Throwback Thursday – Stone Cold vs Taker BEFORE WWE

Throwback Thursday - UndertakerAfter celebrating “25 Years of the Undertaker” last weekend at Survivor Series, I thought it would be interesting to see some extremely old-school footage of him before taking on the “Dead Man” gimmick.

Mark Calaway debuted in World Class Championship Wrestling way back in 1984 under a mask as Texas Red. This is a classic match with Texas Red (with Percy Pringle…aka Paul Bearer) taking on the incredible Bruiser Brody.

Five years later, after working in WCCW and Continental (among other territories), he moved on to Memphis to join the USWA with Dutch Mantell (aka Zeb Colter) as his manager. His gimmick was called The Master of Pain, which was a character who was fresh out of the Atlanta State Penitentiary after serving five years (much in solitary confinement) for killing two men in a fight. Riiiiiight…

During this time, he also worked as The Punisher. He met up with a newcomer named “Stunning” Steve Austin.

In 1990, WCW came calling and he debuted there as “Mean” Mark Callous, who was the master of the heart punch. While he eventually teamed with “Dangerous” Dan Spivey as The Skyscrapers (with Teddy Long as their manager), he initially started off as a singles wrestler with Paul E. Dangerously as his manager. So yes…The Undertaker was actually a Paul Heyman Guy.

Once he debuted in WWE as “Kane the Undertaker“, the rest became history and Calaway became one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the business.

RAW Thoughts

Sheamus 1– I’ve been saying it since last night…I just don’t get where they’re going with Sheamus as champ. I honestly get that they are going to use him as an transitional champ in order to better get over Reigns, but with so many top performers out with injuries right now this was the perfect opportunity to do something different and go in a new direction. Whether it was Reigns as a heel, Ambrose as a heel, or even something like Owens as the screwed-over tweener.

The problem is that they turned an impressive Sheamus return (with a new look) into a joke run with the Money in the Bank briefcase and a silly tag team with King Barrett. He went from dancing like a fool with The New Day to suddenly being The Authority‘s face of the company. Sorry…we’ve already had Sheamus as WWE champion before and it didn’t work. It’s already stale and it just started.

So my problem isn’t with Sheamus winning or with Reigns losing…it’s the whole lack of creativity behind the booking decisions at a time in the company when risks can be taken. If the risks don’t work, then change it all up at Royal Rumble and hit the ground running en route to WrestleMania.

Roman Reigns 2Instead, we’ve got a played out story with WWE forcing Roman Reigns down our throat as the “picked on babyface” that people are supposed to cheer. This attempt to force the WWE Universe to cheer for a babyface has been played out and the booing will continue in the foreseeable future. It’s not Reigns’ fault because he’s miles better than he was even a year ago…it’s the fault of WWE Creative and, ultimately, Vince himself.

Wyatt Family 3– I’m glad that the Wyatt Family got back on a winning track last night. After this latest losing feud, the Wyatt’s need to go on a winning streak that dominates the majority of the roster. At this point, they’re all talk and no action…and Bray Wyatt is way too good of a performer to be the perennial loser. And hell…Luke Harper is too good to be a perennial loser, too. It was nice to see Harper be the one to actually pick-up the clean pinfall victory. I don’t know if WWE really has anything firm planned for the Wyatt’s over the coming months, but I like this faction and the idea that they will kill everybody they’re in the ring with.

Sasha Banks 1– They FINALLY have Sasha Banks wrestle live on RAW, giving the people what they want. I’ve said it before…when she walks to the ring with Team B.A.D. there is simply no comparison in terms of overall star quality and charisma. It “Banks & the other two”. Her win last night was “classic heel” and I loved it.

