Shahid’s Blog: A Ride Down Memory Lane – WWE Network and An Appreciation of WCW

Robocop off duty Cage Destroyer with Sting

When WWE announced its plans for its own network, I was extremely skeptical.  With the current cable climate, a dedicated paid channel seemed outdated. The idea of watching old Raw and Nitros with bargain basement reality shows and the occasional documentary didn’t strike me as a scintillating product; using dubstep in its promo videos didn’t help either.  So of course Vince McMahon presents a revolutionary product – an internet only streaming service, combining its massive library with new material that may actually be worth a damn, plus every future PPV….for 9.99 a month.

I’ve been a wrestling fan for close to 30 years, and I can honestly say this is the most groundbreaking event in my fandom.  Being able to watch a 1992 WCW PPV in HD on my iPad?  Watching World Class on my big screen TV?  Getting WrestleMania and Summerslam for free? Not only would I save money on my cable bill, I could kiss the days of 12 part YouTube videos with crappy resolution good bye.  I won’t discuss the initial hiccups or improvements which could be made.  Right now, I’ll dive into a few things I’ve experienced so far.

One thing I’ve realized during my initial weeks of watching was the in ring quality of WCW.  Say what you want about their goofy and often idiotic booking – popping in a random PPV will usually be an enjoyable experience.  It’s not hard to see why, considering their talent base during the late 80’s to mid 90s – Sting, Flair, The Steiners, Ricky Steamboat, Rick Rude, Gordy/Williams, Steve Austin, Barry Windham, Pillman, Vader……it’s a murderer’s row of talented in ring workers and/or compelling characters.

What also helped was the excellent announcing of Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura, which gave it a sports feel and made every match seemed relevant.  Plus there is an added bonus of red hot crowds, which makes a huge difference to the enjoyment level – listening to Sting/Koloff vs Anderson/Blanchard would make you think it was WrestleMania. Although I could do without the inane stipulations from Bill Watts – how you can bring in someone like Jushin Liger while outlawing top rope maneuvers is mind boggling.

Even without the context of WCW Saturday Night, Clash of the Champions or other weekly shows, WCW PPV’s tend to hold up very well during that time frame…..at least until Hogan came and brought in the era of the Three Amigos (Hogan, Sting and Savage) running roughshod until the formation of the NWO.  But thats a story for another week.  And by the way, to hell with the Shockmaster, Robocop, Johnny Gunn and Paul Roma, Horseman. -Shahid

Kevin’s Blog: Definitely Live & Half Assed Review of #Raw

This child is embracing the hate. John Cena should too.

After getting a review of last week’s ending of Raw, Kane comes out to talk. He says we’re all disappointments. My teams are a disappointment right now. Dear lord. Can we fast forward to the 2012-2013 season already? The Steelers weren’t going to win the Super Bowl because of their injuries. If the Penguins have one more injury this year, they might need more minor league players. Kane tells everyone that yells “Cena sucks” that they aren’t embracing the hate. Weird logic that isn’t holding up for me. Kane is going to get what he wants, consequences. That’s another weird moment. John Cena hits the ring and a brawl ensues. Cena is embracing the hate by using a pipe.  Kane pulls a Batman and disappears. Gasp! (That’s sarcasm.)

Sheamus is the next out. Nice of them to try and make Smackdown sound important. Sean calls to tell me to watch the LSU vs Alabama game. I pretty much miss the match with Santino & Sheamus against Jinder Mahal & Wade Barrett. I didn’t really need to see it with Jinder being buried deeper than a serial killer’s victim. Johnny Wooden GM tells us Brodus Clay will debut tonight and he tells the Miz to get protection for R Truth. Are they telling us that Brodus will be the Miz’s protection?

