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Lita Mali is single. She is not dating anyone currently. Lita had at least 1 relationship in the past. Lita Mali has not been previously engaged. She’s lived in Johannesburg and has owned a small dog named Maxie. According to our records, she has no children. Like many celebrities and famous people, Lita keeps her personal and love life private. Lita doesn’t appear to have a husband or children, but we do know some of her dating history. Of course, she dated Matt Hardy in the late 1990s and early 2000s. She also reportedly had a relationship with wrestler and MMA fighter CM Punk. Lita, who is reportedly vegan, appears to live a happy and care-free lifestyle these days. Just don’t ... Lita Dating. Mainly for her preference to keep her work in the dark, Lita has not revealed her Girlfriend’s name. Nor she has told us about her relationship status at the moment. However, we are looking for her previous dates and hookups. Dating is always regarded as a trial fro going to a permanent relationship. Lita Ford has had encounters with Mick Cocks (1984), Jon Bon Jovi (1984), Richie Sambora (1983 - 1984), John Entwistle (1978), Danny Bonaduce (1975), Paul Cook, Glenn Tipton, Edward Van Halen, Ritchie Blackmore and Dee Dee Ramone.. About. Lita Ford is a 61 year old American Musician. Born Carmelita Rossana Ford on 19th September, 1958 in London, England, UK, she is famous for The Runaways ... Yes they are still dating Edge Wife devored him and Matt broke up with Lita and Lita found Edge and they started dating i still like Lita no matter what Who is Lita Ford dating? Lita Ford is currently single, according to our records.. The American Guitarist was born in London, England on September 19, 1958. Lead guitarist of The Runaways in the late 1970s who went on to pursue a successful solo career. Lita's best FREE dating site! 100% Free Online Dating for Lita Singles at Mingle2.com. Our free personal ads are full of single women and men in Lita looking for serious relationships, a little online flirtation, or new friends to go out with. Start meeting singles in Lita today with our free online personals and free Lita chat!
[WTS] Hundreds of British Pennies, Silver at Melt, Scarce Silver, Rare Greenland Coins and More!
2020.09.10 04:12 awolfgang666[WTS] Hundreds of British Pennies, Silver at Melt, Scarce Silver, Rare Greenland Coins and More!
2020.08.25 01:25 Celestialsmoothie28[Lyrics] Greatest Dreamer of All Time
Check my dream stats and witness it First Ballot Perfected lucid dreaming Before knowing it was lucid dreaming Planned a whole dream for a week while awake That Friday 80 percent of that dream came true eyes open I was awake Started when I was five Put that rem sleep work in, flew so high I done same things as Peter Parker was doing, if you was in that dream you would've seen how high I was getting, I'm talking 50 feet! Even had dreams, where I was under a million feet Who you know who had dreams that were ancient? Nigga I'm talking riding on a tortoise the size of a continent In the underpass tunnel me , Jesus, and two other unknowns running in a race Nobody else had these type of dreams, check all the dreams of the human race And get back to me To confirm it to me Had projection dates with Trish Stratus, Lita, and Stacy Keibler Seeking out feeling curious, came across the most beautiful Chinese girl ever Witnesses Big Show, 50, and Gunit rapping The 23 of dreaming No competition Flying over frozen oceans Socking out demons Greater than Walter Mitty with the exploring Had battles with flying gambits shooting thunder at the youngin Kane came through that apartment I Ddted'd his ass 2004 undertaker I pedigreed his ass Couldn't win them all opened up that apartment door ninjas whipped my ass Kane showed up again, panicked we had to call the navy on his ass Glass clown dolls freezing me throwing me in the trash Got my revenge when I wrestled their ass, me and a black thick super woman lady was bout to make love a porcelain doll unfroze near her, I had to leave her ass Scared as shit under an expedition Made it up, with other women Michael Jordan saved the world in space jam I carried the earth on my back and saved them in my dream man Like LeBron overcame against the warriors man Like Durant said to the reporters last year versus the clippers, y'all know who I am
2020.08.22 00:52 DamianHowSome of my HOPES and REQUESTS for WWE 2K22
https://preview.redd.it/rao44wyoofi51.png?width=413&format=png&auto=webp&s=4c2eeb882e7b0960b3a4ae6a07d8e29cb320e38d Seeing as how I unfortunately missed the AMA and after playing both WWE 2K19 and WWE 2K20 (on PC/Steam), understandably I reverted back to WWE 2K19 for so many reasons that are well known to the community, already. So, I won't go into the "nitty-gritty" details of the difference between the two games. After spending a little bit of time with WWE 2K20, I actually did want to fully switch to WWE 2K20, just for the little improvements that it does have over WWE 2K19, but with the limitations and restrictions of the game, it just makes it nigh-on impossible to. However, having said that.. There is a stark contrast in the quality between the two titles. Anyway, moving forward.. As the thread title says, I just want to post 11 of my hopes and requests for WWE 2K22 (They're not posted in any sort of order or relevance to how important they are):
Re-animated Moves Personally, I’d like to see a whole host of Signature & Finisher moves be re-animated and updated. Specifically, some NEW RKO’s wouldn’t go a miss. Replace the 2 current versions that’ve been in the game since around WWE 2K15, as they've only had slight tweaks to their animations, since that game.Preferably, a "two-handed" version and a "one-handed" version (like how Randy Orton’s been doing more recently). I'm not just referring to the WWE SvR ‘08 & ‘09 version, either.. But like the one he gave to Beth Phoenix on RAW, this year. And an updated/re-animated two-handed version. Re-animating his “wake-up” taunt also wouldn’t be a bad thing, either. I'll post below, some .gifs of preferred animations of how the moves should/could ideally look (as sort of a guideline to go on).. However, having Randy Orton come in to mo-cap them, himself may be another route to go:
Cross-Platform Community Creations This is a feature I (and I think a lot of other people) would LOVE to have. Having cross-platform Community Creations, so that people who play on PC/Steam can download creations that’ve been made on XBOX or PS4 and vice versa. It would be far better, overall and wouldn't restrict creations to a specific console version.. Considering it's the same game and the 2K servers are universally the same (essentially). Judging from WWE 2K19 and 2K20, there's also some vastly superior creations on the console versions of those titles, than there are on the PC/Steam versions.
Download Requirements for "Uploading Capability Level" Considerably lower the amount of downloads needed.. or remove completely (ideally), to progress to the next level grade (that allows you to post more uploads). - Bronze - Silver - Gold - Diamond
I could be wrong, but I believe this requirement was actually removed in WWE 2K20 and creators and uploaders just had/has the "Diamond" rank, from the get-go. This is FAR better and far less restrictive on players.
Mod Support Allowing modding support/capabilities, like WWE 2K19 has (for the PC version). The file structure and such of the WWE 2K20 files, literally put a stop to any sort of game “updating”. You couldn’t really update the game in any way, other than the basic titantron and entrance theme changes. WWE 2K19 didn’t have this restriction. **Note** I believe this is actually already something being discussed, within the game’s development.
Bring back full SHOW INTROs After the last patch that WWE 2K19 received, the SHOW INTROs were cut extremely short. I personally, managed to acquire HD quality versions of the RAW, SMACKDOWN and various other PPV intro's from YouTube and imported them into the game, only for them to play when reaching the relevant show and fading out (without useplayer input), before they'd even had a chance to finish. This certainly throws-off the immersion and authenticity of the show.
General Manager "GM" Mode One of the most requested features, in any recent WWE game (since it was originally removed). So, I don't need to explain, myself.. Although, this is more a "to appease community feedback and requests", for me.
Create A Finisher This is literally the only mode that is missing from the Creation Suite. It's been quite heavily requested across the board. However, now would be as good a time as any, to bring it back (Hopefully, being a better and revamped version of the mode than it was, the last time it was in a WWE title).
WWE Performance Center versions of SHOWS What with the world being in the state that it's been in and currently still in (with the COVID-19 Pandemic), televised WWE shows have had to be moved to the WWE Performance Center, in Orlando, FL and the same goes with the PPV's on the WWE Calendar. So, having the Performance Center versions of RAW and SMACKDOWN, would be a great addition to the game's library of arenas.
"Past" Superstars & Divas/Female Superstars Attires For the past 3 years or so now, we've had the likes of Lita and Trish (and other superstars.. Although they're the ones that spring to mind) wearing the exact same attires and it's become pretty mundane and monotonous. Obviously, their attires can be changed and edited in the Creation Suite, but their default attires could really do with a "fresh coat of paint", so to speak. Have them wear attires from a different era of their career (i.e Lita's debut days with Essa Rios or her time with "Team Xtreme". Trish's time with T&A, or when she first became a singles competitor, in 2002/2003).
Storyline Creator (Integrate mixing male superstars with female superstars) This had to be one of the best features, in the latter WWE SvR games (the 2010 and 2011 editions, I seem to recall). I remember spending countless hours, just creating my own storylines and then playing them out. It was such a cool feature! However, if this was to be added to the game.. I would highly request that male superstars should be able to interact with female superstars (primarily looking at the whole storyline that's gone on with Otis/Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville/Dolph Ziggler, in recent months). Being able to create those sort of scenarios would certainly allow for more creativity.
Hairstyle Updates If (due to licensing and restrictions by WWE) we can't actually edit and update the hairstyles of the superstars on the roster (both male and female, alike).. Then having some form of mid-year LIVE update to the game, where the development team have updated the superstars' hairstyles (for those who have actually changed their hairstyle) to release.. Would be a great addition! It would help keep the game current and as up to date, as possible.
2020.07.31 21:56 AEWPunk525Rebooking WWE throughout the 2010's. Part 24
Chapter 24 All sorts of Royalty Raw starts up after TLC, and we see John Cena come out, with his World Heavyweight Championship, he grabs a mic and he says that last night, he underestimated Randy Orton, he says that Orton gave him one of the hardest fights he has ever had to endure, and both men went toe to toe for the entire match. Cena then says that he would have liked it to end differently, but he is happy knowing that Randy Orton got what he deserved when he was knocked clean out by Wade Barrett. Cena says that brings him to his next point. Cena saw Wade give him that look last night, and he saw Wade look at the World Heavyweight Championship. Cena says that he knows Wade never lost the World Heavyweight Championship, and he knows that Wade wants it back. Cena holds up the title and he says to Wade Barrett that if he wants some, come get some. Cena puts the title back over his shoulder and he walks out of the ring. Next up we see Drew McIntyre come out, he is furious still. Drew says that he destroyed Kevin Nash last night,and the Claymored a chair into the face of Nash for the win. Drew says that still he is not being recognized for any of it. Drew then says that he is sick of that feeling, and in order to gain not only the recognition that he deserves but also a World title match, Drew is the first man to declare himself for the Royal Rumble match. Drew then walks away from the ring, and walks up the ramp. Next up we have AJ Lee come out to the ring, she says that last night at TLC, she was in the fight of her life, she says that Mickie James was by far the toughest challenge that she has had to date. AJ says it was a pure fight at TLC, but the only thing that AJ regrets is that she didn’t beat Mickie James, sure she grabbed the title after climbing the ladder, but it still sits that she has not actually put down Mickie James yet, and in order to call herself a real Women’s Champion, she must do that. AJ says that Mickie is hurt tonight, and she will not be on next week either, but she will be cleared in two weeks. AJ throws out the challenge to Mickie for a traditional one on one match at the Royal Rumble. AJ walks away from the ring and she leaves. Finally at the end of the night we see Cody Rhodes come out with his Intercontenital Championship, he holds it high up in the air for everyone to see. Cody says that last night he was in a mega fight yet again with Tyler Reks, but this time, he did not get hurt, sure he is very sore, and his head hurts pretty bad after the Burning Hammer he took, but he still is the Intercontenintal Champion, and that feels great to him. Cody then offers an open challenge for the title, he says that his confidence is at an all time high after last night, and because he is feeling generous tonight, he says that anyone can come out to face him in the ring tonight. Dolph Ziggler comes out and he grabs a mic, he asks Cody if he remembers what happened to him last time the two met up. Dolph says he beat Cody, and tonight he will do it again and become IC Champion. The match starts up and the two men go at it, and Cody is showing signs of being hurt after last night, but he does not let it get to him, he is able to hit Cross Rhodes and retain his Championship. After the match Cody is blindsided and hit with Burning Hammer by Tyler Reks to close the show. Next up we have Smackdown, and to start the show we see Wade Barrett come to the ring, and he grabs a mic, he says that it is good to be back in the ring, but he has some stuff that he wants to take care of, he does say to Cena that he does want some, he wants his World Heavyweight Championship back. Wade then says that he wants something else just as bad, and that is Randy Orton in a match. Wade then says that just before he got kicked in the head by Orton he was getting ready for a Pay Per View title defense, and that defense was a Triple Threat match with Randy Orton and John Cena. Wade says that he prepared for this match, and he believed that he could not lose it. Wade then says that he really wants to know if he could have won it, and in order to kill two birds with one stone, he talked to Teddy Long and he says that he did Randy Orton a little favor, by getting him another shot at the World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble in a Triple Threat match against John Cena and Wade Barrett himself. Wade says to Randy that there is just one catch for him, and that is that if he even is suspected of touching Barrett before the Royal Rumble then not only will he lose his World Championship opportunity, but he will be fired from WWE. Wade then says that he looks forward to the Royal Rumble match and tonight he will take interest in watching Randy Orton face off against Christian. Next up we see Miz and Alex Riley come out and they celebrate the fact that they slammed Carlito through a table at TLC and were able to retain their Tag Team Championships. Alex Riley and the Miz both give a challenge to anyone in the back to come out and face them in the ring, we then see MVP and Mark Henry come out, and they challenge the two to a match right there. MVP and Mark Henry put up a good fight, but they are attacked by Jackson and Kozlov in the middle of the match. Jackson grabs a mic and he says that they are the ones who really want to challenge for a shot at the titles. Miz and Riley agree, but they say that they will face them next week on Smackdown. Next up we have Chris Masters come out, he looks at his title and he says to everyone, that no one will be taking this title form him, he says that look what he did to Joe Hennig at TLC, he says that he destroyed him, and that just like his father, he is a failure. Masters laughs at Joe and he says that Joe isn’t even here tonight, he is too embarrassed to show his face. Masters laughs and says that if Joe is getting tired of hearing him speak, then he says that Joe should grow a pair and come face him again in the ring. Masters then holds up the US title and then walks away. Finally we have our main event of Randy Orton vs Christian. Christain looks great throughout the match, but he soon goes for his diving headbutt, and he gets an RKO for his efforts, and Randy Orton is able to win the match, Randy does his signature pose over Christian as Smackdown comes to an end. Raw is next and we see John Cena come out, he says that he heard Wade Barrett on Smackdown, and though he does not think Randy Orton deserves another World title shot, he respects Barretts decision, Cena says that it gives him the opportunity to not only beat up Orton some more, but to prove his point that he could have indeed won the Triple Threat at King of the Ring. Cena says just like Barrett he trained long and hard for that match, because he had to prove something, and that was that he could beat anyone and anything in his path, in order to show the Rock what he will be dealing with at Wrestlemania. Cena says that he has proved a lot in that time, but the one thing he has not proved yet, is that he can survive Wade Barrett, so with that being said Cena thanks Barrett for giving him this opportunity to prove himself yet again, and he looks forward to the Royal Rumble. Cena then leaves after this. Next up we see AJ Lee in a match against a former Champion in Eve Torres. AJ and Eve have quite a match on Raw, and they both go toe to toe for a long while, but eventually AJ is able to get the best of Eve and pin her for the win. AJ grabs a mic after the match and she says that she does indeed look forward to Mickie’s answer next week on Raw. After this we see Tyler Reks come out and he says that Cody did well at TLC, and he did beat Tyler fair, at least under the rules of the match. Tyler says that last week was a message to Cody Rhodes that it is not over yet. Tyler says that they have faced off in a lot of matches before, Hell in a Cell, Last Man Standing, and now a Tables match. But Tyler says that he is invoking his rematch clause and he says this time, he doesn’t want it to be anything special, he just wants it to be a normal match, in order to see who is able to be the better man, truly. Tyler says that he fell through that table at TLC, but it did nothing to him, if it were any other match, he would have been able to keep going, and he would have been able to destroy Cody Rhodes, and retain his IC Championship. Reks then says that he cannot wait to see Cody again, he says that this time the outcome will be vastly different. Tyler then leaves the ring as the show goes off the air. Smackdown comes up next and we see Randy Orton come to the ring, the first thing he does is he thanks Wade Barrett, for getting him another shot at the title. Randy says that it is the least Barrett can do since he did cost him the title at TLC. Randy then says to Barrett that it is fine that he cannot touch him until the Rumble, Randy says that he will just Punt Wade in the skull there, he says that he will do the same to Cena and become World Heavyweight Champion. Orton then says that there is one catch for Wade as well, and that is, that he knows Wade wants to hurt him, for what happened a few months back, but that is not going to happen, because Orton was able to talk to Teddy Long before the show and ensure that if Wade touches him, not only will he lose his title opportunity, but he will be fired. Christian then comes out, he talks about how he knows that he has not been at his best in a while, he knows that last week he lost to Randy Orton, but he also knows how close he came to beating Orton last week. Christian says that he needs to prove himself, because in the future he would like to have some World title opportunities. Christian then asks Orton for one more match. Orton laughs at Christian and starts to walk away, but Christian pushes Orton back and he slaps Randy in the face. Orton goes for the RKO, but Christian hits the Killswitch instead. Orton rolls out of the ring, he is hurt but he grabs a mic, he says to Christian, you want it, then you got it you son of a bitch. Orton then walks up the ramp and storms off, but Christian seems pretty happy with himself. Next up we see Wade Barrett backstage, he says that he heard Randy, and it’s fine, he will not touch Orton until the Rumble, but once it gets to the Rumble, then it is open season, and Barrett plans to knock Randy Orton out, yet again, as well as John Cena. Next up we have Miz and Riley vs Jackson and Kozlov. Koslov and Jackson get the upper hand quickly and they begin to beat up Miz and Riley, they look to go for the win, when all of the sudden. MVP and Mark Henry attack them and lay them out in the ring. Mark Henry hits a World's Strongest Slam on Kozlov. And then the two leave the ring. Finally we see Joe Hennig come out, he says that he is furious over what Masters said and did last week, Hennig says that he demanded that Masters leave his father out of it, but he absolutely refuses. Hennig says that is it, he wants Masters in a fight, next week on Smackdown, and not in the ring, he wants to see Masters in the parking lot, because he does not care about winning or losing, he just wants to fight and hurt Chris Masters. Masters comes out and he stands on stage, he says that he is not some type of barbarian, he does not accept. Hennig says to Masters that it does not matter if he accepts or not, because at some point whether it be before or after the show, Masters has to come to the parking lot, Hennig says that he will just wait for him. He then tells Masters that he will see him next week, and he looks forward to ripping him apart, Hennig then drops the mic and the show goes off the air, but not before seeing a graphic that says we will see Randy Orton vs Christian next week on Smackdown. Next up we have Raw, and the first person to come out is Mickie James, she says that TLC took a lot out of her, she says that AJ really is as good as everyone says. She says that she and AJ went thirty seven minutes at TLC, and AJ was able to outlast her and climb ro the top of the ladder and grab her title. Mickie then says that the next night on Raw, AJ came out and challenged her to a traditional one on one match up. Mickie says that she could not believe it, she said that the Ladder match took her out for two weeks, and AJ just came out the next night like it was nothing, and got back to business. Mickie says that AJ is a machine, and she has all the respect in the world for her. Mickie then says that if AJ or anyone else thought that she was going to decline the challenge then they were of course dead wrong. Mickie says that she looks forward to the Royal Rumble, and she looks forward to tying the record and becoming a seven time Women’s Champion. Mickie then drops her mic and she heads on to the back. Next we see all the men who are going to be in the Royal Rumble match and then we see Sting in the back, he says that for well over a decade he has been one of the greatest wrestlers alive. Sting says that no matter where in the world he went including WWE and WCW he made it to the top, and along the way, he has been in some great match types and he has won some great match types. Sting then says that however, the most famous match stipulation of all time is the Royal Rumble, Sting says that he has never gotten the chance to be in the Royal Rumble match before, but seeing as how there are still some spots open, Sting says that he has thought about it for a little while now, and he has decided that he would like to declare for his first ever Royal Rumble match. Sting says that it is time to finally add this to his incredible legacy. Sting then walks away. Next up we see Cody Rhodes come out, he decided to comment on his upcoming match with Tyler Reks, he says that of course he is nervous about the match, he says that every single time he has stepped into the ring with Reks he has gotten hurt, and hurt bad, but not once but twice he has taken away the Intercontenintal Championship from Tyler Reks, and not only that he says the only other time they met up in a traditional match, Cody walked away from the match victorious, he says that he looks forward to facing off against Reks again, and he knows that he will beat Reks again and keep his championship. Finally we see John Cena backstage and he says that he has heard Orton and Barrett over on Smackdown, he says that they sound like school children playing games with eachother, he says they remind him of the kids that go, see, I’m not touching you. Cena then says that they are more than welcome to play all the games they want with each other, but come Royal Rumble there will be no games. Cena says that both of those men will take an AA and possibly an STF, and Cena will walk away World Heavyweight Champion. Raw then goes off the air. Next up we have Smackdown and we start out with the cameras in the Parking lot, they are following Chris Masters, who seems to be looking over his shoulders the whole time. Masters is suddenly hit with a chair, it is Hennig, who begins to attack Masters and brutalize him, he beats Master's down, and bloodies him up just a bit, Hennig then takes Masters and hits a Perfect Plex on top of a car hood. Masters rolls off the car and is motionless on the ground. Hennig then says to Masters that he looks absolutely perfect right now. Hennig then spits on Masters and he walks away. Next up we see Chris Jericho in the back, he says that he has been doing good as of late and his win over Del Rio has only enforced in his mind that he is good, and not only good, but one of the best, which is exactly why he is going to declare himself for the Royal Rumble match. Next up we see Kozlov and Jackson vs MVP and Mark Henry. This is a hard hitting afair, MVP gets beaten up, but everytime, he is down, Mark Henry is able to fend the other two men off. Eventually the Miz and Alex Riley come in and attack both teams, and cause a double DQ. Teddy Long comes out and he says that he is tired of all this stuff and at the Royal Rumble he would just like to say that Miz and Riley will defend their titles in a Tag Team Triple Threat match against Henry, MVP, Kozlov and Jackson. Miz and Riley seem upset by this and they end up leaving the ring. Finally we have our main event, it is Randy Orton vs Christian. Wade Barrett is on commentary. Orton and Christian go back and forth for a while, until Christian gets Orton in position for the Killswitch, Randy pushes him off and then hits the RKO, and he pins Christian for the win. Orton notices Barrett looking on, and he goes back to the corner and he Punts Christian in the head, and then he smirks at Wade Barrett. Orton then grabs a mic and he looks at Wade and says that he has heard about Cena and Barrett preparing for the match, and how they both think that they cannot lose. Orton says that they are naive for believing this, because they are both stepping into the ring with the greatest World Champion that ever lived, and since they are both letting their egos get in the way, then at Royal Rumble it will be a cakewalk for Randy Orton. Orton drops the mic and walks away as he looks at Christian being put on a stretcher. Smackdown then goes off the air. Raw comes up next and we start out with Mickie James in a match against Melina. Mickie and Melina fight it out for a little bit before Mickie is able to pick up the victory over Melina. AJ comes out after the match and congratulates Mickie, she says that she is happy that she accepted her challenge for a rematch at the Royal Rumble. AJ says that she did hear her last week and she says that she really hopes Mickie does not think that it will be that easy, because to AJ it sure does sound like it. Mickie says that she knows that it will not be easy to beat AJ, she says that it will probably be the toughest challenge that she has ever faced, but she still however plans on becoming a seven time Women’s Champion, and she does plan on defeating AJ for the championship. Mickie walks away and AJ says good luck to her. Next up we see Cody Rhodes face off against Sheamus in a first time ever match. Cody Rhodes takes some punishment from Sheamus, but he ultimately comes back and is able to defeat Sheamus. After the match, Tyler Reks comes out and he tries to attack Cody, but Cody thwarts him, and he hits Cross Rhodes on Tyler before leaving the ring. Finally to end the night we see John Cena take on Evan Bourne in another first time match. Bourne looks great in this match, he uses his speed to his advantage, but Cena ultimately catches Bourne and he hits the AA on him for the win. Cena holds up his title while he smirks at the camera. Raw then goes off the air. Smackdown then starts up next and we see Joe Hennig come out to the ring, he talks about what he did to Chris Masters last week, he says that it felt good, and Chris Masters actually spent the night in the hospital, but he says that he is far from done with Chris Masters, he says that he is going to challenge Masters to a Steel Cage match for the US title at the Royal Rumble. Joe says that Masters will be back next week, so he expects his answer then, and he expects it to be a yes, and if it isn’t, then Hennig says that he is not afraid to go to the Parking lot again. Next up we see Miz vs Jackson vs Henry, and we have a good match on our hands, all three of these men take it to one another. Eventually Henry is able to catch Miz when he jumps off the top rope and he is able to hit Miz with the World's Strongest Slam, and pin him for the win. Mark Henry is victorious in this match. Next up we see Wade Barrett in his return match and he is facing off against Khali. Wade Barrett shows no intimidation, and Khali is able to get a few hits in on Barrett, but he isn’t able to do much after that, and soon enough, Wade Barrett takes Khali down and he goes back into the corner, and once Khali gets up, Barrett charges towards him and he hits a massive Bull Hammer and pins Khali for the win. After the match Randy Orton comes out on the stage and he stares at Wade Barrett. Barrett looks back at Orton and he smirks at him while he balls up his fist and shows it to Orton. Smackdown then goes off the air. Raw is up next and we start out with Tyler Reks having a match with Daniel Bryan. Reks beats up Bryan for most of the match, but he cannot put Bryan down. Bryan is able to get in the Lebell Lock for a second, but Reks breaks free and he hits a massive clothesline on Bryan, he goes for the Burning Hammer and he hits it, but before he can pin Bryan, Cody Rhodes comes in and he hits Cross Rhodes on Tyler Reks. Cody then stands over Reks for a minute before leaving the ring. Next up we have AJ coming out, she grabs a mic, she then talks about all the respect that she has for Mickie James, she says that she has watched Mickie for years and years, and she saw Mickie take on the best and beat the best such as Lita and Trish Stratus, but that does not change anything, she says that she knows how good Mickie is, and she knows that Mickie thinks that she has what it takes and everything, but she just doesn’t. AJ says that she is not Lita and she has defeated trish Stratus, and not only that, she took Mickie beyond her limit, back at TLC, she says that all she wants to do is prove that she can pin Mickie, because AJ knows she can, and she wants to add that to her resume, AJ says that she really does have respect for her, and she really does wish her luck, but at the Royal Rumble, AJ says that Mickie just simply cannot win. Finally we have Cena coming out for another match with Sheamus. These two go back and forth for a little while, before Sheamus goes for a Brogue Kick, and misses, Cena then hits the AA and wins the match. He once again holds up his title, and he smirks at the camera. Raw goes off the air after this. Smackdown comes up next and we see Chris Masters come out to the ring, he looks upset, and he grabs a mic, he says that two weeks ago he was brutally attacked by Joe Hennig and he saw that last week Joe challenged him to a Steel Cage match at the Royal Rumble. Chris looks confused and he says that if Joe thinks that he will get rewarded for this kind of behavior with a title match, then he is wrong. At the Royal Rumble, Chris Masters says that he absolutely will not be facing off against Hennig in a Steel Cage. Hennig then comes out, and he tells Masters to expect him in the Parking Lot next week then. Masters dares Hennig to try anything next week. Hennig just says ok and he walks away. Next up we have Riley vs Kozlov vs MVP. In this match we see Kozlov dominate the match, and both MVP and Riley have to team up on him. MVP and Riley take Kozlov out of the match, and they focus on each other, Riley is able to hit his DDT on MVP and win the match. Riley is victorious after this match and we see a graphic on the screen that says next week we will see Alex Riley one on one with Mark Henry. Finally after this we see Randy Orton come to the ring and he says that he has been watching John Cena the past couple weeks, and he says that Cena is getting far too smug for his own good, Orton says that at Royal Rumble he will Punt Cena in the head as hard as he possibly can, and he will most likely end his whole career. Wade Barrett then comes out to the ring, and he says to Randy that he knows that it is a Triple Threat match at Royal Rumble, but it is best that Orton does not give his full attention to John Cena because Wade is planning on hitting Orton with a Bull Hammer so hard that it may just break his jaw, and knock him out. Orton gets in the face of Barrett and Barrett dares Randy to touch him. Randy then backs off of Barrett and he says to him that he does not know why Wade is talking such a big game when he already knows how devastating the Punt kick can be, Orton says, maybe not though, in that case he plans on reminding Barrett at the Royal Rumble. Next up we have the go home Raw and we start out with Tyler Reks calling out Cody Rhodes to the ring. Cody comes out and Tyler says to him that the last two weeks, Cody has blindsided him. Reks says that will change when he has to meet him face to face. Cody says that at the Royal Rumble, he will do whatever it takes to defeat Tyler Reks and keep his IC Championship. Tyler says that he was not talking about the Royal Rumble, he was talking about right now. Reks then attacks Cody and nails him with a Burning Hammer, and then throws Cody over the top rope to the ground, Reks then holds up the IC title and throws it on Rhodes body outside the ring. Next up we see Mickie James come to the ring, she says that after last week she has done some thinking, she says that maybe AJ was right, perhaps Mickie simply cannot win, but then Mickie says that she watched all of AJs matches in WWE within the last week, and she took a lot of notes, and not only that, but she did a lot of training in order to prepare for the match. Mickie says that it doesn’t matter if AJ was right or not last week, because Mickie says that she is more focused than she ever has been in her career, and it will be an incredible fight this Sunday at the Royal Rumble, but Mickie now has faith in herself that she can do it. Mickie then leaves the ring and she walks away, only to be greeted by AJ, who has a mic, AJ then says that may the best woman win, and the two shake hands. Finally we have John Cena come out with a mic, and he says that this Sunday he cannot wait to get in the ring, he says that ever since before King of the Ring, he has wanted this match, Cena says that he is foaming at the mouth for it, and he begs Orton and Barrett not to attack each other on Friday night Smackdown. Cena says that he doesn’t want just one of them in the ring, he wants both, he wants to say that he beat two of the most decorated superstars both in one night, Cena says that he wants to be just like Chris Jericho. Cena then gets serious, he says that he hopes that the Rock watches the Royal Rumble this Sunday, because in just a few months, that will be his fate. Cena throws the mic down and Raw goes off the air. Next up is the go home Smackdown and we start out in the Parking Lot again following Chris Masters. Joe Hennig tries to attack him again, but Masters is prepared for it this time, and the two have a straight up Parking Lot Brawl. Joe gets the better of Masters and he is ready to hit the Perfect Plex on another car, but Masters stops him by saying that he accepts his challenge to a Steel Cage match at the Royal Rumble for the US Championship. Hennig then says good, and he throws Masters to the ground. Hennig tells Masters that he will see him Sunday. Next up we have Alex Riley vs Mark Henry. Henry is able to dominate the match, but towards the end Riley is able to comeback, but just before he can attempt a win on Henry, both men are attacked by Kozlov and Jackson. Miz and MVP come out to try and help, and the whole thing turns into a huge brawl. In the end Kozlov and Jackson stand tall, over the other four men. Finally we see Wade Barrett come out, and he grabs a mic, and he says that just like John Cena he cannot wait for this Sunday, he says that he will not lose, he will destroy Cena and Orton, and then he tells Cena not to worry, because he won’t attack Orton before the bell rings this Sunday, Wade then says that he cannot speak for Orton however, and he turns and looks at Randy Orton who is standing behind Barrett now in shock. Barrett smirks at Orton and he leaves the ring as Smackdown goes off the air. Royal Rumble
Cody and Reks draw (Double Count Out)
AJ Lee retains her Women’s title against Mickie James
Chris Masters retains his US title against Joe Hennig
Miz and Riley retain their Tag Team titles (Pins MVP)
Wade Barrett wins the World Heavyweight Championship (John Cena looks great throughout the match, and towards the end he has Orton in the STF, and we hear the music of the Rock. Cena leaves the ring, but Rock never comes out. Meanwhile in the ring, Barrett hits the Bull Hammer on Orton to win the match)
Drew McIntyre wins the Royal Rumble (Notes: Drew enters at number 4, Sting enters number 1. Justin Gabriel returns. Drew eliminates the most men at nine. Sting breaks the record for longest time at 63 minutes. Drew last eliminates Sting to win the match.)
