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Top 30 Worst WWE Pay-Per-Views In History

May 06, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE PPVs are thirty years old this year. WrestleMania I was not the first (it aired on closed-circuit in theaters), rather Wrestling Classic was. In those thirty years, WWE has provided fans with countless moments from numerous historical events.

This list will not be celebrating those moments.

Instead, we’ll be looking back on the thirty worst WWE PPVs ever, as there have been plenty of barrel-scrapers. You can certainly think of a few off the top of your head; events that robbed you of $30, $40, upwards of $65-70. Or, perhaps, just events you wish you hadn’t illegally streamed in the interest of your own sanity, either or.

In the interest of some positivity, I will select a redeeming quality from each PPV, just to show that I’m not all about the negative. This could go a long way in reducing some potential, “But, but….” feedback.

Away we go.

30. THE WRESTLING CLASSIC (November 7, 1985 – Chicago, IL)

WHY IT SUCKED: More bad finishes than possibly any other show, including The Junkyard Dog counting his own pinfall, Davey Boy Smith losing via stoppage when he crotched the ropes, Terry Funk getting counted out after attempting to sucker Moondog Spot into just such a countout, among others. The Wrestling Classic was a tournament that crammed a number of colorful stars of that exciting era into one show, and put together a card that has aged as well as acid-washed jeans.

REDEEMING QUALITY: The Macho Man proved his early worth to the company by having two excellent tournament bouts with Ricky Steamboat and The Dynamite Kid, both sadly relegated to five minutes or less.

29. KING OF THE RING 2002 (June 23, 2002 – Columbus, OH)

WHY IT SUCKED: The final incarnation of King of the Ring as a standalone PPV went out with a whimper. The Undertaker/Triple H main event for the Undisputed Title ranks among the worst title bouts of the modern era, thanks to both men working through serious injuries. Ric Flair and Eddie Guerrero had themselves a disappointing bout of near twenty-minute length, almost entirely heatless with the sudden absence of Steve Austin from the storyline. The bloom was off of Hulk Hogan’s nostalgia comeback, as he lost by submission to Kurt Angle in a virtual comedy match.

REDEEMING QUALITY: Aside from Brock Lesnar’s continued ascent via winning the crown, Chris Jericho and Rob Van Dam put on an enjoyable semi-final match (which sadly led to an online Jericho tirade when some fans felt the match was lacking).

28. NEW YEAR’S REVOLUTION 2005 (January 9, 2005 – San Juan, PR)

WHY IT SUCKED: Muhammad Hassan and Jerry Lawler put on a hideous match, made duller without commentary (Jim Ross worked Lawler’s corner). Eugene and Lita suffered debilitating knee injuries in the first two matches, casting a pall on the event, and cutting Lita’s potentially-good title bout with Trish Stratus understandably short. Maven stalled for almost six minutes in his Intercontinental Title match with Shelton Benjamin, and was then immediately pinned, rendering the entire match pointless.

REDEEMING QUALITY: The Elimination Chamber match for the vacant World Heavyweight Title was excellent, helping make Batista into a bona fide star, and is possibly the greatest Chamber match of all time. Makes sense why the show was bad: every main eventer was in this match.

27. BATTLEGROUND 2014 (July 20, 2014 – Tampa, FL)

WHY IT SUCKED: A bait-and-switch was put into play, removing the highly anticipated Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins match from the show. Perhaps because of Ambrose’s jettisoning from the show, much of the card suffered from an annoyed vibe that resulted in a lack of heat, even for matches like Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt, and the Intercontinental Battle Royal. In the latter, Miz’s screwjob win was met with more apathy than fan anger. John Cena’s win in the closing fatal four way was as predictable as a sunrise. From the Network pre-show, Adam Rose vs. Fandango and Cameron vs. Naomi were each awful.

REDEEMING QUALITY: The opening PPV match pitting the Usos vs. Luke Harper/Erick Rowan, two out of three falls for the WWE Tag Team Titles, was a sleeper match of the year candidate, and qualifies as Harper’s breakout performance.

26. SURVIVOR SERIES 1991 (November 27, 1991 – Detroit, MI)

WHY IT SUCKED: Functioned primarily as a commercial for an unsuccessful attempt at running weekly PPVs, marking the first year Survivor Series ever felt secondary to anything. Great opening match pitting teams captained by Ric Flair and Roddy Piper was cut short when five wrestlers were disqualified. The following bout, with Jim Duggan’s team toppling Col. Mustafa’s team, was clumsy and butt-ugly. Despite hinting at a Randy Savage return to fill in for Sid Justice, his beef with Jake Roberts ended up being held off until the following week in a cruel tease.

REDEEMING QUALITY: The Undertaker’s WWF Title win over Hulk Hogan, in which fans were 60-40 in favor of Taker, truly marked a paradigm shift as the definitive end of eight years of Hulkamania. Whether you like Hogan or not, it’s a historical benchmark.

25. OVER THE LIMIT 2011 (May 22, 2011 – Seattle, WA)

WHY IT SUCKED: WWE Championship bout was SuperCena at its most convoluted, as the champion withstood a two-on-one beating from The Miz and Alex Riley and almost instantly made Miz tap after an STF following a match restart. That restart was borne of a crap finish, where Riley played a cell-phone recording of Cena ‘submitting’ to hoodwink the official (Rock/Mankind redux). Most of the remainder of the show was horrid, with CM Punk wasted in a plodding Tag Team title match, Brie Bella and Kelly Kelly stumbling around the Divas title match, and Sin Cara continuing his inauspicious debut by going over Chavo Guerrero in uninspiring fashion.

REDEEMING QUALITY: Randy Orton and Christian delivered another awesome World Heavyweight Title bout, with Christian playing the Flair or Steamboat to Orton’s Luger perhaps better than anyone else.

24. ROYAL RUMBLE 2015 (January 25, 2015 – Philadelphia, PA)

WHY IT SUCKED: Not even for undesired Roman Reigns winning the Rumble match itself, but for the uninspired booking of the actual match, with aging relics Big Show and Kane slowly wiping the floor with a number of younger favorites. Daniel Bryan’s early elimination opened the floodgates of relentless fan outrage. Most of the rest of the show boasted uninspired tag team matches, with The Ascension looking weak in victory over the New Age Outlaws, a DQ finish in a Tag Team title match, and the Bellas beating Natalya and Paige with a simple forearm smash.

REDEEMING QUALITY: The World Championship bout revealed Seth Rollins’ true main event value, and the match itself with Brock Lesnar and John Cena was chaotic and exciting, a potential match-of-the-year.

23. SURVIVOR SERIES 2013 (November 24, 2013 – Boston, MA)

WHY IT SUCKED: “Big Show was my childhood friend” storyline with Stephanie McMahon came to a merciful end, but not merciful enough without the heatless World Title match with Randy Orton that ended the night. The seven-on-seven Divas elimination match was full of the clunky wrestling you’d expect from some of the lower-tier entrants, essentially an amateur-hour commercial for Total Divas. Big E Langston’s Intercontinental title win over Curtis Axel was short and dull, as was Mark Henry’s pointless win over Ryback.

REDEEMING QUALITY: “Make Roman look strong” served its purpose in the opening PPV bout, in which Reigns made four eliminations in powerfully understated fashion, becoming sole survivor of a damn fine Survivor Series match.

22. SURVIVOR SERIES 2008 (November 23, 2008 – Boston, MA)

WHY IT SUCKED: Popular Jeff Hardy was removed from the WWE Championship triple threat for creative reasons, coming under the guise of an attack at the hotel, which was presented as semi-legitimate, and upset many fans. Triple H and Kozlov then plodded through maybe the most boring title match in recent memory before Edge ran in to replace Hardy, after three months away, and won the belt. The women’s elimination bout was accelerated sloppiness, while Undertaker’s casket match with Big Show was very underwhelming compared to their surprisingly good match at No Mercy one month earlier.

REDEEMING QUALITY: A pair of decent-enough traditional Survivor Series matches took place, so at least the fundamental portion of the show held up its end.

21. WRESTLEMANIA XI (April 2, 1995 – Hartford, CT)

WHY IT SUCKED: No matter how many celebrities were crammed into the event, the bloom was explicitly off of WrestleMania’s rose in this dark period. Bret Hart and Bob Backlund shambled through a boring submission match, under orders to use virtually nothing except submission holds. Undertaker and King Kong Bundy’s match was as dull as you’d expect, while The Allied Powers’ opening win over Eli and Jacob Blu hardly felt WrestleMania-worthy. Diesel’s comeback in the World Title bout was met with derision, a portrait of where the company was in 1995.

REDEEMING QUALITY: While Diesel’s match with Shawn Michaels was the expected quality showing, it was Lawrence Taylor’s fiery competence against Bam Bam Bigelow that really kept the show from plummeting to rock bottom.

20. ROYAL RUMBLE 1997 (January 19, 1997 – San Antonio, TX)

WHY IT SUCKED: The company’s drawing power in 1997 was made a tad clearer when Shawn Michaels received a World title shot in his hometown, and one-fifth of the Alamodome had to be papered. Michaels worked through the flu and regained the belt from Sycho Sid in a poor match by his standards. An attempt to co-opt lucha libre, as WCW had, pretty much died out here, after a plodding trios match where only Hector Garza looked star-caliber. The undercard saw three big feuds highlighted in underwhelming matches: Vader over Undertaker, Triple H over Goldust, and Ahmed Johnson over Faarooq by disqualification. All six men were in the Rumble match as well, so they were all likely pacing themselves.

REDEEMING QUALITY: Stone Cold Steve Austin’s rise to the top accelerated with a tainted Rumble victory, and the fans responded more than favorably to his honed anti-hero act.

19. SUMMERSLAM 2007 (August 26, 2007 – East Rutherford, NJ)

WHY IT SUCKED: There weren’t too many storylines headed into the show, and a pall still loomed from the dark cloud hovering over WWE following the Benoit murder/suicide (wellness suspensions would come en masse the following weekend). Batista and Great Khali had a spectacularly bad World title match that ended in a DQ, while a Divas battle royal completely lost a lukewarm crowd, especially after Mickie James was eliminated. CM Punk blew his third straight chance to become ECW Champion in defeat to a not-yet-over John Morrison. Triple H made his return after seven months away, beating King Booker in a short match, and getting a way-too-put-on standing ovation from Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

REDEEMING QUALITY: John Cena and Randy Orton had a decent enough WWE Championship match, even if the crowd was more apt to cheer for Orton or, well, anyone else.

18. UNFORGIVEN 2003 (September 21, 2003 – Hershey, PA)

WHY IT SUCKED: Early on in the split-brand era, Raw PPVs and storylines were shockingly dim, lacking the fun of the only-recently departed Attitude Era. Goldberg won the World title from Triple H in a match that lacked drama, or even quality action thanks to the champ having a bum leg. Shane McMahon was booked to almost dominate revamped-monster Kane in a last man standing match for the better part of 20 minutes before losing. Test won Scott Steiner’s services as some vague type of slave after a match only made interesting by Stacy Keibler standing around. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler actually had a match with Heat announcers Jonathan Coachman and Al Snow that was garbage.

REDEEMING QUALITY: Shawn Michaels did make Randy Orton look like the main eventer he would eventually become, and their match was certainly more than decent, if not great.

17. ROYAL RUMBLE 1996 (January 21, 1996 – Fresno, CA)

WHY IT SUCKED: When Bret Hart and The Undertaker are incapable of having a good match with each other, it’s probably been one of those nights. The fact that their show-ending World title match ended in a cheap DQ on interference from Diesel just tossed dung onto a mounting pile. Goldust and Razor Ramon’s Intercontinental title match was one of Goldust’s typical plodfests from the era. The Rumble match itself was loaded up with one-nighters such as Doug Gilbert, The Headhunters, Takao Omori, and aging Dory Funk Jr in order to aid the dwindling roster of the time, and it’s arguably the least interesting Rumble match ever. Kama (The Godfather) was the next-to-last man to be eliminated, and he went out on a pie-face.

REDEEMING QUALITY: Shawn Michaels looked good in winning the Rumble match, beginning his road to WrestleMania XII at a time in which he was clearly the right man for the spot, even if hindsight numbers don’t back him up.

16. TABLES, LADDERS, CHAIRS, AND STAIRS 2014 (December 14, 2014 – Cleveland, OH)

WHY IT SUCKED: Coming just days after the universally-acclaimed NXT Takeover: R Evolution, it was reported that the WWE roster tasked itself with topping the developmental output. What ensued were uninspired gimmick matches, as Erick Rowan failed to entertain with a stack of ring steps, and Kane and Ryback swung chairs to less and less reaction. John Cena and Seth Rollins’ table match was marred with several overturned finishes. Dean Ambrose looked like the world’s biggest goof after blinding himself with an exploding television to end a lackluster evening. The roster hoped for Great American Bash ’89, and gave us ’91.

REDEEMING QUALITY: The opening match, Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper in a ladder match for the Intercontinental title, paid off a then-hot crowd with insanity and a well-told story.

15. GREAT AMERICAN BASH 2005 (July 24, 2005 – Buffalo, NY)

WHY IT SUCKED: After the 2004 Draft, Smackdown exponentially degenerated into its possibly-intended B-show designation, producing a handful of putrid events. For starters, Road Warrior Animal became a Tag Team Champion, invoking deceased partner Hawk in a storyline to sell DVDs. The Undertaker ‘killed off’ Muhammad Hassan, following an order from UPN to remove the character following a storyline that depicted a mock attempt at a terror-related beheading. That was worse, but not by much, than the beginning of the involvement of Rey Mysterio’s son Dominic in a story with Eddie Guerrero, which hampered the duo’s match. The Batista/JBL World title bout ended in a DQ, a hasty change as Hassan was supposed to beat Undertaker and advance to a SummerSlam title match, necessitating JBL’s win after a long, boring match.

