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Figure Four Weekly 8/28/2017: Mayweather vs McGregor lives up to the spectacle

Mayweather vs. McGregor Lives Up To The Spectacle

by Joseph Currier (@josephcurrier)

Conor McGregor may not have defeated Floyd Mayweather last Saturday night, but a similarly impossible upset did happen -- the superfight delivered on almost every level.

It seemed like that had no chance of happening going into the night. Spectacles in sports rarely do meet the hype going into them; it's almost impossible for them to. Mayweather vs. McGregor in particular appeared destined to leave audiences unsatisfied when it seemed like the peak of the night would just be those two stepping into the ring together.

But, despite all reasonable prognostication, an enjoyable boxing match went down. McGregor was clearly underestimated heading into the matchup. A lot of his early success in the fight may have been due to Mayweather's gameplan of feeling his opponent out and waiting for him to tire, but McGregor avoided embarrassment while crossing over into a new venture and wasn't outclassed by an all-time great.

Did McGregor ever have a chance of winning? His chances were marginal despite his better-than-expected performance. He was never going to outpoint Mayweather (even if you did have him winning the first three rounds) and only ever utilized his best power at a couple of moments.

But there were no losers on Saturday night. Aside from his gigantic payday, Mayweather got the win and advanced to 50-0. With him entering back into retirement after the night, he closed his career on the best note possible to the pay-per-view buying general public. He eventually worked aggressively and helped produce a match that entertained in a way that his bout with Manny Pacquiao failed to.

McGregor also exited stronger than he was going in. He got what may always stand as his biggest single-night payout in his career. He became a bigger star than he was previously. And he has plenty of options available for what he does next.

There was speculation that McGregor would be done with mixed martial arts after facing Mayweather, but it always seemed like he was using the biggest moment of his career as a springboard instead of an endpoint. He's someone that at least gives the appearance that he loves fighting, and he at least loves being a fighter if that isn't genuine. McGregor wants to keep building his brand, and continuing to have high-profile fights is the best way for him to do that.

There will be more offers to continue boxing, though McGregor should be cautious about pressing his luck. The Mayweather fight went about as well as could be expected. Expectations for him were low and he flew past them. There will be pressure for him to win fights if he ever boxes again, with only opponents of far lesser stature and smaller paydays available if he continues.

Maybe something like a Mayweather rematch will become a possibility in the future. Mayweather looks to be done boxing, but that would always be something that he could come back to if he needs the money. You could sell that a more experienced McGregor has more of a chance against an older Mayweather, but McGregor would be better served refocusing on MMA. Pretty much any matchup would be massive for him now, with a third bout against Nate Diaz looming as the biggest fight in UFC history.

The UFC themselves will have to manage McGregor's increased stardom and having to pay their biggest draw more money (with McGregor likely to push for co-promotion opportunities), but that's a good problem to have. At a time when they need crossover stars, McGregor is the biggest the company has ever had.

It's hard not to be happy for McGregor. He willed the biggest moment of his professional life into existence when most laughed at the possibility. If he hadn't recovered after losing to Diaz the first time, or if he suffered any setbacks along the way, this wouldn't have been possible. He transcended MMA stardom and, if only for a night, entered the center of the cultural conversation in the United States and beyond.

The lead-up to the fight may have at times been an overbearing circus, but Mayweather vs. McGregor was a solid boxing match. Most being happy with their $100 PPV purchase ended up being the real biggest upset of the night.

Mexico Notes

by Dr. Lucha Steve Sims (@DrLuchaJr)

TripleMania XXV has come and gone. Overall, despite several flaws and failures, it served its overarching main purposes very well. It did what it needed. It drew the largest gate in Mexico for a lucha libre card; over 20,000 tickets were sold, and the though some were never used, it still drew a big crowd. In addition, and perhaps most crucially, the promotion delivered 100% on its life-or-death-level promise in the main event – the match came off as advertised; one man beat the other cleanly; and a clean unmasking occurred. To the amazement of many, on a one-match card, in the only match the fans really came to see, business was done correctly

In that one match, The Psycho Clown defeated The Doctor Wagner junior, one fall to zero, in 20:08, via clean pinfall with The Code Red. Wagner, Juan Manuel González Barrón, 52, then cleanly unmasked to reveal his face and all of the gray in his beard and hair (his real name had been widely known since the El Norte newspaper printed it its obituary of his father).

AAA for one night – its most important night – looked big-time. The fans left satisfied if not happy – the got exactly what they paid for and been promised – and financially the promotion was saved. The quality of the matches on the card varied widely, but most all matches and angles were there to fill out a major card as something special. If the world operates on the perception of reality, not reality, as I have surmised before on these pages, the AAA hit a home run, as the fans left with an overall positive perception.

The main event has gotten some poor reviews and some so-so reviews. I am at the upper end of that scale, I thought it was fine and accomplished its purpose well. If they were going to use blood and out-of-ring brawling here as they did, I wish it had not bene so heavily used in the preceding matches. In a way, it was good that the fans were just there for this match, because once the main-eventers got to the ruing, everything they had in their bag of tricks had been done multiple times already on the card. It was not the spectacle it could have been, but it was more than acceptable to me.

