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Figure Four Weekly 7/31/2017: Brock Lesnar vs. Jon Jones inches closer to reality

Brock Lesnar vs. Jon Jones inches closer to reality

by Joseph Currier (@josephcurrier)

On the heels of Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor, another unlikely combat sports event seems to have become a genuine possibility.

Jon Jones challenged Brock Lesnar to return to the Octagon after regaining the UFC light heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier last Saturday night. "Brock Lesnar," Jones said. "If you want to know what it feels like to get your ass kicked by a guy who weighs 40 pounds less than you, meet me in the Octagon."

The WWE Universal Champion then responded almost immediately, telling the Associated Press that Jones should be careful what he wishes for.

Jones vs. Lesnar is far from certain, and there are many hurdles that could prevent the dream fight from becoming a reality. The most obvious of those being that Lesnar is still under a one-year suspension for drug test failures surrounding his UFC 200 cameo against Mark Hunt.

That suspension was frozen when Lesnar "retired" from MMA earlier this year. It would only start counting down again if Lesnar enters himself back into the USADA testing pool, something that the UFC denied he had done as of July 19th.

The timing of that would likely push Jones vs. Lesnar into 2018 if it were to come to fruition, with Lesnar having to work around his WWE obligations. WWE would have to approve Lesnar fighting again while under contract and wouldn't do anything to jeopardize him missing key events, though the three-year deal that he signed in 2015 expires after next year's WrestleMania.

Jones would also at least have to temporarily move up to heavyweight if he were to face Lesnar. And he may have further business in his own division to deal with before then if the Lesnar fight is pushed past early 2018.

It has been suggested that Lesnar is teasing a return to the Octagon to, at least in part, gain more leverage in contract negotiations with WWE. That obviously plays some role in the situation, but the best predictor of his intentions is to look at how Lesnar has acted in the past.

Lesnar signed that deal with WWE in 2015, announcing that he was closing the door on his MMA career while revealing his decision on SportsCenter. That may have been how he felt then, but he was fighting Hunt while under contract with WWE the next year.

If Mayweather vs. McGregor has any meaning in this situation, it's that making fights that seem impossible isn't that hard when everyone involved stands to benefit from them. The UFC would obviously gain the most, with Jones vs. Lesnar probably being the biggest non-McGregor bout that they could realistically put on at a time when they're desperate for mainstream stars.

Jones referenced McGregor at the press conference after UFC 214, citing him as an inspiration for proving that big paydays are possible. There would be risk in facing Lesnar, but he's opened up as the favorite in the still-hypothetical matchup, and he brings that risk into every fight when trying to build his resume as the greatest of all time. Even a loss to Lesnar would likely be forgiven given the size difference, with Jones always having the option to return to dominating his usual division.

If Lesnar does actually want to fight again, it would make sense that he's after the biggest money matchups possible. If he wants competition, Jones would also offer him the opportunity to face perhaps the best to ever do it.

Whether Lesnar fighting again is best for WWE isn't as apparent, but the risk for them is low. They survived his UFC 200 drug test failures with only a bit of negative publicity. If everyone involved could find a date for Jones vs. Lesnar that fits in well with WWE's schedule, it would probably help to have one of their biggest attractions involved in one of the combat sports events of the year. Much of Lesnar's value is based on him being that legitimate crossover star.

Maybe Lesnar is just teasing a return to MMA to help the upcoming negotiations with WWE. Perhaps he's serious about wanting to have one final run in the UFC and will leave pro wrestling to focus on the sport and maximize his earning potential in it. Or, more likely, he could be looking to maintain his position in WWE while also taking UFC fights.

If Jones vs. Lesnar does happen, the process of how it became official will be one of the most interesting subplots. There's a lot of barriers to still clear and a lot of unknowns, but one of the few current certainties is that both Jones and Lesnar are more than happy to keep the hype for the fight alive.

Mexico Notes

by Dr. Lucha Steve Sims (@DrLuchaJr)

Recommendation time!

CMLL has a mini-mega show this coming Friday night, August 4, 2017, from Arena Mexico in Mexico City, a show that should air live on Marca's ClaroSports.com, live on Facebook, and put up on CMLL's YouTube once the show ends. To my mind, it has a real chance to be one of the most entertaining (and maybe better in-ring) shows in all of Mexico for the year, as CMLL continues to try to burn out the market before the rival TripleMania show.

Preview Time!

Inicial: The first match on the six-match card is slated as tecnicos Fuego, Drone, and Pegasso taking on rudos Virus, Sagrado, and Disturbio. I'll go out on a limb saying that this will end the year as the best opening match on a taped CMLL show for 2017, even though, being an opening match, they will be forced by their employer to tamp down from what they could do. Still, this match-up of styles is great and expectations are high. No need to predict a winner, not important in this spot on the card, this is just to warm the early attendees up. But this is worth being by your screen at 9:30 pm EDT/6:30 pm PDT for this one.

Segunda: Micro-Estrellas: Techniquitos Microman and Gallito will face ruditos Perico Zakarias (CMLL's spelling) and Mije. To me, seeing this match once a month is high living; seeing this match once a week is over-exposure. They'll draw 12-13 thousand for this show (possible that it will sell out, depends on the main event) and 98%+ won't have seen this match live, so it's a good spot for it. It is what it is, spectacular within its limitations, fun entertainment. Since they have no other micros. It's probably time for the rudos to get the big TV win here to add a storyline to their presentation (if not tonight then surely the next Arena Mexico match they have after this). Best guess is ruditos win.

Tercera: It's a non-title trios match as rudos, Mexican National Trios Champions, and Occidente Trios Champions "La Nueva Generacion Dinamita" [Sanson, Cuatrero, and Forastero] take on tecnicos Rey Cometa, Soberano Jr., and The Panther. The Dinamita have done a lot of winning here, and at Arena Mexico Soberano Jr. sells tickets to the sort of fans the Von Erichs did in the early 1980s, so I'm guessing the tecnicos win. This may or may not be the best match on the show, but is guaranteed is watching the main eventers of ~2022-2027, except for Cometa, in their highly enjoyable formative period. Best guess is tecnicos win.

