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  #21  
Old 12-01-2017, 04:26 AM
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It's important when viewing these old events to watch them through the eyes of the time and not to think about how utterly shit someone like Dino Bravo would look if he was wrestling today. Even with that in mind, there's a few issues with this show. There are a few problems with Survivor Series matches generally, and this show served as a very good example of all of them.

The first match is a good example of the first problem; namely 'why are these people fighting each other?'. Ok, so Savage hates Honky Tonk, and I quite like the end as a result, even though you do have Honky Tonk getting a 3 on 1 beating whilst being the heel. And it would appear Duggan has beef with Race. So they do the only thing you can do with those two to keep it even - have them double counted out. As an aside, Race was obviously a hugely influential wrestler, but based on this evidence his biggest influence was in the realm of terrible tattoos. For every other interaction in this match there is no peril, there are no stories that could be developed from this, it just becomes a collection of Raw matches with shit eliminations because they can't overuse big spots. That being said, Jake Roberts didn't succumb to the sleeper hold, something Hogan would do ten years later, which shows how ludicrous our old offering was. The ending was the best thing about this, though Savage showed again that he could bring emotion to a feud - often making stupid mistakes because he wanted to lay his hands on Honky Tonk. Much like in the 1992 Royal Rumble where he jumped out the ring, Savage had a knack for showing that he cared too much, which I don't think anyone since has really explored.

The women's tag match was pretty good, and I think Velvet McIntyre might be the only person to not wear shoes in the wrestling ring that isn't a savage. Though she is from Ireland, so you know, maybe she is. Anyway, this was pretty good and the Bomb Angels were way ahead of their time. This match illustrates better than anything else how much older people in the 80s looked - 6 of the people in this match were under 25 years old.

Anyway, the Survivor Series issue this match illustrates is that its very difficult to get rid of the big names realistically. Here, the WWF Women's Champion gets beaten by a roll up. The reason is obviously because they wanted the Bomb Angels and the Glamour Girls to be there at the end to set up the title change at the next Royal Rumble, but it makes Sherri look awful. The alternative, the count out elimination, was used on Hulk Hogan, so sorry Sherri.

I think this was my favourite match actually, it had a decent pace, and it showcased women in a manner that wasn't done very often. As much as Madusa was obviously a positive in the history of women's wrestling, I do wonder if she is the reason promoters went for big tits and blonde hair rather than the sorts of women involved here, who had a very good set of ring skills. Despite the fact that it included some very obscure names, such as the second most notable person called Dawn Marie in WWF history, which is really saying something, this match was given time for the ladies to showcase themselves - this remains the longest women's match ever on WWF Pay Per View, and is the third longest WWF women's match at all after the NXT Iron Woman and the MITB rematch.

Which brings me onto my next issue with Survivor Series - time. Because there's a team situation, we have all the promos in teams. Which has two effects - 1) they are terrible because everyone shouts over each other. 2) There's a lot less promo time because they don't have to introduce everyone and the captain takes the lead. This in turn is added to the time gained by there being fewer matches, hence fewer entrances, less pacing around the ring, introductions, being checked by the ref etc. This is all added to the fact that every match has ten or twenty (!) people in them. So you get a lot fewer matches.

In the main event, we have the world's worst cardio, so that match can't go far beyond 20 minutes. That means that in a three hour show we were given a very long opener, which is fine, a long women's match, which was good, and lots and lots of Monsoon and Ventura trying to buy time. This is evident between the tag match and the main event, and I have a suspicion that the Honky Tonk Man promo was an audible to try and fill some more time.

But nothing, nothing, was a bigger time filler than the tag team survivor series match. To put it into context, this was nearly ten minutes longer than Michaels vs Undertaker at WrestleMania 25. I grew a beard watching it, and it wasn't particularly good. Not that it was terrible, but it felt like a very strange order of proceedings. Again, the champs went out in a lacklustre fashion early on in the contest, but it seems bizarre that in a match that contained some of the most famous tag teams ever in the Hart Foundation, Demolition and the British Bulldogs, the final three teams were The Islanders, The Killer Bees and The Young Stallions, the latter of whom easily got the most ring time, though I suspect this may be for stamina based reasons. I don't think I've ever seen the Killer Bees win before, yet here they were, winning the match and pinning Bret Hart. A very strangely booked match, with way too many managers completely inactive at ringside.

The Ted DiBiase retrospective was good, but I can't help but think they could have helped to solve the time crisis by having him do an extra act of humiliation live after it had shown.

The main event showed the final issue with Survivor Series - you can't have main eventers in these kinds of matches because it is completely unbelievable. Guys like Butch Reed are so obviously not anywhere near Hogan that it means you're just waiting for the breakdown after the filler has been eliminated. Hogan's team basically consisted of a load of early 80s wrestlers as cannon fodder and Bigelow. Andre's team was a who's who of giants, including King Kong Bundy who has one of the most identifiable physical features in all of wrestling, in his weird sausage neck. Only Scott Steiner's bicep on top of his bicep can compare.

Anyway, Hogan is eliminated and I think they did well with Bam Bam to make it as good as possible after, but Hogan's appearance at the end is anachronistic to modern eyes. The fans clearly loved it, but I can't see how this would be tolerated now, even by people who cheer for Roman Reigns etc.

Overall, this show just isn't for me, and it wasn't at the time either - this is the last WWF PPV before I was born. The Survivor Series concept worked better in later years when the teams had names, fewer people and gimmicks like the ultimate survival to manage the time a little better. Unfortunately though, I just don't think the gimmick is that good, and I think the execution here was quite poor. On the positives, Jesse Ventura remains the best color commentator of all time, the women were given a genuine showcase for the last time for about 15 years and Rick Rude has excellent ring attire.
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  #22  
Old 12-05-2017, 03:56 AM
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Survivor Series 1987
Date: November 26, 1987
Location: Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio
Attendance: 21,300
Commentators: Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura

Out of everything WWE offers, I think Survivor Series might be my favorite show. Therefore, when I had the chance to pick which show we watched this month, there wasn’t much of a doubt which one I would pick. I went with the first show because it’s a great sampling of my favorite era in wrestling history. The first edition of the show might be the best and that makes for some interesting viewing.

