WWF


palumbo_c_l.jpgAccording to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Chuck Palumbo is set to return to WWE TV within the next few weeks.

Palumbo who was re-signed around this time last year after being away from the company since November 2004 has been a regular worker in dark matches and house shows on the Smackdown Brand over the last couple of months.

It’s not yet known what Palumbo’s role in the WWE will be at this time but it’s understood he will probably be working as a heel. Could he take Test’s big man role in ECW or is their a slot for him on Smackdown?

Personally a re-teaming with Little Guido as the F.B.I could work but with the lack of a tag division in ECW, that seems very unlikely at this point. If Guido was on the Smackdown brand it could work though.

CAREER & TITLE HISTORIES (only main companies)

WCW (1998 – 2001)

WCW Tag Team Champion (4 times) with Shawn Stasiak (3) & Sean O’Haire (1)

WWF/E (2001-2004)

WWE Tag Team Champion (2 times) with Billy Gunn as Chuck and Billy

WWE (2006-present day)

Has wrestled in dark matches and house shows, mainly on the Smackdown brand. Is expected to debut soon as a Heel performer.

source – wrestlingheadlines.com, wrestling observer newsletter

test.jpgJust over a month since his ECW World Title match against Bobby Lashley at the Royal Rumble, ECW superstar Test has been released by the WWE.

In truth, the writing has been on the wall for this as only two weeks ago Andrew “Test” Martin was suspended for violating the wellness policy, which we all knew when he debuted last year because the guy is huge. It was obvious he was taking the pills to anyone who was watching.

Never the greatest worker, Test was pushed several times throughout his two spells with the WWE but never seemed to be able to get over after his 1999 angle with Stephanie McMahon which led to their famous wedding episode of Raw. The WWE really dropped the ball late that year when they had Vince McMahon feud with Triple H, rather than Steph’s husband to be Test, who HHH had stolen Stephanie from.

A decent big guy, who had some nice moves up his sleeve now and again but in truth he was always a poor man’s Kevin Nash (in Nash’s prime of course). His street fight match against Shane McMahon at Summerslam 1999 being Test’s highlight.

CAREER & TITLE HISTORIES

WWF/E (1998 – 2004)

WWF Intercontinental Champion (1 time) –

WWF Tag Team Champion (1 time) – with Booker T

WCW World Tag Team Champion (1 time) – with Booker T  (wwe’s version of wcw)

WWF Hardcore Champion (2 times)

WWF European Champion (1 time)

WWE (2006-2007)

Wrestled as a top heel in WWE’s new version of ECW on the Sci-Fi network, where he briefly teamed with Mike Knox and won himself title matches in the Elimination Chamber and a one-on-one match with Bobby Lashley at the Royal Rumble.

Matt’s verdict of the chances of him going to TNA…. I can see it actually. He could do a job for them if pushed correctly, especially if they team him with Christian Cage even?? I’d pick him up, but you have to think if TNA wanted him, they would have signed him in 2005 or early 2006 when he was a free agent.

source – gerweck.net

jerrylawler.jpgAs expected then, Jerry “The King” Lawler was announced on Raw as the next pick for the WWE Hall of Fame after Dusty Rhodes and Curt Henning.

Lawler, a legendary wrestler and commentator, is one of the true legends of the sport and he apparently has held more world championships than any other wrestler in the history of professional wrestling. 111 for those counting!

My first memory of Lawler was at the end of the 1993 King of the Ring. Straight after my favourite wrestler Bret Hart seemingly overcame all odds to defeat the “rested” Bam Bam Bigelow in the final (he got a bye in the semi-final, after Tatanka/Luger went to a draw), he attacked the Hitman and I hated the guy for years afterwards. Lawler’s feud with Hart was awarded the feud of the 1993 in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Me hating the guy, was mainly due to his ability of playing such an awesome heel. There weren’t many performers in the mid 90’s who were able to generate the amount of heat that Lawler could, no matter who he was up against or what part of the country they were touring.

He is probably best known, certainly outside of the wrestling world for his feud with comedian Andy Kaufman which was later revealed to be a total work… more than 10 years after it all took place.

You all know the story probably from the Jim Carrey movie Man on the Moon which Lawler starred in, playing himself. The incident on a 1982 episode of the David Letterman show which led to an on-air fight between the two has truly become a legendary moment in wrestling.

Over the last ten years, Lawler has been used as the main colour commentator in the WWE. I fondly remember him being so pro “heel” in the 90’s and early 00’s that he would get J.R. so enraged that their back and forth banter was fascinating. He has calmed down a bit over the last 5 years or so and is now more of a “face” commentator but he still manages to get over the heels when he can.

