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Top 25 WWE Survivor Series Elimination Matches

November 19, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Survivor Series just ain’t what it used to be.

First, it was Thanksgiving night. Then it was Thanksgiving eve. Then it moved indiscriminately to just any old Sunday in November. When it started, it was all about the elimination matches. Now it’s about the typically-rushed storylines that are often back-burnered in favor of whatever Cena or Orton are doing, with maybe an elimination match or two shoehorned in there somewhere.

Well, forget about senile Vince McMahon and lack-of-fun Kevin Dunn for a minute. Let’s journey back to when the event MEANT SOMETHING, and let’s share some fond memories of some of the greatest elimination matches that have ever taken place at the Thanksgiving night/eve/located in proximity to the holiday tradition!

After all, it sure beats “John Cena and The Rock vs. what’re-their-names.”

Enjoy!

25. The Holly Cousins and Too Cool def. Edge, Christian, and The Hardy Boyz (11/14/99, Detroit, MI)
Survivor: Hardcore Holly
Gotta admit; that face team would be pretty cool in any era, despite the real life problems of the brothers Hardy. For what it is, it’s a fast paced match between WWE’s “X Division” of 1999; a match in which the second oldest person (Crash) was only 28 years old. When does that EVER happen? Edge being the first one gone was a surprise, as was the heels going over. Then again, since Edge and company were made men after their spectacular ladder match the previous month, why not give some rub to the then-relevant “Big Shot”? Christian’s near-comeback from a three-on-one was fun to watch.

24. Bertha Faye, Aja Kong, Tomoko Watanabe & Lioness Asuka def. Alundra Blayze, Sakie Hasegawa, Kyoko Inoue & Chapparita Asari (11/19/95, Landover, MD)
Survivor: Kong
This was probably the first time since 1988 that WWE had more than three women involved in the same match, and boy, what a comeback for women’s wrestling. Of course, the entire division was scrapped a month later, when Blayze rechristened herself as Madusa and threw the WWE Women’s Title in the trash on WCW Nitro. Alas. The match was a ten minute infomercial for Aja Kong to show how scary-dominant she could be, dropping her fellow Joshi performers on their heads and necks before waylaying Blayze with a spinning back fist to become the sole survivor. Now we get Kelly Kelly rubbing her bony ass in Natalya’s face. Alas.

23. Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, John Cena, Bradshaw, and Hardcore Holly def. Brock Lesnar, Big Show, A-Train, Matt Morgan, and Nathan Jones (11/16/03, Dallas, TX)
Survivors: Benoit, Cena
Lesnar built a team of brawny monsters to take on GM Paul Heyman’s “most wanted” list. It was notable because, unlike today with Cena and Randy Orton, the two men getting the biggest rub (Angle and Lesnar) were eliminated before the finish, thus making whoever survived look pretty damn special. Indeed, the soon-to-be-megapushed Benoit and the being-molded Cena upended Big Show in the end, after Benoit had made Lesnar tap out. Of course, this is essentially the match that kicked off Cena’s interminable face run, so maybe some of you will want to curse this outing.

22. Shawn Michaels, Triple H, CM Punk, and The Hardy Boyz def. Edge, Randy Orton, Johnny Nitro, Gregory Helms, and Mike Knox (11/26/06, Philadelphia, PA)
Survivors: the entire team
One sided as it was, this match provided some decent crowd-pleasing action, as well as a number of comedy spots. Mike Knox being eliminated by Shawn Michaels in under a minute, and then Shawn asking his team, “Who was he?” is never not funny. “I think he’s on ECW.” “Oh, so we’re doing GOOD then?” Too hilarious. Also of note was Punk outpopping the entire team during the pre-match DX intro, despite having only been in WWE for three months. It’s stuff like that that drives Vince McMahon even more insane.

21. Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, and Hunico def. Randy Orton, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, Sin Cara, and Mason Ryan (11/20/11, New York, NY)
Survivors: Barrett, Rhodes
It was a pretty good way of putting over Intercontinental Champion Rhodes and soon-to-be pushed heel Barrett (before his arm injury in February). Orton dispatched a drained Ziggler early before Barrett’s team rattled off 4 straight eliminations, leaving Orton alone against 4 men. Swagger went quietly, then Hunico was RKOed out before the Viper was outsmarted, losing to Barrett’s Wasteland.

20. The Miz, Sheamus, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre def. John Morrison, Matt Hardy, Evan Bourne, Shelton Benjamin, and Finlay (11/22/09, Washington, DC)
Survivors: Miz, Sheamus, McIntyre
Other than McIntyre’s push stalling in 2010, that heel side is like “Team Groom for Greatness”, as the other four men would all go on to hold a World Title. Whereas the face team features three men no longer in WWE, one suspended for ingesting synthetic ganja, and a captain who is a kitty-whipped laughingstock. Regardless, the match was a tremendous showcase of midcarders soon-to-be big deals, which gives Survivor Series (as well as the Royal Rumble) its ochre of flavor. The highlights were McIntyre nearly breaking Bourne in half at the neck with his Future Shock DDT, and Sheamus definitively crushing Finlay in the “Battle of the Brogue.”

19. Davey Boy Smith, Jim Neidhart, Doug Furnas, and Phil Lafon (Team Canada) def. Vader, Steve Blackman, Marc Mero, and Goldust (Team USA) (11/9/97, Montreal, PQ)
Survivor: Smith
Team Canada, it should be noted, featured only one actual Canadian in Lafon. On the night where Bret Hart would be excommunicated from WWE canon, it seemed appropriate that a hastily-assembled team of America haters would be on display. The match was merely a backdrop to begin a feud with Vader and the increasingly-erratic Goldust, who walked out without ever tagging in, but the match was an exciting wrestling exhibition when Vader, Mero, Smith, Furnas and Lafon were involved. Having a pro-Canuck team in an enthusiastic Canadian setting provided a hot crowd as well, even if the match was overshadowed at night’s end by…..well, you know.

18. Ted Dibiase, Rhythm & Blues, and a Mystery Partner (The Million Dollar Team) def. Dusty Rhodes, Koko B Ware, and The Hart Foundation (The Dream Team) (11/22/90, Hartford, CT)
Survivor: Dibiase
Assuming that Honky and Neidhart are future Hall of Famers, as well as the mystery partner, you have eight Hall of Famers in one match. Impressive, no? Anyway, you probably know by now that said mystery partner is The Undertaker, making his WWE debut in grand fashion by obliterating Ware and Rhodes before taking a countout loss to save his mystique. Hart lost his brother Dean the day before to kidney failure, and Roddy Piper (on commentary) declared “The Hitman” had dedicated the match to him. Foreshadowing his eventual singles push, Hart came back from three on one to tussle with Dibiase at the end, losing when the Million Dollar Man rolled through his cross body.

17. Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, Brutus Beefcake, Ricky Steamboat, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan def. Honky Tonk Man, Ron Bass, Harley Race, Hercules, and Danny Davis (11/26/87, Richfield, OH)
Survivors: Savage, Roberts, Steamboat
The first Survivor Series match ever had one of the more intriguing stories ever seen at the event. Honky, Intercontinental Champion for six months running and an unlikely champion at that, was versed by five challengers, all of whom capable of beating him for the gold, if not for Honky’s perpetual luck and knack for cheating. Honky’s teammates weren’t able to go the distance, as Honky found himself stuck with the three men he had feuded with through 1987, and they all still held a grudge. After trying his best to hang with Savage and his cohorts, Honky took a walk for the countout loss. By the way, wouldn’t YOU have loved to see Savage and Steamboat as a semi-regular team? Me too.

16. Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Koko B Ware, Hercules, and Hillbilly Jim def. Big Bossman, Akeem, Ted Dibiase, Haku, and The Red Rooster (11/24/88, Richfield, OH)
Survivors: Savage, Hogan
Koko and Rooster main evented a WWE PPV not called “Royal Rumble” or “Irony-Mania”. The Towers were positioned as holdover threats to Savage and Hogan before the “Mega Powers Exploding” months later. Hogan being handcuffed late in the match while Savage had to try and fend off Bossman and Akeem provided some tension to a well-worked, albeit predictable, affair. The sad part was Dibiase, the hottest heel when the year started, reduced to working a nothing angle with former “slave” Hercules, and then floating around with nothing to do for months until he was handed the Jake Roberts feud. Other than such quibbles, it was a fine main event to the Series’ second incarnation.

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15. The Ultimate Warrior, Jim Neidhart, and The Rockers (The Ultimate Warriors) def. Andre the Giant, Haku, Arn Anderson, and Bobby Heenan (The Heenan Family) (11/23/89, Chicago, IL)
Survivor: Warrior
I love when you look back at old matches like this and realize that WWE and Vince McMahon were giving experimental runs to those deemed to have “future prospects.” This particular match was the closer for the 1989 Survivor Series, and Warrior was given a chance to shine as the final act, foreshadowing his World Title run the following year. In addition, Shawn Michaels lasted quite a while in the match for a 24-year-old tag team wrestler, getting to pin Haku before succumbing to Anderson’s spinebuster. Surely with Marty Jannetty eliminated, the match became something of a singles audition for the future Heartbreak Kid. For those wondering why Heenan was in the match, check Tully Blanchard’s drug test results for an explanation.

14. Kofi Kingston, Christian, Mark Henry, MVP, and R-Truth def. Randy Orton, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Ted Dibiase, and William Regal (11/22/09, Washington, DC)
Survivor: Kingston
Quite the anachronism in 2011, Orton pinned Henry within the first minute, Orton and Punk worked in tandem, eventual main eventer R-Truth bit the dust early, and Orton Punk were both reviled villains to Christian’s virtuous good guy routine. But rather than expose the fallacies of WWE’s breakneck booking change, let’s look at the upside: Kingston was made with this one, withstanding seven minutes of Punk and Orton breaking him down, to score what should have been a career-boosting victory. Instead, he blew the finish weeks later in a triple threat involving Orton, and Orton had an on-camera freakout that got Kofi punished, but not Randino. Weird.

13. Razor Ramon, 123 Kid, Davey Boy Smith, and The Headshrinkers (The Bad Guys) def. Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, and Jeff Jarrett (The Teamsters) (11/23/94, San Antonio, TX)
Survivor: Ramon
You can be made in a loss, and Diesel was a made man after this performance. After lots of early action in which everyone but Michaels got involved, Diesel said “enough of this” and went on a rampage. Fatu bit the dust with a Jackknife, followed by Kid, then Sionne, and then the Bulldog took a count out loss. With Razor remaining, against 5 on 1 odds, a loss seemed inevitable when Michaels FINALLY tagged in and accidentally superkicked Diesel. In a silly finish, all five heels were counted out when Diesel angrily stalked Michaels. Razor became the only sole survivor in history to never eliminate anyone and, three days later, Diesel beat Bob Backlund to become WWE Champion.

12. Andre the Giant, King Kong Bundy, Rick Rude, One Man Gang, and Butch Reed def. Hulk Hogan, Bam Bam Bigelow, Paul Orndorff, Don Muraco, and Ken Patera (11/26/87, Richfield, OH)
Survivor: Andre
Sorry, Jim Crockett Promotions. When cable providers had to choose between airing Starrcade ’87 and the inaugural Survivor Series, with the lure of Hulk and Andre in the main event, facing off eight months after WrestleMania III, WWE won out in spades. After the sides whittled down to a three on two, Hogan and Andre finally locked horns, but the Hulkster was counted out after Bundy and Gang kept him from re-entering the ring. Bigelow managed to eliminate Bundy and Gang and would have defied the odds Cena-style but, well, it was Andre. The Frenchman flattened Bammer for the final fall, giving himself a just cause to petition a rematch against Hogan for the WWE title. And that’s a fascinating story in itself.

