Friday, May 22, 2015

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–07.08.96


The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 07.08.96

I’m skipping the BATB redo because RAW is already getting added a rate where I’m falling behind anyway. I’m strongly considering just motoring through one show or the other to finish off 1996 rather than alternating, which would probably make me lean towards RAW because it’s faster.

Live from Orlando, FL, at the Disney Studios outdoors. Now THIS is exactly what RAW is lacking. The arena looks and feels like nothing else they had done to that point, like something FRESH.

Your hosts are Tony & Larry.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Smackdown - May 21, 2015

Date: May 21, 2015
Location: Norfolk Scope Arena, Norfolk, Virginia
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We're already coming up on Elimination Chamber and the top of the card is already set. It's pretty clear that we're getting Rollins vs. Ambrose for the title. However, tonight is more about Payback fallout as we'll hear from Roman Reigns for the first time since he lost yet another main event. Let's get to it.

TNA denying cancelation reports

TNA is apparently not only denying the reports that Destination America is canceling them, but is threatening to sue anyone who has reported that news.

I'd like to say I'm surprised by such a boneheaded PR move, but...
Yeah, just like they were denying that Spike canceled them, too.  This company is so stupid they can even screw up getting canceled.  I'd be amused to see how that sort of lawsuit proceeded.  

My BTTF question answered!

Hey, awesome, I sent Brian Cronin a Back to the Future legend and it got featured in his latest column...

That one used to be a big source of contention in the early Usenet days, too.  

Which Shoot Interview Should be Reviewed Next

This week I have chosen four shoot interviews from people who worked with TNA. Here are your choices:

Frankie Kazarian

Jerry Lynn

Young Bucks

Jesse Sorensen

You can vote by clicking on the link below. Voting ends Saturday at noon.

BoD Thursday Night Thread

On tap for tonight:

Smackdown starts at 8pm EST on SyFy, highlighted by an appearance from Roman Reigns. Matches include Kidd & Cesaro vs. Los Matadores vs. The Ascension vs. Lucha Dragons and Dolph Zigger vs. King Barrett

Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Finals starts at 9pm as the Houston Rockets take on the Golden State Warriors over on ESPN, with Golden State up 1-0.

Game 3 of the NHL Western Conference Finals between the Anaheim Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks starts at 8pm EST on NBC Sports, with the series tied 1-1.

MLB has several games in action tonight, with the Chicago Cubs vs. San Diego Padres at 9:10pm EST over on the MLB Network.

And as usual, talk about everything else going on tonight here.

Samoa Joe article plug


> Striking while the iron's hot, pointing out some of the absurdities of Vince Russo's recent statements about star-making (shocking, I know), juxtaposing that with the debut of an ex-TNA guy who Russo let rot.
> Addendum question: Meltzer says Joe's maintaining his free agent status to work other indies (a la Rhyno and Kendrick), but WWE of course can take priority. Do you see an endgame where Joe is given a main roster deal sooner or later?

Pretty sure that's where its headed, yup. 

TNA tape library

few quick questions

1. would wwe be honestly interested in the TNA tape library?

2. How much would it honestly cost them (over/under 200k)?

3. Would anyone outside wwe be interested (which i assume no which would only drive the price down right)?

4. what would wwe do it?  throw it up on the network? make a flat line and fall of tna dvd?  use it for kurt angle and sting docs?

5. anything else im missing that you'd like to add?

1.  Yes, of course.  Vince made more money off WCW in DVD sales than he paid for the entire company by a lot.  Pretty sure getting the TNA library and doing a "Life and Death of..." set burying them would justify whatever paltry sum they would need to pay out.  

2.  There's a set rate that WWE offers for footage and I doubt TNA would need to exceed that.  

3.  WWE would be the only buyer.  

4.  As you noted, they'd make a couple of DVD sets mocking the death of the promotion and use the rest to pad out Sting Volume 2 or wacky YouTube shows about how stupid TNA was.

