TOP TEN BITS OF THE WEEK
10. I'd like to talk first about a little phenomenon I like to call Net antiunanimity. It's when a writer goes against common opinion to order to "make a statement," even if that statement is totally absurd. Now, Eric Sculz-whatthefuck's condemnation of the Rock has always gotten a few Rock fans riled up, but at least it's predicated in a sort of reality. There is a basis on which to say the Rock sucks...he rips other wrestler's moves off, he does the worst dragon screw legwhip in the business, and he fucked up Benoit's finisher. I don't personally agree with Eric's criticisms, but they are in stark contrast to statements like...Billy Gunn is [insert positive statement here] These comments come mainly in the form of people saying, you may not like Billy Gunn, but he's over. Billy Gunn is not over. He was a heel against the Rock. He was a face against Eddy. Independent of these strong, actually OVER characters, he does not draw heat, or draw, period. End of story. Although, it still surprised me that he was as horrible as he was against Benoit. Benoit has carried Sid to a better match than the Gunn-Benoit Armageddon one.
9. Chris Hyatte on the Edge and as a part of Rantsylvania: I've never been a big Chris Hyatte fan, as I don't really find his recaps or his attacks on others amusing or otherwise worthwhile. Scott Keith says that he doesn't have a problem with Chris as long as he BRINGS THE RATINGS. Well, if I was running a business venture like Rantsylvania which could make a great deal of money once my book takes off, and with more media attention could make A LOT more money I would not want a liability like Hyatte working for me or being a part of my venture. It's a risky situation. in any case, now that Eric S. and Arnold are gone, I've no reason to bother listening to the Edge. The Chris Daniels stuff was intelligent, but since then, why bother? Sure, a bunch of idiots will wait around to see if Hyatte gives out someone's phone number, but is that wrestling?
8. Doing right by the WWF Midcard
Raven: There's a lot of talk about how Raven is being misused or whatever, and an equal amount of talk about how Raven has to pay his dues. Well, Raven can be very over very soon. A lot of people like him, and if he could get his workrate up to snuff, he could draw big-time in the WWF. He's got a great look. I think you put him back with Stevie after this RTC debacle is over.
7. Pay-per-view: Something that I think would add a lot to the WWF and WCW right now is to develop more traditional events and matches. I'm talking about pay-per-view traditions to some extent here. I think WCW should bring back Wargames at Fall Brawl, for one. And the title shot at World War III that hasn't happened since 1998 isn't such a bad idea either. It makes the title itself more important if a guy has to go through a 100-man Battle Royal to get a shot at it. In this age of frequent title changes, this may seem passe, but I think the fans buy it. The Federation could do likewise. I think they would increase their buyrate at the Armageddon pay-per-view if they made the main of every Armageddon an Armageddon match. It could be a six man elimination match. This fills the RAWs and SmackDowns before it with matches that are important, as the wrestlers would be fighting to get that shot in the title match. It's a neat way to elevate midcarders without putting them in title matches that won't draw. Hopefully, Sean Waltman would never be involved in a match of this kind.
For instance, flashback to Survivor Series. You've got Hardcore Holly coming off the shelf. He punks Angle out at Survivor Series, and they do the Doink ending in the UT-Angle match anyway. Then, at Armageddon, Holly's fighting for revenge and a shot in that Armageddon match. He's in feud, and there doesn't have to be an Angle-Holly World Title match. Instead, Angle can drop the title to whoever ...although I still think it'll be HHH...and move into a feud with Holly, if that's what the desired result is.
6. Connected to that...no wrestling fan cares about the undercard. We all have our favorite wrestlers that we like on the undercard, and we like to complain about them being misused, but it's only the ones we mark out for. Example: Every time I turn on Federation television, I love to see Steven Regal. I think he's funny and I enjoy his ring work. The average fan doesn't give a shit about Steven Regal. He's just some guy for the Rock to beat. The only time an undercard wrestler is important is when he's being pushed to the main event. By that same token, it's important for the undercard to be good and have a high workrate...something the WWF's undercard outside of the tag team division doesn't really have down right now. It's also important to keep the top belts like the IC Title interesting. Which it isn't right now, by the way.
The most important thing is to have your top guys be interesting. When Foley and HHH were fighting earlier in the year, this was true. Now...not so much. WCW...not since Goldberg won the title on Nitro...incidentally one of the last times they beat the WWF in the ratings. WCW at that time was put on such atrocious pay-per-view it's a wonder they stayed in business. In fact, it's a wonder they stay in business today.
