A Way Too Long Update with Random Match Reviews

Hey folks, Charlie here with this LONG overdue update.  I haven’t posted here at Pulse since June 4th.  I ended up taking an extended vacation to spend time with family, but I’m back and reviews should be coming in shortly.

Red, my trusty editor, has been busy with the burdens of an actual job and shit and thus new Way Too Long Reviews might be slightly delayed, but there’s no big deal in that.  In fact, I would ask both of my fans that when the Wrestlemania 26 review gets posted this week, you give Red props for the amazing work he’s done editing my stuff.

Following Wrestlemania 26, I’ve got three pay-per-views left to do, all of which I plan on having done by the end of this week and sent off to poor ole’ Red.  Extreme Rules and Over the Limit are long overdue.  Fatal Four Way just was released today and I should be sitting down to review it by this weekend.

After these, I have a nasty twenty-two DVD backlog to get to, and that’s just the WWE stuff.  In no paticular order:

-The New and Improved DX

-The Dusty Rhodes Story

-Rob Van Dan: One of a Kind

-Hart & Soul: The Hart Family Anthology

-Shawn Michaels: My Journey

-Brock Lesnar: Here Comes the Pain

-Ricky Steamboat: The Life Story of the Dragon

-The Twisted, Disturbed Life of Kane

-The Best of Raw 1993 to 2008

-Viva La Raza: The Legacy of Eddie Guerrero

-The Rise & Fall of ECW

-ECW Bloodsport

-ECW Extreme Rules

-Mick Foley’s Greatest Hits & Misses

-Rey Mysterio: The Biggest Little Man

-History of the Intercontinental Championship

-Twist of Fate: The Matt & Jeff Hardy Story

-Jeff Hardy: My Life, My Rules

-Ladder Match

-John Morrison: Rock Star

-Best of Raw 2009

-The Undertaker’s Deadliest Matches

Yipes.  And that’s not counting upcoming releases such as the Best of Chris Jericho, Best Randy Orton (is there such a thing??) and the Best of High Flyers.  Meanwhile, I’m in the process of updating and reworking all my pre-Inside Pulse reviews for reposting on here.  The first two will be coming soon, and those are Ric Flair’s Definitive Collection and Wrestling’s Most Powerful Families, both of which will be up on Pulse soon.  If I can’t get a fresh review up, I will try to have at least one older review retooled and reposted at least once a week.

So that’s it for the update.  The Wrestlemania XXVI Three-Disc Collector’s Edition Way Too Long Review will be posted in two parts this week on Inside Pulse Wrestling.  Extreme Rules and possibly Over the Limit will be up next week.  Until then, here’s a collection of random match reviews, some of which come from those sets.  None of these have been posted anywhere, so enjoy. Oh, and they’re unedited so just ignore whatever mistakes are in them please.  Thanks 🙂

World Heavyweight Championship
(c) Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton
8/15/04 Summerslam

A lot of smart marks don’t like to hear it, even after all the horrible stuff that played out at the end of Chris Benoit’s life, but he really wasn’t all that well received as the World Heavyweight Champion.  He had his moments, but ultimately he’s one of those guys who the fans reacted for and wanted to see chase the title, but once he actually had it nobody cared to watch him defend it.  Smarks might have, but casual fans weren’t as into him anymore.  Even some smart fans got a little bit tired of him.  I mean, once you’re the champion what else is left?  So now we’re in Canada and the fans are actively rooting against him.  Granted, the fans are being huge smart asses and have gone against the grain all night, but it still didn’t bode well for him.

