My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Spoiling the Illusion #5

Just because RAW couldn’t keep my attention for long this week, doesn’t mean I didn’t find anything that spoiled the illusion of pro-wrestling for me.
- My biggest gripe this week is how Jerry Lawler REALLY pissed me off when he said Trish Stratus “got what she deserved” cause she “wouldn’t play ball” with Christian. Every week on RAW were forced to listen to the King rave about Trish’s “puppies”, and now that his favorite puppy supplier almost gets decapitated by a stiff-ass lariat and almost broken in half by the Walls of Jericho, he supports the beating all the way? Maybe King was supporting Christian’s actions cause Chris was doing something King probably wishes he could do to all the women who turn his old-ass down when he tries to ask them out? This whole stupid segment once again glorifies how the WWE supports brutality against women, and that the Divas are nothing more than sex objects to Lawler.
- I have a problem with Foley’s explanation that nobody came to help him last week because the boys lost respect for him when he walked out on his match with Randy Orton last December. That doesn’t explain why Sheriff Austin wouldn’t come out to help since his “job” is to “enforce the law”. And it was Austin himself who asked (or should I say “ordered”) Foley to come back and face Orton back at the Royal Rumble. And now that we know he can’t depend on anyone in the back, he’ll have to go get ‘outside’ help (wink wink) There’s also the way Foley was selling his beating last week like it was the worst beating of his life. For those of us who know Foley’s history, we all know he’s taken worst beatings than that.

Vince Russo found religion?!? Nuff said.

WWE SmackDown!
Both Kurt Angle and Brock Lesner seened to give valid reasons for their recent actions. Kurt Angle has always followed his beliefs whether it makes him a heel or a face. Heck, most of the time he turns heel, it almost always has something to do with his opponent's character, Eddie Guerrero's case being his preaching of Lying, Cheating and Stealing! Logically, Angle has a point. But I don't agree with the way he pushed how all drug abusers will always be nothing more than drug addicts. Comments like that can easily make alot of enemies in the 'real' world. And if I were Angle, I'd avoid visiting any suburbs for a while.
I was seriously wondering what the heck Brock Lesner was doing on RAW this past week, and was pleasantly suprised by the reason he gave. He simply blames Austin for giving Goldberg a ticket to No Way Out where 'Berg attacked him and cost him his world title. Simple but effective.

Other News of the week
Tenzan's uphill battle
Hiroyoshi Tenzan's career has been on one heck of a roller coaster ride, highlighted by his current IWGP title reign. Question is, how long can he hold on to the title? His first defence this coming March will be against Pancrase star Minoru Suzuki, who beat Tenzan and Osamu Nishimura for the IWGP tag team titles with his partner Yoshihiro Takayama. And if he gets past Suzuki, he than has to face one of New Japan's greatest champions, Kensuke Sasaki. Many still question if Tenzan would have beaten Sasaki in the IWGP Title Tournament if it were not for the distraction of Shinya Makabe.
If Tenzan does indeed manage to scrape by Sasaki, then his greatest singles challenge is yet to come in the possibility of defending the IWGP title against the biggest name in Japanese MMA, Bob Sapp! The talk now is that the winner of the upcoming K-1 MMA fight on 3/14 between Sapp and Blue Wolf's brother, Dolgolsuren Sumibayazul (Ain't that a mouth full!), would be the number one contender to face the IWGP champion at New Japan's next Tokyo Dome show.
The way I see, if New Japan is to continue building Tenzan as a legitimate champion, HE HAS TO WIN THESE THREE DEFENCES!

Teddy Hart's ego trip
I was quite impressed the first time I saw Teddy Hart wrestle on NWATNA a few weeks back during the Super-X tournament. Now, however, the young Hart has been known to throw his weight around just because of his name value. It's been reported how he's tried to sell himself as a 'loose cannon' and simply must get his way. He has heat with ROH, and even got into a fight earlier this week at TNA tapings with CM Punk. And he faked a knee injury later on. Hart is doing all he can to get noticed in the wrestling world, though not in a good way. He so wants in to the WWE, but I'm guessing he wouldn't last long there with the attitude he has.

Big gaijin names for HUSTLE-2
Zero-One's 3/7 big HUSTLE-2 show is bringing in alot of foreign talent to work the show. It's rumoured their trying to get The Outsiders (Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) to work a tag match against Satoshi Kojima and Shinjiro Ohtani. If they do get the Outsiders, don't expect this match to be pretty. Alot of ex-ECW talent is also being booked, as well as the return of Nathan Jones. Zero-One is also trying to push a new gaijin worker called Monster Joe, but better known as Canada's own Juggernaut.
Current card for HUSTLE-2:
- Masato Tanaka VS The Gladiator VS Sabu VS Justin Credible VS Tetsuhiro Kuroda (I say dump Kuroda and replace him with an ex-ECW worker!)
- The Predator VS Dan Bobish
- Leonardo Spanky, Latin Lover & Kaz Hayashi VS Low-Ki, Homicide & Kintaro Kanemura (I still wonder when the heck Kanemura ever became a Jr. heavyweight?!?)
- Shinjiro Ohtani & Satoshi Kojima VS TBA (Possibly Scott Hall & Kevin Nash)
- Naoya Ogawa VS Giant Silva
- Shinya Hashimoto & X (Possibly Toshiaki Kawada) VS Mark Coleman & Kevin Randleman
- Dusty Rhodes, Steve Corino & CW Anderson are also booked to appear on the show.

Rikioh No.1 Contender for GHC Title
NOAH's Takeshi Rikioh scored probably the biggest win of his singles career when he beat Akira Taue in just under eight minutes (!) with a lariat in a No.1 Contender's match on 2/26. He will now go on to face NOAH's unstopable GHC champion, Kenta Kobashi, on 3/6 at the Nippon Budokan. Also on the card for that big show is Jushin Liger's V2 defence of the GHC Jr Title against Makoto Hashi and Misawa & Ogawa defend the GHC tag titles against Daisuke Ikeda & Mohammed Yone


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The Talk continues on RAW...

This week's edition of RAW just seemed to sail by and I found myself constantly switching back and forth from watching RAW to playing PS2 since nothing really kept my attention.

The opening match was probably the best match of the night. Then again, there weren't a whole lot of matches at all. A four-way elimination match for the Women's title as Molly defends against Lita, Victoria and Jazz. Less than a minute in, Lita nails a STIFF DDT that Jazz sells like she was RVD and gets eliminated! Molly nails the handspring back elbow on Victoria and a flipping neckbreaker on Lita, but Victoria does a BEAUTIFUL jacknife flip pin on Molly to eliminate her less than 2 minutes into the match! Molly freaks out and goes ballistic on Victoria as it takes a few referees to pull her off and escort her to the back. Match continues and Lita botched a move trying to escape Victoria's Samoan-drop/side slam combo. Looked like Lita was trying for an armbar or something. Lita recovers and hits the Twist of Fate for a 2. Lita escapes the Widow's Peak, and drops Victoria throat first on the ropes. Lita goes up top for the moonsault, but Victoria recovers and carries Lita out of the corner before dropping her in the Widow's Peak for the win!

