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, 14 January 2021

PPV REVIEW: NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Event Poster
January 24, 1988,
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

Dusty Rhodes has an interesting reputation as a booker and a creative force in the world of professional wrestling.

On the one hand, he created War Games and came up with concepts like the Lethal Lottery which, you have to admit, was at least interesting.

On the other hand, he's the guy who thought The Shockmaster was a good idea, had a tendency to vanity-book himself into high profiles spots, and gave name to the much over-used Dusty Finish. 

The American Dream also came up with this:

The Bunkhouse Stampede:

A "street fight" style battle royal where the wrestlers wore "bunkhouse gear" (jeans, t-shirts, and boots, basically) and could use weapons to beat up their opponents with.

Over the course of several weeks, several bunkhouse stampede matches were held, with the winners all converging on Uniondale, New York to compete in tonight's final.

Of course, having created the concept, Dusty had won every single one of the past three Bunkhouse Stampede finals.

Would he win this one?

More importantly, would this be a War Games or a Shockmaster deal?







Let's go to New York to find out.

Welcome to the Bunkhouse Stampede Finals

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Jim Ross & Bob Caudle called the action
There was no fancy intro video for tonight’s show. Instead, the most basic of introductory graphics faded to the arrival of NWA Television Champion Nikita Koloff making his way to the ring.

The show then cut to our announcers for the evening, Bob Caudle and Jim Ross. The duo ran down tonight’s card before sending it to our ring announcer for the evening, the man with the most rockin’ 80s moustache-and-mullet combo in history, Tony Schiavone.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA TV Champion Nikita Koloff vs. NWA US Tag Team Champion Beautiful Bobby Eaton (w/ Jim Cornette)

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Jim Cornette cheered on Bobby Eaton in a TV title match against Nikita Koloff
This could have been a great match if it didn’t start getting really stupid towards the finish.

The majority of the contest saw Bobby Eaton grind the champion into the mat and try and force him to submit to a standard armbar while Jim Cornette trash-talked The Russian Nightmare from a safe distance on the outside.

It was mostly fun in an old-school kind of way, but as the clock began counting down, you couldn’t help but feel as though Eaton was a bit of a dumb ass for not trying a different strategy to win.

Despite the fact that Koloff hadn’t submitted for the first 15 minutes of the match, the challenger continued to use the same hold for the last five when anyone with any common sense might have tried more desperate and decisive measures to capture the title.

Instead, he kept doing the same thing until Koloff made a last-minute comeback and battered his rival from pillar to post until the time ran out.
Time-Limit Draw

Afterwards, Eaton‘s partner, Sweet Stan Lane, came down to help him beat up Koloff while Cornette held back the referee.

Universal Wrestling Federation Western States Heritage Championship
UWF Western States Heritage Champion Barry Windham vs. Larry Zybysko (w/ Baby Doll)

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Larry Zybysko and Barry Windham battled for the UWF Western States Herritage Championship
This was a lot of fun.

Barry Windham and Larry Zybysko played their parts well, creating a feeling that they really hated each other which helped make every move and every blow more meaningful.

The action itself was solid. The duo battled inside and outside of the ring with an intensity and urgency that the earlier match had lacked and which made the whole thing that much more enjoyable.

After the better part of 20 minutes, the referee took a tumble, allowing Zybysko to knock Windham out with Baby Doll’s shoe.

One three count later and Zybysko was the new champion.
Your Winner and New UWF Western States Heritage Champion: Larry Zybysko

Not only was Larry our new champion, but he was also our last champion. The Living Legend would hold on to the gold until he left for the AWA the following year, leaving the Western States Heritage Championship to fade away, practically unnoticed.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair (w/ J.J. Dillon) vs. Road Warrior Hawk (w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Ric Flair looks concerned as he defends the NWA world title against Road Warrior Hawk
This was a decent match that suffered due to the fact that you never really believed that Road Warrior Hawk had any chance of winning the title.

Since the outcome was something of a foregone conclusion, it was hard to get invested in the match.

Still, to be fair to them, both men did at least put a fair amount of effort in, trading the advantage several times as Ric Flair pit his wits and cunning against Hawk’s brute power.

The end came when Flair blasted Hawk with a chair right in front of the referee.
Your Winner via DQ: Road Warrior Hawk (Ric Flair retains the title)

As the ring crew set up the cage for our main event, Jim Ross and Bob Caudle ran through the show credits and reminded us how you win the bunkhouse stampede match

Throw your opponent over the top of the cage or through the door.

Right on, let’s do this:

Bunkhouse Stampede Final
NWA US Champion Dusty Rhodes vs. NWA Tag Team Champion Tully Blanchard vs. Ivan Koloff vs. The Warlord vs. NWA Tag Team Champion Arn Anderson vs. Lex Luger vs. The Barbarian vs. Road Warrior Animal

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Paul Ellering leads Road Warrior Animal into battle in the Bunkhouse Stampede cage match battle royal
Yes, you read those rules right. This was basically a battle royal cage match in which you had to throw people out of the cage to lose.

It was a dumb concept because there was really no way to make it look believable. If you wanted to throw your opponent over the top of the cage, he first had to voluntarily climb to the top which, of course, he had no incentive to do.

It didn’t help either that the action wasn’t that interesting. It was one of those ‘come as you are’ affairs that Dusty Rhodes loved so much when everybody would dress in jeans, cowboy boots and sleeveless t-shirts, presumedly to add a sense of realism to the whole thing.

That was about the only thing worth mentioning here. The whole thing was just one big slow, sluggish, and bloody brawl. If you like that kind of thing then sure, then you might enjoy this match, but I doubt it.

After what felt like forever, Dusty Rhodes sent The Barbarian crashing over the top of the cage and won the Bunkhouse Stampede final for a third time.

