Wednesday, March 28, 2012

PSA: The Hardway Podcast: Rob Fury

The twenty-ninth edition of the Hardway Podcast is online! Join Jon Harder as he talks to Rob Fury! A stalwart in the BWO and currently residing in ACE, Rob brings a different perspective to the table and lays it all out there in his typical "Arrogant Superstar" way. Some of these topics are touched throughout the interview:

- The origins behind the "Arrogant Super Star" gimmick and the infamous Batman tattoo

- Training at the original Doghouse

- An incident with Low-Ki that needs to be heard!

- The infamous hit-and-run accident that almost derailed Rob's life

- Returning to the ring

AND SO MUCH MORE! Rob really delivers this interview in his own unique way and it has to be heard!

Plus, Jon raises the serious question: Did his interview with Bobby Fish get "Big in Japan" into Dragon Gate USA and throws a funny offer at DGUSA booker Gabe Sapolsky.

Also, JON HAS A SIDEKICK ON THE HARDWAY! Who is it? Listen for some "Good News".

Finally, Jim Boy Star with the Star Mix of the Week with Ric Flair and the Awesomely Bad Promo of the Week with Colt Cabana! The Hardway is online! CHECK IT OUT!!! - The home of the Hardway Podcast and the latest "Catchin' Up With Cayden" with Chris Cayden! Guests include Chris Raze, Brandon Gold and HATCH STEVENS???!!!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

PSA: AIW Presents: "Straight Outta Compton and Girls Night Out 6"

By Alyssa Kay

Once again, Absolute Intense Wrestling will be returning to Turner’s Hall in Cleveland, Ohio for two consecutive weekends in a row. Friday, April 6 will highlight “Straight Outta Compton” featuring local and national talent from the independent professional wrestling scene with a bell time at 7:30 PM. Then once again, on Sunday, April 15 AIW will host “Girls Night Out 6” featuring some of the greatest local, national, and even international talent from the women’s independent professional wrestling scene with a bell time of 4:00 PM. Turner’s Hall is located in Cleveland on 7325 Guthrie Ave, corner of Guthrie and W. 73rd Street. Tickets for each event are only $15 each and are first come, first serve. has more information on events as well as ticket sales.

The talent line up for “Straight Outta Compton” includes a hefty lineup with several specialty matches. They include the following:

Johnny Gargano, BJ Whitmer, and Tim Donst vs. Flexor Industries’ Chest Flexor, “The” Chad Williams, and Bobby Beverly – Compton Street Fight (no-rules 6-man tag): After a shocking return on March 2 and winning the Gauntlet for the Gold, Johnny Gargano was placed into a tag match with the likes of BJ Whitmer and Tim Donst. While all three men have had their trials and tribulations with the diabolical team, there is not exactly a lot of love between these three men, either. Donst has worked against Gargano repeatedly throughout all over 2011, and has even turned on him during tag team matches. Donst and Whitmer had a tremendous match back in the 24-man invitational tournament in May 2011 that left Donst with a victory. The locker room has had enough of Flexor Industries’ interferences in AIW, and they have proven that they are ready to take them out. Regardless – Flexor, Beverly, and Williams are a well-oiled machine, and whether or not Gargano, Whitmer, and Donst can coexist long enough to demolish them remains to be foreseen.

AR Fox vs. Uhaa Nation – 30 Minute Iron Man Match: The saga continues between AR Fox and Uhaa Nation. In October 2011 at “They Live” Fox and Nation tore it up the first time in high-risk match in which both men gave all they had, and yet the fans still chanted for more. Fox scored the first victory, but a re-match was soon scheduled once more in November 2011 at “Hell on Earth 7.” In what was again a stellar display of talent, Nation pinned Fox. Now, each man must prove who is superior in a 30-minute iron man match. They will compete to see who can score the most pinfalls and/or submissions within the timeframe in order to be crowned the victor of the series.

Youthanazia vs. The Irish Airborne – AIW Tag Team Titles Match: After defeating The Sex Bomb-ombs Davey Vega and Mat Fitchett, The Irish Airborne earned an immediate shot at the tag team titles, held by Flexor Industries’ Aeroform. Before they were able to begin the title match, both Crists were knocked out from behind by Kendrick and Lyndon. In a hasty decision, AIW President Matt Wadsworth decided to punish Aeroform by forcing them to still compete in a title match, but this time against the team of Youthanazia, Matt Cross and Josh Prohibition. The match ended with Youthanazia standing as victors, and now it is time for the Airborne to get their deserved title shot. However, it will no longer be against Aeroform.

