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

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

ARCHIVED WRITING: WWE 2009 Draft: Things look good for Smackdown

Back in 2008-2009, I took good advantage of my day job as a journalist to pen a regular pro-wrestling feature on my 'zine's website. Said website is no longer active, but I do still have a bunch of the stuff I wrote.

So, in an attempt to add more content to Retro Pro Wrestling, whilst at the same time making this blog a sort of complete archive of my 20+ years as a wrestling fan, I thought I'd share some of those features (and later Raw, Smackdown and PPV reviews) with you guys.

Here goes.

On the face of it, the annual draft which took place on Monday’s three-hour edition of WWE Raw seems to prove the E's own lackadaisical attitudes to their other brands.

Once again Raw dominated the draft proceedings and, at least on paper, depleted Smackdown’s stock when it comes to the amount of talent left on the blue show.

With WWE Champion Triple H taking his title with him to Raw, Smackdown finds itself without a main event champion (at least until Backlash).MVP, Matt Hardy and The Big Show have also been moved over to Monday nights, diminishing Smackdown’s star power even further.

It’s almost as though WWE wants you to believe that Raw is the only show that really matters, enforcing the point by bringing over the majority of Smackdown stars who are even remotely over and who come armed with a decent amount of talent.

Though this time, perhaps Raw’s gain isn’t necessarily Smackdown’s loss.

Assuming that Edge doesn’t somehow get switched in the supplemental draft on Wednesday, let’s look at who Teddy Long has on his books right now:

CM Punk, Chris Jericho, Jeff Hardy, Shelton Benjamin, Rey Mysterio, Edge; six men who, between them, could deliver some outstanding matches over the course of the next twelve months.

Add some on-form performances from The Undertaker, get Christian over in the supplemental draft and you’ve got the makings of a solid top-tier on what I’ve often thought of as WWE’s ‘wrestling show’.

Of course, this could all go skew-whiff.

Judging by the spoilers for this Friday’s show, it seems the company don’t quite have enough faith in their new Smackdown line-up to let them get on with it, and have given us a Raw main event to finish things off.

Not only that, but feuds which should have ended thanks to the split seem to be continuing on, draft or no draft.

Still, I remain optimistic.

Creatively, World Wrestling Entertainment seems to be in limbo at the minute, with the aftermath of Wrestlemania 25 still lingering in the air.

Let them get all the loose ends tied up with Backlash (which, by the way, is free on Sky Sports for fans in the UK), and hopefully Smackdown can get on with being an awesome show.

At least until the next draft.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

ARCHIVED WRITING: Wrestlemania 25 + post WWE Raw thoughts

So, Wrestlemania 25 has been and gone and your blogger scored a pitiful 4/9 on the prediction front.

[NOTE: This is an archived post I wrote elsewhere after WM25.]

Regardless of my psychic abilities and despite the general feeling among the internet wrestling community that it was a pretty poor show, I found it pretty entertaining.

Money in the Bank 2009 wasn’t the greatest incarnation of the annual spotfest, but it certainly had it’s moments; not least of which was that Shelton Benjamin spot.

The Shawn Michaels/Undertaker clash left me, and probably everybody else, speechless and far surpassed anything that took place in the two title bouts.

If there’s any heavy criticism to be flung in WM25’s direction, it’s down to the omission of the tag team title unification bout in favour of a performance from Kid Rock which went on far too long and a very badly done Divas Battle Royal.

That said, I did find the whole Saninto/Santina thing far funnier than it should have been. If you ask me, Anthony Carelli could well have a career in Hollywood comedies should The Big ‘E ever wish him well on future endeavors.

Following Wrestlemania, WWE hosted Raw the following evening.

Is it just me, or was this actually a pretty naff show? The in-ring action wasn’t bad for the most part, but even when you consider the announcement of two title matches for Backlash, it really seemed as though the group were simply killing time until next week’s draft.

I’d love to write a blog about the draft later this week but, being realistic, I know I probably won’t have time.

If I don’t get round to it, here’s what I would have said:

“The WWE draft is completely pointless given the company’s own disregard for roster splits. However, it would be pretty awesome if CM Punk and Christian were drafted to Smackdown and had some good matches.”

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

ARCHIVED WRITING: Wrestlemania 25 predictions

The Showcase of the Immortals, the Grandest Stage of them All, The Big One, Wrestlemania 25 takes place this Sunday, April 5th 2009 and here’s who I think will be leaving Houston, Texas with a tick in the win column.

