Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the sexiest thing on four legs, Cewsh Reviews! We have an ESPECIALLY special treat for you tonight, no doubt about it, as tonight we finally review the show over a month in the making. See, about a year ago we decided that we should do something to satiate the people who were asking us to review individual matches and not full shows, while at the same time sticking to our guns about only reviewing full shows. The result was the Cewsh Reviews Super Mega Ultra Technicolor Dream Card which was supplied by having all of our fans suggest matches and them selecting them at random, lottery style, out of an Optimus Prime Mr. Potato Head. Which is exactly as awesome as it sounds. It turned out to me a great success, and now it has become a tradition here for us to let you guys in on the party from time to time. Which brings us here to the sequel which we’re doing in conjunction with the video review by our buddy Deewun at his blog, I Have An Opinion. Just like the first time, our fans suggested the matches and we compiled them into an actual Dream Card show of the best, worst and strangest wrestling has to offer. The last one nearly broke us with its batshittery. I’m afraid. Please hold me.
So without any further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!
Cewsh: That is the greatest opening video in opening video history.
Segment 1 – No Disqualifications - Owen Hart vs. Mankind – Monday Night Raw 01/06/97.
MichaelC: I need to speak about this one, as Cewsh suffers from the Anti-Owen Hart Agenda.
Shocking, I know.
Cewsh: Pfft, more like Anti-Your-Face Agenda.
Vice: Well here we are again. It's always such a pleasure.
Cewsh: Okay, okay, let’s sink our teeth into this bad boy.
Now some of you may be aware that there was a period of time in the WWE where I was not watching for various reasons (mostly my parents forbidding it after I gave the Razor’s Edge to my Ultimate Warrior pillow through the living room window). You may have heard this period of time referred to as the “Attitude Era”. As a result, there are certain things that I have missed that are difficult to go back and watch in context, and early Mankind is one of them. The Mankind I recognize from that era is, for the most part, the happy go lucky lovable loser who spent nearly all of his time with and against the Rock. But THIS Mankind is altogether different. He comes out to seriously eerie music, walking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, rolls into the ring and then rocks himself back and forth as the lighting effects make it look like he’s sitting in the light of a big window at night.
This is some next level dark shit, and I have no idea how it ever got made in that or any era of WWE. But it is fucking spectacular.
Owen Hart, on the other hand, I’m more familiar with, though I never fell in love with him the way certain other extended members of our team did. Ones who hail from Scotland, for example, just to say. Still though, he’s very skilled, and that is obvious here and everything that he does is silky smooth.
Mankind is, well, less silky, but these are talented guys and they do their thing. There’s some brawling outside, some grappling inside and a clean finish. It’s a good tv match. One thing I did notice that seemed unusual, though, is that this match appeared to be heel vs. heel, with both men at the very least having heel managers, which does not come across in the match at all. I don’t know if that’s a point against them or not, as I don’t really know the context here, but generally speaking this was a perfectly fine, if unspectacular match. Good times.
70 out of 100.
MichaelC Facts And Opinions: This is the first RAW match of 1997, and quite possibly the first WWF TV match of that year. Owen and Mankind would face off at WrestleMania in the middle of the epic Tag Title match I tried to get all of you to vote for in Ringo's WrestleMania thread, and none of you did.
In the mid 90s, it seemed like the entire WWE was carried by Owen, Bret, Bulldog, Taker and the Clique. By 1997, newcomers like Foley, Vader, Austin and the soon to be relevant Rocky Maivia had shown up, and more newcomers were on their way. It was a time of transition we only seen about once a generation, as the older stars quit, retire or died off, and newer angrier stars replaced them.
This was a NO DQ match. Not sure if it was officially, or if the ref just couldn't be bothered. Rules were a bit flexible in those days.
I love the fluid spinning wheel kick, and the short piledriver finish is the simple brutal match finish you just don't see anymore.
Short, sweet and to the point. Could have done with more time, but then I am always a bit greedy.
Neither man met up in the Rumble a few weeks later as Owen and Bulldog went out early in that match.
Vice: This was a fairly good, solid match. It lacked the pyro and ballyhoo in the ring, but I enjoyed watching it. It also brings up two things I'd like to mention.
As a performer, I think Owen Hart was better than Bret by a fairly substantial degree. Everyone becomes one of the best ever when they die young, which is what happens to so many wrestlers. Yet, Owen died from a stupid stunt (thus he is still a good person), and yet even with death AND him being so amazing, why does he not get more praise?
As a wrestler, Mick Foley is criminally underrated. Well, Mick back in the day. He was a very good, talented PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER (fuck you, Vince) for many years and had some fantastic matches before becoming that crazy guy who flew off cells and whatnot. It's great going back and watching him like this. Also, having a demented theme song for an entrance and a super happy song for his exit is quite brilliant.
Goodbye, my only friend.
Segment 2 – Sumo Match - Akebono vs. The Big Show – Wrestlemania 21.
