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WWE Battleground 2015 Review

July 21, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Battleground 2015 took place at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. It featured three championship matches and a pivotal Divas tag match. It was available via traditional pay-per-view and for free to subscribers on the WWE network. So let us see how things turned out for the superstars involved.

King Barrett vs. R-Truth

The evening festivities kicked off with the pre-show match between King of the Ring winner Wade Barrett and rappin’ superstar R-Truth. The match was sold as the Battle for the Crown match due to R-Truth mocking Barrett by imitating him every chance he got. Barrett represented the heel in this feud and Truth went over as the face. The stale buildup in the RAWs leading up the event caused a lack of true interest in this match. However, the in-ring action was extremely solid and, by the time the crowd had filled in, Barrett and Truth had connected with the audience with a decent match that set a good stage for the rest of the show. A Bull Hammer Elbow from Barrett brought an end to Truth’s antics and hopefully closed out this feud as it did nothing to help either man.

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

Randy Orton won the first match of the pay-per-view against Sheamus, the Money in the Bank briefcase holder. Although Orton and Sheamus have excellent in-ring chemistry and succeed in putting on a good match every time they perform, the lack of a true story hurt this match. The only idea that any viewer had was that Sheamus is going to become the Authority’s new favorite and Randy Orton was still locked in his quest to destroy them. While any anti-Authority storyline plays well, this one faltered for the lack of a true reason for the feud. Nevertheless, Sheamus and Orton put on a hard hitting brawl that easily ranked as one of the night’s best matches.

The Prime Time Players vs The New Day (Tag Team Championship)

After the Orton-Sheamus bout, the tag team championship match felt like a filler match as the crowd caught their breath. The defending champions (Darren Young and Titus O’Neil – Prime Time Players) defended against (Big E and Kofi Kingston – New Day) while Xavier Woods (New Day) stood at ringside. The match featured high intensity action and plenty of heel antics from the New Day. As the end of the match neared, order broke down as each superstar hit his finisher in succession. When the dust finally settled, the Prime Time Players had retained the Tag Team Championships. As a wrestling match, this was excellent, but it failed to get the crowd involved until the very end. Solid performance from all parties here, but it needed a better story to create more interest.

Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns

The story leading up to this bout was one of the best on this card. Bray Wyatt’s promo skills are second only to Paul Heyman and he did an excellent job of selling the personal side of this match by targeting Reigns’ daughter. His veiled threats sparked Reigns to take rash actions to get his hands on him. Each time Reigns tried, he always caught a mystery man who looked like Wyatt. The bout itself was an excellent brawl that lived up to the quality of the buildup. Failed finishers and near falls kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. At the very end, the same mystery man interfered as Reigns was gaining control and Wyatt was able to hit his Sister Abigail finisher for the win. Afterwards, it was revealed that the mystery man was Luke Harper, a former Wyatt family member. This bout was an excellent kickoff to the Reigns-Wyatt feud. It left fans wanting to see more and you can expect them to clash at Summerslam.

Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs. Brie Bella

On the last RAW before the pay-per-view, Stephanie McMahon announced that three divas had been called up to reinvigorate the divas division. At Battleground, two of them (Charlotte and Sasha Banks) were pitted against Brie Bella in a Triple Threat match. The new divas made an instant impact, delivering a high intensity match that the divas division hasn’t seen since AJ Lee feuded with Paige. The lack of a story was the only detriment to this match as Charlotte picked up the win by pinning Brie Bella.

John Cena vs Kevin Owens (United States Championship)

This was one of the most anticipated matches coming into Battleground. Each man had won one match in the feud and the stakes were high in this one. John Cena’s United States Championship was on the line. Given the utter disrespect that Owens had shown and the personal animosity he had against Cena, who could not afford to lose the third match. The buildup to the match fully expressed this and, when they finally got in the ring at Battleground, they delivered the match of the night. For all of the criticism regarding Cena, he is undoubtedly the best all-around superstar in the WWE today and Owens is fast proving himself to be one of the best superstars as well. After numerous, heart-stopping, near falls, Cena made Owens tap out to his STF. Where this feud goes from here is uncertain. They may have another rematch at Summerslam.

Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

As Paul Heyman hyped this match, you honestly believed that Seth Rollins (current champion) was in for the whooping that he had coming for him since he stole the title from Lesnar at Wrestlemania. For much of the match, it appeared to going that way. Rollins could mount very little offense and Lesnar delivered 13 suplexes to him. The more stubborn and defiant Rollins got, the more angry and sadistic Lesnar got. An F5 put Rollins down and, as the referee counted two, the iconic bell tolled and the arena went dark. When the lights came back on, Rollins was gone and Lesnar stood face to face with the legendary Undertaker, whose undefeated streak at Wrestlemania ended at the hands of Lesnar in 2014. Two chokeslams and two tombstones to Lesnar ended the show. While bringing back the Undertaker to set up a Summerslam showdown with Lesnar is a moneymaking move, it left the Rollins-Lesnar storyline incomplete and it will remain incomplete until after Summerslam. Moreover, it ruined a great match and made Rollins look irrelevant.

