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  1. Just reviewed this over at my blog (Kwang The Blog) earlier this month... After a lengthy video promo and a calm-and-cool promo from tonight's guest referee, Vince McMahon, its time for tonight's Fall Counts Anywhere WWE Championship match pitting "Stone Cold" Steve Austin against the "Corporate" Dude Love. Before the match begins, Pat Patterson gets a lengthy introduction, then proceeds to give an even longer one for Gerald Brisco (our guest timekeeper), before welcoming Vince and then Dude Love to the ring. Austin eventually comes out, but then we get the surprise arrival of the Undertaker too - the Deadman serving as an extra enforcer to make sure Vince doesn't try to pull any more bullshit. When the bell finally sounds, Austin and Foley get to work and the crowd goes wild for every minute of it - loudly chanting "Vince Is Gay" and "Let's Go, Stone Cold, Let's Go" with incredible enthusiasm. I've written about it elsewhere but Austin and Foley have great timing and while neither could be considered the other man's best opponent, their matches have always come across as fun - or about as fun as a wild brawl can get. When the fight goes to the outside, Patterson announces that the match is now No DQ, but instead of giving Foley the advantage, it seems to inspire Austin to become completely unhinged, clotheslining Foley from the guardrail onto the floor in a ridiculous spot. Back in the ring, Austin tries to guillotine Dude Love across the middle rope, but Foley dodges and takes back control, eventually hitting Austin with a swinging neckbreaker on the floor. Patterson then makes the announcement that falls count anywhere, Foley getting 2 on the outside as the crowd boos. Foley celebrates a bit early, though, and gets nailed with another nasty clothesline. Austin tries to hit Foley again, but Dude Love back body drops onto one of the cars near the entrance. Foley tries to drive Austin into another one, but this time Austin hot shots him onto the car hood. Surprisingly, Vince actually makes the count for two Austin covers. They climb to the top of the car and Austin attempts a Stunner, but Foley shoves him off. Foley then delivers a sunset flip off a car onto the floor for 2. Dude Love continues his attack, grabbing a large metal pole and slamming it across Austin's back. Austin fights back, though, his face now a crimson mask. Again, though, Austin gets cut off by a Foley back body drop for another 2 count. Foley then hits him with a suplex on the floor. Foley climbs atop a car and attempts an elbow drop on the floor, but Austin rolls away. Austin makes the cover and Vince counts - but Foley manages to kick out. Back in the ring they go with Austin in control, but Patterson trips up the Rattlesnake and allows Foley to recover and deliver a clothesline of his own. Foley takes off the top turnbuckle and sends Austin right into it. Foley continues to beat on Austin, eventually even bashing him with a chair. I love Austin's brief moments of offense during this stretch - they are just expertly timed and the crowd goes insane for them. Austin destroys Foley with a chairshot to the head, but Vince refuses to make the count. Foley gets up and attempts to hit Austin with a chair but nails Vince instead! Austin hits him with a Stunner, but Chioda gets dragged out of the ring by Patterson at 2! The fight continues but the attention goes to the Undertaker on the outside, the Deadman taking out Patterson and Brisco with chokeslams through the announce table! Austin hits Foley with another Stunner and, this time, grabs Vince's arm and makes the count himself! Undertaker calls for the bell and this one is over. Austin and Taker have a staredown - a subtle but important ending note, a nod to their future program and a sign of mutual respect without either guy "endorsing" the other (which would've been out of character for both). This match is often cited as the blueprint for nearly every WWE main event that Austin would wrestle for the next 2 years and it makes sense that Vince would try to emulate it - its a violent-but-fun, story-driven roller coaster of a match that the crowd went absolutely bonkers for. Even if the rest of the card was only mildly entertaining, the main event delivered and the audience was still hooked and excited about what would happen next. A great, great match. (4/5)
  2. WAtched the first 5 minutes of Smackdown. A dozen WWE stars standing a few feet apart doing some sort of chant about Taker (I had it on mute). Multiple levels of LOL to me. I actually feel bad for these folks. Hopefully when Hollywood reopens, people like Alexa and Big E will realize they have enough catchet to abandon this sinking ship and make more money being Hollywood C-listers. Honestly, Alexa Bliss in Lifetime movies? Big E doing comedic tough guy on any number of shows or movies or Happy Madison productions? These folks work too hard for this shit and would make equal money elsewhere with more freedom and a ton less likelihood of paralysis. plus, if they ever do decide to come back to wrestling, they’ll get mega bucks for a lighter schedule anyway. Time to abandon the sinking ship. The irony is, fans won’t even call it “selling out” like they did 20 years ago because most everyone agrees the WWE is an evil institution. It’s amazing that the Rock got shit for leaving knowing what we know now (or ignored then).
  3. DMJ

    Is the empire crumbling before our eyes?