5.  Just to once again plug my Sporting News column from last year, which still draws numbers to this day.  Maybe DA should give me the timeslot instead:

Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline Series: 1989 WCW as told by Jim Cornette

This was released on May 19th, 2015

The interview was conducted by Sean Oliver

It runs for three hours and thirteen minutes long

TNA's Ineptitude

Hey Scott,

Isn't it kind of fitting that Samoa Joe debuts with WWE on the night the final nail is driven into the coffin of TNA (Meltzer's report that TNA will be cancelled by Destination America)?

It got me thinking about all of the guys they've squandered over the year, but then you look around the business and it's alarming how badly they screwed up passing on certain guys given what other promotions have done with them. 

Samoa Joe (left TNA in 2015) - Now likely a top guy on NXT.

Okada (left TNA in 2011) and A.J Styles (left TNA in 2014) - Both top guys in NJPW. Okada is basically the guy the promotion is going to be built around going into the future, and A.J. is the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion. 

Ezekiel Jackson (Big Ryck) (brief stop over in TNA in 2014), Brian Cage (brief stops in TNA in 2012 and 2013), and Hernandez (left TNA in 2014) - All three have been top guys at varying points during this first season of Lucha Underground. 

Jay Lethal (left TNA in 2011), Chris Daniels (left TNA in 2014), Chris Sabin (left TNA in 2014), Frankie Kazarian (left TNA in 2014)- All top guys in ROH. Lethal has been put over huge as the TV Champion, Daniels & Kazarian are the tag champs, and those two are now in a stable that is going to be come a fixture of ROH programming with Sabin. 

All of these guys are major contributors to promotions that have TV shows in the US Market and are direct competition with TNA:

NXT - WWE Network


Lucha Underground - El Rey/Unimas

ROH - Syndication

And all of these guys are guys that apparently TNA didn't see as valuable enough to build their promotion around. 

And now they're likely off the air and possibly out of business because of that. 

Like I said, fitting that Samoa Joe ends the NXT special in a staredown with Kevin Owens as news breaks that TNA has been cancelled. 

​I think Okada was probably the biggest "WTF" one for me, as they had this guy under contract, you know, the guy who WWE is almost literally begging to sign and push, and the best thing they could think of ​was a lame Green Hornet gimmick. 

BoD Daily Update

Destination America Cancels TNA Impact

The show was cancelled shortly before the move to Wednesday nights and will stop airing on Destination America at the end of September. Click on the link below to view an excerpt from this week's "Wrestling Observer Newsletter" article about this story.

Daniel Bryan Injury Update

While the company has remained quiet about the injury, word going around is that things are looking negative as its expected Bryan will be out for a long time or that it is even possible he will not be able to return at all.

Credit Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter

WWE Smackdown Preview

Names Scheduled for Next WWE Tryout Camp

Guys that will be brought in besides Biff Busick and Matt Riddle include Chuck Taylor and Drew Gulak.

Credit Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter

Also, head on over to Place to be Nation and check out the NXT Takeover: Unstoppable Reaction show as they talk about that as well as TNA, specifically regarding Bob Ryder. Click on the link below to listen to the podcast.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sporting News: NXT Unstoppable is the bee's knees


The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover: Unstoppable–05.20.15


The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover: Unstoppable

Belated happy birthday / drunken bachelor party wishes to my compadre Zen, who is now on the wrong side of 40 like myself and soon to be married. Finally. Good on ya, and welcome to old age.

Live from Orlando, FL

Your hosts are Rich Brennan, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves

NXT Takeover: Unstoppable

NXT Takeover: Unstoppable
Date: May 20, 2015
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Rich Brennan, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It's another live two hour special with a rare rematch for the main event. Tonight it's Zayn vs. Owens II as Sami tries to get the NXT Title back from the man who beat him by referee stoppage back at Takeover: Rival. These shows are always worth checking out and there's no reason to think this won't be the same so let's get to it.

