WWE Announces 2016 Brand Split And SmackDown! Goes Live

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with the Armbar Express. BIG NEWS coming from the WWE, with the official announcement that the WWE brand split is coming back. RAW and SmackDown! will once again receive different and unique rosters, with SmackDown! also additionally becoming a permanent live show on Tuesday nights. This may be obvious, but there’s a lot to talk about with regards to this news and we’ll delve right into all of the speculation regarding how many titles we’ll have, who’s going where and the reasons for the brand split in the first place.

Dave Meltzer from Wrestling Observer, addressed this on the Wrestling Observer Live radio show I believe. He explained that one of the main reasons for WWE bringing back the brand split is to help generally increase television ratings, particularly on SmackDown! With SmackDown! previously being taped, the incentive to watch it dropped as wrestling fans could simply read what happened online and lose interest to actually see the show as it airs. This was obviously a big reason for why the decision was made to make it a live show. Jerry Lawler hinted at SmackDown! going live earlier on in the year and now, it’s actually happening.

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This picture was already clearly painted with the announcement made by Stephanie and Shane McMahon, but it is expected that Stephanie and Shane will run each show separately. The interesting thing is that both of them are reportedly expected to be babyface authority figures at first, which is a very unique direction for this brand split. Past brand splits usually saw one brand with the babyface authority figure and one with the heel authority figure. When the first brand split started, Ric Flair (the babyface) controlled RAW while Vince McMahon (the heel) controlled SmackDown! When the general managers were introduced, Stephanie ran SmackDown! as a babyface and Eric Bischoff ran RAW as a heel. Having two babyfaces controlling the show is different and it is a fresh change from the dictatorship we’ve seen since August 2013. I’m not sure whether it is wise to have BOTH brands being run by babyfaces. The purpose of having two different shows and a brand split is to make the audience seem like both shows are unique, in talent and in storylines. I could see why at this stage, they wouldn’t want Stephanie to be a heel going forward. With her upcoming memoirs, it is understandable why the WWE want Stephanie to be perceived better by the public. Turning Shane is possible, but Shane is still a popular babyface authority figure. That would be a hugely risky endevour. I would suspect that if there’s going to be any heel authority figure around, it will be Triple H.

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There are two big names earmarked for being the top guys on both shows, with John Cena and Roman Reigns ruling the roosts. No surprises here. Which superstar will go where is a big question. If the WWE are still banking on Roman Reigns, they may want to keep him on RAW and portray him as the top guy on the main show. However, it is possible that WWE would want John on RAW to get the RAW ratings right back up. John’s got a better ratings track record than Roman, so it would make sense. If Roman is also on SmackDown!, then there’s a lot less pressure on him to succeed on the “B show.”

An interesting note which came out is that it’s not a sure thing that Brock Lesnar will end up on RAW. I wouldn’t have assumed that Brock would be on RAW either as he appeared on SmackDown! a few times in the build up to WrestleMania. I think it is better for Brock to be on RAW than SmackDown! as he does do wonders to the ratings on that show. It’ll be interesting to see where all the part-timers go.

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There is reportedly a plan in place for two world championship in the WWE, one for each show. A lot of people will argue that there should be one main belt but I personally think that you’ve got enough diversity for their to be one for each brand. I argued way back before the titles were re-unified that the roster had become too integrated in order for two world titles to be around. Now though, you have enough talent to be able to keep these two shows separated. Now everyone can have their chance at each of the titles.

The one thing which will initially drive me nuts I think is the proposed idea that the Women’s Champion would be on both shows. I kind of agree with this as there’s not enough depth on the women’s side of things to be able to do two titles. However, I am very much against the idea of seeing Charlotte on both shows. To see her this much would really drive people away, knowing that all you’ll get in women’s angles from now on is just her. I don’t think she’s talented enough to able to undertake that kind of responsibility and pull it off. If Sasha Banks wins the title shortly afterwards, it’d be much more tolerable I think.

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So another big question is when the date of the draft will be? It’s highly expected at the moment that the draft lottery/selection will take place on the July 11th edition of RAW, which will be taking place in Detroit. Funnily enough, it’s a show that’s currently scheduled to feature Brock Lesnar.

I actually think that this makes a lot of sense, considering that this will follow the July 4th edition of RAW, with reportedly a lot of belief within the company that the July 4th edition will see a serious decline in viewers in a similar fashion to a lot of the past Christmas episodes. It’ll be good for them to want to show off a huge increase in the ratings for this big draft, and I think the ratings will be quite huge for this one.

It’s actually interesting, as it’s been reported that a lot of the talent were taken back by this. According to sources, they have no idea what’s going on or where they’ll even end up in the draft. This wouldn’t be the first time, as a lot of the wrestlers had no idea about the draft selections in the past. I remember the 2008 draft, when Jim Ross was drafted to SmackDown! He blogged about it the next day, saying that he had no idea beforehand. This draft may end up causing a lot of morale issues backstage, especially if certain acts are split up. I don’t think acts like the New Day will be broken up, but maybe some of the smaller teams could be done. I can even see a team like Enzo Amore and Big Cass being broken up. They’ve surprised us in the past.

Lastly, Vince McMahon is said to be “really pumped” about the brand split and I’m pretty much pumped up too. I remember blogging about bringing back the brand split last year and how much good it’ll do. Do go back and check it out at this link as there’s a lot of advantages to this.

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Overall, great news for the future of WWE in my opinion. Short term hard work for a long term gain, as Jim Ross once said. What do you think of the news? Tweet at me @TomRobinson5199 or the @ArmbarExpress, or leave a comment below.

 

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Retro Express – Survivor Series 2005

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with a look back at Survivor Series 2005. I bought the DVD for this recently and I decided to give it a review. For me, this was an exciting time for the WWE because I was hugely invested into the SmackDown! vs RAW storylinem which was a big part of this pay-per-view. At the same time, the WWE was still saddened by the recent death of beloved wrestler Eddie Guerrero. Eddie was scheduled to be in the main event but was replaced by Randy Orton. The Survivor Series match was the main focus but there were other things to look out for as well. There was the Last Man Standing match between Triple H and Ric Flair and there was also a WWE Championship match between John Cena and Kurt Angle, with Angle’s new manager Davari as the special referee. I watched it in full and here’s my FULL review of how good I thought the show was.

 

WWE Survivor Series

Date: November 27th 2005

Brand: RAW and SmackDown!

City: Detroit, Michigan

Attendance: 15,000

Pay-Per-View buys: 400,000

 

Booker T vs Chris Benoit in Match One of the Best Of Seven Series for the Undisputed United States Championship

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This match was basically your average Booker T/Benoit match and it really was nothing special. Maybe that’s a bit harsh as this was not a bad match but Benoit and Booker were wrestling each other OVER AND OVER again at this time. Hell the two wrestled on the SmackDown! before this, to set up this match. The announcers even plugged Match Two, which would take place two days later!

Because of that and the fact that this was the first of seven matches, it really wasn’t supposed to be that big of a match. The matches would intensify as they’d go further into the series. This was kind of treated like your average TV match. There was not a lot of heat from the crowd, which is understandable as there wasn’t a lot on the line as this point in the series.

It was slow-paced which I was fine with, as it fit the purpose of the match. This match featured a lot of submissions which makes sense with the story of the series. They spent ages working on parts of the body in order to weaken their opponent for the next match in the series, which is fine.

It’s amazing how differently the matches are put together in WWE nowadays, when you watch this match back. It’s the small things like Chris Benoit fighting to avoid a simple move like a neckbreaker which added to the match. Another aspect of the match that I liked was the use of continuity, when it comes to the storyline. This series was put together after Benoit and Booker pinned each other at the same time with a roll-up. This match featured a lot of roll-ups and small packages, and even had one in the finish.

Benoit went for the three German suplexes but Booker countered after the first one. Benoit went for it again and was able to hit three, which got the crowd buzzing. Sharmell got involved to initially stop Benoit from hitting the diving headbutt. Booker won with a Oklahoma roll-up, with Sharmell holding his feet on the ropes. It was an OK match with little crowd reaction until the finish. Out of everything they could have went with as the opener, this one made the most sense.

Match Rating: **3/4

Eric Bischoff was throwing punches backstage, ahead of his match against Teddy Long. Vince McMahon showed up to wish him luck. Eric vowed that he would beat Teddy Long, RAW would beat SmackDown! in the Survivor Series match and Kurt Angle would beat John Cena to win the WWE Title. Eric said that he was going to screw Cena, which lead to John Cena showing up to make a joke about Eric screwing guys. Vince then proceeded to ask Cena the following question… “What’s good in the hood?” Amazingly, that WASN’T Vince McMahon’s most shocking line from this segment. I won’t repeat what he said next but I will say that it’s astonishing what Vince McMahon can get away with saying on pay-per-view. All I’ll say is that after Vince said this, Booker T appeared saying “Tell me he didn’t just say that.”

