Friday, July 30, 2021

The History of WWE SummerSlam (1999)

Vince Russo's final PPV with the company was kind of a mess but still managed to be a very fun show....

SummerSlam '99 - Target Center - 8/22/99

SummerSlam 1999 is one of those PPVs where you know you've basically been fed a platter of garbage, but you kinda couldn't help enjoying it.  This show was essentially the climax of the Vince Russo era as he left for WCW a month later, and the booking leading up to this show was sloppy and nonsensical.  At this point Titles were changing hands on an almost weekly basis so their value took a nosedive and it was sometimes even hard to remember who was a Champion.  The Steve Austin phenomenon had become a bit stagnant and it seemed clear it was time for a new star to break out while Austin took a little break.

That new star was Triple H.  Repackaged as a ruthless, cunning superheel, Hunter made a bold move to go against the grain and not rely on catchphrases or flash.  Rather, he went old-school and just became a big sadistic bully who liked to dissect opponents.

It seemed clear Hunter would be the one to dethrone Austin at SummerSlam, but then the booking took several confusing turns, starting with Chyna winning a #1 Contender's Match on RAW.  Then the following week Hunter got his Title shot back.  Then the following week Mankind was added to make it a Triple Threat (from what I've read this was due to Austin not wanting to drop the Title to Hunter, but I don't know for sure).  Anyway, that's how it ended up, and in a stunning publicity stunt, Jesse Ventura would return to the WWF as the guest referee.

The match itself was your typical 1999-era WWF brawl.  Wild action, little real wrestling, some shenanigans between Ventura and Shane McMahon (it was fun to see Ventura back in a WWF ring).  The match was ok but not great.  Mankind won the Title and then lost it to Triple H the next night, begging the question "Why not just have Hunter beat Austin," which lends credence to the above rumor.  Triple H attacked Austin after the match as a way to write him off the show for a couple months.

WHACK!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

The History of WWE SummerSlam (1998)

The Attitude Era was in full-swing, and in August 1998 the WWF presented a huge event....


SummerSlam '98 - Madison Square Garden - 8/30/98

The 1998 edition felt like a monumental event.  At a time where the company was still rebuilding from the roster holes left by Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and others, they made the most of things and began manufacturing new exciting characters like crazy.  Led by Steve Austin and the "Attitude" formula, the WWF was riding the biggest wave of momentum in a decade.

SummerSlam was headlined by a huge face vs. face match for the WWF Title - Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker.  This would be Austin's biggest Title defense to date, and the result was a helluva good brawl.  An accidental head collision early in the match knocked Austin loopy for a minute but he gutted it out and managed to deliver a main event-worthy bout that included an insane legdrop-through-table spot by Taker.

Right.  In.  The Dick.

The semi-main spot featured an Intercontinental Ladder Match between the company's two biggest rising stars, The Rock and Triple H.  These two would feud on and off for the next two years, but this is the match that really catapulted both to the next level.  While not a gasp-inducing spotfest like the two HBK-Razor matches, this one featured gritty, hard-hitting action, some outside interference, and a nuclear crowd who cheered for the heel Rock just as much as for the babyface Triple H.  In fact this match led to a brief face turn for Rocky, before he swerved everyone and joined Mr. McMahon's Corporation.

The third-most hyped match was for the Tag belts, as the New Age Outlaws attempted to regain the Titles from Kane & Mankind.  Unfortunately this didn't end up being much of a match due to the storyline falling out of the two heels.  Kane no-showed the match, leaving Mankind in a handicap situation.  The Outlaws made rather short work of him, especially after Kane showed up and bashed Mankind with a sledgehammer.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The History of WWE SummerSlam (1997)

In the late 90s SummerSlam returned to a Big Four feel, starting with the 1997 edition....


SummerSlam '97 - Meadowlands Arena - 8/3/97

Now this is a fuckin' SummerSlam, part 2.  SummerSlam '97 was the climax of the awesome USA vs. Canada feud that resulted in a slew of singles matches involving the Hart Foundation vs. their American opponents.  The stakes of each match was very high, particularly the World Title match, where if Bret Hart failed to beat The Undertaker, he would never again be able to wrestle in the US.  Special referee and Bret's mortal enemy Shawn Michaels was also subject to a stipulation, whereby if he showed any favoritism toward Taker, HE would never be able to wrestle in the US. 