Cewsh: Let me go ahead and congratulate you, dear readers. Every time we open this project over for public submissions, we always have a few terrible matches in the back of our head that we expect you to suggest. Will they make us review the match where David Arquette won the title? The match where Medusa beat Ed Ferrara to win the WCW Crusierweight title? Something that isn’t WCW? But somehow, you always reach deep down into your collective subconscious and provide us with something entirely unexpected. Like this, for example. Here, you have given us the gift of two enormous men in incredibly skimpy outfits running into each other. And for that we both love and hate you all.
Now Akebono is a legend in a lot of ways. He broke into sumo wrestling in 1988 and quickly shot up the ranks, becoming the very first foreign born sumo wrestler in history to achieve the top rank in that sport of Yokozuna (note: Yokozuna was not a Yokozuna. Which is okay, because he wasn’t Japanese either). After a good solid decade of sumo he retired and tried his hand at MMA (unsuccessfully) and then segued into wrestling, where he became a fairly consistent draw in Japan as their giant. Now why am I telling you all of this? Possibly because WWE never really bothered to explain who the fuck this fat guy was or why he and the Big Show would feel the need to have a worked sumo match together. For my part, I still have no idea why it needed to be a sumo match since Bono is a professional wrestler himself (albeit kind of a terrible one). But hey, them’s the breaks, and as a result we got ourselves some hot giant on giant action.
The match, for lack of a better word, doesn’t really start until about 16 hours into this segment, as first they both have to lumber down the ramp all the way to the ring. Then they have to disrobe (the audible moans of unhappiness from the crowd at this point are pretty amusing), throw salt, do the traditional stretching stomp to ward off evil spirits (which I’m told is often a problem in the Staples Center), and then throw salt in the ring to purify it, which I have to imagine is hell on bear feet*.
Then they get started and grapple a bit and IMMEDIATELY upon them locking up, Akebono completely dominates Show and almost pushes him right the fuck out of the ring before he reels it in and remembers to play pretend. Then they go back and forth for awhile with Show actually lifting the Big Bono up off his feet at one point before Bono promptly throws his ass out of the ring.
And then that shake hands and WHY DO YOU PEOPLE DO THIS TO US. Do you understand how shitty of a watching experience this was? I understand what they were trying to do and I’m not going to penalize them too much for trying to make it work, but for fuck’s sake people, they wore extra thick g-strings and ran into each other in a ring with no ropes at WrestlefuckingMania while a tiny dude in a crazy hat ran around yelling at them in Japanese, and the crowd sat on their hands and wondered when the Divas were going to come out and wash the pain out of their eyes.
And this segment lasted like 20 fucking minutes!
*This was a typo originally, but frankly I still stand by it being true.
32 out of 100.
Vice: Seriously Cewsh, you dragged me away from Portal 2 so I could write about this kind of bullshit? You're lucky I haven't completed my crossbow, and too agoraphobic to actually buy the trout I need to shoot you with. And know nothing about how to pick out the best trout. Is it anything like fruit?
Oh how we laughed and laughed. Except I wasn't laughing.
Cewsh: Hey, I didn’t choose this!
And I think its something to do with the color of the scales. Silvery maybe?
Cewsh: Now, Deewun has been so kind as to provide us with the hype video for our next match of Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles, and I’m damn glad he is, because it is amazing. See, when Samoa Joe showed up on the scene in TNA, they did not waste any time fucking around with him. He walked right into the X Division and started demolishing everything stupid enough to stand in his way. It was very unusual, though not against the literal rules of the division, for a man of Joe’s size and power to participate, but what was breathtaking was that he could match any of them speed for speed, and was so, SO vicious when he caught them, that they all collective went down like corn before the reaper. That is, until he ran into the two best that TNA, and perhaps the world, had to offer in Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles. They had their run ins, no doubt, but things didn’t get real, until Joe turned on Daniels (never trust a shark) and gave him the almighty king of all beat downs, leaving the man in a pool of his own blood, with a concussion that put him out of action.
Then AJ Styles stepped in. Styles and Daniels had long been best friends, despite their occasional issue with one another, and AJ was fucking furious with what Joe had done. Joe, for his part, told AJ to man up and then spent the weeks ambushing him and beating him mercilessly whenever he felt like it. Finally, AJ put the title on the line to get Joe in the ring, playing right into Joe’s hands. Unless Joe is the one who will be surprised…
Segment 4 – TNA X Division Championship – AJ Styles © vs. Samoa Joe – TNA Turning Point 2005.
Cewsh: This match is fucking amazing.
I just told you about the feud going into this show, which was absolutely perfectly booked, and is without a doubt the best thing TNA has ever done creatively, and that alone creates such an atmosphere before this thing ever starts. Samoa Joe comes down to the the ring looking like a conquering barbarian badass (not literally in Triple H fashion, just figuratively). He’s got the towel covered in the blood of Christopher Daniels around his neck, and he has this badass confident swagger like he’s got nothing to worry about. Then AJ Styles comes down and it’s a total contrast, as he is fired the fuck up. He gets in the ring, hands his belt over, plays to the crowd, and then when the bell rings he immediately pounces on Joe like a hobo on a ham sandwich. From there on, this match becomes a 15 minute whirlwind of action that left my jaw on the floor, as AJ Styles does everything short of shooting Samoa Joe in the head to put him down and get revenge for what he did.
