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My name is Chris, and I’ve got an axe to grind (thus giving it +1D8 to damage) RAW Lita came out to a good pop from the Boston crowd. She looks great, and she got a fairly good response for her promo. It was nice that they gave Lita the opening moment, but then HHH came out with Orton and Bautista. Trips got a good response coming out too. They offer Lita a dollar if she will nude up and dance for it. She hits the bricks, and HHH goes on and on. Austin comes out and makes his points too. Then he throws out HH since he has no match. It’s all OK, but not great. Orton taunting the short, bald security guard was funny. Tracey Morgan’s ESPN Basketball Commercials are cool. He has achieved the IsoMotion. RVD and Christian had a little match that was pretty much what we’ve seen from these two over the last few months. I like Christian a lot, as he has so much natural charisma. I really like RVD sometimes, but he is spotty. Here, he was better than he has been lately. Christian was really good too. Too short. Cena’s YJStinger ad was good. It raises Cena to a HHH level, which is positive. Hey, I’ve eaten at that restaurant. Shane asks for a table for two. See where it’s going. NOOOOOooooooooo…..they replaced the AWESOMELY Hot Lillian Garcia with Coach for the night. I am not happy. Hurricane and Rosie had a match with La Resistance. Hurricane was sloppy, and Josie seemed to hurt his knee. Conway looked great, and he is quickly proving to be a positive for the tag division. Backstage talk with Team Bischoff. Best part of it was Teddy Long saying “That is one crazy cracker.” Val Venis brings two hot ladies out to check out Lance Storm. Val convinces him to some out of the shower and show the girls what he’s got. They did an angle like that in ECW with storm where Sunny(or maybe it was Dawn Marie) liked the way Lance filled out his trunks. The two ladies were SMOKING! Coach had a funny moment. He announced Lita and Teri as weighing in at 310 lbs. He has charisma, never let me say he doesn’t. Gail Kim brutalized Teri until she tagged in Molly, who continued the beatdown. Old school Face Clawing Camel Clutch. The Sheik is smiling down from somewhere. It was looking like a squash until Lita got the tag and came in as a house on fire! She got a good pop for tagging in and for all her offense. She
isn’t up to the level of the other ladies who have been working steady for the last year, but what she does is good. Short match, needed more time. Orton vs. Michaels. They were smart and went over the last match these two had. By showing a little backstory, the folks at home are reminded of the past, which is helpful in this era of what happened last month doesn’t matter. The Crowd was way into the match and into Michaels especially. Orton has a beautiful dropkick. Michaels was selling like Flair against Vader for Orton (See Flashback). Michaels is like Flair in that he is getting a new stride as he pushes 40. The match flows just about right, with some good announcing from JR. Wow, they are making a good point of using the fact that folks understand that HBK had serious back troubles. The reversal by HBK into the Sidewalk slam THROUGH the chair was an awesome spot. HBK gets the win and it sets up a lot for the Survivor Series Elimination match. The Kane eating with Shane McMahon stuff was weird. Kane in normal clothes eating at a restaurant (Kowloon) was surreal, but the stuff they were doing really made some sense. It kinda had a “My Dinner with Kane” feel to it. I mean, really, why were they doing intercutting? Steiner and Mark Henry took on The Dudleys in a match that wasn’t great, but it served its purpose. The Dudleys have become very stale to me recently, except for that great tribute to the Warriors, but this match was solid and they got a good performance out of Scott Steiner. OK, Jericho does a heelish moment on a poor backstage worker. It was funny, but then Trish showed up and he said he was just stressed. It was a great quick turn that worked for me. He asked Trish out and she said yes. There are so many reasons that that is funny to me. Booker T and Jericho have a match that was pretty good, as they are both strong performers. Booker got a good response. Boston is the hottest crowd in a while for RAW. The match didn’t get enough time, but I liked what there was of it. Nice Neckbreaker. The beatdown after Booker wins was a Survivor Series tradition, allowing all the members of the team to come down for a nice little brawl. Coach announces that Jericho is the winner, but then he gets a nice 3D from the Dudleys. I like it. Nice to mention LeBron James again, making the product seem a lot cooler. Goldberg got a little something back with his match against Bautista. He had Bautista, but HHH ran in for the DQ. Then HHH was about to lay him out completely, but Goldberg got a low blow and beat on him and Bautista for a bit. He looked very strong here. The show as a whole did a good deal to advance things towards Survivor Series, and the matches were acceptable. The finish, allowing Goldberg to look better than he has been much of his tenure, worked for me.
NEWS Here’s what Survivor Series looks like now.
