RETRO EXPRESS: WCW NITRO #11 (NOVEMBER 13TH 1995) – “EVIL” HULK HOGAN WANTS THE HEAD OF MENG

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

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We’re on the road to World War 3, with the stakes even higher for the 60 man battle royal main-eventing the show. Jimmy Hart revealed to the world last week that he added a stipulation to the Halloween Havoc title match indicating that if Hulk Hogan got disqualified, The Giant would win the WCW title. Because of interference by Jimmy himself, Hogan lost via disqualification and made The Giant the true WCW World Champion.

However, the WCW Championship Committee was having none of that. They stripped The Giant off the title and determined that the winner of the World War 3 battle royal would become the new WCW World Champion….

So we’ve got a few weeks to go before the war to end all wars and crown a new WCW World Champion. In the mean time, Nitro gives us four big matches for this episode. Hulk Hogan has sent Randy Savage to Nitro with the intention of determining who is on Hulk Hogan’s side in the battle with the Dungeon of Doom. Randy Savage takes on Meng, Chris Benoit battles Kensuke Sasaki and Sting will take on Dean Malenko in our main-event. We also have a WCW TV title match as the champion Johnny B Badd defends the gold against Eddie Guerrero.

 

Date: November 13th,1995

Brand: WCW

City: Jacksonville, Florida

Rating: 2

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

NOTE: In case anyone is wondering, this was actually at the same venue as last week‘s Nitro. WCW taped two shows back-to-back… except they taped this show FIRST! It’s kind of bizarre but yeah, we’re still in Jacksonville, Florida and my research showed that this episode did the exact same rating as last week’s show! Almost surreal!

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Speaking of surreal, we cut to this graveyard or what was supposed to be a graveyard anyway. It looked for all the world like WCW decided to raid the post-Halloween sales for scary props and stuff for this. Anyway, we’re shown Hulk Hogan dressed exactly like Emperor Palpatine who raided the bat cave for one of his masks!

I took the liberty of surfing the internet to find other reviews with descriptions of what Hulk Hogan was dressed like during this promo. I’ll quickly list them off here!:

  • A writer from Renegade Cinema said he was dressed as a S&M gimp!
  • Brandon Stroud from Uproxx with the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro series said he was dressed like a Sith Lord on his way to a swingers orgy!
  • A few sites simply referred to him as a Phantom of the Opera parody.
  • Team WCW from the Nerdopotamus had a great debate about Hogan’s appearance. Carlos claimed that Hogan looks like a dude that got laid off at Medieval Times to which his buddy Fredo stated that he looks like he just got hired at Medieval Times and he sneaks his costume home to show his mom his really awesome cosplay! I swear to all the gods out there that I literally just copied and pasted those words exactly from the post!
  • The Nitro Charged! series from Retro Oasis simply stated that Hogan has gone from emo to executioner!

I mean I could keep going on but suffice to say that Hogan looked absolutely ridiculous but so ridiculous that it was tremendous. It even appeared that Hogan had drawn himself facial hair, with his moustache out of the equation at the hands of the Dungeon of Doom! He was so heartbroken over his moustache that he drew himself a new one!

Hogan said the darkness in the Dungeon of Doom shakes in fear because of Hulk Hogan’s power. It’s here I noticed that he had the black glove on that he referred to one time in that creepy promo. Remember when he was talking about how people do bad things with black gloves? Strange showcase of continuity.

He said the Macho Man was on a mission to bring the head of Meng, the first man on Hogan’s hit list… otherwise known as the Hulkamania destruction hit list. Hogan whipped out his sword… an actually sword that he was wielding like a machete. Hogan said he has no idea where Sting is at with this relationship with Lex Luger. Hogan said if Sting was on Taskmaster’s side, Sting would be moved to the top of his hit list. He advised Macho Man to move fast, move swift and bring Meng’s head. Quite a crazy promo, which was followed by Bobby Heenan predicting that Hogan would be the first man eliminated in the battle royal.

 

Meng w/Taskmaster vs”Macho Man” Randy Savage

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Macho Man jumped Meng from behind to get things rocking as the fans went nuts. Macho Man, to show that he was truly on the darkside, was whipping out dirty move after dirty move including eye rakes. Macho Man went for a double axe handle but Meng cut him off. Jimmy Hart came down to the ring and Meng started to take control of the match.

This wasn’t much of a match early on until Meng tore off Savage’s shirt and Meng CHOPPED THE CRAP out of Savage. Savage may still have been suffering from a torn bicep at this point but even here, he was taken a proper beating from Meng to get the Tongan over. Savage’s body was RED RAW after this.

Meng went for a diving headbutt but Savage moved out of the way. Savage knocked Meng into Jimmy Hart and then hit Meng with the elbow drop for the pin which the fans were all ecstatic over.

Then The Shark and Lex Luger came down as Bobby Heenan yelled SHARK ATTACK! Lex worked on the arm of Savage on the ring post. Now I’d hate to be one of those guys but what on Earth was Luger wearing? He was wearing like pajama bottoms and a vest in pinstripes. It looked ridiculous but totally of the 1990s at the same time!

 

Kensuki Sasaki vs Chris Benoit

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This was a match I certainly wasn’t expecting. Chris Benoit vs… Kensuki Sasaki. Yeah, Kensuki Sasaki was what popped up for his name plate! I feel I should refer to him as so even though I’ve always known him as KENSUKE Sasaki. If it bothers anyone, I’ll go with Kensuke Sasaki for future episodes.

