July 21, 2013
The Powerdriver Review
25 Greatest Rivalries
Released: May 28, 2013
Your host is newcomer Renee Young. She’s decked out in a lab coat with a chemistry set. Unlike various countdowns with quick clips and talking head comments, each rivalry listed gets narrated by a wrestler. While reviewing the countdown, my boy Slack will also give his brief thoughts on each ranking.
25. HHH vs. Mick Foley (Narrated By Road Dogg)
Road Dogg talks about how good their 97 feud was when they started going with gimmick matches and hardcore, but how when HHH morphed from the blue blood character to The Game and was himself that they elevated it to the main event scene.
Slackamania Thoughts: Worthy of the list, and should be higher than #25. These two kept the WWF rolling post-Austin injury and saved Rock/HHH for WM/Summer run.
24. Taz vs. Sabu (Narrated By Shane Douglas)
Fans of today thought waiting a year was long for Rock/Cena. Fans of WCW anticipated a Hogan/Sting matchup for 16 months. But in ECW, fans waited two years for a one-on-one matchup between former tag team partners Taz & Sabu. Lots of promos and teased matches were done during that span. Shane talked about how each built their legacy in the period with these moments and by winning matches against others. It lead to a match at ECW’s first PPV Barely Legal which while a good match did underwhelm some fans. Douglas recalls Taz was literally shaking before the match knowing how it was a big moment. There was also some legitimate animosity between Sabu & Taz.
Slackamania Thoughts: A top three ECW feud of all time IMO, and had a long, anticipated build but it wouldn’t make my Top 25.
23. Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero (Narrated By Vickie Guerrero)
Vickie talks about how Rey/Eddie were born in the business and started out wrestling young. Vickie then puts over their 97 WCW feud as various clips are shown of all their WCW encounters during that span. We then go to 1998 with the LWO feud. Vickie said Eddie really wanted Rey to be part of the LWO and it didn’t happen (Eddie said in his book that he wanted the LWO to be the elite luchadores, but like the NWO it was watered down with lesser talent). Fast forward seven years later at No Way Out 2005 and Rey & Eddie became WWE tag team champions. They opened WrestleMania with a friendly one-on-one encounter, but then Eddie turned on Rey and the controversial Dominic paternity angle was done where Eddie said Rey’s son Dominic was his. Vickie said Dominic was great at acting. This lead to the silly custody for Dominic match at SummerSlam 2005. While it was a good match, I don’t even think Russo would come up with a stupid idea like that, or if he did maybe ‘Dominic on a pole’ match. Vickie said Eddie was proud of that match.
Slackamania Thoughts: Perfect spot. Rey/Eddie had some great matches when they met. Their Halloween Havoc 97 match could be considered the best WCW Match of the Monday Night War Era. Some enjoyable stuff on their Smackdown runs of 2002 in tags and 2005 despite the Dominic angle.
22. Bruiser Brody vs. Abdullah The Butcher (Narrated by Mick Foley)
No specific match or time listed here, just various clips between the two. Foley does a great job describing how Bruiser & Abdullah were brawlers and madmen. He said World Class workers stayed as far away as they could during their street fights as they went all out. Foley puts Brody over as a better version of him saying if I’m good, he was great as he was bigger and more agile. Foley talks about how Gary Hart was a excellent mouthpiece for Abdullah. Foley says there was never a match when no blood was spilled between the two and how the Japanese mags loved it. Foley said in the Northeast, Abdullah wasn’t well known so in college he hung pictures & posters of him in his room telling everyone that’s who his dad was! Foley mentions that while Abdullah was a madman that he was actually classy as he once held in a fart on a 400 mile road trip out of respect to Mick’s wife Colette. Foley says not only did Abdullah & Brody inspire him, he stole from them as well.
Slackamania Thoughts: A good old school feud that was before its time. However some old school feuds didn’t make it that were arguably better than this feud, so while a nice inclusion it wouldn’t be in my top 25.
21. Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper (Narrated by Ted DiBiase Jr.)
With Hulkamania at its peak you needed a perfect villain for him to go against thus Roddy Piper. The feud started at MSG in December 1984 when Roddy Piper attacked Captain Lou Albano and went after Cyndi Lauper and Hogan made the save. This led to the highly successful ‘War To Settle To Score’ special on MTV which was headlined by Hogan vs. Piper for the WWF title and did great ratings and had many celebrities in attendance or talking about the match. Actor Mr. T got involved during the melee that occurred which lead to the main event tag team match at the event called WrestleMania where Hogan & T prevailed. DiBiase arguably says that Hogan can thank Piper for helping create Hulkamania. NO MENTION of their WCW feud where the roles were reversed during the height of the NWO and during the period where WCW was winning the Monday Night War. Did they have great matches in WCW? No, but the angle and ratings were hot enough to where it should have been mentioned. On the other hand, their forgettable Spring 2003 feud on Smackdown wasn’t included either.
Slackamania Thoughts: Deserving of the ranking arguably even higher since
Hogan/Piper headlined hot periods for BOTH WWF and ten years later in WCW.
20. CM Punk vs. John Cena (Narrated by Paul Heyman)
Heyman talks about how Cena is everything WWE wanted rolled up into one as a hero. However, Batman needed Joker, Superman needed Lex Luthor, and John Cena’s needed CM Punk. We start at WrestleMania 22 in 2006 when Punk was one of Cena’s gangsters escorting him into the ring. We then go into the classic ‘Summer Of Punk’ promo and angle which Heyman said established CM Punk as a star. Their Money In The Bank 2011 match was a modern classic where Punk took the title but was leaving the company. The two world titles angle is talked about and Heyman called CM Punk the real world champion. We get clips of various 2011 and 2012 matches between the two. Heyman says this feud is the modern day version of Stone Cold vs. The Rock.
Slackamania Thoughts: When it’s all said and done, this feud will be higher on the list. This set had finished production when the February 2013 RAW classic happened and that match alone could have elevated it into the top 15.
19. Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar (Narrated by Bret Hart)
Bret puts over Brock & Angle as amateur stars that became huge in pro wrestling quickly. Bret said it was widely expected that these two would eventually have a big feud which they did starting with the main event of WrestleMania 19 where Brock won after nearly breaking his neck off a botched Shooting Star Press attempt and Angle needing surgery on his neck himself. Bret loved the Iron Man match between the two on Smackdown in September 2003 as Bret said it was all wrestling back to the days of Lou Thesz and Pat O’Connor and that’s what he loves the most about the sport. Bret even said what was amazing about it was Angle was only a four-year pro at the time and Brock only a two-year pro. Bret said in his entire wrestling/UFC career that Brock will be best known wrestling against Angle. I disagree with Bret there as Brock’s run as UFC champion was constantly talked about on ESPN shows as he was a major draw for them. On his recent Dungeon Collection, Bret listed these two along with John Cena & Rey Mysterio as his dream opponents.
Slackamania Thoughts: The Trilogy was good as they pulled off a double turn as well. However while I do consider Angle/Lesnar a great rivalry, I’d put it outside of my top 25.
18. Randy Orton vs. Triple H (Narrated by Cody Rhodes)
HHH/Orton feud began in 2004 when Evolution dumped Orton after he won the World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam. It really got going in 2009 however as Orton won the Royal Rumble and was set to face HHH at WM 25 Main Event. The feud got personal as Orton attacked the McMahon family (even made out with an unconscious Steph) and HHH broke into Orton’s house. Cody says Orton is kind of a jerk in real life too. Cody put over the WM 25 match as a classic student vs. teacher match which Cody said the crowd was pumped and wanted HHH to beat Orton which he did. The feud carried on through the Summer of 2009 and Cody felt lucky to have the best seat in the house as he was part of Legacy at that time
Slackamania Thoughts: This inclusion I disagreed with most. I like HHH and Orton but the 2004-early 05 feud was considered a flop, and the 2009 feud while they went personal really didn’t set the world on fire with the in-ring product as well. There are many feuds classic and modern that didn’t make the list that I’d put over HHH/Orton. They each had better feuds with other wrestlers. This feud probably wouldn’t even make my top 50.
17. Verne Gagne vs. Nick Bockwinkel (Narrated by Mean Gene Okerlund)
The two main stars of the AWA had a 20-year feud headlining small shows and major shows such as Cominskey Park in Chicago. Mean Gene praised Verne’s amateur background and style and Bockwinkel’s as well though he had some flash to his. Mean Gene bashes Verne’s promo skills saying while he always got to the point a lot of it was mumbling and stuttering while Bockwinkel delivered excellent promos and used big vocabulary words to make him appear arrogant and intelligent. Mean Gene said Verne liked and trusted Bockwinkel and that’s why they had such a long feud. Mean Gene mentioned Jesse Ventura as someone who was great and colorful on the mic but Verne didn’t care for him as he couldn’t wrestle, but Bockwinkel had both skills. Mean Gene tells the story of a disappointing crowd at Cominskey in the late 70s where Verne said he was winning the title if it was sold out. Despite it not being sold out he changed the finish mid-match on Bockwinkel and took the title anyways! Ah, the perks of being an owner, I guess.
