Wrestle Kingdom 12 had a ton of big buildup for it this year, particularly with the fact that Chris Jericho (who is still under WWE contract) was going to be taking on Kenny Omega. I’m doing a prose review because the last time I did a video Wrestle Kingdom review I got a copyright strike. (more…)
It’s a little late, but I’ve finally gotten around to NXT TakeOver Wargames.
The Gargano/Ciampa feud is apparently currently on hold as Ciampa is injured. This is, by its very nature, a Low, as this would be a good place to continue this feud. Like, straight up, putting Ciampa with the Undisputed Era and Gargano with AOP and Strong, and making it a 4-on-4 WarGames would have worked – continuing to simmer the Gargano & Ciampa feud for one more TakeOver, instead of leaving it ice cold.
Lars Sullivan defeats Kassius Ohno
Backstory: Kassius Ohno interfered in one of Lars Sullivan’s (squash) matches, and asked for a match from William Regal. He got it.
High Points: Sullivan goes to the top-rope in this match, showing some nice agility in addition to his power moves, looking very much like a new Mike Awesome (but with hopefully less unprotected chair shots to the head.
Low Points: Sullivan pretty much no-sells all of Ohno’s offense early on, making him look really weak, with Ohno only able to get effective offense in after Sullivan misses a top rope move, making Ohno look pretty weak – with Ohno only able to do damage after Sullivan clobbers himself. Once Sullivan gets his wind back, the no-selling continues. I get wanting to make Sullivan a monster, but this hurt Ohno more than it helped Sullivan.
Aleister Black defeats Velveteen Dream
Backstory: Velveteen Dream wants Aleister Black-senpai to notice him and say his name. Senpai will not do so. So Velveteen Dream has gone all yandere on Black (in a platonic fashion), and is demanding he say his name.
High Points: I appreciate how Velveteen Dream has been doing mind-games in this feud, without falling into the archetype of the “deranged homosexual”. Great mind technical wrestling and mind games by the two. I thought it was nice to hear a “Say His Name” chant from the audience. Dream’s modified DDT was really amazing.
First “This Is Awesome” chant of the night.
Velveteen Dream being in the middle of saying his name when getting KTFO by Black was a really nice touch. Also, Aleister Black saying Velveteen Dream’s name after beating the crap out of him was a very nice touch.
Low Points: I can’t help but think that “Say My Name” should have been part of the stipulation for this match – pinning Black wouldn’t make him say Dream’s name.
Asuka is in attendance at the event (along with Finn Balor and Sho Funaki).
NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon defeated Kairi Sane, Nikki Cross, and Peyton Royce
Backstory: Asuka was called up to the main roster without losing the strap, so the belt has been vacated, and we have a match for the title – with Ember Moon going up against Nikki Cross, Peyton Royce, and Kairi Sane for the vacant belt. I do appreciate that for the snippet of each person’s promo, Nikki Cross is just represented by insane laughter.
First in-ring appearance of SAnitY of the night.
High Points: Kairi Sane has the best elbow drop in the business. First “NXT” Chant of the night. Moon hitting the Eclipse on Royce and Cross at the same time was a great spot.
Low Points: Considering the relatively small number of matches on the card, I’d prefer this was an elimination match instead of a single fall Fatal Four-Way. Nikki Cross didn’t come out looking strong – Kairi Sane was fine, but Cross basically spent most of the match getting the stuffing beat out of her.
After the match, Asuka bestows the belt on Moon – a nice touch considering that Moon was never quite able to get the win on Asuka. Samoa Joe is also in the audience.
NXT Championship Match: Andrade “Cien” Almas (with Zelina Vega) defeated Drew McIntyre (c)
Backstory: Image consultant Zelina Vega has helped Andrade “Cien” Almas find some discipline and clean up his act – so now he’s earned his NXT Championship shot.
High Points: Great contrast of styles between Almas and McIntyre. When you have two wrestlers with different styles, they’ll either clash horribly and not give you a good match, or they’ll counterbalance each other and make for something really entertaining. This felt like the latter case. Almas is a luchador and has a quick style, McIntyre is more of a power wrestler, and both have some good strikes in their arsenal.
