become a staple of his big matches, where a short video will show how he prepared for his opponent. It’s a simple clip usually but it’s cool). Allin got a big pop and chants when he came out. He immediately jumped across the ring and did a suicide dive onto Sammy on the outside. He followed up with a shotgun dropkick sending Guevara into the barricade. He tried again after but Sammy moved and smashed Allin into another barricade. In a throwback Guevara tried to smash Allin’s throat into the barricade… Randomly Jurrasic Express (Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt) were sat in the front row… anyway, Darby got out of trouble and then laid Guevara on the barricade… he then went into the ring and tried for a suicide dive into Sammy, but as he did the dive his foot dangled on the ropes and he didn’t get dive fully. Commentary did well with it to be fair and explained that he got his foot caught so he didn’t connect with the dive (Darby’s head looked like it went into the barricade by the way). Sammy Guevara smashed Darby with his Skateboard. And then Guevara looked under the ring and got a table, he put Allin on the table, then Sammy went to the top rope and did an unbelievable 630 (sending them both through the table) to a huge crowd reaction!

Guevara rolled into the ring, with Allin completely laid out. Darby eventually got himself up and into the ring… and THEN the bell finally rung. We had all that before the match even properly began!

AEW Revolution: The Moxley Era Begins | Enuffa.com

Along with his usual high flying style Darby demonstrated some great ‘rasslin ability in this match. A really good match despite it going short (although we did have the stuff before the match officially got underway). Sammy hit a double foot-stomp to Darby on the ring apron, before later hitting a Spanish Fly. Guevara seemed to have the most of the match itself aside form the mat wrestling from Allin. Later Sammy exposed the turnbuckle, but was sent into it himself via a Allin Monkey flip. For the win Darby hit a form of stunner, and then we got a HUGE pop for the Coffin Drop as the finish. It really was a heck of a match. Allin went to use his skateboard with Sammy’s name on to smash him with after, but Jake Hager pulled Guevara out the ring to rescue him. Darby Allin came off as an absolute star here.

***1/2

A really great video told the story of how The Elite had somewhat imploded in the build to our next match. The Bucks came in to it almost questioning why they weren’t the tag champions yet in AEW, despite being widely viewed as the best tag team in the world. Omega and Page were two singles stars who somehow found their way to becoming a tag team, winning the titles on the Jericho Cruise some months before. The other element, and really the main part of the story going in, was around Adam Page. He had become disillusioned with The Elite in previous weeks, he had started drinking and Omega and everyone else now viewed him as a liability. Tension was teased all the way between The Bucks (mainly Matt Jackson) and Page, as well as between Omega and Hangman also. On The Dynamite before this Kenny Omega won a grueling Iron Man match against PAC, and just was the case during all his big matches in Japan, with both The Bucks at ringside to cheer Kenny on, despite the looming title match. So there were A LOT of personal elements going in to this, and on top of all 4 guys being tremendous pro-wrestlers the expectations for this one were very high indeed.

5-Star Match Reviews: Kenny Omega and Adam Page vs. The Young Bucks - AEW  Revolution 2020, by Alex Podgorski - TJRWrestling - WWE, AEW News, TV  Reviews, PPVs, More!

‘Hangman’ Adam Page & Kenny Omega (C) defeated The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) to retain the AEW World Tag Team Championship

10 Best Wrestling Tag Team Matches Ever – Page 2

The Young Bucks got a superstar entrance, with the money cannons and everything. Page and Omega (coming out separately to one another) got huge crowd pops, particularly Hangman. Once he came in to the ring Hangman went nose to nose with Matt Jackson, tension was very high. They also had some cool lights interspersed in the crowd that changed colour in line with the music and what was going on during the entrances. It was subtle to some but looked cool. Interestingly also The Bucks were booed a little during their intros. Page and Omega were both cheered. And then it was finally time. We had a real big fight feel. ‘Cowboy Shit’ chants came from the crowd as the match got underway.

We had fun wrestling exchanges early, but that changed when Matt and Page got in the ring and Page SPAT in Matt’s face, before a brawl ensued. Nick and Kenny tried to stop the two from doing serious damage, but as the match went on it seemed the Young Bucks worked more and more like heels. Page even wanted to put Matt Jackson through a table that was set at ringside, but Kenny Omega reasoned with him not to. In terms of a proper move by move analysis of this match I didn’t write one to be honest. This match was a proper joy to watch; move for move it was perfect, everything within the match on it’s own made sense, and when you add in the huge backstory and build, it made for a classic. And it was just that. The crowd loved every minute of it, and above all else these 4 guys are GREAT professional wrestlers and each performed to their maximum here. Towards the end of the match (that went almost dead on 30 minutes) things went crazy in a good way; Kenny tried for a One Winged Angel off the middle rope (he had done the move against PAC on the previous Dynamite), but Nick Jackson countered into a poisonrana and Omega took a nasty looking bump. Speaking of nast looking bumps… Matt Jackson hit THREE consecutive nothern lights suplexes on Page up the entrance ramp (so imagine they flipped over three consecutive times, and Page took the bump over and over and over). As if that wasn’t bad enough for the Hangman, The Bucks then hit him with the Indytaker on the ramp. The crowd really didn’t like that one (they were so behind Page during the whole match by the way). After that The Bucks went at Kenny… they hit double knees, but Omega kicked out at ONE!

Then they both hit knees again and he kicked at 2…Matt Jackson in frustration tore the protective tape from Omega’s shoulder. They then tried for the Meltzer Driver, but Hangman Page came back in to play and put Nick Jackson through the table that was ringside with a powerbomb. Page and Omega hit what became their tag finisher (a Buckshot Lariat/V-Trigger combo) on Matt Jackson, who kicked out at 2. Omega then tried for the One Winged Angel (a move that STILL has never ever been kicked out of) but his shoulder gave way, and this was where Hangman turned into Hulk Hogan peak Hulkamania and it was AWESOME… He tags in, HE hit the One Winged Angel on Matt… but Nick Jackson makes the save during the pin. And then Page with a Buckshot Lariat to Nick Jackson whilst he was on the apron, and then sprung right into the ring and hit the same to Nick. And that got the 1,2,3. This match was awesome but Hangman Adam Page (who still now in 2021 I feel like is set to long term get THE big moment for the title) was the crowd favourite and really the MVP of this incredible match.

After the match it appeared that Omega made peace with Matt and Nick, but Page seemed not willing to do so. We had a super cool tease of Page hitting the Buckshot Lariat to Kenny, as he was stood on the apron looking menacingly towards Kenny, but as Omega turned around Page paused, and then held the ropes open for his tag partner to step through, and the crowd cheered as they left together. Page also got a beer from the crowd as he walked up the ramp. This was a fun tease, and the right call for it NOT to happen as I feel like Chicago would’ve rioted if their hero turned here.

AEW's Seven Best Matches From the Company's First Year

This was one of the ALL TIME great Tag Team matches, and possibly the best match in the history of AEW.

*****

We had a solid video before the next match, featuring JR, Schiavone, Taz and Nyla Rose herself. It really put over both women well.

Basically Statlander is an alien (yes her character is she’s from another galaxy legit). Nyla Rose is named “the native beast” which tells you all you need to know about her gimmick.

Nyla Rose (C) defeated Kris Statlander to retain the AEW Women’s World Championship

Kris Statlander vs. Nyla Rose set for AEW Revolution - Bell To Belles

We got Classic pre match intros which made the title match feel that little more special. The crowd weren’t into it too much during the entrances, but did react to both women when Justin Roberts introduced them. Both were cheered in fact. These women were in such a tough spot having to follow the best match in company history, so it was not a shock to me that the crowd seemed somewhat quieter. So Statlander, as much as I love her, did seem to be rushing a little (slipping on an attempted kip up was one), but credit to the crowd they didn’t boo or “you fucked up”, they cheered and wanted these two women to have a good match. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. Rose put the heat on for a lot of it, but Statlander held her own also with her athletic style. One spot saw Statlander dive through the ropes but Rose moved, and Statlander landed face first on the ramp. Rose also speared Statlander by going through the ropes back into the ring which for a woman of her size was a heck of a spot. She only got a 2 count from the pin though. Statlander hit 2 really good dives one after the other, but soon after she took over again in the ring Rose set her challenger on the ropes before going to the top rope… Statlander though did a handstand to move out the way walking on her hands, then blows Nyla a kiss.

Statlander was on fire after and hit a Roundhouse kick, a big boot then a DDT… but only got a 2 count. Eventually Rose locked in a viscous STF, but as much as Statlander fought Rose then out the hold in again not long after…

Rose went for the big splash but Statlander got he knees up. Statlander hit a single leg dropkick, but then came off the ropes right into a Powerbomb, but kicked out the pin after. Kris Statlander hit an Avalanche brain buster for a 2 count, and started to become frustrated after. That seemed to cost her as not long after Rose hits a big boot, and with both women later on the top it was Statlander that tried a hurricanrana but Rose powered out and hit a big Powerbomb for the 3. The champion retains.

**1/2

They advertised the AEW Unrestricted podcast with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone hosting.

Next was one of the most anticipated matches in company history. It certainly had the best long term build that any match in AEW has had to this point.

AEW Revolution Results: Cody Rhodes vs. MJF - eWrestlingNews.com

They did a really good job getting over just how personal MJF vs Cody really had become. They also showed the tale of the tape which they did for the tag and women’s match before. Again a minor thing but I like it. As I’ve said I think this was one of the best storyline’s AEW have ever put together. The basic road to get us here to this point being; Cody took MJF under his wing, MJF threw in the towel to cost Cody his title match against Jericho (with the added stip that if Cody didn’t win that match he’d never challenge for the AEW title again), MJF officially turned on Cody after. Cody sought vengeance but MJF refused, before giving Cody three stipulations in order to be willing to face Cody 1 on 1… Stip 1 was Cody couldn’t lay a hand on Maxwell Jacob Friedman before Revolution, 2 was Cody would have to take 10 lashes with a belt to the back (which ended up being quite the incredible TV segment so go out our way to check that one out) and finally Cody would have to beat Wardlow in a cage match… which he did after hitting an amazing moonsault from atop the cage to get the win. Cody had jumped through every hoop MJF put in his way and now it was time for the big showdown. A tremendous video before this match told the story expertly well.

MJF got heavy boos as he came out. I cannot put over how talented this man is. He already is one of them but I’m in no doubt he will be THE number one heel in the business in years to come. Cody got the big entrance as he always does on big AEW shows. He had the backstage walk shot with Brandi and Arn. Downstait then played his theme song live.

MJF (with Wardlow) defeated Cody (with Arn Anderson and Brandi Rhodes)

The 20 Best AEW Matches Ever, According to The Wrestling Classic

There were so many key moments in this match with the story they told. It was really enjoyable to watch to be honest… We had MJF throwing a beer over a fan, Cody running from behind the top of the entrance ramp to deliver a big clothesline to MJF in the ring, Brandi throwing a beer on Wardlow with Cody then diving onto Wardlow after Arn had got in the way to protect Brandi, MJF biting at the toe Cody had broken in the aforementioned cage match, Wardlow backing down when Arn threatened him with a chair if he interfered in the match, a great spot where Brandi dived off the apron onto Wardlow but he caught her and as Cody went to rescue his wife he accidentally kicked Arn Anderson down after Wardlow got out the way… after getting a real beat down a very bloody MJF was in tears and hugged Cody as he begged for mercy… and then he spat in his face. I LOVED the finish of the match, I thought it reflected the story very well… So Cody hit two Cross Rhodes in a row to really lay it in on Max, and Brandi at ringside was begging and pleading with him to just cover Max and wrap up the win, but Cody was overcome with rage and hatred for his opponent and it cost him… a distraction allowed for MJF to retrieve the Dynamite ring (he had won it previously by winning a battle royal and then match for it) from his trunks, he whacked Cody in the face with it, flung himself against the ropes and then as he was exhausted he kind of just fell on top of Cody… and MJF go the win! The crowd were absolutely horrified at the result, the unthinkable had happened. Cody looked devastated, Arn and Brandi the same, and the commentary team sold it to so good. he was battered and bloodied, and had to be helped out of the ring and to the back by Wardlow… but your winner here was once again Maxwell Jacob Friedman (remaining undefeated in singles competition in AEW to this point). I liked everything here that I saw. Good stuff.

MJF defeats Cody at Revolution as AEW continues to build their future top  heel - Cageside Seats

****1/4

With the crowd somewhat upset given the heel win in that grudge match, they could do with something to cheer them up. They got the perfect pick-me-up next…

How would I describe Orange Cassidy? Well… you really do just have to watch him as it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s even harder to explain why he gets absolutely monster reactions whenever he appears. But he is OVER and that’s all that matters. PAC is just the best and little explanation is needed there. And these two complete opposites came together here, PAC seeing Orange as a complete joke and the idea (built up by his literal ‘Best Friends’ Trent and Chuck Taylor before the match) is that the ‘king of SLOTH style’ would in his PPV match against PAC, his AEW singles match debut… he would… TRY!!!

PAC defeated Orange Cassidy (with Chuck Taylor and Trent)

ORANGE CASSIDY TRIED AT AEW REVOLUTION | ORDER THE REPLAY NOW - YouTube

It’s hard to describe Orange Cassidy to someone who hasn’t seen him wrestle before. You do really just have to watch him. It was a very interesting dynamic here, with two guys basically polar opposites of eachother, but it worked! PAC was tremendous and played his part so well, and Casssidy was his usual self but when he did have to go, boy did he go! This was super entertaining stuff. The pick-me-up match is often looked down upon, but I loved this match. SO much fun and the real lift the crowd needed after the heartbreaking end to the match prior.

Orange got a GIANT pop when he came out (skip to 5.21 of the following video)

It was such a joy watching this match. PAC played his role to perfection. And Orange Cassidy was Orange Cassidy.

If you watch the two clips I’ve shared you’ll get the basic idea of what the match was like… Orange would joke, PAC would be serious, PAC would be aggressive, Orange would TRY, Orange would be hilarious, PAC would be brutal, Orange would TRY, and then PAC stopped all the nonsense… but it really was so much fun all match…

That finish would come after the Lucha Bros (Penta and Ray Fenix) came to ringside to take out both Trent and Chuck Taylor, and not long after PAC wrenched away at Cassidy before locking in the Brutalizer for the win. He kept it on slightly longer after the bell too, because he’s a BASTARD! But seriously watch the two clips I’ve shared in the blog of the match, this really was superb for what it was and it did it’s job to perfection.

***3/4

They again advertised Blood and Guts for the March 25th 2020 show. I’m so happy they’re actually doing it this year.

We had the tale of the tape shown and then a cool video ahead of our main event. The story here was with Moxley on a tear, Jericho did everything he could to keep his title and so offered Moxley a chance to join his faction.. which Mox eventually turned on Jericho and said no. From there Jericho eventually tried to blind Mox in one eye by stabbing him with a spike. Mox turned that around by trying to do the same to Santana with a car key.

Jon Moxley defeated Chris Jericho (C) to win the AEW World Championship

Moxley’s entrance saw him walk from outside of the arena to the ring. He got a giant pop coming out. And when we thought that was awesome… Jericho pulls out one of the better entrances I’ve ever seen.

This really had a big fight feel, as commentary also really made a point of explaining how both guys were undefeated in singles competition in AEW. It was really put over how both guys were the two very best in AEW. As it should be fighting for the world championship! Jericho was escorted out by Santana & Ortiz of his Inner Circle group, and he was also sporting a cut above his eye which Jon Moxley had given him during their weigh in the previous Dynamite.

AEW Revolution recap, results: Jon Moxley beats Chris Jericho - Sports  Illustrated

How or why Jericho wasn’t counted out or Disqualified during the early part of the match (where he and Mox brawled through the crowd and Jericho used a few items (a stand of some form and a sign) to hit Mox. Aubrey Edwards the ref was certainly being lenient but I digress… Moxley later bit a the stiches on Jericho’s head, Jericho not only rang the ring bell and grabbed a mic declaring himself the winner as he was beating on Moxley, but he also loudly called Moxley a piece of shit in the ring. Santana and Ortiz were of course a factor at different points, with Jericho distracting the ref allowing for them to get their shots in. At one point Moxley had Jericho in a boston crab, only for Jake Hager to come out to try and distract, and after Moxley’s attention was on Hager, Jericho hit the challenger with the (FKA) Codebreaker. Jericho started to get annoyed at not being able to put the challenger away, and even pushed Edwards which the crowd reacted to in shock. Soon after Hager got a punch in on Mox, at which point Aubrey finally banned the three Inner Circle members form ringside… just as the other, Sammy Guevara, ran into the ring behind her back and hit Jon Moxley with the AEW World title belt, before running back into the crowd. The crowd booed this a lot… but Moxley kicked out of the pin at 2! Moxley was bleeding really bad now from his already injured eye, and things really did look bleak for him… until the big twist…

The finish of the match was excellent.

Jericho gauged away at Mox’s good eye, and then hit him with a kick… Moxley staggered to his feet as Jericho set for the Judas Effect (spinning back elbow), but Moxley dodged it, then ducked again and out of nowhere he hit the Paradigm Shift. He then did the big reveal that he was in fact pulling the proverbial wool over our eyes… and he could now see the whole time! The crowd roared in realization, and then right after Moxley then kicked Jericho in the stomach, hit a BIG Paradigm Shift… 1,2,3!!! And to a huge pop we had a NEW All Elite Wrestling World Champion… [In Justin Roberts’ voice] “JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON MOXLEEEEEYYYYYY”!!! Mox cut a great promo after (which included the hilarious moment he reacted to his music being played mid-promo to cut him off by saying ‘hey what the fuck?’), saying he would be a fighting champion.

****1/4

People questioned if it was the right time for Jericho’s reign to come to an end? If Moxley was the right guy to beat him? My answer to both those questions both at the time and now is yes. Moxley had been built up and protected all along as a top star as had Jericho, and Moxley was the guy now to take the ball and run with it. And given the array of great matches with a variety of opponents Jon Moxley had as AEW Champion his entire reign, I think we can look back now over a year on and say this was absolutely the right call.

AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 4  | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

This was a phenomenal show. One of the best I’ve seen from any American wrestling company. Some great matches (including one of the best ever), HUGE moments, and all the way through I had so much fun watching it. I would highly recommend going out of your way to watch this show. If AEW’s first PPV with a full arena of fans since this one is as good as this was, then we will have another show for the ages.

Josh.

WCW Monday Nitro (1/5/2000) – Review

The Masked Outlaw Review: Monday Nitro August 14th, 2000

As I’ve said before if there’s one thing I like almost as much as GREAT Professional Wrestling, it is when pro-wrestling is so bad its funny. Exhibit A; The Vince Russo era of WCW Monday Nitro. I’ll set the scene as I go along in the blog, but by now WWF was WAY ahead of where WCW was in just about every area. And without Vince McMahon above him to filter his ideas into brilliance, Vince Russo was writing WCW into it’s deathbed. I’ve watched every Vince Russo nitro before, and read a whole book and watched many review shows on Nitro in the year 2000. So I like to think I have a pretty informed opinion. But let me pick this show out as an example and you can make your own mind up… So on the 21st anniversary of this episode of WCW’s weekly flagship show, lets see for ourselves just what a Russo written show was REALLY like…

First up we see that GOD AWFUL logo for WCW in 2000 (starting as we mean to go on…)…

To open the show we have WCW Champion David Arquette being questioned by his wife Courtney outside the arena. She didn’t understand why he was wanting to be a wrestler, and how ridiculous it was he was the world champion. Arquette laughed it off and tried to show off how cool it was he was the world champion. Courtney Cox seemed annoyed and bemused at the audacity of the Heavyweight Champion Of The World.

OH YES INDEED, you DID read that correctly… The historic ‘big gold belt’ held by greats such as Ric Flair, Sting, Hulk Hogan, Goldberg and so on… at the beginning of this show was proudly held by… A FUCKING MOVIE ACTOR!?!? They didn’t put the celebrity in a cameo or a segment, not just in a match, but HE WON THE FUCKING WORLD TITLE. VINCE RUSSO AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING CROWNED DAVID ARQUETTE AS THE HOLDER OF ONE OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS CHAMPIONSHIPS IN THE BUSINESS, THE H-E-A-V-Y-W-E-I-G-H-T C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N-S-H-I-P of T-H-E W-O-R-L-D… and they gave it to DAVID FUCKING ARQUETTE…. Give me a break…

We are MINUTES into this show and I’m already a combination of furious and laughing my ass off at how DUMB this is.

We next go to a parking lot in the arena, where we see the group of WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION David Arquette, Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Kanyon pull up in one car, and in another limo we have a baseball bat-wielding Vince Russo (with his… ‘slave’ I guess that’s what she was, or more his prisoner… I don’t know it was very weird… anyway he had Miss Elizabeth with him), Jeff Jarrett as well as New Blood (the gang of the ‘younger’ WCW stars) members Billie Kidman and Mike Awesome along with Eric Bischoff and Kimberley Page (yes DDP’s once wife)… These two group threw verbal jabs at eachother, before another car came in and crashed into the heel’s black limo… and out from that stepped Hulk Higan. Not the nWo Hogan, not the Real American, but an almost ‘biker Hogan’… He was in black clothes (doo-rag and all) with a black sleeveless jacket that had ‘F.U.N.B’ on the back (cause he’s a big fan of the New Blood group you see…). Hogan went at it with Awesome and a big brawl ensued. A tonne of WCW Security staff came to try and break it up.

We then had the big pyro and fireworks show to open the show. This is the go home show for the Slamboree PPV event by the way. Nitro on this occasion coming at you from Birmingham, Alabama. Your commentators are Tony Schiavone, Mark Madden and Scott Hudson.

Norman Smiley (with ‘Rusty) defeated Crowbar

We opened with what I think was a hardcore match between the crazed Crowbar, and Normal Smiley… who danced his way out with his trashcan of weapons, as well as his ‘mascot’. Apparently this mascot is his mystery partner for the upcoming PPV, and we were all waiting for the big reveal when the mascot would take the head off… but it didn’t come. The match was basically they’d each hit one another with weapons, and Crowbar trying to go after the mascot. The finish was absurd; with the mascot in the corner of the ring, Smiley hit a belly to back suplex off the top, the mascot suddenly got on all fours selling his face, Norman stumbled over him, and conveniently fell right into where Crowbar was, then he used the momentum to pull Crowbar down and pin him. Crowbar wasn’t happy, Norman couldn’t either… and he and the mascot did their wiggle in the ring. There’s a few minutes of my life I’m never getting back.

Commentary talked about Arquette, and said he had something tot ell us about the WCW title 6 days before Slamboree. Madden really wasn’t a fan. Poor Tony Schiavone had the say it was a ‘GREAT MONENT IN SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT’ the previous Thursday on Thunder when David Arquette won the title……….. FUCK…. OFF!

DDP, Kanyon and Arquette were walking backstage. Arquette said this had been a whole lot of fun but he didn’t deserve to be world champion anymore. DDP agreed. Jarrett and that crew were seen walking also. As were Lex Luger and Ric Flair entering the building. Lots of walking backstage on this show…

Arquette and Courtney talked some more. David seemed to be a different guy here from the one reluctant to be champion at the actual show. It’s almost as if this was filmed before the tv show and they decided to just drop it in here anywhere just because, despite seconds earlier Arquette being a completely different mindset and feeling about being the world champion… christ…

Shawn Stasiak was at a basketball court attempting to break the world free-throw record. He was feuding with Curt Hennig at this time so this was a way for him to prove he was perfect…

WCW CHAMPION David Arquette came out to the ring with DDP and Kanyon. Arquette was wearing the most absurdly over the top suit.

THE CHAMPION thanked the fans (although they weren’t exactly cheering him but oh well), but he was vacating the title as he doesn’t deserve it. He said DDP and Jeff Jarrett can face eachother for the title at Slamboree. Jarrett and his crew then came out, Jeff bizarrely said he can’t just give up the title. Eric Bischoff said he was a sports entertainer now and that instead it would be a three way. Oh and it’s some form of triple cage match, which sounds crazy doesn’t it? But if you switched off for a few seconds (easy to do with this show) it wasn’t really mentioned all that much as a big deal… Lex Luger then ran in to chase after Vince Russo and try and get Elizabeth back (the story was Russo had her under contract and basically stole her from Luger). Russo ran off with Elizabeth through the crowd… And then the in-ring segment carried right on after that interruption… Bischoff made a match between David Arquette and Tank Abbott. Abbott came out now for the fight but DDP got in the way, Those two fought until a deal was made where Abbott challenged DDP to a fight and if he won he would get to go at Arquette. DDP, the good friend he is, agreed… WHAT???

Lex Luger was seen after the ad break in the back looking for Russo.

Shawn Stasiak is still going in his record attempt at the basketball court.

Eric Bischoff spoke backstage with Hugh Morrus. He made a three way with him against Scott Steiner and Jeff Jarrett. He added that if any of his fellow Misfits in Action interfered in the match then they would all be fired.

The Wall defeated Horace Hogan in a Tables Match

The best thing about this match was Miss Hancock (the future Stacy Keibler) coming out to watch. Almost just as quickly as it was getting going Billie Kidman came out to distract Horace, and this allowed for The Wall to chokeslam him through a table for the win.

The match was more a set up for the angle after. Hulk Hogan (Horace’s uncle) came out to try and make the save after (he’s facing Kidman at the PPV), but he was jumped by Mike Awesome. Eventually Hulk took a beating 3 on 1, a table was set up which Hogan got off apparently after being put on it (not that we saw this on camera…). Hulk set Awesome for a superplex, but it was reversed and Hogan got put through the table with a sunset bomb.

Vampiro cut a weird promo from a graveyard. He called out Sting…

Vince Russo came to the ring with Liz. He challenged Lex Luger to come and face him later…

Hugh Morrus defeated Scott Steiner and Jeff Jarret in a three way

After he came out Steiner cut a mad promo on a fan.

Steiner and Jarrett teamed up on Morris to start off with. Jarrett went for the cover, but Steiner broke up the pin which made them argue. Steiner then hit a suplex on Jarrett, Hugh Morrus then hit a clothesline. He went for his finish after but Steiner reversed and hit the Steiner Recliner. But then Jeff Jarrett came in and smashed Steiner with a guitar. Jarrett then posed and seemed to just let Morrus get the win.

Lash Leroux and Chavo Guerrero came out to celebrate with Morrus after. The New Blood faction did… well they did nothing in fact…

Sting was seen walking through the graveyard (he got there quick didn’t he…)

Bischoff decided to fire the Misfits, except for Lash Leroux who he said was too stupid to know what that meant… right…

We then were in the graveyard again. Sting found Vampiro…

He did though get hit with a shovel and this made him fall into the grave. Vampiro grabbed a headstone, Sting asked him what Vampiro was? Vampiro said he was the monster that Sting should be and then he smashed the headstone over his head and he fell in the grave… So yeah Vampiro buried Sting alive… and legitimately SECONDS later Sting’s hand came out the top of the grave… SICK…

Ric Flair was hyping up Luger.

Tank Abbot defeated Diamond Dallas Page (after he punched him very hard and that was it…)

Abbott laid punched to Page early on, but Page held his own and they went out to the floor. … Tank was starting to dominate… and in the middle of this match they cut to the back where Kanyon and Arquette were locked in their dressing room, meaning they couldn’t help DDP. Right on queue Jeff Jarrett was in the crowd and he smashed a bottle on Page. Just after Tank hit a hard right hand to the back of DDP’s head, and that was that. They just called for the finish. Not quite sure what the rules were here but apparently Tank is the winner. DDP was put on a stretcher after.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_9394.png

Hulk Hogan brawled with Mike Awesome.

Billie Kidman came out after. He said Hogan was old and washed up just like Kevin Nash. He issued an open challenge after. Kevin Nash just so happened to be in the back… Eventually Nash came out and battered Kidman. He sent him to the other side of the ring with a knee to the ribs… before eventually Konnan and Rey Mysterio came out to go at Nash… but of course Nash beat them all up and chased Konnan and Mysterio to the back. The two smaller guys jumped in a truck, but the truck just didn’t go anywhere. So Nash grabbed them both and beat them both up some more. For fuck sake…

Russo was out again with Liz in tow. He told us he was going to interfere in Ric Flair’s match on Sunday (thanks for the spoiler Russo). Russo added that if Luger wins the match tonight he can have the key to Liz (she was handcuffed?). Luger and Ric Flair came out after, but Buff Bagwell and Shane Douglas took out Ric, and Security went after Luger (even spraying him in the eyes), so that Bagwell and Douglas could beat on Luger some more. Liz then hit Russo with a Bat and ran away, leading to Kronik coming out and beating everyone up. Once again it felt like a lot went on in a segment when it didn’t need to be that much.

Arquette again said he wanted to give the title up. Kanyon said it doesn’t work like that.

We saw Nash who was still battering both Mysterio and Kanyon. Bizarrely in the middle of the beatdown he stopped to smash the trucks windows with a crowbar…

Kronik were arrested… I guess for kicking too much ass?

Vampiro was out next. He again said he was the monster Sting should of been. Then the lights went out, a crow appeared on the top of the entrance ramp, and Sting then came down from high above. He beat up Vampiro with the bat after… So Sting being BURIED ALIVE kept him out for… about an hour… COOL…

Shawn Stsiak was STILL shooting as the hoop with basketballs.

Russo again berated Liz. Liz slapped him, then it appeared she ran away… cool…

WCW WORLD CHAMPION David Arquette DEFEATED Tank Abbott

Kanyon came out with THE CHAMPION and tried to give him some brass nucks, but he was soon ejected from ringside by the ref. It was what you’d expect after that, with Abbott toying with Arquette, he then threw him down and then punched the ref for absolutely no reason, the ref of course took a heavy bump. DDP’s music played, and we vu to the back where Bischoff sent Jarrett out after DDP (we had seen JJ, Eric and Kimberly watching on just after Arquette came out). And suddenly it appeared DDP had come through the crowd to hit the Diamond Cutter to Tank Abbott (not that we saw it first time as the camera missed it, but they did show a million replays after). The ref came back around to count the pin after DPP put Arquette on top of Abbott. Poor Tank Abbott.

Double J not getting their first was explained just after where we saw Steiner had knocked Jarrett out.

Stasiak was STILL shooting hoops… until Curt Hennig came in to stop him one shot short of the record. Because of course he did.

TERRY BOLLEA (because they did not want us to think this was Hulk Hogan) faced Mike Awesome and I’m not even sure who won or what the rules were…

The announcers tried to make it very clear that this wasn’t the old Hulk Hogan, but much more Terry Bollea. He and Awesome had a basic brawl, until Hogan decided he’d sold enough and hit a weak chair shot to Awesome’s head and then back, he then used his belt to choke Awesome, before Mike Awesome used the same belt to choke Hogan on the outside against the crowd barricade. They fought on some more until Kidman came in, he took a chair to the back by Hogan, then Bischoff came out (who’s going to be the ref for Hogan vs Kidman at the PPV)… and with Hogan on the outside Kidman came off the top and smashed a chair into Hogan’s face. I was waiting for Hogan to come back up bleeding all over the place, and of course he was. I know this because Hogan touched his head and scrapped it with a razor as he did so. Don’t think we didn’t see you Terry… Awesome got the pin after.

Then of course Hogan had to get his heat back and so he beat everyone up. An actual fan ran into the ring but was quickly taken out…

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_9428.png

Just as a large amount of red liquid fell from the sky onto Hogan and covered the ring (I guess for the New Blood group).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_9430.png

The rest of the New Blood then came out and laid the boot into Hogan, and that’s how we went off the air.

I don’t even know where to begin to sum up this show. It sucked would be accurate. It was one of the worst go-home shows for a PPV I’ve ever seen. There is next to nothing on this show I’m interested in going into the Pay Per View. Just a big fat URGH…

Vince Russo is a terrible booker. This was a god awful show that was absolutely all over the place in terms of logic, and interesting stories. WCW in the year 2000 absolutely SUCKED. I’d go into more detail on it and aspects of the show, but at this point to be honest I just want this show out of my life forever.

Josh.

WWE SmackDown (16/4/2021) – Review

Before I begin this blog I just want to say a few words on what happened yesterday…

Melbourne-born wrestlers Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, better known as The  IIconics, won the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships at WWE's Wrestlemania  earlier this month. I didn't see any posts celebrating this

On the EXACT one year anniversary of what happened last year (in the very early days of the pandemic) WWE once again released several names from their roster. And just as last year some aren’t surprises, some however are more baffling, with a handful even being featured at WrestleMania recently. But if the names let go last year are anything to go by, it is MORE THAN POSSIBLE to be a success elsewhere: Deonna Purrazzo is the current Impact Knockouts Champion and won wrestler of the year in their annual awards, Anderson and Gallows are starring in both Impact and AEW, Mike and Maria just signed full time deals in ROH as did EC3 before them, Lio Rush has had some great matches for New Japan… I could go on and on. So there really is life after WWE now more than ever with the options available. So let me thank all of those released by WWE on April 15th 2021 for all they’ve given: particular mention to The iiconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) who have made me laugh so many times and made my enjoyment of the product massively go up each time they appear on my tv. I will never forget how happy we all were when they had their WrestleMania moment. To Samoa Joe for just being THE MAN (He WILL be a top guy wherever he goes next), to Mickie James for an (almost a dead cert) hall of fame career, Chelsea Green who I’m gutted never got her shot on the main roster as I still believe she is a star and I look forward to the return of Laurel Van Ness, to Tucker, Kalisto, Bo Dallas, Wesley Blake who have each played their role in big moments I’ve enjoyed down the years, and finally to Mojo Rawley who… say what you want about him, but you can’t say he wasn’t entertaining and didn’t bring energy to anything he was involved with. They will all be fine and only need to look at last year’s crop to see there IS a future for them out there in pro wrestling. I for one can’t wait to see what they all do next.


WWE SmackDown - Wikipedia

So… I’m going to have a go at covering SmackDown each week, and thought with it being the first show after WrestleMania that now would be as good a time as ever to do so. I’ll only be doing SmackDown as the fact it’s on a Friday makes it way easier for me who works all week to cover, and the fact Raw SUCKS most weeks.

With it being the first show after Mania we should get a few big things going on or being set up for the future. Raw was very much a damp squib given the history of shows after Mania, but I’m more hopeful this one will be good. We already have a set up on Twitter regarding the finish to Sunday’s main event where Roman Reigns pinned both Daniel Bryan and Edge… or more he placed Edge on top of Bryan and then covered them both, so the guy who ‘pinned’ Daniel Bryan was technically Edge… so we will see the fallout from that for sure (I’m going to guess some form of rematch for the awfully named ‘WrestleMania Backlash’ Pay Per View (what was wrong with just ‘Backlash’ I don’t know, the WrestleMania name adds to it somehow I guess…).

Pearce and Robinson discuss WrestleMania on Twitter

We also have Pat McAfee joining Michael Cole as the commentary team after Corey Graves got moved to Raw. Pat has been a star on NXT who’s gone form rather irritating to really entertaining, so lets see how he does in this new role. In terms of matches announced for the show we have SmackDown Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode defending against The Street Profits which should be fun. And also Rey Mysterio & son Dominik vs Chad Gable & Otis.


WWE SmackDown – April 16th 2021

There’s a new ‘Then – Now – Forever’ opener.

They showed a recap of the Universal title match from WrestleMania. This was some match by the way. They focused on the end of the match, and played over the top a previous Roman Reigns promo where he said ‘I’m gonna smash you, I’m gonna stack you, and then you will, acknowledge me’. And I guess he did exactly that.