First of all, a little backstory. So the NWA and the WWF were in the middle of a quickly escalating battle and pay per view became the biggest weapon available. The WWF had a running start with its first show airing on pay per view back in 1985 with the often forgotten Wrestling Classic. The NWA needed to get in on this and started with Starrcade 1987. All seemed well...until Vince McMahon got involved.

Seeing a chance and taking a gamble, McMahon put together a new pay per view concept called the Survivor Series (based on a VERY popular series of elimination tags held over the year at house shows) and told the cable companies they could either air his show or not be allowed to air the guaranteed cash cow Wrestlemania IV. The vast majority of the companies agreed and the Jim Crockett (basically the owner of the NWA) was dealt a fatal blow.

So with Starrcade out of the way, it was time for Survivor Series, which was built around one idea: Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant facing off for the first time since the biggest match of all time back at Wrestlemania. I know eight months sounds like a long time, but keep in mind that Survivor Series brought the pay per view total up to two in the entire year. That’s the big main event, but there’s a lot to go otherwise.

Team Savage vs. Team Honky Tonk Man

Now this match might not seem like the best on paper or even in execution but it served a bigger purpose than that: it illustrated what can happen in one of these matches. While there was one major feud (between the captains), you might think the rest of the wrestlers were thrown together for the sake of filling out the ranks. That’s not entirely the case though.

As mentioned above, Jim Duggan and Harley Race had been feuding, but Steamboat and Beefcake were also chasing the Intercontinental Title and had been ripped off by Honky Tonk Man as well (he took the title from Steamboat just a few months earlier remember). Throw in Jake Roberts, who had gotten cheated by Honky Tonk Man at Wrestlemania and you have a face lineup that belongs there.

On the other hand, yeah it’s a bit more thrown together, but that’s kind of by necessity. Jimmy Hart managed both Danny Davis and Honky Tonk Man so two of them are taken care of. Race is of course feuding with Duggan so that’s three. Hercules and Ron Bass are thrown in, but it’s hardly the worst thing in the world as it’s not like there are many others to put in their places.

Sure the Savage team is completely dominant on paper here, but that’s kind of the idea. The fans wanted to see Honky Tonk Man take a beating and that’s what he could do here without having to put the title in jeopardy. The fans also got to see the idea behind the eliminations in action and that makes for a much more entertaining match. It explained the concept and gave the fans what they wanted, so it’s really more important as a first step than good, which makes it a bigger deal.

Rating: B. Nothing great, but a good, solid opener.

Team Moolah vs. Team Martel

Now this is a little bit different as you have a major story here, but it’s not the Women’s Title match. Sure the captains are the two fighting over the title, but this match is designed to showcase the Jumping Bomb Angels. Who are the Jumping Bomb Angels you ask? In short, the most awesome female high fliers you’ve ever seen, a good eight years before that style was popularized in the United States.

If you’ve never seen their work, go out of your way to find these two. They absolutely steal the show here and look like they belong in WCW’s cruiserweight division. Later in the show, Jesse Ventura sounds amazed by them and with just reason. It took a lot to impress him (especially from a face) and these two pulled it off in spades. It’s an amazing performance and worth checking out.

As for the rest of the match….yeah it’s not great. There’s a lot of people being eliminated by simple moves and there isn’t much of a story. Sherri Martel had taken the Women’s Title from the Fabulous Moolah just a few months earlier and it’s only kind of touched on. This match was almost all about the Angels vs. the Glamour Girls (the Women’s Tag Team Titles, which thankfully were never resurrected) and that’s all it needed to be. Still though, consider this was 1987 and it would be another eight years before the idea was tried again. If nothing else it’s impressive from a history perspective and that’s not bad.

Rating: C-. The ending is great but the rest is a bit of a chore.

In something I don’t quite understand, at this point the arena got darker. It’s not a dome with the sunlight coming in so why did the lights go down like that? I’ve never understood the change.

Team Strike Force vs. Team Hart Foundation

This is another match with some odd bookings but for the love of Aunt Gertie’s old fashioned chickenwings WHAT A LINEUP. Half of the teams would hold the Tag Team Titles and the division would almost never be as strong (though next year’s lineup was even better). Again this was more of a spectacle with twenty people in the match at once and it certainly worked as a visual.

That being said, there is a story here with Strike Force recently taking the titles from the Hart Foundation. While that feud was advanced with the Harts eliminating the champs, there was another big idea here: Demolition looking like monsters. Not only did they get rid of the Rougeau Brothers but they were eliminated via DQ and never in much trouble. Demolition looked great here and it’s no surprise that they won the titles in about four months.

What is odd here though is the ending. The Hart Foundation is the second to last heel team eliminated, but getting rid of them left us with the Islanders vs. the combined forces of the Killer Bees/the Young Stallions. I’m sorry what now? Of all the teams you have in there, those are the three you pick? It’s the reason the match dies once the Hart Foundation is eliminated and there’s no way around it. There’s quite a lot to see in this match, but you’re better off watching the sequel from the following year.

Rating: B+. Amazing spectacle with a lot of time, but it’s not the greatest thing in the world.

We then had a long video on Ted DiBiase, which makes sense as he was about ten weeks away from helping Andre the Giant get the World Title off of Hogan. This was just to keep a spotlight on him and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Honky Tonk Man came out and filled in some time with a challenge to anyone. Nothing wrong with that as it was pretty clearly intermission.

Team Hogan vs. Team Andre

And here’s the entire reason this show exists. I won’t bother going over most of the teams but you could hear the crowd go crazy as soon as Hogan and Andre were in the ring together. It was still the biggest match in the world and that’s all it was supposed to be. The rest of the lineups didn’t really matter (it was basically Paul Orndorff’s last major match in the company), though there were some feuds going on at this time (One Man Gang had injured Don Muraco’s manager Billy Graham, Rude vs. Orndorff, Hogan vs. Andre).

