WWE’s Wasted Potential – An Editorial on Goldberg and Wrestlemania

Somebody get Bad News Barrett because I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. I made the decision to go with logic, and in the world of the WWE, that’s just pure foolishness. During the Fast Lane Preview on 9 Deuce.com I said: “ I’m not doing it, I’m not saying it.  It’s not happening.  Spoiler alert, Goldberg is not walking away as the champion tonight.  It just makes zero sense moving forward.  The WWE is dumb, but is it this dumb?  Reputation time.  I will go so far as to say this, IF Goldberg leaves tonight as the champion, I will write a 5 page essay about all the dumb things that WWE has done over the past 14 months.  It will be absolutely insulting, and time consuming, but I will do it if WWE is this fucking stupid.  I’ve laid down the gauntlet.  Kevin Owens deserves to be treated better.”

Well, less than 2 days later, I am here to pay the Piper.  I’m pissed off, and this is not going to be appropriate for children, or anybody.  Let the hate flow.

March 28, 2010, there’s a date to really think about.  Why is it significant?  It was the date of Wrestlemania XXVI or 26 for you dumbasses.  This featured the last great Wrestlemania main event.  It featured Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker in a career vs streak match, and it is one of the 10 best Mania matches.  These guys did everything and delivered.  Since then, 7 years later, we have been treated to such great main events as Miz vs Cena, Rock vs Cena Once in a Lifetime, Rock vs Cena History Repeats itself, Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton vs Batista, Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns vs HHH, and now Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar.  Look at those names and matches.  I had to really think on a few to remember some that were less than memorable, and I love wrestling.  There used to be a time when the young guys got to go against the established stars and helped make new stars, especially in the main event.  Who did they help with any of the aforementioned matches?  The Miz had his only world title run overlooked thanks to Rock and Cena.  Punk was champ and couldn’t even main event.  The fans had to protest to get Daniel Bryan in the main event, but by then, his body had simply taken too much abuse and he was already made in the fan’s eyes.  Roman Reigns…..yeah, years later and people still hate him, or at least the character and his push.  Seth Rollins technically benefitted, but he wasn’t even advertised, so I can’t really count that.

April 6, 2014, there’s another date.  My parent’s generation and probably grandparents generation, they knew the date, February 3, 1959.  That was the infamous “The day the music died”, which was a result of a plane crash that took the lives of some incredibly popular talent at the time.  Well, for wrestling fans, April 6, 2014 is the day Wrestlemania died, and it was the dawn of a New Day, yes it was.  Sure, we got to see Hogan, Austin, and Rock all in the ring together, and that was fucking awesome.  Daniel Bryan finally climbed the mountain and was put over by 3 out of 4 members of Evolution.  It was the dawn of a great run, or it was meant to be, but sadly, Daniel would never be the same, and that robbed fans of one of the greatest technical wrestlers alive.  In January of that year, CM Punk had seen the writing on the wall and said fuck it, and he left.  That was the year that Bray Wyatt was going to put his stamp on WWE with his Wyatt Family, and they were due for one of the most “epic” matches ever against The Shield.  But they gave it away in February.  The Shield would go on to face Kane and the New Age Outlaws and Bray would get buried by Cena.  Oh, and one other thing may have happened that night.  The streat, the most prestigious number in wrestling, in my opinion, the holy grail of accomplishment, well it ended.  Well, fans had accepted this as a possibility, knowing that Undertaker would insist on retiring on a loss and putting somebody over, but it wasn’t his time.  More importantly, he didn’t have an opponent that would benefit from such a rub.  Instead, it went to Brock Lesnar, a guy who has quite a few significant claims to fame in the world of wrestling.  He didn’t need this, but they gave it to him.  

The thing is, since that day, WWE has pulled a Curtis Axel, the chains were off.  Nothing was sacred anymore.  The WWE said fuck the fans that got us here.  They said, we will do whatever we can to get a headline every once in awhile to try to a ratings pop for a night or two, and logic be damned, we will scramble to patch it up after we realize how bad the mistake was.  The streak, it’s gone.  Ric Flair’s record, the other holy grail, it’s tied, soon to be broken.  You get sick of Cena, well then, we are going to job him out so hard to Brock that even that harshest of haters wonder why.  We have entered bizarro land.  The bullies are the faces, and the bullied are the bad guys, but we’re supposed to be a star and rise above hate.  We have a guy in Mustafa Ali, and his whole gimmick is that he’s Muslim, but he’s trying to prove to the fans that he is not a terrorist.  Think about how fucked up that is!  Muhammad Hassan says hello, and hopes that no terrorist attack happens on a Monday or Tuesday or else Mustafa will be canned immediately.  

