RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #7 (OCTOBER 16TH 1995) – RIC’S PARTNER STINGS ANDERSON AND PILLMAN, CHRIS BENOIT DEBUTS

Welcome to the Retro Express. This is where we’re taking a stroll down memory lane at wrestling history. This post is part of an ongoing series where we’re reviewing every episode of WCW Nitro from start to finish. Links to the previous posts are at the bottom of this post. We hope you enjoy.

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On the last episode of WCW Nitro, we entered CHAPTER THREE of the feud between Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. Arn won at Fall Brawl and Ric won in Episode #5. We were at 1-1 heading into a steel cage match in Chicago. Flair had things under control when Arn beat Ric at his own game. Arn smacked Ric with the brass knuckles to the face and won. An ENRAGED Ric Flair challenged Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman to a match for Episode #7 and Flair was more than happy to go at it alone if he couldn’t find a partner. One way or another, Flair was gonna get his hands on Anderson and Pillman.

We had Hulk Hogan vowing to beat The Giant at Halloween Havoc, more matches added to the Halloween Havoc card. Lex Luger and Randy Savage will face each other, as long as they get past Meng and Kamala respectively earlier in the PPV. Sting also defended the US title successfully against The Shark, Disco Inferno danced and Sabu beat up Mr JL.

So now, it’s a big week for WCW Nitro. We have Ric getting his hands on Anderson and Pillman, Johnny B Badd challenging DDP for the WCW TV title and the DEBUT of Chris Benoit as he faces Eddie Guerrero. Let’s get to it…

 

Date: October 16th 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Albany, Georgia

Rating: 2.2

Commentators: Eric Bischoff, Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Bobby Heenan

 

From the get-go, we suffer from the disadvantages of watching only WCW Nitro and nothing else. Because from the start of the show, they already announce that Sting will be the one to team up with Ric Flair against Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. On an episode of WCW Pro, Flair asked Sting to be his partner. Sting agreed but vowed to leave Flair for dead if he turned on him. The commentators were still speculating as to whether Sting and Flair can team up together against Anderson and Pillman. Sting and Flair had not teamed together in years since Flair turned on him many years prior to this.

The commentators were having some banter as Bobby Heenan called Mongo’s dog a “tarantula”. Heenan asks Mongo to turn the dog around and goes “oh, there’s the batteries.”

 

DDP (c) w/Diamond Doll vs Johnny B Badd for the WCW Television Championship

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My extra research from Episode #5 appears to have finally paid off. Allow me to break down what has happened with Mr Johnny B Badd. Johnny B Badd became the number one contender for the WCW United States Championship at Fall Brawl. We watched a 29 minute match where Johnny B Badd grabbed the victory. On the Nitro following this, “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff squashed this guy in a matter of minutes. I asked the question of whether he would get his title shot or not. They announced he was still getting his US title shot in a Saturday Night match with Sting.

I decided to watch this match and see what happens but what happened was Johnny B Badd NEVER got his US title match. He no-showed but it appears the explanation was that somebody had slashed his tires and he broke down. In a Saturday Night segment, WCW Television Champion DDP said something about all of Badd’s tyres being slashed. Badd asked DDP how he knew all four of his tyres were slashed when he only said one of them got slashed. Badd punched DDP and that’s how we’ve got the former US title number one contender now challenging for the WCW TV title on Nitro. GOT ALL THAT?

To put a cherry on top of the whole thing, Eric announced that Badd and DDP would wrestle each other at Halloween Havoc anyway… so what was the point of this match, even if it was for the WCW TV title? If they’re doing the TV title match at the PPV, why bother doing this match?

In the end, it didn’t even matter. What happened was DDP SMACKED Badd with the belt before the match started and Badd was out cold on the floor. DDP started attacking him some more as Diamond Doll looked on in awe and disgust. DDP did his own count but the referee disqualified him anyway.

It’s always been one of the great inconsistencies of professional wrestling with disqualifications and what warrants disqualifications in matches. The simple answer is that it’s wrestling and the rules can change at any moment to fit a narrative. It was widely accepted by a lot of fans that nothing you do before a match counts before the bell rings. Brock Lesnar hit Big Show with dozens of chair shows before their Royal Rumble 2014 match before the bell rang and they had a two minute match. Here, DDP hit Badd with the belt before the match and was DQ’d for it.

NOTE: Johnny B Badd had hurt his ribs before the match, which is why they never did the match properly on this edition of Nitro.

 

Chris Benoit vs Eddie Guerrero

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I’m going to give this disclaimer right now about Chris Benoit, as I don’t want any of my comments about Benoit’s work to be misinterpreted. Every comment about Chris Benoit is directed solely on his abilities as a worker. I don’t have any intention to discuss the nature of his personality and character as well as anything related to the tragedies that happened to Benoit’s family in 2007.

With that being said… I could watch Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero wrestle each other over and over again. Considering the circumstances of the deaths of the two wrestlers, it is somewhat sad to watch a match like this. However, Benoit and Guerrero were just two wrestlers who were masters of the craft. Every time they wrestled, it was quality. It was the type of matches that every wrestler should aspire to emulate. Look at the psychology of what Eddie did in the ring but especially look at the psychology of what Benoit did. I understand everything in professional wrestling is considered entertainment but everything in this match felt real for some reason.

