The SmarK Rant for WWE Falls Count Anywhere (DVD)

Once again I would like to pimp my new line of Kindle books as I attempt to milk every revenue stream available to me, specifically my latest entry:  Scott’s Blog of Doom Presents:  Monday Night RAW Season One.  Only $2.99 for my review of every episode of RAW from January 93 – February 94.  Plus if you’re a cheaper sort of person, like myself, there’s always Scott’s Blog of Doom Presents:  The Worst of Wrestling, which gives you a dozen reviews of horrendous PPVs that you might not even know existed (like the WWE/Girls Gone Wild abomination) for only 99 cents!  You can’t even get a cup of coffee for that price, and I’m giving you hours of reading entertainment.

So onto the DVD, and this is quite the mish-mash of concepts, as this one covers street fights, hardcore matches, and falls count anywhere matches in one big catch-all DVD.  The setlist sort of reminds me of the sort of compilation tape you’d see on a tape trading list in the 90s.  On a more shallow note, THANK YOU to the DVD division for finally being honest in putting “running time 7 hours” on the back instead of the generic “9 hours” they’ve been using for years now despite each disc only going a little over two hours on most releases.

Hosted by Mick Foley, who is looking MUCH thinner than he was at the Royal Rumble.

Disc One

Sgt. Slaughter v. Pat Patterson, Alley Fight.

From May 1981 in MSG, of course.  Patterson attacks to start, dressed all butch in jeans and cowboy boots, and chokes Slaughter down in the corner.  Sarge was the heel at this point, by the way.  Sarge tries to escape to the table, but Pat stomps him with the cowboy boots and then just lays into him with his belt.  Normally Pat disrobing would be a disturbing sign, but in this case it’s pretty cool.  Pat strangles him on the ropes, but Slaughter pulls him over the top to the floor to break it up.  Back in, Pat just puts the boots to Sarge and chokes him down again, but Slaughter finally gets the belt away from him and clotheslines him with it.  Sarge returns the strangling and pulls Pat’s shirt off, then chokes him out with that, too.  Pat tosses him to break, but Slaughter goes up top, only to miss a flying stomp.  Pat fights back and slams him into a middle rope kneedrop, then hits another one and drops a knee on his neck, showing where his target is, I suppose.  Sarge recovers with a kick to the face and throws some nasty boots to the head before chucking him out to the floor.  Great bump from Pat there.  Back in, Sarge hammers away, but Pat reverses with a catapult into the post, and it’s a GUSHER, boy!  Oh, SNAP, no wonder this match was such a legend.  Pat just goes nuts on the cut, but Sarge goes low to stop him.  You can see the crazy gash in his head when they do a close up, and it looks like he went about 3 inches too deep with the blade.  He pulls out a pair of brass knuckles and puts Patterson down, but that doesn’t draw blood.  Slaughter is just bleeding like a pig here and generating enough for both anyway.  Patterson recovers and hits Sarge in the face with his cowboy boot, but Sarge keeps getting up.  Pat sends him into the post again and then clobbers him with the boot, and he’s out on the floor and unlikely to get up.  He tries to get in, but Pat just keeps hitting in the face with his boot, until the Grand Wizard throws in the towel at 14:25.  This was like hardcore IWA death match level stuff for 1981.  What a fight!  ****

Street Fight:  The Midnight Express v. Jimmy Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively

From Starrcade 85, and I’ve never seen this one, so YAY.  It was annoying because I got all the buildup on the weekly WCW shows on 24/7, and then I wanted to see the show but it was never on there.  Lively would of course be Ron Garvin dressed in very unbecoming drag.  The Midnights are rocking the classy coats and tails, while the babyfaces are dressed in street clothes.  Or streetwalking in the case of Garvin.  Condrey is cut open almost immediately, as Valiant tosses him around the floor and works on him with various foreign objects.  Back in for a sleeper, but Condrey gets his own object out of the jacket and puts Valiant down, followed by the BABY POWDER OF DOOM from Eaton.  And now of course Valiant is bleeding, too.  They use their belts to whip the faces as Valiant does his goofy selling, and they double-team Garvin.  Valiant keeps getting thrown out as the Express beats the shit out of Garvin, but he makes the comeback when they try to finish Valiant.  Garvin hits Eaton with Hands of Stone coming off the top rope, and pins him at 6:34 for the win.  This was definitely more of the messy, southern rasslin’ type of street fight rather than the more polished WWF style, as everyone kind of just fought aimlessly.  **

WCW World tag team titles:  Doom v. Barry Windham & Arn Anderson

From Starrcade 90, and this one is in need of a redo so here’s a fresh version.  Doom look incredibly uncomfortable wearing street clothes for some reason.  It breaks loose right away, with Anderson whipping Simmons on the ramp, but Ron gets the belt and hits him right back.  Arn ups the ante by bashing a chair into his knee, while Barry is already bleeding thanks to a shot to the post.  Barry Windham’s militant lesbian haircut is not a good look for him, to say the least.  Back in the ring, Windham misses a kneedrop on Simmons, but DESTROYS him with a weightlifting belt to the face.  Or as Rob Riggle would say, IN THE FACE.  Reed gets color, as the kids say, while Simmons hits Windham with a spinebuster for two.  Reed misses his cue on a top rope move, so he just beats the shit out of Windham instead.  Windham comes back with the superplex on Simmons for two, but Reed hits Arn with the flying shoulderblock for two.  Windham breaks it up with a DDT, so Simmons puts Arn down again with a chairshot in the face for two.  Finally the Horsemen team up and dump Reed, but they can’t double-team Simmons because Reed saves.  Reed pins Windham with a small package while Simmons pins Arn after a clothesline, and it’s a double pin at 7:11, so no one wins.  Crazy brawl, to say the least.  ***1/2  Now I could be remembering wrong, but I THINK that this was originally supposed to be Flair & Anderson going over for the belts before it was changed at the last minute due to Flair being needed as the Black Scorpion.

