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

Saturday, 30 July 2016

TV REVIEW: WWE RAW - September 28th, 2009

WWE RAW: 28/09/09
Albany New York

With the Hell in a Cell pay per view just days away, WWE Champion John Cena has a tough challenge on his hands as he's forced to take on his upcoming opponent Randy Orton, as well as Chris Jericho and Big Show in a gauntlet match. The Unified Tag Team Champions have enough on their hands as they're forced to compete against MVP and Mark Henry by this week's guest host, some guy called Al.

The V.I.P Lounge

Dressed in matching ring attire, MVP and his partner, Mark Henry host The V.I.P Lounge. Following a brief introduction from MVP, Unified Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho and The Big Show crash the party. In a truly bizarre segment, Porter and Jericho take turns in heaping praise on tonight's guest host, The Reverend Al Sharpton, topping each other with each compliment before Sharpton makes his way to the ring to a loud chorus of boos (apparently he isn't well liked in the US. Personally, your writer has never heard of him and couldn't care less).

To end an awkward segment in which everybody misses their cue and talks over the top of each other, Sharpton books a tag team title match between the two teams.

WWE Unified Tag Team Championship Match: Chris Jericho and The Big Show defend against MVP and Mark Henry

In a rematch from their recent encounter at Breaking Point, MVP and Mark Henry look to dethrone the dominating champions in arguably the best opening match Raw has seen all year.

Though it's slow to start with, this tight, action-packed contest gradually escalates into a thrilling tag team match, with the challengers coming closer than ever to capturing the gold. Unfortunately, it isn't to be and as the show reaches the half-hour mark, Big Show and Jericho steal a win from the jaws of defeat.
Your Winners and Still WWE Unified Tag Team Champions: Chris Jericho and The Big Show

In the back, Primo Colon sucks up to Al Sharpton. This being Raw, where no segment is allowed to go uninterrupted, Hornswoggle soon shows up with Chavo Guerrero giving chase. Before long, Santino Marella -who's obligatory comedy routine sadly falls short tonight - and Chris Masters arrive on the scene. Wouldn't you know it, we have ourselves another tag team match.

An Interview with Orton

Watching a Randy Orton interview is like being in double-science at high school; you know something important is probably being said, but it's so dull it's difficult to pay attention. The Legend Killer almost sends your reporter to sleep with a boring, monotonous promo in which he claims he won't be responsible for his actions come Hell in a Cell.

Non-Title Match: Divas Champion Mickie James vs. Rosa Mendes (with Alicia Fox) 

In what resembles a bad training match between two rookies gone awry, Mickie James and Rosa Mendes struggle to find any sort of chemistry. The result is an awkward performance in which every other spot seems to go wrong.

Thankfully, the Divas Champion finally puts Rosa, and us fans, out of our collective misery with a kick to the head.
Your Winner: Mickie James

Returning from commercial, we get a good look at the Hell in a Cell structure, which hangs ominously above the ring.

Nobody expects us to win.


Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes make their way to the ring to promote their upcoming cell match with D-Generation-X this Sunday. Rather than talking about how good they are, or how they're going to annihilate their opponents, Dibiase seems to believe that the best way to make his team look strong is by claiming that nobody expects them to win.

Before long, the Legacy boys are interrupted by a playful DX, and a war of words ensues and results in Rhodes and Dibiase high tailing it through the crowd.

Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne

With the United States championship wrapped around his waist, Jack Swagger makes his way to the ring as Michael Cole explains that Swagger isn't actually the champion; he stole the belt from Kofi Kingston.

With that little bit of confusion out of the way (and it was confusing for this reporter, who missed the last two weeks of the show), Swagger enters into an enjoyable performance with the always entertaining Evan Bourne.

Despite all his high-flying, show-stealing offence, the diminutive Bourne is no match for his larger, stronger opponent, and eventually succumbs to Swagger.
Your Winner: Jack Swagger

In the post-match, The All American American gets on the microphone, only to be interrupted by The Miz, who claims that he will capture the US title on Sunday because he's The Miz and, yes, he is awesome.

The two brawl and, seizing the opportunity, Kofi Kingston strolls to ringside to take his title belt back. It's a fun segment, but it does strike this reporter as odd that, in promoting a three-way match for the title, the champion himself receives hardly any attention.

Hornswoggle & Santino Marella  vs. Chavo Guerrero and 'The Masterpiece' Chris Masters

Making up for his earlier comic failings, Santino Marella is hilarious in this short bout, doing the bulk of the work for his team and outshining both his opponents and partner. That is until Masters locks in The Masterlock, and this one comes to an end.
Your Winners: Chavo Guerrero and Chris Masters

Yet it's in the post-match where things really get interesting; Big Chris puts the Masterlock on Hornswoggle, only for Guerrero to shock everybody by coming to the aid of his arch-rival.

Next Week's Host:

Is Ben Roethlisberger. For those wondering, he's an American Football player. Exciting, huh?

The Reverend Busts a Move

In the back, Reverend Al Sharpton starts to bid farewell to the Raw audience when, wouldn't you know it, somebody interrupts him. This time, it's Jillian Hall, who serenades the Guest Host with a cringe-worthy rendition of Living in America. Sharpton sends her packing, only for The Bella Twins to show up. The Reverend busts a move and sings a few lines from I Feel Good as the gorgeous Bella Twins dance in the background.

Non-Title Gauntlet Match: WWE Champion John Cena vs. Chris Jericho, The Big Show and Randy Orton


There are a lot of people who don't like John 'Super' Cena, and this match is a perfect example of why.

First up, the WWE Champion is forced to take on Chris Jericho. Despite fairing pretty well in the early going, the champ is quickly overthrown by Jericho, who locks in the Walls of Jericho only for Cena to grab the ropes. Refusing to break the hold, Jericho ultimately winds up disqualified, yet continues to hurt Cena with the Walls' until his tag team partner arrives on the scene for match number two.
Match 1 Winner: John Cena via disqualification

The Big Show picks up were his partner left off, destroying Cena and applying a Colossal Clutch. Jericho gets involved again, and Big Show is also disqualified, but the Unified Tag Team Champions appear to have done their job well; Cena is out of it. Beaten to a pulp and unable to stand, the champion is easy pickings for opponent number three, Randy Orton.
Match 2 Winner: John Cena via disqualification

Yet by the time Orton approaches the ring (and to be fair, he does give The Undertaker a run for his money in the 'longest entrance' stakes) the champion has made a full recovery. It's either a miracle, or bad booking. What's even more amazing is that Cena now possesses Undertaker-like magic powers and is able to summon the cell down from the rafters. Orton legs it out of the open door and climbs atop the cell with Cena in hot pursuit. The two trade blows, Cena hits the Attitude Adjuster, and we're done.
Match 3 Winner: No Contest


Final Thoughts:
Less of a match and more of an elaborate angle, the finale of tonight's show was still nonetheless pretty ridiculous. Cena making a comeback I can live with; he's the champion and therefore is supposed to be stronger, tougher and generally better than all of his opponents. However, a comeback is one thing, making a full recovery without showing any effects whatsoever of the horrific beating he received  only a minute earlier is an insult to the intelligence. As I've mentioned before in these 'final thoughts' pieces, wrestling is supposed to make you suspend your disbelief, and this segment completely failed to do that.

It wasn't just Cena's miracle recovery that ensured nobody could believe what was happening, Orton's performance was equally confusing. Why was he so scared of the cell being lowered when he knows full well he'll have to compete in one on Sunday? Why did he take several millennia to reach the ring, when it would have been so easy to walk at normal pace and quickly beat his prone opponent, and why on earth did he go to all the effort of legging it on top of the cage when he could have run up the isle and out of harms way? He is supposed to be the heel after all.

Yet whilst the show ended on a down note, at least it opened on a high one with that tremendous tag team match between Jerishow and the team of MVP and Mark Henry. All four men worked hard to deliver a solid, enjoyable performance and I, for one, would love to see more.

