Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Colt & PAC & Generico; Oh My!

Colt Cabana, PAC, & El Generico
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

All American Pro Wrestling in southern Illinois is gearing up for its biggest show ever.  And I'm proud to say that I am a part of it.  For those who don't know or remember, I do color commentary for our biweekly AAPW Collision.  Click here to watch on line.

Anyway, on January 14, 2012 it's AAPW Main Event.  And the company has sought out three of indy wrestling's biggest names.  Colt Cabana, PAC, and El Generico will all be featured on the card.  It should be an epic evening of fast paced, high energy, family friendly, and fun wrestling.

Of course these three stars will supplement the roster of talented young men (and a couple of women, it's one of AAPW's first ladies matches) in the new year.  I'm looking forward to being able to call the action.  It's my hope that the three big name guys coming in, along with our current stars will help make for a memorable evening in Marion.  The show by the way is at 6:45 p.m. at Black Diamond Harley Davidson.  Tickets are cheap too, so you can bring the whole family.

My broadcast colleague and AAPW Executive Producer Chris Hagstrom had this to say about the announcement, "We know our fans love seeing our local performers, but bringing in stars like Cabana, El Generico, and PAC, who are recognized not only nationally, but internationally, as well, will only enhance the caliber of our show and the experience of the fans."

I'll be honest with you, up until about a month ago, I had no idea who PAC was.  Adam Testa, AAPW marketing director, sent me a link to some of his matches.  You can check that out by clicking here.  PAC is an amazing talent in the ring.  His high intensity moves should keep fans on the edge of their seats throughout the night.

I know a little bit more about El Generico.  Chad has talked about him and shared a few DVDs with me featuring Generico.  Most recently he was the Ring of Honor TV Champion.  Although he never had a chance to successfully defend that title (he lost it to Jay Lethal in his first defense), I like his style.  He should add something special to the evening on the 14th of January.

Chad & Colt in 2008
Then there's Boom Boom Colt Cabana.  I'm a fan of his having listened to his podcast "The Art of Wrestling" for the last few months and of course looking up some of his matches on line.  Colt had a very brief run in the WWE as Scotty Goldman a couple of years ago.  But with the recent rebellion by CM Punk on Raw, we've heard Colt's name dropped a couple of times on air.  It would be great to see him come back to the E without some lame ass gimmick, but for the time being, I'm enjoying his work in the indies and listening to his always entertaining podcast.

Me & the champ!
 The evening will also feature AAPW champion, Edmund "Livewire" McGuire defending his title against whoever is deemed the number one contender on the December 10th episode of Collision.  It'll either be the 450 pound Mississippi Madman or "The Old School Warrior" Ax Allwardt.  That'll be a great match too.

Mike Masters has been on a big losing streak and has been pointing the finger of blame at me.  Find out on the 10th why exactly he thinks it's my fault that he's losing, and what he intends to do about it.

Again, I appreciate those of you who read the blog and support us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Please check out AAPW on Facebook as well and like the page.  They'll be giving away prizes when they reach benchmarks too.

Monday, November 28, 2011

No Mo' JoMo?

Morrison at Wrestlemania 24 (MITB)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

It appears that John Morrison is wrapping up his time with WWE this week.  I must say that I'm not surprised by this information, but I am very disappointed.  I enjoyed Morrison's career in the WWE, specifically his time teaming with the Miz and then in his singles career.

Morrison was one of my picks to shine in 2011.  But I think sometimes backstage politics plays more into a wrestler's fate than his or her ability in the ring or on the microphone.  It seemed like things were going well for the former ECW, Intercontinental, and tag team champion prior to Wrestlemania 27.  Some have speculated that it was his comments about Melina not being booked on the show and Trish Stratus and Snooki being in a match lead to his descent.  Obviously I'm not an insider and don't know for sure, but I would have to assume that certainly didn't help his standings within the company.

Morrison may be one of, if not the most athletic wrestler on the WWE roster right now.  I'm still impressed with some of the moves he has come up with in terms of using his Parkour training.  Sometimes Michael Cole seemed a little too obsessed with it, but it was quite the display.  I'm especially remembering how he stayed in the 2011 Royal Rumble by hanging on to the ring barrier and leaping back into the ring.



Morrison's only flaw in my book was that he was not a superstar on the mic.  But I'm still old school and don't believe that everyone has to cut a great promo to get over.  I would have turned him heel and paired him up with a manager to do the talking for him.  In fact, earlier in the year I wrote a piece that paired Morrison and Melina up with Ric Flair as their manager.

But hey, with the Shaman of Sexy's pending departure and Melina's already out of the WWE, this could happen if the two end up in Impact Wrestling.  I know JoMo has said he will announce plans in the near future, I would not be surprised to see him in TNA.  This would be one acquisition by Dixie Carter and the gang that I would support.

Leaving an autograph signing during WM 24 weekend
Morrison is still relatively young too, so I wouldn't rule out a return to the WWE at some point in the future, even if he was "killed off" in Episode 41 of the Z! True Long Island Story.  I thought and still think he is one of the best things going in terms of guys on the rise.  And although it's unlikely he is actually reading this, best wishes to JoMo in whatever he decides to do.  Glad to say I got to see him wrestle at several Wrestlemanias over the last few years.

Post your thoughts here, or on Facebook or Twitter.  Also, subscribe to My 1-2-3 Cents on YouTube.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Once Bitten

The snake bites back
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

I know I'm a couple of days late on this, but I'm plum out of ideas right now, so I'm digging into the archives for this one.  November 23, 1991 that Jake "the Snake" Roberts commanded his pet cobra to sink his fangs into the arm of "Macho Man" Randy Savage.  It happened on WWF Superstars.  Vince McMahon and Roddy Piper watched in horror doing the commentary after Roberts called Savage from the broadcast position. The lovely Elizabeth was helpless outside the ring.  Watch for yourself if you've never seen it, or relive the experience.