Everything Benoit did in this match had a purpose and a goal. He was not just hitting move after move after move on Eddie Guerrero just because he could. They all mattered and Benoit would do things in the middle of the match that would play into the finish. Lance Storm has this philosophy about wrestling where he doesn’t like how matches nowadays are about the last few minutes and based on those final moments of the match, fans go on about how great these matches are. To an extent, he’s got a point and this match shows that. Benoit worked on the hand, over and over again, and it eventually led to the finish. But I’ll get onto that later…

Benoit and Guerrero traded hurricanranas earlier on. Eddie did a big dive to the outside to “Eddie” chants by the fans. Benoit tried a back suplex but Eddie reversed it, which sent them both tumbling to the floor. It looked really crisp and really well done. Eddie sent Benoit into the ring post but then Eddie went crashing into the ring post in order for Benoit to get the heat. Benoit worked over Eddie, including hitting a beautiful hammerlock suplex. He worked on Eddie’s hand, which is important when considering the finish.

The key to all of this “getting heat” on Guerrero was that it was never boring. That was the great thing about Benoit wrestling as a heel. It was never boring. Nothing ever came off as repetitive as every move mattered. It was not a 10 minute Randy Orton headlock or a Kevin Owens chin lock. However, it was also methodical… which is great.

In one motion Eddie reversed a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, bounced off the rope and hit a springboard DDT. It was pretty. Benoit chopped at Eddie as Mongo ranted about the NFL players being pussies or something. God bless Mongo and, to an extent, I feel there is a need for some creativity from the commentators. However, Mongo going on about the NFL over and over just takes away attention from the wrestling and is somewhat irrelevant as the match is going on.

There was somewhat a screwed up botch when Eddie attempted a 619 but I think that was about the only spot they screwed up in this match.

Eddie went for the Frog Splash but Benoit got the knees up. Benoit slammed Eddie, and I mean SLAMMED Eddie, with an absolutely tremendous powerbomb. Benoit went for another powerbomb but Eddie reversed it. Eddie then tried to punch Benoit, but because Benoit worked the hand over, Eddie’s hand was hurting a lot. This allowed Benoit to capitalise with a Dragon Suplex to win the match via pinfall.

This was a great match… possibly the best Nitro match we’ve seen so far. Tremendous psychology. The WCW cruiserweight division was announced by Bischoff following the match and this was a great match as a means to promote it. Benoit, I don’t think, was a cruiserweight at this time but with the likes of Eddie and Dean Malenko… suffice to say we’re in for a lot of fun.

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Bischoff revealed that The Giant was here, much to the delight of Heenan as he cackled away!

Mean Gene is in the ring and we’ve got another plug of the WCW hotline. Mean Gene revealed that a top WWF executive was gone and a WWF guy got into a fight with a fan and lost. Gene said he couldn’t talk about it on Nitro but if you called the hotline for $1.49 per minute you could find out the answer. In case you were wondering, the executive that was fired was Bill Watts. I’m not particular sure who Mean Gene was on about when they mentioned the wrestler who lost a fight to a fan.

The Giant came down with the Taskmaster for a promo with Mean Gene. Taskmaster brought up that Hogan was dressed in black on the last episode and Hogan called Taskmaster evil. From the day he was born, Taskmaster said he knew he was the personification of evil. Evil, evil evil.

Taskmaster said when they shaved Hogan’s moustache, it took away his identity. He said Hogan gave up his colours but the fans had followed Hulkster for all of these years because he was a winner. After Detroit at Halloween Havoc, the fans would become followers of the Dungeon of Doom. The Giant said he was gonna push Hogan off the roof using his monster truck and then gave Mean Gene a close up of the hand that was gonna destroy Hogan by facepalming Mean Gene. Gene was shocked as The Giant cackled, vowing to destroy Hulk Hogan.

 

They plugged WCW Saturday Night, including Michael Wallstreet vs Jim Duggan, Disco Inferno vs Alex Wright, Hulk Hogan being there and Randy Savage vs Scott Norton in a rematch from Episode #2. So after Bischoff said he wasn’t on the roster last week, Disco Inferno is booked to face Alex Wright on WCW Saturday Night. I guess either he’s hired in storyline or they forgot he’s supposed to be a free agent.

 

Meng vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan

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Eric called this match a “barnburner” and although I would not go that far to describe the match, the match was very fun if you wanted to see two big dudes clobbering each other for a minute.

But before all of that, the aforementioned Disco Inferno arrived in all white gear. Before Disco could really get his groove on, like he did during Hawk vs Big Bubba, Meng’s music hit and Disco knew well enough to get out of town.