Monday, 25 July 2016

TV REVIEW: WWE SMACKDOWN - September 25th, 2009

September 25th, 2009 
Tulsa, Oklahoma

**This is a WWE Smackdown review that I wrote live at the time in 2009 during the run up to that year's Hell in a Cell pay per view*

CM Punk Speaks


Hoping to get the Tulsa crowd riled up and ready for action, WWE send out the hottest heel in the company, CM Punk to do the job (not the job). And a fine job he does too; goading the audience about their alleged substance abuse and running over a list of his accomplishments to a thunderous chorus of boos. After demanding that someone in a position of authority comes down to give him some respect, Punk is instead confronted by a small army of druids who proceed to wheel a coffin to ringside accompanied by eeiry music.

Naturally, Punk acts scared and proceeds to bash the closed casket with a steel chair, expecting The Undertaker to surface. Yet when the Dead Man does not cometh, the World Heavyweight Champion makes the brave move of opening the coffin, only to find a bound and gagged Teddy Long inside.

Finally getting free, Long grabs a microphone and declares that, effective immediately, Taker's 'Hells Gate' submission hold is no longer banned and that, not only will The Phenom be able to use it when he battles Punk for the title at Hell in a Cell, but also when the two meet tonight in a non-title main event.

A good, solid segment to get things under way then.

Tag Match: Intercontinental Champion John Morrison and Finlay vs. Mike Knox and Dolph Ziggler 


As two of the hottest feuds on the Smackdown undercard collide in an entertaining, well-paced opening match, Knox and Ziggler work well to cut the ring in half and isolate Finlay from his corner right from the opening bell. It's a good strategy by the villans  which ensures that the inevitable hot-tag to Morrison drives the crowd wild.

Despite dominating most of the contest, a well-placed shillelagh shot to Knox's head by Finlay, followed by the always impressive Starship Pain from Morrison is enough to earn the win for the good guys.
Your Winners: John Morrison & Finlay 

Out in the back, Eve and her boys Cryme Tyme seem to be warming to the pesky Slam Master Jay and even allow him to take an initiation of sorts; handing him a spray can and telling him to take care of it, and that's as much as your writer gets to see.

Now apparently, what happened next was that Jay defaced Teddy Long's office, annoyed the GM and got himself booked in a match with Kane. For reasons I can't quite explain to you, dear reader, this bit was missing from the UK version of the show so when we head back to ringside, the next match doesn't seem to make much sense.

Slam Master Jay vs. Kane

Luckily, us Brits don't have to sit through something which doesn't make sense for very long as The Big Red Machine makes light work of the hip-hop homeboy, taking him out with a chokeslam in about two minutes.

In the back, Cryme Tyme are dissapointed.
Your Winner: Kane

Vince McMahon arrives at the arena. Before making his way to the ring, the Chairman is stopped by CM Punk, still angry at the announcement made earlier in the show. With little sympathy, Vinny Mac tells the champ he should have thought about the consequences of his actions.

In the ring, a jovial McMahon is an absolute riot. After insulting the crowd, he hypes next week's Ten Year Anniversary of Smackdown show, before singing the praises of one Drew McIntyre. Big things must be on the cards for the Angry Scot if he's getting the personal hype from McMahon himself.

Eliciting deafening 'USA! USA!' chants from the audience, McIntyre cuts a convincing promo as he lets us know that, from now on, Smackdown is all about him.

Not surprisingly, R-Truth finally makes his way to the ring, looking to extract some revenge for the recent spate of attacks he's suffered at the hands of McIntyre. Somewhat comically, despite being very angry, Truth still delivers his usual rap on the way to the ring.

It's worth noting that, even though he doesn't use it very long, or very often, Truth is great on the microphone. He quickly drops it and heads into the ring for a quick brawl that gets broken up by the refs.

This is shaping up to be an entertaining feud, and it should be interesting to see where it goes next.

Unified Tag Team Champion The Big Show (with Chris Jericho) vs. Batista

It is often said that the only entertaining part of any Batista match is the entrance, and whilst there is usually some truth in that, 'The Animal' at least manages to have a half-decent bout with 'The World's Largest Athlete'.

This is far from the greatest match you'll ever see, but it's at the least an entertaining psychological battle of the big men. Of course, it certainly helps that Chris Jericho is wonderful in his role as what can only be described as Big Show's manager, and the former Y2J's banter with commentator Jim Ross is nothing short of hilarious.

After fighting his way back from a vicious assault at the hands of his opponent, Batista stupidly attempts a Batista Bomb. Show counters with a chokeslam attempt, but Big Dave locks on an ankle lock. This causes Jericho to race to his partner's aid, only to recieve an ankle lock of his own.

And as Jericho frantically taps you have to believe that, somewhere in America, Ken Shamrock is nodding on with approval.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Batista

Up next, we get a video recap of the recent shenanigans between CM Punk, Teddy Long and The Undertaker. What's annoying about this is that Long still hasn't explained what's so wrong with Undertaker being champions.

Moving to Teddy Long's office, a visiting Vince McMahon demands to see his portrait. Despite Long's protests, the GM is forced to show the boss his picture. Wouldn't you know it, it's been vandalised by Slam Master Jay. Well, you have to credit to the Smackdown writers for turning a seemingly inconsequential segment earlier in the show into a big plot-point in the ongoing saga between McMahon and Long.

From the Vault: Cruiserweight Championship: Hurricane defends against Chavo Guerrero (Smackdown 2002)


Back in the days before Chavo Guerrero became the proverbial laughing stock of the WWE, he was actually a pretty awesome cruiserweight wrestler, and in this terrific bout from 2002 against The Hurricane, we're reminded of just how good Hornswoggle's arch-rival could be.

Following a superb display of speed and agility, Hurricane retains the title.
Your Winner: Hurricane

Coming back from the break, we're shown a funny clip of The Miz and John Morrison on 'Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader' which, of course, is America's answer to that 'Are You Smarter than a 10 Year-old' programme Noel Edmonds hosts over here. It has no bearing on tonight's show, but it's worth mentioning anyway, especially since Jeff Foxworthy is the host and your writer is big fan of the man's stand-up.

Getting back to more important things, we have a match on our hands.

JTG vs. David Hart Smith

Backed up by their partners and valets; JTG by Eve and Shad and Smith by Tyson Kidd and Natayla, both men into a short, spirited performance, with the son of Wigan's own British Bulldog taking the early advantage.

JTG makes a brief comeback, yet thanks to some interference by Nattie and Kidd, it's David Hart Smith who not only walks away with the win, but also proceeds to show more charisma than he ever has since being called up to the main event.
Your Winner: David Hart Smith

In the back, Josh Matthews interviews Batista. Big Dave announces that he'll be teaming up with Rey Mysterio to challenge Chris Jericho and Big Show for the Unified Tag Team Titles at Hell in a Cell.

Non-Title Match: World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk vs. The Undertaker

With twenty minutes remaining before the show ends, 'The Demon of Death Valley' takes several millennia to get to the ring. Not that you can blame him at this stage of his career. It's no secret that after years of service, The Dead Man's body just ain't what it used to be, and if anyone deserves to get a huge reaction without running himself ragged in the ring, it's The Undertaker.

Yet that doesn't seem to stop the former 'Mean Mark' from performing in a good main event as he catches the ever-cocky Punk in the corner and proceeds to pick him apart. Taker looks slow, and not quite his usual self, but he still manages to garner huge cheers from the crowd for every heavy blow delivered to the body of the seriously overpowered champion.

Eventually, Punk manages to turn things around with a hard-hitting top-rope vertical suplex and quickly starts to wear down his adversary with a headscissors.

