WCW Starrcade 1997 Review 

Now it’s time to see if WCW could capitalise on an incredible 18 month build to Sting’s return to save the company from the villainous nWo. It’s WCW Starrcade 1997! 

WCW World Cruiserweight Title Match 

Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. Dean Malenko 
I really enjoyed this one but the commentary team said next to nothing about either competitor, the cruiserweight division or the in ring action. Instead they just spoke about the main event. I get that this was a one match show, but you can see here that one of WCW’s biggest mistakes was not focusing on the great stuff that they already had going for them. Guerrero and Malenko’s chemistry was incredible and this match showcased an enthralling combination of flippy action and hard hitting power moves. (***1/2) 
Kevin Nash was scheduled to take on The Giant, but to avoid doing the job he simply no-showed the event. Imagine the repercussions a talent would face for no showing WWF’s answer to Starrcade, Wrestlemania. For the record, Nash reportedly called the office that afternoon to say that he believed he was having a minor hear attack, but nobody backstage bought the story and Nash’s avoidance to job for Giant soon became a running joke. We didn’t even get a replacement Hall vs. Giant match, instead The Giant just chokeslammed Hall. 

Six Man Tag Team Match 

Ray Traylor & The Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner) (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. The nWo (Randy Savage, Scott Norton & Vincent) 
This was horrible. Vincent/Virgil has got to be one of the least athletic and entertaining ‘talents’ in the history of pro wrestling and his involvement in actual matches completely bemuses me. Funnily enough though, the only highlight here was Vincent taking a frightening bump from a Steiner DDT double team. (-**) 
Singles Match 

Bill Goldberg vs. Steve McMichael 
Two ex-football players did their best here to put together a respectable and entertaining match, but there’s no way such inexperienced wrestlers should have ever been put together. This was so messy and involved a table despite being a regular singles match. (-*) 
No Disqualification Match 

Chris Benoit vs. Saturn 
I really like the idea of Raven’s flock and it was cool to see them in action here, but Raven’s mispronounced opening promo sort of set the disorganised tone for this as the heels prevailed after a scrappy match. Kidman’s Shooting Star to the outside was great but Saturn’s music may be the most annoying I’ve ever heard; not even good annoying like RTC’s! (*) 
Singles Match 

Buff Bagwell vs. Lex Luger 
Starrcade was presented leading into the show as the end of a story arc where WCW were on track to recovering some of their momentum in the war against the now but despite being WCW Champion just four months prior, Lex Luger did another job for Bagwell in a frightfully boring match. (-***) 
WCW United States Heavyweight Title Match 

Curt Hennig (c) vs. Diamond Dallas Page 
I didn’t enjoy this as much as their match at Road Wild, but this was WCW’s only definite victory of the night and I love hearing the crowd pop for the Diamond Cutter. DDP and Hennig worked a solid match and I like both guys.. (**1/2) 
Control For Monday NITRO Match (Special Referee: Bret Hart) 

Eric Bischoff (w/Scott Hall) vs. Larry Zbyszko 
So WCW had just a month prior acquired the former WWF Champion following the most controversial moment in wrestling history, and to take advantage on the excitement Bret Hart brought with him, he was booked to referee a match between a non-wrestler and a retiree. That says it all. Ghastly match. Never watch it. (-****) 
WCW World Heavyweight Title Match 

Hollywood Hogan (c) vs. Sting 
The main event came with many hoping that despite a hugely disappointing pay-per-view,that the ultimate pay-off would more than make up for the rest of the show. Sting was back, and he was back to kick Hollywood Hogan’s ass and reclaim WCW’s heavyweight title. While the record books will state that Sting did win this match, the convoluted manner in which the story unfolded has to be seen to be believed. 
After dominating most of the match, Hogan hit his leg drop and Nick Patrick (who had recently returned to action after being storyline suspended for his affiliation with the nWo, and was “randomly” selected to officiate this match) counted one, two… three? 
Sting didn’t kick out! Sting had failed in his quest to conquer the leader of the New World Order. According to the announcers though, Nick Patrick’s count was fast, but the issue is, that it really wasn’t. 
There are plenty of theories as to what happened here, from Patrick just forgetting to Hogan paying him off to not count fast so he didn’t make the champ look bad. But Nick Patrick’s explanation was that he really did think he was counting fast. 
The stunned silence of the crowd was barely broken by Bret Hart getting on the mic to say “This isn’t going to happen again”, in a clear reference to the Montreal Screwjob. So Bret nailed Patrick and became the new referee as the match restarted. Sting applied the Scorpion Deathlock and Bret called for the bell after an apparent verbal “I quit” from Hogan. 
WCW wrestlers, many of whom had been awkwardly placed on seats with the crowd for the night, flooded the ring and in an embarrassing moment, Sting capped off the night by shouting something hugely irrelevant and Spanish along the lines into the camera. Even Sting’s incredible entrance couldn’t save this one from my wrath. (-*****) 
To close this article and review, I’ll quote Bryan Alvarez and R.D Reynolds classic (The Death Of WCW), which inspired this series: 