REDEEMING QUALITY: Christian and Booker T had a fine, workmanlike match a ways down the card, unencumbered by the gas station fire that Smackdown had become.

14. WRESTLEMANIA XV (March 28, 1999 – Philadelphia, PA)

WHY IT SUCKED: The poor quality of the show was kinda overlooked at the time, since most fans were just satisfied that Steve Austin regained the title to close out the night, and scathing criticism of in-ring work was less so in the Attitude Era. Chyna turning heel twice in one night, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn swapping storylines (that involved belts) two weeks prior as to render their matches moot, and the pointless team of D-Lo Brown and Test going for the Tag Team Titles were all bad enough. Now add Big Bossman being hanged after a bad Hell in a Cell match, and Tori looking 400 types of awful against Sable, and it’s a crummy Mania for sure.

REDEEMING QUALITY: Steve Austin regains the WWF Championship in an overbooked, but still incredibly fun, match with The Rock. You could always count on these two.

13. BRAGGING RIGHTS 2010 (October 24, 2010 – Minneapolis, MN)

WHY IT SUCKED: If you expected John Cena to be emaciated at the hands of The Nexus upon his forced joining, think again. Not only did he and David Otunga needlessly win the Tag titles in an impromptu match over Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes, but he got Randy Orton DQed in the WWE Title match against challenger Wade Barrett. See, Cena would have lost his job if Barrett didn’t ‘win’, wink wink. Undertaker and Kane had themselves a horrid Buried Alive match that really showed each man’s age. Even the Bragging Rights elimination match itself went on for nearly a half hour, and was more uninteresting than anything, due to a lack of interest in the diluted ‘Raw vs. Smackdown’ narrative.

REDEEMING QUALITY: The champion-vs-champion bout between Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler goes a long way in explaining why fans clamored to see it at WrestleMania five years later. Sadly, this was the opener, and it was all downhill from here.

12. ARMAGEDDON 2003 (December 14, 2003 – Orlando, FL)

WHY IT SUCKED: A painfully-bad 2003 limped to the grave with this poor showing for the Raw brand, though December PPVs traditionally bite balls. The best match of the night may have been Chris Jericho and Christian wrestling two considerably-smaller performers in Trish Stratus and Lita. Molly Holly vs. Ivory was a bad match. Booker T vs. Mark Henry was a bad match. A Tag Team Turmoil seemed to drag on for eons. Triple H regained the World Heavyweight title in a three way over Kane and Goldberg that was twenty slow minutes long. Not the finest hour for a brand that needed a jump start.

REDEEMING QUALITY: The four Evolution members ended up with the World, Intercontinental, and Tag Team gold by night’s end, making the faction look utterly powerful and credible for probably the first time.

11. ROCK BOTTOM (December 13, 1998 – Vancouver, BC)

WHY IT SUCKED: See what I mean about December PPVs? A lousy Steve Austin/Undertaker ‘Buried Alive’ match was made worse with Michael Cole’s illogical commentary (not that it’s exclusive to this match). It was an evening of awful tag team matches, including Headbangers vs. The Human Oddities, an interminable battle between the New Age Outlaws and Ken Shamrock/Big Bossman, and a disappointing six-man pitting The Brood against The JOB Squad. Truly, this show felt like space occupied between Survivor Series and The Royal Rumble.

REDEEMING QUALITY: The Rock and Mankind delivered an enjoyable enough WWF Title match, but even that was marred by an agonizing Dusty Finish after it appeared Mankind had captured his first World title.

10. BATTLEGROUND 2013 (October 6, 2013 – Buffalo, NY)

WHY IT SUCKED: Fans were getting sick of the jerkaround centered on Daniel Bryan not being allowed to the hold WWE belt longer than a Ferris wheel ride. You can imagine they were they fuming when his match with Randy Orton for the vacant gold ended with no winner, thanks to Big Show wiping out both men. While the event is most remembered for the maddening end, there was a whole lotta bad elsewhere. CM Punk won a long, dull match over Ryback, while undercard title bouts pitting Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth (IC) and AJ Lee vs. Brie Bella (Divas) were slightly worse. What else can you say about a show where the Real Americans are saddled with Santino Marella and The Great Khali?

REDEEMING QUALITY: Goldust and Cody Rhodes’ win over Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins was precisely the kind of old-school storytelling that WWE seems to eschew more and more, and yet it’s all people want to remember from bad shows like this.

9. WRESTLEMANIA IX (April 4, 1993 – Las Vegas, NV)

WHY IT SUCKED: The consensus choice for the worst WrestleMania ever had that standing solidified by the BS ending where Hulk Hogan ‘helps’ a wounded Bret Hart, only to be challenged by new WWF Champion Yokozuna, and then cashes in his Money in the Bank Yappapi Strap to beat him in 20 seconds. Hart’s loss betrayed his standing as the flagbearer of a new class, but the problems didn’t end there. Undertaker couldn’t drag Giant Gonzalez out of the maligned ‘negative star’ range, while Hogan and Brutus Beefcake looked anachronistic against Money Inc in a disappointing Tag Team title bout. The only good thing about Doink vs. Crush was the delighfully silly ending with an impostor clown.

REDEEMING QUALITY: The Steiner Brothers win over The Headshrinkers featured some insane highspots for 1993, including Rick Steiner powerslamming Samu while sitting on Fatu’s shoulders. Best match of the show, which is like being valedictorian of summer school.

8. GREAT AMERICAN BASH 2004 (June 27, 2004 – Norfolk, VA)

WHY IT SUCKED: People who watched it couldn’t help make comparisons to WCW in its decay, given the event’s name. For crying out loud, The Undertaker killed Paul Bearer in a tomb of cement to end the show, moments after beating Tag Team champions The Dudley Boyz in a handicap match before a confused, silent crowd. The undercard fared possibly worse, giving us back to back sludge in Billy Gunn vs. Kenzo Suzuki, and Sable vs. Torrie Wilson. Mordecai vs. Bob Holly was a bit better, but didn’t belong on PPV. Ditto a directionless Charlie Haas vs. a lukewarm Luther Reigns. Smackdown by this time really felt bush league compared to the inspired greatness on Raw.

REDEEMING QUALITY: While some do count this as a negative, JBL winning the WWE Championship from Eddie Guerrero in a gruesome bullrope match was indeed a great showing.

7. D-GENERATION X (December 7, 1997 – Springfield, MA)

WHY IT SUCKED: Four weeks after Montreal, and this time, the PPV buyers were the ones that got screwed. The Triple H-Sgt. Slaughter boot camp match moved molasses-slow, like a wade through waist-deep mud. Butterbean and Marc Mero engaged in a badly-worked boxing match. Undertaker vs. Jeff Jarrett was bad enough before Kane caused a DQ ending. The Legion of Doom continued their slide into the abyss in their Tag Team title match against a still-gelling New Age Outlaws. Goldust came out and read Green Eggs and Ham for whatever reason.

REDEEMING QUALITY: Steve Austin driving a truck to the ring and destroying the Nation of Domination en route to beating The Rock in a brief Intercontinental Title match is about the only thing worth remembering from this show.

6. ROYAL RUMBLE 1999 (January 24, 1999 – Anaheim, CA)

WHY IT SUCKED: The excesses of Russo’s booking drowned the Rumble match in a sea of convoluted muck. Most of the undercarders were sequestered to the first half of the match, creating an unrealistic imbalance. Vince McMahon wins after spending 90 percent of the match as an observer. Despite there being a $100,000 bounty on Steve Austin’s head, wrestlers only attack him in randomly-timed portions. If the Rumble match was a joke, at least it was a vigorously-paced one. Same can’t be said for Big Bossman vs. Road Dogg and Billy Gunn vs. Ken Shamrock, two rather lengthy matches in which the heels went over. Sable and Luna Vachon’s Women’s Title bout wasn’t going to stem the tide of a lackluster PPV.

REDEEMING QUALITY: This one is a lot more polarizing after the extent of concussions became better understood, but Rock and Mankind’s dramatic I Quit match for the WWF Championship remains a scintillating brawl, though much harder to watch today.

5. IN YOUR HOUSE IV: GREAT WHITE NORTH (October 22, 1995 – Winnipeg, MB)

WHY IT SUCKED: Story goes that Vince McMahon, at the event’s conclusion, slammed his headset down and barked “HORRIBLE!” He wasn’t wrong; the Diesel-Davey Boy Smith WWF Championship match was the cure for sleep disorders all of kinds. Perhaps more embarrassingly historic was Shawn Michaels forfeiting the Intercontinental belt to Dean Douglas, only for Douglas to get his jaw jacked (at some points, it looked literally) by Kliq-mate Razor Ramon in an awkward match. Yokozuna and Mabel trudged to a frustrating double countout that was probably for the best. Goldust’s debut, while unique, failed to electrify with his methodical style.

REDEEMING QUALITY: Not much of high value, the Tag Team title match with The Smoking Gunns and Razor/123 Kid was enjoyable, further sowing the seeds of Kid’s impending turn.

4. ARMAGEDDON 2004 (December 12, 2004 – Atlanta, GA)

WHY IT SUCKED: Great American Bash 2004 is hailed as the worst PPV of that year, but Armageddon was twice as bad; it’s just nobody buys PPVs around Christmas. Where to begin? The boxing match between Daniel Puder and The Miz? Kurt Angle beating up Santa Claus to try and get heel heat? Charlie Haas’ refereeing an alleged match between Jackie Gayda and Dawn Marie? Big Show squashing Angle, Luther Reigns, and Mark Jindrak in a handicap match? If it wasn’t bad, it was dull (Haas/Bob Holly vs. The Bashams, Spike Dudley vs. Funaki). Heidenreich causing a screwjob in a 26 minute four-way main event put a ragged bow on this one.

REDEEMING QUALITY: Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio took part in a really good formula Tag Team title bout with Rene Dupree and Kenzo Suzuki, a worthwhile opener.

3. KING OF THE RING 1999 (June 27, 1999 – Greensboro, NC)

WHY IT SUCKED: You would think that a time frame that produced a lot of break-neck excitement couldn’t provide such a tedious tournament, but here you go. Big Show and Kane’s first round match, with an endless, science-defying chokehold, was the absolute pits. Road Dogg and Chyna’s match was just as interminable. Ken Shamrock succumbed to his patented ‘internal injuries’, and by the time it was over, nobody was buying into X-Pac’s underdog story when he lost to ill-received king Billy Gunn. The tournament was bad enough, and a WWF Title match between Undertaker and The Rock failed to provide a positive spark otherwise. Just a dreadful show from top to bottom.

REDEEMING QUALITY: Although not a great match, Steve Austin’s handicap ladder match for ownership of the WWF against Vince and Shane McMahon did provide some expected entertaining moments.

2. DECEMBER TO DISMEMBER (December 3, 2006 – Augusta, GA)

WHY IT SUCKED: The real ECW died five years earlier, so this was more of a dumping of manure onto the grave. Bobby Lashley’s unheralded title win in the Elimination Chamber generated more annoyance from fans who preferred Rob Van Dam or CM Punk. Lots of downtime in the latter half of the match didn’t help either. Four of the six matches weren’t even announced ahead of time, and that was probably for the best, as none were any good. Among the worst were Kelly Kelly and Mike Knox’s clunker with Kevin Thorn and Ariel, as well as the FBI serving as chump fodder for Elijah Burke and Sylvester Terkay. The Georgia fans took the spiritual form of their Philly/New York counterparts and booed much of the event, especially when Tommy Dreamer lost suddenly to Daivari. The show barely went two hours and ten minutes.

REDEEMING QUALITY: The Hardy Boyz kicked things off with MNM in a tag team match that featured two heat segments and plenty of creative double-teaming. Its 23-minute length was absolutely needed.

1. KING OF THE RING 1995 (June 25, 1995 – Philadelphia, PA)

WHY IT SUCKED: Near rock-bottom for a failing WWF, the hostile Philly crowd gave Vince McMahon the business a full generation before Reigns won the Rumble. Mabel winning the tournament was bad enough, made worse with two awful matches on his part. Savio Vega worked four matches and gained little underdog sympathy from a frustrated crowd, who openly chanted “ECW!” during his final against Mabel. At an event with no title matches, a WWE first, DIesel and Bam Bam Bigelow won a droning main event against Sycho Sid and Tatanka. The only real heroes of the night, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, were stuck making Jerry Lawler kiss his foot and going to a draw with Kama, respectively. It’s the hallmark of badness, a self-parody that left even McMahon speechless at points.

REDEEMING QUALITY: The Roadie and Bob Holly’s first-round match was probably the best worked match of the evening, and even that had a messed up finish.

WWE: It’s good to be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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Ronda Rousey Says She Wants More WWE

April 15, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Ronda Rousey got a taste of the WWE and she wants more! The UFC champion told WWE legend Roddy Piper that she had so much fun at WrestleMania 31, there is no way she is not getting back into a WWE ring.

Rousey made her first in-ring WWE appearance at WrestleMania 31 in a highly publicized angle with the Rock, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon. It had been widely circulated that the WWE have been interested in using Rousey for awhile, yet her UFC contract prevented her from showing up. With a blessing from Dana White, the WWE finally got their girl and it may be that blessing that winds up blowing up in White’s face.

