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WWE Survivor Series 2014 Results: Sting Debuts, Team Cena Wins

November 23, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE rewarded its free subscribers with one of the most memorable show finishes in years. The Survivor Series 2014 delivered with an outstanding main-event and one of the biggest debuts in years. Sting is finally in and the questions surrounding his WrestleMania plans have been answered.

This one-match, one-angle show delivered a memorable evening with fans coming away counting down the hours until RAW. The long road to WrestleMania 31 became clearer at Survivor Series and while there are still plenty of questions, we are finally starting to get some pieces of the Mania puzzle. I don’t think there has been a show this memorable since WrestleMania and it will be exciting to see where things go from here starting tomorrow night.

The show opened up with Vince McMahon dropping a “bombshell.” McMahon told Triple H and Stephanie McMahon that if their team lost, not only would they be out of power, but only one man could bring them back. Vince told them that man was John Cena. Cena told them that when his team wins they will never be in power again. Hunter did not look happy at all.

The Authority are out! Team Cena survived to throw the Authority out of power. This was a real hot match and far exceeded most expectations fans had going into the event. The match went close to an hour which probably hasn’t happened in a WWE main-event in years. The match started with The Big Show eliminating Mark Henry within seconds with a knockout punch. The crowd went nuts. They set up a big spot early for Luke Harper and Erick Rowan to lock up but Harper tagged right out. Ryback and Rusev set up a big lockup for Rusev’s first appearance in the match. The fans really got behind Ryback when he clotheslined Rusev. The match broke out into a big brawl at this point. The fans were great and really made this match seem like something special. Rusev eliminated Ryback to even up the sides. Rollins took a backdrop over the top rope onto about eight guys. Rusev dumped Ziggler onto the rest of the pile. Rusev missed a big dive onto Dolph and went through the announcer’s table. Rusev was counted out after missing the dive as Ziggler rolled back into the ring to make the count. Rowan and Harper finally got into it after about thirty minutes. Kane broke it up after Rowan hit a spin kick on Harper. Harper hit a clothesline on Rowan after Rollins distracted Harper and pinned him. The Big Show turned on John Cena (again) and KO’d him setting him up for the pin. Seth Rollins pinned him and eliminated the captain. The Big Show walked out at that point leaving Dolph Ziggler to fight Kane, Rollins, and Harper all by himself. Ziggler fought back to eliminate Kane to take it down to a 2 on 1 match. Ziggler eliminated Harper bringing it down to Rollins and Ziggler. Ziggler really made himself a star tonight. Ziggler kept fighting back for near falls on Rollins, including a close small package and a DDT. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag and was about to get the win before Triple H pulled the referee out of the ring. Ziggler hit another one but there was no referee to count. Triple H attacked the next referee that came out and finally took his jacket off. Hunter began pounding on Ziggler. Hunter hit the pedigree on Ziggler. The lights went out and Sting walked out on the ramp (with some corny music unfortunately). Hunter just stared. The fans loved it and gave him the reaction you’d expect. Sting took out referee Scott Armstrong. Sting and Hunter squared off. The fans all chanted “Sting” and “This is awesome!” Sting laid Hunter out with a Scorpion Death Drop. Sting then put Ziggler on top of Rollins and walked out. Ziggler got the three-count and the win for Team Cena and what has to be one of the most exciting WWE matches of 2014. Michael Cole called it the most historic moment in Survivor Series history (hey remember that 1997 match. The Authority is done…well at least until tomorrow night. Cena came out to congratulate Ziggler at the end. Stephanie and Triple H sat in the ring as the crowd chanted “Goodbye.”

This is the kind of cliffhanger ending fans have been waiting to see for months on WWE special events. I don’t think it’s a big secret to say that the WWE has been somewhat stale over the last several months. Sting’s debut, Dolph with a push, and the Authority seemingly out of power for the first time in over a year will give the WWE the fresh programming it desperately needed. The show ended with the fans yelling “You got fired” and Stephanie having a temper tantrum.

I think it is safe to say that we know our WrestleMania direction. It looks like it will be Sting vs. Triple H at Mania which is what it is. I am sure it will be a decent match and it will definitely be hot, but it is hardly the classic Undertaker match fans hoped to see Sting get at Mania. Regardless, you have Sting on Mania and the fans have wanted it for years. It could still happen with Sting vs. Hunter at the Rumble but I wouldn’t bank on it.

Bray Wyatt defeated Dean Ambrose by disqualification. Wyatt dared Ambrose to hit him with a chair and he did. Ambrose was disqualified for it. Ambrose proceeded to beat the hell out of Wyatt, including dropping a flying elbow onto Wyatt through a table and giving him a DDT on a chair. Ambrose left him laid out in a pile of hardcore trash from tables to chairs. Ambrose climbed a ladder and stood over Wyatt as his music played. They announced a TLC rematch at TLC in three weeks.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Ambrose should be the focus of the company right now. He has a unique charisma to himself that is second only to Brock Lesnar. The focus will be on Roman Reigns in a few weeks and I think that is a big mistake. This guy is the future and he should be groomed for the WrestleMania moment, not Reigns or anyone else in my opinion.

Another piece of news coming out of the show is that live on the WWE Network Monday night following RAW will be a podcast with Steve Austin. Austin will be hosting the podcast and his guest will be Vince McMahon. I think it’s long overdue that the WWE get the Stone Cold podcast on the WWE Network. I love the ingenuity here of debuting it with Vince McMahon. It should be a great show.

Brie Bella seemingly turned heel and the rumors about AJ Lee leaving after Survivor Series appear to be true (although the latest reports indicate she’s staying). Nikki Bella defeated AJ to win the WWE Divas title in about a minute. Brie wound up kissing AJ which distracted her enough for Nikki to swoop in, scoop her up for the Rack Attack and pin her for the title. Brie had a big smile on her face and was celebrating with Nikki. They referenced AJ doing the same thing to Daniel Bryan during his match with Sheamus a couple of years ago at WrestleMania so maybe Nikki is a face? Who the hell knows! Hey, thank goodness that terrible angle is over but this turn made no sense. It also won’t do Daniel Bryan much good when he returns.