[NOTE: This archived post contains my original predictions for Wrestlemania 25, originally posted on the morning of April 5th, 2009.]

Tag Team Unification Bout

Next to Michaels/Undertaker, this is probably the one this blogger has been looking forward to the most.

Forget Triple H/Orton. Who cares about Show/Cena/Edge? Those who regular tune in to the blue brand will hopefully agree that Carlito, Primo, Miz and Morrison have the potential to provide a surprising highlight of the night.

Who’s going to win? Miz & Morrison of course. Or at least, they should.

The Dirt Sheet Duo have been on a role these past twelve months and a win here should further cement their status as the premier tandem in the company.

And if Carlito & Primo do somehow snatch a win, expect M & M to grab the straps somewhere down the line.

Regardless as to who wins this one, it should be a pretty entertaining affair.

Money in the Bank

This one is hard to pick, especially as I’m not all that interested in it.

What makes predicting a winner even harder is that the wrestler I think will win is at odds with the wrestler I want to win.

I really want MVP to walk away with the briefcase, simply because he’s fun to watch and I reckon he’d be great in the upper echelons of WWE.

That said, my gut instinct tells me CM Punk is going to win, transfer to Smackdown in the draft and get into something long term, hopefully with Edge.

The IWC seems to have their collective coffers on Christian, but I’m bucking the trend and going with the Straight Edge Superstar.

25 Divas Battle Royal

Let’s face it, nothing long term could be achieved by having a diva on a one-shot deal win this.

No, this one needs to go to someone active on the roster who could benefit. I don’t really care who wins, but the way things are going at the minute, I’m guessing it’s even going to be Michelle McCool or Maryse.

With a quick flip of the coin, I’m siding with Marsye.

Intercontinental Championship: JBL vs. Rey Mysterio

Does anyone even care about the IC title any more? It seems to change hands with every title defence.

Which is why I reckon JBL will buck the trend and walk away from his home state of Texas with the title still in tact.

Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy

The build up to this one has been pretty solid, though even still it isn’t a match I’m aching to see.

It should still be entertaining nonetheless, and I’m backing the younger Hardy snatching a victory after spending the bulk of the bout getting beaten up by his brother.

That way, Matt still gets a push simply be looking so dominant, but the crowds are left feeling happy with a win for the ever-popular Jeff.

Chris Jericho vs. The Legends.

Easy, all logic in the world would say Chris Jericho has to win this one.

It makes no sense to build him up as one of the most effective heels in the biz, only for him to loose to a bunch of old men.

And since this isn’t TNA, where whatever doesn’t make sense is usually want ends up happening, I’m picking Jericho to win.

Just think of the bragging rights a win would afford him here. Sure, he’ll only end up beating three old dudes, but these are three old dudes held in high reverence by the wrestling world.

So, Jericho to win, but to then please the crowds by getting attacked by Flair, Piper, Snuka and Steamboat.

Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker

Above all others, this is the match everyone wants to see at ‘Mania, and if I were Michaels or ‘Taker, I’d be praying to God that the match could live up to everyone’s expectations.

As for the result, surely that’s already a forgone conclusion?

HBK has looked awesome in the hype for this one, and he should benefit from that alone without needing to win.

Meanwhile, The Dead Man must surely want vengeance. More's the point, for as long as Undertaker is still active, his Wrestlemania streak should be kept in tact.

That way, WWE creative already have a ready-made storyline for many Wrestlemanias to come.

World Heavyweight Championship: Edge vs. John Cena vs. Big Show

After Cena was pinned clean by Big Show on this Monday’s WWE Raw, many have predicted that this is a sure sign of him walking away with the Big Gold Belt come Sunday.

I beg to differ, and I’d bet the bank on Edge retaining.

I don’t know why, but whenever Edge wins a big match, it always seems to come as a complete surprise, and what better place to deliver the unexpected than at Wrestlemania 25?

Sure, Cena bagging the gold would make for one of those ‘Wrestlemania Moments’ The Big ‘E are so fond of, but so too would a shock win for the Rated R Superstar, especially if includes a cameo from Christian.

WWE Championship: Triple H vs. Randy Orton

Plain and simple, I’m going with Triple H. The McMahon clan have had their backsides handed to them by Randy Orton and his pair of whipping boys lately, it’s time they got their revenge.

