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 5 of 6 (2008-2012)

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)

2008 – Here we are at MSG in NYC.  They even got Michael Buffer to announce the rules.  This night had some solid matches like Flair vs MVP, Edge vs Rey, JBL vs Y2J, and RKO vs Jeff Hardy.  This one is definitely memorable as it set the standard for various things.  There is a guy by the entrance that is really pumped and may or may not have developmental issues.  Well, they start right off with Taker at #1 and HBK #2, the final 2 from the previous year.  Man, that’s crazy.   Aside from Taker and HBK, you got Khali, John Morrison and Batista in the first 10.  That’s more star power than 93, 94, and 95.  The second third was absolutely stacked with CM Punk, Cody, Umaga, Snitsky, Miz, Shelton, Jimmy Snuka, Roddy Piper, and Kane.  WOW!  The NYC crowd is doing things right.  They aren’t trying to takeover the show, just amplify it.  HHH and Foley brawling was great.  Lots of great matchups here.  The final 10 include: Carlito, Mick Foley, Mr Kennedy, Viscera, Mark Henry, Finlay, HHH, and finally Cena.  Cena wasn’t supposed to be back for like 3 more months after injury.  The crowd went apeshit.  HHH’s face was the best.  The final 3 showdown with batista, HHH, and Cena was great, with each guy mocking the others. As much as I have hated Cena’s run, by and large, he obviously needed a Rumble win, and he came back in such a way, I am struggling to be too pissed off.  This gets an 8.5, one of the all time best rumbles due to pacing and star power, hoss match up, returning superstars, legends, everything you could ask for.

  1.  Best Save – Mr Kennedy somehow just hanging in there after Cody’s headscissors Finlay coming out hit Mark Henry and Big Daddy V with a shillelagh.  
  2.  Best Quick Elimination Santino at #3 gets got by Taker and HBK
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Taker eliminates Snitsky, HBK eliminates Taker, Mr Kennedy eliminates HBK, Taker puts Snitsky through a table.  That whole sequence.  Also, Hornswoggle on Miz was ridiculous. Kane punting Morrison was also good.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Punk by Taker with a bad ass clothesline after Punk knee’d HBK in the face
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Snuka vs Piper everybody in the ring just stopped and gave them the ring.  Cena vs HHH was also huge, plus we had Khali, Taker, Kane, Viscera, Mark Henry, Snitsky, Umaga, and Batista.  This is Hoss paradise.
  6.  Best Eliminator -HHH with 6
  7.  Best Survivor -Batista @ 37:40, HBK @ 32:39, Taker @ 32:33, Morrison @ 29:33, Hornswoggle, Cody, & Umaga all over 20
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Jimmy Superfly Snuka, Rowdy Roddy Piper
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – John Cena

2009 – The main storyline here is that Randy Orton is pissed at Steph and then punted Vince in the head.  Good shit.  This one stayed loaded throughout.  No huge ring clearings.  Tons of talent, with a great mix of old, current, and new stars.  It did get a tad congested at times.  All in all, it was still very good and kept you captivated throughout, in my opinion.  The old guys put on a show.while Punk, Knox, and Johnny Abs got a chance to shine along with Cody and Ted.  Lack of big spots hurt, to a degree.  Still, this is one of the better ones.  7.7 seems fair.

  1.  Best Save – Rey landing on Miz and stepping on Morrison, hanging upside down on corner post
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – HHH eliminates THE Brian Kendrick, Kane eliminates Dolph even faster, and then the Santino elimination
  3.  Favorite Elimination – HHH eliminates Miz and Morrison
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Mike Knox
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Khali vs Kozlov, HHH vs Kozlov, Big Show vs Taker
  6.  Best Eliminator – Big Show & HHH with 6 apiece
  7.  Best Survivor – HHH @ 49:58, Rey @ 49:24, Randy @ 48:27, Ted @ 45:11, Jericho @ 37:17, Cody @ 37:01, Mike Knox @ 32:42, Taker @ 32:29…wow
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – RVD, Hacksaw Jim Duggan
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

2010 – The undercard had it’s ups and downs.  We had Sheamus vs Randy, which is one of those feuds that happened far too often.  We had the conclusion of the awful Piggie James feud between Mickie and Laycool.  The real gem here is Taker vs Rey Mysterio.  Now it’s Rumble time, and we start off with Dolph vs Evan Bourne.  Well, nobody gives a damn here.  Considering where these guys were in their career at the time, is this the worst first 2 of all time?  I think it has to be considered.   Thankfully Punk comes out to help this riff raff.  Serena has a great rack, that needs to be said.  This is when Punk was the leader of the Straight Edge Society, a great gimmick.  “Great Khali, I can make you greater.” – CM Punk.  Punk owns the first 7, but then HHH’s music and I would say that maybe the Rumble finally begins.  Punk vs HHH is quite interesting knowing what we know now.  The first 10 was not very good aside from HHH and Punk.  Dolph, Zack Ryder, Drew MacIntyre, and Ted Dibiase were the other “name” guys.  So far, so unimpressive.  I gotta say, this is a time when Kofi, Carlito, Morrison, Miz, MVP, Drew, Shelton, Cody, Dibiase and a few others were stuck in midcard purgatory and should be main eventers now.  WWE dropped the ball big time in failing to elevate those guys.Morrison should have been a world champ as should Cody, Drew, and Carlito in my opinion.  Not 15 runs of Cena. DX clears out the ring and then Cena comes out at #19.  

So the second set of 10 included: Morrison, Kane, Cody, MVP, Carlito, Miz, HBK, Cena, and Shelton.That;s a significant improvement.  I gotta say, the most impressive performance aside from HBK and Punk was Kofi.  Really innovative stuff.  Final four are Cena, HBK, Edge, and Batista.  Great picks here.  Batista is getting some heat for eliminating HBK who wanted that one last match with Taker, and Shawn is selling it, and is pissed.  Batista goes out next and Cena is out about 30 seconds later.  Edge truly deserved one Rumble win during his career.  It was a tad anti-climatic in all fairness. The last 10 guys included: Mark Henry, Big Show, Kofi, Swagger, R Truth, Batista, Jericho, and Edge.  It was a solid roster, no doubt about it.  The thing this one missed was more of a flow, longer survivors.  I loved the Shawn story, but other than that, there wasn’t much going on.  This was light on hoss matchups and survivors.  This is fun, but I gotta be real.  This gets a 6.7 as it was more pretty but without the substance.

  1.  Best Save – Edge and HBK going over simultaneously
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Matt Hardy’s dumbass getting eliminated in 20 seconds
  3.  Favorite Elimination – HBK kicking HHH out.  R Truth gets Big Show and Mark Henry out simultaneously.  WTF?
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown Big Show vs Mark Henry
  6.  Best Eliminator – Shawn with 6
  7.  Best Survivor – Cena @ 22:11
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Edge

2011 – Ugh, the 40 man Rumble.  The most obnoxious Rumble obviously takes place in the most obnoxious place on Earth, Boston.  I want out already.  On the plus side, they are using Paralyzer as the theme song and I love that song.  The undercard features Edge vs Dolph, Miz vs Randy, and Eve Torres beating 3 legitimate women’s wrestlers.  So bad.  Oh no, the anonymous RAW GM thing.  No, just no.  This Rumble is almost 80 minutes long.  They put CM Punk in at #1 and he is now the leader of the new Nexus.  Out comes Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Justin Gabriel,Michael McGillicutty (Curtis Axel) and Heath Slater.  That in turn causes Otunga, Mason Ryan (Batista Jr.) and Husky Harris (Bray Wyatt) to all come out.  What a clusterfuck.  Everybody aside from Punk was ordered to the back or else be DQ’d.  #2 would turn out to be Daniel Bryan.  Wow, that’s how you start a Rumble!  No facial hair, it’s weird, and Punk’s hair is short and lighter.  I don’t dig the hair game her for either guy.  Michael Cole is killing it on commentary making fun of internet fans.  What I am seeing is a bunch of guys who should be the main event scene in Dolph, Punk, Daniel, Wade, Zack, Dibiase, Cody, and John Morrison, and well that’s just not the case 6 years later, sadly.  Zack Ryder has Nasty Boys trunks on, and was a #1 contender around this time. So the highlights from the first 10 guys were Punk, Daniel, Punk, Regal, Morrison, and tubby Bray.  The story around the teens is that Punk, Husky, Axel, and Otunga are working together and clearing the ring of everybody.    Khali eliminated Husky, but then Mason Ryan came out and got rid of Khali.  Superman at the height of his burial powers has to be due out soon I fear.  The second 10 guys were incredibly not noteworthy aside from Mark Henry and Khali.  I’m sick of Lawler whining about how this isn’t what the Rumble is about.  

