Saturday, 27 September 2014
NXT September 15th 2014
Last week we saw a fun main event tag match and the debut of Hideo Itami. This week we have a Takeover rematch with the Ascension getting their rematch for the Tag Titles. Let's begin!
Mojo Rawley vs Bull Dempsey
I'm surprised that we're getting a match straight away. I'm not used to that on WWE TV. Mojo has already been squashed by Bull two times and the third time wasn't the charm as he was once again beaten in under a minute. I think he's practically a jobber at this point. Still it was a nice big win for Bull. 1/4*
Tyler Breeze who was mysteriously absent last week quickly appears and takes out Mojo. I guess that's a new feud starting even though Mojo really doesn't have a lot of momentum left.
We get a vignette for Baron Corbin as he looks like a badass in a scene looking like Sin City.
Tyler Breeze vs Justin Gabriel
This show has been all wrestling so far which is absolutely fine with me. Aren't both guys heels? Or have they just gone back on the Gabriel turn? Gabriel was in control for the entire match until Breeze came back at the end and hit his finisher. Weird match structure as it made it look as if Breeze just got a lucky win. 3/4*
Backstage, Natalya pleads with William Regal to give Tyson Kidd another chance at the NXT Title. Regal says that if Kidd can't pin Neville, then we won't get another shot while Neville is the Champion.
Bayley vs Alexa Bliss
It's amazing how well even the characters of the women here at NXT are so much more developed than the WWE Divas. Most of their characters are just supermodels that can't wrestle. The match was short but fun and the crowd was into it the whole way through. NXT women are awesome! The best match of the night so far. *1/4
Bayley grabs a mic and calls Charlotte down to the ring. Once she arrives, Bayley talks about how she let herself down at Takeover and she wants a rematch to prove herself. Charlotte says that Bayley earned her respect and now a rematch is set for next week. Well there's your reason to tune in next time.
Enzo Amore arrives at the Performance Centre with Carmella so he can train her. She stretches while Enzo is on the treadmill which distracts him and he falls off in a funny moment. I do enjoy these little skits.
Marcus Louis vs Enzo Amore
Marcus is Sylvester LaForte's sidekick who was turned bald by Cassidy and Enzo at Takeover. Another short match with Louis controlling it for the most part and Enzo getting the win after pulling off his wig and using a roll up for the pinfall. 1/4*
Tyson Kidd says he doesn't need Nattie to get his Title shot for him as his actions will speak for themselves.
The Lucha Dragons vs The Ascension
The NXT Tag Titles are on the line in this rematch. They had a good match at Takeover and I had a feeling that this one would be even better. It wasn't that much better but it was still good. It was pretty obvious that Hideo Itami would appear after the Ascension attacked him last week, and there was no way that they would lose cleanly again. A fun tag main event that featured some nice tag moves from both teams. Hideo did come out at the end to distract the Ascension and that gave the Dragons the victory. **3/4
Another fun episode of NXT and it set up next week nicely as we'll see a rematch for the Women's Title, a potential match between Adrian Neville and Tyson Kidd, and I'm sure we'll see Hideo Itami and the Ascension going to war.
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Night of Champions 2014 Review
I'm sorry this one has taken me longer to upload than usual but I've now finally got a chance to watch it. This is WWE's attempt to get everyone to keep subscribing to the Network so there's a good chance that this'll be a good show. Was it? Let's find out.
The Usos vs The Brotherhood of Dust
The Tag Titles are on the line. The Usos have been delivering great opening matches for the past couple of months so it was a safe bet to have them start things off here. This rivalry has been slightly intriguing especially with the recent heel turn of the Dust Brothers. A heel Goldust is an excellent Goldust. Cody impressed here as he seems to be comfortable in yet another entertaining heel role. I liked the fact that Jey worked on Stardust's leg as payback for his leg injury. This was a fun opener that built up to some exciting nearfalls and both teams ended up flying all over the damn place. Both teams impress as the night starts of greatly. ***1/2
Sheamus vs Cesaro
The US Title is on the line. Oh hell yeah this is the one I've been looking forward to the most. This one was just about the sleeper hit of the night back at Payback so I was excited when it was announced for this show. These guys bring out the best in each other just by being the absolute shit out of the other guy which I love to bits. Cesaro countering all of Sheamus's signature moves was awesome as it shows how well these guys know each other. This was better than their previous match and their back and forth counters towards the end had me marking out until it got to the point where it was unclear who would come out the winner. A fantastic match that stole the show and I would love to see a rematch at Hell in a Cell. Excellent work from both athletes. ****
Out come multi- platinum recording artists Florida Georgia Line for commentary for some reason. I have never heard of these guys outside of the WWE.
Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz
The IC Title is on the line. Damien Mizdow and R-Ziggler join their appropriate partners at ringside. I had high hopes for this one after their great Summerslam match and the fact that they've shown chemistry together, but this one wasn't nearly as good. It didn't help that the commentary focused almost solely on Georgia Line. Felt like a WCW show in that respect. Plus Miz winning the IC Title back seemed like a strange decision especially since Dolph just won the Title back on Raw making this bout a bit pointless. The match started getting good towards the end with some nearfalls though so it was pretty solid overall I'd say. **1/2
Seth Rollins comes out to award himself the match via countout since Roman Reigns can't appear due to emergency surgery. Fans are already chanting for Dean Ambrose as they know he's going to be here. Rollins issues a challenge to anyone in the back and sure enough here comes Mr Ambrose to a huge pop from the crowd. They have an incredible brawl through the crowd and the Authority comes out to ruin the fun. And he delivers an awesome flying elbow to all the security guards and the brawl continues. I smell a Cell match next month!
That was a ton of fun and I can't wait for the feud of the year to continue for as long as it needs to.
Mark Henry vs Rusev
I've been looking forward to this one as it has been pretty well built with Henry standing up to Rusev like the badass that he is CAUSE THAT'S WHAT HE DOES! Also loved Lillian's singing of the Star Spangled Banner and Henry crying to it was a sweet moment. This was a pretty dull match overall but the crowd was behind Henry so it had that going for it. Rusev did look dominant in victory too and even survived the World's Strongest Slam. Bland match. *1/4
Randy Orton vs Chris Jericho
This is one of the most thrown together feuds I've ever seen as it's obvious that both guys have nothing better going on and Orton's excuse for starting the feud was that it was Raw's Season Premiere. Great reason for a feud. But thankfully these are two great workers that know how to turn in a good performance. I loved Orton's facial expressions here as he was looking like the viper of old. Some of the young guys in the back need to start taking notes from these guys as they showed how to put on a great match with barely any story at all. The just built and built the match with the excitement level rising by the minute and it was hard to tell who was going to win. The RKO in mid-air was a great finish too. Great match. ***3/4
Paige vs AJ Lee vs Nikki Bella
The Divas Title is on the line. This is the only match I haven't looked forward to tonight and that's because Nikki Bella is never usually involved with anything good and I wish her feud with Brie would just end as the acting is just terrible. Nothing against Paige and AJ though as I could watch those two fight forever. I'm also fine with AJ winning the Title back since it means we'll get to see more of her Paige which is always a good thing. The match wasn't that bad but it wasn't anything that good either. It was just kind of there and it had no heat at all. *
Brock Lesnar vs John Cena
The WWE World Heavyweight Title is on the line. This has definitely been the most interesting match leading up to the event after Lesnar's dominant victory at Summerslam and it was hard to predict as some thought Cena would win, some thought Lesnar would win, and some thought Rollins would cash in and win. Well it ended up finishing with a DQ but it's fine with me as it means the feud will continue and that can only be a good thing. I loved the opening of the bout with Cena learning his lesson and blocking the German suplex and even hitting the AA very early and barely getting a one count. Lesnar quickly regained control and just dominated Cena for a while. It did seem a bit too much like the Summerslam much but Cena definitely got more offense in this time. It did get better towards the end with both guys trading signature moves up to the finish. A great match overall. ***3/4
After the match Seth Rollins gives Lesnar the Curb Stomp (I'm betting he'll live to regret that) but Cena stops him and sends him packing to the back. Lesnar hits the F5 and is the last man standing at the end of the night.