11. Doug Furnas, Phil Lafon, and The Godwinns def. Owen Hart, Davey Boy Smith, and The New Rockers (11/17/96, New York, NY)
Survivors: Furnas, Lafon
After a cup of coffee in ECW in the fall of 1996, Furnas and Lafon debuted in the opening match of Survivor Series 1996, and what a debut it was. Once Marty Jannetty busted his ankle prior to being eliminated, and then both Godwinns went, WWE was in store for action that they’d never seen before. Leif Cassidy (known better as Al Snow) took a header with modified reverse superplex from Lafon, and the well-traveled veterans were made to hold off Hart and Smith, then WWE Tag Team Champions. Bulldog was cradled for elimination, and Furnas planted Owen with an absolutely vicious release German suplex to give Furnas and Lafon the win with a crazy standing ovation from the Garden crowd.

10. The Rock, The Undertaker, Kane, Chris Jericho, and Big Show vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, and Shane McMahon (11/19/01, Greensboro, NC)
Survivor: Rock
It was an abrupt end to what should have been a money-maker for WWE. The WCW/ECW Invasion had sputtered to a poorly-booked finish, but at least we got a great finale out of it. With the future of the company at stake, and the losing side being forced to disband for good, drama built over the forty-five minute coda. Once down to just Rock and Austin, after Jericho attempted to selfishly maim his own partner, the two icons of the Attitude era put on a dramatic finish, ending with Angle proving to be a mole, as he clocked Austin with a title belt. One Rock Bottom later, and the Alliance was dead, leaving Stephanie to scream like a banshee in tears backstage.

9. The Powers of Pain, Hart Foundation, The Rockers, The British Bulldogs, and The Young Stallions def. Demolition, The Brainbusters, Los Conquistadors, The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, and The Bolsheviks (11/24/88, Richfield, OH)
Survivors: Powers of Pain
When was the last time WWE had ten teams, REAL teams, under lock and key like this? This would be the second time a match with ten teams would take place (I do believe this spoils a later entry), and it was full of great action and well-told stories. The climax was an inexplicable story turn in which Mr. Fuji intentionally caused Demolition, the World Tag Team Champions, mind you, to be counted out, just so he could manage the Powers of Pain for some reason. In other fascinating notes, the Conquistadors, perennial jobbers, lasted over forty minutes, and the Rougeaus were eliminated early due to a very tense real-life feud with Dynamite Kid.

8. Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and Maven def. Triple H, Batista, Edge, and Gene Snitsky (11/14/04, Cleveland, OH)
Survivor: Orton
Kicking off one of the greatest five-month story arcs ever seen in WWE history (I’m serious), Orton led his team to victory in a match where the winning side got to run Raw for one month while Eric Bischoff took a long vacation. In the end, it would lead to Batista realizing he could beat Triple H and thus slowly turned on him before brutalizing him for the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania 21. Sadly, though, this match didn’t make Orton the top babyface star that Vince McMahon was hoping for, but lord knows they’d try again year after year. Highlight of the match is Maven busting Snitsky open with a stiff right hand, and Gene getting his revenge with a chair shot that just about killed the Shop-At-Home star.

7. Ric Flair, Ted Dibiase, The Warlord, and The Mountie def. Rowdy Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Davey Boy Smith, and Virgil (11/27/91, Detroit, MI)
Survivor: Flair
What a great beginning, what a lousy finish. Talk about your impressive lists of talent for one match, with the exception of Warlord, who at least provided a musclehead to throw people around and create “ooooh” moments with. Even Virgil in 1991 had hit a nice stride. Smith and Warlord are both eliminated after a Flair cheapshot causes Bulldog to go, and then Hart duplicates the act on Warlord, allowing Piper to pin the big man. The match then ends in a bizarre multi-man count out, with Flair being the only man to beat the count back inside, thus cheaply becoming the sole survivor. It was a shame, because the match was turning into something AWESOME, aided by a white-hot crowd. What a pity.

6. The Shield and The Real Americans def. Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, and The Usos (11/24/13, Boston, MA)
Survivor: Roman Reigns

Easily the best elimination match in nearly a decade, WWE gave a Booking 101 demonstration on how to portray a wrestler as a killer. After Dean Ambrose, Cesaro, and Jack Swagger bit the dust, Reigns went ballistic, thinning the field of Rhodes and Jimmy Uso. Seth Rollins bounced Jey Uso out before getting downed by Rey. Down two-on-one, an undaunted Reigns plowed through Goldust and Mysterio in a 30-second span to stand tall. The action along the way was the fast-paced fare you’d expect, given the entrants, but letting one man, one not named Cena or Orton, obliterate so many opponents gave hope that Reigns would become a power player.

5. Skip, Rad Radford, Tom Pritchard, and 123 Kid (The Bodydonnas) def. Marty Jannetty, Barry Horowitz, Hakushi, and Bob Holly (The Underdogs) (11/19/95, Landover, MD)
Survivor: Kid
Imagine in 2011 if they put the likes of Daniel Bryan and other barely-seen, improperly-used talents in one twenty minute match and told them “go nuts.” In this opening match to the 1995 show, fast-paced athletes like Hakushi, Jannetty, and Kid wowed the crowd in spectacular fashion with action that Vince McMahon wasn’t exactly used to putting on. Let’s just say Vince bellowed “WHATAMANEUVER” a lot. After Jannetty finished Skip off with a top rope powerbomb (unheard of in WWE at the time), Kid used help from new stablemate Psycho Sid to finish Jannetty, continuing his remolding into one of Ted Dibiase’s corporate players.

4. Batista, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, Bobby Lashley, and JBL (Team Smackdown) def. Shawn Michaels, Kane, Big Show, Carlito, and Chris Masters (Team Raw) (11/27/05, Detroit, MI)
Survivor: Orton
The in-ring action for this one was superb, as you had wrestlers who didn’t even LIKE each other railing off creative double teams for the greater good of brand supremacy (you know, when the brand extension WASN’T a bastardized concept meant to make people care about a draft from year to year….). But as fun and different as the in-ring action was, the action at the commentary desks was even better, as Michael Cole and Tazz sniped with Joey Styles (remember him?), Jerry Lawler, and Jonathan Coachman for the entire match in between calling moves. For once, it seemed like Vince McMahon stepped away from the headset and just let their barbs come naturally, and it was FUN. In the end, Michaels took out Mysterio and JBL, but the RKO got him moments later. Then The Undertaker returned. Great stuff.

3. Razor Ramon, Macho Man Randy Savage, Marty Jannetty, and 123 Kid def. IRS, Diesel, Rick Martel, and Adam Bomb (11/24/93, Boston, MA)
Survivors: Jannetty, Kid
A major substitution took place before the card, as Savage was called in to pinch hit for Mr. Perfect, who either bowed out due to recurring back problems or alcoholic issues, depending on which source you believe. Regardless, the action was raucous for the first fifteen to twenty minutes, with Diesel, Savage, IRS, and Razor, the four bigger players involved, being eliminated. Once down to the monstrous Bomb and wily Martel against two smaller competitors, it seemed that Kid and Jannetty had little chance. This was especially true after Bomb gave Kid a sickening slam on the concrete after a plancha gone bad. However, after a half hour of action, Kid and Jannetty ended the contest with matching sunset flips on both men to become unlikely survivors.

2. Strike Force, Young Stallions, Killer Bees, British Bulldogs, and the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers def. Hart Foundation, Demolition, The Islanders, The New Dream Team, and The Bolsheviks (11/26/87, Richfield, OH)
Survivors: Stallions, Bees
The original twenty-man elimination contest features WWE talents at their most innovative. In a match with Bret Hart, Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith, Tito Santana, and others, this should not be a surprise. Hard to say what was better: Haku nearly decapitating Dynamite with the savate kick, or Paul Roma saving Jim Powers with a top rope sunset flip on Valentine to eliminate him. This match has literally everything: crisp finishing sequences, top-notch wrestling, good swerves (Strike Force, the champs, were eliminated not fifteen minutes into the forty minute match), and a nice underdog finish, as Jim Brunzell pinned Bret Hart, allowing the Bees and Stallions to outsmart the brawnier Islanders en route to victory. If you love tag team wrestling, hunt down a copy of this event, because this match will be your Graceland.

1. Chris Jericho, Christian, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, and Scott Steiner (Team Bischoff) def. Shawn Michaels, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, and The Dudley Boyz (Team Austin) (11/16/03, Dallas, TX)
Survivor: Orton
If Austin’s team were to be victorious, he, as co-GM of Raw, would be allowed to use martial law to keep order on the show (i.e. beat people up). However, if Bischoff’s team won, Austin was out as co-GM. The match began innocuously enough, with Henry, Booker, Steiner, and RVD going, and then Michaels hit a gusher outside the ring, with blood spilling everywhere. Seriously, it looked like he was going to die any second. Jericho and Christian finished off the future Team 3D, and Austin’s hopes were now pinned on a crimson-soaked zombie. Oh, the drama! A fluke Sweet Chin Music took Christian out, and a cradled reversal of the Walls doomed Jericho. Michaels heroically hung in there against a fresh Orton, and the ref was soon knocked out. Austin and Bischoff interjected themselves, and Austin chased Bischoff to the entrance set and thrashed him good, but Batista then jumped the rail, pancaked Michaels with the Batista Bomb, and the ref came around to count Orton’s pinfall, leaving a stunned Austin in the aisleway. Had Austin been gone for more than four months after this, and not returned as the “Sheriff”, it’d have meant a lot more. Instead, it was just a great match, one in which the drama and story meant more than any chain-wrestling sequence could ever mean.

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Top 5 WWE Survivor Series Moments

November 17, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE will present its 28th edition of the Survivor Series this Sunday. Some of pro wrestling’s most memorable moments have taken place on the WWE’s grand November stage. In celebration of 28 years of Survivor Series I present my top 5 memorable moments in WWE Survivor Series history.

5 – The Gobbledy Gooker…Survivor Series 1990. If you ever want to see the epitome of the crazy, corny, character-driven wrestling of the 80s and early 90s, watch the debut of the Gobbledy Gooker.

The Gookler was hyped for weeks on television. Without the advantage of the Internet, nobody was quite sure what to expect. Mean Gene Okerland hosted the segment which featured a large egg and a rabid crowd. Moments later the Gobbledy Gooker “hatched” from the egg and in a rare moment at the time, the WWF was booed out of the building.

The Gooker was played by Hector Guerrero and has been rarely seen since hatching at Survivor Series. While this is anything far from great, to leave this off of a memorable moment list would be ignorant. The Gobbledy Gooker is a Wrestlecrap.com favorite and even made a return at the gimmick battle royal at WrestleMania 17.

4 – Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin…Survivor Series 1996. This is one of my favorite matches of all-time. This match was historic and memorable on a lot of levels. Number one, it was the biggest match in the WWF at the time for the man who would later go on to carry the company to number one. Second, this was the first match back from a lengthy layoff for the WWF’s top gun of the early 1990s. Third, a bad match or bad reaction may have stifled the rise to the top of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Last this was the first in the series that would take the WWF into the Attitude era.

Steve Austin and Bret Hart tore the house down and arguably stole the show. The feud couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. The story on this night ended with Bret getting the win in a close match. Any other feud would have ended there, but as Austin said in promos building up the match, “Bret it will never end.”

The two would go on to steal the show at Wrestlemania 13 and have arguably the greatest Wrestlemania match of all-time. The moment the two locked up , solidified Steve Austin as a money player and a main-event WWE wrestler. This match meant just as much, if not more to Austin’s career as any other that he ever had.

For Bret, the match was equally huge. Bret left the WWF to pursue acting, in the meantime giving Shawn Michaels the ball to carry. Shawn’s success caused bitterness and jealousy in Bret that motivated him to return to the ring. Bret talked a big game coming back and a let down at Survivor Series against Austin would have turned him into more of a laughing-stock than anything else.

The match exceeded expectations and was the start of the Attitude era. The the intense build up in promos between the two going into the match was on another level of anything that the WWF/WWE had going at the time. A forgotten match by many, but one of the most memorable moments in Survivor Series history was the night Bret Hart returned to Madison Square Garden and answered the challenge of Stone Cold Steve Austin.

