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WrestleMania XV: A Portrait in Wrestling History

March 22, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WRESTLEMANIA XV
From The First Union Center in Philadelphia, PA
March 28, 1999

BACKGROUND
On January 4, 1999, a taped Raw and a live Nitro squared off, each building a moment that would be unforgettable and, in a myriad of ways, history changing.

On Raw, filmed six nights prior in Worcester, MA, Mick Foley, as Mankind, realized his lifelong dream, climaxing his thirteen year wrestling career by winning the WWF Championship from The Rock. Foley’s victory lap around ringside, as well as his post-match celebration with his children, provided a feel good moment for a grind-stoning individual that had paid enough dues to purchase a continent.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Nitro had pulled a bait and switch with their World Title main event. Goldberg, the hometown hero, was nixed from the match due to a storyline “stalking charge”, and Hollywood Hogan returned to WCW to challenge champion Kevin Nash. The match ended when Hogan poked Nash in the chest, with Nash dropping like he’d been walloped with a hatchet, and then pinned the champion to begin a new incarnation of the New World Order, as the two men were in cahoots.

WCW would never be the same, as their stale and asinine booking (coupled with Tony Schiavone revealing Foley’s eventual win on TV before it aired, mocking it in the process) would turn off a large quantity of fans permanently.

The WWF, with the hipper “Attitude” concept, as well as the willingness to provide a moment of glory in contrast to WCW’s hackneyed, egomaniacal circle-jerk, surged ahead in the ratings for good, and never looked back.

With WCW now a dead issue, although not officially at the time, the WWF focused on the media blitz for WrestleMania XV. With The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mankind, Undertaker, and newly signed Paul Wight (WCW’s Giant), all eyes were on the winners of wrestling’s Monday night war.

THE EVENT
Unlike WCW, which refused to use its most popular names (Goldberg, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, and Sting) in the main event scene, for fear of bruising a few egos backstage, the WWF set up The Rock against Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship as the main event.

Austin ended up being the last man eliminated of the 1999 Royal Rumble, with WWF’s owner, Vince McMahon, triumphing, thanks to The Rock’s interference. McMahon, however, relinquished his title opportunity and planned to give it to another Corporation member (to keep the belt in the family, no matter what). However, WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels announced that, since Vince gave up the shot, the runner-up would get it by default.

That would be Austin.

Vince, however, had one chance to regain that main event match, and that was by beating Austin in a cage match at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. In the first Austin/Vince match in history, Austin bloodied McMahon, put him through a table, and staved off a late interference attempt by the debuting Big Show to win. In fact, Show launched Austin at the cage, and the bars broke apart, with Austin safely landing on the floor to keep his title match secure.

Show would remain McMahon’s top enforcer, and would be given a match with Mankind at WrestleMania. The winner of the match would get to referee the Rock/Austin main event. In fact, Show cost Mankind the WWF Title on February 15. Mankind was engaged in a ladder match with The Rock, when Show chokeslammed Foley off the ladder to cause the defeat.

At this point, however, McMahon had a spate of other problems. The Undertaker, at this point, was forming an unholy cult called the Ministry of Darkness, with himself playing the role of Devil incarnate. Undertaker seemed obsessed with Vince McMahon and his Corporation, and was bent on making life miserable for the WWF head honcho.

It would turn out that Undertaker’s obsession with actually with McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, who had not yet been introduced to the audience. As of now, Stephanie was merely a 22 year old All-American girl who loved her father and would never hurt a fly. And yet, The Undertaker was using her as a psychological weapon to bring terror to McMahon.

As a means of combating “The Lord of Darkness”, McMahon dispatched his personal enforcer, The Big Bossman, to face Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at the grandest show of the year.

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D-Generation X was, as expected, a prominent part of the show. Triple H would take on Kane, with whom Chyna had double crossed Helmsley to associate with. X-Pac would face unlikely European Champion Shane McMahon, whose silver-spooned disposition grated on the degenerate’s nerves. Road Dogg would defend the Intercontinental Title in a four way against Ken Shamrock, Val Venis, and Goldust, and Billy Gunn put the Hardcore Championship on the line against Al Snow and Hardcore Holly.

Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler called the action, with Jim Ross, recovering from a second case of Bell’s palsy, replacing Cole in the main event. Pete Rose appeared for the second straight year just to get mauled by Kane again, and Boyz II Men performed America the Beautiful. Also, Gorilla Monsoon appeared before the WWF audience for the final time.

THE RESULTS
WWF Hardcore: Hardcore Holly def. Billy Gunn and Al Snow in 7:06 to win the title
(Decent, abbreviated brawl with Holly taking a killer chair shot at one point from Gunn. These three went from being the upper midcard of 1999 to Smackdown’s lower midcard in 2004. Kinda sad)

WWF World Tag Team: Owen Hart/Jeff Jarrett def. D-Lo Brown/Test in 3:58
(Brown and Test co-won a battle royal on the pre-show to get this shot, which has been forgotten by time. This was Owen’s final WrestleMania before his death two months later, and wrestling hasn’t quite been the same without him)

Brawl For All: Butterbean def. Bart Gunn via TKO in 35 seconds
(Gunn was basically decapitated here. What I wouldn’t have given for Monsoon to grab Cole’s headset and yell “That’s Excedrin headache #35!”)

To Referee the Main Event: Mankind def. Big Show by disqualification in 6:50
(Slow and plodding; not a good use of Foley. So win a midcard match and you get to referee ‘Mania’s main event? Big John Studd had to win a Royal Rumble to referee a throwaway match at WrestleMania V! That’s not fair!)

WWF Intercontinental/Fatal Four Way: Road Dogg def. Val Venis, Ken Shamrock, and Goldust in 9:47
(Billy Gunn and Road Dogg switched feuds; Dogg was brawling with Snow all through the winter while Gunn was involved with Goldust and Venis in trying to deflower Shamrock’s sister, Ryan. Damn that Russo and his lame swerves)

Kane def. Triple H by disqualification in 11:33
(Chyna turned on Kane to reunite with Triple H. This match is so boring that Hunter should be forced to watch it ten times in a row every time WWE stock drops a point)

WWF Women’s: Sable def. Tori in 5:09
(They gave Tori five minutes. They gave TORI five minutes. The only thing that could have made this match worse was if Nicole Bass showed up. Did I mention Nicole Bass showed up?)

WWF European: Shane McMahon def. X-Pac in 8:41
(Best match of the night so far, and nothing else had even come close. X-Pac, for as much of a trouble making punk as he may be, could carry anyone when he was motivated. Next time you chant “X-PAC SUCKS!”, remember how he helped save this show)

Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker def. Big Bossman in 9:48
(The worst Hell in a Cell match ever. Bossman was hanged after the match by Edge, Christian, and Gangrel, and Cole sold it by acting horrified. Then he paused and introduced the next video package. Sigh….)

WWF World Championship: Stone Cold Steve Austin def. The Rock in 16:52 to win the title
(Three referees got taken out, Austin and Rock brawled all over the arena, Austin won with an emphatic Stunner, and then the new champ beat up McMahon afterward. A chaotically fun way to end a lackluster show, as you can always count on Austin and Rock to save the day)

ITS PLACE IN HISTORY

The WWF was so beloved at this point by the majority populace of fans, that a clunker like this show was given a free pass. The storylines leading up to WrestleMania XV were so contrived and over-the-top (breaking and entering with intent of kidnapping Stephanie McMahon, HHH shooting Kane with a pyro cannon, Ryan Shamrock sleeping with the entire midcard, etc), but it didn’t seem to matter. Liking the WWF was the “cool thing”, and this show is more remembered as another brick in the Attitude wall, than what it looks like today: a show where Vince Russo tried too hard to be edgy and in-your-face, when it was just mostly controversy for the sake of it.

The saving grace of the show was Austin and Rock, in a spirited brawl with their unteachable instincts, shifting the focus away from the overbooked mess that was WrestleMania XV with their match.

Vince Russo would be gone six months later, and Vince McMahon learned an important lesson. It’s not what you book, be it simple or complex, but who you book it around.

Austin and Rock could salvage anything just by being Austin and Rock. Not everyone was that lucky or good.

Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.

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The 30 Greatest WWE Royal Rumble Eliminations

January 21, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Eliminations are the backbone of the Royal Rumble match. After all, they’re strung together to ultimately decide the winner of the match, right? Some of them, over the years, have been far more dramatic and bold than others. Here’s a list of 30 of them (an appropriate Rumble number) that stood out above the rest.

30. Carlito (2007)

Tossed by: The Great Khali

Rewind several years earlier to when the Great Khali was a ruthless killing machine, one that had beaten John Cena cleanly more than once. In 2007, Khali entered at #28, and tossed out 7 men in succession, including Carlito. But when the cool guy tried to springboard back in, Khali chopped his skull in mid air.

29. The World’s Greatest Tag Team/Matt Hardy (2003)

Tossed by: Brock Lesnar

There’s something about the monstrous hero running in and cleaning house to assert his dominance. Lesnar was a man on a mission, and a chance to destroy traitorous champion Kurt Angle at WrestleMania loomed. Lesnar chucked Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas together, and then F5’ed Hardy onto them.

28. Lance Storm (2002)

Tossed by: Al Snow

The duo who teamed at ECW Living Dangerously ’98 (and nobody thought to call them ‘Snow Storm’), were pretty far down the card in early 2002, but did share a unique Rumble moment. The two men went over the top rope and engaged in a psuedo-highwire act, exchanging martial arts on the apron, until Snow finally kicked Storm off.

27. John Morrison/The Miz (2009)

Tossed by: Triple H

Miz and Morrison, the “Dirt Sheet Duo”, were one of WWE’s freshest acts, seeing as how they rose above the hackneyed din with their trendy pop culture acumen. It’s only speculative to say that’s why Triple H got to destroy em simultaneously, but it looked great when Trips hurled Morrison at Miz, knocking both men over the top.

26. Jeff Jarrett (1998)

Tossed by: Owen Hart

In typical Vince Russo fashion, the angle of Jarrett jumping Owen in the aisle during his entrance was never followed up on, nor was any explanation for it offered. When Owen finally made it to the ring, Jarrett thought he’d eliminated him, only for Owen to send him sailing with a crazy flipping bump to the outside.

25. Rene Dupree (2004)

Tossed by: Rikishi

This one’s another comedy one, but at least it wasn’t contrived. Dupree was celebrating his elimination of Matt Hardy, and was in the middle of his “French Tickler” dance when Rikishi, positioned behind Dupree, measured for a superkick. As Dupree went side to side, so did ‘Kish, who promptly kicked Rene out as he turned.

24. Irwin R Schyster (1992)

Tossed by: Rowdy Roddy Piper

Speaking of the humorous eliminations, leave it to The Hot Rod to make us laugh. IRS gave him a constant disadvantage by wrestling in his necktie (Heenan: “He’s got him by his tongue!”), so when he had Piper on the apron and nearly out, Piper grabbed his tie and slowly bounced him over the top rope until he went.

23. The Brain Busters (1989)

Tossed by: Hulk Hogan

Remember what was said earlier about Lesnar and good guys cleaning house when they get in the ring. Hogan was in the process of emptying the ring in 1989, but had to contend with Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson. No problem, thinks Hulk, I’ll just run them back toward the ropes with my arms out, and clothesline them over.

22. Randy Orton (2006)

Tossed by: Rey Mysterio

It was the ender to the 2006 contest, wherein Mysterio had to survive the length of the match in order to get a World Title match in the name of best friend Eddie Guerrero (ugh, painful memories of that whole angle). Orton tried to slam Rey out, but Mysterio spun into a hurrachanrana, and flung Orton to his elimination.

21. Taka Michinoku (2000)

Tossed by: Big Bossman and Gangrel

This shouldn’t really count, since Taka was never an entrant (and never even officially competed in any Rumble match). Nevertheless, he and partner Sho Funaki tried several times to invade the match, only to be violently rebuffed. Taka famously suffered a head injury on this elimination, with his face bouncing off the floor.

20. Big Show (2002)

Tossed by: Kane

There are 3 ways to eliminate a big man in a Royal Rumble: a group elimination, have a big guy do it, or scare him out with a snake. Kane neither needs help, nor is he a herpetologist, so he just picked up the 500-pound Big Show horizontally, and deposited him over the top rope like he was setting down a pair of leaf bags.

19. Macho King Randy Savage (1990)

Tossed by: Dusty Rhodes

The Orlando fans in 1990 were a raucous, excitable bunch, cheering for everyone from the Bushwhackers to Marty Jannetty to Ronnie Garvin, so you figure they’d go ballistic for the big spots. Indeed they did, when Savage charged at Rhodes, who gave him a (*Vince voice*) BAAAAACK BODY DROP clear over the top rope.

18. Shawn Michaels and Fatu (1994)

Tossed by: Bret Hart and Lex Luger

This would be the Rumble where Hart and Luger had their infamous double finish, and that was preceded by the eliminations of Michaels and the future Rikishi. Hart and Luger tried to whip the heels into each other, but Michaels leapfrogged Fatu. That’s when Luger and Hart simultaneously backdropped both men over opposite posts.

17. Santino Marella (2011)

Tossed by: Alberto Del Rio

Even in my jaded years, it’s always fun to see something that makes me believe, even when things are transparent. After Del Rio thought he won the 2011 Rumble, Marella sauntered in behind him (never officially eliminated), struck him with the Cobra, and tried to toss Alberto, who reversed at the last second and threw Marella out.

16. The Undertaker (2002)

Tossed by: Maven

This was pretty much just a run-of-the-mill elimination, but the circumstances made it fun. Months after winning Tough Enough, Maven made his pay-per-view debut and looked to be chum for Undertaker to feed on. After Taker re-disposed of the eliminated Hardyz, Maven dropkicked the Dead Man over to a massive cheer.

15. Sgt. Slaughter (1992)

Tossed by: Sid Justice

Slaughter is known for many things, and longtime wrestling fans may be familiar with his trademark way of going over the top rope. It worked to Sid’s benefit, as it helped make him look more like a ruthless monster. Sid whipped Slaughter hard at the post, and Slaughter took a sick chest bump, the momentum knocking him over.

14. Chavo Guerrero (2003)

Tossed by: Edge

Guerrero and Edge represented a third of the “Smackdown Six”, along with Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Rey Mysterio. Their MO was to steal the show, and they did well with this moment. Guerrero was knocked the apron, so Edge charged and speared Guerrero off, sending him careening far into the aisleway.