Booker at 21 and the crowd is marking out big time.  Great sign that says “Wrestlemania, we coming for you N”.  If you don’t get why that is great, look it up.  Here comes Cena at 22.  Get the shovels out.  3 guys out in a minute, way to go Cena.  I hate Cena in this timeframe.  F*$& you Cena for eliminating Punk.  tyson Kidd having to take a beating  from Hornswoggle is ridiculous but funny too.  Suddenly Lawler isn’t complaining about how this isn’t what the Rumble is about.  Great.  Kofi and Cena had a nice moment, ya know, before Kofi gets buried.  Man, prior to this, Rey had been #1, 2, 4 & 8 in Rumbles.  Impressive. OK, the 3rd round of 10 was really good.  It involved the likes of: Booker, Cena, Rey, Wade, Sheamus, Swagger, Kofi, and Hornswoggle.  Just guessing that this may be better than the last 10 guys, but time will tell.  Man, as soon as Alex Riley enters, Cena clocked him.  I am starting to wonder if rumors are true that Cena held him back.  We know that Cena held Wade back.  Did you know that Alberto is the only person to win at #38?  Sorry, I had to.  Randy got rid of Kofi and Shaemus, and now looks at Cena.  If HHH was in there, that would be his 4 most opponents I feel.  Gotta look at the Mania sign like morons.  Kane at #40 is great.  In the ring, we have Kane, Wade, Cena, RKO, Rey, and Alberto.  Good choices.  Kane and Rey are out.  Riley comes out, distracts Cena, and miz eliminates him.  New favorite elimination.  Randy dumps out Wade, Alberto dumps Randy.  But wait, there’s still one more guy!  Santino never got eliminated!  The crowd was buying it.  COBRA followed by the trombone playing, and then Del Rio dumped him.  I honestly haven’t wanted a guy to win so badly in years and years.  We have long needed a surprise winner, and that would have really made Mania feel special.  Instead, Del Rio would win, then lose to Dolph the next night in one of the biggest moments in WWE history in my mind.  I loved it.  This match, took too long.  Pacing was a huge issue.  Half of these guys were not at all special.  The ending was great at the very least.  Also, they brought back 2 legends in Booker and Diesel, which is clutch.  Morrison had the great save.  Lack of hoss matchups hurt.  If it was just 30 guys, they could have actually had a better match in my opinion.  I will remember the night for Diesel, Santino, Morrison, and Miz eliminating Cena.  Still, I am giving this a 5.7 as it was a grueling match to watch.

  1.  Best Save – John Morrison with the Spiderman save.  That is still unbelievable.  
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Zack Ryder because Vince hates young stars
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Sheamus Brogue kicking Hornswoggle out, Miz dumping Cena out
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Alex Riley thanks to Cena’s shovel
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Big Show and Diesel on the entrance ramp
  6.  Best Eliminator – CM Punk with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – CM Punk @ 35:17
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Booker T & Diesel blew the roof off the place
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Great Khali

2012 – Aside from Punk and Bryan being champ, this is a brutal year.  Neither man got to main event Wrestlemania.  Instead, Cena vs Rock Once…..Twice in a Lifetime main evented 2 years in a row.  So bad.  If you want to know why I, along with numerous hardcore fans are cynical, this era really sticks out.  The guys who deserved the main spots got shoved away for the part timers.  End rant……for now.  The Miz is #1 and Alex Riley is #2.  This was a neat idea I suppose.  Eh, I lied.  This sucked.  I want some Fruity Pebbles.  Doo doodoo doooooo.  Can we please stop looking at the Wrestlemania sign?  I can’t be the only person sick of that balderdash.  Primo and Epico were tag team champions at the time.  That should tell you everything.  Foley came in at #7 and the crowd was pumped.  Nothing has happened so far, so of course they’re pumped.  My doppelganger is in the front row.  Ricardo came out at 8, and this was actually a great entrance.  The crowd is very much behind him.  Holy hell, Ricardo is killing it.  Santino comes out at 9 and let the comedy begin.  Foley and Santino have a showdown of socko vs cobra.  Tremendous.  Foley has now eliminated the tag champs and Gabriel.  

Out of the first 10 guys, I’d say that Miz, Foley, Santino, and Cody mattered.  Seriously, that’s such a bad list in 2012. The second 10 guys are highlighted by retired Hacksaw, Lawler, Booker T, and Dolph ZIggler.  I forgot how bad this year was.  Michael Cole at #20, and his song is Burn It To The Ground by Nickelback.  Yeah.  Kharma tosses out Hunico.  I think Kharma may have been one of my 10 favorite females.  Orton is over huge, and it’s his hometown, so there’s that.  We get Jericho and Big Show to finish it off and toss in Sheamus, Swagger, and Wade for the last 10, and therefore the best 10.  This was not a good year.  Sheamus wins.  I would say that this is like 4.4 territory based on the over reliance on old guys, and the fact that Miz and Cody were not exciting guys as survivors.  Sheamus was a boring choice for winner.  Jericho would have been a better choice as he feuded with Punk anyway. Geez, more sign gazing between Jericho and sheamus really irritated me.

  1.  Best Save – Kofi walking on his hands, spectacular!!!!
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – I would say Ricardo as it was short, but Lawler’s was shorter.  
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Big Show simultaneously taking out Miz and Cody
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown
  6.  Best Eliminator – Cody with 5….slow year
  7.  Best Survivor – The Miz @ 45:39, Cody @ 41:55
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Mick Foley, Jerry Lawler, Booker T, Michael Cole, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Kharma, Road Dogg
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

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 4 of 6 (2003-2007)

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)

 

2003 – Big Show vs Brock, HHH vs Scott Steiner, and then Kurt vs Benoit all before the Royal Rumble match.  Talk about having a mountain to overcome.  So they start off with HBK and Y2J, and you say why not.  Stacy Kiebler was absolutely F’N stunning here.  My God.  Best looking diva ever in my opinion along with prime Sunny, prime Trish, Dawn Marie, and a few others.  Man….Cena’s rap was vulgar and tremendous.  Jericho’s face looks awful thanks to the stray kendo stick from Dreamer I believe.   I forgot about Jamal, who ended up being Umaga, one of the all time best unfulfilled potentials.  Test and Cena fight a lot in this one.  The last 3 guys are Batista, Brock, and Taker.  Wow.  That’s insane.  Taker first eliminates Cena.  Then Maven goes for the dropkick from behind in a hilarious spot, a continuation from the previous year. The final four are Kane, Taker, Brock, and Batista.  Holy crap!  This is just hoss heaven.  I think I was cheering on Batista when this aired live.  If this happened this year, I’d be cheering on Batista or Kane.  The ending was good, really good.  This is actually a great overall PPV plus a great Rumble.  This was interesting all the way through and had stars the whole time, plus a great final 4.  I’d give this an 8.3.

  1.  Best Save – Edge was so close twice, once thanks to Rey.  Matt Hardy also saved by Shannon Moore propping him up by his legs.
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Bull Buchanan
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Christian doing Jericho’s entrance which caused HBK to be distracted, and was quickly eliminated.  Jericho with a huge knot on his face, eliminating Edge and Christian.before #12.  Jeff Hardy goes to the top rope and gets shoved off by RVD was awesome.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Rikishi vs Rosey
  6.  Best Eliminator – Chris Jericho with 6
  7.  Best Survivor – Chris Jericho @ 38:54
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Taker

 

2004 – This Royal Rumble is rated TV-MA. Shiiiiiiiit.  Well after that HHH vs HBK bloodbath, I can see why.  Anyway, for all you stupid idiots that were in the YES movement in 2014, pretending like it was the most important thing, 10 years prior, there was a man that was every bit as good, and probably better than Daniel.  The crowd loved this man.  The crowd didn’t act like a bunch of whiny millennials and whine and protest.  No, they just hoped with every ounce of hope that a man who had busted his ass for years, a man who may be a little shorter and not the prettiest face in the room, but perhaps the most talented guy, would finally get his chance.  That man was ‘The Crippler’ Chris Benoit.  Yes, it was obvious that he was winning it, and it was totally worth it.  Now, I can look back with less bias and actually judge the whole match.  Benoit was #1 and a young Randy Orton was #2, oddly enough, the man that would take the belt off of Benoit that summer, in a terrible mistake.  Thankfully, this is an every 90 seconds Rumble.  I like how Benoit is saving himself and is only doing 2 consecutive Geman suplexes as opposed to his usual 3.  Early on, the star power is lacking aside from Randy and Benoit.  Steiner, Bradshaw, Matt Hardy, Rhyno, Matt Morgan, Mark Henry, Tajiri, and The Hurricane don’t move the needle much.  But They were all good talents that weren’t total jobbers so it held a middling level of interest.  The second third is far more entertaining, featuring Kane, Booker T, Shelton Benjamin, Albert, Rikishi, Ernest the Cat Miller, and Kurt Angle.  Wow, so much better.  Of course Benoit just unleashed the triple German’s on Kurt.  Test was due out at 21, which got me pumped momentarily, but then I got more pumped at his replacement, Mick Foley, which was a huge story at the time, for Foley and Randy.  Holy crap, Randy just cranked Mick with 2 of the most vicious chair shots that you’ll ever see. Nunzio gets the Mandible Claw then refuses to get in the ring.  Awesome.  The final 10 include Foley, Christian, Big Show, Jericho, Goldberg, RVD, Billy Gunn, and John Cena.  This is a loaded third.  This is when Cena was just turning face and he got over, and then he finds Nunzio.  Brock attacked Goldberg and F5’d him.  That may happen this year.  Final 6 are Benoit, Cena, Y2J, Kurt, and RVD.  That’s loaded!  Cena, then RVD, Jericho, Kurt, and finally Big Show.  I think Cena tweaked his knee and/or ankle upon elimination.  That Angle elimination was great.  I love how much damage Big Show took.  It told a great story, and showed that he had been weakened for the proper ending.  He had the Walls of Jericho, Angle Lock, and Crossface, plus other stuff.  That final elimination was iconic as well, well until they stopped showing it.  Man, this Rumble was friggin great.  I gotta give this an 8.5 based on the storytelling.  Would be a 9, but the first 10 participants lacked one more star or if we had a bonafide hoss showdown.  They set up so many great angles for Mania though and that’s the whole point.  Kudos!  

