Step between the ropes and read between the lines


Top 10 Survivor Series Matches

With the Survivor Series just hours away, now seems like the time to look back and reflect on the best that the Survivor Series has offered us. Admittedly, I am partial to the old school 5-on-5 or 4-0n-4 matches, but there have been some great singles matches, namely title matches, that have happened also. Also, vote in the poll at the bottom of the page!

10.  Team Kingston: Kofi Kingston, MVP, Mark Henry, Christian, & R-Truth vs. Team Orton: Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, & William Regal. (2009)Admittedly, this was during my hiatus from watching the warriors of the squared circle, but after watching this match on youtube, damn this was underrated. Take out Mark Henry (which, fortunately for all, happens quickly) and Ted Dibiase, and you have 8 phenominal  in-ring wrestlers who put on a helluva show. A 20 minute match for a survivor series match would normally be considered “rushed”, but in doing some research, this was actually a pretty long survivor series match by the current standards. If you’ve never seen this match, definitely worth checking out.

9. Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, British Bulldog & Psycho Sid vs. Owen Hart, Yokozuna, Razor Ramon, & Dean Douglas (1995). 1995 was not a great year for the WWF as WCW was finally starting to make MAJOR waves and this would actually be less than a year away from the full-blown Monday Night Wars that revolutionized professional wrestling for the next 4 years. However, with more and more talent slipping, the WWF was still able to put together this cavalcade of superstars and turned it into one of the better worked matches. I only wish this happened a few years earlier for Yokozuna’s sake. Besides that, this match is surprisingly flawless.

8. Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (1996) Match spilling out into the audience? Check. Slingshot into spanish announce table? Check. Spilling over steel barricades? check. This match was brutal. Austin was starting to become popular, he was already “Stone Cold”, but he wasn’t quite the phenomenon that he would later become. I’ll put it to you this way: He wasn’t wearing knee braces yet. This match was actually just a prelude to their classic Wrestlemania 13  match. That was the match that launched Stone Cold into the stratosphere. The cool part about this match? This is a 5 star match and it isn’t even these guys’ best match AGAINST EACH OTHER. Just goes to show how good these two were at working matches together.

7. Team Bischoff: Chris Jericho, Christian, Randy Orton, Scott Steiner and Mark Henry vs. Team Austin: Shawn Michaels, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Bubba Ray Dudley, and D-Von Dudley (2003) This match kicks a whole lot of ass. Slow beginning but great action after the first couple of minutes. It’s always better when there’s something on the line and at this point in the WWE, it was for Stone Cold’s career, and Austin wasn’t even in the match. A fantastic series of swings really kept this match entertaining. HBK gave it his all and spilled a lot of blood for the event. I have a feeling if I watched this when it first aired, it would have solidified me as a Randy Orton fan, as well. Great match.

6. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (1992) Bret Hart was really taking over as the face of the organization as this was only the 2nd Pay-Per-View the WWF had done without Hulk Hogan on the roster. Michaels was not ready to be heavyweight champion yet but would continue to be a great on-and-off Intercontinental Champion for the next year. However, this did showcase the future of the WWF and was a truly great main event. Fun side note, this match would not have been the main event had it not been for the Ultimate Warrior. Originally, the main event was supposed to be Ric Flair & Razor Ramon vs. Randy Savage & The Ultimate Warrior but then the Warrior and McMahon had some disagreements and he split. Mr. Perfect was named the replacement partner and it made for a great storyline because for the past year, Mr. Perfect had been the “executive consultant” for Ric Flair. But in the grand tradition of not giving Curt Hennig his dues, this was pushed to the middle of the card and Hart/Michaels took the Main Event.

