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John Popa
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Posted: 19 August 2017 at 3:54pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

With SummerSlam upon us, I realized my favorite SummerSlam matches are Bret Hart matches: vs. Mr. Perfect for the IC Title, vs. Davey Boy Smith for the same title and vs. Owen Hart in a cage for the World Title. Those matches would probably be in the conversation somewhere for my favorite WWF PPV matches of all-time.

I also think of the HHH/Rock Ladder Match in '98 where it was meant to crown HHH as the man but it was really the moment where, even while losing, The Rock made the jump toward becoming the biggest star in the company.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 19 August 2017 at 5:19pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Bret Hart VS Mr. Perfect is one of the best bouts I've ever seen. Many great bouts have taken place at that event. Shawn VS Razor in Ladder Match II* at the 1995 event is a favourite.

It's amazing what transpired over the years and how fleeting fame/main event spots can be. In 1993, Lex Luger was challenging Yokozuna for the WWF Title at that event; in 1994, he was battling Tatanka for bragging rights over who'd joined the Million Dollar Corporation; and in 1995, he wasn't even wrestling on the card, his appearance was restricted to a run-in during the Diesel/Mabel event. 

Oh, and I'd heard a rumour that if Ultimate Warrior had not left the WWF in the summer of 1996, he'd have faced British Bulldog at the 1996 event!


*I know there were many ladder matches between Shawn and Razor at house shows, but as far as PPVs go, the SUMMERSLAM 1995 one was their second bout.
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John Popa
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Posted: 19 August 2017 at 6:06pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Warrior vs. Bulldog could have been interesting. Davey was usually at his best when someone else was leading the way which wouldn't exactly play to Warrior's strengths but he and Warrior were friends so Warrior might have given him more in a match than he gave others.

Really, though, I like the Bret/Perfect match at King of the Ring '93 better than the SummerSlam match. Bret was one of the few babyfaces I consistently cheered for but, even then, not against Mr. Perfect.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 19 August 2017 at 6:15pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I'll have to rewatch the KOTR '93 match.

Speaking of SummerSlam '92, I wonder, what if Hulk Hogan had not gone into semi-retirement after WM VIII? Where would he have been on that card? If he'd remained full-time with the WWF after WM VIII, he'd have no doubt been on that card, but where and against whom?
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John Popa
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Posted: 21 August 2017 at 7:08pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

SummerSlam Spoilers/Results ...

I tuned in a bit late so I missed the Hardys/Jordan vs. Axel/Dallas/Miz match.  I think the Miz has been doing really strong work for awhile now.   I'm a bit surprised he's in this kind of spot.  Same with the Hardyz, really.  I get that they want a star to come out early to get people into their seats but, still, it seems like a waste of some guys.  

Again, missed the match so no idea how it went.

Neville vs. Tozawa was really strong.  I'm not sure why they took the belt off Neville on Monday just to put it back on him here.  I guess it gave the storyline a little bit of interest but, well, I don't think there's any interest in Tozawa regardless.  The cruiserweights have the usual problem that the faces have no personality whatsoever and then they lose clean so there's no reason to invest in them.  Neville's always really good, though.  

New Day vs. Usos was great - lots of big impact moves and near falls and they had plenty of time to do it.  Super stuff from everyone, which isn't surprising. The Usos especially almost always deliver on PPV (remember the great series they had with the Wyatts a couple years back?)

The main show started with John Cena vs. Baron Corbin. Cena came out grinning and playing to the crowd. Cena won clean with the AA, barely broke a sweat.  Corbin got a little bit of offense but never really had a chance.   How weird seeing Cena curtain jerk?  

Natalya won the Smackdown Women's Title from Naomi.  Solid work.  Natalya reminds me a lot of Molly Holly in that while the company wants to push everyone else, she's the one who holds the division together and gets the other women through the matches.  Hopefully she doesn't just drop the title on Tuesday.  With all the talk about Carmella cashing in her MITB, even on the pre-show, she never appeared and, really, Natalya won so clean that she would have been ready for Carmella anyway.

Big Cass beat Big Show with Enzo in a shark cage.  This whole angle's been a disaster. I like the shark cage gimmick when you have a heel who's been interfering and costing the babyfaces matches (Jim Cornette did this sort of angle all the time.)  But it doesn't make sense for a face to be up there and then Enzo escaped the cage, only to walk directly into a big boot from Cass and get laid out.  Cass won too.  I forget how.  I don't care either.  Cass is DOA.  

