The Wrestling 9 Deuce – August 7 & 8, 2017 – The Unfortunately We’re Back In Canada Edition

In this week’s Wrestling 9 Deuce, Russ and I tackle the week that was in Canada buddy.  RAW was surprisingly solid thanks to 4 really decent matches.  Smackdown was better on the talky side of things, not so much in ring.  We also found out that Bayley is out for Summerslam, as is Scott Dawson of the Revival.  Charlotte had her ass exposed in her match, and much, much more.  Also, those fans at RAW were absolutely awful.

Of course, we also did our podcast, Are You Not Kentertained, where we discuss some of these topics and others, plus do our weekly segments.  It’s like a verbal companion to the blog. Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog , on Twitter @official9deuce, or Instagram at Official9Deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

The 9

  1.  Sheamus fought Seth and Cesaro fought Dean.  Which match did you prefer?

Russ:  Both matches were good, but Cesaro and Dean got a lot more time and that actually helped them.  Seth vs. Sheamus felt more like evening the score out between the two instead of a full fledged match.  It was fine for what it was, but they definitely had a better match last week.  Cesaro and Dean on the other hand was given time and told a decent story.  It was interesting that the crowd didn’t really get into this until after the first commercial break.  Then the crowd was going crazy with chants and cheers.  Dean and Cesaro have good chemistry together, I’d like to see more of them.  

Kent:  Just last week I sang the praises of Sheamus, and he had a good TV match.  Then Dean and Cesaro tore the house down in one of the best TV matches all year.  What a great display for both guys.  If Dean would get the time and not be so goofy, he could give us more of this.  Cesaro, well still climbing the ranks of all time greats to never wear the main championship.  Yes, he’s really high up in that discussion.

  1.  Are you a fan of how the set up for the Bray vs Finn match has gone so far?

Russ:  It kind of feels like they have done this before.  Where an opponent thinks he is more Bray than Bray is.  However, I won’t say I hate it because Finn doesn’t seem to be giving into the Demon stuff.  Which is good because we don’t want the Demon to come out during the first match that wouldn’t be any fun.  

Kent:  I do like it.  The less that these guys do physically to each other, the better.  Finn showcasing his speed is going to be the story of the match I hope.  This match could be a show stealer at Summerslam.  It won’t be, but it COULD be.

  1.  In honor or our missing colleague, Keri, let’s talk about the women.  Let’s talk about the fans being dicks to Bayley and the two matches.  Thoughts?

Russ:  Well, I’d say the fans were being dicks to Bayley, but really Bayley has been poorly booked and characterised by the WWE lately and the fans are starting to sour on her.  Yeah, Canadian fans think they are above it all, but they sometimes make a good point.  This time they made a good point.  If they are going to fuck up the Bayley character this badly then we should be booing her.  We complain about her all the time on the podcast.  I just think the Canadians are listening to us.  As for the matches.  They were ok.  The two most obvious choices won so it wasn’t a shocker.  I thought Emma looked good out there, too bad she never had a chance.  Nia looked good in her match, but man her competition was hot garbage.  I am pretty sure next week Sasha is going to win.  So we may just end up with a decent match after all at SummerSlam.  

Kent:  Canadien fans like to think that they are special.  They are not.  There is no reason to boo Bayley, so screw you buddy.  “I’m not your buddy, Guy.”  Yeah, well I’m not your guy, Friend.  “I’m not your friend, Buddy.”  Huh, talking to Canadiens is confusing.  Seriously, did they have to put the 3 best talents available in the one match and then….well Nia was in a match.  Emma looked like a million bucks, as was expected by yours truly.  Alicia was great in her role.  So naturally Sasha won.  Fuck that.  I want to give Nia props for doing a really good job with her shoulder to the ring post spot.  She’s been working on it for a long time and it is showing.  Also, when Nia goes face, she’s going to be a star.  I am noticing that she is starting to get a sense for the moment, when to pose and show off a bit.  Dana on the other hand….not so much.  I wish Emma would have taken Dana’s spot.  Mickie is criminally underutilized on RAW.

Here is Alexa on Sportscenter.

http://www.wwe.com/videos/alexa-bliss-discusses-her-raw-women-s-title-defense-at-summerslam-on-espn-s-sportscenter

I believe this week also had Alexa’s birthday, so I found this gallery of 30 of Alexa’s best pics per WWE.

http://www.wwe.com/gallery/30-stunning-photos-of-alexa-bliss#fid-40123415

Finally, to stay on the women, here is Sasha as a zombie. I’d still hit it.

http://www.wwe.com/inside/mattel/gallery/sasha-banks-wwe-zombie-photos#fid-40122788

  1.  Who should Titus choose as his next client in Titus Worldwide?

Russ:  I’d like to see Heath join the ranks of Titus.  He’s got kids!  So does Titus, so he knows how important family is.  Titus and Heath could do some great things together on the mic and Heath is that star that just needs a spark to move really improve his status.  I think joining Titus Worldwide could be that spark and Titus Worldwide needs the star power of Slater.  

Kent:  I say run with this as long as they can and then when Bayley returns, have her lose a bit, and then have Titus boost her up.  She’s not great on the mic, but Titus is.  He also wears purple, so Bayley would fit in.  I think this would help everybody involved.  Then if they ever need to do the Bayley boyfriend storyline, Apollo would be available while Titus could be ridiculous.  I haven’t read Russ’ answer, but my answer is better than his.

  1.  WWE gave away Roman vs Braun in a Last Man Standing match for free.  Was this a good decision.  Also, if you have any thoughts on the match, regale us with now.

Russ:  I’m not sure why WWE is all of the sudden giving PPV level matches for free on TV, but I’m not complaining.  This was a really good showcase between the two men and the ending almost made sense.  I mean Kent is right why did Joe not take out Braun as well?  The lead up to this fatal-four at SummerSlam has given me high expectations for that match.  Which I know can’t possibly live up to what I want now, but man they are doing a great job with this!  