Trish Stratus (c) vs Melina for the Women’s Championship

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This was RAW’s Trish against SmackDown!’s Melina. SmackDown!’s Tazz and RAW’s Joey Styles were doing commentary. It was so great to see a shot of Tazz and Joey on commentary with both of them laughing. It’s funny because they had so much fun burying each other and their shows on commentary!

This storyline started after MNM abducted Trish and Melina challenged her to a match. In the match, Trish did a big dive to all of MNM and it looked like she hit her head on the barricade. Trish went for the hurricanrana but Melina forgot to catch her for it. Melina did a kick where it looked like she kicked her arm. MNM went for the Snapshot on Trish but the referee saw it and threw them out. Melina hit an awful spear on Trish. Melina was supposed to go for the clothesline while Trish arched her back but Melina was too late to do it. There was a botchy finish where Trish went for the top rope bulldog and got the pin. Either Trish jumped too far or Melina was just in the wrong position. It could have been both their faults but it did not come off well.

This was a below average women’s match, to put it nicely. Melina wasn’t really that good around this time as she was just starting up as a wrestler. With SmackDown! not having a women’s division, Melina didn’t have a lot of experience under her belt going into this. Trish tried her hardest to get a good match out of her. I can’t criticise this match too much as Trish did try hard and there wasn’t a lot you were going to be able to do with this. The match itself was an interesting concept, as SmackDown! didn’t have a women’s division and this was an inter-promotional title match. However, in execution, it wasn’t too great.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Triple H vs Ric Flair in a Last Man Standing match

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Triple H attacked Flair during his entrance. It’s weird seeing Flair get beat up while he was still in his robe! Always styling and profiling!

Flair turned things around with a kendo stick. They went into the crowd. Flair took a lot of bumps on the floor which looked pretty nasty. This also included a spinebuster onto the floor which Flair should not have been taking on the outside!

Triple H used the screwdriver on Flair’s head as Flair was bleeding like crazy. Whatever you think about Triple H, he was a tremendous heel. They showed a shot of Triple H with a sinister smile on his face and it just suited his role in the match. Triple H got on the mic and told Flair to stay down before he put him down. Flair responded by grabbing Triple H in the “family jewels.” Triple H went for a pedigree but Flair countered and put Triple H through the Spanish announce table.

Flair bit Triple H in the face and on the leg. There was a bit of clever in-ring psychology where Flair worked on Triple H’s legs which would obviously prevent Triple H for being able to stand on his feet. This may seem very small but there’s so many last man standing matches nowadays where the men involved would just hit big move after another big move until someone wins. This match saw Ric cleverly working on one of Triple H’s weak points, which meant something with regards to the stipulation of the match. Not to mention that it plays into the storyline of Triple H and Flair, as Flair obviously knew about Triple H’s quadriceps injury from before and how badly it effected “The Game.”

Flair locked on the figure four leg lock and grabbed the ropes. My feeling during this was that the referee should have started the count as Triple H’s shoulders were on the mat. Triple H made a comeback and hit THREE PEDIGREES but Flair got up each time. This infuriated Triple H who hit Flair with the sledgehammer to win the match. This gets a thumbs up. A really good last man standing match which was different in its layout. There was a genuine feeling that Triple H was going to really hurt Flair with a lot of the stuff that he did, which added to the match. I liked it. I’ve seen better Last Man Standing matches but this was great in its own way.

Match Rating: ***3/4

 

Randy Orton tried to do a team meeting with Team SmackDown!, with Batista not there. Batista had been chokeslammed through the announce table by Kane and the Big Show. Batista interrupted and there was a whole deal about who should be a leader. JBL was very loud and very awesome during this segment when coming to the support of both these men!

Edge and Lita came out. They were not booked for the show. Edge was the Money In The Bank briefcase holder at this time. Edge announced that he would be introducing the “Cutting Edge” talk show. Edge said he was going to ask the questions that nobody else would. Interestingly, there was a sign in the crowd which said “CM Punk is the next Shawn Michaels.” I actually think Punk had just been signed to the company at the time as part of its developmental territory. It’s interesting when looking back in hindsight, because Punk actually teamed with Michaels at the next year’s Survivor Series. As noted by Punk, Punk got much bigger reactions than Shawn or Triple H at that Survivor Series!

Edge ripped Detroit and ripped the Detroit Lions. Dmitri Young was in the crowd, who was playing baseball for the Detroit Tigers I believe. Edge ripped on Young. He called him fat and NFL players “over-paid” and “steroid-users.” He made me laugh when he called him “Young Mark Henry.” Also funny in hindsight as Mark Henry soon returned on SmackDown! shortly after this. Dmitri responded by calling out Edge on never winning the WWE title. Another ironic moment as shortly after this, Edge won the WWE title at New Years Revolution.

 

John Cena (c) vs Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship with Davari as the special guest referee

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The fans’ “You Suck” chants were censored. This came after a segment on RAW where Kurt got annoyed at the fans for the chant. It was an incredible segment where Kurt just completely snapped over these chants he had endured for years.

The match saw Davari constantly fast-counting John Cena. At least this made it very clear early on that Davari was attempting to screw John Cena. Motivation established right off the bat. Perfect.

Kurt worked on the legs. Davari kept Cena off of Angle. This was a very split crowd, with the fans being 50/50. This was probably not great to hear considering that Cena was the one that had the disadvantage. The crowds were approving of Davari attempting to screw Cena! This proved to be true when Cena went for a suplex and the cover, but Davari didn’t make the count and he was mostly cheered!

Angle locked on the Ankle lock and Cena got the ropes. Davari kicked Cena off the ropes to more cheers. Cena slapped Davari to try and get Davari to disqualify him but Kurt stopped him from doing so as Kurt wouldn’t have won the title if he DQd him. Davari was knocked to the outside.

A new referee came out but Angle’s cover on Cena was kicked out. There were some big “Cena Sucks” chants at this point. Cena’s comeback at this time was a shoulder barge, two clotheslines THEN a sit-out powerbomb. Cena hit the five knuckle shuffle which Coach referred to as the “Five Knuckle Waffle.”

The new referee was taken out. Angle hit the low blow and the Angle Slam but Cena kicked out. My question at this point was why didn’t the referee DQ Angle as he was coming down to the ring? I see this all the time but the new referees that come out during these matches always seem to ignore everything else that previously happened in the match. It was amazing.

Angle missed the moonsault which saw Cena roll towards the turnbuckle, so Angle wouldn’t hit him. Angle took out another referee. Angle tried to revive Davari but SmackDown! referee Charles Robinson came out. Cena took out Davari and then hit the FU on Angle for the win. This was a very TNA-like main event finish which got to the finish in an incredibly complicating way. Did we need to see Kurt taking out all those referees during this match? I was not a fan of the finish. The match was fine but the wrong man won this one. I always thought that Kurt should have won the title during this period as he was tremendous.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Eric Bischoff vs Teddy Long

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When Jonathan Coachman and Michael Cole on commentary were one of the better aspects of the match, you knew you were in for something special!

There was two referees, one from RAW and one from SmackDown! This was a repeat from Taboo Tuesday, where there was RAW and SmackDown! referees for the tag team match that started the show.

I’m truly amazed that this match made it on a pay-per-view. This match was so bad. This wasn’t even a match. I guarantee you that if I went up to two people on the street and told them to re-enact what happened this match, they would have been able to do it much better than Eric and Teddy Long. The match got “boring” chants. Eric kept trying to attack Teddy but Teddy got out of the way of these attacks and started dancing. This went on for about a few minutes. Eric then got the advantage and did one of the worst looking sleeperholds I’ve ever seen. Teddy took his shoe out and hit Eric. The Boogeyman came out and attacked Eric with the pump-handle slam. Teddy Long pinned Bischoff.

This was SO awful that it’s not even funny. The funny thing is that Eric was supposed to be the heel in this match but to me, he came off as the babyface. Teddy kept trying to run away from Eric. Teddy had somebody in his corner that did distractions. Teddy used a weapon. Someone interfered on behalf of Teddy. What logic is this for a wrestling match?

Someone looked at Teddy Long and Eric Bischoff and thought that they needed to be in a pay-per-view match for SURVIVOR SERIES!

Match Rating: 1/4*

 

By the way, the man in Teddy’s corner was in fact Palmer Cannon. He was the representative of the “network” for SmackDown! that introduced the minis division. I did a bit of research and it turns out that Palmer was trained by Killer Kowalski! He got his first “big break” with Chaotic Wrestling, where he was called “Big League” Brian Black! He in fact won a 28-man royal rumble to win the New England Championship. He won the world title before vacating the championship when he signed with WWE.