Do you remember how awesome The Nexus was when it formed?  Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, Skip Sheffield, Darren Young, Justin Gabriel, David Otunga, Heath Slater, and Michael Tarver.  They were so incredibly over, and they had everything to offer the world.  On June 7, 2010, the Nexus was formed.  2010, we meet again.  They never were allowed to truly get over.  Now when you look at the names, I feel like quoting the great film, A Bronx Tale.  “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”  That quote applies not only to the Nexus, but WWE, and Wrestlemania in general.  Heath Slater is the only active wrestler out of those guys on a WWE roster.  Technically Darren is still around, but always injured, and Otunga is a commentator.  Daniel Bryan is the Smackdown GM.  All of that wasted talent.  I suppose that’s the crux of my issue.  So much talent wasted, never being given the rocket push.

Wrestlemania is a great time to make a new star.  You have that, Royal Rumble, Survivor Series, Summerslam, and Money in the Bank.   What event has made the most stars since 2010?  Money in the Bank is the answer.  How fucked up is that?  Mania should always have some old guard vs new blood type of matches to pass the torch.  There are a lot of guys who are nearing the finish line, and are sure fire hall of famers.  So we should keep them built up for Mania and then have them put over the young guys.  It’s not complicated.  Yet, with a combined age of 89, we have Brock vs Goldberg.  

Just look at this shitty shitty card.  Who is going to benefit from these matches?  Brock supposedly does, but he doesn’t ever need this huge of a push because he’s a legitimate bad ass and we know that he is.  Nikki Bella is gonna get a rub before she retires, and giving Cena a win too.  Meanwhile, a guy like the Miz, a guy who should be near the main event at Mania does the shitty job.  The potential Shane vs AJ Styles match, whoever wins doesn’t do them any good.  If AJ wins, well he’s supposed to and he wins nothing.  If he loses, well that would just be fucking stupid.  I’m afraid of that one.  You have Taker vs Roman, at least that’s what we’re led to believe.  Once again, who benefits here?  If it was Taker vs Braun, I’d be cool with Taker putting Braun over if he was so inclined.  By virtue of being in a match with Taker, that would be a big enough rub though.  Roman though, his push can’t get any bigger, so him winning doesn’t help him.  Taker winning doesn’t add much.  It’s a lose lose match.  

Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho is a great story, and WWE did something right with this one, right up until Jericho broke his promise on keeping the belt on KO.  Why would Jericho help him lose his belt when he could challenge for it in a month?  Logically, I get that he’s your enemy, but you also want what is best for you.  Now, KO doesn’t even act like he gives a fuck about the red belt.  He has a rematch clause, so he should use it, but nah, logic be damned!!!  Jericho’s actions didn’t serve him properly, so it was illogical, and it hurts the feud a bit.  Goldberg vs Brock is actually worse off for having a belt at stake.  KO and Jericho could have really benefitted from it’s inclusion.  Jericho putting over KO as a great champ is important.  Now if KO wins, it just won’t feel as important.  Once again, not how you make a fucking star.

The guys are ready to be made.  They have busted their asses and are ready for the opportunity, but you have to offer the opportunity for them to seize it.  Not only that, but you have to vary who you give the opportunities to.  Last year, AJ, Dean, and KO were given opportunities, and all of them owned it and did great, yet come Mania time, WWE fears that, so bump all of them down the card so we can have part timers and The Shield boys occupy the main matches.  Seth vs HHH works in theory, but imagine how much better it would be if Cesaro or Sami was getting that match against HHH.  Seth is made.  It doesn’t help him or get him more over if he beats HHH.  It’s just a feather in his cap to beat a 47 year old dude.  

So let’s look at an example of something that makes sense.  Dean vs Baron.  Dean is a made man, he can eat a loss here and there if it makes sense, especially to get another guy closer to his level to add more variety.  That’s the way that the Shield Boys should be utilized.  On RAW, they take on HHH and Taker.  On Smackdown, they help make a star.  On RAW the title match is 2 old fucks that bring zero to the table and don’t help long term in any way.  On Smackdown, Bray is about to go against Randy at the very least, with AJ and Luke still in the hunt potentially.  Bray is about to be made by another established guy to make Bray and even bigger star.  Wow, what a concept.  

