About Us  |   Contact

Figure Four Weekly: All In sells out within 30 minutes

All In Sells Out Within 30 Minutes

 

by Joseph Currier (@josephcurrier)

For all of the hype and expectations ahead of tickets going on sale, Sunday was going to be when the unknown became known for Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks.

And with tickets for their Labor Day weekend All In show selling out in 29 minutes and 36 seconds, the Bullet Club's success could be a landmark moment for professional wrestling. What began as Cody taking a Dave Meltzer tweet as a bet, where Meltzer responded to someone last May and tweeted that he didn't think ROH could sell out a 10,000-plus seat building anytime soon, has now become the first show in the United States to do so in almost 20 years.

Even as the event grew from the initial tweet, becoming a self-financed mission for Cody and Matt & Nick Jackson, there was no way of knowing for sure how Sunday was going to go. But now that it's proven to be such a success, the accomplishment feels like the inevitable climax of what's been building in the industry for the last few years. More directly, there's the popularity of Being the Elite on YouTube, Cody establishing himself as a star outside of the WWE system, Kenny Omega setting a new bar for in-ring performance in this era against Kazuchika Okada, and The Young Bucks' work inside and outside of the ring, working with Pro Wrestling Tees to change how wrestlers sell merchandise and getting Bullet Club and NJPW items into Hot Topic.

The rise of social media as a way to promote yourself without television, streaming services becoming the norm for nearly every relevant promotion, the global popularity of NJPW, WWE changing their hiring practices and opening up NXT, and countless other indirect factors have also helped bring us to this moment.

At a time when brands are pushed as more important than individual stars, All In should serve as a lesson for how crucial it is to have wrestlers who genuinely connect with the audience. The Bullet Club didn't sell over 10,000 tickets to people who were just interested in seeing a wrestling show. Fans wanted to help them reach their goal and be part of something that was promised to be special. Through seeing them on Being the Elite or following them on social media, fans were just as invested in the people putting the show together as they were in their wrestling personas. It sold out with Cody challenging for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, which is currently held by Nick Aldis, as the only announced match. For all of the talk of needing CM Punk or Daniel Bryan before he was cleared to return by WWE, they instantly met their goal with Okada and Rey Mysterio as the most significant non-Bullet Club names advertised.

They didn't just piggyback off WWE or the names of more established draws. Okada and Mysterio undeniably helped, but NJPW's G1 Special at the Cow Palace in July, where Okada will almost assuredly be wrestling, fell short of its goals with a reported 3,300 tickets sold on the first day of sales. And Mysterio regularly works other independent shows, never approaching this level of interest. The Bullet Club bet on themselves and were rewarded in the biggest way possible.

What happens after All In takes place on September 1st is up to Cody, The Young Bucks, and the rest of the Bullet Club. A sequel, even if it's only as an annual event, would appear to be a no-brainer. But their next steps will determine whether this stops at a single moment or becomes something that has more of a lasting impact.

It's impossible to not make the connection between All In selling out immediately and the relatively disappointing ticket sales for NJPW's Cow Palace show thus far. It looked like NJPW might beat All In to the 10,000-seat punch, but whether that will happen looks to be in serious doubt. There are obvious reasons why that might be the case. While All In is a standalone supershow with only one date booked in Chicago, this is NJPW's third trip to California within the last year. It's likely that they could have broken the 10,000 barrier for those previous stateside offerings. And while those shows were good, they haven't been at the level of the company's most prominent events in Japan that draw the most interest. Until the card is announced, it's difficult to believe that won't be the case again. A good portion of their roster also works ROH fairly regularly, further eliminating the need for some fans to travel to see their favorite wrestlers live.

But it's not going out on much of a limb to say the Bullet Club members are the most important pieces in NJPW's global expansion plans, and Cody and The Young Bucks (with the occasional appearance by Omega) have carried ROH to its recent success. As WWN's Gabe Sapolsky put it on Twitter, the Bullet Club is the real number two promotion in the U.S. While they may never compete with the biggest pro wrestling company in the world on a significant level, selling out an arena in one of their key markets is sure to get them even more attention from WWE. They're already being paid well, and independence has some benefits that WWE doesn't afford, but WWE's financial power usually allows them to sign whoever they want.

Whether you're all in with the show or not interested in it at all, the success of the event is a massive win for every fan and person working in the industry. We've long determined the financial success of pro wrestling based on its boom periods, with Hulk Hogan or Steve Austin on top and bringing everyone else along with them, and the down periods between them. There is no one person doing that now, and the changing landscapes of television and media have made it hard to judge things based solely on old metrics. But All In is further proof that there's something special happening in pro wrestling that has allowed non-WWE companies to become healthier than they've been since WCW closed its doors.

 

Mexico Notes

by Steve "Dr. Lucha" Sims (@DrLuchaJr)

Mexico! Lucha! Good stuff!

CMLL is in the middle of running their annual Gran Alternativa tournament. As has been the case for many years now, the tournament does not have much interest left with the fans. It's CMLLs lowest-drawing tournament of the year and several times this century has been the lowest-drawing weekends of the year. Still, CMLL, stubborn and hidebound as it is, uses the thing in its attempts to do a very wise and happy thing, promoting new young talent up the cards. This year, the chosen one is Templario, who is in fact CMLL's best young opening-match/second-match rudo these days. He and his padrino El Ultimo Guerrero, winners of Block B on 5/11, will almost surely defeat El Volador Jr. and Flyer, winners of Block A on 5/4, in the Gran Alternativa finals this Friday night May 18 at Arena Mexico before maybe 5,000 fans (2/3 empty house). Templario will get his name in the records books, a spot or two higher on the cards, and some good pub out of all this. Flyer is helped by advancing to the finals of the two Spring-2018 "young lions" tournaments.

Life is a small circle. Last year, Soberano Jr. won the Gran Alternativa tournament. Last Friday night, as Templario was advancing, Soberano Jr. had a big singles bout against Negro Casas, the man who came up with the idea of the Gran Alternativa Tournament in the first place (after seeing Riki Choshu use a Young Lions' Tournament in the early 1990s to promote a young boy up their cards). Casas won, but not after taking punishment that no 28-year-old should take, much less a 58-year-old. Had the powerbombs in this match that Soberano gave Casas been 10% less brutal or 10% more safe, no one in the crowd would have thought any less of them. This was a really good match, one example of a young babyface not being hurt one bit by a clean pinfall loss to the heel, and Casas, now in the 39th year of his career, again raising the question of, when you take quality times longevity, whether he might be the greatest professional wrestler who ever lived.