BoD Wednesday Night Thread

On tap for tonight:

NXT Takeover: Unstoppable begins tonight at 8pm EST on the WWE Network, with the Kickoff show at 7:30pm EST. Matches include:

Kevin Owens (c) vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship
Tyler Breeze vs. Finn Balor  in a #1 Contender's Match
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Becky Lynch for the NXT Women's Championship
Charlotte & Bayley vs. Emma & Dana Brooke
Blake & Murphy (c) vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady for the NXT Tag Team Championships
Rhyno vs. Baron Corbin

Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals begins tonight as the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Atlanta Hawks at 8:30pm EST on TNT

Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals starts at 8pm EST over on NBC Sports as the New York Rangers face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning with the series tied 1-1

MLB has a full slate of games tonight with the Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox at 7pm EST over on ESPN

And as usual, talk about anything else going on tonight here

Monday Nitro - December 27, 1999

Monday Nitro #220
Date: December 27, 1999
Location: Houston Astrodome, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 16,640
Commentators: Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We're finally done with this year and it's not a moment too soon. While Thunder was better, last week's Nitro may have been the worst show I've ever seen. The NWO is on top again but, due to Goldberg punching a limo, they don't have a top opponent to deal with so things are a big complicated. Let's get to it.

BoD Daily Update

RAW Ratings

RAW drew 3.98 million viewers this week, up from the 3.68 million they had last week. Here are the hourly numbers:

8pm: 4.00 million viewers
9pm: 4.00 million viewers
10pm: 3.96 million viewers

WWE Announces New Head and Assistant Head Coaches for NXT

Matt Bloom (Albert) and Sara Amato (Sara Del Ray) are now officially the head and assistant head coaches, respectively. Bloom was acting as the interim head coach.

Ring of Honor Re-Signs Wrestler to a New Deal

Quinn "Moose" Ojinnaka signed a new deal with the company. His contract was originally set to expire next month.

WWE Signs Former Bellator Fighter to a Developmental Deal

Gzim Selmani, a 20 year old MMA fighter with a professional record of 4-2, signed a Developmental Deal and will be moving to Orlando shortly.


Saint Cena

5 True Stories That Will Restore Your Faith In Famous Pe...
Sometimes we need to take time to bask in all the wondrously selfless things famous people do for their fellow man.
Preview by Yahoo

Yeah, he's not turning heel.

​And keep in mind that those 500 Make-A-Wish grants are just the ones he WANTS us to know about.  He does way, WAY, more charitable stuff that he keeps quiet on purpose.  Basically donating entire trucks full of toys to children's hospitals and personally delivering them.  Say what you will about the character, but the real person makes us all look like Hitler by comparison.  ​

Making Mid Carders

Hi Scott,

Feuding with John Cena seems to do more harm than good. It did nothing to elevate Bray Wyatt last year as it was nothing but a series of loses for him and  now the same has happened to Rusev as it's turned into a platform to actually only elevate Lana, not both of them.

To get the "rub" from a top guy aren't you at least supposed to get somewhat close to beating him in a highly competitive match only for experience to prevail so when you do go against each other again there is a chance the "younger" guy may pull out a win? Looking good even in defeat is a valid thing but having a 30 minute shit fest of an I Quit match was not it.

Is really the end game here to make another mid carder?

You said it yourself -- it's a platform to elevate Lana.  In the grand scheme of things, they don't give a shit if Rusev gets elevated by the feud because Lana is the money train as a babyface, and they're probably correct.  Rusev can easily be rebuilt anyway by winning the IC title in the Chamber and destroying a bunch of midcard goofs in the process, so I'm not terribly worried about him.  

To Cheat or Not to Cheat

Hey Scott,

In between waiting for the Tuesday night specials to resume so I can contribute again, I wrote a well-received comparison piece over on Cageside Seats.  It involves Bret Hart, so you might like the read.  If you think it's worthy of linking to the Blog, go ahead.