Falls Count Anywhere on the Gulf Coast:  Sting v. Cactus Jack.

From WCW Beach Blast 92.  Sadly, both of the entrance themes are overdubbed with the later versions.  Sting is the WCW champ, but this is non-title because Cactus didn’t care about the title at this point in the character’s development.  Slugfest on the ramp to start, and Sting backslides for two.  Backdrop on the ramp and facebuster get two.  Sting charges and gets tied up in the ropes.  He rolls out of the ring, but Jack follows with the big elbow for two.  Neckbreaker gets two.  Jack does his usual sick bump, hitting a sunset flip off the apron and nearly breaking his ankle on the railing on the way down.  It gets two.  The bash each other on the railing, but Jack goes low.  Sting dumps over the railing, and suplexes him on the concrete for two.  Cactus takes another sick bump back to ringside and into the ring we go.  Cactus hits a lariat to catch a breather, and pounds on him.  Cactus…goes to the mat?!  Yup, he hooks a bodyscissors, but Sting fights out.  Cactus clothesline puts both on the floor, and Sting fights back.  Jack calmly grabs a chair and bashes his head in.  Jesse ponders why Sting would possibly be stupid enough to even sign this match, and I have to concur.  Sting suplexes Cactus on his head, on the concrete, for two.  Oh my god, Foley is insane, there’s no other explanation.  They do a pinfall reversal sequence (!) on the floor, giving both a couple of two counts.  Jack hotshots Sting on the railing in ANOTHER sick bump (this one for Sting), but Sting blocks a piledriver attempt.  Cactus goes to the top but misses an elbowdrop to the floor.  They head to the rampway and Sting fights back, DESTROYING Cactus with a chair of his own.  Jack escapes the deathlock, however, and gets the double-arm DDT for two.  Sting lariats him and uses his last bit of energy to hit a flying clothesline off the top rope, to the ramp, for the pin at 11:22.  Mick Foley called it his best match in the book, but I can’t agree given the higher quality stuff he did in the WWF.  ****1/2  Stil, a SICK, SICK must-see brawl.

Falls Count Anywhere:  Randy Savage v. Crush

From Wrestlemania X, of course.  This is more accurately described as a Last Man Standing match.  Savage attacks at the entrance and gets dropped on the railing for his efforts, and Crush gets the first pin at 0:42.  Macho is able to make it back into the ring within the arbitrary 60 seconds, so the match continues.  Crush pounds away and hangs Savage in the Tree of Woe, but gets a handful of salt from Fuji.  That allows Savage enough time to escape and kick it back in Crush’s face, and he drops the big elbow, pushes him to the floor, and gets the pin at 4:25.  Fuji is forced to dump a pitcher on water on his man to revive him, but he beats the count back in.  Savage chokes away on the ropes, but charges and gets backdropped to the floor in a great bump. They brawl on the floor and Savage clotheslines him into the crowd, but walks into a superkick.  Savage blocks a piledriver attempt and they fight into the backstage area, where Savage runs him into scaffolding and pins him at 8:00.  And then in a smart move, he trusses Crush up (although his knot-tying could use work, as Crush falls down before Savage even leaves for the ring) and makes it back to the ring for the win at 9:36.  Would have been better without the “beat the count” gimmick, but this was still fun and featured a creative finish.  **3/4

Chicago Street Fight:  The Road Warriors v. Sting & Booker T.