The first Hall of Fame nominee is the Rated R Superstar, Edge. I thought they’d give him a little more time on the shelf before selecting him. I’m surprised they think he’s this important. Oh goody, we get a second inductee tonight. The Miz was interviewing Mason Ryan who walked away. Zack Ryder talks scared with his dad but goes tough guy when Eve Torres shows up. He asks her out. Eve agrees. We know this isn’t reality. Kane was creeping. Him & his mood lighting.

Kofi Kingston gets to job to Daniel Bryan who may indeed be going heel. Mitchell is pointing out his cowardice. Jerry Lawler agrees with him so I’ll lean more towards the heel turning. Bryan turns a cross body into a LeBell Lock. That looked sloppy at first but mades sense in the end. Cool is confused since he knows he’ll be rooting for Bryan when he turns for good. Big Show arrives. Bryan says that he agrees the ending of the match on Smackdown wasn’t suitable for him either. Big Show informs him that it’s no count out, no DQ match on Smackdown. Doesn’t that even the odds for Bryan actually? Either interference or by using weaponry.

Royal Rumble hype while I watch the end of the first half. Alabama up 9-0. Only 6 more points to get to the last grand total of 15. I’m smelling swerve. Planet Funk? Funkasaurus? What the fuck? I do dig the fedora. More of a pot pie style. Cool is snickering. Curt Hawkins gets a rare appearance. I’m so confused. But I’m laughing. Is he going to have the dancing girls every week? Zack talks himself up then Miz lobbies Primo & Epico for some reason. Rosa walking away is her only deficiency. She could use some more booty. CM Punk laughs at him on his way to work. Am I watching Impact Wrestling? Those segments were way too short and randomly thrown together.

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Headlines: TNA Web site hacked, Barry Windham’s heart attacked, WrestleMania record cracked

"Four more chocolate shakes, please!"

According to me, I got engaged this weekend. Now, back to our regularly scheduled posting of news and analysis.

According to Prowrestling.net, TNA’s Web site was hacked. You can see a screenshot of the result at that link; it’s the best the site has looked since they forgot to change their world champion for about three days.

Also according to Prowrestling.net, Barry Windham is doing pretty well after his heart attack, and WWE is funding his medical costs. Man, between this and paying for former employees’ drug rehab, I’m trying to think if *I’ve* ever worked for WWE at any time. Hey, I picked up someone’s paper cup off the floor at a Smackdown taping and threw it away; you all want to pay for my wedding?

Finally, according to Prowrestling.net, ticket sales for WrestleMania 28 have set a record “for first-day ticket sale growth” of $6.8 million. I don’t have a fucking clue what “first-day ticket sale growth” means, but hey, you all want to pay for my wedding? -Eric

Barry Windham hospitalized after stroke, makes me feel old

barry windham

I'm actually not sure who won this match.

According to Prowrestling.net, Barry Windham has been hospitalized after suffering a stroke. You can read the full story and see Windham’s doughy, mustachioed face at Slam Sports (that Canadian Web site) (damn, he looks more and more like his dad every time I see him).

Of course I want Windham to make a speedy recovery. My biggest concern, though, is how old  this is making me feel. It was one thing when 35-year-old wrestlers were dying when I was 19. But now the older, somehow healthier generation (Windham, the Briscos, etc.) are starting to sell the farm, guys I grew up watching when I was 4, 5, 6 years old. I remember renting WrestleMania 1 on VHS and being wowed by someone the size of Windham throwing such a mean dropkick, and then, three years and 10 pounds later, turning heel on Lex Luger and joining the Four Horsemen. Well, one year and another 20 pounds after that, Windham jumped back to the WWF, where he became a jobber known as “The Widowmaker.” Ugh. That was almost as bad as “The Stalker,” the 1996 WWF character played by an approximately 400-pound Windham…

Wait, he had a stroke? No way.

