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Thoughts on Survivor Series 2001

William Regal had a great night, despite being the commissioner of an entity that went out of business. He cut a promo on Vince and Linda McMahon, beat Tajiri convincingly again, and then powerbombed Tajiri and Torrie Wilson after the match.

Despite Test's improvement, Edge beat him to unify the IC and US titles. Test saved his job by attacking Scotty 2 Hotty, stealing his spot in the immunity battle royale, and then winning it by booting Billy Gunn out of the ring.

Jeff Hardy had the perfect opportunity to escape the cage, unify the WCW and WWF tag team titles, and secure employment for Team Xtreme in front of his hometown fans. Instead, he attempted an ill-fated Swanton Bomb off the top of the cage through a table. The Dudleys walked off with the gold.

Chuck Palumbo came out with the WWF wrestlers during the immunity battle royale. Tazz came out by himself after the match started.

Jazz debuted in the 6-way match for the reactivated women's title, as Paul Heyman sang her praises. Trish Stratus won the title by pinning Ivory.

Team WWF had three monsters in Undertaker, Kane and Big Show, but they all got pinned, leaving Rock and Jericho to face a 2-on-4 disadvantage. Kurt Angle won the MVP award by serving as a double agent for the WWF and turning against the Alliance. Angle hit Austin with the title belt to help Rock win. Earlier in the match, Angle tapped out quickly to Rocky's Sharpshooter rather than trying to fight his way out. It made perfect sense for the WWF to be saved by a ruse involving the Sharpshooter at the Survivor Series.

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Austin/Bret was okay, but was really more about their story together than it was Bret’s bigger story, except for Montreal. It was really good for what it was, but there’s so much more to discuss.

One of my favorite tropes from these shows is Austin’s fascination with blowing guys up. It’s great. 

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Thoughts on Vengeance 2001

T&A exploded in the opener as Albert teamed with Scotty to beat Test & Christian. It's interesting to look back and see whose jobs were pre-saved before the Alliance went out of business. Christian had the European title, so he kept his job. Even Chuck Palumbo was subtly moved to the WWF side so he could start teaming with Billy Gunn.

William Regal scored some wins with the brass knuckles (power of the punch!) and earned a shot at Edge's IC title. However, as he went for the knucks this time, Edge speared him for the win.

Matt and Jeff Hardy had a good match against each other, but the crowd was dead because they liked both brothers and didn't want to see them fight. Lita was the special referee, and Matt was angry at her for failing to see his foot on the ropes. She's not a professional ref, Matt!

Big Show kept teaming with bigger partners (Spike, Tajiri, Kane), but he couldn't take the tag team belts from the Dudleys.

Trish Stratus beat Jackie to keep the Women's title as the crowd chanted "we want puppies." Retraining the audience to take women's wrestling seriously would take more than a decade.

Chris Jericho is the MVP for winning the Undisputed title. Not only did he beat Rock and Austin in the same night, he did it in back-to-back matches. Booker T came out of the crowd to attack Austin, just as he did six months earlier at King of the Ring. Vince McMahon laughed at the end of the show, fulfilling the words of his show-opening promo: "He who laughs last, laughs loudest."

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On 3/18/2020 at 3:27 PM, For Great Justice said:

Austin/Bret was okay, but was really more about their story together than it was Bret’s bigger story, except for Montreal. It was really good for what it was, but there’s so much more to discuss.

One of my favorite tropes from these shows is Austin’s fascination with blowing guys up. It’s great. 

I always enjoy when Austin loses the run of himself and just gets sucked into admiring the quality of his own work at length

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9 hours ago, Firebreaker Chip said:

I always enjoy when Austin loses the run of himself and just gets sucked into admiring the quality of his own work at length

I really wish they would pad out these upcoming Raws and Smackdowns with an hour of Steve Austin watching and reacting to his favorite matches. 

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Get Edge and Christian and whoever and do those in-depth commentaries like they did a couple times on their podcast.

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Thoughts on Royal Rumble 2002

I thought the Dudleys would win back the WWF tag team titles from Tazz and Spike, but nope - D-Von submitted to the Tazzmission. I can imagine Spike failing to win the belts with increasingly larger partners and then realizing, "Maybe I'm going about this all wrong..."

Master Class in Cheating, Session 1: Referee Nick Patrick searches the ring for hidden brass knuckles. He finds nothing, but then he searches Regal's trunks and finds them. Late in the Regal-Edge match for the IC title, Regal pulls out another set of brass knucks from his trunks and uses it to win the belt.

I'm surprised that Jazz lost to Trish so soon after her debut. I figured they would build her up longer and then eventually have her beat Trish for the title.

Megan Flair got enough bloody photos of the street fight between her dad and Vince McMahon to start her own wrestling magazine. I'm sure the Atlanta fans loved seeing Flair beat up the man who drove WCW out of business.