Savage had been "retired" at the time, after losing to the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania 7.  He spent his time on commentary with Vince and Piper in the meantime.  Once Savage got to the ring though, he was attacked by the Snake and wrapped up in the ropes.

Jake then pulls out the cobra and allows it to bite Savage.  The WWF flashed a large red X with the word censored across it.  The only other time I remember them censoring something like that was when Ron Bass sliced and diced Brutus Beefcake's head with a pair of spurs a couple years prior.

No censoring here.
The cobra incident was one of those defining moments in WWF Superstars history, because back then very little happened on the show, as most of the matches were squash ones.  It lead to a great feud between Savage and Roberts as Macho Man finally got reinstated to wrestle.  The incident also lead to the eventual face turn of the Undertaker.

While it was one of those "it can only happen in wrestling" type of moments, it was one that has stuck in my memory ever since.  I was in college at the time, so it's a lot easier for me to remember those types of things.  About a year later WCW tried to relive the incident when Roberts wrestled Sting in a Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal match at Halloween Havoc '92.  It had been too closely associated with the first attack, and took away from the event WCW was putting on.

Who remembers this incident?  Post your comments here or on Facebook or Twitter.  Also, subscribe to My 123 Cents on YouTube.  Thanks!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday: Wrestling Style

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Since it's Black Friday, I've decided to hope onto the bandwagon with a look at some fun wrestling rated products.  If any of you are so moved to buy anything for me, my shirt size is XL.  Just kidding.  Hope you enjoy some of these things I found.

I love gnomes and I love wrestling.  A natural fit, right?  Of course.  WWEShop now has seven different ones to chose from.  John Cena, the Undertaker, Triple H (as the King of Kings), CM Punk, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Hornswoggle, and a fist pumping Zack Ryder.

WWWYGnome It
Of the ones offered, I like the Punk one the best.  The Cena one is pretty neat too.  I'm kind of surprised they didn't make a Rock one.

The gnomes sell for $29.99 each.  They're made of resin and stand about 11 and a half inches tall, and weigh a pound and a half.  They're a little pricey, but I'd add one to my front yard just for kicks.  Punk could lecture my other gnomes about how he's the best in the yard.

80's wrestlers from Hirsute History

Typically I don't wear wrestling t shirts.  I have nothing against them, in fact I own a couple, including a Captain Charisma one Chad gave me a while back.  I also have a jersey from Wrestlemania 22 that I bought as a souvenir.  But the tshirts I found on the Hirsute History website are really cool.  I've never seen a design like this before, the silhouette of each star's head is just awesome. I like the yellow and red colors too.  Very eye catching. But if those colors don't float  your boat, don't worry, Hirsute offers a variety of colors.  There's also a line of hoodies, fitted t's, and messenger bags.  The tshirts are $15.99, not a bad price considering most WWE Shop tshirts are about 30 bucks.  The hoodies are $35.99.  In addition to the 80's wrestlers, which include Andre the Giant, Hacksaw Duggan, Hulk Hogan, Junkyard Dog, Mean Gene, Rick Rude, and Roddy Piper; there are also musicians, scientists, presidents, and "commies".

From Coltmerch.com, drawn by Jill Thompson
Earlier this year I started listening to the Colt Cabana podcast.  It's an interesting listen, if you haven't heard it yet, I'd recommend it.  Each week during the show, he talks about his website for merchandise, Colt Merch.  One it, you'll find all kinds of cool items featuring "Boom Boom", but my favorite is the Stick Figure Wrestling tshirt.  It shows you the different types of wrestlers, in stick form, leading up to professional wrestler with Colt's head on top of the stick figure body.  Pretty cool.  This shirt runs for $20, still not a bad price for a shirt.  There's also a poster version for 10 bucks.  Colt's site is pretty cool, and hats off to him for doing such a great job of marketing himself.  By the way, I'm looking forward to meeting him at the AAPW Main Event show on January 14, 2012 in Marion, Illinois.


Kerry Von Erich/Texas Tornado by Mattell 
When I was a kid I collected, well actually played with the LJN wrestling "dolls".  In fact, I'm going to write a piece up on my collection at some point.  As I got older, I switched to the Hasbro figures, but didn't play with them and left them on the card.  Same deal with the Jakks figures.  I don't have a whole lot, but I do have some.  I now have my eyes on the new Kerry Von Erich/Texas Tornado figures by Mattel.  Regular readers know I'm a Von Erich mark, and was a superfan of Kerry.  I like the Mattel and Jakks action figures, because they get into more details of the wrestlers.  They also are more movable and from a kid's perspective, they're easier to play with.  But the old school in me loves the LJN figures too.  I have not seen these figures on store shelves yet, and online they are selling for $29.99.  Not prepared to pay that kind of price for an action figure.  I'll keep looking at the stores.


Wrestling meets bowling on Wrestlecrap
Bowling and wrestling aren't two things you'd think could go together, but there's a fan of everything I suppose.  I came across these custom made bowling pins on the Wrestlecrap website.  There's a section called "Someone Bought This" on the site and these pins are really unique.  A fan made them, and judging from the characters used, I'm guessing it's circa 1988 or so.  There's Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, the Ultimate Warrior, Demolition, Jake the Snake Roberts, Brutus Beefcake, Rick Rude, Honkytonk Man, and Randy Savage.  A very cool collection, and the person who bought them paid $200.

