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Alex Carnevale




That's great it starts with an earthquake...

10. WCW gimmick talk-Chavo Guerrero Jr. could have something on his hands if he tries to do a total rudo gimmick, beating Eddy to the punch. Lance Storm needs to move away from the Canada v. USA thing, because there are a million other ways for the character, not the gimmick, to be the heel. I like the Canadian Maple Leaf. I think Jindrak and O'Haire should break up, because I think Sean O'Haire will be a major star in this business. He's got to stop doing that Seanton Bomb, and start working singles matches. He's way more talented than anybody else in the Natural Born Thrillers. What's with the weird Italian emphasis with Vito and Reno. They can get over as straight tough guys, but the Italian edge makes them looking like the fucking FBI.

9.5. I don't understand why no one has ever brought in Ohtani for an extended stay in the U.S. He'd get over big here.

8. By the way, the Rick's choice of Rock-HHH Iron Man as not only match of the year (???) but also better than Hart-Michaels had me pissing my pants. I mean, the match was good, but neither guy is even in the same league as Hart or Michaels, even if Bret wouldn't sell the arm injury the way we all know he could. It's still a far better match. They had no falls and it was never boring. Just an unbelievable execution of pacing and durability. The Rock-HHH match, however good, cannot touch either of the HHH-Foley encounters at the beginning of this year. I also want to know why Backlash wasn't even in his top three pay-per-views list. Probably some sort of memory loss. I shit on Fully Loaded. Except for the two **** matches.

7. Wrestlemania X-SEVEN Card: When they do Rock/Austin will they do it for the title? At this point I imagine they'll work it off Royal Rumble happenings, but the best possible scenario at this point would have been to have Rikishi finish off the Austin thing with a few more jobs and then push him into Hell in a Cell the same way it happened. That way HHH would have still been a face, and they could have really paid off the HHH-Angle storyline at Wrestlemania in a title matchup. Angle could have done the big time job. Now, I have no idea what they'll do. Rock-Austin babyface match is their only real money match down the road, leading to Austin returning the job the Rock did to him at Wrestlemania XV. Austin can turn heel thereafter and start putting Benoit over for the rest of the year by giving him a good go of it. I mean, Austin-HHH didn't sell with that abysmal Survivor Series buyrate. They should change Survivor Series to a yearly tournament for the number one contender to the WWF Title, because right now, the current format is not working. I think the HIAC should be used every Armageddon as a Wargames type match. You'll never duplicate the amazing stuff done at HIAC I, II, IV, so make it a tradition. It'll sure drive up that Armageddon buyrate. You could even stick it at a different time in the year, to break up the slow period in September with a big buyrate and a huge PPV.

6. I purchased the Rock's book in paperback and I recommend it to some extent. It definitely wasn't worth buying in hardcover, but the description of Rock and Austin planning the match at Wrestlemania XV is worth a look. Rock also describes how there was a plan to have Rock-Austin main event for a few more months, and build to some gimmick matches, meaning, presumably, Iron Man. The positive to that coin is that Rock has never beaten Austin, and they can hype that for WM. I'd still like to see some of those long Austin matches, like Austin-Bret from Survivor Series '95. I watched that baby a few days ago. What a match, my god.

5. The ladder match-Discuss. I buy the Summerslam 2000 DVD, which is without a doubt pay-per-view of the year by the way (I previously thought Backlash, but SS was that much better with its top matches), and enjoy it immensely. The three way title match is a great bit of improvisation on HHH and Rock's part, and an excellent match, besting the three-way at the previous year's Summerslam. But more to the point-there is no question in my mind that the Wrestlemania Ladder Match was superior to the Summerslam TLC match. In a cool way, the matches are kind of like Hell in a Cell I and Hell in a Cell II. Sure, the bumps in the Ladder Match weren't quite as spectacular, but they were more numerous and well though out then the TLC ones. The Ladder Match did have the "get the tables!" lag time, but ultimately the superior storyline of the Ladder Match makes it the favorite in my book. That ladder match was the most well-executed triple switch in history. The Dudleys, heels going in to the match, turn dead on face. The Hardyz become tweeners after being total faces, although they reverted back to the face characterization to finish the feud. And E/C went from being nobody tweeners to being the hottest tag team in the business. Now that's a match. I realize I have just repeated a comment from #6 and I want to apologize to Bob Ryder for any discomfort, anal or otherwise, that it may have caused him.

4.5. I know there is a general sense that Rob Van Dam is overrated, but I read something on Wrestleline of all places that made me think. RVD's matches are generally very long, and in any transition to the Big Tow, he'd have to do a different matches then he is used to. TO a certain extent everyone has to adapt.

