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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WWE Payback

-From Chicago

-Hosts are Cole, King, & JBL

-Match 1 for the Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett [c] VS The Miz VS Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman)

-As if you didn't know who was winning this, Cole immediately talks about this match having special meaning to Axel because of it being Father's Day. Miz manages to fight off both heels to start, and hit a flapjack on Barrett for two. Miz calls for Axel, who declines on advice from Heyman. Miz gets sent outside by Barrett, and he throws Axel in. Miz missed Wade with a clothesline that hits Axel instead, and Barrett gets a big boot on Miz for two. Barrett sets Miz across the top turnbuckle and punts him in the ribs for two. Barrett controls the ring for a minute, until getting crotched on the top rope and elbowed outside by Axel. Axel fights out of the Reality Check and catches Miz with a nice dropkick as Heyman celebrates.

Axel works on Miz's head as Barrett hangs out on the outside. Miz fights back, but Axel gets a nice high-angle suplex for two, as Barrett makes the save. Miz fires up and takes out both heels, finally rolling through an Axel sunset flip and kicking him in the face for two. Barrett gets in and hits Miz with the Winds of Change for two, with Axel making the save. Axel counters Wasteland and hits the PerfectPlex to a BIG pop, and the crowd is pissed when Miz makes the save at two. Miz hits the SCF on Axel, but Barrett throws Miz outside and steals the cover, but Miz pulls him off at two, and crawls back in for his own near-fall.

Cole talking about how wonderful it is to be IC champion falls on deaf ears considering the booking of Barrett the last few months. Miz goes for the figure 4 on Axel, but Axel kicks him off, so he gets in on Barrett instead. Axel sneaks in and pins Barrett before he can tap to win the title at 10:36. Good opener, GREAT finish. It's nice to see WWE finally has a couple secondary champions they won't be jobbing out every week. Axel's reaction to winning the title put it over as a huge moment for him, which I'm sure it was, considering he spent the last couple years as a jobber before this push.

-Mark Henry hype video. His return was the best thing on Raw not involving The Shield in ages.

-Backstage, Axel & Heyman run into HHH. Vince comes in to congratulate the new champ, and propose HHH/Axel III for Raw. HHH says he's not feeling it. Probably a good thing for Axel.

-Match 2 for the Divas Championship: Kaitlyn [c] VS AJ Lee (w/Big E. Langston)

-AJ blows a kiss at Kaitlyn, and takes a beatdown as a result, including getting launched over the Spanish announce table. Kaitlyn works AJ over on the outside, but then runs right into a low dropkick off the apron, taking it right in the face. That gets two. AJ grabs a cravat, then cuts Kaitlyn off when she fights out. AJ hits a couple neckbreakers for two. AJ hops on Kaitlyn's back with a sleeper, then catchers her in the back with a mule kick when Kaitlyn forces a break, and that gets two. Kaitlyn rolls through a crucifix pin, and hits a gutbuster. AJ tries to get away, but gets pulled back in, hanging onto the ring apron the whole time, As the ref puts the apron back, AJ gets a hold of something and drills Kaitlyn for two.

AJ goes up top, but gets caught in mid-air. Kaitlyn goes for a spinning slam, but AJ counters that into the Black Widow. Kaitlyn hits a spear, but stops to blow a kiss at AJ, so it only gets two. AJ avoids another spear in the corner, and gets the Black Widow for the submission and the title at 9:54. Usually a ten minute divas match would be death, but this was pretty good. Easily the best divas title match in a long time. Finally the most over diva (by miles) has the title.

-Kaitlyn tears up, and the crowd adds a "you tapped out" chant on top of it. Layla tries to console her with help from Natalya and & Alicia Fox, but it doesn't work.

-Money in the Bank promo.

-The Payback Panel (Josh Matthews, Big Show, R-Truth, & Cody Rhodes) talk about the IC title match, then a little about the Divas title match. I like this type of stuff.

-The Wyatt Family is still coming.

-Match 3 for the United States Championship: Dean Ambrose [c] VS Kane 45:54

-Crowd is solidly pro-Ambrose. They slug it out early, then Kane hits a backbreaker. Kane takes control until Ambrose hits a low dropkick, then a dragon screw. Ambrose works the leg, then drops an elbow before locking in a rear chinlock. Kane counters a hangman's neckbreaker, and hits a powerslam. Kane goes up and fights off Ambrose, but misses the flying clothesline, and Ambrose hits a flying European Uppercut for two. Ambrose blocks a chokeslam, but runs into a boot to the gut, followed by one to the head, then a low dropkick for two.

Ambrose comes back with slaps to the face, then a running dropkick for two. Ambrose looks to go Old School, but Kane cuts that off, and hits a sidewalk slam for two. Kane hits a flying clothesline and looks for a chokeslam, but Ambrose rolls outside. Ambrose slaps Kane, who gets PISSED and preps the Spanish announce table, but walks into a DDT on the floor, and Ambrose wins by count-out at 9:33. Pretty crappy finish, and it came just as they were finding a second gear.

-RVD is coming back at Money in the Bank. I have no idea why.

-From Payback Kickoff: Sheamus beats Damien Sandow.

-Match 4 for the World Heavyweight Championship: Dolph Ziggler [c] (w/AJ Lee & Big E. Langston) VS Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)

-No warm up intro by Ricardo, which should have been a clue as to what was going to happen. The chants are the opposite of a Cena match, with the pro-Ziggler chants being mostly adult men, and the anti-Ziggler chants are decidedly higher-pitched. ADR immediately focuses on the head, and the crowd chants for RVD. ADR stomps the head, then hits a belly-to-back suplex for one. Ziggler hits a nice dropkick for his first offense, but then runs into a backdrop over the top, smacking his face on the floor. ADR works Ziggler over on the floor, then goads Big E. into getting kicked out from ringside.

A clearly-messed-up Ziggler makes a comeback, but back in the ring, he gets caught with another kick to the head. ADR sets Ziggler up for a suplex, and looks visibly baffled by the boo's. Smart work there. Ziggler takes advantage and gets a sleeper, but ADR counters, sending Dolph head-first into the turnbuckles. ADR gets Dolph ties up in the ropes and hits elbows to his kidneys, before adding one to the back of the head. ADR goes for the cross-armbreaker, but Ziggler counters into a swinging neckbreaker for two. Ziggler avoids a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and hits a fucked-up famouser for two.

Dolph goes up, but takes too long and takes another kick to the head, then an inverted suplex off the top for two. Dolph rolls out, and ADR gets on the apron to hit a VICIOUS kick to the face. The doctor checks on Dolph, but ADR cuts that off with another blow to the head. ADR sends Dolph back in, and hits a low running enziguiri for two. Dolph catches ADR posing and hits the Zig Zag, but he can't follow up. ADR finally finishes with another superkick to regain the title at 13:49. While it was pretty much an extended squash and Ziggler losing the world title in his first defense after jobbing for months leading up to his title win, this is probaby the best thing for him. The double-turn was expertly executed, and what was essentially an extended squash was eleveted by the selling of the beating by both guys, and ADR not understanding why he was being booed was great too.

-Dolph gets the post-loss sympathy reaction HHH chases, but can't get.

-The Pyback Panel weighs in on the world title match, and put over the change in ADR.

-To hammer the turn home, ADR comes out for a pandering promo to give Chicago one more chance to cheer him. They don't.

-Match 5: Chris Jericho VS CM Punk (w/Paul Heyman)

-They feel each other out to start, until Punk hits a dropkick. Punk starts working Jericho's arm, but then loses a chop exchange and gets stomped in the corner. Jericho knocks Punk outside, but the Punk blocks the springboard dropkick. Punk follows up with a double axe off the top to the shoulder for two. Punk continues his arm work with a short-arm scissors. Jericho gets out, but runs into a boot to the face. Punk takes forever to follow up, and Jericho counters. Jericho hits a bulldog, but misses the Lionsault, and Punk hits a neckbreaker for two.

Punk hits the running knee in the corner, but Jericho blocks the bulldog and hits the Lionsault for two. Jericho gets the Walls, but Punk gets out (with lots of help from Jericho), and gets the Anaconda Vice. Jericho hangs on, and gets to the ropes to force a break. Punk goes for the GTS (stopping to say "Blackhawks in seven"), but Jericho blocks and goes for the Walls again. Heyman gets on the apron, which distracts Jericho, then in turn distracts Punk when he counters into the GTS, allowing Jericho to slide out and get a schoolboy for two. Punk hits a roundhouse kick to the head, and both guys are down.

Jericho hits a Code Breaker out of nowhere for two. Punk wins a strike exchange, then hits his running knee/bulldog combo, followed by the Savage elbow. Punk hits the GTS, but that only gets two, with King & JBL saying he didn't get all of it. Crowd chants for one more GTS. Punk tries to ablidge, but Jericho fights out. Punk blocks a Code Breaker, clotheslines Jericho outside, then follows up with a suicide dive. Punk goes for the springboard clothesline, but Jericho counters with a Code Breaker for two. If I had been watching live, I might have bought that as a finish. Jericho goes to town with elbows to the head, then sets up for the Walls, but Punk counters into a small package for two.

Punk tries a rana, but that gets countered into the Walls. Punk fights out and hits the GTS, and Jericho rebounds off the corner into another GTS, and that finally gets the pin at 21:20. Not an all-time classic or anything like Jericho promised on Smackdown, but it was still pretty good.

-Match 6 for the WWE Tag Team Championship: Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns [c] VS Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton

-There was a time in the not-to-distant past where putting the tag titles after a match like Punk/Jericho was definitely putting them in a death spot, but with the guys involved (especially Bryan), that's not the case here. I love Bryan going back to embracing the YES. Bryan & Reigns start. Bryan immediately hits a bunch of kicks, but runs full-steam into a clothesline for two. Bryan gets caught in the Shield corner, and takes another big clothesline from Reigns for two. Bryan fights out of a side headlock, and hits a flying clothesline, which allows him to tag Orton. Orton gets Rollins in the draping DDT, but then opts to hit it on Reigns instead.

Orton hits Rollins with a powerslam for two, then follows up with another draping DDT on him. Orton calls for the RKO, but Rollins rolls outside, and lures Orton into a Superman punch from Reigns. The Shield works Orton over, and the crowd shows how much they care by chanting for RVD again. Reigns hits a Samoan drop for two. Rollins gets in, and cuts off an Orton comeback attempt with a leaping enziguiri. Orton fights off a double team, and throws Rollins into Reigns via an exploder suplex. Bryan gets the hot tag and cleans house, getting a near-fall on Reigns. Bryan kicks the shit out of Reigns, then after missing a buzzsaw kick, connects on the second attempt for two.

Bryan tries the suicide dive, but accidentally hits Orton. Back in, Bryan fights off a double team, and tosses Rollins off the top with a butterfly suplex for two. It takes a couple tries, but Bryan gets the No Lock on Rollins, but Reigns breaks it up. Reigns howls, but gets caught by Orton with an RKO attempt. Reigns shoves Orton off, and he almost hits Bryan but doesn't. Reigns tries to spear Orton, but he moves, and Reigns crushes Bryan. Orton catches Reigns with the RKO, but then gets knocked out of the ring by Rollins, who finishes Bryan with a jumping curb stomp at 12:10. Not long enough to be on the Shield's more epic matches, but this was pretty much all action bell-to-bell, and it's way too early to be taking the tag titles off The Shield, so I'm happy.

-Orton walks out on Bryan as The Shield celebrate.

-Match 7 for the WWE Championship: John Cena [c] VS Ryback [3 Stages of Hell] 39:06

-STAGE ONE [Lumberjack Match]: Ryback quickly catches Cena with a spinning powerslam for two. As Lawler tells the origin of lumberjack matches, Ryback hits a fallaway slam. Cena gets sent into the babyface lumberjacks, and they let him get in on his own time. That doesn't help, as Ryback promptly hits a legdrop for two. Cena goes for the AA, but Ryback gets out, and hits a Backpack Stunner for two. Ryback sends Cena into the heel lumberjacks, and they swarm on Cena before sending him back in the ring.

