My views on Pro Wrestling from the East and West

Friday, May 28, 2004

Random News & Thoughts from the past week

Sapp 'loses his smile'
Bob Sapp returned to America and left behind the IWGP title, asking K-1 to RETURN it to New Japan Pro Wrestling! That's right, after his squash loss to Kazuyuki Fujita, the biggest MMA name in Japan is making a run for it, claiming to want to re-train himself from the bottom up as well as heal injuries he got from his fight with Fujita. His 2nd title defense was scheduled for 6/5/04 against Hiroshi Tanahashi, but that's pretty much out the window at this point. Even Antonio Anoki himself has patitioned for Sapp to be a man and at least show up in person to surrender the title belt.
The way I see it, Sapp's loss to Fujita at K-1 ROMANEX severly effected his status as a top contender to fight Mike Tyson, and losing any further fights (even pro-wrestling matches) would further run down any drawing power the potential match would have.
Sapp may be protecting his best interest, but he's dissapointing his fans, who made him what he is in Japan today. Almost sounds like Goldberg not wanting to job to smaller guys, does it? But I do agree with Anoki that Sapp should at least hand over the belt in person. He should then tell the world how he lost his smile too...thanks to a well placed kick in the face by Fujita!

HUSTLE house shows?
It's being reported that Nobuhiko Takada plans to start running regular DSE wrestling based Hustle shows at Tokyo's Korakuen Hall, with the first show to be called "HUSTLE HALL" on 6/28/04. Takada also plans to break the tradition of Korakuen by giving the shows 'big production' values instead of the usual house feel of the venue. Great. A WEEKLY Hustle show. Guess we know where to catch the Outsiders from now on.

Misawa-Mutoh Update
It now appears the NOAH Tokyo Dome dream match between Mitsuharu Misawa and All Japan's Keiji Mutoh could possibily end up as a GHC Tag Title Match. Yes, Yoshinari Ogawa has once again slipped into a major storyline. If it happens, who Mutoh would pick right now would be a mystery. He says his ideal choice is Taiyo Kea, but since Kea is currently a heel, it would be out of the question.
I hope it doesn't come down to being a tag match, but it would make sense to have all the titles on the line on the biggest show in NOAH's history. As for Mutoh's partner, Mr. 'Northern Lights' Hiroshi Hase anyone?

Spoiling the Illusion

I take one break from Spoiling the Illusion and RAW quickly takes a potshot at me! But have no fear, Spoiling the Illusion has returned! I would like to note that from now on I will only be centering on WWE RAW since it wouldn't be fair to rant on TNA and Smackdown without actually watching them. But I will mention things from the said shows if something REALLY stupid comes up.

- Didn't we all just KNOW it wasn't HBK in the car HHH & Batista attacked? And how convinient was it for Steven Richards to have his hair dyed blonde this week and to be wearing a suit like HBK did before? Anybody else noticed Richards' car still parked outback when HHH was waiting alone for HBK?
- Wasn't it weird how HHH didn't see HBK coming when he got jumped in the parking lot? He should have seen that coming a mile away before HBK was on screen for him to react. It would have looked more real if they had HHH actually see HBK coming and the two met in the middle instead of HBK getting the one up on him.
- Anybody else catch that phantom 3 count in the Edge/Flair match? How Flair could have miscalculated his timing is beyond me, but the fans didn't buy it when Edge released the pin with no resistance from Flair and the referee just barely stopped himself from tapping the mat a 3rd time.
- OK, this is the part that really got to me this week: If Todd Grisham had been waiting outside Lita's locker all night, how could he not have seen Kane go it? Or that he didn't know Lita wasn't even inside to begin with? And how STUPID is it gonna look next week when they play it out that everyone who saw it on TV and on the monitors knew Kane was there EXCEPT Matt Hardy and that NO ONE TOLD HIM?
- I'll agree Kane is scary now, not in a unstoppable monster way, but more of an unstoppable monster pervert. Even I get disturbed now when the camera pans close up to his face. Yeech.
- I said it in my RAW report, and I'll say it again: WHAT THE HELL DID THEY DO TO VICTORIA?!?!?
- I thought it was rather insulting to have Chris Benoit in the room together with the others and threatened by Bischoff with firing them if they didn't help keep HHH & HBK apart. I know HHH would love it, but was Bischoff seriously going to fire a hand-full of workers and road agents, including the reigning world champion, thus allowing them to go to SmackDown just so he could go on a power trip? And if he did fire them, who would be left to stop HHH & HBK? Imagine the hell we would have to endure with an endless HHH & HBK tirade everyweek. Hey, wait a minute.... IT'S ALREADY HAPPENING!

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

RAW mellows out.....a bit

First off for those of you who were wondering, I didn't do a Spoiling the Illusion last week cause I didn't have the mood for it and RAW has really been enjoyable this past few weeks. The only thing I would have to complain about from last week was the dumb "Eddie blacks out" angle on SmackDown, which is just ridiculous. It may have worked once with Shawn Michaels, but I can honestly say Michaels did a better acting job in that one. On to RAW!

Show starts with Triple H and Evolution whining to GM Bisch about how HBK screwed HHH at during last weeks battle royal. Nobody seemed to complain when HHH screwed HBK some weeks back. HHH wants HBK re-instated so he can finish the feud and Bisch allows it. HHH then orders Evolution to show some unity and as they head out for Flair's match with Edge, HHH orders Batista to stay behind with him in case HBK shows up. It was actually funny the way the segment ended with HHH acting all tough and bad-ass 'till he realised he'd be alone while Evolution accompanied Flair for his match.

First match of the night saw Edge beat Ric Flair with a spear. Orton tried to interfere, but Shelton Benjamin ran in to even the score. Edge really needs to go back to the Edge-Cution finisher as I really find his spear to be lame. He doesn't have the size of Rhyno or Goldberg to make it look really dangerous.

HHH & Batista wait at the rear entrance for HBK.

Vince McMahon does a promo sorrounded by girls and announced the RAW Diva Search contest. They were gonna search the country for the ten hottest women they could find and then week by week the WWE fans would vote off the contestants one by one till one girl is left and proclaimed the winner of a WWE contract and $250,000. What? They couldn't have another season of Tough Enough? And do we REALLY need another none-wrestling Diva on RAW? I get the feeling this contest is rigged...

Dumb backstage vignette with Matt Hardy, Lita & Kane. This has been the worst angle on RAW during the high-run the show has had in the past few weeks and this wasn't any better. Again we still don't know what Kane requested of Lita, only that it's been done and it should be over, but Kane continues to stalk Lita.

HHH & Batista see a car pull up and immediately attack the driver thinking it's HBK. It turns out to be Steven Richards, who conviniently has his hair dyed blonde. Realising their mistake, HHH sends Batista to check on Orton & Flair before kicking Richards some more.

La Resistance beat the Hurricane & Rosey when Grenier rolled up Helms after Conway decked him with a hard punch. Hurricane took a very painful looking spill to the outside and seemed to have jammed his knee, which is probably why the ending of the match was a bit sudden.

HHH alone by himself outside gets jumped by HBK. This looked dumb to me as HBK appeared out of thin air and the referees and officials appeared in record time outside the building to break them up.

Chris Jericho's Highlite Reel was next with his guest Randy Orton. Orton tried dodging the question of why he wouldn't put the IC title on the line against Shelton Benjamin which got on Orton's nerves. Orton accused Y2J of having a big mouth like Benjamin and Y2J made fun of his childish remarks. Infuriated, Orton threatens to add the first undisputed champion to his list of legends and Y2J answers with his AWESOME shinning enzuguiri! Mark my words, this is one of the best moves I've seen in a while and is so damn cool that Jericho can hit it out of nowhere like a Stunner! He beats down Orton till Batista runs out, followed by Shelton Benjamin to even the score. Bischoff comes out and announces they foursome will settle their differences in a tag match.

Shelton Benjamin & Chris Jericho beat Randy Orton & Batista in an excellent match when Jericho shoved Orton out of an RKO into Benjamin's almost exploder like powerslam pin finisher. Seems like RAW and Smackdown put out one good tag match every week that makes us true wrestling fans happy!
Trish Stratus had come out during the break and after the tag match, she taunted Jericho who approached her at the announce table. Tyson Tomko then came out and tossed Y2J like a ragdoll into the RAW backdrop before powerbombing Y2J through the announce table. Benjamin was nowhere in sight to make the save.