Paige 1– It’s so weird to see Paige act full-on heel and still get cheered. It’s the same as the Bellas acting heel and still getting cheered. It’s also weird to see the WWE Universe boo Charlotte and Becky Lynch when they’ve been set-up to be the babyfaces of the entire Divas division. Well…again, it’s WWE Creative’s fault and not the performers. I mean, the entire division has been a joke for years now and the increase of women who can actually wrestle hasn’t seemed to help WWE come up with writing that does what it’s intended to. It’s like the audience is ahead of the writing team, and until WWE writers can catch up to the audiences of 2015, they’re going to continue missing the boat on some great opportunities.

New Day Anniversary– While the end of the segment didn’t quite go over with the Nashville crowd, the “New Day Jamboree” was fantastically entertaining. Honestly…I don’t know how much the New Day has left in the tank in terms of entertainment ideas, but WWE needs to run with them for as long as they possibly can. They are one of the best things going in the entire company and their momentum shouldn’t be stopped any time soon.

– I don’t know what storylines (if any) that WWE has left for Mark Henry as he winds down his career, but I’d like to see him go out with a bit of respect. From what I’ve read, Henry won’t re-up his contract once it expires next year…but wants to stay with the company in a different capacity. I’d like to see him get a retirement match of some sort…just so his lengthy career is properly recognized.

– Having said that, the agent who put together last night’s match between Neville and Henry completely messed up. I mean…ONE GODDAMN KICK to Henry’s head knocked him for a loop to the point where Neville could hit the Red Arrow?? C’mon now…if you’re going to put somebody over like that, at least make it a BIT believable.

Alberto Del Rio 1– I’m still wondering about the health of Zeb Colter. Because again…it’s tough to boo the team of Colter and Del Rio when the guy is moving around in a scooter. Colter can promo all he wants to garner heat, but with the guy (basically) in a wheelchair it’s tough to still want to boo him.

Alberto Del Rio looks incredible, by the way. I don’t think he has looked any better physically and his work inside the ring has been stellar since his return.

Jack Swagger 1– I appreciate that WWE wants to make Jack Swagger look like a legitimate contender…AGAIN…but for Del Rio to back off from a confrontation with Swagger is laughable. I mean c’mon now…Swagger has been a jobber for months and now, all of a sudden, he’s back to being a serious threat to Del Rio’s title? The whole thing works from a storyline perspective, but that’s about it. People aren’t going to buy into it unless they put Swagger on some kind of winning streak.

Paige 2– As much as I love Paige, I wonder if she’s really working as hard as she can to be the best women’s wrestler in the company. Lately, it’s been th e”little things” that have bothered me. For example, at Survivor Series she was put inside of the Figure Four Leglock for a lengthy time and she screamed out like she was dying. Not one minute after that hold was released, she forgot that her leg should have been hurt and didn’t sell it for the remainder of the match. And on more than one occasion (as she did again last night), she was in a submission hold or a headlock and was more concerned about brushing the hair from her face than selling the actual hold. In addition, I heard Paige talking to Charlotte and calling spots throughout the entire match last night. It’s frustrating because I love Paige and have been a fan of hers for years now…but it’s the “little things” that make all the difference in the world, and she’s been slacking a bit lately.

– And count me in as part of the group who thinks that last night’s match between Charlotte and Paige was better than their Survivor Series match. In spite of hearing Paige calling spots, the match itself simply told a better story and was better worked than their initial match-up. I also loved the finish. All around, this was a great match.

Heath Slater 1– I can’t tell you how happy I was to see Heath Slater getting his own segment on WWE’s flagship show. He was entertaining and did exactly what he was supposed to do: get Ryback over as a babyface. But people just don’t care about him. They’ll do his chant, but he has to BEG them for a reaction to get one. And then having him no-sell a chair shot?? Nice spot that got the crowd chanting so I guess Slater accomplished his mission. To me, Slater got more out of this segment than Ryback did…especially considering the dead silence the crowd gave him for his finishing move.

Tyler Breeze & Summer Rae 1– Even though he got a MASSIVE win at Survivor Series, RAW writers still dislike Tyler Breeze and want to make him a jobber out of the gate. C’mon guys…why even bother bringing him up from NXT if you’re not going to do anything to make the WWE Universe care? It’s like you’ve given up on the guy before he’s even had a chance to succeed.

