RETRO EXPRESS: WCW SUPERBRAWL VI (FEBRUARY 11TH 1996)

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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The first WCW pay-per-view of what will prove to be an eventful year for WCW. Two steel cage matches were promoted as double main-events in the middle of the conflict between The Mega Powers, The Four Horsemen and The Dungeon of Doom. Ric Flair and Randy Savage have traded the WCW World title back and forth, but Superbrawl would hopefully prove once and for all who the better man is. Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan’s battles with The Giant would continue as the two “immortals” of WCW face off inside of a steel cage. How will the forces of good and the forces of evil fair at WCW Superbrawl VI?

 

Date: February 11th, 1995

Brand: WCW

City: St Petersburg, Florida

Attendance: 7,200

Commentators: Tony Schiavonie, Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan

 

This show felt really underwhelming for the most part. I’m not sure where this show ranks when compared to the other WCW PPVs I’ve watched so far. I think the difference between those PPVs and this one was that the stakes didn’t seem as high on this show. It didn’t feel like the intensity and build to the top programs were so grand that I felt a mass surge to watch it. Two steel cage matches back-to-back didn’t seem very special, especially knowing TNA would do entire PPVs with steel cage matches about a decade later!

I guess the double steel cage match thing was a bigger deal in WCW 1996. With that being said though, I don’t know if the action was really pay-per-view level of action. The Savage vs Flair match was very good and I thought the TV title match was good but everything else was, below part at best. There was some matches that were boring beyond boring and then there were matches were I had no idea what was going on and I just could not believe that it made PPV. There was one really infamous angle on this show which was pretty much the talking point and the biggest takeaway from this show. It’s funny because one of the guys involved would end up wrestling their final WCW match on this show!

I do love that the show starts and they cut to the announce team of Tony Schiavonie, Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan. Tony would be talking while positioned in the middle of this motley crew and Bobby and Dusty are on either side of him just started staring at each other around Tony! Dusty had this big smile on his face as he does it as he and Bobby have a stare down!

 

“Public Enemy” Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock vs “The Nasty Boys” Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags in a street fight

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We start of with a match which, without the Brian Pillman vs Taskmaster stuff, would have really stood out from the crowd. This was not a wrestling match at heart as it was a fight… a brawl. This may sound like I’m stating the obvious… but that’s EXACTLY THE POINT of a street fight. They start brawling right away and these guys batter away at each other with every weapon they could find. I usually am not enthralled with hardcore wrestling like this but I liked this match to an extent.

Public Enemy clear the ring as they brawled on the outside. Rocco Rock grabs a GINORMOUS TABLE. It’s insane how big this table looked on TV with a black cloth on top of it! Maybe it was forced perspective making me believe it was big but I just saw Rocco with this giant looking table over his head! Rocco runs into Sags with it but Sags no-sells this table charge and smashes Rocco with the table! There was barely any selling to these weapon shots but I didn’t seem to mind.

Grunge and Sags have brilliantly screwed up double clothesline spot. They do the clothesline and Grunge goes down but Sags kinda wobbles, loses his footing and then falls down! It was a way funnier version of the Barbarian/Animal double clothesline botch from a few weeks ago!

Sags brings in a trash can and smacks Grunge in the head with the lid. Sags went for a piledriver on the trash can and I figured at first that the WWE Network didn’t wanna show this because there was a random cut to Sags suddenly going for the cover and the trash can was all bent. Of all the stuff you can see on the Network, including Madusa’s German Suplex on Sherri from a weeks ago, this is the one they wanted to censor? They did end up showing this on the replay so I have no idea what happened here with the Network.

Grunge doesn’t even sell this and batters Sags with the trash can lid to the back. Knobs suplexes Rocco through the table. Knobs smack Rocco with a chair. Knobs goes for the cover but the referee was out of position, like really out of position. Grunge looked like he proper grazed Knobs with the trash can lid to the face. Grunge did a bulldog on Sags to the trash can.

They brawled, and brawled, and brawled, and brawled. Sags found another table and backdropped it onto Rocco. I think Rocco did a Diamond Cutter of some kind but I could barely see it with the lighting! Grunge looked like he proper smashed Knobs on the head with a trash can. Rocco went for a Swanton Bomb like he did on their debut but he missed the table. Rocco landed ass first on the floor. It looked like it hurt as he thudded onto the floor. Knobs picked up the win with a pin and then they continued to brawl after the match.

On paper, all of that would sound like a horrible match but in execution, it actually turned out alright. It wasn’t like these guys really hurt each other, with the exception of a few spots. There were light hits with shots to the head (the lightest you could think of anyway) and this was a match where the two tag teams just wanted to fight. They weren’t interested in winning and it was a street fight, so everything they did was to inflict punishment and it fit the styles of the tag team and the story of the match.

It wasn’t particularly a technical brilliant match but there was a charm where it was a street fight by it’s very nature. They hit each other and it wasn’t just insane hardcore stuff where they were killing each other, other than the Rocco Rock spot at the end. It wasn’t like they were all going for Bradshaw like chair shots to the head. As safe of a hardcore tag match as they could have possibly done.

Match Rating: **

 

Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed Konnan the WCW US and Mexican champion. Konnan said that he thanked all of the Latins and that he wasn’t gonna let them down. Konnan said he’d be smarter and he would leave as US champion as he was supposed to face the One Man Gang. As much as I have a go after the WCW title picture in the last few months, this US title has went from being held by Sting, to Kensuke Sasaki, to One Man Gang and now to Konnan in the space of a couple of months!

Mean Gene pointed out that One Man Gang has a lot of mass but Konnan said he’ll deal with it as he’s dealt with it before.

 

Johnny B Badd © w/Diamond Doll vs DDP for the WCW TV title, Johnny B Badd’s Diamond Doll and DDP’s $6.6million (which I guess DDP stole from Diamond Doll)

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I’ve actually been a fan of this program since I saw the first match at Halloween Havoc I believe. This has told a very basic story of the Diamond Doll initially being with DDP and eventually going with Johnny B Badd who respected her while her former man DDP simply wanted her as property. Johnny B Badd was fighting for her honour and so far, had DDP’s number in the big matches. There hasn’t been one time so far, to my knowledge, where Badd came off as a bad babyface. Here, this is the blow-off match and I’ll explain why at the end of this review…

The referee holds a cheque of the $6.6million which is on the line and it’s just a big blue cheque which says in big letters, CA$H! It didn’t include like a name of the bank, sort code or anything. It was a big blue piece of cardboard with CA$H on it and the referee hoisted it up like he was holding up the WCW World title!

DDP came out with roses in his mouth and in his hands, and then DDP eventually grabs Diamond Doll’s arms. Badd makes the save to kick things off. DDP, in this segment, represented the perfect heel. I have to hear all the time on Twitter about Baron Corbin being such a great heel. Apparently, we all hate Baron Corbin and that’s what makes him such a good heel that he’s hated. I guess Baron Corbin fans have got it into their heads that it’s all about getting the negative reaction and if you get the negative reaction, you’re automatically a good heel.

DDP was such a good heel in this program because I don’t hate DDP in this program because he’s a bad wrestler or he’s boring or whatever. He’s not a bad wrestler and he’s not boring. I don’t care about any of that. I care about how this is a sleazebag millionaire, in storyline, that wants it all and wants to own Diamond Doll as property. Baron Corbin, from a storyline, gives me no motivation to wanna care about his character. What is there to care about? He’s a tall guy who is below par in the ring and is booed because of the way he is pushed and promoted. That’s not the same as getting heat because of something your character does.

You need to be a good enough heel where I wanna see a babyface come in and kick your ass. Here, as a fan, I wanted Johnny B Badd to come in and kick DDP’s ass because I like the Diamond Doll and DDP is being a dick to her. I don’t wanna see a babyface come in a kick Corbin’s ass because simply put, I don’t wanna see Baron Corbin because he’s not any good. The RAW ratings in 2018 hit record-low numbers because people didn’t wanna see Corbin. That’s not productive television giving him such a prime position on RAW. DDP, as a mid-card talent as of early 1996, does right what RAW main-eventers in 2019 cannot or are unable to do.

Badd snapmared DDP over the top rope and then did a double axe handle. The commentators argued about the rules as I guess a rule in WCW wrestling was that throwing someone over the top rope was illegal. Badd did a nice float-over arm drag as the two men battled for the backslide pin. The men traded leapfrogs but then DDP dropped Badd on the top rope with a stun gun.

There was another random cut in this match so I guess there was issues with redeveloping this PPV on the WWE Network as I wound up getting it all over the show. DDP did a gutbuster. DDP did an Irish Whip but Badd just tumbled into the ground. Either this was really good selling by Badd or he got injured somehow.

Badd then went for a sunset flip but DDP simply punches him to knock him down. DDP taunts but then Badd almost gets him again with the sunset flip but DDP punches him. Then DDP sits on Badd out of cockiness but then Badd finally flips over DDP for the near fall! I dunno why but I loved that. DDP’s cockiness got the better of him and Badd, the babyface, never gave up with getting this roll-up! It was awesome!

