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Dolfan Watches Every Wrestlemania On Lockdown


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Yeah, AJ liked working for TNA because it was an easy schedule, and he was able to keep his landscaping business going full time while still wrestling.

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Dean Ambrose, who bears a striking resemblance to AEW's former champion, is in the middle of his first singles run. He's hugely popular because, he's big, strong, and has a complete lack of concern about what he does to his body.  Basically he's Cactus Jack with a fitness routine. Of course, if you hear him talk about it now, he was basically in utter misery for every second of every day that he was employed by WWE.  So, of course, his reward for being such a miserable prick was a match at WrestleMania with Brock Lesnar.  

The video intro does a good job in showing the build to the match:  Brock Lesnar needs an opponent.  Dean Ambrose, "I am an opponent."  Brock kills Dean dead, "You are my opponent."  Yeah...

Well, anyway, Dean comes out to a gigantic pop.  And Brock's out to another sizeable pop.  Paul Heyman does his cute bit of interrupting the announcer to do Brock's ring announcement himself.   And we're underway...

Now, my memory of this match was this was one of the Brock "Spam Suplex --> F5" specials where he doesn't sell.   However, watching this again, I see it's "Spam Suplex, Nutshot sell, F5" instead.   Actually I'm being a bit glib about that...

Brock is clearly selling Dean as not being on his level -- which, let's be honest, he is not. Yet.  The barrage of suplexes and Dean getting thrown on his head repeatedly, but still moving like a damned Frankenstein monster, is making the entire crowd love him even more.  Dean is the star of this match,  Brock's part is to make sure that the hero that's trying to slay the dragon, is going to die a valiant, noble death.  

Well, after the hero bashes the dragon's nuts through his fucking skull.  

That's what it finally took for Brock to wake up and think, oh shit, this guy isn't going away.  I actually have to kill him off.  So kill him off he does, as he F5's him onto a plethora of chairs for the victory.  Brock's look of stunned surprise is basically the moment in Bull Durham when Crash Davis digs in to bat and gets one thrown at his head, and reacts by saying "Son of a bitch throws fast." 

Don't have to win to be put over, and that's what this was.  It was frankly so much better than I remember. 

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Going back to AJ for a minute, I think he deserves a huge amount of credit for breaking Bullet Club in America.  Between appearing for ROH on National TV and his road warrior Indy schedule at the time, he put the BC brand in front of a lot of Western eyeballs that likely didn’t really know/care about NJPW at that point and made it seem like the coolest thing.  With all due respect to the Young Bucks, who were crucial players, too, I don’t think it blows up like it did if leadership went straight from Devitt to Kenny (who wasn’t ready yet) or Karl (who is not a top guy).

It was one of those rare, perfect arrangements that helped everybody involved.  AJ made BC big in the States and really kicked off the Western expansion, and NJPW gave him a platform to prove he could be a top guy anywhere, which finally compelled WWE to meet him on his terms.

Edited by EVA
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I also think just having that year doing Japan and indies helped AJ Styles wash away some of the "TNA stink" as if he went straight from TNA to WWE I am not entirely sure the buzz for his debut is there as much, or WWE may have felt compelled to send him to NXT first for rebuilding. 

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It's time for the 2016 Hall of Fame class as this day's ride winds down.  They are:  The Godfather, Stan Hansen, Big Boss Man, Jacqueline, Joan Lunden (Warrior Award), The Fabulous Freebirds, Snoop Dogg, and Sting.  

Some notes.  The Godfather really has no business being here.  He was fine as a midcard comedy act, but beyond that?  

The Boss Man is a solid choice, main event feuds with Hogan, a good upper-mid card face or heel, and frankly, he put up with Akeem for years without laughing at the sight of him. 

Stan Hansen feels like the kind of guy who: a) they'd have inducted 10 years before this, and b) probably hated Vince but HHH talked him down. 

