Cody Rhodes/Stardust Asks For His WWE Release

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with the Armbar Express. I’m here to discuss the Twitter announcement from Cody Rhodes a.k.a. Stardust, who revealed that he has asked for his release from WWE. Coming off the recent releases and MANY rumours of futures departures from the company, this one is quite a big one.

Cody tweeted the news yesterday on his personal account.

Just like Wade Barrett and Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes had the potential to become a true main-event star. He’s got the blood of a wrestling legend in Dusty Rhodes. He was one of the best workers in the roster, being able to use an old-school in-ring style and adapt it to a vastly different and high-paced style. He has charisma and was dedicated to getting the most out of himself and his character, no matter how badly he had it. He’s got the look of a marketable pretty boy and to my knowledge, had been anything but a pain backstage. I’ve rarely seen stories about backstage heat on Cody Rhodes or any issues he’s had with fellow wrestlers. He’s the ultimate workhorse, even with the last name of Rhodes.

You know, it’s very easy to look at a guy and say: “he deserved to be champion.” We’ve said that about Mr Perfect. We’ve said that about William Regal. We’ve said that about a lot of people. I Googled the term deserve and the definition I got was: “do something or have or show qualities worthy of (a reaction which rewards or punishes as appropriate).” Every one of the qualities I mentioned above describes Cody Rhodes and his actions certainly were more deserving of rewards rather than punishment. Even so, I don’t even think Cody Rhodes has even been given a single world championship program in his entire WWE career.

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Now he’s been in pretty big storylines while with WWE. He was a member of Legacy, with Legacy’s leader Randy Orton being the biggest part of WWE storylines in 2009. He was the one that re-introduced the classic Intercontinental Championship as part of a great run as Intercontinental Champion from August 2011 until WrestleMania 28. He was a key part in a tremendous program with the Rhodes Family taking on the Shield, leading to a classic tag team match at Battlerground 2013. He had the “Stardust” gimmick and still did his very best to make the most out of his character. Even so, he was never considered for a big main event push. After nearly a decade of blood, sweat and tears, Cody Rhodes was never given the main event opportunity.

Being deserving of something and being entitled to something are two completely different things. I may go on Twitter or write something, suggesting that “this guy deserves a push.” There are so many guys that have been lost in the shuffle for many years now, which is detrimental to the product. I don’t want those guys to be wasted, as those guys have qualities that is worthy of a reward. That’s being deserving. I will, however, never say that someone is entitled to anything. Nobody has the right to have x amount of title runs. Nobody has the right to be in x amount of WrestleMania main events. Despite that, Cody Rhodes was as close as a wrestler can be to being entitled to much more than he was getting. What more could Cody do to be “given the ball?”

Cody has the genetics of a champion. Cody has the charisma of the champion. Cody has the wrestling ability of a champion. What more was there for Cody to have in order for WWE to give him a championship run or even a title shot? I don’t understand.

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I’m sure there’s a lot of people already speculating that this is a grand work but I highly doubt that. I know there’s been examples of wrestlers that have tweeted their departure on Facebook or Twitter, only for it to have been a big swerve. A memorable example to me was when Devon tweeted that he was quitting TNA but was back for the 2012 Bound For Glory pay-per-view. However, I don’t think so. I mentioned this during my post about the initial WWE releases. There was just more to come from this and unfortunately, this is it. Brooklyn Brawler’s release was announced shortly after this, with a few more being speculated as well. Cody’s deal is just one of them and he chose to tweet it first himself.

There have been several more tweets of support for Cody. There’s been tweets from Arrow star Stephen Amell and Cody’s wife Brandi Rhodes a.k.a. Eden both tweeted.

It’s a shame because of what I mentioned before. Of course, Cody could easily come back some time down the road. I don’t think that relations between WWE and Cody are terrible or anything, so of course the possibility is there for a return.

Have any favourite memories or thoughts about the release of Cody Rhodes/Stardust? Tweet me @TomRobinson5199 and @ArmbarExpress and give us your thoughts, or leave a comment.

Wrestling Flashback – Joey Styles’ RAW Shoot Promo In 2006

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In October 2005, Jim Ross was fired (kayfabe) as play-by-play commentator of RAW in a rather embarrassing way. After Stone Cold Steve Austin had stunned every member of the McMahon family the previous week, Jim Ross was the scapegoat. Vince and Stephanie McMahon put the blame on him and picked on him until Linda McMahon came to his aid. On television, Linda and JR had a great relationship. In a big swerve though, Linda fired JR and kicked him in the nuts.

This was really just done so JR could recover from colon surgery. However, this provided an opportunity for a new RAW commentator to get a shot at covering the flagship show of WWE…

On November 7th 2005, JR’s replacement was finally introduced. It was revealed that former ECW commentator Joey Styles would be the newest play-by-play commentator for Monday Night RAW. Joey was doing commentary for ECW One Night Stand but this was his first true stint as an announcer for WWE programming.

