20 Days of Battle Royals: Day 7

January 13th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Date: November 22, 1998
Company: WCW
Show: World War 3
Rules: 60 men compete in three rings. Once it’s down to 20, they all converge into one ring.
Stipulation: #1 contender for WCW Championship at Starrcade
Roster (60): Chris Adams, Chris Benoit, Bobby Blaze, Ciclope, Damien, El Dandy, Barry Darsow, the Disciple, Disco Inferno, Bobby Duncum Jr., Bobby Eaton, Mike Enos, Scott Hall, Héctor Garza, the Giant, Glacier, Juventud Guerrera, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Eddy Guerrero, Hammer, Kenny Kaos, Kaz Hayashi, Horace Hogan, Barry Horowitz, Prince Iaukea, Chris Jericho, Kanyon, Billy Kidman, Konnan, Lenny Lane, Lex Luger, Lizmark Jr., Lodi, Dean Malenko, Steve McMichael, Ernest Miller, Chip Minton, Rey Misterio Jr., Kevin Nash, Scott Norton, La Parka, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, Psychosis, Scott Putski, Stevie Ray, The Renegade, Scotty Riggs, Perry Saturn, Silver King, Norman Smiley, Scott Steiner, Super Caló, Johnny Swinger, Booker T, Tokyo Magnum, Villano V, Vincent, Kendall Windham, Wrath and Alex Wright

I didn’t get into WCW until sometime in 1998, shortly before this event. I actually didn’t start watching WCW simply because I’m a wrestling fan, but because I was a huge fan of the Nintendo 64 game WCW/nWo Revenge. Me and my best friend rented that game so many times that it gave us enough familiarity with the product to want to start checking it out. While I didn’t watch this match on PPV, I did watch it scrambled, back when that was a thing.

World War 3 was a rather short-lived match gimmick in WCW that sounded outright epic to someone who hadn’t seen one before. Royal Rumble has 30 men? World War 3 has 60. Royal Rumble has one ring? World War 3 has three rings! Having watched them all a few years ago, I discovered that sometimes bigger isn’t exactly better. The ones for 95, 96 and 97 were complete clusterfucks. Like with that Battle Bowl match, there’d be picture-in-picture, only for that we’d see the different rings while so much battle royal brawling is going on that you can’t even keep track of what’s what and who’s who. There’s no drama and nothing worth paying attention to.

Then when you get to the end of it, there’s always some kind of dumb swerve that kills it. Real life situations makes this edition of the World War 3 match infamous, but yet it’s still easily the best one. It’s too bad that it’s the last one because they really started to get a good handle on things. No picture-in-picture. Just constant focus changes with it explicitly saying which ring it is on the screen and a tendency to not have anything too important going on in two rings at the same time. There’s a counter of how many guys are still in the rings at any given time, making things easier to follow.

Not only that, but there’s actual story going on throughout the match instead of only getting interesting once there are 20 left.

Prior to the match, we get over five minutes of introductions as nearly the entire WCW roster empties out the back and into the ring. There’s one Turnertron video playing throughout that zips through all 60 names in different fonts. The commentators keep bringing up that Hollywood Hogan isn’t there. Cute thing in there is that some of the guys had matches earlier in the night and this includes Jericho, who’s selling his match against Bobby Duncum Jr. from minutes earlier.

Finally, the rings fill up and we’re off. Ring 2 is a ring where nothing is really going on, despite being where most of the big names are. They’re just killing time so most of them can stick around for the final round. Ring 1 is made up of a lot of smaller wrestlers with name value, such as Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Alex Wright and Disco Inferno as they share the ring with the Giant. Giant remains in the corner for most of the match, choosing to stay to himself. Then you have Ring 3, where it’s Kevin Nash and 19 jobbers. Nash decides to just go to town and clears the ring in less than three minutes.

Before he gets around to that, there is a funny moment where El Dandy and La Parka eliminate Tokyo Magnum. Then La Parka leaves El Dandy hanging.

Who are you to not high-five El Dandy?

Van Hammer is the last challenge to Nash and puts up enough of a fight, but he too is thrown out of there. That allows Nash to sit back for the next fifteen minutes or so, hanging alone in Ring 3 to catch his breath. Amusingly, his nWo Wolfpac comrade Konnan gestures to him from the second ring that they’ll catch up on things later.

