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Monday, 28 October 2013

Hell in a Cell 2013 Review

Hell in a Cell 2013 Review

After two months of forgettable PPVs, were the WWE able to bring the  quality back up? Let's find out.

Rey Mysterio is a Spanish announcer for the night. That could be a nice job for him once he retires.

Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs The Shield vs The Usos
Tag Titles on the line here. The announcers managed to fuck up the rules of the match before it started, and believe me, this isn't the last time they would annoy. Anyway the crowd was really into this match all the way through, and it started off well and just got better and better as it went on. The superplex to the outside was an awesome moment. The finish was white hot with Cody hitting the biggest crossrhodes I've ever seen to retain the titles. Easy match of the night. ****

And now the show becomes duller and duller until we get to the World Title match.

Fandango & Summer Rae vs The Great Khali & Natalya
Seriously? Dolph Ziggler is on the pre-show panel, but these guys get a PPV match? Goddammit. Actually I have to say that I was impressed by the divas action in the match, and I wish it had just been a singles match between them, as the action with Khali and Fandango was just boring. More divas action like this please! 1/2*

Big E Langston vs Dean Ambrose
US Title on the line. Big E was originally to face Curtis Axel for the IC Title, but due to injury, Axel couldn't compete. Because of that, there was no buildup to this match at all, which resulted in a dead crowd, which is a shame becuase they were having a solid bout. Big E had a nasty cut under his right eye after a collision with Ambrose. Countout victories in Title matches usually annoy me, but there was nothing else they could really do as the match had no buildup, and neither guy could lose cleanly. **1/4

CM Punk vs Ryback & Paul Heyman : Hell in a Cell
I really thought that they could top their Cell match from last year, but it turns out they couldn't. The crowd only wanted to see Punk beat up Heyman and didn't give a damn about Ryback, resulting in one of the dullest Cell matches ever. This match really did not need the Cell, and it was more of a sign that the Cell should be retired until the PG era ends. Just a dull match here. **

After the match Punk, finally after months of chasing Heyman, gets his hands on the walrus and gives him a few kendo stick shots and a GTS. That was it? After promising time and time again that Punk was gonna tear Heyman limb from limb, this was the payoff? Very disappointing.

Los Matadores vs The Real Americans
By this point I was really wanting to go to bed, and this match didn't help. Los Matadores have barely been here a month and already they're boring me. At least Cesaro kept things interesting with his awesome swing, and even Swagger looked pretty good in there. Can someone just push Cesaro already and be done with it? **

John Cena vs Alberto Del Rio
Was there any doubt as to who would win this World Title match? The match was far better than I thought it would be, and not the squash that I was expecting. It was kind of annoying to see Cena no-sell the arm injury at times, and they also kept cutting to backstage where Damien Sandow was watching and this really went nowhere. After a nice finishing sequence, Cena becomes World Champ for the 14th time. That's actually pretty scary. ***1/4

AJ Lee vs Brie Bella
I was totally expecting Brie to win here now that she has turned face and they've acknowledged that she's with Bryan, but thankfully, AJ is still champ. The crowd was pretty dead for this one, and Nikki was trying hard to get the crowd cheering for Brie, but that was gonna be difficult to do since the face turn came out of nowhere. Not bad for a divas match I suppose. *

Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton : Hell in a Cell
HBK is the guest referee for this WWE Title match. At least this feud looked good enough for a Cell match, since these guys have been feuding for so many months. The action was fast and furious for the entire match, and there were no Orton chinlocks to be found. The Cell was used quite well with both guys using it to their advantage. This all led to inevitable overbooked finish with HHH getting involved, and Shawn costing Bryan the match. I really like the matches between these two guys, but I really hope that we don't see another rematch. Apart from all that, it was a great match. ***1/2

5/10. This felt like an episode of Raw. After the fantastic Tag Title match, everything just seemed to fall apart, and even two very good World Championship matches couldn't redeem it. There is so much filler here, and the boring Punk/Ryback match doesn't help. I would definitely recommend the opening match though, and even the main event and the Cena return match. Everything else is just totally forgettable.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Survivor Series 2002 Review

Survivor Series 2002 Review

This is one of my personal favourite PPVs ever, and one of the first that I watched. Does it still hold up today? Let's head to Madison Square Garden to find out!

Bubba Ray Dudley / Spike Dudley / Jeff Hardy vs 3 Minute Warning : Tables Match
Elimination rules apply here which sounds good to me. I'm not too big a fan of table matches, but this one was a lot of fun and one of the better tables matches I've seen. Plus this one also led to the reunion of the Dudley Boyz, as D-Von interfered for the finish. Fun garbage match that got the MSG crowd fired up for the night. ***

Saliva perform their song 'Always'. I don't usually like musical segments on PPVs, but I like this song so I'm gonna let this one slide.