Now both Lesnar and Cena have something to prove as we head towards Hell in a Cell.
8.5/10. Another great show delivered by WWE here. We started off amazingly well with a fun tag opener that gave us new Champions, and Sheamus vs Cesaro stole the show with a hard hitting contest. It cooled down with Ziggler/Miz which was a good match with shitty commentary and outside shenanigans and we slowed down with a dull Henry/Rusev match. The brawl between Ambrose and Rollins was awesome and Orton vs Jericho gave us a surprisingly great contest. The divas were pretty bad but things picked up with the anticipated main event which delivered a great match. All in all a superb show and a nice follow up to the stellar Summerslam.
Sunday, 21 September 2014
The Daniel Bryan Collection
Yes I know I did a 'Greatest Hits' post on Bryan around six months ago but it looks like Bryan will be making his return quite soon so I want to do this post for it and I'll be splitting them up into different parts featuring different years to keep
I'm gonna start off with some of his Indie matches using YouTube but they won't be in chronological order as usual since the matches show up at random on the site, but once I get to the WWE posts everything will be back in order.
If you want to watch the following match, it's titled FREE MATCH: Bryan Danielson vs AJ Styles
Bryan Danielson vs AJ Styles
I have no idea when this match takes place, but it does take place in a National Guard armory centre that also has a basketball court with a crowd of around forty people. Both guys have come a long way since then. Bryan was great with his heel work here as he just kept taunting the crowd by calling them his baboons and taking advantage of the wrestling rules (I have 'til 5 ref!). There was a botch of a big move towards the end but it didn't affect the match much. This is the wrestling clinic you would expect from these two as it built slowly up to a an exciting finish. ***1/2
Bryan Danielson vs Tyler Black
From ROH Southern Navigation May 9th 2008. For those that don't know, Tyler Black is also known as WWE's Seth Rollins. You could already see the fantastic chemistry that these guys had here that led them to having some classics in the main stage of WWE in the future. The match was quite one sided to start with as Tyler got most of the offense, but that only got the crowd fired up for Bryan's comeback. The crowd was into this one all the way as these guys started off slowly and built up to a frenetic pace for the final few minutes of the match which featured some great nearfalls and counter wrestling. ****
Bryan Danielson vs Claudio Castagnoli
From ROH Northern Navigation June 25th 2008. Claudio is also known as WWE's King of Swing, Cesaro. It should have been obvious that these guys would have an awesome match in 2013 just judging by how great they were together here. It's awesome that Claudio still used the big swing here. Just like the last two matches, this one just built and built as it went on. I noticed the double monkey flip spot that was also used in Bryan's match with Cena at Summerslam. It was a cool looking move so no wonder he used it twice. A terrific match with an exciting finishing sequence that just went back and forth between the two amazing athletes. ****1/4
Bryan Danielson vs CM Punk
From ROH Reborn: Stage 1 April 23rd 2004. This is apparently the first ever match between these guys so it's pretty historic and there will definitely be way more matches between the two in these posts. Ricky Steamboat is also the referee here. The story here is that Punk attacked Steamboat earlier in the show, but Steamboat still made it out to ref. I liked Punk as the whiny heel here as he complained about Bryan's hair pulling and that earned him chants of 'Punk's a bitch'. This was much slower match than you would expect here but it did gain a much quicker pace towards the end. A great match by the end. ***1/2
Bryan Danielson vs Kaval
From FCW February 7th 2010. This'll be just before the shitty first season of NXT started then. Kaval was smart enough to leave the company when he did later in the year, but thankfully Bryan stayed on. It sounds like Wade Barrett is on commentary but I'm not too sure. Kaval was very impressive with his kicking style and it's a shame that his time in WWE didn't work out for him. This was a pretty short match lasting at ten minutes but they managed to pack in a ton of action and it was a lot of fun to watch. Good stuff. ***1/4
Bryan Danielson vs KENTA
From NOAH November 13th 2008. The commentary is in Japanese so I don't know the story behind the feud. This one seems very appropriate after the debut of Hideo Itami and this is the first match I've seen of his outside of NXT. The mat wrestling section of the match didn't last very long as they quickly hit each other with stiff uppercuts and high kicks. A lot of high flying involved as well. After watching this match I can now see why KENTA is so popular. His fisherman suplex in mid-air was absolutely unreal. A fantastic match where the action never seemed to stop and just built to an amazing crescendo. A must-see match in my book. ****1/2
Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuinness
From ROH 6th Anniversary Show and the ROH World Championship is on the line. This is also the first McGuinness match I've seen so I was looking forward to seeing why he was also so popular. The fans are split on both guys. This one was going nicely until Nigel hit the referee and caused a DQ eight minutes into the bout which completely turned the crowd against him. Thankfully the match is restarted. Now shit's going down! Nigel was pretty awesome in the heel role by just taunting the hell out of the New York crowd and the crowd hated him for it. This was an incredible match and one of the best I've seen out of Bryan. These guys fought a war to prove who was the better man, and through some devious means, Nigel was able to secure the win. I could have watched this match go on forever as there was not a dull moment to be had an excitement until the very end. If you haven't seen this one, I'd highly recommend it. Fantastic. ****3/4
Well that's it for the Indie days. Coming next: 2010 and 2011.
Saturday, 20 September 2014
NXT September 18th 2014
I am definitely going to start reviewing these shows after three awesome specials. This would've been up sooner but I had a little problem with the service that allows me to watch the Network but it has all been sorted now. Right then let's get started.
We get a video package showing the results of the major matches from the great Takeover II show.
Titus O'Neill comes out to the ring. He says it's an honor for the fans to be in the presence of him. He's pissed about Sami Zayn and co. coming to his show on Raw, so he wanted to return the favour. Apparently the show is now called NXTITUS. Thankfully Zayn interrupts. It looks like there might have been some editing involved with Titus talking so I'm guessing he fucked up. Zayn says Titus couldn't win a match if his life depended on it. True story. And out comes NXT Champion Adrian Neville. He says he's here to defend NXT from anyone. Zayn is offended by this and Tyson Kidd comes out. I'm gonna take a wild guess and say that Tyler Breeze will show up too.
Kidd calls them all losers. Both Zayn and Kidd are a bit disappointed in the way Neville retained the Title at Takeover. Neville says that Zayn will never be the Champion. Ohhhhhhhhh! I can't wait for the match between those two. Out comes William Regal as he pulls a Teddy Long and makes a main event featuring Zayn and Neville taking on Titus and Kidd. Holla!
Not much of an opening segment but it set up the main event and showed some tension between Sami and Adrian which is awesome. Seriously their match will be something special.
Later tonight, KENTA debuts as Hideo Itami!
Still pissed that my Breeze prediction didn't come true.
Charlotte vs Emma
I have to say that one of the things I love about NXT is the Women's division. It's been amazing so far. I'm glad Emma is back where she belongs as she was just going nowhere on the main roster. Emma knocks the Title out of Charlotte's hand to get a collective 'Ohhhhh' from the crowd. You don't fuck with Charlotte! This was too short to mean much but it gave Charlotte a nice win and the finishing sequence was pretty good, even featuring a close nearfall for Emma. *1/2
Hideo Itami vs Justin Gabriel
I've been looking forward to this one for a while. I've never seen KENTA in action before so I was interested to see why he is so popular. It was easy to see why as those high kicks of his were very impressive. This was just a squash match but it was fun to watch with Hideo showing the fans his work. I do love his finisher and it looks pretty damn powerful. I approve of this match! *3/4
After the match The Ascension takes out Hideo. I smell a feud.
