Eric’s Blog: One of my top 5 favorite matches, Ric Flair vs. Vader, 20 years ago today

Once upon a time, World Championship Wrestling, and Jim Crockett Promotions before it, promoted Starrcade as its most prominent and preeminent event of the year. Originally held Thanksgiving night, pressure from the WWF in 1988 forced WCW to move its flagship event to the week of Christmas, which means if the event were being held today, well, it might be held today.

In fact, 20 years ago today, the 11th Starrcade was held in Charlotte, N.C., with the original plans pitting WCW Champion Big Van Vader against Sid Vicious in a bitter battle of former tag team partners who were, well, thrown together about six months earlier, um, because they were both big and, uh, they both used a power bomb as their finisher.

In December 1993, Vader was 18 months into a spectacular run as a monster heel champion, and Sid was, you know, Sid, the underachieving heel whose babyface turn was predicated on a fumbled, accidental double-cross by his comedic manager, Col. Rob Parker, and who could never connect with a crowd at-large beyond the pop he received on his entrance. (Never mind the fact that Dusty and I think he’s, as Sid himself used to say, “the man.”)

And then came the little issue of the night Sid stabbed Arn Anderson with a pair of scissors 20 times in a hotel in England that October, effectively removing himself from the main event of WCW’s biggest show of the year. This put Eric Bischoff’s team of bookers in quite a pinch, and what did WCW pretty much always do when they were in a pinch?

Paging Ric Flair.

Flair was programmed with Vader beginning at Battlebowl, a half-crocked concept launched by Dusty Rhodes at Starrcade 1991 that, somehow, got its own pay-per-view in November 1993. During the ceremonious final battle royal, Vader attacked Flair outside of the ring, eliminating Flair from the match.

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Hulk Hogan helps lung transplant patient enjoy multiple days of his Hulkamania-blessed life

Just teasing, Hulk Hogan loves his fans.

(Update, 8/31: Wow, somehow this post has leapt in “popularity” in the past 12 hours. I invite everyone to read the comments that have already been posted before you recommend I commit suicide in front of a video camera. I don’t need to be told twice! Also, I understand Hogan actually met with the Hafeleins, which surprises me given Hogan’s busy schedule of telling everyone he was Lars Ulrich’s first choice as Metallica’s bassist. Congratulations to the Hafeleins, and kudos for your courage.)

According to Prowrestling.net, Hulk Hogan is helping pro wrestling fan Jason Hafelein of Midland, Michigan, cross one particular item off his bucket list: to meet the Hulkster in person. Hafelein recently underwent a double lung transplant, which his body is rejecting, and since he can’t fly due to the air pressure, he, his wife, and his respiratory therapist plan to drive from Michigan to meet Hogan. Please watch the video of his story here: http://www.redlasso.com/?p=467504

(Edited for content.)

Stunt Granny Audio #192

This an excruciatingly special edition of Stunt Granny Audio because it features the reuniting of Jeremy, Eric and Dusty for the first time in a long, long time. And not only that, but it also features the debut of several different new features of Stunt Granny Audio, including the Top Five At Five, Match Game and the Mount Rushmore game. Can you barely contain your excitement!? They talk about the nine hour long AJ-Daniel Bryan-CM Punk segment that opened Raw, they talk about the heart warming ascent of Austin Aries, they talk about Iowa’s own Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame and who will all be there, and they talk about a whole lot more things that you can only know about if you listen to the audio. So why don’t you do that? NOW.

Stunt Granny Audio Show #192

Stunt Granny Audio #190

A three (and a half) hour tour…

Join Kevin and Dusty through a magical odyssey of life and pro wrestling in this latest edition of Stunt Granny Audio! Kevin is planted firmly in the middle of a domestic dispute between one of his roommates and their baby momma. In classic Howard Stern fashion, Dusty drags it out on the air to entertain people. And then they focus their attentions on pro wres and the happenings of this week’s Monday Night Raw. Vince McMahon is the strangest human being in the entire world and desperately wants you to think he’s a stud who is hip and with it. What is greater: Vader’s age or Vader’s weight? Poor Sin Cara didn’t get his trampoline entrance. Poor Curt Hawkins didn’t even get an entrance. Can CM Punk shape the future of pro wres? All that and a whole lot more and it’s only going to cost you about 5o minutes of your measley life, so listen now dammit!