NEW CHAMPION! Steven Richards runs in to celebrate with Victoria! Great match, but I thought they were saving the big title change for WrestleMania? Oh well. This match at least showed how much the title means to Molly and Victoria, and here's hoping we get a good feud out of this going into Mania.

Backstage, Christian tries to get a tag title match for himself and Y2J at WrestleMania from Bisch, but instead Bisch orders him to wrestle Trish Stratus tonight!

Next we get a descent match between Randy Orton and Val Venis. Wonder what Venus did to get himself back on RAW for one night? Orton wins with the RKO.

They show an old WCW clip from the Monday Night Wars DVD of Bisch challenging Vince to a match. Building up their match later tonight.

Evolution comes to the ring and HHH starts rambling endlessly bout how the odds are stacked against him at Mania and how he's the Game and how he's THAT damn good blah blah blah. Thankfully Benoit comes out an accuses HHH of being all talk talk talk (which is true since the last match he had was at the Royal Rumble!). HHH dares him to come in the ring, and Benoit does after grabbing a chair, but doesn't get a chance to use it as he's outnumbered and beaten down 'till HBK runs in for the save! They clear out the ring and suddenly Benoit locks HBK in the Crippler Crossface!!! Austin then comes in and orders the Benoit/Batista match to get started and everyone else is barred from ringside.

Benoit and Batista have an OK match here. Suprisingly Benoit is the one pulling off the power moves as he nails a release-German suplex and than the triple-German! Benoit misses the swan-dive headbutt, but flips out of Batista's powerbomb and manages to lock on the Crippler Crossface! Batista taps out for the first time in his WWE career!

Interesting stuff next as Austin gives Bisch a pep talk about how he shouldn't be afraid of Vince since he did carry WCW Nitro to 83 consecutive weeks beating RAW back in the day.

Rob Van Dam and Booker T beat La Resistance. This was a standard by the numbers match. I'm actually starting to get bored with RVD! Match ended with RVD pinning Rob Conway with the 5-Star frog splash. Conway wasn't the legal man. I really couldn't care much for this one.

Trish confronts Christian backstage about their match later on. Christian says he doesn't want to hurt Trish and would lie down for Trish if she would lie down for her later (wink wink). Before Trish could react, Christian pulls a 180 and says he's just kidding. Uh-huh.

We then get JR's "Shocking" interview with Mick Foley. I actually missed this segment cause I had to go out for a few minutes. But I heard Foley explained why no one came out to help him last week, which was because everyone lost respect for him when he walked out on his match with Orton last December (Good excuse!). From what I could tell, there really wasn't anything 'shocking' about this interview.

Next we get the Christian/Trish match. Christian lies down and Trish covers him. But Christian kicks out at two! Christian than gave Trish a pat on the butt and Trish started to get PO'd. Christian than gave Trish a SICK clothesline that Bradshaw would be proud of! He then locks on the Walls of Jericho and Trish taps out. Jerry Lawler was in full support of Christian's actions here. Shows that he really does only think of the Divas as sex objects.

Vince than comes down the isle for his big WrestleMania announcement and his match with Eric Bischoff. Before he can make his announcement, Stacy Kiebler & Ms. Jacky interupt and plead their case about the Sable/Torrie Playboy issue (Guess Hugh Heffner blew them off last week!). Vince makes Stacy/Jacky VS Torrie/Sable for WMXX in the first ever interpromotional evening gown match. Vince then asks them to show the live crowd a bit of what they got, and Stacy does a few cartwheels as Jacky dances seductively for Vince. Kane comes out and ruins the festivities. Kane complains to Vince that the Undertaker has been tormenting him day and night and wants it all to end (Did't he say last week that the 'Taker was dead dead dead?). Vince than orders Kane Vs The Undertaker at 'Mania which puts Kane at ease. He does his pyro and exits cleanly with no 'Taker interuptions this week. Vince finally gets to make his announcement that Goldberg VS Brock Lesner will NOT happen at WrestleMania! He gave the excuse that no referee could control those two in a match. This brings out Austin who asks for to be the referee for that match. Vince agrees and requests Austin also be the referee for his match with Bischoff now!

The following match between Bisch and Vince was what you'd expect it to be. Dud! Bisch was still made to be a coward despite showing lots of confidence earlier on. It also did't help that Super-Vince no sold what little offence Bisch had. The two brawl to the outside and suddenly Brock Lesner comes out of nowhere and F5's Austin!!! Show ends with Brock staring down the fallen rattlesnake.

Confirmed Matches for WrestleMania XX
Triple H VS Chris Benoit VS Shawn Michaels - World Title Match
Eddie Guerrero VS Kurt Angle - WWE Title Match
The Big Show VS John Cena - US Title Match
Bill Goldberg VS Brock Lesner - Special Referee Stone Cold Steve Austin
Stacy Kiebler & Ms. Jacky VS Sable & Torrie Wilson - Evening Gown Match

Joshi star to become WWE Diva?
Joshi puroresu superstar Ayako Hamada has renewed interest in joining the WWE. The daughter of Gran Hamada, Ayako tried to get into WWE 2 years ago after she left ARSION, but was rejected due to her age (She was only 21!). She just turned 23 this past saturday, and now wants to try her luck again in the American big leagues. Word of advice to Ayako if she does get a contract: If they ask you to go to OVW to work on your ring skills, or if they ask you play a T'n'A puppet to Vince McMahon, GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!


Sunday, February 22, 2004

Super-J Cup and All Japan PPV results

Marufuji Wins Super-J Cup: The 4th Stage
Yesterday, Osaka-Pro hosted the 4th ever Super-J Cup tournament at the Osaka Castle Hall. Representatives from every fed in Japan took part in the show. However, the show was still considered a failure by many as the announced attendance was only 6,800 in a venue that could house 16,000! And the eye-witness accounts say the actual attendace numbers may be even lower, around the 5,000 range. Another complaint many had was that the length of the matches just seemed to fly by, with most matches not even making the 10-minute mark.

The first round of the tournament kicked off with Pro-Wrestling NOAH's Naomichi Marufuji defeating ZERO-ONE's Jun Kasai with the Shiranui. Garuda of Hayabusa's WMF promotion than defeated Osaka-Pro's Goa with a huricanrana. New Japan's Wataru Inoue beat Michinoku Pro's Kazuya Yuasa with an Octopus hold submission, and in the last quarterfinal, Osaka-Pro's Takehiro Murahama defeated All Japan's Taichi Ishikari with a brainbuster.

Non-tournament matches before the next round saw K-Dojo's Ofune beat fellow K-Dojo-mate Apple Miyuki with a front neck lock, Tomohiro Ishii (WJ), MEN's Teoh (BJW) & MIKAMI (DDT) beat Kintaro Kanemura (WEW - Is this guy really a Jr Heavy?!?), Big Boss MA-G-MA (OPro) & Azteca when Ishii used a brainbuster on Azteca, and Kuishinbo Kamen defeated his eternal rival Ebessan for the unofficial World's No.1 title with the Kankuu Tornado. The big announcement was made after that they would have their rematch in America at NWA:TNA's 3/3 PPV!