Rusev 1– I really enjoyed the main event last night, too. I mean, anybody who claims that either Rusev or Roman Reigns don’t know how to wrestle simply don’t know what they’re talking about. The match was well planned and well executed. Both men worked their asses off and did a great job. And really, at the end of the day, having Sheamus, Rusev, and King Barrett together as a faction isn’t a terrible idea. While I’m not a huge fan of the direction they’re taking, I suppose it could always be worse.

Image

Woman Crush Wednesday – Allie Mason

Today’s Woman Crush Wednesday is…

 

 

 

 

ALLIE MASON!!

Allie Mason

 

Allie Mason is a bikini model and one of the most beautiful women on the planet. Other than the fact she’s from Scottsdale, Arizona and has green eyes, not much else is known about her. While she is available on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), she is still pretty quiet about her private life and does not have an official website. But damn…she is SMOKIN’ hot!!

Allie Mason

 

RAW Thoughts

Before I write anything else, I would like to say without hesitation that last night’s RAW had some of the best wrestling WWE has given its fans all year long…and that’s INCLUDING the NXT live events. I mean, all four semi-final matches were spectacular and two of them were legit MOTY contenders. I was so impressed with the match booking last night…it’s something that they should be doing more often.

  • Brothers vs WyattsI don’t know if it’s the greatest idea to have Kane & Undertaker simply take on two random members of the Wyatt Family at Survivor Series. I mean…does anybody really care? Even if Taker was trying to sound like Darth Vader, I don’t know if he was really selling the match itself. They’re setting it up like an “Evil vs Evil” match with supernatural powers and abilities. Seriously?
  • Kevin Owens 1I don’t know what you have to do to change perceptions of Kevin Owens being a heel, but he gets pops as big as most of the babyfaces on the WWE roster. I’m firmly behind Sam Roberts’ theory about what could happen at Survivor Series (you can listen to his theory on his podcast), as it can help Owens become an “Austin-esque” character…which is what people seem to want from him.
  • Neville 1Neville should be pushed in a way that makes him the ultimate over-achiever. The guy has money written all over him as an in-ring talent, but his lack of charisma and promo ability is holding him back. The crowd would go insane for the guy if was booked to be a winner on a regular basis. Could he ever become World Heavyweight Champion? Maybe not, but he could still be a main event talent if booked better. Continually “performing well” simply won’t be him a star.
  • Tyler Breeze 3I have mixed feelings about how WWE is handling Tyler Breeze up ‘til this point. Yes, he’s getting the awesome intro and there is a lot of time being spent on his gimmick. The problem is that he lost his debut match against Dean Ambrose and then barely got by R-Truth the following week. The announcers can brag it up as a “big win” as much as they want, but the general perception is that Breeze is a joke at this point…and I was really hoping for something a little bit more substantial.
  • Really entertained by the 6-man tag match. Of course, that’s primarily because of The New Day. What I loved the most was the old-school heel tag team tactics displayed by the champs. They distracted the ref to disallow the hot tag, which got a big pop out of me. Loved it.

  • And again…as much as they try to get big babyface pops for Ryback, it just doesn’t work. The crowd popped for the Usos, though…so you can’t blame the crowd. This is a recurring situation. He can give out necklaces and yell out “feed me more” all he wants, but he’s MUCH better off as a bad-ass heel. This is one experiment that needs to end ASAP.
  • Cesaro 1I also LOVED that Triple H delivered a backstage promo to Cesaro. Everything he said was true…Cesaro is awesome and is missing that little “something”. This tells me that, indeed, Triple H sees what everybody else sees in Cesaro (which isn’t surprising, given how fantastic Hunter has been at recognizing talent and giving opportunities in NXT). This was a segment that didn’t need to take place, but it did. This means that WWE recognizes the rise of Cesaro. Does it mean any more than that? No…probably not, but at least the voices of the WWE Universe are being heard.
  • Heyman & CesaroThe problem, though, is that Cesaro looked so goddamn awkward in the segment. He had a smirk on his face and showed little other emotion. This is exactly the reason why Cesaro never moves up the card…his inability to emote emotion outside of the squared circle. He needs a manager or a group like The Authority to be his mouthpiece, only this time he needs an actual push to go along with it. Having mouthpieces like Zeb Colter and Paul Heyman can only take you so far if you’re still being booked to lose.