Or maybe Daniel Bryan is, or Chris Jericho. It would be off the wall, but, hey, wouldn't you love to see at this year's Anniversary show a match with Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho vs. Negro Casas and Blue Panther?

AAA is in the midst of a booker change that is in addition a philosophy change and will include a personnel change. Between May 18 and June 3, they have 4 cards taped for TV – the last is Verano de Escandalo. We are just three months from Triplemania. One has to presume that anything and everything is in the air. Things are likely to get more organized, cards are likely to make some sort of structural sense and follow a plan, but even throwing everybody in to the pot - all of Vampiro's people plus all of Konnan's people plus all of Dorian's people – even with all of them available, really, what match (or match-ups) does anyone really want to see? We'll preview in depth the AAA Verano de Escandalo card (the June 3rd card) in the pages in two issues, but what, Psycho Clown vs. Rey Escorpion? Lady Shani vs. Fabi Apache? Juventud Guerrera vs. La Mascara? La Poder del Norte versus anyone? In 2018, it's hard to see nay matchup AAA can currently put on that will move the volume meter much. Maybe this is why the AAA front office is floating rumors of something off the wall that would be a Triplemania main event to sell tickets. Wouldn't you love to see at this year's Triplemania show a match with Rush hair vs. L. A. Park mask?

We can always dream.

 

Japan Notes

 

by Bryan Rose (@br26)

Naomichi Marufuji did something on 4/30 many people thought would never be possible: win All Japan's Champion Carnival tournament.

Marufuji graduated from the All Japan dojo in 1998 and had only been wrestling two years when he jumped ship along with the vast majority of the All Japan roster to help form Pro Wrestling NOAH. It seemed likely that he would never appear for All Japan due to the nasty split, especially when Marufuji proved to be an excellent wrestler and an integral part of Pro Wrestling NOAH as the years went by. But of course, time heals all wounds, and eighteen years after Marufuji left the promotion, he did the unthinkable.

He met current Triple Crown champion Kento Miyahara in the finals in what was just an excellent technical bout. I'd give it around ****1/4, one of my favorite All Japan matches of the year so far. Marufuji is masterful in everything he does -- his execution and timing in particular is incredible. In a weird way, he's kind of like Hiroshi Tanahashi when it comes to constructing a match as he's nearly flawless at creating a big match with a great atmosphere.

Miyahara played his part beautifully as the young ace who was in over his head with the veteran. Not that Miyahara never got anything in, as there were times where he was in control and stood his ground. But this match was the Marufuji show, and it only took one Emerald Flowsion to pin Miyahara. In terms of a classic veteran vs. up-and-comer storyline, it set the stage perfectly for the obvious Triple Crown title match, which will take place on 5/24 at Korakuen Hall.

There was a bit of buzz after the match went down about the futures of both companies. All Japan is gaining ground after years of downward momentum. They even managed to outdraw New Japan in terms of Korakuen show attendance, though New Japan ran the arena more. Regardless, All Japan's finding success with this current crop of talent and has a real chance of gaining ground after well over a decade of losing it.

Pro Wrestling NOAH's fortunes are the complete opposite -- the promotion has been struggling ever since Jado's run as booker failed to generate any interest. NOAH's issues are well known, and aren't improving. It felt like there was some momentum with the promotion earlier this year with Kenoh as champion, but that dissipated when they went with Takashi Sugiura as champion for what feels like the upteenth time.

With NOAH a complete mess right now, there's always the talk about an idea where that the two companies could merge back into one big promotion. It's very unlikely, more of a hypothetical idea or even fantasy. But wouldn't that be an interesting conclusion to a nearly twenty year storyline?

Before we go, let's take a quick look at this year's Best of the Super Junior lineups as opening day is only about a week away.

Block A has ACH, BUSHI, Flip Gordon, Taiji Ishimori, Tiger Mask IV, Will Ospreay, YOH, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Ospreay and Ishimori stand out as top talents, with ACH, Gordon and YOH being tasked with the chance to really stand out and impress. There's a few cool potential matchups, mostly involving Ospreay and Ishimori. This is clearly the weaker block, but does have some bouts that have a chance of being very good.

Block B has Chris Sabin, Dragon Lee, El Desperado, Hiromu Takahashi, KUSHIDA, Marty Scurll, Ryusuke Taguchi and SHO. This is the infinitely better block and promises some incredible matches including big rematches for Takahashi against opponents like KUSHIDA and Dragon Lee. Heck, Lee vs. KUSHIDA sounds amazing! I am also very excited to see how SHO fares as a singles wrestler, as I think he had a big chance of breaking out in the next few years as a headlining talent. Add in Taguchi and Scurll and you have very strong block here.

The tournament kicks off on 5/18, with A block matches kicking things off. Tiger Mask takes on Kanemaru, ACH faces Flip Gordon, YOH faces BUSHI and in the main event Will Ospreay squares off against Taiji Ishimori.

 

Vinny's TV Reviews

 

by Bryan's Friend Vince (@FO_VVerhei)

NWA World Championship Wrestling (12/26/87)

They replayed last week's confrontation between Michael Hayes and Ric Flair.

They were in an arena this week, with Tony Schiavonie, Jim Ross, and David Crockett doing commentary.

Ronnie Garvin & Mighty Wilbur vs. Chance McQuade & Tommy Angel. This was from the DORN ARENA in Raleigh, N.C. Garvin chopped the shit out of Angel for a while. Then Wilbur came in and spent several minutes doing nothing but shoulderblocks and avalanches. Garvin grabbed McQuade like for a schoolboy and just stood and pulled on his leg with one arm. This was weird. Garvin finally punched both dudes and Wilbur won with a big splash, then gave a thumb's up to the camera. I don't know what the point of this was, unless Garvin and Wilbur are going to be a full-time thing. Which is amazing to think about. Garvin was the HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD barely a month ago and now he is teaming with Mighty Wilbur? Schiavonie interviewed them and Garvin said Wilbur had earned his respect, and this country boy can survive. He also said he was still pursuing Flair. Wilbur said he had called all his friends and told them he'd be teaming with Mr. Garvin, a former and future world champion. He started rambling about everyone back home in Hayward and Crockett tried to get him to wrap it up and Wilbur refused. Garvin said something about taking on any team in the nation and things should have stopped, but no, Wilbur had to mutter something about the Four Horsemen and force Tony to yank the mic away. A fun trainwreck.

