Saturday, October 18, 2014

Spring Stampede 1999


Watching Spring Stampede '99, I was pretty shocked; I completely forgot WCW was still able to occasionally churn out a thoroughly enjoyable PPV.  As someone whose favorite wrestler used to be Benoit, I usually try to find a reason to be busy with something else when his matches are on.  However, the crowd was going berserk for Raven/Saturn v. Benoit/Malenko and I couldn't help but get sucked in as well.

To end the match, Double-A lays a chair on Raven's head and Benoit does a completely unprotected diving headbutt…onto the chair.  Maybe you can argue his shoulder took some of the brunt, but it is as gratuitous as possible.  Granted, this is well covered bullshit and certainly long before concussion awareness.  What I want to know: who actually comes up with that? Does Benoit just volunteer to do something completely ridiculous? Why doesn't he jump off the top and do a foot-stomp? Was he already out of his fucking mind at this point? 

I can see someone on the indies or ECW doing this, but why pull this shit on the big stage (even in the mindset of '99).

-Ronnie Vod

It was part of the same macho bullshit that did in Dynamite Kid, and we know how badly Benoit wanted to emulate him.  That move (and others like it) are just terrifying to watch now, especially because Benoit in particular would make sure to absorb the brunt of the move with his head and shoulders directly, rather than channeling the force into the mat like Randy Savage used to do with the elbow.  And yeah, Benoit would be the guy to volunteer to do it himself.  Harley Race used to do similar stuff and he fucked his neck six ways from Sunday too.  And look what happened to Daniel Bryan!  I really wish they'd retire that move for good, even more than the piledrivers and spears.  Gravity isn't just a good idea, it's the law.  

130 comments:

  1. And from a kayfabe perspective, it doesn't seem like a flying headbutt would hurt the opponent anymore than a frog splash, elbow, or knee drop. So why should a wrestler include the flying headbutt in their moveset?

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  2. This is one reason I always really respected Bret's attitude about this stuff -- the best wrestler in the worlds hurts neither his opponent nor himself.

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  3. It's still a cool as fuck looking move, though.

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  4. It's not that cool. Probably the ugliest top rope move while the opponent is prone on the mat.

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  5. Even before the Benoit thing, i always cringe when him or someone else does the flying headbutt.

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  6. He never hurt anyone, but he has inspired a great deal of tears.

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  8. Benoit's chair bump at Royal Rumble 2001 makes this one look fairly minor. He does a suicide dive skull first into the chair. Holy fuck it's gruesome. Jericho vs. Benoit would easily be the best ladder match ever if not for it's murdery end result; thus leaving HBK vs. Jericho from '08.

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  10. There were two others like that: Benoit at SummerSlam '04 when he goes teeth-first into the barricade, and against either Booker or Orton on Smackdown in '06 where he lands on the edge of the announce table... luckily his spinal column broke his fall.

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  11. Let's try to talk some indie grunt into using a 450 Flying Headbutt Splash. How badass would that be?!

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  12. I feel like I remember the latter match. I think I blocked Summerslam '04 from my memory since Orton wasn't ready and that was such a horrible title switch. In hindsight Benoit probably hustled hard to make it as credible as it could be.

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  13. Indie wrestlers aren't real people.

    It goes like this

    Citizens > wrestlers > managers/valets > referees > announcers > indie scum

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  14. HowmuchdoesthisguyweighOctober 18, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Randy countering the headbutt by throwing BOTH legs up and Benoit taking a pretty vicious pump also crazy

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  15. The diving headbut. It's just flopping forward at a guy

    It's the same visual interest as a splash, so why do it?

    Do people pop bigger because heads clang together? Why?

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  16. HowmuchdoesthisguyweighOctober 18, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Not a huge fan of it

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  17. Well, if they're Samoan...

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  18. HowmuchdoesthisguyweighOctober 18, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    How about a flying headbbutt onto a chair laying on an opponent? Haha. Some stuff is just dumb

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  19. Here's the Smackdown one

    http://i.imgflip.com/32ty5.gif

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  20. It's kayfabe bending. People realize it hurts the performer more, so they cheer more for it.