5. Top Ten Top Ten Spots of All Time: It occurred to me that there's plenty of huge lists proclaiming the greatest matches of all time (Hart-Michaels Iron Man), but there aren't many lists that proclaim the greatest spots of all time. Here's a top ten of those excluding anything after Wrestlemania of last year, and comments and additions are welcome. Repeats of spots are not acceptable. What is a spot: a moment or move in the context of a wrestling match. North American wrestling only.
10. Mick Foley suplexes Shawn Michaels through a table set up at ringside, IYH: Mind Games 1996
9. Rob Van Dam does a somersault plancha into the crowd, ECW Television
8. Bigelow throws Spike Dudley into the crowd.
7. Sabu pushes Sandman off a ladder in a ring through a table outside the ring onto his head, Stairway to Hell.
6. Bret Hart suplexes Shawn Michaels into the ring, Michaels flips out, grabs a waistlock, and Bret flips around and german suplexes him for two, Wrestlemania 12, Iron Man Match
5. Jeff Hardy and Christian get knocked off of a ladder to the entranceway, Wrestlemania XVI.
4. Shawn Michaels frog splashes Razor Ramon off of a ladder, WM 10 ladder match.
3. Mick Foley getting pushed off the Cell by the Undertaker through the Spanish announce table, Hell in a Cell II
2. Jeff Hardy swanton bombing Bubba Ray Dudley off a huge ladder, Wrestlemania XVI, Ladder Match
1. Mick Foley chokeslammed by the Undertaker through the Hell in a Cell, chair lands on his face, Hell in a Cell II.
4. This brings me to another point...what the fuck happened to the Rock? He needs to move his character to be more heelish, pronto. The crowd will love him even more for it. And give him those fifteen minute intereviews on RAW and SmackDown. Heavens knows you've got the time. Just put anything related to T&A on Heat and that frees up a lot right there. I was thinking this when he was fighting Billy Gunn, but now that he's gone full face, let's go shades up grey to set up face v. face, Austin v. Rock at Wrestlemania X-7. The pre-HIAC promo was a good start. Keep going.
3. Your RSPW ballot...discuss. The big punch in on anyone's RSPW ballot has got to be the MOTY. WCW has been pretty non-existent with match of the year candidates thus far, but what the Federation has put out has been pretty impressive. The hands down match of the year candidate is fortunately a clear choice...drumroll please...HHH v. Cactus Jack (Streetfight, Royal Rumble). A spectacular brawl. A great piece of storyline. A fantastic match. Ah. Yes. Oh.
2. I've made a legitimate effort in the past few months to get familiar with some puroresu. The stuff that's good, is good. But the All Japan stuff from '95 is nearly unbearable to watch. It literally pains me to watch Misawa and Kobashi back then.
The New Japan stuff from '95 and '96 holds up great because a lot of that style was incorporated in North American wrestling by Benoit and others. The ECW stuff from that period is compelling even today. Malenko-Guerrero would be ****3/4 yesterday, but it's not the same with the All Japan stuff. It did not age well, and the finisher-finisher-finisher stuff from the late 90s isn't much better.
1.5. GH & Joe v. Hyatte, Round 1. GH and Joe are far, far, superior to Hyatte in every way possible. I read their recaps religiously and encourage you to do the same. Their Tazz characterization along with the Shane Douglas riffs are some of the funniest stuff I've ever seen on the internet.
1. The Rick's RSPW ballot: I didn't know you had such a hard-on for Scott Steiner, Scaia. To criticize him the way you did in that column without explaining yourself is a real tragedy. This is going to turn out a lot like the whole 3H debacle for you. And Tajiri? Did the guy have a **** match all year?
