Inside Pulse » test http://insidepulse.com A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Sat, 25 Apr 2015 13:43:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.3 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » test http://insidepulse.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://insidepulse.com Throwback Thursday: Championship Flashback, The WWF European Championship http://insidepulse.com/2015/04/09/throwback-thursday-championship-flashback-the-wwf-european-championship/ http://insidepulse.com/2015/04/09/throwback-thursday-championship-flashback-the-wwf-european-championship/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 12:01:38 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=5017816

Championship Flashback: The WWF European Championship

 

A look back at the European Championship title belt and the men (and a few women) who coveted it.

Date Established: February 26, 1997

Date Retired: July 22, 2002

 

The WWE European Championship was originally known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) European Championship. It emerged in 1997 when The British Bulldog became the first Champion after winning a tournament that was held over several shows in Germany, culminating in a finals victory over Owen Hart.

The title was mostly considered mid-card but that didn’t mean entertaining moments and matches weren’t a part of the title’s history.

After winning the European title, both D’Lo Brown and Al Snow were billed from different parts of Europe each week while champion. During Snow’s reign, he and “Head” dressed up as various ethnic stereotypes corresponding to the European location they were billed from, though not always in a politically or geographically correct manner, giving further comedic points to Al Snow. The belt was retired briefly in April 1999 by then-champion Shane McMahon, who wanted to retire as an “undefeated champion”. McMahon reintroduced the championship two months later and awarded the title to Mideon, who saw the title belt in Shane’s travel bag and asked if he could have it.

The British Bulldog was the inaugural champion and has had the longest title reign with 206 days. William Regal and D’Lo Brown both have had the most title reigns, each holding it four times.

The shortest reigns as European Champion were those of Jeff Jarrett and Chris Jericho, who each held the championship for roughly one day. Jeff Jarrett defeated D’Lo Brown for the European Championship (along with the Intercontinental Championship) at Summerslam 1999 (in the opening match, around 8 PM EST) and gave it to Mark Henry the following night on RAW (around 10 PM EST). Chris Jericho defeated Kurt Angle in a triple threat match at Wrestlemania 2000 (by pinning Chris Benoit at around 10 PM EST) and lost the title to Eddie Guerrero on RAW the night after (around 9 PM EST). Jeff Hardy was the youngest champion, at 24.

The term “Eurocontinental Champion” is a portmanteau of European and Intercontinental, used to describe wrestlers who held both titles simultaneously. Three wrestlers were booked to accomplish this feat. The first was D’Lo Brown, who defeated Mideon for the European title at Fully Loaded in 1999 and two nights later at a Monday Night Raw taping, defeated Jeff Jarrett to win the Intercontinental Championship. A month later at SummerSlam Jarrett defeated Brown to win both titles, thus becoming the second Eurocontinental Champion.

On the February 10, 2000 edition of SmackDown! Kurt Angle defeated Val Venis to win the European Championship. At No Way Out seventeen days later Angle defeated Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship and became the third man to hold both the European and Intercontinental Championships simultaneously. Angle held the titles until WrestleMania 2000, when he faced Jericho and Chris Benoit in a two-fall triple threat match for his belts. In a rarity, Angle lost both of his championships without being pinned or forced to submit; Benoit defeated Jericho in the first fall for the Intercontinental Championship and Jericho returned the favor in the second fall to take the European Championship.

During the “Invasion” storyline the WWE European Championship was unified with the WWE Intercontinental Championship in a ladder match on July 22, 2002 when Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam defeated European Champion Jeff Hardy.

Below is a list of the wrestlers who have held the title over the years.

1.    The British Bulldog
2.    William Regal
3.    Triple H
4.    D’Lo Brown
5.    Eddie Guerrero
6.    X-Pac
7.    Matt Hardy
8.    Christian
9.    Test
10.    Val Venis
11.    The Hurricane
12.    Owen Hart
13.    Kurt Angle
14.    Diamond Dallas Page
15.    Al Snow
16.    Shane McMahon
17.    Perry Saturn
18.    Mideon
19.    Mark Henry
20.    Spike Dudley
21.    Jeff Hardy
22.    Bradshaw
23.    Crash Holly
24.    Jeff Jarrett
25.    Chris Jericho
26.    Rob Van Dam
27.    Shawn Michaels
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Throwback Thursday: Favorite Former Couples http://insidepulse.com/2015/01/29/throwback-thursday-favorite-former-couples/ http://insidepulse.com/2015/01/29/throwback-thursday-favorite-former-couples/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:00:08 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=5008415 tbt

The people we cheered for and we loved to see fight, for and with each other.

 

With Valentine’s Day just days away I figured it was a chance to look at the softer side of the WWE. Let’s face it, without some of these angles a lot of the great storylines would have never happened. (Please see Undertaker & Sarah/ X-Pac & Tori & Kane for examples about this.)

1. Triple H & Chyna:

Chyna and Triple H

A true power couple, both of them strong and confident even without the other by their side. Chyna didn’t deny her relationship with Triple H but they didn’t flaunt it either. Their support for each other over the years (DX & beyond) made it easy to love this couple until the end of their relationship in 2000. Despite controversy lately around Triple H’s comments about whether or not Chyna will be inducted into the hall of fame it is safe to say this couple was a force to be reckoned with.

2. Eddie Guerrero &Chyna:

 

 

“Mamacita!” Practically everyone loved hearing this music hit and the entrance of Eddie Guerrero & Chyna back in the Attitude Era days. Let’s not forget that this pair first met with a level of dislike on-screen, when Eddie, along with the Radicals, kept getting involved in other people’s business, specifically Eddie getting in Chyna’s way. He’d run his mouth about laying some “Latino Heat” on her and, for a while there, Chyna was able to resist his charms. Until, one day, she just couldn’t resist it anymore. Together they helped the other win numerous titles and some high profile matches and even went to prom together as part of a storyline where Eddie received his GED.

3. Kane & Tori:

An underdog love story of a former fan and a masked “freak” as he used to be called, it was sweet seeing Kane care about someone on a supposedly deeper level. However, the relationship was short lived, but let’s not forget how nice it was seeing Kane protect someone rather than rip them apart.

4. X-Pac & Tori:

The anti-thesis of Kane and Tori was X-Pac and Tori. After a falling out between the friends (Kane & X-Pac) Kane’s girlfriend Tori was put in a tough spot, her company for a weekend was on the line. After interference from DX Kane lost and Tori was forced to spend the weekend with X-Pac. On their return from the weekend Tori said X-Pac had been a “gentleman” but soon Tori turned on Kane and ran into the arms of his former friend and tag-team partner.

5. Undertaker & Sara:

Many think it was a mistake to show another side of the Deadman but I, along with many other fans, enjoyed the new angles this more “human” incarnation of the Undertaker brought to the ring, especially as it pertained to the Invasion of WCW/ECW when DDP began to stalk Sara. Adding more reasons to hate the invading companies made it easier to hope Undertaker got his hands on DDP and made us love Sara (especially when she low-blowed DDP or slapped him in the face.)

6. Matt Hardy & Lita:

Lita became a fan favorite as soon as she joined with the Hardy Boys and soon her kayfabe relationship with Matt Hardy was a fan favorite of the programing as well. From the awkward first kiss, to the attempted (and thankfully failed) loved triangle with the brothers and Lita and, finally, the complete destruction of the relationship, Matt Hardy & Lita were a great pair. Sure, Matt protected Lita but the best part was that he didn’t always have to! Who doesn’t love a damsel in distress that can save herself (and her man) from time to time?

7. Test & Stephanie McMahon:

The original love connection for Stephanie McMahon on screen was with Test (Andrew Martin). While it was strictly an on-screen love who could forget the fight between Test & Shane McMahon as they fought over Stephanie, literally? The match rules were simple, if Shane won then the relationship between Test and Stephanie was over but if Test won, quite simply, Shane and everyone else in the family had to butt out of Stephanie’s relationship. Test won the match, and even though it was all a storyline, it was nice to see someone fight for their relationship as hard as Test did.

8. Tajiri & Torrie Wilson:

An odd pair to say the least. It came at the start of the Invasion and ended fairly quickly resulting in Torrie Wilson defecting to the WWE to be with Tajiri and feud with former friend/sometimes tag partner Stacy Keibler. When it first start fans cheered for the lucky man but soon booed him, especially when he began forcing Torrie to wear geisha clothing to the ring. Perhaps, for many fans, the best part of the relationship, was the end when Torrie Wilson stood on the announcer’s table and stripped down, taunting Tajiri and causing him to lose a match in the process.

9. Spike Dudley & Molly Holly:

The WWE’s version of star-crossed lovers was Molly Holly and Spike Dudley who came from feuding families. However, they were a cute and sweet couple, a light-hearted segment during most of the more intense matches and rivalries going on at the time. However, when The Hurricane kidnapped Molly Holly, who suffered from a head injury, and turned her into Mighty Molly the relationship was over and another comedic pair was born.

10. Jeff Hardy & Trish Stratus:

This relationship was short-lived, at best, but the fan reaction was undeniable. Hardy saved Stratus from Steven Richard and Victoria. In thanks, Trish planted a quick kiss on his lips for his trouble. Essentially, fans lost it. After that, anytime the Rainbow Haired Warrior and the Blonde Bombshell were on the screen together people were waiting for something to happen. Even though nothing did, all the fan videos for this couple on YouTube say that people still remember this fleeting romance.

Honorable Mention:

Test & Stacy Keibler:

Image result for test wwe 

In October of 2002 this pair became an item under the guise of a relationship and with Stacy serving as an image consultant and manager for Test. After cutting his hair and changing his look a bit Stacy names Test’s fans “Testicles”, an ongoing joke amongst viewers, and soon Stacy was not only managing Test but Scott Steiner as well. The on-screen relationship was short lived but a was still a good source of comedy and amusement for the fans.

