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MikeCampbell
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This seems like a fun idea, given that there is no shortage of universally accepted truths in wrestling. Stuff like Kurt Angle being the best wrestler ever, Lex Luger supposedly being a musclehead with no talent at all, and the Dynamite/Tiger Mask series all being ***** classics have already been debated and debunked by the more level headed crowd (many of which can be found here). So I thought it'd be fun to examine some others and see how much water they hold.

 

I'll add some of my own thoughts later, please feel free to add to it. These aren't necesarrily my opinions or things that I dislike, just things that I seem to hear a lot of.

 

- David Von Erich was the best worker out of the whole family.

 

- The Hardys/Dudleys/Edge and Christian feud revitalized tag team wrestling in the WWF/WWE.

 

- John Cena vs. Umaga from Royal Rumble '07 is a lost classic.

 

- The buildup and eventual match between HHH and Booker T at WrestleMania XIX buried Booker.

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This seems like a fun idea, given that there is no shortage of universally accepted truths in wrestling. Stuff like Kurt Angle being the best wrestler ever, Lex Luger supposedly being a musclehead with no talent at all, and the Dynamite/Tiger Mask series all being ***** classics have already been debated and debunked by the more level headed crowd (many of which can be found here). So I thought it'd be fun to examine some others and see how much water they hold.

 

I'll add some of my own thoughts later, please feel free to add to it. These aren't necesarrily my opinions or things that I dislike, just things that I seem to hear a lot of.

Cool idea. Let's see what we can do with it.

 

- David Von Erich was the best worker out of the whole family.

I'm knee deep in World Class from working on the Texas set. This was always what I had heard, but it definitely seems like a myth to me. What I wrote elsewhere....

 

I kinda hate to say it, as his life is rapidly drawing to a close at this point, but looking back, David was pretty clearly the least of the three actual good Von Erichs. That shouldn't be read as too big of a knock on him, because Kerry and Kevin were phenomenal, but he actually struck me as being kinda bad until the Garvin feud, and while he developed into something great during that, not sure I'd ever say he was better than Kerry, and definitely wouldn't say he was better than Kevin. Watching this match [against The Missing Link] kinda hammered that home, as you realize that when comparing common opponents, he didn't really have better matches against the Link, Kamala, or Ric Flair than Kerry did. Didn't have better matches with Garvin than Kevin did. Might have had the best singles match with Gordy of any of his brothers. I'd need to think about that one. Still, with an admittedly largely second-hand understanding of World Class, was always under the impression that David was "the" Von Erich before he croaked, and now having actually watched him over the last year-and-a-half of his life, really don't come away feeling that anymore. I don't want to be too down on him, because he was great for a time, just not as great as some of the other guys I've come across here.

- The Hardys/Dudleys/Edge and Christian feud revitalized tag team wrestling in the WWF/WWE.

Depends on how you define "revitalized". True, it was a lot more vital then than it was before they showed up, but it didn't sustain itself for very long.

 

- John Cena vs. Umaga from Royal Rumble '07 is a lost classic.

Myth, because it's not lost.

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The one point I might see in David's favor is that he worked heel in other places. I've not seen enough of his work to make a full judgment. He might have the potential. After all, how many wrestlers had their greatest matches before they turned 25?

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I'm of the mind that Cena vs Umaga is massively overrated, but "myth" is harsh. Considering that Umaga had no chance to win at all, the way they put over his toughness was very memorable and creative. I think the match done without WWE's constant camera angle shifts would show that there was a lot of downtime, but the same could be said of many other recent WWE matches to be highly touted.

 

The 3-way tag feud had a tiny number of even decent no-gimmick tags, let alone great ones. It maybe revitalized how Vince viewed spotfests and hardcore, but proper tag wrestling? No way. Then again I don't think I've seen that 'myth' stated before. Like, I think that there's some underappreciated psychology behind the Hogan vs Warrior promos leading into WM6, but the promos aren't much discussed so there's no "myth" to bust. The TLC matches get pimped as some of WWF/WWE's best, but I never see raves for there having been a hot tag division (again, beyond generic references to the many gimmick matches).

