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Thread: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

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    Re: March BTBOTM - WWE: Where It All Begins... Again


    December 18 2003
    Jacksonville, Florida



    We have a huge pyrotechnic display, followed by tracking shots of the rabid crowd, and finally settle on our announcers for the evening, Michael Cole and Tazz.

    ”Welcome, everyone, to a very special edition of WWE Smackdown! You join us for arguably the biggest episode of Smackdown history... Regal’s Gold Rush! Eight of the top Superstars on the blue brand enter in to a one-night tournament, and the winner will face the WWE Champion in two weeks’ time here on Smackdown! I’m Michael Cole, alongside my broadcast partner Tazz, and Tazz, what a night we have in store.”

    “No doubt, no doubt! This is gonna be one-a tha most epic nights not just in Smackdown hist’ry, but WWE hist’ry! We’ve got Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, John Cena, Rhyno, A-Train, Matt Hardy and Rey Mysterio, and one-a them’s facin’ Brock in two weeks!”

    “And don’t forget, Tazz, we’re still putting victories towards the Rumble standings. The twelve men with the most wins before the Rumble will be entered in the match. That means tonight one man’s going to get three wins to add to their total, and even the losing finalist will get two. Every match matters tonight, both for the tournament, and the Rumble!”



    *** SEARCH FOR: MATT HARDY ***
    *** ENTER KEYWORD: VERSION 1.0 ***
    *** CONNECTING... ***


    ”OHHH YEEEAAAAHHH!”

    Matt Fact: Matt is tall enough to ride any rollercoaster


    We kick off our huge night with the arrival of MATT HARDY (VERSION 1.0), ready to kick us off with a Quarter Final against Rey Mysterio, and followed as always by SHANNON MOORE and SEAN O’HAIRE. O’Haire bounds down to the ring with minimal fuss, whereas Shannon makes sure to copy every one of Matt’s actions down the ramp. By the time Matt reaches the ring, O’Haire is on the apron... and opens the ropes for him! No idea what Matt’s teachings have involved off-camera, but O’Haire looks like he’s becoming a full-on convert!

    In the ring, Matt calls for a microphone.

    ”For God’s sake,” Cole exclaims, ”we’ve got seven huge matches tonight, we don’t have time for another Matt Hardy monologue.”

    “They’re called seminars, Cole,”
    Tazz adds, ”and there’s always time for Matt!”

    Matt lifts the mic to his mouth.

    ”I-”


    *** 619 ***


    With a single solitary word out of his mouth, Matt is thankfully cut off by REY MYSTERIO exploding from under the stage! Perhaps surprisingly, Rey Rey comes out alone, but Cole explains that Rey told him earlier that he specifically asked for Kidman to let him do this alone, which Tazz makes sure to point out that it could be Mysterio wanting to break out on his own, something Cole immediately disagrees with. Mysterio gets in to the ring, and we’re ready to get the action underway.


    Regal’s Gold Rush Quarter Final
    Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) w/Sean O’Haire & Shannon Moore vs. Rey Mysterio


    As you might expect given who is involved in this one, we begin at 100mph, with Rey bouncing all over the place to completely flummox the Sensei of Mattitude and pop the crowd huge. Unfortunately for him, Matt is able to overpower him during a Hurricanrana attempt and turn it in to a Tilt-A-Whirl Backbreaker, putting the contest back in his hands.

    Matt then tries to slow things down, knowing he’s far more like to win in a deliberate pace than a quick one. Rey’s given nowhere to go, but still he fights back and tries to quicken the pace as he sprints across the ring... in a Side Effect! Matt hooks the leg!

    ONE...

    TWO...

    TH...


    Rey kicks out! Matt is furious with the referee’s count, which in turn sets Shannon off on a tirade against him too, until O’Haire tells him to ”cool your jets”, knowing the count was just fine. Matt looks to finish it off by picking him up for a Twist of Fate... but Rey leaps on to his shoulders... Hurricanrana! Matt bounces up, so Rey Wheelbarrows his way up... but Matt hangs on... Belly to Back Suplex... with an Elbow Drop on landing! Matt’s killing it out there! He climbs the second rope and looks out to the crowd...

    YODELLING LEG DROP!

    Misses! Rey moves! Rey scurries to the outside... he springboards back in... IN TO A DROPKICK! Matt cut him off in mid-air! He pulls him... TWIST OF FATE!

    No! As Matt spins to hit the move... Rey Dropkicks him in the back... and Matt lands throat first on the second rope! Rey bounces off the ropes... 619! Matt rebounds back in to the ring, so Rey springboards in...

    WEST COAST POP!

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THREE!


    Winner and progressing to the Semi-Final: Rey Mysterio in 8:33


    The bell rings and Rey has his hand raised, elated that he’s both added a win to the Rumble standings and progressed to the Semi Final, leaving him two wins from a guaranteed title shot. He pumps his fists as he marches around the ring, psyched at the prospect of some solo success, and knowing he was taken to the absolute limit against a more than game Matt Hardy, who unfortunately for him just went to the Twist of Fate well one too many times. Rey celebrates in the ring...

    … when THE BASHAM BROTHERS jump him from behind! SHANIQUA shrieks instructions as they beat the tar out of him, stomping him over and over. Doug leaves Danny to lay the boots as he pulls the turnbuckle cover off the top rope... so Danny drags him over... AND THEY LAWN DART HIM IN TO THE EXPOSED METAL!

    But still they’re not done! Shaniqua yells at them to take him to the outside, so they do as they’re told. Danny wraps both hands around Rey’s neck and Doug helps him up... DOUBLE BRAIN DAMAGE (Aided Chokebomb) ON THE OUTSIDE!

    But still Shaniqua isn’t finished. She screams for more, to really make their point...

    … when BILLY KIDMAN sprints down from the back!

    The Bashams want no piece of him, having already made their point with two huge hits on Rey’s already tired body. They jog away, leaving Kidman to check on the unconscious Rey Rey, with the announcers asking how the hell he can possibly be in the right shape to make it through the Semi Final.



    Once Cole is done bemoaning the Bashams’ cowardly attack, they change subject...

    ”As we know, every victory on a televised Smackdown event counts towards the standings that will determine who will enter the Royal Rumble. While we already know Shelton Benjamin, Charlie Haas, A-Train, Matt Hardy, Sean O’Haire, Chavo Guerrero and Eddie Guerrero picked up wins last week, and Rey has a win tonight and last week, we’re also tracking results on Velocity.” We see quick footage from the ending of the matches as Cole takes us through them, ”This past episode, Nunzio beat the Canadian youngster Eric Young, Billy Kidman got a win over Shannon Moore, and in the main event, the World’s Greatest Tag Team beat the APA in a non-title match, meaning all four have another win added to their totals. We’ll continue to update you each week as-”


    *** TUSK ***


    ”Welp, it looks like Rhyno’s done waiting and wants his Quarter Final to get underway!”

    Indeed, RHYNO, joined of course by PAUL HEYMAN, bounds down to the ring with no frills, climbing in to the ring and pacing furiously as he awaits his opponent...


    *** BASIC THUGANOMICS ***


    There’s a HUGE reaction for JOHN CENA, who arrogantly strides out and on to the stage, wearing a Jaguars jersey and US Title belt around his waist, and signalling the crowd with his “Word Life” hand symbol. There’s no mic in his hands here, he’s totally focused on the match and opportunity up ahead. He gets in to the ring, showing zero fear in the face of such a dangerous opponent, and gets ready to get things started...


    *** REGALITY ***


    And yet, before we do get started, WILLIAM REGAL walks out in his finest three-piece suit, one arm behind his back, and arrogantly smirks from the top of the ramp.

    ”Good evening, Master Cena,” he begins. ”Please forgive the interruption, I do not wish to slow proceedings down too much. But, before this contest gets underway, I wanted to personally thank Master Cena for his words of encouragement these last few weeks. You see, had John Boy here not insisted that titles are defended more regularly, I might not have had such a great idea to run this one night tournament. So, ladies a gentlemen, a round of applause for Master Cena.”

    Some of the crowd applaud, although most know there’s likely more to it than this.

    ”And tonight’s tournament is just the start,” Regal continues. ”Master Cena has done a delightful job in encouraging me to be more liberal with title shots. And, to ensure I’m not playing favourites just because John Boy had such a wonderful idea... I’ve decided that it’s only right that you, dear boy, defend your title more regularly. In fact... I’ve decided... that every one-on-one match you have from now on... will be for the WWE United States Title.”

    “Oh, come on!”
    Cole exclaims from commentary.

    ”Including...” Regal continues, ”any match you participate in during this tournament... such as... this one. Best of luck, sunshine... this is your chance to be a double champion. Or... no, champion, I guess. Good luck!”


    Regal’s Gold Rush Quarter Final and WWE United States Title Match
    Rhyno w/ Paul Heyman vs. John Cena


    With that, Regal disappears, allowing this tournament match to get underway, only now for the US Title as well. Michael Cole bemoans the decision to prevent Cena from any future non-title matches, but of course, Tazz is only too happy to back the GM up, saying that if Cena wants titles to be defended more regularly, it’s only right that includes his own.

    As for the match itself, Cena is riding a huge wave of momentum as of late and carries it in to this one, only for Rhyno to no sell a Scoop Slam and completely take over. You see, Rhyno is on a run of form himself that is hard to overlook, and he’s only looked more dominant since re-aligning with Paul Heyman. It’s for that reason he’s able to consistently get the better of Cena – just as he was able to do in his back-to-back victories over Kurt Angle – and looks to have matters in hand. That’s why he backs up in to the corner with Cena down... he charges across the ring... GORE!

    No! Cena leapfrogged out of the way! He rushes off the ropes... Shoulder Block! Both are up... Shoulder Block! And he signals for the Five Knuckle Shuffle!

    Cena heads to the ropes... but Heyman’s on the apron! Cena slides to a stop and looks at Heyman, trying to distract the champ...

    SO CENA DRAGS HEYMAN IN TO THE RING!

    Referee Brian Hebner desperately tries to separate them, but the distraction has clearly worked, allowing Rhyno to rush over...Cena moves at the last second... and Rhyno charges in to Hebner! The referee is down!

    PROTOBOMB! But there’s no referee to count the fall!

    Cena tries to wake the ref up... which means he hasn’t seen A-TRAIN (with a freshly waxed back to eradicate any signs of the “FU” Cena shaved in to it last week) rush to the ring! Cena turns around...

    BICYCLE KICK!

    But Cena ducks... AND TRAIN NAILS RHYNO!

    Cena lifts Train up... FU!

    He then dives in to a cover on Rhyno... and Brian Hebner is coming to!

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THREE!


    Winner, still WWE United States Champion, and progressing to the Semi-Final: John Cena in 6:12


    ”He did it!” Cole exclaims. ”John Cena had to overcome Rhyno, Paul Heyman and A-Train, but he’s still the US Champion... and he’s still in the Gold Rush tournament!”

    Cena pounds on his chests and salutes the fans, fired up that he’s managed to overcome tremendous odds and come out with the victory. Brian Hebner is still groggy, but he gets back to his feet to make sure he raises Cena’s hand in victory, and the leaves down the ramp, allowing Cena to celebrate on his own...

    … only for WILLIAM REGAL to cut Hebner off at the top of the ramp! He’s carrying a mic, and signals for Cena’s music to die down.

    ”Where do you think you’re going, Sunshine?” Regal asks the young referee. ”If there’s one thing I can not stand, it’s shoddy refereeing. And what I just saw in there... that was shoddy... shoddy refereeing. Come here, young man, take a look at this. Roll it.”

    He points to the Titantron, where the footage of the end of the match is replayed! We see Train trying to kick Cena, but instead hitting Rhyno, which allowed the FU on Train and the pin on Rhyno.

    ”Well?” Regal asks Hebner. ”What did you see?”

    “Umm...”
    the referee stutters, ”I, uh... I saw A-Train kicking Rhyno by accident.”

    “By accident, yes. But did he or did he not kick him?”

    “He, uh... he did.”

    “And did anyone lay a hand on Master Cena?”

    “Not that I saw-”

    “And did Master Cena use that to win the match?”


    Hebner shuffles uncomfortably. ”I... uh... from what I’ve seen, I guess he did.”

    “And so what would the correct call have been?”


    Hebner looks back to the ring, where Cena is leaning on the top rope, shaking his head and laughing in disbelief at the passive aggressive lengths Regal will go to screw him over.

    ”The correct call...” Hebner mumbles...

    ”Louder,” Regal insists, thrusting the microphone right in to his face.

    ”The correct call would have been... John Cena should have been disqualified.”

    “Splendid!”
    Regal announces, and pushes Hebner to the back. ”Get going, that’ll be all. Think about what you did. And you, dear boy,” he says, looking back to the ring, ”you need to have a long, hard think about whether your actions are becoming of a United States Champion. But as for now... congratulations, you can keep that title... but it will be Rhyno… not you... heading in to the Semi Final.”

    Regal laughs to himself, then spins on his heels and heads to the back, with Cena swearing vengeance from the ring.

    CORRECTION: Winner and progression to the Semi Final: Rhyno by disqualification in 6:12



    We then cut to the back, where Josh Matthews is standing outside the medical office, facing the camera.

    ”Ladies and gentlemen, I just received an update from the medical staff on the condition of Rey Mysterio... and what I hear isn’t promising. They have said that it’s unlikely he will be able to recover in time for the Semi Final, and they are looking to arrange transport to take him to a local medical facility. Rey was scheduled to face Rhyno in the Semi Final, so what that means for that match I will try to find out from William Regal as soon as I can.”



    With Josh’s update finished, we return to the ringside area...


    *** CHAVITO ARDIENTE ***


    ”And here we go,” Cole says from commentary as CHAVO GUERRERO comes out to the ring. ”We’re about to see Uncle vs. Nephew in the next Quarter Final... and I find it hard to believe that this isn’t an intentional decision from our General Manager either.”

    “Jeez, Cole, Regal can’t win with you! One minute you want him ta give more chances ta Eddie and Chavo, tha next ya want them ta not fight each otha! Pick a lane!”


    With Chavo in the ring, his music dies down...


    ”VIVA LA RAZA!”

    *** WE LIE, WE CHEAT, WE STEAL ***



    And there’s a huge pop for the arrival of one of the favourites, EDDIE GUERRERO! After last week’s heroics he’s truly beloved as he comes out sans low rider, looking focused on the challenges that lay ahead for tonight, knowing that the first hurdle may be the most personal...


    Regal’s Gold Rush Quarter Final
    Chavo Guerrero vs. Eddie Guerrero


    The bell rings, and both men lean in for a hug in a fine display of sportsmanship. They release...

    AND CHEAPSHOT EACH OTHER AT THE SAME TIME!

    Both gets annoyed at the other for having the exact same idea, so Chavo shoves Eddie in to the ropes... Eddie rebounds out... Small Package... and he grabs the tights!

    ONE...

    TWO...


    Chavo kicks out... and grabs a School Boy... and pulls on the tights!

    ONE...

    TWO...


    Eddie kicks out! They both get up as Chavo swings... Eddie ducks... Backslide... and he puts both feet on the ropes!

    ONE...

    TWO...


    Chavo kicks out! But he’s kept hold of Eddie’s arm... he rolls over... La Magistral... and he grabs the tights!

    ONE...

    TWO...


    Eddie kicks out! He bounces to his feet and stares his nephew down... and they’re both furious at the other! They both rush to the outside of the ring, and in time with each other, pull a steel chair out from under the ring, roll back in, and threaten to hit the other...

    … when they catch themselves, and laugh. They toss the chairs to the outside, realising that they can’t possibly outcheat the other, and offer a handshake to stop the incessant cheating...

    … but both cheapshot the other! They both stagger back... Eddie turns to Chavo... who pokes him in the eye! And finally the match settles in to a proper contest!

    With Chavo having got the better of the exchange he gradually works Eddie over, putting him in a Surfboard and generally getting the better of the contest. It turns out that no-one knows Eddie better than his own familia, which is perhaps why Chavito seems to have an answer for everything he tries. With Eddie struggling, Chavo climbs to the top, looking for a high risk manoeuvre...

    … so Eddie shoves the ref in to the ropes! He’s going to do whatever it takes to win! He climbs to the top rope... SUPERPLEX!

    But Chavo grabs Eddie’s legs on landing!

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THRE...


    He nearly had him... but Eddie just got the shoulder up! Chavo’s always a step ahead! As they get up Chavo rakes the eyes again – just like his uncle seeing no reason not to cheat just because he’s against family – and lifts Eddie up... Suplex... he hangs on... but Eddie stops him... and hits one of his own! And another! And a third! The Three Amigos! He climbs to the top for the Frog Splash...

    … but Chavo pulls the referee in the way! He’s using Charles Robinson as a human shield!

    Eddie’s left no choice but to climb down and ask what his nephew is doing... so Chavo grabs him by the tights... and pulls him in to the second rope! Eddie landed throat first! Chavo tucks his head under his arm... AND LIFTS HIM UP FOR THE BRAINBUSTER!

    But Eddie slides down the back... IN TO A CRUCIFIX PIN

    ONE...

    Eddie grabs the ropes!

    TWO...

    The ref hasn’t seen it!

    THREE!

    Winner and progressing to the Semi-Final: Eddie Guerrero in 7:03


    Eddie’s stolen one... against his own nephew! Chavo leaps to his feet and immediately gets in his uncle’s face, furiously asking him what the hell he’s thinking. Eddie backs off and shrugs, offering him that lovably cheeky grin, so Chavo cocks his fist back... AND HUGS HIS UNCLE!

    ”What tha hell was that?!” Tazz exclaims. ”Eddie cheated, and Chavo’s huggin’ ‘im!”

    “It’s a family tradition, Tazz! Chavo knows that, had the roles been reversed, he’d have done exactly the same thing! And it just goes to show... no matter what Regal tries to do to get under Eddie’s skin, Eddie can get through it!”


    Chavo raises Eddie’s hand in victory, which Eddie then returns to Chavo in acknowledgement of the battle his nephew put up, and together they leave the ring as a unit...



    The WWE production song ”Father To Son” starts to play...


    ... as we see footage of JIM DUGGAN celebrating his victory in the 1988 Royal Rumble...

    ”Sixty minutes...”

    … we see SHAWN MICHAELS returning from the brink of elimination in the 1995 Rumble to eliminate THE BRITISH BULLDOG

    ”... thirty men...”

    … we see HULK HOGAN’S reaction to being eliminated by SID in the 1992 Rumble, and BRET HART’S vengeance-filled reaction to being eliminated in 1997...

    ”... twenty-nine runners up...”

    … we see the stand-off between HULK HOGAN and THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR in 1990...

    ”... moments that will life forever...”

    … … we see STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN’S reaction to BRET HART’S arrival in the 1997 Rumble, and MAVEN eliminating THE UNDERTAKER in 2002...

    ”... a night of unpredictability...”

    … we see STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN last eliminating KANE to win the 2001 Rumble, and his subsequent exhausted celebration...

    ”... but with only one goal at the end of it.”

    … we see RIC FLAIR’S tearful celebration in 1992...

    ”Sixty minutes...”

    … we see a packed ring during the 1991 Rumble...

    ”... thirty men...”

    … we see THE BIG SHOW’S violent reaction to being eliminated in 2000, and RANDY SAVAGE’S reaction to being eliminated by HULK HOGAN in 1989...

    ”... twenty-nine runners up...”

    … we see BROCK LESNAR’S win at last year’s event, and his subsequent celebration... which fades in to him holding the title at Wrestlemania, having won the WWE Title...

    ”... one road to Wrestlemania.”



    Live on pay-per-view, January 25th 2004



    Regal’s Gold Rush Quarter Final
    A-Train w/ William Regal vs. Chris Benoit


    It’s the first time these two have faced one-on-one since Benoit broke Train’s nose, which is perhaps why both men come in to this wildly throwing fists at one another. Benoit heads straight for Train’s nose, headbutting him over and over and trying to break it once more, with the announcers talking about how vicious he is with the opportunity at facing Brock once again on the line.

    Despite this viciousness, Benoit’s giving up a huge amount of size against the freshly-shaven-backed A-Train, and that power advantage allows Train to begin to take over. Regal, having formed an alliance with Train and no doubt keen to see him do well, starts politely applauding as he grinds him down. Benoit tries to hang on, but Train aggressively beats him down over and over until he’s ready to put him away... he wraps both hands around Benoit's throat and lifts him up... DERAILER!