 

If you’re wondering why Triple H & Stephanie McMahon weren’t included on the list the answer is simple, they are still a couple. Former couple’s only this time.
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Throwback Thursday, Monday Memories Edition: Royal Rumble, Past, Present, Future http://insidepulse.com/2015/01/26/throwback-thursday-monday-memories-edition-royal-rumble-past-present-future/ http://insidepulse.com/2015/01/26/throwback-thursday-monday-memories-edition-royal-rumble-past-present-future/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 03:16:58 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=5008473 tbt

 

 

This week on Throwback Thursday we will take a look back over several Royal Rumbles, along with a review of this year’s Royal Rumble!

 

The Royal Rumble has long been called the beginning of the “Road to Wrestlemania” and let’s face it, that’s exactly what it is. With the Royal Rumble winner earning a shot at the main event at Wrestlemania, the Royal Rumble match matters. So, now, let’s take a look back over the years at a few past Royal Rumbles, this year’s Royal Rumble and hopes for the future.

 

Royal Rumble 2000

Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY.

Other matches/ moments:

  • Kaientai & The Mean Street Posse are denied entry to the Royal Rumble and, basically, throw hissy-fits.
  • Kurt Angle v. Tazz: after Angle runs his mouth, talking down on NY sports teams and his, at that time, unnamed opponent, Tazz makes his entrance (and WWF PPV debut.) Tazz applies the Tazzmission for the win, after Angle passes out in the hold. (Angle wakes up later, insisting that he didn’t really lose because he didn’t tap out, whining about his undefeated streak.)
  • Tag Team Tables Match, The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz: The first Tag Team Tables Match, with the rule that the team must put both their opponents through the table (via an offensive move) to win. This rule played a big part later because Jeff, aiming to hit D-Von with the senton bomb through the table, missed D-Von when he moved, however, since he’d done it to himself, the Hardyz were still in the match. With both Matt & Bubba Ray having gone through tables it was down to Jeff and D-Von, the match ending in the Hardyz favor when Jeff put D-Von through a table via a Swanton Bomb off the balcony. (A match highlight still looked at today.)
  • Miss Rumble 2000 Swimsuit Contest- In classic WWF fashion several Divas stripped down and showed off what God/ medical procedures had given them. Ivory, Terri, Jacqueline, Barbara Bush, Luna and The Kat,  with Mae Young coming out to join in (and scar the world in the process as she stripped down beyond her swimsuit.) The judges gave the win to Young and everyone walked away unhappy.
  • WWF Intercontinental Championship Match, Triple Threat, Hardcore Holly v. Chris Jericho v. Chyna –  After a lot of close calls (with each competitor gaining 2-counts on their rivals throughout the match) Jericho walked away with the title (but not after Chyna had used both the Pedigree and the Walls of Jericho on her opponents, showing her power and Holly proved his determination and lack of intimidation as he fought equally with both Chyna and Jericho, showing his strength and skill.)
  • WWF Tag Team Championship, New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn) v. The Acolytes (Bradshaw & Faarooq) – A good match until X-Pac came out and interfered, allowing Road Dogg & Billy Gunn to retain the titles.
  • WWF Championship, Street Fight, Triple H v. Cactus Jack – brutal and bloody from start to finish. Between the ring bell, two by fours, and thumbtacks being used the match ended with Triple H giving a Pedigree to Cactus Jack on the thumbtacks for the win and to retain his title.

The Royal Rumble- Main Event

Entrants:

  1. D’Lo Brown
  2. Grand Master Sexay
  3. Mosh
  4. Christian
  5. Rikishi
  6. Scotty 2 Hotty
  7. Steve Blackman
  8. Viscera
  9. Big Boss Man
  10. Test
  11. The British Bulldog
  12. Gangrel
  13. Edge
  14. Bob Backlund
  15. Chris Jericho
  16. Crash Holly
  17. Chyna
  18. Farrooq
  19. Road Dogg
  20. Al Snow
  21. Val Venis
  22. Prince Albert
  23. Hardcore Holly
  24. The Rock- winner
  25. Billy Gunn
  26. Big Show
  27. Bradshaw
  28. Kane
  29. The Godfather
  30. X-Pac

During the Royal Rumble match in 2000 a few odd/funny moments happened. Kaientai ran out and jumped into the fray of the rumble a few times since they were still upset at not being allowed in the Rumble officially. However, they were tossed out, unceremoniously, every time. Once all the members of Too Cool were in the ring the three friends danced until Rikishi threw both Scotty 2 Hotty and Gran Master Sexay over the top rope.

The final four were The Rock, The Big Show, Kane and X-Pac. The New Age Outlaws pulled Kane out and attacked him, drawing the referee’s attention as they tried to break up the brawl outside the ring. With the referees occupied X-Pac was able to re-enter the match, despite having been eliminated by the Rock. X-Pac would eliminate Kane with a spinning heel kick, only to be eliminated by The Big Show. Finally it was down to two, The Rock and The Big Show.

With a spinebuster and a People’s Elbow everyone thought The Rock would win but The Big Show chokeslammed him. After getting The Rock on his shoulders it appeared The Big Show would win until Rock held onto the ropes and pulled The Big Show over instead, leading to the Rock being named as the winner. (After this, The Big Show and The Rock feuded, The Big Show claiming that The Rock’s feet hit the floor first.)

Royal Rumble 2005

Location: Save Mart Center at Fresno State, Fresno, CA.

Other matches/ moments:

  • Edge v. Shawn Michaels – Edge, now on his solo career track and with a super-cocky attitude (even more than before) taunted Michaels throughout the match and, ultimately, cheated to win by using the ropes.
  • Casket Match, Heidenrich v. The Undertaker – a back and forth match, with a lot of power struggled and moments where it looked like Heidenrich might win (and avoid the casket he feared so much) until Undertaker took complete control. With a chokeslam and a Tombstone Piledriver before rolling Heidenrich in the casket and slamming it shut.
  • WWE Championship, Triple Threat Match, JBL v. Big Show v. Kurt Angle – Angle avoided the match, and his opponents, until he needed to break up a pin attempt, but even with Angle in the mix Big Show had the advantage until he was smashed in the head with a TV monitor courtesy of Angle.  A back and forth continued until Luther Reigns, Mark Jindrak, Doug, and Danny Basham attacked Big Show, and Orlando Jordan helped JBL back into the ring. JBL then executed a Clothesline from Hell on Angle. JBL then pinned Angle to retain the title.
  • World Heavyweight Championship, Triple H v. Randy Orton – With the remaining members of Evolution (Ric Flair and Batista) banned from ringside it appeared that Orton may get a fair fight after all. However, after a missed DDT Orton suffered a kayfabe concussion. Triple H knocked both Orton and the referee down before bringing a sledgehammer into the mix which never made contact with Orton. However, Triple H was able to hit Orton with a clothesline and a Pedigree to win the match and retain his title.

 

The Royal Rumble- Main Event

Entrants:

  1.  Eddie Guerrero
  2. Chris Benoit
  3. Daniel Puder
  4. Hardcore Holly
  5. The Hurricane
  6. Kenzo Suzuki
  7. Edge
  8. Rey Mysterio
  9. Shelton Benjamin
  10. Booker T
  11. Chris Jericho
  12. Luther Reigns
  13. Muhammad Hassan
  14. Orlando Jordan
  15. Scotty 2 Hotty
  16. Charlie Haas
  17. René Duprée
  18. Simon Dean
  19. Shawn Michaels
  20. Kurt Angle
  21. Jonathan Coachman
  22. Mark Jindrak
  23. Viscera
  24. Paul London
  25. John Cena
  26. Snitsky
  27. Kane
  28. Batista- winner
  29. Christian
  30. Ric Flair

This year’s Royal Rumble match was during the time of brand separation so there was a lot of back and forth with Raw superstars only attacking Smackdown superstars (except for Hassan who everyone attacked). When both John Cena and Batista’s feet hit the ground at the same time, Mr. McMahon came out and demanded the match continue with the final two entrants. Batista eventually put Cena over the top rope to win.

Royal Rumble 2010

Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, GA.

Other matches/ moments:

  • ECW Championship, Christian v. Ezekial Jackson – With William Regal accompanying Jackson it looked like Regal was going to help Jackson win until a referee sent him to the back. Jackson was still able to gain control of the match, and nearly pin the champion, Christian hit the Killswitch and retained his title.
  • WWE United States Championship, The Miz v.  Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP)-Miz was controlled the match until MVP hit the Playmaker. The Miz, however, would roll out of the ring to recover, drawing MVP out as well. Miz slid back into the ring real quick before rolling MVP up with the small package to retain the title.
  • WWE Championship, Sheamus v. Randy Orton – The match was back and forth, with Sheamus injuring Orton’s arm and Orton nearly punting Sheamus. Then, Cody Rhodes jumped in and attacked Sheamus, causing Orton to lose via DQ. Orton would attack Rhodes, and then Ted Dibiase who came out to stop the fight. Sheamus would Brogue Kick Orton and celebrate his win and his retaining the title, even if it was by DQ.
  • WWE Women’s Championship, Michelle McCool v. Mickie James – McCool was accompanied by Layla who taunted Mickie James until she was hit with a clothesline. The match began and McCool, who was trying to hit Mickie with a big boot, hit Layla instead. This lead to Mickie hitting a DDT (Mickie DT) for the pin, winning the title for the fifth time.

