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Monday, July 24, 2017

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EOTR Match Of The Week: Shawn Michaels vs Hulk Hogan

By @TrueGodImmortal

With Summerslam getting closer and the road there now beginning officially, it's only right we kick the week off with a look at one of the most controversial matches of all time at the event today for our Match of The Week. Let's take a trip back to 2005 and revisit the infamous main event of Shawn Michaels vs Hulk Hogan.

The Story
The match initially began building when Hogan came back to WWE for his induction to the Hall of Fame. However, the true issues between these two seemed to be written in the stars dating back to the WWF vs WCW  war. At the time when WCW was king, Hogan and the NWO (HBK's best friends Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) were leading the charge and dismantling the WWF in ratings. The top star then? Shawn Michaels. Though the WWF would survive, at that time it was the two biggest names in the business during 1996 trying to lead their company to the promised. Shawn Michaels and Hulk Hogan. Now, fast forward 9 years later. Both Shawn and Hogan are on different paths in wrestling and neither man has the same form of power backstage to politic.... or at least it seemed like that was the case. So, with these two on more common ground, it was brought to them as a huge dream match. Hogan was far out of his prime, but if anyone could get a great match out of him, it would be HBK.

Hogan was no longer able to do a full time schedule, so when the match was seemingly planned to take place, they would lead up to it in an interesting way: with a tag team match. As the crowd at the Hall of Fame begged Hogan for one more match, HBK randomly popped up to be his tag partner for a one off tag match at Backlash 2005. Once the team won their match at the PPV, the plan was to go into the match with HBK and Hogan both as faces, hoping for one last dream match to see who is better and the best ever. They would attempt to set up something that would culminate in a great trilogy with HBK and Hogan trading victories over a three march series that would end with HBK likely coming out on top since he was the full time wrestler. This is where things take a turn for the worse.

The Heel Turn
So, Hogan, ever the backstage politician, decides to change the plans up. He doesn't want an epic face vs face showdown. He doesn't want to risk a mixed reaction or split crowd. He wants to face a heel HBK. The problem with that? Heel HBK would destroy Hogan on the mic every time, and it would be very risky for Hogan to try and keep up. Still, Hogan insisted and his politics began to show once again. So, one night during RAW as HBK and Hogan are teaming up, they run an angle where HBK turns on Hogan and as the weeks go by, HBK literally murders Hogan on the mic every single time he touched it. The Larry King parody to the rest of the promos showed a visibly frustrated HBK who knew what was to come, but he went down swinging and shooting. This caused friction as Hogan would say he was fine with the promos ahead of time then complain after the promos went live on air. Hogan was a hypocrite, as always. As the match inched nearly, their real life issues would end up spilling over into the actual contest.

The Match
This entire match is known for one reason: The overselling. HBK decided to totally play mind games with Hogan and oversell every move in a petty retaliation for Hogan using his political power to get a win he didn't deserve. HBK felt that he rightfully deserved the win and Hogan didn't. He was right. As a result, the match was actually good, but it's remembered negatively because HBK oversold and made it feel like a huge joke, which of course bothered some fans. I think it's actually a great way to get back at the ridiculous notions of Hogan, and we don't remember much about Hogan from that match, only the overselling from HBK. Sure, Hogan won the match, but HBK walked away feeling like the real victor when Hogan would end up away from the WWE for about a month after the match. It was the end of their feud, and though the trilogy didn't go down like they planned, this match is still extremely memorable for all the right and the wrong reasons.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

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Eyes On Summerslam: 30 Best Matches At Summerslam Part 1 (30-15)

By @Phranchize19

Since Summerslam has reached the 30 year mark, I feel it is only right to list the 30 best matches in the event's history. I’ve looked at virtually every Summerslam, so this list I would say is fairly accurate. Here we go.

30. Dean Ambrose vs Seth Rollins
Lumberjack Match
Summerslam 2014

-This match was one we all were waiting to see. Usually a lumberjack match can mess up the action in the ring, but Ambrose and Rollins made sure that the focus was on them. Rollins picks up the win in a thrilling contest.