  1.  Best Save – Jericho had a few close ones
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Randy and Benoit eliminate Ernest and Lamont who were dancing to “Somebody Better Call My Momma”.
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Foley eliminates himself and Randy was huge for their rivalry.  The winner is Big Show’s flipping elimination on Angle.  It was amazing.  One of the all time greatest and most overlooked.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Scott Steiner on Orton, it’s ridiculous, after Hurricane’s elimination.  Matt Morgan also got some hazing by Rikishi.  
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Randy vs Foley
  6.  Best Eliminator – Benoit with 6
  7.  Best Survivor – Benoit @ 1:01:35
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Mick Foley
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Billy Gunn

 

2005 – This is when WWE was in the midst of making Orton and Batista into stars while Edge was becoming a superstar.  The older established guys like HHH, HBK, Jericho, Taker, Eddie, Benoit, and such were doing what they could.  Cena was in full SuperCena mode, and was pissing off the everyday common fan.  This is one of my personal favorite Rumbles.  Aside from the Rumble, we get Edge vs HBK, Taker vs Heidenreich, Big Show vs JBL vs Kurt, and HHH vs Orton.  Yeah, a lot of star power is used up in matches instead of pawning it off on tag team and women’s matches, like they should.  Eddie pickpocketing Flair’s number backstage was great.  Also Snitsky and Heidenreich backstage….B movie grade stuff there.  Wow, the shit that JBL got away with saying to Teddy Long….wow.  Eddie drew #1 and this is his last Rumble, sadly.  Fortunately, he gets to start against his good friend, Chris Benoit.  This is the year of hazing, and Daniel Puder was a douchebag to Kurt, and he paid for it.  This was absolutely intentional in who would come out.  As bad as Maven’s hazing was, this was way worse.  The first 10 was pretty damn stacked with Benoit, Eddie, Edge, Rey Mysterio, Shelton, and Booker T.  Good start to a memorable evening.  At one point, we have 4 RAW guys (Edge, Y2J, Benoit, & Shelton) and 4 Smackdown guys (Booker T, Eddie, Rey, and Luther Reigns) and they have a rumble, which leads to Muhammad Hassan, and one of those unforgettable moments where everybody teams up on him.  He gets the 619 and then unanimously dumped.

 “Orlando is the new Virgil” sign held by Rappaport.  Love it.  Rumble-roonie by Booker T, and immediately eliminated by Rey and Eddie, haha.  Edge gets ride of Eddie and immediately mocks him while Simon Dean is outside “warming up”.  The second set of 10 guys was incredibly underwhelming for the most part, but it did include Jericho at 11, HBK at 19, and Kurt at 20.  The rest of them…..yikes. The Kurt getting eliminated by Shawn and then coming back in and eliminating Shawn and busting him open was memorable.  Jericho doing the French Tickler dance after eliminating Rene was smart.  Cena was very over, as the fans weren’t sick of him yet. Jesus, Snitsky eliminating Paul London resulted in a concussion I believe.  It was brutal.  Haha, Coach has attacked Benoit and Kane from behind, both with hilarious results.  Cena just randomly elbowed Coach while resting in the corner.  The final third is the hoss third with Viscera, Snitsky, Kane, Batista, Cena, Christian, and Ric Flair.  That’s a solid lineup.  Christian’s song was probably my favorite at the time, and I still listen to it.  It’s called “Just Close Your Eyes” by Waterproof Blond.  The remake of his song with the dude singer sucked.  The final 8 are Flair, Batista, Cena, Edge, Christian, Rey, Benoit, and Coach.  Yes, Coach.  Batista is way too tired too early in his match.  The final four are Cena, Rey, Bats, and Edge.  Clearly Batista’s second foot first, but it was a well done spot, especially with 2 power guys.  It was smart.  The crowd was crazed.  Vince is so pissed as he comes out, he runs and slides in the ring, tears both quads at the same time.  He is in so much pain, and he just sits there feeling like a fool.  Batista is clearly looking concerned.  What an ending, and poor Vince.  In the end, we get a restart and Batista wins it.  If it wasn’t for the poor middle third, this would be an easy favorite.  Alas, despite it probably being my favorite, there are flaws, lack of hoss matchups also hurt.  This scores incredibly high on eliminations and memorable moments and star power.  I give this an 8.2 on those merits alone.  It’s so good.

  1.  Best Save – Rey had a decent save before Edge speared him
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Muhammad Hassan was incredibly memorable.  Then of course there was the Kurt getting eliminated by HBK in like a minute which led to one of the all time great Mania matches, so that holds up well.
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Kurt getting Shawn back and busting him open, or Batista and Cena tossing each other after Vince comes out.  Jericho eliminating Rene and then mocking, also classy.  Shit, Edge spearing Rey off the apron wins it.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Daniel Puder in chop city courtesy of Eddie, Benoit, & Hardcore Holly. Kenzo Suzuki had a bad time as well with Eddie and Benoit.  
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Kane vs Snitsky
  6.  Best Eliminator – Edge and Batista with 5 each
  7.  Best Survivor – Benoit @ 47:26, Edge @ 40:19, Rey @ 38:25, Y2J and Eddie both over 28 minutes
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Does Angle count?
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

 

2006 – This is the Royal Rumble after Eddie’s death.  Lots of Eddie armbands.  Basically, Rey and HHH last the whole damn way.  They wasted the momentum, and while I felt others were more deserving than Rey, but Rey was the greatest Cruiserweight that I have ever seen so kudos to him.  HHH also wanted some glory, I know, I know, that’s hard to believe.  It wasn’t a great Rumble, but 3 great jobs by HHH, Rey, and Carlito.  I’d give this one a 6.2.

  1.  Best Save – Rey as HHH tosses him, Rey gets under the rope and latches on to the bottom rope ala Rick Martel
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Simon Dean, Sylvan, Coach, Booker T
  3.  Favorite Elimination – HHH eliminating Big Show and Kane simultaneously, HHH knocking Chavo off top rope, HBK Sweet Chin Music on Shelton
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – Joey Mercury and Johnny Abs (Morrison)
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Lashley vs Big Show, Kane vs Lashley, Kane vs Big Show
  6.  Best Eliminator – Rey with 6
  7.  Best Survivor – Rey @ 1:02:12 and HHH @ 1:00:15 obviously
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Tatanka, Goldust
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

 

2007 – This is one of the all time great ones.  The matches were fine, but the real treat was the Rumble match.  Finlay turned back the clock and stayed in for a long time.  We got Rated RKO kicking lots of ass.   This was CM Punk’s first Rumble and Benoit and Flair’s last, for 2 completely different reasons, obviously.  The pacing was smart, plenty of good spots.  Not huge on the saves until the end.  But the end, that’s where this one really shines.  It is without a doubt, the greatest final 2 showdown of all time with Taker and HBK.  Those 2 stole the show and set the bar for how to end a Rumble.  Taker eliminating Khali was a thing of beauty as Khali prematurely jumped.  That left Taker to will Khali over with pure strength, and Khali was not much help.  It just showed how incredible Taker was.  I give this one an 8.3 and I don’t know which one is better between this one and 2002.