Sasaki hit a huge clothesline from the get-go and went to work on Benoit. Sasaki hit a big powerslam and went on to hit the most realistic bulldog I’ve ever seen. He SLAMMED Benoit to the ground with such ferocity. Sasaki locked on a reverse chin-lock. In somewhat of a interesting spot, Sasaki tried a side-walk slam but Benoit proceed to somehow land on his feet. Sasaki then tried a teardrop suplex but it was reversed into a crossbody. If you’ll recall, Benoit tried a suplex last week but Eddie reversed it into a crossbody for the pin. At least this demonstrates that Benoit learned something from his last match where he lost. I liked that.

Benoit eventually hit two German Suplexes and finished with a Dragon Suplex for the pin. This match lasted 2 minutes and 40 seconds and for 2 minutes and 40 seconds, it was absolutely phenomenal stuff. With that being said, this match being as short as it was bizarre considering two things.

Firstly, I missed it but the announcers talked about how Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko both became new members of the Four Horsemen. Secondly, they also mentioned that Kensuki Sasaki was getting a US title shot later on in the week against Sting. If Sasaki is being set up for a US title shot, why on Earth did you set that up by having Sasaki lose in less than 3 minutes to Benoit? At least Eddie won two matches in a row to earn a TV title shot. Sasaki lost in 3 minutes and is getting a US title shot. Quite bizarre.

 

Speaking of Benoit and Guerrero, another Benoit vs Guerrero match was actually set for WCW Saturday Night. This actually sounds interesting as these two are tied 1-1 in their little series since Benoit debuted. They also plugged Dean Malenko in action and Sting vs Buckhouse Buck.

 

Johnny B Badd vs Eddie Guerrero for the WCW TV Championship

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This was a very entertaining TV title match for the 10 minutes they got but it appeared that they were on different pages at times. Not the smoothest encounter I ever saw. A big reason was the size difference. Johnny B Badd was not a massive guy but he dwarfed Eddie in terms of size and that appeared to show in the match. He wasn’t quite able to match Eddie’s speed.

With that being said, Badd was beloved by the fans and he appeared to be more liked than Eddie in this match. Badd was somewhat a star in WCW. Eddie and Johnny shook hands. Johnny hit a decent tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but him hitting the move only reminded how great Eddie Guerrero’s tilt-a-whirl backbreakers were! Johnny hit his catapult leg drop for a near fall which I think was called the Badd Mood or whatever Tony Schiavonie called it one time!

Eddie almost landed directly on his own head doing a hurricanrana which could have ended nasty. Eddie and Johnny traded roll-ups. Eddie sent himself flying with a crossbody attempt where Badd evaded. Johnny hit a flip senton to the outside. Johnny missed a Springboard Splash and almost got pinned for it. The two kinda screwed up a victory roll where I think the difference in speed between the two was apparent.

After a while, Badd eventually got frustrated in this wrestling match. Therefore, the former Golden Glove Johnny B Badd hit a closed fist punch on Guerrero which is considered taboo in the world of wrestling. As Bobby explained that you do what you have to do, Eddie didn’t take to kindly to that. Eddie speared Badd and took him down, raining in punches from above. It leads to a wild frenzy and Badd attempted to jump at Eddie but referee Randy Anderson was in the way as Badd tried to jump at him. It looked kinda messy.

Eventually things calmed down as they tried to wrestle again. Eddie hit a teardrop suplex and would hit a Tope Con Hilo.

Johnny reversed a tombstone piledriver into a tombstone piledriver of his own for a near fall. At this point, we learned that there was a 10 minute time limit. Eddie hit a tornado DDT and the two crashed into each other with a crossbody attempt. The match eventually ends in a time limit draw with Eddie and Badd still swinging away at each other after the bell. They eventually shook hands and hugged each other after a hard-fought battle.

The match was great in the structure but somewhat sloppy with executions for about a 1/5 of the time. I like the idea that, yeah, Eddie and Badd lost their cool during the match. They both lost their cool and started brawling with each other. Even after a few moments on intense moments, the two men can shake hands and say well done after a time limit draw. The two babyfaces are not totally hating each other right now which makes them both likeable at the same time. They’re able to forgive and forget and I assume this will lead to another match down the road.

With that being said, we had a match with a 20 minute time limit with Badd and Brian Pillman at Fall Brawl. After the time limit expired, they went into overtime and kept wrestling. Why wasn’t overtime considered an option here? That was interesting. It was interesting considering that the Badd vs Pillman match was a number one contendership match and this Badd vs Eddie match was a title match!

Weird.

 

It’s here where Eric breaks the news that Hogan has called out Sting to wrestle him on Nitro next week. What a big match to reveal and he just announces it randomly in the middle of the show!

The Giant, Jimmy Hart and Taskmaster did an in-ring promo with Mean Gene. This is the third Nitro in a row where these three guys from the Dungeon of Doom have done a promo with each other! It’s the usually spiel between these guys.

Jimmy said that he and Taskmaster are the smartest men in the world as they took the WCW title from Hulk Hogan and Jimmy now has a new dilemma. He didn’t know what to do with his remaining Hulkamania jackets to which a disgusted Mean Gene says “gimme a break.” Taskmaster said that for 10 years, he was trying to figure out how to take down Hulkamania. It takes a true evil mastermind to take 10 years to come up with a plan to take out their arch-nemesis. All that plotting and planning!

Taskmaster said that they beat Hogan and plugged World War 3. They called World War 3 the biggest PPV event ever which I don’t think was the case. 23 years later and I don’t even know who won, although I have an idea! 60 men would fight for the biggest prize including the likes of Lex Luger, Sting and Randy Savage. The Giant declared that the competition was sky-high but there can only be one and that would be him. The Giant vowed that he would be the WCW Champion forever as he cackled along with his posse.

 

Sting vs Dean Malenko

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If you though Chris Benoit vs Kensuki Sasaki was an interesting Nitro match… we got Sting vs Dean Malenko for the main-event. I’d hate to compare sizes again but Sting was not a small man and he was in the ring with the cruiserweight Dean Malenko.