Slackamania Thoughts: I haven’t seen too much of Verne vs. Bockwinkel but I know both were great wrestlers and had a lengthy feud in the AWA. I was surprised to see the feud make this list though.
16. Mankind vs. Undertaker (Narrated by Jerry The King Lawler)
King talks about being a huge fan of movies like Freddy vs. Jason and how Mankind vs. Undertaker was wrestling’s version of that. Mankind got several big wins to start out the feud in 96 and they had great gimmick matches such as the ‘Boiler Room Brawl’ at SummerSlam 96 and the ‘Buried Alive’ match at the October 96 In Your House PPV. But the match most people talk about was King Of The Ring 98 with Foley being thrown off the cage onto the announce table, chokeslammed through the cage into the ring, and also dropped on a bunch of thumbtacks. Lawler said he had feared one of the guys would go through the cage, but didn’t expect all of that to happen and legitimately thought Foley was dead on impact. He said the thing not talked about during that match was that there were rumors the match wouldn’t happen that day as there were fears that Taker had a fractured ankle! To top it all off, both did run-ins in the main event of Austin/Kane and poor Foley instead of being at the hospital got a Stone Cold Stunner.
Slackamania Thoughts: Great feud, the KOTR match will be talked about for years to come and helped elevate Foley to legendary status.
15. Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven (Narrated by Joey Styles)
Joey talks about how early on Dreamer was a pretty boy type in the extreme environment that gradually earned the fans respect through his feud with Sandman by getting whipped with a cane. Scott Levy created the grungy Raven character for that era and they began a legendary feud that started all the way back in their childhoods. While Raven and Dreamer attended a summer camp as kids, they met Beulah, who was a fat kid. Beulah had fallen in love with Tommy Dreamer, but he rejected her, so she slept with Raven. Raven’s lackey Stevie Richards brought Beulah (now a slim Penthouse model) to ECW so she could gain revenge on Dreamer by helping Raven. Beulah became Raven’s valet, and suffered several piledrivers at the hands of Dreamer during the course of the feud. In 1996, she claimed that she was pregnant and told a shocked Raven that it was Dreamer’s baby, intensifying their feud. Beulah eventually left Raven and aligned herself with Dreamer. The main thing on the angle at the suggestion of Tommy was for Raven to win every encounter which he did. There were times where Dreamer appeared to be on the verge of winning, but Raven always pulled it out. In 1997, Raven left ECW for WCW. There was talk over it being Dreamer vs. Raven Loser Leaves ECW match but Joey said it would be obvious to the ECW crowd who would win so they just built it up instead as the final match between Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven. Joey said that Dreamer even wanted Raven to win that match but Heyman insisted on Tommy finally getting the win at the end (likely upset over Raven leaving WCW and knowing it would be a moment). At Wrestlepalooza in June 97, Dreamer FINALLY got the win over Raven in the match which was a great moment for Dreamer and ECW.
Slackamania Thoughts: Definitely the best feud in ECW and a top 15 ranking. A two-year long feud with many subplots and characters with the happy ending of the protagonist in Dreamer finally getting his revenge on his arch-nemesis Raven.
14. Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker (Narrated by Michael Hayes)
HBK and Taker were two longtime WWF stars who never faced off in singles competition until 1997. Hayes talks about how the Badd Blood 97 ‘Hell In A Cell’ match was violent and had the whole locker room watching. Fast forward 12 years later at WM 25 and he was in charge over their match at WrestleMania 25. Hayes calls it in his opinion the best match ever. He said Taker smiled huge after the match knowing it was a classic which he never does. The night after WrestleMania it was decided to go for a rematch with the added stipulation for HBK to put his career on the line since Shawn wanted to retire. While not on par with 25, their 26 match was a classic and a fitting end for Mr. WrestleMania’s career. Hayes said they all watched the matches in amazement at the work they put together. Hayes called it one of the best moments of his career helping produce those matches they had. We get ‘behind the scenes’ footage from RAW the night after WM 26 of HBK and Taker embracing backstage following Shawn’s farewell address.
Slackamania Thoughts: A good spot for now, but like Cena/Punk as time goes on, we might put this feud higher as IMO they produced two ***** matches and two **** 1/2 matches! Some of the best in-ring chemistry ever for two of the all time greats!
13. Triple H vs. The Rock (Narrated by Billy Gunn)
Billy brings up the evolution of the feud as it started out in 1997 with ‘Blueblood’ Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. ‘Blue Chipper’ Rocky Maivia for the Intercontinental Championship. They were elevated and transformed both physically and in persona one year later in the DX/Nation feud. HHH & The Rock two years later were tearing it up as bona fide stars in the main event scene. Their first great match that showed they were ready for the big time was the ladder match at SummerSlam 98 which is a solid match. Billy talks about how Hunter and Rock weren’t friends, but that their backstage relationship was fine even though there’s been various stories of some disputes between the two. We take a look at some highlights at the HHH/Rock Ironman match which astonishingly enough hasn’t been released on WWE Home Video yet, but could be soon with the HHH documentary set for release in September.
Slackamania Thoughts: Somewhat low to my liking. I think Rock/HHH is a legit top 10 (and you can argue higher feud). They elevated each other and followed the same path nearly similar to what Bret & HBK did except there was no obvious drama or real life tension between the two on camera as they likely dealt with all of their rumored problems backstage. They kept the ball rolling for the WWF with the top star Stone Cold out for a year.
12. John Cena vs. Edge (Narrated by Lita)
This feud started at New Years Revolution in 2006 when Edge shocked everyone by cashing in the ‘Money In The Bank’ briefcase on Cena who was bulldozing through the competition and had just won an elimination chamber match. Cena took the belt back three weeks later at the Royal Rumble but the feud was reignited in the Summer as the belt wound up back with Edge who had attacked John Cena’s dad. After several Edge wins or no contests, Cena got the two big wins at Unforgiven and on RAW in the Steel Cage Match. They feuded a bit again in 2009. Lita talks about how she enjoyed the house show matches the most between the two as they put out all the stops. Sadly the infamous Edge/Lita live sex celebration isn’t talked about on here when it was a memorable moment.
Slackamania Thoughts: This feud dominated the 2006 Main Event scene. I don’t consider it a top 12 rating though, but I do think its worthy of being on the set. I think when it’s said and done on Cena’s career that Punk will be considered his all time greatest opponent.
11. Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage (Narrated by CM Punk)
On Saturday Nights Main Event in October 1987, Miss Elizabeth brought out Hulk Hogan to save Randy Savage from a triple team attack by the Honky Tonk Man and the Hart Foundation. Hogan cleaned house and extended his hand to Savage who accepted – thus the Mega Powers were born. At WrestleMania IV, Savage won the vacant WWE championship in a 14-man tournament. Punk blasts Hogan for helping him as Savage didn’t need any help winning it. He also called out Hogan for trying to steal Savage’s spotlight in the post match celebration. After big wins at SummerSlam and Survivor Series, Savage became jealous of Hogan’s relationship with Liz and turned on him during a ‘Main Event’ tag team match. Punk claimed you couldn’t blame Savage at all with how Hogan was tapping her on the butt and carrying her around. At WrestleMania V, Hogan defeated Savage for the title and they had subsequent rematches until 1999. Punk rightfully said their WCW matches didn’t have the magic as their encounters in WWE did, but many fans growing up were still watching and enjoyed them. He said when you think of Hulk Hogan, you think of Randy Savage, and vice versa.
Slackamania Thoughts: A little bit lower than I thought it would be. Hogan/Savage had a lengthy feud and two of the most notable names in the history of the industry. Punk’s closing statements on the feud put it best.
10. Magnum TA vs. Tully Blanchard (Narrated by Dusty Rhodes)
Dusty first seen Magnum in Mid-South and knew he would be a star. Dusty called Tully a classic bad guy that everyone loved to hate and wrestled like a Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels hybrid. Magnum & Tully didn’t care for each other personally (Magnum even married Tully’s ex-wife and raised his kids!) We get various promos and events on what lead to their ‘I Quit’ match at Starrcade 85. Dusty put over Baby Doll on how she was big boned, but beautiful and a great manager. Dusty said he watched the ‘I Quit’ Match live in amazement and thought Tully was legit going to poke Magnum’s eye out. He recalls a Jerry Lee Lewis story where he put on quite a show and told Chuck Berry to follow this. He said he knew that Magnum/Tully’s match was a challenge to ”follow this” and that he and Flair would be in for a challenge. He said fans in those days talking about the matches had to have called Magnum/Tully the match of the night.