Obviously this is the tip of the iceberg for wrestling merch out there.  These are just a few things that caught my eye this morning after coming up with the idea.  What are some of your favorites?  Post here or let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The New 2/21/11

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger

I know this is late, I'm finally getting caught up on Raw from earlier in the week.  Earlier this year, the WWE released a video that became known as the 2/21/11 promo.  Many fans speculated that it was foreshadowing the debut of Sting in the WWE.  Others thought it was for the Undertaker.  Turns out they were right, and it lead to the matchup between the Dead Man and Triple H at Wrestlemania 27.

Now, a new mysterious vignette is airing.  Two new promos are actually.  But I think there's no mystery to the one promoting the return of Kane to the WWE.  I think the only thing we'll have to wait to find out is whether the Big Red Machine is coming back with his mask.  Should be interesting, as the character has been around for more than 14 years and continues to evolve.  I suppose going back to his roots could be a good way to potentially mark the beginning of the end for Kane's career (assuming here that he's retiring)

The other interesting promo of the night featured the little boy in a classroom, as he narrates there are various scenes covering his voice.  He talks about a force returning and reclaiming what's rightfully his. The spot ends with the words "It Begins".  The early buzz is leaning toward Chris Jericho returning.  Some sites are already reporting it, saying that the WWE hasn't officially reached a deal with Y2J just yet, but they are confident enough to go ahead with the promotional tactics.

I'm pretty sure we can all guess that it's not Sting (joking).  The promo talks about the return of someone.  I'm also going to make the assumption it's not Kane either, as the mask promo aired the same night, and usually the WWE doesn't run two different vignettes for the same guy in the same night.  Another possibility of course is the Undertaker, but this vignette doesn't seem to fit the mold of the man from the dark side.  Others who fall into that category of being able to return: Batista, Mick Foley (but we already saw him at Raw recently), and JBL (although he seems happily retired).

IF it is Chris Jericho returning, I hope he's brought in to help groom and develop younger talent.  Chris is a great heel, one of the best in the biz, and I'd like to see him pass the torch more so than be the focus of a main event run.

So what do you think?  Is the promo teasing the return of Y2J or the Undertaker?  Or is someone else making a surprise comeback?  Thanks to the Internet, it likely won't be a surprise to anyone once January 2nd gets here.

Comment here or like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and of course, subscribe to the YouTube channel.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The (R) Truth Hurts

That's not awesome. (From WWE.com)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

The November 21, 2011 episode of Raw ended with somewhat of a surprise, in my opinion.  The team of R-Truth and the Miz came to a skull crashing halt.  Early the next morning, it was revealed that R Truth has been suspended for 30 days due to his first Wellness Policy violation.

Of course I'm all for the suspension.  If Truth violated the rules of the company, he should have to pay the consequences for that.  What I don't understand is what is the point of splitting up yet another WWE tag team.  While I doubt Awesome Truth was ever going to win the tag team gold, it was nice to have a heel unit working together.  They could have at least been contenders for the titles and helped beef up a still understaffed division.

Guess it's over. (WWE.com)
Instead now, the Miz has attacked his partner.  Even though the WWE has reported the suspension online, I would guess that the storyline will play out that R-Truth is MIA due to the SCF on the entranceway.  And I know I should wait the 30 days before speculating, but one would assume with the manner he was taken out, that R-Truth will come back as a face and/or feud with the Miz.  Ugh.  I think the smartest thing the WWE ever did with Ron Killings was turn him heel.  He plays that role much better.  The singing, dancing, jolly R-Truth was lame and made me change the channel.  But the paranoid, egocentric, "Lil' Jimmy" hatin' heel was excellent in my view.  He may never be world champ, but I could see the heel Truth as more of an upper card guy than the face version.

What's up? (WWE.com)
But again, we don't know what's going to happen so I don't want to complain too much.  However, why not just have John Cena take him out?  Or the Rock could have done the honors Sunday night at Survivor Series.  Now I feel like the company has painted themselves in a corner with an assumed face turn for Truth.  I know they could just bring him back as a heel and not aligned with the Miz anymore.  But I really enjoy these two together and loved their "You Suck" song.

Okay, enough complaining.  Let's see where we end up in the 30 days.  I hope Truth gets the help he may need (if he does) while he's suspended and fixes whatever it was that caused him to get into trouble. What do you think about the suspension and the attack by the Miz?  Weigh in here or head over to Facebook or Twitter and let us know.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Survivor Series: The Good

Barrett vs. Orton (from WWE.com)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Instead of writing up a negative review of the Survivor Series (which I find myself writing more about the negative things in wrestling), I've decided to write some of the things about the show I enjoyed.  And I'm only going to include the things I really enjoyed.  Afterall, I love wrestling and the original intent of this blog was to share my love for it with you and generate a dialogue.

Still the champ (from WWE.com)
I enjoyed the opening match up between Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison.  I know there was some people anger that Zack Ryder wasn't in the title match, and that's something I address briefly in my video wrap up (the link is at the bottom of this blog).  Dolph and JoMo are two of the best workers in the company right now.  The action was fast paced and well done.  I was glad to see Dolph retain, however, I would not have been opposed to a U.S. title run for Morrison either.

Awesome move! (from WWE.com)
One of my favorite moves of the night came in the Divas title match.  Props to both Beth Phoenix and Eve for the Off the Top Rope GlamSlam (I think that's the name of the move).  Beth looked dominant in this match, just as she should.  I like her as Divas champion.  I really do hope she gets a bit of a run with the belt this time around. And I still maintain a match between she and Kharma would be epic.  I'm hoping that happens at Wrestlemania (assuming Kharma is back by then.) Although some are hoping for a Natalya-Beth matchup.  I prefer these two working together as heels.

