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Brock Lesnar Says WWE CEO Does It Better Than UFC Prez

August 18, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Former WWE and UFC champ Brock Lesnar is quite the charmer…well at least he was on Tuesday’s ESPN Sportscenter. Lesnar appeared on ESPN to hype up SummerSlam, talk about the conquering the streak, and even took a shot at his former boss.

The WWE is getting a huge boost of credibility from the mainstream this week on ESPN. ESPN is hyping SummerSlam more than they have hyped any other WWE show in recent memory (or ever). Brock Lesnar returned to ESPN to appear on Sportscenter and talked about a variety of subjects, but one particular comparison is drawing immediate headlines.

Lesnar was asked about UFC president’s recent comment about the WWE being “fake.”

@RKORollins I hear u bro but fake shit should be 9.99 – @DanaWhite

Lesnar took the defensive side in favor of pro wrestling, defending the honor of his current profession. Brock also said what hardcore UFC fans don’t want to hear, in that what Dana is promoting is the “same racket.” It was what Lesnar said next that is bound to get under the skin of his former boss.

“I think Vince McMahon is better at it than Dana and that might rub Dana the wrong way.”

A couple of things here. One, Brock said that without being provoked. It wasn’t as if the interviewer asked him who was better. Two, no matter what Dana says about Brock he can’t change one thing. Brock was the biggest draw in company history, more than Ronda Rousey, Georges St-Pierre, Chuck Liddell, and Anderson Silva. Lesnar still holds the record for headlining the biggest buyrate in UFC history. So no matter what kind of childish potshots Dana takes at Brock, the bottom line is that he’d take him back in a second.

As a matter of a fact, the UFC was negotiating with Brock up to the last minute a few months ago before Brock re-signed with WWE.

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Roddy Piper Deserved Better From The WWE

August 17, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Roddy Piper was a pro wrestling legend, a true icon in WWE history. Yet Piper has received less respect from the WWE since his passing than several recent colleagues from the company in a final act of disrespect and shame from the CEO.

Roddy Piper passed away over a week ago to the shock and sadness of many in and out of the pro wrestling world. Whether you were an avid watcher of RAW in 2015 or not, you probably knew who Roddy Piper was if you were over the age of 15. Those older, fan or not knew Piper as an icon of the most memorable period of WWE history and nope, I am not talking about the Attitude Era.

Piper helped usher in a revolution for the WWE and pro wrestling. Pro wrestling was hot in 1983 but when Roddy Piper joined the WWE and opened his mouth into a WWE microphone in 1984 everything changed. Piper was not your average heel and while there were many great talkers before him, something about him got under the skin of millions of people all over the world.

To try and put into the words the impact Piper had on wrestling would be doing him an injustice. As a kid watching WWE TV since 1982 at the time, I have to admit, I loved Piper. From the second he tore into a babyface verbally in Piper’s Pit, he became my favorite wrestler. Maybe it was the legend of Piper that I read about in wrestling magazines long before I saw him on television, but the man had a superstar charisma like no other heel I had ever seen, including Ric Flair.

I would never give Piper full credit for the revolution that eventually morphed into WrestleMania, but I could. There were plenty of hot babyfaces in pro wrestling in 1984. Bruno Sammartino in his day was every bit as hot as Hulk Hogan was. But the Brunos and Dustys and Von Erichs never had the heel to play off that Hogan had in Piper. The same can be said about great heels and their lack of babyface rivals. If it wasn’t for the fact that the majority of fans hated Piper’s guts, I don’t know if anyone would have cared as much about WrestleMania.

Think about this for a second. Roddy Piper helped not only sell one main-event at WrestleMania, but both main-events at Mania. I would argue that Wendy Richter vs. LeLani Kai was the co-headliner due to Cyndi Lauper’s involvement in the industry. Who got Lauper over more than Piper? Piper sold that match just as much if not more than he sold his own match against Hogan. What other heel could have pulled that off for Vince McMahon at the time?

In my Piper obit, I pointed to the amount of money that Piper drew for Vince McMahon at the time. He was selling out all over the country in main-events against Jimmy Snuka before he even got to WrestleMania. If you think about the money Piper drew for the WWE between 84 and 85 and use inflation, you could argue that Piper drew more during that hot period than Hogan did. It’s incredible if you really sit down and think about it.

This brings me to the current day and Mr. Piper. Piper passed away on July 31. As I write this we are over two weeks past his passing and the best and I mean the best that the WWE has done so far was a five minute tribute video to Piper, which couldn’t even be fully exploited due to the censorship of his greatest rival. I hate to say it, but that is far from good enough for this man that helped build an institution.

Even if it were the standard, Vince McMahon should have gone far above the standard for a legend like Piper. But it is not the standard. The Ultimate Warrior got about two weeks straight of WWE programming between television and the Network in tributes after he passed away. Dusty Rhodes received several tributes on the Network in his honor, and rightfully so. Yet the only tribute I have seen so far on the Network is a just a hodgepodge of Piper programs in no particular order with no additional commentary. That’s just ridiculous!

That said, I shouldn’t be surprised. Piper has been treated no better than past comedy figures in recent WWE television appearances over the years. Piper has never been shown the same dignity and respect that a Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, or even Ric Flair receive. Without the benefit of YouTube and the Network, current fans would know Piper as a blabbering goofball on par with Hacksaw Duggan.