The beginning of the match is all AJ, as he catches Joe totally off guard with his aggression and just takes it right to him with every move in his arsenal. He uses his superior speed to stay ahead of Joe and just starts dropping bombs on him from the get go, with everything from the stiffest kicks he’s ever given, to the goddamn Fosbury Flop.
After his anger plays itself out, though, Joe is still standing, and now he’s fucking mad. Joe proceeds to just break AJ down a piece at a time in that incredible way Joe had back in those days, hitting Styles with wave after wave of moves that link together and that AJ has no real answer for, but whereas every opponent Joe has ever had prior to this has just been battered to a pulp by the onslaught and then fallen prey to the Koquina Clutch or the Muscle Buster, AJ Styles just keeps taking it and getting back up. Taking it and getting…back…up. You can see Joe start to get visibly upset as his carefully crafted style is being stymied left and right by the fact that AJ Styles simply will not stay down, and Joe starts making mistakes out of frustration, allowing AJ to hit desperation moves that put Joe down and give AJ time to breathe. Just long enough to let the smaller man fighting the odds feel like he can finally stop the unbeatable monster.
Finally, in an incredible display or fire and effort, AJ loses his fucking mind and launches an all out offensive on Joe, laying waste to the man with kicks and chops and even hitting a powerbomb AND a Styles Clash on the man nearly twice his size.
Still Joe kicks out, but now Joe is fading. Feeling more confident, Styles tries to bundle Joe into the ropes and roll him back into a roll up, one of the oldest moves in the book. But that’s exactly what Samoa Joe was waiting for. He grabs AJ’s tights, pulling him off balance, and making him fall right into the Koquina Clutch that no man has ever escaped. AJ struggles, rolling all about, trying to find the solution to the unbreakable hold, and even throws Joe so off balance that he rolls Joe towards the ropes, bringing his hand mere INCHES away from the rope as he strains and strains and STRAINS and…passes out, finally quelled.
Samoa Joe has finally put AJ Styles down, and is your new TNA X Division champion with AJ’s redemption only inches away.
Following this, Joe picks AJ up and congratulates him on a hell of an effort, before promptly wasting him with a belt shot to the face. Joe goes to execute AJ with a Muscle Buster, before Christopher Daniels himself runs down to get him a piece. Daniels is all over Joe, but its not long before Joe fights back with some incredibly stiff kicks, exacerbating Daniels’ concussion, and leaving both of his rivals in miserable heaps surrounded by security guards who came down to keep them safe from him. To keep the two best wrestlers in TNA, safe from one man. Samoa fucking Joe.
Man, this match is absolutely the shit. I have never seen anyone in wrestling who was as convincing a threat as Samoa Joe was during this period. Not Goldberg, not Andre, not anybody. His speed, power, and stiffness combined to make him some kind of nightmare tornado of fucking you in the face. Add that to the incredible storyline here, and AJ Styles putting on what may still be his career defining performance as a firey, never say die babyface, and you have something that shines as the absolute pinnacle of what TNA was capable of during that period, or in general. You can quibble about no selling, you can quibble about Joe being too dominant, and you can quibble my balls if you want to. Because this match was beyond silly trifles like that. This is a special window into a time we’ll never see again. Don’t miss out on your chance to see it.
98 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
Vice: This is one of the best matches to ever come out of TNA. It's right up there with Angle/Kennedy, Storm/Harris and the other elite matches. It's just that fucking good, and was during the period where the X-division was incredible. It peaked in this era and will never come close to reaching this point ever again. Everything between AJ, Joe and Daniels was fantastic.
So this is AJ and Joe going out and killing each other, and it is a spectacular match. They're both so incredibly stiff, putting extra oomph into every strike and slam. Their facial expressions are always spot on.
Plus this was the first time AJ has really gotten this pissed before. Sure he was a heel and was all "waa waa I'm angry grrrr", but in this match he stomps the back of Joe's skull into the canvas and tells him he has no respect for him. Then later basically just says fuck you. Everything about this match is just so magical and amazing.
I can't bring myself to give it the full five stars, but this one is 4.9999999999999999 in my eyes. I love it so much, and it's a shame how great TNA was back then compared to the bullshit that plagues the majority of their product these days.
Honestly I'd love to actually have some sort of structure with my thoughts, but there is so much to talk about and so much to praise that I don't even know where to start. Babble babble babble. Shame TNA has gone to hell.
Go make some new disaster.
Vice: Going into this, I thought it was going to be awful. This was Doug Williams back when he had negative personality and was quite possibly THE most boring (but technically proficient) wrestler in the entire world, Paul Birchill back when he was super green, and.. Zebra Kid.