5. Undertaker vs. Hulk Hogan (1991) This match was amazing for the following reasons: It was the first non-traditional survivor series match to happen, it took place in Detroit, a good friend of mine was sitting front row for the event and was shown a lot on that pay-per-view, and it was the death of Hulkamania! Hogan lost the title a few times before, but this was the last legitimate time Hogan would hold the WWF title before jumping ship (Nobody counts Wrestlemania 9, and with good reason). This was a very typical Hogan match throughout most of the bout, but when Ric Flair came down to ringside, you knew something was going down. Tombstone on the steel chair, 1-2-3, cut to a million shots of little kids crying because Hulk had to be helped off on a stretcher. This was the first real flirting with a dark tone that the WWF would explore further. Just shortly before this event was the snake bite incident between Jake Roberts and Randy Savage where a full-sized cobra bit into Randy Savage’s arm. Legit. Now, they have Hulkamania go down to the dark force that is The Undertaker. This wasn’t a passing of the torch kind of match, but it was a look into the future of professional wrestling.

4. The Rude Brood: Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect & The Fabulous Rougeaus vs. Roddy’s Rowdies: Roddy Piper, “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, & The Bushwhackers (1989) . What a great yin/yang matchup. On one hand, you have four of the most entertaining brawlers the industry has ever seen. On the other, you have 4 technically sound Heels who exuded smug arrogance. Roddy’s Rowdies had 2 WWE Hall of Famers, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper & “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka (Piper and Snuka could technically wrestle but were known for their brawling ability)  team up with The Bushwhackers (who were more popular than Zach Ryder, but essentially popular for the same reason: they were morons who people liked to mimic and were extremely entertaining). Rude’s Brood featured “Ravishing” Rick Rude and Mr. Perfect (my thoughts on both of these wrestlers should be apparent) pair up with the Rougeau Brothers, a very under-utilized tag team with phenominal athletic ability. This is the match I’ve watched more often than any other match in my entire time as a fan of this drama we love so much. Funny, impressive, dramatic, it had it all. Including the perfect ending!

3. The Powers of Pain , The Rockers, The British Bulldogs, The Hart Foundation, and The Young Stallions  vs. Demolition, The Brain Busters , The Bolsheviks , The Fabulous Rougeaus, and The Conquistadors (1988) Now this is what survivor series is all about. In one match you have 20 superstars. 10-on-10 awesomeness. Talk about “never a dull moment”.  The WWF did a few of these “tag team” Survivor Series matches and quite frankly, i don’t know why they ever stopped. The kicker to this match was if your partner was eliminated, you were too. There were so many bodies in the ring, it was truly a sight to behold. I think the reason this wouldn’t work now is there aren’t nearly enough tag teams for a match like this to matter. But in this match, you have 5 legendary tag teams (Rockers, Bulldogs, Hart Foundation, Demolition, & Brain Busters) , along with a slue of other talent, going at it for 42 minutes! Add on to that a double heel/face turn, and you have one of the best matches the Survivor Series has ever produced.

2. Team WWF vs. Team Alliance (2001). Team WWF: The Rock, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker, Kane, & The Big Show. Team Alliance: Steve Austin, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Shane McMahon, & Kurt Angle 2001 was a bizarre time in the WWF universe. For the first time in about 7 years, there was absolutely no outside threat to the WWF. Other major professional wrestling organizations had been eliminated, boxing was already passe, and MMA wasn’t cool yet (what a wonderful time that was!). So it would have been easy for the WWF to get lazy and just throw out any pre-packaged crap, but instead they took this opportunity to create one of the best story lines ever with WCW/ECW members teaming up to try to take down the machine that is the WWF. This was more than likely the most star-studded survivor series match and it lasted 45 minutes. EVERY wrestler in this match was a Heavyweight Champion besides Shane McMahon who, for being daddy’s boy, was a damn impressive brawler. The best 5-on-5 match there is.

1. Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (1997) In all honesty, this is not a better wrestling match than their 1992 SS match, but this is no regular sequel. This is the Montreal Screwjob, one of the most controversial endings ever. And with me, infamy gets you everywhere. There isn’t a whole lot to say about this match that hasn’t been well documented everywhere. This was in the heart of the Monday Night Wars and was what caused Bret Hart to go to WCW where he would be greatly under-utilized. While admittedly I’m not the biggest Bret Hart fan, I respect the hell out of him and he gave a lot to the WWF. This was his first curtain call and the one I’ll always remember. This really cleared the way for Austin to totally dominate the popularity. Michaels and DX were a pretty distant 2nd. I consider this to be the closing chapter on the old-school WWF.