Meng jumped Duggan before the bell. Hacksaw fought back in a battle where they just punched away at each other. Hacksaw got back into it with a couple of dodges as well as getting the hell away from a massive Meng top rope dive. Hacksaw fired away at Meng and even hit a scoop slam. But Meng quickly regained control with a superkick that caused Hacksaw’s body to go limp as he crashed to the floor. Meng locked on the Tongan Death Grip and won. A very basic match of brawling with not a lot of actual wrestling and somehow that’s OK with me.

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Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart did a promo. They said that everyone now knows the evil in Hogan is real and Taskmaster was right when he mentioned that there was evil in Hogan. Hogan said the evil was here to protect the prayers and vitamins of the fans. Hogan said something strange like The Giant doesn’t realise that Hogan can make promoters fall to their knees in tears as Hogan is stronger than their entire promotions. These digs at WWF are just getting weirder and weirder!

Hogan said the “big stinky Giant” wants to burn down all of the trees to the ground. Jimmy is worried about what Hogan was gonna do to the Taskmaster and Giant. Hogan wanted to prove that Hulkamania was the strongest force in the world. He vowed to bury The Giant in the Motor Ciy right next to his father. He asked what The Giant was gonna do when the evil of Hogan ran wild on him. A crazy Hogan promo as usual.

 

Ric Flair and Sting vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman

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There was no Sting for the opening bell of this match so this meant Flair had to go at alone by himself against Arn and Brian. It’s funny because while he was on his own, Flair was an ass-kicking machine! I think this was possibly the greatest performance of a one-on-two handicap match from a guy with the disadvantage. It was amazingly great.

He appeared to have no difficulty in absolutely obliterating Arn and Brian as he chopped away at both men throughout this match. He chopped Pillman so hard that the referee was forced back by the force of the chop. It was truly sublime.

Pillman would try getting in some chops but Flair would just chop him harder! Flair beat both of their asses and was running wild on his former buddies. I love how during the match where Flair is in control, Bischoff talks about how he had to pay the price as Sting didn’t trust him… WHEN FLAIR WAS DOMINATING ARN AND BRIAN BY HIMSELF!

The fans chanted “We Want Sting” during a match that also included Heenan comparing Hulk Hogan to Darth Vader. Flair went for the Figure Four Leg Lock on Arn but Pillman went to break it up. He tried to break it up but Flair somehow evaded Pillman from the position of having Arn in the Figure Four! It was awesome!

Flair tried a Figure Four on Pillman but that was broken up. Flair is still running wild as the ass-kicking Ric Flair was putting on a damn amazing performance. He was destroying both of these men but he was entertaining and believable at it. Flair was a believable crazy, wild mad man who you believed could smash Arn and Pillman so easily. It was awesome.

Arn hit a spinebuster and at this point, when the heels were in control… HERE COMES STING!

These fans went BONKERS for Sting has he came down to the aid of Flair. Eric went on about how Flair may have possibly earned Sting’s respect which is actually a believable statement if you saw Ric’s performance up until when Sting showed up. He wasn’t a geek that was getting beat on for 10 minutes. He was a fighter and Sting recognised that.

Sting was egging Flair to make the hot tag as the fans were going nuts and Sting eventually got the hot tag. He ran wild and even Sting running wild forced the referee to bump on every part of the mat! Sting hit Stinger Splashes all over the place and he was FIRED UP. THIS WAS A HOT TAG as the fans went crazy.

Sting was dominant and then all of a sudden, it was determined that Arn and Pillman were counted out. I never really heard a count by the referee but Sting and Flair won by count out and this did make you want to see the rematch at Halloween Havoc. Yeah, we’re getting a rematch at Halloween Havoc and I can’t wait!

Sting and Flair cut a post-match promo. Sting said there wasn’t a soul in the world that thought that he was gonna trust Flair. Sting was watching and said that Flair had a lot of guts and a lot of heart. Because Flair showed he had guts and heart, he’d earned Sting’s help. Sting and Flair did a high-five and started going nuts in the ring! This was an awesome exciting little post-match promo!

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That was Episode #7 of WCW Nitro. A huge improvement on last week. We saw a tremendous Ric Flair and Sting performance in the main-event, we had an awesome Benoit vs Guerrero match and this show did a lot in getting me hyped up for WCW Halloween Havoc coming up shortly.  This one gets a thumbs up!

Advertised for next week is Sting and Lex Luger vs Harlem Heat, Benoit and Dean Malenko vs Eddie and Alex Wright and Hogan will also be appearing on Nitro next week.

That’s it from the Armbar Express. We will see you with Episode #8.

WCW Nitro Episode List

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WWE 2K16: Joey Styles Announces That Will Be In The Game

“And now thanks to the magic of live television I’m gonna show the whole world, why for seven years in ECW I was the unscripted, uncensored, loose cannon of commentary.” – Joey Styles

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A bit of news surrounding WWE 2K16. Joey Styles has tweeted out about the WWE 2K16 game and confirmed that he will be apart of the game, commentating in the Austin 3:16 showcase mode during Steve Austin’s brief run at ECW.

Here’s the tweet below…

Mikey Whipwreck along with the ECW arena were already confirmed for the game and to add that bit of authenticity, the Voice of ECW himself Joey Styles has seemingly been added to the game.