2020.07.27 20:02 digestives27Reasons Why I Still Play FM08 – The First Five Years (Year 1, Part 2)
WARNING: VERY LONG POST. READ AT YOUR OWN LEISURE. https://preview.redd.it/byiz3alsqfd51.png?width=616&format=png&auto=webp&s=6b2b46167c4e53216c515a2601366a0f68e39555 NB: This is part TWO of a TWO-part series. If you haven’t yet read part ONE, please click here. Sunday 1st June 2008 The leagues are complete, the European competitions are decided, it’s time to see the damage done. Premier League We’ll start with the Premier League and, as expected, Man Utd held on to their strong advantage to retain the title, the top-scoring Reds finishing 1 goal and 6 points ahead of Arsenal. Liverpool and Man City claim the remaining Champions League places, whilst Portsmouth finished a point ahead of Everton to claim the first available UEFA Cup place. Fulham would’ve needed a mathematical miracle to have survived relegation, and Middlesbrough were already related going into the final day so a draw with Wigan meant little to them, but Wigan were already safe thanks in part to what was essentially a relegation play-off match between Birmingham and Sunderland. A win for either team would see them survive but a draw would not be enough for Sunderland. David Connolly stepped up and scored a highly contentious goal for Sunderland in a tightly contested game. Birmingham City couldn’t believe what they believed was an offside goal was allowed to stand and replays have since shown that they may have had every right to feel aggrieved about that goal. They did not, however, do enough to get back into the match and although an equaliser would’ve seen them survive, they could not muster one and now drop down into the Championship. Kevin Doyle has the last laugh in his ongoing feud with Leroy, pipping him to the Golden Boot for Reading with 25 goals to Lita’s 24. Andy Johnson rounds off the top 3 with 23 goals for Everton. Cani’s 16 assists see him take the non-existent playmaker of the year award, 3 clear of John Carew. I shall forever call this the Playmaker Award now. The league table is as follows: https://preview.redd.it/a1ngygktqfd51.png?width=844&format=png&auto=webp&s=5c2369d745ec5ef9adca0149a6452b39ac24ba94 Overachievers: Man City, Derby County, West Ham Underachievers: Tottenham, Chelsea, Bolton, Middlesbrough West Ham seal European football through the Euro Vase, aka Intertoto Cup, by virtue of the fact that apparently neither Everton or Chelsea, nor Blackburn bothered to apply. As we know, Portsmouth secured European football through 5th place but wait… Newcastle and Derby are also in Europe?! This can only mean one thing… FA Cup Derby comfortably defeated Blackburn 3-1 at Wembley while Newcastle played out a dramatic 3-3 draw with Portsmouth. The game would be settled by penalties, with Portsmouth scoring their first 2 and Newcastle missing them both. Nerves got the better of the Pompey players as Newcastle scored their next 3 and Portsmouth missed all of them. Incredible scenes in the capital. https://preview.redd.it/8ijwjicuqfd51.png?width=841&format=png&auto=webp&s=f088b1a22b1aa57508725805c0cf6cc968b82901 Not to be outdone, Derby and Newcastle would contest a fierce final themselves. James Milner wins the header from the goalkeeper’s free kick to nod down to Barton who returns a through ball for Milner to slot home in the 22nd minute. However, Derby would hit back on the brink of half-time, in part thanks for a huge stroke of good fortune: David Jones’ free kick on the edge of the box taking a huge deflection off the wall to wrong-foot Shay Given. Deadlocked at 90 minutes, the game moved into extra time. More free kick fortune for Derby as Ulrik Yttergård Jenssen’s freekick deflects off the wall as well and into the path of Daniel Fredheim Holm who lashed home high into the net. However with the clock pushing 122 minutes, Derby go on the attack instead of taking it the corner flag. They would be punished with a flowing Newcastle counterattack, Nicky Butt feeding Derek Boateng who flights a ball to the back post for an unmarked Claudio Caçapa to nod home a dramatic late equaliser. The penalty shootout would be quick and painless. Derby’s players, mentally crushed from conceding such a late goal and dissolved of all confidence, missed all 3 of their penalties to concede the FA Cup to Newcastle United. https://preview.redd.it/ee35dfnvqfd51.png?width=842&format=png&auto=webp&s=592ce72a26e286ece94ed1939cc7a56cb3889c6a Consolation for Derby is that, because Newcastle already secured European football through their League Cup victory, they will also be playing in Europe thanks to being FA Cup runners up. Incredible for a team that was predicted to be relegated this season. Championship Charlton return to the top division, hanging on to top spot despite losing to West Brom on a final day, as Sheffield United could only muster a draw at home to Southampton. Watford, West Brom, QPR and Southampton make up the playoff hopefuls whilst Hull, Sheffield Wednesday and Colchester all drop down into League One. All three relegated teams’ fates were sealed before the final day, so Hull’s 2-0 win at home to Ipswich was in vain. Stoke and Crystal Palace played each other in a play-off decider, with Stoke knowing that any win would secure them 6th place. Palace needed a win against Stoke and a favour from title-chasing Sheffield United against Southampton to leapfrog both Stoke and Southampton into 6th. As such, Southampton needed to better Stoke’s result to secure the playoffs. As it transpired, Crystal Palace’s dramatic 90th minute winner away to Stoke was not enough as Southampton played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Sheffield United. Massive credit to Scunthorpe who were predicted to finish rock bottom this season and defied all expectations by finishing 9th, just 3 points off the playoffs. Unbelievable effort from QPR too, who flouted their 18th place prediction by finishing 5th in the playoff places. Marlon King would finish top scorer for Watford with 30 goals, well clear of second place István Ferenczi, Kevin Kyle picking up the Playmaker Award with 14 assists. Playoff Semi Finals – leg 1 QPR 1 – 1 West Brom Southampton 2 – 0 Watford Playoff Semi Finals – leg 2 West Brom 2 – 0 QPR << West Brom win 3-1 on aggregate Watford 2 – 1 Southampton << Southampton win 3-2 on aggregate Playoff Final Southampton 1 – 2 West Brom A cagey 2-1 win for West Brom as Chris Brunt scores a late winner from a set piece. Sherjill MacDonald may well have offside for the opener as Zoltan Gera played a lovely ball in to the near post and Southampton may well have a right to be upset with referee Lee Probert. If the build-up to the equaliser was scrappy, the finish certainly wasn’t: a ball lifted over the top by Jason Euell is despatched exquisitely on the volley by David McGoldrick. Chris Brunt would have the last laugh in this one, sticking a 20yard free kick into the top corner to send West Bromwich Albion back into the Premier League. https://preview.redd.it/0yrrfjr4rfd51.png?width=844&format=png&auto=webp&s=81c1fb45847ee4d66475e7fdcc29174856bbf490 Overachievers: QPR, Scunthorpe, Barnsley Underachievers: Preston, Sheffield Wednesday, Cardiff City, Colchester United League One Business as expected for the top two as Nottingham Forest win the league and Swansea City seal automatic promotion. Yeovil needed favours on the final day to usurp Swansea but did themselves none in the process by drawing in what transpired to be a dead rubber against Bristol Rovers. Doncaster needed to better Carlisle’s result to go up but instead both teams lost, and Carlisle held onto 6th place. Brighton could’ve taken advantage of that slip but lost to champions Nottingham Forest, whilst Oldham could’ve shocked everybody but ultimately lost to Southend instead. All four relegated teams were already down going into the final day: Northampton, Leeds, Tranmere and Leyton Orient. Frazier Campbell of Wallsall and Marvin Williams of Yeovil would share the Golden Boot between them with 32 goals, 4 clear of veteran striker Tore André Flo. Brian Howard’s impressive displays for Yeovil meant he claimed the Playmaker Award with 20 assists. Playoff Semi Finals – leg 1 Luton 2 – 1 Walsall Carlisle 1 – 3 Yeovil Playoff Semi Finals – leg 2 Walsall 0 – 0 Luton << Luton win 2-1 on aggregate Yeovil 3 – 1 << Yeovil win 6-2 on aggregate Playoff Final Luton 4 – 1 Yeovil << Luton promoted after extra time An open-ended affair with chances aplenty for both sides, Luton taking the lead inside the first 5 minutes, full-back Alan Goodall whipping a lovely ball into the near post for Sam Parkin to tuck away. Yeovil would be reduced to ten me early in the second half, Terrell Forbes hospital pass clearance met by the head of Luton’s Chris Hackett who nodded into the path of striker Drew Talbot. Talbot was unable to get his shot away clearly as Matthew Rose stuck out a leg to bring Talbot down and was sent off for a professional foul, drawing large protests from the Yeovil players. Still, Yeovil pressed and five minutes later they’d find an unlikely equaliser. Brian Howard, standing over a free kick 30 yards out, goes for the audacious and gets a huge slice of luck as the free kick clatters off the wall, sends the keeper the wrong way and flies into the empty net. Brave Yeovil would hold out the 90 minutes but unfortunately, Luton would make the extra man count in extra time, substitute Sol Davis starting the procession with a delightful free kick on the edge of the box. Tidy finishes from David Edwards and Willie Gibson rounded off a fine performance from Luton as they sealed their place in next season’s Championship. https://preview.redd.it/bkaziqu8rfd51.png?width=843&format=png&auto=webp&s=c55d9f1700bfaa285ca402f45f7d697b20801452 Overachievers: Walsall, Brighton, Cheltenham, Yeovil Underachievers: Leeds, Tranmere, Millwall Maybe slightly harsh to put Leeds in there with a 15-point deduction, but without it they would’ve finished 10th which is still way below expectations. League Two Impressive Bury romped to a surprise League Two victory, 5 points clear of Peterborough who in turn were 6 points clear of Chesterfield. On-loan youngster Chedwyn Evans’ 24 league goals complementing striker partner Andy Bishop’s 22 league goals to good effect. MK Dons’ Jemal Johnson would score 4 goals in a 5-2 away thriller at Brentford to snatch the Golden Boot away from Morecambe’s Michael Twiss, who must’ve hoped his two goals against Barnet would’ve been enough, Johnson finishing the season on 25 goals. Kevin McBride of Darlington wins the Playmaker Award. Grimsby could’ve been relegated on the last day had they, as they did, lost to Hereford but in the end it mattered not as Barnet and Mansfield, who only needed a win to try and survive, both suffered heavy defeats to drop out of the Football League. Playoff Semi Final – leg 1 Shrewsbury 1 – 2 Darlington Macclesfield 0 – 2 Morecambe Playoff Semi Final – leg 2 Darlington 1 – 1 Shrewsbury << Darlington win 3-1 on aggregate Morecambe 3 – 2 Macclesfield << Morecambe win 5-2 on aggregate Playoff final An incredible event as teams predicted to finish 12th and 21st met in the playoff final. Morecambe’s firepower really should’ve seen them through here, but it was Darlington who took an early lead through Gregg Blundell. Darlington must’ve feared the worst when top scorer Pawel Abbott was taken off injured after the half-hour mark. It took Morecambe until the 79th minute to get off the mark through, Jamie Forrester providing the breakthrough. Smart thinking from goalkeeper Steven Drench sees Forrester run through a gap the size of Jupiter between the two centre backs to collect the long punt forward and slot home. Darlington would somehow have the last laugh though, Tommy Wright slotting him neatly 3 minutes later for a famous win, taking Darlington up to League One https://preview.redd.it/m8t0l57crfd51.png?width=844&format=png&auto=webp&s=6f94715ce63781bdc9085c33b619229cb10d57c0 Overachievers: Morecambe, Macclesfield, Accrington Stanley, Darlington, Bury Underachievers: Bradford, Rotherham, Brentford, MK Dons, Rochdale, Grimsby, Barnet, Mansfield Honestly, take your pick. Crazy season in League Two. Non-League Oxford won the Conference Premier, 9 points ahead of the playoff hopefuls. Rushden & Diamonds steamrollered Stevenage 4-0 in the final, who themselves had reached the final via a 90th minute winner against Crawley, who themselves had an excellent season after being predicted to finish 19th and instead finished 2nd, even with a 6-point deduction. Simeon Jackson wins top goal scorer with 33 league goals for Rushden & Diamonds. Overachievers: Salisbury, Histon, Crawley, Rushden & Diamonds Underachievers: Exeter, York, Torquay, Ebbsfleet, Kidderminster, Burton https://preview.redd.it/cz3nwj2erfd51.png?width=851&format=png&auto=webp&s=af2562e64a445924f67c6fae2a98cb245648cad7 Southport win the Conference North and Boston United win the playoff final, beating Kettering on penalties. Alfreton, Hyde and Vauxhall are all relegated. Lewes win the Conference South and Dorchester Town win the playoff final, beating Braintree on penalties. Havant & Waterlooville, Hayes & Yeading and Fisher Athletic are all relegated. League round-up. We’ve already talked about the overachievers and underachievers, so let’s quickly compare the media predictions to the teams’ actual finishing positions. Should we castigate the media? Or should be laud and slate the teams who, for better or worse, defied expectations? The final position is denoted to the right of the team, with the change from the prediction one over. What do the media know, eh? The game also has its own season summary for each league which pretty much covers everything I’ve already shared but for those interested, see below: https://preview.redd.it/d1u1vdgkrfd51.png?width=853&format=png&auto=webp&s=87c6b9ad71e0461ce708fa9ab1cf51acb2113f2a UEFA Cup It seems like forever ago since we saw European competition. I will skip ahead, so here are the First and Second Knockout Round results. First Round https://preview.redd.it/zm64vwrlrfd51.png?width=478&format=png&auto=webp&s=a730b92e911d7d70aaff43e11de4dd290b7b561b Second Round https://preview.redd.it/n85jm85nrfd51.png?width=481&format=png&auto=webp&s=0bfac290a1058ea2edb979e18314d41a7f753bd7 Gritty performances throughout. For those of you wondering why FC Bayern are in the UEFA Cup it’s because they finished 4th in the Bundesliga in 06/07 behind champions VfB Stuttgart, 2nd place Schalke and 3rd place Werder Bremen. They entered at the UEFA Cup first round, essentially a final qualifying round. In-game, they defeated FC Twente 5-1 on aggregate to reach the group stage. They finished 3rd in their group, behind Fiorentina and Bolton. Quarter Finals All relatively straight forward in the Quarter Finals too, Bayern and Tottenham progress comfortably whilst Porto and Fiorentina had to do a bit of digging in to get the job done. FC Bayern (6) 3 - 0 (1) Werder Bremen Dinamo Kiev (2) 2 - 2 (4) Porto Tottenham (5) 1 - 1 (2) Blackburn Fiorentina (3) 0 - 0 (2) Girondins Bordeaux Semi Finals Bayern and Fiorentina met again in the Semi Finals to relive their group match (which was a 1-1 draw). The Semi Final would prove to be hotly contested again, Bayern stealing the victory in the 90th minute through Bastian Schweinsteiger, although replays show he may well have been offside. Luca Toni and Adrian Mutu were the other goal scorers. The second leg lived up to the billing as well, Bayern taking the lead mid-way through the first half through Miroslav Klose’s smart run and finish. Mark van Bommel added an unlikely second on the night through a sublime freekick which left Fiorentina needing 4 goals to go through. Adrian Mutu led a one-man crusade with a brace in the 63rd and 69th minute respectively before substitute Massimo Gobbi’s tidy 73rd minute finish set up a nervy finale. However, La Viola couldn’t add to their tally and Bayern reached the final. A tight contest in the other match was lifted with Steed Malbranque’s goal on the stroke of half-time, simply sumptuous freekick from the corner of the box, lifted over the wall and into the back of the net on the near side. Some fine work from José Bosingwa down the right-hand side allowed him to whip a cross into the far post for Raúl Meireles to head in an equaliser to ensure the spoils were shared going into the second leg. Robbie Keane scored his 25th goal of the season here with a cool finish, showing that you don’t need to blast the ball to score, Tottenham now sitting pretty knowing that Porto needed to score twice to progress. A moment of madness, however, from Didier Zokora left them in a spot of bother. Zokora was shown a straight red card on the brink of half-time, his second of the season, after catching Malkhaz Asatiani with his elbow, referee Stuart Dougal showing no hesitation in sending the Ivorian off. However, Porto were unable to even pluck out an equaliser, let alone a winner and Tottenham progress. FC Bayern (4) 2 - 3 (4) Fiorentina << FC Bayern advance on away goals Porto (1) 0 - 1 (2) Tottenham Final Bayern were utterly ruthless in the final, showing no mercy to Tottenham in a 3-0 demolishing, all of the goals coming in the first half courtesy of Luca Toni and a brace from Miroslav Klose. The lack of defensive cover in the midfield really cost them and Kevin-Prince Boateng had his work cut out trying to fill-in in Zokora’s absence, indeed getting himself sent off in the 79th minute for a second bookable offence. https://preview.redd.it/itis2karrfd51.png?width=844&format=png&auto=webp&s=7d0c4d4a8dc0081c25d84af5d35b3e46dea10924 Miroslav Klose’s two goals in the final means he takes home the Golden Boot with 12 goals, edging out RC Lens’ Aruna Dindane and team-mate Luca Toni by one goal. Riccardo Montolivo of Fiorentina picks up the Playmaker Award with 8 assists. Champions League Now, for what you’ve all been waiting for – the Champions League! We left you with the Quarter Final line-ups: Get ready for mayhem... None of the teams would disappoint in this round either. Liverpool beating Real Madrid 2-1 away in the first leg only to almost throw it away with a 2-1 loss at home, thanks for Raúl’s 90th minute goal. Liverpool may well have been questioning just why the final whistle hadn’t already blown, but Jamie Carragher would be the extra time hero though, scoring a scrappy goal after a corner was failed to be cleared by Madrid. Inter Milan’s first leg away goal helped them on their way to beating Man Utd over two legs, Adriano powering home from an indirect free kick opportunity. Paul Scholes would level the tie up when they met again in Italy, but former Arsenal man Patrick Vieira would seal the tie for Inter with a wonderful 30-yard screamer into the top corner. A contender for match-of-the-competition as Arsenal overcame Barcelona in a 10-goal feast. Thierry Henry’s sub 5-minute brace against his former club, including one after just 18 seconds, was pegged back by Robin van Persie’s own brace and the Gunners would lead 3-2 at half-time thanks to “wonderkid” Nicklas Bendtner. Bendtner would be at it again shortly after half-time, thanks in part to even more craftsmanship from Francesc Fàbregas. A headed goal from William Gallas at a corner put Arsenal 5-2 up and looking comfortable but Barcelona went on the attack the corresponding kick off, Xavi Hernández sliding Ronaldinho in to make it 5-3, Jens Lehmann going walkabouts by all accounts. Bendtner would complete has hattrick on 70 minutes though, slotting home after a neat turn in the corner of the box, sending Andrea Barzagli to another dimension. Barcelona would secure their 5th away goal though, Thierry Henry completing his own hat-trick after William Gallas failed to deal with a ball over the tip. Final score 6-4. And breathe. The second leg was less entertaining, but Thierry Henry would put his former club to the sword again with two more goals and, despite Rafael Márquez being sent off for an astonishing elbow to Bakary Sagna’s face, Barcelona held out for the win on away goals. 2-0 on the night, 6-6 on aggregate. The most disgraceful part of the night was the players surrounding referee Thorsten Kinhöfer after the red card. Pundits are still perplexed as to what they were complaining about. Finally onto Celtic, who produced the most breath-taking First Knockout Round ties against Valencia would continue to produce high entertainment value against PSV. Celtic held the advantage after a 1-1 draw in Eindhoven, but PSV would not go down without a fight. Rodrigo Palacio opened the scoring after Scott Brown needlessly lost the ball and some poor play from goalkeeper Artur Boruc, less than 45seconds into the match. Maciej Zurawski would dig his goalkeeper out of a hole 3 minutes later, beating Heurelho Gomes at his near post before Rodrigo hit back again on 8 minutes, capitalising on another poor error from Artur Boruc. John de Jong would add to icing to a rich and wholesome cake, flicking the ball into the far corner of the net beyond Boruc’s reach and PSV looked comfortable leading 4-2 on aggregate, knowing Celtic now needed 3 goals to progress. PSV would lose key midfielder Edison Méndez to injury on 27 minutes but it would take until the second half for Celtic to take advantage, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink finishing off an attack before Maciej Zurawski would set up a frantic last 5 minutes after getting on the end of Lee Naylor’s inch-perfect cross. Celtic couldn’t produce one more moment of magic though and the tie would finish 4-4 on aggregate, PSV going through by virtue of away goals. Real Madrid (3) 2 - 2 (4) Liverpool Man Utd (1) 1 - 1 (2) Inter Arsenal (6) 0 - 2 (6) Barcelona << Barcelona advance on away goals PSV (4) 3 - 3 (4) Celtic << PSV advance on away goals Semi Finals Could the Semi Finals produce the same magic? Liverpool were paired up against Inter Milan and Barcelona were drawn against PSV. Barcelona all but ended PSV hopes of an underdog victory, smashing them 4-0 in the first leg at home, Thierry Henry and Ronaldinho both scoring braces, Ronaldinho’s both coming from penalties (and both when Henry was on a hat-trick so he can probably consider himself unlucky to be allowed to take one of them). With Edison Méndez still missing, Sebastián Battaglia was asked to step in but he was easily over-run by the Barcelona midfield. PSV showed incredible fight immediately in the return fixture, going 2-0 up inside the first 7 minutes through Palacio’s lob and Ismael Aissati’s smart finish, but Barcelona soon calmed everything down, scoring 4 unanswered goals in return before half-time courtesy of Barzagli, two from Henry and a brilliant Ronaldinho free kick.. Gastón Fernández scored again late in the second half, but with the tie already done and dusted, it was more for pride than anything else. Barcelona win 4-3 on the night and 8-3 on aggregate. Liverpool hosted Inter Milan at Anfield for the first leg of the other semi final and took a first half-lead through a stunning John Arne Riise free kick. Steven Gerrard forced Júlio César into an own goal after initially saving Ryan Babel’s long-range effort before Fernando Torres turned provider for Ryan Babel to breakaway and make it 3-0. Zlatan Ibrahimović gave Inter Milan some hope with a late away goal, pouncing on a rare error from Jamie Carragher in the 88th minute. Liverpool were in good form going into the return leg, having battered fierce rivals Man Utd 4-0 at home at the weekend but it was Inter Milan who dominated this game for long periods, really putting the Liverpool team to the sword. Their dominance paid off in the 21st minute when Ibrahimović retrieved Maicon’s pinpoint pass and slotted into the bottom corner. Torres would ease the pressure on Liverpool with an equaliser at the start of the second half, his 20th goal of the season passed into the bottom corner; the keeper probably should’ve done better with it though. Inter claimed offside, but I’m not convinced. Incensed, Inter went on the attack immediately, both literally and figuratively, injuring Torres before Ibrahimović fed Adriano who had the vision to pick out Esteban Cambiasso to restore Inter’s lead on the night. A great counterattack. Inter would make Liverpool pay once more for sloppy defending when Steve Finnan was beaten to the ball too easily by Adriano who cut it back for Maxwell to fire home. Pepe Reina will be disappointed when he looks back on that, as he really should be saving those kinds of shots. 3-1 on the night and unbelievably 4-4 on aggregate. Extra time beckoned but Adriano was not interested in penalties, whipping a delightful ball around the corner for his strike partner David Suazo, clean through on goal to slot past a helpless Reina. Liverpool would go all out offensive from then until the final whistle but couldn’t muster one last goal to salvage the result and Inter go through to final, 4-1 on the night, 5-4 on aggregate. Liverpool (4) 1 - 4 (5) Inter Barcelona (8) 4 - 3 (3) PSV Final And so for the final. Inter Milan vs Barcelona. The world held high hopes after the last few rounds: they wanted goals. They were not disappointed. Strong. Barcelona opened the scoring on 23 minutes, emerging “wonderkid” Lionel Messi slotting Samuel Eto’o through to score his 20th goal of the season. The lead wouldn’t last too long though, as Ibrahimović fed Suazo to equaliser on 31 minutes. Eto’o would restore the lead again soon after, Deco sliding a lovely pass through the defence for Eto’o to bury. Controversy followed in the second half. Xavi loses the ball to Maxwell inside the Inter half who in turn goes on a mazy run towards goal exchanging passes with Cambiasso along the way. He is allegedly obstructed by Zambrotta outside the penalty arc, but replays show that it’s a blatant dive. To make matters worse, the referee inexplicably gives a penalty! Ibrahimović slots it without question. 2-2. 