Friday, July 31, 2015
Last time round, we talked about the impacts that the nWo and DX had on their respective companies and the business, and how they wouldn't have stayed on top on their own.
Other men had a significant part to play in both companies and that's what we'll be looking at here - 2 men from each company. Men who were already on their way to being legends, and who eventually became icons of the industry.
WCW: Ric Flair
The Nature Boy. The limousine-ridin', jet-flyin', kiss-stealin', wheelin'-dealin' son-of-a-gun. When you think of WCW, you immediately think of two men - and Flair's one of them. Already a legend in the business thanks to his work in the NWA through the mid-late 70's and in the 80's, Flair was at the forefront of the greatest faction/stable of all-time: The 4 Horsemen.
He was already a multi-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion by the time the Attitude Era kicked off, and bar a short, ill-fated spell up in New York, stayed loyal to WCW right up to the end. Flair had amazing matches with the likes of Ricky Steamboat, Sting, Barry Windham and others before he became the man to take the fight to the nWo.
As a WCW original (for want of a better phrase), Flair stood up to the invaders- Hall, Nash and a man who's currently been wiped from wrestling history for being a complete and utter, absolute, self-confessed MASSIVE racist, Hulk Hogan.
Flair in the babyface role was unusual. He loved playing, and being, the bad guy. But it was obvious that the fans would get behind him because for all intents and purposes, he was Mr. WCW. He was synonymous with the company and he played the role to perfection. He ended up being betrayed by the late Curt Hennig at 1997's Fall Brawl, sending both men on a collision course for the following few months. Even given their ages at the time, Flair and Hennig always had chemistry and their matches were what we'd all come to expect from them - masterclasses.
Flair's main feud as the Attitude Era went on revolved around one man - Eric Bischoff. Yes. Flair feuded with Eric Bischoff for the Presidency of WCW. Eventually, Flair won and became "the man" once again. It wasn't long before Naitch got up to his old tricks though, and he turned heel once again, siding with the bad guys much to the annoyance of the fans. But seriously, what else did they expect - this is Naitch we're talking about!!!
Flair became WCW Champion again in 2000 and was involved in the last match ever seen on Nitro against the man who he'd had countless outstanding bouts with - Sting. It was a fitting end for their rivalry to essentially book end Nitro's run on TV.
The man called Sting...he's the man called Sting. Another man who became the face of WCW.
He was the first man I remember seeing on WCW as a 9 year old. He had the spiky blond hair and face paint, with the trademark ring gear. He went toe-to-toe with Vader. I LOVED those matches. Fucking loved them. Vader was SO fantastic back in the early 90s. A big, no-nonsense bad ass with quality music who barely ever cut promos (from what I remember). He was everything a wrestling heel should be - a giant who loved nothing more than kicking the crap out of people. He was immense in every sense of the word.
Much like Flair, Sting had wrestled in the NWA territories before becoming the franchise of WCW. Unlike Flair though, Sting was able to change his character up and evolve, keeping his character fresh while still maintaining the same core values that had made him such a popular figure with the fans.
The everlasting memory of Sting in WCW is that year he went without saying a single word, building towards his eventual match with the red-and-yellow racist. Sting's appearances, without saying a word, were enough to draw fans and viewers in to watch as he continued to appear towards the end of the main-events on Nitro, causing distractions or interfering in matches to strengthen WCW's position over WWF.
Sting's time with WCW will be remembered for his ability to change, and for his feuds with the nWo and Ric Flair. They were the driving factors in WCW's ultimately short-lived success and run as the number 1 promotion in the world. Given how huge of a star he was, it was amazing that until this year, Sting had never appeared for WWF/E. Arguably WCW's biggest name, it seemed strange that WWF/E didn't move heaven and earth to make Sting the star attraction of the Invasion storyline. If anyone epitomised the WCW spirit, it was the Stinger.
He stayed loyal to WCW even after the company died, and that tells you a lot about the character of the man. We've already touched on his last match for the company, but it was the only way for WCW to slip out of our consciousness before WWF/E wrote their own version of history. It couldn't have ended any better with the image of Flair and Stinger embracing as Nitro (and WCW) went off air for the last time.
WWF: The Undertaker
The Deadman. The Phenom. The Demon of Death Valley. Already a legend, this man became an icon during the Attitude Era.
It's amazing how similar his story is to Sting's. Two men with well-defined characters, but who were able to evolve, change, adapt and add new things to their character to keep them atop the wrestling world.
Undertaker was never really presented as the biggest star in the WWF. When he debuted, there was Savage, Hogan and Warrior. When they left, Ramon, Diesel, Michaels and Hart got their shot instead of the big man. Despite that, his very presence was - and still is - awe-inspiring. The way he carries himself, the sheer size of him alone, and the athletic things he can do (that he really shouldn't be able to do) made Taker a must-see attraction.
He'd always been a man of few words, but as the Attitude Era went on, we got to hear more from him because Paul Bearer was no longer aligned from him. To begin with, his words were short, but sweet. We didn't get 15-minute long monologues, just promos that got to the point and usually ended with him uttering his immortal line "Rest...In...Peace".
Taker's finest rivalries came against 2 men - Kane and Mankind.
To this day, I still maintain that WWF/E hasn't had a more perfectly-crafted, well-thought out, storyline than Taker vs Kane. That's almost 20 years ago now. And it's scary to think that.