29. Shane McMahon vs Test 
Love Her or Leave Her 
Summerslam 1999

-This match had no business being as good as it was but it was great nonetheless. This was a fight that told a great story. Test wins the match.

28. Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio
Ladder Match
Summerslam 2005

-Eddie and Rey have always had excellent chemistry whether as partner or rivals. While I feel the storyline was bit too personal, this match was fantastic. Rey wins the custody of his son.

27. Shawn Michaels vs Vader 
WWF Championship Match 
Summerslam 1996

-The smaller man vs the monster troupe has been dished out by WWE a lot over the years and this one was a good one. Vader did what he was known for while we saw the resilience of Shawn Michaels. Michaels retains (SN: Vader had the momentum and should’ve won, but this match halted his WWE push forever). 

26. Mr. Perfect vs Texas Tornado Intercontinental Championship Summerslam 1990

-This match was so good. It doesn’t get talked about enough when it comes to IC title matches, but this was a great way to get Mr. Perfect in title chase mode. Texas Tornado wins after a nasty punch and great sell from Perfect.

25. Triple H vs Goldberg vs Chris Jericho vs Randy Orton vs Shawn Michaels vs Kevin Nash 
Elimination Chamber
World Heavyweight Championship
Summerslam 2003

-I really enjoyed this match. It highlighted Goldberg’s dominance and showed Triple H’s wittiness as well as teased an Orton title run.

24. Hart Foundation vs Demolition
Tag Team Championship
2 Out of 3 Falls
Summerslam 1990

-This may be the best 2 on 2 tag team match in the history of this event. Demolition’s reign finally came to an end.

23. Kurt Angle vs Eddie Guerrero
Summerslam 2004

-These two have always had excellent chemistry and this match was no exception. Angle wins here.

22. Ultimate Warrior vs Rick Rude Steel Cage Match
WWE Championship 
Summerslam 1990

-Although it was short, this was an effective match. Rude brought out the best performances in Warrior and this was no exception. Warrior wins here.

21. Mega Powers vs Mega Bucks
Summerslam 1988

-While not a technical masterpiece, this was probably the most important match in Summerslam history. The first and only time the World Title was not decided on a Summerslam card.

20. CM Punk vs Big Show vs John Cena
WWE Championship Match 
Summerslam 2012

-When all else fails, add Big show to a triple threat match. This match was great. Punk was at his apex here, Cena did his thing and Big Show proved he was still a threat. CM Punk gets the win.

19. Brock Lesnar vs The Rock 
WWE Undisputed Championship 
Summerslam 2002

-The proverbial passing of the torch. The Attitude Era transitioned into the Ruthless Aggression Era. A thrilling main event with Lesnar winning here.

18. The Rock vs Booker T
WCW Championship
Summerslam 2001

-I loved this match. A returning Rock met the biggest star in WCW in Booker T. Both men made this match worth the look. Even though it was a relative squash, Booker had a great performance.

17. John Cena vs Brock Lesnar 
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Summerslam 2014

-Suplex City may have been coined at Wrestlemania 31 after this, but its origin began in this match at Summerslam. I’ve never seen such a beat down in my life.

16. Chris Benoit vs Randy Orton 
World Heavyweight Championship
Summerslam 2004

-This match was a classic. The 24 year old Orton turned a lot of heads with his performance in this match. We all know what Benoit brings to the table, but Orton was the one who had to show and prove and that he did. Orton cleanly wins his first World championship.

15. Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker
Summerslam 2015

-This match was better than I anticipated. Taker being in the ring with a guy that usually doesn't care for one's safety startled me but Taker moved well and made Brock work, which was a welcome sight.
We'll be back for choices 14 through 1 soon. Stay tuned.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

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Eyes On NBA: Where Does Kyrie Irving Fit?