Low Points: Shenanigans that doesn’t quite go anywhere. Vega interferes with a hurricanrana, and Almas follows up with a hammerlock DDT, but that doesn’t put McIntyre away. Almas still wins, but having the Shenanigans work would have set up a nice rematch and the continuation of the feud.
WarGames Match: The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly) defeated The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) and Roderick Strong w/ Paul Ellering & SAnitY (Alexander Wolfe, Eric Young, and Killian Dain)
Backstory: Strong’s feud with Sanity and the Undisputed Era is clear-cut, as Strong was feuding with SAnitY back at NXT Takeover Chicago. SAnitY has also won the NXT Tag Team Championships from the AoP (though they are not on the line this match). The Undisputed Era debuted at the previous TakeOver (which I missed), and is currently terrorizing NXT. We have a temporary Face turn, apparently, for the AoP, as they’re teaming with Strong.
High Points: Mauro Ranallo describing the Authors of Pain as “Menacing as a mind flayer.” Great teamwork between Strong and the AoP, in spite of basically being a thrown together tag team.
The other two members of SAnitY being released, and bringing a boatload of plunder into the Cage, before locking their opponents in the cage with them (and Dain swallowing the key).
Speaking of which, everything Killian Dain does in this match (especially the Van Terminator). Even if Young doesn’t get called up, I can see Dain getting called up and being used in a similar way as Braun Strowman, as, say, Smackdown’s unstoppable monster.
First “Holy Shit” chant of the night. Second “This is Awesome” chant of the night. First “Please Don’t Die” chant I’ve heard in a while.
The Undisputed Era did need a big win in their first major match, and certainly this is a win they really needed.
Low Points: As much as I appreciate the Law of Karmic Tables, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s rather old, and maybe, at least a few times, the person who sets up a table shouldn’t be the person who goes through them.
Strong really should have gotten the pin off of the top-of-the-cage-superplex. That’s a spot you protect. If he wasn’t going to get the pin, then someone else should have come out on top with that spot.
Not much of an after-match segment – just The Undisputed Era celebrating in the ring (as well as you can after having the crap beat out of you).
So, with some of my reviews, I’ve been adapting them to videos on my YouTube channel. This won’t be one of them, for a large part because wrestling videos tend to get Content ID strikes, and I don’t want to get any more of those.
Anyway, NXT, the WWE’s developmental promotion, has been doing a series of major events in conjunction with the WWE’s big Pay-Per-Views of the year – the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, and occasionally Survivor Series. In conjunction with this year’s Wrestlemania in Orlando, we got a NXT supercard to go with it. Spoilers below. (more…)
Alright, we’re on to the next Ring of Honor show after Unscripted. This is Glory By Honor I, held on October 5th, 2002 at the Murphy Recreation Center. As a reminder of who the champions are, all the belts are held by The Prophecy, with Christopher Daniels & Donovan Morgan winning the ROH World Tag Team titles in that tournament, and Xavier beating Low Ki for the ROH World Title. Our hosts are Jeff Gorman and Chris Levi, with Steve Corino having left the announce booth as part of his (concluding) feud with Rudy Boy Gonzalez. (more…)
ECW: One Night Stand
Where & When: The Hammerstein Ballroom – New York City, June 16th, 2005.
Commentary: Joey Styles & Mick Foley
We start the show off with the introductions of Mick & Joey. Joey in particular looks rather choked up on his way out to the ring, though he does the cocky-heel foot wipe and kick on his way in the ring – though I can imagine he’s really pumped up. Say, Faith No More Guy is there! Big Joey Chant and a pop for “Oh My God!” Foley comes out to his WWE Cactus Jack music. My god, Joey comes up to Mick’s shoulder. I never realized how tall Foley really is. Either that or Joey’s really short.