An attempt at locking up doesn’t work as Orton backs off of it.  A second attempt goes the same way.  The third lock-up leads to the corner where Benoit refuses to break clean.  Orton teases another lock-up but clubs at Benoit’s back instead and slaps on a hammerlock.  Benoit reverses it and gets a reverse chinlock.  To the corner where they break clean.  We hook in a test of strength and Orton takes advantage, but Benoit gets up on it and kicks Orton over into an armbar.  Orton trips Benoit up but misses a kneedrop and we go back to the armbar.  Back to their feet, Orton punches himself free and hits a shoulderblock, followed quickly by a pose and you can feel the fans turning into Orton fans.  It wouldn’t last.  Orton bounces off the ropes and eats an armdrag into an armbar.  Orton again fires off a forearm to escape and shoots Benoit off, but he whiffs on a dropkick when Benoit holds the ropes.  Benoit tries to slap on the sharpshooter but Orton rolls through it and tries for one of his own, drawing some heel heat.  He actually gets it on and it looks like poopie.  Benoit counters into his own sharpshooter and Randy reaches for the ropes, so Chris throws himself at Orton and goes for the crossface.  They wiggle their way under the ropes and to the floor, where Orton tosses Benoit’s shoulder into the post in what looked like a damn gutsy bump. Orton tosses Benoit into the apron, then back into the ring and where he covers for zero as the referee catches his feet on the ropes.  Orton mounts a rear-wristlock, then clamps down on the injured arm.  Benoit fights back and chops the shit out of Orton, but Randy loads him up for a cringe-inducing hotshot suplex on the ropes.  Orton tries to suplex Benoit over the ropes and into the ring, but Benoit fights off and they brawl on the apron.  Benoit hits a DDT onto the apron, which draws some ooohs and awwws from the crowd.  It gets two.  Orton bails to catch a breather but Benoit baseball slides him.  Benoit builds up some speed and fires off an insane suicida through the ropes.  Orton ducks out of the way and Benoit KILLS HIMSELF on the guardrail, no pun intended.  I mean that was nastier the time Jericho plastered him with the chair doing the same move at the Royal Rumble.  Benoit’s whole upper-body folds up.  He had to have a concussion from that.  Actually, one thing I’ve noticed from watching Chris Benoit matches is that he had to be the all time leader in undiagnosed concussions.  Which, for the record, doesn’t give you an excuse to be an anti-social fuckwad who murders your family, but it is worth noting that he had to be the all-time swollen brain champion of wrestling.

Needless to say, Orton now feels good about his chances.  Orton does an incredibly stupid thing by grabbing Benoit by the neck and jerking up on it.  Benoit swats away at Orton with his hands as if to say “are you fucking retarded?”  Orton was still pretty green here but he should have known better.  So Orton avoids looking like a total douche and rolls Benoit into the ring and covers for two.  Clubbing blows to the chest by Orton and a neck-vise that he snaps off.  He goes to a camel clutch.  Meanwhile, Benoit looks incredibly fucked up.  He fires off some elbows to escape, but Orton hits an elbow.  Orton loads up a gut-wrench into a back-breaker, which he turns into a neckbreaker for two and a HUGE face pop from the crowd.  Orton lays on a pretty heavy side-chinlock.  Benoit gets up and both guys fling themselves off the ropes and go for a crossbody, leading to a double knock-out.  I hate that spot.  I fucking hate it.  It’s so illogical.  Both guys up and Benoit goes on offense with a couple stiff forearms and a backdrop.  Northern-lights suplex gets two.  He chops away and loads Orton up on the top rope.  Orton blocks a superplex and shoves Benoit down.  Crossbody off the top hits for two.  Benoit meant to roll through, but his neck was too fucked up from the suicida earlier and so Orton just clamped down on it.  Nice cover by them.  And Jim Ross is good enough to cover for them as well.  That’s one thing that people often forget is required of a good announcer: to cover for the wrestlers when things don’t go as planned.  Michael Cole isn’t bad at it either, but often his attempts to cover up botched stuff fail because his explanations are no good.  At Wrestlemania 19, when Brock Lesnar missed the shooting star press, he claimed that it was because Kurt Angle rolled out of the way.  Which isn’t bad for something he had about one second to come up with, but a more rational explanation of “he didn’t get enough turn and/or distance on it” would have been better and I think Jim Ross would have gone that route.  Gordon Solie was the king of covering shit up because he didn’t even try to hide it.  If a wrestler botched a suplex, Solie would say that the other wrestler was trying to break his neck.