63 minutes and Puyol is needlessly dragged out of position to close down Stankovic who instead slips in Ibrahimović for his second of the game. Minutes later, a poor throw-in from Zambrotta gifts the ball to Ibrahimović to seal his hat-trick and put the game to bed, Inter holding out for a 4-2 win in the final against Barcelona! https://preview.redd.it/h8a5m6o4sfd51.png?width=842&format=png&auto=webp&s=b75fe5a7f131b27119bfecdadf612ff7bab575ee Despite the result, Ibrahimović would finish runner up to on 14 goals to Thierry Henry and Rodrigo Palacio in the Golden Boot race, the latter pair netting 15 goals a-piece. Andrés Iniesta would take home the Playmaker Award with 8 assists ahead of team-mate Ronaldinho’s 7. Despite an average rating of 7.83, Ronaldinho would also finish runner-up to Ibrahimović in the Champions League best player, with Henry rounding off the top 3. Now, because does not save an accessible history of stats and results, they are essentially wiped as the season ends, so I decided to end each 4th game file on June 1st. The game resets around about the 24th or 25th but I wanted to stop the game after the season had finished and before any international competitions began. But the year is 2008 so we all know what’s coming… https://preview.redd.it/77mkbzd5sfd51.png?width=890&format=png&auto=webp&s=2b0d8ccafdf04b8dc03fdc1204ea9a21df93e15b This does mean I’m going to have to go into the game file for Year 2, but I’ll keep everything else a secret. Euro 2008 deserves to be inside the 07/08 season. I do have all the results for the other international tournaments akin to this which make up the Confederations Cup competitors, so I will give a very brief oversight into those as well as they happen. I’m not going to go into how each team qualified for the tournament unless you specifically ask about it in the comments. Let’s look at the groups, with the help of some expert MS Paint skills to display their current world rankings too. https://preview.redd.it/gjbu0xo6sfd51.png?width=275&format=png&auto=webp&s=a4f9acbbe0a8ab7fba779689c4137c37b137793c The most notable changes are that Denmark, England, Scotland and Finland all qualified for this edition and Spain, French, Russia and Poland, who all qualified in the real Euro 2008, miss out. Hosts Switzerland and Austria naturally have terrible ratings due to not playing many competitive internationals as they didn’t need to qualify for their own tournament. Group B looks tough, and the Scots may well fancy an upset in Group D. Editors predictions: England. Not just because I’m biased, but because on paper they have the squad to do it. The Golden Generation may not have succeeded in real life, but this is stats-based fantasy. Football’s coming home! Failing that, and with France and Spain both missing, it’s anyone’s to take. I’m putting money on a Ronaldo-backed Portugal. I will run through them Group by Group, even though it won’t strictly be in the order. All will be well again come the Knockout Rounds. (editor note: a picture of all the groups is at the bottom. I had to cut back to 20 images) Group A Croatia and Sweden played out an entertaining 2-2 draw that didn’t get going until the last 30 minutes. Jurica Vranjes thought he’d snatched a late 87th minute for Croatia until Marcus Allbäck equalised 2 minutes later. Two early goals for Denmark were enough to see off Switzerland despite themselves pulling a goal back before half-time, a 2-1 finish. The second round of fixtures produced even more drama, a Tranquillo Barnetta hat-trick for Switzerland helping to sink Sweden 4-3 in a back-and-forth game, Gelson Fernandes eventually settling the contest for the Swiss. An Eduardo-inspired Croatia took the game to Denmark and a late Nicklas Bendtner goal wasn’t enough to stop Croatia winning 3-1. Any win for Croatia against Switzerland sends them through. A draw would also suffice. Switzerland need to win, although a draw would do if Sweden could beat Denmark. Any positive Denmark result paired with a Croatia win sees them progress, or even a win and a Croatia/Swiss draw. Sweden must beat Denmark and hope Croatia win. If the Swiss beat Croatia, they need to win and hope for a goal difference swing. Drama all round as Sweden’s tournament hopes end with a 2-1 defeat to Denmark. Switzerland know they realistically need to win but can only muster a 2-2 draw with Croatia. Denmark top the group, Croatia are runners up. Group B Czech Republic and Austria open the tournament with an entertaining 2-2 draw, Austria snatching a 90th minute equaliser through Steffen Hofmann after a mistake from Zdenek Grygera. Turkey and Portugal would step it up a notch by playing out a 3-2 game which, in truth, Portugal were always in control of. 3-0 up inside 21minutes, Turkey made a second half comeback but the 2nd goal in the 89th minute was too little, too late. Goals from Deco and Tomas Rosicky in the first half ensured the spoils were shared in a game where the Czech Republic dominated Portugal for large portions of the game and will be disappointed to only draw 1-1. (editor note: the game seems to think Portugal completed 200% of their crosses in this match…) Turkey, on the other hand, turned their dominance into a 2-0 win over Austria. Portugal need to beat Austria to secure top spot whereas Austria know they need a big win and some good fortune for a draw in the other game. Any winner of Turkey/Czech Republic will qualify, but a draw for Turkey should be enough, barring a miracle from Austria. It’s feasible that Portugal could still be knocked out, though very unlikely. And as it happens, Portugal make light work of Austria, Maniche and Cristiano Ronaldo scoring first half goals to seal the tie 2-0 in an otherwise boring match. Czech Republic would be made to pay for not getting the winner against Portugal, being torn apart comprehensively by a relentless Turkey side with braces for both Nihat and Halil Altintop, 4-0 the final score line. Portugal top the group, Turkey are runners up. Group C The last group to get going, but no lack of entertainment here, with Romania cruising to a 2-0 win against Greece. All of the drama came in the much-anticipated England/Germany match though and it met all expectations. Darren Bent’s headed opener was cancelled out by Miroslav Klose pouncing on Paul Robinson’s fumble, but Wayne Rooney would restore England’s lead halfway through the first half. Bayern’s Lukas Podolski pulled it level again before half-time before the teams seemed set to see out a 2-2 draw. However, deep into stoppage time at the end of 90 minutes, up steps David Beckham to do what David Beckham does best – dispatch freekicks into the top corner. 3-2. There was still time after the restart for Steven Gerrard to be shown a straight-red for hacking down Klose with two-feet. Germany would take their revenge out on Greece in the next game, securing a 4-2 victory, whilst England would maintain their good form by persevering for a late 2-0 win against Romania. England are already through and Greece cannot qualify so their final game is a dead rubber, other than Greece trying not to finish bottom and England trying to assure top spot. The winner of Germany/Romania will go through, but a draw will be enough for Germany by virtue of Goal Difference. England consign Greece to 4th place in the group with a routine 2-0 win, goals from Wayne Rooney and Shaun Wright-Phillips enough to see them off. A cagey first-half in the Germany/Romania match became a much more open-ended affair after Daniel Niculae’s brilliant 47th minute opener, a sublime solo run culminating in a lobbed finish. Miroslav Klose fired back 10 minutes later with 2 goals in quick succession to swing the tie but Romania, not prepared to lie down, equalised again through Eric Bicfalvi. Romania would do the unthinkable though, Adrian Mutu bending a delightful goal into the corner to secure a 3-2 victory for Romania. England top the group, Romania are runners up. Group D Italy kicked off the group against Finland with a nervy win, having gone 1-0 down to a 60th minute penalty from Ari Nyman. Filippo Inzaghi pulled it level in the 82nd minute before Antonin Cassano’s stoppage time winner stole all the points from Finland. Scotland were less keen to roll over though and will be disappointed to have thrown away a 3-1 lead at the 85th minute, Wesley Sneijder and Roy Makaay with late goals to snatch a 3-3 draw. Holland vs Italy was billed as the one to watch in this group, and rightly so, both teams amassing almost 30 shots between them, but with both keepers in good form, the match would be tied 1-1, Riccardo Montolivo cancelled out Robin van Persie’s first half strike. Scotland have certainly found their shooting boots at this tournament after putting 4 past Finland, but they were made to work for the victory with the Finns taking the lead and later equalising through Mika Ääritalo’s brace. James McFadden’s strike would retake the lead before Barry Ferguson put the icing on the cake of a 4-2 win. Scotland need any result against Italy to go through. A loss through, coupled with a likely Holland win overly Finland, would send them crashing out. Finland cannot progress. Holland must win to go through, as must Italy. Holland do indeed get their win against Finland, dominating from start to finish, although the score line should really have been bigger than 2-1. Scotland’s hopes of sneaking out of the group were dealt an immediate blow as they went 1-0 down to Alessandro Del Piero’s header inside 45 seconds. Alberto Gilardino would double the lead in the 20th minute and although Kenny Miller pulled one back in the second half, they couldn’t find a second goal to escape the group. Final score 2-1 to Italy. Italy top the group, Holland are runners up. Summary https://preview.redd.it/o41tr52jtfd51.png?width=848&format=png&auto=webp&s=e3c96a5bda7862b3e04e55ada618d0e7358e0d8c Quarter Finals Turkey – Denmark Croatia – Portugal England – Holland Italy – Romania No real humdingers here as all of the teams tightened up a lot. Turkey did away with Denmark 2-0 in a game that the Danes will be disappointed to have not scored in. Nihat and an own goal from Per Krøldrup sealed the game. Portugal were perhaps the better team in their tie against Croatia but still had to work hard to secure a 2-1 victory, Eduardo’s first half strike cancelled out by Maniche and Ronaldo in the second. More late, late drama in this one as Frank Lampard scored a trademark goal, arriving from deep to sweep home a Wright-Phillips cross. England must’ve thought that’d be enough but Robin van Persie struck early into stoppage time to level the tie up 1-1. But cometh the 94th minute, cometh the man: Holland do not deal with a long clearance properly and Wright-Phillips skips past his man on the wing to lay the ball into the path of the onrushing Lampard who buries it high into the far corner. Holland complain to the linesman but really, they should be looking at themselves for some shoddy defending. Romania will be disappointed they had to take Italy all the way to penalties to beat them, having been arguably the better team throughout. 1-1 at full time but a comfortable 4-2 shootout victory as their excellent tournament marches on, the only sour point being Stefan Radu’s 121st minute red card for a horrific tackle on Antonio Cassano. Turkey 2-0 Denmark Croatia 1-2 Portugal England 2-1 Holland Italy 1-1 Romania << Romania advance on penalties Semi Finals Turkey – Romania Portugal – England One thing guaranteed in this tournament now is that there will be an outsider in the final. Turkey left it late, but a brace from Nihat would prove enough to put Romania to the sword and end their dream run. Romania might look back and feel like they could’ve done better with both goals though. Manchester United teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney did battle in this one, both getting their names on the scoresheet with clinical finishes. There would be nothing to settle the two sides until the very end: penalties. Hugo Viana, Nuno Valente, Jorge Andrade all scored whilst Gareth Barry, John Terry and Steven Gerrard did likewise. After Miguel fired home, Michael Carrick would see his penalty saved by goalkeeper Ricardo. However, some Paul Robinson heroics against Ricardo Carvalho gave Rio Ferdinand a chance to get back into the shootout. The pressure was too much though, and he slammed his penalty against the inside of the post to see Portugal through to the final, a final which Deco will miss with suspension after hacking Wright-Phillips down with two feet in 120th minute for an early bath. Turkey 2-0 Romania Portugal 1-1 England << Portugal advance on penalties Final No Third Place Playoff in the Euros, straight into the final where Turkey meet Portugal, looking for an upset. Nihat and Mehmet Aurélio’s persistence forced the breakthrough on 20 minutes but a smart short freekick routine 2 minutes later from Portugal saw Maniche hit a bending daisy cutter into the bottom corner to equalise. Into the second half and Mehmet Topuz played one of the balls of the tournament from deep, around the defence and into the path of Nihat who didn’t need to break stride to hit an unbelievable shot on the half-volley. Rumour has it that Nihat lost Ricardo Carvalho so well, he is still searching for Nihat to this day. Turkey would hold on to their 2-1 advantage until the final whistle to become unlikely European Champions 2008. https://preview.redd.it/qx6ak4upsfd51.png?width=1423&format=png&auto=webp&s=52e9400ba3f2294178b459f89492370503ef814a And so that concludes the first season back of Reasons Why I Still Play FM08, also unofficially called What Could Have Been. This grew to be significantly longer than I expected, and I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, even if it did take me well over 15 hours to do so. If anybody has any specific questions about any aspects of this particular game, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer them, whether it’s information about non-league clubs, club finances, world rankings, wonderkid regens etc. I will also happily run through competitions like the African Cup of Nations and the Olympics, although competitions like the Asian Cup, Gold Cup, Copa América have yet to happen on this file. I have at least 5 seasons worth of game files now, and seasons 2-5 are all structured the same in terms of save dates: September 1st, December 1st, March 1st and June 1st. Congratulations if you got this far, I applaud your perseverance. I hope you enjoyed it. See you soon for Year 2. ~ dige
Around 2008 (might be off by a few years here), there was a battle royal with people impersonating Shiva, Mohammed, Jesus and Moses, and then Edge (in his Rated-R persona while he was dating Lita) won the whole thing. Can't find a single thing on the internet. Help me with a video link please?
2020.06.12 16:09 krs-junKorean City Pop 1988-1992, and its Resurgence
I recently wrote a personal/music essay blog post about city pop in Korea, and its resurgence today with cover songs and influence on modern mainstream music. I know this isn’t a very well-covered topic at all, so I copied the contents of the blog post below as a backgrounder for those interested in learning more. It’s more of an informal reflection than a comprehensive history but it does have some useful info. I feel like Korean city pop was often overlooked - it never gained as much traction even during its time, and its peak years were most likely only between 1988 (Seoul Olympics, democratization, soaring GDP) and 1992 (K-Pop starts to take root and replace city pop’s poularity). Which is too bad, because artists like Light and Salt, Kim Hyun-chul, and Jang Pil-soon have made some amazing music imo. I wanted to shed some light and discuss this period of music as Korean city pop is pretty distinct from Japanese city pop, influenced more by ballads, disco, and idol music (compared to, like, Haruomi Hosono’s exotica or the New Music movement of the '70s) and being arguably more lo-fi than Japanese city pop was (compared to someone like Masayoshi Takanaka’s studio wizardry). It also happened many years after Japanese city pop (1988-ish compared to 1976-ish) and thus had less time to develop organically, but probably more initial sonic diversity. Nowadays, Korean music is seeing a resurgence in the city pop style. A cover series called Digging Club Seoul, started in 2018, had contemporary artists do covers and interpretations of city pop songs, and city pop's visual and sonic hallmarks are influencing everything from K-pop to indie producers to idol pop and R&B. I’m wondering if it’s reasonable to assume that the resurgence of city pop’s sonic and visual hallmarks is due to some widespread yearning for some imagined, brighter past? Korean people are facing huge economic and social stresses today, and young Koreans seem to be taking to the genre, even though it came out when they probably weren’t even born - similar to how Japanese city pop is consumed in the West I’d imagine. Are there other musical trends internationally or in the West that re-emerge in tandem with nostalgia and yearning for an imagined past? I’ve also heard from friends in S. Korea that nowadays a surprising amount of young Koreans walk around with vintage Walkmans listening to city pop hits from this specific era or Korean music. I may be mistaken, but it seems like Japanese city pop’s modern-day consumption is limited to Youtube sidebar recommendations and fans of labels like Light in the Attic, but it seems like city pop in Korea is being both rediscovered and appropriated in mainstream culture, with even huge K-pop groups like TXT doing covers of old songs. Is city pop in being rediscovered and reinterpreted in Japan in a similar way? And are there any examples of its aesthetics or music being employed by mainstream artists? I know artists like Kirinji or Suchmos are arguably ‘modern’ city pop, but are there musicians who purposely and with intent look back to city pop, city idol pop, exotica, etc. for aesthetics/inspiration? I’m curious to know what this subreddit knows about these questions, but I also just really love talking about this stuff so any discussion is welcome. Entirety of the essay posted below for anyone interested:
If you’re anything like me, and you have at least a passing interest in Korean R&B and indie music – and your Spotify activity reflects this – you may have come across some recommended songs sharing a certain aesthetic and a common label: “Digging Club Seoul”. On first listen, they seem pretty modern in their production and the artists that perform them, but the tunes themselves are decisively retro. The vocal flourishes are a lot more subdued than in a lot of K-pop and K-R&B, as if to let the simple, breezy melodies take the lead. And the basslines are SO smooth– you feel more like you’re listening to Suchmos or the Persona 5 Soundtrack than Korean contemporaries DEAN or Hyukoh (who are also great). The single artwork also evokes some feeling of nostalgia or past youth – drawings of young Koreans set against the backdrop of neon city streets, drive-in theatres, or in moments of solitude at a crosswalk, in the club district, or in cramped apartments. They’re drawn in bold lines, awash in indigo and blue and red. In common is the white sleeve on the left side of each artwork that reads “Digging Club Seoul”. As an aside, I’m liable to get super in-the-weeds about new music discoveries (welcome to the blog, friends), and two other things I love are nostalgia trips and falling down rabbit holes on the internet. And honestly, the music is pretty great too. So, I decided to do some research about what “Digging Club Seoul” is, what ties the songs together, and why even though I’d definitely never heard them before (or at least before 2018, when these singles were released), I felt like I was in my parents’ car as a kid, jamming out to old Korean songs. City Poppin’ Off The origins of “Digging Club Seoul” start in Japan (surprisingly!). The first thing that came to mind for me was that most of the earlier singles in this series sounded like Korean city pop. City pop was a genre that reflected the culture of Japan in the 1970s to early 1990s – with a rapidly expanding technology industry, high GDP growth per year, and an unprecedented abundance of leisure time and spending money, Japanese city pop is correspondingly easygoing, bright, and simple but sophisticated. Lyrically, city pop is pretty simple as well – it evokes images of young romance in Roppongi nightclubs, summers in Okinawa, or driving beachside down Chirihama Nagisa Highway in your 1981 Toyota Soarer. Hiroshi Nagai’s artwork is as good a visual analogue to early city pop as Monet is to Debussy’s compositions, featuring palm trees, poolside decks, and beachy landscapes. Many city pop musicians also worked with international producers, and some employed REALLY stacked studio musicians. It’s one of my favourite genres at the moment for its coexistence of structural simplicity and musical professionalism, and an ability to be consistently sweet without being saccharine (it might – and probably does – help that I speak very little Japanese). A lot of internet people are probably familiar with city pop at this point. Mariya Takeuchi’s Plastic Love is practically a meme, more than 30 years after it came out, and city pop songs are often remixed and plundered by vaporwave and future funk producers. Probably much less known is that for a brief time, city pop was around in South Korea, specifically in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I feel like a lot of historical accounts of Korean pop music gloss over that era for being a “fad” that came and went, so any lack of familiarity is probably forgivable. What I picked up about Korean music history by skimming these accounts is that popular music was basically enka during Japanese occupation, which evolved into the trot music which my grandparents played in their car, and then (?????), and then BAM – Seo Taiji invented rapping, social critique in music, and cool dancing on stage, and now we have BTS and Blackpink (I’m definitely an expert on Korean pop music btw). So where does city pop fit into the Korean music canon? I think it’s a fair assumption that city pop’s popularity is especially contingent on two things: the social and economic conditions of the time being favourable to its consumption. City pop was imported into South Korea from Japan at a time when the social conscience was more focused on navigating around mandatory curfews, witnessing military coup d’etats on the news, and burgeoning democratization, rather than imaginings of Malibu or when the new BEAMS store would open in Harajuku. As a result, Korean city pop’s peak years wouldn’t be until a little later. I’d roughly estimate the period between 1988-1992 as being the most favourable years to city pop’s popularity. The 1988 Seoul Olympics helped to mark South Korea’s capital as a hub for trendy urban youth, and Roh Tae-woo’s presidential election and the end of the Fifth Republic saw democratic reforms leading to previously unseen personal freedoms – prime social conditions for city pop to flourish (the GDP wasn’t doing too badly either). 1992 probably marked the decline of city pop’s popularity, when the heavy-hitting social commentaries and visual flair of shiny new K-Pop better reflected the spirit of those times, amid widespread student protests and the shifting tastes of young Koreans. Digging Clubs…and Memories At the dinner table, I ask my parents what they remember of those years between 1988 and 1992, as young adults in the city of Seoul. Their eyes light up. My dad recalls how the future seemed so easy and bright – breeze through college, land a nice cushy office job, and shape your future. He talks about how almost no one in his cohort needed to work part-time, and how receiving a decent allowance all throughout college was pretty commonplace for everyone. My mom fondly remembers getting “textbook” money which she’d spend going to cafes and clubs with her friends. There, they’d talk about the trivial things like how expensive teeth-alignment surgery was, which karaoke bar to hit up later, or how my dad started an English club at college to get an in with the girls – all with the comforting ambiance of economic security and youthful optimism affecting the conversation. Oh, and the music – names like Light and Salt, Yim Jae-bum, Kang Susie, and Jang Pil-soon spring up. My dad remembers listening to his music on a Sony Walkman and walking around campus on sunny days. So what does Digging Club Seoul have to do with any of this? The Digging Club series, as it turns out, is a series of covers of songs from that era of Korean city pop, by those very artists. Conceptualized by Space Oddity and curated, selected and funded by the Naver Cultural Foundation, these cover songs are part of its ON STAGE 2.0 project, a “social responsibility” campaign which aims to bring light to these often-overlooked tunes. I’d guess a good Western analogue would be Light in the Attic Records, who unearth hard-to-find records and obscure musical genres. Unlike LITA, the project has contemporary artists and bands do cover versions and interpretations of city pop hits. Other articles cover pretty well already what the project sets out to do, which I’d definitely recommend reading. Listening to the singles, you can hear a noticeable difference between the first five singles of the series, released in 2018, and the second five from 2019. George’s cover of “After A Long Time”, the first single from the series, sounds pretty 1:1 with its Kim Hyun-chul original (both linked below). Likewise, Daybreak’s cover of “You Always” by Mono and Stella Jang’s cover of “It’s Beautiful” by Yoon Soo-il sound very much like…city pop, with more modern, polished production. These are mostly faithful recreations in that style – and my personal favourites – though Sungwoojunga’s and Sultans of the Disco’s singles are nice interpretations more in the artists’ own styles (downtempo R&B and disco-y funk, respectively). The second series of singles from 2019 are more like the Sultans of the Disco and Sungwoojunga cuts, in that they’re unique interpretations of the older city pop songs in modern styles. 1415 flips Lee Sangeun’s “Don’t Go Babe”, a pretty dated-sounding dance hit with lots of cheesy synth, into a downtempo, almost anthemic house track with a lot of weight, like it could hit a Gangnam club today and the cast of Itaewon Class would all show up and get down. Despite the sonic dissimilarities, this interpretation does make some sense, seeing as the original was probably blasting out of discos during its time. Se So Neon, one of my favourite Korean rock bands at the moment, cover Towner and Town Chief’s folksy “Cat” to close out the series. You wouldn’t even know it was the same track. Seriously, listen to both and try finding ANY resemblance other than the melody. These tracks feel more like transplants of the melodies and lyrics from the covered songs into the artists’ own modes. With these singles, I think I like them to the degree that I like the artists covering them and their styles. For example, My K-R&B-loving self definitely thinks the Jeebanoff cover of “The girl in my memories” by Hwang Chi-hoon is an absolute vibe. The project has been ongoing since 2018 to uncover Korean city pop gems from its peak era, with a new set of singles set to release in 2020. Kim Hong-ki, the director of Space Oddity, notes the nondescript origins of Digging Club Seoul: an office employee had been playing Japanese city pop in the office a lot, noting that it was a trend recently, which prompted his deep dive into research about 1980s South Korea. It’s a satisfying enough origin story, but this prompts a question for me – why now? In 2020, almost 30 years after the beginning of its peak, why is Korean city pop being recovered, covered, and reinterpreted – and why is it gaining so much traction today, with people who probably weren’t even alive at the time? Yearning for a Neon Past Upon reflection, and in light of Japanese city pop’s recent resurgence, I think there is actually a third condition to city pop’s popularity – one exclusive from favourable social and economic conditions. The third condition, which might help explain city pop’s renewed popularity, is a widespread feeling of yearning, for a past either experienced or imagined; a past much simpler, easier, without the weight of the world and various uncertain futures dangling off your neck like an albatross. I don’t need to write a 2,000-word essay about the stresses of expectation and a slowing economy that Korean youth go through today – I need only look to my parents across the dinner table. ”Kids today have it way harder,” my dad says, succinctly putting into words what dozens of NYT op-eds about the “Dark Side of Korean education/pop industry/working society” or whatever couldn’t. Music critic Jung Duk-hyun, writing about Digging Club Seoul, agrees that “[because] of the busy and harsh reality nowadays, people are trying to seek comfort and gain satisfaction through music that seems to recall happy days”. For all their differences in style and faithfulness, the Digging Club songs share that undercurrent of youth and freedom, evoking images of young romance in Hongdae nightclubs, summers in Jeju, or driving around U Island in a moped with your honey. Of times simpler, sweeter, and more carefree. It’s probably why you can see city pop’s hallmarks making a resurgence in contemporary Korean music too. K-Pop groups like Wonder Girls, CLC, and most recently TXT have taken from the city pop aesthetic for their album concepts and song structures, with TXT having recently reinterpreted Light and Salt’s “Fairy of Shampoo”, a city pop classic from 1992. Below the surface of the K-Pop industry, indie producers such as BRONZE weave funky bass lines, clean guitar licks and reverb-ed snares into a hyper-accurate modern reproduction of the city pop sound. And solo artists like Yubin (of Wonder Girls) and YUKIKA evoke images of the city pop girl idol: an ethereal, youthful beauty with big hair and admittedly pretty garish outfits (it was the ’80s!). In my opinion, the music video for NEON in particular ties together the past and the present of city pop in Korea way too neatly. It follows a sad-looking young Korean guy in 2019, in a dismally small apartment and wearing shabby clothes (kids today do have it hard apparently), who puts on a record by his favourite city pop artist, YUKIKA. He closes his eyes in rapt enjoyment as he listens to the song. He dreams of meeting his idol until, by way of MV magic, they have a chance encounter on a rooftop. Throughout the music video, a grainy tape recording of YUKIKA’s performance plays. The date in the corner of the screen reads: Feb. 22, 1989. At the risk of reading too much into a Korean pop music video, I have to imagine that the yearning felt by the boy for YUKIKA translates to viewers as a more general yearning for a time, an aesthetic, or an ideal that no longer exists. It contrasts a dreary modern life with a neon dream realized long ago. You don’t need to have been around in the late 80’s in Korea, listening to your Walkman, to empathize. You could be a 20-something year-old, Korean-Canadian dude living in Vancouver, B.C., who MAY have heard some city pop songs in Dad’s car a long time ago, currently living in a present where the future feels uncertain and where life is hard to navigate. I’m certain that there was a time in all of our lives, young or old, where things seemed easier, less scary, more certain. I think this is why, at the dinner table, when I show my dad the MV for Daybreak’s Digging Club Seoul cover of “You Always”, featuring a cassette deck, basketball, black Air Jordans, a CRT playing a grainy music video, and a pretty girl wearing a beret, smiling, we can both say: ”Wow. It’s like I’m really back then.” And, somehow, truly mean it.
2020.06.04 20:14 Wandering-Tiger[S] Tiger Island: Winners at War CAST REVEAL!