  1.  Best Save – Shelton with feet inches away from floor
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – The Miz
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Rated RKO eliminates the Hardy Boys, Taker powering Khali after Khali F’d up his elimination
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing – CM Punk
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Khali vs Taker
  6.  Best Eliminator – The Great Khali with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – Finlay @ 32:33
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

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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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The Wrestling 9 Deuce – November 14 & 15, 2016 – Smackdown Live 900 Edition

Wrestling 9 Deuce November 14 15 2016

Welcome everybody to probably the greatest wrestling blog that ever lived.  We are here, representing the 9 Deuce with our wrestling commentary.  We are the only blog who discusses 9 weekly questions, and 2 bonus questions about the great sport of wrestling. I am joined by my 2 exquisite co-hosts, Russ and Keri.  My name is Kent, the proprietor of all things 9 Deuce, and I want to let you all know that we also do a weekly wrestling podcast called Are You Not Kentertained, which you can find my searching via iTunes or just click the name of the podcast and you will go there.  Tomorrow, there will be a preview for NXT Toronto, Sunday a preview for Survivor Series, and Monday, full reviews of both shows.  Busy week.  Enjoy!!!

Also, if you would also, or rather hear us talk about these things, we have a podcast called Are You Not Kentertained.  Click the name, hear our majestic voices, and Russ’.  Also, please check out www.9deuce.com to search through our archives.  Like this, share it, tell somebody that you love or hate about us.

The 9

  1.  Do you think that it was the right move to not have Brock and Goldberg go on last?

Russ: Well, the smark in me says that Brock Goldberg should never have come on.  However, the smark is weak with this one.  So the inner fan in me really wants Goldberg and Brock to be great.  Other than one misstep, (trying to get fans to boo Brock in his hometown was so stupid) this has been a well done build-up.  Paul has done everything right to get the fans on Goldberg’s side.  Goldberg has been great as the babyface who wants to get to the action.  Finally, Brock was great last night in his non-action, true heel move.  So to answer the question I’m fine when it went on.  I liked the actual ending and that felt like the right call to me.  

Keri: I think it was the right move. The focus of this week’s RAW should have been more on setting up the Survivor Series matches instead of putting more emphasis on Brock vs. Goldberg. Yes, Brock vs. Goldberg will draw viewers and is a marquee match but we forget that this is Survivor Series. A Survivor Series, which surprising enough, has actual Survivor Series matches on the card. I think Creative actually got this one right for a change.

Kent:  No, to me it wasn’t the right move, IF this is the main event, which it seems like it should be.  That match is the draw match in that it will definitely get people to watch the show that may not have the network.  Oh, and  I am leaving out a small detail.  That segment stole the show.  The little kid in me got super pumped during the final segment, but the Brock and Goldberg segment featured Paul at his finest, really had the crowd in the palm of his hands, and Goldberg sounded like a million dollars.  Kudos to everybody involved because I now have to admit to looking forward to this match, and I really wasn’t prior.

  1.  What are your thoughts on Bayley on the mic?  She has been on Talking RAW and was on commentary during the women’s match last night, and even cut a promo against Asuka leading up to NXT Brooklyn II.

20161031_raw_bayleycharlotte-35631b4b29d5b9c3e301e64571fc53fa

Russ: I like Bayley in almost every aspect I can think of.  However, she is not the strongest speaker.  On the mic she sounds very scripted and messes up her lines.  Commentary she isn’t awful, but my god the guys have to spoon feed her everything.  She is lovable and just adorable which will only get her so far.  I still think she will improve on the mic given more exposure. I just hope she gets there by the time WrestleMania comes around.

Keri: I’m going to answer this question with another question. Do you love Bayley? If you do, then she is doing her job. Bayley’s character is the shy, happy-go-lucky girl next door. You know the one that any girl can relate to and quite frankly all the guys just fall in love with just because. Given her character, you will not see dramatic over the top promos from her. You are going to see a woman that is extremely positive yet slightly shy and timid. I feel that she plays her character flawlessly and her mic skills reflect that fact.  (Kent:  I enjoy how you twisted it, BUT she still isn’t good on the mic.  There’s a difference in being shy and uncomfortable on the mic versus playing the shy role while delivering your lines in the proper manner.  I think you sugar coating this one.  One doesn’t have to say or do much to get over, look at Goldberg’s career, but he also never got to the next level.  I want to see Bayley get to the next level, and she won’t if she doesn’t improve on the mic.  Look at how long it took Lita, Jeff Hardy, and Daniel Bryan before they reached the next level.)

Kent:  Bayley is so damn loveable, and she wasn’t bad on Breaking Ground, which I seem to bring up a lot, because it was one of the 5 best things that ever aired on the Network.  She doesn’t look or sound comfortable on the mic, especially going without a script.  When Asuka cuts a better promo, something is awry.  Her Talking RAW segment was one of the worst, brutal things ever because the legends tried tossing her a softball, and she couldn’t handle that, and then they kind of embarassed her.  While RAW’s commentary wasn’t terrible, it was probably just as bad as TJ Perkins, and I hate to say that.  Bayley’s whole schtick is how loveable and popular she is, but she can’t talk well.  If she wants to become the next big thing, which she can be, that’s the final missing piece.  Hopefully, working with Charlotte will help in that regard.  That or else she needs to contact her BFF, Carmella, and practice with her and Alexa because those girls are the best on the mic, and it’s not even close.

  1.  Did last night’s segment confirm your fear that Shane McMahon shouldn’t have been the replacement?  Also, did anybody come away from that main event segment on RAW looking better or worse?

Russ: Well my fear was confirmed, but I don’t think I was ever going to be swayed otherwise.  With that said they are wasting Luke Harper on this opportunity.  From the final segment.  Overall:  Raw seems like the better team.  I feel like they are going let Braun shine and he will hoss all over Smackdown.  Smackdown doesn’t have that big guy to counteract Braun.  I really thought Jericho was on target last night, as was AJ.  Rollins put in a good effort I thought, as did KO and Dean.  Bray looked like a bitch and was treated as such.  It also felt like Shane did nothing either.  

Keri:  I think this segment showed that putting Shane on Team Smackdown was a mistake. He really has no business in this match and there are many more deserving guys on the roster that deserve this spot. I hope something happens Sunday night where there is a substitution for Shane in this match. With that being said, I would have to say this segment made me think that Team RAW may win on Sunday. Even though Team Smackdown has the greatest mascot ever in Ellsworth.

Kent:  As I watched it, the most glaring thing was that Smackdown was lacking a hoss.  All great mixed Survivor Series matches work best with a hoss on each side.  RAW is definitely the heel team because they have such a HUGE advantage.  RAW’s weakest link is……Braun because he’s still new and is the only guy without a single title run, and yet is the biggest X factor for that team.  It’s incredibly stacked.  Seriously.  AJ and Jericho killed it on the mic, and Roman got booked like some guy named Roman Reigns the past 2 years.  Bray, well Bray looked like such a bitch through the whole segment and looked awful wearing blue. On Smackdown, he needs redemption.  He didn’t get it.  More in depth analysis for our Survivor Series preview blog later in the week, probably Saturday but maybe Friday.

  1.  Did you like having all the “odd” pairing matches on RAW?

Russ: I like this question, because it is short and to the point!  To answer the question: Any time we can see match-ups that under normal circumstances would never happen is a good thing to me.  However, RAW’s matches felt a little flat last night.  I don’t know what it is, but I just could not get into any match last night.

Keri: All I have to say is the odd couple pairings on RAW were entertaining. Then again, I like watching things implode and that is what usually happens when you put two people that should be rivals together to work in a match. Things usually implode and go badly. And when that happens, you usually have great TV. See it kinda writes itself, doesn’t it?

Kent:  Yes, of course I did, but my reasoning is going to be far different than that of my colleagues as I gotta go old school here.  By the way, tremendous question.  You see, when I first got into wrestling in 1989, it was in the fallout of Wrestlemania 5 and Summerslam.  The Ultimate Warrior was on the rise, No Holds Barred was being made, the tag team roster was full of Hall Of Famers, Ravishing Rick Rude was pissing off every male in the audience while making all the ladies moist, and Hulkamania was starting to fade as was the Rock & Wrestling era.  Survivor Series originally was held on Thanksgiving night for the first 4 years, then Thanksgiving Eve the following 4 years, and ever since, has been the Sunday prior to Thanksgiving.  For whatever reason, I always seemed to have a sick grandparent in the hospital around this time.  So I would be stuck in the waiting room for hours on end, and I would wait until the Survivor Series build up special usually on USA, but I may be forgetting a Saturday Night’s Main Event as well.  These were always incredibly fun shows because it wasn’t quite PPV quality matches, but was a significant step up from the jobber vs superstar matches on WWF Superstars on Saturday morning or on Prime Time Wrestling on Mondays.  The whole idea that they were just giving these matches away for free was astounding.  Some of these were dream tag team matches that as 8 year old Kent, I couldn’t wrap my head around.  It was amazing, and it made being in a hospital the days prior to Thanksgiving, and often on Thanksgiving to be bearable, which may sound awful, but that shit is boring as a kid stuck in a waiting room.  This whole dream match up scenarios were my favorite part of the whole wrestling year.  You can take your Wrestlemanias and Summerslams and keep them, because Survivor Series and Royal Rumble were my jams as a kid.  This Monday made me feel like a kid again for 3 hours, and yeah, as Russ said, the matches oftentimes were flat, BUT that New Day vs. Jericho, Seth, and Braun match was really fucking good and actually warranted me re-watching it to see the teamwork and execution.  We all get stuck mired in the misery of being an internet wrestling fan, and get caught up in how poorly things are handled, that we sometimes forget what made us fall in love with this wacky show to begin with.  RAW brought all of those memories back, and maybe it wasn’t great or logical, or whatever, but it was nice to go back to my roots as a fan and not a critical curmudgeon.  Now back to being pissed off about Baron Corbin.  