They opened the show in the Thunderdome. Michael Cole introduced Pat McAfee, before our Tribal Chief made his way out, flanked by Jey Uso and the special counsel Paul Heyman. WE HAD PYRO (I think this is a thing for the latest Thunderdome (now on the campus of the University of South Florida) I may be wrong, but I don’t recall it too often before…) when Roman held up the title belt on the rampway! The ring announcer introduced Jey as the Andre The Giant battle royal winner which was cool. Notably Roman has a smile on his face, as does Heyman… lets see if that lasts…

“His muscles have muscles, That’s your champion” – Pat McAfee on Roman. AHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Roman was amused by the (piped in) ‘you suck’ chants, Heyman hands him a mic, and Heyman laughs at piped in boos, Roman tries to speak (we’ve been here before), Pat tells the noise to ‘keep it down please’ (which I found hilarious). Roman says ‘we put a lot of eyes on SmackDown Paul, so for any new viewers why don’t you tell them about who I beat at WrestleMania…’, Heyman then puts over both Edge and Daniel Bryan and all their accomplishments, Roman says he took a page out of your [Heyman’s] playbook, and like Babe Ruth he called his show as he ‘smashed em and stacked em’ , and then they acknowledged him, Roman said how it was embarrassing what he did and that he’d never wanna be in that situation, that nobody wants to face him, after he ‘smashed em, stacked em’ (he said again… this really is gonna bite him isn’t it…). Roman again said how nobody wants him and nobody is on his level, he says he fulfilled his obligations and now its time to go…

CESARO then came out! He gets into ring and goes face to face with Roman. He took a look at the Universal title and then back at Reigns, asks for mic, but then Roman and co leave… Cesaro throws the mic away and looks on pissed… Roman doesn’t want none of Cesaro it seems, or maybe he just doesn’t think he’s on his level… we’ll find out…

Cole and Pat put over Cesaro and how big his win over Rollins at WrestleMania was. Cole says the single most impressive moment in WrestleMania history is up next… OK then…

We had a few still images of highlights from WrestleMania.

Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were backstage, when Cesaro came to them, he calls Roman a ‘son of a bitch’ and says he steps up, he says he wants a Roman match tonight! Sonya says she’ll talk to Roman and get back… WOW…

They recapped on commentary and showed us footage of the UFO from Cesaro on Saturday when he spun Rollins on his neck with no hands… as you do… Cesaro is an absolute freak when it comes to strength.

Otis and Chad Gable came out… I still can’t get how Otis is a heel, I feel he was one of the biggest losers in the last year from the live fans not being there… apparently its a singles match now. A video put over how Chad Gable has turned Otis into a beast and helped him unleash his ‘inner alpha’, and how he crushed Rey Mysterio on a previous show. A tale of the tape also put over the differences between the two and just how big a task Rey Mysterio has here.

Rey Mysterio (with Dominik) defeated Otis (with Chad Gable)

Otis dominated with power, big gorilla press, slides Rey out of the ring, Myseterio with shoulders, uses rope to stagger Otis, Otis runs at him on top, gets kicks to rey who’s trapped upside down, Rey moves out of the way, comes off the top with a senton and follows with a running knee not long after for a nearfall. Rey tries to but funny enough can’t move Otis, whom not long after catches Rey off a crossbody and slams him down. Otis comes off the second rope but Rey moves out the way, sets for the 619, gets it, then goes to the top rope, hits a running crucifix pin (using Otis’ own momentum to force him down) and then 1,2,3 REY WINS! The Mysterios celebrate, Otis and Gable can’t believe it. A creative finish to a classic big man v little man TV match, but…. lets see about that booking long term…

Kayla Braxton is seen chatting to Paul Heyman backstage and will provide an answer to Cesaro’s challenge to Roman. They showed a graphic for Roman vs Cesaro and said up next…

They went through various headlines from different media outlets that put over WrestleMania. They recapped Cesaro talking to Pearce and Sonya Deville.

Kayla asked Paul, and Heyman says we put smiles on faces around here in WWE. Heyman put over Roman Reigns’ star power, he says there was no rain delay on Saturday but tears from angels about the beating Roman was going to give Edge and Daniel Bryan (that’s a great line by the way). He says Roman walked out of WrestleMania Universal Champion, Edge and Bryan didn’t walk out at all. He said the locker room was sad too, as the likes of Seth Rollins had to lower himself at WrestleMania to facing a “knuckle-dragging, slack-jawed, buck tooth, swiss quisling like Cesaro”, before then saying how he had a billlion dollar body with a brain that doesn’t match. He says Cesaro is a joke, and that we should stop this now by giving Cesaro what he wants. Heyman said that tonight in the main event it will be Cesaro against THE main event, Jey Uso. Great Heyman promo as always. The way he transitioned from Roman’s win at Mania into talking about Cesaro was masterful. He’s a real genius on the microphone.

Commentary again showed us the UFO from Saturday, this time with dramatic music added…

Sami Zayn was out next. He did not look happy at all… they showed headlines of Logan Paul; getting a stunner from THE LORD Kevin Owens (during my reviews of SmackDown I will forever refer to KO as THE LORD for his god-like act of giving Logan Paul a stunner at WrestleMania).

Zayn said he saw all the headlines other than the one that was most accurate ‘Sami Zayn got screwed’. He said WresleMania was supposed to be his vindication, he said Logan was supposed to help with his documentary, and witness his grand victory, but that’s now how it went down, and he’ll tell us why… He said Logan Paul’s mind was poisoned by Kevin Owens, the WWE Universe, by Michael Cole (you could hear McAfee in agreement with this sentiment) the ‘corporate mouthpiece’… He said he could sense Logan was pulling back from him when they embraced before the match, and that during he match all he was thinking about was if Paul was ok, and that was why he lost. He said he wont be denied, and he called out Kevin Owens. He said tonight there were no distractions (he mentioned ‘those toxic fans; as one of them)… Owens then did come out… and we were promised the confrontation after the ad break. Great promo by Zayn by the way, I absolutely love this delusional, conspiracy character.

Owens and Zayn will have a match it appears… Cole told us it was made official in the break.

Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn in a WrestleMania rematch by countout

Zayn played cat and mouse but KO got the advantage hitting Zayn on the outside. Back in the ring Owens continued to try and knock some sense into Zayn, Sami Zayn tried to fightback but got hit with a clothesline, then a running senton. Owens just seemed to be disappointed by Zayn, he tried for the cannonball but Zayn moved, then used the ropes to take over. Zayn hit rights and lefts, then used his knee to trap Owens against the ropes, Owens hit a big chop, Zayn again trapped Owens in the corner with his boot this time, KO got the better of a striking exchange, Zayn bated Owens away and hit chops of his own… Owens set for the pop-up powerbomb but Zayn stopped that, but did get hit with a clothesline. THE LORD Kevin Owens bounced Zayn off the ropes which looked impressive as Sami took a big bump, Owens followed with punches in the corner, then a big chop… Zayn fought back, and then hit a sunset flip powerbomb (which Pat called ‘the single most impressive thing he has ever seen’.. this guy… ) but Owens kicked out at 2. Zayn could believe it was only a 2.

After the break Zayn punched away Owens in the corner, Zayn then came off the top but KO dodged it and hit a superkick for a nearfall. Owens came off the top and hit a swanton for another nearfall. Owens again tried for the powerbomb but Zayn tried to escape to the outside. Owens went after him and threw Zayn against the barricade, he again tried the powerbomb but Sami jumped over him, Owens wrestled out a suplex attempt by Sami and slammed him with a backbreaker after for another nearfall. Zayn again tried to escape, Owens again got after him, he tried a stunner in the ring but Zayn again went to the outside… Sami Zayn this time gauged Owens in the eye, Zayn walked away and took the count out loss. Owens ran after Zayn after the bell, got him in the ring, and hit the stunner. Why we couldn’t of had that as the finish I don’t know. Owens just shook his head at his former friend. Owens shouted into the camera ‘it’s my ring’. A decent match and in terms of character development for both, good stuff.

The new Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews (with the FKA Dabba Kato, now Commander Azeez, alongside him) was backstage cutting a promo to camera. He said all of Nigeria has not stopped celebrating ever since he smashed Big E into oblivion. He said he would give Big E a rematch tonight but he’s not here… he showed a recap of Mania when Azeez hit what looked like the ‘Samoan Spike’ move Umaga used to hit. He then introduced us to Commander Azeez, and he said if anyone dared to come for his championship they would be annihilated. He referred to the Nigerian Male(or ‘Man’, it was hard to tell) as the reason Big E wasn’t here tonight before… but this was fine stuff. I like that Apollo has a heater.

Street Profits made their way out as Michael Cole said it was party time now. McAfee put over both Ford and Dawkins. Street Profits have their first tag title straight tag match for 3 months later tonight against the champions Roode and Ziggler. They seemed to be setting up for our next segment, which will be a victory party for Bianca Belair (Ford’s irl wife by the way).

More cool still images from across WrestleMania weekend.

Ford sang that it was ‘Friday night and it feels so right’, Dawkins said it was takeback season. Ford said we got a little inspiration this weekend, and said there was one match he’ll be telling his grandkids about, they rolled footage of the match between Belair and Banks. My word what a match by the way, the best women’s match ever at a WrestleMania for sure. One of the best women’s matches I’ve seen full stop. They then introduced Belair, and gave her the big intro as well. Great shit. Belair then came out and looked like the star she is. DAMN she looks good with that title. Michael Cole again repeated his line from Saturday saying that Belair and Banks were not only the first two black women to main event, but to battle for a championship at a WrestleMania, good stuff from Michael Cole. Ford and Dawkins were amazing hype men. Belair said it felt like she had been floating since Saturday night and she felt so blessed. She said despite the struggles she never stopped believing, she thanked her family an said they’d were the ones who showed when you demand greatness from yourself you can change the game. Belair went on to say that she was unapologetically her, and when you find your EST you should ever apologise to anyone for telling them you are the best. She said if you can dream it you can do it, because she went to WrestleMania and she showed up, she then put over Banks as well. She thanked Sasha, and that were was nobody she’d of rather shared the spotlight with and they both made history. She said this moment was for all those little girls that sat and watched that looked like her. She said at WrestleMania it was magic, but they’re just getting started creating history. The three then all embraced. Belair then said it was time for them to get those Smackdown titles as they ‘only wear gold in this house’ which was a great line. Ford led a ‘we want the smoke’ from the three of them. This was great babyface stuff that was really heartwarming, and felt very genuine. Brilliant promo by Bianca.

Kayla was backstage with Sasha. Banks looked pissed. They focused on the mark Banks has on her from Belair’s hair whip . Banks could barely speak and just looked angry and then walked away.

They AGAIN showed us the UFO from Mania… come on now please… it was cool don’t get me wrong but…

Bayley was backstage with Kayla. Bayley said she was busy on both nights of WrestleMania trying to save the show. She moaned at Belair for crying before her match, and said the real reason she was crying was because she didn’t think she could win. She called her arrogant, she said it wasn’t the type of champion they want, and Bayley staked her claim to get the title back. She challenged Bianca and said she’d take her title, and reminded us that she was the longest reigning SmackDown Women’s champion.

With The Street Profits already in the ring, Ziggler and Roode made their way out and we will have our tag title match next.

Whilst promoting Raw for Monday before the ad break, they announced Asuka vs Charlotte Flair. Urgh…

Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (C) defeated The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship

Good match. All four guys are solid in-ring, and they all played their roles well. Ford might be one of the best athletes in the company. Profits had the best of it early and frequent tags cut off Ziggler, and once Roode finally was tagged in Ford was able to duck so Roode collided with Dolph. Dawkins and Ford combined to slam down Roode, then they slammed Ziggler onto him before sending Dolph to the outside. Profits were on absolute fire here. After the ad break The Street Profits were still on top, Roode hit a spinebuster after a distraction to get a nearfall and to turn things around. Ziggler got the tag in and he took down Ford and got a quick nearfall on Dawkins after a neckbreaker. Roode was tagged in and the heels were now in charge, Roode got a nearfall on Dawkins from a suplex. The champions cut off Dawkins from Ford, until Ziggler was sent into the turnbuckle by Dawkins… both made tags and Ford and Roode went at it… Ford was awesome on offence taking both guys down… he hit a great back suplex to Roode, then did a kip-up and hit a standing moonsault to Roode, but only got a nearfall. That was tremendous from Ford, he’s such a star already. Ford dived over the ropes onto both Roode and Ziggler on the outside, as Dawkins made the tag mid-dive. Ford put Roode back in the ring, Dawkins hit a spinebuster, tagged in Ford who hit a huge Frog Splash… but Ziggler broke the pin… Dawkins and Ziggler took eachother to the outside, but Dolph held onto the ropes and was on the apron, Ford dropped him down, and then went after Roode in the corner, Ziggler sneaked the tag when Ford’s back was turned, as Montez continued to go at Roode, and Dolph ran in to hit the Zig Zag and get the win. The Champions retain. This was good stuff.

FOR FUCK SAKE THEY SHOWED US THE DAMN UFO FOR THE FOURTH TIME TONIGHT!!!!

Kayla Braxton was backstage, where she spoke to Cesaro. He said Heyman was right about what he said about him, but that he was wrong about one thing, that he does belong in the ring with Roman Reigns. He said he’d prove it tonight by beating Jey Uso.

Roman was shown with Heyman in their locker room looking on, baffled by what Cesaro had just said. Jey Uso was pacing in the background.

More Mania pictures after the ad break.

Natalya and Shayna Baszler were in the ring. They’ve got a match right now it seems with their respective tag partners at ringside…

Natalya (with Tamina) defeated Shayna Baszler (with Nia Jax)

Can’t pretend I was too arsed about this one… but I will say that they both worked hard and meshed well. The technical wrestling was good, but this felt like more an extended angle to (for some reason) continue this tag title feud… Nia twice provided distractions, and eventually it was Jax who inadvertently caused the distraction that led to Shayna being rolled up and pinned by Natalya. Tamina came in a hit a big boot to Jax after the bell.

WWE released The iiconics the other day… meanwhile THIS was our tag title match at WrestleMania… AND THE FEUD IS CARRYING ON?!?!… FFS…

NO FOR FUCK SAKE… FOR THE FIFTH TIME THEY SHOWED US THE UFO…. BORE OFF NOW

Reigns was again seen in his locker room. Jey Uso cut a promo on Cesaro and called him a ‘one hit move’ and asked if he can do that with no teeth? Roman spoke very softly to the camera after.

They promoted Talking Smack on the WWE Network (Peacock). Guests are Belair, Ziggler and Roode, and Apollo Crews. I highly recommend this show. Heyman co-hosts with Kayla Braxton. It’s compelling stuff.

They showed highlights of the Andre battle royal from last week’s WrestleMania edition of SmackDown. The trophy was ringside. They mentioned Cesaro has also won the battle royal in the past. That was in 2014. And only just here does it look like Cesaro might get his big chance… it’s been a LONG time overdue!

Cesaro defeated ‘Main Event’ Jey Uso by Disqualification

Cesaro dominated with power early, getting a nearfall after a backbreaker. Cesaro crashed into the ringpost and Jey targeted the hand after, Cesaro later sent Uso to the outside. But Cesaro jumped right into a superkick on the outside after. After the ad break (a few minutes into the main event by the way, for fuck sake) Uso was working on his arm to take away Cesaro’s power advantage, and Jey got a nearfall after a Samoan Drop. Uso continued to work on Cesaro’s arm, later Cesaro blocked and reversed a vertical suplex into one of his own. Cesaro came off the top and got a nearfall after a crossbody, Uso got a nearfall after going back to the arm and hitting a superkick. Uso got another nearfall not long after as he really was in charge now, again he went to the top but Cesaro hit a dropkick, Cesaro tried a superplex but Jey hit punches, then Cesaro hit a huge uppercut and then a gutwrench suplex off the top… but Jey kicked out at 2. Cesaro then went for the neautralizer, but Jey went at the bad arm.. Cesaro cartwheeled out the way, then hit a corkscrew uppercut off the ring ropes, but Uso kicked out at 2. Uso kicked as Cesaro went for a swing, Cesaro got an uppercut, Uso hit a neckbreaker but only got a 2. After that Uso hit more punches, and chatted trash as he did so, Cesaro came back with hard punches, then a discuss clothesline for another nearfall. Cesaro called for the swing, but as he was swinging him Seth Rollins ran in to attack Cesaro for the DQ.

Rollins was seething as he walked up the ramp. Rollins screamed that Cesaro got lucky, and it wasn’t over until he said it was over. Rollins said he was the end all be all of this industry and the sooner you [Cesaro] figured that out, the better it was going to be. And that was how the show ended.

So… a solid show sure, but a few things not really talked about… Nothing was really said about how Edge technically pinned Bryan… There was no Big E or Bryan or Edge on the show, nor Carmella, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott who all appeared at WrestleMania. Not really sure if Cesaro is going to face Reigns, or if he’s continuing the feud with Rollins? Or if that’s a set up for the next challenger to Reigns who knows… It does seem though that Belair and Banks will go at it again, and Bayley will be added to the mix which should be fun. And it seems they’re setting the Mysterios maybe up for a future tag title feud? Lets see… but a solid SmackDown without it being excellent, one that I hope leads to bigger stuff in the coming weeks as we get closer to the WRESTLEMANIA BACKLASH Pay Per View…

Josh.

WrestleMania 37 (Night 2) – Review

The Updated Card For WrestleMania 37 (Night 1 & Night 2) -  eWrestlingNews.com

So after an amazing night 1, how could night 2 follow up… Well let’s see…

We had the same opener from last night after the anthem.

Randy Orton defeated The Fiend (with Alexa Bliss)

Randy wore white gear. Bliss came out first and then unwound a HUGE Jack in the box … The fiend came out of it, only it was a fiend with a fresh new drip. Cleaner gear and cleaner mask, no burnt fiend anymore. So they fought in the red lights and Randy kept hitting the DDT and fiend no sold everything… then towards the end Bliss appeared sat on top of the box, and she had the black goo that was coming from Randy in recent weeks coming out her head or something… the fiend was totally distracted by this, he turned into an RKO and Randy pinned him. Then he got out of dodge real fast. The fiend was completely transfixed by Alexa… as the black stuff continued to come… then the lights went out and the fiend and bliss disappeared… I have… SO MANY QUESTIONS… I guess it’s good Orton won so he can do… normal… stuff now… he of course was not the story here… whatever Bliss has with the fiend now I’m absolutely fascinated to see… does she have the power over the fiend???? People will have different views on this as they always do on The Fiend. But I’m sat in a fiend hoodie, so you know I was completely transfixed by all this.