Especial: Third from the top we have tecnicos Marco Corleone, Angel de Oro, and Diamante Azul against rudos Rush, Pierroth, and Hechicero. If the show is running long, this is the one that will go two straight quick falls. It's just a chance to get people's character and image over in front of this extra-big crowd. Marco will do his sexy-light stuff, Angel de Oro will dive, and Diamante Azul, well, he has one of two moves that are great and the man seriously may be the strongest wrestler in years in Mexico, so in a short match like this he'll just get his stuff in. The rudos are who they are. The tecnicos seem the likelier trio to go over.

Semifinal: Now we get into more interesting territory – the top two matches are good for drawing a big crowd tonight but are pronbably more pointed towards even bigger this down the road. In this match. The tecnico trio of Caristico, Volador Jr., and Niebla Roja take on "Los Guerreros Laguneros" [Ultimo Guerrero, Euforia, and Gran Guerrero]. The quality of the match will depend on how far it deviates form a typical Ultimo Guerrero trios match, and I suspect it won't until the last few minutes of fall three, when Gran Guerrero and Niebla Roja cheat, foul, rip each other's masks off, and issue microphone challenges for a mask match at the 84th Anniversary show 9/16/17. We know how it's going to go, point by point, so it will be interesting to see how entreatingly they get there. The rudos figure to win con trampas so the aggrieved babyface has the proper reason to demand the mask match.

Estelar: Caballera contra caballera: Mexican tecnico Blue Panther (likely with his son The Panther as his second) takes on USA rudo Sam Adonis. There's much money and promotional opportunity in Adonis's winning by cheating and The Panther immediately on the warpath for revenge at say a year-end show, or even an undercard to an Aniversario. That would be big money for that later show. There have bene some hints that CMLL has just this sort of scenario on their mind, and the build-up the last few weeks has been the sort of one that would lead one to think that Adonis was winning, and that's the way I suspect it will go – setting up Adonis for a bigger fall later with another big gate in which Mexico triumphs in the end. Likely to be enormous heat and volume and hugely entertaining – a great match even though technically, the wrestling will tend towards the meh.

Highest recommendation to watch this show, live if possible or later via YouTube and without knowing the results ahead of time!

Europe Notes

by Oliver Court (@AnotherOli)

This week's Euro notes could rather easily be mistaken for an Oceania notes section, as the waves of four great talents from Australia and New Zealand have made their mark on British wrestling recently.

We start with the very welcome news of the big return of New Zealanders TK Cooper and Dahlia Black, the South Pacific Power Trip, at the end of last Sunday's PROGRESS show. Cooper and Black became major names in PROGRESS alongside Travis Banks over the winter, but had to return home in April due to their expired visas. Banks came to the country later and so will go through this process at a later date, but as the first to go, there were many questions concerning whether Cooper and Black would ever return. Obviously though, they loved living in Britain and were finding major success in BritWres, so it made complete sense to come back. Where they fit into PROGRESS now will be very interesting, with Travis Banks having seemingly moved on to the CCK stable with Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos. The Power Couple have returned as heroes despite playing heels for the majority of their first run, so where they fit into the alignments, especially with so much focus on heel faction British Strong Style, will be an interesting conundrum too. It's great to have such a unique act back though, and TK Cooper has a ton of potential to have some great matches with the scene even hotter now than it was when they left.

The other two talents making a name for themselves are Australian, and here in Europe for the first time round. Say hello to Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher. The pair have come out of the blocks with some exciting matches in Fight Club Pro and ATTACK, with their feature matches so far in Britain being a singles against each other, and an ATTACK Tag Title win over CCK. Davis is the power guy and has already proven an incredible ability to catch smaller guys and hurl them into any position he needs them in to unleash a crazy power move. His dismantling of Kid Lykos needs to be seen to be believed. Fletcher has some inimitable charisma with his dorky haircut and winning smile, but still has plenty of size too and a vast arsenal of moves that are guaranteed to get great reactions in the places he's working. They're conquering the Midlands right now and this time next year could be in the same position as Travis Banks is now.

Japan Notes

by Alan Counihan (@Alan4L)

At it's half-way point, the 2017 G1 Climax is already being hailed as the best ever and with good reason. The level of quality and the lack of dud performances have been exceptional following two weeks of bouts. However, much like in previous years where the final three nights in Sumo Hall took tournaments up a level, a lot will depend on those shows when it comes to the lasting impact of this G1. Of course, they could wind up making it even better and the smart money would not be on those shows disappointing so we are most definitely on track for this one to be an all-timer.

IWGP Heavyweight champ Kazuchika Okada has been positioned as the star of the tournament. Winning five out of five, he's the only participant who is unbeaten in the field. The commentators have been actively pushing that he's on another level. The reigning champ has not made it to a G1 final since Yuji Nagata in 2007 and that wasn't even a planned decision (it was a call on the night when Shinsuke Nakamura got hurt in the semi final). If Okada was to continue this run all the way to the final, it would be very special indeed. Kenny Omega awaits the champ in Sumo Hall, and that will no doubt be the key match on the final night.

As far as MVP performers, the list is too long to single out one. Yuji Nagata has been the emotional MVP, Zack Sabre Jr has been the surprise package and Kota Ibushi has been the guy who's had the most variety in terms of great matches. Then you have the old reliables like Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Michael Elgin and Tetsuya Naito who have all had incredible bouts. If there are three matches that stand out just a bit above the rest it's Naito vs. Ibushi from opening night, Elgin vs Okada from Korakuen Hall and Elgin vs. Omega in Niigata. There's so much more where that came from though and there's at least ten other matches worthy of being labelled "must see".

On the horizon are several more bouts which could have raving. This Tuesday in Kagoshima, Kota Ibushi performs in front of his hometown fans in the main event against Hiroshi Tanahashi. Those two had a classic in 2015 and with the form they're both in right now they could easily top it. This Saturday the tour rolls into New Japan's hottest venue, the Osaka Edion Arena, and has a real sleeper card lined up. In Omega vs. Juice Robinson, Elgin vs Suzuki and SANADA vs. Satoshi Kojima , the show provides plenty of opportunities for some great moments.