3 – The Rock wins his first WWF World title…Survivor Series 1998. The Rock was not the movie sensation, crowd favorite, buyrate-busting superstar that he would later be at Survivor Series 98. However, the writing was on the wall and you would have to be ignorant to miss the ascension of the Rock.

The Survivor Series 1998 featured a tournament to fill the vacated WWF title. The tournament was fantastic and every match was filled with crowd heat and emotion. Steve Austin was the runaway favorite to win the tournament, yet the fans would be swerved and the first chapter in history would be written.

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The Rock had started as a flop, shoved down the fans throats as a babyface when coming into the WWF. Shortly thereafter, he was repackaged and joined the Nation of Domination. This is where the Rock developed the People’s Elbow, the People’s Eyebrow, and his persona. I remember going to a WWE RAW taping in 1998 where the Rock was wrestling the opening dark match of the night.

The Rock was far from a favorite to win the tournament, but wound up stealing the show. The Rock went through Big Boss Man, Ken Shamrock, the Undertaker, and Mick Foley to win the title. The Rock entered the tournament as a favorite but ended the tournament turning on Foley, joining Vince McMahon’s Corporation, and winning his first WWF title. This was truly a coming out party for the man that would arguably become the WWF’s biggest superstar in history.

2 – Hulk Hogan vs. the Undertaker…Survivor Series 1991. Who would have known that since this match the Undertaker would not only last longer in the WWE than Hogan, but go on to become a true wrestling legend.

This match was the first of many big-time matches for Taker and one of the most anticipated matches of Hogan’s peak as champ. Hogan last beat Sgt. Slaughter for the title but the WWF was starting to change. New wrestlers from the NWA were jumping over including Sid Vicious and Ric Flair, fans were tiring of the corny monsters, and Hogan was without a real threat as champion.

Enter Ric Flair and the Undertaker. By all means, this should have been Flair’s win over Hogan. The match was made and a young, athletic Undertaker was bumping all over the place for the elder statesman. The match was going the Hulkster’s way until Ric Flair made his way down the aisle.

Flair would make his presence known by coming down to ringside and trying to steal Hogan’s belt. Hogan was able to fight him off but also had to contend with Paul Bearer. The two man interference was too much for the Hulkster. Flair wound up tossing a steel-chair inside the ring which would be the deciding factor. Undertaker tombstoned Hogan on top of the steel-chair leading to a 1, 2, 3 and winning his first WWF title.

Today, this wouldn’t be a big deal but back then it was a huge deal whenever the world title changed hands. This was only the second time since the pay-per-view boom that the world title changed hands on a show other than a WrestleMania. This was the first time a non-elimination-style match was held on a Survivor Series. This was Hogan’s third title-loss if you don’t count Andre the Giant’s non-sanctioned win on Saturday Night’s Main Event.

This was one night, one match, and a lot of history. The Undertaker was still a new kid on the block yet the new kid shocked the world by beating Hulk Hogan for the WWF title.

1 – Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart…Survivor Series 1997. Fifteen years later, still one of the most talked about matches, angles, and moments in wrestling history is Hart vs. Michaels from Survivor Series 1997 or what is commonly called the Montreal Screwjob. The match is secondary to the story and tale that this legend has grown into since the bell rang that ended the title reign and WWE career of Bret Hart.

The match had been built up theoretically since Shawn Michaels beat Bret Hart for the WWF title at WrestleMania 12. The backstage heat and animosity between the two had become well known in and out of wrestling circles. The two not only loathed each other, but had a well know fight in the locker room which resulted in Shawn Michaels losing clumps of his hair.

The short story behind the scenes is that Vince McMahon told Bret Hart several weeks before the match that he would not be honoring his 20-year contract. Vince allowed Bret, who was his WWF Champion at the time to negotiate and sign a deal with WCW.

Going into the match Vince asked Bret to drop the title to Shawn. Bret refused to do it because the match was in Canada and he considered it an insult to lose on his home turf. Bret agreed to drop the title but had repeated arguments with Vince over the how, when, and to who he would lose the title to. Bret’s obvious hatred for Shawn influenced his decision making for better or worse.

The match itself was good, not great and a far cry in a good way from their forgotten Survivor Series 1992 main-event. The intensity between the two was very good and the atmosphere took the match to another level. The match ended with the supposed “screw job ending.” Michaels had Hart in a sharpshooter, and the referee signaled for the bell even though it was obvious that Hart didn’t give up. Bret was screwed, Shawn was the champ, and one of the most talked about moments in wrestling folklore was born.

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Hulk Hogan Could Wrestle At WWE WrestleMania 31

November 13, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I have to admit that I never thought it was going to happen. Hulk Hogan has been talking for a year about coming back for one match at WWE WrestleMania. It seemed like a longshot but a new report indicates he may be closer than any of us think.

Dave Meltzer has the latest in the newest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. According to the Meltz, there is a real shot that Hogan could wrestle at Mania. That said, Hogan does have one big obstacle in his way before he can even think about lacing up the boots.

The decision (on Hogan wrestling) will largely depend on whether Hogan can pass a physical. This goes for everyone over the age of about 45 that is under consideration for being brought back on the show, including Sting. Since the situation with Lawler, WWE has instituted strict physicals for older talent before they’ll let them do anything physical, which is why nobody has even been running into Hogan’s fists on Raw.

This is a bit of a surprise to me. Yes I know that Hogan has been hyping it up but I just assumed it was Hogan’s hype with little substance behind it. Hogan has had multiple back surgeries over the years which included putting rods in his back. Hogan’s back was so bad at one point that he sued his doctors claiming they did more damage and cost him a mega payday for a WrestleMania match against John Cena.

Say what you will about Hogan but I think the guy deserves one last sendoff if he is healthy enough to participate. He has his critics but he is arguably the Babe Ruth of pro wrestling. He never had an official retirement match in a WWE ring. His final match at this point would be an Impact Wrestling match in which Hogan teamed with Sting and James Storm to defeat Bobby Roode, Bully Ray, and Kurt Angle. It would be a shame to see such a historic career end on that match.

So let’s say Hogan does pass a physical. What do you do with him? I think the big money lies in a John Cena match. I don’t think anyone is fooling themselves into believing it would be good. However, I do think that they could pull off an exciting match. If the fans know its Hogan’s last match, they are going to go crazy for anything he does, no matter what looks like. Unfortunately I can’t imagine Hogan bumping with rods in his back and with no bumps, how good is the match going to be? I think the way to go with Hogan would be some kind of a tag-team match with Cena, keeping Hogan limited to hot tags and some selling.

I think Rusev would be an intriguing match. The betting line seems to favor a Cena vs. Rusev Mania match. Hogan vs. Rusev makes all kinds of sense. I think the fans would eat it up and again, the emotions of seeing Hogan one last time in that situation would overcompensate for his limitations inside of the ring. Other than Rusev or Cena, I just don’t see what you do with the guy.

At this point I am starting to find myself rooting for the guy. As I stated earlier, I think he deserves it and I don’t think there is any doubt he really wants it. He will have worked his butt off to pass physical so if he can pass it I say you give the guy one last ride. He’s earned it.

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Top 20 WWE Greatest Survivor Series Teams Ever

November 13, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

After a quarter century-plus of WWE Survivor Series matches, wherein teams of 4, 5, or even 10, try to outdo one another in the name of survival bragging rights, certain teams have stood out above the fray as being the most powerful and memorable. Here’s 20 of the all-time greats, with no real criteria in place, except the gut feeling of “how awesome were they?”

20. Owen Hart’s Team (1996)
Members: Owen Hart, British Bulldog, The New Rockers
Result: Lost (Opposing Survivors: Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon)
Why They Were Great: For the most part, this was just a hastily thrown together team that had but one purpose: make Furnas and Lafon look like the world-beaters they could be.

But as far as “workrate” battles go, Hart, Bulldog, and Leif Cassidy (Marty Jannetty was gone early) made proficient tackling dummies for Furnas’ suplexes and Lafon’s strikes. Cassidy was floored by an insane inverted superplex from the Frenchman, and Furnas nearly decapitated Owen with a throwing German suplex, giving two new faces the best WWE debut you could ask for.

19. The Royals (1995)
Members: King Mabel, Jerry Lawler, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and Isaac Yankem DDS
Result: Lost (Opposing Survivors: The Undertaker, Fatu, Savio Vega, Henry Godwinn)
Why They Were Great: Another “patsy” team whose only objective was to get killed by The Undertaker one by one until Mabel, who crushed The Dead Man’s eye socket weeks earlier, ran away in terror after becoming his team’s last hope.

What was most impressive of this team was its lasting power. In the Attitude Era, Helmsley and Yankem would be rechristened Triple H and Kane, and become among the era’s biggest stars. Lawler and Mabel (then Viscera) would stick around as well. Amazingly, all four men would be in WWE in 2008, the year of Big Vis’ final release. Perhaps no other team has had the longevity of the Royals.

18. Team Miz (2009)
Members: The Miz, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger
Result: Won (Survivors: Miz, Sheamus, McIntyre)
Why They Were Great: I admit to being a fan of teams that feature a host of breakout stars before they broke out; the ‘before they were stars’ squads. Miz’s team was comprised of himself (then-United States Champion), and four men who, outside of some developmental false starts, had really all debuted in the past year.

Miz, Sheamus, Swagger, and Ziggler would all be World Champions within the next year and a half (Sheamus the following month), while McIntyre would go on to become Intercontinental Champion for over five months. The team they beat was, appropriately, built from stars that had seen good runs already (John Morrison, Matt Hardy, Finlay, Shelton Benjamin, and Evan Bourne), so “putting over” the new class made sense.

17. The Heenan Family (1989)
Members: Andre the Giant, Bobby Heenan, Haku, Arn Anderson
Result: Lost (Opposing Survivor: The Ultimate Warrior)
Why They Were Great: Perhaps no other team would be as deserving as the moniker of Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Team in the World. There isn’t a single boring personality on display here; no wasted space.

If the four men were to collectively write a book about their life’s experiences, what would be the best section: Andre’s drinking stories and Hollywood run-ins, Arn’s days of partying with the Horsemen and other wild characters in Atlanta, Haku’s tales of maiming idiots who dare test his toughness, or Heenan’s take on the sport, laced with his one-of-a-kind spit-take-inducing humor?

16. Hardy Boyz/Dudley Boyz (2000)
Members: Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley
Result: Won (Sole Survivor: Jeff Hardy)
Why They Were Great: WWE had two undeniably-great tag team runs: the latter half of the 1980s, and the early 2000s. In the second example, the Hardyz and the Dudleyz represented two-thirds of the division’s most renowned pairings, thanks to their participation in several breakthrough ladder, table, and ladder/table/chair matches.

At this respective ‘peak’ of their tag team careers, the quartet faced off with the other representative of their pantheon, Edge and Christian, as well as Right to Censor members Bull Buchanan and The Goodfather. The current TNA World Champion found himself remaining with Christian and Goodfather, overcoming interference from Val Venis to eliminate the former pimp, and survived.

15. The Shield/Real Americans
Members: Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger
Result: Won (Sole Survivor: Reigns)
Why They Were Great: Never before had one Survivor Series team been so rooted in the cyber-savvy indy scene, with Ring of Honor and Combat Zone Wrestling well-represented. The rec-center crowd could beam proudly, seeing Tyler Black, Jon Moxley, and Claudio Castagnoli plugged into classic WWE fare, while CM Punk and The American Dragon tagged elsewhere on the card. Makes Kevin Steen’s signing this year less surprising.
The match was more about putting over the killer edge of Reigns, and did a finer job of making the Shield’s muscle into a superhero as a heel than anything they’ve done since the group’s June 2014 split. Still, all three Shield members are treated like a big deal, all rightfully so, no matter how you feel about Reigns’ rocking chair-wooden dialogue. It’s essentially a dream team for the cool-heel lover.

14. Team Austin (2003)
Members: Shawn Michaels, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, The Dudley Boyz
Result: Lost (Opposing Survivor: Randy Orton)
Why They Were Great: Had this team existed in 1998, its cultural impact would have been even greater than it is here. Between Attitude pioneer Michaels, crowd-favorite Booker, and ECW cornerstones RVD and the Dudleyz, Stone Cold Steve Austin had five fine representatives for an elimination match with high stakes.