Anyway, to the finish of the match.  Orton calls for Benoit to get up and coils down for the RKO.  He goes for it but Benoit pushes him into the ropes and hits a clothesline on the rebound.  Benoit goes for the sharpshooter but Orton fights off of it, so Benoit fires off a suplex and then slaps it on.  Orton reaches for the ropes and does a marvelous job of selling how close he is to it.  That’s one thing I think Orton does better then anyone else on the roster these days: sell a hold.  He’s toned it down slightly since he started to act more snake-like in the ring, but he’s still the top guy on the roster for selling submission holds.  Orton gets to his feet and Benoit fires off the rolling Germans.  Orton tries to get a clothesline but Benoit ducks it and fires off another three, for a total of five.  Each one involves him landing on his head, with Orton’s full weight crashing down on him.  Someone really should have told him to tone down on those.  But it gets worse.  Benoit decides that his brain hasn’t been punished enough this match, so he goes for the flying headbutt.  Orton gets his feet up and Benoit completely destroys his frontal lobe eating it.  Orton ties up both of Benoit’s legs and covers for two, which Benoit then turns into the crippler crossface.  Orton reaches for the ropes and ends up rolling through it and the hold gets broken.  The spot was botched, though I’m not entirely sure what the idea was.  If I had to make an educated guess, I would assume Benoit was supposed to get pinned for two on that one.  Jim Ross attributes it to perspiration.  Orton ends up on the ropes and goes for the RKO.  Benoit tries to spin out of it but Orton hits it anyway and gets the pin and the title as clean as the soul of Jesus Christ.  Fans cheer both guys for a good show.

****1/4 Very good match, especially considering that Orton had not yet wrestled this style during his entire WWE run.  They kept a good pace going.  Make no mistake, Benoit carried the entire thing, which is impressive considering that I think there’s a strong possibility that he suffered legitimate brain damage when he crashed into the wall.  It wasn’t great on psychology, but the structure of the match, with Benoit having a counter for everything but ultimately over-playing it and beating himself was the perfect way to put over a guy like Orton, who really wasn’t ready to be champion.  Kudos!

-And after the match Orton does the Shawn Michaels celebration, then Benoit returns to the ring and offers him a handshake, which Orton tearfully accepts.  It’s too bad they killed his reign only four weeks later.  They could have stretched it out, but feeding him to Triple H killed his already shaky credibility.

WWE Championship
(c) Shawn Michaels vs. Sycho Sid
11/17/96 Survivor Series

It might not be the best match ever.  It certainly isn’t the best wrestled.  But this is the answer to the most common question I am asked: what is my favorite match ever?  So by popular request, this is it: Sid vs. Shawn from the Survivor Series.

We’re in Madison Square Garden, so naturally the smart-assed fans immediately turn on Shawn Michaels treat Sid like the coolest mother fucker who ever lived.  Meanwhile, the girls go nuts for Shawn, including but not limited to grabbing him by the hair and not letting go.  Lockup and Sid clubs Shawn down.  Sid then clubs Shawn down a few more times and slugs it out.  Shoot off but Shawn slides between Sid’s legs and hits a cross-body for two.  Headlock-takeover for two by Shawn and he holds it, while the majority of the fans boo his every action.  Sid grabs a head-scissors, then Shawn fires off a bitch-slap.  And then another.  Sid kicks Shawn in the gut and gets a headlock-takeover of his own.  Shawn gets a head-scissors, and then Sid nips-up!

Shawn tries to slug it out, and the announcers agree he can’t win out on that one.  Sid easily press-slams Shawn, but Michaels wiggles out.  He shoots off Sid and lowers his head into the powerbomb, then bails before Sid can execute it.  He takes his time and gets back in.  They trade reversals and this leads to Shawn getting a chop-block.  The boos rain down on him as he crunches Sid’s leg.  Huge “SYCHO SID” chant going.  It’s as if the WWE made 20,000 clones of me.  Shawn kicks away and slaps on the figure-four, nearly getting booed out of the building doing it.  Shawn gets arrogant in the hold and starts to laugh, but Sid reverses it.  Shawn rolls over and grabs the ropes.  Shawn goes back to the leg and drops his weight on it.  The fans want Shawn to DIE!  Shawn goes for a figure-four, but Sid kicks off.  Sid takes control with some kicks to the arm and the gut.  He grabs an arm and kicks Shawn in the gut again.  Running stomp by Sid and the fans are loving everything he’s doing.  Sid keeps running and kicking Shawn, selling the leg injury the whole time.  Running boot misses for Sid and he gets tied up in the ropes.  Dropkick by Shawn, then back to the leg with a stomp to the back of the knee.  Sid fights off and almost dumps Shawn, who skins the cat.  Sid doesn’t care and dumps Shawn with a brutal clothesline.  Shawn’s got his flying shoes on now.  Sid takes Michaels to the ramp, where he whips Shawn into the apron, then press-slams him into the rail.  Sid stalls to celebrate and act like a psychopath, then tosses Shawn back in the ring.