The second round of the tournament began with Naomichi Marufuji advancing after defeating Garuda with a modified cradle and his opponent in the finals would be Takehiro Murahama who scored his win over Wataru Inoue with his brainbuster finisher.

Before the finals, Billy Ken Kid & Tigers Mask successfully made their V2 defence of the Osaka-Pro tag team titles as they defeated the team of TAKA Michinoku (K-Dojo) & Shiryu (Kaz Hayashi - AJPW), in what was considered an upset when BKK pinned TAKA with a backslide.
Next was the big young generation vs old generation 6-man tag. The young gen team lead by NJPW's IWGP Jr. champion Heat, with NOAH's KENTA & Toryumon's CIMA defeated the veteran team of GHC Jr. champion Jushin Thunder Liger (NJPW), Jinsei Shinzaki (MPro) & Super Delphin (OPro) when CIMA pinned Delphin following his Schwein finisher. This was the longest match of the night at just 16 minutes.

Next came the big finals. Naomichi Marufuji won the tournament beating Murahama with an avalanche-style Shiranui after Murahama had kicked out of a regular Shiranui. Marufuji was awarded a golden jacket and prize money. Overall, the show was said to be good by indy-standards, but a failure by Super-J Cup standards, due to the lack of any big names in the actual tournament itself as they were trying to push the younger generation of workers. Also absent were any foreign workers in the tournament and the fact that with the exception of Garuda, non of the participants were true high-flyers.

All Japan Nippon Budokan PPV Results
This is one All Japan show I'll definately be getting a tape of! This is also said to be the last All Japan show ever to be held at the Budokan 'till next year's Giant Baba Memorial Show, as the company is trying to cut back it's expenses by booking smaller venues. The company has been running shows in the building since 1975, so this is one of the last ties to All Japan's history that is being killed off. This show was said to be a super no vacancy sellout of 16,000 attendance.

1. Abdullah the Butcher, Ebedullah Buchan, & Yaz Urano defeated Shigeo Okumura, Gran Hamada, & Taichi Ishikari in 11:58 when Butcher pinned Ishikari after an elbow drop.

2. Ryuji Hijikata & Nobukazu Hirai defeated Nobutaka Araya & Hideki Hosaka in 9:08 when Hijikata used a Fisherman Suplex Hold on Hosaka for the win.

3. TAKA Michinoku, The Gladiator & Bull Buchanan defeated Arashi, Hi69 & Masayuki Kono in 12:09 when Gladiator pinned HI69 with a flying bodypress.

4. Hardcore Tag Match: Tomoaki Honma & Kazushi Miyamoto defeated NOSAWA & MAZADA in 12:27 when Honda pinned NOSAWA following the Shalimarti.

5. Genichiro Tenryu defeated Masanobu Fuchi in 10:43 with a powerbomb.

6. World Jr. Title Match: Kaz Hayashi defeated BLUE-K (TAKA Michinoku) in 14:31 with the Final Cut to become the 21st Champion. Hayashi is now a triple title holder as he also holds the world tag team titles with Kojima and All Asian Tag Titles under the gimmick of Shiryu, also partnered with Kojima under his Great Kosuke gimmick.

7. Taiyo Kea defeated Satoshi Kojima in 19:23 with the Hawaiian Smasher.

8. Keiji Mutoh & Bob Sapp defeated Jamal & D-Lo Brown in 15:05 when Mutoh pinned D-Lo after the Shining Impact.

9. Triple Crown: Toshiaki Kawada defeated Shinya Hashimoto in 19:57 by TKO when ZERO-ONE manager Nakamura threw in the towel after Kawada put Hashimoto in the Stretch Plumb. This was not the finish I was hoping for, but sounds like a good match. I guess this now makes them even as Kawada once had the towel thrown in for him during a tag match with Mutoh VS Hashimoto & Naoya Ogawa at the ZERO-ONE 5/5/03 show. Hopefully we get another match out of these guys with a proper finish.

Credit to Strong Style Spirit and Puroresu Power for the results.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Spoiling The Illusion Vol.4

I don't know what pissed me off more this week, WWE RAW or NWA:TNA. You guys be the judge:

- The obvious here is that one week later, Eric Bicshoff's lawyers still can't figure out that just because Shawn Michaels signed his name on Benoit's contract doesn't make it legal! And to settle the dispute they are now making the main event a triple threat match? COME ON! We can all see where this is going. Benoit gets made to look weak compared to HBK & HHH in the coming weeks, but finally wins the big one at 'Mania, by beating Michaels and not Helmsley. Funny thing is, by then the fans just don't seem to care that much and the following weeks on RAW, Benoit's crowd pops don't sound too exhilirating. Seeing this, McMahon decides they made a mistake putting the belt on Benoit and low and behold, HHH wins the belts back at the next PPV. Sound familiar? This is more or less the same cycle WWE has been using all year and I personally feel is all part HHH's brilliantly evil plan to be dominant.
- Note to the WWE, listen to your live audience cause their currently BOOING HBK for stealing Benoit's spotlight.
- Mick Foley. Everyones favorite loveable hardcore icon and friend to all. Suddenly he gets beat down by Evolution and NO ONE comes out to help?!? Not even SHERIFF AUSTIN? I guess the 3-man beat down doesn't break any of his laws. PWInsider.com was right when they said WWE missed a golden opportunity here to bring back the Rock to help out Foley in his time of need and suprise everyone. Now they might go the predictable route of having Foley announce Rock as some kind of a mystery partner.
- Someone tell Stacy Kiebler & Miss Jacky that to be on the cover of Playboy, requires that you pose NUDE in Playboy. This is all just a cheap dumb stunt that will result in somekind of cheap timewasting match between them and Sable & Torrie at WMXX. Which will of course ruin a good PPV the way the Miller-Cat Fight Girls did at WMXIX.

- I am just sick of Jeff Jarrett's powertrip angle. It's just ridiculous. Even Vince McMahon and during the McMahon-Helmsley era, they never stooped to such annoying lows. And now we're suppose to believe Vince Russo is a face? Not Me. Not anyone with any active braincells. This will probably just go on for a couple more months before they do the double turn AGAIN, making Jarrett face and Russo heel. It's this simple: The board of directors have all QUIT. That leaves Jarrett as the boss. This means eventhough Russo is the Director of Authority, he STILL works for Jarrett. Nuff said.
- And since when did Sandman's vendetta with the New Church become Terry Funk's vendetta? And what happen to Sandman this week? Since Sandman had such trouble finding Raven, and Funk did, couldn't Sandman have asked Funk where to find him?

Other Wretling News of the week
Life after WWE for Spanky!

Congratulations to the team of Low Ki and Leonardo Spanky (Brian Kendrick) as they won the NWA Light-Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, defeating the defending team of Dick Togo and Ikuto Hidaka at ZERO-ONE's tour opening show at Tokyo's Korakuen Hall on 2/19. See. Someone does aknowledge Spanky's talents!
On the same show, the long standing EMBLEM team of Masato Tanaka and Shinjiro Ohtani have appearantly split-up as the two had a big brawl following a match where they lost the NWA Intercontinental Tag Team Titles to Takao Omori and Shiro Koshinaka.