Kane's debut at Hell in a Cell really ignited (pun intended) this new, fresh rivalry to heights we've never seen before, or since. Paul Bearer had hinted at a family secret: "Kane's alive Undertaker!" for weeks before, but from Hell in a Cell the story ran right through to WrestleMania 14. Kane always seemed to have the edge on his "brother", who was reluctant to strike him. Kane would go on to "set the Undertaker on fire" at the 1998 Royal Rumble, before the Deadman conveniently returned at that year's showpiece PPV. Kane dominated the match, but somehow, the Deadman came out on top. This was WWF/E at its best. Brilliant storyline, brilliant characters, great drama and perfect execution.
And then there's Mankind. Mick Foley. Taker's greatest opponent? Absolutely. From Boiler Room Brawls to THAT Hell in a Cell match, their rivalry took physical to a whole other level.
Their matches were brutal. Fugly even. But they were captivating. Two men who took everything the other could give, and more. It was fascinating. Both men exchanged victories over the other but once again, Taker came out on top. Decisively thanks to that Hell in a Cell encounter. It was magic whenever they were in a program, or the ring, together. The only thing missing from their feud was a big WrestleMania match. It's a shame we never got to see that at Mania, especially considering Taker's wrestled the Boss Man and Giant Gonzalez there, yet a Mankind match wasn't? Go figure...
Taker's character evolved and went through a sinister stage during the Ministry. At a time when factions like DX, The Nation and the Corporation, Taker had his own band of renegades under his control, dishing out his own perverse idea of justice. Remember when he crucified Steve Austin or when he kidnapped the virtuous Stephanie McMahon? Amazing, terrifying stuff showing another evil side to the Deadman's persona. Memorable for all the right reasons.
He might not have been presented as the biggest star alongside your Austin's, Rock's and HHH's, but Taker more than held his own with all those guys, and definitely cemented his legacy as the best big man of all-time.
WWF: Mankind (Mick Foley)
Mrs Foley's baby boy, you'd never have imagined the heights that Foley's career would have hit when he debuted as Mankind.
To put it bluntly, when you first saw him, you thought he was a complete weirdo. Go on. Admit it. If you don't, then you're a liar.
He rocked up with this leather mask, seemed to have an unbelievable tolerance for pain and would go through things that no normal human would just to kick the crap out of someone. But...at the same time, you couldn't take your eyes off him. He was spell-binding. His entrance and exit music were different, which is something we hadn't seen before, or since. He even walked to the ring differently, kind of shuffling sideways and always looking behind him. Then at the end, he rocked back and forth like a child, happy that he'd coloured something between the lines properly. In all honestly, it was a bit sinister.
Foley had a helping hand in shaping the careers of Kane, Undertaker, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, HHH and more. Seriously. Think about it. That's not just a throwaway comment.
Arguably Austin, Taker and Michaels were on the rise, but hadn't been physically tested like Foley tested them. Rock and HHH in particular were unproven, main-event commodities until they stepped in there with Foley. They talked the talk, but we discovered they could walk the walk too as Foley brought an unbelievable level of viciousness out of both men. Consequently, both men went on to become among the best we've seen in recent memory. Would they have got there without the Foley test? Doubtful.
You could argue that Foley himself is responsible for the WWF/E existing today. Without Tony Schiavone spoiling his title win in January 1999, would all those hundreds of thousands of fans turned WCW off and switched over to RAW to see Foley win the title? Probably not. Those fans more or less ended up sticking with the WWF from that point, and we all know what happened then.
To underestimate the role that Foley played in the Attitude Era would be criminal.
He played just as big a part as anyone, perhaps even the biggest of all, and sometimes, he doesn't get the credit he deserves sometimes.
Listen to the pop when he wins the title for the first time. It's monstrous. And that was on a taped show. Imagine how loud it must have been in the arena. That building fucking exploded when Foley won. Everything was perfect. From Shamrock to Billy Gunn, from Austin to the McMahons, from Foley and Rock and especially from (and it pains me to say it) Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. They perfectly captured the emotion of the situation for those of us watching at home - Cole for Foley and Lawler for the McMahon's. It's one of the greatest moments of all-time, never mind just the Attitude Era.
Foley paid a price for the risks he took though. He destroyed his body to create memories for us, and he's got to be in severe pain most days. Without him doing that, and having crafted a perfect wrestling character, the Attitude Era would have been a lot less memorable without him around to create some of the best action we've ever seen, or are ever likely to.
That'll wrap up this edition of Life in the Attitude Era. Next time round, we'll focus on those stars who made their breakthrough in the Attitude Era - for both sides. Keep your eyes on the ring.
Thursday, July 30, 2015
To understand the insanity of Slamboree 2000, we have to look beyond the clusterfuck of hopelessness known as the main event. No, we have to look at the entire event, back to front, front to back.
First up, we have Chris Candido, accompanied by Tammy Lynn Sytch versus The Artist (Formerly Known as Prince Iaukea), accompanied by Paisley for the Cruiserweight Title. Here, we get Sunny in the middle of her ECW days and her Wrestling Vixxxens days. So, she's, I guess you'd call her comfortably thick, albeit quite strung out. Like, I'd wrap up thrice and contemplate it. I guess that's how New Jack did it.
Commentary on Sunny's not-as-sexy-as-I-remember-sexiness aside, the match itself is confusingly putrid, to say the least. There were nutshots. Restholds. Sunny getting "stripped." Catfights. People being hit with purses. Some of the worst chair shots in history. A top rope school boy which looked like everyone just said "fuck it. I'm getting paid either way." Oh, yeah, and Candido getting the win on a diving headbutt.
|Not off to a good start, WCW. GIF Credit: LegitShook.com|
After this, we're "treated" to Norman Smiley and Terry Funk battling for the Hardcore Championship. By now, the WCW Hardcore Championship was the Santino of the WCW Championship hierarchy. It was supposed to be "funny," but no one gave a shit after a while. Even the kids begin to tune out. And when the kids tune out, that's when it's all over.
