Wednesday, August 31, 2016

WWE Cruiserweight Classic 8/31/16 Review

WWE Cruiserweight Classic
August 31st, 2016 | Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida

Tonight, the quarterfinals begin! Gran Metalik takes on Akira Tozawa and Kota Ibushi faces The Brian Kendrick.

Corey Graves does voiceover work for the opening video, which talks about the eight remaining guys.

Gran Metalik def. Akira Tozawa in 15:48
Time limits are now up to thirty minutes. Very fast paced stuff right off the bat. Tozawa got hyped before the match by Graves for his strikes, but the dude is quick. They both tried dropkicks at the same time and whiffed. Metalik, the last remaining luchador, dove outside onto Tozawa in an impressive moment. The crowd was pretty split. Tozawa took to the sky next with a tope suicida followed by another. Metalik made the mistake of getting into a striking battle with Tozawa, which he lost. Metalik got two on a nice running shooting star press at the ten minute mark. Tozawa came close with a saito suplex but couldn't keep Metalik down. He fired up but Metalik sent him outside and nailed a great springboard dive. They battled some more strikes until Metalik snapped off a gorgeous springboard rana from the top, only for Tozawa to kick out. Tozawa busted out the snap German and used a dead lift for a near fall. He tried a package German but Metalik countered with the Metalik Driver to advance. Easily the best Tozawa performance so far. An insane pace, great mix of strikes and high flying with some well placed false finishes. ***3/4

Kota Ibushi def. The Brian Kendrick in 13:57
Daniel Bryan was 100% in Kendrick's corner. Kendrick started to play mind games with Kota, challenging him to fight outside. That failed so he went inside and ate a vicious kick. Ibushi followed with the golden triangle moonsault to get this off to a great start. Channeling his inner Toru Yano, Kendrick attempted to get Ibushi tied up in the guardrail to steal a countout win. He also delivered a neckbreaker over the ring post, which I've never seen before. It made great sense since Kota has had neck surgery recently. They traded blows and Kendrick nailed Sliced Bread for a close near fall that nearly killed Daniel Bryan. Ibushi struggled but hit his dead lift German from the apron for two. Kendrick's bully choke failed so he did a goddamn BURNING HAMMER for a near fall. Kota missed the Phoenix Splash and it's BULLY CHOKE TIME! Ibushi countered into a pin for two and hit a kick when they got up, followed by a Last Ride powerbomb for the win. Another great match. The crowd was hot and Kendrick played his role brilliantly. You could feel that he was desperate and tried everything to win. The reactions for his signature moves and the emotion of everything was just top notch. ****1/4

Daniel Bryan seemed to be in tears as he spoke while watching Ibushi and Kendrick shake hands, bow to one another and hug. The crowd chanted for Kendrick throughout.

Next week, Zack Sabre Jr. goes one on one with Noam Dar, while Rich Swann takes on TJ Perkins.

Before the show ends, we see an emotional Kendrick in the ring in tears as he gets a standing ovation and loud "thank you Brian" chants. Daniel Bryan leaves the booth to join his friend in the ring and they embrace. Kendrick should be a part of the Raw cruiserweight division for sure.

Overall: 9/10. Another awesome episode. Both matches delivered in spades. Not just that, but they were very different from one another, which really is the calling card of the CWC so far. A very easy hour of wrestling to watch.

Raw History: Episodes 46-48

Raw History
Episode #46
January 3rd, 1994 | Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, New York

Technically, we aren’t in 1994 just yet. This show was taped in Poughkeepsie nearly a month ago. 

The show begins with multiple clips to hype the Yokozuna/Undertaker match at the Royal Rumble. It focuses on how Yokozuna is scared of caskets. I honestly believe there were much better ways to promote the match than to say that the “monster” champion was afraid.

My goodness, the commentary team is Vince McMahon and Johnny Polo. This should be the best pairing yet.