Kane comes out to hype his match with Benoit for the World Title at Badd Blood and said he always gets what he wants. Based on his past loss record, I don't think so.

HBK was meeting with GM Bisch in his office, wanting to know if he got his stipulation for his match with HHH and Bisch said everything was set. HHH suddenly tackles down HBK and the two are practically brawling on top of Bisch! They get seperated fow a while but go at it again, this time brawling down on top of Johnny Nitro! The GM's office got completely thrashed!

Next match saw Victoria beat Molly Holly with the Widow's Peak. WHAT THE HELL DID THEY DO TO VICTORIA?!? She goes from evil (but hot) psycho to happy (and still hot) psycho, and now she's a happy, smilin' aerobics dancin' fool! This transformation is just too sudden, like the way the Batman movie franchise bombed when George Clooney turned Batman from serious crime fighter to comedic ass-clown. The match was ok, and Victoria got a small measure of revenge as she also hit the Widow's Peak on Gail Kim after the match.

Smackdown Rebound and we see the really bad angle where Guerrero 'blacks out' during the main event.

Bischoff is furious about his office being thrashed and orders Nitro to go gather all the RAW wrestlers and crew as he plans to get control of the HBK-HHH situation.

The RAW locker (including World Champion, Chris Benoit) is backstage and Bischoff threatens to fire ALL of them, Benoit included, if they don't help him to subdue HHH & HBK. Palumbo & A-Train make their RAW debut here. They really should have left Benoit out of this segment as it shows they still don't take him seriously as a champion.

Backstage interview with William Regal and Eugene as they prepare for their match against Garrison Cade and Jonathan Coachman. Nitro then interupts and says Regal has been cleared to wrestle yet. Regal protests that Eugene can't go out on his against two men. Nitro lays it down that unless Eugene can find another partner, he has no choice but to go it alone. Eugene looks very worried and all Regal can do is encourage him to be a man and fight the battle alone if he has to.

Cade and Coach come out, followed by Eugene. Just as it seems Eugene has to go at it alone, who should come out to volunteer as Eugene's partner? CHRIS BENOIT!!! Everyone is in shock at the world champion makes his way to the ring! Benoit doesn't even mind Eugene playing with his title belts! Coah attacks Eugene to start the match, but Eugene manages a to fight them off to tag in the Rabid Wolverine who goes right to work on Cade. Cade gets a short offensive flurry and tags in Coach! Benoit no sells Coach's offense and chops his shirt to shreds! Cade comes in, but is intercepted by Eugene who hits an airplane spin and ejects him from the ring. Benoit hits the triple-German on Coach (!), then hits the swandive headbutt! The crowd goes nuts for Eugene and Benoit tags him in and orders him to do the swandive! Benoit has to help steady Eugene on the top, but he hits the move and gets the win as Benoit ejects Cade from the ring! Eugene, still dazzed from doing the diving headbutt, celebrates hugging Benoit, then running around with Benoit's title belts! Great stuff!

HHH is backstage with Evolution, still pissed at HBK when suddenly HBK jumps him in the locker and a huge pull apart brawl starts up again.

HHH heads to the ring and calls out HBK to finish their business. HBK runs out and the fight is on! Flair runs in but eats Sweet Chin Music instead! Orton and Batista run in but get taken out Chris Benoit and Shelton Benjamin! The rest of the RAW locker run out to seperate the two. As it takes everyone to hold back the former D-X co-founders, GM Bischoff announces that HBK and HHH will settle the score once and for all at Badd Blood, in HELL IN A CELL!!! HHH seems less than thrilled, and HBK launches another attack! Show ends with a big pull apart brawl!!!

This was indeed a good show, though probably not as good as it's been in previous weeks. But you had to expect it to tone down sooner or later. The Badd Blood buildup continues and even though this was a good show, Spoiling the Illusion will be back this weekend!

Puroresu News and Thoughts
Misawa VS Mutoh?
NOAH is currently in negotiations with All Japan Pro Wrestling to have Keiji Mutoh wrestle against Mitsuharu Misawa at NOAH's Tokyo Dome show in July. This is obviously one of the few dream matches left in Japan, but the question is, can the two still put out a good match?
In other NOAH news, Jun Akiyama made a successful V1-2/3 defence of the Global Hardcore Crown against Jun Izumuda on 5/22 with an Exploder in 13:37.

All Japan 6/12/04 Card change
Toshiaki Kawada will make his V6 defence of the Triple Crown on 6/12 at the Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium against Jamal, instead of Keiji Mutoh as originally planned. Why switch Jamal for Mutoh is beyond me, as following the Champion Carnival hierarchy, Kensuke Sasaki would be a more suitable replacement since Jamal finished the tourney no where near the top. Kawada is also aiming to break Misawa's V8 record number of Triple Crown defenses. Not really a hard task when you consider Misawa made his eight defenses in a time span of two YEARS, and in this day and age, title matches are becoming more frequent than it used to be.
Also on the 6/12/04 show, Genichiro Tenryu & Masanobu Fuchi put their newly won All Asian Tag Titles on the line against Kensuke Sasaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima, and Satoshi Kojima & Kaz Hayashi put the All Japan Tag Titles on the line against Kendo KaShin and New Japan ace, Yuji Nagata! should be an interesting show.
Osaka Pro's Kings of Comedy, Kuishinbo Kamen & Ebessan, will be working two shows on the tour. First, the show opener on 5/30 will see Kuishinbo Kamen team up with Masanobu Fuchi to take on Ebessan & Kendo Kashin, then on 6/9, Ebessan & KaShin face off against Kamen & Osaka Pro ace Takehiro Murahama! Both bouts are intruiging to say the least.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

News and Thoughts

New Japan may have actually proven it's motto as the 'King of Sports' when they were victorious in all 5-bouts that featured New Japan representatives VS K-1 fighters.
Blue Wolf made his MMA debut as he totally dominated ex-Zero-One star Tom Howard in 4:44 of the 2nd round when Howards corner threw in the towel. Wolf totally brutalized Howard as he threw wave after wave of knee strikes till the towel was thrown in.
Next up, young Anoki prospect LYOTO beat Australian Sam Greco by judges decision 2-1. LYOTO remains undefeated in MMA, with Greco probably being the biggest name he's beaten so far.
Josh Barnett defeated Rene Rooze by KO in 2:15 of the 1st round.
In the much anticipated rematch, Supernova Shinsuke Nakamura scored his revenge on 'Red Scorpion' Alexey Ignashov with a guillotine choke 1:51 into the 2nd round. Nakamura totally dominated Ignashov and the live crowd were totally behind Nakamura!
In what was considered an even bigger upset, former IWGP heavyweight champion Kazuyuki Fujita totally destroyed current IWGP champion Bob Sapp by KO in 2:10 of round 1!
I hate to say it, but this looks like one K-1 show that even I have an interest to watch.

Taguchi scores his biggest win to date
Day 2 of the 2004 Best of Super Juniors tour saw Ryusuke Taguchi score a huge upset win over junior heavyweight veteran and current GHC Jr heavyweight champion Jushin Thunder Liger, pinning him in just 45 SECONDS with his trademark dropkick!
Anyone that can pin Liger in this day and age is cool in my book!

Grumpy Old Men win AJPW All Asia Tag Titles!
Genichiro Tenryu and Masanobu Fuchi beat The Great Kosuke and Shiryu to become the 76th All Asian tag team champions in 21:43 when Fuchi pinned Shiryu following his trademark backdrop suplex. This is the first title Fuchi has held in a DECADE and unlike most old-timers, he and Tenryu can keep up the workrate to deserve it!

Saturday, May 22, 2004

News and Thoughts from the past week

New Japan VS WWE?
This was probably one the biggest stories of the week. President Uei returned from America with positive news on talks he held with Johnny 'Ace' Laurantis of WWE, and claims both sides have reached somekind of working agreement with hopes for future talent exchanges between both companies. The first being the possibility of NJPW wonderkid Hiroshi Tanahashi working WWE's Budokan show in July, and the possibility of a WWE star participating in this year's G-1 CLIMAX. Uei hinting at Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, former NJPW workers, as candidates.
My take? Don't count your chickens till their hatched. You can bet if anykind of inter promotional deal or angle is worked out, the egos are gonna fly (mostly from the WWE side) and I seriously doubt that said egos would contribute to making any of the possible dream matches really memorable. Until I see a contracted (and credible) NJPW star intrude on a WWE show to start something (with purpose) and vice versa, I wouldn't get over excited about this.