  1.  So, Tuesday night was a night of many returns and nostalgic flashback videos. Edge, Undertaker, and King Booker all returned for Smackdown’s 900th episode. Also, the best of Smackdown’s past was shown throughout the episode. Which return was your favorite? What was your favorite Smackdown moment?

Russ: I have to go with the return of the Undertaker.  His entrance is the most epic thing in wrestling.  The crowd was chanting “Holy Shit!” just for his entrance.  Who else could garner such a response?  Once a month have him just do his entrance maybe talk or have him in a quick squash match then leave.  I’d seriously be happy with that.  When he finally retires, I hope he does some podcasts (such as our podcast! Ok, that will never happen, but one can dream.) I’d love to hear some of his stories!  

Keri: While I love Edge and Taker, the return that surprised me the most (and also made me mark out alittle) was the return of King Bookah. His return shocked me and was completely unexpected. His motivational speech and interaction with Breezedango was hilarious. I was very entertained and motivated as well. Now can you dig that…..sucka. As for favorite Smackdown moment, I would have to say it would be the Money in the Bank contract incident. The year was 2013, Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes were feuding over the Money in the Bank contract briefcase. Then on one balmy July night, Cody Rhodes decided to steal the briefcase and in a hilarious backstage segment threw the briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico. The really funny part of this was the fact that Sandow’s character couldn’t swim but jumped into the water anyways. This incident also enabled Sandow to debut the Sandowized Money in the Bank briefcase. Why is this my favorite while there are so many others to choose from? Well glad you asked. This was one of my favorite feuds. Both guys did a great job in this feud and everything about it was just perfection. But thinking back to this moment, well it reminded me of what happened to both guys after this feud. And now, I’m sad. Le Sigh.

Kent:  First of all, nothing beats an Undertaker entrance.  It can’t be done.  While there are always bigger moments, nothing is as consistent as a Taker entrance.  Not Austin, not Rock, not even Hogan.  My answer has to be Edge as I found myself singing to Edge’s song and got super nostalgic.  Which leads to my answer to your second question.  Right here, in Albany New York, I had the privelege of seeing Edge officially retire.  It was one of the only times, aside from deaths, that this industry got me a tad emotional. It was sad as hell, but he got to leave before he was crippled, he was given a ton of time to say his goodbyes, and in a rare treat, even HHH came out, and this is when HHH wasn’t coming out hardly at all.  It was great to see Christian stand next to his best friend, and great to see Edge give his mom a hug.  It was the right place for him as he got his name from Albany and won his first world title in Albany.  Shitty circumstances, it ended where it should have.

  1.   Just what in the blue hell did WWE just do with Dolph Ziggler and the whole Intercontinental Championship scene?

Russ: This was complete garbage! All of the hard work and great matches Dolph has been putting on the past several matches has been totally trashed in a single moment!  Dolph did nothing of interest with the belt, he didn’t have time to.  So putting the belt on Dolph was less making him relevant again and more making it so that Dolph didn’t retire when they put that stupid stipulation back on.  I’d riot again, but frankly this was just too sad to make fun of.  (Kent: I almost feel like rioting to the Benny Hill theme song.)

Keri: Well, Smackdown found another way to get me to retreat into a corner and start pouting again this week. Great job Smackdown writers! I know my sarcasm does not come across in print so I will convey that I’m saying this sarcastically.  This makes no damn sense. I mean why did they take the belt off of Miz in the first place if this is what they were going to do? This is what we expect from the RAW creative team not Smackdown’s. Oh well. I guess I will be keeping my fingers cross for a Sami Zayn win on Sunday night now.

Kent:  I really don’t get it.  Yes, now we get a heel vs a face match up at Survivor Series, and that’s where logical ends.  We know that Daniel Bryan is watching, as is Shane presumably.  We have seen numerous occasions where the authority figure has come out and restarted the match.  Yet Daniel doesn’t do that here or a couple of other times.  That’s a logical fallacy.  Is Dolph retiring now?  He alluded to that in one of his past promos.  The thing that pisses me off more than anything is that they not only robber us of possibly the best match of the night, but Robbed Dolph of cementing his legacy as one of the all time greatest at Survivor Series.  That’s a damn shame.  Really bad move on WWE’s part unless Dolph is hurt for some reason.  Everything else is fishy, and I know that we will have predictions in a few days regarding Survivor Series.  This doesn’t sit well with me.  First Baron, then Dolph.  Can we get a Baron vs. Dolph match?

  1. RAW has 6 full time tag teams, if you count Sheasaro,  Smackdown appears to have 9 at the moment.  Let’s just focus on that and tell me where you see the positives and negatives in this setup.  

Russ: Positives RAW:  I think that 4 out of the 6 teams are legitimate contenders to hold the Tag Belts.  That’s a great thing for the Tag division.  For so long the TAG division has been utter trash or full of mediocre teams.  Now we have 4 teams that could easily hold the belts and do them justice.  Negative RAW: Everything seems to be in a holding position until New Day passes Demolition to break the record.  This holds the teams back from having great feuds because we know who is going to hold on to the belts for a few more months.  Positive Smackdown:  They have exciting teams which can lead to some great feuds down the line. Also, Smackdown focuses on just more than their Tag champs and what they are doing.  They have feuds between groups that aren’t focused on the titles which is good to establish the teams.  Also, I love what they did with the Usos.  Their heel turn was fantastic and has really revitalized them as a team.  Negative Smackdown:  The only real negative Smackdown has is the fact that there are just too many teams.  So many teams get taken off or forgotten because you can’t focus on 9 teams in one division every week.  (Kent: I’m not even sure if you Smackdown negative is a negative.  Yes, they should have 2 tag matches a week to further the division, but hasn’t this helped keep the tag division effervescent?)

Keri:  I think Smackdown is over run with tag teams. There just too many and you can’t clearly define the role that each team plays. I mean yes you have your enhancement teams (the Spirit Squad and the Headbangers) but then you have everyone else. There really is no clear leader in the division and it seems that everyone is on an even playing field. As for RAW, the small numbers actually help here because there are clearly defined roles for each team. You have your leaders (New Day, Sheasaro) then you have your up and coming leaders (Anderson & Gallows and Enzo and Cass) and finally you have your “jobbers” (Golden Truth and the Shining Stars). It just seems to me that the tag team division set-up is better on RAW right now. But, Smackdown has the better booking. (Kent: Won’t the RAW tag division get incredibly repetitive and boring, you know, like it is now, if they only stick with 6 teams?  That is something we often complain about.)

Kent:   RAW’s division would be fine if the division was similar to Smackdown’s women’s division.  They have 6 girls, and the disparity from top to bottom isn’t all that big and you can easily see any woman beating any other woman, and it wouldn’t be an upset.  With the RAW team team, you have your upper echelon down to your scrubs of the division, meaning that there is a clear cut pecking order of New Day on top, E&C, G&A, and Sheasaro in the middle, and Golden Truth and Shining Stars at the bottom, and that works like shit with only 6 teams.  The odd thing is that Smackdown is the polar opposite, but with such a deep division, it would be better if they had more defined echelons.  Ginger Rhynos aren’t even the cream of the crop in the division, they’re simply the champs.  ALL of these teams can beat any other on any given night, and you wouldn’t think much about it.  If The Vaudevillains beat American Alpha, it would be a minor surprise, but you wouldn’t sit there and claim it to be absurd.  If Golden Truth beat New Day, holy fuck.  I think both brands need to take ideas and booking from the other brand oddly enough.  Also, RAW needs to get 2 more tag teams, and The Revival is the most obvious choice, except they are basically shorter version of G&A, so they really fit in more with Smackdown.  I hate to send a team to RAW’s purgator of booking, but I would send Breezedango and maybe The Vaudevillains to RAW and bring the Revival up to Smackdown.  That would help both sides.