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WWE Battleground 2015 Results and Recap: Undertaker Returns, Owens Taps

July 19, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

TheThe Undertaker WWE Battleground road to SummerSlam began at WWE Battleground. The prelude to the biggest party of the summer kicked off with one of the most exciting angles in recent memory to set up one of the biggest SummerSlam seasons in recent WWE history.

The Undertaker returned in what was arguably the best angle of 2015. The Undertaker returned to set up a big money rematch with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. The return of the Dead Man while predicted and reported prior to the show, still came as a bit of a shocker in the way it was done. The heat for it was the best of any angle I can remember on a WWE show in recent memory. Lesnar and Taker are expected to wrestle at SummerSlam.

The return came at the conclusion of the Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar match. Lesnar dominated Rollins for most of the match, sans a brief flurry of offense from Rollins. Lesnar at one point hurdled the barricade in a jump that was much more impressive than it sounds. The finish came when Lesnar dropped Rollins with the F5. The ref began to count, the lights went out, the bells rang, and Undertaker was in the ring. The best part of the entire angle was Undertaker’s facials. His eyes were bulging out of his head the entire time he was in the ring. It was simply awesome! Rollins disappeared and Lesnar looked scared and confused. Taker kicked Lesnar with a low blow and eventually hit a choke slam and laid him out with two tombstones. Again it was the look on Taker’s face that put this thing over the top. The reaction from the fans made this probably the biggest “must see” WWE moment since Lesnar defeated Taker at Mania 30.

I blogged shortly after Mania 30 that a Taker vs. Lesnar Mania rematch would be a blockbuster matchup. Between the shock of the moment and Heyman’s constant taunting of Taker, I think it would have been huge which was I was surprised that Taker came back for a mid-card match with Bray Wyatt. I love the revenge angle and it will be big but I can’t help thinking that they are losing out by not pulling this angle off at the Royal Rumble and setting it up for WrestleMania 32. Regardless, this will be the first non-Mania big match the Undertaker has worked in years and that is something to get excited about.

The timing of it all does seem odd in that the WWE finally pulled the trigger on turning Lesnar babyface. The crowd has booed Heyman at any mention of the streak and the crowd in St. Louis were 100% pro-Taker when he laid out Lesnar. It will be interesting to see where things go post-SummerSlam for Lesnar and Heyman.

The finish leaves the belt on Rollins and leaves the situation between Lesnar and Rollins open. I predict with Cena winning and the ratings woes RAW has experienced this summer (although I’d expect that to end tomorrow night) that Cena will wrestle Rollins at SummerSlam and regain the WWE championship. I don’t know this nor have I seen it reported, it’s just a gut feeling reading the lay of the land and seeing Vince go back to Cena a couple of weeks ago to close out RAW.

In what will go down as one of the most disappointing, yet expected results of the night John Cena defeated Kevin Owens…by tap out. To say that fans on social media are irate would be an understatement. These two had another very good match, probably not as good as their last but very good nonetheless. I do think that having three matches so close together prevented this one from being appreciated as the classic that it was. Cena defeated Owens via tap out when Owens was caught in the STF. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I published a blog shortly after Owens won the first match reminding all of you optimists out there that Cena never loses twice in these situations. At least he’s consistent!

I can’t describe this as anything other than disappointing. Owens had a ton of steam coming out of Extreme Rules but has been marginalized ever since Payback. Owens desperately needed a win here and while he still got himself over with a loss at Payback, this was not the case at Battleground. I am not sure where you go from here. I think Owens and Cena need to be kept a part for a while. Owens will be challenging Finn Balor for the NXT title at NXT’s biggest event in history on SummerSlam weekend. However, it seems like a step backwards for Owens to win the NXT title and I think it’s too soon for Balor to lose.

Bray Wyatt defeated Roman Reigns in a bit of a shocker. The finish saw former Wyatt family member Luke Harper interfere and attack Roman Reigns outside of the ring. Bray then hit a Sister Abigail on the apron, rolled Wyatt back into the ring, and covered Reigns for the win. The match was much better than you probably would have expected. It was very similar to a house show match I saw the two have but with much better timing. At one point the crowd was chanting “This is awesome!” I am not sure if I agree with that, but it was a pretty damned good match nonetheless.

One thing that I’d like to point out is that while Harper was wearing a hooded sweatshirt it was obviously him. Yet the commentators all “had no idea” who it was, not even a guess that it could be a former Wyatt family member. I think the announcers all look like idiots while most casual fans who aren’t necessarily the “experts” can clearly see who the attacker is.