Honestly, anyone would think he was booking the whole thing or something.
Your Winner: Dusty Rhodes

Post-match, Dusty celebrated with his cheque for ‘half a million dollars’ and an enormous boot that I assume was the Bunkhouse Stampede trophy.







Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 was not a show anybody should be in a hurry to track down.

Though this writer enjoyed the opening two matches, the fact that Bobby Eaton spent the better part of 20 minutes holding Nikita Koloff in the same hold means that the whole thing has more than its fair share of critics.

Likewise, the Zybysko/Windham bout wasn’t to everyone’s tastes, but personally, I enjoyed it much more than the underwhelming world heavyweight championship match and the bland and bizarre bunkhouse cage match.



Other 1988 events:
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Thursday, 7 January 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Invasion 2001

WWF Invasion PPV Review
July 22, 2001 
Gund Arena, Cleveland, Ohio

On Monday, March 26th, 2001, WWF Raw came live from the Gund Arena in Cleveland Ohio. It was on that broadcast that Vince McMahon revealed that he had bought his competition and was now the owner of World Championship Wrestling.

It was also on that show that Vince's son Shane - coming live from the final WCW Nitro broadcast Panama City Beach - surprised the elder McMahon by revealing that it was actually he, not his father, who was now in charge of WCW.

Thus began The Invasion - a storyline which wouldn't pick up steam until well after Wrestlemania 17 when Lance Storm became the first WCW star to "invade" during an episode of Raw live from Canada. 

Many criticized Storm's appearances as a sure sign that the company lacked enough genuine WCW star power to make an Invasion angle work, a point that was emphasized when they brought in ECW wrestlers to form an "Alliance" with WCW because nobody wanted to see Shawn Stasiak wrestle every week. 







As lacklustre of a start as it may have been, it nonetheless back full circle, back to the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio for the first -and only- WWF Invasion PPV.

Here's what went down.

The Most Serious Threat the World Wrestling Federation Has Ever Faced

Tonight’s opening video package was pretty awesome. Likening the invasion of a pro wrestling company to the actual events of World War 2, the video interspersed historical footage (including a speech from President Franklin D. Roosevelt) with shots of the big stars in tonight’s show.


Sure, it was a little overdramatic, but when was pro wrestling ever not?

Coming live into the arena, we got the usual crowd shots from both Cleveland and WWF New York as commentators Jim Ross and Michael Cole welcomed us to the show.

This opening also showed us the pretty cool entrance for tonight’s event, with the stage splitting off into two separate entrances for the warring factions. Weirdly, we didn’t see our first two wrestlers using that entrance as the show then jumped awkwardly right to Lance Storm and Mike Awesome in the ring.

Lance Storm & Mike Awesome vs. Edge & Christian

WWF Invasion 2001 PPV - Lance Storm addresses the crowd
We last saw Storm and Awesome teaming up as Team Canada back at WCW Greed. Now they were on the ECW side of the alliance and ready to get the crowd riled up.

If he could be serious for a minute, Storm wanted to tell us all the reasons why the WCW/ECW Alliance was better than the WWF, but they were interrupted by their opponents, Edge & Christian.

What followed was as solid an opening tag team match as you’d expect from wrestlers of this caliber.

Despite a scary spot in the early going when Christian tried to use Edge as a springboard to hit a suicide dive but ended up tumbling arse-over-tit over the top rope, it was a  very enjoyable contest.

Things started hot, lagged a little while Christian played face-in-peril for eight hours, then picked up steam with an exciting finish that saw the WWF guys pick up the first win of the night.
Your Winners: Edge & Christian

Backstage, a jubilant Vince McMahon was seen celebrating Edge & Christian’s victory when Commissioner William Regal arrived to inform him that WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin and Debra had arrived.

McMahon told Regal to give the duo some space and focus on crushing Raven in their upcoming match.

Nick Patrick vs. Earl Hebner

WWE / WWF Invasion 2001 PPV - Nick Patrick argues with Mick Foley
This was WCW referee Nick Patrick’s first PPV match as a competitor since he faced Chris Jericho at WCW World War 3 1996. As far as I recall, it was the first time Earl Hebner had ever had a match, at least on PPV.

Mick Foley was the special guest referee for this one and was, unsurprisingly, the most over person in the match.

It wasn’t a surprise either that this wasn’t very good. It was a dumb kind of nothing, but I’ll give it a pass since Nick Patrick was always pretty awesome.

Sadly, he lost the match when Earl a Hebner just sort of...bumped into him.
Your Winner: Earl Hebner

Afterwards, Patrick argued with Foley so Mick knocked him on his ass and slapped on Mr Socko.

DDP is a Perv

WWE / WWF Invasion 2001 PPV - Debra and Sara 'Taker discuss what a pervert Diamond Dallas Page is
Backstage, Debra and The Undertaker’s wife Sarah bonded over coffee and a mutual disdain of Diamond Dallas Page

While Sarah’s troubles with Page have been well documented, I should probably point out that the reason Debra hated the former WCW champion is that he kidnapped her on Smackdown.

Both women agreed that Dallas was both a perv and a psycho and couldn’t wait until their husbands kicked his ass.

Non-Title Match
WWF Tag Team Champions The APA (Farooq & Bradshaw) vs. WCW Tag Team Champions Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire

Though it was markedly different from the fast-paced, technical-based opener, this was another good tag team match.

Built around power and size, it wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, but the crowd were definitely into it as all four men gave it some serious effort.

After a decent bit of back-and-forth, Bradshaw decapitated Chuck Palumbo to put the WWF at 3-0.
Your Winners: The APA

To be honest, that really strikes me as a missed opportunity to get a hot, young team like Palumbo & O’Haire over and really establish them as a credible threat, but hey ho, on we go.

