Monday, January 31, 2011

Canon Movie Review: Ocean's Twelve

This movie review is of the sequel to the 2001 flick Ocean's Eleven (which I thought was a pretty good movie, although it has been a while since I've seen it), the 2004 film appropriately titled Ocean's Twelve. The movie was directed by Steven Soderbough and has an all-star cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Carl Reiner. In Ocean's Twelve, Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his gang of eleven are tracked down by Terry Benedict (Garcia), who is asking for the money that Ocean stole from his casino at the end of the first movie, with interest. To further complicate matters, the gang is also being targeted by a master thief known only as The Night Fox, and also by a Europol detective named Isabel Lahiri (Zeta-Jones), who had a previous relationship with Ocean's right hand man Rusty Ryan (Pitt). A few notes about this movie, and there are probably SPOILERS ahead, so read with caution.

- In Ocean's Eleven, it was clear that Clooney was the main star of the film. Well in Ocean's Twelve, the main star seems to be Brad Pitt, as his character is the focal point around which everything revolves. Pitt also got the most screen time, while Clooney almost seemed to be a background character for much of the film. Also, Bernie Mac and Don Cheadle has hardly any time at all on screen, especially Mac, whose character spent most of the movie in an Amsterdam jail cell. At least Matt Damon gets more screen time here, and his performance as the hoplessly naive Linus Caldwell is the highlight of the movie in my opinion.

- Even though Terry Benedict's demand for his money back is the impetus for getting the group back together, Benedict isn't really a big part of the film after the first few minutes or so, which seems to me to be a waste of Andy Garcia's talents but that's the way they went with the film. Instead, the group now has two adversaries. One is the thief known as The Night Fox, Baron Francois Toluar (Vincent Cassel). While Cassel does a fine job in his role, the reasons behind the Night Fox's involvement in the story seem somewhat convoluted at best. The other adversary is Rusty's old flame Isabel, and her relationship with Rusty becomes the focalpoint of the film at times. While Pitt and Zeta-Jones are capable actors, the two just don't seem to have enough chemistry in this film to carry it, and the script does them no favors, as Isabel is written as too one-dimensional of a character.

- Ocean's Twelve was primarily set in European locales, and Soderbough does an excellent job of shooting the Eurpoean locales such as Rome and Amsterdam. However, his directing of this movie relied on too much gimmicks and too many scenes where the camera was shaking, which I guess is supposed to have a deeper meaning but to me it was just too annoying. I will say that the score provided by David Holmes was excellent and really added a lot to the film as a whole.

- While Ocean's Eleven had a great story that wasn't too confusing and tied together all the loose ends, Ocean's Twelve's scrpit left something to be desired. In some scenes, it seems like there was no script, and Pitt and Clooney were just improving their scenes (which actually wasn't too bad). Overall, the plot was too muddled and relied heavily on moments that seemed way too convenient and unfathomable. the pace is too uneven (as every big event seems to happen in the last 15 minutes, and the movie takes forever to get going after Benedict's scenes) and all the confusing camera tricks make the story harder to follow, adding to the confusion of the movie.

- Ocean's Twelve has a couple of interesting cameos in this film. Bruce Willis plays himself in the film, and inadvertantly plays a role in one of the capers the gang tries. While Willis's cameo is good, Topher Grace's cameo as himself in Rusty's hotel is quite humorous. Also, Julia Roberts plays herself, or plays a character that has to play herself. Trust me, it would make sense if you see the movie.

Overall, Ocean's Twelve is a decent enough film that is plagued by a confusing script, but the acting is good enough in some places to carry this film to a respectable showing. If you're in the mood for a great film, well this probably isn't it. But if you want to see a breezy film with big name actors that passes the time by quickly, then you could do a lot worse then Ocean's Twelve, although Ocean's Eleven would probably be better. Overall, I'd give it a 5.4 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this or other posts, or ideas for future posts, than let me know about them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Friday, January 28, 2011

Canon Video Game Review: Altered Beast (Sega Genesis)

Today's review comes from an idea from reader Ben W. Mr. W was playing Altered Beast as part of the Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection for the Playstation3, and then suggested that I should do a review about this game. At first, I wasn't very receptive of this idea, but after thinking about it for more than five seconds, I couldn't think of a reason not to do it, so here we are. Altered Beast was the first 16-bit game to be released on home video game consoles, in this case being for the Sega Genesis. Published and Developed by Sega, Altered Beast was originally an arcade game before being ported onto the Genesis in 1989. So, while Altered Beast is a historically significant game, is is a very good game? Here is the cover for Altered Beast, courtesy of

In Altered Beast, you are a dead Roman solider brought back to life by Zeus to rescue his daughter Athena from the clutches of the nefarious Neff. Why Zeus decides to revive a dead guy instead of getting somebody else to rescue his daughter, or even do it himself, is a mystery. Anyway, you RISE FROM YOUR GRAVE, as Zeus commands you in a voice that sounds like a 14 year-old talking in a deep voice. Along the way, you must do battle with zombies, two-headed werewolves, and other mysterious creatures. If you hit enough werewolves, you get a power-up, where you turn into a slightly more powerful human. After the third power-up, you go into BEAST mode, becoming a werewolf or a tiger or some other powerful beast depending on what level you're on. After becoming and altered beast, the boss of the level will appear, so you have to do battle with that and defeat him to move on, where some Leonard Nimoy looking dude will strip you of your powerups before advancing. With each level, the process repeats itself. Get three power ups, fight the boss, move on. Simple enough, right?

Your ability to defeat your enemies is severely compromised by the fact that your character can't really do a whole lot. He can punch, kick, and jump, and that's pretty much it. This would be acceptable if your character didn't have the range of Mini-me. Therefore, you have to get really close to your opponent and hope that your punch lands before his does, basically. As for kicking, well our hero seems to favor the leg kick, because that's all he does, besides the non-effective 'lie on your back and kick straight up'. method. If you are to do a ducking attack, I'd recommend just doing a low punch instead, as at least you have range with that attack and it looks like you are punching your opponents in the family jewels. With each power-up, your strikes become more effective, and once you enter beast mode, you really start to kick ass, as now you can throw stuff at your opponents and do crazy flying attacks as well. Unfortunately, you don't have a lot of time, because the boss shows up pretty quickly after you turn into a beast. At each level, an Uncle Fester looking wizard will transform into some hideous creature and he'll start firing crap at you as well. At the first level, the guy turns into a hideous ogre and throws screaming heads at you. Yes, I said screaming heads. Here, take a look from this picture courtesty of

As far as graphics go, it's not too bad considering it was the first 16-bit game to be released. Of course, there would be other 16-bit games with superior graphics later on, but at the time it was probably rather remarkable. The animations were a bit clunky, and I noticed a few issues with collision detection. Sound-wise, I must say that the score of Altered Beast was actually pretty good, and really added a lot to the atmosphere of the game. The voiceovers were kind of silly, and it got rather tiresome to hear "Welcome to your doom" at the end of each level. There are only five levels, sou if you know what you're doing, you could beat the game in 20 to 30 minutes. The controls are very simple (A punches, B kicks, C jumps), but I found them a bit sluggish at times, as I'd often times have to hit the punch button three or four times in order to get one punch in. At first, I thought it might be the controller, but after playing a couple of other games and having no trouble, I realized it was the game instead.

Overall, there are some people that seem to consider Altered Beast as a timeless classic. Well, even though it might be historically significant, I wouldn't consider it a classic by any means. The levels are repetitve, the controls are sluggish, and it really offers no replay value after the first time you beat it. For its time, Altered Beast was a great achievement, but time has passed this mediocre side-scroller by. Overall, I'd give it a 4.7 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any comments about this or previous posts, or ideas for future reviews or posts, than share them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Review of a Pack of Hockey Cards

So earlier this month, the fine folks at eBay informed me that I had earned a whopping 41 cents in eBay bucks because I bought a couple of items in the last six months. So, I sought out to find something worth having for 41 cents on eBay before the end of the month, and after a couple of weeks, I ended up spending it all on a pack of 1990-91 Upper Deck Hockey Cards. Not only that, but it was the High Series pack of Upper Deck hockey cards, meaning I could get cards from the high series of that set. Yes, very exciting indeed. There are 12 cards in this pack, so let's see what I've got.

#417 Todd Krygier - Hey, did you know that Krygeir was the first graduate of the University of Connecticut to make it to the NHL? Not surprisingly, he started his career in Hartford. Krygeir was never a superstar, but he did play over 500 games in the NHL and scored an overtime game winner in Game 2 of the 1998 Eastern Conference Finals for the Washington Capitals.

#49 Paul Gillis - Gillis is a guy that racked up a lot of penalty minutes, as he had over 200 penalty minutes in three separate seasons. Currently, Gillis is the head coach of the Odessa Jackolopes of the East Coast Hockey League. I wonder if 20 years ago that Gillis thought he'd be the coach of a minor league team deep in the heart of Texas? Strange the places life takes people.

#357 Scott Scissons - Scissons was the 6th overall pick in the 1990 NHL Draft by the New York Islanders. The first five picks (Owen Nolan, Petr Nedved, Keith Primeau, Mike Ricci, and Jaromir Jagr), played a combined total of 5,463 games and scored 4,425 points in the NHL. Scissons played a grand total of 2 games and never scored an NHL point. The next two picks were Darryl Sydor and Derian Hatcher, two pretty solid defenseman, and later in the first round, Martin Brodeur and Keith Tkachuk were selected. Scissons, like many others, seemed to fall victim to injuries and never really got going in the NHL, to say the least. The Islanders have made a staggering amount of bad decisions over the past 25 years or so, and the selection of Scissons is right up there.

#437 Normand Rochefort - Rochefort, if he's known at all, is most known for playing for Team Canada during the 1987 Canada Cup, despite the fact that he scored 15 points in 70 games the previous season. Nevertheless, Rochefort was a solid player in his career, and scored the first goal in game 2 of the Canada Cup finals between Canada and Russia, a game that many consider to be the best of all time.

#52 Larry Robinson - Hey, this guy's pretty good. A Hall of Fame defenseman who won six Stanley Cups as a member of the Montreal Canadiens and one as head coach of the New Jersey Devils in 2000-01, as well as two Norris trophies. Robinson had his number retired by the Canadiens and was named the 24th best hockey player of all time by the Hockey News in 1998. Probably the best card I'm going to get in this pack, but that'd be just fine.

#29 Gary Roberts - One word describes Roberts, tough. A fifty goal scorer during his days in Calgary, Roberts was forced to retire in 1996 due to a neck injury, but came back and played another 11 years in the NHL. Although not quite the same level of player he was before the injury, Roberts still was a threat to score, and had a great run for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2003 playoffs (19 points in 19 games). Not quite a Hall of Famer, but a very good player who scored 438 career goals and racked up 2,560 penalty minutes during his 19 years in the NHL.

#457 John Slaney - This card is part of the World Junior Champions subset, as Slaney was a defenseman for Team Canada and actually score the tournament winning goal against Russia.  The ninth pick in the 1991 NHL Draft, Slaney didn't have a great NHL career, but he did once hold the record for most career points by a defenseman in AHL history, and is still playing pro hockey today in the Czech Extraliga at the age of 38.