Joey Styles is an awesome addition to the game. WWE 2K15 only featured Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler on commentary, even throughout the showcase modes.

It’s already been announced that JBL will join Cole and Lawler on commentary, and Jim Ross will be providing Attitude Era commentary for Austin’s Showcase mode. So Joey Styles also getting his shot at commentary is also pretty awesome to see. Five commentators being used throughout to mix things up a bit.

Joey Styles has been working for WWE on their digital media output since leaving the commentary booth in 2008. This showcase mode provides an opportunity for Joey to return to commentary and I do like WWE Games’ insistence on staying as true to the source material as possible. If that’s the case, then there’s always the possibility that PAUL HEYMAN might be featured on commentary if they feature some of Austin’s appearances in 2001 as part of the Alliance.

That might be pushing it a bit, but seeing Joey is a great bit of news for me. I’m a huge fan of Joey.

TOP FIVE MOMENTS FROM WWE RAW (21/09/15)

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Night of Champions was an eventful night indeed. We saw Seth Rollins put in two incredible performances in one night against John Cena and Sting. Sting suffered a “significant” injury and Kane returned to get revenge on Seth and prevent Sheamus from cashing in Money In The Bank. RAW had a lot to develop on. Considering that the next PPV main event is the Hell in a Cell grudge match between Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, the pressure was on for RAW to succeed. Here are my top five moments from the show…

1. John Cena vs Seth Rollins

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If you’re in any doubt about who has been the best wrestler of the year up until this point, these last two nights should have squashed those doubts for good. Seth Rollins, as far as I’m concerned, should be WWE’s Employee of the Year with everything he’s done in the past year! I thought Kevin Owens working three nights in a row in Brooklyn, including a ladder match with Finn Balor, was special. I believe this has slightly topped that. Seth Rollins worked two matches in one night a few weeks ago on RAW. After working two top matches in one night again with John Cena and Sting at Night of Champions, Seth worked ANOTHER main event match with John Cena on RAW!

Three great matches in the space of two days. That’s astonishing to me. Let’s recap. At Night of Champions, Seth first worked a match with Cena. In that match, he took three Attitude Adjustments, including one on the floor, and went 17 minutes. He then worked a 14 minute match with Sting, which was challenging due to a number of circumstances including Sting’s injury. He then took a Brogue Kick, a chokeslam and a TOMBSTONE to cap off that night. On RAW, he worked another big match with Cena and delivered once again. That’s quite something.

It could be argued that Seth is being over-exposed in television, having been featured so many times during this show in particular. However, Seth’s handling the pressure and thoroughly deserves his position right now.

2. Kane’s Identity Crisis

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I know a lot of people are a bit annoyed that Kane’s involved in a main event program in 2015. Considering that Seth’s coming off great work with Brock Lesnar, John Cena and Sting, it might seem as a step down for Rollins. However, I think their delivery in this program as been good so far.

We’re a few days into this storyline and things could easily fall apart. However, Kane came out in a blaze of glory at Night of Champions and he was awesome on RAW. His delivery with his backstage promos as “Corporate Kane” were really good and at times, he was very funny. Out of all the identity crisis storylines we’ve had over the years, at least Kane’s has been one of the strongest with regards to the actual portrayal of someone with a dual personality. He was funny in the suit and was menacing as the demon.

I like this storyline so far and to be honest, working Kane will be the easiest thing in the world for Seth. Many people have stated in interviews that Kane is very easy worker to work with and that’s great for Seth considering the amount of work he’s done in the past few months. I’m all for this feud.

3. Paige’s #PaigeBomb

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One of the biggest things coming off RAW is Paige’s “PaigeBomb” which she cut when she turned heel during Charlotte’s Divas Title celebration. I won’t talk about it a great deal since I am planning to do a separate article on Paige later on in the week. However, I will say this promo was magical. It’s definitely what was needed to salvage this Divas Revolution which has really sunk in the past few months. I had my issues with Charlotte winning the title initially but I think Paige will help things along tremendously now she’s a heel. Considering all the ways they could have turned Paige heel, this was by far one of the greater methods.

4.  Randy Orton Returns In Big Brawl With The Wyatt Family

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I thought this opening segment with the big brawl involving Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, the Wyatt Family and the returning Randy Orton was a great segment. It seemed to come out of nowhere as you’d think they’d build up to the fight later on in the show. But no. Everyone came out all guns blazing. It started off with Roman challenging Bray Wyatt to a one on one fight. Luke Harper and Braun Strowman got involved before Dean Ambrose came down to help Roman. Then Randy Orton came down to help even the odds. The good guys were able to stand tall and knock Braun down to the outside.

I thought this was a nice little brawl. It wasn’t like a pull-apart fight or anything but it was nice to see them fight for a little while. It really helped intensify this rivalry and it’s a great change of pace to see the show actually start off with a brawl. It’s different and I do like it when WWE tries something different!