Rousey was a guest on Roddy Piper’s PodcastOne.com podcast and talked extensively about her experience at WrestleMania 31. Rousey told Piper that the biggest problem is that she can’t wait to go back.

I hit the ground running,” Rousey said. “The first I ever wrestled was at Wrestlemania with an attendance record at Levi’s Stadium. I had a problem when I left. There’s no way I can’t not go back in there again. There’s no way. After experiencing that, there’s nothing like it.

The second I left I was already thinking, ‘How can I possibly go back?’ I didn’t even change [clothes] yet. I hadn’t even gotten out of my outfit yet.

Rousey is already rumored to be a part of the WrestleMania 32 main-event. Early speculation was that she’d either back up Rock vs. Triple H or tag with Rock against Hunter and Stephanie in a mixed-tag team match. Recent reports indicate that the WWE wants a Rousey vs. Stephanie singles match. Whatever the idea is, it would appear that Rousey is up for it and anything else.

Piper talked to Rousey about the angle and the benefits of working with someone like the Rock in that situation.

It’s a tricky thing having [The Rock]. He’s so good at putting people over. He holds the room so intensely, it’s hard to not be outshone by him,” said Rousey. “Triple H and The Rock could be one of the biggest rivalries of all-time. How can we make a situation where we ignore them? That’s a lot of pressure, to be captivating enough to ignore them.

Rousey also talked a bit about the spots in the angle with Stephanie and Triple H. Rousey told Piper that the hip-toss in particular did not go as planned.

That wasn’t even a throw I was planning. I made it up on the spot. I pulled it out of my ass. I don’t even know what that is,” said Rousey. “It was kind of awesome to see everything planned, and everything that doesn’t go according to plan.

She also told Piper that Stephanie wasn’t supposed to go down in their skirmish either. Rousey and Piper both agreed that the spontaneouity of it all made the moment even better.

I was nervous, in a way, when I knew [the appearance] was coming up,” Rousey said. “I was trying to look like I was cool but my heart and my chest were [pounding]. I was trying not to look obvious but I think I totally did.

Rousey and Piper also talked a bit about wrestling fans. Rousey literally stopped short of saying that wrestling fans were better than MMA fans. To put it in context, Rousey told Piper that wrestling fans understand that the WWE stars are just entertaining whereas MMA fans may take things she says to promote a fight too literally.

Sorry Dana but you have a problem on your hand. Your number one star is hooked and loved the rush of working in a stadium in front of 66,000+ people. Rousey did tell Piper that she won’t look ahead to future WWE dates until she fights Beth Correia on August 1. Rousey also told Piper that she had several movie commitments shortly thereafter.

I’d say there is a pretty good you’ll be seeing Rousey at WrestleMania 32 if she has her way. If she doesn’t, it could lead to an interesting showdown between White and his biggest UFC star.

Check out the entire podcast with Piper and Rousey. It’s a lot of fun and I can almost guarantee you that you’ll come out of it having a bigger appreciation for the UFC champ.

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Top 50 Moments of the WWE Attitude Era

April 14, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

It’s still unclear what Monday’s addition of Attitude Era content to WWE Network exactly entails. Hopefully, it’s enough to satiate the subscribers that have been holding their breath for 1997 episodes of Nitro for close to a year. The uploading schedule has the regularity of asthma attacks, and it seems once the Network is on a kick (ECW week! 16 months of Nitro! A new classic Raw every Wednesday!), the idea is quickly left in a roadside ditch in favor of some other hastily-concocted idea.

Whatever Attitude programming makes its way to the Network on Monday, I thought it’d be nice to put the actual era in perspective and sift through the top moments with the benefit of hindsight. I do enjoy my listmaking; you may have noticed.

In picking the 50 most memorable moments of wrestling’s most unpredictable and fun era ever, I adhered to a few guidelines.

1. The time frame for the Attitude Era isn’t exactly etched in stone, so I went with the timeline used on WWE2K13 for their Attitude Era mode: the moment Shawn Michaels hit Undertaker with a steel chair at SummerSlam 1997 through Steve Austin and Vince McMahon’s handshake at WrestleMania X7. Some say the era didn’t begin until Austin beat Michaels for the title; others will say it was when Austin broke into Brian Pillman’s house in 1996. Mileage varies; I think my choice of dates is fairly acceptable.

2. Wrestler deaths (Pillman, Owen) and serious injuries (Droz) are omitted completely. Each entry on the list plays into the realm of fiction to some degree, and it’s not fair to say that one man’s death was more memorable than another, even if Owen’s was the public relations nightmare from hell, based on the circumstances. The Attitude Era had its share of dark moments from the bowels (perhaps literally) of creation, and this list only honors those birthed by the writer’s pen.

Off we go.

50. Michaels Smashes Undertaker with a Steel Chair (August 3, 1997)

Hey, we were just talking about this, weren’t we? Michaels shed his put-on company charm for good with the errant strike, weaving the overwhelming dislike against him with the ‘blame’ he received for the incident. Cutesy, praise-singing Michaels of 1996 had to go away, and as far as catalysts go, this was perfect.

49. Austin Throws the Intercontinental Title into a River (December 9, 1997)

And you thought the belt was disrespected today. Austin lost the belt via voluntary forfeit to The Rock, then beat him up anyway, absconded with the title, and chucked the strap into a freezing New Hampshire stream out of spite.

48. Double People’s Elbow (September 27, 1998)

The Rock had just freshly turned face, and was pitted with fellow fan favorites Ken Shamrock and Mankind in a blue-barred cage match in Hamilton, ON. The Canadian crowd solidified Rock as a true superstar when he ripped off both elbow pads, dropped his signature elbow in duplicate, and receiving his biggest cheer to date in doing so.

47. Halftime Heat (January 31, 1999)

A novel concept to be sure, Rock defended the WWF Title against Mankind in an empty arena match, and it aired at halftime of John Elway’s final game. The camera angles showing the finish were hokey, but Mankind winning trumps sitting through Gloria Estefan’s warbling.

46. Linda’s Off Her Meds (April 1, 2001)

Since Vince demanded a divorce in December, Linda McMahon fell into a near-vegetative state (which wasn’t an acting stretch), and Vince, via power-of-attorney, kept her doped up while he cavorted with Trish Stratus. At WrestleMania X7, Linda emerged from a now put-on comatose state and kicked Vince in the balls to a massive cheer.

45. Austin Gets Run Down (November 14, 1999)

It was the beginning of an intriguing whodunnit. Austin chases Triple H through a Detroit parking lot at Survivor Series and gets run over by an unknown assailant. Austin was written out for almost ten months (he needed spinal surgery), and speculation ran rampant as to the driver.

44. Triple H Revealed as Mastermind of Austin’s Accident (November 6, 2000)

The initial payoff of the rundown was Rikishi, who ‘dih dit for da Rock’, and that seemed less than satisfactory. A month after the reveal, Triple H struck Austin after a tag team match on Raw, and worked in tandem with Rikishi to bust Austin up. The payoff for the rewrite was Austin dropping Triple H out of a crane at Survivor Series. Ahh, simpler times.

43. Triple H vs. T-800 Model 101 (November 9, 1999)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, pre-Gubernatorial run, appeared on Smackdown to promote the insipid End of Days movie, and ended up waylaying Triple H at the commentary desk. This was pretty well-received from the optimistic Attitude-era fanbase, and it beats the hell out of the “Rise of the Torn Quadriceps” entrance at WrestleMania 31.

42. Nuclear in Dallas (February 7, 2000)

Triple H, X-Pac, and The Radicals took on The Rock, Mick Foley, Too Cool, and Rikishi in an excellent ten man tag with one of the wildest, hottest crowds you’ll ever hear. The heels won, but Kane made the big save afterward with a returning Paul Bearer, spurring an even louder crowd response. Rivals a post-WrestleMania Raw crowd in volume.

41. Ventura Has the Power (August 22, 1999)

After leaving WWF acrimoniously nine years earlier, now-Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura officiated the main event at SummerSlam in Minneapolis, and even graced Raw with some commentary 13 days prior. Ventura even got to beat up Shane McMahon on a lark.

40. Finally, Austin vs. McMahon, with a Debut (February 14, 1999)

McMahon took a spill off the side of a steel cage at the hands of Austin, and Stone Cold spent an extended time-frame busting him up to the crowd’s delight. That’s when Big Show made his debut, billowing through the canvas, and assaulted Austin before inadvertently giving him the win by throwing him into the cage. The structure came apart, allowing escape.

39. Big Red Machine vs. Big Red Monster (March 29, 1998)

Nobody realized at the time that a running gag was being born. Pete Rose appeared at WrestleMania XIV to insult the then-suffering Boston fans, prompting Kane to dismantle Rose upon arrival. This tradition continued for several ‘Manias following.

38. Love Her or Leave Her (August 22, 1999)

The storyline was Shakespeare with the aggro-rock twist; Shane McMahon forbade his sister Stephanie from dating blue-collar Test. To settle the issue, Shane and Test competed in a startling show-stealer at SummerSlam with Test winning, but not before Shane busted out his first ever Leap of Faith elbow through the Spanish announce table.

37. Garden Street Fight (January 23, 2000)

Cactus Jack reared his ugly head into WWF Champion Triple H’s life, and the two warred in a street fight for the title at the Royal Rumble. A barbed-wire 2X4 found employment for the first time in WWF history, and Helmsley bled more than he ever had before. Cactus taking a Pedigree face-first onto a pile of thumbtacks cinches the match’s place in insanity’s lore.

36. The Highway to Hell (August 30, 1998)

The Crash-TV elements of the era killed off slow-burns and meaningful build in a lot of instances. However, the three-month story of miscommunication and alpha-male posturing between Austin and Undertaker en route to their SummerSlam title bout, complete with AC/DC’s iconic tune in music video form, was a well-rounded, well-received saga.

35. Birmingham: The Original Montreal (September 20, 1997)

Bret Hart wasn’t the only non-American beaten for gold in their own country by Shawn Michaels in dubious fashion. Michaels won the European Title from Davey Boy Smith in England at the ‘One Night Only’ PPV, while Michaels heeled it up to the hilt. The controversial match was witnessed by Smith’s dying sister Tracy, seated ringside with Diana Hart-Smith.

34. DX Invasion (April 27, 1998)

Not the end-all/be-all moment that WWE likes to claim, a fatigue-clad D-Generation X drove an Army Jeep to the Norfolk Scope, where WCW was running Monday Nitro, and the group was filmed interviewing fans with comped tickets, and demanding the release of ‘hostages’ Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Not that WCW needed help in looking uncool.

33. Triple H’s Most Important Turn (March 28, 1999)

Other than Austin regaining the WWF Title, this was the most important part of an awful WrestleMania. Triple H Pedigreed X-Pac in his European title bout with Shane McMahon, going corporate in the process. From this turn spawned wrestling’s most unkillable character.

32. Rikishi Goes Superfly (July 23, 2000)

It surely hurt Don Muraco enough getting pancaked by Jimmy Snuka’s steel cage leap in 1983, but imagine poor Val Venis’ plight. Venis was absolutely squashed by Rikishi, all 400 pounds with an anchoring ass, horrifically recreating the plummet at Fully Loaded 2000

31. “I Need to Beat You” (March 22, 2001)

The build to Austin and Rock’s WrestleMania X7 title match was enhanced in video form with Limp Bizkit’s melancholy “My Way” as the soundtrack. Giving the face-vs-face clash that extra push was Austin’s statement during a sitdown interview with Jim Ross, telling Rock he needed to beat him, with chilling matter-of-factness. Nobody had a clue what lay ahead.

30. This is Your Life, Rock (September 27, 1999)

The 8.4 Nielsen rating, still a Raw record, warrants the inclusion on this list, even if the segment doesn’t exactly hold up comedically. So Mankind hosts a dorky love-in for Rock, complete with cameos from Rock’s past. Highlight is Rock’s high coach pricelessly entering to Lex Luger’s “I’ll Be Your Hero” 1993 hype theme, before getting dressed down.

29. Austin Evens the Odds (April 30, 2000)

You’ll never believe this, but the Corporation stacked the odds against a babyface challenger. The Rock was down and out against Triple H after tons of interference, when Stone Cold hit the ring with a chair, putting down the champ, along with Vince, Shane, Patterson, and Brisco. The crowd response to the signature glass-shatter is some electric energy.

28. Judgment Day is Now (May 21, 2000)

For 58 minutes, Rock and Triple H executed one of the most well-thought out and dramatic Iron Man matches in wrestling history. With the score tied, The Undertaker made his grand return, reverting to real-life motorcycle man roots, assaulting Triple H in the waning seconds to give Helmsley the gold on a fall-ending DQ. Cheap ending aside, everything else ruled.

27. Ladder to Success (August 30, 1998)

While the previous two entries occurred at the culmination of Rock and Triple H’s success, one match revealed their respective potential: a ladder match for the Intercontinental Title at SummerSlam. It was each man’s greatest match to date, and the MSG faithful approved of their valiant effort. There was little doubt in each of their bright futures.

26. Austin’s Four Weeks of Destruction (September 28-October 19, 1998)

Lumping four moments of Stone Cold-brand mayhem in one entry: the Zamboni ride to the ring, rectally assaulting Vince with an enema, filling Vince’s Corvette with wet cement, and finally holding him hostage with a flag-loaded prop gun after Austin had been fired. All silly and over-the-top, yes, but it’s hard to remember Austin without these incidents.