Other than Hogan vs. Andre though, this was a great showcase for Bam Bam Bigelow, who was one of the hottest names in the company. Bigelow was the last man standing for his team and managed to defeat both Gang and Bundy before falling to Andre in the end. It’s not like there’s anything wrong with that, as pretty much anyone not named Hogan was losing to the Giant.

That’s the other key to the match: while he didn’t pin Hogan, Andre winning the match gave him a victory over Hogan, which was almost unheard of in a major match. It helped continue their feud, which lead into the huge rematch in February. Hogan did come back to take Andre out after the match (which was a complete jerk move but this wasn’t a promotion where the fans went home unhappy very often) but the fact of the matter was Andre’s team won, which is all that matters.

Rating: B-. Not a great technical match but it accomplished its goal and the crowd was WAY into it.

Overall Rating: B. This show isn’t perfect, but it was a big help to the company. At this point it was really just Wrestlemania and some big house shows. This show gave the company a big bridge (and a lot of money) between the biggest show of the year and helped advance some major stories. Two months later we saw the first Royal Rumble and pretty soon, the company was off to the races. This isn’t a masterpiece or anything, but it’s a very fun show that started a trend, which is far more important in the long term.
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  #23  
Old 12-06-2017, 01:31 PM
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I suppose I should start by pointing out that I was born in 1990. So this show aired three years before I was even born. Perhaps that's part of the reason why I really didn't care for this PPV at all. Everything about it smacks of a time and an atmosphere that I have never fully appreciate and privacy never will. But with that out of the way, I do have some thoughts on the event.

Firstly, watching PPV events from the late 80's is not something that I enjoy and this was no different really. Wrestling has evolved massively since this PPV and it is quite jarring to watch this PPV after spending the previous night watching the most recent Survivor Series. With 4 survivor series matches on this card, I cannot help but feel that this was overboard. I know the story behind the PPV and the power play by Vince but that doesn't make this show any better to watch. In actual fact, I found myself being quite bored through a lot of it. That comes down to what Tasty pointed out previously - waiting around for what actually matters in a survivor series match is very boring. The first match in particular was like pulling teeth.

The women's match and the following match were a little better but not what I would call classics encounters by any stretch of the imagination. The Tag Team Match was something to be hold, for sure. A survivor series match with 20 people? Yes, please. And KB is right, it was probably the most stacked match of the night. The talent involved was really awe-inspiring actually. But the booking was a little bit mental, in all honesty. I'm with KB, why the Hell would you eliminate the Hart's as the second to last team? Having never seen this PPV before, I was fully expecting them to go the distance and at least, be the last eliminated team. But hey ho, booking is booking. Who am I to call it crazy?

I guess the best part of this whole thing was that it accomplished what it set out to do - it got Hogan and Andre in the ring again after WrestleMania. You could tell that the crowd were well and truly into this event and that reached a crescendo when it was time for the main event. If I took nothing else from this PPV, it was just how over Hogan and Andre were and just how much the crowd bought their feud. It was expertly orchestrated to be that way and it continued to pat off all the time. That said, the booking in this is crazy too. Like many, I wasn't fond of Hogan reappearing but whatever, the crowd liked it.

All in all, I was not very impressed with this PPV. I get the significance of it and the importance of some of the matches. But frankly, apart from the commentary, there wasn't much about the production that I actually enjoyed. There were flashes of brilliance in there and it's not horrible. But honestly, I just don't think I can fully appreciate PPV's like this because of the time that has passed. I've been conditioned from an early age to like wrestling in a certain way and this just doesn't match up with that.
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  #24  
Old 12-06-2017, 02:00 PM
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I have had the time to watch the entire event but the women's match and the main event intrigued me enough to go back to it.

In the process, I found that these two matches represented both the positive and the negative of not only the Survivor Series match but also rigid fixing of themed pay per views.

The elimination match worked perfectly for the main event and the continuing Hogan/Andre feud. The Giant got a win over Hogan without beating him to remind everyone that he was still Andre the "one loss in fifteen years (supposedly)" Giant.

At the same time, it also provided what should have been a perfect vehicle for Bam Bam Bigelow to ascend to the higher levels. From a 3 on 1, he defeated two other super-heavyweights by himself before falling to Andre when tired. Just because the Bigelow experiment did not pan out in the long run does not mean that this Survivor Series match was a waste. Things can be booked correctly but fall apart for other reasons.

On the flip side of the Survivor Series coin, the women's match was so heavily focused on the Jumping Bomb Angels vs the Glamour Girls that it might as well have just been a match between them. It certainly did not do the Women's Champion any favours.

Would there really have been any uproar at there being two women's title matches on the card? Would it really have put a dent in the 'new' concept of the elimination match?
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Old 12-06-2017, 03:19 PM
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Having just one elimination match - or two or three or... just less than the entire card really - was a much-needed innovation, I agree, but something inside me does miss WWE going all in on a gimmick for a pay-per-view. Do we need a King of the Ring pay-per-view with nothing but tournament matches? Absolutely not. Would I find such a pay-per-view somehow soothing? You bet.

Speaking of which, the next pay-per-view we'll be watching, as per Dave's request is...

WWF Royal Rumble 2001

See you back here on the 28th of December.
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  #26  
Old 12-28-2017, 11:47 AM
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There's a lot to say about Royal Rumble 2001, and a lot that's been said before. The main point I want to make about a pay-per-view that's more or less solid from top to bottom is just how unfunny Drew Carey is.

Here's a transcript of one of the backstage segments from the show:

Quote:
DREW is talking awkwardly to TRISH STRATUS. VINCE McMAHON enters, through the floor, facing the wrong way. His head turns 180 degrees, like that of an owl, before his body follows. He has an obvious erection.

VINCE
Hi there, pal. Can I help you?

Drew thinks deeply, drawing upon his years of comic experience to deliver the wittiest line humanly possible.