Cena makes his usual comeback, but Ryback counters the Five Knuckle Shuffle and throws Cena out over the top onto some lumberjacks. Cena sends Ryback into the lumberjacks. Ryback gets into a shoving match with Cesaro, and all the lumberjacks get involved. Cena, instead of letting Ryback get beaten in the pile, dives onto it. Back in Cena gets the STF, but Ryback powers into the Shellshocked...for the pin? at 7:30. Well that was pretty weak. Probably the only time Cena will stay down after one finisher.

-STAGE TWO [Tables Match]: Ryback promptly tries to powerbomb Cena through a table, but Cena slips out. Cena almost gets the AA, but Ryback gets out and hits a football tackle. They again trade finisher teases, with Ryback tipping the table over while in AA position, and Cena sends Ryback outside. Cena goes outside, and is promptly thrown into the steps. Ryback puts the steps in the ring and sets up a table in the corner. Ryback cracks Cena with the steps, then throws the steps at Cena trying to use the force to send Cena through the table, but Cena moves, and the table is broken.

Cena cracks Ryback with the steps, and gets another table. As Cena sets the table, Ryback gets the steps and uses them to knock Cena onto the table, then throws the steps again, but Cena moves again, and another table bites the dust. Cena gets the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Ryback blocks the AA, and hits a huge spinebuster. Ryback hits the Meathook, and grabs another table. Ryback goes for Shellshocked, but Cena slips out, and hits the AA through the table at 16:04.

-STAGE THREE [Ambulance Match]: Ryback shrugs off the finish and throws Cena outside before prepping the English announce table. Ryback powerbombs Cena through the table and talks shit. Ryback gets Cena back in the ring and to his feet to officially start the third fall. Ryback takes Cena to the ambulance, but gets shoved into it. Cena gets some plunder from the storage compartment, then avoids a punch and Ryback punches through the passenger side window. Cena rams Ryback into the ambulance, then reverses a whip and sends Ryback through the driver's side door.

Cena cracks Ryback with the door, Cena tries to force Ryback into the driver's seat, but Ryback fights him off before throwing Cena onto the hood, then ripping the fender off in order to beat Cena with it. Cena backdrops Ryback onto the hood, and his foot cracks the windshield. Cena climbs to the top of the ambulance, grabs the light, and hits Ryback with it. Ryback meets Cena up there, and ends up taking an AA through the roof. It takes a few moments for the bell to ring, and it does at 24:38. This wasn't particularly good, except for the second fall, which I actually thought was one of the better tables matches WWE has ever had.

-FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a surprisingly good show. I wasn't expecting much going into it, but got good matches out of the IC & Divas title where I wasn't expecting much, and pretty much the best case scenario out of everything else. No complaints here, especially with the follow-up that happened on Raw.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Catching Up With NXT: 6/27/12

-Byron Saxton joins JR this week.

-Match 1: Seth Rollins VS Jiro

-Rollins wins a chop exchange, then lands some clotheslines before finishing quickly with the Blackout (jumping stomp to the back, driving opponent's face into the mat) at 1:32.

-Briley Pierce gets some words from Rollins, who promises to "change the world, one heart at a time". Jinder Mahal enters for the next match, and he & Rollins exchange glares.

-Match 2: Jinder Mahal VS Jason Jordan

-Jordan gets an entrance this week, cutting off Mahal's pre-match promo. Mahal gets the early jump and hits a neckbreaker for two. Mahal keeps the pressure on, and hits a butterfly suplex for two. Jordan tries to make a comeback, but Mahal cuts that off with knees, and finishes with the Camel Clutch at 3:03.

-Mahal vows to mold NXT into his vision, and begin a new wave of dominance in WWE.

-Leo Kruger profile video. He likens himself to a lion and says he's treated like a god in Africa.

-RAW MOMENT: Bobby Heenan can't get into the first show.

-Match 3: Leo Kruger VS Aiden English

-Kruger takes one dropkick, but then swats a second away before hitting some mounted punches. Kruger goes to work in the corner, then hits a snap suplex and puff his chest out to celebrate. Kruger finishes with a rear naked choke at 1:20.

-Richie Steamboat profile video.

-Match 4: The Usos VS The Ascension

-William Regal joins the booth. Cameron starts for his team, and learns quick that you can't headbut a Samoan. O'Brien holds the ropes open, and Jey falls through them. The Ascension take turns working Jey over in the corner, and O'Brien gets two. They let Jimmy make the hot tag, and he cleans house, but gets caught with the Downcast, and O'Brien gets the pin at 3:58. OK abbreviated tag formula match. Feels like it should be a bigger deal when someone who hasn't been on a main show beats someone who has.

-Match 5: Richie Steamboat VS Rick Victor

-Back to Saxton on color. Steamboat opens with a side headlock, followed by a couple armdrags. Steamboat works the arm, and hangs on to it after taking a slam. Steamboat hits a sliding clothesline for one, and goes back to the arm. Victor fights out and hits a couple European Uppercuts, but soon falls victim to a chop followed by an armdrag. Steamboat picks up the pace as the crowd chants "Steamboat", and finishes with the Slingblade (JTG's wrapping clothesline finisher) at 4:23. Not bad.

-Same Antonio Cesaro video from last week. He's up next.

-RAW REBOUND: Cena VS Jericho, with Big Show interfering, leading to a beatdown on Cena.

-Match 6: Antonio Cesaro (w/Aksana) VS Dante Dash

-Cesaro has music he never had on the main shows. Cesaro promptly hits the deadlift gutwrench. Cesaro demolishes Dash, finishing with the Neutralizer at 1:45. Not sure what the point of this was, since Cesaro was already on the main shows and this show is already filled to the brim as it is.

-Bray Wyatt hype video. Even better than last week's.

-Match 7: Johnny Curtis VS Derrick Bateman

-Curtis bitch slaps Bateman and hauls ass. Bateman catches up and goes to work, adding a slap for a receipt. Bateman misses a high knee in the corner, and Curtis gets a nice leg takedown to capitalize. Curtis works the knee, and applies a deathlock. Bateman fights out, but Curtis busts out the SPINNING TOE HOLD OF MILD DISCUMFORT. Bateman makes a comeback and gets a nice takedown, but hurts his knee in the process. Curtis goes for another leg takedown, but Bateman counters into a headlock driver for the pin 3:46. This was alright for a midcard match, but doesn't make for much of a main event.

-FINAL THOUGHTS: Holy fuck they tried to cram way too much into this show. Seven matches for an hour show means nothing gets any time to mean anything, including the main event. I know Mahal is a big part of this show for at least a little while, but why is Cesaro here? Why not hold off on Ascension VS Usos and make that next week's main event? I'm looking forward to see Kassius Ohno next week, if nothing else.

Catching Up With NXT: 6/20/12

-So after reading some reviews of recent NXT shows, I'm taking an interest in the show. Don't want to try jumping in without knowing what's going on, I've decided to start from the beginning of the new NXT as the show went from the competition show to developmental on TV.

-From (as always now) Full Sail University in Orlando, FL

-William Regal introduces JR, who brings out interim NXT GM Dusty Rhodes. Dusty announces the blockbuster main event of Tyson Kidd VS Michael McGuillicutty.

-Bo Dallas profile video. He's still boring.

-This must have been the week before the 1,000th Raw, since it's heavily pimped, including Lawler introducing his favorite Raw "moment" of Vince being in the hospital and getting annoyed by Mankind and attacked by Dr. Austin.

-Match 1: Bo Dallas VS Rick Victor

-Poor Victor doesn't even get an intro. JR mentions that Dallas is "young, single, & hungry". Not sure what his marital status has to do with anything. Regal puts Victor over as the latest "last survivor of the Hart Dungeon". Victor gets an arm wringer, but Dallas fights out. Victor lands a cheap shot in the corner and a chop that draws some "oooo"s. Dallas fights back as Regal mentions that Dallas split his kidney during a match. I'm sure that felt GREAT. Dallas lands a couple throws and a spear to finish at 2:19. JR & Regal put Dallas over big on commentary, but this wasn't a particularly impressive squash.

-Briley Pierce gets some words from Dallas about his win. He advises everyone to keep watching because we will know Bo.

-Hype video for Seth Rollins, who debuts next week. He says some things that are meant to be "deep" but end up sounding like bad high school poetry.

-Antonio Cesaro (who was already winning squashes on Smackdown at this point) will also be on next week's show. The video was actually pretty good and should have aired on Smackdown to get the crowds to know him a little.

-Match 2: Damien Sandow VS Jason Jordan

-Sandow deems Jordan an unworthy opponent, and refuses to wrestle him.

-The Ascension rises next.

-RAW REBOUND: John Cena sends Big Johnny into the sunset with a beatdown.

-Match 3: The Ascension (Kenneth Cameron & Connor O'Brien) VS Mike Dalton & CJ Parker

-Ascension's entrance is supposed to be scary, but it comes off as more a combo of Kevin Thorn & Glacier. Ascension beat the shit out of Parker, finishing him with The Downcast, a chinbreaker by Cameron that sends him into a flapjack by O'Brien at 1:15. Another squash, but holy hell that finish is weak sauce.

-Pretty cool Bray Wyatt promo. I've heard good things about him, and that video is already more interesting than anything he did as Husky Harris.

-Derrick Bateman meats Johnny "Fandango" Curtis in the bathroom. Curtis was throwing up because he's worried about what he's going to do to Bateman in the main event next week. Regal is disgusted because Curtis didn't wash his hands.

-Match 4: Michael McGuillicutty VS Tyson Kidd

-Pretty slow start until Kidd gets a fancy takedown and forces McGuillicutty to go to the ropes. McGuillicutty wins a Greco-Roman knuckle lock, but Kidd escapes with a nifty arm drag. McGuillicutty comes back, and hits a snap suplex for one. Kidd clotheslines McGuillicutty out over the top, then hits a suicide dive as we go to commercial.

Back from break, Kidd is still in charge, and he hits a leg lariat for two. McGuillicutty catches Kidd with a knee to the head, and hits a ropes-assisted hangman's neckbreaker for two. McGuillicutty pounds away, then Kidd takes Uncle Bret's bump off an Irish Whip, and that gets two for McGuillicutty. Kidd gets a rollup for one, but McGuillicutty fires back with a clothesline to the back of the neck for two. Kidd gets tied to the Tree of Woe, and McGuillicutty works him over, getting two off that. Back to the Tree of Woe, but Kidd sits up to avoid a baseball slide, and McGuillicutty crotches himself on the ringpost. Kidd lands a series of kicks, and gets two. Kidd tries a springboard, but gets met with a dropkick for two. Kidd gets set up top, but kicks McGuillicutty off him, and hits a moonsault for two. McGuillicutty grabs the apron to avoid a submission hold, then hits a Saito suplex for two. McGuillicutty gets a Sharpshooter, but Kidd gets the ropes. Kidd blocks a PerfectPlex with a small package for two, then finishes with the Dungeon Lock at 13:43 shown. That's a pretty sweet submission. Too bad Kidd will never have the opportunity to break it out on a show people actually watch.

-FINAL THOUGHTS: Not much to this show. The main event picked up pretty nicely towards the end. The two squashes before it weren't particularly inspiring, but knowing that Rollins debuts next week and that Bray Wyatt is coming makes me want to keep watching these, and that's all you can really ask for.

Monday, April 15, 2013

WrestleMania XXIX

Pre-Show Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett [c] VS The Miz

-Jost Matthews & Matt Striker have the call. I'm surprised they'd let Striker anywhere near a commentator's table again. Has anyone fallen so far, so fast in terms of WrestleMania positioning than the Miz? From winning the main event over Cena two years ago, to an afterthought in a 12 man tag last year to not even making the main show. Barrett's been jobbing so much that I was surprised they even bothered with making this match at all.

