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RIPPA

[NOV 2016] WRESTLING DISCUSSION THREAD

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Yeah whatever - wrestling is stupid

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2 hours ago, RIPPA said:

Yeah whatever - wrestling is stupid

You take that back:

 

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I so fucking don't believe the wealthy part

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So, PN News. Was he blackballed from the US? He did a hell of a lot of UK and European tours back in the day

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Well, besides being pretty close to utter shit, I think WCW pretty much punished him greatly for effectively ending Angel of Death's career with a botch on a house show.  

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2 hours ago, Matt D said:

You take that back:

 

Looking at the main 6 guys they keep focusing on, I can see a Raw reboot of this, being, from l to r:

Rusev, Cesaro, Bronze Babyshoes, Kevin Owens, Roman, Big E

Suck it, Smackdown!

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3 hours ago, RIPPA said:

I so fucking don't believe the wealthy part

"beautiful" is an issue too

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1 hour ago, Raziel403 said:

Well, besides being pretty close to utter shit, I think WCW pretty much punished him greatly for effectively ending Angel of Death's career with a botch on a house show.  

No clue what this is. Explain?

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40 minutes ago, Wyld Samurai said:

Wasn't he the PWI Rookie of the Year?

Nah. I think he won the WCW Magazine Rookie of the Year award.

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PN was frustrating. The fans really wanted to get behind him but he couldn't do his gimmick. If you listen to those crowds in 91, they really did want to rap along with him and get behind him. 

That said, one of the best forgotten things from that era is him making Paul E rap in the ring.

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19 minutes ago, Matt D said:

PN was frustrating. The fans really wanted to get behind him but he couldn't do his gimmick. If you listen to those crowds in 91, they really did want to rap along with him and get behind him. 

That said, one of the best forgotten things from that era is him making Paul E rap in the ring.

PN News was over, though pretty much every in '91 WCW was, especially the Birds.

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1 hour ago, PetrolCB said:

No clue what this is. Explain?

He was working Angel of Death at a house show.  News landed the splash wrong and crushed Angel's knees.  Angel never fully recovered.  News has pretty much removed from TV aside from the Clashes until his contract ran out and was never spoken of again, until he showed up in ECW for a couple shows.

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15 minutes ago, rzombie1988 said:

PN News was over, though pretty much every in '91 WCW was, especially the Birds.

I wrote a ton of words about the birds being over in 91.

http://placetobenation.com/wtbbp-the-column-beyond-the-great-match-robbery-of-1991/


 

There are various ways to view and judge a match, or even a performance within a match. One is focusing on how good it is, on a very subjective (though often not inconsistent) aesthetic level. This usually leads to a star rating or a letter grade. Another is to weigh things like card placement and how well it ultimately drew. This is a little more objective though maybe not quite as easy to delve into and discuss. The first looks at the little picture. The second, the big picture. Somewhere both in the middle of these and far outside as well, is the idea that you can figure out what the booking of the match was trying to accomplish and whether or not the wrestlers were able to use their performances to accomplish that goal. Every match has needs. Every match has goals that it’s trying to accomplish and every match has constraints that limit it. Too often I think we, as a wrestling community, focus on the big picture or the little, and leave this third area unexplored. That’s one reason I am trying to break down individual matches on these cards as I am. That said, sometimes a performance comes along that’s so outrageous, so subversive, and so disruptive that it needs to be explored in even more depth.

Probably the most well-known example of this would be Shawn Michaels’ overbumping hissy fit at Summerslam 2005 vs Hulk Hogan, but it’s hardly the only one in wrestling history. Some are far less malicious. JJ Dillon tells a story of his early time as a manager where he was booked for a match and after serving in a non-wrestling role for a little while, he really wanted to go out and impress the “boys in the back.” He wanted this so badly that he gave the very best performance he could. He worked hard and bumped heavily and worked the mat and was shooting for four stars (my words, not his). Afterwards he was chewed out by the promoter because no matter how good the match was, it wasn’t the match he was supposed to work. It didn’t get across the cowardly and weak manager persona he was supposed to portray, that was supposed to help draw money for the promotion in that scenario. It undermined completely what they had been going for.

