Hello everyone and welcome to the ninth edition of The Shoot and let me start off by saying that I?m writing this column with a very sour taste in my mouth thanks to the bitter kool aid fed to me by Wrestlemania 25 last night. With so many columnists now voicing their opinions here on WrestleView.com, I am sure that there will be many different views and perspectives on last night’s Pay-Per-View. In fact, had Wrestlemania been a great show last night, I would have given it the nod and just wrote about my main topic this week which was reflecting back on the AWA.
The AWA is special to me because it represented a simpler time in professional wrestling and I was very excited to write about it and I still am. That is why this week, I am not writing one, but two columns, but they will not be separate, they will both be right here in this edition of The Shoot in what I am dubbing my first ?Double Shot?. Quick Shots, Reader E-Mail, my Wrestlemania 25 prediction results will all be here as well as column about the AWA and last night’s travesty of a Pay-Per-View. You are getting two shoots for the price of one this week so grab a couple of cold ones and enjoy the ride.
On a side note? I one day hope those cold ones are of Ecto Cooler. Anthony Valvo, better known as the author of ?From the Desk of Mr. V? has dubbed me the Commander of the Ecto Cooler Brigade and I wear that badge proudly. But enough self-promotion? Quick Shots are afoot!
In probably the biggest piece of wrestling news out there, Jerry Lynn has defeated the injured Nigel McGuinness to become the 11th Ring of Honor World Champion. For those who are keeping history, this keeps on with tradition that there hasn?t been a repeat world champion yet. It started with Low Ki, then Xavier, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, CM Punk, James Gibson, Bryan Danielson, Homicide, Takeshi Morishima, then Nigel McGuinness. Jerry Lynn is the latest edition and while part of me is content with him being the champion due to the circumstances, the other part of me is genuinely annoyed that they placed the championship on Jerry Lynn rather than someone ROH has developed. I am not taking anything away from the ?New F?N Show?, but he is already established and has been brought in to have a good match here and there with the ROH regulars. The title change would have been better suited for someone ROH has been pushing. Tyler Black, while young and underdeveloped, would have made most of the ROH fan base finally shut up about them wanting him as champion. Personally, I would have loved to see Jimmy Jacobs take the belt or make history by having the Ace of ROH, Austin Aries, take the strap and become ROH’s first ever two-time world champion. I do understand the position the company was in with Nigel being injured, but there should have been a different changing of the guard.
Last week, I wrote about a news blurb where John Cena had challenged The Rock to a match at Wrestlemania XXVI out in Arizona. The Rock has, since then, answered John Cena’s challenge and said that his actions are laughable. Unless this is a very very clever storyline by the WWE that they will brew and stew over the next twelve months, I think that it is very safe to say that The Rock vs John Cena will, most likely, NOT happen at next year’s Wrestlemania. It is kind of sad, too, because I sat here and thought long and hard about a potential storyline and how the WWE could market and capitalize on it. Maybe one day, I?ll make an entire column out of it as I play arm chair booker and book the Cena vs Rock storyline through my own eyes, but we?ll see about that.
Most of the other news blurbs have been about Wrestlemania, so I?ll touch upon that later in the column. Right now, I?d like to reflect back on the AWA.
For those of you too young to remember, the AWA or American Wrestling Association, has been one of the biggest wrestling companies from 1960 to 1991 when it finally closed its doors. In fact, John Cena’s current Hustle, Loyalty, Respect T-Shirt is a modified AWA Logo. When I saw that logo on Cena’s shirt, I immediately was reminded of the AWA and it encouraged me to watch some of their shows which still air to this day on ESPN Classic.
The AWA reminded me of the simpler times in professional wrestling. I have a friend who comes over to visit every Friday to play video games and watch anime. It has quickly become a tradition and while he was watching some episodes of Shugo Chara Doki!, an anime I don?t really care for, I popped on the television and watched a classic AWA show. Now Mike isn?t a huge wrestling fan, but even he glanced over at the television during the matches and made the comments ?these matches are really quick. They seem more realistic? and I couldn?t agree more.