The rumor is that the finish set up the Wyatts vs. Reigns and Sting for SummerSlam. That would certainly make sense coming out of the match. It’s a great spot for Reigns who will likely avoid the booing when he is teaming with Sting. It’s also a great spot for someone like Sting to come in and help get Wyatt and Reigns over.

Full WWE Battleground matches and winners…
Seth Rollins defeated Brock Lesnar via DQ to retain the WWE title
John Cena defeated Kevin Owens to retain the U.S. title
Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks and Brie Bella
Bray Wyatt defeated Roman Reigns
Prime Time Players defeated the New Day to retain the WWE tag team titles
Randy Orton defeated Sheamus
King Barrett defeated R-Truth

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The Undertaker and Sting Expected to Return at WWE SummerSlam

July 17, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Battleground may be only a few days away but all of the talk is about SummerSlam. A recent report confirms rumors that not one but two big superstars are expected to return for the biggest party of the summer.

Rumors started swirling earlier in the week about the Undertaker returning as early as Battleground. While those rumors are red hot, the only confirmed report places the Undertaker at SummerSlam. Dave Meltzer confirmed the report on several posts and podcasts on F4WOnline.com.

Meltzer reported that the Undertaker’s angle is expected to be a part of SummerSlam as he is included in future advertisements. While Undertaker’s role has not been confirmed, most suspect that he will be wrestling. A recent tweet posted a picture of Undertaker training and he looked to be in great shape and ready for an upcoming match.

Undertaker was rumored to be slotted with Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 32. Meltzer shot down that report in a recent Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Meltzer and others suspect that Undertaker will pick back up on his feud with Brock Lesnar and seek revenge. Most have commented that it was no coincidence that Paul Heyman recently started mentioning the streak, WWE announcers have made recent mentions of Undertaker and Kane as brothers, and Lesnar broke Kane’s leg this week.

This goes back to something I blogged about shortly after WrestleMania 30. I predicted that a Lesnar vs. Undertaker rematch would be absolutely huge. I do think it would have been bigger at Mania 31, yet I still think there is a lot of money on the table here. Many have predicted that Undertaker will get involved in the finish of the Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar match at Battleground. The waters are a little muddied with Lesnar and Heyman as babyfaces, although fans booed Heyman recently when he did bring up the end of the streak.

The Undertaker isn’t the only big name reported to return at SummerSlam. Sting is expected back in the ring at SummerSlam. Meltzer also confirmed those reports. Meltzer mentioned on a recent podcast that Sting was slotted to wrestle someone who was recently injured, thus causing a change in the booking. I can only guess who Sting will wrestle but it could be anyone at this point.

The WWE are really bringing out the big guns here for SummerSlam. This could also explain why the company bumped Lesnar vs. Rollins up from SummerSlam to Battleground. Regardless, with Lesnar, Undertaker, and Sting all expected on SummerSlam, the event will likely go down as the biggest SummerSlam event in recent memory.

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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WWE Fury: 38 DDTs That Will Drill You Into The Canvas

June 23, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The DDT is one of the most exciting moves in the WWE. The move comes out of nowhere and has finished many matches. The WWE has paid tribute to this exciting move with a really cool video featuring 38 DDTs.

The latest WWE Fury video, 8 DDTs that will drill you into the canvas is 1:09 of some of the most exciting DDTs in WWE history. The history of WWE includes WCW so you get DDTs spanning all the way back to the mid-late 1980s. Of course there is plenty of Jake “the Snake” Roberts but you also have some real cool DDT moments from the Undertaker, Dean Ambrose, Arn Anderson, The Rock, Triple H, Dolph Ziggler, and more.

Check out the video and relive some of the most exciting DDTs in WWE history.

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.

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Top 10 Things: WWE King of the Ring PPV Matches

April 30, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Welcome one and all to a special edition of Enuffa.com’s Top Ten Things! Thanks to Eric and CamelClutchBlog.com for having me!

In light of the return of the WWE King of the Ring tournament this week (with little hype and even less fan enthusiasm) I thought I’d assemble my list of the ten greatest matches to take place at this once-historic PPV event.

The King of the Ring tournament was originally a special house show attraction held annually in New England, before the WWF decided to add it to the PPV schedule in 1993. At the time the WWF calendar only featured the Big Four PPV events, so creating a fifth was a pretty huge deal. The inaugural edition was built around making Bret Hart a top babyface again after WrestleMania IX hurt his stock somewhat. Bret carried the show, working three good-to-excellent matches and winning the tourney before Jerry Lawler abruptly attacked him during the coronation ceremony. It was an uneven show but featured some excellent work from “The Hitman.”