  • Cesaro vs ReignsI can’t even begin to tell you how impressive Cesaro has been in the ring, though. I have seen more innovation and creativity and energy from Cesaro over the past few months than from any other WWE superstar. There is NOBODY that has worked harder than him to get noticed…and that does go a long way with WWE Management. Last night’s incredible match against Roman Reigns was just the latest example. I actually popped more than once at his in-ring performance. I mean…how he “landed on his elbow” when falling out of the ring to give him an “out” for losing was absolutely incredible. Reigns was really good, too…don’t get me wrong, but Cesaro was the shining star last night, as he has been over the past few months. I actually believed that there was a possibility of him pinning Reigns, too…and when you can make the crowd believe that the impossible just might be possible, then you’ve done your job extremely well.

  • Dudley Boyz 2I am glad that WWE is still giving the Dudley Boyz something to do now that their program with New Day is over. I’ve said it multiple times before…Bubba Ray Dudley deserves a gimmick makeover and given the “JBL treatment”. As anyone who saw him in TNA can tell you, Bully Ray was one of the greatest TNA champions the company has ever had. He can be a killer heel with legitimate heat and help put over some younger talent while giving WWE an upper-midcard heel that they can trust both inside of the ring and on the mic.
  • Kalisto vs Alberto Del RioThe match between Kalisto and Alberto Del Rio never seemed to be in any doubt, in spite of how the announcers tried to put over the Lucha Dragon as a possible upset special. It’s great to see Kalisto get this opportunity and be put on display as a singles performer, but he’s still a couple of years away from being considered a legitimate replacement to Rey Mysterio. He’s good…but he isn’t that good yet.
  • Charlotte vs PaigeI was legitimately shocked (but very happy) to see the Divas in the main event segment of RAW. And while I give Charlotte all of the credit in the world for being vulnerable and really good on the mic, she’s got to work a little bit more on her timing. That’s really the only small negative I can say about the segment, though. Once Paige made that comment about Reid, Charlotte’s reaction and the ensuing brawl was awesome. Her raw emotion was incredibly compelling. While it may not have been the most popular segment live, I truly believe it made for a fantastic television segment.

Did this show sell me on Survivor Series? Well…I’m saddened to know there aren’t any scheduled 5-on-5 elimination matches scheduled (isn’t that the entire purpose of the PPV to begin with?). But if they can provide matches like they provided last night, then it’s going to be a killer PPV and I’m very intrigued as to where they go with the world title. That alone should make the PPV worth watching.

ZAH NXT GEN: 11-16-15

My weekly column is now up over at Canadian Bulldog’s World. This week I look at the new NXT tag team champions, Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson. A lot of NXT fans were surprised at the Vaudevillains losing to a relatively unknown team. Well…I’ve been looking forward to them winning the titles for awhile now. Here is all you need to know about Dash & Dawson…

11-16-15 ZAH NXT GEN - 11-16-15

Steel Panther – The New “Normal” In Heavy Metal

All U Can EatSteel Panther 2I have to be honest with you. At the beginning of 2015, I didn’t know who the hell Steel Panther even was. Sure, I have seen the occasional YouTube video of this crazy band in Los Angeles doing a unbelievable job covering 80s rock songs with celebrities, but other than that I was completely ignorant of their awesomeness.