Another example, and one that mostly everyone can watch easily, is the Johnny Polo vs Marty Jannetty match from the December 27, 1993 Raw. It was meant to set up the Jannetty/123 Kid tag team title win on the First Year Anniversary Raw in January and the concept behind it was that Polo was supposed to portray a craven, cheating, desperate little worm while Jannetty looked to steamroll him. In the end, after getting beat around the ring, Polo would pick up a cheap win. That’s not at all what happened. Instead, Polo, so frustrated that he was relegated to a backstage and managerial role when he was a trained wrestler, tried to have a stand out match to get noticed. He took control for large portions of it and fought back for the rest, including hitting a dive, which was a rare enough move on 1993 WWF TV for a wrestler let alone a manger. It disrupted the story being told, to the point that they washed it away on the next Raw, Vince talking about how thoroughly he had been dominated by Jannetty when that hadn’t been the case at all. It was all a little embarrassing to say the least.

Then, much more like Shawn Michaels at his conniving but brilliant worst, are the early 90s Fabulous Freebirds, embarrassing and remarkable all at once. Michael Hayes had seen better days. He was only in his early thirties, the start of the prime of many careers, but pop culture had left him behind. Buddy Jack Roberts and Terry Gordy had left him behind too, leaving him to tag with Jimmy “Jam” Garvin, who was almost forty and who, despite having a successful enough earlier career, had never quite caught up to pop culture in the first place. Garvin had started teaming with Hayes and Gordy in 1989, holding the NWA Tag Team titles with Hayes. After Gordy left, they continued to have kayfabe success, serving as transitional WCW Tag Team champions in early 1991 (they lost the titles six days before even winning them!), and holding both the US Tag Team titles and Six-Man Tag Team titles. They also changed up their act, or tried to, coming out with Oliver Humperdink as the ill-transformed Big Daddy Dink or Diamond Dallas Page and the Diamond Dolls, and taking on Brad Armstrong under a mask as Fantasia or Badstreet as the poor jerk to basically take the bumps for them now that Buddy Jack was retired. They had stopped teaming with Armstrong by the time of Halloween Havoc 91, and had, in fact, just pretended to be a team from England, the Screaming Eagles, in order to challenge the current World Tag Team champions, the Enforcers, on TV earlier in October. That had made them closer to the babyface side of the spectrum but they were still utilized as tweeners on house shows, depending on the location. To point, someone in the crowd at Havoc had brought a “Sadd Street” sign, mocking them, that was prominently featured on camera.

Michael Hayes was never a physical specimen and while he was better in the ring than he’s generally remembered to have been (due to how he was positioned as the talker in the classic Freebirds line-up), there was a duel-talent that he possessed as deeply and strongly as almost anyone else in wrestling history: he knew how to manipulate a crowd and he had the charisma to actually pull it off. When you combined that with an absolute addiction to the crowd’s adulation and maybe, just maybe, with the realization that time was passing him by early, suddenly WCW had a monstrous creature on its roster that was going to hijack matches and try to get himself over above all else. You could see it all the way back at Halloween Havoc 1989, the almost gleeful way he leeched off of the Philadelphia crowd’s disdain for the Dynamic Dudes and snatched up babyface status for the match.

If Halloween Havoc 89 had been opportunistic, a crime of the second degree, Halloween Havoc 91 was outright premeditated theft. The craziest part was that he didn’t even wrestle on the show. He was supposed to, booked to put over new prefabricated product Van Hammer in his second televised disaster of a match, but he somehow got out of it by, in character, faking an injury, and apparently convincing someone that it would add to the Freebirds’ heat and to his partner’s match. Instead, poor, talented but forgotten, Doug Somers was thrown to the guitar wielding, spot blowing, wolves. Hayes, wearing a cast, would second his partner down to the ring to face Johnny B. Badd, the #8 wrestler in the world according to the WCW Top Ten and soon to be voted both the PWI and WON Rookie of the Year. Jim Ross, announcing the match with Tony Schiavone, made sure to point out he was on a hot streak. He was someone who, through his flamboyant antics, was expected to carry part of the crowd in this match; his face turn was impending, less than a month away at this point. Badd did get something of a mixed reaction on his way out and a halfway decent one for the Badd Blaster confetti popper. So far, so good.