13. Chris Jericho (2012)

Tossed by: Sheamus

Nothing’s better in a Rumble match than the emphatic finish, when a winner is made in “no doubt about it” fashion. Jericho, in the midst of his “end of the world” return, was hanging by a thread on the apron, and finally regained his bearings, only for Sheamus to Brogue Kick him clean off into a faceplant at ringside.

12. Edge (2007)

Tossed by: Shawn Michaels

Before Michaels could have his impressive final sequence with Undertaker, he had to dispose of the duo known as Rated RKO (Edge and Randy Orton). Orton bit the dust first, and Edge tried to make Shawn pay. After Michaels ducked his attack, he gave Edge one of the best Sweet Chin Musics ever, with Edge falling over the top rope.

11. Hulk Hogan (1992)

Tossed by: Sid Justice

This one gets special mention, just because it shows the lengths Vince will go to embellish things. Down to Hulk, Sid, and Ric Flair, Sid tossed fellow babyface Hogan out, and the crowd cheered wildly. On weekend programming, they dubbed boos in over the footage, and had Monsoon and Heenan on commentary decry Sid. Always a hoot.

10. The Rock (1998)

Tossed by: Stone Cold Steve Austin

The two Attitude Era cornerstones were all alone in the ’98 finale, and Rock was all that stood between Austin and his rightful World Title shot. Rock avoided elimination, but walked right into Austin’s Stunner. With the crowd cheering loudly, Austin sent Rock soaring into the aisleway to kick off the road to WrestleMania.

9. Daniel Bryan (2013)
Tossed by: Antonio Cesaro and Kane
The subtle dislike between the partners Team Hell No reached an amusing climax after Bryan snuck up and eliminated partner Kane. Cesaro followed up by knocking Bryan into Kane’s arms on the floor, and uh…AWK-ward! Bryan begged Kane to put him back into the ring, a “YES/NO!” argument ensued, and Kane let Bryan drop to the floor.

8. Kane (2001)

Tossed by: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Austin’s redemption story, after returning from spinal surgery, led to him trying to Kane (who had made 11 eliminations, a record). With blood pouring down his face, Austin stunned Kane, and then dazed him further with 3 chair shots. Stone Cold then ran off the ropes and clotheslined Kane over to a thunderous pop.

7. Vader and Yokozuna (1996)

Tossed by: Shawn Michaels

We complain about John Cena being booked like Superman these last few years, but Shawn Michaels got the same treatment once. Michaels was Vinnie Mac’s meal ticket, and all the stops were pulled out to make him look strong. That’s why he was allowed to dump 1000 lbs of man over the top rope in one lift.

6. Dick Murdoch (1995)

Tossed by: Henry Godwinn

Here’s an unusual entry. Murdoch made a one-night-only appearance at the ’95 event, and looked as impressive as a near 50-year-old with a beer gut could. He even hit a dropkick at one point. With Godwinn up in an airplane spin, Murdoch propelled to the ropes, but Godwinn hung on, and Murdoch went crashing to the floor.

5. Sylvain Grenier (2006)

Tossed by: Bobby Lashley

WWE failed miserably in their attempt to make Lashley into a superhero, mostly because they shoved the disinterested big man down our throats. But he had his moments, especially in his WWE infancy. After shrugging off Grenier’s strikes, Lashley threw him over the top backward, like a human shot put.

4. X-Pac (2000)

Tossed by: The Rock

This one is a bit incorrect, since the referees were tied up with Kane and the New Age Outlaws, and missed this elimination. X-Pac would eventually be officially hiatus’d by Big Show, but prior to that, Rock grabbed Pac by his hair and flung him over the top, with X-Pac nearly breaking most international pole vault records.

3. Kurt Angle (2004)

Tossed by: Big Show

Show is at his best when he demonstrates freakish athleticism for a man of his size and girth. With the Rumble down to these two and Chris Benoit, Angle locked Show in the ankle lock. Show managed to stand using the ropes, with the hold still applied, and he somersaulted to the the apron, lashing Angle over the ropes.

2. Big Show (2004)

Tossed by: Chris Benoit

Benoit had nobody to help him eliminate the largest man on the roster, and it appeared his one-hour duration in the Rumble would be for naught. After Show chokeslammed him, he tried to throw Benoit out. The Crippler managed to apply a chancery and choke Show, levering him over the top rope en route to victory.

1. Paul London (2005)

Tossed by: Gene Snitsky

London’s a daredevil, no doubt, and this one is merely a modification to one of his crazy floor dives, but it’s the best elimination ever. Snitsky managed to get London to the apron, but the ‘Hooligan’ hung on, avoiding Snitsky’s strikes. That is, until Snitsky violently clotheslined him, and London took a face-first shooting star bump to the floor.

Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.

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Top 10 Biggest WWE Upsets In History

June 20, 2013 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

In this day and age of spoilers it is rare to see a surprise WWE result. Big upsets rarely happen in the WWE today but history shows that they are possible and here is a look back at ten of the biggest in World Wrestling Entertainment history.

When I say surprise result or big upset I mean a match in which the end result was just unthinkable. I recently did a similar blog looking at WWE championship matches but this is different. These are matches between two wrestlers that look completely lopsided on paper. Not only are these huge upsets but they are some of the most memorable moments in WWE history.

Ron Shaw defeats David Sammartino November 22, 1985 Philadelphia, PA - I remember watching this as a kid and thinking, “WTF!” Ron Shaw was a perennial WWE jobber who was not given a push or big win ever up to this point. David had begun to flounder a bit but was still a name on the card due to his last name and push. The biggest surprise to me when this match started was seeing David Sammartino so early on the card. Shaw eventually won the match when David gave up to a bear hug, one of his father’s signature moves and that was no coincidence. What fans like me didn’t know is that Bruno Sammartino and Vince McMahon were at great odds behind the scenes and this was done as a big f-you to Bruno. For my money this may be the biggest upset in WWE history, at least the biggest I ever saw. Some have called this the phantom submission match but watching it again on YouTube nothing seemed strange about the result in regards to a screw job.

123 Kid defeats Razor Ramon May 17, 1993 New York, NY (RAW) - The 20th anniversary of this classic WWE moment just passed and of all shocks this is probably the most memorable in WWE history. The Lightning Kid had been doing jobs for several weeks on WWE television yet had shown some promise. The idea of someone like Kid pinning Ramon at that time was unthinkable. Kid nailed a moonsault block and scored the upset on Monday Night RAW. Ramon (Scott Hall) did the job and Kid’s name was immediately changed to the 1-2-3 Kid. A star was born and the upset was ranked #20 by the WWE on its list of top 100 RAW moments.

Barry Horowitz defeats Bodydonna Skip June 28, 1995 Wilkes Barre, PA (WWE Action Zone) - Horowitz was the lovable jobber for years in the WWE. Horowitz has some competitive matches but he was never given any kind of push. Skip on the other hand was a former WWE tag team champion along with Zip and was managed by the beautiful Sunny. The finish was great as Skip stopped to do pushups and show off for Sunny while Horowitz came from behind and cradled him. Jim Ross’ call of “Horowitz wins!” is one of the greatest of his career. Horowitz went on to beat Skip again at SummerSlam but didn’t find much success after his series with the late Chris Candido.

Ivan Koloff defeats Bruno Sammartino January 18, 1971 New York, NY - This is a repost from my top 10 WWE Shockers blog. “Nobody expected it! Bruno once told me that he thought he went deaf after he lost because the place was silent. They were so shocked they were speechless! Behind the scenes Bruno wanted a reduced schedule and the plan was put in place to have Koloff transition to Pedro Morales. Koloff bodyslammed Sammartino, went up top, dropped the knee, and won the title in front of a stunned New York crowd ending Bruno’s seven year historic reign.”

Santino Marella defeats Umaga April 16, 2007, Italy (RAW) - Fresh off of having his head shaved at WrestleMania 23, Vince McMahon picked Santino “out of the crowd” to get in the ring and wrestle Umaga in a No Holds Barred Match. McMahon mocked Santino for a few minutes before unleashing the beat Umaga. Umaga dominated Santino for a few minutes before Umaga’s rival Bobby Lashley hit the ring. Vince tried to counter with a chair but ran out of the ring once Lashley grabbed it. Lashley nailed Umaga on the head with it three times, hit a spear, and then put Santino on top for the upset (remember Vince made it No DQ). Like the Hororwitz upset, Jim Ross was awesome here when calling it the “upset of the century.”

The Blue Meanie defeats JBL July 7, 2005 Sacramento, California (SmackDown) - My old buddy The Blue Meanie pulled off one of the biggest upsets in WWE history. Meanie had an incident with JBL two weeks before at the ECW themed One Night Stand pay per view where JBL shot on Meanie over a misunderstanding. Meanie was booked two weeks later for an unlikely No DQ match with JBL. Meanie tells the story in a recent RF Video Shoot Interview about he and JBL burying the hatchet before the match. The B.W.O. reunited on this night but it was Batista’s interference which helped Meanie get the notch in the win column. Batista came in and gave JBL a spine buster as the crowd went wild and put the Blue Guy on top for the unlikely 1-2-3.

Shelton Benjamin defeats Triple H March 29, 2004 Cincinnati, OH (RAW) - Benjamin was teaming with Charlie Haas at the time but was drafted away from his partner to RAW for singles competition. At the encouragement of Steve Austin, Benjamin challenged Triple H to a match. Triple H was the big dog in town and while fans expected a fun match, nobody expected Hunter to lose. Benjamin got the pin with a Stinger splash after being nailed by Ric Flair and appeared on his way to a monster push. Instead he was jobbed regularly to Hunter and Evolution so badly that the upset didn’t even matter a few months later.

Maven defeats The Undertaker February 5, 2002 (SmackDown) - Maven was the first winner of Tough Enough and received a big push when he eliminated The Undertaker during the 2002 Royal Rumble. The elimination sparked a feud which was overshadowed by Taker’s other feud at the time with The Rock. The two wound up wrestling on SmackDown in a Hardcore Title match. Taker was destroying Maven until The Rock came down, nailed the Dead Man with a steel chair, hit a Rock Bottom, and left the ring. A beaten Maven crawled on top of The Undertaker to score the upset in front of a rabid crowd and win the hardcore championship.

Kevin Federline defeats John Cena January 1, 2007 Miami, FL (RAW) - I completely forgot about this one until I started doing some research for the blog. The WWE did a tremendous job of building up a K-Fed vs. Cena feud for several months which culminated with a big match on New Years’ Day 2007. Cena toyed with Federline for awhile and looked like he was on his way to an easy win before Umaga hit the ring. Umaga spiked Cena as he held Federline up for the AA and nailed Cena with the belt. Federline then laid on top of Cena for the unlikely victory.

The Hurricane defeats The Rock March 10, 2003 Celeveland, Ohio (RAW) - This was a crazy upset and maybe the biggest on the list depending upon the era in which you grew up watching wrestling. The Rock was at his peak as a heel and feuding with Stone Cold Steve Austin at the time. Rock and Hurricane had some confrontations in the back with Rock mocking Hurricane’s gimmick. Rock dominated most of the match but was caught off guard when Austin came out and distracted The Great One. The Hurricane took advantage of the distraction and rolled up Rock for arguably the biggest win on RAW since the 1-2-3 Kid-Razor match in 1993.

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CM Punk Vs. John Cena: The Greatest Match In WWE RAW History

February 26, 2013 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Even though you knew there was no way WWE would pass up on the financial hailstorm that is a Rock-Cena rematch, you, me, and millions of viewers screamed, huffed, and were bowled over by the roller coaster ride that Cena and Punk’s #1 contender’s match on February 25, 2013.

So great was this match, so dramatic were the near-falls, and so amazing were the wrinkles thrown in (CENACANRANA!), that if you want to call it a five star match, I won’t argue that too strenuously.

As long as you don’t argue my belief that Cena vs. Punk is the greatest match in the history of Monday Night Raw.

Make no mistake, every now and again, WWE throws the fans a bone in the form of a free match that is pantheon-level, where fans of all walks, the insiders and the marks, equally know they’ve seen something special.

To my way of thinking, here are the ten greatest matches in the history of Raw.

10. Shawn Michaels vs. Shelton Benjamin, 5/2/05
An opening round match of the forgotten “Gold Rush” tournament pitted Benjamin, the Intercontinental Champion of over 6 months at the time, and the iconic Michaels, who was still producing 4-star matches as often as he blinked. This back-and-forth dual babyface match saw Benjamin prove to be Michaels’ equal in seemingly every way, avoiding the superkick several times before getting decapitated by one off of his own springboard dive.

9. Triple H/X-Pac/Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko/Perry Saturn vs. The Rock/Cactus Jack/Rikishi/Too Cool, 2/7/00
Much like Cena/Punk, this one took place in Dallas, which has been known for its rowdy crowds. The three Radicalz had just aligned with DX, and the result was this raucous melee. You know a match is great when Scotty 2 Hotty hits the Worm, and tens of thousands of fans lose their minds, while the heels freak out on the apron, as if it killed Saturn. Benoit pinned Grand Masta Sexay with a diving headbutt, and then a new-look Kane came out to wreak havoc.

8. Owen Hart/Davey Boy Smith vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin/Shawn Michaels (WWE World Tag Team Championship), 5/26/97
Long before the concept of “tag partners who hate each other contending for gold” became a played-out concept, it produced this classic. Austin and Michaels were united only by their hatred of the Hart Foundation, and were saddled together to get the belts off of Owen and Bulldog. Michaels and Austin surprisingly co-existed, and Austin pinned Bulldog after a Michaels superkick. Afterward, Austin attacked and hammered an injured Bret Hart on the stage.

7. Bret Hart vs. 123 Kid (WWE Championship), 7/1/94
For 25 minutes, champion Hart and underdog Kid waged a friendly war based around two principles: Hart was the ring general that had many counters, and Kid was the 21-year-old daredevil who took control with offense Hart wasn’t used to seeing. At one point, Bret allowed the match to continue after scoring the pin, when Kid’s foot was on the ropes. Kid’s suicidal style almost won him the title, but one big miss led to Hart winning via Sharpshooter.

6. Eddie Guerrero vs. Rob Van Dam (WWE Intercontinental Championship/Ladder Match), 5/27/02
Guerrero’s redemption saga led to his WWE return 2 months prior, and an IC Title reign a month in. Guerrero continued that good faith by facing off with RVD, the man he beat for the title, in a ladder match in Calgary. A drunk fan ran in at one point, but couldn’t mar the stunt show at hand. RVD threw everything at Eddie, including moonsaults and Rolling Thunders on the ladder, and avoided a sky-high Frog Splash, to regain the title.

5. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels (World Heavyweight Championship), 12/29/03
This one came along in a time-frame when 1) People thought Triple H was washed up, 2) Raw’s numbers weren’t great, and 3) WWE was in a quality tailspin. To say this was unexpected would be an understatement. After numerous ref bumps and Michaels playing face-in-peril as only he can, Michaels stunned HHH with Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere to seemingly win the title, but as he collapsed on Hunter, his shoulders were down too.

4. Davey Boy Smith vs. Owen Hart (WWE European Championship), 2/26/97
Undoubtedly the greatest WWE match to ever take place in Germany, it may also have been Bulldog’s last truly great singles performance that didn’t involve being embarrassed in front of his family. Davey Boy and his brother-in-law channeled the spirit of their respective classics with Bret. The finals to determine the first European Champion was an incredible cat-and-mouse game, concluding with a victory roll cradle reversed by Bulldog into the winning pin.

3. Stone Cold Steve Austin/Triple H vs. Chris Benoit/Chris Jericho (WWE World Tag Team Championship), 5/21/01
After 2 months or so of uninspired booking following WrestleMania X7, Austin and Helmsley (The Two Man Power Trip) had to defend their gold against the Calgary Kids in an unadvertised classic. This would be the match where Triple H tore his quad on a simple foot plant, but finished the match, including taking a Walls of Jericho on the announce table. Hunter would accidentally brain Austin with his sledgehammer, and new champions were crowned.

2. John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels (Non Title Match), 4/23/07
For nearly one hour, on his thirtieth birthday, Cena went move for move, hold for hold with arguably the most reliable in-ring performer there’s ever been, holding up his end in London with Michaels. TV matches don’t often reign in match of the year polls, but this one was a popular choice in 2007, ending as Michaels avoided the AA (then still the FU), and pinned Cena with Sweet Chin Music, a rare clean loss for Cena since becoming WWE’s hero.

1. John Cena vs. CM Punk (#1 Contendership), 2/25/13
It’s a very bold move putting this one above the previous few entries, but why not? Cena and Punk was just as great as Cena/Michaels, if not even greater, in roughly half the time. Those “YOU CAN’T WRESTLE” chants fell silent, as Cena more than held up his end, busting out hurrachanranas and sitout powerbombs. The Dallas fans lived and died on every near fall and expert counter, before Cena finished off Punk with the AA once and for all.

Justin Henry is a freelance writer who splits time between this site, WrestleCrap.com, and FootballNation.com. He can be found via his wrestling Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/wrestlecrapjrh

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WWE RAW 1000th Episode Results – CM Punk Lays Out The Rock

July 24, 2012 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

RAW 1000 results-If Waylon Mercy shows up, the remainder of my review will be 100% positive, no matter what happens. All cynicism aside, I’m looking forward not so much to bashing anything with malice, but enjoying a night set aside for nostalgia and celebration. Unless something horrifically stupid happens, I won’t get too worked up. If you wanna see somebody take the fun out of a show, James Caldwell at the Torch has been the gold standard for a loooooong time.

-WWE RAW 1000 is live from St. Louis

Opening Segment: Vince McMahon introduces D-Generation X
SWERVE! DX no-showed! Vince thanks the fans, mostly for putting up with the trending updates and Did You Knows. Well, okay, he didn’t say that, but I would’ve felt better. He introduces DX, the “Sanitation X” years. Shawn and Hunter think something’s missing from this segment, and Hunter asks, “Didn’t there used to be more of us?” Finally, after six years of rewriting history, X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws show up in the DX army jeep. All three of them look good, all things considered. WWE needs teams, why not give the Outlaws one last short run? At least they’ll get the nostalgia pops. Road Dogg runs through the intro (self-censoring “ass”), and Trips does the Buffer-mock intro. Then Gunn and Shawn argue over who gets to do the ending. A ‘lost smile’ joke ensues, and Hunter makes them do it together, but before they can, Damien Sandow makes his way out. They’re degenerates, yada yada, and Shawn promises to go to church for forgiveness. Sandow says if they beat him up, that just makes him a martyr. DX discusses this, and Shawn superkicks him. Then Hunter Pedigrees him. Martyrdom it is, I suppose. Gunn lands the punchline afterall.
Segment Rating: 7/10. Nice to see the group reunited, and Sandow get somewhat of a (likely) highly-rated rub with them. Plus Shawn’s self-deprecation is always funny.

-Jim Ross joins the booth for hopefully the rest of the night

Match 1: Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara/Sheamus vs. Chris Jericho/Dolph Ziggler/Alberto Del Rio
It’s like Nitro; they’re getting the luchadors out of the way in the opener (and that includes Corazon de Leon). The match is joined in progress after the break with Cara in peril at the hands of Dolph, who drops the slowed-down elbow. JR calls Ziggler “the hottest man in WWE”, but not in that way. Jericho tags in is working a chinlock when Cara tries to mount the comeback to no avail. ADR tags in and working a chinlock snare. Cara comes back with a nice tornado DDT. Tags are made to Sheamus and Jericho, and the champ overpowers him, culminating with the Irish Curse for 2, broken up by Dolph. Everyone else takes each other out, and Sheamus escapes a Walls. He blocks the Codebreaker and misses the Brogue Kick. Dolph takes Jericho out, and Sheamus lands the kick for the win.
WINNERS: Sheamus/Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara via Brogue Kick
Rating: 5/10. Woulda been better if we’d seen the whole match, but it was fun.

-And JR’s gone. That was longer than his 1994 run in WWE.

-Things better than Tout: eating rancid spaghetti sauce with a spoon while watching snuff films.

-Charlie Sheen checks in for some reason. It’s great that he barely remembers the names of the bigger stars in the company. Meanwhile, Tyson Kidd gets airtime once in a while.

-Bryan/AJ recap. If they don’t cover Savage and Liz’s “Together” song, this will all be for naught. Layla questions AJ going through with it, and this leads to cameos from Jim Duggan, R-Truth, Roddy Piper, and Mae Young with her son, THE HAND! MUCH better payoff than the Hornswoggle/GM angle! And that’s sad.

-Cheap Sonic plug takes place. I suddenly feel dirty. I need Rob Bartlett’s horrid jokes to cleanse my soul.

Match 2: Brodus Clay vs. Jack Swagger
My soul is cleansed because Naomi and Campbell are in not-so-PG booty shorts tonight. WHOOOO! And then he brings out Dude Love, who isn’t the same if he isn’t Vince’s corporate champion. Swagger loses in about ten seconds. Then everyone dances, and Swagger gets socked.
WINNER: Brodus Clay via Funk It
Rating: 4/10. For the booty shorts.

-Triple H and Trish re-enact their infamous stretch session from 2000, and DX walks in on him. Trish seems uncomfortable about being near X-Pac, which may be legitimate.

The Wedding
SLICK IS THE MINISTER! JIVE SOUL BRO! Why isn’t he still managing!?!? Bryan looks splendid in his pure white tux. AJ, of course, is lovely in her dress. Slick even calls her AJ Lee, so it’s good to have him fight the notion that women only have one name. Slick gets all Jive Soul Broish with his speech, and the crowd has the audacity to what him. I hope Sam Bradford contracts gangrene from a faulty whirlpool, you Midwestern jackanapes. They both yes it up, and Slick goes to marry them, but AJ halts him….because she wasn’t saying yes to Daniel, but to someone else. Someone who proposed to her earlier tonight. And it’s……Vince? Vince clarifies that it’s a business proposal……and AJ is the new GM.
Segment Rating: ???/10. I’d like to thank David Lynch for directing the segment, and Vince Russo for writing it.

-Back from break and Bryan is still spazzing, so CM Punk is out to twist the knife. Bryan flips out and claims to be the greatest of all time, and this brings out The Rock. I hope he doesn’t tell Bryan to lick a monkey’s nipple, since he’s a vegan and all. He puts Bryan in his place, and polls the crowd on who the greatest is. Er, my vote’s for Austin, but sure, we can go with Rock. Bryan cuts off Rock’s diatribe, and Rock takes offense. Rock announces that the WWE Champion will face him at the Royal Rumble, which eerily gets zero pop. Punk says it’ll be him, because he’s beating John Cena tonight, which gets a mixed reaction. Then he’s going to beat Rock at the Rumble. Works for me. Why can’t Punk point out how Rock works a limited schedule and doesn’t expend a fraction of Punk’s effort? Bryan interjects angrily, and Rock continues with the standard insults, modifying the Oompa Loompa song for him. I think I heard explosions from the DVDVR boards. Rock Bottom for Bryan closes the segment with a stoic Punk surveying the proceedings.
Segment Rating: 8/10. Rock working with Punk and Bryan is surreal.

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-Bret Hart is brought out to be ring announcer for the next contest. Damn it, can’t they have Fink introduce him? Bret shouts out for Mr. Perfect.

Match 3: Christian vs. The Miz (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Christian wins an early wrestling sequence, and comes off with a second rope dropkick. Miz counters a corner charge, but Christian dumps him to the floor, and then dives on him from off the top rope as we go to break. Christian hurts the leg, but is in control, coming off with a cross body for 2. Christian comes back off the top with a diving back elbow for 2. And Christian gets a sunset for 2,but Miz fires back with a low kick to the face for 2. Miz goes back to the knee, making Bret proud I’m sure. Christian lands a tornado DDT for 2, and the crowd is fading. These three hour Raws were a bit risky. Spear is countered into the stump DDT for 2. Picked the crowd up a bit. Miz gets crotched in the corner, but Miz blocks the ensuing Killswitch, and an exchange of finisher attempts sees Christian tweak the knee, and Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale to win the gold.
WINNER: The Miz via Skull Crushing Finale (New WWE Intercontinental Champion)
Rating: 6/10. Solid match, but the dead crowd was a bummer. A Summerslam rematch would be nice.

-Charlie Sheen: “Oh, The Rock, I know him! Daniel Bryan, who the hell’s this guy again?”

-Regis Philbin testimonial, running through the wrestling guests he’s had on his show.

Talk Segment: Triple H calls out Brock Lesnar
So yeah, Hunter calls out Brock, but gets Heyman first. They establish 43 times that Brock is here tonight. Whew, the first 42 explanations didn’t take. But on Brock’s behalf, Heyman declines the match. Hunter threatens to go find Brock, and Heyman suggests he not do that. Heyman taunts HHH, and Hunter gets mad when he brings his kids up. Heyman keeps at it, and this brings Stephanie out. Stephanie rips ECW, which gets some boos, and calls Heyman a failure compared to her father, and she even botches a line about looking in the rear view mirror. Then Steph slaps Heyman, because she can. Heyman is goaded into accepting on Brock’s behalf. Then Steph further assaults Heyman, and Brock finally comes out. Brock and Hunter get into it, and Hunter dominates. I can’t wait for Summerslam now! They play Lesnar’s song as a consolation prize.
Segment Rating: 3/10. I feel ill.

-Things better than Tout: listening to your pet whimper for its life while somebody decapitates it

-Austin/Vince history package. There’s an irony of Vince telling Austin to ‘work within the system’, and Austin became the biggest star ever despite that.

-Santino and Hornswoggle toss out Brawlin’ Buddies, just to remind us that we’re in Hell. But Howard Finkel is ring announcing to dampen the blow.

Match 4: Lita vs. Heath Slater (No DQ)
My money’s the mannish looking redhead that can’t cut a promo. Lita brings out the APA to back her up. JBL’s sporting a wicked beer gut. Slater bails, but Animal, Piper, Slaughter, Vader, Sid, Backlund, Doink, DDP, and Rikishi prevent it. Lita hits the Twist of Fate, JBL lands the Clothesline from Wall Street, and Lita saults her way to victory. Simmons damns Slater just because.
WINNER: Lita via Litasault
Rating: 3/10. Just for seeing the old faces.

-Sean Mooney(!!!!!!) interviews Daniel Bryan, who is rather irate. I don’t know who I was happier to see in that segment.

-Michael Cole wastes time with a social media follower, and Fozzie Bear leads us through a catchphrase montage.

-Zack Ryder claims Mean Gene was behind GTV while chatting with Okerlund and Cena. Rock shows up to stare Cena down. Punk winning would be extra glorious now.

Match 5: Kane vs. ???
Jinder Mahal brings out a jobber brigade of he, Reks, Hawkins, Hunico, Camacho, and McIntyre, and as they surround Kane….*GONG* Undertaker arrives to add a fun moment to the show. “Hey Kane, why’d you kill Paul in that freezer?” “Why’d you encase him in concrete?” “…..well played, Crispy.” Anywho, jobbers die, and the Brothers of Destruction stand tall. Cole: “The Dark Days are back!” Except Taker’s leaving in 5 min, and won’t be back until, oh, February-ish.

WINNER: No match Rating: 10/10. It’s Taker on Raw. Do I need to explain further?

-F–k the anti-bullying campaign.

-Cole interviews Sheen again to a ton of boos. St. Louis has redeemed themselves.

Main Event: CM Punk vs. John Cena (WWE Championship)
Punk and Cena adhere to the Code of Honor, albeit slightly, before the match. Feel out with dueling chants, and Cena takes him down with a shoulder block, and then he works a headlock. Punk comes back by dodging a clothesline and getting a backslide for 2. Punk works the arm and segues into an abdominal stretch, clubbing the ribs just to be a dick. Cena hiptosses his way out, but Punk avoids the STF. They slow it down and Cena gets the advantage with a headlock takeover, which Punk escapes with a back suplex. Punk crosses the legs and gets a reverse bow-and-arrow, turned into a side chinlock. Cena powers out and a slugfest ensues, with Punk getting more cheers. Cena comes back with the shoulderblocks and tries the spinout, but Punk escapes and gets a leg lariat. Corner knee hits, but the bulldog is countered into the spinout. Cena says you can’t se—oops, kick to the face, and a buzzsaw kick follows. Punk says it’s bedtime, but Cena drops out of the GTS and the ref gets taken out. AA hits, and of course, no count. Cena goes to fetch the ref, and Big Show hits the ring. Cena gets speared, and Show calls for the WMD. Punk observes, a bit conflicted, and Show knocks Cena out. Punk doesn’t know what to do, fighting the urge to take the win. He does wake the ref up, but has reservations. Punk does cover, but only gets 2. Punk goes for the GTS, but Cena counters into the STF, but Show breaks it up for the DQ. PUNK RETAINS! Show continues the assault, with Punk offering no assistance. Then Rock hits the ring, decimates Show, and goes for the People’s Elbow, but Punk NAILS him with a flying clothesline. Rock eats the GTS and Punk stands tall with a nice mixed reaction. Punk takes his championship, sour look on his face, and slowly walks away
WINNER: John Cena via DQ (Punk retains WWE Championship)
Rating: 10/10. For a good match and a killer angle to close the show. If Punk goes back to his more caustic persona, I’m fine with him being the #1 heel in the company.