They go at a pretty brisk pace. Miz slides under the ropes and gets Barrett into a rollup for two. Barrett elevates Miz in the corner and hits a kick to the gut to take control. Barrett sets Miz up in another corner, and hits a running punt to the ribs for two, before tying Miz in the ropes to deliver some knees. Miz comes back with the Reality Check for two. Miz blocks Wasteland, then Barrett blocks the SCF before Miz runs into a black hole slam for two. Barrett loads up the Bull Hammer, but Miz ducks and gets the figure four. Barrett makes it to the ropes, then quickly hits Wasteland for two. Barrett complains to the ref, then walks into a pretty slick takedown into the figure four, and Barrett taps to give Miz the title for about 25 hours at 4:06. They tried to cram 15 minutes worth of stuff into four, and almost pulled it off. Nice finish, if nothing else.

-Miz celebrates, and can't even do a babyface title celebration without coming off like a huge douche.

-Main Show

-Your hosts are King, Cole, & JBL

-The opening video makes the X-Seven opening look subdued in terms of total pretentiousness.

-The New Jersey National Guard stand on top of the entrance ramp and hold flags.

-Now it's opening video #2, this one actually about WrestleMania itself. Six minutes in, we finally get the proper opening. Is it any wonder this show had timing problems?

-Match 1: Sheamus, Randy Orton, & Big Show VS The Shield

-I figured the world title would be opening again, but this was a much better choice. Sheamus & Reigns slug it out to start. Sheamus blocks a hiptoss and hits a punch to the head followed by a clothesline for one, then tags in Orton. Orton goes for the Garvin Stomp, but Reigns cuts him off and tags Rollins. Orton catches Rollins coming in with a dropkick, and hits some corner punches followed by a suplex. Sheamus gets back in, but Rollins hits a low dropkick to the knee and tags Ambrose. Sheamus catches Ambrose with a powerslam for two. Sheamus looks to tag Orton, but Show makes sure he gets in.

Show tears off Ambrose's vest and hits a big chop. Ambrose tries to fire back and talk shit, and takes several chops for his troubles. Ambrose clips Show and tags Rollins. Rollins kicks Show down for two, getting launched on the kickout. Tag to Reigns, who drops Show for another near-fall. Back to Ambrose to continue the beatdown, and I have to question the logic of having Show be the one playing face-in-peril. Rollins gets in, and hits a couple flying knees for two. Back to Reigns, who goes for a chinlock.

Show hits a side suplex to escape the chinlock. Rollins gets the tag and knocks Orton off the apron, but Show tosses Rollins and tags Sheamus. Sheamus hits a high knee, tears Rollins' vest, and does the Irish Hand Grenade (I know it has a different name, but I always loved that one). Rollins tags Ambrose, who gets more of the same. Sheamus hits Ambrose, then Rollins with Finlay Rolls. Sheamus goes up, but gets pulled to the floor by Reigns. The Shield swarm Sheamus on the floor, then Rollins hits a suicide dive on Orton when he tries to help.

The Shield go for the triple powerbomb on Sheamus, but Show spears all three to break that up. Sheamus crawls to the corner to tag Show, but Orton tags himself in, pissing Show off. Orton tees off on Ambrose, hitting a snap powerslam and the draping DDT. Orton calls for the RKO and catches a flying Rollins with one, but eats a spear from Reigns, and Ambrose gets the pin at 9:31. Good opener, even if it wasn't up to the level of the Shield's previous PPV efforts, but that is an ridiculously high bar to reach. It is nice that they actually paid off the whole "team vs three individuals" build instead of ignorning it to give the faces the win, which is what I thought they'd do.

-The Shield promptly take off through the crowd, and Show vents his frustrations by hitting both of his partners with the WMD punch. Show becomes one of the few heels to actually get boo'ed on this show.

-They air a Cena/Rock video that they've been showing for weeks.


-Match 2: Mark Henry VS Ryback

-Ryback's special WM pyro is less impressive than his normal pyro. They do a stalemate then slugfest, and the crowd immediately turns on Ryback. Ryback gets Henry reeling, but Henry catches him with a pancake for the first knockdown. There's a small "Sexual Chocolate" chant as Ryback goes for Shellshocked, but Henry blocks and drops him across the top rope, then knocks him off the apron. Henry goes to work on the back, and locks on a bearhug. That kills the crows for a bit. Henry then clotheslines Ryback out over the top, and gets a pop for yelling "THAT'S WHAT I DO!".

Henry wins a slugfest, and it's back to the bearhug. Ryback fights out, but Henry hits a slam, and it's back to the bearhug again. Ryback fights back and hits the meathook clothesline. Ryback gets Henry up for Shellshocked, and Henry's facial expression is priceless. Henry grabs the ropes so Ryback can't finish the move, and Ryback's back gives out, causing Henry to fall on him, and that's enough for the pin at 8:00. I didn't get the finish watching it live, but it makes more sense when I'm able to pay complete attention to the match. I still question the sanity of jobbing Ryback here, especially when...

-Henry goes for a heel beatdown, but takes a spinebuster, and Shellshocked (which was the whole reason for this match to be booked in the first place) to completely negate the psychology of the match.

-The crew play the the WWE Rumblers. JBL tries to break his Rey Mysterio toy.

-WWE is now a founding partner of the 2014 Special Olympics. Yay...? They waste more time with a video and having Gov. Christie come on stage with some people from the games.

-Match 3 for the WWE Tag Team Championship: Hell No [c] VS Dolph Ziggler & Big E. Langston (w/AJ Lee)

-In a nice callback to last year, Dolph gets a good luck kiss from AJ, and Bryan hits a roundhouse kick to Ziggler's head for two. Bryan lands some more kicks, but Dolph ducks the buzzsaw kicks and dives to tag Langston. Bryan tags Kane to make it a battle of the hosses. Big E shows off his strength by catching Kane and hitting a couple backbreakers. Kane scores with a boot to the face and goes for the chokeslam, but Big E powers out of that, and runs into Kane to knock him down before tagging Ziggler. Ziggler hits a dropkick for two, and tags Langston back in. Langston pounds on Kane, but lowers his head and takes a DDT for it.

Ziggler gets in and cuts off a tag, but Kane promptly makes a comeback and hits a sidewalk slam for two. Ziggler avoids a flying clothesline and hits a famouser for two. Ziggler flies off the top, but takes a punch to the face on the way down. Kane covers for two, but Langston breaks that up with a splash. Bryan takes Langston out with a knee to the face. Ziggler hits the Zig Zag for two, then tries to KO Kane with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Kane ducks that and hits a chokeslam, setting up Bryan for the diving headbutt to finish at 6:13. Not much to this, and there would be better times ahead for Ziggler.

-Hell No hug it out, and Bryan embraces the power of YES!

-John Cena plugs the Make-A-Wish Foundation. You want to know why he's not turning heel any time soon? Watch this video.

-Match 4: Fandango (w/Dance Partner) VS Chris Jericho

-Both guys get star entrances. Is there a guy who's had his fortunes change more in a year than Fandango? He went from winning NXT Season 3 (as Johnny Curtis) to doing goofy backstage skits and getting killed by Mark Henry to getting a new gimmick (with his name misspelled in the first vignette) to having the idea shelved to having it brought back and given a big push. He's also went from getting "you can't wrestle" chants to having his theme music sang by the crowd on the post-WrestleMania Raw. Amazing.

Fandango does some dancing to start, and walks right into a double-leg takedown. Jericho dominates the first couple minutes. Fandango dances again, this time right into a codebreaker, which sends Fandango outside. JBL says Fandango has no shot, just in case you didn't know who was going over. Jericho continues his dominance, but goes for the springboard apron dropkick, and Fandango counters with a sweet enziguiri that the crowd greatly appreciates. That gets two, and Fandango gets his first real offense. Fandango goes for a chinlock and Jericho has a cut from that enziguiri.

Jericho comes back and hits a double axe handle off the top. Jericho misses a bulldog, but hits a Thesz Press and punches, followed by an enziguiri for two. Jericho almost overshoots on a cross-body, which gets two. Jericho misses a charge, and smashes his shoulder into the ringpost. Fandango follows up with a Downward Spiral and hits his finisher, a legdrop off the top, for two. Not sure why you'd have a guy's finisher get kicked out of IN HIS VERY FIRST MATCH, but maybe they're planning on giving him another finisher, since he seems to hurt his tailbone everytime he does it.

Jericho counters a rana and almost gets the Walls. Fandango fights out and goes up top, but Jericho knocks him down. Fandango fights off a superplex, but misses the legdrop. Jericho hits a Lionsault but tweeks his knee. Jericho goes for the Walls, but Fandango counters into a small package for the pin at 9:11. Decent enough debut for Fandango. He could have a future as a heel who takes an ass-whipping only to escape with the win unless they decide to turn him face.

-More time waisting with Miz's K-Mart commercial, and a replay of the last few moments of the IC title match.

-Next it's a hype video for The Rock, then another video highlighting past WrestleMania moments. Shouldn't these have gone before the main event?

-P. Diddy performs, wasting more time.

-Match 5 for the World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio [c] (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) VS Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Coulter)

-Poor Swagger gets jobber intro'd so Coulter can do another promo and fully illustrate that he's meant to be a complete paranoid racist and not someone who has legit concerns about illegal immigration. Del Rio gets a hot start, but Coulter provides a distraction, allowing Swagger to go on offense. ADR gets a crucifix rollup out of nowhere for two, but Swagger hits a kick to the face and the Swagger Bomb for two. ADR makes a comeback and tries to get the crowd into it, but it doesn't go very well. ADR stomps on Coulter's hand, then hits a superkick on Swagger for two.

Swagger blocks the cross-armbreaker, then hits a slam for two before getting the Patriot Lock. ADR counters, then misses an enziguiri. ADR does crotch Swagger on the second turnbuckle as he tries the Swagger Bomb, then hits punches to the kidneys in the corner followed by a backstabber for two. ADR hits a German suplex, a move I never though I'd see in WWE again, as the crowd care so much about this match that they chant "WE WANT ZIGGLER!". Swagger hits the gutwrench powerbomb for two, and goes back to the Patriot Lock. ADR manages to counter that and after a fight from Swagger, get the cross-armbreaker.

Swagger counters that back into the Patriot Lock as they are trying for a Angle VS Benoit tribute. Swagger tries another gutwrench powerbomb, but ADR lands on his feet, and hits a roundhouse kick to the head to put both guys down. ADR hits his running enziguiri, and Coulter puts Swagger's foot on the ropes at two. Ricardo stupidly goes after Coulter, which draws ADR out to defend him and allows Swagger to attack ADR from behind. Swagger throws ADR back in the ring, but stops to talk shit to Ricardo on his way back in, and that allows ADR to get the cross-armbreaker out of nowhere for the submission at 10:26. The crew say "great match" with absolutely zero enthusiasm. This was alright, but not WM world title match worthy. The angle surrounding it didn't help things either.

-WWE loves the troops.

-Match 6: CM Punk (w/Paul Heyman) VS The Undertaker

-Punk has Living Colour play his entrance them live. Hey! A WM entrance them performance where the lead singer actually remembers the words! UT's entrance with tortured souls grabbing at his ankles is pretty sweet. Punk bitch-slaps UT to start and runs, getting UT to chase him and then take advantage when they get back in the ring. UT comes back, and beats the shit out of Punk on the outside, prepping the Spanish announce table as he does. Back in, UT goes for Old School, but Punk blocks with an armdrag.

Punk goes Old School, and actually connects with it. Punk follows up with a Russian leg sweep for two. Punk gets a keylock, but UT fights his way out. UT goes for a running boot in the corner, but Punk ducks out of the away. Punk hits a neckbreaker for two, then goes to work on the arm and shoulder of UT. UT hits a couple punches to the head, but Punk ducks another punch, and hits a swinging neckbreaker for two.