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For Joey Styles, this was a completely new environment to ECW. Joey was mostly a solo commentator for ECW events and his world would change as he became the new voice of Monday Night RAW. However, Joey was doing a fine job adapting to this new sports entertainment environment. That was until Wrestlemania 22 came along… and Joey Styles was bumped from the show in favour of Jim Ross.

Joey was allowed to commentate on the Edge vs Mick Foley hardcore match, fulfilling his dream of one day calling a Wrestlemania match. Luckily for Joey, he was able to call probably the best match of the night. However, Joey’s dismissal from the rest of the show was very interesting as he would return to commentating on RAW the next night. He would also miss out on the opportunity to call RAW’s next PPV Backlash, with JR being selected once again.

Eventually, Joey Styles’ frustrations with the WWE dealings backstage eventually spilled out onto RAW. On the May 1st 2006 edition of RAW, the general managers of the show were the Spirit Squad. Kenny was booked to challenge John Cena for the WWE Championship. Joey was instructed by the Spirit Squad to show some spirit when Kenny wins the title, being forced to wear a cheerleader’s outfit if he didn’t do a good enough job.

Joey Styles returned to commentary as Jerry Lawler also urged Joey to show some spirit. Joey finally decided that he had enough, calling Jerry a hack and slapping him. Jerry pushed him over and Joey ran to the back. Jerry Lawler apologised and wanted Joey to come back out. Joey came back out and the speech he gave was nothing short of fantastic. Below is the full transcript of what was an incredible “worked shoot” promo cut live on WWE RAW by the voice of ECW…

  • “You want to apologize? Like nothing happened. Like you didn’t knock me on my ass in front of millions of people worldwide, and I’m gonna come down there and work with you. I’m not coming back, 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. Six months ago, WWE called me, I didn’t call this company because I was looking for a job. I didn’t need a job. WWE called me because they had humiliated and fired…again, Jim Ross. So I get JR’s spot, and from week one, week after week I’ve got an ongoing lecture about the differences in professional wrestling and sports entertainment. I’m not allowed to say ‘pro wrestling’, I’m not allowed to say ‘wrestler’. I have to say ‘sports entertainment’ and refer to the wrestlers as ‘superstars’. I’m told to deliberately ignore the moves and the holds during the matches so I can tell stories. Well ignoring the moves and the holds is damn insulting to the athletes, the ‘wrestlers’, not the entertainers who leave their families three hundred days a year to ply their craft in that ring. Here’s the best part, because I’m not a sports entertainment storyteller I get pulled from Wrestlemania, and the reason I’m given is, is because I don’t sound like Jim Ross who’s the guy they fired in the first place. That makes sense, right? So I swallow the bitter pill, I’m a company guy. I get bumped from Wrestlemania. Then I get bumped from Backlash? I’m not good enough to call Backlash!? In ECW, I called live pay-per-views on my own, solo, no colour commentators dragging me down. Wasn’t done before me, hasn’t been done since. But I’m not good enough to call Backlash because I’m not a sports entertainment storyteller. Well you know what? I am sick of sports entertainment. I am sick of male cheerleaders. I am sick of boogers and bathroom humour and semen and I am sick of our chairman. Who likes to talk about his own semen, he mocks God… he mocks God!!!!! And makes out with the divas all to feed his own insatiable ego. I am sick of sports entertainment, and most of all I am sick of you fans who actually buy into that crap! This sports entertainment circus! I never
    needed this job, and I don’t want this job anymore.”

With this speech, he quit the WWE.

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Joey was eventually brought back as part of the ECW revival beginning at ECW One Night Stand 2006 and he actually still works in WWE backstage today. However, this promo was nothing short of fantastic. Back then, the WWE was still very protective of the kayfabe of storylines. Therefore, shoot promos in WWE were very rare.

Wade Keller wrote about this for PWTorch at the time in 2006, saying:

“What stands out the most is that he was allowed to rip on the WWE product. For years, announcers have been discouraged from referring to in–ring athletes as “wrestlers” and instead refer to them as “superstars” dating back to the 1980s. That policy was inspired in part in a desire to distance themselves from pro wrestling’s tawdry image, but it was also an attempt at a self–fulfilling prophesy. Referring to the athletes as superstars elevated their image through their label as being more than “just fake wrestlers.” For Styles to be allowed to point it out, though, means WWE fans will be more tuned in to WWE’s usage of language in the future.”