Every week, we sing the praises of Smackdown because they strive to create new stars, and if a guy puts over too often, they build them up quickly, like Dolph or Miz, and then have them go back to attempt to make a new star, help them climb the ladder.  They don’t utilize 50/50 fucking booking.  No, AJ owned the Cena feud by and large.  AJ owned Dean.  Dean owned Dolph.  Miz and Dolph took turns but it worked.  Bray got over by adding an established guy to his group.  The fun thing was that you can tell that it revitalized, not only Bray, but also Randy and gave new life to Luke.  Luke is now on the verge of being a star.  By the end of the year, if Baron and Luke stay on Smackdown, they will be made men.  I think Apollo could be too.  Then you suddenly have 10 guys that can all be in the title pictures and yet not hurt by dropping down a bit because there are other guys in a similar position, so it doesn’t look like a weak feud.

Think about this one.  John Cena, AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Luke Harper, Baron Corbin, The Miz, Dolph ZIggler, and Dean Ambrose are all on a similar playing field at the moment.  Add a Bobby Roode or Shinsuke, and that makes 10, or maybe they elevate Apollo or Eric Rowan.  But 9 guys is amazing.  You could put any of those 9 guys in a main event title feud, and it wouldn’t feel odd.  Hell, Heath Slater could be in that conversation if they wanted to go that route with  some initiative.  This is why Smackdown is great, plus how the women go, but I’m saving that.  Now look at RAW.  Who can realistically be in a main event feud and feel believable currently, who isn’t a part timer?  Roman, Seth, KO, Y2J and that’s it.  You could make an argument for Sheamus, Cesaro, Sami, Rusev, or Big Show, that that’s the problem.  You have to strain to make an argument, You have Braun and Samoa Joe as wild cards that can go in the main event.  Joe, yes he could feasibly win the belt, but I don’t think Braun can because he’s such a coward.  Finn Balor will return, and that adds a credible name, but he shouldn’t be a threat.  My point is simple, If Roman or Seth is your champ, how many of the singles guys can you actually see getting a championship win?  It’s more staggered and tiered.  That hurts.  Cesaro, Sheamus, Rusev, and Sami all need feuds with the top guys and they need to start getting some wins.  Right now, Samoa Joe is a priority, and rightfully so, but Braun should be too, and that’s tough with 2 big heels.  Joe vs Roman makes a lot of sense.  KO vs Cesaro makes sense.  Seth vs Braun or Sami makes a lot of sense.  Both all of those guys can win, but at least 2 of them need to win the big matches up to Summerslam, and then those guys that you just made can help out 2 other guys.  Seth and Roman are stars, but they need to lose the feuds this year.  They can still win matches, but they should lose the feuds.  The US Title needs to mean something again.  If you want to relegate guys to midcard, then make that midcard vicious and all wanting that US belt.  Make it feel important.

Vince can claim that guys need to reach for the brass rings, but that’s all just bullshit, and I say that with all due respect to Vince and all of the great things that he has done.  It’s a bullshit thing.  You make the argument that you need the part timers to bring in more fans, but you didn’t need that in the Attitude era.  You needed good matches and storylines that the fans didn’t want to miss.  I think Vince is afraid that a Mania with no part timers would be a huge failure, and he’s right.  Consider making new stars, and by next year, no need for Rock, Brock, Goldberg, Hogan, HHH, or any other old timer to boost the show.  Taker has a lifetime pass and he is the exception. Make the youth movement.  You were successful with the Shield Boys, except Roman who needs a change, and The Wyatts.  You know how to make stars, stop being so stubborn.  Having 20 big stars is better than 10.  It makes the shows less grueling during the year.   How fucking hard is this to grasp?  We know that stables work, soooo we need a new stable, or 2.  It’s really quite simple.  I would like to see the guys who have been overlooked to unite and take down the establishment.  How cool would it be to see Sami, Cesaro and Rusev to just come out during a HHH promo and declare war.  Cesaro could expect Sheamus to join him, but Sheamus stays true to HHH.  HHH makes a big deal about KO and Joe having his back, but they decimate HHH, and KO and Sami are on a side.  HHH makes a deal with Roman, Seth, Big Show, Mark Henry, those guys, and just run with it.  WCW tried this with the New Blood vs the Millionaire’s club, and it was smart initially, but needed better booking.  This would be just the thing to get people into RAW again.  You can bring in a Dolph, Miz, Cena, Dean, Randy, any of those guys.  Turn the Shield heel to help HHH because the fans will be booing the shit out of the old school anyway.  This shit could culminate in the new guys having a leader, and it’s Bray.  So HHH and Bray can go at it.  Bray goes over, and then by next year’s Mania, the old times have one last hope, and it’s The Undertaker to take on Bray, and we get the passing of the torch.  There, I just made wrestling great again on RAW.  That was easy, but the fuck heads that get paid thousands of dollars could never come up with such a simple story.  You listen to the fans and I’m telling you, make Roman a beast as a heel that can’t be beat by the young guys.  That could open up all kinds of good and new feuds with new dynamics.