The problem was that three minutes before, the Freebirds had emerged. We need to set a little more context here, so bear with me. The Atlanta Braves, that frustrating baseball team which preempted WCW’s programming so very often when I was a kid, were exceptionally hot in the early 1990s. They had an amazing line-up of pitchers, one of the best in my lifetime, and due to TBS’ broadcast reach, they were popular all around the country. They won their division eight times during the decade and made it to the World Series five times, winning in 1995. On the very day of Halloween Havoc, they were in Game Seven of the World Series, playing against the Minnesota Twins. Considering that Chattanooga, despite being in Tennessee, was only one-hundred and twenty miles or so from Atlanta, half the distance that, let’s say Savannah, was from Atlanta, the hearts and minds of a lot of the fans were focused on the Braves that night. The Freebirds were billed, of course, from Badstreet, Atlanta G A. Can you see where this is going?

There are pops. There are cheap pops. And then there was this, quite possibly the cheapest pop one can imagine. The Freebirds, those vaguely over the hill tweeners, came out to face one of WCW’s up and coming stars, clad in full Atlanta Braves’ merchandise, doing the Braves’ token tomahawk chop (Hayes with his free arm, as the other was in the sling). The crowd had been chopping all night. The crowd was chopping before ring announcer Gary Michael Capetta even told the them that the Freebirds were about to appear. Once they reached the ring and climbed the corners, it was a full-on chop-a-long. I’m sure that there were some die-hard baseball fans who decided not to go to the show and some die-hard wrestling fans who couldn’t care less about baseball, but in Chattanooga, for the WCW fanbase, there sure seemed like a lot of overlap. Badd never had a chance. He, no matter the bookers’ plans on that night, or in the long term, had been sent out, to haplessly get eaten alive.

Still, no wrestling match is just an entrance, and a strong enough worker could have recovered, either feeding off of the crowd with a heel performance or winning them over with a babyface one. Badd was green as grass and Garvin and Hayes were savvy as hell. Garvin walked around the ring chopping, and Badd, when he finally went up on a corner to pose, found that Hayes, the guy not even in the match, had moved into the ring to pose in the opposite corner. Ross half-heartedly said the crowd was going to be split, but the DDT chants in support of the Freebirds (that Garvin was now doing the chop in rhythm with) said another story. Teddy Long, Badd’s manager with a few years in the business now as a referee and then the manager of Doom, saw what was going on and tried to get the crowd behind Badd from the outside, but Hayes just slammed the apron louder in response.

It wouldn’t have mattered anyway; the first big spot of the match pretty much sealed things. Badd and Garvin locked up and tussled around the ring, each trying to arm drag the other. They went all the way to the ropes with this and Badd sailed over. It made sense on some level. He was younger and could and would bump more. Once he hit the floor though, Hayes lost the sling, walloped Badd in the face, and winked to the camera in the most over the top Shawn Michaels-esque expression possible, making a farce out of pretty much everything going on, especially since his match with Hammer was supposed to be later in the night. In the ring Garvin shouted “I’m a badddddd man,” mocking Johnny more. They followed with the chops again, as JR exclaimed that the Freebirds had conned the crowd into loving them, basically, which didn’t make Chattanooga look all that great either.

The bleeding away of Johnny’s credibility continued back in the ring. After a Garvin powerslam, Badd had the unique honor of being part of the following spot: Garvin ran the ropes back and forth six or seven times as his opponent watched confused, doing nothing, until he just popped him in the head with a forearm and knocked to the floor. Schiavone tried to sell it on commentary as an experienced wrestler tricking an inexperienced one but it was pretty brutal.

Even when Badd finally got on offense, it didn’t go much better. Garvin was so far across the ring that when he went for the top rope sunset flip, he didn’t quite make it and it looked terrible. He followed up with two more top rope moves, getting nailed on the way down for the third. Immediately thereafter, Garvin moved out of the way of a shot in the corner and Badd took a bump over the top rope. After he made it back to the ring again, and they ran a collision spot, Johnny finally went for his finish, but Garvin ducked the punch and hit the DDT. Long distracted the ref who missed the pin. Then, only after Garvin went after Long, did Badd hit the punch. Even so, Garvin got his foot on the rope and the ref missed Long pushing it off. To sum up, Badd, an up and coming star who had really pressured top babyface Sting the month before, got completely clowned by the less prominent of the over the hill cheap heat tag team act, to the point where he should have lost the match after being ineffectual for the better part of ten minutes, but instead won due to two distractions and his manager pushing Garvin’s foot off the rope. Hayes rushed into the ring post match to hit Long so that Badd most certainly couldn’t celebrate his win. The last image of the match was Hayes raising Garvin’s hand while Schiavone helplessly noted that Badd only won due to Long.