WCW/ECW Will Never....EVVVVER...Be the Same...AGAIN

WWE / WWF Invasion 2001 PPV - Chris Jericho tells Vince McMahon how disgusting ECW was
Out in the back, Chris Jericho spoke to Vince McMahon and recalled that the one thing he’d learned the most for while working for both WCW and ECW was that while the former was a leaderless, lawless place where the inmates ran the asylum, the latter had a leader who was a psychopath named Paul E. Heyman.

‘You know what the E. stands for?’ asked Jericho. ‘Ewwwww.’

Y2J went on to tell McMahon that Heyman was just as ugly on the inside as he was on the outside, and the two agreed that when all was said and done, the alliance would never...EVVVVVVER be the same, again.

Delivering that last line in unison, both Vince and Jericho were a riot here.

Across the way, Shane, Steph, and Paul ‘Ewww’ Heyman freaked out over their losing streak, insisting that the fate of the entire alliance now rested on the shoulders of Billy Kidman.

Wearing actual wrestling attire for the first time in his career rather than Jean shorts and a vest, the Cruiserweight champion remained calm, cool, and confident that he could beat X-Pac in our next contest.

WWF Light Heavyweight Champion X-Pac vs. WCW Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman

WWE / WWF Invasion 2001 PPV - X-Pac battles Billy Kidman
Well, this was easily the best match on the card so far. It was also the first match in which the crowds were firmly on the side of The Alliance rather than the WWF.

Still, despite the strong ‘X-Pac sucks!’ chants, the Light Heavyweight Champion put in one of his better performances if not of the previous several years then at least of the previous 12 months.

After a strong contest, Kidman’s earlier confidence paid off as he clocked up the first win for The Alliance.
Your Winner: Billy Kidman

Backstage, Shane, Steph, and Paul’s celebration was cut short when DDP burst into the room all excited about kidnapping Debra on Smackdown. The Alliance leaders quickly had to get Page’s head in the game ready for tonight’s main event.

Elsewhere in the arena, Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler boasted about how hot they both were and how unfair it was that the audience wouldn’t get to see them in their undies in tonight’s bra and panties match. Obviously, both women looked stunning but this was such a cringe-worthy segment that I feel embarrassed just writing about it.

Raven vs. William Regal

Though it wasn’t bad as such, this was a pretty underwhelming nothing match that might have been better used to kill a few minutes on Raw.

Following a few minutes of uninspired action, Tazz (who has been feuding with Regal and Tajiri) ran in and suplexed Regal behind the referee’s back.

Raven hit the Even Flow DDT and that was that.
Your Winner: Raven

Backstage, Vince McMahon got Kane and The Undertaker all fired up by reminding them of all the dastardly things that had been done to them by the ECW/WCW contingent.

Six-Man Tag
The Big Show, ‘The One’ Billy Gunn, and WWF Intercontinental Champion Albert vs. Shawn Stasiak, Chris Kanyon, and Hugh Morrus

WWE / WWF Invasion 2001 PPV - Intercontinental Champion Albert
This was the Invasion version of the ‘get-everybody-on-the-card’ matches we’re family with from Wrestlemania.

It wasn’t terrible or anything, but it was just an average filler match with nothing memorable happening outside of Big Show hitting the Flapjack finisher he was trying out.

After several minutes of forgettable her inoffensive action, Shawn Stasiak drilled Billy Gunn to the mat and draped a prone Hugh Morrus over the top of him.

One three count layer and Team WCW were victorious.
Your Winners: Chris Kanyon, Shawn a Stasiak, and Hugh Morrus

Afterwards, Big Show destroyed the WCW stars with chokeslams and flapjacks.

All Fired Up

WWE/ WWF Invasion 2001 - Shane McMahon psyches up WCW US and World Champion Booker T
Backstage, Shane McMahon gave Booker T a pep-talk, getting the WCW World and US champion fired up for tonight's main event.

Across the arena, William Regal did the exact same thing with his buddy/lackey, Tajiri, getting The Japanese Buzzsaw in the right frame of mind for his upcoming match with Tazz.

Tazz vs. Tajiri

This was an interesting one in that whenever Taz was in control it was kinda meh, but whenever Tajiri took charge it was a lot of fun.

The highlights came in the form of Tajiri's huge kicks to Tazz's head, after which the New Yorker had enough, cradled Tajiri like a baby and suplexed the holy bejeebus out of him.

Tajiri eventually won and the war between WWF and The Alliance continued.
Your Winner: Tajiri

Backstage, Matt Hardy warned his brother Jeff to be wary of going up against hardcore veteran Rob Van Dam in their upcoming title match. As if to prove Matt's point about how dangerous he could be, Mr Monday Night came up and whacked him across the back with a chair.

Meanwhile, at WWF New York, Hardcore Holly took umbrage with a fan’s WCW t-shirt and ripped it off the poor kid’s body, because that’s not a lawsuit waiting to happen.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam

You’d have to be pretty dam cynical not to love this match.

Easily Jeff Hardy’s best solo outing to date; the champion threw his body around with reckless abandon in an absolutely tremendous effort.

Vam Dam was no slouch either, clearly giving it his all in his WWF PPV debut before finally capturing the title thanks to a Five Star Frog Splash.

One of the things that made this so good was that it wasn’t your typical hardcore match.

Sure, they took a walk through the crowd and used a few weapons, but this was more of an actual wrestling match rather than your typical garbage brawl, and it was awesome.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: Rob Van Dam

1.39.43 - BRA AND PANTIES

Out in the back, an intense Kurt Angle told Vince McMahon that he was going to kick some serious ass, not just for his company, not even for his country, but for himself.

It was true, dear readers. It was damn true.