Sid slowly crawls over like a nut and covers for two.  Shoot off and Sid backdrops Shawn.  Sid beats on Shawn in the corner and hits the running boot he originally wiped out on.  Sid grabs a sleeper on the ropes, but Shawn hangs him up on the ropes.  Shawn climbs and goes for a cross-body and gets caught.  The fans pop before Sid even does anything.  He settles on a back-breaker for two.  More brawling to the corner by Sid and a hard whip to the turnbuckle.  Another hard whip to the corner by Sid, and Shawn is telling him to just bring it.  Sid’s getting pissy and Shawn fights back.  Scoopslam by Shawn and he climbs.  He goes for something, but Sid gets a boot up.  Shawn’s selling of this is GLORIOUS, including a full head-stand by him.  Cobra-clutch by Sid, and Shawn can’t make the ropes.  Sid grounds him down and it gets two and two.  Shawn fights back (Booooo!) only to charge into a chokeslam.  He rakes the eyes to escape it, but Sid catches Sweet Chin Music and fires off a one-armed chokeslam.  Sid gives Shawn the last rites and loads up the powerbomb.  Shawn turns it into a small-package for two, then Sid gets pissy and stomps him.  Powerslam by Sid gets two.  Flying forearm by Shawn and the nip-up… only for Sid to mow him down with a clothesline and get the pop of the century.

Sid gets in the corner and grabs a television camera from a cameraman who had been bothering him all night.  He then whacks Jose Latherio with it, sending him crashing to the floor and giving him a heart attack.  ECW had played this exact same finish the previous night in the same city.  Sid drops the camera and eats Sweet Chin Music.  Shawn goes to check on the Jose, so Sid recovers and tosses Shawn back in the ring.  Shawn misses a cross-body and wipes out the referee, so he bails to attend to Jose some more.  Sid grabs the camera again and smashes Shawn in the back with it.  He tosses him in the ring, and in my personal favorite moment in all the years I’ve been watching wrestling, powerbombs Shawn and pins him to win the WWE Championship.  Fuck ya all, it’s still my #1 moment.  Plus there’s a bonus.  When the referee is counting, this chick in the front row lets out a blood-cruddling “NOOOOOOOOOOO!” and then collapses when the ref slaps three.  God I love it.  The ending still turns me into a total mark.

****1/4 I wish I could say that this, the only match left that can still make me mark out, was five stars.  Typical Sid pacing issues keeps it well under that.  Still, it’s my favorite guilty-pleasure and required viewing if you need proof that Shawn Michaels is a fucking miracle worker.  It’s funny that he only found jebus in 2002.  Divine intervention seemed to have been on his side for most of his career.

World Tag Team Championship (The Twisted, Disturbed Life of Kane)
(c) Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart vs. X-Pac & Kane
4/5/99 Raw

So Kane was a vicious heel but paired with his brother, who was a babyface, kind of (he was feuding with the most popular guy in the company).  Then his brother turned on him, which somehow made him a babyface, only he was forced to join Vince McMahon’s stable, which was made of heels.  Then Chyna turned on Triple H, which made her a heel, and was paired with Kane, which made him a heel, I think.  Then Chyna turned on Kane and got back with Triple H, turning her babyface.  Kane stayed heel.  Only Chyna & Triple H turned on X-Pac, which made them both heels.  But this somehow made Kane a babyface by default since they turned heel on the same show where Chyna turned babyface with Triple H.  Then, Owen Hart & Jeff Jarrett offered a tag title shot to anyone, and Kane accepted.  They double teamed him, so X-Pac made the save for no damn reason.  Then Kane chokeslammed him, which in theory should have turned him heel but didn’t, and that act somehow made them both #1 contenders to the tag titles.

You really need a flow chart to explain this stuff.