From there, things really start to get interesting, until Punk manages to escape the Hell's Gate and escape to the outside only to be followed to the outside by Undertaker. With the referee's count drawing ever closer to ten, the champion dives into the ring to win the contest by a whisker.
Your Winner via Count Out: CM Punk

As Punk celebrates, Undertaker looks on annoyed and Smackdown comes to an end.

Final Thoughts: It's becoming more and more difficult to say anything other than "another good show from the blue brand," but say it I must. For whilst this wasn't the best show the Friday night crew have produced this year, it was still nonetheless an entertaining two hours.


The only thing that's really bugging me is the current feud between CM Punk and The Undertaker. When Jeff Hardy left the company after Summerslam, it didn't take a genius to work out that The Dead Man would likely be the next person to step up and challenge Punk for the World Heavyweight Championship. It could have been so brilliant too, had they just kept the story of the plucky champion finding cheap ways to hang on to his title whilst the clearly superior challenger grows more frustrated with every loss, but when you throw in the whole 'Montreal Revisited' angle with Teddy Long, it all becomes a little too much.

Why did Teddy feel the need to keep the belt away from The Undertaker? How was his job likely to be at stake if he didn't? Such things remain unanswered and, to me at least, seem to be really diluting what could have otherwise been a terrific feud.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

TV REVIEW: WWE SMACKDOWN 18/06/10

June 18th, 2010
RALEIGH, North Carolina


Just two days before they compete for the World Heavyweight Championship at Fatal 4-Way, champion Jack Swagger,  CM Punk, Rey Mysterio and The Big Show meet each other in tag team action, though not before settling some scores with the monster that is Kane.

Here's what went down

*Note: This is a WWE SMackdown review from my archives, written live at the time back in 2010.*

The Undertaker returns...or does he?


CM Punk began tonight's show with an entertaining promo in which he claimed that,though he wasn't responsible for the downfall of The Undertaker, he wished he was, adding that he would be the first in line to shake the hand of whoever actually was responsible.

Punk continued to deride the Deadman, insisting that the entire WWE Universe was now much better without him, until the lights in the arena went out. When they came back on, The Undertaker himself appeared to be standing  in the centre of the ring, staring down a nervous CM Punk. Yet it wasn't The Phenom at all, rather Luke Gallows in a fake wig and a trench coat.

Unsurprisingly, this mockery of The Undertaker brought Kane charging to the ring, only for Jack Swagger to follow him and and help the Straight Edge Society ambush The Big Red Machine.

Eventually, The Big Show and Rey Mysterio ran to Kane's aid and saw off the villains, only to attack Kane as well, extracting revenge for the attack he carried out on last week's show.

MVP & Christian vs. Vance Archer and Curt Hawkins


MVP and Christian looked to extract some revenge from Hawkins and Archer (who, according to Matt Striker, had been given a 30 day contract extension) after The Gatecrashers beat them both down on last week's show.

The match was decent, though hardly spectacular, and saw a solid victory for Vance Archer and  Curt Hawkins.
Your winners: Vance Archer and Curt Hawkins 

Backstage, Rosa Mendes approached Laycool with the idea of joining forces to become Laycoolrosa. The co-women's champions were unimpressed with the idea, and instead reduced Rosa to tears by ridiculing her loosing streak, her outfit and her make up. Well, that was a bit mean.

Moving on to Vickie Guerrero's office, the Smackdown Consultant first informed her nephew, Chavo Guerrero, that he had a match, before Dolph Ziggler arrived on the scene wearing a pair of very short, very tight shorts. Guerrero then had Ziggler put up a picture of the two of them so that she could admire his body as he did so. It was all a bit weird, and disturbing.

Chavo Guerrero vs. JTG 


With no time to prepare, Chavo Guerrero made his way to the ring still applying his wrist tape and with his boots untied. Still, it didn't stop him attacking his opponent from the outset. JTG finally gained some momentum and quickly put Chavo away with the Shoutout.

No idea what the point in that was, hopefully it may lead to something involving Chavo, who really is quite underutilised as a wrestler.
Your winner: JTG

After the match, JTG celebrated with three young kids, who looked totally confused as to why they were there.

Josh Matthews interviews Kofi Kingston


The Intercontinental Champion expressed his his disgust at the upcoming match between his rival, Drew McIntyre and Smackdown General Manager, Teddy Long, and vowed to beat McIntyre when the two meet at Fatal 4-Way.

Drew McIntyre vs. Teddy Long 

(Stipulation: If Teddy Long doesn't compete, he'll  be fired)

As per Vince McMahon's orders, the Smackdown General Manager was forced to the ring to square off against Drew McIntyre.

What transpired was less a match and more an exercise in ritual humiliation as McIntyre forced Long to get on his knees and admit that McIntyre was indeed, The Chosen One, then made the ageing GM lie on his back.

The bell rang, McIntyre put his foot on Long's chest, and the three count was made.
Your, erm, winner: Drew McIntyre

Afterwards, McIntyre set Long up for the Double-arm DDT, only to be distracted by the arrival of Kofi Kingston. Unfortunately for Kingston, he was unable to do much as an army of security guards McIntyre had placed at ringside cut off the Intercontinental Champion. With his enemy in the hands of the security mob, McIntyre was able to lay the blows into Kingston until Matt Hardy arrived from nowhere and attacked his Scottish rival. Security eventually took care of Hardy too, before Drew wrapped things up by hitting the Double-arm DDT on both Kingston and Hardy in the middle of the ring.

Well, talk about an effective way to get someone over as a heel, McIntyre looked strong as the ultimate bully.

Non-title match:  WWE Women's Champion Layla (with Michelle McCool) vs. Kelly Kelly (with Tiffany) 


As McCool and Tiffany watched on from ringside, Layla and Kelly put on a complete mess of a show between the ropes. This writer usually tries not to be too harsh against the  WWE Divas, but honestly, this was pretty awful.

After some  shenanigans involving Michelle McCool and Tiffany, Kelly Kelly won the match. Nobody cared.
Your winner: Kelly Kelly

Backstage, Josh Matthews interviewed Jack Swagger about this Sunday's Fatal  4-Way event. The World Heavyweight Champion was reminded of an event in his childhood when his father had told him that nobody remembers second place. Because of this, and because Fatal 4-Way will take place on Father's Day, Swagger dedicated his match to his Dad.

Dolph Ziggler vs.  Chris Masters

Introduced by Vickie Guerrero, Ziggler looked to use his speed against the strength of Chris Masters, who was about as over as a piece of cheese. Following a back and forth tussle which was actually pretty entertaining, Ziggler hit the Zig-Zag to earn the  victory.
Your winner: Dolph Ziggler

After a bit of hype for the Fatal 4-Way  pay per view, it was down to tonight's main event.

World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger and CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio and The Big Show


Following their confrontation earlier in the show, The Big Show and Mysterio took on Swagger and Punk in tonight's main event.  The action was solid throughout, with both teams trading the advantage before Rey Mysterio picked up the win for his team by pinning the World Heavyweight Champion.
Your winners: Rey Mysterio and The Big Show

Afterwards, Kane came to the ring and destroyed everyone again, before performing The Undertaker's salute towards an empty casket which sat ominously on the stage surrounded by shooting flames as Smackdown faded to black.


Final thoughts: 

Though most of tonight's matches were fairly short compared to your average Smackdown episode, this was still a reasonably enjoyable show on its own merit without being anything especially amazing.

The only problem we have now is what's likely to happen come Fatal 4-Way. I'm expecting NXT to interfere in the Raw 4-way match, whilst Kane has pretty much made it known that he'll be involved in the Smackdown match. How the two matches are going to be different from one another is anyone's guess, and it's only really the interference that's going to make both bouts interesting.

Speaking of Fatal 4-Way, I'm holding out hope that Kofi Kingston walks away with the win in  his title match with Drew McIntyre. Both men are solid in their roles, but after McIntyre's utter destruction of Kingston, Hardy and Teddy Long, common sense says that the evil villain deserves his comeuppance sooner rather than later.