OVERALL: Man, that was a lot of garbage to get through just for a hot closing angle. So many times I wanted to reach through the TV and strangle them for self-congratulation or emasculating Lesnar/Heyman or whatever, but the ending, as well as some nice nostalgic moments, make up for the bad quite a bit.

More bad than good, but what was good was gold.

Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for Wrestlechat.net and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.

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Top 50 WWE Matches from the first 999 RAW episodes

July 23, 2012 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Coming with a top 10 WWE Monday Night RAW matches list sounds easy, but not when you are working off of 1000 episodes. That is when I realized 10 wasn’t going to do it, so in celebration of the 1000th episode I look back at the 50 best WWE matches to take place on RAW!

This was a real fun list to make and the suspects here are pretty obvious names. But it is one guy who came up over and over again that dominates this list and that is Shawn Michaels. While I didn’t intend for this to be a top Shawn Michaels matches list, it may appear to be that way. It isn’t his fault he is so damned good is it?

However, Shawn isn’t the only WWE superstar to make magic on Monday Night RAW. A who’s who list of great WWE stars of the last few generations from Kurt Angle to Steve Austin to Edge to The Rock to Bret Hart to Ric Flair to Hulk Hogan to The Undertaker to Chris Jericho and more had some of the best matches of the last 20 years on Monday night.

Keep in mind that these are not ranked in the order of importance. Ranking 50 matches 1-50 is a tough task and one that this writer just didn’t have the energy or time to commit in doing so. If you read the matches you can probably get an idea of what my top five or ten are, and more specifically my favorite one or two. This list was a lot of fun to compile so if you want to add to it or point out anything I may have missed, please leave a comment after reading the post. It really was impossible to rank these in order as it really comes down to personal tastes, so with that said here are the top 50 matches in RAW history in this blogger’s opinion.

Ric Flair vs. Curt Hennig (1/25/93) - This was the Loser Leaves Town match in the Manhattan Center held right before Flair went back to WCW. A fantastic match that saw Mr. Perfect top his former tag team partner.

Mick Foley vs. Terry Funk (05/04/98) - An often forgotten battle of hardcore legends that once took place on WWE RAW which wasn’t their greatest match, but a match certainly of top 30 recognition. Even better, Stone Cold Steve Austin is on commentary for this one.

Shawn Michaels vs. Edge in a Street Fight (02/28/2005) - I loved this match and it amazes me as to how often it is forgotten. This match had it all from excitement to drama to brawling to a fun finish.

Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle in a Steel Cage Match (06/11/01) - These guy never had a bad match but this one was exceptional. The moonsault off the top from Kurt is still one of the most memorable moments on RAW over ten years later.

DX & The Radicalz vs. The Rock, Cactus Jack, Too Cool & Rikishi (2/7/00) - This may be my favorite match in RAW history. This match just had something which even today, I cannot put my finger on. Oh yeah, psychology!

Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho vs. Triple H and Austin (05/21/01) - This match is most remembered as the night Triple H tore his quad and kept going, but most forget about what a great match this was before that happened.

The Rock vs. Mankind (01/041999) - Some will say this match is what turned around the Monday Night Wars. Eric Bischoff was kind (and dumb) enough to tell the WCW Nitro audience that this pre-taped match would end with a new WWE champion. The match was great and a lot of WCW fans saw a match they probably would have missed thanks to Tony.

Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena (04/23/07) - Some will say that this was Cena’s best match, although I disagree. This was a rematch of their WrestleMania 23 headliner which was actually much better than their WrestleMania match. This match told a great story and had a great finish that simmered for over twenty-minutes. This one was ranked number one when WWE.com did a list last year of greatest RAW matches.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Rob Van Dam in a Ladder Match (05/27/02) - This match was a classic! These two guys just went all out in one of the craziest ladder matches on RAW. Like several matches on this list, the match is often forgotten when people talk about great RAW matches in history.

John Cena vs. Rey Mysterio (07/25/11) - To me, this was Cena’s greatest match on RAW and it was all due to Rey. For whatever reason, these guys just had amazing chemistry, and built a heck of a match on free television. I don’t think it is coincidence that Cena hasn’t gotten that match with anyone else.

Bret Hart vs. 1-2-3 Kid (07/11/94) - Going back I think this was one of the most exciting RAW matches in history. These two told a great story and had fans believing at one point that the Kid could actually beat the Hitman as a huge underdog. This was as sound of a technical match as you’re going to see on RAW. I was glad to see this match put on DVD in recent years and acknowledged for its greatness.

Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair (05/13/2002) - Hogan and Flair wrestled a lot over the last two decades, but for whatever reason I think this was one of their best matches. Maybe I am a bit partial because of the era I grew up watching wrestling but I absolutely loved this match.

Triple H vs. Chris Jericho (04/17/2000) - This is one of the most memorable matches in RAW history and I do say matches because there were two. This is the famous match in which Jericho won the WWE title early in the show only to have the decision reversed. Both matches were fantastic and the excitement of the crowd made this not only a great match, but one of the most memorable moments in RAW history.

Triple H vs. Taka Michinoku (04/10/2000) - This was a fantastic underdog match that saw Hunter really give fans the idea that Taka could beat The Game. This match was fun, dramatic, had a great storyline, and is still one of my favorites over ten years later.

Steve Austin and The Undertaker vs. Mankind and Kane in a Hell in a Cell match (06/15/98) – This was one of the most exciting matches on RAW during the Attitude Era.  The match was held right before King of the Ring to build up the two main-events. The big moment of this action-packed match came when Austin climbed the cage and attacked Kane on top which saw the crowd just got absolutely nuts. Jim Ross in particular is fantastic with the call here.

Triple H vs. Cactus Jack in a Falls Count Anywhere, No DQ Match (09/22/97) - This match had a fun storyline to it which resulted in the return of Cactus Jack. These guys brawled everywhere and it was about as extreme as it got during the Attitude Era and the fans loved it. I hate to go all Michael Cole here but it was truly vintage Cactus Jack in this match.

Razor Ramon vs. 1-2-3 Kid in a $10,000 Match (06/21/93) - Was the match exceptional? Maybe not, but it certainly goes down as one of the most memorable in RAW history. I could see this one not breaking into the top ten, but it is a match that certainly belongs in the top 30.

Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith (05/26/97) - Austin and Michaels wrestled as hostile partners here against the Hart Foundation. This was a real fun match which blended Austin’s brawling, Michaels high-flying, and the technical wrestling of the tag team champions into a masterpiece.

John Cena and Shawn Michaels vs. Batista and The Undertaker (03/26/2007) - This rare gem came to Madison Square Garden a week before WrestleMania and the rabid New York fans were ready. The match is noteworthy for the rare interaction between Cena (who the fans hated) and The Undertaker.This match had a real fast pace, a ton of intensity, and a fantastic atmosphere thanks to the New York crowd.

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Bret Hart (aired 07/26/93) - This was a rare “big-time” main-event to air on RAW during the time period. The match headlined the 100th RAW episode.

Taka Michinoku vs. The Great Sasuke (07/07/97) - This was hardly their best match, yet for RAW it was awesome. These two Michinoku Pro rivals were rematched coming off the Candian Stampede show. If you like high-flying, action-packed matches, you’ll love this one.

Jerry Lawler vs. The Miz in a TLC Match (11/29/10) - I never would have expected The Miz to make a list of great anything but this match was really special. The Philadelphia crowd was 100% behind Lawler which made the atmosphere here one of the best in RAW history.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton (11/28/11) - Some have said that this is the best Randy Orton match of his career. I don’t know if I’d go that far, although It is hard to argue that statement after watching this match.

Dolph Ziggler vs. CM Punk (11/21/11) - Talk about two guys who have great chemistry? This was Punk’s first match off his title win at Survivor Series and it was fantastic.

Ric Flair vs. Edge in a TLC match (01/16/06) - Ric Flair is a crazy s.o.b.! You can never go wrong with Ric Flair challenging the world champion in his home town. Flair’s family is at ringside and Edge has crazy heat as the new heel world champion beating down Flair in his home town. It doesn’t get much better than a bloody Ric Flair putting Lita in a figure-our leg lock.

Edge vs. Jeff Hardy (08/21/06) - This is one of the most underrated matches in RAW history. Jeff made his return on RAW that night, confronting Edge earlier in the show. The Coach made the match and the fans just ate it up!

Steve Austin vs. The Big Show with Mankind as the special guest referee (1999) - The Rock is on commentary here and the match features one of Show’s first matches after signing with the WWE which made this something of a “Dream Match”. Vince McMahon sat ringside, Steve Austin is on fire, and the fans were electric in this pre-WrestleMania grudge match. The match also features a great post-match brawl with Austin and Rock.

The Rock vs. The Hurricane (03/10/03) - The Rock was at his best during this time period as Hollywood Rock. Rock and Hurricane had a confrontation backstage and the match was made. The match is tremendous and one of the most exciting in RAW history as the underdog Shane Helms comes within inches of pulling off the biggest upset in RAW history.

Hulk Hogan and The Rock vs. N.W.O. (03/18/02) - This was a 2-3 match featuring arguably the most legendary tag team to ever partner up on Monday Night RAW. The match came on a hot night as part of the Draft Lottery special.


Shawn Michaels vs. 1-2-3 Kid (03/04/96) - Talk about two guys that went out there and tore the house down. This is a fantastic match which features a ton of action and all of the high-spots you’d expect from these two. I was pleasantly surprised to see it acknowledged years later on one of Michaels’ DVDs.

Chris Jericho and Christian vs. Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy in a No DQ Match (02/17/03) - Talk about a real fun match that fell through the cracks over the last few years. This match is every bit as good as you’d think it would be and then some.

Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin in a Street Fight (04/21/97) - Any time you get Austin and Bret in the ring you are going to have a fun match. This was a really exciting match that came the night after Revenge of the Taker. Austin winds up injuring Bret’s knee here in an exciting but relatively short match considering who was involved.

Marty Jannetty vs. Shawn Michaels (05/17/93) - This was the 1993 Match of the Year and with good reason. This was a fantastic match that was probably a few years ahead of its time.

Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart (12/29/97) - Owen Hart is back and seeking revenge for his brother Bret following the Survivor Series Montreal Screwjob. Owen shows a more aggressive side here in a real hot back and forth match.

Bret Hart vs. Psycho Sid in a Steel Cage Match (03/17/97) - I have always felt that this was the true beginning of the Attitude Era. The match is just a lot of fun with Steve Austin constantly interfering in Bret’s behalf with the idea being that Austin wants Bret to remain champion for their match at WrestleMania 13. The aftermath is just as exciting as the match with a real heated moment between Bret and Vince McMahon which sees the Hitman snap.

Trish Stratus vs. Lita (12/06/04) - Trish wears a face mask here after Lita broke her nose. This was a RAW main event which sounds unheard of in 2012 but the fans were really into Lita vs. Trish. This was just a great match with a lot of big moves including a super-plex off of the top rope.

Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (11/25/96 - This was the usual great Bret vs. Owen match. Bret returned to RAW after a long hiatus here and didn’t miss a thing against his “evil” baby brother.

Triple H vs. William Regal in a First Blood Match (08/02/04) - Like several matches on the list, this is an often forgotten classic. Triple H bloodied Regal to a pulp in this tremendous battle. This was done during the Eugene-Hunter feud and was in my opinion the best Regal match ever in the WWE.

Edge vs. Matt Hardy in a Loser Leaves Raw “MITB” Ladder Match (10/03/05) - How can you go wrong when you have a Hardy and Edge in a Ladder Match (or any match for that matter)? You can’t and these guys delivered the finale to one of the most intense feuds of the fall of 2005 live on RAW.

Ric Flair vs. Triple H (5/19/03) - How can you go wrong with Ric Flair challenging for the world championship in Greenville? You can’t and maybe that is why Hunter picked him as his opponent. It certainly wasn’t Flair’s greatest match but the crowd, the time period, and the intensity between Flair and Hunter put this one on the list.

Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels in an Iron Man Match (10/03/25) - Surprisingly this one is also easily forgotten when people recollect great RAW matches of the last 1000 episodes. This was a part of the Homecoming show and saw two of arguably the greatest wrestlers at that time go at it non-stop for 30-minutes in an absolute classic.

Shawn Michaels vs. Shelton Benjamin (5/2/05) - This was part of the Gold Rush tournament and surprised a lot of people with how great of a match it turned out to be. Of course the memorable moment here is Michaels catching Benjamin off of the ropes with Sweet Chin Music for the finish.

Owen Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith (03/03/97) - The finals for the European championship saw partners and friends clash for the first time on RAW. This was about as technical a match as you’ll ever see on RAW and an absolute masterpiece.

Chris Benoit vs. Triple H Iron Man Match (07/26/04) - Iron Man matches on RAW are rare, but one-hour Iron Man matches on WWE television are even harder to come by. This was one of the few to ever make Monday night (I can’t think of any others) and it really showcased the great psychology Hunter and Benoit had in the ring together.

Rob Van Dam vs. Edge vs. John Cena (07/03/2006) - The bad news is that RVD just got busted and had to drop the WWE championship. The great news is that WWE fans got a match for free that they normally would have had to pay to see on pay per view. Even better news was that the match was tremendous!

The Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy in a Ladder Match (06/01/2002) - This should really be called the Jim Ross call because as great as this match was, it was Jim Ross’ commentary and his cheer leading for Jeff that landed this one in the top 30. Can an announcer make a difference? Listen to this match and I dare you to tell me he or she can’t. It also didn’t hurt that Hardy had the match in his home town.

Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, and Lita (Team Extreme) vs. Stephanie McMahon, (The Two Man Power Trip) Triple H, and Steve Austin (09/04/01) – Hunter and Austin did a tremendous job of elevating the Hardy brothers and making people believe that they could actually hang with the big boys. I know that there was a lot of criticism over the finish of Steph pinning Lita, but the actual match was a lot of fun to watch.

Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (12/29/2003) - Hunter and Michaels had arguably the best series of matches in the business during this time period and the WWE capitalized on it by closing out 2003 with arguably their best. This match was just a fantastic back and forth match that was very reminiscent of the old Steamboat-Flair matches (by design as they even copied the headlock spot) and is still remembered almost ten years later as one of the best.

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit (02/16/04) - Here is another (see a pattern) forgotten RAW classic. This match came during a time in which Evolution was feuding with Benoit. This was as good as a match as you’d expect from these two in 2004 and then some. This one had a lot of near falls and really got hot towards the final minutes of this 21-minute bout.

Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin (January 18, 2001) - There was a huge buildup for this match with Austin getting a rematch at the WWE championship. Austin was the heel here against America’s hero and a very popular Angle at the time. This was an intense back and forth match marred by a real disappointing finish (probably why most people forget about this one).

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Top 5 WWE Matches from the first 1000 RAW episodes – Inside The Wheelhouse

July 18, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Bret Hart 123 KidIn honor of WWE RAW’s 1000th episode on July 23rd I thought it would be fun to rank my own Top 5 list of my own personal RAW matches from the first 1000 episodes. There haven’t been that many episodes of RAW that I have missed fortunately and therefore had a pretty tough time narrowing down so many matches to just 5. But without any further ado here is my Top 5 list of RAW matches from the first 1000 episodes:

5. Mankind vs. The Rock (January 4th, 1999):

This was one of the most intense feuds in wrestling history and one of the most often forgotten feuds of the “attitude era.” How many of us can remember The Rock and Mankind exchanging the WWF Championship back and forth leading us to WrestleMania 14? I certainly do and the most memorable match of that feud (sorry Royal Rumble ’99 & Halftime Heat matches) was the first RAW of 1999 when “Mrs. Foley’s baby boy” won his first WWF Championship.

Some people may argue this match is most remembered by WCW’s Tony Schiavone spoiling the match on WCW Monday Nitro, saying very tongue-in-cheek that it will “put butts in seats” and hence sending everyone from Nitro to RAW to see the match/moment. But the match itself was a great one, telling a story of someone who was the “underdog” and never was going to be “championship material” captures his dream & sending the live crowd into frenzy. Mankind running around the ring with the WWF Championship after a great match makes it one of the Top 5 RAW matches of all-time.

4. Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair (January 25th, 1993):

Should this match even surprise you that it’s on my list? Two of the greatest in-ring performers of all-time, laying it on the line in the squared circle in the infancy stages of Monday Night RAW. It was a “loser leaves town match” that would send one legend packing from the WWF while the other one would stay on to celebrate their accomplishment of booting the other out of the company.

This match is important because it laid down the groundwork that Monday Night RAW was going to be the “must see TV” that the WWF was hyping it to be when it debuted. Weeks later they gave the wrestling world this classic of a match and the groundwork was set for RAW to be a top wrestling program in the entire world. Mr. Perfect would come out on top that night and sent Ric Flair packing back to WCW, the match is an all-time classic and therefore is on my top 5 matches list from the first 1000 episode of RAW.

3. Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker (July 1st, 2002):

When The Hardy Boyz debuted in the WWF you knew there was something “special” about younger brother Jeff out of the tandem. He had that “it factor” that not many wrestling stars possess and was destined to become a top star in professional wrestling. That theory was tested and achieved the night Jeff Hardy nearly beat The Undertaker for the WWF Championship in a Ladder Match one summer night in 2002.

The Undertaker was at the top of his game as a then heel WWF Champion and was the “top dog” (he called himself that as well) in the WWF at the time. Jeff Hardy was looking to break out and he sure did as Hardy & Undertaker had one of the most underrated ladder matches of all-time. It was exciting and gave wrestling fans everything they wanted in a “free” WWF Championship match. It often gets lost in history but to me it ranks as the #3 RAW matches off all-time on my top 5 list.

2. Shawn Michaels vs. Shelton Benjamin (May 2nd, 2005):

It’s very few times in RAW history when we are given a “WrestleMania caliber” match for free. Shawn Michaels vs. Shelton Benjamin was “WrestleMania caliber” on May 2nd, 2005 as they put on an in-ring story that is up there with some of the greatest matches of all-time. Imagine how much notoriety this match would’ve gotten had it been on a WrestleMania card or even been for a title? We might be comparing it to the likes of Savage vs. Steamboat from WrestleMania III if that was the case!

Shawn Michaels is, well, Shawn Michaels. Shelton Benjamin was a young up and comer who could put on a great match but wasn’t battle tested to the same talent that he possessed. It’s very hard for someone to actually “match” Shawn Michaels move for move but Benjamin was able to keep up with the WWE Hall-of-Famer and gave us a match that many people still like to find on YouTube every now and again. It was a RAW match that made you stand out of your seat when it was all said and done as it was one of the greatest RAW matches of all-time.

1. Bret Hart vs. The 1-2-3 Kid (July 11th, 1994):

This was one of those main event matches that wrestling fans had low expectations for but as the match went on you started to realize how good it really was. The then WWF Champion Bret “The Hitman” Hart helped make Sean “1-2-3 Kid” Waltman into a star that night as they put on a clinic for more then 20 minutes in an exciting WWF Championship Main Event match that had people believing that it was quite possible for the 1-2-3 Kid to pull off the unimaginable upset. The match took a wrestler who was mainly looked at as a lower mid-card wrestler and turned him into a superstar overnight & changing the course of one’s career.

I really believe this match is often lost in the annals of the WWE’s history because like the match at #2, it was not a match featured at a WrestleMania or other PPV event. But when you go back and watch it you realize just how good it was on July 11th, 1994. Hart vs. The 1-2-3 Kid to me, was the greatest RAW match of all-time in the first 1000 episodes and deserves to be ranked #1 on my list throughout the last nearly 20 years of RAW television programming.

Jeff who is part of The Bower Show on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT & ESPN 1300 in New Haven, CT announced that current WWE Champion CM Punk will be returning to the show this Thursday July 19th to promote the upcoming RAW 1000th episode.

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Flashback: WWE Survivor Series 1994 Review

April 19, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWF Survivor Series 1994Wednesday, November 23rd, 1994 – Freeman Coliseum – San Antonio, Texas – Welcome to the eight annual WWE Survivor Series! This will be the last Survivor Series to be either on Thanksgiving night or Thanksgiving eve. I’m sad they moved it from Wednesday or Thursday night for this event tradition.

We are opened to seeing backstage discussions between the Survivor Series teams. I really enjoyed seeing these segments, to help introduce the teams we’ll be seeing do battle later.

Vince McMahon and Gorilla Monsoon are doing color commentating for this pay-per-view. I find this announce team to be very odd because both men are known for being the lead play-by-play men. Will see how these two men mesh together for this event. I’ll definitely will complain about it if I feel needed.

The Teamsters (WWF Tag Team Champions Diesel and Shawn Michaels, Jeff Jarrett, Owen Hart, and Jim Neidhart) versus the Bad Guys (WWF Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon, 1-2-3 Kid, British Bulldog, and the Headshrinkers)

I’ve mentioned it before but I always enjoyed the five-on-five elimination matches. I guess Razor Ramon took the Intercontinental Championship from Diesel at SummerSlam that year when Shawn Michaels nailed Diesel with the Sweet Chin Music. Poor Diesel. At least they’ve been building their break up pretty well

1-2-3 Kid and Jim Neidhart start the match and start the card with being the first two men to lock-up. A classic way to start off the pay-per-view with a lightning quick wrestler against a power-house superstar.

So far, the announce team of McMahon and Monsoon aren’t as bad as I expected them to be. It’s odd for me to hear the main play-by-play man from the 80’s take a back seat to McMahon. I guess when he’s the boss; he can make anyone do anything he wants them to do. Right Jim Ross?

Thinking of it, it’s nice to see Jeff Jarrett do the “Nature Boy” strut. McMahon and Monsoon mentioned during the match that Jarrett is putting out a CD (yes, in 1994) called “Ain’t I Great?” Monsoon had a great line and said that it’s on the NAA labels, meaning “Not Available Anywhere.” Good wit Monsoon, really great line.

Double J slapped on the abdominal stretch onto the Kid. Another move I wish would be used more often these days. Shawn Michaels helped Jarrett and pulled his arm to give him more leverage. The ref caught him but didn’t break the hold. Then Jarrett grabbed the ropes and the ref called him out on it and Kid hip-tossed him out of the ring.

Diesel hit the Jacknife Powerbowb on Fatu, which was a pretty impressive sight, to give us the first elimination of the night. The Kid came in right away and got Jacknifed and eliminated right away. Diesel must be running on full steam this night. The other Headsrinker came in and got Jacknifed too and eliminated. Easily eliminated 60 percent of the opposing team. Great way to put over one-half of the World Tag Team Champions.

The Bulldog got eliminated, leaving Razor Ramon being the last man against the full five-man Teamsters. Wow, I’m very surprised that the heels are getting such good lead on the face team.

Ramon was gonna try to put Diesel in the Razor’s Edge and Diesel countered with a back-drop.

Big Daddy Cool hit the Jacknife on Ramon and Michaels finally came in for the first time for the match. Michaels asked Diesel to tie his arms behind his back for the Super Kick and Razor ducked and got Diesel got nailed with the kick. Diesel Hulked-Up and took out his team and chased HBK out of the ring and the whole team got counted out, eliminated the whole team, giving Razor the victory.

Sole Survivor: Razor Ramon

To be honest, I find this way a great way to make the break up between Diesel and Shawn Michaels to be huge but a cheap way to eliminate the whole team. By all rights the Teamsters should have won. But they were trying to tell a story and what a great story they were telling.

Todd Pettengill tried to interview Michaels and Michaels said that he made Diesel and he’s finished with him.

The Royal Family (Jerry Lawler, Cheesy, Sleazy, and Queasy) versus Clowns R’ Us (Doink, Dink, Wink, and Pink)

Lawler grabbed the mic and told them to respect loyalty and he better not hear a “Burger King” chant. I miss heel Lawler. When the clowns came out, all the mini-clowns had different color wigs on, which was very helpful to separate them. I’m not gonna try to memorize which mini-clown is which, so if I don’t list who got eliminated, I apologize, I didn’t hear the announcers call the name on who got eliminated. I’ll do that with the mini-Royal Family.

Doink and the King start out the match for this Survivor Series team.

A funny sight was Lawler’s team mates ran over him when Doink held him down. I guess it’s nice to have a comedy match every once in a while at Survivor Series.

A personal observation: at the first match, there were empty seats on the side that’s opposing the camera and by this match; most of them are filled up. I guess they missed the memo to be on time at a WWF event.

This Survivor Series match is extremely different from the last, but like mentioned, it’s nice to have a comedy Survivor Series match thrown into the mix.

The little clowns were chasing the little Kings around the apron the ring. When this was happening, Lawler eliminated Doink.

One of Lawler’s men defeated one of the mini-clowns. How sad!

A second of Lawler’s men defeated another one of the mini-clowns. It’s almost over for the clowns.

After a distraction from Lawler, the first team so far this event that was able be undefeated, Lawler’s team won!

Sole Survivors: The Royal Family

Todd Pettengill interviews Bull Nakano , the new WWF Women’s Champ, who won the title the Saturday before this event, in her own country. Good for Bull Nakano for winning a United States Women’s title.

Submission match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship: Bret “the Hitman” Hart (WWF Champ) versus Bob Backlund

Owen Hart is in the corner for Mr. Bob Backlund and the British Bulldog is in the corner for Bret Hart. A personal note: Mr. Backlund is from Princeton, Minnesota, which is about a 45 minute drive from me where I write this piece. Yeah for Minnesotans and yeah for St. Cloud, Minnesota!

One thing I am bothered at is there’s no explanation for title defenses like what happened here. Granted Monsoon did say that for the first time in history the WWF title is being defending a submission match but I got no explanation on why Bret Hart is defending the title against his opponent who didn’t hold the title in 11 years before this event. I’m happy now there are video packages to explain the story,

I’m really impressed that this match has been a technical match-up. Even back then matches like this were rare, which is nice to see.

McMahon mentions that Backlund is 45 years old. I wonder why McMahon was on a kick on how old Backlund was. I think McMahon would have been around the same age as Backlund in 94. Heck, listening to a podcast reviewing the Royal Rumble 1992, sounded like the announcers were big on Backlund’s age then too and Flair was a year older than Backlund.

Bret Hart put on a figure four leg lock and the crowd went wild! The announcers’ were putting over the submission move. I’m happy Bret was putting over the figure four. The gimmick of the match was the guys in the corner for their guy had towels to throw in when their guy can’t go on anymore. Owen was unwilling to throw in the towel for Backlund.

Talking about moves that I miss, Bret Hart bit the piledriver onto Bob Backlund. I wish superstars these days knew how to protect each other for moves like the piledriver could still be used today. I think the piledriver could be used as a great finisher move.

Owen Hart had the British Bulldog chase him around the ring and into the ring and the ref caught the Bulldog and that gave Owen a chance to hit Bret with a bulldog when he had Backlund in the Sharpshooter. Bulldog hit is head into the steel steps, which “knocked” him out and that gave Backlund the opportunity to slap on the Crossface Chickenwing.

Seemed like after Backlund had the Chickenwing on Bret for a few minutes, Owen started to change his facial expression, seeing his brother in pain. Owen tried to encourage his brother to get up and get out of the Chickenwing. Bret was able to get back to his feet but Backlund brought him back down to the mat with the body scissors. Owen went to his parents saying that he didn’t mean for this to happen and didn’t want to see Bret in any more pain and asked them to do something. Why couldn’t Owen throw in Backlund’s towel to end the match? Good question.

Owen got on his knees begging his parents to do something at the five minute mark of Bret being in the Chickenwing. Come on Hart parents! I’m dying out of boredom. Owen got his parents up and they grabbed Bret’s towel. Stu grabbed it and wouldn’t throw it in. Helen started to cry some too. Bret wouldn’t quit. I bet Backlund and Bret got bored having the hold on too. Helen did a quick grab and threw the towel in and Owen ran off, out-smarting his parents.

Winner and new World Wrestling Federation Champion: Bob Backlund

Don’t worry Stu and Helen, Bob Backlund wouldn’t hold the title for more than few days. For his first title defense, he’ll lose it to Diesel in eight seconds in a non-television event. I’m happy that Backlund was able to wear the Wing Eagle version of the WWE Championship.