In what would end up being, in this author’s opinion, the greatest elimination match in Survivor Series history, Austin’s group waged war with a fivesome selected by Eric Bischoff. In the end, a hopelessly-bloody Michaels eliminated Christian and Chris Jericho, and then nearly ousted Orton before Batista (not in the match) illegally attacked him. Orton scored the pin, and Austin, as a result, was fired (albeit temporarily).

13. Team SmackDown (2005)
Members: Batista, Rey Mysterio, JBL, Randy Orton, Bobby Lashley
Result: Won (Sole Survivor: Orton)
Why They Were Great: It was the only elimination match at the underrated 2005 event, but it was one of the most fun ones of its kind. Smackdown’s group faced a team of five representing Raw; one which had a little less star power (Shawn Michaels, Big Show, Kane….then Carlito and Chris Masters). The end result was a wildly fun match, where even the sniping commentary between the two tables helped steal the show.

As for SmackDown’s team, talk about some impressive star power. Raw had the disadvantage of some of its stars taking part in other matches (John Cena vs. Kurt Angle, Triple H vs. Ric Flair), so Smackdown had the quality advantage. Batista was World Champion at the time, JBL and Orton were part of the main event scene, and Mysterio, after Eddie Guerrero’s passing, was on the verge of being a main eventer himself.

12. The Radicalz (2000)
Members: Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn
Result: Won (Survivors: Benoit, Saturn)
Why They Were Great: The foursome represented one particularly rusty nail pounded into the coffin of WCW. Their collective release from the company 10 months earlier not only cost WCW its backbone of hard work and crisp wrestling, but added that backbone of hard work and crisp wrestling to WWE, fortifying perhaps their most impressive roster ever.

Although the fate of the group as a whole has changed the opinions of certain members (only Malenko has made it largely unscathed), in their collective prime, The Radicalz represented wrestling’s in-ring elite. WWE made them even better by shading them in with personality, whether it was Benoit as a ruthless competitor, Guerrero as a comical womanizer, or Malenko as a stoic ladies man. As for Saturn, well…what do you know about Moppy?

11. Team Piper (1991)
Members: Rowdy Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Davey Boy Smith, Virgil
Result: Lost (Opposing Survivor: Ric Flair)
Why They Were Great: Admittedly, the quality of Survivor Series had dipped from previous years, as evidenced by a putrid contest between teams captained by Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Colonel Mustafa, as well as a drag-asstic four-team match notable only for planting the seed of Shawn Michaels’ heel turn. This match, however, saved the show, along with Undertaker’s first World Title win.

The team, Virgil included, largely represented WWE’s babyface upper midcard of the time period, as Bret was Intercontinental Champion, Bulldog was a capable competitor, Virgil had his best run, and Piper always had that star quality. Even their opponents were a damn fine team, making them entry 11b on this list: Ric Flair, Ted Dibiase, The Mountie, and The Warlord. Shame the match ended with a cheap disqualification.

10. The Teamsters (1994)
Members: Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Owen Hart, Jim Neidhart, Jeff Jarrett
Result: Lost (Opposing Survivor: Razor Ramon)
Why They Were Great: Speaking of cheap endings, after Ramon’s four partners were eliminated by Diesel, “The Bad Guy” became the first wrestler to be his team’s sole survivor without eliminating a single opponent. That’s because a miscue between Michaels and Diesel led to all five villains being counted out in the most unique Survivor finish to date.

But what a roster The Teamsters boasted. Michaels and Diesel were then-Tag Team Champions, and just months away from co-headlining WrestleMania against each other. Owen was wrapping up a feud with brother Bret, and Jarrett was on his way to becoming Intercontinental Champion. One has to wonder where the “Teamsters” name came from. It wasn’t as if they were a union threatening to shirk their duties or anything.

9. The Alliance (2001)
Members: Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Shane McMahon
Result: Lost (Opposing Survivor: The Rock)
Why They Were Great: Despite representing a storyline that would infuriate smarks and marks alike with its dullness and lack of drama, given its magnitude, the WCW/ECW hybrid group was reduced to basically Booker and Van Dam in starring roles, with the infusion of established WWE icons that “jumped ship”, thus killing the specialness of the invasion.

But still, on paper, The Alliance was very well represented. Austin was WWE Champion, Angle was his fiercest rival at the time (revealed to be a mole at the match’s conclusion), Booker and RVD saw significant time on Raw and Smackdown as the standouts of the 2001 acquisitions, and even Shane had credibility as a bump machine that freely got his ass whipped against the likes of Angle and Rock that year.

8. Team Powers of Pain (1988)
Members: Powers of Pain, Hart Foundation, Rockers, British Bulldogs, Young Stallions
Result: Won (Survivors: Powers of Pain)
Why They Were Great: Here’s a good argument for the proliferation of tag teams and a solid division: in 1988, there were ten tag teams that competed in this one match, and none of them had names like “(Blank) and (Blank)”. They were all legit duos, many of them over with the crowd, but most importantly, they ended up creating stars.

On this one team, you had Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and Davey Boy Smith, who would all help carry the company during its darkest times in the mid-90s. Out of these tandems came the stars of the future, and working tags only made them better rounded performers. Factor in Dynamite Kid and Marty Jannetty, and that’s some pretty impressive technicians on one team.

7. Edge and Christian/The Hardy Boyz (1999)
Members: Edge, Christian, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy
Result: Lost (Opposing Survivor: Hardcore Holly)
Why They Were Great: As I said in the previous example, tag teams round out performers and create better wrestlers out of them. You’ll find no better example of this in the Attitude Era and beyond than the men who made the tag team ladder match famous. All four men would go on to hold some form of a World Title, or top brand title, in their careers.

Coming together out of respect, this foursome absolutely made themselves with both their daredevil antics, and their youthful vibrance. Edge and Christian would turn heel shortly thereafter, and complete their personas with their self-deluded “gnarly dude” act, while the Hardyz would ride their life-on-the-edge bend to equal stardom.

6. Team DX (2006)
Members: Shawn Michaels, Triple H, CM Punk, The Hardy Boyz
Result: Won (Entire Team Survived)
Why They Were Great: If I could have the collective sum of all five men’s merchandise sales throughout their five WWE careers, I’d never have to work again. Also, I could buy TNA and make Repo Man champion, just to amuse myself. Talk about your collection of diverse, while altogether similar talent that each won over scores of fans.

Even WWE must’ve known the lure of Punk and the Hardyz; usually Shawn and Hunter would’ve remained standing on their own against Edge and Randy Orton’s team. Yet there’s the Straight Edge Superstar and Cameron, NC’s most famous brothers, helping rid Gregory Helms and Johnny Nitro. Shawn Michaels’ elimination of Mike Knox ranks as the funniest moment in the history of the event.

5: The All-Americans (1993)
Members: Lex Luger, The Undertaker, Steiner Brothers
Result: Won (Sole Survivor: Luger)
Why They Were Great: The team reads like the upper midcard of a WCW show in early 1990, but things changed with the former (and future) Turner talents under WWE’s banner. To battle a cliched team of evil foreigners (from horrid places like Japan, Canada, Finland, and Hawaii), Luger amassed a team of two collegiate athletes and a zombie mortician.

But jokes aside, given the limitations of WWE’s roster at the time, this was a pretty impressive team. Undertaker replaced Tatanka, who was injured by Yokozuna and Ludvig Borga, but it was done for the better, in my eyes. Luger/Taker/Steiners was kind of a poor man’s equivalent of Hogan/Andre/US Express 1985, but at least this team was aided by Taker’s super-sweet Colonies jacket. LET FREEDOM RING.

4. Team WWF (2001)
Members: The Rock, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Kane, Big Show
Result: Won (Sole Survivor: Rock)
Why They Were Great: It made sense for Vince McMahon to program the best possible group against The Alliance with the futures of both warring sides on the line. After all, when the opposing team featues Austin, Angle, Van Dam, and Booker for a killer blowoff, you need all the star power you can get as a counter punch.

On this team are five men who will all, most assuredly, be in WWE’s Hall of Fame, provided they don’t do anything irreversible to their loved ones. The match also had the benefit of furthering the budding rivalry between Rock and Jericho, which provided us with a number of awesome matches between two of the era’s most charismatic stars. The benefit of less Survivor matches is more star-studded teams.

3. The Hulkamaniacs (1989)
Members: Hulk Hogan, Jake Roberts, Demolition
Result: Won (Sole Survivor: Hogan)
Why They Were Great: For the most part, each team in 1989 had some weak links that would prevent them from making this list. Yeah, Roddy’s Rowdies had Piper and Jimmy Snuka, but the Bushwackers are grounds for disqualifcation. The 4X4’s boasted Jim Duggan and Bret Hart, but Ronnie Garvin and his upside-down toilet brush hairdo (credit: Bobby Heenan) were a dealbreaker.

Not the case with Hogan’s team. Jake Roberts was at his peak as a babyface, feuding with Ted Dibiase after the Million Dollar Man injured his neck. Demolition were the WWE Tag Team Champions on their last great run, and Hogan was the company’s lead dog. He would finish off Zeus here, and in a cage match shortly thereafter, before putting on one of his finest performances ever against the Ultimate Warrior months later.

2. Team Savage (1987)
Members: Macho Man Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, Jake Roberts, Brutus Beefcake, Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Result: Won (Survivors: Savage, Steamboat, Roberts)
Why They Were Great: If WWE had a midcard this sustained and deep today, you’d hear far less complaints from know-it-all fans. Savage and Steamboat on the same team is always a win, but factor in Roberts, Beefcake, and Duggan in their physical primes (as well as arguable peak of fanhood), and you can understand the high ranking.

Amazingly, Savage would feud with each of his teammates in high-profile fashion at some point. His legendary issue with Steamboat is a given, but he also feuded with Roberts in 1991 in one of WWE’s raciest stories ever. Macho Man would also battle Duggan in 1989 over the “crown”, and Beefcake was was Hogan’s ally in the post-Mega Powers explosion.

1. The Warriors (1990)
Members: The Ultimate Warrior, Kerry Von Erich, Legion of Doom
Result: Won (Sole Survivor: Warrior)
Why They Were Great: Here’s a case where the team name befit all of the members: Ultimate Warrior, Modern Day Warrior, and Road Warriors. Had Von Erich not been a worn-down shell of his once Greek God self, this team would have been flawless from head to toe. As it is, it’s still the greatest Survivor Series team of all time.

Just the combination of Warrior, at his peak as WWE Champion, and the LOD, the most popular tag team ever, is enough to warrant a top spot. Fans of all ages appreciated the three face-painted gladiators that ripped opponents to shreds with ease. Factor in Von Erich as Intercontinental Champion, and you get a team that has no lack of prestige.

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WWE Is Trending Up

November 11, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Hell in a Cell is in the rearview mirror and we are on the road to Survivor Series. With all that’s occurred over the past few weeks, there are quite a few things to discuss in regards to the direction of the WWE. As usual, there’s some good and some bad. There are still some depth issues, but they are not as glaring today because there’s some really decent action and programs taking place. Here are my thoughts on the current events in the WWE.

Team Authority vs Team Cena
Last week on RAW Mr. McMahon made an appearance to up the stakes of the traditional Survivor Series match between Team Authority and Team Cena. We all know by now that if The Authority loses, they are no longer The Authority. This week, it seems, as though the teams are pretty much set, and boy was I way off with my predictions. As of now, it looks like it will be Cena, Ziggler, Sheamus, Big Show and Ryback taking on Seth Rollins, Kane, Mark Henry, Rusev and Luke Harper. This isn’t at all what I was expecting because of how big they were talking this up. With all that’s at stake, I believed Triple H would put himself in the match. It does not seem as though he will be performing at Survivor Series. Sounds like Randy Orton will be out of commission for a couple weeks, but I’m still very confident he’ll make his way into the match and on Cena’s team. I will go into this more below as he’s built far too much momentum to be left out of this storyline.