The rest of the card was, ahem, interesting. The semifinal saw Johnny Mundo retain his Triple Crown in a great war against Hijo de Fantasma and Texano Jr. (who by the way both need some major wins in the next few months, they have lost A LOT this year). Were I GFW, an if they were allowed by Lucha: Underground, I'd run this match (untouched except re-doing the English commentary) on their show, for Mundo really looked like a giant champion star here. Brutal and blood, this is a most recommended match. With the addition of Kevin Kross, Vampiro, and Mascara de Bronce, they included pieces of the angles they are going to highlight for the next few months, a necessity with the main event having a clean blow-off.

The rest of the card was, well, odd. Pagano and Mesias had a fair match, not too good but far, far from the worst of the card. Rey Escorpion debuted by attacking both men, injecting himself into a feud that will also be a main feud for AAA for the next few months.

As far the rest, meh. The tournament to add new youngsters to the roster, Llave de la Gloria, came to a conclusion with all 14 finalists added to the roster as a "training class;" I just hope that this means they are remembered and improved, and not just forgotten – giving them frequent TV matches will help. The ten-team trios Royal Rumble was a concept that someone like PWG could make a match of the year out of, but here, well, it was what it was. And as for the women, and The Sexy Star, well, if you are reading this and need an example of why I say and write the things I do about her, her actions in her match on this show is Exhibit, oh, 483 and counting.

Now, the lucha focus switches to CMLL. This Friday is their Gran Prix. Two weeks after that, the anniversary show. For the Gran Prix, I am mildly excited. For the Anniversary show, well, I have less excitement for this one than any other of the past 20 years. More on this next week, as well as the less-than-it-appears news of Rush and his dad being contracted outto The Crash.

Europe Notes

by Oliver Court (@AnotherOli)

This weekend, Danny Jones, a young Welshman who makes regular appearances for ATTACK and Dragon Pro, made his Sumo Hall debut as part of his excursion with All Japan Pro Wrestling. Jones has wrestled on all of AJPW's Summer Explosion tour shows and will remain with them for about another two months, when he'll get to show what he's learned back in the UK. Jones worked the Sumo Hall show in very much an undercard role, teaming with fellow excursionees Massimo and Sam Adonis in a loss to a Ryoji Sai-led Land's End team, but got plenty of chances to show his skills in the match. None of his other matches have been released in full yet, but highlights from All Japan's YouTube channel show off some of his exchanges with top-tier wrestlers like Kento Miyahara, so he's getting chances to mix it up with the big boys. It'll be very exciting to track the progress of Danny upon his return to Britain, where he'll surely get many more opportunities outside of Wales.

wXw this week released the full lineup of teams for their World Tag Team League weekend in October, which they hope will match the brilliance of the 16 Carat weekend earlier in the year. Native teams Ringkampf, A4, Massive Product and champions The Young Lions are joined by four outsiders, the most exciting of which is probably the team of Low-Ki and Homicide, two indie wrestling legends who will bring something unique to the tournament. While The Briscoes are a great team, they're announcement is less interesting than EYFBO, AKA the new LAX team of Ortiz and Santana. They're a strong team but very overlooked, so a great weekend in wXw would really expose them to a new audience. Those seven teams are joined by The Spirit Squad, an inoffensive ex-WWE/comedy tag team who should sell a few tickets and raise some laughs, but alongside the otherwise super-indie lineup, they do seem out of place. With eight teams in the running, wXw look to be sticking to the 'group' format of last year's tournament rather than an elimination structure. They're right to do so, because the groups allow for some weekend-long storytelling and more unpredictable booking, as well as giving WTTL its own identity as a weekend.

Japan Notes

by Alan Counihan (@Alan4L)

The bounce-back of All Japan Pro Wrestling continued with another show at Sumo Hall following their successful return to the venue last November. This past Sunday they drew an announced crowd 6,550 which even if you subtract a number for comps, is still healthy for where the company is at right now.

Just as important going forward was the fact that they once again delivered a strong card that the fans in the building loved and the reaction to company ace Kento Miyahara after the main event made him look like a guy they can continue to build their promotion on the back of.

There was all kinds of variety up and down the card. Fans were treated to legends such as Dory Funk Jr, Great Kabuki and Ultimo Dragon, a Joshi offer match from Actwres girl´Z, the lucha stylings of Caristico and El Diamante, and appearances by New Japan stars Satoshi Kojima and Taichi. It was definitely a case of something for everyone, and most of the undercard was relatively short so if anything didn't tickle your fancy you didn't have to endure it for very long.

The two big title matches were what made the show though. In the contest to decide the vacant tag team titles, Big Japan's Daisuke Sekimoto and Yuji Okabayashi showed exactly why many fans consider them the best tag team in the world on their day. They put in Trojan work against the newly formed team of KAI and young Naoya Nomura (the Nomura that you don't hear a ton of hype about!), and the result was a cracker of a match, as good as all but a few tag contests this year. Nomura and KAI are only a team because their respective partners (Jake Lee and Kengo Mashimo) got hurt this Summer but they have great chemistry and Nomura in particular really rose to the occasion. The closing stretch between him and Okabayashi was incredible with both guys showing tons of fire before the BJW man put the youngster away with a Golem Splash.

The main event was certainly the most anticipated bout on the show and whilst Shuji Ishikawa's defence against Miyahara may not have hit the lofty heights some expected of it, it was an excellent Heavyweight World Title contest. The match built slowly but increased in terms of drama and intensity with every passing minute. An insane Fire Thunder by Ishikawa on the apron jolted the bout up a gear and they were building towards what could have been an incredible finishing stretch when Miyahara got an unexpected three count from his trusty Shutdown Suplex. Whilst the name does indicate that it's a match-ender, fans were expecting just a little bit more would be needed to topple the wall that is Ishikawa. Nevertheless the reaction in the post-match was strong and the crowd appeared to be delighted to have Miyahara as champion again.