Anyway, here’s to a speedy recovery to a wrestler of which I have plenty of fond memories and a shared weight fluctuation problem. Time to drown my sorrows in a bucket of Blue Bunny moose tracks. -Eric

Second Annual Akeem Memorial Hall of Fame: Matches

Every year, starting in 2010, we here at Stunt Granny will go through a rigorous, dangerous, possibly illegal set of votes to induct people into our own Akeem Memorial Hall of Fame. The voting is broken up into four categories: Serious Wrestlers, Fun Wrestlers, Angles, and Matches. This post is for the Matches. Here are last year’s inductees:

Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker – WrestleMania 25, Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart – WrestleMania 10, Ric Flair vs. Rick Steamboat – WrestleWar 1989, Ric Flair vs. Rick Steamboat – Chi Town Rumble, Cactus Jack vs. Vader – Halloween Havoc 1993, Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin – WrestleMania 13, Randy Savage vs. Ultimate Warrior – WrestleMania 7, Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior – WrestleMania 6, Great Sasuke & Gran Hamada & Masato Yakushiji vs. Taka Michinoku & Terry Boy & Dick Togo – ECW Barely Legal

And now, without any further ado, here are this year’s inductees!

Royal Rumble 1992

Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat, WrestleMania 3

CM Punk vs. John Cena, Money in the Bank 2011

Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair, WrestleMania 8

Mick Foley vs. The Undertaker, King of the Ring 1998

Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn, ECW Heat Wave 1998

Bret Hart vs. Curt Hennig, Summer Slam 1991

Sting & Nikita Koloff & Rick Steamboat & Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes vs. Rick Rude & Steve Austin & Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton & Larry Zbyszko, WrestleWar 1992

Stunt Granny Audio #24

It’s the first Stunt Granny Audio of 2009! Dusty and Eric wax intellectual about WGN hosting a new/possibly rehashed WWE program on its stations, including what the show might look like and how this new network might open doors for the wrestling company. The two talk a little about Barry Windham, other second-generation wrestlers who are far better than Barry Windham, and why WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt is a bad-ass. Eric also pimps an indy show near him (NWA No Limits in Iowa City this Friday, featuring former WWE and TNA wrestlers), so ya better listen to us, and ya better listen real, real good!

Stunt Granny Audio #24

Barry Windham fired, mullet given three-year option

So long, Barry, we lardly knew ye.

So long, Barry, we lardly knew ye.

(This is kinda old news, but) According to PWInsider.com (by way of Prowrestling.net), WWE recently released road agent/leech Barry Windham. As of that original post, no reason had been given for Windham’s dismissal, but Dot Net’s Jason Powell speculated that Windham’s reputation for not going into detail with wrestlers may have been his undoing. So you’re telling me that a guy who got into wrestling on his successful daddy’s coattails and then was lucky enough to ride in Ric Flair’s limo for a while wasn’t pulling his weight? No shit; if I was a young wrestler, I wouldn’t be standing in line to talk to Barry God Damn Windham about the secrets of career advancement and main event ability. I’d be in line behind him in catering counting how many dozen chicken wings he ganks. And before you start, I don’t want to hear about all of Barry Windham’s potential. The only potential this guy ever had was to potentially die of heart failure as he ballooned from his svelte, U.S. Express weight of 240 lbs. to his “we’re gonna swerve people into thinking Hulk Hogan’s coming to WCW early” weight of 310 pounds. And don’t give me that whole “great babyface, surprisingly agile” argument, either. There was another piece of shit redneck with a stringy white mullet by the name of Tommy Rich who was this great regional babyface who may have done a sunset flip once, and he was the NWA Champion for a cup of coffee (and a dozen glazed donuts). The last time you saw his fat ass was in ECW being made a fool out of in the FBI. Barry, pick up some P90X and make something out of yourself before either Windham Rotunda (haha, “Windham” and “Rotund” in the same thought… shocking) grows up without an uncle, or you and Tommy Rich hop on two motor scooters and ride off like those fat guys in the Guinness Book of World Records. God, I’m a dickhead. -Eric

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