(I can’t rate this as I have no idea what I just watched)

Hogan, Titus and Bayley had a backstage segment…

I don’t think I’ve ever been less arsed about a Wrestlemania Championship match in my life… so apologies in advance…

Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (C) defeated Natalya & Tamina to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship

It wasn’t bad. In fact what they did looked good enough. I just had absolutely minimal interest from the off to be honest… Nia hitting a double crossbody off the top onto both Natalya and Tamina was insane! The crowd seemed to really be behind Tamina during the match… Nia loudly and clearly told Tamina “YOU AINT SHIT”… Tamina soon after got a VERY close nearfall after a Huge slam… Tamina went up for the big splash but Nia moved. With Nia having a bad knee Natalya had the sharpshooter on Nia but Shayna (who was legal apparently) ran in and got the Kirifuda on Natalya and she tapped. The champions retain.

*3/4

Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn (with Logan Paul)

Sami welcomed out Logan after he came out. Logan seemed reluctant to be Zayn’s pal. Logan was booed. Owens was cheered. Owens hit the powerbomb right away but Zayn rolled out the ring. Really good stuff when they went at it to be fair. Zayn hit the helluva, tried it again but KO hit several super kicks, then the stunner for the win. The angle after saw Logan and Zayn fall out… Logan try to parade KO as the winner… AND THEN KO STUNNED LOGAN!

********** (or **** if we are being serious)

Riddle and Khali had a backstage chat… I felt like I was smoking whatever Riddle likes… RVD came in after… they joked about weed basically and RVD pulled out his own rolling papers… this was so bizarre.

Sheamus defeated Riddle (C) to win the United States Championship

As you’d expect this was really hard hitting stuff at times, but was a pretty good match that the crowd were into. Riddle was really over. Sheamus hit a really stiff-looking knee for a close nearfall. Riddle hit a german suplex on the apron… and also a springboard move off the ropes to the outside. This was a proper RASSLIN match. The last match and this one felt like they were on a different planet to our first two matches tonight… After some jostling it seemed Sheamus slipped on the top rope trying for white noise, but he hit it on the ring floor after as normal. Then got a nearfall after a diving knee from up high. Riddle dodged a Brogue Kick, Sheamus dodged the knee, and as Riddle came off the second rope Sheamus hit a brogue/knee and Sheamus won the title. This was a good match.

****

Great video package ahead of our next match. I can’t wait for this one!

Apollo Crews defeated Big E (C) in a Nigerian Drum Fight to win the Intercontinental Championship

Wale rapped Big E’s entrance theme which was cool. Big babyface reaction for E too. Big moment for the Tampa man. So essentially there looks to be various drums and instruments (I’m guessing from Nigeria) around the ring. They battered eachother with kendo sticks to get us underway, and those kendo sticks are NO joke. E hit a phenomenal move when he speared Crews through the ropes off the apron to the outside floor. E set a table in the ring… Crews went wild with a kendo stick on Big E and then put him on the table, went to the top rope and went for a splash but E moved and Crews crashed and burned. Then as he went for the big ending Big E got attacked by Daba Kato in some form of military outfit, and he helped Crews get the win and the title. Good match, I personally didn’t expect a Crews win but adds another layer now he has a big guy looking after him. Hopefully E continues to be booked well despite this loss at Mania.

***3/4

Long video recapping night 1. It was a great show.

They recapped Hall of fame next. It was a great class in fairness.

Asuka (C) Rhea Ripley to the Raw Women’s Championship

Rhea had her entrance music performed live. She was really over with the crowd. Both Rhea and Asuka came across as superstars just based off their entrances. The story of this match was both women trying to outdo one another, Rhea with her hard-hitting and power along with trash talk, Asuka would comeback with hard offence of her own at speed. Asuka utilised her technical arsenal as well. Ripley’s power was fully on show at various points, and it seemed Asuka would have to do a heck of a lot to keep Rhea down… Rhea hit kicks and a shoulder barges in the corner to wear the champion down, and looked for a move off the middle rope but Asuka got Rhea away and hit a missile dropkick. Asuka hit her own german suplex, before a running hip attack and soon after downing Ripley to her knees Asuka got a nearfall after another running attack. Rhea dropkicked Asuka off the top rope, and Asuka seemed to land hard on the apron. Rhea slammed her face first onto the apron not long after… Asuka hit a ddt off the apron to the floor on Ripley that kept both women down… Asuka got a nearfall from a running knee as soon as Ripley got back in the ring. Asuka went for another knee but Rhea caught her, hit a load of stomps and locked in her submission… Asuka soon transitioned into an armbar, Ripley though powered up and threw Asuka into the corner. Ripley suplexed Asuka from the outside of the apron into the ring, and got a nearfall. After a transition Asuka had the Asuka lock but was countered, Asuka went on a flurry but got hit with the Rip Tide and RHEA GOT THE WIN. A really solid match. What a moment. Crowd seemed happy with Rhea winning.

****

Hogan and Titus came out and said a lot of thank yous. Bayley came out after to complained about not getting a thank you… She was happy after she asked and got pyro… she complained some more… The Bella Twins then came out, Bayley wasn’t happy and made a John Cena joke. The Bellas sent her down the ramp, then posed and danced with our hosts.

They advertised the next PPV on May 16th. They are actually calling it ‘WrestleMania Backlash’… urgh…

A video package really put over hard our MAIN EVENT…

Roman Reigns (C) with Paul Heyman & Jey Uso defeated Edge and Daniel Bryan in a triple threat match to retain the Universal Championship

Daniel Bryan was popular with the crowd. Water is also wet. Edge got a GIANT ovation when he came out in some sublime white gear by the way. He looked real fired up. The ultimate irony was that Roman got cheered coming out; he and Heyman and Jey Uso had the traditional reef around their necks. He got more of a heel reaction as his entrance went on to be fair. No apologies from me because I just want to watch this match a lot so no in match analysis on this one, but it does have a serious big fight feel. I’ll let you know my thoughts after the finish… This was chaos. Really fun to watch and was exciting all the way through. The result was in doubt all match too. Really good shit. Edge hitting a con-chair-to (sorry about spelling) to Bryan was nuts. Jey Uso took a spear from Edge. Roman hit a spear to edge then tried for the con-chair-to and got it on Edge then he dragged Edge onto Bryan and PINNED THEM BOTH! Who the fuck stops this guy I’ve no idea…

****1/2

Night 2 was fun, but had it’s low points. I think overall I preferred night 1, but I would say overall WrestleMania 37 was a success. And as always, it ended with Roman being booed… but at least it was meant to be that way this time.

Josh.

WrestleMania 37 (Night 1) – Review

Lineup for Tonight's WrestleMania 37: Night 1 | 411MANIA

The first WWE show in over a year with ticketed fans in attendance is in the books. And the bEST bit is we are only half way through it!

Night 1 of what will, for SO many reasons, be a historic WrESTleMania 37 is done. And my oh my what a night it was. At times emotional, at times shocking, at times brilliant, but overall and throughout a really enjoyable and entertaining show. And that’s what we ALL needed and wanted more than anything.

So things started a little crazy… as GOD tried to get one back over Vince McMahon after doing the job in 2006, with severe weather threatening to curtail the most anticipated show of all time. And in fact the local thunderstorms threat did send fans in side again and even delay the first match starting. To kick things off we had Vince on stage with the locker room behind him, as he gave a rousing speech welcoming us all to WrESTlemania! After the national anthem we had a classic cool mania opening video… before Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe informed us the first match of the show was delayed due to possible weather threats (FYI it appears Tom Phillips is no longer the lead Raw commentator but I’d expect confirmation in the next coming days). Drew and Lashley cut great promos at each other backstage, and they had a lot of other people on the card interviewed to fill time… until FINALLY we were able to have our first match!

Bobby Lashley (with MVP) defeated Drew McIntyre to RETAIN the WWE Championship

Yes you did read that result correctly! Drew got a really good reaction from the crowd. And these two guys put on a really great match that went about 20 minutes in total. Drew even pulled out a huge dive over the ropes to the outside as well as a few submissions I’m not sure I’ve seen from him before. As the match went on the crowd got more and more behind him…

McIntyre hit 3 Future Shock ddts for a nearfall. Then for the finish as Drew went for a Claymore, MVP shouted to warn Bobby and he was able to counter and put in the Hurt Lock. Drew tried to fight out and seemed to, but Lashley kept it in… and GOT THE WIN!!! Crowd fell a little flat and I don’t think any of us expected that result at all. But personally and I never thought I’d say this, but I’m not mad. Lashley with MVP has been on a role for some time now and it’s kind of cool his title reign will continue. What next for him or Drew I’m not sure but after Mania their tends to be a draft of some form so let’s see. But a really good match to begin Mania with a somewhat surprising result. This was by far the best Bobby Lashley match I’ve seen.

****3/4

Natalya & Tamina defeated The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan), Mandy Rose & Dane Brooke, Billie Kay & Carmella, and Lana & Naomi in a tag team turmoil match to earn a Women’s Tag title match on night 2

Poor Mandy Rose slipped when she came out didn’t she. Fell right on her arse on the entrance ramp (ofc it had been raining, I think AJ Styles about slipped later too). A lot of people said this match contained a lot of botches and was rushed and they seemed nervous. My god cut them some slack. I didn’t notice too much and thought it was OK. Didn’t see and still don’t think it needed to be on Mania but oh well. Lana and Naomi got a really big reaction coming out. But then I was surprised they went out first (Carmella and Billie Kay working together to get the pin). Ruby and liv wore Joker and Harley Quinn gear. And they quickly eliminated Kay not long after entering. Mandy and Dana wore, well they practically didn’t wear, a very tight small pink number… eventually Liv pinned Brooke. And after it looked like The Riott Squad would do it after going through 2 teams I was kinda bummed when Natalya and Tamina got the win… a heel vs heel match tomorrow now… guess they were so enamoured with Tamina vs Nia from SmackDown they wanted to give it us again… oh the joys… 2/2 heel wins to start the first show in front of ticketed fans for over a year 🙃🙃🙃.

**

Cesaro defeated Seth Rollins

Now THIS was more like it! Seth had new music but kept the Burn It Down bit. Cesaro got a big babyface pop and was super over during this match. The video before he came out was basically a propaganda video on behalf of Rollins, it was really GOOD SHIT! These two had such a good ‘rasslin match with Seth pulling out all the stops and Cesaro swinging Rollins all over (the swing was super over with the crowd)… Rollins went for a Stomp, but got caught in mid-air with a big uppercut. Cesaro then spun Rollins with the UFO (ON HIS NECK HE SPUN A MAN FOR GOD SAKE) and the Swing before hitting the Neutralizer again for the win. So after a couple of close calls it was Cesaro who got the win with the Neutralizer and he was very emotional after. What a moment for him. Maybe the biggest of his career getting a singles match win at a Wrestlemania. Great great stuff here. They got the time and they delivered upon it like we knew they could do. Let’s hope we FINALLY get the Cesaro train flying out the tracks now!!!

****1/2

AJ Styles & Omos defeated The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) (C) to win the Raw Tag Team Championship

New day had Big E come and do their intro… but this was the OMOS show!!! The whole match hilariously centred around new day stopping AJ getting the hot tag, and then when he did new day sold it so so well. Omos didn’t do too many moved but my god he doesn’t need to! He’s 7 foot 3 for god sake, he came in, launched new day about and then got the win for his team. Simple as really. Yeah this was exactly what I expected but that’s not a bad thing. Will be fun to see where the new Diesel and Shawn team goes… crowd were really into Omos by the way so that’s promising. Good stuff here. Seeing New day run at Omos and legit bounce off him was hilarious.

***3/4

Braun Strowman defeated Shane McMahon in a steel cage match

We all got what we wanted! Elias and The trump fanboy attacked Braun before the match so Shane had the advantage right away. He battered Braun with chair shots but thank fuck Braun turned it around. They told the story during the match as they have in the build that Braun was fighting on behalf of anyone that ever had been bullied so he was always winning. He looked in incredible shape by the way! The big spots were Braun trapping Shane by pulling his arm THROUGH the cage, RIPPING OFF part of the cage wall and then throwing Shane to the floor! And also hitting the big running powerslam before getting the win. Good stuff and probably as fun as it could’ve been.

***

Bad Bunny and Damian Priest defeated The Miz and John Morrison

Is Bad Bunny the best celebrity wrestler we’ve seen? It’s very possible after this showing! After a rather trippy entrance from Miz and Morrison where they rapped their spoof song ‘Hey Hey Hop Hop’ and we had a load of guys dressed as BUNNIES in the ring… we had a much cooler entrance by Priest (my heart was warm) and then Bad Bunny came out on top of a massive truck and got a big big reaction when he came out… and then the match itself was super super fun! It was of course all about making Bad Bunny shine but he more than pulled it off. He hit a fucking CANADIAN DESTROYER to Morrison on the outside for Christ sake! Bad Bunny and Priest hit a super Electric Chair-Crossbody combo on Miz, before Bad Bunny got the pin on Miz to win it. And of course he was always going to win but he was so so good. Hope we see him again and I hope Priest continues getting a push after this stuff. This was really really good fun. Bravo to all involved here. Was much better than it had any right to be.

****

If ever a match was and felt like a big deal and a proper Wrestlemania main event it was this next match. AWESOME video before the match, both women got superstar reactions and Bianca was basically in tears before the match began… but was the match we ALL wanted to be great deliver?…

Bianca Belair defeated Sasha Banks (C) to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship

Yes. Yes it absolutely did deliver and then some. Bianca showcased her power throughout. Sasha showed why she’s up their with the best female wrestlers in the world. As I’ve said the whole match was GREAT from a psychology and wrestling point of view… but the closing sequence was excellent; Bianca tried for a 450 Splash, but Sasha got her knees, and after locked in the Bank Statement, only for Bianca to reach the ropes. Belair then did hit the 450 but only got a nearfall. She seemed to crank it up a notch after and she whipped Sasha with her hair, and when I say whipped her hair may as well been steel (it left a big cut on Sasha’s leg after). Crowd were well into it all the way too. They went absolutely wild when Belair finally hit the KOD for the 1,2,3. She was of course super emotional after but man what a moment. This really delivered and for my money is right up there at least as good as Asuka vs Charlotte for the best women’s match ever at a WrestleMania. I think it’ll be remembered far more fondly than the 3 way from a couple of years ago. Yeah an awesome moment to end night 1. 2 African Americans headlining a WrestleMania, and then being women, is something history will look back on. But above all else the match itself was BRILLIANT! And I’m absolutely delighted to be able to say that.

*****

Overall a really fun night. Emotional for us all watching at times just to have a WrestleMania somewhat back again, and even Mother Nature tried to halt things but yeah a fun night overall. Lots of great moments. Night 1 like with Takeover was the less stacked of the 2, but that delivered and so did this. If night 2 is as good we’re looking at one of the better Mania shows. We can only hope.

Josh.

Apparently it’s WrestleMania… AGAIN!!!

HUGE Star Removed From New WWE WrestleMania 37 Promotional Graphics

So here we are again… 12 months ago, on the Saturday morning with WrestleMania night one to come that evening… here I am, laying in this same bed. 12 months ago we were still coming to terms with what COVID was, and it seemed everyday the news got worse and worse. By then I’d been robbed of one of my loves in football, and it looked for a long time that we’d have WrestleMania taken from us too… in the end we got ‘A WrestleMania’ although it definitely wasn’t a Mania like we are used to… but in 2021 we DO have WrestleMania as close to normal as we can. Things are looking up in terms of putting a handle on COVID, I’m not quite able to go to Huddersfield as I would like to enjoy the show with my friends, but I can say I had fun watching Mania at home last year, and looking at the card for both nights this year I have no doubt I’ll have fun again.

As I said on the morning of Mania Night 1 last year I was in this same bed I am now, and after being in a real dark place for a few weeks prior (COVID taking things from me, still mending a broken heart the causes) it was wrestling once again that perked me up and helped me turn my mood around. This year I’ve again had a whole tonne going on in my life, but I’ve got a good handle on it all and mentally I’m in a fairly good place. I’m at a point where I am so excited for WrestleMania. Again for us all that love Pro-Wrestling I think seeing this show with fans back, and all the elements that we’ve come to know WrestleMania for are back, at least as close to ‘normal’ as we can currently get… SO… as I’m in a much better place than I was this time last year I’ll keep the thoughts and deep feelings stuff to null now and let me get into my proper preview and predictions for WrestleMania 37 nights 1 and 2!!!


Night 1 (Saturday)

Drew McIntyre vs Bobby Lashley (C) (with MVP) for the WWE Championship

It’s basically been announced prior, via combo of the official confirmation Belair vs Sasha will go on last and Drew saying over and over in interviews that he wants to be the first guy to come out infront of fans again, that this will open the show. And my logic is I don’t think we want or need to see a 10-15 minute regular match… I’d have this be an absolute sprint. 5 minutes or so is all you need, big move after big move (Claymores, Spears, the lot) and just have these go at it with everything they have and the best weapons in their arsenal right from the off. They’ve done all they can on TV the last few weeks to make Lashley the clear heel (breaking up The Hurt Business, getting MVP and Lashley to hire Corbin to attack Drew last week) but I still don’t think he’ll be overtly booed. As for our boy Drew, whilst not quite as hot as this time last year I still think the time right for him to get the title back again here. Drew has been unbelievable during the last 12 months, he carried Raw in his back for most of the pandemic and he really does deserve it here. Should be hard hitting and brutal, could be great fun and excitement. Lets hope it lives up.