Waltman starts with Hart.  Shoot off and a spinkick by Pac.  Clothesline by Hart, tag to Jarrett, who hits a kitchen sink kneelift.  Shoot off reversal and the flipping clothesline by Pac.  Blind tag to Owen who comes in with a spinkick.  Tag to Jarrett, then a double clothesline and a leg splitter.  Shoot off and Jarrett gets a powerslam for two.  Tag to Owen who hits a backbreaker and a hard whip to the corner.  Suplex gets two.  Owen gets a crossbody off the ropes, but Pac rolls through it for two.  Enziguri by Hart and a tag to Jarrett, who grabs a sleeper.  Pac fights back with a backdrop suplex for a double KO.  Jarrett makes the tag and cuts off Pac.  Headbutt between the legs looked really low and should have been a DQ, but the ref lets it go.  Scoopslam and Owen climbs, but eats a boot.  Double clothesline for another double KO.  strange.  Hot tag to Kane.  He climbs and hits the flying clothesline to Jarrett, then punches Owen down.  Big boots for all.  Clothesline by Hart, chokeslam to Jarrett while X-Pac bronco-busters Owen, then a chokeslam to X-Pac onto Jarrett for the pin and the titles.
** Peppy and quick, like most TV matches in the Russo era.

Ladder Match (from Vince McMahon’s DVD)

Vince & Shane McMahon vs. Steve Austin

6/27/99 King of the Ring
*I wrote this review like years ago and I was even worse then, so forgive me dear readers.

So the 1999 King of the Ring was one of the worst pay per views of all time.  Among the highlights is Undertaker and Rock stinking up the joint, X-Pac then taking that stinky joint and smoking it to the point that he showed up in no condition to perform (naturally he was advanced to the tournament finals as punishment) and Billy Gunn winning the tournament.

The point of this match is that Austin is the CEO of the company, and his CEOship is on the line.  Not shown on DVD: Vince McMahon trying to replace Shane with Steve Blackman.  Really, can’t make that kind of crap up.  Shane & Vince go for a ladder but Austin kills them both to start.  Blur-maina is running wild, as the WWE is trying like crazy to get all “WWF” logos erased.  But you can clearly see the F, which kind of makes it moot point.  Austin stomps and mudhole in Vince, then gives Shane a Thesz Press and a FU Elbow.  Austin posts Shane McMahon, but Vince helps with a double team.  Austin shrugs it off and beats Vince, who’s got a ladder. Shane climbs the entrance structure, which is made up of dozens of ladders.  Austin gives chase and knocks Shane off the structure to the floor.  It wasn’t intentional, but Shane’s head smacks the concrete with an audible thump.  Two years later Kurt Angle would throw Shane on his head like three times in one match… at the King of the Ring!  Cosmic.

Austin throws Shane through the set a few times, nearly collapsing the entire structure.  Austin throws him through another ladder, then takes a chain and collapses the entire structure on them.  Well, that was cool as hell.  Austin grabs a ladder in the ring, then dumps Shane to the outside.  Austin lightly whacks McMahon with a ladder, then throws it into Shane!  Austin sets up a ladder, places Shane on a table, and drops an FU Elbow on Shane through the table.  Austin climbs the ladder on the outside and goes to hit something on Austin, but McMahon pushes the ladder over and Austin falls onto the other annouce table, which doesn’t break.  Fucking OUCH!

McMahon climbs for the briefcase, but Austin catches him and lowblows him.  Austin throws McMahon off the ladder, then clotheslines Shane down.  Mudhole stomping on Shane, then a whack with a ladder.  Austin throws shoulderblock type moves with the ladder, then whips McMahon into Shane.  Clothesline on McMahon.  Austin catipults Shane into the ladder, then casually drops it on him.  Austin lays the ladder ontop of Shane, then stands on it to jaw on him.  Austin climbs but Vince again tips over the ladder.  Vince puts Shane on his shoulders so Shane can reach for the briefcase.  Austin attacks Vince which causes Vince to electric-chair Shane.  KICK WHAM STUNNER~! to Vince, then one to Shane.  Austin climbs, but someone pulls the briefcase out of Austin’s reach.  They never revealed who did it, but according to whatever mood Vince Russo is in, it was to either be Triple H or Test.  Take your pick.  Someone lowers the case for the McMahons and Shane grabs it to win.  It was never outright revealed who lowered the briefcase, so I’ll just blame God like I always do.  Damn him!
***1/2 Retarded… really retarded… anticlimatic ending aside, this was actually entertaining as hell.  It loses a half star because it has one of the worst endings to a major match of all time, but otherwise this is good fun.  I’ve only watched it once, the day it happened.  I remember hating it then, but it might have had to do with the proceeding pay per view, the worst of the year for the WWE.