TV Reviews

by Bryan's Friend Vince (@FO_VVerhei)

Retro NWA (7/4/87)

This aired on the morning of the Fourth of July, and the MATCH BEYOND was being taped that night, so we were going to see some special workouts on this show in preparation for that match. Also, Barry Windham had won a tournament to win the Western States Heritage heavyweight title, and Doctor Death would soon be challenging Big Bubba for the UWF title. So yeah, the UWF sale is done.

Ron Simmons vs. Larry Stephens. So yeah, the UWF sale is done. Also, the Bash tour has left them with a depleted roster, because they were doing a match for the Florida title on this show too. Ron beat Stephens up for a while and won with a shoulder tackle. Yes. Gotta get that football gimmick over.

Dusty Rhodes came out for a promo in the cheapest, worst-fitting suit ever. He vowed to fight Tully Blanchard in Istanbul or Jerusalem to get his money back. He plugged the Match Beyond and how badly he wanted to rub somebody's face against the cage.

Tully Blanchard and Dark Journey came out for a promo to plug the Match Beyond. He said the Road Warriors and Nikita Koloff should be pissed at Dusty, because he couldn't fight his own battles, and needed to set up cages and get other men to fight for him. He promised the match would come down to himself and Dusty, and Dusty would not only submit, but admit that the Horsemen were the best.

Lex Luger vs. David Isley. Lex was doing a parade of headlocks when David Crockett finally showed up. "HEY TONY!" He had been at the Omni. "GOLLY!" He said the dome was up and ready to go. "GOOD TIMES!" He couldn't wait to see all those men inside that cage. "WHAT ABOUT JJ?" This was peak David Crockett and nothing had even happened yet. This fucking match went forever. Lex did about nothing for a long time, then won with the powerslam and torture rack.

Barry Switzer plugged the Great American Bash tour.

THE LAST WARGAMES PROMO. If they put out a DVD that was just this promo on a loop I would buy it.

Barry Windham came out to plug the Dusty-Tully barbed wire ladder match, because he was going to be in Dusty's corner. He said the barbed wire would keep the Horsemen out, and if they got in Dusty would kill them anyway, so he had no need to be there. Hell of a plug. He vowed to defend the Western States Heritage title against Arn Anderson.

Rock & Roll Express vs. David Diamond & Terry Jones. They wished happy birthday to Cody Garrett, age 2, in North Carolina, noting that Cody had a famous father. That would be Cody Garrett Runnels. We have a new worst jobber of all time of the week. I'm not sure if it was Jones or Diamond, but it was the white guy who kind of looked like Buddy Landel. There were multiple occasions where he fell down of his own volition and the Rock & Rolls were just trying to get out of his way and not get hurt. "GOLLY I HAVE FUN DOING THIS!" Tony noted that David was pumped. "GOD THERE'S SOME GOOD LOOKIN' WOMEN DOWN THERE TOO!" Express eventually won with the double dropkick.

Arn Anderson vs. David Wescott. Yes, he's David this week, not Dexter. Arn promptly threw him outside and started rubbing his face on the floor. The torture continued in the ring for a while, then Arn won with a spinebuster and gourdbuster.

Barry Switzer plugged the Bash again.

WOAR GAMEZ PROMO.

Paul Ellering did a promo hyping up WarGames, promising the Road Warriors were at the matches, and he was going to handle JJ Dillon personally. He said a cat that sat on a hot burner would never sit on a hot or cold burner again. What the hell is Paul Ellering doing to his cat. He quoted Animal Farm, saying some animals were more equal than others, and he believed in his men.

Barry Windham vs. El Negro. Barry usually looks like El Gigante on this show, but Negro was a little taller and way thicker. That is a big dude. Barry still suplexed him repeatedly. Barry won with a lariat that looked fucked up and the announcers didn't even know what to say.

Ric Flair came out to plug WarGames. He said Ellering cut a shit promo. Not his exact words, but he made it clear this was not anything to make jokes about, it would be a very violent, very physical, very dangerous match. They showed the finish of the tag match from last week where Jimmy Garvin hit him with a brainbuster and had a visual pin. The Flair-Garvin title match with Precious on the line would be a week from tonight. He said Garvin didn't have what it took to be world champion. So he was going to take Precious and put her in silky negligee, and lay her down on silk sheets, and have a film crew document the whole thing, and Jimmy was going to watch her as she begged somebody to come get her off the mountain. Some women were appalled by this. Some were turned on.

Mike Rotunda vs. Dory Funk Jr. for the Florida title. They noted Dory was a former NWA world champ. This was the oldest school match of all time. Headlocks, hammerlocks, and a bodyslam or two. Dory was 46 years old here. There was a great spot where Rotunda tried a hiptoss and Funk just grabbed his arm and hooked an abdominal stretch. Rotunda, as always, was sweating like crazy. Ref caught Funk hooking the ropes, the first real heel move of the match. He threw the best European uppercuts of all time, then went with the cravate for a while. Rotunda made a comeback with punches and then, during his comeback, did a long headlock spot. This is a wrestling match out of the fucking stone age. This was like a three-minute headlock Funk could not escape. "HOLD ON, MI-IKE, HOLD ON!" Funk ended up bleeding from this headlock. Seriously. Funk uppercutted his way free and so Rotunda went to a headscissors. Then a headlock. OH MY GOD. This went on for a while and the fans demanded an airplane spin. They did some stuff and Rotunda hit it, but the time limit expired and the bell rang. At this point a black man in a pointy hood hit the ring. "IT'S THE BLACK ASSASSIN!" Seriously? They just put a black Klan hood on him? They worked Rotunda over until a bunch of geeks made the save.

David Crockett interviewed Dark Journey and her nipples. She said JJ Dillon was about to do a public workout, just a warmup.