Road Warriors vs. Bob Emery & Trent Knight. Animaly started throwing clubbing forearms before he had removed his spiked bracers. Um, ow. They won in a minute with the doomsday device.

David Crockett interviewed Lex Luger and his beautiful mullet at ringside. He talked about Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard trying to take him out of wrestling, and how he had believed they were family before they turned on him. He rambled and mumbled for a while and said Arn would learn what the Total Package was all about. This was not very good.

Larry Zbyszko vs. Ricky Nelson. Why is Larry Zbyszko going toe-to-toe with Ricky Nelson? Eventually Larry won a boring match with a neckbreaker. This went twice as long as it needed to.

Michael Hayes' vertical suplex was the SPAM slam of the week.

Announcers plugged a five-man cage match at the Omni for a wild-card spot in the Bunkhouse Stampede Finals. Nikita Koloff vs. Bobby Eaton vs. Dick Murdoch vs. Black Bart vs. Dusty Rhodes. They would join Big Bubba, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Warlord, Barbarian, Ivan Koloff, Dr. Death, Mighty Wilbur, Lex Luger, and Animal in the finals.

Sting vs. Mark Fleming. Sting was completely out of control on a bodypress off the ropes, then hit a bunch of standing splashes. Just splash, get up, splash the other way, get up, splash the other way, repeat. Fans loved that, actually. So a minute later he did it again. Then, instead of making a cover, he asked the ref to "ask him!" Earl Hebner was very confused, but asked him. Mark Fleming did not submit to these splashes. This went on for a while and Sting used a neck crank. Finally he won with a Stinger splash and scorpion deathlock.

David Crockett interviewed the SuperPowers. Dusty made it clear he was not retiring. So much for that storyline. He promised he would not step away from Nikita Koloff's side. He called out a bunch of heels and dared them to come take his US title, then plugged the wild-card match, acknowledging it might come down to himself vs. Nikita. Nikita agreed, then called out Mike Rotundo and Kevin Sullivan. He plugged the US tag title match, which I think is later on this show.

Steve Williams vs. Curtis Thompson. Williams was still the UWF champion, for some reason. Doc fucked up a bow-and-arrow and so hit a German suplex instead. Then he pressed this big fucker over his head a couple of times and dropped him on his side on a Samoan drop. Doc just kept suplexing this poor dude and then said "I will hit a flying headscissors while he is on his knees." That did not go well. Doc won with the Oklahoma Stampede.

David Crockett interviewed Barry Windham, who was still the Western States Heritage champion, for some reason. He was out to lunch here, just starting sentences and never finishing them, and going from one thought to the next and never making a solid point. Finally he said fossil or not, Steve Williams was not a fossil, and he wanted the UWF belt. THIS SUCKED.

Crockett interviewed Ricky Morton, who was upset that the Sheepherders kept waving the British flag. He repeated this a couple of times, then said rock & roll would explode like dynamite.

Eddie Gilbert vs. George South. Eddie worked the arm while screaming at the announcers that he wanted Flair, Dusty, and Nikita. So anyone with a title. Can't blame him for that. South made a bit of a comeback but Eddie hit a hotshot for the win.

Crockett interviewed the Road Warriors, who were identified as the International Tag Team Champions. Animal said he had made it to the Bunkhouse Stampede finals and was going to take the boot and the money. He warned Barbarian, Warlord, and Ivan to stay out of his way. Hawk said they had bought and paid for this interview time, and he could say whatever he wanted. Crockett asked what he wanted to say. "Nothing! Tell 'em Paul." Paul was caught off guard for a minute before running his mouth. That was great.

Michael P.S. Hayes vs. Larry Stephens. Hayes won with the bulldog in like 15 seconds. Well, he's challenging Ric Flair, he needs the credibility.

Announcers said they had a very dangerous tag team match coming up at the Omni on January 1. They showed clips of a Christmas day Bunkhouse Stampede at the Omni. It came down to Tully and Lex. Lex got him up in the torture rack and eliminated him despite the interference of Arn Anderson. Arn, Tully, and JJ Dillon attacked Lex after the match. Tully hit a top rope axehandle to the balls. Seriously. Who should make the save but OLE FUCKING ANDERSON. The four dudes brawled to the back. They cut ahead to Lex returning to get his arm raised. He cut a promo, but we could barely hear it over the house mic. He wanted an unsanctioned tag match for New Year's Day, saying he would find a partner. He and Ole had a discussion and shook hands. Ole threatened Dillon, then said Tully and Arn were tag champs, and he would team with Lex against them. Jim Crockett appeared and Ole said he would give the people new champions on New Year's. Crockett accepted. Great booking and content. Piss-poor presentation.

Midnight Express vs. SuperPowers for the US tag team titles. Babyfaces ran wild for a while, and Dusty got in Big Bubba's face. Classic stuff with the Midnights looking like bumbling fools and not in the SuperPowers' league. Finally Dusty got cut off and thrown outside and Bubba worked him over. Nikita tagged in and ran wild with flexes, and Bobby cowered from his flexes, and then they immediately cut him off. Well that comeback sucked. There were lots of hammerlocks. Fans were greatly into this non-action. Dusty tagged in and hit some elbows and hooked a figure-four. A four-way broke out and Cornette hit the ring. Ref saw this and called for the DQ. Dusty put Cornette in a sleeper and Cornette's wacky cross-eyed selling was the highlight of this entire show. The melee continued. Bubba carried Cornette out of the ring. The Midnights tried a rocket launcher, but Dusty threw his own body across Nikita's to save him. This was a nothing little house-show tag match with no finish and a wacky postmatch but good god almighty did the fans enjoy it.

Crockett interviewed the Three Horsemen. Tully quoted the Holy Bible. Really. He said the Horsemen thrived on attention, and ran down Luger. Arn talked about Lex's athletic prowess and unbelievable feats in the gym, and he loved the way heads turned when Lex walked in the room. But then Lex had put all that friendship aside to make himself a shining star. What the fuck was up with Flair's hair? He said the women were eyeing the Horsemen, not Luger or Garvin or Hayes. He called Hayes a poor man's Ric Flair. I don't even think Hayes would say that.

