About Us  |   Contact

Figure Four Weekly 11/6/2017: Examining Jericho and Omega's Tokyo Dome match up

Examining Omega and Jericho's Tokyo Dome matchup

 

by Joseph Currier (@josephcurrier)

In a match that seemed impossible not all that long ago and was still pretty shocking when the announcement was made, Chris Jericho will face Kenny Omega for New Japan Pro Wrestling at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th.

That was confirmed in a video at NJPW's Power Struggle event last weekend after Omega had defeated Trent Barreta to retain the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship. Omega got on the mic to welcome out his next challenger. He teased that there was no one left when that went unanswered, leading to the video of Jericho airing. Jericho said he's still the best in the world, called himself the Alpha of professional wrestling, and challenged Omega to the match.

Jericho, who has previously said that he'd never work for anyone other than WWE again (and seemed to genuinely mean it), working for NJPW is a massive move even if it ends up only being a one-time deal. NJPW's expansion efforts into the United States have been calculated, but at times haven't been ambitious enough. Jericho wrestling for them presents an opportunity for their New Japan World streaming service that they need to take advantage of. That he'll be promoting his match against Omega, with NJPW World as the place to see it, should be a boon for viewership in the United States. When they partnered with Global Force Wrestling to have Wrestle Kingdom 9 on pay-per-view in the US in 2015, Jim Ross played a big role as a pitchman in selling the event. Any publicity Jericho does will help, and they have to hope those added subscribers will stick around.

Omega vs. Jericho may not be the best in-ring option they had for Wrestle Kingdom, but it was a complete no-brainer for NJPW. There will be better places down the line to do Omega vs. Kota Ibushi than it being the second or third biggest match on this show. And while the match is far more interesting for its other ramifications, Omega facing Jericho is still a fascinating bout. On the biggest stage, Omega will be motivated to put in a performance that equals his insane output from this year. Jericho should be determined to try and have a classic, and we'll see if that helps or hurts things. Trying to keep up with Omega athletically at this point is a goal that may not be attainable.

Without an explanation for his decision, why Jericho would choose to work outside of the WWE umbrella for the first time in almost 20 years is less apparent. He and Omega had built this up for weeks in a Twitter angle -- but whether that would lead to a meeting on Jericho's "Rock 'N' Wrestling Rager at Sea" cruise next October, a match somewhere else, or would just be Twitter trolling without an end goal wasn't clear.

The cruise could help explain Omega vs. Jericho at some level. Jericho is partnering with Ring of Honor to put on a wrestling tournament on the boat, with him explaining how that came together on Lance Storm and Don Callis' "Killing the Town" podcast. Jericho said that he first pitched WWE on having an NXT tournament but was turned down. He then had to look beyond WWE, locking in ROH and some of Omega's friends like The Young Bucks and Marty Scurll for the cruise.

Jericho's fondness of the time he spent wrestling in Japan earlier in his career had to play a factor as well. He used to team with NJPW booker Gedo and was reflective when returning to Sumo Hall for WWE this summer. Omega being the opponent also must have helped. Before Jericho got to meet him, he would always ask about Omega when guests like the Bucks and Sami Zayn appeared on his podcast. Omega is the most talked about non-WWE wrestler in the US, making him even more of a natural fit for Jericho to maximize the buzz factor.

The particulars surrounding Omega vs. Jericho will become clear soon enough. Maybe it will just be one match and Jericho will be back in WWE next year. But whatever happens, 2018 is already shaping up to be another wild year for pro wrestling. The industry is always better as a whole when matches and moments like this are possible.

 

Mexico Notes

 

by Dr. Lucha Steve Sims (@DrLuchaJr)

A look at last week's TV in Mexico (well, the highlights) and a look ahead to next week.

Well, AAA was supposed to have put up its TV this weekend – it was the first three matches toped from their 10/20 show in Metepec. As of press time, no go from AAA so far. The sense of disorganization and financial strain coming out of that office isn't a good feeling. Two of the three matches have been posted on TV – well, their "highlights" have, via the website Entre Segunda y Tercera. The first of the two highlight reels saw the Two Tons of Fun El Nino Hamburguesa and Big Mami defeat Lady Shani and El Villano III Jr. The very fat Hamburger Kid pinned the very skinny V-III-Jr to the delight of the scattered early arrivers at the show. *. The highlights only look good in comparison to the match that followed. In that travesty, Dave the Clown, The Monsther Clown, and The Murder Clown defeated La Parka, Cuervo, and Scoria. The big takeaways form this match were that The Murder Clown is now so fat he makes Hamburger Kid look skinny; Cuervo and Scoria, no longer "Dark" since they are not faces, are almost unrecognizable without their face paint, La Parka is at least a much skinnier skeleton than L. A. Park but now less than 1/100th of the wrestler, and that this match sucked horribly. Psicosis and Histeria ran in, attacked La Parka, and Dave covered for the pin. - **. Believe it or not, Dave was the best of the three men on his team (I do believe that's the first time in human history those words have appeared in that order before), for at least he could move and bump. A Dave The Clown versus La Parka feud rivals only the concept of a Cholo-Canelo Casas feud as the worst idea of 2017.

CMLL had its Dia de Muertos Friday night show this past 11/3 from Arena Mexico. I have seen as of press time only the last three matches. I liked the especial in which Dalys defeated Marcela to retain the CMLL World Women's' Title, using her husband's (Negro Casas) scorpion death lock for the win – though the two had blown that exact finish 30 seconds earlier and went right back to it. ***. Marcela was dragged to Hel for losing. IT appeared the main draggers were Kraneo (actually no doubt about him being one of them, at least he wore a mask this year), Mephisto (possibly), and Ephesto (probably). Four of the micros were out on the ramp with fluorescent and luminescent green and orange zombie gear and masks, and it was lit and captured on camera very well by the technical staff. The semifinal saw Sanson, very surprisingly, capture the Rey del Inframundo title, pinning Soberano Jr. cleanly at the end of an 8-man atomicos match. The bigger names all went out earliest, leaving the youngsters to settle it. The rudos all had on holiday-specific ring gear and masks, and the tecnicos basically came as themselves, that was a new twist on the Dia de Muertos presentation. I liked the match and the surprise reverse booking, though I hoped Hechicero would win. It was a solid match if not great, and everyone got dragged to hell but Sanson. ***. The main event, however, sucked big-time. Ultimo Guerrero, Gran Guerrero, and Euforia won two consecutive falls in 6 or 7 minutes over Rush, Volador Jr., and Caristico, via foul DQ in fall two. Rushed, horrible, lifeless. Rush painted himself up well and Caristico came as Pennywise, but that was about it. Rush offered the Los Ingobernales fist bump to Volador Jr. after the match but Volador did not take it. Oh, oddly, the WINNERS were dragged to hell in this match, followed by Caristico later, as they needed to leave Rush and Volador in the ring to do their post-match tease. - **½. Good crowd though, and a fun spectacle unlike anything else in wrestling. Next Friday night the 10th, Negro Casa and Sam Adonis return to resume their feud.

PS, if Chris Jericho can wrestle at Wrestle Kingdom, then Daniel Bryan can wrestle at CMLL's 85th Anniversary show.