Out of action (from WWE.com)
Ouch to Sin Cara.  Hope he recovers quickly, although the estimates I've seen have him on the shelf for up to nine months.  I wonder if they'll go back to having Hunico under the mask and have his character disappear, or will they get another luchador to work the gimmick.  I would imagine Sin Cara is a pretty marketable character among children.

Survivors! (from WWE.com)
Thank goodness Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett survived.  My original picks here were Cody and Dolph, but it appears that Barrett may be getting a decent push finally.  Barrett impressed me in the early days of NXT and even when the Nexus first formed.  But things quickly went south for the superstar.  I hope now they're going to move him to the next level.  I always like to see fresh talent being used at the top, so this is a good thing (or so it appears).  And of course Cody is the Intercontinental champion, and looks pretty impressive so far.

Up, up, and away (from WWE.com)
Big Show took a big risk climbing the top rope.  I must admit, I was quite impressed.  I don't ever recall seeing him do something like that before.  I'm not going to lie, I was nervous as well while he gingerly climbed up to the top rope.  I think the entire room stopped talking to see what was going to happen next.  Thankfully, he didn't meet the same fate as Sin Cara.  I'm glad to see Mark Henry is still the champion, but with the indecisive nature of the outcome, I'm guessing these two will wrap things up at TLC next month.

New champ! (from WWE.com)
CM Punk is the new WWE champion and all is right with the world.  This is not just a good thing, it's a great thing.  Although he's not the original renegade character he was back in the summer, I still enjoy the work Punk does.  Here's to hoping for a long, uninterrupted title reign.  Also, I have to note the awesomeness of bringing Howard Finkel back too. I miss the Fink.

Early Wrestlemania? (from WWE.com)
The Rock is back.  At least for now.  Or at least for Survivor Series, and then again at Wrestlemania.  However, I imagine we'll see him again between here and there.  Some criticized the Rock's return.  I thought he looked great, probably in the best shape of his life.  He more than held his own with the Miz and R-Truth.  While I'm glad he's back, I also am leery about too much praise, as I've said before, where will we be in one year?  Will Rock be competing still?  Doubtful.  But R-Truth and the Miz will, so I worry about the effects on them.  I also liked the reaction John Cena received from the crowd.  I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but I think it's time to turn the guy heel, at least for a bit.  It would be a natural evolution of his character.  And I believe Cena can make it work.

So there you have it, a mostly negative-free Survivor Series analysis.  I get a little more particular in my video post.  Please check it out and subscribe to the YouTube channel.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Survivor Series Predictions


@my123cents on Twitter

Chad wrote up his thoughts on the upcoming Survivor Series, I've decided to kill two birds with one stone and just add my thoughts to his blog.  Two for the price of one.  

Chad: I didn’t finish my Series of Surviving because honestly, I got bored watching the shows. As I hinted at during the 1998 blog, I find the Attitude Era to be almost unwatchable now. And after seeing Steve Austin get ran over with a car in 1999, then reading about 2000 when Austin would get his revenge by dropping a car Triple H was in off a forklift, I just couldn’t take anymore. So instead of more recaps, I’m going to do a very brief prediction blog for the 2011 Survivor Series.

Kevin:  I've said it before, I'll say it again,  I miss the days of the traditional 5 on 5 or 4 on 4 matches.  It was something unique and provided some entertaining matches through the years.

BETH PHOENIX VS. EVE
Chad: Didn’t we just see this match last month? Why can’t they have more than one person positioned to challenge for a title at a time? Instead we get months of the same challenger before that person either wins the title or falls to the bottom of the pack while someone else steps up. This match will be contested under Lumberjill rules. Guessing all the divas will help Eve while attacking Beth. I would have preferred to seen a handicap Survivor Series match with Beth and Nattie vs. Kelly Kelly, Eve, Alicia Fox, AJ and Kaitlyn. But WWE doesn’t ask for my thoughts. Beth Phoenix should retain the title and hold it probably until the Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania at which time Nattie will turn on Beth and start a feud for the Diva’s title.

Kevin: I agree with Chad's thoughts on the lack of vision of the Divas division.  Personally, they could have gone for a Divas elimination match here as well, but since they've released so many of their better Divas, we're stuck in this position.  I have no idea how Kharma is doing or if and when she'll return.  But I'd rather see her and Beth lock up at Mania.  

CM PUNK VS. ALBERTO DEL RIO
Chad: Still not on the Del Rio bandwagon and think Punk’s standing has fallen from where he was prior to Money in the Bank to where he was at the end of the Straight Edge Society breakup. This match could go either way. Given the way WWE has played hot potato with the WWE title I wouldn’t be surprised to see another title change here. Though CM Punk is on a four pay per view losing streak so he doesn’t pose much of a threat. Since Del Rio didn’t want to give him the match, and the less said about the progression of how the match came to be the better. Predicting this will end in either a DQ or no contest so we can get a rematch at TLC in December.

Kevin:  I'd like to see Punk win this one and hold the title until Wrestlemania, but in this world of quick title changes, I don't see that happening.  I was more on the Del Rio bandwagon about nine months ago.  I agree, he hasn't impressed me at all since winning the title, but I don't totally lay blame with him.  I feel like the WWE creative team has something against anyone other than John Cena or Randy Orton with the title.  The only other exception right now is Mark Henry.  Speaking of which....

