Daily Discussion Thread 6/30/17

Hey! The weekend is almost here! Spend your day chatting with us here… and you can also answer our Question of the Day, suggested by Scott Shifflett last night:

What is your favorite heel turn in wrestling history?

Also, JT & Allan are back with a new episode of Letters from Center Stage! What are your thoughts on Michael Buffer, the WCW women’s division and the US vs. TV title belt?

Finally, we are thinking of doing a live watch tonight… any suggestions? See you below!

134 thoughts on “Daily Discussion Thread 6/30/17

  1. MLB.TV was having a sweet deal last night. $10 for the rest of the year. That deal expired as soon as the last game was played I believe, but it is still pretty sweet right now – $20 for the rest of the year. If this was discussed already, I apologize, but I thought that was a really good deal for any baseball lovers.

  2. For anybody looking to check out something exotic and different, here’s the final of the CMLL Gran Alternativa tournament from a couple weeks ago.

    The idea is a king of the ring style tag tournament with stars pairing with rookies. You might recognize Caristico as the original Sin Cara/Mistico. Ultimo Guerrero (no mask) is equivalent to Mexico’s Triple H in stature. CMLL rules are every match is 2/3 falls.

    I believe Meltzer gave the match ****+

    Caristico & Soberano Jr vs Ultimo Guerrero & Sanson:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Oy5gmK4Ym6g

    If you enjoy, enjoy. If not, cruiserweights and lucha aren’t for everyone.

    1. I gave this match ****1/4. Really fun and great mixing of talent. Also really enjoyed Barbaro vs Dragon Lee lightning match from this card and the Atlantis vs Hechichero and Volador vs Barbaro matches a few days afterwards. Best week for CMLL this year.

      1. They’ve kind of hit a perfect sweet spot for me where it’s great to watch as background stuff with the occasional **** match where they need an important match to be great. It’s fantastic popcorn wrestling.

      1. Ball, Ingram, George, and Lebron. Even as Lebron eventually starts to slow down you have the younger guys to carry more of the load. That’s the Lakers gameplan we shall see what unfolds next summer.

      2. Pacers are screwed. George wants to go to LA, who isnt going to trade anything for him, and the rest of the teams know he wants to play there too and will not give anything up of value for a season rental.

  3. My favorite heel turn would have to be Hogan at Bash at the Beach.

    BUT, another one that will probably get me heat is Austin at WM17. Unlike the rest of the civilized world, I still think the turn was necessary and was executed to perfection.

    1. I still think some tweaks would have helped. Like Vince “accidentally” hitting Rock, Austin stares at him and then covers for the win. Vince leaves and Austin celebrates and then turns heel and joins Vince the next night instead.

      1. It’s interesting bc Austin has always claimed he felt like he was starting to get stale around that time which is why the turn happened… except when he came back in September of 2000, he had been gone for 10 months and his pops were louder than ever.

        You probably could’ve still done the turn but the way they went about it in a nonsensical way (aligning with HHH, etc) is what killed it in a way

      2. I get it, but I think the storytelling was beautiful as it was. The ending is so epic, with the Rock refusing to die and Austin fully embracing being a rat bastard to use any means necessary to put him down. It worked so well, especially with the shot backstage before the match where he looks in the mirror. It’s one of the reasons why the show works so well as a standalone watch years later. In the context of the months-long story, the turn makes perfect sense, but with that shot, and with the no DQ stip added in, it also makes sense as a “standalone issue,” so to speak.

        And the fact is, the Rock is so good at desperately clinging to life and Austin is so good at his devilish facial expressions, that the crowd pops every time he kicks out. Yes, there’s the pop when Austin wins, but the crowd was hanging on the nearfalls and probably would’ve popped even if Rock had won.

        It’s my favorite Mania match on most days, and I think it might not be without the heel turn.

        1. That is a great take and viewpoint. And yes they pop for everything but I think it is hurt that Rock wasn’t as over as a face as Austin at that moment. He was treated more like the heel coming in by fans… in a vacuum and on paper the whole thing works but the execution just feels… not exactly right.

          1. What’s weird to me is every time I watch that match, and the build, I don’t think the crowd views Rock as a heel. I think both guys are viewed as monster faces, but the Texas crowd is partisan to Stone Cold. It’s not like Rock-Hogan the next year, where Hogan is the overwhelming favorite and Rock is treated like a monster heel. This is two guys getting great reactions, with one a favorite over the other. At least in my perception.