And besides, there could be much more mileage in this one.

To surmise then, here’s my picks:

Tag Team Unification: Miz & Morrison
Money in the Bank: CM Punk
Divas Battle Royal: Maryse
IC Title: JBL
Hardy vs. Hardy: Jeff
Jericho vs. Legends: Jericho
Michaels vs. Taker: Undertaker
World Heavyweight Championship: Edge
WWE Championship: Triple H

Saturday, 22 March 2014

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania 9

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: event poster
April 4, 1993
Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

No discussion about the worst WWE PPV events of all time is complete without Wrestlemania IX cropping up, rearing its toga-covered head and reminding us of its absolute worst moments.

But was the show really that bad?

This reviewer does not think so.

Sure, there was plenty to lambaste (and I will, at length), but in between all that, there were many moments of pretty enjoyable wrestling, too.

Not convinced? Let's take a look at the show, shall we?

Welcome to Caesers Palace!
No early-90s pay per view offering would be quite complete without Vince McMahon growling like the proverbial man possessed over an opening graphic. This year, McMahon kept it short. In just twenty odd seconds, he revealed himself to be far more excited about the location of this year's spectacular than he was about any of the matches involved.

Unfortunately for all concerned, that pretty much set the tone for the whole affair as the pomp and ceremony -tacky as it may have been- took far greater precedent than the action.

Having made his mark, Vince passed over to Gorilla Monsoon, whose role as Host of Wrestlemania IX involved nothing more than appearing on camera twice for a total of about thirty seconds on a show spanning multiple hours.

Still, Monsoon, dressed in a black, green and gold toga and flanked by two clearly bored actors dressed as Roman guards, did the best job he could by saying hello and immediately handing over to former WCW announcer, Jim Ross.

Opening ceremony
Wearing a toga of his own and surrounded by more actors, Ross made his World Wrestling Federation debut by beaming happily at the camera and running down tonight's card.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Jim Ross made his World Wrestling Federation debut
Ross then introduced us to Finkus Maximus (better known to you and I as veteran ring announcer, Howard Finkle) before proceeding doing his best to make the Wrestlemania opening ceremony sound like a legtimate huge deal.

As two actors dressed as Julius Caesar and Cleopatra arrived on an elephant, Ross really did try hard to make us care.

'Oh my, isn't that tremendous,' he said without a flash of sarcasm as the elephant reared up on its hind legs before returning to a more natural position on all fours.

Caesar and Cleopatra (who may or may not have been the same actors from the 1993 Royal Rumble) walked around the ring before commentator Macho Man Randy Savage was carried to the ring on a sedan, surrounded by muscular hunks and cheap hookers masquerading as 'celestial virgins.'

'The Macho Man, [with] a little grape action there,' Ross informed as Savage popped the fruit in his mouth, giving you just some idea of how badly the Oklahoma native wanted us to care.

Finally greeting Ross, Savage told us that we had a 'lock and load' situation going on and that the 'grapes were great,' before, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan arrived, riding backwards on a camel.

After falling off the camel, Heenan engaged in banter with Ross and Savage, the latter of whom made his first utterance of a phrase he would use repeatedly throughout the show. Yes ladies and gentlemen, it was time to Do The Thing.

At last.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship match:
WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Luna Vachon) vs. Tatanka (w/ Sensational Sherri)
WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Luna Vachon was in the company of Intercontinental Champion, Shawn Michaels
As an eight year-old, I thought that the pairing of arrogant pretty boy Shawn Michaels with the deranged and freaky-looking Luna Vachon was an odd one to say the least.

Now approaching thirty, I still do (especially as Michaels ignored his valet from the moment he walked through the curtain), though I can at least appreciate the logic in such a partnership. Why wouldn't the Intercontinental Champion hire the services of the reputably dangerous Vachon to counter any attempt at shenanigans by his former squeeze Sensational Sherri, now in the corner of his Native American challenger.

Over twelve minutes after Wrestlemania IX began, the bell finally sounded and our opening contest was underway.

Despite both champ and challenger having zero chemistry with their respective seconds, this turned out to be a fine match.

Sure, Michaels would have, and already had, better matches in his career, the champion performed to his usual high standards. Tatanka was no slouch either. Indeed, both men worked hard to deliver an entertaining opener which was spoiled only by the finish.