This is when wrestling was wrestling. There were no spot fests, no twenty minutes of going balls to the wall, kicking out of each other’s finisher like a Japanese junior’s match, or anything of the sort. It was usually two guys, they went out there, beat the hell out of each other, and called it a day. They made moves mean so much more. A simple body slam was sold as if a guy just fell right off the second floor and landed on the hard ground. Punches were sold a lot better because they tried to make it believable to the audience watching there live as well the audience watching at home. This was the AWA’s biggest belief that they should push wrestling more than sports entertainment and that was the vision of its owner, Verne Gagne.
What is interesting is that the AWA was actually formed based on a creative dispute between Verne Gagne and the NWA. Verne wanted to be the NWA World Heavyweight Champion and he was unsuccessful in lobbying to get that match. So in 1960, Verne Gange and Wally Karbo broke away from the NWA and formed the AWA. The then NWA World Champion, Pat O?Conner was recognized by the AWA as the AWA World Champion and they demanded that O?Conner defend the title against Gagne. When O?Conner didn?t, the AWA stripped him of the championship and awarded the title to Verne. In the beginning, the AWA was seen as nothing more than a tool to get the world’s title around the waist of Gagne.
Gagne then started creating some stars in the 1970s and feuded against many of them. He feuded with the likes of Gene Kiniski, Fritz Von Erich, Ray Stevens, Mad Dog Vachon, Nick Bockwinkle, all the way to his final match against Sheik Adnan El Kassey. During these feuds, Gagne has won the AWA World Title an impressive ten times. In order to attract fans, Gagne would also co-promote shows with the NWA and the WWWF.
In 1982, a move occurred that actually made me laugh a little bit. Hulk Hogan was in the AWA and quickly became their top draw. Despite all of this, Verne Gagne refused to put the AWA World Championship around Hulk Hogan’s waist because Gagne still believed that titles should be awarded to those with great technical wrestling skill and Hulk Hogan was an entertainer more than a wrestler. As an aside here, I?ve always felt that Hulk Hogan was an exceptional entertainer, but completely failed miserably as a professional wrestler. Reading that actually made me chuckle a bit and yes, I am NOT a Hulk Hogan fan. Even as a child I never liked Hulk Hogan.
Hogan would actually ?win? the AWA World Title on two separate occasions, but the title was stripped off of him both times and returned to Nick Bockwinkle. In 1983, Hogan accepted an offer from Vince McMahon to wrestle for the WWF and the rest was history. Vince McMahon didn?t just take Hulk Hogan, though. Vince raided the AWA for stars such as ?Mean? Gene Okerlund, Bobby ?The Brain? Heenan, Adrian Adonis, Ken Patera, and Jesse ?The Body? Ventura. Despite these talent raids by Vince McMahon, the AWA went on to have its most successful year in 1984. The Road Warriors and Jerry Blackwell came aboard and helped boost the AWA. Later on stars such as Jeff Jarrett, Curt Hennig, Scott Hall (who was Hennig’s tag team partner at the time), the Texas Hangmen, Sgt. Slaughter, Colonel DeBeers, The Midnight Rockers of Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty, Jerry ?The King? Lawler, and Bob Backlund would all make their appearances in the AWA.
This would eventually lead to their biggest show Superclash, which was a response to Vince McMahon’s Wrestlemania I. Superclash was a conglomeration of promotions which included Jim Crockett Productions, Bill Watt’s Mid-South Wrestling, Pacific Northwest Wrestling, World Class Championship Wrestling, and Continental Wrestling Association. Most of these promotions were companies under the banner of the NWA. The new hybrid promotion would then be known as Pro Wrestling USA.
Eventually, just like the WWF/WWE has done throughout the years, their popularity eventually overshadowed Pro Wrestling USA/AWA and it closed its doors in 1991. Today, the WWE owns all the matches and footage of the AWA. I would encourage anyone to check out the AWA on ESPN Classic. The AWA serves as a simple reminder about the essence of professional wrestling and I guarantee that you?ll be in for a treat if you love and appreciate professional wrestling like I do.
There are some things out there that will make you laugh. A lot of the promos are those classic, 80s-style (with good reason since they WERE in the 80s) over-the-top, scream into the microphone babyface vs heel promos, but as corny as a lot of them were, it brings back fond memories of the essence of what professional wrestling was and what kind of broad market that these wrestling companies tried to reach and achieve. If you want to know more about the stars of the AWA, I urge you to check out one of Wrestleview.com’s affiliates, the Online World of Wrestling.
