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20 Days of Battle Royals: Day 5

January 11th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Date: October 4, 1993
Company: WWF
Show: Monday Night Raw
Rules: The surviving two competitors will wrestle a week later
Stipulation: Winners to compete for vacated Intercontinental Championship
Roster (20): Adam Bomb, Bam Bam Bigelow, Bastion Booger, Bob Backlund, Diesel, Giant Gonzalez, Irwin R. Schyster, Jacques, “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, Mabel, Marty Jannetty, Mr. Perfect, the MVP, 1-2-3 Kid, Owen Hart, Pierre, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Razor Ramon, “the Model” Rick Martel, and Tatanka.

Shawn Michaels was a very scummy guy in the 90′s and one of the things that shows it off is how insistent he was to not put people over when it came to dropping titles. When it happens once or twice, you can give the man the benefit of the doubt, but over the years, he’s dropped every major title he’s held in some ridiculous fashion that doesn’t involve losing an actual match. One of the first major instances is in late ’93, where as Intercontinental Champion, he is briefly fired from the company. The reasoning has never been clear (rumors include steroids and posturing for a jump to WCW), but in the storyline, he had to vacate the belt due to not defending it within 30 days.

On this Raw, they make the first step in crowning a new champion via a battle royal. 20 men enter and go at it until instead of one winner, there are two. Whoever they are, they’ll have a match the following week on Raw. This is during a time when Raw is only an hour long, so this match actually takes up literally half of it. Strangely, this is chosen for the first half, leaving the rest of the show for squash matches. Why have a half hour battle royal for a major title as the main event when you can just throw on Doink the Clown vs. some guy?

It’s a pretty packed ring in terms of names. It’s arguably a better roster than most Royal Rumbles around this time. While certainly not the best name in there, having Giant Gonzalez in the battle royal is certainly a notable thing due to how his size makes him a kayfabe favorite. Randy Savage enters the ring last and notices how Gonzalez is standing near the corner, facing everyone else while playing it up how ready he is. Savage plays it smart by going right for him.

A bunch of guys help him out and out goes Gonzalez within seconds. This would be his final televised appearance in wrestling. The other 19 make the following minutes without elimination plenty entertaining, most notably when Mabel has Tatanka in the corner, looks straight into the camera and yells, “EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF!” while drooling. Mabel would be the next big threat and his opponents choose to gang up on him. Diesel is the next favorite, though he hasn’t made a name for himself yet in Royal Rumble ’94, and he screws himself over by running full-steam at Mr. Perfect, missing and sailing over the top.

Interesting moment comes when Razor Ramon throws out IRS and starts leaning over the top ropes while pointing at him to leave. If he was a heel, this would be a prime moment for him to be dumped over due to his own stupidity. Instead, it’s used as a perilous moment where Jacque of the Quebeccers almost dumps him out, but Razor barely holds on and gets back in with the help of the 1-2-3 Kid and Savage.

Bam Bam throws Razor out through the middle rope and celebrates, not realizing that he needs to send him over the top. Razor slides back in and takes him out with one hell of a bump.

Things begin to thin out after the third commercial break. One of the competitors is newcomer MVP (also known as Abe “Knuckleball” Schwartz), who would go on to do a big pile of nothing in the WWF. Here, he lasts quite a while until Owen Hart flings him out. Owen’s done away with shortly after and we’re down to six. On one side, we have Randy Savage and Razor Ramon. On the other side, we have Rick Martel, the Quebeccers and Adam Bomb. The heels choose to team up together and play the numbers game. There’s some nice commentary by McMahon and Heenan, who come up with reasons as to why these guys would work together. For one, Adam Bomb and the Quebeccers are managed by Johnny Polo. Also, Martel and the Quebeccers are French-Canadian, so there’s a kinship there.

While the French-Canadians triple-team Razor, Savage is able to fight back against Adam Bomb and fireman’s carry him over the top. Bomb is pissed and grabs Savage by the ankle. Bomb’s allies rush him from behind and are able to easily dump him out. Now it’s them against Razor. Personally, I think it would make sense in-story for Martel to try and betray the Quebeccers as due to the rules of the match, he’d be at a huge disadvantage once Razor’s gone, but that never happens. The three proceed to beat down on Razor repeatedly, no matter how many times he fights back.

The three have fun messing with him, like having two hold him back while the other smacks him around. Razor kicks down Martel and the Quebeccers go back on the assault. Jacques holds him back while Pierre tries a clothesline. Razor moves, Jacques takes the hit and gets propelled out of the ring. As Pierre reacts to this, Razor grabs him from behind and eliminates him too. He turns right around and gets ready for Martel, doing his angry stomp taunt. The refs won’t allow it.