Punk tries Old School again, but gets crotched on the top rope. UT goes after Heyman, and Punk takes advantage with a springboard clothesline for two. Punk hits the Savage Elbow for two, but UT slides out of the GTS, and hits a chokeslam for two. UT wins a slugfest then hits Snake Eyes, but Punk blocks the running big boot with a heel kick for two. Punk clotheslines UT outside and further preps the announce table. UT goes for a Last Ride through the table, but Punk slides out and hits a roundhouse kick to knock UT onto the table. Punk hits the Shane McMahon Elbow and the table...doesn't budge. I'm sure that felt wonderful for both.

UT barely makes it back in the ring at nine. Punk crawls right into Hell's Gate, and manages to awkwardly counter that into a rollup for two. Punk gets the Anaconda Vice. Punk gets UT down for two, but when UT sitsup while still in the hold, Punk shits a brick. UT blocks the GTS again, and hits a tombstone for two. UT wins another slugfest and tries a chokeslam, but Punk shoves the ref down and Heyman distracts UT. Punk goes for the running knee in the corner. UT counters into the Last Ride, but Punk gets the urn from Heyman and clocks UT with it. That gets two.

Punk does the UT taunts and goes for the GTS again. That sets off a reveral sequence as they counter the other's finisher, until UT hits the tombstone, and it's 21-0 at 21:56. UT reclaims the urn after the pin. Once again the streak match steals the show. Not sure if this is on par with the HBK matches, but it was very good, especially with a somewhat flat angle heading into it.

-Another Cena hype video. *sigh*

-Match 7: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) VS Triple H (w/Shawn Michaels) [No Holds Barred, Triple H's Career On the Line]

-Yeah, I'd sure hate for HHH to lose and not be able to wrestle once or twice a year anymore. HBK comes out first, then Brock, then HHH for some reason. HHH has something on his midsection for most of his entrance, which gave him some bad burns. Oh well, one can't grieve forever.

They immediately slug it out and go outside. The crowd is deathly silent. Brock sends HHH over the barricade then grabs a chair, but gets caught with a clothesline coming over the barricade himself. They get back in the ring and HHH catches Brock with a high knee. HHH throws Brock outside and slams him into the ring steps. Brock catches HHH with an overhead throw, which momentarily wakes up the crowd. Brock then slams HHH through the stubborn Spanish announce table, then does a really silly yell into the camera.

Brock hits another throw onto the remnants of the table. Brock stops to go after HBK who bravely...runs away like a little bitch. Back in, Brock stomps away in the corner. Brock absorbs a facebuster, and hits a clothesline for two. Brock hits a third overhead throw, and I'm having Royal Rumble 2003 flashbacks, only with a silent crowd instead of an actively hostile one. Brock hits a German suplex and the crowd is so dead you can hear Heyman's shit-talk clear as day.

Brock throws HHH outside and backs down HBK, allowing HHH to get up and surprise Brock with a clothesline. HHH sends Brock into the timekeeper's area, and hits a chairshot to the back. Back in, Brock ducks a clothesline and hits a German suplex for two. Both Heyman and HBK get on the apron, so Brock knocks HBK down. HHH hits a spinebuster and tries to fire up, but the crowd couldn't care less. Brock blocks a Pedigree and goes for an F-5, but he has to let HHH go to block a superkick from HBK and hit him with an F-5. Brock turns into a botched Pedigree for two.

HHH grabs the trusty sledgehammer, but Brock ducks a shot and hits the F-5 for two. The crowd is finally getting into this thirteen minutes in. Back outside, Brock hits a chairshot to the back, then whips HHH shoulder-first into the steps. Brock grabs the steps and cracks HHH in the head as the crowd goes silent again. Back in the ring, Brock hits another Brock yells at HHH to retire, and gets bitch-slapped for it. Brock blocks the Pedigree and gets a kimura (working version). The crowd cares so much for HHH's welfare that the only audible reaction is a small "break his arm" chant.

Brock wraps himself around HHH while maintaining the hold, and HHH escapes via a spinebuster. Brock accidentally rams his shoulder into the ringpost, and HHH makes things worse with a low blow. HHH wraps Brock's arm around the post and hits it with a chair. Heyman tries to interfere, but takes a superkick from HBK instead. Brock hangs in the kimura a long time before walking HHH over to the steps and dropping him onto them. They go through this two more times, with HHH countering the drop with a DDT onto the steps on the third go-round.

Sledgehammer shot and Pedigree on the steps get HHH his win back at 23:44. I liked this a lot more live, since I didn't notice the dead crowd, but holy hell does this match stink on re-watch. Probably because everyone knew the outcome and they never moved at a pace faster than neutral. It's sad, but not surprising, to see HBK reduced to being HHH's damsel-in-distress.

-Extreme Rules promo.

-"Pain & Gain" starring The Rock trailer.

-Hall of Fame recap, then the honorees are brought out to the stage.

-WrestleMania XXX (the number thirty, not a porno you pervs) promo.

-The attendance is announced. Who knows how accurate it is.

-Match 8 for the WWE Championship: The Rock [c] VS John Cena

-After all the video packages and special entrances in the undercard, the two simply walk to the ring to their entrance music. Pretty underwhelming start. Really slow start as they are clearly getting ready to go long. JBL tries to make some asinine point that if Cena loses, he'll have the stigma of not being able to "win the big one" despite being a ten-time world champion at this point. They finally get going, triggering the traditional "Let's Go Cena!" "Cena Sucks!" dueling chant, which the crowd doesn't seem to really get into, and it doesn't last long. They take turns pounding each other down, which doesn't move the crowd at all, and Cena makes things worse by going for a chinlock.

Rock escapes and gets a headlock, triggering a small "boring" chant. Cena stomps Rock down, but misses an elbowdrop, and Rock comes back with a Samoan drop. Cena ends a slugfest with his shitty fisherman's suplex for two. They start opening up again. Rock blocks the STF, then soon after the blue thunder bomb before getting a sharpshooter. Cena gets out and hits the blue thunder bomb, but misses on the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Rock hits a spinebuster and a DDT, but Cena blocks Rock Bottom, and gets a crossface, which Cole mistakenly calls the STF.

Rock reverses into a pin to force Cena to break. Cena comes back with a catapult, blue thunder bomb, and Five Knuckle Shuffler. Rock escapes the AA and hits a spinebuster, but Cena catches Rock preparing for the People's Elbow, and gets the STF. Rock powers out of that, and catches a charging Cena with a Rock Bottom for two. Rock in turn walks into an Attitude Adjustment for two. Cena goes up, but misses the flying famouser. Rock quickly hits a spinebuster, followed by the People's Elbow for two. Rock wins a slugfest, then slides out of an AA attempt to hit Rock Bottom #2 for two.

In a mirror of last year's finish, Rock goes for a second People's Elbow, this time with the "You Can't See Me" taunt, but Cena pops up, and hits AA #2 for two. They slug it out again, and Cena gets a schoolboy for two, followed by his own Rock Bottom at two. In another callback to last year, Cena goes for the People's Elbow, but this time sees Rock pop up. Rock counters the AA again, however, and hits Rock Bottom #3 for two. They take turns countering each other's finisher a couple times, then Rock hits a DDT.

Rock tries Rock Bottom again, but Cena counters, and finally hits AA #3 to get his win back and world title #11 at 23:25. This was a huge step down from last year, in terms of interest, crowd excitement, and match quality. The crowd wasn't into this for the most part, and only got into it for a little bit when they started throwing bombs at each other. The problem with doing a match like this with two workers that have very limited movesets is that their finishers are all they have to use, so you see the same thing over and over.

-Mutual admiration society closes the show, which half the crowd shits on.

-FINAL THOUGHTS: This show really got killed by the booking leading up to and during the show, and that was compounded by the ridiculously poor time management. The undercard is OK if predictable, but the final two matches weren't particularly good, and didn't deliver anything at all that was surprising in the least. The Raw the night after WrestleMania is turning into the biggest show of the year now.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Great American Bash '97

Great American Bash '97 6/15/97

-From Moline, IL

-Hosts are Tony, Bobby, & Dusty

-Match 1: Psychosis (w/Sonny Onoo) VS Ultimo Dragon

-This is billed as a "Respect Match" as Onoo has hired Psychosis to teach Dragon some respect. Tenay joins the booth. Bit of a feeling out process to start. Things pick up when Psychosis counters a leapfrog with an overhand chop. Dragon fights back, and hits his kick combination to a big pop. Dragon misses a slingshot to the outside, and Onoo gets big heat for getting his cheap shots in. Dragon gets caught up in the ropes, and Psychosis hits a guillotine legdrop, then poses above the fallen Dragon. Dragon gets sent outside again and almost suplexes Onoo, but Psychosis breaks that up.

Dragon comes back, and hits an Asai moonsault followed by a brainbuster and a tombstone for near-falls. Psychosis again knocks Dragon outside, then hits an over-the-ropes suicide dive. Dragon counters a moonsault with a dropkick to the knees, then hits a rana off the top and looks to finish with the tiger suplex, but stops to go after Onoo, and takes a dropkick off the top for two. Dragon whips Psychosis into Onoo, who accidentally kicks his man, leading to the Dragon Sleeper for the tap out. Good opener. Really hot crowd so far.

-Match 2: Harlem Heat (w/Sherri) VS The Steiner Brothers [#1 Contender's Match]

-Scott is getting into "Big Papa Pump" territory. Steiners dominate the early going. Booker gets a full nelson on Scott, but he rather easily breaks out of it. Booker buries his knee in Scott's gut to keep control, but that doesn't last long. Scott slams Booker way too far away for a move off the top, and that results in a really awkward bump when Booker gets his foot up. Booker salvages things with a SPINAROONIE and a Harlem side kick. Rick gets in then gets sent outside by Booker, where he is mauled by Stevie. The Heat hit the Big Apple (Harlem side kick from the Hart Attack positiion), but Booker takes forever making the cover, so it only gets two.

Scott gets the hot tag and the match breaks down. Scott hits Booker with the Frankensteiner off the top. Vincent runs in, and drops on elbow on Booker, intentionally getting the Steiners DQ'd. Vincent pays for his actions in short order. Match was the usual Steiners/Harlem Heat affair before the weak sauce finish.

-Match 3: Konnan VS Hugh Morrus

-All of the graphics spell it "Konan". Hugh yells out "awwww shuckie duckie!" during his entrance for no apparent reason. Morrus hits a pretty impressive dropkick seconds in. Konnan goes on offense, and it's him who slows everything down. There's some awkwardness, then Morrus takes control and settles things down by grabbing a hold. Morrus is really lazy while "working" his holds. Konnan tries his own holds. They go back to stand up, and both are clearly blown up. Morrus goes for the No Laughing Matter moonsault, but Konnan shoves him, and his head hits the turnbuckle. Morrus is out, but Konnan applies the Tecquila Sunrise anyway. This sucked a dick.

-Match 4: Wrath (w/James Vandenberg & Mortis) VS Glacier

-Mortis is handcuffed to the ring post to prevent him from interfering. Glacier kicks the shit out of Wrath to start. Wrath fights back, but then takes a pretty dangerous head-first bump into the ringsteps. Glacier hits some kicks, but misses a splash in the corner. Wrath then, on instruction from Vandenberg, alley-oops Glacier throat-first onto the top rope. Wrath sends Glacier outside, and hits a somersault off the apron. Wrath hits a springboard clothesline, and takes time to toy with Glacier. Wrath almost lands on his feet after taking a backdrop. Wrath goes up top. Glacier falls into Nick Patrick who hits the ropes, crotching Wrath, and allowing Glacier to hit a superplex.

Mortis tries to throw  chain over to Wrath. The throw is too high, and Glacier gets it. Glacier KO's Wrath with the chain followed by the Chryonic Kick for the win. Yeah, this wasn't good. This would have fit better in early-90's WWF cartoon land, not the changing landscape of the mid-to-late 90's.

-Glacier gets handcuffed to the top rope for the post-match beatdown, which actually draws some heat. No Ernest Miller to make the save this time.