#24 Alexander Mogilny - Not only that, but this is a rookie card of Alexander Mogilny, meaning I probably got my 41 cent investment back at the very least. Mogilny could be a frustrating player at times, but he was also one of the most dangerous scorers of his era. A six time All Star, Mogilny scored 1,032 points in 990 games, and once scored 76 goals in a season for the Buffalo Sabers. Could the Hall of Fame be in Mogilny's future? It seems a bit unlikely, but you could definately make a case for him.

#9 Curt Giles - Giles was a defenseman that played 895 games in the NHL, was the captain of the Minnesota North Stars from 1989-1991, and was a member of the silver medal winning Canada hockey team in the 1992 Olympics. That's pretty much all I know about him.

#497 Al MacInnis - This card celebrates MacInnis's win in the Hardest Shot competition during the 1991 NHL All-Star Skills Competition. Macinnis would win the competition another six times in his career, as well as a pleathora of other awards on his way to a Hall of Fame induction in 2007.

#4 Adam Creighton - A big center at 6'5", Creighton was actually coming off his best season when this card was issued, as he scored 70 points and collected 224 penalty minutes during the 1989-90 season with the Chicago Blackhawks. He never did have a season that approached his work in 1990, but Creighton was a solid center to have on your team and played in over 700 games in the NHL.

#312 - St. Louis Blues Checklist (Brett Hull) - You probably know all about Hull, so I'll just mention something else. I always liked that Upper Deck used artist drawings on their team checklists instead of a regular picture. As a kid, I collected cards and in most cases, I could care less about getting a checklist, but I didn't mind getting a checklist from a pack of Upper Deck as the drawing on the front made it seem special, in a way, even if it was a crappy team like the Cleveland Indians and the drawing is of Candy Maldanado or something. Well, I hope that makes some sense, anyway.

Overall, not a bad haul, as I got two Hall of Famers and one of the best rookies in the set. Best of all, none of the cards were bent up or the corners dinged, so that's always a plus when dealing with 20 year old packs. Overall, I'd give it a 7 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any comments about this or previous posts, or ideas for future reviews or posts, than share them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

courtesy of

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The 2BWE Video Project: Pages 19-22

In this installment of the Big Bad WWE Encyclopedia Video Project, I will watch a video of every entry found in the WWE Encyclopedia from pages 19-22. So get ready for some action featuring Avatar, Bam Neely, Baron Von Raschke, and the legendary B.B. For the guidelines of this project, see this post here. So away I go into some great and not so great pro wrestling action.

P19- Avatar: Avatar WWF Debut vs. Brian Walsh

This match took place on the October 23, 1995 edition of Monday Night Raw, and features the former and future Al Snow as Avatar. Avatar is a masked wrestler who puts his mask on only when he comes to the ring. Why he does that, I don't know. Avatar also has a costume that makes him look like one of those Karate Fighters figures from the 1990s. Tie up to start, and Avatar shows off his agility by going behind Walsh and taking him down with a leg drag. Walsh shows his agility by doing a kip-up to get back to his feet. Avatar does an arm-wringer, and the two men do a leapfrog sequence before Avatar kicks Walsh out of the ring in an awkward exchange. Avatar heads to the top rope, loses his balance, and then does a tope from the ring to the outside.  Back in, Avatar attempts a moonsault, but misses as Walsh moves out of the way. Walsh with a pair of clotheslines, then he doesn't seem to know what to do next, so the two stand around for a few seconds before Walsh whips him into the corner, only to have Avatar come back with a clothesline of his own. Avatar hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a standing moonsault, before finishing Walsh off by standing on his chest and doing a frog splash from that position, getting the victory. His job done, Avatar takes the mask off again. Not the best debut a wrestler's ever had, as Avatar and Walsh had no chemistry what so ever in the ring. I'll give it a 1 out of 5.

P19- Backlash: WWE Backlash 03- The Rock vs. Goldberg

The main event of Backlash 2003 and Goldberg's WWE debut. Rock comes out to a huge ovation even though he's supposed to be the heel in this match. To be fair, Goldberg gets a nice reaction as well. Rock stalls for a while as the crowd chants his name quite loudly. Then Goldberg gets a chant from the fans as the two still have a staredown. Finally, they tie up, and Goldberg violently shoves the Rock down to the mat. Rock gets up, regroups, and suffers the same fate after a second tieup, this time getting shoved out of the ring.  The Rock gets back in, and slaps Goldberg in the face. Goldberg smiles, then fires back at the Rock with punches and knees before clotheslining Rock out of the ring. Rock stalls outside the ring for a long time before coming back in and catching Goldberg with a jawbreaker on the top rope, and then knocking him down with a clothesline. Goldberg counters an Irish whip, and hits The Rock with his own finisher, the Rock Bottom. Instead of going for the cover, Goldberg sets Rock up for a spear, but the Rock moves out of the way and Goldberg ends up spearing the steel post and falling out of the ring. Rock gets Goldberg back into the ring and applies the Sharpshooter. After about a minute of being in the hold, Goldberg finally inches his way to the ropes, forcing The Rock to break the hold.

After letting go, the Rock shoves the ref out of the way and blatantly punches Goldberg in the family jewels. Rock sets up for the Rock Bottom, only to take a surprise spear from Goldberg, and now both men are down. Rock's up first, but Goldberg blocks a punch with one of his own, and then powerslams Rock down hard on the mat for a two count. Rock stops Goldberg with a back elbow, and after a pair of clotheslines fail to fell Goldberg, Rock uses a charging spinebuster to slam Goldberg and does a kip-up, much to the delight of the crowd. Rock Bottom on Goldberg, and Goldberg just barely gets the shoulder up as most of the fans boo his kick out. Probably not a good thing that the crowd has turned on Goldberg like this. After taking a clothesline, Rock is able to catch the weakened Goldberg, still holding his shoulder, with a spinebuster and sets him up for the People's elbow. It connects, and Goldberg once again barely escapes the three count. Both men take a while to get up, and when the Rock does, Goldberg uses the opportunity to catch the Rock off guard and spears him hard. Rock takes a while to get up, while Goldberg is waiting for him in the corner to catch him with another spear, and eventually, he does. A Jackhammer follows, and Goldberg gets the pinfall and wins his first WWE match. Of about 13 minutes of match time, 8 or 9 minutes were nothing but stalling, not only making for a boring match but exposing Goldberg as a guy who can't put together a 20 minute match as he had neither the moveset nor the stanima at this time to do that. So, while this match is between two of the biggest names in wrestling over the past 25 years, it's not very good or particularly memorable. I'd give it a 1.5 out of 5.

P19- Bad Blood: La Resistance vs. Rob Van Dam/Kane Badd Blood 2003

In this match, Rene Dupree and Sylvain Grenier of La Resistance challenge for RVD and Kane's World Tag Team Titles.  There's trouble brewing between the champs, as last week on Raw, Kane did not show up to save RVD from a double team beatdown by La Resistance. The Coach is backstage interviewing La Resistance, who are not happy about being in Texas, the state which gave us George W. Bush. Well, I spent four months in Texas once and it wasn't too bad, but then again I'm not French. Rene Dupree dedicates their match to a real president, France's Jacques Chirac. I'm sure he's on the edge of his seat watching this match. The champs come out separately, which Jerry Lawler sees as a sign that the two are not on the same page. Well, we shall see. RVD and Dupree start, and after breaking a tie-up, Dupree entertains the masses with his French Tickler dance. But the crowd or RVD does not seem impressed with Dupree's dance, which is their loss, frankly. Another tie up follows, and RVD goes behind and gets a quick two count after a rollup. Van Dam nearly takes off Dupree's head with a spin kick, but Dupree backs up against the corner to keep his head and dodge the blow. A shoving match ensues, and RVD catches Dupree with a spinning heel kick after that, then continues to dominate Dupree with a twisting body press from the second rope that gets a two count. Another two count follows after an RVD small package, and then he throws Dupree in the corner to give him a couple of shoulder blocks. However, Grenier gets involved and gives RVD a Snake Eyes from the apron, allowing Dupree to DDT Van Dam. Cover, but Kane comes in to break it up. While the ref backs Kane up, La Resistance double teams RVD, and Grenier draws a two after an elbow drop. Dupree gets tagged back in, and the two keep RVD grounded with brawling tactics. Dupree tries to keep RVD away from his corner, and after a jumping side kick, RVD tags in the Big Red Machine Kane. Kane hits any Frenchman that moves, then catches Dupree trying to come off the tope with a choke lift powerbomb, then gets a two count after a side slam to Grenier. Kane then clotheslines Grenier from the top, but Dupree breaks up the cover. La Restistance finally slows down Kane and delivers what was supposed to be a double-team maneuver but really was just a neckbreaker from Dupree with Grenier holding him in place for a split-second, but Kane sits right back up, and knocks both Resistance members down with a clothesline. Tag to RVD, and he catches Dupree with a side kick from the top rope. RVD with a baseball slide to Grenier to the outside, then backdrops Dupree over the top rope. Kane gets back up and grabs both La Resistance members by the throat, but he's unaware that Van Dam is coming from the apron with a flipping tope, so he gets taken out by his own partner. Meanwhile, La Resistance is unharmed, and they roll RVD back in and take him out with their version of Chronic's High Times move to get the victory and become new Tag Team Champions. Jim Ross calls this a Texas sized upset. Well, I guess so. Match was ok, although it wasn't anything special or memorable. I'd give it a 1.89 out of 5.

P19- Bad News Brown: Hulk Hogan vs. Bad News Brown

One of the baddest men to ever step in the wrestling ring, Bad News Brown takes on Hulk Hogan in a match that took place in the Meadowlands on September 11, 1988. Hogan comes out looking like a buffoon with a red and yellow Trojan war helmet on. Bad News takes advantage early by peppering Hogan with punches before the bell rings, and continues to dominate Hogan with punches, stomps, and by using Hogan's own T-Shirt to choke him with. Brown misses a couple of elbow drops, though, and Hogan rises to his feet to the delight of the crowd. Bad News takes a few punches and goes to the outside of the ring, and Hogan follows to give Brown another punch. Brown gets on the apron, and Hogan sends him back in the ring the hard way by pulling the ropes, slinging Bad News down to the mat. Hogan continues his assault with brawling tactics, but a Bad News headbutt slows Hogan's momentum, but he regains it after a boot to the face from the corner, and then sends shivers down Brown's spine with an atomic drop.  Hogan misses an elbow, and Bad News goes to work on Hogan with a series of punches to the midsection. Brown continues to dominate Hogan with a series of strikes, and then body slams Hogan down. Bad News tries to show up the Hulkster by beating him with a legdrop, but Hogan gets out at one. Brown doesn't seem to mind too much, as he takes down Hogan with a Russian legsweep. Hogan reverses a whip into the corner, but Bad News rebounds with a clothesline that takes Hogan off his feet. Bad News sets Hogan up for the Ghetto Blaster (jumping kick to the head), but Hogan ducks, and then Hulks up on Bad News. Hogan follows up with a knee lift and a clothesline in the corner on Brown, then whips Bad News into the corner. News charges, but Hogan ducks and Brown ends up taking out the referee with a clothesline. While Hogan checks on the ref, Brown takes the war helmet (or war bonnet as Superstar Billy Graham calls it on commentary, and btw, Graham is not very good at commentary). and smashes Hogan with it in the back. Brown puts on the helmet and charges at Hogan, but Hulk moves, takes the helmet off Brown and then headbutts him while wearing the helmet. A legdrop follows, and the ref recovers enough to count to three, giving Hogan the victory. Not a bad match, although the ending kind of sucked, so I'll give it a 2.1 out of 5.