By the way, it was here when I noticed Sting was not even wearing the WCW US title down to the ring! Remember when Sting was defending the US title all the time against guys like VK Wallstreet and The Shark? Now, Sting doesn’t even come out with the belt!

They wrestled for a bit. Sting hit a Gorilla Press which was a guaranteed pop no matter how many times he did it. Dean hit a dropkick to the knee to get the heat. Dean locked on a heel hook. Sting tried a Scorpion Deathlock during the match but Dean got the ropes. Dean hit a dropkick to the knee again and Mongo said Dean was treating Sting like a red-headed stepchild.

They actually mentioned Dean’s father who was billed as “The Great Malenko” back in the day. Dean hit a beautiful, and I mean a BEAUTIFUL, German suplex on Sting. Like I mentioned earlier, Sting is a BIG GUY in his own right. This took a lot of strength from Malenko and it looked amazing.

Sting eventually reversed the Texas Cloverleaf into a small package for the win. A decent but somewhat strange main-event to the show.

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Mean Gene caught Sting in the ring for a post-match promo but before that, Eric was talking about how Jimmy Hart stabbed Hogan in the back and Bobby Heenan proceeded to stab his piece of paper with a pen! Subtle comedy from The Brain!

Mean Gene broke the news to Sting that Hogan challenged him to a match on Nitro next week. Sting said he had nothing against Hogan and that he never dreamed of the day that Hogan would come knocking on  his door looking for him. Sting said that he could let it slide as he compared Hogan to a little dog sat on the porch while Sting himself was the big dog. Sting proclaimed that if you checked the list of who Sting has beaten, it’s a long list of big dogs as this is where the big dogs play. Sting was looking forward to the match.

Mean Gene agreed with Hogan that something didn’t smell right and Sting simply replied that the big dog would see Hulk Hogan next week, So we have a main-event for WCW Nitro next week. It’s so strange to see this go down. I don’t know if this was Sting and Hulk Hogan’s first ever match against each other but what a time to do the match free on a random episode of Nitro. It’s strange considering that for the Starrcade 1997 main-event between these two, WCW built it up for one year before eventually giving us the match.

Mean Gene sends it back to the announcers saying: “Mongo, Heenan – CONMAN, and Bischoff… you’re not a conman!” Mean Gene was so great. I gave my thoughts on Mean Gene during the last review but this was a great man.

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That was your Nitro review. This was a decent Nitro in my eyes. Not as good as last week to me but we got a few good matches. The TV title match was fine, Sasaki vs Benoit was great for 160 seconds, Savage vs Meng was an OK opener and Sting vs Dean was OK. Nothing particular bad but we got stuff that was unbelievable to watch. I think Hogan inadvertently stole the show with that opening promo!

Next week, we’ve got a big Hulk Hogan vs Sting main-event. We will see you with the review of Episode #12 of WCW Monday Nitro.

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#CancelWWENetwork Trends After Fastlane 2016 – Thoughts and Reactions

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NOTE: The following post was written before the Monday Night RAW after Fastlane.
How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with an initial post-Fastlane reaction to #CancelWWENetwork trending on Twitter following the main event of the show. For those of you that want to know what happened, Roman Reigns won the triple threat match to earn a WWE World title shot at Wrestlemania 32 against Triple H. This caused major upset among the WWE universe as the #CancelWWENetwork hashtag trended.
This is not the first time that the hashtag has trended on Twitter. If you’ll recall, last year’s Royal Rumble ended with Roman Reigns going over and the hashtag causing the subscription cancellation page for the network to crash. I don’t think the hashtag will cause a backlash of that degree in this case. It did cause WWE to change plans for the finish of Wrestlemania 31 before, but I don’t think it’ll make a bit of difference this year. As it turned out, the amount of people that actually went through with unsubscribing to the network was very small. On Twitter, people have been posting pictures of themselves actually cancelling their subscriptions. However, I don’t think the amount will actually make a lot of difference to WWE as the subscription numbers will rise for Wrestlemania anyway.
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I’ll admit that I haven’t watched Fastlane yet and I probably won’t until later on in the week. The thing about Fastlane was that it’s gotten very mixed reviews. On Twitter, I’ve seen a lot of negativity about the pay-per-view. However, I’ve spoken to a lot of fans that have said the pay-per-view was actually “solid” and that the main event was actually great until the finish.
Again, I haven’t seen the pay-per-view yet. The thing is if the pay-per-view was bad and then they went with the finish they did with Roman going over, I could understand the frustrations of the fans. They want to see a good product and if they don’t get it, they’re not going to let their frustrations build inside of them. I remember being furious at WWE for the 2015 Royal Rumble, mostly because of how it was booked. That’s one of those moments where I truly believe that the backlash received was justified because of how bad the show was. For Fastlane though, it seems that the backlash is mostly because of Roman going over and the finish which I think is a bit extreme.
If the main event was good, AJ vs Jericho was good and the rest of the pay-per-view was fine, to call the pay-per-view bad because of who won the main event seems a bit much. It seems a bit much because what exactly did you think was going to happen at Fastlane? Did anyone honestly think that Brock Lesnar was going to win last night? No. Brock Lesnar vs Triple H for the title at Mania was just not going to happen. There’s a lot of people who were probably thinking that Dean might win the match, but I didn’t think so. Brock Lesnar laid him out over and over again on RAW and SmackDown! and Dean dropped the Intercontinental title on RAW. Dean was nowhere near booked well enough for a Wrestlemania main-event push. The expectation was that Dean was going to be the one that got pinned or submitted to protect Roman and Brock, and that’s exactly what happened. Did anyone really think that the finish of the Fastlane main event WASN’T going to be Roman Reigns pinning Dean Ambrose to win the match?
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WWE being predictable is not my cup of tea. However, the company also has a clear vision of what they want the main event of Wrestlemania to look like. It was always going to be Roman Reigns vs Triple H. If they have a plan, it’s better that they stick with it and promote that match to the best of their ability rather than come up with a new plan at the last minute. If they put Dean in there with little personal animosity with Triple H beforehand, it wouldn’t make any sense when taking every other storyline in the last year into account. If you start it off with Roman Reigns, you might as well end it with Roman Reigns.
The issue last year with Roman is that the guy wasn’t over to the level of his push. This year, he is nearly over to that level. He is not in Stone Cold Steve Austin territory or anything crazy like that. However, he’s at least making a lot more progress than last year. That tells you something. It has not been that great for Roman since this year’s Royal Rumble but that’s the problem with booking Roman against two of the most popular wrestlers on the roster for a title match at Wrestlemania.
I’ve written about this for SLTD Wrestling a few times now. I was disapproving of the main event of Fastlane because of the reason mentioned earlier. I was disapproving of the main event of Triple H vs Roman Reigns for Wrestlemania because I didn’t think it should have been for the WWE World title. However, I at least admire WWE’s attempts of having a plan and sticking to it. It was better than throwing Dean Ambrose into the mix all of a sudden or throwing Brock Lesnar into the mix. I wish they had went a different way for a main event of Wrestlemania. For what they’re doing though, they’re not doing a too terrible job at promoting up the match.
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I just don’t see what the fans were expecting from Fastlane. They gave you a seemingly good show but it’s still deemed a failure over how the main event played out?
It’s an interesting situation. I don’t see any plans for Wrestlemania changing because of this but it is bad news for Roman in terms of how he’s perceived by the fans. It’ll be interesting to see how WWE will try to turn this around.

