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, 3 September 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Death of WCW - R.D. Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez

Bryan Alvarez and R.D Reynolds chart the meteoric rise and spectacular fall from grace of World Championship Wrestling in a book as detailed as it is hilarious.

*Book review originally written 2012*

It's perhaps fair to say that the complex story of World Championship Wrestling is integral to the entire history of professional wrestling. Though today we mostly remember the company as an entirely mismanaged entity full of creative mishaps which occasionally came good -both the highs and lows of the organisation were the catalyst for much of what happened in the entire pro wrestling landscape both at the time and -in some respects- even to this day.

The former National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) territory, funded by billionaire media mogul Ted Turner, floundered for a number of years in the shadow of the mighty World Wrestling Federation (WWE), playing second fiddle to Vince McMahon's outfit and running at a loss until third-stringer announcer Eric Bischoff took the reigns.

Bischoff, who had learned his trade in the dying days of Verne Gagne's now-defunct American Wrestling Association (AWA), was quick to turn the company around and, with the creation of famous New World Order angle, took WCW from being a low-rent WWF to the most powerful wrestling organisation in the world.

Good things, however, rarely last forever and World Championship Wrestling's dominance over the pro wrestling landscape was no exception. Ultimately, it's demise was brought about by a number of terrible, ill-advised decisions both creatively and financially.

It's those decisions which make up the juicer parts of The Death of WCW's story. Rightly so too, for whilst WCW's rise does make for optimistic reading, we all, of course, know it didn't last, and it's the company's downfall that readers really want to sink their teeth into.

When they do, they'll find that story told in great detail; every poorly conceived angle, every ill-fated business decision and monumental display of egotism and stupidity by those in charge at the time are all detailed, often in humorous fashion.

Indeed, many of WCW's blunders are genuinely funny in hindsight, and if Reynolds and Alvarez have any one talent more than others, it's their ability to turn those comical errors into laugh-out-loud anecdotes.

Where the authors fail, however, is in their inability to say anything most fans didn't already know.

Sure, if you're fairly new to pro wrestling and just want a quick history lesson, then this book is a good starting point, but if you were there at the time, or even if you've seen the WWE-produced DVD, The Monday Night Wars, you won't find anything new here.


Despite its promise, The Death of WCW doesn't offer any great new insights into why WCW went under, nor does it provide any great revelations. This is a shame, because if the authors had done a bit more research, if they'd just looked a bit deeper into the story and taken their research further than their back-issues of the Wrestling Observer, surely they could have unearthed a few surprises, or never-before-told stories that would have been a huge selling-point of this book.

Instead, we get a story most long-time wrestling fans already know, albeit one told in a well-written fashion with plenty of humour.

Would this writer recommend The Death of WCW? Yes, it serves well as a historical account of one-side of the Monday Night Wars, and is worth reading at least once.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

TV REVIEW: WWE ECW - October 13th, 2009

ECW: 13/10/09
Lexington, Kentucky

With tensions rising at the top of the ECW mountain, William Regal teams up with Zack Ryder to take on Yoshi Tatsu and ECW Champion Christian in tonight's main event.


Ezekiel Jackson vs. Goldust

Before that however, we get this; one half of last week's tag team contest going at it in a fairly standard wrestling match between the wily veteran and the aggressive rookie.  Though not quite the kind of excellent opening match ECW is capable of delivering, it's nonetheless a passable effort in which Ezekiel Jackson picks up the win thanks to some help from Vladimir Kozlov.
Your Winner: Ezekiel Jackson


Backstage, Zack Ryder catches up with William Regal. The two discuss their tag team match later tonight and it's abundantly clear that the two upcoming partners do not get along. What's also clear is that, whilst Ryder sounds almost wooden, Regal is brilliant in this exchange.

A Word from Sheamus

The Celtic Warrior heads to the ring to rag on his arch-rival, Shelton Benjamin. Bringing up Benjamin's failure to reach the top of the WWE, Sheamus vows to use The Gold Standard as a stepping stone to reach the top himself. It's a decent promo from Sheamus, even if does start to grate after a while to hear his thick Irish accent refer to the company as the 'dubye dubye eee'.