DDP hits a beautiful DDT and deservingly runs around the ring to celebrate! DDP went to Diamond Doll for a rating, that Diamond Doll use to give him back when she was managing him, and Diamond Doll decided to give him a 0 this time. DDP got mad, fell over Badd liked he slipped on a banana peel, got rolled up but almost got pinned!

Badd fires back but DDP forces Badd down on the mat with a sleeper hold. DDP gets his foot on the rope, Diamond Doll goes “ref, look”, the referee turns around to see her and then DDP gets his feet off the rope like a smart heel! You know what this was. This was every pantomime where the bad guys sneaks up on the good guy, and the audience yells “he’s behind you!” That was Diamond Doll’s role in this little spot!

Badd almost catches DDP with a roll up for a near fall. Badd makes a comeback with punches, playing into his background as a boxer. Badd does a big double axe handle as Diamond Doll throws up the 10 board for Johnny B Badd! Badd does a big sunset flip off the top rope for a near fall. Badd does a big sit-out powerbomb. Badd went for so many roll-ups in this match! DDP goes for the feet on the ropes cover but Badd kicks out anyway.

DDP does the tombstone slam for a near fall. DDP goes a sleeper hold in the middle of a ring as Badd is passing out. Badd does a stunner to get out of it. Badd does his own sleeper hold getting on the back of DDP. Badd then reverses a tombstone slam from DDP into his own tombstone piledriver for the win.

I really liked this match as Badd gives Diamond Doll the money as we got a happy ending. I’ve really liked this storyline with DDP, Badd and the Diamond Doll. A simple story and the babyfaces looked good in the process. I think this was the strongest PPV match between the two in the series as things felt a little crisper between the two in the ring and thank god for that as this was the blow-off match! That the last match was the best match made for a good ending to the storyline.

This may be spoilers for future Nitros but about a month later, Johnny B Badd leaves the company. Badd apparently protested against the angle with Diamond Doll, who was actually DDP’s real-life wife Kimberley Page. Therefore, he left the company and joined the WWF as Marc Mero. Where they go with DDP and Kimberley after this angle remains to be seen but I imagine they reunite somehow on TV in the future.

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

Harlem Heat were interviewed by Mean Gene. Stevie says that Lex Luger committed grand larceny when Lex Luger and Sting won the WCW tag team titles and tonight, they were gonna get him. They said Sting was on the hit list too. Booker said: “they were pulling on us when were supposed to be pulling on them!” A bad sentence out of context! He told the champs to watch their back and watch their back hard as they refused to walk out without the titles. Harlem Heat said they were taking the tag team title picture into the future. They also mention that the Road Warriors would be facing the winners on the same night.

 

Sting © and Lex Luger © vs “Harlem Heat” Booker T and Stevie Ray for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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There’s not a lot I can say about this match other than what I’m about to say. Out of Sting and Lex Luger, Sting should have always been the guy taking the heat as Lex Luger is waiting for the hot tag. Lex Luger, in case you weren’t aware, wasn’t very good. The idea is that if he’s not good, you don’t want to expose him and make the audience aware of this. You protect him by having him only be active when it’s the most important time for him to be active and show him to be a star. Him having to sell for Harlem Heat for seemingly the entirety of this match was unbearable.

Booker and Sting wrestled for a while. Luger gets tagged in but Ray and Booker knock him to the outside with a double back elbow. Luger initially doesn’t wanna get back into the ring until Sting talks him into it. Luger then immediately tags Sting into the ring. See, even Lex Luger didn’t wanna get tagged in and get beat on!

Sting hits a big bulldog on Booker and tags Luger back in. Booker then misses an elbow drop, but somehow transitions this into the spinaroonie and then hits a side kick! I thought that was pretty impressive actually to do all of that in one motion! Harlem Heat get the heat… which is a pun I swear was not intentional when I wrote the first draft of this review! Luger clotheslined Booker on the chest in a poorly mistimed clothsline on the part of both men.

Stevie damn near killed Luger with a Powerbomb where he got him up for position and then just let go and dropped him. Way to go Stevie. Stevie went for a nerve hold on Lex Luger and at this point in the show, I wanted a nap. Sting finally got the hot tag but the referee didn’t see it. Sting said “screw it” and started beating up Booker and Stevie anyway! As the referee is dealing with Sting I believe, The Road Warriors come out and hit Stevie in the ring with a lead pipe and Luger covers Stevie for the win. This was a really bad match which ever way you slice it. I pray that I never get to see this match again as these two tag teams can’t seem to do it right, even with Sting and Booker T on hand to idiot-proof the match. I don’t know who was booking these matches… I guess I actually got an answer later on in the show when we get to the Brian Pillman match!

The funny thing about this… this wasn’t even Sting and Lex Luger’s worst match on this show.

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Match Rating: ½*

 

Mean Gene interviewed Sting and Luger. Luger cuts a promo and said that he had held up his end of the bargain. Sting said he didn’t know what happen but he celebrated that they won the match.

 

Konnan © vs One Man Gang for the WCW United States Championship

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Apparently, I watched a totally different match to seemingly everyone else on the internet. I’ve seen a few reviews of the match calling it a dud. Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awarded this -2 stars at the time. I saw a match where Konnan and One Man Gang tried their best for a match that nobody cared about. I didn’t think it was any good, but this was nowhere near as bad as the Sting/Luger vs Road Warriors match which we’ll get to.

I love how when they showed the name plate for One Man Gang, the name plate fades away starting from the middle towards the outside and One Man Gang throws a kick in the middle to show the affect that he kicked it in two! That I liked!

It’s weird seeing Konnan without a gangster-like gimmick! Here, he was kinda dressed like Kalisto with his mask on for his entrance. One Man Gang clobbered at Konnan and drove his foot into Konnan’s face. Konnan tried to chop the big man down with dropkicks to the knee and then does a big wheel kick.

Konnan does a crossbody that sends them both to the floor. One Man Gang does a leg drop. Dusty gave the following advice: “fist him in the head.” One Man Gang gouged at Konnan’s face. The first few minutes of this match was exciting but then it just dragged and dragged as One Man Gang got the heat. Konnan fired back and somehow did a hurricanrana to One Man Gang. One Man Gang missed a big splash. Konnan does a diving cannonball onto One Man Gang for the win.

I’m still trying to figure out what people saw in this match that made it so hated. It felt a little bit of a styles crash but it didn’t seem like they were totally on different pages or anything. One Man Gang was slow but it just seemed like a slow heatless match but there was nothing really they messed up that made me think: “oh my god why am I watching this?” Maybe if you were so offended by the crossbody spot where they both tumbled to the outside which was kinda sloppy but I’ve seen way worse executions of that spot. I dunno. Maybe I’m being generous.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Mean Gene interviewed the Road Warriors. Animal yelled that everyone saw what Luger did on Nitro, where Luger cheated to win. Luger brought this upon himself and Sting is making a big mistake of believing Luger. They faked an apology to Harlem Heat and then they walked off. Nothing really noteworthy about this promo. They were very loud and very rude to the heels.

 

“The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan w/Jimmy Hart vs Brian Pillman in an I Respect You match

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“Here we go” which is what I said to myself as they played Taskmaster’s theme song. I heard about what happened before I sat down to watch this PPV and it’s been mentioned to me before, but watching this in execution was kinda surreal. I’m not entirely sure where the reality began and ended with this whole angle and what followed. All I know is that we had another alternate reality moment where all of a sudden, we leapt into the Quantum Realm and landed into WCW 2000. The year of the ultimate insider references and “shoots” in wrestling and that type of writing was evident in this particular angle at the very least.

The rules of this match was basically that it was an I Quit match but they had to make their opponent say “I respect you” for it to end.

Taskmaster does his entrance. Brian Pillman runs down to the ring as Taskmaster and Pillman brawl to start the match. Pillman then whips Taskmaster on the back and they sounded like they hurt. I guess this was Pillman’s revenge for a few weeks ago, when Taskmaster whipped him over and over while he grabbed onto the apron. If this was a “shoot” or whatever this was, this was Pillman’s way of getting revenge. They brawl to the floor as Pillman whips Tasmaster. Taskmaster tries to shoot and take him down with shoot amateur wrestling. It felt like a real fight where they were both sloppy in trying to take each other down.

Taskmaster punches him in the face. Then we get the big moment. Pillman flies into the referee, who was holding the microphone. Pillman grabs the mic and Pillman said: “I respect you booker man” and he walked out. Pillman races out of the ring, as Taskmaster is left dumbfounded by what has happened as Pillman walked out. After 30 seconds or show of showing the ring, they cut to Pillman who is flipping off the crowd as he exits!

On many levels, this was one of the most unbelievable angles I’ve ever seen. It didn’t strike me as a brilliant angle or anything, it was just unbelievable where I could not believe it happened. If you look at the rest of the show, with the exceptions of Eric Bischoff’s constant shots at the WWF, this was a storyline driven show. There were insider references but there was never “worked shoots” at least in the early days of WCW. All of a sudden, Pillman walks out of the match and ousts Sullivan as the booker.

The story about this angle was that it was apparently all a work that only two people knew about in Eric Bischoff and Brian Pillman. If you look at the execution of the angle, Jimmy Hart had no clue what was going on. The referee had no idea what was going on as I don’t even recall him calling for the bell after Pillman said the line. Arn Anderson certainly didn’t know as we’ll get to in the next match. To be perfectly honest, I don’t even think Kevin Sullivan knew either. Pillman says the line and Sullivan stood there for an uncomfortably long time not knowing what to do which is funny because, as the “booker man” of WCW, you figured in storyline that he’d know what was going on! So I bet he had no clue either.