5. Xaiver Woods

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Xaiver Woods still continues to be one of the greatest parts of RAW every single week. Xaiver cut a promo with the New Day just before their six man tag also involving Rusev, the Dudley Boyz and Dolph Ziggler. Xaiver talked about how he had to get wood removed from his “buttocks!” Xaiver did his usual thing on the trombone and in one of the highlights of this show, played Rusev’s theme song on the trombone. I thought that deserved the pop of the night! I also like how 30 seconds into the song, Michael Cole then stated “I think he’s playing Rusev’s theme music” or something like that. I love how it took Cole that long to figure it out!

Summer Rae was also getting involved by doing a “trombone tag team” with Xaiver! What’s funny about this was that Rusev and Xaiver were in some kind of video together playing video games recently! It’s nice to see how their relationship in real life has now been transferred into the kayfabe world of WWE! Rusev was celebrating with the New Day and seemed so out of character being filled with positivity! There was also the moment where the New Day were doing Rusev’s pose that he does in the ring during his entrance! That was awesome! The New Day is awesome! I hope they never break up!

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There were a few great moments in the show, accompanied with some not so great moments. There was a few things that annoyed me. Cesaro jobbing to the Big Show was one of them, effectively finishing his main event push. That was sad. There was one other thing that annoyed me, which I’ll get to now before I finish.

WWE made the big announcement that Brock Lesnar would be facing the UNDERTAKER in a Hell in a Cell match at the PPV. Instead of promoting that match, WWE decided it was more important to dedicate more time to promoting Big Show vs Brock Lesnar at Madison Square Garden in a few weeks!

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Wrestling Flashback – Rufus “Pancake” Patterson

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Today on the Wrestling Flashback is the Prime Time Players. This is actually due to an appearance the Prime Time Players made on Chris Jericho’s podcast. On the podcast, they talked about coming up with the idea of Rufus “Pancake” Patterson as an alter-ego for Titus O’Neil.

Why did they call him pancake?

Because he flattens fools!

This gimmick ended up being a one time thing which they did on WWE television. They did film a couple of segments for the WWE App but it only ever appeared ONCE on WWE Television. What’s interesting though is that they appeared at one of the top time slots for a WWE show… they showed up at the start of the show during a segment with John Cena.

John Cena was talking about how he was ready to face The Rock for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 29. This kicked off RAW, so they were kicking off RAW to promote the main event of Wrestlemania 29 with Cena. This was interrupted by the Prime Time Players. They start to cut this promo and Cena cuts them off. He was about to introduce them but Titus cuts him off to proclaim himself as “Titus’ nephew”. His name was actually Rufus “Pancake” Patterson.

I always thought the debut of this gimmick as part of the program including John Cena and The Rock was very interesting. On Jericho’s podcast, Titus and Darren talked about the pressure of opening the show and I don’t blame them for being nervous.

This was a gimmick that was really hit or miss experiment. For me, it was either you loved it or you hated it. For me, it was a hit. Titus always had a great sense of humour and I think if this was given a few months, this gimmick could have gotten really over. Probably not to the status of an alter-ego gimmick like Dude Love or Mankind. However, Titus and Darren just had great chemistry that I think would of worked out for the best. If Titus was the manager of Darren (like he was during Young’s match with Cena after the above segment I was talking about) it could have helped both Darren and Titus. Titus would have been able to get over just by his mannerisms and mic work. Darren could have built up a good record in the ring and could have been elevated as a singles star.

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Let’s be honest, the original split of the Prime Time Players didn’t go as planned. However, I think the opportunity to have both them stand out as individuals first while still being a tag team could have been a success. When they split up, Darren and Titus weren’t able to create a unique identity for themselves before doing so. If they were to have this gimmick run on for a while on television, Titus and Darren can get over as themselves so the split means they didn’t have to rely on each other to get over.

I really wish we saw a bit more of Rufus “Pancake” Patterson. With enough screen time, I truly believe he could have been worth Millions of Dollars…

07/09/2015 RAW REVIEW – A Great Day For The New Day, A Bad Day For Seth Rollins

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Hello everybody. Welcome to the RAW review. This RAW was a very special RAW for me. It was one of the rare occasions where I stayed up and watched this live. I’m from the UK and RAW is on over here at 1am and finishes at 4. I rarely get a chance to watch it live and I figured that I’d give it a watch. The last two episodes of RAW were actually good so I stayed up for this one because of a lot of things. I heard Sting was going to be on the show, which he was. I knew the New Day were going to be on and be the most entertaining act of the night, which they were. I was expecting a few surprises, and there was. However, all of that could not save this show from possibly being the worst episode of RAW in years.

I give credit where credit’s due. I usually try to maintain a positive outlook on WWE. I’m an optimist and I hope for the best. However, this show was a massive disappointment. This show was following great work from the last couple of weeks and this was supposed to be the “Season Finale” of RAW. I should be over the moon about how great the New Day were. However, everything else on this show really didn’t hit the mark. Let me cut to the chase. Seth Rollins’ promo at the start of the show just set the tone for this really embarrassing episode of RAW. Keep in mind, WWE had stars like Sting, Triple H, John Cena, Edge, Christian, The Dudley Boyz, Randy Orton and so many others in their disposal. Yet somehow, the crowd seemed dead for this show. I don’t blame them for not caring about this show and it all started with the Seth Rollins promo at the start.