From Uncensored 96.  How you have aChicago streetfight inTupelois a mystery unsolved to this day.  They brawl outside to start and head into the ring for a slugfest, but Sting runs into Animal’s boot.  Animal pounds away in the corner while Hawk backdrops Booker on the floor, and back in the ring it’s another donnybrook.  Booker hits Animal with the ax kick for two, while Hawk & Sting fight outside.  Animal powerslams Booker and drops an elbow for two.  Sting comes back in, but Animal necksnaps him on the top rope and posts him.  Sting returns the favor as the split screen is helpfully labeled “Chicago Street Fight” in case we’ve forgotten what we’re watching.  In the ring, Sting hits Animal with a fistdrop, but gets clotheslined for two.  Elbow misses and Sting bulldogs him, but Hawk chokes Sting down.  Everyone brawls outside and Booker covers Animal for two on the floor.  Back in, Booker gets caught with a shot coming down, and Animal dropkicks him for two.  Sting retreats to the back, while Booker gets a lazy cross-armbreaker on Hawk in the ring.  Sting chairs Animal over by the back, and heads to the ring for a chairshot on Hawk.  But then Animal gets it and uses it in incredibly weak fashion, getting two on Booker.  Booker comes back with a sidekick on Animal and Sting piledrives Hawk, and of course he no-sells that.  Since when does Sting ever use a piledriver?  Hawk powerbombs Sting and goes to the chinlock, then tosses him and it’s more dull brawling outside.  This match has ZERO flow.  It’s all “two guys do stuff in the ring while the other two brawl, switch off, repeat.”  Hawk hits them with some wussy chairshots and tries a powerbomb on Sting, but it’s reversed.  Animal clubs on Sting with the forearms, but Booker breaks it up, and it’s more dull brawling.  Back in with Sting and Hawk, as Sting hits him with a shot off the top that Hawk doesn’t sell, but misses the Stinger splash.  Hawk drops a fist and Animal goes up, but Booker crotches him, so Hawk covers Sting for two.  Booker hits Animal with a flying clothesline for two.  Once again the mystery of falls count anywhere matches arises, as you can pin somewhere anywhere in the arena, except when he has his foot on the ropes.  Sting gets a headbutt low on Animal, and Hawk hits Booker with a backdrop suplex.  Booker comes back with a weak sideslam on Hawk, but misses an elbow, and they do a sloppy collision in the corner.  Sting goes up and misses a splash on Animal.  Hawk goes up and gets dropkicked by Booker coming down.  Animal chokes away in the corner, but Booker goes low, and they fight outside again.  Oh, joy.  Meanwhile, Hawk hits Sting with a move I can only jokingly call a gutwrench suplex for two.  Sting and Booker finally get organized and double-team Hawk with a clothesline, then Sting suplexes him on the top rope while Animal suplexes Booker.  Sooooooo slow and boring.  Hawk & Sting brawl outside again while Booker crotches himself on the top rope, and they switch off for no reason in particular, with Animal taking on Sting outside and Hawk beating on Booker inside.  Booker comes back with a spinkick on Hawk for two.  Hawk boots him down for two.  Back to the floor as Sting goes up on Animal, but gets caught with a powerslam.  Animal works the count, but Sting comes back with a clothesline and both guys are out.  The boredom of this match is crushing my soul.  Hawk and Booker head back into the ring, but Hawk misses a fistdrop and Booker misses an elbow.  He comes back with a sidekick, however, and both guys are out.  On the floor, Animal goes nuts with a chair (as nuts as anyone can go in this snoozefest) and the Warriors double-team Booker, but Sting heads to the back again and returns with BROOMS.  Now I’m scared.  The Warriors choke them down, but Booker comes back with his own choking on Animal, but he gets tossed by Animal and decides to leave.  In the ring, Hawk gets two on Sting.  We follow Animal and Booker to the back, where Luger is posing in front of a mirror in a bizarre moment, but Animal interrupts and gets beat up by Luger and Stevie Ray as a result.  Some things you just don’t mess with.  Back in the ring, Hawk dumps Sting and they brawl, but now Booker T returns as Sting misses his charge into the railing.  Booker sends Hawk into the stairs and brings him back in, getting a sideslam and going up with the Harlem Hangover, but misses it.  Stevie Ray runs out and adds a chairshot for good measure, and Booker FINALLY pins Hawk to end it at 29:35.  Not a terrible brawl, but ridiculously long and dull.  It did foreshadow Booker’s single career, however, as he managed to outwork both of the washed-up Road Warriors and held his own with the unmotivated Sting.  **

Chicago Street Fight:  Faarooq, Crush & Savio Vega v. Ahmed Johnson & The Legion of Doom

From Wrestlemania 13, and this is another one where I’m not generally happy with the original version so here’s a redo.  Pier-six to start and PG-13 get mauled as a result.  Ahmed does an ill-advised flip dive over the railing and into the crowd on Crush, and then launches himself back over again.  In the ring, Hawk chases everyone off with a 2×4, while Animal blows a piledriver on Faarooq outside on the announce table.  Truly the artform of piledriving someone on the announce table was in its infancy in 1997.  Garbage cans are exchanged, and Savio sends Hawk into the roadsign, but ends up with a can on his head.  I think we’ve all been there.  The table finally gets broken when Ahmed slams Faarooq through it.  The fire extinguisher gets used judiciously as this is a just a crazy, southern style unfocused brawl, which is sometimes good.  Poor D-Lo gets kicked in the nuts by Ahmed.  He hits Faarooq with the spinebuster, but D-Lo makes the save, so the LOD hit Crush with the Doomsday Device and pin him at 8:37.  Entertaining but messy.  ***1/4

Street Fight:  Steve Austin v. Bret Hart

From RAW, April 1997.  I remember this vividly.  The newly reunited Hart Foundation assaults Austin before Bret can get into the ring, but Shawn Michaels makes the save and chases them off.  Bret beats on Austin by himself and hits a piledriver, but tries to Pillmanize the ankle and misses.  Austin uses the chair to destroy Bret’s knee (thus setting up his real life knee surgery).  And I mean DESTROY it.  After pounding the knee for a few minutes, he puts Bret in the Sharpshooter until a gaggle of referees finally pull him off for some reason.  After the non-match, Gorilla Monsoon kicks Austin out of the building, and the EMTs load Bret onto the stretcher while his loving brothers Owen and Bulldog assist him.  We take a break and Bret is getting loaded into the ambulance while the brothers verbally abuse the help (“Watch his knee, you IDIOT!”).  And then the legendary moment, as the driver is revealed to be STEVE AUSTIN, and he continues the assault on the helpless Bret until they’re finally separated again.  I guess it loses something because Russo did it again so many times after, but this was truly one of the most influential segments from the period of RAW.