Bra & Panties Tag Team Match
Torrie Wilson & Stacy a Kiebler vs. Trish Stratus & Lita

Special Guest Referee: Mick Foley

At this point in her career, Trish Stratus wasn’t the accomplished performer she’d later turn out to be and, let’s face it, neither Torrie Wilson nor Stacy Keibler were ever known for their in-ring prowess.

So this match definitely had the potential to suck, but somehow didn’t thanks to the sheer hard work of all four competitors.

OK, so it was hardly a technical classic or anything, but it certainly wasn’t offensive.

In fact, the worst part about it was JR and Michael Cole coming across like pervy old men on commentary.

After a few short minutes, Trish and Lita stripped their rivals down to their underwear and this one was over.
Your Winners: Lita & Trish Stratus

Somehow there’s still 50 minutes left on this show and only one match to go. A small amount of time was killed by the last of our backstage skits.

First, Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Paul Heyman gave their squad one last pep talk, with Steph screeching at the top of her lungs in a way that was so loud and annoying it ruined the whole segment.

Then, Stone Cold Steve Austin promised Vince McMahon that he wouldn’t be the guitar-playing, cowboy-hat-wearing goofball he’d been on TV for the last few weeks, but rather the hell-raising, ass-kicking Bad MF’er most fans had grown to love over the years.

Finally, after one last video recapping the invasion story so far, we went back to the ring.

The Inaugural Brawl
The Alliance (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley, Rhyno, Diamond Dallas Page, and WCW United States and World Heavyweight Champion Booker T w/ Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, and Paul Heyman) vs. Team WWF (Kane, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, and WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin w/ Vince McMahon)

We got a unique start to the match with each side taking it in turns to send a member of their team to the ring.

First came The Dudleyz, then Kane & Undertaker, then Rhyno and so on.  Things remained fairly civil until DDP made his way out and was immediately attacked by his arch-rival, The Undertaker.

This was the cue for a mass brawl and the inevitable arrival of Stone Cold Steve Austin, who immediately began laying waste to The Alliance.

Eventually, things settled down and we got ourselves a standard tag team match in which everyone was given ample opportunity to shine.

It was more or less entirely enjoyable right up until the finish.

The whole match once again broke down into wild and entertaining brawl, with bodies crashing through tables and general mayhem all around.

Then, just as it looked as though Kurt Angle was about to earn Team WWF a victory, Austin turned on him and lay a prone Booker T on top of him.

One three count and later and The Alliance reigned supreme.
Your Winners: The Alliance

Post-match, Austin first glared at Paul Heyman and the McMahon siblings before sharing a beer with them as WWF Invasion went off the air.







Let’s be honest, that finish was poor. I always hate matches in which one guy turns on his partner(s) and joins the very same guys he’s been fighting for the whole match.

Unless it’s done in the way Arn Anderson turned on Dustin Rhodes at WCW Bash at the Beach 1994 (Arn didn’t tag in once before turning) it simply makes no sense.

Why would Austin spend all that time kicking Booker T’s ass only to hand him the victory?

Other than that, Invasion wasn’t actually a terrible show.

Match of the night clearly went to RVD/Hardy, a match that may well have been the best match involving the hardcore championship in the entire history of that particular title.

Elsewhere, the rest of the show was mostly inoffensive but not really worth investing your time in other than for the historical significance.




Other reviews of 2001 pro wrestling events: 

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Thursday, 31 December 2020

PPV REVIEW: NWA Starrcade 87 - Chi-Town Heat

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Event poster
November 26, 1987
IC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois

Despite being pro wrestling's premier event a good two years before Wrestlemania, Starrcade didn't actually make it's way until PPV until this, the 1987 event.

Not only was Starrcade '87 the first NWA PPV, it was also the first Starrcade to emanate from a single venue since Greensboro exclusively hosted the 1984 event.

Yet as interesting as those two 'firsts' happen to be, neither happened to be as historically significant as another first:
This was the first NWA Starrcade to take place since Jim Crockett promotions bought out the original Universal Wrestling Federation.

That was a big deal, because in buying the UWF, the brand brought across a number of big name stars, including the future face of the company, a man called Sting.

Of course, even with the lure of PPV and major stars, Starrcade 1987 would be a failure from a financial standpoint as Vince McMahon promoted the first annual Survivor Series on the same night just to stick to it to the NWA.

Still, that didn't mean that the show couldn't deliver from a creative and in-ring standpoint.

Here's what went down when the National Wrestling Alliance turned up the Chi-Town Heat.







Welcome to Starrcade

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone called the event
First things first, tonight’s show marks the first PPV to feature the one and only Jim Ross on commentary.

Years before the two would serve as the lead announcers for rival brands at during the Monday Night Wars (and certainly years before things came full circle with them reunited under the AEW banner), JR joined forces with Tony Schiavone to welcome us to tonight’s event and call the action.:
The two talked about the nights five title matches before we went to the ring for yet more NWA PPV debuts.

Six-Man Tag Team Match Rick Steiner, ‘Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert and Larry Zybysko (w/ Baby Doll) vs. Sting, Michael P.S Hayes, and ‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)

NWA Starrcade 1987 - A Man Called Sting
Yep, only Jimmy Garvin, Precious and Baby Doll had appeared at Starrcade before, making this the first time we’d seen Sting, Michael Hayes, Eddie Gilbert, Larry Zybysko, and Rick Steiner on a major NWA show. Also, you know what I miss? Sting‘a bad ass rat tail.

Anyway, all that aside, this was probably the best opening match on a Starrcade show so far.

Whereas most Starrcde openingbouts upto this point had been heavy on the weardown holds and submissions, this was pretty much non-stop action from the moment the bell rang to the moment the whole thing was ruled a draw due to the time-limit expiring. A great match given the standards of the time, this was a lot of fun.
Time Limit Draw


NWA Starrcade 1987 - Missy Hyatt said she was there to do interviews but never appeared again
After some post-match analysis from Ross and Schiavone, we went backstage where Missy Hyatt told us that she was standing by ready to interview the stars of tonight’s show.