What I saw blew me away completely. It wasn't phenomenal, but considering I was expecting a spotty shitfest that indy fans jerk themselves over for unknown reasons, this was.. wow. About 5 minutes in, I found myself really into this match. I remember even mentioning such a thing to Cewsh and him agreeing, which kind of scared us both.
It's also funny seeing Burchill as this gigantic hoss of a barbarian that everyone fears, but was completely average (or even below average) in WWE. Kinda sucked for him. I like this Burchill a lot though.
Oh, did you think I meant you?
Cewsh: Ah, indy matches. Possibly the most refreshingly consistent thing in the world, independent matches can generally be counted on to have any of the following things:
- Terrible production values
- Depressingly bad announcing and commentary
- Skinny White Guys In Spandex
- No Psychology Whatsoever
- Straight Edge Chipmunks
In fact, it would be fair to say that the vast majority dabble in nearly all of those things (chipmunks notwithstanding), so when we saw this come up on the docket, we were pretty sure we knew what to expect. After all, this was even an indy match from England, whose notorious love/hate relationship with professional wrestling had been confounding promoters who tried to run a business there since the days of Giant Haystacks. See, while England remains amongst the very hottest and most eager crowds for WWE, WCW, and even TNA, they’ve never been able to support much of an independent scene, or to really elevate a promotion of their own to countrywide status. There are a million reasons why this may be the case, but most people blame the fact that they eat beans for breakfast, and I am inclined to agree.
Strangely, though, this match here represents something of a departure from all of that. This promotion (IWP) has very decent production values in line with old Ring of Honor shows, they have two announcers who are actually very compelling to listen to and who get incredibly involved in the action in a way that you’ve only seen stateside in Don West, and perhaps Jim Ross on his more excitable days. The place is packed with a nice amount of people, and more importantly, the people in this match are actually stars in England at this time. See first you have Doug Williams, who along with Jody Fleisch launched a two man renaissance of English indy wrestling in the 2000s, becoming popular enough to be commonly known names in the United States, and virtually keep the entire indy scene afloat by themselves. You may recognize him as the guy who is never on television in TNA. Then there’s the Zebra Kid, the son of the famous British wrestler and promoter Ricky Knight, and his even more famous wife Sweet Saraya. Zebra is exactly what you expect a second generation wrestler to be, beloved by the fans of his parents and a complete and total fuckup with an arrest record a mile long. But hey, at THIS point, he was an exciting young talent. You can currently see him picking up trash along the highway and watching his baby sister Britani Knight get a WWE tryout this week.
Then there is Mr. Paul Burchill, who was essentially England greatest can’t miss prospect since the British Bulldog. This guy had presence, he towered over everyone on the independent scene, he could wrestle a number of styles, he could talk, and he had a finisher in the C4 (backflip uranage) that people bought tickets or tuned in to see. He had everything you could possibly want in a prospect and was as earmarked for future greatness as anyone in recent memory. You can currently find him at his house watching tv, following his mishandling and release from WWE.
Is it any wonder why the British indy scene is dead again after these three left?
But that is now and this is then. Here, the main rivalry is between Burchill and everybody else, with a distinct hint at a future epic showdown between Burchill and Williams that would have been a pretty big deal. But despite the obvious tension between those two, the Zebra Kid isn’t going to sit by and let a couple of jerkwads keep him from winning the title and making his parents proud. So these three tear into each other, and its actually one of the more impressive indy matches that I’ve seen from anywhere from back in those days. Williams is essentially flawless in his technique with every single move that he does, Burchill just draws your eye with everything that he does and makes it all look so good, and Zebra Kid is fantastic as the plucky little babyface in way over his head but determined not to show it. It’s a fun 25 minute romp that ends with Burchill pasting Williams to the floor with his C4 to win the title and then immediately being challenged by Zebra Kid for the next show, capping off a really surprisingly good match, and an altogether surreal experience.
This match was suggested because it was the first match that Mikey_Jones, the submitter, had ever seen. The first match that I ever saw was Jim Duggan vs. Virgil. Of the two of us, he has the much, much, much, much, much better reason to have kept watching.
77 out of 100.
MichaelC Opinions: Loved this. William is the cunning competitor, ready to take any flaw of his opponents game and use it to his advantage. Zebra flies about and tries to kill himself and others with offense. Burchill just murders everything he can get his hands on.
Man, Burchill was a complete wasted opportunity by the WWE. He had a relevant pop culture gimmick that got pretty damn over, and it got axed. (The Pirate!)
Zebra has fallen apart since this. d1 asked: "How come he's not in one of the bigger leagues?" Answer: a criminal record longer than Iron Sheik's weed suppliers list. Jailed for DUI, for making threats to stab people, and for assault, many times over the last decade. You know how they say one can be one's own worst enemy? Well, the thing that holds Zebra back the most is he is a complete twat and violent thug, basically.
And you might have heard of Doug Williams. A man who is a certainty to be in the WWE at some point in his career - he has too many fans there, and they look at him from time to time. It'll happen. Since the brilliant Williams/Guerrero match of 2002, I've followed Doug's career.