The Hurricane vs. Paul Burchill (with Katie Lea) 

As the rivalry between them grows deeper, Paul Burchill dominates the ever-popular Hurricane for the majority of their average eight-minute match. Gregory Helms' alter-ego does put in some decent offence, but ultimately he proves no match for the powerful Brit as Burchill puts him away with a Jackhammer.
Your Winner: Paul Burchill

Heading to the back, Christian discusses the upcoming main event with his partner, Yoshi Tatsu. In a spot of light comedy to round off the segment, the two out-do each other on their trademark exchange of 'thank you's.


Main Event: William Regal & Zack Ryder vs. Yoshi Tatsu & ECW Champion Christian 

Despite rising tensions between them, Regal and Ryder seem to be able to put their differences on the backburner; functioning reasonably well as a team in a good main event match against Christian and  Yoshi Tatsu until it all breaks down at the finale, allowing the champion and his partner to pick up the win.
Your Winners: Yoshi Tatsu & Christian

Final Thoughts: 
As in previous weeks, the ongoing power struggle surrounding the top of the ECW mountain dominated this week's show, and that's just fine by me. Concentrating on one particular story, that being the saga between Regal, Christian, Ryder and Tatsu, helps to give the show a purpose and focus that other shows can often seem to lack. And of course, when we did take a break from the main story, we were treated to a win by Paul Burchill, which has got to be a good thing, right? Congratulations ECW, another enjoyable show. 

Saturday, 20 August 2016

TV REVIEW: WWE ECW - September 22nd, 2009

ECW: 22/09/09
Tulsa, Oklahoma  

With ECW General Manager, Tiffany, suffering a car accident recently, William Regal takes to the helm of Extreme Championship Wrestling and immediately sets out to make his mark as the WWE's 'other brand' heads to Boston.

Here's what went down.

The Abraham Washington Show

Lapping up the chorus of boos, Abraham Washington cuts a charismatic figure as he introduces his guest, Sheamus O'Shaunessy. The talk-show host makes fun of Sheamus' pasty complexion, but the Irishman seems completely oblivious, preferring instead to talk up his recent feud with Shelton Benjamin.

This brings out The Gold Standard himself, who proceeds to explain the concept of teamwork to his Sheamus. It's at this point that the whole thing becomes a little confusing; who's the heel and who's the face in all this?

It appears to be Benjamin as he raises the ire of Sheamus by making fun of his ginger hair.

The whole farce comes to a close with a pull-apart brawl between the two rivals.


Paul Burchill (with Katie Lea) vs. Yoshi Tatsu  All gothed-up with nowhere to go except ringside, the lovely Katie Lea cheers on her man Paul Burchill as he takes on Yoshi Tatsu in a very good opening match.

Both men play off each other's strengths to the best of their ability as the smaller Tatsu looks to gain the upper-hand against the brutish Burchill with stiff kicks and impressive holds. It's a strategy that works well for the young star, and after taking a beating at the hands of his larger opponent, one big blow to the head is all it takes to gain the three count.

Oh Paul, you could've been a contender.
Your winner: Yoshi Tatsu 

In the back, Zack Ryder cuts an impressive, old-school promo in which he vows to capture the ECW title from Christian in tonight's main event.

Katie Lea gets angry at Helms

Paul Burchill storms through the backstage area after his disappointing defeat with Katie Lea in hot pursuit. As Pirate Paul disappears, Gregory Helms arrives on the scene to interview Katie about her upcoming match. But it's bad timing on the part of Helms; Katie is in no mood for small talk.

Britain's best diva (sorry Alicia) lays into the man with the microphone, blaming him for Paul's loss. Still angry, Paul himself returns, beats up the reporter and tells Katie to stay away.

Vladimir Kozlov & Ezekiel Jackson vs. Justin Brady & Brandon Young

You don't need to be Derren Brown to successfully predict the winners of this short squash match. The two local rookies, Brady & Young are obliterated by their more powerful, established opponents as William Regal looks on proudly from ringside.
Your Winners: Vladimir Kozlov & Ezekiel Jackson 

Heading to the back, William Regal catches up with Goldust and the two talk-up their upcoming match this week on Superstars.


ECW Championship Match: Christian defends against Zack Ryder 

A fiercely determined Zack Ryder looks to capture the ECW Championship in a terrific main event match against defending champion, Christian.