DREW
Hello, sir. It is nice to meet you. I do not watch wrestling. May I have some business advice for my improv show?

Vince turns bright red. Defying all those of physics, he begins to hover in mid-air, then rapidly begins to spin from head-to-toe, over and over, like a table football player who's come unmoored.

VINCE
Business advice? Are you sure you wouldn't like to... say something funny?

DREW
Thank you for the offer, but no. Some business advice for the show I'm due to host in six day's time will suffice.
The kindest thing I can say about Drew's involvement in the show is that his entry in the Royal Rumble isn't entirely unbearable, but it is a lowlight of an otherwise excellent Rumble match. I'd like to think this doesn't read like a reactionary, uptight wrestling fan swinging wildly at celebrities in wrestling like a child would at fruit in cereal. I've no inherent problem with celebrities being involved in wrestling, I'd just like their involvement to be... not shit. For example, if a celebrity is there to promote their improv show, perhaps they should demonstrate some ability to improv, instead of producing three painfully unfunny backstage segments.

Another aspect of the show that hasn't aged favorably - the focus on the Dudley Boys having concussions to create tension for their tag team title match against Edge and Christian. It's an interesting angle, to not sell a sore ankle or injured ribs but the panic that you might not be able to remember your wife's name if you don't finish the match fast. I challenge anyone to listen to Jim Ross' description of Bubba Ray's swollen, juicy, tender brain without working up an appetite. Nonetheless, it certainly wouldn't fly in today's WWE.

Triple H's tendency to have overlong matches, I now realise, is not a recent phenomenon. His latest matches against Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and - I suppose - Sting have all mercilessly dragged. His match on this card against Kurt Angle is saved by lots of goodwill from the crowd and not one but two sub-plots (a nine-year-old Sam was close to being torn asunder by internal conflict when Stone Cold came out to cost Triple H the title) but is nonetheless a bit long.

A match that's arguably too concise is the Jericho/Benoit ladder match, which is rightly remembered as a classic, but includes a series a spots that are frankly uncomfortable to watch in a modern context, particularly Benoit diving headfirst into a steel chair.

A special shoutout to and a plea to recognise the greatness of a) Chyna, b) Ivory and c) Stevie Richards. The ending of the women's title match is arguably in worse taste than the premise of the tag match - Chyna has valiantly overcome a career-ending neck injury in a fortnight, only to be undone by her own cartwheel and end up collapsed in a heap - but everything up until then is a reminder of how good all three are, particularly Ivory, who doesn't have her praises sung nearly enough, and whose Lilith Crane shtick is second to none. Her mocking of Chyna's tear-soaked Jim Ross interview is definitely in poor taste, but also definitely funny.

They say thereís no such thing as bad sex - which is not true - and I say thereís no such thing as a bad Royal Rumble - which is more true. It may keep impressive company but the 2001 Rumble stands out regardless. Itís got everything you would want from a Rumble: comedy spots, unstoppable monsters, storylines perpetuated, and Stone Cold Steve Austin winning it against all odds. Billy Gunn being in the final four alongside The Rock and Kane might look curious to modern eyes... but it was bizarre in 2001 too. I would say I shudder to think how fans would react if Roman Reigns were taken out of a Rumble to have a lengthy rest before making a shocking return, but itís happened, I thought it was ill judged, and I wasnít wrong.

One day Iíd like to go into how weirdly nuanced Stone Coldís heel turn after WrestleMania was. This was really his last hurrah as the companyís top babyface, and Iíll never forget the image of him, bleeding profusely, shoelace undone, sprinting full speed off the ropes at Kane like he's aiming to knock his head off.
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  #27  
Old 12-29-2017, 01:21 AM
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Royal Rumble 2001


Watching this took me back to a time when Raw was exciting each week and Nitro was dying a slow painful death. My teenage self could not afford the PPV's, so this was my first time to watch the Royal Rumble 2001 show in its entirety. I had seen the Rumble itself from this show before, but not the rest of the show. Overall it was a good show. A little too much Drew Carrey though. Here's a retro review with thoughts from watching it.


Edge and Christian VS The Dudley Boys [Tag Team Championship]
A decent opener. You can't go wrong with any combination of Edge & Christian, The Dudleys, and The Hardys from this time. A fun match between two of the three greatest teams of the era.

Chris Benoit VS Chris Jericho [Intercontinental Championship]
Not gonna lie. This was really hard to watch. I have never quite been able to enjoy watching a Chris Benoit match ever since his death. That's just me being honest. My teenage self would have liked it back in 2001, though.

Chyna VS Ivory [Women's Championship]
This was weakest match of the night. I was never the biggest Chyna fan even back then. It ended a bit abruptly with Chyna's injury with that corner bump. Could be worse though.

HHH VS Kurt Angle [World Championship]
Great match. This was the best match when disregarding the Rumble itself. I thought both Trips and Angle did a good job in it. Stephanie and Trish would get involved, and the interference by Stone Cold was cool too. I enjoyed this match a lot more than expected.

Royal Rumble Match
Then we come to the part I had already seen previously. I didn't mind seeing it again. This is one of the best Rumbles. It starts off with Jeff and Bull only for Matt Hardy to come out at #3 giving the Hardys an early advantage until Faarooq comes out at #4. Then Drew Carrey shows up. Drew had no reason to be in this match, let alone promoting his show in the backstage segments. He eliminates himself from the Rumble to save himself from Kane. Don't EVEN get me started on him getting into the Hall Of Fame. Things really pick up after Carrey is gone. Kane had a heck of a run in this Rumble. It's incredible, really. Things get hardcore for a bit with trashcan lids, kendo sticks, and bowling balls. Another highlight is Honky Tonk Man showing up, singing a little, only for Kane to hit him on the head with the guitar. Still funny. Austin wins to end the show.