I loved this match. Crazy stuff. And Burchill kills. I want Burchill back in the WWE now.
Cewsh: This is the hype video for the Bread Eating Death match. I will type this stream of consciousness as I watch and we can experience it together.
Okay, first we’ve got some ambulance EMT guys with a stretcher wearing SARS masks (which pretty much everyone in Japan does anyway, so that doesn’t mean anything). Then we pan to a shot of some clouds floating by for some reason, then we go to the ring where we find a man with long blonde hair clad all in white up against the turnbuckle. Suddenly some guy comes charging and gives him a flying shoulder tackle to the nut sack, which Blondie immediately sells as the single most devastating maneuver in wrestling history.
Then dramatic sad music plays, and the camera starts zooming in weirdly on Blondie’s mouth, which then flashes to a picture of some monkeys.
Monkey ratio now satisfied, we find a guy in a hospital bed (not the same guy) reading gay porn and eating a custard filled donut, which now ALSO gets a close up.
Finally, we return to Blondie who now sporting some insane brown roots as he yells at the camera, leading to another shot of him working out…with no roots. CONTINUITY ERRORS. The idea here seems to be that after this incident, the man has bulked up into an unstoppable muscle machine to seek revenge.
Then some guy throws water on him for no reason.
Then there’s this guy.
Now these two are split screen trash talking each other hardcore, though the old guy may be asleep, and only seems to be paying attention when the camera zooms in really fast and then cuts to a picture of a dog house. Otherwise he looks like he’s napping. These are the two gladiators who will be pitted against each other in the legendary Bread Eating Death match. A match to which I can only guess at the rules, since I don’t speak Japanese, and they are by no means obvious. However, here is an artist’s rendering of what the match will entail, so perhaps that will help.
Did that help anybody?
Segment 6 – Bread Eating Deathmatch – Ken Ohka vs. Tsuyoshi Kikuchi – Union Pro 1/3/11.
Cewsh: I have never laughed this hard at a match in my entire life.
I have no idea what it would be like to view this match and actually know what the fuck is going on or what the purpose behind their actions are, and frankly I’m glad, because the best part about watching this is just the edge of your seat excitement to see what in the name of holy demon army they’re going to do next. One man grabs a baguette as his opponent puts him in a Boston Crab. What does he do with it? One man goes to get some milk? What happens to it? Both men decide they want to eat the same piece of bread. How exactly does that not end badly? These are the questions that you will ask yourself and then, no matter your capacity for imagination, the answers will defy even your most imaginative fancies.
And you will laugh. Then you will facepalm. Then you will ask someone to confirm that what you’re seeing is real. You will repeat this cycle over and over until you’re out of breath and are mysteriously thinking about going to a bakery for breakfast.
There are great matches, and there are bad matches, and then there’s the fucking Bread Eating Deathmatch. Holy demon army, do you owe it yourself to see why I make the distinction.
72 out of 100.
Vice: I'm going to be honest and say I'm not even thinking about reviewing this match. This is not a match you should read about. This is just one of those matches you need to see for the sheer ridiculousness of it all. Whether you love it or hate, it'll be an experience.
That's what I'm counting on.
MichaelC Musings: WHY ARE THEY EATING BREAD? WHY??????
Segment 7 – Amazing Kong vs. Sara Del Rey – ROH Supercard of Honor V.
Vice: KOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG has competition here in someone who could give her a run for her money.
She was a lot like you (maybe not quite so heavy).
Cewsh: Hell to the yes.
This actually couldn’t be much more timely what with Awesome Kong about to debut in the WWE imminently, so I’m really glad this match made it on. The most important thing to realize here is that this was Kong’s very first match after the entire TNA debacle with Bubba the Love Sponge.
Oh what’s that? You don’t know what the fuck a love sponge is or what happened? Leave it to Cewsh. Here is my summary of the events at the time:
"Basically after the earthquake in Haiti, Bubba went on his radio show and said that the earthquake was probably a good thing because Haiti is such a shitty and dirty country that it, and the people who lived there, could use a "cleansing". Kong, who has family in Haiti, took an understandably dim view of this, and she threw a fit, demanding that Bubba be fired for the comments.
To respond, Hulk and Bubba went back on their radio show and talked about how Kong must be on her period and how she has no idea what she's talking about.
So the next Impact taping, Kong found Bubba backstage and punched him in his fat fucking face. Bubba then mocked her, bragging that she couldn't knock him out, and Bubba demanded that Kong be released. Somewhere during all of this Cheerleader Melissa (Raisha Saide, Alyssa Flash) quit in disgust over Kong's treatment.
Kong asked for her release and Hogan refused to allow it. So a few weeks went by and she apparently asked Dixie for her release and it was granted.
Awesome Kong and Alyssa Flash are apparently < Bubba the Love Sponge right now."