Oh, look. It's Ralphus and he's helping Screamin' Norman. I'm legitimately uncomfortable watching Ralphus--and more so listening to the commentary just go apeshit on how he looks and wrestles. But what gets me even more is Ralphus's "I legitimately may try to have the buttsechs with you" thrusts on the Big Wiggle. If I were Cam'ron, this match could be described in three words: "Pause. No Homo."
But, because I'm Speed on the Beat (and I try to be as encompassing to everyone--except shitty PPVs), I do one thing. I look at this match and think to myself who in the high holy fuck ever thought that this was a good idea? Like, who in the hell thought that taking one of the living legends of wrestling and have him reverse twerked on by real-life Festus would be entertaining? What hellacious, numbskulled, imbecilic ballsack--or ballsacks--rendered this idea into fruition?
YES! THE GAWD! SCOTT STEINER ALERT!!! But, oh. He's facing Hugh Morrus, I mean Hugh G. Rection a/k/a Donut Ass himself Bill DeMott. Assboy gets leveled for most of the match, because Scott Steiner hates obscene FATASSES! Steiner wins with an elongated Steiner Recliner (geez, there's a lot of weird sexual energy in this PPV, for no fucking reason). But, the spot of the night (Read: one of the worst I've seen) occurs when Hugh goes up for a moonsault and doesn't even care to look back. In the course of this, Steiner rolls the wrong way, and receives knees to the head for his troubles. It's like the botched Shooting Star Press, but worse, because fuck Bill DeMott.
Let's look at some of the people DeMott exclusively trained, outside of the whole OWV/NXT thing. They include The Miz, Ryback, and Fandango. I think my previous "fuck Bill DeMott(s)" stand.
This shitshow has to be close to being over right? Nope. So, let's go through some of the matches at lightning speed--since WCW obviously didn't really give a shit.
Mike Awesome almost kills Chris Kanyon on a powerbomb. There are a lot of bad spots tonight, most of which look destined to shorten someone's career--or life. Pay close attention to this match/feud, for it will come back in the main event (spoiler alert).
|The seat is WCW's sinking ratings. And look who's in the seat...|
Falls Count Anywhere Match
Thoughts: A great match from the beginning bell all the way to the bell that signified the end of the match, what was different about this match that made it really stand out is the fact that they never once even got into the ring. They brawled all throughout the temple and in the end Cage got the upper hand when he smashed The Mack’s face into a bunch of cinder blocks. After that Cage would get the win via pinfall.
Result: The Disciples of Death defeat Angelico, Ivelisse, and Son of Havoc via pinfall after hitting Ivelisse in the back of the head with the Stone of Death. The Disciples of Death become the second Trios champions in Lucha Underground history.
Thoughts: These two really seemed to click in this match, I’ve never been to high on Hernandez myself but when put with a guy who can go he’s more than capable and that’s exactly what we got with this match. This match was really good from start to finish. The highlight of the match was when Hernandez got trapped on the outside of the ring and got whipped by everyone to the point where he had welts all over his body. From there Drago hit a tornado DDT out of one of the corners of the ring, but Hernandez would quickly recover to deliver a boarder toss to Drago onto all of the Believers. Drago took a while to recover but when he finally did he spit blue mist in the face of Hernandez. He then set Hernandez up on a table and delivered a splash to Hernandez through a table to win the match.
Result: Drago defeats Hernandez via pinfall after hitting a top rope splash to Hernandez through a table.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
So, as I sit here reading TNA tapings results, because I never actually the show, I found myself begging the question, WHY? LORD, WHY???
Now, for those of you who are not aware, Jeff Jarrett is back in TNA and running GFW at the same time, which is the basis for an invasion storyline of sorts going on right. Outside of Tommaso Ciampa getting some love out in TNA, there is not much of an upside to anything occurring in TNA. Usually, when you set up an invasion, you would want to have performers, central figures, and voices that are not familiar to the company you are invading and make it entertaining. Well, with this invasion, it is really just more of the same. As TNA loses Austin Aries, MVP, Hernandez, and a few others recently, GFW brings "newer faces" like Chris Masters, Curt Hawkins(Brian Myers), and PJ Black(mostly known as Justin Gabriel) to the table. While this may be appealing to some, the GFW charge is still lead by guys like Magnus, Eric Young, and of course Jarrett himself. There is a small bit of joy hearing that Trevor Lee is now one half of the TNA tag team champions, but how long will that last? A lot of the guys that GFW have are just TNA alumni, and the ones who aren't used to be WWE glorified jobbers. Harsh? No, just realistic.
So, GFW turns heel in the coming weeks and we have a full storyline set in place with a match at Lockdown apparently to determine who gets all of TNA's shares. So, the next month of TV for TNA will see new tag champs, Matt Hardy get a world title shot, a Lashley vs Chris Masters, and more Dixie vs Jarrett promos. Riveting..... Just riveting.
I hate to be THAT guy, but TNA vs GFW is literally one company dividing their roster up and adding a few small extra pieces. It means virtually nothing. If you are a TNA fan, and you didn't appreciate the spoilers, I apologize for you being a TNA fan in the first place. Dixie, Jarrett, and whoever else came up with this bullshit should go back to the drawing board.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
By Speed on the Beat (@speedonthebeat)
By now, I'm sure you've heard or seen the news. In the wake of the controversy with Hulk Hogan, The Miz has replaced him as the third judge on Tough Enough. Miz, a TE alum himself (along with NXT mentor), is obviously no stranger to reality TV. Nor is he a stranger to stranger-than-usual pick your superstar adventures. But, there's something about Miz that makes me question whether or not he's really an astute enough talent to choose "the next WWE superstar."