It’s not too late. There is always time to put a Piper special together and put it on the network. Yet every day that passes feels like another slap in the face to arguably the greatest piece of talent on the roster in the mid-1980s. Roddy Piper deserved better and shame on the WWE for not giving it to him.

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Rey Mysterio Talks WWE Return, Royal Rumble 2014, and More

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

Rey Mysterio has kept a low profile since leaving the WWE. He is finally doing the media rounds in conjunction with Triple A’s TripleMania and is opening up about his career, his WWE departure, and a possible return.

Mysterio is one of a few guys who has not said a whole lot since leaving the WWE. The controversial split between Mysterio and the WWE appears to have alleviated a bit although Mysterio certainly seems happy to be a free man. With a storied career of over 20 years, interviewers certainly find no shortage of topics to talk to the former WWE world champ about. Here are some interesting excerpts from Mysterio’s recent sit down with Sports Illustrated’s Extra Mustard.

One topic that still bites at Mysterio was when he lost his mask in WCW. Mysterio was asked about it by Extra Mustard.

Losing my mask really bothered me,” admitted Mysterio. “I’d been carrying my mask for almost ten years, and in Mexico the mask is very prestigious. It became a part of me, so I was very disappointed.

“That was the political side of this industry,” said Mysterio. “I wasn’t given a choice. I couldn’t protect myself because I had signed my name on their contract, so I was screwed. I couldn’t stop it from happening.

Vince McMahon gets a lot of criticism for the way he handled Rey Mysterio, but Mysterio sees things much differently.

“I needed to prove that I could make it in the big leagues with my size and weight. But Vince was really cool right off the bat. He said they had big plans for me, and I was looking very forward to every single plan they had. My first night with WWE was coming in after a match with Chavo [Guererro]. He had me run down to the cage, climb up, and do a plancha off the top of the cage. No one knew how to market me like Vince McMahon.

But I always took advantage of my size. I constantly heard, ‘You’re not a wrestler. I can take you.’ I lived through that for the first two or three years in WCW, but as my performance became bigger and bigger every time being on the stage, I earned the respect of the fans, as well as the locker room. When I made it to WWE, none of that came afloat again. Once the fans saw I’d made it to WWE, they were like, ‘S—, he’s in.

Unfortunately, Mysterio is probably most known by recent WWE fans as #30 in the 2014 Royal Rumble. Fans in Pittsburgh booed Mysterio unmercifully when Mysterio and not fan favorite Daniel Bryan entered the Rumble at #30, crushing the Yes Movement right in its tracks.

I was shocked, but I was in the heat of the moment. After I actually saw the pay per view with my own eyes on TV, I realized what was going on. I got home and realized I should have walked back into gorilla after I heard the boos, pulled Daniel Bryan out, and gave him my spot so he could go out and perform. I understood the boos weren’t directed at me. They really wanted to see someone else, and I don’t blame them.

Will Rey come back? The answer may surprise you.

I didn’t leave on bad terms,” explained Mysterio. “I left on good terms with WWE, so I don’t want to say never. They treated me very well, and I’m nothing but thankful with that company for letting Rey Mysterio be Rey Mysterio and be recognized worldwide. If the opportunity comes about in the future, and there is interest from both parties, then why not?

Check out the entire interview which covers all of Mysterio’s historic career over at Extra Mustard.

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WWE: Vince McMahon or Triple H: You Make the Call

July 28, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Someone said to me the other day that he preferred the current role of Triple H to that of his father-in-law, none other than Vince McMahon, or the “Mr. McMahon” character he created at the height of the Attitude Era.

What? Excuse me? Are you serious?

Honestly, I was floored by the comment, especially since this person is quite knowledgeable about wrestling and has been a fan more than 40 years and watches Raw and every other wrestling program on weekly television as if it life and death.

Yes, I have told him he needs a hobby other than living and dying by what new promo Paul Heyman cuts on a weekly basis.

This being Triple H’s birthday (it’s also Dolph Ziggler’s, and there is some irony in that, but I’ll save it for another blog), the subject of which boss may not be worth a conversation, or it could be worth hours of point and counterpoint. Personally, it could be somewhere in the middle and here is why.

The WWF/E was not the first wrestling promotion to use its owner as part of the growing soap opera that brought thousands to turnstiles over the years. But the company may have been the best at make Mr. McMahon as one of the greatest wrestling characters of all time.

With all due respect to the likes of Fritz Von Erich in World Class Championship Wrestling and Vern Gagne in the AWA, McMahon was so over the top, that regardless of the fact he was never a trained wrestler and was never taken seriously as a long-lasting champion, he did bring wrestling angles to another level.

The McMahon-Steve Austin feud and program was and still is one of the greatest feuds of this generation and the reason why the Attitude Era was so highly popular. The premise of an employee hating their boss so much that he can beat the holy hell out of him in the squared circle is another stroke of genius and another checkmark on the McMahon resume.

The probability of another angle taking on such a life of its own will never happen again – no matter how hard the WWE or any other wrestling promotion tries to recreate or duplicate brilliance.

McMahon played the on-screen character based on his real life persona. He is a two-time world champion, having won the WWF Championship in 1999 and ECW World Championship in 2007. He was also the winner of the 1999 Royal Rumble. He headlined multiple pay-per-view events from 1999 to 2000 and participated in the main event of WrestleMania 2000, as a cornerman for The Rock, and he was also involved in the main event storyline of WrestleMania X-Seven.

