Retro Express – Bad Blood 2003

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Once upon a time, WWE used to be pretty big on building up interesting storylines for their wrestlers. From the opening act to the main-eventers, everyone involved in the show had a reason for being there. On Bad Blood, as amazing as it is, everyone on this show had a reason for being there. Everyone from Theodore Long at ringside for the opening match to Mick Foley as the special referee in the main-event. As simple as this show was put together, did the storyline work pay off with RAW’s first brand-exclusive US pay-per-view of 2003?

 

WWE Bad Blood 2003

Date: June 15th 2003

Brand: RAW

City: Houston, Texas

Attendance: 10,000

 

The Dudley Boyz vs Christopher Nowinski and Rodney Mack w/Teddy Long

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As mentioned earlier, this was a heavy storyline time for WWE. Every little program on Monday Night RAW in 2003 did its best to tell a storyline, including this simple tag team match with the Dudleyz facing Rodney Mack and Christopher Nowinski. Teaming up the Harvard graduate Nowinski with the new up-and-comer Rodney Mack, combined with the black supremacy advocate Teddy Long as their manager, was a bizarre combination to say the least. However, at least they got something. Not that I’d want to do an angle like this or anything, as I wouldn’t, but at least it gave the audience a reason to take notice once they got on television.

They did a backstage segment on Heat where Teddy Long pestered D-Von Dudley, questioning why his brother Bubba always told D-Von the get the tables. At least there was more to this match than just throwing two tag teams together. Giving D-Von an angle going into this match at least gets fans interested in him. Rodney Mack was also undefeated going into this event.

Mack and D-Von began angry lock-up before the match even began. We got early “we want tables” chant. Mack had a seriously hard time selling for the Dudleyz. The Dudleyz started off well and Bubba was a great babyface but then the distraction came from Teddy. Teddy was on the apron distracting Bubba and Bubba began waiting for Mack to jump him. He waits and waits and waits until Mack came in to throw a horrible clothesline.

We got a “Harvard sucks” chant directed at Nowinski. Mack hit a pretty decent spinebuster. Bubba got the hot tag, which included the big man hitting a top rope crossbody onto Nowinski! Keep in mind, this was not the slimmest guy in the world! A big man flying like that is very much a joy to see!

Nowinski, who was wearing a metal face protector worth $30,000 according to Jim Ross, tried to use it to no avail. Mack went for the “Black Out” submission but it was countered. The Dudleyz hit the “Wassup” while Teddy was yelling on the apron. Bubba told D-Von to the table but Teddy got in his way, tying into the segment from earlier. Mack attacked D-Von from behind while Nowinski hit Bubba with the metal mask and pinned him.

This was a slightly-below average tag team match with Mack being rather sloppy while the Dudleyz tried their best to get a good match out of him. Nowinski seemed to just be there. In terms of promoting new talent, the right team won. In terms of who the better workers were however, the wrong team won.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler talked about the Redneck Triathlon scheduled between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Eric Bischoff. The Redneck Triathlon would consist of three rounds, with the first round being a burping contest and the second round being a “pie-eating” contest. Jerry was excited for the pie-eating contest. Now, I remembered the beginning and the end of this Redneck Triathlon. The pie-eating contest was what I couldn’t remember and it did strike me as odd regarding Jerry’s comment about the pie-eating contest. In hindsight, I should have known what that pie-ating contest was ACTUALLY about. More on that later.

We began with the burping contest, with JR claiming to have once won a burping contest in the eight grade. Both gladiators were stood with Terri Runnels doing the introductions while Stone Cold drank beer. Terri went over the rules as Stone Cold did starfish jumps, which is the perfect way to prepare for a burping contest. There would be three rounds of burps, with the loudest combined burps winning the contest. Bischoff went first and delivered a weak burp. This was probably the only legitimate burp in the whole thing. Then it was Austin’s turn. Some may have been upset that the majority of the burps were all sound effects pipped in by the production group and it that it was not a legitimate burping contest. However, this burp was delivered so well that you just couldn’t not laugh at it. Jim Ross’ and Jerry Lawler’s laugh after Austin “unleashed” this burp was great! This was exceptional delivery by production and by Stone Cold’s expressions.

Austin demanded another beer as Eric did his second burp. It was a decent attempt by Eric but Terri was disgusted.  Austin had a pretty weak second burp, which the Texas crowd loved. Eric was also disgusted by this and then delivered his third burp, which was slightly above average. Austin got the last laugh as he unloaded with a long final burp, with the later part of it sounding like a toilet was being flushed!

Austin won and then delivered a post-contest promo, congratulating Eric on being a good competitor and himself for winning such a competition. His UFC-like promo was actually pretty funny! Eric told Austin to see a doctor and that was that. Austin was 1-0 up in the Redneck Triathlon.

Moments like this really made me love the Austin and Bischoff co-general manager deal, with Eric almost coming off as likeable as he was involved in these funny angles with Austin. The crowd loved this burping contest as did I.

 

Test vs Scott Steiner for the managerial services of Stacy Keibler

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A lot of you reading this might not believe your eyes but Scott Steiner is probably one of my favourite wrestlers of all time. This guy was just one-of-a-kind in terms of his in-ring style, his promos and just the character as a whole. I ALWAYS paid attention whenever this guy was around.

In WWE around this time though, he hadn’t had the greatest of starts since his return at Survivor Series 2002. His program with Triple H, including a truly devastatingly bad World title match at Royal Rumble 2003, had seen Steiner’s stock drop significantly. Now he’d been put with Test and Stacy Keibler, as the two vied for the affection of the lovely Stacy.

This match was by FAR not one of the greatest technically gifted matches I’ve ever seen. I can’t even consider this a good match as far as the in-ring side of things is concerned. As far as the entertainment however, this match was in a league of its own and mostly because of Steiner.

One of the other highlights of this match was Stacy Keibler, who looked amazing on this particular show. Stacy tried to get in the ring but her “ex” Test yanked her off the apron to berate her. As amazing as it sounds, the spot that followed was one of the highlights of the entire pay-per-view and it was the mother of all botches! Scott got onto the apron as he had to save this love interest, who was in peril at the hands of the bad guy. This was Mario saving Princess Peach from Bowser. Mario would jump in and save the day. Scott Steiner ALSO decided to jump in and save the day! He leaped off the apron but didn’t have his balance right, so he slipped and plummeted down. He landed on the floor but at least he had the instinct to put his hands up for the double axe handle that had obviously been the original spot. He drops down, hits Test in the knee and Test slips as if he slipped turning around in the shower. This was one of the all-time great botches in the history of wrestling and it was actually a lot more entertaining than if he had just successfully pulled off this double axe handle!

So Scott Steiner beat up Test and when they got into the ring to start the match, Test begged off Steiner. Now, there have been many babyfaces that have fallen for this obvious trap set by the heels to lure him into trouble. These spots make the heroes seem like such fools. Scott Steiner was not like that as instead of backing off, Steiner said “Nah. Fuck You!” and beat up Test some more! Not that I’d encourage wrestlers to swear as they’re on the rampage but I laughed so hard at this. I’m just amazed that my DVD didn’t censor this moment as Steiner unloaded with swearing throughout this match. Steiner wasn’t having any of Test’s shenanigans.

Steiner did some press-ups and began yelling at the referee. Test used Stacy as a human shield to gain the advantage. Test then threw Steiner into the steps. I know a lot of people had mixed opinions about Test as a performer, who sadly passed away in 2007. All I’ll say is that he was effective in making people hate him! That’s a key part to be a good villain, having an unlikeabillity factor that even “great” in-ring work can’t get around. The douche level of Test’s character was high as he mocked Steiner and yelled “wait until tonight” at Stacy as he blew her a kiss. The fans chanted “you suck” as Test got the heat. Test did a sleeper hold as the fans rallied behind Steiner with “lets go Steiner” chants. Jim Ross had a very nice line about Stacy when he said that her heart was as beautiful as her face. He was… damn on point.

Steiner damn near killed Test when Test came off the top rope and Steiner caught him by the waist, and dropped him over his shoulder which I think was meant to be a belly-to-belly suplex. I like Steiner but Test must have been fearing for his well-being when Steiner caught him by the waist! Jim Ross called this a Northern Light suplex turned into a slam. Steiner ran wild. Test bounced off the rope and it appear that he was going up to take a back drop but he leaped up, and Steiner caught him in a powerbomb position. Steiner simply threw him over his shoulder and continued to run wild. This was NOT the best night for Steiner in terms of his in-ring wrestling.

Steiner kicked out of a Full Nelson Slam. Test missed a big boot but Scott hit a sloppy reverse DDT. This got a near fall and Steiner’s reaction was to simply yell “HUH?” at the top of his lungs! That was very funny. Steiner hit a pumphandle slam for a near fall. Test undid the turnbuckle when Stacy popped up on the apron. Test grabbed Stacy and said some very non-PG and not nice things about Stacy, calling her names. Stacy slapped him and Steiner almost bumped into Stacy. Test hit a big boot out of nowhere which I honestly thought was the finish! Steiner kicked out. Test grabbed the chair and pushed Stacy away with it. Test went to hit Steiner with the chair and instead hit the ropes, bouncing the chair back to hit his own head. Steiner hit the flatliner and won the managerial services of Stacy. Stacy was happy and leaped onto Steiner in celebration. Stacy got off Steiner and then began selling her backside, implying that Test’s chair push was a lot more mighty than we realised.

This was an entertaining match to watch but not by any means a good one! We had some very noticeable botches from Steiner but the heat was there for this match. Test was a good heel. The match picked up with the finish and the bully Test was in the end overcome as the two babyfaces stood up against him. Even Stacy was being brave as Test eventually let his cockiness get the best out of him and paid for it. This was fine, simple story-telling.