CJ Parker vs Baron Corbin
I don't see this going well at all for Parker. Corbin just looks like a total badass. This lasted around thirty seconds just like their Takeover match and I think Parker is pretty much history by now. A total squash obviously but a fun one. 1/4*
Enzo Amore is working out in a gym when a woman named Carmella storms in and yells at Enzo saying she was fired thanks to him and she wants a job as a fighter. I take it that she's a new edition to the NXT roster.
Next week, a Takeover rematch between the Ascension and the Luchadors for the Tag Titles!
Sami Zayn & Adrian Neville vs Tyson Kidd & Titus O'Neill
I'm wondering why Titus is involved here but I'm guessing that Tyler Breeze was either busy with something else or he's injured. I liked the start of the match with Zayn and Neville showing their rivalry with blind tags and trying to outdo each other with athletic moves at the expense of Kidd. It probably didn't help that the crowd chanted 'Sami's better'. Even Titus was pretty good here. He'd probably be better off in NXT from now on. He can bring Heath Slater and Zack Ryder with him. A decent tag match but I think the face comeback could have been way longer. Still it was a nice main event and a good end to the show. **1/4
Once again NXT provides a fun hour of wrestling that you can't really get from any other show. Tune in next week for a Tag Title rematch!
Sunday, 14 September 2014
Monday Nitro #1 : 4/9/95
Yes it's the very first episode of Nitro. I was planning on doing a series where I reviewed a Nitro and Raw from the same night and compared them, but WWE haven't posted any 1995 Raws that coincide with Nitro so I'm just gonna do Nitro on its own until Raw is finally updated. We'll just assume that Nitro was better since 1995 Raw was pretty awful. Anyway let's begin.
For some reason this is listed as Nitro episode 79 on the Network.
Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan and (nevermind that shit, here comes) Mongo are here to introduce us to Nitro and to do commentary for the evening.
Jushin Liger vs Brian Pillman
Now this is how you kick off a show in style! Great choices here with two of WCW's best athletes going at it to show us what Nitro is all about. I wish this had been a bit longer as it did feel quite short, but it was filled with a ton of high-flying action and there was never a dull moment to be had. A good match showing off the cruiserweight side of WCW as Brian rolls up Liger for the victory and receives a nice pop from the crowd. ***
We get an interview with Hulk Hogan and he says PastaMania way too many times in front of a pasta restauraunt. Good God Hogan was so stale at this point.
Sting vs Ric Flair
Have these two guys ever had a bad match together? If they have then I haven't seen it. Just before the match starts, Lex Luger makes his huge surprise return to WCW in a moment that really showed that there was a war about to begin between WCW and WWF. This was a ton of fun as it was basically just a condensed version of some of their classics but they have some of the best chemistry in the business and they were able to make it work. The match ends in DQ as Flair won't let go of the ropes. ***1/4
After the match, Arn Anderson attacks Flair. Apparently it's Anderson vs Sting at Fall Brawl for the US Title. By the way I will be reviewing the PPVs as I go along with the Nitro episodes and the same goes for Raw if they finally update their episodes.
Scott Norton starts ranting and raving at the commentators and Randy Savage comes out to challenge him. I guess that's a feud set up.
We get a vignette for Sabu. I had no idea he was even in WCW so I'm guessing it didn't last very long.
IRS is debuting as Mr WallStreet and takes a shot at the WWF's New Generation.
Hulk Hogan vs Big Bubba
The WCW World Title is on the line. Even Hogan's music was awful at this point. It doesn't look great for WCW when two former WWF stars are main eventing over two WCW stars, then again that is what WCW did: used WWF stars so they didn't have to build their own. This was just a standard Hogan match where he is beaten up, Hulks up and then wins. It was pretty obvious that the crowd was starting to lose interest in Hogan. Still it was a pretty fun match while it lasted. *3/4
After the match, the Dungeon of Doom comes out to attack Hogan, but Lex Luger comes out to help him and they almost get in a fist fight. Time for an ad break.
The commercial for Fall Brawl airs and the main event just looks dreadful. I'm not looking forward to reviewing it.
The break is over and Luger wants to fight Hogan for the World Title. Hogan accepts and the Title match is set for the next episode of Nitro! Wow what a way to end! No wonder the ratings went up for WCW.
And that's it for the first episode of Nitro.
A great episode and the perfect way to start for WCW. They showed off their talent in some good matches, set up future storylines and new wrestlers, and also gave everyone watching a reason to tune in to the next episode. The Monday Night War has begun!
NXT Takeover II: Fatal 4 Way
Well the last show to be named Fatal 4 Way didn't end particularly well but hopefully this one will have better luck. I haven't been watching NXT as much as I probably should so I'll try and keep up as much as I can.
Just to keep you guys posted; I know I haven't posted in a while but I've been dealing with some job stuff that has kept me busy but I should start posting more often again.
Anyway let's get on with the review.
The Ascension vs Kalisto & Sin Cara
The NXT Tag Titles are on the line. Man how long have Ascension held those Titles anyway? Well apparently WWE thought they'd held them long enough too and finally gave them to someone else. I guess Ascension's heading for the main roster soon. The match was a good choice for the opener as the luchadors kept things energetic. I was really impressed by Kalisto and he really reminds me of a young Mysterio. The match started slowly with Ascension in control but once Cara got the hot tag things really picked up. Good stuff to start the night off. ***
CJ Parker vs Baron Corbin
I've not a lot to say about this one as it only lasted about fifteen seconds. It was a very impressive victory by Corbin who could be a great monster heel for NXT now that Rusev has left. His finisher looked awesome as well. Nice squash that didn't waste a lot of time.
Tyson Kidd's arrogant promo was awesome. He would definitely do well in the main roster with that attitude.
We also see Enzo in a salon as he accidentally covers a poodle with hair removal cream. The dog was named Fifi. Was Rene Dupree around?
Sylvester LeFort vs Enzo Amore
The loser has to have their head shaved bored. This wasn't much of a match and it didn't last very long, but the crowd was really behind Enzo which shows just how good he is on the mic because he doesn't seem to have much in-ring ability. It was slightly entertaining towards the end but it was pretty boring before that. Enzo wins with a roll up pin. *1/4
After the match Sylvester manages to avoid a shaving which does seem like a bit of a cop out on NXT's part, but Sylevester's little sidekick took the hair removal cream instead so it wasn't all bad.
NXT General Manager William Regal makes his way to the ring for an announcement. He's here to introduce Kenta. He is now working under the name of Hideo Itami. Not sure how I feel about that as I was fine with calling him Kenta but I'm sure it'll grow on me. Anything's better than Kassius Ohno. Hopefully Prince Devitt and Kevin Steen receive good names too. Nice moment for NXT. Ascension decides to attack Hideo but he's ready to fight back and sends them packing.
Bull Dempsey vs Mojo Rawley
Not much behind this match as it just seems that Mojo is wanting some revenge for losing to Bull some time ago. This was another very short match as it only seemed to last twenty seconds. Bull looked impressive with the dominating win though and even managed to cut Mojo's eye in that short amount of time. No rating for this one.
Enzo brings out LeFort's sidekick to show his baldness to the world. I'm actually starting to find Enzo very entertaining. He could be an awesome comedy wrestler on the main roster.
Charlotte vs Bayley
The NXT Women's Title is on the line. You'd never hear of the Diva's Title being a main event on a big WWE show which shows just how awesome NXT is. I was really looking forward to this one after Charlotte and Natalya's classic at the first Takeover show, and while this wasn't as good as that one this was still a good match and miles better than anything you'll see on WWE TV. I did enjoy the story of Charlotte underestimating Bayley's ability and Bayley coming back with everything she had including trying some quick pins and an awesome frankensteiner from the top rope. Good match and the best of the show so far. ***1/4
Hideo Itami will be debuting next week on NXT! I'll really need to watch that one.