TV REVIEW: WWE SMACKDOWN 18/06/10

June 18th, 2010
RALEIGH, North Carolina


Just two days before they compete for the World Heavyweight Championship at Fatal 4-Way, champion Jack Swagger,  CM Punk, Rey Mysterio and The Big Show meet each other in tag team action, though not before settling some scores with the monster that is Kane.

Here's what went down

*Note: This is a WWE SMackdown review from my archives, written live at the time back in 2010.*

The Undertaker returns...or does he?


CM Punk began tonight's show with an entertaining promo in which he claimed that,though he wasn't responsible for the downfall of The Undertaker, he wished he was, adding that he would be the first in line to shake the hand of whoever actually was responsible.

Punk continued to deride the Deadman, insisting that the entire WWE Universe was now much better without him, until the lights in the arena went out. When they came back on, The Undertaker himself appeared to be standing  in the centre of the ring, staring down a nervous CM Punk. Yet it wasn't The Phenom at all, rather Luke Gallows in a fake wig and a trench coat.

Unsurprisingly, this mockery of The Undertaker brought Kane charging to the ring, only for Jack Swagger to follow him and and help the Straight Edge Society ambush The Big Red Machine.

Eventually, The Big Show and Rey Mysterio ran to Kane's aid and saw off the villains, only to attack Kane as well, extracting revenge for the attack he carried out on last week's show.

MVP & Christian vs. Vance Archer and Curt Hawkins


MVP and Christian looked to extract some revenge from Hawkins and Archer (who, according to Matt Striker, had been given a 30 day contract extension) after The Gatecrashers beat them both down on last week's show.

The match was decent, though hardly spectacular, and saw a solid victory for Vance Archer and  Curt Hawkins.
Your winners: Vance Archer and Curt Hawkins 

Backstage, Rosa Mendes approached Laycool with the idea of joining forces to become Laycoolrosa. The co-women's champions were unimpressed with the idea, and instead reduced Rosa to tears by ridiculing her loosing streak, her outfit and her make up. Well, that was a bit mean.

Moving on to Vickie Guerrero's office, the Smackdown Consultant first informed her nephew, Chavo Guerrero, that he had a match, before Dolph Ziggler arrived on the scene wearing a pair of very short, very tight shorts. Guerrero then had Ziggler put up a picture of the two of them so that she could admire his body as he did so. It was all a bit weird, and disturbing.

Chavo Guerrero vs. JTG 


With no time to prepare, Chavo Guerrero made his way to the ring still applying his wrist tape and with his boots untied. Still, it didn't stop him attacking his opponent from the outset. JTG finally gained some momentum and quickly put Chavo away with the Shoutout.

No idea what the point in that was, hopefully it may lead to something involving Chavo, who really is quite underutilised as a wrestler.
Your winner: JTG

After the match, JTG celebrated with three young kids, who looked totally confused as to why they were there.

Josh Matthews interviews Kofi Kingston


The Intercontinental Champion expressed his his disgust at the upcoming match between his rival, Drew McIntyre and Smackdown General Manager, Teddy Long, and vowed to beat McIntyre when the two meet at Fatal 4-Way.

Drew McIntyre vs. Teddy Long 

(Stipulation: If Teddy Long doesn't compete, he'll  be fired)

As per Vince McMahon's orders, the Smackdown General Manager was forced to the ring to square off against Drew McIntyre.

What transpired was less a match and more an exercise in ritual humiliation as McIntyre forced Long to get on his knees and admit that McIntyre was indeed, The Chosen One, then made the ageing GM lie on his back.

The bell rang, McIntyre put his foot on Long's chest, and the three count was made.
Your, erm, winner: Drew McIntyre

Afterwards, McIntyre set Long up for the Double-arm DDT, only to be distracted by the arrival of Kofi Kingston. Unfortunately for Kingston, he was unable to do much as an army of security guards McIntyre had placed at ringside cut off the Intercontinental Champion. With his enemy in the hands of the security mob, McIntyre was able to lay the blows into Kingston until Matt Hardy arrived from nowhere and attacked his Scottish rival. Security eventually took care of Hardy too, before Drew wrapped things up by hitting the Double-arm DDT on both Kingston and Hardy in the middle of the ring.

Well, talk about an effective way to get someone over as a heel, McIntyre looked strong as the ultimate bully.

Non-title match:  WWE Women's Champion Layla (with Michelle McCool) vs. Kelly Kelly (with Tiffany) 


As McCool and Tiffany watched on from ringside, Layla and Kelly put on a complete mess of a show between the ropes. This writer usually tries not to be too harsh against the  WWE Divas, but honestly, this was pretty awful.

After some  shenanigans involving Michelle McCool and Tiffany, Kelly Kelly won the match. Nobody cared.
Your winner: Kelly Kelly

Backstage, Josh Matthews interviewed Jack Swagger about this Sunday's Fatal  4-Way event. The World Heavyweight Champion was reminded of an event in his childhood when his father had told him that nobody remembers second place. Because of this, and because Fatal 4-Way will take place on Father's Day, Swagger dedicated his match to his Dad.

Dolph Ziggler vs.  Chris Masters

Introduced by Vickie Guerrero, Ziggler looked to use his speed against the strength of Chris Masters, who was about as over as a piece of cheese. Following a back and forth tussle which was actually pretty entertaining, Ziggler hit the Zig-Zag to earn the  victory.
Your winner: Dolph Ziggler

After a bit of hype for the Fatal 4-Way  pay per view, it was down to tonight's main event.

World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger and CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio and The Big Show


Following their confrontation earlier in the show, The Big Show and Mysterio took on Swagger and Punk in tonight's main event.  The action was solid throughout, with both teams trading the advantage before Rey Mysterio picked up the win for his team by pinning the World Heavyweight Champion.
Your winners: Rey Mysterio and The Big Show

Afterwards, Kane came to the ring and destroyed everyone again, before performing The Undertaker's salute towards an empty casket which sat ominously on the stage surrounded by shooting flames as Smackdown faded to black.


Final thoughts: 

Though most of tonight's matches were fairly short compared to your average Smackdown episode, this was still a reasonably enjoyable show on its own merit without being anything especially amazing.

The only problem we have now is what's likely to happen come Fatal 4-Way. I'm expecting NXT to interfere in the Raw 4-way match, whilst Kane has pretty much made it known that he'll be involved in the Smackdown match. How the two matches are going to be different from one another is anyone's guess, and it's only really the interference that's going to make both bouts interesting.

Speaking of Fatal 4-Way, I'm holding out hope that Kofi Kingston walks away with the win in  his title match with Drew McIntyre. Both men are solid in their roles, but after McIntyre's utter destruction of Kingston, Hardy and Teddy Long, common sense says that the evil villain deserves his comeuppance sooner rather than later.


Saturday, 23 July 2016

PPV REVIEW: WWF - In Your House 8: Beware of Dog

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Original VHS video cassette
May 26, 1996 / May 28, 1996 
Florence Civic Center, Florence, South Carolina / North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, South Carolina.

In Your House 8: Beware of Dog is an event that will go down in WWE history, though not necessarily for anything that went down in the ring. 

Instead, the show is perhaps best remembered for the raging thunderstorm which plunged the Florence Civic Centre into darkness and cut off the Pay Per View feed.

As such, fans watching at home only got to see the opening contest and the main event, with the matches in between taking place in the dark for the live audience only.

Making things up to the PPV crowd, those missed matches were basically done over two nights later at the Charleston Coliseum in an event dubbed Beware of Dog 2. 


WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG
It's at this point that I feel like mentioning that this is the first Retro Pro Wrestling review that I've done from the original VHS cassette tape which, I can tell you, was an experience of its own.
Before we even get as far as the opening signature, my trusty VHS comes with a helpful reminder not to try and order the PPV because the telephone lines won't work. Phew, thanks Silvervision.

