Mega Powers Running Wild!

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

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

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

The Birth of the nWo

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

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

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

Wrestlemania 12 Review

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

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

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

Thursday, 19 November 2020

EVENT REVIEW: NWA The Great American Bash 1986 - Charlotte (July 5th)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - VHS cover
July 5th, 1986
American Legion Memorial Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

Before it became the annual WCW PPV we all remember, The NWA Great American Bash began life as a summer tour designed to showcase the best of the best in some of the organization’s most profitable hotspots.

The first such tour kicked off in 1985, though we don’t currently have access to any footage of that since Retro Pro Wrestling started using the WWE Network exclusively for material for this blog.

What we do have access to is two shows -the July 5th and July 26th events- from 1986.

Both of these were uploaded to the WWE Network and, at almost three hours in length apiece, both seem to be the full versions of those shows, or at least as near as dammit.

With that said, let’s head to Charlotte, North Carolina for The Great American Bash.





Let’s Go Skydiving

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Epic crowd
Our show began not with a video, not with an introduction from the announcers (there weren’t any for this show),  but with a presentation from a gold-medal-winning North Carolina National Sky Diving Team.

I’m sure this was very exciting live at the time, but watching it back 24 years later there’s not much to say about it.

This was followed by the obligatory playing of the American National Anthem, then it was down to ringside for some hype from our ring announcer and, finally, our opening contest.

National Wrestling Alliance World Junior Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Denny Brown vs.  Mr. Electricity Steve Regal

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Mr Electricity Steve Regal faced Denny Brown
For newer fans, it’s probably worth pointing out that this isn’t the same Steve Regal you’re probably familiar with, but a former star of the AWA who then jumped to the NWA before ending up as cannon fodder for WWF stars.

Though his career on the big stage may not have ended in spectacular fashion, it did look like he was about to have a solid match here with Junior Heavyweight Champion Denny Brown. Things started well, with plenty of running around and athletic wrestling, but then it slowly devolved into one long chinlock as both men quite obviously began just trying to run down the clock.

Regal dominated the bulk of the contest but did so with none of the urgency or desperation that you might expect from a challenger in a championship match.

This was especially frustrating. Rather than doing his best to win, Mr. Electricity seemed quite content to keep reapplying wear-down holds and occasionally boasting to the crowd.

Inevitably, the time ran out and this disappointing opener came to a suitably lackluster finish with the ring announcer simply declaring them match is over’ as Regal and Brown punched each other.
Time-Limit Draw

Post-match, both men continues to wail on each other. Regal again got the upper hand, hurling Brown over the top rope and stealing his title, only for referee Earl Hebner to steal it back.

Non-Title Match
NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Black Bart vs. Robert Gibson

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Robert Gibson locks Black Bart in a head scissors
If the non-title stipulation didn’t telegraph the ending for you, the overwhelming popularity of Robert Gibson certainly gave it away.

The crowd absolutely loved the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express member and went wild for everything he did, even when what he did wasn’t all that special.

Indeed, that just about sums up this match. It wasn’t anything special, and from a technical standpoint it was average at best, but the sheer adoration for Gibson made it an enjoyable watch all the same.

Predictably, Black Bart came down on the wrong side of a flying cross-body block and ate the pin, much to the delight of the Charlotte crowd.
Your Winner: Robert Gibson

Afterward, Bart stood in the middle of the ring, hands-on-hips, looking as though he couldn’t believe he’d lost.

Special Challenge Match
The Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Ole Anderson  & NWA World TV Champion Arn Anderson) vs. Sam Houston and Nelson Royal

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Arn Anderson puts Sam Houston in an arm bar of doom
I’m not sure if the Andersons were technically the Minnesota Wrecking Crew here as they were never announced as such.

What I do know is that this was a fairly solid by-the-numbers tag team match that kept me entertained.

After some back and forth offense in the early going, The Andersons cut Nelson Royal off from his partner and worked over his arm for a good length of time.

This could have been boring, but Arn and Ole Anderson kept their offense interesting while Royal did such a great job at writhing in agony that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.

Eventually, Royal made the obligatory hot tag, yet in the ensuing chaos, Sam Houston got waffled by an Ole Ax-Handle from the ropes and lost the match for his team.
Your Winners: Minnesota Wrecking Crew

Moving on...

Bunkhouse Match
Baron Von Rashke (w/ Paul Jones) Manny “Raging Bull” Fernandez

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Baron Von Rashke faced Manny Fernandez in a Bunkhouse Match
This was billed as Anything Goes, but nothing really went besides Barron Von Raske taking his boot and belt off to use as weapons and at one point pulling a random International Object from his pocket.

The belt was especially a dumb move as he then spent the rest of the match with his jeans falling down.

Despite all that, this was a decent, old-school brawl with the crowd firmly behind Manny Fernandez.

The former Brass Knuckles champion took such a beating from his opponent that he was eventually busted wide open for our first blood let of the evening.

This made a nice change from the last NWA event we reviewed, Starrcade 1985, where almost every wrestler on the card bladed regardless as to whether it made any sense to or not.

After a fun fight, the Raging Bull got the three count on his opponent.
Your Winner: Manny Fernandez

Indian Strap Match
Wahoo McDaniel vs. Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Jimmy Garvin faced Wahoo McDaniel in a strap match
This was neither the longest nor the greatest strap match in the world, but both Wahoo McDaniel and Jimmy Garvin made the best of their allotted ten minutes.

Meanwhile, on the outside, Precious was a very vocal (and pretty attractive) presence, cheering on her man and getting involved physically whenever she felt it necessary.

Unfortunately for her and Garvin, that wasn’t enough to stop the man described by the oh-so-impartial ring announcer as ‘the greatest Indian wrestler of all time.’

Wahoo pummelled Garvin into a bloody mess then dragged him from corner to corner to win this enjoyable match.
Your Winner: Wahoo McDaniel

Afterward, Gorgeous Jimmy attacked Wahoo with what looked to be a bottle of baby oil.

Bet that hurt.

Taped Fist Match
NWA National Champion Tully Blanchard (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Ronnie Garvin (w/ Wahoo McDaniel)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Tully Blanchard battled Ronnie Garvin in a taped fist match
Historically, boxing-type matches in pro wrestling have never been very good. So it was a surprise to discover that this ten-round taped fist match between Ronnie Garvin and Tully Blanchard was by far the best thing on the show up to this point.

In each three minute round, both men took turns beating the living hell out of each other in truly glorious fashion.

Every time a man got knocked down, referee Tommy Young really amped up the authenticity by beginning a serious ten count as though his life depended on it.

Of course, wrestling moves were still allowed because, as Gordon Sollie would often remind us, that’s what it says on the marquee, but there was still far more boxing than wrestling and it was surprisingly awesome.

In the fifth round, both men simultaneously knocked each other down. Young told the ring announcer to announce that the first man to his feet would be declared the winner.