Match Rating: **

 

Bischoff and Stone Cold talked backstage. Stone Cold described burping as being an “art form” in Texas, which was a great line. Eric vowed to win the pie-eating contest. Eric said he did some research and invited Austin to meet some ladies, that were set to take part in the pie-eating. By taking part, I don’t mean actually eating real bakery. Apparently, THEY were the pie. In case you were wondering, this show was NOT PG in the slightest.

Eric wanted first dibs on eating the “pie” and Austin allowed this, as long as he decided what pie Eric was going to eat first. I can’t have been the only one that could see where this was going, and I’d never seen this pie-eating contest before.

 

Christian (c) vs Booker T for the Intercontinental Championship

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Picture this in your head. RAW had just recently reinstated the Intercontinental Championship that they inexplicably retired at No Mercy 2002. Christian won the title in a battle royal. Christian made his first defense of the title in a promising match between himself and Booker T, who happened to be from Houston, Texas where the Bad Blood pay-per-view was being held. You had all the potential in the world to make these two actual top stars on the red brand. The fans were going nuts for Booker T in one of the most heated moments in the entire show. This could have been something really special. Not like in the level of Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat from WrestleMania III but a memorable match that’ll be remembered through the ages. Well, spoiler alert, but that didn’t happen.

On a show which included MANY non-wrestling segments featuring Stone Cold and Bischoff, Booker and Christian got SEVEN MINUTES of wrestling which resulted in an incredibly rushed match between these two great workers. Lawler did have a great back-handed compliment when he claimed that “there’s a lot of suckas in Houston.” Jerry Lawler in 2003 had some of the best crack in all of WWE in 2003! With that said, Lawler was pretty bad for the large majority for this match on commentary which we’ll get to. Jim Ross claimed that Christian leaving as the champion would be a miracle, which I think probably did Christian more harm than good.

The match started off very well, as these two worked well together. Christian sold one particular back drop from Booker very well as he was thrown HIGH into the air. Lawler was hardly paying attention to any of this as he constantly made jokes about Booker’s previously convictions. Booker T was once a criminal and Lawler mentioned this ALL THE TIME while on commentary during this time. It’s not like if Jim Ross mentioned it and praised Booker for overcoming it. No, Lawler made joke after joke during this match. Did NOT make Booker come off well either.

Christian tried winning by putting his feet on the ropes. JR completely ignored Christian hitting Booker with the Book End, in Booker’s hometown. Booker hit an axe kick on the ropes. Booker hit a top rope dropkick and followed it up with a spinaroonie. Booker went for the Scissors Kick but Christian ran away and took the title with him. I was initially pretty upset at this as this would have been a match that ended in a count out in the challenger’s hometown. Then the referee Jack Doan got a microphone and told Christian that if he didn’t get back in the ring, he’d forfeit the title. This announcement got a big reaction but when I think about it, how did Jack Doan have the right to make this call that Christian would lose the title if he walked out? He’s not like an on-screen authority figure or anything.

So WWE teased the count out finish but the referee put a stop to that. The fans got excited at the thought of seeing a clear winner in this match. Instead, Christian runs into the ring and runs right back out. Booker chases him around the ring and they get back into the “squared circle” of WWE. Christian then grabbed the belt and hit Booker in the face, causing a disqualification.

The fans were irate with this finish, chanting “bullshit” and these chants were pretty much justified. They teased a count-out finish only for it to end in seven minutes via disqualification. THIS was a let down.

Match Rating: **1/4

 

We had an advertisement for Jim Ross’ cook book, which I’ve got to get a hold of one of these days! Kevin Nash was taping up his wrists as he was set to challenge Triple H for the World title in a Hell In A Cell match.

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Jerry Lawler was in the ring for the pie-eating contest. He brought out Eric and commended him for his selection of “pie” for this event. Austin came out to a BIG POP in Texas. Austin reminded Eric that he would select Eric’s pie as agreed to earlier. Austin talked about Eric being into “mature women” which further solidified that I knew what was coming. Austin questioned Eric’s ability to please a woman with Eric insisting that he would be fine. Austin called Bischoff “Eric Jerk-Off” which the crowd popped for. Austin complimented Eric’s choice of women but Austin said that Eric would not be having any of their “pie” as he brought his choice for Eric. It was revealed to be Mae Young, who was accompanied by  Fabulous Moolah. Eric had a disgusted face which almost looked like he was about to sneeze. Austin just smiled with an awesome grin on his face.

Jerry protested this decision as he claimed it was supposed to be a pie-eating contest and not “cheesecake” that would be eaten. Disgusting, Jerry. Mae stuck her tongue out and Eric insisted that Mae put her tongue back in her mouth and called her a nasty old hag. Pretty mean words from Easy E. Eric refused to eat the pie but Austin called him a chicken. Mae tried to grope Eric but he told her to get her hand off his ass. Austin called Eric a piss-ant and demanded that Lawler declare him the winner. Eric cut him off and decided to go through with it. As shocking as it was, the fans started chanting “eat the pie” to which Eric responded by kissing her. Eric thought this was enough but Austin told him that this was a pie-eating contest. Mae low-blowed Eric and she was instructed to make Eric eat the pie. Mae gave Eric the stinkface while wearing a thong. Jim Ross called this as if he’d just watched Mankind being thrown off the Hell in a Cell. Austin was laughing, with Eric being furious and demanding that Austin goes next. Austin gave Mae Young the stunner, with Mae selling this possibly even worse than when Vince McMahon sold the first stunner that Austin gave him in 1997. Austin forfeited this contest and demanded beer. It was 1-1 in the redneck triathlon.

The times certainly have changed in the “tastes” of wrestling fans! This was a NUTTY angle but I guess nothing else could be expected considering that this was an angle involving Mae Young who, god bless her soul, was willing to do ANYTHING to entertain the fans. She probably loved doing this kind of stuff and the fans seemed to love it to a degree, especially when they chanted “eat the pie” at her. Mae was an entertainer to say the least!

As for the rest of it, it’s funny how Eric won the contest but Austin still seemed like the real winner of that contest in the end. Eric won but Austin still found a way to outsmart Eric Bischoff. The fans loved it and I guess that’s all that matters.

 

We got a vignette for Gail Kim, who would be debuting soon. As a matter of fact, she actually won the Women’s Championship in her debut a few weeks later. I hope I do get to review more of Gail Kim’s matches in the near future of this Retro Express as she was a great female worker.

Jonathan Coachman interviewed La Resistance, who were Rene Dupree and Sylvain Grenier at this time. They were challenging Kane and Rob Van Dam for the World Tag Team Championship next. Sylvain said that this was a big night and that he hated Texas. They buried then-US President George W Bush, which got a lot of boos in Texas. They dedicated the match to then-French President Jacques Chirac. This is actually amazing when you think about the political situation for the likes of US and the UK in 2016. It was amazing that the countrymen of the US and the French actually liked the people that ran their country at the time. Meanwhile, the US currently have a president-elect that they apparently don’t want in the White House anymore. It’s amazing.

 

Kane (c) and Rob Van Dam (c) vs “La Resistance” Sylvain Grainer and Rene Dupree for the World Tag Team Championship

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As far as putting the new heel tag team over, this was NOT the way to do it. La Resistance came out and Jim Ross called them jackasses, which was actually pretty funny. La Resistance got some serious heat. There were some seriously angry fans in the front row. Funnily enough, they showed the graphic for the old World Tag Team title design from the Attitude Era but the champions came out with the new belts that had been around since 2002! As I watched this DVD, I was rather annoyed at WWE for editing out the original theme songs that RVD and Kane came out too. Kane actually had been coming out to “Slow Chemical” from Finger Eleven at that time, which is one of my favourite wrestling theme songs of all time, so seeing that not make the DVD very much upset me.

RVD and Kane beat up La Resistance, with the storyline going in being that the champions were not on the same page. RVD did a great springbroad crossbody as he took over early. La Resistance turned the tide for a bit by planting RVD with a DDT. Kane got the hot tag and ran SERIOUSLY wild on the two french men. I mean Kane was DESTROYING these men all on his own as his partner had been beaten up by these two. Kane was having to contend with the heels on his own while RVD simply WATCHED from the apron. He eventually got the tag while Kane was still getting the better of these two heels. He’s doing fine on his own and then RVD got in. As Kane is battling these men on the outside, RVD goes for a dive and hits Kane accidentally when there was no need for him to go for the dive at all. RVD was attacked and hit the Double Flapjack for the pin as La Resistance won the World Tag Team titles.

The booking of this match caused steam to come from my ears. The whole angle was that Kane and RVD were having issues but here in this match, Kane was completely doing fine on his own while RVD cost them the match by getting involved when Kane was coping fine. The fact was Kane could have beaten these men by himself and he would have retained the title. How could La Resistance possibly have been taking seriously at this point? I guess La Resistance are remembered nowadays so I guess they became somewhat of a memorable tag team. However, this match was pretty lame and pretty perplexing.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Goldberg vs Chris Jericho

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A common trope of mine is immediately looking up Dave Meltzer’s rating for the match I just saw during a Retro Express. Mine and Meltzer’s ratings are usually right in-line but for this match, I noticed that he gave this match three and a half stars out of a max total of five. Maybe it’s a mistake to watch old matches with modern eyes but I have NO IDEA what type of match he was watching. In case you were wondering what made me un-optimistic about the actual Goldberg/Brock Lesnar match for Survivor Series this year, THIS was the match.

I know these two had heat with each other around this time but even so, the wrestlers with the biggest heat with each other can usually put together some really good matches. Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart had some sublime matches back in the day. This Goldberg/Jericho match was NOT sublime.

Goldberg went for a lock-up and it was one of those lock-ups from a women’s match, that sees both wrestlers tumble out of the ring. Goldberg hit a World’s Strongest Slam as the fans chanted Y2J. Goldberg dominated early on, even gorilla pressing Jericho onto the ropes. Goldberg went for a spear through the wall but Jericho moved out of the way as Goldberg drove himself through the barricade. This actually played into the storyline going in, which Jericho claimed that he’d win the match by making Goldberg angry and sloppy. This was actually pretty good story-telling.