Vince Russo finally calls it quits
Another big shocker, Vince Russo has finally called it quits with the wrestling business. He posted an open letter on 1wrestling.com announcing his departure, citing all kinds of reasons, including locker room pressure, egos and finding religion.
Reading his letter, I find it to be a big bunch of BS. He could be sincere, but the image he's built for himself in my eyes makes it hard for me to believe any of the crap he's using for an excuse. We all know how he's claimed to hate being on TV, so why the heck did he write himself to be a major player on the show with more TV time than most wrestlers? Surely with the authority he held, he didn't have to put himself on TV. Heck, he could have gotten someone else to portray his character while he himself didn't have to appear on screen.
Though his beef with Jeff Jarrett could be for real if they did have a fallout over creative differences, Jarrett wanting to be champ but Russo wanting to push a fresh face.
My thoughts is that if has indeed found religion and something better in his life, good for him. But I wouldn't be suprised if he did indeed show up on a wrestling related program if the right number of zeros are on the pay-cheque are right, or if he comes up with some fresh ideas to exploit. So even if it is only temporary, I say good riddance. I just hope they don't blame Russo's departure if TNA falls further.

NEW NWA Champion crowned!
This past week on TNA, Ron 'The Truth' Killings won the NWA heavyweight title in a fatal four way against Raven, Chris Harris and defending champion A.J.Styles. This is Killings' second reign as champion, and (no pun intended) was the dark horse of the match as I'm guessing everyone like myself was expecting Chris Harris to win the title off Styles.
In the following weeks I'm expecting big wave of the Raven Effect to sweep TNA as Raven vents his frustrations in his ever going quest to become NWA champion. Mark my words, with NWA IMPACT! starting soon, you can pretty much expect another title reign by Jeff Jarrett that will last awhile. Expect alot of screwjob finishes and short world title reigns if anyone OTHER than Jarrett is holding the belt.

Fujita doesn't get a shot, but Tanahashi does
Former IWGP heavyweight champion Kazuyuki Fujita's K-1 MMA match today with current IWGP champion Bob Sapp will be a none title match. This would have been the first time a pro-wrestling title would have been contested in an MMA shoot fight.
Bob Sapp's next challenger will instead be rising sensation and U-30 champion, Hiroshi Tanahashi on 6/5/04. Tanahashi has been wiling to put his U-30 title on the line to make it a double title match, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
I personally would have loved to see Fujita VS Sapp for the IWGP title in a shoot, as I believe Fujita actually has a chance of beating Sapp if his hard head can withstand Sapp heavy strikes. Right now I hope Sapp beats Tanahashi the same way he beat supernova Shinsuke Nakamura. The only man I want to see now beat Sapp for the IWGP title is Hiroyoshi Tenzan. And many would agree with me. The only other possible candidate is Yoshihiro Takayama...

Kanemaru finally steps up to Liger
NOAH Jr heavyweight ace Yoshinobu Kanemaru finally stepped up to current GHC Jr. Heavyweight champion Jushin Thunder Liger as he attacked him post match after Liger made his successfull V5 defence in the main event of NOAH's 5/21 show against veteran Tsuyoshi Kikuchi. The stage is finally being set for Kanemaru to hopefully be the man to bring home the gold, with the match either happening sometime in June, or at NOAH's Tokyo Dome show in July.
You can bet if it's at the Dome, the title is definately coming home! Other than Kanemaru, I'd like to see either Sugiura, Maruguji or KENTA dethrone Liger. Heck, I wouldn't mind if Liger dropped it to Big Boss MA-G-MA!

Shamless Personal Plug!
If you missed it on the main page, My new official website dealing in mail order Puroresu VCDs is now open! Check it out at http://extremepuroresu.tripod.com/vcds/index.html!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Ebessan and Kuishinbo Kamen in NOAH

Osaka Pro's Kings of Comedy, Ebessan and Kuishinbo Kamen worked NOAH's 5/18/04 show with Ebessan with GHC Jr tag team champions Naomichi Marufuji and KENTA beating Kuishinbo Kamen, Kotaro Suzuki and Tsuyoshi Kikuchi when KENTA used the Busaikyo Knee on Kamen. On the same show, Jun Akiyama made his V1 1/3 (???) defense of the Global Hardcore Crown against Kishin Kawabata. Looking at the whole show, I'm thinking maybe they should have saved Ebessan and Kamen for the tour closer.

NOAH, 5/18/04
Niigata City Gymnasium
2,400 Fans
1. Makoto Hashi & Ricky Marvin beat Ace Steel & Superstar Steve (15:31) when Hashi used the Gory Thunder on Steve.
2. Akitoshi Saito, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Takashi Sugiura beat Takuma Sano, Masao Inoue & Masashi Aoyagi (18:28) when Sugiura used an Olympic slam on Aoyagi.
3. Naomichi Marufuji, KENTA & Ebessan beat Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Kotaro Suzuki & Kuishinbo Kamen (16:09) when KENTA used a Busaiku knee kick on Kamen.
4. Mitsuharu Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa beat Akira Taue & Jun Izumida (12:59) when Ogawa used a horizontal cradle on Izumida.
5. Bison Smith, Doug Williams & Richard Slinger beat Kenta Kobashi, Tamon Honda & Mitsuo Momota (22:59) when Slinger used the Chattanooga Choo Choo on Momota.
6. GHC Hardcore Title: Jun Akiyama (c) beat Kishin Kawabata (7:12) by referee stop (1 1/3rd defense).
7. Takeshi Morishima & Takeshi Rikio beat Daisuke Ikeda & Mohammed Yone (12:12) when Morishima used a backdrop suplex on Yone.

Credit Strong Style Spirit for the results.


WWE Judgment Day thoughts

I thought Judgment Day was an OK PPV, but couldn't understand why most of the internet press didn't like it. According to them, RVD & Mysterio VS The Dudley Boys and the main event were the only two highpoints of the night.
I would agree those were two highpoints, but not the ONLY highpoints! How the heck they could look past and excellent John Cena/Rene Dupree match is beyond me. They called it a mere learning experiance for the two. EXCUSE ME? LEARNING EXPERIANCE? These two put on the best pure wrestling match of the night! By pure, I mean they didn't resort to a bunch of highspots or lots of blood loss to make the match good, just good old counters and chain wrestling. There's just no satisfying some people.
At least they were man enough to admit Guerrero and Bradshaw had a good match, which they did.

Battle Royale RAW!

Another strong show this week, though it lacked the wrestling content of last week, the two long in ring segments were still fun.