Does WWE Need Another Brand Split?

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In 2011, the WWE’s brand split was effectively put to an end when COO Triple H announced that the RAW and SmackDown! rosters would be featured on both shows full-time. At the time of the decision, RAW and SmackDown! had interacted with each other quite a bit for the last few years. With RAW being the main host for all of this interactivity, the gap between RAW and SmackDown! had expanded to such a degree that it was hardly a competition. Therefore, the SmackDown! stars might as well just moved to RAW full-time and vice versa. In 2013, the merge was cemented by the merging for the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships to from the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

To be honest, I originally was all for the two brands coming together again. If everyone is fighting for one championship and everyone is on the same level, surely it’d promote competition within the superstars to get their time in the spotlight. On RAW and SmackDown!, it was much easier for these wrestlers to get time on television with a smaller roster to compete with. Now, the roster is so huge that it could have been an incentive for everyone to step up their game. However, my feelings about the decision have seemingly reversed.

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I mentioned earlier that the roster is so huge that it could have been an incentive for everyone to step up their game. However, those wrestlers are now having to work a much more intense schedule. They’re not just working on one or two shows every week. Some of them are wrestling on ALL of their shows! Heck, we’ve seen a number of NXT stars like Kevin Owens and Sasha Banks having to appear on the main roster and NXT at the same time. The main wrestlers are now just physically and mentally drained by the heavily demanding schedule.

On the flip side, there’s the wrestlers that are barely getting a sniff of the action on the flagship shows. These active and healthy wrestlers are all backstage for the flagship shows but are hardly ever used. If their lucky, they might get an appearance on SmackDown! but Main Event and house shows are their usual schedule for the week. This is very alarming.

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It’s no surprise when taking this into account as to why stars like Randy Orton are asking for lighter schedules. They just can’t give it their all when their schedules are this intense. A lot of these stars are working with injuries, which is further risking the well-beings of these wrestlers. Even with the brand split, wrestlers were working 300+ days a week. However, the WWE roster nowadays aren’t just working with one show as mentioned earlier. With the WWE Network also in full swing, the demand of content from these wrestlers are now just becoming too much.

What another brand split can do now is re-motivate those stars that are currently lost in the shuffle. What the brand split can do is re-energise those stars that are battered and bruised from working these hard schedules. Alright, it might feature a lot of hard work at first in order to get the brand split running. However, the long term benefits could be worth that initial short-term hardships.

Jim Ross mentioned this on the Q&A part of this website when he said: ““I’ve said it many times but if the brand split was truly a split and no cross booking occurred then it would be tough over the short term but would be a benefit in the long haul. I don’t look for it to happen.”

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Daniel Bryan also mentioned his desire for a brand split and wanting to work exclusively on SmackDown! Not only would this spare him an extra three hours of work on RAW which is obviously much better for his well-being, the pressure would really be off him working on a show that wasn’t as micro-managed as RAW by the powers-that-be. With the ratings of RAW taking hits, all eyes will no doubt be on RAW internally.

With that being said, Jerry Lawler has actually mentioned that SmackDown! could possibly be going live in 2016. Therefore, interest in the product internally could end up being just as important as RAW. The flagship show RAW is obviously their main priority as it attracts the most viewers and is the main driving force for their WWE Network. However, now WWE are adding more pressure on themselves by having SmackDown! potentially go live as well. The SmackDown! scripts would be a lot more micro-managed with the pressures for it to succeed.

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I don’t think WWE should take that mentality for RAW and duplicate it for SmackDown! SmackDown! doesn’t fit the same mould as RAW any more and is not possibly going to get their ratings as good as RAW’s. If that’s the case then what is there to lose by having SmackDown! being a lot more experimental than RAW. The pressure is not as extreme so let the writers have a bit more fun with the roster it has. If a brand split was introduced and the writing staff was once again split up, the SmackDown! writers could be more ambitious which is not a bad thing. Writers would be ambitious to beat the competition which Paul Heyman always stated was his driving force as SmackDown!’s head writer. He wanted to make new stars and beat RAW in terms of it’s programming. He wanted to break the mould. If the brand split caused the writers to act this way, how is that necessarily a bad thing?