It actually gets better as he debuted a German character for “All-Star Wrestling Association” called Otto Von Schwartz. Apparently, this was his idea. He actually had some kind of German heritage and used this for his character. With this character, he feuded with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine!

He was with WWE for about a year or so until he asked for his release. He was actually supposed to feud with the debuting Miz! He never wrestled a match while on SmackDown! He actually went into MMA a few years later and also wrestled Larry Zbyskzo in 2010!

An eventful career for Palmer Cannon. The man trained by Killer Kowalski that never wrestled on SmackDown! but wrestled Greg Valentine and Larry Zbyskzo on the independent scene and even took part in MMA. Quite a career!

 

Batista, Bobby Lashley, Rey Mysterio, JBL and Randy Orton vs Shawn Michaels, Chris Masters, Carlito, Big Show and Kane in a SmackDown! vs RAW Survivor Series elimination match

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This was a pretty great Survivor Series match. In an article for SLTD Wrestling, I actually put this as #3 in my top five Survivor Series matches of all time. I rate this one highly as I really loved the SmackDown! vs RAW storyline. When watching it back, I don’t think it was as great as I thought it was when I last watched it. However, it was still a great match which was definitely a worthy main event.

Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels started off the match. I forgot how well Michaels and Orton used to work together. There was great chemistry between the two of them. The first elimination came when Carlito ran in to get dominated by Bobby Lashley. I couldn’t help but smirk when writing that last sentence! The referee attended to Carlito when Kane chokeslammed Lashley. Shawn Michaels made the cover and got the pin. I remember listening to Michael Cole on the next few episodes of SmackDown! raving about how great a performance Lashley put on during this match! HE WAS THE FIRST MAN ELIMINATED!

Kane and Rey Mysterio had a strange exchange afterwards. Batista got the hot tag and ran wild. Batista pinned Kane with the Spinebuster. Big Show hit the chokeslam but Batista kicked out. It took a double chokeslam from Big Show and Kane to eliminate Batista. Big Show was then put over to an insane degree when he was eliminated. It took two Clotheslines from Hell, a 619, a RKO and a senton to pin the Big Show. They made it so that each move barely effected the big man!

Michaels took a hard fallaway slam on the outside which took him out of the match for a while. There was a cool spot where Rey tried a springboard moonsault but Carlito caught him. JBL made a blind tag to Mysterio and after Carlito dropped Rey for his finisher, JBL blasted Carlito with the Clothesline From Hell for the pin. That was very well executed. Thumbs up for that one.

Rey Mysterio pinned Chris Masters with the 619 which lead to a three-on-one advantage for SmackDown! It was Mysterio, JBL and Orton against Michaels, who had just been taken out with a fallaway slam. There was an awesome spot where Rey hit the 619 on Shawn. Rey went to “drop the dime” when Shawn super-kicked Rey in mid-air! It was not as great as when Shawn did it to Shelton Benjamin on RAW in 2005 but this was a great spot!

Michaels then eliminated JBL which resulted in the final two being Michaels and Orton, which is exactly how the match started. JBL went to hit Michaels with the chair but Shawn took him out with the Sweet Chin Music. Randy took advantage and hit the RKO to win the match for SmackDown!

The SmackDown! roster came out to celebrate with Randy. Undertaker’s gong went off and we saw a flaming casket on the stage. Undertaker came out of it and headed to the ring. Undertaker took out all of the roster and Randy headed to the back.

This was a really good main event to the show. I thought there was a great dynamic between RAW and SmackDown! When it was down to Shawn on his own against three members of SmackDown!, you wanted to root for Shawn. It was funny because RAW was led by a heel general manager which made RAW seem like the heels!

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

Overall, I think it was an OK show that was mostly saved by the main event and the Last Man Standing match. There was Benoit/Booker and Cena/Angle, which were both fine I guess. There was a number of questionable booking decisions like having Eric Bischoff vs Teddy Long on the show at all. However, there was a satisfying end to the biggest storyline in the company which did help. Even though there wasn’t much to the PPV other than the Survivor Series match and Triple H vs Ric Flair, I don’t really think it mattered at the end of the day. This gets a thumbs up.

Retro Express – Taboo Tuesday 2005

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here. Welcome to the first edition of the Retro Express. It’s a brand new feature to the blog, with a new edition going up every Saturday. The Retro Express will see me review some old pay-per-views and wrestling events from the past. I’ve been looking forward to doing this. I bought a lot of old WWE PPV DVDs recently and I’m going to be going from there, reviewing these shows every week.

For the time being we’ll be going chronologically and we’ll end up probably jumping around after a while. We’re going to be kicking things off with Taboo Tuesday 2005. This was a RAW-exclusive show, which saw the fans vote on different matches. This was legitimate fan voting and you could vote on things like which wrestlers would get title shots or the stipulations of matches.

This took place during the SmackDown! vs RAW feud, with RAW general manager Eric Bischoff cancelling a SmackDown!-exclusive match at WWE Homecoming. This, and a SmackDown! vs RAW brawl at the end of the show, led to a tag team match being announced with the fans getting to decide SmackDown!’s participants. WWE Champion John Cena was also embroiled in a feud with Kurt Angle, with a third participant being voted in by the fans in their triple threat title match. Along with that, Triple H was feuding with Ric Flair after turning on him at the Homecoming.

Anyway, let’s get to it…

 

WWE Taboo Tuesday

Date: November 1st 2005

Brand: RAW

City: San Diego, California

Attendance: 6,000

 

Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy vs Snitsky and Chris Masters

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This was Joey Styles’ WWE debut as a commentator. He had appeared at the ECW One Night Stand event but this was the first time that Joey showed up on a proper WWE event where he really had to fit into the sports entertainment realm. I thought he did a fine job in this pay-per-view. He actually mentioned that this was supposed to be a one-off appearance from him but he was made the permanent RAW play-by-play commentator shortly after this, so I’m guessing he really did impress WWE during this.

The promoted match was Edge and Chris Masters against two members of SmackDown! Matt Hardy and Rey Mysterio won the vote to get into the match, which was highly expected. Matt and Rey both got really big pops, with Rey being the San Diego home town hero. Edge backed out of the match but made sure to bury everyone on the show before he left! He buried Matt and Rey, he buried RAW and buried the fans. He said he didn’t care about what the fans voted for and that he only cared about himself. So apparently, he didn’t care about Lita who was standing right next to him!

It was kind of a bummer that Edge was pulled from this match as Edge being in was the main reason why Matt Hardy got as many votes as he did. Matt probably would have been second anyway, but it did add to the promotion of the match. Snitsky was his replacement.

There was two referees for this match, one from RAW and one from SmackDown!. This was an average tag match. There was a decent looking spot where Chris Masters countered Rey’s bulldog by just slamming Rey into the ground. Matt got the hot tag and ran wild for a bit. There was one really botched spot where Matt was attempting a superplex on Snitsky but Snitsky couldn’t properly get up from it. Therefore Snitsky came crashing down to the mat in a dangerous-looking manner, with it looking like a top rope DDT. Matt didn’t seem happy with this as he was angrily shaking his head afterwards.

I’ll have to give Matt credit because he was good in this match and tried his hardest to get a good match out of Snitsky and Masters. Matt tried to fight them both off, with Rey just laying on the ropes and watching on! Masters locked on the front face-lock on the ground, where Masters kept slamming his knee on the mat. It was strange because Masters’ knees were nowhere near Matt’s head but Matt kept selling as if Masters hit him with them. A bit of miscommunication on that one.

There were “We Want Christian” chants. I actually think this was the show where Christian left WWE so at least people cared about him while he was on his way out. Rey got the hot tag. The fans went nuts. There was one cool spot where Snitsky countered Rey Mysterio’s tornado DDT and shoved him into the Masterlock from Chris Masters. That was pretty awesome and really well executed. Rey was able to push Masters to the mat with his shoulders down. The SmackDown! referee made the count but the RAW referee stopped him. There was some weird botchy looking sunset flip that Mysterio tried on Masters. The fans were really into the match for the finish. Mysterio hit the 619, Matt hit the Twist of Fate and Mysterio hit the splash for the pin.

I liked this match. Mysterio and Matt Hardy were a great babyface team and the chemistry was there between them. I would call this match slightly better than average. It was disappointing that Edge wasn’t wrestling but these four gave us the best match they could so I can’t complain. You could tell that Matt and Rey were both really trying hard for this. This gets a thumbs up from me. Good job!

Match Rating: **3/4

Mick Foley had a backstage segment with Maria. Mick and Maria got their costumes mixed up. Maria then started to undress in front of Mick to give him his clothes back. Maria told him to have a nice day to which Mick responded with “I think you’ve just given me one.”