-Match 5 for the WCW Women's Championship: Akira Hokuto [c] (w/Sonny Onoo) VS Madusa [Title VS Career]

-THE GAS MASK IS BACK! Stagger Lee joins the booth. Hokuto dominates the first couple minutes. Madusa makes a brief comeback and gets a near-fall, but Hokuto quickly regains control. Madusa makes another comeback with some kicks, but injures her knee coming off the top with a double axe handle. Marshall actually adds something to the match for once, talking about how Wendi Richter dislocated Madusa's knee a decade ago, and it's never fully recovered. Hokuto immediately goes after the injury. Madusa manages to pull out a vicious powerbomb, but that further aggrivates the injury.

Madusa hits the German suplex, but Onoo pulls the bad leg to break up the pin. Hokuto works the leg, then when Madusa goes for a back suplex, then knee gives out, and Hokuto finishes with the Northern Lights Bomb. This was pretty decent. I don't get the booking, but IIRC, this was the swan song for the WCW Women's title.

-Heenan thinks it's hilarious as Madusa breaks down. In a pretty infamous moment, Mean Gene makes his way to ringside to pester Madusa about her career being over.

-Match 6: Chris Benoit VS Meng (w/Jimmy Hart) [Death Match]

-Same rules as last month. Benoit hits a suicide dive before the bell rings and chases Jimmy away. Benoit twice gets the Crippler Crossface, early on, but can't keep Meng down. Meng gets Benoit in the Tree of Woe, and lands several kicks and stomps. Meng absorbs some chops, then puts Benoit down before hitting a FROG SPLASH! Tremendous. They go outside, where Benoit makes a comeback, and hits a German suplex for a seven count. Meng gets the TONGAN DEATH GRIP, but then tries to hang Benoit from the position, and ends up having to let go of the hold.

After some more back-and-forth, Meng goes for another frog splash, but misses this time. Benoit again gets the crossface. Crowd is oddly not into this much. Meng taps/passes out in the hold, and Nick Patrick ends it without a ten count. This was decent, but not as good as last month.

-Both men get stretchered out. Not sure why in the case of Benoit.

-Bash at the Beach promo. Looking back, it's amazing WCW got away with having so many PPVs without a world title match. I'm guessing it was because Hogan negotiated a light schedule and/or everyone knew the money match was with Sting, so why bother with largely pointless title matches.

-Match 7: Steve McMichael (w/Debra) VS Kevin Greene

-Greene runs down the ramp to jump Mongo at the bell. Mongo goes after Greene's knee, but stops to taunt Greene's parents, and takes a big slap to the face from Mama Greene. Bit of a split crowd. After some back-and-forth, Mongo takes control, mostly working on the knee. Greene makes a comeback, and actually figures it out when Debra fakes a twisted ankle before Mongo is able to get a cheapshot in. Mongo avoids a charge in the corner and chokes Greene as Debra distracts the ref. Jeff Jarrett runs out with a briefcase, but accidentally KO's Mongo, allowing Greene to get the pin. The booking was right, with Greene getting a measure of revenge for the Mongo turn at last year's GAB, but it was rough getting there, especially with Greene teaming with one of his supposed rivals last months.

-Madusa gets looked at by the doctor.

-Match 8 for the WCW World Tag Team Championship: The Outsiders [c] (w/Syxx) VS Ric Flair & Roddy Piper

-Crowd perks up for this one. Hot start as Flair takes some punches from Hall, but responds with chops and punches of his own. Nash gets a cheapshot in to turn the tide. Flair makes a comeback, but Syxx trips him up to restore control to The Outsiders. Flair plays FIP for a bit, before hitting a low blow on Nash and making the hot tag to Piper. Piper gets the sleeper on Hall, but Syxx interferes. Flair batters Syxx down the aisle, leaivng Piper by himself. Piper fights the good fight, but is fucked without Flair. Hall finishes with the Outsider's Edge. More of an angle than a match, which would have pissed me off more than a little bit had I paid good money to watch it live.

-Match 9: Randy Savage (w/Liz) VS DDP (w/Kim) [Falls Count Anywhere]

-Lots of pomp and circumstance for the main event, including Michael Buffer intros. DDP goes through the crowd and jumps Savage from behind. DDP has his soon-to-be-omnipresent rib tape on. DDP hits a dive, but then it's OW MY RIBS! and he can't follow up. After a brief interlude in the ring, they go through the crowd. They go back to the ring, where Savage blinds DDP with powder and breaks a sign over his head. Savage stomps the ribs, and the crowd chants for Sting. Savage gets tired of Mickie Jay, so he piledrives him. Mark Curtis runs out to ref, but he doesn't last long, also thanks to Savage. Savage goes after Kim, but Nick Patrick makes the save.

They go to a picnic set where some people are watching the show, and destroy it. Well that was a pretty crappy place to watch the show anyway. Savage tries to piledrive DDP on the floor. Nick Patrick blocks that, so he gets punched out. Savage takes a photographer out for shits and giggles. DDP counters a slam, and hits the Diamond Cutter. DDP is hurt, and it takes a while for Nick Patrick to start counting. Scott Hall runs out and stops the count at one. DDP fights Hall off, but takes a shot with the tag title belt from Savage, then Hall hits the Outsider's Edge. Savage finishes with the big elbow just in time too, since they hit the credits about ten seconds later.

-FINAL THOUGHTS: This was pretty much a two-match show, and one of them ended up being an angle more than a match. The opener was good, but most of the undercard sucked. The two street fights were good, but were done better on previous shows. No real reason to watch this show unless you're going through all the Savage-Page matches.

-NEXT EVENT: Bash at the Beach '97

The Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2



-Opening video features several Nitro moments, most of which have been covered ad nauseum.

-Like volume one, DDP is your host for volume 2. He plugs his DDP Yoga, and goes over some things that weren't covered in the first set before going over a brief history of Nitro. He notes that volume 1 ended with Flair/Sting from the last Nitro, so there's no better place to start volume 2 than Flair/Sting from the first Nitro.

-United States Championship: Sting [c] VS Ric Flair 9/4/95

-There's some really weird generic psychadelic rock music dubbed over "A Man Called Sting". Lex Luger walks out before the match starts, which really excites Sting (since Luger has only turned on him 3 or 4 times at this point). Quick start, with Sting hitting a couple leap frogs followed by a couple big press slams. Sting hits a hiptoss and a dropkick, so Flair takes a powder. Flair goes to the eyes to turn the tide, and lays in a few chops before Sting decides to start no-selling them. There's some awkwardness when Flair whips Sting into the ropes, but that becomes moot when Flair dives at Sting and sends them both tumbling out over the top. Sting sends Flair back inside. He misses a Stinger Splash, but no-sells that, and hits a bulldog. Flair scores with a back elbow, and we go to commercial.

Back from break, Flair goes up top, but gets caught and slammed. Sting hits another press slam for two, and Arn Anderson (who is actually feuding with Flair at this time) makes his way out to the ring. Flair hits a delayed vertical suplex, but Sting no-sells that, and goes back on offense. Sting hits a superplex, but stops to jaw at Arn, allowing Flair to hit a chop block and get the figure 4. Sting no-sells that too, and almost turns it before Flair grabs the ropes to block. Flair won't let go of the ropes, and he gets DQ'd. Arn goes after Flair after the bell. I remember thinking how weird it was watching Sting having completely zero interest in selling anything Flair was dishing out the first time I watched this match. The finish was weak sauce too.

Scott Norton comes through the crowd and wants competition from Mongo, but gets challenged by Macho. Their exchange is wonderfully cheesy.

-Bisch, Bobby, & Mongo open up the 12/18/95 Nitro, when they're interrupted by Madusa, who tosses the WWF Women's title belt in the trash. Her line delivery is pretty awful. It is nice not having "WWF" removed from footage anymore.

-DDP talks about seeing Madusa backstage moments before she trashed the belt, then ponders what effect it would have a couple years later on the "Montreal Screwjob".

-Arn Anderson (w/Woman) VS Hulk Hogan 2/12/96

-This is the night after SuperBrawl VI, and Hogan has an eye bandaged courtesy of a HIGH-HEELED SHOE OF DOOM. Hogan no-sells what little offense AA gets in early on, and dominates the early going. Arn desperately tries a piledriver on the floor, and Hogan counters that into a catapult into the ringpost. Hogan takes the eye bandage off and repeatedly rams Arn's shoulder into the post. Hogan continues to work AA over, and at one point has Arn begging for mercy. Arn gets a back-elbow, but goes up top and gets crotched by Hogan. Arn goes after the eye, and Flair (with the newly-turned Liz) makes his way out.

Arn hits a spinebuster, but Hogan throws him off the cover at two, and hulks up. Hogan hits the big boot, but opts to taunt Flair then lock in a figure 4 instead of dropping the leg. Flair gets pissed and tries to interfere, but Hogan gets him in a small package for a visual pin, while still having Arn in the figure 4. Woman throws powder in Hulk's face, then Arn gets a boot from Liz, and KO's Hogan for the pin. Hogan no-sells the loss and beats up the Horsemen, getting some help from Macho. Typical Hulk Hogan job, where he dominates the match, and it takes four people to beat him, followed by a no-sell of the loss.

The Horsemen run Bischoff and Mongo off the announce booth and gloat over the win. Hogan can't even let them have that, as he and Savage run them off and challenge them. Hogan says he wants Arn again, then tries to fire up Savage for his title match next week, referring to Flair as "Pee Wee Herman" in the process.

-The Steiner Brothers VS The Road Warriors 3/11/96

-The Steiners ride motorcycles to the ring, and are taking the place of The Nasty Boys, who were apparently jumped in the back. Scott slams Hawk a couple times, but goes up top, and gets head-butted down by Hawk, who follows with a flying clothesline. Scott comes back with a Tiger Driver, and tags Rick. Hawk tags Animal, who promptly takes control on Rick. Rick comes back with a couple stiff clotheslines and a release German suplex. Rick sets Animal on the second turnbuckle and belly-to-bellys him off. Scott gets in, and tosses Animal around too. Rick gets back in, and the crowd chants "LOD".

Scott gets back in and applies a rear chinlock, but gets kicked down by Hawk, so he tags Rick back in, and Rick applies the same hold. Back to Scott, who hits a dropkick for two. Animal makes the hot tag to Hawk, who cleans house. LOD hit the Doomsday Device on Rick, but Scott makes the save. Rick throws Hawk right on his shoulder with a release German. They set up for the Doomsday Device on Hawk, but the LOD break it up. Scott hits a flying clothesline on Hawk, but then turns right into a flying clothesline from Animal.

Scott gets the Frankensteiner on Animal, but Hawk makes the save. Steiners get the Steiner Bulldog on Hawk, but Animal KO's Rick with one of their spiked pads, and Hawk gets the pin. Good match, and I'm surprised there was a finish. Not surprised that the LOD won since there was one, since they had a big PPV match coming up, and the Steiners didn't.

Mean Gene interviews the Steiners. Scott is PISSED because they have been waiting four years to wrestle the LOD, and the match ended with the LOD cheating to win. Both Steiners promise that this isn't the end between them and the LOD. I don't remember if this was followed up on much.

-DDP puts over the Steiners & LOD before talking about the Cruiserweight division. A pretty nifty video highlights the bigger name cruiserweights.

-Dean Malenko VS Jushin Thunder Liger (w/Sonny Onoo) 5/6/96

-Bischoff mentions that Ohtani has won the Cruiserweight title in Japan, becoming the inaugural champion. I wonder why they had Ohtani win the title, only to take the title off him quick and never use him again. Quick start with a bunch of counters and reversals. Bischoff interrupts to note that Savage has been ejected from the building. This brings out Flair, Woman, & Liz who take a seat in the VIP section. Liger gets a banana split for a one count as we go to commercial.