It's time for Tiger Island's biggest season yet as the show heads back to Tanzania to see 24 former winners duke it out for two million dollars! Who will prevail out of the largest and most competitive cast to date? This is Tiger Island! Meet the Cast: Chungu (gold tribe): Jonathan Oeil-Penien (Winner of Tiger Island: Borneo, 6th place on Tiger Island: All-Stars, 15th place on Tiger Island: Philippines) - The original Tiger Island champion, Jonathan set off the series’s tone as one of the most idiosyncratic on the sub with his mystifying win all the way back in Borneo. Returning for All-Stars, Jonathan’s keen eye for strategy showed through once again as he managed to shake the target on his back and make it all the way to the final six, where he was shockingly evacuated from the game. Jonathan got a chance to return to his former glory in the Philippines, but ended up on the ill-fated Tingnan tribe, which never won an immunity challenge. Even as the series’s original winner, Jonathan survived three votes before his tribemates, David and Hailey, at last took him out of the game. Coming back once again to defend his crown, can Jonathan stand erect and prove his classic game to a cast from all generations of the series? Angela Bechtold-Sinema (Winner of Tiger Island: Panama and runner-up of Tiger Island: Heroes vs. Villains) - One of the most unlikely villains in the entire series, Angela came into Panama as an unassuming, middle-aged professor who made a splash by asserting her minority rights against the men after the swap, using the super idol to blindside Laurel. Going into the merge, she initially played the men and women against one another before taking the men out, leaving an all-female final three. Once there, Angela convinced Clara to make the most shocking move of the season and blindside her closest ally, Yu, on her way to win the game by just one vote. She returned with her villainous tactics once again and spearheaded a strong alliance of fellow villains, including fellow winner Ramsey and All-Star Conner. After losing a rock draw just before the merge, Angela used the Heroes to take out her former adversaries on the villains and ultimately ensure a final three of herself, Ramsey, and Conner. Unlike Panama, she didn’t have a clear goat to take to the end like she did in Clara, and ended up losing to Ramsey in a landslide as he became the first two-time winner. In a rematch, can Angela triumph over Ramsey and claim her second crown? Kerri Calder (9th place on Tiger Island: Guatemala, winner of Tiger Island: Micronesia, and 17th place on Tiger Island: Heroes vs. Villains) - Kerri has a true rollercoaster ride of a career on Tiger Island, becoming the first person to ever find a hidden immunity idol during Guatemala, but then the first person ever to be voted out with one in her possession. Already a local legend, Kerri turned her legacy around on Micronesia, when she carried a dominant Favorites majority into the merge and destroyed the Fans, ultimately facing off against her greatest ally, Tamara, in the final two. After an unprecedented 4-4 tie, Kerri ended up winning Fans vs. Favorites and redeemed her legacy. Returning as a Hero four seasons later, Kerri decided to break with her loyal legacy by flipping on the very first vote to avoid being the victim of a rock draw, after which she was never able to work her way out of the minority again and she became the season’s fourth boot. Can Kerri continue her pattern with another triumph on her fourth time out and keep her game from going south again? Bill Vargas (Winner of Tiger Island: Redemption Island and Tiger Island: Game Changers) - Starting Redemption Island off on the weak San Carlos tribe, Bill and his tribe seemed doomed for destruction until he rallied them into a comeback and carried numbers into the merge, after which he struck down members of the opposing tribe and some of his own allies to carry his two closest allies, Ryan and Reynold, into the finals. With so much blood on his hands, Bill defended himself against an apprehensive jury to win the game over Ryan by just one vote. Showing resilience, Bill changed his strategy up in Game Changers, connecting himself to power couple Becky and Zeke as the blood on their hands piled up. His under-the-radar strategy paid off as the jury proved resentful against the two and awarded Bill a win much more decisive than his first. One of three repeat winners playing this season and the only one with a perfect record, can Bill pull off a third win and show his stripes once again? Ibuki Lyons (5th place on Tiger Island: Nicaragua and winner of Tiger Island: Caramoan) - The winner of the second Fans vs. Favorites, Ibuki started off his Tiger Island career on one of the most famous seasons, Nicaragua. There, he played a shady and cutthroat game where he flipped on allies such as Candace and David, toppling a fan favorite in Zeke Tolkien as well. Ultimately, though, the target on his back grew too big and he went out at the final five. Five seasons later, he came back in Caramoan and led the dominant Favorites into the merge, where he again staged brutal blindsides of social players Natalie and Max. The target on his back came too much once again at the final six, but he managed to save himself with an idol and then win the final two immunity challenges to bring him through into the finals, where he won the season in a landslide. Can he replicate his feat in Fans vs. Favorites or will the target on his back come back to bite him yet again? Nadia Berging (Winner of Tiger Island: Kaoh Rong) - On Kaoh Rong, Nadia started off with a wild time in Cambodia when her closest ally, Kevin, found himself in trouble but managed to save himself with an idol at only the second Tribal Council. Though she lost Kevin after the swap, Nadia teamed up with her frenemy, River, to run the post-merge by playing the other factions off of one another, taking out key threats in Daley, Leilani, and CB on their way to the finals along with their goat, Graham. In the end, Nadia pulled off a win you’d only see in the movies when her strategic game won out over River’s more physical game and proved that she’s not just an everyday player. Can she pull out another win against fellow Tiger Island royalty? Dan Bajer (Winner of Tiger Island: Millennials vs. Gen X) - After spending the pre-merge kinda dark and quiet, Dan came alive after the merge to side with underdogs Miranda and Duncan and fellow power player, Reese. After helping Miranda and Duncan become the comeback kids, Dan showed them their execution days by betraying them once again, along with their ally Zeystev. Dan’s final threats, Morton and Gus, joined his crimson tide of blood soon after and he found himself in the final three. Despite all the blood on his hands, Dan proved his game was never just a fool’s song by narrowly winning the game over Jenni. Will Dan again be able to call upon the forces from above and net another win for himself? Elsa Bridgert (Winner of Tiger Island: Ghost Island) - Elsa’s winning game in Ghost Island nearly met an early end when an unfortunate early swap put her in the minority, only for her and her ally Zach to work together and stage a blindside on early threat Terry. Elsa kept control into the merge, taking control of the game with Alec and Emma before the double Tribal saw her lose her grip on the game and end up in the minority, powerless as her new allies, Zach and Kelsey, went home. At the final seven, however, Elsa managed to pull a surprise blindside on power player Deli and make the finals with her former allies, Alec and Emma, after all, where the jury awarded her resilient gameplay with a victory. Can she handle the challenges of season 40 and make the end once again? Tamu (green tribe): Victoria Moobande (Winner of Tiger Island: Africa, 8th place on Tiger Island: All-Stars, and winner of Tiger Island: South Pacific) - All the way back in season 3, Victoria managed to play a peachy-keen, traditional game where her alliance held power the entire way until Tobi une.xpectedly went on an immunity run at the last minute. Unfazed, Victoria convinced Tobi to take her to the final two regardless, where she pulled off a surprise victory against him by only one vote. Returning for All-Stars, Victoria once again slipped through into the merge with a powerful alliance, but this time met opposition she couldn’t overcome when the game split 4-4 at the final eight. With nowhere to run, Victoria and her four stood firm and went to rocks, where bad luck ended up taking her out of the game. Returning along with fellow rock draw victim Kipp for South Pacific, Victoria ran her tribe once again on her third time out, but found herself on the bottom after the merge when her ally, Louis, got blindsided. Shockingly, Victoria managed to flip the most loyal person in the game, Jack, over to her side and played an idol on her right-hand man, Doug, to take control all the way to Day 38, when she blindsided Doug for his likability. Before the jury the next day, Victoria managed to tie Jack’s game with four jury votes each, but won the game on the revote, becoming Tiger Island’s second two-time winner and also the second to win via tiebreaker. Never having had been properly voted out, can Victoria continue her streak and net herself a third win this time around? Casey deGilet (4th place in Tiger Island: Pearl Islands and winner of Tiger Island: All-Stars) - Another old-school dynamo, Casey played a steady game on Pearl Islands and seemed destined for the Final Tribal Council until his closest allies, Kelsey and Cam, betrayed him at the final four, only to end up losing the game to outsider Whitney. Returning the very next season, Casey kept fellow winner Maddy as a shield through into the merge before he found himself in the final four as the outsider this time, facing down a united Taboga three. Winning the final two immunity challenges, Casey took out jury threats Sam and Don before truly beating the best and winning the All-Star title over legendary player, Rayna Bean, in a landslide vote. Now on another All-Star season, will Casey once again claim the crown? Sofia Progresso (Winner of Tiger Island: Guatemala) - Another All-Star player and local legend, Sofia played a quiet yet dominant game throughout Guatemala, making it to the final three with her closest ally, Kass, in tow, where they surprisingly struck down the biggest threat in Aidan. Once in the finals, Sofia’s strong social game and intense jury performance earned her the win over Kass by only one vote. Can she prove herself in a modern setting and earn off her stripes against the best of the best? Aiden Gonzalez (Winner of Tiger Island: Fiji and 5th place on Tiger Island: Heroes vs. Villains) - During Fiji, Aiden established himself as one of Tiger Island’s most unlikely winners ever by teaming up with a notoriously unlikable alliance Pablo, Nicholas, Greta, and Trey. Shockingly, he managed to convince the alliance to turn on one another at the final five and take out Trey, before getting Pablo to force a tie against Greta at the final four, at which point he got through to the final three and easily won the season. Returning for Heroes vs. Villains, Aiden found himself in an underdog position when the Heroes got decimated, but he and his underdog alliance of Jasoi and Rayna managed to slip through the cracks after the merge and convince the Villains to turn on Maddy and Abby. He lost Jasoi at the final eight, but then played an idol to blindside legendary player Rango right after! After his goddamned loss, Aiden pulled out immunity to save himself once again, but had nowhere to turn at the final five and finally saw his game come to an end. Whether he’s in power or on the bottom again this season, can Aiden get himself another win? Shawn Fitzgerald (Winner of Tiger Island: China and 12th place on Tiger Island: Blood vs. Water) - Shawn made a splash on his very first episode of Tiger Island, misplaying the idol but holding a commanding majority for the rest of the game afterwards, taking his strong alliance of three all the way to the finals, where he narrowly won the game. Shawn’s enigmatic game got another chance on Blood vs. Water when he returned alongside his daughter, Brett, and ended up again leading a powerful alliance before an inopportune swap put him in danger. Eventual runner-up and unlikely power player, Susan, ultimately blindsided him and he went on to lose to Redemption Island queen Becky in the final duel. Can Shawn return to his former glory this time around and win once again? Katharine Jenssen (Winner of Tiger Island: One World and 5th place on Tiger Island: Game Changers) - Another baffling winner, Katharine’s all-female tribe seemed doomed on One World, until a swap saved her chances and took her through to the merge, where she teamed up with her ally, Brooke, to enact revenge on the men’s tribe and send all the peons out of the game. Sliding into the final three with Brooke and Kacey, Katharine defended her game against an aggressive jury and made up for her social game with her strategy, earning the title of Sole Survivor. On Game Changers, Katharine found herself in an early minority but was unable to pull herself out that time, losing her ally Travis in a tied vote and rock draw, but prolonging her bottomfeeder run into the merge all the way to the final six, where she formed an unlikely alliance with Zeke to blindside legend Rango. With her last ally, Hailey, with immunity though, she was unable to break the powerful threesome of Bill, Zeke, and Becky at the final five and finally saw her underdog game come to an end. Will Katharine be dealt a better hand on her third time out and manage to grab the crown once again? Andrew Fisch (12th place on Tiger Island: Palau and winner of Tiger Island: Cambodia) - Originally playing in Palau, Andrew found his game short of measuring up and ended up in the minority, banking on a myth of Tom flipping and losing out once he didn’t, cut short of the merge. Returning for Second Chances, Andrew found an unlikely ally in Izzy and it was opposite day from his Palau game as he held control going into the merge. Cracking the codes of how the jury would vote, Andrew brought the two biggest goats in the game, Michele and Travis, into the final three, where he unanimously won one of Tiger Island’s biggest seasons ever. Can he don the struggle once again and pull out another win or will it prove a Sisyphean quest? Dawn Griffin (Winner of Tiger Island: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers) - Easily cruising into the merge after only attending one Tribal beforehand, Dawn found herself at the head of an alliance alongside Wetty, but soon flipped against Jenn to take her out and instead ally with power player Jasmine, taking her Rubenesque charms with her to the final three, where she narrowly won the game against her and Wetty. Playing an old-school game with only a few pivotal betrayals, can Dawn replicate her feat once again against 19 other winners? Wiki (red tribe): Merritt Simon (Winner of Tiger Island: The Australian Outback) - Winning all the way back in Season 2, Merritt oversaw the first big flip of the entire series when she engineered a blindside against her own tribemates, Julia and Carly. Her alliance nonetheless narrowly won out after surviving two past votes tiebreakers, and a key final immunity challenge win let Merritt carry her ally, Lindsey, into the final two where she won by only one vote. Back a whopping thirty-eight seasons later, can Merritt break the other winners’ hearts and claim the two million for herself? Maddy Broode (Winner of Tiger Island: The Amazon, 9th place on Tiger Island: All-Stars, 10th place on Tiger Island: Heroes vs. Villains, 5th place on Tiger Island: Blood vs. Water) - All the way back in Season 6, Maddy’s gameplay horrified yet mystified viewers when she made the most of being swapped into the minority, getting Sam and Kiall to flip on the men during the first-ever battle-of-the-sexes season. Carrying her dominance into the merge, Maddy then disposed of Sam and Kiall and took her closest ally, Frances, to the end for a unanimous victory. Taking her record into All-Stars, Maddy evaded the target on her back by turning the tribe against heroes Batbayar and Shane and making it all the way to the merge, where she was narrowly blindsided. In Heroes vs. Villains, Maddy unsurprisingly ran the Villains tribe by pulling in a disciple in Rango, only for him to blindside her when she took a shot at fellow winner Angela. Maddy played for a fourth time in Blood vs. Water alongside her husband, Chuck, and unsurprisingly ran the tribe of returning players. She then reversed the curse of being the merge boot on her past two seasons by playing an idol and blindsiding Rayna Bean’s son, Preston, just after the merge. She and Chuck then dominated the merge along with the duo of Kelsey and Susan, but ended up in the minority and voted out once again, only to return from Redemption Island and claim fifth place after failing to win immunity against the united duos of Louis and Oliver and Kelsey and Susan. Now playing for a fifth time, the most of any Tiger Island player, can Maddy finally claim another crown necklace? Gabriela Bruno-Ludwig (Winner of Tiger Island: Cook Islands) - Gabriela, along with the other members of the all-Hispanic Waititi tribe, dominated the premerge portion of the game after the swap, carrying numbers into the merge where they decimated the rival tribe as well as threats from their own side like Eduardo and Lita. Ultimately, Gabriela tried to pull a blindside on Dante at the final four, only to fail when he pulled out the idol. Gabriela went on to defeat legendary player Dante in the finals anyway, her physically dominant game taking the victory over his strategic prowess and crowning her the winner. Back after twenty-seven seasons, can Gabriela prove she can still perform in the series’s modern era? Ramsey Peris (Winner of Tiger Island: Gabon and Tiger Island: Heroes vs. Villains, 12th place on Tiger Island: Game Changers) - Coming from rough beginnings in Gabon, Ramsey’s Puru tribe seemed doomed until he flipped the game on its head and got the rival Shira tribe to collapse in on itself, taking his allies Nellie and Roddi all the way to the end of the game where he won in a landslide. Three seasons later, in Heroes vs. Villains, Ramsey once again took a tight trio to the end when his alliance of Angela and Conner entered the merge in the minority but played the other Villains against the Heroes to make it all the way to the final three, where Ramsey won the game once again. Playing for a third time on Game Changers, Ramsey again seemed well-positioned going into the merge, this time with the numbers, but fell victim to a shocking idol play from El Diablo when his majority failed to split the votes. Tiger Island’s first two-time winner, can Ramsey claim the throne a third time and prove himself as the greatest once and for all? David “Dave” Zdenko (Winner of Tiger Island: Nicaragua) - One of Tiger Island’s most unlikely winners and hailing from one of the most popular seasons, Dave played a slow, yet steady game, attracting allies to him and taking out threats such as Zeke and Ibuki at key times, ensuring an all-older tribe final three in the process. He then won with only four out of nine jury votes in a split decision, instantly becoming a controversial winner. On his second time out, can Dave defend his title from naysayers and prove his merit as a winner? William Zorrall Hellmann (Winner of Tiger Island: San Juan del Sur) - William made a splash on the second Blood vs. Water season by winning the first Exile duel against his granddaughter, Sadie, and then easily made it through to the merge where he and Sadie ran the game until the end. Surviving even after their side lost a rock draw and dismantling notorious power couples Chi and Haley and Kate and Brandon, William got his pair all the way to the end where he won the game and became one of Tiger Island’s oldest winners. Can he show that he’s still got it eleven seasons later and get himself a second win? Drake Margolis (Winner of Tiger Island: David vs. Goliath) - Starting off on the Goliath tribe, Drake made all the right moves to win David vs. Goliath, even after he seemed in early trouble when the Goliaths fell in on themselves after the first tribe swap. Still, he fought back the tribe’s temptation to vote him out by mobilizing rumors about Jessica’s treachery to vote her out for good. He continued his historical conquests after the merge, first recruiting Marnie against Amie and then throwing her to the dogs or whoever. He did the same to his close ally, Danni, after a null vote left them as the only vulnerable players at the final five. He then earned his way into the final three by making fire and ultimately won the game, going the real long distance all the way to the end. Can Drake come through the right open doors to win once again, or will he find those doors shut in his face? Christine Shannard (Winner of Tiger Island: Tanzania) - Tiger Island’s most recent winner, taking the title just last season, Christine slipped through the cracks of an unfortunate swap to meet up with a united Damu majority at the merge. Easily coasting through into the finale as the last woman standing, Christine took out key threats in Tonio and Gordon, her peachy social game and old-school strategy eventually earning her the win. Can Christine become the first Tiger Island player to win two consecutive seasons or will she fall victim to another former champion? See you soon for Tiger Island's landmark 40th season!
2020.05.27 18:31 daprice82Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ May 13, 2002
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
Okay, look, here's the deal. The obituaries, as sad as they are, contain some of Dave's best work. But good lord, they are looooooooooong. And they never contain anything newsworthy that is relevant to 2002 or anything. But they're always super interesting from a historical perspective. But last week, Dave wrote a brief obit for Lou Thesz (only 5,000 words, ahem) and promised to go into more detail this week. So this week, we open with a 16,000+ word obituary for Lou Thesz and I just can't. Sorry. It's really good though, you should all go read it. But I've got, like, a family and a job and responsibilities and stuff. I can't recap this. It's an incredible piece of work though.
The World Wrestling Federation is no more. On May 5th, the company unveiled its new name, World Wrestling Entertainment. Dave recaps the history of the company briefly (was originally called "World Wide Wrestling Federation, or WWWF, until 1979 when it was shortened to WWF, which is has remained for the past 23 years). But as of this week, the company has been rebranded to WWE. The website domain was changed to WWE.com and all references to "WWF" were changed to "WWE." The scratch logo was also changed, with the F being removed, so now it simply looks like "WW" (which, honestly, never really did make much sense to me. Even though the logo has changed, it's still "WW" to this day). Anyway, this all stems from the World Wildlife Fund lawsuit over in the UK, in which the WWE lost every court case and appeal. They were planning to appeal the ruling in the UK's highest court, their final last-ditch effort to save their name, but the reality is, they weren't going to win that case. Vince McMahon and the company blatantly and repeatedly violated the agreement they signed in 1994. It was 1000% obvious they were in the wrong here and they had gotten spanked by every single court before, often losing their appeals by unanimous decisions. So they weren't going to win this final appeal either and they knew it. So they dropped the appeal and threw in the towel and finally agreed to just change the name. The WWE has until May 15th to remove all references to "WWF" from their shows and merchandise. Any merch with "WWF" on it can no longer be sold after that date. All video packages and posters will have to be changed and any "WWF" mention or logos after that time on television or in past footage will have to be censored. Last year, during the court case, the WWE claimed it would cost them more than $50 million to change their name and to deal with all the legal and rebranding headaches that come with it. But this week, they backtacked on that and said it wouldn't be that expensive after all. Who knows if that's true, but the idea of this costing $50 million was enough to make the shareholders shit themselves, so Dave says they claimed it won't cost that much in order to keep the stock from plummeting. Anyway, none of this had to happen. In 1994, Vince McMahon and the Wildlife Fund signed an agreement that the wrestling company would not use the "WWF" name for promoting itself outside of the U.S. (since the Wildlife group is based overseas) and that worked well for a year or two. But then Vince McMahon apparently decided, "Meh, who cares about agreements?" and began repeatedly and blatantly violating it, constantly, for years, at which point the Wildlife group finally got upset enough to file a lawsuit. Anyway, on the first Raw since the name change, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler repeatedly stumbled over the new initials, accidentally saying "WWF" multiple times. Gonna take time for everyone to get used to calling it the new name.
The buyrates for Wrestlemania 18 are in and it appears the event will have to settle for being the #2 biggest money show in wrestling history after it came up short and failed to surpass Wrestlemania 17. Final numbers aren't in yet, but latest estimates put it somewhere around the 800,000 buys range (ended up being about 880,000) which is quite a bit down from WM17. It was also #2 in total revenue from live gate and merch. Internally, it's actually being seen as something of a disappointment because with the power of the Hogan/Rock dream match, they were hopeful this show would top 1 million buys but unless something drastic changes with these buyrate numbers, it looks like the final total will be a good bit short of that.
NJPW's latest Tokyo Dome show is in the books. The show drew a sellout crowd of 57,000 fans, there to see the Masahiro Chono vs. Mitsuharu Misawa dream main event (which ended up going to a 30-minute draw). It was the biggest non-Jan. 4 crowd NJPW has drawn to the Dome in 2 years. So that's the good news. The bad news is that the show flopped in the ratings on TV. A big part of that is because the Chono/Misawa match didn't air as part of the show (due to the Asahi-TV/Nippon TV network issues discussed in past issues) so the televised show was built around the Shinya Hashimoto/Naoya Ogawa vs. Scott Norton/Hiroyoshi Tenzan match and man, the fans sure didn't seem to give a fuck about that. In fact, the rating was so bad that there's concern that this will be the end of pro wrestling on prime time TV in Japan for the foreseeable future. But there are justifiable reasons for the rating. The show went head-to-head with the Kirin Cup soccer tournament, which was a huge deal and did more than double the rating the NJPW show did. Unlike the U.S., wrestling and "real" sports in Japan have a major crossover audience, so having real sports competition severely hurt NJPW's show. Also, while Ogawa is a draw as a singles star, putting him in a tag match against Norton and Tenzan isn't exactly setting the world on fire. The show lasted 6 hours, which was way too long and the crowd was burned out before Misawa vs. Chono even started.
Other notes from the NJPW show: it opened with an hour long 30th anniversary ceremony. They had a 10-bell salute for Lou Thesz and brought out a bunch of legendary NJPW names from the 70s and 80s. Then they did an angle where Antonio Inoki came out to give a speech, but he was attacked by Tiger Jeet Singh. But then Chyna made the save, attacking Singh, running him out of the ring, and challenging him to a match. Inoki's ex-wife, famous Japanese actress Mitsuko Baisho then made an appearance, getting a huge pop, and she and Inoki did his famous catch phrase to kick off the show. Minoru Suzuki of Pancrase (who started with NJPW as a pro wrestler) was also there. Jushin Ligher and Minoru Tanaka won the IWGP Jr. tag titles and then Liger challenged several NOAH wrestlers who were at ringside (most notably KENTA) and they all jumped in the ring and it ended with a staredown. The Steiner Brothers reunited to face Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kensuke Sasaki, with Chyna as the special referee. Tanahashi was working hurt, but he still worked. They did a spot where Tanahashi ran into Chyna and he went down off the bump instead of her and Dave seems annoyed by this since Tanahashi is a guy they really need to be pushing who can be a huge star for this company. Dave doesn't like him selling bumps for Chyna. Anyway, decent match but the Steiners basically steamrolled them and Tanahashi was pinned by Scott Steiner. Chyna then challenged several All Japan Women at ringside as well as Scott Steiner, Tanahashi, Sasaki, and even IWGP champion Yuji Nagata, saying she wanted a title match. Dave thinks this company has lost its damn mind. Speaking of Nagata, he retained his title in the next match. And then, of course, the main event. Usually during interpromotional matches, the crowd is always super pro-NJPW but this time, they went insane for Misawa and it was clear there were a ton of NOAH fans in the building. Chono did some Inoki moves and Misawa did some Great Baba moves, to kinda have a spiritual "Baba vs. Inoki" tribute in the match I guess. Ended in a draw and by the time it was over, no matter how big the dream match was, the crowd was burned out and weren't as hype for the match as you might expect once the entrances were done.
Goldberg has received a full buy-out of his WCW contract from Time Warner and as of this week, he is now an unsigned free agent. Goldberg did not request the buy-out, the decision was made by the Time Warner side after the most unprofitable quarter in their history. The company was looking to cut expenses, even at a loss, just so the books can look better in future quarters. Goldberg reportedly received almost all of his remaining salary (more than 90% of the nearly $3 million he was still owed) in order to get him off their books. When Goldberg realized he's going to be a free agent a year earlier than expected, talks with WWE started up. But as usual, they went nowhere. WWE (I feel like I'm having to get used to typing that all over again. Really does feel like 2002 again) has interest in him, especially given the way ratings continue to plummet lately. But Goldberg has always wanted more than WWE is willing to pay. Plus, they're feeling burned right now after signing Hall and Nash to big money, long-term contracts for part-time work, only to have Nash get injured and Hall likely to get himself fired at any moment (that moment is coming sooner than you think), and neither of them really getting over in any meaningful way. Even Hogan, who is also making big money for a reduced schedule, was hot for a minute and boosted ratings and buyrates. But after only a few months, that train already seems to be out of steam and TV ratings are back to floundering with Hogan as champion leading the shows. So WWE is kinda gun-shy on opening the checkbook and paying out the ass for these big stars, futilely hoping that one of them is the quick-fix that can stop the bleeding.
There's also the question of how Goldberg would fit within the WWE locker room. He hasn't been shy about his dislike for Triple H, dating back to WCW when Triple H trashed Goldberg in a radio interview and saying that even if Goldberg was available, they wouldn't want him (which, at the time, when WCW was still alive and Goldberg was the biggest star in the company, is just about the dumbest thing he could have said. In 1998, WWF would have gladly traded 10 Triple H's for Goldberg). Anyway, Goldberg took the comment personally and even confronted Triple H face-to-face at the Toy Fair convention in New York a couple of years ago, in a bit of an ugly scene where Goldberg was yelling at him and Triple H and Stephanie kept their heads down and said nothing. Goldberg also has a lot of dislike for Scott Hall, which is another of Triple H's good friends, so ya know. The latest on Goldberg is that he's considering working some in Japan but he's just fielding offers right now. Word is he's interested in working with PRIDE as well as NJPW. Of course, if he's looking to maximize his money potential, WWE is still the place to go if you want to make big bucks. If promoted right, matches against Rock, Austin, Triple H, and others could do huge buyrates. And if they keep Goldberg and Austin apart for a year and build to a match with them at Wrestlemania, well, needless to say, that show would set records. Dave talks about how Goldberg got nuclear hot in 1998 and even in 1999, he was the biggest drawing wrestler in the business. But by 2000, the company was dying, Goldberg was injured, and "Jesus Chris with an Etch-a-Sketch" couldn't have drawn in WCW. Dave again does the math and talks about how WWE should have brought Goldberg in for the Invasion angle. Yes, it would have cost them a lot of money and upset the salary structure, but he would have more than made up for it with the kind of buyrates he could have drawn with those dream matches and the Invasion angle might have had a chance. But alas.
And of course, who's to say how WWE would use Goldberg? They already have Brock Lesnar and they're currently giving him the unstoppable monster push. Lesnar is bigger, younger, and a more legitimate athlete (for whatever that's worth). And WWE probably isn't going to give Goldberg an endless string of jobbers to beat. In WWE, he's going to be expected to work longer matches, sell for people, etc. They won't book him the way WCW did so who knows how he'd get over in WWE? If they wanted to build to an Austin/Goldberg match, it would make sense that Goldberg first has to plow through guys like Triple H, Undertaker, etc. And politically, that just ain't gonna happen. Dave doubts NJPW can afford him for anything more than one or two big shows. As for PRIDE, he could probably make a lot of money there, but the problem is.....PRIDE is a shoot. They haven't had "worked" matches in a couple of years and doing so now would kill their credibility. Which means Goldberg would have to go into a legit shoot and one embarrassing loss there would severely hurt his future earning potential. In the end, Dave thinks it's inevitable that Goldberg will end up in WWE, but probably not any time soon. But he's certain it will eventually happen. There's too much money on the line for both sides and WWE's ratings woes are making them desperate, so it'll happen some day (yup, less than a year from this).
And the moment is here! For those of you who had "under 3 months" in the "How long will Scott Hall last?" pool, come collect your prize. Scott Hall was released by the WWE this week due to misbehavior on the European tour. Firstly, he went on a drunken binge during the entire tour and was even worse on the plane ride home (much more on that in a bit). Dave says this was inevitable. WCW fired him. Even ECW stopped using him when he got arrested at one point. And even though he was seemingly behaving during his Japan tours, even NJPW cut ties with him shortly before he went back to WWE because they were fed up with some of his antics. And now WWE has fired him. Dave talks about how Hall made a drunken spectacle of himself in the locker room on his very first day back in WWE, before the NWO even debuted on TV, then he showed up in Toronto for Wrestlemania in no condition to perform (later came out that he was hungover from the night before), which caused Austin to insist on ending their feud at WM (which was the plan, but Dave says Austin has continued working with Hall afterwards simply because they don't really seem to have any other credible opponents for him). Hall's match with Bradshaw at Backlash was an embarrassment and the night before that show, agents had to help him back to his hotel. Just endless incidents like this. In Europe, Hall was such a blatant drunken mess that even the other wrestlers were calling for him to be fired. Hall was 45 minutes late for the bus they all took to London and then passed out in the locker room during the show. On the plane ride back, he was starting fights with people and eventually passed out and it got to the point that people were worried about his health. When they got back to the U.S. for Raw, they literally had to wake him up from a drunken stupor backstage to send him to the ring to do his segment (and yes, he wrestled). After the show, they fired him. No one came to his defense, and even Hall's closest friends are now admitting that he simply can't handle the pressures of being on the road and being released is the best thing for him right now. Dave talks about how a lot of wrestlers have been fired in the last couple of years for drug and alcohol issues and that's all well and good, but the big problem is why hire them in the first place? Scott Hall's issues were not a secret. It wasn't like he cleaned himself up before he came to WWE. He was getting in trouble and collecting arrests like Pokemon all the way up until the day they brought him back. Anyway, Hall had a 2-year deal, believed to be worth $600,000-per-year downside for only 10 dates per month. So a really sweet deal, but it's gone now.
Hey, speaking of that European tour, turns out there was a bit of trouble on the flight back to the U.S. Perhaps you've heard of it. Most of the trouble wasn't even due to Scott Hall. Turns out Vince McMahon didn't make the trip and lots of people decided that was a good reason to cut loose and have fun. Plus, since everyone has seen Hall get away with being drunk 24/7 for the last few months, they figured nobody would get in trouble. So....folks got DRUNK. Among the various incidents on this flight: Goldust got on the speaker system and began drunkenly serenading his ex-wife Terri with love songs. Terri was extremely uncomfortable and begged him to stop and then Jim Ross had to go sit him down. Ric Flair also "started to get wild" but Jim Ross calmed him down as well (Dave doesn't seem to know just yet exactly what Flair "getting wild" entailed, but if you don't know, it involved getting totally naked except for his robe and started helicoptering his dick at flight attendants. And it gets worse if you feel like researching it. The flight attendants later filed a lawsuit against Flair and accused him of sexual assault). Curt Hennig was spraying people with shaving cream and he kept trying to get Brock Lesnar to fight him. Lesnar, being a newcomer, didn't know how to handle it and didn't want to get in trouble, but he ain't gonna let Hennig talk shit to him either. So anyway, Lesnar got up and basically annihilated Hennig, repeatedly taking him to the ground and embarrassing him because, well, of course he did. It's Brock Lesnar. At one point, Lesnar slammed Hennig up against the side of the plane, right into the emergency exit door, which freaked everybody out for obvious reasons. Michael Hayes got into a scuffle with Bradshaw and then tried to pick a fight with Hall (although everyone on the plane said Hall had it coming). Anyway, Hayes was apparently obnoxious as hell and annoyed everyone. But then he made the mistake of falling asleep and someone (believed to be X-Pac) cut his hair off. When Hayes woke up, he was furious and tried to fight several people. The next day at the Raw tapings, his entire mullet was in a plastic bag, pinned to the wall of the locker room for everyone to see. Gerald Brisco, Arn Anderson, and Hayes all caught a ton of heat from Vince afterward since they were the people who were supposed to be in charge. Anderson and Hayes especially, since their jobs are to keep the boys under control, but they were apparently having just as much fun as everyone else. Everyone's waiting to see how Vince is going to handle this situation. As noted, Hall was already fired and Hayes got an earful from Vince, Stephanie, and JR at Raw the next day, but there will likely be more fallout. Undertaker was also said to be furious over how out of hand everything got (I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this).
Anyway, while they were in Europe, WWE presented its latest UK PPV, Insurexxtion. As usual with the UK PPVs, this was little more than a glorified house show. They announced the show as sold out, but there were empty seats everywhere. RVD vs. Eddie Guerrero for the IC title was the show-stealer according to every report Dave heard, and was said to be far better than their Backlash match. Brock Lesnar teamed with Shawn Stasiak (lol wut) and lost to the Hardyz. Brock beat up everybody after the match. Triple H beat Undertaker in the main event and Dave doesn't know why since Undertaker is the one challenging Hogan for the title at the next PPV. The top rope broke during the match when they did an Irish whip into the corner and when the rope snapped, a metal piece broke off from the corner and flew into the crowd and barely missed hitting a small child in the face.
Smackdown on 5/2 drew the all-time lowest rating in the history of the show. Dave says that's the scariest thing to happen to WWF in the past 5 years. It was also the 3rd lowest rating for any Smackdown or Raw dating back to 1998. The rating was a full 18% drop from the week before, which was already scary. The rating was even lower than previous holiday episodes. So what was the problem? Well, it was headlined by Hogan defending the WWF title against Chris Jericho (as it turns out, the final time the "WWF" title was ever defended). Dave says the title has been meaningless for years now and Hogan's steam is running out. And Jericho hasn't recovered from spending the first part of the year being emasculated and playing second fiddle to Stephanie McMahon in the Wrestlemania feud. Add all that together and you've got a recipe for a shit ratings night. Among other things. Dave isn't blaming this all on Hogan and Jericho by any means, there's a lot of problems with the company as of late, from bad storylines to failing to make new stars, and it's all starting to come home to roost.
Keiji Muto wrestled a match in AJPW under his alternate gimmick of Kokushi Muso. Turns out "Great Muta" isn't his only other persona. The Kokushi Muso gimmick is basically like Hakushi in WWF, where he's covered his entire body in Japanese writing. He originally debuted the gimmick in Michinoku Pro last year, when teaming with....Hakushi (Jinsei Shinzaki, who occasionally brought back the old Hakushi gimmick in Japan). Anyway, same thing here. He teamed with Hakushi for this match, while using that gimmick (Muto would use that gimmick a handful of times throughout the years, always when teaming with Hakushi. It's like that was only his gimmick for that team. The last time he used it was in 2009, also in a tag match with Hakushi).
Former NOAH Jr. champion Naomichi Marufuji underwent knee surgery this week and should be out around 6 months (ends up being 9 months).