 

Rob Conway and Tomko vs Eugene and Jimmy Snuka

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This wasn’t all that great. The fans voted for Eugene’s tag team partner. There is one thing which I want to mention when they were about to announce the winner. They did camera shots of the three options, which were Jimmy Snuka, Kamala and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. I was never able to vote for the Taboo Tuesday events but if I were to have voted on this one, Hacksaw Jim Dugggan would have gotten my vote by leaps and bounds. Anyway, he was the highlight of this announcement when the camera cut to him and he simply said “I want to beat somebody up!” That was awesome! Hacksaw is a loud and proud man!

Snuka won the vote with 43% of the vote. Jimmy really didn’t do anything in this match until the finish. Eugene did his usual antics. Joey Styles couldn’t help but mention REPEATEDLY that Rob Conway had a picture of himself on his trunks. Styles said that this reminded him of Rick Rude. One of the rare instances where you could ever compare Rob Conway to Rick Rude!  Eugene turned Conway inside out with the clothesline. Snuka got the hot tag, which was really more like a mildly warm tag. He and Eugene headbutted Conway a few times. Snuka hit the Superfly Splash and pinned him. Tomko attacked Snuka after the match. Hacksaw ran down to the ring and Kamala wobbled down to the ring. Hacksaw and Kamala beat up the heels.

This was hardly a grand spectacle but it was your typical legend spotlight match in WWE. It was poor but it wasn’t a total disaster. There was not a lot they could have done with this at the end of the day. Snuka could do little other than to hit the Superfly splash and do headbutts. What else did you expect from him in 2005?

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Mankind vs Carlito

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At around this point in the show, I noticed the dramatic rise in Todd Grisham’s voice when going through these choices! It was just great as when he was doing it, it was reminding me of when he used to tell “it’s time for the MAIN EVENT” on the show “Bottom Line.” I always loved it when he would yell that and he actually yelled it out when he was going through the main event vote! That was awesome.

The vote was between Mick Foley’s personas, with Mankind winning the vote with 52%. Let me talk about the video package they aired AFTER the votes were announced. This happened a few times during the show. The video package they showed still promoted the options as if the fans could still vote on them. Obviously they couldn’t, which made the timing of the video packages seem way off. For this one, they showed a promo from RAW where Mick was acting like all three personas despite the fact that Mankind had already been announced as the winner.

For this match, it might not have seen like a big deal. However, they also did this with the WWE Championship match later on. After Shawn Michaels was voted into the match, they showed the video package also promoting Kane and the Big Show (who were the other options in the voting). Shouldn’t they show these video packages BEFORE the voting results were announced?

The highlight of the commentary from this was Jerry Lawler asking “What is it when you have multiple personality disorder?” and Joey Styles simply replied with “You have multiple personalities.” Joey Styles being on top of his game as usual!

I’ll actually talk about Joey Styles for bit because I thought he did a great job during this pay-per-view. However, I thought Joey was probably more excited than he probably should have been for this match. This match did not scream excitement to me. Then again he showed more excitement in this one night than Michael Cole and JBL have in the last year, so I can’t fault him greatly for that.

Mick Foley was very slow in this match. Carlito wasn’t too great and even put on this awful looking sleeper-hold on Mick. Mick reversed it and started his comeback. Mick did the elbow drop to the outside and hit the Double Arm DDT. Mick followed it up by using a Mr Socko that was styled to look like Carlito. Mick won the match with it.

The fans were excited for this to a degree. I thought it was pretty bland and I REALLY shouldn’t be saying that about a Mick Foley match. I think the issue was that at this point in his career, Mick had been through a great deal and was very slow at this point in his life. Therefore, him doing a normal match with Carlito was just not going to have a great effect. Mick needed a lot of smoke and mirrors to help cover up his immobility a little. The whole match was really about Mick, so he needed to be presented well. If this was given a no disqualification stipulation or something, I feel this might have been much better. That’s why Mick was able to have such a good match with Edge in the hardcore match at Wrestlemania 22. Mick having a singles match with Carlito of all people just didn’t look good.

Match Rating: **

 

Eric Bischoff was on the phone when Vince McMahon arrived. Vince was excited to see the RAW vs SmackDown! match but it had already happened. My only issue with this, from a storyline perspective, is that how did VINCE MCMAHON not know the result or the position of the match on the card? I know it was all a part of a joke but it’s just interesting when thinking about the logic of the whole thing. Vince was very upset with Eric for RAW losing on a RAW-exclusive pay-per-view and Eric claimed that Teddy Long was cheating. Vince was sick of hearing Eric’s excuses and told Eric that he wasn’t going to help him. Vince told Eric that he was on his own and told Eric to “go do something about it.” This was your typical angry Vince promo I guess.

As mentioned, Todd Grisham was going through the voting for the main event. The scheduled main event was John Cena defending the WWE Championship against Kurt Angle and someone voted in by the fans. The choices were Shawn Michaels, Kane and Big Show. Shawn won with 46% of the vote. Really no surprises about the voting. Shawn’s awkward reaction after being voted in was so awesome when stood next to these two angry monsters!

 

Lance Cade (c) and Trevor Murdoch (c) vs Kane and Big Show for the World Tag Team Championship

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As consolation for not being voted into the WWE title match, Big Show and Kane were given tag title shots against Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade. At the time, the announce table for RAW was positioned to the right of the titantron. This resulted in the announcers being right next to the fireworks as they are set off. This was Joey Styles’ first time experiencing this. When Kane came out, Joey just shouted and I mean SHOUTED, “Good lord, that’s hot!” Joey then said “I think I just crapped my pants!” The funny thing is that I would probably have a much worse reaction to sitting right next to the flames when Kane came out!

Joey started doing the “what” gimmick at the start of the match. I was rather annoyed by this. Trevor Murdoch’s in-ring mannerisms were pretty great during this match. At the start of the match, Trevor was stuck between Big Show on the outside and Kane in the ring. This resulted in Trevor throwing a temper tantrum in the ring in the same manner as a child! Joey called Kane a “sportsman” for picking up Trevor by the throat. That was pretty funny.

What was great about Big Show and Kane beating up Lance Cade is that Trevor Murdoch sold this beating better and he was on the apron! Big Show did two slaps to the chest of Cade. After the second slap, Kane did a little backwards shuffle to the ring post! Seeing KANE of all people do this put such a smile on my face.

Kane’s reactions were great too. Kane was just stood on the apron laughing as Big Show was beating Cade and Murdoch. Some people will argue that Kane looked a bit too “human” in this match but at least he was having fun while he was out there. If the talent is enjoying the match itself, then at least it shows that they’re into it. That gives it a boost when the people in the match are enjoying it, even if it does break character a little.

Kane got in a big boot which somehow managed to hit Lance Cade in the leg. Cade and Murdoch hit the “Sweet and Sour” on the outside to start getting the heat. Big Show got the hot tag. Trevor Murdoch started staring at the Big Show in the ring as Kane was making his way to the top rope for a clothesline. Trevor then turned to Kane and screamed, “Awwwww!” They totally should have done something with Trevor back in the day!

Kane and Big Show hit the double chokeslam on Lance Cade for the win. They became World Tag Team Champions. Trevor got a double chokeslam himself during the post-match interview. This was a fine match. The crowd were into it and I was into it. I thought that Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch didn’t get enough heat on Kane for Big Show’s hot tag to have a greater effect. I think that if Cade and Murdoch weren’t going to get a lot of heat on Kane and Big Show, then it should just been an outright squash. At least if they did that, Cade and Murdoch could argue that they were unprepared for Kane and Big Show. Then at least, Cade and Murdoch wouldn’t have looked so bad.

Regardless, I thought it was a decent match. This night needed a title change to show the fans that their vote could actually have a lot of impact. Then again, Kane and Big Show weren’t actually voted in the match! They caused an impact but it was not by design I guess!

Match Rating: **1/4

 

Vader was “working out” backstage when Goldust showed up. Jonathan Coachman gave them both a pep-talk as he was set to face Batista later on in the show. Yes, Coach gave VADER AND GOLDUST a pep talk! Let that sink in. Coach said this was going to be the start of great things and that soon enough, he would win the WWE Championship.

Todd Grisham revealed the votes for the “Fulfil Your Fantasy” match. The entrants for this match were Women’s Champion Trish Stratus, Mickie James, Victoria, Candice Michelle, Ashley and Maria. The fans got to decide what the women were wearing. Lingerie won with 43% of the votes. This was the part of the show when I somehow came to the conclusion that Todd Grisham sounded like Chris Evans from the One Show and the new Top Gear. I don’t know if any British fans have thought this when watching back at Todd Grisham’s finest moments. It was mostly when he was yelling where I drew the comparison. Very strange.