Cactus Jack vs. Vader (From Mick Foley’s Greatest Career Hits & Misses)
4/17/93 WCW Saturday Night

Sadly we lose Jesse Ventura’s commentary.  Vader is the world champion here but the title is not on the line.  Lockup goes nowhere.  Another lockup and Jack smacks Vader down in the corner.  Stall, lockup, and Vader fires off some stiff punches as he tries to give Foley a bloody nose, a spot they had talked about before this match.  Listen closely and you can hear Foley’s nose break.  Foley checks for blood and somehow there was none.  Crazy. Vader kicks Foley around and then punches him in the face some more.  Vader closes in and pops him in the nose again.  Still nothing.  More punching in the face, and this is just sick.  Body splash in the corner by Vader and more punches Foley’s nose.  Tony Schiavone sounds squeamish on commentary.  Shoot to the corner but Foley catches another body splash and slams Vader.  Legdrop and a clothesline off the top by Foley.  Shoulderblock sends Vader to the floor, where Foley tries to clothesline him over the guardrail.  It doesn’t work because the entire guardrail collapses.  Foley clotheslines Harley Race down and we have to cut to a commercial.

When we come back, Foley is firing headbutts to Vader on the apron.  Foley’s face is incredibly swollen but there’s no trace of blood on him.  Cactus slaps a sleeper on Vader, who then throws himself backwards and splatters Mick all over the mat.  We now cut to the uncensored stuff, as Vader busts Foley open the hard way with some nasty punches.  More stiff punches in the corner and Foley crumbles down into a pile of goo.  Foley’s face is just nasty looking.  Harley gets some choking on the ropes in, then Vader stalks Foley around.  Samoan drop slowly sets up for the pump splash.  Vader pumps it about five hundred times and hits it.  We get a weird cut in the video and when we come back Vader is smacking Foley around some more.  To the floor, where Harley holds Foley for a free shot.  Mick ducks and Race eats a clothesline.  Kick to the face by Vader, then Foley crumbles into the ring.  Another punch and a clothesline that dumps Foley to the floor.  Vader goes for a body splash against the rail, but Foley moves out of the way and Vader knocks it over.  Cactus Smash off the apron by Foley, then he beats the count back in and wins the match.  Vader gets pissed and tosses the rail around.  Big bully.  Hard match to rate.
*** Other then the big, stiff punches they didn’t really do a whole lot in there.  This was entertaining enough to at least earn a passing grade, but given the hype Foley had for this in his first book I was actually disappointed that there wasn’t more ‘match’ to this match.

United States Heavyweight Championship (from Viva La Raza: The Legacy of Eddie Guerrero)
(c) Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero
8/10/96 Hog Wild

I’ve never seen this match before as I made a point of skipping the Hog Wild/Road Wild pay per views.  For WCW I usually only ordered the major shows, and never ordered the biker stuff.  From what I’ve seen from these shows since I started doing reviews, the crowds are horrible and the energy is zapped right out of the wrestlers as a result.  I’m one of the few remaining people who gives Eric Bischoff credit where it’s due for being the one and only person to ever make WCW profitable after Ted Turner took control of it, but it was vanity projects like this that truly tarnished his legacy.

In Eric Bischoff’s book, in regards to the Sturgis pay per views, Bischoff says;

Anytime I did something out of the box, the dirtsheets and some of the hard-core wrestling fans gave me flack.  But I knew that none of these people had their heads inside the entertainment industry.  The only thing they understood was what they had grown up with.

I’m not one of those dirt sheet writers that Bischoff hates on in his book.  And although I’m what most would consider a ‘hard-core wrestling fan’ I’m not one of those cynical smart marks who thinks Bret Hart walks on water or is pissed everytime John Cena wins a match.  I pride myself in being rather practical.  So here’s my problem with the biker shows: the crowds sucked, and as a result it made WCW look rather bush league.  Unlike guys like Dave Meltzer, I have no problem with the fact that the show had zero gate.  The majority of the revenue for a pay per view is generated through the buyrate anyway.  The problem with having a show at Sturges is it really limited the chance of getting people who enjoy wrestling to watch the show.

Bischoff, in talking about the seedy dark side to Sturges, says;

“… the reality is, you have a bunch of middle-aged guys trying to relive a little bit of their youth.”

That preception counters what he stated multiple times he intended WCW’s target demographic to be: 18 to 30 year olds.  Middle aged men riding motorcycles is not going to provide you a lively show.