Eric Ryan vs. Sugar Dunkerton vs. ACH vs. Gary Jay – Four-Way Match: Eric Ryan has been on a roll as of late in AIW, winning is match against Ophidian and Kobald at “Gauntlet for the Gold 7”, his match against Rickey Shane Page in the Guys Night Out preshow of “Girls Night Out 5”, his match against Pinkie Sanchez at “Nightmare Before X-Mas 5” and his match against Façade and Samuray Del Sol at “Hell on Earth 7.” However, will it be enough to take on Sugar Dunkerton, who was last spotted at “They Live”, winning a match against Kyle O’Reilly and Sonjay Dutt – and is owed a match for the Intense Division title against Bobby Beverly sometime in the near future? ACH has also been a force on the independent scene as of late, and is something to be feared in AIW as well, bringing in a top-notch, high-risk style that is sure to bring a serious challenge. Lastly, do not count out Gary Jay – thought he hasn’t worked as a singles competitor yet in AIW, his work with the Submission Squad has indeed been fierce.

Jock Samson vs. The Duke – Grudge Match: This is not only about wins and losses anymore, but rather, about who will be left standing when the bell rings. Duke has been violently attacked outside the ring by Samson repeatedly from “They Live” to “Nightmare Before X-Mas 5” and most recently at “Gauntlet for the Gold 7.” Even though Duke was able to get the victory over Samson back in December and eliminate him over the top rope in the Gauntlet, Samson has only continued to unleash fury upon him. Finally, they will be able to step inside the ring in what is sure to not only be a wrestling match, but an all-out-brawl.

The Submission Squad vs. The Sex Bomb-ombs: Both teams have competed multiple times now in AIW over the past year, and have seemed to gain the respect of the live audience. Though primarily based in other Midwestern regional independent circuits, the Sex Bomb-ombs, Davey Vega and Mat Fitchett have been able to truly put on some entertaining matches with many high spots – most notably from the recent “Gauntlet for the Gold 7” tag team match against the Irish Airborne. The Submission Squad has been working a little differently – taking on Da Latin Crime Syndicate in a humorous though very physical match in their last appearance at “Gauntlet” as well. It is too early to tell if one team has an advantage at “Straight Outta Compton” but if one thing is for certain, it’s that winners will have to work for their victory.

Façade vs. Colin Delaney: Façade is recently coming off a loss in a four-way against Uhaa Nation, ACH, and Rickey Shane Page from “Gauntlet for the Gold 7.” Delaney recently faced Fontaine in a match in which he scored the victory. Both men are known for being hard working with a slight humorous streak from time to time.

John Thorne and Rickey Shane Page in a “Pick Your Poison” Match: There isn’t much word just yet on what exactly it is that is going on between RSP and John Thorne. Thorne recently returned to the ring as a contestant in the Gauntlet for the Gold last month, but made no intentions of keeping the return permanent. AIW President Matt Wadsworth announced the match on Tuesday, which entitles both Thorne and Page to pick each others’ opponents. Multiple fan predictions have been made, but the outcome will remain a mystery until the sixth. 

Just a week after “Straight Outta Compton” AIW returns once again to Turner’s Hall in Cleveland for another Girls Night Out. Mickie Knuckles has vacated the AIW Women’s Championship due to an upcoming pregnancy, but will be back again when she is physically able. In the meantime, plenty of hard-hitting, women’s action is planned for the show…

Mia Yim vs. Allysin Kay – Unsanctioned, No-Rules Grudge Match for the AIW Women’s Championship: Last time the two met in AIW at Girls Night Out 5, there was trouble in paradise. In a losing opener against Marti Belle, Yim was met by Kay who came out to spoil any potential dignity had in regard to alliances in Flexor Industries. Later after hinting at sabotaging Cherry Bomb’s chances of performing at the show, Kay and Yim squared off in a bloody brawl that resulted in fracturing Kay’s nose in several places. Ever since then, unkind words and threats have spewed between the two all over social media. Unable to wait until Absolution 7, the two contested for an unsanctioned, no-rules grudge match at GNO6. Now, with Mickie Knuckles having vacated the title due to pregnancy, one more fact hangs in the cusp. Without a doubt, only one woman will be able to stand and walk away, championship in hand.