            I’m so partial to that whole time frame of the WWF — even through the Invasion stuff — that I can overlook some of the things that could’ve been improved. Like, I acknowledge Triple H should’ve gone babyface, but I enjoyed the Power Trip so much that it’s hard for me to begrudge it too much. I think it would’ve worked out if 1) the first feud wasn’t with Taker and Kane, and 2) H hadn’t gotten hurt.

            The other thing that hurt the direction was literally never following up on Rock/Austin. Rock comes back and, instead of getting his revenge on Austin, goes after … Booker T?

          2. Yeah Rock leaving hurt… Triple H getting injured didn’t help and Taker & Kane should not have been the immediate next focus at all. It was a weird time where they went from being loaded up top to suddenly having a gaping hole at the top of the face side of the card.

          3. At least we got the Benoit/Jericho elevation, which led to some great matches with Austin.

          4. I will say the Power Trip, as much as I enjoyed it, didn’t make much kayfabe sense. Triple H’s character would never have taken a back seat at that point.

        2. I’m with ya, it’s GREAT character work for Austin, paying off both the build to the match (“I NEED to beat you, Rock. More than you can ever know.”) and setting the foundation for his paranoid, delusional direction going forward. You really get the sense that Austin initially hopes he can have it both ways; beating Rock w/o McMahon’s interference, or getting the pin after just the one chair shot. He can still save face, he can rationalize that. But his desperation grows in proportion to Vince’s involvement as Rock JUST WON’T DIE. It’s the Stone Cold character accepting that he’s going to have to cross that moral event horizon in fully, unambiguously embracing everything he abhors. For that reason, I don’t find the Vince stuff gratuitous and have come to believe a half-measure at WM/full turn on RAW would’ve diluted the impact. It’s important that we see Austin’s transition, his willingness to do whatever it takes, in real time as it unfolds. Not to mention great storytelling.

          Admittedly, this read doesn’t work as well if you accept that Austin and Vince had made some secret pact before the match and agreed in advance to everything we see. The way I envision it, Vince approaches Austin, puts the offer on the table, and Austin either brushes him off or is non-committal. (Can’t recall if it was ever explicitly spelled out.) Then, rapidly losing confidence in his own ability to put Rock away with each kick-out, and now having the opportunity at his fingertips, he pulls the trigger. As a somewhat spontaneous decision combined with his state of mind going in, you can see Austin going there in the heat of the moment.

          This is the best type of heel turn in that it contradicts nothing. Instead, it re-contextualizes what SEEMED like a triumphant comeback story as a heartbreaking tragedy. It wasn’t hyperbole when Austin said he would do anything to beat the Rock. He was willing to assassinate his own character to prove, to himself, that he still had what it took to stand on top. Which really WAS up for debate, given the incredible year the company enjoyed sans Austin and with the influx of workhorse talents like Angle, Jericho, Benoit, Eddie, etc. Art imitating life.

          Plus, how important does that make the WWE Championship look?

          Not to mention it reinforces Vince’s character as this calculating, Machiavellian puppeteer.

          Man. To echo Scott Keith, “Who says it can’t be Shakespeare?”

          1. This is PERFECT. Exactly how I see the match, although I think the read can still work if you believe Vince and Austin came to some sort of agreement before the match (hence the no DQ stipulation being added).

            I absolutely am 100% in step with you in your reading of Austin’s progression during the match. At first, he thinks he can genuinely beat Rock on his own. Then he thinks he can take advantage of the stip to do so. Then he will take advantage of a distraction from Vince. And, finally, he will make the deal with the devil and have Vince physically help him destroy the Rock. And even THEN it’s barely enough.

            If you go back to No Way Out, this was the story they were telling, and they told it beautifully: Austin’s comeback story started as an inspirational tale of the old gunslinger coming back to town and clearing out all the pretenders. Only he’s just a little bit slower, just a little bit less accurate, than the competition. Where before, he could wipe out opponents no matter the odds, now he’s falling short against the bad guy with no outside interference or dastardly tactics being used. Suddenly, the gunslinger is lacking the most important thing to take into a fight: confidence.

            And with the confidence being chipped away and his natural athleticism eroding, Stone Cold begins to realize that he’s at a crossroads — give up being the ace or sell out everything he believes in. By the end of WrestleMania, the choice becomes clear.

          2. And THAT is why the “WrestleMania Moment” means nothing without the story propelling it. Sigh…

            Great point about the No Way Out match too. Austin’s loss to his most bitter rival in a brutal match that took everything he had becomes so important in hindsight. The way that finish was booked, we clearly see it could’ve gone either way, but fate favored HHH in the end. To Austin, however, it was the last straw, his proof that his “DTA” self-reliant rebel philosopher wasn’t gonna cut it anymore. What a daring character reinvention, both in kayfabe and IRL.

