Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Thursday, 17 August 2017

PPV REVIEW: TNA Turning Point 2008

TNA Turning Point 2008 event poster -
November 9th, 2008,
The Impact Zone, Florida. 

The main story heading into Total Nonstop Action Wrestling’s Turning Point pay per view event was the coming together of the Main Event Mafia, the heel stable consisting of World Heavyweight Champion, Sting, TNA Legends Champion, Booker T, Kevin Nash, Kurt Angle and Scott Steiner. 

(NOTE: This is a review that I originally wrote live back in in November 2008. I recently found this in my archives and decided to add it to RPW, hence the different formatting from my normal reviews. Youtube videos and links have been added in as an edit in 2017)

Forming an alliance against the TNA Originals (Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Jay Lethal and others), the Main Event Mafia continued their dominance of TNA throughout a stellar card packed with gripping wrestling matches.

It was up to the high-flyers of the company’s X-Division to kick things off, as Eric Young, Petey Williams, ‘Black Machismo’ Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, Doug Williams, Volador, Tanahashi, Consequences Creed, Homicide and Jimmy Rave competed in a thrilling ‘X-Division Rankings’ match.

Fought under Lucha Libre tag rules (whereby, as soon as one wrestler leaves the ring, another can take his place without a tag being made), the match was set up to determine contendership for the X-Division title.

Full of exciting flips, spots, counters and jaw-dropping action, the highlight of the match saw Jay Lethal and CMLL’s Volador trading holds and rolls in an intense back-and-forth battle, whilst Homicide’s devastating tope into the crowd was impressive, but sadly put him out of action.

Ultimately, after everyone else had been eliminated, it was down to long-time fan-favourites, Lethal, and ‘Showtime Eric Young’ as the final two, with Young finally picking up the win.

With the match wrapped up, Eric called Lethal, Williams and Creed back to the ring as he delivered an impassioned speech about their future in TNA.

Yet after an early highlight to Turning Point, Turning Point 2008 did begin to sag somewhat.

The Knockout’s tag-match pitting Knockout Champion Awesome Kong and her manager/valet, Raisha Saeed against ‘Hardcore Queen’ Roxxi and former Knockout champ, Taylor Wilde, simply couldn’t match the previous bout’s energy and excitement.

Despite a strong build-up on TV, what we saw here was little more than your standard tag-team match with a predictable ending. Thank god then that it was kept quite short.


Things continued to be somewhat lukewarm with the next match though, to be fair, this wasn’t the fault of either competitor.

‘The War Machine’, Rhino, defending his pride and his country against ‘evil-foreigner’ and reigning X-Division Champion, Shiek Abdul Bashir in a non-title bout had been built up on the Impact television show as an epic grudge match as Rhino looked set to seek revenge for Bashir’s spiteful comments towards the U.S.A.

For the most part, the bout started off as just that but before long everyone; the live audience, the television audience and even, seemingly, the wrestlers themselves, were heavily distracted by the arrival on the front row of what announcer Mike Tenay referred to as ‘some familiar faces’.

Even before they were visible on camera, the crowds in the impact zone soon turned their backs on the match in hand when music duo, the Insane Clown Posse arrived on the scene in full makeup, along with former TNA, WCW and WWE star, Scott Hall.

The arrival of the trio apparently wasn’t supposed to be part of the show, yet despite everyone’s best efforts, their presence at ringside became much more interesting than the battle in the ring.

That Bashir even went so far as to acknowledge the threesome suggested just how furious the wrestlers were with this distraction, and was, on the whole, a bad idea; lending credence to an otherwise unprompted appearance and sapping every inch of interest out of the match he was supposed to be having.

In the end, it was Rhino who picked up the win before storming off backstage without so much as a raised arm or acknowledgement of victory. Whether this was planned, or whether it was out of sheer annoyance at Hall and the ICP, we’ll probably never know.

But if things had taken a turn for the worse with the previous two matches, things looked to get a lot better with the TNA World Tag Team Title match.

Despite a rather confusing backstage skit in which challengers the Motor City Machine Guns apparently turned on TNA authority figure, Mick Foley, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin were greeted as firm favourites as they headed to the ring to face reigning champions, Robert Roode and James Storm, better known as Beer Money, Inc.

Where the previous tag team match failed, this one delivered on all accounts and was a testament to the talent of both teams, in particular, Beer Money, Inc.

With the right look, great chemistry and an abundance of skill both on the mic and in the ring, Roode and Storm should surely be looking at some kind of ‘Tag Team of the Year’ awards, and their efforts against the dynamic duo of Shelley and Sabin showed why.

An altogether enthralling match which saw the champs retain in a fast and furious contest.

With the undercard out of the way, it was onto a four-pronged main event featuring the top talent in TNA.

TNA Turning Point 2008 event poster - Christian Cage vs. Booker T - Legends Title match -

First, Booker T successfully defended his TNA Legends Title (a belt he apparently created and simply awarded to himself) in a good, if hardly spectacular, contest against Christian Cage.

In an added stipulation, if Christian lost the match, he’d be forced to become a member of the Main Event Mafia. Somewhat predictably, he did indeed lose the match, and looks set to join the squad on TV unless, of course, rumours about his apparent move back to WWE, come true.

If that match was only ‘good’, then the next match was absolutely fantastic. In an exhilarating ‘Falls Count Anywhere’ bout, ‘The Monster’ Abyss took on Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle.

Without so much as a single dull moment, Angle and Abyss brawled all over the Impact Zone, leading to some great spots around the entrance way including Kurt’s smooth, breathtaking somersault off the stage onto his opponent.

The end came when Angle eventually managed to push Abyss off a raised platform and through the Spanish announce table (those poor Spanish announcers, when will they ever catch a break in pro wrestling!?!) for the win.

Despite the limitations of the old and grey Kevin Nash, his grudge match against ‘The Samoan Submission Machine’ Samoa Joe, was still nonetheless enjoyable, thanks in no small part to former world champ’, Joe.

Though hardly the best match on the Turning Point card, this bout did have its moments, culminating in a win for Nash following a low-blow and a ropes-assisted pin.

TNA Turning Point 2008 event poster - AJ Styles vs. Sting - TNA Title match -

Finally, it was time for the main event. On a card where the matches ranged from mediocre to very good, Sting vs AJ Styles for the World Heavyweight Championship, had a lot to live up to.

Thankfully, it did.

A great battle between the veteran, Sting, and the young lion, Styles, both men gave it their all in an exciting contest which swept the crowd along before interference from the ‘Mafia enabled the Stinger to retain the gold.

All in all then, a great show which saw the Main Event Mafia hold onto their dominance of Total Non-stop Action Wrestling. Match of the night undoubtedly went to Kurt Angle vs Abyss, but many of the wrestlers on the card deserve kudos for putting on one fine performance. 

Over the coming weeks, I'll have a few more TNA wrestling reviews from the past few years. Be the first to check them out by following Retro Pro Wrestling on Twitter, or hitting like on the brand new Facebook page.

Thanks for reading. 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

PPV Review - WCW - World War 3 1996

WCW WORLD WAR 3 1996 - PPV Review - Event poster
November 24, 1996
Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, Virginia

By November 1996, World Championship Wrestling could seemingly do no wrong. 