Sassy Stephie vs. Cherry Bomb: Ms. Bomb has missed her last two scheduled appearances in AIW, leaving fans to wonder as to what has been going on with the Canadian’s career. Allysin Kay had hinted at sabotaging her last booking in the company, and there’s no doubt that she may try to ruin her once again. Stephie’s loyalties lie alongside Kay’s in Flexor Industries. No stranger to AIW, this match will come with many hard hits.

Melanie Cruise vs. Taylor Made: These women are both newcomers to AIW, but have worked on the independent professional wrestling scene for years now. Cruise is the current Resistance Pro Women’s Champion, and works for the likes of Shimmer (under the management of Annie Social) and Supreme Wrestling Entertainment, where she feuded with Taylor Made. Made also has worked for Shimmer and SWE, and will surely put on a strong, fluid match.

Taeler Hendrix  vs. Annie Social: Two recognizable names in women’s independent professional wrestling, Taeler Hendrix has really been making a name for herself. She has wrestled in Ring of Honor, and most notably in Ohio Valley Wrestling, where is the company’s current Women’s Champion. Annie Social has worked a number of years in Shimmer, as well as WSU. The skilled veteran is the current manager for Melanie Cruise, and it begs to question as to whether or not this will come to play in either her match against Hendrix, or in Cruise’s match against Taylor Made.

Jenny Rose vs. Hailey Hatred: AIW Loyals recognize the history that Hailey Hatred has in the company. Being a hard-hitting, former Women’s Champion, Hatred has since moved to Japan in order to compete abroad, and has accumulated many titles since. Most recently, she competed at “They Live” in a match against Cherry Bomb, and came out victorious. Jenny Rose, another new comer to AIW and current WXW Women’s Champion, has also competed all over the United States, Canada, and Japan. Similar styles and experiences will surely make for a strong match.

Sara Del Rey vs. Veda Scott: Two favorites not only in AIW, but in women’s independent professional wrestling as a whole. No research has shown that Del Rey and Scott have competed against each other previously. Scott is new to the scene, but has learned and excelled quickly, competing in the last two AIW Girls Night Outs, and all over the independent scene, including Ring of Honor (now on the roster page!), and Shimmer. Del Rey, the proclaimed “Queen of Wrestling” has a reputation for being extremely technical, hard-hitting, and well-paced in the ring and has competed internationally. Yet, her most recent appearance in AIW at Girls Night Out 5 left her with a loss to Mickie Knuckles for the Women’s Championship. Can she claim a victory this time against Scott, despite no title on the line.

There are sure to be plenty more announcements to the show, including CZW’s Kimber Lee and “Crazy” Mary Dobson in action! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

PSA: The Hardway Podcast #28 with Jon Harder

The twenty-eighth edition of the Hardway Podcast is online! Join Jon Harder as he brings in the second installment of THE FOUR CORNERS! The preverbial podcast variation of the strap match hits on these four topics:

1) Is Florida Championship Wrestling done or not??
2) Is iPPV the advent of the future?
3) ACE Fallout on May 5, 2012
4) Nigel McGuinness Documentary and the inspiration of the next step of the Hardway Podcast


Plus, Stan Stylez with Hottie of the Week with Pamela Anderson, Jim Boy Star with Star Mix of the Week with Brother Ray, the Awesomely Bad Promo of the Week with Kaval's Rap on NXT! Sit down and enjoy the Hardway podcast. TOUCH THE FOUR CORNERS FOR A SECOND TIME! - The Home of the Hardway, the Blog of Professionalism and the latest Catchin' Up with Cayden, which will be on the web this Saturday night!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Interview with The League of The School of Roc's Class Wars

PWG World's Finest Prediction Roundtable Madness Results!

Obviously, there were some last minute changes to the World’s Finest Card.  As such, we did our best to do some last minute predictions:

Avalon vs. Steen
Everyone but @ToeNailUrFace (who never responded) picked Steen. 

Rosas vs. Cage
@MFMad picked Rosas, @ToeNailUrFace didn’t respond and everyone else picked Cage.

The Young Bucks vs. Super Smash Bros. vs. RockNES Monsters
After the 4-way match got changed into a 3-way, @KiKrusher99 switched his pick to the RockNES Monsters. 