    NO!
    Benoit lands behind him... GERMAN SUPLEX! He hangs on... another... and another! TRIPLE GERMANS! AND HE SIGNALS FOR THE DIVING HEADBUTT!

    Benoit climbs to the top... but Train is up... he rushes over... and crotches Benoit on the top! Benoit’s stranded! Train looks up at him... AND CLIMBS UP THE ROPES WITH HIM! This is uncharted territory for Train! He hooks Benoit’s neck and looks for the Superplex... but Benoit starts punching at the midsection! Train releases... so Benoit starts firing off the headbutts! Over and over Benoit crushes his head in to the bridge of Train’s nose...

    SO TRAIN FALLS OFF THE TOP ROPE! Huge fall for such a big man!

    Benoit composes himself, ready to dive off... but Regal climbs on to the apron and grabs his foot! Benoit can’t go anywhere... and Train is getting back to his feet!

    But here comes JOHN CENA!! Cena dives on the apron and grabs Regal by the jacket, threatening to punch him in the face so he releases on Benoit... A-Train charges at Cena...

    BUT CENA PULLS REGAL IN THE WAY! Regal falls to the outside... and Train staggers back in to the ring!

    Benoit, now released, lines up Train up... DIVING HEADBUTT TO THE STANDING A-TRAIN! Train’s knocked loopy, so Benoit rushes up behind him... BRIDGING GERMAN SUPLEX!

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THREE!


    Winner and progressing to the Semi-Final: Chris Benoit in 6:54


    The bell rings, so Benoit releases the pin and rolls to the outside. He brushes straight past Cena, knowing only too well that he’s now got a match against his close friend Eddie Guerrero ahead of him, and heads to the back.

    Cena, meanwhile, stands over the fallen Regal on the outside. Regal looks up... TO SEE CENA MAKING THE “YOU CAN’T SEE ME!” SIGNAL AT HIM! Cena ruined Train and Regal’s plan, and most importantly... did it without laying a land on Train so he couldn’t get the DQ win. Cena outsmarted Regal again!



    We then transition to this week’s Raw Rebound, which shows the opening, tearful interaction between the new Women’s Champion LITA and her best friend, TRISH STRATUS. We found out Lita had insisted on Trish getting the first shot at the title, and they faced off in the main event. Despite a gutsy performance from Trish with her injured arm, it was Lita who ultimately managed to make it out on top. With that, it became clear that, no matter what Molly or April say, this is a friendship that can’t be easily broken.



    *** TUSK ***


    We return to the ringside, wasting little no backstage in this stacked edition of Smackdown, as we get the second appearance of RHYNO tonight. He’s again joined by PAUL HEYMAN, adjusting his tie after being dragged in to the action in the earlier match with Cena. Heyman wears a smug look on his face – even by his standards – as he follows Rhyno to the ring, knowing full well this is going to be a mere formality.

    ”Okay, let’s get this done,” Heyman says in to a microphone. ”We all know that, even if Rey Mysterio wasn’t injured, he’d be too afraid to come out here and face Rhyno. And why wouldn’t he be? This is the man who beat Kurt Angle twice in a row. So, given William Regal demonstrated his class in his correct decision to not let John Cena get away with an undeserved victory... he won’t have handed this Semi Final to anyone else.” Heyman turns to referee Nick Patrick. ”So, referee... it’s about time you counted Mysterio out... and announced Rhyno... as the first finalist in Regal’s Gold Rush. Let’s get this done.”

    Nick Patrick shrugs, knowing that he has little alternative, and begins the count.

    ”ONE... TWO... THREE... FOUR... FI-”


    *** 619 ***



    Patrick is cut off by the arrival of REY MYSTERIO! He looks in a really, really bad way, with his elaborate entrance replaced by uncomfortable limping. He holds his back in one hand and the top of his head with the other, and shuffles down to the ring, where he joins Heyman and Rhyno.

    ”Very brave,” Heyman says, ”but more than a little misguided. You’re obviously hurt, so do yourself a favour and go to the back. I’d hate to see Rhyno destroy you.”

    Mysterio snatches the mic out of Heyman’s hands. ”Ring the bell,” he grimaces, and takes his place across the ring facing the Man Beast...


    Regal’s Gold Rush Semi Final
    Rhyno w/Paul Heyman vs. Rey Mysterio


    The bell rings, and Rhyno charges in the to the corner and crushes Rey against the turnbuckle. Rey slumps down, with nothing to offer, so Rhyno backs in to the corner and lines him up for a Gore... he charges across the ring...

    … but Rey Drop Toeholds him on to the second rope! How is he doing this?! He calls out to the crowd and rushes over for the 619...

    BUT RHYNO INTERCEPTS WITH A VILE LARIAT!

    And with that, it’s game over for Rey Rey. Rhyno pulls him up on to his shoulders and marches around the ring, before picking up speed... POWERSLAM! Heyman shrieks instructions, demanding Rhyno sends a message, so he scoops him up again... Pumphandle Slam! Rey is out!

    That would surely be enough to finish it, but Rhyno’s not looking for the easy victory. He backs in to the corner again, insistent that he hits the Gore, and waves Rey up. The diminutive superstar slowly pulls himself up using the ropes, so Rhyno charges... GORE! He hooks the leg...

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THREE!


    Winner and progressing to the Final: Rhyno in 1:56


    Rhyno gets to his feet and pounds his chest in victory, intensely pumped to have made the final. Heyman quickly joins him in the ring and shoos the referee away, instead wanting to be the one to raise his arm.

    ”THIS MAN...” Heyman screams, ”... IS UNBEATABLE!

    Whether that’s true or not doesn’t seem to matter. After making it through the Quarter Final on a technicality, Rhyno has now powered through the Semi Final with ease. And with just eight minutes of action behind him, what can’t be denied is he’s in a pretty fantastic position going in to the Final...



    We then transition to hype for next week’s Tribute to the Troops, which discusses both the threat of them flying to Iraq, but also the pride that comes with entertaining America’s finest. We then get a run through of the card for this historic event...

    Tag Match
    Brock Lesnar & Rhyno vs. Chris Benoit & Eddie Guerrero

    WWE United States Title Match
    A-Train vs. John Cena (c)

    Tag Match
    Basham Brothers (Danny & Doug Basham) vs. Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio)

    Singles Match
    Charlie Haas vs. Kurt Angle

    Singles Match
    Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) vs. Bradshaw

    Tag Match
    Kyo-estro (Juventud & Tajiri) vs. D.N.G. (Akio & Ultimo Dragon)

    Singles Match
    Nunzio vs. Rikishi

    But there’s plenty more action still to come tonight...



    Regal’s Gold Rush Semi Final
    Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero


    The bell rings and Benoit immediately asks for a sportsmanlike handshake. Eddie accepts... but pulls him in to a Headlock! We’re two seconds in and he’s already cheating! Eddie gradually works him down to the mat and presses his shoulders to the mat... and puts his feet on the ropes... for a two count!

    They both get back up, and Benoit’s furious at Eddie’s actions. He calls him in and tells him to stop messing around and shake his hand like a man... so Eddie leans over for the shake... and pokes Benoit in the eye! He just can’t help himself! Benoit grits what’s left of his teeth in anger... and charges at Eddie! But Eddie Drop Toeholds him in to the ropes... and then chokes him out on it! The referee counts him down... and Eddie just releases at 4.9!

    But that only pisses Benoit off more! He rushes to his feet and charges at Eddie again, who backs in to the ropes... and pulls them down, sending Benoit tumbling over the top! Eddie follows him to the outside... and Irish Whips him over the barricade! With Benoit pretty far from the ring, Eddie dives back in... and tells Charles Robinson to count him out! Eddie’s trying to take the easy way out!

    As Robinson counts down, Tazz and Cole begin bickering.

    ”I can’t believe what I’m seein’, Cole! First Eddie cheats ta beat his nephew, now he’s doin’ it to his best friend!”

    “You know what they say, partner, it’s a family tradition!”

    “Stop defendin’ him! It’s cheatin’, that’s what it is!”

    “How I see it, Tazz, is a man who is now willing to do whatever it takes to get that title shot. He’s getting in Benoit’s head for sure, but who knows better what ticks you off than your own friends?”

    “Yeah, like you have any friends.”

    “As a matter of fact I have plenty of friends.”

    “Yeah, but ya mom don’t count.”


    There’s a brief pause.

    ”I’ll have you know my mom is a very nice woman.”

    The bickering dies down as Robinson hits seven... and Benoit finally makes it back in to the ring! He immediately strides at Eddie, asking what he's doing, but Eddie merely shrugs, arms wide out, saying it’s just what he does...

    … so Benoit grabs one of the arms and rides him in to the Crossface! No! Eddie shuffles out and gets to his feet, so Benoit stalks him in to the corner... and Eddie goes to poke the eyes again!

    But Benoit catches his hand before he can! Eddie tries desperately to pull his arm away but he’s trapped... so Benoit chops the skin right off his chest! And again! And a third time! And now, it’s Benoit’s type of match.

    Eddie is no slouch when it comes to technical wrestling, but he’s in the ring with arguably the best of all time at it. Benoit rides him down over and over again, totally out wrestling him and knowing that even if Eddie can use his not insignificant skill to get back in it, Benoit will likely have a counter to that too. The match slows down, and it’s Benoit who is in the ascendancy, even after all of Eddie’s cheating to start.

    With Benoit fully in control, he lifts Eddie up... and hits a Suplex for two. He pulls him up again... Northern Lights Suplex... for two! Bridging Dragon Suplex... for two! It’s a Suplex party! Realising some of this newer arsenal isn’t working, Benoit goes for the tried and tested... with a German Suplex... which Eddie counters by running backwards and squashing Benoit in the corner! He grabs Benoit by the neck... and pulls him in for a Small Package... for two! But Eddie’s coming back in to it! He pulls Benoit in... and hits a Hurricanrana! He goes to the second rope... Missile Dropkick! They both get to their feet... Eddie pulls him in... Suplex! He hangs on... and hits another! He pulls him up again, looking for the Three Amigos... but Benoit grabs his leg... and counters with a Bridging Fisherman’s Suplex!

    ONE...

    TWO...


    Eddie kicks out! They both get to their feet and Eddie swings, trying to deck his friend... but Benoit ducks... and hits a German Suplex! He hangs on... another! And another! He hits the Triple Germans... but he’s not letting go! He pulls him up again... a fourth! And then a fifth! And he’s still hanging on! He looks for a sixth... but Eddie rolls behind him and looks for one of his own! But Benoit slides out of that... and hits the sixth consecutive German Suplex... and calls for the Diving Headbutt! Benoit goes to the top as Robinson checks that Eddie’s okay after the half dozen devastating moves... so Eddie pushes Robinson in to the ropes... causing Benoit to lose his balance... and crotches himself on the top rope! Eddie gradually climbs on to the top rope with him... TOP ROPE HURRICANRANA! He makes the cover...

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THR...


    No! Benoit just got the shoulder up! Both men struggle to pull themselves back to their feet, the length and intensity of the match starting to take its toll.

    ”What a contest this is!” Cole exclaims. ”But you have to wonder what this is taking out of both men, and what’s going to be left in either of them by the time of the Final.”

    “I don’t think that’s gonna be a problem, Cole. If this one goes much longer they’re gonna have ta delay tha Final ta next week!”

    “It’s a one night tournament, partner, I don’t think that’s an option.”


    They come together in the centre of the ring and start exchanging chops, which unsurprisingly Benoit gets the better of. He whips Eddie in to the corner and chases after him... but Eddie moves... and Benoit crashes in to the turnbuckle! Eddie pulls him in... Suplex! He hangs on... and hits another! And a third! The Three Amigos! And Eddie’s feeling Froggy!

    He climbs to the top rope, balances himself as he lines up Benoit... and dives off...

    FROG SPLASH!

    Misses! Benoit rolled to the side at the last second... then rolls back in...

    AND LOCKS IN THE CROSSFACE! Eddie’s trapped!

    Eddie furiously reaches out for the ropes, desperately flailing in the hopes he’ll force a break, but they’re just too far away. Benoit pulls back further and further, forcing Eddie to grit his teeth in pain as he tries to pull himself closer to the ropes, dragging Benoit with him. Still Benoit leans back further, but Eddie refuses to quit! He keeps dragging them towards the ropes... he stretches out a hand... and makes the ropes! Eddie somehow stays in it!

    Benoit is made to release the hold, so he does and gets back to his feet. Eddie tries to follow but the Crossface took a lot out of him, so Benoit pulls him in for a German Suplex!

    But Eddie grabs Charles Robinson and pulls him in! Robinson can’t see a thing so Eddie swings his leg between Benoit’s to look for a low blow...

    … but stops himself! Eddie’s having a change of heart! His conscience is kicking in!

    But that allows Benoit to power through... German Suplex! He lifts him up... another! Then another! There are the Triple Germans... and that makes NINE that Eddie has taken in this match!

    This time, there’s no taunting from Benoit. He doesn’t signal for the Headbutt, he just goes for it. He climbs to the outside and to the top... Eddie’s two-thirds of the way across the ring... surely it’s too far...

    DIVING HEADBUTT!

    Misses! Eddie moved at the last minute! Benoit crashes and burns!

    Eddie slowly rolls on to the apron and starts to climb the ropes. He’s absolutely spent, but he knows this one move could be enough to finally being this to an end... he gradually pulls himself on the top rope and tries to balance... he leaps off...

    FROG SPLASH!

    But Benoit gets the knees up! Both men are desperately spamming their high impact moves, giving everything they can to try and bring it to an end... but both men keep crashing and burning!

    Again they pull themselves back to their feet using the ropes, and stagger around the ring. They come together in the middle... Chop from Benoit! Chop from Eddie! Chop from Benoit! Chop from Eddie! They’re beating the shit out of each other! A huge chop sends Eddie stumbling back... but he lets out a roar! He’s still going! He looks to throw a huge Lariat at Benoit...

    … but Benoit catches the arm...

    AND LOCKS IN THE CROSSFACE!

    And Eddie’s trapped in the centre of the ring! Once again he flails around trying to reach the ropes, but he’s nowhere near! He may have fought out of it once, but it’s not happening a second time. He’s too tired, too pained. He tries to rip Benoit’s interlocked hands off his face, but Benoit refuses to let go! Benoit pulls back even further... and Eddie’s got nowhere to go! His hand hovers above the mat...

    … no! Eddie fights through it! But how much longer can he do this for?!

    Benoit roars in anger as he pulls back even further, himself now twisted at an unholy angle, with Eddie’s torso torqued at more than a 180 degree angle, and practically on top of Benoit as he leans back! And still Benoit keeps pulling!

    Benoit pulls more and more... so Eddie starts to push up... Benoit pulls further... Eddie adjusts his feet... and pushes back...

    … and lands on top of Benoit... with Benoit’s shoulders on the mat! Eddie hooks the legs and squashes Benoit down!

    ONE...

    Eddie reaches for the ropes for leverage... but he’s too far away!

    TWO...

    But Benoit’s trapped! It’s not going to matter!

    THREE!

    Winner and progressing to the Final: Eddie Guerrero in 18:49


    As soon as Robinson’s hand hits the mat the final time, Eddie releases and rolls on to the canvas. Both men are absolutely spent, having given everything they had to just sneak past the man who perhaps knows them better than anyone.

    Eventually Eddie crawls over to Benoit, who stares up at the lights disbelievingly, unable to comprehend how he didn’t get the job done. In the end it was his over-exuberance in trying to get the submission that cost him, and it allowed Eddie to use that momentum to roll him up. And that's without knowing that Eddie tried – and failed – to cheat his way to victory.

    Eddie grabs a hold of Benoit and together they pull each other up, and immediately hug in the centre of the ring...

    … only for Benoit to shove him away!

    ”Did you cheat?” Benoit asks.

    Eddie places his hand on his chest. ”I swear, Chris, I didn’t cheat!”

    Benoit stares suspiciously at him for a few moments... before relenting and pulling him in for another hug!

    ”There's the family tradition!” Cole says. ”He tried to cheat, he lied about it after... and he stole the victory!”

    “He din’t lie, though, Cole. He tried ta cheat, but he failed. For once, Eddie ain’t lyin’... and that was a totally clean victory!”

    “Maybe you’re right, partner, but the intent was certainly there. Either way, it’s Eddie Guerrero who will go on to the final to face Rhyno!”


    Benoit and Eddie shake hands in the ring, and then Benoit raises Eddie’s hand in victory, seemingly accepting that the better man won...

    … when WILLIAM REGAL walks on to the ramp and joins in with the applauding crowd. Eventually Eddie and Benoit notice him, and Eddie’s music dies down.

    ”Bravo!” Regal says in to a microphone. ”What a splendid display that was! Just splendid! I can’t say I expected you both to give it quite so much... or for quite so long. So long, in fact... that there isn’t... time... for a break between matches.”

    “Oh, gimme a break!”
    Cole interjects. ”Tell me he’s not about to do what I think he’s gonna do...”

    “That is why,”
    Regal continues, ”that the Finals of Regal’s Gold Rush... will happen... right... now.”


    *** TUSK ***


    ”How is this right?” Cole asks, as RHYNO strides on to the ramp, joined by a grinning PAUL HEYMAN. ”It’s last week all over again! Eddie Guerrero gives it everything he’s got to earn an opportunity, and William Regal gives him the opportunity before he’s had a chance to recover! This is wrong!”

    “It’s not Regal’s fault, Cole, he couldn’t have predicted tha Semi would-a gone so long!”

    “Then don’t book a whole tournament in one night! William Regal is straight up screwing Eddie Guerrero for the second week in a row!”



    Regal’s Gold Rush Final
    Rhyno w/Paul Heyman vs. Eddie Guerrero w/Chris Benoit


    Benoit gives Eddie a quick pep-talk before leaving the ring, but stays on the outside for moral support. Eddie backs in to the corner, having had twenty-six minutes of action already today, with little gap in between, and having had to deal with the emotions of fighting both his nephew and his best friend.

    Rhyno, on the other hand, has had just EIGHT minutes of action so far, with larger gaps in between, and under two minutes action in the last 90 minutes. He comes to the ring, totally refreshed... and charges straight in to Eddie. Heyman screams at him to finish the job off, so Rhyno thrusts his shoulder in to Eddie’s midsection over and over, before carrying him out... Powerslam! He hooks the leg...

    ONE...

    TWO...


    Eddie kicks out! He’s not going to give in that easily, even after everything he’s been through! Rhyno immediately locks his beastly thighs around Eddie’s ribs, trying to drain even more life out of him. Eddie manages to makes the ropes, but surely it’s too much. Eddie gave it everything he had last week against Brock as well, but that was all for nothing, and it seems like it may be like that all over again tonight. Rhyno lifts Eddie up with ease and slams him back down, before whipping him in to the corner. Eddie’s trying, but there’s nothing left.

    With Eddie down, Rhyno backs up and waits for him to get up... Eddie pulls himself to his feet slowly... Rhyno charges for a Gore...

    … but Eddie cuts him off with a Dropkick to the face! Eddie bounces to his feet... and starts shimmying the shoulders! Eddie’s channelling his Latino Heat!

    Rhyno gets up, but Eddie punches him right back down again! And again! And again! Rhyno’s staggered, so Eddie leaps on to his shoulders for a Hurricanrana...

    … but Rhyno hangs on... POWERBOMB! And with that, Eddie’s down for again. Rhyno hooks both the legs.

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THRE...


    Eddie gets the shoulder up! Eddie’s still fighting!

    ”Finish him!” Heyman screams from the outside.

    Rhyno gets back to his feet and pulls Eddie up... and tucks him between his legs... and looks for the Rhyno Driver!

    No! Eddie with the Double Leg Takedown... and floats over with a Jacknife Pin!

    ONE...

    TWO...

    TH...


    Rhyno kicks out! They both get to their feet and Rhyno swings... but Eddie ducks... kick to the gut... Suplex! But he hangs on... and hits another! And another! Three Amigos! How is Eddie still going?!