Slackamania Thoughts: It is a great old school feud and the ‘I Quit’ Match is an easy ***** classic. It would have been interesting to see this feud expand more because if I’m correct besides some JIP clips, the Starrcade 85 match is their only full length and complete match that has been released. Still the build for it was great and resulted in a satisfying conclusion with the classic they had.
9. Undertaker vs. Kane (Narrated by Jim Ross)
JR put over Taker’s character and said he needed a perfect foil. What started to be an angle turned into a future Hall of Famer in Kane: Undertaker’s storyline brother. Just standard stuff here as various parts of their 98 and 2010 feuds are mentioned. They also were allies at many points in time. JR called both of these guys ”big bastards”.
Slackamania Thoughts: Only this high for the longevity and during the ‘Attitude Era’ in my opinion. The in ring product stunk between the two even though they are both legends in the business. Would I put this on my top 25? Yes, but way too high of a ranking on this DVD set.
8. Edge & Christian vs. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz (Narrated by William Regal)
Regal talks about their three-team ladder match at WrestleMania 2000 and how all six guys were worried about their future spots on the roster. It resulted in a good match, so much so that the first ever TLC match (each team had a specialty: the Dudleyz had tables, the Hardyz had ladders, and E & C had chairs) were made at SummerSlam and was a classic. A highly anticipated and very good rematch happened between the two at WrestleMania X-7. Regal mentions how he wouldn’t have let them do some of the spots had he known about it. It also was the climax of the feud and sadly also the end of the peak of the revamping of the great tag team division WWE has had at times in the past.
Slackamania Thoughts: If you count TNA & WWECW five of the six men have went on to become World Champions. They should have covered how it branched out personally with the Edge/Matt Hardy feud over Lita. I enjoyed the feud but wouldn’t have ranked it this high, but it shouldn’t be the only tag team rivalry on here. I mean where is Rock N Roll Express vs. Midnight Express that went on for years and spanned various territories?
7. Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair (Narrated by Shawn Michaels)
HBK talks about learning a lot from the feud through Pro Wrestling Illustrated as while he had WTBS, he couldn’t watch Mid-Atlantic or Georgia. HBK talks about the difference in personality and styles making this feud and calling it an Austin/McMahon feud fifteen years earlier. Flair, the wealthy long blonde-haired champion, and Dusty the overweight common man. However, both gelled in charisma especially in their promos. We get various clips of promos between the two that show how amazing they were even though many of their matches weren’t the standard Flair classics they could just TALK and make you believe in them and make you want to buy a ticket to see Dusty best Flair.
Slackamania Thoughts: A memorable rivalry especially during the Jim Crockett era. Maybe they could have branched this out into the Four Horsemen vs. Dusty Rhodes feud too. I was too young for most of this feud growing up but loved the promos and the buildups to the matches as they made each one feel like a big deal.
6. The Von Erichs vs. The Freebirds (Narrated by Ric Flair)
This feud started on Christmas night 1982 when fan favorites Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy cost Kerry Von Erich the NWA World Title against Ric Flair in a cage match. Flair talks about how much that feud meant to the South and how they sold out everywhere. Flair says the three oldest Von Erich boys in the business were the ones he worked with the most and considered them to be the best. He called David the best showman, Kerry the best look, and Kevin the most athletic. Flair puts over how great Hayes & Gordy were and said while Buddy Roberts was a good guy and wrestler that no one hardly remembers him and you could have put ANYONE in there with Hayes & Gordy and the Freebirds would have been great. We get various clips of the hot World Class crowds on the edge of their seat during the feud and even for the first time on WWE home video highlights of Santa Hayes attacking. Sadly though, Flair doesn’t have all fond memories of the feud as five of the six Von Erich boys all tragically passed away young. Too much too soon and that. All that’s left of the feud is memories. It’s a little bit eerie hearing Flair talking about the Von Erich boys tragically passing away young as shortly after the filming for this DVD, he unexpectedly lost his youngest child Reid to a suspected drug overdose in March of 2013.
Slackamania Thoughts: Great old-school stuff. This feud made World Class HOT and arguably the top promotion in the country for a brief period. I call the VE/Freebirds feud the Hatfield/McCoys of pro wrestling. Deserving of the ranking it received.
5. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock (Narrated By The Miz)
To quote The Miz himself, REALLY? Couldn’t you have chosen someone else of more importance to talk about this legendary feud? Though in defense of The Miz, he is a super fan of both guys, so he’ll tell it from a perspective of a fan than a performer, which he does. Another feud that started in the midcard over the I-C Belt and lead to main events down the line. They feuded when the WWF ratings were at its hottest in 1999 and main evented WrestleMania X7 which was the climax and finale most say of the Attitude Era. The promos and intensity between the two were off the charts and fans ate up all their interactions and matches. They’ve had a record three matches at WrestleMania with Austin taking two and the Rock taking the last one at WrestleMania 19 which as of today is still Austin’s last in-ring match as a performer. Miz said he wouldn’t have minded this match to main event 50 WrestleManias and calls it the greatest rivalry of all time.
Slackamania Thoughts: Easily a top five ranking. You can even argue top three or even #1. These guys were the two MVPs of the ‘Attitude Era’. Austin got the ‘Attitude Era’ going, but Rock topped it off by becoming a mainstream movie star. These guys were the Manning/Brady feud of the WWE. The closest feud IMO that can even come close to touching this in terms of promos, workrate, and pops is Cena/Punk. WWE still hasn’t replaced these two bona fide mega stars to this day. An Austin/Rock Rivalry DVD was expected to be released in 2012, but for some reason never happened. If another home video set highlighting a solo wrestling rivalry is released, expect it to be Austin vs. Rock.
4. Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant (Narrated By Big Show)
Big Show puts over Andre and notes his changes from face to heel with shorter hair, black singlet and larger. Being a fellow big man, Show rooted for Andre to beat Hogan. We get the ‘Piper’s Pit’ highlights of Andre’s surprising heel turn on Hogan and Hulk accepting the challenge to main event WrestleMania III. The two most notable events of the Hogan/Andre feud are the 93,173 at WrestleMania III main event and the most watched wrestling match in history on ‘The Main Event’ when Andre ended the 4+ year WWE Championship reign of Hulkamania.
Slackamania Thoughts: The Hogan/Andre feud will definitively go down in wrestling lore. The bodyslam at WM3 is one of the more OMG moments in WWE history as well as the title change. As a fan, I enjoyed Hogan/Savage more but Hogan/Andre did excellent business and not many matches between the two are filmed. This feud also even received the cover for this set.
3. Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (Narrated by NWA Referee Tommy Young)
Tommy puts over Flair and Steamboat not just their matches but moments as well such as Steamboat ripping off Flair’s clothes for the first time in 1978 Mid-Atlantic. Young was honored to be the ref in their matches and mentions how fun they were. Flair had the cardio to go a long time limit in matches when other’s couldn’t hang, but Steamboat was right there with him going blow for blow. He talked about how stiff they were in their matches. During hour long matches, they would just be starting up at the 30 minute mark. They also would be clever during their matches as it could end 25-30 minutes in or 55 minutes in. Everyone would just assume a draw was coming when a surprise pinfall would occur. Tommy’s favorite match between the two was the 56-minute ’2 out of 3 Falls’ match at the Clash of the Champions in April 1989 at the Superdome. Tommy was the ref for all three matches of that 1989 trilogy and said while technically Flair was still the heel, many fans were cheering him. Steamboat had started bringing his wife and young son at ringside with him, but Flair remained all macho with beautiful women around him and wearing fancy suits and jewelry. Tommy calls Flair and Steamboat the two kings of the sport and feels nobody will ever top the matches between them.
Slackamania Thoughts: One of the greatest rivalries ever. Their chemistry produced many classic matches and even with a little bit of age settling in on them in 1994 had very good matches. The 1989 trilogy is amazing and must see for any fan of wrestling but what’s interesting is they supposedly had even better matches at house shows.
2. Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (Narrated by Dolph Ziggler)
These two started off on a similar path some great tag matches together during the days of the Hart Foundation and the Rockers. They then went into singles matches and quickly escalated in the Intercontinental Championship scene in 1992. Bret wins the WWF championship in October 1992, allowing he and Shawn to main event Survivor Series that year. As they each built their legacies, they main evented WrestleMania 12 in a ’60-Minute Ironman Match’ in which HBK finally won the WWF Championship. Their rivalry turned personal in 1997 culminating in the infamous ‘Montreal Screwjob’ at Survivor Series. Bret and Shawn publicly buried the hatchet on RAW in January 2010. This is the only rivalry as of the writing of this review to have its own standalone DVD that was release in October 2011.
Slackamania Thoughts: I agree with this being #2. Both of these guys were great talents that followed the same path together. Besides both being great wrestlers, the personal tension between them and the infamous ‘Montreal Screwjob’ make this a legendary feud.
1. Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon (Narrated by Vince Russo)
Russo calls this feud the ‘Perfect Storm’ and doubts a feud like this will ever happen again. It was a fantasy scenario of a tough blue-collar worker going against their corporate, rich boss. Russo says that Austin & Vince were the two perfect characters to play this role. He said he enjoyed the challenge of wanting to top another chapter of the saga week after week. We get epic-style music with still shots and sound bites of some of the famous Austin/McMahon moments to close the documentary.
Slackamania Thoughts: I agree with this being #1. It not only saved the WWF from WCW, but helped create another major wrestling boom. It even generated interest from casual fans and even those that may had never watched wrestling before. When you draw that audience in, that is where you make your big bucks. While the in-ring product between the two never generated ***** matches, it provided many unforgettable moments between the two that brought in incredible ratings and merchandise cash.
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan (w/Captain Lou Albano & Cyndi Lauper) vs. Roddy Piper (w/Bob Orton Jr.) – (The War to Settle the Score, 2/18/85)
Back in December, Piper came out and smashed a gold record that was given to Captain Lou Albano by Cyndi Lauper – just to be a dick and ruin the whole thing. As Piper and Orton wreaked havoc, Hulk Hogan came out for the save to begin their feud. The January MSG show was headlined by Santana and Valentine, allowing two months for this feud to develop. Piper was already embroiled in a feud with Jimmy Snuka too at the time, essentially having beefs with the two top babyfaces in the company. Due to the popularity of Cyndi Lauper with the MTV crowd and Hulk Hogan’s rising nationwide popularity, the WWF landed a pair of live one-hour specials on MTV. The first special aired in July 1984 when Cyndi Lauper supported Wendi Richter in her efforts to capture the WWF women’s title from the Fabulous Moolah, in what became the most-watched program on MTV at that time. Ironically on this same show here in 1985, Lelani Kai defeated Wendi Richter to win the WWF women’s title. That of course did not air on MTV.
While a NYC bagpipe band leads Piper and Orton to the ring playing ‘Scotland the Brave’, Piper wears a Hulkamania t-shirt and carries an electric Gibson guitar with him. He breaks the guitar on the mat to show what he thinks of rock ‘n roll. Earlier in the night, Orton legitimately injured his arm in a match with Jimmy Snuka, resulting in the cast gimmick for the next year. Bob Costas is your special guest ring announcer. Check out the HBO interview Vince McMahon did with Bob Costas in 2001 for some real entertainment. Mr. T is in the front row to support his buddy. Huge brawl to start. There’s punches everywhere. Piper puts Hogan in trouble with a sleeper that Gorilla and Okerlund are convinced is a choke. Of course, Hogan doesn’t go to sleep and runs Piper’s face into the corner. Bob Orton tries to help out, but Hogan smashes his injured arm on the ringpost connector. As Hogan mounts his comeback, Paul Orndorff comes down to replace Orton. Ref gets bumped, allowing Orndorff to land a flying knee drop on Hogan. (5:20) While they put the boots to Hogan, Cyndi Lauper hops up on the apron yelling at Piper and Orndorff. As they slowly walk towards her, Mr. T jumps the rail and to get at them. He’s just totally out of his element though as the smarter men prevail. Of course, that is until Hulk Hogan recovers and helps Mr. T clean house. T doesn’t realize that once the heels are out of the ring, you don’t go after them. Hulk tells T to get back in the ring with him. With Orton returning, they decide that three against two works is certainly better odds, so they try to charge Hulk and Mr. T. By this point, security and policemen have swarmed the ring to separate the two sides. Once the dust settles and the MSG house mic drops from the ceiling, Hogan grabs one of the mics challenging Piper and Orndorff for a fight. They don’t come back out though. This certainly wasn’t the war that settled the score. False advertising, if you ask me. *½
NWA U.S. Champion Tully Blanchard (w/Baby Doll) vs. Magnum T.A. - “I Quit” Cage Match (Starrcade 1985)
Wow, do these two hate each other or what? Not only is this match inside of a STEEL CAGE, but they’ve also got to make the other say, “I quit!” in order to win! The “stone cold” expression on Magnum’s face is awesome. They roll around on the mat for a bit clawing at each other until Tully goes to the eyes and unloads on Magnum. That just fires Magnum up as he comes back with shots. Tully blocks a cage shot and took Magnum into the steel instead. Magnum stands up out of a reverse chinlock and hotshots Tully, but then goes face-first into the steel. Tully grabs the mic and screams at Magnum to say I quit, but he refuses. Magnum fights back and applies a hammerlock before throwing Tully into the cage not once, but twice. Ouch, his arm is busted OPEN! Now Magnum shoves the mic in Tully’s mouth, but Tully refuses and headbutts Magnum in the groin. Magnum hammers away on Tully’s bloody left deltoid. Now Tully busts Magnum open, all while kicking him in the face. Tully grabs the mic, but since Magnum refuses to quit this time, Tully hits in the cut forehead with the mic. Tully takes Magnum into the cage again, and comes off the top rope (not cage) with a double axe handle. Tully asks Magnum if he wants to quit again, but Magnum still says no. Magnum fights back and asks Tully again if he wants to quit, but he’s still saying no as well, so Magnum waffles him with the mic. Now will Tully quit? NO! Both men claw on each other’s cuts! That’s just SICK! Magnum fires back and asks Tully if he wants to quit now, but Tully kicks Magnum away. Magnum nails Tully again and goes up for a ten-count corner punch, but Tully counters with an inverted atomic drop. Tully screams at Magnum to quit, but he still says no! Tully nails Earl Hebner and drops Magnum with some elbows as he waits for Baby Doll to throw a wooden chair over into the cage! Tully shatters it in the ring and takes a broken piece of it and tries to stab Magnum in his already badly lacerated forehead! Well that’s just CRAZY! Magnum blocks it, but doesn’t get Tully off of him completely, which adds some amazing suspense to the moment. Greensboro is FREAKING OUT! Magnum is able to knee Tully off of him and jab the sharp-edged piece into Tully’s forehead! OH MAN, Magnum screams at Tully over and over again, asking him, “DO YOU QUIT?” At this point, Tully has no choice but to scream YES several times in order to get this crazy dude off of him. This one is OVER. Magnum walks out with the last wrestling title he would ever hold. (14:43) A match FILLED with hatred capped off by one of the most insane finishes in American wrestling history. I think this match solidifies both men as two of the sickest mofos on the planet. These two were hardcore, before hardcore was cool! *****
Bruiser Brody vs. Abdullah the Butcher (w/Gary Hart) – (WCWA, July 1987)
Texas rodeo star Don Gay joins Marc Lowrance for commentary during this one. If you’ve ever seen rodeo on ESPN or TNN in the 1990s, you know this man’s voice. Not exactly clear on the date, but the match takes place in the Mesquite Rodeo Arena east of Dallas, which I’m sure they did a lot of spot shows at over the years. If I’m not mistaken, World Class was having a pretty decent summer, showing some promise that maybe there could be brighter days ahead. Just a bloody brawl. They fight through the crowd until Lowrance says they can’t show anymore as Abdullah and Gary Hart retreat to the back. (5:45) More of the same from these two. ½*
Kevin & Kerry Von Erich vs. Terry Gordy & Buddy Roberts – Badstreet Rules Match (USWA in Dallas, 2/12/88)
This late-80s period of Dallas wrestling is so convoluted and confusing to me. We’ve got a World Class Championship ring, a World Class Wrestling Association title, and a program called USWA in Dallas. Anyways, this company tried to resurrect the old Freebirds-Von Erichs feud back in the fall, leading to the Fritz Von Erich fake heart attack angle that killed any advancement made in 1987. This is an old school “come as you are” fight. It appears the only rules that still apply are normal tag team rules, meaning tags and whatnot, because you can beat your opponent with whatever you brought with you. Buddy Roberts and Kerry Von Erich have their fists taped, Gordy has his right knuckles taped, and Kevin has a glove on his ‘claw’ hand. Kerry lands a couple Discus Punches on Gordy to start things. He takes off his belt and whips Roberts real good. The big belt buckle serves as a great weapon. Pier-six brawl erupts as Kevin gets a tag. Gordy throws him on the floor for a suplex. More mayhem around ringside leads to Gordy using a chair on Kerry’s face. Meanwhile, Kevin threatens Buddy with the Iron Claw as we go to commercial. When we return, Kevin is getting worn out by Gordy. Kerry tosses his brother some sort of foreign object to nail Gordy, who responds by mouthing ‘MFer’ at the camera. Kevin decks Gordy again with the foreign object and goes for the Iron Claw. When Gordy blocks, Kevin grabs hold of Gordy’s belly. As Roberts comes in for the save, Kerry leaps over Kevin and blasts Buddy with a clothesline. Gordy makes Kevin pay with a wicked piledriver. He hits Kevin with a back suplex and looks for another piledriver. Naturally, Kevin backdrops Gordy away and reaches Kerry for the hot tag. He gets some retribution on Gordy with a piledriver of his own. Buddy takes one as well. As the Von Erichs rally over what’s left of the Freebirds, we see Iceman King Parsons is at ringside with some sort of bat. Chris Adams comes out to scare Parsons away with a chair. The ref gets in between them, but they wind up scuffling into the ring where the ref calls for the bell. (9:50 shown) This was balls-to-the-wall crazy until that finish. Of course, it set up some six-man tags throughout 1988. Afterwards, the Angel of Death comes out and handcuffs Kevin to a turnbuckle. That leaves Kerry and Adams in a terrible 4-on-2 situation until the ref helps break Kevin free, allowing Kevin to clean house swinging his boot around at the heels. ***½
Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Andre the Giant & Ted DiBiase (w/Bobby Heenan & Virgil) – Special Referee: Jesse Ventura (SummerSlam 1988)
Aww, look at the Mega Powers. They’re compromising! They come out in Hogan’s colors, but with Savage’s music. Of course, which is the one people will remember more? Colors, or music they heard way back in the beginning of the match? Savage STILL got shafted! The big question in this match is though, did Ted DiBiase pay off Ventura or not? Andre headbutts Savage into his corner and tags in DiBiase to do all the heavy labor. Holy Snap! Now people are whipping out the bull horns! Are we in England? Hogan wants a tag and gets it. DiBiase gets PWNED by the Mega Powers who make surprisingly frequent tags. Hogan gets cocky and decides to nail Andre on the apron, but he blocks and kills Hogan with a headbutt. Now Andre tags and grabs the 24? traps of the Hulkster. Who would’ve thought that Hogan would be the face in peril? I love it! Andre chokes on Hogan with his singlet and that draws Savage in for some heel double-teaming. DiBiase tags in and delivers the Million Dollar Fist Drops for two. Chinlock applied, but Hogan HULKS OUT into a double-clothesline. HOT TAG TO SAVAGE! Backdrop! Running hotshot! Flying double-sledge! But then he misses a charge in the corner. DiBiase misses a clothesline and Savage comes off the ropes for a crossbody for 1-2-NO! Andre tags and proceeds to squash Savage like a bug. DiBiase tags back in and hits a suplex. He misses an elbow drop off the second rope and makes the tag to Hulk. Hogan gives DiBiase a suplex and then STIFFS Andre with a clothesline that puts him down! Savage goes for the MACHO ELBOW on Andre while Hogan has DiBiase in a sleeper, but Andre gets his boot up! Andre breaks up the sleeper with, you guessed it, a headbutt and dumps Hogan out with Savage. The Mega Bucks want a countout win. Meanwhile, all the managers are up on the apron bothering Jesse! Of course, none of them get the attention of Jesse Ventura quite like Elizabeth, who has pulled off her skirt so those legs can breathe! The Mega Powers now decide to strike. Those cheaters! Andre gets knocked out to the floor and DiBiase is left to the lions. MACHO ELBOW DROP + HOGAN LEG DROP = 1-2-3. (14:50) I don’t know why the WWE decided to put the SummerSlam ’89 main event tag match on the Hogan DVDs instead of this one. This was way better and Hogan still got the pin fall. Who thinks it has something to do with Hogan actually working most the match instead of standing on the apron for ten minutes? I do. I actually enjoyed this match a lot and it really had very little to do with Elizabeth. ***½
The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Mankind – (King of the Ring 1996)
Mankind has been OWNING the Undertaker lately, which sets up their match. During Taker’s entrance, the lights come on and Taker is shown perched up on the top rope ready to deliver a flying clothesline to Mankind! Following that, UT beats the crap out of Mankind. He hits Old School, but catches an elbow out of the corner. Taker sits up after a slam, but Mankind takes him down with a sliding clothesline. Mankind drives a knee into Taker down in the corner. We head out to the floor where Mankind hits the elbow drop off the apron. Mankind finds a chair and gets that kicked back in his face. After a whip into the apron, he walks right into a backdrop from Taker onto the chair! Sort of. Back in the ring while Paul Bearer talks with the ref, Taker nails Mankind across the back with the chair. Big boot sets up a possible Tombstone, but Mankind slips out and hits a swinging neckbreaker. Mankind checks to make sure Taker is KO’ed and then starts squealing. Taker blocks the MANDIBLE CLAW, but gets kicked back down. Mankind grabs some sort of nerve hold until Taker escapes with rapid-fire punches. Back on the floor, Mankind elbows Taker down up against the steel steps and drives his knee into Taker’s head! OH SNAP! He slams Taker on the concrete over by the chair and goes for another flying elbow off the apron, but Taker brings up the chair to block. Taker delivers an unprotected chairshot right to the head! In the ring, Mankind ties himself up in the ropes fearing defeat. Taker hits the Jumping Lariat, but telegraphs a backdrop and receives the Pull Up Piledriver. Cover, 1-2-NO! On the other side of the ring, Mankind throws a tantrum and yanks out his own hair. Mankind grabs the urn and goes to whack Taker, but Bearer grabs it away from him. Mankind turns around and applies the MANDIBLE CLAW on Taker. Now Bearer decides to whack Mankind with the urn, but Mankind pulls Taker in to take the shot instead. In the center of the ring, Mankind reapplies the MANDIBLE CLAW until Taker passes out. (18:18) Would that be a TKO or what? I don’t know. He didn’t give up or get pinned, so whatever. People who say these two didn’t really have much chemistry in their 1996 meetings are incorrect in my view. Not a MOTYC or anything, but a good match with Taker really giving Mankind the rub. ***
Taz (w/Bill Alfonso & Team Taz) vs. Sabu – (ECW Barely Legal, 4/13/97)
Thanks goes out to David for the review here. He’s more of an ECW expert than I will ever claim to be.
This is billed as “The Grudge Match of the Century,” and a couple guys at ringside look shocked that it’s not the nightcapper. Sabu suddenly appears in the ring for a big staredown, having apparently jumped the gun on his cue to enter. They trade slaps until Taz hits a clothesline that has Sabu reeling to the floor. Back in, Sabu reverses a whip and drops down, Taz hits the brakes and goes for the TAZMISSION, but Sabu blocks it and scores an arm drag and holds onto a reverse arm bar. Taz wrestles out and they trade some hammerlocks. Sabu blocks a suplex, but Taz takes him down for an ankle pick. Taz lets Sabu go for his leg, but he ends up on top for some crossface blows, then a bodyscissors hold. Sabu takes a pummeling and then we see that he’s bleeding, apparently from one of the crossfaces. He kills time and gets a sneaky low dropkick and a slingshot leg lariat onto a seated Taz. He sends Taz to the outside and over the guardrail and delivers a TRIPLE JUMP PLANCHA into the crowd! They brawl back and forth and move through the sea of humanity for a while, then Sabu leaps off a chair, missing Taz and hitting the rail, and Taz clotheslines him over. Back in, Taz drop toe holds Sabu and applies a freestyle bow-and-arrow. They start a slugfest from their knees, then brawl on the mat until Taz puts on a bodyscissors arm bar. Sabu makes it to the ropes and hits an enziguri, setting up an awesome springboard somersault leg drop. He brings in a chair and hurls it at Taz in the corner, which sets up AIR SABU. He misses a second try and Taz hotshots him onto the chair, and a late cover gets two.
Back up, Taz whips Sabu into an unbelievably stiff clothesline for two. He catches him coming off the ropes with a sidewalk slam, but Sabu pulls him to the floor and goes for another TRIPLE JUMP PLANCHA, but Taz avoids it and Sabu hits the guardrail. An OVERHEAD BELLY-TO-BELLY TAZPLEX sends Sabu crashing all over chairs. Sabu gets rolled back in, and it looks like Team Taz set up a table bridging the rail and ring apron. Taz orders them around a bit, allowing Sabu to ambush him and knock him out and onto the table. He begins a triple jump move, but stops because Taz doesn’t look ready. He heads out and Taz tries to set up a suplex, Sabu fights it off and goes for a swinging DDT, but Taz doesn’t budge and Sabu falls through the table. I’m pretty sure that was all botched if not just badly improvised. They have some more slugfest outside, then they bring it inside, and Taz favors his shoulder. A top rope hurracanrana gets two for Sabu. He follows that with a huge top rope leg drop. After more slugfesting, Taz grabs a hold and delivers a SIDE HEAD AND ARM TAZPLEX, then a HEADLOCK TAZPLEX, but he takes a breather, which allows Sabu to come back with a PUMP HANDLE SABUPLEX! He mocks Taz, but Taz gets right up, Sabu ducks a clothesline, and he puts on a SABUMISSION, but Taz wiggles around and delivers a modified SIDE BELLY-TO-BACK TAZPLEX. He follows up with a PUMP HANDLE TAZPLEX, then locks on the TAZMISSION, Sabu is out, it’s over. (17:49) This match has good heat and some good wrestling, and it even has a unique realism going for it, with Taz keeping the advantage after the table spot and Sabu only coming back here and there, but I don’t think it sets the world on fire like some people do. Maybe I can’t get past all the mini slugfests between spots and the otherwise underbooked feel. ***¼
Taz gets on the mic and he and Sabu have a nice mutual respect moment, which is interrupted by Rob Van Dam jumping Taz. Van Dam gets stuck in the TAZMISSION, but Sabu saves him and Van Dam unloads on Taz with stomps and leg drops. Sabu brings in a chair for an ARABIAN FACEBUSTER. Van Dam sets him on a table outside, and Sabu goes for a triple jump moonsault plancha, but he slips off the rope and settles for a more modest verison of a plancha through the table. Sabu puts on another SABUMISSION while Fonzie just stands there, not trying to help Taz. Fonzie gets in the ring with RVD and Sabu, and he takes off his Taz shirt to reveal a Sabu shirt. This starts the Sabu/RVD/Fonzie alliance. Van Dam gets on the mic for the second time and tells his new employer to think about picking up Fonzie, “because he knows my schedule, and I love to work Mondays.”