Sami Zayn vs Tyler Breeze vs Tyson Kidd vs Adrian Neville
The NXT World Title is on the line. NXT can even do main event fatal four ways better than WWE can. This one was pretty unpredictable as I could have seen any one of these guys (well maybe not Breeze) leaving as the Champion. I was really hoping that Zayn would win but he'll get his chance someday and I'm hoping we'll get an epic face vs face match between Neville and Zayn at some point in the future. This took a little while to get going but once the faces got their comeback the momentum of this bout just grew and grew. This was an insanely fun four way and one of the best I've seen. There were some brilliant nearfalls where it looked like the end was coming but it just kept going and got better and better. Keep your WWE, I'm an NXT guy after this classic. Awesome match. ****1/2
7.5/10. Another good show from NXT and while it wasn't as good as Arrival or the first Takeover, it still delivered the goods and left me wanting more. All the important Title matches delivered including a must-see main event and the other content, while not great, didn't really hinder the show in any way. NXT really is taking over.
Saturday, 30 August 2014
Backlash 2001 Review
This show has the hardest job in the world of having to follow the greatest Wrestlemania of all time. I don't know much about this show aside from a couple of the matches I've seen before so I'm looking forward to this. Let's get started on Backlash.
The Dudley Boyz vs X Factor
X Factor seems like the most randomly put together team ever, featuring Albert, X-Pac and Justin Credible. I'm pretty sure that X-Pac wasn't relevant anymore anyway. Six man tags are usually a good way to fire up the crowd and this one did that well, although this crowd seemed to be obsessed with tables for some reason. It could have been longer and could have had a better finish that didn't deflate the crowd, but it was a fun tag match while it lasted and a good way to open the show. The crowd got their wish for tables in the end. **1/2
Rhyno vs Raven
The Hardcore Title is on the line. This is starting to feel like an ECW show. Well the Invasion was just around the corner. Kane lost this Title very quickly, but then again this is the Hardcore Title so it's probably changed hands hundreds of times over. This was actually a damn good match and better than I was expecting. I did like some of the spots like the involvement of the stacked up steel steps outside of the ring, and Rhyno goring the shopping cart looked cool as well. Hell there were even some nice nearfalls too. Good stuff from these guys. ***
Chris Jericho vs William Regal : Duchess of Queensbury Rules
Regal brings out the Duchess of Queensbury who has been shown backstage all night. Couldn't we just let these guys have a standard match? They performed fine in a normal match at Mania. The rules to this one aren't explained until the time limit for the first round apparently runs out when Jericho's about to win. Is this really needed here? Also apparently submissions do not count which seems strange since Regal tried them a couple of times. Regal didn't look too good here as he needed the Duchess to stop him losing three times. The match itself wasn't bad purely thanks to the talents of both athletes, but this really needed to be a different gimmick match. **1/4
Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit : Ultimate Submission Match
Benoit and Angle with a guaranteed thirty minutes against each other? Hell yeah! I'm gonna need some popcorn for this one. These guys had one of the best matches at Wrestlemania and Benoit wanted some revenge after Angle had to cheat for the win. This was very similar to their Mania match as it started off with some nice mat wrestling with Benoit constantly trying for the crossface but it didn't take long for the punches and the chops to be thrown. This was an awesome match and seeing these guys trying to outdo each other with their signature submissions (and even their opponent's submissions) was just a lot of fun. Any time these guys lock up it's a match worth talking about and this was no different. Easily the Match of the Night. ****
Shane McMahon vs The Big Show : Last Man Standing
I guess the McMahon vs McMahon storyline just had to continue. Show had decided to stay in the WWF with Vince instead of going to WCW. I guess this was before the Booker T vs Buff Bagwell match that stopped any chances of that happening. I did like the story here with Shane trying everything he could to keep the giant down, including a hell of a lot of weapon shots and even using chloroform to try and knock him out. I don't think the interference was really needed and it did disrupt the match quite a bit. The finish was awesome with Shane's death-defying drop from the top of the stage. Shane won but Show still looked strong in defeat. Pretty entertaining match overall. **3/4
Eddie Guerrero vs Matt Hardy vs Christian
The European Title is on the line. Matt only won the Title three days previously from Eddie. Don't know why Christian is involved then. Plus shouldn't Edge and Jeff be at ringside for their partners? Well they ended up doing the run ins at the end of the match so I guess that makes up for it. A short match but it was pretty good while it lasted and it even featured some innovative spots thanks to the athleticism of all three guys. Matt hits the Twist of Fate on Christian to retain the Title. **1/2
The Two Man Power Trip vs The Brothers of Destruction
This is a Winner Takes All match as the Power Trip is putting their IC and WWF Titles on the line and the BOD are putting their Tag Titles on the line. The winners will be ruling the WWF with all the major Titles unless it ends in a crappy DQ, but thankfully they didn't go down that path. This was a long match lasting around twenty-five minutes but surprisingly it never really became boring until some of HHH and Austin's heel heat segments but that was about it. It did get a bit overbooked at the end with some McMahons running interference but it was still a pretty fun match overall and a solid main event. ***1/4
6.5/10. A pretty good show here but it does feel like a bit of a letdown after a fantastic Wrestlemania. Still I'd say it's a show worth watching for a good main event and the Ultimate Submission match is definitely worth checking out although I'll admit it won't be to everyone's taste. There are no bad matches aside from a confusing Jericho/Regal match so it's a show worth wasting three hours with.
Friday, 22 August 2014
Wrestlemania X-Seven Review
When I started doing the 2001 PPV series, I couldn't wait to get to this show again. I've already reviewed it a couple of times but I wanted to do a final, definitive one. There's not much more to say so here's Mania 17, the PPV equivalent of the Flair/Steamboat trilogy. (Rumble is Chi-Town Rumble, NWO is Clash of Champions, and this Mania is Wrestlewar).
And Limp Bizkit's My Way is still intact! Oh this is gonna be fucking awesome.
Chris Jericho vs William Regal
The IC Title is on the line. This must have felt like a let down to Jericho after having two classic IC Title matches in a row on PPV only to have this one given seven minutes. Still they both tried hard to give us a good opener. It may have been short but this was a fun match with some nice shoulder psychology on the part of Jericho and there was even some good storytelling with Regal's exposed turnbuckle coming back to haunt him in the finish. Good stuff to open the show with. ***1/4
Right To Censor vs The APA & Tazz
Not really much to say about this one as it was obviously just a filler match to get as many stars involved as possible for a Mania payday. I think Tazz was having neck problems so that explains why he looked a little sloppy. I will say that Bull Buchanan's athleticism was impressive. A short, energetic tag match that was pretty forgetful but it wasn't offensive to the show in any way at all and it got a good reaction out of the crowd. *3/4
Raven vs Kane vs The Big Show
The Hardcore Title is on the line. I've seen this match quite a few times now and it's one I always enjoy watching each time. It's just got a charm to it. Plus it is definitely one of the better Hardcore bouts at the time (until RVD came along). Raven took a nasty tumble through a window and it did sound like it hurt. The part with the golf carts was hilarious even though they apparently nearly shut down the power to the entire building. Just about the entire match took place backstage and it was a lot of fun. A good car crash match. ***
Eddie Guerrero vs Test
The European Title is on the line. Man this match is a lot harder to watch now, especially now knowing that Eddie went to rehab soon after this. RIP to both guys. This is definitely one of Test's better matches in the WWE thanks to the work of Eddie. Test did look very motivated as well. Another short match but it was another entertaining one save for a lull in the action in the middle portion. It did pick up again quite quickly thankfully. A good match with Eddie using his lying, cheating and stealing to win the Title. **3/4
Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit
Oh yeah this is what I want! I'm pretty sure that this is their first meeting and, thankfully, not their last. Their feud isn't really explained, but who cares? It's Angle and Benoit for crying out loud! The mat wrestling sequence to start was incredible and I'm surprised that the crowd was really into it. This was the first time mat wrestling like that was really seen in the WWF and it's the kind of main event style that would eventually take over. Soon they were fighting back and forth with suplexes and it was awesome. Both guys trading each others submission moves was a brilliant sequence as well. The abrupt finish kind of ruins it a bit but at least it set up future matches between them, and everything that came before the finish was great anyway. A terrific contest. ****1/4
Chyna vs Ivory
The Women's Title is on the line. Well I guess the show had to go downhill somewhere didn't it? This is also the same match that brought down the Royal Rumble show and this one was just as bad, though luckily kept short. Thankfully Chyna would be leaving soon and wouldn't return again. This is pretty much the same match as before so I'll give it the same rating and reaction I gave the last one. DUD
I'm gonna end up using that video way too much in the future but it's just too funny. Anyway let's get the show back on track with some McMahon drama!