The only dampener on the show was the much anticipated Suwama vs. Kojima match which was playing off real life tensions from years ago when Kojima left All Japan. They did a very 80s style angle where Joe Doering (who is so like 1984 Stan Hansen) attacked Suwama before Kojima's entrance. It was a risky booking move which in another era may have led to a super hot match but here it killed the crowd and the match was totally flat as a result. Kojima's win got no reaction.

TV Reviews

by Bryan's Friend Vince (@FO_VVerhei)

Retro NWA (8/1/87)

They showed clips of Paul Jones and his army attacking Jimmy Garvin.

Announcers ran their mouths about how great the Horsemen were for a while. Jim Cornette came out for a promo. He had stars and stripes gear on and claimed the Midnight Express was America's most patriotic team.

Midnight Express vs. George South & Cougar Jay. Cornette ran down every babyface team in the world and said the Mulkeys deserved the next title shot. He noted that South and Jay were not doing the job, "though they will be in a minute." Midnights won with a goofy move called the "chiropractic crunch" and a flapjack. Cornette did a promo saying that win hadn't done anything to impress anyone, because everybody was already impressed with them. They had one pair of sunglasses and were just passing them back and forth. Cornette ran his mouth and promised to win the world tag team titles.

Jimmy Garvin vs. Thunderfoot #2. Jimmy gave him way too much offense and then won with a brainbuster, dropping Foot right on the side of his head. He called out the Horsemen, as well as Paul Jones' army, saying they were all coming after him since Flair had tried to break his leg. They showed the clip from the beginning, with the Army trying to break his leg until Ronnie hit the ring with a chair to make the save. He promised his leg was feeling fine and kissed Precious and left.

Nikita Koloff vs. David Isley. Nikita no-sold some stuff and hit a shoulder tackle and the sickle for the win. David Crockett was giddy about Nikita taking this guy's head off.

Rock & Roll Express cut a promo wearing Los Angeles t-shirts. Gibson's included the Mexican flag. Morton talked about fighting to defend the belts and represent all the people. Gibson thankfully spoke not one word.

Nikita cut a promo. He called out Cornette, then had Schiavonie read off the list of men he had defended the US title against, saying it was much more impressive than the men Lex Luger was defending against.

Barry Windham vs. Dave Spearman. Barry beat him up and won with the lariat.

Barry cut a promo after the break. He plugged a West Coast tour, including stops in Seattle and Portland. He plugged title defenses against Arn Anderson and Eddie Gilbert. Arn came out for his match next and they had a shouting contest. Barry offered him a title shot in Denver on the 17th.

Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson vs. Keith Patterson & Dexter Wescott. Keith Patterson was short and skinny. He tagged in and started throwing punches to the gut, and Tully no-sold them and dropped him with one shot, and Patterson went down and shouted "OH GOD!" A fine jobber. He was also black, so of course Tully had to tell him to "shine my shoes, boy!" Arn eventually pinned him with a DDT and gourdbuster. They laid Wescott out with one for good measure. They cut a promo with Dillon talking about all the fancy cars they drove. He explained that nobody with money paid for anything with cash, they all made payments. Actually, I believe that is the opposite of the truth. Anyway, JJ said they needed cash to make their car payments. So they're up to their eyeballs in debt? Arn called out Windham, and also the Rock & Roll Express. Tully then buried Robert Gibson for not being able to talk a lick. Then he pointed out that Rock & Roll fans were all in shorts and t-shirts, while their fans were out their in suit and tie. God DAMN Tully was great. GREAT. You hear me? Great.

Dusty Rhodes came out for a promo, in jeans and a t-shirt, in fact. He buried the fans in suits as pretty boys. Then he bragged about making half a million dollars in the past three weeks, and being the most talented individual in the country. He called out Lex Luger in Denver on the 17th, said he had a pea brain, and told the fans in suits they sucked.

Sean Royal vs. Ricky Nelson. So, for once and for all, Sean Royal was the tall guy in the New Breed. He treated Nelson like a Poor Little Fool. (Nobody will get that joke.) He won bell-to-bell and hit a top-rope kneedrop for the win.

Paul Jones and Ivan Koloff cut a promo calling out the Road Warriors. "PIGS DON'T KNOW PIGS STINK!" he cried, then paused as if he had said something terribly profound. He promised that Ivan and Vladimir Pietrov would take the Warriors' international tag titles. Ivan called out the Garvins for good measure.

Ron Garvin vs. Thunderfoot #1. Foot missed a kick in the corner, which caused him to fall down, and Ronnie punched him and won.

Garvin did a promo after the break. He started talking about idiots and fools, then said he had crossed the border and become an American, and in this country you had the opportunity to achieve anything you wanted, and he wanted to be world champion. For the better part of the past decade, only Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes could really say they were world champion. Well by that definition Ronnie never had it either. He promised that one day Ric Flair would be cutting a promo at that desk hanging his head, with no title, because Garvin was gunning for him.

"Stretch a bit -- but stay tuned!".