With the special ring-introductions out of the way, the two let-rip with a top quality, ppv-worthy performance that delivers on all fronts.

Sadly for Ryder, his best just isn't good enough tonight, and Christian retains with the Killswitch.
Your Winner and Still ECW Champion: Christian

After the bout, William Regal heads to the ring, letting it be known that's coming for the ECW title. The champion replies by beating him up as things come to a close.

Final thoughts: 
It's been a long time since I had the chance to sit down and watch ECW, and I have to say I'm very glad I did. The tag team squash match aside, WWE's 'other brand' certainly delivered in the ring, opening with a strong bout between Burchill and Yatsu and working its way to a roaring finale with that explosive main event between Christian and Zack Ryder. The opening nonsense that was the Abraham Washington to show made little sense to me, but other than that, a very good show that serves as a great reminder to set my Sky+ box and record every show from now on.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

TV Review: WWE Raw - August 2nd, 2010

WWE Raw 02/08/10
San Antonia, Texas

With just two weeks before they’re set to do battle against Nexus at Summerslam, tensions between Team WWE reach breaking point. Elsewhere, WWE Champion Sheamus took on Goldust whilst the Celtic Warrior’s newest rival, Randy Orton, battled The Miz in the main event of WWE Raw.

Here’s what went down.

R-Truth confronted Edge

The Rated R Superstar kicked off this week’s show with an in-ring promo in which he lambasted his Summerslam teammates. ‘I don’t respect John Cena, I don’t trust Chris Jericho, I have no faith in The Great Khali and I barely know Morrison and Truth,’ said Edge, before challenging Nexus leader Wade Barrett to a match.

Instead of Barrett, it was R-Truth who made his way to the ring next, squaring up to his partner and urging him to be a team player. If the seven members of Team WWE didn’t work together, claimed truth, Nexus would win.

Before Edge had the chance to respond, Michael Cole received an e-mail from the Raw General Manager, who booked Edge. vs. Wade Barrett for right there and then.

Edge vs. Wade Barrett

Looking to assert his dominance early on, Barrett controlled the bulk of this fairly average contest before Edge fought back in a valiant comeback and set up his foe for a deadly spear.  Barrett however, was saved at the final moments by the arrival of his Nexus cohorts, who chased Edge up into the crowds, throwing the match out.
Result: No contest 

Returning from commercial, Edge confronted John Cena backstage and questioned why he didn’t come to his aid in the previous match. Cena insisted that since Edge had claimed he didn’t want any help, he wasn’t going to give him any. Infuriated, Edge quit WWE’s Summerslam team!

As Edge stormed off, cameras zoomed out to reveal Chris Jericho stood next to Cena. After a back-and-forth argument between the two, Cena accepted Jericho’s challenge for a match later in the show, with the added stipulation that the loser would have to leave Team WWE.

Nexus confront The Great Khali

Still backstage, John Morrison was found talking to The Great Khali and Ranjin Singh. Following some bog-standard Summerslam hype between the three, Morrison left, wishing Khali good luck in his match against Ted Dibiase (booked for later on in the show) as he did so.

With Morrison gone, members of Nexus approached the Punjabi giant and informed him that if he wanted to switch sides, his door was always open.

Eve, Gail Kim and Natalya vs. Jillian, Tamina and WWE Divas Champion, Alicia Fox

As Divas matches go, this one started out pretty good, especially when Natalya tagged in and proved why she’s one of the most underutilised girls on the WWE roster. Unfortunately, things really fell apart during the inevitable ‘All hell breaks loose, everyone fights at the same time’ spot, at which point it got a little bit messy.