Bleacher Reporter’s Andy Soucek highlighted how damaged the narrative had become for WWE with so much to keep up with for the viewers.

He said: “What is maybe the most damaging aspect of the end of the brand split, is that WWE has now made it painfully hard to follow the entire narrative of WWE. When Raw and Smackdown were separate rosters, a viewer could keep up with their favourite wrestler in two hours a week.”

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This is a move that would benefit the wrestlers. This is a move that would benefit the writers. This is a move that would benefit the TV Networks that are getting better programming and possibly better ratings. There’s a lot of people that would benefit in the long run from the brand split being re-introduced. The question is would WWE ever consider doing it? I’d like to think that they would when the over-flowing roster and burned out writers start to seriously effect the product. What I’m really concerned with is whether they’ll do it before it’s too late. What if SmackDown! is taken off the air before this brand split could even happen? Then what? Will they introduce NXT as their second show? That’s all filled with developmental stars and wouldn’t solve the over-expansion issue. Before this all goes down, something’s got to give. The brand split must go down.

WWE Legends House Season Review

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The WWE Network gives us a lot of original programming to enjoy. Most of the programming include documentaries on the WWE and interview segments hosted by the likes of Chris Jericho. However, Legends House gave us something completely different.

Legends House was a reality TV series which I really wanted to watch. It’s a show which put the likes of Rowdy Roddy Piper, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Tony Atlas in the same house, which could only mean compelling television! Indeed it was. WWE did well to pick eight legends that were different from the same old people but also recognisable to their viewers… wrestling fans.

After all, this was made for the WWE Network so it wasn’t like they had to appeal to a general audience. However, at least a lot of the things the legends did appealed to this audience anyway. I know that’s the whole point of a reality show, but I’ve seen a lot of reality shows that just don’t do that at all!

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I think the selection of legends for this were well chosen. Maybe I’d like it better if there were a lot more “outspoken” wrestlers on the program. If Scott Steiner were to ever make it onto Legends House, it’d be probably become the best show of all time! However, it’s understandable that WWE wanted to pick people that had usually been in WWE’s good books. With that being said, someone like Jimmy Hart was a great selection as he hadn’t really made his name as a wrestler. He made his name as the “Mouth of the South” and was a manager. The portrayal of Jimmy being this huge loud-mouth and being surrounded by these big old-time wrestlers was a nice dynamic.

“Mean” Gene Okerlund will probably go down as my favourite legend in this series. I went into this series already being a Mean Gene fan anyway. He’s had a lot of funny moments in wrestling and he had a lot of funny moments on this show. I think it was just Mean Gene’s commentary of the events that went down in Legends House is what really got me. He had a lot of awesome lines!

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There’s a lot of great relationships introduced within the series which adds to the series well, whether it’d be in a fun or intense way. It’s a balancing act which I think worked fine. The bond between Piper and Duggan was arguably the greatest out of all the legends which did make me chuckle and bring a bit of fun to the series. For example, Piper and Duggan trying to cheat during a game show will go down as one of my favourites scenes in the entire season! It also provided a lesson to some of the younger audience. Remember kids, cheaters never prosper!

While there’s a lot of nice relationships in the series, there’s a lot of relationships that were strained. While there’s almost fun arguments like Pat Patterson freaking out at Jimmy for “soaking” him, a lot of it was rough too. The stuff with Tony Atlas and Jim Duggan brought a lot of intensity to the house. It seemed that the bad blood just spanned in the first half of the series but it was one of the rivalries that really brought the ugly sides out of both men. Every great reality show must have shades of a lot of different emotions and at least the bad blood was not so extreme that it lead to physicality. Now many may argue that it’s a buzzkill that there never was a big fight during this show. That’s understandable considering that even Total Divas seemed to have more bad blood than these legends. However, keep in mind that these ARE legends. There are a time at their life where it’s really not about showing whose boss any more. This series was more a chance for them to unwind and big fights were not what WWE wanted. And that’s not what we got, which I was fine with.

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There was a lot of fun activities to be had and a lot of relaxing things that took place. However, the episode that I liked the most was probably episode nine. When things got emotional in the legends house, it was pretty heavy. There had been very few incidents up until the last few episodes where the legends really opened up. But when they did, it was very tear-jerking. The stories that were told by the legends during their last meal was very deep, with a lot of revelations that came out which I don’t think a lot of people knew about. It was really emotional but Howard Finkel’s speech about making it to the WWE was one that I found to be extremely relatable.

Howard talks about making it to WWE and proving to everyone that he can make it. That kind of struggle to prove to people that you are in fact capable of accomplishing something is something we all can live with. Whether it’s the struggle to be the best in a particular sport or to get the best grades in school. It’s a speech which anyone watch can relate to. Wrestling is exactly the type of career that fits this mold.

Every wrestler that starts out in the business wants to make it to the top. They have goals they want to accomplish. Whether it’s to headline Wrestlemania, wrestle in Japan or just to get signed by WWE. They all have dreams and there’s a lot sacrifice involved in order to achieve those goals. When Sasha Banks and Bayley were in tears at the end of TakeOver, it was really just a celebration of how they’ve made it in wrestling. Despite being an announcer, Finkel understands these struggles as much as wrestlers.