Kent:  I feel all Last man Standing matches should strictly be PPV matches that end feuds.  No exceptions.  This was  apretty good match.  I hate how much Braun had to sell the spear and how little Roman sold at the end.  The big issue I have with this was that after Joe took out Roman, why didn’t he take out Braun as well?  It makes Braun seem like a lesser threat than Roman, and it was kinda insulting.  I hate ending this on a sour note, so good effort by Roman and Braun!

I also have lots of good Braun related stuff this week.  First of all Braun met up with the man who plays The Mountain in Game of Thrones.

https://www.thescore.com/news/1349597-braun-strowman-hangs-with-the-mountain

Braun recently did an interview where he put over Roman.

https://www.cbssports.com/wwe/news/braun-strowman-puts-over-roman-reigns-in-major-way-during-wide-ranging-interview/

Then of course, there is Braun doing a table reading for Juno, which Eric originally reported to me.  What a week!

Braun Strowman Does Table Read For ‘Juno’, Charlotte Comments On Media Tour In China, Outsiders vs Steiners (Video)

Finally, if you want actual video of the chair toss, which you know you do, here you go.

Braun Strowman tosses a desk chair at the head of Roman Reigns and thus creates the perfect GIF

  1.  Which feud has you more excited at the moment: Rusev vs Randy or Baron vs Cena?

Russ:   Well, this one is easy for me:  Baron vs. Cena.  The main reason is that Randy has never been a wrestler that I enjoy.  Yes, he does have good matches and sometimes I like what he does.  However, for the most part I just think he is boring.  Since winning the title at Mania he has been almost unbearable.  Not to mention Randy has been on a major losing streak and needs a win.  Rusev is a master at getting buried. We all know how this will end.    

Kent:  Well, we all know that I have been hoping for months now, that Cena would face Baron.  Of course I am excited.  With that being said, Cena isn’t putting Baron over yet.  He NEEDS that win so that when Baron cashed in MitB, then Cena can say that he beat him.  Cena NEEDS all wins all the time.  My pick is Rusev vs Randy.  Randy got his first win in what seems like months this week.  Rusev is in desperate need of a big win, and Randy as seemingly embraced taking on guys who need a rub this year.  With Bray, he seemed to embrace it.  With Jinder, he tried, but the writing ruined it.  With Rusev, I think they can have at least a 6.5 if not 7.0 match.

  1.  What will help the women’s division more: Charlotte’s opponents pulling her pants down or the return of James Ellsworth?

Russ:  This is a tough one!  James Ellsworth coming back is a big thing, especially for Carmella, but Charlotte’s face when she realized her shorts were down…Priceless.  The “Thank you, Lana” chants were fantastic.  I think it completely eclipsed poor James making his triumphant return.  I think that should be Lana’s new gimmick.  Everytime she gets in trouble in a fight she pants her opponents.  I’d watch every match!  

Kent:  We all know what I’m going to say.  James MF’N Ellsworth is the obvious choice.  Go do a search for Charlotte nude and go play a rousing game of 5 against 1 if you need to.  Ellsworth is the Women’s savior because he’s the best on the mic and gets over Carmella’s opponents.  Of course he’s the answer.  Russ, you’re a pervert.

  1.  We know that Shane is going to get involved in the Summerslam match.  In the end, who will he help win?

Russ:  Well, it seems the obvious choice would be to help AJ win.  This will get KO out of the championship picture and into an interesting feud with Shane.  The feud could easily make it to Survivor Series and hell they might even push it to The Royal Rumble.  Although, I kind of hope that they might pull a fast one on us and he instead helps KO win and then Shane and KO form a faction that will rule Smackdown, while Daniel Bryan tries desperately to fix the wrongs of the duo.  

Kent:  I have been wondering if Shane may be due for a heel turn.  I like that Daniel and Shane by and large just make matches, but that’s not WWE’s style.  They like having an evil ruler sooner than later.  With Kurt running shit on RAW like a mayor, and Daniel never going heel EVER again, Shane makes sense to help KO here.  So I’ll say that he helps AJ because I like providing explanations for how wrong I am.

  1.  We now know that Double AA, the OG of the A Double level, was behind the Tully thing.  We also know that Fandango was abducted by aliens.  We always knew that Konnor likes pie….way too much.  What revelation is most interesting to you and is this ever leading to The Ascension getting a feud or taken seriously at all?  Also, what the hell happened to the Hype Bros storyline?

Russ:  Well Konnor liking pies isn’t exactly a revelation. It’s more of a fact.  I thought AA being the mastermind behind the Tully incident was fantastic!  I can’t believe it didn’t dawn on me until after seeing Arn that it made perfect sense.  The aliens were also a nice touch to clean up the case of the missing Dango.  Now can we please get them into a proper feud?   

Kent:  Really, how did I not figure out that it was Arn Anderson?  It made me feel so utterly stupid.  Fandango being abducted was a fine revelation, especially if they go places with it.  Still, I gotta say, I did not know of Konnor’s love of pie until this week.  That was always The Rock’s go to delicacy.  So what I am basically saying is that Konnor is the next Rock.  Trust me.  As for the Hype Bros, I feel bad for them because the timing never seems to be right, and the one time it was, Zack got hurt.  After Summerslam, please do an angle with them challenging for the belts.

Here’s the full video.

http://www.wwe.com/videos/did-tyler-breeze-find-fandango-in-the-return-of-fashion-peaks-smackdown-live-aug-8-2017

Bonus Deuce Deuce

  1. Rate RAW

Russ:  I’m going to say that overall this wasn’t a bad night.  We got a few decent matches and the last man standing match was a solid piece of business. Rating:  6.3

Kent:  I enjoyed myself.  For an overall show with 4 solid matches, this is better than some PPVs this year in all honesty.   I’ll give it a 6.8.  I am subtracting points due to that annoying ass crowd though.  Go fuck yourselves for booing Bayley.