John Cena
John Cena defeated Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell earning himself another matchup with the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar. I’m sure that I am not alone with my feelings about this, but I can’t stand this decision. They had a perfect opportunity to do something fresh between Orton and Lesnar and they missed it. I know Orton has Seth Rollins and The Authority to deal with, but Orton versus Lesnar would have been extremely refreshing. I don’t know what it’s going to take for Cena to go away, but I think I’m ready for it. He continuously ruins great opportunities and kills the momentum of other super stars. His promo game is old as well. Yes John, we know you are on TV every week (unless you have a movie to shoot), working your ass off. It’s impossible to miss you on television, but it’s so nice when you’re away. Things will get even worse if he ends up beating Brock for the title, which I really don’t expect to happen. I just wish he were more humble and willing to play the game.

The program he has going into Survivor Series is nothing new. Some of the stuff going on around him is great, but Cena being the leader of the baby face team does nothing for me. This program will give him the opportunity to plant the seeds for future programs. For example, there’s a lot of buzz that Cena will end up getting into a feud with Rusev at some point. As usual, I’d expect Cena to end Rusev’s impressive streak and ultimately kill everything he has been building, just like he did with Bray Wyatt. I’m not ready to give a prediction on the Survivor Series match but one can only hope that Cena and the WWE do the right thing going forward.

Randy Orton
Like I mentioned above, a huge opportunity was missed when Orton lost to Cena at Hell in a Cell. Instead of Brock Lesnar being his next feud, he will now be going after Seth Rollins and The Authority. After his awesome RKO out of nowhere on Rollins a couple weeks ago and The Authorities beat down last week, Orton’s baby face turn is complete. I’m not a huge fan of Orton as a face, but in this story line, I absolutely love it. He will be the bad ass that he always is and will do everything to spoil The Authorities plans. I don’t fully understand the plan to pull him off TV while he’s on a roll like this but at the same time I can see what they are doing. I fully expect him to make a big return and end up on Team Cena at Survivor Series. If done correctly, he could become even hotter than he is right now. As much as I want Orton to be feuding with Brock, going up against The Authority is the next best thing and it could be really good.

Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt made his long awaited return at Hell in a Cell, attacking Dean Ambrose and causing him to lose his match with Rollins. I’m an admitted supporter of Wyatt and I was really enjoying his new promos and was hoping for a big return. I’m still not sure I loved when his return happened, but I love the program with Dean Ambrose. I will get into a bit more soon, but Ambrose should have won and Bray could have still made the same impact with his return. The Wyatt Family versus The Shield was awesome so there’s no reason to think that Bray versus Dean won’t be as good, if not better. Their promos have been spectacular and the in-ring (and out of ring) action will be great. If Bray’s promos from RAW and Smackdown are an indication as to what we can expect from them going forward, sign me up for a nice long program.

Dean Ambrose
I say it every time I see him on TV, but Dean Ambrose is the best thing going in the WWE right now and I stand by that. Unfortunately, the WWE doesn’t seem to agree with me. There are zero reasons that I can think of as to why Ambrose should not have beaten Rollins clean at Hell in a Cell. After an amazing performance headlining a pay-per-view, it seems as though he will be relegated to the upper mid-card. I couldn’t imagine a feud with Bray being a main event caliber program. On paper it definitely could be, but I don’t see the WWE putting them ahead of anything Cena, Orton or Rollins related. In the past few weeks they’ve been going at it, I’ve enjoyed it more than anything else going on with the product. Ambrose has someone who can hang with him on the mic and in the ring. As long as he’s on TV every week doing his thing, I’ll be happy. At some point, I hope he gets the main event push that he deserves.

Brock Lesnar
John Cena made it very clear that Brock is at home and not on TV every week and as we all know by now; Brock will be putting his Championship on the line against Cena. I’ve stated this many times before, but I have no problem with the Champion being at home and not on TV. When Brock is there, you’ll know that it means something. Since Brock is not there, we do need a lot more Paul Heyman. He’s the best talker in the company and he’s very much needed right now. A single Heyman promo makes a decent show, a great one.

Seth Rollins
I really don’t have too much to say about Rollins. I think he’s doing a spectacular job in his role as the company’s new top heel. JR talks about the traits of a great heel all the time on his podcast and blog and he fits it to a T. He not only has a pair of bodyguards, which I love, he’s the master of the retreat and will win at all costs. Obviously, with Brock at home working a part-time schedule, he won’t be cashing in any time soon. I personally would love to see him cash-in when Roman Reigns wins the title at WrestleMania. We all know that Reigns will be coming after Rollins when he makes his return, so he might as well make it extremely high drama and have Mr. Money in the Bank cash-in on his former Shield brother.

Hulk Hogan
When Hulk Hogan was done with TNA and it was announced that he was going to be making a return to WWE, I was extremely excited. He was the host of WrestleMania and that was an incredible moment with The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Outside of that, he’s been nothing more than a walking promo that struggles with his lines. When he comes out, it’s nothing special anymore and I personally feel that the WWE is wasting their opportunity with him. They really have nothing better for Hulk Hogan? If all they want from him is promo content, they should just stop because it’s not worth it, he deserves better than that.

Other Quick Notes
Unlike most, I am not a Ryback hater. I always felt he got a bad rap because of the way he was handled. He was pushed all the way to the top way too quickly and he crashed. That’s a tough thing to recover from. This week, he finished RAW standing tall as the destroyer that he is. It looks as though he will be a baby face going forward and

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10 Andre the Giant Stories You (May or) May Not Know

October 22, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Andre the Giant Jerry Lawler Midget StoryAndre the Giant has turned into a mythical character in pro wrestling folklore and urban legend since his passing. Many stories have floated around the Internet and bars on the Giant and I thought it would be fun to take a look back at 10 of Andre stories you may or may not have heard before.

Andre has always been a fun topic in interviews with peers who worked with him or traveled with the big man. We have all heard the stories about Andre’s drinking. They are legendary. I even heard a recount of Andre eating multiple hamburgers in one sitting from my dad who was a bartender in NYC in the 70s. But there are others that are just as interesting whether it be fights, backstage gossip, tales from the ring, or even some crazy anecdotes.

I could have came up with a list of over 20 but I narrowed it down to ten for a few reasons. Some stories are so outlandish that while they may be true they are hard to source. I stuck with stories that had sources whether from books or shoot interviews, etc. I also tried to keep them interesting to wrestling fans and mix them up with some you may have heard and others you haven’t. So here you go. If you thought you knew everything about Andre the Giant, well you might, but hopefully you learn a thing or two from this list.

Andre the Giant called Kamala racist names during a match and paid for it - Kamala has told this story in several interviews lately. Kamala and the Giant had a big rivalry in the early 80s which started with them matching up in territories and ended in the WWE. They made a lot of money together and while that is generally something wrestlers bonded over, Andre was not a fan of Kamala. Andre was in a bad mood and in their first match used a derogatory racist remark towards Kamala. You can probably guess what it was. Kamala was not happy about it and let the Giant know about it.

“Andre wasn’t the friendly guy that he appeared to be. He was real temperamental and had a nasty attitude. When I first started working with him, he called me a (derogatory) name in the ring and I beat him up. After that, I never had another problem with him. A lot of (top guys had problems with Andre too). He would just go out and mop the floor with people. He treated (wrestlers) nasty, and the fans too. Andre would do it just about every night. Guys would watch through the curtain to see what he was going to do.”

Kamala expanded on it when he was interviewed by Steve Austin a few months ago. Kamala told Austin that he and Andre were fine after that and that it was Andre who was responsible for bringing him to the WWE.

Andre the Giant called Bad News Brown/Allen the same racist name and almost paid for it - Well sadly it appears that Andre liked to drop the N-bomb back in his day. It also appears that some of those wrestlers didn’t like it and weren’t intimidated by the Giant’s size. Bad News Brown was one of them and on a tour of Japan, he had about enough of the Giant’s “humor.”

Bad News has told this story in interviews and as the story goes, Andre the comedian was in the back of the bus during a Japan tour telling racist jokes. Andre was loud enough, likely intentional, for Brown to hear it. Brown had enough and ordered the bus drive to stop the bus. Bad News got up and told Andre to step outside. As the story goes Andre refused to step outside knowing how much of a bad dude Bad News was. Hulk Hogan and a few others apparently settled things down and Andre apologized to Brown the next day.

Yet Andre would have his revenge years later.

Andre the Giant defecated on Bad News Brown during a match in Mexico - Andre’s health was deteriorating yet the Giant continued wrestling well past the point he should have retired. Andre and Bad News were on opposing sides of a six-man tag team match in Mexico at this point in Andre’s career and well, things got a little out of hand in old Mexico in 1992. Oliver Hurley wrote about this in his book Wrestling’s 101 Strangest Matches and I also heard this story first hand from the late Bam Bam Bigelow who was also in the match.

Andre had allegedly had stomach cramps and diarrhea all day prior to the match. Here is the rest of the excerpt from Hurley’s book.

“Midway through the bout, he faced off against Bad News Brown Andre was dictating what would happen in the ring, known in the trade as calling the spots. As he threw Bad News into the corner, he muttered to him, ‘Big ass, boss.’ (Andre called everyone ‘boss’.) This verbal shorthand told BNB to remain slumped in the corner as Andre was about to hit him with one of his trademark moves, in which he would turn his back to his opponent, grab hold of the ropes and – there’s no delicate way to put this – thrust his enormous arse into his adversary, supposedly crushing him in the corner.

The combination of the collision and the copious volume of booze he had taken on board meant that, as soon as Andre hit Bad News, he lost any control he once had over his bowels. Liquid faeces dribbled out of his wrestling singlet and all over Bad News Brown’s chest. Bad News fell out of the ring and, resisting the urge to throw up, pelted back to the dressing room. His tag team partners continued the contest without him, once they’d finished laughing at his predicament. As Bad News passed fans on his way backstage, they shouted, ‘Wow, what is that smell?’ having presumably never been confronted by a wrestler covered in diarrhoea before.

Bad News jumped straight into the showers, while still wearing his wrestling trunks and boots, in a bid to clean himself up. But despite having been shat upon by a giant, he remained remarkably sanguine about the incident. ‘I felt sorry for the guy,’ he later said. ‘He was just sick, that’s all.’ The match proved to be one of Andre’s last prior to his death at the age of 46 on 27 January 1993 from congestive heart failure, which was caused by his untreated acromegaly, the glandular disease that resulted in his enormous size.”

Andre the Giant was once recruited by the Washington Redskins in 1976 - The first time I heard this story I called bull. Yet I was able to actually find a story with someone from the Redskins who corroborated the story as fact. Sports Illustrated reported on this in 1982 with confirmation from Redskins Public Relations Director Joe Blair.

Andre’s wrestling colleague George “the Animal” Steele, a former football coach recalls a conversation he had with Vince McMahon, Sr. about the idea of Andre playing for the Redskins. Steele told the story a few years back on a podcast interview.

“And in one of those early conversations, the Washington Redskins wanted to sign Andre the Giant to play football,” Steele said. “And they wanted to sign him to play as a linebacker on field goals and extra points, to stand up and kind of wave like a giant. And it would be great publicity for them and us.

“And because I was a football coach and had played a little bit, Vince Sr. says Jim what do you think about this idea? I says I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. First of all, if you take Andre the Giant – as big and strong as he is – and stuck him in front of me, with his hands in the air waving or something, I’d take his knee out.

“I said first of all, I think you’re making a mockery of the game. And he’s outstretched, he can’t protect himself, I’d cripple him. And I said every guy in the NFL would do that. He has no business doing that. I don’t know if you know that or not, but they had made the offer, and it almost went to signing, and that’s why they didn’t do it. Because it wasn’t the right thing to do for Andre, for wrestling, and really for football.”

For the record another fact you may not have known along the same lines is that the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to recruit Bruno Sammartino.