          3. And, like you said, it works from Vince’s perspective as well. Sure, he may have lost to his son and been humiliated, but what better way to save face, what better satisfaction, than to finally beat Stone Cold Steve Austin by turning him into what he hated for so many years?

      1. The go home RAW for this show was pretty good. Dlo got the big win over Triple H for the European Championship, and Rock and X Pac had a very good IC title match.

    1. the Main Event and Rock/HHH 2/3 Falls are both good on that PPV. Plus i liked X-Pac vs D-Lo on that one too. Kinda saves it from being a total miss.

          1. I can’t remember if you guys asked Kevin Kelly if there was any heat with him. I just remembered Shawn Michaels on commentary saying “Why are they blurring out the agents.” during his Land of the Rising Venis video.

  4. I am going through some more 2000 episodes of RAW & Smackdown. Up to the lead up to Fully Loaded where Mick Foley is made the Commish and he gets Rock with a It Doesn’t Matter while running around the Ring chanting his own name.

    1. Im in June for the year. After a strong and focused first four months, it really feels like things are a little shaky with the HHH/Rock/Taker/Kane clog at the top. Hoping things get back on track after KOTR

      1. Yeah the build to that six man is shaky as well as the match itself. Once Vince leaves and Shane hooks up with his crew and the focus fully becomes on Rock as THE guy, it gets good again.

      2. I was going through 2000 shows as well last year, and I totally agree. It was a rough patch after Judgment Day and subsequently I sort of just gave up on that for now. Will probably pick it up again when I get there in my Monday Night War re-watch, where I am at Fully Loaded 98. So it’ll be awhile before I re-visit 2000.

          1. Wait, is that where JR screams “Tell me why, somebody just tell me why” at the top of his lungs?
            If not, does anyone know where that’s from?
            I used to think it was from Austin/Rock cage match on RAW after WMX7, but it’s not.
            I remember that being epic, where even Lawler was taken aback by how crazy JR was going.

          2. I’m pretty sure it is. While I don’t recall what specifically was said, JR loses his goddamn mind when HHH returns and attacks Austin.

          3. Just checked, JR does indeed lose his mind after that Angle/Austin match, but unless the Network cut it off he doesn’t say that line I’m looking for.
            Damn, the search continues.

          4. I need to rewatch that match… forgotten gem and Austin’s real “IM BACK” match after slogging through the end of 2000.

          5. It’s epic. I have it on the WWF Action DVD, and it’s one I rewatched repeatedly in college, because it’s (IMO) JR’s greatest call. The whole ending bit, “THERE AIN’T NO ANCHOR TIED TO YOUR ASS!” “DO YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU’VE DONE, YOU SON OF A BITCH?! TRIPLE H JUST COST AUSTIN THE WWF BY GOD TITLE!” … phenomenal.

          6. Ask and ye shall receive. It was when HHH turned on Austin and revealed he hired Rikishi.

          7. Yes!
            You sir are both a legend and a scholar.
            Love how the first thing they show is HHH reminding him of his own DTA motto.
            You would never see this kind of thinking or a solidly booked turn and beat down on RAW these days.
            Thanks for being a fanboy who has travelled hard. 😉

          8. My pleasure! I only have a few passions in life, and one of them is useless knowledge about obscure Jim Ross things.

          9. Underrated JR call: Jeff Hardy vs. Undertaker on Raw for Undisputed title in ladder match.
            Maybe my favorite thing he’s called outside of Austin or Foley falling off the cell.
            He nails that whole match and story perfectly.
            Another fun one: HBK vs. Vince at WM22, where he roots for Shawn to kill Vince all match.

          10. Both awesome choices.

            My other favorites that tend to fly under the radar a bit: the entirety of his portion of WM19. Seriously. All of it. Lawler is at his best, poking and prodding JR all night long until, finally, during the Austin-Rock match, JR snaps. It’s tremendous.

            And the sneaky great one of the bunch: Taboo Tuesday 2004, HBK vs. HHH. JR is ON FIRE here, and Lawler is pestering him about Shawn having a fake knee injury. Great stuff. Watch it if you haven’t seen it in a while!