As Heenan bickered with Savage and Savage continued to rant about doing the thing, Jim Ross called eighteen minutes of solid action until Michaels, in danger of being counted out, dragged the referee out of the ring.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Tatanka helps Sensational Sherri to the back following his count-out win over Intercontinental Champion, Shawn Michaels
The champion made his way back between the ropes and straight into a samoan drop from Tatanka. The challenger made the cover, but the referee returned to the ring and, rather than count the fall, awarded Tatanka the match via count-out.
Your winner via count-out: Tatanka (Shawn Michaels retains the title)

In the post-match, Luna Vachon waylaid rival Sensational Sherri then ran off at speed as Tatanka came to the rescue.

Things then moved to the back, where Mean Gene Okerlund proclaimed that 'Julius Caesar himself would have been proud to be involved in this Wrestlemania.'  Maybe Gene was busy at the craps table when Caeser himself made his grand entrance earlier in the show.

Okerlund lavished praise on The Steiner Brothers, who arrived on the scene to talk about their first Wrestlemania match in which they vowed to overthrow The Headshrinkers.

The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu w/ Afa) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott)
As Rick and Scott made their way to the ring, a fan held up a sign which read 'New York loves The Steiner Brothers and The "Under"taker. I'd say something about that, but I'm still kind of irked at the lack of apostrophe in Caesar's Palace.

That aside, this was another solid encounter.

Arguably even more enjoyable than the opening clash, The Steiners and The Headshrinkers engaged in a hard-hitting, smash-mouth tag team match.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: The Steiner Brothers speak to Mean Gene before facing The Headshrinkers
In the early going, Jim Ross informed us that Luna Vachon had assaulted Sensational Sherri back in the First Aid area. Otherwise, the focus was purely on the two teams in the ring as they fought a memorable battle with a number of highlights, including a key moment where The Headshrinkers dumped Scotty head first over the top rope, where Afa added to Steiner's woes with a cane shot across the spine.

After just just shy of fifteen minutes, this entertaining match saw The Steiners pick up the three count thanks to a Frankensteiner from Scott.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers

Backstage, Mean Gene claimed to have just seen Doink The Clown deface a statue, but did nothing about it. Okerlund reminded Doink of the Clown's biggest sins, including throwing pies in the face of little children and, worst of all, beating up Crush with a fake arm.

In response, Doink insisted he was bringing the fun to Wrestlemania and, with a nod and wink in the direction of things to come, joked that Crush might 'see double vision' in their upcoming clash.

Crush vs. Doink The Clown
This is the point where eight year-old Chris would be hiding behind the sofa. OK, so Doink was awful as a babyface, but as a sinister heel with a split personality, he was genuinely terrifying, especially to a pre-pubescent boy.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Doink The Clown talks to Mean Gene about facing CrushThe bulk of this eight-plus minute match was nothing to write home about. The mighty Crush beat up on his sneaky adversary around and outside the ring, battering down with a series of exaggerated fists and boots and occasionally shaking things up with the odd snap mare or neckbreaker.

Doink mounted a comeback, diving off the ropes to wear down his foe and ramming Crush's head into the ring post to a faint smattering of applause.

'Everybody here is psyched to the max!' enthused Savage as the Las Vegas crowd sat on and watched in near silence.

Doink made several attempts to hide under the ring, only to be pulled back by Crush and thrown about the ring some more. Eventually, with the referee down, a second Doink emerged from under the ring, saving his doppleganger from Crush's Cranium Crush by hitting the big Hawaiian with the deadly Fake Arm of Doom.

As the announcers raved about a Double Doink (beating Paul Vasquez by some seventeen years), the original Doink made the cover, the referee woke up long enough to hit the three count, and this one was thankfully over.
Your winner: Doink The Clown

Next, we went to a man equally loved and loathed by wrestling fans, the one and only Todd Pettengill. Situated up in the cheap seats, with a pair of sunglasses and a backwards baseball cap complimenting his toga outfit, Pettengill moved around a sea of drunk and rowdy fans trying to conduct a survey into whether there really had been two Doinks or whether it was all just an illusion.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Doink The Clown, unmasked after his match with Crush
The Toddster had little luck with that one, though he did manage to give us the obligatory 'LOL! Foreigners can't speak English good' joke by interviewing two Japanese fans who only understood the word Yokozuna.

Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund
After an outstanding performance at that year's Royal Rumble, Bob Backlund was relegated back to the jobber status he would endure until his memorable metamorphosis into the psychotic Mr. Backlund in the summer of 1994.