The idea was that Brian Pillman had been slowly transforming into the Loose Cannon as was evident by his actions since joining the Four Horsemen. Pillman I guess was trying to work everybody, including Eric Bischoff, with this gimmick. The brawl from the Nitro go-home show seemed like Pillman was just doing what he wanted. Apparently, this whole angle was just an angle to “fool the boys” into thinking that Pillman had really gone against the script. Reportedly, Pillman and Bischoff had an argument where Pillman was “fired” by Bischoff which was apparently a work to get him to ECW. The plan apparently was for Pillman to go to ECW, which he did, and then come back as a bigger star in WCW down the road.

That didn’t happen as Pillman decided to sign with the WWF instead! So effectively, this was Brian Pillman’s last ever appearance on WCW television/pay-per-view. From a storyline perspective though, what was the idea?

You’re going to have Pillman, if Bischoff was in on it, go out there and say “I respect you booker man” but what was this going to accomplish? Who in the audience, except the boys, are going to even understand what it is that Pillman was on about? This is not like 2019 where all the news and gossip is available online for these fans. A handful of people in that building were probably aware of what a “booker man” was. Everyone else in the crowd just probably thought Pillman was referencing Booker T!

This is my biggest problem with insider references where, to a hardcore audience it’s fine but, it comes off as complete random and pointless to the main-stream audience. After all of this, there was no-pay off in the end for WCW! In hindsight, this was a really stupid angle.

 

Taskmaster vs Arn Anderson

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Now let’s pick from when that last segment left of. Kevin Sullivan is standing in the ring wondering what to do. Then Arn Anderson comes out. I believe the moment Pillman said what he said, somebody, possibly Bischoff, said to Arn backstage: “right buddy, we need you out there to wrestle Kevin instead.” Arn responded: “what do you mean? I’m working Sullivan?” They told him that the fans wanted a I Respect You match so they’re gonna throw him out there and Ric Flair will break it up after 3 minutes. They told him just to go out in what he was wearing. I say this because if you look at what he was wearing, Arn Anderson did not know this was coming and was not prepared to come out.

Arn Anderson was dressed in a big shirt and PURPLE SHORTS as he comes down to the ring. I’m pretty certain on my worst day, I never dressed this badly in my life! This was a man not prepared to wrestle! Taskmaster then starts whipping Arn and then Arn takes off the shirt and prepares to fight.

They both grab the strap in the ring. Arn gets control and whips away at Taskmaster. Arn tries choking him with the strap. Taskmaster straddles Arn with the strap, which I’m sure Arn was thrilled about. Taskmaster whips away at Arn and yells at him to “say it” as he beat on him. Arn low blows Taskmaster to get his revenge for the straddling him!

Arn chokes Taskmaster on the ropes and hangs him with the strap but Taskmaster says “hell no” refusing to submit. I was so confused as all of this went down. Taskmaster whips at Arn again to which my notes read: “What was this match?”

Finally Ric Flair jogs down to the ring. He puts an end to like three minutes of Arn and Taskmaster whipping each other with this strap. Ric tries to break it up and play peacemaker telling them to snap out of it. At the same time as he’s trying to play peacemaker, Flair goes off on a fan and says: “hey if I wanted to talk to you, I’ll take your wife and make a woman out of her!” I couldn’t believe my eyes and my ears. Clearly Ric Flair was not ready for this angle either! Ric goes crazy, vowing to destroy Hulkamania and take the belt and Liz. Arn and Taskmaster eventually shake hands as they make peace. Ric goes off on a fan some more and that’s how the match ended.

Nobody said “I respect you” as they shake hands and move on. There was no finish. This was the most bizarre 5 minutes or so I’ve seen on the WCW series so far. Like, even Hulk Hogan cutting a promo with a sword was not this bizarre!

I had to go for a walk somewhere after this angle went down so I was away from the PPV for an hour and came back. It then just felt like a completely different show!

 

Mean Gene did an interview with Jimmy Hart and The Giant. Jimmy said that Hogan has one eye and time is ticking on him before Hulkamania dies forever. The Giant said that today will be a day of reckoning. He had looked into the souls of men where maggots crawl. All that is bad and evil is inside him is like a volcano that is gonna erupt all over the arena and all over Hulk Hogan. The last thing that is going to go through Hogan’s mind is his fist. He said Hulkamania is done forever as The Giant roared and ran off.

What a promo! Even The Rock or Ric Flair could not make this promo work but The Giant in 1996 was so awesome with promo delivery. There are some things only The Big Show/The Giant could say and pull off and this was one of them. He cuts a promo about looking into the souls of men where maggots crawl and a volcano erupting all over Hulk Hogan and he is dead serious and menacing with his delivery! This made me excited about seeing The Giant later! The match however, did not!

 

Sting © and Lex Luger © vs “The Road Warriors”Animal and Hawk for the WCW Tag Team Championship

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This is going to sound like the biggest contradiction in this review, but I mentioned that it would have been better for Sting to get beat on for the heat and Lex Luger to get the hot tag to run wild, rather than Luger being the one being beat on. This match was determined to prove me wrong. This match was so terrible, that it is right up there with the infamously bad WCW tag title match at Fall Brawl.

We start with Lex Luger backing away from the Road Warriors as Sting tries to convince him to get down to the ring. They teased him walking out and then coming back into the match and… for like 3 minutes! This went on for 3 minutes before the match even started where Luger wouldn’t get into the ring and Sting had to tell him to get his ass on the apron. Now granted, it is possible that the Brian Pillman angle affected this match too so I will give them the benefit of the doubt. However, you couldn’t think of anything else to do with 3 minutes to kill?

The bell finally rings. Early on, Sting and Hawk screw up a neckbreaker. Hawk goes for a chin lock. Time passes as I grow older and older. Eventually Sting finally tags in Luger but Luger is hesitant but eventually gets into the ring. Luger and Animal eventually fight. Animal does a funny big boot where he doesn’t stand up and raise a boot – he raises it and falls down himself! It was like the Rocket Kick that Karl Anderson does!

Animal does a powerslam. Tony then decides now is the time to tell us that we are watching WCW at its best… incorrect! Luger and Hawk continue to fight. Sting does a back elbow but Sting inadvertently falls into Animal’s crotch for an accidental low blow. How this was not a DQ, even if unintentional, blows my mind. Especially I’m confused why this was not a disqualification, after they talked about throwing somebody over the top rope being a disqualification earlier! That is illegal but headbutting somebody in the groin is OK?

Luger made the tag but before he gets into the ring, Hawk goes over to the corner and beats his ass. Sting and Animal both get tagged back in and LOCK UP… 10 minutes into the match. After so much of the match of the Road Warriors getting the heat on Sting, they tag Luger and then Luger tagged Sting back into the match… and it’s BACK to the lock up!

Sting locks on the Scorpion Deathlock but Hawk flies in and doesn’t do a clothesline to break it up, no, he just clobbers Sting in the head to break it up.

As I was thinking that this was a boring match, Animal decides works on Sting with a chin lock! Luger stomps away at Animal.

The finish made me really hate this show for a while, especially after the Pillman stuff. Hawk attack Luger. Sting hits a suplex but Animal no-sells and then Sting no sells Animal’s suplex. After 10+ minutes of selling, they all decide not to sell as it breaks into a fatal four way brawl. Then the match is thrown out and the match ends in a count out. After this long boring match, it ended in a count out.

Remember on Nitro where they did this match and Luger and Sting actually won the match? They decided after that finish to do a rematch at the PPV, citing that the Road Warriors got screwed. They do this match and it ends without a finish as a brawl breaks out. Keep in mind, we watched about 10 minutes of long chin locks and the Road Warriors getting the heat on Sting. All of a sudden, they all get up and start brawling as if to tell you that what you just watched was a complete waste of time.

This is right up there with the WCW tag team title match at Fall Brawl. Why would you do a rematch that just ends in a count out? Surely the story should have been told in reverse. They have their match on Nitro and a brawl breaks out for whatever reason. Then, the Road Warriors are given a rematch at the PPV because they were never beaten and there was no finish. Road Warriors screw Harlem Heat because they hate Sting and Luger and want to prove they can beat them. Then at the PPV, Luger screws the Road Warriors and Luger and Sting get the victory. What was the point of the Nitro match if you’re just going to do a DQ at the PPV?

Furthermore, this did absolute noting for these tag team titles. You know, when I saw Sting and Luger winning the belts I was totally on board. I’ve watched for 23 episodes and 5 PPVs now where the titles are treat with such disregard. Taking the titles off Harlem Heat and Stevie Ray was a start. It played into the Sting and Luger storyline so I was on board. However, these tag team matches since that title change have been so horrible that I’m just begging for some team to beat them for the tag titles. Now more than ever do WCW need the Steiner Brothers back in the fold!