  1.   Rate Smackdown

Russ:  James Ellsworth returned, Charlotte mooned the crowd, WWE used logic about something that happened a few months earlier and Fashion Peaks answered a lot of burning questions..  These are the makings of a decent show.  Rating:  5.5

Kent:  Smackdown may have not had solid matches, but they had a woman’s ass, a lot of stuff with Fashion Peaks, a continuation on some of their best storylines without blowing their load, and the return of the women’s division MVP, James Ellsworth.  Not as good as RAW in all honesty though, so 5.3.

Final Thoughts

Russ: Who knew that two guys with the same name (spelled differently) in the same week could have me cheering for them both!  Thats right Bronn and Braun both had fantastic outings this week in their perspective worlds.  Bronn for injuring one of the Dragons and saving Jamie from becoming a crispy treat.  Braun for throwing an office chair perfectly at Roman.  Kudos Gentlemen  I salute you both.  (Jesus, that was beautiful Russ.)

Kent:  Well, yeah, I was going to talk about Game of Thrones.  I will say this, Jaime was SMART for trying to go after Daenerys when he did.  We go over this, plus much more at The Game of Thrones 9 Deuce.  Cross promoting is fun!  I have a few more things of wrestling interest though.  Yeah, lots of links this week.

Here’s the 50 best bikini pics from WWE this summer.

It’s also the 20th anniversary of DX.  I’m surprised not many shout outs to Rick Rude’s involvement.  There’s a great tribute by New Day at the bottom of the first one.

http://www.wwe.com/section/overtheropes/article/dx-20-anniversary-reactions

http://www.wwe.com/gallery/wwe-superstars-d-generation-x-20th-anniversary-tribute-photos#fid-40123205

Here’s a cool live performance in NYC of Shinsuke’s theme song.

Finally, I am going to end this on a more serious note.  There’s a guy who won the 3rd season of Tough Enough, along with John Morrison, named Matt Capotelli.  Some of you long time fans may remember him.  He had to retire super young due to a brain tumor.  Well he had been good for 10 years, but it came back, only worse.  So there’s an interview with wwe.com that they did with Matt.  It’s well worth a read.

Matt Capotelli Interview

All, but one, pictures used in this blog are for review purposes. They are property of WWE and wwe.com.

The Best of the Royal Rumble – 9 Deuce Style

Today, I’d like to take a look back at the best of what the Royal Rumble has to offer us.  I have broken it down 9 Deuce style. I am joined by my after PPV podcast partner, Steve, for this particular venture.  Keri and Russ basically flipped me off.  So here you go, this is what we consider the best of the Rumble.  Both of us have seen every single year, so you know that you are getting legit perspectives.   

The 9

  1.  Best save from elimination, meaning the coolest way(s) people have saved themselves from being eliminated.  I don’t know if this should be the Shawn Michaels award or the Kofi Kingston award.

Steve:  John Morrison in 2011, when  he got knocked into the guardrail and hung on.

Kent:  Morrison is my pick as well, but props to Kofi for walking on his hands in 2012 I think it was.

  1.  Best quick elimination from the match.  Old school fans may recall one of the Bushwackers getting eliminated in record time, and then Santino set the standard.  We aren’t caring about who was quickest, but rather which one was the best. The Elimination should occur before the next participant comes out.

Steve:  I’m going to go with the Bushwackers, something about how he was just completely unfazed about being tossed out right away and kept doing his walk right to the back.

Kent:  Jerry Lawler back in 97 when he wa son commentary, enters the ring, goes out in seconds and returns to the announce desk like he never even entered.  There are a ton of good ones to choose.  Warlord, Titus, Santino, Bushwackers, JBL, etc.

  1.  Favorite elimination from the Rumble.  This one is self explanatory.

Steve:  Maven eliminating the Undertaker is my favorite, just because it was so unexpected.  Also Macho Man getting himself eliminated is a good one.

Kent:  Sid eliminating Hogan in 1992 was awesome, Muhammad Hassan’s elimination in 2005 was great, but I will go with Benoit eliminating Big Show in 2004 because it was a neat way at the time and I just wasn’t sure if WWE ever truly had faith in Benoit.

  1.  Best rookie hazing during the match.  There are obvious times when the veterans have some fun with the young guys with various chops and other old school moves.  Give me your favorite example.

Kent:  Well Steve alluded to Maven eliminating Taker, and after that, he got his ass handed to him.  Still, Daniel Puder in 2005 was absolutely brutal with Eddie, Benoit, and Hardcore Holly.

  1.  Best Hoss showdown in the rumble.  In the Rumble, it’s inevitable for 2 big boys to square off and all of the focus on them.  What one was the best or your favorite?

Kent:  Giant Gonzales vs Taker in 1993 for all of the wrong reasons.  It’s still hilariously bad.  

  1.  Best Eliminator, or the Kane award, goes to your favorite wrestler who has his fair share of eliminations.  Something about the way that he does it, just pleases you.

Kent:  I really enjoyed Punk in 2010 holding his ground for a long time and owning that ring.

  1.  Best Survivor is for those guys that always seem to last long and entertain you doing so.  Maybe they have won the whole thing, maybe they have come up short.  This isn’t for just one year, it’s a sign of overall appreciation through the years, or maybe you just love what Ric Flair did in in 1992.  Woooooooo!

Kent:  Jericho is probably my pick with a nod to Rey, Cody, and Backlund in 93.

  1.  Worst Rumble of all time.  Yeah, this one is self explanatory.  Do you focus on the in ring work, the lack of stars, the terrible eliminations, the bad storyline leading in, the outcome of the match, or maybe everything was just too obvious from the get go.  Don’t let your hatred of Bluetista sway your pick.  Seriously…..don’t. .

Kent:  1993, look at the participants. They get rid of Flair, Perfect, and Dibiase so early and have nothing left.  Absolute trash.   