Now that the Mr. McMahon character is retired, with Vince now approaching 70 years old and taking a backseat to his son-in-law Triple H and daughter Stephanie McMahon Helmsley, the “new” boss is turning heads in a completely different direction.

Triple H may never change the perception of fans and wrestling faithful that he is better than his predecessor, but could the successor to the McMahon throne wind up becoming a more hated villain.

All I can say is “Hell Yeah!”

The McMahon character, as it was explained to me, was so over the top and “fake” (yes, there is irony in that as well) that no one could believe him. And of course, everything in wrestling is believable.

Triple H is the boss everyone hates, is the SOB who you hate answering to and the one who just doesn’t give a damn about his employees. His role has a greater degree of realism, even in the land of make believe.

But which one is better? Neither because they were put on display during different eras in the business. McMahon wins because of the higher creative idea that a boss who doesn’t like his employee can get in the ring with them. Triple H wins because when he gets in your face, it sounds more like your boss chastising you for getting your work wrong.

I’m not going to rate one over the other. They have their place in WWF/E history. Whichever character excites you, you follow. And with that comes the next question… How long will the Attitude Era remain the greatest era in wrestling?

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John Cena’s WWE Future Will Be Questioned After Latest Movie Premiere

July 16, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

At some point it is going to happen. John Cena is going to leave the WWE for other pursuits. The man who has been a 15-time world champion will walk away from the company and potentially pursue an acting career. Now that his most current film “Trainwreck” is about to open in theaters, of course the questions are going to come up about his future in the ring and how many more years the “Champ” will continue as the face of the WWE.

If there was ever a time where Cena could walk away, it might be now. While the WWE has been stagnant in terms of fan support, the storylines and talent pool are both getting better. The next wave of WWE superstars are moving on up thanks in part to NXT. Monday’s declaration by Stephanie McMahon that the Divas were going to get a huge push now that Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte all made their promotional debut, means the company is finally ready to move forward.

The fans who have been crying for change for years will finally get their wish. But don’t think for a minute that Cena, who has looked as sharp as ever since claiming the United States Championship, will just walk away at a moment’s notice. Cena was interviewed by MTV UK to promote his upcoming movie, but the topic of his future did come up. Here is what was said via a report on wrestlezone.com.

“My life is with WWE. And at 38 years old I tell everybody I feel as strong and as good as ever. I think you can check out Monday Night Raw and watch any US Open challenge and my actions speak for themselves. When opportunities like this come up, I’m going to do it for the same reason that Dwayne [Johnson] has done what he’s done.

Him [Dwayne] being such a success has just gotten more eyeballs on WWE and that’s my goal. So when opportunities like this come up, I’m going to go for it. But unlike Dwayne I won’t take a sabbatical to do so, I take nothing away from his accomplishments – he is the most successful WWE superstar ever.”

Cena would be the next logical choice to make such a jump to the big screen on a full-time basis. But there is still a belief he has a few more years left in his wrestling career.

Now that Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose have all become main event talent and given the fact Brock Lesnar is now vying for the spot as the WWE’s lead babyface, Cena is really at a crossroads in his career. Watching the match between Rusev, Cesaro and Kevin Owens proved this is a company that now has better footing to make the transition from WWE that was led by Cena, Randy Orton, Kane and Big Show.

The company finally got the message and has begun the transition phase – which means the NXT stars (including Sami Zayn) will get a longer, more detailed look by the company and will further be on display for the fans to cheer (and boo) for the rest of this year and the foreseeable future.

With the Battleground pay-per-view a few days away, the match with Kevin Owens for the United States Title might have more meaning than ever – especially if Cena drops the strap. Will it be the final time we see gold around Cena’s waist? His body of work lately has been so solid, I would hate to see him fall deeper into the mid card, but maybe that is what the WWE needs to make the transition complete.

While he still remains the company’s biggest draw and marketing tool, Cena can now help the next crop of superstars become a success – hopefully as successful as he has been for the past 12 years.

In my opinion, Cena will drop the strap to Owens, which means the transition from title holder to company leader will have come full circle.

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Steve Austin Is NOT Wrestling Brock Lesnar At WWE WrestleMania 32

June 16, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The annual Stone Cold Steve Austin WWE WrestleMania roller coaster hit a high peak last week when Austin and Paul Heymen teased an Austin vs. Brock Lesnar match at Mania. The excitement soon turned to disappointment when news broke that the match is not happening nor is Austin lacing up the boots in Dallas.

Steve Austin broke our hearts when he followed up on this and told fans that the match is dead and he and Heyman were just having a little bit of fun.

We started talking that Monday night, and then about the last five, six minutes, whatever it was, Paul E (Heyman, who is known by guys from the 80s and 90s as Paul E due to his original managing name of Paul E. Dangerously) kinda flipped the script,” said Austin, on the podcast. “And he wanted to ask a few questions. I didn’t know what Paul E was going to ask. And he talked about Brock Lesnar and WrestleMania 32 in Dallas.

And of course, I bit, hook, line and sinker, Stone Cold mode. (I) started cutting a half ass promo. (I) wasn’t trying to, and ended up talking about me whipping Brock’s ass, because as Stone Cold Steve Austin, that’s the only way I can see that match going down.