Overall Thoughts
I enjoyed going back to 2001 for the night by watching this show. The Rumble remains one of the best and is still really entertaining. I could have done without any of the Drew Carrey stuff. However, his segments served their purpose and his Rumble appearance did add some comedic relief to the Rumble itself. The only weak match was the Women's Championship and even that is still watchable. Having a blast with these PPV Club shows!
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Old 12-30-2017, 02:56 AM
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Quick observation that seems relevant given recent news. During the ladder match, after Jericho hits Benoit with the ladder, JR comments how that hit was as vicious as the hits you would see in the XFL. They also featured a few shots of WWF New York during the early parts of the show. Man, Vince really can't do anything that isn't wrestling.
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Old 01-13-2018, 04:55 AM
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I'm a bit late on this one but it turned out I was doing this whole show again for a redo so here's the new review (fried laptops don't exactly allow the option of doing more than one of these):

Royal Rumble 2001
Date: January 21, 2001
Location: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana
Attendance: 17,137
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross

This is the first of two requested Rumble reviews of the year to go along with the regular redo of last year’s show. We’re nearing the end of the Attitude Era and Steve Austin is back after nearly a year on the shelf for neck surgery. All signs are pointing to Rock vs. Austin for the title at Wrestlemania and there’s nothing wrong with that. Let’s get to it.

The opening video looks at how this is the only chance for a lot of people to become World Champion.

The opening sequence is rather clever as it’s a pole with street signs, each bearing a Rumble participant’s name. The Road to Wrestlemania you see.

Tag Team Titles: Dudley Boyz vs. Edge and Christian

Edge and Christian are defending and the story….well it likely doesn’t matter as these teams plus the Hardys feuded for the better part of ever. Thankfully the recap shows us that the Canadians laid both of them out with chair shots to the head on Monday. What a sign of the times that really is. Edge and Christian tease walking out but you know that’s not going anywhere.

D-Von neckbreakers Edge for two to start as Jerry goes over the Dudleys’ family tree. Eh it was better when Heyman did the same thing at Wrestlemania. Bubba comes in and drops a big elbow for two as Lawler makes fun of the concussions. Again, total sign of the times and it’s almost disturbing to hear today. Christian walks into a side slam for two but a forearm to the back of D-Von’s head gives the champs their first control.

A Russian legsweep keeps the head banged up as it’s time to talk about Christian’s hair and teeth. Bubba comes in for a save with Lawler giving tips for how to make the concussion even worse. We get a rare D-Von chant as he tries to fight out of a chinlock. Another neckbreaker gets two on D-Von and Edge stays on the neck. Lawler: “I love it when Edge talks trash.” JR: “Does it keep you aroused?” D-Von gets in half of a double clothesline and it’s time for the slow crawl to the corner.

Like any good villain, Christian distracts the referee so the tag doesn’t count. Instead it’s Conchairto time but the chairs only hit each other, allowing D-Von to clothesline both champions down. NOW the hot tag brings in Bubba and it’s What’s Up to Edge. It’s table time but Christian cuts him off. Edge misses a belt shot and gets rolled up for two. A spear cuts off the 3D though and gives Edge two on Bubba. The champs load up their own What’s Up but D-Von makes the save this time, followed by 3D for the pin and the titles.

Rating: B-. These teams are always good for a layup and like I said, it’s not like the story really mattered. You could throw any combination of these four and the Hardys out there for a great match and that’s a great thing to have in your back pocket. It’s not like the titles really mattered at this point as the fans wanted to see some combination of these three teams, which the company certainly gave them. The concussion stuff is still a bit rough to sit through though.

Drew Carey arrived earlier today. More on this later.

Also earlier today, Vince clarified that HHH will still get his title shot tonight despite what happened with Steve Austin on Smackdown. What happened you ask? Well again that’s not important enough to mention. Like anyone wasn’t watching the shows at this point though.

HHH doesn’t want Stephanie coming out to the ring tonight but Stephanie says she has to be there to deal with any potential Trish Stratus interference. After listening to Stephanie’s normal levels of acting, we’re joined by someone with some actual talent in that area as Carey comes in. He didn’t know the two of them were married because he’s been a bit busy lately.

Carey talks about running into Kamala recently and HHH tries to get rid of him. Drew understands and is looking for Vince for some tips on his upcoming comedy pay per view. Stephanie leaves with him because she wants to find Trish. Nothing wrong with a little promotion like this and the segment didn’t take long.

The APA talks about showing each other something. Bradshaw: “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”. They mean Rumble numbers of course and Faarooq needs two beers. Crash Holly comes in to say he’ll thrown them out tonight even if they’re friends. Bradshaw: “And people say we’re drunks.”

We recap Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho. They’ve been fighting over the Intercontinental Title and tonight it’s a ladder match for Benoit’s belt. Most of the video doesn’t even have words but it’s not like it matters. Much like the tag match, you could throw these two and Angle out there with whatever story you wanted and it’s going to get a strong reaction. Again, that’s incredibly valuable to have at your disposal.

Intercontinental Title: Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho

Benoit is defending in a ladder match and the fight is on in a hurry. The slugout leads to both guys trying their submission to no avail. Benoit sends him shoulder first into the post as Lawler picks Benoit to win in a blowout. A shoulder breaker stays on the shoulder and Jericho’s springboard dropkick is knocked out to the floor. They’re definitely going with the idea that Benoit knows Jericho very well to start.

The shoulder goes into the post and it’s already ladder time. It’s way too early to climb though as Jericho pulls him off in an electric chair. Jericho rams the ladder into Benoit’s ribs and puts said ladder in the corner. Now you know what’s going to happen and I know what’s going to happen, but since Jericho is a face here, he’s stupid enough to be whipped into the ladder and fall outside again.

Benoit’s dive through the ropes is blocked with a chair to the head (egads that’s tough to watch). A ladder shot to Benoit’s back only hits barricade and now it’s the ladder going off Jericho’s head. Jericho sends him into the ladder back inside before tying Benoit’s leg into the ladder. That means a super Russian legsweep to bring them both crashing down. Benoit goes into the ladder again and Jericho catapults the ladder into his face to make things even worse. These are some brutal, brutal shots here and they keep getting harder and harder.