While the AWA brought to some fond memories when wrestling was wrestling and that matches and moves meant more and had more impact on the psychology of a match, something happened last night that didn?t create a lot of fond memories and that brings us to the second portion of The Shoot: Wrestlemania Fallout.
I listened to Wrestling News Live after Wrestlemania back on Sunday night and there were a lot of mixed feelings on the show. There were some who thought it was one of the top 10 Wrestlemanias out there and there were some who thought the show bombed. I was one of those who thought the show just absolutely bombed and bombed BIG TIME. Too bad this wasn?t the Hollywood Wrestlemania, then my pun would have made more sense. I?m going to go up and down the card and give my thoughts on each match, each event, and each detail of the night.
Nicole Scherzinger opened up Wrestlemania with our annual America the Beautiful. I?m a metal guy and I pay no attention AT ALL to the ?popular? music scene. I was clueless as to who the hell she was and I didn?t really care, but I will say she had a nice voice. Pyro hits and we get Money in the Bank
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
You won?t see any arm bars, sleeper holds, or figure fours here. The Money in the Bank ladder match is a spotfest. It has opened Wrestlemania before and with good reason. A spotfest can excite a crowd and it can set the mood and pace for the rest of the Pay-Per-View so I actually thought the WWE did well here to put this match on first. Everyone and their mother thought that MVP was going to walk out of this match because lord knows he deserves the push. It just felt like it should be MVP’s time to shine here, but that was not the case as C.M. Punk made history by becoming the first man in the WWE by winning back to back Money in the Banks. The ROHbot in me was actually happy to see this, but it was funny. I wanted C.M. Punk to win? the IWC (Internet Wrestling Community) wanted MVP to win, but Houston, Texas wanted Christian to win. Think about this for a second. What if Houston got what they wanted? What if Christian wins Money in the Bank, there’s a power failure in the middle of the PPV, lights come back on and everything is normal. Christian walks out sans briefcase after Edge retains the world heavyweight title and announces that Edge and Christian are back together and that Christian officially is challenging the winner of Triple H vs Randy Orton for the WWE Title the next night on Raw. Christian tells Edge to think about it. The WWE Champion and the World Champion together again as the greatest force in the WWE. The people go ape shit over the reunion of E&C, Edge seemingly turns face, but Christian stops and says, ?too bad it will never happen? and clocks Edge in the head with the microphone. Christian slides out of the ring, lifts it up and grabs the money in the bank briefcase (which will be explained that he put it there during the power failure) and cashed it in.. 1. 2. 3 we have a new world champion and the first time it would have been cashed in at Wrestlemania. Just some arm chair booking from me.
They show the Axxess fan tour and I take this moment to hit the restroom. I walk back out and Kid Rock is on my television screen. At that point I wish I had a dinner that disagreed with me so I could take more time away from Wrestlemania. Nevertheless, Kid Rock was just the most expensive and longest theme song for all 25 Divas for the Battle Royal. ?Santina? ends up winning this travesty and is the sole reason as to why I could see the other divas turning the offer from the WWE down to do this. This was just horribly booked to be honest. Wrong place in the card as women’s matches were typically used to ease the crowd down between world title matches and on top of it all, no one really knew who was in the damn thing to being with. Hell, not even the announcers seemed to know who was in the match until they were eliminated. Horribly booked and that left a sour taste in my mouth. Plus, what was the point of Santino Marella winning if Beth Phoenix didn?t jump in that ring and rip off his disguise. I think that would have provided a much better moment than the ended they ran with.