The fans were never TRULY able to get much detail about the backstage dealings in WWE, unless you had access to the internet. Joey gave the fans an insight into how commentators were told to behave by the WWE. Of course, JR or Michael Cole were never going to tell the audience what Vince McMahon is shouting down their ear. However, Joey was in a position where he was able to let the fans into that world WITHOUT using terminology that was too insider for the majority of fans to get. This was not like Vince Russo, who used shoot terminology a lot during his time as a writer. This was enough so that the fans could get a rare taste of what happens backstage but it wasn’t too much that the fans wouldn’t understand. As an introduction to the backstage dealings at WWE, this was great.

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I believe that this was probably one of the greatest shoot promos in wrestling history. It was not as ground-breaking as CM Punk’s infamous pipebomb and it wasn’t as scathing as Paul Heyman’s shoot on Vince McMahon was back in 2001. However, it was exactly the type of thing the revived ECW would need going forward. Joey had to make it clear that what he would eventually be apart of was nothing like RAW or SmackDown!

This was special because back then, the line between reality and fiction was never really shattered before in such a manner. Paul Heyman talked about the WWF’s presentation of sports entertainment before in his shoot promo but Joey properly exposed the lack of wrestling in the product. When Heyman cut his promo, there was still a lot of attention given to wrestling. When Styles cut his promo, RAW’s storylines at the time included a bunch of cheerleaders, Kane feuding with himself and Vince McMahon depicting himself as god. After all of these storylines, the fans realised just how much on the money Styles was. This worked… sublimely.

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.

AJ Lee’s Retirement – My Thoughts and Reactions

So on Friday night, I was pretty much ready to go to bed. I was pretty tired after a day of university work combined with the How I Would Book Brock Lesnar vs Batista blog posts (part one’s on this link and part two at this link). I was pretty much set… until I read the following tweet from @WWE themselves. And it involved one of the most important divas on the roster and one of the most “over” divas in the last five years.

The tweet read….

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I sent out a blog post following the tweet and it’s proven to be a big hit! However, I wanted to do a follow-up piece a few days later and just before RAW. The first blog post was not really intended to be a huge analysis on the story. I did make a few observations here and there but it was short and sweet just to let you guys know of the situation at the time. Now a day or so has passed and I’ve decided to do the follow-up piece that I promised you when I wrote the first one. To take a look at the situation, what we NOW know about it and where WWE and AJ goes from here….  

So as stated, the only things we had before were the tweet sent by WWE and a tweet CM Punk sent out soon afterwards…

Now with her wife involved, this tweet was inevitable. But it’s probably Punk’s first mention in a REALLY long time. Possibly since the Colt Cabana podcast back in November. Of course, it didn’t hint at anything. However, I just felt it was just a nice thing to point out. Punk leading the praises of his wife as any husband should…

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Many more have tweeted about AJ as well. Mick Foley, as usual, was very active on social media about. Heck, the Bellas broke kayfabe to send their farewells to AJ too. And considering all the things AJ have said about the Bellas on television, it’s a ture touch of professionalism and class from the Bellas.

However, it’s still not known for certain WHY AJ “retired” or what the reasons were for her departure.

Just to state the record, we’re not going to throw around the idea that WWE are hiding something or some WWE conspiracy reason for her departure. That’s not what this post is for. It’s pretty much a summary of what we know and the impact of her “retirement”.

That being said, there have been “hints” for the reasons behind her sudden departure. At least to US it was sudden. Looking back at her Wrestlemania tag team match with Paige, it could be that AJ knew she was calling it a day at WWE.

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According to a NoDQ.com article,

“Regarding AJ Lee retiring from WWE, there’s already some speculation that she knew she was leaving this week before WrestleMania 31. A colleague who watched WrestleMania 31 with me thought that AJ’s post-match celebration with Paige “seemed weird” as if AJ knew this was her last big match. The two hugged for a while and AJ told Paige she loves her, which to most people didn’t seem out of the way at the time but is interesting now. We should have more on the AJ story later tonight so stay tuned.”

To be honest, I thought the huge was a pretty weird post-match celebration… at least from a kayfabe perspective. On the RAW before, Paige and AJ got into a scuffle and according to storyline couldn’t get along. Unless AJ was pulling out some unscripted jargon, which AJ has done quite a bit in the past, then there shouldn’t really be a reason for a hug like in the context of the story. Therefore, this speculation about AJ hugging Paige being a sign that AJ knew that she was leaving makes complete sense.

Again though, this doesn’t really explain WHY she left. It just indicates that AJ had been planning this departure for some time.

Now I think the general belief is that AJ’s last year in WWE has been quite an eventful one. Coming off the departure of her husband CM Punk, AJ’s been on the receiving end of a lot of idiotic “CM Punk” chants due to her relationship with the superstar turned MMA fighter. Not really AJ’s fault, but it probably effected her attitude in and out the ring a lot. AJ’s been known for a number of off-script or “shoot” moments in 2014, particularly with her Slammys speech where she praised a lot of the NXT women. I think with her being off of TV a lot of the time to be with her husband, she herself was pretty unhappy at the company.