Another piece of news coming out of the show is that live on the WWE Network December 1 following RAW will be a podcast with Steve Austin. Austin will be hosting the podcast and his guest will be Vince McMahon. I think it’s long overdue that the WWE get the Stone Cold podcast on the WWE Network. I love the ingenuity here of debuting it with Vince McMahon. It should be a great show. How coincidental that the podcast airs on December 1, the day after all of the free memberships end.

Full WWE Survivor Series 2014 results and winners…
Team Cena (John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Erick Rowan and Ryback) defeated Team Authority (Seth Rollins, Kane, Mark Henry, Rusev and Luke Harper) in a traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match; if Team Authority loses, they will no longer be in power. If Team Cena loses, all team members will be fired from WWE.
Nikki Bella defeated AJ for the WWE Divas Championship
Adam Rose and the Bunny defeated Titus O’Neil and Heath Slater
Bray Wyatt defeated Dean Ambrose via DQ
The Miz and Damien Mizdow defeated Gold and Stardust (c) vs. The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso) vs. Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando)  in a Fatal 4-Way tag team match to win the WWE Tag Team Championship
Alicia Fox, Emma, Naomi and Natalya defeated Paige, Cameron, Layla and Summer Rae in a Divas Traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match
Jack Swagger defeated Cesaro
Fandango defeated Justin Gabriel

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Sting Reportedly Set To Debut At WWE Survivor Series

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

The buzz for the WWE Survivor Series just got much bigger. A new report breaking over the last several hours reports that there is a major surprise lined up for the special event that immediately turns this must-miss event into a must-see.

PWInsider.com is reporting that the highly anticipated debut of Sting will take place at this Sunday’s Survivor Series in St. Louis. What the Stinger will be doing and who he will be paired with is pure speculation at this point. Although I think it is a safe bet that the angle will probably not have him wrestling on Sunday night.

Plenty of fans will probably agree that it is about time. Sting joined the WWE Universe several months ago, although nobody can quite pinpoint when he exactly signed his WWE contract. Many believed that Sting was purely working through the WWE 2K15 game with the company although this news certainly confirms that Sting and the WWE have come to terms.

Nobody has been able to report exactly what the plans are for Sting. It was widely assumed that he was coming in to build for an eventual WrestleMania 31 match against the Undertaker. The match has taken on a life of its own in the last few years and has turned into arguably one of the few dream matches yet to be made in a WWE ring. However, most reports indicate the Undertaker’s status for WrestleMania is still in question, thus we can’t conclude that will be the direction for Sting.

Another possibility is for Sting to come in as some kind of General Manager. That has been the other hot rumor for a few weeks. That would certainly make sense when you take a look at the stipulations of the main-event match. If Team Cena loses, maybe Vince McMahon makes Sting G.M. and he brings back the babyfaces? If the Authority are out of power, Sting could also slide right into that role and set up a match with Triple H.

Regardless of what happens this news takes Sunday’s event to a whole new level. Prior to this news the event was probably the weakest lineup on paper of any special event that the WWE held for months, going back to last year. The news now makes this event we all must go out of our way to see, even if it means sitting through a dull 2.5 hours to get there.

Where Sting goes is anyone’s guess. However, the timing of Sting’s arrival couldn’t have come at a better time. The WWE is under a ton of scrutiny and criticism right now by fans who feel that the booking has become predictable, stale, and uninteresting. While Sting alone won’t turn business around, it will generate some much needed positive talk for the WWE and give fans a sneak peek of where things are going heading into 2015 and that’s a good thing.

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WWE Stars Talk About Wrestling Sting

November 21, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Sting is now signed with the WWE but we have yet to hear of any concrete reports indicating plans for the former WCW and TNA star’s first match. The latest WWE Inbox video features several WWE stars are stepping up to the plate and revealing what they would do to get a one-on-one match with Sting.

This is a fun video which both promotes the brand-new WWE 2K15 video game and also promotes the impending debut of arguably the most anticipated star in years, Sting. The new video on the WWE YouTube channel features several WWE stars telling the world what they would do to get an opportunity to welcome Sting to a WWE ring.

Curtis Axel - “What would I do to get a match with Sting?” Curtis Axel asked. “I don’t know, I’d probably go up to Sting and say, ‘Hey man, wanna have a match?’ And he’d probably say yes. But if he said no, I’d walk up to Triple H’s door, knock on it, and I’d say, ‘Hey, Triple H, Sting wants to have a match with Curtis Axel. I’ve already talked to him. He agrees with it, so book it.'”

Adam Rose - “I don’t know, I’d probably be staring across the ring saying to myself, ‘Oh my goodness that’s Sting over there isn’t it?'” Adam Rose said. “I’d be torn, I’d be like, ‘Oh that’s Sting, but I gotta fight him. What do I do?”

The Miz - “It’s not what I would do for a match with Sting, it’s what would Sting do to have a match with me,” The Miz said.

Dolph Ziggler - “I know what I would do for a Klondike bar. I would be honored obviously. [I’m] a huge fan of wrestling all my entire life. Sting is this icon and especially if it was his first ever WWE match, do you think anyone would be able to go toe-to-toe and have that man look like the million bucks that he is other than myself?”

Check out the video and some really cool clips of Sting in WWE2K15 to see more.

Buy WWE 2K15 on Amazon.com

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It’s Time To Get Sting in a WWE Ring

November 14, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Recent buzz online is that if Sting is indeed going to perform at WrestleMania 31 next year, he would need to pass a WWE mandated physical. Apparently if a guy is over the age of 45, then its part of the process and it’s something that can’t be avoided.

And I for one say good. It’s about time, let’s do this. I know what you’re thinking. Impatient much, Tom? Well actually yes I am. But honestly this whole Sting thing has made me that way. Ordinarily, I’m very laidback and very easygoing pretty much all the time, especially when it comes to pro wrestling.

Okay none of that is true. The fact is that I’m one of those guys that want Sting back in a ring and he wants him there like yesterday. And that’s been the case since WWE first brought the guy in. Tell the truth, who doesn’t want to see Sting in a WWE ring? Who does not want to see one of the top five icons that modern professional wrestling has produced over the past 30 years finally perform in the biggest company on the planet?