MARK HENRY VS BIG SHOW
Chad: Once again, a match people paid $50 to see last month gets repackaged and put on the next show so fans can shell out another $50 to see the same match they saw a few weeks ago.   Hopefully the ring crew reinforced the ring this month so there’s no risk of it collapsing again.  Big Show has won the World Title at two Survivor Series events. In 1999 he beat Triple H and the Rock to win the title. Three years later in 2002 he defeated Brock Lesnar for the strap. Will history repeat itself? I would like to see Mark Henry make it to Wrestlemania with the title. But I could see him losing the title only to regain it a month or two later. Still, I think Henry will walk out of Madison Square Garden with the title in hand after inducting another member into the hall of pain.

Kevin:  Mark Henry HAS to retain the title at Survivor Series.  He's on an incredible roll right now and I think the Creative team has done an excellent job of washing off the stink of the Hand Baby, the Sammy incident, and the brief partnership with Hornswoggle.  Henry is the real deal, the best monster heel in the business today.  He's believable, and that's exactly what the WWE Universe needs right now.  We're not seeing it in Del Rio.  I like the idea of Henry retaining and going to Mania as champion too.

DOLPH ZIGGLER VS JOHN MORRISON
Chad: I don’t understand this match. Zack Ryder has been somewhat feuding with Dolph for the past couple months. The fans have jumped onto the Ryder Broski Bandwagon and have been signing an online petition to get Zack a US title shot. On the other hand, John Morrison, since returning from injury, has pretty much been nothing but a jobber to the stars. So who gets the title shot on pay per view? John Morrison. What? Unless there is some bigger picture here that I’m not seeing, this should be an extended squash for Dolph. I’d like to see Morrison get attacked backstage by Jack Swagger then have Ryder take Morrison’s place. But if I were a betting man, I’d put money on Ziggler to retain the title.

Kevin: I'm with Chad here, I don't understand all the build up for Zack Ryder only to have John Morrison get the shot.  While I don't necessarily think that Ryder is ready for a singles title run yet, I do think he's getting the shaft here.  Morrison's star has faded in my view too, with all the recent jobs.  Ziggler is probably my favorite heel on the roster right now, so yeah, I hope he retains.  I think 2012 there are bigger things coming for #Heel.

TEAM ORTON VS TEAM BARRETT
Chad:  If WWE wants to show how hip and pop culture savvy they are, they should get people standing in line to see Breaking Dawn to make team Orton or team Barrett predictions. Randy Orton has a solid track record of winning Survivor Series elimination matches. I’m going to say Cody Rhodes emerges as the sole survivor. Why? Why not.

Kevin: I'm happy we got a 5 on 5 match, even if it's only one.  But hey, it's something, right?  While Chad picks Rhodes, I'd like to see Ziggler not only retain the U.S. title, but win for his team too.  And while we're at it, win the Royal Rumble and face CM Punk for the title.  But I know I've put the horse before the cart.  I could see this one going either way, but as long as Orton isn't the sole Survivor, I'm pretty indifferent to the conclusion.

AWESOME TRUTH VS. THE PEOPLE’S CHAMPS
Chad: I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest Rock fan, nor have I been waiting for him to return to the ring. I think he’s a one-note act and that note has gotten stale already. I still don’t understand the reasoning behind this match. Why would Cena pick Rock to be his partner? Why would Rock accept? My prediction is Rock and Cena will have a breakdown in communication allowing Awesome Truth to get a fluke victory. After the match, Rock will give the Rock Bottom to the Miz while Cena gives an Attitude Adjustment to R-Truth. The show will end with Rock and Cena standing tall staring each other down while the crowd alternates between “Let’s go Rocky,” and “Cena Sucks” chants.

Kevin: I am a fan of the Rock's and I'm glad to see him back in the ring.  That being said though, I don't like the idea of someone who's been gone for so long coming in and making the up and coming talent look bad.  If the Rock was back to stay, that would be one thing.  But one year from now, will the WWE be better off?  I agree with Chad in that I think Awesome Truth will get some sort of fluke win and it will help further the tension between Rock and Cena.  I also don't understand the reasoning or logic behind the choice or why the WWE announced it months ago that the two would team up, but then act like it was a huge surprise.

There you have it, our predictions.  Chad is not too excited about it.  Kevin is mostly indifferent.  What are your thoughts?  Do you agree or disagree?  Are you excited?  Post your comments here, or like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or make up a video response and post it on YouTube.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Silver Anniversary

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

I've been on an unintentional blogging hiatus the last couple of days, mostly because Chad has been writing up reviews of past Survivor Series events.  After a busy Saturday, I'm finally getting to sit down and share some thoughts from 1987.  It's hard to believe that Sunday will be the 25th annual Survivor Series.

I can still remember the first one like it was yesterday.  Well, almost like it was yesterday.  I was a freshman in high school and one of my classmates had ordered the pay per view.  He came to school that Monday after (remember it was on Thanksgiving back then) and talked about the event.  Bobby told me the unimaginable that Monday during lunch.  Hulk Hogan and his team went down in defeat to Andre the Giant's team.  You see, back then I was a devout Hulkamanic and the thought of Hogan losing to Andre made me sick.

I couldn't believe it.  I wouldn't believe it.  At least not until the following Sunday when the results were announced on Superstars.  But at least the Hulkster got some saving grace and attacked the Giant after his team lost.  I couldn't wait for the Survivor Series to come out on VHS.  Again, back then there was no Internet to provide the results and those of us without PPV capability had to wait for the WWF to release events on tape.

That first Survivor Series in 1987 laid the groundwork for what would become one of my favorite PPV concepts.  I loved the idea of the elimination matches, and I'm disappointed the WWE has turned the event into just another PPV.  It started off so unique, but has become so watered down.  It's a major bummer.  I've blogged and vlogged about that in the past, so I won't bore you again with those details.

Instead, I'm going to leave you with some Survivor Series fun facts.  Thanks to Chad for some of these.