Mike Rotunda vs. David Isley with Kevin Sullivan on commentary. God, this show's not over? Rotunda was way more aggressive and vicious this week. It was a great improvement. Sullivan tried to sow dissension between Dusty and Nikita. Match quickly wore out its welcome and the fans were chanting "BORING!" In 1987, mind you. I spaced out and missed the finish. Rotunda won with a double-arm suplex. Fucking sucked.

Bunkhouse Stampede. A bunch of dudes were in the ring in street clothes having a terrible brawl. Paul Ellering was manhandling Bobby Eaton. Ricky Morton and Tully Blanchard brawled on the floor. One of the fucking Gladiators was in there. Rotunda got eliminated and the show ended. Well that sure took a boring show and made it total shit. Not the best week for this show, not by a long shot.

WWF Retro Raw 311 (5/10/99)

The Corporate Ministry was walking around backstage. You've got Hunter in jeans and a fanny pack and Shane in his slacks and polo shirt and Undertaker in his giant robe getting caught on things. This fucking crew. Meanwhile, the Union and Vince McMahon were walking around with 2x4s and a riot squad.

Kane vs. Mr. Ass. They had a hot blonde in a pink dress come out of the crowd and hug Billy before security took her away. Kane beat Billy up for a while. Billy bumped for a kick that missed so bad the announcers couldn't even try to cover it up. Then Kane was on the apron and Billy dropkicked him, and Kane bumped ass-first to the apron, then dangled upside down with his foot tied in the ropes. That was scary. Billy kept punching Kane until Road Dogg and X-Pac made the save. Dogg and Ass brawled through the crowd. Somewhere in here the bell rang, but there was no announcement. Then D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry ran out and attacked X-Pac and Kane. Ivory was still with them, as it's impossible to tell who the good guys and bad guys are anymore. Kane and X-Pac recovered and chased their challengers to the back.

Lots of clips of the Union and Corporate Ministry walking around. How big is this building?.

Union came out for a promo. Vince called out Shane and the Ministry came out. This was like five straight minutes of nothing but entrances. Hunter was now full-on team water bottle and took a drink whenever he appeared on camera. Then Shawn Michaels appeared on the big screen for a promo. He started changing the Over The Edge card, making Vince and Shane BOTH special referees for the Austin-Taker match. Well that sounds awful, not that anything on that show ended up mattering. For tonight, he booked Bradshaw vs. Faarooq with the Union as lumberjacks; Test vs. Bossman in a nightstick on a pole match; Posse vs. Stooges in a loser leaves WWE forever match; Ken Shamrock vs. Chyna; Big Show vs. Paul Bearer, where Taker loses his title shot if anyone interferes; Viscera & Mideon vs. Cactus Jack in a hardcore handicap match; Sable vs. Debra in an evening gown match; and in the main event, Taker & Triple H & Shane vs. Austin & Rock & Vince (I thought Shawn couldn't book Austin in matches?). He started thinking of a special ref. Shane said Shawn was stuck in San Antonio. Shawn asked the riot cops to reveal themselves. It was Pat Patterson, Gerald Brisco, and Shawn. Well thank god, because the Shawn Michaels in the video was the most boring version of Shawn Michaels I ever saw. Like there was a baby in the room and he didn't want to wake the baby up. So yeah, Shawn's the special ref in the main event.

They replayed Taker breaking a baseball bat over Show's head from last week. They redid the commentary so it wasn't a bat, it was a CLUB. Can't have kids attacking each other with bats, you know.

Big Show vs. Paul Bearer. Bearer didn't show, then came out and said he wouldn't wrestle, but Shawn, dressed like Roman Reigns, cut him off and rolled him into the ring. "LAY MOTIONLESS ON THE GROUND LIKE A SLUG, THAT'S YOUR BEST DEFENSE!" Lawler screamed. He's not wrong. Show hit a big boot and the lightest elbowsmash of all time, then asked Shawn to waive the no-interference stipulation so Taker could come out and get his ass kicked. Shawn agreed, which meant time for another entrance. This really is the start of when WWE wrestling became nothing but entrances, catchphrases, and finishers. So Taker came out but stopped short of the ring. Show dropped another elbow on Paul, and the rest of the Ministry attacked Show. Union ran out with 2x4s and chased them away. The ending bell never rang, so, uh, no contest, I guess?.

Sable vs. Debra in an evening gown match. Sable came out in bra and panties with a nightgown barely on. Like, she was a loser as soon as she stepped out on stage. First Lawler asked if Sable was horizontally accessable, and Shawn said she was accessable every which way. Then Sable talked about the men who came to see her, and Shawn asked about "those of us who have had you?" Brock Lesnar, if you are reading this, I am merely reporting what Shawn Michaels said on this show. Please don't kill me. Shawn made a comment about Sable enoying a microphone near her mouth, Sable flashed her thong, the bell rang, then Val Venis appeared and started flirting with Debra. Sable jumped Debra from behind and tore her evening gown off and won. "That was quick," Shawn noted. Nicole Bass stalked Val up the ramp. Jeff Jarrett broke a guitar over Val's head and they both disappeared. Michael Cole started to interview Sable, but Shawn interrupted. He declared that Debra had nice boobs, and unlike Sable we hadn't seen them before, and so the first person to lose her evening gown was the winner, and so Debra is the new women's champion. I am not making any of this up. This actually happened. An officially recognized title switch on the WWE record books. Try explaining any of this to your non-wrestling fan friends.

Test vs. Big Bossman in a nightstick on a pole match. Test was climbing the pole and Bossman pulled his trunks down and Test's ass was hanging out. Women loved that. Test teased a pescado, Bossman was scurred and ducked, and Test tried to climb but got cut off. This is a spot they did. Then they just started brawling everywhere and it was awful. Bossman kept doing chinlocks and neck cranks and THIS MATCH FUCKING BLOWS. Test's rope-running was awful. Always looked like he was about to fall down. He climbed and grabbed nightstick but Bossman had a weapon of his own and laid Test out with it, then picked up the LEGAL nightstick, and soon hit Test with it and pinned him. Jesus Christ. Why didn't you do that ten minutes ago?.

Val Venis cut a backstage promo on Jeff Jarrett, challenging him to a match tonight. It was a good promo at least.