With Bryan, Paige, and Hogan, you had a grand total of close to seventy years of business experience. Miz, while "successful" in some aspects of professional wrestling, such as being a face of WWE, he's...well, he's just not that good inside the ring. He's serviceable at best. And, no, Hogan wasn't cranking out five-stars all willy nilly, he was, at least, Hulk friggin' Hogan.
I wonder why WWE couldn't have picked someone with a bit more experience. Additionally, The Miz is best when he has a mic in his hand. He's an interviewer with "eh" wrestling skills. And his Tough Talk post-show was typically better than the actual show because of this. So, why risk ruining what's somewhat making the show work to cut some corners?
Hell if I know. But, I really feel that Miz should not be the third judge. Even Paula Abdul had some semblance of talent and skill recognition outside of being a pretty face who interviewed well. As always, though, that's just my opinion.
Until next time.
In 2006 and 2007, John Cena feuded with Umaga (talk about stereotypes, True. You forgot the fact that Samoans are almost always portrayed as indestructible ingrates who only know how to solve problems with their fists, have heads of steel, shuck and jive, or some weird combination of all three).
While the feud itself was pretty legitimate (we even got the infamous "Cena chokes Umaga out" spot that, eight years later, we got again with Rusev--but more on the "Bulgarian Brute" later), after John Cena rose above hate, did his usual "LOLCENAWINS" antics, and so on, Umaga won the Intercontinental Championship, got put into hackneyed storylines, and lost to CM Punk in his last match with WWE. Umaga, unfortunately, died a year after his last match. But, the point remains. He feuded with Cena, lost, and there was nowhere but down for him to go. And he plummeted pretty quickly, considering his next feud was being tossed into the Trump vs. McMahon feud (one of the worse things in wrestling from that era).
In 2010, The Nexus debuted. One of the hottest storylines in recent memory. And then they met with Cena, for real for real. Every ounce of energy was sapped.
Cena was forced to be fired, rehired, become a member of The Nexus, and then destroy the entire group by himself essentially a couple months later. A simple storyline (hero's fall from grace and comeuppance against the "evil new guys") was ruined because...well, I'm still unsure how they fucked up this storyline as much as they did.
Damien Sandow was Mr. Money in the Bank in 2013 for the World Heavyweight Championship. He had mic skills like all hell. He was solid in the ring. And then, he met John Cena. Do I really need to explain how that one ended?
In 2014, Rusev was the
Rusev is now in the middle of a storyline with Dolph Ziggler in which zero fucks are given by anyone, including the audience, which is unfortunate. I'm not the biggest Rusev fan, but he is solid in the ring. Dolph Ziggler, another Cena meal--I mean opponent hasn't fared much better, either. Neither has his Team Cena 2014 mate Ryback. Then again...Ryback was also part of The Nexus, so he's been fucked from the jump by Hustlelujah.
|That's certainly not PG.|
Greetings, all. We have arrived at the final chapter here talking racism in wrestling. Now, as the 2000s came to a close, we saw the infusion of some new characters along the way. Black wrestlers like MVP, Bobby Lashley, Kofi Kingston, and R-Truth started to make a bit of progress. However, that progress was never fully realized due to the usual racial politics that plagued most wrestlers of color. Look at their characters even....
MVP, a bottle popping, stereotypical black athlete, who came out in suits, gaudy chains(cheap as hell jewelry really but still...), and cornrows(no hangtime on those braids either). MVP was definitely a stereotypical character, and while not as bad as Cryme Tyme and still entertaining, his criminal past(that WWE knew of when they hired him) was reportedly the excuse for not pushing him more even when he seemed to start getting over with fans.
Bobby Lashley?? Well he was just a generic black dude. I mean... Less said about him the better.
Kofi? Couldn't decide whether he was from Jamaica or just Ghana, which... I mean... Come on now.
R-Truth?? Well, look at his damn gimmicks over the years and what he has dealt with. Started out as rapping ass K-Kwik in WWF with Road Dogg, went to TNA and had a legitimate run there, then came back to WWE to be rapping ass R-Truth. So, you left the company as a rapping ass gimmick, to come back to the company with a rapping ass gimmick. Amazing. Let us not forget the whole "Little Jimmy" debacle, where he became a deranged black man who had an imaginary friend. What type of shit was that??
The reality began to set in at some point, and it became apparent that there was no shortage of racism in WWE or wrestling period, this made evident by Alberto Del Rio(now Alberto El Patron), who was fired for responding to a racist comment from a WWE worker. His gimmick was also racist in essence, but Del Rio was at least pushed to the moon and given title shots and runs. However, the racism continues with the Latino wrestlers, as Los Matadores began their existence walking in actual Matador like clothing and having a midget dressed up in a bull suit. I mean... What the fuck is that?
So, with all these things, WWE would eventually get it together right? No. In fact, before they began their new upbeat positive gimmick, The New Day was essentially a stereotypical black church congregation in professional wrestling. Big E preaching, Xavier Woods cooning, Kofi Kingston... Well.... Being Kofi, there was way too much going on at the early stages that felt offensive.
There lies the issue. No matter what, WWE will continue to do this. Regardless of Hogan and his debacle, WWE will be and feature racist things on their programming. Do we turn it off or still support? Tough choice to make.