Raise your hand and I’m putting you through a table. And not one of those WWE tables either; I’m talking about the kind that Terry Funk planted Ric Flair on with the piledriver back in 1989. Try walking that one off.

Sting needs to work in WWE. Fans need to see the former WCW icon come full circle in his career, they need to see him finally do the one thing that he never did and step through the ropes in Vince McMahon’s ring. We’re talking about the company that constantly delivers one big return, one huge debut after another, there is room for Sting and WWE can do justice to that moment.

Let’s be honest, WWE is the only company that can do justice to the moment. TNA made an effort, I can’t dispute that. They brought Sting in and basically gave him the keys to the kingdom. Well, I don’t know if we can refer to TNA as a kingdom but you get the idea.

He was given as much spotlight as he wanted, showcased in every main event way possible and I will be the first to admit that TNA did respect his legacy. Even when Sting decided that channeling Heath Ledger was a good idea, he was still given a lot on TV and TNA kept using him in a big way.

And by all accounts, he had fun while working there. He helped their talent and he undoubtedly became a locker room leader for that company. Sting was the legend that he was advertised to be and he came through for an organization that at times did not really deserve to have someone of his caliber anywhere near their ring.

That’s not an indictment of TNA’s talent of course. We all know the heights that company is capable of thanks to their workers. But we are also very aware of the depths they can sink thanks to the horrible misdirection their “creative” team can take them to.

And yes, the same can be said of WWE. Vince’s company is not perfect and is of course not without its bad points. They fail all the time, they miss the mark and they let fans down quite a bit. But Sting in a WWE ring? Is there any way they can screw that up?

Would they dare to screw that up? Say what you will about Triple H but the man understands what honoring a guy’s legacy is all about. Fans had a better chance of seeing Gillberg in the Hall of Fame before Bruno Sammartino but as soon as Hunter got involved?

Bruno is in. Vince surely had a part of that in some way and we can’t forget about the respect that The Ultimate Warrior was shown before and after his death. This is the company that represents the sport, the history of professional wrestling to the public at large and to fans all over the world.

This is the stage that Sting needs to perform on, the one that he deserves to go out on. When he takes his final bow, it will be in a WWE ring and that is epic, both for him and for the fans that have supported him from day one.

And yes, he will go out against The Undertaker. It’s the best way for him to end it and let’s be honest; it’s really the only way to end it. He may get involved before then and I for one hope he does; yes I’m impatient. After all, to imagine Sting versus Bray Wyatt or possibly even Triple H is more than anyone can ask for and again, if anyone can do that and make it look good, it’s WWE.

But at the end of the day, all roads lead to The Deadman. Sting versus The Undertaker will be the match that is talked about for years to come. And it will also be the one that will end Sting’s storied career. It’s the perfect combination, with the right back-story, told by the best company to do it. This is what pro wrestling is all about and I for one cannot wait to see it happen.

So let’s move this along, shall we? Isn’t 2014 over yet?

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New WWE WrestleMania 31 Card Rumors

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

The WrestleMania 31 rumor mill is back in action after a big report in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter. According to the report, the WWE have a few ideas in place for the big event, one of them being a match you probably didn’t see coming.

Dave Meltzer has the latest report and offers speculation on the WrestleMania 31 card. Meltzer says that the WWE are confident that they have their top matches in place. While nothing is 100% confirmed, Meltzer speculates on three that could be coming to your WWE Network in March for the price of $9.99.

The biggest surprise is his speculation on a return to Mania of The Rock. The Rock’s appearances this week have gotten people talking, but it is his taped segment on SmackDown that caught Meltzer’s attention. Meltzer speculates that The Rock could wind up wrestling Triple H at the 2015 event. Meltzer is just as surprised about his own revelation as you probably are reading it here.

I did see the segment that will air this Friday on SmackDown 15 and I am not so sure that I agree with Dave. Dave’s logic is that they wouldn’t have been teasing the match if there wasn’t something to it. However, the takeaway I came away with from that segment is that they were teasing it for WrestleMania 32 in Texas Stadium. Triple H kept referring to 100,000 people and a big stadium. Why they would tease it this far in advance is anyone’s guess. I could also be over-thinking it here, but Triple H mentioned a large crowd several times which leads me to think it is more than coincidence.

The idea most of us had heard about for the last three years was for a Rock vs. Brock Lesnar match at WrestleMania. The match continues to get delayed and after Rock suffered serious injuries against John Cena at 29, I am starting to think that he has no interest in a match that physical. The money is certainly on Lesnar vs. Rock and not Rock vs. Hunter. I think the angles and build up would be fun but I just don’t know how many people are clamoring to see that match one more time.

To that point, Meltzer speculates that the WWE may make a big play to get Stone Cold Steve Austin back in the ring at WrestleMania 32 in Texas. That would certainly make sense, especially when you have such a big stadium to fill. There were numerous reports that indicated the WWE made a play to get him last year for a match with Triple H. The year before we all heard about the Punk vs. Austin Mania rumors. I would think at Austin’s age it is Texas Stadium or never for the Texas Rattlesnake.

Brock Lesnar is still penciled in to be wrestling Roman Reigns in a WWE championship defense. I wouldn’t count on it. I am watching a changing of the guard right now and that change is Reigns to Ambrose. I think by the time we get to Mania that the WWE will have no choice but to swap Ambrose into this spot. He is hot and unless things change he is only going to get hotter. I would be shocked if Amrbose isn’t winning the Royal Rumble and going to WrestleMania.

John Cena has two interesting options according to Meltzer. Hulk Hogan is politicking hard for a Cena match, although I don’t see it happening. I think Hulk has had too many back surgeries and is too old to be placed in that spot. Rusev is the other option and it’s hard to disagree with that one. I could see some swapping here with Rusev vs. Reigns and Cena wrestling someone else but the Rusev match could be pretty big if they can keep him hot until Mania.