Next up we get the legends vs Jericho and I must say that I was shocked at this match’s placement on the card. I thought it would have been much later. This was the show stealer for me. Here we all cringed at the thought of this match because we all wanted it to be Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Chris Jericho, but we got this instead, but I will be completely honest here. I was not disappointed one bit. Roddy Piper even shocked me in this match by throwing a drop kick. Yes, that drop kick was very bad looking, but I give major props to a man with a shattered hip for doing a move like that. Jimmy Snuka, I saw wrestle for a local promotion down here in Florida called Coastal Championship Wrestling. I even got to meet and greet Jimmy Snuka and got his autograph. He is a genuinely nice guy and it was a pleasure seeing him perform. Watching him live for a CCW show and watching him at Wrestlemania showed me that his passion is the only thing keeping him wrestling. He is up there in age and has very limited mobility and I thought the WWE made great use of that limited mobility, too. They got him in, let him hit a few spots, and got him out. Then came The Dragon himself, Ricky Steamboat. I have to tell you, for a man who is retired, Steamboat can still go. I almost jumped out of my seat and marked out like a little school girl for the Jonas Brothers when Steamboat hit his arm drags. The plancha to the outside, the top rope clotheslines, everything was just awesome. I really thought Steamboat would have pulled it off, but Jericho hit the Codebreaker and shattered my dreams (not to mention my pick).
After all this, Mickey Rourke comes in (eventually.. GOD that took FOREVER) and pops Jericho with a left hook. He gets his pop and takes his leave. Meh. Horrible ending to the best match (in my opinion and I?ll share my reason and thoughts in a moment)
Extreme Rules is up next. Matt and Jeff went through hell and back. This is obviously another spot fest, but it was the score that needed to be settled in this personal feud. Everyone thought I was crazy when I picked Matt Hardy to win, but this is one of the few things Wrestlemania did right back on Sunday. They gave Matt Hardy, the more talented of the two in my opinion, the rub. Maybe this will be a catalyst to get Matt Hardy into a bigger program that doesn?t involve the ECW Championship, but one can hope. The Twist of Fate on that chair was absolutely sick and brutal and for people who love gimmick spot fests, it doesn?t get much better than this unless you could the Briscoes vs Steenerico Ladder War. I was satisfied with this match overall.
Next up was JBL vs Rey Mysterio for the WWE Intercontinental Championship and by the time you?re finished reading this sentence, you would have missed the entire duration of the match. JBL got treated like Triple H did when he fought the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania XII, except Triple H got SOME offense in. Rey wins the Intercontinental Title in 21 seconds from JBL, then JBL quits the WWE. The only thing good about this was Rey Mysterio’s tribute to Heath Ledger’s Joker character from The Dark Knight. Did anyone else just CRINGE when Jerry Lawler said ?but Rey Mysterio’s career is alive and well?? I didn?t think they?d stoop that low to make such a comment on worldwide pay-per-view. Nothing against Rey Mysterio, but horrible match, horrible concept, and horrible comments from the commentary. This was an insult to the history of the Intercontinental Championship, but I think it has been proven that if it’s not the WWE title or the World Title, it doesn?t matter to the WWE anyway.
Now we get to everyone’s joygasm for the night: The Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels. As Hunter Golden stated on Wrestling News Live, this match didn?t steal the show, it hijacked it. So far, Hunter has been the only one who has shared the same views as I had about this match. I can?t take anything away from Undertaker or HBK for this one as their wrestling was pretty good. The WWE is all about sports entertainment, but once in a while, they are known to pull out some great wrestling gems from time to time and this promised to be one of them, but I felt that it didn?t deliver as much as it could have. Granted, these two are over the hill and this isn?t 1995 anymore, but they gave it their all and it came off as enjoyable, but not great. What really killed this match from being a match of the year candidate was the fifteen minutes of lying down on the canvas, hitting finishers and kicking out. When Michaels skinned the cat and got caught in the Undertaker’s tombstone, that should have been all she wrote, but instead we were subjected to false finish after false finish after false finish and it got to the point where I no longer watched this match as a wrestling fan. It got to the point where the smark in me came out and said ?For Christ’s sake.. we know the Undertake is going to win, just end the damn match already!? I was completely sucked out of the zone by this horrendous ending and it left a very bitter taste in my mouth. This match could have been so much more, but the ended completely ruined it. I had more fun watching Ricky Steamboat kick Jericho from pillar to post than watching Undertaker and HBK sloth through fifteen minutes of false finishes. The sad part is that they got the crowd chanting ?This is awesome? when the false finishes started. When you hear that, that’s when you pick up the pace, get it nice and hot and end the match with a high note. You don?t suck the life out of the crowd and leave your two world title matches void of any heat whatsoever. You just don?t do that. I?m moving on before I fill up another five pages of how this match when wrong.