Flair came out for a promo. He called out the fans in suits too, then called out Garvin, saying he was no Ric Flair, he wasn't man enough to beat Ric Flair. He promised to retire Garvin from this business, and wipe Denver off the map like the New York Giants had in the Super Bowl.

Lex Luger vs. Alan Martin. Lex squashed him and won with the rack. People always went crazy when he called for that move.

Dillon and Lex cut a promo after the break. Once again, Dillon called out the "junior executives" in the crowd. He talked about taking out a $2 million insurance policy on Lex's future. He ranted for a while, then apologized to Lex for getting so upset. Lex addressed the dating game in Philadelphia, saying the city was not known for good-looking women, but he was going to give an ordinary woman a chance for the night of her life. He said Nikita Koloff was at the bottom of the pile now, and he was focused on Dusty Rhodes. He said movie and TV producers were coming after him, not Dusty. He called himself the athlete of the Year 2000. Well that was optimistic.

Ivan Koloff vs. Dale Laperouse. Well where in the hell did they find this skinny dork? HOLY SHIT! Look at him run the ropes and take bumps! No way he had ever been in the ring before. Not a chance. Ivan won with the Russian Hammer.

Ricky Morton came out in a new shirt to cut another promo. He said he could stand on his billfold and jump over Tully's head.

Ralph Rubio vs. White Raider. This was the announced match, but Tully was at the podium, and Morton walked up and slapped him and they hit the ring and started brawling. I am so sad we are not going to see the WHITE RAIDER. Tully tried to flee, but Gibson threw him back in, then stopped JJ from making the save. Morton hit something like a crossbody as the show ended, and they were teasing he was going to win the TV title right here and now. Well the last five minutes sure saved that show.

WWE Retro Raw 274 (8/24/98)

A door opened. Undertaker walked through it. Kane followed him. Yup. Convenient of them to wait to do this until right when the show was starting. Then they came out for a promo. So after all this time and all these secrets they just come out as a team. Jim Ross said this was bad news for Steve Austin and I have no idea why. Before they could say anything, Vince McMahon came out and said Taker and Kane had "come out of the casket." He said with Kane by his side, Taker did not need his help to be WWF champion now. WHY? WHY DOES TAKER BEING FRIENDS WITH KANE MAKE IT MORE LIKELY HE WILL BEAT STEVE AUSTIN? THIS MAKES NO SENSE! He warned Taker would he would eventually need his help. Then a very sad looking Paul Bearer made his way to the ring. He begged and pleaded Kane not to leave him after he had loved Kane his whole life. He called Kane's mother a sleazy whore. Taker stepped forward, because that's his mom too, but Kane stopped him. Bearer said he had never lied to Kane, but Taker had. He asked Kane to do him one last favor: destroy the Undertaker. Kane turned his back and walked away, and Taker began to beat the hell out of Bearer. Then Mankind came out, and Taker and Kane both beat the hell out of him. Crowd loved that. They killed him with a spiked tombstone. This with Kane and Mankind defending the tag team championships at SummerSlam in six days. Vince was very happy about how dangerous Taker was and how he would beat Austin at SummerSlam. Austin came out, but nearly got cooked up by Kane's pyro. Then he cut his promo anyway. Austin said he knew he didn't have much of a chance against both Taker and Kane. Sure, but so what? Is it a handicap match now? Why does any of this matter? Austin vowed to take one of them out tonight and beat Taker and SummerSlam. And that was it. Neither Taker nor Kane ever spoke.

They showed Mankind being put into an ambulance backstage.

Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn. They have been building this as the rubber match after two UFC fights since the moment Severn appeared on Raw, then they just throw the match out there in a random Raw opener as a total surprise. They were doing a weird mix of pro-style chain wrestling and actual submission grappling when Severn just picked him up and hit a massive powerbomb. They were doing stuff when Owen Hart ran out and attacked Shamrock for the DQ. Severn was happy about this. Owen locked Shamrock in a dragon sleeper until Steve Blackman ran down to make the save. Crowd went nuts for the run-ins. Then Shamrock SNAPPED~! and attacked Blackman, but Blackman defended himself and laid Shamrock out. Shamrock SNAPPED~! again and a bunch of geeks ran away. Ken Shamrock, Geek of the Week here in 1998.

Backstage, Mankind had laid the EMTs out and was pushing the stretcher around backstage.

After the break, Mankind pushed the stretcher out and surfed it down the ramp. "IT WAS CAHOOTS ALL ALONG!" he said. He said Vince had been right about Kane all along. There was a Hell in a Cell cage hanging above the ring. He challenged Kane to a Cell match, acknowledging he would get his ass kicked. He outright said he would climb to the top of the cage and try to throw Kane through or off it. And if that failed, he would use thumbtacks. How do you use thumbtacks when you're wrestling on a chainlink floor? He said had had his ass kicked in Philadelphia before, and pushed a thumbtack into his face.

Highlight reel of the Mankind-Taker cell match, including Mick Foley nearly dying several times.

Sable came out and announced Kurrgan and the Oddities. They all danced together. Let me tell you something. You have never, ever, ever, EVER, in your LIFE, seen anyone as uncomfortable as Sable was here dancing with the circus freaks. Mankind would have been happier going off the Cell again than Sable was here. Austin would have been happier going into the fire. This was the most cringeworthy thing I've ever seen in my life. Kurrgan vs. Marc Mero. Mero came out alone, without Jacqueline, and challenged Kurrgan to send the Oddities to the back too. Sable stayed out there. They did horrible wrestling for a minute and then Jacqueline ran through the crowd and attacked Sable. Camera totally missed showing her face. Mero hit a low blow for the DQ, Oddities ran out, and Mero and Jacqueline fled through the crowd. The absolute worst of pro wrestling television right here.