NJPW is doing an angle (according to Dave) similar to the Vince/Flair angle last year where Antonio Inoki and Masahiro Chono are battling over control of the company. Although it's more realistic. Inoki is in the press talking about how many of NJPW's shows aren't doing well and is pushing for them to use Naoya Ogawa more, while Chono doesn't want to. Inoki is also saying Chono needs to retire from wrestling and focus his energies on managing the day-to-day business of the promotion full-time. Dave says this is an angle, but it doesn't sound like much of one to me, and I think later years have kinda proven there was a lot of blurring between fiction and reality here, because there was a ton of behind the scenes turmoil in NJPW during this period.
Will Smith appeared alongside Antonio Inoki at the Japanese movie premiere for the film "Ali" based on Muhammad Ali's life. Crowd went absolutely insane for Inoki (I've tried like hell and can't even find a picture of them together. But then again, I can't find a single pic from the premiere at all).
When reviewing the recent Dos Caras Jr. shoot fight in Japan, Dave talks about the guy's potential as a wrestler. He has a strong amateur background, legit shoot skills, and a famous name. Dave thinks, if he's even halfway a decent worker, he can almost be a guaranteed star in Mexico (based on his name alone) and probably Japan too, if he decides to pursue that career (indeed he did, and indeed, he was fairly decent at it. Of course, he later became Alberto Del Rio, accused rapist and pretty much confirmed all-around piece of shit).
Former long-time WCW referee Randy Anderson passed away this week after a long battle with testicular cancer. Back when WCW was still around and he first got diagnosed, they did an angle out of it where Eric Bischoff fired him and then laughed at his wife and kids when they begged him to give Anderson his back. Of course, he was later re-hired when Flair became on-screen commissioner and continued to referee until 1999 when the cancer forced him to retire.
Random news and notes: Bobby Heenan is said to be in good spirits and is especially excited because WWE recently contacted him about doing a WWE Magazine feature on him. Verne Gagne's wife Mary passed away from cancer this week. Goldberg will be appearing on this week's Wrestling Observer Live show to be interviewed. Mil Mascaras is releasing an autobiography (in Spanish of course) and man, I'd love to find an English translation of that because I bet it'd be interesting. Chyna appeared on "Sabrina The Teenage Witch" this past week.
Bruno Sammartino turned down an invitation to attend the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony in New York (yes, that HOF existed and still does, in a different city now). Bruno did an interview with the local paper and said "Wrestling is how I made my living and supported my family, but it's over. I don't want anything to do with it anymore." Bruno managed to turn the discussion to the WWE, despite them not having any affiliation with this HOF and grumbled about how Vince McMahon blocked him from being inducted into the Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame. However, the new MSG owners have apparently promised Bruno he'll be inducted this year, since he sold the place out 200 times (Dave jumps in here to correct it and says the real number of sellouts is closer to 45. Bruno only main evented the Garden 127 times and by no means were they all sell-outs. But it's one of those myths that has been perpetuated for so long that Dave begrudgingly recognizes that people are always going to believe the 200 number is true, but it's not even close. He compares it to the claim that Andre The Giant was 7'4, which also wasn't true but people repeated the lie so often that it became accepted as fact).
Afa Anoa'i Jr., the son of the legendary Wild Samoan, is a star football player at his high school and is being recruited for Penn State. He also sometimes wrestles on his father's indie shows (that would be Manu, who was very briefly part of Legacy with Orton, Dibiase Jr., and Cody).
Former WCW announcer Scott Hudson will be doing commentary for Jerry Jarrett's new promotion, and Bob Ryder is said to be in a major front office position.
Jarrett has put out a press release saying that his new promotion has had talks with Randy Savage and Ultimate Warrior. Word is Warrior wanted a 15% ownership stake in the new company, which pretty much ended those talks right there. They're also apparently interested in Scott Hall now too, with the idea that since they're only doing 1 show per week, he won't be a screw-up here. Dave is skeptical. Anyway, currently Road Dogg and Brian Christopher expected to be some of the company's top stars and Dave's not optimistic.
XWF wrestlers were told last week that a television deal should hopefully be finalized this week. But Dave has been told no chance it's happening that soon. The rumors are that the deal is either with the FX or Fox Kids networks. Ted Turner had inquired about buying this promotion a few months ago, but when he learned how much it would cost to get them off the ground and make them competitive, he lost interest (TV deal never materializes, company is already dead, etc. etc.).
The Scorpion King slipped to 2nd place this week, falling to the new Spider Man movie which did a record breaking $114 million opening weekend. Randy Savage has a small role in that movie.
Speaking of, The Rock worked his first match in about a month at a Fort Lauderdale house show, teaming with Hogan to beat Jericho and Angle. After the match, Hogan tried to get Rock to pose with him, but Rock wouldn't do it. Rock thanked the fans for the success of Scorpion King and said it would likely be his last match for awhile. There was a ton of local media there, but Rock didn't talk to any of them. Basically, the house show was in his neck of the woods and he simply decided to show up and work it just so he could see his friends and hang out with the locker room, he had no interest in doing interviews. He was just there because he wanted to be. Backstage, Rock was telling people that Hollywood higher-ups have told him he has to leave the wrestling business if he wants to be taken seriously as an actor. Those in the company feel it's a certainty that Rock really is leaving and he's likely going to break out of wrestling into Hollywood and actually become a rare success story (yeah, you could say that).
Look how long this is already. Imagine if I had covered that Lou Thesz obituary in full. JUST IMAGINE!
Notes from Raw: Dave compares it to an episode of Thunder, with the crowd half-dead for everything. Also, the roster was exhausted after just returning from the Europe trip (and the plane ride shenanigans) and that was apparent too. Brock Lesnar won his match via pinfall instead of the usual ref stoppage and Dave says that word is Triple H got in Vince's ear and convinced him to end the ref stoppage gimmick for Brock. Sure, why not? Hogan was supposed to ride off on Undertaker's bike at one point, but then the motorcycle wouldn't start. It was one of those awkward live-TV moments where time stood still and nobody knew what to do. Flair finally turned heel on Austin, to a shocking lack of heat from the crowd. Nash returned, etc. Dave recaps the rest of this show and it sounds like a lot of bad WCW stuff, coincidentally enough with a lot of the same people.
The man who played the effeminate gay guy applying to be Vince McMahon's secretary on Smackdown a few weeks ago was new creative team member David Lagana. He recently joined the company and has written for several other TV shows, including "Friends" and has a strong knowledge of the industry (Dave says if you've been reading the Observer closely for the last few years, you're probably familiar with him, he's written in to Dave a lot over the years).
Dave goes on a brief rant about how to use older stars. In the past, everyone, even Vince McMahon, talked about how you should use guys like Hogan and Flair in small doses and how WCW's reliance on older stars like that is what made them less special. Dave talks about back in the day in Memphis, Jackie Fargo would come back once or twice a year and he was always the biggest star in the company when he did. Because he was used sparingly. But WWE has pretty much built its company around Hogan and Flair (and to a lesser extent, Vince and Undertaker) over the last few months and they've been totally overexposed because of it. Just 6 weeks ago, Hulk Hogan was getting some of the largest crowd reactions in the history of the business. Now, he and Undertaker are practically hearing crickets during their on-screen interactions.
Lita underwent neck surgery this week and isn't allowed to do anything physical for 9 months. Scotty 2 Hotty also had neck surgery and is expected to be out for about a year. Both are expected to make full recoveries though.
Jesse Ventura admitted this week that he received WWF stock options as partial payment for some work he did with them. Dave doesn't know if it's related to the Summerslam appearance a few years ago or the XFL announcing gig. Ventura says he has 10 years to exercise those stock options but wouldn't give any further details.
Scott Steiner told WWA he will work their next UK tour but after that, he's going to WWE. Dave is skeptical. Reports are that Steiner was in horrible pain after every match he worked on the last WWA tour and there's significant doubt that his body will hold up to a WWE schedule.
The new Steve Austin "What!" DVD has a lot of WCW footage, including the full Austin vs. Steamboat match from WCW Bash at the Beach 94. Dave doesn't say so, but I believe this is the first time WWE used any of the WCW library for commercial release after they purchased it the year before.
Someone writes in and asks Dave to stop spending so much time writing about steroid use in wrestling and instead says he should write a story about racism in the business. This person writes about the allegations from years back of Dusty Rhodes using the N-work with impunity, or the time DX parodied the Nation by wearing blackface. The WCW discrimination lawsuit, the embarrassing angles they've done with Mark Henry such as Sexual Chocolate, etc. This guy is asking why is it white wrestlers outnumber black wrestlers by 35-to-1 ratio in the U.S. (70-to-1 in Mexico and 80-to-1 in Japan). He wants to know why Dave isn't writing about that stuff. Dave responds and agrees that the blackface DX promo was racist, and it was racist when Buff Bagwell did it in WCW and when Roddy Piper did it in the 80s. Dave says wrestling, especially from the 70s through the 90s, had a horrible history of exploiting stereotypes and/or saying and doing racist things. You can argue it's gotten better, but no doubt the problem still exists. Dave lists some examples but he also pushes back on some others. For example, he's heard people complain that Booker T isn't being used properly due to his race and Dave disagrees. It's true that Booker T probably deserves a bigger push, but you can make the same case for guys like RVD and Jericho and Raven or DDP (when he first debuted, at least) and that didn't happen either, so Dave doesn't necessarily think Booker's lack of top-star push can be blamed on his race (we're less than a year away from Triple H definitively proving otherwise).
There's also 2 letters about the Rock/Hogan match at Wrestlemania and they couldn't be more different. One guy writes in and he can't understand why people are praising that match because if you put aside the hot crowd, it was awful, everyone's moves looked bad, it was embarrassing, etc. and says Hogan should have retired afterward. Then someone else writes in and says he was there live and, taken as a whole, Rock vs. Hogan was the greatest match he's ever seen. Basically the same "love it or hate it" opinion people have about that match to this day. Also, someone else writes in about the recent Low-Ki vs. American Dragon match from an ROH show and puts it up there among some of the greatest matches of all time (listing off several classic WWF matches like Shawn/Razor and Owen/Bret at WM10 for example). So there ya go.
NEXT WEDNESDAY:more fallout from the Plane Ride from Hell, more on the beginning of Jarrett's new NWA-TNA promotion, more on the NJPW Tokyo Dome show, and more...
2020.05.06 23:09 rosheromilHow would a good Invasion Angle affect the Ruthless Aggression Era? (Part 11)
Welcome back to another installment of this series. For those new to the rebooking, every previous part is linked below. So far we have covered the Invasion, the first ever Brand Extension and the beginning of the Ruthless Aggression Era. Today we look at the aftermath of Survivor Series '03 and head into Mania season. WrestleMania 17 - WrestleMania 18(Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4) WrestleMania 18 - WrestleMania 19(Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)(Extra)(Part 4) WrestleMania 19 - Survivor Series '03(Part 1)(Part 2) Post Survivor Series Attention turns to Armageddon for stars of the RAW brand and after helping Team Michaels overcome Team Evolution, Chris Benoit is awarded a shot at the WWE Champion by HBK himself. Michaels praises Benoit and says he deserves a shot at the title in a match that will no doubt become an instant classic. Benoit warns Michaels that he has waited his whole life for a title shot and he will do anything to finally hold the gold. Elsewhere tensions between Chris Jericho and Evolution leader Triple H have started to grow after their defeat at Survivor Series. Evolution assault Y2J on RAW as they blame him for the defeat. Jericho looks for revenge against long-time rival The Game in one-on-one action at Armageddon. Mick Foley is back on RAW but has become yet another target of Evolution and more specifically the youngest member of the group Randy Orton. Orton is brash, arrogant and damn right cruel. He sinks as low as hitting Foley’s wife with an RKO after Mick cost the youngster his Intercontinental Championship against Jeff Hardy. The legend Foley will fight the upstart Orton in what promises to be a brutal No Holds Barred encounter. Orton’s Evolution teammates Ric Flair and Batista fight for the WWE Tag Team Championship’s against The APA. Meanwhile, new Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy is beginning to have problems with his brother Matt. Matt's girlfriend Lita initially tries to keep the peace between the brothers. But as the two are arguing in the ring, she low blows Jeff from behind allowing Matt to cross all lines and assault his own blood. At Armageddon, the Hardy Boyz meet one on one for the Intercontinental Championship. Armageddon (RAW) Intercontinental Championship - Jeff Hardy def. Matt Hardy (w/ Lita) (The enigmatic enigma gets revenge on his traitorous brother and retains his title with a Swanton Bomb) No Holds Barred Match - Randy Orton def. Mick Foley (This match is at times almost too uncomfortable to watch and in the end Orton sinks lowest to prevail) WWE Tag Team Championship - Ric Flair and Batista def. The APA (Evolution retain their gold over Bradshaw and Farooq in a fairly routine title defence for Flair and Batista) Triple H def. Chris Jericho (The clash between the two egomaniacs ended with the Game victorious after Evolution intereference) WWE Championship - Shawn Michaels (c) def. Chris Benoit (The Heartbreak Kid and Rabid Wolverine have the match of the year as Benoit just misses out on his dream) Post Armageddon The Royal Rumble is up next for both RAW and Smackdown stars. The traditional 30-man Royal Rumble match is announced with half of the field from RAW and half the field from Smackdown. The winner will go onto to face the World Champion of their choice at WrestleMania. On RAW, Shawn Michaels just about overcame a spirited Chris Benoit in a brilliant match for the WWE Championship at Armageddon. Benoit is determined to become world champion for the first time and therefore enters the Royal Rumble match. Evolution see him as a threat so they rig the draw and he becomes the number 1 entrant. Jericho and Triple H's differences resume and a no. 1 contenders match between the two on RAW ends in a no contest. Therefore it's announced that Michaels will have to face his two biggest foes in a triple threat match for the title at the Royal Rumble. On Smackdown, Shane O'Mac is back and running the show. Kurt Angle is the World Heavyweight Champion after upsetting the odds to win the all-star Elimination Chamber match last eliminating Kane. The Big Red Machine shows no remorse and attacks both Angle and his brother The Undertaker during a World Heavyweight Championship match on Smackdown. Kane then threatens Shane untill the GM gives him a shot at Angle's title. However, much like at Summerslam, Angle wants Kane to put his mask on the line as he hopes to shame and humanise him in front of the world. Also on Smackdown, Eddie Guerrero has returned from getting injured at the hands of Goldberg inside the Elimination Chamber. Latino Heat shows true courage as he challenges the powerhouse to a Steel Cage Match to settle their long feud. Also, Eddie will take Bill's place in the Rumble match with a win. Back on RAW, former champion Randy Orton gets his one on one rematch for the Intercontinental Championship against Jeff Hardy. Hardy has momentum after besting his brother in a Ladder Match on RAW. At the Rumble, two stars of the future, Orton and Hardy clash for the Intercontinental Championship. Royal Rumble Steel Cage Match - Eddie Guerrero def. Goldberg (Latino Heat wins after a Frog Splash from atop the cage but Goldberg unleashes an attack post-match) Intercontinental Championship - Randy Orton def. Jeff Hardy (The two young stars put on a great match before Orton reverses a Twist of Fate into an RKO for the win) World Heavyweight Championship (If Kane loses, he has to take off his mask) - Kurt Angle def. Kane (Angle gets help from Haas and Benjamin to prevail before Kane is forced to unmask in front of the world) Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship - Triple H def. Shawn Michaels & Chris Jericho (The Cerebral Assassin pedigrees Michaels after he had superkicked Y2J to steal the win and the title) 30-Man Royal Rumble Match - Brock Lesnar wins by last eliminating Chris Benoit (Benoit outlasts 28 other men and survives for over an hour but his dreams are crushed in the final two) Post Royal Rumble Brock Lesnar ruined one of the great Royal Rumble stories as he last eliminated Chris Benoit to win the match and earn his World Championship shot at WrestleMania. Benoit’s long-time buddy Eddie Guerrero comes out to confront Brock on Smackdown saying that despite their differences last year, Chris will always be a brother to him and that it hurt to see him fall short. Eddie also says that he earned his spot in the Rumble by beating Goldberg but was unable to compete due to the post-match assault. Smackdown GM Shane O'Mac announces that Eddie will face Lesnar at No Way Out and if he wins he gets added to the title match at WrestleMania. Can Latino Heat do the impossible and make it to the main event of WrestleMania? Also, on Smackdown, Kurt Angle retained the World Heavyweight Championship and unmasked Kane in front of the world. A maskless Kane has been unleashed and he is more destructive than ever. Nobody is safe, not even his own brother The Undertaker. Due to the fact that both brothers have a claim to a rematch for the title, its announced that Angle will defend the belt against both of them in a triple threat match. On RAW, Triple H is the new WWE Champion. Chris Jericho claims that because he wasn't pinned then he should get to face the Game for the title at No Way Out. Meanwhile a tournament is announced to determine who will fight the WWE Champion at WrestleMania. Michaels and Benoit advance to the final of the tournament to set up a rematch of their brilliant encounter at Armageddon. Evolution hold all the gold on RAW. Triple H is WWE Champion, Randy Orton is Intercontinental Champion whilst Ric Flair and Batista are WWE Tag Team Champions. Mick Foley has returned from being hospitalised by the group and has brought a friend with him. The Rock joins his former tag team partner to reform The Rock N Sock Connection. The two legends challenge Evolution to a 3-on-2 handicap match at No Way Out. Meanwhile, on Smackdown, John Cena is rapping his way into the hearts of the WWE fans but has upset some of the top stars on the blue brand as a result. This includes Goldberg. The powerhouse is making it his mission to destroy everything that the fans love, first it was Latino Heat Eddie Guerrero and now its the Doctor of Thuganomics John Cena who he hopes to wipe out at No Way Out. No Way Out Goldberg def. John Cena (The young rapper puts in a hearty display but Goldberg's power proves too much in the end) Eddie Guerrero def. Brock Lesnar (Uncle Eddie shocks the world and scores a huge upset victory over Lesnar to make it to WrestleMania) No. 1 Contender to WWE Championship - Chris Benoit def. Shawn Michaels (In another epic match between the two, Benoit taps out HBK and earns a date with destiny at Mania) Evolution (Ric Flair, Randy Orton & Batista) def. The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection (The numbers game proves too much for Rock and Foley as Orton RKO's Mick to get the pinfall victory) WWE Championship - Triple H def. Chris Jericho (The champion retains after beating Jericho clean with a pedigree and will walk into Mania with the title) Triple Threat for the World Heavyweight Championship - Kurt Angle def. The Undertaker & Kane (Angle somehow leaves with the gold after taking advantage of the chaos between the two brothers) Click here for the series finale >>(WrestleMania XX)
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
NOTE:Sorry about no post on Friday. Real life shit got in the way.
WWF finally took the plunge and went through with the long-rumored brand split this week, all while Steve Austin was sitting at home. Austin walked out after Wrestlemania and didn't appear on TV this week for the draft. He was expected to be the #1 pick fro Raw, so they changed the angle and explained that he couldn't be drafted due to a contract situation. Austin still has a year left on his WWF deal, so he can't go anywhere, but he isn't hurting for money so he can sit at home and be just fine. Austin's issues date back a couple of months and he was vocally unhappy about working with Scott Hall and the NWO in general. Morale in the company has sank since those guys came in, got main event spots, and started getting everything they wanted creatively and professionally. Some in the locker room see Austin's walkout as him protesting the state of the company, with an unhappy locker room that no longer has any leverage since all the other companies are dead, and Austin is the one guy with enough "fuck you" clout that he can stand up to Vince. Most of the wrestlers are said to be on his side, though the NWO guys and Triple H and co. obviously don't feel the same. But it goes back further than that. Austin was telling people 6 months ago that he would go home if the job stopped being fun.
Anyway, Dave breaks down the rosters of each show. Triple H and Jazz (men and women's champs) will float between both shows and work about half the house shows for each brand. Raw gets the IC, Euro, and Hardcore champions. Smackdown gets tag titles and cruiserweights. Several notable names were undrafted. Rhyno, Mike Awesome, Steve Blackman, and Chris Kanyon are all injured and weren't placed anywhere. Developmental names like Randy Orton and Ron Waterman are expected to be called up soon, among others. If Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio are brought in, they'll likely be on SD with the cruiserweight division (Dave says Guerrero canceled his NJPW bookings for April which is a pretty solid sign that he'll be returning soon). Many of the lower-card wrestlers had no idea where they were going to end up and had to log on to wwf.com later that night to legitimately find out their futures. Tag teams like the Dudleyz and the APA were split up in the draft. Dave can't see the logic in splitting the Dudleyz and hopes it's the beginning of an angle that eventually reunites them. As for the APA, that's fine. Faarooq's career is winding down anyway and they've been talking about pushing Bradshaw as a single's star for over a year.
Raw is missing its top draw (Austin) and is pretty weak overall. Lumbering giants like Undertaker, Kevin Nash, and Big Show all ended up on Raw so don't expect a lot of great matches coming out of that brand. Plus they drafted Brock Lesnar to that brand, so his impressive size isn't going to stand out as much among those guys. With the cruiserweight division, plus guys like Jericho, Benoit, and Angle, you can bet Smackdown is going to have the better matches. Plus they have The Rock and Hogan for star power. But much like Raw, Smackdown might be in danger of not having its top draw either. Rock is expected to be gone for much of the summer to film another movie and he's continuing to get more and more movie offers, which means more time away from wrestling. And Hogan can't be a long-term weekly top draw anymore, no matter how much nostalgia popularity he has right now. Which means it's vital that they finally commit to pushing Angle, Jericho, and Benoit as real top stars.
Dave reviews the latest UFC show, with Josh Barnett winning the heavyweight title from Randy Couture in an upset. Long detailed recap full of the usual news and stuff, but it's MMA sooooo...
And the next story is about Cael Sanderson of Iowa State becoming, record-wise, the single greatest collegiate wrestler in U.S. history by winning his 4th NCAA championship and ending his college record at 159-0. So MMA and college wrestling. On to the next...
AJPW notes: after long negotiations, AJPW failed to secure a new TV deal. The normal TV season in Japan is starting next week and they were hoping to have a deal signed by now, but no luck. Also, they're interested in bringing in Super Crazy for their junior heavyweight division but it'll likely depend on whether he gets an offer from WWF instead (neither happens right now. He spends the next 2 years bouncing around NJPW, CMLL, and Zero-1 before he finally ends up in WWE in 2005).
Already halfway through the issue and past the major stories. This seems like a slow issue wrestling-wise, but the UFC and Cael Sanderson stories were both big chunks so....sorry this one kinda blows.
NOAH junior champion Naomichi Marufuji dislocated his knee when landing wrong on a moonsault and had to be stretchered out at a recent show. No word on how long he'll be out of action for (must have been a pretty bad injury. Looks like he comes back 2 weeks later, wrestles a match to drop the title, and then is out of action for the next 10 months).
Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Masahiro Chono won the vacant tag team titles at the latest NJPW show, beating Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi in a tournament final match. The titles were, of course, vacated when Keiji Muto jumped ship to AJPW, leaving his partner Taiyo Kea and the belts behind. Nagata ate the pin here. And in fact, Nagata also recently did several submission jobs to Tadao Yasuda at some shows and Dave jokes that Nagata is getting the Chris Jericho push. You know, beat him to death for months on end until the fans see him as a midcarder, then put the title on him with almost no build-up, and then wonder why he's not over and blame him when business is down (indeed, Nagata wins the IWGP title just a week or two after this and even though he holds it for 13 months, business goes in the toilet. And it's through no fault of Nagata's).
Antonio Inoki announced that he is bringing in Chyna to the NJPW 30th anniversary show at the Tokyo Dome in May. Remember a week or so ago when Inoki talked about how successful WWF's recent show in Japan was and admitted that maybe he has some stuff to learn from it? This is it. Inoki realized the huge popularity WWF has in Japan right now and reached out to one of their biggest stars of the last few years to bring in as a celebrity guest. The idea they teased in the press is that she would come in and work a match and probably defeat one of NJPW's lower card guys, which Dave thinks would be a horrible idea (yeah, that would suck. Better idea: how about she goes over Yuji Nagata and Jushin Liger in her first match, how's that sound Dave? Because that's exactly what we get. Fuckin' Inoki, man...)
NJPW's latest show in Tokyo did a disappointing attendance number and Dave says that's what happens when you make Tadao Yasuda your world champion. No matter how much publicity he got off his upset MMA victory a few months ago, and no matter how nice his underdog comeback story is, he flat out sucks as a pro wrestler and the crowd sees it and don't buy him as champion. Even worse, they had him go over Tenzan by submission. With NJPW's depleted roster, Tenzan is one of the only cool, not-washed-up wrestlers they have left. Anyway, this sets up a Yasuda match with Nagata at the next show in Tokyo and if NJPW has any smarts at all, they'll get that belt off him and onto Nagata ASAP (they do, thankfully).
Bobby Heenan is currently recovering from surgery to remove his lymph nodes. following his recent cancer diagnosis and is said to be in good spirits.
Various notes: Goldberg filmed an episode of the HBO show Arli$$ recently. Ken Patera did an interview and said the strongest men in wrestling from his era were Andre The Giant, Bruno Sammartino, Ivan Putski, Billy Graham, and Tony Atlas, in that order, and praised Bruno for being extra impressive because he never used steroids. Shane Douglas' Time Warner contract is expiring in a few weeks and it's rumored he'll be working with XPW as a wrestlebooker.
Jerry Jarrett's new promotion is expected to start in June and there continue to be rumors that Vince Russo will be ghost-writing the show. Dave says the differences between a Russo show and a Jarrett show should be pretty glaringly obvious within the first few minutes of the first show, so we'll just have to wait and see (I don't know if he was involved in the very first shows or not, but he joins the company within the first month).
Remember the WCW KISS Demon? Well his real name is Dale Torborg and he now works as a coach for the Florida Marlins baseball team (his father Jeff is the manager of the team). Anyway, Torborg recently got into a confrontation with relief pitcher Antonio Alfonseca that is rumored to have gotten physical and resulted in Alfonseca locking himself in a trainer's office to get away. Everyone on the team is being hush-hush about the incident. Alfonseca apparently has a bit of a reputation of being hard to deal with, but since the incident, he's allegedly been on his best behavior because apparently the KISS Demon put the fear of god in him (here's a news article from it at the time. Alfonseca ends up being traded to a new team a few days later, although the Marlins denied this incident had anything to do with it).
Ring of Honor has announced some new rules for its promotion. For starters, they're bringing back tag ropes (yeah, during this era, that was a small thing that sorta just got ignored by everyone for years). They're also not doing any count-outs. ROH booker Gabe Sapolsky said that outside-the-ring counts always go really slow and referees have to stall or find excuses to break the count and no one likes count-out finishes anyway, so why even have them? So now, you can fight on the floor all you want. Dave says AJPW pretty much did the same thing in the 90s. ROH also wants to have very little outside interference or ref bumps and clean finishes.
Apparently, Jake Roberts is being investigated in England by the RSPCA for animal cruelty. After a recent show there, someone complained that he was being cruel to his snake at the show. The next night, the RSPCA sent an agent to another show Jake was working to watch and they weren't happy with what they saw either, so they've opened an investigation (yeah, as a kid, this was of course the coolest thing ever. But as an adult, I hate watching the way animals have been used in wrestling over the years. Jake used to just throw that snake around like it was nothing, fling it across the ring, people would fall on it, land on it, step on it, whatever. Remember the scene where Jake locked Ultimate Warrior in a room full of snakes? Go back and watch it now, Warrior is just kicking the shit out of these poor little snakes. Or another example, I remember watching a British Bulldogs match a few months ago and they had Matilda the bulldog jump off the ring apron to the mat below. That's a 3-4 foot jump. As someone who has owned bulldogs, that is terrible for their spines. As a kid, all this stuff was whatever. But as an animal-loving adult, watching all that old footage now makes me real uncomfortable).
An indie promotion in Pittsburg called IWC had a tournament called the Super Indy Tournament featuring Chris Hero, Christopher Daniels, Low-Ki, Colt Cabana, and some kid named CM Punk.
Early estimates for the WWA PPV in Las Vegas are around 31,000 PPV buys. Keep in mind, early estimates are always about 10-25% higher than what the final number ends up being. WWA needed 35,000 just to break-even on this show so even with the inflated number, they didn't do it. So the show is undoubtedly a money-loser, but no idea just how badly yet (spoiler: pretty badly).
Notes from Raw: it was the WWF Draft show! Dave calls it "the latest Russo-like reset of the promotion." Rock was drafted #1 for Smackdown while Undertaker was drafted #1 for Raw. It was announced that Austin wasn't eligible for being drafted and will be a free agent, so they'll figure that out later. Dave says, if you follow the storylines, it makes no sense why Ric Flair would pick Undertaker as his #1 pick (this being the guy he just had a bloodbath with at Wrestlemania and they didn't even bother to explain why Flair picked him). With his next pick, Flair selected the NWO. Once again, just a few weeks ago, Flair was ready to sign over his share of the company and leave the WWF entirely to keep Vince from bringing in the NWO. And now, with no explanation, he's drafted them to Raw. Billy & Chuck and the NWO got drafted together as a team, but the Dudleyz got split apart. Why?! None of this makes sense and Dave is so frustrated with how little thought they put into this after having a year to plan it. (Rewinderman short rant: everybody talks about all the reasons WWE has declined in popularity over the last 20 years and there's always different theories. Bad booking, not creating new stars, not pushing the right people, etc. etc. But I have my own theory that I never hear anyone say: I think it's the lack of attention to detail. Ever since WCW went out of business, Vince has been painting in broad, dumbed down brush strokes, over-explaining dumb, simple storylines, with none of the attention to detail that makes people get invested in a story. Anyway, enough of my opinions). Brock Lesnar came out and beat up a bunch of people again, which he's been doing on every show since his debut. In this case, he threw Rikishi around like a rag doll and Dave says that's one strong fella. They did an angle where Stephanie lost a match and was forced to "leave the WWF" and she was dragged out by security while the crowd sang the goodbye song to her. But Dave says they did this exact same thing with Stephanie in November and that lasted all of 5 weeks before she was back so don't get too excited (sure enough, she'll be back 3 months after this).