The match itself was a methodical but drama-filled epic, with the Bret-Shawn dynamic adding another layer to the tension.  Taker almost seemed like a third wheel as the power struggle between the other two took center stage.  After 25 minutes of action, Bret and Shawn got into an argument, where Bret provoked Shawn into swinging a chair at him, only to duck as the chair knocked out Taker.  Bret covered him for the pin and Shawn was forced to make the count.  This was absolutely genius booking, but had the unfortunate effect of making Bret the third wheel as Shawn and Taker then engaged in a landmark feud.  Odd that both the prologue and aftermath of this match saw the WWF Champion as the afterthought.  Anyway, damn good main event.

Some belated 4th of July FIREWORKS!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

AEW Fight for the Fallen 2021 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another round of AEW Dynamite predictions here at Enuffa.com!  Well, the upstart promotion is continuing a slew of loaded, themed Dynamite episodes this week, with a stacked Fight for the Fallen!


After two successful Fyter Fest shows, both of which drew well over a million viewers, AEW will go for the hat trick with Fight for the Fallen.  They may have an uphill battle going up against the 2020 Olympics, but maybe the strength of this lineup will make up the difference.  Regardless, there are some very exciting bouts on tap for this show, particularly a first-time tag team war and a huge 10-man elimination tag with championship ramifications.  Let's take a look....



JUST ADDED: Thunder Rosa vs. Julia Hart


Thunder Rosa just signed officially with the company so this is obviously a showcase match for her.  And hopefully we'll see a Rosa-Baker rematch sometime soon.  This will be short and sweet.

Pick: Thunder Rosa




Christian Cage & Jurassic Express vs. Angelico & Private Party


Christian and Jurassic Express continue their feud with Matt Hardy's stable in this six-man match.  Lots of athleticism on display here, so this should be a very fun match.  I'm not sure what the endgame is for this feud, since Christian has already defeated Matt, but I can't see Team Christian losing here.  Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus for my money are a great choice to eventually dethrone the Bucks, so I feel like they have to come out of this feud strong.

Pick: Cage and the Dinosaurs




Santana & Ortiz vs. FTR


This match could very easily steal the show.  FTR are great, Santana & Ortiz are on the cusp of tag team stardom.  This will be a pretty spectacular tag match.  I feel like this is the one match where I'm really not sure of the outcome.  Santana & Ortiz could really use a high-profile win, but at the same time I have babyfaces winning every other bout on this show.  Might be a little much to have the good guys sweep, so maybe FTR wins this one.

Pick: FTR

The History of WWE SummerSlam (1996)

The year of Shawn Michaels included a pretty damn weak overall SummerSlam, but that didn't stop Shawn and Vader from putting on a classic....


SummerSlam '96 - Gund Arena - 8/18/96

The 1996 edition was pretty indicative of the overall roster depth, or lack thereof, at that time.  Almost every PPV event that year had a very strong upper card with not much below the top two or three bouts.  SummerSlam felt a little skimpy as a result.  There was an amazing main event, a couple of decent undercard matches, and a whole lotta filler.

Shawn Michaels defended the WWF Title against monster heel Vader in a spectacular clash of styles.  This match was one of a whole string of awesome HBK main events that year.  Despite a miscue or two (which Shawn rather shamelessly called attention to during the match), and an overbooked pair of false endings, this was one of the best matches of 1996.  Considering how much difficulty Shawn had beating Vader, they probably should've had the planned rematch at Survivor Series, but alas backstage politics put the kibosh on that.

Wait, why is Shawn in the ring with that fan wearing a jockstrap on his face?

Monday, July 26, 2021

The History of WWE Summerslam (1995)

In 1995 the WWF was running on Diesel Power, and it was fairly disastrous both commercially and critically.  But this show was pretty decent in spite of itself....


SummerSlam '95 - The Igloo - 8/27/95

Here's a show that on paper looks absolutely wretched.  A weak main event, a slew of free TV-caliber matches, a host of top talent missing from the card (seriously, were Owen, Bulldog, Yokozuna, Sid & Luger booked elsewhere that night??), and only one PPV-worthy bout.  Yet somehow this was a pretty good PPV with a host of entertaining matches.