    He slowly climbs to the outside and up to the top... but he takes too long... and Rhyno’s back on his feet! He fires off on Eddie on the top, preventing the Frog Splash, the one more Eddie has kept trying to hit all night without success. Rhyno climbs to the second rope with him... he pulls him in...

    BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX OFF THE TOP ROPE! Rhyno hooks the leg...

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THRE...


    EDDIE KICKS OUT!

    ”How in tha hell is he doin’ this, Cole?!”

    Rhyno snarls, now personally insulted that Eddie refuses to stay down. Rhyno knows there is only one way to guarantee Eddie doesn’t get back up... so again he backs in to the corner... and waves for Eddie to get back on his feet! He’s going to finish this with a Gore!

    Eddie pulls himself up gingerly on the ropes... Rhyno bounces on his feet, practically salivating at the thought of tearing straight through him...

    … Rhyno charges...

    GORE!



    NO! Eddie grabs his neck as Rhyno looks for the impact and swings around...

    AND COUNTERS THE GORE WITH A TORNADO DDT! Rhyno was just spiked in to the canvas!

    Rhyno’s out, so Eddie crawls to the outside... he’s tried for the Frog Splash four times so far tonight, but without success. It’s his one sure thing, the one move he knows will keep someone down. It’s this or nothing as he climbs to the top...

    … he leaps off...

    … soars through the air...

    AND THE FROG SPLASH CONNECTS! Finally Eddie hits the Frog Splash!

    He writhes in pain at the impact, but makes sure to quickly pulls himself back in to the corner and hook Rhyno's leg...

    ONE...

    ”Come on Eddie!”

    TWO...

    ”You can do it!”

    THREE!

    Winner and Number One Contender for the WWE Title: Eddie Guerrero in 8:32


    ”Eddie has done it!” Cole screams. ”Eddie Guerrero... has... done it! He's overcome the odds! He’s fought through it all... and Eddie Guerrero... wins... Regal’s Gold Rush! Eddie Guerrero... is the Number... One... Contender!”

    Chris Benoit dives in to the ring as quickly as he can and dives in to hug his friend. Eddie’s done, finished for. He can’t get to his feet, so Benoit hugs him on the mat, before grabbing him by the cheeks.

    ”You did it, Eddie! You did it!”

    Benoit, seemingly putting aside his own disappointment like the true sportsman he is, helps Eddie on to his feet as Rhyno rolls to the outside. Heyman slumps against the apron, unable to work out how exactly Eddie managed to battle the odds yet again... and how Eddie Guerrero will somehow get another shot at Brock Lesnar on January 1st... and this time it won’t be after Eddie’s already faced the Big Show in a No DQ match.

    Rhyno and Heyman slink back up the ramp, furious that the night promised so much, only for them to narrowly miss out. Eddie Guerrero, however, stands in the centre of the ring, with Chris Benoit helping to keep him on his feet. Benoit grabs Eddie’s wrist... and lifts his arm in victory! Somehow, someway... Eddie Guerrero has won Regal’s Gold Rush!

    ”Eddie Guerrero overcome the odds again!” Cole says. ”Eddie Guerrero has won Regal’s Gold Rush... ad Eddie Guerrero... will finallyfinally… get a one-on-one shot... at Brock Lesnar’s WWE Title! And this time there’s nothing William Regal can do to screw him! Eddie Guerrero will not be stopped!”



    Current Royal Rumble Qualification Table
    1. Eddie Guerrero: 4 wins
    2. Charlie Haas: 2 wins
    = Rey Mysterio: 2 wins
    = Shelton Benjamin: 2 wins
    = Rhyno: 2 wins
    6. A-Train: 1 win
    = Billy Kidman: 1 win
    = Chavo Guerrero: 1 win
    = Chris Benoit: 1 win
    =. Matt Hardy (Version 1.0): 1 win
    = Nunzio: 1 win
    = Sean O’Haire: 1 win
    ---------------
    13. Akio: 0 wins
    = Bradshaw: 0 wins
    = Brian Kendrick: 0 wins
    = Chuck Palumbo: 0 wins
    = Danny Basham: 0 wins
    = Doug Basham: 0 wins
    = Funaki: 0 wins
    = John Cena: 0 wins
    = Johnny Stamboli: 0 wins
    = Juventud: 0 wins
    = Orlando Jordan: 0 wins
    = Paul London: 0 wins
    = Rikishi: 0 wins
    = Ron Simmons: 0 wins
    = Shannon Moore: 0 wins
    = Tajiri: 0 wins
    = Ultimo Dragon: 0 wins

    NB: Brock Lesnar is ineligible as WWE Champion. Kurt Angle and Big Show are ineligible due to title stipulations



    Confirmed matches for next week’s special Tribute to the Troops show

    Tag Match
    Brock Lesnar & Rhyno vs. Chris Benoit & Eddie Guerrero

    WWE United States Title Match
    A-Train vs. John Cena (c)

    Tag Match
    Basham Brothers (Danny & Doug Basham) vs. Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio)

    Singles Match
    Charlie Haas vs. Kurt Angle

    Singles Match
    Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) vs. Bradshaw

    Tag Match
    Kyo-estro (Juventud & Tajiri) vs. D.N.G. (Akio & Ultimo Dragon)

    Singles Match
    Nunzio vs. Rikishi

  2. #302
    To the letter of the law

    Wolf Beast's Avatar

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    Re: March BTBOTM - WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    Been very much anticipating this show, since it feels like it’s been forever since the previous Smackdown!


    Good for Matt. Pleased he can get on any rollercoaster he wants. Hardy getting the Christian Raw treatment here too, I see, lol. That’s actually a lovely little touch to have Matt cut off right away; sends the message this show is about the matches - not promo time. Thought the note about Rey wanting to come out alone and Tazz stirring the pot was nicely done to drive home the ongoing weak link angle with Kidman and the potential for Rey to break out on his own again.


    Mysterio winning opens the tournament up on a positive note, and is something you can use to continue the narrative that Rey could strike out at anytime and break off the Kidman team, whilst Matt could never win a match and still be the character he is. Bashams attack post match surely sets up an ‘out’ for Rey later, I’m guessing.


    Velocity matches counting to the league table is a good call, and makes the matches on that show mean something for a few weeks.


    And now Regal is really starting to fuck with Cena. I can get on board with the reasoning from Regal here, and he ends up looking like a clever dick by turning Cenas own words against him, so it’s justified without it looking like he’s picking on Cena. Actually thought you booked yourself out of this predicament wonderfully too. Everyone’s a winner here; Cena gets the victory & keeps his title, but Rhino advances thanks to a brilliant little twist from Regal, making the official follow the rules (out of context too) to the letter of the law. The letter. This was really great stuff, I thought, to screw Cena over.


    Rey potentially out? Clears the path for Rhyno to head straight to the final, and a nice way to stack the deck in his favour.


    Feels like you had a good bit of fun with this match. The antics of both Eddie and Chavo was great, and exactly what you’d want to see. Gives us a different match too to break things up from the other, more traditional match ups. Finish had to be screwy, considering the bulk of the story was all about the two guys out-cheating each other. Even the post match hug was handled well, as it could’ve been easy for it to come off as hokey, but I thought it worked. Especially glad that despite the competitive nature of the match, there’s no hint of a Chavo heel turn. Fun, fun, fun.


    I’m not sure I like the idea so much of the GM accompanying someone to the ring, and playing a managerial role. Especially in this scenario where Regal came off really well earlier in the night by screwing over Cena through manipulation of the rules and using out of context footage, but in this match, he’s a much more obvious heel when interfering.


    My guess is that Regal was out here more to drive the Cena story along, and you needed a reason to have them both out there for it to happen, obviously. While I still didn’t like Regal being out here at all, I’ll give you credit in the way that finish came along, and the fact Cena was able to outsmart Regal this time too, and not touch A-Train. Covered your bases there, preventing any holes in logic.


    I was half expecting Kidman to offer to replace Rey and get blown out of the water, but this was much better. A bit like the earlier Rhyno match, it felt like everyone won here in some form; Rhyno wins in dominant fashion, but Rey also gets credit for wrestling when clearly injured. All smartly done.


    Rikishi on Smackdown next week!? Those lucky Troops! Can’t remember him being used at all in the thread, or certainly not recently anyway, unless I’ve had a brain fart. Guessing with him facing Nunzio next week, it’ll kick start something between him and the FBI, leading to him and Scotty putting the band back together.


    A bit surprised by Eddie cheating again from the get-go. Expected it in the Chavo match and it worked even better than I could’ve imagined, but I don’t know if I liked it as much so soon in this match. On one hand, it puts over Eddies desire and desperation for the title shot, yet on the other, it feels like a pretty shitty thing to do so soon, considering he knows Benoit isn’t going to be playing those games. Have to plonk myself on the fence on that one...


    That Cole/Tazz back and forth was very funny, by the way. Felt very natural and lifelike to their actual chemistry. Once the match really hit a stride, I got the sense it was an epic, and a match befitting the final, just a round early. Benoit busting out six Germans on the spin (and 9 total) is the type of thing that you would see so rarely that you know it MUST be a special occasion; and what’s bigger than a title tournament? Also an indicator of how much Benoit knows Eddie wants that title shot, going to these lengths to keep him down.


    I think that was another important thread through the match, that both men knew each other so well, with the counters and avoidance of big spots, whilst digging deeper than normal (9 Germans, the sick sounding Crossface, Eddie cheating) to try and put the other away. Finish was pretty cool too, and another really inventive way to work in Eddies gimmick, but to actually end up winning without cheating. I felt it was important the winner of this match especially was without controversy, and thankfully you did just that- even if Eddie did try to cheat, lol.


    And it’s this kind of brilliance at being a bastard by Regal that makes me dislike that earlier stuff with the A-Train match even more in hindsight. As before with Cena, Regal, just by doing his job here is a total dick. As a viewer/reader, you know he was never giving Eddie a rest, even if he wrapped the Benoit match up 10 minutes earlier. Putting Eddie right behind the eight ball for the final is the right move for me. That, and the fact Rhyno essentially had a bye to the final stacks the deck right against Guerrero.


    Loved that you made mention of the time the two had spent in the ring, plus the rest periods Rhyno got too. All of that just added up to make Eddies triumph in the end, that much more special and earned. Thought it was a clever idea on your part for this not to be a long match. It didn’t need to be. We got that in the Benoit/Eddie match, and I think you booked this final spot on. Rhyno really felt like a credible force to get by here, but this tournament was set up perfectly in the end to make an even bigger star out of Eddie. To go through his nephew, his best friend and the man beast is as good as any tournament run you’re likely to see anywhere.


    And now, that title match feels huge. It actually feels like Eddie has the momentum to win the title right now, and it’ll be fascinating to see if you pull the trigger, or break some hearts and keep us waiting.


    Overall, this show was one I was eagerly waiting for for quite some time, and it absolutely delivered everything I could’ve asked for & expected. You set the tone immediately by cutting off Hardys attempted promo and the rest of the show was essentially wall to wall tournament action.

  3. #303
    Underdog

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    Re: March BTBOTM - WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    Rey definitely was the right winner in this contest, although I thought you had Matt look as impressive as possible in defeat. Some of the move transitions just still read so choppy like a Rana into the tilt a whirl back breaker, and then a Twist of Fate quickly ending up with a Rana. Kidman sure was late on the save there! He can't even do that right!

    I loved everything you did with this next match. Rhyno getting pinned doesn't look terrible because he got crushed by an unexpected Bicycle Kick, and then all of Regal's stuff to just screw John Cena was, like a Bret Hart opponent, excellently executed. Regal is just such a slime ball.

    I definitely loved the comedy you brought to the Guerreros match with all the failed cheating spots, and how they both just loved every bit of it. That was incredible. Very well executed stuff here again.

    I get what you were going for here with the ending to Benoit v A Train, but it just didn't work for me. I can't visualize how A Train hits Regal when he's on the apron. All just a bit too clunky for me. Also not huge on the fact that of your 4 QF matches, 3 have had interference during the match or immediately after. This ain't 99, pup!

    I definitely loved Rey coming out to take his loss like a man. Great booking to make him a great sympathetic Babyface.

    Oh man, you really fucking stepped up on this pup. PPV quality TV show right here, but no surprise given them talent. I thought you really wrote a great match here Keef, had even me, the long match Antichrist, sucked in the whole way :P. The only thing I didn't like is that I felt like you overdid Eddie's cheating. I feel like that hasn't been anywhere near as pronounced in here until this show. Maybe because of the two matches so far, but I just felt like you overplayed a time or two throughout the match. Despite that complaint, I will say that the finish was excellent with him attempting to still cheat his best friend, but inadvertently winning clean.

    I loved that Benoit stayed outside with Eddie for the main event, which was booked exactly right. Eddie turned into the amazing sympathetic underdog face that he is, and made so much better that he did do it all clean this time. That was excellent, and you overall booked and wrote it really well.

    I think you booked a great one night tournament show. I loved the throwback that it felt like; it was just so much fun.. It was made better that this was the show, really nothing else happened, and that's how it should be. You had I think roughly 58 minutes out of an 82 minute show being wrestling. That's an insane amount & even in a high wrestling show you'll probably be getting only 40 - but it felt completely realistic because there's really nothing else going on besides tournament related stuff. Entrances, post match, and just brief promo stuff for the other 24; you really hit on the pacing. This show was just so much fun.

  4. #304
    I’m Not Booked!
    Keefmoon's Avatar

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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    Okay, so here we are for something a little different than usual. I wanted to give this show a go at booking, but be aware that it’s obviously in a different context than those before and those that will come after. Given it exists to entertain the troops, don’t expect any twenty-five minute mat classics, and given it’s airing on Christmas Day, don’t expect anything incredibly ground-breaking from a storyline perspective given most people probably aren’t watching. My goal was to book a realistic show that does the army justice, while also being entertaining to watch at home. A mix of styles, clear good guys vs. bad guys, and in the end the good guys win. It’s just meant to be a bit of fun, and I hope you enjoy...



    December 25 2003
    Baghdad, Iraq

    We open not to the usual Smackdown intro video, but to SPC MARILYNN ANDERSON of the 18th MP Brigade, Lexington, Mississippi, stood in the centre of the sun-soaked ring, surrounded by a crowd made up entirely of camouflage-wearing United States military members.

    Marilynn starts us off with the US national anthem, which is intercut with footage of the entirety of the audience saluting, and several shots of Old Glory.

    When the anthem finishes, the crowd erupts in to a ”US! USA!” chant.

    ”Hello, everyone,” Michael Cole says from commentary, ”and welcome to a very, very special edition of WWE Smackdown! My name is Michael Cole, alongside me is Tazz, and you join us from Camp Victory for a night I didn’t know we’d ever witness... it’s Tribute... to the Troops!”


    *** NO CHANCE IN HELL ***


    And there’s a big pop for... VINCE MCMAHON?! I thought he was gone from day-to-day operation?!

    Vince marches out from the back, the first time we’ve seen him since the night after No Mercy, and power walks down to the ring, arms flailing wildly at his sides, and he heads in to the ring and grabs a microphone.

    ”Now, I know I’m not supposed to be appearing on television anymore. Thanks to Brock Lesnar, I’ve been barred from day-to-day WWE activities, and remain in an advisory board level role. I’m not supposed to be here. But if you think that the WWE is going to come to Iraq to perform for the troops and I’m not going to be there... then you’ve got another thing coming, pal.”

    Big pop from the crowd.

    ”And let me tell you all this. I’ve been in this business my whole life. I was born in to it. I took the WWE... and I made it what it is. I made Wrestlemania. I made Hulk Hogan. I made Stone Cold Steve Austin. And yet, as I stand here, in front our nation’s finest... I can say without a shadow of a doubt... that this... is the proudest moment... of my career.”

    Another cheer, and more applause.

    ”Now, the men and women of the WWE... they make a lot of sacrifices. They give up a lot to be there. But their sacrifices... are nothing… compared to yours. And that is why we’re here today. We are here... to tell each... and every... one of you... that on behalf of every board member... every road agent... every referee... every member of the ring crew... every announcer... every wrestler... and every fan... thank you. Thank you for everything you do to keep our country safe. God bless each and every one of you... and God Bless America! Thank you!”

    Vince drops his mic and waves to the crowd, and looks to leave...


    *** GLASS SHATTERS ***


    And the crowd of soldiers come alive for the arrival of STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN! Austin, despite not being contracted to the WWE, marches down to the ring, forcing Vince to head back in as well, and poses on each corner of the ring. He then grabs a microphone, and stares down Vince.

    ”Um, Mr. Austin?” Vince says. ”I regret to be the one to remind you of this... but aren’t you fired from the WWE?”

    “And weren’t you ‘sposed t’ stay off TV?”


    Vince shrugs. ”Touche. Be that as it may, why are you out here? You’re not a WWE employee.”

    “You’re damn right I ain’t a WWE employee no more. I’m here as a guest of th’ US Military, ya dumb sonuvabitch. Ya got a problem with that?”


    Vince backs off and holds his arms up in surrender. ”No, Steve, I don’t have a problem with that. It’s just that we have a packed show for all these fine men and women tonight, and I don’t wish to hold them up from seeing all the great WWE action-”

    “Shut ya damn mouth, Vince, before I shut it for ya. There’s somethin’ I need t’ get off my chest.”


    Vince sighs. ”Fine. You have sixty seconds...” he begins, before contorting his face in to a sneer... ”... then get the hell out of my ring.”

    Vince looks to leave Austin to it.

    ”Wait up jus’ a damn minnit, Vince. What I gotta say is t’ do with you.”

    Vince returns to the ring. ”Very well. Make it quick.”

    Austin rubs his hands over his face. ”You’re gonna have t’ change th’ way you’re speakin’ t’ me, Vince... before I lose mah tempah. Y’see, what I wanted to say... was I heard ya little speech. And even I gotta admit... there ain’t much t’ disagree with. Ya said this was th’ finest moment of ya career... and you’re right. Hell, I don’t even get t’ work here no more. It don’t get t’ raise hell no more. But bein’ here in front-a these fine people is the greatest moment-a mah career too.”

    Again, applause from the appreciative crowd.

    ”I also heard ya say that you made Wrestlemania.”

    “I did indeed.”

    “Yeah, ya did. I can’t argue with that. I also heard ya say ya made Hulk Hogan. Not sure if I agree with that, but I take ya point.”

    “What is your point, Steve?”

    “What’s mah point? What’s mah point? My point is I might be a little hard-a hearin’ these days, so I need ya t’ help me out, Vince. Ya said ya made Wrestlemania... ya said ya made Hulk Hogan... and correct me if I’m wrong... but ya also said ya made... Stone Cold Steve Austin.”


    McMahon gulps, and again holds his hands out in surrender. ”Now, Steve, it’s just a figure of speech.”

    “Figure of speech? Well, son, I’ve got a figure of speech for you too.”


    Austin flips the birds at McMahon!

    ”Okay, Steve, there’s really no need for that. And I’m not entirely sure that even is a figure of spe-“

    “Do ya think ya made Stone Cold Steve Austin?”


    Vince sighs. “Well, I’d like to think I had a part-”

    “WHAT?”

    I-”

    “WHAT?”

    “I-”

    “WHAT?”


    Vince’s face crinkles. ”SHHHUTTT UP!” he growls. ”Stop it, okay? Stop with that damn “what” crrrap. Do I think I made you? Do I think I made Stone Cold Steve Austin? Oh... hell yeah... I think I made Stone Cold Steve Austin. You know how I know that? Because I’m Vince McMahon, damn it! I made everyone in the WWE! So rather than coming out here and insulting me with your poor manners, how about you thank me for once, huh Steve? How about you thank me for everything I did for you? How does that sound?”

    Austin stares blankly at Vince for a few moment.

    ”How does that sound? How does thankin’ ya for ev’rythin’ sound? Ya think I should thank ya?”

    “Quite frankly, yes I do, Steve. I think it’s the least you could do.”


    Austin nods. ”Okay, I hear ya. Maybe I will thank ya. Maybe I’ll show ya gratitude for ev’rythin’ you’ve done.” He pauses. ”Or maybe... maybe... I’ll open a can of whoop ass on ya for old time’s sake.”