P20- Balls Mahoney: Balls Mahoney and Kelly Kelly vs. Kenny Dykstra and Victoria

This mixed tag match was originally shown on the December 6, 2007 episode of ECW. Apparently, Balls and Kelly had a thing going on at that time, which is just strange to me on so many levels.  They face Lenny Dykstra's illegitimate brother (not really) and his partner Victoria. Balls and Kenny start the match, and Dysktra gets the advantage earlier by punching his way out of a headlock then dropkicking Balls down to the mat for a two count. Balls goes for his series of punches, but Dykstra ducks the big haymaker and quickly tags out to Victoria, which means Kelly must come in due to the rules of the match. Victoria predictably gets the advantage early, but Kelly takes her opponent by surprise with a tilt-a-whirl headscissiors. A Kelly Kelly clothesline gets a one count, and Kelly goes to work on Victoria's arm. After letting go, Kelly shoves Victoria back, which does not please Dykstra, so Kelly slugs him to shut him up. Victoria is able to catch Kelly with a clothesline, and uses stomps and simple wrestling holds to keep Kelly at bay. Kelly finally escapes the evil Victoria's clutches and tags in her 'boyfriend' Balls. I'm sure Kelly's parents must have been thrilled to find out their daughter is dating a 350 pound miscreant named Balls, even if it is only a storyline. Anyway, Balls comes in and takes care of Dykstra, getting a two count after his patented uppercut. Kenny gets out of a bodyslam and tries to hold Balls for Victoria to slap around, but Mahoney moves, Kelly takes care of Victoria with a huracanrana, and Mahoney small packages Dysktra for the three count. Post match, the happy couple celebrates while Dykstra and Victoria walk back in a bad mood. Well, I guess it wasn't too bad, so I'll give it a 1.25 out of 5.

P20- Bam Bam Bigelow: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. New Jack

This match is from Wrestlepalooza 1998, ECW's first show in Atlanta, Georgia and a show that my friend Sonny Bone attended in person, just for the chance to see New Jack in action. Before the match, Taz comes down and beats up Shane Douglas, forcing security to take him out back and drive him off in a car. While Douglas is being taken to the back, Bam Bam waits and here comes New Jack with a trash can full of plunder. They waste no time, as Bam Bam pounds away on New Jack and stomps on him in the corner. Bam Bam tries to hit New Jack with a guitar, but misses, and takes a plastic sign to his noggin instead. Assaults with a crutch and a cookie sheet follow from New Jack, and he tops it off by putting a Godzilla action figure between Bigelow's legs and whacking the figure with a hockey stick. Only in ECW, I suppose. To the outside, where New Jack gets the worst of a headbutt to Bam Bam, and then takes a chair to the back. Two chair shots to the head follow, and New Jack is now bleeding. To the crowd they go, as Bigelow throws New Jack over the guardrail and then slingshots himself onto New Jack. Further into the crowd they go, and Bam Bam decides to throw a bunch of chairs on top of New Jack before throwing him against a wall. Bigelow sets New Jack up against a guardrail and tries to splash him, but New Jack moves, and Bigelow rams into the guardrail instead. New Jack then goes back into the crowd, climbing the steps towards the balcony. New Jack finds a guitar on the balcony, and instead of playing the crowd a tune, he decides to dive off the balcony and hit Bam Bam in the head with it instead. Well, it hit Bigelow more in the shoulder than the head, but still, the crowd seemed to enjoy it. Bigelow is up first, though, and carries New Jack to the ring on his shoulder. One Greetings from Ashbury Park later, and Bigelow is the winner of this match. This wasn't exactly too good of a match, as the whole thing was built around one spot and the spot didn't come off exactly as planned. I'll give it a 1.1 out of 5.

P20- Bam Neely: Ricky Ortiz and Evan Bourne vs. Chavo Guerrero and Bam Neely

First there's Kenny Dykstra, now there's Bam Neely. Who's next, Harry Bird? I have no idea who Neely is, as I wasn't watching any wrestling during his reign of terror. According to the WWE Encylopedia, he's a former border agent who is from the same home town as Rick Rude. This match is from the August 5, 2008 episode of ECW, and is a result of a two on one beatdown that Chavo and Neely administrated on Ortiz during the previous week. Ortiz starts things off strong with some punches and a back elbow to Neely that makes Neely regroup on the outside of the ring. Back in, Neely and Ortiz exchange arm wringers before Bourne is tagged in an makes an immediate impact with by jumping off the top rope and stomping Neely's outstretched arm. Chavo comes in, attempts a back suplex, but Bourne escapes and sends Chavo down with a huracanrana. Bourne comes back with a Fujiwara arm bar, but Chavo gets up with his arm still locked in by Bourne. Tag to Ortiz, and he takes Chavo off his feet with a diving shoulderblock from the second rope that draws a two count. As Matt Striker informs us that Ortiz is the only WWE superstar to ever play in the XFL, Neely grabs Ortiz by the hair, regaining the advantage for his team and allowing Chavo to tag Neely in. Neely takes care of Ortiz with a barrage of blows to the back and torso. After a clothesline in the corner draws a two count, Neely tags Chavo back in, and he gets a two count after a European uppercut. Chavo puts Ortiz in a chinlock, but after 45 seconds or so, Ortiz is able to get up and delivers a back suplex to Chavo. Chavo tags Neely, and Ortiz is just able to reach Bourne for the hot tag. Bourne knocks Neely off his feet with a series of kicks, then goes off the top to deliver a pair of knees to Neely's face. Cover, but Chavo is there to break the count. Bourne dropkicks Chavo out of the ring, then ducks a Neely clothesline and gives him a lighting fast rollup, which gets the three count. Post match, Neely goes after Bourne, but Evan is smart enough to escape. Not too bad of a match, all in all. I'd give it a 1.95 out of 5.

P21- Barbara Bush [B.B.]: Michael Cole Interviews Barbara Bush about Ivory

Yes my friends, there once was a WWE diva who shared the same name as the first lady. Too bad she wasn't around longer, or they could have found another woman, call her Betty Ford, and have the two form a tag team. Anyway, Barbara's gimmick was that she was one of the paramedics, and one day she was just doing her job helping get a piece of food free from Miss Kitty's throat after a gravy match when all of a sudden, Ivory attacked her, ripped her shirt off and threw her into the gravy. Yes, that does sound ridiculous. Well, four days later, on the November 29, 1999 edition of Raw, Barbara's humiliation continued as she had to be interviewed by Michael Cole.  Apparently, EMTs get their own theme music now. BB states that she was embarrassed to have her shirt ripped off on national TV, so naturally she challenges Ivory to an evening gown match where the winner must rip the clothing off the opponent. Um, ok then. Ivory comes out, and uses BB's initials against her by calling her bird brain. She then accuses BB of trying to make friends with the perverts in the crowd, and to prove her point Ivory takes off her jacket to a rousing reaction from the same perverts she just belittled. Ivory then cheap shots BB and for the second time, rips her EMT shirt off, which perhaps would be a sign not to challenge Ivory to an evening gown match. Well, that was fun. In the spirit of this video, I'll give it a big 2 out of 5.

P21- Barbarian: Hercules vs. The Barbarian

This match is from the May 8, 1989 episode of Prime Time Wrestling. At this time, Barbarian is still part of the Powers of Pain and is being managed by Mr. Fuji. Hercules comes out with a chain, and Tony Schiavone is one of the announcers, and every time I hear Schiavone calling a WWF match, it's just weird to me since he was the voice of WCW for such a long time. Anyway, the two stare each other down to start, and the ref physically separates them. A tie-up follows, and the ref has to separate the two once again as neither man wants to give an inch in this contest. The same thing happens again after both men try to choke the other, and finally it is Hercules that gets an edge by putting on a side headlock. Barbarian counters with a bearhug, but Hercules breaks the hold by forcing Barbarian's arms apart by using his own forearms. The two exchange some kicks to the gut and punches, before Barbarian nearly makes a big mistake by missing a wild punch giving Hercules an opening to slap the Full Nelson on, but Barbarian is able to keep the hold from getting sinked in and gets to the ropes. Barbarian takes control with a back elbow, and knocks Hercules down with a big boot. Hercules fires back with shots that at first have no effect, but he's able to stagger the Barbarian before knocking him down with a clothesline. Both men get back up, and Barbarian overpowers his opponent with a power slam. He then goes for a big splash, but Hercules sees it coming and gets the knees up. Hercules is red hot now, staggering the Barbarian with a series of lefts before using a right to knock him down, and then keeping him off balance with clotheslines and knee lifts. Hercules puts Barbarian up in the torture rack, but Mr. Fuji hits him on the ass with his cane. Well, that annoys Hercules, so he comes after Fuji. As you probably can guess, Barbarian sneaks up from behind to attack Hercules. A whip into the ropes by Barbarian, but Hercules counters with a cross body block that sends both men tumbling over the top rope. Neither man can get back in the ring in time, so the match ends in a double countout. Post match, Fuji tries to hit Herc with his cane, but Herc's ready and takes the cane out of Fuji's hand, then goes after the Barbarian and cracks the cane over his back. Match wasn't too bad, although the ending could have been better. I'll give it a 2.25 out of 5.

P21- The Barber Shop: Ric Flair and Bobby Heenan on the Barber Shop

The Barber Shop was an interview segment hosted by Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake. As far as interview segments go, it was no Carlito's Cabana. This segment is from the September 22, 1991 edition of Wrestling Challenge, and what a challenge it is. Heenan comes out first with Flair's NWA Championship, not happy with Barber's condescending tone in introducing Ric Flair, so he decides to do it himself and introduces the real Heavyweight Champion of the World, Ric Flair. Flair says he, and not Hulk Hogan, is the real World Heavyweight Champion, and also has a message for Roddy Piper, as he seeks revenge for Piper spitting on Flair's belt earlier. Flair finishes by stating that until Hogan beats him, then the Hulkster will only be second best. Good stuff here, despite the presence of Brutus Beefcake. I'd give it a 2.6 out of 5.