Tommy Dreamer (w/Beulah) vs. Raven (w/Lupus & Chastity) – (ECW Wrestlepalooza, 6/7/97)
David’s recap will have to do for this one as well. Thanks for all your hard work!
Rick Rude joins Joey Styles on commentary for this match. This is Raven’s last ECW match before jumping to WCW, and the crowd knows it, so they berate him with “You sold out” chants, but Raven also gets a bit of a respectful pop during his introduction. According to the storylines, Dreamer has still never pinned Raven after feuding for over two and half years. The bell sounds, there’s a quick staredown, and Lupus tells his “boss” to forget about it and just leave, so Raven takes off over the rail to the front door. Dreamer chases after him for a brawl and slams him against a garage door. He takes him through the bleachers, and Raven comes back by heaving him off the top of the bleachers through the merchandise table! Raven delivers a piledriver onto a table, but the table slides out from under them and they fall to the floor! Damn, that could have been disastrous. They get onto the stage and Raven suplexes a table onto Dreamer, who’s now busted open. Dreamer avoids a piledriver onto the table, but misses a splash and goes through the table. Back to the floor, Dreamer gets whipped to the rail near the entrance, but he comes back and sends Raven into it, then crotches him on it. Back at ringside, Tommy beats him up and busts him open before tossing him back into the crowd. Raven gets slammed into a soda machine and gets pulled up a ladder, but he fights back and Dreamer falls off the soda machine to the concrete! The match finally gets back into the ring, where Raven delivers a drop toe hold onto a chair. He scores a low blow and sets Dreamer up top, Dreamer comes back with a low blow that looks like it legitimately connected, but Raven pops back up and a rocket launcher sends Dreamer down onto the chair! Raven covers, 1-2-NO!
Back up, Dreamer counters a hiptoss into a swinging DDT. Dreamer grabs a “sign” from the crowd, they fight over it, and referee John Finnegan gets bumped. Dreamer nails Raven with the sign and pulls off its cover to reveal that it’s a road sign and sets it down on the mat. Dreamer delivers a piledriver onto it, the ref gets up slow, like … really … really … slow, 1-2-NO! Lupus makes the save. He takes some swings at Dreamer, but Dreamer no-sells, and Beulah comes in to give Lupus a DDT. Raven sneaks up and low blows Dreamer, and a school boy gets 1-2-NO! Raven gets on his knees and pleads with Beulah to come back to him, Dreamer sneaks up, low blow, school boy, 1-2-NO! The crowd thought it was over for sure. Chastity jumps in and hair sprays Dreamer, allowing Raven a dropkick, cover, 1-2-NO! Beulah and Chastity start up a catfight, Raven pulls Beulah back, she hits him with a low blow, Dreamer hits the DDT, cover, 1-2-NO! The crowd thought that was it again. Dreamer goes for another DDT, but Raven pushes him back and the ref gets bumped again. Dreamer hits another DDT, but there’s no ref. Here comes Louie Spiccoli and he jumps all over Dreamer. He DDTs Dreamer, pulls Raven on top of him, the ref is slow to the count, 1-2-NO! Spiccoli jumps back on Dreamer, but Dreamer hits him with a DDT. Raven rushes up right behind him and he hits a DDT, cover, 1-2-NO! Dreamer delivers a Death Valley Driver, waits for Raven to get up, DDT on the sign, cover, 1-2-3! Dreamer pinned Raven! Dreamer pinned Raven! For real this time! (15:05) The match isn’t technical great, but the drama makes up for it, especially toward the end. You’d think that it would be obvious that Dreamer would finally go over to end the feud, but the crowd still has some nervous doubt during some of Raven’s nearfalls. ****
Steve Austin vs. Vince & Shane McMahon – “Winner Takes All” Ladder Match (King of the Ring 1999)
The winner gets full control of the WWF. As expected, Austin destroys the McMahons for most of the match. Most of the early brawling takes place around (and at one point on) the entrance set that is made up of ladders and built with a “house of cards” effect. Eventually, Austin pulls a chain and the ladders come tumbling down on top of the McMahons. Back to ringside, Austin comes off the ladder with an elbow drop and puts Shane through the Spanish announce table. Vince comes over and turns the ladder over while Austin is at the top to send him crashing onto JR and King’s table. While Austin is down, Vince still can’t get the briefcase in time. Austin plays around with the ladder for a while, culminating in Shane receiving a catapult onto a propped up ladder. Austin tries to climb, but gets turned over. Even though he’s down and hurt, he holds onto the ladder, causing Shane and Vince to come up with alternate ways to retrieve the briefcase. Once Shane is sitting on Vince’s shoulders, Austin shoots the double bird at Shane and punches Vince in the face to send them both falling over. After they both receive STONE COLD STUNNERS, Austin looks to finish. However, the briefcase starts to rise up towards the ceiling. Austin isn’t allowed to reach the briefcase! He heads out and starts looking for answers from the ringside crew, but nobody knows anything. Back inside, Austin meets Vince at the top of the ladder. Shane ends up sacrificing his dad to get rid of Austin by turning over the ladder. With everybody down, Shane sets up the ladder and easily retrieves the briefcase to put the McMahons back in control of their company. (17:12) Just a way to get things back to normal. Knowing he would probably get screwed somehow by the McMahons, Austin gave himself a WWF title rematch with the Undertaker on RAW the next night to really set things back to normal. **
WWF World Champion Triple H (w/Vince McMahon & Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) vs. The Rock – Special Ref: Shane McMahon (Backlash 2000)
Ahh yes, the main event at one of my favorite WWF PPVs. Heck, any WWF PPV from the year 2000, I will watch almost ad nauseum. Stone Cold Steve Austin was scheduled to be making his return to be in Rock’s corner to ensure that HHH got his butt handed to him. Leading up to this PPV, Austin showed up on Smackdown and commandeered a crane that dropped a steel beam on DX’s tour bus, carrying over his feud with Triple H back in November. It felt like Triple H, after months of running roughshod over the top good guys, was going to get his comeuppance. When we get to the PPV though, it is announced that Austin has not made it to the building and had not appeared by the time the match started, so no Austin. Before Rock’s entrance, Vince gets on the mic and uses the old promoter’s ‘card subject to change’ excuse to piss off the people looking forward to seeing Austin again, meaning the cards are just as stacked against the Rock as if there was never any mention of Austin appearing. Rock is definitely at that point where his mouth is backed up by his wrestling. In my eyes, this is where he’s finally a good worker. I say ‘finally’ like he’s been around for ten years. Pretty heated slugfest to start. Shane is showing off his referee authority to the Rock, which gives HHH a chance to land a reverse neckbreaker. To the floor we go, HHH controls some ringside brawling. Vince gets an opportunity to throw Rock into the ringpost. Back in, Shane tries to fast count the Rock and he manages to not be fast enough. Helmsley works a chinlock and when Rock’s arm drops twice but not three times, HHH puts his feet on the top rope to gain some leverage. Of course, Shane doesn’t do anything about it even though he’s aware. After a double-KO, Vince blasts Rock with the WWF title belt. This moment was deliberately behind Shane’s back. Vince stands back and looks aloof as to what happened. Another fast count on Rock and he still kicks out at two. He needs that *Teddy Long* speed!