  1.  Best Rumble of all time.  Take everything I just said above in #8 and pretend it’s opposite day.  You probably still aren’t picking 2014, but you can.  Tell us why you chose this one.

Steve:  1992 should be everyone’s best.  It was for the title, Flair came in at 3 and won it, Heenan and Monsoon were great the entire night on commentary.  The after Rumble interview with Mean Gene telling someone off camera to put the cigarette out.

Kent:  I’ll go 2008, despite that being Cena’s year.  That Rumble had everything that you want in a rumble.  It had great stars, some returns and legends, and Cena coming back was actually incredible at the time, and still is today.  1992 finished second for me.

Bonus Deuce

  1.  Best surprise entrant in the Rumble.  Please, don’t get this confused with a returning wrestler, say somebody from injury.  No, this should be a big surprise that the average fan wouldn’t have known about.  Let’s call this the AJ Styles award to ruin anybody’s thunder if they try to pick him and make their pick seem obvious and stupid.  A female entrant would fall under this category if you wanted to be historic.

Steve:  Does Diesel in 2011 count? I believe it got Matt Striker fired so he has that going for him.

Kent:  Jericho in 2013 and to hold his own for so long was incredible to me.  I loved it.  Also, AJ Styles has to be mentioned.

  1.  Best returning entrant in the Rumble.  This should be a superstar that has been with the company and probably has just been injured.  They didn’t defect from ECW or WCW, they were already with the WWF/WWE.  Think of it as the HHH while listening to Creed’s “My Sacrifice”.

Steve:  John Cena in 2008.  Although it’s cool to hate him, and say everything he does is terrible, he came back from shoulder surgery way sooner than anyone should…which makes me think he has mutant healing powers, or took HGH.  It also had the crowd cheering him when his music hit, which for John Cena to have 100% of the crowd cheering is amazing.

Kent:  Cena for all of the reasons that Steve suggested.  I don’t care if he was on something like HGH, he was possibly missing Wrestlemania, and yet he returns for the Rumble.  Unreal!  Way better than HHH’s return, which was crammed down our gullet like a Women’s Revolution.

 

Finally, I would like to give you some interesting facts that I dug up on Wikipedia that I feel may interest you in the Rumble.  These are numbers and statistics that don’t get much love from commentary on WWE.

Longest Cumulative Time Spent in the Royal Rumble

HHH @ 3:59:37
Chris Jericho @ 3:55:59
HBK @ 3:42:30
Kane @ 3:38:46
Rey Mysterio @ 3:20:01
Cody Rhodes @ 3:08:30

Honestly, I’m surprised by Cody.  He’s only been in 7 or 8 of them while Shawn has been in 12, and HHH with 9.  Rey has been in at #1, 2, 4, and 8 in the past, and he always did well, except 2014.

Most Royal Rumble Appearances

Kane with 19
HBK with 12
Goldust and Big Show with 11
Taker and Rikishi with 10
Viscera, Mark Henry, Miz, HHH, Jericho,  and R Truth with 9

Basically, Kane should have this record for many years to come.  If he participates this Sunday, that will be 20 out of 30 Rumbles, or two thirds of all Rumbles.  Shawn’s #’s would be higher if he wasn’t out for 4 and a half years, obviously.  Taker and Mark Henry should be higher but injuries to big men is a hell of a thing.  Big Show has been involved in lots of singles matches or he would be higher.  Miz has a shot at Kane’s record in my opinion.

Most Cumulative Eliminations in the Rumble

Kane with 44
HBK with 39
Stone Cold with 36
Taker with 35
HHH with 33
Big Show with 31
Hulk Hogan with 27
Roman with 23
Cena with 22

I absolutely loathe this Roman Reigns bullshit.  He should have to prove himself before being handed all of these things.  Kane had to be Isaac Yankem and Fake Diesel before given his push.  Roman, well he’s Dwayne’s cousin with really moist hair.  I’m surprised that HHH doesn’t have more, and Big Show’s numbers are a travesty.  Big Show actually has a higher elimination average per Rumble than Kane.  Of course Roman is almost averaging 8 a year.  Yeah, would you look at that.Austina averaged 6, Hogan with 6.75, but Roman has 7.67 average.  Stupid WWE!!!

 

With that being said, don’t expect any records broke this year, but lots of fun….hopefully.  Enjoy!

Please check us out at facebook.com/9deuceblog or on Twitter @official9deuce.  Share this, like this, write us an email with a question at wrestling@9deuce.com.  Thank you.

All pictures used in this blog are for review purposes. They are property of WWE and wwe.com.

The Royal Rumble Retrospective – Part 3 of 6 (1998-2002)

Welcome to the 9 Deuce exclusive, The Royal Rumble Retrospective.  This has long been the most beloved match of the year for a huge portion of wrestling fans.  Every year, I tend to watch a few of these and have a great time.  This year, I wanted to go back and revisit each and every Rumble from the beginning and find out what each Rumble brought to the table and try to determine my personal favorite.  I’m not going to say the best, as your criteria is probably very different, and incorrect, from mine. This has been an arduous task, but I hope you enjoy this project which will have taken about 35-40 hours when all is said and done.  I will provide links to all of these in each edition for easier navigating. A new part will be added daily until completion. I have also linked each Rumble to it’s Wikipedia page so you can see all the info that I didn’t provide.