Jamie Noble vs Billy Kidman
Cruiserweight Title on the line. Noble has got to be one of the most underutilized talents that the WWE has ever had under contract. The guy has tons of skill but he's never really had a chance to show it off except in the cruiserweight division that really didn't mean anything anyway. Nice, fast-paced, high-flying match here. With more time it could have been great, but as it is, it's still good. ***

Trish Stratus vs Victoria : Hardcore Match
Women's Title on the line. This is one of the more memorable divas matches I've seen, even if the weapons provided for the women were incredibly sexist, such as an ironing board and a broom. Both ladies managed to work through the sexism and create an entertaining womens match that did seem stiff at times, with Victoria's nose bleeding after a trash can to the face. The snap suplex did seem like an abrupt finish. **1/2

Brock Lesnar vs The Big Show
The WWE Title is on the line. Quite the historical match here, as it marked the first time that Lesnar had been beaten by pinfall. Big Show was just the transitional champ so that the belt could go to Angle and set up Wrestlemania. I thought it was strange that the match was given barely any time, as both guys were capable of putting on a good match, mainly thanks to the fact that Brock could suplex Show. Brock hitting the F5 was awesome. *1/2

Los Guerreros vs Edge & Rey Mysterio vs Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit
Ah, the Smackdown Six. These guys made Smackdown the must-see wrestling show of 2002. So many great matches and this was another one. This was for the newly made Smackdown tag titles.  Elimination rules apply. A lot of people seemed disappointed by this match at the time since it wasn't as good as some of the other matches, but it was a still an awesome bout itself. Benoit is pinned after a spear, eliminating his team. This match is just non-stop fast paced action. Eddie makes Rey tap to win the match and the titles. Excellent match. ****

Triple H vs Shawn Michaels vs Kane vs Chris Jericho vs Booker T vs Rob Van Dam : Elimination Chamber
Here we have the very first Chamber match in WWE history. You never can beat the original. Until I read Jericho's Undisputed book, I never knew that a lot went wrong with this match. Kane came out earlier than he was supposed to, HBK came out later than he was supposed to and this meant that they had to improvise most of the action, so it's amazing that it's as it is. HBK winning was a nice, feel-good moment and finally put HHH's reign to an end (well for a month at least). All in all it's still an excellent match worth watching. ****1/2

8.5/10. Still a great PPV in my eyes. The Chamber match and the Tag Title match both totally delivered with some great action there. The undercard wasn't bad either and even the very short WWE Title match was pretty entertaining. An easy recommendation from me.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Triple H : Thy Kingdom Come - DVD Review

Triple H: Thy Kingdom Come DVD Review

I've been looking forward to this one for a while, and no matter how you feel about HHH, he has deserved a three disc set for so long. This isn't the first documentary that HHH has had. He also had one on the 'Triple H: The Game' DVD which is now a tagged classic. That feature only went up to his Wrestlemania 18 win and only lasted about an hour, so it didn't really cover much. Finally he has the two hour documentary treatment which WWE has come to master in recent years. Is this another great one? Let's find out.

Disc 1 :

It should be noted first that there some great choices for the talking head, interview sections with guys like The Rock, 90s DX, Kevin Nash, Batista, his parents, Harley Race, Brock Lesnar, and, for what seems like the first time, the Undertaker! And that's not even all of them! Undertaker was definitely the most interesting talking head, as it was cool to hear his opinion on things and it was refreshing to hear him out of character. It was interesting hearing him talk about his advice to HHH that inspired him to marry Stephanie. It was incredible to see Taker getting emotional over the finish of the Hell in a Cell match at Mania, when he stood at the top of the stage with both HHH and HBK. There's even some backstage footage of that match where you can see Stephanie and Vince getting emotional after what they had witnessed. In fact, right after the feature had ended, I took out the disc and popped in disc 1 of Mania 28 just to watch that match again, and it might just be the greatest match of all time. Obviously that's just my view, but it is such an incredible match.

Anyway let's get back on track before this becomes more about the Undertaker instead of HHH.