    McMahon gulps again. ”Now, Steve, let’s not overreact-”

    “Now should I thank ya... or should I whoop ya ass? Is it time for an ass whoopin’?”
    He mulls it over, and listens to his watch for any advice. ”Ya know what, the fine men and women here are fightin’ for th’ American way-a life. Fightin’ for democracy. So ya know what, Vince? I’ll decide th’ old democratic way. Put it t’ a vote. IF YA WANNA SEE STONE COLD OPEN A CAN OF WHOOP ASS ON VINCE MCMAHON... GIMME A HELL YEAH!

    ”HELL YEAH!”

    Austin shrugs. ”Sounds like th’ people made up their mind, Vince.”

    He heads over to Vince, ready to hit a Stunner.

    ”Wait, wait, wait!” Vince says, panicking. ”Let’s not make any silly decisions, okay? You don’t work for me anymore, right? You’re gone. So how about we come to some kind of a deal? How about, in my advisory role... I advise the board of directors that maybe we ought to reward you for all your loyal service over the years? How would that sound, Steve? Maybe... we could find a way... that everything you’ve done for this company... means you end up... shall we say… $10,000 richer. How does that sound? What do you say, let bygones be bygones? No-one opens any cans of any kind of posteriors. We shake hands, go our own way, and you get an extra $10,000 to do whatever the hell it is a vile, alcoholic redneck like yourself does. How does that sound?”

    Austin thinks it over... before bellowing with laughter.

    ”Jesus Christ, Vince, are you a stupid sonuvabitch! I weren’t really gonna whoop ya ass . I was jus’ playin’ with ya, for old time’s sake. But now ya mention it, that $10,000 don’t sound too bad. Put it there, partner.”

    Austin extends a hand.

    ”Now, wait a minute. We’ve been here before. I know better than to trust you-”

    “Shake mah damn hand, Vince, before I change mah mind.”


    Vince nods sheepishly, and heads over to Austin’s outstretched hand. He inspects the hand to make sure nothing’s going on, then wipes his own hand on his jacket, and reaches over...

    … and they shake hands! After nearly six years, they’ve finally put it all to bed!

    Vince smiles as they shake hands, nods at Austin, and looks to head to the back...

    … only for Austin to hang on to his hand.

    ”Oh, Vince?” he says, pulling Vince back in. ”I also meant t’ say... and I dunno how ya ain’t learnt this lesson yet... but... DTA, Vince... don’t... trust... anybody.”

    STUNNER TO VINCE! Another Stone Cold Stunner for old time’s sake!

    Austin calls for a beer or two and mounts the turnbuckle, toasting the crowd as he pours the beer down his throat... and we head to commercial as the troops go wild for some classic Stone Cold Steve Austin action.



    When we return from commercial, THE BASHAM BROTHERS are already in the ring, with SHANIQUA stood between them, ready to face their rivals of the last month or so, the Filthy Animals.


    *** 619 ***


    There’s a good pop for the arrival of BILLY KIDMAN and REY MYSTERIO! They come out together and slap hands with some fans, before Rey pulls out a microphone.

    ”Don’t think we’re stupid,” he says, addressing the Bashams and Shaniqua in the ring. ”We see ya in there, all three-a ya. We know that the numbers’ game has messed with us more than a few times. And Billy and I know that, as long as ya have Shaniqua on the outside helping ya, it’s always gonna be hard for us.”

    “You damn right!”
    Shaniqua shouts. ”I’m a gamechanger!”

    Rey nods. ”Yeah, we know you’re gonna make life tough for us. And we know we’ve struggled against the three-a ya. That’s why we ain’t gonna leave it to chance no more. If we’re gonna beat ya... we’re gonna need someone to level the sides out. And that’s why... we got ourselves a li’l back up of our own...”

    Rey lowers the mic...


    *** NEED A LITTLE TIME ***


    ”It’s...” Michael Cole stutters...

    … as TORRIE WILSON strides out from the back... dressed as a sexy Uncle Sam!

    ”It’s Torrie Wilson!” Cole finishes. ”Torrie Wilson is here to back up the Filthy Animals!”

    “And would ya look at her, Cole?! That’s one spicy tomata!”


    Torrie strides down to the ring with the Animals flanking her, slapping hands with the soldiers as she flirtatiously waves, until we’re ready to get our evening’s action underway...


    The Basham Brothers w/Shaniqua vs. The Filthy Animals (Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio) w/Torrie Wilson

    After weeks of being screwed by the Bashams, including a brutal assault last week which cost Rey any chance at getting a WWE Title match, Mysterio and Kidman come in to the contest throwing everything they have at it. The early part of the match is all-babyfaces, giving the soldiers something to cheer as Rey and Billy demonstrate some of their more exciting, high-risk offence.

    Unfortunately for them, the Bashams are sneaky as hell. Shaniqua leaps on to the apron to distract the referee, which allows a timely low blow from Danny on Kidman, and the tide has turned. Rey is left watching on the apron as his partner – the man some have said is the weak link in the team – is left out there to die. The Bashams throw every cheap trick they know in to the match, pissing off the soldiers to no end as they distract the ref during tag opportunities, double team behind the ref’s back, the whole Heel Tag Team Shtick 101.

    Eventually, though, Kidman manages to hit an Enziguri and crawls to the corner... and tags in Rey! From there, all hell breaks loose. Tagging in and out goes out of the window as both sides through everything they have at one another. Kidman Backbody Drops Danny over the top and Drop Toeholds Doug in to the second rope, so Rey lines it up... 619! Doug slumps to the canvas, so Rey leaps to the top rope... SPRINGBOARD SPLASH!

    … but Shaniqua is distracting the ref! The ref can’t make the count!

    Torrie rushes over... and pulls Shaniqua off the apron! CAT FIGHT!

    With the referee now able to focus on the match, with the Bashams’ attempts at cheating completely negated by Torrie, Rey bounces off the ropes... Wheelbarrows up... Bulldog! Kidman sees Danny returning to his feet on the outside so he climbs to the top rope... SHOOTING STAR PRESS TO THE OUTSIDE! Huge pop from the troops for the jaw-dropping move! That leaves Rey to springboard to the top rope again, this time with no-one to distract the ref... WEST COAST POP! Another huge pop from the crowd as Rey hooks both Doug’s legs...

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THREE!


    Winner: The Filthy Animals in 8:18


    Rey rolls back in to the ring to celebrate with Kidman, and Torrie soon joins them as well. She lifts their arms in victory, with them finally having overcome the Bashams and their continuously cheating ways.

    Tazz, however, makes sure to mention that, despite the victory, it was Rey who did the hard work. It was all Bashams while Kidman was in the ring, while Rey was the one to turn the tide, and it was he who got the pin. Cole tries to argue that Kidman did remarkably well to withstand the beatdown and sacrificed himself to take out Danny at the end, but Tazz isn’t having it. In his eyes, this only goes to confirm that Billy Kidman is the weak link of the Filthy Animals...



    With the Filthy Animals and Torrie celebrating, we then transition to the first of several behind-the-scenes looks at life behind enemy lines. BRADSHAW, RON SIMMONS and RIKISHI are followed as they learn about the team here in Baghdad tasked with bomb disposal. We get a sense of the sheer danger that follows them around every day, and the WWE Superstars are noticeably moved by the lengths some go to to protect their country.



    *** BASIC THUGANOMICS ***


    There’s a good pop for the arrival of JOHN CENA, who comes to the ring slapping hands with the soldiers, US Title belt around his waist. He climbs in to the ring and, given it’s a special occasion, looks to rap for the military personnel in attendance...

    OOC: I’m going to pick and choose appropriate lines from the rap he actually did at Tribute to the Troops. Normally I’d write my own ones, but if you think a mid-thirties family man in the UK can write an Iraq-inspired rap set in 2003 and just after the death of Saddam Hussein, you’re out of your damn mind
    ”Yo, bein’ here with you today, it fulfils every dream on my Christmas checklist,
    Now all I’ve got left to do is give Torrie Wilson a pearl necklace.”


    * OOOH! *

    ”First I gotta face A-Train, and that dude’s making my blood hot
    I’m gonna bust his face up so bad he’ll look like Saddam Hussein’s mugshot.”


    * OOOOHHHHHHH! *

    ”And he can’t see us, bro, our game is tight,
    A-Train beating me is like getting the French to fight.”


    * OOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! *

    ”He picked the wrong day to start some beef with me,
    I got air force, navy, army and USMC.”

    “So I wanna say thanks for protecting me, and my children’s children,
    And for fighting for those who lost their lives in the day of the fallen buildings.”

    “Y’all the real heroes, I place nobody above you,
    “This is coming from my heart, peace y’all, I love you.”


    There’s a hearty round of applause from the fans as Cena military salutes the crowd (in a terrifying premonition of what he will eventually become)…


    *** DERAILED ***


    The love-in between Cena and the armed forced is brought to an end by the arrival of A-TRAIN and his freshly shaven back. Michael Cole gives us a quick recap of their history – Train had worked as Cena’s bodyguard for a few months, only to reveal later that he’d been placed there undercover by Regal to keep tabs on Cena’s motivations – and then throws us to a recap of the brawl two weeks’ ago where Cena shaved ”FU” in to Train’s back hair, necessitating his new waxed look.


    WWE United States Title Match
    A-Train vs. John Cena (c)


    Cena comes flying out of the gate at 100mph, throwing everything he has at Train and sending him sprawling to the outside. Cena follows him out and the contest becomes (rather tame) hardcore, showing the soldiers something a little different from the earlier tag contest.

    Eventually Cena brings the match back in to the ring and looks for an FU, but lacks the strength to pull it off, dropping Train and holding his back, and opening the door for Train to come back in to it.

    Train then takes over, using his strength and size advantage to start to paint a David vs. Goliath story. Cena tries to fight back but is outmatched, and the announcers start talking of the irony of the United States Title possibly changing hands in Iraq. Train even pulls the padding of the top turnbuckle off in a clear heel move. Cena’s given little to work with, and any time he tries to battle back his injured back means he can’t quite lift Train up, so Train looks for a Bicycle Kick... but Cena dodges... and Train runs in to the exposed turnbuckle!

    Train staggers out... Running Shoulder Block from Cena! And another! He lines Train up... Proto Bomb! He leans over Train... ”YOU CAN’T SEE ME!” He bounces off the ropes... Five Knuckle Shuffle! Train struggles up to his feet... AND CENA LIFTS HIM ON TO HIS SHOULDERS! He’s fighting through the pain to demonstrate incredible strength! FU!

    He makes the cover...

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THREE!


    Winner and still WWE United States Champion: John Cena in 7:04


    There’s a big pop for the victory, and Cena’s handed his title back as his arm is raised. He then makes sure to salute every side of the crowd with his title, with the soldiers cheering on their victorious underdog American hero.



    We then transition to the ringside area, where Cole and Tazz face the camera. They mention the Royal Rumble Standings, and how coming out of last week’s Smackdown it was Eddie Guerrero sat at the top, having won three matches on last week’s edition alone. They then show clips from Velocity, where Rhyno beat Orlando Jordan, Akio beat an unknown Cruiserweight called Ryan Sakoda, and in the main event, The Hooligans beat Sean O’Haire and Shannon Moore. With that, all four have added a victory that goes towards the Royal Rumble Standings, with the top thirteen qualifying for the Rumble.



    Kyo-estro (Tajiri & Juventud) w/Dawn Marie vs. D.N.G. (Akio & Ultimo Dragon)

    Despite the dazzling heat, Akio continues to wear his black hoody pulled over his face for his entrance, which is used against him when Tajiri attacks as he tries to remove it. From there it descends in to a hybrid of puro strikes and lucha dives, again demonstrating something a little different throughout the show.

    Tajiri and Juvi think nothing of cheating their way in to an advantage over Akio – something that Cole finds abhorrent given the audience they are performing for – while the announcers make reference to the fact that, on the January 8th edition of Smackdown, Ultimo Dragon will get his Cruiserweight Title rematch from Survivor Series against Tajiri.

    Eventually Akio does make the tag and Dragon comes in with a full head of steam, leaving Juvi and Tajiri with little opportunity to fight back. With the contest seemingly in hand Ultimo tags his partner back in and they go for stereo Moonsaults – Dragon's to the outside and Akio’s on to Juvi in the ring! Akio nails his on Juvi... but Juvi’s not the legal man! Dragon misses his to the outside when Tajiri darts to the side, dives in the ring as Akio tries to pin Juvi, and rolls him up... and grabs the tights!

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THREE!


    Winners: Kyo-estro in 7:13


    As soon as the bell rings Tajiri rolls to the outside, pulling Juvi with him, and they celebrate with Dawn. Michael Cole is apoplectic and the poor sportsmanship on display in this of all environments, but Tajiri has never been one to care about that kind of thing...



    We then transition to the next in our behind-the-scenes look at life behind enemy lines. This time, CHRIS BENOIT, CHAVO GUERRERO, REY MYSTERIO and BILLY KIDMAN head to a military hospital and meet some of those unfortunate to have been injured in combat. Some of the stories are real tearjerkers, and the experience clearly impacts the WWE Superstars, as they go around meeting those who are being treated.



    Nunzio w/Chuck Palumbo & Johnny Stamboli vs. Rikishi

    Rikishi has been dragged out of the mothballs for this one, and we continue to try and offer a bit of everything for the armed forces in this one. The FBI are, by this point, little more than fodder for more important people, and Nunzio throws everything he has at the grotesquely overweight Samoan, but Rikishi has just too much for him.

    When Rikishi hits a Superkick sending Nunzio in to the corner, Chuck and Johnny try to run interference, but they’re thrown in to the same corner... and Rikishi squashes them! They all fall to the mat... SO RIKISHI DELIVERS A TRIPLE STINK FACE!

    Chuck and Johnny roll to the outside, revolted at what they were just put through, as Nunzio gets to his feet... RIKISHI DRIVER! Rikishi then stands over Nunzio... BANZAI DROP!

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THREE!


    Winner: Rikishi in 3:13


    Rikishi celebrates the somewhat easy win, and calls to the timekeeper for something. He’s handed a bunch of sunglasses and goes to the outside, calling on a bunch of soldiers to join him in the ring. He hands them a pair of sunglasses each, and as a group, they all re-produce Rikishi’s signature dance in the ring.



    The third of our behind-the-scenes looks at life beyond enemy lines takes KURT ANGLE and EDDIE GUERRERO to meet soldiers who talk about the lives they’ve left behind in the U.S. Both Eddie and Angle, known for being family men, talk about the sacrifices they thought they’d made to be a WWE Superstar, but to hear of how far these men and women are from their families breaks their hearts. Naturally, both men grow quite emotional at the thought of the sacrifices being made.



    *** MEDAL ***


    Having just seen how emotionally touched he was by the sacrifices the armed forces make every day, KURT ANGLE then makes his way out to the ring in his American-themed singlet. He marches down to the ring, sets off his pyro, and grabs a microphone.

    ”You know, people have talked about the sacrifices I made for this country. They talk about it based on me winning an Olympic gold medal with a broken neck. I may have mentioned it once or twice. People also talk about the sacrifices I’ve made to be a WWE Superstar, and how every single day I think about my newborn daughter at home, that I don’t get to see enough of. And it’s true, I have given up a lot... but being here these last few days... meeting the absolute finest this country has to offer... it brings it all in to context. What I’ve given... is nothing… compared to the sacrifices you all make every day just by being here. I’m a proud American, everyone knows that... but being here... it just takes it to the next level. Right here, right now... I’ve never been prouder to be American... and it’s all thanks to all of you.”

    He gets a good round of applause.

    ”So for those of you who watch our show, you may know I’ve had something a tough period lately. I’ve been through some challenges. But being here has reminded me of how insignificant my problems are. If you can all be here every day, putting your lives on the line for me, and for my daughter, and maybe one day my daughter’s daughter... if you can do all that... I can sure as heck get through my own loss of form. So that’s why I insisted I wrestle tonight. Because I want to bring my poor run of form to an end... and I want to do it here. Because meeting all of you... and performing in front of all you... that’s all the motivation I need. So thank you, truly. Thank you. Now bring my opponent out.”

    Angle makes sure to applaud each side of the ring as he awaits his chosen opponent...


    *** HEROES ***


    After a few moments, out step CHARLIE HAAS, who leads the way to the ring indicating he is Angle’s opponent, with SHELTON BENJAMIN following close behind. They walk to the ring and Haas grabs a microphone.

    ”Great speech, Kurt, just great. You know, me and Shelton have met the troops too, and we were impressed, for sure. Who couldn’t be? But you know what? We don’t need the troops to motivate us. We’re already motivated... by just... how good... we are. So you come out here and say that the troops make you think you’re going to get your form back... well I say... you’ve lost your form not because of confidence... not because of momentum... but because you’re just not that good any more. You were my mentor, Kurt. Well guess what? Me and Shelton have been the WWE Tag Team Champions for six months now. So I guess that means that the protégé... has become the master. So let’s get this match started... and I’ll show how little you really mean anymore.”


    Charlie Haas w/Shelton Benjamin vs. Kurt Angle

    As we continue to try and offer something a little different with every match, this one sees things starting quite slow, with Kurt and Charlie exchanging technical holds on the mat for long stretches of the contest. They’re clearly evenly matched, and despite Kurt’s insistence that he’s ready to bounce back from his poor form, Haas appears more than his equal.

    It’s when Kurt starts to get better of the mat-wrestling back-and-forth that Charlie chooses to rake the eyes, though, bringing things his way. Angle tries to battle back every now and then, but if Haas can’t find a way to counter, Shelton on the outside manages it. Haas looks to have the match in the bag and goes for the Haas of Pain, only for Angle to reverse... in to an Ankle Lock! But Shelton’s up on the apron, so Angle rushes over and knocks him off and returns to Haas... who is back on his feet... German Suplex! But he hangs on! He hits another! He’s looking to steal Angle’s Triple Germans! He looks for the third... but Angle slips behind... and hits three Germans of his own! He climbs to the top, back to the ring... but Shelton grabs his foot! Angle kicks him away, but he lost precious time...

    MOONSAULT! Misses! The distraction just gave Haas the chance to move! Haas is in a good position, so he... climbs to the top rope?! An uncharacteristic decision from Haas... he waits to Angle to get up... but Angle suddenly sprints up the ropes... Belly to Belly Suplex off the top rope! Haas was made to pay for his unusual tactical naivety (something Tazz puts down to unfamiliarity with one-on-one action). Angle looks at Haas... AND DOWN COME THE STRAPS! He lines up an Angle Slam... but Shelton’s back on the apron! Shelton springboards in to the ring...

    … but Angle catches him... OVERHEAD BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX! Shelton rolls out of the ring, but Charlie’s back up! He pulls Kurt in for an Exploder Suplex... but Kurt rolls through... IN TO AN ANKLE LOCK!

    Haas screams in pain as Angle furiously tugs on the ankle... he knows this is the chance he’s been looking for... it’s just him and Haas, no-one else to get involved, his losing streak on the verge of ending... Angle starts yelling as well, desperate to make Haas tap and finally see signs that he can get back on track...

    … and Haas taps! Angle has done it!

    Winner: Kurt Angle in 8:29


    Angle releases the hold and drops to his knees, relieved more than happy that he’s finally showing signs of recovering from the slump he’d been in. Haas slinks to the outside to join Shelton, leaving Angle in the ring to signal to the troops, thanking them for everything they do, and for helping him get his priorities back in order. If only he could get a WWE Title shot, or somehow not still be the number one suspect in the crime of who took out The Undertaker...



    The next behind-the-scenes segment sees STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN and THE WORLD’S GREATEST TAG TEAM taking a helicopter trip across Iraq to another camp. We see their intense security briefing before they fly, and then them meeting the troops in the other camp and hearing some of their stories.



    *** SEARCH FOR: MATT HARDY ***
    *** ENTER KEYWORD: VERSION 1.0 ***
    *** CONNECTING... ***


    ”OHHH YEEEAAAAHHH!”


    Matt Fact: Matt’s favourite military film is Pearl Harbor


    From the back rushes out MATT HARDY (VERSION 1.0), excitedly posing for the troops. He is quickly joined by SHANNON MOORE, mirroring Matt’s actions as always, and the more stoic SEAN O’HAIRE. They get in to the ring and, even though it’s a show for the troops and time is moving on, Matt still insists he is given a microphone.

    ”Allow me to say what a huge honour... this must be for you all to see me, the Sensai of Mattitude, in action!”

    Boos.