Rock mounts his comeback and sends Triple H to the floor with the Harley Race corner bump. Back inside, Rock lands a DDT and covers HHH. Shane just stands there looking at him with his arms folded. Rock punches Shane to the floor, but then gets send hard into the steps by HHH. They get the Spanish announce table in position for a Pedigree, but Rock low-blows and threatens Triple H with a Rock Bottom. Shane jumps on the table to try and talk sense into the Rock, but winds up being pulled in for a DOUBLE ROCK BOTTOM THROUGH THE TABLE. Rock takes Helmsley back into the ring and stalks him into a far corner. Vince runs in and nails Rock from behind, but he’s too JAKKED right now. He no-sells the blow and goes after Vince. Here comes Triple H from behind with a low blow and a PEDIGREE. No referee as Shane is still down. Out jogs Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco in referee’s shirts. JR with the obligatory gay joke – “The parade must be over! Patterson’s here!” Rock kicks out at two, resulting in a mugging. Stephanie makes some use of herself and hands Vince a steel chair to whack Rock in the face. As Triple H picks up Rock for another Pedigree, the glass breaks and the crowd gets what they wanted to see. Vintage Austin pop here, folks. He’s walking tall and takes out the whole evil McMahon regime with a steel chair, except for Stephanie of course. Arrive. Hit five people with a chair. Leave. Out walks Linda McMahon and Earl Hebner, who was fired by Triple H for fast-counting him against Chris Jericho a few weeks earlier at State College, has been reinstated. Stephanie tries to stand in her way, but gets shoved down by her mother. Rock comes alive and delivers the Spinebuster and the PEOPLE’S ELBOW to HHH for the win and his fourth WWF title. (19:23) After Rock celebrates, Austin brings out the DX Express using his Stone Cold Ford F-350. He comes out to have a beer with the Rock. I liked that this match, and while it had just enough of the “WWF Attitude”-style, it was essentially a good wrestling match. Not overly violent or dripping with the soap opera aspect that we had seen in the previous four PPV main events. It was two guys who hated each other getting together for a title match. It’s not Steamboat-Flair as you did have the situation of the McMahons trying to control and make everything go their way, but the last four PPVs were less about *wrestling* and more about street fights, a hell in a cell, and whatever the WrestleMania 2000 main event was supposed to be. After you go out that far, you have to pull it back, and that’s what they started with here I believe, as *wrestling* was really coming back to the forefront throughout the summer and into the fall before they started the crazy matches again with the Hell in a Cell in December and a string of ladder matches in 2001. ****
WWF World Champion Steve Austin vs. The Rock – (Rebellion, 11/3/2001)
We are weeks away from the end of the Invasion angle. Austin is of course now part of ECWCW at this point. Big brawl in and out of the ring to start. Austin takes a few bumps on the steel entrance area. Rock receives a catapult into the ringpost, but doesn’t blade. Austin misses the Bossman straddle and no-sells much to the disappointment of the fans. Lots of double birds flying here tonight. They brawl over to the announce table, culminating in Rock taking a gourdbuster on the table. It damages the knees, but Austin doesn’t do anything with that. Thesz Press and Austin flicks off the crowd multiple times before landing his elbow drop. That gets two. Rock returns the favor with what Austin gave him. They trade sleepers, but Austin fights out with a jawbreaker. Spinebuster from Austin gets two. He applies a Boston crab and executes it similar to the Walls of Jericho. Rock reaches the ropes and mounts his comeback before ref Hebner gets bumped. Rock avoids a Stone Cold Stunner and spinebusters Austin to set up the Sharpshooter. Hebner is LAID OUT over the edge of the ring, folks. Hilarious. They reverse each other’s Sharpshooters before Kurt Angle runs down and blasts Rock in the back with a chair. Here comes Chris Jericho for the save as he gets rid of Angle. The problem comes when Rock sees Jericho is the one holding the “smoking gun” as JR appropriately called it. Rock punches and clotheslines Jericho out. He turns back around into another shot at the Stone Cold Stunner, but Rock spins Austin around to nail him with the ROCK BOTTOM. Hebner is still down. As Rock delivers the spinebuster to Austin, he looks for the People’s Elbow, which is intercepted by Angle who grabs Rock by the foot. Rock reaches through the ropes to get at Angle, but gets met with a title shot to the face! Rock staggers back towards Austin and takes the STONE COLD STUNNER. Naturally, Hebner wakes up just in time to count the 1-2-3. (22:09) Don’t feel too bad for Rocky, he would beat Chris Jericho to regain the WCW world title two nights later on Raw. I know I’m in the minority, but I’m not a huge fan of Rock/Austin matches. They’re good, but I never saw them have GREAT matches like everyone but me seems to think. Except for perhaps the WrestleMania 19 match where Rock was very determined to beat Austin, the stories they put together usually aren’t all that interesting to me, and even that didn’t blow me away. It’s mostly just a lot of outside the ring brawling and then they trade their handful of signature moves and finishers until the ending comes. There’s just nothing really in between that gets me really interested. I like Rock and I like Austin, but I don’t care for them together. ***¼
WWE Champion Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar – (SummerSlam 2003)
Since WrestleMania where Lesnar defeated Angle for the WWE title, both guys had been buddy-buddy. Lesnar went to see Angle in the hospital after his neck surgery! Since Angle had regained the title from Lesnar at Vengeance in July, Brock SOLD HIS SOUL to Vince McMahon for another shot at the belt and broke the only ankle Zach Gowen possesses. And now that you know this, here we go! Angle outwrestles Lesnar to start with headlocks. Lesnar gets his confidence back by shoving Angle off a couple tie-ups. Angle suckers Lesnar into a third tie-up and ducks under to shove Lesnar away. Angle flips Lesnar the DOUBLE-BIRD! Ha. Angle armdrags Lesnar to the floor, where he throws a temper tantrum. Lesnar tries walking off with the belt and gets nailed from behind. Angle beats Lesnar back in and gives him an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for two. Lesnar gets all desperate and presses Angle out to the floor! After a ride into the steps, in the ring Lesnar overhead suplexes Angle while still staying vertical! Incredible. Angle slips out of another guerrilla press and O’Connor rolls Lesnar, but then charges into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. That’ll get a two-count. Lesnar gets all crazy on us during a body scissors. Angle battles out, but runs into a knee. Lesnar continues the punishment on the mid-section with a rib breaker. Delayed fisherman’s suplex gets 1-2-NO! I’ve always loved that move. More rib busting in the corner. Angle avoids a second running corner charge, causing Lesnar to connect with the ringpost. Like any smart man should, Angle starts dishing out shoulderblocks to the injured shoulder. He follows up with a Hat Trick of Germans for two. Lesnar quickly comes back with an overhead suplex. He avoids an ANGLE SLAM and drills Angle with a Spinebuster for two. F-5 counter screws up, so they go for it again and Angle counters the F-5 into a DDT. Cover, 1-2-NO! ANGLE SLAM! That gets two. DOWN COME THE STRAPS! ANKLELOCK! Brock rolls Angle off into the ref, but he’s not giving up just yet. Angle jumps on Lesnar’s back and clasps the waist while scissoring Brock’s head with his legs! Quite the funky submission there. Anyways, it puts Brock to sleep down on the mat so Angle can reapply the ANKLELOCK. Lesnar can’t make the ropes, so he turns Angle away from the entrance ramp as Mr. McMahon runs in and blasts Angle with a chair. Brock hits a one-legged F-5 and a slow cover gets 1-2-NO! Angle counters a second F-5 and heel trips Lesnar into the ANKLELOCK. Lesnar grabs the ropes, but Angle pulls him back to the center of the ring for the submission victory! (21:21) And now the “YOU TAPPED OUT” chants become directed at Lesnar for the next few months. This felt quite weak compared to their WrestleMania match. When Smackdown doesn’t get PPV time in September, these two finish up their feud in a 60-minute Ironman match where Brock would regain the belt. ***¾
WWE Champion John Cena vs. Edge (w/Lita) – Cage Match (Raw, 10/2/06)
Might I say, Lita’s shirt is AMAZING here. This one is billed as Edge’s last shot at Cena’s WWE title. I can’t remember why though since Cena had just regained the belt at Unforgiven in an epic TLC match. Last week on Raw, Edge had a bunch of Smackdown guys come in and beat up on Cena’s elbow pretty good – particularly Finlay and his shillelagh. No one can slam each other’s face into the cage to start, so Cena delivers the release Fisherman’s suplex for two. Cena’s elbow is heavily taped and he tries to shake it loose every now and then to “sell” the injury. Edge goes after the elbow and then heads for the door, but Cena pulls him away for a back suplex. As Edge takes a cross corner whip, he uses his own momentum to shoot himself up to the top turnbuckle to try and escape. Cena is right there to slam him back down for two. An FU gets countered to a DDT from Edge for two. Edge works a Fujiwara armbar to hyperextend the injured elbow, but Cena shoots up and backdrops Edge away. Flipping bulldog or whatever the heck it is called gets two. Cena tries to climb out using his one good arm, but Edge yanks him down in between the ropes and the cage to set him in place for a SPEAR. They trade fisticuffs on the top turnbuckle until Cena slams Edge’s head back into the rim of the cage and brings Edge down to the mat with a bulldog. Oh snap, let’s take a commercial. As Tony Schiavone would say, TAKE A BREATHER AND COME ON BACK! When we take a breath and come on back, Edge has Cena in a nasty crossface hold that bends Cena’s injured arm in a direction it shouldn’t go. Of course, Cena fights out and delivers a belly to belly suplex. Edge comes back with a spinning heel kick and crawls for the door, but Cena pulls him back. Edge running boots the elbow and then throws Cena into the cage to do more damage on the elbow. Time to climb, but Cena meets Edge on the rim of the cage where they trade blows. Edge claws Cena’s face and puts him back on the top rope, but Cena brings him back down with him. As they meet on the top rope, Edge takes Cena to the mat with a back superplex. That gets two.