My apologies for the delay between posts. My computer’s been down for a few weeks, but now it’s back up so now it’s time for a right proper recap, and I’ve got several events lined up – ya see, The G1 Climax tournament happened in NJPW earlier this month, and I’ve got a fair chunk of it (about 5 out of 7 days), so I’ll be recapping that, starting with Day 3, 8/13/2008 (I haven’t gotten all of Day 2, the 11th yet, and I’m missing Day 1, the 9th entirely).
Quick run-down: the G1 Climax is a round-robin tournament, divided into 2 blocks. The winner of each block faces the other in a 1-fall match. Whoever wins that match wins the tournament.
Rob Van Dam: One Of A Kind
Host: Josh Matthews.
We get a brief recap of RVD’s run in WCW. He’d already been wrestling in Florida for a year as Rob Van Dam before WCW hired him. At the time Bill Watts was the head booker, and didn’t like the “Rob Van Dam” name and wanted to use something different. As RVD had already gotten some mention in the wrestling press (I’m presuming Wrestling Observer and in Dave Metzler’s magazine) under the Rob Van Dam name he wanted to use something similar ultimately settling on the name Robbie V. Rob was apparently undefeated and didn’t particularly have any programs with anybody.
Date: March 20th, 1994
Location: Madison Square Garden
Commentary: Vince McMahon, Jerry “The King” Lawler.
Background notes: Lex Luger and Bret Hart became co-#1 contenders for the WWF Championship after they became the simultaneous final eliminations of the Rumble. Commissioner Jack Tunney ruled that both men would get a singles shot at then champion Yokozuna, with a coin toss deciding who got a shot first (Lex won). Further Bret had also been feuding with his brother, Owen, after a collision between Bret and Owen caused Owen to be eliminated at the Survivor Series the previous year. Other notable feuds were between Bam Bam Bigelow and (sigh) Doink the Clown, Randy Savage and Crush, and a feud between “HBK” Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon over who was the proper WWF Intercontinental Champion.
Date: April 5, 1992
Location: The Hoosier Dome – Indianapolis, Indiana.
Our hosts are Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby The Brain Heenan.
A little background: “HBK” Shawn Michaels has finally, and dramatically, split off from The Rockers by super-kicking Marty Janetty through a plate-glass window during Brutus Beefcake’s talk-show segment, “The Barber Shop”. Also, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair jumped ship from WCW to the WWF, with the Big Gold Belt, and won the WWF Championship, ultimately leading to Randy Savage coming out of enforced retirement to try and win the belt back – well, that and the nekkid pictures of Miss Elizabeth that Flair said he had.
WWF Heavyweight Champion: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
WWF Intercontinental Champion: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
WWF Tag Team Champions: Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Shyster w/ Jimmy Hart)
A little background coming in:
At the Four-Way Iron Man match for the Ring of Honor title (I still need to get that event, by the way), Low Ki came out with the win, and became the Ring of Honor World Champion. Coming into Unscripted I believe he’s gotten a few title defenses under his belt, before facing Xavier (who made it into the quarter-finals at Road To The Title before getting beat by Red).
However, the start of the show is going to be a tournament to crown the first ROH Tag Team Champions – and unlike Road To The Title, we’re actually going to crown the champions at this show!
On the one hand, it’s another tournament show, and as I’ve said before, Tournaments tend to be meh, just because of the nature of the format.
However, since this is a Tag Team tournament, the tag team part may work in the tournament’s favor. I’ll be keeping an eye on this as I watch the event. (more…)
The Time: March 24th, 1991
The Place: The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
The Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, to be joined by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, a couple of guest commentators.
- WWF Heavyweight Champion: Sgt. Slaughter (heel)
- WWF Tag Team Champions: The Hart Foundation (Bret “Hitman” Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) (faces)
- WWF Intercontinetal Champion: “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig (heel)
- WWF Womens Championship: Inactive
Being that Wrestlemania is stateside again, we start off the show with a performance of “America The Beautiful,” this time by Willie Nelson. Jesse Ventura split ties for the WWF between the last Wrestlemania and this one, leading to Monsoon going with a series of Guest Commentators over the evening – sort of, we do get one color guy for most of the show, but we have a few guests pop in, like our first match of the evening – with “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan on commentary.