NOAH looking for new talent
This is not a joke. The following is all REAL!:
Pro-Wrestling NOAH is currently looking for interested applicants to apply for the 2005 session of their private school. For those interested to try their luck and apply, the qualifications needed are: at least a high school graduate and minimum height of 5ft11inch. For documentation, applicants need to submit details on their height, weight, sports history, resume and pictures (whole body and upper body). Proof of insurance is said to be a big plus (Couldn't agree more considering the way they train in Japan!). The deadline to submit entries is Feb 29th 2004. Potential candidates will be contacted by NOAH to undergo various physical exams and after the physical, the final results will be mailed to the applicants. Interested candidates can contact NOAH via phone: 03-3527-5311 (Japanese language only), Fax: 03-3527-5315 (English can be read), or mail them at:
Pro-Wrestling NOAH
1-3-25 Ariake
Kohtoh-ku, Tokyo
Be warned though, out of the last batch of applicants, NONE of them passed the final exams!
Thanks to www.puroresupower.com for the info.


Wednesday, February 18, 2004

RAW buries Benoit

This week's edition of RAW was mostly downhill.

First we get HHH mouthing off wondering who his opponent for WrestleMania is, saying he didn't want a repeat of what was done at WrestleMania X when Yokuzuna had to defend the title twice in one night. Hey Game, if your 'that good', why should you care who your opponent is? Bisch comes out and says the lawyers are still debating who his opponent is (huh?), so offers HHH to defend the title against either HBK or Benoit. HHH takes neither. This brings out Benoit who tell HHH to shut up (like most of us would want to do) before beating the crap out of him and and locking on the Crossface before Evolution run in to help.

First match of the night sees the makeshift team of RVD and Booker T beat Flair & Batista for the Tag Team Titles. The excuse here was that Mick Foley ran in after Orton and Batsita went to help Oron, leaving Flair alone with Book & RVD. RVD 5-Star Frog Splashed Flair while he had Figure Four on Booker, who then covered him for the win.

Next, Kane beat Y2J by referee stop (never thought I'd say that in a WWE match!) when Kane continuelly attacked Jericho's injured leg. Post match Kane attacks Y2J some more, before proclaiming on the mic he killed the Undertaker and that he's not coming back (early nominee for the 'Can't Get The Hint' Award). As Kane goes back up the ramp, the lights go out and it starts raining on Kane! Spooky...

Hour 2 began with Orton calling out Foley for a 'non-sanctioned' match. It was just a brawl for most part. When Orton gets in over his head, Flair & Batista run in and the 3-on-1 beat down ensues. This just went on for WAY too long. Everytime you think it was over, they'd start beating Foley. Again, and again, and again....yawn. Is Foley such a legend and loveable guy backstage that NO ONE (even SHERRIFF AUSTIN) wouldn't come out to help? Guess it's not breaking the law...
Foley gets stretchered out.

Backstage Stacy and Jackie complain to Bisch about not being on the cover of Playboy. Bisch suggests they just call Hugh Heffner direct. Hopefully Hugh will explain to them that to be on the cover of Playboy, you have to pose NUDE IN PLAYBOY! Lingerie and tight outfits don't count.

Bisch brags to Austin about kicking Vince's ass during the monday night wars and we are then graced by Vince McMahons himself who says next week he'll make a big announcement, while in his wrestling gear in the ring, and calls on Bisch to see if he can kick his ass then.

Next we get the first true high point of the night in a good Women's tag match, as Trish Stratus teams with the VERY unlikely partner of VICTORIA, who was out of this world HOT tonight!

To say she was being cheeky is a BIG understatement! And their opponents were Molly & Jazz. But VICTORIA was dominant tonight! Scoring the pin on Molly following the Widow's Peak.

Post match, Test comes in disrupting Victoria and Steven's victory taking them both down, when suddenly Trish jumps on his back! Test slams her down, but before he could do anymore, Christian makes the save!
Backstage, Trish thanks Christian for the save, and Christian offers to go with Trish to the Hospital to check on Y2J. Christian then gives her the flowers Y2J wanted t give her. hmm...

Main event time and it's the much anticipated HBK vs Chris Benoit match! Unfortunately, this whole match was just so-so. The two just didn't seem to gel, and HBK looked a bit lazy as well. As Benoit has the advantage, HHH comes down the isle and distract him, giving HBK the chance to hit Sweet Chin Music for the win that buries Benoit's push. HHH then Pedigrees HBK since he couldn't defend himself. Austin then comes out and announces that at WrestleMania, HHH will defend the title against both Benoit and HBK in a Triple Threat Match. Big whoop to end the show.

Seriously. Tonights show was mostly thumbs down. The only good point for me was Victoria's outfit. Foley didn't get any promo time, and this is probably the first time that NON of the mid-card were featured ('cept maybe Steven Richards & Test)! You can bet I'll have alot to bitch about in my 'Spoiling the Illusion' column later this week.


Tuesday, February 17, 2004

WWE No Way Out does the fans right!

Show starts with Torrie and Sable coming out to welcome the crowd to No Way Out before the opening intro began. At this point I was pretty sure to expect alot of these useless segments since the card only listed six matches (I didn't know about Rhyno/Holly since it was only announced on HEAT).

Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty VS The Bashams & Shaniqua - Handicap Tag Team Title Match
This was nothing special. Nothing they couldn't give away on free TV. Rikishi hits the Banzai Drop on Shaniqua's stomach (so as not to bust her implants?) to retain the tag belts.

Jamie Noble VS Nidia
Noble has to be blindfolded. This was mostly a comedy match with Nidia taking cheap shots and making fun of Noble. Noble lifts his hood for a split second to catch Nidia of the top and submit her with a front neck lock. Short and simple.

Charlie Haas & Sheldon Benjamin VS The APA
I thought this was a fun brawl. Bradshaw was selling his busted arm from SmackDown, yet manages to hit a killer fallaway slam from the middle rope. Bradshaw hits the Clothesline From Hell on Haas, but Benjamin was the legal man and he superkicked Bradshaw for the win. **

Bill Goldberg finally arrives and out comes Paul Heyman to warn 'Berg not to try anything or he'll be arrested. Then out comes Brock Lesner, who calls out Goldberg to meet him face to face instead of blindsiding him during the title match (good idea!). Goldberg steps in the ring as Heyman repeatedly warns him not to try anything. Distracted, Brock takes the opportunity to tackle 'Berg into the corner and shoulder tackle him several times before attempting an F5! But Goldberg escapes and Jackhammers Brock! Heyman screams for security who arrest Goldberg and escort him from the building. I was pretty sure this was the last we'd see of 'Berg for the night and This would be the sting to Brock that would help Eddie later.

Hardcore Holly VS Rhyno
Another fun brawl. Holly came out while Brock was still recovering in the ring and ran straight for Lesner who hightailed it right out of there! I was thinking Holly would do further damage to cost Brock the title later. Good mix of power moves and ground holds in this one. Rhyno Gores Holly right out of the ring, but he manages to make it back in before the 10 count and score the Alabama Slam for the sudden win. **

An Undertaker promo vid plays on the Titantron. 28 Days to go.