That brought in James J. Dillon, who began desperately- and hilariously- fanning Blanchard with a towel to revive him. That didn’t work, though Wahoo McDaniel has better look reviving Ronnie Garvin by chucking a bucket of water on him.

Garvin got to his feet and this one was done.

Man, if I ever write a ‘best Great American Bash matches’ article, remind me to put this on there.
Your Winner: Ronnie Garvin

Post-match, Dillon argued with the official about Wahoo throwing water on Garvin. Young claimed not to know anything about it even though the ring was now clearly soaking wet.

Brilliant.

Double Russian Chain Match
The Koloffs (Ivan & Nikita Koloff) vs. The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Warrior Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Ivan & Nikita Koloff faced The Road Warriors in a chain match
With Hawk chained to Nikita Koloff and Animal linked with Ivan Koloff, this one played out more like two singles matches going on at the same time rather than a coherent tag team match.

Apologies to Road Warriors fans out there, but the results just weren’t that impressive.

After watching Blanchard and Garvin put on a dramatic and entertaining brawl, seeing four huge dudes punch and kick each other with nobody really selling anything just seemed very underwhelming.

After a few minutes of big man brawling, Paul Ellering shoved Ivan off the top rope. Koloff crotched the ropes fell to the mat and was pinned by Animal.
Your Winners: The Road Warriors

Post-match, the Russians attacked by were seen off by the Warriors.

Hair vs. Hair Match
Jimmy Valliant vs.Shaska Whately (w/ Paul Jones)

This was a weird one as we cut right to the action with Shaska Whately attacking Jimmy Valiant from the opening bell then, a few minutes in, the ring announcer declared that the loser would get his head shaved.

Like many NWA bouts, this one wasn’t much to write about, but the crowd were hot so that’s all that matters.

Also, remember what I said earlier about the lack of blood? I take it back. From the Bunkhouse Match onwards, every single match had one or more competitors bleeding, including this one.

Valiant bled hard and really didn’t need to. It was completely unnecessary.

Towards the finish, Barron Von Rashke and Manny Fernandez both put in an appearance, leading to Valiant getting hold of Rashke’s loaded glove and knocking out his opponent for the win.
Your Winner: Jimmy Valiant

Afterward, most of the babyfaces who had already appeared on tonight’s card showed up to fill the ring while Valiant shaves Whately’s head.

It was the highlight of the entire match.

Six-Person Inter-Gender Steel Cage Match
The Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey, Bobby Eaton, and Jim Cornette w/ Big Bubba Rogers) vs. Magnum T.A, Dusty Rhodes and Baby Doll

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Jim Cornette and The Midnight Express faced Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA and Baby Doll
Bubba Rogers must have still been in his learning phase here. Despite being on the side of Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express, he spent the entire match watching on from the babyface corner.

That oddness aside, this was a perfectly decent tag team match with the added attraction of people getting their faces ground into the cage for -you guessed it- more bloodshed.

Everyone had their part to play here and played it well, with Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A putting in the work against Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey, Jim Cornette providing the comic relief, and Baby Doll getting the big pops for hitting the men.

Speaking of which, she got the pin for her team when, in the middle of a six-person fracas, Jim Cornette kind of just tumbled to the mat and allowed her to pin him.
Your Winners: Baby Doll, Magnum T.A, and Dusty Rhodes

Afterward, Big Bubba and the Midnights trapped Magnum and Baby Doll in the cage and destroyed Dusty Rhodes.

Eventually, Rhodes’ partners were able to come and check on him as the ring announcer reminded the live audience to stick around for the post-show fireworks.

Steel Cage Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Ricky Morton

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Ric Flair arrived in a helicopter for his match with Ricky Morton
OK, forget what I said earlier about Blanchard/Garvin being the match of the night. This one was far, far superior.

Ric Flair arrived in a frickin helicopter. It brought him right into the stadium, a red carpet was rolled out for him, and he sauntered to ringside like it was just another day at the office.

Several decades later, Flair’s daughter Charlotte would pay homage to that at Wrestlemania 35.

Meanwhile, Ricky Morton wore a protective face mask after Nature Boy had attacked him and ground his face into the concrete.

The story of the match was Morton going out for revenge by attacking the champ’s face whenever he could, while Flair himself took every opportunity to do even more damage to Morton’s.

The results were glorious. With blood dripping down his face, Ricky sold Nature Boy’s offense as though he were literally dying, looking so destroyed that even referee Tommy Young begged Flair to give his opponent a chance.

For his part, the champion was excellent both on offense and defense. As an aggressor, he merely toyed with his battered opponent, dragging him around the ring and verbally humiliating him with unbridled confidence as he delivered shots to the face and occasionally grated Morton’s head in the steel cage.

When his opponent was in charge, however, Flair backed off, begged, and played scared.

It was excellent.

Of course, the champion retained his gold so that he could go on to defend it on the rest of the Great American Bash tour dates, but the journey to get that victory was wonderful.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

I should also point out that this was the first major event (chronologically speaking) to feature the famous Big Gold Belt.





If you forget about the fact that there were far too many gimmick matches and bloodshed on this show, the Charlotte stop of The Great American Bash 1986 was a decent effort with two stand-out matches.

Though not everyone agrees, this fan found the taped fist match between Tully Blanchard and Ronnie Garvin to be genuinely enjoyable, while the Flair/Morton main event is definitely worth a look even if you skip the rest of the show.

Finally, give me a moment to complain about the blood some more. Though it was a great visual in the main event, the sight of Ricky Morton covered in blood would have had a much bigger impact had we not seen almost every wrestler on the card do the exact same thing.

It was a problem at Starrcade ‘85 and it was a problem here too.

We’ve all heard stories of older wrestlers telling the younger performers that ‘less is more,’ and I can’t help but wish somebody within the NWA heeded that advice back in the mid-1980s.




Other WCW Great American Bash reviews: 
Other 1986 events:
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Thursday, 12 November 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Insurrextion 2001

May 5, 2001 
Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England.

When WWE first started promoting their controversial shows in Saudi Arabia, many fans dismissed events like The Greatest Royal Rumble as being 'glorified house shows' as if that in itself was an absolutely terrible thing.

This wasn't the first time in history that the company's overseas events had been written off by American audiences. When the company promoted their UK-exclusive PPVs from the late-90s to the early 2000s, fans back then dismissed those as "basically house shows" as well.

What's interesting is that this was (and still is) meant as a criticism, as if being a 'glorified house show' is a bad thing and that pro wrestling shouldn't exist unless something majorly important happened.

What events like Insurrextion 2001 proved, is that sure, they may technically be glorified house shows, but that in itself doesn't mean that they were bad or not worth watching.







Sure, nothing majorly important ever happened at these events, and sure, it was always obvious that the wrestlers themselves were only performing at 75% of what they were capable of, but to write them off is to overlook the very point of pro wrestling in the first place - to entertain.