Part 1 (1988-1992)
Part 2 (1993-1997)
Part 3 (1998-2002)
Part 4 (2003-2007)
Part 5 (2008-2012)
Part 6 (2013-2016)

 

1998 – My senior year in high school.  Yup, I am old.  This is the night that would set the stage for the impending Attitude era in a lot of ways.  Austin is on a roll, and Shawn is killing it in DX.  Mike Tyson is in the house as well.  This is the night that Shawn would hurt his back against Undertaker in a casket match and would cost him the prime of his career.  As we all know, Austin would win and go on to defeat Shawn Michaels and get things moving along with Vince as the best heel in the business.  I think that this match loses some importance due to Austin’s performance the year before, just my opinion.  Cactus Jack (Mick Foley) would start off against Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk).  Yeah, this is a hell of a way to start things off.   Owen Hart as a face is weird, just weird hearing the crowd pop for him.  I think they dropped the ball with Marc Mero.  He could have been huge, especially with Sable.  Man, Shamrock was over.  This match isn’t boring, and that’s due to having great early guys who last long enough until you get other big names in.  So you have your Foley, Funk, Rock, and JBL to keep you going until Austin and whoever else enters.  Bradshaw is clobbering everyone.  At #16, Foley comes out as Mankind and eliminates Chainsaw Charlie.  Yup, that happened and it was awesome.  Goldust was in bad shape at this point in his career.  Weird seeing HHH with Chyna beating up Owen Hart, and yet Terry Funk is still alive..  Ahmed Johnson had no stamina.  Phineas knocked a ref down when getting eliminated and Ahmed just attacks while Phineas checks on the ref.  No wonder Ahmed bombed.  Smart story that Austin got attacked and nobody came out at 22 to add intrigue.  EVery once in awhile, this story works, but also gives away the winner in my opinion.  At 24 Austin’s music hits, the guys are all looking at the entrance and he hits them from behind.  Good stuff.  Austin and Rock brawling on the outside was a look into the future.  Hahaha, Dude Love at 28, that’s ridiculous and great.  Mark Henry was pretty awful in ring, just saying, despite my love for the guy.  The final four guys are Austin, Dude Love, Faaooq, and the Rock.  Good choice for what was coming up.  Dude is gone and The Rock lets Farooq do all of the work, then eliminates him.  Rock vs Austin at the end and this is great.  Jim Ross just screamed Stone Cold 4 times.  Really great Rumble with no lulls despite all the new faces.  The pacing was smart as hell and they always had guys in there that could keep things interesting.  One of the all time best ones.  I’ll say it’s an 8.4.  Also, Mike Tyson said Cold Stone after the match.   Man this DX vs Taker and Kane story was truly amazing.  Kane turned on Taker, then him and Paul Bearer lock Taker in the casket, and then set it on fire.  What a great ending!  It was almost epic.  

  1.  Best Save – The Rock at the end before getting stunned
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Tom Brandi eliminated by Foley and Funk.
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Farooq getting eliminated by Rock
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Bradshaw hazing Kurrgan.  Bradshaw on a lot of these young guys.
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Austin vs Rock, duh
  6.  Best Eliminator – Austin with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – The Rock @ 51:32, Bradshaw @ 35:45, D-Lo @ 32:21, 8 Ball @ 30:43, plus Phineas, Funk, and Goldust made it past 25 minutes, which is a record I think.
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Honky Tonk Man
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

1999 – This year, Vince had put a $100,000 bounty on Austin’s head as he was #1 and Vince was #2.  This was such a huge and hot angle.  WWF was flying high at this point.  DX, The Brood, The Corporation, the Ministry, The Oddities were all around.  The story was the Vince would do anything to assure that Austin lost, including setting a trap in the ladies bathroom.  It never got dull in the ring as you had a constant flow of good to very good guys  in the ring, although the greats were largely left out.  Most of the legends at this point were in the beginning of their rise, like HHH, Edge, Test, Kane, and others.  This was actually a huge night in the career of the Big Bossman and as far as I’m concerned the Bossman Royal Rumble.  I rate this one a 7.5.  In ring was lacking but the story and continuity and crowd was all top notch.

  1.  Best Save – Edge
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Gilberg, Golga
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Mabel via Ministry abduction, Kane eliminates himself chasing the white coats
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Blue Meanie
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Mabel with Taker, APA, and Mideon I suppose
  6.  Best Eliminator – Stone Cold Steve Austin with 8
  7.  Best Survivor – Big Bossman was awesome @ 18:53.  Vince and Austin @ 58:36
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – None
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Mabel

2000 – The year that Austin was hurt.  The year that HHH and Foley had one of the greatest championship matches of all time  The night that Kurt’s undefeated streak came to end at the hands of a debuting Tazz.  The tag division was ridiculous, the Dudleys and Hardys had one of the matches of the year in a tables match. Chyna was fighting for the IC title with Hardcore Holly and Jericho.    Great show prior to the rumble,.  The year that Too Cool all danced together mid Royal Rumble in what was absolutely cheesy, but is incredibly memorable.  Kaentai interfered 4 times, well Funaki 4 times, Taka only 2 times because he broke his face.  The Mean Street Posse cost both Faarooq and Bradshaw in ridiculous run ins.  X Pac got eliminated, but the refs never saw it.  Kane hit an enziguri followed by a bodyslam on Big Show.  The Road Dogg spent almost 20 minutes hugging the bottom rope.  The 3 longest survivors were Bossman, Gangrel, and Test, yes Test.  The night ended with The Rock being victorious, leading to a terrible Wrestlemania 2000 main event.  Great overall show, fun Rumble, memorable as hell, but not great.  6.3 seems right.

  1.  Best Save
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Viscera, Blackman, Scotty, but Kaentai kept coming out and it was hilarious, until Taka smashed his face, Bossman elbowing Chyna out is the best,  Mean Street Posse follow Faarooq out beat him down and Bossman eliminates him
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Bossman on Chyna
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Rikishi vs Viscera
  6.  Best Eliminator – Rikishi with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – Road Dogg for doing the Martel and Bossman for being awesome, Test @ 26:17
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Bob Backlund
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

2001 – This was another big Steve Austin push.  Honestly, in the moment, I was getting sick of the megapush.  Yup, we can look back on it with rose tinted glasses, that’s fine.  You can say that it was what was best for business.  I can’t even argue that one.  As a fan, I wanted variety in my main event, and I felt that they blew their load so many times with Austin previously, which was unfortunate because this one was well worth it.  I loved that he worked with the crimson mask.  Make no mistake, this was the night that Kane earned everyone’s respect and will always be Kane’s night.  Don’t try to suggest otherwise.  He went 53:46, and that is unheard of for a big man, but he did it, and he dominated, and it was refreshing.  I loved a lot of guys in here, but the reality is that a lot of it was made up of midcarders. I give this one a 6.1 mainly for Kane.