Here, he was overthrown by Razor Ramon in an entertaining, if instantly forgettable encounter.

Despite a valiant effort against a much larger opponent, Backlund's efforts were thwarted when Ramon pulled out an inside cradle for the win.
Your winner: Razor Ramon

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund caught up with WWF Tag Team Champions, Money Incorporated.

Okerlund reminded Ted Dibiase and I.R.S of how their feud with the Mega Manics began, namely with a briefcase to the injured face of Brutus Beefcake.

Dibiase responded by saying it was time Beefcake and his partner Hulk Hogan put up, or shut up. Dibiase claimed that Vegas, The City of Money, was Money Inc.'s backyard, and that their opponents had no chance of winning.

For his part, I.R.S said they would 'beat [Beefcake's] face into oblivion' and also told Gene that, if they thought Beefcake's face was bad, he should see Hogan's.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: The Mega Maniacs faced Money Incorporated for the WWF Tag Team Titles

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship match
WWF Tag Team Champions Money Incorporated ('Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase & I.R.S) vs. The Mega Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake w/ Jimmy Hart)

Emerging through a cloud of red smoke, Brutus Beefcake wore a protective face mask, playing up to the legitimate injury he suffered which had kept him away from WWF pay per view since Wrestlemania 6).

For his part, The Hulkster, besides appearing much slimmer, sported a shiner and several stitches. The company covered this with the story that Money Inc. had hired goons to beat up Hogan at the gym the night before.

The truth, depending on who you believe, is either that Randy Savage punched him out after finding out Hogan had an affair with Elizabeth, or that The Immortal One was involved in a jet ski accident.

Their look was a far cry from that of the last time they had teamed up on pay per view to face Macho Man and Zeus at Summerslam 1989.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Money Inc. find out they'll lose the belts if they walk out of their match with Hogan and Beefcake
The match itself was good (if not a little long) for what it was, though despite the best efforts of all four men, it lacked that all-important Big Match Feel you have to believe they were going for.

After threatening to walk out (only to be told they would thus forfeit their titles if they did so), Dibiase and I.R.S returned to the ring and took control, cutting off Hogan from his partner by choking him out with a tag rope.

Hogan did the whole babyface-in-peril thing well, and the crowd lit up when Beefcake finally took the inevitable hot tag to a huge pop from the Vegas faithful or, as Savage put it 'the fans are hanging from the rafters...except Caesar's Palace doesn't have rafters, but it has columns and they're hanging from the columns.'

Nice save, Macho.

Beefcake eventually came up short against the champions, losing his mask in the process.

The match then reached it's thrilling climax when Hogan drilled both opponents with the mask. The referee was down so, as Hogan and Beefcake covered their opponents, manager Jimmy Hart turned his jacket inside out to reveal zebra stripes, and made the three count.

The Mega Maniacs celebrated with the titles, but alas their triumph was short lived. A second referee rushed to ringside and decreed that not only could a match not end by 'Manager Changing His Jacket,' but that Hogan had been disqualified.
Your winner via disqualification: Money Inc.

The champions may have escaped with their gold intact, but they certainly didn't look too much like winners. Hogan and Beefcake disposed of them before Jimmy Hart threw former charge turned referee Danny Davis from the ring.

'The Mega Maniacs are The Mega Maniacs,' said Savage, keeping up his outstanding work at the announce table.

Hogan, Beefcake and Hart went through the usual post-match posedown celebration for what felt like the hour, eventually opening up Money Inc.'s gold-plated briefcase, removing a brick from it, and tossing money out into the audience.

The show then went back to Todd Pettengill and his gang of rowdy drunks. Pettengill spoke with singer Natalie Cole, who couldn't believe The Mega Maniacs had given away real money. He then spoke with the C.E.O of Caesar's Palace, who took the opportunity to shill his area and said that the wrestlers 'really appreciated themselves to the local community.'

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Mean Gene interviews Mr. Perfect about the latter's match with Lex Luger
Twenty one years later, I still have no idea what that means.

Backstage, Mean Gene spoke with Mr. Perfect. Okerlund told Perfect that, earlier in the day, Lex Luger had knocked out WWF Champion Bret Hart with his steel elbow thing. Perfect said he didn't know who Luger thought he was, raved about his own perfect week, then messed up trying to say 'The Narcissist Lex Luger' and instead made for the ring.