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Seth Rollins has really stepped up his game in terms of his promos in the last few months. The fans were invested into everything he had to say. He was a joy to listen to. Tonight however, he was not. Seth’s promo revolved around him talking about how he was “special” and complained about Sting stealing his statue. Last week, Seth found out that he would be defending both his WWE World and US titles on the same night against Sting and John Cena respectively. This promo should have been put in place to allow Seth to get out his frustrations about the whole deal. He’s the victim of this whole thing as he has to wrestle two healthy WWE stars on the same night, and he dedicated most of this promo complaining about a statue.

Sting interrupted and cut a goofy promo about the statue. I liked Sting during this show. He was the mixture of craziness and goofiness that made him a hit on this show. It was sort of like his deal in TNA as “Joker” Sting, but it was a lot less tamer. That was fine because it’s humour that the WWE’s PG audience would find entertaining. I have no problem with all of this.

Sheamus then came out to confront Rollins. Sheamus and Seth Rollins may possibly be an upcoming MAIN EVENT feud for WWE. Sheamus could possibly cash in on Rollins, become the Authority’s new favourite and lead to Seth Rollins’ big face turn. This could be a program in the near future. To get you excited about the possibility of this feud, WWE put on the most embarrassing back-and-forth I think I’ve seen all year long. This was involving MAIN EVENTERS! All they did was just call each other stupid and Sheamus joked about Ronald McDonald being a relative of his. This segment made Sheamus to look like a complete joke. I felt so bad for the guy. However, things would get worse for Sheamus later on in the show…

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Seth Rollins was forced to wrestle twice in one night tonight. He wrestled Ryback in a decent champion vs champion match. Seth is just one of those wrestlers that can have a decent match with anyone. He’s creative enough that he can make Ryback look good in there. Ryback didn’t really mess anything. Ryback WON after Sting popped up on the titantron. I had no problem with the finish. Ryback’s roll up was A LOT better than the roll up in the finish of the divas match between Sasha Banks and Paige (we’ll get on to that later). I only had a few problems with this match. Firstly, this match featured the holders of THREE of the top titles in WWE. You’d think a match featuring these two important figures in the WWE would go on LAST? When was the last time you saw a match which featured a WWE World Heavyweight Champion, a US Champion and a Intercontinental Champion? This should have had a lot more build and it was kind of offending that this went on first with little promotion before hand other than word of mouth from Stephanie. Secondly, there was NO development in this new feud involving Ryback and Kevin Owens. Other than Kevin Owens eating an apple and confronting Ryback before his match, nothing else happened. Kevin didn’t do anything to really get Ryback’s attention other than verbal remarks. Surely he should have ATTACKED him after this match? I guess not…

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Paige vs Sasha Banks actually opened the show. I think I’m probably just going to jump around a lot in this episode so bare with me. This match was an OK match. These two are very good workers and this REALLY should be the feud for the Divas Championship. It was an OK match… until the finish. Paige hit the RamPaige onto Sasha when Naomi got into the ring and distracted Paige. Sasha took advantage with a MESSY roll up to score the pin. The pin looked like both Paige AND Sasha’s shoulders were on the mat. It looked to me like it was a draw. Maybe that was the intent, as Paige complained about the finish and Sasha’s shoulders being on the mat afterwards. However, none of the commentators brought this up on commentary. The PCB never seemed to protest this as Paige was just upset in the ring. It just looked like a really bad roll up which they tried to cover up afterwards on SOCIAL MEDIA with a verbal spat from Paige.

I also have an issue with Naomi’s run in. Did we really need the distraction to be a deciding factor in the finish of this match? Naomi’s getting in the ring should really just be the spot which would lead to Sasha taking over and getting herself the heat on Paige. It should not really be a part of the finish. It’s not like Naomi attacked Paige or anything, like Tamina had earlier on. She got in the ring, she got back out and Sasha rolled up Paige for the win. One last thing about this match. Sasha has now been Paige TWICE on RAW in the last month as well as Nikki Bella in a non-title match a few weeks ago. I understand this is scripted entertainment but surely that should put Sasha in contention for a title shot. I feel really bad for Sasha and her group, who are apparently having to play third-fiddle to the PCB and Team Bella.

Speaking of the PCB and Team Bella, Nikki would talk about breaking AJ’s record title reign next week and put up the Bellatron. She announced a Bellabration until she was interrupted by the PCB. Charlotte announced that she would be getting a title shot next week on RAW, meaning Nikki’s title reign could end just hours before breaking the record. I personally don’t think Charlotte should win the title right now. If you read my recent article on Charlotte (at this link), you can see why. Her winning the title next week might be a big moment for her but I don’t think it’ll help her in the long term. However, I am glad we’re finally getting a Divas Championship match next week!