He also argued that being associated with Sturges would enhance WCW’s image, because bikers are cool and edgy.  Although I don’t disagree that the image of a biker is something a lot more radical, I don’t think it’s neccesarly mainstream.  He also asserts that it would open up doors to new sponsers.  I’m not a marketing expert, but I would venture a guess that most people associated with Sturges were likely to already have ties to WCW given their southern roots.  The event is held in South Dakota afterall.

Once again, I would like to make it clear that I’m a big fan of Eric Bischoff and I highly recommend his book.  I agreed with many of his controversal decisions, including holding Nitro at the Mall of America.  Yes, it had no live gate.  Big deal.  It looked pretty incredible and the crowds were electric.  He said it reminded him of a modern day gladiator arena and I agree completely.  I kind of wish the WWE would do things outside the box more like that.  Sturges though… it just didn’t work.  The crowd was constantly dead, which is obviously not a great atmosphere for wrestlers who thrive on crowd reactions to pace their matches.  And yet they went there four years in a row.

OK, sorry for the rant.  We now return to your regularly scheduled review.

Flair brings Woman and Miss Elizabeth to the ring with him.  I would like to point out that, with the exception of the motorcycles lining the entrance ramp, it actually looks more like they’re holding the show in the middle of a trailer court.  There are campers and stuff all around.  It’s so bush league.

Lockup to start.  Eddie takes him to the corner and we have a clean break.  Lockup, shoot off and Eddie gets a shoulderblock, then a few shoves.  Flair then gets into a shoving match with the referee.  Eddie and Ric have a bitch-slapoff, won out by Guerrero and Flair bails.  Back in, lockup and a shoot off and Flair gets a shoulderblock.  Eddie fucks up one a head scissors, then fucks it up a second time when Flair goes for a back suplex.  Wow… one would think that alone might disqualify this from being on a DVD that’s supposed to represent the best matches of his career.  Eddie bails to get his wits about him, then comes back in with some chops.  Flair to the corner and he chops away, only to be punched to the mat, and Ric bails again.  Back in, Eddie gets a side headlock and leverages him down to the mat, where Flair turns him down for a few near falls.  Flair yanks Eddie down by the hair, but he nips up and takes Flair to the corner.  Slug out and Eddie chops away.  This match is sloppy as hell.

Eddie gets a backdrop as the lights start to fail… or possibly a cloud goes overhead.  Flair chops him down, then punches him in the face.  Chop by Flair, which Eddie sells like death.  We then stall for a while.  Ugh.  Hate this match.  Flair chops him around a bit, then chops him some more, but Eddie gets some energy and punches away.  Ten punch by Eddie and some hard chops.  He sends Flair to the corner, where he goes up and over to the apron, where Eddie catches him with a dropkick.  Back in, Flair gets backdropped.  Eddie fucks up a clothesline, hitting him to high.  Guerrero then dumps him to the floor.  Back in, Flair begs off, but Eddie slugs it out with him.  Eddie chops away, causing Flair to flop down.  Thumb to the eye by Flair and a blatant low blow which the referee missed via Miss Elizabeth.  Shoot off but Eddie gets a crossbody for two.  Clothesline for two.  Sunset flip attempt, but he can’t turn Flair over.  Flair misses a punch and hits the mat instead.  Drop toehold by Eddie into a figure four.  Flair makes the ropes.  Knucklelock into a springboard rana for two.  They trade chops, leading to Flair getting a tornado DDT for two.  Flair begs off while Eddie rips off Flair’s strut.  Charge in the corner misses, leading to a snapmare from Flair.  He climbs and gets tossed off for two.  Sunset flip by Eddie leads to Flair getting pants, with his bare ass being exposed.  I’m not a big fan of censorship, but WWE, there are exceptions to the rule.  Sunset flip does work for two.  Thumb to the eye by Guerrero and then a headlock takeover… which looked like shit and led to nothing.  Frog splash hits for Eddie… but he blows out his knee doing it.  What the fuck is up with this match?

Flair goes for a backdrop but Eddie escapes, only for Flair to hit one of the best clotheslines of his career.  He slaps on the figure four and cheats with the ropes.  Woman gives him a hand doing it, and Eddie’s shoulders stay down for the three count.  Good lord… what tripe.