- Show starts off with Trish Stratus beating Lita when Kane appeared on the Titantron and distracted Lita leading to Trish rolling her up with her feet on the ropes for the win. OK match though. Kane then sent Lita an ultimatum saying he wants an answer from her tonight, and it better be the right answer.
- Randy Orton comes out and starts talking about his favorite subject: HIMSELF. Don't know about your guys, but I'm tired of Orton rehashing the same role every week where all he does is talk about himself till someone interupts him. This week that honour would go to Shelton Benjamin. It was a good verbal exchange between the two, but I didn't agree with Orton's cheap racial remarks. The usual brawl ensues before Orton runs off.
- GM Bischoff meets Eugene and William Regal backstage and privately informs Regal that he's setup interview time for Eugene in hopes of publicly berating him enough to break his spirit and get out of the wrestling business.
- Next match is Kane destroying Val Venis in just a minute with a chokeslam. Matt Hardy then runs in and attacks Kane but get overpowered and chokeslammed before Kane wraps a chair around his neck and chokes him with. This prompts Lita to run out and give Kane a 'yes' answer. Kane releases Matt and gives Lita a hug from behind as he whispers something in her ear. He then walks off smiling. This angle is kinda like Jeopardy: We know the answer, but have to guess the question.
- Next up is the best match of the night as Chris Benoit and Edge defend the tag team titles against Randy Orton and Batista. Great lengthy back and forth match. Orton almost stole the win as he hid his IC title when Benoit went up top and hit a diving headbutt right on the belt but managed to kick out! Finish sees Benoit counter the RKO into the Crippler Crossface to retain the titles.
- Backstage Regal informs Eugene he has to go out alone to do his interview. I really like the way their handling Regal as being sympathetic to Eugene and putting him ahead of himself.
- Todd Grisham is about to start his interview with Eugene in the ring when Jonathan Coachman comes out and takes over sending Grisham to the back. Coach than starts berating Eugene and seemingly gets the job done in breaking his spirit as Eugene is in tears as he walks up the ramp. But who should then come out but THE ROCK! Mr. Hollywood is back and I actually marked out for a moment! What follows is a real fun segment as Rock berates Coach and states he came to RAW especially to meet Eugene. It was real fun when Rock asked Eugene who his favorite wrestler is and Eugene answered Triple H! Garrison Cade then runs in and attacks Rock and Eugene from behind. Coach and Cade beat down the faces before the faces make the comeback. Rock send Cade out of the ring sets up Coach so Eugene could hit the People's Elbow! This was a really great segment having Rock come out and give Eugene the rub. Reminds me of the time WCW used Goldberg to put over General Rection when he finally won the US title back from Lance Storm. Eugene just might be the 'feel good' story of the year if they play it out right.
- The main event 20-man battle royal for the world title shot at Bad Blood turned into an 18-man battle royal as Matt Hardy was out due to his beating from Kane, and Christian still suffering from last week's cage match. Maven made his return replacing the re-released Grand Master Sexay. Match itself saw Kane dominate early on as everyone ganged up on Evolution except Johnny Nitro, who Kane quickly tossed out, followed by Steven Richards and Rosey. Then in a cool spot, Kane gorilla pressed Hurricane out of the ring, but Rosey caught him in mid air and rolled him back in the ring! The match soon came down to all 4 Evolution members, Chris Jericho, Kane, Edge and Shelton Benjamin. Y2J eliminated Flair, but himself was thrown out rather dangerously by Batista as his legs hit the ring steps pretty hard on the way down. Kane went wild and chokelammed everyone else till he stood toe-to-toe with Batista, which really brought the crowd alive as the two monsters slugged it out. Batista escaped Kanes chokeslam and delivered a wicked spine buster on the Big Bald Machine. Batista's celebration was short lived as he was soon eliminated by Edge, who in turn was eliminated by Orton. I was pretty sure Edge was gonna win when Y2J was eliminated. Benjamin came close to elimination several times as he was doubled on by HHH & Orton. Benjamin managed to eliminate Orton before HHH tossed him out. HBK then runs in and tosses out HHH! KANE WINS! Show ends with an angry HHH seething in the ring.

This was a strong show, though now I bet everyone on the internet is gonna moan and groan about Kane getting a title shot after Bradshaw gets one against Eddie Guerrero. The HHH/HBK storyline has been furthered, though since HBK is suspended, I wouldn't be suprised if they make the Bad Blood main event a 3-way with HHH in anyway while probably saving the Hell In The Cell match with HBK for Summer Slam. They also started the Randy Orton/Shelton Benjamin feud as well as taking a step in the right direction with Eugene. This is the first time in a few weeks that they haven't announced anything for next week though.

Monday, May 17, 2004

WWE Judgment Day results!

It's weird watching RAW Bytes before watching a SmackDown brand pay per view. On to the show!

Rey Mysterio and Rob Van Dam VS The Dudley Boys
- This was a really good opener. Lots of back and forth action, and some great team work by RVD & Mysterio. The Dudleys were even on form as they pulled a lot of old school heel tactics. RVD and Mysterio pick up the win when RVD hits the Five Star Frog Splash following a double 619 by Mysterio to both Dudleys.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Interview with Booker T who claims he’s the biggest star on SmackDown and he’s gonna beat the Undertaker.
Luther pushes out a huge hooded contraption as GM Kurt Angle’s music plays. Angle than gets elevated up the top of the contraption! Cool stuff! Kurt berates the city of LA saying he hates LA and hopes they get the biggest earthquake in history after he leaves since they support Eddie Guerrero. He then calls out Torrie Wilson, blaming her for the shape he's in and ending his wrestling career. He issues an ultimatum that if she loses tonight, she’s fired!

Torrie Wilson VS Dawn Marie
- This wasn’t pretty but at least they tried hard. I can credit Dawn Marie as being an above average worker, but Torrie still needs to work on her timing. The highspot of the match was when Dawn’s tights actually snapped revealing her very thin undergarments which Tazz referred to as dental floss . Don’t know if it was part of the plan, but give Dawn credit for continuing and finishing the match. Torrie wins wit a rollup.
Match Rating: *1/2

Scotty 2 Hotty VS Mordecai
- You can tell Mordecai is tailor made to feud with the Undertaker. From the name, I was expecting somekind of red neck. Despite his holy man look, Mordecai wrestled very aggressively. They said Mordecai was green, but Scotty busted his lip open with a facebuster! Mordecai countered the WORM and finished off Scotty with a crucifix powerbomb (Razor’s Edge). For the record, I'd like to state that the best use of the evil preacher gimmick still goes to Waylon Mercy. Ya know whut I mean?
Match Rating: *1/2

Chavo Guerrero is with Chavo Classic who’s pulling up his pants in the locker room (???) when Jacqueline walks in and gives a present to Chavo. Turns out to be women’s lingerie and Jackie says if he’s gonna lose to a girl, he may as well dress like one. I’m surprised Chavo didn’t clock her right there.

Rico & Charlie Haas with Miss Jackie VS Hardcore Holly & Billy Gunn – WWE Tag Team Titles
- Rico was surprisingly entertaining here with his comedic spots and Haas showed some great ring work. This match wasn’t anything really special though. Hass pinned Holly with a sunset flip after Rico superkicked Holly as he attempted the Alabama Slam on Haas.
Match Rating: **

Backstage with the Undertaker and Paul Bearer where Taker simply says Booker T will rest in peace.

Chavo Guerrero with Chavo Classic VS Jacqueline – WWE Cruiserweight Title
- Chavo has to wrestle with one arm tied around his back. Half way through, Chavo Classic unties Chavo’s arm and the cheating ensues leading to Chavo winning back the Cruiserweight title with a reverse Gory bomb. God I hope this angle is over and they bring in Paul London.
Match Rating: *

John Cena VS Rene Dupree – US Championship
- Cena actually doesn’t get to finish his rap as it’s interrupted by Dupree’s entrance. There were big expectations for this match and man did they deliver! This was probably the best match of the night up to this point. Great back and forth action and Dupree made one small mistake leading to Cena hitting the FU to retain the title. I hope this feud isn’t over as Dupree just walked off after the match despite the extended in ring celebration by Cena.
Match Rating: ****

Booker T VS The Undertaker
- Taker actually does a complete shot (flatliner) followed by a butterfly double arm lock submission! Booker escapes the Last Ride and bumps the referee before grabbing a handful of sand from his voodoo pouch and throwing it in Taker’s eyes. Booker looked really silly for trying a double sledge instead of his scissors kick finisher when Taker was bent over for such a long time getting the sand out of his eyes. They actually teased the finish and pulled the match longer. Taker almost loses Booker on a chokeslam, but recovers and scores the win with his trademark Tombstone piledriver.
Match Rating: ***

John Bradshaw Leyfield VS Eddie Guerrero – WWE Championship
- Watching the recap of the feud, I was wondering why John Cena never stepped up to JBL for not getting the Great American Award and the no.1 contendership? Then again, if that happened, we wouldn’t have gotten a great match with Dupree earlier in the night. And that really was a horrendous acting job by Eddie’s mom in the heart attack angle.
- Eddie takes control early as he unloaded on JBL. Bradshaw finally gets control and relies on some rest holds. Eddie comes back and sends JBL outside and tries to plancha JBL, but gets caught in mid-air and Bradshaw fall away slams him on the outside. JBL then backdrops Eddie onto the Spanish announce table. Bradshaw escapes the triple suplex, Eddie ducks the Clothesline From Hell and escapes a powerbomb before bumping the ref who was standing right behind him as he was gonna charge the ropes. Eddie sends JBL outside and tosses him into Cole n Tazz, but JBL whacks Eddie with a HUGE chair shot and starts bleeding like crazy! The insane blood gusher gets a ‘Holy Sh*t’ chant from the crowd! Back in the ring, Bradshaw nails the Clothesline From Hell but the referee is still out! Another ref finally runs in for the count and Eddie kicks out! JBL tries another Clothesline From Hell but Eddie ducks and JBL takes out the other ref! JBL immediately nails a big powerbomb and the original ref makes the count but Eddie kicks out again! Eddie counters a sleeper into a backdtop and then Hulks Up as Bradshaw pounds him!!! Bradshaw catches Eddie in mid air out of a cross body, but Eddie counters into a swinging DDT! There’s blood everywhere! Latino Heat goes up top but misses the Frog Splash. JBL rolls out of the ring and grabs a chair and the title belt. He hides the title belt behind his back as the ref takes the chair. He tries to smack Eddie with the belt as the ref gets rid of the chair, but Eddie kicks him low and smacks him with the belt right in front of the referee causing a DQ!
Guerrero starts beating down Bradshaw and then whacks him 2 more times with the belt and busting him open. Eddie then smacks him hard with a steel chair. Bradshaw actually begs off Eddie! But Eddie whacks him with the chair AGAIN before going up top and hitting the Frog Splash! Referees pull JBL from the ring, but Eddie goes after him again before being pulled off by Arn Anderson and Fit Finley. Eddie, a bloody mess and barely standing, celebrates in the ring to end the show.
Match Rating: ***1/2
Unlike many of the internet critics, I had faith Bradshaw and Guerrero were gonna have a good match and they sure as hell did! Now I bet their all gonna moan and groan about how the DQ finish means theres gonna be a rematch, I seriously don’t mind and can’t wait for it!