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Ultimately, Legends House is a good reality show that wrestling fans will enjoy. However, that’s the real key… wrestling fans. For obvious reasons, the show was produced with their audience of wrestling fans in mind. Those that sign up to the WWE Network only expect wrestling content. When considering that, you could say this show was a success. It teaches the viewers more about the business and gives you a look into the mentalities of these wrestlers years after they’re done. It was also not TOO pro wrestling. It was not like Piper and Duggan were just talking in shoot terminology all the time during this show so casual fans couldn’t understand it. However, I can understand why a normal TV network wouldn’t pick up this show. I don’t see an audience outside of wrestling that would be interested in seeing these retired wrestlers taking part in relaxing activities. If you’re not a wrestling fan, this was probably not the show for you. If you are a wrestling fan and haven’t seen this, I’d highly recommend it. Out of all the original content on the WWE Network, this is easily one of the strongest.

How I Would Book… Kevin Owens As Intercontinental Champion

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The Intercontinental Championship is supposed to be the second most prestigious championship in WWE. However, it seems that recent years haven’t been kind to those that hold it. The Intercontinental title used to be a stepping stone as a rising star is elevated to main-event status. However, many champions in the last few years have seen themselves float around in the mid card pool of irrelevancy. We’re hoping that this does not happen to Kevin Owens. In order to elevate Kevin Owens and bring prestige to the title, how would we book Kevin Owens as Intercontinental Champion?

Kevin Owens won the Intercontinental Championship at Night Of Champions, beating Ryback with a roll up. Let’s be honest, Ryback’s title reign was never really able to take off. Kevin Owens is quite possibly the perfect man to be able to bring up the prestige of this title once more. This man is a great in-ring worker with incredible mic skills as well. WWE could do no wrong with this man… other than having him lose his first feud on the main roster. -.-

The point is, not much is needed to be said other than… have him beat EVERYONE.

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Kevin Owens considers himself a prizefighter. He said that the Intercontinental Championship made him feel complete. All Kevin should be worried about his keeping his title. Of course, there’s a bit of a balancing act involved. You want him to care about his championship but you don’t want to diminish the championship either. Take Nikki Bella. She cared about shoving her title reign down people’s throats but could care less about ACTUALLY defending it. The clue is in his catchphrase… Fight, Owens, Fight.

If John Cena were not already doing his US Title Open Challenge, then that would be the first option for Kevin. However, Kevin should not want to give title shots to anyone. Kevin can run down Cena by stating that shots at the IC title should be earned rather than given. Kevin says that he wants to prove himself as the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. He therefore says that only former champions can compete and Kevin himself will decide his own opponents.

Kevin’s first few challengers on RAW would be folks like Heath Slater and Curtis Axel. These would be former champions but considered jobbers to the WWE Universe. This concept gives these wrestlers TV time and an actual chance to shine. However, Kevin simply wins. At the end of every match, Kevin writes down the name of his opponent on a piece of paper. After writing it down, he reads off the list of former champions he has beaten to retain his title. It’d be kind of like what Chris Jericho used to do.

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Obviously, the list would start off being kind of short. Over time however, it suddenly starts to build up. Heath Slater, Damien Sandow, Curtis Axel, Titus O’Neil, Jack Swagger, Fernando etc. It suddenly becomes a case of quantity over quality, which actually does make Kevin look quality coming out of it. More is more when it comes to a heel. The more things he can brag about, the more content he can work with. The more people Kevin beats, the more names he can brag about beating. I named a few jobbers but these are actual former champions. These aren’t exactly complete jokes!

What would be interesting is that Kevin Owens would try to duck lads like Neville, that have never won titles on the main roster, which would actually be funny to watch! It also makes these lads look great before they finally get the shot, as Kevin already fears them.

He goes through everyone until the Royal Rumble. He wins his match, reads his list and stops half-way through. He says that merely beating everyone is not enough anymore. He’s a prizefighter and he only has one prize to his name. Now he wants more. He wants to challenge the US Champion for a title vs title match at Wrestlemania 32. The US Champion turns out to be John Cena, who walks out of Fast Lane with the title. In this big match, Kevin beats Cena clean once again to win the US Championship. He dubs himself as the International Champion, having conquered the entire world of wrestling. As soon as he drops these titles, he’s in a great spot to go after his next prize… the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

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A lot of this includes a lot of wishful thinking, but this would do wonders to Kevin. Beating everyone en route to beating John Cena on the biggest stage of them all would be something spectacular that could make Kevin a legitimate star in WWE.

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!

Undertaker Vs Brock Lesnar III Announced For Hell In A Cell – Thoughts and Reactions

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At Night of Champions, Brock Lesnar’s “Go To Hell” tour was announced for the month of October. It was revealed that it would first start with Brock Lesnar’s appearance at Madison Square Garden to wrestle against the Big Show. As I mentioned on my Night of Champions review, this had been announced for some time. It now appears that this event will be televised live on the WWE Network, so a lot of big names might be added on the card. Chris Jericho is already set to take on Kevin Owens, which will be quite a match. They’ve been doing matches on a few house shows but it’ll be cool to see them lock up again at the Garden.

It was also announced that Brock Lesnar would be Stone Cold’s next guest on his podcast, which will be on the WWE Network. Sting was expected to be the guest but I’m guessing with Brock’s appearance at Hell in a Cell, Brock was brought in to hype up that match. It’ll be interesting to hear what he has to say. It’s often been said by the likes of Paul Heyman that Brock’s not really much of a people person! So to see him go on Austin’s podcast and open up will be something. I don’t think Heyman’s appearance on the podcast a few months ago will be followed up on. Reportedly, Vince McMahon got very upset at Heyman for teasing Austin vs Lesnar for Wrestlemania 32. I doubt Lesnar will challenge Austin or something.

The third announcement is the big one. It was announced that Brock Lesnar will be appearing at Hell in a Cell in Los Angeles this October. He will be competing in a Hell in a Cell match against THE UNDERTAKER!

