“The Dream Match”… are there any left?

Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior. Hogan vs. Savage. Shawn Michaels vs. HHH. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (which turned out to be total crap- thanks, Lesnar!!!). The Rock vs. Hogan. These are just some of those pairings that fans around the world had clamored to see and ended up getting their wish: the “Super Bout”, the “Dream Match”. S0me of these dream matchups have lived up to their hype (such as Hogan/Rock and Sting vs. Bret Hart) while others have been less than stellar (Goldberg/Lesnar). But, with the WWE pretty much monopolizing the majority of U.S. Professional Wrestling, what dream bouts are still out there that would get the fans excited, bouts that we haven’t seen before?

Hmmm… I think Sting (from TNA) vs. either Shawn Michaels (WWE) or The Undertaker (WWE) are the only ones left. Sting (one of the older, big names out there) never made the jump to WWE during the Monday Night Wars, so there are many potential matches with him. Other than that….? Maybe a A.J. Styles (TNA)- Evan Bourne (WWE) fight. Or Sara Del Ray (ROH- I think she’s now on TNA…; considered by some to be the best female wrestler in the world) vs. Beth Phoenix (WWE). Maybe Austin Aries (ROH World Champion) vs. John Cena (WWE Champion). Any others?

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Nostalgia moment: Goldberg wins the WCW title

The lead-up to Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Sting at Starrcade 1997 was a glowing example of excellent booking.  Sting had walked out on WCW in September of 1996 when his teammates in War Games accused him of defecting to the New World Order.  His defection cost Team WCW the match, and put them on the defense in the war against the nWo.  Then, six months later, at the Uncensored PPV, Sting returned with a drastically different appearance and rejoined the battle.  Over the course of nine months, Sting didn’t speak, didn’t wrestle any matches, and didn’t interact with anyone.  He remained a figure overlooking the battlefield and occasionally attacked when the moment was right.

WCW held the course for Starrcade, their biggest show of the year.  Finally, Sting was going to have a match and it was going to be for Hollywood Hogan’s WCW title.  And the fans craved it.  WCW had the fans eating out of their hands.  It was booked excellently – the story had been set, the players had played their roles, and the fans wanted resolution.  That is how it is done.  (Nevermind the clusterfuck it turned into – we’re focusing on the good).

So it boggles the mind that just seven months later, WCW could screw up so badly when it came to the hottest new sensation – Bill Goldberg – winning the WCW title from Hollywood Hogan, who was still one of the biggest heels in the company.  You’d think that it would have $$$ all over it, right?  All you need is to get Goldberg in the path of the nWo and have him continue to plow through the rank and file until finally he gets his shot at Hogan.  Not quite as intriguing as Sting, sure, but the fans would eat it up.

Instead, we get the setup and the payoff in one week’s time.  During the buildup to another high profile feud.

July of 1998 was leading into the Bash at the Beach PPV.  The big story was that Hogan had brought Dennis Rodman back into the nWo ranks, and to combat it, Diamond Dallas Page had brought in Karl Malone.  Hogan was the champion, and DDP was the best contender WCW had to offer (as Sting, Lex Luger and the Giant had all joined various nWo factions).  As for Goldberg, he had defeated Raven for the United States title, and was still plowing through any and all of those who stepped before him.  He was in the middle of a feud with Curt Hennig (that saw Hennig defect back to Hogan’s group) with no interaction with Hogan or Page.

So it came as something of a surprise when J.J. Dillon announced that Goldberg would be getting a title shot against Hogan on the following episode of Nitro.  There would be no build up.  No storyline.  The title match would take place, and then everyone would go back to what they were doing.  Many fans (myself included) realized that Hogan would not likely be the one to end Goldberg’s win streak, so the match was somewhat anticlimactic.  Both feuds played into the match as Curt Hennig came to the ring during the bout, with Karl Malone running out behind him and laying him out with a Diamond Cutter.  The distraction opened Hogan up for the spear, and one Jackhammer later, Goldberg was the WCW champion.  And everyone went back to what they were doing.