JJ Dillon vs. Alan Martin. JJ was out there in his gear with Tully, Arn, Flair, Lex, and Journey in his corner. They noted Dillon had once been one of the top wrestlers in the world, he wasn't always a pudgy old pale guy in his underwear. The pudgy old pale guy in his underwear strutted around a bit. Martin kept embarrassing him, and Dillon kept retreating to his corner to towel off and get advice. Finally Dillon threw Martin outside and the Horsemen murdered him. Tully challenged JJ to do the slingshot suplex. JJ tried it and it was such a total disaster I'm surprised nobody died. But the Horsemen were all happy. Then JJ hit a gourdbuster and high-fived all his buddies. He tried a backbreaker, couldn't get him up, then dropped him and celebrated like he had pulled it off. Finally he hooked the figure-four for the submission win. Horsemen partied like he had just won the Mania main event. "WAY TO GO, JJ, WAY TO GO!" They were legitimately happy for him. This segment was SO much fun. Arn then joined Tony for a promo. He hyped up WarGames, then ran down Ole for a while. That was random. He promised that after the Bash, he was going to put family and the Horsemen to the side and win the Western States title by himself, for himself.

Paul Ellering vs. Cougar Jay. Ellering had a better body than 80 percent of the guys on the show, including Dusty, who was in his corner. He hit a press slam and a neckbreaker and a clothesline for the win. He had better abs than either Road Warrior. They showed this lariat in slow motion and Ellering basically punched the dude right in the face.

MOAR SWITZER. MOAR WOAR GAMEZ.

Paul Jones and Ivan Koloff cut a promo. He briefly hyped up the Russians, then hyped up JJ Dillon and said he would beat up Dusty. Ivan promised he was ready for the Bash, and he hoped the Americans were ready too.

Ivan Koloff vs. Hal Moore. Ivan beat him up and won with the Russian hammer, basically forearming poor Hal right in the face.

Steve Williams video hyping up the match with Big Bubba. This was awesome. He went back to his roots at the University of Oklahoma, working out on the football field and in the weight room, pumping iron with his arm in a cast as Coach Switzer looked on. I suspect Coach consumed a healthy amount of whiskey before and during this. Jim Ross said Dr. Death was back home and getting ready to hurdle the biggest challenge of his career.

Abruptly, they went back to the studio, where Tony interviewed Ron Simmons, who talked about playing football against Doc, and how he would come back better than ever. He said it was an honor and privelege to be in the NWA, and said he'd do anything to help Doc out. Simmons was subdued here, but fine.

JJ Dillon and Lex Luger cut a promo. They said they were going to play the Dating Game in Philadelphia, with the winning lady getting a dream date with Lex. PLEASE PUT THIS ON TV. Lex hyped up the Match Beyond, and vowed to take the US title from Nikita.

Black Assassin vs. Darrel Dalton. I seriously can't believe they put this fucking hood on TV. He savagely beat this white boy, slamming him on the apron. THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING. I'm not sure who was more horrible here, Black Assassin or Darrel Dalton. WAIT. I LIED. IT'S DALTON. He got whipped into the ropes and just stopped running, and Assassin had to leap 10 feet to hit a clothesline. AND THAT WAS THE FINISH. Jesus God almighty, Darrel Dalton is the worst wrestler of all time of the week.

Dory Funk Jr cut a promo. I see Terry got the charisma in the family. Dory promised to win the Florida title, and warned Blackjack Mulligan and Kevin Sullivan to stay out of his way.

Mike Rotunda came out in his IRS starter kit, complete with short, skinny, leather tie, to cut a promo. He promised to make a lot of money at the Bash, and keep his title. This was no better than Dory's promo earlier.

Tully Blanchard vs. Trent Knight. I don't like to curse, but Tully beat the shit out of this motherfucker. He beat him and beat him and beat him and won with the slingshot suplex. Then he cut a promo. He showed off how hot Dark Journey was and noted it was chilly in there. He made fun of Dusty and Magnum and was just the most fabulously wonderful prick you ever saw, saying he had won the money fair and square because Dusty was stupid. The money was his, but he had already beaten Dusty for the TV title, the National title, the US title, so on the 18th, in Charlotte North Carolina, barbed wire around the ring, a hundred thousand dollars in cash hanging above the ring, all Dusty had to do was go over him and grab it. But a lot of guys had tried to beat Tully before, and he was still standing and still champion. This was an A-PLUS promo right here. Tony gave one last plug for the WarGames that night, and the show ended. And a spectacular show it was.

WWE Retro Raw 270 (7/27/98)

This was the day after Fully Loaded. This included Sable vs. Jacqueline in a bikini match, Owen Hart vs. Ken Shamrock in the Dungeon in Calgary, Rock and Hunter apparently having an unadvertised best-of-three-falls IC title match, and Taker and Austin maybe or maybe not teaming in the main event. So we had topless Sable, "DAMN-NATION," and Taker beating up Mankind and Kane, getting the win, and leaving with both tag belts.

And then Taker came out for a promo with both tag belts. Have I mentioned lately that this era was Taker's coolest look? Because it totally was. The hair, the gear, the music, everything peaked in 1998. He said he and Austin were champions, but they would never be partners unless Austin apologized to him. Vince and the Stooges came out, appalled for some reason. He insisted there was still a conspiracy between Taker and Kane. You know one of the many reasons this storyline sucks? Ten months ago Taker thought Kane was dead, then they spent months setting each other on fire and chokeslamming each other through their dead parents' bones. Now everyone just assumes they're buds. Anyway, Vince said it took three tombstones to beat Kane at Mania (only three months ago!) but now we're supposed to believe it only took one to beat him at Fully Loaded? Vince booked Taker & Austin vs. the New Age Outlaws tonight, then demanded an apology from Taker, but Austin came out instead. No mention that Steve Austin was now simultaneously world champion and world tag team champion. Vince left. Austin said Taker was exactly right, they were champions, not friends or partners. He refused to apologize, flipped him off, and left.