Shows would open with world class cruiserweights and some of the finest Lucha Libre stars in the world, and close with globally recognised megastars like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Rowdy Roddy Piper. 

In between, a white-hot angle in the form of the Hogan-led New World Order would ensure that every card helped WCW cement its status as the number one wrestling company on the planet.

With such invincibility behind them, the company repeated one of their most questionable gimmick matches, the three-ring, over-the-top-rope World War 3 battle royal.

Would WCW's unwavering popularity help make this year's 60-man melee a hit? Or was this one destined to spend its history being muttered in the same regrettable tone as The Chamber of Horrors match?

Let's head down to the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia, to find out.

 It's All Going Down at World War 3 

Our show tonight began with the standard Cheesy 90s WCW video package looking at the main matches on tonight's card, after which we got the obligatory introduction from our commentators Tony Schiavone, The American Dream Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

WCW WORLD WAR 3 1996 - Dusty Rhodes, Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan were commentators for the event
The trio discussed Rowdy Roddy Piper, who had arrived in WCW at the previous month's Halloween Havoc looking for a fight with reigning World Heavyweight Champion, Hollywood Hulk Hogan.

After questioning why WCW President Eric Bischoff had been stalling when it came to signing a contract for the match, Dusty warned Hogan that he'd better be prepared for The Hot Rod.

With that, it was on to our opening match.

J-Crown Championship
J-Crown Champion  Ultimo Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. 

In a return match from their earlier meeting at WCW Hog Wild 1996 that summer, Ultimo Dragon (who was called Ultimate Dragon here for some reason) put his J-Crown collection of belts on the line against Cruiserweight sensation Rey Mysterio Jr.

WCW WORLD WAR 3 1996 - Ultimo Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo) bt. Rey Mysterio Jr.
The short-lived J-Crown was a Championship comprised of several different Light Heavyweight titles from around the world, including the long-forgotten World Wrestling Federation Light Heavyweight Championship. So, technically, a WWF title was defended here on a WCW PPV.

I'd say that I'm surprised they didn't make a big deal of this fact, but hey, this was WCW, so I'd be more surprised if they even noticed in the first place.

Anyway, the match itself was typical of WCW PPV openers from around this time.

In other words, it was awesome.

With the reigning champion in control for much of the bout, what we had here was fast paced, exciting, and exhilarating; indeed, everything you could possibly expect from a match featuring Rey Mysterio and Ultimo Dragon.

In the end, it was the latter who picked up the win, bouncing his opponent off the top rope for a wicked slingshot sit-down power bomb and getting the cover, the count, and the match.
Your Winner and Still J-Crown Champion: Ultimo Dragon. 

WCW WORLD WAR 3 1996 - Mean Gene interviewed Diamond Dallas Page
Out in the back, Mean Gene Okerlund shilled the new website before welcoming his first guest of the evening, Diamond Dallas Page.

Page refused to get drawn into the controversy surrounding the nWo's attempts to recruit him, nor did he feel like talking about his relationship with his neighbour, Eric Bischoff.

What he did want to talk about, was tonight's 60 Man Battle Royal, and how he was going to win the whole thing.

After all, Page reminded us, nobody had expected him to win BattleBowl back at Slamboree 1996 in May, and yet he'd done just that. So, tonight, it was inevitable in DDP's mind that he would surprise everyone and win the battle royal too.

This was a solid promo from Page, who has looked -and sounded- consistently better on every subsequent 1996  WCW PPV I've reviewed so far here on Retro Pro Wrestling.

One Hand Tied Behind My Back Match
Nick Patrick vs. Chris Jericho (w/ Teddy Long)

WCW WORLD WAR 3 1996 - Referee Nick Patrick faced Chris Jericho in a 1-hand-behind-my-back match
If the whole point of professional wrestling is that it's supposed to be entertaining, then this referee vs. wrestler match between Chris Jericho and Nick Patrick was the very epitome of good pro wrestling.

The back story here was that Patrick had been slowly and not-so-subtly aligning himself with the New World Order, showing bias towards the renegade outfit in their battles against WCW stars.

This had raised the ire of several good guys, none more so than Chris Jericho and Teddy Long.

Thus, we had tonight's match, which began with Patrick yelling to the camera about how Long should have brought a towel with him because Chris Jericho was really going to need one.

Who can blame him? After all, everyone knows that if you're gonna survive out there, you've really gotta know where your towel is.

Ahem. Anyway, as I was saying, this was a terrific piece of entertainment with both men playing their roles to perfection and Patrick bumping about the place like an absolute pro.

As was only fitting, Jericho won the match, but not before ensuring both he and Patrick looked awesome.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho

As great as that was, the announcers simply didn't care, instead of talking to us for several minutes about the Roddy Piper / Hulk Hogan drama before showing us Marcus Alexander Bagwell talking to some Internet nerd for WCW online.

From there, it was back to Mean Gene, who was standing by ready to interview the recently injured Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Stylin' and Profilin' With The Nature Boy

WCW WORLD WAR 3 1996 - An Injured Ric Flair was super over with the Norfolk crowd
Flair, who by this point was a fully fledged babyface, cut a captivating and wholly entertaining promo in which he promised that he, The Four Horsemen, Sting, Lex Luger, The Steiner Brothers and others were 100% WCW, and that before long, WCW would own the New World Order.

Watching such brilliant promos like this, it seems even more of a shame that Flair was relegated almost to mid-card status with the arrival of the nWo. He was still insanely over, and deservedly so.

Speaking of Flair, the man he had recently endorsed, Jeff Jarrett, was in action next.

Return Grudge Match
The Giant vs. Jeff Jarrett

WCW WORLD WAR 3 1996 - Jeff Jarrett faced The Giant
This was a relatively average match in which the sole highlight was the arrival of Sting.

Now in full Crow mode, Sting made his way from the rafters to the ring and planted Jeff Jarrett with a Scorpion Death Drop behind the referee's back, much as he had done on a recent episode of Nitro.

This gave The Giant an easy opportunity to land a choke slam and pick up a win.
Your Winner: The Giant

The announcers were adamant that this meant Sting was now aligned with the nWo. A fair assumption, if it wasn't for the fact that Jarrett had been bad-mouthing Sting on Nitro and doubting his loyalty to WCW.

The fact that the announcers over looked this and claimed to have no idea why Sting had targeted Jarrett was remarkably dumb.

Piper and Hogan Sign The Contract for Starrcade.

WCW WORLD WAR 3 1996 - Hulk Hogan signed a contract to face Roddy Piper at Starrcade 1996For a long time around this period, people would complain that for all WCW did right, where the company really let themselves down was in putting older stars like Piper and Hogan at the top of the card.

At the time, I was one of them, but looking back now I realise that there was a good reason why the two veterans remained in the main event spot:

They could get a crowd riled up like nobody else.

At least, that was certainly the case here, where Piper did a phenomenal job of eliciting exactly the kind of emotion that would make his Starrcade match with Hogan a sure fire sell out.

The Amazing French Canadians (Jacques Rougeau & Carl Ouellet w/ Col. Parker) vs. Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray, w/ Sister Sherri) 

WCW WORLD WAR 3 1996 - The Amazing French Canadians faced Harlem Heat
So, apparently, when I first wrote this review, I skipped over writing about this match altogether.