Shane McMahon vs Vince McMahon : Street Fight
Mick Foley is the guest referee. It's been a year since the McMahon in every corner at Mania 16 and the McMahons are still going at it! Just like Stephanie vs Trish at No Way Out, this is one of the best booked matches ever. It is totally overbooked but in a good way that masks the limitations of both participants. Shane's elbow drop and Van Daminator are always impressive to watch. One of my favourite parts of the match is Linda McMahon rising from her chair because the pop she receives from the crowd is just insane. Vince took another kick in the balls for the company and it was totally fun to watch. Just an entertaining match from start to finish. ***1/2
The Hardy Boyz vs The Dudley Boyz vs Edge & Christian : TLC
The Tag Titles are on the line. I would have thought that following up the first ever TLC match at Summerslam would have been nearly impossible, but these guys actually managed to surpass their last effort and gave us one of the greatest tag matches in wrestling history and probably the most amazing spot-fest of all time. Even the run-ins from Spike Dudley, Lita and Rhyno were well done as they all brought something to the bout and even added some spots of their own. Edge's 20ft spear to Jeff Hardy is one of the best spots ever and one that is still played on highlight packages to this day. The finish spot with Matt Hardy and Bubba Ray going through a bunch of piled up tables was fantastic as well. A Wrestlemania classic and in my opinion the greatest ladder match ever and I don't think it will ever be topped. Amazing stuff. *****
Gimmick Battle Royal
Oh yeah now this was a lot of fun! The actual match itself wasn't anything special aside from Sgt. Slaughter giving Iron Sheik the cobra clutch, but the entrances were the best part of this match. It was so much fun to watch all the silly gimmicks (some not silly like Sarge) coming to the ring and it was great for nostalgia. Heenan and Okerlund was funny to listen to as well. If I had to rate this I'd give it * for the match and about **1/4 overall with the entertainment value added.
Triple H vs The Undertaker
The first of a great trilogy of matches at Wrestlemania. The biggest complaint people have about this match is about the referee being out for way too long, but it let these guys go all the out into the crowd to brawl so it's fine by me. This was also the first real time that Taker's Streak was really mentioned by the commentators. This was just a fantastic brawl from start to finish and it was so entertaining to watch. Both guys came out of it looking like main eventers. It might even be Taker's best match under the biker gimmick. Just an awesome match from start to finish. ****
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock : No DQ
The WWF Title is on the line. This match came around at the perfect time, as Rock had firmly put himself as the top guy of the company, but Austin was still seen as #1, so it was time to see who was the very best between the two in this epic confrontation. They started off straight away trading punches, and it never slowed down at all. I enjoyed the submission parts of the match like Austin breaking out the Million Dollar Dream and Rock putting Austin in a sharpshooter in a throwback to the Mania 13 classic between Austin and Hart. I didn't mind Vince coming out either and it even made for some great nearfalls and proved that Austin needed help to truly beat the Rock. An all time classic match that should be watched by all professional wrestling fans. Possibly the best main event in Mania history and definitely one of the greatest matches of all time. *****
10/10. And so the greatest trilogy of PPV matches ever comes to a huge finish. Nothing surpasses this show and the only thing that comes close is the 1989 Great American Bash. The undercard was pretty damn good but it's once the show hits Angle/Benoit that the fun really begins. Chyna/Ivory is a lone dark spot but it only lasts about five minutes so it doesn't do too much damage. How could any fan pass up a PPV featuring Jericho/Regal, Angle/Benoit, Shane/Vince, HHH/Taker, a TLC match and Austin/Rock? You'd have to be absolutely insane to pass up a show like this, and if you haven't seen it I would highly recommend watching it as soon as possible. It doesn't get any better than this.
Thursday, 21 August 2014
No Way Out 2001 Review
After I finished the Rumble review I couldn't wait to start this one. I have watched it all the way through before but that was about two years ago so it'll feel fresh when I watch it again. Plus after this I've got Wrestlemania X-Seven to look forward to! And after that they stop trying because all the competition is dead. This has got to be the greatest PPV trilogy in wrestling history. I'd love to see anything else that comes close.
Anyway here is my take on the WWF's No Way Out 2001.
Raven vs The Big Show
The Hardcore Title is on the line. You can always expect some shenanigans during a Hardcore Title match but that's what makes them fun I suppose. This was almost a rematch at Mania except it had Kane added in. I was enjoying the story of Raven trying to use as many weapons as possible to take down Show, but the run-ins started very early. It was still pretty fun to watch but I'd have preferred it with just Raven and Show. A throwaway opener to start the night off. *1/2
Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero vs X-Pac
The IC Title is on the line. Replace Waltman with Rey Mysterio and you have a five star match on your hands. Jericho and Benoit have still got to be feeling bruised after that war at the Rumble. This was shorter than I would have liked it to have been at only around twelve minutes, but they still managed to give us a fight to remember. The action started off quite fast and furious and got even better once Eddie and Benoit started fighting each other. Things got even better from there as the pace managed to quicken even more and there was a ton of counter-wrestling and nearfalls. An awesome match that comes close to stealing the show. ****1/4
Stephanie McMahon vs Trish Stratus
On the list of the most surprisingly good matches in wrestling history, this one has got to be near the top somewhere (probably right next to Hogan/McMahon). Trish wasn't wrestling full time yet so this had no active wrestlers competing in it. Steph's clothesline from the railing was impressive. It wasn't a technical clinic or anything like that, but you could feel the intensity and the hatred between the two and it made for a fun match with non-stop action. Regal's involvement was funny as he couldn't decide who should win then just decided to take out Trish. A good match! ***1/4
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Triple H : 3 Stages of Hell
First fall is a standard match, second fall is a Street Fight, and the third fall is a Steel Cage. If you needed any reason at all to see this show, it would be this match. These guys had been feuding for ages and it was finally time to end it. Austin won the first fall which showed he was the better wrestler, and HHH won the Street Fight which showed that he was the better brawler. Probably should have been the other way around but at least it was unpredictable. Both falls were fantastic by the way with the Street Fight being a real highlight and the best of all three falls. I thought it was a bit weird that HHH was the winner since Austin was in the main event of Mania, but he looked as if he just got a lucky win as he landed on top of Austin after being knocked out and got the pin so it wasn't too bad. Definitely a career highlight for both men and could be either mans best match ever. One of the best of all time and a definite must see. Freaking amazing. *****
Enter a contest to co-host an episode of Fanatics with Mick Foley! That sounds pretty fun actually. If only it weren't thirteen years too late.