  1. Who has been more impressive on the main roster: Enzo and Cass, Carmella, or Alexa Bliss?

Russ: Tough call because all three entities have done really well since there call up to the main roster.  Enzo and Cass are so over right now it isn’t funny (well it is).  Their antics and mic skills are superior to 90% of the locker room.  They are just so much fun to watch and listen to.  My only complaint is that it feels like they are on pause right now.  It isn’t there fault. WWE wants to give New Day the longest reign as champions in WWE History, which I can’t complain about, but this is holding them back.  By Wrestlemania I think we will see a big push for these guys and we will see great things from both men as they move onto singles careers.  Carmella and Alexa have both been fantastic.  First, they have great in ring skills and their ability to tell a good story is very impressive.  Carmella attacking Nikki’s Neck every match is smart!  Second, both girls are very fluid on the mic.  This is what really impressed me about these two.  Many times the women seem like they are reading off of a script and “ACTING”.  I’m looking at you: Sasha, Bayley, Charlotte (well until very recently), Becky.  Carmella and Alexa seem natural and the most impressive part, they react properly when someone is talking to them!  I know that is a little thing,but the small things count!  (Kent: Good answer….ya know, minus the whole not answering the question part of it.  Well played Rollins fanboy.)

Keri: I’m really torn here because I can’t pick just one person. Enzo and Cass are out of the running for me. Why you ask? Because they had an amazing following when they were in NXT. So, I’m not at all surprised as to what they have accomplished so far on the main roster. As for Carmella and Alexa Bliss. I’m really torn as to who has impressed me more. On one hand you have Alexa, who when she was still in NXT was just starting to build an amazing heel character as a valet for the team of Blake and Murphy.  She had the potential then but that potential was overshadowed by others on the roster. She basically took that potential and ran with it when she got called up to the main roster and solidified herself as the top female heel in the company. Then you have Carmella, a girl who was known for two things being Enzo and Cass’ valet and Bayley’s real life best friend. She came out of NXT with a very small following and support system. Crickets were louder than her crowd reactions when she first got called up. Then we get a returning Nikki Bella as the catalyst for a completely unexpected heel turn,. An unexpected heel turn which solidified her as the number two heel on Smackdown and gave her the crowd reaction that she was seriously lacking when she was first called up. Given the accomplishments of both women, I say both have impressed me in what they have done in relatively at short amount of time. This is also the reason why I cannot pick one over the other.

Kent:  This question is even more handsome than our traditional 4th question.  You’re asking me to choose between 3 incredibly different entities. First, a team that doesn’t even need a mic to have the crowd cut their whole promo, which is New Age Outlaws level of over.  Secondly, a girl that many didn’t even think warranted being called up to the main roster, got no response for her first month, turned heel, and has suddenly become very good on the mic and has a better move set than the team that she formerly managed in E&C.  Finally, you have a girl who was never allowed to get over in a place where anybody can get over in NXT, due to the timing of being in between the 4 whoreswomen movement, and Asuka and Nia’s rise.  She comes to Smackdown, gets time to shine, show off her amazing assets, and become number one contender, pulling off moves that the others can’t do, and being the best female heel in WWE, yes better than Ric’s demon spawn.   I know that you expect me to choose Alexa here, but truth be told, I had been clamoring for her in NXT to get a push because I knew what she had and same with E&C.  Carmella has just jumped up and bit me in the balls here with how much she has improved.  So Carmella has impressed me the most.

  1. Did Taker insinuate that he is going to be appearing in a match or matches prior to Wrestlemania this year, or was it simply a “motivational” aspect of his speech?

Russ:  I believe that was the whole point.  I believe he said that if Smackdown loses there will be hell to pay.  Before this week I really didn’t care which team won, but now I’m rooting for RAW!  I want some Deadman justice wrought down upon those who failed him.  (especially, against the likes of AJ or Bray.)  (Kent: “wrought down upon those who failed him”……that may be the best line you have offered yet.)

Keri: That was my takeaway from that segment and if so YEA!!!!!!! If not, then I’m ok with that as well. But seriously, I want more Taker!

Kent:  Yes….?  I don’t really know.  I think that he insinuated that he would be back.  I wish he’d take out Shane and took the 5th spot, because at least I would feel that Baron went down for a reason.  Don’t try to tell me that you wouldn’t like to see Braun and Taker stand in the middle of that ring while the crowd lost their collective shit.  Is Braun the one who finally breaks the Undertaker’s real streak?  He honestly can be.  Yes, I have redacted Brock’s current run.  It never happened.  It’s weird, but I want to see Braun against the Deadman and Baron against the American Bad Ass.  I would pay $20 for each match, no question.  Probably more.  Since I know that WWE clearly reads this and steals my ideas/predictions, I’m just saying, those matches print money for you guys and help establish the new big guys.  Give me those 2 matches, and then give us that one last big match that we have been waiting years for, and they subtly hinted at tonight, Cena vs.Taker.  PLEASE!

Bonus Deuce

  1. What match shined brightest for you this week?

Russ: Well RAW was a dud to me this week in terms of matches so mine is going to come from Smackdown.  I’ll have to give this one to Dolph vs Miz.  I really despise what they did here, but that doesn’t take away that the match was pretty darn good throughout.  While I don’t think this was as good as their last PPV match, I really thought this was a fantastic match for TV and a heck of a way to start out Smackdown.  My only major gripe with this match was how it ended.  I get why they had Miz win. (can’t have two faces go at it for a belt that doesn’t make any sense! That’s sarcasm for those who can’t figure it out.)  However, as I said in an earlier question, they just completely destroyed all the hard work Dolph has done in the past 3 – 4 months.  

Keri:  I’m going to go with the Miz vs Ziggler. Despite the ending, which in my opinion didn’t make any sense, this was a great match and both guys did very well. I hope this is it for these two though and something new is planned for both guys. Because quite frankly I’m over seeing a sad Ziggler. It is not as cool as a bearded Edge.

Kent:  I’m torn here, like my skin is peeled apart.  It hurts.  It comes down to 2 matches: Sin Cara vs The Brian Kendrick and Kalisto vs Oney Lorcan.  I kid, I kid.  Nice botch Kalisto, you deserved to be the one to take out Baron.  It comes down to New Day vs Seth, Y2J, and Braun or The Miz vs. Dolph.  Oddly, Dolph vs Miz got worse the longer it went as it started off incredibly strong an d finished incredibly weak and undesirable.  The other rmatch had the normal rise in action that we are used to as fans.  I loved the teamwork for both teams.  I can’t award this to Miz vs Dolph because it was a logical fallacy, I just can’t do it.

  1. What match for Survivor Series has had the best build, not necessarily the one that you are looking forward to most, but the one that booking did the best job with?

Russ: I’m going with Brock vs Goldberg.  With one exception, WWE has treated this match pretty well.  They got the crowd to fully back Goldberg, no small feat, considering how so many people just love Brock.  The little things they did really made a difference.  First, Paul teasing that Brock was at RAW and he was going to come out to confront Goldberg, but he wasn’t there.  This week when Brock walked away from a physical altercation with Goldberg was a nice touch.  Finally, I really liked how they kept bringing up Goldberg’s family.  If you want a sympathetic face nothing scores points with an audience like attacking the guys family, especially a kid.  RAW creative should take note on how they did this and try and use a similar formula for future feuds.  

Keri: I’m going to go with Brock vs Goldberg. The build and subsequent anticipation of this match is what RAW Creative should be doing for all PPV matches. All matches should have that big fight feel.  With that being said though, I understand why the other matches on the Survivor Series card were not as built up as this match. They are brand vs brand matches and there really isn’t a need for any type of build in that case since the matches kinda sell themselves.

Kent:  Well, it’s sure as shit not Miz vs. Sami. Kalisto vs Kendrick could have been with 2 more weeks of build up, but not in it’s current state.  The bungling of how they handled the Baron and Shane thing, plus the idiotic reason behind Seth playing ball doesn’t sit well with me, despite the fact that that match may be the best on the card.  Bonus points for Shane landing on a mic looked painful, “still sucks on Chris Jericho’s sugar tit” and “I’m like Kool and the Gang” were all great things.  The tag team one hasn’t been bad, but there haven’t been any interactions between the teams, which keeps it weaker than the women’s. Still, bonus points for King Bookah!  That leaves 2 matches on the table that have been steadily building up for the past few weeks, and told a great story. I love the little things about the women’s match, like Nattie being the coach and reciting Tubthumping lyrics, and Dana being a 6th member.  I liked how the stories have built up, and they got off the women’s revolution dick for a few days.  Smackdown really showed how good this match can be, despite Nia’s pants, which were offset by Foxy’s glorious shorts and Naomi’s awesome dive.  Still, I am a sucker for a great storyline.  Prior to Monday, Goldberg vs Brock was a match that I really was unhappy with.  After the RAW in Minny, I had thrown in the towel due to poor planning.  Then it all just came together this Monday in Buffalo. Paul found a way to make this not just feel like a big time match like say something like Cena vs Rock.  This became more than a pissing match because Paul brought in Bill’s wife and son, and added that personal element that very few people ever perfected outside of Jake Roberts, Rick Rude, Roddy Piper, and a few others.  This is why Paul is worth every cent of his contract.  If I was just a casual fan, I’d subscribe to the network to see Goldberg get his hands on Brock.  I can’t say that I would be as likely to subscribe for any other match.  Had the women had a slightly better story, I would have still awarded it to them due to the Minnesota botch, but I will go with Whisker Biscuit vs Beast Biscuit.  Also, why did the ref call for the bell in the Nikki match?  Charlotte didn’t touch Nikki, so there’s no DQ up to that point.  Finally, when you watch Nia sometime, listen to a song called Along Came Jones by The Coasters.  You’ll appreciate it.