Location: The Skydome in Toronto, Ontario
Date: April 1, 1990.
Commentary: Gorilla Monsoon & Jesse Ventura
Oh, my God, Jesse’s clean shaven! We go to the ring for the Canadian National Anthem, sung by Robert Goulet, and we’ve brought back the carts for this event too. (more…)
I’m doing a few different things with this Wrestlemania recap. By this time Wrestlemania had become a big deal, as had Wrestlemania Debuts, so from here on I’ll be keeping track of Wrestlemania Debuts. A few people of note who debuted at Wrestlemanias prior to this: Bret Hart and “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Wrestlemania II, Ted DiBiase & The Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania IV.
Prior to Wrestlemania V, the gold had gotten between the Mega Powers, with the two men’s egos both backstage and on screen colliding, leading to a heel turn by Savage. Furthermore, the Intercontinental Title, once held by Honky Tonk Man in his legendary title reign, was lost to the Ultimate Warrior in about 45 seconds, completely burying HTM. Finally, the Hart Foundation turned face, and turned on their former manager, Jimmy Hart. Furthermore, Ted DiBiase, after continually failing to win or buy the WWF Heavyweight Championship, decided to introduce his own belt instead – the diamond-encrusted Million Dollar Championship. Also, Demolition turned face when Mr. Fuji turned on them, instead siding with the tag team of the Powers of Pain (The Barbarian and The Warlord).
Now, we come to April 2, 1989, and Wrestlemania V, again returning to Trump Plaza at Atlantic City. Leading us in, singing “America The Beautiful” is WWF Women’s Champion, Rockin’ Robin. While she works her way through the song the song, let’s think for a moment. Rockin’ Robin is the WWF Women’s Champion. She’s not defending the belt. She is, however, singing “America The Beautiful” which has previously been sung by Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.
Our hosts this evening are once again Jesse “The Body” Ventura on color commentary and Gorilla Monsoon doing Play-by-play announcing, as we go to our opening match. (more…)
After Wrestlemania III, Andre stayed heel, but changed his loyalties from the camp of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan to the corporation of wrestler and manager “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase. Meanwhile, Randy Savage turned face and gained as a close friend and ally Hulk Hogan, forming the Mega Powers. Additionally, Ricky Steamboat lost the IC title to Honky Tonk Man, and the Hart Foundation lost the belts to Strike Force (made up of Tito Santana and Rick Martel).
Now, prior to Wrestlemania IV, in a stunning upset, Andre beat Hogan, winning the WWF Heavyweight title, ending Hogan’s 3+ year reign. In an even bigger swerve for the time, Andre turned around and sold the title to Ted Dibiase. However, coming to the rescue was Jack Tunney, WWF Commissioner, who declared the title change invalid and vacated the title. The new WWF champion would be determined at a Wrestlemania IV in a tournament.
I’ve already given my thoughts on tournaments, with my ROH “Road to the Title” review, and I’ve already mentioned there that they tend to suck, by the nature of the setup – since the wrestlers have to hold back to avoid burning out. That said, “Road to the Title” only got ***. Wrestlemania III, which had Steamboat vs. Savage, only got *** because of the crappy undercard. Yeah. This is going to suck – and I’m all out of booze.
So, kick back and relax, because there’s schadenfreude ahead. (more…)
As of Wrestlemania III, our champions coming in were
- WWF World Champion: Hulk Hogan – still champion without any breaks in his reign.
- WWF Intercontinental Champion: “Macho Man” Randy Savage – Randy (which I failed to note in my Wrestlemania II review) won the belt through shenangans involving then-referee Danny Davis.
- WWF Tag Team Champions: The Hart Foundation (Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart & Bret “Hitman” Hart) – managed by “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart. The Hart Foundation won the belts from the British Bulldogs through shenanigans involving ref Danny Davis. The two aforementioned incidents lead to Danny being suspended as a referee for “Life + 10 years” (kayfabe) with Danny becoming a heel wrestler, managed by Jimmy Hart.
- WWF Woman’s Champion: Fabulous Moolah.