Andre’s last pro wrestling television appearance in the United States was for WCW - The ultimate betrayal took place in 1992 as Andre was winding down his career. Andre was not on good terms with the WWE. One story I heard is that Andre was very angry at Vince McMahon for being pressured to wrestle at SummerSlam. Remember, Andre came out on crutches at SummerSlam. Whether it was revenge or opportunity, Andre wound up appearing in WCW.

WCW had a big special in 1992 celebrating 20 years of wrestling on TBS. Ted Turner reportedly wanted the special to be a big deal. It was so big that they wound up getting Andre the Giant to appear. Andre didn’t do much here as a matter of a fact it was kind of sad. Andre was on two canes, said a few words on the red carpet, and was later seen in the “VIP room.”

Vince McMahon was apparently very hurt by this appearance. Shane McMahon talked about it in the book Andre the Giant: A Legendary Life. Shane said that his father called Andre and told him that he was deeply hurt by the appearance. Andre allegedly apologized to Vince, not realizing how deeply he hurt him. Shane also said that it upset him that TBS showed Andre on crutches.

Ironic since Vince had no problem putting Andre on television with crutches at SummerSlam 1991. Keep in mind that the Andre book was a WWE project.

Andre the Giant originally turned down WrestleMania 3 - This is another story I read in a few places but didn’t believe it until I saw it in print. According to the story told in Sex, Lies, and Headlocks Vince had to beg Andre to come back to the WWE.

The story goes that Vince called Andre while the Giant was making the Princess Bride movie. Andre told Vince to save his airfare because he didn’t want to wrestle anymore. According to the story, Vince felt that Andre was in a deep depression when he came back because Andre felt that he was ready to die.

Andre had back surgery scheduled in Europe. Vince allegedly persuaded Andre to come back and rehabilitate in his house to get ready for WrestleMania 3. Of course as we all know Andre eventually acquiesced to the boss and took part in arguably the most memorable match in WWE history against Hulk Hogan.

And speaking of Hulk Hogan…

Andre the Giant did not like to work with Hulk Hogan during their 1980 WWE feud - Hulk Hogan wrote about this in his book so take it for it’s worth. However, I did hear stories outside of Hogan’s book about Andre not being a fan of Hulk’s. Here is how Hulk recounted his early memories of working with the Giant.

” Hulk was going around telling people in the locker room that Andre was his hero and that he wanted to surpass him didn’t really get him into good graces with The Giant either.

Andre heard about what Hogan would say about him to the boys in the back and Andre took it as a direct threat.

So whenever they had to wrestle each other, Andre would work very stiff with Hogan and try to end his career but make it look like an accident.

Hulk refused to snitch on Andre however and complain to the head office.

Hulk Hogan would tried to talk to Andre but Andre refused to even speak with him.

Whenever Hulk had to wrestle Andre, Hulk was so scared of him that whenever he would be driving to the building, he would pull his car over and puke because he was so nervous and terrified.

Andre gained respect for Hogan however because no matter how many times Andre would whip beat on Hogan, Hogan never quit and he would never complain about it to the front office.”

Hulk has also claimed that Andre died two days after WrestleMania 3 so take this story for what it’s worth.

Andre the Giant almost drowned Blackjack Mulligan and Dick Murdoch - Ric Flair told the story  in his book of a night of partying that went very wrong for Murdoch and Mulligan. According to Flair, one of the Texans tried to sucker punch the Giant and wound up getting water boarded for it. The incident occurred at Murdoch’s birthday party. Andre grabbed them both, dragged them to the beach, and repeatedly dunked their heads in the water almost drowning them.

Andre the Giant fired the Freebirds from the WWE in 1984 - This is a fun story as told by Bret Hart in an interview about Andre’s life. Remember the incredibly short stint in the WWE by the Freebirds in 1984? I do and always wondered why it ended so fast. According to Hart, it was all due to Andre the Giant.

In 1984, the Freebirds – Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy-were recruited by the company, largely because they fit into the rock ’n’ roll image owner Vince McMahon was trying to cultivate.  “One time, the Freebirds were so drunk, they couldn’t get out of the plane,” Hart claims. “They got to the building at 9 or 9:30, in the middle of a show, and Andre was pissed off by their lack of professionalism.  While they were getting dressed, he told them, ‘You guys are fired.’”

When the Freebirds protested that Andre was ineligible to make personnel decisions, he allegedly countered, “We’ll see tomorrow if you’re gone or I’m gone.”

“The next day,” Hart continues, “the Freebirds were gone.  So I guess Andre could fire you.”

Jerry Lawler killed Andre the Giant’s career according to Vince McMahon, Sr. - The King actually tells this story in his autobiography and WWE.com actually did a story about it on their website. Back in the 1970s and early 80s, Vince used to book Andre out to territories on one condition. The Giant could not lose. Lawler booked Andre for a few dates and wound up beating him…by count out in Louisville. Lawler sent legendary pro wrestling photographer Bill Apter the pictures of the match and Apter wound up publishing the pictures with a story (see more pictures here) about Lawler beating Andre and Vince was furious!

“It comes out with this big headline: ‘The night a midget beat Andre the Giant,’ ” Jerry “The King” Lawler remembered with a laugh. “At that time, nobody beat Andre the Giant, but the story made it look like I pinned Andre.”

According to WWE.com, the magazine caused such outrage in the sports-entertainment industry that Mr. McMahon’s father, Vincent J. McMahon, brought it up as a serious point of contention in that year’s National Wrestling Alliance convention. McMahon was so irate that both Apter and Lawler nearly lost the ability to promote Andre, but things got smoothed over in a future issue.

“To rectify things, we came out with another cover that said: ‘Andre the Giant: Wrestling’s Only Undefeated Superstar,’ ” Apter explained.”

Lawler wrote in his book that Vince went crazy about it at an N.W.A. meeting. “Not only did someone beat Andre the Giant, a midget beat Andre the Giant!” Lawler said Vince’s face was turning red as he went off on the article. Lawler also writes that Terry Funk had a good time ribbing Vince about it and yelled out from the back, “Well who was the little bastard that beat Andre the Giant, Vince?”

According to Lawler, Vince called Apter and told him that the story “had killed Andre the Giant’s career.” The magazine later published an article touting Andre as the world’s only undefeated wrestling star to make peace with Vince.

ill Dundee’s version of the night. Dundee allegedly said that Lawler asked Andre what he wanted to do and Andre replied, “What do you wanna do boss?” Lawler replied, “Well I’d like to beat you.” Andre agreed and they came up with a finish where it took 30 guys to beat down Andre in order for Lawler to get the win. Dundee claimed that Lawler pinned Andre but enough witnesses say that it was only a count out win.

Regardless, it killed the Giant’s career according to Vince McMahon.

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Wrestling’s Greatest Feuds – Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage

October 06, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Every once in awhile a great pro wrestling rivalry spills from the world of make-believe into the world of real life. Considering the fact that Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan are two of the smartest businessmen in pro wrestling, it is surprising as to how much heat the two have outside of the ring. Personal issues aside, Hogan vs. Savage is one of the greatest rivalries of all-time.

Hulk Hogan vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage

There are many factors to consider when labeling a wrestling rivalry as one of the greatest. Longevity, money, fan interest, storylines, and excitements are what I would consider the key factors in a legendary rivalry. Hogan vs. Savage had it all.

On paper this didn’t look like it would be anything other than a routine challenge for Hogan. Savage came into the WWF without ever wrestling on a main stage. Savage didn’t have the monster muscles that most of Hogan’s rivals had at the time. Savage by all standards looked to be a perfect fit for WWF’s Intercontinental title division.

There was something different about Savage than the rest of the other wrestlers relegated to the Intercontinental division. While Savage was an outstanding wrestler, he had that “it” factor that most of the upper mid-carders missed. Savage was an entertainer from the second he appeared on WWF television. Timing and chemistry would play a big part in this classic wrestling feud.

Savage and Hogan would wrestle on house shows right in the midst of his Intercontinental reign. There was something different about these matches. Unlike most Hogan matches, the fans began cheering Savage. The two had immediate chemistry and it was evident from the start that these two would see bigger things in the near future.

An interesting backstage story to this feud is that this rivalry may have never been on the books if not for of all people the Honkytonk Man. Ted DiBiase was originally booked to win WrestleMania IV with Savage chasing him for the title while Hogan was away filming a movie. Savage was booked to defeat HTM on the NBC Main Event special to win the intercontinental title. Honky refused to do the job and this new change of plans caused the WWE creative team to change direction. It is highly likely that had Savage won the I-C title from Honky and DiBiase won the tournament at Mania that Hogan would have been challenging DiBiase at WrestleMania 5 and not Savage.

Timing was Randy Savage’s best friend. Hogan started to develop an interest in doing movies. At the peak of his fame, Hogan had agreed to star in No Holds Barred. Hogan needed time off and the WWE needed someone to carry the company. Vince McMahon gave Savage his vote of confidence, turned him babyface, and gave him the all-important championship run. The run of course was temporary until Hogan returned.

The seeds were planted a year out from Hogan and Savage’s biggest match. Savage won the WWF title at WrestleMania IV. Hogan came into the ring and put Elizabeth on his shoulders. Savage gave Hogan a subtle glare which planted the seed of doubt into Savage’s babyface intentions. A brilliant idea that most fans didn’t even catch until the tape was replayed a year later.

Hogan finally returned to active wrestling in the summer of 1988. Hogan and Savage teamed up as the “Mega Powers” to take on Andre the Giant and Ted Dibiase at SummerSlam. The two would continue to team on big shows including the Survivor Series. The tension began to mount when Hogan took Savage’s manager Elizabeth as his own manager around this time.

Savage’s legendary jealousy behind the scenes would be the catalyst for one of the greatest feuds of all-time. Savage’s off-screen jealousy was written into the storyline. Savage finally had enough and attacked Hogan following a tag team match on The Main Event. This last attack would finally make the match that had been built up for almost one year between the Mega Powers.

WrestleMania V was entitled, “The Mega Powers Explode.” A year of tension would finally explode into one of the most memorable WrestleMania matches of all time. Elizabeth would take a neutral corner as her two colleagues would battle for the gold. Elizabeth would later be ordered to return to the backstage area after she blocked an offensive move from Hogan.

365 days of tension would end in a little over 17:00 on the biggest stage of the year. Savage looked on his way to victory as he leaped off the top rope and nailed Hogan with his patented flying elbow drop. Hogan miraculously kicked out to the roar of the crowd. After a big boot and a leg drop, Hogan pinned Savage at 17:54 to win his second WWF world title.

As I said earlier, longevity was a key to this classic feud. WrestleMania V would not be their last encounter. Savage would now become the victim of a double-cross at the hands of his old nemesis. Hogan turned on Savage, Sting, and Lex Luger in WCW to join the N.W.O. Once again these two legends would be a part of one of the biggest money-making angles in pro wrestling history.

The two would continue their feud with several matches over the next couple of years in WCW. Due to the inconsistent booking, the two actually reunited in one of the many N.W.O. stables. Their final go-around ended when Hogan regained the WCW title at Savage’s expense in 1998. In over 10 years of matches, Savage would never pin Hogan.

Behind the scenes, this feud has become legendary in the wrestling business. It is hard at times to decipher what is real or what is a work when it comes to these two. Savage’s wife Elizabeth left Randy and stayed with the Hogan family for awhile. This would cause an enormous amount of tension between the two colleagues.

As much as Savage as trashed Hogan over the years, he isn’t a stupid man. Savage and Hogan have both made several attempts through the decade to make money together. The closest the two came was when Savage wrestled briefly for TNA Wrestling. TNA was negotiating with Hogan at the time. Savage quit the company claiming that he wouldn’t share a locker room with Hogan. To this day nobody will ever know if this was all part of the angle or if this was the result of TNA not being big enough for the two of them.

No matter what you think of Hogan or Savage, together they combined for one of the greatest rivalries of all-time. Every great hero needs a great villain, and Savage may have been the greatest of Hogan’s villains. It is this combination of fiction, fact, and drama that allows me to honor Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage as one of wrestling’s greatest rivalries.