El Generico© vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Kevin Steen
No one changed their prediction (everyone picked Generico) for the World Title match.

Before looking at the results, remember to check our predictions.

Here is the Prediction Crew again [click on their handles to follow them on Twitter, as you all should]
The Prediction Team:
@MFMadMr. 1859/WWE Tag Champ: @MFMad and could still out entertain anyone in that place. Axl Rose was the last cool white guy. 
@ToeNailUrFace: Pro make believer. Bringing sleazy back. 
@KiKrusher99: A gifted Japanese performer, @KiKrusher99 proudly carries the spirit of the Land of the Rising Sun as he competes with WWE's ring warriors around the globe.  
@SoufCentrol: Philadelphia sketch comedian and professional wrestling referee. His daddy is proud.
An in-ring monster weighing 360 pounds, WWE Superstar @TheRealLobes towers over the majority of his opponents at 6 feet 8 inches tall. 
@I_Am_Hollywood: JP Nichols is currently mad at OZ. Often confused with Batman. Once tipped a stripper with a filet-o-fish.  He is also one of the good people behind
@TJHawke411Ministry of Propaganda for professional wrestler UltraMantis Black. Empty the cages xvx. 暗闇の皇帝ウルトラマンカマキリ]
@typicalROHfanSpike TV (US), Challenge (UK) & Colors (India) Presenter. Live Event Host. Social Media Pioneer. Internationally known. Locally respected.

World’s Finest Results:

@MFMad 5 of 8 correct.
@I_Am_Hollywood 6 of 8 correct
@KiKrusher99 4 of 8 correct
@TJHawke411 5 of 8 correct
@typicalROHfan 6 of 8 correct
@ToeNailUrFace  2 of 6 correct

Overall Standings

# of Picks Correct
@I_Am_Hollywood 14 of 21 correct 
@TJHawke411 13 of 21 correct 

@MFMad 12 of 21 correct. 
@KiKrusher99 11 of 20 correct
@typicalROHfan 6 of 8 correct 
@SoufCentrol 6 of 10 correct 
@ToeNailUrFace 5 of 12 correct 
@TheRealLobes 2 of 4 correct

% of Picks Correct
@TJHawke411 61.9%
@MFMad  57.1%

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PWG World's Finest Prediction Roundtable Madness!

Welcome one and all to the third PWG Predictions Roundtable!  This month, we predict: World's Finest! 

Go to the PWG Website for more information on how to attend this event.  Make sure you support PWG by buying their DVDs.  Every show from 2011 ranged from great to fantastic.  I honestly can say, that you won't be disappointed in any of the 10 shows from last year. 

The Prediction Team:
@MFMadMr. 1859/WWE Tag Champ: @MFMad and could still out entertain anyone in that place. Axl Rose was the last cool white guy. 
@ToeNailUrFace: Pro make believer. Bringing sleazy back. 
@KiKrusher99: A gifted Japanese performer, @KiKrusher99 proudly carries the spirit of the Land of the Rising Sun as he competes with WWE's ring warriors around the globe.  
@SoufCentrol: Philadelphia sketch comedian and professional wrestling referee. His daddy is proud.
@TheRealLobes: An in-ring monster weighing 360 pounds, WWE Superstar @TheRealLobes towers over the majority of his opponents at 6 feet 8 inches tall. 
@I_Am_Hollywood: JP Nichols is currently mad at OZ. Often confused with Batman. Once tipped a stripper with a filet-o-fish.  He is also one of the good people behind
@TJHawke411Ministry of Propaganda for professional wrestler UltraMantis Black. Empty the cages xvx. 暗闇の皇帝ウルトラマンカマキリ]
@typicalROHfanSpike TV (US), Challenge (UK) & Colors (India) Presenter. Live Event Host. Social Media Pioneer. Internationally known. Locally respected.

(We are a few team members short this time.  Sadly, we do all have lives and it's not possible to do it every time.)

Onto the predictions!

PSA: The Hardway Podcast Roundtable: Jay Lethal, Bill Carr, Mo Sexton, and Jon Harder

The twenty-seventh Hardway Podcast is online! Join Jon Harder as he presents the First Ever Roundtable to the Hardway! Former TNA and current ROH TV chamoion Jay Lethal, former OVW wrestler and current ACE Commissioner Mo Sexton, and the former FCW's Bobby Dutch, Bill Carr, come into the Roundtable to discuss the taping for TV format. Topics that come up include:

- The different type of production building up to a show

- What wrestlers do to kill time during TV tapings?