The main event is one of the weakest in SummerSlam history.  In yet another attempt to recreate Hogan vs. Andre, they booked Diesel to face the newest King of the Ring, Mabel.  There was literally zero heat between these two, and if they insisted on doing another Power Wrestler vs. Fat Guy match, why not book Yokozuna to win the KOTR tourney and challenge Diesel?  At least Yokozuna had Championship credibility, ya know, having been a former Champion.  The match was predictably underwhelming and short.

Wait, why is Diesel in the ring with that fan in a Grimace costume?

The real standout of this SummerSlam was of course the Ladder rematch for the I-C belt between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, the two men who defined the Ladder Match 17 months earlier.  While not up to the legendary status of their first go-round, this is still a damn fine Ladder Match with memorable spots involving TWO ladders (In 1995 the idea of a second ladder being introduced was mind-blowing. No I'm serious.) and a different dynamic being that both guys were now babyfaces.

Friday, July 23, 2021

The History of WWE SummerSlam (1994)

Taker vs. Taker - what a shitshow.....


SummerSlam '94 - United Center - 8/29/94

This here is about half of a good PPV.  The summer of '94 in the WWF was largely centered around the Bret vs. Owen feud, which was fantastic.  It would come to a head at SummerSlam, as the two brothers dueled in a steel cage.  Unfortunately the match didn't live up to my expectations, nor was it even the main event of the show.

Bizarrely they decided to have the returning Undertaker (absent since January after losing a Casket Match to Yokozuna) fight his doppleganger in the main event of SummerSlam, without really establishing first that the doppleganger was a fake.  Ted Dibiase showed up on WWF TV and announced Taker's return, then brought him out to wrestle.  And it was fairly obvious this was not Mark Callaway, but not obvious enough that we the audience could see where they were going with it.  It was as though Callaway had been fired and they tried in earnest to pass off impostor Brian Lee as the same man.  Then suddenly there were house show cards being booked with two separate Undertakers, but none of this was mentioned in the actual storylines.  And then the announcement came that at SummerSlam the main event would be Undertaker vs. Undertaker.  Just a very sloppily thrown-together angle.


Wait, why is Taker in the ring with that fan in a Halloween costume?

Thursday, July 22, 2021

The History of WWE SummerSlam (1993)

Welcome to the most mediocre PPV ever, SummerSlam 1993!


SummerSlam '93 - Palace of Auburn Hills - 8/30/93

Here's a show steeped in mediocrity.  SummerSlam '93 is an odd case of a PPV event providing neither highs nor lows.  Every match except one (Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzales) is watchable, but almost none of them are memorable.

The big story going into this show was the rise of Lex Luger as the All-American hero who bodyslammed Yokozuna on the 4th of July.  Luger had been using the goofy Narcissist heel persona that understandably didn't light the world afire, and with the departure of Hulk Hogan the company felt it needed another musclebound superhero to build the company around.  Luger toured the country in a bus to promote the event, and all signs pointed to him becoming the next WWF Champion and posterboy.

The match itself was underwhelming.  It wasn't a bad match per se, but also not terribly exciting.  Luger winning the Championship would've at least provided the big moment the bout (and PPV) needed but strangely the company didn't pull the trigger, instead booking a countout win for Luger, complete with a post-match victory celebration generally reserved for an actual Title win.  This moment was just baffling; Luger and other babyfaces basking in the glory of his All-American win......by countout.  Just bizarre.

YAAAAYYYY!!  Congratulations Lex, on winning........nothing.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

AEW Fyter Fest 2021 Night 2 Preview & Predictions

Fyter Fest 2021 Night 1 is in the books and it was a rousing success, propelling AEW Dynamite back over the one-million mark for the first time in two months (Thanks partly to the show being banished to Friday and Saturday for five weeks).  Now it's time to take a look at Night 2, coming this Wednesday!


This lineup isn't quite as strong on paper as the first night, with two title matches and the first of Chris Jericho's Pinnacle gauntlet, but a couple of lesser undercard bouts.  Still this should be another fun night of wrestling with some potentially good matches, one in particular that I'm looking forward to.  Let's get to it...