The World Wrestling Federation, for over 50 years, the revolutionary force...in sports entertainment.

Free for All

Tonight's opening pre-show segment wasted no time in getting right down to the action, with Vince McMahon and Jerry Lawler introducing our first match.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship 

WWF Tag Team Champiions The Godwins (Henry O. & Phineas I. Godwin w/ Hillbilly Jim and Sunny) 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Sunny declared herself the new co-manager of WWF Tag Team Champions The Godwins
This was during the time when Sunny was switching allegiances to whichever team had the titles, so, as The Smoking Gunns made their entrance, we got a pre-taped segment in which Mr. Perfect's interview with new champions The Godwins was interrupted by the former Body Donna, who declared that Phineas had officially signed a contract at Madison square garden to make her the new co-manager of the champs.

Not that the pig farmers' reign would last all that long.

Following a relatively mediocre match which Lawler and McMahon completely ignored (focusing instead on shilling the PPV), Sunny hopped up onto the apron looking to cause a distraction.

Instead, it was the Original Diva who wound up distracted, finding herself on the receiving end of a big, drawn out kiss from not-yet-bad-ass Billy Gunn.


The smooch was enough to put Phineas into a state of shock, allowing Bart to roll him up for the cover, the count, and the victory.
Your Winners and New Tag Team Champions: The Smoking Gunns

Post match, Sunny sat on the apron, flashing thigh and looking like the proverbial smitten kitten.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Billy Gunn kissed Sunny before winning the WWF Tag Team Titles from The GodwinsMeanwhile, backstage, Billy and Bart spoke to Doc Hendrix, boasting about their third tag team title reign and claiming that their new aggressive style was due to nobody visiting Billy during his recent stay in hospital. It was a pretty horrible promo, designed to subtly turn the Brothers Gunn heel but only really resulting in Billy looking like a goof who couldn't remember his lines.

Recapping Shawn vs. Davey

Up next, my In Your House VHS tape quickly cut to a lengthy hype video for tonight's big championship match between Shawn Michaels and The British Bulldog.

For those needing to refresh their memories, here's the story in brief:

At the previous pay per view, In Your House: Good Friends, Better Enemies, an irate Bulldog was found searching for HBK after learning that the WWF Champion had -allegedly- tried to sleep with Bulldog's wife, Diana Smith.

The two had a confrontation on Raw, a melee on the WWF 1996 Kuwait tour in which Davey hurled Michaels into the ocean, and several other altercations, all resulting in both tonight's match, and a restraining order against Michaels being taken out by Diana.

Recapping the Undertaker vs. Goldust match

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - The Undertaker challenged Goldust for the WWF Intercontinental Title
More video followed, this one telling u s how we got to tonight's casket match between the Bizarre One and the Phenom. Namely, the match was signed, mind games ensued, and Mankind got involved, leading to his memorable feud with Undertaker which proved to be one of the highlights of 1996.

Goldust was ready for action tonight, interrupting Doc's crowd hype and demanding that the Undertaker meet him in the ring at that Instant.

The lights flickered, teasing the arrival of The Phenom. Instead, we cut to another Shawn/Davey promo, and the start of tonight's show proper.

Marc Mero is Wild

Kicking things off, we got a quick recap of the rivalry between Marc Mero and Hunter Hearst Helmsley, which started back at Wrestlemania 12 when Mero saved Sable from a tongue lashing by Hunter.

Over the past couple of weeks, Mero had fallen victim to several HHH attacks and even eaten a couple of pedigrees. Backstage, Doc Hendrix asked the former Johnny B. Badd what strategy he had in place to avoid being pedigreed again.

In response, the Wildman completely ignored the question and instead cut the same basic promo he always cut during this run; talking about how wild he was and yelling something about a jungle.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. 'Wildman Marc Mero' w/ Sable

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Wildman Marc Mero beat Triple H in an awesome opening match
Somewhat surprisingly, this turned into a damn fun match, with Hunter bringing his A -erm- game to make sure every moment counted.

For his part, Mero spent most of the time getting his previously injured shoulder worked over before mounting an admittedly enjoyable comeback in the closing moments.

Unfortunately for the Wildman, a failed attempt at a somersault to the outside was missed, causing him to bust he knee and almost fall prey to a third pedigree. Instead, Hunter's who got the better of him, and he made his way to the outside, forcing Sable to watch him finish off her husband.

This gave Mero just enough time to get his act together, and counter another pedigree attempt into a catapult for the win.
Your Winner: Marc Mero

It was round about this point that the storms I mentioned at the top of this review began to really take their toll, plunging the arena into darkness and causing the live PPV feed to cut off right up to the time of the scheduled main event.

As such, that bout was next up on my In Your House VHS tape.

Owen Hart: Manager for the Night

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Jim Cornette got Owen Hart a manager's license for the Bulldog vs. HBK match
Backstage, Mr. Perfect stood by with Davey Boy Smith, Owen Hart, Diana Smith, Clarence Mason, Jim Cornette and some fat guy with glasses who basically stood in the background looking gormless.

Cornette declared that -since he had his hands full managing Vader in a match against Yokozuna- he had acquired a one-night's managers license for Owen.

Cutting to another part of the arena, Michaels told Hendrix that it wasn't he who needed to beware of the Bulldog, but rather the Bulldog who needed to be aware of The Clique.

Shawn and manager Jose Lothario then made their way to the curtain, bumping into Mr. Perfect en route in a move which seemed pointless, but was in all likelihood just a case of Hennig accidentally getting caught on camera at the wrong moment. With that, it was finally onto the match...

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. The British Bulldog (w/ Owen Hart, Diana Smith, and Clarence Mason)

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Shawn Michaels defended the World Wrestling Federation title against Davey Boy Smith
Although it wasn't quite...

Before the bell, attorney Clarence Mason served The Heartbreak Kid with a summons, ordering him to court to face charges of some made-up offence which was so ridiculous I didn't even name it properly.

In true pro wrestling fashion, good guy Michaels promptly ripped up the court order to the delight of the audience, only to get attacked from behind by Davey Boy.

Michaels soon regained control, and the two went back and forth, trading the advantage on several occasions in what proved to be a good, main-event caliber match, at least for the time period.

I've read rumours that Michaels threw one of his famous temper tantrums part way through this one, and there was a point when the champ was locked in a Bulldog chinlock where he appeared to have forgotten all about selling to vent his frustrations towards the referee.

It wasn't long after this that said referee took a tumble, leading us into the finish. With the Bulldog in control, Michaels slipped out of a running powerslam attempt and sent the challenger careering face first into the corner. Davey staggered back, Shawn hit a bridging German suplex, and the replacement referee counted to three.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Diana Smith's husband British Bulldog faced Shawn Michaels for the WWF title
Yet things weren't as clear cut as they should have been. It turned out that the replacement ref had counted Michaels' shoulders as being down, leading Bulldog's music to strike, and Diana Smith to parade around holding the WWF title upside down.

The original ref then argued that Bulldog's shoulders had been down, prompting WWF President Gorilla Monsoon to make his way out and declare the whole thing a draw.
Result: Draw (Shawn Michaels retains the WWF Championship)

It was at this point that the show took a decidedly different turn. Fast forwarding two days to the Tuesday after Raw, we were about to get the re-doing of the matches which took place during the power outage at the original pay per view.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Ted Dibiase promised to leave the WWF if Stone Cold Steve Austin didn't beat Savio VegaThis took place at what looked to be a standard WWF TV taping, and for the most part it felt like one, despite the best efforts of our new commentary team, Jim Ross and Mr. Perfect, to make it seem important.

Prior to the first match of what the company had dubbed In Your House: Beware of Dog 2, we got a clip from the previous evening's Monday Night Raw broadcast, in which the Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase vowed to leave the World Wrestling Federation if his man, Stone Cold Steve Austin didn't beat Savio Vega in their upcoming Caribbean strap match.