Speaking of DOA, Orton beat Rusev in 9 seconds when Rusev roughed Randy up before the bell but once the bell rang, he hit a RKO and pinned him.  I love Rusev so this was infuriating, especially since Orton isn't over.  I read something that Rusev asked for a release.  He's probably onto something if that's true.  

Sasha beat Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women's Title.  It was fine.  They keep wanting Sasha to be the face of everything but it also keeps not working.  I thought the money program was Jax getting tired of Bliss and then basically killing her but what do I know?  Fine match but nothing remarkable.  I wouldn't be surprised if Sasha loses it again quickly, as is custom.

Balor beat Wyatt clean.  Balor did the Demon gimmick which is cool.  I don't know, Wyatt seems slow and out of shape lately.  Maybe he's bored.  Obviously, not on par with most great Balor matches but it was fine.  Not sure where either guy goes from here.

Ambrose and Rollins beat Cesaro and Sheamus.  Great match with a lot of great action.  The highlight was Cesaro getting pissed about fans throwing around a beach ball and he went into the crowd and tore it to pieces.  The finishing sequence was great and the crowd was really into it.  These guys should always deliver a good match and they did.

Styles beat Owens with Shane as guest ref.  Seems to be building toward Shane vs. Owns.  I get nervous when Shane is in the ring, he always looks about to have a stroke.  He was REALLY sweaty and slow to get around and his face was red as a beet.  The match was good, as expected.  It probably would have been great without the special ref gimmick.  

Mahal beat Nakamura the same way he wins every match - distraction from his seconds, then the face gets caught for the pin.  Terrible match.  Mahal isn't ready.  Nakamura gets a good reaction when he comes out but he can't make someone like Mahal look good.  The match was really short too.

This whole scenario reminds me of when they turned Bradshaw into JBL overnight and tried to get the new gimmick over as a main event gimmick immediately, even though JBL didn't really know how to work a main event.  The result was about eight months of shitty main events.

Brock won the four way to keep his title.  Match was an insane car crash at first with people going berzerk when Lesnar and Strowman stood in the ring together.  That's the money match people.  Lesnar went out on a stretcher after being put through 2 tables and having one thrown on him.  He came back for the finish which had lots of near falls and saves.  Joe was lost in the shuffle for sure, which is the only downside I saw.  Brock pinned Reigns clean.  No Undertaker interference, no Shield reunion.

Overall, SummerSlam was a good show.  Too long, which is customary for WWE big shows.  The midcard stuff isn't very engaging and there doesn't seem to be a strong direction for the Smackdown title. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 22 August 2017 at 12:34am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Bizarrely (or not so bizarrely), my view is akin to yours, particularly the last sentence.

I enjoy Brock Lesnar. He does feel like a special attraction.

A while ago, someone complained to me about Lesnar not having a regular presence on TV. But isn't that the way it's been mostly (with exceptions such as the Attitude Era)? How many times did Hulk Hogan defend the WWF Title on TV? How many times did WWF Champion Bret Hart appear on TV to defend the title in early-to-mid 1993? 
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John Popa
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Posted: 22 August 2017 at 1:28am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Yeah, the notion of the champ being on TV every week in a prominent role is a leftover from the Attitude Era when the company built every show around Austin/Rock.  I don't think it matters at all.  It's not like having Mahal on every week is helping Smackdown's cause.  

I do remember when Hogan first won the title that it felt like he defended the champion several times in a row, always winning in 12 minutes but that might just be hindsight making seem like it happened more than it did.  All I can remember now is him wrestling Greg Valentine and David Schulz.  
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 22 August 2017 at 4:04am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I didn't watch Summerslam. I've only read results for the show. 

Though I didn't care for the results of a few of the matches, there's one I have a major problem with: I can't believe they had Randy Orton win that fast.

He's the very definition of bland when he's a face (I can't think of another wrestler who should be perma-heel more than him. And he's said in a few interviews that he prefers to be a heel), but the problem is he has a crowd popping finisher. 

I was rolling my eyes way back when he got over with the Legend Killer gimmick. Just how was beating up old, past their prime (and in some case has-been) wrestlers supposed to make him dangerous?

He's never been one of my favorites, and I can't remember the last time I actually wanted him to win a match that didn't involve him tagging with someone I actually liked.

How exactly is having Rusev job to him in 9 seconds supposed to accomplish anything, other than making Rusev look weak? If Rusev asking for his release is a rumor, I wouldn't blame him if he does now.




