Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Look Back At.......

Vengeance 2002

Welcome, one and all!  This go-round at Cannonball's Corner, we're going to take a trip down memory lane to THE first WWE PPV I ever saw live, from the fabled Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.  That's right, it's Vengeance 2002!

Here's a little history for ya: at the time this PPV aired (July 21, 2002):
  • I was 18 years old
  • I had recently graduated high school (June 2002)
    • College textbook prices rose 82% (Higher Education FTW!)
  • George W. Bush was president
  • Saddam Hussein basically said "hey, I don't have weapons of mass destruction out here"
  • We were not even 12 months past 9/11
  • WorldCom filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
  • The Detroit Red Wings had captured the Stanley Cup
So, yeah, it was a funny time in the world in 2002, especially in the world of pro wrestling: we just "got the 'F' out" as the World Wrestling Federation was recently forced to change it's initials after a dispute with the World Wildlife Fund.  The change had occurred only 2 months prior in May, and the Ruthless Aggression Era had JUST kicked off.  The core group of guys that I was following at the time include Chris Benoit (who henceforth will be codenamed "Voldemort", and anyone that reads this that follows pro wrestling in any fashion knows damn well why); Chris Jericho; Eddie Guerrero; Undertaker (the short-haired American Badass version, IMO my favorite incarnation (fight me)); Brock Lesnar, and a young man by the name of John Cena, who had made his WWE debut just a month earlier.

Yes, folks, the WWE PPV debut of one of the greatest WWE Superstars to EVER lace up a pair of boots made his PPV debut RIGHT HERE at the Joe Louis Arena.  Holy shit, do I feel old.  At the time, I had NO IDEA he was going to get as big as he ended up getting, but he definitely was not the Doctor of Thuganomics; he was just a green-as-goose-shit white kid that somehow got onto the main show by getting in Kurt Angle's recently chrome-domed face and giving him a run for his money.

But enough of the jibber-jabber; whaddya say we Lose Ourselves on 8 Mile, grab some overpriced concessions, try to forget the cosmic mush from Star Wars Episode II by staring out into the arena and marvel at the kickass seats we scored, and kick off this show proper (with some help, of course, from the WWE Network and the #1 source of information on the interwebs)?

First match out is Goldust vs Stevie Richards on Stevie Night Heat (YES, that's what I'm calling it, and shame on you for thinking otherwise).  JR and the Jerry Lawler calling the action...HOLY SHIT, IT'S HOWARD FINKEL!!!  Now THAT was a goddamn ring announcer!  Stevie's coming down to the ring, and this must be the post-RTC era.  Since I've looked back on wrestling history, I've actually preferred the long, blond hair and his antics in ECW.  Here, he looks generic as all hell.  HYOOGE pop for Goldust, with the video effects and everything.  This is during the time where Goldust and Booker T were just starting to be a tag-team, and if you haven't seen the vignettes leading up to that pairing, including the one where Goldy hits up Booker T in a 7-11 wearing the worst disguise in history, you need to stop what you're doing and check that shit out on the TubeYou, ASAP..

Right when the match begins, King starts talking about how Stevie had to get staples removed after a brutal Singapore Cane match with Tommy Dreamer...shit, I gotta look that up.  Tie up, Stevie shot off the ropes, huge shoulder block, and we're standing.  And Goldust returns the favor.  Pair of armdrags, but Stevie gets the upper hand...but not for long, huge back body drop on Stevie.  LOL when Goldust audibly yells out "Shit!" after getting reversed into the ropes, dick-first, and Stevie with a neckbreaker, but it's only good for 2.  Stevie keeps working Goldy over, but the crowd wills the Golden One to his feet.  No good, and the heat, it doth continue.  Chop in the corner, whip to the opposite orner.  Attempt at a monkey flip is blocked, Stevie rushes the corner again but Goldy moves out of the way, and Stevie crashes and burns.  Both men up after 4, and here comes the comeback.  Manhattan Drop, clothesline, 2 count.  Classic slide to the floor and slap to the face.  Now Stevie's in position for Goldust's finisher, but Stevie lands on his feet and hits a reverse DDT for a near-fall.  Stevie tuning up the band, but Goldust grabs the foot.  Stevie avoids the punch and gets Goldust on the back end with a Stevie kick!  But it only gets 2.  King says Stevie wears a pet coon cup (dafuq?!) and Goldust with a snap powerslam out of nowhere, and that gets him the 3.

Even back then, Goldust was a much better and leaner performer than he was in his formative years in the Attitude Era, and nowadays, he shows that he truly has alien blood.  I'll give this 2.5 cannonballs; throwaway match for sure, but entertaining nonetheless.

Rock's on his way in to the arena, and then we cut to Terri interviewing Chris Jericho for his impending match with John Cena.  Apparently, Cena challenged Jericho to a "wrestling" match.  (What the hell is that?  Some kinda side attraction?)  Jericho responds by branding Cena a "stupid, clueless jackass" and that he has a lot of heart but no brains.  He has decided to accept Cena's challenge for two reasons: 1) to teach him a lesson that will end his career before it even begins, and 2) to prevent a disaster, a catastrophe of epic proportions!

"What are you talking about?"

To prevent fans revolting by finding out that Jericho (the king...of the world!) wasn't even on the show.  To be honest, I was hoping he would say "this dumbass might become a multi-time world champion!"  Too bad, Chris, cause we all know how THIS shit turns out...

Tazz and Cole out to kick JR and the King out of their chairs.  Tazz gets on the mic and starts to make his case, and King looks like he's gonna fight Tazz, but JR comes up with a deal; Tazz and Cole start the first half, and JR and King will do the second half. 

OK, now it's time to kick this show off properly!  Time for the FBI warning!  Crank up "Downfall" by Trust Company, as this is tonight's theme.  Pyrotechnics galore as Michael Cole and Tazz welcome everybody to the broadcast.  LOL at the mention of The World in Times Square (formerly WWF New York); that was an unmitigated financial disaster, the real estate fees were off the chart. That's what you get when you try to build a restaurant/nightclub in the HEART of Times Square.  Cole mentions that he and Tazz get to kick off the commentary duties due to an edict from then-Smackdown GM Stephanie McMahon (back when she wasn't drunk with power and kinda hot) on Sunday (it's STEVIE!!!) Night Heat.  (Nice try, guys, we all know what happened on Heat.)  They'll do the first half, and then JR and King will do the second half, as explained above. 

And just as I finish typing that, HEADS UP!  The Dudleys are on their way out, but it's Bubba and Spike. and they're on the way to the ring with a table.  It's a tag team table match!  Nothing like starting a PPV with a stipulation match (bro).  Are we sure Vince Russo isn't hanging around?  Guys with cameras all have "get the F out" shirts, and one of them has a MASSIVE fanny pack.  LATINO HEEEEEAT out, and Voldemort follows suit (get it?  Cause he shall not be named?)  This is Voldy's first PPV match in 13 months following a rather heinous injury with his spinal column.  Nasty backbreaker by Voldemort.  Shotgun chop, off the ropes, and a sweet arm-drag counter.  Spike gets the tag to Bubba, but drop-toe hold by Voldemort and Eddie is in now.  Tag to Voldemort, and the double-team, it doth begin.  Spike knocked off the apron by Eddie.  Snap suplex by Voldemort.  Eddie tagged back in and it's back to work.  Reverse whip into the opposite corner but Eddie dropkicks the legs.  Tag to Voldemort .  Stiff elbow drop, and then there's this pretty cool falsie where Bubba reverse whips Voldemort, knocks Eddie off the apron with a wicked forearm, but then gets the fat German-ed off of him.  Hard whip into the corner, tag to Eddie.  Eddie hops over the ropes and stun-guns Bubba's head off the second rope.  Spike's had enough of this shit, and tags Eddie, but the ref's quick to get him back in his corner (so the opponents can double-team once again).  Tag back to Voldemort , and we have a brief punch-chop exchange, that Voldemort gets the better of.  More double teaming in the corner, and now Bubba says "fuck this shit" and starts teeing off on Voldemort and Eddie.  But Voldemort goes "no, fuck YOU", and whips him into the opposite corner.  ANOTHER hard whip into the opposite corner, and Voldemort pops Spike off the apron for good measure.  Voldemort tells Eddie to GET THE TABLES!, and Eddie obliges.  Table set up on the outside.  He talks shit to the crowd but doesn't see Spike pass by Voldemort, hop on Bubba's back, and perform a topei conjiro (is that how it's spelled?  I'm too lazy to check) on Eddie.  Nice spot.  Now Voldemort going to work on Spike, off the barricade and whipping into the steps.  Now it's back to Bubba, but Bubba starts the comeback.  Eddie grabs Bubba's foot as Bubba comes off the ropes, and the heat, it doth continue.  LOL at Eddie dropping a table when trying to set it up, but he says "fuck it" and tosses it into the ring instead.  Table set up dead center in the ring.  Bubba's set on the top rope, and Spike saves Bubba by moving the table, but he still eats a double-superplex.  Remember, kids, BOTH guys gotta go through a table to win the match.  It's anybody's ballgame, folks.

Table set up in the corner, and it looks like Spike's gonna go for a ride.  Bubba spears his own partner to save him going through a table.  Bubba off the ropes and lays out Voldemort with a pair of lariats.  House of fire right now.  Pair of big body drops, and a sidewalk slam on Voldemort.  Eddie attempts to armdrag Bubba off the top rope, but he gets Flair-bumped.  Bubba with a scoop slam on Voldemort, and Spike comes off the top with the double stomp.  Bubba with two lefts, and his crotch-grabbing rendition of the Bionic Elbow on Eddie.  Another scoop slam on Benoit...oh shit, the wassap headbutt!  Been a hot minute since I've seen that.  LOL at Tazz referring to Voldy's nuts as "Canadian Grapefruits" those even exist?  OK, Bubba, tell 'im what to do!  (LOL as he does this breathlessly.  To be fair, he's been getting the shit beat out of him all match long.)  Voldemort with a crossface attempt on Spike, but that shit won't fly in this match.  Bubba puts Voldemort down and takes the table out from the corner and stands it on its four feet.  Voldemort gets put on the table, Eddie tries to save him, but to no avail.  Bubba leaps off the ropes, but Voldemort moves out of the way, and Bubba eats wood on his own.  Since it wasn't an offensive move, nobody's eliminated.

Eddie on Spike now, irish whip, head-scissors counter.  X cross-bodies Eddie over the top rope and both men are on the floor.  Valuable time for Spike and Bubba to recover.  Spike grabs Eddie by the hair but gets a head to the stomach for his trouble.  Eddie tries to suplex Spike over the ropes through a table, but Spike counters and hits the Dudley Dog (or Acid Drop, take your pick) and Eddie tastes wood.  To paraphrase Gorilla Monsoon, he's outta there!  Looks like Spike hurt himself, and X looks to take advantage.  Spike attempts an Acid Drop, but X hoists Spike over his head and chucks him over the top rope and through a table on the bottom.  Thanks for coming, Spike.  It's down to Bubba and Voldemort.  German suplex attempt, but Bubba ends up picking up the duke by Bubba Bomb-ing his remaining opponent through the final table in the center of the ring.

Hell of a tag-team war here, and there was enough scientific wrestling and tag-team psychology to make it truly enjoyable by yours truly.  A solid 3 cannonballs.

ACK!  It's a greasy Ken doll!  Oh, sorry, it's Eric Bischoff.  That grin just gives me the willies, to be honest with ya.  Coach with an interview regarding the last match, but he's looking to sign the most ruthless athlete...Triple H.  And just as he says this, here comes the Game walking in the background.  Eric tries to schmozz, but he's right in front of the SmackDown GM's office, and Trips politely and subtly tells Eric to F off.  I was wondering if he was going to start talking about finalizing his storyline divorce, but that might have been done months prior to this, I don't know, and I don't care.

Redneck guitar riffs only mean one thing: Jamie Noble is on his way out to the ring, and he's got Nidia and the WWE Cruiserweight Championship with him! (Back before it looked like a purple boxing trophy.)  Damn, Nidia is looking pretty Roll-Tide here.  I'm hoping somebody raises the temperature in the Joe so she can do that thing that Nelly sang in that one song (and that reference officially makes me old; laugh all you want, but that song was all the rage during this timeframe).  She really helped the "white trash" gimmick get over, and Noble is a hell of an underrated wrestler.  LOL at the fans holding the signs "Jamie Noble bought my old trailer".  He's taking on Billy Kidman this evening, and we get a quick look at how we got here.  Dammit, heels these days just don't work together to beat up heroes like they used to.

Some really crappy metal music to get Kidman out; the good shit wouldn't come out until Survivor Series later that year (and hunt down that match, too, it's really good).  Some fast-paced chain and pinfall attempts to start things off, and Jamie says "fuck this shit" and powders.  Nidia tries to coach her boyfriend, and Kidman just patiently waits for him to get back in the ring.  Cole mentions that Noble is not your typical cruiserweight, preferring the ground game over the high-flying stuff.  So, basically, Jamie's work pre-dates the newfangled WWE Cruiserweight division by a good 15 years or so.  Good to know.