Now that I'm getting ready to publish and going over the show again, I've remembered why:

This thing was tedious to the point of sending me to sleep.

The story here is that Sister Sherri and Col. Parker had endured something of an on-again, off-again relationship, even going so far as almost getting married at Clash of the Champions back in January (weirdly, I thought I'd reviewed that already, but can't seem to find it).

Now though, the relationship was definitely off, with Parker being kicked out of Harlem Heat and join forces with The Amazing French Canadians.

Tonight, the two teams would go at it in this dire contest which, if Harlem Heat won, would result in Sherri getting five minutes alone with Parker.

If that doesn't tell you the outcome, nothing will.

Yep, it was on like neckbones as the straight OGs got the win for Sherri, sucka.
Your Winners: Harlem Heat 

Afterwards, Sherri gave  Parker a good pasting, much to the delight of the commentators. Dusty, God bless him, absolutely laughed his ass off at the site of Parker getting his ass handed to him by Sherri, right up to the point that The Amazing French Canadians saved their manager and hauled him to safety.

Lex Luger is Ready 

WCW WORLD WAR 3 1996 - Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger
After a quick commercial for December's Starrcade 1996, Mean Gene interviewed Lex Luger about Sting's strange behaviour, and about Luger's role in tonight's battle royal. 

Luger was as perplexed about The Stinger as the rest of us, and genuinely didn't know what was going on there. What he did know, however, was that he was ready for the fight of his life tonight, and was all in it to help World Championship Wrestling turn the tide against The New World Order. 

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Psicosis

I was so looking forward to this match. I was looking forward to telling you that Dean Malenko and Psicosis had an exciting back-and-forth that served as a perfect example of why the WCW Cruiserweight Division was the best in-ring stuff we had back in the 90s by a quarter mile.

Then the match actually happened, and it turned out I wasn't going to be able to tell you any of that because it was so disappointingly dull.

WCW WORLD WAR 3 1996 - Psicosis challenged Dean Malenko for the WCW Cruiserweight TitlePsicosis' whole deal was that he was a high-flying luchador, so this match eliminated any reason why anybody would want to see Psicosis by having Malenko spend most of the match putting him in long, tedious submission holds.

At one point, things got so boring that even the announcers stopped caring, choosing instead to talk about the upcoming 60-man battle total that was to be our main event.

Eventually, Malenko pinned Psicosis to retain his title. Somewhere nearby, a cricket chirped.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko

Moving swiftly on...

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobs & Jerry Sags) vs. The Faces of Fear (Meng & Barbarian w/ Jimmy Hart)

You know those matches that are neither good nor bad, but just kind of there?

This was exactly one of those matches.

The Nasty Boys and The Faces of Fear did the bulk of the work in the early going, with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash hanging out on the apron, having a good time.

WCW WORLD WAR 3 1996 - The Outsiders defended the WCW tag titles against Nasty Boys and Faces of Fear
Eventually, Jerry Sags, Brian Knobs, Meng, and Ballbearing got wise to this and forced the reigning champions into battle.

From there, we got your standard triangle tag match, complete with a spot where The Outsiders were tagged in against each other and their opponents dropped to the floor that looked oddly similar to the one employed in the Smoking Gunns vs. Body Donnas vs. Godwins vs. New Rockers match from WWF Summerslam 1996.

Hall tried to pin Nash, but that was broken up, leading to a mass, six man brawl.

With almost everyone else spilling to the outside, Hall hit Knobs with Jimmy Hart's microphone, Nash hit the powerbomb, and that was enough to land the win for his team.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders

Prior to our main event, the announcers once again reminded us that Piper and Hogan would fight next month at Starrcade. Heenan also gave us his pick for the winner of the battle royal - Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko.

Because the battle royal apparently needed three commentary teams, we next went to Lee Marshall and The Living Legend, Larry Zybysko.

Marshall only wanted to tell us about a match he saw between Chris Benoit and The Taskmaster at a WCW house show the previous evening, whilst Zybysko reminded us that was at stake in the battle royal was a shot at the world title.

Switching to Dusty Rhodes and Iron Mike Tenay, both wanted to get back to talking about The Four Horsemen and The Dungeon of Doom, completely giving away the fact that something big would happen between the two factions.

Something Big Happened Between The Two Factions 

Told ya. 

Before the main event could properly get underway, Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan came a-brawlin' round ringside, effectively taking each other out of the battle royal. 

World War 3 (Winner Gets a Shot at WCW World Heavyweight Title)
Sixy Man Battle Royal featuring Lex Luger, The Giant, Steven Regal, Diamond Dallas Page, Road Block, Big Ron Studd, Ice Train, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Syxx, Eddie Guerrero, Jeff Jarrett, And Half The Population of Planet Earth

Honestly, until I sat down to write this review, I'd never actually seen one of these sixty-man battle royals before, but I'd certainly heard about them. 

Mostly, I'd heard that they sucked. 

Indeed, every review, or even mention, of the World War 3 PPV seemed to have the match down as a failure. 

For the longest time, that's something I just couldn't understand. 

I mean, an enormous battle royal featuring basically the entire roster? What's not to like?

Apparently, everything. 

The action, I'm sure, was fine, but most of it was shown to us via WCW's favourite split-screen view, this time splitting said screen into three. 

That meant it was nigh on impossible to actually follow what was going on, especially when the six announcers started calling eliminations that were not even on camera. 

The end result was a cluttered, disjointed mess in which the only highlight was the crowd going wild when it looked like Lex Luger might win the whole thing. 

Unfortunately for Luger, and WCW as a whole, tonight wasn't to be his night. Instead, The Giant picked up the win, planting the first small seed towards his eventually split from the New World Order, but more of that some other time.
Your Winner: The Giant 

Afterwards, the New World Order posed in the ring as World War 3 1996 went off the air.

At the start of this review, I asked whether WCW's huge popularity could stop the sixty man battle royal from sucking. 

The answer is no, it couldn't. 

The main event was -from a visual standpoint at least- an absolute disaster. Coupled with matches which were either disappointingly bad or just painfully mediocre, the battle royal only confirmed the one idea I was starting to get as the show went on: 

This is not a PPV to recommend. 

For more WCW 1996 ppv reviews, see the following links:
Next time, we'll go back and finish off the year 1996 with reviews of WWF In Your House: I's Time and WCW Starrcade 1996. 

o be among the first to read that review when it is published, join me on the Retro Pro Wrestling Facebook page, or follow me on twitter at @Retropwrestling.

Until then, thanks for reading.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

TV REVIEW: WWE SMACKDOWN - October 30th, 2009

Rochester, New York

Fresh from their triumphant performance at Bragging Rights, Smackdown head back to New York with their trophy in tow. Yet with Survivor Series approaching, there’s little time to gloat.

**NOTE: This is a review I originally wrote live at the time in 2009. I found this in my archives and decided to share it here** 

Teddy Long sets up tonight’s main event

This week’s Smackdown kicks off with a word from General Manager, Teddy Long. Not surprisingly, the Smackdown boss is pleased with his team’s victory at Bragging Rights, as is Chris Jericho, who interrupts proceedings to talk about the World Heavyweight Championship situation.