 

Batista vs Jonathan Coachman w/Goldust and Vader

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The stipulations for this match was no holds barred, verbal debate and an arm-wrestling content. No holds barred won by a landslide. This was a shame as I would have loved to have seen a verbal debate! The match started with Goldust and Vader in the ring and Coach on the apron. Goldust did some great over-selling when being punched in the face repeatedly by Batista! They managed to overwhelm Batista in the corner. Yes, two old-timers were able to overwhelm the WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION Batista. Even though SmackDown! won the opening match, it did suck that the brand’s champion was reduced to being briefly out-matched by Vader and Goldust of all people.

Goldust started using the kendo sticks as the heels took over. Coach started whipping Batista in the back with a belt. Batista made the comeback and the crowd loved it. Batista started whipping everybody with the belt. He hit a big spinebuster on Vader and an awful-looking one on Goldust. He hit Coach with the Batista Bomb to get the win.

I’d put this match over the Snuka/Eugene vs Tomko/Conway match only because the crowd was a lot more into it. The crowd does play a big part my opinions of a match and they cared about Batista here. With that being said, it was not too great. Vader did not look in good in-ring shape at all and Goldust was certainly not at his best in this match. However, the fans still got into it which does add to the whole deal for me. Maybe it’s fairer to put in on par with Snuka/Eugene vs Tomko/Conway, since it wasn’t the fault of the likes of Eugene and Conway that the fans weren’t into their match. For this match, the biggest redeeming quality was the reactions of the crowd.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Todd Grisham interviewed Shawn Michaels. Michaels felt great to be voted into the WWE title match later and to be the “popular kid in school.” Kurt Angle interrupted and tried to form a partnership for the triple threat. He tried to entice HBK with the prospect of finally settling their feud by taking out Cena. It was actually a very compelling pitch by Angle! Shawn said he’d think about it.

 

Trish Stratus (c) vs Maria vs Ashley vs Mickie James vs Victoria vs Candice Michelle in a Fulfil Your Fantasy Battle Royal for the Women’s Championship

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I have to give all the credit in the world to Victoria in this match. A report came out a few months ago about how Victoria was being considered for the WWE Hall of Fame. Now granted a lot of names for women going in were brought up, including Mickie James for that matter. For Victoria, I wasn’t sure whether I’d call her career “Hall of Fame worthy” and whether she’d be a good pick. This match made me realise what a fool I had been.

Victoria put on an incredible performance during this match and did everything she could to make this seem like a legitimate match. Now usually, the quality of these sorts of matches don’t really matter as it’s really put together to be eye candy for the fans. Victoria wanted the match to stand out on its own merit and it did. Trish and Mickie also worked very hard during this, but Victoria played a prominent part in the structure of the match. She worked her arse of and it made me realise how great Victoria had been during her career and how much she cared about putting on a good match. If you care about putting on the best performance you can, that amounts to a lot in my book. All of a sudden, this match was transformed into a legitimately good match between some of the best women of the roster.

There were a few issues and limitations with the women involved but it was still a decent match considering what the purpose of the match was supposed to be. Maria came out to, what would end up being, Alicia Fox’s theme. Caught me off guard. The storyline going in was that Mickie James was Trish’s biggest fan so she was helping her idol. They worked together to eliminate Maria.

Ashley eliminated Candice after Candice started dancing on the apron. Victoria catapulted Ashley over. The finish saw Mickie spear Victoria through the ropes to cause both women to hit the mat. Remember that for women’s matches, eliminations through the ropes counted. This meant that Trish won. Mickie had sacrificed herself to help Trish retain the title. The spot did look like it hurt both girls like. They both landed funny and Mickie was holding onto her arm afterwards.

Trish was interviewed after the match by Todd Grisham. Mickie James cut her off to talk about how great Trish was. Mickie was so great in this role as a super fan! They could have done this storyline with anyone but they went with Mickie, who just suit the role really well.

It was a decent match mostly because of the work by Trish and Victoria. The other girls did OK and didn’t really mess anything up and it was fine.

Match Rating: **

 

Ric Flair (c) vs Triple H in a Steel Cage match for the Intercontinental Championship

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The options for this were a regular match, submission match and a cage match. The cage match got 83% of the vote. That was the match that Flair begged for on RAW a few weeks ago so there was no surprises.

Flair got the advantage early on. Triple H took over and he got the heat on Ric Flair for a LONG time. He busted open Flair by smashing him head-first into the cage. Flair was stuck between the ropes and cage when Triple H splashed him him. It was kind of funny seeing Triple H doing a Stinger Splash!
Triple H continued to decimate Ric Flair. Triple H went to escape but Flair cut him off. They battled on the top rope until they both fell down on the ropes. There was a lot
of “groin-based” attacks in this match. Triple H got a chain from the top of the cage. He tried a fist drop off the top rope with the chain but Flair put his foot up. Flair went for the Figure Four but Triple H hit him with the chain. Triple H went for the Figure Four but Flair was able to counter it. Triple H went for it again but Flair kicked Triple H into the cage. This was where the match turned around for Flair.

Triple H was busted open and Flair bit him. Joey Styles said that “Payback was a bloody bitch.” Something not quite right with what he said! Flair worked on the quad that Triple H tore previously as stated by Joey Styles. Flair went for the Figure Four but Triple H threw the ref over Flair. Flair tried to escape. This led to Flair SUCCESSFULLY jumping off the top rope! I marked out when Flair landed it in one of the rare instances where Flair successfully jumped off the top.

Flair low-blowed Triple H and tried to go through the cage door. Triple H stopped him but Flair brought a chair back into the cage with him.Triple H tried to use the chair but Flair grabbed Triple H by the nuts for a worryingly long time. Triple H went for the Pedigree but Flair back-dropped Triple H onto the chair. Flair hit Triple H with the chair three times and then escaped. I thought this was a bit of an anti-climatic finish but it was a pretty great match. It was boring at times but it was definitely one of the best matches of the show. They were going with the angle that Flair kept getting back up and getting back up and it worked in getting Flair such a big reaction when he won. It was a fine cage match.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

John Cena (c) vs Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship

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There were a few boos for Cena early on. If you’ll remember from earlier, Angle had tried to form a partnership with Michaels. Too prove how much of a heel he was, Angle turned on Shawn Michaels in the first two seconds of the match!

There were small “Cena sucks” chants and the negative reactions for Cena slowly grew during the match. There were a lot of people that loved Cena as well though and I’d think it was pretty much 75% for Cena to 25% against Cena. Mostly a pro-Cena crowd with the exception of the times where Angle and HBK eventually teamed up on Cena.

It was obvious to everyone that Michaels was getting voted into the match but there were signs that there wasn’t a great deal of communication between all three men. There were a few spots that were slightly botched up. There was surprisingly some between Angle and Michaels when they were brawling at the start. Angle was going for the spot where Michaels was supposed to miss with the punch and Angle would hit the German Suplex. However, Michaels didn’t really follow through with his attack so it seemed like they messed up. It wasn’t a major spot to mess up but it’s interesting when considering that Michaels was the big favourite to get voted in.

John Cena threw Angle over the rope and Angle was somehow able to land on his feet. I mentioned miscommunication earlier on and this was clear when Cena did a horrible job in selling a clothesline for Shawn Michaels. Angle took over with suplex after suplex which got a huge reaction. There was an awesome sequence when Angle went for the Angle Slam on Michaels, but Michaels reversed it into the sunset flip. Kurt reversed that into the Ankle lock  and Michaels pushed Kurt into Cena who went for the FU. Angle then pushed Cena into Michaels, who went for the Super Kick. Cena caught the leg and clotheslined Michaels. Awesome spot where all three men went for their finishers and they all looked good during this little portion of the match.

HBK and Angle started to team up on Cena to huge reactions, as mentioned earlier. They threw him into the ring post. They double-suplexed him face first onto the announce table. That took Cena out of the ball-game for a while.

It was down to Angle and HBK and it turned into a very nice wrestling match between the two of them. HBK and Angle immediately attacked each other and Kurt eventually took over. Angle hit the knee lift and Shawn jumped into the air as part of an awesome oversell from the Heartbreak Kid. Angle hit a top rope Angle Slam but Michaels kicked out. Cena did a comeback and got a big pop and some boos. Cena went for the five knuckle shuffle but Angle stopped him and pulled him out of the ring. Michaels then pulled off a diving rolling senton to the outside which looked wacky and awesome at the same time!

