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Found 67 results

  1. At the time this felt like one of those rare instances where WWE actually presented a dream match. These two had been kept apart from the time they both ascended to the top of Raw & Smackdown during the build to Mania 21 which made for a truly fresh match. Even with Taker/Edge in a Cell, this still seemed like the real draw at the show. They didn't disappoint, working an oddly compact match in under 14 minutes that's a virtual sprint compared with some main event matches today. They work a basic power match with lariats, powerbombs and slams for Batista while Cena is constantly looking for the FU. A neat wrinkle along the way is Batista borrowing a page from Flair's book as he clips the knee, goes to a kneebreaker and then actually breaks out the Figure-Four. What I loved here is how simple this was. Basic transitions borrowed from the Horsemen like a kick to the gut. Yeah, we had finishers teased throughout but they weren't spammed. They maintained a solid pace as there were no real rest spots or killing clock for anyone to regain their wind, but at the same time they let everything sink in. Every shot and offensive maneuver was allowed to breathe so that its impact registered. One legit false finish at the end on the powerbomb where Batista caught Cena coming off the top for his legdrop that absolute absolutely popped the crowd, and made the finish that followed thereafter all the more satisfying. Still amazing that this was a 100% clean job, although Cena didn't look at all the worse for wear coming out of a match that felt like stage 1 in a prolonged feud. Perhaps Cena's injury had something to do with that but they wouldn't return to it until 2010 when Batista was a true heel. Great, simple match with no real waste. ****
  2. WWE Champion The Rock vs Brock Lesnar - WWE Summerslam 2002 Really interesting crowd dynamics. Big Rocky Sucks chant early. Lets Go Lesnar when Lesnar is in the Sharpshooter. When Rock breaks out of the bearhug, big Rocky chants and as they push to the finish Lesnar sucks. Almost Japanese like in how they would cheer for the underdog of different points in the match. The match is an entertaining main event, but it is just a hodgepdoge of the best hits of each and really does not have much rhyme or reason. Lesnar tried to be sensible in his approach, but Rock was all over the place. They start the match with Lesnar as the monster heel ala his Cena performance in 2014 where he throws Rock around and Rock looks like he has no hope. They have this injured ribs story that Lesnar goes back to, but Rock does not seem to give a fuck about. Then Rock is like fuck it lets do Clash of the Titans. So Lesnar does that. Then Lesnar goes into cheating, big bumping heel mode, but also does a monster bearhug. Early Lesnar is one of the most impressive bumpers ever. Rock starts to work underneath and then he is like fuck it lets do Attitude Era brawl spot. Lesnar takes a fucking ridiculous bump off a Rock right hand over the top rope and then catches wicked air on the catapult into the post. Rock puts Heyman through the table which was awesome. Finish sequence time. I forgot this was the height of finisher stealing so we get the Brock Bottom after a Rock Bottom. I liked the teases before we get the F5 to crown Brock as the new champ. Rock is selfless in the ring and did the job clean as a sheet in the middle. This match was all over the place. Still entertaining. Brock is just awesome to watch. ***
  3. Shawn Michaels vs Triple H - Summerslam 2002 There may be no two more polarizing wrestlers in WWE than Shawn Michaels and HHH. It is almost entirely due to their "real life" personas (or what we know them to be from second hand accounts). I am not going to pick a dog in the race, but analyzing their matches always evokes a lot of emotion and passion. WWE pushes these two as two of the all-time great pro wrestlers in the ring. They are uttered in the same breath as Flair unlike Austin and Rock, who are usually associated with Hogan as great superstars as the WWE dictates. When HBK/HHH entered the ring for Shawn Michaels' first match in four years, it was a mere formality that this could become a part of WWE canon as one of the all-time classics. They would have had to put on a stinker the caliber of their Hell in a Cell match (I have never seen it, but it sounds atrocious) for this not go down as one of the premiere matches in company history. For hardened wrestling fans, this match is considered to be no good and vastly overrated. Where do I lie? I am closer to the WWE camp and I think this does belong best matches of WWE in 2000s, but in the greater scope of pro wrestling this can not compete. I will say I felt a lot more emotion for Kobashi's comeback match in 2007 than I did for Michaels' comeback here. I watched the Kobashi match last year and to me that was just one of most emotional matches I have ever seen. Maybe it is because I knew Michaels would eventually make a full recovery or that I have seen this before, but it did not hit me as hard this time. The beginning shine was perfectly acceptable. It was not great, but not bad. Michaels was brutally betrayed by his friend so I would have liked to seen more anger, but overall he was pressing the advantage proving to fans that he has his trademark mobility by hitting a dive over the top to the outside. HHH was fine bumping around for him. This felt like a really good standard opening to a character-driven face vs heel match, not a blood feud. It was important to me that Shawn stay on top and suffocate HHH at the very least. Loved the teased Sweet Chin Music into a backbreaker. That was straight money. HBK did a great job selling the back. HHH worked over the back like a champ. This was an incredibly strong heat segment, maybe the greatest HHH's career. The backbreaker on the chair was fucking awesome. I loved the set ups for Michaels' hope spot like using Earl and getting the sledge hammer to give time for HBk to recuperate. The low blow and Sweet Chin Music into the chair was perfect, perfect one-two combo to get Shawn back on top. After taking such a hellacious beating, he needed two quick bombs to make this even remotely credible and those were perfect. Ok, so now onto the controversy. The kip up. Yes after the awesome heat segment, he kipped up. For the rest of the match did not really sell the back (he did after a couple dives). It did not kill the match for me. I can understand the issue. There is no hard and fast rule about this at the end of the day. Sometimes, it is just going to bother certain people more than others. I still think it is a great match just not an excellent, classic one. Mostly because Shawn actually delivers one of his best comebacks of all time. Marty was usually the hot tag in the Rockers and Shawn's greatest weakness in his career was probably credible offense. I thought he was laying in some really great rights here and was really tearing into HHH. HHH tapped a gusher (one of his best qualities) and sold really well. The match did get a bit long in the tooth. For instance, I don't think he needed to dive off turnbuckle onto the table and dive off the ladder. The dive to the table got a huge pop and is a great spot. That was sufficient. Also, it get a little back-y n forth-y towards the end, but not as bad as some of the modern matches. They did a great job with the finish in relation to the rest of the match teasing each finish before HBk got the jackknife win. Yes, the match was wrestled as more of a championship bloodbath than a blood feud match. Yes, Michaels did not sell the back down the stretch. Yes, it was a bit too long. I think the match accomplished more important objectives. if this was truly a one-off, Shawn Michaels would be able to go out on his own terms unlike Wrestlemania XIV where the amount of pain he was in affected his performance. If it was not and was to lead to something more, it proved Shawn Michaels of 2002 was every bit the Shawn Michaels of 1997 and he had not lost a step. He gave one of the best comebacks of his career and I think it was much more important he looked credible on offense in this match. HHH gave him more of the beginning and end because this was Shawn's match. I know they felt the need to put Shawn in gimmick matches to hide any shortcomings he may have had upon comeback, but I think it was the wrong move as coming right out of the gate with a bloodbath is tough. I think for the match they wrestled the jacknife cover was fine because it showed Michaels had just enough to win, but left it open for rematches. It fit the theme of championship bloodbath. HHH attacking the back with the sledgehammer was a perfect post-match beatdown and particularly gruesome. Call me crazy, I liked this one. Currently my WWE 2002 match of the year, but that should change shortly. ****1/4
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