These events provided entertainment for the sake of entertainment and for this writer, that's a good enough reason to head back to Earls Court, London in the spring of 2001.

You with me? Let's do this.

Sometimes Change is Good

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Linda McMahon confronts Vince in William Regal's office
We began tonight’s show not with the usual pyro but with a shot of WWF Commissioner William Regal talking to Kurt Angle on the phone in a low budget backstage office.

Regal was busy informing Angle that his match tonight had been changed when an angry Vince McMahon stormed in, demanding to know why Regal had changed almost every match on the card tonight.

Regal insisted that he hadn’t, but that Vince’s wife Linda McMahon had. That was Linda’s cue to stroll into the office and display some personality for the first time in her on-screen career as she insisted that everything but the main event had been changed to give the fans ‘the very best the WWF has to offer.

Sure, this was just a clever way of telling us that the card we’d been sold had been completely rewritten, but it was really entertaining all the same, especially when it ended with Vince recoiling in disgust at the news of the then-current foot-and-mouth disease, referred to by the chairman as ‘foot-in-mouth disease.’

We were then welcomed to the arena by our announcers Michael Cole and Paul Heyman as the Insurrextion theme, a knock off of Machinehead by Bush, played throughout the arena.

With that done, it was onto our opening contest.

Grandmaster Sexay vs. Eddie Guerrero

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Grandmaster Sexay faced Eddie Guerrero
As random and seemingly thrown together as this might have been, this was a very entertaining opening contest, even if it did only last seven minutes.

Though we all probably didn’t appreciate it at the time, Grandmaster Sexay was great in his role as an opening match act.

In his run with Scotty 2 Hotty throughout 2000/early 2001, every time Too Cool opened a show the results were always enjoyable.

Combine that with the fact that Eddie Guerrero couldn’t be less than excellent if he tried and what you got here was a fun way to get the crowd invested in tonight’s show.

After a short match, we got a confusing bit of kerfuffle at the finish that resulted in Latino Heat putting his legs on the ropes to secure a pinfall victory.
Your Winner: Eddie Guerrero

Backstage, Triple H wore his Motörhead t-shirt as he told Stephanie McMahon that he has absolutely nothing to worry about when it came to his match tonight, a two-vs-one handicap match putting himself and Stone Cold Steve Austin against The Undertaker.

The Radicalz (Perry Saturn & Dean Malenko) vs. The Hollys (Hardcore & Crash Holly w/ Molly Holly)


WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Terri and whatever the heck Perry Saturn was supposed to be
This was originally billed as a six-person match but then Terri took to the microphone to declare that she hadn’t been able to buy any wrestling gear in London and was thus dropping out.

What we were left with was a solid team match that did plenty to keep the fans -and this writer- perfectly happy.

Terri and Molly Holly got involved anyway toward the finish and, in the resulting chaos, a bizarre-looking Perry Saturn managed to hit Bob Holly with the moss-covered three-handled family gradunza.

Somewhere backstage, Y2J looked on approvingly.
Your Winners: The Radicalz

Up next, we were shown a highlight package from William Regal’s recent press tour of the UK, culminating in a sold-out autograph session where the Commissioner was hugely over with the crowd.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - William Regal polishes The Queen's CupBack live in the arena, Regal spoke to an unknown person on the phone, telling them that there was no way his upcoming opponent Chris Jericho would get a better ovation than him because he -Regal- was the only sporting hero the UK had left.

Much as he had done back at Rebellion 2000, Regal once again insisted that he was more popular and successful than boxers Prince Nadeem and Lennox Lewis.

As he did so, Regal polished the Queen’s Cup that would be up for grabs in his match with Regal. I’m not convinced,  but I do believe the Queen’s Cup looked an awful lot like the Royal Samovar Trophy.

Test Failed

Speaking of Rebellion, Cole and Heyman shilled that for a bit before showing us a clip of Big Show destroying Test on Smackdown. That meant the advertised Test vs. Show match was off, but the big guy came and called out Test anyway.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Welllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, well it's the Big Show!
After being called a ‘yellow-bellied coward’ for the 100th time, Test saved us all the bother of listening to Big Show repeating the same insult over and over again by hobbling down to ringside, holding the ribs that Show damaged on Smackdown.

Yes, we were supposed to believe that Test had been so badly injured in the United States that he could barely walk straight but had still flown all the way over to England anyway, all just to hang out backstage at a show he had no way of competing on.

Anyway, Show demolished Test a second time, called him a yellow-bellied coward fifty more times and finally issued an open challenge to anyone on the roster.

Bradshaw answered because yay fun.

Bradshaw vs. Big Show

There really wasn’t a lot to this. You can close your eyes, imagine what a Bradshaw vs. Big Show match would look like, and you’d be pretty much spot on.

After a few minutes of fairly uninspired brawling, Test made a miraculous comeback and kicked a chair into Big Show’s face. Show hit the Clothesline from Hell and that was pretty much that.
Your Winner: Bradshaw

Post-match, Show stood around looking angry.

How Stupid is The Undertaker?

Backstage, Stone Cold Steve Austin gave a fired-up interview to Jonathan Coachman.

After demanding that Coach tell him how stupid The Undertaker was, a p’d off Texas Rattlesnake vowed that he and Triple H would end The American Bad Ass’s Decade of Destruction here tonight.

Austin spotted some gnarly scars above his eye from his recent battles.

Four Team Elimination Match
The X-Factor (X-Pac & Justin Credible w/ X-Pac) vs. Edge & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley) vs. The Hardy Boyz (WWF European Champion Matt Hardy & Jeff Hardy)

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - The Dudley Boyz
This was an excellent match and easily the best thing on the show so far.

Unsurprisingly, X-Pac and Justin Credible were the first to go, followed not long after by The Hardy Boyz.

While their contributions were fun, it was the remainder of the bout between Edge, Christian and The Dudleyz that really made This what it was.

After a really good quality performance from all concerned, Rhyno ran in and gored the living hell out of Bubba Ray to give his buddies Edge and Christian the fall.
Your Winners: Edge and Christian

Up next, we were taken to the previous evening’s charity event where  WWF merchandise was auctioned off to raise funds for the Make a Wish foundation.

The highlight of the evening appeared to be Stephanie McMahon slapping Michael Cole.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - GMTV's Eamon Holmes was in the crowd
Back live in the arena, we entered some kind of bizarro-world where names British fans would never expect to see on WWF programming were shown in the audience.

Eamon Holmes, Chris Tarrant and Gianfranco Zola were all show gurning for the camera in what was a very surreal moment for this fan.

Angle Wants His Medals Back

Backstage, Kurt Angle took umbrage at Jonathan Coachman’s suggestion that he had ‘lost’ his gold medals, instead insisting that they had been stolen.

No matter, The Olympic Hero vowed to reclaim his gold by defeating Chris Benoit in their upcoming two-out-of-three-falls match.