Disc Two

Street Fight:  Hunter Hearst Helmsley v. Cactus Jack

From the famous MSG RAW in September 97, and of course you have to have this one there.  This marked the first time Foley brought the Cactus Jack character into the WWF, in order to settle his feud with HHH once and for all.  Until 2000.  The smarky crowd goes crazy for Cactus and his overdubbed theme, and he immediately blasts HHH with a garbage can and neckbreaker on the floor for two.  Into the ring for a Cactus clothesline back to the floor, but Chyna hits Jack with a cheapshot and clotheslines him over the railing.  They brawl back into the locker room, where Hunter gets a slam for two, but he celebrates too early and Jack gives him the fire extinguisher to the face.  Back into the ring and Hunter gets bumped out AGAIN, but Jack follows with an elbow off the middle rope and lands on the garbage can to flatten it.  We take a break and return with Hunter abusing him with a mop and tossing him, but Jack goes low and this a sunset flip off the apron for two.  And yet again Chyna gets involved, hitting him with a chairshot, but Hunter shoves them together and into the stairs.  Chyna is thus taken out of the match, and they fight up the ramp.  Hunter retrieves a variety of weapons but can’t finish him, so he brings out a table instead.  Jack counters with a low blow, piledrives him through the table, and gets the pin at 8:47.  This was the craziest shit anyone had ever seen on RAW up until that point, and amazingly they would TOP themselves, in the same building with the same match, two and a half years later.  ****

FTW Title:  Taz v. Bam Bam Bigelow

This is from Heatwave 98, and it’s an ECW Death Match, so I guess we know who’s winning.  Yeah, I’m a bad person, I’ll live with it.  Taz throws Bigelow around to start and they immediately fight onto the ramp, where Taz tries a dive into the crowd and gets caught by Bigelow.  Bigelow pounds him with a chair as they fight into the crowd for more sloppy brawling.  It’s the usual magic power where guys have the ability to lead each other around the arena by merely pushing on the other guy’s head, and after some walking they head into the ring, where Bigelow puts Taz through a table.  Taz hulks up and suplexes Bigelow through it himself, and they go out to the ramp again, where Taz suplexes him through the ramp.  They crawl out and Taz finishes with the Tazzmission at 13:40.  This match still bores me.  **

Hardcore title:  Bob Holly v. Al Snow

From St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1999.  This is for the vacant title, what with Road Dogg injured and all.  Bob was not yet Hardcore, but this was the match that made him so.  Snow puts him down with a chair to start, but they fight into the crowd as Michael Cole notes that Bob was Intercontinental champion for “a cup of coffee”.  If by a cup of coffee he means never, then he’s totally correct.  Holly hits him with a fire extinguisher spray and they go backstage, where Snow hits him with a pay phone and quips “Reach out and touch somebody”.  With a cool dry wit like that, he could be an action hero!  Bob comes back with an empty beer cooler and they move into the loading dock, where Snow uses a variety of cleaning implements for two.  Then it’s another pleasant walk to the street outside, where Snow sends Holly into a retaining wall.  And down to the Mississippi river, where Snow headbutts Holly into a wheelbarrow before they fight to the river bank.  They go into the water and Holly uses a SHARP STICK OF DOOM for two.  Man, remember when this crap seemed edgy?  Holly beats him down and wraps him up in a length  of fence for the pin and his first Hardcore title of millions at 10:45.  Lots of walking in between a few cartoonish weapons.  *1/2

Strap match:  The Rock v. HHH.

From Fully Loaded 99, a totally forgotten show.  No lame “touch all corners” here, it’s just a falls count anywhere match with the guys attached to each other.  They brawl onto the floor and Rock does the camera spot.  Rock gets rammed into the Spanish announce table.  Back in the ring and Helmsley retains control.  Back outside the ring and HHH gets whipped into the steps, and they fight into the crowd.  They end up near the barricades and Rock drops HHH on the steel railing to gain the advantage, but HHH whips him into the entranceway.  JR claims that the supposed year-long punishment of HHH for MSG was just a creation of Dave Meltzer and the internet.  Yeah, right.  Helmsley gets some good shots with the strap near the entrance, but gets suplexed on the concrete for two.  Rock takes a nice bump into the barricade for two.  Rocky’s doing a better job of selling tonight.  They drag each other back into the ring and HHH whips him again, cueing the comeback for the Rock.  But no, it’s the KNEE TO THE HEAD OF DOOM to put Rock down again as Chyna wanders out.  She distracts the ref as Rock hits Rock Bottom.  No ref. HHH with the low blow to come back, and he climbs to the top and hangs Rocky from there.  Nasty.  Mike Ciota checks Rock, but he wakes up at two and slams HHH off the top.  Rock comeback, as he uses the strap to pull HHH around the ring and hits the Samoan drop for two.  HHH tosses Rock out of the ring and pulls the strap off.  They brawl on the floor and HHH grabs a chair, but gets whipped by Rocky before he can use it.  Nasty shots. Back in the ring and Rocky with the DDT for two.  Billy Gunn runs in and nails Rock with the club, but it only gets two.  Rock escapes the Pedigree with the Great Equalizer and hits the People’s Elbow.  It gets two, and Gunn yanks Rock out.  Rock hits Rock Bottom on Mr. Ass, but HHH nails him from behind and hits the Pedigree for the pin at 19:05.  And it only took three people.  Screwy booking aside, it was a good match for both guys.  ***1/2

“Love Her or Leave Her”:  Test v. Shane McMahon.