The Royal Rumble- Main Event

Entrants:

  1.  Dolph Ziggler
  2. Evan Bourne
  3. CM Punk
  4. JTG
  5. The Great Khali
  6. Beth Phoenix
  7. Zack Ryder
  8. Triple H
  9. Drew McIntyre
  10. Ted DiBiase
  11. John Morrison
  12. Kane
  13. Cody Rhodes
  14. Montel Vontavious Porter
  15. Carlito
  16. The Miz
  17. Matt Hardy
  18. Shawn Michaels
  19. John Cena
  20. Shelton Benjamin
  21. Yoshi Tatsu
  22. Big Show
  23. Mark Henry
  24. Chris Masters
  25. R-Truth
  26. Jack Swagger
  27. Kofi Kingston
  28. Chris Jericho
  29. Edge- winner
  30. Batista

2010’s Royal Rumble was filled with a ton of ego trips. CM Punk eliminated Evan Bourne and Dolph Ziggler and then wasted time talking on the microphone about how he was guaranteeing to win the match. JTG ran out, interrupting the rant, but was soon eliminated. Khali entered the match, as did Beth Phoenix (only the second female to ever be in a Royal Rumble.) Phoenix eliminated Khali (kissing him to distract him) before Punk eliminated her. Zack Ryder came out, only to be hit with a microphone by Punk and eliminated as well.

Triple H came out to dominate Punk and throw him over the rope. Other entrants joined forces to eliminate their competitors, (i.e. Cody Rhdoes and Ted DiBiase focusing on Kane, but not eliminating him.) MVP was attacked by The Miz and never entered the match.  Matt Hardy entered, only to be eliminated by Kane who was then tossed out by Triple H. Soon it was Triple H and Shawn Michaels alone in the ring.

John Cena joined the fray, just before Triple H was superkicked by Michaels and eliminated. Shelton Benjamin was tossed out by Cena as was Yoshi Tatsu. The Big Show and Mark Henry entered,  Chris Masters close behind (then eliminated by Big Show.) There was a power struggle between Big Show and Mark Henry, who were trying to eliminate each other, until R-Truth came in and eliminated them both from behind.

The match continued, with Kofi Kingston walking on his hands to avoid elimination before officially being tossed out. Edge, number 29, came out after six months due to injury, and speared everyone in sight. Batista came out and eliminated Michaels. Finally, Cena eliminated Batista and Edge eliminated Cena to win the match.

 

Royal Rumble 2015

Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

Other matches/ moments:

  • The Pre-Show: Panel makes Predictions- The panel, made up of Renee Young, Booker T, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton talked about the matches coming up tonight and a few made predictions for the the big rumble match. Corey Graves- Roman Reigns, Booker T- Rusev, Renee Young- Daniel Bryan. The rest of the panel was full of discussions about other upcoming matches and we saw a clip of Booker T interview Shawn Michaels about the importance of the Royal Rumble. Shawn Michaels made a point to say that Daniel Bryan will have a big mountain to climb as will other guys in the match, if they want the main spot at Wrestlemania.
  • Tyson Kidd & Cesaro v. The New Day’s Kofi Kingston & Big E – This match was a way for both teams to show how well they work together and for their strong men to show off a bit. This match had a lot of back and forth in it, with both teams gaining near falls but in the end, while the referee was distracted by Adam Rose on one side, Cesaro was able to sneak a huge uppercut in on Big E before Tyson Kidd hits a swinging neck breaker for the win.
  • A brief moment in the Social Media Lounge showed Eric Rowan, Ryback and Dolph Ziggler answering fan questions. When the interviewer asked Rowan about past rumbles and how he won’t be in this year’s rumble Rowan made a cryptically sad statement and walked away which left Ryback and Ziggler looking at the interviewer with expressions that could only mean “Why would you ask him that?” A brief showing of camaraderie among the recently rehired superstars was a nice bit to see.
  • New Age Outlaws v. The Ascension – The New Age Outlaws came out and did their normal speech. The Ascension entered and we saw a pretty decent tag match (when you consider one team is WWE Alumni and getting up there in age and the other team is still pretty green by company standards.) The Ascension was able to hit Billy Gunn with The Fall of Man and pick up the win. It was probably their only significant win to date since coming to the main roster.
  • Tag Team Championship, The Usos v. The Miz & Mizdow – This match had it’s predictable moments but was all around solid. Predictable in that Mizdow would be cheered, Miz would be booed and that Miz would refuse to tag in Mizdow. However, Mizdow gets in the ring and hits a few solid moves in an attempt to help win the match, including using Miz’s Skull Crushing Finale which lead to a near fall. The Usos were, in the end, victorious after a kick to the chin and a Samoan splash for the the three count.
  • The Bella Twins v. Natalya & Paige – In the begining this match looked like it would be decent. The Bella’s win was well done, despite the fact that the synchronicity between the twins made Paige & Natalya look like fumbling idiots. (I mean, Paige is still new and her and Natalya are just starting out in the ring together, the Bella’s have come up together, like the commentators said, the twins know what the other is thinking.) I wanted the Bella’s knocked down a peg but I guess corporate wanted to make it look like Nikki actually deserves the title. A strong forearm from Nikki to Natalya did just that, at least for the moment.
  • WWE Championship, Triple Threat, John Cena v. Seth Rollins v. Brock Lesnar – This match officially stole the show. If you say you weren’t sitting on the edge of your seat I might think you’re a liar.
    It started off with a silly moment of Rollins essentially running away from Lesnar and Cena before trying to sneak back in and sneak attack him before being saved by J&J Security. Eventually the actual match got underway as the stadium filled up with ECW chants for Paul Heyman.
    However, when Lesnar was laid out on the announce table before having a rib broken by Seth Rollins who jumped from the ring to the Spanish announce table and put Brock through it I thought the match was over, or at the very least, Lesnar’s part in it was over. As EMTs and doctors came to the ring I’m sure everyone thought the same thing, Lesnar was done. However, after Cena does a double AA with both members of J&J security on his back we see Seth Rollins receive an AA as well. Rollins then went for the Phoenix Splash on Cena and nearly pinned him Lesnar came back in to toss Rollins off of Cena.
    After suplexing Cena Lesnar turned his attention to Rollins who came at him with the briefcase, hitting him twice before going to curb stomp Lesnar on top of the breifcase. Lesnar jumps up and does and F-5 on Rollins for the win. To say Lesnar’s return to the match was a shock is an understatement.
    The ending was great with Lesnar coming back into the ring and picking up the win, a great way for him to win without fans being bored of him/ counting down the days for wanting him gone.

The Royal Rumble- Main Event

Entrants:

  1. The Miz
  2. R-Truth
  3. Bubba Dudley
  4. Luke Harper
  5. Bray Wyatt
  6. Curtis Axel (does not officially enter)
  7. Boogeyman
  8. Sin Cara
  9. Zack Ryder
  10. Daniel Bryan
  11. Fandango
  12. Tyson Kidd
  13. Stardust
  14. DDP
  15. Rusev
  16. Gold Dust
  17. Kofi Kingston
  18. Adam Rose
  19. Roman Reigns- winner
  20. Big E Langston
  21. Mizdow
  22. Jack Swagger
  23. Ryback
  24. Kane
  25. Dean Ambros
  26. Titus O’Neil
  27. Bad News Barrett
  28. Cesaro
  29. Big Show
  30. Dolph Ziggler

The 2015 Royal Rumble match was, for a lot people, a disappointment. The obvious booking of Reigns to win left a bitter taste in a lot of fan’s mouths but, what’s done as done so for now, we should look at the great moments in this match.

First of all, the surprise entrants: Bubba Dudley, the Boogeyman, a returning Zack Ryder and DDP.

Second of all, the fun moments:

  • Bubba Dudley and R-Truth working together like Bubba and D-Von used to years ago with R-Truth diving off the top rope to head butt to the Miz. This was followed by “Truth, get the tables!” which the entire place would’ve loved to see but never happened. A 3-D on Miz made him easy to eliminate.
  • Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt come out and, when it is Curtis Axel is supposed to enter, Eric Rowan comes out and takes him out, effectively but not officially taking his place. It looked, for a moment, that Harper and Rowan would tag team Wyatt but soon Rowas was double teamed. Eventually Harper & Rowan were both out.
  • Next The Boogeyman and Bray Wyatt faced off, “The Eater of Worlds v. The Eater of Worms” and tried to “out-weird each other.”
  • Bray Wyatt got on the mic and said “This is Bray Wyatt’s year” before singing.
  • Zack Ryder appeared and made his return, getting a few hits in on Wyatt before being eliminated.
  • Daniel Bryan entered to a huge crowd pop.
  • Stardust & Fandango both play skin the cat.
  • DDP shows up and begins delivering the Diamond cutter to everyone.
  • Rusev arrives and throws out DDP & Fandango.
  • Daniel Bryan is tossed out (and this is where the crowd turned ugly.)
  • A brief Gold Dust & Stardust “brother v. brother ” moment.
  • Kofi is tossed over to be caught by the rosebuds, who failed to catch Adam Rose.
  • Roman comes in and begins using his power to stay in it and avoid being double teamed.
  • Mizdow comes out and, when Miz tries to take his place, Mizdow refuses and enters the ring. Eliminated shortly after but it’ll definitely lead to a split.
  • Swagger, Ryback and Kane all come out and throw their weight around.
  • Dean Ambrose comes in, goes after Kane, Wyatt the Rusev, seemingly enjoying the hit from Rusev and adding to his “I’m crazy, I like pain” shtick.
  • Dean and Roman Reigns team up to get rid of Titus O’Neil.
  • Big Show comes in, only to have everyone try to toss him out. Like always he battles out.
  • Ziggler comes in and starts taking shots at everyone before going off the top rope only to be KO punched by The Big Show.
  • The supposed Final Four of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Kane and Big Show got some big cheers for fans before Dean is choke slammed and tossed out.
  • Big Show tries to dump Kane over the rope while Kane is trying to eliminate Roman. We see a brief fight between Kane & Big Show before Roman eliminates them both.
  • The Big Show and Kane come back in to beat on Roman Reigns. The Rock’s music hits and he runs out to help Reigns, delivering a People’s elbow to Kane and a Rock Bottom to the Big Show.
  • Rusev re-enters since he never went over the top rope. Roman eliminates Rusev and officially wins, the crowd not too happy about it.

The only thing I have to say about this Rumble match is that Roman Reigns has 63 days to prove he is worthy of the shot at Wrestlemania.