    Sadly, like the rest of the country, I think Vince doesn't really give a shit about solutions or options. His mind is clearly focused on getting more people into the tapings, specifically paying fans, and then, as soon as he can, bringing the show back on the road for paying fans outside of Florida. Even in states where numbers are rising back to and above previous highs for new daily cases and hospitalizations, the idea of "re-closing" is less popular than it was when the states first closed. There just seems to be a growing belief that we, as a nation, can will this thing away and "muscle it out," basically ignoring it until it goes away. Vince is going to do the same. I mean, he lost Roman months ago, Becky left months ago, Charlotte is now out, Kevin Owens left (not that he was a major player), but he's still got what? 30+ performers to fill time? More when you count NXT? What reason would Vince have to change one thing about the taping schedule? About protecting his employees?
  4. DMJ

    Is the empire crumbling before our eyes?

    Yea, there's enough idiocy to go around here. Also, while the initial idea that this virus was only affecting the elderly has been proven false, we are - based on their general appearance - talking about physically healthy young people who are at the age of feeling invincible, are on insane fitness regimens, and probably eat very well. If you were Tyler Breeze, how scared of this virus would you be? I mean, your job basically involves wrestling other sweaty men on dirty mats, getting on germ-filled planes, and sleeping on germ-filled hotel beds 200+ days a year. "How bad could this Covid be, right?" You're a pro-friggin'-wrestler. Its not dissimilar to the way I have thought about my own exposure to it. I work with students with multiple disabilities. Over the course of a school day, I'm getting sweat, drool, snot, and spittle on my hands and arms at times. I wear gloves when I'm helping a student in the bathroom, but I'm still helping a student in the bathroom. Shit's gonna happen (literally). I wash my hands regularly with lots of soap and I disinfect surfaces all the time, but yeah, classrooms and school bathrooms are full of germs. My immune system, when I'm exercising regularly and eating healthy foods, seems pretty strong (as I don't get sick very often). Is it Covid-proof? Of course not...but, initially, I ignorantly believed it was, that Covid was going to get other people, but not me. I mean, I'm 36. I exercise. I eat fruits and vegetables. I'm only 10 pounds overweight, not 40. I'm not really at-risk, right? So, yeah, there's enough idiocy to go around. Vince's actions are immoral, though, while wrestlers and others going to Vegas just seem arrogant.
  5. I'd also just add that, at least in the case of Trenesha Biggers (Rhaka Khan) and Kurt Angle, it was covered by media at the time. A cursory search of "Kurt Angle Arrested 2009" reveals that it was a news story outside of just Pittsburgh. The issue was, you can count on one hand how many people actually cared. And the same was true when he was arrested multiple times after 2009 for DUIs. Now, I'm not comparing DUIs and domestic violence, but its not like Kurt Angle has had just one "slip-up" or a single lapse of judgment. As Biggers makes clear in her tweets, he was/is an addict who was likely enabled by the WWE until even they knew they had to cut ties with him - at which point he went to TNA and was enabled by them for years. Its great that he's been clean and sober since 2013 and I'm not saying people don't deserve second and third and fourth chances, but that whole time, when somebody usually has their "fall from grace," they actually fall. Angle kept working, kept being promoted as TNA's top guy, continued to make lucrative deals that whole time. At no point was Kurt Angle actually "cancelled." He lost the respect of some people, obviously went through familial turmoil over the years, but if you're Trenesha Biggers, its hard not to feel like your story was swept under the rug so that the Kurt Angle Brand could keep making money. Also, as Biggers point out, Angle's particular substance abuse issues (steroids, alcohol, painkillers) and her accusation of domestic violence are analogous to what we