* Likely a low point for Flair’s career.  Eddie had some real stinkers at times, but here he was just botching everything.  Read into that what you will.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe getting matched up against Ric Flair led to performance anxiety or something.  Funny enough, the match was almost a total squash for Guerrero but the ending was horrible.  Just a total brainfart overall.

And finally…

Matt Hardy vs. Mr. Kennedy (from Twist of Fate: The Matt & Jeff Hardy Story)
5/4/07 Smackdown

Everyone knows I’m not a big fan of either guy, so this match might end up surprising you.  Matt’s one-half of the Raw tag champs at this point.  JBL tries to shill Matt as a main eventer, proving he’s delusional.  Lockup and they roll to the corner and break clean.  Headlock takedown by Matt.  Kennedy rolls around on it.  To their feet, and Matt holds the headlock.  Shoot off by Kennedy only to get shoulderblocked down.  Circle and a lockup, this time with Kennedy getting the headlock into a takeover.  Matt turns it into a headscissors.  Crowd isn’t exactly eating this up.

Kennedy wiggles out of it and goes for a headlock, but Matt grabs a front-facelock out of it.  To their feet, Kennedy escapes and grabs a wristlock.  Matt turns it into his own, and turns it into a hammerlock.  Kennedy fumbles his way out of it and gets his own.  This whole sequence pretty much exposed Kennedy as being really rough and ungraceful in his counters.  Matt grabs a hammerlock only for Kennedy to get a backelbow, which Matt sells like death.  Kennedy picks up the pace and kicks at Matt, then slams him in the corner.  Shoot to the corner but Matt gets a foot up and clotheslines Kennedy down a couple times.  Headlock takeover by Matt.  They get to the ropes, where Kennedy slugs it out and goes for a piledriver, but Matt counters with a backdrop over the top rope as we go to a commercial.  We’re back, and Kennedy is bleeding from his nose.  Matt hits an elbow off the second rope… for one?  Man Kennedy sucks.  Armbar takedown by Kennedy and he mounts some punches.  Slam into the corner and Kennedy schoolboys Matt for two.  Kennedy again fumbles his way into a basic hold, in this case a really crappy armbar, and then grounds it down.  Matt punches out of it and slugs away in the corner.  Shoot to the corner and Kennedy comes out and we get a double KO spot off a clothesline.  Matt dumps Kennedy to the floor and gives chase.  Kennedy kicks Matt into the stairs and tosses him in the ring for two.  Knees to the back of the head and some punches, and the fans are actually booing him.  Snapmare into a neckvise type of move that actually looks decent.  I think this is the first time I can remember a Kennedy resthold that doesn’t suck.

Matt fights back and slugs away.  Kennedy has a lot of blood coming out of his nose.  He kicks Matt off and clotheslines him for two.  CRAPPY headbutts to Matt’s midsection.  He boxes Matt’s ears and goes for a rest hold, but Matt fights out a bit.  Matt’s tired, so Kennedy hits a running boot to the face, then a running kneelift to the face for two, two, and two.  Matt slugs it out and clotheslines Kennedy in the corner.  He goes for the follow-up Bulldog but Kennedy throws him off.  Kennedy eyes his money-in-the-bank briefcase and crawls for it.  Matt sees this and baseball slides it out of the ring.  Neat spot, good camera work on it too.  Clothesline/Bulldog combo works this time for Matt for two.  Backelbow by Kennedy and he climbs, but Matt crotches him on top.  Kennedy turns this into a hangman, then charges in the ring but runs into the side effect for two.  Matt calls for the twist of fate, but Kennedy catches his foot and bridges a pin for two.  They trade elbows and kicks, then a double clothesline.  Matt covers for two, turned into a cover for Kennedy for two.  Even with Kennedy being sloppy as hell, this match kicks ass.

Kennedy goes for the plunge, but Matt counters with the Twist, but Kennedy counters that and hits the Green Bay Plunge… for two.  Big pop for that.  Kennedy climbs and goes for the Kenton Bomb, but Matt gets his knees up and covers Kennedy for two.  Legdrop off the second rope gets two.  Matt goes for the twist of fate, Kennedy pushes off of it and almost wipes out the referee.  Matt ducks a clothesline, and the KICK WHAM~! TWIST OF FATE wins for Matt.
**** Very good TV match, even with Kennedy fumbling his way into the most simple of moves.  The pacing was excellent, the counter wrestling was good.  The fans got into it about halfway through.  Just plain entertaining.

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