Non-Title Match
WWF Champion Yokozuna w/ Mr. Fuji vs. Dan Dubiel

Johnny Polo is already stealing the show by saying that Yokozuna is “dope”, then hitting us with the “Dubiel or not Dubiel, that is the question” line. As expected, this is completely one-sided with the only entertaining thing being Johnny Polo on commentary.

Winner: Yokozuna in 3:49
Yokozuna dominating is how this needed to be, but it shouldn’t have taken him nearly four minutes. Who is planning out these squashes? ¼*

Time for a pre-taped interview with Lex Luger. We see footage from this past weekend first where Lex Luger faced Jacques Rougeau on Superstars. Pierre pulled twin magic that somehow fooled the referee, only for the referee to notice afterwards. Then Luger used his forearm of doom to win. Now, Vince interviews him in the arena before the show about potentially being in the Royal Rumble.

A vignette airs for Thurman “Sparky” Plugg.

Bastion Booger and Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Luna Vachon v. The Smoking Guns
Why does Bastion Booger keep getting booked? I’m guessing this is our “marquee” match this week. Polo is just murdering the Guns on commentary and it’s glorious. To be fair, he’s also pretty crude to Bastion too. The heels go into working a heat on Bart Gunn, but it is not entertaining in the least. When Billy gets the hot tag, Polo quips “HE’S LIKE A MAN REPOSSESSED.” It’s a glorious oversell. Luna checks on Bastion outside while Bigelow gets worked over inside. Booger likes this and hugs and kisses Luna, as the Guns just beat on Bigelow. He avoids a move from the Guns and then gets distracted when he sees Booger basically trying to rape Luna. He brawls with his partner, leading to a countout.

Winners via countout: The Smoking Guns in 8:08
Wait, why did this happen? The Smoking Guns should have just gone over, pinning Booger. Instead, we get a double countout and I don’t believe this Booger/Bigelow feud ever went anywhere. The match was dull as well. ½*

The show is thrown to Todd Pettengill for the Royal Rumble Report. 27 names have been announced. The new ones, I think, are Billy and Bart Gunn, Rick Martel, Marty Jannetty, Mo, Jeff Jarrett, Ludvig Borga and Tatanka. This weekend on Superstars, the final three spots will be filled. I wish the WWE Network had those old Superstars episodes up. Also, Tatanka and Borga will meet in a singles match on the show as well.

Next week, the one year anniversary of Raw!

Jeff Jarrett vs. John Crystal
Once again, Jeff Jarrett is sporting some ridiculous attire. Crystal actually uses a small package for two. It tells you how good the 1-2-3 Kid angle was because people tend to pop for jobbers nearly beating heels now. Jarrett then goes into some offense and wins with a DDT.

Winner: Jeff Jarrett in 3:01
Typical heel squash. Jeff Jarrett jawed with the fans and got in some basic stuff. Inoffensive, but not worth it. ¾* 

After a recap of Johnny Polo’s win over Marty Jannetty last week, out come Jannetty and the 1-2-3 Kid. They challenge the Quebecers and next week, Jannetty and Kid get a Tag Team Title shot!

Shawn Michaels w/ Diesel vs. Brian Walsh
During the match, the Quebecers call in and seem okay with defending the belts next week. As for the match, it’s one of those occasions where Shawn Michaels relishes in being the bigger guy, busting out powerslams and such. Walsh does get a near fall, but Shawn eventually puts him down with a piledriver.

Winner: Shawn Michaels in 5:07
Too long for my taste. Shawn Michaels looked bored throughout, which hurt things. ¾*

They hype the Tag Team Title match for next week and the Bastion Booger vs. Bam Bam Bigelow match. Yikes.

Overall: 2/10. When it comes to action, this was not the best episode. None of the matches are any good and the marquee one might have been the worst. Still, at least the dull squash matches featured guys that actually needed to look strong and weren’t irrelevant like I’ve seen in the past. Those poor souls in Poughkeepsie ended their massive taping with this trash.