Notes from Smackdown: Rico Constantino debuted as the stylist for Billy & Chuck and Dave says that's a dead-end gimmick if there ever was one. He also got a haircut and looks like a totally different person from his OVW days. Rico is a fantastic wrestler and everyone from OVW to front office guys like Jim Ross have gone to bat for him and said he's ready to be a star. But he's small and he's on the older side, so this is clearly where Vince sees him (yeah, even Bruce Prichard later said that pretty much everyone in the company saw star-potential in Rico.....except Vince). Edge vs. Booker T had a rematch that was much better than their Wrestlemania match. And X-Pac debuted (with "a new physique", wink wink) and joined the NWO and they beat down Hogan and got major heat because Hogan is so over right now.
Kevin Nash and Scott Hall showed up several hours late to the Smackdown tapings in Ottawa and the first thing Nash did upon arrival was complain loudly to anyone who would listen about Rock calling him "Big Daddy Bitch" the night before on Raw, saying Rock double-crossed him and Nash hadn't approved that line. Considering all the times Nash went against the script in WCW, needless to say, there were lots of rolled eyes at that. Especially after showing up late also. To make it up to him, during the tag match on Smackdown, they had a spot where Nash yelled "Who's the bitch now?" at him and Michael Cole made sure to bring attention to it on commentary so nobody missed it, so now they're even and now everything is okay I guess. Dave says Nash and Rock smoothed things over between them later because Nash is smart enough to know that making an enemy of The Rock isn't in his best interest. But he was extremely pissed about the line.
Variety reported the new movie Rock is going to be filming later this year will be called Helldorado. It's an action-adventure movie and Rock plays a bounty hunter who heads to the Amazon jungle to capture someone and ends up joining the guy to trying to retrieve something from a local mine (close enough. The movie ends up being renamed The Rundown).
Paul Heyman has dropped significant weight since he was last on TV back in November. Even if they're not a wrestler, Vince wants everyone on television to be "cosmetically presentable."
Assorted WWF notes: Lita is filming an episode of the FOX show "Dark Angel" soon (spoiler: this turns out very poorly for Lita). Steve Blackman is still out with a neck injury and now he gets crippling migraine headaches when he tries to work out or take bumps and Dave says it's possibly career-threatening (indeed, it forces him to retire). Chris Jericho's band Fozzy will be performing at WWF New York next week. The Rock is about to be featured on every TV show and on the cover of every magazine in existence over the next few weeks as part of the Scorpion King promotion.
Dave talks about the current second season of Tough Enough and how interest is way down from the first season. He also kinda gives it a brief review and just says it's boring and nothing really entertaining happens. In the first season, Tazz was the hard ass tough guy trainer to Al Snow's nice guy routine. When Tazz did it, it felt like he was doing it to teach the students respect and was trying to do it in a positive way. This season, Bob Holly is the "bad cop" and he comes across like a complete asshole who is bullying people without any intention of doing it in a way that makes them work harder or become better wrestlers (yeah, you think it's bad now, just wait until season 3 when he starts beating the shit out of Matt Cappotelli).
WWF is going to be working with the Ozzfest concert tour this summer. WWF wrestlers will sign autographs and introduce bands at many of the tour stops and several of the bands will perform on Raw later this year. "That's what happens when there's no Nitro," Dave deadpans.
Regarding the multiple hardcore title changes at Wrestlemania 18, there was discussions about having some of them happen at the CN Tower in Toronto. With the idea that they would brawl into the elevator and end up fighting out onto the outdoor observation deck (like, 100 floors up). But a few weeks before the show, for whatever reason, WWF changed their mind and decided not to pursue it.
Bret Hart recently agreed to work Jacques Rougeau's next indie event at the Molson Center. If you recall, just a few months ago, Rougeau drew a crowd of more than 10,000 to one of his indie shows there. When Vince McMahon found out Hart was going to work the show, he tried to pull a power move and get the Molson Center to give him an exclusivity deal, which would block Rougeau (and anyone else) from being able to run the building. Didn't work and Rougeau's show will go forward as planned as of now (Vince used to do that shit all the time in the 80s to Jim Crockett).
Rey Mysterio hasn't signed with WWF yet but it's considered just a formality. They gave him a low-ball contract offer, far less than he would make just working indies. Of course, it's just his downside guarantee. When you factor in gate money, merch money, video game money, etc. then he stands to make far more than he would on the indies. But if he gets hurt, he'll be sitting at home making very little money. On the other hand, if he gets hurt on the indies, he'll be making no money so better than nothing. Anyway, sounds like Rey shot down the first low-ball offer but they're expected to agree on a deal soon.
Dave has seen more of the TSN Off The Record interviews they did with several WWF stars last week. Ric Flair talked about how much of a disaster WCW was and put over Vince. Dave says that this isn't just Flair publicly kissing the boss's ass. Privately for years, Flair has only said good things about Vince McMahon, dating back to his first run in the early 90s. Even all the years he was in WCW, Flair only had good things to say about him. During the interview, Flair was asked to name someone who could have been an all-time great but didn't have the work ethic. Flair said he couldn't think of anyone off the top of his head, leading Dave to write, "I was screaming Barry Windham but nobody heard me." Jim Ross was next and blamed the environment in WCW for the backstage problems Hall and Nash caused. Dave points out that Hall and Nash caused all those same problems in WWF before they left in 1996 so that doesn't exactly check out. Undertaker's interview was interesting for the rare experience of seeing him out of character, just being Mark Calaway. When asked about something he hates about how the business has changed, Undertaker talked about the internet spoiling things and how it hurts the product when fans know about things in advance. Dave, of course, disputes this and gives an example using the show Friends. Before this season of the show started, TV Guide reported that Ross was going to wind up being the father of Rachel's baby and it was common knowledge. But the ratings were still through the roof for the "reveal." He also jokes that they could have swerved everybody and made it Gunther instead. Then he says if Russo was writing the show, he would have made himself a character called The Scriptwriter and made himself the father of Rachel's baby. (I've never watched Friends, these references are lost on me)
Latest on WWF pay cuts: aside from the very top guys, the company is trying to get most of the roster down to $125,000-or-less per year downside guarantees. Those who work full schedules will still make a lot more than that with PPV/ticket/merch percentages, plus they're doing more house shows this year and with the split rosters, more guys should be working more dates. Plus they raised the price of PPVs so the PPV pay-offs will be bigger. So these pay cuts won't really hurt the full-time stars. But of course, if you get hurt and you're sitting at home only collecting your downside, that's gonna be a lot less money now. So that sucks. On the flip side, WCW used to do the opposite, where guys were hurt and they still collected their full salary, which led to a lot of guys milking "injuries" so they could stay home and cash big ol' checks. So then WCW decided to start cutting people's pay in half when they were out for too long, and that led to people who were legitimately injured coming back too soon because they had bills to pay. So there's a delicate balance that you have to strike there. Also, as part of the new contracts they're trying to get everyone to sign, they're attempting to lock everyone into 3-to-5 year deals because Vince wants to make sure nobody can jump ship and help one of these new start-up promotions like XWF or WWA or the new Jarrett company get off the ground.
Ric Flair is still working on his autobiography that Mark Madden was helping to ghost-write for him. WWF is now attempting to buy the rights for that book away from the original publisher so they can publish it on their own. No word if Mark Madden will still be included or if they'll re-do it (WWF did eventually get it and released it. It has another author listed but still says "edited by" Mark Madden so who knows how much of his contributions made it into the final product).
After Naoya Ogawa took pictures with several WWF names at Wrestlemania, he went back to Japan and I guess got the media stirred up about possibly working with them. Some media outlets have talked about WWF running a Tokyo Dome event headlined by Ogawa vs. The Rock. Dave says this is pure bullshit.
WEDNESDAY:AJPW Triple Crown champion Toshiaki Kawada injured, more on WWF pay cuts, business analysis, the history of wrestling/shoot fighting, more on Steve Austin walking out, and more...
2020.04.20 04:25 PF_9My prospective tracklist for a Power Ballads Gold, Volume 2
In 2005, Universal Music Enterprises released as part of the Gold series of 2-disc compilations, Power Ballads Gold. The set contained 2 discs worth of power ballads by various artists, most from the 1980s and 90s when these were at their most popular. Most of the songs on the compilation were from glam metal artists. There were 30 songs in total, 15 on each disc. They were arranged by release date Now, I've proposed a second volume of Power Ballads Gold, primarily again using glam metal songs. Most of the tracks I am proposing be on the album were major hits, but not all of them. My discs are also arranged by release date. Disc 1
Night Ranger - Sister Christian
Mötley Crüe - Home Sweet Home
Black 'n Blue - Miss Mystery
Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms
Dokken - Alone Again
Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Sammy Hagar - Eagles Fly
Bob Seger - Like a Rock
Def Leppard - Love Bites
Aerosmith - Angel
Bon Jovi - I'll Be There for You
Lita Ford - Close My Eyes Forever (with Ozzy Osbourne)
2020.04.15 18:04 daprice82Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Mar. 4, 2002
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
NOTE: I mentioned it in the first post of 2002 but a lot of y'all are aware that a few months ago, SaintRidley picked up the Observer Rewind reins after I stopped and started doing his own recaps from the 1980s. Well, he's been doing great work with it and he just finished posting the year of 1987. I went ahead and added it the Previously" section up there. ↑↑↑ Just wanted to make sure to bring it to everyone's attention.
It's been awhile since we've had major PPVs going head-to-head with each other, but it happened this week when WWA aired it's 2nd ever PPV live from Las Vegas, going head-to-head with PRIDE. Dave recaps the history of head-to-head PPV battles, specifically the WWF vs. Crockett war in the late-80s. How Vince McMahon created Survivor Series specifically to run it in direct competition with Crockett's first ever PPV, Starrcade 87. The resulting loss of needed revenue was a huge reason why Crockett eventually had to sell the company to Ted Turner and, in retrospect, set into motion everything that led to WCW's eventual death last year. He goes on to recap how Royal Rumble was created and aired on free TV to go head-to-head with Crockett's next PPV attempt, Bunkhouse Stampede. Then Crockett responded by creating the first Clash of the Champions and airing it against Wrestlemania IV. Not sure PRIDE vs. WWA is up there in the same league as that PPV battle. Which, to be fair, Dave admits it's not the same thing.
Anyway, the PRIDE show was among the greatest events of all time, one of the very few times in the history of the Observer that a show got a unanimous 100% thumbs up vote on the reader poll. It aired in Japan live and in the U.S. on a bit of a delay, with the matches edited in a different order. In Japan, the card was headlined by Vanderlei Silva vs. former UWFI wrestler Kiyoshi Tamura, which was an excellent fight that Silva won. In the U.S., the show was built around Ken Shamrock vs. Don Frye in the main event (in Japan, it aired 3rd from last) and the 2 men had an absolute war that should shut up critics who say both are too old. Shamrock lost a split-decision in a fight that Dave thinks should have legitimately been a draw. (This fight is considered to this day one of the all-time wars in MMA history. An utter slobberknocker. Neither fighter was the same again afterward and Frye has said that the damage Shamrock did to his legs in this fight led to him later getting addicted to painkillers). After the fight, Shamrock went over to ringside and hugged his girlfriend Alicia Webb, who you may remember as Ryan Shamrock. The girl that played his sister in WWF.
And then there was WWA. A low-budget, amateur-ish event, marred by bad production and no-shows. Not that the crowd would even know, because most of the lineup was never even announced ahead of time anyway. The scheduled main event of Jeff Jarrett vs. Randy Savage didn't happen because Savage held promoter Andrew McManus up for more money at the last minute. Savage originally had agreed to work the show in exchange for a 30% ownership stake in the company, which was agreed upon. But three days before the show, Savage upped the ante, saying he wanted the 30%, plus an extra $50,000 in cash. At that point, they started haggling back and forth to try to strike some kind of deal. Ownership got pulled off the table and then Savage asked for a flat $250,000 fee to work the show. WWA turned that down and came back with a flat $150,000 offer instead. Savage turned that down and at that point, everything broke down. For what it's worth, a lot of the lower card wrestlers on the show worked for $300. Last second attempts to bring in Sting to save the show didn't work either. Road Dogg was also supposed to appear on the show but couldn't because of legal issues. Word is he got arrested 2 days before the show in Florida on a probation violation. As a result, the PPV was headlined by Jeff Jarrett defending the WWA championship against Brian Christopher.
The whole show was simply an embarrassment. The production was completely minor league and the crowd was totally dead for all these long matches with guys nobody cares about. The in-ring work was fine, but the booking often made no sense, with overbooked three-ways and 6-way undercard matches that ended up being more clusterfuck than match. It was also one of those Russo-type things where the commentary team made endless inside-references that only the hardcore internet fans would get. But then again, this show only drew hardcore internet fans anyway, so why not? They also constantly made reference to WWF, which came across as desperate and sad. In particular, Larry Zbyszko was given the chance to cut a meandering promo, challenging Vince McMahon to a fight over some unspecified grievance from 20 years ago and criticized them for having Chris Jericho as their world champion. Dave thinks Zbyszko was actually angling for a job from WWF by trying to start his own angle and says this promo was basically his job application. And he thinks it was pretty pathetic. Backstage, the disorganization was apparent and most even within the company saw what a mess it was and have already given up on the promotion as a lost cause. Dave said this PPV made it clear that nobody will be challenging WWF anytime soon.
Other notes from the WWA Revolution PPV: yes, in case you're wondering, that Japanese man sitting behind the commentary table all night who very briefly (literally blink and miss it) got involved in the Scott SteineDisco Inferno tussle was indeed NJPW star Hiroyoshi Tenzan and yes, they flew him all the way from Japan (and had him bring his ring gear just in case), only to have him do almost nothing and never be acknowledged on camera. Eric Bischoff was backstage, as a guest of Ernest Miller. Bischoff laughed off any questions about going to WWF but said the ol' "never say never" shtick. The crowd was about 2,800, most of them freebies and they were desperately giving away tickets in the casino before the show. During the first match, the building looked practically empty so they quietly began moving everyone closer to ringside to pack the area around the ring to make it look presentable for TV. Opening 6-way match featuring all the hottest indie stars was a sloppy mess, with too people flying everywhere trying to get their shit in and the cameras missing most of it. Bret Hart came out and cut a long, rambling promo before announcing Brian Christopher was replacing Randy Savage in the main event, to zero crowd response. By the 5th match, people in the crowd could be seen leaving, never to return. Jerry Lynn showed up, interrupting an Eddie Guerrero interview, at which point Dave mentions, oh yeah by the way, the WWF released Jerry Lynn 2 days before the PPV. Considering WWF has been talking about reviving the cruiserweight division after Wrestlemania, Dave doesn't know why they'd get rid of a guy who could be one of the best in the division. Anyway, yeah, this show sucked. Here ya go, enjoy.
WWF's latest investor conference call took place and wasn't particularly newsworthy, but there's some stuff to note. The new agreement with DirecTV is until August of 2003 and is under the exact same terms they were operating under last year, which means WWF gained nothing while losing an estimated $4.4 million in revenue over the last few PPVs. Following the brand split, WWF plans to run 16 PPVs per year, and increasing the price by an extra $5. Linda McMahon said Wrestlemania 18 has sold 58,000 tickets as of the time of the call, for a record gate of $3.96 million, breaking the record set by last year's WM. Dave goes through all the numbers and for the most part, in comparison to previous quarters, almost everything is down. Which is no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention because WWF is clearly on the downswing. Linda also said they're currently interviewing new writers and are hoping to double their writing staff, which Dave thinks is a terrible idea (and time has damn sure proven him correct). Finally, Linda was also asked how the purchase of the WCW library has benefited the company, which Dave thinks is an interesting question since revenues have declined since then and the Invasion angle flopped so hard that it killed any brand value the name "WCW" may have had. Linda talked about the value of the tape library but Dave points out that it's been a year and WWF has done practically nothing with that library (of course, in the end, they found ways to monetize that WCW library and it more than paid for itself).
In his first match as an official member of the AJPW roster, Keiji Muto lost the Triple Crown championship to Toshiaki Kawada in a match nearly a year in the making, before a sold out crowd at Budokan Hall. He hasn't seen it yet, but the match was reported to Dave as a near-classic (he ends up giving it 4.5 stars). The other 2 NJPW stars who jumped ship, Kendo Kashin and Satoshi Kojima, also worked their first official AJPW matches. Kaz Hayashi, formerly a member of Jung Dragons in WCW and who worked in WWF's developmental until asking for his release a few weeks ago, also debuted on the show and will be part of Muto's faction.
Obituary time for Swede Hanson, who worked primarily in the Carolinas and had a brief run in the WWF as a cult favorite babyface in the early 80s. Sadly, he passed away in a mental hospital because he had advanced Alzheimer's disease which made it impossible for his family to handle him and they had him put away. Jeez, that's rough. He also had a litany of other health problems. Dave gives an in-depth history of his career in the 60s and 70s as a heel in the Carolinas before talking about the WWF run. Vince Sr. brought him in as a monster heel to challenge Bob Backlund, and Dave thinks someone else must have backed out at the last moment or something. By this time (in 1979), Hanson was well past his prime and hadn't been a major star anywhere in years but he was a big dude and so they brought him in to face Backlund and they actually sold out Madison Square Garden with Backlund vs. Hanson in the main event (though Dave says Bruno Sammartino working the undercard sure didn't hurt). The match sucked and almost immediately after, he became a jobber in the WWF, but Vince Jr, on commentary, just loved to call him "Rawboned Swede Hanson" and the "Rawboned" nickname caught on. Vince said it with such gusto that Hanson briefly became a cult favorite jobber from it and the crowd turned him babyface at damn near 50 years old. It led to a brief career resurgence and him having a small role in the Backlund/Billy Graham feud for the title before he finally faded into oblivion.
Mark Henry won the "world's strongest man" competition at the Arnold Classic bodybuilding and fitness event. Henry has been out of WWF for the past 2 months training for this competition and the training paid off, with Henry capturing first place and making a legitimate viable claim to his "strongest man in the world" moniker. During the event, Henry became the first man in 50 years to cleanly press the 366 pound Apollon wheel weight above his head. In another event, he carried an 800 pound block of bolted together railroad ties up a 40-foot ramp faster than the other competitors. For his victory, Henry won a $75,000 Humvee and some other cash prizes. Over the same weekend, he also won another $1,000 in a contest where he was able to lift an inch dumbbell (which weighs 172 pounds) to his shoulder with one arm. There's a bunch of other weightlifting stuff here, but you might be surprised to find out....I dunno shit about any of this. I got winded lifting pizza to my mouth earlier. Mark Henry strong.
Another obit for former wrestler, promoter, and father of 80s valet Baby Doll, Nick Roberts who died of pancreatic cancer. Once again, a bunch of details and stories about someone I've never heard of in wrestling history that Dave somehow knows everything about. I know I've said it before, but these obituary pieces are some of the greatest reasons for subscribing to the Observer.
Masahiro Chono says he wants to take NJPW in a more serious, realistic direction. No sports entertainment gaga nonsense, they want it to be like a real sports product. So much so that, in his own match with Manabu Nakanishi at the last big NJPW show, Chono wouldn't even bounce off the ropes, saying that it's not credible and no one would do that in a real fight. Ah yes, Inoki's gonna love this.
FMW wrestler Kodo Fuyuki has said he plans to try to keep the promotion running after it was announced it was folding last week. FMW still has 8 shows scheduled for this month and Fuyuki said he plans to try to run them himself and keep the company going (no such luck buddy).
Japan Today, an American newspaper that covers Japanese news daily, had a story on Antonio Inoki battling diabetes. It says he was first diagnosed in 1982, which Dave says is right around the time Inoki's in-ring work dropped off considerably when he lost his stamina. The story said for the last 20 years, Inoki has eaten a ridiculously healthy diet and is in better health now at 59 than he was then at 39.
Dave said he got tons of positive feedback on the debut of RF Video's Ring of Honor promotion in Philadelphia. The show was sold out in advance, was well organized, and had several really good matches. They limited a lot of the mistakes that most indie companies fall victim to, such as too many matches, too many run-ins, too much mic work, too many guys trying to do too much stuff, etc. Steve Corino and CZW announcer Eric Gargiulo did commentary. Eddie Guerrero faced Super Crazy in an excellent match and the main event was a three-way featuring Low-Ki, Christopher Daniels, and American Dragon that Dave has heard rave reviews for. And thus, ROH was born.
Vic Grimes took the most insane bump of all time at an XPW event before 1,500 fans in Los Angeles. Grimes was facing New Jack in a scaffold match said to be at least twice as high up as the fall Mick Foley took off the Hell in a Cell. The ring below had tables stacked 4-high to break his fall, but Grimes ended up missing most of the tables when New Jack overshot him. Perhaps on purpose. Grimes missed all but the corner tables at the edge of the ring before coming down on the corner turnbuckles. After the bump, they tried to rush fans out of the arena since it was almost 1am and gave many the impression Grimes life was in danger. But he was surprisingly okay and was walking around backstage after, although he was definitely banged up. Grimes was really nervous about the bump earlier in the day, as you might expect and Dave says he's pretty damn lucky he didn't miss the ring because he almost certainly would have died if he took that bump straight to the floor. Elsewhere on the show, there was a match where porn star Lizzy Borden (wife of XPW promoter Rob Black) faced another porn star, Veronica Caine, in a match that was supposed to end only when someone was stripped totally naked. But right before it happened, the lights went out and the women were rushed out of the ring and when fans realized they'd been ripped off, they were so pissed the arena feared a riot. (Anyway, here's the bump and yeah....Grimes very easily could have died from this. No mention from Dave on the fact that New Jack also tazed him before this)
Shane Douglas is expected to take over as XPW booker when his WCW contract with Time Warner expires next month.
Former WCW journeyman wrestler Chip Minton's primary career was bobsledding. He only wrestled in WCW occasionally while doing that, primarily as a jobber on the C-shows. Minton was part of the US bobsledding team in both the 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics and was planning to compete this year, but failed to make the team. Soon after that, he failed a steroid test and has been suspended from the sport for 2 years.
Remember a couple weeks ago, it was mentioned that Roddy Piper was in a car accident but he was playing down how serious it was? Turns out....very serious. Piper suffered 4 broken ribs, one of which punctured his liver and nearly killed him. He also suffered severe back injuries and shattered his ankle. Piper was taken to the hospital and was near death but obviously, he managed to pull through and has still been making all his appearances for XWF in recent days. (Yeah I think in Piper's autobiography, he dedicates the book to the guy who saved his life by rushing him to the hospital and even says he was clinically dead for a few moments. Then again, Piper was like a lot of those old time guys and was prone to exaggeration, so who knows).
Eric Bischoff is teaming up with Mark Burnett, the producer of the hit show Survivor, to produce a MMA reality show called Skien. From Dave's understanding, it will basically be a reality show with K-1 kickboxers leading up to a PPV event. (Here's an article about it from Variety at the time, but this ends up going nowhere).
Notes from Raw: only one thing really notable, they filmed a segment at referee Tim White's bar The Friendly Tap. The bar really is owned by White and WWF pretty much always films angles there when they're in town (Providence, RI). This time, the skit featured the APA going into the bar to drink and the bar was filled by a bunch of gay men and drag queens (played by a bunch of wrestlers from indie promotion Chaotic Wrestling) while the APA guys acted all grossed out by it all. Then Billy and Chuck attacked them. Dave thinks this played on all the typical homophobic stereotypes and he seems pretty irritated by it. Anyway, among the wrestlers from Chaotic were Todd Sinclair (better known now as ROH's senior official), Rich Palladino (ring announcer for Beyond now) and John Walters (indie wrestler and former ROH Pure champion).
Next week's Smackdown hasn't aired yet but it was taped and Dave has details. Notably, this is the episode where Austin chases down the NWO and tries to shoot them with a net gun. Dave says this was a mess, with the gun going off but no net being fired from it and they'll have to fix the whole thing in post-production. It went horribly when they filmed it and it aired for the live crowd and it killed the crowd and basically forced them to improvise on the spot (on one of the Something To Wrestle podcasts, Bruce Prichard tells this story and how frustrated they were with this net gun being a piece of shit). This episode also featured Stephanie yelling at Chris Jericho for getting her the wrong hand lotion and Booker T and Edge feuding over a Japanese shampoo commercial. (Rock/Hogan was great, but man, the build for everything else at Wrestlemania 18 suuuuuucked.)
Prototype won the OVW title from Leviathan at the latest OVW tapings. After the match, they did an angle to set up David Flair as the #1 contender for the title. Prototype's only singles loss in OVW came last week, when Flair beat him, so there ya go (this video covers ALL of that. The FlaiCena match, the Leviathan match, the post-match angle, etc).
Wall Street Journal did an article talking about the decline in Smackdown's ratings, saying they were down 28% from last year and down 42% from the year before that. The article blamed it on Smackdown changing networks. Here's the thing though....it hasn't. Raw changed networks in 2000. Smackdown has been on UPN since its debut. Also, UPN has grown overall in ratings while Smackdown has declined. So....no. It's just because the show sucks now.
Charlie Haas, fresh off returning to the ring and winning the HWA title after the death of his brother, tore his ACL this week. He just had surgery and will be out 4-6 months. Rough few months for that dude.
A Washington newspaper did a story on James Dudley, who you may know as....WWF Hall of Famer James Dudley and little else. On-screen, he's never really done much. But Dave says Dudley started working for Vince Sr. back in the 1940s, when Sr. was a boxing promoter, and was essentially his Vince Sr.'s driver and assistant. Dudley did a lot of odd jobs for the company during those early years, working ticket booths and stuff like that, but to most people, he was just kinda known as Vince Sr.'s limo driver. So when he was indicted into the WWF Hall of Fame a few years ago, it was a pretty controversial decision among a lot of people, given that someone like Bruno Sammartino isn't in, by the company's limo driver is. Anyway, before his death, Vince Sr. made Vince Jr. promise to take care of Dudley and keep him on the payroll. So for the last 18 years or so, even though he doesn't work for the company, Vince McMahon has continued to pay him a salary. He also bought him a new car as a gift some years back.
Billy and Chuck's recent tag team title win makes Billy Gunn the most decorated tag team wrestler in WWF history, as he's now held the tag titles 9 times (3 as part of the Smoking Gunns, 5 as part of New Age Outlaws, and now once with he and Chuck). The previous record was Mick Foley, with 8. (to the best of my research, if we're only talking WWF/WWE tag title reigns, that record is now held by Edge).
USA Network CEO Barry Diller took part in a lecture at Syracuse University and talked about losing the WWF to TNN. When asked why it happened, he responded, "Because I'm a dope." He said he didn't fight hard enough to keep the WWF and admitted the loss hurt, but also said it may have been the best thing for them in the long-run because pro wrestling doesn't really fit the direction they're planning to take the network. He said wrestling fans came for wrestling and left immediately after it was over and there was never any cross-over fans who stuck around to watch the next show or anything like that. He said they could never figure out what to connect wrestling to within the rest of their properties.
WWF held a try out camp in Cincinnati and reportedly, nobody was particularly impressive, including AJ Styles. The knock on Styles was that he's average looking and too small. Wrestler Sonny Siaki was said to be the most impressive, but he also rubbed people the wrong way with his attitude so probably not gonna make the cut this time. Matt Morgan, who was on the Tough Enough casting special last season got a tryout and since he has no formal training, he was pretty awful but he's big so Dave seems to think he'll get a chance anyway. The other one they were impressed by was a woman named Erin Bray, who was one of the final 25 picked for the original Tough Enough. But then some other contestants spotted her out on a date with one of the show's judges and they threw a fit, which resulted in Bray not making the final 13. Another wrestler, Travis Tomko, is a guy who has worked some indies and is a former bodyguard for Limp Bizkit ("Tomko, gimme a beat." "No.")
Rock was a presenter at the NAACP Awards and Dave thinks he looked pretty great for a guy who was almost murdered in an ambulance by the NWO a few days earlier. Cheeky Dave is just the best.
Speaking of, Dave throws in a random paragraph to backhandedly shit on Kevin Nash. For years, people in the business joked that Lex Luger made the most money with the least ability or drawing power of anyone ever in wrestling. Dave says it's gotta be Nash. For example, Nash is not wrestling and is only going to be in Hall's corner for the match at Wrestlemania (his knees really are giving him problems), but he has been promised that he's going to get the same type of payoff as if he was the guy in the match working with Austin in the semi-main event. Not to mention all the huge contracts he signed in WCW, or how he got a huge-by-WWF-standards deal here, plus got Vince to cave to almost all his other demands regarding schedule and bringing back Scott Hall, among other things. (I mean, while Dave is being kind of a dick here, I don't think he's really wrong either. When it comes to top draws in the history of the business, Nash isn't anywhere near even the top 10 or 20. And he's never exactly been a great wrestler. But since the 90s, Nash always managed to make sure he gets PAID like he's in that upper echelon. Nash is one of those very few wrestlers who isn't entranced by the fame or the fake accolades. He treats wrestling for what it is: a business. It's the way they pay their mortgages and buy groceries, just like you and me at our jobs. I love it. I laugh my ass off every time I hear "Brock Lesnar signed a huge new contract to only work 6 matches a year." Good for him. I hope he gets even more money for less dates next year. You should always know your worth and never let your employer take you for anything less. Nash has always been one of the guys to do that and he's probably going to die comfortably in a nice house while these other guys from his era are still clinging to fame at 60 years old doing $300 indie shows on crippled knees. Anyway, that's my soapbox). Dave seems to feel the same way and admits, love him or hate him, you gotta give Nash credit for being one of the smartest guys in the biz.
Fear Factor featuring the Hardyz, Lita, Test, Molly Holly, and Jacquelyn aired this week. First they had to climb up a rope ladder hanging from a helicopter over the river and they all made it up except Jeff Hardy who slipped near the top and fell (knowing Jeff, he probably purposely let go so he could take the big fall for fun). Lita also got eliminated for being the slowest one up the ladder. Next they had to chug a gross drink that included bile, rooster testicals, spleen, and some animal brains all blended together. Molly Holly almost vomited after one sip and was out. Jackie and Matt succeeded. Test refused to even try. So then it came down to Matt vs. Jackie and they had to walk across the tops of high poles and move flags around. Matt Hardy ended up winning the whole thing and won $50,000 for charity.