Jacqueline is the first woman of color to be inducted.  So good on her for that. 

Joan Lunden had just survived cancer and I'm guessing she's personal friends with the McMahons.

Snoop Dogg is awesome and if you live in Colorado, California, or other places where his non-musical products are legally distributed, you know that already.

Sting.... I mean, Sting is clearly the most worthy of anyone here.  Plus he'd just suffered a career-ending (?) injury at the hands of Seth stupid Rollins and this was probably a little bit of a make good. 

And then we get to the Freebirds.  And while, yes, they deserve to get in based on their body of work...  Good lord, are they lucky the WWE put them in when they did because:

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In the year of our lord 2020, there is roughly zero chance that the announcement of these three rebel flag waving, multiple racist incident having, idiots make it in.  Or if they do, they open up the WWE to a world of hurt from protestors or worse, politicians.  Frankly, the New Day being the ones to induct them in 2016 caused a little bit of a stir.  I can only imagine what the discussion would be in the wake of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many other names....   

I'll stop before I have to ban myself.  

End of Day 101.

 

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I checked Terry's Wiki to see if he'd worked WWF before the Executioner gimmick and this was my answer

Quote

The Freebirds spent a very brief time in the World Wrestling Federation in 1984, but were fired after missing a show and showing up, many times, late and drunk.[4]

😄

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30 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

I checked Terry's Wiki to see if he'd worked WWF before the Executioner gimmick and this was my answer

😄

No Stars and Bars for their debut (with Cyndi Lauper and David Wolff) 

 

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On 12/6/2020 at 2:53 PM, Andy in Kansas said:

Michaels showing up in his ring gear and Austin not was a weird choice. I guess Shawn really missed being shirtless in front of throngs of admirers. 

I believe the rumor around that time was that Vince told Shawn that he wanted him to work a match so he got into shape but then realized right before the event that it was just a segment.

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Papa Shango was a big deal when I was a kid. I think if you can get two separate gimmicks over as much as that and the Godfather were, you should probably go in. (We'll leave Kama out of this.) On top of that he's part of BSK so there you go.

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DAY 102

It's cute to see which advertisers still have a relationship with the WWE, because we get a Snickers commercials where Zack Ryder cannot "Woo" correctly. Once he has a delicious 400 calorie chocolate bar, he can, because he's actually Charlotte. (This is a poor portent of what's coming.) And speaking of her...

So, for the previous few years, the scene has been dominated by the Bellas on the main roster - I mean this in the most insulting way possible. However, down in NXT, there have been 4 women who were ready to change the concept of what women's wrestling could be in the WWE.  They were built from the ground up and during the previous year, it was time for them to come up.  Well, three of them, anyway.   Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte Flair are making their WrestleMania debuts - in wrestling roles.  (Technically this is Becky and Sasha's second, and Charlotte's third appearance.)

The story leading up to this is basically, since their debut, the three of these ladies are setting fire to the Divas roster. No one is on their level and Charlotte has crushed everyone in her path on the way to the Divas' Championship.  So, now it's time for all of them together to show what they can do.  And their prize?  The shiny new "WWE Women's Championship", as introduced by Lita. 

The crowd is pretty excited for the match as you can definitely feel the buzz.  After having ridden through the previous two decades of women's matches... so am I.  They're very happy to see Becky.  They're chuffed as fuck to see Snoop Dogg rap the Boss down to the ring.  And then Charlotte comes out. 

Now, Charlotte is a heel, but frankly, the crowd reaction is, aside from some woos... notably muted?  

The match quality is superb (though in 2020, familiar).  These three have been wrestling this match, or some variation thereof for the previous 3 or 4 years in NXT.  With the notable addition of Ric Flair sitting outside in Charlotte's corner.  And frankly, it's a testament to how good all three ladies are, they only botch one or two things throughout a 20 minute match.  Frankly a lot of the men on this show could have stopped an taken some notes.  

But... then there's the end.  