Two-out-of-Three-Falls
Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Chris Benoit puts Kurt Angle in the crossface
The previous week, at Backlash 2001, Kurt Angle had Chris Benoit beat toward the finish of their Ultimate Submission iron man match. The Olympic Gold Medalist made his opponent tap but, since it was after the bell it didn’t count.

Benoit went on to not only win that match in sudden death extra time but also to steal Angle’s medals on Raw.

Before tonight’s two-out-of-three falls match, the Crippler revealed that he’d been keeping those medals ‘somewhere safe and warm.’

If you didn’t immediately realize that meant they were down his pants then you’re clearly far too innocent for your own good.

Alas, we wouldn’t get to see Chris Benoit pull gold from his crotch (another sentence I never thought I’d write), at least not yet anyway.

The match got started and though neither man gave it their all (no WWF star ever did on a UK show), it was still a damn good effort.

Let’s be honest:

Even Benoit vs. Angle at their worst was better than many people’s best. So yes, it was still a quality performance, albeit one that ended too quickly and left you hungry for more.

Breaking from the normal two-out-of-three-falls formula, The Rabid Wolverine beat his opponent by two straight falls.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Post-match, Benoit made his way up to the stage where he grabbed a microphone and revealed that, yes, he had indeed wrestled the entire match with gold medals in his pants. He then proceeded to put the medals -ball sweat and all- around his neck before sauntering backstage, laughing at an irate Kurt Angle.

Debra is Not an Errand-Girl

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - Debra stands up to Stone Cold Steve Austin
Backstage, Stone Cold Steve Austin demanded water from his wife, Debora while he, HHH and Steph went over the plans for their match tonight.

After the McMahon-Helmsleys also asked from drinks, Debrah rightly told them where to go, insisting that they should be focusing on beating The Undertaker rather than sending her on errands.

This was followed by a look back at the recent rivalry been Chris Jericho and William Regal, including their Dutchess of Queensberry rules, match at Backlash.

Tonight, the two would have another such match, this time with the totally-not-made-up Queen’s Cup on the line.

Duchess of Queensberry Rules Match for the Queen’s Cup
William Regal vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - William Regal puts a hurting on Chris Jericho
Ignore the Duchess of Queensberry stuff here. Though it was billed as one, there was really no such match type and this was a basic straight singles match one of the shenanigans that made up their Backlash encounter.

If you ask this fan, avoiding such silliness only made this one even better.

Sure, there was a stretch in the middle when Regal kept his opponent grounded in multiple rest holds, but even they made sense in the context of the match and added to the sense of drama.

Besides, when the two got back to their feet, they really went for it, delivering a match which, dare I say it, surpassed even Benoit/Angle.

Despite dominating the bulk of the contest in front of his fellow countrymen, Regal eventually tapped to Chris Jericho’s Wall of Jericho, putting an end to a fine contest indeed.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho

Predictably, Regal picked up the Queen’s Cup after the bell and destroyed his rival with it.

Handicap Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Two-Man Power Trip (WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin & WWF Intercontinental Champion Triple H w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. The Undertaker

According to Lillian Garcia, ‘Taker had to pin Steve Austin to win the title.

WWE / WWF Insurrextion (2001) - The Undertaker faced Steve Austin and Triple H in a handicap match
This was important as he would actually win the match, planting HHH with a chokeslam after Vince McMahon ran in and accidentally blasted his son-in-law with a steel chair.

Before that, we got a fun, by-the-numbers main event.

We started with brawling in the ring and up and down the aisle before things settled down into a standard match with Austin and The Game actually bothering to tag in and out.

It was entertaining enough, but this was the kind of match these three seasoned main eventers could sleep-wall through, and that’s pretty much what they did.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

With blood dripping from his ear, The Undertaker chokeslammed everyone in his sight then rode off into the sunset...

...well, into the grey and gloomy skies of England, anyway.







Though the WWF’s UK-exclusive cards were never going to win any ‘show of the year’ awards, this one did at least entertain and was probably the best WWF show in British soil since Summerslam 1992.

Only the Big Show/Bradshaw match was outright poor, while the four-team tag match and the Angle/Benoit encounter are definitely worth checking out.

Everything else was enjoyable, though nothing you haven’t seen before.




Thursday, 5 November 2020

EVENT REVIEW: NWA Starrcade 1985 - The Gathering

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Event poster
November 28, 1985 
Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Greensboro, North Carolina 
Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia. 

It's often said that Vince McMahon is a genius, but when you think about it, how many of his ideas were truly original?

Sure, he gave us the game-changing Attitude Era, but wasn't that merely an inevitable evolution from the kind of content surveyed by Extreme Championship Wrestling?

Sure, he gave us memorable angles like D-Generation-X, but wasn't that just in response to the unprecedented popularity of the New World Order?

And sure, he gave us Wrestlemania, an event which today holds its own among the likes of the Superbowl as a veritable institution, but before there was 'Mania, it was NWA Starrcade which held the crown of pro wrestling's premier event.

Now in its third year, Starrcade 1985 was the first version of the National Wrestling Alliance's marquee event to take place after the success of Wrestlemania 1.  In an attempt to prove that theirs was still the biggest and best, Jim Crockett Promotions upped the ante, running The Gathering from two separate venues and once again beating McMahon to the punch before he had the chance to put Wrestlemania 2 in three venues simultaneously.

Would JCP have better luck with this multi-venue format than the WWF would have months later?

Let's head down to both Greensboro and Atlanta to find out.







NWA Starrcade 1985 - Bob Caudle and Tony 'The Mustache' Schiavone
Welcome To The Gathering

After a rather spiffy intro that was about a thousand times better than the kind of lame intros WCW would start its PPVs with in the nineties, we got a welcome from our Atlanta-based announcers Bob Caudle and Tony 'The Mustache' Schiavone.

The two hyped tonight's big matches before sending it over to Johnny Weaver, who was handling backstage interviews over at the other Starrcade site, the Greensboro coliseum.

With that, it was onto our opening match.

Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship
Krusher Khrushchev vs. Sam Houston

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Sam Houston battled Krusher Kruschev
There will be modern fans who hate this match for its reliance on long-periods of 'rest holds,' but personally, this writer found it to be a decent opening match.

The crowd adored babyface Sam Houston and that made everything he and Krusher Khrushchev did seem like a big deal.

OK, so this kind of match was very much of its time, but if you can watch it in context rather than through the filter of modern pro wrestling, there was a lot to like here.

After a solid effort, Khrushchev demolished his opponent, smashing his way to victory and repossessing the vacant Mid-Atlantic title.
Your Winner: Krusher Khrushchev

Moving swiftly on...

Mexican Death Match
Abdullah The Butcher (w/ Paul Jones) vs. The Ragin' Bull Manny Fernandez

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Abdullah The Butcher faced Manny Fernandez in a 'Sombrero on a Pole' Mexican Death Match
Well, this was a strange one.