 

As far as Booker goes, I'm a firm believer that he was buried. Despite being at WM he got the same treatment that RVD, Kane and others received. All of them made to look like solid opponents who could win, but none seemed like a THREAT to the title because none were treated like big stars. They were all "here comes a new challenger!". The match saw HHH come back handily from Booker's superfinisher and then do a ridiculous slow cover after the pedigree- which Kane kicked out of on Raw just a few months earlier. Oh and while I'm at it, most everyone thought Scott Steiner screwed the pooch in early 2003. He was booked wrong (lots of cutesy muscle stuff rather than him nuking guys with suplexes) and HHH sandbagged him. Steiner wasn't particularly good, but he didn't have much of a chance either.

 

Sorry Mike.

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On the subject of Von Erichs, my point of contention w/r/t Kevin is can you really consider him a good "worker" when I'm not 100% anyone ever smartened him up to the business to this day. All his stiff matches with Terry Gordy were basically two dudes beating the piss out of each other 3/4ths legit. David may not have been better than his brothers in the ring, but he showed loads more charisma/promo ability than all of them. Hell, the skit on the farm with Jimmy Garvin and Sunshine was more entertaining than anything his brothers did combined.

 

Most of the time Kerry and Kevin marble mouthed their way through their promos. We know now why, but at the time it just made them look like bigger retards.

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- David Von Erich was the best worker out of the whole family.

I haven't seen a ton of David's work from Texas, but his Florida heel run wasn't anything special aside from the novelty of watching one of the Von Erich's work heel. I 100% agree with Sek's comment regarding his charisma, even watching the little bit of David featured on the documentary of the WWE World Class DVD, he looks far more fired up and excited than Kerry or Kevin. Of course, that might be the execption and not the rule. Other than David vs. Kamala, which Bix pimped on DVDVR a ways back, I'm at a loss for any great David matches that weren't the Freebird feud.

 

- The Hardys/Dudleys/Edge and Christian feud revitalized tag team wrestling in the WWF/WWE.

I would agree with this to an extent. If you compare these three teams to later teams like La Resistance, Cade and Murdoch, Deuce and Domino, Hurricane/Rosey, or Cade and Jindrak, no question that the three of them were far more over. The only team who might have come close was Booker T/Goldust. But, as teams, they never really made it to the top. They worked occasional main events, but were either doing gimmicks like a six man tables match with Jericho and Angle teamed with them, or worked against other main eventers like Hardys vs. Austin/HHH or E&C vs. Rock and Taker. They were treated a lot better than the later tag teams would be, but I don't think they revitalized or revolutionized tag team wrestling.

 

- John Cena vs. Umaga from Royal Rumble '07 is a lost classic.

I liked this a lot, but I'll agree with Ditch about it being overrated. The main thing that I thought held it back was because the idea was that Cena was going into the match hurt (his ribs when Umaga splashed him through a table) but he never really sold them. He's clutch them when Umaga went after them, but there wasn't much beyond that. Aside from that, it was fairly smart worked. HHH or Michaels wouldn't have done anything close to this, they'd have been more likely to take everything Umage threw at them, and then Hulk-Up and finish him. Cena was smart enough to get his win by avoiding Umaga's biggest shots. Plus Umaga's bumping and selling for Cena was great, and throw in a few cutesy spots, like when Umaga ran across the announce tables, and it's quite the fun match.

 

- The buildup and eventual match between HHH and Booker T at WrestleMania XIX buried Booker.

The absurdlys slow cover was a bit much, but I didn't think anything else was too bad. HHH's promo about Booker's "kind of people" not being ready for the title wasn't very tasteful, but it was Wrestling 101 to a degree. HHH doesn't think Booker is worthy and the next week, Booker pinned him in a tag match. The match itself was fine for the most part, HHH stooged a bit, and got his control segment when he pulled the rope and dodged the sidekick, and then started working over Booker's knee. It was one of the few times that the Pedigree bump being taken on the knee actually seemed logical. But the ultra slow cover was stupid.