Jericho tried to get at Goldberg but referee Charles Robinson stopped him. I’m not sure why he did this as it wasn’t like the doctors came out to check on Goldberg. Jericho drove Goldberg into the ringpost. Goldberg was bleeding and his arm had been hurt from the spear, which Jericho took advantage of. Goldberg was working with one arm, actually selling the injury. Now, Goldberg rarely had to take the heat in many of his WCW matches. The idea was that Goldberg would destroy the opponent, hit his finishers and beat him early. In WWE however, he was not booked in this manner. He had to sell for Jericho so he tried to work with one arm. While he did this, his ring-work with one arm was pretty bad. If in doubt, DON’T HAVE GOLDBERG SELL.

Jericho locked on a Fujiwara Armbar. Jericho was caught off the top with a high knee. The fans started booing. Goldberg was not able to pull off working with one arm, struggling with an one armed hip toss. “Goldberg sucks” chants began to roar from the crowd. Jericho hit a dropkick and Goldberg waffled to the ground. We got more boos. Jericho hit the lionsault on the face of Goldberg for a near fall. Jericho went for a Lionsault and Goldberg was supposed to catch him but it went ALL WRONG. Goldberg hit the spear and we got even LOUDER “Goldberg sucks” chants. Goldberg went for the jackhammer but Jericho caught Charles Robinson in the eyes and hit a low-blow on Goldberg. This got a lot of cheers and big Y2J chants. Keep in mind that Goldberg was supposed to be the face and Jericho was supposed to be the heel!

Jericho tried the Walls of Jericho but Goldberg powered out, hit the spear and jackhammer, and won the match. And to put a cherry on top, Goldberg slid outside of the ring and got in the face of a fan that booed him throughout the match. A wonderful way to put over Goldberg as a babyface.

To be fair, Goldberg did actually get cheers when he won the match and Jericho tried ALL that he could but even he could not get a good match out of this man. Jericho’s on my list of greatest workers of all time as he had a reputation, in my mind, of being able to have a good match with everyone he wrestled. I remember him having a good match with Ryback at Money In The Bank 2013 for crying out loud! Ryback was mocked as being a “copy” of Goldberg, yet Goldberg couldn’t even have a good match with Jericho. This will be hard to hear for a lot of fans but Goldberg had a HORRIBLE night here.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

They showed a pig pen and Lawler questioned whether Jim Ross had brought his relatives along to the show. Terri was with Austin and Eric again. They spun the wheel for the third round and it landed on “sing-off” which Austin was upset about. Austin asked Terri if she thought that Steve was any good. She said no. Eric vowed to beat Austin in front of these rednecks.

 

Shawn Michaels vs Ric Flair

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This was probably tied with the main-event as far as the best match for the show, with these two legends going out. Despite that, I was still a little bit let down. This was certainly not at the level of their WrestleMania 24 match but I did expect something special and I really didn’t get it to be honest.

Shawn got a HUGE reaction from the Texas crowd. The two legends messed with each other with taunts but that came to an end when Shawn slapped Ric and mocked him. There was some nice mat wrestling between the two. There was a very old school feel to this match. Shawn slapped Ric and Ric came close to doing the Flair Flop but was able to keep himself up with one foot! Michaels dove onto Ric. Remember when Steiner was able to see through Test’s attempts at begging him off? Well Ric tried to beg Shawn off in this match… and it worked. I can at least accept the possibility of Shawn being conflicted as he was wrestling his idol that he respected, and not to mention that Ric is older and more experienced than Shawn so FINE.

HBK and Flair chopped the hell out of each other. Flair did the chop block. Flair worked on the legs and locked on the Figure Four Leg Lock, that Shawn was able to get the ropes for to break it up. Flair shoved referee Earl Hebner but Earl shoved back. The second time on this show where a referee stepped over his boundaries when calling a match, three if you count Charles Robinson holding off Jericho when he shouldn’t have. Ric got cocky and Shawn made him pay with an enziguri. Flair went up to the top and of course, Shawn threw him off the top turnbuckle.

There was a great exchange when Shawn went for the Super Kick but Flair countered it into the figure four leg lock. Shawn countered this into a small package and then locked on his own figure four. This was some solid professional wrestling right here. Flair poked HBK and they traded roll-ups. HBK hit a superplex and it looked like Shawn struggled to get Flair up for this superplex. HBK got a table and set it up. Flair teased suplexing Shawn through the table but Shawn got out and ended up laying Flair onto this table.

NOW, I personally was taken out of the match a little when they brought out the table. Firstly, it’s supposed to be a regular singles match. Since when are TABLES allowed in a normal match? Yes, Shawn didn’t HIT Flair with this table but he still tried to “cheat” by using a weapon to his advantage. That, to me, should be DQ but Earl let this happen. Secondly, I was very much into the regular singles match and the old-school wrestling behind all of this. Instead, when Shawn introduced the table, it just seemed so out of place to me. I just don’t think this was the time for a spot like this.

Shawn super-kicked the interfering Randy Orton and then jumped off the top and onto Ric, going through the table. Flair bled from the back. Flair was able to take the ref out by low-blowing Earl and Shawn at the same time. HBK fired back and dropped the elbow. Shawn superkicked Flair, Orton hit Shawn with the chair and RIC FLAIR PINNED SHAWN MICHAELS.

Maybe I’m in the small minority here but the table spot just completely took me out of this match. It was a great match up until that point but to me, it just negated the point of the match which was just to see who was better. Instead, Orton and the table got involved and it just became another shenanigan-filled match on RAW. I wanted a clear-cut winner and instead I got this. I think a few fans that were in that building felt a little cheated out of this finish. It was nice to see Flair get the victory over Shawn though.

Match Rating: ***1/4

 

The time had come for the sing off. Eric came out to literally NO REACTION as we’d seen him more than anyone on this show, so the fans were kind of uncaring when he came out. Eric said he’d sing his own theme song but he instead lip-synced his own theme song which I thoroughly enjoyed, as did he based on the way he “sung” this! Austin cut in and called him out on his lip-sync. They went back-and-forth on this like they were kids arguing about the smallest things. Austin told Eric that he sucked and ordered him to do it again. Eric sung badly and Austin called him pathetic. Austin suggested they re-spin the wheel and it came up with “Pig Pen Fun” which involved the pig pen from earlier on. Austin said that whoever threw their opponent into the pig pen would be the winner. Austin deputised the crowd to stop Eric from leaving. Someone threw Eric back in from the crowd.

Austin beat up Eric, stomped a mudhole and hit a Stone Cold Stunner. Eric actually sold this pretty well, with his selling of it probably being around 5000% better than Mae Young selling it earlier on in the night. Austin took Eric to the stage and threw him off it, with Eric landing in the safest way possible. Austin was declared the winner by Lilian Garcia as he drank some beer. Jim Ross had an awesome line in which he claimed that “those pigs may need counselling being so close to Eric Bischoff!” That was a serious contender for line of the night. Austin celebrated for about 30 hours but the fans didn’t seem to mind.

The fans loved all this and to be fair, I enjoyed a lot of the moments from this Redneck Triathlon. However, this went on way too long for me to care at the end. The burping contest was good and Austin had some brilliant banter but in the end, it was way too long. The ending made me feel as if this were a house show, which I don’t think was the purpose. This did not feel like it should have been on pay-per-view and it does rather upset me at how long this went, considering that Booker and Christian only went seven minutes.

 

Triple H (c) vs Kevin Nash in a Hell in a Cell match for the World Heavyweight Championship with Mick Foley as the special guest referee

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I have to say something about the video package they did for this match. They had the video package where they recapped the rivalry and did an amazing job at selling you on the idea that this type of match was important, rare and dangerous. The music, which was Headstrong by Trapt, fit right in as HHH, Foley and Nash beat the hell out of each other during a RAW segment and it was wonderful stuff. The video packages back in the “ruthless aggression era” used to be quality stuff.

I actually went through a phase with a mate of mine where he used to rave at me everyday about this song, and actually serenaded me with it everyday! And you know what… I had no problem with this. If you’ve never heard of Headstrong by Trapt, PLEASE go and listen to it. It’s fantastic stuff.

The special referee Mick Foley actually got the biggest reaction out of everyone, which should tell you how much the fans cared about Triple H and Kevin Nash. Triple H tried to poke the bear that is Mick Foley but Nash clobbered him. Nash smashed HHH’s with elbows. Nash slowly beat up HHH by driving him into the ringpost and the cell wall, as well as the corner of the cell. The fans cared little for Nash at this point. Nash threw HHH into the steel steps. Nash tried throwing the steps at HHH but thank got that Hunter ran out of the way as that would have been bad news.

In a pretty creative spot, Nash went for a Jackknife Powerbomb but Triple H used the cell itself to get out of it. HHH got out a toolbox and smashed Nash in the knee and the head with a hammer. Foley took the hammer from Triple H and pushed him down. Foley challenged HHH but HHH backed off. HHH grated Nash’s head with the cell wall. After a struggle, HHH wedged a screwdriver into Nash’s head. Foley yelled at Triple H. Triple H grabbed a bat wrapped in barbed wire and hit Nash in the gut. Nash fired back with punches and smashed Hunter in the head with the bat which got a big reaction. HHH was busted open. Nash wedged the bat into the turnbuckle and did a snake eyes onto it for a near fall.  There was a “big lazy” sign in the front row.

HHH smashed a wooden create over Nash. Triple H grabbed a sledgehammer but Foley tried to wrestle it away which got some boos. It made sense why, as it seemed for all the world at this point that Foley was screwing HHH in a no disqualification match. HHH attacked Foley which got some cheers. Nash did the drop toe hold spot onto the steel steps which felt slowly done. This got a near fall. Triple H hit Nash and Foley with a chair. Foley was bleeding as he whipped out Mr Socko. He locked on the Mandible Claw, with Triple H responding by kicking Foley below the belt. Nash accidentally hit Foley and HHH with the steel steps somehow. Nash went for the cover but Foley was out.