Cactus Jack vs. Viscera & Mideon in a hardcore handicap match. So if Cactus Jack is so dangerous he can take on 800-plus pounds of human being here, why does Foley come out as Mankind every week? Viscera hit a belly-to-belly on the floor. Mideon with a fucking brutal chairshow to Jack's head. Jack made a comeback and there were more chairshots. Jack hit the Cactus elbow with a chair on Viscera and pinned him to win. Teddy Long was the ref, by the way. I'm not sure when he started but this was the first time I noticed him. As Jack was leaving, I believe Bruce Prichard ran out to collect the plunder guys had used.

Cole interviewed Chyna in the back. She cut a promo saying she was on her period, and the balls were in her court, and she might rip them off and step on them.

Steve Blackman hype video. Yes, that is somewhat oxymoronic.

Bradshaw vs. Faarooq in a lumberjack match. Everyone came out, but Faarooq said they weren't going to fight, because they both knew who the winner would be anyway. Bradshaw agreed, then realized Faarooq was talking about himself. He said he had been outdrinking Faarooq for months, and he could out-fight him too. "Well I'll be DAMNED." Faarooq said. So they sucker-punched each other and the fight was on. Mankind came out to join his Union buddies. Guys would get thrown outside and the Union would rough them up before throwing them back in. Crowd enjoyed it for a while but the novelty soon wore off. Other B-Teamers ran out to make peace. So the Union hit the ring and trapped Viscera and beat him with 2x4s. Crowd loved that. And then the Union's music played and that was the end. No bell, no finish. This show is amazing.

Patterson and Briscoe were bragging about all the legends they had beaten. Ray Stevens, Bockwinkle, Funk Brothers, Flair. This was great.

Mean Street Posse vs. Stooges in a Loser Leaves WWF Forever Match. Stooges came out to Real American and tore their shirts off, a great rib on, well, everyone. Patterson got laid out on the floor but Gerald Brisco was the best babyface on the entire show taking out both snobs. He was eventually overwhelmed and the Posse hit a lot of indyriffic offense. Patterson made a comeback with a helmet, so I guess this is no-DQ. Patterson tried to crotch Rodney on the top rope and instead legit dropped his balls into the apron. Somehow Rodney survived, and the Stooges won with a Boston crab and figure-four. Seriously the best thing on the show. Patterson removed his shirt and did the Hogan flexing. "He's single, fellas," Ross noted.

Shamrock did a very low-key promo saying in his group homes, if you hit a woman, there would be a very serious price to pay, and he didn't know what would go on out there tonight.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Val Venis. Finally, a professional wrestling match between full-time professional wrestlers on this here professional wrestling show. So of course nobody cared about it. Announcers had to plug the Zappa Brothers' Happy Hour and had no enthusiasm for it whatsoever. Crowd just wanted to chant for puppies. Val made his comeback when Debra climbed on the apron and removed her jacket. Val went over and started necking with her. She passed the women's title belt to Jeff, then slapped Val, and Jeff hit a beltshot and won.

Beaver Cleavage promo. Lots of jokes about hairy beavers and split beavers and working on your knees.

Chyna vs. Ken Shamrock. Hunter finally got his theme song. They'd have the DX band add lyrics to it later, but otherwise this was the theme he'd use for years until he switched to the Motorhead song. Shamrock came out, but refused to fight. Well why come out then? He threatened to beat Hunter when Chyna slapped him. "FUUUCK!" Shamrock screamed. "FUCK!" Finally Shamrock grabbed Chyna by the throat. Hunter jumped him from behind. Hunter and Chyna both punched him repeatedly and he belly-to-belly'd Chyna and got pissed and walked out, dropping one more "FUCK!" along the way.

Steve Austin was walking backstage in these ridiculous red shorts and then Shawn was there in THOSE SHORTS.

Triple H & Undertaker & Shane McMahon vs. Steve Austin & Rock & Vince McMahon with Shawn Michaels as special ref. Shawn came out and posed on the turnbuckles. These shorts were easily twice as revealing as those tights Michael Hayes wore on NWA Saturday night a few months back. Vince came out first, so the bad guys started attacking him. Hunter brawled with Rock and his broken arm on the ramp as Taker chokeslammed and tombstoned Vince in the ring. Austin finally came out a few minutes in to a monster ovation. Everyone brawled everywhere. Eventually they cleared the ring so Shane could attack his dad's prone body. It was much better than Shane's usual stuff, by which I mean it was horrible. Austin stunned Shane and Vince made a cover, but Austin pulled Vince off, stunned Shane, and pinned him. Technically a clean pin. Show pretty much instantly went off the air. I'm exhausted.

The finishes on this show were: DQ or countout or no contest where I don't know who won or lost or if it was a draw; bell never rang so I assume a no-contest; CLEAN FINISH in an evening gown match, but then oh wait the rules of the match were changed after the fact; pin in a nightstick match after the WRONG NIGHTSTICK was used; pin in a handicap hardcore match; double submission in what I assume was a no-DQ match; pin after distraction and beltshot; no match when one of the fighters came out but refused to fight; clean pin in a six-man tag and even then one guy refused to let his partner get the pin and had to get it himself. My god.

Battlefield: Earth (2000)

I am seriously questioning all my life's decisions right now. So, is this, the worst movie I've ever seen, worse than Nitro in spring of 1999? Let's find out!.

Subtitles let us know that "Man is an endangered species." In a desolate mountain range, a dude rode a horse downhill to join his fellow cavemen. He had medicine, but his dad was already dead. He screamed in slow-mo, then buried his dad.

That night, the dude was telling people they had never seen the demons, and they should go somewhere else in search of food. An old guy told him the gods had abandoned them and the demons had arrived from the sky.

The dude told his girlfriend to stay and watch over the village. She gave him a gift from his mom (?) and wished him luck. We had five straight shots in this scene of different camera tilts.

Something scared the guy's horse and it threw him. He thought he saw a monster but it was an old dinosaur statue. He walked through the abandoned mini golf course and ate a rotten apple and met some mean cavemen. They said they had no food, but one of them was awfully fat. Our hero offered some food if they could show him a god.

They went to an abandoned, tilted city and told stories about gods. They thought the statues were people who had angered the gods and been frozen.

They stopped in a mall to eat. Wait, what? We haven't seen a god! They made fun of him for leaving a woman behind, and then one of them was shot by a laser. The others ran for their lives. The fat one ignored stairs and jumped and broke his leg. What an idiot. The horse got lasered, then Our Hero ran away. He was finally lasered too and tumbled through glass in a scene blatantly ripped off from Blade Runner. Somehow the caveman survived going through this glass.