So yeah, not only was this such a bullshit situation that Kong left the company, but she also took Cheerleader Melissa and later ODB with her, while Bubba the Love Sponge got to keep his job until he started trolling Kong at her public appearances and TNA decided they had had enough. So when Kong comes through the curtain here the ovation is deafening, and the fans immediately break into chants of “Fuck you, Bubba” and “Fuck TNA” to a ridiculous degree. Then Kong and Del Rey proceed to tear the house down with a hard hitting and extremely entertaining match, short though it may have been. Finally the Kings of Wrestling toss Sara the loaded elbow pad, and she nails Kong with it, giving Sara the upset cheap victory. But the fans hardly notice, as when Kong reaches her feet they launch right into “Please come back” as she walks off looking really emotional.
This was fucking great, and honestly I hope that every time a TNA employee watches it, they feel like an asshole for working for a company that allowed this to happen. So there.
82 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
Segment 8 – Penalty Box Match – Team Canada (Lance Storm, Mike Awesome, Elix Skipper and Major Gunns) vs. The Filthy Animals (Konnan, Rey Mysterio Jr, Billy Kidman and Tigress) – Special Referee: Jim Duggan – WCW Sin 2001.
MichaelC Facts: In this match we have Lance Storm, who was a pretty great midcard wrestler back in the day; Mike Awesome, a perfectly serviceable big man; Elix Skipper, a spot monkey; Rey, who is Rey; Kidman, before his confidence went; Konnan and Hacksaw as the worst referee since Gene Kiniski at Starrcade 83.
d1 loves this match.
Hacksaw turned on America soon after this. No one cared.
Cewsh: This match is a fucking mess, but since it took place in WCW, I’m not even sure you needed me to tell you that.
The idea of this match is that Jim Duggan, the trouble shooting referee, has the power to, at any time, banish any member of either team to their own personal penalty Box if they are caught breaking any rules whatsoever. Theoretically this is to keep the heels from cheating, but all it actually does is cause Jim Duggan to look like the touchiest referee in wrestling history. At one point Mike Awesome brushes into Duggan on his way to the apron and HEY HEY HEY, that’s two minutes in the box for you! In order to get the concept over, Duggan starts throwing guys in the box with such regularity that there’s pretty much a never ending flow of guys going to and from the cage. The camera guys have no idea what to focus on, so they settle for just switching back and forth rapidly even if nothing is going on in either place.
I want to make this clear. This idea is fucking stupid, and this match sucks as a result. Not helping is the fact that Major Gunns and Tigress exist.
In fact the only thing that IS helping this match to whatever degree is the fact that Lance Storm, and to a lesser degree Mike Awesome and Elix Skipper, is actually really fucking good. He cheats when he’s supposed to, everything he does looks crisp and nice, and he is the only person on Earth who has idea idea of how to sell for Konnan’s crazy offense. He does all he can here, and deserves all the props I can give him, but he’s just one man, and he can’t fight the suck. No man could.
61 out of 100.
Vice: Lance Storm is amazing. Anyone who disagrees will eat a 43 mile an hour trout in their face once I complete my crossbow and conquer my agoraphobia.
It's fun watching matches like this, because TNA still runs nonsense like this from time to time. And it's always fun seeing all the participants in here and the work they do despite being burdened with a terrible gimmick of a match, and how they still try ever so hard to make sense of it and put good work in. Then you realize that if you merely took the gimmick out of the match, you might be left with... a good match!
The secret to wrestling is.. letting people wrestle! Eureka! A Cewsh Reviews breakthrough!
Under the circumstances, I've been shockingly nice.
Segment 9 – WWE Heavyweight Championship – John Cena © vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton vs. Edge – WWE Backlash 2007.
Vice: Fatal fourway matches are some of my absolute least favorite matches in all of WWE. They tend to bore me shitless, they feel disjointed, are generally very awkwardly worked, and have underwhelming finishes.
This was very different, and I can see why it was a match suggested. It was legitimately REALLY good. While I'd never root for ol' John Cena, I actually didn't even mind him as much here. I still would like to see him beheaded, but he wasn't too bad. It was just all really well worked, the crowd was into it and all the stars aligned without them falling into bad habits.
The finish was really fucking awesome, too. Just incredibly well booked (despite Cena winning). Why do I not remember seeing this match back when it happened? It was awesome. Maybe this was around when I got beyond fed up with Cena and stopped watching. Man, he's been doing the same shit for half a decade now. What the fuck.
Now you're someone else's problem.
Cewsh: This is the culmination of two different feuds here, though if you only saw the promo video and watched the match, you’d likely figure it was just Cena vs. Michaels III with two chaperones. Aside from the continuation of the feud between Cena and Michaels here, with Michaels finding himself better than Cena but never able to get the win with the title on the line, this is also technically the blow off of the feud between Edge and Randy Orton after the breakup of Rated RKO. Which is well and good but that never factors into the match at all, so I’ll pay it as much mind as they did.