The Narcissist Lex Luger (w/ a gang of thong-wearing ladies) vs. Mr. Perfect
The cameraman spent much of Luger's entrance filming the rear ends of his female flunkies. Not that this writer is complaining.

Luger then spent some time posing in front of mirrors which shot fireworks before Perfect arrived on the scene to an enormous ovation.

This was another decent match which saw both men trading the advantage. With the crowd firmly on his side, Mr. Perfect using technical wrestling to combat The Narcissist's power-based offense.

Alas, as was fast becoming a trend with Wrestlemania 9, another good match reached failed to reach a clean finish. This time round, Perfect got his foot on the ropes to counter a Luger pin attempt. Unfortunately for the former Intercontinental Champion, the referee didn't see it, and thus awarded the match to Luger.
Your winner: Lex Luger

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: The best thing Lex Luger ever brought to the ring?
Afterwards, Perfect argued with the referee, only to receive a metal-plated elbow to the head from Luger.

Perfect recovered quickly and ran backstage, where he found Luger chatting to Shawn Michaels. Somehow, Perfect wound up brawling, and then getting beaten up by, the Intercontinental Champion.

Back in the arena, Savage and Bobby Heenan got into a heated argument before Jim Ross difused the situation by sending over to Gorilla Monsoon for his second cameo of the evening.

Monsoon hyped up the remaining two scheduled matches before going back to How..I mean, Finkus Maximus.

Giant Gonzales (w/ Harvey Wippleman) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
And so we have it, folks: One of the most notoriously bad matches in WWE history. Giant Gonzales, wearing That Infamous Suit, made his way to the ring first, followed by The Undertaker.

The Deadman, along with his pet vulture, came to the ring on a kind of hearse carried by four musclemen and flanked by a druid who didn't seem to quite get the whole gimmick, slapping hands with fans en route to the ring.

The bell rang, and fans were subjected to a match so terrible not even your usually-optimistic reviewer can excuse.

To his credit, The Undertaker did what he could to make the slow, immobile Gonzales look like a credible threat, though his efforts were continually diminished whenever the former El Gigante lumbered around the ring throwing awkward-looking offense.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: An iconic shot of The Undertaker at Wrestlemania
Things, whatever they were, fell apart at the end when Harvey Wippleman got involved and was taken out by The Undertaker, and Paul Bearer stuck his nose in, only to receive the same treatment courtesy of Gonzales.

The Giant then pulled out a chloroform-soaked rag, using it to knock out his opponent and thus lose the match via disqualification.
Your winner via disqualification: The Undertaker

Post match, a slew of officials rushed to Undertaker's aid. Gonzales beat up most of them, but Earl Hebner, Jack Doan and Paul Bearer managed to get Undertaker on a stretcher.

As Gonzales soaked up the jeers from the crowd (and a brief chant for Hulk Hogan), The Undertaker walked back to the ring, his face like a zombie, and took out his rival, leading to their ill-fated rematch at Summerslam 1993.

Despite a horrible match in which he got knocked out, The Undertaker stood 3-0 at Wrestlemania.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Hulk Hogan challenges the winner between Bret 'Hitman' Hart and Yokozuna
It was almost time for our main event world title match between Bret Hart and Yokozuna, a match which had largely been ignored by the announcers until now.

Though rather than give a final few words to either the champion or the challenger, Mean Gene Okerlund showed us a recap of Yoko killing both Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Bret Hart (in separate instances) then spoke to Hulk Hogan, a man who, as far as everybody was concerned at the time, had nothing to do with the final match of the evening.

Hogan played up the idea that Money Inc. were responsible for his black eye, before telling Bret Hart that Hogan, and all his Hulkamaniacs were on his side. Hogan claimed that he had looked into The Hitman's eyes and questioned the greatness of Hulkamania, which is why he was issuing a challenge to either Hart or -and I quote- 'The Jap, brother,' depending on which man won the upcoming match.

Todd Pettengill was back out in the audience, interviewing a mute kid and a couple of drunk dudes in togas who started brawling.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Yokozuna challenged Bret 'The Hitman' Hart for the WWF title

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji)
If you were watching this show, you'd be forgiven for forgetting this match was schedule to take place, that's how much attention it got throughout the broadcast.

Still, it was here, and the fans in Caesar's Palace were excited.