Back from break, we're focused on Flair dining with Liz & Woman instead of the match. Back in the ring, Malenko gets a leg lock, but Liger reaches the ropes. Bischoff says to stay tuned because "in June, things are going to get very interesting in WCW". No shit. Liger gets a cartwheel into a back elbow for two, then a rolling Liger kick in the corner. Liger hits a dive to the outside, then once they get back in, they fight over a rollup. Malenko catches Liger in the turnbuckles, and hits that awesome flying gut buster, apparently for the first time judging by Bischoff's reaction.

Liger counters a powerbomb into a sitdown splash for two, but Malenko hits a double-underhook, sit-out powerbomb for the win shortly after that. Good introduction to the cruiserweights for this set.

-WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Rey Mysterio Jr. [c] VS Juventud Guerrera 9/16/96

-Rey stretches Juvy to start, as Tony & Larry Zbyszko talk about everything but this match. Rey goes to work on the leg, but Juvy reverses a whip into the ropes and catches Rey with a back elbow was the announcers finally get around to talking about the match. Rey knocks Juvy for a loop with a spinning heel kick, then they trade chops, with Juvy winning that exchange. Juvy tries a springboard cross-body, but gets caught with a dropkick. Rey hits a springboard rana to the floor was we go to commercial.

Back from break, Juvy has taken control, and he hits a dropkick to the chest. Juvy knocks Rey outside, and hits an Asai moonsault. Juvy sends Rey back inside, then almost whiffs on a springboard 450 that gets two, Juvy sets Rey on the turnbuckles and hits a rana for two, as we cut to the parking lot with fans of the nWo celebrating their War Games win the previous night. Juvy tries a powerbomb off the top, but Rey counters that into a rana to retain. This was alright, but was hindered by the announcers' preoccupation with the nWo, which was sadly a trend in WCW.

-DDP has no idea how Rey is still going after doing what he's done for all these years. DDP talks about finishing second in 1996 for Dave Meltzer's (mentioned by name) "Rookie of the Year" voting to Rey. DDP dismisses the idea that WCW "stumbled" onto their successes, then puts the nWo as the best group in wrestling history, and Eric Bischoff as a "genius".

-Tony & Larry open up the 9/30/96 show talking about an upcoming statement from Eric Bischoff before going into recent actions by the nWo. Bischoff claims that WCW's lineage goes back to 1905 and talks about tradition that the nWo doesn't care about. Bischoff verbally attacks the nWo and says the biggest mistake he ever made was bringing Hogan into WCW. This would have been a lot more effective had he not been revealed as the head of the nWo a month or two later.

-WCW United States Championship Tournament Quarter-Finals: Diamond Dallas Page VS Jeff Jarrett 12/9/96

-Winner advances to the title match at Starrcade. Jarrett walks on DDP's back and struts. It's a stalemate as we go to commercial.

Back from break, Jarrett looks to be in control, but DDP reverses a whip and hits a belly-to-back suplex, then a tilt-a-whirl slam for two. The crowd is eerily silent for this. DDP catches Jarrett's foot, but takes an enziguiri. Jarrett hits a swinging neckbreaker, then stops to gloat about it. DDP gets a sunset flip, but Jarrett rolls out and hits a big clothesline. Jarrett hits a slingshot suplex followed by a fist drop off the second turnbuckle for two. DDP counters a slam into a small package for two. DDP slugs his way out of the corner, but lowers his head and gets his face slammed into the mat by Jarrett for two.

Jarrett gets a sleeper. DDP fights out and hits a spinning clothesline to finally draw a reaction out of the crowd. DDP slugs Jarrett down and goes up top for a flying clothesline for two. DDP misses a clothesline and flies outside over the top. The Outsiders run out to help DDP. Hall catches Jarrett with the Outsider's Edge, and DDP gets the pin. Not sure why this was included other than it's a DDP match. The work was alright, but it had zero heat. It was like watching your average RAW undercard match these days.

Mean Gene questions DDP about his association with Hall & Nash. DDP compares them to a one night stand that wants more, and says he doesn't want anything to do with them.

-DDP says having an invitation to join the nWo was like dealing with the mob, and that if you didn't accept, you had a target on your back. DDP says he felt it was more important to be a lone wolf than another nWo member. He also says that while Kevin Nash wasn't considered the "captain" of the nWo, he was the one steering the ship.

-From the 4/21/97 show, Kevin Nash comes to the ring with Syxx, Buff Bagwell, Scott Norton, Vincent, and the fake Sting. Syxx says he got to thinking about Ric Flair said about the younger guys having no respcet. Syxx asks Flair what's so respectful about ripping off Buddy Rogers' act. Good question. Syxx says he doesn't sweat Piper or Flair. Nash gets on the mic, and, without a hint of irony, that when he got in the business in 1990, he saw the road that the likes of Piper paved, and saw nothing in it for him. Nash says at the time, the veterans strip-mined the business and left the next generation nothing. He says when he and Hall were in WCW before, Hall was ready to be a superstar, but instead got his salary cut. He says they went to "New York" (the WWF) and only saw punishment for the guys who trying to dig the business out of the hole it was in. Nash says he and his crew are going to kick back and try to clear the potholes the previous generation left behind. This was a pretty interesting promo that provided some very clear motivation for Nash when it came to helping form the nWo.

-From the 5/26/97 show, Hogan & Bischoff come to the ring to call out Sting. Hogan says the nWo belt is on the line right now, and says "the brothers" have Sting cornered, and calls for him to come out. Bischoff says Sting isn't here, because if he were, they would make Sting "worship the ground you spit on". An obviously fake Sting (which Tony takes for the real one) emerges from under the ring. It only occurs to Tony that this Sting isn't the real one when he drops to his knees on orders from Bischoff. Hogan spits on the mat, and while the fake Sting worships him, the real one repels from the ceiling. Sting takes out Bischoff, scares off Hogan, then takes down the fake Sting.

The nWo come out to back up Hogan and take Sting out. Sting tugs on his cable, and as the nWo finally advance, Sting goes back in the air to escape. Pretty cool segment.

-DDP talks about the Sting/Hogan feud, and how Sting masks were everywhere. He talks about, and they show, an angle where DDP & Piper don Sting outfits to attack the nWo. The group comes out to swarm them, and a cage lowers followed by the real Sting. DDP talks about talking Piper into going through the crowd with him, and Piper not believing that DDP did it every night.

-Scott Hall (w/Syxx) VS Ric Flair 6/2/97

-Flair responds to Hall's toothpick toss and taunt with punches and chops. Flair takes Syxx out when he tries to interfere. Hall lands some punches, but Flair turns that around and hits some chops. Flair flips off a whip in the corner, and dives off the apron onto Syxx, which allows Hall to take control. Hall slugs away in the corner, then pulls the ref back to allow Syxx to sneak in with the bronco buster. Hall hits a fall-away as the crowd chants for Sting. Hall hits a belly-to-back suplex for two, then slaps on an abdominal stretch. Flair takes some more punishment, but then wins a punch/chop exchange, before turning a sleeper into a shinbreaker. Hall hits a big desperation lariat for two.

Flair fires back, and takes Syxx out again. Flair hits a delayed vertical suplex and struts. Syxx runs in again and Flair fights them both off until Hall hits Flair with the cruiserweight title belt for the DQ. Hall & Syxx beat Flair down until Mongo makes the save with the loaded briefcase. Jarrett ran down too, but didn't do anything. Good TV main event to set up Flair/Piper VS The Outsiders at the Great American Bash.


-DDP reminisces about how how WCW was in 1997. Talking about he was once asked in Minneapolis to take a picture to be hung on the arena wall as a memento of the fastest sell-out. He says they beat Prince's record for biggest attendance in Minneapolis. They show a clip of Rodman helping Hogan attack DDP, and DDP notes that Rodman skipped a practice for the NBA Finals to be on Nitro.

-A video highlighting athelete and celebrity involvement, for better or worse. Best clip is Kurt Russell laughing at David Arquette being WCW champion, and Arquette going to attack him with a chair while a mortified Courteney Cox yells "YOU'RE NOT A WRESTLER!".

-From the 6/16/97 show, Hogan & Rodman come to the ring. They get booed despite being in Chicago, shortly after the Bulls have beaten the Utah Jazz for an NBA title. They call out Lex Luger & The Giant for a tag match. They don't show for a few minutes, so after a commercial break, Hogan & Rodman go to leave, but are cut off by Luger & The Giant. Giant almost gets Rodman in the chokeslam, but Hogan low-blows Luger and breaks up the chokeslam. Giant goes after Hogan, but Rodman grabs the WCW title belt and KO's The Giant. nWo beatdown follows, which the crowd simultaneously pops for while throwing trash in the ring.

-Kevin Nash VS Rey Mysterio Jr. 6/30/97

-Rey sprints to the ring and hits a series of dropkicks, but can't get him down until he does a springboard front-flippy thing, which gets two. Rey stupidly tries a follup, and gets caught and slammed for it. Nash beals Rey, then carelessly jackknifes him for the win. Nash hits another careless powerbomb, then adds a third, more protected, powerbomb after decking the ref. Konnan walks out, makes eye contact with Nash, then after Nash leaves, Konnan applies a leglock, with injures Rey. I figured they were putting the upset win in here, but I don't remember when that happened. Not sure why this was put in.

-La Parka VS Randy Savage (w/Scott Hall & Liz) 7/7/97

-Pre-match video shows La Parka earning the "Chairman of WCW" name. Larry Zbyszko pretty much buries La Parka, saying Savage chose this match because he knows La Parka is no match for him, and that this is intented to be an "nWo joke". Savage wrestles circles around La Parka to start, save for a quick small package for a two count that La Parka gets in. Scott Hall leaves ringside to head to the announce booth and harrass Larry. Savage hits a slam and takes forever going up for the big elbow. La Parka counters by getting his feet up, then...hits a Diamond Cutter? "La Parka" unmasks as DDP, and he pins Savage. DDP runs off into the crowd to celebrate. I was wondering why this was included until the finish.

-Bill Goldberg VS Hugh Morrus 9/22/97

-This is Goldberg's debut. This is setup like a typical squash. The crew has no idea who Goldberg is. Goldberg gets a couple shots in, then they fight over a wristlock. Goldberg gets a rolling leg lock, but Morrus gets to the ropes. Goldberg tries a whip, but Morrus counters that into a flying clothesline. Morrus hits the No Laughing Matter, but Goldberg shocks everyone by kicking out at two. Goldberg no-sells a back elbow and does a backflip. Goldberg hits a powerslam, then the jackhammer (no spear) for the pin.

Mean Gene tries to get some words from Goldberg, who blows him off. Not much of a match, but it was such an important moment that I'm surprised it wasn't in volume one.

-DDP dismisses the notion that WCW did not make any of its stars. DDP talks about reading USA Today and seeing a cartoon where a Michael Jordan picture was in the garbage, and someone was nailing a picture of Goldberg on their wall. DDP then talks about Booker T rising through the ranks.

-Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra) VS Booker T (w/Jacqueline) 10/6/97

-Big pop for Booker, who, judging by the commentary, is just starting his singles debut. Pretty fast-paced start. Jarrett hits a big hoptoss and celebrates, which pissed Booker off. Booker hits a dropkick, and Jarrett takes a powder. Jarrett goes back on offense. Booker gets a sunset flip for two, but walks into a clothesline. They both miss elbow drops, but Booker does a spinarooni and hits the Harlem side kick after his miss. We go to commercial with Booker working Jarrett over on the outside.

Back from break, Jarrett hits a cross-body off the top for two. Booker turns the tide, and hits a spinning kick to the face. Booker hits the scissors kick for two. Booker clotheslines Jarrett outside and NEVERMIND THAT SHIT, HERE COMES MONGO! He tries to take Debra away, and she slaps him for it. Mongo punches Jarrett, and Booker gets a rollup for the pin. OK match.