Missy was lying though. We neither see nor hear from her for the rest of the event.

Universal Wrestling Federation Championship
UWF Champion Dr. Death Steve Williams vs. NWA Western States Herritage Champion Barry Windham

In the mid-1980s Bill Watts tried to take his Mid-South Wrestling promotion national by rebranding it as the Universal Wrestling Federation. This failed, and the company was sold to Jim Crockett Promotions who decided to keep the UWF title.

Here, Dr. Death Steve Williams defended that title against his buddy Barry Windham in a match that the crowd absolutely hated but which this writer thought was a decent face vs. face match.

Ignoring the obvious disdain and loud ‘boring’ chants coming from the audience, the two looked as if they were genuinely trying to out-wrestle one another. Not hurt each other. Not even necessarily beat each other, just out-wrestle each other.

While it wasn’t poor, the crowd took a dump all over it only popped once, when Steve Williams tried a leapfrog but went bollocks-first into Barry Windham’s head.

Ever the good sport, Windham gave his friend time to recover, but Williams didn’t repay the favour. When Barry got knocked to the outside, he climbed back in the ring but got immediately rolled up and pinned by the champion.
Your Winner and Still UWF Champion: Steve Williams

Up next, a maybe that has been universally derided over the years

Skywalkers MatchNWA United States Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (Beautiful Bobby Eaton & Sweet Stan Lane w/ Jim Cornette and Big Bubba Rogers) vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)

NWA Starrcade 1987 - The Midnight Express faced The Rock 'n' Roll Express in a scaffold match
The biggest criticism people seem to have of this scaffold match is that The Midnight Express and The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express were capable of having great wrestling matches but sticking them
on a narrow platform twenty feet in the air removed that capability and forced them to do very little.

That’s a fair argument, but you have to wonder if those who criticise this match have seen the atrocity that was the Starrcade ‘86 scaffold match between The Midnights and The Road Warriors.

Compared to that match, this match was a five-star classic.

OK, so it would have still been infinitely better if they’d just been allowed to wrestle, and OK, a scaffold match really was the worst idea of all time, but this was still more exciting than the 1986 version thanks to some Big Bubba Rogers interference, the use of Jim Cornette’s tennis racket, and the overwhelming popularity of Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson.

Naturally, the good guys won after Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane hung on the underside of the platform and took very careful bumps to the canvas.

The crowd didn’t care about that. They didn’t care how little action there’d been. They loved Ricky & Robert and went crazy for them.
Your Winners: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express

Afterwards, Big Bubba Rogers climbed up the platform and challenged Ricky Morton to a fight. Hilariously, Morton smacked Rogers in the balls and ran off.

I’m still laughing at that just thinking about it.

A (Really Long) Word With Gorgeous Jimmy

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)
Out in the back, Bob Caudle stood by for an interview with Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin and Michael P.S Hayes, who weren’t officially wrestling as The Fabulous Freebirds at this point.

With Precious by his side, Garvin did all the talking for his team, and man did he talk.

This was a really long, but really enjoyable promo in which he ran down most of the card and spoke in depth (and I mean in *serious* depth) about the matches that mattered most to him.

First, he warned us that he and Hayes would be challenging the winners of the upcoming Road Warriors/Horsemen clash for the tag team titles. Then he turned his attention to his kayfabe brother Ronnie Garvin, who would be defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Nature Boy Ric Flair later on in the show.

After turning face by saving Ronnie from an attack by Jim Cornette and The Midnight Express, Jimmy was all about his brother retaining the gold tonight.

Dr. Death - The Wrestling Machine

This was followed by Caudle interviewing Steve Williams. Far less entertaining than Garvin, the UWF stumbled his way through a shouty, clumsy promo in which he told us that he was the Wrestling Machine of the Year, as if somebody had given him an award.

After putting over Barry Windham, Williams then told us he was the Wrestling Machine of the World, which I suppose made a little bit more sense.

Finally, the Wrestling Machine of the Year of the World promised to defend his UWF title forever. Unbeknownst to him, the belt would be deactivated a few weeks later.

World Television Championship Title Unification MatchUWF World Television Champion Terry Taylor (w/ Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert) vs. NWA Television Nikita Koloff

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Nikita Koloff battled Terry Taylor in a TV title unification match
There was a point early in this match when your reviewer was tempted to write this whole thing off as one long arm bar.

Thankfully, I stuck with it, because as soon as Terry Taylor took control of the match it got better and better, giving us some of the best professional wrestling seen on a Starrcade show so far.

There will be some critics who say that this nigh-on 20 minute match went too long, but that’s not the case here. The first half dragged, sure, but the second half was wonderful.

To the surprise of no one, fan-favourite and NWA star Nikita Koloff defeated the villainous UWF TV champion Taylor to win the match and unify the gold.
Your Winner and Unified TV champion: Nikita Koloff
Moving swiftly on...

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship NWA Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Starrcade 1987 - The Road Warriors faced Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard for the tag team titles
Take a red hot crowd, the pure spectacle of a dominant power team like The Road Warriors and the talent of two performers like Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, and what you’ve got is a recipe for an excellent tag team match.

Pure fun from start to finish, this one was at its best when Anderson and Blanchard were selling for their challengers, not just selling but really making Hawk and Animal look like the scariest, baddest dudes in all of pro wrestling.

That said, it was still pretty entertaining even when the champions were in charge.
In fact, the only disappointing aspect was the finish.