There were suddenly big “let’s go Angle” chants. Angle belly-to-belly suplexed Michaels to the outside. Cena hit the five knuckle shuffle on Angle and went for the FU but Angle locked on the Ankle lock. Cena kept trying to kick Angle off of him but Angle kept it locked on. Michaels went up to the turnbuckle and did an elbow drop to break it up. The issue is that Michaels took forever to get up on the turnbuckle and do the move. As Angle had this ankle lock on Cena for about a minute, Cena could have easily tapped out and Michaels hardly went up to the top with any immediacy. Michaels super-kicked Angle and Cena hit the FU on Michaels to win the match.

This was a good main event. Michaels and Angle worked hard. I cannot say that this was a strong performance from Cena as there was a few spots where Cena looked off to me. When you’re in there with guys like Michaels and Angle, it did make up for these botches. I think this was probably the best match of the night and it was a good way to end the show.

Match Rating: ***3/4

 

Taboo Tuesday was an OK pay-per-view. The main event and Triple H vs Ric Flair were the two highlights that really stood out but there were a few underrated matches in this show. I enjoyed the divas match and the opener. I could have done without Batista/Coach and the tag match with Eugene, Snuka, Tomko and Conway, but at least the crowd was into those matches to some degree. The crowd was mostly fine. Probably an enjoyable experience if you were there in the building. To me, not that strong of a pay-per-view but Taboo Tuesday was never really considered to be a big pay-per-view. My expectations going in wasn’t great but it did slightly surpass them. Not a bad show at all.

EXTREME WARFARE REVENGE: WCW 1998 PART 29 – SUPERBRAWL 2001

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Previously on WCW EWR…

Souled Out’s top higlights were Chris Jericho retaining the WCW title against Booker T after getting disqualified and Jeff Hardy won the cruiserweight title in the match of the night against Jamie Noble.

Now it’s time for SuperBrawl…

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Pre-Show – Ted DiBiase Announces His Retirement

This was a legitimate retiring of Ted DiBiase. I got the dreaded e-mail saying that DiBiase would be retiring in a month. It was a blow as Ted DiBiase is the most over manager in the company. He’d been managing Curt Hennig for a while and was the manager for Asbury Perfection also including Bam Bam Bigelow. It’s a huge loss. I personally don’t think that Curt Hennig will lose a great deal considering what happens to him later on in the show. However, it’s said to see Ted go. Anyway, Ted talked about how he was walking away. Ted said he’d accomplished all he’s ever wanted to accomplish in the wrestling business. It’s been an honour to manage a wrestler as great as Curt Hennig. He predicts that Curt will one day finally win the WCW Championship. However, he says it’s time to look towards the future. He announces that he’s leaving and there’s one person that he thinks will one day be the next top star. He thinks that there’s one person that’s one his way to being the greatest of all time. He says that man is AJ Styles. AJ comes out and the two hug. Ted tells AJ to shoot for the stars and whatever happens in his TV Championship defense, AJ will be a future WCW Champion as well. A touching moment as Ted passes the torch to AJ.

Match 1 – Scott Steiner def. AJ Styles (c) in a falls count anywhere match to win the WCW Television Championship

After that huge segment on the pre-show, it might seem odd to have AJ Styles drop the title to Scott Steiner. Let me explain. Firstly, AJ’s had the title for a while. I feel right now is the appropriate time for him to lose the title. I also thought that DiBiase retiring would be the perfect transition for AJ to turn his intentions to the WCW title. I had an original plan for him to hold onto the TV title up until he passes a year as champion. After this, he would vacate the belt so he could challenge whoever the WCW Champion was. That was the plan, but I changed my mind. Curt Hennig would cost AJ the belt against Steiner, leading into a future program between those two. A decent 87% rating to open the show.

Match 2 – “Diamond Enforcers” Diamond Dallas Page and Arn Anderson def. Ultimo Dragon (c) and Dean Malenko (c) in a hardcore tag team match to win the WCW Tag Team Championship

Let me explain why the Diamond Enforcers won the tag titles again. The feud between these two tag teams started at Starrcade, when Dragon and Malenko won the tag titles. In the weeks building up to this match, the overness of ALL FOUR of these men took a big hit. DDP and Arn were at 100% overness when this feud started and Dragon and Malenko were in the 90s too. Just before the match however, DDP and Arn were both at 92. Malenko and Dragon were in the 80s. That’s bad news as this feud had hurt everyone involved. I decided to put the titles on the team that was the most over and the Diamond Enforcers were more over. So DDP and Arn are now  TWO-TIME tag team champions. The Diamond Enforcers did get a big boost when their feud ended though so I may be inclined to keep the titles on them for now. An 84% rating is fine.

Match 3 – Curt Hennig def. Randy Savage w/Elizabeth with Trish Stratus as the special guest referee

So the storyline for this one. Trish Stratus broke up with Perry Saturn on Nitro. Trish then began flirting with Randy Savage, with Savage starting to fall for her. Elizabeth would try to talk some sense into Savage, saying that Trish is trying to hook up with a top star like Savage to shoot straight to the top. Trish denied this which led to a few brawls on Nitro. Curt started to call Savage out, saying he could beat him any day of the week. In order to get his attention, he started to hit on Trish himself. This led to a big match at SuperBrawl with Trish Stratus as the special guest referee. Trish turned on Savage to give Curt Hennig the victory. It’s a daft little romance angle which I decided to do. This also leads to Trish Stratus replacing Ted DiBiase as Curt Hennig’s manager, which is also a plus.

Match 4 – The Giant and Rowdy Roddy Piper def. “Legion of Doom” Animal and Hawk in a steel cage match

This feud was a mistake! In my last post, I mentioned that I had signed Hawk to reunite the Legion of Doom. Animal was upset in the game so I decided to give him a rivalry so he could be used more. I put and Hawk in there against Rowdy Roddy Piper (who was annoyed because I wasn’t using him enough) and The Giant. The feud did a lot better than I thought it was going to do, but it still received the lowest rating of the night! No one really got over either and Piper’s overness took a HUGE hit. However, at least The Giant got over from it so it wasn’t all bad.

Match 5 – Jeff Hardy (c) def. Eddie Guerrero, Silvio Maldini and Rey Mysterio in a fatal four way match to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

A good rating for the Cruiserweights. It’s a bit of a drop from the 96-97% ratings from the Jamie Noble/Jeff Hardy program but that’s usually what happens when you do fatal four ways. I was just going to do Jeff Hardy vs Eddie Guerrero for the Cruiserweight title, but I wanted to throw Rey Mysterio and Silvio Maldini into the mix too. Silvio came back from his suspension claiming to be the true Cruiserweight Champion as he was never beaten for the title (he was suspended and stripped of the title). Mysterio was thrown in there too and it provided a decent rating. Not as great as the Starrcade and Souled Out ratings but it was fine.

Match 6 – Sting def. Raven (c) to win the WCW International Championship

In the second to last match on the show, Sting beat Raven to win the WCW International Championship. I thought this was the right decision and I thought if any should have beaten Raven, it should have been Sting. This match got the second best rating of the night and the crowd were really into it. I thought this feud was awesome when I first did so I decided to do it again. So far, I’ve been getting some great results.

Match 7 – Chris Jericho (c) def. Booker T in a hardcore match to retain the WCW Championship

This was the final match in the feud between Booker and Jericho. The original plan was for Booker to regain the championship as it would tie into the final segment of this show. However, Booker’s attitude backstage has been really poor. I figured it would be safer to keep the title on Jericho and he’d only just won the title at Starrcade. This was one of the rare instances where the main event was the best match of the show! I’m happy with that.

Segment 1 – Booker T Turns Heel and Aligns With Eric Bischoff

The original plan was for Eric Bischoff to help Booker win the championship, in order to turn Booker heel. Even though Jericho ended up retaining the title, I still went with Booker turning heel at the end of the show. I do need to get some more main event heels and Booker was the best choice. I was going to have Jericho turn but that would have been predictable. Jericho’s also our top seller as far as merchandise is concerned so that would have been a costly decision to have him turn heel. So I went with Booker. And that was the end of the show.

HOW I WOULD BOOK… EDDIE GUERRERO’S ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA 22 [PART 2]

Last time in this series, we discussed what potential storylines WWE might have had in place for Eddie Guerrero before his death in November 2005. We recapped the first storyline of Eddie Guerrero’s rise to the World Heavyweight Championship and the main event of Wrestlemania 22. Now let’s do another one…

As we mentioned in the last blog, Court Bauer talked of plans to book a dream match like no other at Wrestlemania 22. With Eddie Guerrero’s heel persona taking off with style in 2005, the plans were for Eddie to go at it with another all-time great. A great who I believe could have had one of the greatest matches in Wrestlemania with Latino Heat. Eddie Guerrero could have very well feuded… with Shawn Michaels.