D-Lo Brown vs. Vader. D-Lo, the new European champion, said there were two new rides at EuroDisney, the Sky High and the Lo Down. He called Vader fat, so Vader came out running in place. Then the story was D-Lo refused to put the title on the line. D-Lo no-sold all of Vader's offense because of the chest protector. He took over and hit a big bodyslam on the 400-pounder as Ross said he was "a CPA by trade." So a random accountant showed up and started winning wrestling matches? He hit another bodyslam and a moonsault for a nearfall. He missed a charge and went flying to the floor (!). Vader tore the chest protector off and hit a splash on the floor, then rolled in to win via countout.

Droz's World. We went to Droz's big house with his friends to see his snakes, drink some beer, and shoot some guns. I am not making this up.

Brawl for All: Steve Williams vs. Bart Gunn. Oh no. They did referee instructions for the first time. Doc got a takedown immediately. They traded strikes and both landed good ones. Doc kept going for takedowns in Round 2, but Bart was good at retreating to the corner to block it. Then he surprised Doc with a takedown just as the round ended. Doc got a takedown in Round 3 as the fans chanted "BORING!" Gunn scored another takedown right away. Doc got up and was clearly favoring his leg. In hindsight, he should have stayed down. He started throwing desperate shots, and Bart returned in kind. And in the melee Bart hit a left hook and put Doc out. First knockout of the tournament. Ross was SILENT during the last ten seconds of this fight, then went into professional mode, saying you took a wrestler out of his element when you put gloves on him, and nobody won every fight, but Doc would return to fight again.

Owen Hart came out and said he had proved he was not a nugget, and called out anyone to come face him. Jason Sensation returned, doing his Owen imitation from the stage. Owen was great watching from the ring and fuming. Jason led the crowd in chants of "NUGGET!" and Owen went to kill him, but Dan Severn intervened, and apparently accepted Owen's challenge. Which was odd, since he was wearing his suit. As he was removing his jacket, Owen kicked him in the nuts, then grabbed him by the tie and started throwing punches. He immediately put Severn in the sharpshooter, but Severn rolled through with a somersault to escape. Shamrock came flying through the crowd and put Owen in a choke, but then Severn grabbed Shamrock and put him in a choke. Steve Blackman appeared and pulled Severn off, and geeks appeared for a pull-apart.

After the break, Michael Cole tried to interview Shamrock backstage. It did not got well.

Scorpio & Faarooq vs. DOA. They had JBL on commentary, who had beaten up his partner Terry Funk the night before. Bradshaw explained that Funk had told him right before the match he was taking six months off, so he did Funk a favor and pushed him into retirement. At one point JBL got mad at Lawler for telling jokes and not calling the match. Really. Also, a fan had a saign that was just a picture of breasts and the word "RATINGS." Then Bradshaw started fighting everyone, attacking DOA and Faarooq, and it turned into a five-way. Then Bradshaw, who had started the chaos, just left.

Rock did a backstage promo about surviving a half-hour against Hunter the night before and leaving with the IC title, and tonight he was going to kick Hunter's and X-Pac's asses at the same time. This was a great babyface promo, and I think it was supposed to be to lead up to Survivor Series.

Rock vs. Triple H vs. X-Pac. A three-way, but Hunter and X-Pac came out together and were all buddy-buddy. Hunter noted it was his birthday in the prematch spiel. They attacked Rock at the bell and double-teamed him. Ross said DX would work together to make sure Hunter won the title, and it sure looked that wasy for several minutes. Rock would get hope spots, but Hunter kicked his ass and hit a pedigree. X-Pac, however, broke up the pin, and he and Hunter started bickering. Rock knocked Hunter out of the ring before it could go anywhere and we got X-Pac vs. Rock. Rock whipped him into the ropes, and he knocked Hunter off the apron into the announce desk. Rock is bravely going it alone her against the two bumbling fools who can't get out of each other's way. He went for the People's Elbow and everyone cheered. He had the match won with a rock bottom but Hunter broke it up. They took turns going one-on-one with Rock for a while, then finally Hunter and X-Pac started going at it. Rock took his belt and walked out, and the ref counted him out as Hunter and X-Pac brawled. So, I'm serious here, there was no winner, but Rock was named as the loser. Give me all night and I could not think of a finish that made everyone involved look like a bigger geek.

New Age Outlaws did an interview backstage saying they were a family, and money was thicker than water. They vowed to win their tag titles back tonight.

Brakus vs. Jesus. I know it's "Hay-zoos," but come on, JESUS is so much funnier. Brakus was every 1980s big lumbering powerlifter you ever saw. Crowd chanted "STEROIDS" as he hit a slam and some elbows and a horrible spinebuster for the win. It would have been a lot better if he had beaten Jesus with a crucifix.

Val Venis and Mrs. Yamaguchi-San were taking a shower backstage.

Val Venis vs. Brian Christopher. Kaientai came out on stage with a cutting block, some sausages, and a katana. Val won a short match, fighting off interference from Scott Taylor and hitting a fisherman's suplex for the win. Taka Michinoku ran out and started brawling with Too Much. Yamaguchi-San cut a promo saying they would challenge Val next week, and then have a big surprise for him, and sliced a sausage in half with the katana. "I CHOPPY-CHOPPY YOUR PEE-PEE!" he shouted. Val's reaction to this was stone-cold concern. He took this threat as gravely serious..

Cole interviewed LOD backstage. Animal did all the talking and was classic Animal. Hawk's makeup was smeared and he dropped his helmet and looked totally disinterested.

Mark Henry & Godfather vs. LOD 2000. This was the debut of Godfather's hos. Hawk was stumbling down the aisle and needed to be led to his corner. Then Animal tried to tag him in but he wasn't paying attention. Hawk was the least convincing drunk guy ever here. He needed to watch Eric Bischoff on that one Nitro a few weeks back. So it was the Nation beating up Animal here and it was dreadfully boring. Then it got sloppy as Animal had never wrestled this long and got blown up. The stuff with him and Mark Henry was HIDEOUS. They tried the Doomsday Device, but Hawk fell off the top rope. Godfather pinned Animal with an AA. Seriously.