Future Hopes 

Hopefully Roman Reigns can get it together before Wrestlemania and hopefully the WWE corporate straightens out it’s processes before the next Pay Per View.
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The SmarK RAW Rant – 11.28.99 http://insidepulse.com/2014/03/20/the-smark-raw-rant-11-28-99/ http://insidepulse.com/2014/03/20/the-smark-raw-rant-11-28-99/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 05:59:26 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=165613 The SmarK RAW Rant – 11.28.99

OH MY GOD the Wedding Episode.  This one blew my mind when I first saw it in 99, because they had been building to the wedding for so long and you knew something wacky was going to happen, but the “Wrestling Wedding” was not yet enough of a trope that you could predict the beats of what exactly would go down.  I don’t think anyone in their right mind would have predicted how huge this ended up being for THIS BUSINESS, and that this angle would end up completely altering the dynamic of the entire company years later, but here we are today.

Live from Los Angeles, CA

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler

Big Show & Kane v. Big Bossman & Viscera

So I suppose you could POSSIBLY book a worse tag match by putting Mideon in there somewhere, but they’re sure giving it the old college try here.  Kane quickly hits a flying clothesline on Viscera while Bossman beats on Show outside with the nightstick, but X-Pac runs in behind the ref’s back and hits an X-Factor on Kane.  Vis gets the pin at 1:30 off that.  X-Pac beats up Tori afterwards as well, because he’s all about the class.  DUD

Meanwhile, we take a look back at the Test-Stephanie romance.  Hearing that Stephanie was suffering from amnesia due to “post concussion syndrome” makes me wonder if Dolph Ziggler originally went around introducing himself to everyone because he couldn’t remember meeting them?

D-Generation X is out to warn Vince McMahon that he can’t come within 50 feet of any of the DX guys, lest legal troubles result.  Also, he’s got some bad news:  No wedding tonight.  This brings Vince out, who would bulldoze their limo with his rent-a-car all over again to protect his family.   And HHH’s blood is gonna be on his hands at the PPV.  So tonight, it’s Test v. HHH and the other DX members against The Rock N Sock Connection and a mystery partner.

Matt Hardy v. Edge

Man, this one sure took on greater significance years later.  Matt gets a tornado DDT and yodeling legdrop for two, but Edge comes back with a german suplex for two.   They head up and Matt gets a superplex for two, but he goes up again and Edge dropkicks him into the railings for a sick bump.  Back in, Matt and Edge both hit Jeff and Christian with dives and it’s breaking loose in Tulsa!  Edge spears Matt for the pin at 3:10 while the camera is replaying the other highspot.  Total stunt show.  *

Meanwhile, Steph has her bachelorette party with Moolah and the ladies.

Chyna is out to challenge Chris Jericho to an IC title match TONIGHT, but Jericho is suffering from post-concussion syndrome, much like Stephanie, due to a brutal beating delivered by Chyna on Smackdown.  Miss Kitty sprays him with a fire extinguisher to bring the LOLZ.

The Godfather v. Steve Blackman

Godfather gets a legdrop for two, but Blackman puts him down with a kick for the pin at 1:00.  This might seem quick, but only if you haven’t read Hardcore Holly’s book and thus don’t understand how fucking badass dangerous that Blackman really is.  DUD

Meanwhile, the Dudley Boyz play cards with the APA.  It doesn’t go well.

Meanwhile, the bachelorette trainwreck continues.

Meanwhile, Al Snow makes his pitch to be Mankind’s partner tonight, but Mick feels like Rock still hates Snow’s guts.  Well, to be fair, really no one likes Al Snow.

Too Cool v. The Hollies

Too Cool double-teams Crash and Scotty hits the Worm (opposite the hard camera) and they finish with the Midnight Express’s Veg-O-Matic at 1:00.  DUD  Well that was brisk.

Meanwhile, it’s time for the stripper at the party.

Test v. HHH

The referee is wearing a Vince mask to build suspense.  Test pounds away in the corner and gets a powerslam for two, but HHH USES THE KNEE to take over and drops a knee.  They slug it out and HHH gets the Main Event Sleeper, but “Vince” slaps him around to wake him up.  HHH DDTs him and goes low, however, and stomps away in the corner, but Test makes the thrilling comeback.  Powerbomb and backdrop suplex set up the flying elbow, but HHH bails to escape it.  They fight on the floor and HHH brings a chair into the ring, but “Vince” keeps that from happening.  HHH uses the knee again, but the mystery ref won’t count.  This prompts HHH to finally attack him, but Shane runs out and lays him out with the chair, allowing Test to finish with the flying elbow at 8:13.  We don’t know who the mystery ref was, but as JR notes, it can’t legally have been Vince.  Not exactly a great showcase of Test, but then HHH basically took all the offense anyway.  *

Meanwhile, the stripper gives Stephanie one last shot of something REALLY strong.

Barbara “BB” Bush is out to challenge Ivory to an evening gown match, because she’s so MAD, despite her face being frozen in a state of perpetual boredom.  Ivory comes out and they rip each others’ shirts off in the least sexy way possible while BB maintains her plastic facial expression.

Meanwhile, Patterson & Brisco provide Vince’s alibi for REFEREE-GATE.

Val Venis v. Kurt Angle

Val misses a blind charge and Angle clotheslines him down and then to the floor, where they have a brief brawl.  Back in, Angle gets a sleeper, but Val turns it into a powerbomb for two.  Russian legsweep gets two.  Spinebuster and he goes up to finish, but the Bulldog runs out and crotches him, allowing Angle to get a superplex for two.  Val keeps fighting, but Bulldog hits him with a chair and the Angle Slam finishes at 3:20.  Man, that Val-bulldog feud was quite the barnburner.  ½*

Meanwhile, Al Snow really hates the Rock, but is that the Rock standing behind him?  Yeah, it is.  So Rock does a funny monologue pretending to not see Snow standing there while Snow makes faces at him.  Mick’s bemused acceptance of the whole thing is great, as he’s just like “Well, sounds like you’re out, but we’re still on for Disneyland tomorrow, right?”

The Rock, Mankind & Kane v. The New Age Outlaws & X-Pac

Mick chases Road Dogg to the floor, but walks into an X-Pac spinkick and gets beat on back in the ring.  Gunn prevents a tag to the Rock and X-Pac throws kicks for two.  Gunn with a corner splash to set up the Broncobuster, but Mick counters with the Mandible Sock.  Hot tag Rock, and it’s Rock Bottom for Billy, but Al Snow runs in and gets the babyfaces disqualified at 4:30.  No wonder Rock hates him.  *1/2  Rock kicks his ass and gives the People’s Elbow for his troubles.

Meanwhile, the APA and Dudleyz might be enemies at poker, but at least they all agree that The Public Enemy sucks.  OUCH.  Sadly, their peaceful co-existence comes to an end when Bubba shows six aces and triggers a brawl.  Oh man, if he had thrown down ACES AND EIGHTS I would have literally shit my pants.

And with all that pesky wrestling out of the way, time for the REAL main event!

Test & Stephanie McMahon are out for their long-awaited wedding, complete with bizarre “worlds colliding” craziness with Steph’s real-life friends as bridesmaids and Test having the Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian as his guys.  And the great thing is that they play it all so straight, with the inspirational soul singers and loving families, and then the priest is like “If anyone has reason to object…” and of course, all hell breaks loose in the most awesome way.  It’s all the more awesome because the last major wrestling wedding up to then was Liz & Savage, which was played totally straight, so there was no expectation from the fans that there would be the craziest twist ever.  And what a twist!  Because that shot Stephanie did at the party actually put her out cold, allowing HHH to kidnap her and take her to a Vegas drive-through chapel.  HHH is really in his glory here (“40 bucks?  That’s kind of steep.  And we’re kind of in a hurry here.”)  And this, finally, makes HHH into the biggest heel and star in the business with one line, and this is it:  “I know you can only have one question on your mind…DAD…and that is how many times did we consummate the marriage?”  And since there’s absolutely nowhere to go from there but down, the show ends on that cliffhanger.  No question, one of the greatest angles in the history of wrestling.  If only Test didn’t suck so badly that he couldn’t keep up his end of it.

The Pulse

Vince Russo wishes he could have come up with that one.  The rest of the show was still the weird growing pains where they were slowly trying to get crowds re-accustomed to actual wrestling again, but my god that closing angle was something special.

 
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The SmarK Rant for WWF Smackdown – 11.10.99 http://insidepulse.com/2014/03/17/the-smark-rant-for-wwf-smackdown-11-10-99/ http://insidepulse.com/2014/03/17/the-smark-rant-for-wwf-smackdown-11-10-99/#comments Mon, 17 Mar 2014 17:42:09 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=165561 The SmarK Rant for WWF Smackdown – 11.10.99

Taped from Baltimore, MD

Your hosts are Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler

So Vince Russo is a few months removed from the product, and this is the go-home show for Survivor Series 99, a fucking terrible show with a gigantic bait-and-switch main event.

Evil DX is out to start, as the Outlaws have resolved their differences and regained the tag titles for the last time (until 2014!).  We go back to RAW, with D-X basically cheesing Vince off with their hilarious “raping Stephanie” prank, but HHH reveals that they just hired an actress to portray the part of Steph.  So don’t worry, they just pretended to rape some skank.  Billy insinuates that the size of his dick “punctured her lung”.  This stuff was on prime time TV?  HHH promises to go through Rock and Austin (who, by the way, was known to be severely injured for a least a month before this) and retain the title, and then go through Vince next.  This brings out Vince to announce that tonight, in this very ring, it’s D-X v. Kane, Shane, Test & Rock in an elimination match, with Steve Austin as “guest enforcer”.   HHH notes that Test is bad in the sack, so he charges out and gets beat up.

Meanwhile, Kurt Angle debuts at Survivor Series!