I liked seeing some of the early footage from Killer Kowalski's wrestling school which HHH attended, and you can see HHH's hilarious-looking mullet. Hearing the Kliq talking about how they first met HHH was interesting, as they decided that he was the designated driver because he didn't drink or do drugs. I was surprised that they mentioned and praised Chyna as much as they did, as I thought they would distance themselves as much as possible now that she has a porn career. HHH had enough charisma on his own to carry the two hour long feature, but the talking heads make it so interesting as well, seeing as a lot of them are wrestling legends. Overall this was another great documentary made by the WWE, and it's the one that HHH has deserved for so many years. You can clearly see that a lot of work has been put into it, and it's worth the price of the DVD or Blu Ray. Definitely recommended.  9/10

Disc 2 :

Jean-Paul Levesque vs Ricky Steamboat
Very early match for the Game, from WCW Saturday Night in September 1994. I think this would have been his first ever match, but that's already on his King of Kings set, so they were right to leave it out. HHH performed well against the veteran Dragon here. I was expecting a squash, but it ended up being a solid back and forth technical bout. Too bad it only lasted about five minutes. Still, it was good while it lasted. **

Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs Dude Love
From One Night Only 1997. These two have had some great contests against each other in 1997 including their cage match, falls count anywhere, and their Canadian Stampede match. The chemistry was once again brilliant between the two and it made for a tremendously fun match that the crowd was really into. This could definitely stand with their other 90s matches. ***1/2

Triple H vs The Rock : 60 Minute Iron Man Match
From Judgment Day 2000. Finally this match is on a DVD set! Now we just need the Fully Loaded HHH match. Shawn Michaels was the ref for this match. For everyone who has heard so much about this match but has never seen it, you will not be disappointed. Every minute felt like it was adding to the match and it was never dull or boring, unlike some other Iron Man contests. The match ended 6-5 to HHH , as Undertaker made his goosebump-inducing return and got the Rock disqualified. Just brilliant and probably the best Iron Man match in WWE history. ****3/4

Triple H vs Kurt Angle : No DQ
From Unforgiven 2000. Mick Foley is the guest referee for the match. This was the culmination of an angle that had been building for quite a while, as Angle had been trying to seduce Stephanie McMahon, and HHH just couldn't take it anymore and had to kick his ass. It wasn't the brawl that I thought it was gonna be, even with some brawling elements, but it was still a very entertaining match, due to the great chemistry of both guys. Angle's belly-to-belly suplex on the announce table was awesome. The work on HHH's ribs was well done. The ending did seem to come out of nowhere, but everything before that was great. ***1/2

Disc 3 :

Triple H & Stone Cold vs Kane & The Undertaker
From Backlash 2001. Nice to see that the Two-Man Power Trip was included here. The Tag Titles, IC and WWF Titles were all on the line here. The Brothers of Destruction held the Tag Titles, whilst HHH held the IC Title, and Austin the WWF Title. How they managed to fill up the rest of the card I'll never know. This does seem like a really big match though. One title was guaranteed to change. The match had a nice pacing throughout and it never really became boring until some of Austin and HHH's heel segments, but that was about it. It was a bit overbooked by the end, but it was still fun. ***1/4

Triple H vs Rob Van Dam 
From an episode of Raw in June 2003. This took place one week after Kane was unmasked, after losing to HHH, and RVD was his tag partner at the time, so I have a feeling that he'll get involved. Nothing really special about the match except for a nice moonsault from RVD and HHH bringing out the Indian Deathlock. The work on RVD's leg was pointless as he no-sold it as soon as he got his comeback. It felt quite sloppy at times too. I was wrong about Kane interfering too. Quite an unmemorable match. **

From my Royal Rumble 2004 review:

Triple H vs Shawn Michaels : Last Man Standing Match
Check out the blade job for the match :

Yeah it was pretty gruesome. This one had a hard time living up to the classic match that these guys had on Raw in December, but that didn't stop it from being a great match. Usually when these two have a match involving no DQ (aside from their dull 3 Stages of Hell match) it ends up being great and this was no exception.  Even the double count-out finish was fine, since that ended up leading to the five star, Triple Threat match at Mania 20. It's not the best match they've ever had, but to me, it was a lot of fun. ***1/2

Triple H vs Ric Flair
This was a first round match of the tournament that would decide who the No.1 contender for the WWE Title at Wrestlemania was. Nice that they put a rare HHH/Flair match here instead of the others that are already on DVD. Probably not a good idea to have the IC Champ lose in the first round, but oh well. This wasn't nearly as good as their PPV matches, but it was still pretty damn fun, as these are two guys that know each other very well. Short, but entertaining match. **1/4

Triple H vs King Booker
From Summerslam 2007. This was the second return match of the night as Mysterio made his return earlier makes his return. HHH was here after missing eight months of action. This would be Booker's final PPV appearance until the 2011 Royal Rumble. Pretty dull match here which wasn't expected. HHH hits the pedigree to win. *3/4

Triple H vs Randy Orton : Last Man Standing
From No Mercy 2007. This is now HHH's third match of the night. He didn't have much of a chance after already facing Orton and Umaga. These guys have had three Last Man Standing matches together, and this is easily the best of the bunch. This is also probably the best HHH/Orton match, and believe me there have been plenty! HHH had a lot of sympathy from the fans after they had seen how exhausted he was from the earlier matches. A very well paced Last Man Standing match here, with even some great storytelling, as Orton tried to punt HHH like he had punted HBK, and HHH wouldn't end it like that! Awesome match. ****