4. I am as sick as the next guy of the WCW revitalization comments. I feel very strongly that the WWF is in a bit of a bind right now. They seem to not know how to stop. The McMahon stuff is not working. The HHH as heel again stuff is not working. Angle as WWF champion is not working. Right to Censor is definitely not working. Meanwhile, WCW is doing some important things right. Steiner-Flair is really working. Mike Sanders is working. Gen. Rection, to my surprise, isn't working badly. Steiner-Goldberg will work when it comes time. If they keep on the Steiner-Flair track and pay it off nicely at the February Sin or Greed or whatever the fuck it's called, they could be winning in the ratings by the summer. That quick. Steiner-Goldberg could be the Bash at the Beach main down the road, I guess. I think they'll cut to the middle of the streak by putting Goldberg in a marathon type match—or else they are waiting until next Starrcade to blow off Steiner-Goldberg, which would be kind of cool.

3. Who will Chris Benoit fight at WM? My pick at this point is Undertaker. I think Benoit is early in this year's Rumble and he pulls out a DiBiase-like performance to save the thing after pulling out a killer match with Jeff Hardy on the undercard. I guess I was in the minority, but I didn't like last year's Rumble. The ending was really good, with X-Pac taking his last two good bumps, but the middle sucked. In the Rumble, it's important that there be some kind of storyline-and not just a bunch of midcarders waiting around until the Rock comes into the picture. I figure Benoit will save the Rumble. He's the only man that can do it. If they do the match for the title, the star power is incredible: Rock-Austin-Benoit-Jericho-Angle-HHH-Undertaker-Kane-Big Show (maybe).

2. Who has had the most ****+ matches in his career? There has always been a lot of debate about who the greatest wrestler in the history of the business has been, but off the top of my head, it's interesting to compare the top guys in the 90s, at least. Here's the list I came up with for Bret: ***** v. Owen (WM 10), ***** v. Owen (Summerslam '94), ***** v. Michaels (WM 12), ***** v. Bulldog, ****3/4 v. Austin (Survivor Series '95), ****1/2 v. Austin (WM 13), ***** v. Benoit (Owen Hart Tribute Match). That's a hell of a body of work, just off the top of my head. And then think of all the guys he carried to decent matches when he could have dogged it: Diesel, DDP, Kane when he was Isaac Yankem, Hakushi, Jean-Pierre LaFitte, Bob Backlund, Undertaker. I think Bret Hart deserves some respect. In every aspect of the business he was more of a stand up guy than Shawn Michaels, and he was just in better physical condition to put on the show than Austin. Bret carried the WWF through its worst time and Austin through its best, but they both deserve equal measure of credit for teaching the young guys and putting on the greatest matches of the decade.

1. Shawn Michaels' return: I guess they don't know how they would do this, if they were to do this, but there's an easy way to do it. Have Michaels benefit someone who deserves it—either Jericho or Benoit. It would be cool to see him forming a group with both of them, but let's play out a situation with Benoit. Michaels is pissed at Austin because h ended his career. He sees his best hope in Benoit,, so he fucks around with Benoit and tries to play with Mick to get him title shots once Austin has the belt. Then Michaels turns on Benoit, setting up a Michaels-Benoit match. And then if Shwn can go a few more times, have him fight The Rock just to get some history in the books. That seems pretty simple. I would have advocated Michaels' return as helping Jericho destroy Austin, but they blew that shot real badly.

If there is a person on this earth who didn't see Jack-HHH streetfight, pick up 2000's Most Memorable Matches and watch it. It's got the double Fully Loaded main event as well, which is worth checking out. Here is a recap of the match and why it's so great.