 

Europe Notes

 

by Oliver Court (@AnotherOli)

After a bit of a slump with wrestling since my trip to World Tag Team League, I can happily say that wXw's London show and PROGRESS Chapter 56 (along with New Japan's excellent Power Struggle show) have pulled me back in!

wXw London did a great job of shaking up the deck post-WTTL, with names like Travis Banks and Chris Brookes establishing themselves in the pecking order ahead of their participation in 16 Carat 2018, while guys like Avalanche, Ilja Dragunov and Timothy Thatcher cemented themselves with strong wins where coming out of the match, you knew who the star to pay attention to was. The Dragunov match vs Mark Haskins was particularly great, a kind of mirror match in intensity that would have been the standout match on nearly any other show. Unfortunately, the brilliance of the continuing WALTER vs David Starr feud drowned them out. Starr and WALTER put on another classic in their series, after the rivalry was rekindled at WTTL. Starr just cannot get past the unrelenting road block that is WALTER, despite his sheer determination, the size difference has been too much to conquer. They're doing a great job of making it feel like Starr can win, but not giving away any 2.9 falls or moments of real danger for WALTER. WALTER does get on the back foot, but there's a long way to go before Starr even has WALTER on the ropes. It's a kind of Misawa/Kawada slow burn with Starr getting closer and closer to winning each time, but they're being economical with the near falls. It's compelling stuff.

PROGRESS also shook up the form book with their first show in nearly 2 months, with Vicky Haskins establishing herself as a full-time heel character, leading her charges Mark Haskins and Jimmy Havoc as the new top heels in the promotion with British Strong Style renouncing their ways and moving on to tongue-in-cheek banter while they're still in the UK. The Haskins stable have been established very well and PROGRESS has re-stacked their tag team division, which was their great strength about this time last year too. Some of the talent featured on this show was questionable though. PROGRESS' WWE UK ties has led them to using guys like Wolfgang, James Drake and now Joseph Connors in key roles, none of whom have proven interesting in the long run, while better guys like Avalanche were left on the sidelines. Let's hope PROGRESS can instead accentuate good acts like Sexy Starr (not that one), the Haskins alliance and WALTER.

 

Japan Notes

 

by Alan Counihan (@Alan4L)

New Japan's last major show before the Tokyo Dome proved to be one of their best and most newsworthy of the year. The big talk coming out of the show was the appearance (via video) of Chris Jericho to challenge Kenny Omega, however it was Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi who were the stars of the show to the live crowd – delivering a high end match of the year candidate which was right up there with New Japan's top bouts this year.

This was the best Tanahashi performance since he lost to Kazuchika Okada at the 2016 Wrestle Kingdom. He was absolutely outstanding in portraying himself as a measuring stick and wall for Ibushi to climb. "The Golden Star" fought with a ton of heart and the drama down the stretch as he tried to conquer Tana was on another level. He kept trying to hit his new finisher, the Kamigoe (appropriately translated as "to surpass God") but Tanahashi had the defence and was able to prevail after his High Fly Flow sequence. They had several strike flurries in the closing minutes of the match which were as intense and gripping as any you'll ever see in wrestling. These even surpassed some of the legendary Ibushi/Nakamura exchanges in their classic bouts. The crowd ate the whole thing up and were overjoyed during Tanahashi's post-match celebrations which included a really cool moment of Ibushi grabbing his hero for a hug. The whole thing was a massive homerun.

The emergence of Jay White as the "Switchblade" character to challenge Tanahashi for Wrestle Kingdom certainly threw off many predicted cards for the Dome. Of course, just as much of a curveball was the Jericho appearance after Omega's excellent bout with the awesome Trent Barretta. A top three matches of Okada vs. Naito, Tanahashi vs. White, and Omega vs. Jericho leaves some key guys without obvious spots. Minoru Suzuki is the NEVER champ and has no obvious challenger (KUSHIDA was speculated but he's now challenging for the junior title again). Ibushi seemed like a lock to finally get his match with Omega and kick their long simmering storyline into the next gear but he's very much on the outside looking in now. An Ibushi vs Suzuki match would round out the top of the card nicely, but it makes no sense for Ibushi to get a NEVER title shot right after losing his IC title shot. He's not in the World Tag League so it's unlikey he'll be getting much interaction with the Suzuki-gun boss before the Dome.

Outside of the main event which is a lock to be a classic, this is the riskiest Dome lineup they've put together in a while. There are obvious questions over how Jericho will look in this environment (it's nearly 20 years since his last match for a Japanese promotion) and it's a huge ask for White to step into such a huge spot with a brand new character. That said, it certainly will be interesting to see how it plays out!

 

TV Reviews

 

by Bryan's Friend Vince (@FO_VVerhei)

Retro NWA (9/12/87)

They showed the angle with the Horsemen beating up Dusty Rhodes and Ronnie Garvin from last week.

Jim Crockett joined the announcers. He sounded very bored talking about how great the American Bash had been and how great Starrcade and the Bunkhouse Stampede had been. He said something about the UWF TV champion and then talked about what a great TV champion they had in Nikita Koloff. Well I'm not sure what the point of this was.

New Breed vs. Alan Martin. That's what the graphic said but unfortunately it was not a handicap squash, it was just Sean Royal by himself. They said the commissioner of the UWF was a starting offensive lineman in the NFL, which sounds exactly like the kind of thing Bill Watts would have done. Royal sold a lot as the announcers noted his formerly wacky haircut was now just a standard Marine-style flat-top. Martin actually tried a standing rana. It looked more like he got powerbombed, but he rolled through with it and tried to maintain his offense. And he succeeded. I mean, Alan Martin was beating the fuck out of Sean Royal for a while. What the hell is going on? Why is Alan Martin taking half this match? Royal finally won with his kneedrop. This got way, WAY too much time.

Nikita Koloff vs. Bobby Eaton for the TV title. Well OK then. They did absolutely nothing for several minutes but the crowd was still going nuts to see two stars going at it. They did a highspot that was seriously duck, leapfrog, leapfrog, bodyslam, and everyone squealed with joy. They went through a break, and finally Bobby took Nikita out with a clothesline and knocked him out of the ring with knees. Cornette was cackling at poor Nikita's fate. They sat there in a chinlock as the crowd chanted "GO NIKITA GO!" Eaton hit a missile dropkick and people were living and dying on the ensuing pinfall. Then it was several more minutes of chinlocks. Teddy Long started dropping the arm, but Nikita fired up the third time. There was an old dude in the front row trying to pick a fight with Cornette, and I was far more interested in that possibility than this actual match. Somehow both guys were sweating their asses off doing all this nothing. Nikita finally made a comeback, but the pace only moderately picked up. Nikita hit a bit shoulder tackle and made a cover, but Cornette came in and took the ref. Stan ran in hit Nikita with the tennis racket, and this was the lightest, safest, most gentle shot you ever saw. He just hit Nikita hard enough so the racket would pop back up. Eaton went up top, but Dusty Rhodes hit the ring and attacked Eaton for the DQ. He put him out with the sleeper, and Dexter Wescott and various geeks came out to OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT? THE BIGGEST FUCKING GEEK OF A GEEK OF ALL TIME IS ON TV. I MUST SEE MORE OF HIM. Please tell me he comes back later. Any way, the geeks carried Eaton away, and that was that.

After the break, Dusty and Nikita cut an angry promo about how they weren't finished with the Midnights. Nikita reminded everyone that it was the SuperPowers who had eliminated the Midnights from the Crockett Cup, and getting hit with a tennis racket was a bunch of bullshit. Magnum TA appeared and congratulated his friends on taking care of business, saying the US tag titles were in deep, deep trouble. He added that Nikita, not Terry Taylor, was the real world's television champion.