Steven Richards vs Jerry Lawler
I feel so bad for these guys having to follow that masterpiece. It is the perfect choice for the toilet break match though so it's got that going for it. As usual Jerry is fighting for the ladies and the Kat gets naked if Jerry wins. Go Lawler! This was pretty much a nothing match but it was pretty fun while it lasted and the crowd was surprisingly lively during it. Not bad. Lawler loses so Kat is still fully clothed. *1/2
The Dudley Boyz vs Edge & Christian vs The Brothers of Destruction : Tables Match
The Tag Titles are on the line. Man the BOD look like an unbeatable team. We're only one PPV away from tag team perfection with TLC 2. Table matches have never really appealed to me but this was a good one. Well they are usually good when the Dudleys are involved. It was fun when the Dudleys fought Edge and Christian, but Kane and Taker did bring the pace down a bit when they got involved in the action. Still it was a good match that the crowd was into the whole way through. **1/2
The Rock vs Kurt Angle
The WWF Title is on the line. Angle's first run as the Champion wasn't really anything special, but it was about to go out on a high note with this match. It was pretty obvious that the Rock would win since Austin was the Rumble winner, but that didn't stop these guys from putting on a dramatic match. Angle looked intense during the bout and that may have been the first time he did it and it would become something he was known for doing quite often. Even though Angle lost he still looked good in defeat and looked like a main event star. This was an awesome back and forth match that never had a dull moment and gave the Rock a big win leading to his epic confrontation with Stone Cold at Wrestlemania. Earl Hebner did screw up the finishing pin and the Rock was visibly pissed, but it didn't hinder things too badly. Easily Angle's best match up to that point in time. ****1/4
9.75/10. Definitely one of the best PPVs of the 21st Century as the WWF are on a terrific role at the start of 2001. Austin and HHH put on a classic battle that no one will ever forget, Rock and Angle put on one hell of a main event, there was a surprisingly great women's match, and a fantastic match for the IC Title. What more do you need?
Monday, 18 August 2014
Summerslam 2014 Review
Oh man I've been looking forward to this event for months and I've heard mixed reviews so far, so let's see how this year's summer extravaganza holds up.
We start off with Hulk Hogan coming down to the ring. It's starting to feel like Wrestlemania all over again. He plugs the WWE Network as usual. They really missed a trick by not mentioning that the audience already has to pay about $55 for a single PPV. If they did that then the Network would sound like a much better deal.
The video package was pretty cool as it looked and sounded like a Robert Rodriguez movie. Especially Machete.
Dolph Ziggler vs The Miz
The IC Title is on the line. I really wasn't looking forward to this one as Miz had just won the Title so I didn't think he'd drop it here, but holy crap was I surprised by the result. Ziggler finally got a big win! As for the match itself, it was great and much better than expected. I wish it had been longer because these guys showed chemistry. Ziggler was awesome as usual and even Miz looked pretty damn good. A fun match with a good story as Miz's overprotectiveness of his face was his downfall. A great opener with a hot crowd and a good finish. ***1/2
We get a recap of the stupid storyline with Daniel Bryan apparently cheating on Brie with his trainer. At least it makes me want to see Stephanie get her ass kicked.
AJ Lee vs Paige
The Divas Title is on the line. I was looking forward to this one seeing as it felt like they held back in their Battleground match, but they finally became enemies. This time it was freaking intense and Paige was awesome as the heel. I need to make that shot of Paige crawling over AJ my new screensaver. AJ's flying clothesline to the outside was awesome too. Paige's DDT finish was great. Another match I wish was longer, but what we got was good and I'm looking forward to the rematch. **3/4
We get the Sting commercial for WWE 2k15 and it still looks fantastic.
Jack Swagger vs Rusev : Flag Match
The winner gets to fly their country's flag proud. A lot of people seemed to be complaining about the fact that this wasn't a proper flag match, but I hate those kind of matches anyway so I'm happy with pinfall and submission rules. There was some nice psychology here as Rusev sold his injured leg well and Swagger sold his injured ribs well. This was another good match that exceeded my expectations. The dramatic finishing sequence was great and both guys signature submissions made for some tense moments. Swagger looked good in defeat as he never tapped out and Rusev still got a dominant victory. Everybody wins! A good match and Rusev continues to look like a monster. ***
Rusev kicks Zeb Colter after the match to look like even more of an asshole.
Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose : Lumberjack Match
I think everyone has been looking forward to this one for months and a lot of anticipation dropped when it was announced as a Lumberjack match and even I was skeptical of the idea, but I shouldn't have doubted these two future World Champions. The match was a ton of fun to watch and even the lumberjacks were used well, even if they were a little restrictive at times. I absolutely loved this as it was just so much fun to watch and I cannot wait for the rematch. The crowd was right. This was awesome. I also loved Ambrose saying "I love you" to Seth and then having a look of regret and sadness when he hit Seth with the curb stomp as if he wishes that the past two months never happened. That's some great storytelling there. A terrific contest. ****
Bray Wyatt vs Chris Jericho
I have to say that I loved Jericho's classic countdown back in his entrance. Finally Bray gets a big win on PPV! I was beginning to lose hope. I wasn't really looking forward to this one after their disappointing Battleground match, but they managed to improve on it a little bit. The crowd was into it and the action was never really boring. I did enjoy Wyatt's line of "I cannot die for I am already dead!". Sounds badass. A good match with the right guy winning this time. ***1/4
Brie Bella vs Stephanie McMahon
I'll admit that I was really looking forward to this one as I was dying to see Stephanie getting her ass kicked after almost a year of acting like a bitch. The Raw segments weren't that great but at least they still made Steph look like a witch from hell. I am disappointed that Stephanie won, but I'm sure she'll get her just desserts at some point. I know a lot of people were predicting that Nikki would turn heel on Brie, but I never thought it would actually happen. This was actually a solid match and Stephanie looked great and wrestled better than most of the other divas on the main roster. A surprisingly good match. **3/4
Roman Reigns vs Randy Orton
This is another one I wasn't too interested in, as it felt like a generic feud and I'd rather have seen Reigns take on Triple H, but I guess that will happen at a different show. This one started off quite slowly but once they started building up a bit of momentum I was really digging what they were selling. Orton's RKO was insane and I can't believe that Reigns kicked out of it. That was an awesome false finish. Reigns is definitely a future star and this was his biggest win so far. Great stuff and delivered beyond my expectations. ***1/2
Even if the main event ends up being a disappointment this will still have been one hell of a show.
John Cena vs Brock Lesnar
The WWE World Heavyweight Title is on the line. Last time we saw Lesnar in the ring, he defeated the Undertaker and ended the legendary Streak to the shock of millions. This time, he destroyed John Cena like no one ever has before. This guy is more than just a monster or a beast. He's something even worse and I freaking love him for it. Lesnar getting the F5 straight away was awesome. So many German suplexes! Lesnar doing Taker's sit up after taking an AA and laughing at Cena like a demon from hell was just sublime and one of the coolest moments I've ever seen in wrestling. Lesnar is just something else. This was truly something special and I'm still shocked after watching it. I've seen it twice now and it even holds up the second time. One of the most unique main events in WWE PPV history and one that will be remembered for a long time. ****1/2
9.25/10. I was expecting a good show but nothing this good! I still prefer the 2013 and 2002 editions but this has got to be up there somewhere in the top 5 or even top 3. There was nothing bad to be found here at all and all matches delivered in my view, and some even delivered beyond expectations. We got an exciting opener, two very solid divas matches, a very good Reigns/Orton match, a good Wyatt/Jericho match, a terrific Lumberjack match, a fun flag match and a main event to remember. This'll end up being one of my favourite shows and it's definitely one worth watching over and over again.
Tuesday, 12 August 2014
Royal Rumble 2001 Review
So since I've been struggling with what shows to review next, I thought I'd start reviewing the shows of certain years, starting with 2001. Don't ask me why, I just fancied doing it. I'll also do the shows I've done before like Wrestlemania 17 and Summerslam since I've not done them in a while. I won't do Invasion since I did that quite recently so I'll just put the link to that one in the show that comes after it (Summerslam I think). So here's a show I've wanted to do for a while.