Yoko made his way to the ring first, greeted by a couple of geishas and a chorus of boos. The Hitman, decked in all-pink attire, arrived next, greeted by a huge symphony of applause fro the Las Vegas faithful.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart prepares for battle
The bell rang, the match was on.

Everything was going well. Both men worked to deliver everything you'd want in a big-man vs. little man clash on a main event scale. The nimble, technically-sound Hitman used everything from legitimate wrestling to down and dirty tactics to get the better of his larger opponent, but 'The Man from the Orient' continued to fight back using a winning combination of surprising speed and raw power.

The challenger's offense was certainly impressive, but it seemed that it would be no match for the champion, who wrapped up Yoko's expansive thighs into the sharpshooter.

Behind the referees back, Mr. Fuji threw salt into the eyes of the champion. The move seemed to practically cripple Hart, who fell back and was promptly put away for a three count, ending what had otherwise been a thrilling, if short, main event.
Your winner and NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion: Yokozuna

As your writer sat trying to figure out how salt in the eyes could take a man off his feat, Yoko grabbed the world title belt and celebrated, only to be interrupted by the arrival of Hulk Hogan.

Playing the good guy, Hogan went immediately to check on the defeated Hitman. Somewhat foolishly, Mr. Fuji took to the microphone and challenged Hogan to fight Yokozuna there and then. Recieving Bret Hart's blessing, Hogan accepted.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion Yokozuna vs. Hulk Hogan

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Yokozuna enjoys his brief reign as WWF Champion
Yokozuna grabbed Hogan. Fuji threw salt. Hogan ducked. Yoko took the salt to the eyes (but didn't fall down like a wimp).  A punch to Fuji, a clothesline to the champion and a Leg Drop of Doom Later, the new WWF Champion Yokozuna was now the former WWF Champion Yokozuna.
Your winner and new WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan

As per the norm, Hogan celebrated with the title to end the show.

An anti-climatic end then to a disappointing show. Though Wrestlemania 9 was never going to stand out as The Greatest of All Time, your reviewer truly believes it would have stood out as being at least a decent effort were it for all the random cheap finishes and that Gonzales/Taker match.
Michaels/Tatanka, Steiners/Headshrinkers and even Mega Maniacs/Money Inc. stood out as being worth watching, whilst others, namely Hart/Yoko, Luger/Perfect and Ramon/Backlund all held their own until their respective endings.
Yet thanks to the poor finishers, Giant Gonzales, the tacky toga shtick and the Hogan/Yokozuna non-match, the 1993 edition of the WWF flagship even is widely regarded as one of the Worst Ever.
A shame really, as at least seventy percent of the in-ring action was actually pretty good, even it was marred with Randy Savage's awful commentary. Do The Thing, Oh yeah, brother!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

ARCHIVED WRITING: WWE vs. TNA fantasy booking - Beer Money vs. Miz & Morrison

OK, so I’m back again with more What If? Scenarios. This time, we’ll be indulging in a bit of tag team shenanigans.

[Five years after this post was originally published on another website, I realise what a lousy scenario I created for this fantasy booking. That said, I'd still like to watch this match even now]

Beer Money, Inc. vs. The Miz & John Morrison

This is the one ‘dream match’ which inspired my whole WWE vs. TNA idea.

In Storm/Roode and Miz/Morrison, we have two great examples of singles workers with not much going on thrown together in a team and actually excelling in their new roles.

Beer Money have lit up TNA’s tag scene and, truth be told, are one the only things worth watching on the catastrophe known as TNA Impact.

Meanwhile, along with Carlito & Primo, The Miz & John Morrison are WWE’s tag team division (Cryme Tyme don’t count since they’re destined to be used as filler for the foreseeable future, and Rhodes/Dibiase are little more than Orton’s stooges).

In my opinion, this could work really well as a Heel vs. Heel match and though admittedly I don’t have as strong an idea for a storyline as I did with Styles/Punk, I actually reckon it wouldn’t need much of one.

All you’d need would be one more match between Miz & Morrison and The Colons with all the titles on the line. M &M would pick up the win and unify the titles.

The following week on Smackdown, the two are in the ring boasting about being the undisputed tag team champions when Robert Roode and James Storm show up with the TNA tag straps.

They beg to differ about the whole ‘Undisputed’ thing, and affirm their heel status by insulting both WWE and its fans; claiming that neither would recognise a truly great tag team like Beer Money if it powerbombed them.