-WCW World Tag Team Championship: Steiner Brothers [c] (w/Ted DiBiase) VS Public Enemy [Philadelphia Street Fight] 11/3/97

-Big hometown reaction for PE. PE try to jump the Steiners as they get in the ring, but that doesn't work out for them. It's Falls Count Anywhere, so this could get interesting. Match breaks down right away, and this isn't a wrestling so much as it is four guys beating on each other. Scott takes Rocco to the announce booth, and Rocco hits a flying forearm from there before Scott takes over on him anyway. Grunge & Rick take turns choking each other with a camera cable, causing the camera that's on them to go on the fritz. Rocco dives off the set, but Scott has no interest in actually catching him clean.

Everyone gets back towards the ring. PE set Rick in between two stacked tables, but DiBiase pulls Rick out, and Grunge puts himself through a table. Scott gets the pin off that. Pretty much what you should expect, a TV version of the tag street fights that were a lot better on PPV.

-From the 11/10/97 show, the nWo come to the ring, carrying a bunch of Canadian flags. First, Bischoff brings out the returning Kevin Nash, who's been out for a month plus after knee surgery. Nash does his own version of the Lou Gehrig retirement speech, then says if Giant wants to face him, it'll have to be in the upcoming World War 3 battle royale. Bischoff then says the newest member of the nWo is...Bret Hart. Because he's such a "knockout kinda guy" (referring to Bret punching Vince the previous night after the screwjob), the nWo delivers a horrible rendition of "O' Canada".

-Booker T VS Randy Savage (w/Liz) 12/15/97

-Fast start for Booker, as he gets a quick couple near-falls and works the arm. Savahe fires back with some punches, but Booker knocks Savage outside and works him over. Back in, Booker hits the spinaroonie followed by a Harlem side kick. Savage rolls outside, and baits Booker into jumping towards him, only to move out of the way, then crack Booker across the back with a chair. Savage hits a double axe handle from the top to the floor, then sends Booker into the steps, getting a two count once they get back in the ring.

A fan tries to get in the ring, right in front of Savage, and naturally, that doesn't work out for him. Booker comes back with a spinwheel kick. Booker hits a dropkick, leading to an awkward and weak ref bump. Booker goes up top, but Liz grabs his leg, and Savage knocks him to the floor before adding another chairshot. Savage elbow gets the win. Decent enough TV match.

-DDP remembers Randy Savage. He gets emotional remembering Thanksgiving '97 and getting beeper messages from a lot of "the boys" thanking him. DDP says it made him think of who he was thankful for besides his family and Dusty (saying there was no DDP without Dusty), and leaving a message for Savage thanking him for what he had done for him. A couple weeks later, Randy says he asked his dad if anyone had done anything like that for him, and his dad said he had never heard of anyone doing something like that for anyone. Savage told DDP it meant a lot to him, and gave him a big hug. Great story.

-Psicosis, Silver King, & La Parka VS Rey Mysterio Jr., Juventud Guerrera, & Hector Garza [Lucha Rules] 12/22/97

-After a brief opening between King & Garza, Juvy and Psicosis go at it for a while. They botch a reverse rana from Juvy to Psicosis, then Psicosis rams shoulder-first into the post. Rey gets in (to a nice pop), and hits a couple highspots. There's a series of missed splashes, then people start going outside. Juvy uses Garza as a springboard for Air Juvy. La Parka gets Juvy in a chair, then hits a suicide dive, before Garza hits a corkscrew plancha to the floor. Back in the ring, Rey hits King with a reverse rana off the top, then finishes with the West Coast Pop. Not much to it, but at least it didn't go on for too long.

-WCW United States Championship: Diamond Dallas Page [c] VS Chris Jericho 1/5/98

-Jericho is in the midst of his heel turn. He carrys a chair and a jacket to the ring, and presents them to Dave Penzer while apologizing for throwing Penzer down and slamming a chair against the ringpost the previous week. DDP is wearing torn jeans over his tights for some reason. The crew speculates over friction within the nWo after Starrcade, illustrated by two seperate limos carrying members to Nitro tonight. They go back-and-forth for a bit. Jericho suckers DDP into a handshake so he can lock on an armbar. Jericho goes for a kick, but DDP catches the leg, and pulls Jericho into the Diamond Cutter to retain. Good while it lasted. Jericho snaps again after the loss. It's nice to see a glimpse of Jericho during this time period.

-DDP says Jericho is a class act, and not only because he does DDP Yoga. DDP briefly talks about Spring Breakout, and says he'd tell some stories, but he can't remember them.

-A video highlights the Spring Break shows.

-Hollywood Hogan & The Outsiders (w/Eric Bischoff) VS WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sting, Randy Savage (w/Liz), & The Giant 3/15/98

-Giant has a neck brace on, as he's still recovering from the fucked-up powerbomb at Souled Out. Big schmozz to start, and they settle into Sting pounding on Hogan. Hogan goes to the eyes, and ignores Hall & Nash reaching for the tag to work Sting over. Sting regains control and tags Giant. Hogan begs off, and accidentally touches Nash, which Charles Robinson rules is a tag. Giant backs Nash down, allowing Hall & Hogan to jump him from behind. Giant grabs them, and Nash clubs Giant on the neck. Giant plays face-in-peril, getting worked over by all three opponents in their corner.

Hogan gets the brace off, and as the nWo triple-team him, Giant throws all three men off. Giant tags Savage, and Hogan begs off. Nash rashes to the back to avoid Giant. The match breaks down, and as Savage works on Hogan, Sting takes care of Hall. Savage KO's Bischoff, but The Apocalypse/The Desciple (Ed Leslie) runs in, hits a Stunner on Savage, and Hogan gets the pin. Good tag formula TV main event.

-WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Sting [c] VS United States Champion Diamond Dallas Page 3/23/98

-DDP is rocking the jeans again, this time with a back brace. They lockup and spill outside with neither getting the advantage. Sting goes after the legs and twice goes for the Scorpion Deathlock. DDP hits a swinging neckbreaker for two, then tries the Diamond Cutter, but Sting throws him off. DDP hits a pancake for two, then slaps on a rear chinlock. DDP goes for corner punches, but Sting counters into snake eyes. DDP tries a spinning clothesline, but Sting ducks and hits a clothesline of his own for two before getting a chinlock. After a while, DDP fights out, but walks into a flying clothesline. DDP reverses a whip into the corner, and hits a belly-to-belly suplex for two.

Sting wins a slugfest, then hits a series of bulldogs. Sting tries a splash off the top, but DDP gets his knees up. DDP pounds away in the corner and tries the Diamond Cutter, but Sting counters into the Scorpion Death Drop to retain, a finish they would re-use about a year later. Best match of the set so far, by far. Sting celebrates, and salutes DDP by doing the Diamond Cutter signal. DDP raises Sting's hand and they hug.

-WCW United States Championship: Raven [c] VS Goldberg [Raven's Rules] 4/20/98

-Raven gets the early jump, but makes the mistake of taking Goldberg outside, and Goldberg sends him into the guardrail. Goldberg gets his rolling leglock, but Raven reaches the ropes. Goldberg hits the Bret Hart Killer superkick, and Raven rolls outside. Raven uses a chair to regain control, and hits the drop toe hold onto the chair for two. Raven gets a chinlock, and the crowd chants for Golberg, popping big as he fights out. Goldberg no-sells some shots in the corner and hits the spear, prompting the Flock to all run in. Goldberg hits the jackhammer on Reese, and Raven takes off through the crowd. Some plants throw Raven back to ringside. Back in the ring, Goldberg hits a second spear, and the jackhammer to win the title. Good, heated match that put Goldberg over in the biggest way possible.

-From the 5/4/98, a still-Flockified Kidman is wrestling someone who isn't named, while the crew spends the whole time talking about the new nWo Wolfpac VS nWo Hollywood war. Kevin Nash, Randy Savage, & Konnan break up the match, with Scott Putski finaly getting named as he takes a big boot and jackknife from Nash. Nash says the Wolfpac is running the show, and gives a shout-out to Hall, mocking Hogan & Bischoff for saying that Hall is "too dangerous to be on live TV". Nash then challenges Hogan to get a team together to fight the Wolfpac. Savage puts his career in jeopardy by calling Hogan "bald", and Savage badmouths Bret Hart for joining nWo Hollywood. Nash calls out the newest member of the Wolfpac, Curt Hennig. Brian Adams tries to talk him out of it, but it doesn't work. Konnan challenges Adams to a match, then Nash challenges Sting to send Lex Luger out for a match against Nash. Ignoring, then destroying cruiserweights to focus on nWo drama? It doesn't get anymore Nitro than that.


-DDP talks about the decision to split the nWo.

-WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan & WCW World Tag Team Champion The Giant (w/Bret Hart & The Disciple) VS Kevin Nash & Lex Luger 6/1/98

-I don't even remember how Hogan got the title back. It takes a little bit to get going. Hogan tears his shirt and tosses it at Luger, who rubs it under his armpits then tosses it to Nash, who wipes his ass with it. Tony keeps mentioning that Sting's decision on which nWo faction to join may hinge on this match, completely discounting that he has the option to stay WCW. It wouldn't have made any sense for Sting to join nWo Hollywood, but then, it never made any sense when Giant joined the nWo, either time. Hogan & Luger trade power moves and holds, then Luger tags in Nash, who talks Hogan out of tagging Giant.

Nash works on Hogan in the corner, but Hogan responds in kind, and tags Giant. Giant works Nash over, including a huge kick to the face. Giant misses an elbowdrop, and Nash tags Luger. Luger gets a couple blows in, but Giant explodes out of a corner with a clothesline, and tags Hogan. Just when it looks like Luger is about to play FIP, Nash gets in and cleans house. Hogan grabs the world title belt and KO's Nash for the DQ. Pretty average WCW TV main event, complete with inconclusive finish.

Sting slowly repels from the ceiling and teases joining nWo Hollywood before clotheslining Hogan and slamming Giant. Sting follows slamming Giant by struggling to tear off the nWo Hollywood t-shirt to reveal the nWo Wolfpac shirt underneath. Ah the days when you could signal your alliance via a t-shirt. The Wolfpac celebrate as Giant has to be held back from attacking Sting.

-From the 9/28/98 show, TV Champion Chris Jericho comes to the ring, surrounded by his misfit security team, to face Goldberg. Jericho talks smack to Goldberg all the way to the ring. The real Goldberg comes out with the fake one over his shoulder. Jericho freaks, and sacrifices his security to Goldberg in order to escape.

-DDP talks about the Nitro parties, followed by clips of WCW-sponsored events.

-Eddie Guerrero VS Rey Mysterio Jr. 12/21/98

-Eddie is the leader of the Latino World Order at this point. IIRC, Rey has had membership forced on him after losing a match. I'm not sure who Eddie has with him. Nice touch as the lWo music has quotes from Eddie cut in like the nWo music. Eddie says it looks like he has to remind Rey that the lWo is about the group, not one man. Rey quickly sends Eddie outside, but he misses a dive to the floor, and Eddie takes advantage. Back in, Eddie hits a high-angle suplex for two, then a Gory Special. Tenay confirms that Rey is not a member because he chooses to be. Eddie gets a version of what would later be known as the Lasso from El Paso, but Rey gets to the ropes.

Rey blocks a suplex, and takes Eddie over the top, to the floor. Eddie recovers, and sends Rey into the guardrail. Back in, Eddie hits a super Frakensteiner for two. Eddie gets a camel clutch, and tears into Rey's mask. Eddie hits a German suplex and stomps on the back. Rey hits a head-scissors to send Eddie back outside. Eddie manages to clip Rey in Rey's injured knee, and applies a nasty leglock. Eddie switches up to an STF as we go to break.

Back from commercial, Eddie has Rey hanging backwards over Eddie's head. Rey counters that into a rollup for two, and Eddie counters back for two, then hits a brainbuster. Rey avoids a possible frog splash, but runs into a huge clothesline. Eddie gets Rey in the Tree of Woe, but Rey sits up to avoid a baseball slide, and Eddie crotches himself. Rey hits a dive, but then misses on a West Coast Pop. Rey alley-oops Eddie into the buckles, then hits a Rocker Dropper before flying off the top with a rana. Eddie goes outside, so Rey hits a baseball slide into a headscissors on the floor. Back in, Rey hits a springboard somersault splash for two. Eddie comes back with a sunset flip for two, then hits a flapjack.