Master Class in Cheating, Session 2: Chris Jericho retained the Undisputed WWF title over The Rock with a low blow, an exposed turnbuckle and his feet on the ropes. I'm sure he had a Memphis chain in his trunks just in case. For beating the Great One for the third time in a World title bout on PPV, Jericho wins the MVP award.

Maven's celebration for eliminating the Undertaker from the Royal Rumble ended with Taker busting him open with a chair, dragging him up to the arena concourse and throwing him head-first into the popcorn machine. Welcome to the big leagues, kid.

While one-time surprise Royal Rumble entrances are fun, it's even better when the debuting or returning star is in the WWE to stay, like when AJ Styles debuted. Here, we got the returns of Goldust, post-RTC Val Venis and Godfather, and Mr. Perfect, who lasted until the final three. Watching him made me wish for an Angle-Perfect singles match.

Triple H also returned from injury and won the whole thing, just as Stephanie predicted. However, when HHH got his title shot at WrestleMania, Steph would be in his opponent's corner. 

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Posted (edited)

Thoughts on no Way out 2002

The nWo cut a disingenuous promo to start the show ... (record scratch)

Now wait a minute. The Invasion ended at Survivor Series, but Ric Flair showed up the next day and the nWo a few months later? If the WWF had just waited until January to start the Invasion, it could have worked. All they needed was Eric Bischoff and either Goldberg or Sting. The invasion lasts three months and culminates with WCW eking out a victory over the WWF at WrestleMania to win control of Smackdown. Now you can keep WWF and WCW as separate brands, run dream matches at WrestleMania, and then if WCW fizzles out again, then you run the big "Winner Take All" match.

Goldust and RVD had a great match, with a perfect contrast of aerial vs. technical wrestling. It's too bad so many other stars were around, because Goldust could still go.

I thought Spike & Tazz would lose the WWF tag team titles to Booker and Test, but nope - Test tapped out to the Tazzmission.

William Regal wins the MVP award for staying ahead of Edge and the referees in the brass knuckles on a pole match. The ref checked Regal's trunks, even though the use of brass knucks would eventually be legal. He found nothing. Late in the match, Edge got control of the knuckles from the pole, but Regal pulled out his own pair and won the match to retain the IC title.

At this point, the WWF had so much talent that it could throw out huge matches for any reason or none at all. Jericho-Austin for the title! Angle-Triple H for a title shot! Rock-Undertaker for, um, respect! Rocky won after interference from Flair and Vince, setting up Taker-Flair for WrestleMania. Angle actually won the title shot from HHH with Stephanie's help. She was the guest referee, but there was no romantic subplot between Angle and Steph. HHH eventually won his title shot back.

The nWo interfered to cost Austin the title against Jericho. While they pivoted to the epic Rock-Hogan match at WrestleMania, this was the one and only opportunity for Austin-Hogan at WrestleMania, and it didn't happen. 

Edited by Gorman

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I never minded Jericho cheating to retain the title. But when guys he had nothing to do with, like Booker or the nWo, kept saving him, it really killed the title reign.

Of course, if it hadn't, the upcoming HHH/Steph Story with occasional guest Undisputed WWF Champion Chris Jericho sure would.

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Okay I know that it is Bischoff so the bullshit meter is sky high but watching the Untold on Dennis Rodman is something else.  Bischoff claims that he encouraged Malone & Rodman that it would be great if during the NBA playoffs they would do shit to build up the match.   

 

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Well for the people who cancelled the network, some good news

 

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Watched Starrcade 1988. It was a really good show but the last three matches having essentially cheap/no resolution chaffed me. A count out, a dq and using a chair/foot on the ropes all back to back. At the biggest show of the year. I get it was different back then in terms of building feuds but I would be very unsure of buying another ppv.

Also, is Rick Steiner supposed to have a learning disability or something? Big Poppa Pump makes more sense. 

Again, overall excellent in ring. But three fuck finishes to close it out. Plus the Masked Russians cheated earlier! So 4 screwy finishes! C'mon! Rotunda and Steiner works better because of it. I get Flair doing it but they dq Road Warriors for Ellering instantly but Cornette and Dangerously did whatever they wanted earlier.

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8 minutes ago, Six String Orchestra said:

Watched Starrcade 1988. It was a really good show but the last three matches having essentially cheap/no resolution chaffed me. A count out, a dq and using a chair/foot on the ropes all back to back. At the biggest show of the year. I get it was different back then in terms of building feuds but I would be very unsure of buying another ppv.

Also, is Rick Steiner supposed to have a learning disability or something? Big Poppa Pump makes more sense. 