They showed Terry Taylor wrestling Shane Douglas from UWF TV. Douglas got thrown outside and Eddie Gilbert hit him in the knee with a chair. And Taylor hooked the figure-four, and Douglas fought but eventually was defeated and pinned. Well that was thrilling. This did not make me think Terry Taylor was on par with Nikita Koloff.

They showed the Rhodes-Garvin-Horsemen angle again. Then Ric Flair cut a promo saying that had been a Horseman education, and asked Garvin how it felt to have the boots put to them, and asked Rhodes how it felt to be in the torture rack. Garvin and Rhodes had tried to tell the public they were ready to walk the aisle, but the Horsemen had proven otherwise. This was good, because it explained the beating had a purpose -- it wasn't just to be mean, they wanted to break the spirit and confidence of their challengers before the matches even started.

Eddie Gilbert and Terry Taylor did a pre-tape promo from a cheap beat-up couch in some locker room somewhere. Taylor was wearing a suit and giant glasses and had this nervous smile and couldn't look at the camera and came off like such a GEEK. Gilbert did all the talking first, saying Taylor had beaten everyone in the UWF and was calling out Nikita. Taylor got to talk and was still a total goof, totally disinterested, mumbling over his lines, and totally awkward to the end. This was AWFUL. Like, I can't believe they actually sent this video to Crockett and said "Yeah, put this on TV!" Never should have aired.

Tully Blanchard vs. Mike Force. By far the best thing on the show. Tully beat the hell out of him for a minute and pinned him with the slingshot suplex.

They said they were taking a break to air the college football scoreboard. PLEASE AIR THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCOREBOARD. They didn't. Damn it.

Dillon, Tully, and Arn came out for a promo. Dillon said clearly the referees in the territory needed an education, because none of them could recognize that Dusty's Weaverlock was an illegal choke. He was so flustered he couldn't speak and had to turn his back. Tully acknowledged the smart, classy fans in the building who were wearing suits and jackets and cheering for the Horsemen. Arn said the Rock & Roll Express had been escaping via time-limit draws, but they were getting worn down, and soon the Horsemen would finish them off. He showed footage of the Horsemen attacking Kendall Windham until the Rock & Rolls made the save, including whipping Arn with a belt. Arn said this should be illegal, but it prove the Rock & Rolls were scared. He plugged his match against Barry Windham later. Dillon snapped again and pulled out a big stack of cash and promised to fly in Professor Toru Tanaka from California to personally teach the refs what was a choke and what was a sleeper. The Horsemen are saving this show.

Jim Crockett interviewed Missy Hyatt, the hostess of UWF TV. She said she had been all over the country, now was here in this territory. She said the Western States championship started in the UWF, and though Barry Windham was cute, there was no way he could beat the UWF stars like Terry Taylor or Eddie Gilbert, or even Arn Anderson.

Barry Windham vs. Arn Anderson. This was taped at some small arena somewhere. Looked like maybe a thousand people there. They did more than Nikita and Bobby, but not a lot more. Mostly arm-wringers and hammerlocks. Also, an abdominal stretch. "You don't often see an abdominal stretch like this," Schiavonie noted. Word. Barry tried a splash and Arn got the knees up and I guess that was the heat. Arn put him in a bodyscissors for several minutes. David Crockett started talking about how he hated snakes. Barry broke free and charged and Arn dumped him over the top rope, and Barry's back cracked into the apron. OW. They went to commercial, and when they came back Barry was back in the bodyscissors. Barry came back and wrapped Arn's leg around the post and hooked a figure-four. Yes, the babyface comeback was more holds. Announcers noted the fans were all looking to the back waiting for the Horsemen to run in. Finally something happened. They traded punches. Then Windham went right back to the figure-four, then a toe-hold. They talked about what a gentleman Windham was, visiting hospitals and schools. Yeah. Another commercial break. Arn tried to flee. Barry carried him back. They did some stuff and a double-down as Schiavonie said there was one minute to go. Barry hit a superplex, but Arn was all up in the ropes. So Barry hit the lariat as the time expired. So long. So boring. Barry celebrated with his belt and the fans cheered, but then Arn attacked him from behind. He hit a gourdbuster and counted his own pin, then dropped the belt across Windham's chest. Well why didn't you do that 20 minutes ago?.

Flair video.

Sting hype video. He was in full Road Warrior ripoff mode, in black and red gear, facepaint, and crew cut with the rat tail. He and his opponent here both looked horrible. Sting hit a Stinger splash and eventually won with a fistdrop.

Stan Lane vs. Mike Jackson. They actually fucked something up. I was stunned. It didn't matter because they just kept going right on and nobody noticed but I was still shocked. They had the best match on the show but it was too little, too late. Stan won clean with a double underhook suplex. Yes, that's it. Stan then joined Cornette for a promo. Cornette ran down Nikita and Dusty, saying the choke was illegal, but the Express could break more rules than anyone. And thankfully, mercifully, the show ended.

WWE Retro Raw 284 (11/2/98)

Shane McMahon came out for a promo. Jim Ross said Vince wasn't there, and this might be a passing-the-torch night. Or, you know, not. Shane announced Steve Austin would get his contractually obligated title shot on Raw the night after Survivor Series, then brought Austin out. As he was making his entrance, a limo arrived backstage and Vince McMahon was helped out by his cronies. They moved to the stage, where Vince hijacked the promo. He fucked with Austin for a while, then fucked with the fans, saying the day he would step down as chairman was the day he died. Well that's true. And he hoped that day, no family, friends, or wrestlers should show up at his funeral, because he wanted to go straight to hell. He threatened to demote Shane to referee or ring crew. He said he couldn't do anything about Austin's contract, but he could change the date of Austin's title shot. And it would be at Survivor Series, in the tournament, with a first-round match against the Big Bossman. He talked about the fans calling him an asshole and went with the "I know you are but what am I" defense, and left. Yes, Vince was awesome.

They plugged a new website: www.stonecold.com. Sadly, that now just redirects to WWE.com.

They showed Vince chewing out Ross and Lawler during the break and reminding them who signs their checks. He pointed to the cage above the ring and guaranteed someone would be paying hard time tonight.

DX vs. Brood. Funny that Brood were the geeks here, when in hindsight Edge for sure turned out to be a bigger star than either the Outlaws or X-Pac, and Christian probably was too. They said X-Pac would be in the world title tournament and the full brackets would be released later in the show. They had a fun match for two or three minutes, then a six-way broke out and Kane came out to kill everybody. He chokeslammed the three skinny dudes and set off his pyro and left. Didn't even have a bell to say the match was over. What shit.

Michael Cole sucked up to Vince backstage. Vince brought up Cole's stupid "how do you feel?" question from last week. Then Bossman grabbed Cole by the throat and Vince asked how that felt. They released Cole and left.

THE DROZ vs. Hawk. This was set up by the Hardy Boyz beating the Road Warriors on Heat. That sounds like a dream match except it was Droz in the match, not Hawk. Anyway, Hawk came out here and was drunk again. Droz attacked him before the bell and whipped his ass. Animal came out to watch, but didn't make the save. Eventually Droz had enough, and Animal yelled at Hawk for a while and left with Droz. Not technically a match.

Vince and Bossman bumped into Jim Cornette, telling him to cut out the 1980s rasslin' crap and sending him on his way.

Mankind and Al Snow once again cut a promo about who had the stupider gimmick. Mankind also had a Secrets of Pro Wrestling Revealed reference.

