Tag Archives: Edge

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania Moments: #1 – Human Demolition Derby

by Frank Lucci

Welcome to Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania moments! Rather than just create another generic Top 10 list, I will be discussing the greatest moments from WWE’s biggest show of the year and explaining why I consider them the cream of the crop. This is based on in-ring quality, storyline quality, meta quality, as well as my own unique bias. Be prepared to read about triumph, heartbreak, and above all else, some truly unique moments in this unique form of entertainment.

The Moment: TLC II, WrestleMania X-Seven

While writing out this list I have seen some amazing moments in wrestling. I have seen moments that crowned careers and rejuvenated others, I have watched legends go out in a blaze of glory, and I have seen matches that will never be seen again. So how do you top legends, icons, and five-star performances? You lay it all on the line to make a statement, and that’s what happened at WrestleMania 17 with TLC 2.

This match has it all – including death-defying stunts that WWE has wisely chosen to avoid in recent years. You have kayfabe stakes as all three teams are willing to throw themselves off ladders and through tables just to get the Tag Team Championships. It seems inconceivable that WWE would ask tag teams in 2017 to do the same to this degree, which just goes to show how important it was to have any belt in this era. You have meta importance of six men trying to elevate themselves and make them stand out among the Rock’s and Stone Cold’s of the day.

One of the biggest outcomes and legacies of this match is the fact that in the years since half of the people involved have won the top prize in WWE, and five out of six won world championships if you include TNA titles (poor Devon Dudley, but last place here is being half of the most decorated tag team in history and a behind the scenes role in today’s WWE is not too shabby). Finally, you get an emotional roller coaster as you watch three teams that endured themselves for their fans to cement their status as the future of the industry in a match that was never seen before or since.

I could give a blow by blow of this match, but words cannot do justice for what transpires. I cannot fathom how nobody was seriously injured here (besides Spike Dudley who lost a few teeth), and even more amazing  it is that half these guys are still wrestling today. Hell, Edge was the first to retire, and that was a solid decade after this car crash of a match.

The only complaints I have this match are purely aesthetic. There are three extra people that make run-ins during the match, which is three too many. Second, instead of a video package we get shots of production people pulling out ladders and tables for the match, which does not exactly sell people going in cold why they should care. Also, I wish commentator Paul Heyman would be a little biased towards The Dudleys and Rhyno, or at least mention that he was their boss in ECW and sell them more as the killers they are.

Instead of immediately going for crazy spots, everyone builds up slow here. It starts off with some brawling, and the first big spot involves Jeff using his brother as a springboard to dropkick Edge off the ladder. The Hardys then do a tandem splash/leg drop on Christian off the ladders, and it makes sense that the daredevil brothers would be the first to go to extreme lengths to hurt their opponents. Edge and Christian are the cowardly heels and The Dudleys are more likely to just hoof you through a table, so Matt and Jeff setting the bar in terms of extreme risk first is a nice piece of psychology.

The Dudley’s take control, and it’s up to them to set up the toys for future spots later. They make the four table stack as well as three ladders in the center. Soon enough all six men are on the ladders and as flashbulbs go off all six take a dive. A special mention goes to Christian for falling completely out of the ring and view, making it look like he may be the first real-life casualty of this match.

Now we get to the run-in portion of the match. Even these Superstars have gotten a certain amount of respect for their involvement in this legendary match. Spike Dudley is out first, delivering a Dudley Dog to Christian through a table on the outside. Spike is one of my Boys as the excellent OSW Review defines them (one of your favorite wrestlers who never won a world championship), so seeing him get involved always makes me happy. Rhyno is up next to destroy people much more effectively, and being the smart cookie/ future Michigan House of Representatives candidate that he is, he wisely drags his compatriots towards the ladder he sets up in the center of the ring. Finally, to the biggest entrance pop (including for the people actually in the match) comes for Lita, who jogs awkwardly to the ring.

At this point things go too fast to recap properly and you just have to watch it unfold. It is beyond belief what these guys do here, and another special mention goes to Jeff Hardy for being involved in the biggest spot of the match. Sure, he failed in his big leapfrog spot involving three ladders, but considering he jumped off a giant ladder to the floor through two tables about 90 seconds before, I will let it pass. Edge hits the most perfect spear of his career in midair, sickeningly spiking his own head into the canvas. The match almost ends anti-climatically as Christian grabs the belt as Devon just kind of stops trying to climb the ladder.

Somehow everyone walks out of this match, moving gingerly around the debris and human bodies left around the ring. I’m not sure how these six men did it, but they survived something that could have gone much, much worse. Above all else, at the end of the Attitude Era WWE established a future crop of main eventers that not only WWE, but other wrestling companies would rely on for the next decade. Sure, they had to put themselves through hell during this match, but what would you pay to punch your ticket to immortality?

To get to the top of an industry that had just shifted seismically in the wake of WCW and ECW folding, the six men here did what they needed to do to prove they were just as worthy of that spotlight of the legends already in it. For paving the way of the future, delivering something never before seen or replicated, and the physical toll that even the stoniest of hearts can appreciate makes TLC 2 my favorite WrestleMania moment of them all.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania Moments: #8 – Foley Earns His Moment

by Frank Lucci

Welcome to Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania moments! Rather than just create another generic Top 10 list, I will be discussing the greatest moments from WWE’s biggest show of the year and explaining why I consider them the cream of the crop. This is based on in-ring quality, storyline quality, meta quality, as well as my own unique bias. Be prepared to read about triumph, heartbreak, and above all else, some truly unique moments in this unique form of entertainment.