Frankie Kazarian vs. Doc Gallows


It's the Elite Hunter vs. one of the Elite, as Kazarian targets the heel faction's largest member.  I'm not expecting a five-star classic and this is likely to be full of run-in nonsense.  I wonder if Kazarian will be tapped to join Hangman's five-man team in that elimination match Kenny challenged him to.  I think the numbers game likely proves too much for Frankie, and Doc steals a win here.

Pick: Gallows




JUST ADDED: Darby Allin vs. Wheeler Yuta


Just like last week they added a short squash match featuring Mr. Yuta.  Kinda strange.  He's got potential, but he's not beating Darby, that's for goddamn sure.

Pick: Yuta, get me two!  Losses in a row that is....




Orange Cassidy vs. The Blade


This is just a mini-feud to keep Cassidy occupied while they figure out his next major program.  Both these guys can go, so this should be enjoyable.  I don't see Blade beating one of the company's most popular guys.

Pick: Orange


The History of WWE SummerSlam (1992)

This right here is a helluva SummerSlam - emanating from Wembley Stadium, this show turned the WWF formula on its head.....


SummerSlam '92 - Wembley Stadium - 8/29/92

Now this is a fuckin' SummerSlam.  The 1992 edition was not only the best PPV of the year, but would remain the best SummerSlam PPV until at least 1997.  This show featured two very good to excellent main event matches, some decent midcard bouts, and very little filler.

The World Title match between Randy Savage and Warrior probably wasn't quite up to their WM7 match, but this was still good stuff.  The face vs. face dynamic added a new wrinkle and these two both worked hard to pull off an epic.  Inserting Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect into this angle was pretty stupid, as the feud became a bickering contest about which babyface sold out by hiring Mr. Perfect.  As it turned out the answer was "neither."  Flair and Perfect showed up and more or less ruined the ending of the match.  I'm actually not sure why Flair wasn't given his own match for this show.  Still a fine WWF Title match, even if it would be massively upstaged later in the evening.

These two were really fighting over who
had the more obnoxious outfit.

Monday, July 19, 2021

NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam at Tokyo Dome Preview & Predictions

At long last NJPW's Wrestle Grand Slam at the Tokyo Dome is taking place.  Originally scheduled for May 29th, the event was postponed due to COVID and is nigh upon us this coming Sunday.


I deeply question the wisdom of booking a mid-year show at the Dome, given the continuing COVID issues Japan is facing, as well as the box office issues New Japan is facing, but the lineup looks pretty freakin' strong, abbreviated though it may be.  We have four big title matches, a special singles match and a pre-show Rumble.  Let's get to it...



Pre-show Ranbo for the KOPW Championship: Toru Yano vs. TBA


The Rumbles in New Japan are always pretty silly and this should be no exception.  I don't like the KOPW Title at all as it's only a few steps above WWE's 24/7 Championship.  Toru Yano is New Japan's R-Truth essentially; this comedy title doesn't really work for anyone but him.  To that end I expect he'll retain here.

Pick: Toru retains




IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero


I like the championship combination of Ishimori/ELP and think they should keep these belts in a stranglehold for the better part of the next year.  They can both challenge for the singles Jr. Title during that time as well, but let's give these Jr. Tag belts some credibility again by having a really strong tandem keep them.  Meanwhile, let's try and rebuild the division for Chrissake.  Anyway, this match should be a lot of fun, as Taguchi and Romero are quite capable workers but can also bring a light comedic element.  In the end though, this match is about making the champs look good.

Pick: Bullet Club retains

The History of WWE SummerSlam (1991)

We've reached the early 90s, when the WWF presented a pretty bad SummerSlam that everyone for some reason remembers very fondly.......

SummerSlam '91 - Madison Square Garden - 8/26/91

The mediocrity continued with SummerSlam '91, which many fans strangely hail as a classic.  I'll grant that it was a somewhat stacked show where multiple feuds were blown off, but there's very little good wrestling here.  The Savage-Elizabeth wedding angle also took up way too much time and probably should've happened on free TV to set up Savage's return to the ring.