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- John Cena vs. Umaga from Royal Rumble '07 is a lost classic.

Myth, because it's not lost.

Well, I don't see how any modern day WWE PPV main event could ever get lost, but I'd certainly say it was under appreciated and forgotten about by certain segments of the wrestling fan community. Sure it was well liked at the time, but it's not the sort of match that Dave Meltzer or Bryan Alvarez or Wade Keller would ever point to as a classic, so in that sense you could call it lost.

 

With regards to Booker T, I really think it was the time to pull the trigger on him and give him a chance with the title. The fans were digging his act, he had some momentum on his side, they should have taken advantage of that, especially when the alternative was the old, broken down, injury prone, washed up Kevin Nash as Hunter's next challenger.

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The June 1984 post-Battleroyal beatdown that Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody, and Sheik Kaissie delivered to Jerry Blackwell, a turn that eventually made Blackwell the most over face in the AWA, was one of the longest post-match beatdowns EVER.

 

MYTH. You would be surprised at how often this comes up amongst AWA fans. Almost everyone that remembers seeing it on tv after it happened back in 1984 will tell you it was the longest amount of time from start of beatdown to wrestlers hitting the ring that they ever saw. I included myself in that category until I actually saw it again several years back. It's not long at all until the Fabs, Dusty, and others come infor the save. I first thought I had an edited copy, but the discovery of raw footage of that match proved that the time frame is much shorter than people remember.

 

I think over the years the fact that Brody et al kept coming back to the ring and attacking the faces made people remember the incident as being a longer initial beatdown than it actually was.

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On the subject of Von Erichs, my point of contention w/r/t Kevin is can you really consider him a good "worker" when I'm not 100% anyone ever smartened him up to the business to this day. All his stiff matches with Terry Gordy were basically two dudes beating the piss out of each other 3/4ths legit.

 

When I started watching the footage for the Texas set, one of the first things that jumped out at me was how good Kevin was, and specifically, how he was one of those wrestlers who just seemed to have mastered all the tools. Yes, he was an awesome brawler, though I never really got a 3/4 legit vibe from his brawling, and wouldn't really say he was any more of reckless stiff than the vast majority of your great brawlers. Not really a Vader/Hansen type in that regard. I mean, just in World Class, Iceman King Parsons was way stiffer than Kevin was. Parsons was a fucking beast. But in any case, that was just one part of what Kevin did. Like Bill Dundee on the Memphis set, Kevin is a guy who almost immediately took me by surprise with his matwork. In the super-secret 80's forum (shhhhh, it's a secret), shoe referred to him as a "redneck Regal", and I'm inclined to agree. He had a lot of really cool athletic flourishes to his stuff that he could mix in effectively to both his brawling and his technical work, and while his flying certainly isn't high-tech by modern standards, it still looks really good today, and his turning top-rope crossbody is probably the best looking crossbody I've ever seen. Guy who was great at working a lot of different roles. Great as an underdog babyface against larger opponents like Gordy, Bundy, and Khan. Saw him wrestle Bundy in a match where he convincingly played the underdog even though he was booked to control most of the match's offense. I didn't even realize that was possible. Great at working evenly with other guys more his size. Great at working face-in-peril in tag matches, and may be one of the best I've ever seen working on the apron. Really, the only thing I haven't seen him do is work heel. Seriously, it's not like he was New Jack. If wasn't smart to the business, then pretty much everyone else who's ever been in it was fuckin' retarded to the business.

 

David may not have been better than his brothers in the ring, but he showed loads more charisma/promo ability than all of them.