I stated before that if AJ felt unhappy at the company than she should have just quit and I think she’s taken up my advice. I never said that in a nasty “I don’t want AJ at this company because I hate her” way by the way. It’s just if you don’t like your job and you feel it’s making you unhappy, then why bother continue it? I admire AJ for following her heart and choosing happiness over fame if that is the case. At least that’s the reason her husband gave for leaving in the Cabana podcast. So I don’t have a problem with her leaving what’s so ever. If anything, this opens the way for the NXT divas which AJ praised in the Slammys speech. This certainly paves the way for the likes of Paige and Naomi to becoming the top favorites in WWE. And that’s awesome for the both of them, who truly deserves it.

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Now before I wrap this up, I’m going to look at a theory for AJ’s departure. By the way, the only reason I’m referring to it as a “departure” is because the chances are she’s just leaving the company. It would make sense for WWE to input a bit of damage control for a top star leaving by referring to it as a “retirement”. That’s what they did with Jim Ross. Again, I’m not suggesting that this is some WWE conspiracy or something. I’m just saying you shouldn’t take everything WWE tells you to be the 100% truth. Just because THEY say AJ’s done from in-ring competition doesn’t mean that she’ll wind up wrestling in the indies in a few months time. As a journalism student, the first thing I was told was to question… everything!

However, this notion suggested over why AJ left did need to be questioned… purely because of how daft it is!

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InQuisitr writer Patrick Frye suggested that the UFC would be in AJ’s immediate future, following her husband into the octagon. One of the smallest divas I’ve seen in WWE fighting the toughest women in the world in the realms of MMA. Patrick first writes…

“During UFC 182, CM Punk spent almost an hour talking during a Q & A session. At one point, he was asked about who he thought could also end up in the UFC over time. Perhaps giving us a hint of things to come, CM Punk said he couldn’t count out AJ Lee as a possibility. With AJ Lee leaving the WWE, the possibility seems more than just an off-the-cuff remark.

“Ronda Rousey just so happens to be a big fan of CM Punk. In fact, the first time they met in person Rousey actually fangasmed all over Punk. While it’s questionable whether AJ Lee Vs. Ronda Rousey would be a good idea based upon MMA skill (or lack thereof), you have to believe that Dana White is seeing potential dollar signs floating in the air.”

Saying Rousey is a big of Punk is a potential reason for AJ wanting to go to WWE is like me saying that because Jeremy Clarkson is a fan of Will Young, he’s gonna start performing duets with the singer and form a band with him! As great of a future that sounds,that’s obviously NOT going to happen.

Also, the potential of AJ vs Rousey is very far-fetched considering the weight differences between the two. AJ Lee weights 52kg, compared to Rousey’s 61kg. You have to be at least 57kg in order to compete in the division so a potential fight is unlikely unless AJ were to proper beef up!

I can’t necessarily RULE OUT a UFC run for AJ since I thought there was no way Punk would sign with UFC and I was proven wrong. However, the idea of Rousey vs AJ at UFC is pretty ridiculous and UFC can’t constantly be thinking of signing AJ to their women’s division. Unless they were doing to say “Screw you WWE” or just as a publicity stunt, in which case that would be pretty absurd.

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I was gonna keep going through other theories as well like marriage problems and a potential pregnancy but I’ve decided to call it a day for now. My estimation is that it’s down to simply AJ being unhappy at the company. It’s pretty hard not to be. Considering a lot of wrestlers that have left WWE nowadays seem to be leaving on sour terms, it seems to be that Punk’s description of WWE as being a very toxic working environment is pretty accurate. AJ having taken breaks from WWE a few times in the past year were probably indicators to this.

All I can say is that after four years, AJ Lee is no longer a WWE diva. To say that AJ’s career was “legendary” seems to be a little too much. I’d hardly call it a Hall Of Fame worthy run, as Joey Styles suggested. But in her time in WWE, AJ did impact the WWE divas division quite a bit. Having held the divas title for nearly a year herself, AJ’s done a pretty good job in getting people talking about the women of WWE. But with her career only lasting four years and a lot of it being clouded by affiliation with CM Punk, I don’t think her career had reached the point of legendary. I don’t think she did so much for the company that she should be bestowed this honor. Unless she were to somewhere down the road return, I don’t think she’s done enough to be considered one of the best divas of all time.I personally didn’t see her to be SUCH a strong in-ring worker.

But nevertheless, AJ was still a top diva, even at the end of her run. And good luck to her, wherever she ends up…

BREAKING NEWS… AJ Lee “Retires” From WWE

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This just in. The internet’s favorite diva seems to be no more at WWE as an statement issued by @WWE themselves have revealed that AJ Lee is supposedly “retired” from in-ring wrestling. The statement, released on Twitter, reads this…

 

Now a few things to notice..