  1.  Best Save – Taker saving Kane
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Tazz
  3.  Favorite ELimination – Drew Carey, Blackman by Kane,
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – K Kwik
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – None really, Kane vs Rock is the closest thing
  6.  Best Eliminator – Kane with 11
  7.  Best Survivor – Kane @ 53:46
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Haku, Honky Tonk Man
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

2002 – A month before Vince would go crazy and bring back the NWO, this event took place. The Austin era is coming to a close, The Rock will be making movies soon enough.  It’s now the time of the WCW and ECW guys to get in some main events before WWE takes back over.  HHH was coming back from his infamous quad injury, and was heavily advertised for this.  Believe it or not, he won it.  That really wasn’t the biggest story, despite the WWE’s insistence that it was.  Vince and Flair were having a feud over the ownership of the WWE.  Maven was the first ever winner of Tough Enough and was gifted the elimination of Taker after he destroyed the Hardy boys.  Taker would proceed to destroy Maven, but what a great memorable moment.  Austin coming in mid way, getting rid of people, doing the watch gimmick and then HHH arrived.  They had a few comedy spots.  We ever got Big Show and Kane out there, and Kane picked up and eliminated Big Show.  At the end, it came down to Austin, Perfect, Angle, and HHH.  Austin went out, so he hit them all with chairs. Then Perfect and then finally Kurt.  It had a really great pace to the whole show.  Nothing boring.  Really fun night.  Hurricane trying to dual chokeslam HHH and Austin was great.  My only complaint was how heavily WWE foreshadowed HHH’s win, kinda made it anti-climatic.  Still, I would give this Rumble an 8.  

  1.  Best Save – Perfect at the end was decent
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Maven for all intents and purposes, but also Jeff Hardy, Albert was quickest but not as funny, and Godfather lasted under 2 mins excluding entrance, Hurricane was funniest though, Faarooq in under a minute, Kane, Booker T
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Maven eliminating Taker
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Taker on Maven
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Austin vs HHH, Kane vs Big Show
  6.  Best Eliminator – Austin with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – Austin @ 26:46
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Godfather
  9. Best Returning Superstar – HHH, Mr Perfect?

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WWE Wrestlemania XXXI Review

Did WWE right the wrongs of the past year, or did they keep up with their terrible booking? Well, if you saw the show, you know the answer.

Kick off show

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This match was exactly what you would expect. Some jumps, a few spots that were good (the double suplex spot, although sloppy was a cool visual), and a smart finish with an unknown  tag, and the right team winning.

Winners: Cesaro and Kidd

Rating: **

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Axelmania did not run wild as he was immediately gangbanged and tossed out. Shame, that was my pick. Here’s what I hated about this match. Everybody from the first match was in this one as well, the very next match. Sorry, that is terribly stupid. And all of them served as cannon fodder except Cesaro. New Day tried, but nah. Hideo Itami deserved to have a bigger more impressive showing. I thought Kane would last longer. For all of Ryback’s muscles, he’s physically impressive, but Cesaro seems to be so much stronger, it’s unbelievable. I like Ryback, but he needs to improve or get lost in the shuffle. Big Show held on at one point after being tossed in an incredible feat of strength. I don’t know if people realized how impressive that was. Cesaro held up Show for an insane amount of time.

The final 4 were Big Show, Ryback, Miz, and Sandow (I refuse to call him Mizdow as some names are terribly stupid). Ryback got frisky with Big Show, and Big Show showed him that he is a better athlete. By the way, no Sheamus. Miz then started getting in Sandow’s face and got pissy and demanding and started poking Sandow hard in the chest to the point his chest was getting red and it looked painful. Miz was great here as the fans were dying for Sandow to go off. Big Show got a breather here which he needed during this exchange. Sandow eliminated Miz. Now Big Show works on Sandow, and Sandow gets tossed, but he “skins the cat” as HBK has made famous, and he did so with little to no effort. I will proudly claim that they would try the spot where Big Show charged and the top rope would get pulled down, but it wasn’t enough. I them wisely said the best elimination of Big Show was Benoit in 2004 which was the front face lock and pulled over and out. Well less than a minute later, Sandow did it and I was oh so proud. A nice nod to Benoit. But in the end, Big Show was not to be stopped. I know it wasn’t the popular decision, especially with how poorly he gets booked, but honestly, Sandow wouldn’t benefit from this rub, he really wouldn’t, Miz would have simply destroyed the trophy tonight on RAW. On the other hand, this really meant a lot to Big Show personally and I think it was a nice thank you gesture as his career winds down after jobbing so much the past few years to put guys over and having his character ruined by the constant flip flopping. I actually liked this, although I want Axel.

Winner: Big Show

Rating: *** and 1/4* (I’m a sucker for battle royales and this was done well all things considering.)

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No Sheamus, no surprise to me. Luke Harper got cut early on. Daniel, Dolph, and Wade were used sparingly, so you just know that they will be used more towards the end. Honestly, Luke and Dean (my 2 favorite current wrestlers) really carried this match early on. They hit some sick spots. Luke more than anybody carried the match. Him and Dean had a minor hiccup on a spot for the powerbomb on the ladder, but it was so minor, it didn’t ruin things at all. R Truth and Stardust both did well. Then Wade got on fire with the Bullhammer. It was fucking awesome. It really then became the Dolph and Daniel show towards the end, and it worked incredibly well. As most people speculated, Daniel won it. I wish I had more to say. Russ openly complained about this match, and I tried to remind him, he was acting like a spoiled ECW fan towards the end of their run. Sometimes you can only have so many spots, so much mayhem and violence before it seems mundane. We are used to a lot of this stuff and sometimes it doesn’t feel so special, but considering the time that they had, the spots they nailed, how well they did it, it was a really great start. Could it have been better with 5 more minutes? Yeah, but I feel that one minute in this type of match is the equivalent to 2-3 minutes in a normal match. That shit has to kill. And we all agreed, they put on an excellent match. They set the bar, would anybody be able to upstage them?