      3. I was convinced that Taker’s return would lead to a HHH/Rock/Kane/UT fatal four-way at KOTR. Not sure how well that would’ve turned out, but I’d certainly take it over the SmackDown main event-esque six-man tag that headlined the show instead. I figured that would lead to Angle and Jericho entering the main event scene, while Taker and Kane did their own thing off to the side. Then Rock got the belt back and Fully Loaded happened, and hrmm.

        It’s funny, at the time I sort of didn’t care who the champion was. Rock deserved a long babyface reign, but he was so good chasing and HHH certainly kept up his end of the bargain. I didn’t have a problem with the title itself being locked in a holding pattern for awhile since Rock and HHH trading wins consistently produced such excellent matches.

          1. For sure. They’d both already been there, done that, and feuded off and on every year since ’97 that it just made sense. Sometimes, you use the title to make a guy; other times, you lean on your existing star power to pump up the title. 2000 Rock and HHH were so godlike in stature that the belt wasn’t gonna cling to either while both men were active and simultaneously gunning for it.

          2. My take has always been that it was time to commit to Rock and give him a long-term run. I bemoan H winning at Judgment Day (something that turned off a lot of my friends at the time), but would’ve been OK with it if Rock had finally gotten the big, satisfying win at some point. Instead it never came and, as a result, Rock never really got a long dominant run as the unquestioned number one guy.

            Still a fun summer though.

          3. That’s fair. Rock’s four-month reign after winning the belt at KOTR is… sufficiently long for the Attitude Era, I suppose. Why not pop a rating by having him go over HHH on Raw in a singles match instead of the shitty KOTR main? You can accomplish that and still preserve the H win at Judgment Day.

      1. Well Bruno is a gimme, Arion? Hmmmm tough to say. I feel like his character is very bland, and in the days where televised promos were rare it’s tough to look into a guy’s gimmick.

          1. That one specifically? No, he’s still in my top 5. I’m still wondering if I can put him in the top 3.

          2. That natch helps me, Arioj was great draw on top with Bruno and those matches are one of his signature feuds

    1. Haven’t watched it yet but plan on watching a lot of older msg shows to watch guys like Bruno, Graham, and Backlund among others to figure out where they rank on my list.

    1. 32 to 33 with the Brand split has been a lot more fun. 31 to 32 was not that good. That god awful World Title tournament which was presented on a trash can lid. Quite honestly, I don’t think it’s even close.

  5. Follow up question:

    Was the period from WM31-32 more enjoyable from WM30-31?

    If you take away the Evolution-Shield 6 mans (which ended early in the year), 2014-15 was a quagmire, imo.

    1. Yeah add in all the Bryan hand wringing too, wondering if he would return at any point… plus all the Punk shit when everyone expected him back… lots of that. However Cena/Brock and Sting at Survivor Series was fun.

      1. When AJ came back night after( I believe) MITB , everyone thought that Punk might follow soon after. Then eventually it was like “Okay your husband is suing us….this is really awkward for you to be here.”

  6. Off to Cycle #2 – Brand Split Era Version 1: Finished the 1/13/03 RAW and now watching the 1/16/03 Smackdown. Contemplating even bothering with the Royal Rumble because I have seen it a fair amount of times. The 1/13 RAW was when old HHH got stripped down to his grundies by Scott Steiner.

  7. Hey, everyone, this is Andrew, one of the co-hosts for the NBA-Team Podcast. On my profile is the Podbean feed for our NBA-Team podcasts on the PTBN POP feed, and we put up our latest episode this week recapping the draft.

    We are on the verge of free agency madness and the silly season has already begun. Any questions about your teams, the league, or hell, even anything else for me or Adam (who might drop some quotes for me to you guys), give us a holler!

    To clarify regarding Ricky Rubio’s deal mention by msouza, the Jazz still had the salary cap space to absorb Rubio’s contract (which is actually manageable by his standards given that he is a great assist man who finished strong but will always be a miserable shooter) but the Jazz had to use the space by the end of tonight or it would be gone. A trade exception goes to the team that trades the player with a higher salary than what they are getting back, which in this case would be Minnesota (A lot of tax-paying teams or teams over the cap use this to add players to their already loaded roster). The Wolves, however, aren’t interested in that (like most teams right now are) because they want as much cap space as possible to add another piece to the Towns/Wiggins/JIMMY FRIGGIN’ BUTLER trio they just conjured up thanks to stupid Bulls.

    Consider this a master post for all things NBA until the evening thread pops up and I will repost and continue the late night fun!

  8. If you guys want a primer for tomorrow’s NJPW G1 Special and have AXS tv, which night 1 will be airing, Omega Vs. Okada 2 from Dominion is airing right now

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