  • Firstly, thanks to Cageside Seats for pointing this out on Twitter. She is referred to first as “AJ Lee” rather than April Mendez. Now it seems like a small thing, but usually when somebody leaves WWE or something like that happens, they are addressed by their real name. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m fairly certain CM Punk’s release was dealt with in a similar manner. Now what could that mean?
  • Secondly, it doesn’t exactly SAY that AJ Lee has left the company. It just says she retires from in-ring competition. Now of course, WWE reportedly have been known to refer to firings in the past as “retirements”. Jim Ross was a prime example of that. So the chances are, there is more to this story than meets the eye. It’ll be interesting to see what the dirt-sheets get from their investigations!

I will be doing a blog post in the weekend about the situation I think. But right now I will just leave you with THAT information that AJ has retired from WWE. Be sure to check my @ArmbarExpress and @TomRobinson5199 twitter channels and the blog for more!

EXTREME WARFARE REVENGE: WCW 1998 PART 19 – SLAMBOREE 2000

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Previously on WCW EWR…

Way back at Uncensored, Bret Hart won a number one contendership match to earn a WCW Title Shot. Raven’s title defense with Hart on Thunder ended in controversial circumstances when Chris Jericho came out to attack Raven, causing Hart to be disqualified. Bret responded by attacking Raven during the World Title match at Spring Stampede, causing Jericho to lose. Both Canadians got mad and the two brawled at the end, turning Spring Stampede to Canadian Stampede! The next night on Nitro, Bret Hart and Jericho both demanded rematches for the WCW Title while Booker T threw his name into the mix as well. Ric Flair settled things by booking a number one contendership triple threat that same night. Jericho was taken out of the ball game by an interfering Chris Benoit leaving Bret and Booker. Bret had Booker down for the three count when the ref was distracted because of this. Booker then rolled up Bret as the ref turned around, getting the pin and earning the title match at Slamboree.

Bret went on a huge tirade, claiming that he was screwed and that Booker didn’t deserve to be in the main event of Slamboree. Bret and Booker were at odds when teaming against Raven and his stable the Exiles. The two eventually brawled on Nitro with Raven looking on with a smile at his face. Bret truly believed that he was worthy of a title shot. Therefore, Eric Bischoff put Bret Hart in a match at Slamboree with the winner getting added to the title match later that night. It would be Bret Hart one-on-one… with Eddie Guerrero!

Meanwhile, Chris Jericho had to deal with Chris Benoit and his newest advocate Paul Heyman before getting back in the title hunt. Heyman declared his vendetta against Jericho for jumping ship from ECW to the WCW, saying that Jericho believed ECW was a wasteland and left when he got his first tastes of the bright-lights and moved to WCW to become a superstar. Heyman says while Benoit jumped from ECW to WCW as well, the biggest difference is that Chris Benoit moved to WCW to test is wrestling ability against the very best wrestlers in the world. Jericho’s main reason was because ECW wasn’t good enough for him and he was more concerned with becoming a huge-time star and being a fan favorite. Heyman suggests that Jericho on his best day couldn’t lay a candle to the Rapid Wolverine CHRIS BENOIT! Jericho responded by challenging Benoit to a match at Slamboree which Heyman accepted.

Speaking of Paul Heyman and Paul Heyman guys, the REIGNING, DEFENDING WCW INTERNATIONAL CHAMPION Rob Van Dam was watching on at this conflict between Paul Heyman and ex Paul Heyman guys like Chris Jericho and Ultimo Dragon a few months back. RVD question Heyman about whether he was going to turn on him, but Heyman insisted he wouldn’t and had RVD’s best interests in heart. Heyman wasn’t lying as multiple title defenses against both Bam Bam Bigelow and Curt Hennig were saved by interferences from Paul Heyman and Eddie Guerrero. However, a tag team match between Eddie/RVD and Hennig/Bigelow ended with a miscommunication between Eddie and RVD which cost them the match. RVD asked Heyman if the two of them could just separate for now as he focuses on his International Title reign which Heyman unwillingly agrees to.

Speaking of the WCW International Championship,as mentioned “Asbury Perfection” Curt Hennig and Bam Bam Bigelow seemed to separate following the events from Spring Stampede as they targeted the WCW International Championship. However, during a tables match between Bigelow and Goldberg, Goldberg speared Asbury Perfection’s manager Ted DiBiase through a table taking him out. The two were united in their manager’s hardship as they seeked to take out Goldberg. RVD had Goldberg’s back, but it was then announced that at Slamboree, RVD would defend the International Title against Goldberg, Bigelow and Hennig in a fatal four way match!