Overall: As expected, the undercard was kinda shallow, but the hyped matches delivered some good action. Hopefully they continue the Cena/Dupree feud as they had the best match of the night and I’d really like to see more from them. Like I predicted, they’ve set up a rematch between Bradshaw and Guerrero, where there’s sure to be somekind of no-DQ gimmick, possibly a cage match? Either way, this pay per view at least made up for the lack of buildup, though I doubt the buy rate is any good.
PPV Rating: ***

Spoiling The Illusion

Someone check the temperature in hell, cause as suprising as it sounds, I really didn't find anything wrong with RAW this week that was illogical or bad!
- I should have said this a long time ago, but I really HATE IRISH PAT KENNEY! You don't just buildup a name for yourself for years only to start using your real name cause of your heritage. I'm mixed Irish too, but I don't go around calling myself Irish Eric Extreme! It was a dumb angle, but if I was there, I'd join Gilberti and Swinger in pouring Irish beer and lucky charms on him. Bring back Simon Diamond in the snobbish heel role we all know and love!
WWE SmackDown
- Of course, the biggest complaint being all the last minute matches added to the Judgement Day PPV card. You guys had TWO MONTHS to build the PPV and this was the best you could come up with?!?
- Grand Master Sexay was released for always being late and having an attitude. John Bradshaw Layfield always seems to be in his limo, even calling in the show from his cellphone this week with no action taken against him?

Saturday, May 15, 2004

WWE Judgement Day Predictions

I'll admit this is a VERY weak card for a pay per view, almost like the old days when just the main event was hyped and everything else was just thrown together. Wait a minute, that's what they did here! Anyway, on to my predictions.

Eddie Guerrero VS John Bradshaw Layfield – WWE World Title
- I’ll honestly admit I have a hard time picking a winner here. Whoever leaves as champion at the end of the night has no one else to feud with at this point except each other. Therefore, there is the possibility of Bradshaw winning the title only to lose it back to Eddie at the next PPV. Same applies if Eddie retains, there’s sure to be somekind of gimmicked rematch. So, on a long shot, I pick Guerrero to retain the title and finish the feud with Bradshaw at the next PPV. I don’t expect the match to be that bad either.

Charlie Haas & Rico VS Hardcore Holly & Billy Gunn – Tag Team Championship
- Haas & Rico retain so the Dudleys can win it off them later. Hopefully Holly won’t hurt anyone.

John Cena VS Rene Dupree – US Championship
- This should be one of the more interesting matches of the night. I predict Cena to retain the title now, but lose it on SmackDown later in the week.

Jacqueline VS Chavo Guerrero – Cruiserweight Title
- Chavo Guerrero wins back the Cruiserweight title by hook or by crook. Please God, let it happen and this dumb storyline over with!

The Undertaker VS Booker T.
- Dead Man wins. No not Booker, The Undertaker! I’ll give the benefit of the doubt that Booker probably runs for it and gets counted out.

The Dudley Boyz VS Rob Van Dam & Rey Mysterio
- This should be fun at least. The Dudleys win to continue their heel run.

Torrie Wilson VS Dawn Marie
- Why are these two wrestling again? I thought the feud ended ages ago? Torrie wins a quick match.

Mordecai makes his debut
- Mordecai wins. You can’t seriously expect him to lose his debut on PPV do you?

NOAH 6/11/04 Korakuen Hall Card
The card for Pro Wrestling NOAH's big Tokyo Dome build up show at Korakuen Hall is out. The show is being booked by Tamon Honda and looks really good. Noticibly the card is an all single match series with a Junior VS Senior or established name gimmick. Also notable is that Mitsuharu Misawa and GHC Champion Kenta Kobashi will be on the sidelines for this one.

Tokyo Korakuen Hall
1. Kotaro Suzuki VS Kishin Kawabata
2. Makoto Hashi VS Takuma Sano
3. Takeshi Morishima VS Tsuyoshi Kikuchi
4. Takeshi Rikio VS Masao Inoue
5. Mohammed Yone VS Daisuke Ikeda
6. Ricky Marvin VS Takashi Sugiura
7. KENTA VS Jun Izumida
8. Yoshinobu Kanemaru VS Jun Akiyama
9. Naomichi Marufuji VS Tamon Honda

In other NOAH news, Jun Akiyama has announced future Global Hardcore Crown title defenses against Kishin Kawabata, Jun Izumuda and Masao Inoue. Geez, he sure dug out the big name contenders, didn't he?

Friday, May 14, 2004

Another thumbs up for RAW!!!

RAW was a very good show this week! Everything just seemed to work well and almost everything was logical and made sense. I wasn’t too fond of Lawler’s commentary at times, but if the heel commentator’s job is to annoy than he’s doing a good job of it. Here’s a brief rundown and my thoughts.

- Triple H beat Shelton Benjamin by DQ when Shawn Michaels ran in and attacked HHH. Couldn’t HBK have waited for the ref to get bumped to jump HHH so Shelton wouldn’t get disqualified? HHH escaped through the audience and HBK called him out to finish it tonight. Cue GM Bischoff who claimed he expected all hell to break loose this week and promptly makes an example out of HBK by suspending him. He gets security to escort HBK from the building, but HBK runs through the audience and gets some shots in on HBK before security finally catch him and escort him out.
- Batista beat Tajiri with a spinebuster. This wasn’t a total squash as Tajiri got some offense in on the big man. Story of the match was Batista working Tajiri’s back. Tajiri managed to counter Batista’s powerbomb into a cool DDT though. Post match, Batista severly beat down Tajiri and even choked the green mist out of him!
- Stacy Kiebler comes out next to plug the new Divas DVD till Gail Kim and Molly Holly interrupt, Gail claiming to not getting any mic time event though she made Women’s champ Victoria tap out last week (Good point!). They then accuse Stacy of saying she’s hotter than them and start putting the boots to her. Victoria comes in for the save but gets attacked by Jazz, who in turn brings in Nidia for the save, leading to a six woman tag later in the show.
- Randy Orton beat Edge to retain the Intercontinental title. Lawler had a real homosexual fascination with Orton’s good looks here. This match was good, but I felt it really exposed Orton’s limited move set.
Gail Kim, Molly Holly and Jazz beat Victoria, Stacy Kiebler and Nidia when Victoria tapped out to a Tequila Sunrise submission by Gail Kim. Gail even locked on a Indian Death Lock at the beginning of the match. Nidia really seemed limited in her mobility thanks to her ‘enhancements’, I hope they aren’t planning a Nidia/Jazz feud!
- I my recording of the show lost reception at this point due to bad weather, but from the net, I found out it was a segment where Trish pulled a prank on Lita followed by Kane beating up Val Venis and announcing he made some kind of proposition last week to Lita and is expecting an answer next week.
- Eugene beat Rob Conway in his debut match. Earlier, Bisch offered Regal a place back on the active roster if Eugene loses as he really doesn’t want Eugene around. The match itself was pretty good, though I’d like to see what Nick Dinsmore could do if he wasn’t confined to Spike Dudley’s old ECW gimmick. I liked what their doing with Regal too.
- Bischoff and Johnny Nitro come out and announce Trish VS Lita next week (can’t you just see a Kane run in a mile away?) and a 20 man battle royal to decide the next challenger for Chris Benoit’s World Championship at the next pay per view.
- Main event of the evening saw Chris Jericho beat Christian in a steel cage when Christian tapped out to the Walls of Jericho. This was a great match. Jericho almost escaped the cage at one point, but Tyson Tomko prevented hi from climbing down, so Jericho instead dove off the cage and hit a huge cross body block on Christian! Tomko eventually gets ejected from ring side, so Trish runs in only to get locked in the Walls of Jericho! And Christian being the true heel that he is opts to escape the cage instead of help her! Great work! Really good match!