I said that I would talk about the women, but that’s 5 pages for another day.  I got more gripes here.  Yes, the tag teams are a mess, but once again, that’s another 5 pages for another day.  I gotta go back to Goldberg, because it was the absolute wrong call.  I can elaborate why by using history, and WWE is all about history.

One of the things that people have long made fun of WCW for, and usually bring up when discussing the fall of WCW was the David Arquette thing.  WCW failed for a number of reasons, ya know, like not making new stars and being content with the same old shit.  But the David Arquette thing was different.  WCW had used plenty of celebrities in the past.  Some were good to great like Dennis Rodman, Karl Malone, and even Jay Leno.  On the other hand, there was Robocop, Kiss, Master P, and so many other horror stories.  David Arquette was different because they actually had him win the WCW World Championship, the same belt that Ric Flair made famous, that belt.  

Now I am a fan of David Arquette.  I like quite a few of his films.  I blogged about Bone Tomahawk this past October, and he even liked it.  I still hated the idea of putting the belt on him, or any non wrestler.  I hate the idea of the belt going on a part timer even.  Brock and Rock, neither should have held it.  It’s a slap in the face to the guys busting their asses by the bookers, in my opinion.  They did the Arquette thing to get a buzz for Ready To Rumble as well as make headlines in various places that would never talk about pro wrestling.  And it worked!  But did it help in any way?  The ratings didn’t skyrocket.  It was acknowledged as a publicity stunt, appropriately.  It didn’t help anybody get more over, from my perspective, as I felt DDP was already incredibly over.  So with no real benefits, they just wanted to get their name out to a bunch of eyes that still wouldn’t give pro wrestling the time of day.  WWE has made fun of that stuff.  Yet, isn’t that exactly what they  just did with Goldberg?  By the way, if WWE can’t get Bob Barker in to the Hall of Fame this year, I say get David Arquette, that would be awesome.  

At least David was a fan, and I think that he genuinely enjoyed his time.  Goldberg is doing this just to show off for his son and stroke his ego. Goldberg has never been a respected wrestler.  He’s never going to be known as one of the all time greats.  He was a presence.  He is probably a very nice guy, so I don’t say this to demerit Bill Goldberg the human being.  I say this, that looking at things objectively, Goldberg never stuck me as a guy who gave back to the industry like most of the greats.  Look at Jericho and Shawn and now HHH and Randy.  They give back.  I feel that Bill is back for a lot of the wrong reasons, and WWE just encouraged this further by offering him incentives.  This is how you create a monster, this is what WCW did.  Yeah, in a month, he will most likely have dropped the belt to Brock, but the damage is done.  You can say that I am taking this way over the top, and to you, I’d tell you to go fuck yourself.  There are rules and ways to make this thing that we call pro wrestling fun to watch, and occasionally meaningful.  You have an opportunity to make a star, instead, you just keep inflating the egos of 2 well past their prime guys who are no longer great, and in Goldberg’s case, he was never great.  He was cool, he was fun, he was a presence, but he was a shit wrestler and doesn’t deserve the accolades while guys like Cesaro get nothing.  Try to convince me that Goldberg has a better personality or better anything over Cesaro, and try doing it with a straight face.  Same goes for Rusev or Braun.  But yeah, let’s put the belt on a 50 year old part timer and kill all momentum for the biggest show of the year.  

Keep pointing at your stupid fucking signs.  Just remember, WWE, the worst thing in life is wasted potential.