Chavo Guerrero Jr with Chavo Guerrero Sr VS Rey Mysterio with Jorge Paez - WWE Cruiserweight Title Match
This was an awesome contest reminiscent of the Title match they had back in the late days of WCW. I was pretty sure it would be an even contest when Jorge Paez KO'd Chavo Sr. for disrupting Rey's West Coast Pop, and the referee barred Jorge from the rest of the match. Very good back and forth contest, marred at the end when Chavo Sr. tripped Mysterio off the top allowing Chavo to get the win. They gave this match enough time to be real good. ***1/2

Kurt Angle VS Big Show VS John Cena - Wrestlemania No.1 Contenders Match
Ever notice whenever we put Angle and Big Show together in a 3-Way Dance, the results are always pretty good? This was no exception! Lots of good spots and near falls. Interesting spot when Angle tried to German suplex Show off the apron to the floor! Cena hits the FU on the massive Show. Show screams blue murder as Angle locks on the Ankle Lock! Show Chokeslams both his opponents! Lots of action! End of the match sees Big Show chop block Cena's bad knee as he tried to FU Angle, Angle then Olympic Slam Big Show out of the ring and Ankle Locks Cena, before turning it to the heel hold he used on Benoit in last year's Royal Rumble, to win the match and No.1 Contendership! Good paced match! ***

Brock Lesner VS Eddie Guerrero - WWE World Title Match
This match was off the charts! Great heat from the crowd throughout the match and were thouroughly behind Eddie. back and forth action as Eddie worked on Brock's knee and Brock worked on Eddie's ribs. I was well on the way to giving this match a 5-Star rating when suddenly 'sports entertainment' took over and the referee got bumped as Brock F5'd Eddie. Taking the opportunity, Brock went to get his title belt to smack Eddie with when Goldberg came out of nowhere and Speared him! This gave Eddie the chance to try to smack Brock with the belt, but Brock lifted Eddie for another F5! But Eddie counters it into a DDT onto the belt! Eddie hits the Frog Splash and the referee counts 3 to give Latino Heat the championship!!! ****3/4

The PPV was really flat until the 2nd half. I'm still suprised at the time they gave the 3 main events. Thirty minutes for a main event is a rare thing in the WWE these days. The only true complaint I have is that the two big title matches couldn't end clean. I could probably understand for Chavo since he's a heel, but I thought when Goldberg speared Brock earlier in the show that that would be the excuse Brock would have for losing. The run in and the use of the title belt at the end of the main event really ruined a true classic that would have garnered a 5-Star rating.

Yesterday I said New Japan did a great service for their fans by putting the IWGP title back on Tenzan. WWE may have done the same here. Now is only the matter of giving Benoit his just dues.


Monday, February 16, 2004

Tenzan wins IWGP Tourney!

Hiroyoshi Tenzan overcame all odds yesterday as he went through 3 men in one night to become the 35th IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. Everyone (myself included) was sure Tenzan would not even make it to the semis, but New Japan did their fans a great service by finally giving the title to the most deserving man on the roster.

The tournament started with Yuji Nagata notching another win against Tadao Yasuda. Despite cheating tactics by the Makai Club and injuring his knee, Nagata came back and tapped out Yasuda with the Nagata Lock III.
Next up was Tenzan's hard fought bloody battle with Kensuke Sasaki, but thanks to a little distraction from Shinya Makabe, Tenzan manage to hit the TTD for the win.
After alot of whinning, Tanahashi proved his worth in the tournament when he scored a big win over Yoshihiro Takayama with a victory roll. Takayama praised Tanahashi for the win, but all Tanahashi had to say was " It was a historic win!"
The last quaterfinal of the night ended in bizarre fashion as Tenryu KO'd Chono suddenly with a soccer kick to the face about six minutes into the match. Chono had to be stretchered out. I've seen Tenryu bust Omori's nose with a similar kick in World Japan so I can guess what it looked like.

The first semi final was another bloody battle for Tenzan as he overcame Nagata, scoring the win with the moonsault press. But in the process he injured Nagata as his leg landed on Nagata's face and KO'd him, also needing to be stretchered out after with a possible concusion.
Then came the battle of young vs old as Tanahashi looked to prove himself by furthering up the ladder, but had his dream cut short as he fell to Tenryu's 53Yrs Old brainbuster.

Prior to the finals, the GHC Jr Heavyweight title was contested as Mitsuo Momota, the first member of Japanese legend Rikidozan's family step foot into a New Japan ring, tried to bring the gold home to NOAH. Momota's attempts fell short as he lost to a ground-cobra twist hold by defending champion Jushin Thunder Liger.

Than came the much anticipated finals. Tenzan Vs Tenryu! This was said to be fast paced despite the fatigue from earlier matches. Tenzan again bleeding profusely, but managed to come back and score the TTD followed by the top rope diving headbutt to become the 35th IWGP Champion. The celebration was almost cut short by a blindside attack by a bitter Kensuke Sasaki! But after Sasaki got removed Tenzan still managed to pull himself together and give his congratutory speech.

Congratulations to Tenzan and may his reign be longer than the last with many successfull defenses!

No WWE No Way Out Report?
I was busy today and missed the live airing of the show. But I will be catching the replay later tonight and will put up a report tomorrow, so check back then.


Friday, February 13, 2004

Spoiling The Illusion Ep.3

Welcome to the third edition of Spoiling The Illusion. Got two big bones to chew with this weeks edition of RAW, so here we go:

– The main gripe here would have to be Shawn Michaels KO’ing Chris Benoit and signing his name on Benoit’s WrestleMania XX contract, thus it automatically puts Michaels in the main event slot that Benoit rightfully earned. And Eric Bischoff still has to confer with his lawyers to see if Michaels’ signature on the contract is valid? COME ON! When was it stated that the winner of the Royal Rumble is GUARANTEED a shot at the world champion at WrestleMania UNLESS someone else signs his name on the contract? Does this mean next time they have a live contract signing, anyone can just rush the ring and sign his name to automatically get a title shot/main event slot? For that matter, throwing logic completely out the window, does that mean if the Malaysian National Football team were about to sign someone to a multi-million dollar contract, and I rushed in and signed my name before the signee, does that automatically make me a member of the National team? Hell no, My @$S would be spending the night in jail.

- Why the heck was Benoit made to be so intimidated by Triple H? This is NOT Benoit’s first main event. This is NOT Benoit’s first World Title shot. This is NOT Benoit’s first match with HHH. He even has years of wrestling experience over HHH. So why the heck was he made to look so pitiful when HHH was berating him? We all KNOW Benoit is fearless. That’s why we call him the RABIB WOLVERINE. This is a man who beat Rikishi mercilessly with a steel chair at a past King of the Ring because he had nothing to prove there. This is the man that has proven time and time again why he is the best WRESTLER in World WRESTLING Entertainment. Heck, he even headbutt Stephanie McMahon once just cause he could.

No Way Out PPV predictions
Only SIX matches? Either their going to give them more work time, or expect a lot of backstage shenanigans, maybe something to put over the Torrie/Sable issue of Playboy.