Meltzer also reports that there was a plan in place to go with Batista vs. Triple H although he speculates that the plan is dead. I wouldn’t be so sure. I could see them going in this direction with Rock vs. Hunter booked for next year. Meltzer reports that the Batista vs. Hunter match and series would lead to Batista’s retirement. I could easily see that with Batista transitioning to Hollywood full-time.

Where this leaves Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins is a big question. I would imagine if Lesnar does hold the belt through Mania that Rollins would be Reigns’ first challenger. I couldn’t see them beating Reigns that fast which begs the question, what is the plan for Rollins and the briefcase?

And what about Sting? Sting doesn’t appear to be in the plans right now. My hunch is that it all depends on The Undertaker. If Undertaker doesn’t come back I could see Sting working with one of the younger guys like a Bray Wyatt. I think Sting vs. John Cena could be intriguing for a few different reasons. Other than those possibilities I am not sure what you do with him besides maybe Randy Orton or even Sheamus.

It looks like Mania has potential but I still think the big one is 2016 in Texas with 31 being something of an appetizer.

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A History of Havoc: A Look Back at WCW Halloween Havoc Part 1

October 03, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Yes, I am writing something other than Nitro reviews! Of course, it’s in my comfort zone (WCW) and we’re talking about my favorite series of Pay-Per-Views of all time: Halloween Havoc. Without a doubt, some of my fondest memories came from watching the Halloween Havoc events, even if I could only see a scrambled version of Halloween Havoc 1992. The first video I ever rented from Blockbuster was Halloween Havoc 1990, heck the first wrestling article I ever wrote was about Halloween Havoc. Over the next month or so, I’ll cover every event from 1989 to 2000. I’ll be covering three events at the time, this week it is 1989-1991.

Halloween Havoc 1989

I had Halloween Havoc 1989 on tape with SummerSlam 1989 (Helluva combo) and what I believe was a Spanish version of BeetleJuice. The big feud going into this card was The J-Tex Corporation which was comprised of Gary Hart, Terry Funk, The Great Muta and Dick Slater as back-up Terry Funk against Sting and Ric Flair. Many people talk up the NWA in 1989 as the best thing to hit wrestling and I actually have to agree, the roster is loaded, they used licensed music, the TV is great and man those PPV’s are great. Sting and Muta put on some great matches, but Ric Flair against Terry Funk was a feud that was built on two men trying to kill each other. Funk piledrove Flair on a table, Flair beat the snot out of him at Bash ’89 and then TERRY FUNK TRIED TO MURDER RIC FLAIR.

Funk tried to suffocate Flair with a plastic bag at the September Clash of the Champions and Slater took a branding iron to the knee of Sting. Something had to be done, so Flair called in Ole Anderson to back him up to counter Gary Hart. A match was also announced, The Thunderdome cage match. The rules were that the only way to win would be if a designated terminator (Hart for J-Tex, Ole for Sting/Flair) would throw the towel in. No rules, no pins could end it and the goddamn cage would be electrified on top. Also, Bruno Sammartino was made special guest referee, starting a trend of WCW bringing Bruno in whenever they held a card in Philadelphia.

The other big feud was The Skyscrapers vs The Road Warriors and the feud was simple. The Skyscrapers were tall monsters that killed everything in their path and naturally the only team that had a hope in hell of taking them out was The Road Warriors. This was an interesting concept since the Road Warriors rarely went up against monster tag teams (Rare exception being The Powers of Pain), so people actually thought that these guys might take out The Road Warriors. Heck, it wasn’t even billed as a normal tag match; this was a Tag Team Challenge. The other big match was the upstart Brian Pillman going against Lex Luger for the US Title and Doom with Woman against The Steiner Brothers.

So, how is the card you may ask? Well, it may not be on the same level as The 1989 Great American Bash, but it’s still a damn good card. The main event is great with plenty of drama and they worked around the normal tag rules and delivered a great match. The Thunderdome is the drunken and beautiful love child of Hell in a Cell and the blue-bar cage and the opening to War Pigs playing is just an awesome moment. That guitar riff with drums and the siren blaring as the cage slowly lowers as we see the cage for the first is amazing. Road Warriors against Skyscrapers is pretty ugly but it tells a good story in that this is the first time that any time has dominated The Road Warriors. The crowd is hot and the stare down between the two teams is great. Pillman vs Luger is great, another great Luger PPV match and the six man tag between The Midnight Express/Steve Williams vs. The Samoans is a really good match that sneaks up on you.

Halloween Havoc 1990

While this edition didn’t have a blood-feud headlining, it did have an intriguing match headlining. WCW was in a bind, they couldn’t go with a Sting/Flair rematch, so they went with Sid vs Sting. This presented a problem; Sid was over because of his squash matches but was rather limited in the ring and Sting’s reign wasn’t going so well. Going into one of the bigger pay-per-views, you’d think the company would put all their might behind turning the reign around. They tried, and they promptly fell on their face. They introduced The Black Scorpion, a potentially interesting character that was quickly ruined by Ole Anderson who would later blame Dusty Rhodes. Would the distraction of The Black Scorpion lead to a new champion or would we see something really really stupid happening?

Besides that, there wasn’t a big number two feud going into the show, it was comprised of good feuds but nothing really stood out.  The company was trying to push Flair down the card, so he was stuck in a feud teaming with Arn against Doom. Stan Hansen and Lex Luger were feuding, but The Steiner Brothers against The Nasty Boys had some hype. I have to give WCW credit; they used a house show at the UIC Pavilion to hype the card by having contract signings for the big matches as a way to hype the card. The Nasty Boys put a beating on the Steiners to build up their match, the Sting and Sid signing went smoothly, but Sid hit Sting with an absolutely awful piledriver on a chair after the Sting/Scorpion match.

So, how is the card? Well, you do have some pretty bad matches (Par for the course for WCW PPVs in this period), but damn this card has great matches. If you’re a tag team wrestling fan, this card is for you since this card has three great tag matches. The Midnight Express against Ricky Morton and Tommy Rich is a great opener, Doom against Flair and Anderson is good despite the crappy finish and The Steiner Brothers against Nasty Boys is an all-out classic is you love watching The Steiners killing fat guys with suplexes.