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

The Best of the Royal Rumble – 9 Deuce Style

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

The 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus Deuce

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Longest Cumulative Time Spent in the Royal Rumble

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

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

Most Royal Rumble Appearances

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

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

Most Cumulative Eliminations in the Rumble

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

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

 

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

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The Royal Rumble Retrospective – Part 2 of 6 (1993-1997)

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)

 

1993 – One of, if not, THE all time worst Royal Rumbles from all perspectives.  Here’s what you have to work with. You have Hogan out because of an injury, I think he may have been filming, and same with Beefcake.  There was no Shawn Michaels, therefore no Diesel.  Hall and Bret were in a singles match, as was Bam Bam and Boss Man.  So you are left with Ric Flair who was on his way out, Ted Dibiase who was close to being done wrestling, Mr Perfect who was almost done wrestling for WWF, 44 year old Backlund, Macho Man who was on his way out at #30, a dominant Yokozuna, and the Undertaker who was taken out by this terrible creation known as Giant Gonzalez.  Yeah, this was a fuckery of epic proportions. So many dull points of midcarders at best.  Hell, Lawler even looked adequate here, and I never say that. I will give it a 2.5 for Mr. Perfect randomly punching Million Dollar Man in the arm after getting eliminated, and for the debut of Giant Gonzalez.  At least Savage didn’t eliminate himself.

  1.  Best Save – Owen skinning the cat
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Papa Shango
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Perfect
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Giant Gonzalez vs Taker, Yokozuna vs Earthquake
  6.  Best Eliminator – Yokozuna with 7 
  7.  Best Survivor – Bob Backlund @ 1:01:10
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Tenru, Carlos Colon
  9.  Best Returning Superstar – Bob Backlund

1994 – Talk about a bad time to be a WWF fan.  We are in a place where Hogan is gone.  They are trying their best to make stars in Razor Ramon, Bret Bart, Lex Luger, Tatanka, Owen Hart, and Diesel, but it got them nowhere.  Half of those guys would be gone in a little more than 2 years, to WCW.  This is also not a year of putting in great talent early on, as the Steiner Brothers, Samu, Kwang, Owen, Bart Gunn, Diesel, Bob Backlund, Billy Gunn, and Virgil are the first 10.  That is so bad.  The sad part is that it never feels like it gets much better.  I did enjoy the dominant hoss clearing the ring, in Diesel, but he got rid of Backlund, which is just ironic considering that Bob would be the world champ that Nash beats in November. Bad planning.  Was Macho Man wearing pink and black a wink to the audience about who he liked?  Times when Diesel, Bam Bam, and Crush are fighting each other just failed because the crowd had nobody to cheer on, and then they toss in Mabel.  Wow, so bad.  The final four consisted of Bret,Lex Luger, HBK, and Fatu (Rikishi). Which doesn’t sound so bad, and in 3-5 years, this would have been amazing.  At the time, Lex wasn’t doing great, Bret was still iffy as a main eventer, and Shawn hadn’t quite made it yet.  Fatu was just a tag team wrestler.  Yeah, the modern day comparison would be Cesaro, Ambrose, Baron Corbin, and Jey Uso or Luke Gallows, only somehow less impressive.  With the double elimination finish, it’s hilarious watching Earl Hebner fighting for Bret to be the winner.  God, this is only slightly better than 93’s.  I’d give this a 4.4 due to the unique finish.

  1.  Best Save –
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Billy Gunn was fastest, but Virgil’s made me laugh more, as did Backlund’s.
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Bret and Lex both being losers
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Mabel and Diesel but not really
  6.  Best Eliminator – Diesel with 7
  7.  Best Survivor – Bam Bam Bigelow @ 30:12
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Virgil???
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