See, like I'd mentioned, Ric Flair is hanging out in the corner, like a pimple at the corner of your jaw.  You know it's there, you know it's going to cause your pain at the worst possible moment, and yet you kind of put it out of your mind. 

Well, Sasha's is tied up in the turnbuckles, Becky's got her dead to rights as she's knocked Charlotte out.  However, Sasha's got one last trick up her sleeve and does a neat reversal of a superplex into a floatover Backstabber into the Banks Statement.  Becky's a second from tapping and the crowd is going nuts, but here's Charlotte like Jason Voorhees... She throws Sasha out and gets Becky into the Figure 8 Leglock. And that's when it happens.  

You see, because the WWE cannot give them the moment.  Vince is too much of a hidebound, reactionary, bigoted old man to let these women, nay, these athletes, who'd been working their asses off for years to push this whole "women's wrestling" thing completely over the top. The three women who'd built this program for years and had made it, at this point, far and away the best feud in the WWE had to be hampered down by the thought that "heels have to cheat to win."  And in this case, the proverbial painful jawline pimple just popped right before your the big date.  

Ric Flair grabs Sasha's leg in full view of the crowd and everyone except the referee.  The crowd sees it and NOTICEABLY gets quiet.  They know what's happening.  Because Charlotte, you see, is merely a girl and cannot finish off her opponents without her father's (or more accurately, a man's) help.  

Becky's exhausted and in blinding pain, and taps to the F8.  And the crowd doesn't pop.... they just go quiet.  

What should have been the pop of the night... what should have been the ascension of women's professional wrestling... just dies on the vine.  

Charlotte is the new WWE Women's Champion and the crowd is pissed.  

I get that she's a super athlete and the face of the franchise.  I get that she's a heel and breaks rules to win.  I get that she's the one you want to build around.  But god damn it, this was the absolute wrong choice in getting there.  There was so much potential behind this moment, and Vince couldn't let them have it.  (Plus, it's abundantly clear, the crowd wanted Banks to go over here.)

I was seriously smiling the whole match until the end.  It frankly was even better than I remembered.  But, just by grabbing Sasha's leg, Ric Flair single-handedly ruined the entire match.  

Oh well, let me press on to whatever's next... 

Oh.

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4 hours ago, Dolfan in NYC said:

DAY 102

It's cute to see which advertisers still have a relationship with the WWE, because we get a Snickers commercials where Zack Ryder cannot "Woo" correctly. Once he has a delicious 400 calorie chocolate bar, he can, because he's actually Charlotte. (This is a poor portent of what's coming.) And speaking of her...

So, for the previous few years, the scene has been dominated by the Bellas on the main roster - I mean this in the most insulting way possible. However, down in NXT, there have been 4 women who were ready to change the concept of what women's wrestling could be in the WWE.  They were built from the ground up and during the previous year, it was time for them to come up.  Well, three of them, anyway.   Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte Flair are making their WrestleMania debuts - in wrestling roles.  (Technically this is Becky and Sasha's second, and Charlotte's third appearance.)

The story leading up to this is basically, since their debut, the three of these ladies are setting fire to the Divas roster. No one is on their level and Charlotte has crushed everyone in her path on the way to the Divas' Championship.  So, now it's time for all of them together to show what they can do.  And their prize?  The shiny new "WWE Women's Championship", as introduced by Lita. 

The crowd is pretty excited for the match as you can definitely feel the buzz.  After having ridden through the previous two decades of women's matches... so am I.  They're very happy to see Becky.  They're chuffed as fuck to see Snoop Dogg rap the Boss down to the ring.  And then Charlotte comes out. 

Now, Charlotte is a heel, but frankly, the crowd reaction is, aside from some woos... notably muted?  