Sunday Night Heat is being converted into one of the B-shows like Metal and Jakked. Awhile back, they started airing Heat from the WWF New York restaurant but the production costs of that were high. So in a cost-cutting move, they're just gonna tape dark matches and throw them on Heat the same way they do those other shows, featuring all the nobodies that can't ever get TV time on the main shows.
As mentioned last week, Scott Hall has been taking a drug called Antabuse, which makes him violently sick when he drinks or even smells alcohol. It caused him to get sick after Raw last week when Austin poured beer all over him in a bit after the cameras were off. Hall has said he is clean and has been clean for awhile, except for the incident a couple weeks ago where he fell off the wagon. Others are skeptical and question if Hall only takes his medication on TV days and needless to say, there's some doubt here.
Everywhere he goes, Brian Christopher has been telling people he's coming back to WWF after Wrestlemania, but contrary to what he's saying, Dave says there are zero plans for that (indeed, it does not happen).
FRIDAY:More on WWA's PPV disaster, the landscape for any new promotion attempting to start up, WWF huge show in Japan, WWF loses appeal over "WWF" initials, Bret Hart given offer for Wrestlemania 18, and tons more...
2020.03.30 16:02 kirphioc2004Unbreakable II: What if Paige was never injured in 2017? Part One - "I'm Back"
From 2016-2017, Paige really had a bad time, both professionally and personally. She was finally able to get her bearings back in late 2017 and come back from hiatus with new NXT call-ups Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, better known as Fire and Desire today. Unfortunately for Paige, she suffered a career-ending injury at a live event because of a kick to her already injured neck. This forced her to retire from active competition before transitioning to GM of Smackdown and finally a host on WWE Backstage. But what if she was never retired, how far could she have gotten, well let's find out shall we. Build to the Royal Rumble: Paige returns on the November 20, 2017, edition of Raw during a fatal four-way between Raw Women's Champion, Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Mickie James. She returns but doesn't come alone, she comes with the debuting Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. She utters her famous line of "I'm Back" before her and her new friends rush the ring and attack all the members of the match, she then picks up Sasha Banks and hits with the Rampaige to send a message. Next week she and the rest of her friends introduce themselves as Absolution, she then says that they are here to run amuck on Raw and teach everyone what a revolution really looks like, they'll do whatever it takes to get what they want and don't care who gets caught in the crossfire. She is finally interrupted by Sasha Banks who confronts her about the attacks. She calls Paige coward for her attacks and demands a match against her. Paige declines instead of giving her the opportunity to face off against Sonya Deville, Sasha accepts, saying she'll use Sonya as an example of what's to come to Paige. Sonya and Sasha have the match and it is highly competitive as Sonya shows that she can hang with the best on Raw. She goes to her MMA background to trouble Sasha. Sasha is finally able to make a comeback and has the match won until Paige causes the distraction, this allows to lock in her finisher, the Kimura Lock and makes Sasha tap. Sasha is even more enraged and again challenges Paige to a match. Paige once again declines but offers her to face Mandy Rose. Sasha accepts on the grounds that if she beats Mandy, Paige will have to face her next week, Paige accepts. Sasha comes out guns blazing and dominates most of the match against Rose though once again, Paige provides the distraction and this allows Mandy to hit the Bed of Roses for the three and Sasha has lost to two members of Absolution. The coming weeks see Sasha continue to demand a match against but Paige continues to deny the match. Mandy Rose and Deville fight for Paige and the group continue to use their numbers advantage to beat each and every women on the Raw roster. Sasha continually finds herself on the wrong side of a 3-1 beat down at the hand of Absolution. They essentially become the female versions of the S.H.I.E.L.D. This all comes to a head as Paige declares to make her in-ring return at the Royal Rumble as she becomes the first women to declare for the first-ever Women's Royal Rumble match. Sasha declares too promising to finally get her hands on the slimy Paige and eliminate her on her way to winning the whole match and going on to headline WrestleMania. Royal Rumble 2018 - Women's Royal Rumble match. Sasha Banks enters at number one and becomes the iron man of the match, making it to the final three. The match continues as normal with the exception that Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville make it to the final five. Once Mandy enters at number five, she spends most of her time fighting Sasha until the number 10 entry, Sonya Deville. The two members of Absolution run roughshod over the match, using their double team moves to eliminate all the members of the Riott Squad, proving they are the superior team. They also eliminate legends such as Lita, Michelle McCool, and Tamina. Sasha continues to be a thorn at their side and they just can't quite eliminate her. We finally get to the 29 spot and it is... Paige. Paige finally makes her way down to the ring and immediately makes a beeline for Sasha Banks. The two start getting into each other but Sasha is too worn down and fatigued from being in the match for so long. Paige beats her down and soon Absolution make all join in, that is until the 30th entry... Trish Stratus. Trish takes the fight to all three of them and gets a huge pop from the crowd. She goes for the Stratisfaction but Paige is able to push out of it just as Trish is on the rope, causing her to fall over the rope and go crashing down to the outside, leaving us with 5 women left in the match. Sasha Banks, Paige, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, and Asuka. Asuka and Sasha have to team up to survive Absolution, Sasha even eliminates Mandy and Deville before being swiftly eliminated by Paige, and then there were two. Paige and Asuka find themselves as the final two competitors of the match, and they stare each other down as the crowd build anticipation. They finally lock horns and lock up, Paige is able to overpower Asuka and push her to the ropes, looking for a quick elimination. Asuka fights out and begins her signature strikes to faze Paige. Asuka then goes for the Asuka Lock, the commentary team are quick to point out that a submission won't work in the Royal Rumble. Paige begins to elbow Asuka which forces her to break the hold and soon Paige is once again in control of the matchup. She uses a series of strikes to stun Asuka and goes for the Rampaige but once again, Asuka fights out of it and after a superkick to the gut, hits the rear end and Paige collapse to the floor. Asuka then throws Paige over the rope but she lands on the apron, barley clinging on the ropes. Asuka sees her chance and charges towards Paige who pulls down the rope and Asuka goes flying out, however, she too lands on the apron. The two see that this is the end and begin to simultaneously punch at each other, hoping the other falls to the floor. Paige is able to get control after a kick to the guts and is about to throw Asuka to the floor when she feels someone tugging on her leg. She looks down to see Sasha Banks pulling her down, she is able to fight it and kick Sasha off her only to turn right into a superkick at the hands of Asuka and she falls to the floor hard. Asuka celebrates the biggest win of her career to date while Paige and Sasha brawl to the back. Asuka wins the first-ever Women's Royal Rumble match. (53:54) Build to Elimination Chamber 2018: Paige comes out the following Raw and address what happened at the Royal Rumble. She says that Sasha ruined her moment, the biggest moment of her career because she was jealous. She was jealous that she was going to win and overshadow her, just like she has done at every turn since returning. This causes Sasha Banks to come out and she says that she is done with Paige avoiding her and wants a match or else. Paige calls bluff and once again denies the request. This causes Sasha to lash out and begin to attack Paige, Paige is caught off guard and it cannot react as she is being attacked. Paige rolls out of the ring to try and escape but Sasha isn't done yet and follows Paige to the outside. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville finally make their way down to help their leader and despite her best efforts, Sasha doesn't stand a chance to the numbers game. Paige and company beat her down and leave her in a bad way, to send a final message, Paige hits the Rampaige on the stage. EMTs come out and put Sasha on a stretcher. As they reach the ambulance, however, Paige pushes them away and chucks Sasha off the stretcher and slams her face into the ambulance, and finally, with the help of Absolution, puts her through a table. It is announced that Sasha is out for an undisclosed amount of time thanks to the attacks of Paige. Bayley opens up the February 5, 2018 episode of Raw and calls out Paige for her attacks. Paige comes out with her friends and they say that it was revenge for Sasha costing Paige a title opportunity at WrestleMania. Bayley calls her a coward and challenges Paige to a match, Paige again declines but says that if she is so mad, she should face Mandy Rose here tonight. Bayley accepts and the match gets underway. This match is even throughout because Paige does everything she can to get under the skin of Bayley, creating many distractions and openings for Mandy Rose. Things stay close until the end. Bayley goes for the Bayley-to-Belly, as she goes for the move, Paige pulls Mandy out of the ring. This is the last straw for the referee and he ejects Paige from ringside. Mandy is livid and makes her complaints known to the referee, getting in his face. This ultimately ends up being her downfall as she turns right into the Bayley-to-Belly for the 1,2,3. She celebrates as her win, getting some measure of revenge. Paige comes out again on the February 12, 2018 edition of Raw and holds a mock funeral for Sasha Banks, she says that she is guilty. She says that she murdered Sasha's career and that they've come here to pay their respects. She is interrupted by Bayley who says that Sasha's career is far from over and that she and Paige are far from over, She tells says that she has had enough of Paige ducking her. she calls her a coward who hides behind her friends. Paige says that if Bayley wants to her that bad, then shes got a match, on one condition... A three on one handicapped match. Bayley is hesident but agrees to the match. To open the February 19, edition of Raw, the go-home show before Elimination Chamber, we have the contract signing. Bayley and Paige throw verbal jabs at each other as Kurt Angle moderates. Paige continues to make remarks about Sasha and even calls into question just how close Bayley and Sasha really are. She then reveals that after second thoughts, she wanted to add one more stipulation to their match come Elimination Chamber, she wants to make it an elimination match, meaning that Bayley would now need 3 pins instead of one. Bayley agree but just as Paige signs the contract, says that she gets one condition as well. Paige doesn't look happy but the dotted line has already been signed. She says that her one condition is that she gets a partner, she points to the stage and this music plays. Sasha Banks comes out on the stage and makes a beeline for Paige. A brawl between all five women start and multiple referees are needed to break it up, we end the segment with the two teams yelling at each other while being held back. Elimination Chamber, February 25, 2018: Bayley and Sasha Banks vs Paige, Mandy Rose, and Sonya Deville in a 3-2 elimination handicapped match. Sasha and Deville start the match off and much like their last encounter, it is very close. Deville again utilizes her MMA background which is proving to pay dividends in the WWE. She is able to back Sasha into a corner and lights into her with lefts and rights, this forces Sasha to make the tag to Bayley. Bayley comes out guns blazing and brings the fight to Sonya. She is able to take Sonya down with her superior strength. Deville rolls to the outside and when she is followed by Bayley, it turns out to be a trap and she sends Bayley into the barricade followed by the ring post. Sasha comes to try and help her friend out by Mandy and Paige stop her and even throw her into the barricade, she writes around in pain, still showing signs of the beatdown. Bayley is left to fight alone and although she is successful at first, the numbers game soon catch up to her. Mandy continues the assault as she shows her more vicious side with a Thesz press and slamming Bayley's head into the mat, yet somehow, Bayley refuses to quit. Mandy is starting to lose it and looks to end the match, setting up for her finisher. She goes for the Bed of Rose but Bayley shows tremendous strength to fight out of it despite everything she has gone through in the match. She fights out and in a desperation move, hits the Bayley-to-Belly before going for the pin and eliminating Mandy Rose. Sonya Deville doesn't waste any time in giving Bayley rest, however, going right in and hitting Bayley with the gut-wrench suplex. She goes for the pin but Bayley again kicks out. Sonya continues to dominate the matchup hitting some big moves like sliding knee strikes, a spinebuster, and a decapitating Lariet. Bayley somehow begins to make a comeback, however, showing heart and determination. This comes to a halt almost immediately. Sonya hits her with her step-up enzuigiri and that takes her out of it almost instantly. Sonya goes for the pin and 1, 2, NO! Sasha Banks is able to get back in the match and break up the pin. This doesn't last long however as Paige enters the ring and we get another confrontation that leads with Sasha once again on the floor at the hands of Paige, which is quickly becoming the norm. This leaves Bayley once again on the wrong side of a 2-1 beatdown. Sonya looks to end it and locks in the Kimura Lock on Bayley as Bayley writes around in pain. She contemplates tapping out but finds a second wind and refuses, finding a way to reach the bottom rope. This gets Sonya mad and she attempts another step-up enzuigiri but Bayley reverses and rolls up and the referee counts three just as Sonya gets her shoulders up. Bayley has somehow eliminated both Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. She collapses from exhaustion and pain after the pin. This leaves Paige to pick up the pieces and hit the Rampaige on Bayley who doesn't even stand a chance. Only Paige and Sasha remain, well part of her at least. Sasha is in a bad way, the referee is checking if she is even able to continue the match. Sasha insists, much to Paige's dismay. Sasha makes it into the ring and the long-awaited matchup. Sasha tries to lock up but there is just no chance that she walks out the victor. Paige dominates the injured and bruised Sasha, Continuing to work on the injured midsection. Sasha tries to fight back but to no use. Paige hits the Paige Turner, followed by the Rampaige, and finally the PTO. Sasha is basically done at this point and passes out to the pain. Paige, Deville, and Rose defeat Sasha Banks and Bayley. (17:46) Paige celebrates the victory, once again besting Sasha. She celebrates as Mandy and Sonya come out and left her up. She grabs a mic and again berates Sasha saying that she has Sasha's number and will always come out on top. She hammers this home and hits another Rampaige on the barely conscious Sasha. The referee pulls her off and EMTs are again needed at the site. Absolution stands tall as we head to our next match. Build to WrestleMania 34: The February 26 edition of Raw continues the saga between Paige and Sasha as Paige calls her win at Elimination the final chapter. She says that she is done with Sasha and ready to move on to bigger and better things. She says her famous phrase "This is my house!" She is finally interrupted by Sasha who has taped up midsections and a few broken ribs. She says that for the past couple of months, Paige has ducked behind her lackeys and done nothing but talk and duck. She has been here for 5 months and hasn't had a single one on one match. Paige says that she doesn't need to and that their business is done. Sasha says that Absolution has made her life a living hell these last months and she'll be damned if Paige gets away scot-free. She then makes one last challenge, one more match. A singles match on the grandest stage of them all. Paige once again in the face of Sasha, plain denies the match. Late in a backstage interview, Paige says that the reason she declined is because she doesn't owe Sasha anything and that if she was going to fight, it was going to mean something. The March 5 episode of Raw sees a tag match between Sasha and Bayley against Absolution's Mandy and Deville. After a hard-fought match that sees Paige once again get ejected, Sasha and Bayley win the match. Sasha continues to fight injured but grabs a mic after the match and says that she is done asking and next week, she promises that she'll make Paige say yes to their match. Paige takes to Twitter to again decline the match, citing that Sasha isn't worth her time and she proved that Elimination Chamber. Sasha Banks opens the March 12 episode of Raw by cutting a vicious promo on Paige. She calls Paige weak and a coward for not accepting the match. She says that Paige has had a history of being a world-renowned *Bleep* and calls to total divas about her numerous breakups and even name drops her boyfriend. This causes Paige to come out with Absolution and they are angry, they make a beeline to the ring but little do they know, Sasha has come prepared. She pulls out a kendo stick and beats down all the members of Absolution, especially Paige. She just jits them and hits them. She hits them enough that Paige says enough is enough, she accepts the match and Sasha locks in the Banks Statement to send the message home that she isn't messing around. Paige opens up the next weeks broadcast of Raw and says that while she and Sasha do have a match come WrestleMania, it will have the same result as always and that is with her the victor. Sasha then comes on the titantron and continues to taunt Paige. She then reveals, however, that the feed isn't live. She pops out under the ring and runs at Paige. Paige is able to just barely escape and Sasha sends a message that she isn't one to be messed with. With only two weeks before WrestleMania, Sasha is scheduled for a match against Mandy Rose. Right before the match begins, however, Paige drops a bombshell on everyone. She says that since they are fighting at WrestleMania, and it's Paige's first singles match, she wants to up the ante. She says that every time she goes up against a member of Absolution if she wins, they are barred from ringside. However, if either Mandy or Deville win, they are added to the match, making it a handicapped match. Sasha accepts right as Mandy charges at her and we get underway. Mandy works on Sasha's still taped up midsections and that gives her the advantage for most of the match. Sasha is able to make a comeback, however, and locks in the Banks Statment, making Mandy tap and winning the hard-fought match. She is again attacked by the Paige and Deville after the match and that leaves her in an even worse way. On the go-home Raw before WrestleMania, Sasha faces off against Sonya Deville. Sasha is still nursing her injuries and gets absolutely decimated, no pun intended. Deville has the match won multiple times but somehow, Sasha stays in the match, kicking out of multiple moves. In the end, Sonya looks for the Kimura Lock but Sasha escapes and rolls her up, holding the tights to win the match. Paige and Deville try to argue the call but the referee calls it final which means the Paige has to go it alone. Paige and Deville try to take their anger out on Sasha but she sends them packing with the help of a chair, standing tall heading into WrestleMania. WrestleMania 34: April 8, 2018: Sasha Banks vs Paige. Both women come out to extravagant entrances, Paige comes out in a white and red attire while Sasha comes out in gear inspired by the late, great, Eddie Guererro. The match gets underway and almost instantly, Paige plays the aggressor, dominating Banks and targeting the midsection. Banks is forced to changer her strategy to a more strike based game. She is able to get the upper hand but can't keep it for long as Paige hits her with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker which again puts pressure on the midsections of Sasha. She goes for the pin which is kicked out of. Paige continues to dominate as the action spills to the outside. She throws Sasha into the barricade and then into the ring post. She repeatedly slams Sasha's head into the announcer's table before finally returning to the ring and going for the pin which is kicked out of. Paige looks to end the match, looking for the Rampaige. Sasha is able to fight out of it, however, and attempt a rollup which Paige is able to escape. Sasha begins to build momentum as she takes Paige down with an arm drag and even whips out the hurricanrana, this forces Paige to the outside as she tries to rethink her strategy. Once she comes back into the ring, she immediately attacks the injured midsection of Banks, which is really starting to take its toll on her. She makes good use of the waist lock which is made all the more painful because of the injuries suffered. Sasha is eventually able to fight out of it and begin a comeback which gets the crowd hype, she takes it to Paige after a monkey flip, goes for the pin, Paige once again kicks out. The action starts to pick up from here as both women hit each other with big moves in succession, none of them get the job done though. Sasha soon finds herself in control of the match as she hits moves like the double knees while Paige is hung on the turnbuckle and the Eddie Guerrero frogsplash. It's becoming clear, however, that with every move that Banks does, the cracks in the armour are soon turning into holes, and big ones at that. She goes for the Banks Statement but is too injured to continue to keep the hold in. This allows Paige to get back in control. Paige begins to try and end the match, she attempts a PTO but a desperate Sasha fights out. She has finally had enough and hits the Rampaige for the 1,2, No! Sasha has her foot on the rope. Paige cannot believe it and starts to scream at the referee. This is enough of a distraction for Banks to get back into the match and she attempts a rollup but Paige once again kicks out just in the knick of time. Sasha's Cinderella run soon comes to an end as Paige is once again in position to hit the Rampaige and it looks like all hope is lost. She goes for it but somehow, someway is able to get out of it at the last second and hit the backstabber right into the Bank Statement. Paige struggles around for a little but has no choice but to tap. Sasha Banks defeats Paige. (15:46) Sasha has done it, after months of attacks and berating, Sasha has made it through the storm and defeated Paige. She celebrates and her best friend, Bayley, comes down to celebrate with her. Later on in the night, Paige says that while she lost here, it was only a minor loss and that she'll recover. She says that tomorrow is a new day and that Absolution will get their revenge and the Raw lockerroom will have hell to pay.
2020.03.30 12:49 VacantForHOFOfficial Card Smackdown SUPER SMACKDOWN SHIFT: HERE COMES THE PAIN (March 3, 2020)
WHEN THE DREADED RECORDING FEATURE STRIKES, YOUR MURDER MESSIAH RISES THROUGH DATED 90s TAPES Hello dick maggots, it's ya boi, VacantForHOF... and I arrive with a solution. This week you were told that Smackdown was cancelled due to a taping that occurred last week. Such a shame... EXCEPT IT ISN'T. THE PREDICTION WILL NOT DIE. MY CONTRACTEES AND MEAT PUPPETS LACE YOUR SHIT UP. Because you will be taking a trip to the past. WELCOME TO THE SUPER SMACKDOWN SHIFT. Now to STEVE with the CARD CARD u/BestInBounds v. u/AurumVocem - Smackdown Summit u/BrokenPenisJoke (#1 Contender) v. u/BenjaminEarl - TWT Contendership u/DealerTokes v. u/525Forever - On the build up to Mania, Tokes has been on a journey to taking on the Hooded Man. While 525 has been on the journey against MKD. A tangled web of former LCA members as the stable finally explodes come Wrestlemania! u/InstinctMan20 v. u/Pruef - Sometime in the future, a team forming of Graziano, InstinctMan, and Kane Carnage will be taking on The Exalted for the Trios titles. Why don't we take a brief break from the build to Mania to see a preview of what's to come for that long awaited match? Cassius-Gun (u/VitaminYes2000 and u/Fsnwj) v. Legion (u/RyRyLloyd and u/TheRandomGuy199) - Last week, we saw the remaining members of CSGN leave the Summit. Leaving only Legion to be in the finals. So lets see if they're able to round some steam off versus a tag team of the same stable they faced defeat too last week. u/CaptainConundrum54 v. u/NicholasGraziano - A brawl between two members of the HOF Class of 2019. No exact reason for this one. Just two members of LLR's Hall of the Best there is dukeing it out! Vacant Clusterfuck u/Moose_Assasin v. u/DOWN_WITH_BIG_BUBBY v. u/Phenomenalnferno v. u/LionTamerY2J v. u/MrCappie v. u/Jess_Kay32 MAIN EVENT u/VacantforHOF v. u/Steve_Chandler__ - Come Mania, Vacant will be risking his career up against his greatest rival JJ. So on the weeks coming we're prepping for anything and hoping to provide no loose ends. On the week before Mania we're giving Vacant his own Tag Partner, Steve Chandler. Tear the house down, lads. RULES
You will be given a full roster from a year of my choosing.
From that roster, you will select 5 Wrestlers
You will Select a Tiebreaker of the Time of the Main Event
Your Bonus Question will be the First Speaker on the show.
Each correct pick will earn you 1 point
The player with the most points win
If you copy your opponents picks, you will be DQ'd.
TAG TEAM RULES: If you select two participants from a tag team, and they both wrestle in a match and win. You will be given 1 point. Standard rules apply for the mixing of teams.
The Deadline will be the START OF SHOW IN THE PRESENT DAY SMACKDOWN. Don't be late!
When the deadline is hit. I will randomly select a number between 1 and 12 (indicating the month of the year), and then I will select a number between 1 and 4 (indicating the week of that month)... THIS WILL DETERMINE THE CARD THAT WILL BE PREDICTED.
All rules will remain relatively the same. So please review them. Now for the moment you've all been waiting for. What year are we Shifting to.... The year we are shifting to is:.... 2003! HERE COMES THE PAAAAAIIN!!! Smackdown 2003 Roster: A-Train Akio Big Show Bill DeMott Billy Kidman Brock Lesnar Charlie Haas Chavo Guerrero Chris Benoit Chris Kanyon Chuck Palumbo Crash Holly Danny Basham Doug Basham Eddie Guerrero Edge Funaki Hardcore Holly Jamie Noble John Cena Johnny Stamboli Kurt Angle Matt Hardy Matt Morgan Mr America/Hulk Hogan Nathan Jones Nunzio Orlando Jordan Paul London Rey Mysterio Rhyno Rikishi Sakada Scotty 2 Hotty Sean O’Haire Shannon Moore Shelton Benjamin Spanky "Brian Kendrick" Tajiri Ultimo Dragon Undertaker Zack Gowan WOMEN'S WRESTLER'S Dawn Marie Gail Kim Ivory Jacqueline Jazz Lita Miss Jackie Molly Holly Nidia Shaniqua Stacy Keibler Torrie Wilson Trish Stratus Victoria MANAGERS Eric Bischoff Paul Heyman Roddy Piper Stephanie McMahon Teddy Long Nunzio (Note: These are the Wrestlers compiled from the Roster of BOTH RAW and Smackdown, not just Smackdown) DIIIIIIEEEEEE! SMACKDOWN NUMBER 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2020.03.24 13:01 MatthewMirWWE Network Primer - Your guide to everything you should watch on the WWE Network during lockdown/quarantine.
Hi Everyone, You may know me from my Essential Lists post I have posted throughout the last few years. I have recently had a few messages about the WWE Network being free for a few months and asking people if they recommend matches to watch and I said eventually I would get to a new list. Well, unfortunately, Australia is close to a state of lock-down, which has given me some spare time to actually work on a new list.
These collection of matches are my own personal opinion of the Top 100 WWE Matches of All Time. I have not included Dave Meltzer’s ratings like I usually would on these lists. I understand there is going to plenty of omissions of matches but it is hard to limit all the best matches. Feel free to include some of your favourite WWE matches that aren’t included in the comments. Please read the entire list before commenting saying I’ve forgotten a match.. Also since a few people have commented on these posts saying 'stop throwing lists at us with no information' so on a few matches I’ve added a little bit of a backstory for new fans/fans of who haven’t seen the matches, some match details do contain spoilers, so you have been warned. I have also tried to add a link to each match as well; all videos come from the WWE Network. Now for those people thinking why I didn’t include other companies in this list – it’s purely because it’s easier to get access on WWE Matches, especially now because they’re giving the WWE Network available for free currently, as well as building up to Wrestlemania this year. Alright, now lets start the list:
Ricky Steamboat Vs Macho Man – Wrestlemania 3 - People have called this match the first great match at a Wrestlemania, and honestly it’s somewhat hard to debate that. It still holds up today. The build up to this match is months in the making when Savage injured Steamboat and took him out. Future spoilers now, it’s a real shame that Steamboat never had a WWF Championship reign, because the matches he would’ve had with some of wrestlers back then would’ve been great.
Hulk Hogan Vs Andre the Giant – Wrestlemania 3 - Now I’ll tell you straight-up people paid to see this match at ‘Mania, I could lie and say that people wanted to see the other matches on the card but from everything I’ve read about this show was that people had bought a ticket to see this match. It was the ‘Irresistible force meeting the immovable object’. Two legends, two icons in the squared-circle. Arguably two of the biggest wrestling names in households across the word, were main-eventing Wrestlemania and nearly everyone wanted to see how Hogan would be able to beat Andre. It’s a shame that Andre was in so much pain and that his health was fast deteriorating as the days went by, but he knew there was a job to do and that was to put Hogan over. Hogan has been very open saying he was worried about how this match would end and if Andre would go through with the ending, thankfully he did which saw Hogan Bodyslam Andre to remain the WWF Champion. I know Meltzer has harshly rated this -4 stars (1 star on second review, I believe) but this will forever be a big Wrestlemania moment, and even in WWE history.
Hulk Hogan Vs Macho Man – Wrestlemania 5 - The jealousy of Randy Savage with Miss Elizabeth was art imitating life, and life imitating art. Many wrestlers always recounted that Savage was very controlling of Elizabeth and would always be worried if someone stared at her for too long or if she spoke with another man. Hogan would find himself in another main-event with now heel Macho Man who was into his 12 month WWF Championship reign, this match was a really good way to end their feud.
Ultimate Warrior Vs Hulk Hogan – Wrestlemania 6 - The Toronto crowd were hot for these in this match, it wasn’t the greatest show but this crowd were ready for these two to battle it out in the main event, championship for championship. Even with both Hogan & Warrior having limited wrestling abilities in the ring it didn’t matter, people were so excited to see this match, ever since they teased it at the Royal Rumble that year. This was Hogans ‘passing of the torch’ to Warrior, whom Vince believed would be the next big star for the WWF.
Ultimate Warrior Vs Macho Man – Wrestlemania 7 - ’m going to say it quite honestly, this should’ve been the main event. There was no need to have Hogan main event this year (and the following two years either). Really you could’ve just kept the WWF Championship on Warrior or had Savage won in at the Survivor Series/Royal Rumble. This is another great Savage match, this is also probably my favourite Ultimate Warrior match in his career. The post-match antics of Savage’s manager Sensational Sherri attacking Macho Man then his former managewife Elizabeth coming to make the save is one of the most emotional moments in not just Wrestlemania, but wrestling history.
Mr Perfect Vs Bret Hart – Summerslam 1991 - Probably one of my favourite Summerslam matches from the 90's the chemistry between both men is phenomenal. Interesting fact when re-watching this match I found out that Perfect actually had an injured back going into this match and that allows you to appreciate the ending of this match
30 Man Royal Rumble Match – Royal Rumble 1992 - This is arguably one of the best Rumbles of all time, and also has as all-star wrestlers in it. All signs pushed to a FlaiHogan Main-Event at Wrestlemania 8, however that never came to fruition.
Macho Man Vs Ric Flair – Wrestlemania 8 - This match was originally meant to be Hogan/Flair in the main-event, but for some reason WWF Officials decided to change it to a ‘double main-event’ of FlaiSavage and Hogan/Sid.. the later actually closed the show. It is the first time that either man would face each other in a wrestling ring and it’s honestly one of the most underrated Wrestlemania main event matches of all time – it’s criminally forgotten.
British Bulldog Vs Bret Hart – Summerslam 1992 - Arguably one of the best Summerslam main events of all time; Vince trusted in two of his mid-card stars to main event Summerslam in the biggest venue to date - The Wembley Stadium. Highly recommend, even Hart believes this may be his best match.
Ric Flair Vs Mr Perfect – Raw 25/01/1993 - This would be Flair’s last match in WWF and it was placed under the stipulation ‘Loser leaves WWF’ match. Mr Perfect who was aligned with Flair throughout 92 would get the rub of defeating Flair which should’ve skyrocketed him into the WWF Championship scene.. however it did not.