Hogan kept feuding with Page (even bringing Jay Leno into the mix) while Goldberg began defending his title on Nitro against guys like Rick Fuller and Roadblock.  The potential PPV buyrate that Hogan vs. Goldberg could have created was lost to free TV, just so WCW could brag that they had bested the WWF in the ratings that week.  This was not Starrcade.  This was crap.

Goldberg’s title reign was pretty much abysmal aside from a good match against DDP (that many fans missed due to a PPV error) before finally having his streak ended by Kevin Nash…who just happened to be booking matches for the company.  WCW would not have another noteworthy championship reign for the remaining three years it was in business.

But they sure as hell won the ratings that night.

A pale star shines: Raw 11-23-09

A confrontation with Randy Orton gave guest host Jesse Ventura an idea.  Guys like Orton, Triple H and Shawn Michaels have been hogging all the title shots, so he decided to open the floor up to everyone else.  A series of qualifying matches would take place featuring no one but those who had not held the WWE or World Heavyweight championships (ECW title be damned).  Those who win their qualifying matches would go on to a battle royal, with the winner getting his title shot at the Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay per view.  The battle royal featured Kofi Kingston, Sheamus, both members of Legacy, MVP, Mark Henry and R-Truth vying for the shot.  Oh yeah, and Randy Orton too, since he kept asking, then beat up Primo.  Seriously.  With all that talent, surely an awesome match would be made for the PPV!

No, actually, Sheamus won it.

I suppose, given the possibilities, it was either him or Orton since we had just finished an all-babyface title program at Survivor Series.  But really, Sheamus?  Wouldn’t a better choice be Jack Swagger?  Or even the Miz?  The post-match contract signing didn’t go much better, as John Cena was dynamite on the mic as always, but he questioned Sheamus’s qualifications.  All he’s done on Raw has been beating up on Jerry Lawler and taking out Jamie Noble.  We’re supposed to take him as a viable threat?  If you think Sheamus has a shot at beating John Cena, then I have a lovely bridge you might be interested in buying.

Rest of the show after the jump.

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Kanertaker vs. Big Cho; Countdown to Survivor Series: 11/20 SD

A lot of hype over the reuniting of Kane and The Undertaker… C.M. Punk gives one of the best promos of his SD career- and pays for it… Mickie James in tears… Ziggler/Morrison again… Vickie’s baaaack!… and more…. Read more of this post

And therein lies the problem

Take a look at this picture, lifted directly from the TNA website:

For those not gifted with good readin’ skills, it says: Exclusive Interview: STING discussing HULK HOGAN and his future in TNA Wrestling.

Now keep in mind that Sting has been gone for a month, since losing his title shot against AJ Styles at Bound for Glory.  Also keep in mind that no one is sure what Sting will do in regards to his future.  Sting’s return is a big deal.

Now read that again.  What seems more important to TNA?

Hulk Hogan will not be on Impact tonight.  Hell, TNA still only seems to have two pictures of Hogan back from the press conference.  Hogan has done NOTHING on TNA, yet they still bow to him in every possible way.  And this is the problem with Hogan and TNA at this point.  Hogan will not be what is needed to take TNA to the next level.  Sure, over a decade ago, Hogan was a part of the stable that put WCW over the WWF, but also remember that Hogan had been in WCW for two years before that point.  It was really the help of the younger guys that did it.  And when the nWo became too big?  Too full of itself?  It collapsed.  And WCW never could figure out what to do later.

I see TNA walking in WCW’s footsteps more and more with each mention of Hogan on Impact.  The way it’s going, this will not end well.

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Regal Gets His Title Match In The U.K.

The night started off with ECW’s own late night talk show, The Abraham Washington Show with special guest Yoshi Tatsu. Due to the kind of hecticness of the show I’ll sum it up as quickly as possible.

Lauren Mayhew announces Tony Atlas who announces Abraham Washington. Abe makes the easy joke on British oral hygiene, Tony laughs, Yoshi Tatsu arrives and explains he doesn’t speak English well, Abe and Tastu share uncomfortable chain of “thank you’s”, Tony laughs, Rush Hour reference made, Tony laughs, Tatsu laughs like Tony, Abe ends the show in frustration telling Tatsu to wave bye, Tatsu bows, Abe and Tony leave, Tatsu waves bye. Whew!

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