From Summerslam 99.  The Mean Street Posse (with various casts and bandages) make their way to ringside, where a couch and champagne is awaiting them.  Test totally destroys Shane to start, then tosses him into the arms of the Posse.  Test gets laid out by them as a result, with the crowd chanting “Posse Sucks!”. They start handing Shane a variety of weapons, the funniest of which is a framed portrait of themselves.  It gets shattered over Test’s head, of course.  Back in the ring and Shane actually goes for a corkscrew senton off the top!  It misses, and Test powerbombs Shane, but the ref is distracted by Rodney.  Ref bump follows, which makes no sense in a no-DQ match.  The Posse lays out Test on the Spanish announce table…and Shane hits a flying elbow off the top rope, through the table!  WHOA!  Shane is the McMAN!  Back in the ring, but it only gets two for Shane.  Pete accidentally nails Shane with a sign, giving Test a two count.  Crowd is going NUTS.  Rodney hits Test with the cast, which I thought was the end, but it gets two.  Finally, after all that interference, the Stooges make their return, taking out the punks (BIG pop for that), leaving Shane and Test mano-a-mano.  And from there, it’s Meltdown and flying elbow for the Test pin, which was TOTALLY the right booking and got a HUGE pop from the crowd, and the group of people watching the show at our gathering tonight, including a few non-fans. When you can make people who haven’t been following pop for the finish, it’s something good.  Stephanie and Test have a celebration, as Test makes his first big PPV shot COUNT.  ***1/2

WWF title:  Big Show v. Kane

From RAW, December 1999.  They actually change the graphic to say “WWE champion” after the fact.  Big Show is thin enough here that he can wear the belt around his waist.  If Kane doesn’t win the title, then Tori has to spend the holidays with X-Pac.  Kane dumps Show and follows with a dive to start, then escapes a slam attempt on the floor and sends him into the post.  Show grabs a chair in frustration and pounds him with it, drawing a DQ at 2:18.  However, HHH announces that it’s no-DQ, and we continue.  They continue brawling outside, and this time it’s a countout at 3:10, but Steph and HHH make it a falls count anywhere match and we’re on again.  Kane backdrops Show over the railing and hits him with a clothesline off it for two.  Show with a backdrop suplex as HHH and Steph have the most awkward cuddle ever over on the stage.  Bet Chyna was thrilled to watch that.  Show whips Kane into the stairs, but he comes back and gets distracted by the New Age Outlaws at ringside.  Show powerbombs him through the announce table to finish at 6:47.  Really fun match with two big guys taking crazy bumps all around the ringside area.  ***  HHH would get his belt back a couple of weeks after this and stay in the main event for good this time.

Hardcore title:  Crash Holly v. The Headbangers

From Smackdown in March of 2000.  This takes place at FUN TIME USA.  Crash tries to escape down a crazy slide (with the brave cameraman following), but the Bangers double-team him at the bottom and send him into the strength-tester (complete with sound effect) for two.  Crash escapes into the ball pit and the Bangers send the ref in first, but Crash ambushes them and makes his escape to retain the title.  You have to love the goofy concept.

Street Fight: Shane McMahon v. Vince McMahon.

From RAW, October 29 2001.  On the bright side, at least Linda and Stephanie aren’t at ringside. Brawl outside to start, and vince uses a vicious cardboard sign on Shane’s back, then sends him to the stairs. Vince posts him and tosses some plunder into the ring, but gets hit with a lowblow. Shane drops elbow as JR tries to connect the 67,000 people in Houston for Wrestlemania with Shane & Vince wrestling there. Of course, if you’re gonna bring up THAT match, then you have to also bring up the storyline behind it, which would basically render this entire storyline completely non-sensical because everyone is acting exactly the opposite of their character only six months ago. Shane goes up, but hits a shooting star press on a garbage can. Vince uses a kendo stick for evil purposes. Or is that his cane? Vince dumps him and preps the table, but Shane lays him out with the ALUMINUM TRASHCAN LID OF HORROR and goes up for the Macho Mac elbow off the top. It misses by a good foot, but the announcers act like Vince should be dead anyway. Back in, Shane sets up the Shane Terminator, but Vince uses the garbage can to block it. TnT run in to beat up on Vince, but UT & Kane follow to chase them away, and Regal attacks UT, and Rock attacks Regal, and Austin attacks the Rock, and Angle chases him off, and Jericho is last out before Angle uses a chair to turn on the WWF and join the Alliance. Shane pins Vince as an afterthought at 11:07. Match was a contender for worst of the year, but the segment was all about building to the turn anyway. DUD

Street Fight:  Ric Flair v. Vince McMahon.