Nash tried to revive Foley. Foley was on the apron when HHH knocked Nash into Foley, who bounce back first into the cell wall. A very risky spot if you ask me. HHH went for the pedigree but Nash catapulted HHH into the barbed wire bat still stuck in the top turnbuckle. Nash hit the jackknife, Foley made the count but HHH kicked out. This was actually a GREAT near fall. I think a lot of people in that crowd thought that was the finish.

Triple H crawled for the sledgehammer and instead of pushing away the sledgehammer that he can see or grabbing it himself, Nash simply grabs Triple H by the hair. HHH made him pay with a sledgehammer shot to the head. HHH hit the pedigree and that was that.

The first part of this match was very much boring. Nash beating him up forever got no heat it seems but it picked up a little in the second half. The thing that was weird to me was that Nash and Foley both tried to screw Triple H, and Triple H is supposed to be the heel. In the end, the right man won. Judging on the crowd reactions, a Nash title run would not have gotten a great amount of interest from the RAW audience.

I thought this was a good match considering it’s a long match involving Kevin Nash and I personally thought this was the best match on the show.

Match Rating: ***1/3

 

This was definitely a memorable pay-per-view to say the least. Every match seemed to stand out to me, for many different reasons. I felt that the booking for a lot of these matches were really flat, although the main-event ended up being much better than I thought it was going to be. There were a lot of disappointing matches that struggled for time due to the Redneck Triathlon which took up way too much time. The Texas crowd loved this one for whatever the reason was but I can’t say that I’m too keen to watch it again.

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How I Would Book… Christian’s World Title Run In 2011

Many champions have came and went that never really got their chance to shine as the king of the mountain. Whether it’s down to being struck by injuries or just poor booking by WWE, there’s always a little something that prevents these champions from reaching their full potential. Sometimes, it’s just lack of faith that prevents a champion from making his mark. For Christian, WWE’s faith in him lasted all of about two days when he won the World Heavyweight Championship in 2011. Christian really got the wrong end of the deal in his main event push. If we were going to put the title on Christian back in 2011, how would we have booked him?

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Like a number of past How I Would Book pieces, this one was inspired by the attempts of Adam’s WhatCulture in his How WWE Should Have Booked video about Christian.

Christian’s “one more match” storyline (which is what it was dubbed as in the WWE 2K15 showcase mode) was not exactly a bad storyline. All of the matches between Randy Orton and Christian were usually great. However, the issue a lot of people have had with it was how weak Christian looked through out. He couldn’t gain a single legitimate victory over Randy Orton and many fans were irate when Christian’s initial title win at Extreme Rules was ended two days later (the title win was recorded two days after Extreme Rules and aired on the Friday).

Let’s run down the storyline to see where the faults were with this storyline…

After Wrestlemania 27, World Heavyweight Champion Edge retired and vacated the championship. Edge had been scheduled to defend the title at Extreme Rules in a ladder match against Alberto Del Rio. Since Edge was out, Teddy Long booked a 20 man battle royal to find someone to fight Del Rio. The winner of the battle royal turned out to be Edge’s best friend Christian. At Extreme Rules, Christian managed to win the World title for the first time in his life. This truly was a great moment for Christian and Edge, as they celebrated in the ring. However, Christian’s world came crashing down on him… just two days later.

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SmackDown!’s newest draftee Randy Orton interrupted Christian’s title celebration on SmackDown! SmackDown! GM Teddy Long announced that Christian would defend his newly-won championship against Randy Orton… that night. In what was a shocking turn of events, Orton beat Christian to win the championship. Christian was heartbroken.

Christian then became desperate to prove that he could beat Randy Orton. Their rematch took place at Over The Limit, with Randy Orton winning. Christian turned heel and was given one more match. In the match, Randy Orton won. Christian’s foot was under the bottom rope, so Christian was given one more match at Money In The Bank. If Randy Orton got disqualified or if there was a bad referee call, Christian would win the title. Finally, Christian did win the title… by disqualification. Randy Orton went berserk at Money In The Bank and destroyed Christian post-match. One final match took place at Summerslam, with COO Triple H making it No Holds Barred. In this feud-ending match, Randy Orton regained the World title once more.

Fans of Christian would have been incensed over how he was treated in this program. He lost the title so quickly after winning it in an emotional match at Extreme Rules. He was never truly able to beat Randy Orton and look strong. When he came out of this feud, he was booked to be completely dominated by Sheamus afterwards. There was a huge opportunity to make Christian a true main-eventer. At the time, the SmackDown! roster was very short-stacked in terms of having main-event talent. There was no one, other than Orton, that could have lead the brand and Christian could have been made a true star with this storyline. Let’s see how we could have improved it.

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The first thing to change up about this storyline is the portrayal of Christian as a heel. The transformation of Christian from face to heel was actually well executed by WWE and Christian was great in this role. However, the issue is that Christian had been the victim all along. He was forced to defend the World Title a whole TWO DAYS after winning it in a hard-hitting ladder match. If anything, this was unfair on Christian and he should have had time to rest.

After he wins at Extreme Rules, I’d have Christian go on to hold the World Heavyweight Championship…. for two days.

HOLD ON!

PITCHFORKS DOWN everyone! Trust me. There’s a purpose to this!

Christian still loses the World Heavyweight Championship like he did in real life. The big thing that changes is that WWE highlights just how unfair this is to Christian. What I means is, Teddy Long needs to act more like a compete pick.

Teddy Long interrupts Christian telling him that he needs to prove himself as a true fighting champion. Teddy Long guilts Christian into defending the title, even though that Christian admits he’s not 100%. Christian says he’ll do it no matter who he faces. Teddy announces that his opponent is Randy Orton.

Randy Orton approaches Teddy backstage just before the match, claiming that he doesn’t have a problem in winning the title tonight. However, he did not want Christian to have any excuses for losing the title. He proposes that the match happens at Over The Limit but Teddy Long denies him. Teddy says that this is Orton’s chance to be the face of SmackDown!

The match happens and Christian is rocked by the hits to the head by Orton. This match still plays out like it did in real life but Orton focuses a lot more on the head of Christian. In similar fashion to how Dolph Ziggler lost the title to Del Rio in 2013, Orton targets the head. Orton throws up the X sign which is usually given whenever someone is actually injured. Teddy Long comes out and tells him to finish the match. Teddy guilts Orton by saying “You walk out on this and you walk out on the people.” Orton eventually caves in, RKOs Christian but Christian kicks out. Teddy orders Orton to punt Christian. Orton tells Christian to stay down but Christian slaps him. Orton ends up getting mad, giving him one last RKO and finally punting him to win the championship.

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At least with this finish, Christian is portrayed as an actual villain. Plus, it doesn’t make Christian look entirely weak because of the way he was booked in the finish. Christian kicked out of everything before being punted in the head. So Randy Orton is champion and Teddy Long… is a heel.

With Triple H taking over the company in July anyway, it doesn’t hurt to have Teddy Long be the heel for this storyline. Teddy should want do what he thinks is right for SmackDown! What he thinks is right is for Randy Orton to be the champion. That’s his motivation throughout but Orton doesn’t exactly want to sell out either.

Anyway, a rematch is scheduled for Over The Limit. Christian initially wins the match by hitting the spear to pin Randy Orton. Teddy Long comes out and tells Christian that the Spear finishing move was exclusively used by Edge on SmackDown! for years. Teddy decrees that Christian is banned from ever using it again and tells Christian to get the job done his own way. The match continues. Randy catches Christian in mid-air with the RKO. Randy goes for the pin but Christian’s foot was on the rope. The ref does the pin anyway as Orton retains the title. The video replay reveals that the referee DID in fact see Christian’s foot on the rope, but simply continued the pin anyway. Christian would be irate, spears Randy and then goes after Teddy Long and the referee.

Now, I know the banned spear thing is a bit of a phony decision. However, it’s alright to have those types of BS decisions sometimes as it makes Teddy seem like a total prick. It also emphasizes how much Christian has been screwed in this storyline.

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Teddy Long then makes a #1 contendership match on SmackDown! with Mark Henry, Sheamus and Christian, like they did in real life. It ends pretty much the same way too. Randy Orton distracts Christian which leads to Sheamus picking up the win. Now the tension is really building between Orton and Christian. By the way, the #1 contendership match was for a World title match at Capitol Punishment. In a tag team match with Orton and Christian vs Henry and Sheamus, miscommunication causes the heels to win. This eventually leads into a fight between Orton and Christian. Teddy makes Orton vs Christian for the next SmackDown! If Christian wins, he’s added to the World title match. Christian wins cleanly and it’s Orton vs Sheamus vs Christian at the PPV.

During the triple threat match, Christian pins Sheamus off the Unprettier to seemingly win the championship. Sheamus’ foot is under the bottom rope this time. Then in comes Mr Buzzkill, Theodore Long…

Teddy says that what happened last month at Over The Limit will not be repeated. He restarts the match which leads to Randy RKO’ing both men to retain the title. Now Teddy Long is really just taking the Mickey. I mean this is three times that Christian has been screwed out of the title. Christian goes on an angry tirade on SmackDown! about Randy Orton being Teddy Long’s hand-picked champion and that enough is enough. Christian challenges Orton for one more match at Money In The Bank. Teddy Long decrees that if Christian doesn’t win the match, he will never challenge for the World title again. Christian and Randy have heated words leading into the PPV. In the match, Orton is unable to put Christian away. He hits two RKOs but Christian kicks out at both. Randy then hits the mid-air RKO that he hit at Over The Limit but Christian shockingly kicks out. Orton gets angry, pushes aside the referee and kicks Christian in the nuts. The referee calls for the DQ. Randy Orton goes crazy just like he did in real life (because it was pretty awesome when he actually did that) and Christian wins the match via DQ. The rules stated that if Christian lost the match, he’d never have a tittle shot. Therefore, Christian is safe. Since he never won the title though, Christian is again upset.