Lana & Naomi vs Natalya & Tamina vs Dana Brooke & Mandy Rose vs The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan) vs Carmella & Billie Kay in a Tag team Turmoil match for a WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match on Night 2

The women’s tag division hasn’t actually been on fire since we had the great Bayley – Sasha run over the summer, but here we have a few teams who are entertaining sure, but I’m not exactly expecting a classic here. And now we have ANOTHER team added after SmackDown, which admittedly anything with Billie Kay in is instantly better in my opinion, … I just worry this will be a clusterfuck. For me… I’d go with the story I though they were going with all along, and that’s Lana getting her big moment and ultimate revenge on long term rival Nia Jax. Personally I’d love The Riott Squad to FINALLY get some shine, but WWE don’t exactly have the best track record with the women’s tag titles so I’m not hopeful… lets pray they surprise me here…

The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (C) vs AJ Styles & Omos for the Raw Tag Team Championship

This is clearly the Omos show isn’t it? Given they’ve done nothing to tease Omos turning, it looks it’ll be a showcase for him. And to be fair he couldn’t have better people around him for it, it’s always great to see The New Day on any card and the same goes for AJ Styles. But expect the 3 other guys to bump their asses off before big Omos gets his moments in the sun. New Raw tag champions here I’m almost certain, an impressive (hopefully) for Omos and also the completion of the grand slam for the great AJ Styles.

Shane McMahon vs Braun Strowman in a Steel Cage match

Again it feels like we know what’s going to happen here: Shane is going to be the chicken shit heel and get launched all over the place by Braun, then he’s going to show his ‘super BEST IN THE WORLD’ wrestling ability with awful punches and holds on THE MONSTER AMONG MEN and actual GIANT Braun Strowman, then some weird stuff will happen, Shane will go to escape and either jump voluntarily or Braun will cause him to fall off the top of the cage and then Braun will win and pose and roar. Can’t say I’m buzzing for this one, can’t say I have been about a Shane match for a few years now.

Cesaro vs Seth Rollins

I really hope they get time, I worry they wont. I guess I should be happy enough that these two unbelievable wrestlers have a singles match on a WrestleMania show , and I’ve no doubt at all whatever time they do get will be full of great wrestling. And the one thing I do want it Cesaro swinging Seth (ideally) 37 times… I can only hope… Would LOVE Cesaro to get the big win here, but either wont matter too much. Cesaro could certainly do with it more…

The Miz & John Morrison vs Bad Bunny & Damian Priest

Much like with Omos I feel it’s fairly obvious this is set up to make Bad Bunny star. It’s notable for me they’ve gone back to a tag match after originally advertising a singles between Miz and Bad Bunny. But in fairness it serves a few good purposes; Priest (a long time favourite of mien who I’ve watched grow and grow as a star since he came to WWE) gets to be in a featured match at WrestleMania and he’s alongside a big star which can only be good for exposure for him. As for Bad Bunny, we hear he’s been training for months at the PC, and he’s been really good on TV each week with whatever he’s had to do, so I’m hopeful this will be good fun. Miz and Morrison are about as reliable as you could get to do the job so this SHOULD be everything WWE want it to be.

Bianca Belair vs Sasha Banks (C) for the SmackDown Women’s Championship

I’m just… I can’t explain my joy at this going on last AS IT SHOULD. I could go on and on for my love for both these women as performers, but I will say how much I’ve loved watching and being proved right about the rise and rose of the EST. They have both done a great job in the build, and to be honest I’m really unsure as to which way they will have this go… but it would seem much more likely they have the babyface go over so purely based on that logic I’ll predict that Bianca Belair will go all the way and win the title here. But above all else I’m just so so happy that this match is a thing in the spot it has on the show of shows. Good stuff.

Night 2 (Sunday)

Rhea Ripley vs Asuka (C) for the Raw Women’s Championship

Given the obvious, large, Charlotte Flair shaped gap hanging over this match it feels like this was a match WWE never planned on booking, but I’m beyond happy they have done. Two of my absolute favourites for the title at WrestleMania, HAPPY DAYS! I think it’s surely set up for Ripley to win the title given it’s her main roster singles debut… the downside it it’ll mean Asuka is now 0-4 at WrestleMania, but after ,any many years of having the chance taken away at the last moment we should just be happy the GREAT Asuka finally has her spot as a champion going in to WrestleMania. As for Ripley I can’t really get excited about a possible Ripley title reign given Charlotte is surely just waiting in the wings..

Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn (with Logan Paul)

An odd build to a match we have all wanted to see on a WrestleMania since the dawn of time. Long terms rivals turned friends turned rivals again Zayn and Owens will get their spot, and like with Cesaro and Rollins the night prior I just hope they get the time to do what they do best. The added element of Paul here isn’t ideal, but as long as he doesn’t have too much involvement during the match I’m all good. Again don’t think it matters too much who wins, I just hope we get to see Logan take a stunner from Owens, ideally you’d have Logan turn his back on Zayn, Owens winning, KO and Logan celebrating and then Owens gives him the stunner to an even bigger pop. Fingers crossed.

[winners of Tag Team Turmoil on Night 1] vs Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (C) with Reginald for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship

I’m just so over it: I’m over with Nia and Shayna as champions, I’m over with Reginald, I’m over Baszler being anything but who she was in NXT and in her first few months on the main roster. I really don’t care who wins the turmoil match the night before, as long as they become the new champions here I’m fine with it. And if we can get Shayna Baszler beating up Reginald as well that’d make my day.

Big E (C) vs Apollo Crews in a Nigerian Drum Fight for the Intercontinental Championship

Wow oh wow what a turnaround from both these incredible talents. From where they have been a year ago to now is remarkable. Big E has been brilliant as a singles star, and with Wale playing him out I can’t to hear that Big E crowd pop given he’s a Tampa guy as well. It’s a shame in what seems to be his match stipulation that Crews kind of has to lose, but needs must, and if you want could always have Crews win the title after at some stage. But I’m looking forward to this so I’m hopeful it’ll be good stuff.

Sheamus vs Riddle (C) for the United States Championship

Will this is a filler match if ever I’ve seen one… I don’t know what’s gone on with Riddle but they’ve took him into overdrive in the last few months and not in a good way to me. Matt Riddle in NXT was a super over and endearing babyface who could put on great matches, Riddle on Raw is an annoying prick… AND HE’S SUPPSOED TO BE A BABYFACE!!! Don’t know and don’t overtly care who wins, and I wouldn’t be mad if Sheamus kicks his head off, which again give Riddle is supposed to be the babyface isn’t good.

Randy Orton vs The Fiend (with Alexa Bliss)

If you’re reading this you probably know of my love for The Fiend. So I won’t go too much on that, and it’s probably a lock Orton takes an L here, but I think this is all about the big showcase of the burnt up Fiend (can you even imagine what that entrance is going to be like). I’m not sure exactly how they will finally end this feud, I guess Orton or The Fiend and Bliss would have to go to SmackDown in reality after, but as much as it divides opinion… I personally refuse to listen to any criticism of The Fiend and everything related, and I (for once) DO NOT CARE OTHERWISE. I’m beyond excited for this.

Daniel Bryan vs Edge vs Roman Reigns (C) (with Paul Heyman) for the Universal Championship

What a brilliant build this match has had. All 3 have absolutely smashed it and each have more than stated their case for winning… who actually does? Honestly I’ve not a clue… but isn’t that a GREAT thing? How many times have we seen big WWE matches where it feels like it’s set up for x or y to happen, and its more about the moment than the result? I think it’s a great thing that the result is really hard to call here and it will only add to the excitement during the match. Both Edge and Bryan have suggested it could be their swansong too, and Roman is this seemingly unstoppable force… All adds up to a big time WrestleMania main event. One which, like the rest of WrestleMania, I CANNOT WAIT for!!!

Josh.

NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver 2021 (Nights 1 and 2) – Review

NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver Results - 4/8/21 (Night Two, NXT  Championship, Ladder Match) - WWE News and Results, RAW and Smackdown  Results, Impact News, ROH News

I hadn’t originally planned on doing anything about TakeOver… but given the number of fans they had in attendance both nights, it certainly felt as close to a “normal” TakeOver as possible right now. So with the show fully now in the books it would be unfair to miss them out… so here’s my review of BOTH nights of NXT TakeOver: Stand And Deliver.

*SPOILER ALERT* … I FUCKING LOVED both nights!!!


Night 1

I didn’t see most of the pre show on Night One. But in the one match they did have, Zoey Starks beat Toni Storm in what was a decent match. Interesting to me that had Starks go over the most established star, but in a good way though. It certainly will do more for Starks winning that it would’ve done Storm. Look out for a great pair of interviews conducted by a certain former NXT Champion, Samoa Joe.

NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver Recap - Night One

A few things I noticed right away: I LOVED the stage set up for the show with the big skull’s head, I thought it looked cool as shit. Seeing and having a few hundred fans in the CWC really helped the show’s general vibe and as a TakeOver crowd so often has done down the years, they more than played their part.

We then had Alice Cooper’s guitarist and NXT regular Nita Strauss open the show with the national anthem.

Pete Dunne defeated Kushida

A great opener here, exactly the sort of match you’d expect these two to have, but in the best way. Pete Dunne showed his supreme array of techincal moves, with Kushida giving just as good as he got. I expected Pete to win this going in and he did, he seems to be really being protected as a big deal since he’s turned more heel in NXT US and it’s really cool to see. Kushida will be fine, he’s good enough that this loss won’t hurt him too much, whereas Dunne I feel has to be considered in the top end of heels in NXT right now. Great stuff to start the main show.

****

Bronson Reed defeated Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Cameron Grimes, LA Knight, Dexter Lumis, and Leon Ruff in a Gauntlet Eliminator Match to earn an NXT North American Championship match on Night 2

This had the potential to be a little muddled as multi man matches can sometimes be, but credit to all involved but this was really fun stuff to watch. All the guys involved really brought their A game and the right guy won the match I felt. He was certainly the star of the match to me. Ruff came out but was jumped by Scott as he came out, the two have been feuding for a little bit with Scott having much more of an edge to him since he turned more heel. Eventually this led to Ruff (despite being the only guy in the match to actually hold the North American title before) being eliminated first by Swerve. Surprisingly Dexter Lumis went out next with LA Knight taking advantage of Lumis being focused on Cameron Grimes, who he had in his submission at the time, by rolling him up for the pin. Lumis has kind of had his thing with the entirety of The Way prior, so maybe he’s had his time already, but there were many who thought Lumis might win here… Bronson Reed eliminated Knight not long after with a senton (Knight now with a couple of defeats already since coming to NXT… which is.. something). Cameron Grimes was next to go after his temporary alliance with Isaiah Scott fell apart… the two trying to work together to the down the bigger Bronson Reed, before both tried roll up with a handful of tights and it was Scott who got the 1,2,3 to leave himself and Reed as the final 2. After a heck of a final bit it was Reed who got the win with a huge powerbomb, and Alabama Driver and finally his signature Tsunami Splash (which coming from a huge guy is a sight to behold) for the win. Reed continues to shine in NXT, what an athlete he is. Sets up what should be a spectacular match with Gargano (SPOILER ALERT: it was).

****

We had another promo for the arrival of NXT’s newest superstar. The FKA Taya Valkyrie of Impact Wrestling, someone who has been towards the top of my dream signees to WWE for some time, so I’m very much looking forward to seeing what she brings to the table. I’m not going to complain that she’s coming to NXT (she’ll be booked better here I’m sure), but she could be on Raw or SmackDown immediately in my opinion.

Then… it was TIME!!! Two of my absolute favourite wrestlers in the world. I was pumped for this one. It didn’t disappoint.

Walter (C) defeated Tommaso Ciampa to retain the NXT United Kingdom Championship

My goodness, this was FUCKING GREAT! Notably from the off Ciampa was a man of his word, he had spoken in the build to this match that he had heard the talk that he was not the same Ciampa who dominated NXT in 2018 and into 2019. And he came out here with a freshly shaved head, and back without the longer tights he has been wearing recently. He looked like the Ciampa of old again, would he perform like him? Well, yes is the answer. Walter was Walter. We had an a great spot where he went for a typical huge chop on the outside but Ciampa moved and Walter chopped the announce table, and really left his mark. This seemed to hamper him a little as the match went on, and my word this match was so good. Both guys did their usual stuff, Ciampa had his best outing for some time and you only have to look at how red Walter’s chest was after the match to know the level Ciampa brought the fight to the giant Austrian in this one. Walter might be the best heel champion in wrestling… his incredible look is blatant of course, but just how in his matches he somehow manages to make you think there’s a chance he might just lose, every time he makes you wonder if the impossible could happen, and then he chops the shit out of someone and he wins and breaks our hearts. But this match was so great, Ciampa is well and truly back. Where he goes from here is a mystery, but lets hope he keeps this momentum going and whatever it is he does he does so as The Blackheart we all know and love. But yes this was back and forth, and joins the plethora of great Walter matches in what is now an over TWO YEAR run as champion… and it will go on and on for a while I hope. Tremendous stuff. Oh, and Walter won with a huge CHOP which I think a sledgehammer might of done less damage.

WALTER Retains WWE NXT UK Title At TakeOver: Stand & Deliver - Night 1  Wrestling News - WWE News, AEW News, Rumors, Spoilers, WrestleMania 37  Results - WrestlingNewsSource.Com

****3/4

MSK (Wes Lee and Nash Carter) defeated Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake and Zack Gibson) and Legado Del Fantasma (Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde) to win the vacant NXT Tag Team Championship

This was fought at a frenetic pace throughout but was thoroughly enjoyable to watch. 3 very solid, proper tag teams each with their own unique style, and multi team tag matches are often tricky but these 3 worked it really well. I was difficult to think of who the stars were because all 3 teams brought their A game. I would’ve been happy with any of these three teams getting the win, but it was nice for the feel good story to have the exciting MSK win the titles. They add that to their Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic victory a short time back, in what has been a phenomenal start to their WWE careers. But to the victors go the spoils, and I must say just how much a joy it is to watch Wes Lee perform. So unique in his style but he does everything so effortlessly. When bigger crowds are able to return this team are going to be one of the biggest babyface acts in the whole of NXT in my opinion. An emotional moment as well given that Nash Carter’s father sadly passed away not long ago. Wonderful babyface win.

****1/2

We saw Bronson Reed interviewed after his win, and looking ahead to his challenge for the North American title to come…

We also saw Stephanie McMahon and one of NXT’s newest additions to their women’s roster Sarray sat watching the show. Sarray was one of the top female wrestlers in Japan before making her delayed move to America and NXT earlier this year.

It was then time for our Night 1 main event…

Raquel Gonzalez (with Dakota Kai) defeated Io Shirai (C) to win the NXT Women’s Championship

They did a quite brilliant job of making this match feel like a HUGE deal. From the old school ring introductions, to the great pre-match video, both Gonzalez and Shirai came across as huge stars before the match had even started. And when they went at it they did indeed DELIVER! Gonzalez’s rise has been gradual since her debut in this guise just over a year ago, and from there she has slowly but surely become THE woman in NXT. I had called her title win her to basically everyone I spoke to about this show going in, and it’s much deserved in my opinion. As Triple H said to the selected media on the post TakeOver medial call, Raquel is simply the right woman at the right time to end what has been quite the reign from Shirai. An amazing run as champion that has seen her beat the likes of Rhea Ripley, Tegan Nox, Candice LeRae, the list goes on and on, and I echo the thoughts of one Shawn Michaels in that Shirai may well be the best female wrestler in the entire world. She showed as much in this match as the high flying but technical Shirai fought hard against the powerful yet athletic challenger. Dakota Kai came out with Gonzalez but then I think she went to the back and she didn’t factor into the match at all, aside from one moment she went at Shirai but her influence on the result was . Which was wise I felt as this match didn’t need interference. The spot of the match was no doubt when the fight went to the outside, and Shirai in typical fashion dived of the skull at the top of the entrance ramp onto Gonzalez below. Phenomenal stuff from a phenomenal performer. But eventually it was Gonzalez who got the win after not only kicking out from Shirai’s signature moonsault, but she then followed up not long after with a big powerbomb to end a very good match.

****1/2

What now for Shirai I’m not sure about. It would seem an obvious possibility that she seeks pastures new in WWE, but then again there’s so many talented females performers in NXT I’ve no doubt there’s plenty that Shirai could do should she stick around. But for now, and to close Night 1 we congratulate and mark the start of the reign of Raquel Gonzalez. Who could or will stop her I’ve absolutely no idea, but I’d hope it be the start of a dominant and long title reign until the right babyface challenger comes along. Night 1 of TakeOver: Stand & Deliver… DELIVERED for sure. A GREAT show and maybe the best TakeOver show of the pandemic era.

Raquel Gonzalez crowned NXT Women's Champion at TakeOver: Stand & Deliver |  The SportsRush

And we weren’t done yet of course…

Night 2

I saw more of this pre show than I did night one. So I did see the match they had on here, with the oddball team of Killian Dain and Drake Maverick beating Breezango to become the next contenders for the tag titles. MSK vs them will certainly be a fun spectacle. We had more Samoa Joe sit down interviews as well, this time with former NXT rival Finn Balor and the champion’s modern day challenger.

NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver Recap – Night Two

Our musical performance for Night 2 was NXT regular Poppy. I don’t know what you think but I think she’s cool as fuck. She did a great cover of Adam Ant’s ‘Stand and Deliver’ and then did her own new song.

Santos Escobar (C) defeated Jordan Devlin (C) in a Ladder Match to become the Undisputed NXT Cruiserweight Champion

Santos Esobar is SUCH a star. It’s a shame what has been a solid reign for Devlin has to end, but needs must. These two had a very solid and entertaining opener, wasn’t just ladder high spots but the actual wrestling stuff they did too was great. A strange one given we had two heels here, but they had a good match and as I’ve said they had to do it. Devlin I’d presume now goes back to NXT UK and does his thing over there (hell of a spot at the end here with Devlin coming off the ladder and absolutely crashing into another ladder in the corner of the ring below, looked brutal), and Escobar continues what has been a heck of a run. He had a really cool moment after the match where his son joined him and his Legado Del Fantasma teammates as they celebrated the win with both belts. Good stuff.

****

The New NXT Tag Team Champions were interviewed backstage…

Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart (C) defeated The Way (Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell) to retain the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship

Really good outing for all 4 of these women here. Shotzi and Ember came out together on Shotzi’s tank and came across as a big deal. I actually had a small thought they might do a title change here, but I guess given the belts are still new, and that Ember and Shotzi really only just won them, them retaining made sense. The match was really good fun, Ember and Candice are sublime and Shotzi might be the most improved performer in the whole of NXT in the last year or so. But Indi Hartwell was right there with them all. Pretty big and a stacked women’s division in NXT … so wonder who steps up next… Final word on this match; shout out to Ember Moon for doing the signature taunt then hit spot from Road Dogg, given his recent health issues. A cool touch.