The KOTR PPV history contains quite a few highs and lows. The ’94 edition only had a few matches worth seeing while 1995’s had none. But the ’96, ’98 and 2001 PPVs were all varying degrees of excellent (2001 is one of my all-time favorite PPVs). King of the Ring would run a full decade before sagging buyrates prompted the company to discontinue the series and replace it with Bad Blood.

The tournament itself would return to free television in 2006, 2008, 2010, and of course this year, with generally very little impact on star-building. The ’06 winner Booker T made the most of the “King” gimmick, adopting an obviously phony English accent which was amusing for a while. William Regal’s tourney win in 2008 led to precisely nothing of value, while Sheamus’s victory in 2010 actually hurt his career for about eight months as he free-fell down the card. Hopefully 2015’s winner Wade Barrett will be able to transfer this into a meaningful, injury-free push.

Truth be told I do miss the KOTR PPV. The tournament itself was rarely presented well; if it was a one-night bracket most of the matches got shortchanged, and if only the semis and finals were included on the PPV the tourney felt less important. But several rising stars were able to use the tourney as a major stepping stone, and when the PPV was good it was great. If they were to bring it back now I’d suggest using the New Japan Cup tourney as a template. Announce that the winner of the tournament will get a PPV Title match of their choice, have the first two rounds on episodes of RAW and Smackdown the week before the PPV, and have the semis and finals on the PPV itself, with the finals ALWAYS being the main event. Then the King of the Ring would actually mean something again. Announcing the 2015 edition literally 24 hours ahead of time with zero buildup was just plain stupid.

But let’s go back and look at some of the in-ring classics to come out of this once-important event.

10. Undertaker vs. Mankind – KOTR ’96

This is the match that began one of the best feuds of the 90s. For years the Undertaker was the super-popular character babyface who generally only feuded with cartoonish heels in forgettable brawls. His shtick was mostly about his entrance, and few of his opponents were presented as much of a threat to the invincible Dead Man. But in 1996 Mick Foley appeared on WWF television as the deranged psychopath Mankind, and he instantly targeted Taker, rendering him unconscious with the fearsome Mandible Claw. Their first bout took place at the King of the Ring PPV, and was a chaotic brawl in which Mankind kept pace and proved himself Taker’s first true archnemesis. After an errant urn shot from Paul Bearer, Mankind scored the upset victory. These two would outdo themselves multiple times over the next two years, but this match still holds up as a great fight.

9. Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin – KOTR ’97

In June of 1997 my two favorite wrestlers were Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin. I was beyond thrilled when they became unlikely Tag Team Champions, and even more thrilled when it was announced they’d be wrestling each other at King of the Ring. This PPV was pretty weak, but the Austin-Michaels match was the one standout of the show, going to a 22-minute double DQ after too many ref bumps. The two anti-heroes expertly played into the “uneasy allies” story, and my favorite moment is their long walk back to the dressing room, each man keeping one suspicious eye on the other. While this was no five-star classic (and due to Shawn’s 1998 back injury they’d never have one), this was a very entertaining match that saved the 1997 PPV from being a total loss.

8. Steve Austin vs. Marc Mero – KOTR ’96

The 1996 KOTR tournament was of course the long-awaited arrival of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as a major force in the WWF. His “Austin 3:16″ promo stands as one of the greatest and most impactful in the history of the business, and is a major reminder of how much more effective non-scripted promos are in wrestling. Were Austin active today he would’ve been handed a poorly-scripted paragraph likely containing no useful catchphrases or spontenaiety. As for his in-ring performance that night, the highlight was this semi-final match against another potential rising star, Marc Mero. This was a superbly worked 17-minute athletic contest, with Mero bouncing around the ring like crazy while Austin played the stalwart bully. What this match is probably most remembered for however is Austin taking a kick to the mouth, splitting his lip wide open. Gushing blood, Austin was taken to the hospital to get stitched up before his appearance in the finals. It all added to the mystique of this tough-as-nails future megastar.

7. Bret Hart vs. Diesel – KOTR ’94

1994 was The Year of Bret Hart, his WWF Title win at WrestleMania X cementing him as the “Leader of the New Generation.” Waiting in the wings though was the guy Vince really wanted to push as the future of the company, Diesel. Kevin Nash was brought in the year before as Shawn Michaels’ heater/bodyguard, and after a shaky start was portrayed as an unstoppable brute who dismantled smaller opponents. After winning the I-C Title from Razor Ramon, Diesel next targeted Bret, resulting in this rare Champion vs. Champion match. As an in-ring performer Nash was still largely unproven, but as always Bret brought out the best in him, and the two combatants assembled the first of a splendid trilogy of matches that spanned 17 months. Bret spent most of this match wrestling from behind and after 23 minutes the returning Jim Neidhart ran interference for a disqualification. It was later revealed that Neidhart was actually working in tandem with Owen Hart to preserve Bret’s Title and allow Owen to challenge him. The ’94 PPV peaked early with this match going on 5th of 10. The rest of this show is mostly skippable.

6. Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho – KOTR ’01

The 2001 King of the Ring PPV was the denouement to an eighteen-month stretch where the WWF product was absolutely blazing on all cylinders. The influx of new and familiar faces joining the roster, coupled with a renewed focus on the in-ring product, made 2000 and the first half of 2001 just an amazing time to be a WWF fan. Chief among the debuting ring generals were Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho, who had recently formed an alliance to take down the heel WWF Champion Steve Austin. Each man had unsuccessfully challenged Austin on free TV with pretty amazing results, and now they’d be given one last Title shot simultaneously. The main event of the 2001 PPV was an epic Triple Threat, with Austin barely managing to survive the odds, stealing a win at the 28-minute mark. The match was unfortunately hurt by a rather anticlimactic ending, but it’s still a helluva 3-way.

5. Bret Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow – KOTR ’93

As I said earlier, the ’93 tourney was all about spotlighting Bret Hart. All three of his matches that night had some charm, but the semis and finals were the two standouts. After two grueling matches, Bret found himself against a well-rested Bam Bam Bigelow who received a bye in the semifinals. The match was a classic big man-little man war, with Bret’s grit and atheticism proving an equal match for Bigelow’s massive size advantage. After a false ending teasing a Bigelow win, the match was restarted and Bret got the duke with a victory roll. Bret considered Bam Bam the best superheavyweight he ever worked with, and thanks to this match it’s easy to see why.

4. Undertaker vs. Mankind (Hell in a Cell) – KOTR ’98

There’s not much more than can be said about this one. Simply the most infamous match of all time, aside from the Montreal Screwjob. Taker, and especially Mankind, wrote a new chapter in pro wrestling brutality. After two death-defying falls from the top of the Cell (one planned, one frighteningly accidental), Mick Foley delivered a superhuman effort in going another 12 or so minutes and completing the best match these two ever had together (Keep in mind also that Taker was working on a broken foot). Concussed and delirious, Foley famously approached Taker backstage when it was over and asked “Did I use thumbtacks?” to which Taker replied, “Look at your arm Mick.” It’s an uncomfortable match to view now, but at the time it probably exemplified the WWF Attitude more than any other single bout.

3. Shawn Michaels vs. British Bulldog – KOTR ’96

I love most of the work these two did together. The combination of Shawn’s agility vs. Davey Boy’s power produced numerous classics (one of which I saw at a house show in 1995 and it blew me away), but this was their finest hour together. Shawn was still a fairly new WWF Champion and Davey was only his second PPV challenger. Their first match at In Your House: Beware of Dog failed to live up to expectations, partly due to a power outage that blacked out over half the show and left the crowd lethargic. But Michaels and Smith got a chance to redeem themselves at King of the Ring, and they delivered big. Shawn supplied an almost balletic performance, showcasing innovative offense to keep the larger Bulldog off his feet, while Davey portrayed the well-rounded dominant heel to a tee. After 26 minutes Shawn retained in one of the best matches of 1996.

2. Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect – KOTR ’93

The other masterful Bret Hart match from the 1993 PPV (and a rematch of the celebrated SummerSlam ’91 bout), this semifinal between two consummate technicians stole the show and blew away every other match of ’93. Now a babyface, Mr. Perfect temporarily reverted to his morally ambiguous in-ring approach, playing the de facto heel to….well, perfection. For nearly 19 minutes these two traded holds both in and out of the ring (At one point Perfect knocked Bret from the apron onto a hard water cooler next to the security railing, in a spot that looked positively brutal by 1993 standards), until Bret reversed a small package into one of his own for the three-count. This is probably my favorite Mr. Perfect match, and definitely one of Bret’s finest as well.

1. Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon – KOTR ’01

Simply put, one of the wildest matches I’ve ever seen. At King of the Ring 2001, Olympic Wrestling Champion and Vince McMahon’s Son tore the roof off the Continental Airlines Arena in the most unexpectedly awesome, best garbage match in the history of the business. While the overarching storyline was the beginning of the most disappointing angle of all time, these two delivered an amazing, startlingly violent spectacle that on more than one occasion actually made me fear for Shane’s life. Angle dominated early with his wrestling acumen, but Shane’s fearless scrappiness kept him in the match. Then the action spilled out of the ring and into the entranceway, where Kurt Angle nearly murdered his boss’s kid. Angle attempted an overhead belly-to-belly suplex through the glass staging area, but there was a problem – the glass didn’t break. And Shane landed on his head. So Angle did it again, this time successfully, and with sickening results. They continued fighting behind the glass, where Angle attempted the same move and once again the glass didn’t cooperate. So Angle simply rammed Shane through headfirst, resulting in the striking image of a bloodied Shane exploding through an opaque plane of glass. And that wasn’t even the end! After 26 minutes Angle set a piece of plywood atop the turnbuckles and Olympic Slammed Shane to the mat for the three-count. Thus concluded the superlative King of the Ring PPV match the like of which should never again be attempted. This was the best match on the best KOTR PPV, and in my opinion the best match of 2001.