Stunt Granny Audio Show #190

Top 10 Vader Times: A Big Van Vader mini retrospective

With the one-night return of Vader to WWE on last night’s Monday Night Raw, I feel the need to dig up 10 of the biggest moments (for one reason or another) in the career of Big Van Vader, one of the best big men in the history of pro wrestling and a wrestler after whom many super-heavyweights should work to model themselves. Vader is at least 50 percent responsible for a number of my favorite matches in pro wrestling, two of which are listed below.

Vader’s eye pops out in a match with Stan Hansen, from All Japan:

Vader wins the WCW World Title from Sting, at the Great American Bash 1992:

More with Sting and Vader: Promos for the Superbrawl III White Castle of Fear match…

… and Part 1 of the good match that followed:

Vader powerbombs Cactus Jack on the cement, April 1993 WCW Saturday Night…

… and the grudge match, a Texas Death Match, from WCW Halloween Havoc 1993 (one of my all-time faves):

Vader vs. Ric Flair, WCW World Title vs. Flair’s career, WCW Starrcade 1993 (another all-time fave):

Vader makes, well, a splash in his WWF Monday Night Raw debut, January 1996:

Vader vs. Shawn Michaels, Summerslam 1996:

Vince Russo is a genius: Vader calls himself a “big piece of shit”:

We didn’t see a whole lot of Vader after that promo, until last night. In the 14 years since that moment, I’ve personally dreamed of pro wrestling seeing another super-heavyweight as monstrous, agile, evil and believable as Big Van Vader, but it’s highly unlikely we ever will. -Eric

Kevin’s Blog: Almost Live, Definitely Half Assed Review of @WWE #Raw

26th round draft pick of the, ahem first place, Pittsburgh Pirates Jimmy Rider sent my beloved Kent State Golden Flashes into the College World Series by blooping a double onto the left field line which allowed Derek Toadvine to score in the bottom of the ninth. Needless to say, I’m giddy. Let’s roll.

Johnny Wooden GM comes out but before he can utter a peep, Vincent Kennedy McMahon comes down. Johnny tries to suck up to the crowd. It doesn’t work. Vince runs down Johnny’s bad decisions. Before Vince can do anything, Sheamus interrupts. Ugh, it’s going to be a loooong segment. Vince gets to tease us with a warm up “You’re Fired.” Moron adult in the crowd with a goatee and bald head had it spelled “Your”. Brutal.

Tensai is Sheamus’s opponent. The crowd is chanting “Albert”. Yep, stop trying to sell him as the second coming of the Great Muta. And have fun losing again. This will be his second high class job which the announcers pointed out. Cool says it a second time. Tensai may as well buy a mining hat for how deep he’s getting buried. Wow, they’re giving Tensai more offense in the second half of this match. Sheamus barely kicked out of his finisher. Good sell on his part. The Brogue Kick is becoming like the RKO, it can hit at any time.Vince asks Johnny who can replace Alberto Del Rio at No Way Out. Vickie offers up Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger. Teddy Long gets the big idea but fetches coffee. Johnny goes for the fist bump. Vince cracks his first dick joke. Did I miss some news on Del Rio? Yes I did. Del Rio got his bell rung. Tough. They made him look decent with the attack on Sheamus.

Sakamoto is getting assaulted by Tensai after the commercial. The crowd isn’t reacting. I’m tempted to hit FF. I don’t care about either of these guys. You haven’t given me a reason. I don’t care that Albert can speak Japanese. So blowing thru the memory lane shit. R Truth is interviewed by Matt Striker. Lil’ Jimmy was traumatized. He was much better as a crazy heel. Big Show attacks him again. Big meanies everywhere tonight.

And of course we follow up with a replay of what just happened. Santino Marella comes out for a mixed tag match. Starting off like a barn on fire. More replays. Layla comes out looking as hot as always. They’re battling Ricardo Rodriguez (in tux, stay classy) and Beth Phoenix. Ricardo hides so this match is a hidden women’s match. Beth with the Glam Slam for the win. Beth sells Ricardo who is sporting a Justin Beiber shirt. Isn’t that your audience? David Otunga sucks up to Vince. Before Vince can get off a good lawyer joke, Kofi demands a match with Big Show. Dummy. Johnny who was right beside them grants it. Why did Vince & Otunga act like he was somewhere else?