Lex Luger against Stan Hansen is another good Luger PPV match and I realize that I’m of the few guys in the Luger was a good worker boat. As for the main event, well it wasn’t a great sign that the crowd was an even 50/50 and Sting wasn’t up for carrying Sid to a good match. The finish, despite its stupidity was at-least creative and it seemed like something the Horsemen would hatch up to get the belt off Sting. It still wasn’t a good sign that the crowd popped when Sid “won”. If they wanted a heel that could get heat on Sting, I would have went with Windham in this spot and Sid at a Clash card. Still, give this one a watch on the Network.

Halloween Havoc 1991

WCW Pay per Views in 1991 started off rather well with SuperBrawl and Wrestle War, but went on a nosedive after the Great American Bash. Halloween Havoc keeps the trend going as the company stumbles and falls badly.

The Chamber of Horrors….I have no words for how badly WCW messed this match up. First, it could have been much worse as the heel team was Oz, Barry Windham, One Man Gang and The Diamond Studd. Luckily, Gang quit, Windham turned face and they benched Oz. They added Cactus Jack, Abdullah The Butcher, and Vader to face Sting, The Steiners and El Gigante. What slays me is that the concept of the match is just so bad. You have the ThunderCage (Renamed after WB’s lawyers got lawsuit-y), a whole bunch of weapons and workers that could thrive in this type of match. So, how do you win the match? You put a member of the opposing team in the Chair of Torture, and yes it’s as stupid as it sounds. The chair is encased in a cage that is lowered into the middle of the ring, cutting off any action that could take place in the ring. Add in the ref with a goofy ass helmet camera, stupid weapons, ghoul medics and you have yourself a Gooker Award winner. How about this for the Chamber of Horrors: You have handcuffs around ringside (shackles to go with the Halloween theme) and the first team to successfully cuff the opposing team to the cage wins. It’s not much, but it’s better a lame electric chair gimmick. Yet, you should watch it for one reason.

Cactus frigging Jack.

Jack takes an absolute beating in the match and while everybody is lifelessly brawling, Cactus takes numerous weapons shot to the face, the Steinerizer, Steiner DDT, bleeds, gets thrown to outside and hits the cage face-first and it smart enough to fix the lever when it falls to the on position. Just an awful, awful match, but Mick Foley really tries to make it watchable. Besides that, the card is pretty bad with the exception of three other matches. Bobby Eaton and Terry Taylor deliver a solid match, Dustin Rhodes has a great match with Steve Austin and you can see that Rhodes was busting his behind to get out of the “Dusty’s Son” stigma. The main event between Luger and Ron Simmons is once again a good Luger match, who solidified himself as the Halloween Havoc MVP for the first three years.

The best part about Halloween Havoc 1991 is the debut of Rick Rude. Besides a killer promo from Dangerously and Rude, it sets the stage for The Dangerous Alliance. It also set the stage for the greatness that is WCW 1992. Until Bill Watts forces WCW by gunpoint into a time machine and turns it into 1977 Mid-South.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Major Rivalries in WCW:

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

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

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

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

The big problem: He stinks.

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

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

Brian Pillman vs Jushin Thuder Liger

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

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

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

Ric Flair vs United States Champion Sting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, next week from Miami, we get:

-SABU

-Scott F’n Norton vs Randy Savage

-Michael Wallstreet (Crap)

-Hulk Hogan vs Lex Luger

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

Figured I would bring that up.

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

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CCB Extra – Hot Topics: Stephanie McMahon, Brock Lesnar, CM Punk, Lana, and More

July 25, 2014 By: Category: Podcast, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Freelance writer and published author Chris Illuminati and the CCB’s own Eric Gargiulo talk about all of the latest pro wrestling news and hot WWE rumors. This giant one-hour plus podcast also touches on a lot of old school wrestling with plenty of talk about the wrestling Eric and Chris grew up watching in the 1980s. The list of news and rumors covered in this podcast are…

  • WWE Battleground results and reaction
  • WWE RAW and the big angle featuring Stephanie McMahon getting arrested
  • The controversy surrounding Lana and Rusev’s promo at Battleground
  • Sting in the WWE, will he wrestle, and against who?
  • The future of Brock Lesnar
  • The booking of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H
  • Paul Heyman’s promo on RAW
  • Where is Vince McMahon?
  • John Cena’s longevity as a babyface
  • Rumors regarding possible legal action the WWE may take against CM Punk
  • And much, much more.

This podcast topped out at around 67-minutes. Check back soon for more podcasts from Chris and Eric!

Check it out and let us know if you want to hear more podcasts like this one in the future. Subscribe the CCB Extra podcast on iTunes at – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/camel-clutch-blog/id787421073?mt=2

Chris Illuminati is a published author and freelance writer and can be followed on Twitter @ChrisIlluminati.

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Sting Talks Undertaker and More WWE Dream Matches

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

Sting has finally landed in the WWE. The big question fans keep asking is whether Sting will wrestle The Undertaker. Streak broken or not, Sting is still interested and wants the dream match on the grandest stage in the business.

Sting debuted Monday night on RAW in a video promoting WWE 2K15. While a video game is nice, what the fans really want to see is Sting in a WWE ring. Better yet, they want to see him one on one with the dead man. Will it happen? If it’s up to Sting it will.

“I’ve made it clear I’d love to have one last hurrah, one last big match hopefully. And of course I’ve been outspoken about Undertaker being the opponent,” he told the UK Mirror when asked about one more match.

“I know what happened at WrestleMania where Brock Lesnar broke his streak. I think, or at least I’m hoping, that Taker’s still going to come back and that he’s not done. If he’s not done, and he would consider doing it, I’d love to work with him one time.

“I’d love to wrestle him one time before I call it quits.”

“Undertaker maintains a status in wrestling and the WWE that is second to none. He’s a phenomenon,” Sting adds, before answering unequivocally as to where he might like his dream match to take place: “How about San Francisco, 2015, in April?”