But here’s the thing. What I did was kinda raised the hopes of people or halfway kinds half-assed booked myself into a match, which was not my intention. So at WrestleMania 32, I don’t believe you are going to be seeing Brock Lesnar and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same ring.

So it wasn’t my intention to book the territory, or to spin a match, or to sell a match. So I just wanted to make that clear to everybody.

And I tell you what, my people that have followed my career from day one, or from whatever and follow to this day have been so good to me, and have been to hell and back with me. So I wasn’t trying to spin anything up, don’t want to sell a match, not trying to book a match. So Brock Lesnar will continue down the road he’s going down. I’m going to continue going down the road I’m going on, which is doing podcasting, hosting the Broken Skull Challenge, (and) I got some other things that are coming up that I can’t talk about right now that are really exciting for me. And I’ll be able to announce those in the future. They’re coming right up.

Dave Meltzer, who knows both Heyman and Austin well, elaborated on this story in the most recent issue of the Wrestling Observer newsletter.

There is a lot to this story but it’s also complicated. Lesnar and Austin have for some time talked about doing a match together. Both Lesnar and Paul Heyman have always believed it would be the biggest possible match they could do. Austin was perceived more of an ass kicker and did more serious promos than Dwayne Johnson, which was their other ultimate big match choice. With Austin, both sides would do promos like it was a fight, while with Johnson, there would have to be an entertainment edge to it because that’s the direction Johnson would go. But the real difference is that Johnson has come back several times, while Austin has not wrestled since 2003, so his coming back would be the biggest match possible. Also, while Lesnar vs. Johnson has been teased several times on the board to happen once, and talked about seriously after that point a second time, they have wrestled in the past. Lesnar vs. Austin has never happened, and the reason it didn’t when booked once could easily be played into storyline.

Meltzer also reported that Vince McMahon was not happy that Heyman and Austin were teasing a match that wasn’t planned.

Essentially the reasons the match is not happening are between Austin and Vince McMahon and I can only speculate about them. McMahon was not happy with the close of the podcast because Austin vs. Lesnar was not in the WrestleMania plans.

Meltzer says the match isn’t happening. Taking Meltzer’s personal relationships with Heyman and Austin into account, I am inclined to give Meltzer the benefit of any doubt here. Meltzer speculated on several reasons why the match isn’t happening, most notably that Austin may not be able to pass a physical and the injury risks involved.

As I said several weeks ago, it is time to put an end to the hopes and dreams of Steve Austin wrestling ever again. I say this as a huge Austin fan and someone that would love to see him back. There have been plenty of opportunities for Austin to come back for a big match and the idea that he’d wait until he was 51 to do it never added up to me.

It still remains a mystery to me why Austin and Heyman would work an angle that had no plans of turning into a match. Was it fair to the millions of fans that got excited on Tuesday morning at the hopes of seeing their hero in the ring one more time? Probably not, but it was sure fun while it lasted.

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10 Real Backstage Fights Between Pro Wrestlers (Part 3)

June 09, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Backstage wrestling fights blogs are the most popular blog series in the history of this website. Thanks to shoot interviews, newsletters, books, and podcasts there are a plethora more that haven’t been covered by the CCB, 10 of which I’ll cover today.

It is always fascinating to hear about fights between pro wrestlers outside the ring. Those fights have created legends over the years, crowning some as the toughest to ever lace up a pair of boots. Lucky shot, dirty tricks, or sheer skill have created some of the greatest tales outside of the ring in pro wrestling history.

Here is a look back today at 10 brand-new backstage fights between pro wrestlers that haven’t made the previous two lists. Many are told in the words of the wrestlers who were there fighting or observing. Enjoy!

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

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

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

Kevin Nash vs. Roddy Piper – This dandy happened back in WCW and recently reared its way back into the news when Piper and Nash argued the winner over Twitter. One thing that has remained consistent in the story is that Piper and Nash were not cooperating with each other in a tag team match in WCW. Piper and Ric Flair went to their dressing room upset after the match. Nash barged in the dressing room and from this point, the story is different whether you hear it from Piper or Nash. So let’s hear it from Sean Waltman instead. Waltman witnessed the whole thing and tweeted about it a few months ago on Twitter.

“On the life of my children Roddy is bold face lying & I hate to say that,because I love Roddy. you [Nash] kicked the door in and everyone s–t. Flair was more concerned about it not having to do with him.

“the Bodyguad tried to get between you. You said something to him and he stepped aside. Then you proceeded to open hand slap Roddy, because he was out of place and went into business for himself, causing you to re injure your knee. I remember one second you were in the locker room pissed. V-sit Wrestling Inc-The next sec me causing you to re injure your knee in all that cluster F–k. I’ll give him credit for a nice leg sweep that came up a it short. He called you a liar over your description of the incident. No one wanted a piece.

“way to back up your wing man Naitch;) there were only 3 of us. We were outnumbered if you count the bodyguard. I just heard the podcast and it was an out and out lie. Can’t believe from Roddy. Hopefully it’s a memory issue and not pride. I know Kev’s hot still, but let it go Big D. He knows what happened and that’s the real of it.

“…And Kev let that go yrs ago. Brought Roddy and his son to our tour of Aruba. We had a great time. Whatever need Roddy has to perpetuate his image as one though SOB is not going to be tarnished by that incident. Your still Rough Roddy.”