The Moment: Edge Spears Mick Foley through a Flaming Table, WrestleMania XXII

Mick Foley in all his various forms is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time. Comparing his work to many greats before and during his peak reveals just how committed he was and how much he suffered for the craft. In the Spaceman’s mind, WWE and much of wrestling is pretty boring to watch until Mankind started throwing himself around violently and adding character depth that just was not in wrestling beforehand. Despite the cardinal sin of looking like a normal person, he managed to reach dizzying heights in the hottest period in WWE history. When he retired from full-time wrestling, Foley left a mark on the industry that few, if any can compete with.

Fast forward to 2006 and Foley was looking for something to cap off his stellar career that had not been completely put in the books (think of it as when older quarterbacks in the NFL get desperate to win the Super Bowl in an attempt to ensure their spot in the Hall of Fame). Thus, Foley was looking for one WrestleMania moment to put him over the edge in terms of being one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. While these days watching him move about can be a depressing sight, this was before the various ailments he has suffered from really caught up to him. It also helps that Foley had a fairly good reputation as somebody who could put over new, emerging talent.

Enter Edge.

Edge is one of those performers who tends to divide people. Depending on who you ask, he is either one of the most overrated wrestlers of all time (detractors claim he won far too numerous world championships in a bad time for the industry) or one of the most underrated (supporters suggest he earned his stripes and was one of the most consistent performers they had for a very long time). I tend to lean towards the latter, but during this time Edge was a wrestler in flux. He was the first person to use the Money in the Bank briefcase to win a world title, but lost it in three weeks. He and Lita sill earned massive heat from the fans for the infamous love triangle with Matt Hardy, but Edge needed to be more than the guy with the fluky title win and the harlot with outfits that would not fly today. Edge needed a big showing at WrestleMania, and this was a match made in heaven.

This being Foley, St. Mick couldn’t just have a regular five star match at the Show of Shows. Instead, he was going to earn it his way with plenty of blood and guts. Foley has said that his hardcore match with Randy Orton is his favorite of all time, and this follows the same story. Despite the Live Sex Celebration getting record ratings, Edge was peeved that Foley was the special referee during his rematch for the championship, so here we are. It’s not the best story, but it works. The video package shows Edge calling Foley a muppet and bashing his head in with chairs, while Mick…cuts himself open, beats up a women, and look like a muppet. Joey Styles joins the commentary booth for this match, because something something ECW! ECW!

The reasoning for this match may be flimsy on the kayfabe side and this match is low stakes in the grand scheme of things, but the meta story of Mick going for his ‘Mania moment and Edge trying to gain traction more than makes up for it. The match itself puts this feud over the top, as we see some spectacular violence that simply will not be seen again anytime soon in WWE. The only thing I would change during the match is the commentary, as Styles makes some uncomfortable references to concussions and there is a general slut shaming vibe from all the commentators.

Once the match starts things get intense quick. One of the images I mentioned earlier that we will never see again is Foley actually jogging, and he is pretty light on his feet despite looking somehow older than he does now in 2017. Some warm up spots (a.k.a. cooking sheets and road signs) leads to the first big spot that is etched in my mind. Edge goes full Goldberg and hits a spear three minutes in, but rolls away in pain as Foley reveals the barbed wire wrapped around him. Edge legitimately squirms around the ring bleeding from the arm as Foley goes from muppet to deranged.

If you think Foley was going to let the younger wrestler take all the punishment you’d be wrong. Foley takes a hip toss into the stairs followed by colliding with them at full speed right at the knee in spots that are much more brutal than the previous hits with road signs. These little bumps are made much worse knowing Foley’s knees and hip were the downfall for him ever being able to move like a healthy human again and really make you appreciate how much Foley gave to wrestling. Almost every move of this match looks like it kills one or both of the wrestlers, even the spots we’ve seen a million times before.

This match is also rife with plant and payoff. The infamous table that leads to the end of the match is out a quarter of the way in, and the bottle of “lighter fluid” (I strongly believe Edge was dousing himself in water for the finale) follows soon after. Seeing this type of logic is welcome in matches that oftentimes just devolve into madness that seems to have no rhyme or reason. Every weapon and spot serves a purpose and it is a credit to the people involved that they planned their match out to this degree.

The carnage continues as we see many spots that would end a match in PG WWE. Piledrivers, barbed wire bat shots to the head and chest, thumbtacks, barbed wire socks to Edge and Lita. By this point, Foley ends up looking like Rambo. His face half covered in blood with a distant look in his eye as Edge looks terrified while his body is subjected to gruesome torture. Although I can see why WWE has avoided these types of matches since going PG, sometimes I wish they would allow other people (besides Brock Lesnar) to get busted open every once in awhile.

We get to the end of the match, with both Mick and Lita putting copious amounts of actual lighter fluid (you can see the second bottle of what I assume was water on the steps) on the table. Foley gets the WrestleMania exclamation point on his career by taking the spear into the flaming table that will live on in ‘Mania montages until the end of time. Edge walks away as the winner looking like the heroine at the end of Hush. This match feels much shorter than the near fifteen minutes it runs due to the quick pace and cornucopia of brutal spots. Easily the best hardcore match in Wrestlemania history and one that served its purpose not only for entertainment, but meta purposes as well. For putting on a true spectacle on a show made to showcase the best of the best, this moment gets number eight on my countdown.

For more of Spaceman Frank’s antics, check out Spacemanfrank.com and listen to our pro wrestling podcast, Manopera!

Manopera! Episode 9: Chris & Frank Predict the 2016 Royal Rumble Winner

manopera

Chris and Frank make their bold predictions for the 2016 Royal Rumble winner and possible WrestleMania storylines that could (and should) follow as well as discussing their top five favorite (and least favorite) Rumble matches of all time.