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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 23 August 2017 at 10:50pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

From time to time, I've heard rumours that WRESTLEMANIA will one day drop the numbers - and just be WM 2018 or WM 2020. I don't know if the rumours have any substance.

One I heard years ago was that McMahon was concerned that having a number after each WM makes the event sound old. I wonder if some sort of "comic book think" has "invaded" the mind of McMahon (assuming the rumour is true). I mean, it'd be great to see WrestleMania L, wouldn't it?

That said, most PPVs tend to have the year rather than a number. I always found that interesting years ago, i.e. why wasn't the first SummerSlam called "SummerSlam I" rather than "SummerSlam '88"?

Thoughts?


Edited by Robbie Parry on 23 August 2017 at 10:50pm
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Michael Casselman
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Posted: 23 August 2017 at 11:54pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

They've already slowly started the process of removing the numbers... but they've started using 'glyphs' of different sorts as a replacement in promotional images, if that makes any sense... the "Start" button a few years back, the "Star" from the last Texas WM, this year had some weird 'sunshine' symbol, along with the ridiculous 'thrill ride of the year' tagline.
I'm not really sure if using the year wouldn't be all that bad an idea. They already do this for most other PPVs, so doing it for uniformity from this point on kinda makes sense.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 August 2017 at 11:01am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Yes, but when WrestleMania 1,000 takes place, I want to see a poster:

WRESTLEMANIA M

;-)
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John Popa
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Posted: 24 August 2017 at 12:45pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Well, at this point I don't know what year the old WrestleMania's took place, I just know the number. I'm certainly not going to do the math to figure out what year things happened :)

I think the numbering gives them a bit of cache like the Super Bowl, which I think is valuable. The numbering makes it feel a bit more like an event.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 August 2017 at 5:42pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

What made me laugh back in the day was how WWF fucked up celebrating anniversaries of the event.

"Oh, WM X is the tenth anniversary." It actually wasn't. WM I took place in 1985, WM X took place in 1994. That's a period of nine years elapsing between WM I and WM X. The tenth anniversary should actually have been WM XI.

WM X was the tenth event of that particular PPV (obviously), but technically, WM XI, taking place ten years after WM I, should have been the anniversary.

But now I'm being pedantic.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 29 August 2017 at 7:12am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Twenty five years ago today, SUMMERSLAM '92 took place at Wembley Stadium, London:





This featured a pretty solid undercard; great bouts included LOD VS Money Inc. and Shawn Michaels VS Rick Martel.

The Warrior/Savage world title match was a solid encounter, too.

Bret Hart VS Davey Boy Smith for the I-C Title was the match of the card. What a stellar encounter it was, perhaps the best of 1992. 

At the time, it felt odd seeing a WWF PPV without Hulk Hogan. Prior to this event, I felt sure Hogan would return in some sort of capacity, but he didn't.

In fact, in many ways, this felt like the beginning of a new era. Months prior, Roddy Piper (who did play the bagpipes at this event), Sid Justice, Jake Roberts and Hulk Hogan were all active participants; none of them wrestled here. Personal favourites of mine such as Warlord and Barbarian were also long gone.

This was also a swansong for the LOD, Mountie and Davey Boy Smith. Not too long after this event, they left the WWF. 

This, in many ways, was a transitional PPV. After this event, so much changed; Bret Hart won the I-C Title here, but was defending the WWF Title months later at Survivor Series; Mr. Perfect would soon turn babyface; and Warrior would once again disappear from the WWF.

All in all, a fantastic PPV.


Edited by Robbie Parry on 29 August 2017 at 7:14am
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John Popa
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Posted: 29 August 2017 at 2:26pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

Well, I was right about Sasha not holding onto the Raw Women's Title. I joked on Twitter on the night of Summerslam that she'd lose it by Labor Day.  Bingo.

I don't get it - if the 'money' program was Bliss vs. Jax, why take the belt off Bliss for a week?  As long as Bliss cheated to win, it wouldn't have hurt Banks to lose to her, in fact, it probably hurts Banks more to have another short run than it would to just never have won the title again in the first place. 

I also feel like teasing Jax turning over a longer period of time would have meant more - having her get irritated with Bliss, throw her some side eye, tease a confrontation here and there - get the crowd into it before it happens.  

This is basic wrestling stuff, it drives me crazy that they don't pay attention to it anymore.  