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  21. a) Because it's admittedly extreme in any context
    b) For someone who worked so "logically" it was a big regular spot

    There's no need to dissect it though. I liked seeing it. Sue me.

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  22. Aaaand here's the SummerSlam one

    http://www.wrestlingview.co.uk/benoitdive.gif

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  23. Jesus Christ, he probably walked past Shawn Michaels backstage, blew his nose and yelled "PUSSY!" and ran off for taking four years off for the Rumble '98 bump. That makes that bump look like child's play.

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  24. At least that one was on pay-per-view. People don't even TRY on Smackdown anymore, let alone take bumps like that.

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  25. Again on Smackdown, in the match against Austin, IIRC Austin did that lift-him-up-in-a-suplex-and-drop-them-forwards thing and he dropped Benoit's head right on the announce table. He certainly was fucking insane.

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  26. Exactly. It hurts in real life, and it doesn't look like it hurts your opponent that much.

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  27. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xydcd_wwe-smackdown-2001-benoit-vs-austin_sport

    15:45. Ho. Lee. Fuck.

    It's amazing that though we thought Benoit was so great and such a brilliant wrestler that we didn't recognize how fucking DANGEROUS the shit he did was. I mean, Jesus, it looks scary even out of context.

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  28. I thought you was banned...?

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  29. Must have been a temporary glitch. Or maybe i'm posting from beyoonnddd... *spooky music, *

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  30. Ouch.

    That's one of the best matches I've ever seen though, still to this day. On a Smackdown, no less.

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  31. But they pop *more* for impressive moves.

    I could do a diving headbut. I can't do a moonsault.

    I just don't see why anyone would rank the headbut as a cooler move then...well all the cool shit people do off the top.

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  32. Yeah, it's one thing I'm looking forward to when/if they ever upload Smackdown episodes. One of if not the best TV matches I've ever seen...shame Scott never ranted it.

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  33. This is why it's so damn hard watching Benoit today as every time we see one of those shots, it makes you realize you're watching every step toward that horrible tragedy unfolding before your eyes and we didn't realize it.

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  34. But in terms of realism, the headbutt is just as believable as a moonsault, which nobody would try in their right minds in a real fight.

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  35. I don't know if he reviewed it, but I'm sure he went the full monty on it.

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  36. The "caring person" part of my brain, if it exists, completely shuts off and the "Goddamn this is some captivating wrestling" part switches on; I hate to admit. I still like Benoit matches, it's the same part of my brain that looks up stuff like the helicopter accident from Twilight Zone: The Movie.

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  37. Wouldn't Rollins' Curb Stomp be similarly as bad and potentially as concussing as a piledriver? I love the move, but I can't really think of how he pulls back on that much esp. giving the running jump that precedes it.

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  38. It's a real shame we'll never see it remastered anything past the retrograde quality of that dailymotion video. Especially since I missed the initial broadcast.

    Also, people singing the Adam Rose theme on the Nebraska game.

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  39. Nah, I'm the same. I separate the art from the artist and just enjoy the PHYSICALITY, MAGGLE of the match.

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  40. It's such a Benoit-centric episode I doubt it ever makes Best of Smackdown.

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  41. He has made many off-hand references to it being ***** and one of the best TV matches of all time but no formal review.

    Vince's acting is top notch in it. Holy shit is Vince some good heel in this.

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  42. If people could wrestle like this and not scramble their brains this is the only way I'd want to see people wrestle. Holy fuck was he amazing. Holy shit was he captivating to watch. The motherfucker had TALENT.

    I mean, if Michael Jordan bludgeoned his son to death with a basketball and choked his wife to death with Air Jordan shoelaces would you deny that he was an incredible player and beyond exciting to watch?

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  43. Would be nice if any of the current top guys other than Bryan cared this much about putting on a match that good whenever they go out there (and are physically able, of course).

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  44. No, but you damn sure wouldn't see any evidence of his existence on TV anymore either.