X-Pac led a camera crew backstage to record him pissing into Jeff Jarrett's boots. No, we did not see his penis or urine, just heard fluid spattering on the floor.

Southern Justice were in the ring and the announcers were trying to read the promo material, but Hawk was on mic talking over them. He talked about "no-selling" a Lawler piledriver in 1986. Lawler said to "cizzut his mizzike." Was that necessary? He couldn't have just said to cut the mic? Then the New Age Outlaws came out and did their schtick.

New Age Outlaws vs. Southern Justice. Hawk was back on the mic. Jarrett came out in socks and cut a promo on a mic that wasn't working. So he stole Hawk's headseat and demanded X-Pac come out. There was a match going on in the ring. Jarrett vowed to beat X-Pac at SummerSlam and shave him bald. This distracted the ref and Jarrett's buddies Southern Justice, and Billy Gunn hit a piledriver and Phineas got pinned. Jarrett was so upset about costing his friends a loss that he said he was happy the stinkin' match was over. Then he attacked a cameraman and Southern Justice helped him shave the guy's head. Awful TV. Awful awful awful.

Kane vs. Mankind in a Hell in a Cell for no good goddamn reason. Kane and Taker came out together. Mankind came out alone. He tried to climb the cage but some refs stopped him. So he punched them out and slammed Kane's head in the door. He tried and failed to throw a chair up on the roof, and the chair twice bounced down to ground level and apparently tok out Lawler. Mankind tried to climb but Taker yanked him down and through a table. Then Kane was there beating Mankind's ass. Eventually they made it into the ring and locked the door. Kane did a fucking plancha, and Mankind, with nowhere to go, got his head driven into the Cell. He came back with a chair and started wrapping it around Kane's head, then poured out the thumbtacks. He hit a piledriver, but Kane shook it off and began to waffle Mankind with the chair. Kane was doing stuff with thumbtacks all over his ass. He hit a chokeslam and tombstone, but didn't make the cover. He looked at Taker, he gave him the throat slash gesture. So we got more chairs to the head, then a tombstone onto the chair. Then Steve Austin came out from under the ring and attacked Kane for a DISQUALIFICATION IN A HELL IN A CELL MATCH. I give up. You couldn't just let Kane pin Mankind? Goddamit. Taker was fighting to get into the Cell and save Kane. He climbed to the top and tried to stomp his way through, but then Vince pushed the button that raised the Cell to the ceiling of the arena. In case you were wondering, nobody cared if the wrestlers lived or died during the Monday night wars. So Austin dropped Kane with a stunner and left.

After the break, Taker and Kane were in the ring, and the Cell was being raised again. Taker finally spoke, saying Austin was a coward. Kane was bleeding all over the place, which is terrible news considering he wrestles in a thick leather mask. Taker promised Austin would meet his destiny tonight.

Oh my god, this show's only an hour old? I'm exhausted. They promised Taker and Austin would fight tonight, but it would not be a match and there would be no titles on the line.

Chyna came down to the ring. Rock came down to ringside. The Nation came out to join him, along with various weaponry. Rock said if Chyna wanted to call him out, here he was. He knew this whole thing was a trap, that DX would come out and try to tear up his $500 shirt, but he was too smart for that. They put a shot on the big screen of DX trying to get out of their locker room, but the door was blocked by a forklift. Rock climbed a ladder and cut a promo hyping up the ladder match at SummerSlam. As for Chyna, Rock knew she was tense and frustrated, and she wanted him. Chyna charged, but D-Lo and Owen grabbed her. Rock cut a promo on her and was about to kiss her, then changed his mind and said she was beneath him. He ordered Mark Henry to kiss her, which disgusted Mark at first, but then he got excited. Shawn Michaels ran out with a chair and cleared the ring, drilling Mark in the head with it. He passed the chair to Chyna and danced on the announce desk.

DX was storming through the parking lot in search of the Nation.

Val Venis vs. Taka Michinoku. Ross asked Shawn why he had helped Chyna. What a stupid question. Shawn said he had seen a damsel in distress and helped her. Duh. They wrestled for a minute and Hunter came out with a chair. Val hit a splash and Hunter hit him with a chair for the DQ, then fucking drilled poor Taka in the back of the head with a chair. This fucking show. He vowed to make Rocky his bitch at SummerSlam.

X-Pac vs. Gangrel. They showed Edge watching again. "He's a troubled, troubled soul, that Edge," HBK noted. "Troubled, troubled soul." Match was very fun for two minutes and then Jarrett broke a guitar over X-Pac's head for the DQ. The concussions up and down this show, all for no reason. Hunter and Chyna chased Jarrett away. They were helping X-Pac out when Edge hit the ring and attacked Gangrel. Eventually he left and Gangrel laughed.

Taker was pushing a casket around.

Bart Gunn vs. Bradshaw in the Brawl for All finals. This was two Takayamas wailing on each other. Bart got a knockdown 30 seconds in. The fight should have stopped there, but they let it go, and Bart immediately finished him off with a right and a left. That's another concussion. Shawn noted that he was no tough guy, but these guys were. So there you go, Bart Gunn comes out of nowhere and lays out a bunch of big scary men and comes out on top. Announcers were going crazy about how he had opened the door and they couldn't wait to see where his career went from here. I know, right? It's going to be great watching Bart's star rise!.