From Royal Rumble 2002.  The Flair family is at ringside, and Reid is BADASS. When did this kid grow two feet? Screw Scott Steiner, sign HIM. We already saw him taking Bischoff down on Nitro, so we know he’s got the goods on the mat. Vince overpowers Flair to start and does some posing. Nice to see George Zahorian is keeping himself busy. I’ve gotta think that going to prison was the best thing to happen to old Dr. George – I mean, talk about your seller’s market! I wonder how many prison bitches you can buy for a month’s worth of HGH? Vince applies the dreaded SIDE-HEADLOCK OF DOOM to show off his arms. And he wonders why the legitimate media treats him like a joke. He overpowers Flair again, this time adding a strut. Flair takes him down and starts pounding him in the corner, but Vince goes low. Diesel elbow and Vince adds some chops, but Flair gives it back with extra mayo on top. Vince goes to the eyes and hits one of those weird stiff-arm clotheslines that Scott Steiner does now that he can’t move his arm anymore. Flair Flop and Flair Flip put Flair on the apron, where Vince knocks him down. The ALUMINIUM SIGN OF GROTESQUE DISMEMBERMENT triggers a MANLY Flair bladejob, and Vince adds a garbagecan for good measure. Vince posts him and introduces him to the stairs, then steals a camera from Beth Flair and takes a picture of the bloodied Flair. I’m curious if Vinnie Mac actually shows up on film, but I guess if he really WAS the agent of Satan we wouldn’t get the honor of seeing him on videotape every show. Or maybe I’m thinking of vampires. Same thing. Back in, Vince works the leg in a manner even HE should be ashamed of, as he can’t even get his legs extended into the air for the kneedrops to Flair’s knee. He grabs a toehold, then goes back to the knee. He goes to the figure-four (and sets a good example by actually putting it on the CORRECT leg – straight leg is the injured one), but Flair reverses. Vince bails and grabs his phallic lead pipe, but Flair gives him a solid shot to the Hogan to stop that. He dishes the chops like a waiter at Dusty Rhodes’ dinner party, and they brawl outside, where Flair smacks Vince in the face with a monitor to bust him open. Back in, Flair drags him out again and bites the cut in front of Beth. What a romantic. Back in for real, and Vince is all HOLD THE MAYO! Flair keeps on the cut before switching up the psychology and canning him again. I think I should make it an official policy to add * for every time Vince gets hit in the nuts. Flair puts him down with the lead pipe, and before Vince can live up to my expectations by jumping up and doing a hulking-up act, Flair puts him in the figure-four and puts him out of his misery at 14:54. For those who don’t think Flair is still God, STFU. Keep your Outsiders, I like REAL wrestling. He not only provides entertaining matches, but tons of material for me. ***

 

Disc Three

Unsanctioned Street Fight:  Shawn Michaels v. HHH

From Summerslam 2002, of course, a match I haven’t seen in 10 years.  Funny to think of a time when this was a fresh matchup that wasn’t played out in the least.  So let’s give it another look.  Shawn is in jeans and cowboy boots, and HHH of course shows up to a street fight in his wrestling gear.  Shawn tackles and him hammers away to start, tosses HHH, and then hits him with a dive and sends him into the post.  Shawn grabs a trash can, but gets dropped on the railing as a result.  He skins the cat back into the ring, however, and puts HHH down with the can and goes up with the flying axehandle.  Superkick misses and HHH gets a backbreaker, which obviously is an awesome bit of psychology.  HHH goes to work on it and drops elbows on him for two, after a crotchchop.  Chair to the back gets two.  Shawn gets a rollup for two as a hope spot, but HHH DDTs him on the chair for two.  HHH keeps it slow and works him over, then grabs his trusty sledgehammer, but Shawn fights back again, showing what an incredibly smart worker he became during his layoff.  He’s not sure if he can do anything, so he relies on his timing to build up to babyface hope spots and SELL SELL SELL.  HHH gets the abdominal stretch while Shawn bleeds (fake blood), and HHH holds the ropes because it’s UNSANCTIONED.  Earl Hebner is so morally outraged that he forces a break anyway and gives HHH a good talking to in the corner, and that allows Shawn time to recover and start his comeback.    HHH puts him on top and Shawn fights him off, but Hebner gets used as a weapon and Shawn goes down, suffering another chair to the back as a result.  Backbreaker onto an chair, a horrifying spot that’s actually totally safe due to some impressive sleight of hand, gets two.  Another sideslam onto the chair gets two and HHH makes him work to kick out.  He goes to finish with the Pedigree, but Shawn goes low and makes the pained comeback attempt with the exhausted selling we would come to know and love years later.  HHH swings with the chair again, but Shawn superkicks it back into his face, and NOW we’ve got some color because HHH loves to bleed.   He’s likely as sad as anyone about the current state of things.  Shawn makes the proper comeback and puts HHH down with a chair to the face, and I’m in awe at how the “new” Shawn came fully formed out of the gate.  They head to the floor and now Shawn gets his revenge, whipping HHH with the belt and putting him onto the stairs.  He smashes his face in with a ladder and catapults him into it, and HHH is WEARING THE CRIMSON MASK!  Back in, that gets two.  Shawn tries to bring the ladder in, but HHH baseball slides it back at him to take over again.  Back in, he goes up, but Shawn brings him in with a superplex for two.  Crucifix into a sunset flip gets two, but HHH puts him down with the high knee for two, also doing some great selling.  HHH finally grabs the stairs to end things, but Shawn trips him into them and puts him on the floor again.  And since this is Shawn’s Greatest Hits, he retrieves a table.  It’s kind of a roundabout TLC match.  He splashes HHH through the table, from the top rope to the floor, in a crazy spot for a guy who thought he was going right back into retirement after this.  Back in the ring, Shawn sets up the ladder and pulls out the flying elbow, and he debuts the stomping routine for the superkick.  HH catches it and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE to freak out the crowd, but Shawn rolls him up for the pin at 27:11. 