 

I'll grant you that David was probably the best promo of the big three Von Erich siblings, and certainly the most coherent. That said, I wouldn't say that Kerry or Kevin were particularly bad on the mic. Their words weren't very eloquently formed, to say the least, but they definitely communicated their ideas effectively and with a kind of sincerity that connected with the viewer. And I certainly wouldn't say he had "loads more charisma" than Kerry. Probably wouldn't even say he had more charisma than Kerry in the first place, though they're close enough that the argument could probably be made.

 

Hell, the skit on the farm with Jimmy Garvin and Sunshine was more entertaining than anything his brothers did combined.

I really need to kill off the rest of the Texas footage I have so I can push this thing forward. The sooner the DVDVR Texas set hits, the sooner we can put this myth to rest for good. Not that that sketch wasn't awesome, but I wouldn't even argue it's the most entertaining thing that a Von Erich did with Jimmy Garvin.

 

- John Cena vs. Umaga from Royal Rumble '07 is a lost classic.

Myth, because it's not lost.

Well, I don't see how any modern day WWE PPV main event could ever get lost, but I'd certainly say it was under appreciated and forgotten about by certain segments of the wrestling fan community. Sure it was well liked at the time, but it's not the sort of match that Dave Meltzer or Bryan Alvarez or Wade Keller would ever point to as a classic, so in that sense you could call it lost.

Serious question (myth?): are these guys still the major smark tastemakers at this point? I mean, I know their opinions are still considered important by some people (well, I know Dave's opinions are), but are they still on such a high level that they'd be considered the major judges of what is and isn't considered good wrestling these days? Because it kinda feels like they're just some other name guys with opinions at this point, as opposed to being the name guys with opinions.

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- David Von Erich was the best worker out of the whole family.

In watching a lot of the Freebirds vs. Von Erichs as well as the Von Erich-Duo feuds lately, this myth has definitely been debunked in my mind. I think David was good and, as mentioned, may have been on his way to being an excellent but I don't think he's the best of the three. What Kerry may have lacked in charismatic promos, his in ring charisma was off the charts. The way he entered the ring and moved around it...he really brought the crowd into the match. I'm really starting to come around on Kevin as of late too. I used to think of him as sloppy but in watching closer, I don't think he was.

- The Hardys/Dudleys/Edge and Christian feud revitalized tag team wrestling in the WWF/WWE.

While I don't think it revitalized tag team wrestling I do think this feud is overlooked in WWF/E's popularity at the time.

 

- John Cena vs. Umaga from Royal Rumble '07 is a lost classic.

I only vaguely remember this match. I remember it being surprisingly good but I can't point to anything as to why :)

- The buildup and eventual match between HHH and Booker T at WrestleMania XIX buried Booker.

Mike mentioned the buildup being Wrestling 101 and I agree with that. The only problem I had was that it was a buildup that really made it feel that Booker needed to go over. He needed to overcome the stuff that HHH was saying about him. The way it was booked, he kind of proved HHH right.

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Guest The 3H's

Sure it was well liked at the time, but it's not the sort of match that Dave Meltzer or Bryan Alvarez or Wade Keller would ever point to as a classic, so in that sense you could call it lost.

Them same guys call one of the Dragon Gate 6 man matches from ROH a classic.

 

So really.

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The thing about Von Erich promos is that Kerry was really good until the drugs took hold, but Kevin would always do that thing where he'd grab the mic to cut an ANGRY~! promo on the heel that just wronged him, only to look like he forgot what he was going to say and just spat out some random threatening words.

 

There was a match on a recent WCCW show on demand where it was Kevin vs Kamala and after the match was over (they brawled to the back and Kevin came back out alone) he grabs the house mic and yells something like "KAMALA.........*long pause where he tries to cover up his blanking out with angry pacing around the ring*........YOU GET BACK IN HERE......*pause that seems like dramatic effect for whatever consequence he's about to unleash*...................RIGHT NOW!" The crowd would pop of course, because it's the Von Erichs in 1983 and that's just what they did, but if it was anyone else cutting a promo like that Fritz would have whooped their ass.

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Probably my favorite 'wrestling myth' is the idea of X-Pac being so universally hated that it coined the term "X-Pac heat."