The main event was the continuation of one of the least fun feuds in wrestling history, Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter.  I cannot believe the WWF was still trying to exploit the Persian Gulf War six months after it ended.  Just pitiful.  This time it was Hogan teaming with Warrior against Slaughter, Col. Mustafa (a repackaged Iron Sheik, as though we wouldn't recognize him), and Slaughter's manager Gen. Adnan.  Here's a question, if Slaughter was the lowest ranked of the trio, why was he the leader?  Anyway the match stunk and was notable only for the inclusion of Sid Justice as the guest referee, and for being Warrior's last match for a while after backstage contractual shenanigans led to his firing.

The match this show is most remembered for was Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart for the I-C Title.  This would be Perfect's final match for over a year as nagging injuries forced him to the sidelines.  This match was quite good (though I don't rate it as highly as most do), and Bret's singles career took off from this point.  Given how much pain he was in, Perfect did a helluva job elevating "The Hitman."

Perfect submitted the second the hold was applied.
Given his real-life back issues this is not surprising.

Friday, July 16, 2021

The History of WWE SummerSlam (1990)

The 1990 edition was a major step down from the first two, which were flawed shows to begin with.  This one's pretty terrible....

SummerSlam '90 - Philadelphia Spectrum - 8/27/90

What a mess this show was.  They tried to cram 10 matches in, only 9 of which happened due to a forfeit, the WWF Champion was given an opponent who was never built up to be a World Title contender, thus stripping the main event of any suspense, and Hulk Hogan was once again paired with an obese monster heel.

First we'll highlight the good parts: The Rockers fought the new tag team of Hercules and Paul Roma, dubbed Power & Glory in more of an angle than a match.  Shawn Michaels was "injured" at the outset, leaving Marty Janetty in a handicap situation.  But it was a nice introduction of the new heel team, who unfortunately never got much traction after this.

The Hart Foundation once again challenged Demolition for the Tag belts, this time in a 2 out of 3 falls match.  And once again the Harts stole the show at SummerSlam, supplying 15 minutes of solid tag team action.  The Harts finally won the Titles and the recently-debuted Legion of Doom were set up to feud with their WWF imitators.


The main event cage match between The Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude was a pretty good ten-minute bout.  Nowhere near as good as their 'Slam '89 match, but not bad at all.  Unfortunately Rude hadn't ever been positioned as a serious WWF Championship challenger and since Warrior defeated him the previous year (and a month before this PPV on Saturday Night's Main Event) there wasn't much heat for this match.  Rude would leave the WWF shortly after this.  Sadly for Warrior he was never really pushed as the #1 guy in the company after winning the Title from Hogan.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The History of WWE SummerSlam (1989)

Welcome back to our History of SummerSlam series!  We're picking up where we left off, with the second edition, for me a considerable improvement on the first....

SummerSlam '89 - Meadowlands Arena - 8/28/89

The sophomore 'Slam holds a special place for me.  It was far from a perfect show but at the time it just felt like a big deal, and from a star power perspective it was a pretty stacked PPV.  I was at the Saturday Night's Main Event taping a month prior when the company started building in earnest toward SummerSlam, so I really got into the hype for this show.

Following the tag team main event template from the previous year's show, the WWF continued the huge MegaPowers feud by teaming Hulk Hogan up with Brutus Beefcake against Randy Savage and Hogan's onscreen nemesis in the film No Holds Barred, Zeus.  The fact that WWF Champion Hogan's main feud for the summer of 1989 was against costar "Tiny" Lister who, according to the storyline "became lost in the character," was truly moronic.  But they built Zeus up as an invincible killing machine who was impervious to chair shots.  Sadly they didn't bother teaching him how to wrestle, as his moveset consisted of choking, punching his opponents' trapezius muscles, and more choking.  The match itself was very similar to the 'Slam '88 main event, but not as good.  Savage worked hard to make the match exciting though, and despite one of the stupidest endings ever (Hogan completely no-sold Savage's elbowsmash and then knocked Zeus out with Sensational Sherri's tiny purse - what was in there, a roll of uranium quarters??) it was still a fun, dumb 80s main event.