Neat moment in Ring 2 is when former long-time tag partners Stevie Ray and Booker T cross paths. They decide that it isn’t even worth the effort in fighting.

Wow, Alex. Way to show some effort. You’re like me when I’m helping someone lift a couch.

Meanwhile, back in Ring 1, Giant starts going to town on everyone. This leads to everyone in the ring going after him all at once. It doesn’t work out so well.

Disco Inferno tries to rally the troops, but Chris Benoit figures he’d be safer in attacking Disco and hoping that they survive long enough to be in the final 20. Ring 2 whittles down enough that they get that. Everyone converges onto Ring 2, although Saturn and the Cat get themselves disqualified by leaving the ring and fighting to the back. A lot of the smaller guys are removed in one fell swoop and soon we’re down to various factions sticking together. nWo Hollywood has Scott Steiner, Scott Norton and the Giant. nWo Wolfpac has Kevin Nash, Lex Luger and Konnan. The Four Horsemen has Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Mongo McMichael. Scott Hall is out on his own. Then you have other independent wildcards like Booker T and Wrath.

One of the stories going on in the match is the status of Scott Hall. He’s been kicked out of nWo Hollywood and they’ve been doing some awesome teasing of he and Nash getting back together. One of the better instances is when they team up to beat on the Giant together and would have him out if not for the interference by the other Hollywood members.

When they’re down to ten, WCW newcomer Bam Bam Bigelow runs out and tries to enter the ring. The survivors fight him off until security pulls him out. Soon Goldberg rushes out and they start going at it until a dozen or so security guards pull them apart. During all this, the competitors in the ring take a break a watch on.

With only a handful of guys left, Nash steps forward and points at the Giant, who has since lost his Hollywood allies. Giant is ready to fight them all off on his own, but he’s overwhelmed and gets thrown over the top by his remaining enemies. Scott Hall makes sure to wave him off as he leaves the ringside area.

Our final three are Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Lex Luger. Nash and Luger make a friendly, “What happens happens,” gesture and it becomes a three-way brawl. Luger is the first person to knock Nash over the whole match and it allows him to take apart Hall. For this final World War 3 match, they added a stipulation that pins and submissions are allowed. On one hand, it’s a moot point as nobody is shown getting pinned or submitting, but I guess it’s just there for the sake of having Luger pick up Hall in the Torture Rack. That opens him up for Nash to get back up and take both of them out with a running boot. Nash is the last man standing and wins a shot against Goldberg at Starrcade.

Did I mention that Kevin Nash was booking this? Because he was. Nash wrote that he should dominate this 60-man match so that he could go on to main event the biggest show of the year and end Goldberg’s streak. It’s something that in hindsight it’s easy to gnash at the teeth about (no pun intended, seriously), but at the time, I was all for it. People talk about how nuts WCW was to ever end Goldberg’s streak, but here’s the thing: Goldberg’s streak was boring as hell.

They refused to ever book him properly in the first place and only put him in midcard matches against guys who had zero chance. His streak and ho-hum title reign started to make him a borderline heel because they were running low on interesting challengers and whenever he fought another face (ie. Sting and DDP), it was too easy to root for them. Personally, I thought that when it was Nash’s time to step to the plate, the whole streak concept had run its course.

Unfortunately, they went about it all in the most convoluted (AKA “WCW”) way. The match ended in a clusterfuck and led to the amazingly stupid Fingerpoke of Doom where the nWo came back together under Hogan’s leadership. And that was the beginning of the end for WCW.

Tomorrow, we return to the WWF for Vince McMahon’s foolproof plot to escape Steve Austin’s wrath.

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The Path of Mark Henry: An Inspirational Story of Splitting Wigs

October 7th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

I’ve always said that professional wrestling is the most fascinating of all businesses to the point that a lot of the times, the goings on behind the curtain are more intriguing than what’s going on before the audience. Unfortunately, the business is also marred by being incredibly scummy and petty, giving us stories very much like that of the film the Wrestler. Because of that, it’s always nice to see a story that actually gives us a happy ending. Recently, one of the big stories to put a smile on my face is that of Mark Henry.