Then I saw an ad on Facebook about a month ago advertising that Steel Panther would be playing about four blocks from my house. I decided to at least go to their YouTube page and see what the big deal was. Hungover Tour Halifax

Two words: holy shit.

I think the only way to describe Steel Panther’s music is that they are a cross between ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic and every single awesome glam metal band that ever existed in the 80s. I think you can describe their sound as mock and roll.

Steel Panther 17Their lyrics are abrasive, outlandish, extremely offensive, and funny as hell. If you were a fan of the glam metal sound from the 80s like I was (ie: Def Leppard, Poison, Van Halen, Quiet Riot, Bon Jovi, etc.), then you will absolutely fucking love the music of Steel Panther. I can guarantee you that if their songs were released between 1985 and 1989 with “normal lyrics”, they would have been massive hits.

For example…

Steel Panther 1They say that they are simply trying to keep metal music alive in a time where rock music seems to have died. The fact that they do it completely tongue-in-cheek sometimes goes unnoticed by their fans. In fact, the band plays to sold-out shows with thousands of people all across Europe, Australia, and Japan…and I honestly do not think that those fans realize how fake the lyrics are supposed to be.

Steel Panther 4How bad are the lyrics? They epitomize and summarize practically every hard rock song written throughout the 1980s. If you weren’t around in the 1980’s, then you probably don’t realize that during this time it was a period of excess. Excess booze, drugs, and women…and the hard rock bands of the time did it all without thinking twice about the consequences.

Steel Panther 8You would listen to songs by bands like Quiet Riot and hear them insinuate that they were partying all the time and banging six and doing lots of drugs. They were, but they couldn’t come right out and say these things. Steel Panther, because they are in on the joke, don’t give a shit and simply sing and do whatever the hell they want.

Steel Panther 10Here is a perfect example of everything I’m talking about: this is a song called Party All Day (Fuck All Night). It is to steel panther what Rock ‘n’ Roll All Night is to KISS, but is written in the style of Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi. This is my favorite Panther song, without a doubt, and I haven’t been able to listen to it less than twice a day over the past month.

Steel Panther 12Another great example of the type of music they are writing can be found in the song Community Property. How many older fans of 80s rock ‘n’ roll remember seeing the “touring band video”? Steel Panther took this and turned it into a steeple song for them. This is one of those songs that doing here wants and want to continue singing four hours after he gets done. Of course, once you hear the lyrics then you will completely understand why you never, ever will get any radio airplane (even with the .

Steel Panther 3I purchased my tickets to tonight’s Steel Panther show knowing that I would be going alone. At 43 years of age and living in a city where I don’t know I ton of people after moving here three years ago, my only other option would be to take my wife with me. Believe me…this is not her style of music. Not even the “lighter” stuff.

Steel Panther 14But the great thing about this band is that they remind me of how much I absolutely fucking love this style of music and have since I first entered my teenage years. It has been off the radar for about 30 years now, and the only people who seem to be wanting it to return are the people my age. Thankfully, the age of the “Fanthers” (what the fans call themselves) are getting younger and younger because, quite frankly, the music kicks ass regardless of what the lyrics are about.

Steel Panther 13So whether or not music experts like and/or appreciate Steel Panthers music (ahem…Eddie Trunk), the fact of the matter is that this band is, incredibly, bringing metal music back to the forefront in a very big way. Because of the size of the crowds that they are garnering all over the world, they really have me excited for the future of rock ‘n’ roll.

Steel Panther 16I have watched countless live performances on YouTube over the last few weeks and have seen a wide range of ages attending the shows. The fact that I see a ton of fans in their 20s is very exciting to me. This style of music should not die, nor should it ever fade away. Some people may stick their nose in the air and put down this kind of music from the 1980s, but those of us who absolutely love this glam metal sound need to be heard.

I will try to provide an updated blog post next week on my experience at the Steel Panther show, but in the meantime let me just say…two in the pink and one in the stink.

Steel Panther fucking rules. Steel Panther in Halifax