Same Dude, Different Gimmick (Did you know Kane was a dentist?)

This week’s Tales from the Turnbuckle takes a look at the all important “gimmick”. Every once in a while a wrestler has to go through a pretty bad cast of characters before he or she finds one that fits their personality and really lets them shine. Those road bumps along the way can be pretty embarrassing. Hey, we can’t all get it right the first time.

The most important thing for any superstar is to get over with the crowd. Be it in a positive or negative light, every wrestler needs to be receiving some sort of heat. Otherwise, nobody cares. A lot of credibility will come from in-ring ability, but the package still has to be pretty. A back story needs to be interesting, face paint needs to be impressive or intimidating, and we most certainly shouldn’t be laughing at you. Some characters, like Bobby Heenan or R-Truth, make a career getting people to laugh with them, but that is a totally different story and one that merits respect, not ridicule. But the importance of one’s shtick can not be underrated.

Here’s a fun fact: Before becoming “the Big Red Monster, the scarred evil brother of the Undertaker, the fire-breathing and brimstone-pounding machine” that is Kane, that scary mo-fo had a dental practice? In 1995, and thankfully not much longer after, The man now known as Kane was Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS. A dentist with an ugly streak and an uglier mouth, Dr. Yankem was supposed to be every 7 year old’s nightmare, an evil dentist who wants to harm you by putting sharp metal instruments into your mouth. How could that possibly not be scary? Because he looked like Frankenstien ate Michael Cera. Blonde curly hair on a big oafish guy still makes him far less scary. Add that to the fact that Glenn Jacobs (the good doctor’s real name) was not nearly the in-ring wrestler he would become and he had horrible mic skills. There’s a reason Paul Bearer did all of Kane’s talking for a decade.

Pure terror right there

Before starting in the WWF, Terry Taylor and Curt Hennig were considered to be on par with each other as far as superstar potential goes. Well, Curt Hennig was fitted with the moniker “Mr. Perfect”, an arrogant super-athlete who was the definition of textbook wrestler, while Terry Taylor strutted his way into the boots of “The Red Rooster” a guy who had a strip of red spiked hair among his long blonde hair to symbolize a rooster as he bobbed his head throughout the match like a rooster and crowed out to the audience like, well, you see where I’m going with this. The Rooster was supposed to be a face and for all intents and purposes he was, but he was too goofy for anybody to take him seriously or really care if he won or not. Meanwhile, Mr. Perfect slapped his opponents in the face as he yelled at and ridiculed them. He would throw his hands up and his nose in the air as if to say “take it all in, losers” and people despised him. Guess who had the more illustrious career? Gimmicks matter. Here’s a few more fun “AKA’s” for you to impress your friends with.
-Before being the pimp-tastic “Godfather”, Charles Wright also portrayed afro-centric boxer “Kama” and voodoo master, “Papa Shango.”

-“Chris Kanyon” was mortal-kombat-meets-Oakland-Raider-superfan “Mortis”.

-“Konnan” was MAX MOON! If you don’t know max moon, go look him up immediately. I promise you’ll laugh.

So congratulations to those who were able to find a more successful way to express themselves. To the ones that didn’t, perhaps they needed a manager?
Discussion topic: Survivor Series 5-on-5 match. Who’s your 4 teammates and why?


Bring back the managers!

At WWE’s most recent pay-per-view, Vengance, Zack Ryder wrestled Dolph Ziggler for the U.S. title in what was a pretty quick, yet entertaining match. Dolph won the match and I did my usual celebration for the heel retaining his title. Dolph was able to win the match due to an enormous amount of outside interference. I am a big Dolph Ziggler fan for 3 main reasons. 1. His in-ring ability is sick and his mic skills can match anybody in the WWE right now (except CM Punk). 2. He’s ballsy enough to use the word “perfection” to describe himself, and anybody who welcomes comparisons between himself and Curt Hennig is an extremely confident individual and i respect the “ballsiness” of the declaration. 3. He has a manager! Vicki Guerrero may be annoying, obnoxious, ugly, and ear-piercing, but that’s why she’s so great at the lost art of being a professional wrestling manager.