Daniel Bryan comes out to speak to us. In threes. He’s delivering. CM Punk comes out to a serious pop. He goes short and sweet but does a good job. I hate pimping his own segment. Punk did have an awesome moment. He brings the thunder after that. Kane brings pyro and hopefully not much of a promo. AJ makes an appearance. CM Punk & AJ take on Kane & Bryan. Why would you do this during your job evaluation? Then they replay Vince doing “You’re Fired.” Cue foreshadowing.

It’s FF thru the entrances time. That Kent game got me started at 10. It’s getting late, yo. It’s the four way match between the Great Khali, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger & Christian. The other three eliminate the Great Khali. Smart move on their part. Except Christian who is in there against a tag team. So is it worse for Mr. KSU to lose tonight or at the PPV? We know the winner is not derailing Sheamus. Swagger is a terrible choice even for an obvious loss. Christian doesn’t make sense.

They’re doing just that after the break until Christian dumps Dolph outside. The new hairdo is not helping Swagger. Going shorter under the part makes you look like a cub scout. Killswitch on Swagger with Dolph getting the pin. Dolph drop kick #3 of the match only gets a two count. Dolph kicks out after a spear. They’re making him look good. Christian is my move them up the card guy. Good back and forth near the end. “Let’s Go Ziggler” chant breaks out. The crowd goes solid pop for Mr. KSU. Clean pin too. Sheamus comes out for a look. They do a stare down. Nice quick hype. Natalya is still crazy while talking to Vince. The Funkadactyls try to charm Mr. McMahon. Vince dances. So we’ve got young chicks, the Harts, lawyers & dick jokes covered for Vince. Zack Ryder gets an appearance. How’s that You Tube show doing?

Ryback squash. He dominates two more schmucks. He needs his Big Show beating him up moment. Or a real opponent. They replay almost the whole match right after it’s over. Dumb.

Hornswoggle is talking to Vince. For some reason, he can’t talk again. JR impersonation. John Cena arrives. Cena points out all of Vince’s losses at WM. Of course Regal had to make an appearance after an ass kissing segment. We have all of Vince’s bases covered now, I think.

Kofi Kingston is smart enough to attack Big Show as he climbs over the ropes. I’m sort of tuning out the bickering between Cool & Lawler. It’s a big commercial for No Way Out. Crowd popped for Trouble. Kofi doing the smart thing and act like a chicken shit heel. Kofi gets KOed anyway. Shouldn’t the ref call it? Armstrong finally calls it.

Curt Hawkins gets to lose to Sin Cara. The crowd is all over chants tonight. Not sure what this one was. Hawkins has more offense in the first minute than I expected for the whole match. I hate Sin Cara’s finisher.

Daniel Bryan is stretching when Vince says hi. Another dick joke. Yep, we’re rounding the bases a second time until the end of the show.

I didn’t stop the FF even for my boy Dolph Ziggler. I said no memory lane and I meant it. Heath Slater is taking on Vader. He has seen better days. The crowd is giving him a warm enough reception. No way the majority of people actually remember him. Another chant. A “You’ve still got it” chant to add to their total. He has no agility any more people. Vader Bomb for the win. Cool does a Vader Time chant. Ugh. Pick your role. CM Punk talks to AJ Lee. He tells her not to worry. Punk’s facials after the kiss tell it all.

The Punk & AJ match against Kane & Daniel Bryan is up next. I taped Common Law but a three hour show shouldn’t over run. I know this segment will. I feel it in my being. Vince hasn’t been on nearly enough. AJ gets tagged into the match. She ends up kissing Kane. Does someone kissing Kane fall under specialty happening for Vince? Bryan jobs to the top rope elbow. Weak. She’s doing a good crazy person.