Andy PG
Then And Now: To Cheat or Not To Cheat
Times sure have changed in professional wrestling, at least as it pertains to cheating and our reaction to it. Here's how.
Preview by Yahoo

​Interesting comparison, although I should point out that Cena won the match anyway and so had no actual consequences of his wavering morals.  And then won another bunch of rematches on top of that.  ​

Spoiling returns

hi scott,

How much different would the last two years be if the return of Batista wasnt spoiled and he was just an uber surprise entrant in the royal rumble who won?  i understand why they announce returns ahead of time trying to spike ratings, but it gives fans too much time to pick things apart instead of just being generally surprised and you know let things play out and see where they go.  would fans have booed Batista if they weren't prepared for him? and IIRC he was spoiled by some arena marketing his return was wwe original plan have him be a surprise or were they going to announce? thanks

​The problem is that you can have an "uber surprise" entrant in the Rumble and even have him win (like Edge) but at some point if you're factoring a guy into Wrestlemania plans and making him World champion, there are people who need to know well in advance for marketing and merch purposes.  And then it becomes extremely difficult to cover that up.  Not to mention that you're already wasting the entire point of bringing him back if you don't tell people about it.  

Yeah, the dynamic was really messed up, but the problem was that Daniel Bryan was too popular and the promotion wouldn't acknowledge it, not that Batista wasn't a good choice to win and go to WM.  He was just the wrong guy in that particular unique situation.​

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

RAW on Canadian TV

Just to clear up the RAW on TSN discussions that pop up from time to time...

">Although I should note that the week after THAT is where RAW gets picked up in Canada by TSN and thus I’m able to watch it semi-live every week.

Huh? TSN started showing Raw in late 1994 didn't they? I definitely started watching Raw in Early 1995 but who can remember which channel it was on."

TSN showed edited versions of the show in death slots Saturday nights following the USA airing off and on from 94-95, but then lost the broadcast rights to the New VR in Ontario in 1995.  In July of 96 they bought back the rights for good and actually starting airing it on Monday nights, albeit taped delayed by two hours or so or even the next day sometimes.  At the end of 96 with the Mero-HHH title change they switched it to about an hour tape delayed, and finally in early 98 they went with a simulcast of the USA show and it stayed there until they got kicked off the station in 2006 for football.  

And to hit another question:

So what was WWF TV like in Canada between 1990 and 1996 when you could finally get RAW? Just WWF Superstars, and Challenge? Did you get All American (yes, I'm aware of th irony)/Mania/Action Zone? 

Just Superstars and Challenge, yes, although by 94 I had a big C-band dish in my backyard and I could watch all the USA shows.  Traditionally in Canada the syndicated show was rebranded into Maple Leaf Wrestling for distribution, although they dropped that by the 90s.  Typically we could just watch the American syndicated versions on the US network feeds anyway, so there was very little difference unless you were relying on an antenna for your TV programming.  And of course we had no access to USA Network up here, so Primetime/All American/etc had no coverage in Canada and things like Jamison meant nothing to Canadian viewers because we didn't actually get the original shows that explained the joke.  

    WWF Madison Square Garden June 14th, 1987

    June 14, 1987

    From Madison Square Garden in New York, NY

    Your hosts are Lord Alfred Hayes and Gorilla Monsoon

    In action tonight we have Hulk Hogan defending the World Heavyweight Title against King Harley Race in a Texas Death Match. Plus, Hercules vs. Billy Jack Haynes and Paul Orndorff vs. Junkyard Dog.

    BoD Tuesday Night Thread

    Talk about everything going on tonight here.

    NXT Trivia App


    Hey Scott,

    Thought you might want to share this with your lovely readers.  NXT Trivia App - Android only.

    They'll probably all be too stupid to figure out how to install it, let alone get any questions right but oh well.



    Yeah, man, tell me about it...HEY WAIT!  

    Neville=King of the Jungle?

    Hi Scott,
    During the King Barrett-Neville match, my wife show me this picture. Telling me how much of Tarzan, Neville look and move like.