Following Raw’s example, Teddy announces that the title will be contested in a triple threat match at Survivor Series, with The Undertaker defending not only against The Big Show, but against the winner of a match between Jericho and Kane, due to take place later tonight.

Non-title match: Intercontinental Champion John Morrison vs. Dolph Ziggler

The two long-standing rivals get into a battle of wits on the microphone before their war turns physical in a very entertaining contest that Ziggler wins via count-out.
Your Winner via Count-out: Dolph Ziggler 

Backstage, Vince McMahon catches up with Teddy Long, informing the Smackdown GM that his probation period may soon be over following a recent spat of good work.

Not everyone is so happy with Long, as CM Punk arrives to complain about being left out of the world title picture. Hoping to appease one of his biggest stars, Vince books CM Punk in a match with, of all people, referee Scott Armstrong.

Beth Phoenix vs. Jenny Brooks 

Looking to re-establish herself as a dominant force in the Divas division, The Glamazon destroys enhancement talent Brooks in a short and sweet squash match.
Your Winner: Beth Phoenix

Full of Halloween cheer, Vickie Guerrero puts in an appearance dressed as a princess and insists the crowd refer to her as Princess Vickie Guerrero when she leads her boyfriend, Eric Escobar into competition next.

Eric Escobar vs. Matt Hardy

The veteran and the rookie collide in hard-fought contest, with newcomer Escobar looking to establish himself as a threat to the Smackdown roster, and seasoned pro Hardy hoping to get back to his winning ways.

He does just that, picking up the pinfall following a short, passable bout.
Your Winner: Matt Hardy 

After being attacked by his old friend at Bragging Rights, Rey Mysterio heads to the ring to try and work things out with Dave Batista.

Yet Big Dave is in no mood to make amends, instead insisting that their friendship is dead and from now on, Batista only looks out for Batista.

Batista attacks Matt Hardy

Heading backstage after a commercial break, Matt Hardy tries to talk some sense into Batista. Unfortunately for the elder Hardy brother, Batista is adamant in sticking with his new attitude and, just to prove it, he attacks Hardy.

Later on in the show, it is announced that Hardy and Batista will face off next week.

From the Vault: John Cena vs. Chris Jericho - Smackdown 2002

A rookie John Cena, long before he became the biggest thing in modern pro wrestling, tackles an angry Y2J in a good match which proves that Cena could actually wrestle if he wanted to.
Cena wins via DQ when Jericho hits a low blow.

Drew McIntyre vs. Finlay 

Anyone looking forward to an epic battle between Scotland and Ireland is probably disappointed. Instead of a fairly-fought contest, the dastardly Drew McIntyre attacks Finlay on his way to the ring, annihilates him on the outside and heads to the back with an evil grin spread across his face.
No Contest 

Up next, Mickie James wins the 2009 Halloween Diva Costume Contest hosted by Cryme Tyme. The whole thing is rather embarrassing to watch, and ends when Women’s Champion Michelle McCool attacks James after the victory.

CM Punk vs. Referee Scott Armstrong

TNA may have already done the whole ‘wrestling referee’ thing (remember Shane Sewell? Nah, me neither), but that doesn’t stop Smackdown from rehashing that angle as a clearly petrified Armstrong goes up against former World Heavyweight Champion, CM Punk.

No surprise here, the Straight Edge Superstar obliterate the zebra and finishes him off with the Go To Sleep.
Your Winner: CM Punk 

Afterwards, Punk tells an unconscious Scott Armstrong not to forget the beating he just received.

Main Event: Unified Tag Team Champion Chris Jericho vs. Kane (winner earns a title shot at Survivor Series) 

With a spot in the World Heavyweight Championship triple threat match at Survivor Series on the line, Chris Jericho and Kane go at it in a heated main event.

It’s a very enjoyable match, and arguably Kane’s best performance of the last two years. Unfortunately for The Big Red Machine, a good performance is not enough to win the match, and Chris Jericho walks into the Survivor Series main event thanks to the Codebreaker.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho 

Final Thoughts: 

Though far from Smackdown’s finest show, this week’s edition was nonetheless a good effort from all concerned.

In this writer’s mind, a heel turn for Batista was long overdue and should go a long way to freshening up his character and injecting a bit of life into an otherwise stale persona. The only problem there is that it takes away from CM Punk’s status as the brand’s number one bad guy.

In the title picture, your reporter is somewhat disappointed to see Smackdown devoid of its own ideas and simply copying Raw’s main event formula, but if this means Chris Jericho main eventing pay per views again, and possibly even scoring a surprise victory over The Undertaker then I’m all for it

Sunday, 23 July 2017

TV REVIEW: WWE RAW - October 5th, 2009

WWE Raw 2009 logo
Wachovia Arena, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

On the back of an impressive Hell in a Cell pay per view, Raw returns with a new WWE champion in Randy Orton, a beaten-up yet victorious DX and some football player called Ben as your guest host of the evening.

Introducing your guest host

Football star Ben Roethlisberger (yeah right, like I’m gonna type that out all night) is tonight’s guest host and despite the mixed reaction from the crowd looks to be in a great mood.

Wasting no time in getting down to business, Ben announces that tonight’s first match will be a Diva Bowl. Strange coincidence, as your writer sat down to watch Raw this morning, he ate porridge from a diva bowl; it had a picture of Beth Phoenix on it and everything.

Ahem…no more bad jokes, I promise.

Diva Bowl: WWE Divas Champion Mickie James, The Bella Twins, Melina, Maria, Kelly Kelly, & Eve Torres vs. WWE Women’s champion Michelle McCool, Rosa Mendes, Beth Phoenix, Layla, Jillian, Alicia Fox & Natalya

Calling it a Diva Bowl, dressing all the girls up in American Football gear and getting Gail Kim out as the referee does little to disguise the fact that, when all is said and done, this is just your typical Raw diva match, albeit one that starts with what can only be described as the wrestling equivalent of a multi-car pile-up.

As Diva matches go, this one isn’t to bad, nor is it anything particularly special, and after just three short minutes, Mickie James rolls up Alicia Fox to bag the win for her team.
Your Winners: Mickie James, The Bella Twins, Melina, Maria, Kelly Kelly, & Eve Torres

As the divas celebrate in the ring, Randy Orton’s music hits as the new WWE Champion slowly makes his way to the ring.

Let’s go round again

Picking up a microphone, Randy Orton talks about his win at Hell in a Cell; reminding us all that he didn’t need to cheat or take shortcuts to get the job done. Furthermore, says the champion, he won’t be giving John Cena, the man he beat for the title. a rematch tonight.

Naturally, Cena himself has something to say on the matter and, after reminiscing on their memorable performance from twenty four hours ago, challenges Orton to face him one more time.

Both champion and challenger debate the terms and conditions on such a match, and finally agree to face each other in a sixty-minute, no holds barred Iron Man match with both Orton’s title, and Cena’s status as a Raw superstar, on the line.

A tense handshake seals the deal.

Swagger Speaks

Prior to taking on Primo, Jack Swagger reminds the Raw audience that he wasn’t pinned in last night’s Triple Threat match against The Miz and United States Champion Kofi Kingston. With that in mind, The All-American American vows to remain undefeated for the remainder of the year.