Vince McMahon vs. Bret Hart – How is it that this dandy never made the previous lists? Well most of us know the story, yet some new fans may not have. This story goes back to 1997 and the night of the Montreal Screw Job. Vince McMahon just ordered a quick submission on Bret, swerving him on the finish. Bret lost the title to Shawn Michaels and he wasn’t happy about it. Here is how it went down according to the Hit Man.

“Somewhere in that conversation, Bret said, ‘If you’re still here after I get dressed, I’m going to punch you out.’”

“It was the most beautiful uppercut punch you could ever imagine,” said Hart. “I actually thought it would miss and go right up the side of his head, but I popped him right up like a cork was under his jaw and lifted him right off the hand. I broke my right hand just beneath the knuckle, and knocked Vince out cold.”

He recently said it was his proudest moment…“When I stood up for myself in Montreal, and knocked out Vince McMahon for cheating me in that match. I think it’s still defines me as a wrestler, and as an artist, and a talent, and somebody that was betrayed. I’ve always been really proud of how I reacted, and how I carried myself that day. And in the end, I think I proved I was right.”

Yoshi Tatsu vs. Sheamus – For some reason Sheamus has a reputation in the WWE for being a tough guy. I say for some reason because every story I have ever heard about Sheamus ends with Sheamus being knocked out. One of those stories involved Sheamus and a young Yoshi Tatsu Tatsu and Sheamus were both on their way to the main roster. According to a story told last year by former WCW star Konnan, it was all over money.

“Konnan then was asked about Sheamus’ fight with Yoshi Tatsu before they made it to the main roster, and the Cuban wrestler said Sheamus had asked him to borrow some money. Konnan said Tatsu kept asking him for the money back repeatedly, and kept getting an excuse. He didn’t know if they were roommates or if Tatsu showed up at his door, but Konnan said he “slapped the s–t out of him” after approaching him one last time. The co-host confirmed after hearing the story from Tatsu backstage, he ended up getting his money back.”

Evan Bourne also confirmed that Tatsu KO’d Sheamus in his shoot interview – “I guess everyone heard the story about how Sheamus got dropped by Yoshi Tatsu so I think that sort of makes him soft. I will say Sheamus is also tough. He literally broke his hand in a match ramming me into a pole and didn’t even miss a beat. He’s one of the toughest guys. Maybe he’s got a soft chin, I don’t know what happened.”

Bill Dundee vs. Randy Savage – Once upon a time pro wrestling was real, well to the Poffo family it was. Angelo Poffo’s outlaw ICW was involved in a very heated promotional war down south with Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett. The wrestlers between both promotions despised each other, especially Randy Savage who hated everyone involved with Lawler’s group. So when Savage’s legendary temper met Bill Dundee’s street smarts in a parking lot it was no surprise that things got very ugly in one of the wildest pro wrestler fighting stories you’ll ever hear. Dave Meltzer recapped the story in his Savage tribute in the Wrestling Observer.

“(Bill) Dundee (Bill Crookshanks), was Jarrett’s long-time No. 2 babyface behind Lawler. Savage was routinely making fun of him on television because he was about 5-foot-4 and would grandstand challenge him and make fun of the Jarrett guys for failing to show up with so much money at stake. It was the same gimmick Savage did in his 50s with Hogan. At one point, there was a confrontation, and Savage went after Dundee. Dundee ran back to his car and pulled out a gun. Savage then wrestled the gun away from Dundee and pistol-whipped him, breaking his jaw and putting him out of action. When Dundee finally returned, he did an interview and sort of acknowledged the rumors of what happened, just saying there was a story going around about him getting in a fight and breaking his jaw, but what really happened was he was thrown off a horse and broke his jaw.”
Check out Bill Dundee’s classic interview right here on YouTube.com. – http://youtu.be/8a21Lm3u0DQ

Bruiser Brody vs. Jose Gonzalez – Unfortunately this is the most tragic of all outside of the ring backstage pro wrestling fights. A legend, a father, and a husband lost his life in a fight that lives in infamy. The infamous Brody Murder remains a tale with little details and plenty of alleged cover-ups. Much has been written about the incident by reporters and former wrestlers. I have probably heard a dozen conspiracy theories and different stories from first and second-hand accounts. The basic gist of it is that Brody went into a shower to talk to Gonzalez and left with stabbed wounds that resulted in his fatality.

Dutch Mantell known today as Zeb Coulter in the WWE was in the locker room on the night of the murder. Mantell wrote a lengthy column about it a few years ago. Here is his take.

