|WWE in New York
|Guest columnist: Jonathan Leung
NOT JUST PURORESU LOVE (MSG HOUSE SHOW VERSION)
In this edition of "Not Just Puroresu Love", I will take a look at the June 29th WWE Madison Square Garden house show that I attended. Of course, all sarcasm and opinions reflect the stupidity of myself and not the others.
Me and my good friend and sidekick DAVE head down to Manhattan around 3:30 and arrive near the Garden around 4:30. Since we have time to kill, we walk the 8-9 blocks to the place formely known as WWF New York. When we got there, the place was packed. Apparently Booker T and Hulk Hogan signed autographs earlier in the day and it's a damn shame I missed out on that. Yes, that was sarcasm. Anyways, for those who care about these things, they were selling a lot of those fancy shirts you see on television like Kurt Angle "You Suck", Triple H "Pain Is Temporary", and Undertaker "Big Evil Red Devil." And the Stone Cold Steve Austin merchandise was toned down a lot....basically, you had to search to find his stuff.
Afterwards, we walked back to the Garden and waited for the show to start. While waiting around among the masses, Dave noticed that there were a lot of people wearing red Hogan shirts....a lot. Too many for my liking. Almost disturbing. After a while, we get let into the building and our seats around 6:40 and just shoot the breeze until the 7:30 start time. And well, paint me red and call me Sally, the show actually started on time. Okay, maybe not, it was actually 7:32 and 39 seconds when HOWARD FINKEL ran down the aisle to the tune of Guns 'N Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle."
Finkel ran down his usual rules and regulations, which was ignored by the fans with a loud "Hogan" chant. After the musical national anthem and a fireworks display that you see on Velocity, we were off with our first match, which was...
DUDLEY BOYZ (BUBBA RAY & SPIKE) vs. WILLIAM REGAL & CHRIS NOWINSKI
Good pop for Dudley Boyz, Version 2.0....decent heel heat for Regal and Nowinski. Good match to kick off the show, partially helped by the good crowd heat. Nowinski pulled off a cool looking move on Spike, which I can describe only as a double underhook into a spinning neckbreaker. After the hot tag to Bubba Ray, all hell breaks loose, Bubba gets the table, but Nowinski hits his finisher (side full nelson bomb) on Spike for the victory. The Dudleyz get their heat back with Bubba powerbombing Nowinski through the table.
D'LO BROWN vs. JUSTIN CREDIBLE
Credible gets an initial pop for his hometown of Ozone Park, NY, but gets booed upon appearance. D'Lo gets an average pop. The match itself wasn't anything special and had no heat to it. D'Lo gets on the offense after a while and hits Sudden Impact, his spinning Bossman slam of sorts. This gets two, but D'Lo eventually hits the Sky-Hi powerbomb for the pinfall.
BRADSHAW vs. SHAWN STASIAK (WWE HARDCORE TITLE)
Bradshaw gets a good pop while you can hear the crickets talking about Budweiser beer during Stasiak's entrance. Okay hardcore match when the big schmozz occurs. STEVEN RICHARDS comes down and hits the Stevenkick on Bradshaw. Stasiak then gets the pinfall. He's your NEW Hardcore Champion. But wait! SPIKE DUDLEY comes down and hits the Dudley Dogg and pins Stasiak. Spike is your NEW Hardcore Champion. Richards then comes back in and Stevenkicks Spike and gets the pin. Richards is your NEW Hardcore Champion. But of course, Bradshaw is right behind Richards and hits the Clothesline from Hell and gets the pinfall. So after all this, Bradshaw is still your Hardcore Champion. Thrilling, I know.
TRISH STRATUS vs. MOLLY HOLLY (WWE WOMENS TITLE)
Molly gets good heat and Trish's puppies get a huge pop....along with Trish herself. And don't look now, but this match didn't suck at all. Except for one obvious blown kick by Trish, everything was pretty good. Trish goes for the Stratusfaction Bulldog, but Molly counters with a backdrop suplex and pins Trish with her feet on the ropes.