Who can forget Lawler’s feud with ECW back in 1997 which led to his famous match against Tommy Dreamer at Hardcore Heaven 97… a match that truly made you wonder if what you were watching was actually real.

In more recent years, I’ve hunted out older matches of Lawler and I’ve watched with amazement at his matches with Curt Henning, Nick Bockwinkel, Ric Flair and Jimmy Valiant…..it’s great to see him be inducted this year.

Lawler is of course the cousin of The Honky Tonk Man and is the father of Brian Lawler who wrestled in the WWE for a good number of years as Too Sexy Brian Christopher and later Grandmaster Sexay who himself was a terribly under-utilized worker and certainly had the talent to go further than the WWE pushed him.

CAREER AND TITLE HISTORIES

Lawler wrestled for various promotions and companies in the Memphis area in the 1970’s to the mid 1980’s including his legendary feud with Andy Kaufman, which truly transcended the sport of professional wrestling.

AWA (1987-1988) 

AWA World Champion (1 time)
AWA World Tag Team Champion (2 times) with Bill Dundee

WWF (1993 – 2001)

Took part in the 1993 Wrestling Observer Feud of the Year against Bret Hart

Took part in a legendary feud with ECW in 1997

Was the lead colour commentator for most of his tenure in WWF, developing a great chemistry with Jim Ross.

He quit in 2001, when his wife Stacy Carter who wrestled as The Cat was released as the backstage guys said she was “difficult to work with”.

WWF/E (Nov 2001-present day)

Lawler returned to take up his positioning on the annoucer table after Paul Heyman and the Alliance were defeated at Survivor Series 2001.

He is still the colour man on Monday nights and is undoubtedly the best in the business these days…. and IMO….. the best of all time.

edge.jpg

Wrestling Observer Live – Edge (6th June 2000)

Download here 

Edge is the guest today. He talks about his early career and his growing up with Christian as they both hit the business at the same time. The two awesome ladder matches at No Mercy and Wrestlemania 2000 are discussed along with him once being knocked down by a fan during his entrance through the crowd.

Click here to download and listen!

In celebration of Curt Henning’s impending induction to the WWE Hall of Fame, I bring you the second part of the match that I first saw Mr. Perfect in at the Survivor Series 1990.

Don’t discredit the work of Roddy Piper and Gorilla Monsoon on commentary, as a kid growing up these guys did so much to sell these workers in the ring and add to the atmosphere of “the win at all costs”. Same goes with Bobby Heenan, one of the greatest managers of all time.

Ultimate Warrior,Texas Tornado,LOD vs Demolition,Mr. Perfect

428966.jpgGrowing up with WWF in the mid 90’s, The Intercontinental Title was of great importance and from where I sat, I always considered whoever wore it to be the biggest star in the business behind the top 2 or 3 guys chasing the world title.

The earliest memory of wrestling that I have is the Royal Rumble in 1993 and on that card it was Shawn Michaels wrestling his former tag team partner Marty Jannetty for the IC title. There was just something about the prestige of that title that elevated the match to another level and made their feud interesting.

I watched as Shawn defended his title for the following months (mostly with DQ’s) but the emotion that he put behind his victories and his willingness to keep the title at all costs, totally sold it’s worth to me. A fun match against Tatanka that opened Wrestlemania IX with that cool white belt is remembered fondly by me.

During the 90’s, for the most part the title kept it’s prestige and was treated with awesome respect and usually produced the best 1 or 2 matches on any given card.

The awesome HBK vs. Razor Ramon ladder match at Wrestlemania X probably being the title’s peak as two wrestlers who believed they were the real IC champion slugged it out in the most insane match I had ever seen by that point.

At Wrestlemania alone, the title has seen classic bouts such as the above mentioned ladder match, the incredible Steamboat vs. Savage match at Wrestlemania III that many considered the greatest match in the show’s history,  the famous Warrior vs. Hogan Title for Title match where the IC champ overcame all odds to beat the WWF champ at Wrestlemania VI, the great Jericho/Angle/Benoit match at Wrestlemania 2000 where three relative newcomers to the federation but on a wrestling classic.

Some idiotic booking that saw the potential classic matches Regal vs. RVD, Y2J vs. Regal and The Rock vs. Shamrock matches only go around 6 or 7 minutes between Wrestlemania’s 14 and 18 probably helped speed up the demise of the title’s prestige at the grand daddy of them all.

Since WM18, 4 Wrestlemania’s haven’t had an IC title bout on their card and with the latest happenings on Raw where Umaga pinned Jeff Hardy for the title….. his scheduled match in the “Battle of the Billionaires” bout is likely to be non-title against ECW champ Bobby Lashley.