“Bayamon Stadium is a baseball stadium so I arose from my chair and headed through a tunnel to get to the field. It’s only about 100 feet through the tunnel, and I stood, watching the crowd file in for no more than than three minutes, and I had not been gone from the dressing room longer than 5 or 6 minutes, at the most. But when I returned, my eyes met horror. The whole dressing room was chaotic. The first person I saw was Chris Youngblood. I asked him what had happened. He was almost hysterical as he said, “Jose stabbed Brody.” I still did not know what he meant but as I looked deeper in the room, I saw Brody lying prone on the floor with several guys surrounding him. I thought that some guy named Jose had rushed into the room and attacked Brody. Everybody in PR is named Jose so I looked at Chris again and he said, “Invader, Invader stabbed Brody.” It was bedlam in the dressing room. Now, everything started to move in slow motion. I remember walking over to where Brody was laying and just staring in disbelief. A doctor is always present in San Juan and he was crying. Brody was conscious and as I looked closer, I could see a stab wound about an inch long and deep with air bubbles escaping from it. Much later, the doctor told me that meant that the blade had pierced the lung. Brody was telling promoter Carlos Colon to take care of his family. I didn’t see a lot of blood but, again, later I learned that he was hemorrhaging internally. I believe that Bruiser knew he was going to die. “This can’t be happening” I thought to myself. This can’t be real. But real it was. I am not a very religious person but I eased over in a corner out of everyones way and prayed for Bruiser. I then found myself looking through a plexiglass door which led into the shower. The door was kind of translucent plexiglass that distorted images somewhat, but I saw the Invader and Victor Jovica screaming at each other in the shower room. Noise was everywhere and I couldn’t make out what they were saying but even if I could’ve heard them, they were speaking in Spanish, (which they often do). But I could see that a struggle was in process.

Invader and Jovica were shoving each other. It seemed as though Invader was attempting to leave and Jovica was trying to stop him. Brody was still on the floor. The doctor was working furiously to do what he could to help him. A call went out for an ambulance. It seemed like an eternity before aid arrived. And they didn’t even get the call through official channels. Victor Quinones called a local radio station and told them to broadcast that an ambulance was needed immediately at the stadium. A paramedic crew was eating at a nearby McDonald’s and heard the request on the radio. Brody, by the time paramedics had arrived, had lain there for over 25 minutes. Atlas was in a state of shock as were the rest of us. While the paramedics were preparing Bruiser to take him to the emergency room, I witnessed Invader leave the shower, walk around the feet of Brody, grab his car keys and leave. Finally, after what had seemed like an eternity, Brody was loaded onto a gurney to be taken out. Brody, by this time, had been down at least 40 minutes. The paramedics couldn’t lift him. I saw Tony Atlas, almost by himself, carry Brody up four or five steps and transport him to the ambulance. Tony went with Brody to the hospital. At this point, nobody knew what to say or even what had happened. But I knew enough to stand back and observe the situation. Puerto Ricans basically didn’t like the American boys coming down there and taking their money that they felt was rightfully theirs. And since I was in the dark as to what happened, I was watching to see what would happen next.

Chris Youngblood told me that Invader had approached Brody and requested that he accompany him to the shower to talk business. He said that Invader’s hand was covered with a towel. Then he said he heard screaming and a commotion inside the shower and then seeing Brody stumble through the door holding his chest. Brody went down; he didn’t collapse but went down under his own control. That was just before I got back into the room.” –

Tony Atlas went to the hospital with Brody and had this to say in an interview – “Can you imagine? A guy gets stabbed and everyone’s putting on their wrestling boots. The wrestlers are like separate businesses. One is McDonald’s. One’s Burger King. They all sell hamburgers, but they’re more concerned about their business and once you’re gone, you’re gone. I’ve only had three wrestlers to call me since my contract ended with WWE. Of all the wrestlers I talked to and helped, only three called. That was Teddy Long, Mark Henry, and a guy from the office by the name of Howard Finkel. The only three guys to call since I left. The rest never called to see how I was doing. Nothing. It was like I was never there.”

Hulk Hogan vs. Verne Gagne – The Hulkster told this one during an interview with Chris Jericho. Verne started making Hogan t-shirts but wouldn’t cut Hogan in on the money. They had words and Verne said he wanted to see what they taught him down in Florida and Hogan said, “Enough to kick your ass.” Verne charged him and Hogan grabbed him in a front face lock “Belzer-style”. Verne left the room and said it wasn’t over and Greg started to take his stuff off like he was going to fight him but David Schultz backed Hulk up.

I have no reason not to believe this one. Everything I have heard about Verne is that he was pretty crazy and always challenging guys to fights.

Scott Hall vs. Marty Jannetty –
I had never heard of this one until Hall told it directly to me during a shoot interview. I interviewed Hall for a shoot interview back in 2007 and Hall told me about a fight he got into with Marty when both worked the Kansas City territory early in their careers. Jannetty gave his version of the story in a later interview.

“At the time, Hall was teaming with Danny Spivey. Marty said that he would party hard with Shawn Michaels and DJ Peterson at the time. He also adds that some of his checks would be negative as a result of having to pay for hotel damages. One night, he rented a room with DJ and they brought in a lot of girls. The next day at the show, he was extremely hungover on the table in dressing room, which he points out was not uncommon for him. All of a sudden, he was on the ground and heard screaming and Hall was acting crazy before leaving. Marty ended up with a split lip because Hall punched him repeatedly while he was sleeping. Marty said he then took a pipe and went looking for Scott. Geigel and Bulldog Brown grabbed him and held back before taking him to the hospital. Next night in St. Louis, he sees Hall who asked if he wanted to go another round. Hall put arm around Marty and said he got worked over by DJ, as he signed in the hotel under Scotts name and got discount on the room because he was a wrestler and DJ was not well known, but someone told him that it was Marty who signed in under Scott’s name and destroyed room on purpose in an attempt to get him fired. Marty then asked who told him that and he said it was Bulldog Brown. Marty then said that he was kicking and slamming doors looking for Brown. Harley saw him and pulled him aside and asked him what was wrong. He told him the story and Harley said that he would take care of this but he never did. Marty said that he got along okay with Hall after that but the beating he took was hard to forget.”