Watch your junk goin' over those ropes, Zeusy-boy.

The undercard however had a triumvirate of awesome bouts.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

WWE Money in the Bank 2021 Preview & Predictions

WWE is finally back on the road in front of live audiences!  What's great about this is we no longer have to pretend the ThunderDome audience enjoys the drivel they're being fed.  You're on notice Vince, this Alexa Bliss bullcrap is about to backfire spectacularly when real fans reject the shit out of it.


This Sunday is Money in the Bank, the first WWE PPV held before a live crowd since Elimination Chamber 2020.  For that reason alone this show should be a fun watch.  Pro wrestling in front of no audience is a tough sell at best, but a hot crowd that's happy to be in the building can make a mediocre show soar.  On top of that, this card looks to be pretty solid.  It's unfortunate the Bianca-Bayley match is off, thanks to a training injury that put Bayley on the shelf (The fuck kinda training were they making her do?), but there are numerous other potentially good bouts lined up.  Let's take a look.




RAW Tag Team Championship: AJ Styles & Omos vs. Viking Raiders


Man, where have the Raiders been?  I feel like they were off TV the entire pandemic.  Good to see them being used again.  I don't think I see them winning the straps here since AJ and Omos have barely done anything since winning them, but stranger things have happened.  Should be a solid piece of business regardless.

Pick: AJ & Omos retain for now

The History of WWE SummerSlam (1988)

From the wrestling-obsessed maniac who brought you the History of WrestleMania series (me, obviously), welcome to The History of SummerSlam!!


Since 1988 WWE's SummerSlam has been the flagship PPV of the summer season.  More often than not it's the secondary tentpole of WWE's calendar, almost like WrestleMania's little brother.  Storylines are built throughout the season, and when done properly, culminate with the summer spectacular.

As a fan I've found over the years that SummerSlam is almost an underrated series - WrestleMania gets so much hype and attention (and I tend to rewatch those matches so frequently), I often overlook how many great matches and moments have taken place at the #2 show of the year.  Recently during a few hours of boredom I began comparing each SummerSlam to its corresponding 'Mania show (i.e. SummerSlam '88 vs. WrestleMania IV, etc.) and found that over the years SummerSlam has been the best PPV of the year just as often as the Grandaddy.  Many times the little brother has overshadowed his attention-grabbing counterpart.  Don't believe me?  Let's take a trip down WrestleMemory Lane!




SummerSlam '88 - Madison Square Garden - 8/29/88

The inaugural 'Slam followed fairly closely the formula created by the original WrestleMania.  Madison Square Garden?  Check.  Huge tag team main event?  Check.  Special guest referee?  Check.  Odd assortment of house show matches between guys who weren't really feuding?  Check.  Pretty strange really. 

The main event of this show was enormous - for the first time ever WWF Champion Randy Savage would team with Hulk Hogan as The MegaPowers against common enemies Andre the Giant and Ted Dibiase.  The announcement of this match blew my 12-year-old mind, as did the addition of guest ref Jesse "The Body" Ventura.  The match itself falls into the same category as Hogan-Andre '87.  Not great from a workrate standpoint but a whole helluvalotta fun.  The angle with Elizabeth stripping down to her skivvies as a distraction was pretty stupid, particularly since they failed to deliver on the promise of a bikini.  But otherwise a fun match.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

AEW Fyter Fest Night 1 Preview & Predictions

It's that time again, when AEW does a slew of special Dynamite episodes with sorta loaded lineups to tide us over until All Out.  This Wednesday it's Night 1 of Fyter Fest 2021!


This lineup is pretty strong overall.  No AEW Titles up for grabs, but we do have an IWGP Championship on the line, plus the imaginary FTW Title, and a first-time gimmick match for the company.  Let's take a look...


Penelope Ford vs. Yuka Sakazaki


Not much of a marquee match here, but Sakazaki is making her first Dynamite appearance since pre-COVID.  I'm guessing this is a showcase match for her and she'll thus end up winning it.  Should be ok.

Pick: Sakazaki




JUST ADDED: Sammy Guevara vs. Wheeler Yuta


This match was just announced today.  No idea who Wheeler Yuta is but I hope his brother Johnny Yuta gets me two.  Yeah, that's right, I dropped in a Point Break reference to celebrate its 30th birthday.  Sammy is obviously winning this quick squash showcase.