To end things, Alicia Fox planted Natalya with an Axe Kick (though to be honest, it looked more like she just sat on the back of Nattie’s head.) for the three count.
Winners: Jillian, Tamina and Alicia

In the post-match, Alicia took to the microphone to boast about being the most dominant Divas Champion ever. Her moment of glory was short lived however, when Melina, in her WWE return, hit the ring and decked the champ

Non-title Match: WWE Champion Sheamus vs. Goldust 

Prior to the opening bell, fans were reminded of last year’s feud between these two in ECW. Back then, Goldust managed to hold his own against then-newcomer, Sheamus. A year on, and things are very much different. With Goldust still meandering at jobber level, the Irishman is now your WWE Champion, and oh how that showed in this match

Sheamus battered his former enemy from pillar-to-post in a short, brutal, eventually picking up the win with the Celtic Cross.
Your Winner: Sheamus

‘Oh, what a difference a year makes,’ grinned Sheamus in his post-match promo, going on to hype his WWE Championship match against Randy Orton at Summerslam. This was a good, perhaps even underrated piece of work by the WWE, cleverly showing Sheamus’ rapid rise to the top of the WWE hierarchy.

Chris Jericho vs. John Cena (winner must leave WWE’s Summerslam team)

Though hardly the greatest match ever, this was nonetheless a decent outing from the pair, with Jericho dominating the bulk of the battle, Cena gearing up for his signature spots and eventually making the inevitable comeback; Jericho quickly tapping to the STF before his opponent had even locked it in properly.
Your Winner: John Cena

As per the stipulation, Cena’s victory meant Jericho would have to leave Team WWE. Instead, Cena took the microphone and urged his foe to stay on the team. Jericho looked to be contemplating doing so for a spell, before shaking his head and walking off backstage to a chorus of boos.

Jericho and Edge reunite

Backstage, Edge congratulated Jericho on walking out of Team WWE. Returning the compliment, Jericho offered his respect to Edge for quitting the team earlier in the show. The two then eventually agreed to put their differences behind them and, with a handshake and a manly hug, vowed to work together.

Another e-mail from the GM then came in, informing the Canadian duo that they’d be facing John Cena and Bret Hart in a tag match on next week’s show.

Before the next match, we got a look at the new trailer for John Cena’s new movie, Legendary. It looks terrible.

The Great Khali vs. Ted Dibiase

Yeah, this happened. It was neither good nor bad, and ended with Wade Barrett and Skip Sheffield distracting Dibiase, allowing Khali to pick up the win.
Your Winner: The Great Khali

In a pre-taped segment, Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg hyped their new movie before The Bella Twins arrived and urged Farrell to ‘get some coffee’ with them. He politely declined, and that was pretty much the end of that. Much like the last match, it was just one of those things that happened and was neither here nor there.


Non-title Match: United States Champion The Miz vs. Randy Orton

Tonight’s main event began with a pre-match promo from The Miz, who took to the microphone and vowed that he would unquestionably become WWE Champion, sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately for The Miz, the number one contender for the title, Randy Orton, had other ideas. The two had a heated contest between the two in which Mr. Money in the Bank more than held his own against verified main-eventer, Orton.

Yet despite looking for all the world like he belonged in the upper-echelons of the WWE, tonight was not to be Miz’s night. Following an enjoyable scrap, The Viper struck with the RKO to earn the win.
Your Winner: Randy Orton

After the match, Sheamus ran to the ring for an intense staredown with his upcoming Summerslam opponent as WWE Raw faded to black.

Final Thoughts: 
Though this wasn’t the greatest show ever in terms of unexpected surprises, monumental events and outstanding matches, it was, in this writer’s mind at least, very smartly and solidly booked.

Though I’m a bit disappointed that the Edge/Jericho Union was somewhat downplayed, it does add an interesting component to future WWE storylines, and certainly, makes the build up to Summerslam more interesting.

Sheamus’ match against Goldust was very well done. Again, it was hardly spectacular from an in-ring standpoint, but by referencing their history together, it served well to remind fans of how the Celtic Warrior battered his way to the top of the company in such a short time.

Booking The Miz in the main event, and having him look equal to Randy Orton was another smart move, allowing the US Champion to prove that he can handle performing at that level, and getting fans used to an eventual main event push for the Awesome One.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

TV REVIEW: WWE SMACKDOWN - August 6th - 2010

WWE Smackdown: 06/08/10
Laredo, Texas

After being accused by World Heavyweight Champion Kane of being responsible for The Undertaker’s demise, number one contender Rey Mysterio looks to clear his name as well as taking on Drew McIntyre in tonight’s main event. Elsewhere, there’s Intercontinental Championship action and Kofi Kingston goes crazy as Friday Night Smackdown comes from Laredo Texas.