Well that’ll do it for this special CamelClutchBlog.com edition of Top Ten Things – you can find many more such lists, plus all kinds of other wrestling, movie, music, and comic book features over at Enuffa.com! Thanks for reading!

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Kevin Nash Talks Undertaker to WCW, Montreal Screw Job, WrestleMania 31, and More

April 30, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

There will never be a shortage of interesting quotes from a Kevin Nash interview. A recent interview with fellow n.W.o. mates didn’t disappoint as Nash revealed a potential Monday Night Wars jump, called Chris Jericho a puss, and trashed WCW among other things.

CNNSI.com had a great interview on its website with Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman. The three talked primarily about the New World Order but it was Nash who dominated most of the conversation. I’d highly recommend checking out the entire piece because it is a really fun read. If not, here are a few highlights of the conversation.

One comment that is particularly making news regards a potential jump during the Monday Night Wars. Nash was asked about jumps and while he is never quoted, the article states that there was very little to the Shawn Michaels to WCW rumors. Yet one jump that could have had a big impact has never been discussed until now and that was the Undertaker returning to WCW.

We had ‘Taker close. All of a sudden he wasn’t the Deadman. He became the American Badass for a reason. That Deadman wasn’t going to f*ckin’ come to WCW. He would have been the biker character and gone by Mark Calaway.

All along, I was trying to get guys money, I was trying to get guys paid. And what happened was Vince started giving huge guarantees to the Shawns and Undertakers and those guys and said, ‘I can’t lose my core guys.’

I have never heard this rumor before. While it is a fun rumor to chomp on, I don’t know how much validity there is to it. The Undertaker didn’t even break out his biker character until May of 2000. By that time the Monday Night Wars were practically over and I can’t imagine WCW shelling out that kind of cash at that point in the wars. WCW was sold less than a year later. He says he had Taker close but who knows what close really is. What it does indicate is how much of a risk Vince McMahon took when he changed Taker’s character. As the “dead man”, the Undertaker would have had to start over in WCW with a brand new gimmick. As a biker, the Undertaker now had a ton of leverage and could have used it to jump to WCW and remain close to the gimmick. With Undertaker not debuting the character until May 2000, one would presume the negotiations came months later. At that point even the Undertaker jumping over would have only helped temporarily.

Nash also weighed in randomly on the infamous Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels Montreal Screw Job. I am not sure what Nash was insinuating here, but it would appear that Nash is telling CNNSI.com that he would have “forced” Bret to drop the title. I am sure Bret would have loved to have that conversation.

That would have been a situation where we would have sat Bret down and said, ‘Dude, you’ve got to drop this,’” said Nash. “We’d have said you’re leaving and this is how you do business.

The irony of Nash of all people telling Bret Hart how to do business may be the best Kevin Nash quote I have ever read…ever!

Nash also took a shot at his former WWE and WCW colleague Chris Jericho. Jericho has always been outspoken about the selfishness of the n.W.o. Nash was asked about it and called Jericho “whiny.”

Jericho’s just a whining puss. If you have any talent, you can’t be held back and you can’t be held down. Jericho just whines and whines. He’s gone on to be tremendously successful, and he’s still got a hard on for us. I don’t get it, but nobody makes headlines for saying, ‘Those guys are great guys.’ You talk about what dicks we are, and then some guy sits down and interviews you.

We all know that is complete bologna. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have, if the guy booking the matches books you to be a mid-low card wrestler that is where you stay. It’s as simple as that in pro wrestling. I think we can all look back at WCW and account for at least a dozen guys that went on to have big careers in the WWE that were missed by the bookers down south.

Nash was also asked about Sting’s match at WrestleMania 31, specifically in regards to Sting losing in his debut match.

There wasn’t a star from WCW that didn’t lose when he came into WWE,” said Nash. “I mean, Christian destroyed Golberg in a cage match with a chair. That is one of the things that’s always been done. If Sting thought otherwise, he was wrong. The fact is it was a WCW-WWE moment and, once again, WWE prevailed.

I am not as critical as some are of Sting losing. I think with Sting disappearing indefinitely, you go with the guy who is sticking around and that is Triple H. Especially if the rumors are true about Hunter headlining Mania next year against the Rock. I am also still surprised the result was so shocking to some people.