learned about Chris Benoit and even to Steve Austin's history of domestic violence. She's not wrong in raising awareness that domestic violence, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and other awfulness are all a problem. And, as far as "opportunism" goes, hell yeah she (and others) should be dredging up the dirt now. When Terri Runnels first said Brock Lesnar exposed himself to her - an allegation that she made in 2004 - nobody cared. Thanks to #SpeakingOut, the volume has been turned up and people are actually listening now. I'm not going to go into my thoughts on that particular story, but I'm also not going to dismiss anyone's claim offhand or question motives when this movement has brought to light just how rampant this sort of behavior - from the "mild" to the extreme - has been for decades.
  6. That denial is so, so strong. I think it mostly stems from the fact that, on the ledger sheet, the company is making record profits year after year. House show attendance, TV ratings, and overall cultural cachet are clear indicators that the WWE, as a brand, is cold and has been getting colder and colder - even during the once-revitalizing WrestleMania seasons. But profits are profits so that means Seth Rollins is demonstrably a bigger star than John Cena according to the yes-men and the WWE cheerleaders who refuse to acknowledge the obvious: that, while the WWE has been very successful in adding new revenue streams (especially internationally), their original bread-and-butter (actually putting butts in seats for non-Big 4 shows, having people watch their shows on TV regularly, selling pay-per-views) is in the gutter.
  7. I don't think its "completely insane" to consider describing women by their attractiveness as problematic. You might not find it offensive. I, personally, don't find it super offensive. But if I was to ask you to describe your wife, girlfriend, or a co-worker and the first thing you say is, "She's super hot," it is objectification. When you emphasize the "eye candy" aspect of another human being, their cosmetic look, that's not cool. When I tell people about my wife, my first thoughts are that she is intelligent, funny, is super hard-working, laid back, and gets along with everybody she meets. I don't think of her measurements. When I tell people about female co-workers, I talk about their role in the school, their personality, maybe their attitude. I don't say, "My principal is Mrs. Soandso. She's about a 6, maybe a 7 after some drinks. She's really dedicated to being a mentor for other teachers." Honestly, I didn't listen to the whole interview so it could be taken out of context - maybe Sammy Guevara did talk about how Sasha is hot because its hot to be confident, talented, and a warm, kind person. If that was what he meant, then that's great. Unfortunately, it came off more like the kind of shit you'd find posted at r/WrestleFap, where when people are talking about Bayley's "assets," they're very clearly not talking about her work ethic, in-ring psychology, or how many Make-a-Wish dreams she fulfills each year. Also, on the idea of "I wanna rape her" being a joke, it is obviously not a "punchline joke," but it is a "joke" in the broader sense of being an absurd exaggeration. It is a "joke" because I believe Sammy Guevara or the 13 year-old kid in my class were saying the most extreme, over-the-top, hyperbolic, and disgusting version of "______ looked so good that I could barely contain my animal instincts." Its a joke the same way that in old cartoons, you'd see characters drooling when an attractive woman (or bunny) walked by. Its not dissimilar to the way that people have made jokes about wanting to kill Donald Trump or another politician or celebrity. The "joke" is that your hatred for this person is so deep, you want the worst, most extremely violent thing possible to happen to them. Do these people actually desire this realistically? Of course not. If even a small percentage did, there would be attempts at their life by the hour. Maybe "joke" isn't the right word for it, but "I wanna rape her" was, to my ears, not meant literally. It was still disgusting and vile talk, but hyperbole is undeniably a form of satire/humor.
  8. DMJ

    WWE TV 06/15 - 06/23 Liv Morgan.