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  45. It came back and bit Bryan in the form of ruining his moment in the sun and taking him out at the most important moment of his career.

    I feel like Dolph Ziggler, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Cesaro all put this level of love into their television and house show matches but the payoff for them has been mixed.

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  46. Can you imagine wiping Michael Jordan from basketball history? I mean, wiping Benoit from wrestling is one thing but that would be like if Hulk Hogan went on a killing spree.

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  47. Ziggler will star racking up injuries sooner or later, count on it. Makes you wonder, how the hell did Flair go for so long with hardly any major injuries? Granted he had a formula, but so did Bret and he paid the piper in the end too.

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  48. Is a spear really that bad?

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  49. Ziggler's been Ziggler for 6 years. He really had no prolonged injury spell outside of the 2013 bouts with concussion that messed up HIS moment in the sun. He's been healthy for awhile and WWE steadfastly refuses to cash in on his strong crowd reactions, good merch sales, and internet popularity.


    Flair protected his back and his neck and that's all there is to it. His plane accident made him take bumps on his side and he took the bumps he was comfortable with.

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  50. See also: Foley.

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  51. Charismatic eNegro Jef VinsonOctober 18, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    What I didn't like about the move is that it is fucking stupid. Why would I jump headfirst onto a chair? Wouldn't the chair actually protect the person taking the headbutt?

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  52. MaffewOfBotchamaniaOctober 18, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    The hurled chair by Rick Steiner to Benoit's diving headbutt was worse.

    Can't find a video sadly, but it was 1999.

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  53. Halloween Havoc 99, just watched it.

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  54. Side discussion: Halloween Havoc 99 is one of the biggest misfire PPVs ever. There is no way a bit of sane, competent booking could not have used that show as the turning point to right the ship for WCW. The idea was right...remove Hogan from title contention, make Sting the top heel and Goldberg the top face; elevate talent underneath. Seems simple enough, right? The execution....dear God, the execution. Like a horrific, stinky cologne of failure dumped on WCW's head by the big breasted lady of disappointment.

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  55. Neck stingers. Huge neck problems. Not worth it.

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  56. The bitch of concussions (and particularly sub-concussive trauma, which is thought to be a leading cause of CTE) is that you don't always immediately recognize that you've been hit. You get your "bell rung," sit for 5 minutes and you feel fine, so fuck it, you're good!

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  57. Really? His foot slips off the victim's neck before impact and the victims has time to take the majority of the bump with an arm/hand. Watch it frame-by-frame if need be. The Curb Stomp is a safe as hell spot.

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  58. Oh, shit. That chairshot is one of a few that still, to this day, make me cringe.

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  59. That's an awful bump, though it's pretty clearly an accident. Booker didn't catch him, but Benoit overshot the window he needed to be in to be caught.

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  60. You hit it on the head (I see what I did there) re: sub-concussive hits. Even the ones you don't feel or your brain gets jarred even when you weren't hit in the head, that shit all adds up. Which is sort of terrifying.

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  61. Hold it... Are you telling me it's not on the up and up? WHAT ARE YOU SAYING???

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  62. The Rock and Sock Connection was just killing it in the ratings for WWF at this point in time. Also, Jericho, Angle, and Benoit were about to debut in WWFt, and the Hardys Dudleys, and E & C were about to create the greatest tag team division of all time. There is no point in this type of reworking history. Nothing could have saved WCW at this point, and make it anywhere near to being a competitor to WWF.

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  63. Not necessarily. It was a problem for Edge because he was skinny and had awful form. Someone like Reigns who has a high-level football background not only has perfect form, but the muscle mass to absorb it.

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  64. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say you missed the point.

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  65. But Benoit was still under contract and the walkout hadn't happened yet. WCW had an incredible depth to their talent roster and would have had no problems cultivating their own audience and staying strong in the face of the WWF juggernaut with any level of direction or attempt to keep their fans happy.

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  66. "Beating WWF" may have been out the window. Being alive was hardly.

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  67. Hogan should have stayed champ till Starrcade and dropped the title to Hart. Goldberg could have blown off his feud with Sid at that event. Bam, two good PPV main event for their biggest show.