Our Hero and his buddies woke up in a cage on a plane that was flying over the mountains. They landed at a base or fort or something. They were struggling to breath but some guy gave them devices to help. They flew into the base, which was basically a city with a roof. "HUMAN PROCESSING CENTER - DENVER," the subtitles said. One of the cavemen tried to flee but got lasered. It appears the bad guys are giants, like ten feet tall. Our Hero somehow got a gun and lasered one of them, then ran away, INTO THE BUILDING, where an army of giants subdued him and Giant Vincent Vega pimp-slapped him. Suddenly we could hear his normal John Travolta voice, and they explained that the man-animal had shot his way free. Travolta said "skull-bone." Giants are big fans of redundancies. So Our Hero shot another one and Travolta was impressed and laughed. Giant Forrest Whitaker also laughed.

Giant John Travolta went to the bar. He told the bartender he was going to stooge him out to their boss and laughed at him. Dick.

The cavemen were hosed off. Our Hero attacked the ten-foot aliens and got his ass kicked.

The giant boss, apparently, teleported in. They agreed earth was ugly. They said they would mine out the planet and exterminate everyone. They agreed this was funny. They talked about dogs for a while and agreed they must have been the planet's superior species. They told Giant Travolta he wasn't getting a transfer, and would be stuck on the planet for a while. He tried to talk his way out of this. Instead they basically threatened to keep him there forever, and they laughed at him. It's a whole race of dicks. It was revealed that Giant Travolta had done something inappropriate with a senator's daughter. Giant Travolta nearly shot his boss.

"PLANET PSYCHLO." Very purple here. Um, some dudes teleported in.

Giant Travolta was drinking his sorrows away. He went on a tirade about being trained to conquer galaxies. His acting was a wee bit over the top here. He took his drinks and left.

The cavemen were being fed some kind of slime. Bad cavemen wanted the food for themselves. Our Hero started talking about escape and a fight broke out. Our hero won by threatening to drown the guy in the slime. It was determined the food should be shared. So everyone got guacamole.

Travolta and Whittaker yelled at each other for a while. They talked about PICTO-CAMERAS. They found pictures showing gold or something and fought more. Whittaker promised to make it up to Travolta. Travolta cackled and revealed a plan about a mutiny.

Travolta and his crew bickered about workers and payroll and profits. Travolta had the bright idea to train the man-animals to operate mining machinery. So, why have they kept the caveman alive if they weren't already slave labor? Travolta's boss said no, we will bring in new workers and cut their pay.

The cavemen were moving ore and shuffling around in a chain gang. So, mining. A plain hit a tower and bricks and rocks fell on everybody. Our Hero grabbed a brick and broke his chains and ran away. Giants chased him down and lasered him, then took him into their area and timed how long he would survive without his breathing gear. He saw other cavemen mining and begged for help. One agreed to share his air with them. The giants fired lasers and set off an explosion.

Travolta told Whittaker he was going to harvest the gold and use it to get off the planet. He used the picto-cameras to record Whittaker describing the plan, to guarantee Whittaker wouldn't screw him.

Our Hero was still on the run dodging lasers and diving down pipes. Just like Mario. He found a gate blocking his exit and randomly screamed. The giants cornered him, but they got shot by Giant Travolta. They determined that Our Hero would be useful, but they needed LEVERAGE over him. They planned to let him and his buddies think they had escaped and choose their favorite food.

The cavemen were now loose on the side of some godforsaken mountain. It was revealed they had not eaten in three days. They killed some rats and ate them raw. The giant aliens said they loved raw rat and now they had LEVERAGE over them, and gloated. Our hero realized they were wearing picto-cameras and destroyed them. Giant Travolta was pissed.

So the giants went to whatever city the cavemen were in. Aspen, apparently. Somebody finally gave Our Hero a name. Johnny. He refused to go back in the cages and was going to jump off a cliff when a spaceship blocked his path via atrocious special effects. So they were captured and the aliens argued whether man-animals could fly. They threw one off a cliff and he could not.

The man-animals were sent into Travolta's office to fix his roof. Johnny started messing with a computer, but Travolta caught him and locked him in a thing. A horrible hologram appeared and tried to educate Johnny in the ways of the Psychlo, clearly thinking that's what he was. Suddenly Johnny could understand Travolta, but he did not accept the offer of rat meat. The aliens left and the cavemen pulled Johnny out of the learning machine. Johnny said he knew who they were and he could speak their language. He insisted on going back in to learn more about them.

Later, Johnny was teaching math to his friends. Of course they had no idea what he was talking about. He talked about biology and geometry and promised this would help them escape.

Johnny was using the Psychlo employee handbook to log in to the computer. Seriously. They found the weapons room.

Johnny's girlfriend was hanging out. His horse returned, with no Johnny. She wanted to go after him but the others wouldn't let her. So she forced her way out.

Giant Travolta rammed a rat down Johnny's mouth. The cavemen used the picto-cameras to get LEVERAGE over the Psychlos. Johnny started speaking to them in their language. The cavemen attacked but had no idea how the laser weapons worked. Johnny said Travolta didn't have time before the HOME OFFICE learned about the gold, and he had LEVERAGE over them.

They took Johnny to the Denver library. Travolta pointed out the Psychlos had conquered earth's armies in nine minutes. He left Johnny to learn whatever he wanted, because nothing could help him. So Johnny read for a while until Travolta came to get him.

Travolta took the cavemen to a field and shot up some cows, when a herd of cavemen ran out of the trees and tackled him. Johnny got the laser weapon, but froze instead of killing Travolta. He told the cavemen the lights in the skies weren't gods, and the great cities they had seen were built by men like them. He said they could defeat the Psychlos if they went back and learned about their ships and weapons. He sucked up to Travolta and returned the weapon to him. Travolta then revealed that they had Johnny's girlfriend. Johnny denied knowing her, but she had a drawing of Johnny on her. He blew up a caveman to show what could happen to the girlfriend. The Psychlos cackled.

Back in their cages, the cavemen told Johnny he had done the right thing. All the other cavemen swore loyalty to Johnny and climbed their cages and hollered.

Back at the bar, Travolta met a hot dumb girl who got drunk cheap. She had some picto-cam or something for him. They talked about LEVERAGE and he cackled.

Travolta confronted his boss and revealed they had evidence he had committed fraud, and they should vaporize him, but instead they would just make him do whatever they say. So he got his hands on some mining equipment.