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Teddy Long is getting annoyed that Christian is still clamouring for a title shot. He’s had three opportunities in the last three PPVs and says Christian needs to go to the back in the line. Christian eventually beats up Teddy and says that he wants one more match at Summerslam. Teddy Long then finally agrees, but Christian has to earn his one more match. Since Rey Mysterio had to beat three men in a tournament on RAW to become the WWE Champion, Christian must beat three men in a gauntlet on SmackDown! The first man he must beat is Cody Rhodes and he succeeds. The second man he must beat is Wade Barrett and he succeeds. The third man is Kane. However, Christian defies the odds and beats Kane to get one last match. At the end of this gauntlet, Teddy drops a bombshell. His match with Randy Orton is NO HOLDS BARRED. If Christian loses, he leaves SmackDown!

They have this last match and finally, Christian wins the World Heavyweight Championship. It’s a really touching moment. Edge comes out like he did in real life. Instead of calling him a bitch, he hugs him. Randy Orton shakes his hand. Teddy Long comes out and complains. Edge punches Teddy Long into Christian who spears him. A bit of irony in that because of what happened at Over The Limit. A really great ending to Christian’s title pursuit.

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And that’s pretty much the gist of it. OK, I must admit that the title of the blog post was a bit deceiving. I call it “Christian’s World Title Run In 2011” when Christian doesn’t really have the title and only wins it in the final match of the storyline. However, the struggle of Christian needed to be showed as a means to get Christian truly over as a star. If he came off as a whiny heel, then it’s not going to do him any favours. However, if he comes off as a fighting challenger, the fans will rally behind him. Randy Orton also doesn’t really need to turn heel in order to do the storyline, meaning that Orton can still be one of the top faces of SmackDown! like WWE was wanting him to be. This can then lead to Christian defending the title against Mark Henry, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan etc. There was a lot of money to be made by having Captain Charisma run the show…

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!

Wrestling Flashback – WWE Hell in a Cell 2012 Review

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When I first started with blogging, I was really first experimenting with a bunch of other websites. Among these efforts, I started a Tumblr account featuring wrestling, football and music among other things. It was during this time when I started doing wrestling reviews and viewing wrestling from a critical standpoint. Anyway, I figured I’d upload this because it’s always nice to go back and look at how I did business back then.

To give a bit of background, Hell in a Cell was a PPV WWE had six weeks to build. There was an ongoing saga on RAW about who’d face CM Punk for the WWE Championship. Ryback eventually was chosen (as John Cena had gotten injured) and there was a lot of pressure on this match to perform. Also, the finish of the match was really up in the air. Would the WWE sacrifice the historic championship reign of CM Punk or the undefeated streak of Ryback?

NOTES: The paragraphs in italics are what was written at the time, back in 2012.

Anyway, so I started things off by talking about my expectations of the main event…

  • “Well, Hell In A Cell 2012 – an event which I stayed up to watch last night. In the UK, Hell In A Cell started at Midnight, and didn’t finish until 3:00am. It was a risk I was going to take, because I thought it’d be better than I expected it to be. I thought that Ryback vs CM Punk would be a hell of a main event, and I thought some of the lower card matches would have been really good.”

It’s kind of weird going back to this review and talking about watching this PPV live. I honestly stayed up to watch it live because there was a lot of anticipation about how this match was going to go. Also, Skip Sheffield had been working mostly short matches since he returned repackaged as “Ryback” in 2012. It was interesting to see if he could deliver a top main event match with someone like CM Punk. The reasons all this is funny is because I watched RAW live THIS WEEK with high expectations and being a bit let down! By the way, you can check out this week’s RAW review at this link. You can read all about what I felt about Seth Rollins, Sting and everything.

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  • “It was sort of a card of two halves if you will. A really good first half, and a really bad second half. That’s not good news, because the 2nd half should really be the better half, considering them matches are supposed to be the big draws of a PPV. Considering they had six weeks to build up an Hell In A Cell Pay-Per-View, surely they could have done a better job at doing it. I understand why hyping up the WWE Title Match would have been awkward considering the circumstances, but the rest of the card should have had a lot more advertisement. A quarter of the matches showcased were unadvertised matches. For me, that’s not on.”

To be fair, WWE has improved a bit in terms of the promotion of its PPVs. Back then though, it was really lackluster. There were a few instances where a completely random match would be shot on the card to make up time. The reason this annoyed me is because these were usually matches we might have wanted to see. This PPV in particular featured the likes of Rey Mysterio and US Champion Antonio Cesaro wrestling in “bonus matches”. However, I think there’s been a lot more effort put in towards PPV promotions nowadays. With this year’s Night of Champions, the majority of the matches have been announced with weeks to spare. The only title match that hasn’t been announced so far has been the Intercontinental Championship. However, they’ve been hyping up the program on that title match to a degree anyway. They’ll probably just announce that match on RAW.

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  • “Now on the PPV itself. We kicked things off with Randy Orton defeating Alberto Del Rio after Orton countered an enziguri by Del Rio into an RKO for the win. While that was a pretty cool finish to the match, it is also the 2ND PPV in a row that saw Randy Orton defeat an up-and-coming heel. Orton should have let Del Rio beat him on the PPV, especially if they want the feud to continue. The match was a lot more quicker paced than I expected, but there were a few botches during the match that dampened it’s quality. I think this match should have been slightly longer, but it was good for the amount of time it was on. I hope this feud continues, and Del Rio wins the next round.”

This was the second time in a PPV that Randy Orton had beaten a heel clean. He beat “Mr Money In The Bank” Dolph Ziggler at Night of Champions 2012 and followed it up by defeating Del Rio. This match I think was the second best match of the night, looking back now. There’s one botch which I never mentioned which I think took away from the match itself. Del Rio tried to jump off the top rope and ended up landed in front of Orton and then just started punching him. With that botch in mind though, this was a great match. At least JBL actually mentioned the botched, calling out Del Rio’s decision to jump off the top. Great recovery by JBL.

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  • “Next on the agenda is the WWE Tag Team Championship match, which saw Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow defeat Kane and Daniel Bryan by disqualification after Kane wouldn’t stop hitting Cody Rhodes (I think it was Cody anyway). Seriously, a DQ FINISH on a PAY PER VIEW? That was definitely not necessary for this match. On RAW or SmackDown! YES, but not a Pay Per View. It devalues the tournament beforehand, considering Rhodes and Sandow, who went through 3 tag teams just to get the title shot, won the match but not the titles, because the other team got themselves DQ’d. It kinda gives you the feeling that Sandow and Rhodes got screwed. Nevertheless, the match was pretty good. I’ve been noticing improvements in tag team match qualities as of late, which is definitely a good sign. They played off Kane and Daniel Bryan not working together, with Daniel Bryan accidentally hitting Kane with the high knee, and stuff like that. I think it was a good match, other than the finish.”

I totally stand by what I said here. The thing about this match was that this was around the time where the Team Hell-No team were at their peak. They won the tag titles on the PPV before and were having great segments on RAW and SmackDown! The feud itself between the two teams was really good. I like how Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes had to win a tag team tournament in order to get this title shot. However, their title shot ended in a DQ. It wasn’t really like a legitimate DQ either. Kane was, to quote Vinny from the Bryan and Vinny show, disqualified for kicking too much ass. Considering all of the build with the Team Hell-No segments and the tag team tournament, the finish was pretty much a let down. However, I do remember it being a good match despite the finish.

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  • “Match of the night goes to the Intercontinental Championship match, where Kofi Kingston defeated The Miz to retain the title. This was really fast paced match, and the two put on a hell of a show. These two really work well together, and given more time, that match could have been one of the matches of the year (no kidding).  I thought it was good when Miz started focusing on Kofi’s leg. Miz targeting a body part and attacking it, actually brought a bit of realism into play. Miz started ripping of Kofi’s boots and did leg DDTs and really showed off the amount of pain Kofi was supposed to be in. Really good. The match has done wonders for the title’s prestige as this was a really good back-and-forth match, and this match will only benefit both guys. One minor complaint – DON’T GIVE KOFI THE MIC. He was interviewed after the match, and I swear, he can not cut a good enough promo, which is a shame because it has held him back in the past, just like it held John Morrison back in the pass. Miz could move on to bigger and better things following this loss, if utilized correctly.

I think, looking back, I gave this match a lot more credit than I should have. I think, compared to everything else on the show, it was probably decent. However, it was certainly not the best match of this show. It was above average at best. I said that given more time, this could have been a contender for match of the year. I realize now I was wrong. I don’t think this match was as good as I said it would be. Kofi’s not as bad on the mic as I made him out to be. If the New Day is any proof, Kofi can be great on the mic if given the chance.

  •  “Also, there was a funny segment with Kane and Daniel Bryan arguing. Good humor. What I think they are missing is Dr Shelby. Whatever happened to him? He need to be brought back.”

I think what happened to Dr Shelby was that WWE didn’t feel the need to use him. To be fair, Daniel and Kane were awesome by themselves. However, I just loved Dr Shelby’s role in their entire storyline. He was the peacemaker in this funny and he was just amazing every time I saw him. I wish there were something for him to do in WWE right now, because I miss him dearly!

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  • “Next, in the first non-advertised match of the night, Antonio Cesaro defeated Justin Gabriel to retain the US Championship. Essentially a squash match. The fans kept chanting “We Want Ryder” during the match (which shows how well they were into the match). For what it, was the match was OK. The spot with Gabriel diving to the outside only to fly into a shoryuken from Cesaro was pretty cool. However, the ending of the match was predictable. Cesaro needs some serious competition for the US Championship, in order to bump up it’s credibility. Maybe R-Truth, or Christian when he comes back. Cesaro and the US Championship needs to be built up better. He can’t be beating up these jobbers all time.”