    Not that I think Charlotte has done any good for NXT's overall ratings because she clearly hasn't, but it was reported a couple weeks ago that her segment was the highest rated segment on this particular episode. I'd have to go back and look but I believe that was also the case in other episodes in May. https://www.wrestlinginc.com/news/2020/06/mike-tyson-aew-segment-loses-viewers-670945/ Also, on the topic of Braun Strowman's appearance, its really amazing how in the 5 years since he debuted as part of the Wyatt Family, the company has really never bothered to update or make his look special at all. Like, say what you will about the various Undertaker designs or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, how simple Big Show's black singlet was, but they were at least iconic (even if Big Show's a reference to Andre). But what about Strowman's look is iconic? Its cargo pants and a tank top. Its almost as lazy as Kevin Owens' gear, but at least Owens' basketball shorts and sleeveless tee-shirt have their roots in him being an indy guy on a shoestring budget.
  9. Yea, definitely tasteless and disgusting and so gross. The joke of saying "I wanna rape her" was so weird to me the first time I heard it - which was about 8 years ago, from a 13-year old middle school student in my class who was referencing another teacher in the building (something along the lines of "Did you see what she was wearing today? Man, I wanted to rape her"). Obviously it was gross and vulgar then, but I also chalked it up to the student being a 13 year-old boy with issues related to impulsivity, attention-seeking behaviors, etc. I mean, it was a fucked-up thing to say, but when I shared the story, few were surprised that those words came from that student. The fact that a grown person would say it is so disappointing and ugly and vulgar. Using the word "rape" on top of just objectifying a woman is a double whammy of assholeness. I really wanted to like Sammy Guevara and even looked up his age - just in case I could somehow explain it away as "Well, he's only 20 so he says stupid shit" - but he's 27 years old. By that age, you should be smart enough not to (in vulgar terms) "say everything your penis tells you to." Even if he had said, "I visited the WWE and saw Sasha and she looked so hot," it'd still be problematic and immature, but you add in the idea of "She looked so hot that I wanted to assault her" and it is appalling. I agree that saying it is not in the same ballpark as sexually assaulting someone, but that also means that a sincere apology could mean something (whereas some of these "apologies," like the ones from Havoc and Joey Ryan, have been worthless to me). Over time, maybe I'll root for Sammy Guevara again - maybe he'll apologize, maybe he'll show maturity in some other way and I'll be able to see this joke as a lapse in judgment (lord knows I've had my own) - but, for now, yeah, I'm not going to be a cheerleader or supporter for him (just like I've kinda stopped rooting for guys with multiple DUIs or with a history of homophobic statements).
  10. - I figure Dream will be getting released in short order and that someone knew there was fire where there was smoke when the first allegations sprang up before Takeover. As tone deaf as it may sound, its not going to be a major loss considering Dream lost his "aura" and "specialness" a long time ago (a point that alot of us brought up before the allegations even started). - As El-P said, I've long given up on viewing pro-wrestlers as heroes and am alright living in my cognitive dissonance when it comes to wrestling. Call it separating the "art" from the "artist," but I can still enjoy Led Zeppelin and other 70s rock music knowing full well that these rock stars were routinely having sex with high school freshmen. John Lennon admitted to hitting women. I can look past the misogyny and glorification of blatant man-on-woman violence of 90s hip-hop (Dr. Dre, for example) while I view someone like Chris Brown as the scum of the earth. I don't think I could ever enjoy a Louis C.K special anymore, either. That's cognitive dissonance - I know its irrational and inconsistent and I could try to reason it out and make excuses but truthfully, if I'm being 100% honest, all the reasoning would amount to me ignoring the horribleness or compartmentalizing it away because I like 90s West Coast hip-hop and I like Ric Flair matches and promos. It is much, much easier to say fuck Jack Gallagher, Velveteen Dream, Jimmy Havoc, Matt Riddle, and most everyone else that has been "outed" because I have far less of a connection to them than I do a Ric Flair.
  11. DMJ

    WWE TV 06/15 - 06/23 Liv Morgan.

    Just read a news/rumor/gossip thingy about Vince McMahon calling Angel Garza a "young Eddie Guerrero." It made me chuckle because if there's one guy that probably appreciated young Eddie Guerrero, it was Vince McMahon - who hired him when he was 33 and had already established himself as an incredible performer in multiple promotions, including his rival WCW and ECW. The past 20 years have proven that Vince has a very poor track record of taking young anythings and making them into a legit star. I mean, his last success story that he built from the ground up was who? Cena? Reigns kinda? Not downplaying Angel Garza's talent, but if anyone is going to be a breakout Latinx star, my money is actually going to be on Sammy Guevara just because he's in the best position to actually try a bunch of stuff, figure out what works, and get over without having the WWE Machine pigeonholing him or killing his creative spirit.
  12. DMJ