Match Rating: -*3/4

 

Ric Flair and Woman do an interview with Mean Gene. Woman says what Woman wants, Woman gets. Flair says Hogan’s master plot failed again. Flair said the plan to turn Anderson and Taskmaster against each other failed. Flair promises blood, sweat, tears and a title change. Mean Gene Okerlund, professional wrestling announcer, proceeds to asks Ric Flair if he wins, will there be a little ride on space mountain? My jaw dropped to the floor! Could you imagine the hysteria in 2019 if like some geek announcer asked a wrestler: “hey, are you planning to fuck someone after the match?” That’s basically what Mean Gene asked Ric Flair! Don’t look at me like that!

And of course Ric Flair, not known for subtlety, responds: “I’ll have Woman on my left and Elizabeth on my right, but who knows who I’ll end up with tonight!” I was blown away by the content from this exchange! Evil horror music plays as the cage comes down for the WCW World title match.

Mean Gene then interviews Miss Elizabeth. She looked NERVOUS as hell during this interview. Thankfully Randy Savage interrupts to make the save and cuts a promo. He talks about the Mega Powers reuniting. Savage said that it’s going to be mental insanity. He says the Mega Powers are cool and tight. Savage says he’s gonna beat up the Nature Boy right now!

They cut back to the announcers and I love Bobby Heenan’s gimmick of not facing the hard cam when it comes to the announcers and then Bobby trying to swivel his way around to the hard cam! Ever the showman!

 

“Macho Man” Randy Savage © w/Miss Elizabeth vs Ric Flair w/Woman in a steel cage match for the WCW World Heayvweight Championship

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EDITOR’S NOTE: OK, I apologise for this picture. Very much the best picture I could find on Google!

I forgot to mention this earlier but Woman looked pretty great here too in matching purple gear to Flair. Both ladies going down to the ring looked gorgeous on this show. There was also some gorgeous wrestling here with this match. It was an old-school, classic fight inside of a steel cage for the world title. These men did everything they could and it was easily the best match on the show.

Ric grabs the mic before the match and said before he hurt Savage real bad, he’s gonna give Elizabeth one last chance to kiss a real man. Elizabeth can’t stop smiling out here while Ric is hitting on her by the way! Obviously, she was nervous and Elizabeth really just was not able to keep a straight face. However, when you read what happened in the finish of the match it made perfect sense for her to smile at Flair. She was supposed to be nervous as if she was hiding something, so she was perfect! Bobby said Elizabeth’s got so much lipstick on she looks like Ronald McDonald.

Savage rakes away and gouges at Flair to kick off the match. Savage goes for the cover and the ref is nowhere to be seen as he is closing the door. Flair drops the knee. Flair then punches out the referee and stomps at him as Savage fires back! Savage goes for a backslide but again, the referee is nowhere to be seen as he was knocked down by Flair. Savage does a backdrop.

Savage hits one of his clotheslines I think and goes for the cover. Ric kicks out as the referee, who mind you was punched in the face by Flair earlier in the match, does a normal count for Flair. As the referee still continues to be a professional after being attack, Bobby jokes: “come on ref. that was a fast count!” Bobby Heenan had a great night on this show! Everything about this little segment was perfect!

Flair goes to work with some chops and smashing Savage into the cage walls. Savage goes for the Figure Four Leg Lock but Flair continues to fight as Woman screams to urge Flair on. Flair grabs the ropes but the referee kicks the hand away. I also loved this too because grabbing the ropes did absolutely nothing in a steel cage match so the referee is abiding by the rules but also simultaneously sticking it to Flair for the punch from earlier!

This was a battle and a true fight inside of the steel cage. This had a big match feel and it felt like a world title match, like this was really important.

Savage goes to the TOP OF THE CAGE for the double axe handle but Flair punches him in mid-air. Surely a double axe handle from the TOP OF THE CAGE would be a very risky move if you were coming down on your legs. But somehow, Savage got up and was completely fine! Savage was SO lucky as an awkward landing could have easily ended his career. If he landed the wrong way, he could have broken his leg with that much pressure coming onto the mat but that didn’t stop the Macho Man!

Flair tried many many pinfalls after a suplex in a desperate attempt to win the match. Flair throws Savage into the cage wall and he landed motionless right on top of the top rope. It was rather funny how he landed!

I love how Flair puts on the Figure Four and now he goes to grab the rope leverage in a STEEL CAGE MATCH of all things! He tried to escape the Figure Four from Savage earlier by going for the ropes but was thwarted. Here, he locks on the hold and he does it again to his advantage!

Flair tries it again but Savage goes for a small package to counter this. Savage eventually gets back into the match, slamming Flair’s head into the cage wall and then grating his face into the cage wall. Tony even points out that Elizabeth is all quiet at ringside and Woman screaming her head off!

Savage keeps going with the steel cage slams as Woman screams as if King Kong grabbed a hold off her and climbed up to the top of the Empire State Building! Woman did some screaming during this match!

Flair goes to escape but Savage ends up pulling Flair’s trunks down to throw him off and then Flair gets crotched on the top rope. Flair’s bare arse gets crotched on the top rope which is even worse the more I think about it! Savage goes for the cover and Flair kicks out with a damn NEAR FALL off this spot! The time keeper even rang the bell thinking it was a 3 count!

Flair eventually gets back into it and tries again and Savage shows the crowd the full moon of Flair as all I could see was Ric Flair’s naked arse on my television! Savage throws Flair into the cage wall and like instinct, Flair gets his arse up the cage to try to escape! In one motion, he gets thrown into the cage and then immediately tries to escape!

Flair and Savage then goes blow for blow, scraping at each other as they cut to the wide shot. Flair sends Savage back into the cage off a back drop. Woman tries to throw powder into Savage’s face but Savage dodges.

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Then we get the finish. Miss Elizabeth goes for one of her shoes and she GIVES IT TO FLAIR! Savage goes for the roll up and then Flair clobbers Savage with the heel of the shoe as Flair wins his 13th WCW world title. Miss Elizabeth turned heel and sided with Ric Flair to help him win the title!

I thought this was really clever the way they pulled this heel turn off. First of all, yes they used Elizabeth’s heel as a weapon to win Ric the title! The insider reference is strong with that bit of irony. Poetically, a heel has to be what helps Ric beat Savage! I loved the nervous energy of Elizabeth, whether intentional or not, which played into the fact that she knew more than what she was letting on. Finally, I loved the match. Flair vs Savage has that Sting vs Flair feel where most times, you’re going to get great stuff from these two. I think the Starrcade match was the only bad match that we’ve seen from the pair so far!

Hulk Hogan chases off the heels after the match.

Match Rating: ***3/4

 

Then Hulk Hogan decided to scare the living daylights out of me during his interview with Mean Gene. The sound for this promo was so strange, probably by design, where Mean Gene’s mic is turned all the way down and Hogan’s mic was turned all the way. Mean Gene would just be very quiet and Hogan yells at the top of his lungs: “WELL YOU KNOW SOMETHING BROTHER?” It felt like a demon had possessed my TV! I’m prone to hyperbole but I could have sworn I saw the sound speaker proper vibrate! Hogan was so LOUD during this promo! Hogan was pissed at Miss Elizabeth as he hyped up his match with The Giant.

 

Hulk Hogan vs The Giant in a steel cage match

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Michael Buffer did the ring introductions for the two steel cage matches. For this match, he called The Giant, and I quote: “the dynamic dominator of the Dungeon of Doom!” He also billed that The Giant is the man who literally returned from the dead, which is factually correct in storyline! Michael then billed Hulk Hogan as THE KING OF HULKAMANIA! Michael Buffer… did not take this seriously at all with his ring introductions!

Hogan goes over the cage, rips off his shirt, with an eye patch over his injured eye and is ready to fight this nasty, smelly giant! Hogan fires away at The Giant and bites at him. He strangles The Giant with his tape as he doing everything he can to beat this evil Giant. The Giant works on Hogan, stomping on his hands and then powering him down with the test of strength.

The Giant raked at Hogan’s eyes as Bobby recommended Hogan keep an eye out for the Giant. Hogan tries to slam The Giant but The Giant was too big. The Giant chokes away at Hogan’s throat in the ring with his foot. The Giant tried to escape through the door but Hogan stopped him. The Giant does a big backbreaker.

The Giant does a bearhug and they cut to a close up shot of Giant grinning and vibrating as he locks on the bear hug! To say this looked suggestive is putting it mildly. Not quite at the level of the Yeti dry-humping Hulk Hogan but still did not look pretty which ever way you slice it. Then Hogan vibrates his body to try and fight out of the hold as Hogan finally punches his way out of it! All of that I just said during this paragraph happened!

The Giant does a sloppy chokeslam to put down Hogan and then Hogan fires up to his feet and no-sells this as Hogan hulks up! Hogan throws The Giant into the cage walls repeatedly. Hogan hyped up the crowd and then scoop slammed The Giant and did three leg drops in a row and sought to escape out of the cage. But then GIANT no sells the leg drops of doom and chases after Hogan! This put Ric Flair’s kick out from a few weeks ago to shame in terms of surviving Hulk Hogan’s leg drop.