Along Came Jones

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My RAW experience in Albany 9/24/12

I figured I needed to rant and you don’t wanna necessarily write too much on Facebook, so my theory is that if anybody really gives a damn about what I have to say, they will click and read this. If not, fuck em. So we get our seats, and the seating is slightly different than when Raylene and I were last here for Smackdown. Mind you, we have the same seats, third row, 3,4,5. How weird right? Anyway, I’m not a petite gentleman, so seating was a tad squished in together. Sadly, the 2 seats next to me eventually were occupied by this mid aged dude and this girl. At first site, she’s not ugly, but then comes the how old is this girl? And so here I am sitting next to my wife and her dad, and to my right, this potentially decent looking girl and her dad. Awkward. This girl is immediately obnoxious loudly saying things that just shouldn’t be uttered, nonetheless screamed/screeched. I won’t bore you with the wrestling stuff by and large. I will admit I got chills when Mick Foley’s music hit. The guy is one of my all time fav’s, we’ve exchanged messages online, I even have his picture next to me. Got to see Big Show, Ryback, Dolph, punk, cena, Wade Barrett who I love, Santino, Zack, Heath, Del Rio, Shaemus and more. All cool things, very cool. That’s the boring wrestling stuff. During the show, they showed National Guard guys, they were probably 20 feet away. During the Ryback vs Miz match, 2 morons decided that they were gonna jump the railing and they are lucky they don’t let the wrestlers kick their ass. Mind you, these guys were about 20-30 feet from us. They got taken down right in front of us. The ring announcer, Justin Roberts, yanked one of the assholes right down. It was utter insanity. The main point of my contention though was the piss poor job that security/WWE does with allowing people to stand. During the match you should be in your seats but otherwise you can just crowd whereever apparently. So when I finally get my opportunity to see one of the 2 smartest men in wrestling history, Paul Heyman, I am stuck behind like 5 or 6 fucking idiots. How did that happen? I have 3rd row seats? The first row was more off to the side, so only one row in front yet these fuckin mongoloids just rush the railing. And security just stands there. What the fuck is the point in buying these expensive ass tickets if you are gonna allow these cave dwellers to stand wherever the fuck they want. People in my row and the row ahead start bitching. The girl next to me, jailbait I shall refer to her as, is 5’2 and is bitching. The 2 bald guys in front of me are bitching and tell people to scram. Awesome I thought. Then this fucking douche bag, piece of monkey crap,, stands basically the rest of the evening. Really? Really? You just bitched for people to sit down you inconsiderate cunt. This guy is just such a scumbag. The girl next to me moves up a row, sits next to the scum bag. He is clearly flirting with her while her dad sits there looking helplessly. I called this guy a pedophile. I stand by this. His buddy clearly took a picture of her ass while the other guy distracted her. Seriously. Then came the point where I thought I may punch this cock sucker myself, but I thought somebody was gonna. During the main event, one of the many troglodytes came over and was standing with a sign supporting CM Punk,the head “Bad guy”. This bald fucker in front of me grabs this dudes sign and rips it up. I shit you not, that actually happened. Fortunately the guy had a back up sign. But who the hell does this dude think he is tearing up a strangers sign. I had that moment play in my head where I envisioned just beating him senseless. Like, I know I’m not on my meds, but I still think he deserved a near death beat down to teach him how to act appropriately in public. In conclusion, I doubt I’ll go again unless I get better seats. If I get front row, nobody is getting in my fucking space, unless it’s a kid. Kids should be up front if possible because it’s such a spectacle to them. I’m ok with that. Not ok with full grown asshole men crowding so that everybody has to stand during the show. Just thinking about it pisses me off. Just gotta keep in mind I got to see Mick Foley and Paul Heyman in the same night. Now I just need to see Jericho and Brock somehow some way.

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The Wrestling Mount Rushmore

I assume you know what this is gonna be about, but if not, that is why we have introductory paragraphs. The idea is, what 4 wrestler belong on the Mount Rushmore of wrestling.  One has to think about the criteria. First of all, let’s establish a time frame. Whether this is fair or not, I am starting at 1985, the year of Wrestlemania 1.This eliminates a lot of truly great legends. this also eliminates me trying to guess what crowd reactions were, how they impacted ratings, tickets, sponsors, championships, just so many things to take into consideration. I know going into this, the choices are going to seem obvious, but half of the fun is the elimination process, right? So let’s start throwing names out there and see where we end up.

Andre the Giant

Why he’s being considered: He’s the first inductee into the WWF Hall of Fame. He may be the only wrestler who’s name was just as big as Hulk Hogan’s. He went into acting and did an honest to God great movie in the Princess Bride. Helped cement Hogan as face of the company and passed the torch at WM 3. Legitimate once in a lifetime performer.

Why he doesn’t make it: He started in WWF in 73, the bulk of his work came prior to the cut off date. Had he been born 10-15 years later, my god, things would have been so different. His timeframe simply doesn’t fit the criteria, otherwise he makes a hell of a claim. Points for knocking out Warrior when Warrior wouldn’t follow Andre’s instructions during a match.

Macho Man Randy Savage

Why he’s being considered: To this day, almost 20 years after his pinnacle in the business, I literally just heard the crowd in Boston cheering his name when CM Punk hit the elbow off the top rope. He’s still relevant. WWF world champ twice, one of the all time greatest IC champs, 4 time WCW world champ, World War 3 winner, headlined 4 of the first 5 Summerslams, main evented WM 4, 5, & 8 and stole WM 3 with Ricky Steamboat and WM 7 with Warrior in the career match. Perfected and may have originated the jealous boyfriend in wrestling with Miss Elizabeth. Allowed a snake to bite him. Epic slim jim commercials that people still remember. Every guy has tried to impersonate him at some point in their life. He made a rap album and called Hulk Hogan a coward. He got a role in Spiderman.

Why he doesn’t make it:  He’s probably top 10 material, but he doesn’t make the cut as he was never given the ball to run with it enough times for long enough periods. That, and the rap album. His appearance in TNA was terrible and an absolute abomination. Also, he may have fucked Stephanie McMahon. Not sure whether that belonged in this segment or second segment.

Ric Flair

Why he’s being considered: 16 time world champion, the jet flying, limousine riding nature boy, one of the most charismatic wrestlers of all time, could wrestle for an hour, made Sting among others, 4 horseman, Evolution, actually lived his gimmick, won the 92 Royal Rumble that I attended

Why he doesn’t make it: Way too much time spent in WCW, never had that proper Hogan feud in WWF, one of the toughest omissions

Hulk Hogan

Why he’s being considered: He’s Hulk Hogan, he headlined Wrestlemania 1-9 & 18. He made wrestling cool in the 80’s, Vince built a company around this guy. He is considered the icon of wrestling. He left WWF, goes to WCW, makes them relevent, they start up Nitro, gets stale, takes the chance of a lifetime, goes heel with NWO, reinvents himself and gets a second life in his career. You go to a wrestling event, you most likely see somebody dressed as Hogan.

Why he doesn’t make it: ……..He makes it, this is obvious.

Sting

Why he’s being considered: Has done damn near everything there is to do in wrestling in WCW and TNA, like Hogan, his career became stagnant and was revitalized by NWO when he became the Crow version of Sting. He was for all intents and purposes WCW’s version of the Undertaker as far as being their mainstay, they guy they could put in any feud and it would still feel important.

Why he doesn’t make it: He never wrestled in WWF. Now even if he has a run, the time has passed. Had he signed when WCW got bought out, the argument could have been made for Sting honestly. Still, tough omission.

Vadar

Why he’s being considered: It’s Vadar time, was one of the most gifted big men of all time, akin to Bam Bam, but main evented more, main evented WCW and WWF

Why he doesn’t make it: A really bad video.

Bret Hart

Why he’s being considered: Along with HBK, he helped bridge the gap between Rock N Wrestling era to Attitude Era. In a way makes a more compelling argument than HBK despite me liking HBK more and I like HBK a lot more. Bret helped make so many people. He gave Bulldog his best match. He gave HBK his first championship. He made Austin. He made Owen. He had teh awesome figure four around the ring post on the outside. Most importantly though, when he left WWF, that gave us the Montreal Screwjob, he gave WCW too much false hope and they utterly squandered his greatness, and helped create the greatest heel of all time in Mr McMahon which was the most important aspect in the turnaround in the Monday night wars.