The sickest part is, most of them were around in the same organization at the same time!

For a very long time, managers have provided landmark moments in wrestling, and offer many practical services. Managers traditionally  have amazing mic skills (Mr. Fuji being the exception to that rule) so they can make up for wrestler’s with in-ring ability but a serious lack of personality (Michael Mcguillicutty and Drew McIntyre come to mind). Also, managers provide for many fun and exciting ends to matches.

As a heel fan, it’s fun to watch them screw over the good guys and win in underhanded ways such as distracting the ref, throwing in foreign objects, or interfering with wrestlers on the outside of the ring. But managers aren’t just for heels. There have been several great “face” managers. Paul Bearer continued to manage The Undertaker after his face turn, and Miss Elisabeth was the manager for the Macho Man and Hulk Hogan while they were the two biggest faces in the biz. (Neither of these legends needed a manager, but I’m making a point.)

Managers are often more hated than the wrestlers they represent, especially if they represent multiple wrestlers (Guerrero, Heenan, Hart, Slick, and I’ll throw in Kevin Sullivan for you WCW fans). This is partially because they would be seen several times over the course of an event, but a bigger part is they are just great characters. They are THE characters people love to hate. For only modern wrestling fans, it’s hard to explain the magnitude of heat they can generate. At SummerSlam ’93 I was in attendance, and one of the few things i remember from that event is the only time i covered my ears due to loudness  was when Lex Lugar hit Mr. Fuji  during the main event. This applause was louder than when Lugar actually won the match (albeit by countout, and Yokozuna retained the title. Damn you technicalities!).

Managers are the little, runty, annoying pests that stand by ringside with too much confidence and too little ability. People loathe them, for managers are often the real reason their favorite wrestler loses.  And when they get a title? Forget about it. Nothing more annoying than seeing an ego-filled manager kissing and holding up a belt that takes up 90% of his torso (see: Jimmy Hart & the Nasty Boys) and acting like he’s the man. WWE managers are the sterling definition of sports entertainment, and this is why the WWE NEEDS to bring them back.

Discussion question: what would be your in-ring alter ego?

It’s only a finishing move if you say so.

In modern-era wrestling, it seems like every superstar has their own uniquely named signature and finishing moves. It’s usually just a variation of a relatively simple move, but it looks cool and some of them look like they would actually hurt. However there is one thing that every signature/finishing move has in common, whether it’s a standard or unique hold: It is only a finisher/signature if performed by (or on) a Superstar who has officially declared it so. Most wrestling matches involve a DDT, however the only time a DDT seems to result in a pinfall is if it’s performed by Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Sleeper holds are applied all the time, but unless it’s “Rowdy” Roddy Piper or Ted DiBiase, everybody’s arm stays up at two. That’s wrestling 101, folks.

So what is the special power behind declaring a signature/finishing move? Well, there are a couple schools of kayfabe thought, some of which actually carry water. The first reason why a common move could become a signature/finisher is due to the fact that the wrestler does this hold so often, he’s become a master at it and knows how to get maximum offense out of it. That seems more and more believable as the wrestler gets older and more established, but the first time DiBiase slapped on the Million Dollar Dream, Jobby McJobberson dropped and that’s all there was to it. Finisher born.

Looks Awesome, Does Nothing

Another reason for one Superstar’s move to be more deadly than anybody else is there is something physically that makes the move more damaging. Lex Lugar’s finisher when he first came to the WWF was a forearm smash to the face, with the story being that he had a steel plate implanted in there after a motorcycle accident (this was actually true). Cody Rhodes is currently developing a tendency to use his acrylic mask, which I love, to do some serious damage. It still usually is just a set up for the CrossRhodes, but it’s gotten the W on more than one occasion. Of all the rationales people try to give, this one by far makes the most sense.

The last, and most “sports entertainment” reason why finishers/signatures are super effective for one person: They get funky with it. The People’s Elbow is just a snap elbow drop. The 5-Knuckle Shuffle is a punch to the head, and i don’t even know what the fuck to call that thing Santino Marella does. But they make it a show. And in all their dancing, pad-removing, arm-smacking and hand-waving, somehow a “waste move” becomes the deadliest thing since extremely molded sliced bread. Lets face it, the only reason these moves are so deadly is because we are told they are. And that’s fine, I can play along. I just wish a finishing move would make me go “damn!” instead of “haha”. But then again, I’m a dreamer.