Edge & Christian vs The Dudley Boyz
The Tag Titles are on the line. God I wonder how many times these teams have faced off against each other. Not that I'm complaining because they always had damn good matches and this one was no different. The Dudleys wanted revenge for E & C attacking them and given them both concussions with the conchairto. This was a well worked match as D-Von was the face in peril and got the crowd worked up and ready for a tag to Bubba. Once the hot tag came around, things were kicked into a higher gear and it was so fun to watch. I only wish it had been a bit longer but what we got was very good. ***1/4
Drew Carey has arrived.
Backstage, Triple H doesn't want Trish Stratus and Stephanie McMahon to ruin his chances of winning the WWF Title. Drew Carey interrupts and Stephanie sends him to meet Trish.
The APA are backstage in a card game drinking some beer. They show each other their Rumble numbers. Bit of a pointless segment.
Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit : Ladder Match
The IC Title is on the line. This feud has been going on for close to one year and it is definitely one of those rare feuds that could have gone on for years without becoming boring. I do think that this is one of the better ladder matches in history, due to the fact that it wasn't a spotfest. Don't get me wrong there are some big spots, but these guys were mostly focusing on trying to beat the shit out of the other guy. This felt like a war and you'd never believe that these two were best friends in real life. The most brutal part of the match is when Benoit attempts a suicide dive and Jericho hits him with a vicious chair shot. It's harder to watch now than it was at the time. A tremendous ladder match that would go down in history if not for tragic circumstances. Absolutely one to check out if you haven't seen it before. ****3/4
Backstage, Vince McMahon enters Drew Carey into the Rumble match.
Billy Gunn tries to talk Chyna out of competing. Oh if only he had succeeded. Has Chyna's voice always sounded that silly?
Chyna vs Ivory
The Women's Title is on the line. Well I guess not every show can be perfect. This is reminding me of Mania 17 as this is the only blemish on the show, and it involves the same two women. This was just a squash match for Chyna as Ivory got no offense at all and only won due to Chyna hurting herself. This was all bad, including the post-match stretcher job. DUD
Only one way I can describe it:
Now let's get back to the good stuff. I really wish I'd used that video for Halloween Havoc 2000 though.
Kurt Angle vs Triple H
The WWF Title is on the line. It's hard to book a heel vs heel match (Shield vs Wyatts not withstanding) but these two guys definitely managed to do it well. The crowd wasn't sure who to cheer for at first, but once the women got involved (guess that pep talk didn't work for HHH) and the overbooking started, they were really into it. It was a tad overbooked but these guys worked hard to put on a great match and it was a lot of fun to watch. A great WWF Title match for sure. ***1/2
The Royal Rumble Match
Oh yeah this is easily one of the better Rumble matches in history. It's biggest highlight used to be Kane's record for the most eliminations as he took out eleven men, but Roman Reigns broke that record this year with twelve eliminations. Kane's record lasted thirteen years, so I'd say that it is still an impressive feat. It was a bit obvious that either the Rock or Austin was going to win, but Kane still made it look like he had a chance of winning when it came down to Austin and himself. Even Drew Carey's involvement was fun and the Honky Tonk Man's elimination was a funny moment. A fantastic Rumble that never had a dull moment and gave Austin his third and record-breaking win. ****1/2
9.5/10. A fun opening contest? Check. An all time classic match? Check. A World Title match that delivered the goods? Check. A great Rumble match? Check. Yes this has all the ingredients of a classic show and that is exactly what we got. It is close to perfection but the Chyna/Ivory debacle drags it down a little bit. Thankfully that part didn't run on for too long. A suberb event that comes highly recommended and is definitely as good as the previous year's show.
Saturday, 9 August 2014
Alberto Del Rio: Greatest Hits
Well this one felt rather necessary all of sudden. I wasn't going to do these kind of posts anymore except on
special occasions and I think this counts as one of them. The next one will probably be in November in honor of Eddie Guerrero.
So here are the former Mexican Aristocrat's Greatest Hits. Shouldn't take too long.
The 2011 Royal Rumble Match
The biggest Royal Rumble ever with 40 participants. Well about nine of those spaces were taken up by the Nexus and the Corre so it did need those extra spots. This seems to be a love it or hate it Rumble but it's definitely one of my favourites. It was cool seeing Punk and Bryan going out first and it was their first real altercation in the WWE. John Morrison just about stole the show with his Spiderman performance and I was kind of hoping that he would win at the time. The segment with Hornswoggle and Cena teaming up did drag on quite a bit, but it did get back on track soon enough. The returns of both Booker T and Diesel still give me goosebumps, even if Nash's return led to some bad stuff later on in the year. Santino coming back right at the end and almost eliminating Del Rio was an awesome moment and it really felt like he could have won the entire thing. Del Rio wins in one of his biggest matches ever. Great Rumble. ****
Alberto Del Rio vs Kofi Kingston
From Elimination Chamber 2011 and it's the Rumble winner vs the IC Champion. I wish they could have found someone other than a champion to feud with Del Rio before Mania but I guess I should be used to WWE jobbing out their secondary champs by now. The crowd was hot for this one which helped it a lot. A good match with some nice nearfalls towards the end. Del Rio was looking good heading into Mania. ***1/4
I'll avoid Mania 27 and Extreme Rules 2011 since they didn't really end well for Alberto.
Rey Mysterio vs Alberto Del Rio vs The Miz vs Evan Bourne vs R-Truth vs Alex Riley vs Jack Swagger vs Kofi Kingston : MITBFrom Money in the Bank 2011. This one had the difficult task of having to follow up the amazing Smackdown ladder match, but it managed to escape its shadow and deliver a great contest. I liked the start of the match with everyone bringing in a ladder to defend themselves with. I've got to admit that the Miz looked like a trooper coming back to the ring after what looked like a bad knee injury. Del Rio did seem like the most obvious guy to win it, but it has helped him into the main event scene in the next couple of years, so I'd say he was a good choice. A match with some great spots like Bourne's shooting star press off a ladder, and Del Rio taking off Mysterio's mask to win. Hell of a match. ***3/4
At Summerslam 2011, Del Rio would cash in his briefcase to take away CM Punk's newly won Undisputed WWE Championship. I won't rate it since it only lasted about five seconds and only involved one kick. Del Rio would then lose the Title three weeks later at Night of Champions to a certain Superman.
Alberto Del Rio vs John Cena vs CM Punk : Hell in a Cell
From Hell in a Cell 2011 and the WWE Title is on the line. Outside of Edge/Taker and Taker/HHH, this is probably my favourite Cell match of the PG era. I really do hate the ending though as Del Rio got his Title back two weeks after losing it. What the hell was the point of him losing it then? We were right back where we started except that Del Rio had now lost most of his momentum that he gained at Summerslam. WWE booking ladies and gentlemen. Punk took a couple of bad bumps against the Cell and one really cut his back open. I did enjoy Del Rio's strategy of locking Cena outside of the Cell. It was still good when it was just Punk and Alberto as there were some nice nearfalls between the two. Overall a great Cell match that fun to watch the whole way through. ****
Alberto Del Rio vs John Cena : Last Man Standing
From Vengeance 2011 and the WWE Title is on the line. These guys have to fight in a ring that Mark Henry and Big Show destroyed. Awesome. At least it's different and it gave the match a kind of unique feeling. There were even some spots they were able to do that couldn't be done with a normal ring like Cena throwing Alberto straight out to the barricade or Alberto using the ring post to crush Cena. The second half of the match took place backstage. Del Rio burying Cena under the backstage equipment was a cool moment and I'm surprised that Cena got up from it. This was a damn good match and quite a forgotten gem thanks to the forgettable show it was on. There were some nice memorable spots and it was just a generally entertaining match to watch. Worth checking out. ***3/4
Alberto Del Rio vs Sheamus
From Night of Champions 2012 and the World Title is on the line. And Del Rio's momentum would fall once again as he took three losses in a row on PPV to Sheamus. It didn't help that the feud was incredibly boring. At least the matches were good and they only got better as they went on and this was the best one. A great match that featured some nice work on Sheamus's arm and Sheamus sold it well. These guys also knew each other well and countered each other quite a lot so you never knew what was going to happen next. A great end to a long feud. ***3/4
Alberto Del Rio vs Randy Orton
From Hell in a Cell 2012. I have no idea why these guys were feuding. I guess neither guy had anything better to do. Del Rio would be a face soon enough anyway. This was going along well until a bad botch from Orton as he missed a dropkick while Del Rio was coming off the top rope and it did hurt the match a bit. Still it was good and these guys worked hard to keep the crowd entertained. Plus the RKO at the end looked awesome. Good effort here. ***1/4
Alberto would turn face shortly after this.