Sable came out to accept a trophy for winning the bikini contest. They outright said that if you bought the PPV replay you would get to see Sable's tits. They had this big three-foot trophy for Sable, and a six-incher for the person who came in second. Lawler read a notice from Vince McMahon that Sable was disqualified from the bikini contest because body paint was not a bikini, so Jacqueline was the winner. Wasn't that the show where we saw Jacqueline's nipple? So she is a worthy winner. Mero and Jacqueline were happy and took the big trophy and left. Lawler presented Sable with his six-inch trophy and said she must be disappointed. Sable said she knew who won the contest, the fans spoke for themselves. But he wished Vince was man enough to come tell her to her face. Out came Vince. He was super pissed and said after Mero had gotten her kicked out of the company, he was the knight in shining armour who had brought her back. He said he could replace her with any bimbo or airhead, and she owed him, and he started playing with her hair. He warned her not to be an ungrateful bitch. He turned his back and she double flipped him off, then tore off her shirt to reveal a very small bikini.

New Age Outlaws vs. Undertaker & Stone Cold Steve Austin. I suggest we refer to the champs here as TOMBSTONE COLD. Or perhaps the COLD DEAD BODIES. Taker came out with both tag belts again. A beach ball ended up in the ring so Austin punted it into the stands. He ran wild for a bit until the Outlaws double-teamed him. DX have been the biggest heels on this show. Undertaker got chop-blocked for the heat as Austin accidentally had the ref. DX continued to be bumbling fools to set up the hot tag, but to be fair, they were great at it. Austin tagged in, ran wild, and pinned Road Dogg with a stunner. Taker chokeslammed Billy for good measure. Austin celebrated with his world title, and also beer. Then he stopped on the ramp and tossed a can to Taker. Taker accepted. Then Kane and Mankind jumped Austin from behind. Taker made the save as the show ended.

Wait! EXTRA ATTITUDE! Kane and Austin were brawling in the ring, with a ref. Austin hit a stunner and his music played. Taker was up on the stage watching and they had a staredown, and Taker left. Well this was pointless.

WCW Monday Nitro 150 (7/27/98)

nWo Hollywood, minus Hulk Hogan, came out for a promo. Scott Hall challenged the Wolfpac to a battle royal and promised the Giant would win. He said they had all the belts except one, and the crowd chanted for Goldberg. Brian Adams actually got to cut a promo and bragged about his wins in Japan, and challenged Goldberg for tonight.

Raven and the Flock were in the ring for a promo after the break. Raven ranted about being hated and despised, in high school and today. Saturn came jogging out in an effeminate tank top tucked into jean shorts. It was not the look I would have chosen. He called Raven a spoiled rich kid. Kanyon came out to attack Saturn, but Saturn suplexed him instead. Worst sneak attack ever. Raven invited Saturn to attack and Saturn picked him up for a DVD, but Kanyon made the save for some reason. And then the three of them just left. Well this was weird.

Barbarian vs. Hacksaw Duggan. WHAT? WHY? WHY WOULD YOU OPEN A NITRO IN 1998 WITH HACKSAW DUGGAN? They did some stuff for three or four minutes. Jimmy Hart jumped on the apron, Barbarian accidentally kicked him, and Duggan hit a schoolboy for the win. Hugh Morrus arrived to attack Barbarian, but Meng arrived to attack them both. He was no-selling everything, but Duggan still made the save with his board. They cleared the ring and Duggan offered a handshake, but Meng put him down with the death grip. Duggan was 44 when this was filmed. Barbarian was 40. Meng was 39.

Eric Bischoff and Elizabeth came out for their talk show segment. He told the worst jokes with the worst delivery since, well, last week. Liz was about as hot as she ever was here though. He was laughing at his own jokes, which is the most annoying thing in the world. He went on for a while, mostly about Jay Leno and his chin. He did, ironically, make fun of Leno for laughing a his own jokes. Finally he finished and I thought this was over, but no, he sat down at the desk to do Headlines. Did I mention how jaw-droppingly gorgeous Elizabeth was? This woman was amazing. He brought out a guest. It was Hulk Hogan. Hogan started running down Leno too and threatened to go to Burbank and beat him up. Eventually Bischoff threw it to commercial, but threatened there would be more later.

Nitro party clips from some pizza place somewhere. At least this one had women there.

Mean Gene brought DDP out for a promo. Page called Hogan scum a few times and said Hogan couldn't kill him. He forgot his line and tried to cover it up by acting so angry he couldn't speak. He promised to bang Hogan.

Scott Hall and Scott Norton came out for their second promo segment in the first 40 minutes of the show, this time joined by Dusty Rhodes. Hall challenged Sting to a match tonight. Dusty cut a promo on Zbyszko and claimed that under Texas rules, Larry was no longer allowed to speak. Then they left. Then they came back. Then they left again.

Scott Norton vs. Jim Neidhart. OH, CHRIST! It's Norton against a smaller, shittier version of himself. Thankfully it didn't last long. Norton no-sold a lariat, powerbombed the hell out of him, and pinned him in less than 20 seconds. "Hardly a contest," Tenay noted.

Goldberg video package. Better than most WCW work. Then they went into Goldberg's locker room, which had been ransacked, with nWo graffiti all over the walls.

Bret Hart came out to cut a promo about how wrestling was full of pimps and thieves where good men died young, but at least now he was a champion. He talked about how much respect he had for Sting, and how out of respect for Sting he had stayed on the fringes of the nWo. He added that Sting, like himself, had been the face of a company and been stabbed in the back. He said what happened last week between them was Sting's fault, and Sting should be a champion and learn from his mistake. But he closed by saying he was Sting's friend.

Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko. They basically did the last five minutes of a great 20-minute match, starting right away with big moves, nearfalls, and teased finishes. Dean hooked the cloverleaf to a big pop, but Jericho got the ropes. Jericho tried a superplex, but Malenko turned it into a top rope DDT. He made a cover but Jericho barely grabbed the ropes. Jericho rolled outside and did the most blatant job ever of putting on brass knucks. Dean ended up with them and knocked Jericho out with them, but the ref saw them and called for the DQ. This was apparently Malenko's last shot at the cruiserweight title, so the feud is done now I guess. This was fun while it lasted.