What is interesting is that even after numerous reports indicating that the Undertaker was likely done after WrestleMania 30, fans are still being teased with this dream match. If the match is a dead issue you’d think that someone would tell Sting and he’d leave it alone. Maybe this is the WWE’s way of hoping that Sting can entice the Undertaker? I have always said that while the match is a fun idea, I don’t think at their advanced ages that it would come close to living up the hype.

Sting was asked about other options or possible dream match scenarios in the WWE. Sting isn’t hedging all of his bets on the Undertaker, although that would be his choice.

“It’s a no brainer that the Sting-Taker match will be a popular option – that’s one way the fans can make that match happen.

“I always wanted to work with the likes of The Rock, John Cena and Randy Orton so I can’t imagine wrestling fans won’t want to do the same thing.”

When rumors of Sting to WWE started popping up earlier in the year I blogged about the possibility of a Sting vs. Rock or John Cena match at Mania. I think the Rock makes a lot of sense. Sting is a lot less physical than Brock Lesnar and both guys could get by on nostalgia. I also think that Sting may be the one name that could interest the Rock into coming back.

Whether Sting wrestles or not it is fun to think about the possibilities. Undertaker or not, chances are pretty good we’ll see Sting in the WWE and I can’t think of a more fitting way to wrap up his successful pro wrestling career.

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Sting Coming To WWE 2K15

July 15, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

It only took 26 years but Sting is finally coming to the WWE…sort of. Rumors have been confirmed that Sting will play a big part in the marketing of the upcoming WWE 2K15 video game. Check out the first promo featuring the former WCW champion.

Sting to WWE2K15 is not necessarily a shocker but it is big news nonetheless. This will be the first time Sting will be featured in a WWE video game. Like the deal made with the Ultimate Warrior last year. This does not indicate that Sting has signed a deal with the WWE. This is simply a deal between Sting and the video game company, although most suspect that a deal with the WWE is imminent.

The WWE posted an official press release announcing the news which featured quotes from Sting. Here are some of the highlights.
One of the most popular and revered competitors in WCW history, Sting will be featured in “WWE 2K15″ through two unique playable characters: the mysterious, ghost-like persona with trademark black-and-white face paint who was the face of WCW during the “Monday Night War” era, as well as his earlier look, sporting bright colors and a blond, flattop hairstyle.

The only thing for sure about Sting is nothing’s for sure, except my debut in ‘WWE 2K15,’” said Sting. “I’m honored to have my legacy immortalized in a video game. It’s showtime!”

Making his WCW debut in 1991, Sting generated worldwide recognition for his unique presence and in-ring prowess. Across more than a decade, he amassed eight WCW championships and competed against many notable rivals, including “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, the New World Order (nWo), Vader, Rick Rude, The Four Horsemen and Ric Flair.

“We’re eager to introduce fans to Sting in a compelling new way, while debuting the next generation of gaming in the ‘WWE 2K’ franchise,” said Chris Snyder, Vice President of Marketing at 2K. “Pre-ordering ‘WWE 2K15′ is the ultimate way to embrace the history and individuality of Sting’s impressive career.”

I think one of the big questions coming out of this is the status of Bill Goldberg. There were multiple reports out that indicated Goldberg would be featured in WWE2K15, precluding a return to the ring at WrestleMania 30. I am not sure where this leaves Goldberg or if it changes anything.

Sting’s appearance in the game would indicate an emphasis on WCW in the upcoming game. Last year’s game focused on the nostalgia surrounding 30 years of WrestleMania. My hunch is that this next game will focus on WCW and could feature several former WCW stars in the game. In that case I’d imagine Goldberg could also play a big part in the game.

It’s funny how the WWE can get a game right 13 years later and yet failed to sign Sting in 2001 during the Invasion angle when it counted. Nonetheless he is coming and this may be your only chance to get your Sting vs. Undertaker WrestleMania match.

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A Sting WWE Appearance Now Ruins Everything

July 14, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

We all love a good WWE rumor. The fact there are several media reports and online publications talking about a Sting appearance on Monday Night Raw tonight may be crazy, but more importantly, it really makes no sense. There is too much momentum tied up in the rise of Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins as well as the return of Chris Jericho and a rumored Brock Lesnar return at or after Battleground. Bringing Sting into the fold right now would throw the rocking boat really of kilter.

According to sportsworldnews.com, Sting took to his Twitter page and sent fans abuzz by hyping up next Monday night and revealing a picture of him in his classic black and white face paint along with the “7.14.14” date, but according to Wrestlingheadlines.com, he will likely not appear on RAW live from the Richmond Coliseum in Virginia this Monday. After the initial buzz that Sting may make his WWE debut, it was reported that it was likely that he was teasing the announcement that he’d be in the WWE 2K15 video game on Monday, but that wasn’t confirmed.
It was also not confirmed if in fact Steve Borden, the man behind the face paint and the former WCW and TNA World Champion would triumphantly make his return.

Sting’s accomplishments are well known; a fifteen-time World Champion, having held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship twice, the WCW World Heavyweight Championship six times, the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship twice, the WWA World Heavyweight Championship once and the TNA World Heavyweight Championship four times. He is a WCW Triple Crown winner, has held 21 total championships between WCW and TNA, and is the only man to hold the NWA, WCW, and TNA World Titles in his career. Sting has headlined many major pay-per-views since the late 1980s.

Perhaps most notably, he closed the 1989, 1990 and 1997 editions of WCW’s premier annual event, Starrcade, in singles matches, and won the Battlebowl main event of the 1991 edition; as well as headlining the 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 editions of TNA’s premier annual event Bound for Glory.

But does his appearance now signal that the WWE might be in panic mode and want to use the Character to save the company from itself of sorts?

The Undertaker isn’t wrestling, so the most logical place for Sting is to assume the usual role of fighting “Authority,” much like he has done with WCW and then Impact Wrestling. But I am not sure the falling from the rafters, creature of darkness act would work in the current state of the WWE. And if you are thinking of a Sting vs. Lesnar feud, I cannot see that happening either since the locker-room is full of up and coming stars like Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Rollins. What could work is Sting comes to the WWE to challenge the Authority and he works a program with Kane, which would follow the lines of the “Dark Hero” facing “Evil” and winning – possibly at the Royal Rumble.