Jack Swagger vs. Primo Colon

Due to their short nature, it’s very rare that a squash match is able to be boring, but somehow this one manages to be just that.

Swagger looks impressive, if not particularly exciting, as he kicks off his undefeated streak with a four-minute pasting of poor primo.
Your Winner: Jack Swagger

In the back, Santino Marella finds himself caught up in the midst of a heated argument between the divas. Marella, dressed in referee’s attire, urges them to break it up and implores Mickie James and Alicia Fox to quite literally kiss and make up. Fox slaps the Italian in the chops and he scurries off down the hall as the girls continue to scrap.

Bragging Rights

Raw commentators Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole announce that the aforementioned Iron Man Match between Randy Orton and John Cena will take place at the next pay per view, Bragging Rights. Not only that, but the event will see the winners of all the Smackdown matches team up to take on all the winners of the Raw matches 'for,' announces Cole with a huge smile on his face like he just got the punchline, “bragging rights.”

He’s The Miz and he is…awful?

Backstage, The Miz implores tonight’s host ‘Big Ben’ to give him another shot at Kofi Kingston’s United States championship. Ben complies with the request, but adds the stipulation that, should The Miz loose, he must take to the microphone and announce the world that he is awful.

MVP & Mark Henry vs. Chavo Guerrero & Chris Masters

It takes less than three minutes for MVP and Mark Henry to roll over their opponents in a reasonably entertaining fashion, thanks in large part to some miscommunication on the part of Guerrero and Masters.
Your Winners: Mark Henry and Chavo Guerrero

In the post match, Masters, unhappy with the loss, lays into Chavo and applies the Master Lock. Repaying the favour from last week, Hornswoggle runs out, making the save by biting Masters on the leg.

Chavo and Hornswoggle see to it that Masters leaves the ring, only for the little leprechaun to taunt Guerrero with some DX-like chops leaving Chavo, this writer, and everybody else, utterly confused.

Big Ben’s back, and this time, he’s got company 

Tonight’s host returns to the ring, yet before he an utter a word, Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho and The Big Show arrive on the scene.

With Jericho displaying his always-brilliant comic timing, Big Show plays the straight man as he mocks Big Ben’s size and insists that Ben’s offensive line can’t possibly be as big as The World’s Largest Athlete.

Hoping to find out for sure, the host calls out his buddies. They’re not as big as ‘Show, but come to the ring anyway and threaten to charge into the champions.

Smarter than your average couple of bears, Jerishow bail, only to be confronted by DX, who waste no time in challenging the champs to match.

Ben makes it official and celebrates with Michaels and Triple H, as his teammates bounce around the ring like little kids on Christmas morning.

WWE United States Championship: Kofi Kingston defends against The Miz

In a very enjoyable contest packed with near-falls, Kingston and Miz display great chemistry together as they compete for the US title.

Kingston takes it to his opponent, seemingly knocking him out cold with a huge kick that sends the challenger flailing to the outside. Unwilling to take the count-out victory, the champion rolls his opponent back inside the ring where, after several more explosive near-falls, this thrilling match culminates with The Miz rolling up Kingston for the three count.
Your Winner and new United States Championship: The Miz

Revelling in his victory, Miz takes to the microphone with a reminder that he is The Miz and he is awesome. This writer is inclined to agree.


Cameras head to the back, where Hornswoggle is excited to meet Big Ben, and seems to be suggesting that the host pick him up and hurl him like a football (or something). Santino Marella interrupts, urging Ben to do something about the earlier fracas amongst the divas which resulted in the Italian taking a slap to the chops.

Since no Santino segment would be complete without a bit of comedy, he then proceeds to mispronounce Ben Surf ‘n’ Turf/Rottenburger/Rock ‘n’ Roller’s last name several times, followed by an apology that his Italian accent makes it difficult to pronounce names.

Some how, all it takes is a swift slap to the chops from Hornswoggle, for Marella to get it right and promptly wonder off.

“That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen,” cries Michael Cole, apparently forgetting all about his embarrassing show at Friday’s Smackdown party.

Next week’s hosts

Will be Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell and Maria Menounos.

Non-title match: Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & The Big Show vs. DX (Shawn Michaels & Triple H)

Showing little sign of the beating they took twenty four hours ago at the hands of Legacy, Triple H and Shawn Michaels enter into a spirited performance against the tag team champions in an exciting main event.

Both teams work well together to create a fun, nineteen minute bout which comes to an end when HBK hits the Sweet Chin Music on Jericho for the win, no doubt setting up a title match come Bragging Rights.
Your Winners: DX (Shawn Michaels & Triple H)

Afterwards, Big Ben and his buddies head to the ring to celebrate as Raw draws to a close.

Final Thoughts:

Despite the less-than-stellar start, this week’s edition of WWE Raw gradually evolved into a good show.

Miz taking the title from Kofi in an a great bout and DX picking up the win over Jerishow in an enthralling main event more than made up for weaker moments such as the Diva Bowl and the Swagger/Primo snorefest.

Yet the big news coming from tonight’s show was the announcement of a sixty man Iron Man match at upcoming pay per view, Bragging Rights. For new fans not familiar with the concept, an Iron Man match sees two men compete for a set period of time (in this case, an hour) and whoever picks up the most falls wins the bout. Cena and Orton have battled each other on three consecutive pay per views over the last several months, and whilst a fourth, hour-long, bout could be seen as overkill, it does seem that Bragging Rights will finally put an end to their rivalry once and for all. What’s more, providing Triple H stays tied up with the DX thing until at least Christmas time, it will be interesting to see who steps up to the plate in the weeks leading up to Survivor Series to challenge the winner of Orton/Cena for the title.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

TV REVIEW: WWE Raw - October 12th, 2009

WWE Raw 2009 logo
Indianapolis, Indiana

Triple H begins a recruitment drive for a team of Raw Superstars to take on Team Smackdown at Bragging Rights, the Divas Championship changes hands twice, and some woman called Nancy takes to the stage as tonight's guest host.

Chris Jericho - Team Leader

This week's Raw opens up with Unified Tag Team Champion, Chris Jericho, announcing that he is to be the leader of Team Smackdown in the epic tag match at Bragging Rights.

Before he can go much further, Jericho is interrupted by this week's guest host, Nancy O'Dell. The Access Hollywood host announces that tonight's show isn't supposed to start with him, but rather with D-Generation-X.

Triple H stirs the pot

As per Nancy O'Dell's instructions, DX are out next. At least, one half of them are; Shawn Michaels is absent, leaving Triple H to fly solo.

Hunter calls up his old buddy on the telephone, though not without some apparent difficulty.

"You'll have to bear with me, I'm not the most technically savvy guy," says The Game, because apparently you have to be technically savvy to be able to work your own mobile phone.

Hilariously, Triple H gets through to HBK's answering machine, which plays a recording of Shawn singing to his theme tune.

Shawn explains that his daughter got sick and thus he had to stay home. She's OK though, and HBK explains that he read his daughter a story, providing the perfect opportunity to plug the new DX book.

Getting back to the point in hand, Triple H attempts to discuss Bragging Rights, only to be interrupted by Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & The Big Show.