*Glenn Jacobs is the only superstar to appear at three consecutive Survivor Series pay per views with three different gimmicks.  In 1995 he was Dr. Isaac Yankem.  A year later, he became the Fake Diesel.  Finally in 1997 the Kane gimmick caught fire and he's been the Big Red Machine ever since.

RIP: Andre, Perfect, Bravo, & Rude
*Harley Race is the only surviving member of his 1988 Survivor Series team.  Andre the Giant and Dino Bravo died in 1993.  "Ravishing" Rick Rude died in 1999 and Mr. Perfect passed away in 2003.

*Significant WWF debuts made at the Survivor Series include the Undertaker (1990), the Rock (1996), and the Goobledy Gooker (1990) (he counts, right?)

*The 1991 event was the first to feature a non-elimination tag team match.  It was the World title match between Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker.  Hogan lost the title after Ric Flair interfered.

*And on the flip side, the 1992 Survivor Series only had ONE elimination match.  The Nasty Boys and the Natural Disasters beat Money Inc. and the Beverly Brothers.

*King Kong Bundy and Bam Bam Bigelow were on opposing teams at the 1987 Survivor Series, but were the sole survivors for their team at the 1994 event.

*I must admit I marked out when Team Legends: Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Ron Simmons, and Dusty Rhodes beat the Spirit Squad in 2006.  By the way, Dusty pinned Nicky (now Dolph Ziggler) in that match.  Simmons replaced Roddy Piper in the match and I don't remember why.  I think this might have been around the time of Piper's battle with cancer.  Arn Anderson was in the corner for the legends as was one of the members of the Spirit Squad for his team.

There you have it, some quick memories about Survivor Series.  The first five events are my favorites, just because they focused more on the whole concept of survival.  Events that came after that have stood the test of time too like Chad has mentioned in his last few blogs.  Anyway, we're just hours away from the 2011 installment, the 25th Survivor Series.  What are some of your favorite ones?  Post here or like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to leave your opinions.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Series of Surviving: 1998

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter


I think it’s safe to say 1998 was the year the Attitude Era of the WWF really kicked in to gear. At Wrestlemania, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin captured the World Title from Shawn Michaels (who wouldn’t wrestle another WWF match for four and a half years). In the process the Austin/McMahon feud started with Vince deciding Austin didn’t fit the image the face of the company should look like. Vince decided to do everything in his power to get the title off of Austin.

First, McMahon tried to stack the deck against “Stone Cold” with a title defense against Dude Love. The match was contested under No DQ rules with Vince McMahon as special guest referee. McMahon’s “stooges” Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco were also at ringside during the match and tried to interfere several times during the match. After the dust had settled Austin had John Cena’d his way to overcome the odds and retain the title.

Austin would lose the title to Kane in a first blood match at King of the Ring. That loss would be a minor 24-hour setback, as Austin would regain the title the next night on Raw. A few months later Vince would come up with a master plan to get the title off of Austin. A triple threat match was set for the September Pay Per View, Breakdown. Austin would defend the title against both the Undertaker and Kane with the stipulation that Undertaker couldn’t pin Kane and Kane couldn’t pin the Undertaker.  The match ended with both Kane and Undertaker pinning Austin. Then McMahon grabbed the title and ran out of the arena.

The following month at the Judgment Day Pay Per View, Vince rewarded Kane and Undertaker by putting them in match against each other for the World Title. To add insult to insult, Steve Austin was named the special referee for the match with the stipulation if Austin didn’t call the match squarely he would be fired. Towards the end of the match, Undertaker had Kane down for a pin, instead of counting; Austin gave Taker a Stunner then counted a double pin fall before declaring himself the champion. Vince was irate at Austin’s insubordination and for the first time on TV uttered his now famous phrase, “you’re fired.”

Before I get into the discussion of the Survivor Series, I just want to say after doing some research to re-familiarize myself with the events leading up to the show I do not understand why people romanticize the Attitude Era while trashing what WWE and TNA do today. The only difference I can see is the larger than life stars of Austin, The Rock, Mick Foley, DX and the nWo. Reading the results from 1998 and 1999 made my head hurt. Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

Photo by Chad Smart
Going into Survivor Series there was no World Champion. To fill the void, a one night, 16-man tournament was to be held to crown a new champion. The story leading up to the show was Vince had fired Austin due to his actions at Judgment Day but Shane McMahon had re-signed Austin to a new contract. Shane had been working as a commentator before getting demoted to a referee by Vince. Shane signed Austin to spite his father. In addition to not wanting Austin to win the title, Vince McMahon was also feuding with The Rock because Rocky was “the people’s champion,” and McMahon hated the people. In his attempt to get the corporate champion he could be proud of, Vince took the very non-corporate looking Mankind and groomed him into looking more professional.

Chad and his posse
Survivor Series was held in the Kiel Center (now Scott Trade Center) in St. Louis. I rounded up a group of friends from the college and we made the two-hour trip from southern Illinois up to St. Louis with the guarantee of seeing a new champion crowned.  For you Chikara fans, if you look closely at the group photo, you’ll see Da Soul Touchaz member Acid Jazz sitting with us. The artist in the group, Tom Denney drew two posters in an attempt to get some screen time. One had Austin mistaking Bossman’s nightstick for a rectal thermometer. The other was a portrait of the Rock raising the people’s eyebrow with the caption, “the real arch of St. Louis.”  Sadly, we were in the upper deck of the arena and there was no way we were getting face time.