25. The Year of Angle (October 22, 2000)

Exuberant Angle was really the first star since The Rock to begin essentially as a WWF pet project and blossom into a no-doubt-about-it main event superstar. In less than one year, Angle was made European and Intercontinental Champions, as well as King of the Ring, before going over on Rock to become WWF Champion at No Mercy. It’s true.

24. Vegas Wedding (November 29, 1999)

Test and Stephanie McMahon were in the midst of what seemed like a touching wedding ceremony, when Triple H appeared, producing footage of himself marrying a drugged, unconscious Stephanie at a drive-thru chapel in Vegas that weekend. Stephanie was proven to be in on the ruse at Armageddon, but the Raw payoff made for good shock TV.

23. Bang Bang! (September 22, 1997)

A nice little surprise for the ‘home crowd’ at the Garden. Triple H thinks he’s getting Dude Love in a falls count anywhere match, but is instead treated to a video of Dude Love and Mankind both passing on the bout. In comes Cactus Jack, his WWF ‘debut’, to accept, and Foley lives out his dream of shining brutally in his favorite arena.

22. Double Screwjob (November 15, 1998)

The Survivor Series ‘Deadly Game’ tournament for the WWF Championship played out with a pair of well-booked swerves. In one, Shane McMahon, estranged from his father, screwed over Austin in a semi-final match with Mankind. Mankind was then screwed over, via Sharpshooter, to The Rock, who captured his first World Title as a corporate centerpiece.

21. Chair After Chair (January 24, 1999)

The I Quit Match at the 1999 Royal Rumble became infamous, thanks in large part due to Barry Blaustein’s “Beyond the Mat” documentary. The Rock pelted a handcuffed Mankind with an endless barrage of unprotected chair shots while Colette Foley and children Dewey and Noelle, both extremely young, cried in horror from the crowd.

20. Star-Crossed Lovers (September 24, 2000)

One of the biggest draws for female fans in the year 2000 was the love triangle that played out between Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and a seemingly platonic Kurt Angle. The story ended hastily at Unforgiven with a Triple H win, but the layers of deceit and miscommunication (namely Triple H’s misgivings with Trish Stratus) were wholly new to WWF television.

19. DX Version 2.0 (March 30, 1998)

Shawn Michaels’ back injury led to Triple H stepping out of the shadow and commandeering the group following WrestleMania XIV. Joining Triple H and Chyna were X-Pac (returning that night following being let go by WCW, which was addressed by Sean Waltman in a vitriolic promo) and The New Age Outlaws, all in the span of one evening.

18. Four New Stars in One (October 17, 1999)

The Terri Invitational Tournament with a sack of money at stake was hardly relevant. Edge, Christian, and The Hardy Boyz stole the night with a ladder match for the ages, elevating each other from midcard driftwood to crowd favorites through intricate stunts, and a violent disregard that didn’t require a gruesome blade job.

17. Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (April 2, 2000, August 27, 2000, April 1, 2001)

On the foundation of that No Mercy ladder match came three epic battles with the aforementioned teams, plus The Dudley Boyz, each upping the ante of showmanship and high-risk suspense. Edge and Christian won all three matches, but the teams would all ride the momentum of the matches to extensive success in their careers.

16. “By My Hand Only” (May 31, 1998)

If you have the Network, just watch Over the Edge 1998 from Vince’s backstage promo, through Pat Patterson’s hysterical ring intros, through the entire Steve Austin-Dude Love WWF Championship brawl, all the way to the satisfying finish. It is the greatest overbooked match in wrestling history, and you’re nuts if you don’t give it five stars.

15. Evacuees of a Falling Empire (January 31, 2000)

After Vince Russo’s WCW reassignment, many concerned parties in the midcard decided they wanted out if Kevin Sullivan got the book. Four of those individuals, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, and Perry Saturn, immediately jumped to WWF and became known as The Radicals. Benoit even handed back his newly won WCW Championship just to leave.

14. End of an Era (April 1, 2001)

Is there any better physical representation of Attitude’s disintegration than Steve Austin having Vince McMahon help him beat The Rock to become WWF Champion, and then shaking hands with him afterward? It was a helluva match to close WrestleMania X7, and the unthinkable alliance was as palpable a page-turner as any.

13. Heartbreaking Farewell (February 27, 2000)

Yes, Mick Foley’s wrestled matches since his loss to Triple H at No Way Out inside Hell in a Cell, but the moment itself was gutting for the many fans that willed him to the top of the wrestling world. In an era where title changes and alignment-turns were so frequent as to mean nothing, seeing Foley exit meant entirely everything.

12. A Hellish Debut (October 5, 1997)

Hell in a Cell lived up to its hype, with The Undertaker bloodying Shawn Michaels in an oddly cathartic fashion. The payoff to the two-month feud looked to be nigh when the lights suddenly dimmed. Kane had arrived, led by Paul Bearer, to avenge childhood scores with Undertaker. A Tombstone later, and Michaels went over in the epic melee.

11. Taking Over Thursdays (August 26, 1999)

Although the original Smackdown broadcast was a standalone pilot four months earlier, WWF was greenlighted a Thursday showcase to double the output of a red-hot product. WCW was was already in its tailspin, but Smackdown’s high profile on second-tier UPN led to the moving of the abysmal Thunder to Wednesday nights.

10. Raw is Jericho (August 9, 1999)

This entry is somewhat maligned for Jericho looking like a colossal dork by the end, thanks to his decision on how to sell Rock’s putdowns. However, the build with the countdown clock, and the anxious, exultant Chicago crowd, made the initial debut an unforgettable scene, with Jericho striking his now standard T-pose on the Raw is War stage.

9. Birth of a D-Generation (August 18, 1997)

It was wacky, mismatched partner night as The Undertaker and Mankind would be teaming up to battle Shawn Michaels and Triple H. The deal with the latter duo became a regular gig, with the Kliq buddies forming D-Generation X, the breath of fresh air needed to counter a stale, overcrowded nWo, and give WWF some necessary controversy in its programming.

8. Putting Butts in Seats (December 29, 1998)

Airing six days after the listed date, Mankind winning the WWF Championship from The Rock was an underdog triumph which any fan could, and did, relate to. Over on the other channel, Foley’s taped title win was mocked by Tony Schiavone (under duress), shortly before Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash’s infamous ‘fingerpoke’ swerve. Guess what fans liked better?

7. Austin Stuns McMahon (September 22, 1997)

Oh sure, Austin’s beaten up McMahon a million times, but there had to be a first time. McMahon tried to reason with an ornery Austin when Stone Cold was confronted by a group of arresting officers, but the stubborn Austin shook off the well-wishes and gave McMahon, still merely an announcer, a Stone Cold Stunner that would become the first of many.

6. Tyson-Austin, Tyson-Austin! (January 19, 1998)

An important keystone to WWF’s pulling past a near-idling WCW was mainstream acceptance. Getting Mike Tyson to play a part at WrestleMania XIV was a deft move. The masterstroke was instituting a confrontation between Tyson and Austin the night after the Royal Rumble. The spirited skirmish made headline news on ESPN and other major media outlets.

5. The Simulcast (March 26, 2001)

Three days earlier, it was announced that WWF was acquiring WCW for under three million dollars. The final episode of Nitro opened with a surreal image: Vince informing us that the fate of the company was now in his hands. That was before the real-life major story became cartoon-world storyline, as son Shane buys WCW from under his father’s nose.

4. “Will Somebody Stop the Damn Match?!” (June 28, 1998)

Words don’t accurately paint the picture of watching Mick Foley take two unexpected falls off of Hell in a Cell: one planned, the other a heart-stopping accident when the cage roof caved in. Mankind vs. Undertaker became one of those bouts where the loser was remembered much more, and it endures as the defining moment of a wrestler’s relentless spirit.

3. Austin Conquers the World (March 29, 1998)

It was as inevitable as the sunrise that Steve Austin would be WWF Champion at WrestleMania XIV, once the match with Shawn Michaels was set. Michaels’ gutsy performance on a ravaged back remains secondary to the rise of the Attitude Era’s biggest star, kicking off the Austin Era on the fast count of an excited Mike Tyson.

2. Montreal (November 9, 1997)

It’s been rehashed more times than anyone could count – it’s professional wrestling’s Kennedy Assassination. Bret Hart falls victim to Vince McMahon’s deception on the way out of WWF, and the aftermath, unseen by public eye, becomes just as much part of the fabled moment. Most important: it gave WWF the villain it so direly needed: Vince himself.

1. 4.6 to 4.3 (April 13, 1998)

For the first time in nearly two years, WWF Raw beat WCW Nitro in the ratings, surging ahead on Austin’s challenge to a bewildered McMahon for a title match that night. This was so unheard of in 1998, and slack-jawed fans almost refused to change the channel for fear of missing this unprecedented event. From it came the era’s most defining feud.

The Attitude Era: Volume 2 [Blu-ray]

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Very Early WWE WrestleMania 32 Predictions

April 08, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Now that the WrestleMania 31 dust has settled it is time for the WWE to get cracking on WrestleMania 32. I thought it would be fun to take a look at the giant event a year ahead of time and try and predict a card for the 2015 Texas event.

In taking a look back at my WrestleMania 29, 30 predictions, and 31 picks a year out, I actually hit a few of them on the head for 29, missed every single prediction I made for 30, but hit on Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar last April. In other words there is no exact science for this stuff and with the way that the WWE changes booking frequently, it is impossible to get a handle on it although the future can be clear in some years.

Predicting WrestleMania one year out is almost as difficult as filling out your March Madness brackets at any time of the year. Take a look at this year’s WrestleMania 31 lineup a year ago and you can see exactly how much these things change. Daniel Bryan was in the main-event, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns were in a tag team match on the bottom of the card, The Undertaker was practically done, Rusev wasn’t on the card, and Sting wasn’t even in the company. That is how much things can change over a year.

So with this all said, let’s take a look at some of the probable WrestleMania 32 matches one year before this great spectacle invades Texas. Keep in mind that these are all just predictions and should not be taken as fact or cited as a source in any kind of report.

Ronda Rousey and The Rock vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. It is clear coming out of 31 that the plan is to get Ronda Rousey in the ring next year in Texas. All reports are that Rousey has not made any kind of a deal to do so, but that Rousey is highly interested in more WWE work. The WWE haven’t invested this much time into Rousey for a one and done angle at 31.

There are reports that the WWE want a Stephanie vs. Rousey singles match. I couldn’t think of a worse idea. There is no way the UFC allows this unless the match ends in 30 seconds and that isn’t happening. Now I could see a deal where Rousey gets 5 minutes with Steph if Rock wins. Steph runs for a few minutes and Rousey finally gets her and taps her out. I think  that is a bigger possibility than Steph vs. Rousey. I just don’t see it.

I think that Rock vs. Hunter has been clear since they cut that promo on each other at SmackDown 15 (which is why I am so surprised that so many people are that shocked at the match). They made challenges back and forth and went out of their way to point out that they needed a big stadium to make the match happen. Yet it really makes no sense for Rock to come back to wrestle a singles match with Hunter. I am sure the match would be very good but I don’t anticipate a lot of interest in this without the women involved. Maybe they corner Rock and Hunter, but it just seems like a waste of everyone’s time otherwise.

Backup Plan – Rock vs. Brock Lesnar. Rock talked about being interested in a match with Brock just a week or so ago. The match makes much more sense than Rock and Hunter and appeals to a more mainstream, casual audience than Rock vs. Hunter. Brock is now a babyface so that dynamic is a little off although Brock could easily turn heel in November or December to set this up. This is a match that could break records and bring more people to Mania than any other. Why they would let this one slip away is beyond me. Quite honestly I think they should have Rousey in Rock’s corner vs. Brock with Heyman in the corner but it seems Ronda is destined for Steph if she is coming to Texas.

Brock Lesnar vs. Rusev. I think that the WWE has some money in this one. Sure Rusev already lost but he could get hot again and go on another streak. At some point he is going to turn but it won’t before Mania 32. I think these guys present a natural rivalry and a match that people would care about. I love the idea of Brock representing America and having a physical match with Rusev at Mania.

Backup plan – Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt. Again we have another new match here that could be intriguing. Wyatt has been set up for big matches the last few years at Mania. It is conceivable that he is WWE champion come Mania 32 and Brock is challenging for the belt. I like the dynamic here and I think they could have a real fun match.

Roman Reigns vs. John Cena for the WWE championship. Yes I predict that come WrestleMania 32 that Cena could have the gold back around his waist. Sorry Cena haters. I think it is clear that Reigns needs to be a heel because he is simply dead as a babyface. I think it is also clear that the company is still behind him. What better way to get him to the title than by having him end the reign of Cena in Texas? I think it’s a big match and I think it could be better than you think.

Sting vs. The Undertaker. It has to happen! Sting proved he can still go and Undertaker proved he is far from done. I don’t think it would be great but I think these two could have a fun match at Mania 32. The WWE needs to promote unique matches next year to fill such a big stadium. Sure the mystique is lost a bit with Sting losing to Hunter at Mania but if they promote this as the final match for both guys or loser retires, I think this could be big.

Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins. This feud must continue! Nothing was settled in their Hell in a Cell match. I think that the WWE should not only keep these guys apart for a while but they should flip them going into Mania. Rollins has a ton of potential as a face and Ambrose would make a great heel. These guys could easily steal the show and I love the dynamic of a rematch on such a big show with both guys flipping sides.