Shane Hurricane Helms vs. Buff Bagwell – Hurricane Helms vs. Buff Bagwell – This story has become infamous over the years as have most Buff Bagwell stories. This dandy went down shortly after the WWE purchased WCW. Both were training in the developmental territory during the transition period. Buff still believed he was the stuff, and Helms had enough. Here is Buff’s version of the story.

“That day there, we were at the training school and just hanging out and everyone was getting along and I knew they were making me go to school to test me. “Oh let’s put Buff Bagwell at school”. Ok, that makes sense so automatically I said “Oh boy, here we go. They’re going to test me”. So I said, that’s cool and I went to school. I was the first one in the ring, first one with my boots on, hey let’s go, let’s go, you know. Well, one day Shane got hurt, his back was hurting him and the guys were being guys and everybody was kind of jabbing each other and of course it got heated like guys do and a little scuffle took place and he had a water bottle under his shirt and I didn’t know it. So, he kept running his mouth and I just give a little slap right across the face and I said “you’ve got something to say now?”. He said “No, I ain’t got nothing to say”. I said “then keep your mouth shut”. Well, I turned my back on him and when I did, he had a shirt on over the ice pack and the ice pack was a water a bottle that was frozen ice. So, when I turned my back he just reached under his shirt and grabbed the ice bottle and Boom right in the back of the head.”

And here is what really happened according to Helms…“I’m not sure why after 4 years that the Balding, Bloated, Buff Bagwell keeps telling that ridiculous lie about what happened in the little skirmish that we had. Maybe it’s his “demons” talking up again. Ain’t it funny how when people become total losers it’s always because of some “demons?” LOL Either way it comes off to me like a desperate attempt for attention. Maybe ole Judy ain’t patting him on the back as much anymore, whatever. I just want my friends and fans to know, although most already do, that his version of the story is very jaded much like his opinion of himself. There’s a reason he’s unemployed. Must suck not to have any coat tails to ride on anymore!”

Road Warrior Hawk vs. Eddie Guerrero -Both men have sadly passed, yet Eddie wrote about the details of this fight in his autobiography. Eddie said the fight went down in Japan and it ended with Hawk getting the better of him in a bar fight. Here is the excerpt from his book, Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story.

“I didn’t care who Hawk was – I was drunk and I was looking for a fight. I started in on Hawk and he flat out told me to stand down. “Get the f*ck away from me,” he said, “or I’ll do something about it.”

He gave me a chance to walk away, but I was stupid. I didn’t want anyone to think I was a pu**y, so I pushed himn.

But Hawk was a man of his word. When I turned away from him, he did exactaly what he said he’d do- he did something it. Boom! Right in the back of the head. He knocked me on my ass, then he hit me a few times for good measure.

Hawk was a big man, so a few shows from him knocked me out cold. Brad Armstrong got me in a cab and had the driver take me back to the hotel. I remember waking up and thinking, I f*cked up.”

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WWE Hits a Social Media Milestone and the World Keeps Turning

June 09, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

On Monday June 8, WWE passed a half billion social media followers. The sun rose and set pretty much on time on Monday June 8 as well. In other words, pro wrestling’s largest company in the world reached a milestone with this stat and it should be bigger news. But it’s not.

We’re constantly reminded of WWE’s presence on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and every other app that can hold all their stars and hype. We see it when Raw and SmackDown comes back from commercial. We hear Michael Cole talk about it. We see pics posted online during the broadcasts and we see an edited Twitter feed on the bottom of the screen.

WWE has covered it so much that it’s become their single biggest talking point next to the network. And half a billion is a big number, with lots of zeroes. Put all of that together and we should be knocked out. You can be sure the company wants us to be.

The problem is it’s become old news. We’ve heard about WWE’s social media status for so long now that it’s destroyed any impact the announcement should have had. But WWE is committed to pushing the issue and promoting its online presence.

Why is that? Why would a company that lives and dies by the money coming in from live events and merchandise sales care about what any fan could ever possibly have to say online? The truth is it doesn’t. But don’t tell them you know that.

WWE wants you to keep going along with the scam. They want you to believe you have a voice, that what you say matters and that you can actually book matches from the comfort of your recliner. The more you believe, the more you will buy in and the more their product will get over.

And it’s working so well that fans actually believe WWE is listening to them. Best scam ever.

The truth behind all the social media frenzy is that WWE’s trying to embrace current trends. We live in a fully connected online world, where news is instantaneous and entertainment is always there at your fingertips. Many of those fingertips belong to WWE’s target demographic, that live on their cell phones 24/7.

Each one of those hits, each one of those tweets and each one of those downloads, represents a potential ticket sale. Putting the network in the hands of customers is opening the door to putting a T-Shirt on their backs. When all of that is taken into consideration, how could Vince McMahon’s company not want to be completely immersed in as much technology as humanly possible?

So yes, it makes sense and no we should not be all that surprised by it. However, knowing does not mean its working. How successful is WWE on social media when it comes to putting more eyes on the product? Is it truly putting more butts in the seats? Or is it all background noise for fans that already follow the company and may or may not actually attend live events?

