In Memory of Warrior 1959-2014
Welcome Superstars Nation. Usually in this opening salvo, I speak a plethora of random musings that sometimes draw from my personal life or I bring you random acts and anecdotes that strike me as noteworthy. I cap this paragraph off the same way each week and it signifies that we are putting that stuff on hold for approximately 50 minutes to focus on the task at hand that is watching wrestling. Everyone needs a diversion, mine happens to be this. Tonight, this show feels different because something happened last week that hit close to home and I am referring to the passing of the Ultimate Warrior. He was more than just a muscle-bound, streamer-wearing, gibberish-talking maniac. To me, he was one of many reasons why I became a fan of this crazy sport. Had he not donned that face paint or shook those ropes or talked about rocket fuel and space ships or whatever the heck he used to scream at me about, I most likely would not be writing in this space or have the opportunity to meet some of the best people on the planet here at the Nation.
Simply put, he was my superhero, my champion, heck even my Wrestling Buddy that still takes up residence in my palatial one-bedroom palace as I type this. At the first ever WrestleMania I was allowed to order growing up, he won the richest prize in the industry and proudly took the baton from one of my other heroes who taught me how to say my prayers and eat my vitamins.
Growing up a church goer, I likened Warrior’s story to that of the Prodigal Son. In many ways, he was the WWE’s Prodigal Son. He received his riches and fame but found himself away from home and over time he lost some of his luster. He was always fighting battles whether over paydays or in courtrooms and pretty much saw his name become mud for nearly two decades. He was frequently ridiculed for the decisions he made, the shows he skipped and the words he spoke. He tore down the company that supported him for years and made a habit of biting the hand that feeds. Sure he would make frequent comebacks, but it was always temporary or fleeting and it seemed like neither forgiveness much less redemption were possible to imagine.
But then the unthinkable happened. He did come back and he was welcomed with open arms to the company that made him a star. He wasn’t a joke anymore; he was just one of the boys. With his beautiful family at his side, he once again was on top of the mountain. He was honored, praised and given the accolades he so richly deserved. Amazingly, the man known for running away, found his way back where he belonged. Miraculously, he came back home.
And sadly, his bulb burned brightest just before it went out.
He wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but it appears he finished his much too short life on the highest possible note. He knew when he took his last breath, that he was with the people he loved and he had buried the hatchet he carried around with many of the people he encountered during his career. His legacy will now last forever and there will never be another quite like him. If nothing else, he had one hell of a send off. And as our show opens with a touching tribute set to 7Lions “One More Time,” and while I wipe actual tears from my eyes, I remember the man who made me want to become a superhero. I remember the guy who jolted my best friend Jay and I to run around the neighborhood and shake those imaginary ropes. Tonight, I say a little prayer for the one superstar who was universally called “ultimate.” Rest in peace, Warrior. May your memory be eternal.
So sit back, go grab those Wrestling Buddies you know you still keep around for old times sake and let’s head down to ringside!
Your announcers tonight are Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton.
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION BIG E VS. TITUS O’NEIL
An incredibly savvy matchup starts us off as we are treated to a rare appearance by a champion against a guy who could be flying a bit under the radar. Big E could have his hands full in the coming weeks as he prepares to face the winner of the IC Championship #1 contenders tournament. Meanwhile, Titus defeated Kofi Kingston last week and I speculated in this space that he could be in the mix for a secondary title push. This match could very well be an audition for Mr. O’Neil.
This is a Scott and Justin classic as two huge, powerful hosses pummeling the you know whats out of one another. To quote Bobby Heenan, “there’s the beef there pal!” Titus was throwing E around like a rag doll which to see the IC Champ, you know that is no easy feat. Fans are firmly behind Big E who could use some electricity to his game. I hear he has a wonderful personality but always comes across as either stiff or nervous whenever I hear him speak. Hard to believe he has owned that gold since November and we still don’t know that much about him. Titus owned most of this match and even resorted to slapping the champion around but his throwaway slam attempt was thwarted when E landed on his feet. Langston began to announce his presence with authority with his belly-to-belly suplex and his big splash. The straps went down and the champ scored with the Big Ending and you can put it on the board… yes! WINNER: BIG E
Thoughts: Tale of two matches. O’Neil won on points early but E takes home the winning purse. The IC title hasn’t meant much in recent years, but it’s nice to see the champion win strong for once. Plus, O’Neil looked awesome so no one should be unhappy with this one if you love watching the heavyweights.