The match is over. Razor Ramon and Rick Martel are the winners. The following week has them wrestle for the vacated Intercontinental Championship and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, Razor wins. Regardless, it’s a pretty awesome match. This would be the last hurrah of Martel, who immediately falls back into obscurity and does nothing for the next few months until his release.

Shawn Michaels would come back weeks later and get injected into a Survivor Series match against the Hart Family due to Jerry Lawler’s legal issues. It made little sense and it sucked, but whatever. He starts a feud with Razor based on how he never lost the Intercontinental Championship, culminating in a legendary Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 10. Razor would win and show himself to be the undisputed Intercontinental Champion.

For tomorrow’s installment: Shawn Michaels is still a piece of shit.

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20 Days of Battle Royals: Day 3

January 9th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Date: January 28, 1991 (broadcast on February 16, 1991)
Company: WWF
Show: Superstars
Rules: One man being eliminated counts for his partner as well
Stipulation: #1 contender spot for WWF Tag Team Championship at Wrestlemania 7
Roster (14): The Bushwhackers (Butch and Luke), Demolition (Smash and Crush), the Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal), the Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags), the Orient Express (Kato and Tanaka), Power and Glory (Hercules and Paul Roma) and the Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty)

Here we go. I started watching wrestling in early 1991, so this is one of my earliest WWF memories. At the time, the tag champs are the Hart Foundation and we’re in the final days of the company having a great tag division. It’s been said that the Legion of Doom were the last time Vince really cared about tag teams and this is the first step in their rising up the ranks.

With the exception of Haku and the Barbarian and, naturally, the tag champs themselves, we have the entire tag division duking it out here for a chance at the belts. Kind of cool to see a battle royal for tag teams being used for #1 contenders in a stipulation they still weren’t using for the Royal Rumble by this point. In fact, the first time someone became #1 contender via Royal Rumble, it was also for the chance to dethrone Bret Hart. Huh.

After two minutes of clusterfuck clobbering all over, the Rockers take out Demolition. First they stagger Crush with a double superkick, then they do a double dropkick that sends Smash to the outside. Crush is annoyed that he has to leave and attacks the Rockers for a moment until accepting his loss. Soon after, the Bushwackers are out. What follows is something I’ve always wondered about as a kid. Jannetty holds Knobbs and Michaels goes for a dropkick. It misses and Jannetty goes flying out.

They get over it, but I was never sure whether or not they were trying to lay down the groundwork for the Rockers split-up at this point. Keep in mind, they spent MONTHS building it up through all kinds of screw-ups on either side. Was it just a cool spot or was this the first step in Shawn Michaels’ amazing singles career? I can never figure out just how long-term that booking really was.

Four teams become three once the ever-forgettable Orient Express are done with. That leaves the Legion of Doom, Nasty Boys and Power and Glory. Despite the heel dominance in the ring, Roma spends the last few moments running from Animal, even getting chased out of the ring, only to be thrown back in. His fate is sealed when Hercules throws Roma at Animal and fails to take him down.

Power and Glory are now out, leaving the Legion of Doom to take apart the Nasty Boys with little problem. As Animal sets up the Doomsday Device, Hawk climbs to the top rope. An annoyed Roma gets on the apron and shoves Hawk’s leg, causing him to fall to the floor. Despite Power and Glory no longer being in the match, that still counts as an elimination and the Legion of Doom are done. The focus appears to be more on Animal angrily glaring at Roma and Hercules as they walk off than on the fact that the Nasty Boys are Wrestlemania-bound.

The Nasty Boys would indeed go on to defeat the Hart Foundation, allowing Bret to go off on his own budding solo career. On the same Wrestlemania 7 undercard, the Legion of Doom got their hands on Power and Glory, destroying them in a fit of swift vengeance less than a minute in length. Said match also gave us the most cringe-worthy Hawk quote of all, “Power and Glory? POWER AND GLORY?! When we’re done with you, you’re gonna be SOUR… and GORY!”

Hawk and Animal earned their right to challenge for the belts and their climactic battle with the Nasty Boys took place months later at Summerslam. The Legion of Doom won their first WWF title victory and the wheels started rolling with this match.

Tomorrow, we’ll have a tag team battle royal of a different sort.

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The Top 60 Wrestling Matches That Surprisingly Happened (20-1)

December 18th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Before I finish the countdown, here are some honorable mentions.