Jamie gets thrown to the corner, but he lands on the apron.  Cool legdrop on the back of his neck sends him to the floor.  And Jamie decides to use Nidia as a shield to get the upper hand.  Brilliant tactic, and it's time to turn up the heat.  Noble working the shoulder into the post, followed up by a sweet Northern Lights hammerlock suplex.  Nidia chewing that gum like a cow in a field; they really should have given her some fake dip or chaw or something.  Kidman tries to pop Noble up but the shoulder gives way, and Kidman eats post again (news flash: it DON'T taste like chicken).  Rather painful double hammerlock as the crowd gets behind Kidman.  Clothesline and a few punches start the comeback, and a nice snap-rana and dropkick.  Kidman drops Noble neck-first on his knee for a two-count.  Apparently, Rey Mysterio is debuting on SmackDown just 4 days from tonight; I remember when that was a huge deal.  Seems to happen a lot more often these days.

Noble back on the arm after an armbreaker, but Kidman gets to the ropes, prompting the break.  Powerbomb reversed into an X-Factor (fucking sweet!), but it only nets two.  Even Nidia thought that one was over.  Enzugiri sends Noble to the mat, and Kidman is going upstairs.  Noble cuts him off and is thinking superplex, but Kidman reverses it into a top-rope powerbomb for a LONG two-count.  Kidman tries a swinging DDT but lands on the apron.  Noble hung up on the top rope, shooting star press misses.  Noble with a two-count.  Just a reminder from Tazz, cruiserweights are exclusive to SmackDown!  (As opposed to today, when they are exclusive to a bottom-basement timeslot on Tuesday nights on the WWE Network.  Shame.)  Kidman tries to get things started one more time, but Noble hits a tiger-bomb for the 3 count.

Maybe I'm biased, but this match was just "meh" for me.  2.5 Cannonballs.  Their match at Survivor Series '02 just a little bit down the road is a lot better, go out of your way to look it up.  But Jamie and Nidia can hit up the buffet now that he's retained the title, so that's all good.

Cut to Kurt Angle being interviewed by.....I have no idea.  He starts talking about "if" he wins the WWE title tonight, and Angle cuts him off, low-browing Detroit and making better cars in the process.  He should have said something about the housing bubble while he was at it, or we could have avoided a LOT of problems 6 years down the line (thanks, Dubyah!).  Kurt doesn't deal in "if's", he deals in "when's", and WHEN either Rock or Undertaker taps to his Ankle Lock, THEN...

THEN it's on to SummerSlam, bellows Paul Heyman, with Brock Lesnar in tow.  (Just like now!)  Heyman introduces Kurt to Brock, and then tries to sweet-talk Kurt, but he's having none of that shit.  he says he'd love to face Brock at SummerSlam; Intercontinental champion vs WWE champion (provided Brock can take down RVD for the strap later tonight).  But, if he even thinks about messing with Kurt like he did with Undertaker on SmackDown last week, Angle will take Lesnar down so fast he won't know what hit him.  Lesnar's 4-word reply: "Good luck tonight...Kurt."  Even back then, the man was a man of few words, but at the time, he truly was a sight to behold.  Now, if he would just show up to WWE more often these days and, you know, actually defend his belt...

William Regal out next to vie for the European Championship (and it is my firm belief that the current UK championship should just be a continuation of this Euro championship, but then again, I'm biased).  Jeff Hardy took down Regal two weeks ago on RAW, and Regal broke down crying afterwards.  God bless that man.  Jeff Hardy is out next, and this is around the time when he had a WWE title match with the Undertaker on RAW and came *this* close to taking home the gold.  Of course, he wasn't having the problems he is noted for today (*coughVictoryRoadcough*).  Nick Patrick calls for the bell, and this shit, it be underway!  Tie-up and a weak-looking headbutt from Regal to get the early advantage.  Jeff jumps over Regal but gets paint-brushed like a motherfucker, and a hard shoulder block to follow up.  Nasty looking knee-drops to the back of the neck, but Regal misses another knee drop, and Jeff is on him.  Monkey-flip over the top rope.  Jeff botches an attempted dropkick through the ropes, but Regal catches him and struggles to keep him upright before Jeff gives a hurricanrana.  Jeff tiptoes the barricade but misses on the splash, and Regal is back on the attack, but not for long; Whisper in the Wind takes down Regal.  Reverse whip, Regal catches the foot as Jeff slides under him, but Jeff dropkicks him and hits him down below Saskatoon (Cole says it's the abdomen, but I'd beg to differ).  Swanton bomb attempt eats Regal's knees, and now Regal's not messing around.  NASTY kick to Jeff's back, but Jeff reverses and rolls Regal up for the quick 3 count.  Regal starts crying again as Jeff makes his way back up the ramp.

2 cannonballs.  Good little match, but nothing of note.  Shit, I wonder if there's some sort of story building for Wet Willie here; I couldn't be arsed to go back and look if you paid me.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Cut to Naitch in the back, and he's giving props to Jeff Hardy.  All of a sudden, the Hulkster shows up!  And LOL of the night when Hulk calls Flair "Rickles".  For all the shit Flair has said about Hogan during the course of his career, it is surreal to me for Ric to shake Hulk's hand and say "still the man".  After a brief joke about how Hogan might do a swanton after his signature big boot and legdrop, they start talking about Bischoff and Stephanie being the GMs.  Ric's concern is about the young guys, and Hogan adds that it could be the single best or worst thing that happens in this business, brother.  (Fat chance, Hogan; we all know the single worst thing that ever happened in this business is when Dixie Carter backed up the Brinks truck to bring you and Bischoff into TNA and damn near run it into the ground.)  Flair concludes the segment by saying Stephanie better watch her ass, because Bischoff could either own the company, or run it out of business.  Hogan replies, "Out of business?  Tell me about it."  So, yeah, WCW is dead and gone, post-invasion angle, and WWE is still jabbing at the dead horse.  UGH!

Countdown is up on the screen, and we know what that means: Y2J is on his way to the ring!  Cut to what happened on SmackDown last Thursday, when he got hit in the dick and then got waylaid with a steel chair.  Shit, that's something you just don't see nowadays.  Cena comes out to the most generic music you have ever heard, and Jericho's already got a steel chair.  Jericho comes to GET SOME (get it?), but Cena ducks the shot, rips the chair from Jericho's hands, and pops him in the back.  Match hasn't started yet, so Cena tosses Jericho into the ring to do just that.  Ground and pound to start things off, and Jericho opts to take a breather.  Cena's not having any of that and gives chase, and he plants Jericho with a pretty sweet spinebuster for a two count.  Jericho stun-guns Cena on the top rope, and now Jericho's on the attack.  Back suplex and a dropkick to the face.  Choke on the ropes followed up with double-knees to the back.  Jericho tries to take off the turnbuckle pad and Mike Chioda tells him to knock it off.  This allows Cena to roll Jericho up, but Mike has to jog a bit to get to the count, and Jericho kicks out.  Jericho with chops to the corner, Cena whipped to the opposite corner and boots Jericho in the face.  Jericho with the BreakDown (the Miz's Skull-Crushing Finale for you young uns on here), and he goes up top to proclaim that he is the King of the World.  Cena punches Jericho in the gut and pops off a superplex for a two count.  Cole says that a win here tonight would be a major upset, and I'm sitting here in 2018 like "bro, wait'll you see him become the face of the company".  Cena with an impressive Tilt-a-Whirl slam for a two-count.  Jericho with a sick dropkick off the top rope, but it only nets two.  Jericho goes for a dropkick but Cena catches him and catapults him into the corner, but Jericho lands on the second rope.  Jericho jumps right into a belly-to-belly for another two count.  Cena with a missed dropkick, Jericho attempts the Lionsault but eats canvas.  Cena with an Oklahoma Roll for yet another two-count.  Jericho with a standing neckbreaker and his feet on the ropes, but it still only nets two.  Jericho with a bulldog and Lionsault, but Jericho doesn't cover the rookie.  He's looking to tap that ass out, but Cena rolls him up and gets a quick 3-count.  Jericho's arrogance cost him the match; just look at what you have created, Chris!

Great match, solid 3 Cannonballs.  Jericho throwing a temper-tantrum reminiscent of his WCW days.

ATM Eric and Coach are waiting outside Stephanie McMahon's office for Triple H to come out.  Bischoff decides to go into the office himself, but he's cut off by Stephanie's attorney who's here to deliver documents.  Now I'm starting to remember, this IS about the divorce papers.  Can't wait to see the payoff later tonight.  And here comes JR and King to kick Cole and Tazz out of their seats, and they acquiesce without a fight.

RVD in the back with some yoga, preparing to defend the IC title against Brock Lesnar.  Brief video package about Lesnar's rise to power and the King of the Ring title, that gives him a shot at tonight's winner at SummerSlam.  Love how Heyman talks about how he built and created RVD, this was a great transition from being associated with ECW to being associated with Brock Lesnar (well, until the ECW DVD came out later on).  Shit, Lesnar looks like a brick shit-house here.  ONE OF A KIND! brings out Battle Creek's favorite son.  The early 2000's were surely known for alternative rock music, this is where I got most of my music apologies.

Lesnar takes the IC title from the ref and holds it over his shoulder as if to say "this is gonna be me in a few minutes".  Bell rings, and we're underway!  RVD with some punches, but Brock counters with a standing fireman's carry.  Some punchy shit, some flippy shit, and then Brock eats the 2nd turnbuckle hard after a drop-toe hold.  Massive shoulder block on the apron as Brock goes to get back in.  RVD with some kicks to the leg to wear the big man down, and a dropkick to the face.  Brock counters with a toss across the ring, and the beatdown, it is on.  Lesnar goes to whip out a lariat, but tumbles over the top rope.  I catch JR saying "I should have been home shaving my mother's back" and I physically pause and wonder aloud "what the fuck is he talking about?".  After going over the tape a couple of times, I realize this is a dig on Paul Heyman on the outside.  Goddamn, do I miss JR on commentary.

RVD with an attempt at a top-rope dive, but Lesnar catches him.  RVD runs Lesnar into the post, then attempts a moonsault, but Lesnar catches him again and powerslams him on the floor.  Now Lesnar's gonna get him some of that ass, starting with deadlifting RVD, holding him over his head, and then busts the gut over his knee.  HYOOGE belly to belly overhead, but strangely, no Suplex City chants.  RVD with the signature stepover dropkick, and RVD is back on the attack.  RVD goes to monkey-flip Lesnar, but Lesnar just dumps his ass off the top rope, off the apron, and off the steps before hitting the floor.  It looked like a slowly-toppling Jenga puzzle.  Lesnar is tossing RVD around on the floor as Heyman keeps Charles Robinson's attention.  Lesnar with a bear hug in the middle of the ring, and Heyman urges Lesnar to "SQUEEEEEEZE!!!".  Lesnar powers RVD into the corner, and then slaps on an abdominal stretch.  He then fucking HAMMERS RVD in the side, and Heyman is enjoying himself on the apron.  RVD with the comeback now, finishing with a pretty sweet legdrop over the top rope.  Top-rope side-kick to Lesnar's head, followed up by Rolling Thunder, but it only gets two.  Heyman gives the best advice of the night: "Don't lose!"  RVD going up for the frog splash, but Lesnar grabs him from the top rope and attempts the F5, but it gets countered into a DDT.  Five star frog splash connects, but he can't get to the cover in time, and it doesn't matter anyway, because Paul Heyman grabs Robinson and dumps him onto the floor.  Robinson calls for the bell immediately, Heyman shoves little Naitch, and then Robinson starts unloading on Heyman.  Lesnar pulls the ref off of his manager, but RVD rolls onto Lesnar from the top rope.  RVD looking to go coast-to-coast, but Heyman grabs RVD's leg.  Lesnar grabs RVD and suplexes him right onto the chair.  And Lesnar with the F5 right on the chair.

Obviously, they were looking to keep the belt on RVD without making Lesnar look weak, especially since he's got a WWE title match at SummerSlam to look forward to.  Still, this was a good match.  Solid 3 cannonballs.

Eric's waiting outside Steph's office some more, and then the door opens, and Stephanie steps out.  Tense stare-down between the two GM's.  Eric looks smug, while Stephanie looks sad.  He wonders if things didn't go so well, and she just says "he signed".  Eric looks crushed, and then Trips comes out.  Eric gets in his face, and Hunter tells him to back off.  And just as I suspected, he did indeed sign his divorce papers.  As far as business goes, he hasn't made up his mind yet.  Eric breathes a sigh of relief, as he knows he still has a chance to land the biggest fish in the ocean.

Weeeellllll, it's time for a piss break!  We've got to be getting close to the main here.  Big Show's out for a no-DQ, no-count-out match with Booker T.  Big Show manhandled that black ass the previous Monday on RAW, and now the future Hall of Famer is looking to get him some revenge.  Booker with some shots and an attempted side kick, but Show catches Booker and slams him with ease.  Apparently, this is the first match that Eric Bischoff put together as GM of RAW, per the request of the Big Show.  And he is going to town on that...nope, not gonna say it.  Booker tries to use a steel chair but Show punches it mid-swing.  Scary stuff.  He even clotheslines Booker against the post; I for sure thought Booker was gonna move out of the way.  He DOES move out of the way when Show tries a second time, and now Booker's chopping at him like a lumberjack on a sequoia.  Booker tries to choke Show out with a TV cable, but Show elbows out.  LOL at King imploring the Spanish announce team to "Andele, Vamoose!".  Booker T with a scissors kick from the English announce through the Spanish announce table, and he takes Show with him...that was awesome, and it draws a "Holy Shit!" chant.  Booker T is in the ring, but he can't win by count-out or DQ.  Show catches Booker with a chokehold, but Booker kicks him in the dick to get out of it.  Booker goes to the top rope and executes a Houston Hangover for the 3 count.