P21- Baron Mikel Scicluna: WWWF TV Peter Maivia and Chief Jay Strongbow vs. Baron Mikel Scicluna and Moose Monroe

This match is from the October 22, 1977 episode of WWWF Championship Wrestling, to the best of my knowledge. Scicluna, a man billed as being from the Isle of Malta, is actually a WWE Hall of Famer, and I don't think I've ever seen him wrestle until now. I will say that he does have a sweet cape. Maivia, the grandfather of the Rock, by the way, and Scicluna start off for their respective sides, and the High Chief (Maivia) starts out strong with a beal to Scicluna and a blow for Monroe on the apron. While Maivia waits on Scicluna to approach him, Scicluna seems to have placed something in his right hand, and decks Maivia with it, stunning him. Scicluna continues to work over Maivia with his right hand, until Maivia gets over to his corner after a big punch and Strongbow tags himself in. Scicluna does the same to Strongbow, then puts the object back in his tights. Maivia sees this as an opportunity, so he comes in and oh here go hell come as both men work over Scicluna. Maivia and Moose head to the outside to fight, while Strongbow fishes into Scicluna's tights and takes the offending object out. By which I mean the roll of coins Scicluna had, not his penis. Maivia is now all fired up, and works over Scicluna until he tags out to Monroe. Strongbow comes in and decides what's good for the goose is good for the gander, so he uses the object to give a power boost to his punches on Monroe, then promptly hands it to Maivia once the ref starts to suspect something. Maivia then comes in to deliver more of the same, and eventually Moose tags out while Strongbow comes back in and is given the object again behind the ref's back. More blows follow, Maivia gets tagged in and does a snap mare on Scicluna followed by an elbow drop. The two exchange blows and tag out at the same time. Moose pulls out a rope and chokes Strongbow with it before the ref takes it away, but is unable to follow up as Strongbow dodges a punches, crawls under Monroe's legs, and tags out to Maivia. Maivia decks Monroe once, then hits him with a cross body block to get the three count and the victory for his team. Post-match, the winning team hugs while the losers bicker, and we get a shot of a young Vince McMahon at ringside talking about the manager of the year contest. Match wasn't too bad for what it was, and the crowd was really behind Strongbow and Maivia. I'd give it a 1.85 out of 5.

P22- Baron Von Raschke: Baron Von Raschke Part 1

This video here is part of a three part interview with Von Rashcke by two people calling themselves the Primadonns. Von Raschke comes out acting like a crazy man plugging somebody named Terry Eason's CD, then sits down to talk about such topics as how he got started in the business (the Baron was an amateur wrestler all throughout high school and college, then got into pro wrestling after spending a year as a teacher), some of the toughest wrestlers he ever encountered, how he learned his infamous Iron Claw hold, and a joke about midgets. Some interesting observations from Von Rashcke, who in spite of his in ring persona, comes across as a level-headed guy. If you want, check out part 1 right here:

P22- Barry Horowitz: Blue Blazer vs. Barry Horowitz 1988

A pat on the back is due for Barry Horowitz as he takes on Owen Hart, a.k.a. the Blue Blazer, in this match from the September 17, 1988 edition of WWF Superstars. Horowitz is wearing suspenders, while the Blazer has a feathered helmet on his mask to presumably look more like a bird. Horowitz removes his suspenders, the Blazer removes his headgear, and the match starts. The Blue Blazer starts with an arm wringer, runs to the ropes, backflips off the ropes and arm drags Horowitz to the mat. Horowitz gets up and comes out Blazer with a shoulder block. He tries again, but Blazer does a leapfrog and follows up with an arm drag and hold. A bodyslam follows, and Blazer then gets a two count after a Northern Lights suplex. Horowitz catches the Blazer with a savate kick, and then exclaims that 'now we go to school'. Who does he think he is, Ric Flair? Going to school seems to include a hard whip into the turnbuckle, followed by a knee drop that gets a two count. Horowitz attempts another whip into the corner, but the Blazer catches himself and then takes Horowitz down with a flying body press from the second rope that gets a two count. A suplex from the Blue Blazer follows, and he continues his aerial assault with a dropkick from the top rope. A pair of body slams follow, and Blazer finishes off Horowitz with a moonsault from the top rope that gives him the victory. For a four minute match, this was rather good, and made me curious as to what these guys could do given more time. As it is, I'll give it a 2.35 out of 5.

P22- Barry O: British Bulldogs vs. Barry O and Bret Hart

Hmm, one of these things is not like the other. This match is from the July 13, 1985 episode of All Star Wrestling and features Randy Orton's uncle, Barry O, teaming up with Bret Hart against two men Hart knows very well, the British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid). Jimmy Hart is in the corner of Bret Hart and Barry O. Dynamite and Barry start, and Dynamite takes Barry down with a shoulder block. Dynamite then gets out of an arm hold with a back drop, but Barry comes back with a body slam. An elbow drop misses from Barry O, and Kid gives Barry an arm drag before tagging in Davey Boy. Davey also uses a shoulder block, and keeps Barry at bay with a dropkick and a pair of arm drags before tagging back out to Dynamite Kid. Dynamite gets a hold of Barry's arm, but O tags in Hart real quick and then catches the Kid coming off the ropes and holds him across his knee while Hart comes down with an elbow from the second rope. Hart brawls some with Dynamite, keeping the advantage with punches and hair pulls before tagging in Barry O. A big powerslam by Barry O gets a two count, as does a karate chop to the chest. Barry whips Dynamite to the ropes, but Dynamite leaps over Barry and tags out to Davey Boy. Smith hits a huge back body drop and follows with a powerslam, but Barry gets out at two. After some smashes into the turnbuckle, Smith tags in Dynamite, and he then picks Dynamite over his head and launches him onto Barry O to get the three count. But Hart's not done, as he attacks Davey Boy and throws him out of the ring before going after Dynamite. Hart gets a few shots in before Davey Boy comes back in to break it up. Not a bad match, although I do wonder why Barry O was in there instead of Niedhart. I guess they just wanted to do something different for a quick match. I'd give it a 2 out of 5.

Well, that's it for part 3 of the Big Bad WWE Encyclopedia Video Project. I'd like to give a shout out to the website, as it has a valuable source in helping me find out the exact dates when the videos I've been watching originally took place. Also, thanks to all of the uploaders of the various videos I've been watching. Well, if you have any thoughts about the 2BWE Video Project, or anything else at The Canon Review, than I'd be more than happy to read them, so feel free to leave a comment of send me an e-mail at

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Canon Movie Review: The Sea Hawk

So earlier today, Turner Classic Movies was playing the 1940 movie The Sea Hawk, and since there was nothing else on, I decided to watch the film and see if it's as good as Alec Baldwin said it was at the beginning of the movie. The Sea Hawk is a flim directed by Michael Curitz (Casablanca) and stars the legendary Errol Flynn as the English pirate Geoffrey Thorpe. The movie also starts Claude Rains, Brenda Marshall, Alan Hale, Henry Daniell, and Flora Robson as Queen Elizabeth. In The Sea Hawk, Thorpe and his band of troubadours are sailing on his ship the Albatross when they come across a Spanish ship that just happens to be carrying the ambassador of Spain Alvarez (Rains) and his niece Dona Maria (Marshall). Thorpe captures the ship, frees the slaves in the galley and ends up transporting Alvarez and his party to England. On his return to England, Thorpe and Dona Maria start to hit it off despite a tumultuous beginning, and despite the protests of the Queen's council Lord Wolfington (Daniell), Thorpe and his men get unofficial permission from the Queen to embark on a mission designed to take a lot of gold from Spanish hands. However, Wolfington has his own agenda, and he and Alvarez work behind the queen's back in the name of Spain. A few notes about this film, and there will probably be SPOILERS, so read with caution.

- The Sea Hawk is a rather extravagant production for its, and well, any other time. The scene where The Albatross does battle with the Spanish army ship is masterfully done, full of action and suspense and showcasing the excellent fencing skills of Flynn as he does battle with the Spanish captain. Even though there's a lot going on in the scene, the direction is such that you are always aware of what exactly is happening at the time, who's on each side of the fight, and the scene also has a sense of real peril. Also, the final scene and the sequence where Thorpe and his men are ambushed in Mexico are also well done scenes that are full of suspense and excitement.

- Make no mistake about it, The Sea Hawk is a film designed to showcase Errol Flynn, as he's nearly in every scene and is portrayed as a heroic pirate serving under the queen who has few flaws, the utmost respect of his men, and a pet monkey to boot. There's nothing wrong with building a film around a single person if they can pull it off, and by golly Flynn is able to excel in this role as the dashing Thorpe. Heck, I have a hard time imaging anybody else taking that role and excelling the way Flynn did in this film. The Sea Hawk is a prime example of Flynn at his gallant best, the perfect marriage of actor and role.

- However, Flynn wasn't alone in deserving praise for their acting skills. Claude Rains was very good in his role as Alvarez, making him seem sympathetic despite the fact that he's basically the enemy in this film. Alan Hale deserved praise for his job as Pitt, Thorpe's rough-and-ready right hand man, and Henry Daniell is very believable in his role as the villain in the film, Lord Wolfington. Props are also due to Robson's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth, as she nearly manages the impossible and steals the movie from Flynn. Over the years, a lot of women have played the role of Queen Elizabeth I, and I'd put Robson's Queen right up there among the top portrayals of that role.

- If I have one complaint about the acting, it would be Brenda Marshall's portrayal as Thorpe's love interest Dona Maria. To me, she just seemed a little too steely and cold, even when she was supposed to feel grief for Thorpe's fate. I just had a hard time buying the chemistry between Thorpe and Dona Maria, and it didn't help matters that the writers wrote her character so one-dimensional, as we hardly get any idea of what type of person she is other than the fact that she likes English roses and stolen Aztec jewelry. However, if that was her singing in the film, then I must say that Marshall has a very nice voice.

- Speaking of music, the film features an excellent score from composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, although I felt that there were a couple of times that the music was just too overpowering and distracted from the scene instead of enhanced it. Even so, Korngold's score was top-notch, and one of the first things many people mention when remembering the film. Also of high quality was the cinematography of Sol Polito, and Michael Curitz is excellent as the director of the film, even if he and Flynn didn't like each other at the time. The script is decent enough, I suppose, with some flaws but those flaws are more than made up for by the excellent performances of the actors and the talent of Korngold, Polito, and Curitz.

- This film was rather pro-England, I will say, and is ever so subtetly an anti-Nazi propaganda film as well. Themes of the Sea Hawk include stopping a ruler who will stop at nothing to conquer the entire world (Spain's King Phillip in the film, Hitler in 1940 England) and for England to be the nation that stands up for freedom (i.e. the Spanish Inquistion in the film, the Holocaust in 1940 England), and a call to a ruler that will stand proud and fight a war that they don't want to fight, but must be done to protect England and ultimately the world (i.e. Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill).

Overall, The Sea Hawk is a classic film that is both a fun adventure and a politically charged movie. Flynn is at the top of his game here and so is the director Curitz and Robson does an excellent job as the Queen. Overall, I'd give The Sea Hawk an 8.25 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this or other posts, or ideas for future posts, than let me know about them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Canon Movie Review: The Presidio

After watching and reviewing Sleepless in Seattle, a reader named Paul S. requested that I review an earlier Meg Ryan film. Well, I aim to please, so I decided to watch a Meg Ryan from 1988 titled The Presidio. In this film, Meg Ryan plays Donna Caldwell, the daughter of Lt. Alan Caldwell (Sean Connery), the Provost Marshal at the titular Presidio. In the Presidio, a break in leads to the murder of a Military Police officer, and San Francisco Police detective Jay Austin (Mark Harmon) is sent in to investigate. To complicate matters, he and Lt. Caldwell have had issues in the past, as Austin was a MP under Caldwell in the past, but after a case involving the arrest of a colonel, Caldwell did not back Austin, and the two have shared a dislike ever since. Also, Jay meets Donna, and the two start a romance of their own, much to the chagrin of Lt. Caldwell. Despite all this, the two are forced to work together to solve the murder, even if each man wants nothing to do with the other. Directed by Peter Hyams, The Presidio also stars Jack Warden, Mark Blum, Dana Blackstone, and Jenette Goldstein. A few notes about this film, and there are SPOILERS, so read with caution.