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  68. Which is kind of why I question the whole "we're going to stop certain moves to prevent concussions" deal, whether it be in wrestling or other sports. Just doing regular moves in a ring has a pretty good potential for causing concussions since apparently, almost everything rattles the brain around to an extent.

    Part of me thinks, yeah, banning chairshots to the head is a good idea... but how is boxing legal at all, then?

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  69. Benoit, if you read Jericho's first book, was clearly insane. I get wanting to give rookies a "hazing" to break them in (I don't like or agree with it, but I "get" it), but there's a hazing and then there's "making a guy work out until he pukes, then laughing at him as he's puking."

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  70. Well yeah, and I knew that one of Russo's pet projects was restoring Bret Hart to his WWF glory. So how does he go about it?

    First PPV in - Job Bret Hart cleanly to a Lex Luger single leg crab, give Goldberg the title
    Next Nitro - Dusty the title off Goldberg, set Sting as top heel for Goldberg to get revenge on as he is getting screwed by establishment
    Next PPV - Tournament for vacant title won by Bret Hart who lost cleanly at the last PPV


    What in the actual FUCK?

    I guess Mayhem was his piss poor attempt to re-create Deadly Game. It's amazing how badly it was botched a mere year later.

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  71. They needed to get Hogan out of the title picture. I think things would have even been fine with the Dustying of the title off Goldberg if they had actually positioned Sting and TPTB as top heels dicking with Goldberg a la The Authority and Daniel Bryan and let Goldberg end their bullshit after a series of attempts at Starrcade or Superbrawl.

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  72. Russo's entire WCW tenure was a sad attempt to recreate what worked in WWE.

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  73. He didn't have the same tools, or more importantly, understand that WCW was fundamentally different, had a different audience, had a different appeal, and things that were good for the goose of the WWF were not good for the gander of WCW.


    Also his burnout was readily apparent. If I were to bring him on for WCW I would have advised him to take a vacation until New Year's and that they'd finish out the current regime's storylines and start his stuff in the new year building to his first MAJOR PPV at Superbrawl. Of course, WCW was always prone to knee jerks and never showed such restraint. Thus, I believe the Superbrawl Main Event was something incredibly pathetic like Jeff Jarrett vs. Scott Hall.

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  74. No way should Sting have been a heel in the first place. Hogan could have gone away after Starrcade.

    It's a travesty we never got a proper Hogan/Bret match is all I'm saying.

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  75. I'm totally with you on boxing. As far as banning moves in WWE or certain hits in football, it's mostly a liability ass-covering thing, sure. But if certain things are exponentially more dangerous and outlawing them can help even a little, I'm all for it.

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  76. That is definitely a travesty but hardly the biggest. Really, if the minds in charge of the WWF at any time had the toys of the 97 to 99 WCW roster they would have done all the stuff we dream about and WCW would still be a thing.

    Sting was a fantastic heel, actually. He was satisfyingly slimy and hate-able. I was surprised how adept he was at the role and it would have been easy to see him in the role Hogan occupied in 97.

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  77. I know, fuck me right?

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  78. That's just funny, palling around stuff.

    Look, the reality is that wrestling properly is harder work than going through a hazing here and there, and the weak should be weeded out so the strong don't have to pick up the slack. This goes for professional football teams, rugby teams, martial artists, professional wrestling companies etc.

    Hazing's also common in the military too, and it's not like it's anywhere near as bad as actual warfare.

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  79. Foley kinda forgot the "or himself" part.

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  80. Yeah but in his book Bret said the doctor's found a hole in the back of his skull that had been eaten away for a long time. At least that's how I took it...I don't think Goldberg's kick to the side of his head did that.

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  81. Boxing (and football) is a thing where we've all sort of agreed that a certain level of brain damage is acceptable. Just nothing ABOVE that level. Miserable Shitehawk did a great write up about this at Deadspin.