Caribbean Strap Match
Savio Vega vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (w/ Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase) 

Throughout the original PPV broadcast, McMahon and Lawler had hyped up the stipulation that if Savio lost the match, he would be forced to become Dibiase's personal chauffeur. The new self-imposed stipulation by Dibiase certainly added something to the drama of the match, though to be fair, this would have been just as enjoyable even if there'd been nothing on the line. 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Stone Cold Steve Austin lost to Savio Vega in an awesome strap match
Indeed, despite lacking the big time pay per view feel, both Savio and Stone Cold worked hard to deliver a very fun match, laying into each other both inside and outside the ring and using the strap to come up with unique -for the mid-90s WWF at least- spots. 

After pummeling each other for the better part of fifteen minutes, Austin looked to set to have the whole thing won, dragging Savio behind him as he went from corner to corner, touching each top turnbuckle pad as per the rules of the bout. 

Unbeknownst the future WWF Champion, Vega was actually tapping the 'buckles to, and when Austin hurled his rival into the fourth corner, he cost himself the match, and Ted Dibiase his WWF career. 
Your Winner: Savio Vega 

Post match, Savio led the South Carolina faithful in a terrible rendition of "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" as Ted Dibiase walked off World Wrestling Federation television following an incredible career through the late 80s and early 90s. 

Yokozuna vs. Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Yokozuna lost to Vader
To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why Mr. Fuji wasn't with Yokozuna here, though to be honest, I seem to remember him just gradually disappearing from television early into Yoko's face run. 

Fuji or not, Yoko put forth an entertaining effort here; both he and Vader really got the crowd into the match in the early going before the former battered the latter from pillar to post in a fun -albeit brief- match. 

Despite dominating for much of the contest, former two time WWF Champion Yokozuna lost the bout after attempting to hit the Banzai Drop on Jim Cornette. 

Vader rolled his manager out of harms way, causing Yoko to hit the canvas hard. A couple of attacks to Yoko's previously injured leg was then all it took for the Mastadon to pick up a victory. 
Your Winner: Vader

Before our next match, we were shown a brief recap of the slow-burning feud between Goldust and Ahmed Johnson, a feud which turned out to have practically nothing to do with our final bout of the evening. 

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship Casket Match
WWF Intercontinental Champion Goldust (w/ Marlena) vs. The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer 
Though it should be pretty obvious to anyone who's ever read my WWF reviews in the past, I rate matches solely on whether or not I personally enjoyed them. As such, whilst this mostly forgotten casket match may have its fans, I can't say I'm one of them. 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 8 - BEWARE OF DOG - Goldust narrowly beat The Undertaker with help from Mankind
Running at only eight minutes, most of those minutes were pretty tedious, and saw the champion dominating the bulk of the contest with a few crowd-popping comebacks from The Dead Man. 

Speaking of comebacks, Undertaker looked set to win his first Intercontinental Championship by landing his trademark Tombstone Piledriver and rolling his opponent towards the casket. Instead, Mankind popped up out of said casket, knocked 'Taker out with the Mandible Claw and rolled him inside. The lid slammed shut, and this one was over. 
Your Winner and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Goldust


With Mankind still sat on top of it, the casket began to emit smoke. Mankind then made his way backstage as to the shock of nobody besides Paul Bearer, the casket was now revealed to be empty. The lights went out, The Undertaker Gong erm, gonged, and Beware of Dog 2 was off the air. 

Despite the final match on the tape, Beware of Dog was actually a damn fine show from start to finish. The Caribbean Strap Match has been referred to be some as an oft-forgotten classic, and I tend to agree. It was by far the best match on the show, and that's with a solid effort from Michaels/Bulldog and an entertaining opener between HHH/Mero competing for the MOTN award. 
Definitly track this one down if you can. 

Monday, 4 July 2016

PPV REVIEW - WWF - IN YOUR HOUSE 7 - GOOD FRIENDS, BETTER ENEMENIES

April 28, 1996
Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska

The World Wrestling Federation of early 1996 was certainly an interesting place, one that saw the company slowly -oh so very slowly- moving away from the outlandish cartoon characters which had tarnished the early days of the New Generation, without quite going far enough into the edgy territory which would make the start of the Attitude Era.

Instead, In Your House 7: Good Friends, Better Enemies found the company somewhere in between, with Shawn Michaels leading the charge and best friends Kevin Nash and Scott Hall putting in their last appearances on WWF television for six years. Shortly after this event, the two would jump ship to World Championship Wrestling, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

For now however, let's focus on this often forgotten, but actually quite enjoyable In Your House offering, featuring Nash and Michaels in a brutal main event, Ultimate Warrior and Goldust in a match that was brutal for all the wrong reasons, and this pre-show Free for All: 




"The World Wrestling Federation, for over fifty years, the revolutionary force...in sports...entertainment."

Ah, the sound of my childhood.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 7 - GOOD FRIENDS BETTER ENEMIES - Jerry Lawler and Vince McMahon were our commentators for tonight's show
Following the opening signature, tonight's show began with a video look back at the friendship-turned-rivalry-turned-friendship-turned-rivalry between our new WWF Champion, The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, and the former champ, Big Daddy Cool Diesel. 

Tonight, the two would square off in a no-holds barred match which to this day remains one of this writer's personal favourites from the 1990s. Before that however, we had our usual welcome from commentators Jerry 'The King' Lawler and Vince McMahon, both of whom were interrupted by the music of Davey Boy Smith in readiness for our opening contest.

The Bulldog is afraid of snakes
As the two made their way to the ring, we got a look back to a house show in Germany, in which Jake 'The Snake' Roberts freaked out Davey Boy with a snake. This lead to tonight's match, to Camp Cornette attorney Clarence Mason issuing a writ banning Roberts' snake from ringside, and Roberts cutting a brief pre-match promo in which he vowed to ignore said writ and bring the snake out anyway.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 7 - GOOD FRIENDS BETTER ENEMIES - Jake Roberts promises to bring his snake out for a match against British Bulldog
Which, as you probably guessed, he did, unleashing the python in the middle of the ring and causing most of Camp Cornette to hightail it out of the ring. I say most, because Cornette himself never actually made it, instead passing out in the corner of the ring until Mason came to revive him.

Eventually playing by the rules (he was a pre-Attitude Era babyface after all) Roberts eventually took the snake backstage, only to return with Ahmed Johnson, changing what seemed like it was going to be a Bulldog/Roberts singles clash, into a tag bout.

British Bulldog & Owen Hart  (w/ Jim Cornette and Clarence Mason) vs. Jake 'The Snake' Roberts & Ahmed Johnson 
From the proceeding angle to the early moments of the match, this whole thing was played up for laughs and laughs alone.

In the first few minutes, both Davey and Owen tried to get the other one to do step up for a showdown with the Pearl River Powerhouse, Ahmed Johnson. It was, if not necessarily hilarious, at least very well played by both men, and proof -if ever proof were needed- that the two were among the best all-rounders the World Wrestling Federation had at the time.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 7 - GOOD FRIENDS BETTER ENEMIES - Jake Roberts works over Owen Hart
Inevitably, the heels managed to gain the upperhand, taking control in what was a very fun opening match.

Towards the finish, Ahmed Johnson turned the tables for his team, going on a rampage which -whilst it certainly revealed some of the flaws in his skill set- also revealed a raw charisma and highlighted his popularity with the crowd, both of which made him seem like a sure-fire main eventer in the making back in 1996.