This was actually a lot better of a match than I made it out to be. It was just infuriating seeing Cesaro’s competition at the time. In hindsight, it was a rare chance to see Justin Gabriel get a chance to shine on PPV. However, Cesaro’s title reign was not helped with who he was going up against. It was very difficult for Cesaro to ascend into stardom at the time.

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  • “Non-Advertised Match Number Two – Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara defeated the Prime Time Players in a tag team match. Another good tag team match. I thought they did well considering there differences in style. The match was decently paced. Sin Cara performed really well (NO BOTCHES!) and the match was given a good amount of time to showcase all the talent available. I think both tag teams will benefit from this match. Maybe if they did a Fatal Four Way Tag Team Match, with Team Hell-No, Rhodes-Scholars, Prime Time Players and Mysterio and Sin Cara at Survivor Series, then the tag team division would be given a really good boost. However, during the match, Sin Cara attempted an Asai DDT (the move Ultimo Dragon used to do) on Titus O’Neil but he landed on his head (ouch). He’s apparently doing fine now though, so good news coming off that. It’s nice that Sin Cara’s finally getting some momentum in WWE. It’d be a shame for it to end like that.”

I can’t really remember this match too well but I do remember the spot with Sin Cara’s Asai DDT. It looked naughty at the time and thankfully, he was OK after it happened. I did like the Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara tag team they had going on. I feel that it was a shame that WWE didn’t do the Lucha dream match of Mysterio vs Sin Cara. At least AAA did it recently…

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What followed this was Big Show defeating Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship. At the time, I thought this match was boring. I loved the finish but I just was not into this program. I thought the promotion they did for this program on SmackDown! was lame and I didn’t think it lived up to the build. Looking back… I was wrong.

I was amazed by how wrong I was when I first wrote it. The reason this match was so good is because I was going into this match not expecting a great deal with regards to the in-ring action. However, these two big guys put on a clinic. The near falls for the Brogue Kicks and WMDs were amazing. I got a chance to rewatch it before this review and it was a quality match. It was probably one of, if not the, greatest matches Sheamus has ever had in WWE. It was probably one of the greatest matches Big Show has ever had in WWE.

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  • “Next, a backstage segment involving Eve Torres and Teddy Long arguing, before Zack Ryder came in, dressed as a witch, and effectively calling Eve a bitch, before she stormed off for her title match (more on that later on). Santino Marrella then showed, dressed like Lady Gaga. And then one of the most WTF moments of the year happened with Santino singing some Lady Gaga song. Ron Simmons then came in to deliver the verdict, which all of us were probably thinking… DAMN.”

I remember this! It was a REALLY whacky segment! I was however hyped that Ron Simmons was there!

  • “Divas Title match next. Eve defeated Layla and Kaitlyn to retain the title in a triple threat match. Kaitlyn stood out from the crowd. Good signs of improvement from her. But other than that, it was a pretty sloppy match. Didn’t care a lot about this match.”

Yeah, the Divas Division WAS NOT strong during this period. This was a part of the “Who Attacked Kaitlyn?” angle which was one of the worst divas angles of all time. This match was very hard to enjoy for me. I think I was probably justified with my analogy of this match.

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  • “NOW it’s time for the MAIN EVENT! Ryback vs CM Punk for the WWE Championship inside Hell In A Cell. Right, they started off the match with a little game of cat and mouse – Ryback chasing Punk inside the cell. Ryback would proceed to get some attacks in, and Punk ended up getting some digs in as well, which included CM moving out of the way to allow Ryback to run in the steps which I thought was pretty good. It was pretty evenly matched, and Ryback then got some momentum which would lead to Ryback quoting Shao Kahn, and saying “FINISH HIM”. Shell-Shocked was about to delivered, before the referee Bard Maddox, stopped Ryback in his tracks, low-blowed him, and did a fast count as Punk rolled up Ryback for the win. Wow.”
  • “Not happy with the match being as short as it was. The match was ended way to early, and not a lot happened during that match. Ryback did show us a bit more to him than usual, and he did use the cell as a weapon. However, that ending was terrible. It was an abrupt end, and it was a cheap way for Ryback to lose his streak. A roll-up? It didn’t make look CM Punk look good and it doesn’t make Ryback look good either. Neither did the post-match beatdown on CM Punk and the referee, which was slow paced, and the only noticeable incident was when Ryback threw the ref into a side of the cell. Also, the anti-climatic ending with Ryback performing Shell-Shock to CM Punk on top of the cell didn’t help things. Really? I was hoping for something really big to happen, but no. A Shell-shock on top of the cell really? A really disappointing main event, with a really disappointing finish. I don’t think that Ryback and CM Punk are done either. Urgghh.”

Yes. This really was a bad match. Considering the six week build up to this match and what was at stake for both gentlemen, WWE really dropped the ball. Ryback was white-hot in this period of his career and the WWE just threw his undefeated streak away like it was nothing. Ryback was just never able to recover after he lost that streak. I remembering arguing just before this PPV that it was more important for WWE to preserve CM Punk’s title reign than Ryback’s undefeated streak. I was wrong.

Looking back in hindsight, WWE’s plan with CM Punk was to have him hold onto the title until Royal Rumble. At the Royal Rumble, he was going to lose it to The Rock. If that was the plan anyway, then he should have just dropped the title to Ryback here. If Punk was going to drop the title anyway AND lose to the Undertaker, it was going to hurt all the momentum Punk had built. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for him to face Rock and Undertaker, since it WAS Rock and Undertaker. However, they could have made a star out of Ryback. He could have beaten Punk and then dropped the title back to him in the triple threat match at Survivor Series. Cena would have been pinned, so Ryback’s undefeated streak could still continue since he wasn’t pinned.

This match in general was just a REALLY bad main event. I think in the history of Hell in a Cell matches, this was probably one of the worst. I think that’s mostly due to all the hype they put into this and everything that was on the line. This match had a big impact on future programming and they ended match like that?

This sucked.

Hiac2010h

  • “Like I said earlier, this was a PPV of two halves, the matches like the IC Title matches, and the tag team matches were really good, but the World Title matches and the divas match were really bad.  Really disappointed. Expected a lot more of the event. Survivor Series had better be an improvement. Because WWE are starting to get some competition from Impact Wrestling. TNA have been on fire lately, while WWE have been stinking up the place recently. WWE really has to impress, otherwise they are going to lose a lot of fans to the other show. There only a few things in WWE that are making the show tolerable these days.”

I think I was a bit TOO critical of WWE around this time! WWE was bad but it wasn’t “stinking up the place”!

I was wrong about the World title match being “really bad”. However, this really was a PPV of two halves. There was a lot of good action but there was a lot of bad action too including a horrible main event. I was right about one thing… TNA really was stepping up its game around this time. This was really a great period to be a TNA fan, as they were putting on some quality shows. They had some great storylines in place. Meanwhile, WWE were really off their game. I think as soon as The Shield debuted and they hit 2013, WWE started to gain some momentum. However, this Hell in a Cell was really not good enough.

EXTREME WARFARE REVENGE: WCW 1998 PART 23 – ROAD WILD 2000

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Booker T won the WCW Title at Bash At The Beach, when he knocked off Raven. Raven was incensed that he lost the WCW title again and said that Booker robbed him of his chance to leave a legacy behind as the most dominant champion of all time. Raven invoked his rematch clause for Road Wild which Flair allowed. But Flair wanted to spice up the WCW Title picture and decided to book Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho on Nitro – the winner would be added to the match and it would be a triple threat. Jericho won after Flair distracted Benoit. Jericho and Booker had problems working as a tag team which Raven has been taking advantage of for his own ends. Raven insists that their egos will be all the edge he needs to become champion once again.

Chris Benoit was incensed that Flair’s distraction cost him a shot at the WCW Title. Despite protests from his manager Paul Heyman, Benoit called Flair out for a brawl on Thunder, which spilled out to backstage and was later broken up. Benoit tried to goad Flair into facing him at Road Wild. Bischoff came out on Nitro and decided to allow Flair to have his match, as long as Bischoff had total control of WCW… until after the Flair/Benoit match. Flair agreed and Flair and Benoit was booked for the PPV.

Bret Hart won his match with Hollywood Hogan at Bash At The Beach, after Hogan got himself disqualified by hitting him with the chair. Per pre-match stipulation, Bret would be the special guest referee for the WCW Title match later on. As Bret was about to screw Booker T, Hogan made the save. Hogan would put on the ref shirt and deliver the count that crowned Booker T as the new champion. Bret decided that WCW wasn’t big enough for the both of them and that they should settle things until one of them is truly the last man standing. Hogan accepted the challenge, and the last man standing match was made for Road Wild.

Tajiri defended the cruiserweight title successfully in a hell of a fatal four way match against Ultimo Dragon, Rey Mysterio and Jamie Noble. However, the four decided to have an elimination match at Road Wild to decide just who truly is the greatest cruiserweight in WCW!

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Pre-Show – Edge, Christian Cage and Jeff Hardy def. “Asian Invasion” Keiji Mutoh, Kensuke Sasaki and Low-Ki

So I kind of wanted to continue the pre-show little rivalry from Bash At The Beach. If you’ll recall, Jeff and Mutoh produced one of the best matches of the night with their pre-show match at the last PPV. This time, I wanted to spice things up. Edge and Christian were starting to get over on TV, so I had them team with Jeff in a six man tag against Mutoh and two of his Asian Invasion stable members Low-Ki and Kensuke Sasaki. Sadly, the pay-off for this wasn’t what I was hoping for. It was an OK rating for a pre-show match, but I was kind of hoping for a bit more. However, this gives Edge, Christian and Low-Ki PPV time, three guys who properly needed it.

Match 1 – Rob Van Dam (c) def. Curt Hennig in a Falls Count Anywhere match to retain the WCW International Championship

RVD retains in the rematch between these two from Bash At The Beach. With it being falls count anywhere match, these guys have the freedom to just do all kinds of special spots. I think this could be a great match for the International Title. RVD retains once more. Rob Van Dam has had a hell of a run as International Champion. Can anyone take the title from him?