    ”Now, if there was ever a group of people in need of a Mattitude Adjustment, it’s the US Armed Forces. And don’t get me wrong, your circumstances are tough. I absolutely see that. But that’s exactly why Mattitude could be so useful for you. Useful to learn how to be the best version of yourself, just like Sean here, or, to a lesser extent, Shannon. Because I know all about being put through challenges. The whole reason I created Mattitude was precisely because I know how hard it is to fight through adversity. You see, like all of you, I too had a mortal enemy. A man who was so unspeakably evil that my entire being was devoted to eradicating him from existence. And, sure, he may have only had one leg, but that didn’t make him any less of a threat. But thanks to Mattitude I overcame the odds... and I defeated him. And that could be you! You could-”


    *** PROTECTION ***


    Matt is cut off by the arrival of BRADSHAW, who is followed by RON SIMMONS, both of whom are proudly waving American flags with one hand, while holding a cooler of beer in the other. Together they head in to the ring, with Matt, Shannon and eventually Sean leaving it to them.

    Bradshaw rests the flag over his shoulder and grabs a mic.

    ”You listen here, ya little bastard!” he yells. ”All that BS ya run always gets on my damn nerves, but to run it here, in front-a this country’s finest? That pisses me, son! You ain’t out here in front-a no-one, ya hear me? You’re in front of the crazy sons-a bitches who dragged Saddam outta tha damn hole he was hidin’ in so he can get what’s comin’ to ‘im! And lemme tell ya this, boy... you wanna talk about your damn Mattitude crap in front-a these fine ladies and gentlemen... well, now ya got me to deal with. So get your sorry ass in this ring so I can whip it like your daddy should-a thirty years ago!”

    He tosses the mic to the side as Simmons climbs to the outside, leaving Matt to get in the ring and get things underway...


    Matt Hardy (Version 1.0) w/Sean O’Haire & Shannon Moore vs. Bradshaw w/Ron Simmons

    Matt seems cocky coming in to this one, thinking he has the support of the troops behind him, but soon finds himself regretting it. Bradshaw stiffs the fuck out of him and no sells a lot of his offence, which we’ll give him a pass on this once given the audience he’s performing in front of. Matt gives it his all, but in front of this crowd, the Texan patriot is always going to get the win, which he picks up when he shoves his way out of a Twist of Fate attempt and smashes through Matt with a Clothesline from Hell.

    Winner: Bradshaw in 5:06


    The bell rings, and Simmons returns to the ring to celebrate with his friend, carrying the flags and the beers. Bradshaw kicks Matt out of the ring where Sean and Shannon collect him and help him to the back, allowing Bradshaw and Simmons to wave the flags above their heads, until they call a few soldiers in to the ring with them to crack open a few brewskis with them and celebrate the victory together.



    We then hit our final behind-the-scenes segment, and this one is more of a general look at what it was like for the WWE Superstars to experience this kind of event. We see them arrive, the areas that they stayed in, the people they met, the experiences they received. We see JOHN CENA meeting a lot of troops, and we see him battle rap with a couple of soldiers. But generally, this is less of a look at life beyond enemy lines for the soldiers (as they previous segments have been), and more what it was like (and what it meant) for the Smackdown wrestlers who made the journey, and how proud they all are to have experienced this.



    *** NEXT BIG THING ***


    And with that, it’s time for our main event. BROCK LESNAR comes out first... but with PAUL HEYMAN also leading out RHYNO! Rhyno looks none too pleased at having to enter to someone else’s music, but he’s a good enough soldier (pun not intended) to do as he’s told. They climb in to the ring and await their opponents...


    *** WHATEVER ***


    There’s a warm reaction from the troops for the arrival of CHRIS BENOIT, who slaps hands with the soldiers as he walks down the ramp, but wisely waits on the outside rather than head in to the ring where the monsters wait for him...


    ”VIVA LA RAZA!”

    *** WE LIE, WE CHEAT, WE STEAL ***



    And there’s another good reaction for EDDIE GUERRERO! His music plays but there’s no sign of the master of Latino Heat...

    … until he drives on to the stage in an Armed Forces Jeep!

    ”I...” Cole stammers... ”I don’t believe it... Eddie has stolen a military vehicle for his entrance!”

    “This ain’t the place ta do much thievin’, Cole!”

    “It looks to me like Eddie has managed it! There can’t be many low riders in the area... so Eddie has taken a jeep for himself!”


    Eddie drives down the ramp and climbs out of the vehicle, before climbing on top to signal to the fans from the roof of the jeep. Eventually he climbs down, joins Benoit on the outside, and together they head in the ring to do battle...


    Brock Lesnar & Rhyno w/Paul Heyman vs. Chris Benoit & Eddie Guerrero

    There’s quite the intertwined paths on this one, with Brock having overcome Benoit and Eddie in recent weeks (one in fairer circumstances than the other), and will face Eddie again next week for the title in the January 1st edition of Smackdown, while Rhyno lost in the final of Regal’s Gold Rush last week to Eddie, and has more than a little history with Benoit.

    It’s perhaps for that reason why the early parts of the match are all about scrapping, with little element of a standard tag match. Benoit and Guerrero throw everything they have at their crazed opponents, and do well for much of it, until a brutal Lariat from Brock on Benoit while he was focused on Rhyno brings this to his side.

    From there, Brock dominates Benoit, leaving Eddie to impatiently pace up and down the apron hoping for a tag. Despite being managed by the same man, there’s little teamwork between Rhyno and Lesnar, with them both wanting to be the one to inflict pain on the Wolverine. In fact, the tags tend to be blind and against the other’s will, making it seem like things could blow over any minute on the heel side despite Heyman’s efforts. Luckily for them, Lesnar and Rhyno are capable enough that it doesn’t cost them.

    Well, until it does. Against any regular competitors they might get away with it, but Benoit isn’t just anyone. When Rhyno blind tags in one time too many it looks like it might set he and Brock against each other, which Benoit takes advantage of and tags in Eddie. From there, the contest again breaks down, with Eddie getting the better of the exchanges. He looks full of fire and ready to get the victory... only to be cut off with a HUGE Overhead Belly to Belly Suplex by Brock!

    But Benoit’s back up! He rushes over to Brock from behind... German Suplex! And another! He looks for the third...

    … but Brock spins...

    AND REVERSES IN TO HIS REAR NAKED CHOKE! The move that’s made both Eddie and Benoit tap!

    But Benoit starts elbowing his way out! He knows if Brock gets it locked in there’s no way out! Brock releases from the stiff elbow to the nose...

    … but Rhyno charges over...

    GORE!

    TO BROCK LESNAR! Benoit moved at the last second! Rhyno tore straight through Brock, and the champion rolls to the outside in agony! Their miscommunication finally cost them!

    Rhyno looks out at Brock, shocked at what he did, so Benoit grabs him from behind... German Suplex! And another! And a third! Triple Germans! Eddie rolls in to the ring, so Benoit picks Rhyno up again... but shoves him at Eddie... who kicks Rhyno in the gut and lifts him up... BRAINBUSTER! Devastating move! Benoit’s climbed to the top...

    DIVING HEADBUTT!

    But Eddie’s climbing too...

    FROG SPLASH! With three Germans, a Brainbuster, a Diving Headbutt and Frog Splash all in a row, Eddie hooks both of Rhyno’s legs...

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THREE!


    Winners: Chris Benoit & Eddie Guerrero in 9:36


    Heyman slumps on the apron in disappointment that his “boys” came up short, so he pulls Rhyno to the outside of the ring after the barrage of finishers it took to keep him down. Brock gets to his feet holding his ribs, and looks for answers from Rhyno for why he took him out, only for Heyman to calm things down and tell them they’ll sort this “in private”.

    That leaves Benoit and Guerrero to celebrate with a hug in the ring, and they pose for the troops...


    *** GLASS SHATTERS ***


    … but their celebration is interrupted by the arrival of STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN, who marches down to the ring with a beer cooler. Once in the ring he grabs a microphone.

    ”Chris, Eddie, I gotta hand it t’ ya, that was one helluva match, and one helluva win for ya both. For mah money, you two are th’ finest two rasslers in th’ world right now, and that ain’t a word of a lie. And, Eddie, next week you’re facin’ Brock Lesnar, and lemme tell ya this... you’re mah shout for th’ new WWE Champion. But that ain’t why I’m here. You have ya damn title shot next week, but this week, we’re all about th’ troops here. So I say we tear them barriers around th’ ring down, get th’ rest of th’ sons-a-bitches in the back out here, and we celebrate with a good old fashioned beer bash!”

    The troops cheer.

    ”If ya wanna have a beer bash with Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit an’ Stone Cole Steve Austin, gimme a hell yeah!”

    ”HELL YEAH!”

    ”Alright! Then let’s get th’ rest of th’ cats out here, tear them barriers down, an’ get this sumbitch started!”

    Austin pulls out a couple of cans and hands them to Eddie and Benoit, and the three of them cheers in the centre of the ring. Meanwhile, a group of wrestlers start to file out from the back, including JOHN CENA, BRADSHAW, RON SIMMONS, REY MYSTERIO, BILLY KIDMAN, CHAVO GUERRERO, RIKISHI and of course KURT ANGLE. There are also a few of the heels who wouldn’t usually be for a thing like this, with the likes of A-TRAIN, THE BASHAM BROTHERS, THE WORLD’S GREATEST TAG TEAM, MATT HARDY (VERSION 1.0), SHANNON MOORE, SEAN O’HAIRE and THE F.B.I, although they of course stay away from the people they’re feuding with, putting aside their rivalries to celebrate the troops. And, despite the harmonious effort most are putting in to the moment, casting aside their personal differences to show their love for the troops, there’s no sign of Tajiri or Juventud (who aren’t really the types to show respect to anyone), or Brock Lesnar and Rhyno (who are no doubt squabbling in the back.)

    With the ringside area filling up, some wrestlers pull the barriers apart to let the troops in as well, and the picture is soon a mass of camouflaged soldiers and wrestlers intermingling, sharing a beer and shaking hands and hugging.

    ”Ladies and gentlemen, what a night this has been,” Michael Cole says. ”I think I can speak for everyone in the company to say what an honour it’s been to be here. We wish you all a great holiday period, God bless our troops, and God bless America. Now if you’ll excuse me, my colleague and I are going to share a drink with our nation’s finest. Goodnight everyone!”


    * END OF SHOW *




    Current Royal Rumble Qualification Table
    1. Eddie Guerrero: 5 wins
    2. Rey Mysterio: 3 wins
    = Rhyno: 3 wins
    4. Billy Kidman: 2 wins
    = Charlie Haas: 2 wins
    = Chris Benoit: 2 wins
    = Shelton Benjamin: 2 wins
    -----------------
    8. A-Train: 1 win
    = Akio: 1 win
    = Bradshaw: 1 win
    = Brian Kendrick: 1 win
    = Chavo Guerrero: 1 win
    = Matt Hardy (Version 1.0): 1 win
    = John Cena: 1 win
    = Juventud: 1 win
    = Nunzio: 1 win
    = Paul London: 1 win
    = Rikishi: 1
    = Sean O’Haire: 1 win
    = Tajiri: 1 win
    21. Chuck Palumbo: 0 wins
    = Danny Basham: 0 wins
    = Doug Basham: 0 wins
    = Funaki: 0 wins
    = Johnny Stamboli: 0 wins
    = Orlando Jordan: 0 wins
    = Ron Simmons: 0 wins
    = Shannon Moore: 0 wins
    = Ultimo Dragon: 0 wins

    NB: Brock Lesnar is ineligible as WWE Champion. Kurt Angle and Big Show are ineligible due to title stipulations



    Confirmed matches for next week

    WWE Title Match
    Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Eddie Guerrero

    Triple Threat Number One Contender’s Match for the Royal Rumble
    A-Train vs. Chris Benoit vs. Rhyno

    Eight Man Tag Match
    The Basham Brothers & The World’s Greatest Tag Team vs. The Hooliganz & The Filthy Animals

    3-on-2 Handicap Match
    Matt Hardy (Version 1.0), Sean O’Haire & Shannon Moore vs. The A.P.A.

    Singles Match
    Juventud vs. Chavo Guerrero





    The Royal Rumble Match
    Confirmed Entrants: Batista, Christian, Hardcore Holly, Randy Orton, Triple H

    World Heavyweight Title Match
    Chris Jericho (c) vs. Goldberg or Shawn Michaels

    WWE Title Match
    Either Brock Lesnar or Eddie Guerrero vs. Either A-Train, Chris Benoit or Rhyno

  5. #305
    To the letter of the law

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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    While I don’t like McMahon or Austin being part of this show due to the prior stipulations that saw both men depart, I fully ‘get’ why they’re on this show. It’s not a strictly ‘canon’ show, and as you stated at the top; it’s to entertain the troops. What would be more entertaining than an Austin/McMahon ‘bit’? FWIW, you explained Austins presence perfectly well to cover for why he’d even be there after being fired. So, even though you didn’t HAVE to do it, I appreciate that you did.

    As a segment in and of itself, it was pretty much what you’d want it to be with Austin playing all the hits, Vince trying to weasel out of the can of whoop ass being opened up, and ending on a stunner. Perfect.

    Obviously, in a general sense, there isn't a whole lot to take away from this show, aside from the wins and losses counting to the league table. But, despite it being a glorified house show, you still managed to make most of the matches have some kind of nod to on-going storylines at least, and as a bonus; we can take Torrie’s face off the milk cartons now! Where’s she been hiding for four months!!??

    Kidding aside, bringing Torrie in as an equalizer against Shaniqua is a logical move, and the added details of her in the Uncle Sam outfit, given the location, is excellent. Nice for Rey and Kidman to finally get by the Bashams, and as I mentioned before, even though this isn’t strictly a ‘canon’ show, lovely piece at the end with Cole and Tazz arguing, to continue the narrative that Kidman is holding Rey back.

    Nice touch with the video packages littered through the show to give a sense of the WWE getting to spend time with the troops and learn what they’re doing etc. Some great attention to detail too with the bomb disposal stuff etc, rather than just simply saying “the APA and Rikishi get shown around the army base”.

    Good time for a Cena rap; again, giving these troops the stuff they’d really want to see. I feel like this could’ve been your main event, as of everything on this show, this is the angle that’s been bubbling for longest and it (feels like) the conclusion to the ongoing feud between Train and Cena, whereas the tag match later obviously had the main event guys, it was a set up for next week and the future.

    LOL at Akio beating the ‘unknown’ cruiserweight Ryan Sakoda on Velocity. Quite the departure from real life happenings. Poor Sakoda!!

    Dragon getting a rematch for the Cruiserweight title in two weeks sounds good. Finish here was a surprise, only because I’d have expected Ultimo Dragon to keep the momentum going, heading into that title shot. That said, it’s a decent change of pace to have at least one heel go over on this show, and, as I don’t see Dragon as a major threat to Tajiri and more of a (long term) placeholder, there’s no need to job out the crown jewel of your division just to build up a contender.

    Rikishi has been dragged out of the mothballs for this one” lol. Nothing much to say about this one. Again, just a house show style feel good segment, playing the hits with the stink face etc. Must say though that I loved the additional bit at the end with Rikishi bringing army guys into the ring to dance with him. 100% a WWE thing to do.

    Angle vs Haas is a bonus, and something different from the other matches that have been trotted out thus far. Decent promos beforehand, with Angle referencing his recent troubles, and Haas adding a little more ‘edge’ to the match with his proclamation that the protégé has become the master. Glad to see Angle back on the winning trail, and he’s someone I’m struggling to pin down in terms of where he’s headed, as he’s still seemingly completely locked out of the title scene by not even being permitted to qualify for the Rumble. Extremely interested to see what you’ve got planned for him, as it seems puzzling that such a big name would be completely withdrawn from the Rumble picture – even if it does make sense in storyline terms.

    HA HA HA!!! That’s a brilliant Matt Fact! His pre-match promo was the usual fun, and him building up this ‘mortal enemy’ so massively, only to reveal it was the one legged Zach Gowen was brilliant. And who better to cut him off with a passionate promo supporting the troops than Bradshaw? Match result doesn’t matter, as Bradshaw ordinarily shouldn’t be beating Matt, but this isn’t ordinary circumstances, and here, he absolutely should go over.

    After a show of some cool touches and nice nods to the situation, Eddie driving out in an armed forces jeep topped the lot. Really creative idea, taking advantage of the location to do something different to play to the intimate audience. Plenty of protection for Rhyno in defeat, as I wouldn’t even expect Lesnar to kick out of that barrage of moves. Again, I think Cena could’ve main evented the show instead, just because his was a blow-off title match.

    However, gotta say; there’ll need to be some serious explanation for how or why A-Train is involved in the #1 Contender match next week. Even if he is in Regals pocket, Regal has at least had plausible reasons to show favouritism toward certain guys recently … but I’m struggling to think of a way he can explain A-Train being a potential challenger after he lost on this show to Cena and lost in the first round of the tournament to Benoit the week before.

    Closing the show with the beer-bash is a perfect send off for a show like this, and having a good deal of heels involved too makes sense under these circumstances as it’s not your normal show and you also noted that they kept their distance from the people they should anyway. Overall, a fun show mate. Obviously not what we’re used to, but something different and one that absolutely fit for the occasion. Great job.

  6. #306
    Indy Talent
    Bigmc123's Avatar

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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    Really, Really enjoyed the opening dialogue from SCSA and Vince… Good old school stuff that the troops deserved to see overseas… Perfect opening

    Really awesome job of bringing Torrie back here for the male troops to get a good look at a sexy lady. Also, I really am a huge WCW mark, so The Filthy Animals are a big favorite of mine… I really like the story that is being told with Tazz saying that Kidman is the weak link… There was no way the Faces were losing the first match of the night on the Troops show, but good story telling with the Kidman idea.

    Good idea on using Cena’s Tribute to the Troops rap…idk how you do new ones each week anyways and my gimmick as a wrestler was a rapper, so there you go… I love Cena going over as it just keeps building him up more and more

    Tough decision here having a heel team win as its usually protocol to go with all Babyface wins on this type of shows… I do like that it was a under-card babyface losing so it doesn’t take too much steam out of the crowd… I haven’t been around for a bit.. so can u please tell me what the team names mean? Also… Juvi needs to be in the Filthy Animals and BRING BACK DISCO and the DISCO DUCK

    Also I forgot to put this before the first match… but I love the idea of the Rumble League… im sure that’s because ur from the UK and you guys actually care about Soccer.. I mean Football… hahaha I kid I kid

    Squash win for Rikishi to get these guys on the show.. the Triple Stink Face would have got a huge pop im sure

    This is so minor that I feel petty saying it, but I don’t think they could do pyro on these shows.. could cause some problems I think haaha… Wonderful “RA RA” promo from Kurt and I was iffy about you having Charlie instead of Benjamin as the man in the ring, but I enjoy the match and it wasn’t the easy decision to make as Shelton becomes the bigger singles star.

    Good God that Matt promo was bloody brilliant… this man really compared his circumstances to the militaries and also told the US Army that they need Mattitude.. that right there makes me put Matt Hardy as best booked person for the year…. Bradshaw getting the win was totally necessary and im glad that he got in a little promo time to shut Matt down

    I love the little video packages of the Superstars meeting with the troops… very nice touch

    First off… how much did you have to pay Brock to go to Iraq… Second off, I love that Eddie stole a military jeep… that’s just amazing… Hell of a way to put Rhyno over by having him take like 3000 finishers… Brock being taken down by a Gore for that long of a time makes that move look huge as well…

    Austin closing the show was the only way to end the show… I really really was hoping for a Stunner to Matt version 1.0

    Sorry for the rather short review, but Im trying to get caught up on a few peoples show


  7. #307
    WWF- 1991 And Beyond
    BattleTank's Avatar

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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    Apologies for the lateness of this SD review, been tied up with real life lately. Just gonna drop some quick thoughts for the past two episodes. For some reason, I am more intrigued by your SD than to Raw, and that’s nothing against you, it’s just the SD roster at this time was stacked, and in real life I loved watching Smackdown more than Raw.

    The Gold Rush tourney was brilliantly booked. You made everyone stand out in their own way, Rey attempted to overcome the odds, Rhyno on a war path, and Eddie pulling through were all stories you could have panned out over the course of a month, but we got it all in one night. This was a PPV quality edition of SD. So much greatness in one show. Awesome job there.

