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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

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EOTR Rivalry Of The Week: Triple H vs Mick Foley

By @Phranchize19

The fine folks at EOTR are bringing back our rivalry of the week column. A lot of thought was put into how I would bring this one back, so I chose a rivalry that’s rather underrated in some way, but classic in others. Triple H has had rivalries with plenty of Hall Of Fame wrestlers, but I would have to say this was the rivalry that got him into the main event scene. Triple H is one of the only men to face all 3 incarnations of Mick Foley, and that actually includes Mick Foley the man. Let's take a look back at the Foley vs Triple H feud.

Best Matches
There are a ton of great matches between these two, but I'll only select two of them for this portion of the rivalry.

*Triple H vs Cactus Jack
Hell in a Cell
No Way Out 2000
WWF Championship

-This is arguably the best match of the rivalry but arguably the best Hell In A Cell match ever (Editor's Note: It is not the best or even top 3, but opinions) This match put Triple H on the map as THE MAN. It felt slightly bigger than him defeating Mankind or Dude Love. Cactus Jack is the most famous (and infamous) incarnation of Foley for matches like these and for Triple H to "retire" this man in this incarnation was HUGE.

*Triple H vs Cactus Jack
Royal Rumble 2000
Street Fight
WWF Championship

-We discussed this already, but this match really got Triple H over as a tough heel. He went through a war with Foley and walked away victorious. After Foley brought back Cactus Jack, some thought he might win the title, but he was merely putting Triple H over for the belt. 

Underrated Matches
There are so many matches that are slept on between the two, as they've had a number of great matches over the years. Let's go with two matches that are superb, but not seen as a classic like three or four of their matches are.

Triple H vs Mankind
King of the Ring Finals 1997

-While not a masterpiece, this match was huge for both the HHH and Mankind characters. We saw a brawl that look like Triple H had injured Mankind’s neck. We saw Triple H finally achieve success after the infamous Curtain Call, as he pinned Mankind to become the new King Of the Ring. This was a great match.

*Triple H vs Mankind
Steel Cage Match
Summerslam 1997

-This match was the true continuation of their battle and it was a supremely slept on match. These two went toe to toe with Mankind going through his changes personality wise. We did get the one iconic moment with Foley hitting the elbow drop off the top of the cage. Chyna would get involved, but she only added to the quality of the match. All in all, this was a pretty damn good match.

Worst Match

*Triple H vs Mankind
WWF Championship

-This match was basically a transition to get the title off of Austin and onto Triple H. Mankind was the transitional champion for one night. There wasn’t much thought put into this match and you could tell both men kind of phoned it in. Triple H wins, but it really didn't even matter honestly.

This was a rivalry that went back and forth, with Triple H getting the first substantial win at King Of The Ring, but Mankind would pick up other victories as well. Triple H would take over the rivalry in the later years, especially in late 1999 and early 2000, winning every big match, so pretty clearly, Triple H won this rivalry and was put over by Foley countless times.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

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EOTR Discussion: 6 Great Wrestling Trilogies

By @TrueGodImmortal

Wrestling is one of the most interesting things in the world sometimes. The art behind it is amazing. The storytelling is immaculate. The action is usually engaging and interesting. Everything about wrestling has a tendency to be amazing when done right. Today, that's what we are here to talk about. When wrestling is done right. We discussed the worst trilogies in wrestling already, so today, we wanted to take a look at a few of the best. Let's get into it.

*Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat
(Chi-Town Rumble, Clash Of The Champions VI, WrestleWar 1989)

-You might be thinking this is the greatest trilogy of all time. You might be right. You might be wrong. However, as the business evolved and the stories told got better and better in wrestling, this trilogy lost a very small amount of luster when compared to some of the others on this list. For me, I always thought the chemistry between Flair and Steamboat was underrated in some instances, as they might be the two greatest opponents ever. Flair is a natural heel. Steamboat is a natural face. Combined in the ring, they made magic. It's hard for me to choose the best match of the three, but I'll admit, each of these matches are classics in their own right and some of the most entertaining contests I've ever witnessed. Flair essentially wins the rivalry, and in the process, he started a legendary rivalry of his own.