“And as the wrestlers and the fans celebrated, so did Bischoff. All his hard work, all his patience, it had all paid off big-time. Starrcade ’97 was, without question, the biggest money maker WCW had ever produced. 

17,500 fans. 

A $543,000 gate. 

An incredible1.9 buy rate, meaning nearly $6 million in revenue. 

And the beginning of the end.” 
follow me @julianexcalibur 

TWC episode 57 (link in the description and mature audiences only)


Me and Rob Base talk wrestling along with listener questions, AJ Lee’s retirement, Scott Steiner/Hulk Hogan, the old show of “Wrestling secrets exposed” and more 

click on the link below

podcast is here! 

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My thoughts: Daniel Bryan should NOT win the 2015 Royal Rumble

I’ve got a slightly different take on Daniel Bryan’s return and just how WWE might view him in the plans moving forward. I say “might” simply because I believe WWE will make the best business call based on the data they have, which they don’t share with us. I just don’t put any stock in the reactions of the TV arena crowds because if they were truly indicative of WWE’s larger business there’s no way Cena is the runaway money generator he’s been the last decade and surely others with better responses from these crowds would have long since surpassed him if the Raw/PPV crowd translated to money.

That being said I do think they were a factor in the road to Mania last year, just not for the same reasons as many express. I don’t think WWE was worried about their booing, I think WWE was counting on them to be the subscriber base of the WWE network and wanted to make sure to grab them up in hopes they’d be a big enough number all on their own to take the network into the black. Call it the “low hanging fruit” strategy. When you pick apples from a tree, you grab everything on the low branches (hardcore fans) before you start climbing higher to get the more difficult to reach apples (casual fans). Just look how reliant WWE was on their library during the roll out, rather than original programming, tailor-made for the older hardcore fan who longs for the “good old” days and still sticks around hoping for a return. WWE network going hard with the library, then the Monday Night Wars series in the fall was designed for them to sigh up so they could go back and watch again…not the casuals who live in the now and aren’t watching out of nostalgia.

Which brings us to Batista. I imagine WWE thought they had found a perfect scenario. The old star Batista triumphantly returns to WWE, bringing with him the memories and nostalgia a network subscriber could now revisit. But possibly even bigger than that, Batista had the big summer blockbuster on deck, which meant he would be taking the WWE title everywhere and likely garnering enough free advertising/product placement that he could justify his money on that alone, while reaching even more lapsed fans, all of which would build to the SummerSlam blockbuster versus the other WWE “mainstream” star Brock Lesnar.

I’m sure WWE was also cognizant that their hardcore fanbase might also be concerned with what Batista’s return would mean for their favorites, which is why I think they booked so much heat for that audience’s current darling, Daniel Bryan. I imagine they hoped that Bryan getting revenge would be a big enough story to satiate the audience demand. So you put Sheamus in the spot Rollins would get later and pair him with Bryan, Punk would come to Bryan’s aid and pair off with HHH. After Mania you could add Batista/Orton for 6-man, then transition The Authority to The Shield, which is where WWE sees future money. But then the hardcore fans revolted and depending on your viewpoint if you’re in WWE’s inner circle, Vince either smartly changed plans on the fly…or he panicked and blew a potentially big deal on a plan with a much lower probability for huge success…all with the goal of getting every hardcore fan signed up for the network by the day after Mania.

So let’s play devil’s advocate and say I was one of the anti-Bryan/pro-Batista voices who said hardcore fans had already decided whether they would subscribe and those who planned to were just like the audience at the average Raw. They might not like much of what they see or the wrestlers we push, but they’re going to show up as long as WWE is on the marquee. Let’s say I argued that I wasn’t even confident that the PAYING hardcore audience was big enough to get the network to a million subscribers, but either way WWE already had the low hanging fruit, and they needed to be focused on the success of the larger task, growing the casual audience. I was firm the network would be carried by WWE’s success in getting new/lapsed customers. Now here we are at the start of 2015, Bryan is back, and the pro-Bryan voices are arguing that Bryan should win the Rumble and headline Mania. Here’s what I would argue:

1) We capitulated completely to the demand of our devoted fans…and the result was the network limping out of the gate, which means that audience is not enough to make the network profitable…so we’ve given them NXT along with the still growing library, while we focus on casuals…and we can’t go back to that well again because it failed last year.