Todd Pettengill is backstage with Owen Hart, saying that the match was a set-up. Owen laughs and said it was a set-up and his parents fell for it. Owens that Bret is a cheater, a loser, and is underneath Owen. Owen says that he’ll be the World Tag Team Champ, Intercontinental Champ, and the WWF World Heavyweight Champ. Take out the last title and put in a future title, than Owen Hart would be dead right with this interview.

The awesome thing is the crowd is completely dead because of what happened and the announcers are pissed off at Owen Hart. Great way to put over a new heel.

Million Dollar Team (Tatanka, Bam Bam Bigelow, King Kong Bundy, and the Heavenly Bodies) versus Pride and Glory (Lex Luger, Adam Bomb, Mabel, and the Smoking Gunns)

I love the Million Dollar Man’s theme song. I had it on my phone for a while and had my coworkers ringtone to be just that, for I know what they want when they call me.

Looking at the face team, I don’t miss Adam Bomb. I was super excited whenever I rented WrestleMania X on VHS and when he faced Earthquake, he always lost within a quick few minutes. Thank you Earthquake, showing that Mother Nature always defeats man-made bombs.

Luger and Tatanka start out the match. Not trying to be a jerk with this statement but isn’t it weird to have a “Made in the USA” character and a Native American wrestlers start out this match? Talking about the sterotypes being played back then. Thank you McMahon for shying away from characters like this nowadays.

A sad note, at the first Survivor Series, Bigelow and Bundy were in the main event Survivor Series match on opposing teams and this year they are on the same team in the semi-main-event spot. Granted this match is the last Survivor Series match too for this year but it isn’t the main event. I’m proud that almost a decade later those two men are in a high ranked match on this card.

Mabel was on the second rope and did a cross body splash on one of the Heavenly Bodies and got the victory for the first elimination for this match. Very impressive for that big man. I never expected something like that out of Mabel.

Talking about big men, I miss wrestlers like Mabel, Bigelow, and Bundy. I miss big men as wrestlers. I’m a bigger guy myself and it’s easier for me to relate to guys like them compared to guys like John Cena.

Another impressive move I saw was Bigelow did a sunset flip from the top rope over Mabel to try to pin him and Mabel sat on him. Great big man move for Mabel!

Those two men did a Cactus Jack double clothesline and Mabel got counted out from it. Still another cool spot. Luckily for Biglelow he didn’t get counted out.

The coolest elimination for me so far this night was seeing Bam Bam Bigelow eliminate Adam Bomb with a moonsault. I wish I was as agile like Bigelow; that man had the coolest moonsault next to Big Van Vader. Big men like them shouldn’t do high risk moves like that.

Poor other member of the Heavenly Bodies, getting eliminated by Luger’s WWF finisher, the running forearm. Oh the good ole days with the simplest finishers. I love it!

Not to diverge from the match but I wanna put over the Million Dollar Man’s tux on this night. I bet he spared no expense for that tux. I wonder how much he spent on it. Maybe a million dollars?

Bart Gunn was eliminated by Tatanka’s finish, the fallaway slam. Like said, simple finishers are awesome! I miss the days when stories were told in the ring, unlike more “modern” wrestling. I guess it’s just my preference and this era of the business is what caught my eye and made me fall in love with the industry.

I don’t mean this in a homosexual way but there were a few close-ups on King Kong Bundy and he didn’t shave his legs for the 1994 Survivor Series. I find this to be extremely creepy. I wish the camera men didn’t do a close-up because that isn’t an image I want to see on my television screen. Talking about Bundy, he eliminated Billy Gunn, leaving Luger alone with Tatanka, Bigelow, and Bundy. What a mountain to climb for the former WCW Champion.

Luger’s putting up a good fight against three big men. What a strong showing from the “Man Made in the USA.”

A quick small package to eliminate Tatanka and a quick splash onto Luger and Bundy and Bigelow win for the Million Dollar Team.

Sole Survivors: Bam Bam Bigelow and King Kong Bundy

I’m very excited that the heel team got over in this match. One of my favorite managers has to be the Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase. I wish he would have gotten the WWF title at WrestleMania IV. The Savage/Hogan feud did bring in a lot of money and fans into the business though, so smart move going to Savage with the championship.

Backstage Todd Pettengill has the new WWF Champion, Bob Backlund. He claims that he never lost the title and has been champion since 1972; he just regained the title on this night. He also said Bret Hart represents the culture and he defeated the culture. He yells saying he’ll take on anyone, then whispers. I didn’t catch what he was saying because I didn’t want to turn up my television volume. I’m happy I didn’t because he yelled at the end, and then walked off.

Monsoon said that Backlund won the title for the second time the very fashion he lost the title in the first place, by the manager throwing in the towel. Thanks for the quick history lesson Monsoon, granted it’s a half hour after the match ended. It would have been nice to have this right before the match started, having this tid-bid of history, but better late than never.

Casket match: Undertaker versus Yokozuna [with special guest ‘trouble-shooting referee’ Chuck Norris]

Yes! I’m happy for Chuck Norris! A random fact: I share a birthday with Chuck Norris, according to Wikipedia. Thank you Wikipedia for telling me this fact.

The Undertaker vs. Yokozuna in a Casket Match

Norris is here to stand in the way of any competitors who try to interfere in this match (words of Mr. McMahon). Monsoon and McMahon say that it might be Yokozuna who might try with him (Norris) just because he was the first one to come out after Norris and is the heel for the match. Jerks.

There’s a fan in the crowd with an urn and has a make-up on to look like a very skinny Paul Bearer! I love it! I seen him a few times during the card but I’m happy that fan got some camera time when Yoko was coming out! Forever in the history of the Survivor Series memories! Yes!

Vince McMahon said when the Undertaker’s theme started was the only person who’ll feel at home would be the Undertaker. Thank you Vince for the obvious.

The screen that they had for the images for the matches parted was for the Undertaker. Even in 1994 he had awesome powers! That is a cool seen to see the screen part ways for the Undertaker to come out. Paul Bearer sneaks out in front of the Undertaker with the casket (the urn’s on top)! I was wondering where the casket was gonna come into play for this match.

Double deep, double wide, double thick casket was built for this match. I don’t know how I feel about that, was that an insult against Yokozuna and his weight?

Yokozuna was “afraid” of caskets. A great “fear” for a match. I believe Yokozuna helped made the Undertaker back in the mid-1990s and helped made the casket match.

Undertaker hit Yoko with Old School. I don’t remember that move having a name until the Undertaker came back as the Biker Taker.

Thinking of Yokozuna’s “fear” of caskets, how is he supposed to win if he “doesn’t” want to be by them? He rolled the Undertaker into the casket while I write this and he isn’t scared of it like he was at the start of the match. I find his “fear” to be utter crap!

We had a close-up of Chuck Norris. I’m happy he always had an awesome beard. If I had to pick a winner of the match this far, I’d choose Norris’ beard. No one can beat “him,” that includes the razor and shaving cream!

Talking about close-ups, we had a few close-ups of Paul Bearer holding up the urn when the Undertaker was in control and the view we had was the reflection of Bearer in the urn, screaming “Yes Undertaker! Yes!”

We had King Kong Bundy come out and Chuck Norris kicked one of his feet out to challenge him. Bam Bam Bigelow came out too and those two men stood back away from Norris, wanting none of him.

With the refs being distracted, along with Norris, IRS came in and attacked the Undertaker and slapped on the sleeper hold. The Undertaker “fell asleep” and fell into the casket. When Yoko got up, he tried to shut the door but the Dead Man woke back up again and grabbed Yoko’s throat.

While this happened, Jeff Jarrett came down and Norris hit him with the Sweet Chin Music!

Both men started to battle each other again. The several wrestlers who came out must have been an intermission for Taker and Yoko. Taker hit a big boot and got Yoko in the casket and shut the door. The Undertaker wins!

Winner of the Casket match: the Undertaker!

To be honest, I think Chuck Norris is the real winner of the match, pulling out some awesome moves and his cowboy hat never falling off of his head.

All-in-all, this was a pretty decent Survivor Series. It sucks that Diesel and Shawn Michaels were stripped of their Tag Team titles because of their fall-out from this event. The only good thing that came out of that was Diesel winning the WWF title from Backlund from a house event right around a week after this Survivor Series. But the two singles matches on the card were good for what they were and the three Survivor Series elimination matches were good. Something I wish never faded out on this November tradition. Fun times had by me watching this event and reliving some memories of the superstars of WWF Survivor Series 1994! If were gonna go out and watch a classic Survivor Series, I highly suggest this one!

Eric Darsie is known as a ‘common-man’ among his peers, at least he thinks so. He works hard with his hands in the heart of Minnesota and on his free time, he thugs and a bugs with his family and friends. Whenever he doesn’t do that, he’s found to be writing. Now more of a rare thing, he’s gems could be found here. If you would like to see more of Eric’s work outside of the professional world, check him out at http://vintagedarsie.wordpress.com/, http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/, and on Twitter @IAmDarsie.

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Flashback: WWE Survivor Series 1998 Review – The Deadly Game

April 16, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Rock Survivor Series 1998JR opens the PPV! BRING HIM BACK!

The WWF title was vacant for the event. On Sunday Night Heat there was a brawl. With who? They didn’t say (right away).

Mr. McMahon is out already in his wheelchair with the title belt. In ten years Boss Man is a lot thinner (compared to 1988). McMahon introduces the first match of the card. The World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Champion, Mankind (in a suit-yes, Mick Foley in a suit and the Hardcore Champ). JR informs us it’s been ten years (to this moment) that the WWF title was determined in a tournament (even a 14-man tournament). It was in 1988 at WrestleMania IV where Randy “Macho Man” Savage defeated “the Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. Useless facts, right now, yes. VINCE MENTIONS WCW AND THE CROWD BOOS! YES! The coach of the Passadena Chargers, Duane Gill (with an awesome theme music).

Round 1- Mankind (WWF Hardcore Champ) versus Duane Gill

McMahon didn’t stay long, but this match didn’t last long either. Couple of kicks and a Double Arm DDT with a cradle, Mankind wins. It will take you roughly the same time to read this as the match length was.

Round 1- Jeff Jarrett (with Debra) versus Al Snow (with Head and Socko)

Debra grabbed Head and distracted Tim White and Jeff Jarrett hit Snow with the Head while Snow was going for the Guitar, and didn’t affect Snow. Snow turned around and hit Jarrett with the Head and got the victory. This match was three minutes longer than the match before.

Round 1- Big Boss Man versus Stone Cold Steve Austin

Cobb County, GA! I like the Big Boss Man’s character. Who’s better, the Swat team Boss Man or the Blue Shirt Boss Man? In other words, the 1988 Boss Man or the 1998 Boss Man? Let’s get to the match.

Goldust and Mankind are sitting in the second row. Not really, but fans dressed up like them are.

Big Boss Man got himself DQ’ed with his nightstick. Big Boss Man hits the announcer’s table with the night stick to intimidate JR. Good stuff with good laughs.

Round 1- X-Pac (WWF European Champ) versus Steven Regal (the Real Man’s Man, future 2008 King of the Ring)

Regal’s wearing plaid. I like that.

“Whatever you’re taking you gotta cut the dose, it’s not Blackman,” said the King.
“I mean from Blackpool,” JR replied.

Double count-out with these two men. That gives Austin a bye in the next round. McMahon just demands overtime for Austin can’t overtime. Both men aren’t even in the ring. That means Austin gets a bye and McMahon gets angry. Poor Vince.

Round 1- Ken Shamrock (WWF Intercontinental Champ and 1998 King of the Ring) versus Goldust

MMA versus Hollywood!

I just realized, there’s someone out in the crowd as Kane as well! It’s Kane, Mankind, and Goldust as fans out in the crowd! YES!

Shamrock won by the Ankle Lock. Gave my buddy and I were in a debate about who’s Ankle Lock is better, Shamrock’s or Angles.

Round 1- The Rock versus Triple H…I mean the Big Boss Man

Triple H is out with a knee injury, so the Big Boss Man took his spot.

Boss Man walks in, small package, and the Rock wins!

“There wasn’t enough time for me to smell what the Rock was cookin’!” proclaimed the King.

Round 2- The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) versus Kane

This was a year into a year into their feud (Taker and Kane). And in 1991 the Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan to win his first WWF title.

Paul’s facial expressions are simply amazing, he can sell anything off his facial expressions.

Tombstone Piledriver from the Undertaker to Kane, and Daddy Paul held down Kane’s unhooked leg for the pin.

Round 2- Mankind (WWF Hardcore Champ) versus Al Snow (with Head and Socko)

The suit versus the Head!

Vince seems drunk or on pills. I think I like it.

Foley is punching the Head because he saw the Sock on the Head’s head.

Socko claw on Al Snow and Mankind is victorious! I would of tapped right away if that sock went into my mouth. Gross.

Round 2- Ken Shamrock (WWF Intercontinental Champ) versus the Rock

This match was longer than the Rock’s first match on this night, thankfully. I feel like this is a decent match. I really enjoyed the feud that these two men had.

We get a “Boss Man Sucks” chant when the Boss Man comes out during the match.

The Rock sold the Ankle Lock awesome. He made it sell like it actually hurt, a lot. Thanks the Rock for making Shamrock a star.

The People’s Elbow and a two-count and how huge the move is over! It reminds me of “Ravishing” Rick Rude’s Rude Awakening finisher.

Boss Man throws the night stick to Shamrock but the Rock catches it and nails Shamrock with it and gets the victory.

WWF Women’s Championship: Sable versus Jacquline (Champ)

Fast forward. I don’t care for the match. Sorry.

Sable wins the title with the Sablebomb.

Round 3- Mankind (WWF Hardcore Champ) versus Stone Cold Steve Austin

There are boos within the first minute and McMahon and stooges are on their way out. Vintage.

Lou Theze press by Stone Cold and Austin also hit the Stone Cold Stunner and Foley sprinted out of the ring and down the aisle. The stooges went down and told Foley to go back.

Double Arm DDT on the chair to Stone Cold and JR sells it like it’s huge!

Stone Cold Stunner and McMahon jumps in and pulls the ref and knocks him out. Another Stunner and Shane as the ref outs the two and gives Austin the Double Bird.

Chair shot from Brisco to Austin and Foley covers and gets the three count.