Alas, tonight wasn't to be Johsnon & Robert's day. With the referee distracted by Owen and Ahmed, Bulldog took out Jake's knee with Jim Cornette's tennis racket, then wrenched the battered joint for a quick submission victory.
Your Winners: British Bulldog & Owen Hart 

Still with the Intercontinental Championship around his waist after defeating Razor Ramon several months ago (a fact I totally forgot about during my Wrestlemania 12 review because the announcers never once mentioned it), Goldust was up next to defend the title in one of the most farcical non-matches to ever take place.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Goldust (w/ Marlena and Unnamed Bodyguard)
WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 7 - GOOD FRIENDS BETTER ENEMIES - Ultimate Warrior smokes Marlena's cigar in his 'match' against Goldust
For the record, the 'Unnamed Bodyguard' was -as most long-time fans know by now- Mike Halac, better known for his ill-fated 1995 run as half-man/half-beast Mantaur. 

Also for the record, this was terrible.

Having made his big return to the company at Wrestlemania 12 in a squash-match outing against Hunter Hearst Helmsley, former Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior was looking to take back the title he last won way back at Summerslam 1988, not that he seemed to be taking things all that seriously.

Taking just as long with his entrance as your typical Undertaker arrival at Wrestlemania, Warrior's pre-match rope shaking made this writer realise that the late legend's 1996 run was less about having him compete in matches, and more about the true spectacle of the Ultimate Warrior. Which was perhaps just as well, because this really was no match at all.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 7 - GOOD FRIENDS BETTER ENEMIES - Ultimate Warrior generally being awesome in a match against Goldust
The majority of this extended angle saw Goldust too afraid to step inside the ring against the Warrior who, for his part, spent most of the time smoking Marlena's cigar and inviting Goldie to step 'tween the ropes and take a seat on his director's chair, which had been set up in the ring.

The champ finally acquiesced, only to have his hand burned with the cigar and to be clotheslined directly out of his chair by the Warrior.

Once again, Goldust escaped, only this time he was finally counted out, giving the match -but not the title- to the Ultimate one.
Your Winner via countout: Ultimate Warrior (Goldust retains the Intercontinental Championship) 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 7 - GOOD FRIENDS BETTER ENEMIES - British Bulldog wanted to break into Shawn Michaels locker room after the champ upset his wife
Backstage, Doc Hendrix brought us word that a seriously irate British Bulldog was trying to get into Shawn Michaels' dressing room. Apparently, Michaels had said something untoward about Bulldog's wife Diana, and Davey Boy was not happy. Though nothing would come of this tonight, it would lead us to next month's main event, as the two squared off for the title at In Your House: Beware of Dog.

Vader (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. Razor Ramon
In his last WWF pay per view appearance until the new millennium, Razor Ramon got his ass handed to him by Vader in a hard-hitting, though not terribly exciting match.

Razor did get his time to shine, pummeling The Mastadon into the corner, clobbering him with several clotheslines, and eventually driving him over the ropes to the outside, but this match -which was about 90% fists and clotheslines- belonged to Vader, and wasn't very good because of it.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 7 - GOOD FRIENDS BETTER ENEMIES - Scott 'Razor Ramon' Hall wouldn't be seen on WWF TV again until 6 years after losing to Vader
Sure, there were a few highlights, particularly during The Bad Guy's big comeback towards the finish, but this was one of those plodding brawls that was just a chore to watch, and when Vader finally put Ramon out of his misery, yours truly was very glad that this one was over.
Your Winner: Vader

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the last time we would ever see the Razor Ramon character compete on a World Wrestling Federation pay per view.

Post-match, Doc Hendrix told Jim Cornette and Vader that because of the latter's victory tonight, he would be facing Yokozuna at next month's In Your House pay per view.

Mr. Perfect interviews Sunny
"Sunny, I just have to say that you have the greatest pair of...tag team wrestlers I have ever seen in the World Wrestling Federation," began wrestler-turned-interviewer Mr. Perfect. 

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 7 - GOOD FRIENDS BETTER ENEMIES - Mr. Perfect interviews Sunny and the Body Donnas
Tonight, the Perfect One was on-hand to interview Sunny about how she'd basically used her smoking hot body to distract Phineas Godwin enough to allow the Body Donnas to beat the Godwins for the WWF Tag Team Championship back in the Wrestlemania 12 Free-For-All.

The two teams would meet in a rematch next.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Body Donnas (Skip & Zip, w/ Sunny) vs. The Godwins (Henry  & Phineas Godwin, w/ Hillbilly Jim)

Back in the 90s, the Body Donnas were on of my favourite tag teams for the sole reason that they had Sunny in their corner. Watching these shows back some 20 years later, it occurs to me that Skip & Zip are still one of my favourite teams from that period, albeit for a completely different reason; namely, that they could put on an awesome tag match given half the chance.

Coupled with a Godwins team who played their parts perfectly well, the champions pulled off another entertaining content and took the win when shennanigans on the outside (Sunny gave Phineas a signed picture, causing Hillbilly Jim to threaten her with the slop bucket) allowed Zip to switch places with a beaten up skip, and to ultimately roll up Henry O. for a quick pinfall.

Not the longest match by any means, but certainly a very enjoyable outing.
Your Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: The Body Donnas

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 7 - GOOD FRIENDS BETTER ENEMIES - Wildman Marc Mero and Sable weren't happy with Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Backstage, Doc Hendrix showed us a clip from the earlier Free For All show, reminding us how Triple H and the 123 Kid had earlier beaten up Wildman Marc Mero. Hendrix was now standing by with the Wildman and Sable. The latter said nothing, the former told Hunter that he would regret the attack, and would eventually answer to the 'call of the wild.'

Indeed.

Shawn and Diesel - Good Friends, Better Enemies 
Before we got to tonight's big time main event, we were given another look at the storied history between Big Daddy Cool and the Heartbreak Kid. This was followed by brief, pre-taped promos from both men. The champ promised that one way or another, he and the Kliq (HBK's fans, not the infamous backstage group) would dance all over Diesel's face. The challenger responded by threatening to destroy Shawn and promising that he had something special for Vince McMahon.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 7 - GOOD FRIENDS BETTER ENEMIES - Diesel destroyed former friend Shawn Michaels in their No Holds Barred match for the WWF title
No Holds Barred Match for the World Wrestling Federation Champion
WWF Champion The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. Big Daddy Cool Diesel
Before the match got underway, that 'something special' seemed to be nothing more than Diesel's ring jacket, which he threw at McMahon just seconds before the cameras panned over to Mad Dog Vachon. For all intents and purposes, Vachon was merely a 'legend in the crowd,' but would play a much greater role later on in this very good main event.

Neither man wasted any time in laying right into each other, but it was the challenger who took the upperhand in the early going, and then continued to dominate for the bulk of the contest.

No, this wasn't the fastest paced match in history, but it was dramatic, intense, somewhat emotional and -at least by WWF's standards at the time- incredibly brutal.

WWF / WWE - IN YOUR HOUSE 7 - GOOD FRIENDS BETTER ENEMIES - Shawn Michaels was powerbombed through the announce table by Diesel in their No Holds Barred match for the WWF title
Diesel basically destroyed his rival, along with Earl Hebner, McMahon and Lawler's announce table, and -here is folks- Mad Dog Vachon, ripping the future Hall of Famer's artificial leg off and bringing it to the ring.
Unfortunately for BDC, that was to be his downfall. After taking an absolute beating at the hands of his former bodyguard, Michaels recovered just long enough to nail Diesel with Vachon's leg. A quick Sweet Chin Music later, and this one was over.
Your Winner and STILL WWF Champion: Shawn Michaels 




Honestly, going into that match, I didn't anticipate enjoying it as much today as I did a 12 year-old kid, so I'm actually very happy that I was proven wrong. No, it might not be the greatest of all time, but for my money, Diesel vs. Shawn at Good Friends, Better Enemies is an oft-forgotten highlight of the mid-90s.

As for the rest of the card, there honestly isn't much to rave about. Sure, the opening segments with Owen, Bulldog, Ahmed Johnson, and Jake Roberts were entertaining in their own way, and the tag team title contest was fun to watch, but they were hardly extraordinary, and don't exactly make this throw-away event a must-see for anyone other than the most ardent of fans. 