The match quality is superb (though in 2020, familiar).  These three have been wrestling this match, or some variation thereof for the previous 3 or 4 years in NXT.  With the notable addition of Ric Flair sitting outside in Charlotte's corner.  And frankly, it's a testament to how good all three ladies are, they only botch one or two things throughout a 20 minute match.  Frankly a lot of the men on this show could have stopped an taken some notes.  

But... then there's the end.  

See, like I'd mentioned, Ric Flair is hanging out in the corner, like a pimple at the corner of your jaw.  You know it's there, you know it's going to cause your pain at the worst possible moment, and yet you kind of put it out of your mind. 

Well, Sasha's is tied up in the turnbuckles, Becky's got her dead to rights as she's knocked Charlotte out.  However, Sasha's got one last trick up her sleeve and does a neat reversal of a superplex into a floatover Backstabber into the Banks Statement.  Becky's a second from tapping and the crowd is going nuts, but here's Charlotte like Jason Voorhees... She throws Sasha out and gets Becky into the Figure 8 Leglock. And that's when it happens.  

You see, because the WWE cannot give them the moment.  Vince is too much of a hidebound, reactionary, bigoted old man to let these women, nay, these athletes, who'd been working their asses off for years to push this whole "women's wrestling" thing completely over the top. The three women who'd built this program for years and had made it, at this point, far and away the best feud in the WWE had to be hampered down by the thought that "heels have to cheat to win."  And in this case, the proverbial painful jawline pimple just popped right before your the big date.  

Ric Flair grabs Sasha's leg in full view of the crowd and everyone except the referee.  The crowd sees it and NOTICEABLY gets quiet.  They know what's happening.  Because Charlotte, you see, is merely a girl and cannot finish off her opponents without her father's (or more accurately, a man's) help.  

Becky's exhausted and in blinding pain, and taps to the F8.  And the crowd doesn't pop.... they just go quiet.  

What should have been the pop of the night... what should have been the ascension of women's professional wrestling... just dies on the vine.  

Charlotte is the new WWE Women's Champion and the crowd is pissed.  

I get that she's a super athlete and the face of the franchise.  I get that she's a heel and breaks rules to win.  I get that she's the one you want to build around.  But god damn it, this was the absolute wrong choice in getting there.  There was so much potential behind this moment, and Vince couldn't let them have it.  (Plus, it's abundantly clear, the crowd wanted Banks to go over here.)

I was seriously smiling the whole match until the end.  It frankly was even better than I remembered.  But, just by grabbing Sasha's leg, Ric Flair single-handedly ruined the entire match.  

Oh well, let me press on to whatever's next... 

Oh.

Did they cut out the part where Flair kissed Becky?  Because that was uncomfortable and pointless and I remember people not being happy with that one bit.

Also, Sasha definitely should have won.  It was all there.  The Snoop entrance.  The Eddie-style tights.  And just Sasha being awesome in general.  I remember myself and most others at the bar I was at were just ready for her obvious win.  The excitement was building the longer it went.  Then the finish happened and we were all incredibly deflated.

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3 hours ago, NikoBaltimore said:

Did they cut out the part where Flair kissed Becky?  Because that was uncomfortable and pointless and I remember people not being happy with that one bit.

Also, Sasha definitely should have won.  It was all there.  The Snoop entrance.  The Eddie-style tights.  And just Sasha being awesome in general.  I remember myself and most others at the bar I was at were just ready for her obvious win.  The excitement was building the longer it went.  Then the finish happened and we were all incredibly deflated.

Yes, they cut it.  He just started woo'ing at Becky and then got taken out by a flying Sasha.  

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Cut back to Fall 2015.  I was talking to my friend Katie.  She is a consultant that does work in building e-commerce websites. She told me, hey, I'm working on a project for WWE (revamping WWE.com and the WWEShop)... you know Shane?  He's coming back soon.  At this point, Shane had been gone for years.  I'd bought the line about him going to 'build his own fortune' in Chinese PPV.  (He did do that outside of WWE, but it was supposedly unsuccessful and he'd been behind the scenes in WWE basically doing nothing.) 