*The Rock vs Stone Cold Steve Austin
(Wrestlemania 15, 17, and 19)

-Rock and Austin have fought more than three times of course, but they had a Mania trilogy that was for the ages. When we looked back at the matches in their history, it was their Mania trilogy that caught my attention. It's the best three match series of each man's career and it started in Philadelphia at Wrestlemania 15 when Austin was the most popular wrestler and Rock was the WWF Champ and a rising star right on the pinnacle of becoming the man. That match represented The Rock being made into the next star even in a losing effort, and by the time they faced off again at Wrestlemania 17, it was no surprise that both men were equal and Rock was flirting with mainstream fame. Austin would turn heel in the best match of their trilogy, joining forces with Vince McMahon to become the WWF Champion. Their final encounter would be the last match of Austin's career at Mania 19, with The Rock pretty much looking at Hollywood full time and wanting to accomplish things he hadn't before and that was to defeat Austin at Mania. Rock wins clean and closes out the trilogy with one and final victory, as Austin won their first two battles. This is still an excellent rivalry and as a trilogy, it's probably the second or third greatest on this list.

*John Cena vs AJ Styles
(Money In The Bank 2016, Summerslam 2016, Royal Rumble 2017)

-In the modern day WWE, booking is rarely done the right way. There is no greater example of this than watching the product regularly now and seeing the nonsense that dominates the programming, but one thing that never fails or wavers is the in ring work. There are some occasions where the booking and the in ring combine for something special and this is one of those times. Their first match at MITB was solid, close to a near classic, and it set a precedent for which this entire feud would be judged by. Shortly after, they would have their best match at Summerslam, with AJ going over clean before revisiting their feud for one final battle at the Royal Rumble. I'll admit, that match is also a near classic, but in all honesty, I didn't find it to be as classic as their second battle. Still, this is one of the best trilogies and easily the best trilogy of this era.... even CM Punk vs John Cena's trilogy (well... maybe not, but it's really close).

*Samoa Joe vs CM Punk
(World Title Classic, Joe vs Punk II, All Star Extravaganza II)

-You might not remember this trilogy.... But I do. Ring of Honor was at their true prime, with a mass amount of talent coming through their doors, but perhaps there was no greater example of talent than these two wrestlers. CM Punk was the man in ROH and Samoa Joe had made a huge name for himself as the ROH World Champ, and their clashes would end up being something special. Their first match marked the first title shot for Punk since he came into the company. The match would become a classic, going the distance of 60 minutes, showing that both wrestlers were ironmen. The second match is widely regarded as the greatest ROH match ever, and rightfully so. I don't think there are 10 matches in wrestling history that I liked more than Joe vs Punk 2, and that was also a time limit draw that went 60 minutes. This would set the tone perfectly for the third and final match, which didn't go the full 60 minutes, but was just as good as the first two. Joe would retain his title in a third straight classic and this is without a doubt the greatest trilogy in indie wrestling history. There's nothing that comes as close in ROH history.

*Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega
(Wrestle Kingdom 11, NJPW Dominion, G1 Climax 27 Block B Finals)

-Okada. Omega. Two of the best today. There matches. All three classics. Different stories. Different pacing and action. In each match. For me, my favorite part of this trilogy is that you watched them attempt to top their previous match every time and they managed to do so. What is surprising to me is that Wrestle Kingdom 11 saw the two stars have the match of the year essentially...... Then they upped the ante and had a better match at Dominion. Those first two matches went basically an hour, but their third and final (and less important) match was their shortest and somehow, it was almost better than their first two. Okada won the first match, the second match finished as a time limit draw, and the third match was won by Omega. Simply put, the booking of the trilogy was classic in its own right and there might not be a trilogy in wrestling history better.

*Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Bret Hart
(Survivor Series 1996, Wrestlemania 13, In Your House)

-One of my personal favorite trilogies of all time, this was one of the first trilogies I witnessed as a wrestling fan. Simply put, when I saw Austin trash talk Bret, I couldn't help but tune in and watch the aftermath. Their first match is actually their best match in terms of wrestling, as the two stars gave each other everything they had, but Bret walked away victorious. Their Wrestlemania 13 match is amazing, and one of the best Mania matches, however, the one thing that bothered me was that Bret went over yet again. They would do a double turn here, and it's one of the most memorable turns ever, but I would have had Austin go over in the first and let Bret win at Mania by Austin passing out to lose and cement the double turn. Their third match is underrated and a great battle, but my only criticism is that Austin never got a clean victory in their feud on PPV. This is a classic feud and trilogy that just needed to have a different ending to their final match.


Monday, January 29, 2018

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EOTR Retrospective: 6 Of The Worst Wrestling Trilogies

By TrueGodImmortal

So, this week, EOTR will be taking a look back at trilogies in wrestling. While the best trilogies will be tough to narrow, I wanted to take a moment and look back at some of the three match series that didn't connect like they should have. Yes, for the first time on EOTR, we'll take a look back at the worst trilogies in wrestling over the years. I won't rank these in order, but I will tell you why they were so bad and which match of the trilogy was the actual best. Let's take a look.

*Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton
(No Mercy 2016, Wrestlemania 33, Payback)

-Talk about disappointing. This is one of those trilogies that you wish you could have back and destroy it. It started in September 2016 and I was a bit excited about the prospect of the feud. Then it actually happened. I have never been as disappointed in my life as I was when I saw each of these matches. First, the No Mercy match closed the show out on a poor note and a dead crowd, while the Wrestlemania match was once again another example of how hilariously bad Bray Wyatt has been in recent memory. The Payback match is the worst of them all, being a House Of Horrors match that honestly left me shaking my head and wondering what the fuck WWE was thinking. Bray Wyatt deserves better, but in all honesty, when you see trilogies like this, I question if he actually does. This was brutally bad and I advise everyone to never watch these three matches back again. It's that serious.

*Goldberg Vs Brock Lesnar
(Wrestlemania 20, Survivor Series 2016, Wrestlemania 33)

-Contrary to what many people say, there was nothing good about Brock vs Goldberg. At all. Goldberg was the man at one point. Brock was the man at one point. However, when they would do battle at Wrestlemania 20, neither man would care about the WWE or wrestling. The match would end up being pretty bad, and Goldberg winning meant nothing, as both men were leaving the WWE. However, in 2016, both men were beyond their primes and this match was pointless for the most part. While I enjoyed seeing the Wrestlemania 33 match, it was still a bad match in technical terms and we won't even mention the short joke of a match at Survivor Series. Simply put, Brock vs Goldberg is the biggest waste in WWE history in terms of a trilogy and a feud honestly.

*Hulk Hogan vs Vader
(Superbrawl 1995, Uncensored 1995, Bash At The Beach 1995)

-You might not remember this feud. You might not even remember the pre NWO run of Hogan in WCW. I'm sorry to have to bring this back up. However, the dark age of WCW is prime for this type of article. If I had to choose one trilogy that honestly made me question being a young wrestling fan, it was this one. Hogan was the forced face beyond his prime, while Vader was seen as the monster heel. Vader was booked terribly and as a result, this trilogy is even worse. Vader was a monster yet he couldn't even cheat to beat Hogan and win the title in WCW. Their three matches against each other on PPV were all slow, boring and only served to lift Hogan up as the top guy in the company and shortly after Hogan disposed of him, Vader wisely left WCW in the dust for the WWF. Of their three matches here, I prefer the Superbrawl match, only because I watched it myself live at the arena years ago (it was my first wrestling event). Otherwise, this trilogy is pathetic.

*Triple H vs Brock Lesnar
(Summerslam 2012, Wrestlemania 28, Extreme Rules 2013)

-This was just horrible. I don't know why they wanted to do this match three times, but it didn't work. At all. Triple H and Brock had no in ring chemistry and for some reason, they wasted three of the limited matches that Brock has on this bullshit. I know, I know. You're probably confused right? Some people like this feud. I hated it. What did it for me was the fact that we watched Brock in 2002 and 2003, and besides one triple threat match, these two never crossed paths. Brock was in his prime then and so was Triple H. When this trilogy came about, both were out of their prime and no one wanted to see this two times. It just didn't make sense. The Summerslam match was pretty bad. Then, the Mania match was a bit better, but still below any expectations. The Extreme Rules match was met with mixed results, but if you ask me, I wasn't a fan. Brock and Triple H wasn't what we wanted or hoped it would be, and for that reason, it's one of the worst trilogies in wrestling history. 

*Hulk Hogan vs Sting
(Starrcade 1997, Superbrawl 1998, Fall Brawl 1999)

-I'll be the first to admit, this is the worst trilogy on the list for a number of reasons. This took place in WCW during the period of time where I think most people understood that Hogan and Sting were the two biggest stars. This should have been executed very well. It should have been classic. Instead, it was the biggest disappointment for most wrestling fans. Sting and Hogan I was really boring, and the fake finish with Hogan winning ruined the momentum. Once you add in the horrible execution at Superbrawl, you really have something impressive in how bad it was. The finishes and the pacing of the matches were just horrible, and it got no better at Fall Brawl 1999. Hogan and Sting had a little more chemistry in that match, but overall, this might be the most disappointing feud in WCW history and easily one of the worst trilogies I've ever witnessed, and my choice for the worst due to the hype surrounding it.