Michael interviewed Vince McMahon backstage. Vince promised he would get the answer he wanted from Undertaker by the end of the night.

Druids rolled a casket down to the ring as the announcers said Austin was finished. Then Taker came out. He cut a promo vowing to beat Steve Austin face to face, not jump him from behind. He promised Kane would not interfere at SummerSlam. Then what in the fuck has been the point of the last month of TV? He was rambling on when Vince came out. He demanded to know if Taker was his friend or his foe. Taker offered a handshake, then chokeslammed him instead. Then Austin popped out of the casket, talked trash with Vince, then confronted Taker. Then Kane was in the casket and attacked Austin as Taker watched. Austin fled and grabbed a chair, then as he walked up the ramp, flames shot up through the metal. "Hey, fire, look at that," Shawn noted. Austin and Taker stared each other down as the go-home segment for SummerSlam. OH GOD THERE'S EXTRA ATTITUDE. Austin went down to ringside. Kane left the ring. Austin went back up the ramp and went backstage and left. OK, they're just trolling people with these now. It's all a rib. Anyway, this show sucked. Oh, there's Austin beating up the Stooges, and Taker chokeslamming one, and that's it. Still sucked.

WCW Monday Nitro 154 (8/24/98)

Hollywood Hogan and his crew arrived in a limo and made their way to the ring. Bischoff bragged about running Vader and Johnny B Badd out of WCW, and could keep anybody in or out if he chose, in reference to "Eddie," as in Eddie Guerrero. Hogan ran down DDP, "the Ultimate Warrior" (oops), Kevin Nash, and Goldberg. And that was it.

Mike Enos vs. Wrath. This started off fine and then got very bad very quickly. Wrath took two of the worst turnbuckle bumps you'll ever see, then both guys flew at each other and totally forgot the spot in midair and both crashed and looked at each other. Wrath won with a pumphandle powerslam.

Recap of Nitro last week, dancing Nitro Girls, Nitro Party clips, all sorts of bullshit that is not wrestling.

Kaz Hayashi vs. Dean Malenko. They had a fun back-and-forth match. Hayashi got several nearfalls, but finally he missed a leg lariat, and Dean hit a leg lariat of his own, then the double underhook powerbomb and cloverleaf for the win.

Wolfpac hype video, then the Wolfpac came out for a promo. Nash ran down Hogan and Bischoff and said one day he would run the company. He talked about getting speared by Goldberg, and said if Goldberg wanted to make things right, he would team with Nash against Hogan & Giant tonight. Goldberg came out, doing his full entrance with security detail and everything. He walked to the ring, put a finger in Nash's chest, said "You got it," and walked out. Fans booed because they hadn't heard him, but Nash smartened them up, then said Hogan and Giant were next.

Konnan vs. Jim Neidhart. I give this match a zero percent chance of being any good. Well, it exceeded my low expectations. Anvil missed a splash and Konnan won with an X-factor and the tequila sunrise.

Tony Schiavonie brought Stevie Ray out for a promo. He promised to get his title back from Chris Jericho when Booker T interrupted. Book said he had taken some time off to heal up, and in that time Stevie had pretended to be TV champion, then lost the belt. Stevie said JJ Dillon was driving a wedge between them. Schiavonie picked this moment to say Booker T was getting a US title shot against Bret Hart. Stevie was outraged and said they should be getting tag title shots. Booker ran down Bret and asked Stevie to watch his back, but Stevie stormed off.

Schiavonie brought Dallas Page out for a promo. He was looking for members for Team WCW for WarGames, and asked in anyone wanted to step up to the plate. Out came Roddy Piper. Piper congratulated DDP for fighting for WCW, then said he was the one guy Eric Bischoff could not fire. He promised to be one of Page's partners in WarGames, and said Warrior should be the third. He promised to do everything he could to make that happen before the show was over.

Mongo vs. Riggs. Crowd was chanting for Ric Flair and Mongo was cheering them on. Mongo's spiraling descent continues. Looked like he had never run the ropes before. And he kept doing these hysterical bumps where he would jump backwards with his arms down at his sides. Meanwhile, Schiavonie said a trademark characteristic of the Flock was "the way they don't bathe." Then Mongo made a comeback with some terrible football tackles. Match went way too long and Mongo won with a tombstone. Horace and Sick Boy hit Mongo with a stop sign so WCW could get some concussions too, and then he and Sick Boy put the boots to him. Malenko ran out to make the save. Then Saturn ran out and pushed Malenko. He tried a tope onto Horace, but Horace threw the stop sign at him and he crashed and burned. I'll just assume everyone died there. Mongo and Malenko cleared the ring, and Mongo demanded Malenko give the Four Horsemen sign. Dean shook his hand and left instead.

Scott Norton vs. Rick Fuller. BIG GUY MATCH. They hit each other a bit and Norton won with a bad powerbomb. Well that was disappointing.

nWo Hollywood highlight video.

Scott Steiner came out with his goofy doctor. He wanted to prove he was the bigger better Steiner Brother. His goofy doctor I guess refused to clear him. It was hard to tell with all the mumbling. Scott called out Rick. Out came Buff Bagwell dressed as Rick. Scott then interviewed "Rick," who could only bark. He did tricks for doggie treats. This was unwatchable. Eventually Scott pinned "Rick" and said he would do it again at Fall Brawl.