Jericho, as excellent as he always is on the microphone, declares that even though his partner is a Raw Superstar, he wants Big Show on Team Smackdown. Bemused, and looking to have a little fun, Triple H stirs the pot, asking Big Show whether he always does what Jericho tells him to do. Stirring the tensions further, Triple H teases Show and Jericho into an argument of sorts which leads to the World's Largest Athlete deciding he'd rather be on Team Raw.

In a further twist, Triple H announces that Big Show is welcome to join the team, but only if he beats Chris Jericho in a match!

Bragging Rights Qualifying Match: Big Show vs. Chris Jericho

Though this won't go down as masterpiece of technical wrestling, it's nonetheless a very fun match with an interesting story told well.

With his Napoleon Complex coming to the fore, the cocky Chris Jericho does his best to try the patience of Big Show, who implores his partner not to take things so seriously.

Ignoring such advice, Jericho continues to bite at the heels of the World's Largest Athlete, only to get his backside handed to him in response. Jericho is sent to the outside thanks to a huge chop from his partner, and appears to have injured his knee. In a touching moment, Big Show heads to the outside to check on his friend, but makes it back into the ring before the count of ten, thus winning the bout.
Your Winner via Countout: Big Show (qualifies for Team Raw at Bragging Rights)

Backstage, some girl called Maria (apparently a friend/colleague of tonight's host, Nancy O'Dell, or something) interviews Legacy.

Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase claim that despite still feeling the effects of their Hell in a Cell loss to DX, they're here to compete tonight.

Maria announces that Triple H, in charge of the recruitment drive for Bragging Rights, has set up a qualifying match for Team Raw; Ted Dibiase will face Cody Rhodes and John Cena in a triple threat match. If Rhodes makes the pin, he's on the team, if Dibiase makes the pin, he's on the team, if Cena wins, neither of them are on the team.

Needless to say, the Legacy boys are none too pleased.

WWE Divas Championship: Mickie James defends against Jillian Hall

Mickie James takes it to her opponent in an aggressive contest, yet less than ninety seconds in, the challenger upsets the champion thanks to a powerbomb in the corner and a ropes-assisted pin. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new Divas Champion.
Your Winner and new Divas Champion: Jillian Hall

In the post-match, an ecstatic Jillian Hall celebrates with a song, only to be interrupted by Nancy O'Dell. Tonight's guest host announces that she's been in touch with the other General Managers to arrange a tri-branded Divas trade. The good news for Jillian is that she's still on Raw, the bad news is that she now has to defend her newly-won title against Raw's newest Diva, right now.

WWE Divas Championship: Jillian Hall defends against Melina

In what is quite possibly the worst thirty seconds of wrestling ever committed to camera, Melina botches her way to a short destruction of her opponent to capture the Divas title. Make no mistake about it, Jillian was quite brilliant in her role here. Everything else, however, was awful.
Your Winner and new Divas Champion: Melina

Before we go any further, it's worth mentioning that next week's guest host will be none other than Snoop Dog. This, of course, gives Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler the excuse to say 'Fo 'Shizzle' a lot in the most cringe-worthy fashion imaginable.


Heading into the DX dressing room (which looks for all the world like a shop-front for DX merch), Triple H appears to be talking to a cardboard cut out of HBK, only to reveal that he's actually speaking to the man himself on the telephone. From out of nowhere, Michaels' music strikes, and out comes Horsnwoggle dressed as The Heartbreak Kid, long wig and all.

Comically, Triple H tells the leprechaun off for gimmick infringement, causing Hornswoggle to attack the cardboard cut-out of HBK. Triple H tackles him, but with a swift DX chop, the little buggar is gone. Whilst this writer has never been a fan of Hornswoggle, it has to be said that this was undoubtedly his funniest performance.

Beth gets angry

With the Hornswoggle segment out of the way, we next get the obligatory Santino shot, as the Italian himself is backstage with Nancy and Maria. Beth Phoenix arrives on the scene, unhappy about being traded to Smackdown. The Glamazon threatens to beat up Nancy unless she gets traded back to Raw. Maria gets involved, and she gets threatened too.

Opening his big mouth, Santino comes up with the great idea that Maria and Beth should meet in the ring tonight. Beth shoves him out the way and storms off, leaving Santino to get the last word in: "Just so you know, Beth, every time we were intimate, I faked every organism!"

Give that man a medal.

Bragging Rights Qualifiying Triple Threat Match: Ted Dibiase vs. Cody Rhodes vs. John Cena

Outnumbering their opponent, Legacy take it to Cena with a brutal beat down for the better part of ten minutes before Cena begins his inevitable comeback.

Yet there's a twist in the tale of this fairly average bout as Randy Orton runs to the ring to distract his longstanding rival. Unfortunately, Orton also manages to distract Ted Dibiase, allowing Cody Rhodes to sneak up behind his partner and roll him up for the pin fall.
Your Winner: Cody Rhodes (qualifies for Team Raw at Bragging Rights)

Naturally upset at the loss, Dibiase argues with his partner as Randy Orton does his best to keep the peace. This brings Nancy O'Dell onto the screen with another announcement. Since Legacy don't seem to be getting along, she says they can team up to take on two other men who don't get along in a tag team match. Yep, tonight's main event is going to be Ted Dibiase & Cody Rhodes vs. John Cena and WWE Champion, Randy Orton.

Bragging Rights Qualifying Match: Jack Swagger vs. MVP

In a short and sweet little encounter, Jack Swagger battles MVP for a spot on Team Raw at the Bragging Rights pay per view. Despite his best efforts, Montel Vontavious Porter succumbs to the All-American American in just over two and half minutes as Swagger goes over with a gutwrench powerbomb.
Your Winner: Jack Swagger (qualifies for Team Raw at Bragging Rights)

Tension in the ranks

Backstage, Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes argue some more, accusing one another of planning to pin Randy Orton in their upcoming match. Orton refutes such claims by declaring that he doesn't plan on tagging into the match, thus turning it into a makeshift handicap match. Curiously, Orton tells his boys that if they are thinking of pinning him, then they'd better keep on thinking. Now that made sense.

Bragging Rights Qualifying Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Evan Bourne

Despite loosing the United States Championship recently, Kofi Kingston looks to be in good spirits as he enters into a very entertaining match against Evan Bourne.

The two highflyers go at it in a short, non-stop match packed with plenty of action with both men trading the advantage until Kingston hits Trouble in Paradise for the three count.
Your Winner: Kofi Kingston (qualifies for Team Raw at Bragging Rights)

Backstage, Triple H is on the phone to Shawn Michaels again when Nancy O'Dell and her pal Maria turn up to talk about Maria getting in the ring. Ms. Menounos confesses that although it's been her dream to compete for the WWE, she isn't sure she's ready.

"But don't you remember everything I taught you?" asks Hunter?
"You only showed me how to do two kicks and how to put you in a head scissors for fifteen minutes," she replies, eliciting a small laugh from the crowd.

Further interruptions come from none other than Chavo Guerrero. He wants to know what's going on between DX and Hornswoggle, and believes they're conspiring against him. Furthermore, Guerrero is annoyed that he isn't on team Raw and believes that he should be, and I quote "the stupid captain of the team".

Maria kicks him the goolies, and if you're not down with that, says the cardboard cut out of Shawn Michaels, we got two words for ya.