***3/4

Olympic wrestler Gable Steveson was watching the show… might be worth remembering his name…

So after not the best start to the night for them, how would the other half of The Way get on… well… better was the answer.

Johnny Gargano (C) (with Austin Theory) defeated Bronson Reed to retain the NXT North American Championship

Again this was pretty much what I expected, but again that’s definitely not a bad thing. Bronson Reed did himself no harm at all in defeat, showing again what an unbelievable athlete he is. There were many times during this I thought Reed might do it. And once again Johnny Gargano showed why he is, in my opinion, THE greatest NXT performer of all time. In-ring he’s amazing, and his character work is something else. He was the perfect foil to Reed here. After a back and forth match it took 2 big ddts to get the win for Gargano.

WWE NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Night 2: Johnny Gargano (c) Vs. Bronson  Reed Full Match, Winner

****1/2

Ahead of the NXT title match we had a few notable viewers watching on from the crowd… hmm…

Karrion Kross (with Scarlett) defeated Finn Balor (C) to win the NXT Championship

I LOVED E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G- about this match. The entrances made both guys seem like MEGAstars. Kross with his gladiator inspired gear…

Balor with the shots of his previous TakeOvers as he came out.

The match early seemed to be both guys trying to one up and out-do eachother, but when the pace picked up my word it was brilliant. They really looked like they wanted to hurt one another, there was even a point when Balor targeted Kross’ midsection where i genuinely was worried Kross had an abdominal injury. Should mention also Finn had a red cross marked on his shoulder, the injury that led to him forfeiting the Universal title all those years ago. Kross hit all sorts of throws during this one, and after Balor continued to try and target the mid section with dropkicks and stomps, and even a Coupe de Grace, Karrion Kross finally got the win with a couple of hard , clubbing shots to the back of the head. And that was enough for the 1,2,3. All feels right again in the NXT world… The title he never was beaten for is once gain the property of Karrion Kross. And much like with Io last night prior we witness the end of a great title reign full of big matches and moments, so credit to Finn for that. But now the title is back around the waist of the monstrous and quite brilliant Karrion Kross. GOOD SHIT!

NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver results, grades: Karrion Kross wins gold |  Metro News

****3/4

And then it was time for the second of our co main events. And if you thought Kross vs Balor was physical and brutal, you haven’t seen nothing yet…

Kyle O’Reilly defeated Adam Cole in an Unsanctioned Match

My goodness. Much in the same way I kind of had to watch the first Gargano vs Ciampa match back a second time to really appreciate it and how good it was, this was the same. I’ve now seen twice the full FORTY MINUTES that these two former friends turned bitter enemies absolutely brutalized eachother for. They used everything to do so too, from chairs to chains, and even Cole putting himself and O’Reilly though the entrance ramp flooring. An absolute WAR between these two that will live long in the memory. This had a real big fight feel, they even had the security guards in the ring surrounding and separating both guys right up until the bell rang. Both guys have new music so sadly the great Undisputed Era music is no more, and we got no Bobby Fish or Roderick Strong during this one either. But if Triple H’s comments in the post show conference call are anything to by, Tuesday’s NXT tv will have all the fallout. And I don’t think these two are done just yet. But as I said an absolute WAR, PERHAPS it went too long, but I still thought it was a great great match. And if Gargano is the best performer in NXT history, Adam Cole maybe right behind him.

But interestingly tonight was Kyle O’Reilly’s night. After a brawl began things, the match was focused around a chair after that, I think Cole even had one with the UE logo on. Cole smashed O’Reilly with a chair over his back, and not long after O’Reilly suplexed Cole onto the chair and then immediately put him in a leg lock. O’Reilly is SO good. After that Kyle O’Reilly found a big chain and tied it onto the ring rope, but Cole hit a neckbreaker onto the chain. Kyle though cameback as he wrapped the chain around his foot and kicked out at Adam Cole with it a few times. Cole eventually clotheslined O’Reilly with the chain in hand. In another part of the match O’Reilly used the chain for a submission but Cole hit him with a tire-iron he had got earlier from the outside. After a close nearfall form a superkick Cole was furious at not getting the win and so hit out at the referee. He then would hit the Panama Sunrise but with the ref down there was no pin or win. O’Reilly would roll out of the ring, Cole followed after him, and with O’Reilly locking in a standing gullotine, that’s when Cole used the momentum to slam him through the nearby entrance stage. Great spot. Kyle tried absolutely everything to try and put Cole away, even Cole’s own Last Shot wasn’t enough. But it was a jumping knee off the top (whilst having a big chain wrapped around his leg for the extra impact) to Cole, whilst his neck was on a chair, was enough for the win. Cole was immediately placed on a stretcher with a tonne of officials and medical personnel in the ring to check on him as O’Reilly looked on. People might have differing views due to the length of the match, but I loved this. And with O’Reilly winning I guess he could be next to challenge Kross, but maybe Kross rematches Finn and O’Reilly goes again with Adam Cole and later down the line they do Kross vs O’Reilly for the title. MAYBE at a push, if Kross was to be Raw or SmackDown bound at any point, when arenas are full with fans again, given his rise as a singles star since the pandemic began, can you imagine the noise for a Kyle O’Reilly NXT championship win over the unbeatable Karrion Kross? There’s something to think about… but that’s then, and now we need to appreciate just how incredible the absolute battle between O’Reilly and Adam Cole was.

*****

Another great night to cap off a PHENOMENAL NXT TakeOver. As I said this felt like the closest thing we’ve seen during all this to the sort of TakeOver we all grew to adore. Maybe it was the few hundred more fans than they’ve been able to have previously, maybe it was just the time of year (Mania season) or the stakes of the matches on both nights. But this was a heck of a TakeOver. And with the Undisputed Era of NXT is well and truly over, the Era of NXT led by the likes of Karrion Kross, Raquel Gonzalez and Kyle O’Reilly has just begun. And I’m pumped to see where it goes.

Josh.

Fantasy Booking: WrestleMania 38 (2022)

How To Watch WWE WrestleMania On PS4 - PlayStation Universe

So we are fast approaching WrestleMania 37 this upcoming weekend. Last year we had the least ‘normal’ WrestleMania we have and will ever see, this year we’ve got a show, with fans, in a stadium, but still they’ll be wearing masks, distancing and there’ll be less than 50% of the venue full… NEXT YEAR HOWEVER… WrestleMania returns to AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. In classic WWE fashion it looks as if the first ‘normal’ WrestleMania after COVID is under control will be in front of 100,000 fans once again, as was the case in 2016 at the same venue. So… if we know anything about Vince McMahon and his mind-set he will want to go BIG at this show… but just how big… well, a full year in advance here’s what I would do in 12 months time… here is my fantasy booking for WrestleMania 38!!!


So I want to focus on the bigger matches for the biggest WrestleMania of all time that I’m putting together, but just briefly I would do my best to get the other titles and get people on the card, however if a few of these have to be taken out to avoid a mega long mania then so be it. WrestleMania should have a 1 POSSIBLY 2 hour pre show, with a main show going 4 hours tops but as closer to 3 as possible. Doesn’t matter how big or good a match is, if fans have been in a venue for 5/6 hours by that point, they ain’t going to be as invested as they should be in ANYTHING they see… ANYWAY… lets get in to some of my ideas…

So as I’ve said, keeping the show overall (including pre show) between 4-6 hours is key and less IF possible, and this year they’ve gone as far to have a ‘WrestleMania edition’ of SmackDown that will see a SmackDown tag title match as well as the traditional Andre Battle Royal, there is also no Women’s Battle Royal this year… so there are ways to spread matches you’d want on Mania elsewhere to the go home Raw or SmackDown instead. WreslteMania is the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’ for a reason, not EVERYONE needs to be or should be on the card. WrestleMania is for THE biggest names and matches only. So on the pre show or even go home TVs I’d have both men’s and women’s battle royals (Billie Kay winning the women’s and for the men? Maybe Cesaro or an Apollo Crews maybe?), I like the idea of The New Day vs Street Profits for the Raw tag titles with Profits and Montez Ford in particular going over, Orton vs Mustafa Ali for the US title with Ali going over is something I’d LOVE to see for many reasons, Kevin Owens coming out with the Intercontinental title and continuing or going on a LONG IC title reign as a babyface, Rey and Dominik Mysterio being involved in something for the SmackDown Tag titles (I think there’s a chance they win the titles on Friday)… so possibly have the Mysterios losing and Rey having to retire?… I think it’d be great seeing The Bella Twins in a match for the women’s tag titles, they’d lose of course and I’m not sure who but just to a team who need it and who deserve it at the time. Finally both Women’s Championship’s I’d have defended on the show, but as I think the attention on the females on this show will be elsewhere (I’ll explain later) then I think the best route is to just have both titles on the line in singles matches featuring the two very best in-ring talents on each brand (by then); so on the Raw side I’d have Asuka vs Charlotte and/or Rhea Ripley, and on SmackDown I’d go Sasha vs Io Shirai (who I think will be main roster bound sometime between next week as I write this and the Royal Rumble of 2022), Banks vs Shirai could be an all-time classic.

Adam Cole vs Daniel Bryan (Bryan’s last match)

WrestlingINC.com on Twitter: "Holy #ProWresting Gods it's official: DANIEL  BRYAN vs ADAM COLE for the #NXT Championship tonight on #SmackDown!!… "

So I’ve got this kind of theme alongside a few matches, but I think of the ones I’ve mentioned I think by that time there really is every chance Daniel Bryan decides he’s done. And simply if he’s going to do the job on the way out, I can’t think of anyone better to do that to than a man who could do with a big Mania win over a beloved figure. And I think this match would be exceptional, as their match was on an edition of SmackDown in the later part of 2019, give them maybe 15 minutes or so and even have them open the main card perhaps. I think a hardcore WrestleMania crowd would be right behind these two, and I think the promos and build could be great as well. One for the IWC here, but a certified BANGER incoming if they do it.

AJ Styles vs Edge

AJ Styles Comments On Wanting WWE Match With Edge: "That's One That I Want  Badly" | EWrestling

Now this serves a few purposes for me; it draws right back to when Edge inadvertently hurt AJ’s shoulder in his Royal Rumble return in 2020 after Styles took too big a bump from the Spear, it could serve as a Raw answer to Bryan vs Cole, and as much as the idea of Styles vs Triple H sounds cool I think Edge in that spot would be better. I have a rule of thumb whenever I think of ideas of fantasy booking or even for computer games when it comes to AJ Styles, and that’s that he should ONLY be in: Championship matches, absolute bangers or attraction matches. So whoever and whatever it is, given his Mania debut was in this same venue it should be made sure that Styles be in a featured match on this show. I’m not certain but I THINK Edge’s deal is up next year… so bare that in mind also…

Drew McIntyre vs Keith Lee vs Damian Priest for the WWE Championship

Keith Lee goes into a rage on Drew McIntyre: Raw, Sept. 14, 2020 - YouTube

I think on the SmackDown side it’ll be the Roman show, so I think Raw’s world title should go another way. Here I’ve got three bigger guys who can go, who fans like, and who have proven track records of getting big crowd’s excited. I think if these three got time they could do some really special stuff. I don’t think the dynamic is important and you could do a singles match, or even add T-Bar (or ideally by then he’ll be Dominik Dijakovic again) to the fray, but get Raw’s biggest and best workers, put the WWE Championship on the line and watch the magic unfold. Drew McIntyre should be Raw’s GUY forever more I think, but given we are infront of 100000 people maybe you could give an amazing Mania moment to a Keith Lee perhaps? Can you imagine that pop?…

John Cena vs Karrion Kross

🐍Edwin (Legit Boss)🦋 on Twitter: "Hope to see @WWEKarrionKross vs John  Cena one day🔥 #KrossCult⏳❌ #TickTock… "

TICK TOCK! Only a matter of time until Karrion Kross and his gorgeous but deadly femme fatal Scarlett make their way from NXT to pastures new, and given the push he’s been given since his arrival in WWE, I can’t think of a bigger rub than to beat the Hollywood star. Cena HAS to be on this show, especially if he’s really not going to be able to make it in Tampa. Of course it would make more sense to have him the year after in Hollywood but why not do both? Karrion Kross getting a big win over Cena would take the seemingly unbeatable Kross to an absolute other level. and to paraphrase a certain Geordie football man I would LOVE IT if Kross beat Cena at WrestleMania, the stuff of dreams, FALL AND PRAY!

Brock Lesnar vs Bobby Lashley in a Steel Cage Match

WWE Believed Bobby Lashley Could Become The Next Brock Lesnar, Says Jim Ross

Pretty much I’d book as close to an MMA fight as possible here. This has been THE match for Lashley even before he came back to WWE in 2018, and infront of 100,000 I think it’s the perfect time to do it. Wouldn’t have it go too long, have it be brutal and violent, maybe even some blood, maybe even these dangerous Brock elbows that led to those gruesome visuals of Randy Orton and Roman reigns in times gone by… I think everyone would get behind Lashley here, but I think we know Brock is more likely to win this one, as much as It’d be amazing for Lashley to win it… Lesnar would be another like Cena who I think MUST be on this show.

The Fiend vs Goldberg…. no… WAIT… The Fiend vs… TRIPLE H in a FireFly Funhouse Match

FULL MATCH - The Fiend vs. Triple H : RAW, Nov 4, 2019 - YouTube

A few reasons for me booking this one: firstly I hate Goldberg so my logic is this is a definitive way to FINALLY send him on his way and this way he’s on Mania but we don’t have to endure an actual Goldberg match, next this is a show full of ‘attraction’ matches, so with The Fiend to keep him special I think it’s better to do something different with him, and another Funhouse match is for me the best way to do that. And as we know with Bray and The Fiend, he NEVER forgets… unless it happened to Oldberg in Saudi Arabia it seems… one of THE worst booking decisions in recent years, and it NEEDS to be corrected. I did think about Fiend and Bliss against Kross and Scarlett, or maybe even Brock vs Fiend, but as you’ve seen I’ve found better ways of getting those in huge matches for the show. Other people I have free maybe Rollins or maybe even Triple H… actually… now I think about it… Bliss and Stephanie… Fiend and Triple H… imagine a Funhouse match about TRIPLE H and the amount of material they’d have??? Yeah lets FUCK OLDberg RIGHT off and lets do The Fiend vs Triple H either in a singles, no holds barred or a funhouse match. Yeah MUCH better! The Fiend vs Triple H it is then!

Becky Lynch vs Ronda Rousey

Becky Lynch And Ronda Rousey's Non-PG Twitter Beef Is Getting Uglier By The  Second

Just a slam dunk this one. Depending on when Becky comes back I wouldn’t even be totally against this going last and being for a title, but I really don’t think this needs a title. Ad when have we ever been able to day that about a Women’s match before? Particularly at a WrestleMania? How cool is that? The story is super easy tot ell, both women would have many motivations to beat the other, could even go career vs career if you needed, but for me this (now that Taker has retired and Sting is in AEW) is now THE dream match that WWE NEED to make. There’s one match however that will one day be even bigger…

Roman Reigns (C) with Paul Heyman vs Big E for the Universal Championship

Roman Reigns vs Big E is Odds-on Favorite to Headline WrestleMania 37 |  WrestlingWorld

So I’ve been quite open with how the booking could go to get us to the other matches I’ve proposed, but this is one I have pretty set in stone in my mind. So… Roman is still the guy we see today, Big E continues his rise and WINS the Royal Rumble, we go to WrestleMania, everyone thinks E is going to get the big babyface win… and then in the same way that Lesnar beat Roman at Mania 34, Roman wins. Clean. and then after Roman celebrates and leaves and Big E, gutted but prideful, gets a standing ovation from the crowd… The Tribal Chief is furious at this, and the thought the final image of WrestleMania will be Big E getting a standing ovation and not of him, the victor… so he comes back and batters Big E. Woods and Kofi come to try and make the save but The Usos cut them off, even Rikishi comes out to beg Roman to stop… and then… just as Roman is about the END Big E… it happens…

IF YA SMELL!!!

WWE The Rock Entrance

Yep… he comes down, he beats up Roman, New Day chase off The Usos, Rock holds up the Universal Title before tossing it back to Roman… and the next SmackDown we make it official… but essentially this is how I would set up THE main event for WrestleMania 39 in Hollywood… The Rock vs Roman Reigns!

You’re Welcome.

WWE Wrestlemania 39 Roman Reigns vs The Rock Dream Match Card (Dream  Section) - YouTube

Josh.

WrestleMania 19 (2003) – Review

WWE WrestleMania 19 Results – March 30, 2003 – Angle vs. Lesnar – TPWW

Well after doing reviews on the biggest WWF/E shows of the year for 2001 & 2002, it only makes sense to now do the same for the year 2003, so let’s talk about WrestleMania 19. And if you thought the previous two Mania shows were eventful, wait until you try this one on for size: A main event featuring a man who hadn’t even been on WWE TV until the day AFTER WrestleMania the previous year, the final match in the career of the greatest WWE superstar of all time (not that those outside of a select few knew it), a match “20 years in the making” and an entire card stacked with now current or likely future Hall of Famers. This really was a heck of a show, but I rarely find it one people immediately talk about when they speak of the best WrestleMania shows there has ever been. And maybe I’m pre-empting this a little bit, but I have watched this show many times before (although never taken an in-depth look as I will do with this blog) and I remember it always being a good show, with 3/4 matches I would go out of my way to watch again. So without further or do, join me now as I look back at another WrestleMania show from yesteryear, the final one of my trilogy of reviews in preview of this year’s show of shows. Here is my review of WrestleMania 19 from the year 2003. Enjoy, I know I will.


This year’s WrestleMania opening video emphasized the importance and significance of WrestleMania. These are always good aren’t they? The show originally opened with Ashanti performing ‘America The Beautiful’, accompanied by images of the US Armed Forces and commentary putting over the US’s victory in ‘liberating Iraq’, but that’s not on the WWE network version of the show. Make of that what you will… Anyway this year Mania was held at the Safeco Field Baseball Stadium in Seattle. Your commentators and ring announcers are split between Raw and SmackDown, as this was the first WrestleMania since the WWE Draft split the two brands; Raw’s matches had JR and The King on commentary with Howard Finkel ring announcing, as SmackDown had Michael Cole and Tazz on the call with Tony Chimel ring announcing.