Monday, July 27, 2015
In a scene damn near out of science fiction itself, WWE has replaced just about every ounce of Hulk Hogan-related material over the past couple days. This includes the DLC of Hulk Hogan in WWE 2K15 and the upcoming WWE 2K16 games. The last time I can remember this sort of thing happening was with Chris Benoit. Now, even though Hulk's actions were pretty bad, I don't know if placing he and Benoit on the same level of heinousness is fair. But, for more on that whole shebang, you can read my op-ed over on SpeedontheBeat.com.
In his place in the games, however? 2015 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator. Now, that's kind of bad-ass. We finally get to solve some of those death matches we dreamed up as kids. For instance, I always wondered who'd win between The Terminator and The Rock. Yeah, The Terminator is a cyborg, but The Rock's People's Elbow has fell many WWE superstars, despite the fact that it's really just an elbow drop with a shitload of theatrics. But, it also makes me raise a few eyebrows. It's like having Bill Clinton appear in NBA Jam. It's cool and a nice Easter Egg, but to have it be a main attraction? Eh...
At least we get this bad-ass promo video for it, parodying Terminator 2.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
Ring Of Honor Wrestling Review 7/25/15
By Nathan Neumann (Twitter @Headliner5)
Hello everyone and welcome to another action packed review from yours truly, it is time this week for my Ring Of Honor television review. This week’s show was a bit of a letdown in a lot of ways but it did have a good main event so let’s get down to business with this one.
The show kicks off with the current reigning and defending IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions and Kingdom members Matt Taven and Michael Bennett who is of course with Maria Kanellis. They are taking on jobbers so this shall be interesting.
Matt Taven and Michael Bennett vs. Hollis and Gresham
Thoughts: This match was okay at best but I’m not a fan of Matt Taven and Michael Bennett facing off against Enhancement Talents. This worked better for me in the early 90’s WWF when you saw it all the time but when you’re a champion or champions in this case I expect real competition. While this was pretty much an exhibition of what the Tag Team Champions could do, this time could have been used a lot better in my opinion.
I wish they would’ve taken a team that Taven and Bennett are actually feuding with and I don’t know put them both in singles matches against individuals from said team but I digress. The match started when Taven and Bennett hit double super kicks on their opponents, from there Bennett slams Hollis on the outside of the ring while Taven whips Gresham into the guardrail on the outside of the ring. Back in the ring and Gresham tags out to Hollis, Hollis comes in and hits a top rope dropkick. Taven recovers and hits Hollis with a super kick and Bennett follows it up with a spear. The Kingdom puts the capstone on this match with a top rope spike piledriver to score the pinfall victory.
Match Result: Matt Taven and Michael Bennett defeat Hollis and Gresham via top rope Spike Piledriver.
Match Rating: **
From there we go to the second match of the night which was a six way scramble match so I apologize if my notes for this next match are a bit off because this match was nuts.
Caprice Coleman vs. Brutal Bob Evans vs. Silas Young vs. Cheeseburger vs. Moose vs. Dalton Castle
Thoughts: For a multi man match that easily could’ve been a mess this one actually wasn’t half bad. Each guy got an equal amount of offense in and managed to look good. The only person I really have a problem with and this is a continual thing is Cheeseburger because I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again plus I’ll probably say it a thousand more times but I can’t for the life of me take him seriously at all. The match starts and all six men begin the feeling out process without doing much of anything, the first real move of the match would come when Caprice Coleman would hit a picture perfect dropkick.
A few minutes later Caprice hits a hurricanranna on Cheeseburger. Caprice attempts to capitalize on his temporary advantage as he would head to the top rope to do something but before he can do anything Brutal Bob Evans shoves him off of the top rope to the outside.
Back in the ring and Silas Young executes a front Suplex on Dalton Castle to score a near fall. Cheeseburger who has recovered by now finds himself stacked in the corner with Silas Young and Moose hits them both with a splash. From there Moose disposes of Cheeseburger by throwing him to the outside, from there everyone makes their way to the outside leaving Moose alone in the ring. The big man runs off of the ropes and dives over the top rope to take everyone out with a splash.
Meanwhile back in the ring everyone has gotten back in and Silas hits Hollis with a backbreaker lariat combo. Dalton Castle hits Moose with a slow motion German Suplex with a near fall. The finish of the match would come when Moose would hit a flipping spear on Brutal Bob Evans to score the pinfall victory.
Match Result: Moose defeats Caprice Coleman, Brutal Bob Evans, Silas Young, Cheeseburger, and Dalton Castle when he hits a flipping spear on Brutal Bob Evans for the pinfall victory.
Match Rating: **1/2
Good entertaining multi man match that was done right and like I said everyone was used properly and everyone came out of the match looking really good while the winner looked a tad bit better than the rest. A great effort from all six men in this match, from there we go to a commercial break.
Back from commercial and BJ Whitmer is in the ring cutting a promo while both Colby Corino and Adam Page are beating random dudes up in the background. BJ Whitmer talks about his hatred for Steve Corino and it pretty much makes me believe that Colby is suffering for his father’s sins.
From there Colby is ordered to take on four guys in a 4 on 1 gauntlet match those men are Shaheem Ali, Wildman Kongo, The Beast Ortiz, and The Punishment Martinez (where did they get these guys?). The bell never rang so this match at any point was never official but it did lead to Steve Corino getting into the ring and confronting Whitmer about it. I have a feeling that eventually this will lead to a match between Whitmer and Corino. Where that match happens is anyone’s guess the ideal situation would be Final Battle 2015 but I’m not sure if this can be stretched out for another five months but they just might be able to do it I guess we will have to wait and see.