It was billed as a 'Mexican death match' but was basically a 'sombrero on a pole match' with the obligatory Abdullah The Butcher bloodshedding.

It was OK for what it was, but I can't help but feel like a Mexican death match should have delivered a lot more.

After a few minutes of Basic Blood Spilling 101, Manny Fernandez hit a move called Flying Burrito because that was the sort of thing that was totally acceptable in the 1980s.

In case you're wondering, it was a flying forearm. It allowed Ragin' Bull to knock Abby on his flabby ass, climb the pole, retrieve the sombrero and win the contest.
Your Winner: Manny Fernandez

Backstage, Krusher Khrushchev was interviewed by Johnny Weaver.

Russian sympathizer Khrushchev thanked The Kollofs for helping prepare him for tonight’s match before claiming that his victory proved that Russia had the world's most superior athletes.

This was a decent enough promo from Mr. Darsow, even if the crappy audio did mean that you could hear his every word echoing around the arena.

Texas Bullrope Match
Cowboy Ron Bass vs. Blacktop Bully (w/ James J. Dillon)

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Outlaw Ron Bass faced Black Bart
If Ron Bass wins, he gets a five-minute bullrope match with JJ Dillon

Two-thirds of this match involved Ron Bass hitting his former Long Riders partner in the face repeatedly with a cowbell.

Christopher Walkden would have loved it.

Blacktop Bart occasionally fought back, but this was all about him getting his comeuppance in his heated rivalry with Bass and bleeding like the proverbial stuck pig.

The match was pretty decent, though again I can see why some people wouldn’t like it when viewed through the filter of modern wrestling.

After a few minutes of fairly slow action, Bass lept off the top rope with a death-defying Flying Super Cowbell Shot to the Head of Doom and won the match.
Your Winner: Ron Bass

Wasting no time, James J. Dillon immediately got to the ring and started attacking Bass.

Texas Bullrope Match
James J. Dillon vs. Ron Bass

Bass fought back quickly and this one quickly developed into another one-sided ass-kicking until the referee took a tumble.

That allowed Blacktop Bart to hit a piledriver and dump Dillon on top of his opponent.

One three count later and we were done here.
Your Winner: James J. Dillon

Arm Wrestling Match
The Barbarian (w/ Paul Jones) vs. Superstar Billy Graham

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Superstar Billy Graham faced Barbarian in an arm-wrestling match
Man, they were really going all out with the gimmick matches on this show, weren’t they?

Back at Starrcade ‘84, Superstar Billy Graham had turned up looking like crap and doing a silly karate gimmick for a horrible match with Wahoo McDaniel.

Tonight, he arrived looking more like the Billy Graham for an arm-wrestling match with The Barbarian.

Fun flashback: remember when Dusty Rhodes was doing commentary for WCW and it always sounded like he called Barbarian ‘The Ball Bearing?’

I mention that because its easier than trying to review a worked arm-wrestling match.

Credit where it’s due, Graham and Ball Bearing really did sell this like they were arm-wrestling as though their lives depended on it and were pretty convincing, but it was still just arm-wrestling.

Billy Graham won and I don’t know what else to say about that.
Your Winner: Superstar Billy Graham

Paul Jones immediately attacked Billy Graham and that apparently led us right into a match.

Superstar Billy Graham vs. The Barbarian (w/ Paul Jones)

The actual wrestling match was OK, but again it wasn’t particularly special.

For the third match in a row, we got plenty of blood because this was the 80s and it was the law.

As the end came, Graham locked on a bear hug, Jones then hit him with his cane and that was that.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Billy Graham

Post-match, the two brawled out in the crowd.

National Wrestling Alliance National Championship
NWA National Champion Terry Taylor vs. Buddy Landel (w/ James J. Dillon)

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Buddy Landel works Terry Taylor's arm.
Buddy Landel was claiming to be ‘The Real Nature Boy’ and did his best Ric Flair impression for this singles contest against future Red Rooster, Terry Taylor.

This was another competent match,  albeit one that never really kicked up into the kind of high gear you’d probably hope for.

That seemed to be the big issue with almost everything on this show so far. Most of it was fine, but for the NWA’s biggest show of the year you’d probably expect more.

The end came with a win for Nature Boy thanks to Dillon’s interference.
Your Winner and NEW National Champion: Buddy Landell

No time to waste, the NWA were cramming as much into this show as possible.

National Wrestling Alliance National Tag Team Champions
NWA National Tag Team Champions The Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Ole & Arn Anderson) vs. NWA US Tag Team Champions Wahoo McDaniel & Billy Jack Haynes

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Arn Anderson locks up with Wahoo McDaniel
So, here we have the Starrcade debuts of Arn Anderson and Billy Jack Haynes while Ole Anderson puts in his second appearance and Wahoo McDaniel continues his run of appearing in every Starrcade so far.

One thing I will point out is the randomness of the theme music on this show. McDaniel and Haynes came out to a very obvious rip off of 1999 by Prince. It was so weird, so unsuitable, and yet so perfectly 80s.

The other weird thing about this show was the commentary. Not just in this match but throughout the entire event, there were entire minutes were neither Caudle nor Schiavone said a word.

Occasionally, they’d chip in with a remark or two but then it was right back to radio silence from our announcers, making for a very odd viewing experience indeed.

Anyway, neither the Ill-fitting entrance music nor the lack of commentary could take away from what was otherwise a very solid match that could have benefited from having a few more minutes tacked onto it.

Otherwise, this was one of the better matches on the card, coming to a close with a win for the Andersons thanks to some shady heel shenanigans.
Your Winners and Still National Tag Team Champions: The Minnesota Wrecking Crew

Backstage, Johnny Weaver interviewed James J. Dillon and Nature Boy Buddy Landell.

In one of the better interview segments from the last three Starrcades, Dillon bragged about being the ‘Bullrope’ champion and about how he knew all along that Landell was championship material.

For his part, Nature Boy insisted that he’d modelled his life after Tully Blanchard, The Andersons, and Ric Flair. He also called himself the ‘world’s national champion’ which I’m not sure is accurate.

Anyway, this was pretty decent stuff from a confident and cocksure Landell.

Steel Cage ‘I Quit’ Match for the National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA United States Champion Tully Blanchard (w/ Baby Doll) vs. Magnum T.A

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Magnum T.A battled Tully Blanchard in an awesome US title match
My goodness, this was insanely good. Brilliantly brutal and brutally brilliant, it was an intense, impassioned bloodbath for the ages.

At no point did this ever feel like a choreographed wrestling match. It felt like a straight-up fight to the death between two men who legitimately wanted to kill each other.

The blood let cane thick and fast and would have added even more to what was already an incredible performance had so many other wrestlers not bled unnecessarily later on in the show.

Not that it mattered.

The violence was off the charts, the intensity and emotion was something else, and the whole thing was awesome from start to finish.

Speaking of the finish...