Again, overall excellent in ring. But three fuck finishes to close it out. Plus the Masked Russians cheated earlier! So 4 screwy finishes! C'mon! Rotunda and Steiner works better because of it. I get Flair doing it but they dq Road Warriors for Ellering instantly but Cornette and Dangerously did whatever they wanted earlier.

Varsity Club Steiner definitely falls into the “Bugsy McGraw” category of wacky wrestling savant. 

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16 hours ago, hammerva said:

Okay I know that it is Bischoff so the bullshit meter is sky high but watching the Untold on Dennis Rodman is something else.  Bischoff claims that he encouraged Malone & Rodman that it would be great if during the NBA playoffs they would do shit to build up the match.   

 

He made the claim before as well, fwiw

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I watched two things from the Network today: the Austin/Bret interview and the FCW doc. I was honestly kind of disappointed in the Broken Skull Sessions. Bret really just came off bitter and wasn't very engaging. I know he has a lot to be bitter about but it didn't make for a very compelling watch, in my eyes. Austin always seems like he is having fun with these though and his attitude helped make things watchable at least.

The FCW doc was really fun to watch though. I never really saw much of the television but I'm going to change that ASAP. Rollins was his usual unlikable self and my biggest takeaway is this: Why the hell isn't Heath Slater being used more and in a better position? Dude is so likable. Tons of charisma. Easily one of the best parts of the doc. I also really loved the promo class portions. I'd love a drop of just those type of segments, to be honest. 

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Posted (edited)

Thoughts on WrestleMania X-8

So with all of this talent, could the WWF possibly top the nearly perfect WrestleMania X-7? Not with musical performances by Saliva and Drowning Pool in the first 45 minutes of the show. Making it even more pointless, both bands showed up later to play intro music for the Dudleys and Triple H, respectively. When I announced for Fightfest MMA five years after this, we would have bands like Drowning Pool, Saliva and Tantric play at 7 p.m. and start the fights at 8. It was perfect. Rock first, then fight.

William Regal was armed with two sets of brass knuckles again, but RVD kicked both of them away as he went on to win the IC title.

The Hardcore title bounced from Maven to Spike Dudley to Hurricane to Mighty Molly to Christian and back to Maven. They were still trying to make Maven happen.

Kurt Angle and Kane had a great match even with nothing at stake. Angle used his feet on the ropes to win.

Arn Anderson was always ready to take a punch for Ric Flair, and he did it again here as Flair tried in vain to stop Undertaker from increasing his WrestleMania streak to 10-0. The camera crew and director hid Arn's arrival so he could "suddenly" show up and give Taker a spinebuster.

It was strange to see Stone Cold in the middle of the show after he carried the company for most of the previous year. He threw out some Stunners and pinned Scott Hall.

The Acolytes earned a shot at the WWF tag team belts at No Way Out, but three of the teams they beat were in the match anyway. Billy & Chuck defended the belts that they won from Tazz & Spike, and of course the Dudleys and Hardys had to be included. Billy & Chuck retained.

When Hulk Hogan tore off his nWo shirt, it was 1985 all over again in Toronto. The crowd went crazy for him. The Rock was one of the most popular stars of all time, and his offense was greeted with 30 percent cheers and 70 percent boos. When Hogan started Hulking out, the fans came totally unglued. Rock winning was the right call, but if Hogan had somehow won, it would have been almost as memorable as his win over Andre. Hogan's enduring connection with his Hulkamaniacs earns him the MVP award.

Poor Jazz, Lita and Trish had to follow that act, but Trish was just thrilled to be performing in her hometown. Jazz pinned Lita to retain the women's title. Edge, also from Toronto, got the win over Booker T.

Chris Jericho and Stephanie made a strange partnership after all of the insults they hurled at each other in the preceding months. Triple H pedigreed them both and won the Undisputed title to complete his comeback story. Who knew his title reign would be so short? 

Worst fan sign: "oMu" (Hey man, your sign is upside down!)

Edited by Gorman
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Maven needed years of developmental. He had charisma and athleticism. Throwing him on TV immediately after Tough Enough illustrates the inherent problem with that kind of show.

I was there live for the Rumble that year. It may have been embellished by fond memories, but I remember the pop being huge when he eliminated Taker.

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Thoughts on Backlash 2002

Tajiri was a heel here,  regaining the Cruiserweight title from Billy Kidman after misting him. Torrie Wilson was in Tajiri's corner,  wearing a kimono.

Scott Hall did not have much left in the tank, even though he beat Bradshaw with a low blow and a rollup. Faarooq had greeted Bradshaw backstage like a long-lost friend, even though they had only been separated in the draft a few weeks earlier.

Trish Stratus improved a ton in her first year in the ring, but she was unable to regain the women's title from Jazz. Even though ECW didn't have much of a women's division, it did produce Jazz and Lita.