- There's a lot of storylines going on in The Presidio, from the murder case, to the uneasy partnership between Caldwell and Jay to Donna's relationship with and her feud with her father to the whole story between Caldwell and his friend Russ McClure (Warden). In fact, there was probably too much going on, and it doesn't help that the plot has some serious pace problems. For example, it seems as if the movie spends 15 minutes or so detalining Donna's story, then forgets about her for a half hour or so while the case is being investigated, then bam, there's suddenly like eight scenes in a row with Donna in them.

- This film is chock full of cinematic cliches, I tell you what. Since the movie is set in San Francisco, the movie has a Bullitt-like car chase full of cars driving down the hilly roads. There's the two cops that hate each other storyline between Connery and Harmon (even though one's a military officer, he basically acts like a cop in the film). Also, there's a shootout at a factory, which just about every other action film made in the 1980s had. There's also a surprise twist at the end that seemed to be thrown in just for the sake of having a surprise twist at the end, as it didn't make a whole lot of sense and wasn't really explained that well, and there's also a bar fight scene for no good reason at all (although at least it was somewhat different, as Lt. Caldwell beat up generic loud-mouth tough guy #24 just by using his right thumb).

- You would think that a movie titled The Presidio filmed at the actual location of The Presidio would be primarily set at, you know, the Presidio. But after the first few minutes or so, the Presidio is barely used at all as a setting for the film. Instead the movie just turns it into another typical whodunit case where the two cops travel all through San Francisco, the only real difference being that most of the characters are involved in the military. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as Hyams is a talented cinematographer and uses his setting of San Francisco to maximum effect through his cinematography. Every scene is well lit and nicely shot. But it is kind of odd that the actual Presidio wasn't utilized that much in this film.

- As for the acting in The Presidio, well I didn't think it was too bad, even though the script didn't give them too much to work with. Connery does an excellent job as Lt. Caldwell, although he plays a rather similar role in the Untouchables. Still, his acting gives this film some needed credibility. Harmon is decent in the role of Jay Austin, but one wonders how Kevin Costner would have done with this role, as it was rumored that he was once signed on to star in this project. While Harmon is able to hold his own in scenes with Ryan and Connery, his attempts to give his character an edge didn't exactly come across that well, especially his first scene where he stares down a criminal with a gun pointed at him and disarms him with tough talk and his bare hands. To me, it seemed stupid, but whatever. Ryan is pretty good in this film, although her character isn't exactly that well-written. Nevertheless, she's able to make the best out of it and makes Donna seem likable, whereas other actress given a similar character could not make her sympathetic towards the audience. The supporting actors weren't too bad, although I didn't really see Mark Blum (who played former CIA Agent Arthur Peale) as a convincing bad guy.

While The Presidio isn't too bad, I suppose, but it does seem to be suffering from an identity crisis. The Presidio is part action flick, part romantic flick, and part cop drama, all with a military overtone over the storyline. Instead of concentrating on one element, the writers and director decided to pack this film with many different narratives that hardly intertwine with each other, almost making it seem as if it was two different films. But the acting, cinematography, and score are all above-average, and make this film somewhat enjoyable.

Overall, while The Presidio got a great performance from Connery and had some high points, there are too many issues with the plot that keeps the film from being great, and drags it down into run-of-the-mill territory. I'd give it a 5.3 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this or other posts, or ideas for future posts, than let me know about them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers, NFC Playoff Game, January 9, 1988

Earlier this week, the Green Bay Packers came into the home stadium of the number one seed in the NFC, the Atlanta Falcons, and beat them. Not only that, but the same thing happened in the AFC when the Jets beat the Patriots. Now, while the Jets beating the Patriots was kind of a big deal, I had a much more personal interest in the Falcons' loss over the Packers, as the Falcons have been my favorite team ever since I started watching football. As a Falcons fan, I'd be lying if I stated that I was totally shocked by the result, as rooting for a team that has had 12 winning seasons in its 45 year existence tends to make you expect the worst as a fan. But this was supposed to be different. After all, Matt Ryan had a 21-2 record in his career at the Georgia Dome, and the Falcons had beaten the Packers earlier in the season. But by now you probably know what happened, Aaron Rodgers played the best game of his life, the Falcons had no answers on defense and couldn't move the ball on offense, and the Packers were the team that advance to the NFC Championship Game.

So, you're probably wondering just what does all this have to do with a playoff game in 1987 (well, technically 1988, but it was during the 1987 season) between the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers. Well, just like the Falcons, the 49ers were the number one seed in the conference that year, finishing with a 13-2 record (the season was shortened a game due to a player strike) and seemed poised to make a run at the Super Bowl. Unlike the 2010 Packers, the 1987 Vikings were not expected to make a game out of this, as they finished 8-7 and were picked by hardly anyone to beat the mighty 49ers, especially considering that they were starting a backup quarterback in Wade Wilson. So what happened? Well for one Vikings wide receiver Anthony Carter had the best playoff game a wide receiver has ever had, and the great Joe Montana struggled with the wet field and the Vikings pass rush, and the upstart Vikings knocked San Francisco out of the playoffs with a 36-24 victory in what is considered one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. A few notes about this game:

- This game had a few, though not many, similarities to the debacle that occurred in Atlanta on Saturday night. For one, neither the Vikings nor the Packers ran the ball particularly well in their respective games. The Vikings' leading rusher was Darrin Nelson, who ran for a mere 42 yards, and their only big run gain came from a 30-yard reverse to Carter. Meanwhile, the Packers ran for 96 yards on 31 carries Saturday. Another thing was that both the Packers' and Vikings' quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers and Wade Wilson, respectively, were able to use their speed and scrambling ability to constantly escape the pass rush to keep the play alive and make a play downfield (although Rodgers is a much better player than Wilson). Also, in the second quarter of each game, both losing quarterbacks, Joe Montana and Matt Ryan, through an ill-advised out pattern to the left side that was picked off by a cornerback (Reggie Rutland for the Vikings, Tremon Williams for the Packers) which resulted in both men racing down the sidelines and score back-breaking touchdowns that put the game out of reach.

- The Vikings gained 397 yards on offense, and Anthony Carter was responsible for 257 of them. Carter did his damage in a variety of ways, from catching short slant patterns and picking up a few extra yards after the catch, to his 30 yard run on a reverse, to two big time catches on deep balls thrown by Wilson. In the second quarter, Wilson threw a pass that was tipped by 49ers cornerback Don Griffin, only for Carter to snatch it out of the air and race downfield for a 63 yard gain before finally being knocked out of bounds. In the third corner, Carter made one of the best catches I've ever seen with a leaping, over-the-shoulder grab on a deep pass on the sideline over cornerback Tim McKyer, and then somehow keeping both feet in bounds despite McKyer hitting him while in mid air. While Carter did not score a touchdown in this game, it's safe to say that without him, the Vikings would have never scored a touchdown in this game, and Carter did all of this while a) playing on a soggy field on which his foe, 49ers WR Jerry Rice, struggled on all game, and b) with a myraid of injuries, including a sore shoulder and strained groin muscle. Carter's 227 yards set an NFL record for most receiving yards in a playoff game (that has since been broken), and his 257 yards from scrimmage remains the second highest total in playoff history.

- Meanwhile, the 49ers offense wasn't quite as sharp, as Joe Montana had an uncharacteristically bad game in the playoffs. A lot of the credit for that should go to the Vikings defense, as DE Chris Doleman hounded Montana all day and got 2 sacks on LT Bubba Paris. Also, Vikings cornerbacks Carl Lee, Issiac Holt, and Reggie Rutland did what seemed like the impossible and held Jerry Rice, who came into the game scoring a touchdown in each of his last 13 games, to 3 catches for 28 yards and no touchdowns. Things got so bad for Montana that Bill Walsh pulled him in the middle of the third period for Steve Young, a much quicker quarterback. Young played pretty well, leading the 49ers with 72 rushing yards and completing 12 of 17 passes, and after every big play made by Young, the cameras would cut to Montana on the sidelines with an annoyed look on his face. At the end, Walsh and Montana had an awkward conversation on the sideline with Montana seemingly wanting nothing to do with his coach at the time, which was fascinating to watch. Say what you will about Walsh having a quick trigger finger, but the offense wasn't doing anything under Montana, and sometimes a change at QB will give a team the spark it needs, so it was the right call, even if it was ultimately for naught.

- There were a couple of points where the 49ers could have changed the course of the game. The biggest one came on the final play of the first quarter with the score knotted at 3. Wilson dropped back to pass, and threw to WR Leo Lewis in double coverage. S Ronnie Lott cut in front of the receiver to pick off the ball and was stopped deep in Vikings territory. But DB Tory Nixon grabbed Lewis just before the pass got there and was called for pass interference. To make matters worse, the interference was totally unnecessary as Lott  would have picked the pass off even if Nixon hadn't laid a finger on Lewis. So instead of having the ball deep in their opponents territory, the 49ers allowed the first deep pass to Carter and eventually a touchdown pass to Carl Hilton. Also, the 49ers could have gone into halftime down by 7, but K Ray Wersching missed a 26 yard field goal at the end of the half, which certainly didn't help matters.

- Chuck Nelson, the Vikings kicker, came into the game with a 54 percent field goal success rate (13-24) and in 1987 was one out of eight of field goals past 40 yards, despite playing half his games in a climate controlled dome. In this game, the spirit of Lou Groza must have possessed Nelson, as he hit all five of his field goal attempts on a sloppy field, and two of those were past 40 yards, including a 47 yard kick in the wind that just got over the crossbar. The Vikings had some severe trouble in the red zone in this game, as they had no running game and would constantly get stuffed trying to run the ball in the end zone, so Nelson's contribution was quite important, and the Vikings may not of won had he not had the best game of his career that day.

So, what happened after the 49ers lost a game after being the number one seed. Well, they won the Super Bowl the next two seasons. The 1996 Broncos also repeated this feat after their shocking loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. So that's something for Falcons and Patriots fans to take comfort in. Of course, the 2008 Giants and Titans also lost in similar circumstances and haven't been back to the playoffs since, so you can never tell with these types of things. In this game, the 49ers had an off-day in every facet of the game and faced a wide receiver that had a career day. Stuff like that happens. If the two teams played 10 times, the 49ers would likely win seven or eight times out of 10. But in the playoffs, you only get one shot, and the Minnesota Vikings took advantage of their one chance by playing a great game. After this game, the Vikings came within a Darrell Green tipped pass from going to the Super Bowl, or at least to overtime in the NFC Championship Game, as they lost 17-10 to the Redskins when the game ended on a goal line stand. These two teams would meet again in the second round of the 1988 and 1989 playoffs, but the 49ers had the Vikings number each time. However, on this day, facing a team that coach Bill Walsh called his best team, the Vikings shocked the world, which goes to show that you never know what to expect in football.

Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this or other posts, or ideas for future posts, than let me know about them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The 2BWE Video Project: Pages 12-18

In the second part of the Big Bad WWE Encyclopedia Video Project (a.k.a. the 2BWE Video Project for short), I will take a look at such luminaries of the ring like Andre the Giant, Antonino Rocca, and Ashley Massaro. If you want to review the guidelines of the project, than you can view the original post right here. Well, on with the show.