Tully Blanchard got a wooden chair into the ring somehow but then smashed it up rather than using it on his opponent. It looked like an odd move at first but then he took a spiked piece of the broken chair and tried to stab Magnum T.A in the eye with it.

Magnum fought back, took control of the spike and jammed it into his rival’s head until the champion surrendered.

Amazing.
Your Winner and NEW US Champion: Magnum T.A

Before the next match, Jim Cornette made his Starrcade debut to introduce his boys, The Midnight Express.

The Midnight Express (Beautiful Bobby Eaton & Loverboy Dennis Condrey w/Jim Cornette) vs. Jimmy Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively (w/Big Mama)

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Miss Atlanta Lively was Ronnie Garvin in drag
OK, so, The Midnight Express we’re wearing tuxedos for some unknown reason and Miss Atlanta Lively was Ronnie Garvin in drag, also for unknown reasons.

Together with Jimmy Valliant (making his third Starrcade appearance), they all created a chaotic mess with almost no redeeming qualities.

Sure, this was a straight-up comedy match and that would have been fine if, you know, it had actually been funny.

There weren’t many laughs, but there was a lot of mess.

Thankfully, it was kept quite short and ended when Miss Atlanta Lively kind of just lied down on top of Dennis Condrey for the win.
Your Winners: Miss Atlanta Lively and Jimmy Valiant

Afterward, the good guys stripped Jim Cornette down to his knickers.

NWA Starrcade 1985 - New US Champion Magnum TA gives an interview to Johnny WeaverOur New US Champion

Backstage, Johnny Weaver interviewed Magnum T.A.

The new US Champion cut a compelling promo, declaring that he’d be ready to defend “the fighting champion’s belt” against anyone on the roster.

Between that match and this promo, it was easy to see why people had such high hopes on Magnum becoming The Next Big Thing.

Steel Cage Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship
NWA World Tag Team Champions Ivan & Nikita Koloff (w/ Krusher Khrushchev) vs. The Rock 'n' Roll Express

This was a quality match but it really didn’t need the cage match stipulation, especially since we’d already had an all-time classic less than thirty minutes earlier, and especially since referee Earl Hebner enforced traditional tag rules throughout.

Even despite all that, this was a great effort from everyone involved and the crowd absolutely ate it up.

A Ricky Morton roll-up sealed the deal for him and Robert Gibson earning them the titles.

On another note, Don Kernodle was at ringside for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. So far, he’d appeared at all three Starrcade shows and yet never once wrestled a match. As far as I know, he was still an active competitor at this stage of his career.
Your Winners and New World Tag Team Champions: The Rock n Roll Express

Post-match, the Russians got their revenge by beating the Rock ‘n’ Roll express to a pulp and taking out anyone who tried to help the. We champions.

Finally, it was onto our main event of the evening.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. The American Dream Dusty Rhodes

NWA Starrcade 1985 - Dusty Rhodes battled Ric Flair for the World Heavyweight Championship
This match was a perfect reflection of Starrcade ‘85 as a whole.

It was far superior to the 1984 effort but there was still something about it that didn’t quite meet the expectations might have for it.

I mean, don’t get me wrong:

It was Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair, so it was always going to be very enjoyable. What’s more, it didn’t suffer from the same terrible Smokin’ Joe Frazier ending that Rhodes/Flair ‘84 did, but it just didn’t quite feel like the all-time Classic that it perhaps could have been.

Towards the end, referee Tommy Young got bumped, prompting a run in from the Minnesota Wrecking Crew to attack Dusty. Flair capitalized by making the cover as a new referee ran in, but alas he only got a two count.

Dusty then rolled up his opponent, and one three count later we had a new champion.
Your Winner and New World Heavyweight Champion: Dusty Rhodes

Afterward, a bunch of babyfaces ran in to congratulate the new champion and douse him in champagne.

Dusty Did it For the Blue Collar Workers

The champagne continued to flow backstage as Tong Schiavone got an interview with the new champion.

The American Dream dedicated his match to the textile workers as well as ‘the auto workers and the car workers,’ who were apparently two different sets of people.

He then vowed to remain champion for a long time, bringing this ace promo, and this show, to an end.







All in all, Starrcade 85: The Gathering wasn’t a bad show. Only the weirdness with Miss Atlanta Lively and Jimmy Valiant was outright poor, but with very few exceptions almost everything else settled around a level of mediocrity.

Man though, what exceptions they were.

Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A. deserves all the credit it gets and is genuinely one of the best matches this fan has seen in years.

Elsewhere, the world tag team title match was exhilarating stuff, and though Rhodes and Flair’s second Starrcade main event wasn’t a classic, it was still very entertaining.

Watch for those matches but don’t feel bad about skipping everything else.




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Thursday, 29 October 2020

Movie Review: See No Evil (2006)

See No Evil (2006) movie poster | Glenn Jacobs (Kane)
If you were ever going to cast a pro wrestler in a movie about a psychopathic monster who towers over everybody he comes across, Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs would naturally be the perfect fit.

And if you were ever going to review that movie, Halloween would naturally be the perfect time to do it.

So, here we find ourselves, gorging on popcorn as we watch The Big Red Machine stomp about a dilapidated and abandoned hotel as Jacob Goodnight, a murderous monster of a man with mommy issues and a penchant for ripping people’s eyeballs out.

Like The Shining meets Friday the 13th, nothing about See No Evil is particularly original. It’s every horror movie you’ve ever seen in which a group of good-looking young people with attitudes go to a creepy place and get hacked off one by one by an unhinged maniac.

The only difference is that this unhinged maniac carries a chain and hook rather than a machete, oh and that the kids are all juvenile delinquents forced to go to the creepy place to clean it up and get time off their prison sentence rather than to hang out, get drunk, and have sexy times.




To be fair, they drink and have sexy times anyway, but that’s only because See No Evil seems so desperate to cram every horror movie cliche you’ve ever known into one 90-minute gorefest.

Still, having said all that, it’s worth pointing out that See No Evil isn’t an entirely terrible movie.

OK, so it’s certainly not a *good* movie, but it does have some redeemable qualities.

The kills are both creative and satisfyingly gruesome. Despite never having been particularly squeamish, even this long-time horror fan found himself wincing at some of the more innovative violence on display.

Speaking of display, that’s perhaps the movie’s best quality.
Visually, this is one great-looking piece of cinema with a fantastic aesthetic that really deserved to be utilised by a better script.

If only the creators had taken these features and used them to do something that was truly their own, they might have been onto a winner. Instead, they take a stunning horror aesthetic and a stunning brand of gore and underutilise it by using it to tell the same hackeyned murder-by-numbers horror film you’ve seen countless times before.

Honestly, it’s amazing that they came out with a sequel for this, but maybe we’ll save that one until next Halloween.






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Thursday, 22 October 2020

Movie Review: Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1998) Movie Review | Poster | Rowdy Roddy Piper
It's the end of the twentieth century and mankind has blown its wad...