Matt Hardy (C) with Shannon Moore defeated Rey Mysterio to retain the Cruiserweight Championship

https://www.wwe.com/videos/matt-hardy-vs-rey-mysterio-wwe-cruiserweight-title-match-wrestlemania-xix-full-match-wwe-network-exclusive

Really solid match to kick off the show, two solid workers and the only shame was they got just over 5 and a half minutes. Rey flew about all over the place and really got the crowd excited, and Matt was a great foil to the beloved high flyer. This Mattitude version of Matt Hardy with his ‘Matt Facts’ was so awesome. A corkscrew Plancha by Rey to the outside set the tone early, but Shannon Moore helped Hardy regain control after. Matt got the heat on Rey for some time after, with Moore getting his shots and moves in on Mysterio whenever the back of the ref was turned. Rey got a nearfall after reversing a Twist of Fate into a pin attempt, Hardy got a nearfall after with a Side Effect, the crowd tried to will Rey back into things and after a great springboard off the ropes Mysterio followed with a crossbody for another nearfall. Mysertio got another nearfall from a tornado ddt, and soon after set up for the 619 but Shannon Moore grabbed Rey’s leg to pull him down. Matt then hit the Twist of Fate… but Rey kicked out to the shock of Matt and Moore! Mysterio got a great Hurricanrana off the second rope for a nearfall, but again Moore stopped the three by pulling Hardy’s leg to the bottom rope. After Hardy accidentally took down Moore, Rey then did hit the 619, and with the crowd going wild he missed the West Coast Pop after Hardy ducked, then after Rey looked to counter into a Victory Roll pin Hardy held Rey down and held onto the bottom rope for extra leverage, and Hardy got the win to retain.

WrestleMania 19 | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir

***

The Miller Lite Girls arrived at WrestleMania… oh boy…I’ll let you all find out who they are in your own time… just make sure you delete your internet search history after… The crowd sounded VERY happy to see them. They argued over what was the bigger match over Hogan/McMahon and Stone Cold/The Rock.

ProWresBlog: Wrestlemania 19 Review

So… They showed us a clip next from Sunday night Heat of Nathan Jones being jumped backstage. Now Jones was a brute of a man with one heck of a life story, and he was new to WWE at this time and looked set to be a big star… problem was… he SUCKED in the ring. And so they had scheduled a tag team match with him teaming with The Undertaker looking to get some of that star power magic dust, and then the two would eventually feud. But they realised before this that Jones could stink the joint out, and so did an angle to explain how they could keep Jones out the match.

Retro Pops & Botches: WWE SmackDown – 03.13.2003 - Steel Ring Post

The Undertaker defeated Big Show & A-Train in a Handicap Match

Limp Bizkit performed ‘Rollin’ live which was pretty cool. Big pop of course for Taker when he rode out. Taker got a Chokeslam on A-Train right away but Big Show stopped the pin. Taker looked jacked here and was cheered whenever he was on offence. Old School on A-Train got a big reaction, but A-Train and Big Show beat up Taker all over the place after. Train’s offence looked good to be fair, I’m not too sure what went wrong wit him cause he looked like a monster here. Big Show tried for a Chokeslam but Undertaker countered it into an armbar, only for A-Train to come in and Taker got a cross-armbreaker on him, until Big Show got a big leg drop and the heels took back control. Taker back into it after reversing an abdominal stretch on A-Train and a gutwrench suplex, until A-Train hit a big clothesline and got a nearfall. Taker hit more strikes then a big ddt, but Big Show stopped the 3 count. Taker hit shots on Show and A-Train, and he did take Show down but got smashed by a Bicycle Kick by A-Train. Show hit a Chokeslam on Taker… and then NATHAN JONES came running down the aisle, Show went after him but got hit with a big spin kick by Jones (how this wasn’t a DQ when the match was announced before it began as now being a handicap match I don’t know)… anyway this left A-Train in the ring with Taker, and eventually he threw A-Train into Jones who gave him a kick. Taker then hit the Tombstone for the win. So… it was supposed to be a tag match, then it was a handicap match, but when the tag partner came out they let him do whatever as if it was a tag match? Ok then…

7 Days Until Wrestlemania | Nick Graffis' Unnamed Weblog

*3/4

The Miller Lite Girls were back… this time they ran into WWE Divas Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson backstage.

Miller Lite Catfight Girls

They showed footage from Heat where Chief Morley and Lance Storm retained the world tag titles against Kane and RVD after help from The Dudleys. Bare in mind that was on the pre show and the miller lite girls are on the main show…

Trish Stratus defeated Jazz and Victoria (C) (with Steven Richards) in a triple threat match to win the WWE Women’s Championship

They dubbed over Victoria’s music on the network (she was coming out to ‘All The Things She Said’ by Tatu at this time), this made me sad. Jazz dominated early with her power, Trish showed great babyface fight though, and Victoria showed her vengeful streak at times. So the dynamic between the three was really good and worked well. Victoria got a nearfall on Trish but Jazz pulled her out the ring, then Jazz hit a great leg drop on Trish but Victoria then broke up the pin. The two heels seemed to double team Trish and hit a double shoulderbreaker, then they went at one another. After Victoria put Jazz in the corner, Trish then popped back up with a backstabber on Victoria, which Stratus then rolled through into a tremendous pin attempt for a nearfall. Trish then turned it round and went at Victoria, Jazz then hit a pig powerbomb to Trish and got a 2 count, Victoria went at it again with Jazz with Jazz slapping her in the corner… Trish later got involved and as Jazz and Victoria again tried for the double team, Trish ducked so that Jazz kicked Victoria instead. Trish got a nearfall on Jazz with a roll up, and just after scaled Jazz’s shoulders and then turned from there into a victory roll attempt which was rather impressive. Trish followed up with the Chick Kick to Jazz, but Victoria broke the pin. Victoria went to the second rope as Richards at ringside cheered her on, but Trish did a handstand into the corner and got her down with her legs, Trish hit chops to Victoria and kicked her to the outside, Jazz then went at Trish catching her leg and getting her in a half boston crab… she transitioned into an STF, then Victoria got onto the apron to distract the ref so that Richards could come into the ring and throw Jazz to the outside, Trish used Victoria to push Jazz off the apron and got a nearfall on Victoria in the process, Victoria got a nearfall also after they rolled through, Jazz came back in and had dropped Trish down but got hit with a hard kick from Victoria. Jazz moved out the way of an attempt at the moonsault by Victoria, but Vcotria lifted Jazz to the outside over the ropes as he ran at her… with the ref looking out at Jazz Richards ran in with a chair but missed Trish and the chair came off the ropes and he hit himself in the head with it… Trish then hit him with the Stratusfaction, and then after getting out of an attempt at a Widow’s Peak by Victoria, Trish then caught Victoria with a hard kick after she came off the ropes. And that got her the 1,2,3. Trish your new Women’s Champion. Now I said in my mania 18 review I felt Trish should’ve won the title that night in her hometown, but my goodness the difference between her in-ring skills in that match compared to this one is remarkable. She was brilliant in this match. I enjoyed this match way more than I thought I would going into it.

Trish Stratus Win GIF by WWE - Find & Share on GIPHY

***1/2

The Rock was interviewed by Johnathan Coachman backstage about his match against Stone Cold Steve Austin later… This was heel Hollywood Rock so he was booed when he appeared on screen. He cut a promo on ‘the people’ that booed him last year, the people that booed him when he gave ‘the concert of a lifetime’, the same people who call him a ‘sellout’. Rock pointed out he had sold out ‘this and every WrestleMania he has ever been in’ and said he couldn’t care less about the people. He said he was here to fulfil his destiny to beat Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania, as it was the one thing he had never done and it eats him alive. He said if there was one thing hollywood had taught him it was that act 1 and 2 don’t matter, it was act 3 that was important. He said he wasn’t afraid to sweat, not afraid to bleed ‘gonna beat that bald headed bastard guaran-damn-teed’. This got some cheers it was such a good line. Rock said he then would’ve done it all. Which leads in nicely to his promo the next night on Raw. I… LOVED heel Hollywood Rock from 2003. He was so fucking good.

(Next was a multi team tag match for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Given one of the participants I wont be reviewing the match. For the record Team Angle (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) retained their titles in a match that also featured Eddie and Chavo Guerrero and Rhyno that I’d give ***).

7 Ups & 3 Downs From WWE WrestleMania XIX – Page 7

Stacy and Torrie were backstage again… they got into a bit of a debate about WrestleMania… Torrie argued that Hogan created Mania and made it was today, Keibler said that was down to Mr McMahon. The two other girls had the same argument when Stacy and Torrie left, they said they should settle it in the ring, the other argued they should settle it in bed, which the other said fine. Urgh, you’d think as a young male Id like this stuff, but I don’t need to see it on a wrestling show I really don’t.

Next… well this was more like what I want to see…

Shawn Michaels defeated Chris Jericho

https://www.wwe.com/videos/shawn-michaels-vs-chris-jericho-wrestlemania-xix-full-match-wwe-network-exclusive

Oh man this was so great. I strongly advise you use the link above to watch it. Amazing chemistry between these two (as a great pre match video showed), and that added to the high level of in-ring ability both poses meant they put on a real classic. Michaels really was the showstopper in every sense in this one, and Jericho was his usual asshole self. Plenty of highlights here; Jericho applying the Walls of Jericho on the outside and then running in the ring demanding the ref stops the count, Michaels again showing how he has THE absolute best babyface in peril selling ability in the history of the business, Jericho just beat HBK’s ass and the crowd went wild whenever Michaels got a comeback or even a shot at one, Jericho doing Michaels’ pose and then HBK kipping up and laying in punches as the crowd went wild, a series of nearfalls for each man when they kept rolling over which ended when Jericho tried the Walls but HBK used his leg strength to flip Jericho away, Jericho later countering an attempted Michaels move into the Walls of Jericho, Jericho hitting a tremendous backbreaker followed by a flying forearm off the top… and then JERICHO set up for Sweet Chin Music and he got it… but Michaels kicking out to a big pop. Later on in the match Michaels countered a superplex in mid-air into a crossbody but Jericho kicked out, HBK went up for the elbow but Jericho kicked the ref into the ropes which caused Michaels to fall down onto the turnbuckle. Michaels did soon after throw Jericho off the top and got the elbow after, and with the crowd going crazy he kipped up and set for the superkick, but Jericho dodged it and got the Walls of Jericho in again… eventually after Jericho pulled Michaels away from the ropes Michaels got them at last with Jericho absolutely inconsolable. And as Jericho turned he was met with a superkick, and Michaels crawled to the cover but Jericho just got up at 2. After both men staggered to their feet, Jericho eventually sent Michaels flying into the corner Michaels somehow flipped over Jericho and got a roll up with his legs… and did enough for the 1,2,3. The finish almost came as a surprise but this match was tremendous. After the match HBK and Jericho seemed to share a moment of mutual respect… then of course Jericho turned it around to leave with the heat. But this was really GOOD SHIT.

Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels - Their Emotional, Memorable Feud

****1/2

We saw Mr McMahon’s personal referee knock on his dressing room door and go in…

They announced the attendance as 54,097.

Limp Bizkit performed the WrestleMania theme song… entitled with a family friendly name “CRACK ADDICT”…

The Miller Lite Girls, Stacy and Torrie had a PILLOW FIGHT, where they basically frolicked around and took the majority of their clothes off. I can’t really talk about shite like this in 2021 for a whole load of reasons… very much of a different time shall we say...

Right… I’m gonna find it REALLY hard to speak neutrally on this next match, so let me fill you in…

So Triple H is at this time in the midst of the infamous ‘reign of terror’. He’s the heel, asshole, world champion who just beat (buries) everyone… And going in to WrestleMania there was no obvious challenger for him as everyone else was really tied up with other storylines… so they hold a battle royal on Raw and it is won by Booker T. And so we have Booker T vs Triple H… and what route do they choose to go down to build this match up? Well… I can some it up with one line from a Triple H promo where he said “people like you don’t get to be World Champion”… PEOPLE LIKE YOU? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??? You make your own conclusions what was meant by that… Triple H even doubled down in one promo where talked about Booker’s “nappy hair”, he even threw money at him and told him to get his bags, and told him to dance for him… ARE YOU SERIOUS??? So you got that from the Triple H side, and Booker T is cutting great promos about how he was once in prison and has turned his life around and now he’s going to WrestleMania and challenging for the world title, so a classic redemption storyline right? In 2019 they had Vince McMahon give off the same sort of vibes to Kofi Kingston with Vince eluding to people like Kofi not being WWE Champion, but they didn’t say anything as blatant as his NAPPY FUCKING HAIR!? Oh and on that with Kofi when the whole build was that ‘people like him’ didn’t get to be WWE Champion… GUESS WHAT… KOFI KINGSTON WON THE FUCKING MATCH… But here in 2003, did Booker T overcome the racist undertones of his opponents promos and conduct leading to the match? Did he complete the ultimate underdog story of going from time in prison, reforming himself and winning the big belt from the nasty bad guy at the biggest show… NOOOOOOOOOO… OF COURSE FUCKING NOT! Give me a break WWE. This was one of the most deplorable bookings I’ve seen. And I’m a Triple H fan, I am in no way calling Triple H a racist… but you just don’t do a story where there’s such obvious racist undertones… and then the babyface loses… that’s horseshit… when Alexa Bliss basically spent the build to Mania 34 calling Nia Jax fat and ugly… guess what… Nia beat her ass and won the title. If you wanted Triple H to win for whatever reason then fine no problem, but did you really need to say “PEOPLE LIKE YOU DON’T GET TO BE WORLD CHAMPION”. They included much of this in the pre match hype video too, even having the Triple H line “I laugh my ass off” when HHH gave his thoughts on Booker challenging him for the world title. And regardless of if it was meant to be a straight racist thing or not, you had to know it would come off like that… so TELL A DIFFERENT STORY… This match often comes top when any discussion is brought up about results we wish were different… and yes as I’ve said I really find it hard to watch and comment on this match honestly….

Triple H (C) with Ric Flair defeated Booker T to retain the World Heavyweight Championship

https://www.wwe.com/videos/booker-t-vs-triple-h-wrestlemania-19-world-heavyweight-championship-match

To make matters worse after what was a decent match in fairness… Triple H hits the Pedigree… and then takes (and I counted them) another TWENTY TWO SECONDS to make the pin after. FUCK OFF. Booker T, about as solid a talent as you will get, absolutely buried by all of this. Fuck you.

10 Most Unprofessional Performances In WWE History – Page 2

***1/4

Next up… strap yourselves in folks…

Wrestlemania XIX | Vince Mcmahon vs Hulk Hogan - Vídeo Dailymotion

Hulk Hogan defeated Vince McMahon in a Street Fight (if Hogan lost he’d of had to retire)

https://www.wwe.com/videos/hulk-hogan-vs-mr-mcmahon-wrestlemania-19

The most FANTASTIC video package before this match. Telling the story of how Hogan was Vince’s top guy, but turned against him in a professional and personal way. Now just as Hogan wants to bring Hulkamania back, Vince wants to KILL IT! to start the match Vince slapped Hogan before Hulk takes him down. Hogan strikes away at Vince and takes him down with a clothesline. Hogan rains down more strikes in the corner, before Vince hits and elbow then takes Hogan down and kicks him in the stomach. McMahon then drives Hogan into the corner and goes to work on him, eventually taking him down with a big blow to the back. Vince might well be the in the best shape out of these two, he looks JACKED! Vince targets Hogan’s arm after with knees, then pulling away at it, but as much as Hogan fought Vince used the ringpost to drive Hogan’s arm into it. Both men engage in hand locks, before Hogan ‘hulks up’ off the crowd and powers up before Vince kicks him back down. Hogan tries to power up again, and takes control going chest to chest until Vince again kicks Hogan down. They do the same spot AGAIN this time with Hogan again taking a kick to the gut before Vince throws him to the outside. Vince throws Hogan’s head into the barricade and then sends Hulk shoulder first into the ringpost. Vince then flexes at a downed Hogan and looks in amazing shape. McMahon gets a steel chair and goes to hit Hogan but Hulk moves out the way before he strikes Vince down and then launches him into the post. And then Hogan takes the chair and smashes Vince in the head with it. Vince is busted open now as Hogan strikes away. Back in the ring now Hogan hits big punches, and Vince falls to the outside. Hogan gets another chair and smashes Vince across the back with it. And again. And he tried again but Vince ducked and Hogan hit one of the poor Spanish announcers (those poor guys never have any luck do they)… Hogan drags Vince away but McMahon hits him back with a low blow. Vince takes the chair and smashes Hogan in the head. Vince then gets a LADDER from under the ring… he sets it up ringside, and then places Hogan on an announce table after beating him around the ringside area. Vince moves the ladder closer to the spanish table before clearing that, then hits Hogan with a monitor, and with Hogan across the table Vince climbs the nearby ladder and delivers some form of leg drop off the top of the ladder!

