20 Days of Battle Royals: Day 1

January 7th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Date: March 14, 1987
Company: WWF
Show: Saturday Night’s Main Event
Rules: Normal
Stipulation: None
Roster (20): Hillbilly Jim, Outlaw Ron Bass, Sika, Haku, Tama, Lanny Poffo, Hercules Hernandez, Butch Reed, Paul Orndorff, Billy Jack Haynes, Koko B. Ware, Nikolai Volkoff, Blackjack Mulligan, Demolition Ax, Demolition Smash, Honky Tonk Man, Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan

Our first battle royal is a bit of a surprise to me. This was before my time and while I vaguely recall seeing a brief clip of this during the hype video at Wrestlemania 3, WWF never really seemed to bring up this Saturday Night’s Main Event bout. Taking place about two weeks before Wrestlemania 3, the big storyline is that Andre the Giant has turned heel and is gunning for Hulk Hogan’s championship after years of friendship. The two are part of this match, making it the real first battle between the two in a WWF ring. What we get is Hogan vs. Andre with everybody else getting in the way.

I should note that Hogan is champ here. It was nice back in the day when people could have a battle royal just because. It didn’t push you into an automatic title shot or give you a role as GM or anything like that. It was all about bragging rights.

It begins with Hogan and Andre closing in and ready to go at it, but then they’re both swarmed by the other 18 guys. From there, the battle royal has four factions: Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, 9 faces and 9 heels. All the heels pile on Hogan while all the faces pile on Andre. For Hogan, he takes a bunch of punishment and occasionally has a spurt of energy that allows him to throw out someone like Honky Tonk Man. Andre, on the other hand, refuses to be overwhelmed and destroys everyone in his way. At one point he even takes Blackjack Mulligan and Hillbilly Jim and effortlessly clobbers them together. The biggest victim of his onslaught is poor Lanny Poffo, who eats a mighty headbutt that splits his head open. He’s tossed out and left on the mat, lying in a pool of his own blood.

Once nearly half of the competitors are done away with at the hands of Hogan and Andre, Orndorff and Hercules get their hands on Hogan. Whether they realize what they’re doing or not, they whip him across the ring and right into Andre, knocking the Giant back a couple feet.

Right there, the two begin to stare down and finally trade blows. Hogan seems like he might have an edge, but Orndorff and Hercules attack him. Though Koko does go after Andre during this, which is hilarious because Andre gives him no notice and smacks him aside. With Hogan distracted from fighting off two of Bobby Heenan’s goons, Andre pulls him in for a headbutt, flings him out of there and gestures a wave of disgust, as if to say, “Good riddance!”

As he taunts the leaving Hogan, who is pulled back by security, Andre is yet again attacked by Koko. Yet again, Andre gives zero fucks.

Once Hogan’s done with, the match loses its flavor because now all the remaining faces and heels join together and overcome Andre. They heave him out of there and it’s down to just a handful of midcarders. It whittles down to Koko and Billy Jack against Hercules and Smash. Koko’s done away with easy enough because he’s Koko, allowing Hercules and Smash to double-team Billy Jack. Ventura laughs at this on commentary because for once, heels are able to beat on the face 2-to-1 and Vince McMahon isn’t allowed to cry about it. Hercules sets Billy Jack up for a double-team attack to soften him up more, but he hops over Hercules and dives into Smash with a clothesline, sending him flying out of the ring.

That leaves it as Billy Jack vs. Hercules, who happen to have a Wrestlemania 3 grudge match set up. Their brawl is very short-lived as Heenan jumps onto the apron. Billy Jack makes a run at him, ends up empty-handed and Hercules uses the opening to flip him out of the ring. Hercules and Heenan celebrate his win, just as they’ll celebrate his eventual victory at the upcoming PPV.

It’s a definite fun match, although it really loses its steam once the main eventers are gone. It’s weird booking to see now, though. I can’t help shake the feeling that if this match happened these days, people would be crying all over about how WWF totally messed up their Hogan/Andre main event by having Andre lose. By showing him to be weak against eight or nine other guys, they’re totally burying Andre and ruining his mystique or some shit.

Tomorrow I’m going to keep it in 1987, only with a far shorter and less important exhibition.

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The Summerslam Countdown: Day Three

August 6th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Yesterday, WWE released a handful of wrestlers. There’s Gail Kim, who just eliminated herself within seconds during a Diva battle royal just because she wanted to see if anyone would notice. Then there’s Melina, who I wouldn’t mind not having to see ever again. David Hart Smith is gone and… yeah, that was a long time coming. Then there’s Chris Masters, which is the biggest shame because the dude actually went to Japan to improve his craft only to get completely underpushed. Seriously, he’s good in the ring these days!