P12- Andre the Giant: Ultimate Warrior vs. Andre the Giant

This was one of the many matches these two had for Warrior's Intercontinental Title back in 1989, and I believe is from the October 29, 1989 card at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The match starts with Andre standing tall in the center of the ring while Warrior runs around like a crazed man. Warrior charges, but Andre's ready for it and uses his size advantage to drag Warrior over to the corner. Andre then spends the next minute or so choking Warrior in the corner, making sure to break the ref's five count each time before going back to choking. Warrior tries to escape with a couple of toe kicks, but Andre just backs him into another corner and starts the process all over again. Andre keeps control with chokeholds and punches until Warrior throws a few chops at him. That doesn't do anything, but then Warrior karate chops Andre in the trapezoids which has some effect on him, and Warrior goes to work by choking Andre in the corner. Warrior with a running clothesline that sends Andre into the ropes. Andre looks to be trapped, but is able to escape just before the Warrior tries another clothesline, and instead Warrior takes a big boot to the torso. Both men get back up slowly, and Warrior does an awkward single leg takedown before choking Andre again. After this point, Warrior just brawls with Andre on the ground until the Giant is able to gain his bearings and slam Warrior into the mat before getting up very slowly. After a nerve hold, Andre confers with his manager Bobby Heenan at ringside, which gives Warrior enough time to recover and body slam Andre down. Warrior goes for a big splash, but Andre puts his arm up to block him and knocks Warrior back. Back up, Andre traps the Warrior in a bear hug for two minutes until Warrior finally gets out and tomahawk chops Andre in the head. After Warrior stuns him, he runs around the ring for 10 seconds before launching into Andre with a clothesline that knocks the Giant outside of the ring. Andre slowly gets back in while the Warrior winds up his arm like Daryle Lamonica warming up to throw a deep pass. He tries to catch Andre with a clothesline, but instead Andre pulls the ref into his path, so the poor ref is flattened instead. Andre grabs the Warrior by the back of his head and headbutts him twice and follows with an elbow drop. He covers, but the ref is slow to get up and when he does, he disqualifies Andre for putting him in the Warrior's path. At first Andre believes he's won the title, but is dismayed to find out that he's been disqualified. After the match, the Warrior clotheslines Andre from behind and takes his belt back, spinning it around like a helicopter. Well, at this point Andre couldn't move very well, and the Warrior isn't very good at his job, so this match was a struggle to get through. I'd give it a 0.5 out of 5.

P13- Andre the Giant: Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant- WWF Title

Yes, Andre's profile takes up two whole pages in the WWE Encyclopedia, but that's all right. Anyway, this match is from the television special The Main Event on February 5, 1988, and is the most watched match to ever air on television, as the show got a 15.2 rating, which is a higher rating than any series that aired on television last year. So this match was kind of a big deal, as it was the rematch from the two men's legendary Wrestlemania III match. Andre comes out with Ted DiBiase and Virgil. But before the match, an interview is shown with Hulk Hogan, who says that he has invested his assets of taking vitamins and saying prayers wisely in a profit sharing plan with all of his Hulkamaniacs, and that he will slam the Giant down again tonight. Hogan comes out and tries to come after Andre with the title belt, but referee Dave Hebner holds him back. The bell rings, and Andre takes his time, standing tall in his corner while Hogan works the crowd. Finally, Andre moves, and turns to DiBiase on the apron for some last minute advice. That gives Hogan the opening he needs, as he attacks the Giant and takes care of both DiBiase and Virgil with a noggin-knocker. He then gives both DiBiase and Virgil big boots that send them flying out of the ring, then catches Andre with a few punches that stagger the big man. Hogan gives Andre everything he's got, but just can't manage to knock Andre down. Hogan manages to knock Virgil down after he gets on the apron, but all the punches, kicks, clotheslines, and eye rakes he uses on Andre still fails to bring him down. Hogan climbs to the top rope, but the Giant catches him and launches Hogan off for a hard body slam. Andre goes for a diving headbutt, but misses, and Hogan is now back up. Hogan covers, but Andre chokes him instead and lets go before the count of 5. Andre is now in control, using chokes, slams, stomps, and other strikes to keep Hogan at bay. Andre knocks himself down after a big boot, and knocks Hogan to the outside of the ring, where Virgil quickly scoops him up and back in. More chokes and strikes by Andre, but the power of Hulkamania arises, and Hogan gets out of the choke hold and starts firing away in a renewed attempt to knock Andre off his feet.  He finally does it after a clothesline from the second rope, gives Andre the big legdrop, and covers, but the referee is distracted by Virgil. Hogan argues with the ref, but Andre grabs him from behind and headbutts him twice before delivering a sloppy looking suplex. Cover, but Hogan gets the shoulder up at two. However, the referee keeps counting, and we have controversy as Andre is awarded the match and the WWF Title. Hogan is in disbelief as Andre the Giant is awarded the title. Afterward, Andre is interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund, where he says he (Andre) told us he would win the World Tag Team Championship. Whoops. He then surrenders the Title to Ted DiBiase as part of their agreement before the match, meaning that DiBiase has just bought the WWF Heavyweight Title. Say it ain't so. Hogan goes after them before the three men walk out of the ring, quite satisfied with what they have done. Meanwhile, another Dave Hebner comes out, and the two men start arguing. As it turns out, it was Dave's evil twin Earl Hebner that called the match, although at this point nobody knows which is which. One of the Hebner's slugs the other and kicks him out of the ring. He then pleads for mercy to Hogan, but the Hulkster is having none of it, so he gorilla presses him and throws the ref out of the ring over DiBiase and Virgil, knocking all three men to the floor. As it turns out, it was only the second most controversial call of Earl Hebner's career. Match wasn't too good from a pure wrestling standpoint, but the atmosphere was electric and the whole match had a big-fight feel to it, so overall I'd give it a 1.85 out of 5.

P14- Angelo "King Kong" Mosca: Angelo Mosca vs. Blackjack Mulligan

Angelo Mosca, the former CFL All-Pro defensive tackle turned wrestler, takes on Blackjack Mulligan in a brawl that took place in the Florida territory in 1983. The two men hate each other so much that their fight goes out of the ring and even out of the arena. Eventually, they pick up the fight in the back of a pickup truck. Mosca gets knocked out of truck onto the street, but gets up quickly and the two keep fighting on the street. The locker room empties to break the two up, but not before Mosca gets another shot in on Mulligan. Finally, after about 20 seconds, order is restored and all the wrestlers have successfully separated the two big men from ripping each other apart.  The video quality wasn't too sharp, but all in all it wasn't too bad and a good way to advance a feud, as it wasn't every day that two wrestlers climbed into the bed of a pickup to duke it out. I'd give it a 2.2 out of 5.

P14- Angelo Mosca Jr.: Ivan Koloff vs. Angelo Mosca Jr., Mid Atlantic Heavyweight Title Match

Angelo Mosca Jr. was basically the Dale Berra to Angelo Sr's Yogi Berra. Then again, Mosca wasn't quite as good in his field as Yogi was at baseball, but you get the picture. I believe this match took place on January 25, 1984. Angelo Mosca Sr. is on commentary with Bob Caudle for this match, and Koloff is accompanied to ringside by his manager Gary Hart. Koloff backs Mosca up and Irish whips him, but Mosca ducks a clothesline and then nearly gets a three count after a Sunset Flip. Mosca continues his dominance with two dropkicks and a cross body block that also draws a two count, and the fans are really behind Mosca in this match. Koloff backs up and takes a breather, only to continue to take punishment from Mosca in the form of a hip toss and an arm bar. Mosca then starts rolling with Koloff still in the arm bar, which you don't see too much of these days. Ivan finally gets out of it after two knees to the face, and keeps Mosca off balance with strikes before getting a two count after a knee drop. Koloff, ever the veteran, is not fazed by this and simply puts Mosca in a front headlock. Mosca is able to escape, but Koloff then slows down Mosca with a punch and then throws him out of the ring.  Mosca gets back in, and suddenly the video skips and the bell ring again, as the show took a 'TV timeout', in Bob Caudle's words, to make sure the conclusion is shown.

Back to action, Koloff snapmares Mosca and starts choking him, and follows that up by picking him up and throwing him hard against the ring ropes. Koloff then hits a backbreaker, and starts to concentrate his efforts on hurting Mosca's back by driving his knee into it, then by just grabbing hold of lower back and squeezing the muscles. Mosca eventually fights out and then tries to go for a Boston Crab. He can't so he does some weak looking catapult type move instead. Koloff goes to the eyes and gets back up, he tries a piledriver, but Mosca blocks it and then flattens Koloff with a back elbow. That gets a two count, so Mosca arm drags Koloff down, but after that he gets caught in a headscissors. Mosca flips out of it, then tries another hip toss but for some reason stops in mid move. I guess Koloff got an eye gouge in or something. Bearhug by the Russian Bear, and Mosca Sr. is starting to really get on my nerves from the commentary booth, as he keeps yelling "Go Ang" like every 20 seconds. Mosca cheats to win by using an eye gouge to get out of the hold, and the two kind of stagger around for a few seconds before Koloff somewhat back body drops Mosca out of a piledriver attempt. Mosca gets up and dropkicks Koloff, which gets a two count. Mosca then does a toe-hold, and follows that up with a basterdized version of the figure four, where it seems as if Koloff has to remind him to put his other leg over Koloff's foot to make the hold look better. Koloff gets to the ropes, but Mosca is undaunted and goes to work on the leg again. After Koloff gets out of the toe hold, Mosca covers, but to no avail as Ivan kicks out. Mosca slams Koloff and goes to the top rope, where he comes down on Koloff with a cross body block. Cover, and we have a new Mid-Atlantic Champion, as Angelo Mosca gets the three count and a hug from his father, who charges the ring after the bell has rung. Match started out strong, but started to peter out towards the middle, of Mosca's inexperience started to show. Still, I'd give it a 2.05 out of 5.

P14- Angelo Savoldi: Angelo Savoldi vs. Dr. Jerry Graham

I have no idea when this match took place, but I do know it took place in either the 1950s or 1960s and is from a show in Melbourne, Austrailia. The match starts with a rush as Savoldi charges Graham, and the two do a ring running spot which eventually slows down and stops. Graham shows off his high opinion of his intelligence by pointing to his head, and Savoldi responds by charging at Graham again, sending Graham scurrying to the apron. Graham tries a bearhug, but Savoldi slips out easy. Graham tries another hold, but Savoldi escapes again, and sends Graham flying out of the ring with a big right hand. Back in, Graham takes Savoldi by surprise with a spinning drop toe hold, and follows that up with a chinlock while he ties up Savoldi's legs with his own, in an STF type hold. Savoldi gets out of the hold by chomping down on his hand, which the crowd approves of. Savoldi gets a side headlock takedown for two, but Graham turns it around on him and starts choking him. While the ref grabs Graham to force him to stop, Jerry does, only to continue to choke Savoldi with his free hand behind his back, out of sight of the referee. Graham keeps punching and grabbing at Savoldi, which eventually ticks Savoldi off enough for Graham to back away into a corner. Savoldi has none of that, so he slugs Graham and throws him out of the corner with a beal. Savoldi stomps a mudhole in Graham and then throws him into another corner. The ref goes to pull Savoldi off, but that allows Graham to get a shot in and regain the advantage. Graham then tries to make friends with Angelo, but gets a right hand to the mush instead, so Graham goes to the ring apron to rethink things. The bell rings, signifying the end of round 1, so I guess this match will be done in five minute rounds.