Gene promised he would have an interview with Goldberg soon.

Curt Hennig vs. Steve McMichael. Mongo's selling of a neck snap on the ropes was so great. Rude tripped him and Hennig won with a fisherman's suplex. Match went less than two minutes.

Hogan and Bischoff came out again. This show isn't even half over. Hogan promised to ride Page real hard. Is that before or after Page bangs him? That was it. This was a whole segment.

From Bash at the Beach, Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman vs. Dallas Page & Karl Malone. Michael Buffer claimed it was bigger than any championship, trophy, or belt. This was a lie, though yes, it was awfully big. Yes, they had enough time to do full entrances and introductions. God damn Dennis Rodman was skinny. Well, they did call him Worm. Buffer called Page and Malone "two men who align themselves with no affiliations or organizations." Well that's not true. Page wrestles for World Championship Wrestling. Malone plays basketball for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association. Malone looked phenomenal. Well, duh. There have been wrestlers who were that tall with bigger muscles, but very, very few with better physiques overall. MALONE AND RODMAN STARTED. The whole appeal here is to see what the basketball players can do, and you lead with it? We established that Rodman had a terrible headlock and couldn't run the ropes. Thankfully Hogan tagged in soon, and led Malone through the simplest, most basic stuff imaginable. They gave Rodman a second try. He had to hold Malone while Hogan threw a punch. He couldn't do that without falling down. Jesus, he's drunker here than Hawk was on Raw. Page tagged in and ran wild, but soon got cut off. Hogan was just taking things over on his own here, not trusting Rodman to do anything in the ring. Rodman did come in for a double boot and managed to not fall down there, so now Hogan trusted him to tag in and do a front facelock and then tag back out. Hogan missed a legdrop and Malone got the hot tag. He clotheslined and bodyslammed both heels. Disciple hit Page with a stunner and put Hogan on top and the ref counted three. Well, you knew Hogan was going to get the pin in a match with that high a profile, especially right after the clean job to Goldberg. Match was not very good but I have seen much worse. Call it (*) or so.

Goldberg did his whole entrance to join Mean Gene for an interview. Gene said this as just as momentous as Michael Jordan playing basketball or Mark McGwire breaking the home run record. Um, no. Goldberg said Hogan and his cronies were trying to destroy WCW, and Bryan Adams was next. That was it. It was fine, but this was the second time on the show somebody had done a three-minute entrance to do a one-minute promo.

Mean Gene brought Arn Anderson out for a promo. He said earlier tonight Dean had lost to somebody he should never lose to, and Mongo had lost to the guy who had torn up the Horsemen in the first place. He had asked them to let it be, now he was telling them to let it be.

They claimed the Bash at the Beach footage had been edited down to the "high spots" of Hogan and Rodman. Um, they showed the whole match. That was weird.

Scott Hall vs. Sting. You know what Sting did when he was running wild with Stinger splashes? He would run to a corner, then stop, then run back and hit the splash. He did not run full speed and bounce out of the corner like it didn't hurt. He started to do the scorpion, but Bret ran out to shout at him. So Sting beat his ass, but then Curt Hennig and Virgil jumped him for the DQ. Lex Luger and Kevin Nash ran out to clear the ring. Nash hit Vincent with about the worst powerbomb of his career and went for Hall, but Hall hit a low blow. Sting made a comeback and went to put Bret in the scorpion, but Bret squirmed away.

Scott Steiner came out, pushing Buff Bagwell in a wheelchair. He stopped to pose, releasing the chair so Buff went rolling out of control down the ramp, then frantically raced to Buff's side. Buff responded by flexing and smiling. Buff showed the scar where they went in to fuse his C3 and C4 vertebrae and said it wasn't fake, it was a calculated attack. They said the whole thing with Hogan tipping him over two weeks ago had been part of their plan to set a trap for Rick Steiner. Yes, Buff used Hogan as a prop to get to Rick Steiner. That's like a wrestler on Raw today using Roman Reigns to set up an attack on Goldust.

Brian Adams vs. Goldberg. This was short and messy but the crowd still went apeshit when Goldberg speared Adams, then Vincent. He hit one more on Adams, then a jackhammer for the win. He was still really, REALLY over.

Hulk Hogan vs. Dallas Page. Buffer repeated that Page was affiliated with no organizations or associations. They had every Hogan-Page match ever. Page hit the cutter and the nWo attacked for the DQ. Yup. Wolfpac ran out for a brawl. Heenan warned us not to touch the clicker as the credits appeared on screen. Goldberg hit the ring and wiped out the black-and-white, but then the Giant appeared and chokeslammed him as the Wolfpac walked away. This show was long and boring but not as bad as I had been warned.

WWE NXT (7/26/17)

Ember Moon vs. Lei'd Tapa. OH MY GOD. Of all the people to steal from TNA. They didn't have a graphic for her name, and she got zero reaction coming out. Ember did not look thrilled to be facing her. She may have legit been a foot taller than Ember. She proceeded to clothesline and throw Ember around in a careless manner. The good news is Tapa was so obviously a Goliath here that it forced the fans to get behind Moon's David. She made a comeback and won with the diving stunner. Went less than three minutes. That probably shows you how much faith they have in Tapa. Ember cut a promo demanding a match with Asuka at TakeOver: Brooklyn. She said she was ready for Asuka, but asked if Asuka was ready for her.

Aleister Black video package. Nothing new, really.

Authors of Pain vs. David Ramos & Timothy Bumpers. I am not making that second name up. TIMOTHY BUMPERS. What a great name for a wrestler. Nikki Cross blocked the Authors' path down the aisle, and then Killian Dane and Alexander Wolfe hit the ring and wiped out the geeks. Authors made their way to the ring, and the two teams brawled. Authors came out ahead and cleaned house. Crowd booed. This is a hard crowd anyway, and I do not like the odds of these two teams doing a heel program and getting a good reaction.