Which means that Wrestlemania 23 will mark the 5th time in a row that the title hasn’t been defended at the WWE’s flag ship ppv. The United States title which has it’s background in the WWE’s former bitter rivals WCW has had two title defenses in that time and with Chris Benoit holding the belt, the chances are it will get a showcase match at the event.

It just goes to show the decline of what was the WWE’s second biggest belt for so many years and their disinterest in making the title have any meaning. They have the upper mid card talent to make the title mean something… with Nitro, Hardy, Dykstra, Flair, Carlito, Masters and Crazy all on RAW, if they could only book some good feuds correctly and have some more competetive matches on the show.

The Money in the Bank ladder match seems to have killed off the IC title in recent years, for a match that reveals in spectacular bumbs and crazy insane risk taking manoeveurs. There was a time when this match (Wrestlemania X) would have been for the IC title and would have been competetive enough just for that, but that time has since past and the belt’s prestige is not enough to have that type of match.

Sad really, because when HBK, Bulldog, Hart, Rock, Austin, Jericho and Benoit held the title it use to mean something and elevated their careers to a higher level. Now the title did nothing for Hardy or Nitro because the WWE have killed off it’s meaning.

200px-wwf_mr_perfect.jpgIt was announced on Raw that Mr. Perfect, Curt Henning would be the second inductee into this year’s WWE Hall of Fame.

It’s been just over four years since Curt Henning passed away, at the age of 44 and it’s little surprise that he is to be inducted this year as the WWE are planning a DVD set on the legend to be released later this year.

One of my favourite wrestling events of all time was Survivor Series 1990, which was one of the first events I ever saw. I didn’t start watching wrestling till 1992, but I had this on tape and burned it out all the way through the 90’s. In that event I got my first glimpse at Mr. Perfect and I loved him straight away.

He was the leader of “The Perfect Team” along with Demolition who took on “The Warriors” that were The Ultimate Warrior, Texas Tornado and Legion of Doom. The match eventually boiled down to Perfect against both Tornado and Warrior and I loved (i know it’s silly, but when your young the simple things effect you!!) how Perfect outsmarted Tornado and coaxed him into getting into the ring, where he jumped on him, kicked his ass and eliminated him with The Perfect Plex.

He eventually lost the match to The Warrior, who actually kicked out of Perfect’s finisher. Everytime I watch the match I’m cheering for Perfect to get the three count but obviously he never does!

I loved his matches with Bret Hart at Summerslam 1991 and King of the Ring 1993 (second ppv I saw live), his loser leaves Raw match with Ric Flair and even his match with Shawn Michaels at Summerslam 1993 which disapointed many, including HBK who said so in his book.

After some largely wasted years in WCW and XWF, Henning surprisingly returned in early 2002 for one last WWE run, re-debuting at the Rumble and unbelievably making it down to the final 3. During this match, I was re-living my childhood once again, begging Henning to win the match, and I couldn’t believe how close he came at the time.

Some dream matches against Steve Austin, Tazz and Rob Van Dam occurred in his last 4 month run in the WWE before the famed “plane ride from hell” back from the UK where an amateur match between him and Brock Lesnar took place in the clouds!! I was actually at a UK event in Birmingham that the WWE were touring at the time, and it was a personal pleasure of mine to see Perfect live in the ring. Although the match itself is something to quickly forget about…

It was Perfect and Molly Holly teaming against Trish Stratus and Jerry Lawler!!!

Henning died in 2003 from a “acute cocaine intoxication” leaving behind a legacy of one of the greatest athlete and performer’s the wrestling business has ever seen. His initially silly gimmick of being the “perfect guy” at every sport (like throwing a basketball into a hoop from the half way line with his  back turned every time!) he ran with and made into something special because he wasn’t just a great guy on the mic, but he had the look, charisma and abilites to make something special out of it.

I’m personally thrilled Henning got the nod this year, the only sad thing is that he won’t be attending the event.

CAREER AND TITLE HISTORIES

AWA (1979 – 1988)

AWA World Heavyweight Title (1 time)

AWA World Tag Team Titles (1 time) with Scott Hall

WWF (1988 – 1996)

WWF Intercontinental Title (2 times)

WCW (1997 – 2000)

WCW United States Title (1 time)

WCW World Tag Team Title (1 time) with Barry Windham

WWE (Jan 2002 – May 2002)

Came third in the 2002 Royal Rumble

TNA (2002 – 2003)

Lost some world title matches to Ron Killings and Jeff Jarrett

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