From here we go inside ROH with the exotic goddess Mandy Leon as she talks about both Field Of Honor and the Philadelphia Pennsylvania stop for the Aftershock Tour. Out of that we head into the main event of the evening.
Main Event – Match 3
ACH vs. Bobby Fish
Thoughts: The match starts out and it’s not at all what you would expect out of ACH but it is in fact the kind of thing to expect from Bobby Fish. ACH started off the match by working a ground based technical style that’s pretty much the exact opposite of what he usually ends up doing. The first real spot of the match happens when ACH hits Bobby Fish with a dropkick, Fish rolls to the outside of the ring. From there ACH grabs the top rope and launches himself over the rope to attempt a plancha but Bobby Fish side steps it casually and ACH crashes and burns on the outside of the ring. I wish Steve Corino was on commentary at the time to call that but sadly he wasn’t due to what happened earlier.
Back in the ring and ACH goes to work on Fish with a barrage of kicks Fish rolls out of the ring once again and ACH hops out onto the apron and runs at Fish and catches him with a shotgun kick. ACH then get into the ring only to come flying back out of it over the top rope with a vaulting body splash. Back in the ring and ACH kicks Bobby Fish in the face for a near fall. ACH makes his way to the top rope and goes for a 450 splash but Bobby Fish catches him in a cradle as ACH comes down for a near fall. The match comes to a conclusion when the two men are on the second rope where Fish gets the upper hand and hits a top rope Falcon Arrow to pick up the pinfall victory.
Match Result: Bobby Fish defeats ACH via pinfall after a top rope Falcon Arrow. Match Rating: **3/4
Pretty good match this to wrap up the show this week I would definitely check out the second and third matches but you can probably skip the first if you are pressed for time.
That will do it for me and this review of Ring Of Honor Wrestling, a better show than last week with some pretty good wrestling that’s worth your time in closing make sure to follow me on Twitter @Headliner5 and be sure to follow the Eyes On The Ring main account @EyesOnTheRing.
Also check out the radio show over at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ElitePodcastNetwork and finally make sure to check out the website that is the centerpiece of the Eyes On The Ring brand at http://www.EyesOnTheRing.com where we have articles, reviews (like this one) opinions, tweets, shirts and so much more.
Last but not least make sure to like us on facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/EyesOnTheRing and until next time Ringers I am Nathan saying so long and make sure to keep your Eyes On The Ring.
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Racism in professional wrestling, as we covered in part 1 while talking the early years til the 90s, is commonplace unfortunately. When we finished part 1, we had discussed minimal instances that truly bothered us all. For a deeper look on how racism truly evolved in wrestling, look no further than Mark Henry. Mark Henry, an olympic athlete, who was once crowned the strongest man in the world, has dealt with tons of bullshit from the WWF/WWE. First, during the DX parody of The Nation, he was played by X-Pac, who of course dressed up in what was pretty much blackface with a fat suit on to portray Mark(who they deemed Mizark). As a kid, I found it funny, because of who DX was, but in the current day, it just seemed to be in bad taste. At least Mark Henry's part. Further, continuing the embarrassment for Mark was his storyline with Chyna where he ended up in a situation with a tranny, then in a relationship with Mae Young on TV. Mark suffered through these storylines, then ended up being dubbed The Silverback(really.... Really??) during the mid 2000s as his gimmick. Mark has seemingly endured a ton of racism throughout his career, even having been called the N-Word by Michael Hayes.
Now, it is almost the norm for WWE to treat their black wrestlers terrible or saddle them with stereotypes, but what about their Latino and Asian wrestlers? Well, for one, WWE has rarely hired and utilized asian wrestlers, mainly because Vince doesn't see anything marketable about them or even understand them. Needless to say, Vince doesn't see the minority wrestlers as truly equal, if you will. Jimmy Wang Yang, Gail Kim and the other seldom asian wrestlers were never given a fair shot and were saddled with pointless gimmicks and eventually moved on from the WWE. How about the Latino wrestlers?
Well, this is where our look into racism in wrestling gets very intricate. Latino wrestlers have been known to be lucha libre stars, high flyers, and all around amazing wrestlers. Most of them wear masks as dictated by their culture, which is very rich in the wrestling business. So, when WWE hired guys such as Psychosis, Super Crazy, Juventud Guerrera, and others, you almost knew that they would be taking over the Cruiserweight division, right?
Wrong. Very wrong.
What occurred is known to many as the one of most racist things WWE has ever done on TV, The Mexicools. The name alone is offensive, but the gimmick was even worse, as they had these great Latino wrestlers come out in work clothes on a lawnmower. Yes, a lawnmower. A FUCKING LAWNMOWER. This is what Vince thought was entertaining. Wasting three great performers on a trio that was going nowhere and was extremely offensive. Needless to say, on top of The Mexicools, the legendary Eddie Guerrero and his whole character reeked of racism. Latino Heat, who would lie, cheat and steal? I don't think I need to elaborate there. Granted, Eddie's charisma and personality was just so fun that you really didn't mind the gimmick itself, but it was definitely racist, as was making his nephew Chavo into Kerwin White. I mean, for the love of God, Kerwin White, with his golf player clothes, dyed hair, and corny ass style..... I mean, really Vince? To the WWE, racism is just a joke. They laugh at the most ignorant shit and enjoy mocking different culture. It seems to be fun for them. So they offended black people, Latinos, Asians, I mean, who else you could offend?