Blanchard knocked referee Tommy Young to the outside. The LOD hurled Anderson over the top rope and hit Blanchard with the Doomsday Device. Earl Hebner ran in and counted the pin, but Young argues that he’d seen Anderson get thrown over the ropes and since that was naughty, he was giving the win to the champs.
Your Winners via DQ and Still Tag Team Champions: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard

Backstage, Jack Gregory and Magnum T.A. ran down tonight’s card before sending it to Bob Caudle for some interviews.
NWA Starrcade 1987 - Jack Gregory interviews Magnum TA

First up, Nikita Two Belts put over Terry Taylor before boasting about how good it made his heart feel to be the unified TV champion. Next on Koloff’s list of goals was to become our new TV champion.

Then, James J. Dillon admitted that whilst he was glad Arn & Tully we’re still the champs and he had been helping Flair train for his title match, he had mostly been focusing on Lex Luger facing Dusty Rhodes for the US title.

Both promos were pretty effective in their own way, even if Nikita’s was the more entertaining of the two.

Steel Cage Match for the National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship NWA US Champion Lex Luger (w/ J.J. Dillon) vs. Dusty Rhodes

If Dusty Rhodes loses, he can’t wrestle in the US again for 90 days

My goodness, this was insanely boring.


NWA Starrcade 1987 - Dusty Rhodes faced Lex Luger in a really boring cage match
Early on, Dusty Rhodes decided that the best way to really sell the violence and intensity of a steel cage match was to stand in the middle of the ring holding Luger in an arm bar for eight thousand hours.

Luger then made a comeback and decided that since the arm bar had worked so well on him, he was going to use it too.

Dusty bladed because of course he did, but to be honest I’m not even sure how it happened. The whole match was so deathly dull that I sort of passed out and missed that.

Rhodes won the title, but I’m honestly not sure why everybody sung the guy’s praises so much. We’re now on the fourth Starrcade show and I’ve still yet to see him do anything entertaining.
Your Winner and NEW US Champion: Dusty Rhodes
And finally, ladies and gentlemen, your main event of the evening.

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

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Ric flair taunts World Champion Ronnie Garvin with a WOOOO!
Ronnie Garvin’s brief 1987 run with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship has been universally panned over the years. Even on the night, the Chicago crowd loudly booed the babyface champion’s offence and greeted him with loud ‘GARVIN SUCKS’ chants.

But Garvin didn’t suck. At least not on this night.

He and Flair went at it in what was easily the best Starrcade main event since Flair was last in the challenger role back at the inaugural event in 1983.

It was an intense fight with Flair at his best -as he always was- when getting his ass kicked. Even then, the crowd wanted him to win and went nuts when he finally wrapped up Garvin and pinned him.
Your Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

Afterwards, Flair celebrated with his title before Schiavone and Ross closed the show and sent us to a highlights package.






On the whole, Starrcade 86 was a good show. Sure, the Rhodes/Luger thing was enough to put anyone to sleep, and not every match was a classic, but the TV, tag team, and world title matches were very enjoyable and worth watching. For this fan, the best thing about this show was that it finally felt like it had all the NWA/WCW stars that are so synonymous with the brand. As well as Flair, we saw Sting, Luger, The Road Warriors, Rick Steiner, The Freebirds, all the classic stars. In other words, this is a good one to watch.





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Thursday, 24 December 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF King of the Ring 2001

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Event Poster
June 24, 2001,
Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Over the course of the year 2000, Kurt Angle had enjoyed the best rookie year in WWF history up to that point.

Not only has he captured the European,  Intercontinental and WWF Championships, he had also been crowned that year’s King of the Ring winner.

Tonight, the Olympic Gold Medalist was looking to keep his incredible streak alive by becoming the first two-time King of the Ring winner on top of facing Shane McMahon in a grudge match.

Yet that wasn’t the only interesting thing happening in the WWF at this time.

On Raw, Triple H had suffered a horrific injury in a tag team title match on Raw in which he and partner Stone Cold Steve Austin faced Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. Despite gutting it out to finish the match, The Game’s injury was so severe that he’d be out of action until the following year.







With The Rock out shooting The Scorpion King and The Undertaker tangled up in a dumb stalker angle with DDP, that left only Austin and Angle propping up the top of the card.

That perhaps explains why tonight, Benoit and Jericho found themselves in tonight’s main event, taking on Stone Cold for the WWF Championship.

Would the two Chrises take the title back to Canada?

Let’s find out...

Welcome to King of the Ring...

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Paul Heyman & Jim Ross called the event
Our opening video was one of the WWF’s best yet. It featured shots of a royal throne that looked ominously like an electric chair, sitting in a dark, creepy-looking building while we got shots of some of the main stars we’d see on tonight’s show.

It was very creatively done and very impressive, and it was followed, as always, by shots of the crowd and a greeting from the announce team, tonight made up of Jim Ross and Paul Heyman.

As the Dane was panned the arena, we saw that the throne/electric chair motif had made it to the set design, with an enormous version of it looming over the entrance.

Whatever else may have gone done on this night, there was no disputing the fact that this certainly felt -and looked- like the biggest and most important King of the Ring PPV to date.

Make Me Famous

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - DDP wanted The Undertaker to make him famous
Before we got to any of the matches, the show was interrupted by the WWF theme of one Diamond Dallas Page.

You know DDP, right? The guy was universally loved during his last few years with WCW and who famously had a smoking hot wife called Kimberly who we’d seen on TV countless times over the years?

Yep, well the WWF brain trust had decided in their infinite wisdom to ignore all of that and introduce him to their audience as an unhinged heel who was stalking The Undertaker’s wife, Sarah. Now, far be it for this writer to say anything negative about Sarah, but just to reiterate, he was stalking her while he had Kimberly Page, this Kimberly Page sitting at home.