Alberto Del Rio vs The Big Show : Last Man Standing
From Smackdown on the 8th of January 2013 and the World Title is on the line. This probably should have taken place on Raw so that more people saw it and it could have been better advertised as I had no idea it was taking place at the time. Then again I never know what's happening on Smackdown. Del Rio looked like a great face here as he tried to come back from everything that Show threw at him and he prevailed in the end, winning the World Title for the first time. Show tried every move he could think of but he couldn't keep Alberto down. A great match and a great moment for Del Rio. ***1/2
Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger
From Wrestlemania XXIX and the World Title is on the line. I think Swagger was originally meant to win this one but being caught with drugs in his car probably stopped that from happening. The racial storyline did cause a bit of controversy for WWE but as usual the media was just grasping at straws. The match itself is pretty good. I did enjoy the story of the armbreaker vs the ankle lock. The crowd only seemed interested in having Ziggler cash in, but they got into it by the end. A good match that could have been better with more time. ***
Alberto Del Rio vs Dolph Ziggler
From Payback 2013 and the World Heavyweight Title is on the line. It's a shame that Del Rio couldn't really keep his heel heat after this night because he became the most hated man in the WWE after this match. I think we were all expecting a good technical match at the time, but we got so much more than that. We received the best double turn since Wrestlemania 13 and some epic storytelling. Ziggler came out looking like a guy who wouldn't go down without a fight and Del Rio looked like a beast who would do anything possible to win the Title, even if it meant injuring a man. This was something different and it was awesome. The work to Ziggler's head was sick and made him very sympathetic. A fantastic match. ****1/4
Alberto Del Rio vs Christian
From Summerslam 2013 and the World Title is on the line. Sadly this one seems destined to become a forgotten gem in the future, but I'm gonna keep it remembered here as it was a terrific match. The two main events on the same night completely overshadow this one, but on any other night this could have been the show stealing match. The match was well paced and was highly entertaining all the way through as these guys seemed very motivated and determined to have a good match. The nearfalls were well done and the arm psychology was sound. A fantastic World Title match. ****
Alberto Del Rio vs Batista
From Elimination Chamber 2014. I thought I may as well include this as it was the only thing of note that Del Rio did this year outside of being in Battle Royals and a Money in the Bank match. I'll admit that I was entertained by the booing of Batista at first, but as the match went on I kinda started feeling bad for the guy. Especially now I know that he can be a funny actor. He didn't show as much ring rust as I thought he would, so that's a plus. He even made Del Rio look pretty good here. Thankfully Bryan was added to the main event of Mania so that it wasn't a disaster. Not a bad match. **
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
Royal Rumble 2014 Review
Ok so I have been struggling to decide which shows to review since every PPV ever is on the Network and it is just so hard to decide! So I've come up with a plan: since I'm a big fan of Scott Keith's reviews I thought I'd just type in 'smark rant' on Google and just review the first thing that comes up. That is unless you guys send me a request and I'll definitely do those as soon as possible if I receive them.
So this was the first one that popped up and I know that it's quite recent but it is one that I had planned on re-doing at some point now that some time has passed and some decisions were changed inside the company.
I got a few comments on this one featuring people calling me crazy and having low standards for actually liking most of the content. Well I'm here to see if I still like it and I may like it even more now that many months have passed.
So without further ado, here is the 2014 Royal Rumble, AKA; The Night the Crowd Fought Back.
Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt
If there was any reason to love this show it would be this freaking match. It's now even better in hindsight since it's one of Bray's only dominant victories and he's not really had one since unless you count the Shield. As usual the crowd is freaking nuts for Bryan. They have no idea how disappointed they'll be later on. Bryan was on top of his game here as he took out all of his anger on Bray. Bray was terrific here too and at his psychotic best. Bryan definitely brought out the best in Bray. That Sister Abigail into the crowd barricade was a brutal spot and resulted in a deserved 'holy shit' chant. An incredible match with a red hot crowd. Match of the Night for sure. The crowd was deflated with Wyatt's victory and it may have started off their own revolution. ****1/4
Brock Lesnar vs The Big Show
What a waste of Lesnar. I was actually looking forward to this match before the show as I knew that these guys could have a good match, but they didn't even try to have a match. The entire segment was basically Lesnar destroying Show with a chair and the actual match was only two minutes long
. This was the wrong way to build him up for Taker as he should have just destroyed Show with his bare hands instead of looking like someone who was out of his depth. The F5 did look very impressive though, so for that I'll give it 1/2*. Still a disappointing match and moment.
After the match Lesnar continues to attack Show with even more chair shots and it just goes on way too long.
John Cena vs Randy Orton
The WWE World Title is on the line. These guys must hold a record for the most matches against each other on PPV. I was actually looking forward to this one as I enjoyed it more than most others when it first aired and I'll admit that after another viewing I still think it's an underrated match. The crowd shat all over it sure, but these guys managed to overcome that obstacle. Seeing them use the other's finishing moves was awesome and felt fresh. Hopefully these guys don't have another PPV match together as this would be a great way to end their LONG rivalry. A great match that definitely deserves another look if you didn't enjoy it the first time as the last ten minutes or so were just awesome. An underrated gem for sure. ****
I'm sure that rating will open up a huge can of worms.
The Royal Rumble Match
The most controversial Rumble match ever? Probably. I think the actual match was fun and pretty damn good, but the fact that Batista won and Bryan didn't makes people sick. I've certainly gotten over it now. This is also Punk's final match (ever?). Reigns was definitely the MVP of the match and broke Kane's outstanding 2001 record as he eliminated an amazing 12 participants including Ambrose and Rollins. Hell we even saw a small beginning to the Swagger/Rusev feud. They really held back on the legends this year as Kevin Nash was the only one that made an appearance. Sheamus's return was good and he got a nice pop from the crowd, even if they ended up booing him later on. The crowd reaction is so fascinating after Rey Mysterio's entrance as they just completely turn on the match. They do come back a bit when it comes down to Batista and Reigns, as they were entirely behind Reigns at that point. A good Rumble as Drax the Destroyer comes out as the two time winner. ***1/2
Before I rate the overall show, I just wanted to say something. I think that Batista winning the Rumble was the best result. Now before you all come over to my house with pitchforks and torches, let me explain myself. This is all meant in hindsight. I was just as disappointed and angry as all of you at the time and thought that Daniel Bryan was definitely short-changed. But if Bryan had won, would he have gotten the huge reaction that he received in the lead up to Wrestlemania? Sure he still would have been cheered, but the fact that he was our pick and not the company's made us love him even more. I mean we all fought to see him in the Mania main event and it felt like our hard work had paid off and made the moment at Mania even sweeter. Plus we can look forward to him winning his first Rumble in the future if he does return.
8/10. This was a great show without a doubt and a great start to the PPVs of 2014. The Bryan/Wyatt match stole the show and delivered to expectations, Cena and Orton delivered what I would call the most surprisingly great match of the year and the Rumble was great. It may have disappointed at the time but it lead to an amazing Wrestlemania main event which definitely makes up for the disappointment. I know there are people that will really disagree with the rating and praise, but I think the show deserves it. A show worth checking out again.