Tuesday, 31 January 2012


THE ARROWHEAD POND IN ANAHEIM CALIFORNIA TONIGHT SERVES AS HOST TO THE 1999 ROYAL RUMBLE and this year we've got Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler on commentary and one wonders if it is that Jim Ross is sick again or if this is one of the times he was just kind of pulled off of commentary despite being the best guy at it ever? In any case we are deeply mired in the ATTITUDE ERA right now and I was not watching any pay per views at this point and was only catching maybe like ten minutes of Monday Night Raw after a hockey game or something because it was all just kind of stupid in my view. Wrestling should be old timey and square not *au courant* and *edgy* and I am not going to go on and on about this but while Austin and the Rock and Foley and increasingly Triple H by this time were all excellent at having wrestling matches there was just so much garbage underneath that I found the show pretty unwatchable and I am not of the view that shitty wrestling is much improved by dudes demanding other dudes fellate them when they don't even really mean it man they are just trying to demean them through suggestions of submissive sexuality and the very notion that those acts should be seen as demeaning calls into question whether or not anyone involved in the World Wrestling Federation was the least bit enlightened as regards sexual politics broadly. I expect more from the television show with fake fights and so should you. Also let us not forget as a general point that women gave birth to all of them. Setting all of that aside let me also say that I found the main event storytelling in this period overwrought YEAH THAT'S RIGHT OVERWROUGHT I SAID IT. I also didn't like Vince McMahon as an active in-ring competitor so that was a problem. God bless Shane-O and his willingness to take a ridiculous fall once every six months or so but I was never nuts about him either. The Attitude Era: just not for me basically.

The undercard here is not awesome. Our opening bout pits Hardcore Champion THE ROAD DOGG JESSE JAMES (in a non-hardcore title match) against tag team champion and representative of the Corporation the Big Boss Man and oh yeah right you've got your Corporation and then your Ministry and then your Corporate Ministry at some point and it's all pretty stupid. The Road Dogg awkwardly does his introduction-built-for-two for just himself here but the people in the building go absolutely nuts for it so who am I to tell him how to do his job. This match sucks but it did have the Road Dogg go "SUCK IT" which went over huge and he also audibly said SHIT when the Boss Man caught him in a bear hug so ATTITUUUUUUUDE. Let me tell you that Road Dogg vs. Big Boss Man 1999 has nothing on Barbarian vs. Boss Man 1991. Sidewalk slam and we're out. Next up is pretty solid Intercontinental title defense by Ken Shamrock (who is also the other half of the tag team champions in case you were wondering) against The Bad Ass Billy Gunn aka "Mr. Ass" who I have a soft spot for as he is my brother's go-to guy in No Mercy. This match is fine because both of these guys are fine. The motivation here is apparently that Billy Gunn mooned Shamrock's not-real-life sister Ryan which sent Shamrock into a mental state very near The Zone. A totally decent match in which again there is much encouragement in the direction of sucking it and then a ref bump and a Val Venis DDT on the champ however Shamrock manages to survive this onslaught of things and finish it with the ankle lock, signature move of the rightly feared shooter. Then we get X-Pac, the living breathing reductio ad absurdum of the Attitude Era who is heralded as perhaps the greatest European Champion of all time and who gets the win over Gangrel who was a fucking vampire in charge of a bunch of other vampires thank god for the mature storytelling of the Attitude Era HOWEVER the Brood's music was really really cool. Debuting referee Teddy Long fucks up and counts three in a spot that is plainly not the finish and lol everybody just keeps on wrestling like nothing happens and Teddy doesn't even do anything like idk waive it off or something he just carries on. Why didn't they just put those together as a tag team match or something? But whatever I guess you've got to eat those innings somehow. 

Sable defeated Luna in strap match so brief that it was difficult for me to mind it.

Hey so there is a $100,000 bounty on the head of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin tonight and a number of World Wrestling Federation Superstars intend to collect.