Certainly designed for fans to go to the bathroom and get extra concessions right before the main, but it was still a pretty good match.  2 Cannonballs.  And, of course, it wouldn't be Booker T in the early 2000's without the Spin-a-roonie.

Folks, we must take a sabbatical for just a moment.

I remember vividly the night that the Spin-a-roonie was first coined.  Booker T was cutting a promo on RAW, and I could see the look on his face when he first coined the phrase.  He looked like "man, ain't no way nobody's buying this shit!"  And for good reason; this was just something he did right after the axe kick for flair and show.  Having seen it during the dying days of WCW, the announcers never really made anything of it other than to consider it part of his comeback.  I am still in debate on whether coining it the Spin-a-roonie was the best thing that happened in his career, or the worst thing.  It sure as hell sounded stupid the first time he mentioned it.  But goddammit, that shit caught fire like a forest in California, and the rest, as they say, was history.  OK, back to the show.

We're taking a visit over to "The World", but fuck it, it's WWF New York to me.  And there are Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie before somebody got the idea to have Dawn marry Torrie's father in order to get to Torrie's tuna taco...but I digress, as these ladies are Roll Tide as all get out.  The last time Torrie was here, she won the Golden Thong award, which was given out at the end of the lingerie special that was done here.  The WWE in the early 2000's, folks.  BTW, go look that up on YouTube, it's hot stuff.  Torrie is going with Rock winning tonight's main event, while Dawn picks the Undertaker.  They start arguing about who has the better ass (an argument I wanted to see to its conclusion, but alas) before we go back to the Joe, where Triple H looks to make his decision on if he's going to RAW or SmackDown.  No sooner is the Game in the ring when Eric Bischoff comes out and starts to make his case.  He talks about how he hobknobbed Hollywood over the last two years, and how people are talking about The Rock and his successes in Hollywood, and WWE is looking for the next breakout superstar (LOL when Bischoff ALMOST says WCW).  And more promises made by Bischoff (including a sneaker deal, for chrissake!) before Stephanie comes out to plead HER case (and to tell Bischoff to shut his damn mouth).  More digs on WCW as Steph points out to Hunter that Bischoff cast him away a long time ago when he was a curtain-jerker.  HHH starts going on about how he didn't ask to be in this position, and how he could look Bischoff dead in the eye and say "screw you" and he wouldn't like it.  He delivers the line of the night when he says he could look at Stephanie and tell her "screw you", and he knows that she WOULD like it.

He says he's made his decision, and he is just about to say he'll go to SmackDown when Shawn Michaels comes out.  He says the last thing he wants to cause any trouble, but he did say he was going to bring HHH back to RAW, to the nWo (which no longer exists, with the stroke of a damn pen...SIIIIIIIIIIGH).  Crowd starts chanting DX, which is a bit of a harbringer of things to come (not for another 4 years, though).  Shawn asks Hunter to consider two things: friends, and fun.  There is no better friend than Shawn, and there is nobody Hunter has had more fun with than Shawn.  Having heard this, HHH decides to make the jump to RAW.  How ironic, in a world where we're trying to get the F out, there are two "F's" that convinced HHH to go to RAW.  Oh, Shawn, if you only knew what was coming down the pike........

Damn, we've still got some matches to go!  Hulk Hogan and Edge defend the WWE Tag Team titles against the Un-Americans,  Lance Storm and Christian.  How ironic is it that three out of the four competitors are Canadians?  Storm cuts a promo before the match to push the Anti-American gimmick, calling Hulk Hogan the Real American Fraud.  Christian adds that freedom is just across the Detroit River; look, holmes, you need to have your damn papers before you cross...oh, wait, wrong border.  Thankfully, Edge comes out to put an end to the verbal diarrhea, although this means having to listen to Rob Zombie sing "Never Gonna Stop".  And god-to-the-dammit power, they got some generic-ass music playing over "Voodoo Child" as Hogan comes out.  I know for a damn fact that, when I was here live, Voodoo Child played loud and proud over the speakers.  Interestingly enough, Hogan was just recently re-instated into the WWE Hall of Fame after years of controversy; let's just say it's been a while since he's been in Detroit for a reason.  And HYOOGE facepalm on my end when JR talks about how Edge saved up his money to go to WrestleMania III and see Hulk Hogan defeat the Ultimate Warrior at SkyDome...everyone here knows the real number, so let's move on...oh, there we go, JR corrected himself.  Carry on.

Massive Hogan chants to start the match.  He's obviously on that nostalgia kick.  Christian catapulted outside the ring.  Crowd chants USA...and 3/4 of the competitors are Canadian.  *FACEPALM*  Hogan cleaning house and cleaning clocks.  He's in there with Storm now.  Pinball action between Hogan and Edge.  More punches in the corner on Storm.  So, we're obviously not in Japan, and he's obviously not gonna be breaking out any dropkicks.  Edge in now, flapjack and flying elbow.  Goes for a 10 punch in the corner, but Edge's storyline brother knocks him off the top rope and tags in.  I remember when Christian first broke up with Edge and "at last, was on his own!"; that was a long-time coming.  Reverse chinlock on Edge, and crowd chants for Hogan.  To his credit, he's encouraging the fans to Hulk up.  Edge looks to make the tag but Christian keeps it from happening.  JR mentions the Red Wings winning the Stanley Cup, and now Hogan's back in.  Big boot for Storm, Christian cuts Hogan off.  Unprettier DDT gets a two-count, but Hogan's got that look in his eyes.  For the love of Christ, don't punch him!  Too late, he's hulking up!  Three right hands, big leg drop, but Storm breaks up the count.  Now Hogan's on the outside, and eats a superkick from Lance Storm.  Quick tags from Christian and Storm.  Storm throws some uppercuts and then tags Christian back in.  They're really working him over now, and getting Edge to jump in the ring.  Classic heel shit right here, folks.  Malfunction at the junction, and double-clothesline on Hogan and Storm.  Edge gets the hot tag, and he's a house of fire.  Big back body drop on Storm, and one on Christian.  Storm whipped into the corner and speared, one for Christian as well.  Reverse DDT on Storm gets a two count.  Christian and Hogan on the outside.  Edge goes for a spear and nails the ref.  Edgecutioner DDT on Storm, but the ref's assed out.  Test comes down and takes out both Hogan and Edge.  Looooooong two count for Lance Storm.  Test looks to do more damage but Rikiski cuts him off.  Back to Storm and Edge in the ring.  SPEAR!  But Christian holds up the ref, and Jericho blasts Edge in the face with the title belt.  Three seconds later, the Anti-Americans are your NEEEWWWW Tag Champs!  Those damn hooligans!

Kurt Angle is dressed for battle, but Eric Bischoff meets him in the hallway and tries to talk turkey with him.  No-Name interviews Stephanie McMahon about the proceedings tonight.  She says Bischoff won the battle, but she will win the war.  I wasn't paying attention that night, and I damn sure not paying attention now.

JR recaps the PPV happenings thus far, and now, IT'S TIME!  The Rock, Kurt Angle, and the American Badass Undertaker for the WWE Undisputed Championship.  The video package shows how Taker damn near lost to HHH at King of the Ring due to Rock's interference, but Taker still got the job done.  Then he damn near loses the title to Kurt Angle due a great finish where Taker tapped right when the ref's hand went down for three.  I'm getting goosebumps watching this package over again tonight.

IF YA SMELL!  Rocky's on his way out to a HYOOGE pop.  Rock hasn't been seen on PPV since WrestleMania, when he took down Hulk Hogan at SkyDome.  Kurt out next to the You Suck chants, and no, they are not endearing to the Olympic Gold Medalist with a broken freakin' neck.  People are still mocking the fact he got his head shaved a ways back, but Kurt's put that mess behind him.  DEAD MAN WALKING!  Out comes Taker on his bike, wearing the Undisputed Championship.  Bell rings, and this shit, it is on!  Earl Hebner's your ref for this one; thank Christ we're not in Montreal tonight.

Feeling out process to start.  Rock and Taker are jawing with each other, and Kurt feels disrespected that he's not being included in the conversation, so Taker and Rock decide to kick his ass together.  Now Angle's assed out on the outside, and it's Rock and Taker.  Soup Bowl fists in the corner on the Rock, but Rock just grabs the back of Taker's head and throws that motherfucker face-first into the canvas.  Rock tosses Angle back in, and it's rock and Angle.  BOSS German suplex on Rocky, and Angle is in the driver's seat.  Angle chokes Rocky in the corner, and then chops the shit out of him.  One more for good measure, and the WOOOOOOOO's are in full force tonight.  Rock says "fuck you" and waylays Angle with some chops of his own.  But Angle goes "no, fuck YOU" and belly-to-belly's Rocky and lets out a WOO of his own.  Crowd chants "Angle sucks!", so Angle belly-to-belly's Rocky again to shut them up.  Rocky with a DDT and a near fall on Angle.  Rock and Angle on the outside now, but Taker kicks Angle right in the mush.  Now Taker's looking to get some of that Brahma Bull ass.  Taker tosses Rocky back into the ring, and unceremoniously thuds him in the corner.  Rocky blocks a right hand and fires back with rights of his own, but Taker with a sidewalk slam puts a stop to that shit right quick.  Rocky with a chokeslam on the Undertaker out of nowhere!  Cover, but Angle breaks it up.  This is some good shit so far!

Now Angle is teeing off on Rock, and he brags to the crowd, but Rock clotheslines the shit out of that guy and puts him in the Ankle Lock!  But Angle gets out of it and hits Rock with a Rock Bottom!  Taker's there to break that shit up.  Taker and Angle trading blows now, and Angle attempts an Olympic Slam, but Taker jumps out of it and gives an Olympic Slam on Angle instead!  Love this trading finishers malarkey.  Rocky nips right up and takes it to Taker.  Rocky knocks Angle off the apron and spinebusters Taker, follows it up with the People's Elbow!  Angle gets Rock and drops him on the announce table, then runs in to get the cover on Taker, but he only gets two.  Angle on the attack now on Taker in the corner.  Angle jaws with the ref, but it allows Taker to level out those Soup Bowls.  Taker charges the corner and nails Angle.  Taker checks on Rock and continues his assault on Angle.  Reverse whip on Taker, Angle charges the corner, but he eats post, and he's assed out on the floor.  Taker going after Angle while Rock is still predisposed at the US announce table.  Taker rams Angle's face off the ringpost, but Rock comes up behind Taker and spits water in his face.  Rock bounces off the announce table and hops up in one motion.  God, I love Rocky's selling sometimes.  Taker refocusing on Kurt Angle now, and Kurt's busted open.  Taker with the old school leg drop on the apron.  Massive headbutt opens that head wound up a little bit.  And now it's time for OLD SKOOL, and he nails Angle in the head again.  Cover, two, and Rocky breaks it up.  Rocky laying the smacketh down once more, but Taker with the flying DDT gets him a 2 count.  Taker measuring Rocky, but Angle has a chair on the outside.  Taker notices this and punches Angle in the face.  And now Angle is being pinballed between Rocky and Taker.  Rock with an attempted Rock Bottom, but Taker gets out of it.  Taker with an attempted chokeslam, but Rocky kicks Taker in the dick.  Since it's a Triple Threat, it's no DQ.  Angle nails Taker with a chair and gets an Olympic Slam on Rocky!  All three men are down!  Angle goes to pin Taker first, but he only gets two.  Angle rolling over to Rocky, but he only gets two here as well.  Holy shit, what a war!  It's as good as I remember seeing it live.

Angle is measuring Rocky, but he arm drags Angle and locks him in the Sharpshooter!  Angle is this close to tapping, but Taker puts a stop to that.  Taker with a boot to Rocky's midsection, and he nails the Last Ride!  Angle breaks up the pinfall at the last second, and now he's got the Ankle Lock on Taker!  But Taker rolls through and catapults Angle across the ring.  Taker with a Last Ride attempt on Angle, but Angle's got the triangle choke on Taker again.  Shades of their last WWE Title match.  Taker powerbombs the shit out of Angle, but he's still got the choke on!  Takers arm drops once...twice...and Rocky breaks up the submission hold!  Rock going for the Rock Bottom, but Angle reverses, and he's got the Ankle Lock on!  Rocky rolls through, pin, two, big kickout!  Taker chokeslams Angle, but Rocky Rock Bottoms Taker!  But it only gets two!  This is right about the time the "this is awesome" chants would be popping up today, and this damn sure awesome.  Angle rolls up Rocky with the tights, but it only gets two.  Angle with an Olympic Slam on Taker, and the straps are down!  But Rocky is right there with the Rock Bottom, and that is enough for the three!