Round 3- The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) versus the Rock

Decent short match by these two men. Wish these two guys had longer matches, but the Rock had the next match to do and both men already had matches already on the card prior to this match.

Paul Bearer is the superstar of this match because of his facial expressions. Uncle Paul is golden. Paul used his shoe to hit the Rock in the head.

Big Boss Man is out again during this match. The Rock did the Undertaker sat up and gestured to Paul Bearer being fatter than the normal person. The Rock tried to deliver the People’s Elbow and the Boss Man tripped him. Taker hit the Boss Man. Weird.

Kane chokeslam’s the Rock in front of the ref and the Dead Man is confused, and the Rock wins by DQ. Kane and the Undertaker start to battle with one another after the match.

WWF Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match: New Age Outlaws (Champs) versus D’Lo Brown and Mark Henry versus the Headbangers

Really didn’t care for this match. This is the second Survivor Series that I’ve watched when doing this review, so I turned my mind off. And I got a phone call so I answered the call. The New Age Outlaws won and retained the titles.

WWF Championship Match- Round 4-Mankind (WWF Hardcore Champ) versus the Rock

Excited for the match-we’re guaranteed a new WWF World Heavyweight Champion with this match. Last three Survivor Series the WWF title has changed hands. The McMahons and the Big Boss Man are back from the chase with Stone Cold from after they “screwed” Austin out of his semi-finals match earlier in the night.

Vince and Shane come out a couple of minutes into the match and JR says to the King that he was fooled by Shane earlier in the night, thinking that Shane isn’t on the same team as his Daddy.

The Hebner lets the two guys fight outside the ring and out in the fans. The King and JR get worked up-wanting the guys to take it back to the ring.

Mick Foley jumped from the second rope to jump onto the Rock through the Spanish Announcer’s Table, but the Rock moved. Mankind ate a lot of the announcer’s table. Poor Mick.

People’s Elbow and the Rock only get’s a near fall! Double Arm DDT to the Rock and Foley pulls the sock out of his tights. Socko Claw and the Rock is fading! Rock countered with a Rock Bottom. Words of JR, BOTH MEN ARE DOWN! Rock only got a two count with the Rock Bottom.

People’s Eyebrow to the McMahons and the Sharpshooter to Foley and McMahon yells to ring the bell. Shane rolls in and raises the Rock’s arm. The winner and new World Wrestling Federation Champion, the Rock. Former People’s Champ, now Corporate Champ!

This was a nice change of breath for the Survivor Series PPV. If Vince wants to keep this PPV around and want to bring in ratings, if no Survivor Series matches, why not as a tournament? The winner faces the WWE Champion and World Heavyweight Champion in a triple threat match? The loosing Champion loses his title to winner? I would tune in for that pay-per-view concept. But this has been fun watching this year’s Survivor Series!

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The Top 10 WCW Cruiserweights

April 11, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Rey Mysterio Jr.There aren’t many great memories to write about WCW but one element that I always enjoyed in WCW was the cruiserweights. The WCW cruiserweight division would regularly steal the show and tear the house down which is why today I pay tribute to the Top 10 WCW Cruiserweights.

The cruiserweight division in WCW came from the light heavyweight division of past booking regimes. Eric Bischoff recreated the division and gave lighter wrestler from all over the world the opportunity to come to the United States and dazzle American pro wrestling audiences on a weekly basis. In my opinion, the WCW cruiserweight division was the best element of Nitro and later Thunder.

The division generally featured professional wrestlers smaller than 220 pounds. Several cruiserweights would later put on weight and enjoy success as a heavyweight champion in either WCW or the WWE. Unfortunately many of these great talents got lost in the shuffle following the WCW sale and struggled to find a spot in the WWE.

However, today is not about failure but about succeeding. Today I rank the top 10 WCW cruiserweight wrestlers in order. Who entertained the most and more frequently in WCW than his colleagues? Let’s take a look and find out.

Rey Mysterio Jr. – It is hard to argue against Rey Mysterio. For those newer WWE fans that never saw Rey in his glory days, you have no idea what you missed. If you thought this guy flies now, you need to go find some old Mysterio matches from WCW or even ECW on You Tube and block out 30 minutes of your day.

Juventud Guerrera – One of the most underrated wrestlers of this era was Juventud Guerrera. Some would argue that Guerrera was the best wrestler in the world during this time period. His matches with Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, and fellow cruisers are some of the most fun matches you’ll ever see. Unfortunately unlike Rey, Juventud was never able to catch on in the WWE the way the “Juice” did in WCW.

Eddie Guerrero – Eddie was a daredevil in WCW and was arguably the greatest cruiserweight in the division for a short period of time. Guerrero was able to blend his mix of international styles to adapt to all opponents and deliver intense matches in the division. His match with Rey Mysterio from Halloween Havoc is regarded by some as one of the greatest matches in WCW history, maybe the best in cruiserweight history.

Dean Malenko – Unfortunately Dean Malenko entered the WWE at the twilight of his career. However, Malenko came into WCW during his prime. What I always loved about Malenko is that you never saw the same match twice from him. Everything was different and rarely was there a slow moment in a Dean Malenko match.

Jushin Liger – If Liger was more of a regular during his time in WCW, I think he’d be in the top three of the list. Unfortunately Liger was a part-time wrestler here, which in my opinion drops him down a few notches on the list. Additionally, he rarely seemed to let loose the way he would in Japan. But when he did, he was a force to be reckoned with.

Ultimo Dragon – Ultimo Dragon was a star waiting to happen here. He wasn’t necessarily as fast as Malenko or Mysterio, but he was as crisp as they came. His matches with Eddie Guerrero were just off the charts. Injuries unfortunately took a toll on the masked flyer by the time he arrived in the WWE.

Chris Jericho – It is funny because when most people speak about Jericho in WCW, they talk about his feud with Goldberg. However, before he challenged Goldberg he was a hell of a cruiserweight. He was young, raw, and incredibly hungry during this time in WCW. His international experience allowed him to hang with everyone from Juventud Guerrera to Psychosis to Chavo Guerrero Jr. His ascension years later should be no surprise to anyone who watched him steal the show weekly on Nitro.

Shane Helms – Shane Helms was one of my favorite cruiserweights to watch. He had this raw, athletic, believable style to him that made him standout above the rest in my opinion. He had some great matches in particular with Chavo Jr. His diving crossbody and somersault plancha were awesome. It appeared that Helms was on his way to big things in the division before the company was sold, and rightfully so.

Billy Kidman – How can you not include the guy that introduce the Shooting Star Press to the American audience on the list? The guy had some truly insane cruiserweight matches on Nitro. Plus, his three reigns as WCW cruiserweight champion were particularly impressive given the competition.

Syxx – Sean Waltman is an interesting choice and one I struggled with. My biggest gripe with Syxx is that he wasn’t around very long. But when he was in WCW, he really brought the cruiserweights up a few notches. He had a smoother style than the other cruiserweights, yet could go 100 miles per hour if needed. The martial arts style introduced fast kicks and blazing chops to the WCW audience. Syxx had some tremendous matches with Mysterio and Jericho, those of which landed him on the list.

Elix Skipper – Elix Skipper was always a favorite of mine to watch in WCW towards the end of the company. Like Helms, it appeared that the company had big plans for Skipper. He didn’t fly around like the luchadores, but he had this raw athleticism that stood out to me from the rest of the pack. You could certainly argue for guys Psychosis, Chavo Jr., or even Kaz Hayashi over Skipper, however he was always one of my favorites to watch, it’s my list, so he’s getting on.

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WWE Flashback: The First WWE Draft – Downtown with Darsie

August 16, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Ric Flair and Vince McMahon WWE Draft 2002Monday, March 25th, 2002, University Park, Pennsylvania-Linda McMahon, the WWE CEO, opens up the show and explains the WWE draft. Ric Flair is the “owner” of WWF Raw and Vince McMahon is the “owner” of WWF Smackdown.

Stone Cold Steve Austin isn’t able to be drafted, and is a free agent, and Triple H, Chris Jericho, and Stephanie McMahon couldn’t be drafted because they are in the main event on this card, wrestling for the Undisputed WWF Championship. Linda also stated that the draft will start next week on Raw. The rest of the 20 picks would be in the lottery on WWF.com later that night.

They’re at Penn State University for the first ever draft! The main event is Triple H defending the Undisputed WWF Championship against former champ Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon. If Triple H pins Stephanie, Steph has to leave the company “forever.” I think it sucks for whoever the loser of the match is (we all should know who it is, but I won’t spoil it for you for you can read who won and who lost) that they won’t get drafted until the lottery on the website after the night is finished. What a awesome way to treat one of the men who was just in the main event of WrestleMania that year.

Match One: Tazz versus Mr. Perfect

I am sadden Mr. Perfect Curt Henning isn’t with us anymore. I wish his timing wasn’t what it was, because it would have been awesome seeing him in the WWF/WWE longer into the brand extension. Mr. Perfect grabbed the mic and started to say that he is the “perfect draft pick,” then nailed Tazz with the mic to try to get an advantage.

Mr. Perfect hit the Perfect Plex Fisherman Suplex Pin to close to the ropes, and Tazz was able to grab the ropes to break up the pinfall. Shortly thereafter, Tazz locked in the Tazzmission and Perfect tapped out. Tazz grabbed the mic and said “It seems to me that the Perfect Pick just became another victim!”

We get a camera into Flair’s office with him and Arn Anderson, Double A, then to Mr. McMahon’s office, and threw down a folder and Kurt Angle’s picture. Could he be the first draft pick?

McMahon’s First Draft Pick: the Rock!

As usual, Vincent Kennedy McMahon brags about having the first draft pick. He picked the Rock, and the Rock seemed to be angry because his boss remained to be Mr. McMahon. Don’t worry Rock, wait about four months until SummerSlam, he won’t be your boss any longer.

Rock came out and did a promo on Mr. McMahon. Vince told Rock that he can’t use his catchphrases and Rock can’t place a hand on Vince. Rock said he wants to go out on his last Raw with a bang. Rock gave us a history lesson of his accomplishments on Raw. The last thing that bothered me was: the Rock shoved Vince’s face up Rikishi’s bottom. Actually, Rock, that was on Smackdown. Please get your history right if you’re going to give us a history lesson.

Ric Flair is walking out to the stage to make his first draft pick, with a smile on his face. What will his first draft pick be?

Flair’s First Draft Pick: the Undertaker!

People love the Nature Boy! YES! Ric Flair wanted to pick someone who is (at this time) the cornerstone of the WWF, and picked the Undertaker. As like the Rock, Undertaker was upset that he’s going to Raw and “working” for Ric Flair on Monday Nights.

Vince was upset as well in his office. Kurt Angle came in upset because Vince didn’t pick him as his first draft pick. The Undertaker came in yelling at Vince because Vince told him that Flair wouldn’t pick him. Vince told the Undertaker that he’ll make it right, somehow. Taker told him that this time, he better keep his word.

Second Match: Edge and Diamond Dallas Page versus Christian and Booker T.

The first guy retired as World Heavyweight Champion, the second guy has his own yoga company, the third guy is the current World Heavyweight Champion (as of watching this), and the fourth guy is one of the commentators on Friday Night Smackdown.

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler talk about at the beginning of the match that Ric Flair swerved Vince McMahon with his first draft pick, being the Undertaker, just to make Mr. McMahon mad.

Bunch of finishers at the end, then Edge brought Christian outside and Booker T hit the scissor’s kick onto DDP and got the three-count.

McMahon’s Second Pick: Kurt Angle!

We cut back into Vince’s office while Kurt Angle is trying to pick him for his second pick. Vince said that Flair might pick the nWo as his next pick, than Angle said no, he’ll pick him. McMahon picked Kurt Angle as his second pick. Kurt gave Vince a hug and said “I love you man…I should have been first!”

Flair’s Second Pick: the New World Order! (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and X-Pac)

Flair came out on stage and said that he’ll work hard on getting Stone Cold Steve Austin on Raw. Flair’s second pick is the collective unit of the New World Order, brother! We cut back to Vince’s off with Angle and he’s all angry. Can’t blame him, how he wanted the Undertaker and the nWo.

McMahon’s Third Draft Pick: Chris Benoit!

With a whisper into his ear, Kurt Angle got McMahon to pick Chris Benoit as his third pick. Benoit was injured at this time period. We cut back to Flair’s office, with the nWo in his office, trying to imitate him, and Flair told him that they were poison and he cannot let Vince have full control of the poison. Double A comes in, and Flair kicks them out of his office.

Flair’s Third Draft Pick: Kane!

Flair picked Kane because the New World Order wouldn’t leave his office. A good choice for Raw, and to get them out of his office.

Third Match: Trish Stratus versus Ivory

Ivory had her return on Raw last week, and business picked up early with these two ladies. Oh King, how much you love the Divas, and how much I miss hearing you drool over them. Trish hit the Stratusfaction bulldog and got the victory.

McMahon’s Fourth Draft Pick: Hulk Hogan!

The crowd got under Vince’s skin by boos, and angrly, McMahon picked Hulk Hogan, and Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodo Child” plays while McMahon does some of Hogan’s poses.

Flair’s Fourth Draft Pick: WWF Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam

Short and sweet, Flair came out and picked RVD. Good for Raw for having the IC title.

We cut back to Vince’s office and Angle’s back in there too, and Vince wanted the IC title. Angle offered his services to defeat RVD for the IC title. Vince said, “That’s why you’re the second draft pick. Maybe you should have been number one?”

We cut back to Hogan and Rock. Hogan said that the people made both of them. Hogan said that both of them should take on the New World Order in a handicap match on Raw tonight. Rock liked the idea. Both men use each other’s catchphrases.

McMahon’s Fifth Draft Pick: WWF Tag Team Champions Billy & Chuck

Both men were happy to be drafted over to McMahon’s Smackdown.

Fourth Match: Hollywood Hulk Hogan and the Rock versus the New World Order (Nash, Hall, & X-Pac)

What a good way to keep the television viewers to stay on the show with this match to end hour one of Raw and start the second hour of Raw. No surprise that Hogan and Rock had to come out separately and the New World Order came out together as a unit. I am sad that the New World Order lost its venom shortly after they debuted at the No Way Out pay-per-view in 2002. Darn fans wanting to see Hogan as a babyface.

Hogan and X-Pac start out, and they did a collar-and-elbow tie-up and Hogan threw X-Pac over the top rope. He came back in and tagged in Scott Hall. Hall threw a toothpick into Hogan’s face and tagged in Nash. Nash had more power than Hogan, and shoved him onto the ground.