Next week should be a good show as I’ve always been a mark for battle royals. I just hope they don’t go to a commercial break and half the ring is cleared when they come back. Check back later for my Judgment Day PPV predictions once the full card is announced.

He didn’t last as long as I thought he would…
Brian ‘Grand Master Sexay’ Christopher has been released by WWE AGAIN! Geez, you’d think that after being given a second chance he’d at least put a little effort into earning his keep? Instead he shows up late for house shows and acts like a big shot and now he’s out on his ass again. Nice going Sexay!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Puroresu News

Kuishinbo Kamen & Ebessan coming to NOAH!
Osaka Pro's kings of comedy Kuishinbo Kamen and Ebessan will be working Pro Wrestling NOAH's 5/18/04 show at Niigata City Gymnasium. Ebessan will team with current GHC Jr. Tag Champions Naomichi Marufuji & KENTA against Kamen teaming with Tsuyoshi Kikuchi and Kotaro Suzuki. Hopefully, more dates for them to work will be announced and you can bet I'll be getting the tape with this match on it!

Mutoh Challenging for Triple Crown
2004 All Japan Champion Carnival winner Keiji Mutoh will be next to challenge Toshiaki Kawada for the Triple Crown, following the All Japan tradition that the Carnival winner is No.1 contender. The match will take place on 6/12/04 at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium. This will be Kawada's fifth defense of the Triple Crown, and he holds a victory over Mutoh for the titles when he beat him at the Nippon Budokan two years ago, but had to forfeit the belts due to injuries.
In other All Japan news, Genichiro Tenryu will team with Masanobu Fuchi (can we call them the Grumpy Old Men team?) to challenge Great Kosuke and Shiryu for the All Asian Tag Titles on 5/22 (My birthday!) at the famed Tokyo Korakuen Hall. This is Tenryu's first planned step to win all the major tag titles in AJPW and NJPW.

Where did Zach hop off to?
I was kinda suprised to find out that one legged wonder kid Zach Gowen actually made it to Japan and is working the current tour for Big Japan Pro Wrestling. He hasn't taken part in any of the promotion's wild death matches, but he has picked up some wins in tag matches teaming with the likes of MEN'S Teioh and Daisuke Sugimoto!


Sunday, May 09, 2004

Spoiling The Illusion

- I honestly only found one thing I consider wrong with the show, that being the whole Kane/Lita/Matt V.1 angle. I find it ridiculous this is what Kane has to revert too to become a monster again. Beating up smaller guys is something he's been doing for a long time already and it does get stale after awhile. This is something WWE has been doing alot of with Kane lately. First he's unstoppable, then he loses to a small guy, then he's unstoppable again till he loses to another small guy. Kane is a trooper for always having to be the big man that puts over the new faces or next generation big guys like A-Train or Batista. But more than half the new guys he puts over just never seem to get anywhere. I'd rather see them introduce John Heidenreich as the big man that stands up to Kane or have Kane do something to 'Little Johnny' to get a feud going between the two. WWE has been pushing for more 'realism' in their storylines, but in any real life situation, the cameraman would have helped untie Lita long before Matt found her. And I'll say it again, if Lita ends up backstabbing Matt to side with Kane, this whole angle will look really stupid!
- Raven already had his interview. And of all the other interviews he interupts, he attacks La Parka? The only guy wearing a mask? Then La Parka attacks Raven during his title match, costing him the title and unmasks conviniently to reveal Chris Harris? I'll bet diamonds to donts next week Raven attacks Harris, with Raven dressed up either as La Parka or Mortis! And it would all be too coincidental if La Parka never shows up again for awhile.
WWE SmackDown
I NEVER thought I'd see the day where theres more to complain about on SmackDown than RAW!
- Matt Cappotelli was all set to debut on SmackDown and win the cruiserweight title off Chavo as the mystery opponent. Then Bob Holly decides to stiff him and gave him a concussion. So naturally instead of bringing in Paul London, Akio, or any other of a handful of cruiserweights that Chavo has not defended the title against yet, Stephanie decides to put Jacqueline in the match instead and gives her the title win! WHAT THE HELL?!?
- Eddie Guerrero's mom has a heart-attack this close to Mother's Day. Another tastless angle. And what does it say about the two Chavos who still strut around SmackDown like nothing's happened to her while Eddie misses the show to be at her side?
- There's a PPV next week and so far we only have THREE matches for the show! Two months to build a PPV and this is all they can come up with for Judgement Day, where as RAW will be giving away what should be five awesome bouts on free TV, including a CAGE MATCH?!? Is it any wonder the PPV buyrates are down? They had better come up with something good for the mid-card next week, but it's already too late to salvage this PPV.

HUSTLE-3 Results

1. Kaz Hayashi & Leonardo Spanky beat TAKA Michinoku & Low Ki in 13:22 when Hayashi used the Final Cut on TAKA.
2. Oscar Sevilla, Cynthia Moreno, Pimpinella Estrella & Mascarita Sagrada beat Gran Apache, Faby Apache, Polvo de Estrellas & Mini Abismo Negro in 11:32 when Sagrada pinned Apache with a hurricanrana after Faby accidentally hit her father with a belt.
3. Dusty Rhodes beat Steve Corino in 6:37 with the Bionic Elbow drop. Another bloody brawl between the American Dream and the King of Old School.
4. Tiger Jeet Singh beat Zebraman in 5:43 with the Cobra Claw. Singh was the mystery opponent accompanied by Sabu. Post match, Rhodes and Corino came out and challenged Tiger and Sabu to a tag match at HUSTLE-4.
5. Riki Choshu beat Adamonster (King Adamo) in 2:35 with a Lariat. Takada put Choshu in this degrading comedy match as a way of getting back at Choshu due to the bad blood they had back when UWFI was feuding with NJPW back in 1995-96 when Choshu was NJPW booker.
6. Mark Coleman & Dan Bobish beat Shinjiro Ohtani & Wataru Sakata in 10:02 when Coleman used a side mount neck crank on Sakata.

7. Dynamite Hardcore Hustle Weapons Death Match: Sabu, Kintaro Kanemura & The Gladiator beat Masato Tanaka, Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Tomoaki Honma in 16:12 when Gladiator pinned Honma after a top-rope awesome bomb through a table. Six hardcore masters from various hardcore promotions over the years in a match where the gimmick is a different weapon is added to the match every three minutes! All I can say looking at that picture above is OUCH!

8. All Japan Triple Crown Title Match: Toshiaki Kawada beat Mick Foley in 12:56 with an enzuguiri. Foley's first match in Japan since the Megumi Kudo Retirement Show in the same arena in 1997 and Foley's first match with Kawada since 1991 in All Japan. They teased Foley using the barb-wire bat, but Kawada backdropped him from behind as Foley reached for the bat. Mr. Socko made his Japanese debut and actually got locked on Kawada! Kawada went apesh*t after that and unloaded a barrage of heavy kicks on Foley before ending the match with the jumping high kick. I REALLY wanna see this match!

9. Shinya Hashimoto & Naoya Ogawa beat Kevin Nash & Scott Hall in 7:37 when Ogawa pinned Hall after the Oregotokarire. They played up the heel referee angle that would fast count for the Outsiders and slow count for OH-GUN. The referee got bumped than accidentally made the fast count for OH-GUN! Show ended with Takada hinting at bringing in Yoshihiro Takayama to deal with Ogawa.

You know Your running out of credible challengers when...
Misawa is actually considering giving JUN IZUMUDA a GHC Title shot against reigning (and near invincible) champion Kenta Kobashi on 6/1/04 at the Nippon Budokan! This really hits home how shallow the pool of contenders are. Why anyone who challenged previously can't get a rematch is also beyond me, but lets hope Kobashi can work his magic and get the best out of Izumuda like what he did for Honda.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Dreamer on the ropes

About two weeks after Lance Storm announces his hanging up the boots from in ring competition due to injuries to become a trainer for OVW, Tommy Dreamer made the shocking announcement on WWE's Byte This! internet radio show that when his contract with WWE expires in July, WWE would not be re-newing but instead had offered him a behind the scenes position, probably as a road agent or talent relations.
A former ECW World Champion, Tag Champion and WWE Hardcore Champion, Dreamer is another of the many miss-used talent under WWE's wing that never seemed to go far. The peak of his WWE career was his Hardcore title run up till the title was merged with the Intercontinental title and Dreamer would only be seen again on RAW from time to time as the job-man in the occasional squash match.
Dreamer has indeed expressed his interest in working backstage for WWE, though I would prefer seeing him have one more run, maybe in Japan if not TNA.