Edge v. Hardcore Holly

Edge tries a rana and gets dropped on the top rope, and Bob chokes him out on the ropes.  Suplex and Holly goes up and lands on Edge’s boot, and Edge makes the comeback.  Fisherman’s suplex gets two.  Tornado DDT gets two.  Holly catches him with the DROPKICK OF DOOM and goes up, but Edge crotches him and brings him down with a superplex.  Holly does the Dynamite Kid reversal and gets the pin at 3:30, however.  Still a short match, but you can immediately tell how much more calm and easier-paced the show is.  *1/2

Meanwhile, The Governator arrives.

Meanwhile, Big Show preps for his father’s funeral.  Hopefully nothing hilarious happens to ruin it!

The Godfather & D-Lo Brown v. The Dudley Boyz

Very early in the Dudley run, obviously, as they were still wearing the dated tie-dye ECW look after jumping ship.  D-Lo gets worked over quickly and they do the future Wazzup , but Bubba misses the senton.  He gets a big boot for two as the crowd is just ice cold for the Dudleyz, which is kind of weird given how red hot they became leading up to winning the tag titles in 2000.  D-Lo with a powerbomb and it’s hot tag Godfather, as tries the Ho Train and gets cut off by Bubba.  The assorted Hos distract the ref, and the 3D finishes D-Lo at 3:53.  You could see that move starting to get over, and once they changed their look it was time for the next level.  ½*

Meanwhile, D-X are no fans of Arnold, and will be telling him so.

Val Venis v. British Bulldog

Val’s promo before the match rages against Al Snow for treating women like objects, when in fact Val’s gimmick is treating women like objects.  So Bulldog is a babyface here?  He’s got the Mean Street Posse as backup, but I never know with this time period.  Or maybe Snow was the heel at this period?  That sounds more correct, actually.  Anyway, while I muse about this, a big schmoz breaks out between the Survivor Series teams for the DQ at 1:00.  DUD  Watching Bulldog try to move around the ring was just sad.

Meanwhile, Rock meets up with Arnold.  And then in real life, Arnold really did pass the torch as the big action star of Hollywood.

Meanwhile, Big Bossman crashes the funeral, complete with bullhorn mounted on a police car.  And then in the final touch, he hooks up the casket and steals it, which gives us the visual of Show surfing on the casket trying to stop it.  Separated from the ridiculousness of the angle 15 years later, it’s pretty goddamned funny to see Bossman go so far over the top as a cartoon supervillain.  And you know what?  Show beat the shit out of him and pinned his team in less than a minute at the PPV to get his revenge and then won the World title, so FINE.  He was a bad person and he got 100% of his comeuppance.  You can put all the heat on the heels you want as long as there’s a payoff!

Hardcore title:  Big Bossman v. Faarooq

Faarooq quickly runs Bossman into the railing and hits him with a chair while jumping off the announce table.  Stairs to the head get two.  Sadly, Albert comes out and maces Faarooq, and Bossman pins to retain at 2:30.  DUD

Meanwhile, Chyna thinks that Jericho has “Va-Chyna Envy”.  See, because Jericho has a SMALL PENIS.  Wasn’t the Attitude Era so great?  Anyway, who let her talk?  During the break, however, Jericho storms in and assaults her with various feminine hygiene products.  So obviously it took them a while to shake off the Russo-ness.

Chris Jericho is here, and he’s not OK with feminism or women winning titles.

Grandmaster Sexay v. Jeff Hardy

Jeff baseball slides Sexay and follows with a senton to the floor, but back in Sexay gets a backdrop suplex.  This was actually the first time they started calling them “Sexay” and “Scotty 2 Hotty”, in fact.  Sexay with a northern lights suplex for two and he goes up, but Jeff goes low and brings him down with a rana for two.  Jeff to the top, but Scotty runs interference.  Jeff tosses him out of the ring but only gets two on Sexay thanks to Terri.  More shenanigans and Sexay hits the Stroke for the win at 3:31.  There was literally four or five people running around behind Teddy Long’s back at one point.  *

Meanwhile, Arnold thinks that Steve Austin should go see End of Days.  He would have been one of the few.

Vince McMahon is out to present Arnold with a WWF title belt to represent his status as “box office champion of the world”, which is kind of funny in that End of Days basically destroyed that reputation.

Meanwhile, D-X tries to attack Arnold, but it’s just some guy…and then they shrug and continue beating him up anyway.  Ha!

WWF Women’s title:  Ivory v. Tori

Ivory notes that Tori is into “smoked sausage” as we continue to learn valuable information about the penises of WWF superstars tonight.  All the women head to ringside to build up the “special one fall sudden death Survivor Series match” at the PPV.  So, you know, a match.  And of course it’s the big 8 person brawl.

HHH, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn & X-Pac v. Kane, Test, Shane McMahon & The Rock

Finally Rock’s music has been adjusted to the one he still uses today.  Odd how the change from “Do You Smell…” to “If You Smell…” could make such a huge difference.  Test is “injured” from earlier and so it’s 3-on-4.  Big brawl to start as X-Pac and Kane fight up the ramp and get counted out at 1:00.  HHH and the Outlaws beat on Shane as Arnold is SHOCKED at the violence while doing commentary.  He punched him right in the stomach!  That must hurt!  Gunn with a jackhammer on Shane for two and HHH slugs away, but Shane comes back with a spear on Dogg.  HHH cuts him off and pounds away in the corner, and Dogg slugs him down before Rock has finally had enough and puts him down with a clothesline.  But Billy Gunn sneaks in while the ref removes Rock, and hits Shane with the fameasser to eliminate him at 5:53.  So the Rock is alone, but Test makes a miraculous return, perhaps with the fast-healing powers of steroids, and chokes out Dogg in the corner for his big highspot.  Gunn hits him with a chair and gets DQ’d at 7:10, however.  Dogg and Test collide and it’s finally hot tag Rock.  Rock Bottom ends Dogg at 8:30.  Test comes back in and HHH goes low for two.  And then he finally just puts the ref out, and Austin hits HHH with a chair and puts Test on top for the pin at 10:10.  And then HHH goes after Arnold and gets his ass kicked, which I’m sure he was more than happy to do.  Like, HHH just sold like crazy for him there.  Anyway, the match was kind of junky, but fine.  **1/4  Really really weird booking, though, as they KNEW Austin wasn’t going to be there on Sunday, but they still put all this heat on the Rock/Austin/HHH feud anyway, and then had Test go over for the finish when they knew that wasn’t going to be the big swerve for it.  Like, if they really were going to pull the trigger on Test and give him the title at Survivor Series that would be one thing, but they had no intention of doing that.

The Pulse

So here’s what we learned:  Billy Gunn has a large penis, Chris Jericho has a small penis, and Kane has a “smoked sausage”.  Also, D-X thinks that rape is hilarious, and 1999 was really fucking awful until HHH suddenly became awesome in December and finally lived up to the push he had been getting for the past six months.

 

 
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Guys and Divas #12: Late Motif (Brodus Clay, Nikki Bella, The Authority) http://insidepulse.com/2013/12/19/guys-and-divas-12-late-motif-brodus-clay-nikki-bella-the-authority/ http://insidepulse.com/2013/12/19/guys-and-divas-12-late-motif-brodus-clay-nikki-bella-the-authority/#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2013 16:00:36 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=162230 (ONE DAY LATER…)

Hey there, ho there, hi there, everybody!

Welcome to my twelfth and final edition…of 2013! (Sorry, detractors. Didn’t mean to get your hopes up.) Yes, it’s “Guys and Divas”; the only column on Inside Pulse Wrestling that’s just bacon and cars.

In the “Divas” segment, it’s one more bloody (literally) evaluation for the road; and in “The Bonus Ball”, I look back at the birth of wrestling’s most powerful couple in this month’s edition of “Wayback Championship Wrestling Federation Entertainment”.

…BUT FIRST(!), this year in WWE shenanigans came to a close this past Sunday at TLC. Where do we stand heading into 2014?–Find out in this week’s…

GUYS

Well, there you have it. Randy Orton is our new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

…Now what?

You know, lately I’ve been kicking off the “Guys” segment with a bullet-pointed(!) summary of the WWE main-event status quo…but truth be told, that’s about it; and unfortunately, this week’s Raw didn’t offer much more in the way of narrative development. You would think that with a special Christmas episode (oh, boy) already set for next week and the first of 2014’s “big four” pay-per-views immediately on the horizon, WWE might want to start setting the stage for some significant things…but I can’t say I’m shocked they failed in that regard.

It is in times like these that we must look to the midcard for inspiration…and lucky for me, there’s quite a bit happening.

Following a surprisingly show-stealing performance at TLC on Sunday, it looks like the hastily thrown-together team of Big Show and Rey Mysterio will be the next to challenge for The Rhodes Brothers’ WWE Tag Team Championships. Had you told me that even a week ago, I would have stared at you incredulously and groaned very loudly. Why would that be a thing that could happen?–It would have simply made no sense (and, for the record, I’m generally not as down on these two fellows as most people…but seriously).

Big E Langston’s reign as Intercontinental Champion continues, and it looks like–SPOILER ALERT!–he’s headed for a long-awaited confrontation with the beloved show-off Dol–FANDANGO? …What? …Okay.

However, the midcard shenanigan that has most prominently caught my attention is the dissolution of everybody’s favorite comic-relief tag team (no, not Los Matadores because they’re terrible; #SavePrimoAndEpico) Tons of Funk.

During a surprise singles bout on Sunday, Brodus Clay continued his rivalry with newcomer Xavier Woods by taking on his mentor/tag team partner R-Truth. After attempting to reason with the newly aggressive Funkasaurus, Tensai and the Funkadactyls walked out, leaving the big man to suffer a quick roll-up pin from the rapping superstar. The following night, Brodus put the definitive kibosh on his fun-loving, funk-dancing stable after roundly assaulting the former Asian Lord-turned-Sweet T and loudly berating his adorable backup dancers.