Pick: Sammy




Christian Cage vs. Matt Hardy


Well that's weird.  Two Attitude Era WWF guys fighting each other in 2021 on a non-WWE show.  I'm glad this isn't a PPV match, as two 45-plussers from twenty years ago wrestling each other on a PPV is Vince's bag.  They'll both be motivated to prove they can still go, but I have a feeling this will be rife with interference from Matt's stable.  I think Christian pulls out a win anyway though, probably on his way to a Dynamite or Rampage match against Kenny Omega sometime in the next few months.

Pick: Christian 

The History of NWA/WCW Great American Bash (1991)

Alright, time to hold my nose as I review this stinker.....


Legend vs. Legacy - Baltimore Arena - 7.14.91

Oh wait, scratch that.  Change of plans....

Luger vs. Windham - 7.14.91

In a scant two years the NWA (morphing into WCW) went from being at the top of its game to being in absolute creative shambles.  Nowhere is this more evident than at their 1991 summer spectacular.  Ric Flair, the NWA's top star for the past decade, had reached a contractual impasse with the new management (led by the cosmically inept Jim Herd) and was forced out of the company while still in possession of its top championship.  His scheduled match with Lex Luger was thus off, and WCW's scrambling to plug this roster hole seemed to have a domino effect on the rest of this PPV.  Once again they shoehorned eleven matches onto a three-hour broadcast, and once again most of the matches belonged in a wrestling dump heap.

Case in fucking point: Steve Austin & Terrence Taylor vs. Bobby Eaton & PN News in a Capture the Flag Scaffold Match.  Sweet merciful Christ, what the hell was this?  Scaffold matches in general are terrible, but this achieved new levels of putrid.  The scaffold itself looked so rickety and unsafe I don't know how these four guys were even coaxed up there.  Once on the platform they did basically nothing for the better part of ten minutes, aside from trying to not die.  After several agonizing minutes of a match three of these four guys should've been mortified to have on their resumes (I'll let you guess which three), Bobby Eaton captured the other team's flag to euthanize this shitshow.

Absolute drivel

Next up was one of several not-ready-for-PPV bouts: Tom Zenk vs. Diamond Stud, a forgettable free TV match featuring an enormously jacked Scott Hall a year before he jumped to the WWF and mainstream success.  Stud won after some interference from DDP.  Moving on....

We go from the future Razor Ramon to the future Diesel, as Ron Simmons faced Oz.  Apparently every match on this show featured a future WWF talent from 1996.  This also belonged nowhere near a PPV.  A portly Kevin Nash looked lost for most of this, yet somehow got to dominate the match.  Eventually Ron Simmons woke everyone up with a clothesline that sent Oz over the ropes, but Oz soon took over again.  Simmons eventually won with a powerslam.

Simmons' reaction upon learning he'd be working with Oz: ".....DAMN!"

Monday, July 12, 2021

Introducing AwesomelyShittyMovies.com!

That's right - Awesomely Shitty Movies has its own website!  Get all your Awesomely Shitty Movies articles in one neat, tidy location, www.awesomelyshittymovies.com!


Keep checking back as we add all the existing ASMs to the new site, and stay tuned for new ones coming soon!

Thanks for reading - subscribe to our mailing list, and follow us on Twitter, MeWe, Mix, Facebook and YouTube!

The History of NWA/WCW Great American Bash (1990)

The New Revolution - Baltimore Arena - 7.7.90

1989 to 1990 was quite a dropoff in quality for the NWA, and the Great American Bash PPV falls right in line with that.  The long-awaited Ric Flair vs. Sting showdown had been in the works for months, and was originally booked for WrestleWar that February.  But a knee injury sidelined Sting for four months and Lex Luger took his spot, turning babyface and feuding with Flair until Sting was ready.  While this was certainly a huge marquee match, I wasn't a Sting fan at the time and therefore wasn't particularly excited about his inevitable Title win.  I was also pissed that the company reverted just about all the top stars to where they were in 1988.  Flair and the Horsemen were the top heels, Luger was a babyface again.  It all felt like a retread.