- Embarrassing moments that happen on camera?

- Blow-ups that happen when you can't stick to time?

AND SO MUCH MORE! This is a must listen for fans and wrestlers alike! Jay, Mo, and Bill really leave it out there for the first ever Roundtable!

Also, Jim Boy Star's Star Mix of the Week with Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ray Ray Marz' Awesomely Bad Promo of the Week with...STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN, and Stan "The Man" Stylez's Hottie of the Week! This Hardway is one for the ages! CHECK IT OUT! - The Home of the Hardway Podcast


PSA: The Hardway Podcast with Jon Harder: Interview with La Casa Italiano from ACE

The half-year edition of the Hardway Podcast is online! Join Jon Harder as he has La Casa Italiano on the Hardway! Lucky Zaccone and Giovanni Marranca are a new tag team in ACE, however, they are not new to the independent circuit. Lucky and Gio talk about a lot of topics, including:

- Lucky wrestling for Ricky O and ECPW

- Gio training under Jay Lethal

- How Il Padrone started managing Lucky

- The art of tag team wrestling

- Goals within American Championship Entertainment

AND SO MUCH MORE! This is a fantastic interview when it comes to the past and present of New Jersey independent wrestling! La Casa Italiano is here to stay in ACE!

Plus, THE DEBUT of the Hardway Exclusive STAR MIX OF THE WEEK from Jim Boy Star dedicated to Paul Heyman! Also, the Awesomely Bad Promo of the Week from Ray Ray Marz with Sean O' Haire, and Stan Stylez' Prank Call of the Week! Furthermore, Jon details the Day From Hell and the WSU 5th Anniversary Show in his own way. Check it out! 26 up, 26 more in this half-year edition of the Hardway Podcast! More than just a site about a commentator.


Best of Evan Bourne from Japan

Friday, March 9, 2012

Undertaker's Streak Revisited: vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania 27

Wrestlemania 27

This build kind of reminded me of the 2009 build to Shawn and Taker. Nothing about the build truly inspired me, but it was another weak year for the build to Wrestlemania, so it practically seemed like a masterpiece. 

Undertaker vs. Triple H [No Holds Barred]
Match predictably starts as a slugfest. Taker gets bored and tosses HHH out of the ring. Taker sends HHH into the steel steps and starts to undo the Spanish announce table less than 5 minutes in. HHH promptly spears Taker threw the COLE MINE! I hate Cole as a heel commentator, but I loved the Cole Mine. Back in the ring, and they start slugging it out again. Taker went for Old School, but HHH pulled him off the turnbuckle and then clotheslined him out of the ring. HHH went to pedigree Taker through the English announce table, but Taker backdropped him onto the floor. That bump looked like it sucked. Taker crawls into the ring. Uh Oh. NO-HANDS RUNNING PLANCHA! Hunter barely caught him on that. Taker tried to tombstone HHH on the steel steps, but Hunter escaped. Taker then ran into a spinebuster through the Spanish announce table! Back in the ring, Taker hits a chokeslam: 1…2…NO! Fans kind of bought that nearfall, but not really. Taker tried for the Last Ride, but HHH drove Taker into a turnbuckle. Taker went for another Last Ride, but HHH escaped and tried for a pedigree. Taker escaped that, but he then ran into a spinebuster for another nearfall. HHH pulled out a chair, but Taker kicked him in the face. Taker then smacked HHH’s back with the chair. HHH avoided another chair shot and hit a pedigree: 1…2…NO! HHH tries for a superplex, but Taker recovers and hits a Last Ride: 1…2…NO! Taker sold his anger at that failure greatly. Taker hits a Tombstone: 1…2…NO! Taker got angry again. The crowd was not ready for the match to end. Taker sets up for another tombstone, but HHH escaped and DDTed him on a chair. Both men were down. They get to their feet and HHH hit another pedigree: 1…2…NO! HHH hits a third pedigree: 1…2…NO! And now HHH is very angry. HHH picks up the chair and whacks Taker in the back with it. And again. And 8 more times. HHH stares at Taker and yells at him to stay down. Taker uses the ropes to get to his feet and HHH whacks him in the forehead with the chair (I believe they got fined for that). HHH seems just bewildered that Taker refuses to just give up. GOOZLE! But, HHH just shakes his head, almost out of pity as Taker stumbles to his feet. Taker asks for more, as HHH slashes his throat. HHH gets Taker up for a Tombstone: 1…2…NO! The crowd exploded. Jim Ross, “What did we just see? What did we just see?” HHH backs away as if he just saw a ghost. HHH pulled out a sledgehammer, but Taker locks in HELLS GATE! HHH drops the hammer and desperately tried to find the hammer. HHH started to fade, but he attempts a Rampage Powerbomb, but his legs gave out. HHH is fading again, but he finds the hammer, only to drop it again…HHH TAPS OUT!