    WWE Network... It's Here

    - So I actually Google'd this and it's Nine Line Apparel (not technically Blue Line) that he seems to be sporting and has been involved in/supporting for at least 2 years (there's a Facebook post featuring Taker from 2018). Its a veteran-owned company, pro-gun, etc. etc. I agree that it seems odd that not only does he seem to have their apparel on for all the interviews and backstage at various events, but its usually the same tee-shirt/sweatshirt. Like, I own at least a half dozen Guided By Voices tee shirts and, chances are, because I only own maybe 12 tee-shirts total, if you see me around town, I'll be rocking one...but the same one? Every time you see me for like the past 24 months? - I totally buy that the Undertaker didn't know or pay too much mind to the AEW Double or Nothing/Starrcast link. AEW wasn't yet on TV. Jon Moxley hadn't shown up yet. Aside from Jericho and the Rhodes, this was a bunch of "indie guys" and there's no reason to believe the Undertaker has kept any tabs on non-WWE pro-wrestling since, well, before he joined the company 30 years ago. To him, it was probably an offer from Ric Flair's son-in-law to come do an autograph signing and, I'm guessing, it was a very pleasant surprise for him to learn that he could make a ton of cash - probably more than he thought possible for a non-WWE event - in the process. Imagine, you've been in the WWE Bubble for 30 years where your value and income is based on being a cornerstone of the most successful promotion in the world. Sure, you might hear rumblings that "You can make good money in Japan" or "The indies are actually thriving" or whatever, but if your the Undertaker, you've got to have your doubts about just how green the grass is outside of Vince's yard, even if its coming from credible sources like Jericho or The Hardys. Then, your contract expires and you get a big offer for a signing and its gotta be somewhat mind-blowing. And then you get a call from Vince and he says you can't do it and maybe part of you wonders if you've actually been undervalued and there is a marketplace out there. Taker strikes me as a guy that follows college and NFL football, UFC, and maybe even college basketball more closely than he follows pro-wrestling, even the WWE itself. In terms of spare time, he seems to also spend a ton of it either recovering from surgery or having surgery. Plus, he's got young kids and Michelle McCool probably drags him to Bible study all the time too based on her own devotion. I just don't see him spending his free time keeping tabs on "the business." - Anyone else think its kinda cool that multiple times in the doc we've seen Taker chumming it up with The Miz? It kinda warms my heart that The Miz sorta became a lockerroom leader (maybe not a "leader," but at least a veteran) after being treated like shit for so long and, based on most stories, hasn't made "paying your dues" a thing and is friendly and well-liked by just about everyone (save for the most recent issue with Covid-19, which, to be fair, it was always reported he was showing symptoms - which are very general - not that he ever tested positive).
  13. DMJ

    Backlash 2020 - The one with the GREATEST MATCH EVER

    Aside from what's been reported about Edge's triceps injury, do we actually know how many re-takes and edits were done? I can understand criticizing the very idea of doing re-takes and editing, but I'm also not convinced that they shot this like a film where after 10 minutes someone yelled cut and they sat down on director's chairs for a coffee break. I'd wager that Edge and Orton, like most wrestlers, wanted the "performance" to be as live as possible. Considering they've both got thousands of matches under their belt, that would be the most natural way to shoot it anyway ("live to tape" as they say). To me, I'd have to really know how much they doctored it up to criticize it that heavily. I mean, do we know for sure they didn't doctor up Sheamus/Hardy or AJ/Bryan (which, I believe, was also taped)? Are we just giving those matches the benefit of the doubt but not this one based on Edge suffering an injury during a retake? If that injury never happens and we never get confirmation that they did re-takes, how does that change your view? Just seems like a questionable demarcation line when the WWE could be doctoring up all of the taped matches and the Edge/Orton one or the Bryan/Zayn one from Mania or Bryan/AJ from SmackDown were *still*, in my opinion, significantly better than average matches. I mean, if we're conceding that these matches are being taped and edited to make them the most exciting presentations possible, why the fuck do I still not care about Drew McIntyre?
  14. DMJ

    Best worker of the last 20 years

    As a WWE-centric fan, I'm totally comfy with my view being incredibly narrow and limited but because this is pro-wrestling we're talking about, I'm also comfortable living in that ignorance. So, with that disclaimer, I'm going to say Daniel Bryan by a country mile, then probably Styles, and then, by another mile or so, John Cena. I'm curious, especially from the perspective of those more knowledgable and worldly than me, if instead just picking your number 1 and having to expand it to 5 or 10, where would Cena rank? There was a time when I may have gone with Lesnar above Cena, but Lesnar's worst matches are worse than Cena's worst, in my opinion. With Cena, you could always count on at least some sort of effort. Lesnar, on the other hand, has matches where he clearly doesn't give a shit and those are too much of an insult to the audience for me to overlook them.