Where Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton fit in next year is anyone’s guess. There are a lot of guys in NXT that are ready to come up and should be a part of WrestleMania 32. Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn are bound to be on the show whether it be a tag team match or in singles match. I could see these guys getting Orton and Bryan in some form, preferably a Balor vs. Bryan match.

Hey, a guy can dream can’t he?

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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WWE WrestleMania 31 Results: Seth Rollins Cashes In, Ronda Rousey Appears

March 29, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Seth Rollins WrestleMania 31Expectations for WrestleMania 31 may have been low, yet the show will go down as one of the most exciting in recent years. This year’s event was packed with surprises ranging from surprise appearances and a new WWE world champion that wasn’t even scheduled in the match.

Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become the new WWE world champion. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns fought a grueling match for about fifteen minutes. A bloody Brock and beaten Reigns were down when Rollins cashed in to make it a Triple Threat Match. Rollins came in and curb stomped Brock but wound up getting Rollins up for the F5. Reigns speared Brock as he held Rollins. Rollins popped up, hit a curb stomp on Reigns and pinned Reigns to win the title.

The booking was excellent and while many predicted Rollins would cash in, nobody predicted it would go down in this fashion. Quite honestly I never knew you could cash in the briefcase during the match. I think it was the right move at the right time. Putting Reigns over would have been a mistake. He was booed more than any other babyface tonight including John Cena. The crowd just isn’t buying him right now. It was also time to take the title off of Lesnar. I don’t know what would marketable match would be next for him if he steamrolled another opponent. Now the WWE can go with Rollins vs. Reigns through August and Rollins vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam for the title.

But that may not be the biggest surprise of the event. The biggest surprise was getting UFC Ronda Rousey in the ring for what appears to be the start of her pro wrestling career. Rousey got physical with both Stephanie McMahon and Triple H to set up what looks like to be a mixed-tag team match with Rousey and the Rock vs. Hunter and Stephanie. Rock came out as a surprise and interrupted a promo with the Authority. Stephanie slapped him and challenged him to hit a woman. He went to ringside and got a woman who “would hit a woman.” Steph told Ronda to get out of her ring, Ronda wound up putting an arm bar on Steph and stood tall with Rock. Rousey was great and the fans absolutely loved her. They were chanting her name before she even got into the ring.

It does appear that Rock and Rousey will tag up against Hunter and Stephanie next year at WrestleMania 32. The WWE were looking for something big for AT&T Stadium and the dream team of Rousey and Rock may do it. They are already generating a ton of mainstream media buzz. I have to hand it to the WWE. They have wanted Rousey for a while now and they pulled off quite a coup to get her. UFC president Dana White has been adamant against fighters doing pro wrestling for years, including prohibiting Brock wrestling Undertaker when Brock was UFC champion. Obviously he has acquiesced and my bet is that the compromise will be WWE promoting CM Punk’s UFC debut. I have no idea whether that is the case or not, but Dana had to get something big in return for Rousey wrestling on WrestleMania.

Triple H defeated Sting in a pretty fun match. It wasn’t the best match on the card and really hurt following what I thought was a fantastic Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins match. But Sting looked great, the fans ate it up, and we got some fun surprises here. The New Age Outlaws and X-Pac came out to help Triple H and were countered by the n.W.o. group of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall. The match ended with Shawn Michaels coming out of nowhere to hit Sting with Sweet Chin Music. Triple H eventually got the pin after using the broken top of a sledgehammer. Everyone hugged after the match signifying the official end of the Monday Night War.

John Cena beat Rusev to win the US title. I am stunned by the decision here. I have no problem with Cena but I think Rusev should have remained unbeaten until he lost to the WWE champion. I think the WWE could have had something with Rusev against either Brock or the WWE champion and while those could still do business, it’s not the same. Rusev ran into Lana inadvertently at the end of the match. Lana was selling her ankle and Rusev yelled at her and walked out.

Undertaker beat Bray Wyatt. I’d say that Undertaker looked a lot better than last year. He moved much better and it was fun seeing him back in the ring. That said, the match was pretty mundane. That could be that I had already watched four hours of wrestling up to that point and just got out of what seemed like an hour-long segment with Rock and Rousey vs. the Authority. I should note that Undertaker was shown in the commercial promoting WrestleMania 32.

Other notes: Daniel Bryan won gold again at WrestleMania. Bryan won the intercontinental title in the Ladder Match. This was a real fun match and probably one of the better Mania openers. This was a pretty crazy match but it was Bryan and Dolph Ziggler who stole it in my opinion. Randy Orton pinned Seth Rollins in what I’d dare say was one of the best Mania matches on the card. I loved the match and it obviously sets up Orton challenging Rollins at some point coming off of the clean pin.

Overall I would call this one of the best Mania cards top to bottom in some time. The show had a ton of surprise and the pace was fast throughout the night. Five hours of wrestling is a lot of wrestling in one sitting but it really didn’t catch up until the Wyatt vs. Taker match at around 10 PM. I’d highly recommend checking out the show if you haven’t already. For a show with low expectations, this one could go down top to bottom as one of the all-time best in Mania history.

Full WWE WrestleMania 31 results and winners…
Seth Rollins defeated Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns in a Triple Threat Match to win the  WWE World Heavyweight Title
John Cena defeated Rusev to win the WWE United States Title
Daniel Bryan defeated Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper, Stardust, and Bad News Barrett in a Ladder Match to win the WWE Intercontinental Title
Triple H defeated Sting
AJ Lee and Paige defeated The Bella Twins
Randy Orton defeated Seth Rollins
The Undertaker defeated Bray Wyatt
The Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd  defeated The Usos, Los Matadores, and Big E and Kofi Kingston in a Fatal 4 Way to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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The Rock Interested In Brock Lesnar WWE WrestleMania 32 Match

March 25, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE has a lot of seats to fill in 2016. WrestleMania 32 will emanate from AT&T Stadium and will need some heavy hitters to fill the building. The Rock is one of those heavy hitters and he isn’t ruling out a return to his wrestling roots.

The Rock has been long rumored to be on the WWE “wish list” for WrestleMania 32. The WWE has had Rock penciled in the last two years to wrestle Brock Lesnar in one of the most anticipated rematches in WWE history. The rematch would come 14 years later and could go down as the biggest rematch since Andre vs. Hulk Hogan drew a record rating on the Main Event in 1988.

Rock was asked about the possibilities of the match in a recent interview and while he isn’t committing to anything, he certainly hasn’t shut the door on the option.

In Dallas? Possibly. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air. Lot of things are up in the air. We’ll see. I would love that rematch, I would love… whatever it is, you want to create something that’s going to be special, memorable, especially in Dallas at that stadium you have a shot at breaking the attendance record. It’s got to be special.

This also explains the stress and anxiety that Vince McMahon felt trying to re-sign Brock Lesnar. Keeping Lesnar is bigger than just keeping him away from the UFC or booking him on SummerSlam. Lesnar held the key to the city because without Lesnar under contract there is no Rock rematch. Without the rematch there may be no Rock and there aren’t a whole lot of special matches available to fill the large stadium. Vince got his man so the match is in play.

This is the one component I think most have missed when breaking down the Lesnar-WWE negotiations, including myself. Lesnar is critical to next year’s show. If the WWE can’t pull off Rock vs. Lesnar, Steve Austin vs. Lesnar is another possibility that has been rumored. Again without Lesnar, the WWE is without a dance partner for Rock and Austin and without the right dance partner, both are likely less interested in coming back.

I have always felt that the WWE have already penciled in a Rock vs. Triple H match at Mania 32. That promo they did together on SmackDown 15 was a huge tease in my eyes for the match. I was convinced when I saw it that Rock already committed and it was the first seed to be planted. However, I have to think that a match with Brock is much more appealing to Rock who wants the biggest match possible.

There is already a great story to be told in Rock vs. Brock. Brock beat Rock for his first WWE championship. Rock never got a rematch. Plus if you do re-sign Brock, you could have him beat Roman Reigns this year and use that match as part of an angle to set up next year. Maybe Paul Heyman dubs Brock a “Samoan Killer”, he taunts the Samoans for a few months, and Rock returns to avenge the honor of his family and the Samoan heritage. There is a lot the WWE could do here and I think the match would be enormous. Unfortunately for them they haven’t been able to pull it off for the last three years and the timing may be one year too late.

The Rock also teased an appearance at WrestleMania 31 this year so stay tuned…

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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WWE Best of Raw and Smackdown 2014 DVD Review

March 18, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

So, I’ve reviewed several of these over the last couple of years, and let’s be honest: these sets are more or less a quick cash grab. They are a collection of Raw and Smackdown matches that range anywhere from terrible to good, and that’s pretty much it. There are a few talking head segments interspliced into the DVD between matches and segments from people involved in them, but beyond that, there’s little else here.

Now, that’s not to say that the DVD set can’t be enjoyed. Some of the segments are decent, some matches feature alternate commentary from the competitors, and there are a handful of matches and segments on here that are very enjoyable. Stuff like a 6-man Elimination Chamber qualifier, Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton, the Usos winning the tag team titles from the New-Age Outlaws, a Shield handicap match and a triple threat for the IC title between Dolph Ziggler, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (a dark horse candidate for WWE match of the year 2014, in my opinion), are all here, as well as several others. As for good in-ring segments, you’ve got the “Occupy RAW” piece, The army of Wyatt Family children surrounding the ring and the “last stand” between Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho.

The rest of the DVD? While there are some other good matches on here, there’s a TON of what basically feels like filler, including Dean Ambrose losing the US title in a battle royal, a Bo Dallas/Sin Cara match that no one probably even remembers, the mud pool “match” between Vickie Guerrero and Stephanie McMahon, Batista attempting (and failing) to bash the WWE Universe, and others.

Fortunately, the good matches outweigh the bad stuff overall, but it’s still somewhat of a mixed bag. Chances are, you’ve seen most everything on this DVD if you already watch RAW and Smackdown every week. There might be one or two things new to you overall, but nothing that you will likely need to go out of your way to see.

The set overall is not a “must-buy” by any means, but if you can find it at a good price or get it as a gift, there’s definitely some enjoyment to be found (seriously, watch the IC triple threat). If you’re a collector and/or always get these installments, you likely have your mind made up and already know what you’re in for. Like I said, it’s not bad by any means; it’s just nothing spectacular and, as I said before, just feels like the quick cash-grab it’s obviously intended to be.

DISC 1

An Epic Year

Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
The Shield vs. John Cena, Sheamus & Daniel Bryan
RAW * January 27, 2014

Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
RAW * February 3, 2014

#1 Contender’s Fatal Four-Way Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Rey Mysterio vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Mark Henry
SmackDown * February 14, 2014
(Alternate Commentary with Zeb Colter)

John Cena vs. Cesaro
RAW * February 17, 2014

The Next Guy

The Deadman vs. The Beast

Brock Lesnar & The Undertaker’s WrestleMania XXX Contract Signing
RAW * February 24, 2014

Batista Goes “Hollywood”

Batista Bashes the WWE Universe
SmackDown * February 28, 2014

Batista vs. Dolph Ziggler
SmackDown * February 28, 2014

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
New Age Outlaws vs. The Usos
RAW * March 3, 2014

The Usos’ Moment

Undertaker Chokeslams Brock Lesnar – WWE RAW Contract Signing

DISC 2

The Yes Movement vs. The Authority

Daniel Bryan “Occupies” RAW
RAW * March 10, 2014

John Cena vs. Luke Harper
RAW * March 24, 2014

Sending a Message

WWE Divas Championship Match
AJ Lee vs. Paige
RAW * April 7, 2014

Turning the Paige

The Band is Back Together

Handicap Match
The Shield vs. Rusev, Alberto Del Rio, Bad News Barrett, Jack Swagger, Fandango, Titus O’Neil, 3MB, and RybAxel
RAW * April 14, 2014

The Wyatt Family & Children Surround the Ring
RAW * April 28, 2014

Following the Buzzards

Cracking The Shield

20-Man Battle Royal for the United States Championship
RAW * May 5, 2014

John Cena & The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family
SmackDown * May 9, 2014

BO-lievers

Bo Dallas vs. Sin Cara
SmackDown * May 23, 2014
(Alternate Commentary with Bo Dallas)

Seth Rollins Turns on The Shield
RAW * June 2, 2014

Daniel Bryan Occupies WWE RAW – Yes Movement

DISC 3

Why Seth, Why?

Seth Rollins Explains His Side
SmackDown * June 6, 2014

There’s Always a Plan B

Gold & Stardust vs. RybAxel
RAW * June 16, 2014
(Alternate Commentary with Stardust)

Vickie’s Last Laugh

Mud Pool Match with Vickie Guerrero’s Career on the Line
Vickie Guerrero vs. Stephanie McMahon
RAW * June 23, 2014

Brie Bella & Stephanie McMahon’s SummerSlam Contract Signing
RAW * August 4, 2014

Stephanie Will Pay

The Authority Introduces Brock Lesnar as WWE World Heavyweight Champion
RAW * August 18, 2014

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
RAW * August 18, 2014

Jericho and Wyatt’s Last Stand

Steel Cage Match
Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt
RAW * September 8, 2014

The Rock Interrupts Rusev and Lana
RAW * October 6, 2014

15-Man Tag Team Match
Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny
SmackDown * October 10, 2014

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
RAW * November 3, 2014

Triple Threat Elimination Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro vs. Tyson Kidd
SmackDown * November 14, 2014

John Cena, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins, Kane & Luke Harper
RAW * December 1, 2014

Looking Back at 2014

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

WWE: Best of Raw and Smackdown 2014

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31 WrestleMania Backstage Stories and Urban Legends

March 17, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Some of the best WrestleMania stories weren’t necessarily told inside of the ring. Disagreements, controversies, and changes in plans behind classic WWE matches were kept behind the scenes and kept in the locker room…until now.