Owen Bret Vs Bret Hart – Wrestlemania 10 - I might be in the small majority that prefers this match over their Summerslam 1994 match, but to me this is a perfect 5 stars match and showed how placing to brothers who had been doing this since they were kids could put on an absolute clinic for all wrestling fans around the world. This along with the Triple H Vs Daniel Bryan match from Wrestlemania 30 may be the best Wrestlemania opening matches of all time.
Razor Ramon Vs Shawn Michaels – Wrestlemania 10 - The innovators of the ladder match before the Hardy’s/Dudley’s/E&C lot of matches; these two set the standard for ladder matches and helped raise the popularise the Ladder Match. This match really brought mainstream attention to the Ladder Match in American wrestling, it’s crazy how 25+ years later how popular the ladder match has become, furthermore how we have two PPV’s in WWE that involve the Ladder Match stipulation.
Shawn Michaels Vs Bret Hart – Wrestlemania 12 - By time 1996 rolled around everyone basically knew that Shawn had be positioned to become the poster boy for the WWF 'New Generation'. So at the 12th annual Wrestlemania Shawn and Bret were placed in a 60 Minute Iron Man match that took each other to the limits and actually resulted in neither man getting a fall making the match go into over time. This match should've set up multiple matches with each other to show how great they were and to become one of the biggest rivalries in history.. this would happen but for total different reasons.
Shawn Michaels Vs Mankind – In Your House: Mind Games - Fun match, very brutal; highly recommend for all Shawn Michaels & Mick Foley fans. I think in terms of Mick Foleys best wrestling match, this may be the match for me. This was when Foley had just debuted in the company and within a couple of months he was already competing for the biggest prize in the WWF – the world championship against one of the best wrestlers in the world Shawn Michaels.
Bret Hart Vs Stone Cold – Wrestlemania 13 - This match definitely earned the rating it got from Meltzer, it was a Submission match and it was obvious at the time that Austin lacked a lot of submission material, however - both the superstars brought their A–game, and the psychology and storytelling during the match was absolutely amazing. The ending is absolutely fantastic and a great lasting image.
Shawn Michaels Vs The Undertaker – In Your House: Bad Blood - Shawn Michaels & Undertaker got the honour of having the first Hell in a Cell match with each other. Vince McMahon must’ve had a lot of trust to place these men in this new match type – and they steal the show and even to this day it’s very hard for most Hell in a Cell matches to try and top it. Well-deserved 5 stars, the arrival of Undertakers brother Kane finally being revealed also adds to the match, and really starts their feud with each other.
Undertaker Vs Kane – Wrestlemania 14 - This would be the first meeting of Undertaker and Kane in a one on one match. Two "brothers" would go ahead and battle each other to see who would prevail as the number one brother. Long-term booking really comes into effect here, because the pay off was fantastic. This is honestly a ridiculous rating for this match, not sure why he rated this so low.
Undertaker Vs Mankind – King of the Ring 1998 - Now if you’re a wrestling fan (and actually even if you’re not) everyone knows this match – for one main reason. Undertaker threw Mankind (Mick Foley) off the top of the Cell. Sent him crashing through an announce table all the way to the floor. Then less then 5 minutes later, Undertaker would chokeslam Foley right through the top of the Cell into the ring. That isn’t even the end of the match, there’s still 10 more minutes of mayhem.
Triple H Vs The Rock – Summerslam 1998 - Great match from two wrestlers who were going to help epitomise the Attitude Era. Before the classics of the tag team ladder matches in the early 00’s this was the match that helped re-establish how good ladder matches could be. Highly recommend this match, as it also one of Rocky’s best matches in general.
Mankind Vs The Rock - Raw 04/01/1999 - Probably one of the biggest highlights of the Monday Night Wars and a very proud moment for Mankind. I’d love to see Dave’s official rating for this match, because I believe all the emotion of Foley finally winning the big one was truly deserving for all his hard work. Plus the split roster of ‘The Corporation’ and the face wrestlers (including D-Generation X) surrounding the ring, on top of Stone Cold returning to help Foley win this match makes it so special. Rival company, WCW screwed themselves when they announced Foley winning the WWF Championship (because of a tape-delay) on their live programming of WCW Monday Night Nitro, because more than half the people watching on cable changed to WWF Monday Night Raw. Hm, ‘guess that’ll put a lot of butts in seats’.
The Hardy Boys Vs Edge & Christian – No Mercy 1999 - One of the earliest tag-team ladder matches in WWF, a lot of people forget about this match being the precursor to those LaddeTLC Matches with each other plus the Dudley’s in the future. It’s a really good match, which helped in the careers in all four men. A small interesting addition to this match is the next night on Raw both teams shake each other’s hands and show each other respect, and the audience gives it a standing ovation.
Triple H Vs Cactus Jack – Royal Rumble 2000 - Triple H was yet to be a fully established big player coming into 2000, but that was until he would be in a feud with Mick Foley (Cactus Jack). This to me is the match that made Triple H as a big time player in the WWF. As Foley started wrapping his in-ring wrestling career it was good to see he helped make Triple H into the mega-star he is today.
Chris Jericho Vs Chris Benoit – Royal Rumble 2001 - These two would feud periodically throughout 2000 and 2001, but this time they’d face in a one on one affair for the Intercontinental Championship in a ladder match. This is one of the best one on one-ladder matches of all time and it’s just so fantastic the chemistry that these two have with each other. Albeit this another one of those brutal matches, including a fantastic Walls of Jericho on top of a ladder spot, which I squirm at every time at I see it.
Triple H Vs Stone Cold Steve Austin – No Way Out 2001 - This was the build up for over a year, it dates back to when Triple H arranged the hit and run of Stone Cold Steve Austin back in 1999. It’s one of my favourite Stone Cold matches, and was quite interesting to see Triple H actually win two straight falls for two big reasons. One reason being that Triple H was the heel, therefore most people expected Stone Cold to finally get his comeuppance on Triple H, and the second reason was Stone Cold was in the main event for Wrestlemania 17; so most people expected he would win to build him up for that match. What makes this even better is that these two men ‘hated’ each other and within a few months the whole landscape of their rivalry would be different.
Edge & Christian Vs Hardy Boys Vs Dudley Boys – Wrestlemania 17 – For the second year in a row, we’re back again with these six men, and you might think by this time it’s the same old thing, they can’t top what they did last time. But that’s what they did. They topped it yet again. This is my favourite match from this Wrestlemania; it’s just so brutal and fun to watch. Arguably a 5-star match to a lot of people and it really helps that its on one of the best PPV’s of all time. Every Ladder match since this match has struggled to be compared as better because these 6 men set the bar so high that it is hard to beat it. One of the best matches in the Attitude Era, and honestly one of the best tag-team matches of all time in wrestling history.
Stone Cold Vs The Rock – Wrestlemania 17 - These two men were competing in a rematch from Wrestlemania 15, two years prior to this. To get this Wrestlemania 17, Austin returned from almost a year away from to win the 2001 Royal Rumble, and The Rock had to defeat Kurt Angle the month prior to this at No Way Out. This is miles ahead better then their former ‘Mania match, these two were the two top men in the attitude era. Fun match, with what is arguably one of the best Wrestlemania’s of all time a complete stacked card. Arguably the most loved match out of their trilogy of Mania matches. For many people this was also the end of the Attitude Era especially with who shocked they were with the ending of Stone Cold turning heel by aligning himself with the devil himself – Vince McMahon.
Kurt Angle Vs Shane McMahon – King of the Ring 2001 - Kurt Angle had competed in 2 matches prior to this match against Shane. This is the epitome of a brutal match, so violent, so ‘unsafe’. Memorable moments from this match: Kurt Angle trying to belly-to-belly suplex Shane though the glass, Shane McMahons shooting star press from the turnbuckle and Kurt Angle angle-slamming Shane McMahon from the top of the turnbuckle.
Team WWF Vs Team Alliance - Survivor Series 2001 - This was the end to the Invasion feud, and honestly no one was really disappointed about that – it had plenty of months of build up but it just failed to live up to the hype because the lack of star power from the opposing side (The Alliance). But nonetheless it’s still a very fun match to watch, but most people going into this show knew there was no way Team WWF losing. Watch the unedited promo if you can find it, it will honestly make you so hyped for this match.
The Rock Vs Hulk Hogan – Wrestlemania 18 - The Legend Vs. The Icon. Listen to that crowd. This is Hulk Hogans first Wrestlemania since 9, and he was going against one of the biggest WWF Stars at the time – The Rock. The electric crowd help make this match be as good as it is.
The Undertaker Vs Jeff Hardy – Raw 01/07/2002 - Undertaker really saw a lot in Jeff Hardy, and from this match you can really tell. They put on a fantastic Ladder Match on this Raw and we even get Jim Ross' famous line Climb the ladder kid, make yourself famous." This match would result in Undertaker reverting back to a Face.
The Rock Vs Kurt Angle Vs Undertaker – Vengeance 2002 - Arguably one of the best triple threat matches during the ruthless aggression era, the only other ones that could potentially give this match a run for it’s money would be the 2 Triple H/Benoit/Michaels matches.
Shawn Michaels Vs Triple H – Summerslam 2002 - The whole Summerslam 2002 itself is actually one of the best PPV’s of all time and I recommend you watch it. But this match was very special, it was Shawn Michaels first match back again in 4 years against his ‘former’ best friend Triple H in a straight up street fight brawl. It really is a testament that Shawn Michaels who hadn’t wrestled in 4 years that him and Triple H could put on a great match, possibly a match of the year contender.
Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle Vs Edge & Rey Mysterio – No Mercy 2002 - This was the final match in the tournament for the Smackdown Tag Team championships quite frankly its one of the best matches from the Smackdown brand in 2002. The mix of these four wrestlers styles works so good with each other, the endless possibilities of what they could do with each other is unfathomable. If you’re watching for the first time it’s very hard to pick who will win this match, highly recommend. It may have only involved 4 out of the 6 ‘Smackdown Six’ but it just goes to show how great each person was. This is a perfect 5 star match for me.
Shawn Michaels Vs Triple H Vs Kane Vs Booker T Vs Rob Van Dam Vs Chris Jericho – Survivor Series 2002 - Supposably back in the early 00’s Triple H (and other WWE Backstage Agents) were pushing to bring back the WCW’s WarGames Cage Match.. but Vince shut the idea down every time. This match is significant for two stand out reasons, one being that it was the first Elimination Chamber Match in WWE history, the other reason being that it was Shawn Michael’s first World Championship reign since 1997. Albeit that the reign lasted less than a month, it is still one of the most memorable moments in Survivor Series and Elimination Chamber history with the celebration of confetti falling from the sky for Shawn.
Kurt Angle Vs Chris Benoit – Royal Rumble 2003 - This to me is Chris Benoit's and Kurt Angles best match in WWE, well for me at least. These two had wrestled many, many times (hell if you’ve actually read the list you’ll see they’re listed several times.) I love these two mens wrestling abilities, two technicians giving their absolute all in a close to 30-minute match. This is the perfect 5 star match to me, and if you don’t agree with me, rewatch the match and be the judge for yourself.
Shawn Michaels Vs Chris Jericho – Wrestlemania 19 - Shawn Michaels was only going to return for a one match deal, thankfully he stuck around for a few more years so he could put on some of the greatest matches in WWE history. When you think of Wrestlemania and Shawn Michaels they go together like Peanut Butter and Chocolate. This match is up there with one of the best Mania matches of all time. These two men would continue a feud in 2008 for a majority of the year and I recommend people go revisit that feud as well.
The Rock Vs Stone Cold – Wrestlemania 19 - This was Stone Colds last ever professional wrestling match and oh boy was it fantastic. It’s very fitting that the last match is between his greatest rival – The Rock. Obviously, this is their final match in their series of ‘Mania matches and for me personally I think it’s the best of the three matches. Now looking back at this match, I wish this was the main event of Wrestlemania 19, a perfect send off for the Texas Rattlesnake. If you ask me, Rock needed this win to help establish himself as THE main star still in the company.
Brock Lesnar Vs Kurt Angle – Smackdown 18/09/2003 – During the original brand split it’s easy to say that Smackdown was winning. Great storylines. Great matches. But in 2003, they made the decision to have the first ever 60 minute Iron Man Match on television. It would be for the WWE Championship against two of the greatest all around professional wrestlers Brock Lesnar & Kurt Angle. This is the final match in their trilogy of matches.
Eddie Guerrero Vs Brock Lesnar – No Way Out 2004 - (I’m gonna steal a quote/paraphrase from Scott Hall) Dreams do come true, hard work does pay off and bad times don’t last and that was true for Eddie Guerrero. Eddie Guerrero wins the big one against Brock Lesnar. Ignore the interferences and all that nonsense; this is just a special moment for everyone who saw Eddie Guerrero overcome his addictions.
Chris Benoit Vs Triple H Vs Shawn Michael – Wrestlemania 20 - It’s a shame that WWE can’t really talk (and show for that matter) about how great this match is, and the post-match celebrations were. For rightfully reasons I guess, but I digress this isn’t a ‘WWE should show and talk about Chris Benoit’ post. This is probably my favourite Triple Threat match of all time, these three men just work so well with each other. This also has one of my favourite Wrestlemania moments, and that’s the post match celebrations. Eddie Guerrero as WWE Champion and Chris Benoit as World Heavyweight Champion embracing each other in a WWE ring to end Wrestlemania 20. Emotional, perfect and very fitting.
Lita Vs Trish Stratus – Raw 2004 - Lita became the first women to three times main event a show, this match was really praised when it first happened, and really it still his praised by fans, and WWE. This match can also be remembered by Litas vicious suicide dive outside the ring. I’d like to include WWE make it seem like Lita & Trish were every girls idols growing up, and whether or not that’s true – it’s easy to see that these two had great chemistry together.
Edge Vs Chris Benoit Vs Chris Jericho Vs Christian Vs Shelton Benjamin Vs Kane – Wrestlemania 21 - This match is fairly Significant as it is the first Money in the Bank match in WWE history, which featured 6 of Raws best mid-card talent at the time, but also significant in the career of Edge because it helped skyrocket him to become one of the top guys in the company for a couple of years before his unfortunate retirement. This match would become the standard-bearer for following Wrestlemania until it stopped being an annual Mania match, and became an annual PPV before Summerslam.
Kurt Angle Vs Shawn Michaels – Wrestlemania 21 - Two of the greatest wrestler’s all time face to face at Wrestlemania, what more can you ask for. I wont say much, just mainly watch this match. Arguably one of the best technical matches during the Ruthless Aggression. This would be the first of three of their singles matches throughout the year – the rematches are both equally fantastic.
Batista Vs Triple H – Vengeance 2005 - This was the final in the trilogy between Batista and Triple H, and this time it was done in ‘the Devil’s favourite playground’ the Hell in a Cell. Bloody match, very underrated and rarely talked about when the conversation of best Hell in a Cell Matches is brought up.
Edge Vs Mick Foley – Wrestlemania 22 - The match that helped really solidify Edge as one of the A+ players in WWE at this time. Foley six years after retiring comes back for a match with the Rated R Superstar, in one of the best hardcore matches ever, and quite possibly put on match of the night for that Wrestlemania.
John Cena Vs Edge - Unforgiven 2006 - Two years before this match when Edge was in Toronto, he was booed as a baby face, fast-forward to this match he was cheered as the most despise able heel. The culmination of the feud between him and Cena was in place as the faced each other in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. This match really meant a lot to Edge, as you can see as they’re doing the introductions he’s trying hard not to be an emotional wreck when the home-town crowd cheer and applaud him.
Undertaker Vs Batista – Wrestlemania 23 - This was Takers year, he had won the 2007 Royal Rumble, he put on two great tag matches with Shawn, Cena and Batista and then he started his great feud with Batista. This was only the first chapter in their feud and if you keep reading this list you’ll see how good these matches were. This was also Undertaker’s first World Championship win in almost 5 years, making it extra special. This was absolutely my match of the night at Wrestlemania 23, I believe it should have main evented. There’s rumors that after the match finished Batista walked backstage and screamed ‘Follow that’ in frustration of not being the main event.
Shawn Michaels Vs John Cena – Raw 23/04/2007 - This is one of not only the best Raw matches of all time, but one of Cena’s best matches of all time. They go close to an hour back and forth with no end in sight – if this match was for the WWE Championship that crowd would’ve been absolutely electric.
Shawn Michaels Vs Ric Flair – Wrestlemania 24 - This match had a retirement stipulation to it; where if Ric Flair lost he would have to retire. This isn’t the best wrestling match of all time, but it’s one of the saddest and storytelling matches of all time. Honestly, Ric Flair has had one of the best careers of all times with so many endless classics its no wonder why people consider of the greatest wrestler of all time. The whole weekend was super special for Flair – he was inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame, he had this match and then the next night on Raw, he was given a farewell speech which resulted in tons of past wrestlers, present wrestlers, crew members and everyone in the back came out and pay their respects to him.
Edge Vs The Undertaker – One Night Stand 2008 - These two put on one of the best one-on-one Tables, Ladders and Chairs matches of all time. It’s a shame that it only gets a 3 1/2 stars, to me it’s closer to 4 ½*, I guess that’s why Meltzers ratings are just a base of what his opinion is, and you should make your own up. I love this match. If anyone has access to this show where Meltzer talks about this match I’d love to read it/listen to it.
The Undertaker Vs Shawn Michaels – Wrestlemania 25 - Not only one of the best WWE Matches of all time, but one of the best matches in professional wrestling of all time. Whenever there’s post on Reddit (or in general) regarding what matches should be 5 star matches this match is always commented. If you’re going to watch any match on this list, choose this match. I could fill up this whole post discussing the history between these two men from the 90’s all the way to this match, but I want to keep it pretty short. This is a lot of peoples favourite match of all time and for good reason. The comparisons of darkness and the light, heaven and hell, good vs evil and so much more surround this match. Simply it’s two of the greatest of all time competing at the biggest show of the year. It’s interesting to note that this match was also going to be placed 3rd on the card with only 10-15 minutes, which pissed them both off enough to get the match pushed down the card and gave them the objective of trying to steal the show, which they did.
Rey Mysterio Vs Chris Jericho – The Bash 2009 - In 2009, Rey Mysterio would rejuvenise his career a bit after a bit of a slum when he would compete against rival Chris Jericho in a string of great matches which lasted a few months. I feel like this got lost in the shuffle in 2009, especially when people look back on the year specifically when they bring up the bad qualities such as Raw Special Guest GM’s, World Champions swapping every month and the same main three people (Orton, Triple H & Cena) hogging the main event scene. But I plead people to go back and watch the Jericho and Mysterio feud/matches because they are works of art.
CM Punk Vs Jeff Hardy – Summerslam 2009 - This was in the midst of CM Punk’s first heel run in the company, and it was exceptional to see a feud between these two, one of the best single TLC matches of all time. This would be Hardy's second last match before he left WWE – if this was his last match, I think everyone would have been fine with it as well.
Undertaker Vs Shawn Michaels – Wrestlemania 26 - Just when you thought nothing could give TakeShawn from Wrestlemania 25 a run for its money, you get the rematch of a lifetime – this time with the stipulation of if Shawn loses his career is over. Back to back matches, and two equally back-to-back critically acclaimed 5 star matches. Many people still to this day argue whether this match is better than their previous match at Wrestlemania 25 (which I’d love to hear if you agree in the comments). The show of respect after the match with each men shaking hands and hugging, followed by Shawn’s emotional send off is quite the scene.
CM Punk Vs John Cena – Money in the Bank 2011 – The story going into this match had so much riding on it – Punk’s WWE Contract coming to an end, the WWE Championship on the line and Cena potentially getting fired. The emotions that night, matched with the abilities of both men show how great they work together in the squared circle showed how good each mens performances are in that match.
The Undertaker Vs Triple H – Wrestlemania 28 - This was match was the third in their Wrestlemania series. It was billed as ‘The End of an Era – Hell in a Cell match’ with the special guest referee: Shawn Michaels. Three men that once defined the Attitude Era, would get to put on a great performance on the grandest show of them all Wrestlemania. The match is fun, and really showcases both mens best elements. The final sequence of the match, and the post-match celebrations/farewells is satisfying closing one of the best eras. Many people, believe this is where Undertaker should have retired, on top 20-0.
The Rock Vs John Cena – Wrestlemania 28 - This match was built up for more than a year and it was set in stone one year in advance. It was billed as ‘Once in a Lifetime’. It main-evented a stacked card. The match was really fun, and it was good to see Cena play the ‘heel’ role during this match for the crowd. People seem to negative about this match, and I really don’t know why – it was good to have the Rock back, Cena was coming into his prime and was proving he could work a decent match with anyone. It did great business, making it the biggest Wrestlemania PPV buy rate to date
The Shield Vs Team Hell No – TLC 2012 - This was The Shields debut match and it really proved to audiences who didn't know the three members just how great they were and how they were gonna take the WWE to greater places. Arguably also one of the best matches in WWE for that year.
2020.03.09 10:17 Brute_Squad_44The best wrestler to never win a north american World Title
First of all, let's classify what we mean by a World Title. Any championship by any promotion that was considered a "major" promotion in its day. So WWF/E in all iterations, WCW, AWA, and NWA (Pre -September 15, 1993). I'm kinda leaning against counting TNA, ECW, because of a lack of any mainstream success. Same with ROH. I'm also leaning towards discounting AEW based on longevity at the time of this writing, but both AEW champions to date held world titles in WWE anyway so the point is moot. I'm throwing out Japan because I'm just not educated enough on it. I like watching NJPW, both old and current matches, but compared to the smarks on this board? I know I've only scratched the surface. I'm also focusing on men's wrestling. Again I am not educated enough on women's wrestling outside of the modern era to contribute. So there are the criteria. Who are the best wrestlers, who primarily made their careers in North America, who never won a major North American World Championship: WWE/F AWA, NWA, WCW.I'll start with 5, but by no means consider this list complete or exhaustive. Arn Anderson: And honestly I don't know why it never happened. WCW had a history of turning friends against each other and making them fight. I can't believe he and Flair only ever had one match, and I can't believe he never, ever turned on Flair and tried to win the belt. Arn Anderson had the "bad" luck to be so close to Ric Flair. If he would have come along in a different era, or broken out, or never joined the Horsemen, he would have had a chance to shine. The guy was synonymous with the WCW TV title to the point where I think they gave it to him when WCW folded. He could do anything in the ring. He could talk. He could get a great match out of anyone. He's frequently listed as a top-five opponent by several Hall-of-Fame-caliber wrestlers such as Dusty Rhodes and Rick Steamboat. Matt Hardy: Held the ROH and TNA titles, but never got a chance to show what he could do in WWE. I'm not sure he wasn't the better overall wrestler of the Hardy's. His character work, when left to his own devices, was great. Not just Broken Matt, either. Delivered some of the best promos and work of his life in the Lita/Edge feud, but WWE put their chips on Edge. His Version 1 character was ahead of its time, and he largely came up with it himself. Truly a creative force when allowed to be so. Final Deletion is still probably the best thing ever done in TNA. Roddy Piper: By and large this was his fault according to Hulk Hogan. He refused to do business with Hogan. Now, this is largely told by Hogan on the Stone Cold Podcast, so grain of salt. But apparently, a big reason he never won the WWF title was that he refused to lose cleanly to Hogan in their matches so they didn't give him the belt. He also regretted this later in his carer because he felt like he could have made more money if he'd swallowed some pride and been a better businessman. Owen Hart: It seems like blasphemy now, but there was a time where Owen was considered the best Hart. He was a better promo and his heel character was better than anything Bret ever did. as a character. he had more personality and a better sense of humor. But some say his work was better, particularly when he was in Europe or Japan and Bruce Pritchard was trying to get Vince to sign him. Whether his work was better than Bret's or not, whoever was better, we're talking a matter of degrees. There were legitimate plans to give him the belt in 1994 but McMahon changed his mind. Ultimately, I think his injuring of Stone Cold hurt him in his later years. Stone Cold had heat with him up until his death, and if the top guy has an issue with you, you're not getting a top spot. Bruiser Brody and Dr. Death: I'm going to put these guys here because I think they had the same "problem". They both made so much money in Japan that they couldn't commit to the long-term time necessary to be credible world champions. Back in their era, world champions typically held the belt for months, minimum. Becoming a world champion would have taken a year-long commitment to build the guy, have him win, then have him lose. Financially, it made no sense for Brody or Doc to make that commitment and forgo huge paydays in Japan.
Bruiser was being considered (and according to Bruce Pritchard there were negotiations) to come to WWE as an opponent for Hogan ( and possibly The Undertaker, Pritchard speculates, if the deal had gone to fruition) potentially for a short term deal that would have started in or around 1989. Sadly, he was murdered in June 1988.
Doc's best chance would have been near the end of his career when he was being eyeballed as a potential opponent for Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1998. Then the Archbishop of Talent Bury came up with that stupid Brawl For All, Doc tore his groin in the process, got beat by Bart Gunn and killed any heat he could have had to take on Austin.
Kurt Angle vs Mr. Perfect Mr. Perfect goes on a win streak after his return at the Royal Rumble beating guys like D-Lo Brown, The Big Bossman and even beats Kane at No Way Out and he starts to talk about how he’s the best wrestler in the WWF to which Kurt Angle responds and says I know you been away a while but I stepped up and I did in one year what you could never do and that’s win the WWF Championship. Angle challenges Mr. Perfect to a match at WrestleMania which Perfect accepts. Angle and Perfect have an amazing 20 minute opener with great technical wrestling mixed with high spots Angle wins after countering a perfect-plex into the ankle locking making Perfect tap. Perfect puts over Angle after the match as the best wrestler in the world. Rob Van Dam vs William Regal(c) Intercontinental Championship Keep the same. The Big Show vs vs DDP vs Maven vs Kane vs Test vs Christian(c) Hardcore Championship On the Raw after No Way Out, Christian recovers from losing the European Championship to DDP a few months back by pinning Maven for the Hardcore Championship and over the next few weeks he manages to avoid losing the Hardcore Title and promises to walk out of WrestleMania with the championship. Goldust wants to make a comeback, Kane wants to do what he does best inflict pain, Maven wants his title back, Test wants to get noticed and DDP wants to compete at his first WrestleMania which drives them all to gun for Christian’s Hardcore Championship a match is made for WrestleMania the 24/7 rule will be suspended during the match. This match is a 15 minute car crash of a match, DDP wins by hitting a diamond cutter on Christian off the top rope through a table. All the mid card guys in the back who aren’t on the WrestleMania card chase DDP but he manages to escape the arena. Lance Storm vs Billy Kidman(c) Cruiserweight Championship Billy Kidman has been Cruiserweight Champion for several months now fending off all types of challengers so the technical master Lance Storm steps up and they have a classic 12 minute match at WrestleMania which Storm wins to win his first Cruiserweight Championship in the WWF. Edge vs Scott Hall(c) /w Kevin Nash European Championship The NWO return and they want all the gold Scott Hall guns for DDP’s European Championship at No Way Out which he wins clean. The NWO try to recruit Edge but he refuses leading the NWO to attack him Hogan tells Scott Hall to teach him a lesson at WrestleMania. Edge beats Scott Hall despite Kevin Nash interference time win his first European Championship which is great it gives Edge a legend to go over on the grandest stage of them all. The Rock vs Booker T Booker T costs The Rock title opportunity after title opportunity and finally The Rock has had enough they have a match at WrestleMania which The Rock wins but Booker T looks great coming out of the match. The Undertaker and Kane vs The Hardy Boyz(c) World Tag Team Championships The Undertaker is pissed off about losing the Hardcore Title to Maven and he starts attacking everyone ranging from midcarders in the back he attacks Matt Hardy but is stopped by Jeff and they have a match on Raw and after Matt Hardy interferences Jeff Hardy wins. The Undertaker recruits Kane so they can go after the titles but Kane is a baby face and doesn’t approve of The Undertaker’s methods but reluctantly agrees to help him. Kane fights honorably but The Undertaker cheats you win the Tag Titles off The Hardy Boyz. Triple H vs Chris Jericho /w Stephanie McMahon no holds barred match Triple H makes his return from his quad injury at the Royal Rumble he goes straight for Jericho and eliminates him but Jericho slides back into the ring and eliminates Triple H. Jericho makes things worse when he starts dating Stephanie McMahon and now Triple H wants blood a no holds barred match is made for WrestleMania which Triple H wins after Stephanie McMahon turns on Chris Jericho. Jazz(c) vs Lita vs Trish Stratus Women’s Championship Keep the same. ”Hollywood” Hulk Hogan /w Kevin Nash and Scott Hall vs “Stone Cold” Steve Austin(c) /w Ric Flair Undisputed WWF Championship Austin beats Jericho at the Royal Rumble to win the Undisputed Championship that same night Ric Flair beats Vince McMahon in a street fight and after the match Vince McMahon says he’ll inject the WWF with a lethal dose of poison and that same night the NWO (Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) make their surprise return entering at the #30 spot beating down everyone they eliminate everyone and all three of them go over the top rope and hit the floor at the same time meaning all three men won the Rumble and most importantly Hulk Hogan has tied Austin’s Royal Rumble won record creating another parallel between them. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall give up their title shot so Hogan alone can challenge for the title at WrestleMania. Austin beats Triple H and Chris Jericho at No Way Out to retain the championship so that means the dream match is set “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan vs “Stone Cold” Steve Austin for the WWF Championship at WrestleMania. This match is a classic with lots a interference Austin hits a stunner on Hogan and pins him but the ref is pulled out of the ring and is beaten up by Hall and Nash, Edge and The Rock run out to even the odds and a huge six man brawl breaks out, Hogan grabs a chair taking out Edge and The Rock and goes to hit Austin but he ducks and Hogan accidentally clocks the referee who was just making his way back to his feet, Austin hits another stunner but no ref and Austin gets beaten up by Hall, Nash and later Hogan. Triple H runs out with a sledgehammer running all three men off but he hits Austin with the sledgehammer and a pedigree, Hogan gets back into the ring and hits a leg drop, Triple H revives the ref and he slowly counts 1,2,3 Hulk Hogan is the new Undisputed WWF Championship, Triple H has joined the NWO and they spray paint the letters NWO in Austin’s back and the WWF Title belt to end the show.
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