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Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns SQUASHED The Ascension in a tag team match. This was ridiculous for so many reasons. Firstly, the Ascension had just began a stable with Stardust on SmackDown! I love how the majority of this show featured replays of the events that took place on SmackDown!, yet the writers on RAW seemed to neglect the events of SmackDown! here as the Ascension didn’t appear with Stardust! There was no mention of the group forming and it was just typical business as usual for the Ascension. You’d think if they were wanting to push this new stable, the Ascension would maybe pick up some wins first and build themselves up. That didn’t happen tonight as Roman and Dean squashed them in a matter of minutes!

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Bray Wyatt appeared, vowing to take out everyone thinking of joining Roman and Dean’s crusade. Randy Orton was shown talking to Ambrose and Reigns prior to his match with Sheamus.

The funny thing is just before RAW started, I listened to Steve Austin talking about this Randy Orton/Sheamus feud and he was bang on the money. There was NO storyline involved, there was no new developments after Sheamus beat Orton at Summerslam. It’s not like Sheamus beat Orton by cheating at Summerslam either. He just won clean giving Orton no logical reason for wanting a rematch. It was just incredibly frustrating watching what these men were being put through. I don’t blame the fans for not caring about this match.

Firstly, the match itself was OK. It was worse than their Battleground and Summerslam matches but it was an alright TV match. However, it was just so hard to get invested into this match. It’s also incredibly hard to consider Sheamus as a possible top main event heel when he cuts promos during matches saying “I don’t look stupid”. This was very bad because Sheamus is supposed to be this tough, Irish brawler. He’s supposed to love a good old fight more than anything else. He’s like Finlay with his mean attitude. With that being said, why on earth would Sheamus care about the fans calling him out on his looks? It completely contradicted the character that he has developed ever since he debuted. Interim UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor would not get distracted in a UFC fight if the fans started chanting “You look stupid”. He doesn’t care about how he looks. He cares about beating people up and dominating in the UFC. Sheamus should have the same mentallity. He certaintly should have the same mentality if he’s supposed to WIN the WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP!

 actually began trending on Twitter following this match. This is how uninterested people were in this match. Orton won with an RKO and was immediately attacked by the Wyatts. I guess this was because he was talking to Dean and Roman before backstage. Whether this leads to Randy actually joining Dean and Roman remains to be seen.

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I do want to mention probably the greatest segment I’ve seen all year long in WWE. It was a four minute backstage segment and it followed Seth losing to Ryback. He was looking for Sting when the New Day showed up. They were trying to get Seth riled up about their six man tag team match against John Cena and the Prime Time Players. Seth got angry and he was then confronted by Edge and Christian. Seth’s bad night continued when he chickened out of a fight with someone with a serious neck problem so serious that one shock could lead to Edge being paralyzed. Way to put over your champion…

The New Day and Edge and Christian began a music battle, pitting Xaiver Woods’ trombone against Edge and Christian’s kazoos. Big E tried to eat the Kazoos when the Dudleyz showed up. They announced that the New Day would be defending the titles next week against the Prime Time Players. The Dudleyz, Edge and Christian began singing a song about breaking tables which was a very cheerful moment. This segment was… magical. The New Day was just incredible during this entire show. Sadly this segment was followed up by Summer Rae…

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know of my deep disdain for this Ziggler/Rusev/Lana angle. When Lana was revealed to be injured and out for four months, I was hoping that they’d just wrap up this storyline. I jokingly said that WWE might drag this storyline out for four months until Lana is back and is able to have her first match. However, when I saw this angle with Ziggler, Rusev and Summer Rae, I have a feeling they’ll actually probably do that! This LONG segment ended with Ziggler attacking Rusev and then Ziggler vs Rusev being announced for Night of Champions.

I understand that there’s not actually been a clear winner between Rusev or Ziggler in this entire storyline. Their match at Summerslam ended in a double count out and Ziggler won by DQ on RAW last week. What would be logical is that this match would be made NO DISQUALIFICATION so there MUST be a winner. However, it was just announced as a standard match like all the other ones! If you’re going to do this match for a THIRD TIME, can you at least make it a little bit different? Throw in a stipulation or something. Because all of this will need to nothing positive if their match at Night of Champions doesn’t truly represent the pent-up “emotion” from Rusev and Ziggler. These two have hated each other for months. They’d want to just beat each other up. Why do the exact same match for the second PPV in a row?

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The Dudley Boyz beat Los Matadores. When Los Matadores came out with El Torito, I was PRAYING that Bubba would put El Torito threw a table! I was sadly disappointed. After the Dudleyz won, Diego was angry at El Torito and started pushing Torito around. This was apparently the big heel turn of Los Matadores. This was shortly followed up with the Dudleyz putting Diego through a table. What a way to turn heel…

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Cesaro and The Miz wrestled to a double count out when the Big Show interfered. The Miz ran into the crowd and because Cesaro was outside too, it was ruled a double count out. After seemingly turning face once more, Show KO’d Cesaro and just walked off. This match needed to happen… why? What was the benefit to EITHER of one these wrestlers? What was the benefit of Big Show running out to run off The Miz and then KO Cesaro. This helped… NO ONE.