 

I've always hated that term. If you watch WWF from his return and DX's face turn in '98 until the reunion when HHH was champion in late '99 he was one of the most over guys on the whole roster, probably third only to Austin and Rocky for crowd pops.

 

Sure, he overstayed his welcome in the WWF, when DX was basically scrapped in late 2000 until he joined the nWo in 2002, he was more or less just sort of treading water.

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Sure it was well liked at the time, but it's not the sort of match that Dave Meltzer or Bryan Alvarez or Wade Keller would ever point to as a classic, so in that sense you could call it lost.

Them same guys call one of the Dragon Gate 6 man matches from ROH a classic.

 

So really.

 

You are ignoring context. Booking a card is a delicate process, do not underestimate it and the effects that it can have. It's pretty much the "pick your spots" mentality, which means that one Dragon Gate match a year will give you the maximum efficency of such a match. Like Angle vs Benoit Royal Rumble 2003 was awesome because it was the only match that was worth a dime of your money

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Probably my favorite 'wrestling myth' is the idea of X-Pac being so universally hated that it coined the term "X-Pac heat."

Here's the tricky thing about "X-Pac heat"...if the fans don't like a face because they think he sucks, they can boo him, and it's pretty easy to get the message. If the fans don't like a heel because they think he sucks, how are they supposed to react in order to get the message across that they hate this guy on the merits of his performance, rather than because he's effectively playing a bad guy? That's expecting too much from wrestling fans. In general, we're not that on the ball.

 

The oft-repeated story is that we know X-Pac heat exists because when the entire WWF roster was turned face in the Alliance angle, X-Pac was the one guy still getting booed. To be honest, that was probably the only conclusive way to tell. Otherwise, you kinda just have to rely on guesswork. It's like trying to figure out who was really "over" in any kind of meaningful way in in pre-Russo TNA vs. who just got cheered because TNA fans were the most indiscriminately enthusiastic people in the world at that point unless Jeff Jarrett was involved.

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Guest The 3H's

Sure it was well liked at the time, but it's not the sort of match that Dave Meltzer or Bryan Alvarez or Wade Keller would ever point to as a classic, so in that sense you could call it lost.

Them same guys call one of the Dragon Gate 6 man matches from ROH a classic.

 

So really.

 

You are ignoring context. Booking a card is a delicate process, do not underestimate it and the effects that it can have. It's pretty much the "pick your spots" mentality, which means that one Dragon Gate match a year will give you the maximum efficency of such a match. Like Angle vs Benoit Royal Rumble 2003 was awesome because it was the only match that was worth a dime of your money

 

So basically you're saying that because Cena had so many good matches in 2007, that it downplays how great the match he had with Umaga was?

 

 

And I've never really thought Angle/Benoit was the only match worth a dime of my money. I honestly never see the big deal about it, outside of the Standing Ovation Benoit got for losing.

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I don't think anyone was talking about 'X-Pac heat' in '98 and early '99. I didn't like him but he was over as hell. He didn't have negative heat in WCW either. But stuff like the Kane feud, where he kept making Kane look bad and kept getting away with it month after month, and then the GODAWFUL X Factor stable... oh man that was almost as bad a stable as RTC. And almost as bad an entrance song as RTC. Anyway, that led to the situation SLL mentioned in '01. Part of it is (IMO) that when you're a babyface you can get away with having a weak finisher. When you're a heel or a not-over babyface a weak finisher really comes across as cheap. The X-Factor is cheap as hell, and he'd use it to pin babyfaces (after interference/low blow) after getting in no credible offense beforehand. I think part of Cena's heat comes from how weak the FU is. To that extent it was smart of them to add the STFU.

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I assume the "WCCW Set" being mentioned is the DVDVR 80s set at some point down the road? If so, and if there's a lot of great Kevin that hasn't been circulating, then I look forward to it. Kevin looked shitty on Frank's WCCW sets, which included pretty much all of the big matches from mid-82 through... I want to say some point in 1984. Don't recall if he did 1985. Anyway, Kevin was consistently a trainwreck in the ring.