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A program between these two would be wonderful to see for a number of reasons…

  1. These two contrasting styles could work wonders in the ring and on the mic. Shawn’s got quite a history with working with great wrestlers whose style is very different to his. The year before at Wrestlemania 21, he put on a classic with the mat-grappler and wrestling machine Kurt Angle. His classics with Undertaker over the years will live long in the memory. Eddie Guerrero’s ability could have brought something new out of Shawn which could provide mouth-watering action.
  2. This match probably would have stolen the show at THIS particular Wrestlemania. Other than the hardcore match between Edge and Mick Foley, none of the other matches on the Wrestlemania 22 card were really show-stealers and THAT memorable. I’ve always thought Kurt Angle vs Rey Mysterio vs Randy Orton was a good match, but it was way shorter than it really should have been. A match like this, given the appropriate time, would give the audience a match talked about for years….

So how could we bring these two stars together for a little dance at the grandest stage of them all? Well the two were already set for a collision course just before Guerrero died at Survivor Series 2005. Remember, both men were scheduled to be part of the RAW vs SmackDown! Survivor Series match. So it’s a great place to start when building up this particular match.

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In the Survivor Series match, before Eddie and Shawn are putting on a show. With two eliminations each and showing the very best from both men, there’s little surprise as it comes down to these two battling for brand supremacy. During this, the referee gets knocked down by Eddie or Shawn. Eddie goes for the Frog Splash but Shawn moves out of the way. Both men are down from exhaustion, when RAW general manager Eric Bischoff comes down to aid Shawn with a chair. However, SmackDown! general manager Teddy Long comes out to stop him. Even though the general managers already had a match earlier on in the PPV, it would be OK for them to come out again as this is the ultimate decider for which brand is superior. Both men would want it badly. While they’re scuffling and the ref’s down, JBL would come down to the ring and give Michaels the Clothesline from Hell. He would pull Eddie over Michaels but the ref is down. Rey Mysterio would get in JBL’s face going “What are you doing? Let them fight it out.”

I’m keeping to how the ORIGINAL RAW vs SmackDown! match ended with Rey and JBL being eliminated before Orton pinned Michaels with Eddie replacing Orton in this particular scenario. Rey would be pulling JBL off Eddie because he would want to see Eddie and Michaels finish without interferences or any other shenanigans. Rey is an honorable character so it’d make sense that he’d want to see a clean finish. However as Rey is telling JBL to get to the back, Eddie low-blows Shawn as the two of them get up. The ref finally gets up and Eddie takes advantage by climbing to the top, hitting the Frog Splash and pinning Michaels. This would turn Eddie heel once more, by ruining a classic encounter between these two future hall-of-famers through dirty tactics. So what happens next?

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Well not much on RAW as not much NEEDS to change with regards to Shawn Michaels. Shawn might be pissed because of Eddie’s actions, but there’s not a lot he could do about it at this point. He might as well continue on into the elimination chamber at New Year’s Revolution 2006, where he would compete for the WWE Championship. He would lose and go on to the Royal Rumble.

As for Eddie, a lot would happen on his end. Eddie would somehow earn himself a World title shot and respect among the majority of SmackDown! roster. Even though he did use dirty tactics to get the job done at Survivor Series, he still won the match for SmackDown! and would be considered a hero in the eyes of many. Other than Batista and Rey Mysterio, no-one else would probably complain about it. So Eddie gets his title shot at Batista in a Last Man Standing match. This feud between Eddie and Batista should really end in a big match like a last man standing match as Eddie has went back to his old ways and was eyeing up Batista’s World Title all along. In Batista’s eyes, this is a betrayal from Eddie as he proved at Survivor Series that he was lying the whole time about being a changed man. Batista would be mad and the match would be made for Armageddon. Batista would retain the title.

On the following episode of SmackDown!, Eddie would go on an angry tirade about the SmackDown! locker room not respecting him enough to help him out during his match with Batista. He would call them ungrateful for not showing him the respect he deserved. He won the Survivor Series match for SmackDown!, and they should be worshiping the ground he walks on. Eddie says that he is better than everyone on SmackDown!, everyone on RAW and singles out Shawn Michaels. He says that he could do anything Shawn Michaels has already done. Teddy Long would come out and tells Eddie to prove that he is better than Shawn Michaels by ACTUALLY doing something Shawn’s already done. He announces that at the Royal Rumble, Eddie Guerrero would be the number #1 entrant in the Royal Rumble match!

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Meanwhile, word of Eddie’s entry in the Rumble would reach RAW. Shawn Michaels would approach Vince McMahon (who’d be running RAW at this point since Eric Bischoff was fired) and ask him to make Shawn the second entrant. Shawn says that he never quite got over the sting of his loss to Guerrero at Survivor Series and wants to be the first of 29 men in the Rumble to teach Guerrero a lesson. Vince would agree and these two would be the only two known entry numbers going into the Rumble.

So the both of them would start the Rumble and both them would do pretty well. In fact both of them would reach the final six. The two would square off in the Rumble which would lead to Shawn Michaels eliminating Eddie with a bit of Sweet Chin Music. Eddie would respond by eliminating Shawn from the Rumble and delivering a Brainbuster onto the steel steps. I was going to try and avoid doing a repeat of the 2005 Royal Rumble where Kurt Angle eliminated Shawn, who had eliminated him beforehand. However, for Eddie this would work a lot better and here’s why…

Eddie was already angry after NOT capturing the World Title at Armageddon. Plan A didn’t work so he had to go with Plan B… winning the Rumble and earning a World Title shot that way. However, Plan B would fail. To rub salt in the wounds, the man that eliminated him would be the man he singled out in his angry promo after Armageddon. This would tip Eddie even FURTHER over the edge.

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Eddie would go to Teddy Long and demand one last title shot at No Way Out, claiming that he put on the best performance out of everyone in the Royal Rumble. Teddy would point out to Eddie that he never put on the best performance at the Rumble as Shawn Michaels lasted longer than Latino Heat and eliminated him. Eddie would snap again, grabbing Teddy by the throat. Teddy is pressured into putting Eddie into a 20 man battle royal to determine the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship at Armageddon. Eddie would win, giving him one last opportunity.

Meanwhile on RAW, Shawn Michaels would demand a match with Eddie Guerrero at Wrestlemania 22. Vince would refuse saying that in the state of mind Eddie’s in, he could very well kill Shawn Michaels in the ring. Shawn would try what Eddie did to Teddy, grab Vince by the throat and get his way in that manner. Vince tells Shawn that this wouldn’t work as Shawn didn’t have the stomach to go through with any of his threats. Shawn pushes Vince off before Superkicking him in the ring.

Vince would respond by booking Shawn in a FIVE ON ONE handicap match with the Spirit Squad on the RAW before No Way Out. Shawn would actually do very well against the Spirit Squad and would be closing in on a win, until a shot of Eddie’s low-rider appears backstage. This would distract Shawn and the Spirit Squad would take advantage to get the win. Shawn would angrily cut a promo backstage, telling everybody that he was going to be at No Way Out.

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So Eddie has his World Title match. If you want to take Batista’s injury into account, the World Heavyweight Champion would probably be Kurt Angle or Randy Orton as those two were the top contenders when Batista got injured in real-life. I’m gonna go with Kurt because I really liked the chemistry between Eddie and Kurt. The ref would get knocked down and Eddie would grab the chair. Before he can do any damage, Shawn Michaels comes out to Super Kick the chair into Eddie’s face falling into an Angle Slam by Kurt resulting in Kurt retaining the championship.

Eddie would be irate and would should up on RAW, demanding that Vince book Eddie vs Michaels at Wrestlemania. After Vince initially refuses, Eddie takes matters into his own hands and goes after Shane McMahon. He threatens to break Shane’s leg if Vince doesn’t give him the match. Shawn would also come out to “pour fire on the gasoline” and wind up Vince to the point that he books HIMSELF in a No Holds Barred match with Shawn at Saturday Night’s Main Event. If Shawn beats him, he gets Eddie at Wrestlemania. So you still get your Vince vs Shawn No Holds Barred match that we got in real-life, just at a different event. Shawn would win and the match would be set for Wrestlemania.

At Wrestlemania 22, Shawn would go over in what would be a classic between Shawn and Eddie. I wanted to give Shawn this victory since he had lost to Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 21 and he would really need a big win like that at Wrestlemania 22. Eddie could still come out strong after this feud ends, but I think Eddie would need to be drafted to RAW after Wrestlemania to give Eddie a lot more to do on a different show….

…. and of course to get a win back in the rematch!

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I’ll admit. Some aspects of this storyline had already been done before recently, like Eddie throwing out Shawn at the Rumble like Kurt had the year before. However, what this does is take advantage on the incredibly white-hot heel Eddie Guerrero and makes him a huge part of the storyline which saw him go toe-to-toe with Mr Wrestlemania. Just a shame that we never got to see this happen.