Match 2 – Scott Steiner def. Sting

Sting taps out to Steiner. Now if anybody out there knows how many people have made Sting tap out in his career, I’d like to know. I know Kurt Angle tapped him out at TNA Sacrifice 2007 in the triple threat with Christian. Bret Hart at WCW Mayhem 1999 (talking about real WCW btw!). Flair might have made Sting tap out during their feud in the 80s. Other than that, I’ve drawn a blank. It’s hard to imagine someone like Sting tapping to anyone, to be honest. Steiner making him tap puts him over amazingly!

Match 3 – “The Diamond Enforcers” Diamond Dallas Page (c) and Arn Anderson (c) def. Rowdy Roddy Piper and Steven Regal in a hardcore tag team match to retain the WCW Tag Team Championship

DDP and Arn go over in their feud with the Legion. I don’t mind having DDP and Arn being the champions for now but I think when they drop the titles, it should be to a young and up-and-coming tag team. Someone like Edge and Christian, who are both getting over on TV. I think with Bigelow/Hennig, Hogan/Sting, Piper/Regal and now DDP and Arn Anderson winning the titles in the last year, a lot of old-timers are holding the tag titles. I think we need to look to the future a bit.

Match 4 – AJ Styles (c) def. Eddie Guerrero w/Paul Heyman in a ladder match to retain the WCW Television Championship

The Phenomenal AJ Styles retains the WCW TV title in a dramatic ladder match with Eddie. I assumed that Eddie might have been willing to take a sick bump, I really didn’t want to risk it with him. Eddie’s REALLY over and has a great thing going with Paul Heyman. But AJ goes over in what was the best match of the night as far as in-game ratings. A lovely little feud between AJ and Eddie that has helped elevated the TV title.

Match 5 – Rey Mysterio def. Yoshihiro Tajiri (c), Ultimo Dragon and Jamie Noble in an elimination fatal four way match to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

Eliminations: Ultimo Dragon pins Jamie Noble (Rey takes out the interfering Haas Brothers which leads to Dragon hitting the Asai DDT for the pinfall), Tajiri pins Ultimo Dragon (Tajiri does the Green mist and the roll-up for the elimination, after Jushin Thunder Liger and Low-Ki tried to interfere), Rey Mysterio pins Tajiri (As all the stables and that brawl to the back, Rey hits the 619 for the win)

NEW CHAMP! Finally, we see the Cruiserweight title change hands on one of these PPVs! It’s so rare as I usually just do them on television. But with this feud, I figured that we needed to crown a new champion at Road Wild and Rey got the win. Dragon was highly considered because he was the most over wrestler in this feud I think. But Rey’s somebody that I’ve never really given anything to. He’s had feuds and stuff, but he’s not actually won a belt throughout this entire series. He goes over after beating Tajiri in the end. Very disappointed about this rating as the fatal four way between these four at Bash At The Beach did so well.

Match 6 – Chris Benoit def. Ric Flair

Well err… this was a mistake. I figured that with his high overness (he’s 100% over) Flair could pull out a great rating with the also over Benoit. However, the game didn’t see it that way! 68%! Bischoff came out as Flair had the figure four locked in. Bischoff declared that the current ref is no longer needed as referee and declares himself as the new referee. He walks down to the ring where Benoit manages to get out of the hold. Benoit locks in the crossface and Bischoff goes to tell the timekeeper to ring the bell. However, Flair rolls Benoit over and is able to kick Flair in the grapefruits to prevent it from happening. Flair breaks out, drops the leg and goes for the figure-four. However, Benoit rolls him up with the small package as Bischoff crawls over to perform the quick count. Now this match adds to the Ric Flair/Eric Bischoff Co-President storyline and I am currently figuring out the way to settle things with the two, probably at Fall Brawl.

Match 7 – Hollywood Hogan def. Bret Hart in a Last Man Standing match

The 75% from this match is really annoying, because I thought the story behind this feud was pretty decent. Bret Hart’s built-up frustration over not winning the WCW Title leads him to snap on the biggest babyface in history and tries to take out Hogan as part of a crusade against the fans really who’ve favored the likes of Booker T, Jericho and Hogan over him. This match is a pretty brutal match. These two are smacking each other with weapons. It’s really bloody. Hogan hulks up one last time, does the comeback. When Bret’s down, before hitting the leg drop, he constantly smacks Bret with the chair. He hits him like 20 times or so. It’s crazy. Then Hogan, who’s exhausted from this match, then hits the Leg Drop. He pulls himself up as he wins the match but then collapses again. Hogan is then raised up by Bret Hart but is then leveled with a chair shot to the head by Bret. Bret screams “You think you’ve won?” and then leaves groggily.

Match 8 – Booker T (c) def. Chris Jericho and Raven in a triple threat match to retain the WCW Championship

I really don’t get why this game doesn’t like triple threat matches. These three have very unique and different styles. Jericho’s a high-flying, technical guy. Booker’s a very unorthodox showman. Raven’s a very ECW, hardcore style brawler. But these three have had decent matches with each other singles match. That was my reasoning for making it a triple threat. That and I wanted to avoid two Booker T/Raven singles matches in a row. I’ve done it before in feuds, but I wanted to add more to this world title picture. Jericho was a former champion that Raven beat, so why not throw him in?

EXTREME WARFARE REVENGE: WCW 1998 PART 18 – SPRING STAMPEDE 2000

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Previously on WCW EWR…

Raven finally fulfilled his prophecy and defeated Chris Jericho to become the NEW WCW World Heavyweight Champ… wait a minute. Is anyone else getting a strong case of deja vu? Well anyway, Raven beat Jericho to become a two-time WCW World Champion. The next night on Nitro, Jericho was not there. But WCW Co-President Ric Flair informed us that Jericho had officially activated his rematch clause for a WCW World Heavyweight Championship match to take place between Jericho and Raven at Spring Stampede. Raven stated that Jericho was making a huge mistake but Jericho simply took the fight to the Exiles. On the next Nitro, Jericho began his crusade by viciously assaulting the Television Champion Perry Saturn. He would attack every member of the Exiles, and took out Randy Savage with a conchairto, putting him out of action. His crusade included attacking Raven during a WCW Title defense against Bret Hart on the Thunder before Spring Stampede. These actions have not set well with the Hitman, who will address the WCW Universe on the Spring Stampede Pre-Show.

On the Nitro after Uncensored, Hollywood Hogan and Sting called out Eric Bischoff for costing them to the WCW Tag Team titles. Eric came out to declare that he’s just struck the deal of the century, which will guarantee the destruction of both Sting and the Hulkster at Spring Stampede. Bischoff said that he would announce this deal later on and that he wanted Hogan and Sting to be there when he does. Bischoff guaranteed that while he was a little concerned about this contract, he knows that controversy will create cash and he knows that this would bring results. Later on, Hogan and Sting came out to await their opponents for the tag team match at Spring Stampede. Out comes Eddie Guerrero and Paul Heyman who simply walks to the ring. As they do, they spot the fired Chris Benoit coming out from the crowd. He grabs a chair and joins Hogan and Sting in the ring. Heyman finally grabs the mic and utters the words, “Controversy creates cash”. As soon as he says it, Benoit smacks Sting with the chair! Hogan is shocked before he is attacked to by the Rapid Wolverine. Eddie joins him in the ring, as they batter the legends. Benoit then approaches Heyman, as they shake hands revealing Chris Benoit as the newest “Paul Heyman Guy”.

Bam Bam Bigelow and Curt Hennig have been having issues with one another. The former tag team champions have been embarrassed on a number of occasions by Bret Hart and have had a mass fall from grace. The two blamed each other for the problems but their manager Ted DiBiase tried to get them on the same page. However, this resulted in a huge brawl on Nitro that ended up with DiBiase on his ass. DiBiase went to Bischoff, who made the match of Bigelow vs Hennig at Spring Stampede. This was seen as a cool-off match where the tag team can settle their differences. Ric Flair added a special referee to the match… Ted DiBiase!

SPRINGSTAM

Pre-Show – Bret Hart/The Exiles confrontation.

Bret Hart interrupts the Pre-Show by stating that when he first arrived at WCW after Montreal, he thought he saw a company that he could trust. A company that wouldn’t screw him over unlike that company down in Connecticut. But what happens? Time after time, interference and injustices costed him his opportunity to become the WCW Champion and be the holder of a true World Championship. He said he respected the WCW Title, but he doesn’t respect the man currently holding the title – Raven. Bret is interrupted by Raven and his Exiles faction.

Raven told Hart that he’s got it all wrong. Raven says that Bret thinks Raven is disgracing the title, but it’s quite the contrary. Everything he and his Exiles stable have done in the last year has been done to reward true talent in WCW. Raven says that for 12 years, he had fought to be at the pinnacle of his profession. After so many years waiting for his opportunity, Raven said that somebody like him didn’t need to wait anymore and he proved his worth when he beat Sting for the WCW title back at last year’s Superbrawl.

He outlines Perry Saturn as another example. Perry Saturn was looked over and passed over by all the WCW management in the back until Raven reached out to Saturn. Now Saturn stood as the WCW Television Champion, he has a beautiful woman in Trish Stratus at his side and he has proven himself against the very best in the business. Bret responds by saying that he doesn’t believe Perry has proven anything too him. He says that Perry might have proven himself against the very best, but he’s not proven himself against the Best There Is, the Best There Was and the Best They’ll Ever Will Be. Raven proposes that since neither Bret or Perry are booked, why not have them fight tonight in an impromptu match? Saturn vs Hart in a non-title match! Bret agrees and says that after he’s done with Perry, he’s coming for the WCW title.

 

Match 1 – Bret Hart def. Perry Saturn in a non-title match

A match designed to make Perry look really strong. However, Bret goes over as I did have plans for Bret being in the WCW Title picture.