How about those who are from the Middle East? Enter Muhammad Hassan.
Take one listen to Muhammad Hassan's music, his promos, etc.... And realize we were waged in a war with countries in the middle east and such. However, WWE went through with displaying this character who was damn near positioned as a terrorist in storylines. The Great Khali, while not as blatantly offensive as Hassan, still featured some elements of racism too. Look no further than the concept of a Punjabi Prison match. Why the hell would this be a concept? Why would we want to see anyone or watch someone compete in a damn Punjabi Prison??
WWE was knocking it out the park with racism in the 2000s, and it was only going to get worse. But, before we arrived at the most ignorant black gimmick ever in WWE, Triple H had to remind black people(through a promo against Booker T) that we weren't really worth anything, or rather good enough to be the top star in the business. Funny, because a guy who was better than Triple H his whole career, The Rock, and is the hugest crossover star ever, is actually black. Funny how that works. Booker had seen his share of racist storylines and instances, especially starting with the storyline that Booker could not read or was very dumb. That, coupled with the HHH storyline only furthered showcased how racist WWE was in theory, but still wasn't the worst. What was?
Yes, the sheer ignorance of Cryme Tyme. The buffoonery, the ridiculousness, the whole concept was terrible. While they made it entertaining at times, it was hard to truly watch without feeling uneasy at times. Why? I'll let the vignettes speak for themselves.
After all these cases of racism, it feels funny that WWE is now attempting to be so family friendly and intolerant of racists, when it's clear that they have racists working for them and running the damn company. That does it for part 2, part 3 will be the final chapter, as we look at the racism in WWE in the 2010s to close this out. I'll leave you with one last moment of racism... Vince McMahon saying "nigga" on a live PPV. Stay classy, WWE.
Friday, July 24, 2015
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Hello everyone within the Lucha Kliq, welcome to another installment of Lucha Headlines, a column where I review the latest and greatest edition of Lucha Underground for both WrestlingSmash.com and Eyes On The Ring. This week was a pretty good show and provided a lot of lead in and set up towards Ultima Lucha. We are nearing the end of season 1 of Lucha Underground, as well as getting closer and closer to Ultima Lucha with tonight’s episode titled PenUltima Lucha. So without any further hesitation lets get down to breaking down the action that took place tonight.
The show starts in Dario Cueto’s office, where Cueto is talking to Big Ryck, and he uses the term “Eye For An Eye”, which probably isn’t a wise choice when talking to a guy who is wearing an Eye Patch and who could also probably kill you, but I digress. Cueto says that tonight we find out what the Aztec Medallions actually do, which is something I’ve been wondering that for a while.
From there, we go into the Temple and we see Melissa Santos, who is wearing pink, introduce the first match of the night and it’s Texano taking on Johnny Mundo.
Texano vs. Johnny Mundo
Thoughts: I really like what they are doing here because they are almost combining two different feuds. Texano takes on Blue Demon Jr. at Ultima Lucha while Johnny Mundo will do battle with Alberto El Patron. I felt as if both Texano and Mundo were imagining that their opponent tonight was a different person, given who they have bad blood with. At one point in the match, Texano was sitting on the top rope and Mundo jumped off of the turnbuckle and nailed him with a kick that sounded like a gunshot. Later, the two make it to the outside of the ring and Texano finds himself down on the ground near the barricade where Mundo kicks Texano in the face and his head has nowhere to go. The match ended when The Crew ran into the ring and attacked Texano in order to cost Johnny Mundo the match and Texano won via disqualification as a result.
Result: Texano defeats Johnny Mundo via disqualification.
Finally, Alberto El Patron hits the ring and stares down Texano to end the segment.
Up next, Hernandez confronts Dario Cueto in Cueto’s office and Dario lets Hernandez know that he has been getting tweets from the believers and they have all said that they hate Hernandez. Hernandez is visibly upset, which leads Dario to announce that his match against Drago at Ultima Lucha will be titled “Believers Backlash”, where the fans inside of the temple will be carrying straps.
From there, we go to the next match of the night.
Cage vs. The Mack
Thoughts: This match was pretty short and The Mack got the win via surprise roll up on Cage. This made Cage mad and the two began brawling all over the temple, as security and wrestlers got involved to break it up. This then brings out Dario Cueto, who makes a falls count anywhere match between Cage and The Mack for next week.
Result: The Mack by rollup.
From there, Dario Cueto tells us that after this next commercial break, he is going to make a major announcement about the medallions and what they are for.
Back from commercial and Dario is in the ring with something that’s on a stand with a red cloth over it. He takes the cloth off of what is a new championship in Lucha Underground. The championship is titled “Gift From The Gods” and the belt has a spot for each of the seven medallions. This belt allows its holder a guaranteed championship opportunity at the Lucha Underground title whenever that person wants, just as long as they can hang on to it. However it can’t just be cashed in, the holder of the belt has to let Dario know when they want their match so that he can properly promote the match. From there, Dario makes a match with all seven Luchadores who have previously won a medallion where the winner will win the championship. The participants in the match make their way to the ring and Fenix returns, which makes Dario mad. Dario says that Fenix will be able to compete in tonight’s 10-man battle royal where he will have a chance to earn his medallion back.