Holy shit, this match is just as good as I remember it.  I saw this live and got goosebumps, and I have goosebumps now as I type this.  5 cannonballs.  This match definitely ranks up there with some of the greatest matches WWE has put out in history.  Now Rocky has a date with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam...and we all know how that shit turned out.

This was a month or so in the making, but I learned it's better to do this kind of stuff in one shot.  It's just my style.  Hope you enjoyed reading the recap as much as I did typing it out.  You'll be seeing more of these kinds of things in the future.  Until then, I'll be seeing you fine folks on down the road.

Hey!  Why don't you hit me up on my Facebook page?  You'll find out what I'm up to in the wrestling world, as well as which shows you'll be seeing me in.  Give it a Like, you'll be glad you did.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

What WrestleRama Means To Me

What WrestleRama Means to Me

By "Cannonball" Alex Steele

The biggest show of the year.  The Granddaddy of them All. Our Super Bowl, Our Stanley Cup; each of these phrases denotes the centerpiece event, date, or otherwise centrally focused object of a company, a sports team, and, in today’s case, wrestling promotions.

Professional wrestling (or, as it’s called these days, “sports entertainment” (a term I personally detest but ultimately recognize as the proper term)) has been an art form that is now, and has always been, near and dear to my heart.  I didn’t grow up in the 80s with the rest of the Hulkamaniacs, I didn’t grow up with the birth and early days of Monday Night Raw, and I didn’t grow up with the the millions (AND MILLIONS!) of the Rock’s fans in the late 90s; my first experiences in the world of pro wrestling took place in the 2000s, at the very tail end of the Monday Night Wars and the Attitude Era.  And the one era that I was able to take to heart and truly admire and adore was the Ruthless Aggression Era...the Era where one John Cena dared to answer the challenge of a newly bald Kurt Angle on SmackDown. The Era where Chris Benoit (may God damn his soul) won the World Heavyweight Championship and took part in my still-to-this-day-all-time-favorite moment when he embraced his great friend, Eddie Guerrero (may God bless and rest his soul).  The Era where I fully believed that hard work would eventually pay off. The Era where the matches were far more competitive and more sport-like than the Crash TV, puppies and garbage wrestling, Springer-esque content of the Attitude Era.

So, yeah, I’m a Ruthless Aggression fan.  It’s what I grew up with; deal with it.

One thing I did have in common with my older peers that grew up in the 80s and 90s, however, was that WrestleMania was THE biggest show of the year, hands down.  Sure, there was Starrcade, but the WWF had most of my attention. I didn’t even know WCW truly existed until right before it went out of business (and then I read the great book “The Death of WCW” by Bryan Alvarez and R.D. Reynolds to get caught up on what I’d missed).  WrestleMania XX had my favorite line of all time:

“Where it all begins.  Again.”

Now, I know you’re looking at the title of this essay and you’re thinking “waitaminute, buddy, ya spelled WrestleMania wrong, ya jerk!”  And my response is “hey, pipe down, grasshopper.”

Because WWE has WrestleMania.  WCW had Starrcade. ECW had Barely Legal.  TNA/Impact Wrestling has Bound for Glory. ROH has Final Battle.  New Japan has the Tokyo Dome show on January 4.

The Michigan Wrestling Organization has WrestleRama.

For those of you not in the know (most likely ALL of you), the Michigan Wrestling Organization is a local promotion based out of Southeast Michigan, serving the Flint, Fenton, and Burton areas for over 20 years.  We’ve also had shows out in Battle Creek and the suburban Detroit area. It is a promotion that is very near and dear to my heart, and not just because it is one of only two promotions with which I currently participate in the art and the sport of pro wrestling.  This promotion runs things very differently than other indie feds in the area, (dare I say, even the country); in the MWO, we are one big family.

Like any family, we have disagreements and drama every once in a while.  But for every one of those moments, there are tons more moments where everyone is on the same page, and everyone has the same goal in mind: put on a PPV quality show.  And WrestleRama is our biggest show of the year, where storylines culminate, new stars are made, and existing stars are transitioned to legendary status.

Whether it was the Blue Bomber (no, he didn’t have a Mega Buster on his arm) winning the MWO Heavyweight Championship and then unmasking to reveal Pure Fury Jeff Clouse, or Skullz returned to answer the challenge of the monster known as Blackwell, or guys like “The Flatliner” Scotty Fraytown and “Old School” Ric Caurdiea tearing the house down with a match for the ages, the fact remains that WrestleRama has more than its fair share of (kayfabe) drama and action to captivate fans of all ages and all types.

Every year, when WrestleRama season approaches, I get excited.  The anticipation is palpable. I get excited for my comrades as they get to live out stories they’ve planned out for months and months.  I get excited for the fans that know -- ABSOLUTELY know -- they’re getting the best show of the year.

As of this writing, WrestleMania has come and gone, and many have gone on to say it was one of the best Manias in recent history (and scores of other indie nerds have taken the company to task for its perplexing booking).  Go ahead and relive it on the WWE Network, or take time to indulge in its rich history via the WWE Network or tapes you have lying around at home.

On Sunday, April 22, 2018, at the Richfield Road Church in Flint, MI, the men and women of the Michigan Wrestling Organization will be putting in the work to make OUR show the best damn show it can possibly be.  And if you’re in the area, come check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

In the meantime, I’ll be sitting here, dreaming my dreams and planning for my WrestleRama moment, whatever it may be, in hopes that, one day, it will come.  And I hope that, when it does, it will be because I earned it.

Here are some links in case you’re interested:

2018 State of the Union Cliff Notes

Every start of the year, the President of the United States meets with both houses of Congress to discuss where we’ve been as a country, and where we’re going as a country.  This, of course, is the State of the Union address. This year, I wanted to simply watch the speech and write down my thoughts as it happened. And so, presented to you in the bullet points below, are my cliff notes, taken down LIVE as Trump spoke to both houses.  (It was fairly simple to keep up in between the massive amounts of clapping after almost EVERY PAUSE; historically, a recurring annoyance during this speech.)

One of the first people I see walking in tonight is former WWE CEO Linda McMahon.  Let’s hope she doesn’t break a hip (or a castor) getting to her seat.

Mostly curious to hear about Trump’s comments on immigration, the economy, and what’s on the horizon.

Who can forget the time he shaved Mr. McMahon bald in Detroit at WrestleMania 23?  I was live to witness the proceedings.

Trump not getting as much applause as Obama; Congress is split so far down the middle on the DACA issue (and many others, quite frankly) that it’s like the Grand Canyon

Taking bets on whether or not the word “shithole” comes up during tonight’s speech

The coif is looking good tonight; props on the makeup department

It always amazes me how these guys in Congress clap so damn much when, deep down, we all know at least one of them wants to do a run-in with a steel chair.

Wearing black to show unity for victims of sexual assault; my stomach just churned.

Paul Ryan starts to say “prevented”, but then corrects himself; gonna chalk that up as a goof, nothing more.  Y’all take that for what it’s worth.

Swift action already taken during the first months of the Administration; can’t argue with him there

Stand and applause; duck-face

Mentions of Hurricane Harvey, the Las Vegas Shooting; veteran in the house tonight, one of the first responders during Harvey

Firefighter David Dolberg gets a shoutout for his efforts fighting the California wildfires

Now, what are you boneheads gonna do to make sure first responders like Ashley and David continue to get paid?

Congressman Steve Scullius from Louisiana took a bullet and came back to work 3 months later; I would’ve filed for workman’s comp

“I think they like you, Steve.”  Trump’s attempt at a quick joke. No problem here

Trump seeking Dems and Reps to come together not only in times of tragedy, but here and now...good luck.

Nancy Pelosi stone-faced and not clapping at all.  Good to know where her loyalties lie.

The State of our Union is strong because our people are maybe THEY should start running things

2.4 million new jobs created (OK, what kinds of jobs, and where?)

200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone (again, where?)

Rising wages after years as stagnation

Unemployment claims have hit a 45 year low

Black unemployment is the lowest ever recorded

Mexican unemployment have also reached the lowest levels in history

So what about all the homeless people?

Small business confidence is as high as ever (and I wonder how Linda McMahon is involved?)

Propping himself for the big tax reform bill passed before the start of the year...gotta admit, I’m kinda stunned they did WHY can’t they figure out immigration?!

Standard deduction doubled for everyone

$24,000 earned by a married couple is tax-free

Doubled child tax credit

$2000 less for $75K yearly salary cuts tax bill in half……..maybe I’m not that good at math, but I can’t see it

Individual mandate for health insurance gone from Obamacare

Bernie Sanders is also stone-faced; somehow, Socialism still seems to be the answer

$4000 increase a year is pretty good if you want something to hold your dick with...I’ll have to do some research

Must be hard being the only black man within a 2 mile radius; he seems unfazed

$350 billion to be invested by Apple in America, and more workers to be hired

More duck face

Exxon Mobil $50 billion investment; maybe to finish cleaning off the Alaska coastline?

If you work hard, and believe in yourself, you can dream anything, and be anything…...lot of people have said that over the years, but many people still work hard for nothing

We all share the same American flag….you mean the one that some people try to burn in front of veterans in this country?

Faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, are the center of America...I beg to differ

Shout out to police and veterans, who deserve our support….SO PUT THE AMVETS AD IN THE SUPER BOWL!

Preston Sharp noticed veterans graves were not adorned with American flags…..I didn’t know that was supposed to be standard protocol.  Who was sleeping at the wheel?

He’s sitting RIGHT NEXT to Meliana….nope, not gonna make that joke

Stand for the National Anthem; shots fired on the NFL and the protesters

HALF of Congress remained seated during that wide pan….holy shit

And ANOTHER wide pan with a 50/50 stand/sit ratio

OK, there’s more clapping going on than I care for at this point; it’s starting to get old

1,500 people lost their jobs for being shitty to our veterans, gonna hire better ones; that’s pretty scary; so, what does it mean to fail, exactly?

Remove Federal employees that undermine trust…...Maybe they’re getting behind removing Trump?

Regulation rollback…...the last time that happened, Bush Jr. and friends put the economy in the shitter

There was a war on American energy and coal?  Must have missed the memo

Chrysler is moving back to Michigan, and Toyota and Mazda are opening plants in Alabama… there will be opportunities abound to steal resources for Alabama’s many trailers

Bets on whose knees blow out first by standing and sitting so much, being taken now!

Terminally ill people need access to experimental treatments immediately; OK, but how are you gonna do it?

Reduce the price of prescription drugs; gooooood luck with that shit, holmes

Stabenow stands up; guess Dems want to lower drug prices, too!  (HAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA)

Carmella apparently knocked out the ref when trying to cash in her WMITB contract; somehow, this is more important than what’s happening in real life (it’s certainly more interesting, admittedly)

At least Sanders seems to agree with Trump’s desire to get people out of poverty; he just wants to share wealth with everyone

Open vocational schools!

Support paid family leave...don’t they already do this with FMLA?

Now we get to the good shit...immigration; let’s see where this goes

Families of slain girls, murdered by illegals, are here tonight

MS13 gang called out by name

Full house stands for the victims; all right, all right, but what will Dems response be in regards to DACA?

320 million hearts are breaking; last I checked, we had a hell of a lot more people in America

Trump claims his new legislation will ensure this will never happen again……..I highly doubt it.

I want our American kids to grow up and do great things… get them damn Mexicans out of our country!

Americans are Dreamers, too!  SHOTS FIRED!

Thousands of MS13 gang members have either been deported……..or are being fed 3 square meals in our fabulous prisons.

Trump urging Congress to send CJ reinforcements;

4 pillars: path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegals brought to America as children to become citizens over a 12 year period

Fully secures the border (gonna build the wall?  And get the Mexicans to pay for it?)

Close loopholes, and ends program of catch and release (horrible, dangerous practice)

Ends the Visa lottery; not too many people happy about that

Merit-based immigration system; skilled, who want to work, and contribute to society

End chain-migration; a single immigrant can bring in distant relatives (boos and hisses); focus on immediate family (spouses and minor children)

Get the job done!  And more duck face

Much tougher on drug-dealers and pushers to curb the opioid epidemic (does that mean the crooked doctors, too?!)

End dangerous defense sequester; otherwise known as keeping the government open

ISIS on its heels; apparently he, too, disagreed with the Ted Cruz approach, and thank God for that

Justin Peck is a goddamn hero; let’s hope he don’t have any skeletons in the closet!

Terrorists are UNLAWFUL ENEMY COMBATANTS.  Don’t quite remember Obama making that claim

He’s keeping Guantanamo Bay open; not sure what to think about that, since Obama wanted it closed

We no longer tell our enemies our plans….so that shit was happening before?!

Jerusalem is recognized as the capital of Israel;

Tough sanctions on Cuba and Venezuela

And now we’re on to North Korea;

Story about that one dumbass that got arrested in North Korea; I don’t feel sorry for Otto; he should have known that those people don’t fuck around

Story of the North Korean defector; you know he’s shitting his pants knowing Kim Jong Un is watching and plotting his revenge

Light up the entire world?  I wouldn’t have used that phrase…..