    Plus, boxing, while the big PPVs still sell well, has a bigger problem than the UFC when it comes to big cards vs. little cards. Boxing is not a totally viable sport right now. When the handful of big names left retire, if boxing doesn't get their shit together and quick, is fucked.

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  82. Agreed. One can argue that it was eventually inevitable, but there was no reason they should have been anywhere near it at that point.

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  83. Weeding out the weak, quite honestly, is an underrated thing. If you've worked in even a professional job before and they bring someone in who clearly isn't capable or ready and everybody is picking up their slack it's more work with them than without.

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  84. Depends on how determined Kellner was in dropping them.

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  85. Boxing destroying your brain has been an acknowledged truth for centuries. People do it because they love it. Fighting in war is also dangerous. Principles matter.

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  86. Agreed. It looks like it could be dangerous. Same when Orton used to do that head punt. I think he stopped it but it looked terrible.

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  87. I was thinking more in his moves than what he hurled himself through, on, or into.

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  88. Kellner would have had a hard time dropping a revenue juggernaut doing high fives. He may not have even been brought in if wrestling, amongst otherflagship Turner programming, didn't turn into a boondoggle.

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  89. Does UFC still draw good on PPV? You'd think with wrestling bowing out of that market it'd be good for them but the bubble has to burst eventually you'd think.

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  90. I'm not saying that this one incident was worse that what that guy (if he stuck around) would have went through in the ring. I'm just saying that taking joy in another person's suffering, long after you should have grown out of that testosterone-soaked stupor, is a sign that you're not totally right in the head to begin with.

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  91. Not inevitable, just like TNA getting dropped from Spike, it took some determined and prolonged fucking up and money losing to end them.

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  92. truth is the most damage occurs not from big hits in football but repetitive little hits. It's why lineman, particularly offensive lineman are at the most risk.

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  93. Absolutely, but when science catches up to what's really happening to these guys' brains, the truth may be a scarier reality than just no more shots to the head.

    We've figured out that concussions can be caused from blows and shock that aren't directly targeted to the head. What exactly is happening to the brain when a rookie is made to take 100 flat back bumps in a row? Does the risk escalate exponentially once you've been wrestling for longer than 15 minutes at a time?

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  94. in reality it probably was something more like this:
    Austin - holy shit, man, are you okay?
    Benoit - shut up, you're ruining a perfect spot!

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  95. Kelvin Benjamin got a concussion on Sunday and if wasn't diagnosed until Monday.

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  96. I think bc Benoit was so crisp with it and it logically made sense (in wresting terms. Obviously it would be smarter just to pound or choke an opponent instead of diving from a turnbuckle). Set up the cross face by weakening the shoulder. But I do like a good Moonsaullt better too. Great move when done right

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  97. I try but it's hard as Benoit WAS his character so much, can't separate it as much. I can watch some matches like Mania XX and such but hard not to wince at the hard hits. Hell, even Scott, one of the biggest Benoit marks you'll find, has acknowledged even today having trouble with seeing him now knowing what we know.
    BTW, I did like how that recent "30 years of WrestleMania" book handled WM XX: Notes the main event, the photo of Benoit and Eddie celebrating and that "future events would forever alter the perception of this moment" but that it should be remembered as it was. Good work on that, about as clear-cut as can be without being accused of exploiting what happened.

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  98. Eh, it's schadenfreude. My last really big laughing fit was when my friend dropped his iPhone into a fire pit and tried to get it out. Other peoples' misery is sometimes hilarious.

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  99. They still draw, but oversaturation has hurt them bad.

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  100. and rightfully so, regarding such over-the-top bumps.

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  101. The mid 80s called and they beg to differ. Demolition, Hart Foundation, Rougeaus, Bulldogs, Killer Bees, Young Stallions, Brainbusters, Powers of Pain, Volkoff/Sheik, Dream Team (Beefcake or Bravo version), the list goes on and on. the WWF tag team scene in the mid to late 80s was awesome. And not to shabby in the NWA either with the Rock N'Roll Express, Midnight Express, Road Warriors, etc. Sure the WWF had 3 great teams in E&C, Dudleys, and Hardys but the depth just wasn't like the 80s in either JCP or WWF.