Mankind vs. Austin
As the tournament played out, the storytelling was near perfect. Mankind got an easy opening round victory over jobber Duane Gill. Austin advanced after McMahon henchman Big Bossman got DQ’d, while attacking Austin with his nightstick. Due to Triple H suffering a knee injury, Vince decided the Rock would face Bossman. The Rock ended up putting Bossman in a small cradle as Bossman entered the ring, getting the victory in near record time. X-Pac and William Regal ended with a double count out giving Austin a pass to the semi-finals. Kane interfered in the Rock/Undertaker match giving Rock the victory by DQ. During the Mankind/Austin match, Vince McMahon attacked the referee as the ref was about to make the three count for Austin. After another Stunner, Austin went for the cover and Shane McMahon ran down to the ring to make the count. One…Two….Shane looked at Austin and gave him the double middle finger Austin salute. Stone Cold went to attack Shane, which allowed Mankind to recover, hit Austin with a chair and secure the victory.

The Rock vs. Mankind
Lawler kept going on and on about Mankind being Vince’s handpicked corporate champion. But being there live, with the electric atmosphere of the crowd, there were no thoughts of shenanigans happening. We were all cheering for the Rock to win.

A grueling back and forth match ensued. At one point, the Rock was propped up against the announcer’s table. Mankind leaped from the second turnbuckle to deliver a crushing blow. Unfortunately for Mankind, The Rock saw the attack coming and moved out of the way. Mankind instead crashed into the announcer table. I believe Foley mentioned in one of his book he tore his ACL or MCL in the crash. Back in the ring, The Rock applied the Sharpshooter and as soon as he rolled Mankind onto his stomach to cinch in the move, Vince called for the bell to ring. The bell rang and The Rock was declared the new WWF Champion. 

The Corporate champ!
One year removed from the Montreal Screw Job and the WWF creative went back to the well.  The crowd was stunned. It had all been a rouse. The Rock and Vince were working together to create not the people’s champion, but rather, the corporate champion. After the match, The Rock cut a promo telling the fans to go back to their trailer parks and stop kissing his ass. For some reason this didn’t sit well with the fans in the arena as they unleashed a flurry of boo birds.

I remember Tom taking the picture he’d drawn of the Rock and scribbling over it with the marker. As we were walking out of the arena, Tom (who by the way, had blue hair, a pierced nose and a scraggly goatee. He was our Mankind) went up to some kid about 12 years old, showed him the scribbled picture and said, “The Rock used to be my favorite. But he called me trailer park trash. I’m going back to my trailer and taking down all his pictures. Hate him now.”  The scared look on the kid’s face made the entire night.

Having re-watched this show recently, I forgot how good the wrestling was. I only remembered the storytelling aspect, which was also very good.  I would highly recommend tracking down a copy of the show and watching it. As The Rock prepares to return to the ring on Sunday night, watching him win his first WWF title is a nice blast from the past.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Series of Surviving: 1997

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter


When I was planning this series, I debated if I should go in order or skip around. The reason for skipping around was because whenever the topic of the Survivor Series is brought up, talk usually will gravitate towards the 1997 show. While I considered saving this one for last, truth is, I wanted to get it out of the way. I’ll explain why as we go on.

This show was only released on DVD as part of the complete Survivor Series Anthology set. For some reason after the complete set was released instead of releasing four volumes of 5 years each like they did with Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble, and SummerSlam, WWE felt the need to only release 2 volumes covering 1987 to 1996. Since I don’t have this show on DVD and my VHS copy is in storage (and because I really didn’t want to watch it again), I’m doing this blog mostly from memory. 

I looked up the results of the show and none of the traditional Survivor Series matches really jumped out at me. The only interesting thing I recall is Jim Ross pointing out Team Canada (British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart, Phil LaFon and Doug Furnas) only had one Canadian on the team. The show took place when there were several “gang” teams taking up space. I don’t think I’d ever be inclined to watch Disciples of the Apocalypse vs. Truth Commission match by choice.

Steve Austin had a SummerSlam rematch with Owen Hart at the Survivor Series. I don’t remember anything about the match other than Austin regaining the I-C title after vacating the title due to a neck injury suffered in the SummerSlam match.

Mankind vs. Kane
There are two historical elements to the show. The first one is this was the in-ring debut of Kane who had made his presence known a month earlier at the Badd Blood PPV when he cost the Undertaker a victory at the first Hell In A Cell match. Here’s an interesting trivia factoid concerning Kane’s appearance. The man behind the mask, Glen Jacobs wrestled at the 1995, 1996, and 1997 Survivor Series with a different identity at each show. In 1995 he was Isaac Yankem DDS. In 1996 he took the place of Kevin Nash and “Big Daddy Cool” Diesel. Finally in 1997 he found a character that caught on with the fans as Undertaker’s little brother, Kane.

The second historical aspect is something I wish never happened. In the main event Bret Hart lost the WWF World Title to Shawn Michaels when Vince McMahon had the match stopped while Shawn had Bret in Bret’s finishing move, the Sharpshooter. The “Montreal Screw job” changed the landscape of wrestling during the Monday Night Wars era. It gave birth to WWF’s Attitude Era which help turn the tide in the battle for ratings while WCW clung to the already on life support nWo angle.

The Screw Job...
I don’t wish it hadn’t happened because I’m a Bret Hart fan and I feel he was wronged on his way out of the WWF. I wish it hadn’t happened because it has become an event that in some ways is bigger than wrestling. Vince McMahon and company later recreated the event and just this past July at the Money In The Bank PPV during the John Cena/CM Punk match it appeared as if the ending was going to be rehashed until John Cena knocked out Johnny Ace to prevent the match from stopping.  Even TNA, who had nothing to do with the original Screw job have used the same finish in matches because referee Earl Hebner now works for them. Yes, the 1997 incident was a major event in wrestling history but why, 14 years later, do people in charge feel the need to keep rehashing it? Every time it gets repeated, or attempted, it makes the original lose some of its aura of was it real or staged. Plus it shows how creatively bankrupt writers are today.