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This was quite a shocker as I, along with many including the likes of Steve Austin and Jim Ross, all predicted that the third match would take place at Wrestlemania 32. To bring it forward to Hell in a Cell is a pretty bold decision. From a continuity standpoint, it’s kind of fitting that this third match would take place in a Hell in a Cell match in the month of October. The reason it’s fitting is because it’s a rematch from the Hell in a Cell match between Lesnar and Taker in October 2002. In that match, Lesnar won.

It’s taken a lot of us off-guard and there’s a lot of speculation already as to why this match has been brought forward. Lesnar is a big ratings grabber. Whenever he’s on TV, people tune in. Brock brings so much to the table and he brought so much to WWE programming from June to August. It’s also been speculated that this might have something to do with the WWE Network.

The chances are, in order to really boost the subscription numbers, WWE might have decided to get the match done sooner rather than later. It’s often been said that fools rush in, so Taker vs Lesnar III taking place just two months after their last match might seem like an impatient move by WWE just to get the numbers up. That’s also considering that their last match at Summerslam took place 15 months after their match at Wrestlemania 30. However, I think there’s no way Vince would have agreed to this unless he had some other plan in mind for Taker and Lesnar at Wrestlemania 32. You can say a lot of things about Vince McMahon, but his handling of the Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar storyline has been spot on so far. He cares a lot about both men so I don’t think the decision to bring their third match forward was made lightly. Having their third and final match being at Wrestlemania seemed like a no-brainer, so I wonder what Vince’s plans are now that it’s taking place at Hell in a Cell.

Of course, Hell in a Cell might have been Vince’s plans all along and that he’s got something else planned for the two of them at Wrestlemania. Maybe it’s going to be a best of five series that’ll end at Wrestlemania. However, I REALLY don’t see that last one happening unless Lesnar and Taker came up with some kind of deal.

I’m also curious about Undertaker’s health and well-being going into that match. Undertaker has actually been advertised for a tour in Mexico in October and still is. There was the video of Undertaker collapsing before he got to the back at Summerslam. I personally think that the collapse was actually a work. I think Taker got rocked. Considering what Undertaker went through at Summerslam, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a little banged up. However, I think it was just a call-back to Wrestlemania 30 when he ACTUALLY collapsed. So I think he might be good to go for this match.

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I think it’s going to be a phenomenal match and I’m VERY much looking forward to it. Their Summerslam match was awesome, one of my favourite matches of the year. I never really did it enough justice in my Summerslam Review last month. I’m not really sure who needs the win the most. Undertaker won the last match but it wasn’t a decisive win. Brock’s not won a PPV match since Wrestlemania 31, so he might need the win. It’s really up in the air. However, I’m really looking forward to it.

EXTREME WARFARE REVENGE: WCW 1998 PART 22 – BASH AT THE BEACH 2000

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Previously on WCW EWR…

Booker T has been busting his ass for so many years to try and get a break in this business. Time after time though, Booker’s rise to the top has been shafted by one reason or another. However, Booker T finally earned himself the opportunity of a lifetime when he defeated Bret Hart and Chris Jericho in a triple threat match to earn a WCW Championship match at Slamboree. However, Booker would come up short in his WCW Title match with champion Raven and fellow challenger Bret Hart (Bret was interjected into the match after beating Eddie Guerrero earlier on in the evening). Booker’s performance in the triple threat impressed Ric Flair enough that he was given another shot at the title for the Great American Bash. However, Bret Hart was unhappy with this decision and attacked Booker T on Nitro. This attack ruled him out of the Great American Bash title match and Bret Hart took his place (Raven retained the title). However, Booker would not be denied and returned on the 4th of July Nitro to attack Raven and Bret Hart. It was shortly announced that Booker would finally get his one on one opportunity at Raven for the WCW Title at Bash At The Beach. Booker had his title shot. However, the plot thickens….

Bret Hart, as mentioned earlier, was put into the Great American Bash match as Booker’s replacement. However, in order to get into the match Bret agreed to a stipulation – if Bret lost, he would not get another WCW Title shot for ONE year! Despite a valiant effort, Bret came up short. Bret’s effort and desire got the applause following the match and the next night on Nitro. Bret came out sitting on a steel chair, seemingly about to quit the company. However, Hollywood Hogan came out from the back to prevent him from doing it. He got the fans to chant “We Want Bret”! Bret then embraced Hogan with a hug and declared that he was staying! Hogan and Bret began playing to the crowd, but when Hogan’s back was turned…. SMACK! Bret smacks Hogan with a chair and once again to the skull. Bret’s heel turn was finally cemented with a sickening attack to Hollywood Hogan. Bret said he knew at that moment why he needed to stay… to make sure that he would be champion next year and take out anybody that gets in his way. This eventually led to Hart vs Hogan being made for Bash At The Beach. However, with Bret’s vendetta towards Booker and intentions with the WCW Title in mind, Ric Flair and Eric Bischoff both agreed to a stipulation… the winner of that match would be the referee to the WCW World Title match later that night. Whoever wins will play a major role in the fate of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship…

WCW Cruiserweight Champion Yoshihiro Tajiri was into his second reign as champion, having beat AJ Styles at the start of May. However, his legitimacy as champion was called into question as Tajiri had not defended the belt since the Nitro of Champions special. With Tajiri already in violation of breaking the 30 day title defense rule, Ric Flair ordered that Tajiri defend the title on the Nitro after The Great American Bash or else he would be stripped of the title. In his title defense against Rey Mysterio, the match ended in a no contest with interference from Ultimo Dragon and the Steiner System’s Jamie Noble ruining the match. Constant interferences by all four cruiserweights resulted in a fiercely contested cruiserweight division and forced Ric Flair to book a fatal four way match for the title at Bash At The Beach.