Also, the feuds of note, coming in.
- Hercules and Billy Jack Hayes got in a feud over the Full Nelson, with the dispute being over which wrestler was better than the other at performing the hold.
- Harley Race won the first King of the Ring tournament, started calling himself “King Harley Race” and started demanding that wrestlers bow to him. Junkyard Dog refused, this lead to a Loser Must Bow match between the 2.
- After taking a leave of absence for a movie, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper found that Piper’s Pit had been replaced by Adrian Adonis’s “Flower Shop” Segment. Piper trashed the set, restarted the pit, and became embroiled in a feud with Adonis and his manager, Jimmy Hart.
- Last, but certainly not least – in a surprising shock, Andre The Giant turned heel, aligning himself with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and with Andre attacking Hogan, ripping off his shirt and crucifix necklace.
Anyway, this year the event is being held at the Pontiac Silverdome, and, if I recall correctly, introduced the chariot thingies that would be used to carry wrestlers to the ring, rather then having to walk the long distance from the entrance area to the ring. Vince McMahon is in the ring, wearing his Mandelbrot Set tuxedo again, to introduce us to Wrestlemania 3 and introduce Aretha Franklin, who perform’s “America The Beautiful.” (more…)
Part 1: New York
Much slicker opening video package this time, and we go first to Vince McMahon in the ring at the Nassau County Colosseum, in a subtle yet gaudy (if that’s possible) tux, and he introduces his co-color commentator, Susan Saint James. Oh God, this (Mrs. Saint James’ commentary) can’t end well. We then go to Ray Charles singing America The Beautiful.
Then, we go to Chicago and “Mean” Gene Oakerlund at the Rosemont Horizon arena, who introduces our next interview, back in New York, with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (with “Cowboy” Bob Orton) prepping for his boxing match with Mr. T. Piper promises that if Mr. T knocks him out he will retire from boxing, wrestling, twiddly-winks, and dating girls. Being that this is Piper we’re talking about, he’d probably get himself DQ’d before he let himself get KO’d. Finally, we go back to the ring for our first match. (more…)
Previously On Ring Of Honor…
At Round Robin Showndow: Low-Ki, American Dragon and Christopher Daniels, throughout the night, had their round-robin tournament. Daniels made Dragon tap, but tapped to Low-Ki, who in turn tapped to Dragon, leading Daniels to cut a promo saying that this settled nothing, and refused to wrestle unless the ROH Title is on the line (which is rather tricky since at the moment there wasn’t an ROH title). Additionally, Da Hit Squad squashed Prince Nana and “Towel Boy” Eric Tuttle, with the Christopher Street Connection running in for “the save” ultimately leading to a beat-down on Simply Luscious… again. Spanky gets a win over Jay Briscoe and the difficulties between Divine Storm (Chris Divine & Quiet Storm), The SAT (Joel & Jose Maximo) and Amazing Red and Brian XL after the Ultimate Elimination match at the last show lead to a 3-way tag between the 3 this time (in what is apparently another mindless spot-fest. ).
At A Night of Appreciation (for Eddie Guerrero): We learned the guy that HC Loc was talking to on the phone was fellow ECW Alum Tony DaVito. Da Hit Squad squashes the CSC again (with Luscious getting beat-down again). Jay Briscoe finally gets a win over ECW alum Tony Mamaluke. James Maritato debuts and beats Scoot Andrews and Xavier. AJ Styles debuts and gets beat by Low Ki. Loc and DaVito debut as the carnage crew and squash a couple of jobbers. Paul London makes his debut during the Texas Wrestling Acadamy gauntlet match between American Dragon, Spanky, Michael Shane, Paul London, and John Hope – which Spanky wins. For the main event, Eddie and Amazing Red beat the SAT – and after the match we get a quick Squash between Eddie and Brian XL (who Eddie nicknames Little Bow Wow), after Brian disrespects Eddie.
This leads us to ROH: Road To The Title – a tournament to determine who has a shot at being ROH Heavyweight Champion at the following event. (more…)
(This Wikipedia article was used to fill in the gaps in my memory).