Raw History
Episode #47
January 10th, 1993 | Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia

After weeks of a giant taping block, we are finally live! Macho Man comes out to star the show, in a Monday Night Raw themed jacket that looks pretty sweet. He is back on commentary!

WWF Tag Team Championship
The Quebecers (c) w/ Johnny Polo vs. 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty

The action starts fast as Marty Jannetty scores a quick victory roll for a near fall. Pierre and Kid are next in and Pierre knocks him down using size. Kid scores with a spinning heel kick and gets two. The crowd is biting for each near fall from the challengers. Honestly, if I were the Quebecers, I’d want every math to be under Province of Quebec Rules. They get sent outside and regroup with Polo. Kid and Jannetty work some double teams and I have to give props to this red hot crowd. Polo calls for a timeout and the Quebecers are ready to leave but decide against it. During a commercial, it looks like the belts change hands but Jacques got his foot on the bottom rope. Kid gets the tag and goes nuts, hitting all sorts of high impact stuff. Some good old fashioned heel tactics stop his momentum. Kid takes the heat, showing how resilient he is. The Quebecers hit their finish but don’t cover, which is dumb. They try it again but Jannetty breaks it up. This leads to the hot tag for Marty and they capture the belts following a double team finish.

Winners and New WWF Tag Team Champions: 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty in 14:01
Really solid tag team match, helped by the extremely hot crowd. I liked the majority of this match as it started hot, slowed in the middle with a purpose before picking back up in the end. Lots of fun and gave us a memorable moment for Raw’s first anniversary. ***¼

Jim Ross brings us the Royal Rumble Report because Todd Pettengill is snowed in. The final three names for the Royal Rumble match have been announced and they are Tenryu, the Great Kabuki and Lex Luger.

Ludvig Borga vs. Brad Anderson
This match is joined in progress after we see one of Raw’s “top moments”. It’s the dreadfully bad Tiny Tim segment from last year. After the opener, we saw highlights for an actual great Raw moment, when 1-2-3 Kid upset Razor Ramon. Borga dominates this, winning with the torture rack.

Winner: Ludvig Borga in 2:28
At least this was kept short. Ludvig Borga isn’t the most interesting guy to watch. ½*

We go to a clip from Superstars where Undertaker scared the fuck out of Yokozuna after he beat some jobbers.

The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer vs. Mike Hudson
Macho Man predicts that Undertaker will win the WWF Title at the Royal Rumble and Vince predicts Savage will win the Rumble itself, setting up Undertaker/Savage at Mania, which would have been interesting. Undertaker throws the jobber around, hitting snake eyes, a Chokeslam and busts out the JUMPING TOMBSTONE!

Winner: The Undertaker in 2:33
Better than the earlier squash since Undertaker is better than Ludvig Borga. Still, standard stuff that gets bumped up in rating because of that tombstone. 

Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Luna Vachon vs. Bastion Booger
This whole thing is so odd. Booger actually tries a splash but misses. He knocks down Bigelow and goes to flirt with Luna, allowing Bigelow to nail him. He hits the headbutt inside and wins.

Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow in 2:31
Not as bad as I thought it would be, but still not good at all. ½*

Bastion Booger doesn’t’ care about selling, standing up once the match ends and flirting with Luna again. Bigelow is all like “DID I NOT JUST SHOW YOU WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HIT ON MY WOMAN?” and dropkicks him.

The Quebecers are interviewed backstage and they announce that their rematch is set for a house show in Madison Square Garden next Monday.

IRS shows up to cut off the cake cutting ceremony for Raw’s birthday. Since IRS is a total fun magnet, Macho Man smashes the cake into his face and they’ll have a match next week.

Overall: 5.5/10. As I’ve said before, if the marquee match is good, the overall score of Raw won’t usually be bad since they take up a good chunk of the episode. That was the case here as our opener was really good. The show takes a nosedive after though, culminating in a bad main event. However, we did get a jumping tombstone.