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We had the six man tag team match main event, with the Prime Time Players and Cena taking on Rollins and the New Day. The New Day were hilarious throughout this match. The match itself wasn’t actually that bad but the fans around that time in the show was just drained. You could tell as the fans barely had enough energy to chant “John Cena Sucks” during Cena’s entrance. Xaiver Woods was just the start of this match and he wasn’t even in the match itself! There was a spot where Xaiver began playing the trombone to the rhythm of the moves his team mates were doing. You’ll have to go and watch the match itself to see how magical it all was. It added so much life into the match. It was weird seeing Cena getting beaten up until TITUS O’NEIL got the hot tag. Shocking. To be fair, Titus usually has awesome hot tag moments so I didn’t mind. The match ended with Cena catching Kofi and hitting the AA for the win. This was followed by Sting appearing on the screen one FINAL TIME to crush Seth Rollins’ status. That was the end to RAW.

I was going to talk about the ending of RAW itself in a bit more detail but I might just wrap things up now. All I can say is that this show was so draining. There was little for the fans to get excited for. Seth Rollins got completely buried throughout the entire night. There were a lot of screwed up finishes. Some horrid storylines continued and it was a true let down when considering how great the last two shows have been. This show gets a MASSIVE thumbs down. All I can say is that next week’s RAW has to be REALLY good in order to get people into Night Of Champions…

Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo Comment On Bash At The Beach 2000

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A few days ago, a preview of the WWE’s upcoming DVD release “Monday Night War: Know Your Role” was uploaded onto YouTube. What the DVD features is a sit-down interview with Eric Bischoff. Bischoff talks about dealing with Vince Russo and talks about the famous “Bash At The Beach incident” in 2000.

For those of you that don’t know what happened in 2000, let me break it down for you. Vince Russo was a writer for WCW, signing for the company in 1999. Vince had been pushing Jeff Jarrett to a great degree, making him the WCW Champion. He began a storyline involving Jeff and Hollywood Hogan for the title. His plan was for Jeff to beat Hogan at the Bash at the Beach PPV. On the day of the PPV, Hogan activated the “creative control” clause in his contract and refused to lose the match. He believed that Vince had a lack of direction for Hogan’s character following his loss and refused to lose to Jeff. Vince therefore had Jeff lay down for Hogan, resulting in Hogan winning the belt. Hogan cut a “worked shoot” saying that “That’s why this company is in the damn shape it’s in; because of bullshit like this”, which would be the last time Hogan appeared in WCW. Vince would go on to cut a shoot promo on Hogan’s “backstage politicking” and nullified the result of the match. The finish of Jeff laying down and Hogan’s promo was apparently a work but the promo cut by Russo wasn’t. Hogan would go on to sue Russo for defamation of contract but the case got thrown out.

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However, Eric argues in this video that it was actually Vince Russo that went into business for himself that night. Eric said the finish of Hogan going over was already decided between himself, Hogan and Russo. However, on the day, Vince would change the plans which forced Hogan put his foot down, activating his creative control clause. Two ideas were apparently pitched to the head of the network. Vince’s idea of Jeff going over and Eric’s idea of Hogan going over. The president, who “had the deciding vote”, went with Bischoff’s plan. However, Vince would change the plans anyway.

It’s also interesting to note that Bischoff says that Hogan was the only one in WCW to have creative control and that he only ever used it once at Bash of the Beach. It’s interesting because Hogan said the same thing before in interviews. He also said the things Russo booked made Eric look like Steven Spielberg.

Bischoff’s comments can be seen down below…


Vince Russo responded to these claims on his YouTube channel. If you’ve ever seen the stuff Vince writes about his past dealings with WWE, WCW and TNA, he’s very defensive about this work. If you’re as dedicated and passionate as Vince was about his projects, it’s perfectly understandable. It’s hard to see things you’ve put hard work into get torn apart.

However, Vince didn’t take too kindly to Eric’s accusations. He specifically didn’t like Bischoff calling “BS” on Vince’s side of the story. Vince talked about the story at Bash at the Beach itself, in his book “How WCW Killed Vince Russo” and in a number of shoot interviews in the past. However, he now talks about the entire thing again.

Russo says that Eric was talking nonsense and that what happened at Bash at the Beach was part of the original script. Russo argues that if he did go into business for himself, that there would have been some sort of confrontation between Russo, Hogan and Bischoff. He says because there wasn’t a confrontation, it was because everybody was following the script.

Russo argues that if he had gone into business for himself, there would have been some ramifications. Since he “double-crossed” the head of the network, Vince would have probably been fired or been in some other form of trouble. Vince also talks about the legal issues that Eric claims Vince created. Vince also talks about Eric’s accusations of Vince being a bad writer.

Down below was his response to Eric’s comments…

I won’t jump to any sort of conclusion about who I think is right or wrong because frankly, it’s Eric’s word against Vince’s. All I’ll say is that it’s incredible how the Bash at the Beach thing is still being talked about after all of these years. I’m also expecting much more to come out of this story.