Brock Lesnar wins the MVP award for his dominant debut win over Jeff Hardy. After hitting an F5, Lesnar kept powerbombing Jeff until the referee stopped the match.

Edge looked great in a losing effort against Kurt Angle, who should have been in line for a title shot after beating Kane and Edge on consecutive pay-per-views.

Eddy Guerrero won the IC title from Rob Van Dam six days before I was scheduled to call Eddy's match in Pittsburgh against IWC champion CM Punk. Amazingly, this meant the Punk match was for both titles! The only thing that could have made this better was if the WWF would have let us tape the match.

Undertaker and Austin were a little early for their annual May PPV match. Scott Hall and X-Pac came out for a while to watch the match for no reason. Undertaker won to earn a shot at the Undisputed title. Ric Flair was the special referee, but he failed to notice Austin's foot on the bottom rope. Maybe he took refereeing lessons from Lita.

Hulk Hogan recaptured the WWF title at the age of 48, beating Triple H in a match that included interference from Taker and Chris Jericho, who had complained earlier about not being on the show after headlining WrestleMania as the Undisputed champion. Although nostalgia has a short shelf life, Hogan got one more day in the sun.

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On 3/24/2020 at 5:57 AM, hammerva said:

Well for the people who cancelled the network, some good news

 

 

Man, I love to hate on the E, but this seems like a truly classy move on their part, making all of this stuff available at this time. Good on them!

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Thoughts on Insurrexion 2002

Eddy Guerrero and Rob Van Dam had a great IC title match with an awful finish. Eddy got disqualified for shoving the referee.

Molly Holly cut a great promo about how she and Jazz were the most beautiful women in the WWF and did not have to show off their bodies. They got double-pinned by Trish and Jacqueline.

X-Pac was in full "annoying jerk" mode coming to the ring with Kane's mask and a set of nunchucks as he beat Bradshaw with Scott Hall's help. Shouldn't he have been called 6-Pac since he was back in the nWo? He could have sold another round of those 6-Ball shirts.

The Hardcore title bounced from Steven Richards to Booker T to Crash Holly, back to Booker, and then back to Steven after interference from Tommy Dreamer, Justin Credible and Jazz. The music guy kept punching up Booker's theme, and he would win or lose the title.

Brock Lesnar never got a winning streak going because Shawn Stasiak didn't listen to Paul Heyman's instructions to stay on the ring apron against the Hardys. Of course, Lesnar destroyed both Hardys and Stasiak after the match.

William Regal had a perfect chance to regain the European title from Spike Dudley, especially after Spike sprained his ankle. But Regal got cocky and pulled Spike up at the two-count, and Spike surprised him with a small package to retain the belt.

Ric Flair tried to prove he wasn't biased against Steve Austin by appointing himself as the second referee in Austin's match against The Big Show. Flair kept his word that he would prevent Scott Hall and X-Pac from interfering, and Austin hit Stunners on Nash and Big Show and won the match. Flair wanted Austin to acknowledge that he did the right thing, and Austin responded with a Stunner. This should have been the main event, finishing this era with a vintage MVP performance by Austin.

But the main event was Triple H beating Undertaker with the Pedigree to gain revenge for Taker's interference at Backlash. Maybe this was the more appropriate end to the era after all.

This show took place on my wedding day, and after our honeymoon in LA, I returned to find that the company had changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment. 

So it took me over five years to watch every WWF pay-per-view, skipping Over the Edge 99. If there's one thing professional wrestling has never had, it's a set of history books. So that's what I'm going to write.

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Ric Flair is the next Broken Skull Sessions guest

Hits the Network on April 12

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On 3/23/2020 at 8:16 PM, Six String Orchestra said:

Also, is Rick Steiner supposed to have a learning disability or something? Big Poppa Pump makes more sense. 

 

There's a story that WCW considered turning Rick Steiner heel and unmasking him as the Black Scorpion (he fits the clues), but decided against it because they couldn't figure out how to explain why Steiner would pretend to be a moron for months on end.

It's kinda of a silly character, but TV Champion Rick Steiner was maybe the most over guy in the company.

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I'm not familiar with Black Scorpion outside they were messing with Sting and it's just Ric Flair in a stupid mask. I have been lead to believe that is probably all I want to know. 

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5 hours ago, Tarheel Moneghetti said:

they couldn't figure out how to explain why Steiner would pretend to be a moron for months on end.

More like trying to figure out how to explain how Rick fucking Steiner is some kind of mastermind of anything. I'd expect him to take off the mask on accident during a match because he couldn't see well. 

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2 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

More like trying to figure out how to explain how Rick fucking Steiner is some kind of mastermind of anything. I'd expect him to take off the mask on accident during a match because he couldn't see well. 

But JR won't hesitate to remind you he has a degree in Education. 

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