This match goes down and its really pretty good, nothing special or anything. Everybody does the usual 4 way things, and while they all have great chemistry together, the match never really goes anywhere until what may very well be the single greatest ending sequence of any multi man match in wrestling history. Everybody is stumbling around the ring when the finishers start. Everybody reverses everything, Orton hits Cena with an RKO, Edge hits Orton with a Spear, Cena pops up and hits Edge with an FU, and then turns right into Sweet Chin Music. Shawn takes just 3 seconds to celebrate his imminent victory, but it turns out to be 3 seconds too long. When he kicked Cena, he knocked him out 100%...right on top of the unconscious Randy Orton. The ref counts the pin before Shawn even realizes what has happened, and his look of panic when its too late is totally perfect. Cena has foiled Michaels AGAIN, and this time it was by pure luck and there’s nothing Michaels can do about it. Awesome.
Its really a goddamn shame that their feud never really progressed after this, because this was a really cool way to ramp things up between them, but alas, that was the year of the injury bug, so it was not to be. Still, fine match, with an absolutely brilliant finish. Can’t argue with that.
82 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
MichaelC Facts: Fantastic finish to this match. Building to the HBK/Cena blow off....which never happened, as Shawn got injured. Then Taker got injured, so Edge got drafted to RAW to replace him when Mr Kennedy got injured. Then Edge got injured. So Cena wound up holding the belt till October when HE got injured and Orton wound up with the belt despite having the NUCLEAR HEAT for most of the year, and apparently trying to kill himself early in the year if you believe Cowboy Bob.
2007 - the year of death and injury.
Greg Helms also got injured at the same time, but no one cares about him.
Edge/Orton had the blow off to the Rated RKO falling apart feud next night on RAW. Why it never made PPV is beyond me, as I seem to recall it was a hell of a match.
John Cena Over Everyone Else Following The Luckiest Chance of His Life.
Cewsh: Over the years here at Cewsh Reviews, I’ve talked about any number of different styles of wrestling match. From the bully vs. plucky babyface matches like Joe/Styles earlier, to the epic spectacles of the kind that the Rock and Hulk Hogan had at Wrestlemania XVIII. But if you were to ask what my absolute favorite type of match is, I would tell you every time that it is the total badass against the underestimated underdog who is out to prove everyone wrong. This is the Rocky story, the ultimate underdog tale, made even better by the respect and even fear you have for his opponent. But its incredibly rare, because it depends on a lot of unlikely factors. You have to have a badass who is incredibly respectable and dangerous. Then you need an undercard guy who the office is willing to really give a big time shot to. And then you have to have that motherfucker show so much fire and passion and never die spirit that it stays with you after the match is over. This is not a common combination of factors.
But here they did it.
Kenta Kobashi is the badass to end all face wrecking, cancer killing, Burning Hammer wielding badasses. Here, he’s in the middle of an incredible epic run as the GHC Champion of Pro Wrestling NOAH, and is looking forward to some big challeneges he has ahead of him. His opponent on this night is career midcarder Tamon Honda, who is basically as easy an obstacle as Kobashi is going to get on the roster.
Its essentially a night off from the champion, and he clearly isn’t expecting much of a fight. Oh, but he gets one, he gets the mother of all fights. See, this was Honda’s one chance to make it as a top guy and he knew it, so when that bell rings and Kobashi tries to take things easy and feel out Honda, Honda says fuck that shit and just starts eating Kobashi’s lunch to the shocked amazement of the crowd, the announcers and, most of all, Kobashi himself. Understanding that things just got serious, Kobashi and Honda proceed to have 20 of the most action packed tension filled minutes in recent memory. Every single near fall from 10 minutes in to the very end is met by the crowd as if it is THE end, with no exceptions. By the time Honda kicks out of the half nelson suplex that Kobashi has been murdering people with, the crowd is in total awed disbelief and has rallied behind him 100%.
Honda takes Kobashi to the limit and comes inches away from the title time after time, until finally, after kicking out of one more deadly half nelson suplex, Kobashi blows his stack and demolishes Honda with the mother of all Burning Lariats, finally putting away his incredibly resilient opponent.
This is what wrestling is all about. You don’t need to know the language, the performers or the culture to see what makes this match special, as the underdog takes the champion to the limit story is purely universal. This is my favorite match time for a reason, and these two men did it better than just about anybody could have.
95 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
Vice: This match was absolutely fantastic. It tells such a wonderful story of a guy desperate to become a name, and he shows so much heart that he stuns EVERYONE by refusing to die. Kobashi had to beat him within an inch of his life to get the win, and it was just lovely. America needs more matches like this. You can potentially make a star in one night.
That's all there really is to say about it. It just needs to be watched.
I’ll let you get right to it.
MichaelC Opinions: He dropped him on his head!
I sat through this entire match going "Bloody hell". It involved seven thousand head drops.
The ending I particularly loved, as Kenta hits Honda with a big head drop type move. (Burning Hammer?) And Honda kicks out. So Kenta picks him up and looks absolutely furious as he then lariats the hell out of the other guy for the three. It was like he was saying "HOW DARE YOU KICK OUT MY FINISH, MATE!" Amazing.