Triple H vs Jeff Hardy
This took place in the UK on Smackdown 2008. This feud wasn't even mentioned on the documentary, which is a shame since it gave both guys some awesome matches. The crowd wasn't really into this one. This wasn't as good as their previous encounters, but then again it is just a TV match. I did find myself bored at times, but maybe I've just been watching this DVD for too long. Not bad, but nothing really stood out. **1/2

Triple H vs Chris Jericho
From Raw November 2009. Has Jericho ever beaten HHH in a one-on-one match? If Jericho wins, HHH has to face Jeri-Show in a handicap match the next week, but if HHH wins, Jericho has to face DX in a handicap match. This is really just here to build to the TLC PPV main event. An entertaining match here from two veterans. Pretty fun match, even with the interference from HBK and Big Show. **3/4

9/10. Well you get an awesome documentary and some nice match selection, as I believe that none of these have appeared on any other DVD sets. Plus it's worth the money just to get that amazing Iron Man match. This is an easy recommendation from me.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Bad Blood 2004 Review

Bad Blood 2004 Review

The final Bad Blood PPV gives us a double main event featuring a World Championship match, and a feud-ending Hell in a Cell match. But was the show good? Let's find out.

La Resistance vs Edge & Chris Benoit
This was Eric Bischoff's attempt to mess with Benoit by putting him in two matches. This match was obviously more for angle advancement, but it was still a solid effort. I can't fault it for the Kane interference, as it gave Benoit more sympathy for later on in the night. Fun tag match while it lasted. **1/2

Chris Jericho vs Tyson Tomko
This was a continuation of the Jericho/Christian & Trish feud. I think Christian was injured at the time after a cage match with Jericho. Not a bad match at all here. Tomko did seem a little green, but luckily he had a veteran like Jericho to help him out. It could have done with an extra few minutes, but it's still entertaining as it is. **

Shelton Benjamin vs Randy Orton
IC Title on the line. Shelton had pinned Orton twice in the space of three weeks on Raw, so it looked like Shelton had a great chance of winning the Title. This one had a slower pace which I didn't expect, but that didn't stop it from being a great match. The pace definitely quickened during the final moments of the match, where it had some awesome false finishes for Shelton, as he looked like he had it won a few times. One worth checking out I'd say. ***1/2

Lita vs Trish Stratus vs Victoria vs Gail Kim
Womens Title on the line. The crowd is solidly behind Lita here. These are all very capable women who can work good matches, so this should be fun. There were a couple of sloppy moments (Lita's punches looked terrifically fake), but it was fun while it lasted, and I wish it was a little longer as I was enjoying it. **

Eugene vs The Coach
How did the Eugene character even get over? In fact how did a match like this make it to PPV? To be honest this was more entertraining that it had any right to be, probably due to the fact that it's always fun to see Coach suffer. Weirdly enjoyable match and I have no idea how to rate it, as it wasn't your typical match. I'll go with  **.

Chris Benoit vs Kane
This might just be Kane's best singles match of his entire career. Just a shame that no one will remember it. It had some added intensity thanks to Kane's earlier attack, and Benoit was still selling the pain. Benoit did a great job of making Kane look like the most powerful guy on the roster. The finish was awesome, as Benoit finally got the crossface locked in, and the crowd was just begging for the monster to submit. Fantastic match that made both guys look great. Watch this one if you can find it. ****

Triple H vs Shawn Michaels : Hell in a Cell
Finally this two year old feud was finally going to end in the most appropriate way possible: Hell in a Cell. At this point both guys were still undefeated in the cell, and this was Shawn's second time in there, as he had only been in the original match before. This is one of those love it or hate it matches. Some (like me) feel that it was a great feud ender and had some great psychology, whereas others find it to be a huge bore and hate the fact that it went on for fifty minutes. In my opinion it's an excellent match. Watch it for yourself to see what you think of it. ****

7.5/10. I enjoyed this show a lot more than I thought I would, and there was nothing really bad about it. Check out the IC Title match, the Heavyweight Title match and the Hell in a Cell, although the HIAC will divide some opinions. I'd recommend the show.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Vengeance 2007 Review

Vengeance 2007 Review

The events surrounding this PPV are very well known, as it took place only one day before the Benoit tragedy. At the time, no one knew what had happened to Benoit, as he had said he had to leave for a 'family emergency'. No one knew of the events that were about to take place.

Moving on from that, how was the show? It was the first time that it was known as Night of Champions and we've had those PPVs ever since. Let's begin.