The one that wounds me the most is the loss of Vladimir Kozlov. Sure, he isn’t the best wrestler by any stretch, but I enjoyed him for the most part regardless. Here is his finest moment.

Second best moment is when he dramatically delivered the line, “Then it is settled. Next week I get what I want… OR I will destroy MacGruber.”

Oh well. Maybe he can go back to Baltimore and work with the Greek again. What? You didn’t know he showed up on the Wire for like two seconds?

Anyway, the list.

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Wetting Your Whistle for the Royal Rumble

January 30th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Tonight is the 2011 Royal Rumble, which has some meaning to me as the 91 Rumble twenty years ago was my first wrestling PPV after having started following it. Since I’ve talked the Royal Rumble to death here, I thought I’d just post something to pass the time for those getting ready for the show to begin. From the end of 1991, this is a 20-man battle royal taking place in England. Not only is it decently booked, but it’s got a pretty good roster of names in it.

– Animal
– The Barbarian
– Big Boss Man
– “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
– Earthquake
– Ric Flair
– Hawk
– Hercules
– Marty Jannetty
– Brian Knobbs
– Shawn Michaels
– The Mountie
– “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
– Paul Roma
– Jerry Sags
– Tito Santana
– “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith
– Typhoon
– The Undertaker
– “The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich

Well, a good roster other than Paul Roma. Enjoy.

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The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Four

November 14th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

How about that? Day Four and I haven’t broken stride yet. This is promising. So far I’ve neither JMS’d this series nor Billy Gunn’d it. Let’s celebrate with the Gobbledy Gooker.

All right!

Now onto the list.

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The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Three

November 13th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Survivor Series trivia isn’t nearly as entertaining as Wrestlemania trivia, but I thought I’d give it a shot to fill up some intro space.

– Only two shows failed to include any elimination tag matches. 98’s “survival” had to do with its tournament setup while 02’s “survival” was mostly about the introduction of the Elimination Chamber. 02 also featured an elimination tables match and a three-way elimination tag match, which I suppose are close enough.

– Mick Foley has never been in an elimination tag match at any of these shows. Steve Austin has only competed in one during the 01 Series.

– The first non-elimination match at a Survivor Series is Hogan vs. Undertaker at the 91 show.

– John Cena is 6-0 at Survivor Series. Randy Savage is 5-0, though he did get eliminated in a match where his team won. Savage also went two years in a row where he was at the show and cut a live promo, but didn’t actually wrestle. The Ultimate Warrior is 3-0.

– Triple H lost his first seven Survivor Series appearances, though one of them is a no contest.

– Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels have been in four Survivor Series matches together. They teamed up in 88, fought for Bret’s title in 92, fought against each other as team captains in 93 and had that more well-known title match in 97.

– The first team to ever win with a shutout is the team of “The Model” Rick Martel, the Warlord, Paul Roma and Hercules at the 1990 Series. The first man to ever be the sole survivor will be brought up later in this installment.

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The Wrestlemania Countdown: Day Twelve

April 5th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Better late than never, I guess. For those of you who haven’t read up on the site in the past few days, I hit a snag on writing this entry thanks to a mixture of fatigue and sickness. The lack of sleep even led to some actual paranoia where the slightest sensation in one of my legs or arms would lead to my frantic belief that I was suffering a heart attack or diabetes or whatever. Anyway, I got over all that, but it completely killed my writing momentum. Now it’s time to right that wrong.

People have been wondering about Wrestlemania 26 and how it ranks on the list. I have a lot on my plate as it is, so I’m not going to go into too much detail. A lot of the matches were simply good or pretty good, but not great. The main event is phenomenal and I’d consider it better than Wrestlemania 25’s Michaels/Undertaker match. Batista/Cena is pretty good, outside of the completely cookie cutter ending. Vince McMahon vs. Bret Hart is not only horrible, but I can definitely say it’s the worst male match at any Wrestlemania. I’d even rather watch Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzales.

Using my rating system based on how I remember liking each match, it ends up ranking at #11 1/2. It’s worse than Wrestlemania 14, but better than Wrestlemania 21. Though to the show’s credit, it did help lead into this.

And the world has been a better place since. Thank you, Jack.