Triple Threat for the World Title is your sub-main event. By this time I?m like ?oh.. so they are putting the Tag Title unification match in between to pace the crowd. Okay?. All I have to say is that if it wasn?t for The Big Show, this match would have just sucked horribly. This match was all over the place with no rhyme or reason to it and it just looked like all three men were just going through the motions. The best part was when Big Show got tied up into the ropes and screamed at the ref to get him out. That brought a smile to my face. John Cena picking up Show and Edge for the Attitude Adjustment was a sight to see as well. Cena’s got some power. While I can understand the WWE’s move to put the belt on Cena, I think people like Cena more as a title chaser than as a title holder. I, for one, am one of those people who like to see Cena chase the belt. I also thought that Cena had one of the worst entrances of the night. 1000 look-alikes came out and just stood there doing the You Can?t See Me Schtick was just god awful in my opinion. I hope they got paid well to do that. Fun fact about the title win, though. Edge’s eigth championship reign ended at the two month mark. This means that Edge, in all eight of his world titles, has NEVER held the belt for more than three months. Three was his longest reign and I think Edge is just doomed to be a transitional world champion for the rest of his career. If he hasn?t had a lengthy run after eight world titles, then I doubt he ever will.
Up next.. Unified tag titles? it has to be! It has to be!
HHH vs Orton? What the???.
So since I?m gearing up for Wrestlemania, I didn?t bother to check the internet to know that the tag titles were bumped off the card. Now I?m pissed. They gave away their intercontinental title match for free on Raw the previous week, they made a mockery of it tonight, and bumped the tag titles off the show for Kid Rock and Mickey Rourke. I don?t even know where to begin telling you what is wrong with that picture.
Anyway? what I can tell you is what went wrong with HHH vs Orton. Orton got his nut sack hacked off by Triple H. That’s what went wrong. Talk about a slow-pace, boring blood feud ender. Headlocks and submission holds in a blood feud? I?m going to channel Don West here. YOU?VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. If someone punted my father in law and brother in law in the head. RKOed, DDTed, and kissed my wife, I would not care about losing something as trivial as the WWE title at that point. I would have buried Randy Orton six feet under and poured cement over his grave to make sure he had no way of coming back to see the light of this world. The last thing I would do would be to put him in a headlock. The punt to the head was the perfect ending, but was horribly executed. It came out of left field, literally from out of nowhere. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR FREAKING PAY OFF! Why would you hit it from out of nowhere. You get Randy down, you measure him up, you get the crowd to stand on their feet and savor the moment of retribution, THEN you hit the punt to the head and THEN YOU PIN HIM. You don?t punt him, punch him, and pedigree him. You end the match with the punt because that is the symbolic turning point, that is the symbol of redemption, and that is the ending that would have made the most sense. Instead, Triple H goes out there and literally almost destroys Randy Orton’s heat and almost his career.
This had to be one of the worst Wrestlemania’s ever produced and I will leave it at that. The only other thing that sucked were my picks which were as follows:
Money in the Bank
Winner: CM Punk
25 Diva Battle Royal
Winner: Santino Marella
Pick: The Glamazon Beth Phoenix
Elimination Match: Legends vs Jericho
Winner: Chris Jericho
Pick: The Legends
I?m not doing so well, am I?
Hardy vs Hardy
Winner: Matt Hardy
Pick: Matt Hardy
HA! Suck on that, Glow Worm fans!
21 Seconds of My Life Wasted
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Loser: The Fans
Pick: Rey Mysterio
The Match That Would Not End
Winner: The Undertaker
Pick: The Undertaker
Wooo.. mounting a comeback, baby!
Two Men and a Love Boat
Winner: John Cena
Pick: The Big Show
Winner: Triple H
Pick: Triple H
Okay.. so I?m tied, but wait.. let’s go to the dark match!
The Unseen Tag Team Titles
Winners: The Colons
So I was happy being 50/50 until I was screwed by which I could not see.