Bob Backlund vs. Shawn Michaels happened after Michaels initially went heel and before Backlund went all crazy. I was told that in IWA-Mid South, there was Austin Aries vs. Mr. Anderson in a match where CM Punk was on commentary ragging on how terrible Daredevil was. For comedy entries, there was the time Carl Winslow and Steve Urkel fought the Bushwackers as well as a masked Mr. Ernst vs. Captain Lou Albano on Hey Dude. Brock Lesnar and Ron Waterman vs. Rico and Randy Orton as a Raw dark match is an oddball encounter, but I thought Lesnar and Orton were better represented elsewhere on the list. Umaga vs. Kamala on Raw was a cool generational gimmick pairing in the same light as Hall vs. Carlito, but their encounters were set up strongly enough on TV that there’s not enough obscurity in there.

To refresh your memory, 60-41 is here and 40-21 is here.

Now let’s get to the good stuff.

20) ESSA RIOS vs. SAMOA JOE
WWF, 2001
YouTube
Suggested by Dr. Video Games 0055

This one’s a bit of shock to me, not for the appearance by Samoa Joe, but the knowledge that Essa Rios was around in 2001 WWF. I have no memory of that. For those who don’t recall, Rios was a highflyer with an amazing moonsault who’s biggest claim to fame is introducing Lita as his manager. Once Lita split, he faded into obscurity and unemployment. His match with the wonky-looking-compared-to-how-we-remember-him Samoa Joe was good for the in-ring stuff, but only if you watch it with the sound off. The commentary had Coach and Michael Hayes not only discussing the XFL for way too long, but discussing the storyline between Jesse Ventura and Coach Rusty Tillman. God, that was one of the saddest things. McMahon really wanted some kind of on-air rivalry, so he had Ventura try to overly criticize Tillman. Ventura got into it, but Tillman refused to care. He just wanted to coach football and leave this soap opera crap out of it. Yet you had this awesome match going on and the commentators were forced to talk about this made-up hatred. Even when they got to actual wrestling angles, their dialogue came off as extremely forced.

With the actual match, we got some really keen spots, including a Samoa Joe powerbomb reversed into a DDT. Essa Rios won, but Samoa Joe looked pretty good for a guy taking the nameless jobber role.

19) ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER vs. ZEUS
WWC, 1990
YouTube

Normally I wouldn’t have cared about this match if it wasn’t for how brief Tiny “Zeus” Lister’s wrestling career even was. The guy was an actor whose role in a bad movie spun off into a feud with Hulk Hogan that lasted about four months. So what the hell was he doing against Abdullah of all people? What made WWC think he was worth bringing in other than his status as having main-evented Summerslam?

Not only was it a bad match, but it was bad and way too long. Zeus was only able to do four things: flail his arms around like windmills as a way of punching, bearhugs, strangleholds and pounding his chest while looking intimidating. The last thing was the only one he could do believably. While Hogan and Beefcake were good enough performers (yes, I’m serious) to work around Zeus and make him seem almost acceptable, Abdullah had none of that magic. He just stood there for the 12 minutes and absorbed the punishment while looking bloody and dazed. When Abdullah got offense in, the only reason Zeus sold any of it was because he looked like he had tired himself out more than anything else. The match ended with the two brawling to the back and being counted out. Throughout the match, the Puerto Rican crowd rained garbage into the ring and I think at one point some of them left the building to gather more garbage from neighboring buildings so they could throw that too!

Front row kid in the pink shirt loved that shit, though.

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The Summerslam Countdown: Day Nine

September 3rd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Well, I needed a bit of a writing break to recharge my batteries and that pesky hurricane gave me little choice in the matter. Anyway, I’m back and I’m ready to finish what I’ve started. In other wrestling news, Rifftrax has released a new video on demand where they tackle the Jesse Ventura early 90′s movie Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe. It’s like a cross between Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Jack Kirby’s Fourth World, only completely and utterly boring. And with Jim Belushi as a principal only because the lead woman was his wife at the time!

Highly recommended.

Now back to the list.

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The Summerslam Countdown: Day Four

August 8th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Um… hm… This post is late as it is and I’m still having trouble figuring out an intro to show before the link jump. Lesse…

Austin Roll it is!

Austin discovering the beauty of the internet is an exhibit of evidence that God exists.

Now back to the regularly scheduled list.

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The Summerslam Countdown: Day One

August 4th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Before World Wrestling Entertainment oversaturated the pay-per-view market with too many shows per year, they were better about giving us more with less. We had four big PPVs. Wrestlemania was the granddaddy of them all, a major spectacle meant to be the show of the year where major feuds would meet their climax and they’d fit in as many memorable moments and matches as possible. The Royal Rumble would lead into that show with its own exciting and unpredictable 30 (now 40)-man match that’s fun to watch no matter what year it is. Survivor Series would use its gang warfare gimmick to fuel the fire between ongoing feuds while giving us new matchups and its own sense of unpredictability. I’ve covered those three before. That leaves Summerslam.