Match 3(Part 1)
10 Man Battle Royal for the 7th Aztec Medallion
-Vinny attacks Fenix in the corner and hits his head against the turnbuckle. Ricky Mandel gets eliminated via Famous B. Argenis gets eliminated with a Pele kick from Famous B. Killshot starts brawling with Famous B as Delavar eliminates Killshot. Delavar eliminates Vinny with a neck snap off of the rope. Mascarita Sagratta takes out Superfly and himself in the process with a hurricanrana to the outside of the ring. Marty The Moth and Delevar begin working together and eliminate Famous B. Fenix takes Delavar out of the match. The Battle Royal portion of the match is over, as now the final two men will face off in a one on one match that can only be won via pinfall.
Marty The Moth vs Fenix
Thoughts: This match was pretty short, and while Marty tried to do what he could, in the end, he was caught with a hurricanrana as Fenix would pin The Moth to retain his Aztec Medallion. Fenix thanks the fans and poses with them as an angry Dario Cueto looks on in disgust.
This brings out Prince Puma for an in ring interview, and Puma comes down to the ring in a new mask. Just as he’s about to speak, Catrina and the number one contender to the Lucha Underground championship, Mil Muertes interrupt. The Disciples Of Death jump the ring and go after Puma, but Puma is able to fight them off. Mil looks on in frustration and eventually makes his way down to the ring. Puma and Muertes brawl and Puma gets the upper hand hitting a downed Muertes with a great.
And that will do it for me and another exciting Lucha Underground review, and it was a very fun episode this week. We only have two more weeks left of Lucha Underground this season and we found out tonight that Ultima Lucha is a two-week event that will start next week. So instead of it being a two hour special like we first thought, it looks like it’s going to be split into two one hour episodes over two weeks. I hope you enjoyed this review for WrestlingSmash.com and VOCNation as well as Eyes On The Ring. Until next week Lucha Kliq, I am Nathan saying so long and I will see you next week when we get hit with Part 1 of the awesomeness that is Ultima Lucha.
In closing make sure to follow me on twitter @Headliner5 and lets talk some Lucha!
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Live from Baltimore, MD, there will be an iPPV on July 24th(this Friday) taking place. Ring of Honor has managed to put on some of the best events possible this year and I am certain that this one will be no different. There are 7 matches announced so far, all of which may look a bit weak on paper, but when you take into consideration the drive and hunger of every guy, this card will no doubt turn out to be a great one.
Will Ferrara vs "Last Real Man" Silas Young
-This match is going to be interesting. Will was a part of the Top Prospect tournament, and Silas is... well he's Silas. There isn't much to say on that end, but I expect this match to go about 6 to 7 minutes, with Silas picking up a victory here. I do see a bright for Will Ferrara in ROH regardless. The guy has a lot of talent.
Winner: Silas Young
Adam Cole vs Dalton Castle
-Is there any wrestler on the planet that's on the rise more than Dalton Castle? Is there any wrestler on this planet who is better than Adam Cole? While both of these answers are debatable, this match is one I have been looking forward to since I saw Dalton live at the last ROH event in Baltimore. This is really too close to call, but knowing ROH, they will have Cole go over, as the new upstarts who end up huge usually lose their first few big matches before taking over down the line. I expect this match to get a good amount of time, going about 16 minutes. This could easily be a leading candidate for Match of The Night.
Winner: Adam Cole
Moose w/ Stokley Hathaway vs Cedric Alexander w/ Veda Scott
-Now, personally, everyone knows that Cedric is one of my favorite wrestlers. I have enjoyed his recent change in ROH and I hope this continues to a title run. With that being said, Cedric already owns a victory over Moose, as he was the man to break his undefeated streak. Anytime that occurs and a rematch is booked, it usually means the guy who lost before gets his win back(fuck you WWE, Lesnar, Taker, Summerslam, and Kevin Dunn, just cause). I expect Cedric to kill it in the ring with another great performance, but Moose will very likely pick up the victory here, much to my chagrin.
The Briscoes vs RPG Vice(Trent and Romero)
-I personally don't have a big interest in this match. The Briscoes are in tag action here, and while this is sure to be a pretty good match, I am not as interested in this one as the others. I expect this match to go about 11 to 13 minutes, with The Briscoes picking up the victory. With Jay recently losing the belt to Lethal, I can't see ROH having the Briscoes lose here, unless they are setting something else up major for the future involving a heel turn with one of them. Otherwise, the Briscoes go over.
Winner: The Briscoes
ACH vs Adam Cole
-As you all know, ACH is one of my favorite wrestlers as well. I have watched this brother rise up to become a pretty big attraction for the company, taking guys like Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Alberto El Patron and more. This match is the result of The Decade's seething jealousy against ACH, and this bout will be no disqualification, allowing both men to go crazy and fuck each other up. I think we will see a more aggressive ACH in this match, and while the Decade will interfere likely, I have ACH going over here. I may be a little bias, but ACH goes over here brother.
Fatal 4 Way For The ROH Tag Team Championship
The Addiction vs War Machine vs The Kingdom vs reDRagon
-This is a match that is way too close to call. These are four amazing teams, all building momentum, going into this huge match. This is my front runner candidate for match of the night and I expect it to be given at least 19-21 minutes. I want to go out on a limb and give this to reDRagon, as they are my favorite tag team in ROH and I see The Addiction's run coming to an end.
ROH World Championship Match
Jay Lethal vs Roderick Strong
-This main event will be absolutely great, but it's very obvious what the outcome will be. Jay Lethal just got the belt and while a Roddy title win would be cool, as he is on a roll, but so is Lethal. Jay picks up the victory in a hard-fought battle, that goes about 22 minutes and retains his title.
Winner: Jay Lethal
This iPPV will be a great display of amazing ROH talent, and I believe I will be in attendance, so I am extremely stoked for it. Make sure you watch it or attend it as well!