HHH lays him out with the sledgehammer immediately, because he’s a SORE LOSER.  I’m gonna catch hell for this, I’m sure, but this was clearly ***** to me on second viewing.  Like, no question.  I had some issues with the match back then, obviously, but I’m over it.  The very definition of leaving it all on the table, and then amazingly Shawn had another EIGHT YEARS after this!

RAW World title, Street Fight:  HHH v. Kevin Nash

This is from the UK Insurrection PPV in June 2003, as we really pull out the obscurities.  Nash pounds away and clotheslines him to the floor, prompting a brawl between Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair, and Flair is BLEEDING.  In the ring, Flair and HHH double-team Nash and get nowhere, and everyone is aimlessly slugging it out.  They head up to the ramp for more slow brawling, and back into the ring where Nash hits the big boot and elbow for two.  HHH clips him and works on the leg, as Shawn and Flair have vanished.  “This thing has gone downhill in a hurry!” notes Jerry Lawler, and I can’t disagree.  HHH bumps out of the ring, trying unsuccessfully to single-handedly carry Nash to anything decent.  Back in, Nash trips HHH into the stairs and hits the sideslam for two.  JR is going way over the top overselling this boring “brawl”.  And of course, a ref bump.  Diesel hits his two most effective moves (the big boot and hair flip) but HHH goes low as Flair returns to hopefully save the match.  Nash beats him up, but HHH puts him down with the chair for two.  And now Shawn returns from the void and gets rid of Flair, but HHH Pedigrees him.  Nash powerbombs HHH, but fails to flip his hair and so doesn’t get the full force of the move.  Charles Robinson runs in to count two, but Flair beats HIM up, which is a horrible tragedy not even mentioned by the announcers.  HHH hits Nash with the hammer to retain at 14:55 as JR has a heart attack.  Total overbooked nonsense, with multiple ref bumps, overdone weapons, ridiculous commentary from JR, and the corner-men being forced to carry the match.  *1/2

Women’s title, Falls Count Anywhere:  Melina v. Mickie James

From RAW, March 2007.  Mickie attacks and gets two on the floor, and they head backstage right away.  They brawl into the women’s locker room and Mickie runs Melina into the wall for two.  Candace gets her towel pulled off for some blurred out boobies, and we take a break.  Back with the women rolling down the ramp, and back into the ring.  Mickie with a Perfectplex for two.  They fight to the top and Mickie has a rana blocked, nearly breaking her neck on the landing.  Melina quickly pins her to retain at 4:15.   Luckily Ashley and her SPUNKY baseball cap are there to help her out afterwards, setting up something at Wrestlemania that I couldn’t give a shit about.  OKish Diva brawl,  but nothing really happened.  *1/2

Street Fight:  Umaga v. HHH

From Cyber Sunday 2007.  There are some ODD choices on this DVD, although the buyrate for this show was so low that this might as well be a rarity.  Umaga tosses HHH around by the stage and they fight through the crowd and into the ring, where Umaga misses a blind charge.  HHH slugs away and can’t put him down, so he grabs a trashcan and nails him with that for two.  Umaga comes back with a samoan drop and takes over, hammering away in the corner.  Big splash gets two.  Umaga tosses him and sends him into the stairs, and back in for two.  HHH tries to fight back, but Umaga goes to the bearhug.  Corner splash gets two.  HHH comes back with a low blow and a DDT onto a chair for two.  He tries the Pedigree, but Umaga powers him into the corner, then misses a blind charge.  He keeps coming with a spinning slam.  They fight to the floor again and brawl over to the announce tables, where Umaga splashes him from one to the other.  Back in, Umaga goes up for the flying splash, but misses, and HHH makes the comeback.  HHH grabs his trusty sledgehammer, but Umaga hits him in the gut to block.  The GOLDEN SPIKE misses, and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE to finish at 17:19.  Wasn’t really feeling the early part, but they just kept giving it time to build and it eventually worked well enough.  Umaga was getting REALLY good at this sort of thing by this point.  ***1/2

Street Fight:  Umaga v. John Cena

From RAW, June 2008, and we’ve made it into the HD era now!  Speaking of Cena, where the hell was his street fight with JBL from whatever that 2005 Smackdown PPV was?  There’s some weird inclusions and glaring exclusions on this thing.  Umaga easily overwhelms Cena and tosses him as we take a break.  Back with a fight up the ramp, but Cena walks into a samoan drop.  Umaga puts him onto the ringpost and charges, but he misses and Cena makes the comeback.  Mic to the head (with a nice sound cue), but Cena walks into the spinning slam for two.  Cena fights back and walks into a clothesline, allowing Umaga to grab a chair.  Cena keeps coming with the flashback neckbreaker he no longer does, but he can’t get Umaga up for the FU.  Umaga lays him out again and grabs the stairs, but Cena gets the FU this time and finishes at 7:25.  Unlike the HHH match he just watched, this did NOT get the time to develop into anything, and was just a standard TV main event with SuperCena overcoming the odds.  **1/2