31 years of WrestleMania events have produced plenty of headaches for Vince McMahon. It isn’t always easy trying to get WWE stars to do business and it’s even more difficult when you throw in the component of WrestleMania. How Vince McMahon still has a full head of hair is remarkable when you look back at the fires he had to put out.

I thought it would be fun to look back at the stories that never made it to the ring. I have heard plenty over the years through shoot interviews, books, podcasts, and locker room talk. In no particular order of importance here are 31 of what I found to be most the fascinating. Some of these are urban legend, some of these are alleged, most of these true and all are fascinating.

The Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather WrestleMania 24 – This classic has a few interesting backstage stories behind it. First and maybe the most interesting, the original match was booked to be a mixed tag team match. The original plans had Big Show and Floyd Mayweather penciled in as a team  to wrestle Rey Mysterio and Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya turned them down and the match was changed to Rey Mysterio and Floyd vs. Shane McMahon and either Big Show or MVP. Finally the match was changed again when Rey got hurt to the Show vs. Floyd singles match. One more interesting anecdote is that Mike Tyson was furious that Show lost, feeling  that a boxer should not have beaten a wrestler in a wrestling match.

Triple H vs. Sting WrestleMania 31 – The original plans for Triple H were for a WrestleMania rematch with Batista. Batista was supposed to leave in the summer and return for a big Mania program with Triple H. Batista wound up getting a part in an upcoming James Bond movie and pulled out of the match, thus setting up Sting for the spot.

Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan WrestleMania 30 – At one point the WWE had penciled in a match featuring Steve Austin vs. Triple H. The idea would be that Austin was representing Vince in a match to win control of the company. Austin wound up kiboshing the idea when he told the company he wasn’t interested in wrestling. Hunter was then scheduled to wrestle CM Punk while Bryan was penciled in to wrestle Sheamus. Punk walked and thus one of the greatest WrestleMania matches was booked.

Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice WrestleMania 8 – As most know this was originally booked to be Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair in the ultimate dream match. The match was even announced at a mock television press conference. Vince wound up changing his mind after the Hogan-Flair match did disappointing house show business.

Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin WrestleMania 14 – The WWE Network just did a whole documentary on this so the problems here aren’t exactly a secret. What some may not know is that The Undertaker reportedly had a conversation with Shawn in the locker room regarding rumors about Michaels not wanting to put Austin over. Taker reportedly taped up his fists and made it clear to Shawn that Michaels do what is best for business and put over Austin.

Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart WrestleMania 10 – Arguably the greatest opener in WrestleMania history never would have happened if Bret didn’t go to bat for Owen. The original plan was scripted to program Bret vs. Bruce Hart in the brother vs. brother series. Bret went to management and fought hard for Owen thus sacrificing one brother for another in the spot.

Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan WrestleMania 3 – There was a serious fear that Andre’s health would prevent him from doing the match. Andre’s health was deteriorating badly at the time and the WWE needed a backup plan. Paul Orndorff was plan B. This is why Orndorff turned on Hogan at the time. Orndorff wasn’t booked in anything on the card just in case he needed to be a last minute sub for the giant.

Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage WrestleMania 3 – I don’t know if this goes down as controversial but Steamboat once told me in an interview that Savage had the match scripted out move for move by the time they got to Pontiac. Steamboat said that Savage laid the match out over several pages which was something Steamboat was unfamiliar with as he preferred to call it in the ring.

Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper & Bob Orton WrestleMania 1 – There was fear that Mr. T would not show up for the match. He was getting cold feet before the match coming out of a confrontation he had with David Schultz at a Los Angeles house show. Piper claims to have cinched up a front facelock which almost passed T out. Piper also flat out refused to put T over. Most speculate Jimmy Snuka was not booked in a match just in case he needed to step into T’s spot if T didn’t show up.

Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart WrestleMania 13 – There are a couple of interesting stories behind this match. The first is that neither Austin nor Bret knew in advance it was going to be a submissions match. Austin said he was red hot when he heard the stipulation announced on television and was worried about having a great match. The other interesting tidbit is that the match was never supposed to happen. Bret was originally booked to wrestle Shawn Michaels in a WM XII rematch. Michaels of course lost his smile and went home thus making himself unavailable for the match. I think things worked out well for everyone in the end.

Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T WrestleMania 2 – Piper took off several weeks to go train with Lou Duva and get in condition for the boxing match. Mr. T obviously did not. Piper’s hands were taped in a fist underneath his gloves. Piper alleges that he was made to tape up his wrists because T didn’t trust him. This was a problem as Piper was supposed to grab the ropes as he went to the floor. Go back and watch the match and you’ll notice Piper awkwardly falling to the floor through the ropes and that was why. His fists were taped in a clench and thus he couldn’t grab the ropes.

The Rock vs. John Cena WrestleMania 29 – What many casual fans don’t know is that The Rock suffered a serious injury in the match. He tore one of his abdomen & adductor muscles off the bone in the middle of the match. Mick Foley remarked in an interview that this was one of the most painful injuries a wrestler could suffer.

Randy Orton vs. Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio WrestleMania 22 – Randy Orton was originally booked to win this match and the WWE world heavyweight championship. He did not and that was because he was allegedly caught blatantly smoking a substance that was banned on the wellness policy backstage. He was suspended for unprofessional conduct right after the match.

Roddy Piper vs. Goldust WrestleMania 12 – This legendary match was never in the cards for WrestleMania 12. Goldust was feuding with Razor Ramon at the time. Godlie defeated Ramon for the intercontinental title at the Royal Rumble with the idea of putting a rematch on Mania. Razor wound up unavailable as he was suspended for a Wellness Policy violation before the show and thus the switch was made to Piper.

Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga WrestleMania 23 – The Battle of the Billionaires allegedly almost featured two different wrestlers than Umaga and Lashley. At one point the plan was to pit Booker T vs. Shawn Michaels in the match. Michaels would represent Trump and Booker would represent McMahon. I can only speculate that plans changed when Hunter got hurt and they needed HBK for the main-event against John Cena.

Triple H vs. The Undertaker WrestleMania 27 – This was never the plan going in which is why the storyline came out of nowhere. Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker was actually on the books for WM 27 when Brock was still in the UFC. Vince McMahon was confident Brock could get permission from the UFC to wrestle at Mania. The idea was to put the streak up against the UFC champion. Unfortunately not only did Brock lose his UFC title but UFC president Dana White made it clear that he had no intentions of letting his top draw lose a fake wrestling match at WrestleMania.

Chris Jericho vs. Fandango WrestleMania 29 – Jericho came back at the Royal Rumble as a surprise in what was supposed to lead to a heel turn. The turn would transition him into a high profile match with Ryback at WrestleMania. Vince McMahon allegedly fell in love with the Fandango character and changed plans on Jericho. Jericho was very upset but wound up turning it into a positive and used it as motivation to try and get a great match with Fandango.

Triple H vs. Mick Foley vs. The Rock vs. The Big Show WrestleMania 2000 – Remember how odd it was to see Mick Foley come back for this match just a few months after announcing his retirement? Well that was because it wasn’t necessarily the plan. The original match had booked Chris Jericho in the spot. Vince and company got cold feet about putting Jericho in such a big spot at the time and wound up luring Foley out of retirement for the spot instead.

The Undertaker vs. King Kong Bundy WrestleMania 11 – The streak may have ended here if Vince McMahon had his way. Vince was very high on Bundy at the time and was hesitant on beating Bundy here. The original idea was for Bundy to win with interference. Cooler heads eventually prevailed and Undertaker won but the streak was reportedly in jeopardy here.

Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall/The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan WrestleMania 18 – The original plans here were to book Austin vs. Hogan in a battle of generation icons. Austin wasn’t interested and refused to do the match. Austin worried that the match wouldn’t be good due to Hogan slowing down in the ring. Austin was also concerned with who would do the job. The Rock stepped up and offered to work with Hogan, thus bumping Austin down the card to a forgettable match with Hall.

The Undertaker vs. The Big Show and A-Train WrestleMania 19 – This match changed plans several times thanks to Nathan Jones. Some on the WWE creative end were enamored with Jones’ size while others were scared to death of his inept abilities inside of the ring. The match was changed several times from Jones teaming to not teaming with Taker. Eventually Jones was held out but did make an appearance where he looked every bit as clumsy as some had feared.

Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle WrestleMania 19 – Both of these guys paid a heavy price for this WrestleMania classic. A botched shooting star press reportedly left Brock unconscious for a short portion of the match. But it was Angle who would suffer most as he wrestled with an injured neck throughout the match. Angle was in so much pain that he reportedly collapsed by the time he got to the locker room after the match.

Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena WrestleMania 23 – I remember at the time thinking how odd this match seemed. It didn’t appear to have that genuine organic build that most Mania championship main-events received during this period. That is probably because this wasn’t the original idea. The original idea here was reportedly a rematch between Triple H and John Cena. That was scrapped when Hunter tore his quad in January. It should also be pointed out that the plan the following year was to do the rematch but the company was worried about putting Cena in such a physical match coming off the torn pec so they went with a Triple Threat Match instead.

John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Triple H WrestleMania 24 – According to Hulk Hogan, he was scheduled to wrestle Cena that year at WrestleMania. Take it with a grain of salt because it is Hogan but he claims that he was negotiating a 25-year deal with the WWE that would have included this match. Hogan says that his back went out as he was negotiating and the match fell apart at that point. Hogan has used this story as part of a lawsuit against the surgeons who operated on his back.

Diesel vs. The Undertaker WrestleMania 12 – One urban legend behind this match claims that Nash was supposed to win the match when it was originally booked. The booking was changed of course when Nash told Vince that he was going to WCW. If Nash would have stayed there is a very good chance that the streak would have ended at WrestleMania 12.

Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase WrestleMania 4 – Savage defeated DiBiase in the tournament to win the WWE championship which also started one of the greatest builds in WWE history towards a Mania 5 headliner with Savage and Hogan. Was that always in the plans? According to Ted DiBiase it wasn’t. DiBiase claims that he was supposed to win the WM 4 tournament and the title. Savage was supposed to win the intercontinental belt months earlier but the Honkytonk Man refused to put Savage over. Savage wound up going over at 4 as a consolation prize of sorts with DiBiase getting the Million Dollar title to makeup for the change in plans. Ironically DiBiase was also promised the NWA world title at one point and got screwed as well.

Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter WrestleMania 7 – Hogan headlined a memorable WrestleMania match against Slaughter but that wasn’t in the original plans. The original plan was to give the Ultimate Warrior a full year with the WWE championship and rematch Hogan and Warrior at WM 7. Warrior unfortunately did not get over as Vince had expected as champion and called an audible somewhere along the way. This is why Slaughter’s win at the Royal Rumble seemed so sudden.

Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior WrestleMania 6 – I am not sure I buy this one but one urban legend says that this match was not in the original plans. The original booking would have had Hogan vs. Zeus in the Mania 6 headliner. Tiny Lister who played Zeus in No Holds Barred was the first to drop this bomb and has even given interviews telling reporters how much he was supposed to be paid for the match. Imagine how different wrestling history would have been if this plan came to fruition?

Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels WrestleMania 14 – According to one urban legend it would have been Bret Hart, not Shawn Michaels doing the favor for Steve Austin if Hart had stayed. The original plan would have had Austin not only getting his win back but getting the WWE championship in the process. In retrospect there is no doubt that things worked out for the better between Mike Tyson and the heel Vince McMahon character coming out of the Montreal Screwjob.

Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage WrestleMania 8 – There is one very important person that wasn’t a fan of this great match and that was Vince McMahon. Blading was not allowed at the time in the WWE and if you remember, Flair bled buckets in this match. Vince reportedly went ballistic on Flair for blading when the Nature Boy got back to the locker room. McMahon was so irate that he came very close to firing Flair on the spot.

Kurt Angle vs. Kane WrestleMania 18 – According to a former WWE writer this was not the original plan for Kurt Angle. The original plan was to book Sting vs. Kurt Angle for WM 18. Sting was negotiating with the WWE and a deal was so close that the writers were told to write him in to the show. Sting was booked to wrestle Kurt Angle who wound up wrestling Kane instead once negotiations fell apart between the Stinger and Vince McMahon. This story explains the quick setup for Angle vs. Kane going into Mania.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Victory in Defeat: 10 Wrestlers Who Won By Losing at WrestleMania

March 12, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

There’s nobility in victory through defeat. The fans don’t dismiss the loser of a wrestling match as merely the lesser man, but a new side of that wrestler is seen. Something about their performance, or the circumstance of the loss, captivates fans of all ages and walks, giving that wrestler the kind of cemented credibility that cannot erode.

Over three decades worth of WrestleMania have had many instances where the scripted loser has become a made man in one form or another. Above all else, the names below came out ultimate winners when all was said and done.