HOLY SHIT this is the one with that insane match where the Rock chronic traumatic encephelopathizes Mick Foley in front of Foley's wife and children isn't it? The Rock is here and he is up to like three or more catch phrases per sentence and it is really quite a thing to hear and see and also smell cookin' I suppose. I agree with Michael Cole that the Rock is arguably the world's most electrifying sports entertainer in the world today. So this is not long after the whole situation where they had Tony Schiavone tell everybody watching Nitro that there was no point watching the taped Raw because there wasn't even going to be anything cool on it just Mick Foley winning the title from the Rock, right? The Rock is going to wrestle this I QUIT match in a track suit which might not sound cool but it's the Rock doing it so it's pretty cool. Mick Foley is in my preferred Mankind getup which is the one with the collared shirt and necktie. Mankind busts the Rock up with the microphone (a key technological component in the modern I QUIT match) and it doesn't look great but it *sounds* awesome. Unsurprisingly the match goes to the outside and with Foley down the Rock grabs a headset and offers some commentary for a moment. I am reminded that the best part of the totally fine Ken Shamrock match earlier in the night was when a bunch of fat college guys were going hard at Shamrock on the outside and he stood right in front of them looking at them for way longer than you would expect and then you could hear him say "fat piece of shit" which was funny because it was true.

OH SHIT MR. SOCKO that didn't take long to come out did it. Going back the subject of guys who are fat for a minute, holy shit did Mick Foley look fat as hell on Raw this week. He seriously needs to get on top of that. I think it is possible that notorious hardcore professional wrestler Mick Foley needs to look after himself better or he could suffer some health problems. Back on the outside the Rock holds the timekeeper's bell against Foley's head and strikes it with that little hammer and then sings "the bells will be rrrrrrrrriiiiiiinging" but I don't know what song that is. A Rock Bottom through the Spanish Announce Table seems an inevitability but the table collapses before that can happen. Now these two magnificent warriors are doing battle in the technical area where they do the lights and stuff OH SHIT DDT ON THE COLD CONCRETE FLOOR BY THE ROCK but Mankind will not quit as the chants have shifted from "ROCKY SUCKS" to simply "ROCKY" as he grabs a ladder because why not? They fuck around with that for a few minutes and it's OK and I am not that wild about hearing dudes grunting BLAARRRGGGHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO into the microphone after anything cool happens in a match but that's what we're doing here I guess and I am not going to let that get in the way. 

Now they're fighting in front of the first row of the lower bowl, I guess you'd say, about ten feet up, and unsurprisingly it is Foley who takes the pretty awesome fall down to a bunch of, like, things that control the lights (in a fake way) and sparks fly out of them and the lights go out for a moment which is cool and then Shane McMahon comes and is like "well I mean that's it I think" and the Rock is like OOOOOOH NO NO NO and will of course surprise no one to learn that The Rock and Mick Foley are delivering *the goods* here. I guess we are nearing the big finish as the Rock has now handcuffed Mankind but actually Mankind is now delivering multiple shots to the Rock's groin which is a sure sign of a dude who is not yet out of it.

aaaaaaaaaand here comes the chair. This is going to be horrific/great. PEOPLE's ELBOW or rather CORPORATE ELBOW with a chair over Mankind's face as for some reason the Rock/Mankind finish to Survivor Series 1998 rushes back to me. "Goodbye brain cells," the King intones as we get ok let's see there are two totally unprotected chair shots so far and Foley says "you'll have to kill me" and there are three more as Foley keeps coming forward and he's cuuuut. lol yeah this must be awesome for the kids by which I mean *his* kids and it occurs to me that I really should watch Beyond the Mat again sometime because it's on Netflix instant and if there is something on Netflix instant that you want to see and you don't watch it you are basically throwing away eight dollars a month and that is not how I live. Foley takes hmmm I guess it is a further five chair shots *to tha dome* and the Rock is alternating between catch phrases and ruinous chair shots and it is tremendous and with Foley plainly out cold the apparently prerecorded voice of Mick Foley screams I QUIT I QUIT and this match was awesome which is not something that will be new information for you but it is no less true because of that. Ahahahahaha the Rock stands astride Mankind's bleeding body and holds the championship belt aloft and here is a man who understands how you pretend to fight as well as anyone who ever came before him.