Lex Luger vs. Brian Adams. Half the match was just Adams stalling. Then he put on a headscissors so they could just lie there. I burned more calories typing about this match than Adams did wrestling in it. NOW THERE IS A NERVE PINCH. ARE THEY TRYING TO PUT ME TO SLEEP? And none of that mattered, because all Lex had to do was call for the rack and everyone would jump to their feet and scream. It's insane how badly they screwed Luger up, and equally amazing how quickly he can recover, at least with the people in the building. Lex eventually won with the rack, fighting off interference from Vincent in the process.

Warrior hype video. Then Warrior came out. Warrior, who I'm sure wrote all his own material, went off on a monologue full of long paragraphs and very big words about how Hogan had sold out to mediocrity and wasn't special anymore. He seemed to lose his train of thought and just stopped talking for a while. Then he got back on track, and I'm not sure it was any better. Dude just went on and on about a revolution based on magnificence, not malfeasance, and other bullshit. At last he stopped and disappeared. This was no good. It did not make me want to watch Hogan-Warrior II. It sure as hell did not make me want to watch Warrior next week.

Chris Jericho vs. Curt Hennig. OK, this was awesome. They were both heels, but they were also both totally arrogant. Hennig was amused by Jericho's wackiness, but also amused by this silly little man's antics. Jericho was thus insulted by Hennig's lack of respect. Soon they were dragging each other around by the hair, each pissed at the other guy's lack of respect. They took turns countering each other's finishers, and then the bell randomly rang. Apparently a time-limit draw. Well that's totally week. They threw down the ref and kept fighting, then the Giant slowly made his way to the ring. Hennig invited Giant to hit Jericho, but Giant shoved him down instead, letting Jericho flee. Giant and Hennig shouted at each other as they went to the back. This was the best thing on either show, even with that finish and illogical angle.

Booker T and Stevie Ray were bickering backstage.

Booker T vs. Bret Hart. Bret did a promo saying the fans had turned their backs on him, not vice versa. He repeated that Hollywood Hogan was the best wrestler of all time, but he also had respect for his good buddy Sting. Then Booker's music played, but no Booker. They went to break, and when they came back Booker was on the ground backstage grabbing his knee, while Stevie Ray was standing over him, ranting about JJ Dillon, and saying he would take care of this himself. He went to the ring and got in Bret's face. Bret said this wasn't his fault. Other Hollywood types came out. They said they respected Stevie Ray and wouldn't force him to join, but they were inviting him, and they tossed him a shirt. "C'mon be a buddy" Bret pleaded. Stevie accepted. And that was that.

Schiavonie noted that you needed a scorecard to keep track of what was going on on Nitro. THAT'S NOT GOOD.

Hulk Hogan & Giant vs. Kevin Nash & Goldberg. We got Giant-Nash one-on-one for several minutes, culminating in the DOUBLE BIG BOOT spot. Goldberg tagged himself in and demanded Hogan tag in too, and Hogan obliged. Hogan was basically giant Ric Flair in there, selling like crazy for everything and needing to cheat to get any offense. Disciple cut Goldberg off with a beltshot. Soon Hennig and Disciple were attacking Nash on the floor, then they all attacked Goldberg in the ring. This was apparently not a DQ. The brawl continued. Luger hit the ring, then Konnan. Everyone just left the ring and Goldberg and Hennig were still in. Goldberg then speared Hennig, jackhammered him, and pinned him, and the ref counted three. I am not making this up. What the fucking fuck? There was more brawling, and this time it was Nash accidentally hitting Goldberg. Goldberg shook it off and brawled with Giant, but Giant won and knocked him out of the ring. Warrior, Page, and Piper ran down and cleared the ring. Goldberg and Nash shouted at each other. There's like 19 feuds going on at once here. Finally the show ended.

Lucha Underground Season 3: The Cup Runneth Over

Cage was in the gym doing squats, like a real man. She warned him the gauntlet was dangerous magic that would consume him. She suggested he turn it over to her. He refused. She warned him he would hate the hard way. He attempted to murder her with a spinning backfist, but she disappeared. Cage was fine with this.

Joey Ryan met with Dario Cueto. Dario buried him for losing in the first round of the tournament. "You know Veneno?" Dario did not know Veneno. "The guy in the spider mask?" Dario thought about it and remembered that yes, there was a guy in a spider mask buried at the bottom of his roster. "I think that's Reyes." Dario did not have clue one who Reyes was. "Cortez Castro!" At last Dario knew a name. I'm just glad that this fucking angle is too complicated for the ACTUAL PROMOTER. Makes me feel better about myself. Dario booked Sexy Star vs. Veneno in a mask match next week, confident that Sexy would win and Cortez Castro would be exposed.

Cueto Cup semifinal: Fenix vs. Prince Puma. This was a (*****) gymnastics display. Just a non-stop parade of cool moves and cool strikes. Back and forth the whole way with about 500 cutoffs and transitions. Vampiro was trying to act neutral, but occasionally couldn't help but cheer for Puma. Striker finally called him out on it and Vamp told him to fuck off. Fenix hit a flurry of moves and a kick to the head for a nearfall. Marty the Moth came out to harrass Melissa, but Fenix wiped him out with a massive Asai moonsault, almost smashing his own face in the process. Puma capitalized and hit a sitting brainbuster thing for a nearfall. Undeterred, he hit a 630 senton to win and advance to the finals.