(Gifs by Jerusalem who is the coolest of cool dudes, except for the Matt Striker one by Klauser, but he’s okay too)

Since I’ve been watching WWE through his entire career, I thought I’d take a second to go over what’s been a pretty interesting and endearing story. Mark Henry competed in the Olympics in 1996 to pretty big fanfare, known for being a record-breaking power lifter. WWF signed him to a major contract of $10 million for ten years, figuring him to be such a big deal that he’d easily be worth the money. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out so well for them. Mark Henry ended up losing at the Olympics due to injuring his back while trying to pick up too much weight. Still, there was much potential in a guy they could label “The World’s Strongest Man”.

Henry made his WWF debut at Summerslam 1996, where he joined the commentary table with Vince McMahon, Jim Ross and Mr. Perfect to watch a match between Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Henry got involved and it led to him making his wrestling debut against Lawler at the next In Your House PPV. Henry won and proceeded to singlehandedly fight off Marty Jannetty, Leif Cassidy and Hunter Hearst Helmsley. The guy was made to look like this unstoppable patriot who was easy to get behind. Then, in preparation for Survivor Series, Henry got injured. Well, shit.

Henry came back and joined the company’s resident militant black stable the Nation of Domination. His only positive note during this time is that the company booked him to destroy Vader on more than one occasion, causing Vader to experience internal bleeding. Killed momentum aside, there were other problems with Henry. The guy just wasn’t very good in the ring, his weight was starting to balloon a bit and he was getting lost in the shuffle. In 1996, when the company was in dire straights, WWF believed he could give them a push against WCW. But when he was gone, the company began to find itself and new stars rose upwards. Henry simply wasn’t needed.

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Well, it’s the Knucklehead Review

December 14th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Every year, my best friend Sean and I have a habit of giving each other horrible Christmas gifts. From memory, he’s gotten me a “three wolf moon” t-shirt, Suburban Commando, Jingle All the Way and the Country Bear Jamboree. With the movies, it means that I have to watch them and he has to be there to endure it next to me to make sure. Well, the joke’s on him that one time because I genuinely enjoyed Suburban Commando!

Sean gave me an early Christmas gift recently and the other night we had the privilege of watching WWE Films’ Knucklehead, starring the Big Show.

Do you want your movie poster with or without toppings?

WWE Films have released a lot of wrestler-starred movies over the years, usually in the form of cheesy action movies with the likes of Steve Austin, John Cena and for some reason Ted Dibiase Jr. They also did a horror movie with Kane and a serious family drama with Cena. When I heard about Knucklehead, I was initially interested. Big Show has always made me laugh and the idea of putting him in a comedy as a big doofus only seemed natural. I was totally onboard. Then I saw the trailer.

Wow. Okay, um, so you know that saying about how a movie trailer is the studio trying to dress up the movie to make it look like how they wish it was? That’s what we have here. As far as I can tell, this is as entertaining as you can possibly make the movie look with the hour and a half of footage at your disposal. Yes, the best selling point they had in their repertoire was, “Big Show takes a monster shit on a bus.” Personally, I might have played up that the climax of the movie is Big Show vs. Terry Tate, Office Linebacker, but I don’t know if that million dollar idea carries over to other potential viewers.

I’m going to go full spoilers on this baby, so consider yourself warned. Not that it matters, since if you’re reading this, you’ve either seen it already and want an echo chamber on how bad it is or you’re morbidly curious on how terrible it can possibly be.

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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 One

November 11th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

“Hello, everyone and Happy Thanksgiving. We are pleased to present to you one of the most prestigious events ever put together in the history of professional wrestling. Now, I know that you’re all full of it – Thanksgiving turkey, the dressing, the cranberry sauce, the apple pie – so just settle back in your favorite chair, because for the next three hours, you’ll be royally entertained by the superstars of the World Wrestling Federation.” – Gorilla Monsoon, November 26, 1987

Of the four big wrestling pay-per-views from the times before the WWE began putting on a show every third week, Survivor Series is always seen as being the runt of the litter. Wrestlemania is the grandest stage of them all. The Royal Rumble is the year’s most unpredictable and fun match, setting the course for the Road to Wrestlemania. Summerslam is considered to be the secondary Wrestlemania, taking place on the other side of the year. But Survivor Series? It’s just a gimmick show and only sometimes. It isn’t the place for the big closure-based showdowns. It isn’t where you’d usually choose to show off the climax to the biggest storyline of the year. There was even talk of ending the show completely for a while because the WWE brass consider it obsolete.