2) The free media and attention WWE and the network would have received from Batista as champ this summer would have more than paid his salary…and who knows how much bigger a Guardians Batista versus Brock for the title would have been for the network. Had we gone with Batista, WWE still would have gotten every single one of our current subscribers because they’re WWE fans first and foremost…and maybe even more subscribers from the lapsed fan made aware of WWE again and all the kids who find out Drax was a wrestler and they can see him and all his old stuff on the network, not too mention the shirts and toys we lost out on.

3) Bryan as underdog was popular…and when we had him beat 3 top stars at the same time, we killed that underdog and as proof I’d cite the tepid response Bryan received afterward because if he was still hot, he should have been able to carry anything we gave him or at least have the insight to demand a change that he wanted, but he’s too laid back and not a business partner we can trust.

4) We built Bryan up starting in the summer of 2013 (if not sooner) as a top guy, then fed him 3 top stars along with the title…a massive investment…and then he got hurt and was out for the rest of the year with an injury we have no reason to think won’t recur with more pounding in the ring. How on earth can we be thinking about giving him Brock- who we’ve invested HUGE in for the last year- the title, and the focal point of Mania, when it’s just as likely we get to May and the nerve compression is back, but this time he needs the fusion surgery that will end his WWE career.

If I’m Vince these are some very compelling arguments and unless the data overwhelmingly supports Bryan’s popularity is widespread and translates to big money, significantly bigger than any other candidate to beat Brock, there’s absolutely no way I can invest in him with a Rumble win/Mania headliner/WWE champ. I’d still want to use in in a high profile spot, but he’s not sniffing the top spot until he shows me at least a year of great health.

Now as a fan, WWE can book anybody they want in any role and if it’s good I’m entertained. I don’t fantasy book who should be champ or pretend to know which stars are box office or pretend to know best because I have ZERO hard facts, so whether WWE puts Bryan or Reigns or Cena or anybody versus Brock, I really don’t care…but as somebody in business who tries to appreciate and understand WWE’s business, I would be stunned if Bryan win the Rumble if for no other reason than that I can’t imagine WWE looks at 2014’s business and hopes for a repeat in 2015 and going all in on Bryan would increase the likelihood of that by at least 50%…in other words, a very bad bet.

What do you think?

Follow me @julianexcalibur

Why the casual fans stopped watching wrestling

I think it’s safe to say that when you look at the history of professional wrestling, there are two periods that stand-out when it comes to mass success within the industry–the early WrestleMania Era (I-III) and, of course, The Attitude Era. Although The New Generation Era (1992-1997) and the Ruthless Aggression Era (2002-2008) were my favorite periods of watching, Those are the only quite defined moments in history when the entire world was watching the WWE. Yes, you can argue that there were some other spikes over that period of time, but none nearly as significant as those two occasions when EVERYBODY was talking about wrestling around the water cooler.

When the wrestling business is down, it’s clearly attributed to the mass audience, or casual viewers of professional wrestling, no longer watching the product. For a number of reasons they have tuned into something else. The audience that you see watching RAW today, is the “core” wrestling audience, or the “wrestling fan base”. They are die-hard fans who eat, sleep and breathe professional wrestling, and will watch it for three hours every Monday night regardless of how good . . . or, bad it is. I always say this when it comes to the “hardcore” wrestling fans—if the word WRESTLING is somewhere in the title of the show—they’re watching it—PERIOD.

In my case, I am NO DOUBT a casual wrestling fan. Throughout my lifetime I have watched wrestling when I am throughly entertained by it—and shut it off when I’m not. If not for my responsibilities to this website . . . I WOULD NOT be watching wrestling today (12/8/2014) but I will this Friday.

So, as a casual wrestling fan, the type of fan that the industry NEEDS in order to one day thrive again, what exactly is it that turns us off to the product? Well, the truth is . . . there are a number of things and I will explain the main issue.

So here’s the first disconnect:


When a casual wrestling fan turns on a wrestling show, they expect to see actual WRESTLERS. And, to the masses, the definition of a WRESTLER is much different from that of the “die-hard” fan, or “core” wrestling audience. You see, to a casual fan, the draw of a wrestler has little to actually do with the way he “wrestles”. To us, a wrestling match is a wrestling match. Yes, some are better than others, and some are worse, but—we’re not tuning in for the “match” per say. If that were the case then we’d be tuning in every week because we would indeed be “wrestling” fans.