Ultimate Warrior (WrestleMania V)

From the time a young Jim Hellwig bulldozed the treacherous Honky Tonk Man in under 30 seconds to win the Intercontinental Title, it seemed that WWE had a true star on their hands. The victory over Honky came after nobody, not even Randy Savage, Ricky Steamboat, or Brutus Beefcake, could wrest the gold from the Elvis impersonator for fifteen months, a record that holds today. Warrior being booked to forego caution, instead plowing through the bandy-armed Honky as though he were a tackling dummy in near-record time, played a big part in establishing him as a main-eventer waiting in the wings.

The only question regarding Warrior as a potential brand leader had to do with the shortness of his matches. Warrior’s act in 1988-89 was considered all pomp and skyrockets, with little substance should he end up exposed. The match with Rick Rude at the fifth WrestleMania went just under ten minutes, and is something of a forgotten classic, overshadowed by the Hogan/Savage main event. In that ten minute frame, Warrior sold for Rude, showing a humanity he would need to succeed in longer matches with deeper stories than “Grrr, clothesline, rowr, splash.”

Warrior lost the title, getting an out via Bobby Heenan’s interference, but the experiment was a success. Warrior proved he could hang in a match of respectable length; in fact, the two had a match that was seven minutes longer at SummerSlam (with Warrior regaining the belt), and the two bouts are comparable in quality. By the time Warrior won the “Ultimate Challenge” over Hogan the following year, he’d proven that with the right opponent, he could deliver dependably in the main event.

Macho King Randy Savage (WrestleMania VII)

Speaking of Warrior epics, while the win over Hogan is an indisputable all-timer, this bout, with both men’s careers on the line, rates a little closer to perfection. There are two reasons nobody ever complains about the ending, in which Warrior sent Savage into retirement with three standard shoulder tackles. Such a quizzical finish gets a free pass because 1) the match itself was an awesome overture of psychology and head games, and 2) the aftermath made you forget that you witnessed a near five-star classic. In the good way, that is.

It’s the closest wrestling’s come to mixing Shakespearean tragedy with fairy tale romance. Savage was two years removed from pushing away virtuous Miss Elizabeth for whorish harlequin Sensational Sherri, and with Macho’s career at stake, Elizabeth inconspicuously sat ringside by the aisleway to watch the proceedings. When Savage lost, she subtly sold heartbreak, as deep down, she still loved him in spite of his bombast and insecurity. When an irate Sherri, having lost her lone wrestling client, attacked a pained Savage, the usually low-key and pacifistic Elizabeth jumped the rail and sent Sherri careening to the floor with one empowered throw. Kind of like Marge Simpson aggressively steering Ruth Powers’ car away from the state police, complete with immediate resumption of their prior meekness.

Savage was initially bewildered by Elizabeth’s presence, but we all know how the fairy tale ends: the two embraced, and the crowd in Los Angeles wildly cheered, some actually wiping away tears. Savage meant to settle into retirement for real, but Warrior’s real-life firing that August led to Vince McMahon coaxing the Macho Man back. For a time, Savage was accompanied by Elizabeth, who he now treated chivalrously, instead of with his oblivious misogyny at one time. The face turn led to a few more good years of Savage magic, hailed as an honorable hero. Though cheered as a heel in the past by hipper-to-the-room fans, Savage’s restoration as babyface won over the entire audience.

Bret Hart (WrestleMania IX)

If you believe “The Hitman”, the day that McMahon decided to put the World Title on him in 1992, Vince told his star wrestler he intended to keep him champion for a year, though he noted that plans weren’t set in stone. Good thing for that last disclaimer; Hart’s reign ended a week shy of six months, losing to the massive Yokozuna, who’d debuted around the same time Hart’s long road to the top culminated. Yoko, of course, immediately dropped the belt to Hogan in a farce of an impromptu match, and Hulk disappeared for two months, taking time during a New Japan guest spot to call the WWE Championship a ‘toy’.

Putting the championship around Hogan’s waist was a desperate move by McMahon, one that didn’t pay off in the least. Hogan fled after a European tour that summer, barely moving ratings or drawing houses in his abbreviated return. McMahon attempted to have Lex Luger pick up Hogan’s fumbled ball, painting him in streaks of Americana, while Hart toiled in the upper midcard, putting out acclaimed feuds with Jerry Lawler and brother Owen.

Despite McMahon’s desire to have chiseled strongman Luger be his new lunchbox-and-poster hero, the fans wildly cheered the authentic Hart instead. Every McMahon vehicle after Hart’s loss at WrestleMania IX blew up in the boss’ face, with Hogan and Luger both underachieving. Truth be told, it was dark times for the company no matter what, and houses would stay diminished for more than a spell. Still, McMahon turned back to his Canadian workhorse by having him win the title back from Yoko at WrestleMania X. The reign would be Hart’s longest at eight months.

Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania X)

Two prior reigns as Intercontinental Champion already had the dynamic Michaels fast-tracked toward certain stardom. An ever-thinned roster, especially one jettisoning the weight of suspiciously-muscled wrestlers, made it easier for Michaels to ascend company ranks. The career ascension would take on something of an interpretive play in the first ever pay-per-view ladder match, with Michaels battling Razor Ramon for the IC strap (two straps, actually; Michaels wagered a bogus IC Title he carried around in dispute of Razor’s reign), where literally ascending steel was in the name of victory.

Blow by blow isn’t necessary here; it’s the greatest ladder match (without cumbersome frills like tables or chairs) in wrestling history, equaled only by their 1995 sequel, and Michaels’ war with Chris Jericho at No Mercy 2008 (a forgotten five-star epic). What should be emphasized is that this match was the match where Michaels indisputably arrived. The bumps he took off of Razor’s hellacious offense, and from his own daring attacks, are especially impressive when you remember the time-frame. Even today, despite what the ADD-spotfest crowd might mutter, Michaels’ performance here remains historically scintillating.

Shortly after WrestleMania, Michaels took a bit of a sabbatical, serving mostly as segment host (“Heartbreak Hotel”) and as second for Diesel. Much of 1994’s summer carried on with Michaels deactivated, which worked to his advantage. The dearth of true talents outside of Ramon, 123 Kid, and the Harts was a gaping hole that could swallow a continent. When Michaels, his ladder match performance still fresh in mind, took up a heavier schedule again, it coincided with a main event push that saw him win the 1995 Royal Rumble from the starting spot. Michaels received thunderous cheers along the way, despite being a heel, and out-popped mild hero Davey Boy Smith when Smith was first thought to have won. Fans know star quality when they see it.

Stone Cold Steve Austin (WrestleMania XIII)

If I were ranking the entries and not doing them chronologically, Austin would be number one for certain. In fact, I’d expand the list into a top twelve, and leave spots two and three blank, because that’s the disparity between Austin in this aftermath, and whatever the second most important example is. Not only did the spotlight over Austin shine astronomically brighter, but the fog separating WWE and a then-winning WCW dissipated. McMahon’s company now had the visibility and the momentum to chase Eric Bischoff’s decadent empire and seize the lead (which took another year, in fairness), with proud Austin standing defiantly on the warship’s bow.

In one sense, Austin’s submission match with Bret Hart had potential for disaster – either man losing by definitive submission could be damaging. Hart says he suggested the now-famous ending, inspired by Jack Nicholson’s struggle to pick up a therapy sink and hurl it through an asylum window in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The premise would be the same: Austin would be faced with insurmountable odds in trying to break Hart’s air-tight Sharpshooter, all the while gushing blood like a busted faucet. Austin, per the story, nearly muscled Hart off, but virtually passed out after the mighty push, with Hart quickly resetting the hold.

When special referee Ken Shamrock stopped the match, Hart finished off his bubbling heel turn by attacking the unconscious Austin, and backing off of a fired-up Shamrock when the two were toe to toe. Austin, for his part, cemented one of the greatest face turns ever by, ironically, attacking referee Mike Chioda for trying to help him. The Chicago crowd chanted Austin’s name as he hobbled on a bad leg, skull drenched in blood, up the aisleway. McMahon’s solemn, awed narration, testifying to Austin’s pride and grit, was the icing on the cake, and Austin was soon on his way to becoming the Attitude Era’s unblinking avatar.

Kurt Angle (WrestleMania 2000)

Caveat: this one’s quite the underwhelming entry after Austin’s foray into greatness. In fact, this entry is all too subtle, literally the tenth entry I came up with for the list. Still, it’s a notable way of booking a relatively new character, one with enough faith behind him to hold two championship belts simultaneously. Angle was Intercontinental and European (or simply, Eurocontinental) Champion headed into WrestleMania 2000, where he would defend both belts against Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho.

The trick to this match was that it was actually two matches: one fall for the IC gold, and one for the European belt immediately after. Such complexities were the bane of the card, a head-scratching misfire during one of WWE’s most scorching periods. The booking here, however, was certainly clever: Angle lost both belts without actually losing: Benoit landed a diving headbutt on Jericho to capture the Intercontinental title, while Jericho pinned Benoit with a Lionsault to win the European title. Angle pitched a disgusted fit afterward, emphasizing how the stipulation came to bite him.

In reality, bigger things were ahead for Angle. Throughout 2000, his already surprising mic skills would improve even more, exponentially improving with his wrestling acumen, a world-class hybrid of WWE main event style and and his unique blend of uber-grappling. By year’s end, Angle was reigning King of the Ring, as well as WWE World Champion, going over on The Rock at No Mercy. While losing either of the falls wouldn’t have killed Angle off, giving him frequent outs such as this, in blend with his standout character and his top-notch wrestling talent, made his run to the top believable, and more than acceptable.

The Hardy Boyz and Dudley Boyz (WrestleMania 2000/X7)

From the time Matt and Jeff Hardy concluded their No Mercy 1999 ladder match with Edge and Christian, nobody cared that the Hardyz won both the managerial services of Terri Runnels, and a bank robbers’ sack of cash. What mattered is that four new stars had arrived with literal crashes and bangs, previously existing in a one-dimensional midcard void. A 1999 that lacked truly great matches from a crash-TV preoccupied WWE suddenly had its match of the year. The Hardyz’ table match with Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley at the 2000 Royal Rumble continued this resurgence of tag team excitement within a burgeoning undercard.

All three teams would meet at consecutive WrestleManias, not to mention the 2000 SummerSlam, in three matches of a kind: a ‘Triple Ladder’ match, followed by the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match (which the ‘Mania 2000 contest is incorrectly labeled, not that it matters much). Edge and Christian would win all three matches, capturing the Tag Team Titles in both WrestleMania encounters. The win and the gold didn’t do much to elevate them above the other two duos, however.

All six men became synonymous with the wild stuntshows, a hallmark of early-2000s WWE, long before the match types became watered down and overdone. All six men could stake their careers to these matches, with four of them (Edge, Christian, Jeff, and Bubba) winning WWE, World Heavyweight, or TNA Championships eventually. All but Edge wound up in TNA down the road, and those five were given some form of rock star treatment by the inferior brand. Perhaps in no other case can you say a gimmick match made midcard wrestlers as virtually indispensable as these ladder matches did, no matter who won and lost.

Hollywood Hogan (WrestleMania X8)

When it was announced that the New World Order would be invading WWE in 2002, reaction was somewhat split. Some fans were eager to see if WWE could capture the magic of the nWo’s 1996 attempted coup d’etat of WCW, while the cynics pointed to the failed WCW Invasion, as well as the ages of the nWo trio, as reasons for their dismay. The WWE locker room wasn’t thrilled, given the trouble the group had caused politically in WCW. The younger, fresher, hipper WWE didn’t need the same old geezers they’d once thwarted, and had since surpassed. But McMahon felt WWE needed a shot in the arm, and injected the ‘poison’.

In early 2002, WWE was still focused on the present, and not the past as is the case today. That changed when the Chicago crowd at the February 18 Raw expressed reverence for the iconic Hogan, just before The Rock challenged him i a battle of the generations at WrestleMania. The Toronto crowd trumped anything Chicago or any other crowd could done, treating Hogan as if he were a conquering hero returning from nine years in some unknown war zone halfway across the globe. Rock became de facto heel that night, even conceding his poise to sell horror and fear at Hogan’s Hulk-Up routine late in the match, and 68,000 fans turned back the clock to 1987.

The implications of that night, you could argue, have hurt WWE creatively. The reaction Hogan received gave WWE carte blanche to reach into the past and push some part-timer on name, as opposed to a modern star on current merit, a trick that would become more common as time shunted forward. Hogan would become WWE Champion a month after the match, striking while the iron was hot, and boosted Raw and Smackdown with a bit of good-natured nostalgia. The run was short-lived, but it did make for another positive: the “Hulk Still Rules” DVD released that August, kicking off a run of WWE filling video releases with loads of rare matches and moments among the special features, a product line that still thrives today.

Shawn Michaels (WrestleMania XXIII)

Speaking of good-natured nostalgia, that brings us to Michaels, who made his big comeback just months following Hogan in 2002. Including his WrestleMania 23 match, a tense bloodbath with WWE Champion John Cena, on this list may seem funny to some, given that Michaels’ wrestling ability and big-match deliverance was never in question during the previous five years. If you listed the top five WWE matches of each year from 2003 to 2006, chances are that Michaels is in at least two or three of them, if not more. The 2002-07 stretch for Michaels was an interesting one, which saw him shift once and for all into a certified legend, cemented by this match.

It’s somewhat hard to believe in hindsight, but Michaels was hastily booed in two straight WrestleManias as a face: the triple threat at XX (New York pulled with all its might for Benoit) and against Angle at XXI, for reasons not entirely clear. Both were hard-stamped five-star classics, so it’s not as though Michaels had lost his fastball in the least. Yet it feels like there was a disconnect between Michaels and the audience, despite his body of work. Even in feuds with Chris Jericho and Edge during the stretch, there were instances where the crowd sided with the villains. That’s not to mention Michaels’ appearances in Montreal, in which he was most assuredly booed.