 

Dave looked shitty as well. Kerry was passable in a "Good Sting" way - he'd catch you with some really nice stretches, and then run out of things to do, or get goofy, or get lost.

 

I'd go:

 

Kerry

Kevin

Dave

 

Simply because Kevin could be so bad he was funny, whereas David's shitty work would be painful to watch.

 

I don't think any of them could be confused with Tito Santana as a worker, and I'm not sure anyone thinks Tito was a "great" worker. A good, solid pro.

 

John

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The oft-repeated story is that we know X-Pac heat exists because when the entire WWF roster was turned face in the Alliance angle, X-Pac was the one guy still getting booed.

He actually wasn't the only guy getting booed, Albert was too (Lance Storm winning the IC title from him actually got a pretty big babyface pop). Actually, I think "Albert Heat" or "A-Train Heat" might even be more fitting than X-Pac heat.

 

And I think SLL is spot-on about giving fans too much credit as far as distinguishing genuine heat from heel heat. Again, I don't dispute that he'd worn out his welcome by the time the WCW Invasion happened. But I'd say that, at least some of, his heat was due to the fact that he was the only WWF wrestler who was still working like a heel and relying on things like low blows to hit his finisher and interference from Albert. Such as his match with Tajiri from SummerSlam.

 

Hell, when Kidman beat him at InVasion the announcers' reaction was "OMG WCW is on the board!" in a happy celebratory tone. Sure sounds to me like Kidman was supposed to be a babyface against X-Pac.

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Serious question (myth?): are these guys still the major smark tastemakers at this point? I mean, I know their opinions are still considered important by some people (well, I know Dave's opinions are), but are they still on such a high level that they'd be considered the major judges of what is and isn't considered good wrestling these days? Because it kinda feels like they're just some other name guys with opinions at this point, as opposed to being the name guys with opinions.

I tend to agree with that, but there's certainly still a subset of smark fandom that takes their word as gospel. Also, at the end of the day, the non WWE version of wrestling history is going to be heavily shaped by the opinions of Dave (and to a much lesser extent Bryan and Wade). And given that Dave's opinions are somewhat out of sync with the current major smark tastemakers, I can see plenty of myths being propagated as facts in the future.

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I think Waltman's wacky heat was a pretty common point being discussed by 2001. You can find a reference to it in the 2001 RSP-W Awards, though not quite as "X-Pac Heat".

 

Sean had strange heat going back before that. Sure, there were times where he was very over. But I seem to recall some annoyed heat during the feud with D-Lo. And his heat as CW champ in WCW took a massive amount of momentum out of the division that had been there in 1996 and even early 1997. Jericho picked things up a bit when Sean's long (for the CW title) reign ended, though it didn't seem like the division got healthy until Eddy won it and his feud with Rey.

 

Sean's had strong heat at points in his career. But he's also had stretches of strong indifference, and also that negative heat.

 

On the heat during Invasion, the WWF were the babyfaces. Waltman getting boed wasn't exactly the "plan". It seemed to be the fans who chose to root for WCW guys against him.

 

John

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Guest DietSoda

Every single wrestler who worked World Class has said that David, who they actually, you know, worked with, was the best worker of the Von Erichs, so I'd take what a bunch of geeks on a message forum thinks with a grain of salt.

 

I don't even remember Cena and Umaga wrestling at the Royal Rumble, so if it's a classic, no one actually remembers it outside of a circle of smarks.

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Every single wrestler who worked World Class has said that David, who they actually, you know, worked with, was the best worker of the Von Erichs, so I'd take what a bunch of geeks on a message forum thinks with a grain of salt.

 

I don't even remember Cena and Umaga wrestling at the Royal Rumble, so if it's a classic, no one actually remembers it outside of a circle of smarks.

C'mon, man. It's no fun when the trolling is this transparent.

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