Undertaker vs. Vince McMahon – Buried Alive Tajiri vs. Jamie Noble – Cruiserweight Title Team Angle (Angle, Benoit, Bradshaw, Holly & ???) vs. Team Lesnar (Lesnar, Morgan, Jones, Big Show, A-Train) Goldberg vs. HHH – World Title Shane McMahon vs. Kane – Ambulance Match Molly vs. Lita – Woman’s Title Team Austin (Booker T, Dudleyz, RVD, & HBK) vs. Team Bischoff (Jericho, BPP, Christian, Henry, & Orton)
I’ll do a rundown later this week. FlashBack! Survivor Series started out as a Thanksgiving tradition, but four years before the first SS, there was Starrcade. So, I thought to keep the memory of those great nights watching the NWA’s best fight it out, I would do a Top Five Starrcade Matches. There are a lot of these shows (17, I think) and the choices are tough. You should remember, Starrcade was the NWA’s WrestleMania, so they always wanted the best matches of the year on the show. 5) The Rock ‘n Roll Express vs. the Andersons at Starrcade 1986. This was a clinic in cage match brutality. The Andersons worked the arm of Ricky Morton like nobody’s business. Hammerlock body slams, overhead wristlocks, you name it, they did it. The crowd was hotter than fire the whole way through. I rewatched this recently (it’s on the WWE Bloodbaths DVD) and it holds up so well against the Hell in the Cell matches for match quality, if they did none of the spectacular dives that are required for pops nowadays. The Rock ‘n Roll Express belongs in the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, and this match explains why. Arn and Ole Anderson has the whole match psychology thing down pat. 4) Eddy Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko at Starrcade 1997. This was the typical Eddy vs. Dean match. Great counter wrestling from two guys who know each other better than many of us know ourselves. Dean was at the peak of his talents, here. He was magnificent in his transitions, and Eddy had all his spots working. Eddy has added so much charisma over the last couple of years, but here, you could see that he was going to
be a major star if given a chance. Well-worth suffering through the rest of the card to see this one. 3) Roddy Piper vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valenitine in the Dog Collar Chain Match at Starrcade 1983. This one, this single match, is what turned off a bunch of my family to wrestling. I was watching this one Thanksgiving morning and my Grandma and uncle came into the room, saw the blood and the guys hitting each other with the chain and left. This is what every chain match should be. The guys had a huge score to settle (Piper had his ear “injured” by the Hammer and this was his return. Piper was the face here, and played the role to perfection. Everyone thinks of Piper as the heel who taunted Hogan during the heyday, but he was an awesome face. Piper sold that his equilibrium was all off and did some classic Terry Funk-style selling. Valentine attacked his ear, and Piper apparently bladed his ear, which was gruesome. There were so many spots in this one that would just make the modern fans cringe. Piper putting the chain into Valentine’s mouth. Both men whipping each other with the chain. Valentine wrapping Piper’s head with the chain and then delivering one of his hammer elbows right on top of it. It was a brutal and great match that every one booking a match to end a feud should be forced to watch and understand. 2) Magnum TA vs. Tully Blanchard in the I-Quit Steel Cage Match at Starrcade 1985. I’ve written abou tit before, but this was the greatest cage match in history. A bloody match that was the measuring stick for violence until ECW came around. They used the cage, the brawled, they made Magnum look like Hulk Hogan with Ric Flair’s match concept. Tully was amazing as always, and the finish with the broken chair piece being jammed into Tully’s eye is classic. It’s also on that Bloodbath DVD. 1) Flair vs. Vader for the World Title at Starrcade 1993. This match was Flair’s Career vs. Vader’s title. Flair was the fan favorite here, and was more over in Charlotte than anyone else ever. The fans were chanting for him, and there was continual heat. It was amazing. Vader started off showing all his power by tossing Flair around. They did a great, but simple series, where Flair ran out of the ring and Vader started chasing him, but when Flair got into the ring like he always did to kick him as Vader slid in, Vader stopped and stared. It was simple, but showed that there was thought going on. They did amazing build up all show, by show leaving his home, coming into the arena, being escorted to the arena. The match was brutal, with Vader laying in big hands, stomping directly on the face, even knocking out a couple of Flair’s teeth. When it was Vader’s time to sell, the crowd went nuts, and he held up his end, making Flair look even better than he was. What we would think of today as standard moves were still crowd-silencing in 1993. Vader getting Flair up for a suplex then just dropping him into a slam was an innovative move. Vader’s punches were so stiff; far stiffer than they needed to be. Clotheslines, brutal shots all around. This match was amazingly stiff. Flair played his role as face better than he usually played heel. Jesse Ventura was doing commentary and was selling everything Vader did as Earth shattering. On that level, this was a classic.
Vader does a SuperPlex! Flair hits three top-rope punches! Vader drops on elbow on Flair’s inner thigh! Harley Race (Who Flair beat at the first Starrcade) interfering! Flair chopping the hell out of Vader! All of it was amazing and the pace they worked, making a great twenty-five plus minute match, just boggles my mind. When Flair punched and chopped Vader down, the crowd went crazy beyond anything that had been seen in wrestling since the days of Hogan’s peak. There was nothing about this match that felt rushed or faked. This was that glowing moment that fans like me watch to see. They very seldom happen, but when they do, they make it all worth while.
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