In 1985, the territorial era was starting to come to a close, though nobody quite knew it yet. Previously, the wrestling business was the primary domain of a series of regional territories, which typically operated under the umbrella of a wrestling alliance to handle talent agreements and with an overall title which could then be used to help promote events at subsidiary promotions. Among the dominant umbrella organizations were Verne Gange’s American Wrestling Alliance (which tended to run shows in the Mid-west-Great Lakes area, and the National Wrestling Alliance, which was strong in the South.
However, by 1985, the subsidiary promotions were starting to become overshadowed by their parent organizations, as the parent organizations began setting up cable television deals which could get their programming available to broader markets – or to be more accurate, promotions with cable television deals getting the champion. Georgia Championship Wrestling with it’s World Championship wrestling programming got the National Wrestling Alliance title. The American Wrestling Alliance had always been focused around Verne Gange’s promotion in Minnesota, which had a television deal through ESPN.
The other major promotion to have a cable television deal was the Vincent K. McMahon Jr.’s World Wrestling Federation (formerly the World Wide Wrestling Federation), through USA. However, what Vince did that made the WWF so different is he basically ignored the territorial bounders. Rather to limiting themselves to the North-eastern area of the US, under VKM’s leadership, the WWF began poaching talent from other promotions (most notably Hulk Hogan from the AWA), as part of Vince’s broader plan to take the promotion to a national level. To do this however, would cost a lot of money… so to get that money Vince would have to take wrestling mainstream.
His plan: Wrestlemania – a national Pay-Per-View event featuring not only wrestlers, but celebreties who would be recognized by home audiences. To get those celebs, he set up a deal with MTV to run two MTV specific WWF events – The Brawl to End It All and The War to Settle The Score. The latter event featured Wendi Richter (accompanied by Cyndi Lauper) beating The Fabulous Moolah to win the Women’s Championship, only to be attacked by Lelani Kai, setting up another title match on the second event, where Kai beat Richter with assistance by Moolah.
Also, at The War To Settle The Score, Hulk Hogan (accompanied to the ring by Capt. Lou Albano and Cyndi Lauper) faced Rowdy Roddy Piper, with Hogan winning by DQ due to interferance by Paul Orndorff. As Piper left, he tripped Lauper, causing Mr. T (who had a ringside seat) to jump the railing to come to her rescue, setting up the main event of Mr. T and Hogan vs. Piper and Orndorff
The event was broadcast in Pay Per View in those areas, but otherwise broadcast on Closed Circuit TV at various theaters across the country. Additional celebs taking part in the event (in one form or another) included Liberace, the Rockettes, and Mohammed Ali.
The future success of the WWF rode on this night, on Vince’s concept of a super-bowl of wrestling…
ROH: The Era of Honor Begins
ECW was dead to begin with. Prior to its demise, one of its main distributors for tapes of its events was RF Video, run by Rob Feinstein, who had made a fair amount of cash distributing video of events of independent wrestling promotions, including ECW (which became their biggest seller). To boost revenues following , Feinstein started a new promotion to fill the gap left by ECW’s demise, using both ECW alumni who were not currently under exclusive contract with WWE (or other promotions) and young candidates from wrestling schools like Shawn Michaels’ Texas Wrestling Acadamy. As a change from the ECW style, and to differentiate itself from the WWE, and from promotions local to South Philadelphia which had co-opted the ECW style (CZW, XPW*) central to the concept of Ring of Honor was the “Code of Honor” rules which, Kayfabe-wise, all wrestlers were supposed to follow, be they faces or heels.
Now, not all wrestlers did this, and at least one wrestler made it his gimmick not to follow it. However, this was ROH’s big thing at first, they run it down in the event, so I might as well get it out of the way now before I start the summary.
The Code of Honor (as of Era of Honor Begins)
- You must shake hands before and after every match.
- No outside interference — no interfering in others’ matches or having others interfere on your behalf.
- No sneak attacks
- No harming the officials.
- Do not get yourself disqualified
Now that I got that out of the way, time for… The Event (more…)