MATT HARDY vs. RAVEN
Raven gets an average response while the girls and their mothers go wild for the more grounded Hardy. Match started out slow, but got good towards the end. Raven even stole Matt's Twist of Fate and used it against him (blasphemy!). After missing a mocking Hardy Boyz legdrop from the second rope, Matt hits the Twist of Fate for the victory. Raven gets back what little heat he has after the match by laying out Matt. Whoopee.
As the referees help Matt up, BROCK LESNAR and PAUL E. make their way down the aisle and of course, Lesnar can't leave poor Matt alone and lays him out good. This leads to...
RIC FLAIR vs. BROCK LESNAR
Lesnar gets the "Ooooh, he just won that tournament" pop while the crowd goes nuts for the Nature Boy. Decent match with Flair bumping for Lesnar and making him look ten times better than he really is. End comes when CHRIS F'N BENOIT comes out and distracts Flair, long enough for Brock to hit his F5 finisher for the victory. Afterwards, Benoit traps Flair in the Crippler Crossface and smiles. What a man.
Intermission time. They show a Trish video to a Sheryl Crow song that nobody probably likes. They also show behind-the-scenes stuff about the latest edition of the WWE Magazine with Brock on the cover. They also hype the July 15 RAW in New Jersey, which I will be at...fortunately or unfortunately.
TOMMY DREAMER vs. STEVEN RICHARDS
Hometown pop for Dreamer since he's from Yonkers and Richards gets mild reaction. Crowd wasn't into this match and rightfully so because to use CRZ's line, this match was the pretzels! After what seemingly was an eternity, Richards hits the Stevenkick for the victory.
ROB VAN DAM vs. EDDIE GUERRERO (WWE IC TITLE: LADDER MATCH)
Oh thank you God, thank you thank you thank you thank you. Eddie comes out to good heel heat and RVD gets the monster pop. And as you expect, these two tore it up big time. They used two ladders in some pretty cool ways, mind you. Eddie hit a couple of somersault senton splashs on RVD with ladders and hit the very cool sunset flip powerbomb off the ladder to a "Holy Shit" chant. RVD would not be outdone, moonsaulting onto the ladder and Eddie....trying Rolling Thunder and missing onto the ladder. CHRIS F'N BENOIT once again graces us with his presense, but RIC FLAIR comes out to even the odds. Benoit accidently hits Eddie with the ladder, allowing RVD to climb and retrieve the belt. One of the best matches I've seen live. It wasn't no Shawn-Razor, but it was good enough for me. On the star system, it was about **** 1/4
BOOKER T & GOLDUST vs. X-PAC & BIG SHOW
Goldust gets an average pop while Book gets a pretty big pop. The nWo get a mixed reaction. Decent match with some comedy played into it, with Goldust doing his own version of the Bronco Buster and literally grinding his midsection into X-Pac's face. Well, that's for children's eyes. In the end, Book gets the hot tag, cleans house, does the Spinaroonie, and gets the win over X-Pac with the Book End. After the match, Book wants Goldust to do a Spinaroonie and with the urging of the crowd, Dustin obliges and does an average one to a big pop.
UNDERTAKER vs. HULK HOGAN (WWE UNDISPUTED TITLE)
Jim Ross was announced as OUR special ring announcer. I was waiting for him to say something about Austin and how good he is like he does in all his Ross Reports, but alas, no Austin ass-kissing. Hogan comes out first and gets the insane pop of the night. Taker comes out to a mixed reaction. Match was better than Judgment Day but not by much. After a ref bump, Hogan hulks up after a chokeslam and hits the boot/legdrop. Ref slowly counts, but VINCE MCMAHON comes out and breaks up the count. Hogan then takes off his belt and takes forever to hit Vince while waitng for Taker to regain his wind. Taker finally gets up and hits a chokeslam for the pinfall. Crowd is not happy.
Hogan then gets his revenge by driving Taker out of the ring. And now is the time when he poses and poses and poses for us all. Decently funny moment as Hogan, in a way, mocks his own match by posing and telling the crowd to wake up at the same time. Crowd eats up his posing with a spoon and that's it.
I would say the house show was a good event, even though it wasn't even close to being a sellout. And I did get my Undertaker "Big Evil Red Devil" t-shirt so I walked away happy.
Thank you and have a horrible day.