Six Diva Tag Match: Beth Phoenix, Rosa Mendez & Alicia Fox vs. Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos (with Nancy O'Dell)

Things kick off with Gail Kim taking it to Alicia Fox before tagging into Maria. Despite only being taught a kick and a headscissors, Menounos seems to know enough to pull off an irish whip, snapmare and even a quick pin attempt on Fox, before the latter gains the advantage and tags in Beth Phoenix.

Maria gets the better of the Glamazon and tags out, leaving the ring open for a pretty entertaining contest between the ladies, which finally comes to an end when Kelly Kelly gets a win over Rosa thanks to a legdrop.
Your Winners: Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos

The Miz speaks

After antagonising the crowd for a while, the new United States Champion makes a big announcement. In two weeks time, at Bragging Rights, he'll be taking on John Morrison.

Now that should be awesome.

Miz reminds everyone how great he and Morrison were together even though, according to Miz, he was the talent and Morrison was 'nothing more than a hairdo with abs', because he's The Miz and, yes ladies and gentlemen, he is awesome.

Main Event: WWE Champion Randy Orton and John Cena vs. Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes

Before we get on with the action, Randy Orton lets it be known that he just got off the phone with next week's guest host, Snoop Dog. According to Orton, Mr. Dog has decided that John Cena will compete in one of the biggest matches of his career next week on Raw. Apparently, we don't get to find out what that match is until later on.

With all four men in the ring, Randy Orton drops to the floor, making it abundantly clear that he has no intention of tagging in. Left to fend for himself, Cena locks up with Dibiase for the start of yet another beat down.

After several minutes of non-descript action, Cena makes a brief comeback and tags in an unsuspecting Randy Orton.

With Cena now dropping to the floor, Orton is forced to go at it against Cody Rhodes, before Ted Dibiase tags himself and surprises the champion with a succession of pin attempts. Things get a little more entertaining from there, as Cena tags back in against Dibiase, Orton beats down Cena and, eventually, Dibiase rolls up Orton for the one, two and three.
Your Winners: Ted Dibiase & Cody Rhodes

As John Cena nails Randy Orton with an Attitude Adjuster in the post-match, we're told that he'll face Triple H next week. Michael Cole makes out that it will definitely, no doubt about it, be John Cena's last match on Raw, even though we're yet to reach Bragging rights.

Final Thoughts: 

Since the introduction of the guest-host gimmick, and even for some time before that, WWE Raw has often been accused of doing very little to generate much interest in upcoming pay per views. Tonight's show was different, and thanks in no small part to the number of qualifying matches on the show, went a long way to making Bragging Rights a show many, this writer included, would want to watch.

What's more, the growing tensions between Legacy and Randy Orton, not to mention the appearance of Nancy O'Dell (I've got to admit, I'd never heard of her before tonight, but now I think I'm officially in love) made this a good show, even if it did lack much in the way of great in-ring action.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

TV REVIEW: WWE Raw - October 19th, 2009

WWE Raw Logo
Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida

Snoop Dog hosts the final Raw before Bragging Rights as Team Raw fall into disarray, Legacy fall apart and Triple H falls to John Cena in what might just be Cena's last night on WWE Raw. 

Dissension in the ranks. 

Snoop Dog rolls rides into town in a pink limo with Raw's newest Divas, Eve and The Bella Twins, in tow. After working up the crowd and announcing a couple of tonight's matches (as well as Cena/Triple H, we also get Orton/Dibiase and HBK/Jericho), tonight's guest host introduces your regular opening act, D-Generation-X.

Forgoing their usual 'Are you ready?' routine, Hunter and Shawn begin the final push towards Bragging Rights by taking a look at their opponents on Team Smackdown and mocking them one by one in a routine which only really becomes funny by the time they get to newcomers Drew McIntyre and Eric Escobar.

With the opposing team verbally dissected, the rest of Team Raw make their way to ringside and almost immediately start to argue amongst themselves; Cody Rhodes threatens to defeat Team Smackdown all by himself, Big Show threatens Cody, Mark Henry faces up to Show and Jack Swagger chimes in as well until Kofi Kingston, now completely devoid of his Jamaican accent, reminds everyone that they need to work together.

DX agree, though admit that they did see this coming and thus set up a test; a five-on-five tag team match in which, should any member of Team Raw eat the pin, they'll be replaced. MVP's music hits, he leads the Raw Job Squad to ringside, and Team Raw breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Five-on-five tag match: Cody Rhodes, Mark Henry, Big Show, Jack Swagger & Kofi Kingston vs. MVP, Chavo Guerrero, Chris Masters, Evan Bourne and Primo Colon 

Following a match so short and forgettable your reporter couldn't remember who was on MVP's team, Cody Rhodes hits the Cross Rhodes on Primo only for Jack Swagger to tag himself in and take the pin.
Your Winners: Cody Rhodes, Mark Henry, Big Show, Jack Swagger & Kofi Kingston 

Rather than being united in victory, the win only seems to divide Team Raw further, as they spend the next few moments taking turns in throwing each other out of the ring.

If I were you... 

Backstage, Josh Matthews interviews Ted Dibiase about his victory over Randy Orton the previous week. Dibiase tells Matthews that he only did what Randy Orton himself would have done in the same situation. Orton, however, disagrees. "If I were you, I would listen carefully," he says, before telling Ted not to fight back when they compete next.

Non-title match: WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Ted Dibiase 

Less of an actual match, more of a well played-out angle, no matter what you call it this is fantastic stuff. With anger rising within, Ted Dibiase looks tormented and conflicted as he stands face-to-face with the Legacy leader, doing his best to show restraint as Orton continues to push and provoke him. Finally, Dibiase stands up for himself and pushes the WWE Champion to the mat. Yet this doesn't seem to go far in resolving his torment, as the former tag team champion simply stares and seethes even more, only for Orton to attack with the RKO and pick up the win.

A brilliant segment in which the crowds really got behind Ted Dibiase; surely a turn to the side of the good guys can't be far off?
Your Winner: Randy Orton 

A Tribute to Captain Lou 

Legendary WWE Hall of Famer Captain Lou Albano sadly passed away last week aged 76. Known for his interesting attire, which often consisted of a rubber band hanging from his cheek, his famed talent as a ringside manager and, of course, for playing such a major part in the Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection of the late 1980s which helped catapult the then-WWF into the global household name that it is day, Captain Lou was a truly beloved superstar. Taking a moment to remember him, WWE plays us a fitting tribute video.

The Obligatory Comedy Spot 

You know how, every week, we get three obligatory comedy spots with the guest host? Well thankfully, the 'E decide to spare us, and squash all three into one.

Cameras find Snoop Dog chilling out backstage with Eve and The Bella Twins when Hornswoggle, back in his usual garb yet still sporting a DX shirt, shows up for no real reason. Naturally, wherever Hornswoggle goes, Chavo goes too. Guerrero complains about being constantly overlooked by the guest hosts, only to be interrupted by Jillian Hall, who demands a rematch for the Divas Championship before singing a song (assume it's one of Snoop Dog's. You'll have to forgive me, I might actually know who this week's guest host is, but I still don't know his work at all).