AND NOW IT IS TIME FOR THE ROYAL RUMBLE and yeah there is a $100,000 bounty on Steve Austin as has been mentioned and we also know that Austin and McMahon are going to be the first two out. We are shown a montage of all kinds of McMahon and his dudes vs. Stone Cold stuff and the best part of it involves a zamboni and the second best part shows that Vince McMahon puts up the middle finger in a way that I have seen people do on tv and movies but never irl which is the way where you do not bend the other three fingers at the knuckle but at like the next joint, you know? this is probably a regional thing. Third best: Stone Cold Stunner in a makeshift graveyard vs. the Undertaker. I guess Shawn Michaels is the comissioner here? Also we have clips from SUNDAY NIGHT HEAT that suggest Austin came to the building in a limo monster truck but I am not convinced he was driving.

Howard Finkel's explanation of the rules and concept here lasts much longer than usual AND HERE WE GO IT IS "STONE COLD" STEVE AUSTIN and yeah he is the best just look at his "HELL YEAH" leather vest with a skull on it and yeah see now the way Austin puts up the middle finger is in my view the standard method. Out comes McMahon to his NO CHANCE THAT'S WHATCHA GOT music and idk I'm not that into it even though he has impressively roidy old man tits I suppose. Lawler, in considering McMahon's physique, cums. The bell is rung and first a mud hole and then a groin are almost immediately stomped. Austin considers tossing McMahon out be decides not to in order to further exact his revenge I guess. Here comes GOLGA or whatever who is I believe John Tenta as a member of the Oddities in an already-kind-of-dated-by-1999 Cartman t-shirt and a fetish mask that will never be out of style probably. McMahon bails out under the bottom rope, Austin eliminates GOLGA and then pursues McMahon through the crowd and into the concourse and then a bathroom where Austin is JUMPED BY THE CORPORATE TEAM.

And so the soon-to-be-crippled Droz comes out to an empty ring and hangs out for like a minute before they send the next dude in and that dude is EDGE who is not a vampire here but instead a regular guy (he WAS a vampire for a while wasn't he?) and I'm pretty sure they haven't actually said whether they are supposed to be going ninety seconds or the full two minutes -- they said "an equal interval of time" or something -- and they're kind of all over the place with it but suffice it to say that the timing does not feel rushed and I am confident will not be an issue going forward because I am optimistic by nature. THE MAN THEY CALL GILLBERG enters and he was always pretty funny imo and he is eliminated immediately and yeah ok I am going to call this a TWO MINUTE Rumble for the record and be done with it. Good call, wrestling: two minutes is the way to go.

Austin is getting stretchered out of the women's room, looks like, as Steve Blackman and the shittiest kicks enter the ring. There's a good bit where Droz has Blackman almost out and he looks to Edge and goes GET OVER HERE and Edge responds to that bit of bossing with a thumb to the eye. Dan Severn is in next and he's another guy I have a hard time remembering was ever around perhaps because he's not in any of the video games. We're getting as much footage of Austin being attended to as we are getting of the *in-ring action* right now. TIGER ALI SINGH IS AN ELITIST WHO DOES NOT LIKE AMERICA and he is here to wrestle now. lol why is Dan Severn wrestling in a wet heather-grey t-shirt? Why wouldn't he, I guess. 

IT IS THE BLUE MEANIE OF THE J.O.B. SQUAD and those guys were pretty funny. I believe JBL "potatoed" him extensively at one point much to the delightnigdation of guys who get mad about wrestling on the internet? Not a whole lot of action here but we're really just getting going. Number eleven would appear to be a no show. Was it supposed to be Mosh, who Mabel has just slammed into a concrete wall? Perhaps so as Mabel now enters. He is clad in black formal wear and he is a monster apparently as he has eliminated Blackman, Severn and Singh.