Sexy Star was in the gym drinking water. Mil Muertes was punching heavy bags off their chains. Catrina told him to save some for Pentagon. Then Cage arrived and laid Mil out with his gauntlet, then dropped a 45-pound plate on his back. He walked out, but Catrina revived Mil with the magic rock. She said Cage's time would come, but first Mil needed to break Pentagon in two. Mil, seething, nodded.

Pentagon Dark vs. Mil Muertes. Mil came out selling his ribs, confusing the announcers. Very different from the first match. Pentagon got one dive, but otherwise this was the Mil Muertes show for the first five or six minutes. Pentagon's belly is growing, or it was whenever this was taped. They started to slow down at the end, as both guys were pretty big and struggling to get through some high spots. And then Pentagon hit a flurry of superkicks, kicked Catrina when she tried to grab him, and hit a footstomp for the win. Yeah, that was it. Match was underwhelming. So it's Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark in the Cueto Cup finals. Well, they were two of the three biggest stars in the tournament when it started, so there you go. Pentagon went to break Mil's arm afterwards, but Mil powered out and escaped.

Dario Cueto said it was time for a Johnny Mundo-Rey Mysterio face-off, because he loved it when his luchadors talked shit to each other. Mundo wouldn't get into the ring until his security goons were between them. He noted Dominic was a big kid and must have gotten his size from his mother, and Rey should be worried about being his real dad. Then Rey wiped him out with a punch and a dive. These security geeks suck. Eventually Worldwide Underground came out and they gang-stomped Rey. At last Dragon Azteca, Sexy Star, and Da Mack ran out to make the save. It ended with Mundo and Mysterio brawling in the ring. Puma and Pentagon ran out and all four men brawled. Puma just hates Rey now, I guess. Rey's legs are really skinny, by the way. Soon Mil and Cage were out there too. Cage powerbombed the hell out of Mundo, and he and Mil started brawling. Marty and Fenix started brawling down the stairs. Full credit, Marty's bumps down the stairs were awesome. Dario was just watching all this violence and beaming. Joey Ryan. Vinnie Massaro. Jeremiah Crane. All fighting. Rabbit Tribe came out and just watched, as did Dante Fox and probably some others. Killshot and Fox started fighting. Puma did a big dive onto like eight people and Dario raised his fists in the air. Finally Rey wiped out Mundo with a 619 and posed with the belt. This was a great angle that set up, what, a half-dozen matches? Very good episode, all in all.

Lucha Underground Season 3: The Cueto Cup

Sexy Star vs. Veneno in a mask vs. mask match. Sexy laid him out in the corner, then Joey Ryan ran out and yanked his mask off, revealing Cortez Castro. They started brawling, and the ref called for the bell. Joey hit a low blow and fled. Sexy was deemed the winner. You may update your records accordingly.

Johnny Mundo and his theme song stormed into Dario Cueto's office, along with his agent guy. He said Johnny had done Dario a favor by saving his title from Sexy Star, "the worst wrestling champion in history." Dario started to protest, but Mundo cut him off. That was some epic trolling. Johnny was upset with the chaos at the end of last week's show, saying he could have been injured. Dario said everyone in the locker room was banned from ringside, and if they interfered he would personally fine them. This included Worldwide Underground, and Mundo was upset, and he promised to leave and take the title to another promotion if he thought he was being treated unfairly. Agent guy said Dario had better hope Johnny became the undisputed king of lucha libre tonight.

Cueto Cup finals: Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark. This right here was the Prince Puma show. He did his usual perpetual motion match, and the new chubby Pentagon was having some trouble keeping up, and Puma was literally carrying him at some points. They did a Canadian destroyer for a double-down and everyone went crazy. Pentagon kept teasing package piledrivers and his half nelson brainbuster but couldn't get either one. Puma hit a top rope rana, then turned and pointed and Vampiro. Vamp pointed back, and Puma hit the 630 for the win. Vampiro hit the ring to celebrate with Puma as they went to break.

Dario presented Puma with the Cueto Cup, and announced he would face either Johnny Mundo or Rey Mysterio Jr. at Ultima Lucha Tres. Puma took his cup to the back.

Lucha Underground championship: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Johnny Mundo. Rey jumped him and they brawled on the floor. They had a very WWE style match, with lots of long holds on the mat before busting out the big spots. Mundo went after Rey's mask and tore off a big chunk of it. They did the silliest Canadian destroyer ever, where Johnny was carrying him around the ring and just jumped backwards onto his own head. Something weird happened where Johnny tried a split-leg moonsault and just fell down. Rey hit a moonsault of his own, but Johnny grabbed the ropes. Rey made a hot comeback, but then the ref got bumped. Johnny hit a nutshot, and Vampiro, of all people, was apoplectic. Johnny went to hit a beltshot, but Dominik arrived to stop him, and dropped him with a double-leg. Dominik dropped some security guys and fled. Rey hit a 619 and a springboard splash, but Dario pulled the ref out of the ring. "THIS IS BULLSHIT!" That's a new one. Rey got in Dario's face, so Dario decked him. That went as well as you'd expect, and Rey hit Dario with a 619. Johnny finally hit his beltshot, then the end of the world, and the ref counted three. Just an average TV main event, all in all.