Jericho starts going up the ladder so Benoit belly to back suplexes him over the top in a heap. They both head up the ladder this time though and Jericho gets the Walls ON TOP OF THE LADDER for one of the coolest and most painful looking spots you’ll ever see. Benoit falls off but manages to kick the ladder over, sending Jericho into the ropes. The Crossface makes Jericho tap (and goes back to the shoulder from earlier) but Jericho’s other arm is still good enough to send Benoit into the ladder.

The ladder is set up in the corner but Benoit knocks him off, setting up a HUGE Swan Dive….which only hits mat. Jericho puts the ladder on top of Benoit for a climb but Benoit shoves it forward, sending Jericho crashing into the top rope. Benoit goes up but Jericho makes the save with a chair to knock Benoit to the floor. That’s too much of a fall and Jericho wins the title.

Rating: A. This is one of my all time favorites as the match is nothing short of brutal and featured some unique spots in there. Sometimes you just need two people to beat the heck out of each other with reckless abandon and that’s exactly what you got here. There’s even some psychology with the arm work and that’s all you could ask for. This isn’t a match that needs a lot of analysis because you get everything you need out of just watching the thing.

Carey meets Trish Stratus who isn’t all that interested when he hits on her (Drew Carey isn’t that bad of a catch actually) because she’s involved with someone. That someone would be Vince, who doesn’t seem thrilled to meet Drew. The pay per view is plugged and Vince has an idea to promote the show: Drew can be in the Royal Rumble! Drew: “I don’t wrestle. Of course I don’t act but I have a show.”

Chyna doesn’t want to hear from Billy Gunn about her match with Ivory. She tells him to worry about the Rumble. I’d worry about being Billy Gunn.

Jericho says he proved Benoit wrong.

We recap Chyna vs. Ivory. The Right to Censor gave Chyna a spike piledriver to put her out of action, meaning her career might have been over. Now she’s back to destroy Ivory for what she’s done to them in what should be a squash.

Women’s Title: Ivory vs. Chyna

Chyna is challenging and hits some quick clotheslines to begin the dominance. A toss off the top keeps it going and Ivory gets stomped in the corner. Ivory gets tossed outside so Chyna follows her into the crowd for the quick stop. Chyna cleans house, including tossing Steven Richards. Back up and a handspring elbow into the corner crushes Ivory….but Chyna collapses and grabs her neck. Ivory gets the quick cover for the pin after no offense.

Rating: D-. Of course the wrestling isn’t the point here as this was an angle disguised as a match. There are only so many ways you can book Chyna vs. Ivory, or Chyna vs. any woman for that matter, and this is the kind of trick booking you have to use. It’s barely a match of course and what we got was nothing worth seeing of course.

Lawler goes in the ring to check on Chyna and Billy Gunn (who comes from opposite the entrance for some reason) joins him. A long stretcher job ensues.

After someone seems to have her neck horribly injured, we go to Stephanie needing her hair fixed. She runs into Trish and things get catty, as expected.

Harvey Wippelman gives Drew some gear when Kane comes in. I think you know where this is going and it’s starting to wear thin.

Tiger Ali Singh and Low Down (D’Lo Brown and Headbanger Mosh in, shall we say, an ethnic gimmick, which is probably more offensive than funny) are arguing over who gets the spot in the Rumble. Vince comes in and says never mind because Carey is getting their spot. This is the kind of detail that makes the entry a lot easier. You’re not left wondering whose spot Carey is taking because the name is officially give. Also, who is going to remember Brown or Chaz in the match as cannon fodder for a big name? Put Carey in instead and give us a fun moment instead. It’s not like it’s going to change anything.

Fans at WWF New York give their picks for HHH vs. Kurt Angle.

We recap Kurt Angle vs. HHH. Angle won the title a few months back but HHH said he could get the title back whenever he wanted it. A few family strings were pulled and Vince’s son-in-law got the title shot. Since Angle couldn’t have a McMahon in his corner, he got Vince’s mistress Trish. This set Stephanie off and the ladies are in a bigger feud than the men. Oh yeah the men don’t like each other either.

WWF World Title: HHH vs. Kurt Angle

Angle is defending. They fight over the arm to start as JR has to point out that this is heel vs. heel for a really weird setup. Lawler of course would rather talk about the women at ringside (to be fair, Stephanie looks great here). Angle throws HHH outside but the fans think the champ sucks. The signature chant hasn’t started yet so that’s still some fresh thinking.

Angle follows him out for some right hands to the face, only to get sent into the barricade for his efforts. Back in and HHH starts on the knee as the announcers discuss Drew Carey. Lawler actually brings up a good point by saying he made a huge name for himself by piledriving Andy Kaufman. What kind of attention would someone get for taking out Drew Carey? Angle whips HHH over the corner for a big crash and more “acting” from Stephanie. Another whip sends him into the steps and it’s Angle being even more aggressive.

A missed charge allows HHH to wrap the leg around the post though and a chair to the knee makes it even worse. HHH follows it up with a chop block and it's off to the Indian deathlock. Well you knew he was going to work that one in somehow. The Figure Four follows up and JR is talking about all the things Gordon Solie would say about the hold. Trish tries for a save but Stephanie pulls her out for the catfight. Vince comes out to break it up as HHH looks on. Maybe getting some ideas for later?

HHH finally snaps back into it and drops some elbows on the leg. A DDT cuts HHH off though and a bridging German suplex gets two. Kurt goes up but gets low blowed, followed by a Razor's Edge of all things for two more. You know it's serious when HHH is using the Kliq moveset. Angle is back up with a suplex and the moonsault, only to bang his knee up some more.

They head outside and the ref gets bumped, with Lawler referring to Hebner as one of his best friends. Back in and HHH goes up, allowing Angle to run the ropes for a super armdrag. There's no referee so HHH grabs the belt but walks into another suplex. Naturally the Pedigree connects for no count so here's Austin to lay HHH out with a belt shot.