If you only do one good thing for yourself today, watching the trailer to the 1988 sci-fi caper Hell Comes to Frogtown should definitely be it.

Directed by Donald G. Jackson and written by Jackson and written by Randall Frakes, this goofy b-movie may not be a cinematic masterpiece but the trailer, my goodness, the trailer may be the greatest thing of all time.

I mean seriously, it’s just about the most gloriously over-the-top slice of 1980s awesomeness that you’ve ever seen in your whole natural life.

Even if you lived through the 80s, nothing you’ll have experienced in that decade will have been as epic or as fun as the trailer for this movie.

Don't just take my word for it though. Just look at it:


What does any of this have to do with retro pro wrestling?

Simple:

It stars none other than pro wrestling legend, the late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper.

It's also nearly Halloween, which is the time of year when we usually post these kinds of offbeat reviews.

OK, so Hell Comes to Frogtown might be neither as good nor as memorable as Piper’s turn in cult classic They Live, but it’s certainly better than the hokey horror/unintentional comedy that was Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies.

In that film, Hot Rod had to team up with Shane Douglas to fight some zombies while Matt Hardy shagged his missus in the background.

In this one, it’s Piper that’s doing all the shagging, and saving humanity in the process.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is a film in which Roddy Piper must prevent human extinction by getting laid as often as possible.

He does this under the watchful eye of an armed guard and a doctor, both or whom just so happen to be smoking hot women who Piper also gets to shag.

So far, so bizarre, right? But there is a point to all this...sort of.

Hell Comes to Frogtown finds us in a post-apocalyptic world in which repopulating the species Is top priority for the remaining humans.




To help with this of badass, sexy nurse warrior type women track down Sam Hell (good name), who has apparently been wandering the barren wastelands and shagging everything in sight.

Chosen for his magnum dong and renowned sexual prowess, the warrior nurses simply want Hell (Piper) to impregnate a bunch of women. However, it then it turns out that the woman have been captured by a race of mutant amphibian people and taken to their base (the titular Frogtown) so that the mutants can breed them to become the new superior race.

Joined by a sexy armed guard (Cec Verrell) and about equally as sexy Doctor (Sandahl Bergman), Piper’s new mission is to rescue the kidnapped women, return them to safety, and promptly give them one.

Yes, it really is as dumb as sounds.

No, it really isn’t the greatest movie ever made.

At times it’s cheesy. At times it’s absolutely ludicrous. At times it’s just badly acted and poorly written.

But at other times it’s hilarious, goofy, and -if you’re into the sight of Sandahl Bergman in her undies- even kinda sexy.

Even if it was none of those things, Hell Comes to Frogtown gave us the greatest movie trailer of all time, and for that alone it's worth all the praise in the world.






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Thursday, 15 October 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Backlash 2001

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Event Poster
April 29, 2001,
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois

A month prior to Backlash 2001, the World Wrestling Federation had presented Wrestlemania X-Seven, an event that would go down in history as arguably the greatest Wrestlemania event of all time. 

That incredible show was the peak of a tremendous run of great shows for the company, with the quality of their in-ring product as good as it had ever been.

Still, a lot had changed in the few weeks since 'Mania.

Once sworn rivals hell-bent on homicide, Steve Austin and Triple H were now on the same page, a whole host of ECW stars were integrating themselves into the roster, and the creative clusterf**k that was The Invasion was drawing ever closer.

With all that going on, could the WWF keep up their hot streak and deliver a show every bit as awesome as Wrestlemania 17?

Let's head down to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois to find out.







No Power. No Gold. Know Power. Know Gold

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Paul Heyman and Jim Ross called the event
Once upon a time, Triple H had arranged for Stone Cold Steve Austin to be run over by a car at Survivor Series 1999.

A year later, Austin got his revenge by carrying out the attempted murder of The Game at Survivor Series 2000.

Now, the two were a tag team because that’s how pro wrestling logic works.

Tonight, as our compelling opening video told us, the two would take on The Undertaker and Kane.

This was a pretty good video that played up the Two Man Power Trip aspect of the whole story while glossing over the whole part about Austin and HHH literally trying to kill each other prior to teaming up.

Then, after the obligatory pyro, crowd shots and a greeting from announcers Jim Ross and Paul Heyman, it was on with the show.

The Dudley Boyz (D-Von Dudley, Bubba Ray Dudley, and Spike Dudley) vs. The X-Factor (X-Pac, Albert and Justin Credible)

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - The Dudleyz faced The X-Factor
Throughout tonight’s opening contest, JR constantly tried to get ‘the wizards of the wicked wood,’ over as a new nickname for The Dudleyz. It sounded ridiculous and it’s no surprise that name didn’t stick.

When he wasn’t coming up with goofy names, Ross joined Heyman in calling what was a pretty decent match.

Were this any other bunch of wrestlers, this may not have gone down so well, but The Dudley Boyz were so insanely over that everything they did elicited a huge response from the live audience.

Combine that with the fact that all six men turned up motivated and ready for action and what you had here was a solid opener that came to a close with a win for The X-Factor.
Your Winners: The X-Factor

Post-match, The Dudleyz got their revenge by putting X-Pac through a table.

Speaking of which, here’s something that I’ve noticed on the last several PPVs:

Every time Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley did the whole ‘D-Von! Get the tables!!’ bit, the tables were never actually got. The other team always stopped them from either setting up the table or putting somebody through it. As such, the table either never came into play at all or else did so only in the post-match shenanigans.

Speaking of shenanigans:

Meanwhile, Backstage...

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - William Regal greets The Duchess of Queensbury backstage
‘The Duchess of Queensbury’ (a woman in a pompadour) arrived in a limousine with two close protection officers. William Regal was delighted to see her.

Across the arena, Kurt Angle told Lillian Garcia that he owned Chris Benoit and would take him out in their upcoming Ultimate Submission match.

Back in the arena, the announcers told us that Jerry Lynn had defeated Crash Holly for the Light Heavyweight Championship earlier on Heat.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Rhyno vs. Raven

Taking the WWF Hardcore division to another level, Rhyno and Raven gave us an awesome brawl that was way better than expected.

In one sense, this was every hardcore match you’ve seen from this time period; the two littered the ring with garbage weapons and proceeded to beat the crap out each other with them.

Yet they did so with such an intensity and with such stiffness that it made the whole thing an exciting match to watch.

After the better part of ten minutes, Rhyno murdered babyface Raven with a gore to retain his belt.
Your Winner and Still Hardcore Champion: Rhyno

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Michael Cole tries to interview Shane 'The Pain' McMahon
Up next, we were taken back to Smackdown where Shane McMahon read an awesome fairytale called ‘Shane & The Beanstalk’ about his rivalry with his dad and, more specifically, his Dad’s hired goon, The Big Show.

Live in the arena, Michael Cole tried to get an interview with Shane but Stephanie McMahon interrupted and tried to get Shane to call off his Last Man Standing match with Show.