What do you guys think of this storyline? Leave comments below or tweet me at @TomRobinson5199 with how you would book Eddie Guerrero had he not died in November 2005…

How I Would Book… Eddie Guerrero’s Road To Wrestlemania 22 [Part 1]

On November 13th 2005, Eddie Guerrero sadly passed away. It was tragic to see Eddie taken away from us. Particularly for me, as Eddie was probably my favorite wrestler when I first started watching wrestling. But what I’d like to explore is how Eddie Guerrero would, or maybe should, have been booked if he would have been still alive. More specifically, what would be the road to Wrestlemania 22 be like for Eddie Guerrero?

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Now, there are already TWO different ideas about what would have happened to Eddie Guerrero if he had not died when he did. The first idea actually came from Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie famously stated that in the upcoming edition of SmackDown!, Eddie was supposed to win the World Heavyweight Championship from Batista developing the storyline between those two which had started around September 2005. I believe it was actually promoted for that edition of SmackDown! that it would be a triple threat between Eddie, Batista and Randy Orton for the belt and according to Stephanie, Eddie was supposed to win the belt that night.

However, Court Bauer argued that Eddie winning the championship was never the plan for Latino Heat at the time. Court suggested:

“We had talked about a fascinating idea. I’m not the biggest Bruce Prichard fan but to his credit, I believe it was Bruce Prichard who pitched putting Eddie Guerrero at WrestleMania against Shawn Michaels …  Being the heartthrob in Mexico, and a mercurial figure south of the border, and the American version being HBK. They had never really worked before, and you would’ve had such a great dynamic between the two with heel Eddie vs. Shawn. That’d be your ‘tear the house down,’ high quality match at WrestleMania 22 in Chicago.”

“Vince (McMahon) was like, ‘God damn that’s really appealing. We could parallel their careers. What kind of footage do we have of Eddie outside of WCW? We could do some impressive packages.'”

Either way, it’s a win-win scenario for the WWE universe. If you believe what either Stephanie or Court said, the future was bright for Eddie Guerrero.

With this mini-series, we’re going to look into both of these potential storylines and see how we would have booked them. Now there’s always the chance that Eddie could have won the championship, lost it and still do his storyline with Shawn Michaels. But we’ll talk about that scenario later on. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Before going into these potential storylines, let’s take a look at where Eddie Guerrero was with regards to the WWE storylines around that time…

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At Wrestlemania 21, Eddie Guerrero lost to Rey Mysterio. Eddie’s “jinx” in matches against Rey Mysterio was still in tact and Eddie was getting frustrated. Tensions between the two begin to rise, particularly after they lost the WWE Tag Team titles to MNM. After “burying the hatchet” the two invoked their rematch clause for the tag titles. However, Eddie didn’t lay a finger to help Rey as MNM beat Rey down. Rey eventually slapped Eddie stating “You don’t want to talk? Maybe, you’ll fight”. During a street fight between Rey and Chavo Guerrero, MNM did a run-in. Eddie eventually made the save for Mysterio, but then turned on his tag team partner.

Rey and Eddie finally began their feud which began with Eddie getting himself disqualified against Rey at Judgement Day. Eddie then began holding a “secret” over Rey’s head, mentally messing with Rey and his son Dominic. Eddie promised to keep his mouth shut if Rey beat him at The Great American Bash. Rey got the win, but Eddie was not a man of his word. Eddie went on to reveal that Rey was not Dominic’s son, and that it was Eddie that was Dominic’s “papi”. The feud eventually led to Rey beating Eddie in a ladder match at Summerslam to win custody of Dominic. Eddie finally ended the feud after beating Rey in a steel cage match on SmackDown!

Following his feud with Rey, Eddie was named number one contender to Batista’s World Heavyweight Championship for No Mercy. Eddie claimed to be “new and improved” and that all he wanted to be was Batista’s friend. Batista was suspicious but befriended Guerrero. After teaming up together in a few tag team matches, it seemed that the two had formed some form of respect. During their title match at No Mercy, Eddie had the opportunity to use the chair against Batista to help him win the title. However, Eddie changed his mind which led to him losing the match.

Now it seemed that Eddie and Batista was now truly friends with Batista respecting Eddie’s decision not cheat his way to the title. It even led to Batista and Eddie riding a low-rider together to the ring on SmackDown! Batista and Eddie also secured spots in SmackDown!’s Survivor Series match against Raw. However, Eddie was still hungry for another title shot. Eventually, a triple threat match for the World title was made for SmackDown featuring Eddie, Batista and Randy Orton. Before that though, Eddie would come out to his old theme song one last time and truly be himself one last time in a match with Mr Kennedy. After that episode of SmackDown!, Eddie passed away.

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Now what’s really sad is that after Eddie’s death, looking back, is that it’s pretty unclear what was going to happen with the Eddie Guerrero vs Batista storyline. Eddie was white-hot at the time and the fans truly took to Eddie as a good-guy again. Was Eddie really going to turn on Batista for good? Was Eddie in-fact supposed to win the title on that next edition of SmackDown!? Could Batista maybe have turned on Eddie after seeing the fans rally behind Guerrero?

The possibilities really were endless from this point. But for this first scenario, let’s go with the idea that Eddie was supposed to win the championship the next week on SmackDown! How would we book him from then on?

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Now it really does depend on HOW Eddie would have won the championship. He could either win it cleanly or turn heel once more and win it some sneaky way. Here’s how I’m imagining it…

I think Eddie WOULD have turned heel once more to win the title. As it would have made sense for Eddie to win the belt cleanly and have him be a good guy once again, it seemed more likely that Vince was going to have Eddie turn heel once more rather than someone like Batista turning heel to bounce off face Guerrero. However, I do think Eddie winning the title THAT particular night causes a bit of an issue for me. Leading into the SmackDown! vs RAW Survivor Series match (which both Eddie and Batista were to be a part of) a World Title change leading into this huge multi-brand storyline would seem to be a bit weird to me. It would make more sense to have Eddie’s title win and his turn on Batista to be built up a bit more first. Having the win take place on SmackDown! isn’t as financially appealing then possibly having it done at SmackDown! PPV Armageddon? If I were to have Eddie win the title any day, it would be then.

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So how do we build to that title change. Firstly, you have to build to the SmackDown! vs RAW match. On SmackDown!’s side, we would build up the tensions between Eddie and recent rival Rey Mysterio. Remember, Rey Mysterio was also part of that team at Survivor Series. So surely tension or mistrust between the two would start to take place. It would eventually lead to something like, on the SmackDown! before Survivor Seriesm, Eddie saving Rey and the two of them shaking hands. Now to Survivor Series.

Eddie would screw over Batista and help Team RAW win. Eddie would again be heel and he would be the top heel on SmackDown! Why’s that? Because he’s just screwed over Batista in SmackDown!’s crucial bragging rights match against RAW. All the SmackDown! locker room would despise him. Batista would want revenge. Somehow, Eddie would get another shot at the title at Armageddon which he would win. Eddie’s feud with Batista would wrap up at the Royal Rumble, with Eddie retaining the title somehow in like a Last Man Standing match or something.

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I personally believe that Triple H on RAW should have won the 2006 Royal Rumble. I believe the timing was right for the King Of Kings to go back on his throne and I was kinda annoyed when he didn’t win the rumble. However, for this storyline, let’s just give a SmackDown! superstar the win!

I wouldn’t have Mysterio win the match. Nothing against Mysterio, but Mysterio and Eddie would have wrestled enough at this point. They were feuding for the majority of 2005. So I’d have Eddie go one on one… with the Undertaker. I feel of everyone in the roster, Undertaker was the only other wrestler on SmackDown! that would have been ready enough to challenge Eddie for the World Title. Batista and Rey had both had feuds with Eddie, I’m not sure about guys like Chris Benoit and Bobby Lashley at that moment. I think Undertaker would be the most ideal choice. Also, a feud between those two would have definitely been great to see.

It would be promoted as “Title vs Streak” and Eddie would have promised to end the streak, but Taker would go over and win the belt. And that would wrap-up Wrestlemania 22 as the main event.

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And that’s about it for this particular scenario. I truly believe that if WWE would have had Eddie win the World Title around that time, Eddie should have went all the way to Mania as the champion. And who better to end the title reign of Guerrero at Wrestlemania than the Undertaker? Plus with the styles of Undertaker and the heel Eddie Guerrero, you would be getting an incredible storyline with a high quality main event.

Read part two at this link where we discuss another potential storyline for Eddie Guerrero and how we would get to Eddie Guerrero vs Shawn Michaels…