At the start of the month, AJ Styles defended the WCW Cruiserweight Championship against the Asian Invasion’s Yoshihiro Tajiri. With help from stable mate Kensuke Sasaki, Tajiri won the championship ending the longest cruiserweight championship reign in this series so far. AJ was understandably pissed which led to Ric Flair booking AJ vs Sasaki at Slamboree.

Also, Dean Malenko and Rey Mysterio defeated Rowdy Roddy Piper and Steven Regal in a non-title match to earn a tag team title match at the PPV, Keiji Mutoh and the new Cruiserweight Champion Tajiri targeted Hulk Hogan and Sting and Scott Steiner attacked Ultimo Dragon after Dragon prevented him from winning the International title in a triple threat match.

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Pre-Show – Perry Saturn (c) wins a 10 Man Battle Royal to retain the WCW Television Championship
Entrants: Perry Saturn, Rick Steiner, The Giant, Jamie Noble, Chavo Guerrero, Buff Bagwell, Disco Inferno, Jushin Thunder Liger, Jim Neidhart and Konnan

Wow, this battle royal got a bad rating! The reason I decided to do a battle royal was because I had no idea who to book Perry Saturn against at the PPV. The original plan was Perry Saturn to defend the title on the pre-show against Disco Inferno! Then I changed it to Konnan, and then I considered throwing in Jushin Thunder Liger and making it a three way. So in the end, I figured throw the top 10 over guys NOT on the card already into a battle royal to try to elevate all of them! Instead, all it did was make the title lose image! I think in this game, the more wrestlers you use in a match, the more downgraded your match becomes. Even if you did like a fatal four way between CM Punk, AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan and Austin Aries. The overness or one factor of one of those guys that were considerably lower than the rest could hurt the match quality. Me having 10 men fight it out doesn’t help me a lot! Battle Royals, Royal Rumbles and Survivor Series matches don’t get that good grades on this game! Not a great choice for a pre-show! Still… could be worse.

Match 1 – Bret Hart def. Eddie Guerrero w/Paul Heyman. The winner was entered into the WCW World Heavyweight Championship match later that night.

Bret goes over. I’m truly amazed that this didn’t get a higher rating. These two aren’t feuding or anything, but there both incredibly gifted in-ring performers and their stats in this game are high. It wasn’t a bad rating, but I expected a lot more. But anyway, Bret competes in the main event later on.

Match 2 – Rowdy Roddy Piper (c) and Steven Regal (c) def. Dean Malenko and Rey Mysterio to retain the WCW Tag Team Championship

OK, if Piper/Regal vs Ultimo Dragon and AJ Styles from last month was 92%, how was the rating for this one magically dropped down to 75%? It’s not like Dean and Mysterio were leagues below Dragon and Styles in overness. If anything, I think both teams were around the same. They’re both around the same in skill, so why the bad rating? Tough critic here! Regal and Piper retains after fellow Legion member Fit Finlay interfered, Tag titles lost image though… crap.

Match 3 – Ultimo Dragon def. Scott Steiner

OK, I sort of understand why this one was not in the 90s or something. Steiner and Dragon’s styles don’t really click and I think Steiner mentioned this to me afterwards (in the game, not in real-life!). However, the crowd interest was insanely high! The WCW Universe are full of Dragonites and Freaks! Next time RAW is on… #Dragonite will be trending worldwide!

Match 4 – Hollywood Hogan and Sting def. Yoshihiro Tajiri and Keiji Mutoh

I sort of get this rating too. Hogan, Sting and Mutoh are all really old. They can’t go nearly as well as they used to. Mutoh did get the 98% rating with Chris Jericho at Starrcade. However, I believe that was mostly down to Jericho’s who is white-hot in this game. Mutoh was helped by a great worker, but up against the likes of Sting and Hogan it’s difficult for him to deliver the good. Sting and Mutoh maybe would work, but Hogan just ruins it. Tajiri’s probably the best worker in this match but he’d probably be too quick for Hogan and Sting to keep up. Sting and Hogan go over.

Match 5 – Rob Van Dam (c) def. Bam Bam Bigelow, Curt Hennig and Bill Goldberg in a fatal four way match to retain the WCW International Championship

I think ranking this the same as Hogan/Sting vs Mutoh/Tajiri was a bit unfair. RVD and Hennig work well together ALL the time. Bigelow and Goldberg work well together most of the time. So surely a fatal four way would be an awesome idea? Instead all it did was devalue the title. Hmm, I this maybe a running thing…

Match 6 – Kensuke Sasaki def. AJ Styles

Yeah. AJ and Sasaki got the second highest rankings of the night! I just wish it was a bit higher. 😦 Awesome work between these two though. I’m glad these two are feuding!