Why he doesn’t make it: His time at the top as “The Man” is only a couple of years, always seemingly overshadowed. Kind of a whiny bitch for quite a few years.

Shawn Micheals

Why he’s being considered: So you just read the Bret stuff. HBK wasn’t as great a technician as Bret, but he was so charismatic. He was and still is a great cocky prick. Degeneration X pushed the boundaries. DX was instrumental in getting fans to switch from WCW, whether it was lewd comments or getting girls to flash. He taught HHH a lot in how to work a crowd. Put Austin over before retiring for years. He comes back, steals the show, acts like he never missed a beat and becomes champ again, has some of the best feuds including against HHH, Jericho, Flair, and of course stealing the show against Taker in back to back Wrestlemania’s. HHH tried doing the same and it paled in comparison.

Why he doesn’t make it: That 4 and a half year lay off honestly. If he stays healthy, he puts himself really high on this list.

Undertaker

Why he’s being considered: Greatest gimmick wrestler of all time. Greatest big man wrestler of all time. Capable of taking the shittiest storylines and often makes them watchable. Everybody wants to call HBK Mr. Wrestlemania, Taker deserves that nickname just as much. HBK ain’t ever had to work with Giant Gonzalez. Never left WWE during the rough years, one of the most loyal and respected guys in the locker room. More important than anything else, I think he is the icon of WWE, and his streak shall never be broken.

Why he doesn’t make it: He makes it, when you have the most important streak in wrestling history, more so than Backlund, Sammartino, and Goldberg.

Stone Cold Steve Austin

Why he’s being considered: Was the face of the company at it’s peak during the attitude era. The guy who rebelled against his boss and got away with it. He drank beer, gave the middle finger, did his own thing, and looked like a bad ass while doing it. And he could work a hell of a match when he wanted to, his promo skills were top notch, had tons of charisma, a great mind for the business, and sold a ton of merchandise.

Why he doesn’t make it: ………

Mick Foley

Why he’s being considered: Because he’s the hardcore legend. Because of Hell in the Cell. Because he is genuinely one of the nicest guys in the business and is very approachable and sincere. He brought hardcore wrestling to the warped minds of Americans. He is one of the few guys who had prominent feuds in WCW, ECW, WWF, and TNA. Amazing at promos and master of the cheap pop.

Why he doesn’t make it: Never truly considered “the man” at any point in his career.

The Rock

Why he’s being considered: The most electrifying man in sports entertainment, multitime everything champion in WWF. Willing to put people over moreso than most big names. Considered by most to be top 3 all time on the mic, cut some of the funniest, most scathing promos in history. Not the greatest wrestler, but had a good sense of timing.Gave back to the industry. Along with Austin was the face of the attitude era.

Why he doesn’t make it: ……….

HHH

Why he’s being considered:  He had a hell of a run on top as the man in the main event. Was at the helm of DX and Evolution, member of the Corporation, married Stephanie McMahon, so just involved in upper card matches for a long period of time. 10 time world champ now I think. Puts up great matches usually, especially in brawls or specialty environments. Works well with any type of wrestler, underated trait, good if not great promo. Was a great heel. Helped make quite a few wrestlers.

Why he doesn’t make it:  Honestly, just barely misses the cut. He was much closer than most people would probably like, but it’s true if you really want the truth. 7 or 8th probably.

Goldberg

Why he’s being considered: Because if I left him off some jackass would say, “What about Goldberg?” he looked intense, had a good entrance song and was strong and very popular due to his streak.

Why he doesn’t make it: Whisker Biscuit was a prima donna bitch. I don’t like him at all.

Kurt Angle

Why he’s being considered: Probably the best wrestler I have ever watched. Yeah, he’s that damn good. Not only that, he was amazing on the mic, both serious and comedic. On top of that, the only wrestler I have met twice and a very nice dude. Can still go. Probably the most impressive rookie ever. Bald.

Why he doesn’t make it:  He doesn’t have enough time as the man in the big leagues. His insistence in pushing his body too far was such a concern that he ended up getting released and going to TNA because Vince feared for his safety. Fuck, that is scary. And Vince was right for doing so. All the potential and talent in the world, but he needed to slow down, and never did.

Brock Lesnar

Why he’s being considered: If Kurt isn’t the greatest rookie of all time, then this guy is. The best natural athlete ever in wrestling quite possibly. Nah, he just is. If he doesn’t have diverticulitis, my god, he goes on to be a legend in fighting as well as wrestling.

Why he doesn’t make it: His heart was never in it totally, still isn’t, it;s just not his personality. Unlike other guys who eat, sleep, and breathe wrestling, Brock is a farm boy at heart who is a dad and husband and those are his priorities, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Chris Jericho

Why he’s being considered: First ever undisputed champion. Never injured. Great promo and in ring work. Still finds ways to reinvent himself and be entertaining. Still somehow underrated.

Why he doesn’t make it: Never enough time as the full fledged man, held down too much in his prime by HHH, sorry but it’s the truth.

John Cena

Why he’s being considered: Whether us adults like it or not, this guy has been a main eventer for almost a decade now. His brand is worth almost 100 million. He now has his own clothing line at KMart. He’s not going heel any time soon. He is what he is. He will break Flair’s record. He is to kids nowadays what Hogan was to us 20 years ago. Interestingly enough, kids started rebelling against Hogan towards the end and he went to WCW and when that fell flat, he had to go heel to remain relevant. Let’s hope history eventually repeats itself. Everybody involved deserves it. They need to build up some new stars now though. That is a blog for later.

Why he doesn’t make it: Unfortunately, he has to make it, he’s too important to wrestling. I don’t hate Cena, I admire him, I like him. I respect the hell out of the guy and all the charity work and make a wish work he does, that stuff is tremendous, I’m just sick of his on screen character.

Ultimate Warrior

Why he’s being considered: I have to, I have a pair of testicles and grew up in the 80’s. Remember me just mentioning getting sick of Hogan and how the tide started turning? You know why? Because there was a cool alternative and it was the ultimate Warrior. Unfortunately, he was a fuckhead and didn’t do what was best for business. He had strong runs as the man though, insanely popular. Most males in their 30’s know who he is. Not as recognizable as Macho man, but damn close surprisingly.

Why he doesn’t make it: He’s a fuckhead. Really, just a complete dumbass that didn’t do right by the business and was almost as dumb as Goldberg. Too full of himself. Would just quit. Cut the craziest promos ever (part of his appeal as well). Terrible worker. Just can’t, but he had to be in this blog.

Edge

Why he’s being considered: Edge deserves a lot more respect than he is often given. While Cena was given so much, Edge busted his ass. Edge became one half of the greatest tag team in WWE history. I still say Dudleys are greatest in all of wrestling, but E&C in WWE only. Edge is 14 time tag team champ, 5 time IC champ, 1 time US, 1 time King of the Ring, Triple Crown winner, royal Rumble winner, 2 time Money in the Bank winner, 2 time slammy award winner, 11 time world heavyweight/WWE champion, and hall of famer. Who on this list has a better resume statistically speaking? Flair and Jericho are the only comparable I would think. He was a good face, but a great chickenshit heel with a great viscous streak. He could be hilarious, rude, lewd, and downright mean when needed. On a personal note, I was there in Albany when he retired, and it was a genuinely sad night, not gonna lie. I wish he had 3-5 more years. He seemed like a well liked hard working guy that gave back to the business.

Why he doesn’t make it: He wrestled in the same era as Cena, so unless he was wrestling Cena or Taker, the spotlight never shined brightly enough on him, plain and simple. During the time frame, he performed in probably more great matches than Cena, but they weren’t always the main event. It sucks, but he may well go down as the Macho Man to Cena’s Hogan. Or maybe Randy Orton will be Macho.  Hmmm.

So with that being said, the final say on the wrestling Mount Rushmore are these 4.

1. Hulk Hogan – OBVIOUS

2. John Cena – Modern day Hogan sadly

3. Undertaker – In 20 years, people will still remember the streak, Hell in a cell, his confrontation with Kane. They will remember his 20+ years of greatness.

4. Stone Cold Steve Austin – He was the face of the Attitude era, the best era in wrestling history.

Honestly, I know a lot of people think the Rock belongs, but he doesn’t belong anymore than Bret, Flair, HHH, or HBK to be honest. Had Rock not gone to do movies, you’d be correct, but I am sorry, his run as a wrestler is not THAT impressive. While he did it, sure, he was amazing for awhile. But he road the coat tails of Austin.and Vince. Let’s not forget, HHH was very instrumental in the Rock’s ascension as they went up the rankings together basically, and were awesome. In the late 90’s, if you went in a mall, you was likely to see a few Austin 3:16 shirts, not always guaranteed to see even one rock shirt. And Taker over the Rock is a no brainer in my opinion for longevity and what he has meant to the industry. Look at when I posted on FB, damn near everybody mentioned Taker. that tells me something.

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