Finally, it wouldn't be the Raw comedy moment without Santino Marella, dressed as Charlie 'the' Brown. Santino declares that he wants to make amends for the last time the two met. Snoop Dog sends them all out, and we're lead to believe that he's lighting up some marijuana as a 'technical difficulties' graphic featuring Michael Cole with his arm around Hornswoggle appears on screen. Of course, this being a family-friendly show and all, it's revealed he was actually lighting some scented candles.

Returning back to the arena, Michael Cole sits with his arm around Jerry Lawler and an enormous grin on his mush. "We're actually live now," he laughs, "no more technical difficulties". Because apparently, Michael Cole can't tell the difference between the man he announces Raw with every week, and a leprechaun.

Triple H vs. John Cena 

In what is build as potentially his last match ever on Raw, John Cena displays a valiant effort in a lengthy, dramatic bout with Triple H.

Building up slowly and working towards an exciting finale, both men work hard to deliver a very good television match which, to drag up an old cliché, has the fans on the edge of their seats as Cena and Hunter both kick out of one another's finishing manoeuvres. Unfortunately for the number one contender to the WWE title, the third pedigree proves to be too much, and Triple H walks away with the win.
Your Winner: Triple H 

Up next, The Miz heads out to face some jobber who doesn't even get his name announced. Luckily for the Jobber with No Name, he's saved from a beat down by something altogether wonderful.

Marty Jannetty Returns

Just typing that line above made this reporter very happy indeed. Before The Miz can lock up with his hapless opponent, Snoop Dog appears on screen, flanked by Eve and The Bellas, who pout and pose as Mr. Dog announces that he was unhappy with comments The Miz made about Marty Jannetty on Smackdown. As such, Miz will now face Jannetty in a match.

Non-title match: United States Champion The Miz vs. Marty Jannetty 

Though an enjoyable, basic little bout in its own right, this short affair is made all the more brilliant just for the sheer joy of seeing Marty Jannetty, even if he does appear to have aged pretty badly recently. Jannetty gets in some offence against the champion, including his trademark Flying Fist Drop, before The Miz finally puts the old-timer out of his misery thanks to the Skull Crushing Finale.
Your Winner: The Miz 

Backstage, Chavo Guerrero has words with Jillian as the show heads to commercial.

Divas Championship match: Melina defends against Jillian (with Chavo Guerrero in her corner) 

Melina defends her title in a short nothing match which serves no other purpose than to set up the next angle. The two girls battle for about a minute, with Chavo Guerrero running interference on the challenger's behalf until Hornswoggle, dressed in hip-hop attire, cuts him off, allowing Melina to take the win.
Your Winner and still Divas Champion: Melina 

Afterwards, Chavo goes after Hornswoggle, only to be stopped in his tracks by Snoop Dog. The two circle, looking for a fight, and Snoop takes down Chavo with a spear before celebrating with Hornswoggle and several divas in a dance routine that goes on far too long.

Next Week's Guest Hosts 

Are two NASCAR racers called Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. Again, never heard of 'em.

Main Event: Unified Tag Team Champion Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels 

All night long, fans have been anticipating another sure-fire classic between The Heartbreak Kid and The Artist Formerly Known as Y2J. Instead, what we get is an all out war between Team Raw and Team Smackdown.
With both men in the ring, Jericho dishes out some verbal abuse to Michaels before the rest of the Smackdown camp arrive on the scene and outnumber The Showstopper. Luckily for Shawn, back up isn't far behind as Team Raw head to ringside to level the playing field.

Triple H derides Jericho before a familiar cry of "excuse me!" interrupts proceedings. Yes folks it's Vickie Guerrero, who announces that as the official consultant to Team Smackdown, she won't allow anything to happen until Sunday, and that her boys will take their leave.

Hunter, however, has other ideas, and after declaring that the Raw boys don't work for Vickie, they lay into Jericho and his men as Raw closes with a wild brawl between the two teams.
No Contest 

Final Thoughts: 

Though Smackdown still remains far ahead of it's Monday night counterpart in terms of action and entertainment, Raw finally seems to be catching up, and tonight fought back with a very entertaining show. HHH and Cena delivered in the ring, the Cena/Dibiase showdown was intense and as for the appearance of Marty Jannetty, well, that just made me smile. There is little doubt in this writer's mind that Smackdown will counter with a show that is at least equally entertaining on Friday, but even if they don't, the winner in a war over the most entertaining show will pale in comparison to what is likely to be a very enjoyable battle for brand supremacy this Sunday at Bragging Rights.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Hollywood Hulk Hogan - Autobiography

WWE BOOK REVIEW: Hollywood Hulk Hogan Autobiography
Hollywood Hulk Hogan is an engaging, entertaining and insightful biography from a man who revolutionised his chosen profession.

And whilst this book probably won’t be of much interest to anyone who isn’t a fan of pro-wrestling, for those who are, it’s an enthralling history of the man behind the most famous face in the sport, Hulk Hogan.

NOTE: This is a repost of a review I originally wrote back in 2009.

As with similar tomes released by the company, WWE seems to put a spin on Hogan’s book, and at times it seems as much an exercise in self-promotion as a detailed account of the life and times of Terry Bollea.

But at others, it’s a riveting read.

Though some critics have lambasted Hogan for leaving out a number of key issues, mainly from his time in World Championship Wrestling, Hogan does well to recount a career spanning 25 years at the time of publication.

Starting with his early childhood, when Hogan reveals that he was a chubby, out-of-shape kid who loved pro wrestling and admired ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes but never thought he’d ever find himself in the ring, the book goes on to talk about his days playing bass for a number of well-paid bands before finally deciding to pursue a career between the ropes.

What’s good about this book is that although it gives enough background to Terry Bollea’s pre-wrestling days to get an idea of where he's coming from, it doesn’t waste too much time in getting into the reason you want to read it; the wrestling.

From getting his leg broken in his first week of training to his triumphant match against The Rock at Wrestlemania 18, Hogan runs through numerous key episodes in his life and career; the birth of Hulkamania, single-handily carrying the WWF(E) to mainstream attention (Though many wrestlers would like to deny it, it’s hard to argue that Hogan, along with Vince McMahon, wasn’t largely responsible for the huge book in pro wrestling). the 1993 steroid scandal and his controversial exit from McMahon-land, with much more besides.

And the best thing is that Hogan comes across as being genuine and honest.

The man in yellow-and-red has gotten a lot of flack from some in the pro-wrestling community, and many so-called ‘smart’ fans (who probably don’t know half as much as they think) but here Hulk Hogan gets the chance to tell his side of the story.

He talks openly about mistakes he’s made, how Terry Bollea wasn’t quite as clean cut as the Hulk Hogan character he portrayed (there’s lots of talk about Hogan out drinking with other wrestlers and ‘Raisin’ Hell’) and how despite a genuine love of pro wrestling, making money was his number one priority.

Moreover, Hogan seems genuinely upset, annoyed, and at times simply bewildered, at the amount of jealousy and hurtful things hurled in his direction, as well as surprised and delighted at the continued level of support for a wrestler who helped catapult pro-wrestling into the global conscience.

Overall, a good read that should provide a good history lesson for newer WWE fans, a history of how the multi-million dollar, global empire they know today was transformed from a local territory in New York on the back of a phenomenon known as Hulkamania.

See Also: 

Thinking of Buying Hollywood Hulk Hogan - The Autobiography from Amazon?

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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.