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  102. My roommates and I, at the time, thought Benoit broke his back on that spot. Fucking brutal.

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  103. also, getting too much of a "free reign" hurt the booking. Russo booking only seems to work if there are enough other "voices of reason" to sort of "counterbalance" his way of doing shows.

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  104. typical WCW nonsense: the first ever televised Hogan vs. Hart match ending in a no contest after five minutes.

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  105. but I could easily see it resulting in many people not wanting to see his old games anymore.

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  106. Plus its not like the traditional NWA style was especially damaging to the body. The top rope bump is a little dangerous, but otherwise it was safe enough. . .

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  107. I thought that was apart of damage from the mule kick. . .

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  108. Sometimes committee helps. Russo to keep the midcard moving and Kevin Sullivan to focus on big picture issues would have probably done okay-ish but they wanted drastic change and just completely gave themselves over without checking around on how much of his track record with the WWF was him.

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  109. You also have to love that out of three advertised Hogan vs. Sting matches on major PPVs, only one was not a complete screwjob loaded with shenanigans.

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  110. Did Harley race do you head butts falling head butts back when he was world champion

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  111. I think it's better to acknowledge it and to do it in that subtle and understated way. The way they handle it with the Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels type shenanigans turns it into some sort of wrestling version of The Day The Clown Cried which it really isn't.

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  112. Principles like "beat the other guy until he can't beat me" only exist, Ina recreational space, in the dumbest of men.

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  113. Yeah, Edge had great facials in the setup, but really should have stuck to using the Impaler DDT and his weird invented Sharpshooter as finishers.

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  114. Blade job after the match was over or hardway for Benoit? Either way the dude is insane, obviously. I loved that crazy bastard RIP

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  115. And what about OJ Simpson? Do we still want to watch classic Bills games with him the star? Do we still listen to records produced by Phil Spector? Can we watch Gig Young in a movie? Though questions.

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  116. Said it before, Vince is in a "damned if you do/damned if you don't" situation. Yeah, he gets slammed for the whitewash but talk too much and he'll be accused of exploiting it and such. As I said, they way they discuss it there and in the "WWE 50" book is good, up front over what happened without going into the major details/feelings afterward.
    They're not alone, was reading the 10th anniversary edit of "Death of WCW" book and they put in a note on how it's hard reading their own words on Benoit, "we understand why WWE chooses to ignore him" but presenting as is and hope reader understands.

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  117. Sounds crazy...but I could see WWE booking someone the same way nowadays.

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  118. I've said it before but if you only enjoyed art made by people who weren't awful (whethey they be murderers, violent to women, rapists, etc.) then you'd be missing out on most good things.

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  119. A lot of you guys just really make me sick.

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  120. Benoit bothered me for YEARS and pretty much turned me away from wrestling until the Summer of Punk stuff but I'm at the point now where I can separate the person he was vs what he became.

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  121. I listed all in one company in one year. You listed over a long time period in multiple organizations. That's not a fair comparison

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  122. Ok pick one year. Still better than 3 teams. Anyway you slice it tag team wrestling was much better and had a lot more quality teams in any given year from 85-89 (and arguably even into the 90s) in both JCP/WCW and WWF. WWF had 3 teams starting in 2000 (Dudleys arrived in fall of 99) plus some lesser teams like Crash and Hardocre Holly, T and A, and Xpac and Road Dogg. And for my money I'd take the Hart Foundation and the Bulldogs over the Dudleys and Hardys any day of the week. I have a soft spot for E&C because I loved their goofy comedy, but match wise the three teams in 2000 were overly reliant on gimmick matches and in a straight up tag match the Dudleys and the Hardys weren't all that great.

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  123. HowmuchdoesthisguyweighOctober 18, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    If everyone sells it like RVD or Christian it would get dangerous, but it's no different then taking a flat front bump like skull crushing finale or something like that. It is visibly a cool move but I actually prefer Rollins primary finisher to be his jumping knee from different scenarios.

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