Street Profits hype video. They were clubbing and dancing and being cool.

Earlier Today, No Way Jose ran into Andrade Almas' mystery woman Selina Vega in the parking lot. She warned him that he would not be able to dance around Andrade's fire. Jose had nothing to say. Well this was lame.

Velveteen Dream vs. Cezar Bononi. Short, but fun while it lasted. Bononi throws a great punch and Velveteen is great at selling them. He hit the cartwheel AA and a top rope elbow for the win. Velveteen then did an interview with a woman who looked totally off guard that she would be interviewing someone. She asked about his goals in NXT. He said she was dressed well enough to interview him, but the fans were too ugly, so she would have to wait.

Christy St. Cloud interviewed William Regal, who announced Ember vs. Asuka for Brooklyn.

Drew McIntyre came out for a promo. He said in four weeks he had a title match in Brooklyn. He talked about arriving in WWE as the Chosen One. Fans did not get where he was going with this and chanted "CHOSEN ONE." He said he had not been the hardest worker in the room, and he had failed. So he had a come to Jesus moment and became the hardest worker in the damn world. He said he had been pushed by all the other hard-working guys and girls on the NXT roster, and had signed there because everyone walked side by side as equals—except Bobby Roode. He said Bobby was ENTITLED. He said NXT belonged to the fans and asked everyone in the building and at home to rise to their feet, because they were all NXT. HELL of a promo here.

Another Aleister Black video. He already debuted. What's going on?.

Raul Mendoza debuted in a backstage interview. He's wrestling Johnny Gargano next week. With a thick accent, Raul said Johnny had been training hard, but he had been training hard too, and next week would be about him, not Johnny.

Hideo Itami vs. Kassius Ohno. I need somebody to explain to me why Chris Hero wore pleather pants when he was skinny, but switched to trunks when he got fat. They did a bunch of strike exchanges early and then Itami took over. Itami is good enough and kicks hard enough that this was believable despite the huge size difference. Ohno deserves credit for that too. Eventually he ran through a kick and made his comeback. Itami cut him off and hit a hesitation dropkick RIGHT IN THE HEAD. He tried a go to sleep, but Ohno escaped, so Itami kicked him in the balls for the DQ. LAME. I'm looking back over these notes, and this whole show was lame. Drew's promo was the best part. Itami unleashed on Ohno with kicks afterwards. He tried a go to sleep, but fucked it up, so he tried again. Then he dragged Ohno outside and did a modified go to sleep, dropping Ohno's face on the stairs.

Lucha Underground Season 3: Booyaka! Booyaka!

The wacky lucha rock band was doing a "THIS IS AWESOME" song. Great.

Cueto Cup match: The Mack vs. Texano. They did some phat-ass lucha, then shook hands and began to fight like men. Mack hit a giant flip dive. They traded chops for a while. They did some brawling on the floor and teased a double countout. Mack started throwing Texano around with suplexes and slams, but then Famous B appeared in the ring behind him and shot him with a squirt gun. Striker said that when his cats were naughty, he sprayed them with vinegar. What? Mack hit B with a stunner, but then turned around and Texano hit a powerbomb for the win. This was a very good pro wrestling match and I am sad they couldn't just both advance.

I guess spraying cats with vinegar is a thing. I've always used water.

Son of Havoc was at the bar, without his vest. Barkeep passed him a shot, but Son of Madness intercepted it. They had a confrontation and Havoc said he wasn't going back. They had the most technically sound barfight of all time. Basically, the gang wants Havoc to come back, but Havoc doesn't want to.

The White Rabbit Tribe were playing checkers when Mascarita Sagrada brought them a gift. They begged his forgiveness for losing in the tournament. He left the present and walked away. The box was full of styrofoam peanuts, and then a rabbit's foot. They all screamed, I guess in terror? Because they like rabbits? I don't know.

Cueto Cup match: Drago vs. Pentagon Dark. Drago's wrestling and lucha has always been good, but I've never noticed how terrible his punches and elbows are. But like I said, his wrestling is good, and most of this was fun fast-paced action. I like when Drago tried a lethal injection and Pentagon caught him with a dropkick while he was upside down. Pentagon caught him with a half nelson driver for a nearfall. Drago ran wild a bit and got booed. He went up top, but Pentagon pulled him down and hit a package piledriver for the win. He went to break Drago's arm afterwards. Kobra Moon hit the ring and he superkicked her. He went to break Drago's arm again, but Aero Star hit the ring and laid Pentagon out. Fans booed that. Aero Star demanded a handshake from his old buddy Drago, but Drago laid him out instead. Then Drago and Kobra watched as Pentagon broke Aero Star's arm.

Katrina confronted Pentagon backstage. She said Mil Muertes owed him a beating, and if they met in the Cueto Cup, Mil would end him.

PJ Black vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. I believe this entire match was one giant spot consisting of 5,000 moves. I mean, it was fine, even good, but it looked like every single thing they did was pre-planned. Rey tried a top rope rana, but PJ rolled through and hit a Styles clash for a nearfall. Striker called it a faithbreaker. Swear to god. Ref got bumped. Rey had a cover after a DDT, but Johnny Mundo hit the ring and attacked him. Vampiro, the ultimate evil guy, was APPALLED by this. Soon Jack Evans joined in too. Dragon Azteca hit the ring and cleaned house but then Taya appeared and took him out. Underground laid Black on top of Rey and revived the ref, but Rey kicked out. PJ's facials there were great, and we could only see his eyeballs. Dragon grabbed a chair and chased the Underground away. Rey soon hit the 619 and a springboard frog splash for the win. Rey cut a promo afterwards, going back and forth from Spanish to English, saying this didn't concern PJ, it concerned Mundo. He said Mundo would not be able to run forever. Then in English he said he had a title match in four weeks. He and the people would make history by becoming Lucha Underground champion. A fine episode of TV, but nothing you need to go out of your way to see.