If the WWE can get eight months of work out of beating the hell out of Daniel Bryan, they can work eight months out of Sting stepping in the ring – even at 55 – and showing who the bad ass really is.

If the WWE was smart (yes, I am being sarcastic), it would wait until the end of the year to unveil a “new” Sting product. By then, battle lines will be drawn and Roman Reigns should be the WWE World Champion. I really don’t think the company will put the strap on the “Icon” but having him around adds resolve and heat to an idea of him winning the Royal Rumble and moving on to WrestleMania 31.

Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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Top 25 Greatest Heel Turns in Pro Wrestling History

June 05, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Seth Rollins’ betrayal of his Shield teammates in favor of Evolution has drawn both shocked reactions and lukewarm reception from viewers. While it’s too early to stamp Rollins’ turn as a success or a failure, here’s a look at some of the wrestling history he’s up against, the twenty-five best shifts to the dark side ever.

25. Shawn Michaels Superkicks Hulk Hogan (July 4, 2005)

Would’ve meant more if WWE had stuck to Michaels’ heel run, but Hogan’s alleged refusal to lay down (ironic if you’re Michaels) killed the impact. Independence Day Raw ends with Hogan and Michaels passively celebrating a win, and Michaels landing Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere.

24. Terry Taylor Gradually Betrays Chris Adams (May 1987)

With UWF’s excitable Jim Ross calling each turn of the key, Taylor was conveniently absent for Hot Stuff International’s assaults on Adams, culminating with Taylor subtly allowing Adams to be pinned in a Tag Team Title defense. In a later singles match, Taylor piledrove an injured Adams on the floor, solidifying the turn.

23. Scott Steiner Lays Out Brother Rick (February 22, 1998)

It seemed as though by 1998, everyone on the planet save for Steve Lombardi had joined the nWo. That the eventual “Big Poppa Pump” did so by mauling brother Rick during a Tag Team Title defense against The Outsiders is only diluted by the notion that everyone seemed to turn in this era.

22. Sgt. Slaughter Spits on America, Sides with Iraq (August 1990)

A rather silly grab at kick-starting jingoism and Hulkamania in one swipe, Slaughter (now departed from the dying AWA) returned to WWE as a Saddam Hussein-sympathizer in the midst of the Gulf conflict, as Iraq invaded Kuwait. Bad taste, but it drew its share of heat.

21. Triple H Joins the Corporation (March 28, 1999)

Chyna’s two turns in one night was dizzying enough against the backdrop of a time-period where somebody turned every week. Still, Triple H Pedigree’ing X-Pac at WrestleMania XV was the launching pad of Paul Levesque’s rise to the highest office in WWE, via a relentless main event push for the next decade.

20. Bret Hart Condemns America (March 24, 1997)

With crowds divided between heroic Hart and anti-hero Steve Austin, ‘The Hitman’ goes on a post-WrestleMania tirade against American values, and what he felt was a decline in decency and morals. Shortly thereafter, Hart assaulted rival Shawn Michaels, solidifying a heel turn in America, while remaining a hero around the world.

19. Chris Jericho Wounds Shawn Michaels’ Eye (June 9, 2008)

After pointing out Michaels’ bouts of unfair play, and insinuating that Michaels enjoyed retiring Ric Flair at WrestleMania, Jericho attacks his long-time rival on the set of The Highlight Reel, and sends him face-first into his Jeri-Tron 6000 set piece, igniting the last WWE feud to intentionally feature blood.

18. Ted Dibiase Chooses Skandor Akbar Over Jim Duggan (May 1983)

Although more of a face turn for Duggan than anything, Dibiase gets heel-turn credit for sinking lower than the rule-breaking Rat Pack. Akbar’s “Devastation Inc” was anti-American and inherently more nefarious than anything Duggan and Dibiase had done with Matt Borne, so when Dibiase accepted Akbar’s offer, it kicked off a heated feud between sell-out Dibiase and proud patriot Duggan, foreshadowing their WWE personas.

17. Stone Cold Sells His Soul (April 1, 2001)

Would’ve ranked higher had Austin’s 2001 not been so creatively bankrupt and ill-received (to be fair, a lot of that’s on Austin for still wrestling like an outlaw ass-kicker). But the story is memorable: Austin enlists sworn enemy Vince McMahon to help him beat The Rock for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania X7, a match that Austin claimed he ‘had to win’.

16. Paul Bearer Betrays The Undertaker (August 18, 1996)

For nearly six years, Undertaker did not exist without Paul Bearer. Not a manager who needed a stable, Bearer happily co-existed with Undertaker as a package deal. That’s why during Undertaker’s Boiler Room Brawl with Mankind at SummerSlam, Bearer’s sudden turn, punctuated with an urn to Taker’s skull, was so shocking.

15. The Horsemen Leave Sting for Dead (February 6, 1990)

Sting found himself part of a babyface version of The Horsemen with Ric Flair and The Andersons, set to combat Gary Hart’s J-Tex Corporation. Sting, naive as he always was, made the mistake of challenging Flair for a World Title match, and was promptly beaten by his so-called friends. Sting injured his knee that night attempting to get revenge, but would go over on Flair for the gold at that year’s Great American Bash.

14. The Authority Excommunicates Daniel Bryan (August 18, 2013)

After cleanly going over on John Cena to become WWE Champion at SummerSlam, Bryan was faced with an eager Randy Orton, who was set to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Then referee Triple H (a babyface at this point) Pedigreed Bryan, enabling Orton (also a babyface before these actions) to score the title. Thus, The Authority was born.

13. Owen Hart Kicks Bret’s Leg (Out of His Leg) (January 22, 1994)

Simmering since Survivor Series, Owen Hart stewed in brother Bret’s shadow, claiming to have been held back out of jealousy. Cooler heads seemed to prevail, and the brothers faced the Quebecers for the Tag Team Titles at the Royal Rumble. When the Harts lost by stoppage due to Bret’s injured knee, Owen engaged in the ultimate meltdown, concluding by kicking Bret’s bad knee and leaving in a huff.