To prevent a forced face-turn, Miz & Morrison agree that WWE fans are stupid (cheap heat, sure, but that’s all it would need), but that they are the better tag team.

From there, we could either go straight into this match on the following show, or build up to a pay per view with several weeks of entertaining skits/promos in which each time tries to prove they are the best.

Who would win? Who would care? This would just be a fun one to watch.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

ARCHIVED WRITING: WWE vs. TNA fantasy booking - AJ Styles vs. CM Punk

AJ Styles and CM Punk
I was thinking the other day about how, given that TNA really don't seem to know what they're doing, it's probably only a matter of time until they call it a day.

[In a somewhat ironic note, TNA wrestling actually outlived the website where this archived post was first published back in 2009]

Then I wondered if Vinny Mac would buy them out, and what might happen if he did.

Imagining a WCW-buyout scenario (only without all that silly Invasion nonsense), in which the Big ‘E picked up several workers contracts; allow me to wax hypothetical on some great matches which could occur as a result.

Over the next few posts, I’ll be pondering what those matches may be, how they may come about, and what the results may be.

Check this one out for starters…

AJ Styles vs. CM Punk

I know it’s been done in other companies, but to do it again, and to do it on a PPV such as Summerslam would be superb.

Just imagine it…

After several weeks of beating a bunch of lower-midders, Intercontinental champion, JBL issues an open challenge to anyone to come and face him. The title won’t be on the line but, according to Bradshaw, the honour and prestige of beating him would be enough to catapult any wannabe to Superstar status.

From out of the crowd, dressed in street clothes, comes AJ. Casual fans may have no idea who he is, but the die-hards go nuts.

The match begins, JBL charges, Styles hits the deck, grabs a quick roll-up and steals a three-count.

The following week, they agree to a rematch at the next throw-away pay per view, and after several weeks of getting AJ over with the WWE crowd, it’s on.

Sure, fans have to suffer through a JBL match, but they soon perk up when Styles once again gets the win, and the belt!

Back to Raw, and we establish the fact that CM Punk and AJ Styles are actually friends, as we get a backstage segment in which the former congratulates the latter on his title win.

The relationship is further cemented in a tag match in which Punk and Styles team up to take on JBL and, well, it doesn’t really matter who his partner is.

The good guys win the match, though the heels do a post-match attack. Punk is thrown to the outside and AJ takes the brunt of the assault until the Straight-Edged Superstar comes back and makes the save.

Fast forward a week and AJ thanks Punk for saving his bacon last week.

“No problem,” quips Punk. “Though how about you repay me with a shot at the gold?”

The match is on, and after a couple of weeks consisting of ‘mutual respect’ promos, the two go out and have an absolute corker, resulting in Punk picking up the win, and the IC title.

OK, so there’s one major flaw in this plan; it involves JBL, but that’s just a necessary evil in the build up to what could be a darn good match.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

ARCHIVED WRITING: Kofi Kingston may be great, but does anybody care?

On Tuesday, everyone’s favourite announcer/restaurateur/blogger Jim Ross, heaped praise on Kofi Kingston.

[This is an archived piece I originally published online elsewhere back in 2009. Five years later, Kofi is still stuck in the WWE mid-card]

Ross urged fans to check out his match against Edge on this Friday’s edition of Smackdown, and suggested that Kingston may develop into a bigger star than you’d imagine.

Will he really?

I do like Kofi. OK, so I’m not a huge mark for the guy, nor would I ever claim he’s a firm favourite of mine, but I do usually find his matches to be pretty fun, and his bubbly-babyface shtick seems to suit the Big E’s family-friendly environment.

The problem, for me at least, is that whilst I like watching Kofi, I don’t actually care about him.

Having missed his initial ECW debut early last year, I have no idea what Kofi Kingston is really all about. Sure he’s pretty fun to watch in the ring, but why does he even get in that ring at all? What motivates him? What are his ambitions? Who is Kofi Kingston?

Heck, during the course of his almost year-long tenure on the Raw brand, I think I’ve only heard Kofi cut a promo once, and even then it was simply to say “I think I am going to win this match,” or something to that effect.

He may say more on tonight’s edition of Smackdown, though without having read one of the numerous spoilers online, I just don’t know.

What I do know, however, is that if JR’s premonition is to be realised, WWE should really consider making fans do more than just liking the Jamaican Sensation and actually make us care.

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.