The Hardy Boyz vs Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch
World Tag Titles on the line. These two teams had quite a lot of matches in 2007, but they were usually good, and this one was no exception, as they put on a fun, fast-paced opener that featured some nice tag team moves and got the crowd fired up. Cade gets the win with a big spinebuster on Jeff. A bit too short for my liking, but it was good while it lasted. **3/4

Chavo Guerrero vs Jimmy Wang Yang
Cruiserweight Title up for grabs here. Unfortunately the Title was only a PPV away from being completely ruined thanks to Hornswoggle winning it and forever being known as it's final holder. Poor Jimmy was saddled (pun not intended) with a silly cowboy gimmick, but his in-ring work made up for it. The crowd only really popped for the big moves, but this was still a very solid match. The finish was good too, as there were a couple of nice false finishes. **3/4

CM Punk vs Johnny Nitro
This is for the vacant ECW Title. I think this is the last time that the Johnny Nitro name was used, as instead he went on to become John Morrison. Chris Benoit was originally in Nitro's place. You can still hear the fans loudly chant 'We want Benoit' which is very hard to listen to. This match worked a lot better on paper than it did in reality. The chemistry between the two guys would get better as the weeks went on. The match did get better as it went on and overall it wasn't too bad, just pretty unspectacular. **1/4

Santino Marella vs Umaga
IC Title on the line. Santino had only recently joined the WWE roster at this point, after posing as an ordinary fan in the crowd, that would go on to beat Umaga for the IC Title in a huge upset. Santino didn't look like he had much of a chance here, since he didn't have the help of Bobby Lashley. The match didn't even have time to go anywhere as it only lasted about two minutes and ended in a DQ. No wonder Santino is a just a comedy wrestler now. DUD

MVP vs Ric Flair 
This is for the US Title. MVP was only about two months into his insanely long US Title reign. Ric Flair seemed like a strange choice for the challenger, but the crowd was behind him so why not? This one had a slower pace to it, but that didn't stop it from being entertaining. MVP was great at gathering heat for himself, and Flair was great at gaining sympathy from the crowd. Enjoyable match that could have used more time to really get going. **1/4

Deuce & Domino vs Jimmy Snuka & Sgt. Slaughter
This was an open challenge for the Smackdown Tag Titles. Weirdly enough, Sgt Slaughter and Jimmy Snuka accepted. I'd forgotten that Deuce and Domino even existed, let alone were tag champs. What a weird gimmick their 50s greasers thing was. Obviously the match wasn't that good since Sarge and Snuka were way past their primes here. Even Snuka could only do chops and headbutts. It didn't make Deuce and Domino look too good. That's probably why I can't remember them. *

Edge vs Batista 
This was billed as Batista's 'Last Chance' to win the World Heavyweight Title, which is pretty strange since he would challenge for the title at Summerslam a month later. The World Title scene would go downhill from here, as Edge would end up injured and, for some insane reason, The Great Khali was made the World Champ. Anyway the match was great, with Batista desperately trying to win, and Edge trying to survive and wear down Batista as much as possible. The match restart did ruin the momentum a bit, but it was still an awesome back and forth match and the best of the night so far. I did like the countout victory, as it really added to Edge's ultimate opportunist character. ***1/2

Melina vs Candice Michelle
Womens Title is on the line and this is the obligatory cool down match between the WWE and World Title contests. Just your standard sloppy divas match here. Candice is the new Womens champ. Yippee. 1/2*

John Cena vs Bobby Lashley vs Mick Foley vs King Booker vs Randy Orton
I have no idea how this challenge match for the WWE Title was made. Cena never really had feud with any of these guys before this match and only feuded with Lashley and Orton afterwards. This probably should have been an elimination match, as I think it would have made more sense and made it more entertaining. This should have been given much more than fifteen minutes, as it was a ton of fun while it lasted. Just an entertaining, chaotic match here, where everyone got a chance to show their stuff. ***1/2

6/10. The two World Title matches definitely saved this show. Up until the Heavyweight Title bout, it was a very unspectacular show, but luckily the main events delivered in great fashion.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Royal Rumble 2004 Review

Royal Rumble 2004 Review 

When I first got into wrestling, this was one of the first PPVs that I ever watched, so it's pretty nostalgic for me. This event is mainly remembered for who won the Rumble match, but what else did the show contain? Let's find out.