Friday, May 07, 2004

HUSTLE-3 news

No your NOT seeing things! That is indeed Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Mick Foley posing in front of the HUSTLE-3 banner! Some BIG changes have been made to the show to include the three WWE/WCW greats:
Main Event: Shinya Hashimoto & Naoya Ogawa VS Kevin Nash & Scott Hall
Triple Crown Title: Toshiaki Kawada VS Mick Foley (!!!!!!)

The Triple Crown change comes as a HUGE shocker to myself! Though now it seems Kawada has more of a chance to retain the title. But what happened to Goldberg? Hopefully this last minute change delivers, though I don't expect the main event to be outstanding. Hall and Nash were suppose to work HUSTLE-2 back in March but didn't happen for some reason. And it's lucky that DSE are covering the tab as having these three American greats together with Bill Goldberg could easily break the budget of most promotions.
On a related topic, Mark Coleman, Dan Bobish, Giant Silva and Yuji Shimada made an appearance at a recent Fuyuki-Gun show and got major heat from the indy crowd. Shimada announced a big six-man hardcore match for HUSTLE-3 involving Masato Tanaka, Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Tomoaki Honma VS Sabu, Kintaro Kanemura & The Gladiator.
I still wonder why they stick Tanaka back in these occasional hardcore matches when he works so hard to try and lose the hardcore stigma he's stuck with. I also wonder when the heck they plan to have the Tanaka-Ohtani grudge match before everyone loses interest or just plain forgets about it.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Japanese Stars in WWE update

Joshi star Takako Inoue (pictured left below) is scheduled to work a dark match for WWE RAW on 17/5/04 in San Diego. I'm sure she'll do well as just about any Joshi star can easily outshine the WWE Divas when it comes to in ring talent, and Inoue is a 15-year veteran!

WWE also has signed Kenzo Suzuki's wife, Hiroko Suzuki (pictured right, above), to a contract to be a WWE Diva and the valet of Suzuki's Hirohito gimmick when he debuts later this month. This would make her the first contracted Japanese Diva in WWE. The way I see it, if Suzuki's character doesn't get him over, I can easily see Hiroko taking the spotlight while he wastes away on HEAT. I don't think Suzuki a very good wrestler anyway and based on his World War II gimmick, I don't see ANYONE on RAW that would make sense for him to feud with other than the Hurricane. At least Suzuki's dictator gimmick sounds alot better than his horrible Godfather gimmick in World Japan!

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

RAW delivers again!

Once again WWE RAW put on a good show with 2 SOLID wrestling bouts!
The show kicked off with Shelton Benjamin, Tajiri and Edge defeating Evolution (Triple H, Batista & Randy Orton). This was just awesome and it was cool to see Tajiri in a match of this caliber. Tajiri was made to look really good here too as was everyone else, though I noticed they kept Batista & Benjamin out for most of it. Noticibly Ric Flair was nowhere to be seen tonight without any explanation from JR & King.
Vince McMahon then arrives and puts over the importance of the World Title main event.
Evolution complain to GM Bisch about their loss and Bisch make HHH VS Benjamin, Batista VS Tajiri and Orton VS Edge for the IC title next week!
Rob Conway beat the Hurricane with a hangman's swinging neckbreaker to set up his match with Eugene next week.
Kane SQUASHED Steven Richards in just 37 seconds! He immediately ran to the back after the match.
Hour two kicks off with Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel. Y2J challenges the winner of the Benoit/Michaels Title match for a world title match next as it been far too long since he's had a title shot. DARN RIGHT! He then brings out his guest Matt Hardy Ver 1.0. Hardy calls out Lita to explain himself when she appears on the screen as Kane's hostage in the boiler room, and she screams for Hardy to save her since all the camera man obviously can't.
Hardy runs off leaving Y2J speachless till Christian, Trish & Tyson Tomko arrive which of course leads to the 3-on-1 beat down of Jericho.
Hardy finds Lita in the back and Kane seems to have dissappeared. He unties her and consoles her.
Gail Kim beat Victoria in a none-title bout next in a very good match. Gail scored the submission victory using KUDO/Kotaro Suzuki's flying head-scissors - armlock submission hold out of nowhere and Victoria had no choice but to tap out.
Next they air footage of Eugene training with William Regal and observed by Dr. Tom Prichard. Eugene seemed to be a fast learner and managed to counter everything Regal threw at him and even locked on the Regal Stretch near the end! Regal actually smiled saying Eugene is definately ready for Rob Conway next week.
GM Bischoff & Johnny Nitro came out and announced next week Chris Jericho and Christian would settle their differences in a 15-ft steel cage!
The main event was next and turned out to be an AWESOME contest compared to their last singles match. The crowd was even split between cheers and boos for both wrestlers. As expected, the ref gets bumped at the end and HBK scores Sweet Chin Music, only to have HHH run in and Pedigree HBK, giving Benoit the win.

Overall: I can say I'm not suprised by the ending of the main event, after all it is on FREE TV. And of course HHH still has to be the man the wins back the world title. But this was a really good show and did a good job of building next weeks show with FIVE matches already announced this week:
Triple H VS Shelton Benjamin pt3
Batista VS Tajiri
Randy Orton VS Edge - Intercontinental Title
Rob Conway VS Eugene
Chris Jericho VS Christian - Cage Match
I'm expecting the Cage match to also be a No.1 Contenders match to Benoit's world title, as well as a Women's Title match between Gail Kim and Victoria since Gail scored a big win over the champion this week.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

New Japan NEXESS Results and Thoughts

1. Koji Kanemoto, American Dragon & Ultimo Dragon beat Heat, Tiger Mask & Naomichi Marufuji in 18:40 when American Dragon used a Leg Lock Suplex Hold on Heat for the win.
- This sets up American Dragon VS Heat for the IWGP Jr Title later down the line, as well as Kanemoto VS Marufuji as Kanemoto was constantly bullying the 2004 Super J-Cup winner. Ultimo Dragon also expressed interest in working a singles match with Kanemoto. The crowd weas suprisingly quiet for this one.

2. Super Strong Majin, Giant Majin & New Super Strong Majin defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Osamu Nishimura & Shinya Makabe in 7:07 when New Super Strong used a jumping elbow (after a chokeslam and a guillotine drop) on Makabe for the win.
- One of the two giants is indeed a Dory Funk Jr. student, Giant Magnum. The other one is in fact from the Guiness Book of World Records as the tallest man alive and came into the match with no wrestling experience. Despite the impressive debut of the giants, this was still rated worst match of the night by the fans in attendance.

3. Jushin Liger beat Katsuji Nakashima in 7 minutes, 27 seconds with a crab hold.
- Kensuke Sasaki & Akira Hokuto were in Nakajima's corner as he hasn't signed with New Japan and is representing the Sasaki Office. And you didn't really expect the 16-year old kid to win did ya? Especially with Liger as his opponent!

4. Josh Barnett beat Ken Shamrock in 13:13 by disqualification when Shamrock the referee.
- I thought Barnett had this in the bag. Looks like New Japan could bring out the cage again for the impending score settler between these two MMA greats.

5. Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar & Dolgorsuren Serjubdee (Blue Wolf) beat Genichiro Tenryu & Meng in 8:30 when Wolf used a Mongol Hammer (Jackhammer) on Meng for the win.
- The Dolgorsuren bros had their other sumo brother, Asashoryu in their corner. Sumiyabazar was said to look very good here.

6. Yuji Nagata & Kendo KaShin beat Manabu Nakanishi & Kensuke Sasaki in 16:58 when Nagata used a back-drop suplex hold on Nakanishi after KaShin threw powder in the eyes of Nakanishi.
- Nagata & KaShin teased a split during the match, but was all just a ruse. KaShin now plans to tag with Nagata and win both the IWGP & All Japan Tag Titles. KaShin & Yoshinari Ogawa from NOAH both have similarities in that both would cheat and take cheap shots, but the crowd still cheers them. WHY? Now he's influencing Nagata to do his dirty work. Nagata says he doesn't need the gold, but just wrestles for honor. Where was the honor in pinning Nakanishi after KaShin threw powder in his eyes?