All in all it really is a great interview. Nash, Hall, and Waltman also talk a lot about the n.W.o., Hulk Hogan’s influence in the group, relationships with Vince McMahon, WWE Hall of Fame rumors, and much more. Check it out at http://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2015/04/23/wwe-wcw-wolfpac-kevin-nash-scott-hall?page=2&devicetype=default/

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Sting vs. The Undertaker: The Thrill Is Gone

April 07, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Unlike most I give WWE creative the benefit of the doubt more often than not. They make lots of decisions that leave me scratching my head but eventually they hit a homerun like they did last Sunday in Santa Clara. Of course as usual it didn’t take long for the rumors about next year’s event to start flying. Will Stone Cold have one more match in his home state of Texas? Will Goldberg come out of retirement to mail in one last match? Will we relive the attitude era when the leader of DX and the leader of the Nation of Domination go head to head? Rock vs Brock? The rumors will be endless and as always a lot of fun to debate. However the Sting vs Undertaker rumor needs to go away. At most this match would be a cheap pop to feed the nostalgia of 90’s wrestling fans and nothing more.

The first question I have is who is going to carry the match? It’s been seven or eight years since the Undertaker had a Mania match where he needed to carry is opponent, which was against Batista. After Batista he goes against Shawn Michael twice, HHH twice, CM Punk, Brock Lesnar and Bray Wyatt. Now don’t get you commenting panties in a bunch fellas, I am not saying that he didn’t perform in those matches. In fact I think his first match with Michaels is the greatest match of all time. In order to make those matches to be epic, Taker had to perform. However, he was in the ring with top notch performers in top notch shape who did more than their share of the work. Can Sting carry the Undertaker to an epic match in the new WWE?

The second question that comes to mind is, who is Sting? That may sound like a silly question but there are a lot of wrestling fans who have no idea who this guy is. I know who he is but I watched him take down the NWO almost 20 years ago. I watched him take Flair to the limit time and time again. I even caught a few peaks at him in the Main Event Mafia during his TNA days. I would argue for most of the current WWE fan base, this feud with HHH is all they know. And he lost!

For my seven year old son, Sting is the guy who failed to take down HHH. He isn’t the savior of WCW, he isn’t the icon, he isn’t the franchise, he is just Sting. I know that is probably wrestling heresy, but let’s be honest here. The WWE agrees with me. When you think back to Sting’s match at WrestleMania what were the most memorable moments? DX, NWO, Shawn Michaels, bat, and sledgehammer. No one remembers the Stinger splash because Ziggler’s is better. No one remember the half-ass scorpion death lock, Nattie’s sharpshooter is better. I was in Santa Clara and I loved every match, but Sting’s match didn’t have me on the edge of my seat until “BREAK IT DOWN!”

The third question I have at this point is why? What is there left to fight for? The Streak is over, the match against the next dark force (Bray Wyatt) is over, the battle to bring down HHH’s empire is over and Sting has now had his WrestleMania moment. What is left to get excited about? The only hope this match has of being entertaining is to have a great storyline. At least then the ring work won’t matter as much as the resolution of whatever conflict is being fought over. Don’t be fooled but the “rebirth” of the Undertaker.

Sure he looked to be in much better shape against Wyatt but the pace and style of match helped create that image. Had this been a rematch vs Lesnar I am sure he would have looked outmatched. Same with Sting, HHH was a good opponent. Capable of working a slower match as the Cerebral Assassin as opposed to power matches like those from Reigns or Lesnar.

No one wins the battle against father time and as far as I am concerned the only place for Sting and the Undertaker at WrestleMania 32 is at the Hall of Fame podium thanking the fans for their unwavering support. It’s time for the Sting vs Undertaker at Mania rumors to rest in peace.

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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

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WWE WrestleMania 31 Predictions and Preview

March 27, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WrestleMania 31 is finally here and the big event will go down this Sunday March 29. The WWE card is arguably the most shallow in years, yet there are a few matches to get excited about. Topping last year’s event will be a heavy feat yet the lineup has the potential to certainly exceed expectations.

The beauty of this year’s WrestleMania show for WWE management is that expectations are probably lower than they have been in years. There is no real dream match or scenario to get excited about nor is there a compelling storyline that has fans waiting for a conclusion. Yet the roster is solid and in terms of excitement, I have a feeling most will come away from Sunday night feeling that they got their $9.99 worth.

Let’s take a look at how the main card shapes up, breakdown some matches, and make some predictions for the biggest WWE event of 2015.

Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE world championship – We all think we know how this one is going to play out yet it could go in a few different directions. Now that Brock Lesnar has re-signed with the WWE, a world of booking options have opened up. The WWE dodged a real bullet by avoiding a lame duck WWE champion situation at Mania.

I think the match itself could be better than people expect. A lot of it comes down to what it follows. If it is following Sting vs. Triple H and Hunter and Sting deliver a fantastic ending, this match could be D.O.A. If there is a buffer between the main-event and the other big matches, I think fans will be more receptive to it. The match placement is critical to this one like no other on the show.