34 Days of WrestleMania: Is WrestleMania XIX really as good as people like  to think it is? — Court of Nerds

Quite the unreal spot to see VINCE MCMAHON do!!! Hogan is busted open at this point as well. Vince looks down at Hogan after and drags him back into the ring, before finally getting the first pin attempt of the match… but Hogan kicks out at two! Vince tries again but a kick out again! A bloodied Vince looks furious and he goes under the ring to retrieve something… as he moves his head back up with his weapon to look back at Hogan we get one of the most iconic camera shots in WWE history…

Vince brings a steel pipe into the ring… but Hogan this time hits the low blow before Vince could hit him with the pipe. With both men down and bloodied suddenly in an unbelievable surprise moment, the legendary long term rival of Hogan, Rowdy RODDY PIPER is suddenly in the ring!!! To a huge pop Piper reveals his signature shirt and kilt, he screams away with the crowd going mad, he spits at Hogan but then kicks Vince… he picks up the steel pipe and looks unsure who to hit, he gestures to Vince to get up, spits at him… but then turns and hits Hogan in the head and gestures for him to kiss his ass before exiting the ring… what a moment!!! Vince crawls over towards Hogan and eventually gets a cover… but Hulk kicks out! Vince crawls to pick the pipe up again, and as the ref begs Vince not to use it, Vince looks up furious and throws him out of the ring. He then gestures and out comes his own personal referee (the same that had been used at the previous months PPV where Vince fucked Hogan over once more, in his match against The Rock). But at the same time a normal referee comes out and the two ‘refs’ argue on the outside as Vince goes to hit Hogan with the pipe in the ring, and he hits him right in the head. Vince’s ref gets in the ring and Vince uses Hogan’s own leg drop, but Hulk kicks out at two! Then Hulk does his signature Hulk Up spot and the crowd loses their mind; nothing Vince does has any effect, Hulk does the big YOU point, before he hits him with a big strike and then takes out Vince’s ref, before Vince attacks Hogan from behind but it has no effect, Hogan hits loads of punches then hits the big boot… then does the gesture to the crowd were he cups his ear and they just lap it up… then he comes off the ropes and hits the big Leg Drop and then another and then another. The regular ref then comes back and crawls into the ring, and Hogan gets the win. Hogan poses for the crowd, and Shane McMahon comes out to tend to his fallen father. This was such fun to watch, a proper brawl and although not technically amazing, I enjoyed it a lot. Once again Vince somehow pulls out a decent match at WrestleMania!

***1/2  

The Rock defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin

I’ve always been of the mindset that if you have a chance to go out on top, you should. Stone Cold Steve Austin may well be the greatest WWE superstar of all time. At WrestleMania 19, with very very few people knowing it at the time, his match against his biggest rival The Rock on the grandest stage of WrestleMania, would end up being his last. Knowing in hindsight this was his last dance, watching Austin’s entrance and exit here is quite emotional. The match itself was decent I thought, not for the title and not THE main event like their two previous Mania matches, but I was entertained by it for sure. The Rock was sticking around, for now, so it was his time to get the W, and the afters of the match says it all about the class of both men. With the ref having counted the pin, Rock pushes the ref away so he can say a few private words to Austin, it has since come out that Rock said to Austin the following “I just wanna thank you, you have no idea what this means to me, I appreciate you and I love you”. Austin said he loved The Rock too, and then The Rock leaves the ring and gives it to Austin. We didn’t know it of course at the time, but he did, and this would be Austin’s final curtain call as an in-ring competitor. Should it of gone on last? Maybe, maybe not. But regardless this was a good match between the two biggest stars from the peak era of the business. It completes a trio of very good Mania matches in a row for the Rock, and a fitting end to the career of the best to ever do it in the WWE. Rock got the win with his third Rock bottom of the match. Hard to critically analyse this one knowing this is the end for Steve, but a match I’d recommend if you have the time to go and watch it.

WWE news: The Rock's emotional final words to Stone Cold after retiring him  at WrestleMania 19 | GiveMeSport

****1/4

Brock Lesnar defeated Kurt Angle (C) to win the WWE Championship (if Kurt Angle was counted out or DQ’d he would lose the title)

The crowning moment of the most amazing push we’ve seen any new superstar get in… maybe company history. A year after his main roster debut, here was Brock Lesnar (having beaten the likes of The Rock, The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan and won the royal rumble match) challenging Kurt Angle for the WWE title. Ironically it was Angle who came into it with serious health issues, his neck in seriously bad shape yet somehow he was able to do this match. And it was a heck of a match between two great in-ring competitors at the top of their game. But of course everybody remembers it for the end… and had that end be different I’m almost certain this match would’ve been 5 stars all round and talked about as maybe the greatest WrestleMania main event of all time. Did he NEED to try it? No of course not. Would it of been an all time great Mania moment IF he hit it? Yes. But the fact that Brock Lesnar nearly broke his neck, ended his career and maybe his life in the process… you have to ask if it really was worth it? If he picks Kurt up, gives him the F5 and gets the pin instead of climbing to that top rope then we end a very very good match with Lesnar still well aware of what was happening around him. The fact he got a concussion and that was him being LUCKY after the bump tells you everything. A VERY good match, severely hampered in how it is remembered and rated by that ending.

****

A highlights package closed the show. And what a show it was!!!

Having watched 17,18 and now 19 in the past few days. I think this is one of the best Mania shows I’ve seen. Start to finish I had so much fun watching, and sure there was some stuff I really didn’t like, but middle of the road matches were better than I expected, and the top matches were either eventful and fun, great wrestling matches or both. I would very much recommend you watch this show from start to finish. This was one of the best WrestleMania shows there’s ever been.

WWE Classic of the Week: Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle from WrestleMania XIX  | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

Josh.

Kane – 2021 WWE Hall Of Famer

Triple H called him “the constant” and praised his consistency and reliability. Kurt Angle called him “one of the best big guys I’ve ever worked with”. Steve Austin said he was one of the “biggest, baddest, most intimidating human beings I’ve ever been in the ring with”… Steve also said he was one of the nicest human beings he’d ever met. And those statements just about sum up both the man Glenn Jacobs, Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee… and the man I want to talk about; one of my all-time favourite WWE superstars who, in my opinion, has had one of the most amazing stories of any character in WWE history. And in 2021 he is FINALLY taking his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame. So let me take some time now to look back at the absolutely incredible story of the WWE Career of a LEGEND, a former multi-time world, IC and tag champion, a former mr money in the bank, he’s competed at many WrestleManias, and holds a couple of big Royal Rumble match records. Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, this is a look back at some of the key moments in the story of the incredible career of the character of Kane (yes I’m going to pretend Dr Isaac Yankem and Fake Diesel NEVER happened).

The Undertaker Reveals Kane's WWE Hall of Fame Induction - Wrestling Inc.

The arrival and pursuit of The Undertaker

So after a couple of false dawns in the WWF, Glenn Jacobs got his big break.

Let me take you back to the autumn of 1997. The Undertaker was trying to get ready for the first ever Hell In A Cell match against Shawn Michaels, but he was also having to batter away his former manager Paul Bearer, who was now on a personal vendetta against The Phenom… Having revealed previously his darkest secret, that The Undertaker as a child had burnt down the funeral home that his family ran, and in the process killing his father, mother and younger brother… Bearer later revealed that Undertaker’s brother Kane was in fact alive… and he was coming to the WWF for The Undertaker.

And well, I’m sure you’ve all seen it time and time again by now, I myself reviewed the show solely for this happening in a previous blog… but towards the end of the aforementioned Hell in a Cell match… Kane arrived in the WWF…

Without a doubt THE best debut of all time (don’t @ me Chris Jericho or his fans).

After that Kane went on a real path of distraction and he looked like a KILLER; For weeks and weeks the lights would go out, the music would play, Kane would come out and beat some poor souls up, and Bearer would cut a terrifying promo about how Kane wanted to fight his brother. But for the longest time Undertaker refused, he swore on his dead parents he wouldn’t face his own flesh and blood. And at one point it even looked like Kane was siding with his brother and they would be aligned… as it appeared then WWF Champion Shawn Michaels and the rest of DX had out numbered The Undertaker, the deadman received help from the most unlikely of sources…

So Undertaker vs Michaels. WWF title. Royal Rumble ‘98. Casket Match. This match is remembered for two things; it was the match Shawn hurt his back taking a terrible bump over the ropes and landing on the top of the edge of the casket, causing the back injury that nearly ended his career. And for the finish which saw Kane come out and initially help his brother, before turning on him, locking him in the casket and with the help of Bearer they BURNED THE CASKET WITH UNDERTAKER INSIDE!!!

And that, that was enough for Undertaker. It was on. WrestleMania 14. The forbidden battle would at long last happen.

And this was SUPPOSED to be it for the Kane character. Can you believe it? Many people including long time WWE producer Bruce Prichard have gone on record saying Kane was brought in as an opponent for Undertaker for that WrestleMania and there wasn’t originally at other plans for him to be anything. Amazing. So what did happen with Kane after that? Well, he went from strength to strength actually.

From Monster… to Champion???

With Stone Cold Steve Austin now firmly established as the top dog in the WWF after sending Shawn Michaels into semi-retirement at WrestleMania, there were a number of contenders for the Texas Rattlesnake’s WWF Championship. And one of those was The Undertaker. Taker, whom had looked to rid himself of both Paul Bearer and Kane after victory over his brother in the first ever Inferno Match, would be given an opportunity to face Austin for the title if he could win a number one contenders match against… KANE…

At long last, in the main event of Raw on June 1st 1998 Kane finally got a win over his brother after a tonne of shenanigans. And Kane vs Austin was set for the upcoming King Of The Ring PPV. With much of the build of Austin vs Kane intertwined with the Mankind vs Undertaker Hell In A Cell match on the same show, the WWF title match was made a FIRST BLOOD match, with the added caveat from Kane himself that if he didn’t win the title, HE WOULD SET HIMSELF ON FIRE!!!

Well we all know what happened with Mankind and Undertaker… but what of the match that followed???

After a shocking finish to the match (Undertaker accidentally… or not… hitting Austin with a chair that was meant for Mankind, thus busting him open and giving Kane the win per the first blood stipulation), KANE was the NEW WWF Champion!!!

One night stands: 10 24-hour title reigns | WWE

Sadly, he would lose the title right back to Austin the next night. And from there Taker and Kane would form the most unholy of alliances in their pursuit of Austin and the WWF Championship. This lasted for many months until the return of Paul Bearer (who previously Kane allowed Undertaker to attack once the two brothers had joined forces), and a heel turn from The Undertaker on Kane, with Bearer again by his side, to begin the Ministry of Darkness. Kane now was left somewhat on his own. He was very much a tweener for some time, always getting loud pops and always kicking ass. He was a part of the corporation, then a tag team with X-Pac, before he was turned upon by him, and going into the early 2000s Kane was an upper mid-card guy but always in or around the main event. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride could be best to sum up the position of the character Kane at times.

Royal Rumble record holder

The 2001 Royal rumble match is remembered as a classic. I myself reviewed the showed in a previous blog and I can confirm the rumble itself was great. It was won of course by Stone Cold, but the star of the match was Kane. He finally got his chance to shine, and after entering at number 6 he would last over 50 minutes and eliminate a then record of ELEVEN competitors (Raven, Perry Saturn, The Honky Tonk Man, Tazz, Crash Holly, Albert, Scotty 2 Hotty and The Rock). He was also the final man eliminated from the match by Austin, who needed several chair shots to get the Big Red Machine over the ropes. But although he didn’t win it was nice to see Kane be given this spot rather than one of the other possible contenders who always seemed to get those chances to shine more than Kane. Close but no cigar… again…

The unmasking

By the time we got to the summer of 2003 Kane had been a babyface for some time now. Still a Big, Red, Ass kicking machine and still getting big reactions wherever he went, but he seemed to be trapped in that upper mid card once again. Now at this point in time Raw was being dominated by Triple H as world champion, and Stone Cold (now no longer an in-ring competitor) was co Raw GM with Eric Bischoff, so it seemed to be big show after big show with something crazy always going on… on the June 23rd 2003 Raw, Kane got his big chance at the gold. He would face Triple H in a match for the world title, but on the line for Kane would be his mask… and well…

After the unmasking Kane seemed to go on a real path of destruction, as if his mask was the only thing keeping his inner demons at bay. He would attack all sorts of people from his former tag partner RVD, to Tommy Dreamer, to even the likes of Eric Bischoff and LINDA McMahon. When I say Kane went on a rampage after his unmasking, nobody was safe and we haven’t seen someone go on a run of destruction like this in WWE maybe ever. They really did all they could to make Kane into a monster. The tombstone delivered by Kane to his mother led to the return of Shane McMahon, and he and Kane had a series of big PPV gimmick matches in the mid-later part of 2003; firstly at Unforgiven a Last Man Standing match (which Kane won after Shane dived off the stage but Kane moved out the way), at Survivor Series Kane would win an ambulance match by hitting a Tombstone to Shane on the floor and then throwing him into the ambulance.

However also at Survivor Series Kane would set his future into motion. As the Buried Alive match between Mr McMahon and The Undertaker was coming to a conclusion… With Undertaker about to get the win, Kane would emerge to beat down his brother and help Mr McMahon BURY HIM ALIVE!!!

From there, after many many months of classic Undertaker mental games, it was set for WrestleMania 20, Madison Square Garden, Kane against The Undertaker once again…

This time though… The Undertaker wouldn’t be the same man that Kane helped bury the previous November…

Little brother takes charge

For the years that followed Kane would go back to that place again; upper mid-card, always doing ‘something’, always flirting with the world title scene but never quite getting to be THE guy… he was babyface for the majority of the years that passed… until everything seemed to change at the Money In The Bank ppv in 2010. Kane would win the ladder match in the first match of the inaugural MITB PPV, and then later that same night after Rey Mysterio had competed for the World title against Jack Swagger, Kane picked his moment and cashed in… and a chokeslam and a tombstone later.. and at LONG last once again, KANE was THE man!

Shattered Glass: The Real Reason For Kane's 7 Years Of Obscurity - VAVEL USA

Around this time as well, it emerged that Kane’s brother The Undertaker had been seriously attacked and left in a “vegetative state”. And a huge search was underway to find out the culprit, and of course (if you had half a brain you’d of known this was coming all along) but turns out the culprit was… KANE!

And so a full 13 years after he debuted and went after his brother, Kane had the chance to topple The Undertaker once again… this time with the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP at stake…

Yes indeed… Kane completed a clean sweep of wins against The Undertaker, in very much a change from whenever they had feuded previously. Sadly Kane would lose the world title not long after, for a brief period at least Kane at long last got his chance to be THE man.

THE odd couple

It could be argued that the brilliance of Kurt Angle wasn’t truly realised until they let him be the goofball he often was in the early 00s. Well… KANE isn’t exactly the first guy that would’ve come to mind when you think of a largely comedic babyface tag team is he? But put him with one of the all time greats in Daniel Bryan, and we got possibly the epitome of an ODD couple. After a long term feud led to an out of control Kane being sent to anger management classes by then Raw GM AJ Lee along with Bryan… and what we got was some of the best comedy segments in WWE for YEARS…

Those were only the first and last of the segments, but go out of your way to watch them ALL on Youtube, they were genius.

Eventually the pair became an official tag team, and one that quickly became beloved by the WWE Universe. They even won the tag titles at Night of Champions in 2012, and had matches against the likes of The Shield, and it was the feud against Rollins, Reigns and co. Which cemented this tag team’s legacy. There was even a reunion for Kane with his brother as Team Hell No made the save for The Undertaker when The Shield had him surrounded. Eventually Rollins and Reigns would beat Kane and Bryan for the tag titles, ending their more than credible 245 day reign. The team would come to an end towards Summerslam of 2013 when Daniel Bryan went after the WWE Championship, and Kane faced off against the freshly debuted Bray Wyatt.

‘Corporate’ Kane, and sporadic appearances

Kane would return some months later… but not as we knew him…

Kane reveals his new corporate look: photos | WWE

*sigh* Corporate Kane became a thing as the appointed “Director of Operations” by The Authority.

For a while after this we were lumbered with Corporate Kane… and besides a brief feud with former partner Bryan for the WWE world title, and then a year or so later against Seth Rollins for the gold, Corporate Kane was a thing for a while. The Rollins feud was notable as he morphed back into DEMON Kane for the world title match, in which his role as Director of Operations was on the line. Kane lost of course and was subsequently fired from his role.

The big red machine as we all knew (and wanted) him would return later that year to even the odds for his brother The Undertaker when up against The Wyatt Family, leading to a match that Survivor Series which was build as a 25th anniversary celebration for the Phenom.

In the later years of his active in-ring career Kane again, you guessed it, was upper mid-card. But at this stage at least it was ok for him to be there. He was a member of the SmackDown Live roster for the majority of 2016, before making a surprise return as a heel in 2017 to attack Roman Reigns. From there we went to feud with Braun Strowman. It was during this time I myself got to see Kane in the flesh, as I attended a Raw taping in Manchester in November of 2017 (I recorded the video below by the way).

Kane was even in a triple threat match with Strowman and champion Brock Lesnar for the universal title at the 2018 Royal Rumble show. Kane was purely there to get pinned by Lesnar of course.

And since then he’s made sporadic appearances; facing John Cena on Raw after answering Cena’s call out to his brother ahead of an eventual WrestleMania showdown, briefly reuniting Team Hell No against the Bludgeon Brothers until an injury cut that reunion short, and there was THAT tag match in Saudi Arabia which I really want to completely remove from my memory, he was fed to The Fiend on the same Raw Glenn Jacobs (whoever that is) won and lost the 24/7 title, and his last WWE in-ring appearance to date was, fittingly in the Royal Rumble of 2021, where he was eliminated by Damian Priest. It’s cool stuff that the classic big man of the 90s/00s did the honours to someone who could well take up that spot in the modern day.

So as Mayor Jacobs looks to enter his second term, and now he has his spot in the Hall of Fame, it seems that Kane’s run is coming to an end. And my word what a ride it’s been, just like The Undertaker the story of Kane has been one of the best told for any character we’ve seen. And it’s credit to the performer themselves that the character has stood the test of time; face or heel, monster or comedic babyface Kane has shown to be one of the most versatile, reliable and all-round brilliant performers the WWE has ever had. It’s been a pleasure to watch Kane for what seems like my entire life, and this one is one that really touches home. The Undertaker is my all time favourite WWE superstar, so it’s only natural the character and story of Kane has a special place in my wrestling fan heart. And particularly for the man that Glenn Jacobs comes across as as well, I’m just so incredibly happy that this is happening. I could sit back, as I have done in putting this blog together and will continue to do so in anticipation of his HOF induction, many of Kane’s classic moments and matches… there have been so so SO many. All the returns, major moments and matches, and all the sit down interview/documentary type shows the man himself has done he always comes across as so engaging and interesting. But I will finish by saying that it will be one of my more satisfying moments as a fan to see Kane (Glenn Jacobs) take his rightful place in the 2021 Class of the WWE Hall of Fame.

Thank you Kane.

Josh.