Before the break we see clips of the Usos getting throttled by the suddenly friendly with each other duo of Orton and Batista two weeks ago. This sets up a Raw match we will likely recap later. And by later, I mean right now. After months of dancing with the likes of the Real Americans, The Rhodes Brotherhood and 3MB, it’s refreshing to see Jimmy and Jey hang with the main eventers. It’s clear they are used here to put over the alliance of the Evolution boys but they seem to mix well with everyone on the roster. You get the whole match including the run-in by The Shield in this segment. So if you missed Raw or were too busy explaining to your mother who RVD is for the 300th time like I was, you probably should check this out as this feud could carry us into summer.
Am I the only one watching this show who is considering buying Hungry, Hungry Hippos so I can be more like Adam Rose? I may also wear an Easter Bunny costume to the next party Justin Rozzero throws but that is just a bewildering coincidence.
Next we get Bray Wyatt’s promo from Raw. I think his message is how he is different from the rest of us and how he never lies unlike John Cena. I will not insult your intelligence since you are the best and brightest fans imaginable and start reading between the lines eventually coming to the conclusion that Bray is trying to turn Cena heel. I won’t do it so don’t bother asking. Bray just wants to play and Cena gives us the old silly pictures act. Amazing how he was a frightened little girl before Mania and now he’s a Dana Carvey. Wyatt is awesome though. I’ll drink the Kool-Aid and say in a steel cage at Extreme Rules, the patriarch of the Wyatt family will get the last laugh.
“You can’t spell challenge without change. It’s hard for an egg to become a bird, but an egg can never learn how to fly. If you are going to rise to the challenge, you have to be prepared to change. You just have to Bolieve.” Brilliant! Couldn’t have said it better.
LOS MATADORES (W/EL TORITO) VS. 3MB (W/HEATH SLATER)
I think because I’m running long and you probably would rather have root canal surgery than hear about this matchup again, I’ll spare you most of the details. Unless 3MB’s Superstars magic continues coming off Slater’s shocking upset over Kingston a number of weeks back, I believe this will be more of the same. I did like the spot when the Matadors combined for a side Russian leg sweep followed by a splash onto McIntyre for a near-fall.
The heels worked over the leg of Diego who sold his pain as if his knee was crushed by falling piano. He recovered and hit McIntyre with a DDT for a high spot which no doubt irritated the gravy out of Jim Ross who will no doubt complain about it on his next podcast. Then we saw dueling cheers between Torito and Slater that led to our front man getting his boys squashed on the top rope thanks to the baby bull. Mahal got caught in a modified DDT and three seconds later, the fat lady sang. WINNERS: LOS MATADORES
Thoughts: Not much to say that hasn’t been said on 20 or so of these recaps already. Sorry Three Man Bland, but no winning streak for you!
A very long package of The Shield’s face turn from saving Daniel Bryan from The Authority to Reigns’ now infamous spear of Triple H precedes the closing moments from Raw this week. The Hounds of Justice were forced to fight 11 guys who softened them up for Evolution 2.0. I almost thought Sting would come down from the rafters in his overcoat and clock all those clowns with a bat a la the N.W.O. B-Team back in 1997. What actually happened didn’t upset me very much. I’m not crazy about Hunter still fighting regularly, but it’s hard to argue after his performance at Mania. Maybe he can take on the Flair role in the group and they can develop a future world champion from the crop of prospects at NXT. Bo Dallas anyone? Only kidding!
Final Thoughts: Despite my personal best word count, this was not a great Superstars to keep in your vaults. It does, however, bring you that wonderful Warrior tribute to start and an appearance by the Intercontinental Champion. It remains to be seen if the “E” will even try to make improvements to this program now that the new car smell is wearing off of the Network. That being said, thanks for dropping by. Anyone for some Hungry, Hungry Hippos?
Join the conversation by liking Place to Be Nation on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @DmcG4881. Also, don’t miss the premiere of The Steve Corino Show coming this week to PTBN.com. You never know who might show up (wink, wink)! Finally, send us your questions for the next Kevin Kelly Show by using #AsKKevin.