I decided to entertain the idea of doing a Survivor Series list the same way I covered the Royal Rumble matches and Wrestlemanias. It was an idea at first that I figured I would go with on a trial basis. If I wasn’t feeling it, I’d stop. The opposite happened. I really started to find that, yes, Survivor Series really does have its place in the WWE PPV pantheon. There are distinct advantages to the whole elimination match concept that really adds to the overall product that shouldn’t be discarded for the sake of another basic list of single matches that you can get at any generic PPV.

For the next eleven days, I’ll be counting down from the worst to the best. I’ll explain how I figured out the rankings in tomorrow’s update. I did find the research of this list more enjoyable than the Wrestlemania one. Wrestlemanias are so iconic and memorable that watching the shows gives you nothing new, as everything is written in stone by its importance. Survivor Series doesn’t have that to me. I’ve seen a good amount of these shows before, but there were some years where I flat-out skipped it and only read the results.

It really brings a level of fun surprise mixed with nostalgia when the shows start up. Whether it’s a show I’ve only heard about or haven’t seen in fifteen years, there’s a fun feeling when you go, “Oh, man! This is the Survivor Series with Chuck Norris doing absolutely nothing!” or, “This is the one where Orton’s team and Triple H’s team fight over who gets to control Raw for a month!”

Even with the lesser shows, I had a blast checking them out.

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WWE Can Be Heroes for Just One Day

September 3rd, 2010 Posted by Gavok

WWE Heroes is not a good comic book. It really isn’t. It’s stupid, silly, incompetent and can’t be described with a straight face.

Yet I find myself buying it every month and it’s always the very first comic that I read. Probably because of those exact reasons. It’s enjoyably ridiculous and unlike most bad comics, I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth without being at the expense of another comic or the characters within. It’s ultimately a harmless series. It isn’t going to ruin characters for anyone or mess with continuity. It isn’t like that comic where the paragon of virtue is walking across the country and acting like a total douchebag to everyone he passes. It isn’t killing a bunch of beloved characters and negatively screwing with so many status quos for the sake of one writer’s hackneyed vision. It’s a wrestling comic and wrestling comics are inherently dumb. I say this as both a fan of comics and wrestling. When you mix the two together, you’re asking for trouble.

Not that it’s impossible to write a good comic with a wrestling license. The issue of World Championship Wrestling where Sting gave a kid the spirit to fight cancer was overall pretty decent, as was Dwayne McDuffie’s Ultimate Warrior story in WWF Battlemania. It’s just that if you’re saddled with a project like this, you have to know your chances of success and go to town. Writer Keith Champagne is no dummy. The guy has written some fine stuff over the years, such as Ghostbusters: The Other Side and his short run on Green Lantern Corps. His miniseries Countdown: Arena was undoubtedly terrible, but you’d be hard pressed to blame it on him when DC editorial set him up to fail. When given the WWE license, the guy obviously decided to have fun with it and be as outlandish as possible. Who can really blame him?

So far there are six issues out, getting us through the first arc. The art is by Andy Smith, a longtime veteran of the comics game. This creative team has worked together several times before, including an issue of DC’s World War III miniseries. There must be some kind of WCW joke I can make in there… eh, fuck it. Oh, they also collaborated on Dean Koontz’s Nevermore. There must be some kind of Raven joke I can make in there… eh, fuck that too. Hey, they also teamed up to do the miniseries Armor X! There must be some kind of… uh… shit, I got nothing. Moving on.

Before I get to the first issue, I should mention issue #0. #0 was released as a free iPhone app and my memory of it is fuzzy due to reading it off my buddy’s iPhone a long while ago. Here’s a promotional video that shows the first few panels.