7. IWGP Tag Titles Match: Yoshihiro Takayama & Minoru Suzuki beat Masahiro Chono & Kazunari Murakami in 15:42 seconds when Suzuki used a Gotch-style pile driver on Murakami for the win.
- I thought it was almost certain Chono & Murakami would win the gold. And despite his limited ability, Suzuki has been the man getting the wins for his team so far since winning the tag belts.

8. K-1 VS NJ: Yutaka Yoshie beat Jan "The Convict" Nortje in just 3:31 with a camel clutch hold.
- This was suprisingly quick!

9. K-1 VS NJ: Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Sean O'Haire in 7:35 with a Dragon Sleeper.
- The only match result I wasn't happy with. I really wanted O'Haire to win here just so he could stick it to WWE for releasing him. Then again, maybe it's part of Inoki's plan to show NJPW is stronger than WWE?

10. K-1 VS NJ: Musashi beat Katsuyori Shibata in the 2nd round after a middle and high kick combination for the KO.

11. K-1 VS NJ: IWGP Title Match: Bob Sapp beat Shinsuke Nakamura in 12:30 with the Beast-bomb.
- The Supernova was Super-Crushed! Now Sapp goes on to defend against Kazuyuki Fujita on 5/22 (My birthday!). Nakumra showed alot of fighting spirit in this match and Sapp even gave him credit for taking his best shots and even kicking out of the Beast-Bomb near the end.

Overall: The show seems to have lived up to the hype and did good business for NJPW with a claim of 50,000 in attendance, though the actual figure was in the 45,000 range, but still way better than anything WWE has done in years. My interest is also peaked to watch this one.

Credit Strong Style Spirit and Puroresu Power for the results
Credit Sports Navi for the pictures


Saturday, May 01, 2004


Isn't that a scary picture? Here's the current card for ZERO-ONE/DSE's HUSTLE-3 show on 5/8/04 at the Yokohama Arena. Tell me if you notice what's wrong with this card:

1. Kaz Hayashi & Spanky VS TAKA Michinoku & Low-Ki
2. Oscar Sevilla, Cynthia Moreno, Pimpinella & Mascarita Sagrada VS Gran Apache, Tiffany, Polvo de Estrellas & Mini Abismo
3. Zebraman VS TBA
4. Dusty Rhodes VS Steve Corino
5. Riki Choshu VS X (King Adamo)
6. Tetsuhiro Kuroda & Masato Tanaka VS Sabu & Kintaro Kanemura
7. Shinjiro Ohtani & Mr. X VS Mark Coleman & Giant Silva
8. All Japan Triple Crown Championship: Toshiaki Kawada VS Bill Goldberg
9. Shinya Hashimoto & Naoya Ogawa VS TBA

Spot the 'knot? That's right! The biggest match on the card and the main selling point is in the SEMI MAIN EVENT slot! What the hell are they thinking?!? And just like the previous shows, All the other matches just seem thrown together with no real purpose. Their a week away and they haven't even finalized the card. They should have at least tried to work some angles prior to show so that the matches on the card mean something, like what WWE at least try to do. Why can't Tanaka and Ohtani go one on one to finally settle their differences? Why are the NWA Jr. IC Tag champs (Spanky & Low Ki) again on opposing sides? Heck, even their partners are team mates on opposing sides! If Goldberg is gonna win the Triple Crown off of Kawada, I sure damn hope AJPW is getting a big payoff out of this.

On a related note, Giant Silva won his PRIDE Openweight Grand Prix on 4/25/04 against Japanese fighter Sentoryu in just 4:04 of the first round with a Kimura Lock. Nice going big guy! Silva could possibly face Heath Herring, who holds a victory over him, in the next round. ZERO-ONE ace Naoya Ogawa also won his fight against K-1 regular Stefan Leko in just 1:34 of the first round with a shoulder submission. A bit of a shocker on the same show saw Kevin Randleman KO Mirko CroCop in just 1:57 of the first round with a left punch! Now there's a bit of controversy as CroCrop's camp refuses to air the match in CroCop's home town of Croatia and will possibly be sued for it.

Credit Puroresu Power for the card

Spoiling the Illusion

Catching the replay of the show, I really enjoyed RAW this week and honestly didn't find much wrong with the show. But that's not to say that the show was perfect!
- I really wonder wether it bothers the wrestling Divas when they work so hard to establish their ring work, and then Jerry Lawler looks past all that and simply degrades them down to 'Puppy Fest'! It must really get under skin of some of them since they've advanced so far workrate wise to become one of the weekly highlights on RAW like the cruiserweight division is on SmackDown. The commentary is also usually at it's lowest point during these matches when Lawler simply couldn't care less how hard the Divas are working and simply sees them as sexual objects jumping about in the ring for his viewing pleasure.
- I should have mentioned this last week, but where's Mick Foley?!? I really hate it when the big names come back and have one match then disappears again, like what the Rock does every few months between movies. I mean, Mick Foley came out of retirement after four years, builds up one hell of a match that ultimately puts Randy Orton over, and then just disappears without saying good-bye or appologizing to the fans for not being able to beat Orton at Backlash? Or are they just saving it for when he returns as special guest referee for Orton's IC title match when he defends against either Edge or Shelton Benjamin later down the line?
- And speaking of Orton, am I the only one to notice the only legends he hasn't attacked yet that make regular WWE appearances are Moolah and Mae Young?
- Is Evolution truly dead now since none of their members came out to help each other when they were in trouble? Nobody even came out to help their leader Triple H after Tajiri blinded him with the mist! And is HHH so concerned about getting his World Title back that he could care less about Batista and Flair trying to get their Tag Titles back that he didn't even come out to help them like he did last week in Canada?
- And I guess since he's a tag champion now, the Edge/Orton program has been sidelined and Shelton Benjamin put in Edge's place?
- So Kane's idea of returning to his old ways as an unstoppable monster is by abusing and tormenting Lita? And how senile is Lita for immediately putting her trust in Matt Hardy after the way he backstabbed her months back? And won't this whole angle look really stupid if Lita actually aligns with Kane claiming it part of a plan to finally get revenge on Hardy?

TNA lost some loyal viewers due to their 'bait and switch' last week when they spent a considerable amount of time to hype and build the Road To The Cage with Jeff Jarrett and Chris Harris, only to yank the carpet out from under Harris on the biggest night of his career to put the belt around A.J. Styles. It was a slap in the face to fans who paid specifically to see Jarrett VS Harris. All the flak they got from the internet press for their actions are well deserved and Russo proved once and for all that Harris was 'not ready' for main event status. For those who missed it out of fear of being screwed out of their ten bucks again this week, the show wasn't all that good either.
- So after almost two months of building up Chris Harris into the main event picture, he now looks destined to go back to the tag leagues with James Storm to feud with Kid Kash and Dallas to possibly win the tag team titles again as a consolation prize for all his hard work up till now and not getting his big title match? Or will Harris turn heel on his partner to escape the tag leagues to feud with A.J. Styles for the world title? Cause God only knows how the only way anyone can advance in this day and age in the wrestling business is by going heel if their gonna win the title. And TNA hasn't really had a true babyface champion since Ron Killings seeing as how every champion they had has turned heel sooner or later.
- How dumb were D-Lo and Appolo to just leave the nightstick lying in the ring and leaving both their backs open to attack?

WWE SmackDown
- So Eddie Guerrero and John Bradshaw Leyfield are scheduled to have a world title bout in a few weeks, but for the past few weeks the two have had as little interaction as possible? Weird way to build up a PPV with Leyfield constantly doing vignettes about illegal immigrants and Guerrero feuding with the Dudley Boys (or is that The Dudley?) every week. I know Guerrero is helping to put over the Dudleys' heel turn, but wouldn't it be better to have Bradshaw actually wrestle on TV against their foreign talent like Funaki, Akio, Sakoda, Rey Mysterio etc. to build his 'All-American' character? Or are they trying to hide his limited wrestling ability?
- I'll admit I'm really curious to see who challenges Chavo next week for the cruiserweight title. I wouldn't be suprised if it was Paul London. But if whoever it is wins the title on the first shot, that would really be predictable and probably instantly kill off Chavo's heat.
- So how did Dupree win by DQ due to John Cena's interferance when minutes earlier GM Angle made it a no-DQ match? And can we really expect Dupree to win the US Title since he was jobbing left and right back on RAW? And if Dupree does win the title, wouldn't that again justify how much tougher RAW competition is compared to SmackDown?