Batista & Ric Flair vs The Dudley Boyz : Tables Match
Tag Titles are on the line. Batista and Flair won the titles unfairly at the Armageddon PPV, and the Dudleys wanted them back in their favourite kind of match. The match was very short and seemed very sloppy at times. It didn't help that the Coach got himself involved. Not the best opener for a show that's for sure. 1/2*

Rey Mysterio vs Jamie Noble
Cruiserweight title is on the line. Noble's girlfriend, Nidia, was still in her 'blind' stage where she kept costing Noble matches due to her 'blindness'. These two deserved more than just three minutes for this match. They've had great matches in the past and I'm certain that, with more time, they would have had a great match. *

So far the show hasn't been good.

Eddie Guerrero vs Chavo Guerrero
What is it with matches not getting enough time? It's a shame they were only given eight minutes to work, and with another ten I'm sure they would have had a classic. This was the start of Eddie's singles run that led to his WWE Championship win a month later. Match was enjoyable while it lasted, but the finish was pretty anticlimactic, with Eddie easily beating his nephew. **

Brock Lesnar vs Hardcore Holly
Holly? Seriously? There was no one else? I mean the guy's a good wrestler but he's not WWE Title material. Holly didn't have a chance in hell here, and of course, Brock gets the decisive win. The match wasn't bad, even with Brock's long restholds, but it was another one that had to deal with time constraints. Luckily this is the last match that'll have that problem. *1/2

Triple H vs Shawn Michaels : Last Man Standing Match
Check out the blade job for the match :

Yeah it was pretty gruesome. This one had a hard time living up to the classic match that these guys had on Raw in December, but that didn't stop it from being a great match. Usually when these two have a match involving no DQ (aside from their dull 3 Stages of Hell match) it ends up being great and this was no exception.  Even the double count-out finish was fine, since that ended up leading to the five star, Triple Threat match at Mania 20. It's not the best match they've ever had, but to me, it was a lot of fun. ***1/2

Finally a good match on this show!

And now for the match we've all been waiting for.

The 2004 Royal Rumble Match
The best rumble ever? If you can get over the fact that Benoit won the match, then, arguably, it is. It's easily my favourite Rumble match ever. The 1992 Rumble comes close, but 2004 just beats it. For its one hour run time, it's entertaining all the way through, and, unlike most other Rumble matches, it doesn't have a dull moment. Benoit winning was also an amazing moment at the time, which has obviously been extinguished now. Amazing match that I would say is must-see. *****

6/10. This show was awful up until the Last Man Standing match. That match and the Rumble match absolutely saved the show. If you can't stomach Benoit I definitely wouldn't recommend this show, but if you can, get the DVD and skip everything except for the World Title match and the Royal Rumble match.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Shawn Michaels Story: Heartbreak & Triumph DVD Review

The Shawn Michaels Story: Heartbreak & Triumph DVD Review

The HBK book of the same name was not very well received by wrestling fans, but how does the three disc set of the same name come across? Let's find out.

Disc 1 :

I always forget that Shawn's actual surname is Hickenbottom. Catches me by surprise everytime. Also, knowing that José Lothario was in fact his trainer at the start of his career makes the Iron Man match at Mania XII look a bit better. An annoying thing about the feature is that you can't understand a word that Marty Jannetty is saying, but it's a minor annoyance. A lot of the stories on this documentary are interesting to listen to, such as the Rockers' first firing from the WWF. Nothing is really held back about Shawn, as they mention how his in-ring work was amazing, and how his personality outside of the ring was just the opposite. The story of how the Wrestlemania X Ladder match came to be is pretty interesting. Shawn wouldn't send the belt back and so a new one had to be created. Kind of a dick move, but if it didn't happen we might not even have ladder matches today. Even the Curtain Call for the Kliq at The Garden is talked about which was pretty controversial for breaking kayfabe. I was interested to hear Shawn's take on the infamous 'Lost Smile' promo and he claims that his knee was really hurt, so make of that what you will. The birth of DX and the Montreal Screwjob segments were very interesting, especially when you hear the opinions of other superstars and legends. Ok I don't want to keep going over the moments in this DVD, as they're worth watching for yourself and there are a lot of them. Overall this is one of the better superstar documentaries that the WWE has released, and it was one that could have went downhill, but they kept it interesting all the way through and nothing was really sugercoated. Definitely one to watch, especially for it's story of redemption from hated, drug-taker to a clean born-again Christian. Great stuff. 9/10

And now for some great matches!