WCW Television Champion Perry Saturn and his girlfriend Trish Stratus gloated on the Nitro after the Great American Bash, after retaining the TV title against Arn Anderson. Perry declared himself the greatest TV Champion of all time and there is nobody in the near future that would take the title from him. AJ Styles, who’s considered to be the future of WCW, came out to challenge Perry. Perry would jump AJ after Trish’s distraction which would lead to Perry deciding to put the belt on the line against AJ right now! A referee comes down to the ring and asks AJ if he wants to do the match, which AJ nods to. Perry is on offense most of this match but as he goes for Death Valley Driver, AJ counters into the Styles Clash for the pinfall to win the Television Title! Perry went to Ric Flair on Thunder, demanding a rematch at Bash At The Beach. Then in came Paul Heyman and one of his clients, Eddie Guerrero. They too wanted in this match so Flair made Saturn vs Eddie with the winner going onto Bash At The Beach. With the match ending in a draw, a triple threat was made for the PPV.

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Pre-Show – Jeff Hardy def. Keiji Mutoh in a hardcore match

Jeff has been one of my secret TV projects which have worked their way up from developmental to the WCW main stage! Jeff got over pretty quickly since debuting on the main roster at the start of the year I think. This led to Keiji Mutoh demanding a match with him, which I gave him on Thunder. Mutoh would win by cheating but the match got a 91% on that show. So I booked it again for the Bash At The Beach pre-show. I’d hate to put Mutoh in the pre-show since it wasn’t too long ago that Mutoh competed for the WCW title! But since then, his overness and stock has dropped dramatically. So I had Jeff go over in the pre-show match and again, this match got 91%! Jeff’s got a bright future ahead of him I believe.

 

Match 1 – AJ Styles (c) def. Perry Saturn and Eddie Guerrero w/Eddie Guerrero in a triple threat match to retain the WCW Television Championship

I think Perry dropped the rating of this match a bit. If I had just left it AJ vs Eddie, then it probably would’ve been a lot better. However, I wanted to put Saturn in it to change it up a bit and technically, he has a rematch clause! So the three way happened and AJ retained. Perry’s probably out of the TV title hunt for now but there’s potential for a storyline between AJ and Eddie. Very excited for that!

 

Match 2 – “The Diamond Enforcers” Diamond Dallas Page and Arn Anderson def. Rowdy Roddy Piper (c) and Steven Regal (c) to win the WCW Tag Team Championship

NEW CHAMPS! The tag titles have changed hands once more! The team of DDP and Arn Anderson beat the “Legion” members, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Steven Regal to win the gold! The decision to have the “Diamond Enforcers” win the belts came after I put them in a tag on Nitro and I got a report saying that Arn and DDP worked well as a team. I had a good feeling about the team already but after that report, I figured that they had to go over really. Piper and Regal were still super over afterwards, so it didn’t hurt them. But Arn and DDP are the new tag team champions!

 

Match 3 – Sting def. Scott Steiner

I’d say that Sting maybe a little to early on in the card but, then again, he was opening the Great American Bash! Him and Steiner was a match-up I was really interested in doing and I felt that Steiner really needed a huge rivalry right now after losing the RVD International title feud and feuding with Ultimo Dragon. However, Sting’s going over in this one with Steiner attacking him post match. 90% so that means they’re doing something right! However, I’m shocked that they were still beaten by the Pre-Show!

 

Match 4 – Rob Van Dam (c) def. Curt Hennig to retain the WCW International Championship

RVD wins after he hits the Frog Splash for the 1, 2, 3. As simple as that… or is it? Hennig’s foot was underneath the bottom rope when the ref counted to three! Hennig pleaded with the ref after the match, but the decision stood and RVD is still your International Champion! Hennig is not a happy camper! 2nd highest rated match of the night!

 

Match 5 – Bret Hart def. Hollywood Hogan via DQ. The winner will be the special guest referee for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship match later that night.

Hogan got DQ’d after a brutal attack on Bret with the chair. Giving Bret a piece of his own medicine after Bret had attacked him with the chair after the Great American Bash. Hogan just batters Hart with the chair and several refs have to pull Hogan off! In what condition will Bret be in to referee the main event.

 

Match 6 – Yoshihiro Tajiri (c) def. Rey Mysterio, Ultimo Dragon and Jamie Noble in a fatal four way match to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

Tajiri retains! The original plan was for Tajiri to actually DROP the belt at this PPV! However, I saw that Tajiri’s overness was slowly increasing so I decided to have him retain the title for now and possibly build to an elimination rematch at Road Wild. That’s the plan at the moment.

 

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

Jericho and Benoit once again earn Match Of The Night, with Jericho picking up the win. Benoit and Jericho have SO much chemistry and I’m glad that I’m now able to have them feud with each other. Since Benoit won their match at Slamboree, Jericho goes over here.

 

Match 8 – Booker T def. Raven (c) with Bret Hart as the special guest referee to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship

Bret tried to screw Booker T out of the victory, but Hogan came out to attack Bret some more after their match earlier on. After dropping the Leg Drop, Hogan put on the ref shirt. Raven went for the Evenflow DDT but Booker countered for his new finisher The Book End for the win! BOOKER T IS THE NEW WCW CHAMPION! The boyhood dream as come true!

 

What a way to cap off Bash At The Beach. Just like the Bash At The Beach 2000 in real-life, Booker T walks out the WCW Champion! Ironically, Hollywood Hogan was the one that helped him win the belt! By god! I’ve been waiting for so long to do this but at last, Booker is on top of the world. We hope you enjoyed Bash At The Beach!

NOTE: Don’t forget to check my latest EWR update at this link! Just to recap all of the WCW EWR we’ve been doing as of late… which has been a lot. To tell you about what’s coming up! And if this is the first time you’ve clicked onto the blog and this series, a FULL LIST of all the EWR WCW PPVs I’ve done including the Nitro of Champions special!