Match 7 – Chris Benoit w/Paul Heyman def. Chris Jericho

Benoit beats Jericho after interference from Paul Heyman. You just know these two can work well together. Pretty much a safe bet for high ratings. Benoit gained overness from this match after beating the former champion Chris Jericho. It’s a shame this wasn’t in the 90s either. This critic was clearly watching the wrong Slamboree!

Match 8 – Raven (c) def. Booker T and Bret Hart in a triple threat match to retained the WCW World Championship

Raven retains. He was always going to retain. Booker winning the title at the end of his feud with Raven is a huge possibility. But there’s no need for Booker to win the title at this early age. A true underdog is always knocked down before he gets back up. So because Booker’s not won the title tonight, doesn’t mean he’s not going to! Watch this space!

EXTREME WARFARE REVENGE: TNA 2010 PART 6 – HARD JUSTICE

Previously on TNA EWR…

We crowned a new TNA World Heavyweight Champion in the “Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy, who defeated AJ Styles after Hulk Hogan got involved. However, the controversial nature of the win infuriated the former champion AJ. AJ called for Hogan to resign as TNA commissioner claiming that him, Sting and Jeff were in cahoots. Hulk responded by announcing that AJ would get his rematch for the TNA World Title on Impact!… in a LADDER MATCH! In what would be the feud-ending match, Jeff and AJ put on a clinic. However, as Jeff and AJ were getting up from a hard bump, Sting appeared out of nowhere. He pointed the baseball bat at AJ… but clobbered Jeff! AJ and the rest of the fans are in shock as Sting seems to have turned heel. Sting drops Jeff with the Scorpion Deathdrop and leaves. AJ capitalizes on this to bring down the title and regain the TNA World Title.

The next Impact, “Bad Influence” Christopher Daniels and Kazarian came out to question AJ’s legitimacy as champion. AJ responds by saying neither of them could beat him, even on his worst day. AJ would team with the NEW X-Division Champion TAKA Michinoku to lose to the duo on Impact, with Daniels getting the pin. Kaz would later beat AJ one-one-one in a non-title match. Following this, Hogan announced that AJ would defend the TNA World Title at Hard Justice against both Kaz and Daniels in a triple threat match.

Sting came out to explain his actions during the ladder match by stating that he loved TNA. It is because he loves it so much that he needs to make the tough decisions to save TNA. Sting says that Jeff winning the title following Hogan’s interference was an injustice to professional wrestling and that Jeff and Hogan had diminished the title’s prestige. As much as he didn’t like AJ, AJ was a victim of the conspiracy in TNA that revolves around Hulk Hogan being ruler of all with Jeff Hardy being the corporate champion. The champion that all the kids can rally behind, a popular “hero” that was nothing more than a corporate puppet. Sting says Jeff was one of the diseases that Hogan brought into this company, and the Stinger vows to bring him out of it. Hogan cuts him off, saying that Sting crossed the line interfering in the TNA World Title match. Hogan says Jeff is a little banged up, but he’ll be ready to fight at Hard Justice. Hogan tells Sting he will meet Jeff Hardy in the ring. Not for a match, but for a fight!

Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe have had a heck of a rivalry consisting of their matches at Slammiversary and Victory Road. However, neither match was able to determine a clear winner. Hogan decided to end it all at Hard Justice. And to make sure… Hogan was going to referee it! There will be a clear winner at Hard Justice.

So…. Hard Justice.

hardjustice

 

Pre-Show – “British Invasion” Doug Williams and Brutus Magnus def. Brother Ray and Scott Hall in a tables match

I got a 57% for this match! Alright, Scott Hall was not exactly the greatest worker back then and Magnus wasn’t much better around this time either. However, how did this match garner a 57% overall? We have four superstars that are over… at least like 70-75 over each. It’s a tables match. We have Doug Williams and Brother Ray also in the mix who can put together some pretty cool stuff. So I figured this would have been a decent tag match that would have gotten an alright rating. But somehow I ended up with 57%! I really don’t understand. I expected this to be a lot better!

 

Match 1 – “Deadly Sin” Raven (c) and Rhino (c) def. Tyler Black and Jerry Lynn to retain the TNA World Tag Team Championship

I’m not sure how long this tag team of Tyler Black (a.k.a Seth Rollins) and Jerry Lynn is going to last, but I figured they would have made decent opponents for Raven and Rhino. Having said that, a 79% rating is a little annoying to me. I really wanted this to be in the 80s. I was kinda leaning towards having Black and Lynn win the belts, but they’re not really near Rhino and Raven as far as overness. Rhino/Raven are both at like 95 while Tyler and Jerry were in the 80s. So Deadly Sin retain… for now.