Roman Reigns is expected to win the title here. The win over the Undertaker last year was used to put Brock in a spot to give Roman the ultimate win here. Yet I don’t think anyone will argue that Reigns is not over and could be set up to be a dismal failure as WWE champion. There are also the rumored heel turn scenarios out there which I think are stronger now that Brock is staying.That said, I think the WWE wants to keep Brock heel looking ahead to a potential Rock vs. Brock match next year. I think WWE take the unpredictable route here which is Brock retaining in a hard fought match. I think the Reigns heel turn is coming but it isn’t going down at Mania. I think the idea here is that Reigns is elevated just by going toe-to-toe with Brock in a hard fought war. Brock retaining is a bit anti-climactic, however I think the idea of Brock going over is that they can buy some time with Reigns and shoot that angle later…even the following night on RAW.

Triple H vs. Sting – Don’t be mistaken. This is the real main-event. For better or worse, this match has far more interest going into Mania than any other match on the show. Even I wasn’t interested in this match back at the Survivor Series, yet I have been drawn in over the last few weeks. Sting’s promos have sealed it for me over the last two weeks. Plus no matter what this looks like on paper, Triple H has delivered excellent matches on the last five WrestleMania shows. I can’t imagine him taking a match with Sting if he wasn’t confident he could pull it off.

I would not be surprised to see some kind of interference from a big ex-WCW star. Maybe it’s Ric Flair or maybe it’s Bill Goldberg, but I think WCW is playing into the match on Sunday. This is a tough one because Sting really should win his first match in a WWE ring. However, Sting’s future is dependent on his performance in the ring so there is no guarantee he wrestles ever again past Sunday. For that I think Triple H goes over, although for all of Hunter’s critics he is 2-3 in his last five Mania matches. My gut tells me that Hunter gets the win here but I think this match turns into the show-stealer.

John Cena vs. Rusev for the U.S. championship – I never would have predicted that this feud would be so hot. This feud is so hot that Cena has actually been cheered in recent weeks. These guys have great chemistry together and Rusev has been booked solid for a year leading up to this match. Quite honestly you couldn’t ask for better booking on paper sans the goofy “Russian” lawyer last week on RAW.

Does Cena go over Rusev? That is the real question here. We all thought that Bray Wyatt was beating Cena last year and were stunned when Cena pulled off the upset. I think the money in Rusev is challenging for the WWE world title as the undefeated U.S. champion. That would mean that Rusev beats Cena here and beats him again at Extreme Rules. Cena did put Lesnar over three times but that is Brock Lesnar and he did beat Lesnar once at Extreme Rules 2012. If Roman Reigns is leaving Mania with the belt a championship program with the undefeated Rusev makes the most sense. For that reason I predict that Rusev pulls off the upset here and beats Cena clean at Mania.

Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker – I never like the idea of keeping an opponent off of television but I have to admit that keeping the Undertaker off of TV has worked in this one. It has created a ton of intrigue and speculation that you wouldn’t have if he was on TV even just once. I haven’t been a big Bray fan but the promos here have been better but the storyline is just kind of odd to me. The idea that Undertaker would return to answer Bray’s challenges and yet completely ignore the taunting and mockery of Paul Heyman for an entire year makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.

I think the match will be fine. I don’t think it will be great but I don’t think it will be bad either. The Undertaker is reportedly in much better shape than people think and he looks ready to go. It’s important that he can still go here as there are a ton of reports that they want him for something much bigger next year at 32. for that reason I think Undertaker wins although I think it may be better for business for Bray to win. I think setting up Bray with a win as Reigns’ first challenger is the better path but I can’t see Taker dropping two in a row at Mania.

Bad News Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper vs. R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Dean Ambrose in a Ladder Match for the intercontinental title – Get ready for a wild match here! I am going to keep this one short because we all know what to expect in this one. I would be shocked to see anything less than a great match. I’d expect Bryan and Ziggler to steal the show, although Ambrose certainly has the talent to make his mark as well. Bryan losing to Ziggler twice certainly leads me to think he is winning the match. It makes sense as the WWE can placate his fans by giving him a title, albeit a low-level belt. Regardless, we’ll get a great match, a Yes chant, and a belt around Bryan’s waist. Everyone wins!

Full WWE WrestleMania 31 card and matches…
Brock Lesnar (c) with Paul Heyman vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Title Match:
Rusev (c) vs. John Cena for the WWE United States Title Match
Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Stardust vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett (c) in a Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Title
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Sting vs. Triple H
AJ Lee and Paige vs. The Bella Twins
Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton
Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker
The Usos vs. Los Matadores vs. Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd in a Fatal 4 Way for the WWE Tag Team Titles

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