Anyway, Dallas made his way to the ring via the crowd because -as Paul Heyman quickly reminded us- he was a WCW star and had no right to be there. This despite the fact that he had his own entrance music.

Once in the ring, the former WCW Champion declared that he had some very non-PG photos that he had taken of Sarah Taker and reminded us that he’d gone after her not because he’d suddenly gone insane, but because he wanted The Undertaker to make him famous.

To that end, he challenged The American Bad Ass to come and find him, announcing that he wouldn’t be hard to find as he’d be sat in the front row with a sign that read ‘MAKE ME FAMOUS.’

DDP clearly did the best he could with what he’d been given here. It was just a shame that what he’d been given was pretty dumb.

After that, JR told us that Spike Dudley and a mystery partner would challenge The Dudley Boyz for the tag team titles while Heyman addressed rumours that either Chris Benoit or Chris Jericho had been negotiating with WCW and were looking to take the title off Steve Austin and into enemy territory.

King of the Ring Semi-Final 1
Kurt Angle vs. Christian

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Kurt Angle faced Christian in the first semi-final
This was as good an opening match as you were going to get from two guys like Kurt Angle and Christian, with lots of quality action leading to an exciting finish.

At one point, WCW owner Shane McMahon came down, seemingly to distract his rival Kurt Angle.

However, after a great sequence in which Christian escaped the ankle lock,  got picked up in an Angle Slam but reversed that it unto an Unprettier, McMahon stopped him from getting the pin.

The confusion allowed The Olympic Gold Medalist to regroup, Angle Slam his opponent and win the match.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle (Advances to the final)

The announcers couldn’t understand why Shane would do such a thing if he hated Angle, but really, it was obvious:

The two were due to meet in a street fight later on in the show so, if Shane set it up so that Kurt had to compete in two matches first, that gave him an obvious advantage.

Where’s Vince?

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Jonathan Coachman interviews WWF Champion Steve Austin (w/ Debra)
Backstage, Jonathan Coachman wanted to get Steve Austin’s thoughts on the rumours that Benoit and Jericho were planning to beat him and take the title to WCW.

Austin, however, had no idea what he was talking about and only wanted to know where Vince McMahon was.

Though this wasn’t yet full-on comedic Austin, it was getting there and was pretty funny.

Please, I’m Beggin Ya, Make Me Famous

For saying the WWF were acting like Dallas Page was a nobody, they sure were spending a lot of time on him.

Up next, we got a look back at him stalking Undertaker’s wife and ‘Taker himself promising to kick his ass. This was followed by Paul Heyman interviewing Page, only to be interrupted by footage on the titantron which showed someone stalking Page while he ordered lunch at a restaurant.

Naturally, Page didn’t find it amusing.

King of the Ring Semi-Final 2
Edge vs. Rhyno

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Edge
Looking to do what his tag team partner couldn’t, Edge locked up with real-life buddy and on-screen associate Rhyno in this second semi-final match.

Though some might disagree, this definitely looked like the better of the two semi-finals, with both men holding nothing back and really turning up the aggression.

At one point, we got a great-looking spot where Rhyno’s gore and Edge’s spear canceled each other out, though even that full-on collision wasn’t enough to put either man away.

After more solid action, Edge finally hit Rhyno with the Impaler to secure his place in the final.

Man, that was fun.
Your Winner: Edge (Advances to the Final)

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Spike Dudley & Molly Holly were a couple
Earlier, on Heat, Spike Dudley had challenged his brothers for the tag team title. The smallest Dudley had fallen out with his brothers as part of a Romeo & Juliet angle in which he’d fallen in love with Molly Holly.

Live in the arena, with Molly by his side, Spike refused to be drawn into revealing his mystery partner, promising to save that for when he hit the ring.

Before he got there, however, he and Molly were confronted by D’Von and Bubba Ray, both of whom were playing the heel.

Spike wasn’t the only one refusing to give anyway. Back in the locker room, Chris Jericho toyed with new interviewer Tazz by announcing that he was aware of the rumours he would take the WWF title to WCW but wasn’t going to say whether they were true or not.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley) vs. Spike Dudley & WWF Intercontinental Champion Kane

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - The Dudley Boyz faced Kane & Spike Dudley
This was better than it probably sounds. The Big Man/Little Man combo of Little Spike and The Big Red Machine added a unique touch to what could have otherwise been a mediocre tag team match.

It was especially fun to see Spike come so desperately close to winning the tag team titles only for The Dudleyz to kick out at the last moment. That’s to say nothing of the great moment when Kane gorilla pressed his pint-sized partner and launched him to the outside on top of Bubba Ray and D’Von.

Alas, even that wasn’t enough to get the win for the makeshift team as the champs retained thanks to the 3D.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz

Afterwards, D’Von got the tables but Kane ended up slamming Bubba through it, keeping up the tradition of The Dudley Boyz never (or at least rarely) successfully putting anyone through a table on PPV despite that being their whole gimmick.

Coming Up, The Final

Backstage, tensions seemed high between Edge & Christian, but all Christian wanted to do was wish Edge well in the final.

Meanwhile, over at WWF New York, 1999 King of the Ring winner Bad Bum Billy Gunn was furious about the fact that his stock had plummeted so far that he wasn’t even on tonight’s card.

King of the Ring Final
Edge vs. Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Kurt Angle tries to get out of facing Edge in the final
Before they locked up, Angle encouraged Edge to forfeit so that he (Angle) could be well-rested for his street fight with Shane McMahon while also sparing the future Rated-R Superstar the embarrassment of losing to the Olympic Gold Medalist.

Unsurprisingly, Edge responded by walloping Angle in the mush. The bell sounded, and this soon evolved into another solid match.

Though it’s arguable that the two semi-finals were better, there’s no denying that Angle and Edge put on a solid performance here.