 

Match 2 – Kevin Nash def. Brother Devon in a First Blood match

This match ended after Brother Ray came out and accidentally blasted Devon with a chair! Devon bleed, causing the ref to ring the bell. Nash is your winner. Again, not going to be a great technical match but these two are a bit over. So… yeah.

 

Match 3 – Matt Morgan def. Mr Anderson in a Street Fight

Morgan goes over after hitting a blue-print through the chair into Anderson. I’d hate to have Anderson jobbing out in these feuds but Morgan was wanting a bit of a push so I put him over. Anderson had a temper tantrum afterwards. Not really sure what’s going to happen with him!

 

Match 4 – Jay Lethal and Jeff Jarrett def. Bobby Lashley and Abyss in a Steel Cage match

I have no idea how this match was worse than Morgan/Anderson and Devon/Nash. I love this game, but this match should have gotten a MUCH better rating. Lethal and Jarrett go over after Lethal hits the elbow drop from the top. A big OMG moment to end the short feud between these two. I really want to push Lethal, which is why they went over. Lethal is still pretty much over, so I did what I set out to do with him. Even if he is no longer the X-Division Champion, I think Lethal is ready to step it up to the big time!

 

Angle 1 (5) – Sting Pillmanizes Jeff Hardy

Again… NO idea why this segment was not rewarded a better mark. These two are insanely over right now and pillmanizing segments normally get great ratings on this game. Jeff Hardy called out Sting and the Stinger showed up on the stage. The two start to brawl up there and it spills out into the crowd. They have a couple of cool spots and then Jeff throws Sting over the barricade. Sting blasts Jeff with a number of chair shots on the outside. He grabs a second chair and performs the conchairto onto Jeff. Sting leaves when Jeff gets up with assistance of the ropes. Sting knocks him goofy and wraps the chair around Jeff’s leg. He jumps of the turnbuckle, pillmanizing Jeff Hardy.

 

Match 5 – “Beer Money Inc” Bobby Roode and James Storm def. “Motor City Machine Guns” Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley in a No Disqualification match to become number one contenders for the TNA World Tag Team Championship

I’m giving these four great talents the means to do pretty much anything! In the feud-ending match, Roode and Storm won in the No DQ match. The tag team match types are very limited in this game which is why it’s another No DQ match. If it was possible, this would have been 2 out of 3 falls. I was expecting this to be in the 90s but it was not to be. Maybe the rest of the show caused it to be down-graded a bit. I’m very sure. But Roode and Storm go over… I have big plans for these two.

 

Match 6 – Kurt Angle def. Samoa Joe with Hulk Hogan as the guest referee

Angle finally wins the feud with Joe. At the end, Angle hits the Angle Slam from the top. He crawls to make the cover and Hogan counts to three. Joe’s foot was under the bottom rope though. Joe gets pissed at Hogan and spits in his face post-match. Not exactly the way either man wanted the feud to end really. Again… a controversial finish. Perhaps in the future…

 

Match 7 – AJ Styles (c) def. Christopher Daniels and Kazarian in a triple threat match to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Championship

How on earth did this do worse than Matt Morgan vs Mr Anderson? How? It’s AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels and Kazarian in a triple threat! If you were to ask me what I thought was the best triple threat match I’ve ever watched, I’d tell it was Styles, Daniels and Samoa Joe at Unbreakable 2005. Two of those guys have been feuding with each other for years. Ironman matches, last man standing matches… Daniels and AJ have INSANE chemistry together. You throw Kaz into the mix, who’s had great matches with both of them in the past, you’ve got a heck of a triple threat match. But yet this game thinks that this match was WORSE than Anderson vs Morgan? AJ is 100 overness, Daniels is in the 90s and Kaz is just behind him. So how did they get that bad of a rating? GOD!

 

I don’t think I’ve been ever this disgruntled at writing an EWR post. I mean I love EWR to death. I  play it all the time. But PPVs like this drive me up the wall. I have to admit, I put on a lot of shit matches on this PPV. Devon vs Nash isn’t exactly the biggest appealing match in the world. But surely the overness of these guys make up for in ring work? In the WCW series, crowd reaction was my saving grace when it came to booking the likes of Hogan and Ric Flair. The match quality for these two in a match was DREADFUL but the fans were into them! I figured that would work here for a couple of matches but it wasn’t to be.

Before I do more stuff on the TNA series, I do have a WCW PPV in the books that I will be blogging about before the end of the week I believe. It is Souled Out… 2000! We started in 1998 and now we’re in 2000 of WCW. I think you’re going to like this PPV! It takes place just a couple of weeks before Starrcade and I did a lot better than I was expecting! I’m might just keep going back and forth from one game to another from now one but I’ll let you know in a future update post. Be sure to check out that…

In the mean time, give this PPV a rating below, check out the other posts on the blog, comment, share, all that jazz. Have a great day EWR fans!