JC’s Top Rope Report: Sometimes The WWE Still Gets It Right

We all know it. As wrestling fans, especially fans of the WWE, it has been a struggle over the last couple years. RAW becomes tired some to watch at times. I actually fell asleep during the main event of RAW this past Monday. I can’t remember the last time I did that. Trying to sit through three hours of RAW, then two hours of Smackdown Live, then maybe NXT and 205 Live along with a three hour PPV is a lot of damn TV.

And the WWE isn’t making it any easier with some of the storylines they put out every week. How sick of Jinder Mahal are most WWE fans? And just when we are sick of the same old anti-American schtick from Jinder, he cut what might have been the worst promo of his career this week on Smackdown Live. Taking pictures of Nakamura’s face and making poop and constipation jokes? You just know Vince McMahon wrote that segment. It was childish and beneath anyone holding the WWE Title.

But on the same show, we had a great storyline with the man who likely wrote the jokes for Jinder. How is that possible?

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The Good, the Bad and the Heat Exhaustion: Night Two of Battle of Los Angeles

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The Battle of Los Angeles is a yearly tournament put on by, arguably, the biggest independent wrestling promotion in America, Pro Wrestling Guerilla. The tournament matches were set, the marquee special attraction matches were booked and there was only one thing left; for all of us to die in the heat. The WWE couldn’t run their average, at best, house shows in venues without proper air conditioning and seating for fans that paid top dollar to be there but PWG can. The business model PWG follows rubs people the wrong way but this is America and until fans refuse to pay rising prices American Legion Hall 308 will continue to sell out each and every time.

Every match that was booked for night two could headline any indy show across the world, for the fans in Reseda, California it was just another dream match night.

Donovan Dijak v. Trevor Lee 3.5 Stars

Dijak is on his way to NXT, Lee is a staple of PWG and GWF and these two did not disappoint. These two put on one hell of an opening match where Dijak was the winner and would move on to the quarterfinals. For me, this was the start of a 110 degree four hour ride.

Joey Janela v. Sammy Guevera 5 Stars

These two guys may not be household names yet but, especially, Joey it’s just a matter of time until he’s your friend’s favorite wrestler. Joey and Lio Rush were big news after their encounter at CZW’s show a few weeks back. On Saturday night Joey wanted to out do that performance and they sure as hell did. I rated this match five stars simply because in the 20 minutes these two battled they told stories, switched face and heel roles and Janela took two of the nastiest bumps I’ve ever seen and lived to tell the tale outside the Hall to me shortly after their match.

 

Travis Banks v. Mark Haskins 3.5 Stars

Two of the top United Kingdom wrestlers on the planet graced the Reseda crowd with a match that I personally expected more from. The two men had a great match overall just a few miss timed spots and a weird count finish left me feeling short changed from two guys that are on the WWE radar. Spoilers: From what I’ve read from night three Banks made up for it with his other match.

 

LDRS (Marty Scrull & Zack Sabre Jr) v. Matt Sydal & Ricochet 3.5 Stars

A tag team match from four guys that headline venues from California to Japan was the match before intermission. Sabre Jr the heel that Reseda loves to boo and Scrull interrupted Sydal’s and Ricochet’s entrance. This is where my experience kind of took a down hill spill. After spending time in line for water, again it had to be at least 110 degrees in the venue, I had lost my comfy standing spot and was left to stand behind a guy who was at least 6’3 the rest of the night. The first match with several, great near falls was on track for a four star rating until all four guys hit similar spots at shows I’ve been to before. Usually something like that doesn’t bother me, especially since I watch the WWE weekly but something just rubbed me the wrong way, probably the heat, but I was just taken out of the moment after Sabre Jr used his head turn submission several times.

 

Sami Callahan v. Jeff Cobb 2.5 Stars

The first post intermission match featured the highly over rated Callahan and Jeff Cobb, who outside of his strength, doesn’t offer much inside a squared circle. Although this match could headline the indy show in your local town it feel short of a PWG style match and I just couldn’t wait for it to end.