This was definitely the only match of the 5 I re-watched that didn’t seem as good this time around. It started out great with all the big spots and what not, but the middle part of the match felt forced. In the previous four matches, there was a lot of storytelling in the first two thirds of the match that caused the nearfalls to seem that much more important. Here, they just started trading nearfalls 8 minutes in, and then the storytelling kicked in the final minutes. The story ended up not being as interesting as the last 4 matches at that. 

In the last 4 matches, the story always revolved around what Taker’s opponent did in response to taking on the myth of the Undertaker. They all took different strategies and had different character arcs that made the whole match, especially the end, feel very substantive and thus more satisfying. Here, HHH just overwhelmed Taker and pretty much dominated him. The stories at the end were that Taker is just that dominant and was able to survive, and that HHH was bewildered that Taker survived. I think this opens up a lot of possibilities about where their second match can go, but as a standalone match, it left me wanting more (ie: unsatisfied).

All of that being said, this was still a tremendous effort that took the crowd on an absolutely wild ride at points. This was clearly the best match at the 2011 Wrestlemania, and it was still one of Taker’s better matches at Wrestlemania by leaps and bounds. It just doesn’t look as good after watching those last four matches right before it as opposed to watching a very underwhelming Wrestlemania card right before it.
Match Rating: ***3/4

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Undertaker's Streak Revisited: vs. Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 26

Wrestlemania 26

The build to this rematch was damn near perfect. Shawn Michaels realized that there wasn’t a whole lot else to do in his career, but his one big failure was not ending the streak in 2009. He called out Taker, but Taker passed on the rematch. Taker was champion at the time, so HBK entered the Royal Rumble to get a shot at Taker’s belt. HBK failed. At Elimination Chamber, Taker was on his way to successfully defending the belt, but HBK came out from underneath the structure and nailed Taker with a superkick, costing the deadman the belt. Taker then accepted Shawn’s challenge but on one condition: if Shawn lost, he retired for good.

The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels [No DQ]
Shawn walks up to Taker and gives him the throat slash. Taker looks motivated and just charges HBK. Shawn was playing mind games and managed to throw Taker off his game. Taker quickly recovered and hit Snake Eyes and the big boot. Taker goes for Old School and lands awkwardly on his leg. SELLING! Taker goes for a chokeslam, but HBK escapes and goes after Taker’s leg. Taker goes for a tombstone, but HBK escapes and tries for a crossface, but Taker escapes. HBK teased Sweet Chin Music, but Taker saw it coming. HBK went after Taker’s leg some more. Taker sends HBK to the outside and starts for the outside dive, but HBK rolls in and chops down Taker’s leg. That was a perfect way to get Taker out of doing the dangerous dive. HBK locked in his inverted figure four, but Taker obviously refused to tap. Taker reversed the hold, and HBK let go to spare himself the pain. HBK started attacking with a series of chops and then took him down with a running forearm. HBK kicked up and walked into a chokeslam: 1…2…NO! I love how Taker took advantage of HBK doing a spot that he does in every match. Taker went for a tombstone, but HBK escaped and got an ankle lock. HBK grapevine the leg, but Taker escaped. HBK clotheslined Taker out of the ring and went for an Asai Moonsault, but Taker caught him (kind of) and delivered a TOMBSTONE ON THE FLOOR! A doctor checked on Michaels, but Taker tossed him away and brought HBK in the ring: 1…2…NO! Undertaker went for a Last Ride, but HBK gave him a X-Factor on the way down. HBK went for a diving elbow, but Taker got his knees up! HELLS GATE! HBK COUNTERS INTO A ROLLUP: 1…2…NO! SWEET CHIN MUSIC: 1…2…NO! HBK went for another one, but Taker caught up and gave him a huge Last Ride: 1…2…NO! They go to the outside and Taker tries to give HBK a Last Ride through a table. HBK escapes and nails a super kick that sends Taker onto the table. HBK crawls to the top rope…and hits a MOONSAULT ONTO TAKER THROUGH THE ANNOUNCE TABLE! Holy fucking shit. Taker is knocked out on his feet, as HBK pushes him into the ring. SWEET CHIN MUSIC: 1…2…NO! HBK sets up for another one, but Taker catches him and hits a Chokeslam! Taker follows that up with a Tombstone: 1…2…NO! THE CROWD EXPLODES! The straps come down. Throat Sla-no. Taker sees the weakened Shawn Michaels and offers pity. He tells him to stay down…and HBK gives him a throat slash and then SLAPS HIM! JUMPING TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER!