Oddities vs. Al Snow & Mankind. Mankind and Al were both in the world title tournament. Wait. AL SNOW? WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT ENTRANT? How thin was this roster?! They were having a not-very-good match as Ross informed us Vince had confronted the Fink backstage. Meanwhile, Mankind couldn't find Socko. Al bonked Kurrgan with Head. Mankind couldn't find Socko in his pants or on his foot and left. This led to Al vs. both Oddities for several minutes, and a bad match got much, much, much worse. Eventually Golga pinned Al with a sitdown splash. Wretched, wretched television.

Vince ran into Shaquille O'Neal backstage and asked for a backstage pass. Shaq didn't have one. Vince ordered him to leave. Shaq turned to the camera and mouthed "asshole." Shaq has been the best part of this show by a mile so far.

"SHAQ! Help me take a look, my sock's missing man!" This failed, so Mankind went to get Vince to help him find his sock.

Stephen Regal vs. a mystery opponent. Regal, who had never wrestled a match in the company, qualified for the Survivor Series tournament. He cut a promo begging for a real man to come out and fight him. Out came Goldust. They said the tournament brackets would be released after this match, after Vince had personally put them together. Crowd was still chanting for Head. If I remember right, this was right at the peak of Regal's substance abuse issues, and he looked horrible out there. Terri Runnels, who revealed the night before she was pregnant with Val Venis' child, came down to ringside, back in the Marlena outfit. Val, of course, was denying he was the father and had kicked Terri to the curb. Goldust was about to kick Regal in the balls to get intentionally DQ'd when Kane came out again. He chokeslammed both men. At least we got a bell this time. Marlena tended to Goldust when Kane started to menace her. He grabbed her by the neck and lifted her up, but refs talked him into putting her back down. So he chokeslammed Tony Garea instead. At this point, Kane felt like a strong favorite to win the tournament, or at least face Austin in the finals.

We finally got tournament brackets. Taker and Kane, who had faced each other in the match that made the title vacant in the first place, were both getting first-round byes and would meet in the second round. After that, from the top down, the first-round matches were: Rock-Triple H; Goldust-Shamrock; Mankind-Mystery Opponent; Jarrett-Snow (sweet Jesus); X-Pac-Regal; and Austin-Bossman.

Mankind met with Vince. We couldn't hear what they were saying. Vince asked Mankind not to interfere in the next match. Mankind said he trusted Vince and would do as he said, no matter what present Vince had for him. Vince presented Mankind with the very first WWF Hardcore Championship belt. Mankind was moved. Vince said he had lost one son tonight, but gained another. As he was leaving, Mankind called him "Dad." This gave Vince serious pause, but he continued on his way.

Ken Shamrock vs. Rock. They showed Vince having a conversation with Shamrock backstage, but Vince ordered the camera to leave before we could hear anything they said. Then Vince came out after the introductions and said he had a problem with the people, which meant he had a problem with the People's Champion. So if Rock failed to win the Intercontinental title from Shamrock tonight, he would be removed from the Survivor Series tournament and would no longer be the No. 1 contender. Shamrock as a wrestler was so far ahead of Rock at this point. Crowd utterly hated him and utterly loved Rock. Shamrock took the whole match and hooked the ankle lock but Rocky got the ropes. Crowd was living and dying on the nearfalls. Ref got bumped, then Shamrock leveled Rock. He exchanged looks with Vince and grabbed a chair. But Rock dodged the chairshot and the chair bounced back into Rocky's face. Rock followed with the People's Elbow and made a cover. Still no ref. Finally Shamrock hit Rock in the back with a chair. That's a DQ, so Rock wins, but no title change. Vince confirmed Rock was no longer the No. 1 contender and was out of Survivor Series, and he wasn't the People's Champ, he was the People's CHUMP. Match ruled. Finish sucked.

Rock was throwing a tantrum backstage, demanding McMahon.

Val Venis vs. Jeff Jarrett. They showed Val on Heat telling Terri THEY were not pregnant, SHE was pregnant, and it wasn't THEIR problem, it was HER problem. I love that Val has dumped one woman and 24 hours later he's in a fight with another busty blonde at ringside. I mean, at least this guy's motiviations are consistent. And he approached Debra before the match, but she blew him off. They wrestled for two or three minutes and then the Blue Blazer ran out and crotched Val for the DQ. Yep. They double-teamed Val, then Blazer ran away and Jarrett hit Val with the Stroke. I can't believe I just typed that.

Cops arrived. Vince asked them to go do their jobs and take Rock away.

Headbangers vs. D-Lo Brown & Mark Henry. Headbangers came out dressed as the Outlaws, so I guess this feud is still going on or something. They tried to do the Outlaws entrance and in the process made it clear they had no talents of any kind in any field whatsoever. Winner of this match gets a title shot against the Outlaws at Survivor Series. Thrasher's very first move was to hurt himself doing a clothesline off the ropes. He tried to continue but was clearly limping. I had to watch a one-legged man pretend he was manhandling Mark Henry around the ring. So they got the heat on Thrasher. Look, it was awful no matter which Headbanger was in there. I mean, really, three of these guys are Mark Henry, who wouldn't get good for another decade, and the Headbangers, who were never good. So you're asking D-Lo to carry the load for four men, and that's too much. Thrasher got a hot tag and was able to make a comeback, so he wasn't crippled yet. He hit a pescado on Henry, and Henry's leg buckled, and then Kane came out again and killed everyone again. And no bell again. Yeah. A dirt-terrible segment. There's nearly 30 minutes left on this show, and according to the dots on the Network, no more matches. I am very, very frightened.

Rock was arrested and taken out of the building. Vince showed up to make fun of him. Rock didn't take any of this well.

Owen Hart came out for a promo. He reminded us all he was retired and no longer on the WWF roster, but he had come from his home in Calgary to face Dan Severn face-to-face and hear what he had to say. Out came Severn, in a neckbrace. Dan cut a horrible promo saying he wasn't there for an apology, he just wanted to know why Owen was running around in the Blue Blazer outfit. He said Owen was nothing but scum. So Owen shoved him down, then clotheslined him. Steve Blackman ran out to make the save. Owen insisted he was retired and told them to stay out of his business.

Severn was loaded into an ambulance backstage. Blackman then attacked Owen and they brawled. "I'm retired!" Owen insisted. Then the Blue Blazer attacked Blackman and put him out with Owen's dragon sleeper. Owen added a kick to the balls for good measure.

The cage was lowered, and Vince and company came out for a promo. He said it was time to find who would serve hard time tonight. His cronies wheeled him down by the announcers. Geeks were everywhere prepping the cage for Kane's pyro. Vince ordered his crew to confirm the cage was secure, inside and out. "Make sure it's up to standard." He asked Bossman to check the door and make sure it locked. The cage was in working order. Vince said a lot of men in the WWF deserved to pay hard time, and all he had asked for was a cup of coffee. and he ordered the Bossman to GET 'EM! And so Bossman destroyed Patterson, Brisco, and Slaughter. "NEXT TIME YOU STOOGES WON'T RUN! NOT FROM AUSTIN! NOT FROM ANYBODY!" Patterson was begging Vince to call Bossman off. Vince ordered them all to vow allegiance to him. That didn't happen, so Vince ordered Bossman to rip their clothes off. Yes. Austin finally ran out to climb into the cage. Why didn't he just go kill Vince? Austin destroyed Bossman, but then Patterson wacked him in the knee with the leg. So Austin killed him, but Bossman recovered and started destroying Austin with the nightstick. Shane emerged and unlocked the door. Shane and Bossman had a staredown. Vince was conflicted, but ultimately called Bossman off and ordered him out of the cage. He pointed at Shane. Shane flipped him off. Undertaker's music hit, and he came out and locked himself in the cage with Austin. They brawled back and forth. Kane came out for his 75th appearance on the show. Austin and Taker just stopped to watch him. And Kane "set the cage on fire." There was just fire running up the middle on all four sides. The three men brawled as the show went off the air.