    So Neville having won the KOTR, would they have call him the King of The Jungle?
    Take Care.

    WCW already did that gimmick.  It was called Jungle Jim Steele.  It was not good.  

    Owens Going Forward


    Hi, Scott.  Hope you've recovered from Victoria Day.

    1- Do you think this is Owens' full-time call-up to the main roster, or was it more to promote the NXT special?

    2- What do you do with the NXT title, especially with Zayn (somewhat?) injured?  Not sure it would be good to have Owens lose heading into his match with Cena at Elimination Chamber, but I don't really like an anticlimactic title change either (even if walking away to bigger/better things makes sense for his character).

    3- What do you do at Elimination Chamber?  The point of Cena's reign is to put someone over big, but going from Cena/Bryan as midlevel champs to Owens/Neville (there needs to be at least one babyface champ, right?) is quite a drop in terms of prestige/name recognition.  What would Cena be doing at Summerslam?

    4- How will Owens' style affect/be affected by Brock returning at Summerslam?  Will he somewhat pale in comparison to Lesnar, or would Owens' physical style make Brock feel a little less special?

    1.  Pretty sure this is just a one-off deal.  They're actually making money (or losing less money) touring with Owens on top of NXT right now and they'd be dumb to end it now.  

    2.  If they can pull it off, I'd have Zayn win the NXT title with help from Cena to pay off a couple of threads there, then Owens wins the US title at Elimination Chamber and drops it back at MITB.  I think Owens would probably turn babyface off that because the Full Sail crowd has been dying to turn him for weeks anyway.  Then Cena can go back to doing whatever he was going to be doing at Summerslam.  

    3.  See #2.  

    4.  He'd be back on NXT by Summerslam anyway under my master plan.  So it's a moo point.  

    What the World Was Watching: Monday Night Raw - December 14, 1998

    -Pictures and commentary from last night’s Rock Bottom pay-per-view are aired.

    -Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler are doing commentary and they are live from Tacoma, Washington.

    The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW–07.08.96


    The SmarK Rant for Monday Night RAW – 07.08.96

    Back from being away from the internet for three days! Unfortunately I don’t have time to catch up on Payback or even Nitro this morning, so we’ll go with RAW instead. I did read JTG’s book while I was away, along with a bunch of old Observers from 1988. The most interesting thing was the discussion of the Hogan-Andre match, which of course ended up being the most-watched wrestling match in history. However, that being said, what I didn’t realize was how disappointing that rating actually was. NBC put them on prime time with expectations of being a top 5 show for the week so they could use the Main Event as a backdoor pilot for a live weekly prime time show, and in fact the show ended up something like #25 for the week and was actually viewed as a failure. Dave felt like it was actually a blessing, because there’s no way WWF would ever be able to pull off a live two-hour show on a weekly basis anyway.

    Taped from Green Bay, WI

    Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler

    BoD Daily Update

    Finn Balor Update

    Balor was going to be involved in a feud with Hideo Itami but that was scrapped with Itami's injury. They also might do a feud between Balor and Owens instead. Also, there is word that Vince McMahon wants Balor on the main roster as soon as possible while HHH does not want to rush his debut. When he was signed, Balor was told that he would not stay in NXT for long. Balor is also reported to have a bigger downside guarantee than other talents.

    Big Show Update

    Big Show was originally scheduled to return to TV this week but was not spotted backstage a few hours before RAW last night and did not appear on the show.


    Kayfabe Commentaries Releases Newest Installment in the WCW Timeline Series

    1989 WCW as told by Jim Cornette was released today. You can click on the link below to view the trailer as well as another excerpt of the interview.

    Also, head on over to Place to be Nation and check out the newest installment of the "Kevin Kelly Show" as he welcomes guest Dr. Tom Prichard, who discusses Bill DeMott and participated in a game of name association, among other things. You can listen to that by clicking on the link below.

    WWE Monday Night RAW - 5/18/2015

    We had a good night last night at Payback...will it roll into a good show on Monday night?

    Let's go...