Truth be told: I LOVE IT.

When Brodus first re-emerged as the dancing babyface back in January 2012, I was as shocked as anyone. What a left-field character turn for a man who for months prior had been teased as an impending storm of out-and-out terror; a rotund monster with a penchant for inflicting pain.

We all asked: how did we go from this…

…to this?

(To wit, that opening dance has NEVER been as good since.)

I distinctly remember numerous conversations with our own Chris Sanders in which we tried to make sense of it all. After a few days, we couldn’t help but love it. It was just such a beautifully absurd, “only in WWE” kind of moment that we were on board pretty quickly.

That being said, I’m BEYOND excited to finally see the aggressive, indomitable wrecking machine we were promised over two years ago; and even more intrigued that it seems he’s got his eyes set on the main event scene. If Brodus can make it big, it’ll be proof-positive of an idea I’ve been kicking around of late.

As mentioned numerous times of late, I’ve found myself watching countless old pay-per-views from my almost sixteen years as a wrestling fan; and while I’ve certainly suffered the requisite amount of the usual “bring back the Attitude era”-type grief, one thing that has really stuck out has been the effect of a strong midcard on the show as a whole.

The WWE (or WWF, as it was) that I started watching back in 1998 was a federation where no matter who you were or how often you were on the television screen, you always seemed to have something going on. So many promos, backstage segments, true character-building scenarios for even the Crash Hollys and Spike Dudleys of the world…and what was most startling: it WASN’T always about comic relief. These were legitimate storylines with high stakes and real repercussions.

The midcard is where–in a perfect world–the main eventers of tomorrow hone their craft and their personality. Can you imagine the world of difference it would make to lose all the awkward WWE app tutorials and full-length replays of scenes from earlier in the show (that could usually easily be explained in roughly two lines of commentators’ dialogue) and instead give us a real rivalry for a midcard title?

Because while Big E Langston is a really entertaining guy and a worthy holder of that white belt, the viewer knows virtually NOTHING about him. What if–to use his impending challenger–Fandango really turned the screws on? What if he cut promos denigrating Big E? Did dastardly things to weaken Big E’s resolve?

In short, what if the midcard got as much screen time as the main event?

Let’s be real. At any point during three hours of Raw, are you really in any danger of forgetting who’s in the main event or who’s going for the newly dubbed WWE World Heavyweight Championship (which should only need a single belt, by the by)? Are you REALLY going to forget that John Cena exists?–I highly doubt it.

Are you going to forget who’s currently in the running for the IC or Tag Team belts?–Much more probably.

My feeling is, once someone has reached main-event status, we should know them well enough from their years of midcard work that we don’t really need long scenes and so much pomp and circumstance to know what their motivations might be heading into a big match…but in the current WWE, we often don’t.

This leads to failed experiments like the main event push of Ryback this past year. Honestly, going into his rivalry with John Cena this past spring, can we really say we knew much more about him than “Feed Me More”, his RVD-esque singlets and his strong resemblance to a certain former WCW Champion?–Eh. Eh, at best.

So, call me nutty. Call me overzealous. Call Jake Bradley (JAKE BRADLEY!)…but I’m putting just a bit of hope into this main event monster heel Brodus Clay experiment. Join me, won’t you?

…and from the fall of the funk to a busted Bella, let’s take a look at this week’s goings-on with the…

DIVAS

Sometimes it’s not always about a championship.

While such a statement might bother a few people, it’s something I’ve gone back to a lot as the year of Diva action comes to a close. At the conclusion of Raw this week, there was no real indication of who would next challenge (my spirit animal) AJ Lee for the butterfly belt…and that was okay.

What WAS clear however, is that this is a division on the move. As usual, I can’t in good conscience commend WWE for any amount of intentional subtlety; but over the past twelve (or let’s be more realistic, six) months, the creative minds behind my favorite female protagonists may have stumbled onto the building blocks of what could be a dynamite 2014.

In case you missed it, this past Monday saw a six-Diva tag match pitting the aforementioned Divas Champion, her muscle Tamina Snuka and the ever-vacillating Alicia Fox against the “Total Divas” trio of Natalya and the Bella Twins. It was a really enjoyable showcase of where these six (or honestly, five out of these six; I’m pretty sure Natalya was never even tagged in) women stand as we hit the precipice of a new year.

Sparing you my usual gushing and fawning over my dear Ms. Lee, I instead focus on–undoubtedly–the most improved Diva (nay, person in general) in WWE this year: Brie Bella. As documented on their popular E! reality series, Brie’s time apart from sister Nikki has done absolute wonders.

Together, they’re often simply identical eye candy meant to titillate people with weird incestuous twin fantasies. As individuals, they’re finally allowed to shine as unique human beings each with skills all their own. Brie (as I’ve stated before) has really emerged as a competitive figure. When she’s in the ring, you truly believe she’s out to win; and not just to reach the predetermined result. As for Nikki, she’s still got a bit of a ways to go; but there is something distinctly more measured and deliberately paced about her movements.

Gone (for the most part) are the days of repetitive clotheslines, cat fight-like head banging and unnecessary booty popping. Whether you feel inclined to compliment their in-ring prowess, you simply cannot deny that no matter what the skill level, the Divas division is ready to be taken seriously again.

…Sorry. Got off on a bit of a tangent there.

Obviously, the biggest (and bloodiest) story to come out of this week’s Raw was a collision of boot and face.

Yikes. Say what you will (and have)…but I couldn’t imagine a Kelly Kelly taking a kick like that and walking it off.

A hearty ouch and kudos. This game just got real.

…and finally, it’s time for another of my monthly trips down memory lane. Let’s harken back to some matrimonial mayhem in this edition of…

THE BONUS BALL presents “WAYBACK CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FEDERATION ENTERTAINMENT”

WWF Raw Is War – 11/29/1999

In the nineteen months that I had been watching professional wrestling, a lot of big things had happened.

The Monday Night Wars were red hot. The nWo continued to run wild over the WCW landscape. Goldberg became World Heavyweight Champion after soundly defeating Hollywood Hogan in front of a hometown Atlanta crowd. The Rock went from People’s Champion to Corporate Champion to an even more beloved People’s Champion. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin got hit by a car…I could go on. Point is, every Monday night had the proverbial “big fight feel”. Something was going to go down, and that was simply that.

For some reason however, nothing seemed bigger to me than the marriage of a billion dollar princess and a former Motley Crüe roadie.

Stephanie McMahon debuted as an on-screen character in early 1999. She was adorable, endearing and every bit her daddy’s little girl. Naturally, terrible things started happening around her. She was abducted by the Undertaker, crucified on his logo and almost forced to wed him in a satanic ceremony…you know…that old chestnut.

Around that time, flirtations began to arise between Steph and Corporation-turned-Union member Test. After a brief courtship (that was temporarily opposed by brother–and everyone’s favorite–Shane, leading to a “Love Her or Leave Her” Greenwich Street Fight at Summerslam 1999), the two were engaged that fall.

Meanwhile that September, Stephanie’s father and WWE owner Mr. McMahon returned from a brief hiatus as a face and defeated Triple H for the WWE Championship on an episode of Smackdown; igniting a battle between the McMahons and The Game (backed by D-Generation X) that would last for months thereafter.

November 29. We set our scene at the then-recently-opened Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Tonight, the long-awaited nuptials will take place. The whole roster (save for The Acolytes and The Dudley Boys who are preoccupied with a poker game backstage) is decked out for the occasion.

Throughout the night, we’re shown a series of clips from Stephanie’s Las Vegas bachelorette party; which is attended by a handful of her friends from back in Connecticut and–because why not?–The Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young. It’s a pretty low-key, one-camera-angle affair with a game of Truth or Dare, copious amounts of champagne, a stripping electrician (who is chased away by the ever-amorous Mae), some light dancing to some royalty-free funk music and lastly a not-at-all-suspicious celebratory shot of vodka which is hand-delivered by a member of the hotel staff; all taking place under what appears to be a massive portrait of “Dragnet” star Jack Webb.

(Yeah. Take all of that in.)

Early in the evening, D-Generation X takes to the ring and–after a brief pause due to some audio technical difficulties in the arena (i.e. some inept Staples Center employee accidentally turned on some disco music…no, seriously)–vow that we will not see our anticipated live wedding this evening. Father of the Bride Mr. McMahon hits the stage (keeping his distance due to a Temporary Order of Protection that was filed after this happened) and informs the band of degenerates (especially their leader) that tonight’s festivities are only open to immediate McMahon family/invited guests and should any uninvited WWE personnel interfere, they will be fired on-the spot.

To that end, Vince books two matches: Triple H vs. Test and a Six-Man Tag pitting the remaining members of DX (X-Pac, Road Dogg and Mr. Ass) against The Rock ‘n Sock Connection (The Rock and Mankind) and a partner of their choosing.

In the first bout, something seems a bit…off.

That couldn’t be the boss under that mask?–After all, that would be in violation of the aforementioned court order and there’s no way Patterson and Brisco’s calls to Vince in the bathroom are a (terribly-acted) ruse…is there?

No matter. In the prelude to the latter match, we see an unmasked Mick Foley attempting to convince his pal Al Snow to be the third man on his team. To put it mildly, Al Snow doesn’t care for The People’s Champion. Comedy ensues.

(Rock’s delivery on “Who is this roody poo?” is worth the price of admission alone.)

With all our matches out of the way, it’s time for the real show.

As you might imagine, a McMahon wedding is an all-out affair. A long line of WWE Superstar groomsmen, the groom’s arrival to his entrance theme (because of course) and the entrance of the bride (during which Steph almost trips twice on her gown’s massive train) all lead to the ceremony proper. The priest says his bit. There’s an awkward full-length romantic duet from what I can only assume are some local wedding singers…and then the moment where everything changes (starting at 1:20 and followed by the deal-sealing aftermath at Armageddon 1999)…

Needless to say, as Raw faded to black that night, my twelve-year-old mind was blown. At the time, I was somewhere in-between knowing that this is a scripted performance and still thinking that maybe, somewhere in there was a nugget of reality…so this was pretty huge. (It should be noted that this is the only episode of WWE programming I ever felt the need to tape.)