They engage in a chop battle while scaling the cage. Hogan finally delivers one big punch and Giant falls to the mat, and Hogan climbs out of the cage to win. As a match, this was every Hulk Hogan vs Monster Heel type of match but it told a simple story. The Giant looked a little gassed and he worked very slowly but he didn’t look too out of his depth in there. He did the only match Hulk Hogan knows what to do and it was effective with this audience. This gets a thumbs up!

Taskmaster immediately hits Hogan in the back with a chair and then Hogan no-sells it and chases Taskmaster with the chair. He traps Taskmaster in the cage as Taskmaster and The Giant initially beg him off but then the heels figure out that it is two on one and get confident. Then that confidence immediately disappears…

The Faces of Fear, Shark, Hugh Morrus, One Man Gang and Zodiac all come out and Hogan slays them all with the chair and runs wild. As far as destroying a group’s credibility, Hulk Hogan did a number on the Dungeon of Doom. It wasn’t like Randy Savage, Sting or even the American Males were there with Hogan. Hulk Hogan, with a bad eye and after a gruelling match, destroyed all of the Dungeon of Doom members by himself!

Then coming down to the ring was… THE LOCH NESS MONSTER. This man was actually British wrestling legend Giant Haystacks, who actually did not stay in the wrestling for too long after this angle due to health problems and died a couple of years later after battling cancer. I did look it up and we will see the Loch Ness Monster in three Nitro matches and a PPV match but I will keep those matches to myself for now for the purposes for spoiling any of the storylines right now.

WCW, at this time, was clearly setting him up as Hogan’s next big opponent… literally. 

He tries to comes down to go after Hogan but the Dungeon hold back the Loch Ness Monster.

Match Rating: *

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That was the show. This review was 8000+ words long which feels like an all-time record. I’ll have to go through some of the other PPV matches to see which one was the longest but this was a hard one to find the time to write up. There was so much to talk about with the tag team matches, DDP vs Badd, Brian Pillman, the world title match and of course the main-event. There was some good stuff on this PPV but also accompanied by a fair amount of bad stuff and this felt like the first WCW PPV where it felt like a chore to watch it. With that being said though, the Randy Savage vs Ric Flair and the TV title match was worth watching this PPV for and I’d highly recommend those two matches if you’re looking to watch any matches from this PPV!

Back to Nitro reviews now where we have a new WCW World Champion once again. This is a spoiler but there’s a pretty infamous main-event set for the next PPV if a recall correctly so seeing the build for that will be something! We will see you with the Retro Express review of WCW Nitro Episode #24!

 

WCW Nitro Reading Order

 

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RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #6 (OCTOBER 9TH 1995) – RIC FLAIR VS ARN ANDERSON III… INSIDE A STEEL CAGE

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, we had two big matches on Episode #5. The Randy Savage vs Lex Luger match ended in controversy as The Giant ran down and chokeslammed Savage when Luger and the referee were down, giving Luger the victory. We saw a Fall Brawl rematch with Arn Anderson vs Ric Flair. The match ended in Flair getting the victory… somehow. However, Arn and Brian Pillman had the last laugh as they laid out the Nature Boy two-on-one. At the end of the show, the third chapter in the Arn Anderson vs Ric Flair saga was announced for Episode #6 of WCW Nitro. This time… it would be in a steel cage.

…oh and the Dungeon of Doom shaved Hulk Hogan’s moustache!

 

 

Date: October 9th 1995

Brand: WCW

City: Chicago, Illinois

Rating: 2.6

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

 

They started off the show recapping the moustache-shaving of Hulk Hogan from last week. We were in Chicago so it was a Chicago Bears themed show as apparently it was the 10 year anniversary of the Chicago Bears winning the Super Bowl. The announcers were all wearing Chicago Bears t-shirts. They announce that a restraining order had been placed but Hulk Hogan was in the building anyway. Sting arrived and said this Nitro thing was unreal. Sting had a US title defence but he said he was also here to sort this thing out with Lex Luger and Randy Savage.

 

 Sting (c) vs The Shark for the WCW United States Championship

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The Shark came down being billed as from “the tsunami” which doesn’t even appear to be grammatically correct! Shark jumped Sting from behind to kick things off and grabbed the belt, declaring he was gonna win the title. The Shark went to work on Sting, with the running powerslam, elbow drop and a leg drop. The Shark was putting in the work.

Sting hit two Stinger Splashes and the force of it elevated The Shark to the top rope! Sting hit the move and the Shark jumped right into the air and landed on the top rope somehow! Sting hit a crossbody and retained the US title in a very short US title defence. Bischoff actually did say the line of “that’s why Sting is the United States Heavyweight champion” and that’s a true statement as Sting was a winner. He does not go 50/50 with guys for months and months until one guy wins for good. He’s not Roman Reigns or Charlotte Flair with her seven title reigns. He was the champion and he was beating guys to stay champion because that’s what a true champion does. This was fine.

 

They showed the moustache segment yet again. I forgot to mention this for the last episode, but it was on my notes. I guess I missed it. There was a dude in the front, as Hogan was shaking the hands of the fans, who was the spitting image of Joseph Park from TNA! He had the haircut, the size, the suit and everything. It was crazy and he even did like a goofy smile and stuck his hand out!

 

Sabu vs Mr JL

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We were in Chicago so Sabu was heavily supported during this match. Sabu attacked Mr JL from behind to kick things off and Sabu was flying all over the place. There were audible “Hogan Sucks”” chants during this match. There was one ugly spot where Sabu did a dive and came crashing down on Mr JL’s face. Pretty ugly stuff.

They fought for a while as Chicago loved Sabu. Mr JL hit a sweet top rope elevated DDT. Sabu missed a Frankensteiner and had an ugly landing on the bottom rope. Ugly is a pretty perfect way to describe Sabu so far in WCW. It’s not particularly elegant but there’s a sense of real-life danger where you’re wondering what Sabu is going to do next.

Sabu caught Mr JL off the top rope and hit a powerbomb, locked on the camel clutch and won. We got deja vu from Episode #2 where Sabu’s beatdown on his opponent was far from over. Sabu attacked Mr JL after the match and barely just hit a sunset flip powerbomb to the floor.

Eventually they cut to the announcers as Bischoff just says that Sabu and Mr JL are still going at it. Loud Sabu chants could be heard while the commentators were doing their spiel. You could hear those chants as well as clanging and banging as the wrestlers were still brawling and that was that.

I’m not particularly enthralled by this Sabu storyline. He beats an opponent and then attacks him afterwards for no reason. Just seems completely random in the middle of an old school rasslin’ show. Then again, we’ve got Hogan and Giant battling each other with monster trucks so maybe it’s not so bad. Also, the crowd seemed to really love Sabu here so I guess it was a success if you’re judging it based of crowd reactions.

By the way, anyone care to guess the identity of Mr JL? It is in fact one of Sabu’s fellow ECW alumni members JERRY LYNN. I don’t think Jerry was actually Jerry Lynn during his WCW run but I guess we’ll see for certain down the road.

 

 

While the commentators were still talking, Sting made his way down to the ring as Luger flanked him, suited and booted. Sting said that he’s got the solution to the problem involving Luger and Randy Savage so he called out Savage. The Macho Man came down and Sting held Savage back as Mean Gene told them to settle down.

Sting asked them both to listen to him as The Giant was “winning the game” as he was taking advantage of the situation. Savage cut him off by questioning why The Giant hasn’t attacked Sting yet, to which Sting called Savage paranoid. Sting said that they all wanted to be the WCW Champion. Sting told Savage to shut up as he may slap the wrong person. Sting books two matches… yes, STING books two matches. He says it’s going to be Lex Luger vs Meng (which we saw on Episode #4) and Randy Savage vs Kamala at Halloween Havoc. If Savage and Luger beat their opponents, they would then face each other for the right to fight for the WCW World title. Savage agreed but Luger was upset that Sting was speaking for him and “putting words into his mouth.” Sting said that Luger didn’t look like a “total package” and he’s tired of being a babysitter.

Eventually, Luger agreed to take care of business. Savage reminded Luger that “we’ve got a date, don’t be late.” This was a fine segment to build Halloween Havoc but Meng vs Luger again as well as Savage vs Kamala do not sound like promising matches. It seems a bit of a complex way to get to the Luger vs Savage rematch when they could have just done Savage vs Luger again. Why did Savage and Luger have to beat Kamala and Meng first respectively? What do Kamala and Meng get out of winning the match? HOW DID STING BOOK THE MATCH? Since when does he have creative control?

…I have to ask the hard-hitting questions guys.

 

They showed a clip of a limo in Japan. Coming out of this big limo is none other than Chris Benoit. Benoit says WCW is where the big boys play. Chris Benoit is on his way to WCW folks.

 

Road Warrior Hawk vs Big Bubba Rogers

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Disco Inferno was the sole saviour of this match between Hawk vs Big Bubba Rogers. First of all, Disco Inferno comes out and he’s the right amount of great and awful at the same time! He’s dancing and getting funky as Bischoff explains that Disco isn’t even part of the roster. Disco debuted on Episode #4 and that was his debut match. So was he FIRED after this WCW Nitro debut? Because if he’s fired, how is he able to come down and how come he has a theme song?