To use a movie analogy, this wasn’t a sequel to their 2009 match. It was part 2 of a 2 part story. One match is not complete without the other. Shawn Michaels came to a mental state where he determined his career was not worth continuing if he couldn’t defeat Undertaker at Wrestlemania. No longer willing to accept a hollow win, he knew he had to throw everything he had at Undertaker to defeat him. Undertaker, being dead and all, was able to survive Shawn’s best weapons and eventually overwhelm him at the end. Taker’s grudging respect for Shawn, as he knew his greatest opponent’s career was coming to an end, was the perfect cherry to put on top of the feud. Beautiful stuff all around. This match is probably a notch below their 2009 match, when watched right after the 2009, this match seems nearly as great. Thus…
Match Rating: ***** 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Top 5 Worst Wrestlemania Performers

This was a 411 Group Feature:

TJ Hawke 
CriteriaIt's a combination of things, but mostly it's determining expectations for a performance and seeing which people fell short the worst and the most often. The performance could be judged, financially, match-quality wise, and a little bit of his or her kayfabe performance.

5. Dustin Rhodes aka Goldust - Goldust has had a number of crappy matches over the years at Wrestlemania and he lost them all. That's bad enough to make this list.

4. Booker T - Booker T was only occasionally put in a good position during his years in the WWE, and his appearances at the biggest show of the year seem to reflect that. He had a shitty feud with Edge over a shampoo commercial in 2002. He lost to Triple H for the WWE Championship in 2003 in a borderline racist angle with a forgettable blowoff at Wrestlemania. He was in a forgettable, get-everyone-on-the-card match in 2004. He was left off the main show in 2005 and was reduced to winning the pre-show Battle Royal. In 2006, he and Sharmell lost to the BOOGEYMAN. Finally, in 2007, in by far the best match of his Wrestlemania career, he failed to win Money in the Bank. Overall, Booker T, one of the most charismatic performers of the 2000's, had mostly forgettable and/or meaningless showings at the biggest wrestling show of the year. 

3. John Bradshaw Layfield - Bradshaw competed in many forgettable Wrestlemania matches from 1997 to 2004, and then he competed in two matches that should have been good but he brought them down tremendously. JBL's match with John Cena in 2005 was an incredibly dull affair that he dominated almost for the entirety of the bout. JBL then had a below average match with Chris Benoit in 2006. While Benoit was not at his peak in 2006, clearly he could still was having good matches with everybody…just not JBL. After a brief retirement, JBL came back for two more forgettable matches. He defeated Finlay in 2008 in the conclusion to the Hornswoggle's Father angle. In 2009, he career ended when he was squashed by Rey Mysterio.

2. The Big Show - One could argue that the best match Big Show has ever had at Wrestlemania was against Floyd Mayweather, which tells you all you need to know about his match quality at the biggest wrestling event of the year. Not only has he had very few matches worth watching, but also from a kayfabe standpoint, he has done terribly at Wrestlemania. A lot of people would consider The Big Show's career to be a disappointment, and I think that that disappointment can be viewed in a nutshell in his performances at Wrestlemania.

1. Kane - Kane has had a bunch of just nothing matches over the years at Wrestlemania. Besides some solid performances in a handful of Money in the Bank matches, Kane has nothing to hang his hat on when it comes to Wrestlemania matches. 12 Wrestlemania matches and he never had a special performance.

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