USA chants breaking out!  But some dude walked out…...communist

Overall, I think he did a good job; surprising to hear he has one of the lowest approval ratings of any President in his first year; I wonder who’s to blame for that?

No mention of the Russia investigation or the Memo; he’s supposed to release the Memo as soon as his speech is done.

Let’s just keep following his Twitter...THERE’S the real source of truth!  *eye roll*

Friday, September 21, 2012

Subject 23, lone wolf

It's September, and summer is beginning to give way to fall.  The leaves will soon be changing colors in that romantic, brisk way they do, and while we're busy admiring them, Old Man Winter will plot his latest snow-filled attack on the midwest.  And, another great thing about the fall: it's the precursor to the period of time between Black Friday and Christmas Day, also known as "The Mad Dash to Christmas".  And what's the best part about this time of year?  The crop of new releases from our friends at Activision, Ubisoft, the guys doing Halo this year (I'd say Bungie, but they opted out), as well as many others that are either on the way or, in the case of Borderlands 2, already out for our gaming pleasure.  Yes, ain't no time of the season for gamers than Christmas.  Yes, we have to deal with the snow and the traffic and the beyond cold weather, but for most of us, it's worth it.  So why, then, is this newest tome entitled "Subject 23, lone wolf"?

Well, kids, I'm thinking of continuing on the short story of our anonymous modern Assassin friend from the last blog post in honor of the imminent release of Assassin's Creed 3, and believe you me, I'm uber excited about how the story will finally come to its conclusion (and shanking/chopping/hanging Tories in the process, all while moving at the speed of "by Jove, we're buggered!").  My one complaint that I forsee coming from this game, and it may be different for some of you, but I really, REALLY hope that the story focuses more on the Assassins and their struggle against the Templars rather than it being one big tribute to 'MURICA!  FUCK YEAH! and all that shit.  I'd have to imagine that even some of our ancestors that settled in Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were indeed working for the Templars, though historically they were based off of empires from the past, and the British Empire was one such empire.  Still, the graphics are simply amazing, and I really see myself just hanging out in the woods hunting deer, bears, and the occassional redcoat foolish enough to want to write his name in the snow all by his lonesome.

Anyway, I digress.  Subject 23 has assassinated his latest target, but it looks to have been a setup, as he was caught on candid camera (though he wasn't asked to smile first), and now he's on the run under the paranoid assumption that his former bosses are now out to get him, as well as his Templar enemies.  Of course, the whole thing could just be one big misunderstanding because some jamoke didn't do a thorough enough job of scoping out the place...or is it?

The blood's still fresh on my blade.  Most of it washed off in the pouring rain, though all Abstergo really needs at this point is one drop so they can put it under a microscope.  They'll be able to get everything: DNA, metal particles...they'll even be able to whittle it down to which blade pulled off the attack.  Science can tell these people so many things, but what about the knowledge that could potentially end disease, stop hunger, and even curb poverty?  Nope, that kind of stuff doesn't fly with them.  They're about domination, about control, about herding dissention and living in a perfect world where there are no problems.  What no one bothers to clue everyone in on is that it's a perfect world with no problems because nobody's complaining about anything.  Not if they don't want to catch a baton to the head, or worse, a bullet to the heart.

That's what we're here for.  Or, at least, that's what I thought we were here for.  The Assassins were supposed to wipe out the scumbags and give the world back to the little guy, all while being completely anonymous and working in the shadows, just like the Templars do.  The worst thing about it is that the people, as an entire entity, are one big group of sheep, literal sheep, and the only thing that determines the fate of the world is who gets to herd them.  That's why I, from time to time, have come to question our movement.  Is it even really worth it in the end?  Do the people honestly know what's good for them other than not starving and not getting their heads beaten in for something they believe in?  Is it even such a thing as "belief"?  For the longest time, I've suppressed these questions in the wake of my undying loyalty to the cause, and to the Assassins.  Now I'm starting to think I've been set up, and now everything is coming back to me in one horrible flood.

I've ditched my clothes and my equipment, leaving them with some homeless guy in the sewer.  He kind of looks like me, and he's too sleepy to really understand why he has the stuff on, but the idea I want to give to my captors is that I've been killed.  Of course, they figure out he's just a smelly drunk with atrocious breath, Abstergo's gonna know they've been had.  I don't have that much time, just enough time to fall off the grid and watch the shitstorm brew from afar.

I've also dressed myself to look like one of the commoners.  No hooded sweatshirt for me, no distinctive traits to speak of.  Desmond Miles may be able to get away with that ensemble, but then again, he's under high protection alert, as well he should.  Word around the grapevine has told of a scenario that he was under a coma for the longest time after somehow finding Ezio Auditore's apple, but now he's awake, and apparently, he knows what needs to be done.  All well and good, but is it really going to stop the apocalypse?  Surely Abstergo will find more ways to undermine the public?

Whatever, that's his problem, I have mine.  Right now I just need to get the hell out of here.  Chicago is crawling with cops and double-agents.  It's a pretty crazy time to be an Assassin way out here.  I've reached in my pocket to grab the only things I really can use to purchase transportation: fake credit cards.  This might have worked if it was 1996, but this is 2012, and things are a little more advanced now.  Abstergo in particular can spot a fake before it's even used.  Thankfully, the guy working the booth is just too drained to follow protocol.  I grab my tickets and hop on the train.

For the moment, I'm safe.  For the moment, all I am is just some traveler trying to get out to the countryside for some fresh air.  At least, until the compartment door opens and someone decides to join me.  He locks the door behind him before I've even turned my head.  And now I'm looking at someone very familiar.  Someone who's had my back in the past, but I'm not sure if he's working for the Assassins or just trying to reach out.

"Hugh Jackman?  Really?" he says indignantly, referring to the fake name on the credit card used to purchase my tickets.  "Dude, anyone could see that was a fake card, let alone Abstergo."

"I left my good cards in my other pants, OK?  What am I supposed to do?" I fire back with a bit of a smile on my face.  Well, at least he's busting my chops.  Derek Finnigan.  That's his name.  Works primarily out of the field, but he's been with the St. Louis and Dallas compounds.  He's a freelancer like me, except I'm the one that decided to adopt a number instead of a name.  He's the only guy that knows my real name.

"Spence," he says, "They're looking for you.  Everyone, not just Abstergo.  I mean, I personally think it's fishy, otherwise I'd cuff you right now."  So he thinks it's bullshit, too.  Can't be too sure, though, not in this scenario.

"What's to say you don't have cuffs on you right now, Derek?  For all I know, you could be wired."

His hard, accusatory stare tells me otherwise.  It's easy to tell what he's thinking, but only if you're in my shoes.  I relax a little bit, but he lets me have it anyway.  "And here I thought Nevada meant something to you."  It stings, but I've gotten over it.  He saved my life in Nevada.  A hit went horribly wrong, and he saved my skin, both on the field and back at HQ when the provider of the contract proceeded to tear me a new asshole.  So yeah, in the present moment, I felt like an ass.  Water under the bridge, now.

"It still does.  Sorry, just can't trust anyone these days.  Why me, though?"

Derek shook his head, indicating he really had no answer to that question.  He pulled something out of his pocket and handed it to me.  A manilla envelope.  "You've been reassigned.  Came direct from Miles."

I look at it, intrigued already.  "Damn, so Subject 17's got a hand in this?" I ask jokingly.

Derek's stare goes even harder.  "Not Desmond.  William.  Doesn't get higher than that."

I stare at Derek, dumbfounded.  What in the blue hell does William Miles want with me?  How does he even know I'm still on the grid?  Did I even fall off?  Before I have time to ask questions, Derek answers some of it for me.  "You might want to charter a flight at the next stop.  It's urgent.  And Spence?" he says.  "Use a different name.  Seriously.  You cannot be followed.  Even by our own men."  And then he slips out of the compartment as if he never stopped in.

William Miles, of all people, is assigning me for a job.  I read the dossier, and although I pick up all the important details, I ignore the rest of it.  It's about the job, nothing more and nothing less.  That's what I keep trying to tell myself.  Old feelings start to rise to the surface, and I shove them down, but they're still there, even after everything I've been through.  It's just the way the bastard worded things in that damn letter.

"Be careful out there."

He's always said that.  Somehow I don't listen, either out of rebellion or just because I didn't give a damn.  He hasn't contacted me in over 5 years, and now I'm one of his go-to guys all of a sudden.  Well,  I'll do it.  It's my duty, and I'm not going to shy away from it.  I'm pretty sure you out there can figure out where this is going.

My name is Spencer Miles, and this is my story.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What I might want to write into a story someday

Hey, guys, Condor here again!  I haven't written anything in a few days because my creative muse has been on a bit of a hiatus as of late.  I think the Raw 1000 Review took more out of the tank than expected.  Still, I do want to keep writing blogs, if only to entertain myself (and hopefully whoever reads this religiously, God help you (see what I did there?  Yeah, me neither)).  Self depreciating humor aside, one of the hobbies that I enjoy besides video games is writing.  I have done this mysterious thing called "RP", short for "role-play"ing, on various forum-based websites for the past two years, and the subject matter has been one of three things: Harry Potter after the book series concludes; vampires, werewolves and other supernatural entities in human form; and, in one instance, an extension of the movie "The Breakfast Club".

Granted, these days on the interwebz, anything and everything has some sort of following, and lord knows there are RP sites for just about anything one's heart desires.  The group that I am a part of seems primarily to hover around Harry Potter, which was admittedly a phenomenal book series.  The movies?  I haven't seen any but one, and that was the first one.  I also enjoy the notion of weilding some sort of power beyond my own as a human being, as we all do from time to time, I'm sure.  So why is this blog entitled the way it is?  Well, I needed an idea for a new blog post, and I wanted to get creative with it, so without any further delays, this is something I might want to write in a story one day...

Our kind has been hunted since ancient times, simply because our enemies do not understand the world like we do.  We know that the world is an illusion, a figment of the imagination, that nothing is true, but everything is permitted.  The Word of Man has always been twisted to benefit the few and oppress the many.  Great works have been written, the means behind those works, or the agendas of the men that wrote them, lost to history and time.  But not to us.  Not the Assassins.

The year is 2012, and things look pretty bleak for us.  Most of us are in hiding, trying to stay out of the watchful and ever-present gaze of Abstergo and their Templar minions.  Some of us have already been exterminated, as in the case with the Denver compound.  However, in Italy, subject seventeen, Desmond Miles, was able to escape Abstergo's confines after they found out what they wanted from him.  He was penned in for execution, but Lucy Stillman had other ideas.  She and the other Assassins in her unit trained Desmond to hone his abilities via The Bleeding Effect, though the gruesome side effects of that transition have more and more been taking their toll.

I should know.  I'm one of the worst cases.

There are times when I do not believe that I am human, that I am a supernatural entity being held together by a force I neither understand nor care to.  The personalities of my ancestors shift within me seemingly every hour, and during intense periods of stress, I become schizophrenic, expressing ideas and battle plans and interrogation tactics from several different identities over several different periods of time within minutes of each other.  Hell, we're all schizos, because our jobs force us to to.  At least that's what I believe.

At this point, my name is irrelevant.  I gave myself the codename Subject 23 because that's what it feels like being an anonymous Assassin.  Plus I just have a fascination with the number.  It's all over relligious texts and premonitions.  I'm a lone wolf.  I do not operate out of a unit of Assassins.  I still receive my orders from the higher-ups, but usually it's because I'm in and out of other people's bases.  Even my fellow Assassins that I congregate with do not fully know me or understand me, but rather than resent it or even vilify it, I embrace it.  I embrace being anonymous, nameless, inconspicuous.  By not having an identity, I receive an identity.  I am Subject 23, or just 23 for short, and tonight, I've been ordered to kill someone.

It's raining outside in Chicago.  The raindrops are nice and thick, but are low in number.  My hooded sweatshirt is pulled over my head, white gloves covering my hands so that I don't leave fingerprints.  The hidden blade is concealed within the sleeve, though it will not pass the scrutiny of a metal detector.  Good thing I decided to get in through the roof.  Some bigwig with ties to the RNC, the mob, and especially the Templars.  I was given a name, but names are irrelevant in my line of work.  They are to me.  All I study, all I understand, all I remember is the face.  The dull, empty, cow-like eyes.  The hooked nose.  The trembling lips.  Even in a still photo, I can see the fear radiating from the expression on his face.  He knows he's going to die, and he's going to die to my blade.  For the cause.  For the sake of freedom.  For God knows why anymore, all I know is that I've been told to kill this man, and I'm going to do it because of that fact, and that fact alone.

It's ironic.  We've spent our entire existence trying to convince the people of the world to think for themselves, to have their own opinions, and to seek out their own destinies, yet here we are, in the trenches in a centuries-old war that will never end, following orders just like the Templars intend the people to do.  We've had it explained it to us that the paradoxes existed as two things, opposite in every way, simultaneously.  I don't buy a word of it.  Practice what you preach.  That's what I was taught.  Maybe my forebears were all rebels.  Maybe it's just my natural distrust.  Whatever the reason, I still obey.  Is it out of respect?  Fear?  I'd like to think not, but you always fear what you don't understand.  And there's a hell of a lot I don't understand, even after all my experience.