1995 – Well, the WWE lured Pamela Anderson at her peak, to attend the Royal Rumble, which was smart.  She was magnificent at the time.  Hell, it may have been the highlight of the event.  I don’t say this as a perv.  This was another year in a terrible, boring doldrum.  Shawn drew #1, British Bulldog drew #2.  They are the first 2 and last 2 participants in the rumble.  Everything else is beyond pointless.  This was just milking Shawn for all he was worth, and Bulldog was one of the few guys that could hang with him.  Fortunately, entrants came out every 60 seconds, making this the shortest Royal Rumble I think.  Good decision as this is just terrible.  Other notable entrants were Owen Hart, King Kong Bundy, Lex Luger, Mabel, and Bob Backlund.  Seriously, look it up.  This is just beyond awful.  7 guys lasted under 24 seconds, including Owen Hart, both Buswhackers, and Backlund.  Like, what the hell were they thinking?  Honestly?  This was the best that they had to offer?  You had IRS, Taker, Razor, Jeff Jarrett, Bret, and Diesel.  Perhaps you should have double booked some guys to make appearances to add star power.  .  The washed up stars plus the young guys that they couldn’t make into stars.  I mean, Crus was big as was Doink at the time.  That’s the hell that we are dealing with.  This was all about getting Shawn over and it worked, to an extent.  Overall, I give this a 4.6 because it’s so short so not as grueling.  That’s the only plus.  Also, Vince proclaimed that 2 men will never go out simultaneously ever again.  Yeah.  That ending is friggin good, it’s a really well done ending.

  1.  Best Save – Shawn at the end for obvious reason
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Seriously, take your pick.  Mo running down to the ring, gets in, runs to King Kong Bundy who back body drops him out.  Hilarious!
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Duke the dumpster Drose took out a ref, I think Earl Hebner
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Mabel vs King Kong Bundy which was really good
  6.  Best Eliminator – Shawn with 8
  7.  Best Survivor – Shawn & Bulldog @ 38:41
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Dick Murdoch
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

1996 – Well, this is the end of the awful “New Generation” era and we start transitioning to the Attitude era.  There’s still another bad year, but you can start seeing the seeds planted.  Until then, we get this sort of nonsense.  Even Wikipedia has the most barebones explanation for this, so that may help you figure out how mediocre this is.  On the plus side, they finally play the wrestler’s entrance music when they come out.  Yay.  It’s all downhill from here.  When you think stars have you ever once thought about Henry O Godwin, the hog farmer?  How about Bob ‘Sparkplug’ Holly, the racecar driver?  Old ass Jerry lawler?  Old ass, but slightly younger than Lawler by a few months Bob Backlund?  Mabel….I mean, he has been around for how long and accomplished what exactly?  Way past his prime and our of shape Jake the snake Roberts?  You get the point.  Aside from HHH, who was still pretty green, you simply had talent that was too young/green, or too old to make this feel exciting.  It really doesn’t get much better either.  55 year old Dory Funk Jr is #8. How you doing?  We finally have a highlight!  Lawler is hiding under the ring.  We get Yokozuna out, and he was the best guy in 93, so he should logically kill everybody.  Guess what happens?  He doesn’t.  We round out our first 10 with the 1-2-3 Kid, who got chased off by Razor Ramon for a bit.  Wow, so bad.  Why did Owen Hart have such bad music, considering his character, it never fit.  I feel that Savio Vega was criminally misused during this time period.  HBK enters and works HHH, then X Pac, then Owen while Vader and Yoko duke it out, which is awesome.  Then Shawn gets to eliminate both guys simultaneously in the fakest elimination ever.  I have now checked out. Vader gets back in the ring, eliminates Shawn, HHH, and Holly, and they say that those don’t count.  REALLY?  This fucking match and it’s bullshit inconsistencies.  Why does it count every other time that it happens?  I may have to score this even lower than anticipated.   Shawn wins, nothing interesting happens aside from Diesel and Isaac Yankem, who is now Kane.  I give this one a 3.0 and I advise against watching this one. Kama, better known as the Godfather, had one of, if not his best Rumble, lasting over 15 minutes.  Also, Austin made his debut in the Rumble, as The Ringmaster.  Man, this is wretched.

  1.  Best Save – Lawler hiding under the ring
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – Both members of the Squat team were great.  The highlight of this year, aside from watching Vader work a great match.
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Vader eliminating HBK despite it not counting because I loathed Shawn at this point.
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown – Vader vs Yokozuna
  6.  Best Eliminator – Shawn Michaels with 8
  7.  Best Survivor – Hunter Hearst Helmsley @ 48:01
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Dory Funk???
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

1997 – This was a shitty year.  WCW had raided the WWF’s talent roster.  They had to re-utilize 6 guys from previous matches including HHH, Goldust, Vader, Taker, Faarooq, and Ahmed Johnson.  So that only left a handful of guys to work the match and they just weren’t up to snuff, except Stone Cold, and so this is the night that Austin really carried a whole PPV.  Bret did his job.  Alas, Mankind, Rocky, and Diesel (Kane) were all too green to hold their own, the Mexicans were simply cannon fodder, and then the legends like Jake and Terry were just too old to do much.  As much as I loved the finish, this was a bad Rumble.  I would avoid this unless you are a hardcore Austin or Bret fan.  I give this a 4.1.  Just not enough talent at the moment.  They probably did the best that they could all things considering.