*Triple H vs Kevin Nash
(Judgment Day 2003, Insurrextion, Badd Blood 2003)

-Yes. This was a trilogy. You might not remember this as vividly as I do but there are reasons why. For one, it is prime Triple H and the Kliq to put Nash in the title match as soon as he gets back, but most of all, the biggest issue that I had seemed to be the fact that they rushed Nash into his position as the next solo star for the company, or at least the next challenger for the World Heavyweight Title. The Judgment Day match was sloppy and poorly executed, and then their rematch in the UK was decent enough, but still felt very flat compared to what you might have expected. The worst of them all remains one of the worst Hell In A Cell matches ever, as Badd Blood 2003 saw the two put on a snoozefest that just ended poorly. Nash and Triple H might be best friends, but they had no chemistry at all in this match or trilogy in general and it was quite apparent that they are better off as friends than enemies.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

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Eyes On Royal Rumble: 2018 Royal Rumble Preview

By @Phranchize19

With the Royal Rumble kicking off the Road to Wrestlemania, its only right the fine people at Eyes On The Ring give you predictions for the beginning of the year big event in WWE. Who will be victorious at the Rumble? Let's take a look.

Kalisto, Lince Dorado, Gran Metalik vs TJP, Jack Gallagher and Drew Gulak
Kickoff Show

-The Cruiserweight division was thrown for a loop upon the firing of its most charismatic star Enzo Amore. With the brand in even more of a struggle finding its footing than it already was, this match isn’t exactly a step in the right direction. No Cedric Alexander, no Hideo Itami or anything. This spot should’ve been used to either start a tournament or a match with Cedric (the rightful number 1 contender) and someone else (could’ve been a fatal four way to decide this) to decide who will be the champion. The point is, expect the heels to go over here especially with Gulak being the most popular guy in this match.

*The Revival vs Balor Club
Kickoff Show 

-This one is a bit sketchy seeing as Gallows and Anderson have revived Bullet Club lite with Finn Balor and The Revival are desperately needing signature wins after what happened on Raw. I expect Revival to pick up the win here but this will not be the last time they fight. This could go either way though.

*US Title Open Challenge
Kickoff Show

-Bobby Roode being US Champ is the right choice. However with Rusev as over as he is, he would be a great option here to answer the challenge. I expect Tye Dillinger or Aiden English to answer the call however and Roode retains the title. Perhaps we see Ziggler appear with the belt and they start a feud once again.

*The Usos vs Gable and Benjamin
2 Out Of 3 Falls
Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship 

-This rivalry should come to a head after this and even with the recent arrest of an USO, I expect them to retain here. They’re one of the best if not the best team in wrestling and it potentially sets up the red hot Rusev Day to get a title shot, but I do expect this to possibly steal the show and be a match of the night candidate.

*Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins vs The Bar
-RAW Tag Team Championship

Part of me wants to pick The Bar, but I don’t think WWE is ready to pull the trigger on the Jordan heel turn. I believe The Revival will take the belts from these two so I expect Jordan and Rollins to retain here in a great match. Honestly, it's time to move on from a Seth Rollins led tag team against The Bar. They've faced each other consistently since July. It's almost February of a new year. Put that feud to rest.

*AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens
Handicap Match
WWE Championship

-There’s no way WWE is pulling the trigger on a Co-WWE Champion especially considering how poorly the Co-Intercontinental Championship reign went. I do not see Zayn or Owens winning here since AJ hasn’t stood tall against these two as of yet. AJ retains the title and starts his Road to Wrestlemania.

*Brock Lesnar vs Braun Strowman vs Kane
WWE Universal Championship Match

-Some people think Brock is the biggest draw and that he will headline Wrestlemania. In reality, Braun is the most over and deserves to win this match so we can avoid the inevitable Brock vs Roman at Mania. However, WWE won't do that, so Brock retains by pinning Kane, who is only in the match to take the fall. Nothing to see here.

*Women’s Royal Rumble Match

-History will be made as the first ever Women’s Rumble match will take place. I honestly feel it would be a shame to waste this on a Ronda Rousey victory, as it would be an insult to all the other women who worked hard to have a Women's Revolution in the first place. If Rousey is to face Charlotte at Mania, that bout doesn’t need a Rumble victory to get to it, especially since Rousey isn’t experienced as of yet. I’m going with Asuka here.

*Men’s Royal Rumble Match

-I see this playing out only two ways. Roman Reigns or Shinsuke Nakamura. One would hope that since Reigns has already won in Philly and it backfired, that they would try and avoid that here. So, let's hope Nakamura wins this.