The fact is WWE has always pursued as many avenues as possible to get exposure. It’s smart business to do so and it’s a method that put Vince light years ahead of any competition he’s ever had. He was the first one to take the business beyond regional programming and that move ultimately ensured WWE would survive beyond everyone else.

Vince is obsessed with WWE’s crossover into pop culture and he always has been. What once seemed like an odd fit to many wrestling purists and to people outside the industry has now become the norm and it’s something we see everyday. Bombarding the internet with as much content as possible is the next logical step of McMahon’s vision.

But is it working and more importantly, do fans really care? When Triple H goes on live television and blasts fans for speaking up online, is that being done in character or is it truly a jab by WWE at its customers? Are fans really being criticized for speaking up when they’re encouraged to do so in the first place or is all of that just a friendly work, meant to draw heat? Is that even necessary?

A lot of fans use WWE’s social media to vent, there’s no denying that. But a good number of fans just want a better show. Criticisms spoken are not out of hate or contempt, they’re spoken out of a desire to see the product be as good as it can be, and to live up to the standard that WWE has set in the past.

Like it or not, wrestling fans are the lifeblood of any promotion and as such, they should be given a voice. WWE has provided the platform for that voice on social media and though they genuinely seem to want it, it’s become so repetitive that it’s lost much of its effectiveness. Unfortunately, it may never be that important again.

Half a billion. It sure is a big number.

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Stone Cold Steve Austin Talks WWE Heat, WrestleMania, and More

May 20, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Stone Cold Steve Austin is a fairly modest guy and is never one to toot his own horn. Yet Austin has made one thing perfectly clear in recent years, he was the biggest draw in WWE history and he doesn’t care if your name is Hogan or Rock, he wants his respect.

Austin recently did an extended interview with SI.com and while he talked about a variety of interesting topics, yet an anecdote he told about his surprise appearance at WrestleMania 30 is what is making news. While some may take it out of context, Austin related a story in which he claims he was swerved by the WWE and he wasn’t happy about it because to him, he is the biggest star in company history from a revenue standpoint.

Vince called and said, ‘Here’s the set-up,’” said Austin. “‘Hulk Hogan’s going to come out and he’ll cut a promo. All of a sudden, they’re going to hit The Rock’s music. He’ll go out and cut a promo. All of a sudden – crash – it’s Stone Cold’s music, and you’ll go out and cut a promo – then bam, we start WrestleMania XXX.’ That’s the way it was pitched to me.

Austin then tells the reporter that things changed on the day of the show.

The Rock and I were in the building the day before in the green room,” recalled Austin. “Dwayne and I were laughing and shaking hands and hugging, just shooting the breeze. I said to him, ‘What are we doing tomorrow?’ All The Rock knew, he told me, was that he was the last one out to the ring. I said, ‘They told you that you were going to be the last out? That’s real interesting, ‘cause they told me the same damn thing.’”

Austin finally saw the booking sheet but the sheet had no order and only listed Hogan, Austin, and Rock.

I’m thinking to myself, ‘This is bull—-,’” said Austin. “This is not what I was sold, this is not what I bought.

Hogan put wrestling on the map nationally in the 1980’s, and The Rock’s popularity places him in an elite group, but Austin is the lone man to lead the WWE back into prominence when McMahon’s product was clearly the no. 2 wrestling company in the world.

My run cannot be touched,” he said. “If you want to talk about longevity, you can speak the name Hogan. If you want to talk about white-hot, selling tickets, and taking the business to a height it’s never been – and, with a hell of a supporting cast, I might add – you’re talking about Stone Cold Steve Austin.

But I said, ‘I’m just going to let this thing slide. We’re here and there is no use in making a stink about it.’ The Rock is one of the biggest movie stars in the world. So give the guy his due. Nobody talked to me about it, but that’s how that went down.

Stone Cold Steve Austin’s relationship with the WWE and Vince McMahon is always a hot topic. That topic became hot again once WrestleMania 31 came and went without Austin and then Chris Jericho replaced Steve Austin’s as the WWE podcast of choice.

There was no creative for me at WrestleMania XXXI,” said Austin. “Now with WrestleMania XXXII coming up in Texas, I would be pretty damn sure I’m going to be there. It’s my home state and it just makes more sense.”

As much as I love the business and I love my fans, I don’t want to be at every WrestleMania. I was really happy to watch it in my house. I wanted to see Sting and Triple H wrestle, and I was excited for all my buddies in DX and the NWO, but I want the younger generation of wrestlers to experience it and have all the time dedicated to them. That’s the future. Some of the segments that weren’t wrestling went on too long. I love The Rock, but his segment was too long. That was time that could have been given to a talent to make or not make an impact. That’s their proving ground.

But what about the rumors? Is there heat between the CEO and his former rival?

Lately there’s been a lot of speculation regarding all this heat, bad blood, and animosity between myself and Vince,” he explained. “And it couldn’t be any further from the truth. I have an outstanding relationship with Vince and the WWE right now. There were a few trademark issues, but that was just a minor thing that got resolved in a very amicable conversation I had with their lawyers.”

So many things get said only because people want to throw the names ‘Steve Austin’ and ‘Vince McMahon’ out there so others will think it to be true. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not true. There are some great things coming up.”

It should be noted that since this interview that it was announced that Austin’s podcast will be returning to the WWE Network on June 1.

All in all the entire piece is an excellent read and I’d highly recommend heading over to SI.com and checking out the whole story.

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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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