Raw History
Episode #48
January 17th, 1994 | Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia

The episode starts with clips from the Tag Team Title match last week. Since Macho Man will be in action, Vince McMahon’s commentary partner will be Crush. Good god, why? Crush is awful at everything, especially talking. He aggressively speaks in his Hawaiian accent which kills me.

Owen Hart w/ Bret Hart vs. Terry Austin
Owen Hart is acting like a face again now that he has Bret at his side. He even gives his shades to a young fan. Owen hits an ugly monkey flip since the tubby Terry Austin can’t really make it over. Stan Lane calls in to give us an update from MSG where the Quebecers have their Tag Team Title rematch. Owen wins with the Sharpshooter.

Winner: Owen Hart in 4:27
Owen Hart usually has entertaining squashes, but this wasn’t one of my favorite ones. I do like how he had slight twists on Bret’s offense like how his second rope elbow was a variation of Bret’s but not identical. ¾*

Vince McMahon tries to get a word with Owen Hart about the match in MSG. The surreal thing is that this is pre-recorded but they’re asking about a match that wouldn’t happen for another week. Taping multiple shows at once is odd. Owen wants the Quebecers to win so they can get their shot but Bret, ever the face, roots for the champions.

Tatanka vs. George South
George South has a distinct look. Commentary is hyping Ludvig Borga vs. Tatanka which would never actually happen. On this night, the actual January 17th and not the pre-recorded stuff, Borga would injure his ankle and miss the Rumble. He would leave the WWF shortly after. Tatanka starts his rally as Stan Lane calls in to say that the Tag Team Title match has begun. Tatanka wins following the flying chop.

Winner: Tatanka in 2:50
Standard dull Tatanka squash. He was never really good in my eyes. ¼*

We are now taken to a special look at Alundra Blayze. It features shots of her working out and ends with her standing in a bikini top.

Yokozuna and Mr. Fuji come out for an interview with Vince McMahon. There’s no Jim Cornette, making this painful as he is the mouthpiece for the group. The talking is kept short though as Paul Bearer wheels out a big ass casket. Vince McMahon is oddly excited at how freaked out this makes Yokozuna. They convince Yokozuna to take a closer look, which of course leads to Undertaker popping out and chasing him away. Well, Yokozuna went from monster champion to punk bitch quickly didn’t he?

A hype video airs to promote the Headshrinkers taking on Bret and Owen Hart next week. That actually sounds like it could be damn good.

Diesel w/ Shawn Michaels vs. Scott Powers
For being a guy named Powers, Scott is not very strong. He looks like Lucky Bob from that old cartoon Histeria. As Diesel beats up the jobber, Stan Lane calls in to tell us that the Quebecers have won back the WWF Tag Team Titles! Diesel wins handily.

Winner: Diesel in 3:29
It’s hard to continually give analysis on squash matches. Standard stuff as usual and just barely lasted short enough to not get on my nerves. ¾*

Time for the Royal Rumble Report with Todd Pettengill again. He gives us no new news.

IRS vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
While Randy Savage is arguing with Crush, IRS attacks. This first ten seconds is more exciting than any other IRS match ever. IRS continues to hold serve through a commercial break, back to his typical dull offense. He does do a suplex from the apron though, which is the equivalent of a phoenix splash for him. He plods through his stuff until he jumps into Savage’s boot, turning things around. Savage gets ready for his finisher but Crush gets up and shoves him from the top.

Winner via disqualification: Randy Savage in 8:07
This would have been better if it involved more Randy Savage on offense. IRS is just too damn boring at everything he does. 

Crush and IRS attack Randy Savage, only for Tatanka to try and make the save. Yokozuna takes out Tatanka, who was already doing a poor job. Lex Luger evens things up before the lock room empties to give us a preview of the Royal Rumble.

Overall: 2.5/10. The in-ring stuff this week was pretty horrid with even the marquee matchup not producing. However, the show did succeed in building towards the Royal Rumble. They gave us the news of the Tag Title change, had the Undertaker/Yokozuna segment and then the closing brawl.