14 years later...
Wrestling companies aren’t the only ones who need to let it go. Whenever Earl Hebner enters the ring for the first time during a show fans chant, “You screwed Bret.” It’s such a common chant TNA has made a Hebner t-shirt that proudly proclaims, “Yes I Did.”  Much like the “What?” chants, the fans need to realize the shelf life of the Screw job is way past the expiration date and move on to something new.

Since I didn’t get to re-watch the show, I can’t say if it holds up or not. If you’ve never seen it, it is worth seeing for the historical value though. As much as I may be sick of the Screw job, I can’t deny its effect on the wrestling landscape. Had it not taken place, who knows if the Attitude Era would have happened.

What are your thoughts about the Montreal Screw job? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Series of Surviving: 1996

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter

As the 2011 edition of WWE’s Thanksgiving tradition, the Survivor Series, approaches I felt it would make sense to look at the previous Pay Per Views. Originally I was going to do a review of all the previous Survivor Series but I didn’t know if I could watch all the shows in time to do reviews. Plus, I decided to do the Chikara High Noon promotion and there was no way I could have done two blogs a day. So I decided since I only had five days to write about Survivor Series I should pick 5 years that had some significance.  As I started to thinking about what shows I would write about I realized the first three shows I thought of were a year or two apart. That realization lead to picking out a 5 (technically it’s going to be 6) year span that I think are probably the most historically relevant in the history of the Survivor Series.


Since this year’s show sees the Rock returning to the ring after a seven and a half year hiatus, I thought it was only fitting to start this series in 1996 with the show where Rocky Miavia made his debut. The show had three main matches besides the traditional Survivor Series matches, Undertaker vs. Mankind, Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels vs. Sid for the World Title.

Undertaker or Batman?
RANDOM THOUGHTS
If you think Michael Cole is annoying, go back and watch this show. The announcer team was Jim Ross during his heel phase, Jerry Lawler as the prototype to what Michael Cole is now and Vince “what a maneuver” McMahon. Not a good three-man booth.

Doug Furnas/Phil LaFon came into the WWF at the wrong time. Other than the New Rockers and Owen Hart there really wasn’t anyone else who could keep up with them. Their lack of over the top personality was also a hindrance. Was surprised to see Doug Furnas be the sole survivor of the opening match.

Undertaker’s winged leather suit was an interesting look. Wonder how Mick Foley’s WWF career would have gone had he not feuded with Undertaker as his first major feud.

Forgot The Stalker wrestled on this show. His awesome mustache should have won the match. Watching Stalker and Goldust fight each other while not using their real names is slightly odd.

I miss the pissed off Stone Cold character.

Lenny, the ECW fan that looks like Rob Zombie is in the audience next to the entranceway. Wonder what that guy is doing now.

The New York crowd turning on Shawn Michaels is always entertaining.

Why hasn’t TNA brought in Sid yet?

Rocky vs. Goldust (from WWE )
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE
This was the debut of the blue chipper, Rocky Miavia. Rocky, while a rookie, showed glimpses of natural athletic ability.  Since he was the sole survivor and with the way Vince McMahon and Sunny put him over on commentary, you could tell there were big plans in place for The Rock from the beginning. Rocky was on a team with “Wildman” Marc Mero, Stalker, and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Mark Henry was originally supposed to be on the team but a leg injury took him out of action so Jake was a surprise replacement. They battled a team captained by Hunter Hearst Helmsley and featuring, Goldust, Jerry Lawler and Crush. While the big feud in the match was Mero and Hunter who were feuding over the I-C title, the focus of the match was Rocky.

The sole survivor
It would take a little under two years for Rocky to really transition into The Rock and convince the fans he really is the most electrifying person in sports entertainment. Though judging by his first six months in the WWF, I doubt many would predict the eventual outcome of young Rocky’s career. Much like Steve Austin, Rocky wouldn’t win the fans over until he had the chance to showcase his verbal skills and create a unique persona.

Austin vs. Hart
In addition to Rocky’s debut, the 1996 Survivor Series also marked the return to the WWF of Bret Hart who hadn’t wrestled since losing the World Title to Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 12 earlier in the year. Bret battled Steve Austin in a well-executed technical match.  I really wonder how Steve Austin’s career would have played out had he not suffered the neck injury at SummerSlam ’97.  Austin went from a talented mat based wrestler to WWF style brawler. Not that there is anything wrong with that.  This feud will continue until Wrestlemania 13 where they had a match that many consider to be the match that turned stone cold steve austin into STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN. 

Hey yo! Is that Kane? 
In another highlight of this show was the return of Razor Ramon and Diesel. The two Superstars teamed with Farrooq and Vader to do battle with Savio Vega, Yokozuna, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and Flash Funk. Flash, aka 2 Cold Scorpio, had wrestled the night before in ECW coming up on the losing end of a Loser Leaves ECW match which was convenient for his WWF debut. I still don’t know if Vince really thought the fake Razor and Diesel idea was good or if it was just a ploy to gain some legal ground in WWF’s lawsuit against WCW. If I remember my dirt sheet gossip, the non-reaction to the Fakes proved WCW having Hall and Nash use similar mannerisms to the Razor and Diesel characters hurt WWF trademarks, or something like that. WWF winning the lawsuit is what would eventually lead to them being able to buy WCW for pennies on the dollar.


After re-watching this show if you take out the commentary it’s a pretty solid Survivor Series. There’s nothing horrible and the Bret/Austin match is just as good as their Wrestlemania match. Coming up tomorrow, a show I would like to wipe off the record books.

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