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Rating: **** (We’ve seen better, but I am not here to compare to other ladder matches, but as a match in general, it had us cheering and yelling. That’s the sign of a great match.)

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I thought this match had potential to steal the show, and although it may not have stole it, it was very, very good. I couldn’t have asked for much more in all honesty. The near falls, Seth’s picture perfect curb stomps, the RKO’s, and the finish of the match was such a great sight to behold, the curb stomp into a sky high RKO was something that got all of us in awe. We got loud quite a few times. We were like kids all over again. Anytime that you can elicit that type of reaction from jaded fans, I feel you have put on a great match. Had they had 5 minutes more, we may have had a whole other level, but I actually liked the length of this one.

Winner: Randy Orton

Rating: ***and 3/4*

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First of all, let me talk about the netrances. I had hear Sting would have Scarecrows. Instead, we get some Asian gentleman in facepaint, one female in paint, and like the unpainted older guy in the middle who referred to as Master Splinter. This was very unique Asian music that was very awesome, but confusing. All things considering, I loved it even if it caught me off guard. I am shocked that Sting came out first though. It was great to see Sting soak it all in. Then came what may have been one of the all time greatest wrestling entrances ever, possibly best ever. I am not a person who likes to over hype things that just happened, but my god, this was fan fucking tastic. Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced HHH and plugged the new Terminator movie. It was time to play the game. We have…ya know what, words can’t do this justice. Look at this!!

hhh-being-awesome

So yeah, that happened, and it had us buzzing for most of the night. The match, while not spectacular from a work rate level, was one of those matches that went beyond a 30 minute HBK vs Kurt Angle type affair. The drama, the story, stuff like that mattered more. Sorta like Hogan vs The Rock, the atmosphere was far more important. At points, DX came out, so then NWO came out to even the odds. Then HBK interjected, and by the end, HHH won. Wait, what? In my predictions, I jokingly mocked this as a sure thing as I did with Taker vs Brock last year. So this must not be Sting’s last match. I’m still very shocked, but maybe he wanted to build up a solid storyline, possibly involving Taker next year, hopefully teaming up. Sting looked very good for his age and how he had looked the past couple of years. HHH, well he’s HHH. Love him or hate him, he brings match quality. I hated how cheaply the did the sledgehammer breaking. That was sheer foolishness. All in all, I still loved the match and we were actually cheering on HHH based on his entrance, so nobody was disappointed, just surprised at the outcome. Those guys still got it. I really hate the idea that WWE always had to beat WCW. Not many WWE guys at that time were better than Sting, and yeah, Austin and Rock existed with HBK, Taker, Foley, HHH and so many other names, Sting is in some ways only behind Austin on that list overall. I know, very subjective, just one man’s very leery uncertain opinion.

Winner: HHH

Rating: **** 1/2* (In all fairness, this match told such a memorable story, and the quality was high enough to be the match of the night for me. When I think back on this Mania, I’ll remember various things, but this whole thing will be the first thing to come to mind.)

The music performance was way too long and shitty. Seriously, stop this nonsense. We aren’t paying $9.99 to watch this shit, so I guess it is the bathroom break. We kept talking about terminators during the performance and ate more pizza.

Winner: Nobody

Rating: We all lost

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Honestly, this was exactly what you would expect from this match. Paige got worked over by the Bella’s most of the match, made the tag, AJ won it. Very paint by numbers. I’m not bitching, but there was one very obvious awkward botch, and I don’t know who to blame. It was fine for what it was.

Winners: AJ & Paige

Rating: * 1/2* (Yeah, 1 and a half stars….it was what it was. I can’t say it was better than the tag match  which I gave 2. I want Emma and Alicia and Summer to get some lime light soon.)

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Well Rusev’s entrance was fantastic. Lana looked stunning. And then Rusev was in a fucking tank!!!! Awesome. Cena’s entrance was extremely underwhelming, but lots of Ronald Reagan, so I guess it could have been worse. The match itself was good for the time given. Cena gave Rusev a much better match than he gave Bray last year. I was soooo damned impressed with Cena’s springboard stunner. I was wowed by that, but it doesn’t beat the RKO from earlier. I thought this would go longer based on time left and only 2 matches remaining. Good solid effort, no complaints other than I would have enjoyed 5 more minutes honestly. They told the story that they wanted to.

Winner: John Cena

Rating: *** (It could have been 3 and a half easily with more time, it’s a rating based on time.)

Then we had to sit through an excruciatingly long segment started by HHH and Steph which was fine. Steph really gets it. Then out comes the Rock, and he really wasn’t all that funny sadly. Steph slaps him, and so Rock goes to the crowd, brings Ronda Rousey into the ring. Blah blah, this led to Rock hitting HHH and Ronda like did an armbar judo nonsense to Steph. The crowd was eating it up. Steph outdid HHH and Rock on the mic and it wasn’t remotely close. She has evolved so much, I’m so impressed. The segment dragged for fucking ever though, and you can call it a Wrestlemania moment, you can speculate that this sets up Rock vs HHH at WM 32, and maybe, just maybe something with Steph and Ronda at some point, if her contract allows it. Still, they could have cut it by 5-10 minutes honestly, gave it to the Cena and Orton or ladder match. Just saying.