Here’s what went down.

Drew McIntyre confronts Rey Mysterio

In tonight's opening promo, Rey Mysterio recalled the events of last week's show, when Kane not only accused Mysterio of attacking The Undertaker, but also chokeslammed him into the Gulf of Mexico.

Tonight, Mysterio refuted such accusations, though claimed he did know who was responsible for the attack on The Phenom. Yet before he could reveal just who that was, Drew McIntyre arrived on the scene.

The Scotsman antagonized Mysterio and eventually goaded him into a match for later on in the show. Mysterio was fairly boring here, but McIntyre continues to impress.

Matt Hardy vs. 'Dashing' Cody Rhodes

Matt Hardy and Cody Rhodes clashed in an entertaining opening contest. The crowds were firmly behind established veteran Hardy, but sadly for him, the power of the WWE Universe wasn't enough to overcome Rhodes, who dominated the latter part of the match before picking up a convincing win with the Cross Rhodes.
Your winner: Matt Hardy

Following a trailer for John Cena's new film, Legendary (which looks rubbish), a vignette aired in which newcomer Alberto Del Rio called everybody mentally constipated. Honestly, there was probably more chance of the Kizarny gimmick getting over with the crowd than this segment.

Michelle McCool gives up her title.

Well, sort of. Backstage in Teddy Long's office, the Smackdown General Manager insisted that there could only be one women's title belt on the Friday night show. Despite arguing against the ruling, Michelle McCool eventually surrendered her strap to Long, only to reveal that the one remaining belt could split in half. Thus, both girls could keep half the belt, despite there still only being one of them.

Intercontinental Championship: Kofi Kingston defends against Dolph Ziggler

Prior to the bout, the challenger's girlfriend, Vickie Guerrero gave her man a warm introduction, accompanying him to the ring and cheering on Dolph Ziggler as he controlled the early moments of the match.

Kofi fought back, and the two went back and forth in a solid championship match. The end came when Kofi struck his foe with Trouble in Paradise, only for Vickie Guerrero to enter the ring and distract the referee. This gave Ziggler enough time to recover, hit the Zig Zag and pick up the win.
Your winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Dolph Ziggler

However, Ziggler's celebration was short-lived, as Kofi went loco in the post-match, destroying the new champion, and the announce table, in the process.

CM Punk rallies the troops

After boasting about the Straight Edge Society's attack on The Big Show last week, leader CM Punk cut an intense promo on his charges, motivating them ahead of their upcoming six man tag.

CM Punk, Luke Gallows and Joseph Mercury vs. MVP, JTG and Chris Masters

The six battled in a short, forgettable contest with a rather predictable ending; a SES victory which came courtesy of a Luke Gallows boot to the face of MVP.
Your Winners: CM Punk, Luke Gallows and Joseph Mercury

After another of 'Dashing' Cody Rhodes' grooming tips (this one on the joys of combing one's eyebrows), cameras cut to Kane in the back.

The World Heavyweight Champion hovered around an open casket, vowing to defeat Rey Mysterio when the two clash at Summerslam.


Main event: Rey Mysterio vs. Drew McIntyre 

The angry Scotsman and the flying masked man went back and forth in a very good main event, trading the advantage several times before Mysterio earned himself an other predictable victory.
Your winner: Rey Mysterio

After the match, Kane arrived on the scene with his casket in tow and tried to drop Mysterio inside it. Instead, Rey legged it to the stop of the stage, took to the microphone and accused The Big Red Machine of being responsible for taking out The Undertaker.

Visibly shaken, a troubled Kane then chanted 'I love my brother' over and over as Friday Night Smackdown faded to close.

Final Thoughts: 
A good show overall, though it didn't really feel like anything special. The Intercontinental Championship bout was the highlight of the night, especially when coupled with Kofi's post-match beatdown of newly-crowned champion Dolph Ziggler. I know Kingston is popular as hell, but I can't help but feel that if they did ever decide to turn him, Kingston would make a fantastic heel.

Punk's verbal dressing-down of his Straight Edge Society members was an underrated segment of the show. I haven't heard, or read, many people giving it a lot of thought, but personally I thought it was fantastic.

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.

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.