Here we are fourteen years later, and despite a few kayfabe spats (a faked pregnancy or two; you know, the usual whatnots) the fictional-turned-real-life power couple is as strong as ever; and while many (somewhat rightfully) grouse about the way the McMahon family (including Triple H) handle things…I’ll always have affection for these two. They’re easily in my top 3 married couples I don’t know personally.

Now, usually here in the WCWFE segment, this would be the moment in which I talk about all the things I miss, don’t miss, etc. about the Raw of 1999…but let’s face it: we of the IWC have pretty thoroughly covered our fond memories of the Attitude Era. As such, I’d just like to conclude this memorable affair with a few errant bullet-pointed(!) thoughts.

  • I’ve mentioned the unpleasant grunginess of the Attutude Era WWF many times; but watching this episode, I felt like that feeling is no better encapsulated than in the person of Sean “X-Pac” Waltman. Every time he was on screen, I felt genuinely gross; and while I know I came in long after he’d abandoned the 1-2-3 Kid moniker AND that I’m–by all accounts–not alone in my distaste for the man, I ask my dear readers…seriously, was he always this way? How did I/we ever put up with him? (Early homework assignment.)
  • You know, there’s probably nothing a vibrant 23-year-old girl wants more at her bachelorette party than two sex-crazed octogenarians.
  • This was obviously my first televised professional wrestling wedding, so some of my older readers might forgive me for falling for the twist all those years ago. I’ve certainly seen many more since and will readily admit that this wasn’t an uncommon occurrence…but it was still classic.
  • Triple H’s gleefully delivered “consummate the marriage” line remains one of my favorite bits of dialogue in my 15+ years watching this show. Just golden.
  • This episode is also notable for the introduction of the short-lived Diva Barbara “B.B.” Bush, who–like any average Jane EMT–challenges then-Women’s Champion Ivory to an Evening Gown Match. You know…like you would.
  • Can you believe there was once a time where a character went by the moniker “Mr. Ass”?

…and that’s it for this month’s “Wayback Championship Wrestling Federation Entertainment” join me again on January 15 for another nostalgic look back at my history in sports entertainment.

So. There you have it. So ends the year in “Guys and Divas”. As you might expect, I’ll be taking next week off for the holidays; but in the meantime, here are some things to caper and sing about…

  • Looks like Brodus Clay is finally becoming the monster he was always meant to be. Does he have what it takes to be the “main event player” he so claims? What are some midcard-to-main event success stories that have really piqued your interest over the years?–Amble and ramble about the ascent of superstars.
  • Nikki Bella’s one tough cookie, and she’s got the busted lip to prove it. What are some other badges of courage you’ve seen superstars and Divas endure over the years that made you stop for a golf clap? Who turned tough-as-nails and turned you into a fan?–Show some respect to the scars of battle and those who bear them.
  • The infamous drive-thru wedding of Triple H and Stephanie remains one of my favorite blockbuster twists of all-time. What are some moments that boggled your mind with their audacious outrageousness? What made you stop and think “Wow. They went there”?–Mumble about mind-blowing minutiae.

As always, don’t miss my weekly Raw live-tweet (@biscuitman18; #GuysAndDivas) and–as 2013 comes to a close–a big thanks to everyone who’s stopped by my column over these past twelve weeks. Your words and your readership have meant the world to me, and I hope to see you all again in 2014!

Until next year, I’m Jeff Heatherly saying “Freezer I’ll Shoot!“. Happy holidays, everybody!
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Flatlining: Randy Orton vs Sheamus (and other RAW shenanigans) http://insidepulse.com/2013/04/10/flatlining-randy-orton-vs-sheamus-and-other-raw-shenanigans/ http://insidepulse.com/2013/04/10/flatlining-randy-orton-vs-sheamus-and-other-raw-shenanigans/#comments Thu, 11 Apr 2013 01:26:29 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=155631 So everyone loved that episode of RAW, right?

What?

Starcade?

Scott Keith didn’t like it either? Damn.

Keith is in his own little world (one where stars appear to be in incredibly short supply) so I guess I’ll have to respond to Starcade…

 

STARCADE: WWE has to fire at least half this roster. AT LEAST.

Why? Cutting talent isn’t going to solve booking problems. Do you honestly think getting rid of (glorious) Otunga is going to make Smackdown an entertaining show?

 

STARCADE: VKM did say he wanted results or resignations. He hasn’t had the results week to week. The part-timers have saved his ass for three Wrestlemanias now.

The part-timers may have been responsible for high buy-rates (well, the jury is still out on Lesnar), but that’s because they’ve spent an incredible amount of time focusing on these pensioners and coming up with things for them to do…

 

JERICHO

Dolph and Punk had a short, awkwardly put together feud back in 2012 and fought each other on only one PPV (Royal Rumble). Jericho returned shortly after and started a feud with Punk that would peak at Wrestlemania. Had Ziggler v Punk continued (with Dolph doing everything Jericho did during the feud), they would’ve elevated Ziggler to a level where people would have been willing to take him seriously. Jericho feuded with Ziggler later on in the year, but nobody came out looking good because Jericho had won roughly 2 matches during that comeback.

To sum it up, Jericho’s 2012 return achieved nothing. His 2013 return might be more fruitful, but it’s way too early to tell what’s going happen with Fandango.

BROCK and HHH

Brock Lesnar returned and faced Cena at Extreme Rules. Cena won, so that was a waste of a month, right?

I can see the viewpoint that Cena had been beaten by The Rock and having him lose to Brock would have made him look bad, but this is Cena we’re talking about. Cena, much like Orton, doesn’t need to win every match in order to maintain his fanbase. Having Cena lose twice in a row would’ve actually turned him into the underdog and let to some actual character development, so his fans would’ve been behind him even more.

Lesnar went on to feud with HHH, culminating in a No DQ match at Summerslam. HHH isn’t even a full-time wrestler, so this feud benefited no-one.

Starting the end of January, WWE spent a lot of time on what would become HHH vs Lesnar 2, a match that elevated nothing but Vince’s ego.

Del Rio’s heel run would’ve benefited incredibly from that arm-breaker gimmick. Shit, Angle’s serious beast-run back in the day was all about breaking limbs and it transformed the character so much that he’s still trying to be that guy in TNA.

That’s two part-timers (three, if we count HHH) so far who’ve taken up a lot of time over the past year to the detriment of the entire roster. They might have helped the full-timers get a nice Mania bonus, but they’ve done nothing to make us give a shit about any of the people who actually work house-shows.

THE UNDERTAKER

Punk’s shenanigans with the urn is one of the few memorable things about his run as a  heel. He lost the match and really has nothing left to do now, but it was character development.

Taker might be teaming with Daniel Bryan and Kane at Extreme Rules this year, and either muh boy D-Bry is going to come out of it looking good or The Shield are going to come out of it looking fantastic.

Bonus points for The Undertaker then, even with his ever-decreasing levels of in-ring ability.

ROCKY M.I.A. VIA SATELLITE

The Rock beat Cena, appointed himself #1 contender and fucked off. He returned at Rumble 2013 and ended CM Punk’s 400+ day title run (completely wasting what would’ve been considered a great feat, had anyone else done it). Rock then fucked off for another two months and the people, who he claims to represent, attended house shows that featured no WWE champion.

Twice in a Lifetime (soon to be promoted as Third Time’s a Charm) happened and Cena, who we’ve already established doesn’t need constant wins or a shiny metal prop in order to maintain his fanbase, became an eleven-time WWE Champion.

By my count, that makes 4 part-timers who’ve done nothing but chew scenery over the last 12 months.

I’m not saying these guys didn’t have enjoyable matches, nor that they didn’t bring in an audience that might not have watched without them, but every moment the creative team wasted on those four would’ve been better spent trying to develop the characters of people they already had on the books.

Did you know that WWE was trying to put together a 10-Woman match for Mania that would’ve predominantly featured “Divas” from yesteryear? Contract negotiations fell apart and only The Bellas ended up re-signing, but Vince and friends actually thought it was a better idea than AJ vs Kaitlyn, a feud which had been building for 12 months (and was thrown away on RAW).

 

STARCADE: This crowd shit all over the product, and probably felt they had the right to do so!

If you prick them, do they not bleed?

 

STARCADE: The WWE has to start knowing that crowds like this are abjectly shitting all over not only the product, but the entire hierarchy of the WWE.

Exactly, they’re tired of eating the same bland, tasteless sandwich that they’ve eaten every day for the last few years.

 

STARCADE: For just ONE example, of what use is pushing the Wrestlemania match you bumped off the card to RAW when the match is over in ONE STINKING MINUTE. At this point, I’d almost be for cutting everybody in the match (since they are of no real use), except for possibly Cody, sending him to NXT as Dusty’s son to see if he can get over in Florida.

It has been widely publicized that RAW was re-written and re-shaped at zero hour due to Rock’s departure (and I’ve heard from various places that HHH didn’t want to work in front of that crowd), so I’m guessing Tensai, Funk, The Funkettes, Cody, Lanny Poffo and The Bellas were victims of the re-write. Cody quit Twitter after the Mania match was dropped (even though they were still promoting it that day), so that might have something to do with it as well.

You’re saying that these people should be fired because a part-timer fucked them out of their spot on the Mania (and possibly RAW as well) card. Think about it.

 

STARCADE: Scott and the like can crap all over RAW – this is the best you’re getting with this crew. Rock and Punk were both out with injuries, probably leaving Brock with nothing to do.

This episode of RAW featured Big E winning his first singles match, Ziggler cashing in and winning the WHC, Miz losing the IC title, Ryback flattening Cena and The Undertaker teaming up with Daniel Bryan. If that’s the best WWE can do, I look forward to seeing their best every week.