    I’m excited to see where Regal/Cena storyline leads. I have a feeling Regal isn’t going to put up with this “new attitude” Cena too much longer, so I’m expecting either Rhyno or maybe even an outside man comes in to try and take down Cena and do Regal’s dirty work.

    I love Heyman with Rhyno, I think that’s a match made in heaven. Rhyno is absolutely killing it right now, so I am excited to see where this leads. Eddie cheating to beat Chavo was great, and Chavo hugging Eddie after was a perfect touch. All in all, this may have very well been your best produced episode of SD. So much to take from it, and so much more to be invested in. Lesnar/Guererro on the horizon, Rhyno’s warpath, plus Royal Rumble coming up next.

    The Tribute to the Troops show was also great. I could categorize it as a “feel good” episode, which was just what it needed to be. I really don’t mind the Stone Cold stuff, because this show was more for the troops than anything else. It was almost like you put everything else on hold just for the sake of this show, and I am perfectly fine with that.

    So now we are really on the road to Royal Rumble, as you got the last two December SD’s out of the way. As I stated in the past, this exact time period was probably the peak of my wrestling fandom as a child. It’s nice to see a different take on things from this time period, and I am all for whatever the Royal Rumble brings. Awesome stuff all around here man, great work. Looking forward to Raw and what’s to come.





    WWF-1991 and Beyond-The Road to Summerslam takes one final stop with July's Saturday Night's Main Event!
    http://wrestlingclique.com/showthread.php?t=169069

  8. #308
    I’m Not Booked!
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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again


    December 29 2003
    San Antonio, Texas

    We open to a short recap of two weeks ago, when Eric Bischoff announced that tonight’s main would be Shawn Michaels versus Goldberg for the first time ever, with the winner going to the Royal Rumble to face Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Title.

    We then see quick-cut footage of all the issues between Goldberg and Michaels throughout the last few weeks, including Michaels intentionally hitting Goldberg with Sweet Chin Music before Armageddon...

    … and then cut back to two weeks ago, when they were stood in the same ring after the announcement...

    AND GOLDBERG CHARGED THROUGH MICHAELS WITH A SPEAR!


    We hit the pyro display, the crowd shots, and the camera settles on Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

    ”We’re deep in th’ heart-a Texas for WWE Raw!” JR yells over the cheers of the crowd. ”I’m ‘Good Ol’ JR’ Jim Ross, alongside me is Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, and King, what a night we have in store for th’ last WWE show-a 2003.”

    “You’re not kidding, JR! We’ve got the Intercontinental and Women’s Titles on the line, and we’re gonna find out who’s going to face Chris Jericho at the Royal Rumble!”

    “That’s exactly right, King, and one-a those participants is San Antonio’s own Shawn Michaels. But that’s not all we’ve got in store for ya. We’re also gonna see Evolution and Chris Jericho in action-”



    *** LINE IN THE SAND ***


    ”But speak-a th’ devils, we’re gonna kick it off with Evolution in ten-man action.”

    The quintet of TRIPLE H, RIC FLAIR, RANDY ORTON, CHRISTIAN and BATISTA make their way out, ready to compete in their first match in this combination. Triple H looks intensely focused (as does Batista, but that’s the only look he has), but aside from that, the rest of the group look smug, and ready to take on the ECW alumni...


    *** ONE OF A KIND ***

    And there’s a big pop for the music of ROB VAN DAM. He’s the first through the curtain, but he’s followed by THE DUDLEY BOYZ, TOMMY DREAMER and AL SNOW, who in a show of solidarity come out together to RVD’s music (and perhaps an indication that RVD is settling in to his role as leader of the group).

    The former ECW stars roll in to the ring... and immediately start throwing punches! This one’s wasting no time to get underway!


    Ten Man Tag Match – If the ECW Alumni win, they each name their match
    Batista, Christian, Randy Orton, Ric Flair & Triple H vs. Al Snow, Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Rob Van Dam & Tommy Dreamer


    The match has barely begun and it’s already broken down, descending in to nothing but a chaotic brawl that spills out of the ring and on to the ramp before referee Chad Patton has had a chance to calm everything down. The brawl continues until...

    … nope, it’s still going. There’s nothing but big right hands, chops and knees being used as it descends in to a bar fight, until Tommy Dreamer starts to pound on Flair in the corner... but Orton jumps him from behind! Flair rolls to the outside, leaving just two men in the ring, and with that both sides eventually retreat to the apron and we can finally we get in to something resembling a proper wrestling match.

    As Orton takes over on Dreamer, making sure to yell ”I’m the new Hardcore Legend!” when standing over his fallen body, the announcers begin to discuss the stipulations, and what the ECW alumni might do with their match choices should they win. JR thinks it’s inevitable that the Dudleyz will use it to get a rematch for the Tag Titles, but aside from that, it’s anyone’s guess. King then references how smart Bischoff is being, by technically giving all five a chance to get the matches they want (and hence seeming fair), while also knowing that should they fail, they’ll only have themselves to blame.

    Orton seems to be having a good time with Dreamer, so he whips him off the ropes and looks for a Dropkick... but Dreamer hangs on to the ropes... and Orton misses and lands on the mat... and Dreamer tags in RVD!

    RVD rushes in and tees off on Orton, which brings in tag-expert Christian to slow him down... but he gets repelled with a kick as well! That brings in Batista... but Bubba cuts him off as well! RVD’s on fire! He kicks Orton in the corner, then hits shoulder thrusts... back flip... another shoulder thrust! He turns around...

    WHERE TRIPLE H NAILS HIM IN THE FACE WITH THE SLEDGEHAMMER! What the hell?! The referee, obviously, calls for the bell!

    Winners by disqualification: Al Snow, Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Rob Van Dam & Tommy Dreamer in 5:18


    D-Von rushes in to defend his friend, but Triple H jabs him in the ribs with the hammer, sending him down too. Bubba tries to rush in... but is cut off with a Spinebuster from Batista! Al Snow’s in... sledgehammer to the face! Dreamer’s tired but tries to stop him... RKO!

    And with that, Evolution stand tall. By the looks on their faces there’s little disappointment at the loss. In fact, to them, this was barely a match. We heard last week how pissed they were that this quintet keeps standing up to them and won’t take a hint, so maybe now they’re making their message clearer. With all five down and out, Triple H calls for a microphone.

    ”So this is meant to be the legacy of ECW? Just what I thought. An organisation run by a hack in Paul Heyman... and wrestled by hacks like you five.” He crouches down next to RVD. ”You getting it yet, Rob? You can throw everything you want at us... but this will always… be... our… show. So you wanna name your matches to Bischoff? Be our guests. Whatever you want, you’ve got it. 'Cos when I look at the five of you right now, all I see is a bunch of losers... who aren’t… in... our... league. I thought you guys were extreme... but I guess... I was wrong.”

    He drops the microphone and leaves the ring, with the rest of Evolution following behind, smirking at having well and truly made their point about who runs Raw.



    We cut backstage to where GAIL KIM walks the corridors, dressed to compete in the Women’s Title match coming up next. As she rounds a corner, she’s cut off by MOLLY HOLLY, who somehow manages to seem smug even while sipping on a bottle of water. There’s a moment of awkwardness as they both stand there for a few moments.

    ”Sorry,” Gail says, ”my title shot is up next. I really should be-”

    “Please, don’t let me hold you up. I know how important that title is. I mean, I don’t know what it’s like to just be handed a title shot. Even though I lost the belt at Armageddon I’ve not seen a rematch, whereas both Trish and you now have. But I guess that’s my fault for trying to do the right things. I guess as the former champion it’s only fair I have to fight a backstage interviewer while you get title shots.”


    Molly sips on the bottle with her pinky up, having successfully undermined her friend just minutes before a title shot.

    Gail looks a little thrown, but quickly regathers her confidence. ”You know what’s funny to me, Molly? You’ve not been the champion for eight days, and I’ve already got a shot at the title. How many one-on-one shots did I get while you were the champion? Hmm? It’s too bad you haven’t had your rematch yet, but if you ask me... I’d say this shot, right now... it’s long overdue.”

    “You may-”

    “But don’t worry,”
    Gail says, flipping the roles by interrupting Molly for once, when I win the belt, I won’t manipulate you like you did to me. I’ll be a fair champion. I may even give you a shot at the belt. If I feel like you’ve earned it, of course. After all, that’s what you did for me, right?” Gail smiles condescendingly, and pats Molly on the shoulder. ”Good luck against Terri tonight, Molly. I’m off to go win the Women’s Title.”

    Gail marches off, leaving Molly behind. Molly scrunches up the water bottle, teeth gritted... before launching it down the corridor!



    We then move elsewhere backstage, to where Rue DeBona (who we first met at Armageddon and who is covering interviewing duties while Terri is forced in to in-ring action tonight) is standing by with GOLDBERG. There’s an initial pop for his appearance, but it quickly turns to boos for the man who is going up against the home town boy tonight.

    ”Bill Goldberg, later tonight you face Shawn Michaels for the chance to compete for the World Heavyweight Title at the Royal Rumble. But what everyone wants to know is, why did you attack Shawn Michaels last week?”

    “There’s not much to it,”
    he growls. ”It’s an eye for an eye. Shawn has been sneakin’ around jumpin’ me for too long. He wants to prove he still belongs at my expense? Then he better be ready for everythin’ that comes with it. You see, the truth is, I lost my title without bein’ beaten for it. So anyone who stands in my way of gettin' it back... can expect the exact same treatment. Shawn Michaels is about to realise... that he pissed off the wrong man.”

    Goldberg turns away from the interview...

    … and straight in to KANE!

    The two monsters stare at each other, with a huge amount of history between them. Kane, carrying the Intercontinental Title on his shoulder, looks at his belt... then looks at Goldberg’s empty shoulder. With the roles now reversed and Kane the champion between them, he erupts in to laughter, and walks away, his cackles echoing down the corridor. Goldberg is left behind, fuming.



    WWE Women’s Title Match
    Gail Kim vs. Lita (c)


    Despite no love lost between these two women, the early action features a lot of mat wrestling and gymnastics, which the San Antonio crowd seem to appreciate the effort on (if not the execution). During the back-and-forth, JR and King talk...

    ”Y’know,” JR says, ”it’s surely no coincidence that Lita has been th’ champion for less than two weeks an’ already been made t’ defend her title twice. Between that and addin’ Evolution t’ th’ Rumble, Eric Bischoff can say he’s changed all he wants, but as mah daddy used t’ say, ‘actions speak louder than words’.”

    “As happy as I am to actually understand one of your sayings, that’s a little harsh on Eric if you ask me. Gail’s very deserving of a title shot, just like Evolution deserve to be in the Rumble! If anything, the only person who has changed around here is Lita! She’s ruthless these days! Did you see the way she targeted Trish’s injured arm last week?”

    “It was certainly unexpected, I can’t deny that, but I’m guessin’ this a young lady who buys in t’ ‘all’s fair in love ‘n’ war’.”


    A cheapshot from Gail sees her take over, and she gradually works the champion down. Lita is on fine form as of late, and reverses a Hurricanrana attempt in to an Alley-Oop/Stun-Gun hybrid, with Gail landing throat first on the top rope. She pulls Gail in... and looks for a Twist of Fate!

    No! Gail pushes Lita away and charges after her... Running Dropkick... clocks Jack Doan! Lita dodged, and the ref took the hit! Lita’s stunned, so Gail pulls her in... DDT! Seeing the referee down, Gail spies an opportunity. The ref won’t be down from a Dropkick for long, so she rushes out of the ring and grabs the Women’s Title. She rolls back in and lines Lita up, pleading with her to get up quicker before Jack Doan stirs, which he is already doing... Gail holds the title behind her, ready to swing...

    … when TRISH STRATUS runs out from the back! She hops on to the apron... and snatches the belt away from Gail! Trish just saved Lita! Gail’s stunned as Trish walks off with the title, preventing Gail from using it... Gail turns around... in to a kick to the gut from Lita... TWIST OF FATE! She hooks the leg as Jack Doan sees the cover...

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THREE!


    Winner and still WWE Women’s Champion: Lita in 6:06


    The bell rings, and Trish rolls in to the ring, arm still heavily bandaged, to hand the title over to Lita. Lita hadn’t noticed she was there, so Trish explains that Gail was going to cheat and she stopped her. Lita smiles warmly and hugs her friend in appreciation, so Trish raises her arm in victory, then leaves the ring to allow Lita to take in her victory alone. Lita raises the belt high above her head and poses for the cheering crowd, as JR comments on how she looks happier than ever, and it looks as though Trish and Lita’s relationship survived the tension around the title and is looking stronger than ever.



    We then cut... to the Statue of Liberty? The camera pans down arguably the world’s most famous statue...

    … until we see ROB CONWAY stood at the base of it. He’s dressed exactly the same as Lex Luger when he slammed Yokozuna on the USS Intrepid, in a stars and stripes t-shirt tucked in to light blue jeans. He looks up at the statue, looking incredibly proud, and wipes away a tear as he turns to the camera.

    ”This? This is the America that I know and love. Would you just look at Lady Liberty. What a beauty she is. Looking out on the ocean, casting hopes and dreams around the world. It really tugs at the heartstrings. And to look at her now, standing so elegantly... so powerfully... and to think not only of what she means to the world... but the majesty of its creation. To think that something could be built that means so much as a theory, and yet be so staggering in its presence. And it was all built... right here... in...”

    He trails off, and thinks for a moment. After a few moments, he looks to someone behind the camera.

    ”This was built in France, wasn’t it?”

    “Yeah,”
    we hear off camera.

    ”Damn it! Of all the places in the world, it had to be that one.” He shakes his head despondently. ”You know what? This is just a bad example. Maybe this was conceived and built in France, and the Americans just took it and claimed it for its own. But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a country to be proud of. No. I’m just in the wrong place. But I will find the truth of what it means to be American. I just need to go somewhere else. C’mon, we’ve got some travelling to do.”

    He marches off camera.

    With that, the image of the Statue of Liberty fades out... and is replaced by a super-imposed waving American flag that takes up the whole screen, with a Bald Eagle super-imposed over that. Stood in front of both is Rob Conway, staring in to the distance, looking proud, and saluting.

    ”Rob Conway,” the voiceover says, ”The Real American Patriot.”



    We return to the ringside area.

    ”Why them?” we hear...

    … and CHRIS JERICHO emerges from the back. With the title belt wrapped around his waist, he's wearing his ring gear ready to compete in his long, now relatively plain black-and-purple tights, but is obviously unable to come out without giving the fans a piece of his mind.

    ”That’s the question I keep asking myself,” he says as he walks down the ramp and in to the ring without breaking thought. ”What is it about Triple H... or Shawn Michaels... or Goldberg... that means they get chance after chance, and no-one else does? Why, after I beat... Shawn Michaels... and Bill Goldberg... in the same match... is it them… who get the title shot at the Rumble? Surely they lost their right to the title at Armageddon when I proved that both of them were nothing more than unsolicited hype? Why is this shot not going to Christian? Why’s he being forced to jump through hoops for Evolution and the Tag Titles, when he was already a nine-time Tag Team Champion before he’d even met them? Why not Lance Storm, who hasn’t been handed a damn thing throughout his career and yet remains one of the best in-ring talents this company has ever had? Why not Goldust, who revolutionised the business and continues to bring it every time he steps in the ring even now? Why not Mark Henry? Why not Test? Why not Chris Kanyon, who is barely on TV and yet has more talent in his little finger than Goldberg’s had his entire career?”

    “No, no. It has to be Shawn Michaels, or it has to be Goldberg. Heaven forbid one of them loses a title match and just disappears for a while. No, they lose a title shot, they must have a rematch... and a rematch... and a rematch... until finally they win, and then can claim they’re the best. But you know what? Maybe I should be grateful. It could have been Triple H getting his 4,000th title shot after losing his belt. But it doesn’t make a difference to me. Not really. It frustrates me, but it doesn’t change the outcome. What I proved at Armageddon... is that I... am... the elite. I am... a superior being. Superior... to Goldberg. Superior... to Shawn Michaels. Whichever one of them I face at the Rumble... the result is the same. It would be the same whoever I face. And maybe once I beat Goldberg for the second time... and Shawn for the third time... maybe then... they’ll finally... take the hint. And that hint... is that Bill Goldberg... and Shawn Michaels... don’t... belong... at the top... anymore. At the top... there is me... and then there’s everyone else. And if I have to prove it one more time at the Rumble... so be it.”


    He tosses the mic to the outside, and awaits his opponent for the evening.


    *** YOU LOOK SO GOOD TO ME ***


    There’s a polite reaction to the arrival of RICO, who prances down to the ring as we cut back inside to see Jericho asking Chad Patton, ”really? Him?”


    Non-Title Match
    Chris Jericho vs. Rico


    Despite being thoroughly unimpressed with the quality of his opponent, Jericho takes the contest seriously when the bell rings, calling for a tie-up. Rico comes in... but fakes him out... and campily prances around the ring! He just embarrassed Jericho!

    He turns around to face the champion...

    STEP UP ENZIGURI! Jericho just kicked him right in the face, and Rico’s knocked out cold! Jericho hooks the leg...

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THREE!


    Winner: Chris Jericho in 0:28


    Jericho returns to his feet and looks down disgusted at Rico. The ref brings him his title, and Jericho insists that he wraps it around his waist, without taking his eyes off Rico. With the belt attached, Jericho backs out of the ring, shaking his head, as he finally stops looking at Rico, seemingly disgusted at the lack of a contest.



    We then transition to this week’s SMACKDOWN REBOIND, which for a change focuses not on a particular segment, but instead, the show as a whole. You see, the previous edition of Smackdown was TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS, and as such, we see clips of the Smackdown roster performing in Baghdad, while also meeting and greeting America’s finest, and generally just bringing some seasonal cheer to those who most deserve it.



    We cut backstage to where we see CHRIS JERICHO walking the corridors after his “match”...

    … when he’s cut off by TRIPLE H. Triple H immediately invades his personal space and stares him down. Jericho doesn’t back off.

    ”Careful, Jericho,” Triple H growls. ”Your mouth’s writing cheques that your ass can’t cash. And you keep running your mouth... you can bet your ass that I’m gonna be the one to shut it.”

    “With all due respect, Hunter,”
    Jericho says, the pronunciation on the name indicating very little respect, ”you’ve got a lot of guts in accusing someone else of running their mouth. After all, that’s who you are, right? You’re the guy who talks... and talks... and talks... until everyone believes what you’re saying. You’re the guy who insists he’s the best, while glossing over how he spent his entire career buddying up to whoever would help him reach the top. So, if it’s all the same to you... I’ll probably take what you’re saying... and ignore every... damn... word of it. Just like every other time you open your mouth.” Jericho smirks. ”Hope you enjoyed your match with Al Snow.”

    He looks to barge past, but Triple H moves, cutting him off.

    ”Keep going, Chris. Keep running that mouth of yours. Because if somehow you make it past Shawn or Goldberg at the Rumble... you’re gonna have... me... to deal with. I’m gonna win the Rumble... I’m gonna go to Wrestlemania... and you know damn well... what happens... when you and I... go one... on one... at Wrestlemania.”

    Jericho gets in to Triple H’s face. ”You know what, Hunter? I’ll be rooting for you at the Rumble. Really, I will. Because after everything I've been saying these last few months... I can’t think of anyone better... for me to prove my point against... at Wrestlemania. And, don’t worry. I remember Wrestlemania 18. I remember it... so... well. That’s why I want you there. To prove my point... and to prove... that you... got lucky. Lucky that you faced me then... and not me now. And if you do make it to ‘Mania... there will be no Steph. No BS. Me... versus you... and that’s when everyone will realise... that I... am better... than you.”

    They remain staring down for a few moments, neither arrogant loudmouth wanting to back down first.

    ”We’ll see,” Triple H finally says through gritted teeth, and barges past.



    WWE Intercontinental Title Match
    Kane (c) vs. Booker T


    A huge Armageddon rematch here, and one that Booker T must have been desperate for all week. After having beaten Maven and Mark Henry last week, he has straight up earned this shot, and as he paces in the ring, awaiting the arrival of Kane, we can see just how much this means to him. As Kane makes his way down to the ring, he climbs over the top rope... Booker T cuts him off! Kane’s straddled over the top rope and Booker’s teeing off on him! Kane’s trapped! Booker punches and chops over and over again, until he backs up... and Dropkicks Kane... sending Kane tumbling to the outside (although just landing on his feet)! After Armageddon, Booker knows he’s got to give it everything he’s got!