Disc 2:

Shawn Michaels vs Billy Jack Haynes
Very early match from WCCW in 1985. The ring announcer doesn't even pronounce Shawn's name correctly. No one could have predicted that that jobber from San Antonio would go onto become one of the best wrestlers of all time. Very short, squash match. 1/4*

The Midnight Rockers vs Buddy Rose & Doug Sommers
From the AWA in 1987. This feud is mentioned a lot when talking about HBK's early career, so it must have meant a lot to him. Sensational Sherri was managing Rose & Sommers, and she would become Shawn's manager in 1992. Solid, if unspectacular, old-school style tag match. I wonder why they don't bring back the time limit for modern matches? Could be a good idea. Anyway it's an entertaining match, but I have a feeling that it's not the best from this feud. **3/4

The Midnight Rockers vs Super Ninja & Ninja Go
Another AWA match from 1987. Shawn looks as if he's hungover here. Probably is. And the arena is looking pretty empty as well. Didn't really matter as the crowd was really hot for this bout. Holy crap, one of the Ninjas has a swastika on his wrist! What the hell is up with that? Anyway this was a fun, well paced tag match that had the crowd's interest the entire time. Worth a look. ***1/2

The Rockers vs The Brainbusters
Taking place in MSG in 1989. The first WWE match of the set. I remember an excellent match between the two teams and I think it may have been on the Saturday Night's Main Event DVD. Both teams are friggin' awesome. The start of the match was strange with the Rockers getting the illegal tags, and the ref stopping the Brainbusters from tagging. Kind of a role reversal. This was an excellent tag match, especially for its time. ***3/4

The Rockers vs Hart Foundation : 2 out of 3 Falls
Man it is such a shame that the ref couldn't figure out that he had to fix the rope for the match to continue properly. I think it may have been a near five-star match if the rope hadn't broke. As it is, the first part of the match is fun, but once the rope breaks it becomes dull. The Rockers win the Tag Titles, but the win wouldn't exist in the history books and the match was never aired. **1/2

The Rockers vs The Orient Express
From the 1991 Royal Rumble. I've heard a lot of great things about this match, so I'm looking forward to it. The match started straight away with an unbelievable pace that was awesome to watch. The great pace continues as the match goes on. Such a fantastic tag match with some awesome double team moments. I'm pretty sure the show has just been stolen. One of the best tag matches I've ever had the privilege of watching. ****1/2

Shawn Michaels vs The British Bulldog
From Saturday Night's Main Event in November 1992. Poor Bulldog had only held the IC Title for two months at this point before losing it here. The winner of this would face Bret Hart for the WWE Title at Survivor Series. Very entertaining back and forth match here that had the fans hot for it. Some nice back psychology as well. This was good, but they'd go on to have much better matches a few years in the future. ***1/4

Royal Rumble Match 1995
They show the full rumble here. This definitely wasn't the best Rumble that there'd ever been, but it certainly wasn't the worst. Only a few wrestlers looked like they could have won such as HBK and the British Bulldog. The match is mainly remembered for its famous finish of having Shawn touch only one foot on the ground and then come back in to win it. **3/4

I think the 1996 Royal Rumble match would have been better here than the 1995 edition, as HBK won it and then went on to beat Bret Hart in their famous Iron Man match at Wrestlemania. At Mania 11 he lost to Diesel. It's probably just there for the famous finishing sequence. Anyway, onto disc 3!

Disc 3 :

Shawn Michaels vs Jeff Jarrett
From In Your House 2. Man, Shawn gave us so many memorable matches from the IYH PPVs starting with this one. This is easily Jarrett's best match in WWE, but I've not really seen any of his TNA stuff so I don't know if anything topped this. Jeff was in his hometown and was still getting booed by the crowd. There's tons of heat for this one, and the pacing is just excellent. A phenomenal back and forth match here, that is must-see in my book. ****1/2

Shawn Michaels vs The British Bulldog
From King of the Ring 1996. This event is mainly remembered for Austin's classic 3:16 speech, but this was the match that stole the show. These two always have good matches and this was one of their best, if not the best. I think Bulldog's a heel here. Never even knew that he had a heel run. The match seems to change in pace throughout, as sometimes its a nice, quick pace, and sometimes its a slower, more controlled pace. That doesn't stop it from being a very entertaining match. Having Owen Hart on commentary was a bonus too. Awesome match overall. ****

Shawn Michaels vs Triple H
From Raw in December 2003. The first match from HBK's comeback. These two have had many matches against each other but, aside from their Summerslam classic, this is easily their best one, and it's definitely the best one without any gimmick applied to it. Just a straight up, who's better than the other, World Title match. Easy MOTYC for 2003. Just a shame that it's not really remembered. ****1/2

The Rockers vs La Resistance
This is from Raw in 2005, when the Rockers had a reunion for one night only. I think Marty was meant to come back full time, but couldn't stay sober and had to be let go. I could be wrong about that. Anyway, the match was a lot of fun, and would have been nostalgic for the older fans. It was short, but it was very enjoyable while it lasted. **1/2

Shawn Michaels vs Kurt Angle
From Vengeance 2005. The rematch that everyone wanted to see. I don't think there was any way that they could have topped their all time classic Wrestlemania match, but they were damn sure gonna try here. That German suplex on the announce table looked awesome. What I love about this is that you could watch this and the Mania match back-to-back, and see two different matches. Not as good as the original, but still a very worth sequel, as Shawn gets his win back. ****1/2

I think I'm running out of stars to give!