–Perfect Heel

Discussion Topic: Who would you want in your corner as a manager?

It’s a good time to be a bad guy

WARNING: This blog is written with the understanding that it’s readers are somewhat seasoned wrestling viewers and therefore I will not spend a lot of time explaining more basic wrestling knowledge, kayfabe storylines, or concepts. However, i love to answer questions and hear feedback, so please, post away.

As of today, 11/5/11, Every singles title is currently held by a heel. As a long time heel lover, this excites me to no end. Admittedly, I have only been watching wrestling on any form of regular basis for the last 10 months, but when i did watch it all the time (1989-2000) this was rarely if ever the case. For about 30 minutes in 1989 Rick Rude and Randy Savage were the singles title holders, but then Hulk Hogan ruined everything as he so typically does and we were back to having good guys rule the stage.

However, unlike 1989, there are now five singles titles compared to two. To have five “hated” wrestlers all holding championships is very rare indeed. I’m sure the people at WWE headquarters are smarter than me so there must be a reason for this. (Sidenote: During the Attitude Era the lines of heel and face were extremely blended so even when more titles were introduced, heels were often loved as much as faces and pretty much everybody had a mixed reaction from the crowd, except Austin & McMahon.)

WWE Lesson 1: Almost nothing is a coincidence or a mistake. It’s always leading to something bigger.

With the exception of Owen Hart falling to his death and (maybe) the Montreal Screwjob, nothing in the WWE is a mistake. The WWE knows damn well they have all heels as champions (except Air Boom, and honestly, who gives a shit?) and the reason I want, the reason I hope, is that these champions will unite in an nWo-esque alliance (Kevin Nash does keep popping up…) and try to dominate the WWE Universe. Unsafe work conditions (Outsiders/Henry), humiliating gimmicks (Spray painting people/Rhode’s bagging people), Powerful person pulling the strings (Bischoff/Laurinaitis), all I’m saying is the makings are there.

Heel stables are a long-standing tradition of awesomeness in wrestling. The Heenan Family, DX, nWo, The 4 Horsemen (my personal fav.) have all had amazing and long-lasting storylines that produced some of the best television moments in sports entertainment history. It’s easy to hate one guy, but its fun to hate a whole group of guys. They usually do more to piss you off (if you root for the faces, that is), and the stories are more elaborate and less predictable.

So why not bring the heel champions together to create the most powerful force in the WWE? There was a time when the nWo held on to a ton of titles in the WCW, but that happened after the formation. Think about it, in this day and age where people are Occupying city streets to protest greed and financial dominance, what better story than to have all the most powerful superstars in the WWE (the champs) band together to protect their collective interests. However I’m usually wrong about these things and often just let my imagination get the best of me. I can only hope something this epic is in the making. Only time will tell…

"Sorry John, I don't remember you being so terrible."

Tales from the Turnbuckle:  DQ’s? We don’t need no skinkin’ DQ’s!

This is just a little part of my blog that I’ll dedicate to the miscellaneous, random, goofy, or just interesting facts about wrestling. Today, we’ll discuss some lesser known rules of kayfabe wrestling. We all know it’s scripted and the refs are there to help support the chaos, not control it. However, if the refs did the job they are supposedly paid to do, almost every single match would end in disqualification. Here are some of the things that supposedly can get you tossed out if the refs decided to be sticklers for the rules. I’ll also throw in hypothetical long-term consequences of what would happen if these rules were inforced:

– Throwing a “closed fist” punch. Hogan and Austin never win a match and both leave the WWE in less than a year.

-Any outside support (manager/tag partner in a singles match) standing on the apron. Jimmy Hart and Bobby Heenan can not find work as managers and instead form into a talk-radio duo and eventually become a bizarro universe version of JR and The King.

– Low blows. Ric Flair’s World Heavyweight title count goes from 20 to about 4 and he retires in 1997 when he should have.