He needed Cena to ‘turn him face’ in a sense. Promising for weeks to double-cross Cena at just the right time (everyone forgets the two were Raw’s Tag Team Champions for some reason), Michaels kept teasing a superkick to the delight of the first wave of fans that had tired of Cena’s act. Michaels pulled the trigger six days before WrestleMania, and then carried Cena to what was the best match of the champ’s career for all of three weeks (Michaels and Cena topped it with a wrestling classic in London), most notable for a piledriver on the ring-steps that gorily split the back of Cena’s head open. Michaels lost via submission, but I would go so far as to say this as the feud where Michaels’ icon status became indelible.

Daniel Bryan (WrestleMania XXVIII)
The list ends with this resounding thud. It’s also a disturbing indicator, as with the exception of my iffy Michaels entry from 2007, there hasn’t really been a WrestleMania match in years that has captured the hearts of fans to the extent in which the loser gained as much nobility, if not more, than the winner. Comparing 2012 Daniel Bryan to 1997 Steve Austin is fair when you wanna talk popularity (it’s at least arguable, since neither had reached their zenith), but comparing the way in which each went down at WrestleMania is no comparison whatsoever.

Eighteen seconds, you know the story. Sheamus runs out and Brogue Kicks a posturing Bryan, fresh off of kissing then-flame AJ Lee, and pins him to win the World Heavyweight Title in the opening match. The fans reacted with confusion and incredulity, and McMahon may have been surprised that Sheamus wasn’t made into the big babyface star he was hoping. If the plan was to make Bryan look stupid and have fans give up on him (hey, it worked against Zack Ryder), it backfired in the worst of ways against the company.

Resolve for Bryan became stronger, even as creative called for Bryan to scream “NO!” at the fans who chanted his infectious “YES!” his way. For the next two years, the groundswell only continued, Bryan lionized by the fans to a begrudging acknowledgement from the office. The 2014 Royal Rumble was the tipping point for fans who demanded Bryan get a push in proportion to their outpouring of support, and they would get their wish at WrestleMania XXX. As for Sheamus, the Irishman is living proof of what happens when McMahon and the modern mode of creative puts all of their resources behind you: you get watered down and hackneyed faster than an eighteen-second atrocity.

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WWE Flashback – WrestleMania 28: The Rock Wins, The Undertaker Survives

March 09, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Originally posted April 1, 2012 – It was the old WWE guard that ruled WrestleMania 28. The Rock returned and finally settled his score with John Cena after a year, but it was Triple H and The Undertaker that stole the show and pulled off one of the most dramatic WrestleMania matches in WWE history.

The Rock pinned John Cena in a match that was made by the awesome crowd reaction in Miami. The crowd was about 75/25 in favor of The Rock. The atmosphere alone will certainly make this one a classic. The two opened up trading headlock combinations to a lot of Cena booing. The Rock went for a Sharpshooter early that was countered by Cena rolling out of the ring.

Back in the ring Cena wore The Rock down with a few shoulder tackles and then a clothesline. A “wicked clothesline” according to Michael Cole. Cena then applied an awkward looking bear hug to The Rock. The Rock punched out of it but wound up hitting the floor.

Cena dropped The Rock on the announcer’s table. The Rock was holding his ribs. Cena kicked the ribs and rolled The Rock back inside the ring for a two-count. Cena hit a belly-to-belly suplex on The Rock for another two-count. The Rock powered out but Cena went back to the bear hug. Yes, another bear hug. 1981 called and they want their rest-hold back. The Rock finally hit a DDT to break Cena’s momentum, yet he continued selling the ribs.

The Rock finally hit his usual set of moves and went for The People’s Elbow but was cut off by an STF attempt by Cena. Cena wound up regaining control and dropping a Five Knuckle Shuffle. The Rock slipped out of an A.A. and the two double downed on a clothesline.

Both guys got back up and traded punches. I should point out that Cena was in control for most of the early going here in the match, almost making this look like a squash match. Cena had an answer for everything while The Rock struggled. The fans stayed with it though which kept it strong.

The Rock hit a Rock Bottom out of nowhere for a close fall. Cena recovered again. I don’t even know why they bothered booking the match if they weren’t going to give The Rock much. It really came off like a big squash at this point.

The Rock tackled Cena and applied a Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Cena broke the hold on the ropes. Rock went back to the hold. Cena broke the hold again on the ropes. The People’s Champ went to the floor and dropped some elbows and punches on Cena. The Rock sent Cena into the steel stairs. Cena then flipped into the ring and caught The Rock in the middle with an STF.

Once The Rock got out of the STF he hit a Samoan Drop on Cena. Both guys were down. On their feet, both guys traded punches and kicks. The Rock hit a Spine Buster on Cena. It was People’s Elbow time! Cena rolled up The Rock for a near fall. Cena dropped The Rock and hit a slingshot into the turnbuckle, followed by a near fall. The Rock blocked what looked like a Superplex attempt by Cena. The Rock then hit a cross body block off the top, Cena rolled through, hit the A.A. and got a near fall. The crowd went absolutely nuts for this sequence!

Cena then went for a People’s Elbow. The Rock caught him with a Rock Bottom and dropped him for the three-count and the win! The place went nuts for the unexpected finish.

Obviously they are setting up a rematch here. I have to be honest, I have very little interest in seeing that. This was a fun match for the atmosphere alone but the match itself was a bit disappointing to me. To be fair, it is possible that they are saving their best for the rematch.

The Undertaker went 20-0 defeating Triple H in one of the most dramatic WrestleMania matches you will ever see. I can’t rave about this match enough. A bald Undertaker and Triple H started off the match with The Undertaker dropping Triple H with several right hands. They had a nice back and forth in the open in your typical pro wrestling brawl. The explanation about The Undertaker’s bald head was that he cut his hair off until Triple H accepted a rematch.

Triple H was the first to hit the cage as the Dead Man threw him to the fence while both were on the floor. The Undertaker pushed Shawn Michaels out of the way early as Michaels tried to check on Triple H. Triple H took the brunt of the punishment early on. The Undertaker also went “old school” and walked the ropes early as well.

Triple H finally got the upper hand using steel steps that The Undertaker brought into the ring. The Undertaker reversed a Pedigree attempt on the steps. I want to note how great the crowd was during this match. The audience was super hot and popping for everything they did. Hunter regained the upper hand after dropping The Undertaker with a Spine Buster on the steps. The Undertaker then grabbed Triple H in a triangle choke or “Hell’s Gate” as the WWE calls it which Hunter broke by slamming him.

Triple H then proceeded to absolutely brutalize The Undertaker with several chair shots to the back. Michaels told Hunter to cover him but he didn’t. Hunter then shoved Michaels aside and continued pounding The Undertaker with chair shots, telling Michaels to end it or he would. The Undertaker told Michaels not to stop the match as Hunter yelled “stay down!” Triple H finally went for a cover with no avail.

The story here was Hunter continually asking Shawn to end the match or he would. Triple H then brought the sledgehammer into the match and told Shawn he was ending it one way or the other. The Undertaker kicked out of a sledgehammer shot to a big ovation. Michaels finally grabbed the sledgehammer out of Hunter’s hands.

The Undertaker wound up choking Shawn Michaels with the “Hell’s Gate” when HBK went to check on him. The Undertaker did this to stop Michaels from stopping the match. Michaels was out at this point. Now Hunter was caught in the triangle choke but the match had no referee at this point. Hunter grabbed the sledgehammer and dropped it. Hunter was choked out at this point but Michaels was still out cold as well.

New referee Charles Robinson ran out to get into the match and take over. The Undertaker then choke slammed Triple H for a near fall. These guys had great drama going at this point. The Undertaker then choke slammed Robinson. The Undertaker pulled Hunter up for a Tombstone, Michaels nailed Taker with Sweet Chin Music, Triple H Pedigreed him, and Undertaker kicked out in a classic WrestleMania moment.

Triple H then tossed Michaels outside of the ring. The Undertaker nailed Hunter with several shots and dropped him for Snake Eyes and a big boot. The Undertaker Tombstoned Hunter for a near fall in another classic moment. The match was at a level above last year’s at this point and I loved last year’s match.

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After a back and forth Triple H nailed a Pedigree for another close three count. They had 60,000+ on their feet. The Undertaker had a chair and Hunter had his sledgehammer at this point. The Undertaker then proceeded to brutalize and pay back a Hunter with chair shots. The chair shots were so hard it bent the chair up. Triple H kicked out once again.

Triple H gave Taker a crotch chop sign and was then immediately dropped by the Dead Man. The Undertaker went for the Tombstone, dropped Hunter, and got the three-count for his 20th WrestleMania win in an absolute classic. I didn’t think they could do it but they topped last year’s match and more. Great match!

Both guys were laid out due to exhaustion as the cage went up. Michaels looked down at both men. Triple H was out cold and The Undertaker could barely get to his feet. Michaels pulled Undertaker up and the two hugged. There was a fireworks celebration that followed to celebrate 20-0. The Undertaker staggered around a bit after the fireworks. He and Michaels pulled up Triple H and walked him to the back.

CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE championship. John Laurinaitis told CM Punk in the back before the match that he would change the WWE championship if Punk lost his temper and got disqualified. Jericho spent the early portion of the match trying to lure Punk into getting himself disqualified. Eventually the two wound up breaking into a pretty good match. The highlight of the match was Jericho suplexing Punk over the top from the ring to the floor.

The match was really hurt by following the Hell in a Cell match. It was a good match but the crowd really took awhile to get into the match. In all fairness the crowd seemed to be pretty into it towards the end. Punk won the match with the Anaconda Vice in the center of the ring. Jericho tapped out.

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus for the WWE world heavyweight title opened the show. I loved the choice of going with Bryan vs. Sheamus, great way to set the pace of the show. Behind the scenes it was a great spot for them as they don’t have to worry about match time being cut. Bryan had a ton and I mean a ton of “Yes” signs in the house.

The match was over in a matter of seconds. Sheamus nailed Bryan with a Brogue Kick right after the bell was sounded for the win and the WWE world heavyweight championship in 18 seconds. I hated this. What a waste of one of the best workers in the company here. It reminded me of when I went to see a New Japan show live in the 1990s and was pumped to see Jushin Liger vs. Ultimo Dragon and yet they ended the match in about 90 seconds. I have one word for the booking here, “No!”

Kane defeated Randy Orton in a bit of a surprise. Orton was going for the RKO from the top but was instead chokeslammed from the second rope. I am not sure what is going on with Orton but it almost appears that the guy is getting buried. Quite frankly he was treated much better when he was an undisciplined troublemaker. I wouldn’t call it a bad match but it was certainly a waste of Orton in my opinion.

The Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes to win the WWE I-C title. Not a bad match, but more like your typical television bout. Most of the match saw Show throw Cody around until Cody worked over Show’s knee. The finish came on a second Disaster Kick attempt by Cody who was caught and dropped by The Big Show. Big Show pulled the strap down ala Jerry Lawler and knocked him out with the right hand. Show ends Cody’s 233 WWE intercontinental title reign. Show cried after the match and really put the win over nicely here.

Maria Menounos pinned Beth Phoenix to win the Divas tag team match. This was actually a bit better than I expected, not that I expected much. The biggest disappointment was the unflattering pants attire of Maria Menounos. Hey if you are going to force me to watch her wrestle, at least stick her in a bikini

The Miz pinned Zack Ryder to win the 12-man tag team match. John Laurinaitis will now have total control of SmackDown and Monday Night RAW as the G.M. The finish came when Zack had The Miz set up for the finish and Eve Torres came into the ring. The referee turned around and told Eve to leave. Zack confronted Eve, turned around, and received the Skull Crushing Finale. Eve kicked Zack in the groin after the match. I was expecting a lot more here, although to be fair they were following the Hell in a Cell match.

Overall I’d say it was a one match show. The Undertaker vs. Triple H match was so good that I would recommend the show simply for that. The Rock vs. Cena felt flat to me as a match, although the atmosphere made this at minimum a WrestleMania classic moment. The rest of the card was good but nothing else really stood out to me. I’d rate this one slightly better than last year but that isn’t really saying much now is it?

The elephants in the room here are Batista and Brock Lesnar. It was reported by numerous sources over the weekend that both were at WrestleMania. Most fans assumed that they would be a part of the show, specifically Brock Lesnar. I would be absolutely shocked if Lesnar does not appear on RAW tomorrow night in some major angle. The plan at this point appears to be to announce a big match tomorrow or at least set up a match tomorrow for next year. The WWE would generally shake up RAW the night after WrestleMania in the past with big angles. Look for that this Monday on RAW. Otherwise I have no explanation for the absence of Lesnar and Batista.

Full WWE WrestleMania 28 results & winners
Primo & Epico defeated Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd and The Usos in a Triple Threat Tag Team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship
Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos defeated Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres
Team Johnny (David Otunga (captain), Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Miz, and Drew McIntyre) (with Vickie Guerrero) defeated Team Teddy (Santino Marella (captain), R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali, and Booker T) (with Hornswoggle)&Aksana vs. in a 12-Man Tag Team match to determine General Manager of both the Raw and SmackDown brands
Kane defeated Randy Orton
The Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE Championship
The Undertaker defeated Triple H Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels as Special Guest Referee
The Rock defeated John Cena

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