Shawn Michaels vs John Cena
From Raw in the UK in April 2007. WWE called this the greatest match in the history of Raw. It's definitely one of the best, but I think the best is Punk vs Cena from February 2013. Anyway, this fifty minute, non-title match was able to stay entertaining all the way through, and lived up to the exceptional original at Wrestlemania. In fact I'd say its even better than the Mania match. Another reason why this match is so great, is because it was the match that made Chris Jericho return to wrestling, which is a huge win in my book. The commercials are irritating as usual, but that doesn't stop it from being an excellent match. Watch this one immediately. ****3/4

9.5/10. Excellent DVD from WWE and one of their best. The first disc is brilliant with a very interesting two hour documentary on the Heartbreak Kid. But the matches are where this set really shines. This set is filled with amazing matches, and the best thing is that you can't get a lot of them on other DVDs. In fact I think only the KOTR and Jeff Jarrett IYH matches can be found on other sets. This is a must-have set for any wrestling, and it's worth the price of purchase just for the epic Raw matches with HHH and Cena.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Judgment Day 2008 Review

Judgment Day 2008 Review

Found this little gem pretty cheap in a shop today. I've never seen it before so I'm looking forward to seeing how good it is. Right let's begin.

John Cena vs JBL
Very rare to see Cena in the opener. I think this was his last time in the opener, and I doubt he'll ever be there again. I'm not sure why these two were feuding, but it may have had something to do with the Backlash fatal four way match. JBL's heel offense, as usual, wasn't very interesting, but the work on Cena's arm was done quite well. Cena barely gets in any offense until the very abrupt finish of Cena hitting the FU to win. Not a great match, but at least it was better than their Mania match. **

CM Punk & Kane vs John Morrison & The Miz
Tag Titles on the line. Dear God I forgot that Mike Adamle was a commentator. Oh this is gonna be long. I'd completely forgotten that Kane was a former ECW Champ. I wonder what the passionate ECW fans think of that one. It wouldn't be long until Punk cashed in his MITB to win his first World Title. It's weird that they'd have the MITB winner take the loss, but WWE has a tendency of doing that. Fun match that kept the action fast and furious. **1/2

Shawn Michaels vs Chris Jericho
Oh yeah! This is more like it! The start of the best feud of 2008, and one of WWE's best feuds of the decade. I think that Shawn was meant to be the heel here, but the fans just didn't want to boo him. Luckily that led to Jericho becoming a heel once again, and what a fantastic heel he was. And yes of course this was an awesome match, what else would you expect it to be? Just the usual brilliant, technical, back and forth contest from both guys and easily the Match of the Night. It's amazing that their feud and their matches would only get better as time went on. ****

Mickie James vs Melina vs Beth Phoenix
Good luck following that one ladies! Womens Title on the line. These are three very capable divas, so it should be entertaining at the least. This was good while it lasted, but unfortunately it didn't last very long. If this had an extra five or ten minutes it could have been great. Beth with both women on her shoulder was a sight to behold though. **1/4

Undertaker vs Edge
Another of the year's best feuds continues here. The World Title was vacant here, as Taker was stripped of the Title for using his Hell's Gate submission hold too many times and injuring other superstars. I was fine with this match ending with no new World Champ, as it led to an awesome TLC match and, eventually, the excellent HIAC match. Sure this wasn't as great as some of their other matches, but it's still a great addition nonetheless. Similiar to HBK and Y2J, these two can't have a bad match. ***3/4

Jeff Hardy vs MVP
Hooray! Jeff is back from suspen.... I mean injury. This match wasn't originally on the PPV card, but it's a nice bonus. Poor MVP lost to two different Hardys on two PPVs in a row, as he lost to Matt at the Backlash show. Solid little match that was entertaining and got the crowd behind Jeff Hardy once again. Whisper in the wind did seem like a strange way to win though. **1/2

Triple H vs Randy Orton : Steel Cage
This isn't the first or the last time these two would feud. This is definitely one of the better matches they've ever had together, and that's kind of hard to do in a modern-day cage match. Cage matches aren't as good as they used to be, especially with no blood, but both guys managed to do it. Very good cage match that had the fans hot for it and is really worth a watch. ***1/2

8/10. This was a great show here and one that seems overlooked. There weren't any bad matches, and the worst was the opener, which was still enjoyable. You'll also find an overlooked classic between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho which stole the show, an underrated Taker vs Edge match, and a main event that definitely delivered, not to mention all the other solid matches.