Summerslam is the fourth corner of that equation and lacks the standout gimmick. It’s more like Wrestlemania Jr. than anything else. It’s a 3-hour show where things are a bigger deal than your average PPV or Saturday Night’s Main Event, but not QUITE as major as Wrestlemania. Comparing Wrestlemania and Summerslam is a lot like comparing WWE’s top shows Raw and Smackdown. One is more about flash and stardom while the other gets a little more freedom in its second place spot and usually tends to have better wrestling overall. I’m going to be honest, I expected this to be a bitch to go through because Summerslam was never all that interesting to me. Going down the list, only 10 of the 23 existing shows have I seen before, either via PPV or Coliseum Home Video. While, yes, there are a couple stinkers in there – as you’ll see here in this first update – the show tends to be quality. Even the #22 spot goes to a show that many would consider to be a quality outing.

With the upcoming Summerslam 2011, where we’ll see CM Punk face John Cena, it’s only fitting that I spend the next eleven days leading up to it by ranking and reviewing every Summerslam from worst to best.

A reminder on how the rating system works. I don’t want one single great match or bad match completely define a show. I rate each match one-to-ten. WWF/WWE Championship and WCW/World Heavyweight Championship matches as well as non-world-title main events count as two matches. The “atmosphere”, which means the stuff on the show that isn’t part of the matches themselves, such as backstage promos and the like count collectively as one match. From there, it’s averaged out.

So let’s get to it. 4thletter says… SLAM.

Wait, did they have a Tony Schiavone voice clip in that intro when he was gone from the company for several years?

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The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Eleven

November 25th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Sorry for the lateness. I was planning on finishing this baby up yesterday, but I was exhausted. Exhausted from MARKING! Why was I marking again? Oh yeah…

Right! Miz winning the title. Good times. But I’m sure I’ll be forgiven for finishing this list off a couple days late. Posting it on Thanksgiving sort of works, right? You’ll forgive me, won’t you, Miz Title Win Reaction Girl?

Oh. Never mind, then.

As for the PPV? I thought the first half was brilliant and the second half was below average. The Kane vs. Edge match especially. That’s a shame, since I like the angle.

Now for the top three Survivor Series!

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The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Ten

November 21st, 2010 Posted by Gavok

With this series winding down, I thought I should take a second to discuss my thoughts on the Survivor Series concept in general. I’ve found through watching these 23 shows that it would benefit the WWE to go back to the earlier concept from the first ten years. Nearly, if not every match should be an elimination tag. If you really need to fit in a title match, go ahead. The thing is, forcing your champions into these tag matches both gives even the most invincible face champion an excuse to lose for once and it keeps things from getting stale. It’s optimal to have your money feud spread out with a high-profile tag match such as this, rather than wearing out the luster with rematch after rematch in a singles setting.

Survivor Series is an awful lot like the Royal Rumble. It’s a who’s who of the roster. We get mystery wrestlers, replacements, good eliminations, bad eliminations, chaotic guessing games of who’s going to win, current feuds developed, new feuds created and old feuds rekindled. While the elimination tag matches aren’t as fun as the Royal Rumbles, they do have the advantage that there doesn’t have to simply be one winner that night. As much as I love the Royal Rumble, it’s a pain knowing that sometimes only two or three guys involved have anything resembling a chance at winning. At Survivor Series, we have multiple matches with potentially multiple winners. If somebody loses, a lot of the time, it doesn’t hurt their status. Sometimes a win can make you look great.

It is silly that this year’s Survivor Series has only one of these matches. In the past couple months, we had a 7-on-7 elimination tag at Summerslam and another one at Bragging Rights. Both were a lot more important than Rey Mysterio’s team vs. Del Rio’s team. How strange that the company insists on shoving different gimmick PPVs in our faces month after month, but doesn’t want to give any service to their original gimmick PPV.

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The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Eight

November 18th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

To show how bored I am when I’m not writing and how desperate I am to fill this intro space, I put together this presentation.

Stupid jerk Big Show, beating up Blue Meanie, Taka and Funaki for no reason.

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The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Seven

November 17th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

One neat little feature of Survivor Series is how just about any random wrestler is capable of main eventing the show, especially apparent in one of the two PPVs I’ll be showcasing in this entry. For every Randy Savage, there is a Koko B. Ware. Here’s a list of some of the guys who have main evented this major PPV.

- Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
- Hillbilly Jim
- Jacques from the Quebecers
- Marty Jannetty
- “The Model” Rick Martel
- Maven
- Shane McMahon
- Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart
- Paul Roma
- The Red Rooster
- Butch Reed
- Irwin R. Schyster
- Gene Snitsky
- Koko B. Ware

Now, you might point out that the Royal Rumble match is a main event too and therefore you have guys like Virgil and Mantaur main eventing major PPVs. To that I say…

Goddamn it. Moving on.

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