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Hulk Hogan Talks John Cena, State of the WWE, and More

September 12, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

[366l]Hulk Hogan has never met an interview opportunity he didn’t like. That is evident lately as new Hulk interviews are popping up online weekly. The latest comes from Inside Pulse and while short on time, an interesting conversation nonetheless.

Murtz Jaffer, an admitted Hulkamaniac caught up with Hulk at a recent Fan Expo in Canada. Hogan and Jaffer cover a variety of topics which predictably included Hogan’s memories on wrestling in Toronto. Hulk also talks about the current WWE landscape including where he lies in the “John Cena Sucks debate. Hogan also teases a possible feud with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, the Authority. Hogan also talks working as a heel or face and what he likes better.

Check out the interview. It’s a quick and dirty conversation with the Hulkster brother!

My WWE Mount Rushmore

September 10, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Before I get into the guys who are in my Mount Rushmore, I need to breakdown why certain legends are not represented.

I grew up watching WWE in the 1980’s, starting with WrestleMania 1. Somewhere during the greatest era in wrestling history, my priorities changed and I stopped watching. I had a vague idea of what was going on but I had zero emotion invested in the product. Thanks to the WWE Network, I know exactly what I missed. Without question, I recognize Shawn Michaels as the greatest performer in WWE history. Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock are biggest stars this company has ever seen. The Nature Boy Rick Flair is a 16-time champion and the only two-time WWE Hall of Famer. For pretty obvious reasons (not watching their careers play out live), these Hall of Famers do not have a place on my WWE Mount Rushmore.

Hulk Hogan

The first and most obvious member of my Mount Rushmore is the Immortal Hulk Hogan. As a kid growing up and watching wrestling in the 80’s, I looked up to Hogan. He was the face of the company and dominated the WWE Championship. Everything he did was geared towards kids and of course I loved it all.

I vividly remember watching King Kong Bundy hit avalanche after avalanche and splash after splash on Hogan during a Saturday Night Main Event. I truly believed he was seriously injured, if not dead. Then, like the God I believed he was, he came back and defended his WWE World Title against Bundy at WrestleMania 2.

His amazing comeback victory over Hercules after surviving the backbreaker rack, programs with Macho Man Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior and of course Andre the Giant made him larger than life.

Even today when I hear “I Am A Real American”, the little kid inside of me still gets a little excited. Hulk Hogan will always have a special place in my heart.

CM Punk

Next on my list is CM Punk. This is the one that I know people will question the most. I’m fully aware that he’s not in the top four of greatest WWE superstars ever.

Here’s a cliff notes story that will explain this. At some point in 2010 I was flipping through the channel guide and saw that Monday Night RAW was on so I decided to stop and see what they were up to. A few minutes into the show, a small, soft guy with a bunch of tattoos came out and started talking. I was immediately sucked in. I can’t remember exactly what he was talking about but I was hooked. I had absolutely no idea who he was but I wanted more and had to see what he was all about. I credit CM Punk with singlehandedly bringing me back to wrestling. With as much as I have enjoyed my time watching wrestling again, I am extremely grateful that he was on TV that night.

When it comes to in-ring performers, his skills do the talking. And when it comes to talking, he’s the best I have ever heard. There have been so many promos where I couldn’t tell if he was being real or not. His famous “Pipe Bomb” on RAW will go down in history as one of the greatest promos of all time.

Punk always stayed true to himself and I love that about him. Outside of the persona, he’s one of the best in-ring workers I’ve ever seen. This applies to most people, but outside of Hogan, I haven’t seen anyone hold the WWE Championship longer than Punk. That was a truly historic streak. All of that combined, Punk will always be an all-time favorite of mine.

The Undertaker

Someone that should be on everyone’s Mount Rushmore is The Undertaker. I will never forget seeing him debut at Survivor Series in 1990. At that time, I had no idea what was going on and didn’t recall anything like him before. He is the true definition of one of a kind. 24 years later and we still haven’t seen anything like him. His size, athleticism, look and ability to always keep in character and never let that go, makes him one of the greatest of all time.

How he went 21 years undefeated at WrestleMania is simply amazing. Just the fact that he was able to perform at that many WrestleManias is an incredible feat.

In addition to all of that, there is no one in the history of wrestling that has a better entrance than The Undertaker. The moment the gong hits, I immediately get chills. No one in the history of the company can ever come close to topping what he does every time he comes to the ring.

Unfortunately, I was not able to see the bulk of his career but I was there for his debut and I will be there for his retirement and without question amazing Hall of Fame speech.

Brock Lesnar

Finally, the Beast Incarnate Brock Lesnar rounds out my WWE Mount Rushmore. I did miss his meteoric rise into the WWE, but I am very much aware of what he did. Has anyone ever made such an impact on the WWE in that short amount of time? None that I can come up with.

Don’t forget, I’m a huge MMA fan and when I heard that Brock Lesnar was trying to become a fighter I thought it was a joke. I knew he was a stud collegiate wrestler, but there’s no way he was going to be a successful professional fighter. He ended up winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship. I know this is a wrestling thing but him kicking ass in the UFC makes him very special.

I don’t think there was anyone more excited than me for his return. When he showed up on RAW and hit John Cena with an F-5, I knew I was seeing something very special. I watched all his destruction in his first run online and I am very much enjoying his second run in the WWE.

Just like his first run, he made an impact bigger than anything anyone can ever imagine. Despite losing a couple times, he was still so dominating in defeat. I will never forget the night that he defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania. I absolutely hated the idea that someone like Brock was the one to break the streak. But as time went on, it really grew on me and I fell in love with the idea. Then, as I predicted, he beats – no he destroys John Cena to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I never thought I would see a day that Super Cena would get dominated like that.

He hasn’t had a long career, but I can’t think of anyone who has made a bigger impact. With the combination of him and Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar is arguably one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the WWE and that’s why he’s made my WWE Mount Rushmore.

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What Is The Big Deal About Ric Flair Anywooo?

September 05, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Ever since I’ve been following wrestling the two names that I’ve often heard mentioned as the black and white of wrestling are Hogan’s and Flair’s.

I get Hogan. But I don’t get Flair.

I get Hogan cause people don’t say anything about Hogan’s wrestling. They just talk about him as the man who revolutionized business. I get that.

I don’t get Flair cause people refer to him as the greatest pro-wrestler ever; the god of wrestling. I don’t get that.

Maybe I hadn’t been paying attention. Maybe. So I decided to pay attention. Not 1, Not 2, Not 3, Not 4, but 5 matches will be paid attention to to understand WHAT THE BIG DEAL ABOUT RIC FLAIR ANYWOOO is all about.

#1 RIC FLAIR VS STING (CLASH OF THE CHAMPIONS I – ’88)

It is said that Flair was so good at putting over his opponent that a new star was born; Sting!

Watching this match today, I can’t see how it helped Sting. Sting was good right from the start. Going the distance only made him look weak. (Maybe I am forgetting history here.) The way Sting was going, he should have won the match in 5 minutes. That he couldn’t finish it even after 45 minutes tells me that the guy just doesn’t know how to pick up a win.

Yet, if there was anyone who wrestled that night, it was Sting. Right from the get-go Sting was all energy and moves – beating the hell out of Flair. ‘Hit the finisher and pin the mother!’ But no! Flair rolls away and comes back. Comes back and how! I mean Woo! With chops to the chest and knee drops to the head. The greatest wrestler of all time! Two offenses! Chops and Drops. Oh and the figure four. Make those three offenses. Wooo!

Flair did not at any point look like a world heavyweight champion. He looked like a guy who had woken up to find that he was in the middle of the ring with a belt around his waist. Thankfully, the NWA style of wrestling and hot fans helped Sting carry the match decently. But not so lucky was a certain Bret Hart.

#2 RIC FLAIR VS BRET HART (AND THE NEW WWF CHAMPION …)

A championship match! A new champ to be crowned. One of the greatest wrestlers of all time vs the wrestling god. And what we get is Snoozecade.

Blame it on it being a house show. Blame it on it being a clash of styles. Blame it on Ric Flair not getting a decent cup of coffee in the morning. But the match was terrible.

It was gut-wrenching to see Bret Hart desperately trying to tell a story by going after Ric Flair’s arm and build up a decent match and Ric Flair coming back with Chops to the chest and Knee drops to the head. Oh and the figure four! Wooo!

It finally reached a point where Bret Hart had to pull down his singlet and do a Stinger to strike terror into Ric Flair. Thankfully Bret won and we didn’t have to see much of Ric Flair in WWE.

#3 RIC FLAIR VS VADER (STARRCADE ’93)

Anybody can have a great match with Vader. He is that good. There is so much big-man psychology to be tapped into. Sting has had great matches including the brilliant Slamboree ’94 (yeah, the finish wasn’t great). The big man even got Hulk Hogan to wrestle for a change. But this is Ric Flair. The god. Can you make him dance? Let’s find out.

Nope. 15 minutes into the match and all Flair’s done is 3 sets of chops, 1 drop to the head and a failed figure four. Then Flair attacks Vader with a chair and gets cheered for it. The match completely goes down from this point. Harley Race who is on Vader’s corner is distracting the Ref as Flair is doing all the dirty stuff on Vader! Really? Really?? Really??? I don’t mind all this on weekly TV. But on PPV? Then Flair pulls Vader’s leg and rolls up and he becomes 12 times the man! Woooo…!

3-4 sets of chops, 1or 2 knee drops and 1 figure four! Flair’s whole offence in 25 minutes. And he wins! Wooo! Maybe gods don’t have to do much to win. Actually just an FPD is enough!
 
#4 RIC FLAIR VS MACHO MAN (WRESTLEMANIA VIII – ’92)

All hail King Macho! This was not a great match, but there was lot of drama that made up for it. Honestly not the kind of match I enjoy, but at least it got Ric Flair to something different. But if anyone stole the show that night, it was Savage. But then again, it’s not easy to one up Savage, is it? Even if you are a wrestling god?

#5 RIC FLAIR VS RICKY STEAMBOAT (CLASH OF THE CHAMPIONS VI – ’89)
 
I saved this one for the last. Cause I know that’s what all you Flairaholics have been muttering under your breaths all this while. Flair vs Steamboat. Flair vs Steamboat. Where the hell is Flair vs Steamboat?

Here it is!

This was a good match, no doubt – except for a few cartoonish pin attempts. Flair did more than just chopping and dropping, but I didn’t see a wrestling god in this match either – unless we are talking about the other Ric. Steamboat. I haven’t seen many of Steamboat’s matches. So this one was an epiphany of sorts for me.

His move set was quite astounding; his retaliatory chops on Ric Flair devastating and his intent in the ring convincing so much so that he came across as a mean, no-nonsense SOB with that killer instinct that makes wrestling look real.

It isn’t difficult to see why this was given 5 stars (although I disagree), but I reckon 3 of those stars were purely Steamboat. Steamboat was so good that it was as though he was thinking on his feet throughout the match to Flair’s premeditated move set. Every move of his looked improvised as though he was ready for any eventuality.

All right, now…

Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4 but 5 matches down! All against 5 different individuals who we know are among the best in the world. But I still don’t get it! I don’t get what the big deal about Ric Flair is all about!

Flair doesn’t ever look like a threat in any of his matches. He looks like a guy who gets championship spots because he is Ric Flair. Period. But why ishe Ric Flair? That I don’t get.

He has a certain amount of aura which I’ve never seen in any other wrestler. His is the most breathtaking entrance ever. And the confidence and charm he exudes are inimitable. But all that vanishes the moment the match starts. Then it becomes a meaningless drill of chops, drops and figure four.

“Cut this bullsh*t! Cut it! Look here, boy! You don’t get it? You don’t get it? It doesn’t matter! (Spittle flying in all direction) What! Matters is! Wooo! You wanna be the man, you gotta beat the man! And! I, Ric Flair! is the man! Why? Cause I can go Wooo! All day long! Woooooo! Woooo! Strut walk! And hang upside down from the ring post 16 times in a match! 16! 16! What’s 16 german suplexes in front of that? 16! 16! (Flying spittle again) Woooooo!”