After the inevitable cameo from Christian failed to end the match, Edge actually tapped out to the ankle lock but the referee was out so didn’t see it.

Shane then ran in and speared his nemesis. Edge got the cover, the referee miraculously recovered in time to make the count as they always do, and this one was done.

Though it was a good match, the fact that Edge tapped out and had to rely on Shane O’ Mac to help him win sure did put a dampener on Edge’s victory.
Your Winner and 2001 King of the Ring: Edge

Backstage, Chris Benoit also refused to tell Tazz whether or not he was going to take the WWF Championship to WCW if he won it.

Meanwhile, out in the crowd, a paranoid-looking DDP looked around the place from his front-row seat.

The Era of Awesome

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Jonathan Coachman interviews Edge
In lieu of any kind of coronation ceremony, King of the Ring winner Edge was awarded a brief backstage interview with Jonathan Coachman.

After Christian stopped by to congratulate him, our new King declared that the Era of Awesome has begun.

Elsewhere in the arena, an enraged Kurt Angle ranted and raved about his loss and vowed that if any WCW star got involved in his street fight with Shane, he would ensure they never worked again, went on welfare, and starved to death.

Harsh.

World Wrestling Federation Light Heavyweight Championship
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy vs. X-Pac

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - X-Pac challenged Jeff Hardy for the Light Heavyweight Championship
Though it was short and mostly forgettable, this was nonetheless a decent filler match.

Sure, there was a blown spot halfway through and sure, it was nowhere near as good as it could have been, but it was otherwise an OK effort.

After dominating most of the contest, X-Pac succumbed to a Swanton Bomb and lost the match.
Your Winner and Still Light Heavyweight Champion: Jeff Hardy

Backstage, Steve Austin was having trouble getting hold of Vince McMahon on his cell phone, so he stormed into William Regal’s office to use his landline.

What followed was a funny exchange where it sounded as though Vince was screwing with the champ and pretending not to recognise his voice.

‘Vince, it’s Steve,’ he said. ‘Steve Austin...Vince, it’s Stone Cold Steve Austin, the World Wrestling Federation Champion....I’m fine, how are you?’

I can’t do it justice here, but trust me, it was funny.

Anyway, The Texas Rattlesnake was really worried about the rumours that Benoit and Jericho were planning to take the title to WCW and only just stopped short of begging the Chairman to come to the arena and fix the problem.

This was the early days of Austin’s storyline where he became super dependent on Vince, and it played out well here.

Page Gets His Wish

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Undertaker beat up DDP while Sara filmed it
After more footage of DDP going about his business that day, it was revealed that it was Sarah who had been stalking him.

She turned the camera on herself and told DDP that it was time for him to become famous.

Sure enough, The Undertaker arrived and proceeded to kick Page’s ass all over the place.

This wasn’t a match, it was just a straight-up ass whoop on’ with Dallas making only the briefest of comebacks.

Sure, this whole angle may have been silly, but if this fun brawl was the full extent of the pay off then it was worth it.

Backstage, Austin stalked the parking lot area waiting for Vince.

He asked a steward how long it would take for someone to drive to the arena from Greenwich. The steward initially had no idea, but when Austin asked him a second time he suddenly gained a whole new level of knowledge and declared that it would take ‘about an hour and a half.’

Growing infuriated, Austin demanded the guy send Vince to him as soon as he arrived.

Street Fight
Shane McMahon vs. Kurt Angle

Holy sh*t.

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Shane McMahon faced Kurt Angle in an awesome street fight
That’s what the crowd chanted half a dozen times throughout this incredible, violent street fight, and for good reason too.

Surpassing just about anything either man had done before in a professional wrestling ring, this kept getting better and better the longer it went on.

Of course, the match is best remembered today for Kurt suplexing Shane through the glass set design (and how reluctant that glass was to break) and it was an insane spot. What was even better was the sight of both men covered in blood and broken glass and keeping the fight going afterwards.

Everything before that was equally as enjoyable, and when Kurt Angle used a lumber board as a platform to hit Shane with the match-winning top-rope Angle Slam, it was a thing of violent beauty.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

Out in the back, an increasingly anxious Austin stalked the parking lot, still waiting for Vince McMahon.

There was no more time left, however, as he has to head to the ring while a video package played highlighting his turbulent relationship with Vince and issue with Benoit and Jericho.

Triple Threat Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Stone Cold Steve Austin faced Chris Jericho & Chris Benoit in a triple threat match for the WWF title
I’m not sure if it’s because you had two babyfaces attacking a heel, or because the crowd were spent after the awesome street fight, but this one started off without much life to it.

OK, so it was still the collective talents of Benoit, Jericho, and Austin in one ring, so it was always going to be decent, but it didn’t really seem to get exciting until the final act.

They started with both challengers applying their finishing holds to the champion at the same time. Stone Cold tapped, but Earl Hebner declared that since only one man could be champion, Austin’s submission didn’t count.

Things continued with a surprise run-in from WCW Champion Booker T, who attacked The Texas Rattlesnake and put him through the Spanish announce table, giving Benoit and Jericho the chance to go one-on-one with each other.

Austin was eventually dragged back into the ring by Jericho, but despite the best efforts of both his opponents, he was still able to escape with his gold intact.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Steve Austin

Not the greatest main event of all time, but at least it got better the longer it went on.







The early part of the title match aside, King of the Ring 2001 was a consistently good show. The actual tournament gave us three quality matches, the tag team title match was more fun than it should have been, and that street fight was one of the greatest of all time.

Of all the WWF’s 2001 PPVs, King of the Ring may not have been the best, but to be fair, the bar had been set pretty high. The company were enjoying an incredible run in terms of quality.  It was just a shame that all of that would soon be overshadowed by The Invasion.





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.