By @TrueGodImmortal

Imagine you've been watching the free agency and post Draft fallout and all of a sudden, you hear Kyrie Irving wants to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Imagine you've seen Jimmy Butler traded to Minnesota for virtually nothing, you saw Paul George traded to the Thunder for basically scraps, and Gordon Hayward leave Utah in the dust for a shot at greatness in Boston. Now, with Kyrie asking for a trade out of Cleveland, what makes the most sense for him and his future? Let's take a look at the teams he requested and where he fit the best.

*San Antonio Spurs

-Please don't use Kyrie in Duke under Coach K as an example of Kyrie working well in a system. This was back when he was young and hadn't developed his game to the best of his ability. He's still not quite in his prime, but his scoring and his ability with handles are top notch. However, I think this is a bad fit for him. Coach Pop has a system in place and promotes defensive awareness and Kyrie doesn't feel like the right player for that. Also, another element is that Kyrie is already tired of being in the shadow of LeBron and being under another top 5 player in Kawhi isn't the smartest move. Plus, what assets do the Spurs have to give up that would make sense? Lamarcus Aldridge and Danny Green isn't enough value to really make the trade make sense. It doesn't make sense for the Cavs to make this trade and Kyrie doesn't fit enough in that system IMO.

*Minnesota Timberwolves 

-Now, on paper, this makes sense, but in reality, it doesn't. Kyrie being traded there would require the Timberwolves to give up at LEAST one of three players. You either have to trade Jimmy Butler (which makes no sense for Minnesosta), Andrew Wiggins (who I doubt the Cavs want since they traded him away for Kevin Love), or Karl Anthony Towns (which is not happening). Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford is not a serious deal for Kyrie and if they don't get rid of one of the three big time players, Kyrie isn't going to Minnesota. It would be great if he was a free agent who could join the Wolves as is, but since that's not possible, it's unlikely he heads there.

*Miami Heat 

-Logically, this is probably a good option for him. Playing with Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters, and Hassan Whiteside would be fun, but once again there's the biggest issue looming: Miami would have to trade one or two of their most valuable assets and Miami probably doesn't seem willing to give up a Dragic and  Waiters for Kyrie. Still, this is a little more possible than the other two destinations listed so far. Still, I don't think this is the team he will end up one. Now, onto the most likely destination for Kyrie.

*New York Knicks 

-The most logical of his choices. The deal that makes the most sense. The Knicks could use a star that they could embrace after the sour experience Melo went through. Kyrie playing with Tim Hardaway Jr. And Porzingis could be fun times for New York. The Knicks aren't begging Melo to stay anymore and Melo would rather be in Cleveland than New York anyways. A Carmelo and first round pick for Kyrie is about as close to equal value that the Cavs will get and it's the smartest deal to do. The Knicks keep Tim Hardaway Jr. and Porzingis, while getting Kyrie in the fold, and the Cavs get two important pieces as well: Melo, who takes the role that Kyrie had as a scorer, and a future first round pick for when the inevitable happens and LeBron leaves. For a team as strapped for cash and players like the Cavs are, bringing in Carmelo and possibly Eric Bledsoe if they can manage a three team trade with the Suns is very smart. Either way, the Cavs are fucked, so get something while you can before it all falls down.

There are other dark horse candidates like Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns, but there's not much that remains appealing about those particular deals. The most comfortable place for Kyrie to land is close to his home with the New York Knicks, and with Kyrie being from New Jersey, it just makes sense. Whatever the case will be, the Cavs need to get a deal done sooner than later and focus on life after Kyrie. The Knicks provide the best chance of that. I think Kyrie ends up in New York when this is all said and done.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

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Eyes On WWE: The 5 Best Triple H Feuds

By @TrueGodImmortal

One would say, it's all about the game and how you play it. When it comes to Triple H, that's about as accurate a statement as you can make. Through a 22 year WWE career, Triple H has seen the highs and the lows. He's jobbed at Wrestlemania and lost big time main events, but he's also a 14 time world champion and a certified legend. One thing about Triple H that I've always loved is his ability to make a compelling feud. In recent years, he's done it with Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins, and it's worked very well. He's had a number of great feuds and that's why we are here now. Today, I wanted to look at the 5 greatest feuds in his WWE career. Let's get into it.