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WWE Network Monday Nitro Episode One Review: And So We Begin

September 04, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

When I first found out that WCW was getting a show on Monday nights, I was hyped. As a kid with a television in the bedroom and was allowed to watch TV in bed, this was nirvana. I used to watch hockey in bed, but that was killed off when I beat the neighbor kid senseless by pulling his shirt over his head and delivering beating that would make the Broad Street Bullies happy. Hey, he pushed me off the swing, he frigging deserved it.

Unfortunately, my hype was not felt by most of the wrestling world. Most people in the industry expected this to be a slaughter; WCW was completely overmatched against the fading juggernaut known as the WWE. Paul Heyman, in a video that would make the rounds over the last few years claimed that it was going to be a massacre and that WCW wouldn’t take the measures it needed to be competitive. They wouldn’t change their product completely with a new booking philosophy or up their production values. They would fail, and Turner would return the company back to its Georgia Championship Wrestling roots.

Would that happen? Well, you obviously know the answer, but hey stay for the ride. Plus, the free cheese at the end of it all, and it’s the good type of cheese.

First, I know that I skewered WCW for holding a PPV at a beach giving away a large gate for the Vader/Hogan blow-off. I will say that holding the premiere episode at The Mall of America was a good idea. Yes, I am prepping to run away from the rotten produce, but it set Nitro apart from what the WWE was presenting with Raw. Raw as emanating from smaller arenas with a minimal production and Nitro comes out from the Mall of America. I know it was rumored that they did it because Hulk had his PastaMania abomination, but I like the move. I’d love a story on the WWE site or any site actually about the production of the first Nitro.

The Major Rivalries in WCW:

-Hulk Hogan and His Amazing Friends (Savage, Sting, Vader) vs The Dungeon of Doom: Hulk Hogan is waging his own personal war against The Dungeon of Doom. The Dungeon of Doom consists of Kevin Sullivan and all the guys that Hogan beat on while he was working for Vince. The only interesting aspect is The Giant and that’s held down by a tasteless exploitation of Andre the Giant. Things will get much, much, much, much, much worse in the next few months or so.

-Ric Flair vs Arn Anderson: A friendship that had been forged almost a decade ago was on the fritz. Arn was tired of doing Flair’s dirty work and it lead to a feud between the two. The promos are great, but the matches themselves never lived up to expectations. Things get really interesting in the next few weeks.

WCW also came out swinging for the first Nitro, knowing that they were running unopposed to Raw. Brian Pillman vs Jushin Liger in a rematch of their SuperBrawl ’92 classic, Sting vs Ric Flair in a continuation of the greatest rivalries in WCW history and Hulk Hogan in the main event against Big Bubba Rogers. Yeah, the main event doesn’t sound great but Hogan and Bubba had a lucrative feud in the WWE and the awesome cage-match blow-off on SNME.

Here comes the first big problem, Mongo. It should be pointed out that Mongo was a part of Lawrence Taylor’s entourage for WrestleMania XI and even commentated on Raw. It could be seen as Eric wanting to mooch off his WWE exposure, but apparently Eric stole Mongo away from Vince. The story has it that Vince wanted to sign him, but WCW came up with a better offer. Apparently, we were going to see Mongo and William Perry vs The Heavenly Bodies at Summerslam and the company was seriously considering signing both men. Perry wanted a guaranteed deal and the WWE didn’t want to do that. Perry never panned out and WCW came to Mongo promising a primo commentary gig while training him for an in-ring debut.

The big problem: He stinks.

Stinks isn’t the accurate description, he’s awful. The big problem is that they tried to create the dynamic that Heenan had with Monsoon and it just doesn’t work. This makes watching the first year or so of Nitro a complete hassle to watch and Eric having to play the ref between the two doesn’t help.

So, were off with the first match of the evening, this is less of an “I’m going over the holds and more of my general thoughts on the match” review.

Brian Pillman vs Jushin Thuder Liger

-Pillman was at a crossroads at this point of his career. The Blondes break-up angle never had a chance and he was floating around the midcard at this point. They tried to give him a California dude gimmick but it wasn’t connecting. Luckily, fate would intervene in a few weeks and he’d go under a career renaissance. Bischoff brings up the past history these two men have and Heenan puts over Liger coming back from a major injury and his overall versatility as a worker. Mongo tries to banter with Heenan. It’s a good match, not the best match between the two and it’s kind of sloppy at times. Pillman botches a head scissors take over twice and an apron suplex to the outside that looked ugly. Overall, it’s probably the best match of the night, not on the same level as the SuperBrawl classic but worth a watch. Pillman wins with a roll-up after Liger attempts a German Suplex.

-We get a Sting promo putting over his match with Flair and saying that he’ll get him with The Scorpion Deathlock.

-We then get the infamous PastaMania promo, which is pretty much cringe worthy when Eric brings up Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse and how he doesn’t have one at the Mall of America. I might buy into the theory that this was a vanity show for PastaMania and that most of the kids were plants. Just a bad, bad, bad promo all around.

Ric Flair vs United States Champion Sting

-Mongo still sucks. Figured I would give everybody an update and HOLY CRAP LEX LUGER IS HERE. HE’S JUST STANDING BY THE ENTRACE WHILE EVERYBODY IS SPAZZING OUT, BUT WHAT IS HE DOING HERE? This is pointed as the moment that set Nitro apart from Raw, it was live and you never know what would happen. The announcers sell it well, acting equal parts befuddled and angry at the presence of Luger. This is the basic Flair vs Sting formula, albeit with Sting spamming gorilla presses, and Flair busted out a crossbody that sent both men to the outside. Windbreaker wearing Arn Anderson is out after Luger leaves and manages to still look like a bad ass wearing one. It’s not on the same level as some of their classic matches, but it’s not that bad of a watch. They have their routine, and it ends with Arn attacking Flair when he starts to cheat. Arn comes back for his windbreaker because he is one bad mofo.

-Right after that, Scott F’n Norton shows up and starts to berate the announcers. He signed a contract and wants to know why he isn’t on the first episode of Nitro. Mongo gets in his face and it’s actually a cool visual before Savage appears and holy crap this is awesome. Both men are in each-other’s faces and it’s intense as Savage challenges Norton to meet him in the ring…NEXT WEEK! This establishes Norton as a bad-ass and hopefully WCW pushes him a top hoss in the company. I know that the exact opposite happens, but I have hope dammit.

-We get a Sabu hype promo and while it is a very 90’s video, but it establishes that Sabu is one crazy guy. We see him do a few table spots and generally wrecking people on the syndicated shows. I believe one of them is Chris Kanyon. Sabu is one of those weird WCW signings, and just an odd pairing overall. It made sense when they tried to get him in 2000 since they were starting with the hardcore stuff. Sabu…WILL BE HERE NEXT WEEK!

-Screw you Mike Hill of Alabama for winning a 1995 Harley Davidson.

-We see some hype for WCW Saturday Night with Johnny B. Badd vs Dick Slater and The Amazing Friends against The Blue Bloods. WWE Network, you made good on Nitro but what about WCW Saturday Night? I want to relive when Jimmy Hart had the book and Jim Duggan defends his TV Title against all comers including Robert Gibson. Plus, insane Dusty commentary.

-So far, WCW has introduced new talent in a good way. Sabu got a hype video, Scott Norton crashed the show….but then Michael Wallstreet shows up. I’m a Mike Routunda fan, he had a great run with The Varsity Club, but he had been stinking up WWE television for years at this point. He cuts a basic promo taking some shots at the New Generation before telling the world that he is showing up next week.

WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan w/Jimmy Hart vs Big Bubba Rogers

-Big Bubba and Hogan had quite the feud back in New York, making some good money and good matches too. Apparently, Hogan handpicked Bubba for the match and Bischoff even acknowledges the past these two men had. Mongo still sucks, film at eleven. Mongo has two nick names for Heenan: The Stain and The Hernia. The good news is that the crowd is hot for the match and I have to give credit to Big Bubba. He is still a good seller and moves well, his first year or so in WCW was pretty good. The Vader matches were great HOSS FIGHTS and the Sting matches were alright. This however, isn’t that good since it’s standard Hogan fare, the best part is two fans in the front row with “Hogan Sucks” and “Hogan is a wimp” signs that get confiscated. Hulk makes his comeback, hits the boot and drops the leg for the win.

-Hulk celebrates as Kevin Sullivan and The Hulk Hogan Punching Bags arrive. Hulk proceeds to turret punch them until Luger runs out and runs the Dungeon out of the ring. Hulk and Luger almost come to blows until the Amazing Friends arrive to break up the fight. The crowd chants Luger as we go to break.

-Fall Brawl 1995 apparently benefited MDA, classy move. Still advertising Vader and I had such high hopes for a Vader/Giant match as a kid.

-Hulk asks what Luger is doing in his backyard and I guarantee Flair is weeping as Double A tries to console him. Luger makes the challenge to Hulk for his belt, another pot-shot at WWE. Hulk actually puts over Luger’s accomplishment and says he’ll give him a title shot NEXT WEEK.

So, next week from Miami, we get:

-SABU

-Scott F’n Norton vs Randy Savage

-Michael Wallstreet (Crap)

-Hulk Hogan vs Lex Luger

Raw would counter with Sid/Michaels and Bulldog/Razor and this would be the start of the dirty tactics that Bischoff would employ. Raw is taped, mind you.

Figured I would bring that up.

Overall, this was a good way to premiere Nitro. You catered to the hardcore WCW fans that were turned off by Hogan with Sting/Flair and Liger/Pillman and brought in the WWE fans with Hogan. Running unopposed also helped. I also have to credit that they dedicated a good amount of the show towards establishing new talent such as Norton, Sabu, and Wallstreet. Commentary still sucks, though.

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WWE Top 10 Video: World Championship Victories

September 01, 2014 By: Category: lists, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE has posted one of the more interesting top 10 lists on its YouTube channel. The WWE ranks the top 10 WWE championship wins in a list that is bound to stir debate among wrestling fans.

Before I get into anything I just want to preface this by saying you have to take these lists for what they are. It is someone’s opinion the same as I have my opinion and you have yours. Thus there really is no right or wrong list when it comes to something this subjective. That said, this list is ridiculous!

10 – The Rock defeats Triple H (Backlash 2000)
9 – Eddie Guerrero defeats Brock Lesnar (No Way Out 2004)
8 – Mankind defeats The Rock (Monday Night Raw, 1999)
7 – Randy Savage defeats Ted DiBiase (WrestleMania 4)
6 – Ultimate Warrior defeats Hulk Hogan (WrestleMania 6)
5 – Daniel Bryan defeats Batista, Randy Orton (WrestleMania 30)
4 – John Cena defeats JBL (WrestleMania 21)
3 – Shawn Michaels defeats Bret Hart (WrestleMania 12)
2 – Hulk Hogan defeats Iron Sheik (New York, NY, 1984)
1 – Stone Cold Steve Austin defeats Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania 14)

This is not as bad of a list as some of their others. I am a little surprised at the lack of political influence on this list. Not one Triple H or Randy Orton title win makes the list. One thing that is never stipulated however is the criteria. If the criteria is impact on the business, I have no problem with the first two title changes. Yet if that was the criteria, the remainder of the top 10 would look much different.

I am surprised that Daniel Bryan not only made the list but made the top five. It appeared that the WWE were phasing out the historic implications of Bryan’s win when they kept him off of  the NBC version of WrestleMania 30. Maybe that won’t be the case at all? Putting him at five was not where I expected to see him on this kind of list.

I will probably do my own list at some point so I don’t want to tip my hat. But right off the top there are several obvious omissions.

Brock Lesnar defeats The Rock (SummerSlam 2001)
CM Punk defeats John Cena (Money in the Bank 2011)
Bruno Sammartino defeating Buddy Rogers (New York, NY 1963)

In the meantime have at it and enjoy the trip down memory lane.

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