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The Wrestlemania Countdown: Day Four

March 20th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

For the hell of it, I picked up the 2010 Wrestlemania XXVI Almanac, an overpriced magazine that features lots of facts and interviews relating to the past Wrestlemanias. A lot of it makes for good reading, but there are two things that bugged the crap out of me.

First, there’s a part where they talk about the “most evil Wrestlemania” and say that it’s Wrestlemania 24. The first reason on their list is, “Raven Symone was there. Almost reason enough.”

Yeah! Fuck that evil bitch for showing up to endorse the Make a Wish Foundation and bringing 50 kids to the show!

The other thing that gets me is this page where they show a bunch of pics from various Wrestlemanias and have you figure out which show they’re from. It’s a great idea and the choices work for the most part. Doink and Doink, Snoop Dogg clotheslining Santino, Big Show sumo wrestling, the Fink with a full head of hair, etc. But come on, guys. Can you make this just a little bit harder?

Gee… uh… hm… Summerslam ’94?

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The Wrestlemania Countdown: Day Two

March 18th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Since I’m spending all this time talking about every Wrestlemania match, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a quick gander at what didn’t occur at Wrestlemania. Here’s a list of the various pre-show matches.

Wrestlemania 6: Paul Roma defeats the Brooklyn Brawler
Wrestlemania 7: Koko B. Ware defeats the Brooklyn Brawler
Wrestlemania 8: The Bushwackers defeat the Beverly Brothers
Wrestlemania 9: “El Matador” Tito Santana defeats Papa Shango
Wrestlemania 10: The Heavenly Bodies defeat the Bushwackers
Wrestlemania 12: The Bodydonnas defeat the Godwinns to win the Tag Team Championships
Wrestlemania 13: Billy Gunn defeats Flash Funk
Wrestlemania 15: Jacqueline defeats Ivory, D’Lo Brown and Test win a battle royal where the last two survivors get a tag title shot at the PPV
Wrestlemania 17: Justin Credible and X-Pac defeat Steve Blackman and Grand Master Sexay
Wrestlemania 18: Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty and Albert defeat Mr. Perfect, Lance Storm and Test
Wrestlemania 19: Lance Storm and Chief Morley defeat Kane and Rob Van Dam
Wrestlemania 21: Booker T wins a Raw vs. Smackdown battle royal
Wrestlemania 22: Viscera wins a Raw vs. Smackdown battle royal
Wrestlemania 23: Ric Flair and Carlito defeat Chavo Guerrero and Gregory Helms
Wrestlemania 24: Kane wins a battle royal to earn a match against the ECW champion at the PPV
Wrestlemania 25: Carlito and Primo defeat John Morrison and the Miz in a Lumberjack Match to win the Unified Tag Team Championships.

Now on with the chlorophyll.

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Royal Rumble Week: Day 7

January 27th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

The Royal Rumble was last night, meaning you no longer care about anything I have to say. Yeah, well… shut up, okay?

I thought the event was top notch. Jack Swagger vs. John Morrison is going to make a very fine PPV main event one day.

The Rumble match itself was pretty good. It had a lot of fun spots, but got bogged down by keeping the ring too full. They were so determined to keep every single main eventer in the ring until the end while keeping them scattered on the card that it seemed to blow up in their face.

But the highlight of the Rumble?


(thanks to Jerusalem for the gif)

Let’s finish this off and call it a day.

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Royal Rumble Week: Day 3

January 21st, 2009 Posted by Gavok

The other night on Monday Night Raw, they started showing a video reel about all the statistics in the Royal Rumble. Most eliminations in total, most eliminations in one Rumble, longest time in the ring, shortest time in the ring, etc. It’s funny how they sidestep some of the information. Like how they say that as many people have won after drawing #1 as those who have drawn #30. They show Michaels, Undertaker and John Cena but seem to ignore a certain murderer. Heh…

They also don’t talk about who’s been in the most Rumble matches. Why? Because Kane has the record and including him on the list would likely bring attention to his old gimmicks of Isaac Yankem and Fake Diesel.

Now back to the list, starting with what I feel isn’t going to be a popular choice.

16) Royal Rumble 2000

I don’t know what strikes me as stranger. Undertaker being on there despite having nothing to do with the show or Big Boss Man being featured along with all those main eventers.

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