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The Wrestlemania Countdown: Day Eight

March 24th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

For today’s Tales of Wrestlemania profile, let’s go with Andre the Giant.

Wrestlemania 1: Andre battles and defeats Big John Studd with Andre’s very career on the line. In Studd’s corner is Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.

Wrestlemania 2: Andre continues to show his dominance by winning the big battle royal. Later, in the main event, Heenan’s acquisition King Kong Bundy fails to defeat Hogan for the title.

Wrestlemania 3: Andre and Heenan have joined forces to get the title off Hogan. Andre loses the match. Once again, Heenan has failed.

Wrestlemania 4: Andre has a rematch with Hogan, though this time represented by Ted Dibiase. Andre succeeds in taking Hogan out of the tournament, but when he tries to take out Savage, Hogan appears to strike him down. Also at this show, Jake Roberts has a match with Rick Rude that starts a feud between Jake and the Heenan Family.

Wrestlemania 5: Andre is back with Heenan and is going after Jake Roberts. Big John Studd is the referee. Andre is disqualified and chased off by Jake, giving Studd some face closure in their rivalry.

Wrestlemania 6: Andre and Haku are the tag champs. They lose the belts to Demolition and Heenan has had enough. Ever since turning heel, Andre has yet to get a victory at Wrestlemania. Heenan slaps Andre and sets him off.

Wrestlemania 7: Andre is too broken down to wrestle, but he does show up to help Big Boss Man fight the Heenan Family. After helping clear the area of Mr. Perfect, Haku and the Barbarian, Andre gives some words of encouragement to Boss Man and effectively passes the torch before moving on.

Has kind of an Anakin Skywalker ring to it.

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The Top Ten Real Life Black Lanterns I Want to See

June 30th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

In only a few weeks, DC will release Blackest Night, the big summer event and culmination of Geoff Johns’ fantastic run on Green Lantern. Willpower, fear, love, hate, compassion, greed and hope will be duking it out as Black Hand and that Cosmic Harvey Dent Smurf resurrect all sorts of heroes and villains to join their side. We’ve been given notice about some who would return and others who might. Earth 2 Superman, Martian Manhunter, Terra and the Flying Graysons will be there for sure. Perhaps we’ll see Elongated Man, Alexander Luthor, or General Glory rise from the grave.

But you know what? It’s a bit cheap. All these black rings are flying around and the only major resurrections go to those who are superheroes, supervillains or acquaintances thereof? That’s no fun! Okay, that’s a lie, since this is going to rock, but that’s not as fun as it could be!

By focusing on the fictional, think of all those we’re missing out on. What about the real corpses out there? We could not only have Heath Ledger back, but also Cesar Romero as the icing on the cake. David Carradine could return to get revenge on those murdering ninjas. Jack Kirby could engulf Jim Starlin in a bubble construct and toss him into the deep recesses of space out of revenge for Death of the New Gods. Elvis Presley could return to Graceland and… oops. Disregard that. I forgot that Elvis never actually died.

After much deliberation, I have put together the Top Ten Real Life Black Lanterns I Want to See.

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The Hulk Hogan Manga: Hulkster, I Choose You, Brother!

May 25th, 2007 Posted by guest article

Gavok note: We have a special guest appearance by SDShamshel, who reviews the bad wrestling comic I won’t read for the simple fact that I can’t read it. Enjoy.

Japanese comics have always had a strong relationship with the world of professional wrestling. In its heyday, Kinnikuman was read by every young boy, and both Tiger Mask and Juushin Liger started off as manga characters before their personas were adopted for real-world squared circles. However, as great and exciting as those wrestlers may be, this article is about something greater.

Yes, that’s right. It’s Hulk Hogan THE MANGA. Published by “Special Volume Ace Five Comics,” Pro Wrestler Superstar Biographies: Hulk Hogan tracks Hogan’s life from the beginning of his career to his time in Vince McMahon, Sr.’s World Wide Wrestling Federation. The comic utilizes an interesting version of kayfabe (the wrestling term for “the fourth wall”), with events in Hogan’s life both inside and outside of the ring depicted with the utmost seriousness one expects from biographical comics about pro wrestlers.

As the comic begins, we find Hulk Hogan as the lead guitarist for a band. He flashes back to a time where as he was watching a match, a man approached him and suggested that Hogan become a wrestler. A mustache-less Hogan decided against it, and even tried to instead become a professional boxer. However, after the concert, as he’s watching a televised match between Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki, Hogan’s life changes forever.

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