No time for that now.  Guards in the hallway.  Guys with wives, kids, families, but targets nonetheless if they get in my way.  I prefer not to be seen at all, only killing who needs to be killed.  Silently, almost imperceptibly, I infiltrate the facility.  Senses are maxed out, Eagle Vision kicking in pretty hard.  My path is laid out for me, threat assessments seem to update by the second.  There is nothing of machine origin in my body.  Bionic implants are starting to become more of a reality these days, but for me, it's about using one's senses and nothing else.  Ghosts of people from past lives threaten to break my concentration, but so far, no dice.  I'm in the zone.  And now, I'm in his office.

Fairly large, typical bigwig surroundings.  Putter in the corner, with golf balls and a shot glass being used for the hole.  Mountain of paperwork on his cherry wood desk.  Leather chair with 15 different massaging options.  And my target, staring out a window into the rainy night.  His reflection shows a different face than the one from the dossier.  It is resolute, dignified.  Mournful, but accepting of the fate that awaits him.  It is as if he's been expecting me.  No, scratch that, he has.  No tangible sense can detect that.  This is the kind of stuff you just feel, and for an instant, I hesitate.  Is it a trap?  No, no it's not.  SWAT would have surrounded the place if it was.  There's no one here except a few guards and us.  Why is this so easy?

He answers it for me.

"I've sinned," he tells me, without moving an inch.  "I need to perform my pennance."

I stand up and start walking up to him.  He does not move.  "You know what that means," I say matter-of-factly, with no emotion.

"Yes.  I'm prepared."

I nod, respecting the man's courage.  Odd, usually I don't feel this way.  I have no feelings, I have no emotions.  I am a machine.  I am an Assassin.

His next words hit me so hard I begin to question everything I've ever known.

"It won't make a difference.  Your masters are lying to you."

I stop, processing his words, blade already drawn.  They lied to me?  How?  I've been lied to before, it's part of the job.  Simple things.  Even some complex things, like why we do what we do.  But the cause?  Are they lying about the cause?

Enough of this.  He's the one lying.  He sighs impatiently.  I take it as my cue.

The blade bites through his spinal cord.  I put my hand over his mouth so he doesn't attract attention.  He goes limp.  Blood spatter on the window, no one seems to notice.  It's too stormy out.  I lay him on the floor, hands over his heart.  I close the eyelids.

"Rest in peace."

I take a moment to reflect.  I turn my head to my right, and look up.  Security camera.  How could I have missed it?  Son of a bitch, it was a trap.  And I fell for it.  Alarms start going off.  Air duct nearby, I dart into it.  I crawl as fast as I can.  Voices shout instantly, disctinctly.  They discover the body.  They start searching for me.

Doesn't matter.  I've found my way out.  I head for the sewers.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I hear a beep in my ear.  Headset.  I was on radio silence, but no need to be now.  I flick the switch.  A voice comes over the speaker.  "Is it done?"

"Yes," I reply.  "Target eliminated.  Got spotted by a camera, Templars are gonna be all over it."

"We know.  We didn't see it in our schematics when we first briefed you.  Someone planted it."

"Your masters are lying to you."

"Planted?  Who?"

The silence over the radio is deafening.  That it would take this long to respond to a simple question leads me to believe that I am being set up.

"We don't know."

I breathe out of my nose sharply in disbelief.  They know everything.  That's how they behave, how they operate.  How they could miss a detail like that makes no sense.

"Then you don't know me," I shoot back.

I rip the headset from my ear, place it on the ground, and smash it under my heel.  No one tries to call out to me to stop.  No one asks "what do you mean?".  They were planning this.  Why, I don't know, and right now, I don't care.  I have no idea where they hole up for meetings or whatever, but I do know where their subordinates work.  Most likely they're being told I've gone rogue.  Technically, I have.  But I obeyed their orders in spite of what we as Assassins were taught, and now I'm paying the price for it.

But not before they do.

As always, Keep it Condor!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Raw 1000 review

Your Good Buddy Condor chronicles his (surprisingly) underwhelming experience watching the 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw.

Well, kids, we've done it.  We climbed the top of Mount Everest with only a Granola bar and half a bottle of frozen Gatorade left, frozen in every extremity known on our bodies (and a few I personally didn't know I had), but overall triumphant in our quest: WWE, congratulations, you have successfully produced 1000 episodes of Monday Night Raw.  Not even the Simpsons, an animated television show that we have all known existed since seemingly the Cretaceous Period, could have prayed for or even imagined coming close to this historic mark.  Not even its redheaded (and slightly more talented, IMO) stepchild that airs on Friday nights on the SyFy network (whatever the hell that's supposed to mean) has as many episodes under its belt. Ever since that lonely January evening on the top floor of the "toilet" (Mean Gene's words, not mine) known as the Manhattan Center in New York City in 1993, Vince McMahon and company have been pumping out episode after episode of groundbreaking moments, high-octane professional wrestling action (well, about as high octane as you could get without adding the letters "E", "C", "F", and "W"), and overall more drama than your average soap opera.  Except this soap opera featured dudes in tights, a walking zombie whose caretaker held an urn (who turned into a biker around the year 2000 and lasted till about 2003 before going back to the dark side), pro wrestling's first ever flamboyantly gay character since "Adorable" Adrian Adonis, an unmarketable WCW character that ended up grossing more money for himself and the company than anyone in history....the list just goes on, and on, and ON, folks.  Countless matches, countless wrestlers (deceased, past, present, and most definitely future), and countless moments that made you take a step back and go "wow, I did not just see that".  But you did, hoss.  More than likely, you actually did.

Yeah, it's definitely a black-tie affair, a big deal, if you will.  This is actually the first night since the dread Monday Night Wars that Raw will start going to 3 hours regularly instead of two.  And now that I think about it, only WCW Monday Nitro was as bold to pull a stunt like that.  Raw has had 3 hour shows in the past, but definitely not regularly, so it'll be interesting to see what we, as a wrestling audience, have to look forward to as we pay homage to the past and pave the way for the future (I sincerely hope, anyway, we all know WWE's track record of taking sure-fire success situations and flushing them down the toilet).

So, without another moment's hesitation, Your Good Buddy Condor is happy to present:

The Comprehensive Review of Monday Night Raw #1000!

Obviously we're heading in a different direction, as we don't get the classic stock footage from old to new like we have been for the past several years.  Instead, it's all futuristic and stuff, from what I remember.  Then the video package begins, and it chronicles basically the passage of time from 1993 all the way up to 2012.  The music in the background...I don't very much care for it, but it may appeal to the mainstream fans, so I'm not going to be an internet troll and judge negatively.  Some of the more notable moments I recognized and marked out to (some of which I never got to watch live):
--the Zamboni incident (missed)
--Mark Henry sharing a bed with Mae Young (thank Christ I missed THAT boat)
--Bob Barker sharing the stage of Monday Night Raw (back during the whole guest host scenario that happened week after week for many months, but one that I'm still bummed I missed)
--Donald Trump slapping the taste out of Vince McMahon's mouth
--TYSON AND AUSTIN!!!! TYSON AND AUSTIN!!!!(missed...dammit)
--Stephanie McMahon screaming with rage at Triple H for ruining their renewing-of-wedding-vows ceremony (something that will forever be imbedded in my skull for the rest of my existence, fueling the occasional nightmare)
--Mick Foley upending the Rock right after Tony Schiavone snidely remarked "eh, that'll put some butts in seats" (missed...perhaps you'll notice a trend...)
--Golddust doing his tourrette's syndrome gimmick
--Jim Ross attempting to dance in the middle of the ring (thank Christ I missed THAT boat, too)
--Randy Orton being tossed out of his own house through a window by Triple H (coupled with the worst acting I've ever heard from a woman in my life, she sounded like a car alarm instead of a human screaming)
--AJ kissing CM Punk right before sending him and Daniel Bryan careening through a table (a moment that had happened two weeks before MITB, right around when I started watching the product again)
--Kane chasing Shane McMahon into a limo through the sunroof, only for Shane O Mac to send said limo crashing into the underside of a trailer
--Chris Jericho's very first appearance on WWF television, on Raw no less (really pissed I missed this)
--Christian making an impassioned plea to Chris Jericho about his shrinkage problem ("The little General is making his retreat!"  Ah, memories...)
--John Cena vs K-Fed (shudder...)
--Bret screwed Bret (missed, and didn't understand what was going on during that time until I became smart to the business)
--Shawn losing his smile (missed, and again didn't understand what was going on during that time until I became smart to the business)
--Edge being forced to retire after WrestleMania 27 due to his fragile neck (something I didn't see live, but I was nevertheless shocked.  He was one of the greatest in the WWE modern era, and his heel work post tag-team...supremely awesome)
--Ric Flair's final farewell (well, final goodbye from the WWE, before he decided to go to TNA and bury his career HIMSELF as opposed to having other people do it to him way back in WCW...)
--Triple H making a statement about how Eddie Guererro would be proud and would have wanted the show to go on...

A moment of your time, if I may...

Eddie Guererro was, as you may have guessed from my last rant on the Not-Voldemort Tribute Show, one of the very finest professional wrestlers the world has even known.  While some of you may not share my opinion of the man, and may even find some negative criticism of his work, I understand that he wasn't perfect.  That having been said, he was (and still is, to this day) one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to professional wrestling.  If it's for no other reason, it was because of his work ethic.  Night in and night out, show after show, gig after gig, this man wrestled with the passion and desire that would solidify his career as one of the greatest of all time.  He wasn't just the definition of a wrestler, to me, he was wrestling, much more than Hulk Hogan ever was, ever is today, and EVER WILL BE.  Rest in Peace, Eddie.  Viva la raza.

OK, where were we?  Oh, right, opening package, which has gone on for quite some time...

--The bedpan incident with Austin and Vince in the hospital (in East Lansing, no less)
--CM Punk cashing in his MITB contract to upend Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship ( 8D (emoticon for smiling widely whilst wearing sunglasses, enticing the belief that this was most awesome))
--Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels hugging in the middle of the ring, burying the hatchet forever (missed, but prior research lets me know that it was during the New Monday Night Wars with Tits-N-Ass...)
--Shawn Michaels imitating Hulk Hogan
--And finally, before this article becomes about as long as War and Peace (which it still might by the time this is over)...Shane McMahon informing his father that "I now own WCW!"

Ho boy...another moment of your time, if I may, please...

This, THIS, was the moment in time that we, as collective wrestling fans, needed to realize that something was very, very wrong when it came to Vince McMahon purchasing WCW and thus opening the floodgates to finally have WWF vs. WCW.  Though most fans of the day knew that what was going on in the ring in both companies was staged, scripted, and predetermined, the raw hatred that Vince McMahon and Eric Bischoff shared against each other was very, VERY real, and the rivalry between the two companies was as real as it got back during the Monday Night Wars.  The dirt sheets always had to have some article talking about what would happen if a huge star from WCW like Goldberg ever got into the ring against a huge star from the WWF like The Rock or Stone Cold.  Hell, Goldberg and Steve Austin looked almost exactly the same, but their personalities on screen were very different.  Vince could have spent 75% of the family treasury just to get the big guns and have WCW completely wash over the WWF, and I mean the top stars, not the curtain jerkers and the midcarders.  What happened during the InVasion was so horrible, so bad for the business, that it only took about six months -- SIX MONTHS -- to render anything revolving around the Monday Night War rivalry dead, buried, and irrelevant.  These two companies had feuded and competed against each other for over FIVE YEARS, and yet it took just six months for it all to unravel.

So yeah, as we wash that taste out of our mouths, and the opening pyro kicks off, I'm still keeping that travesty in mind as we watch Raw 1000 unfold before our very eyes, praying for the kind of transcendent event that we can all point back to and say "wow, this was when wrestling became fun again."  Then again, wrestling has been fun for quite a lot of people and I've just missed out on the great action.  This is my perspective here, and it is your duty, as a sane thinking person, to ensure you do not get it in your head that this is the end-all, be-all opinion to have.  I implore you to come up with negative criticism as long as it is steeped in triangular logic, i.e. A is B because of C.  Plus, I need feedback on my blogs to make sure I'm entertaining you and not making you fall asleep as you frantically finish off that term paper that's due tomorrow morning.

So, Vince McMahon is the very first person to come out on stage and to the ring when Raw 1000 goes live. Although I think the proceedings are a bit against what was advertised, it is still an appropriate enough moment.  Say what you will about Vince McMahon, especially if you're the type to believe that his ego is so big he crushes competetive, compelling wrestling promotions by just wiggling his eyebrows, but without him, we would not enjoy the product as we see it today.  It certainly would not be a form of entertainment that lasted 1000 episodes, nor would it have been seen in (and in some cases, broadcasted from) multiple countries throughout the world.  Vince says thank you to the fans, does the classic "Welcome to Monday Night Raw" that sends nostalgic shivers through my spine, even if I never actually saw the first episode live on TV (had to do it through DVDs), and then, without a further moment's delay, Vince actually delivers on USA's promise and brings out DX....6 minutes past 8 PM.