Rating: B. A little too much overbooking for my taste but the ending makes sense given HHH costing Austin the title a few weeks back (which the announcers finally bothered to mention after the match was over). Angle retaining is fine too as HHH vs. Austin doesn't need the title and we can get to Rock vs. Austin at Wrestlemania that much easier. Angle still isn't quite capable of hanging move for move with someone like HHH but he's certainly able to do enough to cover up his few faults. The fact that he was only about fifteen months on the main roster at this point is almost scary.

The Rock, looking a little stoned, compares the Rumble to a big pot of jambalaya: there's a bit of everything in it. The big question is whether the Undertaker and Kane are together and you know Rock isn't letting an easy line like that get by. After talking about Undertaker tickling nipples, Rock says the Rumble could come down to him and anyone from Bull Buchanan to Perry Saturn to Steve Austin. He'll win either way. Standard Rock here, with crazy charisma and presence without saying anything more than “I'll win and don't care who I have to beat”.

Long recap video on the Rumble. Does this really need an explanation? A bunch of people are in and about 25 five of them are kidding themselves into believing they could win.

Royal Rumble

Two minute intervals this year so they have a lot of time. Jeff Hardy is in at #1 and Bull Buchanan (of the RTC) is in at #2. Buchanan throws him into the corner but gets punched up to the top for his efforts. That goes nowhere so Matt Hardy is in at #3 in one of those old Rumble tropes. It's kind of amazing how often this happens isn't it? Buchanan is tossed without much effort and a fist bump gets us ready for the brother showdown. Matt can't get him out in the corner so a suplex drops Jeff instead. Faarooq is in at #4 and it's time to run over some Hardys.

Poetry in Motion into the Twist into the Swanton is enough to dump Faarooq though and it's back to two. There go the shirts (and the schoolgirl cheers) as it's time to slug it out. Drew Carey is in at #5 and the Hardys don't even bother stopping their fight this time. They actually eliminate each other and Drew climbs in, much to the fans' appreciation. Then the clock runs down and it's Kane at #6, giving us the only thing JR could possibly say: “Oh my God oh my God oh my God.”

Drew tells the Hardys to get back inside and save him as Kane takes his sweet time in a logical move. Carey keeps up the intelligence by offering cash but it's Raven coming in at #7 with a kendo stick for the save. In the smartest thing he could do, Carey eliminates himself and manages to not have died.

I've said this before but that's one of the best celebrity appearances in WWE history. He came in, he did his thing, he took a spot from a nothing wrestler who would have been tossed in short order and we get a fun moment. About nine months earlier, WCW took a lesser celebrity and made him the World Champion. Now which of these two did things the smart way?

Anyway we're on to the hardcore section now with Raven spraying Kane with a fire extinguisher, only to have Al Snow jump the gun at #8 and attack Raven from behind. The buzzer, uh, buzzes, and it's Snow coming in legally this time. That means a bowling ball between Raven's legs with JR saying it seems like a hurricane blowing through New Orleans. I'll be leaving that one alone as the hardcore guys beat the heck out of Kane.

Perry Saturn is in at #8 with Lawler and JR losing their minds over Terri's top. Saturn starts in on Kane's knee as there are weapons all over the ring. Kane has finally had it with this getting beaten up thing and slams Saturn down but everyone gangs up on him to get Kane down. Then reality sets in that they have to get him back up and throw him over the top. There's a reason these guys are stuck in the hardcore division. Steve Blackman is in at #9 and WHAT A COINCIDENCE THAT IT'S ANOTHER HARDCORE GUY! I know the line is it's completely random but these things get hilarious at times.

The brawling continues until Grandmaster Sexay is in at #11. Weapons are swung until Kane has enough of the nonsense and eliminates Sexay with the trashcan. Everyone else follows him out and Kane is alone to face the Honky Tonk Man of all people at #12. For some reason he decides to ask Kane to stand back so we can have a song. One guitar shot later and Kane has his sixth elimination in about four minutes. Again: great usage of a legend there, if nothing else just to give the fans a breather and a transition between the sections of the match.

That next section begins with the Rock coming in at #13 so the slugout can begin. They knock each other down in short order though and it's Goodfather in at #14....and being eliminated in thirteen seconds, counting entrance. Kane chokes Rock on the ropes with JR getting in the....I'm not sure what the right adjective is but he calls Kane a carnivore and Rock a big piece of Rock Burger.

Tazz is in at #15 and manages to last even shorter than Goodfather. Rock can't get Kane out either so he settles for a Samoan drop. It's Bradshaw in at #16 and both Kane and Rock are clotheslined down in short order. Rock takes Bradshaw down but walks into a clothesline from Kane as things stay slow (fine in this case as Rock and Kane have been fighting for a few minutes now and Bradshaw is getting beaten up by both of them). Albert is in at #17 and gets double teamed by Kane and Bradshaw.

Lawler of course asks about Trish and Stephanie with JR cutting him off as fast as he can. The four pair off but no one is eliminated until Hardcore Holly is in at #18. Rock has to survive an elimination attempt as Albert bicycle kicks Kane down (that looked impressive). A running clothesline takes Bradshaw down (for a change) but Rock can't get Kane past the apron. K-Kwik (R-Truth, who is somehow STILL AROUND seventeen years later) is in at #19 and is promptly stomped in the corner.

Rock can't get K-Kwik out (Seriously?) and it's Val Venis in at #20, giving us Kane, Rock, Bradshaw, Albert, Holly, K-Kwik and Venis. The brawling continues with no one coming close to an elimination until William Regal is in at #21. Bradshaw manages to hang on this time as it's Test in at #22 to keep filling the ring up. Regal is tossed to keep things even though with JR saying he was molested.

The returning Big Show is in at #23 to get rid of Test and K-Kwik, followed by chokeslams to Albert and Bradshaw. Venis and Holly go up and down next, followed by one to Kane for a BIG pop. Rock is smart enough to kick him low though and a spit punch eliminates Show in short order. That was quite the sequence and has the fans right back into things after a bit of a lull. Smart booking, again. Show isn't done though and loads up the announcers' table as Crash Holly is in at #24.