OH YOU DIDN'T KNOW the crowd inquires before telling our asses to CAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL SOMEBODY as it is the Road Dogg and Mabel has eliminated the Meanie and Droz. T. R. Dogg sends Edge from the apron to the floor so he's gone and we're down to just Mabel and your hardcore champion Road Dogg and the lights go out and the Undertaker's music begins despite the Undertaker not taking part in this event and ooooh myyyyyyyy it is the druids and also the Acolytes and Paul Bearer and lol a Godwin and I guess they have eliminated Mabel or something? This is awfully stupid and now the Road Dogg is left alone in the ring.

He is joined by Gangrel who is shitty but man that theme music man I can't get enough of it and hey there goes Gangrel. So yeah we are just about halfway through this Royal Rumble and we have the Road Dogg standing tall in the centre of the ring and it is totally clear to me why I stopped watching this EXCEPT HERE IS KURRGAN AND HE IS WEARING ALL KINDS OF TIE DYE AND A LEATHER SKULLCAP YEEEEEEEEEAH SIDEWALK SLAM and now we are asked what everybody wants and what everybody needs and it is either head or AL SNOW and remember when he was like Dan Severn's submissions coach or something? That is a wild thought. Snow makes some bad choices as he attempts to eliminate Kurrgan and Road Dogg tips him out. 

Goldust is in at number sixteen and he is back from the brink of the provocative Lady Gagaesque fashion avant-garde and back in recognizable gold only with black accents that suggest he is a dark and troubled soul and Road Dogg says "suck it" not to either of his foes so much as to the crowd and they go YEEEEEAAAAAHH! and that's something to think about imo.

It's the Godfather and two ladies of the night.

KANE KANE KANE and one can only think about how much more exciting it would be if Jim Ross were here to BAH GAWD this situation but alas. There goes Road Dogg, and the Godfather, and yeah Goldust, too. I don't know if I would go so far as to suggest that *every* Royal Rumble needs a monster dude to wreck a whole bunch of people for a minute but it has always worked man it has *always* worked. However, a bunch of guys in white coats come out to take him to an insane asylum as per Mr. McMahon's orders or something? If I was there I would get an O-VER-WROUGHT! O-VER-WROUGHT! chant going that would catch on in my section and soon overtake the arena. Here's McMahon now, he's out at commentary, actually. Ken Shamrock comes out, and two minutes later Billy Gunn comes down wearing only one boot because of an earlier ankle locking, so we can get back to having a wrestling match again finally *gosh.* I may have neglected to mention earlier that Ken Shamrock hit a sweet perfectplex in the IC title match. Also last night at judo my man Jimmie was talking about the key points of a pin we call yoko shiho gatame for the noobs and he was talking about how you use your arm around the leg and he was like "I'll tell you what it's not: it's not a perfectplex grip" and I was like lololololol good stuff Jimmie and everyone else there is like ten years younger than us and they were like "wuh?" because they lack culture but that is our fault as instructors as much as it is anybody else's; we must teach them these things.

Test is out next and even though he was trained by Leo Burke he is not that awesome. Now we've got Mable being loaded into a hearse and there is just too much extraneous shit going on here; it is as though they have forgotten that it's supposed to be about the rumbling, man, the *royal* rumbling. An ambulance arrives and would you believe that it contains "Stone Cold" Steve Austin? Here he is now, and he chases McMahon back into and out of the ring. Shamrock clearly has the bounty on his mind and goes after Austin who eliminates him in short order and then the Big Boss Man comes in and Austin is choking him with a cord or something.