Oh well, can't complain too much.  Sadly, I'm simply reminded of DX's resurrection in 2006, when they pretty much feuded with Vince, Shane, and the Spirit Squad.  Hey, remember those guys?  One of those former male cheerleaders is now carrying a powder blue metal briefcase that allows him to have a World Heavyweight Championship match whenever he chooses within the next year.  Shawn and Trips do their normal routine, joking about how something might be missing and how said something might be their underwear, before they get down to brass tacks and unleash our first surprise for the evening...

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, introducing the former 5-time, Tag Team, Champions of the WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORLD, The Road Dogg Jesse James, and Bad Ass Billy Gunn, The New Age Outlaws!  Oh, and Waltman's with them, too.  Still, damn nice surprise, seeing as they even came in driving what may be the very same Jeep (complete with hilariously large cannon) that DX used to invade the Norfolk Scope.  Wow, what a flashback!  And the crowd was LOUD when Road Dogg went into the legendary introduction.  I mean, this crowd is absolutely nuclear right now.  Then Kip and Shawn have a bit of a disagreement on the part where they go "got two words for ya" (and Shawn sounds like he's either battling the flu or trying to do his best Marlon Brando impersonation, cause his voice is horase as all get out), they decide to do it together, but on 3, and seemingly on cue...

HALLELUJAH!  Damien Sandow comes out, with the robe and everything, looking absolutely impeccable.  The first time I saw this man, I was at Hooters in Flint, MI, for Money in the Bank, and I was hanging out with my wrestler friends, and a few of them started clapping respectfully, as if the man was a godsend and an extreme talent that was sorely needed.  And granted, when I saw him wrestle in that match that night, he was impressive.  But as he started to cut a promo that is full of large words and viscous disdain, I now understand why the applause was necessary during MITB...the man is a genius, and will probably be a new force to be reckoned with in the WWE.  You know, it would be just fantastic if Damien were to get a bit of a rub from the guys that revolutionized the industry, pass the torch, if you will.  After all, this is part of the future of the company, and Vince and Co. would be remiss to have this fine fresh wrestler fall victim to five guys that were hot once upon a time but had their time in the sun...

Come on, now.  Two of the five guys in the ring at this point and time are two of the master backstage politicians of this present time, and while one of them lost his smile, the other lost his mind in 2003.  To the group's credit, they didn't just straight up pounce on him, but...yeah, Sweet Chin Music into a Pedigree, and Sandow is out like a light.  Billy Gunn ends up getting what he wanted after all, and closes out the catchphrase to a thunderous ovation.  While I kind of wished Sandow would have wrestled against one of the guys, or even better, had a quick 10-man match, in the long run, this might have been the best way to handle the segment.

Next up, we have a 6-man tag pitting Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, and World Champion Sheamus taking on the tandem of Chris Jericho, SmackDown's Mr. Money in the Bank Dolph Ziggler, and Alberto Del Rio.  And someone thought it was a good idea to spend a full segment on each wrestler's separate entrance, then go to commercial.  That someone should be brained with a skillet, Cactus Jack style, but maybe that's just me.  The match actually started during the commercial break, and what we saw of the match on TV was so quick that those of us accustomed to having the match build over time were left scratching our heads.  I know that the spotfest to get to the point where Sheamus kick's Jericho's head off to get the pin (therefore making Jericho count the lights once again...maybe he is losing his touch) was abnormally fast, almost as if someone was trying to make sure all the skits got in tonight.  Again, we're trying to focus on wrestling here in the present and the future, so the hell with your skits.

Case in point: AJ is in the back getting ready for her big wedding with Daniel Bryan (and she's as gorgeous as ever, but as we've seen with the Diva Search, beautiful women have, over time, been reduced to being so annoying you'd rather see someone homely looking that can actually wrestle).  Layla comes up behind her and says...something, I don't have a clue what.  Because, you see folks, right around this time, my girlfriend called me, and I put the show on mute so I could talk to her.  I also started to walk around my apartment so that I wouldn't get too distracted.  Even as I sit here typing this, I can tell you with certainty that I did not miss anything of any importance.  I did, however, notice the following:

--Hacksaw Jim Duggan shouting "HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" just outside AJ's door, paying homage to a ridiculous angle in which Duggan would make fun of Lita (then Edge's valet after she cheated on Matt Hardy in real life) by feeding the straight line and then bellowing "HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!", implying that Lita was a woman of ill repute

--R-Truth and Roddy Piper playing jump-rope with R-Truth's invisible friend (I have no idea what that gimmick's all about, nor do I care to know)

--And last and most disgustingly of all, Mae Young (who is still alive after all this time) standing next to a doofus stuffed inside a giant foam hand costume.

Um.......folks, yet another moment of your time, if I may...

I wasn't around to see the angle that led up to this moment in history, but I am certainly not disappointed that I missed it.  Basically, Mae Young slept with Mark Henry (back when he was known as "Sexual Chocolate" and was a bit of a horn-dog), and she got pregnant and gave birth to a hand.  Now said hand was apparently grown up and attended RAW's 1000th episode with his extremely geriatric mother.

Now, I know we're not supposed to take stuff like this seriously.  We're supposed to laugh and then just carry on with our lives.  "Ahaha, it's Hand, he's grown up, OK, let's see the next match."  But, kids, you see...I'm the kind of guy that sees that and wonders out loud "Who the flaming hell thought this was a good idea?!"  WWE is in the PG era now, and when this angle first started, the WWF at the time was anything but PG.  So, even if this was supposed to be a one-off laugh at a cornball wrestling angle in the past, it's still disgusting, because this was during the time where the product wasn't for kids at all.  Having your kids see this guy in the hand-suit and then having them ask you, "Daddy, what's that about?" is all the image you need to envision in your mind to see where I'm going with this rant, which has now ended.  OK...

We then segue to Brunette Trish Stratus (and it took me a few seconds to recognize her, seeing as she was blonde the whole time I've ever seen her on TV), working with Triple H on his yoga.  Of course, as he keeps bending down to touch his toes, he keeps pulling his hamstring (or his quad, if you follow the two times he's blown his quads in the ring, both incidents being unfortunate).  The second time, Trish actually goes behind to encourage Trips, making it look for all the world like she was about to dry-hump him, when the rest of DX comes in.  OK, this was done better when Trips was actually teaching Trish how to hike a football, when Stephanie walked in on the two of them, and Hunter had this zoinks, Scoob look on his face as the great misunderstanding seemed to take place.
And now, the moment we've all been dreading, the one segment that might get more airtime than any other segment on the show, and definitely more than any actual wrestling: it is finally time for AJ and Daniel Bryan to tie the knot.  But like every wedding, we need a priest to make the ceremony binding (at least on a religious level, but that's a whole 'nother topic), and who do they choose to send out to begin the proceedings?

Sure e-fucking-nough, the Doctor of Style himself comes shuffling out of the back, and they even have the titantron from his old days, big lips and all.  This was definitely a genius move, and a genuine mark-out moment for me.  Shame I never got to see his antics with Kamala teaching him how to bowl.  Dude could cut a promo just about as well as anyone in the business back in the day, and he was even the first African American pro wrestling manager, so there's a little history as well.

Time for some social media shenanigans: fans were asked to tweet either #ajido or #ajidont, and the fans were against AJ marrying Daniel Bryan.  Unfortunately, I think if they added the following choice, the numbers would have spoken for themselves much more clearly: #ajidontcare.

Lawler-isms of the night: "I've been married so many times I've got rice marks on my face.", and my personal favorite, "Love is grand, but divorce is 100 grand."

Daniel Bryan's out next, looking dapper in his white tuxedo, doing the "YES! YES! YES!" all the way down the ramp.

I know I've done this far too many times already but, kids, YET ANOTHER moment of your time, if you'd indulge me.  I promise, this shan't take long...

What?  In the blue hell?  Is this gimmick about?  Can anyone please explain why the word "YES!" is such an integral part of Bryan's gimmick?  Is it because it's a large part of AJ's gimmick?  What the hell is this all about?

OK, back to the wedding..."March of the Bride" actually plays over the organ, which is classy, and I have to admit, AJ is looking like an angel clipped her wings and decided to land on Earth.  I get why she's such a hit with the guys these days.

OK, I said at one point that this would probably be the longest skit in recorded history, but...yeah, this is officially the longest skit in recorded history.  And I swear to God above as my witness, if the crowd chants "What!" one more time, I'm gonna go postal.  That catchphrase was old back in the year of our lord two thousand and TWO, yet the audience still uses it to this day!  Ugh, enough.

Strangely enough, nobody seems to come out when Slick gives the supposed cue by finding out if there's anyone that wants to speak up or forever hold their peace, and startlingly, both parties say yes.  But anyone that has watched a wedding skit on WWF/WWE television knows by heart that a wedding under said circumstances never goes off without a hitch, and the hitch goes off right when Slick goes to pronounce them man and wife.  And that's when AJ drops the bombshell that she received a proposal from another man, and that man is..............Vince McMahon?!?!  And then he goes on to say that it's not a wedding proposal, but a business proposal?  Oh, right, we're supposed to find out who the new Raw GM is tonight!  Well, this is an odd time for such an announcement, but the entire IWC and even the WWE universe have been on pins and needles trying to figure out who was behind the emails, who screwed Jerry Lawler out of his victory at WrestleMania 27, and who has overall been responsible for those annoying ass dings.  Well, wonder no more as...........

AJ IS THE FUCKING GM?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?  ARE YOU PEOPLE EVEN SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?!?!  To paraphrase the great Jim Cornette, FUCK THIS COMPANY!  A crazy girl in control of the company?  She was the one behind the emails?  And even if they don't mention that whole angle, still, who the fuck thought this was a good idea?!?!?!

OK, it was probably done for shock value, since no one ever thought this was going to happen, and this is a hell of a twist, but still, come the fuck on!  Maybe it's because we have to establish the future and not look to the past with options such as William Regal, or even Stone Cold, but...FUCK!  AJ?!?!?!  What is she gonna do, make the wrestlers do finger paintings?  Fire people that don't pay attention to her?  Do a skit where she's the bachelor on the WWE dating game and has Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and Jameson (yes, the nerd, Jameson) vying for her affections, only for her to turn them all down and leap into Kane's arms again?  I need to stop typing right now, lest I give Laryngitis and the hack writing team ideas.

Daniel Bryan sure as hell can't believe it, as his only response to this whole thing is to repeatedly shout "NO!" at the top of his lungs, while AJ screams "YES!" at the top of hers at the top of the ramp.  This goes on for two minutes too long, and we go to break as D-Bry goes apeshit and destroys everything in sight like a petulant child that got a PlayStation instead of an Xbox for Christmas.

We're back from break, and D-Bry is still in the ring, which causes WWE Champ CM Punk to come out.  Seeing as he has a title match later tonight against John Cena, pausing to taunt Daniel Bryan for his getting ditched at the altar may not be the wisest of decisions, especially if the dude decided to take out his frustrations on Punk.  After all, he's still smarting from that MITB loss, but apparently, that doesn't matter, as Bryan Danielson, one of Ring of Honor's most dominant wrestlers and the wet dream for internet geeks the world over, has apparently been reduced to an angry emo whiner who claims to be the greatest WWE superstar of all time (and draws it out slowly and rage-y).  This, of course, prompts the arrival of the Brahma Bull, The REAL People's Champion (sorry, Tito Ortiz), and, more importantly, The Human Catchphrase Machine, The Rock.  Johnson has noticeable goosebumps standing at the top of that ramp before striding down like only he can, as well he should.  This crowd, despite having just been served the single biggest turd disguised as a "payoff" ever, is still going bananas for Rocky.

Rocky then tells Bryan that he doesn't get to say who the greatest of all time is, but rather, the people do, and they respond with "Randy Savage!"  Oh, wait, I'm sorry, they do a Rocky chant.  It's not incorrect, but still, the people could have been very creative on deciding amongst themselves who the greatest of all time really was.  It would have been chaotic, to say the least.  Anyway, since the people have cleared that up, FINALLY, THE ROCK HAS COME BACK TO ST. LOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUISSSSS-AH!  I have to admit, every single time he does this, I still get goosebumps.  The Rock is here for one reason, and one reason only: the WWE Championship.  And he makes this an unspoken point when he divulges the fact that he won his very first WWF title in St. Louis (he didn't actually use the initials, I did, because fuck pandas).  Long story short (not that this blog entry isn't long enough already), after making fun of Bryan's beard and likening him to a certain Baggins from the Lord of the Rings (no, not Bilbo), Rocky inserts himself into the #1 contender's spot for the Royal Rumble.  Whoever is the WWE champion will defend the title against The Rock.

OK, this opens the door to several potential matchups, but still, this is a bit of a dick move, in my opinion.  Rocky, if you were so adamant about the WWE championship, then you would have done what every fan you left behind while you were in Hollywood has wanted you to do: get back in the ring full-time and, I don't know, earn your way to the WWE championship.  Of course, we real wrestling fans should not expect as much from the WWE anymore, but still, the hope is there.  Anyway, Rocky rock-bottoms Daniel Bryan to a huge pop, then walks to the back eyeballing CM Punk.  You know what might have worked here?  Oh, I don't know, a Daniel Bryan/Rocky match?!  What does the second W in WWE stand for again?