EXTRA ATTITUDE. The brawl continued. Austin stunned Kane, then left the ring to kill Bossman and confront Vince. Taker left. Kane followed. Austin dumped Vince out of his wheelchair and started kicking his ankle, then threw him into the cage. Vince could barely stand. Everyone chanted Austin's name, and Vince was SO disappointed in them. Then Austin offered a handshake. Vince accepted, because he's a dummy, and Austin flipped him off and stunned him. Well that was fun.

Wait. There's still like five minutes left. Bossman and Austin played tug-of-war with Vince. Austin won, kicked Bossman in the face, and stunned Vince again. Austin took a long time to throw his shirt into the crowd and leave. There's still three minutes left. Austin's music hit and he ran back out to steal Vince's wheelchair. Well, that was the plan. He couldn't make it work. Eventually he figured it out and got it to the top of the ramp, with some help. Vince had climbed to the top of the cage to scream at him. So Austin, with GREAT difficulty, dumped the wheelchair off the stage. Vince walked out of the ring and everyone called him an asshole again. And Bossman helped Vince walk out and it finally ended.

The finishes on this show were: match just ends due to Kane; match never starts or ends; pinfall after one guy walks out on his partner; DQ due to outside interference before one of the guys had a chance to get himself intentionally DQ'd; chairshot DQ right in front of the ref for no real reason; DQ due to superhero run-in; match just ends due to Kane AGAIN. This was a terrible wrestling show but a very fun TV show.

WCW Monday Nitro 163 (11/2/98)

Show opened with a commercial for World War 3.

Norman Smiley vs. Alex Wright. They had a really fun match. Lucha-riffic highspots, chain wrestling, then big moves. Norman went up top, but Alex brought him down with a superplex, then caught him with a neckbreaker for the win. So continues Alex's mission to beat all the other European wrestlers. WWF at the time actually had a European championship, but this is a much better storyline.

Disco Inferno vs. Kaz Hayashi. This was a fun match too. Guys are working hard on Nitro tonight. Kaz got a nearfall with a moonsault and then Sonny Onoo came out to watch. He claimed to be the No. 1 Japanese wrestler in WCW and undefeated. Kaz started chasing him around ringside, but Disco caught him coming back in the ring and hit a piledriver for the win.

Mean Gene brought Booker T out for a promo. He said he needed a match with Bret Hart to prove himself. He said he loved his brother Stevie Ray and they should take care of their own business. Then he talked about somebody wacking him in the knee and taking him out. I watch this show every week and take notes and I have no idea what the hell is happening. Finally he said Scott Hall was the one who had attacked him, and he challenged Hall to a match in the ring, or he'd get Hall in the back.

Scott Putski vs. Fit Finlay. We're three for three on good matches now. There was a funny bit where Finlay went to the ropes and wanted Putski to pick up his feet and slam him down, and it took Putski like an hour to get this message. Everything else was great though. Finlay ducked the Polish hammer and hit a rolling fireman's carry and tombstone for the win. I love this show so far.

Raven was doing a promo in the shadows backstage when an anonymous person showed up and started questioning him. Somebody turn a damn light on. Raven said it was Kanyon and told him to leave him alone, but Kanyon followed him out of the room.

Jericho-Not Goldberg video package.

Onoo and the Cat came out for a promo. Cat called the fans fat and homeless and dared anyone from the back to come fight him. Scott Armstrong came out to accept. Cat said he had whipped this guy once before. Cat gave him five seconds to leave, but Armstrong jumped him from behind and the match was on.

Cat vs. Scott Armstrong. Cat won in ten seconds with a jumping kick off the ropes. Sucks to be Scott. Cat kept up the attack after the match until Steve Armstrong made the save. I believe Steve was the fifth-best wrestler in his own immediate family, and this for sure was the biggest pop he ever received. Cat still kicked his ass and made a cover, and the ref counted three and the bell rang. Well OK then. Cat then called out Bullet Bob. PLEASE LET THAT HAPPEN.

Wrath vs. Kendall Windham. Kendall hit one neckbreaker, but Wrath no-sold it and killed him and won with the meltdown. Crowd was really starting to see Wrath as a big star now, totally into his comeback and finish.

Clips of Bret Hart attacking DDP months ago, then a few weeks ago, then on Thunder. Then fighting Sting. There was no commentary for any of this and I had no idea what was happening or what it had to do with tonight's show.

Mean Gene then interviewed Bret in the ring. Bret came out in street gear, with no music, and a big heavy knee brace, and nobody even realized who he was until Gene called him by his name. Bret said he had a severely pulled groin and the doctors would not let him wrestle tonight. Gene claimed he was lying. Bret said doctors who had gone to school for years told him he was hurt. Gene said he was scared of facing Lex Luger tonight. Bret said he had taught Page and Sting lessons about not celebrating wins and not bringing baseball bats into the ring. He promised to hurt more people "simply because I don't like 'em." He said Lex was getting off easy not wrestling him tonight. Lex came out in a custom-cut V-neck Wolfpac shirt. That was funny. Lex also accused Bret of faking an injury to get out of the match. Lex said Bret was the best at being a LIAR, and he was pathetic. They repeated themselves a bit and finally Lex called Bret a gutless coward and attacked him. In the process, Gene got bumped and took the funniest bump in Nitro history. First of all, he knew this was coming, and you could see himself getting psyched up for a few seconds. Then he got hit. He responded by throwing up his arms and looking to the heavens as if in prayer, then spinning and falling to his hands and knees, perhaps in more prayer. I watched this like five times and laughed every time. Lex then put Bret in the torture rack. "HOW BOUT THAT GROIN NOW?" Schiavonie screamed. Well, it's probably hurt even more, dick. Geeks quickly made the save and Bret rolled outside, selling his groin.

Announcers outright said they were being forced by Eric Bischoff to show more Ric Flair wrestling, and once again it was Hulk Hogan beating Flair up from four years ago. This time it was the cage match at Halloween Havoc with Mr. T as ref. This went on for a while.

Four Horsemen came out for a promo. Arn Anderson ran down Eric Bischoff as a liar with a lot of power. He said Bischoff was insulting Hogan and Flair alike by making a joke out of their great matches. He buried Bischoff for going hunting in Montana rather than fighting the Horsemen. Flair talked about how great they were for a while. Malenko and Benoit told the other Horsemen to go party, they'd take care of their match and join up later. Mongo ran down Bischoff a while. The Four Horsemen as babyfaces at the peak of the Attitude Era was really, really weird.

Nitro Party clips. Bunch of teenagers having a costume party by the pool, but at least they had girls.

Goldberg hype video.

Scott Norton vs. Van Hammer. Twenty-five minutes plus commercials between matches here, and nothing of value in between. But it was totally worth the wait watching Norton kill this fucker. Just waylaid him and waylaid him and waylaid him. Hammer made a brief comeback, but Norton cut him off with a Samoan drop and won with a powerbomb. He made that look really, really easy. This was a tremendous squash. I think I have liked every single match on this show so far.