Saturday, 2 July 2016

TV REVIEW: WWE SMACKDOWN 10th ANNIVERSARY SHOW 2009

02/10/09
Boston, Massachusetts

Finally..The Rock, has come back to Smackdown. Well, in video form at least; delivering a special message to wrestlers and wrestling fans alike as part of the ten year anniversary of WWE Smackdown. Celebrating in style, all three brands are on hand for a very special edition of the best wrestling show on TV that culminates with an epic eight-man tag team main event.

Here's what went down when the stars of Smackdown celebrated their birthday.



*Note. This review was written live at the time back in December 2009. I found it recently whilst going through my writing portfolio and decided to post it here.* 

Batista vs. Kane 

Following an exciting video highlighting some of Smackdown's most memorable moments, two of the brand's biggest men collide in the ring.

As Big Dave makes his way to the ring, we're treated a flashback of the time he and Rey Mysterio defeated MNM for the tag team titles, and whilst he'll no doubt be hoping that a similar scene plays out come Hell in the Cell this Sunday, right now 'The Animal' has his hands full with 'The Big Red Machine'.

It's a decent effort from both men which produces a reasonably entertaining match, at least by their individual standards. After some hard-hitting, back-and-forth action, a Bastita Bomb puts Kane away for the three count.

Your Winner: Batista

Out in the back, the entire WWE roster is on hand for one giant party, celebrating ten years of Smackdown. Michael Cole pokes fun of himself by over-using his 'vintage' catchphrase (it's funny the first time, but soon gets just as annoying as when he uses it at the commentator's table) before Finlay orders some Irish whiskey and proposes a toast to Smackdown. Not surprisingly, CM Punk arrives on the scene to denounce the debauchery.

There's a cameo from Santino who, under the impression that it's a fancy-dress party, is decked in Undertaker attire and thus scares the life out of Teddy Long, but the highlight of the whole segment is the appearance of a returning Vickie Guerrero.

After lambasting Teddy for reinstating The Undertaker's Hell's Gate, the nuclear heat machine herself announces that she'll be returning to the brand to manage newcomer, Eric Escobar. Whether Escobar is much good remains to be seen, but this writer welcomes the return of one of the most entertaining women the show has ever seen.

After a quick commercial, we've got more from the big party. There are some things in life that this reporter never thought he'd have to commit to writing and 'a drunken Michael Cole eats shrimp with Finlay' is certainly one of them. Vintage Cole makes a joke about Hornswoggle's height, causing the little leprechaun to kick him in the shin.

Over on the other side of the room, Zack Ryder is denied access to MVP's V.I.P Lounge, whilst everyone from Charlie Haas to The Iron Sheik are allowed inside.

A Tribute to Eddie...


Smackdown fades into an emotional tribute video to the late, great Eddie Guerrero, and your reporter isn't ashamed to admit that it brought a tear to the eye.

Tag Team Match: Intercontinental Champion John Morrison & United States Champion Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler & The Miz


Building towards their respective title matches at Hell in a Cell, Ziggler and Miz take it to their opponents in a very entertaining tag team contest as Jack Swagger watches on from ringside.

Meeting in the ring for the first time since they were separated, The Miz and John Morrison elicit a rave response from the Boston crowd as they kick things off, before things explode into an exciting, fast-paced bout which ends when Ziggler hits the Zig Zag on Morrison to pick up the win for his team.

Your Winners: Dolph Ziggler & The Miz 

Back at the party, racial stereotyping is in full effect as Yoshi Tatsu and Kung Fu Naki indulge in a spot of karaoke, singing Shawn Michael's theme tune. Jillian Hall takes over and the party comes screeching to a halt as her voice sends a disturbing chill up your writer's spine.

Whilst all this is going on, Sgt. Slaughter and the Iron Sheik get into a less-than-eloquent argument over which is better; the USA or Iran. The Sheik chokes on a piece of food, causing The Hurricane to come to the rescue.

Elsewhere, Michael Cole throws up on Chris Jericho's shoe, setting off a chain reaction as The Big Show also hurls. The look on Jericho's face deserves several awards.

Finally, The Rock has Come Back to Smackdown...


You could argue that the reason The Rock's appearance on tonight's show is such fun is all down to nostalgia. You could even argue that the reason his appearance makes for such a good segment is simply down to the novelty factor. You could, but you'd be wrong.

The reason why The Rock's segment on the tenth anniversary of Smackdown show is so good, is because The Rock himself is so good. Despite his years away from the business, 'The Great One' manages to deliver an incredible promo that puts most of today's current stars to shame. It's a hilarious, exciting performance from one of the most popular superstars in WWE history as The Rock brings out all his old catchphrases, puts over the Hell in a Cell pay per view and even hints at a possible guest host spot on Raw.

WWE Women's Championship Lumberjack Match: Michelle McCool defends against Melina 


With what looks like every WWE Diva in the company surrounding the ring, McCool defends her title against Melina in a fun little match that eventually breaks down into a full-scale diva riot.

As the lumberjacks, or jills, if you will, lay into each other on the outside, Beth Phoenix gives McCool the assist in keeping hold of her gold.

Your Winner and still WWE Divas Champion:

In a silly promo complete with creepy music, The Undertaker cuts his usual 'you will burn in the depths of hell' promo on CM Punk, and promises to make the champion need pills and alcohol. Yeah, great message for the PG crowd, 'Taker.

From the Vault: Matt Hardy vs. Chavo Guerrero, Smackdown 2002.


Is it just me, or is Chavo becoming something of a FTV regular? Not that anyone's complaining; going up against another FTV regular in Matt Hardy, the Mexican warrior takes it to his opponent in a very enjoyable, hard-hitting contest which is interrupted towards the finish by Kane...not the actual person, just, as Michael Cole describes it, his 'presence being felt'. This distraction is enough to allow Chavo to drill his opponent and pick up the win.

Your Winner: Chavo Guerrero

Heading to the back, the party is in full flow when Drew McIntyre takes up the microphone and proposes a toast; to Smackdown, to the future World Champion, to himself, and to the party just getting started. This brings out R-Truth, who ruins everybody's evening, and the cake, by brawling with McIntyre. The WWE Superstars come together to break things up, and the party is pretty much over.


Eight-Man Tag Team Match: DX, WWE Champion John Cena & The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton, Legacy and CM Punk

Billed as  'the biggest eight man tag team match in Smackdown history', this one certainly isn't short of star power as the top performers of both the red and blue brands do battle in a solid, action-packed main event.

A particularly nice touch comes in the form of lingering tension between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, still playing up the rivalry that led to their MOTY candidate at Wrestlemania 25.

The two legends aside, everybody plays their part well, creating a very enjoyable match which brings an equally enjoyable show to a close when The Undertaker pops Orton with the Tombstone for the win.

Your Winners: DX, John Cena and The Undertaker

In the post-match, the winners celebrate, each star posing to their own theme music as blue confetti falls from the rafters.

Final Thoughts:
For the last ten years, Smackdown has consistently proved its worth as an entertaining show and tonight's anniversary celebrations were a fitting tribute to a program which rarely fails to deliver. Despite not achieving very much (other than reaffirming the beliefs of most people that Michael Cole is some sort of idiot), the backstage party skits were entertaining, whilst the in-ring action ranged from good to great.

The return of Vickie Guerrero is most welcomed by this writer, and even after months away from the spot-light the former General Manager didn't miss a beat.

Yet for all that was great about tonight's show, one thing stood head and shoulders above the rest as the greatest; that spine-tingling promo from The Rock. If any one of Smackdown's current stars could develop even half the skill and charisma possessed by 'The Great One' in his prime, then the Friday night show may well continue to impress for many more years to come.

Happy tenth anniversary, Smackdown. Here's to ten more great years.

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.