The difference between the Sting match from the Clash and this was amazing. That match had managed to get over both wrestlers while protecting both, even as Sting ended Badd’s undefeated streak. Here, Badd won but came out looking completely exposed and hapless. The difference was, first Sting understanding that the better your opponent looks, the better you look in beating him and also being professional enough to work the match the way he was supposed to, and second the sheer talent that Hayes on the outside, and to a lesser extent Garvin, brought to the table. The Freebirds understood the crowd, what they wanted, and what actions would generate the responses they desired more than anything. Hayes inserted himself not just into the match but into the night as a whole, as a force that could move the crowd any which way he pleased. It was just a shame that he and his partner had decided to move them in a way that made their rookie opponent look like a fool. Out of context, a casual viewer might think that the Freebirds were WCW’s biggest stars but the next day they were really no better off than they had been the night before and Badd was actively worse off. It was the definition of using one’s powers for evil or at least for wholly selfish purposes. I almost wish Hayes hadn’t backed out of the Hammer match, just to see how much further he might have gone there. As it was, it was an incredible performance, a way to expend twice the effort in order to garnish an extreme result. Unfortunately, all that effort and skill led to not just failure at achieving the result needed, but actually managed to do quite a bit of harm.

 

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What about the Screaming Eagles? They were pretty awesome too.

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In honor of it being November and the Survivor Series I present to you the time TNA aped the Survivor Series Match at there November PPV

 

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I don't think News was a good wrestler but I imagine there must have been some history/reason beyond injuring Angel of Death. I mean Angel of Death was just a mid-carder himself, and most wrestlers aren't banished because they mess up and injury someone once. But if he had a history of it, or was a pain backstage, then that may have been the final straw. I mean he wrestled on PPVs and Clashes after that so they weren't that afraid he'd hurt someone else.

I didn't realize until I just looked it up that News is still rather active in Europe. I should just assume any wrestler I haven't heard of in a few years is either still wrestling somewhere or died. I kinda want to see his title match from earlier this year against Hernandez now.

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Angel of Death was just a midcarder who was actually the answer to all of the Black Scorpion's clues AND was the one on the ramp after the first Black Scorpion match AND was one of the ones unmasked at the end of the angle.

Makes you think if that was ever an option.  I heard rumors saying they wanted it to be him, but I actually had a magazine as a kid, and this was a pretty bad one, like sub Apter or even Napolitano quality, and it did an article straight up saying BLACK SCORPION IS THE ANGEL OF DEATH and outed Al Perez for being the first one.

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Wasn't he on some talk show during this time, that was celebrating black athletes, and he was one of the guests?

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When I was a kid, there was a stretch where we would get WCW Power Hour on TSN in the middle of the night on Friday nights so I programmed the VCR to tape it and was super into it (I especially loved the Top 10 wrestlers they did every week and stole the idea for my GI Joe wrestling federation).  The only other WCW I'd seen was the Superbrawl with Flair-Fujinami and Steiners-Sting/Luger and that was mesmerizing for a guy who'd only watched WWF.  Anyways, with all the great WCW guys at the time, my faves were Sting, The Steiners, and...PN News. After he disappeared off WCW, then Power Hour as well, and I realized guys could jump back and forth between leagues, I waited and waited for News to show up in WWF.  And waited.  And waited.  Seeing him turn up as one of the Baldies ("My name is PN News and I make the big bucks, cuz everyone knows that Philly sucks/Yo Baby Yo Baby Yo!") in late-era ECW was one of the most bizarre: "Hey I remember that guy, I loved him...he sucks" moments in years.

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Speaking of PN News in ECW ...

 

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3 hours ago, mattdangerously said:

Who's the sadist who booked PN News vs Hot Stuff Hernandez in 2016?

This is the same German promotion that had that infamous much sought out Daniel Bryan vs. Robbie Brookside match, that Bryan named as his personal favorite match of all time.

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