The World’s Greatest Tag Team VS The APA
- APA spend most of the match beating down the smaller Haas and Benjamin, but lose in the end due to their cheating tactics.

Rikishi & Scotty 2 Hotty VS The Bashams & Shaniqua – Handicap Tag Title Match
- Bashams win back the gold after Shaniqua takes a stinkface.

Jamie Noble VS Nidia – Noble to be blindfolded
- Jamie wins when a new Diva debuts to help him.

Rey Mysterio with Jorge Paez VS Chavo Guerrero with Chavo Guerrero Sr. – Cruiserweight Title Match
- This has potential to be the show-stealer, but will be marred by outside interference. Chavito beats Mysterio for the Title.

Kurt Angle VS John Cena VS Big Show – No.1 Contenders Match
- This will be a tough call, but I’ll have to go with Kurt Angle. Cena will go on the face Big Show at ‘Mania for the US Title.

Brock Lesner VS Eddie Guerrero – WWE Title Match
- Expect Goldberg to play some part in Guerrero winning the title.

IWGP Title Tournament predictions
Due to the advancement of modern technology, I will base my predictions for this weekend's New Japan IWGP title tournament on a simulation I ran in the PS2 game King Of Colosseum, probably the best puroresu game to run simulations on. I ran an eight man tournament with all PC controlled players and here's what I got:

Round 1 - Tenzan survives a barrage of stiff lariats to beat Sasaki with the TTD.
Round 1 - Nagata makes short work of Yasuda and pins him with a Backdrop Hold.
Round 1 - A lot of out ring brawling, Chono taps out Tenryu with the STF.
Round 1 - Takayama destroys Tanahashi and breaks him with the Everast German Suplex hold.

Round 2 - After almost half an hour of back and forth action, Nagata beats Tenzan with the Nagata Lock II
Round 2 - Chono avenges his previous losses to Takayama, beating him after several Yakuza Kicks

GHC Jr. Title (I just couldn't resist!) - It takes TWO Ligerbombs to finally put away Momota for Liger to retain his title.

IWGP Tournament Finals - A bloody and exhausted Nagata reclaims the IWGP title after countering the Yakuza Kick into a Backdrop Hold

Bare in mind this was just a video game simulation. But the NFL annually does the same thing for the SuperBowl and every year thus far the team that wins in the video game wins the actual SuperBowl! This could indeed be a sign of things to come....

Major League Wrestling closes it's doors....Again
I can't believe I forgot to mention this yesterday. Earlier this week MLW head honcho Court Bauer announced the cancellation of all remaining MLW shows and TV deals due to financial problems, and again would be shutting down operations for what looks to be permanant this time. Apparantly two of their financial backers backed out after other deals they ran went sour. And would leave MLW in deep financial trouble if they went on with any shows.
Dave Whitaker of 1wrestling.com had a very good perspective where he claims the company tried to move too fast before it had firmly established itself. I might have to agree when you consider all the big events they tried to pull off in the short amount of time they were around. Dave also gave a good idea of how he would have run things the secod time around.
The way I see it, theres still the possibility of an MLW resurrection somewhere down the line if Bauer and co. can re-vamp the whole operations of the company. I would start off small by just doing the regular indy-style house shows followed by the occasional video release for bigger shows, like what many other smaller feds like ROH would do. And when the time was right, try to make the pitch to get MLW back on TV like how ECW did. But only after the company reaches financial stability.


Thursday, February 12, 2004

AAA win America's X-Cup, but...

The AAA team of Juventud Guerrera (captain), Abismo Negro, Aguila (AKA Esse Rios) & Hector Garza beat the TNA team of Jerry Lynn (captain), Chris Sabin, Elix Skipper & Sonjay Dutt to win the America's X-Cup. Despite the whole show revolving around the series of matches for the cup, Jeff Jarrett still found a way to make himself the focal point of the show as he basically interupted the AAA teams big win, brushing them aside just to further his own angle. This night should have been left alone to the X-Cup.

KaShin Finally stripped of title
After a reign that seemed to last forever, Kendo Kashin was stripped of his All Japan Jr Title due to injuries. This opens the door to rejuvinate the AJPW Jr Division. Are you listening MUTOH?!?

WWE releases two more wrestlers
Who betta' than Kanyon? WWE doesn't seem to think so, as after years in obscurity, Chris Kanyon was released by WWE. And someone better call Ernest Miller's mama, as the Cat was also released after one PPV shot and a few small TV appearances.


Wednesday, February 11, 2004

RAW is all talk this week

This week's edition of RAW started out strong until the second hour when HHH had to come out and ramble seemingly forever. The second hour of the show just seemed really week from that point on.

- RAW started off well with an excellent in-ring segment by Vince McMahon (who looked like he had something stuck up his @$$ the way he was walking), Steve Austin, Goldberg and Paul Heyman. Heyman was just gold on the mic here (as he always is). Heyman eats a spear from 'Berg, then McMahon sidesteps a spears intended for him and Austin gets speared! Question now is, who was suppose to be Goldberg's opponent and isn't this another example of the WWE's miss-use of talent when they would rather cancel a match istead of going with the angle after Goldberg quickly squashes whoever his opponent was scheduled to be?
- Backstage and Goldberg explains to Austin that him getting speared was an honest mistake. Austin says if he Stunners 'Berg while his back is turned that it wouldn't be. Goldberg says he can live with that. Does that mean Austin is gonna Stunner Goldberg at WrestleManiaXX screwing him out of his match against Brock Lesner?
- Next up, Vince confronts Bisch in his office and orders him to suspend Goldberg (again) and that Bisch would be responsible if Goldberg does anything to spoil the main event at No Way Out. Lets hope Bisch remembers to get the paperwork done this time.
- We get a descent mix-tag match where Jericho and Trish beat Mattitude and Molly. The suprise here was that Christian ran in and helped Y2J & Trish when the heel team was going to cheat! The even bigger swerve was that Christian now seems to be trying to pick up Trish since she and Jericho are 'just friends'. This could be interesting.
- This next seg was cut out on Astro as Stacy & Jacky now claim Playboy made a big mistake not choosing them to do the dual photo shoot.
- Next we get an awesome Chris Benoit Vs Ric Flair match. Very good back and forth action. Flair even took the triple rolling German suplexes!
Finish saw Benoit counter Flair's Figure-Four for the eventual tap out. Flair lasted longer than Mark Henry in this move and he ain't even the 'world's strongest man'!
- HHH asks for and gets the contract signing for WrestleManiaXX next. This is where the show goes downhill as HHH just seemed to go on and on and on about how Benoit's dream of going to WrestleMania and the reality that Benoit was not going to win the title. To me this just looked really degrading as Benoit just stood there and took it like a school boy being punished. When HHH is finally done, HBK comes out and tells Benoit he should have stayed on SmackDown so he could finish his business with HHH at WrestleMania for the world title. Benoit disagrees and says at Mania, it's gonna be HHH vs Benoit one on one, which leads to HBK giving Benoit Sweet Chin Music. While Benoit is out cold, HBK signs the WrestleMania contract as the crowd boos him.
- Next match sees Kane squash Hurricane in under a minute and a half. Kane goes for his pyro-pose, but nothing happens till the third time. Then we get another Undertaker vid with the cryptic message, "34 Days until the dead will rise again". So either this is the return of the Darkside Undertaker, or Al Wilson is making his return and jumping to RAW....
- A PO'd Benoit is leaving the arena but is stopped by Bicsh who says he's getting his lawyers to look into HBK signing the WrestleMania contract. But said that next week it would be Benoit vs HBK! Benoit walked off looking more pissed than before.
- Terri interviews Randy Orton and he claims theres a conspiracy against him. Wonder if he's gonna go to Washington and protest it like Jericho did in WCW? How much you wanna bet he's gonna start looking for every legal loophole he can to hold on to his IC title if he continues this conspiracy angle?
- Mick Foley comes out next and starts berating Orton. Saying how Orton as accused him of being a coward, whereas while Orton was in the marines, he went AWOL for 87 days, leading to him being unhonorably discharged (this is all true btw). He called him a true coward for turning his back on his country, and compared him to Jimmy Swaggart (preached against illicit sex but was caught with a huge stack of porn magazines) and Rush Limbaugh (spoke against drugs and then got caught with enough pain killers to knock out a bull elephant). He challenges Orton to a match at WrestleManiaXX. Orton comes out on the Titantron and says they do things his way, and calls him out to face him in the catering room. Foley falls for the oldest trick in the book and goes after Orton in the catering room, only to be beat down by Flair & Batista. Batista actually powerbombs Foley through a table and Orton takes a few cheap shots after.
- Main event sees Orton defeat Booker T and Rob Van Dam in a three way dance to retain his IC title. This match was kind of pointless since it got next to no build. Booker & RVD carried most of the match. Awesome spot where Booker gave Orton a backdrop and RVD frog-splashed Orton while up in Booker's shoulders! Orton knocks RVD out of the ring after he hit the 5-Star and steals a pin on Booker. A battered and bruised Foley than limps to the ring only to take a RKO on the floor by Orton and show ends with Orton talking smack to a downed Foley.