Naturally, Shane O’ Mac refused.

More Backstage Buffoonery

Kevin Kelly had better luck than Michael Cole in getting an interview. He interrupted WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin who was strong-arming Debra as they made their way into the arena.

Given the accusations of Austin’s real-life domestic abuse against Debra, that looked pretty uncomfortable.

Anyway, The Texas Rattlesnake told Kelly that there was no way he was losing the WWF title tonight as long as HHH did his part.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Coachman tried to ask the Duchess of Queensberry what the rules were to the match named after her.

Before she could answer, however, William Regal interrupted, thus keeping up the long-standing joke in wrestling that the rules for such a match don’t actually exist.

Duchess of Queensberry Rules Match
William Regal vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - The Duchess of Motherflippin' Queensbury
These two had met in a decent match at Wrestlemania 17. Since then, Chris Jericho besmirched Regal by peeing in his tea, leading to this match.

Needless to say, this was a quality match even if the whole Duchess of Queensberry stuff did get a little silly.

With Her Majesty herself looking on (even though Her Royal Highness would have been the correct title) Jericho and Regal put on a wrestling clinic for the first half of the match until Y2J looked to get the win with the Lionsault.

Before he could make the cover, however, the Duchess declared that the time had expired on Round 1.

Jericho then made Regal tap to the Walls of Jericho, but she declared that you couldn’t win by submission. Next, Regal blasted his opponent with the Duchess’s scepter, causing her to make it a No DQ match.

Having finally had enough, Jericho threw Her Ladyship into the ring and put the Walls on her, but Commissioner Regal came in, destroyed him with a chair and that was that.

Again, the whole ‘making up the rules on the fly’ stuff got a bit much, but this was otherwise a very good performance.
Your Winner: William Regal

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Vince McMahon orders Big Show to destroy Shane
Backstage, Vince McMahon made Big Show promise that he’d hold nothing back against Shane McMahon. Show promised and the two shook hands, both laughing maniacally as this somewhat awkward and slightly cringe-inducing segment came to an end.

We then got a video package featuring shots of Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle making most of the roster tap out, followed by a quick shot of Krispin Wah himself warming up backstage.

He and Angle would go head to head next.

30-Minute Ultimate Submission Match
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Kurt Angle faced Chris Benoit in an Ultimate Submission iron man match
In case you’re unsure, an Ultimate Submission match was basically a submission-based iron man match.

Before the bell, Angle got himself some heat by insulting Chicago’s most famous figures and promising to make Benoit squeal like a pig.

The match eventually got underway and turned out to be every bit as good as you probably expected.

Regardless of whatever happened away from the ring, Benoit and Angle were two masters of their craft. Here, they proved it by delivering a masterclass of professional wrestling that remained captivating from start to finish.

The two held nothing back as they wrestled each other to a 3-3 draw in the allotted half hour.

Harkening back to Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 12, the match then went into overtime with sudden death rules applying.

A few more minutes of action followed before Benoit slapped Angle in the crossface to take home the 4-3 victory.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Backstage, HHH and Stephanie McMahon were watching Undertaker and Kane have a heated discussion on a television monitor.

The Game thought that The Brothers of Destruction were trying to come up with an excuse for losing to him and Austin, but Steph was more concerned with insisting that her brother Shane was living in a fairytale.

Last Man Standing Match
The Big Show vs. Shane McMahon

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Big Show faced Shane McMahon in a Last Man Standing match
If the last match has been as good as expected, this one was certainly better than expected.

Shane and Show had last met on PPV in a street fight back at Judgement Day 2000. That had been OK but a little underwhelming.

This was much better.

Early on, Shane knocked Show out with chloroform, only for Vince to run in and destroy his own son with a chair.

The match continued to the point that Big Show was just toying with Shane O’Mac, letting the referee count him up to right before picking up the WCW owner and chokeslamming him again.

It was at this point that Test put in an appearance, and this is where things got really good.

(I bet that sentence has never been written before).

Test and Show brawled to the entrance. Shane followed and ended up climbing to the top of the structure around the entrance while Test planted Big Show.

Then, in typical Shane McMahon fashion, he plummeted fifty feet to his doom, crash landing on his opponent.

Test helped his former almost-brother-in-law to his feet and this utterly enthralling bit of entertainment was done.
Your Winner: Shane McMahon

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Grandmaster Sexay gets weird on Steve Blackman
Backstage, Vince wrote off Shane and declared that Triple H was his only son.

Meanwhile, over at WWF New York, Steve Blackman started to tell Jim Ross that despite having issues with Shane in the past, he hoped he was OK after that match.

‘I never thought I’d see him do something like that,’ said Blackman, referring to McMahon’s epic leap of faith. That’s funny because Shane pulled an almost identical stunt in their match at Summerslam 2000.

Before he could get much further, Grandmaster Sexay turned up and freaked out in Blackman’s face.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship Triple Threat Match
WWF European Champion Matt Hardy vs. Christian vs. Eddie Guerrero

Although this kind of felt like filler, it was at least pretty entertaining filler.

All three men worked hard to deliver a fast-paced stormer of a match, but who knows how much better it could have been if they’d been given more time to shine.

Edge ran in towards the finish to try and help Christian win, but Jeff Hardy then put in an appearance to even the score.

That allowed Matt Hardy to hit Eddie Guerrero with the match-winning Twist of Fate.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: Matt Hardy

Afterward, we got the eight-thousandth replay of Shane’s big fall.

All Titles on the Line
WWF Intercontinental Champion Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon) & WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin WWF Tag Team Champions Kane & The Undertaker

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Steve Austin pleads with The Undertaker
The last time all the titles were on the line was back at In Your House 3: Triple Header when Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels and WWF Champion Diesel faced WWF Tag Team Champion Yokozuna and British Bulldog, with the Bulldog standing in for Owen Hart.

Speaking of Michaels, Jim Ross reminded us that if The Game won tonight, he’d be only the second man in history besides HBK to win the WWF title, European Championship, Intercontinental title, and tag team titles.

There were times when it felt as though this really long match was never going to end and there were times when it was so good that you didn’t really want it to end.

At one point, Kane played face-in-peril for six years and it really started to drag, but then just like that the whole thing picked up again and the match got utterly compelling.

Towards the finish, Undertaker and Austin went for a walk through the crowd. Stephanie McMahon tried to help her man but got Kane’s foot in her face.

That brought out Vince McMahon and a sledgehammer. Hunter used it and one three count later we had new tag team champions.
Your Winners and NEW tag team champions: Triple H & Stone Cold Steve Austin

Afterward, the new champions celebrated their hard-fought victory as Backlash 2001 came to a close.







I may be wrong, but I’m willing to state that Backlash was a fairly flawless show.

Every match was good in its own way, with the Benoit/Angle submission match really standing out as match of the night.

Coming on the back of one of the best Wrestlemanias ever, this was a great time to be a fan.




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Retro Pro Wrestling

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