5. Triple H vs Kurt Angle 

-It came down to two choices for the 5th spot and it was NOT The Undertaker. The Undertaker gave Triple H three classic Mania matches, but they never had a vicious feud. Angle and Triple however? They had one of the best and most entertaining feuds I had ever seen. Match wise, they never had that one standout classic, but their feud essentially lasted from 2000 to 2002 without ever really slowing up. Kurt was enamored with Stephanie, and of course, that sent Triple H into a frenzy, but what made matters even worse was that Stephanie seemed interested in Kurt too at times. They had a number of solid encounters, but this feud really felt like these two didn't like each other, which we found out was slightly true later on. A great feud that showcased both men at their best in promos.

4. Triple H vs Stone Cold Steve Austin 

-You might wonder why this isn't a bit higher, and it's quite evident. The consistency in the matches between HHH and Austin varied over the years, and I believe they only have one classic against each other and that's the No Way Out 2001 Three Stages of Hell bout. Still, these two feuded for years, really beginning in 1999 during the summer, and it continued throughout the years up until 2002, where Austin walked away from the WWE and eventually retired. Triple H set up Austin to be ran over, Austin dropped Triple H from over 20 feet in the air inside a car, Austin and Triple H cost each other title shots, this rivalry was probably one of the most intense and hatred fueled rivalries of his career. 

3. Triple H vs Shawn Michaels 

-In reality, most on the surface would say this is the best rivalry of his career. It is not. Shawn and  Triple H had great chemistry in the ring, but their feud didn't really kick off until 2002 in the summer with their excellent Summerslam Non Sanctioned Match. It was the first match for HBK in over 4 years and he hadn't missed a beat. Their feud would continue in the first ever Elimination Chamber, a Three Stages of Hell Match, a number of tag team matches, Last Man Standing Match, a Wrestlemania Triple Threat, then it finally finished with a Hell In A Cell match. Of all those matches, I enjoyed their Summerslam encounter the most, the Elimination Chamber, and their Last Man Standing Match, along with the classic Mania triple threat with Benoit. This rivalry was great in the ring, but the storytelling and storylines lacked a bit as time went on, bringing this rivalry down some from a top or second spot.

2. Triple H vs Mick Foley 

-The average fan might tell you to put this feud at the no. 1 spot, but there's no denying who is the greatest rival in Triple H's career and while Foley might have got him to a new level, this feud is just a notch below the no. 1 pick. Still, this feud is one that raged on for years, starting in 1997 with the Hunter Hearst Helmsey vs Mankind feud and eventually transforming into the final chapter with Cactus Jack vs Triple H. The final chapter is the most infamous, as we saw them go at it in a vicious fight at the 2000 Royal Rumble, a match that changed the perception of Triple H and then an even better Hell In A Cell match at No Way Out the following month put the stamp on the rivalry. For 4 years following this feud, Mick Foley stayed retired and Triple H could brag about the fact that he retired Foley, making this rivalry truly one of his greatest. 

1. Triple H vs The Rock 

-This shouldn't even be a debate really. There were rumors of the WWE doing a possible match between the two at Wrestlemania 30, 31, and 32, but it never came to fruition and all signs point to it not happening again, but the fact there was interest there for some years showed that this feud is still something special. Their segments on the 15th anniversary of Smackdown and Wrestlemania 31 showed they still have an electric aura between them, but their feud lasted from 1997 through 2002 really, and though it stopped at times, they always picked up where they left off. From their brief feud over the Intercontinental Title in 1997 to the vicious DX vs The Nation feud that was led by Triple H and Rock respectively in 1998 to their off again/on again feuding through 1999, all the way to the peak of their feud in 2000 over the WWF Championship, Rock and Triple H brought out the best in each other and could have feuded forever and it wouldn't have been a bad thing. From their Ladder Match to their 30 minute contest all the way to their 60 minute Ironman Match, their feud was one for the ages and certainly the best in the career of Triple H.