I will concede that Disco is a much better dancer than me. Big Bubba comes out and Disco stops, grabs a boom box and continued to boogie no matter what Bubba did! Road Warrior Hawk comes down and Disco is still dancing. Hawk scares him off but then Disco grabs a kid’s hat and then places it on Hawk’s shoulder pads. A huge LOD chant breaks out when Hawk realises what Disco did.

Then Hawk and Bubba actually had to wrestle and this was quite unbearable. Big Bubba jumped Hawk. There were even louder LOD chants. Big Bubba fires away at Hawk. Hawk hit a big powerslam as Disco got back on the apron and sported a astonishingly bad Hawaiian shirt. Hawk gets sick of this and beats up Disco as the ref counts him down and Big Bubba is your winner.

Other than Disco, there was nothing to this match that resembled entertainment to me. Hawk was over in this Chicago crowd but even Hawk was not immune to the “get-beat-in-your-hometown” rule in professional wrestling.

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Mean Gene brings down WCW Champion Hulk Hogan. Chicago BOOED the living daylights out of the champion. Even in 1995, Chicago was still as hardcore as they come. It was weird because Hogan comes down wearing all black, a neck brace, a black bandanna and a cross necklace. It was very much a nWo look he was sporting and the nWo was still like approximately 9 months away. Interesting.

Hogan told Mean Gene and Jimmy Hart to shut up as the games are over. Hogan has decided to play Taskmaster and Giant’s game. If the Giant shows up, Hogan vowed to kick his ass. Mean Gene brought up a restraining order that the Giant had imposed and this led to Hogan going into a tirade about Vince McMahon and his ego… at least that’s what I gathered. It seemed to come out of nowhere.

Hogan said Taskmaster wanted to burn the trees in the forest and The Giant wanted to chop down the Hulksters but Hogan wanted to plan the seeds. Hogan asked again where Giant was. Then, in a sentence I honestly could not believe the biggest babyface in wrestling history actually said, Hogan said that shaving his moustache was like burning the American flag. SHAVING HULK HOGAN’S MOUSTACHE WAS LIKE BURNING THE AMERICAN FLAG. I was… gobsmacked.

The Giant eventually interrupted this Hulk Hogan promo. He and Zodiac showed up in a monster truck backstage as the police begged them off. Hogan went to the back as Chicago ended the segment by chanting “Hogan Sucks!”

 

Ric Flair vs Arn Anderson III in a steel cage match

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The Rosemont Police arrived to advise Bischoff that they had Giant and Hogan separated. That is good news. Mongo also insisted before this steel cage match that there would be no interference from Brian Pillman… let’s all remember that.

People are going to hate this but I’ve seen this match like 3 times since in the past month of WCW television. The appeal of the match has really gone down with them giving me it so often. Nevertheless, it was a fine match.

Flair chopped away at Arn and beat him up. Arn got the heat by slamming Flair into the cage wall and choking away at him. Arn hit a spinebuster. I’m pretty sure the fans chanted “we want blood” which I guess makes sense as this was becoming a blood feud!

They smashed each other into cage walls and in the middle of this… FLYIN’ BRIAN comes charging down. This cage was supposed to keep away Pillman but it failed miserably as he just showed up out of the blue. He got up the cage but Flair met him at the top with a punch, pacing up that cage at the speed of light. Ric then hit the kneebreaker on Arn, went for the Figure Four Leg Lock but then Arn punched him in the face and pinned him.

Eric is then baffled as he believes that Arn had something in his hand and Mongo backs up these accusations. Eventually, it is revealed that brass knuckles were in his hands disguised as the white tape on Arn’s fingers in order to fool Flair. It was a creative finish as Arn beat Flair at his own game.

This then led to Ric Flair, AN ANGRY RIC FLAIR, pouncing on Eric Bischoff at the announce table. He stole Eric’s headset and screamed that it would be himself vs Arn and Pillman next week. More wrestlers booking their own matches! If Flair couldn’t find a partner, he would do a handicap match as Flair looked INCENSED by what just went down.

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That was WCW Nitro Episode #6. They plugged DDP vs Johnny B Badd for the WCW TV title for next week’s show, as well as the debuting Chris Benoit facing Eddie Guerrero, Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs Meng and Ric Flair vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman were also advertised. It actually sounds like a decent show and I am looking forward to seeing where the Flair/Arn stuff goes and you know Benoit and Eddie will be a great showing.

As a whole, this episode #6 of Nitro was nothing really special. There were decent segments to build towards the PPV but the matches weren’t exactly memorable. We had another typical Sabu match, Hawk vs Big Bubba was sloppy, Sting vs The Shark was every face vs monster heel match you’ve ever seen and Ric vs Arn is a match I’ve seen 3 times in the space in a month.

That’s it from the Armbar Express. We will see you with Episode #7.

WCW Nitro Episode List

Retro Express – Taboo Tuesday 2005

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

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

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

Anyway, let’s get to it…

 

WWE Taboo Tuesday

Date: November 1st 2005

Brand: RAW

City: San Diego, California

Attendance: 6,000

 

Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy vs Snitsky and Chris Masters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **3/4

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

 

Rob Conway and Tomko vs Eugene and Jimmy Snuka

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

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

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

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Mankind vs Carlito

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **1/4

 

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

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

 

Batista vs Jonathan Coachman w/Goldust and Vader

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

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

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

Match Rating: *1/2

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: **

 

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Match Rating: ***3/4

 

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

How I Would Book… CM Punk As Nexus Leader [Part Two]

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Welcome to Part TWO of my newest “How I Would Book” series. This follows CM Punk’s reign as Nexus leader and where I think the angle should have been heading.
Last time, we established the new Nexus under Punk’s rule and we’ve seen Punk set his sights on the Royal Rumble. In an eventful Rumble event, CM Punk emerged as the winner and will headline Wrestlemania.
The road to Wrestlemania is now starting to become a little more clear but there’s still more business to take care of before we get there. If CM Punk will be going to Wrestlemania, who will be the champion that he’ll be facing?
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I’ll just state for the record right now that CM Punk will not be challenging for SmackDown!’s World title. He’ll challenge for the WWE Championship on RAW but who’ll be the champion? Will it be The Miz? Will it be Randy Orton? Will it be Sheamus? We’ll settle this with an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship that will feature the following…
  • The Miz (the WWE Champion)
  • Randy Orton
  • Sheamus
  • John Morrison
  • Heath Slater
  • John Cena