Like a normal handicap match with the heels having a one-man advantage, the New World Order started to take over Hogan and Rock, and Kane came out to make a save when X-Pac took out some numb-chucks. So the winners are the New World Order by disqualification. I highly doubt the way that the Rock and Hogan wanted to go on their last night on Raw, but at least they stood tall at the end of their match.

Vince walked into Flair’s office without knocking and got into his face saying that Flair took the Undertaker and the New World Order from him. Flair yelled at McMahon right back and said that they’re 50-50 and McMahon can’t boss him around. Because of this alteration, they both picked two more guys.

Flair’s Fifth Draft Pick: Booker T!

McMahon’s Sixth Draft Pick: Edge!

Flair’s Sixth Draft Pick: Big Show!

McMahon’s Seventh Draft Pick: Rikishi!

After McMahon picked his seventh man, he shoved Flair onto his office desk chair, onto Double A, and Double A held Flair back for he wouldn’t go after McMahon.

Fifth Match: Jeff Hardy (with Matt Hardy and Lita) versus Billy (with Chuck and Rico)

A short match with a clusterfart of outside stuff and Jeff Hardy did a roll-up and got the victory over Billy. Poor Billy, you should have Chuck and Rico rub baby oil on you and stare at the Tag Team titles.

Flair’s Seventh Draft Pick: Bubba Ray Dudley!

Flair wanted the most dominate tag team in pro wrestling history, and because they aren’t tag team champs, he has to try to get them in two picks, so he starts with Bubba Ray.

McMahon’s Eighth Draft Pick: D-Von Dudley!

Because McMahon is evil, Vince picked D-Von, just for Flair can’t have the Dudley Boys on Raw. Both draft picks happened in both co-owner’s offices.

Sixth Match: Rikishi versus WWF European Champion William Regal

Before Regal got halfway down the ramp, Brock Lesnar came out and attacked Rikishi, clotheslined him and gave him the F-5. The announcers put him over. That’s how you put people over. Paul Heyman is his manager. How I miss managers.

Jazz gave us her thoughts from WWF New York. She’s the Women’s Champion, so she can’t be drafted. She doesn’t care how the draft turns out, she’ll beat everyone.

Flair’s Eighth Draft Pick: Brock Lesnar!

Mr. McMahon comes out and tries to pick his ninth pick on Brock Lesnar, but because it isn’t his draft pick, he couldn’t pick him, and Flair grabs him. McMahon tries to give Flair two picks, but Flair doesn’t want it, and picked Lesnar for himself.

McMahon’s Ninth Draft Pick: Mark Henry!

He wanted the World’s Strongest Man!

Flair’s Ninth Draft Pick: WWF European Champion William Regal

“I want the European Heavyweight Champion,” said Flair

“I want to work for Mr. McMahon,” said Regal

McMahon’s Tenth Draft Pick: WWF Hardcore Champion Maven

McMahon said that Flair’s getting all the champions, and McMahon won’t let Flair take all the titles to Raw, so he drafted Maven. Lawler made a comment that I remember he apologized for later about questioning McMahon for picking young Maven.

Flair’s Tenth Draft Pick: Lita

Vince said that Flair picked Lita because he’s turning Raw into a cesspool. Anyways, all this happened (Flair’s 8th pick to his 10th), all in the same segment. Must be running short on time!

Seventh Match – Intercontinental Championship Match: Kurt Angle versus Champion Rob Van Dam

Another short match, but a good television match. Kurt Angle got himself disqualified by dragging referee Tim White in front of him and RVD came off the top rope with a kick. The ref called for the bell when Kurt had RVD in the ankle lock. Dusty Finish?

Edge came down to save RVD and Edge and Angle had a brawl, and a bunch of ref’s had to pull them apart.

I am sad that Angle didn’t win the Intercontinental Title, simply because I know it would help boost the title. Granted this Raw was nine years ago, I feel like looking back at the title history and see a former WWF and WCW Champion holding the Intercontinental title after holding the WWF and WCW titles, I would feel that the IC title meant a little more than what it did back then.

Michael Cole stopped the Million Dollar Princess Stephanie McMahon when she was on her way to the ring. He told her that there were many different options on who can win the match. She said that she’ll win the Undisputed WWF Championship.

Eighth Match – Undisputed WWF Championship Match: Stephanie McMahon versus Chris Jericho versus Champion Triple H

Stephanie came out to Triple H’s old theme song “My Time” by Chris Warren and the DX Band (the same band that did Mr. McMahon’s theme). I liked that theme but that’s me though. I think that theme helped Triple H when he first started his main event run. Useless Chris Jericho fact: Jericho came out in his green tights that he wore in the main event at WWF WrestleMania X8. Yep, I would know that. Then the champ came out with both belts when Motorhead blared throughout the arena. I really enjoyed that when they did the Undisputed WWF title gimmick for eight months, I really enjoyed when the champ carried both the WWF and WCW championship belts.

Chris Jericho rant: I am really bothered that this was Jericho’s only return match after losing the Undisputed World Wrestling Federation Championship to Triple H at Mania X8. Even though I understand that McMahon wants to send the fans home happy at the end of each pay-per-view, but why not put the Rock and Hogan at the end of Mania that year, have Jericho retain the title, and go onto Backlash and lose the Undisputed title to Hogan? I think adding Triple H into the draft picks would have jacked up the interest for the draft in ’02. I think Triple H’s one-month title reign was beyond pointless. Jericho needed another victory to secure his main event position that he wouldn’t have got back until he took three years off and pursued other interested outside of professional wrestling.

Another Chris Jericho rant (yet shorter): I am sad that this was Jericho’s first appearance on this episode of Monday Night Raw.

Jericho and Triple H started out the match and once Triple H was knocked to the outside, Stephanie laid down for Jericho to get the quick victory. The Champ got back into the ring to break up the pinfall.

In essence (which I really like), this match was a handicap match, because Stephanie was helping Jericho defeat her “husband” Triple H. Yet after a few minutes, Jericho got upset with Steph and pie faced yet.

Jericho missed with the Lionsault and Stephanie tried to pin Jericho and only got a 2-count. Jericho got up and slapped on the Walls of Jericho onto Stephanie and Triple H saved his “ex-wife.”

Triple H sent Y2J outside of the ring and signaled for the Pedigree. Jericho hit a missile dropkick and got a few 2-counts on the Champ. Shortly thereafter, both men hit each other with the title belts, and the Billion Dollar Princess snuck in and tried to pin both men, but got a 2-count on each man.

At the end of the match, Stephanie broke up the pin fall attempt of Triple H onto Jericho after Jericho got hit with the Pedigree. Triple H than picked up Stephanie and hit her with a beautiful spinebuster, and got the three-count to retain his Undisputed WWF Championship.

Philosophical Corner: A good episode of Raw and probably the best draft that the company ever did. Actually, the rest of the “drafts” weren’t actually drafts, more lotteries. I think it helped the show when both Flair and McMahon went back and forth with one another on coming out with a pick, trying to counter the other’s pick in their office, or arguing on who their next pick.

I think it’s sad that Jericho wasn’t available to be picked at the end of the show and had to be “just another guy” in the lottery on WWF.com But I wasn’t or won’t ever be a storyline writer for the company, so I guess I can give my opinion on wonderful wrestling sites like CamelClutchBlog[dot]com. I feel like this show should be the show everyone doing a draft show should take notes from and learn a thing or two. I am Eric Darsie, and until next time, stay cool.

Follow Eric on Twitter @edardar and check out his sites http://www.vintagedarsie.wordpress.com and http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/

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Updated – WWE Falls Short With The RAW Randy Savage Tribute

May 24, 2011 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE could have done more to pay tribute to the Macho ManThe big question buzzing on Monday is would Vince McMahon bury the hatchet and pay tribute to the WWE icon with class or even at all? The WWE did indeed pay Randy Savage tribute with an emotional video package on WWE RAW, but was it enough? This blogger says absolutely not!

There were rumors buzzing all weekend speculating on how Vince McMahon would pay tribute to one of his greatest WWE superstars. For those who don’t know, Vince McMahon has had a deep seeded hatred against the Macho Man for years. It appeared that Vince was starting to soften as he allowed WWE product featuring Savage to be produced over the last couple of years. But this was different. This was more than a decision about whether a guy should be in a video game or not. This was about paying tribute to one of your biggest icons and a guy that was a huge part of the success of your company.

Fans were a little taken back when they tuned into WWE Over the Limit Sunday and all they got was a graphic. Was that it? Was that going to be the RAW tribute? A graphic for one of the biggest icons in the history of the company?  The buzz was that the WWE was going to do more on Monday. Fans speculated on everything  from Vince McMahon giving a speech on Savage to a video tribute to a 10-bell salute. But at the end of the day it was more important to Vince McMahon to hold onto that grudge and do the minimum than pay the Macho Man the respect and celebration he deserved.

Before I go on I think it is fair to talk briefly about that grudge for readers who aren’t aware of the history. Randy Savage left the WWE for WCW in 1994. But plenty of former WWE employees from Hulk Hogan to Jesse Ventura to Curt Hennig to Kevin Nash have left for WCW and returned to the WWE with open arms so that wasn’t it. Well according to some people, Savage had assured Vince he wasn’t going to WCW and caught McMahon by surprise when he left. According to the rumor Vince was so angry that someone gave him their word and lied to his face that he vowed never to do business with Savage again.

There was also a nasty rumor for years about Savage and Stephanie McMahon. Roddy Piper recently addressed this age old question on Twitter when he said the rumor was false and that Savage was blacklisted because he slapped McMahon in a bar. I am even a little dubious of that. For one thing, if anyone saw it I am sure we would have heard about it by now. Additionally, it is an easy answer that would have squashed a lot of nasty rumors over the last several years. I love the Rowdy one, but I think he is just doing a little damage control here. Hell, Bret Hart punched (not slapped) Vince in the face and was just on RAW last night.

I am not the only one suspect of Roddy’s story. Sean Waltman sent a tweet that he respectfully disagreed with Roddy and didn’t believe the story. Waltman is close to Triple H and the McMahons so I would lean a little more towards him as a source here. I don’t know if Piper is telling the truth or trying to save a little face for his friend. Regardless, there is something here because nobody with the legacy in the WWE that Randy Savage has gets blacklisted over something petty.

Respected pro wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer recently wrote that he believes the rumors about Stephanie and Randy Savage are indeed true. Meltzer cites countless former high-level WWE employees who have told him that they heard the same story. Meltzer further believes that McMahon didn’t know about this before 1996 so there was no blacklisting of Savage before then. While Stephanie, Vince, nor Savage ever confirmed the story, Meltzer believes the story is true due to the level of hate Vince has for Savage which reportedly runs deeper than anyone else on record and that says a lot. It also may explain Vince’s reluctance to do anymore than what was necessary on Monday for the Macho Man.

The grudge whatever it is has made Savage an unapproved topic in Vince McMahon circles. Those close to Vince have been met with anger whenever Randy’s name was brought up for the WWE Hall of Fame. I just watched an interview with Savage from around 1998/99 where he was a free agent and said that he wanted to go back to the WWE, even though he was doing appearances for WCW without a deal. So how do you handle paying tribute to a guy that meant so much to the fans and wrestlers in your company when you wouldn’t even allow his name to be mentioned in company meetings not to long ago? That was the million dollar question going into Monday night.

WWE RAW kicked off the broadcast with a graphic. Within minutes the social media world was buzzing about the absence of a lengthy Macho Man tribute. Needless to say fans were angry, very angry. I was a little surprised but I stopped for a second and thought that the WWE would do something similar to The Rock’s Birthday RAW. My thought was that the show would end with Vince coming out to talk about the contributions of the Macho Man and end with a video. So I was a little surprised at 10:50 when Jerry Lawler started talking about the Macho Man with a big main-event still scheduled to take place. Could this really be the Randy Savage tribute?

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Indeed it was the tribute. Jerry Lawler talked about the Macho Man and had nice words to say about Randy Savage. Lawler then threw it to a Randy Savage video package. Make no mistake about it, it was a fantastic video. On a side note, my wife who is not a wrestling fan perked up when she saw Savage’s Slim Jim commercial in the video. “I remember that guy.” The point being is that Randy Savage was more than just a WWE wrestler. He was a pop culture and wrestling icon.

The video ended and at that point I expected Vince to come out or say something about Savage via video tape. Nope, all the Macho Man got for ten years of making Vince millions of dollars, carrying the mantle while Hulk Hogan left to do movies, a broken marriage, and the most memorable match in WrestleMania history was a 4-minute video squeezed in at 10:50 on RAW. Not good enough Vince, not good enough at all.

Randy Savage deserved the same respect that was paid to Owen Hart, Eddie Guerrero, and yes even Chris Benoit when they passed away and more! The WWE gave those men 10-bell salutes, they spliced in career moments throughout the show, WWE superstars talked about their friends and heroes, and the WWE made sure to give these fallen men the biggest tribute possible. Randy Savage who was a much bigger star and icon than all of those former WWE wrestlers (and this is no disrespect here) deserved to be treated as such. Hell, The Rock got a bigger tribute for his 39th birthday than Savage got for an entire career. That is really inexcusable.

What the WWE should have done was bring out the superstars for a 10-bell salute to start the show. They should have played Savage clips and promos throughout the show to remind fans of his legacy. Taped interviews with current and past WWE superstars talking about Savage’s contributions should have been played throughout the show. Bret Hart was in the house and has said some very touching things about the Macho Man over the weekend in interviews and on Twitter. Have Bret Hart come out and pay tribute to Savage! The WWE could have done more than a video tribute and a heel wearing Savage’s tights (who got pinned) in the main-event.

It is Vince McMahon’s company and he can certainly do what he wants. Regardless of the root of his venom towards Savage, he not only owed Savage more, he owed Savage’s family more, and more importantly, he owed the fans who grew up on the Macho Man and lost a part of their childhood on Friday a heck of a lot more.

But don’t worry. I am sure we will see plenty more of Randy Savage in WWE video games, DVDs, merchandise catalogs, figures, and well you get the point.

Update: In an odd twist, Vince McMahon has written a tribute to the Macho Man in this week’s TIME magazine. I have to give Vince a lot of props on this one. Vince could have put it on WWE.com or television to pimp his product but instead gave it to TIME. I find that to be pretty classy. It still would have been nice for him to say something Monday, but at least he paid him tribute somewhere.

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