Bret was backstage getting his ribs taped. This went on for a while.

They cut to the ring, where Saturn was in the middle of a promo challenging Eddie Guerrero to come fight him one-on-one. Guerrero promised to show him what "Latino-ism" is all about. They started fighting and Saturn beat the hell out of him in a great display. Saturn tried the DVD, but Eddie turned it into a rana and hit a brainbuster. There was a ref out there trying to get them to stop fighting. Eddie went up top but Saturn brought him down with a head-and-arm superplex, then hit a top rope legdrop. Now the ref was counting pins. LWO hit the ring and attacked Saturn and the ref called for the bell. They laid him out, but Konnan came out in his club gear to pull them off. He tried to make peace. He said what Eddie was doing to the LWO was the same thing Raven had done to the Flock, and he asked Saturn to let him handle this. Saturn relented and left. Konnan and Eddie went at it. Eddie told Konnan to go hang out with his Anglo buddies. Konnan responded in Spanish, which got over with the Florida crowd. I think he said he was a proud Latino. Eddie said they'd fight again on their terms. The funny thing here was that Konnan is the one with an accent while Eddie spoke total American English. That's especially funny if you only saw Eddie in WWE where suddenly developed an accent. Everyone left. On the way out, then-Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez showed up to say hi to Konnan and they left together.

Scott Steiner vs. Kaos. Kaos came out with a world tag team belt and the announcers were trying to figure out if he was really a champion or not. Then JJ Dillon interrupted Kaos' entrance. Steiner was having none of this and went after Dillon, shoving him down and saying he wasn't doing shit. He grabbed a mic and said Dillon sucked and WCW sucked. Then he walked backstage. Dillon was at the announce desk and said he had something to say, then they quickly went to break. Scott Steiner being Scott Steiner, everyone.

Psychosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. This was the Nitro debut of Rey's rap theme that was a much better fit for him than the generic four-note theme he had for years. Psychosis did a slingshot legdrop from the ring to the floor. Ow. They did all kinds of other big moves, but it was better than most similar matches you see today because they weren't random -- Psychosis got the heat on him and was in control most of the way, with Rey making the occasional big comeback. Some of it was ugly and fucked up, to be honest. Announcers were speculating that Rey was thinking of stuff on the fly, and they may have been right. Finally Rey was making his real comeback when the LWO came back. Rey was briefly distracted as he was going for a top rope rana, and Psychosis turned it into a powerbomb for the win.

Mean Gene brought Chris Jericho out for a promo. Jericho was wearing a Goldberg t-shirt. He sarcastically talked about respecting Goldberg, than began to talk about his own pro football career. He cracked Gene up with that won. He wished Goldberg the best in all his future endeavors, which had to be the first time that line was used on TV.

Dean Malenko vs. Raven. Bobby Heenan made a joke about joining the Horsemen at South Beach. Schiavonie told him not to forget his bag. "She's over there," Heenan said. "Now, that was unkind," Schiavonie noted. Well, it was. Raven was depressed even by his own standards and invited Dean to just beat him up and get this over with. Dean obliged. "Don't tell the Horsemen to hit you!" "Don't tell anyone to hit you!" "Well, I agree with that." Tony and Bobby were on a roll here. Finally Raven defended himself strictly with illegal moves -- nutshots, chokes, and biting. Lodi ran out with a sign reading "RAVEN WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO YOURSELF?" Mongo ran out with a cat o'nine tails and began to whip the shaved, tan, muscular, shirtless man in the leather shorts and chased him to the back. I am not making any of that up. The match continued, mostly with Raven using a chair. Dean made a comeback. Kanyon attacked but Dean kicked Raven into him. Match kept going. Benoit came out to brawl with Kanyon. Bret Hart ran out to attack Benoit. Malenko won with a cloverleaf but immediately got laid out by Kanyon. Luger ran out and Bret started selling his ribs and claiming injury. Giant ran out to protect Bret. This whole segment was a big mess and nobody cared about the match.

Kidman vs. Chris Jericho. Announcers made fun of Jericho's football claims and said he had only played junior hockey. I get that the NFL thing is a joke, but do you really want to bury whatever athletic accomplishments the guy does have? They had a good third-hour match. Crowd was kinda dead after the long show, but was into all the big spots. Kidman tried the shooting star press. Jericho tried to get the knees up, but Kidman was off target and came down on his head and chest. I thought Jericho was dead but the match continued. Kidman kept getting nearfalls and Jericho was barely surviving. And then the bell rang at random, and it was a time-limit draw.

Dillon and Kaos joined the announce desk to say Scott Steiner was out of control. Buff Bagwell was fined $50,000 and Scott Steiner was fined $100,000 He couldn't even finish that last part before Steiner ran out to kill them all. Everyone ran for their lives. Buff was trying to cool him down. Scott went to the ring and cut a promo saying WCW sucked and nobody there could control the rage inside of him. He called Roddy Piper a "skirt-wearing queer," which Buff knew was bad news. He said WCW could kiss his ass. Buff stole the mic and said this was not Kenny Kaos' fault, he was just caught between two brothers, and he wanted Kaos to come out so they could talk. Steiner stole the mic back and said a lot of people got air time because they kissed butt, but he never had and never will, he was legit. Kaos came out in his trunks and flip-flops and was in no hurry to get in the ring. Buff started to act respectful to him, but Scott wiped him out from behind and Buff cackled. Scott put Kaos in the recliner, then repeated that WCW sucked, and guys in the nWo did whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. I'd say Kaos got off easy here.

Scott Hall vs. Booker T. Hall did his survey and the fans were clearly there to see the nWo, but he was disappointed to learn they were there to see the Wolfpac. He said he beat Booker T up three months ago, and Booker just now got mad. OK, that was funny. I like how Scott was drunk for months and months and then the angle was done and now he's clean and sober. Pretty basic match. It felt like two guys who hadn't worked together much and wanted to idiot-proof each other. Crowd began to sing the goodbye song, then stand and wave. Announcers pointed this out. Booker tried a missile dropkick, but Hall pulled the ref in the way, and another ref ran out to call for the DQ. Well this was all quite lame.

Giant vs. Lex Luger. Slow and plodding. Giant worked him over slowly as the fans chanted for Goldberg. Where the hell is Goldberg? Or Hogan? Or Bischoff? Or Nash? Why is every single top guy off this show? At least Sting we know is selling the baseball bat. Like an hour went by with Giant just stomping and choking Lex. He was giving like 5 percent here. I mean, he wasn't even doing punches or anything, he would just push Lex and Lex would fall down. Finally, FINALLY, Lex mad his comeback. Giant weebled and wobbled but wouldn't go down. So Lex slammed him. That did the trick. Lex hit the metal elbow and called for the rack. It is amazing how the crowd pops huge for that tease no matter how shitty the match is. So then Bret ran in and attacked Lex with a piece of guardrail or something for the cheap DQ. LAME. They were destroying Lex until Goldberg ran out to make the save. He speared Giant, but when he went for Bret, Bret pulled Lex in the way. That was the end of the show. That segment sucked. Show started off hot but slid off by the end.

The finishes on this show were: clean pin; pin after one guy left the ring to chase a manager; clean pin; clean pin, maybe two of them if you count both Armstrongs; clean pin; clean pin; DQ due to gang run-in in a match that never really started; pin after distraction by like a dozen guys; clean submission, though there were a half-dozen other things going on and nobody noticed; time-limit draw; intentional DQ; DQ due to Canadian running in with guardrail. Much better than Raw, that's for sure.