  1.  Best Save – Austin being eliminated and then returning to the ring and eliminating Bret, Taker, and Vader and winning
  2.  Best Quick Elimination – “Razor Ramon”, Bart Gunn, Jake the Snake Roberts
  3.  Favorite Elimination – Ahmed Johnson eliminating himself for no reason whatsoever, Mil Mascaras eliminating himself and not understanding what he did
  4.  Best Rookie Hazing
  5.  Best Hoss Showdown Taker vs Vader or Austin vs Bret
  6.  Best Eliminator – Stone Cold with 10
  7.  Best Survivor – Stone Cold @ 45:07
  8.  Best Surprise Entrant – Mil Maascaras?
  9.  Best Returning Superstar

 

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Live To Win September 14, 2016

 

I know, you missed me, or have given up on me. Fear not, true Bo-lievers. I can’t sit here and tell you that I am new and improved with some mentality that I can’t be stopped. Of course I can be stopped. I am constantly stopping myself I do want to tell you what I have been doing, and why I am back.

I ordered myself a FitBit Charge 2, and that little device is going to change my life, I hope. It’s like a constant guilt trip. It is this reminder, and then it vibrates and is nudging you like, “Hey, tubby, get up and do something.” And so I got up and did my 250 steps. It reminds me every hour from noon to midnight, every hour. No, some hours, I ain’t doing it, but I will be prodded throughout the day, and that’s cool as shit. It also monitors my heart, which is important to me. Finally, it gives a more accurate reading on what it does for calories burned, and that feels awesome.

As for the weight, yeah, I have goals. I just want to weigh under 300 pounds for now. That is still in effect. After that, probably 10 pounds at a time. I have a medium sense of urgency. That way I don’t stress over it, but I have a better attitude over it. I fully admit, oftentimes diets make me terribly depressed, and I know a lot of you can relate to that. Our weight tortures so many of us, and no matter how hard we try, no matter how well our intentions are, we feel like failures, and it weighs on us.  I’ll get there. I haven’t even been trying and I have maintained my weight, which isn’t great, but I didn’t re-add the weight, so that’s some progress for a dude like me.

As for the 2 big things that you are wondering. I went 7.9 miles, I was within 10 seconds of getting to 8.0 today, in exactly 30 minutes. I haven’t exercised in months, so to just jump in and go for it, it kicked my ass, but I’m proud of it.  I’m sure most of you could do far better than me, but to last all 30 minutes without any pauses, I’ll take that every time.

In my best Bruce Buffer voice “it’s TIME” to reveal today’s playlist. Click the name of the song to listen to the song on YouTube.

  1.  Turn It Up
    I don’t care if you think that this is too poppy. Trust me, you will feel good by the end of this. It’s an infectious song and a great morale boost.
  2. Turn Me Loose
    This song, right from the get go, it kept me just having a good time, and allowing me to ignore knee pain. Great opening too!
  3. Turn Me On Mr. Dead Man
    If you like an exciting rock song to get you going, this will help speed you up a bit, and it keeps you jamming out.
  4. Turn The Page
    Not a great workout song. I was in too deep before realizing that this killed my mojo.
  5. Uprising
    This got me right back into things as the struggle became real, as the intensity increased and I was finding my groove.
  6. My Way
    Yup, I know that Limp Bizkit sucks, but this song is a great energy song. This was playing as the exercise started the hardest part of it. For 4 grueling minutes, this helped me get pissed off and talk shit to myself.
  7. Goldberg Theme
    We all remember this whisker biscuit, bald headed bastard. This song used to get you pumped, admit it. Around 1998-2000. You know it.
  8. Purple Haze
    It’s Jimi Hendrix, it kicks ass. As my legs had no fucks left to give, this came on and jazzed me up a bit.
  9. Ballroom Blitz
    Yeaaah yeah yeah yeah yeah! This song is a great way to end your ride. Plus, watch the video, and look at the attire. It’s amazing.

Thank you for reading. For The Watch!!