Triple H runs in with terrible tights and he too goes for The Bounty OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH SHIT Austin just murdered Billy Gunn with a clothesline that impressed me tremendously. Val Venis in next and there are some dudes in towels who gyrate in the lower bowl if you know what I'm saying (I am only saying what I'm literally saying here actually). Austin eliminates Gunn. McMahon is still on commentary by the way. X-Pac is in and he receives what has become known as "X-Pac heat" not from the Anaheim crowd but from me. I know Austin has trouble with his hearing so it makes sense but lol he really talks loudly when he calls things in the ring doesn't he. 

SEXUAL CHOCOLATE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN and I had completely forgotten about this integral part of the Mark Henry story. We all like 2012 Mark Henry, right? My assumption here is that we do. Jeff Jarrett is in at number 27 and LOOK OUT DEBRA THERE IS A MAN IN THE RING WHO IS GOING TO HIT YOU IF NOT NOW THEN EVENTUALLY. X-Pac kicks Triple H and honestly I am surprised to see it. 

D-Lo is number twenty-eight and he has two ladies with him, who appear to be Marlena and oh shit what is her name, Miss Jacqueline or something? Wikipedia is down today to protest SOPA and so I am powerless here. And Marlena who now they are now calling by her shoot name has just lost a storyline baby. Austin eliminates Test and Boss Man gets X-Pac (lol that's the breaks little maaaaan) and Triple H gets Jarrett.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE as Owen Hart enters and how soon will he die? Austin needs a drink so he comes out to commentary and has a sip out of a pitcher and then throws the rest in McMahons's face. 

Our thirtieth and final entrant is Chyna who looks remarkably different from before probably because of the complete Chynal reconstructive surgery she has undergone and she goes right after Mark Henry who totally sells for her and he is hurled over the top but Chyna is then clotheslined over the top by Austin and Michael Cole is like "THE RATTLESNAKE DOESN'T CARE IF YOU'RE A WOMAN OR A MAN" which is all too true is it not. Triple H and Austin do some pretty good stuff while Owen and D-Lo work in one corner and Val Venis and the Boss Man do something or other in the other WOAH OK TRIPLE H TOSSES OUT VAL VENIS AND IS THEN STUNNERED AND HIMSELF ELIMINATED so lol your final four are Austin and Owen and D-Lo and the Boss Man for some reason and oh yeah also McMahon who is still officially part of this. The crowd: pretty flat here but it has been a pretty long night I guess and maybe they'll get all like AUSTIN AUSTIN AUSTIN when it's down to just him and one other guy or something. What a weird final four (five) though. 

ENZIGUIRI on Austin but he gets right up and tosses Owen soon thereafter. D-LO HITS THE LO DOWN and I think I should go see him next time he is here on an indie card but the Boss Man pushes him and then it is STUNNER OH MY STUNNER and the Boss Man is gone and now it is Austin and McMahon and McMahon is still on commentary and he begs off at first but then all we hear is the shitty sound of a muffled microphone ruffling all over two dudes as OK now they are fighting in the crowd and this should be way more exciting than this if not to me then to the assembled thousands in Anaheim should it not? The unprotected chair shot to McMahon's head does nothing to move them and that is shocking. They are back in the ring and a low blow from McMahon here has to be seen as a *desperation move* however soon enough we are in a kick/wham/stunner situation and then a second-turnbuckle elbow and then Austin goes back up again but HERE IS THE ROCK WITH HIS CHAMPIONSHIP BELT AND SOME REALLY NICE CLOTHES AND WHAT IS GOING ON HERE OH MY GOODNESS AUSTIN IS TOPPLED BY VINCE MCMAHON AS AUSTIN AND THE ROCK GOT INTO IT ON THE ROPES AND THIS IS THE DUMBEST SHIT.

The Rock and Austin brawl all the way to the back as I am left to consider how uninteresting this Royal Rumble match was overall and McMahon winning is not cool it is stupid HOWEVER the Rock vs. Mankind for the title was really good and probably damaged his relationship with not only his children but his wife too. On the whole however I would ask that you get me out of this Attitude Era immediately.   

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