WWE NXT (11/1/17)

Taynara Conti vs. Nikki Cross. Conti is the mystery Brazilian who was teaming with Undisputed Era for one segment and apparently isn't anymore. She is very, very easy on the eyes and if she has any in-ring talent at all she'll be on the main roster for sure one day. She got some offense and looked fine for a developmental wrestler. Nikki made her comeback and won with a reverse DDT and swinging fisherwoman's neckbreaker. I mean, Nikki is world's better than Taynara right now, but it seems impossible that Taynara won't be a star someday.

Christy St. Cloud interviewed Mercedes Martinez about losing in the battle royal last week. Mercedes said she had won big matches all over the world, but she came up short tonight. She predicted Ember Moon would lose in the four-way, because Ember never won in the big matches.

Fabian Aichner vs. Johnny Gargano. A really good match. One of those matches where the crowd was dead at the beginning but that got more into it the longer it went. Gargano gad the upper hand late but couldn't get things finished, no matter how many flips Aichner did or how many times he crashed and burned. Aichner hit a mighty powerbomb for a nearfall. They kept trading big moves and counters, and finally Aichner got the win with an abdominal stretch into a pin. Gargano's reaction was the best. He was just confused, like he couldn't even process what had happened.

If I haven't mentioned this, Alexander Wolfe has THE BEST picture when they do the graphics for matches that are coming later in the show.

Aleister Black video package accepting Velveteen Dream's challenge for TakeOver. It was all shots from Black's debut videos, with a highly edited voiceover by Black.

Street Profits were admiring a convertible Mazerati in the parking lot and said they could get one too if they worked hard enough. Riddick Moss and Sabby Piscitelli showed up and said that's our car, get the fuck away from it. They own it together? All four dudes talked over each other for a while. So the Profits left. Well OK then.

Drew McIntyre came out for a contract signing with Andrade Almas, but Andrade jumped him from behind and lait him out. Then he signed the contract and stuck it to Drew with Zalena's gum. All those weeks to build up to this angle and the payoff was lame.

Billie Kay and Peyton Royce cut a promo about Nikki Cross costing Billie a spot in the championship four-way. They started making jokes about Kairi Sane's pirate gimmick. She showed up and fucked with them, they flinched, and she laughed and walked away. "Why did she point her elbow at you?" Peyton asked. I laughed.

Sanity vs. Authors of Pain. Akam and Rezar have names on their gear now. It's subtle, but it helps. Wait, that's just on their vests. Now I'm lost about which is which again. They beat up Wolfe for a while. Crowd wasn't much into it. This went on for a while and wasn't terribly exciting. They woke up when Young finally got his hot tag. Wolfe returned and hit a big belly-to-back suplex on one of the Authors, then Eric hit his awesome top rope elbow for a nearfall. Crowd was chanting for Sanity. They hit a suplex/neckbreaker, but the pin got broken up. Everyone started clubbering each other. Authors hit the super collider and then the lariat/legsweep combo and were about to get the pin, when Undisputed Era hit the ring and attacked the Authors. Killian Dane soon joined in the brawl but got overwhelmed. Undisputed were standing strong when Roderick Strong came out. They were suspicious, but he pulled out the armband they gave him last week and put it on. They were so happy. Roddy was bout to help them kill an Author, but Roderick attacked them instead. Crowd HATED that. Cole fled as Roddy and the Authors cleared the ring. Regal came out and said this was madness, but they would have order. And he booked a three-way between Sanity, Undisputed Era, and AOP & Roddy. And there was only one match that could contain this chaos, that had not been seen in 20 years. These teams would be in TWO RINGS! And the crowd pissed themselves in glee. Regal confirmed it would be WarGames, and everyone was happy. The fans, the announcers, the Authors, Roddy, and Sanity. Well, not Undisputed Era. They were beside themselves. Sad day for them. Show was up and down.

TNA Bound For Glory 2017 (11/5/17)

Trevor Lee vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Matt Sydal vs. Petey Williams vs. Garza Jr. vs. Desmond Xavier. Only two men in the ring, but tags were optional. Really, the two men in the ring was mostly optional too. Everyone beat up Lee, the champion, for a while. They had a decent crowd in Canada and the crowd loved Petey. We had a triple dive at one point. Garza's shoulder was taped up and he was putting so much effort into protecting it I seriously thought it was in a sling. Crowd wanted Petey in badly and finally got him. All the small men took turns hitting wacky moves. Petey hooked a sharpshooter for a big pop. A few minutes later he hit Xavier with a Canadian destroyer to another big pop, but Lee knocked him out of the ring and stole the pin to retain. Every crazy X Division six-way you ever saw but a fun enough opener. (***1/4).

Earlier today, Eli Drake and Chris Adonis arrived at the building. They looked like two guys who just blew a week's paycheck at Abercrombie & Fitch.

Tyson Dux vs. Taiji Ishimori. They did a great job getting about the biggest reaction possible out of a back suplex. There was a blonde being drunk and obnoxious in the crowd. Laurel Van Ness, apparently is her name. They kept showing her messing with the fans and it was hard to keep track of what was going on in the ring. Ishimori hit a 450 for the win. Seriously, that's all I got out of this. I can't give this a rating. (NR).

Johnny Impact arrived at the building. Walking alone in the rain.

Grado was warming up backstage when Abyss showed up to laugh at him. Grado kept calling him Joseph and said they didn't need to do this. Abyss said there was no Joseph here and Grado was going to be deported. Grado said he needed his visa to wrestle all over the world, and Abyss should expect a different Grado. Abyss was befuddled.

Alberto El Patron came out for a promo. He said he had been in the company since January, and everyone had told him how great he was. But then the cowards running the company repaid him for all his sweat by betraying and screwing him, those "backstabbers in the back." Everyone had believed the rumors instead of reading the reports, which said he didn't do anything. They had suspended him, stopped paying him, and taken his championship. He started talking about his children, then about how nobody had tried to call or text him or come to his house to see if he was OK. I understood maybe a third of what he was talking about, which put me ahead of many fans, who were chanting "BORING!" He said the place was filled with cowards, losers, and backstabbers. And with that, he called out Jeremy Borash at the announce desk. Fans chanted Borash's name. El Patron went up to get him and Borash just stayed there. He apologized for not calling or texting. Crowd chanted for the table. El Patron offered a handshake. Borash reluctantly accepted. "But you're still shaking my hand," El Patron noted. He said he had come to Canada to make a statement, and he was going to start with Borash -- or maybe not. Is this fucking going anywhere? He promised tonight would be amazing and left. So no, this did not go anywhere.

Grado vs. Abyss in a Monster's Ball match. Oh my god, after all these years Abyss still has the same music. Speaking of music, I like Grado's techno theme too. Abyss cut a promo burying Grado and telling him to dance, and Grado obliged, but then kicked Abyss in the balls and started throwing shit in the ring. Grado allegedly took a staple to the face, but there was zero blood. We had a cheese grater to Abyss' nuts and trash can shots to his head. Grado got knocked off the top and went through a barbed wire board to the floor. That did not break his fall very much. Abyss got Janice, tried it once, then dropped it. I guess Grado made a comeback, doing impressions of Dusty Rhodes and New Jack. Abyss bumped on a barbed wired board. This was so important they cut to Van Ness in the crowd again. Grado did something off the top and seriously could barely even climb. There was some blood from both guys' arms. Van Ness nutshotted Grado and hit a killswitch. Crowd had zero idea what to make of this. She grabbed Janice and the lights went out. When they came back up Rosemary was in the ring. She spat mist in Van Ness' face. She had a staredown with Abyss, who grabbed her for a chokeslam, but she talked him out of it. She went to spit mist in Grado's face, but got Abyss instead. Blinded, he chokeslammed her onto thumbtacks. Grado hit a schoolboy. Ref counted two. Bell rang. Announcers had no idea what was going on. Dude. This fucking match. They fucked up a chokeslam or something and Abyss hit a black hole slam onto barbed wire for the win. I have no idea who was the heel or who was the face or who was on who's side so I was left to just watch the wrestling and the wrestling fucking sucked. (-**).