Edge takes another chance by climbing the cage, but Cena crotches him on the top rope and mounts his comeback. Shoulderblocks and the Protobomb set up the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Edge avoids the FU and smashes Cena’s face into the cage. Edge tries to take advantage and climb out, but Cena is there to stop him again. We could see a SUPER FU, but Edge slips out and tries an electric chair drop. Cena escapes the electric chair drop and tries the FU again, but Edge avoids *that* because of Cena’s hurting elbow and hits the Edge-O-Matic for 1-2-NO! Awesome! Aside from Cena’s elbow “injury”, a series of reversals after a year’s worth of matches like they have had makes sense. Edge heads for the door and when Cena grabs hold of him, Lita hands Edge a chair through the open door. This doorkeeper/ref isn’t Jack Doan and doesn’t put up with such. Lita, YOU ARE OUTTA HERE! While that’s all good, he doesn’t seem to mind that the chair still made it inside the cage. The ref who was inside the cage already doesn’t even seem to *notice* that there’s now a chair inside the cage. Edge catches the ref with a flying clothesline by accident. He finds a chair though, so it’s okay. He gets that crazy look in his eye and goes to swing at Cena only to fall into the STFU. Since there’s no ref, Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch head down and enter the cage to beat the crap out of Cena. They botch the DOUBLE GOOZLE on Cena, but that’s okay. Cade and Murdoch start to drag Edge out the door, but here comes Degeneration-X for the save. HHH takes care of Cade while HBK delivers SWEET CHIN MUSIC to Murdoch which causes him to slam the door on Edge’s face. That leaves Edge to receive the FU from Cena for the 1-2-3. (16:17 shown) Pretty much your standard Edge cage match. Take a lot of career shortening bumps and have the people wondering who will win all the way to the end. Well, until the interference anyways. Since Cade and Murdoch clearly couldn’t handle DX, Edge would convince Randy Orton to join him in the short-lived Rated RKO tag team to take them on. HHH would soon blow another quadricep in one of their matches and as a result missed WrestleMania 23, so in the end Edge really did get some revenge. BLOOD COUNT: None. ***½
Shawn Michaels’ Tribute to the Undertaker – (Smackdown, 3/27/09)
IT’S THE UNDERTAKER DECKED OUT IN WHITE! Boy he’s shrunk! Oh wait, its HBK! As the smoke pours outside the ring, HBK takes off the hat and starts reading bible scriptures from Genesis. HBK talks about while he and the Undertaker have similarities, they have taken different paths. Undertaker is the darkness and Shawn is the light. HBK says unlike many, he is unafraid of Taker and he will have eternal life unlike Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. As Shawn starts dancing and stripping, Undertaker rises up through the mat, causing Shawn to bail down the ramp. Tremendous segment to build up their WrestleMania 25 classic. In fact, many were disappointed that Shawn wasn’t decked out in the white Undertaker outfit the next year at WrestleMania 26.
WWE Champion Triple H, Batista & Shane McMahon vs. Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase Jr. – (Backlash 2009)
You may be asking yourself why Shane McMahon is in this match. If you’ll recall, Orton punted daddy Vince in the head, and did some pretty mean things to Stephanie, so of course Shane has to defend the McMahon family honor here. The WWE title is on the line. If anybody on Orton’s team pins anybody on Triple H’s team, then Orton becomes the WWE champion, which kind of sucks if you’re Rhodes or DiBiase and you PIN Triple H. Hahahahahaha. Like that’ll happen. Also, the DQ rule is waived, meaning Orton wins the WWE title if someone from Team Triple H gets DQ’ed. Immediately, HHH chases Orton to the back. That’s just bad news bears for Cody and Ted, as they get dominated until Orton shows back up to bounce Batista’s face off the ringpost. Orton tags in and DDTs Batista through the ropes. Knowing his title is in jeopardy, Triple H look concerned watching on from the apron. Anyways, Legacy does their best to keep Batista contained. It’s actually Orton who allows the tag to Shane. He’s a big ball of adrenaline to start, but he’s quickly stopped as Orton tosses him into the steps. Poor Shane is *your* face in peril for quite some time. Of course, he’s the only guy that Cody and Ted can contain very well. Moving on, Shane avoids Dream Street and drops DiBiase with a DDT. HOT TAG TO TRIPLE H! While he’s rocking and rolling on Orton, Batista and Shane take care of the other two. Rhodes takes a clothesline over the barricade, but retrieves a chair and knocks out Shane. Batista gets the chair away from Cody and as Batista goes to hit him, Triple H has to let off a Pedigree to Orton in order to stop Batista from getting DQ’ed. After HHH throws away the chair, he turns back around into an RKO! Cover, 1-2-NO! The bell rings anyway, but the match continues. Orton delivers the FATAL PUNT and pins Triple H for real to win the WWE title. (22:50) Good story with Batista and Shane literally defending HHH’s title. The heat segments were okay, but we haven’t seen a really good heat segment in a tag match in WWE in YEARS and YEARS. ***
WWE Champion CM Punk (w/Paul Heyman) vs. John Cena – (Night of Champions 2012)
Just to be a dick, Punk holds the WWE title over his head after his introduction for a very long time. I love it. I don’t care for Punk’s New York Yankees pinstriped tights though, but I get it since we’re in Boston. I see what you did there. They start off very tentatively just waiting for the other to make a mistake. The thing is, they both make the first mistake at the same time. Punk gets shoved off a headlock and takes a backdrop, but then Cena misses a corner charge. Cena fights out of a chinlock, but runs into a Muta Lock(!). Cena powers out and retreats to the floor, allowing Punk to deliver the tope suicida. Cena fires back with a baseball slide and brings Punk from out of the crowd with a suplex right in front of Cena’s dad. Back in, Punk slips away from an AA and kicks Cena in the face before applying a camel clutch. Cena escapes and mounts his comeback with the Jumping Shoulder Tackles only for Punk to avoid the Protobomb by falling on top of Cena for two. Cena makes him pay with a wicked clothesline and tries to hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Punk brings up a boot to block. Punk flies with the Springboard Clothesline, but Cena catches him in mid-air and tosses him to the floor. Once Punk staggers to his feet, Cena lands a tope suicida of his own to surprise Heyman. Back inside, Cena hits the Protobomb, but again Punk REFUSES to take the Five Knuckle Shuffle, and pulls him into the ANACONDA VICE! Countered with an STF, but then countered again with the Crippler Crossface! Cena stands up and escapes with a side slam. Punk fires back with the corner knee and a clothesline to set up the Macho Elbow for two. GTS is countered with the STF! Punk makes the ropes and hits the GTS after all for 1-2-NO! While trying to figure out where to go from there, the confusion allows Cena to come back with the Protobomb, Five Knuckle Shuffle, and the AA! Cover, 1-2-NO! Flying Famouser by Cena misses. Punk catches Cena with a Muay Thai kick for two. Punk gets desperate with a moonsault and misses. Another GTS connects for 1-2-NO! Now what. Punk delivers a Rock Bottom to Cena! Hey, it worked at WrestleMania, but it doesn’t work here, as Cena kicks out at two. Cena hits another quick AA, but only gets two! Over to the corner, Punk elbows away a back superplex. Cena decides to bring him down with a German suplex, but Cena doesn’t really have much of a bridge at all and both their shoulders are pinned to the mat. Ref counts to three and renders this match a draw. (26:56) So Punk retains, much to the dismay of the Boston crowd. I really don’t mind the old school finish. Honestly, I wish they did those more often. Not every match needs a final conclusion. They can come back next week and battle some more until we get a clear winner. The multiple finishers at the end there might have started to get out of hand, but what I like most about these two is the way they almost make light of the fact that you can see their offense coming a mile away. I’m just a big fan of the psychology and the effort they put into their matches. ****
Final Thoughts: No Bret vs. Austin? No Sting vs. Flair? No Bret vs. Owen? No WCW vs. nWo? No RNR Express vs. Midnights? I mean, come on. These countdown DVDs are usually pretty terrible. Way too many recent feuds that do not even deserve a mention. HHH vs. Orton? Brock vs. Angle? They were good, but not all-time greatest. With a minimum of stinkeroos, the extras are decent. Lots of snowflakes if I do say so myself. If you’re interested in Punk and Cena, you might want to pick up the Blu-Ray if the other extras grab you. Thumbs in the middle for this set. Check it out when it comes on Netflix or something.