Fast forward to a Monday in February when I'm at the gym finishing a workout with my partner and I'm doing my thing on the elliptical,  USA was on and Stephanie had just received some award for something that semi-successful businesswomen get.  Looking at the hype video, the trophy looks suspiciously fake - mainly because it just looks like the architectural renderings of the new 2 World Trade Center that never got built. Anyway, "Here Comes The Money" hits halfway through Vince and Stephanie congratulating themselves and here's Shane.   I was genuinely shocked, and remembered that I added 10 minutes to my run just to watch the segment.  (My partner wasn't thrilled about that.)

So, basically, the literal Prodigal Fail-son is back and wants to save the company from Vince.  This is an easy sell to the WWE faithful as Vince is in full "ram my wishes down your throat" mode.  So, Vince said that was fine.  So long as he beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania.  (Not enough was made about Vince pulling an unacknowledged Teddy Long "Holla holla" meme.)   Taker was like "fine, fuck, whatever." (Technically his stip was he'd never wrestle at Mania again if he lost.) So we have a match. 

Oh, and it's in Hell in a Cell, just for fun. 

Shane is no longer the punk kid who was rich so all the shop owners had to look the other way when he destroyed their shit... so he comes out, salt and pepper haired, and  brings out his three sons with him to dance to the ring.  (I'm sure we'll learn to hate at least one of them by the end of this decade when they take the WWE Championship off... hmm... let's say, Kenny Omega at SummerSlam 2028.)

This match is an absolute crashing fucking bore.  I mean it is awful.   This is the first time my partner Alex has been around when I'm riding.  We're drawn into a debate about how the Undertaker's character is about as perfect pro-wrestling as you can get.  And yeah, it really is.  It is the perfect mix of fantasy, fighting, storytelling, and ability.  I also have to note, the Undertaker character would not have worked as little as 7-8 years later.  An undead sorcerer would have been laughed at in the rapidly "smart"-ening audience of the late 90's.   Which is why I brought up Brock as being, basically the perfect pro wrestler.  

(Oh Shane is 'taking control' of the match and is using the time to cut a side off the cage. Hey Shane, you've got a gigantic metal club in your hand that you're using to cut the fencing bolts.  Go use it on your opponent, idiot.)

Brock adds the mix of legitimacy that the crowd post-Attitude era, who's now seen "real fighters" thanks to UFC and frankly the more down to earth characters of Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.  And yes that's a hell of an ironic statement. I get that those two guys are personalities turned up from 10 to 100, but they're not supernaturally powered creatures from another world.  He's not a fan of Brock so he starts reading something instead.  

(Shane's outside, and it's the moment we're all waiting for.  He starts climbing.  I should also note the idiocy of Shane fucking McMahon kicking out or escaping out of THREE finishers.)  

It's a real shame that my buddy is now watching this terrible match, because I've seen some absolute gems, and it's made this whole lockdown/workout thing infinitely more tolerable.  But Taker is in a steep, steep decline by this point in his career.  

(Shane's on top, sign of the cross.  WHEE!  Of course, Taker moves.  "For the love of mankind...", Michael Cole says.  Ugh.  Fuck this fucking match.)

I do not know what possessed them to book this match.  Honestly.  The even better part was Vince actually originally intended Shane to fucking win! Supposedly Taker vetoed that, because... jesus christ.

(Shane somehow is back to his knees. He gives Undertaker the bring it motion. Taker takes him into the ring and pats him on the head... because this match hasn't lasted long enough. And bring it, he does.  Tombstone.  23-1.)

Yeah, that could be the worst of the STREAK~ matches so far.  It was long, pointless, boring, unbelievable(!!!), and plodding.  The literal only thing they did right was have Taker go over.  Because there is zero justification, in any universe, of Shane beating the god damned Undertaker clean. 