When it comes to casual wrestling fans, we like the wrestlers who are “larger than life”. The guys with the big frames, or impressive physiques that we all wish we had, but don’t, so we live vicariously through them. Now there are exceptions to that rule, for instance take a Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, but those guys have very distinctive characters which made up for their “lack of” physical presence. Casual wrestling fans are drawn to the wrestlers that we grew up watching, maybe the business was a bit more selective back then who knows, but whatever the case—all those guys just LOOKED like wrestlers. They didn’t look like you and me, regular guys, they looked “different”, “special”, they just stood out in the crowd. There was no one like a “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, or a King Kong Bundy, Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley, the “Rock” or, of course “Stone Cold”. No one looked like someone you would run into on the street. And, if they did, then they would be road kill much like your Barry Horowitz’s. In the mind of a casual fan, when you tune into a wrestling show—WRESTLERS need to look like WRESTLERS.

For whatever reason, I know of a few, that has changed over the years. For starters, the majority of the wrestlers of today are not as “jacked-up” as years passed, largely due to the decrease in steroids over the years. You read how in the past even though a wrestler was never “directly” told to go on the juice, it was implied that if they did . . . they would find themselves higher up on the card. And, let’s face it, many did it on their own accord because it was a “business decision” as they thought it would help their stock in the long run–regardless of what the consequences may be later on in life.

Today, with drug testing in place, the importance of being a physical specimen, has been replaced with the idea of being a “great worker”. One that can actually “wrestle”. Now, where that is a must to the “core” wrestling fan, it’s not as important to the “casual” fan. Again, remember, we don’t watch every week because we’re NOT necessarily fans of the wrestling. I’ve always said this when it comes to casual wrestling fans, when there is a guy on a wrestling show on TV that —regardles of his acrobatic performance in the ring—you actually BELIEVE YOU CAN TAKE—then you have a problem on your hands.

Look at current history. The guys that the “core” wrestling fans see as over are guys like; CM Punk, Daniel Bryan , Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Now again, even though the audiences who pay to see them are reacting to them, that doesn’t mean that the world is, or even the “casual” wrestling fan. All great wrestlers, and tremendous talents in their own right, but to casual wrestling fans these guys just look like “regular guys” when you stand them up next to a Brock Lesnar, or a John Cena, or a Roman Reigns even. Now granted, the WWE brain trust haven’t exactly stepped up to the plate in supplying these guys with defined characters that could help make up for some of their lack off physical prowess, but still, at the end of the day if I ran into any one of them on the street—they wouldn’t scare me. There is nothing “different”, or “unique” about them—they just look like ordinary guys (with the exception of Daniel Bryan, of course). That’s why the WWE never really pushed CM Punk, and were hesitant to push Bryan Daniel, not because of their wrestling ability, but because these guys may not necessarily appeal to the MASSES. And, that’s just fact, not opinion. Go back and look at your numbers when these guys were on top. No question that both Rollins and Ambrose are the two best “workers” on the WWE roster right now, NO DOUBT, but, when it comes to business . . . where are they getting the WWE? Look at the numbers . . . the casual fans are not watching.

The majority of the people reading this post are going to kill me with their comments, and you know why? The Internet Wrestling Community is made up of DIE-HARD wrestling fans! Casual wrestling fans don’t go to sites to find out about the insiders of the business. they don’t even know that they exist. To them, its real simple—WRESTLERS NEED TO LOOK LIKE WRESTLERS! They need to look different, stand-out, be unique and posses a LARGER THEN LIFE presence. That’s what we grew up on, that’s what we want! It’s just part of the wrestling business, and always has been. Without even knowing the card, go look at the WrestleMania I roster. Just look at what those guys looked like PHYSICALLY! Hogan, Piper, Bundy, Orndorf, JYD, Big John Studd, Andre the Giant (OK, an exception to the rule), Jimmy Snuka, Iron Shiek, Nikolai Volkoff, ALL THESE GUYS LOOKED LIKE WRESTLERS!!! Can you say the same about today’s crop? Now, face it, much of that also has to do with lack of character development, and I’ll get into that tomorrow, but out of all those guys listed—do you think you could actually take one of them? They all just had a “presence”, and the physical aspect played a huge part. Casual fans want super heroes—we always have . . . we always will.