Travolta took Johnny into a flight simulator. He crashed the first time, but then beat the game on his second try. Travolta claimed this was due to LEVERAGE. They were the exact same size in this scene, by the way.

So Johnny flew them off in the mountains somewhere. He and the cavemen would be left there for 14 days to mine gold.

The Psychlos left and Johnny and the cavemen began to unload the mining equipment. Johnny said he would just get gold from Fort Knox. Because you see, this alien race that conquered the planet in nine minutes and loves gold didn't think to look around for it.

Johnny took some of his pals to D.C. to make a plan. Then they went to Fort Knox. Well that's a few thousand miles longer than they needed to travel. They took the gold back to Colorado, where the other cavemen were, uh, rappelling, for some reason.

Johnny showed the gold to Travolta. "WHY IS IT IN BARS?" Travolta asked. Johnny said well, you wouldn't want raw ore. So Travolta just accepted this was done, on the side of a mountain in Colorado, with no equipment. This is the defining moment of this movie, the point where you realize the entire plot makes no sense: the villains are simultaneously the smartest but also the stupidest creatures in the galaxy AT THE SAME TIME.

So the cavemen had seven days to take their planet back and made a plan. They would lure the Psychlos inside their own dome, blow it up, and expose the Psychlos to earth's atmosphere, killing them. Then more aliens would immediately teleport in, but to stop that, the cavemen would destroy Planet Psychlo with nuclear weapons. I am not making this up.

So the cavemen went to Fort Hood and found a bunch of weapons and airplanes. Johnny took these uneducated cavemen who couldn't even handle triangles and squares days earlier and put them in flight simulators. Then Johnny found a NUCLEAR FUCKING WEAPON and they started carrying it around. One guy volunteered to go on a suicide mission to deliver it to Planet Psychlo and Johnny agreed.

Giant Travolta started stashing his gold bars in, uh, a coffin? I guess?.

Johnny snuck back into the Psycho's base and told Whittaker that Travolta had LEVERAGE over him. So Whittaker freed all the cavemen. They took the bomb collar off Johnny's girlfriend and she said she always knew this would be his destiny. She knew he would lead a revolt against the demons they didn't even know existed?.

Whittaker revealed he now had LEVERAGE over Travolta and was going to take 80 percent of the profits. Travolta revealed he had killed the bartender, who knew about Whittaker's plan, then blew Whittaker's hand off and gave him some orders.

The cavemen snuck into the dome, using walkie-talkies to form their plan. Meanwhile, pilot guy loaded up his plane with explosives. The cavemen BEAT SOME GIANTS TO DEATH. Johnny ran in slow-mo as Psychlos fired at him and blew shit up. They were missing by ten, 20 feet. The cavemen rioted, calling the Psychlos out. Pilot guy had the explosives set. There was a gunfight where I couldn't tell what was happening. Pilot used a homing missile, apparently, to take down a Psychlon ship, but then saw two more, but then the caveman cavalry arrived in their Harrier jets to outduel the same attack force that had conquered the entire planet in nine minutes. The riot continued. Things were going poorly for the cavemen. The Harrier pilots SET A TRAP and beat the Psychlos in a dogfight.

Suicide Bomber Guy was WALKING AROUND CARRYING A NUCLEAR BOMB IN HIS ARMS. Giant Travolta stopped Johnny from teleporting the nuke to Planet Psychlo. Pilot Guy blew the dome. It didn't blow up, it just cracked. Travolta ordered his men to exterminate the man-animals. A big gun fight broke out. Pilot Guy crashed his plane into the dome to blow it up. This failed and his plane was stuck in the dome. Guns were fired. "THEY'RE KILLING US!" Pilot Guy used a bazooka to blow up his fuel tank and take out the dome. Oh, the poor quality of THIS special effect. Glass fell for like an hour.

Travolta ordered Planet Psychlo to prepare for an invasion. Suicide Bomber guy got in position. Johnny locked the bomb collar on Travolta's arm. Travolta blew his own arm off. At this point the guy with the nuke got teleported. He was surrounded by Psychlos, who laughed at him, but he pressed a button to detonate the nuke and blow up their entire planet.

The sun rose on Denver. Harriers flew around. Cavemen congratulated Johnny.

Johnny had One-Armed Giant Travolta in a cage surrounded by gold. Travolta wanted to be vaporized, but Johnny wanted LEVERAGE. Theory being that if there were more Psychlos out there, they could hold Travolta for ransom? I guess? Giant Whittaker was on the man-animals' side now, teaching them about Psychlo weapons, which they have apparently already mastered and that was it. Well, that was fucking horrendous, to be sure. But it didn't really fall apart until the second half. Pretty sure that one Nitro from two weeks ago was worse.

Wrestling Dontaku 2018 (5/4/18)

Will Ospreay vs. Kushida. They were doing cool stuff when Kushida caught him in an armbreaker on the floor. Clever, because it let Kushida damage Ospreay's arm, but it didn't kill his finish since you can't get a submission on the floor. Then Kushida hit a downward spiral right into the corner. Um, that's a good way to break your neck. So Kushida was default heel here, taking Ospreay down and targeting the neck. Don Callis noted the chinlock had been his trademark as a wrestler, a hold he could maintain for 20 minutes. Ospreay was even selling his neck after hitting the ropes. Ospreay came back with some spectacular dives but still collapsed selling his arm and neck. They did this great highspot with both guys trying their finishes, and eventually Ospreay hitting a German suplex. He immediately retreated to the corner and stuttered "my neck my neck my neck." Announcers were saying Ospreay needed to end this match and then take six months off. They were brawling on the apron and Kushida jumped from the floor and DDT'd Ospreay to the floor. They teased a countout off that, then Kushida hit a RIDICULOUS springboard rana for a nearfall. My god that was tremendous. Ospreay came back and hooked Kushida upside down in the corner and just kicked him in the head over and over. He hit a very dramatic implosion 450, but Kushida got the rope. Ospreay tried the Oscutter, but Kushida dodged and caught him in the hoverboard lock. Ospreay eventually escaped and hit a flip DDT that dropped Kushida on his head. They did this great strike exchange and finally Ospreay found a new wacky way to sell a knockout punch. Kushida just repeatedly curb stomped Ospreay and the fans were actively booing him now. He tried an avalanche small package driver, but Ospreay escaped and hit a springboard Oscutter, then the stormbreaker for the win. Well that was fucking great. Also, Ospreay has cool music. (****1/2).