Before round 2 begins, Jerry Graham goes to the announce table to express his displeasure at Savoldi and the fine people of Melbourne. Round 2 begins with Savoldi charging at Graham and hitting a few punches, only for Graham to turn the table and hit a wicked looking punch combo to the body. Savoldi is thrown hard into the corner and then falls down, allowing Graham an opportunity to choke him with his boot. Graham takes a while to get up to the top rope, but comes off quickly with a knee drop, and gets the first pinfall of the match. Well, I guess this is a two out of three falls match as well. Graham uses the break to once again dis the Australian people, wondering why the U.S. bothered to save them from the Japanese in World War II or something. The bell rings, and Graham manages to put Savoldi in a modified sleeper hold, and manages to hold onto to it for two solid minutes before biting Savoldi's cauliflower ear in the corner and letting go. While Graham is distracted by the ref, Savoldi uses the opening to fight fire with fire, and bite on Graham some. That infuriates the doctor, as he whips Savoldi into the corner, squashes him, and drops a knee on him. Graham goes up to the top again for another knee drop, but this time Salvodi moves. After a pair of running backdrops, Savoldi hits a running dropkick on Graham, covers, and gets the second fall of the match to even things up at one apiece. Both men go to the corner to recuperate, and after a minute, the bell rings to signal the next fall. Savoldi takes the advantage with an arm drag and twist, and goes to work on Graham with a spinning wrist hold. Graham wriggles out of it and grabs Savoldi with a headlock before whipping him into the ropes. After that, Graham rebounds with a shoulder block that knocks the smaller Savoldi down. But Savoldi is up quickly, and counters another attempted shoulderblock with an arm drag and twist of the arm. Graham retreats to a corner, only to get stomped on and pounded by Savoldi. After 30 seconds of this, Savoldi whips Graham into another corner and traps him by hooking each leg under a rope. Savoldi hits one charging shoulder block, but Graham gets the knee up on the second one and quickly covers, and that gets the three count and the third fall. After the match, Graham goes to announcer's table, and compliments Savoldi by saying he's the toughest Italian he's ever faced. Well, that was nice of him. Match was pretty decent, and a real interesting look at wrestling in the past. I'd give it a 3.1 out of 5.

P14- Antonio Inoki: Andre the Giant vs. Antonio Inoki 1983

What the hey? Another Andre the Giant video? Oh well. This video is a highlight reel of two wrestling legends in a New Japan match from May 6, 1983. Inoki starts off by trying to outrun the Giant, but gets caught with an overhand chop. Nevertheless, Inoki continues to run around the ring to tire his opponent, and then tries a shoulderblock, which does not go well for Inoki. Back up, Inoki kicks Andre low and then hits the enziguri to the head, and follows that up with a knee drop. The next clip starts with Andre with an ankle lock of sorts on Inoki. This continues for about 25 seconds until the next clip, which starts with Inoki fighting out of a bearhug with punches. He does, but Andre headbutts him with his massive truck tire sized head. Next, Andre takes down Inoki with a front facelock, but loses leverage on the hold and Inoki is able to sneak out and slip on a cross armbar. Andre gets back to his feet and throws Inoki out of the ring, then follows to deliver another headbutt. Next, Andre is choking Inoki in the crowd, and the bell rings, but both men go to the ring anyway. Andre shrugs off an Inoki dropkick, then whips Inoki to the ropes and hits him with the big boot on the rebound. Andre with a knife edge chop, and the ref raises Andre's hand in victory as Inoki must have been counted out. It was probably better that I didn't see the whole match, since it's more than likely worse than the action shown in this video. So, because of that, I'd give the video a 2.45 out of 5.

P15- APA (Acolyte Protection Agency): 1.28.02 - Trish and APA vs. Jazz and Billy and Chuck

This match from the January 28, 2002 edition of Monday Night Raw teams up then WWF Women's Champion Trish Stratus with the APA (Faarooq and Bradshaw) against Jazz and Billy (Gunn) and Chuck (Palumbo). The announcers inform us that in this match, women can legally fight men. Jerry Lawler shows his objectivity by booing Jazz as she comes out, while Billy and Chuck come out to the theme Billy used when he was known as "The One" Billy Gunn. I guess he was the one Billy Gunn because nobody else wanted to be Billy Gunn. Only kidding. Trish and Jazz start off, and after a tie up, Jazz slaps Trish in the face and knocks her down with a clothesline. After a shoulderblock, Trish is able to leapfrog Jazz, then catches her by surprise with a monkey flip before dropkicking Jazz out of the ring. However, Jazz proves she is the more aggressive of the two by dragging Trish out by the leg and slamming her face first into the apron. Back in, Jazz throws down Trish, then tries to suplex her, but Stratus is able to counter with a small package that gets two before Chuck breaks it up. Trish tries to slug Palumbo, but the punch is blocked and Chuck throws her back down. While Chuck celebrates, Bradshaw is tagged in, and he's mad, as Chuck takes a shoulderblock, a big boot, and a back elbow before retreating to his corner and tagging his partner in a suggestive manner. Bradshaw's not done, as he boots Billy off the ring apron. Bradshaw tries to powerbomb Chuck, but Billy breaks it up, and then catches Bradshaw with a dropkick. Tag to Chuck, and he's able to stifle Bradshaw with some punches and stomps. However, Bradshaw is able to reverse an Irish whip and back suplex Palumbo before tagging in Faarooq, and the two Acolytes shoulderblock Chuck, which draws a two count. Faarooq catches Chuck with a back elbow, but Chuck ducks (hey, that rhymes) a clothesline, then delivers a superkick straight to the mush. Well, it was supposed to be, but it was way off the mark and didn't come close to Faarooq's face. Even so, that gets a two count. Chuck runs into a spinebuster, than takes a diving headbutt. Billy comes in to break it up, and oh here go hell come as everybody's now in the ring except for Jazz, who is violently knocked off the apron by Trish. Trish and Chuck are left in the ring, and Trish fights off Chuck with some punches before attempting a huracanrana. Well, that's a bad idea, as Chuck powerbombs Trish and then covers her by barely holding her shoulders to the mat, as during this time he's supposed to be a 'nontraditional' male. Whatever the cover, it's good enough to get the three count. Afterward, Chuck has a look on his face as if he smelled a giant fart. This wasn't all that great, although Trish and Jazz weren't too bad. I'd give it a 1.44 out of 5.

P15- Argentina Apollo: "Arriba" Luis Martinez and Argentina Apollo vs. The Mongols

According to the WWE Encyclopedia, Apollo was a high-flying superstar who wrestled barefoot and teamed with Don McClarity to win the United States Tag Team Championship. This video is from Eddie Einhorn's IWA, a mid 1970s promotion that tried and failed to run against the NWA, and I have no idea what the exact date of this video is. Here, Apollo and his partner Luis Martinez are interviewed before a match with the Mongols, Geeto and Bolo. Apollo is not exactly Ric Flair on the mic, while Martinez is slightly better, but not great. Martinez states to the fans that all they've got to do is to "show that they're behind us, and let us give you all the action, action, and more action." Wow, that's a lot of action. The two partners also shake hands three times within thirty seconds. Also, Arriba is the victory cry, according to Martinez. Well, Arriba, then. To the match, where Martinez hip tosses one of the Mongols while the other one goes after Apollo. The Mongols go to work on Apollo with various strikes, while throwing Martinez out of the ring. The bigger Mongol (I don't know which one is which, and the announcers is too busy blubbering about nonsense to call the match) catches Apollo with a kitchen sink knee. The smaller Mongol, which I later find out is Geeto (while Bolo is the bigger one, and also would become Demoltion Ax), comes in and the two double team Apollo, but to little effect, as Apollo forces his way to his corner to tag Martinez. Oh here go hell come as all four men are in the ring. Martinez does an airplane spin to one, while Apollo has the other in an Argentinean Backbreaker. Sit down splash by Martinez, and the referee calls for the bell as Apollo has apparently submitted his opponent. The Mongols' manager, a big mountain of a man called George 'Crybaby' Cannon, comes in to complain about this decision, and in protest bounces the helmet he's wearing in the air and catches it at head level. What a bounce!  For that, this video gets a 2 out of 5.

P15- Ariel: Ariel ECW Debut

In this video, the woman who would later come out with Kevin Thorn and be the only interesting part about Kevin Thorn makes her ECW debut, and by golly what a debut it is, as she reads tarot cards to recap the past instead of reading the future. Those tarot cards must be specific to ECW, as they apparently tell of Rob Van Dam and Sabu invading the previous night's Raw. But wait a minute, the next tarot card tells of the future, as ECW's Rob Van Dam and Kurt Angle will face off against the team that would later on be known as Rated-RKO, Edge and Randy Orton. I guess if Ariel had kept reading, she would have seen the debut of Marcus Cor Von and Test and Bobby Lashley attempting to wrestle for the ECW Title. Well, I guess it's not a bad way to recap previous events by having a busty girl read tarot cards, so for that I'll give this a 2.15 out of 5.

P15- Armageddon: Mr. Kennedy vs. Undertaker, Last Ride Match, Armageddon 2006

This is a Last Ride match, meaning that to win the match, you must put your opponent in the back of a hearse and drive the hearse out of the arena. Coming into this match, Kennedy has two victories over the Undertaker, albeit in controversial fashion. Kennedy does his own ring introduction, per usual, and the whole time there's this one guy in the crowd that yells "You Suck" every three seconds. It gets quite annoying after about the thirtieth time he says it. The Undertaker's entrance takes up a little more than four minutes of time, which is also not unusual. The bell rings, and Kennedy does all he can to avoid getting hit by Taker, eventually ducking out under the bottom rope. He gets back in, and gets punched in the mouth and kicked out of the ring for his efforts. To the outside, where Undertaker slams Kennedy head-first into the ring steps, then hip tosses him onto the Spanish announce table. Undertaker continues to beat on Kennedy before launching him off the table chest first into the ring apron. Back in, Taker continues his assault by punching and choking Mr. Kennedy, who seems a bit overmatched this time. That is, until Undertaker misses a knee lift in the corner, and goes flying out of the ring, allowing Kennedy an opportunity to stomp the proverbial mudhole in the Undertaker. Kennedy goes on the apron and launches himself towards a now standing Undertaker, but he gets caught and driven spine first into the post. Undertaker scoops Kennedy up on his shoulder and carries him towards the hearse, but Kennedy slips out and pushes Taker into the hearse, then follows with more strikes. Kennedy continues to strike and slam the Undertaker into the hearse, before opening the back door. He puts Undertaker in (while audibly calling the next spot) the back of the hearse, but Undertaker is able to get out with a boot to the face. Undertaker continues to assault Kennedy by firing punches and slamming his opponent into whatever happens to be there before rolling him back in the ring. Actually, he sets Kennedy up over the apron and delivers his patented leg drop on the apron. Undertaker continues to batter Kennedy, then sets him up on the top turnbuckle and delivers a superplex. Undertaker then throws Kennedy over the top rope, while the "You Suck" guys yells, "save some for me, Taker!" Yeah, like your fat ass would be able to do anything with a guy like Kennedy, why don't you do us all a favor and shut up already. I give you a 0 out of 10.