Eddie hits a big powerbomb for two. Rey counters a second powerbomb with an armdrag, then gets another flying takedown for two. Charles Robinson gets bumped, and Eddie hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Eddie accidentally takes out his own bodyguard. Rey hits a slingshot X-Factor for a visual fall. Billy Kidman comes out, but accidentally forearms Rey, and Eddie gets a school boy for the pin. Great TV match, the best of the set so far.

-A pre-match video from Souled Out '99 shows Bam Bam Bigelow running out to attack Goldberg, only to end up getting tased by Scott Hall.

-Scott Hall (w/Disco Inferno) VS Bam Bam Bigelow [Ladder Match for the Taser] 1/25/99

-Tony explains that it's whoever zaps his opponent that will be the winner. Bigelow gets a big shot in, but Hall comes back with punches, and hits a flying bulldog off the top. Bigelow comes back, but Disco trips him up. Disco gets ejected by Billy Silverman. Bigelow goes for the ladder, but gets jumped by Hall. Hall drops the ladder on Bigelow, and crotch chops. Bigelow fights back, and hits Hall with the ladder. They get in the ring, where Bigelow no-sells a ladder shot and goes back on offense. Bigelow puts the ladder in between the ropes and uses it to bash Hall's face, but Hall drops down to teeter-totter the ladder into Bigelow. Hall drops the ladder on Bigelow, then wedges his knee in the ladder before stomping on it as we go to commercial.

Back from break, Bigelow whips Hall into the ladder which is set up in the corner, but then misses an avalanches, crashing into the ladder. Hall rides the ladder down onto Bigelow, but then says he broke a rib. Hall almost gets the taser but Bigelow tips the ladder over. Bigelow climbs the ladder, then drops a diving headbutt. Hall gets up first, and drops a questionably low leg. Hall climbs, but then stops to kick Bigelow down, then drops an elbow from the fourth rung of the ladder. Hall climbs, but Bigelow catches him and hits a belly-to-back suplex off the ladder. Bigelow climbs, but Hall knocks him off the ladder.

Hall gets his hands on the taser, but can't pull it down before Bigelow pulls the ladder out from underneath him. Bigelow gets the taser, but Hall hits a low blow. Disco runs out to hand a taser to Hall. The two face off before Goldberg runs out and spears both Hall & Bigelow. Goldberg tases Bigelow, but gets nailed from behind by Scott Norton before Goldberg can tase Hall. Norton gets Hall out of dodge. Pretty good match, even if it is dumb to end a ladder match as a no-contest.

-WCW United States Championship: Bret Hart [c] VS Roddy Piper 2/8/99

-The generic music dubbed over Bret's is pretty awful. Ugh, Will Sasso is in the crowd, so I already remember how this ends. This Nitro was in Buffalo, so I might have actually watched more of it than usual. Piper gets the early offense, but Bret goes to the eyes. Bret limps as part of a faked (as opposed to worked) groin injury. They exchange punches, and Piper does his casual eye poke to win that exchange. Bret uses the ropes to choke Piper, then fakes like Piper back kicked him in the nuts. Bret gets looked at by a trainer. I appreciate the psychology attempt, but if Bret can't continue, doesn't he lose the title? Bret suddenly pops up and wails away on Piper as we go to commercial.

Back from commercial, Bret hits a Russian leg sweep, then drops a headbutt onto the midsection. Bret knocks Piper outside, and continue his assault there before deciding to attack Sasso. Back in the ring, Piper fires back and hits a suplex for two, followed by a belly-to-back suplex for two. Piper gets the slepper, but the ref is bumped, and they clothesline each other for a double KO. Piper gets a small package for a visual pin. Bret gets something out of his tights and KO's Piper. Bret and Sasso have a tug-of-war over the ref, allowing Piper to get a schoolboy for the pin. This was good for what it was, but WrestleMania VIII it was not.

-DDP talks about the split between fans who liked celebrity involvement and those who don't. He moves on to his "brothers" Bam Bam Bigelow and Perry Saturn. DDP talks about meeting Bam Bam when Bam Bam was sixteen. DDP says he was turning the channels after not hearing from Bam Bam for a while, and seeing him on Texas wrestling, then being proud as Bam Bam went into WWE.

-From the 5/31/99 show, Bam Bam Bigelow & DDP attack Raven and stuff him in a dumpster to take him out of the world tag title match that night.

-WCW World Tag Team Championship: Perry Saturn & ???? [c] VS Diamond Dallas Page & Bam Bam Bigelow 5/31/99

-Saturn says he'll go it alone after DDP & Bam Bam took out both Raven & Kanyon. Eric Bischoff is on commentary, and says his mistakes can be summed up in three words: "Diamond Dallas Page". Saturn holds his own for the first couple minutes, and Saturn cleans house as we go to commercial.

Back from break, Saturn and DDP are going at it. Saturn stops to drop Bigelow, and takes a cheap shot from DDP. DDP works Saturn over, including hitting a huge powerbomb for two. Bigelow gets in to continue the beatdown, then tags DDP back in. DDP hits a flying clothesline off the top for two, then applies a side headlock. Saturn fights out, but DDP quickly hits a swinging neckbreaker. Bigelow tries a diving headbutt, but Saturn moves. Saturn blocks a Diamond Cutter, and sends DDP into Bigelow. Saturn hits a Death Valley Driver on Bigelow as Kanyon runs out. Saturn makes the tag, but Kanyon walks right into a discus punch from DDP, who gets the pin to win the titles. Good match, and IIRC, the deal with Kanyon was a set-up as part of the formation of the Jersey Triad.

-WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Savage [c] (w/Georgeous George, Madusa, & Miss Madness) VS Hollywood Hogan 7/12/99

-Hogan enters to the Wolfpac theme, and I officially have no idea what's going on with the nWo at this point. Savage has just beaten Nash for the title the previous night at Bash at the Beach. Savage gets the early jump, then hides behind the ladies when Hogan fights back. Hogan bashes Madusa and Miss Madness together, and they start fighting on the outside before getting taken away by security. Hogan pounds on Savage, including 10 punches in the corner. Hogan wrestles like a heel, despite being the babyface here.

Savage takes a powder, but Hogan catches up to him and goes back to work. Hogan blocks a chairshot and hits a couple of his own, somehow not getting DQ'd for it. Hogan takes Savage over to the announce table and beats on him there as Bischoff taunts Savage. Hogan takes his weight belt off and goes to whip Savage, who throws George in front then hits a cheapshot to take control. Savage sprawls Hogan on the announce table and hits a chairshot. Back in the ring, Savage whips Hogan with the weight belt. Hogan tries fighting back, but gets kicked in the nuts.

Savage signals for the big elbow, but he misses it. Hogan hulks up, and looks to finish with the usual, but Sid Vicious attacks Hogan before he can. Sid goes for a powerbomb as Bischoff finally explains that this is no DQ. Sting attacks Sid and runs him off. Savage KO's Hogan with a chain, but Kevin Nash pulls the ref out then jackknifes Savage, allowing Hogan to get the pin and the title. Nash cuts Hogan's celebration short, pointing out that he's twice handed Hogan the title. Nash challenges Hogan for a title match, and Hogan accepts. This was shockingly good, even when the over-booking kicked in. The hot crowd helped out a lot.

-DDP talks about the Nitro Girls, and Stacy Keibler winning a contest to become a new Nitro Girl. DDP tells a story of Stacy being really excited while seeing Goldberg for the first time.

-From the 12/13/99 show, Goldberg is hovering over a possibly injured Bret Hart. They are tag champions with a title match against The Outsiders on this show, and they face each other in six days at Starrcade, a match which dramatically alters Bret's life, to say the leaset.

-WCW World Tag Team Champions: Bret Hart & Goldberg [c] VS The Outsiders 12/13/99

-Nash demands that since they made it easier for Goldberg at Starrcade, that he return the favor and hand them the tag titles. Goldberg starts the match by himself, and immediately cleans house. Hall gets a couple shots in, but Goldberg quickly comes back with a pump handle slam for two. Nash gets the tag, and gets a kneelift in. Goldberg comes back with a flying shoulder tackle. Hall distracts Goldberg, and Nash gets a big boot. The Outsiders double team Goldberg. As Hall hits a chokeslam, Bret runs out to help his partner.

Bret gets Nash in the sharpshoot, but Hall clobbers him. As Goldberg looks to finish Hall, Bret blocks a belt shot from Nash and pounds on him. Goldberg hits the spear on Hall, but Nash clips Hart's bad knee, and gets the pin by using the ropes. Goldberg hits the jackhammer on Hall before he realizes what happened. This was alright.

-Vampiro VS Sting [House of Pain Match] 5/15/00

-The House of Pain is basically a regular cage with a roof on it, or a Hell in a Cell that just covers the ring and not the ringside area, depending on your preference. The cage has handcuffs on the sides as well. This is the opener to this Nitro, BTW. Can you guess who was booking WCW at this point? Vampiro locks the door, so Sting climbs to the roof and breaks a panel to get inside. You have to shackle your opponent to the side of the cage to win. Sting gets the early jump, but Vampiro turns the tide. REALLY hot crowd for this. Vampiro hits a suplex and a legdrop, then works Sting over with kicks and a low blow.

Vampiro tries a kick off the top, but Sting counters into a powerbomb to start his comeback. Sting quickly gets Vampiro shackled, and he goes to work on him. Sting hits a couple Stinger Splashes...and leaves. That's it? OK, if ridiculously short for a blood feud, and the finish and aftermath are total weak sauce. The lights go out and when they come back on, Vampiro is gone.

-Shannon Moore (w/Evan Karagias) VS Shane Helms 2/26/01

-Helms immediately hits a facebuster and a neckbreaker. Moore pounds away in the corner but stops to pose, allowing Helms a chance to hit a running Liger bomb. Helms knocks Moore outside and chases him, allowing Evan the opportunity to cheapshot him on the outside. Moore hits a twisting dive off the top for two. Helms avoids an avalanche and hits a superkick, followed by a backdrop. Evan tries to get involved, but it doesn't go well. Helms hits a cross-body off the top and calls for the Vertabreaker. A distraction by Evan only delays the Vertabreaker for a moment,and Helms gets the pin. Chavo Guerrero attacks Helms, leading to a 3-on-1 beatdown in advance of a title match at the next PPV. Not sure why this was included.

-WCW World Heavyweight & United States Championship Unification Match: Scott Steiner [World Champion] (w/Madajah) VS Booker T [U.S. Champion] 3/26/01

-Booker avoids a clothesline, and hits a Harlem side kick for two. Booker hits a back elbow and a clothesline for another two count. Booker pounds away in the corner, but Steiner counters with a big powerbomb for two. They go outside, where Booker narrowly avoids a shot with a lead pipe. Steiner hits an elbowdrop, then does some push-ups. Steiner hits a belly-to-belly suplex for two, then stretches Booker while talking shit. Booker makes a comeback, and hits the scissors kick, followed by a flapjack and the spinaroonie.

Booker hits a leg lariat, but Steiner counters the Book End into a Northern Lights suplex for two. However, Booker counters a powerbomb, and hits the Book End to unify the titles. Not much considering it's the end of the true WCW title.

-DDP talks about the uneasiness surrounding the final Nitro, and can't believe it's been 12 years since the final one. DDP refrains from predicting there will be a Volume 3.

-FINAL THOUGHTS: Pretty disappointing set for the first two discs. The last disc is a lot better, but still has odd choices. A definite step down from Volume 1, but I'm sure there's enough good stuff for a Volume 3 (including Rey's first Cruiserweight title win over Malenko, which I can't believe wasn't on either set).