Overall, this show really lagged in the second half, but you could say they did a good job to hype the SmackDown PPV this weekend, and continue to build toward WrestleMania. Right now I seriously disagree with making the main event for WrestleMania a 3-way dance, as that's what they seem to be planning. You can already tell if Benoit does win the belt now, HBK will be the one taking the fall. You could also tell from the crowd reaction when he signed the contract how much the crowd disagreed with HBK stealing Benoit's main event. And it's gonna be a long road to WrestleMania if their going to continue building it with long drowned out speaches in the coming weeks. RAW has been really good up till these two weeks.


Sunday, February 08, 2004

Spoilling The Illusion and other wrestling thoughts

Sorry if I'm a bit late on this one since I've been a bit busy.

Spoilling The Illusion
RAW - Since their motto now is 'Escape the Rules', Is that really an excuse for all the fodder they gave us this week? Maybe they should change it to 'Forget About Logic'.
- Mark Henry taps out in record time to Benoit's Crippler Crossface. I'm pretty sure it takes a little longer for your neurons to register the pain to your brain. Next thing you know were getting reports the Mark Henry's shoulder is dislocated! Come on, Henry is suppose to be the strongest man in the world!
- Stacy Kiebler again coming out and hinting at the possible dual Playboy shoot with Ms. Jackie. But if you go to WWE.com, She says in an interview she has no intention and would never pose nude. Guess since they think the Internet is the lowest demographic, probably no one would care enough to notice...
- Bischoff cancels a Women's title match just to have Kane destroy WWE's Diva of the Year? Since Bisch went ahead with Kane vs Trish, doesn't it mean that Jericho should still get his Survivor Series favour? Wait a minute, that would be logic.
- Why the heck did Goldberg just walk out of his match with Kane when the Undertaker's special effects started? Was he afraid of choking on all the smoke?
- Why did it take two weeks before HBK finally got around to cleaning HHH's blood off his boots? Was he thinking that he should only clean his boots since he was working a live TV match instead of a house-show?

- Again, Brock Lesnar is suppose to be a MONSTER, yet he was running from Hardcore Holly, and now he's backing down from Eddie Guerrero?
- After all the teasing on Raw with Stacy and Ms. Jacky, SmackDown suddenly come out and announce that Sable and Torrie will be in Playboy and even gave a magazine cover as further proof. They have no excuse if they still continue to push Stacy & Jacky Playboy tease on RAW.

Yes, I even found something from TNA that could possibly insult our intelligence more than what Vince McMahon has come up with this past week, A 'If you lose, you get fired' clause in the wrestler's contract! This has to be the most rediculous wrestling angle I've heard of possibly since Kathy Vick! Shouldn't Sonny Siaki have been fired a LONG time ago?!? And what kind of idiot would sign a contract like that? Oh wait, it's Sonny "Rock Wannabe" Siaki we're talking about.
And why would the entire board of directors resign because Eric Watts lost one match? And wouldn't an entire board of directors be able to out weigh any decision Don Callis makes on hiw own? Do they really fear that ONE lawyer backing Callis so much?!?

Other News and Thoughts of the week
Nakamura officially vacates IWGP title

Supernova Shinsuke Nakamura has officially vacated the IWGP World Heavyweight Title, meaning the up-coming IWGP Title tournament will indeed be to crown a new champion, with Nakamura being first in line for a title shot later when he fully recovers.

Zack Gowen released by WWE
Why doesn't this suprise me? You had to know there was only so much they could do with him and only so many wrestler's willing to tarnish their credibility by losing to a one-legged KID. I thought he would at least make it to WrestleManiaXX and have a match with Hulk Hogan as revenge for walking out on him in the middle of the angle that was to help put him over. It was rumoured to expect at least four releases this month. The question is, who's next?

All Japan PPV lookin' good
All Japan's final Nippon Budokan show (Possibly ever) on 2/22/04 looks promising so far on paper:
Ganichiro Tenryu Vs Masanobu Fuchi - Battle of the old-bastards!
Satoshi Kojima Vs Taiyo Kea - Possible show-stealer!
Keiji Mutoh & Bob Sapp Vs D-Lo Brown & Jamal - To set up Sapp Vs Jamal later down the line
Toshiaki Kawada Vs Shinya Hashimoto - Triple Crown - Honestly tell me this match doesn't interest you?
All they need to do now is add a Jr. title match and finally have someone beat KaShin!!!


Wednesday, February 04, 2004

RAW goes thumbs in the middle

I though RAW was just an average show last night. Nothing really outstanding or kept me glued to my TV. But they did do a good (in some cases predictable) job of furthering the storyline build for WrestleManiaXX.