Vince comes out for the main event. The security are going to march Johnny out. The Big Show comes out to defend Johnny. He’s stinking it up worse than Sheamus. And of course they over ran. Because three hours and five minutes isn’t nearly enough time. John Cena shows up. I forgot he needed to be included in this segment. Damn it. He loses me but then grabs my attention when he does the reverse Cody Rhodes. Big Show getting the same treatment within a couple of months. The match now has the Johnny firing stakes for the second PPV in a row. Big Show doesn’t come close but “KOs” Vince. -Kevin

A Night With @RealMickFoley and the Reverend Bob Levy

I got down to Woodlands Tavern around 7:15 PM for a 7:30 show. It was crowded especially the patio with the weather being a balmy eighty-eight. I had been to Woodlands before for a comedy show, Amy Schumer. For that show, I had to wait in a line to get into the bar, which operates while the comedy show is in a sectioned off with a full wall. It’s a good set up to have drinking business and a captive audience. I would say that the comedy room fits about a hundred and fifty people. I had enough time and room to grab a Great Lakes Rally Drum Red Ale before heading into the comedy room.

Blake something or other was the warm up for the show. He wasn’t very funny. He wanted us to follow him on Twitter but I’m not going to. I’m not terribly funny but I’d think that if I’d been working for about five years (like he said he was), I’d be better than this guy. Things were not off to a good start. Blake introduced Mick Foley, who it should be mentioned was on all of the posters for the event. I’m not going to blow up his act because that’d be uncool. I will describe the generality of his act though. The majority of his set was based around wrestling, so if you hadn’t seen him in the ring, your perception of the show had to have been crippled. Foley isn’t a rapid fire joke guy. He’s more of a story telling, fit in the jokes kind of a comedian. The bad thing about that is that earlier today on Opie & Anthony, Jim Breuer was on. Breuer is the king of this line of comedy. He can turn an ordinary story into something extraordinary. Foley turned some fun situations into something funny. He was very interactive with the audience too. That can be a problem sometimes and tonight was one of those nights. I’ve been to other comedy shows out at the Funny Bone in Easton. I think every other crowd I’ve been with has been more responsive to the comedians than tonight’s crowd. Foley got little help in that department. Mick ended his set by doing an impromptu segment, or so he said so I don’t mind describing it in more detail. A Metallica tribute band called One was playing after the second show which started at 10:15 PM. Foley recreated how Lynyrd Skynyrd came to have the hit Sweet Home Alabama. It was very funny but the guy in front of me was the perfect example of the crowd not participating. Foley wanted the crowd to lap along while he fumbled thru three wrong headed attempts at a verse. The dude in front of me clapped for the first try then moved to lightly slapping the table to then not participating by the third failed attempt. Was it one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard? No. Was it entertaining enough to clap along? Certainly.

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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

Mick Foley shares YouTube video of ear loss incident

Mick Foley made a pro wrestling career out of getting beaten up, beating himself up, never being in shape (oh, I’m sorry, “looking different than everyone else”) and generally being a garbage wrestler before, during and after the term “garbage wrestling” was cool. And he wears the whole concept as a badge of honor. Or, in some cases, he wears it no longer: Foley Tweeted a link to a YouTube video, taken March 16, 1994, from a WCW house in Germany, of the match where he lost his ear while wrestling Big Van Vader. If you’re not familiar with the story (and if Foley ever found out that you aren’t familiar, I’m sure he’d offer to sell you a copy of his New York Times best-selling book, “Have a Nice Day”), Foley, as Cactus Jack, used to love to tie his head up between the top and middle ropes; one night in Germany while wrestling Vader, he couldn’t get his fat head out from between the ropes without, well, his ear tearing right off of his head. (Kinda like how he hasn’t learned that if you’re still holding a cookie while you’re hand is in the jar, it’s way harder to pull out. Speaking of which, I wish Mr. Foley would have pulled out 46 years ago.)

Start watching at about the 50-second mark and you’ll see his ear totally fall off while he throws a punch, followed by the referee picking it up and showing it to folks at ringside. It’s a historic moment and a turning point in the career of a man who prides himself on sustaining great deals of physical punishment and always working through the pain to finish his job and perform for the fans.

The real takeaway from this Tweet, though, is that Mick Foley spends a great deal of time at home googling “mick foley.” -Eric

Stunt Granny Hall of Fame Inductees: Matches

Duh.

The best matches.  The matches that mean the most to you. The matches you have fond recollections of. The matches you want to see over and over and over again. You know the drill.

Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, 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

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