We got a promo with Team Impact, Eddie Edwards, James Storm, and EC3. Mostly static that hurt my ears. That is not a metaphor, that's literally what happened. Storm and Edwards were all fired up. EC3 had nothing to say.

Impact vs. AAA video package. All about how Team Impact didn't trust each other.

"Tecksano Junior" & El Hijo Del Fantasma & Pagano vs. Eddie Edwards & James Storm & EC3. Team Impact dudes did stuff for two minutes. Heat on Eddie for two minutes. Eddie was crawling for a tag and EC3 pulled his hand away. So Storm tagged in and ran wild, stopping to crotch-chop EC3. Then he got cut off and the Mexicans worked him over. Crowd was totally dead for all this. Storm was crawling for the tag and now EC3 demanded to be tagged in. He hit the ring and ran wild. Everyone did stuff. Eddie did a dive onto two dudes, one of whom was his own partner. This kicked off a parade of dives. Pagano killed the crowd through pure shittiness. Like, he was so awful everyone just stopped cheering or talking or breathing. It was something to behold. EC3 snapped Texano's neck. Or maybe not, because Ethan went down while Texano climbed the ropes. It set up a big tower of doom spot. Parade of finishers to utter silence. Fantasma hit Eddie with a wheelbarrow tombstone on the apron. EC3 ran wild. He and Storm worked together and Storm pinned Pagano with a superkick. A good chunk of this match was in negative-star territory but they did some cool stuff too. (*1/2).

Adonis and Drake cut a backstage promo. Still a lot of static from this rinky-dink low-rent company. Drake's catchphrases are embarrassingly bad but his actual promos are very good. He said he'd beat Johnny Impact tonight.

oVe vs. LAX in a street fight. oVe is the former Irish Airborne in ROH and dozens of other places. Or, as Konnan called them, "Ohio tweakers." LAX is currently Ortiz and Santana and I don't know anything about them. They were brawling on the floor and through the crowd before they even entered the ring. We had a powerbomb off the ramp through a table two minutes in. Fans chanted that they could not see shit. Santana climbed up a lighting rig and fell a legit 15 feet or more with a splash through a table. Ortiz got hit in the head with a chair. Twice. It's 2017. Jake superplexed himself through four chairs. What a stupid fuckwit. Guys fell on chairs more. Crowd said it was awesome. I vehemently disagree. Stuff happened. I don't know. I can't be bothered to keep track. Sami Callihan emerged and attacked LAX. Nobody had any idea who he was. He begged for a reaction and got none. Announcers named him and said he was family to oVe but gave us no other clue who he was. He hit a piledriver through a table and oVe got a pin. Their catchphrase is "thumbs up, thumbs down." Well, whatever. (3/4*).

Sienna vs. Allie vs. Gail Kim. Gail cut a staticy promo saying she had become Knockouts champion for the first time ten years ago at BFG, now she was going to regain the title tonight and retire on top. Santino was shown in the crowd. They called him by his real name. Allie is basically a Canadian version of Bayley. They promised Taya Valkyrie would return in January. Sienna used a double camel clutch. Neither of you idiots can escape this? Josh said she was an MMA expert. Well I guess that answers that. They took Sienna out on the floor and Gail and Allie just started over in the ring. That pattern repeated awhile. Allie worked Gail over. She's not very good. They kept going on for a while and I was starting to nod off. Gail might have joined me, she was just lying in the corner for a while letting the others do stuff. They did some nearfalls and I guess I was supposed to care. I think Allie got dropped on the steps but the camera missed it. Gail then hit a middle rope eat defeat for the win. A very boring match. (*).

Dan Lambert gave American Top Team a pep talk.

Announcers were killing time for a bit when Jimmy Jacobs appeared and hit the desk. No reaction for him either. He identified himself and they did some terrible improv and he left.

Lashley & King Mo vs. Moose & Stephan Bonnar in a cage match. Dan Lambert's promo in the prematch package was seriously the best thing on the show so far. Moose came out with a rapper doing an allegedly live version of Moose's song. Even better was Stephan Bonnar dancing to said song. The rapper was allegedly Moose's brother. Moose appeared to be wearing thigh-high white boots. Four dudes brawling in a cage. Lashley caught Moose and powerbombed him into the cage. Bonnar got a hold of Lashley and powerbombed him. They kept teasing a Mo-Bonnar showdown and kept cutting them off. Mo ended up bleeding after hitting the cage. Moose took a flip bump for a Lashley clothesline. Bonnar has about no charisma in a wrestling ring. Bonnar and Mo began to do worked MMA, lying on each other and going for submissions. Crowd was bored and chanted for GSP. Bonnar and Mo did several rounds of fighting. Moose and Lashley were just lying there pretending to be dead for several minutes. ATT unlocked the cage and hit the ring to attack Bonnar. Moose ran wild on all of them. He choke-bombed the tiny one off the top rope. Moose and Mo started fighting outside the cage, but then ATT re-entered the ring and locked the dor behind them. So it was Stephen Bonnar by himself against like six dudes. So Moose did a dive off the cage onto two dudes. He went after Lambert but Lashley speared him and won. A total mess start to finish. (3/4*).

Johnny Impact cut a staticy promo. He talked about all the sacrifices he made to get there, including the carbs he had not eaten. He said his two heroes growing up were Randy Savage and his dad. And after BFG he knew his dad was going to tell him it wasn't too late to go to law school. But tonight his investment would pay off. This was not Johnny Mundo, sadly.

Eli Drake vs. Johnny Impact. Drake was losing for several minutes, then as soon as he took over Adonis started interfering. They did spots outside with Impact diving under and over the guardrail. Drake hit a neckbreaker on the apron. Drake's finish is apparently called the "gravy train," which is all sorts of horrible. The heat droned on for a while. The wrestling clips of other shows flashing by my Twitter timeline were far more entertaining. Johnny started a comeback. He hit a middle rope Samoan drop and popped up to his feet for another attack and a nearfall. Drake ran up to the top to hit a superplex for a nearfall. Johnny hit a flux capacitor for a nearfall. Adonis interfered right in front of the ref. Not a DQ. The belt got in the ring and Drake tried to use it, then Johnny did use it on Adonis. Not a DQ. Johnny hit the "impact elbow." Not a finish. There was like two or three guys desperately trying to start a chant, any chant. Johnny hit starship pain but Alberto yanked the ref out of the ring. This is every fucking TNA main event going back to Jeff Jarrett's heyday. Impact tried a dive but wiped out the ref. El Patron wiped out Johnny with a chair. Johnny got the hands up. El Patron wiped out Drake with the title belt. Then he broke a chair over Johnny's head and Johnny did not get the hands up. He put Drake on top and revived the ref, who counted three. (*1/4)