Matt Riddle v. Michael Elgin 4 Stars

By this time in the night Ronda Rousey’s presence was known in the hall but if you didn’t know she was there just look toward the stage where the UFC star was chanting ‘Bro’ with everyone else. Elgin is a guy to me that if you put him in the ring with the right guy you can get a four star match and this was just it. Riddle is a guy that will be WWE bound before we know it so enjoy the bootless bro for as long as you can because before you know it a $25 ‘Bro’ shirt will be all the rage at Full Sail.

Walter v. Keith Lee 4.5 Stars

If the WWE wants to continue to restock their big guy roster then these two are the golden tickets. Keith Lee is becoming a top star in the indy scene and it’s just a matter of time until the star of Vienna is on the radar of the E. Spoilers: William Regal was said to be outside talking with Walter prior to his match. Both of these men are larger than life and when the two killed and slammed each other all over the ring I knew this was something special. The crowd chanted ‘big match wrestling’ during their match and the hype lived up to just that; big match wrestling.

The Elite (Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks) v. Flamita, Rey Fenix & Penta El OM 4.5 Stars

The main event of the evening saw Kenny Omega return to PWG for the first time since 2014. We all stood in aw as Penta and Kenny stood nose to nose in the ring then beat the hell out of each other. This match had it all, comedy, crazy spots and hard hitting action. The real MVP of the night may have been Fenix. If the WWE wants another Rey Mysterio this guy is as close as they are going to get.

If you were ever thinking of coming to Reseda, please do. If not, buy the BOLA dvd, it will not disappoint.

Until next time, leave a comment, tell a friend, listen to the latest HTC Wrestling Podcast here or on itunes, follow me on Twitter @camdougharty and let’s talk wrasslin!

 

Justin C Watches WCW Fall Brawl 1999

So close to the Vince Russo Era!

I’ve finally gotten to WCW Fall Brawl 99. It is Sting/Hogan again. But this time Lex Luger is trying to plant the seeds of distrust in the mind of Sting. He showed Sting photos of Hulk Hogan in front of a white hummer, the same type of hummer that hit Kevin Nash. Randy Savage was also randomly in Hogan’s locker room. And then when Sting, Luger, Hogan and Bret Hart were all in Hogan’s locker room the lights went out and someone attacked Sting. Got all that? Okay.

In other WCW news we have Sid Vicious walking around as the “Millenium Man.” Essentially, he was mocking Goldberg’s streak. He would powerbomb jobbers to start the show and count those as match wins. And Chris Benoit has to carry him in a wrestling match here. Benoit is in a group with Shane Douglas, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko known as the Revolution. They want their fair shot. In theory it’s a smart idea. But they were never getting past the politics in WCW.

If you want to know how bad of shape WCW is in right now, just check the attendance for this show compared to 1998. It dropped over 4,000. And this show took place in North Carolina, a WCW stronghold for years. A place they never had to worry about attendance being bad.

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Justin C Watches WCW Road Wild 1999

Here we are again. I’m getting so close to the Vince Russo Era that I’m stocking up on the alcohol in advance. We are at Road Wild 1999. These shows always took place at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. And I’m pretty sure WCW never made a dime on attendance. People joke that it was just an excuse for Eric Bischoff to ride his motorcycle around with a bunch of other bikers.

So last time we left you Randy Savage became WCW Champion. Well guess what? He lost it the next night to Hulk Hogan. And on the Nitro before this show, Hogan came back in the red and yellow. Nash is also now buddy-buddy with Sid despite facing him just a month ago. So nothing new on that front when it comes to WCW. The mid-card actually isn’t bad, but it will never break through to the main event portion of WCW.

Oh and Dennis Rodman is back wrestling Randy Savage. So lets go!

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New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax 27 Finals And Overall Thoughts

Well, here we are. After over two weeks of outstanding wrestling action we are at the finale of the G1 Climax. I’ll start with a breakdown of the Finals then add more thoughts to the overall tournament after.

G1 Finals: Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega

-The crowd erupts right after the bell rings. This is a great atmosphere.

-Naito tosses Omega to the outside and goes for a dive but nope, signature pose.