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Well there’s the scarecrow entrance that had been rumored for Sting. This was fantastic. The thing that sucks about these outdoor stadiums is you can’t get the darkness needed for certain things. Still, Bray’s entrance was fucking fantastic. I don’t know if it was necessarily better than Rusev’s, but both worked incredibly well for their characters. OK, so it’s time for Taker’s grand entrance. And no real big pyro, no druids, no…..no……no nothing. He just came down. WHAT THE FUCK? Are they saving a big one for next year? Anyway, would Taker be in good shape, would he look worst than last year. No sir. Taker has been working out. Really working out. Shit, he looks great. I’m so impressed. I found out that earlier in the day, Bray supposedly sprained his ankle. The match started off very slow paced, which fits both guys actually. They are both more about psychology with bursts of action. If you understood that, you appreciated it. Otherwise, you may have been bored. Action did pick up, At one point both guys are down. Bray pops up in the spiderwalk pose, and then Taker sits up and gives the look. Now that to me was a Wrestlemania moment. After some good back and forth, some kicking out of finishers, Taker with ease lifted Bray and tombstoned him. Taker got some strength. Taker gets the 1,2,3. Note how great Bray looked as far as a threat. Cena didn’t do that for Bray last year. That’s the difference between Taker and Cena. That’s why you never hear a bad word about Taker, and you hear numerous things about Cena. Just saying.

Winner: Taker

Rating: *** (Yes, I admit it should be 2.75 BUT I am a biased nostalgic asshole.)

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This match had so much buzz before Brock resigned, and then he resigned for 3 more years, and then there were even more questions. Would this be an ass whooping, would it be an evenly contested match up, would it be a long match? So many things. And I will give WWE this, despite all the criticism, they really tried to make us aware that we didn’t hate Roman Reigns, we just hated his push, the too much, too soon thing. And I do like Roman Reigns. If he can continue to learn and improve, in another year or two, I think he has a chance at being something good, but he doesn’t deserve to be pushed in this moment over so many other individuals who’s time is now, no not you John Cena. The Dolph’s Daniel’s, Wade’s, and Luke’s of this world all deserve it more. And one can argue that so does the Seth’s, Dean’s, Bray’s, and Sandow’s of this crazy WWE universe. Sometimes talents get lost in the power shuffle of WWE pushing their established guys in Cena, Orton, Sheamus, and CM……oh wait, sorry. The hardcore fans are chomping at the bit for these new guys to maintain pushes before they become stagnant like Fandango, Adam Rose, Bo Dallas, and Eric Rowan have become. Then you got this group/generation of guys stuck in between that need the opportunity right now to be given the push, and see if they sink or swim, and it can’t be a Rey mysterio push, but a legit 6-12 month push to see if he can keep the crowd engaged. That is where I feel WWE is fucking us fans.

Stepping off my soapbox now.

So Brock owns Roman the vast majority of this match, “Suplex City Bitch”. Roman’s stupid new vest is cutting the hell out of Brock. We assume this is only causing Brock to launch Roman harder and farther. This is an ass whooping and it is fantastic. One fear I have is that over the past calendar year, how many F5’s have been kicked out of? The WWE is devaluing one of it’s best finishers. And I get why. Taker needed to kick out, Cena needed to, and so did Reigns, but maybe only once a match, or in Taker’s case twice. Taker is always the exception, always. Roman eventually pushes Brock into the turnbuckle, and we don’t know if Brock bladed or not. There is video footage of the ref handing Roman something prior to the move, so it is in fact possible. I didn’t think he did based on the cut, but I have been wrong a lot, so what’s one more time? Roman gets in like 3 Superman punches and 2 spears. The crowd is solidly behind the beast but Roman has his fans too. This just feels like a big match, and that is thanks to Brock, I gotta give them credit for this. Lesnar hits an F5, but he is too exhausted to capitalize. And there is Seth’s music, and the crowd is pumped. This is chaos now. Never has anybody cashed in Money in the Bank in the middle of a match, so now it is a triple threat. No shit. That was different. Once again kudos to WWE. Curb stomp on Brock. Rollins goes for it again as Roman is on the outside, but Brock catches Seth. Roman in for a huge spear on Brock. Rollins curb stomps Roman. Rollins covers Roman, and gets the 3 count. Lesnar never got pinned but lost his belt. Wow…..well played WWE! The celebration occurs. No shit. Props to WWE.

Winner: Seth Rollins

Rating:**** (It told such a great story, and there was so much speculation heading in to the match, and WWE found a way to craft that into something incredibly memorable. Hats off to all 3 guys and Paul Heyman. I really loved this match an it certain is one of my all time favorite Mania Main Events. It has to be top 5 for me no doubt. You have Cena vs HBK, Taker vs Edge, Angle vs Brock, Austin vs Rock I & II, HHH vs HBK vs Benoit, Warrior vs Hogan, HBK vs Taker II, and HBK vs Austin as probably my top 10 with this match. OK, maybe this doesn’t crack the top 5, but easily top 10. I gotta be realistic.)

Overall, I really, really liked this Wrestlemania, and I can safely say it ranks in the top 5 all time. So much better than last year’s shit fest. This year, the hype wasn’t there, but the matches were and the stories came together, and it just worked. It’s no WM 17, but that is the best for numerous reasons. Probably no match of the year contenders here unless we have an incredibly down year, but overall, very impressive. Really, nothing was too bad. Even though I am down on the Rock segment, it’s only due to the length of it. I like when the Rock can be funny and work with somebody new. I am not too fired up about him vs HHH, and I love both guys. Rock vs Rollins or Bray, now you have my attention, especially Rollins because of the humor. Pound for pound, I would say this was an 8 out of 10, maybe more type of night. Once again, it was very good in my mind.

If you have any thoughts, think I’m a total idiot or maybe you agree, please feel free to leave feedback for me. Thank you!!!

All pictures used in this blog are for review purposes. They are property of WWE and wwe.com.