 

Match 2 – Rowdy Roddy Piper (c) and Steven Regal (c) def. Ultimo Dragon and AJ Styles in a tag team tables match to retain the WCW Tag Team Championship

The Legion hold on to the Tag Team titles after knocking off the exciting team of Ultimo Dragon and Cruiserweight champion AJ Styles.

 

Match 3 – Keiji Mutoh def. Rey Mysterio in a Falls Count Anywhere match

Mutoh beats Mysterio in a hell of a blow-off match between the Japanese legend and the rising mexican star. Suprisingly, Mysterio was a lot more over after this match! I guess Mysterio is really starting to come into his own. It took him a while, but now he’s really over. As for Mutoh, his overness is taking a tumble. That’s bad as it affects his stable the Asian Invasion if their leader is losing overness. 91% though so a strong match.

 

Match 4 – Rob Van Dam (c) def. Scott Steiner in a First Blood match to retain the WCW International Championship

This is a very brutal match. RVD and Steiner are just smacking each other weapons. But in the end, RVD wins by hitting Steiner with the Vandaminator for the win! RVD retains and the champ goes over in this feud! This got a 95% which I’m really happy with. The joint-top rated match on this card, alongside the main event.

 

Match 5 – Kensuke Sasaki def. Booker T

Yeah Sasaki going over in this was definitely the wrong call in this match and I’ll explain why. I ended up putting Booker in a REALLY big feud after this, so for him to go into this feud off the back of this loss to an Asian Invasion member was a really bad mistake! It didn’t really make him look strong! Then again, WWE had Daniel Bryan job to Bray Wyatt and then just put Bryan in the WWE Title picture! So it might work out for the best!

 

Match 6 – Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero def. Hollywood Hogan and Sting in a hardcore tag team match

Benoit and Eddie go over… CLEAN! Benoit and Eddie are the younger talent and not to take anything away from Hogan or Sting… their main purpose on my game now is to elevate the younger guys. I see Benoit and Eddie as the future of WCW and with Paul Heyman on their side, they are a force to be reckoned with. So there was no need to put Sting and Hogan over in this when they’ll just be super over at the end of it, win, lose or draw. 86%… nice rating!

 

Match 7 – Curt Hennig def. Bam Bam Bigelow with Ted DiBiase as the special guest referee

Ah well, this was the ruiner of my rating. 😦 Hennig beat Bigelow after DiBiase didn’t notice Bigelow’s foot under the rope. Hennig offered to shake hands but Bigelow drops him and leaves. Asbury Perfection seems to be broken up and that match did nothing to help them.

Now to address the elephant in the room… the 68% rating. I really don’t get why this match got such a low rating. Now I did have them both as heels and people could say that was a huge factor. But then again, Eddie and Chavo were both heels when they feuded so it can’t have been that. It’s not like Bigelow and Hennig weren’t over either. They’re definitely good workers… so why did it get such a low rating? The game said that it was because fans were still pumped up from the last match and this match was seen as a let-down but come on. Hennig vs Bigelow can’t have been SO much worse than Benoit/Eddie vs Hogan/Sting. And there’s like an actually decent storyline to Hennig and Bigelow so I don’t see how that can be the case. Bloody game! -.-

 

Match 8 – Raven (c) def. Chris Jericho in a steel cage match to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

Raven retained the WCW title after Bret Hart came out and got into the cage to attack Raven but accidentally clocks Jericho with a chair. Raven takes advantage to escape the cage Jericho responded by brawling with Hart to the back. The WCW World Title picture is heating up!

Extreme Warfare Revenge: WCW 1998 PART 3 – Souled Out

Previously on WCW EWR….

New feuds emerged in my WCW Extreme Warfare Revenge universe, but old scores had to better settled as well before things could really move on. After knocking off Randy Savage at World War III, Sting had to deal with nWo Leader Hollywood Hulk Hogan. However, Savage wanted in as well due to the controversial nature of Sting’s win at World War III. So a triple threat match was made with Sting, Savage and Hogan for Starrcade. In this star-studded match, Sting walked out with his championship still in tact. But the feud is far from over between him and Hogan, while Savage is turning his attention to Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Also on the card, Benoit missed out on the opportunity to win the United States Championship from Keiji Mutoh following interference from Jushin Thunder Liger – who wanted a piece of Mutoh himself after Mutoh attacked him. This didn’t set tight with the Rabid Wolverine, who locked in the crossface to Liger afterwards. Jericho knocked off The Giant, Bret Hart defeated Lex Luger, the Guerreros defeated the Steiners while the Outsiders defeated Flair and Anderson to retain the Tag titles. Also, Raven and DDP went to a no contest in their match-up for the TV title. Still a lot of fire to a lot of these feuds as Souled Out was just a couple of weeks away…
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Pre-Show – Rob Van Dam and Dean Malenko def. Edge and Christian, Rey Mysterio and Kidman and Curt Hennig and Bam Bam Bigelow

Now, pre-show is a great way for me to do a bit of WCW experimenting! And at Souled Out, I wanted to do give a lot of the less-over wrestlers a chance to get overness by having them duke it out with some of the higher wrestlers in the card NOT in feuds. So I did a fatal four way elimination tag match involving:

  • Rob Van Dam and Dean Malenko: Because I wanted to push RVD and I felt Dean Malenko could get a lot of overness teaming with RVD.
  • Edge and Christian: Because they’re Chris Jericho’s cronies and I wanted them to get over as their stats are awesome in this save.
  • Rey Mysterio and Kidman: Someone said Kidman was impressing a lot of the experienced wrestlers in WCW, so I figured I’d reward him by teaming with Rey Mysterio.
  • Curt Hennig and Bam Bam Bigelow: Because I wanted a team representing the nWo and these two were the most over, other than the guys in feuds like Hogan and Luger.

I initially wanted the young up-and-comers Edge and Christian to win, but this garnered protests from all the other teams. So I decided to go with RVD and Dean Malenko as the winners going over Edge and Christian at the end. This match actually got a great match quality rating but Kidman, Edge and Christian’s lack of overness saw the overall drop.

Match 1 – Keiji Mutoh (c) def. Chris Benoit and Jushin Thunder Liger in a triple threat match to retain the WCW United States Championship

If you read what happened at Starrcade, this is a continuation of the Benoit/Mutoh feud which Liger got involved in. Liger cost Benoit the title match after going after Mutoh. Solution? Three way dance at Souled Out! Mutoh retained again, but I planned on having Benoit going over in the feud. This 3 way however got good ratings all around with 85%. Benoit did eventually win the feud as well as the US Championship (because he became more over than Mutoh). However, these two ended up having top quality opponents to rival with next!

Match 2 – Lex Luger def. Bret Hart

The rematch from their encounter at Starrcade (which Bret Hart won). I gave Luger the victory simply because he needed some points in the feud and Bret had won in the last PPV. This match got 4% better overall then last time so at least the feud is doing something. This ended up being the last time Luger was put into an official feud as he was hardly getting any more over. Eventually, his morale got really low which thankfully allowed me the honor of releasing him without paying for it! My reasoning was because he was like 74 over and we were paying him way too much! Considering all the talent on my roster, cuts had to be made!

Match 3 – Kevin Nash (c) and Scott Hall (c) def. Ric Flair and Arn Anderson to retain the WCW Tag Team titles

89% overall! These four were giving me insane ratings! So yeah this feud continued with Outsiders again going over. Reason being that Flair only recently became a non-wrestler. Meaning that I could only have him performing once a month. Some companies might be OK with that, but I wanted active champions. So the Outsiders got the win. Unfortunately, I had to wait a while for the next PPV to wrap this feud up because I couldn’t end it on a Nitro or Thunder due to Flair’s non-wrestler status. But at least that feud-ending match should give me some great ratings!

Match 4 – The Giant and Booker T def. Chris Jericho and The Big Bossman

Now I wanted to do something different with the Giant/Jericho feud so I booked them in a tag team match at the PPV. It would be The Giant with his new ally Booker T versus Chris Jericho and the man that turned heel by attacking the Giant… The Big Bossman! Sadly this match didn’t get a lot of high ratings and got the lowest rating in the show (not counting the kick off). But if anything… Bossman got over!

Match 5 – Raven (c) def. Diamond Dallas Page in a Last Man Standing match to retain the WCW TV Championship

Winning the contest for the highest rated match of the night was DDP vs Raven for the WCW TV Championship! Not the feud-ending match but the feud was close to it’s climax. The last match ended in a draw so I figured that we MUST have a winner. We had a Last Man Standing match which Raven won after a botched interference by Goldberg. Raven attacked Goldberg on Thunder. So in my head, Goldberg accidentally speared DDP through the stage when he was going for Raven causing the latter to win! Raven and DDP eventually ended the feud on Nitro a few weeks later when Raven won a Texas Death match. Goldberg never really did much after costing DDP the match at Souled Out. He’s not been getting over enough for me to properly feature him! After the feud, Raven vacated the TV Championship having made it on par with the WCW Title in prestige somehow! Anyway, Raven has bigger things on his mind. DDP also had a big feud himself to tend with…

Match 6 – Steiner Brothers def. Los Guerreros in a hardcore match

Basically the Steiners returning the favor after the Guerreros beat them at Starrcade. It got a 91% overall which I was pleased with! I wanted to change these teams up after this feud… and I did in various strange ways!

Match 7 – Rowdy Roddy Piper def. Randy Savage

91% overall which had me beaming. This was the first match between the two and I had Piper win this one. I decided to have Piper win the first match since Savage was set to win the feud.

Match 8 – Sting def. Hollywood Hulk Hogan via Dusty Finish DQ with a run-in

Two top stars in the company duking it out for the title. Sting won off a Dusty Finish after a run-in by Eric Bischoff! 86% overall but the 100% crowd reaction was enough for me to be satisfied! Sting ended up winning the feud, but his next feud put his World Title reign in jeopardy!

87% overall for the PPV. Very pleased – with it only having two weeks of build! But next time we’re at Superbrawl… where all these feuds are pretty much done! And we begin a lot of interesting new feuds!