As for this show, once again they crammed way too many matches in, and this time it was an astonishing eleven bouts, nearly half of which had no business on a PPV.

First up was Brian Pillman vs. Buddy Landell.  This was a decent enough opener, as Pillman was obviously quite accomplished and Landell was a solid hand.  I'm not sure what the purpose was though.  They weren't feuding and Pillman had come off of a really strong US Title program with Lex Luger, followed by a US Tag Title run.  Why was he being wasted in a throwaway showcase match?

Next was Mike Rotunda vs. The Iron Sheik.  Seeing mid-80s WWF guys like Sheik, Orndorff, Bob Orton, and Junkyard Dog show up in the NWA in 1990 was so strange.  I guess they just wanted recognizable names to help put over the younger NWA stars at this point.  Rotunda had given up his Varsity Club gimmick in favor of a sailor persona, which was beyond stupid.  Rotunda didn't have babyface charisma at all and the Captain Mike thing reeked of 80s jobber.  Mike won a brief match that was out of my head the moment it ended.

The third consecutive throwaway match on this show, Dutch Mantell vs. Doug Furnas was designed to showcase newcomer Furnas, but the match went on far longer than it needed to, and again, I'm not sure why this was included on a PPV.  Furnas won with an impressive belly-to-belly suplex after eleven ponderous minutes.

The oddly pleasant surprise of the night was Harley Race vs. Tommy Rich, in an incredibly physical match given Race's age (He was 47 but looked 60), that proved Race could still turn it up when he needed to.  Contrary to expectations, Race did most of the crazy bumping, including his usual back somersault over the ropes ending with his head hitting the ring apron.  This match had historical value since nine years earlier Rich upset Race for the NWA Title, but otherwise this was a superfluous match that was better than it had any right to be.

How'd Eaton not suffer massive spinal compression?

The proper PPV began with the Midnight Express vs. Southern Boys, another classic effort by Eaton and Lane.  In the tradition of MX's battles against The Rock n' Roll Express and The Fantastics, this match began with babyface team dominance as The Southern Boys stayed one step ahead of the Champs for the better part of ten minutes.  Eaton and Lane eventually took control after some heel tactics, and the match built to a melee with multiple finishers before Eaton rolled up Tracy Smothers in a small package for the win.  The Midnights were in peak form in 1990 and this was one of the highlights of their year.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Killer's Kiss (1955) - Revisiting Stanley Kubrick's Second Film

Stanley Kubrick pulled his first feature, Fear and Desire, from distribution after deciding it wasn't up to the standard he wanted to set, so as far as official Kubrick lore is concerned the subject of this review was his true feature-length debut...


Released in 1955, Killer's Kiss is a visually elegant, if narratively clunky, New York City film noir about a boxer, a girl and a gangster.  The girl works for the gangster, and the gangster is in love with the girl, but the girl falls in love with the boxer, and there's your central conflict.  Nothing frightfully original there, but that's okay.  Co-written with Kubrick by playwright Howard Sackler, Killer's Kiss is one of the few Stanley Kubrick films not based on established material, and its barebones story made a good fit for a novice filmmaker working from a shoestring budget and establishing his own personal stamp.  Three main characters, a few supporting characters, and the most famous city in the world providing the backdrop.  What Kubrick lacked in experience and scope, he made up for with a prodigious ability to create haunting shot compositions and gritty, Gotham-immersed underworldly atmosphere.  

The plot as I said is clumsily handled at times, with hackneyed film noir narration and flashbacks within flashbacks; we open on the boxer Davey Gordon waiting at Penn Station, his bags at his side, smoking a cigarette and lost in thought.  Davey's voiceover talks about how he'd unexpectedly gotten himself into a mess, just before his latest fight three days earlier.  We go back three days, as Davey spends his free time in a shabby studio apartment awaiting a call about his next fight and pining for the lovely young woman named Gloria across the courtyard in a similar box of a room.  It's established that they're aware of each other but have never really spoken, and that she's sort of attached to her boss Vincent, for whom she works as a taxi dancer.

Kubrick's ability to draw the viewer's eyes from one point to another is uncanny.