Submissions Count Anywhere:  D-Generation X v. Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase

From the god-awful all-submission Breaking Point PPV in September 2009.  HHH’s pre-match spiel to Montreal is pretty funny (with Shawn making “zip it” motions while HHH tries to apologize for the screwjob and then just blames Shawn for the whole thing).  As stipulations go, this is…uh…certainly one.  Legacy gets chased out of the ring to start and HHH drops Dibiase’s knee on the announce table while Shawn brawls with Cody into the crowd.  They all end up by the concession stand for a silly spot where we get stereo figure-fours on Legacy.  More strolling through the park as they leisurely fight down the stairs through the crowd.  Back to ringside and we get a goofy spot where D-X does a combination Sharpshooter and camel clutch with Cody laying on a chair.  Was that supposed to look painful?  Legacy gets some heat with a couple of goofy submission attempts of their own, and Cody goes a-brawling with Shawn into the crowd again.  This ridiculous stipulation is totally killing the match.  Shawn takes a hilariously safe fall onto a crash pad, as in they weren’t even trying to hide it, and now HHH is ANGRY.  I kinda need this bullshit to end now because it’s getting beyond silly and into actively irritating.  And now HHH fights backstage with Cody, but succumbs to a Legacy double-team.  He fights back and puts Dibiase through the catering table, but Rhodes won’t tap to a crossface.  Dibiase breaks it up with the DRINK COOLER OF DOOM to the head, which apparently has knocked HHH clean out.  Ice can be very abrasive to the skin.  So back to the ring, as Legacy hauls the injured Shawn back and tries various submissions on him, but Shawn fights back as this match just keeps GOING long past the point of sanity.  Shawn fights back with a shitty-ass figure-four on Cody that looked like he was trying a sharpshooter but forgot how to do it mid-move, but Dibiase saves anyway.  Cody locks in a ringpost figure-four while Dibiase puts Shawn in the sleeper, and that’s enough to make him tap at 21:52.  Like really, these tough young guns can’t even get an advantage on either guy unless they’re double-teaming him and they still nearly lose regardless?  No wonder they didn’t get over.  **1/4

Street Fight:  Batista v. Rey Mysterio

From Smackdown, December 2009, just after Batista’s great heel turn.  Batista whips Rey around to start and catches him with a clothesline for two.  Rey goes to the knee, but Batista quickly bails to avoid the 619, but Rey baseball slides him as we take a break.  Back with Batista beating the hell out of Rey and getting a huge clothesline as Matt Striker makes a ridiculous analogy about drinking milk.  Apparently you drink milk to build bones because it has protein, and Batista has a higher protein intake than anyone.  Uh…yeah.  Rey makes the comeback with the 619 and splash, but it only gets two.  Rey keeps coming with a chair, but Batista SPEARS him with authority and casually puts him away with the spinebuster and a Greco-Roman chair to the face at 7:50.  Batista was something else during this period, but this was a total massacre for him.  **

Street Fight:  Randy Orton v. Cody Rhodes

Ah yes, the wonderful period where Orton was beating all the secondary champions but didn’t want any of the titles.  Orton grabs a headlock to start and hits the dropkick to send Cody running, and they brawl on the floor.  Orton gets sent into the stairs and Cody slugs him down and follows with a kneedrop on the floor, which gets two in the ring.  Back to the floor and Orton tosses Cody around and clotheslines him into the crowd.  Cody gets beat down out there and finally throws a bagger into the ring, and Orton hits him with an RKO as we take a break.  Back with Cody winning a brawl at the top of the ramp and trying a suplex off the stage, but Orton blocks and gets his own in the opposite direction.  Back to the ring, and Orton brings him in with a superplex that gets two.  Cody comes back with the mask to the head to put Orton down on the floor, and we take another break.  Back with Cody getting a suplex, and cutting off a comeback with the sliding punch for two.  He chokes away in the corner and clips the knee, then goes to work on it.  Figure-four, and Cody opts to hits him with the mask again instead of waiting for a submission.  Orton fights back and gets it himself, however, and makes the comeback.  RKO is escaped and countered with the disaster kick for two.  Cody tries for crossroads, but Orton reverses out into the draping DDT, and they brawl to the floor again.  Orton gives him the DDT off the railing for a unique twist, and the RKO finishes at 16:00.  Bet they’re wishing they had put Cody over now.  ****

The Pulse

This was really an incredibly odd, incredibly random collection of stuff that I would compare mostly to a compilation tape made by a trader in the 90s.  It’s an interesting group of oddities, but where’s the classics?  No Randy Savage v. Bad News Brown from 88?  No Shawn v. Diesel from 96? No HHH v. Cactus Jack from 2000?  No Shane v. Angle from King of the Ring?  Only one ECW entry and a shitty one at that?

Still, it’s a pretty fun set, even if the third disc is a major slog, so I’m giving it a recommendation.  Just don’t go in expecting a lot of stuff that you’ve heard of before.

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