By the way, the social media shenanigans are in full force tonight, as fans are asked to choose between three of these potential matchups: Rock vs Punk (the most likely scenario), Rock vs. Big Show (the FUCK?!), and Rock/Cena II (an admittedly decent choice, especially compared to the second option).

Well, even the nitwits putting on this show finally figured out that, by gum, this can't be a wrestling show without some, you know, wrestling, as the Intercontinental Title is now set to be defended by Christian against an as of yet undetermined opponent.  The kicker about this match is that the special guest ring announcer is arguably the very best technical wrestler and Intercontinental Champion of all time, right next to Ricky Steamboat, Eddie Guererro and Not-Voldemort, Bret "the Hitman" Hart.  For a moment, I wanted to believe that Bret Hart was actually going to challenge for the title, but he actually brings out The Miz, which, judging by what we've seen so far, actually isn't all that horrible, and does promise, in fact, an honestly good WRESTLING match.  And I am somewhat vindicated, as this was by far the best thing on the show.  Again, kind of wished Bret Hart was the one to step up to the plate, but good job by the Miz in securing the title.  Not sure how winning the Intercontinental Title would be more important than the WWE title, but this is nonetheless huge.  Great match, and great moment.  Also, some people are going to bitch about Miz being champ as opposed to Christian, but the way I see it, it's a good way to move forward, which is something the rest of the company could learn how to do.

After the next set of commercials, we're back in the ring ushering Der Game out to the ring, rocking the Motorhead music as always.  He's still got his DX shirt on, but he's looking all business right now.  So he can be an aloof, sophmoric jerk one minute and then a bad-ass COO the next?  That's Triple H booking for ya.  Anyways, Trips calls out Brock Lesnar, and here comes the pain...but "the pain" bears a painstaking resemblance to the former owner of ECW, Paul Heyman, and in fact, that's who is indeed walking down the ramp.  Brock is in the building, but Heyman gives Trips his answer to the challenge: no.  I don't think even Tyson Tomko could have pulled that off any better.

Trips threatens to go looking for Brock, and Heyman advises (in that classic smartass voice) that it wouldn't be best for business.  Trips tries to goad Brock out by calling him a coward, and this prompts Heyman to retort that not only is he acting like a child, but that 1) he teaches his children not do to it, and 2), more importantly, he wonders out loud if that's what Hunter teaches his kids to do. 

This starts a very, very long and very, very uncomfortable angle regarding an apparent unspoken rule: it's totally OK to bring kids into the match between Trips and Brock, just as long as it isn't the Levesque kids.  Because by the time this whole thing gets to the tipping point, Stephanie McMahon comes out (admittedly and absolutely smokin', I might add), and eventually gets Heyman to crack by calling him a pathetic parasite and slapping him dead in the face.  Paul actually makes a fairly good point when he says that Stephanie, "Daddy's Little Girl", always seems to get what she wants.  This young woman was born from the seed of the man that made a monopoly of himself by borrowing ECW's ideas and then burying WCW six feet under with the InVasion angle, so if anyone taught Nipple H about how to get what she wants, look no further than Der Furher himself, Vincent Kennedy McMahon. 

On a side note, if they actually bring the kids, the physical kids, into this'll be worse than the Benoit Tribute Show.  Keep it between the wrestlers, WWE.  I'm warning you.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Bet the house and the farm on this: Aroura Rose Levesuqe will make her television debut on Monday Night Raw between now and SummerSlam, and she'll either 1) get pummeled in some way by Brock Lesnar, or 2) be the second child to be the focal point in a "child-on-a-pole" match.  There is nothing good that can come of this unless they keep the focus away from the kids and onto the actual participants in the match.  But good taste has seldom been a forte within the WWE, so when Steph's little girl is shown in the public light, remember: you read it here first, Condors.

Anyways, after Steph starts whaling on Heyman (after bringing up the Levesuqe kids AGAIN!), here comes the pain, for real this time.  Except instead of gunning for the ring right away, he poses on the ramp, then starts stomping to the ring.  Ah, this business is so funny sometimes.  The melee thankfully stays between Hunter and Brock, and the latter is summarily dumped from the ring.  Again, I stress, keep this feud between Lesnar and Hunter and leave the kids out of it.  But they won't.  Ugh.

We then are shown a video package highlighting the one feud that seems to transcend everything that has happened to the wrestling business, the one feud that will be remembered when we're crusty old farts bitching about how Dean Ambrose never got his shot (and whoever else becomes a darling in the indies, if the indies even last that long).  And that feud is Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Vincent Kennedy McMahon.  While remembering this feud is all kinds of awesome, only one half of this feud has confirmed his presence in the building tonight, and that's Vince.  The whole night, I thought to myself, "Where the hell is Stone Cold?  He practically personified Monday Night Raw.  The WWF would have been nothing without him!"

Well, kids, I was stemming and stewing about it until I happened to come across a blog posted by none other than the Texas Rattlesnake himself.  I have to say, having read it, it was a great move on his part to explain why he was unable to attend Raw 1000, and, in fact, refused to do so.  It was because he had much-needed surgery on his knee, and if he would have shown up, he would have done so on crutches.  Now stop and think about that, my friends, and especially my Condors from YouTube, if you happen to read this: imagine hearing the glass break, and the roof being blown off the place as the crowd comes out of their seats...only to see their hero, their god, Steve Austin, hobbling to the ring on crutches.  The man that gave countless Stunners to countless enemies (and allies, for that matter), and opened up case after case of whoop-ass for several years running...hobbling to the ring on crutches.  That image would most likely have done more damage than good to the overall mood of Raw 1000, emphatically telling us that, while these men were great at one time, the fact was, they were getting old, and it was showing.  Austin should be commended for his decision to turf himself from Raw's biggest show for his consciousness for the business that he still loves, and anyone that's still pissy about it after reading about this tidbit...kindly fuck off.  Thank you.

We're back from another commercial break, and several articles are shown as Cole and Lawler talk about the publicity Raw 1000 has...waitaminute...there's one image of a guy in orange tights doing what suspiciously looks like a diving headbutt.  That's not Not-Voldemort, is it?  Cause for that split-second, I could have sworn that's what it looked like.  Not really able to go back and prove it,, anyone that did catch that and even thought it was him...bad, bad timing by WWE.

Anyways, we have another special guest ring announcer, and it's The Fink!  Even when introducing Heath Slater, he made it sound like a really important match, which, trust me, it's not.  Not even the One Man Band can save us now.  I've still got that sour taste in my mouth about Heyman bringing up Hunter's kids too many times.  Anyways, Heath Slater once again vows that his luck is going to turn around, and he issues an open challenge to any legend in the back for a no disqualification match.  The man who decides to answer the challenge...isn't actualyl a man, but rather, it's Lita.  Never mind losing to an old man last week in the form of Road Warrior Animal (who really looked like a shell of his former self, and I was a bit saddened to see it), if the One Man Band can't even upend a woman (an admittedly very skilled and talented woman, who looks as hot as ever), there's no telling where his career will end up from here.

Of course, Lita admits she brought some protection.  No, not that kind of protection, ya pervs.  This is protection that comes in three letters: APA.  Farooq and Bradshaw come out to the ring in the old APA gear for the first time in at least a decade to a thunderous ovation.  Great to see JBL again, even though it would have been even more awesome if he showed up with the horned limo.  Long story short, even Slater figures out that this isn't going his way, and he tries to high-tail it, but he runs into all of the legends that he lost to (except for Doink, who he supposedly beat, thanks Michael Cole), and he's forced back into the ring.  Twist of Fate, Clothesline from Hell, Moonsault, 1, 2, 3, this one's done.  All the legends stand over Slater's broken body, and Ron Simmons does the long pause before going "DAMN!"  Cool moment seeing Vader, Sid, DDP, Animal, and the others.

A feud between Daniel Bryan and Charlie Sheen?  Please, don't be so stupid.  And Sean Mooney still sucks.  There's not much else I can add to that segment.  Instead, I'll use this space to add two more things I seem to have forgotten while creating this super-long blog, making it even more super long: first, Santino Marella and Hornswoggle came down to the ring and started handing "Brawler Buddies" to the kids in the audience.  Normally I'd scoff at that, but I used to have an Ultimate Warrior Wrestling Buddy when I was little, and that thing ruled.  However, mine didn't talk, as these Brawler Buddies did.  Secondly, we had ourselves yet another dose of The Funkasaurus, Brodus Clay, going against Jack Swagger, but before the match started, Brodus Clay brought out one more surprise, and I marked hard when he came out.  Want a hint?  Here goes:

There's only one cat that can bring peace to the War Zone, and that's...DUDE LOVE!

Yes, Dude F'n Love, Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy, breaks out the Tye Dye once again and struts on down the ramp.  Yes, it's a total squash of Jack Swagger (a former World's Champion), but nonetheless, it's a great moment, especially when Foley -- I mean Dude Love -- grabs a tye dye version of Mr. Socko and applies the Mandible Claw to Swagger.  Can't believe I forgot this one!

Staredown between The Rock and John Cena.  Gotta admit, it gave me chills.  I wouldn't mind seeing these two sqare off at the Royal Rumble, but that's a long damn way away, long enough for Rocky to shoot another crappy straight-to-DVD movie and then get in the ring.  As long as he doesn't injure himself during shooting.  God knows it's hard work walking from the trailer to get a PA to snatch you a latte, extra foamy.

Kane comes out for his match next, but then he is interrupted by Jinder Mahal, and he's got more than a handful of backup in the form of Tyler Reks, Curt Hawkins, Drew McIntyre, and the tag team of Hunico and Camacho.  Right away, the Big Red Machine is outnumbered, but the lights go out, and the gong sounds off.  And, also, there goes the roof.  Again.  Dead Man Walking.  Slowly.  Seriously, the time it took for Undertaker to make it down the ramp, Mahal and the boys could have left Kane for dead and then jumped the guardrail.  Regardless, Undertaker (looking like he could join the Road Warriors) and Kane clean house before staring at each other, the memories washing over everyone (including myself) of how these two powerhouses dominated as a tag team, and tore each other apart as enemies.  Taker bows, Kane sets off his pyro, and soon after, we go to commercial before the big main event.

And so, here we are, at the launch pad to the future.  Everything during the course of the night has been building to this moment, and the future of the company most definitely hangs in the balance.  It's unlikely that the company will die if a huge catastrophe were to envelop the main event, because there's too much money behind it, but if it doesn't deliver, and deliver hard, it'll be same old, same old come Raw 1001, and only the diehards and masochists will stick around.

This article has already reached War and Peace proportions (hell, it's probably reached Starr Report proportions), so I'm making this short and sweet, plus there's something to be said about the finish.  Punk and Cena put on a great match, but, of course, Big Show had to get involved, and, to pay homage to seemingly every RAW since the start of the Monday Night Wars, we had a ref bump precede all of this.  Big Show KO's Cena with the WMD, and Punk is left with a decision: wake the ref up and cover Cena, or wait until he gets up so that he can hit the GTS himself.  He goes for the former choice, but Cena kicks out.  Punk then decides to put Cena into position for the GTS, but Cena reverses into the STF(U).  Punk is trying to reach the ropes, but Big Show breaks it up.

Ladies and gentlemen, the 1000th main event of Monday Night Raw, seemingly to pay homage to the Attitude Era (more likely all that's wrong with it), has ended in a disqualification/run-in ending.  To say that this is disappointing is a bit of an understatement.  More on that in a bit, though, as we still have some action.  Big Show is flattening Cena, and Punk just walks away.  Rocky, of all people, decides to interject on Cena's behalf, and he goes to work on show, planting him with a spinebuster.  People's Elbow time...except when he bounces off the ropes the first time, he is met with a flying forearm smash from Punk.  Then he hits the GTS and looks at the carnage, finally walking away to the catcalls of the crowd.  Once again, CM Punk has turned heel.

OK, although the DQ finish was bullshit, in my opinion, the closing moments of the show do offer a promising light at the end of the tunnel.  Granted, it pretty much guarantees Rock and Punk at the Royal Rumble, so I don't expect Punk to lose the WWE title anytime soon (not that this is a problem or anything, it's just that he should probably defend the title between now and Royal Rumble, seeing as it's, I dunno, six months away).  Then again, there's no telling who The Rock will face, but if Punk's heel turn is of any indication, I sorely hope for the return of the "pipe bomb".  Because I'm dead sure CM Punk has some words for Rocky in regards to simply inserting himself in the main event of the Royal Rumble, just like he did at Wrestlemania 28.

Well, kids, you're all dismissed.  Thank you for taking this extremely long journey with me as we remember Raw 1000, but what little hope came out of the main event may not be enough to dispel the clouds of suck that are more likely than not headed our way.  The Hunter-Brock match may very well be centered around the Levesque kids, the show ended with a DQ, the best match of the night was the Intercontinental title match with The Miz (pissing off some people, but not me), and AJ.....AJ!!!...was named the new General Manager of Raw.  Folks, amazing as it sounds, I left Raw 1000 with a mixed bag, but I can assure you, there is definitely shit in it.  Just don't make me stamp it out if it gets set on fire.  My shoes are priceless.

Until next time, friends...Keep it Condor!