- Show starts with the return of Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel and his guest is Chris Benoit. The point of this whole segment it seems was to build up Benoit-Flair for next week.
- Chris Benoit wins his first match on RAW against Mark Henry with the Crippler Crossface. Guess Henry's push is over. He tapped out in record time when almost everyone else could hold on for several seconds before tapping.
- Austin confronts HBK backstage and seems to be pushing for HBK to go heel to get back in the world title hunt...
- Test gets in Foley's face as he arrives in the arena and Randy Orton clobbers Foley with the IC belt. Orton barks off Test before bad-mouthing a downed Foley. I would have prefered to see this segment go the other way around with Orton confronting Foley and Test blindsiding him as revenge for what Foley did to him at the Royal Rumble. Maybe their saving it for a later time?
- Rico beats Rene Dupree thanks to a distraction when Stacy Keibler comes down and shows Rene her 'ASSets'. She then suductively dances with Ms. Jacky while again hinting the Playboy pictorial. Go over to WWE.com and in an interview she says she has no intention and would never pose nude....
- Fun bit where Christian compares Yoko Ono who broke up the Beatles with Trish trying to spoil things between Jericho and himself.
- Trish comes out for her Women's Title match Vs Molly, but Bisch says she's not the No.1 contender (Like it matters). So he then gets her a replacement opponent....KANE! The big red monster instantly goes for the Chokeslam but Y2J runs in for the save. Kane takes out Y2J's knee with a chairshot before ramming it into the ringpost. Since the bell rang to start the match, does it mean Kane won by DQ when Jericho ran in?
- Kane and Goldberg then had a good big man match (Which I always love to see) till the old-school Undertaker special effects went off. I really wonder if today's modern wrestling audience buys all the supernatural effects? This isn't 1994 when cartoony gimmicks help get wrestlers over. Maybe WWE thinks it'll bring back some of their older audiences who remember?
- Despite a botched spot at the begining, Booker T beat Matt Hardy in an OK match. Booker hit a sick looking scissors-kick on Hardy, almost landing on Matt's head, to win the match.
- Orton confronts HBK backstage as he cleans HHH's blood from the Royal Rumble off his boots (took him that long to get around to it?).
- Next up, HHH squashes Spike Dudley in under 2 minutes. A high knee, a vertical suplex, a knee drop and a sick looking Pedigree were the whole match. Mr. Stephanie McMahon says Benoit will face Flair next week as a test to see if he's worthy to run with the big dogs on RAW. Benoit literally went through 30-men at the Royal Rumble to earn his title shot. Isn't that proof enough?
- Austin meets Goldberg backstage and gives him a front-row ticket to No Way Out. We can all see where this is headed.
- Flair & Batista beat Christian & Jericho to retain the tag straps. Match wasn't anything special. Flair made Y2J tap out with the Figure Four on Y2J's injured knee. This will add more fuel to the impending Christian/Y2J breakup.
- Best match of the night saw HBK beat Randy Orton in a non-title match with a rollup as Orton was distracted by Foley coming down the isle.
- Post match, Foley & Orton brawl into the audiece and HHH sends Flair & Batista after them while he goes after a battered HBK, only to have Benoit run in for the save. HHH says Benoit is gonna regret that. Show ends with a tense handshake between Benoit & HBK.
Next Week: The contract signing for the main event of WrestleManiaXX. Can't we all just see whats coming?...

Like I said at the begining, there really wasn't anything significant about RAW this week, so their record for 2004 stands at 2-0-1. However, they certainly have provided plenty of fodder for "Spoilling the Illusion". Which I will post on Friday after reading the SmackDown report. So check back then.
Also notable they didn't give former WWF/E president Jack Tunney who passed away last week any kind of memorial. Most modern day fans wouldn't remember or know who he is but that's still no excuse. A simple graphic at the begining of RAW wouldn't have done any harm.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Japanese Puroresu news and thoughts

Misawa rejects Baba memorial offer
The big news in Japan now is that Mitsuharu Misawa has rejected an offer given by Seiji Sakaguchi and Motoko Baba to take part in the upcoming Baba Memorial Show (6th Anniversary of his passing) on 2/5/05 at the Nippon Budokan. Not only will Misawa not take part, but he won't let any of the other NOAH talent work the show! Misawa says that everyone already has their own memory of what Baba meant to the business and sees no point in doing a show in his memory.

My two cents? I think Misawa still holds a grudge against Motoko Baba for her ill-treatment of him while in AJPW after Baba passed on, and he knows how big a draw a show with workers from all three major Japanese feds (New Japan, All Japan & NOAH) will be. Why should he help the company that put him in charge, but wouldn't use his ideas? Then he leaves, and Keiji Mutoh takes over and is given full control using all kinds of crazy booking ideas. Nice going Motoko. I wonder if this will effect NOAH's working relationship with New Japan? Then again, the show is still more than a year away, and Misawa could change his mind by then.

New Japan news and thoughts
Does Fumihiko Uei have it in for Tenzan or what? Tenzan had a true break-out year, then suddenly his push hits a brick wall. Big win in the 2003 G1 CLIMAX, but main event slot for the IWGP title match gets pushed back. Finally wins IWGP Title, but his V1 defense of the IWGP Title? Loss it to Shinsuke Nakamura. Big win in the G1 Tag League with Osamu Nishimura, wins IWGP tag titles. V1 defense of IWGP tag straps? Loss to Yoshihiro Takayama and Minoru Suzuki just this past 2/1/2004. Suzuki has been said to not be very impressive in his current NJPW run, but since he's a favorite of Uei, he beats the established stars that are Tenzan and Nishimura for a title on his first try. Now all fingers point to Tenzan NOT winning the IWGP provisional champion tournament (See below).

Kensuke Sasaki has been named the 8th man in the IWGP provisional champion tournament. Here are the brackets:
Round 1 - Hiroyoshi Tenzan VS Kensuke Sasaki
Round 1 - Yuji Nagata VS Tadao Yasuda
Round 1 - Masahiro Chono VS Genichiro Tenryu
Round 1 - Yoshihiro Takayama VS Hiroshi Tanahashi
This is a very intruiging setup. But like I said, DO NOT expect Tenzan to be the winner here. The way he's been handled the past few months, many critics (myself included) don't see him winning this, but it's no fault of his own.

Another interesting angle NJPW is playing out is the heel turn of Manabu Nakanishi when he walked out on his partner, and good friend, Yuji Nagata during a big match against Genichiro Tenryu and Kensuke Sasaki. These two had an awesome IWGP Title 60-min draw (A tape I hope to receive soon), and that was when they were friends. Imagine the brutality the two will let loose now that their enemies?! Demon Nagata anyone? If this were the WWE, you could just see Nakanishi costing Nagata his IWGP provisional tournament match to Sasaki....

All Japan to have 2 Champion Carnivals
AJPW announced that this year's annual Champion Carnival will be split into two tours. First will be the "HOLD OUT CUP" from 3/21 to 3/28 and will feature mid-carders Shigeo Okumura, Nobukazu Hirai, Hideki Hosaka, Tomoaki Honma, Kazushi Miyamoto and Masayuki Kono. Not sure if this will draw big crowds or not. Personally, I'll give this a pass.
The second tour will simply be the Champion Carnival Series 2004. No names have been given yet, but expect it to be a main-eventer affair with a few outsiders, possibly from ZERO-ONE, since it was a AJPW worker that won the last ZERO-ONE Fire Festival (Satoshi Kojima). Now if only NOAH would get to work on a tournament of their own...

That's it for now. I'll be back tomorrow with my WWE RAW thoughts, so check back then.

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