12. Austin Idol Bloodies Jerry Lawler (January 4, 1987)

Moments before Lawler was set to challenge AWA Champion Nick Bockwinkel for the gold, friend Idol entered the ring and demanded that “The King” step aside. Lawler refused, and Idol busted him open. A week later, Idol and new friend Tommy Rich continued the onslaught, ending with Idol cradling Lawler’s head and passively bitch-slapping him. The payoff was a cage match in April 1987 where the loser got their head shaved, and a near-riot ensued.

11. The Rock and Shane McMahon Go Corporate (November 15, 1998)

Shane’s heel turn ranks as one of the most unexpected in the jaded internet era, as he refused to impartially count Steve Austin’s pin of Mankind in the World Title Tournament. Less than an hour later, Shane and father Vince screwed simpleton lackey Mankind in the finals in favor of their new corporate champion, The Rock.

10. Ric Flair Crosses Dusty Rhodes (September 29, 1985)

A different sort of ‘heel turn’, as Flair would hardly qualify as a babyface in this instance. As a tweener, NWA Champion Flair retained the gold over Nikita Koloff inside a cage, and Koloff’s comrades laid a beatdown afterward. Rhodes made the save on his enemy’s behalf as an act of conciliation. Rather than accept the gesture, Flair allowed Ole and Arn Anderson to jump Dusty, and the three broke his ankle inside the locked cage. If Flair’s allegiance was on the fence before the day, he ended it as the top heel once more.

9. Marty Jannetty Eats Glass (December 3, 1991)

Legendary for the unique moment of Shawn Michaels propelling Jannetty through the window of The Barber Shop, and Jannetty blading on what was generally family programming. Had Jannetty not been temporarily let go after a police altercation in early 1992, the planned blowoff at WrestleMania VIII could’ve been epic. Still, it set Michaels in motion to become one of wrestling’s greatest stars.

8. Vince McMahon Embraces the Hate (April 13, 1998)

Hard to pin down the exact moment Vince became classified as ‘heel’, but post-Montreal, McMahon started to dance around the fire with simple remarks toward Steve Austin, including his wish that Austin not become the WWE Champion. After a pair of run-ins with Austin post-WrestleMania, McMahon accepted Austin’s challenge for a match on the Raw that turned the ratings tide against WCW, and “Mr. McMahon” became one of wrestling’s greatest villains.

7. Larry Zbyszko Betrays Bruno Sammartino (January 22, 1980)

Sammartino was wrestling royalty in WWE, and protege Zbyszko couldn’t get out of his shadow. During an exhibition match between teacher and student, Sammartino gamely outwrestled his younger opponent, much to Zbyszko’s frustration. Once thrown to the floor, Zbyszko returned with a chair, and bashed it over Bruno’s head, leaving him laying in his own blood. In real life, Zbyszko had his life threatened by numerous fans in the Northeast, before paying off the feud with a cage match at Shea Stadium.

6. The Freebirds Annihilate Kerry Von Erich (December 25, 1982)

Michael Hayes was chosen to be guest enforcer for Ric Flair’s NWA World Title defense against Von Erich, held inside a steel cage in Dallas, TX; true Von Erich territory. Late in the match, Hayes laid out Flair for Von Erich’s benefit, but Kerry wouldn’t accept the cheap win. Von Erich went for the door, only for Hayes’ cohort Terry Gordy to slam the door on his head. Von Erich failed to win the gold, and the Freebirds-Von Erichs long rivalry was ignited.

5. Paul Orndorff Clotheslines Hulk Hogan (June 24, 1986)

Friends ever since Orndorff turned face in the spring of 1985, Hogan and Orndorff would team a number of times in rivalry with Roddy Piper, Bob Orton, and others. When Orndorff began to show signs of jealousy, and a missed phone call to Hulk made Orndorff look bad, the two put aside differences for a match with King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd. Post-match, Orndorff clotheslined Hogan, and then piledrove him, kicking off a mega-feud for the WWE Championship.

4. Terry Funk Murders Ric Flair (May 7, 1989)

Flair was just minutes removed from regaining the NWA Title, concluding his iconic trilogy with Ricky Steamboat, when Funk (serving as a ringside judge in the event of a draw) forcibly asked for a title shot. When Flair dismissed him, albeit with some regard, as not among the next batch of contenders, Funk’s ‘apology’ for the intrusion was to wallop Flair, and piledrive him through the judge’s table at ringside. The two would war through the remainder of 1989.

3. The Mega Powers Explode (February 3, 1989)

In one of the most extensively-subtle performances in wrestling history, Savage would show slight discomfort at Hogan’s kind treatment of Miss Elizabeth, no matter how innocent. Additonally, jealousy of Hogan’s popularity factored into Savage’s deteriorating mental state. Finally, during a match with the Twin Towers, Hogan tended to the injured valet, and Savage finally lost it, exploding with a hate-filled tirade at a stunned Hulk, before nailing him with the WWE belt in front of a pained Liz.

2. Andre the Giant Confronts Hulk Hogan (January 26, 1987)

Upset at playing second fiddle to a ceremony for Hogan’s three-year championship reign, Andre walks off, only to return weeks later on Piper’s Pit with Bobby Heenan as his new manager. Andre calmly told an astonished Hogan that he had only one thing to demand: a World Title match at WrestleMania III. Hogan tried to reason with Andre, who callously ripped Hogan’s shirt and crucifix jewel off in response. The result was one of the most historic and important wrestling matches in history.

1. Hulk Hogan is “The Third Man” (July 7, 1996)

This time, it’s Hogan doing the turning. After Scott Hall and Kevin Nash invaded WCW in the spring of 1996, they promised a hostile takeover, and the addition of a third man. At Bash at the Beach, during the anticipated main event where that man would be revealed, Lex Luger was injured, leaving Sting and Randy Savage alone with The Outsiders. Hulk Hogan appeared to make the save, only to leg drop Savage, and reveal his treachery. Hogan’s post-match speech, denouncing WCW and the fans that turned on him, while announcing the formation of the New World Order, is the greatest promo of his iconic career, and that’s saying something.

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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