The chokeslam puts Rock (not eliminated) through the table and the fans are quieted again. Everyone left in the ring goes after Kane but it's Undertaker in at #25 to save his brother. The ring is cleared in all of thirty seconds and it's Kane vs. Undertaker in a staredown with Rock still down on the floor. Scotty 2 Hotty is in at #26 and I'm not even going to bother describing his painful experience. Undertaker and Kane look at the ramp for the next entrant and it's Steve Austin in at #27....only to have HHH jump him in the aisle.

Rock gets back in to fight the giants as HHH sends Austin into the barricade, busting him open somewhere in there. With Austin down on the floor, Billy Gunn is in at #28. Right hands abound but Undertaker and Kane stomp Rock and Gunn down into the corners. Undertaker DDT's Rock and punches him in the head but it's HAKU (the reigning WCW Hardcore Champion but not under contract because WCW WAS STUPID) in at #29.

Austin is still down on the floor and my goodness that's a lot of blood. Undertaker and Kane beat on Haku, who is nice enough not to eat them. JR and Lawler get in an argument over Austin being attacked because of course they do and it's heel Rikishi in at #30 (which was already announced). Austin is up to hammer on him in the aisle though and we have a final grouping of Austin, Kane, Undertaker, Rock, Rikishi, Haku and Billy Gunn. Right hands and a clothesline get rid of Haku and we're down to six.

Undertaker chokeslams Rikishi and sends Rock to the apron but hurts himself headbutting Rikishi. A superkick actually gets rid of Undertaker in probably the biggest success of Rikishi's heel run. I mean, it's also one of the only ones but it counts. For some reason Rikishi tries the Bonzai Drop on Rock, earning himself one of the dumbest eliminations of the year. We're down to four as Undertaker's motorcycle revving is rather distracting. Gunn hits a Fameasser on Austin and is eliminated for general purposes.

Rock gets in a DDT on Kane and finds himself in an opposite corner from Austin, meaning we have the modern Hogan vs. Warrior moment. The Wrestlemania preview is on and you can actually see the fans standing to watch it. There's a Stunner to Rock and the Thesz press to Kane, followed by a low blow. A Rock Bottom cuts Austin off but Rock sends Kane through the ropes by mistake.

The big time slugout is on again but Kane comes back in and dumps Rock. Now THAT is a big deal for him...yet he was in a triple threat hardcore match at Wrestlemania. Wrestling is funny that way. Kane chokeslams Austin, only to walk around for a bit. A low blow gives Austin a breather so Kane grabs a chair. No worries though as a Stunner and some chair shots send Austin to Wrestlemania.

Rating: A-. This was the Rumble formula at a very high level with Austin not being a lock to win here (Rock was very much an option) and Kane as the story throughout the match. There were also some long sections in there, along with several stories being set up for the future. The company was on a roll at this point and it's no shock that the Rumble was excellent as well. Great stuff here and one of the best ever.

Overall Rating: A. When the worst part of the show is an angle disguised as a match, it's pretty clear that you have a winner. The Rumble and the ladder match here are both top notch and it's no surprise that things are rolling along as well as they are here. The company was just on a roll at this point with no turning back (until they managed to botch the biggest storyline in wrestling history but that's a story for later). Just a great show top to bottom here with the only weak spot being a three and a half minute match. That's some pretty sweet territory and the amazing thing is Wrestlemania blew this away.
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:53 PM
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It's nearly a month late but whatever...

There is a reason that the Royal Rumble in 2001 is considered to be the best Royal Rumble event that the WWE has ever put to the public. In this post, I will try my best to give you the best examples of why that is the case.

First of all, I would suggest that this is not the Rumble with the biggest star power that the WWE has seen. But it didn't matter because everyone did their job perfectly. Hell, even Drew Carey did a good job of being entertaining and selling Kane as one of the biggest threats in the Rumble. A threat that proved to be something of an omen to everyone else involved. Kane went to make history for the most eliminations in one Rumble match until that pesky Big Dog turned up... Still, I thought that the Rumble was well-paced and had good spots throughout to keep people entertained. Hell, it even got a little hardcore for a while when Steve Blackman entered. That's something that the WWE should do more if you ask me. The match is no-DQ but no one really takes advantage of that. Nevertheless, I thought the Rumble match was superb. The fans loved the match and were sucked in from the start. The pops for The Rock, The Undertaker and Stone Cold are the stuff of WWE wet dreams these days.

But the quality in the PPV goes way beyond the Rumble match and you should look no further than the IC ladder match for proof of that. I have always had a love for ladder matches and I genuinely think that this is the best one there has ever been. Contentious? Yes. But there is no doubt of the quality in that match. Jericho and Benoit had amazing chemistry and had brilliant matches throughout their careers. Again, I think this was probably the best of them in total honesty.

The Tag team match was good and had a really simple but effective story to it. Edge and Christian and the Dudley Boys are well known for their rivalries throughout the years and this is part of the reason why. They just did good work and it paid off time and time again. It wasn't a great match but it told a decent enough story and was a good opener.

But, as a Triple H fan, I could not help but be hyped up to watch his match with Angle again as an adult. Words cannot say how pissed off I was by Austin taking out Triple H in the Championship match. As an 11 year old fan boy, I could not have been any more annoyed. But, again, this was a very decent match with a very decent story attached to it. Austin and Triple H go on to have a match at No Way Out the next month and then both have huge matches at Mania X-Seven. Beautiful stuff.

All in all, this is still one of my favourites PPV's right after X-Seven. 2001 was about as good, for me, as WWE will ever get. Every PPV was hitting the sweet spot ad their crop of talent was maturing and becoming a draw for them. It all started at the Royal Rumble in 2001 – an amazing PPV and the best Rumble around.
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Reinstate The Fox!
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