Shane's in need of medical attention, and if I don't get off this bike, so will I.  

End of D... 

Wait.  

I hear a rustling outside my window on my AC.  

HE'S BACK!   Tua is back and looking quite plump for the winter!   

He's only around for a minute, looks around and leaves.  But hey, maybe things aren't so bad.  🙂 

End of Day 102.  

 

 

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I think I was alone in my reaction to Shane's return, but it was basically "aw fuck not another fucking McMahon. Why the fuck are you idiots cheering?"

And that match was so fucking bad. And long.

(FWIW, I don't think all of Shane's outside ventures actually failed. I believe he's still part of that company in China to some degree.)

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I love how Shane's jiu jitsu is hyped up by the commentary as he agonizingly tries to place his legs for a triangle choke. His shadow boxing nonsense was already rough but now he's some fearsome black belt. I guess the match did draw some attention for a Mania card that was falling apart at the time. 

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6 hours ago, Six String Orchestra said:

I love how Shane's jiu jitsu is hyped up by the commentary as he agonizingly tries to place his legs for a triangle choke. His shadow boxing nonsense was already rough but now he's some fearsome black belt. I guess the match did draw some attention for a Mania card that was falling apart at the time. 

I’m a BJJ brown belt under Matt Serra, Shane’s BJJ is dogshit. 

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DAY 103

The WrestleMania pre-show panel is on to say what a great match they just saw. This marks the Mania debuts of Renee Young(~) and C*rey Gr*ves.  Moving on.

It's time for the "Let's Get All the Men a WrestleMania Payday" special, the Andre the Giant Battle Royale.  This year it's 16 main roster guys (Fandango, Damien Sandow, Big Show, The Ascension, Diamond Dallas Page, Jack Swagger, R-Truth, Goldust, Curtis Axel, Adam Rose, Heath Slater, Tyler Breeze, Mark Henry, Bo Dallas, Darren Young, and Kane), 1 NXT surprise (Baron Corbin), 2 Legends (Tatanka, Diamond Dallas Page), and 1 Shaquille O'Neal. 

The story (at first) was Shaq and Big Show had promised to throw down at a WrestleMania a couple of years before, but Shaq either "got injured" (*BZZZT*) or "didn't care enough to do the training" (*ding ding ding*), so the whole thing got called off.  The other 18 guys decide to watch the Godzilla/Rodan fight for a moment before finally deciding to all gang up on them and throw them out.  I was ready to complain that they all didn't attack at once, but then they actually did...  so, good for them.

Actually Shaq's elimination looked exactly what an untrained person getting thrown from about 8-10' up would look like.  I think the only thing saving him from breaking his legs on the way down was knowing how to flop thanks to an extensive NBA career. 

Watching from 2020, I instantly realize how much of a John Morrison rip off Adam Rose was. My goodness, I actually thought to myself, I didn't remember Morrison being back even temporarily at this point. 

The jobbers had a stable (Bo, Axel, Slater, and Young) so they were just being general shitheads to everyone else and it was funny enough when they got eliminated.  It really is something, those 4 guys all make so little impression.  They really are the embodiment of the Oceans 11 speech Brad Pitt gives to Matt Damon, "he has to see you, engage with you, and forget you the moment you're out of his sight."  

So, in a pretty big shock, Baron Corbin wins when he tosses Kane at the end.  It was clear that they had big plans for Corbin by this point, but he really should have taken this win and been in NXT for another 6 months or so of seasoning.  Maybe even a run as NXT Champion, doing his "I hate indie guys" gimmick with the trophy as his proof of how much better he was then them.   As it was, he debuted the next night and was instantly killed dead by having a feud with Dolph Ziggler, who somehow got the "NXT call up's first feud" role and abjectly sucked at it.  

The battle royale itself though was actually a lot better than I remembered.  Relatively quick, inoffensive, couple of cute moments and surprises.  Which, I cannot say for what's next. 😕 

 

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