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada. They did several minutes with Okada struggling to escape a headlock and then finally getting a headlock of his own and celebrating, and it was all great. Tanahashi targeted Okada's knee, but Okada cut him off with a DDT and they brawled on the floor. Okada hit a draping DDT on the floor and they teased a countout. Okada was getting openly booed here and embracing it. He did lots of chinlocks and neck cranks until Tanahashi made a comeback. Women were weeping, watching the legend Tanahashi fight for one more title reign. They went back and forth a few minutes. Okada hit the big elbow and the rainmaker pose, but Tanahashi popped up and got in his face, then knocked Okada out of the ring and hit a high fly flow to the floor. This backfired, because soon Okada caught him and tombstoned him on the floor. Super dramatic countout tease. They traded elbows for a while. Tanahashi finally went down after a trio of uppercuts. Crowd passionately chanted Tanahashi's name. Then Okada started paintbrushing his head and everyone booed. More elbows, and this time Okada started going down and popping up, and finally staying down. OK, that whole sequence needs to be studied by all wrestlers all over the world. Tanahashi paintbrushed Okada's head and the ref shook his head in disgust. Tana ran wild with all his big moves and the place was going crazy. He missed a high fly flow and Okada hit a pair of dropkicks (waited nearly a half-hour to get that in), but Tanahashi turned the rainmaker into a sling blade. Thunderous chants for Tanahashi. "YOU ARE THE BEST!" Gedo screamed. Long battle over a tombstone and finally both gave up. A minute later Tanahashi hit like the scariest tombstone ever and then the high fly flow. But instead of making a cover he rolled Okada over and tried another one, and this time Okada got the knees up. They took turns suplexing each other onto their heads, and laid each other out with big moves, and the building started to rumble. Tanahashi tried a high fly flow but Okada caught him with a dropkick coming down. Tanahashi ducked a rainmaker and hit one of his own, but Okada kicked out at 1. Now they just started slapping each other. Tanahashi countered another rainmaker, but then Okada finally hit one for the win. Well then. For a while there I was thinking that Okada's magic streak was finally over, that his title match wasn't going to be the best match on the show. This was partly because the Ospreay match was so great, but this felt way below the level of most Okada matches. And then 20 minutes in it just caught fire, and turned out to be one of his better matches. So yeah, Okada remains the absolute best in-ring wrestler of all time. That gets more and more clear every time I see him. (*****)

WWE NXT (5/9/18)

Ricochet came out for a promo. He talked about making sure everyone remembered him as the fans gave him a hard time for not wearing socks. He said there was only one thing on his mind, and it wasn't socks, it was the NXT championship. Velveteen Dream interrupted. Gonna be one of THOSE segments. He asked who Ricochet was to be demanding title shots, and no matter how he flipped or flopped, he would land at the back of the line, behind Dream. They went back and forth with the insults a bit. Dream said anything Ricochet could do, he could do better, and Ricochet asked him to prove it. Please let this come down to a flip contest. Dream tried a sucker punch, but Ricochet was ready for it, and Dream dropped to the mat and backed out of the ring. A good segment and the crowd was into it, but Ricochet was struggling out there before Dream arrived.

Raul Mendoza vs. EC3. They fucked up everything out of the gate and there was no amount of editing in the world that could make it look good. Then it settled down into a basic squash and Raul did a good job bumping his ass off. EC3 won with a TKO. EC3 did a promo about how adversity made a man, and all we would see from him was victories, and he would rename the promotion NX3. Promo was better than the match and had a real old-school feel to it.

Mauro called Dakota Kai "the Kicking Kiwi." That is unacceptable.

Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan confronted Pete Dunne backstage and made it clear they didn't like him. But they all agreed to fight Undisputed Era together.

Dakota Kai vs. Vanessa Borne. Vanessa wrestles in heavy-duty lingerie. A bustier with garters. They had an indyriffic match and then, as promised, Dakota hit a bunch of kicks. She won with a move that was half Canadian destroyer, half backcracker. Dakota and her fans are very annoying. Shayna Baszler came out and Dakota got choked up. Didn't leave the ring though. Shayna bullied her into the corner, then turned and choked Vanessa out. Well, Vanessa had called her out last week. Dakota backed up the ramp, shuddering, as Shayna stared a hole through her while choking another woman out. This is making look forward very, very much to seeing Shayna separate Dakota's head from her body. I don't know if that's the idea, but that's how it's going down.

Cathy interviewed Dakota backstage. "Why is Shayna so successful in her mind games against you?" Dakota said she wanted to run away but just froze. Shayna arrived and dared Dakota to do something. "Captain of Team Kick? Kick me!" Dakota did nothing. "That's what I thought," Shayna said, and walked away. Dakota was left alone with her shame, and then Nikki Cross was hanging out laughing at her too. This whole program is some quality unintentional comedy.

Heavy Machinery vs. War Raiders. A beautiful ugly match. You should have seen Otis suplex Hanson. Knight does have a great dropkick for a man his size. Hanson hit a tope on Otis, and they pinned Knight with fallout. Well that was fast. Two minutes maybe. Well, god bless Heavy Machinery, but if one of these teams is going to main event right now, it should be War Raiders.

Street Profits filmed themselves training at the basketball court. This court had a heavy bag.

Tomasso Ciampa vs. Kassius Ohno. Ciampa still has no music and is still the best heel in the world. They started brawling and Ohno soon took over. Finally Tomasso isolated Kassius' head on the apron and beat the hell out of it. I don't know how soon this was taped after TakeOver, but Ciampa had some kind of leg injury that looked like it was bleeding under a bandage. Ohno made his comeback with kicks and elbows. He took Ciampa down and started grinding his elbows into the man's eyes. That's a cool move and he needs to do that more. He pulled down the kneepad and dropped a knee across Ciampa's eye, then hooked a koala bear cravate, then turned that into something like a stunner. Ciampa came back and attacked Ohno's eye. This match rules. Ciampa hit his kneestrike, but Ohno kicked out. They had an awesome strike exchange and then Ciampa sent him ass over teakettle with a lariat and hit a neckbreaker into a cutter for the win. THAT WAS AWESOME. A-plus level pro wrestling on display right here. They gave the finish several minutes to sink in and show replays, and then Ciampa removed his kneebrace and attacked Kassius with it. Mauro was losing his mind at this heinous violence. This show really was the best and worst of Mauro Ranallo all at once. Great episode.