    With Kane down, Booker climbs on to the apron, backs up, charges... and dives off with a Cannonball to the outside, the move that first knocked Kane down at Armageddon!

    But Kane moves... and Booker splats on the protective mats!

    And with that, it’s all Kane once again. All it takes is one mistake against this monster, and you’re left with an uphill battle. As has been customary, Kane beats Booker around the outside of the ring, seemingly preferring to inflict damage out there than in the (somewhat) safer confines of the ring. Kane throws Booker in to anything that’s nearby, constantly teetering on the line of a DQ, but not caring one way or another what referee Mike Sparks does.

    Finally the match returns to the ring and Kane looks to make light work of him by signalling for a Chokeslam... he lifts him up... but Booker kicks him in the face in mid-air! Kane staggers back... Crescent Kick! Kane’s staggered... another! And another! But still Kane won’t go down! He staggers around... IN TO A 110TH STREET SLAM! Great strength from Booker T... and finally Kane is off his feet... five minutes in to the match!

    Now is Booker’s time to get it done. His home-state crowd are rallying behind him, knowing that he needs to push on. He had been close at Armageddon, taking Kane to the edge, but didn’t quite manage to capitalise when he had the chance. He climbs to the top rope as Kane gets up... Missile Dropkick! Kane’s back down again! Booker hits the ropes... Running Knee Drop!

    But Kane sits up!

    Booker, though, doesn’t get thrown. Not like he did at Armageddon. He’s laser focused. He’s in there with a monster, but he knew that coming in. He has to keep going, over and over, until finally Kane stays down for three seconds. That’s the only option.

    Kane gets up, so Booker twists the arm... Hook Kick! Kane’s seriously struggling, so Booker rushes over... JUMPING SUPERKICK! Kane bounces off the ropes instinctively and back to Booker... BOOK END! Huge pop from the Texas crowd!

    But Booker doesn’t make the cover. Kane kicked out of a Book End at Armageddon after all. If Booker’s going to be the champion again, he’s going to have to make sure. He goes to the outside and climbs to the top... he’s looking for the Houston Hangover... he composes himself on the top rope, knowing that if this connects, it could be enough to make him just the second person to beat Kane since his transformation in the summer. He’s ready to leap off...

    … when MARK HENRY shoves him off the top rope! Booker lands throat-first on the top rope... and Mike Sparks calls for the bell!

    Winner by disqualification: Booker T in 6:40. Kane is still the WWE Intercontinental Champion


    The crowd erupt in to frustrated boos, knowing Booker was getting close to a win before the, frankly, bullshit ending. As Henry climbs in the ring, Kane sits up, indicating that perhaps the Houston Hangover might not have connected anyway, but that’s not the point. Booker may have been on the edge of something great, and we’ll never know thanks to Mark Henry.

    Henry gets in to the ring, where Kane is now back up. Kane looks to finish the job on Booker by grabbing him by the already injured throat... but Mark Henry pulls him away!

    ”No,” Henry growls, ”he’s mine.”.

    Kane squares up to Henry, reading to fight...

    … and grabs Mike Sparks by the throat! What the hell is this?! Kane lifts Sparks up... CHOKESLAM!

    Kane then turns back to Henry... and laughs! He walks to the ropes, climbs over the top... and walks away! Apparently taking out an innocent referee means he’s got his sadistic kicks, and he’s leaving Booker to Henry!

    Booker is back on his feet, albeit clutching at his neck... so Henry runs straight through him with an Avalanche! He picks him up... WORLD’S STRONGEST SLAM! What’s the meaning of this?!

    THEODORE LONG, having now joined Henry in the ring once Kane had left, pats his client on the shoulder. ”Now, ya really think ya’ve sent enough of a message, playa?!”

    Henry growls... and drags Booker to the outside of the ring. Booker’s got nothing left to defend himself, having given it all against the biggest monster in the business before the beatdown, meaning Henry can easily whip him in to steel steps, breaking them apart. Booker’s not getting up from that, but still Henry keeps going. He kicks the top half of the steel steps away, and peels Booker off the floor... he lifts him up...

    ”Good Gawd!” JR yells from commentary, ”don’t ya do this! Don’t ya dare do this ya sick sonuvabitch!”

    WORLD’S STRONGEST SLAM ON THE STEEL STEPS!

    And now Henry is satisfied he’s sent enough of a message. Teddy Long raises his arm in “victory”, as Henry looks down on Booker, sweating profusely, having made a point to Booker about... what, exactly?



    We then cut backstage, to where THE DUDLEYZ BOYZ and TOMMY DREAMER are stood to the side of the EMTs room, shaking off their injuries, while AL SNOW is having a light shone in his eyes by the EMT. ROB VAN DAM, however, is sat apart from the rest of the group, looking frustrated.

    In walks ERIC BISCHOFF, signals for the EMT to leave, and looks at the Dudleyz and Dreamer.

    ”Wow, Evolution really did a number on you three, huh?”

    “I’m sick of ‘em, Eric!”
    Bubba yells. ”When’re you gonna do something about them?!”

    “What do you want from me?”
    Bischoff asks, arms held out in surrender. "Was I meant to know they’d do that? The referee disqualified them, so it’s not like they got away with it. And, seeing as you technically won, you get to name your matches. So what do you want?”

    “I want Randy Orton,”
    Tommy Dreamer says. ”And I want him in a Hardcore Match. That kid needs to be taught some manners.”

    “Randy Orton, Hardcore Match,”
    Bischoff says. ”Got it.”

    He looks to the Dudleyz.

    ”We want our rematch!” D-Von says. ”Batista and Christian, for the Tag Titles.”

    “Yeah,”
    Bubba adds, ”but not in any match... we want... a Tables Match!”

    Bischoff points the finger guns at them. ”You got it.” He turns to Al Snow. ”You?”

    Al’s face crumples in anger. ”I... want...” he pauses. ”Kane!”

    The rest of the group (barring RVD who isn’t engaging with them) exchange a glance.

    ”Uh... Kane?” Bubba asks. ”You sure?”

    “I’m damn sure. I get a match of my choice... I want Kane... for the Intercontinental Title!”


    Bischoff frowns. ”Al, I-”

    Bischoff is cut off by Dreamer raising his hand and solemnly shaking his head, as if to say, ‘don’t waste your time’.

    ”Okay, Al... you’ve got it. You... versus... Kane... for some reason.” He looks over to RVD, still sat away from the group. ”What about you, lone ranger? You going to stop sulking long enough to give me an answer? Let me guess... Triple H... Last Man Standing? Or I Quit? Or, maybe Jericho, for the title? I know there’s no love lost there-”

    “No way, bro,”
    RVD says, sternly. ”This ain’t about titles. It ain’t even about me and Hunter. I’m sick of this. All of it. Sick of the lack of respect. They wanna disrespect us? They wanna accuse us of not bein’ extreme? No way, man, I’m not taking that. I don’t want a match with Hunter, or with Ric, or Randy, or whoever. Nah, bro... I want a rematch... of tonight. The five of them... and the five of us. But I want... no disqualifications... no count outs... falls count anywhere. They think they’re extreme? Then I say... we show them exactly… what being extreme is all about.”

    The rest of the group (except Al Snow, who looks on a different planet), nod in agreement.

    Bischoff looks reluctant. ”Listen, Rob, I love the fire, but the ten of you, Falls Count Anywhere, No Disqualification. It sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen-”

    “You said a match of our choosing, Eric. And that’s my choice. I want them... five on five... anything goes... and I want it next week.”


    Bischoff looks to argue, but the Dudleyz and Dreamer get to their feet, intimidating the General Manager.

    ”Okay, guys, you’ve got it. Next week, No DQ rematch of the ten-man tag. The rest of the matches are the week after. I’ll... uh... I guess I’ll let Evolution know.”

    “You do that, Eric,”
    RVD says. ”And you let them know... that’s they’ve got no idea what they’re getting themselves in to.”



    The WWE production song ”Father To Son” starts to play...


    … as we see footage of JIM DUGGAN celebrating his victory in the 1988 Royal Rumble...

    ”Sixty minutes...”

    … we see SHAWN MICHAELS returning from the brink of elimination in the 1995 Rumble to eliminate THE BRITISH BULLDOG

    ”... thirty men...”

    … we see HULK HOGAN’S reaction to being eliminated by SID in the 1992 Rumble, and BRET HART’S vengeance-filled reaction to being eliminated in 1997...

    ”... twenty-nine runners up...”

    … we see the stand-off between HULK HOGAN and THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR in 1990...

    ”... moments that will life forever...”

    … … we see STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN’S reaction to BRET HART’S arrival in the 1997 Rumble, and MAVEN eliminating THE UNDERTAKER in 2002...

    ”... a night of unpredictability...”

    … we see STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN last eliminating KANE to win the 2001 Rumble, and his subsequent exhausted celebration...

    ”... but with only one goal at the end of it.”

    … we see RIC FLAIR’S tearful celebration in 1992...

    ”Sixty minutes...”

    … we see a packed ring during the 1991 Rumble...

    ”... thirty men...”

    … we see THE BIG SHOW’S violent reaction to being eliminated in 2000, and RANDY SAVAGE’S reaction to being eliminated by HULK HOGAN in 1989...

    ”... twenty-nine runners up...”

    … we see BROCK LESNAR’S win at last year’s event, and his subsequent celebration... which fades in to him holding the title at Wrestlemania, having won the WWE Title...

    ”... one road to Wrestlemania.”



    Live on pay-per-view, January 25th 2004



    Molly Holly vs. Terri

    Well, here’s a farce for you.

    This one has, somehow, been building for some time. Time and again Molly has insulted and belittled the poor interviewer, and despite Terri doing everything she could to remain professional, she still found herself on the end of a beating last week. And, for some reason, Eric Bischoff thought it best that they work their issues out in the ring. That’s Molly Holly, former champion and arguably the greatest women’s wrestler in the world... and 50lbs interviewer Terri.

    It’s clear from the start Terri has no interest in this match, and looks like an absolute fish out of water. Molly, however, seems to take it very seriously, going for a tie up and completely schooling the interviewer, then throwing her down to the floor. And, with Terri down, Molly offers a patronising pat on the head as well.

    Terri gets back to her feet, but she’s untrained and unprepared. There’s nothing she can do. Even if she had the physical tools, she doesn’t know how to do this, especially against someone like Molly. Molly strides over for another lock up... but instead kicks Terri in the stomach! Because she needed the cheap shot, I guess. She clubs at Terri’s back, deadlifts her up, and Gutwrench Suplexes her across the ring. Already Terri has nothing left, but that doesn’t stop Molly from pulling her up and pushing her in the corner, and hitting an unnecessarily theatrical Handspring Elbow, which causes Terri to just slump to the floor.

    ”You still think you’re better than me?!” Molly screams... despite there having been no indication Terri ever did feel like that.

    She grabs Terri by the hair and pulls her up... SO TERRI SLAPS HER AROUND THE FACE! Terri’s trying to fight back!

    But that just pisses Molly off! Molly’s eyes grow crazed; widened and furious. She grits her teeth and grabs Terri’s arm... Armbar takedown... IN TO THE FUJIWARA ARMBAR! The move she debuted at Armageddon! And Terri taps out almost immediately!

    Winner: Molly in 2:36


    The bell rings... but Molly doesn’t release! She’s trying to break Terri’s arm!

    So out runs TRISH STRATUS! Molly sees her coming and let's go of Terri... and Trish and Molly start exchanging right hands! Trish gets the better of it, so she pulls Molly in for the Stratusfaction, she rushes to the ropes...

    … but is cut off by GAIL KIM! She’s getting revenge for Trish stopping her from cheating earlier!

    But here comes APRIL! She’s coming to send her friend! This is chaos!

    Eventually, ERIC BISCHOFF comes out, waving for the referees to join in and calm things down. After a few moments everyone is held apart, and Bischoff speaks up.

    ”Enough!” he yells. ”Enough, okay? This has got to end! You all want a piece of each other? You all want a shot at the title? Well, you know what... this... is Royal... Rumble... season. So, next week... here... on WWE Raw... we’re gonna find out who will face Lita for the Women’s Title at the Rumble... when we have... the first ever... Women’s... Royal... Rumble... match!”

    Huge pop!

    ”Bah gawd!” JR yells on commentary. ”Next week... ten women... first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match... and it’s LIVE on WWE Raw!”



    We cut backstage, to where Rue is standing by with MARK HENRY, who has THEODORE LONG by his side. Somehow, Mark still hasn’t stopped sweating.

    ”Mark, earlier tonight we saw Booker T potentially on the edge of winning the Intercontinental Title, before you cost him the match and delivered a brutal World’s Strongest Slam on the steps. I think what everyone at home is waiting to hear is... why?”

    Teddy Long steps forward. ”Babyguurl, I’ll take this one. Do ya remember who Bookah beat ta get that shot at Kane tonight?”

    “Sure, he beat Mark and-”

    “Wrong! He din’t beat Mark Henry. He beat Maven. And yet Bischoff’s gonna hand Bookah a title shot without goin’ through Mizark first? That’s straight up haterisin’, darlin’. So now, Bookah’s gonna learn an important life lesson, ya feel me? Mah boy Mizark here don’t take too kindly ta bein’ overlooked like that, so maybe Bookah best know that if ya get under Mark’s skin, ya gonna pay tha piper. That playa stole tha title shot, so now ev’ryone’s gonna find out exactly who should be... tha Inta... continental Champ’n. Holla, holla holla!”


    Teddy slaps Mark on the chest, and together they walk off, content with their night’s work.



    We then head backstage… where we see SHAWN MICHAELS sat in his locker room! There’s a huge pop for his first appearance on the screen tonight from his home town crowd.

    ”And there he is, folks,” JR says from commentary, ”th’ man who hopes t’ face Chris Jericho at th’ Rumble by winnin’ here in his home town-a San Antonio, Texas.”

    We then transition to the graphic for the upcoming match...



    Shout out to ranthellacious for his awesome match graphic, as always. That dude is awesome.
    ”All that stands in his way,” JR continues, ”is Bill Goldberg… a man who still hasn’t lost in one-on-one action here in th’ WWE. He’s not been pinned... he’s not been made t’ submit. Shawn Michaels has broken a tonne-a records in his tahm in th’ WWE… can he add another here tonight? Let’s see how this business between Shawn Michaels and Goldberg came about.”

    We transition to a video showing the respective careers of SHAWN MICHAELS and GOLDBERG, set to the WWE Production theme song ”Native Son”



    (0:00 – 0:34)

    We see both men at their best, starting with Shawn Michaels from his days in The Rockers, to his Ladder Match with Razor Ramon at Wrestlemania, to the boyhood dream coming true, to returning at Summerslam 2002, winning the belt at Survivor Series last year, and generally being the most exciting, awe-inspiring wrestler of his generation. As we see it, we hear numerous platitudes from JR over the years.

    ”The Heartbreak Kid!”

    “The Showstoppah!”

    “No-one has ever outperformed Shawn Michaels in a big match environment.”


    Meanwhile, we see Goldberg’s ascent to the top. We start in WCW, with him beating Hugh Morrus, before he starts ploughing through more and more people. We see the Jackhammer on the Giant, him winning the US Title from Raven, and the WCW Title from Hulk Hogan. We also see him come to the WWE and immediately beat The Rock, and his path through everyone he has encountered, including winning the World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H at Unforgiven, and somehow beating the unbeatable Kane at the Survivor Series. As with Michaels, we hear JR’s commentary of him over the footage...

    ”Anothah win for Bill Goldberg!”

    “Pure dominance from Goldberg!”

    “How’s he able t’ do this?!”

    “And still Bill Goldberg is undefeated in one-on-one action here in th’ WWE!”


    (0:34 – 0:59)

    We then start to see their relationship blossom over the last few months, where they were united by a mutual hatred of Evolution. We see several of their backstage segments together, where they weren’t exactly friends, but there was a clear respect between them as well.

    (0:59 – 1:17)

    That was, until they started aiming for the same goal. Both men were driven by the World Heavyweight Title; Goldberg by keeping it, Michaels by obtaining it. Thanks to Chris Jericho both men accidentally took each other out, but they seemed to understand, albeit tensely, that these things happen. But it appeared to be a matter of time before things spilled over in the pursuit of the same belt. And, as Michaels told him...

    ”Next time I kick ya in th’ face... it ain’t gonna be an accident.”

    And sure, enough, that’s exactly what happened.

    (1:17 – 1:39)

    Right before Armageddon, Michaels followed up on his promise, hitting Goldberg with an intentional Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere. With that, any indication of a friendship they might possibly have had disappeared, and they very much became enemies.

    ”It’s the old Shawn Michaels, JR! He’ll do whatever it takes to win!”

    With tensions already boiling over, especially when it was Michaels who was pinned when Jericho won Goldberg’s World Title, Goldberg returned the favour when he Speared Michaels at the end of Raw last week, right after we heard they would face off today. And all that’s left is pure and utter hatred.

    (1:39 – 1:58)

    The music speeds up, and the video becomes all action. We see everything they’ve done to each other physically, not just accidentally, not just intentional one off hits, but all the scrapping, fighting, kicking and Spearing from Armageddon as well. The action’s furious, as we still hear JR on commentary...

    ”These two cannot stand each other!”

    “This one’s boilin’ ovah!”

    “What’s gonna happen when these two go one-on-one, with a shot at the World Title on th’ line?!”


    With the final note, the footage cuts to Michaels and Goldberg staring each other down, with the final line again coming from JR...

    ”Shawn Michaels... Goldberg... first... tahm... evah!”


    We return to ringside…


    ”OH, OH, SHAWN!”

    *** SEXY BOY ***



    Monster pop for the home town boy! SHAWN MICHAELS bounces out from the back, taking in the huge reaction, and sets off pyro on the stage. He bounds down to the ring and applauds each side of the ring for their reaction, before bowing to them to say, “I’m not worthy”. Basically, he couldn’t be playing up to them more if he tried. Eventually his music dies down…


    *** WHO’S NEXT ***


    There’s an initial pop for the music… but it quickly turns to boos! Whether it was the Spear last week, or just that he’s Shawn’s opponent, the San Antonio crowd are staunchly pro-HBK tonight! GOLDBERG makes his way through the backstage area and on to the stage, setting off the smoke and pyro, before marching down to the ring and staring down with Michaels, towering over him, doing his best to intimidate him, as referee Earl Hebner calls for the bell…


    Number One Contender Match
    Goldberg vs. Shawn Michaels


    With the ringing of the bell, both men circle each other for their first ever one-on-one contest, before coming together for a tie-up… but Shawn ducks underneath… and chops Goldberg in the chest! Goldberg reaches for him again… but Michaels ducks and Chops again! Goldberg’s pissed, so he charges at Michaels… HBK backs up… and trips him in to the turnbuckle! Both men get to their feet… Dropkick to the jaw! Goldberg staggers up and looks to swing, but Michaels ducks and sweeps the legs… Seated Dropkick! Goldberg again returns to his feet and looks to charge at Michaels, furious that Michaels is getting the better of him at every turn... Michaels is against the ropes… but he drops down and pulls the ropes with him… and Goldberg topples to the outside! Michaels hits the ropes… SUICIDE DIVE! Stick and move! It’s all been Michaels so far! Michaels gets to his feet, pumping the crowd up, as Goldberg returns to his feet… Shawn lines him up... Hurricanrana!

    No! Goldberg holds on! He heaves Michaels back up… POWERBOMB IN TO THE BARRICADE! Brutal stuff from Goldberg! And already Shawn is struggling! He throws Michaels back in to the ring and backs in to a corner… Michaels is in a bad way, so Goldberg wants to finish this one off early… he charges across the ring…

    … in to a Leg Lariat from Michaels! HBK’s bringing all the goods!