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My plan is for at least one member of the Nexus to be in the Chamber match while CM Punk will take on Justin Gabriel. Now I’m sure the big question is why Gabriel is fighting Punk and not taking on his traitor friend Slater? I’ve done this for three reasons…
  1. The bigger picture is CM Punk’s road to WrestleMania. For CM Punk, it’s best for him to take on someone that is relevant and a part of the story. Punk orchestrated and took part in the beating of Gabriel as the South African was kicked out of Nexus. Gabriel would want revenge on Punk as well as Slater.
  2. It’s better for Gabriel to be involved in a high-profile match after being in the final two of the Royal Rumble. Taking on the guy that eliminated him is a logic step and it can help get Gabriel over to an upper-midcard level… possibly as a main eventer.
  3. You need at least one member of the Nexus to be in the Elimination Chamber. You could make arguments for Michael McGillicutty, David Otunga or Husky Harris but none of those men have played a major part of the “New Nexus” so far. Mason Ryan getting a shot at the title after a month in the company is a bit extreme, especially after he LOST to John Cena at the Royal Rumble. The best way to go is for Slater to be in the match. After his performance in the Rumble, there’s also a fair amount of reasons to back up his claim for a title shot.
I would have Punk beat Gabriel after interference from the Nexus. If it were to be presented in a way where Slater is orchestrating the attack when Punk is down, that would be better. A means to switch gears to Slater vs Gabriel for a match at Mania. He could set Mason Ryan on Gabriel if you want to keep pushing Ryan. Either way, Punk is the winner.
The chamber match won’t need a lot of notes, except for the finish. The final four men are Miz, Orton, Cena and Slater. The Miz is able to eliminate Orton after Alex Riley throws Miz a lead pipe or something to take him down. Randy responds with an RKO before he leaves. Slater gets the pin, eliminating the champion. This gives Slater some serious cred and also leads towards a potential match between Orton and Miz at Mania while you’re at it. In the final two between Cena and Slater, Cena wins the title and it’s set for Wrestlemania. CM Punk vs John Cena for the WWE Championship.
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There’s one elephant in the room that we haven’t addressed yet and that is The Rock. Remember, The Rock was at Wrestlemania 27 as the guest host of the show. How do we incorporate that into Cena vs Punk?
Vince McMahon would return on RAW to tell CM Punk that a special referee will be assigned to make sure that the Nexus won’t be getting involved. It is revealed to be The Rock as Rock stares down Punk and cuts a promo to end the show. He rips on CM Punk as well as John Cena, revealing his disdain for both men. The Rock guarantees that he will not only let these two beat each other up but declared that he was getting his hands dirty as well.
CM Punk believes that The Rock is going to screw him at Wrestlemania and orders the Nexus to take him out. All of the members (except Slater, who’ll be feuding with Gabriel) will be sent to take out The Rock in the weeks building up to the event. Since they can’t have The Rock appearing every week, it’s just to case of filming each member of Nexus going to Miami, Florida or on the set of one his movies with the intention of taking him out. Punk will have the beatings live streamed for the crowd but each time, the camera is down with a member of Nexus attacked and their armband taken off.
This happens every week with everyone except Slater and Mason Ryan. CM Punk vows to have Ryan beat up Rock on the RAW before Wrestlemania (since The Rock is there). On the go-home segment of the show, we have Rock, Cena, Punk and Ryan all there. Mason tries his attack on The Rock but the Rock takes him out. Cena hits Rock with an AA and Punk hits Cena with the GTS. This sets things up nicely for Mania.
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The Wrestlemania 27 card looks like this…
  • Cody Rhodes (c) vs Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental title
  • Daniel Bryan (c) vs Sheamus vs John Morrison for the US title
  • Kozlov (c) and Santino (c) vs Otunga and McGillicutty for the Tag Titles
  • Edge (c) vs Alberto Del Rio for the World Title
  • Undertaker vs Triple H (vs Mason Ryan if you want to have Taker get revenge on Nexus for beating him down at Bragging Rights)
  • The Miz vs Randy Orton
  • Heath Slater vs Justin Gabriel
  • John Cena (c) vs CM Punk for the WWE Championship with The Rock as special guest referee
Looks something like that. The main match we’re interested in though is Cena vs Punk. With The Rock as the referee, he makes it No DQ because he wants to see Cena and Punk beat each other up big time. The Nexus are not there to help Punk due to the attacks throughout the month. If the Nexus are in matches at Mania, have them get beaten down. Trust me, there is a point to these attacks!
The match gets a bit of time and ends pretty much the same way that the Miz vs Cena match in real life ended at Wrestlemania 27. Cena would have the upper-hand when Rock hits The Rock Bottom. Punk wins the title and then the Rock beats down Punk. Gotta let Rock get his post-match beat down in.
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The Rock stuff is pretty much done now anyway. Cena and Rock make their match for Mania 28 and that’s taken care off. The WWE is all about making money too for god’s sake so let Cena and Rock have their program for next year’s Mania.
The bottom line is that Punk is the champion coming out of Wrestlemania. Hopefully, the members of the Nexus win the tag titles either at Mania or Extreme Rules. I would also have Heath follow suit and win the US title. My thing about building up a faction is giving them the credibility to alongside of it. Why do you think Evolution was as successful as they were? The night where all four members of Evolution all held championships showed just where the power lied on RAW. Nexus needs to be the same.
Therefore, The Rock taking over the main event of Wrestlemania doesn’t seem as big of a deal anymore as the Nexus has the power and gold anyway to run the show. I would not have The Rock appear on the show again until after July (which is when this storyline will end). Let the Nexus run the show.
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There will be a thorn or two in their sides. In the final segment of the RAW after Wrestlemania where Rock vs Cena is made, CM Punk interrupts on the stage. He brags about winning and says that their match at Wrestlemania is nothing compared to him. Punk is then dropped from behind… by WADE BARRETT.
DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!
Barrett grabs the mic, looks at Cena and Rock and says “the only one you can trust is yourself.”
Barrett elaborates the next week, saying that he was the one that was taking out the Nexus members to help Cena retain against Punk. Barrett protected The Rock, thinking that The Rock would screw Punk. Barrett admits that he misjudged The Rock’s ego and didn’t think that Rock would attack Cena. Barrett is back to kill his own creation and said that he needed to kill Nexus by cutting off the head of the snake. He vows to take out Punk.
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The RAW GM announces that Cena will get his rematch for the title at Extreme Rules. Barrett must beat three members of the Nexus in order to get in the match. He beats Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris. He finishes the gauntlet by knocking out David Otunga to have him look incredibly strong going into Extreme Rules. In a triple threat steel cage match, Punk retains after escaping the cage. That’s kind of the beauty of the cage match. Neither Cena or Barrett need to get beaten in the ring so you can protect them both.
Cena’s pleas for a rematch are turned down in similar fashion to how Miz’s request for a rematch was turned down in real life after Over The Limit. This leaves Barrett and Punk to feud one-on-one. They have their match at Over The Limit and Barrett knocks out Punk. Barrett is declared the winner. However, the RAW GM buzzes in and rules that you can only win the title by pinfall or submission. Therefore, Punk would retain the title.
To make it so that Barrett could win the title by knocking out Punk, a Last Man Standing match is made for Capitol Punishment. But once again, Punk retains after interference from Nexus. I feel kind of bad with how Barrett’s storyline arc has played out. However, I’ve not actually beaten Barrett by pinfall or anything in this storyline. If I were to keep booking this past Money In The Bank, Barrett would have won the briefcase and cashed in at Summerslam or something. But for now, the focus is on Punk.
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The storyline ends in the same way that the “Summer of Punk” began. Punk declares that the Nexus is done and announces that his contract is coming to an end. He vows to leave with the title, cuts the infamous shoot promo and goes on to beat Cena at Money In The Bank to leave with the title.
I could keep going and book the “Summer of Punk” but I’ll save that for another time. That’s about it for this storyline. I’ll admit that the Post-Wrestlemania booking wasn’t as detailed as the earlier months of the storyline but the fact is, there’s not a lot that I needed to do. Having Punk win the title at Mania and having him leave the company with the belt is the ultimate way to put Punk over. The Nexus can also go their separate ways as the group would have run its course. I’d like to think I left them in good shape as a number of them are champions.
That’s a wrap from us and we do hope you enjoyed this edition of How I Would Book. Have any suggestions for a future How I Would Book? Simply tweet me at either @ArmbarExpress or @TomRobinson5199 on Twitter with your suggestions. Do also check out the rest of the content on my blog. I do a lot of other cool fantasy booking blog posts with my playthroughs of fantasy booking gameExtreme Warfare Revenge. And there’s all sorts of other wrestling content as well. You never know, you might just like what you see!

How I Would Book… The End Of The Streak – The Verdict [Final Part]

Part One – Introduction

Part Two – John Cena

Part Three – CM Punk

Part Four – Randy Orton

Part Five – Bray Wyatt

So. Here it is… the verdict.

Who should have been the one to end the Undertaker’s Undefeated Streak? We’ve talked about four specific candidates that could have possibly ended the streak. We could have mentioned so many others like Kurt Angle, Shawn Michaels and Kane. But we’ve got four candidates that we’ve given a thorough examination. We’ve talked about the reasons for and against, but now we must decide once and for all. Who REALLY should have broken the Undertaker’s streak?

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This is probably one of the hardest things to book in professional wrestling. The idea of having Undertaker’s streak end at all is hard to imagine. You have to pick the one individual that is unique enough that truly needed to beat the streak in order to become a true legend. You could have picked anyone to end that streak as a means to get them over. But a unique character had to have been chosen to be the one that ended that streak. They have to have the physical credentials, natural ability or the uniqueness factor in order to be considered for the role of conqueror. It also relies heavily on the timing. It’s a tough call either way you slice it. But out of the four candidates we talked about, who was the best choice?

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John Cena is the franchise of the WWE, making him one of the front runners for breaking the Undertaker’s streak. Others had talked about using the streak as a means to turn him heel. However, to throw away the streak to fulfill a heel turn for Cena is a very VERY risky endeavor. Even if you decide to turn him face again months later, what would be the point of ending the streak in the first place? Cena beating Undertaker as his usual self would also be very difficult to do, considering a lot of his OWN fans might actually despise him for taking away something else they love too.

CM Punk would have had a tremendous opportunity to break the streak if he had went into Wrestlemania 29 as the WWE Champion to put the title on the line against the Undertaker’s streak. Ending the streak this way would be an incredible way to immortalize Punk. It also doesn’t take away anything from the streak as Taker would have been beaten by someone that was in fact the “Best in the World” at the time. However, considering Punk’s real-life backstage unhappiness in WWE at the time and the fact that he might not be around enough to put that win to good use, then having him break the streak would seem a bit of a waste if he were just to quit shortly afterwards. Plus, this win would also mean that Punk would not have anything else left to aspire to in WWE anymore. Punk’s talked about his desire to main event Wrestlemania being one of the few things that kept him around a few years ago. If he main events Mania by ending the streak, what on earth could Punk do next?

We also did a bit of time travelling, suggesting that Randy Orton might have potentially been a great position to end the streak at Wrestlemania 21. He was the right man, in the right place and in the right time. After all, after losing to the Undertaker in Wrestlemania 21, Orton never really seemed to accomplish much in the next few years of his career. This win could have helped Orton catapult his stardom a lot sooner. But the thing is, Randy Orton became a true star in WWE anyway. WWE didn’t need to give him the streak in order to pull that off. Another factor against Orton was his own temperament at the time. According to a lot of people, Orton was a pain in everybody’s backsides in WWE around the time. WWE shouldn’t have really risked giving the streak to somebody that could get in a lot of trouble in years to come.

Bray Wyatt was our last suggestion, as we proposed that the end of this streak could be the start of a new one. Bray could begin a Wrestlemania streak of his own stemming from being the one in 21-1 at Wrestlemania 30. However, Bray was still only starting out on the main roster with this gimmick. There was no guarantee that Bray would have the endurance of the Undertaker to be able to defend the streak for years to come. We’re assuming that Bray would be able to go possibly 10-0 with this streak, or possibly more. Things could go wrong. Bray could get injured. Bray could get fired. It would be too big a risk for WWE to take, with all due respect to Bray Wyatt.