But, at some point, the wrestling business actually started listening to the internet fans. Somewhere along the line “work rate” became more important than “physical presence”. And, again, when the vast majority of the casual fans could give two HURRICANRANAS about how good a wrestling match is, or a wrestling match at all—you’ve lost them. And, the WWE continues to go down that road. Just watching NXT last week I saw first hand how they are getting further and further away from what the MASSES want. Yeah, I saw some UNBELIVABLE wrestlers on that show, BUT—are they going to appeal to the masses—or, do they just look like regular guys?

I guess all that is a part of STAR POWER, and unfortunately, physical appearance has something to do with that in the majority of the cases.

Hey man, don’t hate the player . . . hate the game.

Follow me @julianexcalibur

Wrestleshock Episode 10 – Top 5 IC Champs

As the last full episode of Wrestleshock was the Honky Tonk Man interview and he was arguably the greatest intercontinental champion of all time, Mike and Chris give to you YOUR top 5 IC champions of all time.  Who made the list the most?  Was it Jeff Jarrett? Kane or HHH?  well i don’t recall them making a lot of lists!  Mike and Chris then go over your choices and their own choices as well. They talk about the 1000th episode of Raw very briefly and then what they think of the current state of the IC title in the WWE!

You have a task ahead of you as on 17th August is Summerslam and hopefully on the 12th August Mike and Chris….and perhaps someone else will be recording their Summerslam episode and we would like to hear from you again!  if you are a wrestling fan, why not send in your favourite moments or matches to vinto316@gmail.com or mikelacey91@yahoo.com.  please have them in before the 12th August!
follow mike on twitter – @mlcaey91, Chris @Vinto316 and the show @Wrestleshock316

wrestle shock

Hello everyone and welcome to the 6th installment of Wrestleshock reviews. As you would have heard on the last episode, Hayley (xswantongirlyx) Stewart did a review on the Trish Stratus DVD and now i have a few other reviewers for the podcast.

First of all I review a DVD that means a great deal to me as its one of my favourites – that’s right i review Mick Foley’s Hits and misses…..or do i? Well there is only one way to find out and that’s by listening.
Martin Stynes (martintalks on youtube) has a fantastic review on the Phenom of the WWE and that is the Undertaker! Martin goes over the epic set Tombstone – History of the Undertaker. Thank you to Martin for doing a great job!

Not to be outdone Chris Hill (mrbigred1990 on youtube) has a similar set in mind and that is the 3 disk set of the Twisted and Disturbed life of Kane! Chris does an amazing job on his review of one of his favourite WWE superstars!

This is the longest episode of Wrestleshock reviews so far and thank you to the guys for their terrific reviews! If you know of a DVD i should review, then email me at vinto316@gmail.com or head over to my youtube channel Vintomania and look at my DVD collection and post a comment. Follow me on twitter Vinto316, Mike lacey is @mlacey91, Martin is @martinstyness and Chris Hill is @chrishill90. Dont forget to follow the show @Wrestleshock316!

Wrestleshock Raw 1000

Welcome to another episode of Wrestleshock Reviews and this is a bonus episode.  Martin Stynes (martintalks from YouTube) helps Chris go over the historic Raw 1000 episode.  as Michael Cole always says, it is the longest running episodic tv programme.

Chris and Martin go over the returning superstars such as DX, The Rock, Lita and the APA.  They also talk about the superstars who couldnt make it such as Edge and Stone Cold Steve Austin!
Who do the guys want to face The Rock at the Royal Rumble?  Will a 3 hour RAW each week work?  The guys discuss that and much more
View Martin’s fantastic YouTube channel by searching for Martintalks and have a  chat with him on Twitter – @martinstyness.  Chris is also on Twitter – @vinto316 and the show is @Wrestleshock316.


Wrestleshock: Honky Tonk Man interview

Yes you read correctly, Wrestleshock had an interview with the greatest intercontinental champion of all time, The Honky Tonk Man! Hopefully this was a pure joy to listen to and both Mike and Chris are fans of the gentleman! The guys talk about his reign as the IC champ, how he dropped the belt, his time with Greg Valentine and his thoughts on WCW! A very indepth and not to be missed interview!

Make sure you head over to his website www.honkytonkman.net and follow him on twitter @OfficialHTM. Thank you very much to this legend for taking time out of his schedule to appear on the show!

Chris also announces who the lucky winner was of the blu-ray copy of the best of Raw and Smackdown 2011! Was it you?

The next full episode featuring Mike and Chris will be about YOUR top 5 intercontinental champions of all time so still email your list to vinto316@gmail.com! Follow Mike on twitter – @mlacey91, Chris @vinto316 and the show @wrestleshock316. also chris has a YouTube channel so head over there – Vintomania is his username!