    The announcers talk about this contest being completely different to what they’d expected, with Goldberg struggling to get a real run of offence in for the first time in... well, ever really. Michaels is so focused, so prepared, and so good, that Goldberg’s genuinely up against it here. Michaels continues to grind him down, but when Goldberg reverses a whip Michaels rebounds off the ropes... Crossbody... caught! Goldberg hangs on... Backbreaker! But Goldberg hangs on! Another Backbreaker! And still Goldberg doesn’t let go! A third Backbreaker! He then heaves Michaels on to his shoulders... Running Samoan Drop! Even Goldberg’s bringing something new!

    With Goldberg having used his brute strength to finally find a way back in to the contest, he slows things down with a Bearhug, much to the distain of the crowd. Michaels tries to fight it, so Goldberg lifts him up... and splats him back down with a Spinebuster! And back to the Bearhug! Michaels is struggling badly, so he starts trying to punch at Goldberg to get him release... but he doesn’t! He’s locked in too tight! Michaels panics... and digs his fingers in to Goldberg’s eye! Goldberg cries out in pain as Earl Hebner admonishes him... so HBK starts fish hooking his mouth! Michaels is going to do whatever it takes! Goldberg’s grip loosens, so Shawn lifts him up... Manhattan Drop! Michaels backs off the ropes... Flying Forearm!

    No sold! Goldberg barely flinched! Michaels stares up disbelievingly... Goldberg pulls him up and in... Overhead Belly To Belly Suplex... in to the corner! Michaels bounces up instinctively, so Goldberg launches him over the top rope... but Michaels hangs on... and starts to skin the cat back in! But he’s hanging upside down as Goldberg charges... and boots him in the chest while he’s upside down! Michaels topples to the outside! He gradually pulls himself up as Hebner counts him out... he tries to get on the apron, but he’s in a bad way... he climbs on to the apron and leans with his back against the ropes, so Goldberg wraps his arm around his neck... Reverse Suplex from the outside of the ring in! Goldberg pulls Michaels up... and lifts him in to a Press Slam! He carries him around the ring, then drops... in to a Spinebuster! Goldberg’s mauling him out there!

    Michaels tries to pull himself up, but he’s spaghetti legged... Goldberg backs in to the corner, wanting to hit the Spear and finish things off... Michaels staggers around, so Goldberg charges...

    IN TO SWEET CHIN MUSIC! He hit it out of nowhere!

    But he can’t capitalise! Michaels drops down to the mat and is out himself!

    Eventually he starts to crawl across the canvas, but surely this has been way too long to get a pinfall out of it. He lifts an arm and gradually drapes an arm over Goldberg’s chest...

    … but Goldberg suddenly grabs the arm... and pulls him in to a Triangle Choke! Goldberg was playing possum! This is unlike anything we’ve seen from him before! Shawn flails wildly, trying to break free, but there’s nowhere for him to go... he climbs to his feet while still locked in... he flips over... in to a Jacknife Pin!

    ONE...

    TWO...

    TH...


    Goldberg kicks out... but he has to release the hold! They get to their feet... Manhattan Drop! Michaels backs off the rope... Flying Forearm... and this time Goldberg goes down! Kip up! Michaels is feeling it... and the crowd comes alive! Scoop Slam... and Michaels goes to the top! FLYING ELBOW DROP! Big pop from the crowd! Michaels hooks the leg...

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THRE...


    Goldberg gets the shoulder up! Michaels can’t believe it!

    He backs in to the corner and looks down on Goldberg. He’s taken this unbeatable monster further than anyone would have thought was possible. The match has gone longer than pretty much any Goldberg match ever. And yet still Shawn Michaels is here, ready to be the first to beat him in the WWE, and ready to take his place in the World Title match at the Rumble... SO HE BEGINS TUNING UP THE BAND! His home town clap and stomp in time as he builds up, waiting for Goldberg to get to his feet... Goldberg pulls himself up and turns around... Shawn leaps out of the corner...

    SPEAR! Goldberg cut him off with a Spear... and he flops on top of Michaels!

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THRE...


    Michaels kicked out! Michaels kicked out! Goldberg can’t believe it! He grabs Hebner by the shirt and insists there’s no way Michaels could have kicked out before the three, but the referee is adamant!

    Michaels gingerly pulls himself up as Goldberg continues to argue his point with Earl Hebner... Goldberg turns around...

    IN TO SWEET CHIN MUSIC!

    No! Goldberg ducked... AND MICHAELS KICKED EARL HEBNER!

    Michaels can’t believe he just took the referee out! He tries to wake him up, but Earl is out, so Michaels gradually turns around...

    IN TO ANOTHER SPEAR! That one damn near cut him in half! Goldberg hooks the leg...

    … but there’s no referee! This is way more than a three count, but no-one can count it...

    … until MIKE CHIODA sprints out from the back! We haven’t seen Chioda since Goldberg accidentally broke his ribs at Survivor Series! Chioda slides in the ring... and makes the count! No bias from Chioda even after everything that happened!

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THRE...


    BUT MICHAELS KICKS OUT AGAIN! And the roof is blown off the arena! The delay in the count no doubt helped, but somehow Michaels is still in it!

    At least, he is in theory. Goldberg gets back to his feet and argues with Chioda, who insists he called it straight, but Michaels has barely moved. He slowly rolls on to his stomach and tries to use the ropes to pull himself up... but he flops back down. He’s thrown everything he has at Goldberg. No-one - no-one - has taken Goldberg this far in the WWE, but the match is slipping away.

    Goldberg turns back to Michaels... and Michaels starts pulling himself to his feet! Somehow he’s getting back on to his feet! How is he doing this?! He’s taken two Spears already! Goldberg can only look on in disbelief as Michaels somehow, someway, returns to his feet. There’s no fight left in him; this is pure defiance. It’s a message, telling Goldberg that he’ll keep getting up if he has to.

    Goldberg shakes his head. He’s played this one a little heelish in the face of the pro-Michaels crowd, but even he is taken aback by the fight in Michaels. There’s almost a reluctance to finish it off given what Michaels is pushing himself through...

    SO MICHAELS CROTCH CHOPS HIM! ENORMOUS pop! Michaels is defiant until the end!

    Goldberg sneers... charges... AND CUTS MICHAELS IN HALF WITH A THIRD SPEAR! But this time there’s no cover! He lifts Michaels up...

    JACKHAMMER! He absolutely planted him with that one! He hooks the leg...

    ONE...

    TWO...

    THREE!


    Winner and Number One Contender: Goldberg in 16:19


    The crowd are deflated at Michaels losing, but quickly begin applauding a type of match they couldn’t possibly have expected to see tonight. Mike Chioda, despite all his history with Goldberg, raises his arm in victory without batting an eyelid, playing it exactly down the middle as the unbiased official that he is. Goldberg, sweating and exhausted, finally takes a moment to appreciate that he’s getting the rematch against Jericho he so desperately wanted.

    ”What an encounter!” JR exclaims. ”Shawn Michaels threw ev’rythin’ he bah gawd had at Goldberg, but it just was not enough! He tried stick ‘n’ twist, he tried to drag it out longer than Goldberg’s used t’... but in th’ end, Goldberg jus’ kept powerin’ through, and he was not gonna be denied!”

    “I’m exhausted just watching it, JR!”

    “You an’ me both, King. And at ovah 16 minutes, that’s th’ longest one-on-one match Goldberg’s evah been in. Shawn Michaels thought that draggin’ it out might-a given him th’ advantage there, but Goldberg’s more than just a big hitter, and he can pull it outta th’ fire when he needs to. Bill Goldberg is still undefeated in th’ WWE in one-on-one action... and now he’s comin’ for Chris Jericho and th’ World Heavyweight Title!”


    As Goldberg has his arm raised, Michaels looks up at the lights. He may have stuck it to Goldberg and refused to stay down, but it still resulted in a loss. He may have taken Goldberg further than anyone else has managed, but it’s still a loss, and he’s still no closer to the World Heavyweight Title, the belt that he believes will legitimise him among this newer generation of Superstar. Still he stays on his back, so Goldberg heads over to him and grabs his arm... and yanks him up! Michaels can’t stand without the aid of the ropes, but Goldberg doesn’t want him on the canvas after that. Goldberg heads over to him...

    ... and offers a handshake! When do you ever see this kind of sportsmanship from Goldberg?!

    Michaels looks up at Goldberg, perhaps holding back a tear... and shakes Goldberg’s hand! The crowd cheer both for the contest they’ve just seen and the sportsmanship that came afterwards. Michaels looks out at his home town fans with the most reluctant of smiles, overwhelmed at the response, before vacating the ring, leaving it to the victor as should be the case.

    With that, Goldberg is alone. A camera films him from the apron, so Goldberg walks over to it and looks right down the lens.

    ”Yo, Jericho? YOU’RE NEXT!


    * END OF SHOW *



    Confirmed for next week

    Ten Women Royal Rumble
    Confirmed entrants: April, Gail Kim, Ivory, Jacqueline, Molly Holly, Terri, Trish Stratus, Victoria

    No Disqualification Ten Man Tag Match
    Batista, Christian, Randy Orton, Ric Flair & Triple H vs. Al Snow, Bubba Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Rob Van Dam & Tommy Dreamer

    Singles Match
    Mark Henry vs. Booker T

    Tag Team Match
    La Resistance vs. Garrison Cade & Mark Jindrak





    Royal Rumble Match
    Confirmed entrants: Batista, Christian, Hardcore Holly, Randy Orton, Triple H

    World Heavyweight Championship Match
    Chris Jericho (c) vs. Goldberg

    WWE Championship Match
    A-Train/Chris Benoit/Rhyno vs. Eddie Guerrero/Brock Lesnar (c)

    WWE Women’s Title Match
    Winner of the 10 Woman Royal Rumble vs. Lita (c)

  9. #309
    Curtain Jerker

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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    Great booker man! Love the time period (obviously!) Overall, Smackdown is my favorite show this far, but Raw has some good things going on over there as well.

    Raw

    Your version of Goldberg versus Evolution is quite better than what happened in real life. Nice to see Goldberg not being buried and being on top as he should’ve been.. Until Chris Jericho had something to do about that…

    You’re also righting the wrongs that were done to Y2J. Him being top dog on Raw now, however long that lasts, is great to see. I’d prefer a face Y2J, but him being heel makes most sense due to what he’s gone through till this point.

    Christian in Evolution is different and I like it. You write him well and he gels in the group. It’ll be interesting to see if the group implodes and if so, how it will go down?

    Really good to see you’re giving Goldust something rather worthwhile to do. Same with Storm, who I’d wouldn’t mind seeing being IC Champ or at least in contention…

    And speaking of the IC Champ. It seems odd on Kane, but I trust what you’re doing and believe you’ll have him drop it appropriately. Kane’s carnage to Shane and Linda in the beginning of this booker… sheesh!

    Randy is HOT! The guy is on the verge of stardom and just needs that one BIG win to really take off. I know it’s coming, but when?

    Really enjoy heel Molly Holly being champ, not much to say there though.

    Glad you’re doing something with Maven and him being under Michaels wings was nice to see. Hope he rejects Long and stands on his own going forward… unless…. he joins…. “is a mystery….”

    Looking forward to how your Royal Rumble plays out for Raw! Will the winner be a Raw guy?!


    Smackdown

    Lesnar, Taker, Show, Cena, A-Train, Rhyno, Eddie, Benoit, Angle, Dragon, Chavo, Regal, Matt v1, Kidman, Mysterio… hell I could name the entire roster. I like really like what’s going on on the blue brand.

    Making Eddie and Benoit legit stars that can hang with Lesnar, Taker, Angle, Show is just good stuff. Love how you write them. So curious to see how they accomplish their big moments. Will it be at the Rumble? WrestleMania?

    The Atlanta Five was good stuff. Liked The Filthy Animals being up there with Benoit and Eddie. I hope Regal doesn’t get in Kidman’s head and have him turn on Rey. Though a feud between them could be good, I rather they both remain baby-faces for a good while longer. Then again, I think they’re both bright stars and could use singles pushes, but do they need a turn angle to split them up?

    Like the approach for Cena. I don’t see you going the Super Cena route with him and expect the continual pace of his build as we’ve seen thus far. Then again, he could jump some guys, I don’t know.. I trust you though. Cena vs Regal should do Cena well in his face run and be entertaining stuff.

    Anyone else liking what he’s doing with A-Train?! Haha. I’d like to see this guy be taken as serious threat… getting in contention for world titles kind of problems for folks… I said it! Haha.

    It’s only a matter of time for Chavo snaps ain’t it… will we see it coming?

    I trust you’ll keep TWGTT together with Haas and Benjamin being so good together. A team that can beat any team on either show.

    I know Bradshaw’s getting that push? Or will he? Maybe not the levels of the real life one? We’ll see… I anticipate an eventual APA split and look forward to a feud between Faarooq and Bradshaw, however long it lasts. Heel Bradshaw ftw!

    Matty v1 is soooo annoying, but you’re so good with his character! Poor Shannon… stand up for yourself! I’m going to be so geeked when he gets his match against his mentor and beats him! However long it takes. Matt’s balloon must be popped!

    I like Angle and Taker working together against Vince and Lesnar, really good stuff. I don’t think Angle is responsible for taking out Taker, but we’ll see. Speaking of Taker, he’s still MIA… when and where will he show up again?

    PUSH Ultimo Dragon!

    All-in-all, really great stuff you’re doing. I’m amped to see the road to WrestleMania, but not rushing Mania to get here because I’m stoked for Royal Rumble. Looking to get into the next prediction contest as well!

    P.S., how did I forget about Brock Freakin' Lesnar?! Dudes been killin' it in this thread! And the use of the rear naked choke to finish guys off has been some good stuff. Really looking forward to who overcomes The Beast and dethrones him! It's only right for a SD guy to do it, but man... Brock going to Raw or a face Triple H coming to SD and dethroning Lesnar wouldn't get any frowns over here and I HATED Triple H's Reign of Terror! But Trips is one of those guys that I'd like to see humble Brock!


    Last edited by Water; Yesterday at 07:56 PM.

  10. #310
    To the letter of the law

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    Re: WWE: Where It All Begins... Again

    Hot start to the show with the big ten man tag, but I was surprised this ended in the way it did with the DQ finish. Makes sense in a way though, as you can use this ECW alumni feud to carry Evolution through to the Rumble with something of substance going on to keep them busy. Quite the burial from Triple H, delivered as only mid 2000’s Triple H can. If it involved anyone else, you’d expect the end point to be Evolution getting their comeuppance, but I think we all know ultimately, the old ECW guys are in this spot to put the group over – and rightly so.

    I loved this exchange between Gail and Molly. I’ve said more times than enough already, but I love this character you’ve made out of Molly. Such a bitch. Gail Kim definitely benefited from this back and forth, and it made it clear she has a backbone, which I think is important. One nitpick though is that Gail mentioned it’s been 8 days since Molly lost her title, but there’s been a week off for Raw … so it’s fifteen days now.

    No problem with Rue DeBona filling Terri’s shoes. Pity she didn’t stick around for longer in real life. Good acknowledgement of the setting for tonight’s show by having Goldberg getting boos, considering who he’s facing, and a decent quick Goldberg style promo here to boot. Knew it wouldn’t be too long before Goldberg and Kane crossed paths again. Good callback with Kane now holding a title and Goldberg empty handed too. Setting up something for later tonight, perhaps?

    Looks like J.R is flubbing the timeline too, mentioning it’s less than two weeks that Lita has been champion, and King stating the Trish match was ‘last week’. Trish still being there for Lita and saving the title for her essentially here by stopping Gail using the title was a nice way to establish that she and Lita are still on the same page and looking out for one another. All very magnanimous gestures here from Trish, right down to her leaving the ring to allow Lita the moment, and I wonder if she’ll be as happy to oblige once her arm heals and she’s fit to challenge Lita at 100% … and if Lita is so willing to defend the title when Trish is healthy. A lot of directions this can go still.

    The Rob Conway vignettes are off to a flier. Him being dressed like Lex Luger is a great touch, and him billing himself as the “Real American Patriot” is tremendous, whilst exposing the fact (which I had no idea about) that the Statue of Liberty was made in France – of all places. Can’t wait to see what you end up using for his eventual theme music to go with this gimmick.

    I’m with Jericho on this one – Kanyon deserves to be on TV more often, damn it!! It’s great that you’re able to keep Jericho railing against the corporate machine, still able to complain and be bitter, even in the face of his own success. Better yet is that he DOES always make good points. While pretty much everyone he put forward as alternatives don’t and (haven’t done enough to) deserve a title opportunity, the same opportunities DO keep falling to Shawn Michaels and Goldberg.

    Nice to see Jericho using the step-up Enziguri as a finish every once in a while too. I think it’s a point you’ve made in feedback either in my thread or elsewhere, but it really does help for secondary and even tertiary finishers to be seen to win matches occasionally in order to buy them as potential finishes in bigger matches. On another note; I’d forgotten Rico was still around!!

    Even though I’d wager all my money that there’s 0% chance you run a heel/heel Trips vs Jericho WrestleMania program (that’d not only take balls, but a brain transplant) I appreciate you floating that possibility out there. Makes sense for these two to be forever at odds – even as heels – and after the dig from Jericho in his promo, Triple H’s character would absolutely look to straighten the record like this. Really good.

    Yeah … so I found this a little strange. I know the potential is always there for Booker to step up and be a main event level player, but I don’t know if I’d say it was worth protecting him in this spot when there’d be no shame in losing to Kane a second time – unless there’s a big plan for Booker on the road to WrestleMania, which I don’t envisage on the horizon. Another slight disappointment is that two of the big three hyped matches for this show have ended in a DQ too now. If there’s one good thing to take out of this match though – it’s that it looks as if we’re finally moving away from the Henry/Maven feud. I assume Henry and Long didn’t take too kindly to Booker winning that triple threat a few weeks ago. Post match stuff was decent, with Kane destroying the referee for kicks and that Worlds Strongest Slam on the steps sounded nasty as hell.

    Solid stuff with the ECW alumni, setting up a whole host of matches for the next few weeks. Some really smart booking, I feel, these last few weeks, getting the absolute maximum out of this pseudo faction to oppose Evolution, as it’s essentially helped you get through a months worth of TV with matches that aren’t just being thrown out to fill TV time, but there’s actually an issue between the two groups. Had to chuckle at the randomness of Al Snow plucking Kane (and the I.C title) out of thin air for the match he wants, but I like that you didn’t just have everyone pick each individual member of Evolution – and anyway; who the hell would want to see an Al Snow vs Ric Flair match in any year, never mind 2004. Redux of the ten man next week, but in the ECW guys environment sounds perfect and should be a main event attraction imo.

    Molly vs Terri was exactly what it needed to be, and was written superbly to get across just how out of her depth Terri was. The post-match run ins felt a little … I don’t know … out of place(?) to me … but the end certainly justified the means. Love the idea for a Womens Rumble on Raw, and it’ll give you a chance to tie together a lot of the ongoing issues that are bubbling in the division. My expectation levels will be very high for a story driven match next week, and I’ve every faith you’ll deliver as always.

    Theodore Long’s promo confirmed my earlier suspicions. No issues from me for a Booker/Henry program to keep both guys ticking over. It’s a step up that Henry needs and it gets Booker away from the Kane feud too to open Kane up.

    Branching out to video packages for Raw matches now? Show off! Fitting occasion for a video package on Raw though. Michaels vs Goldberg for the first time ever is big, and the video adds to the size of the spectacle. Good call.

    Main event delivered in spades, gotta say. Felt like a real epic battle, and for me, done more for Goldberg than any three minute squash has. Told a bit of a different story too, with the writing becoming clear on the wall toward the end that Michaels wasn’t going to turn it back around – yet it didn’t detract from the drama of it all. He ends up looking like a warrior for surviving as long as he did in the end, taking Goldberg further than anyone else, whilst still being able to have Goldberg look like an unstoppable force.

    Goldberg winning shocked me if I’m honest though. But not in a bad way. I just assumed with the lingering threat of the Kane program reigniting at any moment, and the stare down earlier, it was all set up for Kane to screw Goldberg over and have Michaels get his home town win (albeit, tainted). Very curious how you now end up booking Jericho/Goldberg one on one at the Rumble. It’s a match that makes the most sense considering Goldberg wasn’t actually beaten to lose the title, but it’s one I didn’t expect you to go with. Nice closing scene too, with the two guys shaking hands. All good stuff and for my money, an awesome main event match.

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