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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 29 August 2017 at 2:45pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I hope Bliss has money for medical bills, if she's going to be feuding with Jax. Jax has legit hurt a few people by botching moves.

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Charles Valderrama
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Posted: 29 August 2017 at 3:25pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

if the 'money' program was Bliss vs. Jax, why take the belt off Bliss for a week?

Only reason I can think of is to create the illusion that the title can switch hands on any occasion. Keep Bliss vulnerable to elevate others in the women's division.

BTW, anyone watch Roman Reigns get schooled in the ring (in promos) by John Cena?? That was pretty brutal -


Kinda ironic considering Cena's history in WWE.

-C!



Edited by Charles Valderrama on 29 August 2017 at 3:39pm
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John Popa
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Posted: 29 August 2017 at 5:50pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Crazy that they put Cena in the position to bury Reigns like that.  Roman looked like a fool for sure.  Not only based on what was said, it was obvious Roman had no charisma or confidence.

Roman's a 'less is more' kind of guy but in this era they don't know how to push that.  He was cool as the strong, silent guy in the Shield.  
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Charles Valderrama
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Posted: 29 August 2017 at 6:51pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I agree.... sadly, WWE wants Reigns to be John Cena 2.0... which he's not nor should be. That's like asking the Rock to imitate Austin's gimmick being the badass redneck who drinks beer.

Roman got buried for someone else's mistake.

-C!
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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 29 August 2017 at 9:01pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Reigns should be the type who lets his actions, not his words, speak for him. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 30 August 2017 at 11:06am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Guys, the editorial by Stu M. Saks in the October 2017 issue of PRO WRESTLING ILLUSTRATED is worth a read! It's not entirely surprising (he makes a revelation or two about the magazine's history), but actually reading it was amazing.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 02 September 2017 at 9:17am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Twenty five years ago today, CLASH OF THE CHAMPIONS XX aired on TBS. I believe, if memory serves me right, that the main event featured Sting, Nikita Koloff and The Steiner Brothers taking on Big Van Vader, Super Invader, Jake Roberts and Rick Rude. 

It was quite a novelty seeing Roberts and Rude team up, given their feud four years earlier.

I don't recall much about this event - so will have to rewatch it.

I believe it was the final on-screen appearance of Andre the Giant (he was interviewed). He died four months later. It was tragic seeing Andre later in his life. Although he had mobility issues in the 80s, he was moving around for a while (i.e. WM III). But in 1991/92, it was heartbreaking to see him on crutches. The storyline reason at the time was due to an attack by Earthquake, but I think, kayfabe aside, we all knew it was down to mobility issues. 

Incidentally, Andre was set to return to in-ring action in 1991 (he cut a promo for the Royal Rumble). I also read, although I don't know if is true, that he and Jake were set to face the Natural Disasters at SummerSlam 1991, but due to Andre's mobility issues, the spot went to the Bushwhackers instead. 


Edited by Robbie Parry on 02 September 2017 at 9:18am
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John Popa
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 9:11am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I had to look up and see who the Super Invader was - Hercules Hernandez of all people.  That sort of 'random masked monster' was an NWA thing from the 70's and 80's that was extremely silly by the time they did it here.  Why not just have Hercules Hernandez as the fourth man?  
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 03 September 2017 at 9:42am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

I understand what you are saying. That said, this was the period where WCW went a little "cartoony" - so I guess they could not resist such a gimmick, especially given the backstory they created (he was a tough fighter from the Far East).
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 04 September 2017 at 3:23pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Picked up my copy of WWE UNRELEASED (1986-1995) today. Haven't watched it, but had a browse.

Still amazed that, as a long-time fan, I was unaware of matches such as Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels VS Hakushi & Jerry Lawler (why didn't at least one publication mention it back then?). And Bret VS Bulldog in June 1992, two months prior to SUMMERSLAM? Wow!

This will appeal only to long-time fans, I'm sure. There are some historical curiosities on it. Again, haven't watched it, but browsed. For instance, there's a June 1987 encounter featuring Dingo Warrior VS Jose Estrada. I know Warrior made his debut in 1987, but didn't release it was June (I always assumed October or December of that year). 

Then there's Earthquake. He showed up on WWF TV in late 1989, but from September 1989, we have Earthquake Evans, clad in lumberjack-style attire, taking on Paul Roma.

And then there's the Toxic Turtles! Say no more.

Not sure who the licensee for WWE DVDs is outside Europe, but it's Fremantle Media over here. Here's the match listings:

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