CACTUS JACK v. HHH (WWF Title Streetfight)-WWF Royal Rumble 2000

Foley gets sort of a mediocre face pop here. No matter how much this guy gives he still gets a bloody Tazz pop in MSG. HHH looks like he's getting ready to shit his pants, I'll give him that. Psych-out mind games get HHH in trouble early. Foley doesn't look in good shape here. Ross calls Jack "Mankind." Swinging neckbreaker from Foley on the outside. Legdrop send HHH back outside. HHH gets slammed to the stairs and his bell gets run. Jack stares at HHH with a chair in the ring. Echoes of last year, says Ross, even though he wasn't there. HHH kills Jack with a chairshot. Foley clotheslines him. He puts the chair on HHH's face and legdrops it for two. I don't think they should have involved chairs in the IC Title matchup earlier on the card, because it weakens their use here. On the outside, HHH slams Jack to the barricade. Jack backdrops HHH off a charge to the concrete. Nice bump. They move through the crowd to the entry-way area. HHH gets thrown into the bricks. Foley suplexes HHH hard on a wood pallet. HHH gets a trashcan to the head. Jack throws HHH into the entry way hard. And again. Then he bashes him against the entrance way door hard. HHH is a great seller. HHH belly-to-backs Foley to the floor. Jack punches away. He makes that freakish indyish noise whenever he does that as Jack. Jack goes into the stairs with his knee, but apparently he hit HHH as well. Foley whips out the barbed wire lumber from under the ring. Great storyline, as they wrestle, then brawl, then take it to the next level. HHH gets the lumber and hits Foley with it several times. Foley hits him in the gut, crotches him with the lumber, and then double-arm DDTs him. Spanish commentators hide the barbed wire lumber, and in the ring HHH kicks out. Jack wants the barbed wire 2 X 4, and he hits the Spanish commentator. Ref bump, and then Foley hits him in the FACE. Jack distracts crowd as HHH blades. Foley comes down with the lumber. His leg also bleeds. Triple H GUSHES. They go around the ring, and Foley gets backdropped on the announcer's table HARD. HHH controls back in the ring as he bleeds all over the place. HHH goes for the pedigree, but gets a double A takedown and a slingshot to the turnbuckle for his troubles. His calf bleeds. Ugh. Bulldog on the barbed wire by Jack for two. Crowd pops for the false finish this early. Outside, Cactus takes a vicious upside down bump to his knee off a hiptoss on the outside. then Jack goes knee first into the steps with prejudice. Chopblock on Jack from the WWF champ. HHH back in the ring, and he is shaky. HHH goes after the knee. HHH sells like a champ still, and clocks Mick in the leg a few times with the barbed wire lumber. HHH rolls out of the ring and *gets the handcuffs*. They move in sequence here: Wrestling, Brawling, Brutal Brawling, Bleeding, History. This match's storyline builds and builds. He ties Jack up in the handcuffs after some dissent, and punches him in the face, hard. HHH's selling still amazes me, and I've seen the match a few times. HHH brings the steps into the ring. HHH tries to hit him with the stairs but Jack whips out a drop toehold. Oh Jesus. HHH charges to the corner, but Mick kicks him in the face, headbutts his groin, and tries to bite his ear off. Clothesline from HHH puts him back on the offensive. Chairshot. Another. Outside the ring. Another. Foley is bleeding and asking for another. Rock comes out of the entranceway and hits HHH with a chair to a small pop. A cop unlocks the handcuffs. Foley hammers him. What will HHH do at this point? Foley piledrives him like a MOTHERFUCKER on the Spanish announce table. HHH is dead. This is the sell job of the year. Triple H is the man. Foley has to literally carry him back to the ring. Foley gets a bag of tacks out from under the ring. More history, see? Stephanie McMahon comes out because she is afraid. Jack hits HHH, and on a charge gets backdropped onto the tacks. Pedigree by HHH gets two. Crowd is living Foley at this point. FOLEY FOLEY FOLEY chants abound. But HHH gets ANOTHER pedigree on the thumbtacks and 1, 2, 3. HHH retains in about 29 minutes of what was one of the sickest brawls I have ever seen. ***** Simply epic.

Foley, even if he lacks as a technical wrestler by his own admission, is one of the greatest storytellers I have ever seen in the ring, and I'm glad he's teaching it to Helmsley. HHH does a stretcher job to totally sell the match. Jack follows him out, brings the stretcher back to the ring and throws him to the apron. He rolls him back in the ring and whips out the barbed wire. He clocks him. Post-match activities would boost this match higher on the star scale, but that's as high as it goes. I still think Foley should have gone over here. I see why they did it-that way HHH could put the strap up against Foley's career. It's too bad they were doing this before Wrestlemania, I would have paid to see these guys put on matches for months.

In terms of Foley brawls, here's a quick top ten:

10. Cactus Jack v. Sting, Beach Blast '92 (Falls Count Anywhere Match)
9. Cactus Jack v. Terry Funk, Japan (Barbed Wire Match)
8. Dude Love v. Steve Austin, Unforgiven '98
7. Mankind v. The Rock, St. Valentine's Day Massacre '99 (Last Man Standing Match)
6. Mankind v. The Rock, Royal Rumble '99 ("I Quit" Match)
5. Dude Love v. Steve Austin, Over the Edge '98 (Falls Count Anywhere Match)
4. Mankind v. The Undertaker, King of the Ring '98 (Hell in a Cell Match)
3. Cactus Jack v. Triple H, No Way Out '00 (Hell in a Cell Match)
2. Mankind v. Shawn Michaels, IYH Mind Games '96
1. Cactus Jack v. Triple H, Royal Rumble '00 (Streetfight)

I think it's Mick Foley's greatest match. If you disagree, let me know at

Alex Carnevale

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Guest column text copyright (C) 1999 by the individual author and used with permission