-Omega blocks a throw into the railing then hits a moonsault off it.

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Justin C Watches WCW Bash At The Beach 1999

And here we are at WCW Bash at the Beach 1999. Man, if you think WWE is bad right now you need to watch this shit. It is just so bad. The original main event was just a tag match with Kevin Nash and Sting vs Sid Vicious and Randy Savage. But now the WCW Title is on the line. And yes, Sting could pin Nash and win the Title despite being his tag partner. Nash doesn’t trust Sting because he saw Sting in the Hummer and assumes it was Sting driving it when it hit Nash in the limo. But the Fake Sting is also back. Meanwhile, Nash kidnapped Gorgeous George and at one point agreed to exchange her for his Title that Sid took. On Thunder they did a scene on a sketchy street for the exchange but it backfired. This lead to Savage freaking out on Gorgeous George and pretty much asking if Nash slept with her. This is also where Torrie Wilson is corpsing and the scene you see in Botchamania. Got all that?

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Justin C Watches WCW Slamboree 1999

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve been re-watching WCW in order on the WWE Network. I’m currently in May 1999 of WCW, and my god is it awful. You think 2000 is bad? This may be worse. Now of course I may be changing my tune when it gets to WCW in 2000 but this stuff is just crap.

So now I’m on to Slamboree 1999. Normally HTC writer Tim watches bad wrestling and writes about it, but I’m going to do that today because I feel like I need to vent out my frustration while watching this show.

Triple Threat Match for the WCW Tag Team Championship: Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio (c) vs Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko vs Raven & Perry Saturn

-Well, best to get the probably only good match on the show out of the way early right?

-Mysterio has been over since losing the mask in a match to Kevin Nash, because Nash obviously needed to do that. Kidman’s been over for awhile now. Raven and Saturn are over too. Benoit and Malenko turned heel at some point. When I don’t remember. But these are six of WCW’s best workers. So they have to be thrown together into one match.

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JC’s Top Rope Report: Is The WWE On The Right Track This Summer?

The early summer season in the WWE tends to be a down time for the company. With summer finally here, most people take the time to go outside and enjoy the outdoors. For some reason the WWE writers usually tend to do the same thing and barely pay attention or give a good amount effort in their storyline writing.

Maybe it is just me, but I feel like something is different this year with the WWE. Over the last few weeks both RAW and Smackdown Live have been entertaining TV. Smackdown is coming off Money in the Bank. While the show itself wasn’t the best it did get people talking in the end. They followed up the controversial women’s Money in the Bank story with a better rematch on Smackdown. And they did the right thing by having Carmella win again.

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Five Thoughts: New Japan G1 Special Night One w/ Cameron Dougharty

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New Japan Pro Wrestling held their first ever G1 Climax shows in the United States selling out Hall B of the Long Beach, California Convention Center the past two nights. This wasn’t a glorified house show, the brand new IWGP United States Championship’s inaugural tournament was held, the IWGP Heavyweight Title was on the line and every faction Japan has to offer was featured. Look out Vince, the other big boys are here to play. Continue reading

JC’s Top Rope Report: Ten Thoughts On 1998 WCW

Thanks to the WWE Network, I have been going through all the old Nitros and PPVs in succession. It would be great if Thunder was also on the Network, but considering WCW barely ever acknowledged Thunder’s existence it doesn’t seem like that is necessary. I like being able to go back and watch these. I watched both as a kid, but when push comes to shove I always leaned toward the WWF.

By mid 1998, WCW seemed like a mess. It had so many stars under one umbrella that you have to scratch your head trying to figure out how they failed. We all know at this point that WCW was pretty much its own victim. They imploded from within. There were too many egos in one company and they were all out for their own well being. And by the time they realized they needed to make new stars, WCW was on its last legs. There was no saving it at that point.

If you followed my tweets about a week ago on Starrcade 98 you know that by that point WCW was in a bad spot. Their last light of hope, Goldberg, was defeated. WCW really had nothing left. And the reformation of the nWo in 1999 was never going to help things.

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