So with those four in mind, who REALLY should have been the one to break the Undertaker’s streak? Well, you might not like this answer. But the person that needed to break that streak… was Brock Lesnar.

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OK, hear me out on this one. That may be a bit of a lame conclusion to come to. Hell, if I had things my own way, the streak would have never been broken. But if you’re going to end the streak, Brock Lesnar WAS the one that should break it. He was the only one that should have done it and he had the right timing too. Vince McMahon got this one bang on with Lesnar breaking the streak.

Think about this Streak series as a whole. When we’ve been looking at guys like CM Punk and John Cena, we’re looking for the same credentials that Brock Lesnar had which made him such a great candidate. Well, why would you try to find somebody like Brock Lesnar when you’ve already got the man himself? Re-signing Brock Lesnar in 2012 was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to WWE around that time. 2012 was a time in which WWE was beginning to evolve as the realities of the business began to emerge. The WWE could no longer ignore the signs of change that they simply couldn’t control. They needed to hire somebody that could help “legitimize” WWE in order for WWE to gain social relevancy. In 2012, they got themselves an answer…

From his first match back, you could tell that Brock was completely different to EVERYBODY else on the roster. He is not meant to be relatable to other wrestlers, as he’s not a wrestler… he’s a fighter. There’s nobody with his style of matches. There is nobody with his real-life accomplishments. There’s nobody else that could ACTUALLY beat Undertaker in an actual fight. If you were to place bets on a street fight between a guy that looked like Undertaker and a guy that looked like Lesnar, you’d put your money on the guy that looked like Lesnar. He’s got the speed, size and strength that few men alive posses.

Look what ending the streak actually DID for Brock Lesnar. He regained the mystique that he had lost due to defeats to John Cena and Triple H. He became a mega attraction once again and one of the most talked about wrestlers in the last few years. People can say that Brock didn’t need the Undertaker’s streak to regain that mystique but the fact is… he did. If he lost to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 30, he would have just been another big monster that couldn’t beat the Undertaker. But that’s hardly the sort of treatment that Lesnar should get because he’s not just like every other monster. He’s a legitimate badass. Listen to Paul Heyman, Edge and Chris Jericho talking about the streak being broken below.

And with that video, it’s time to finally close the book on this particular series. Reading back, it does seem like a bit of a lame ending to pick the guy that actually broke the streak. However, it’s hard to find that one-of-a-kind freak of nature. The stars were so well aligned for Brock Lesnar to break that streak. Had he not lost to Triple H and John Cena before, the impact it could have had would be monumental. There’s only one Brock Lesnar.

However, it’s been pretty fun to explore with the idea of somebody else doing the honours. None of the four other candidates aren’t actually bad shouts either. However, I have to concede that this is one occasion where the WWE got it right with deciding the man to break the undefeated streak of the Undertaker. WWE did mess up a little in the build up to the moment. Had he not lost twice before hand, the ending of the streak would be perfect. However, I think it’s safe to say that things worked out for the best. Brock Lesnar became that mega star again and the Undertaker eventually got his “win” back anyway at Summerslam 2015. Brock Lesnar was definitely the right man to have broken the streak.

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Have any suggestions for a How I Would Book? Simply tweet me at either @ArmbarExpress or @TomRobinson5199 on Twitter with your suggestions. Do also check out the rest of the content on my blog. I do a lot of other cool fantasy booking blog posts with my playthroughs of fantasy booking game Extreme Warfare Revenge. And there’s all sorts of other wrestling content as well. You never know, you might just like what you see!

If you have any thoughts on the “End of the Streak” series, do get in touch through Twitter or leave a comment. It’d be awesome to hear what the readers think! Later!

TNA Lockdown 2014 Predictions

Wooooaaaaaahhhhhhh Ooooooooooooo! Making predictions on Saturday! Woooooooaaaaaahhhhh Oooooooooooo! Making predictions on Saturday TONIGHT!

With every match taking place inside a steel cage, a lot of carnage is to be expected. Who will walk away with the TNA World Championship? Which promotions will get the bragging rights? Who’ll be the last man standing? And who’ll have control of TNA after tonight?

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Ethan Carter III vs ??????

Background: The history between Ethan Carter and ?????? has been brewing for quite some time. But for last month or two, EC3 has been targeting the Olympic Gold medalist Kurt Angle, attacked Angle and injuring his leg. At Kurt Angle’s Hall Of Fame ceremony, Angle challenged EC3 to a match at Lockdown which was booked for Lockdown. However, there was a slight change of plans when Angle suffered a torn MCL once again at the hands of EC3. However, EC3 was still on the Lockdown with opponent being the mighty ??????? this sunday!

What Should Happen?: Well why not give Ethan Carter III the big win on the PPV he was likely due in the first place.

What Will Happen?: I personally believer that whoever TNA put in Ethan Carter III’s way will get beaten because of the fact they’re still putting him in a match on the card. If Angle was fit and healthy, I assume EC3 would have won so unless they have something out of the blue lined up for him, I don’t see the outcome being any different. Ethan Carter III beats ??????? 😉

 

Tigre Uno vs Manik

Background: No real background to this match other than the fact that it’s Tigre Uno’s debut in TNA.

What Should Happen?: Give the new guy the victory. Tigre Uno wins.

What Will Happen?: Tigre Uno wins. NEXT!

 

Interpromotional Six Man Tag Team Match: Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Kazarian) and Chris Sabin vs The Great Muta, Sanada and Nakanoue

Background: A talent exchange between TNA and Japanense promotion Wrestle-1 is underway, and Lockdown will be able to showcase some this talent in action. Among these in action in a six man tag team match include Nakanoue and Wrestle-1 Owner and legendary wrestler The Great Muta. Teaming up with them is Sanada, who defeated Austin Aries at the interpromotional Kaisen: Outbreak event to win the X-Division Championship. The next day, Sanada was confirmed to be a mainstay in TNA. However, he still represents Wrestle-1 in a six man steel cage match  against “Bad Influence” Christopher Daniels and Kazarian, and former X-Division Champion Chris Sabin. Can the Wrestle-1 stars topple TNA’s top X-Division stars?

What Should Happen?: It’d be a REAL dick move for TNA to invite Wrestle-1 over for them to kick their asses. Give the new X-Division and his teammates the victory to get this partnership off on a bang.

What Will Happen?: The Wrestle-1 guys win.

 

Gunner vs James Storm in a Steel Cage Last Man Standing match

Background

What should happen?: I’d like to see Gunner get the win, considering it would be cool for him to look strong despite failing to win the title.

What Will Happen?: I’ve got a gut feeling that James Storm will win because I see this feud PROPERLY starting off with Storm getting a cheap victory over Gunner. I know you’re asking “How can you get a cheap victory in a last man standing match?” and my only answer is interference from Bobby Roode, which I think could happen.

 

Madison Rayne (c) vs Gail Kim for the TNA Knockouts Championship

Background

What Should Happen?: I’m not gonna lie, Madison Rayne has never really been a girl that impressed me that much. I’m a huge Gail Kim mark and it does seem weird to have her without that title. However, the new champion should be the one who wins this. I think a month long title reign will not do the Knockouts title much justice.

What Will Happen?: Normally, I’d say the new champion would win. However, with all the title changes with the X-Division title it’s not that clear-cut for me to say. I’ve got a gut feeling that Gail Kim is going to regain the gold somehow, so I’m going with my gut. Gail Kim wins.

 

Samuel Shaw vs Mr Anderson

Background

What Should Happen?: Damn, this thing with Samuel Shaw has been good. It definitely makes sense for Samuel Shaw to win. They’ve got something… beautiful – with a character like his.

What Will Happen?: Sorry Ken. I don’t see anything else happening other than Samuel Shaw picking up the win.

 

Lethal Lockdown: Team MVP (MVP, Eddie Edwards, Davey Richards and Jeff Hardy… or is it Willow?) vs Team Dixie Carter (Bobby Roode, Robbie E, Jessie and Austin Aries) – Winning Team Gets Control Of TNA Operations

Rules: Two men from each team will start off the Lethal Lockdown match locked in the cage. Then, after every 5 minutes, each team will take turns in having a member enter the cage. This will continue until all 8 men have entered the cage. Once all 8 guys have entered, the first team to get a pinfall or submission wins. Team Dixie will have the “man advantage”, meaning that they will gain an advantage on Team MVP by having their men enter the match before the MVP guys do. Basically, the entrant order will be – Team Dixie, Team MVP, Team Dixie, Team MVP, Team Dixie, Team MVP, Team Dixie, Team MVP.

Background


What Should Happen?: Team MVP wins.

What Will Happen?: It’d be awful strange for TNA to bring MVP in and not have his team win.

 

Magnus (c) vs Samoa Joe for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship

Background

What Should Happen?: I’m a bit torn. I’m fans of both guys. It’s been too long since Samoa Joe last won the TNA World Title, but Magnus’ reign has been really good so far. I’d like to see that continue, so I’m going to have to go with Magnus. But if anyone’s going to dethrone Magnus, it has to be Samoa Joe.

What Will Happen?: Magnus retains I think.