– Standing on the top rope for more than 5 seconds. Undertaker still destroys lots of souls, but the world never sees the “Old School”, and one of the coolest moves of all time is never born.

And my personal favorite:

-Intentionally throwing someone over the top rope.  Jesse “The Body” Ventura never gets ample alone time in the ring to do his awesome poses and therefore doesn’t gain the national attention he so rightly deserves. This causes a lack of funding needed to win the 1998 Minnesota Gubernatorial Election. Instead, Republican Norm Coleman wins the race he should have narrowly lost, and also wins the 2008 senate election against Al Franken that he also lost in a painfully close race. That Red-State love infects the Presidential election, Minnesota votes for McCain but Obama still wins the national election and, as an act of defiance/desperation/stupidity, votes Sarah Palin in as Governor in 2014 and by 2015 we are in a full fledged war with Canada over some alleged moose shootings that happened near the border.

So lets all take a moment to thank the officials of the WWE/F for not being sticklers for the rules, otherwise we’d be preparing for the Canadian Invasion. Thanks for reading and remember, when life gets you down, kick out at two. and if you can’t kick out at two, reach for the ropes.


Discussion topic: What would be your finishing move in the squared circle?

Jay Squared’s Tale of the Tape

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girl, children of all ages! Wwepaperchampion proudly brings to youuuuuu… Me!

Welcome everybody, this blog is for myself and my friend “Heel” to give our input on various wrestling topics. Heel will admittedly have more posts than I will, but I will contribute.

The thing about Heel and my wrestling knowledge and opinions is that you will get all aspects of the spectrum of opinions. Heel obviously prefers the “heel” characters, where as I prefer the “face” (or good guy) characters. Heels hayday of wrestling glory was the late 80’s early 90’s. Mine was smack dab in the middle of the beer smashing, casket match having, Smackdown Hotel ranting Attitude Era!

Like Heel, I used to watch wrestling like it was a religion. The characters, the stories, the violence. Everything about it appealed to me back in the day. I loved everything about wrestling, even experimented with some backyard wrestling (which I’ll talk about more in the future). I have just recently started to watch wrestling again, and have missed most of the “PG Era”. Honestly I couldn’t imagine wrestling being “PG”, but then again my favorite wrestler growing up was “Mankind” so my opinion there is probably skewed a bit.

My contributions to this blog are not going to be the same as Heels. I will be doing various lists based on my or both of our opinions (i.e. Top 10 entrance songs).  And  as long as Im able to watch (real life comes first) I plan on doing recaps or live updates about PPV events (haven’t decided which yet). Random sentimental posts, and current storyline thoughts as well.

Im not the best writer in the world, but neither is Mick Foley and that man wrote a best seller!

Thanks for reading, feel free to subscribe and comment and leave feedback!

PerfectHeel’s Tale of the Tape

WARNING: This blog is written with the understanding that it’s readers are somewhat seasoned wrestling viewers and therefore I will not spend a lot of time explaining more basic wrestling knowledge, kayfabe storylines, or concepts. However, i love to answer questions and hear feedback, so please, post away.

Right now, all I seem to be doing is watching wrestling. When i was younger (and I mean way younger. 23 months old to be exact) I started watching wrestling with my uncle. I was instantly addicted. The violence, the drama, the characters, the attitude, I fucking loved it. However as I got older, the story lines kept getting more and more absurd, and the product on TV no longer was about two guys beating each other up as it was how much smut can we get away with and how watered down can we make the product while people still pay full price. Now, I was a kid when I loved it and I’ll never deny the fact that really, wrestling is pretty much kids entertainment and that is who it’s true audience is and should be. However, the fact that I’m back into it now tells me that i didn’t just “outgrow” a hobby of mine, but the hobby itself changed and i just refused to lower myself to it. People my age and older who watch it should be aware of what they are watching and enjoy wrestling for what it is; a fun, violent soap opera with incredible athletes who occasionally do really insane stunts that make you say “wow”.

I’m writing this blog not so much as a play-by-play recap of events that happen, but moreso as a commentary on things that I see going on in the WWE and I’ll probably reminisce about the “golden years” of the WWE/F (1988-1993)