Kenta is the man.
Also, since this confused d1: Kenta Kobashi and KENTA are different people. Kenta is older. In Japan, heels names are capitalised, like TAKA Michinoku for example. And Kenta is older than KENTA: I'd assume younger KENTA picked up the name in tribute to legendary Kenta, but I don't know that much. But still, are you impressed I picked up something, Cewshter?
Cewsh: KENTA’s real name is Kenta Kobayashi, and he was the protégé of Kenta Kobashi. Out of respect he shortened his name to just KENTA to avoid confusion.
But yes, I was impressed. You’re learning!
Oh and THIS is the burning hammer:
Segment 11 – WCW World Heavyweight Championship – Hulk Hogan © vs. Warrior – WCW Halloween Havoc 98.
MichaelC LIES: Better than the WrestleMania match.
Cewsh: This match is so bad that it may actually be poisonous to ingest it with your eyes. I have contacted the Center For Disease Control and am hoping for the best.
I’m sure that by this point in your life you have probably heard about how bad this match is. But even if you have, it bears repeating. First they come out to their various entrances which are, and I’m being totally serious here, absolutely kickass. Hogan’s entrance is heely and awesome, and Warrior’s entrance is so over the top that its great. This is the highlight of the match. Then they get in the ring for this absolutely titanic and iconic clash of immortals, and proceed to have the most boring match that I have ever borne witness to, and I have seen Matt Cross matches. There are headlocks. Long headlocks. Loving headlocks. There are tests of strength. There are shoulder blocks and taunts. And…yeah, I think that’s a full description of the first 10 minutes of this match. But that’s just them getting warmed up.
Things get really excited when they start busting out such epic moves as the BARRELL BROLL where Warrior seriously just rolls his ass across the ground at Hulk Hogan as an offensive maneuver AND HOGAN SELLS IT. Hogan, not willing to be upstaged, runs to the corner and pulls out a ziplock bag with some flash paper and a lighter in it so he can throw a fireball at Warrior. He spends a solid minute trying to get the lighter to work with the camera DIRECTLY ON HIS HANDS THE WHOLE TIME before finally blowing the whole thing up in his face in a tiny fireball that burnt off his eyebrows and didn’t get close to Warrior.
Now the crowd is laughing and jeering.
Then the NWO runs out to help Hogan and is defeated single handedly by Warrior, because why not? But then Horace Hogan, Hulk’s nephew, comes out and hits Warrior with the single weakest chair shot in wrestling history. An infant could have no sold that bump. Hogan pins Warrior for the win, tells Horace that he “passed the test”, and then they leave.
Even knowing full well the things that people have said about this match, the actual degree to which it was unpleasant is startling. The botches were bad, the wrestling was bad, and the finish made no sense, sure. But it was the 10 minutes of the dullness that really sunk this one harder than anything else. I found my hands casting about for sharp things to stab myself with, just for a comparatively pleasant diversion. I found myself wondering if actively killing puppies would be a funner way to pass the day than to watch this, and finally was willing to do so if only the match would stop.
Are you understanding me fully? THIS MATCH KILLS PUPPIES.
11 out of 100.
Vice: This is the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to the original's Raiders of the Lost Ark. When they wrestled this style of match in 1990, the crowd was going wild for all of it. They tried to wrestle the same type of match in front of people in the late 90's, and they just didn't give a shit. They wanted more excitement and more to cheer for. This just didn't work at all like I bet they wanted it to, which is a shame. Another shame is the FIREBALL that did not work at all. Man, the entire match was just a disaster. Have you seen the promo from Ultimate Warrior's WCW debut? Jesus it was amazing. In an awful way.
Hogan dug Warrior up and made him wrestle a match so he could get his win back. But he finally defeated his biggest nemesis.
It’s such a shame the same will never happen to you.
Cewsh: Well you guys did it again. You reached into the collective subconscious of wrestling fans everywhere and pulled out a series of matches that range from perplexingly odd to extravagantly radtastic. Its one helluva ride from one side to the other, and there’s a reason I love doing them so much. Variety is the spice of life and we appreciate being able to honor our fans this way.
That said, fuck you all for making me look at Big Show’s taint, competitive bread eating, and Hogan/Warrior. Fuck you all very, very much.
Vice: Overall, I used to want you dead, but now I only want you gone.
Well that'll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed the fruits of your own labors and aren't to terribly offended by the endless stream of profanity we aimed your way. Join us next time as we tackle TNA Lockdown 2011, their biggest show of the year by default, and in the months to come as we tackle new projects designed to get our names out there so you can all brag that you knew us when. But that's then and right now i'd like to make sure that you guys know who was responsible for this seminal work of awesomeness. Our buddy Deewun has been awesometastically awesome to us and to you here, and the least you could do is keep an eye on his video blog (the I Have An Opinion part of this crossover) to see his upcoming video review of this very show. He's great, you'll love it, now do what I say or face the business end of a trout.
Catch him here:
In the meanwhile, as always, be sure to keep reading and be good to one another!