Anyway, Undertaker scoops up Kennedy again to carry to the hearse, but in a last-ditch effort, Kennedy puts a sleeperhold on the Undertaker, and it works as Kennedy is able to get Taker on the ground. After 30 seconds of this, Kennedy believes he has the Undertaker asleep, so he lets go of the hold and drags the Undertaker in the hearse. He slams the door, but Kennedy has to sit and take a breather while the 'You Suck' guy screams 'NOOOOOOOOOOOO' at the top of his voice. He eventually goes to drive it away, but the Undertaker is waiting for him in the drivers seat and commences his beating of Kennedy. They end up around the announce table, and while Undertaker clears the table of its monitors, Kennedy grabs a steel chair and uses it to repeatedly jab Undertaker in the ribs. Back in the ring, Kennedy smashes the Undertaker in the back with a chair, then gives Taker two shots in the head with the chair. But Taker sits back up, and Kennedy decides to head out of the ring with chair in hand. Apparantly, Kennedy has had enough, so he attempts to escape the Undertaker by climbing up the wall set up for the pay-per-view, with Undertaker quickly following. Both men are now on top of the mock castle, which looks about 10 feet high or so. I am quickly corrected as Michael Cole informs me they are some 15, 20 feet in the air as Undertaker pounds away on Kennedy. Undertaker goes for a choke slam off the structure, but Kennedy kicks him down low, then uses Undertaker's moment of weakness to throw him off the structure. Yes, Taker probably landed in a padded area, but it still looked dangerous, especially with the camera focused so that it looked like Taker was flying into your living room, so to speak. Kennedy climbs down and the referee tries to stop him from further beating on the Undertaker while a hush has fallen over both the crowd and the announce booth. Kennedy does open the hearse door and drag the Undertaker, who hasn't moved, towards the hearse. Kennedy gets the Undertaker in, and gets in the driver's seat, where a camera is mounted. All of a sudden, the Undertaker sits up with an evil look in his eyes. He drags Kennedy out of the hearse, then sets him up to deliver the world famous 'Undertaker rights and lefts' combo. Kennedy ducks a steel chair shot and a swing of a lead pipe that shatters the hearse window, but he can't duck the next shot, a steel chair directly to the head. Kennedy is now busted open. Undertaker puts Kennedy on the roof of the hearse, which can't be good. As it turns out, it isn't good as Kennedy is chokeslammed hard on the hearse roof. To make matters worse, Undertaker then Tombstones Kennedy on the hearse roof for good measure. Undertaker puts Kennedy out of his misery by stuffing him in the hearse and driving out for the victory. Good match, not great, but good, with a couple of cool spots and at one point it looked as if Kennedy would win, so it wasn't a total squash. I'd give it a 3.45 out of 5.

P16- Antonino Rocca: Antonino Rocca vs. Lou Kim

Rocca was a huge wrestling star back in the 1950s, considered an innovator of the ring with his aerial tactics and fast-paced, entertaining style. In this match from 1952, he takes on Lou Kim, who I don't know anything about, but he has sideburns and a fu manchu, so he's probably at least better than Jim Powers. Rocca bounces around the ring on his bare feet, as I guess that's his thing. After some feeling out, Kim locks a bearhug on Rocca, but must break the hold. Rocca confounds Kim by dropping to the mat and rolling around in the ring, with Kim unable to catch him. He then leaps on Kim's shoulder and puts him in a headlock with his legs, but Kim is able to get to the ropes and places Rocca on the corner. Kim rocks Rocca with a few overhand chops to the back and the head, and covers, but Rocca's legs are under the ropes. Kim with a full nelson, but Rocca flips over his back into the ropes, then dropkicks Kim to tie him up further. After Kim escapes, Rocca does another running dropkick, and a third one ties up Kim into the ropes again. Kim eventually gets out on the apron, but is counted out as he can't return to the ring before the count. Rocca leaps in celebration. This was quite a different match to those of today, but I wasn't crazy about it, so I'll give it a 1.65 out of 5.

P17- Antonino Rocca: The Kangaroos and Dr. Jerry Graham vs. Antonino Rocca, Ricky Starr, and Miguel Perez

This video is from sometimes in the 1950s and features the original Kangaroos (Al Costello and Roy Heffernan) team up with Dr. Jerry Graham to battle Rocca, the ballet dancer/wrestler Ricky Starr, and the father of a future Los Borica, Miguel Perez. We start with Starr doing cartwheels all over the ring while Costello chases after him and eventually Costello falls face first into the ropes, allowing Starr the opportunity to jump on his back two times. Rocca decides to enter the ring and do the same while Heffernan chases after Starr. The Kangaroos double team on Ricky Starr some, then Costello puts Starr in a full nelson, but Starr flips him over his back and takes Costello down with a series of dropkicks, and after the fourth one, Starr covers and gets the first fall for his team. Rocca starts the second fall for his team, and repeatedly kicks each of the Kangaroos with a front kick to the face. We cut to Perez pounding away on Heffernan, then going to the other corner and swinging at each of his opponents. Cut to Graham giving Rocca a pair of bodyslams, but catching Rocca's feet in his face after the second one. Rocca then dropkicks Graham a few times before somebody interferes, only for Rocca to dropkick him into Graham. Cover by Rocca, and the ref counts to three to give his team the victory. After the match, Starr tries to get after the interfering party, but is eventually pulled off of him. I wonder how good the whole match was? As for what I saw, it was kind of silly, to be honest, so I'll give it a 1.35 out of 5.

P18- Armando Estrada: ECW 6/10/2008 Armando Estrada vs. Finlay

The former general manager of ECW, Armando Estrada takes on Finaly in this match on the June 10, 2008 edition of ECW. Finaly comes out with his 'son' Hornswoggle, and guess what, Mike Adamle is on commentary with the man he once referred to as 'the Taz'. What did I do to deserve this honor? Estrada was just fired from his GM role last week, so now new GM Teddy Long is forcing Estrada to fight Finlay and win in order to earn a contract. Estrada shows some moxie by going after Finaly before the bell, and starts the match raining blows on Finlay. Armando whips Finlay into the corner and charges, only to take a boot to the head. Finlay seems a bit ticked, as he comes after Armando with a pair of clothesline, then gives Armando a bodyslam and a sitdown splash for his troubles. To make matters worse for Armando, Finlay delivers his finisher, the Celtic Cross, and it proves to be a true finisher as it gets the three count. Finlay and Hornswoggle celebrate a job well done, but here comes Teddy Long. Estrada is lucky that Teddy likes him, as the new GM gives Estrada another match to earn his contract, this one against Colin Delaney, the very same man Armando put in matches against men twice his size in order to earn a contract. Delaney comes out, and Finlay being the guy that he is, canes Estrada in the back of the leg with his shillelagh. Delaney DDTs Estrada upon entering the ring, and gets the three count in about six seconds. Long still feels charitable, so he gives Estrada one more chance with a match against Hornswoggle. But Estrada's still down, and Hornswoggle takes this opportunity to scurry up the turnbuckles and deliver the Tadpole Splash to get the quick victory. The three Irishmen dance in celebration of their various victories, but Delaney makes the mistake of placing Hornswoggle's hat on Finlay, which results in a shillelagh shot to the face. Well, that made me laugh, and it also made Finlay crack a smile. Back to celebrating for the Finlays, and the video ends. Poor Armando. I'll give a 2.5 out of 5 just because I like Finlay cracking fools with his shillelagh.

P18- Arnold Skaaland: Superfly Jimmy Snuka and Arnold Skaaland vs. Lou Albano and Don Muraco, MSG, 12/26/1983

This match took place the same night Skaaland's other client at the time, Bob Backlund, lost his WWF Heavyweight Title to the Iron Shiek after Skaaland threw in the towel while Backlund was in the camel clutch. So Skaaland had a big night on this night. Here the match starts off with the then 58 year-old donning the tights and squaring off against big Don Muraco. Skaaland takes Muraco by surprise with a pair of arm drags, but Muraco is able to regroup and puts a headlock on Skaaland. Skaaland whips Muraco out of the position, then ducks for Muraco to leap over him. Muraco puts on the breaks to taunt the fans, but walks into a Skaaland body slam, and then 'the Golden Boy' decks a charging Albano for good measure. Back up, Muraco whips Skaaland, who uses the opportunity to hit Albano again, then small packages Muraco for a two count.  Tie up, but Skaaland ducks under and tags out to Snuka. Muraco headlocks Snuka, and then shoulderblocks him after an Irish whip, but Snuka gets the upper hand after a pair of leapfrogs and a karate chop to the throat, which sends Muraco bailing out of the ring. Back in, Snuka gets a one count after a flying headbutt, then puts Muraco in a chinlock. Snuka drags Muraco over to the other corner and forces the Magnificent one to tag in Albano, and 'The Guiding Light' squares off with his former charge. Snuka starts off with some strikes, but a low blow hunches Snuka over and allows Albano to punish Snuka with forearms. While Albano has the ref's attention, Muraco comes off the top rope and drives his knee into Snuka. After some more punches, Muraco is tagged in, and continues the punishment on Snuka with a pair of knee lifts. After a minute of Muraco dominating Snuka with strikes, Superfly sees an opening and fires at Muraco, eventually knocking him down with a headbutt. Snuka then karate chops Albano just because he can, but Muraco prevents any further punishment on Albano with a dropkick that knocks Snuka down. Albano's in, he delivers some of the worst strikes in the history of pro wrestling before tagging in Muraco again. Muraco hooks up Snuka in a full nelson and waits for Albano to strike Snuka, but Captain Lou takes forever and a day and Snuka ducks out the way so Muraco takes the force of the Captain's blow. Skaaland comes in and pounds away on Albano, while Snuka climbs to the top and flattens Muraco with a cross body block. Cover, and the ref counts three giving Snuka and Skaaland the victory. Snuka's not yet finished, and gives a double noggin knocker to Muraco and Albano before both men stagger out of the ring. Kind of a strange match, as a 58 year old manager was able to hold his own against Muraco and Albano got a lot of offense on Snuka. Not that good of a match either, but I guess the right team won. I'll give it a 1.25 out of 5.

P18- Ashley Massaro: Ashley Massaro on Raw

This video is from the March 12, 2007 editon of Raw. Ashley Massaro, the former contestant of Survivor:China and the second WWE Diva Search winner is talking about her signing of her Playboy cover at some store in New York. Not surprisingly, there's nothing but dudes in line. Then for some reason we get Todd Grisham interviewing Mick Foley. Mick is here to promote his book, The Hardcore Diaries (which I reviewed earlier). Mick plugs his book and his appearance of ECW when Ashley shows up to exchange her Playboy for Mick's book. Ron Simmons shows up, looks at the magazine, and says Damn. Later on, Ashley runs to the ring and spears Melina because I guess the two have an upcoming match. Well, at least this was short. 1.3 out of 5.

Well, that's all for now. Remember, if you have any thoughts about the matches reviewed above or about the 2BWE project itself, then feel free to leave a comment on this post. Also, if you have any ideas for future posts, then send me an e-mail at Also, remember, Arriba is the victory cry.