Onto Reader E-Mail
Faithful Reader Suzanne Abshire wrote:
If Mr. Shane Douglas could find a way to make money off of WCW without getting sued by WWE he would give you a WCW Reunion.
I seriously doubt that John Cena vs The Rock would happen but I for one would love to see it happen.?I would have liked Vince to go?after?The Rock to face Chris Jericho.
I responded with:
Thanks for continuously reading my columns and giving me feedback!
I know that the WWE owns WCW now, but I’m wondering if Vince might find a WCW reunion show to be profitable.? I know there might be some roadblocks like Sting, Nash, Steiner, Booker T, etc working for TNA, but I believe Goldberg is still available, Billy Kidman, Raven, Psicosis (if he’s out of jail by now), Juventud Guerrera, Ric Flair can make an appearance, etc.? There’s still a lot of options out there… and if they are really desperate, they can pull Scott Hall off a barstool in FL to come to the show.? Hell, Shane Douglas was in WCW, they can pull him in, too.? Hugh Morrus… the names just keep popping up in my mind.
I was thinking about making an entire column about Cena vs The Rock.? Basically I’ve been thinking of a storyline to book these two in.? Sadly, it won’t be next week’s column because I thought of the choice too late (I have to submit 3 topics with my column for the following week) and Hunter chose my “Simpler Times: Reflecting on the AWA” for my next column, which I’m really excited about writing because I’ve been watching a lot of AWA on ESPN Classic and I loved the promotion when it aired regularly and I’m loving all of these memories. I’ll probably do it the following week as I think my idea would fit the WWE’s idea of Entertainment to a “T”.
And she retorted with
WCW didn’t have the cult following that ECW did nor did they have a distinct style that would make them stand out to where anyone would want to see them come back.? Plus lets be honest when it ECW closed it was still putting on a good show and WCW wasn’t not to mention anyone who mattered you can see every week in either WWE or TNA.? Even if you never heard of TNA with the exception of Jeff Jarrett and Sting everyone of the people that mattered in WCW wrestled for WWE after WCW closed down.? No one wants to see Jeff wrestle and I don’t think you can do an entire card around Sting.? Plus at some point TNA will let Sting go and at that point maybe Sting will go to WWE for a couple of matches before he calls it a career.
She’s always been good to have a wrestling conversation with!
Steven D. Harris checks in from Scotland!
Hiya Joshua, it’s your ?international reader? here!
Always enjoy your column ? anyway, that’s enough praise lol
I enjoyed the limited amount of ECW I used to be able to watch in the UK, and still do thanks to the wonders of YouTube!? However, I agree that ?reunions? of ?the old days? can become tedious.? However, I think you?re forgetting the point of Shane Douglas arranging them; that’s Mr Douglas himself!? I mean, what the heck has he done recently?? As far as I can tell, sweet F.A.!? So, by arranging a reunion of when he was argueably near the top of his game is purely to make him the star, albeit barely twinkling anymore, of the show.? I also note that he says this will be the last reunion ? so even he can see the bubble bursting!
By the way, your question of when we?ll see a WCW reunion ? we?ve got one ? it’s called TNA!
Finally, wasn?t Ecto Cooler that stuff in Ghostbusters?
No, sorry, that was ectoplasm!
Didn?t have a name on this one because it was sent from a blackberry, but lordofdarkness2u chimed in with a quick line: Ecto cooler blast from the past lol
I had to toss that one line in there because it is my duty as the Commander of the Ecto Cooler brigade to get that name out there as much as possible!
Well, I hope you?re buzzed and/or drunk after my long rants and ravings. With two columns in one, we have two reader feedback questions for this week:
1. What was your favorite old school promotion and why? AWA, WWWF, NWA and any of its territories, Mid-South, etc? What brings back the fond memories for you that made you say ?This is wrestling!?
2. What did you think of Wrestlemania 25. After my disappointment with the show, I?m eager to hear your agreements and your arguments against my opinions!
And as always, if you want to talk about anything else aside from the topics that is wrestling related or any other topics like why some guys actually watch Shugo Chara Doki and like it, or how awkward it feels to watch a youtube cover of Gekidou by UVERworld by a Japanese guy and all this time you thought he looked hot because the first videos you saw of him he looked and dressed like a chick, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time…
Because I can.