Raven and Stevie Richards v. The Pitbulls (Gangsta's Paradise 9.16.95)
This is the the Double Dog Collar Match, 2/3 Falls, Losing Team must split up match, and it's been hailed as one of ECW's greatest matches ever. To give you an idea of what the teams look like: Raven is as now but younger and working harder, Stevie has long hair and tight shorts, and the Pitbulls are stoic. Pitbull #1 has long hair, and is a little less built to the bald-headed Pitbull #2. Both guys are huge. To start, Pitbull #2 HANGS Raven over the top rope from in the ring. That's pretty effective. Pitbull #1 runs to the back to find Stevie. Pitbull #2 beats on Raven on the outside, throwing a chair in his face. This is the second 1995 ECW match I've seen, the first being Malenko-Guerrero for the last time in ECW. Pitbull #1 brings Stevie out from the back and pounds on him. Chairshot to Stevie's head. In the ring, Pitbull #2 sets a table up, but Raven hits a piledriver through the table for three for the first fall at 2:18. Thirty second rest period. Double DDT by the heels on Pitbull #2. Raven gets two off of that, before Pitbull #1 breaks it up. Steviekick hits Pitbull #1, and that gets two. Another cover gets two. Pitbull #2 drags a table in the ring. The Pitbulls set up for the superbomb on Stevie, and they TOSS him through the table. A cover gets three at 4:22. No time wasted here. Brawl into the crowd, as Raven begins destroying Pitbull #2. Pitbull #1 beats on Stevie, who is absolutely covered in blood. Pitbull #1 hits him with a frying pan. Richards gets a chairshot to come back. Pitbulls regroup and go for the tables, pre-Dudley era. Pitbull #2 sets it up, and oh my, a ref bump. Enter the Dudleys, when they were Big Dick and Dances with Dudley. They set up stereo superbombs on the Pitbulls from the heels. Pitbulls no sell, and stand up. Stereo double DDTs on all four of the heels. The Pitbulls superbomb both Dudleys, thus killing them and eliminating them from the match. Pitbulls set up another table. They set up the superbomb through the table on Raven, and when Pitbull #2 hits it, the back of Raven's head hits the edge of the tablein a sick bump. That gets two. Pitbulls don't know what to do. Interchanging Pitbulls and Pitbulls Suck chants. That's the ECW Arena for you. Raven smothers Pitbull #2 with an ether rag. There are two tables stacked on the outside, and Raven drops a leg from the second turnbuckle. He doesn't break the first table, and on the second try he breaks the second. Both men are out. In the ring, Stevie goes to the top, but Pitbull #1 pulls him off by the chain, and then gives him a suplex through the table. Raven breaks it up before three, as he's freed himself from the dog collar. Beulah is in the ring, as Pitbull #2 gets stretched out. Richards' ex-girlfriend, who looks to be Francine, fights Beulah but Raven evenflows her. They take Pitbull #2 out, and Tommy Dreamer comes into the ring. He beats on Raven, finally giving him a ballshot and a DDT for three. Styles claims, "we have new champions!" Dreamer pins Raven "clean" in the center of the ring. Bill Alfonso comes out, in his rule-instituting referee capacity, and insists that Tommy Dreamer has *never* pinned Raven. He awards the tag titles to Raven and Richards, but Tod Gordon, the commissioner, comes out and he restarts the match. Dreamer takes a chokeslam from Big Dick Dudley, who is standing on crutches in the ring for this exact purpose, and Bill Alfonso therefore *allows* the chokeslam for the night. Big mistake, Bill. Instantly the chokeslamming 911 does his thing on Alfonso, to a monster pop. ECW chant for that piece of storyline. Pitbull #2 comes back out, and they set Richards up for the superbomb. Then they get Raven up on Pitbull #2, while Stevie sits on his shoulders and takes the huge superduperbomb, which sounds better than it looked. Anyway, that, of course, gets three, and the Pitbulls are the new ECW tag team champions in 19:24. ****3/4 The faces pose, fade out. Whew. What a great brawl. The element of storyline in this match really carried it. The first angle that is going in the match is the stipulations angle. From the beginning, Raven and Richards are the underdogs, even as heels. The 2/3 falls stipulation is added to level the playing field, and it is from this moment that Raven's dominance begins. This match puts Raven over huge, and that makes it all the more captivating when Dreamer pins him, sewing up that magnificent piece of storyline. All the guys worked hard, and the table element was seamless in a time in which tables weren't as popular. The additional factor of the dog-collar just increases the difficulty of a match like this being good. All the guys worked stiff, except the Dudleys, and the beating that the Pitbulls gave the champs was instrumental. After the champs are all but beat, and in Richards' case bloodied, it necessitates the outside interference to mount the comeback. And Paul E. blows off the angle like the opposition to the NWO never could, and with more pathetic faces. I mean, the faces in this match are a bunch of blockheads, and yet they are all tremendously over as a result of the success of the angle. The finish, with 911 chokeslamming Alfonso was another great blowoff. The match gets docked a * for the spottiness of the first falls and the Dusty finish, but regains it with the angle that finishes it. Truly one of the best matches of the 90s.
I won't predict Starrcade, but I officially predict Steiner will carry Sid to a good match with the company on the line.
Let me know what you think: email@example.com.
Mail the Author
Comment about this article on the EZBoard