STARCADE: You better at least explain how this roster, with these people, is going to put on a palatable product.

Ball’s in your court on that one. This roster has had three years to try.

In 1999, WWE had Roaddog, Billy Gunn, D’Lo Brown, a British Bulldog that couldn’t walk, The Road Warriors, Mark Henry, Dan “The Beast” Severn, Val Venis, Goldust, Blue Meanie, Al Snow, The Headbangers, Steve Blackman, Droz, Bradshaw, Big Boss Man, Test, Mideon, Viscera, Gangrel, Pete Gas, Rodney, Joey Abs, Jeff Jarrett, Brian “Too Sexy” Christopher and Scott “Too Hot” Taylor on the books.

How many of them could have went an hour with Ric Flair?

How many of them wrestled anything above a 3-star match?

They were still memorable characters though. The majority of them had their own look and catchphrases, their own allegiances and whatnot.

If I (and just about everyone else reading this) can tell you more about Jeff Jarrett’s character during 98-99 than I can about Antonio Cesaro from 2012-2013, the talent can’t be the problem.

If they stop hiring people we cared about 10 years ago and actually do something to make us care about the people they have today, the problem will be resolved.

 

STARCADE: What you saw last night was the culmination of three years of the Universe having had enough with the Raw-to-Raw product.

Tired of the same matches, the same stories, the same conclusions, the same fifteen minute promos…

 

I’d like to point out something about the Orton vs Fella match that nobody seems to have noticed. I’ve seen a lot of people say “the crowd went into business for themselves” and act like it was a bad thing, but you have to re-watch and take a look at Randy.

Orton has been yearning for a heel turn for well over six months now. He’s been making rude gestures towards the crowd, shouting Steiner-esque dirge at them and, as I noticed during RAW, changing the way he wrestles.

If you’re a face and get boos during a match for performing a sleeper, you try to avoid that move from then onward. Orton worked a slow-paced match with a lot of rest-holds despite the crowd cheering for everything but what was going on in the ring. I’m sure some of it can be attributed to “the main-event style”, but let’s not forget that half of Fella’s repertoire consists of running attacks and power moves. The match had almost grinded to a halt by the time Big Show’s music hit, and the crowd rightfully thanked him for injecting some action into the snooze-fest.

I might have to re-watch some pre-mania Orton stuff now and find out how long he’s been actively trying to get heat, but I thought it was worth pointing out (and it was actually the main reason I wrote this column).

Starcade, I’d like to thank you for helping me get these points across.

I look forward to reading a rebuttal in the comments section.

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Another WWE Wedding (Storyline) Gone Awry in Las Vegas http://insidepulse.com/2012/01/20/another-wwe-storyline-wedding-gone-awry-in-las-vegas/ http://insidepulse.com/2012/01/20/another-wwe-storyline-wedding-gone-awry-in-las-vegas/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2012 12:00:38 +0000 http://wrestling.insidepulse.com/?p=134389 As part of NXT’s 100th episode, yet another WWE wedding went awry in Las Vegas.

Johnny Curtis and Maxine were all set to get married by Elvis, but of course these proceedings were interrupted by Derrick Bateman and did not go off without a hitch:

The last WWE wedding also happened on NXT, when Aksana married Goldust to prevent her from getting deported. They got divorced soon after and Aksana can now be seen on SmackDown hitting on Teddy Long week in and week out for still unexplained reasons.

Of course, one of the most infamous weddings in WWE history also occurred in Sin City, when Triple H beat Test to the alter and married a barely conscious Stephanie McMahon at a drive-through chapel.

CB’s Slant: Ah, the memories…

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The View From Down Here – 10 Thoughts on the 5th Ashes Test http://insidepulse.com/2011/01/09/the-view-from-down-here-10-thoughts-on-the-5th-ashes-test/ http://insidepulse.com/2011/01/09/the-view-from-down-here-10-thoughts-on-the-5th-ashes-test/#comments Sun, 09 Jan 2011 10:59:04 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=230499  Fifth and final Ashes test for this series!

1] Australia with no Ricky Ponting. Apparently some reports are saying he’s not happy about this. Other reports are saying he’s going in for surgery as early as tomorrow. Who knows? It can’t be worse for Australia… Can it?

2] A decent start for Australia on a rain-marred Day One. 4/134. Usman Khawaja made 37 in a fine debut for Australia, although Clarke – even as acting captain – bombed again with 4.

3] Thanks to a half century from Mitchell Johnson, Australia made a respectable, yet modest 280.

4] Australia struck early, and at the end of Day Two England are at 3/167. Two days and an even test match. Thank goodness!

5] Well, that didn’t last long, did it? A century from Cook (189) and Bell (115) left England at 7/488 at the end of Day Three, already more than 200 runs ahead.

6] Despite the use of technology by the third umpire, a decision against Bell was overturned which should not have been. Yes, it’s the first mistake I’ve seen with this technology, but it was a big one in the context of the match.

7] England were eventually dismissed for 644, with Prior adding to the list of England centurions. This is England’s highest ever score against Australia on Australian soil. So while the Aussies have (apparently) improved in the batting, the bowling still apparently needs a LOT of work.

8] Several media pundits / former players think a 3-1 series loss is just the wake-up call the Australian selectors need, while also emphasising the need to show faith in the youngsters selected for the team. But the biggest issue is this: Who can possibly be a decent Australian captain?

9] Stumps on Day 4 and Australia are 7/213. Clarke got 41, Watson 38, Haddin 30, Smith not out on 24… Batting collapse again. Sigh! Another innings defeat coming up. When was the last time Australia suffered 2 innings defeats in a row? And out of the last 6 run outs in tests involving Australians, Watson’s been involved in 4. His run out here signalled the collapse. What does this mean?

10] Australia put up a sort of rear-guard action. Smith not out on 54, Siddle with a 43. But Australia still only managed 281. Another innings defeat. 2 in a row. I hope that this finally – finally! – makes the selectors and Cricket Australia take note. We relied for too long on too many older players. Now they’ve gone, the next generation has not been given the opportunities to shine or even develop. They have done the country a disservice. Now they need to do something about it.

Bonus Thought!
11] England played their arses off this series to win 3-1 (1 drawn). Apart from a few fielding lapses, they were clearly the better team. Their goal is to be number one. While I think they have a while to go before they challenge South Africa or India, the fact remains they are on target to give it a red hot go. Hats off to them (as much as that irks me); they deserved every bit of it.

Australia 1st innings: 280; England 1st innings 644; Australia 2nd innings 281
            England won by an innings and 83 runs.
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THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE – 10 THOUGHTS ON THE ASHES FOURTH TEST http://insidepulse.com/2010/12/29/the-view-from-down-here-%e2%80%93-10-thoughts-on-the-ashes-fourth-test/ http://insidepulse.com/2010/12/29/the-view-from-down-here-%e2%80%93-10-thoughts-on-the-ashes-fourth-test/#comments Wed, 29 Dec 2010 21:27:09 +0000 http://insidepulse.com/?p=229314 Ashes 4: A New Hopelessness

1] The Boxing Day Test Match in Melbourne is one of Australia’s sporting event icons. With the AFL grand final, the Melbourne Cup, Bathurst, the Phillip Island motorbike race, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race and the Tour Down Under, it is a sporting event that drags in the hugest crowds and often gives the bestest action.

2] There’s crumbled and then there’s this pile of steaming horse manure. Where Australia struggled on the first day of the Perth test, in this one they completely collapsed. All out for 98 in less than a day. Every single one of them caught as well.

3] To rub salt in Australia’s festering wounds, England finish day one on 0/157. Yes. No wickets, more than a hundred runs.

4] Day Two is England teaching Australia how to bat. That is all.

5] I have ragged pretty hard on Ponting over the years. His display on Day Two is worth mentioning. Pietersen was given not out. Australia called for the third umpire, who agreed. SO Ponting then went on about it to the umpires for 8 minutes! The video replay showed he had not hit it. Ponting felt the video was wrong. The technology they use is excellent. Ponting is… not.

6] Day 3 and England are finally dismissed for 513 runs.

7] The one – one! – positive out of England’s innings for Australia was Siddle. He took six wickets and two catches – that’s having a hand in 8 out of 10 wickets. England on the other hand saw Trott not out on 168, Prior with 85, Cook 82, Strauss 69 and Pietersen 51. Add this to Anderson’s 4 wickets and Tremlett’s 4 wickets and it looks like Perth was just an aberration.

8] End of Day 3 and Australia are 6/169, still 246 behind.

9] It took England an hour or so, but Australia were finally all out for 258, losing the match by an innings and 157 runs. That’s not a defeat – that’s a complete and utter humiliation. I’ve been watching cricket for 3 decades and it is the worst performance I have seen by an Australian side against England. Ever. What crap.

10] Ricky Ponting’s captaincy must be in doubt. Yes, I know he played with a broken finger, but that does not explain the fact he is now only the 2nd Australian captain ever to fail in 3 Ashes series. Yes, Australia can still draw the series in Sydney, but England have retained the Ashes because a draw won’t win it for Australia. His insipid performance as captain again must surely put his position in jeopardy, a view expressed by more than one ex-player. The problem with that, however, is: who takes over? Michael Clarke’s form is almost as bad as Ponting’s and he seems to be having a crisis of confidence. Watson is being touted as a possible, and his form has been okay, while he has fronted media more than once and done an admirable job. Hussey was also mentioned as – despite failing in Melbourne – has had a good series, but his age goes against him; Australia prefers younger captains who’ll stick around for a bit. It seems the whole team needs something of a going over, and with Harris out with an ankle injury some enforced changes are bound to happen.

Australia 1st innings 98; England 1st innings 513; Australia 2nd innings 258
            England won by an innings and 157 runs
            England have retained the Ashes.
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