Tag Archives: Pro Wrestling

Manopera! Episode 53: Half-WOKEN???

Chris and Spaceman Frank discuss a crazy amount of news that has recently happened within the pro wrestling world.

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Spaceman Frank’s WWE Hell in a Cell 2107 Predictions

by Frank Lucci

Hell in a Cell – It’s happening, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

Despite having a larger amount of time to build to this show than Raw the SmackDown Live, the creative team have done nothing to really make this interesting. Sure, Shane McMahon got beat up, but that happens before every Shane match. Other than that we have a bunch of rematches and and throwaway feuds that are meant to kill time until Survivor Series (I honestly got this event confused with TLC and I am amazed WWE has the balls to put two gimmick Pay-Per-Views in one month).

At least we got The New Day and the Usos, a match that everyone cares about…except for the creative team since their previous matches have all been on preshows and curtain jerkers. But hey, now it’s a big deal! I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Hell in a Cell 2017 predictions.

Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hype Bros (Preshow Slapfest Spectacular)

Do we have name for the team of Gable and Benjamin yet? Is American Beta too obvious? What about Cha-jamin? Anyway they face The Hype Bros, that team that looked to be breaking up, may still do that, but nobody cares either way. Fun fact: in 2017 Mojo Rawley won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and Zack Ryder was starring in comeback hype videos on YouTube. How the mighty have fallen.

Gable really had a chance to be a breakout star with his impressive singles matches, but instead he teams with a veteran to keep him hemmed into the tag team scene. Cha-jamin win here because they are the newer team and still have potential unlike the shambling remains of The Hype Bros.

Randy Orton vs. Rusev

Why? Just Why? Why throw this on PPV again instead of giving Sami Zayn a match? Or Tye Dillinger? Nope, gotta put Orton on PPV to continue his streak of ruining everything for everyone in 2017.

Poor, poor Rusev. Poor, poor WWE. Poor, poor humanity. Orton wins because of course he going to win he won in like 30 seconds at SummerSlam WHY DO WE NEED TO SEE THIS AGAIN??? WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESERVE THIS???

Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler

The battle between the guy with a cool entrance and his jealous coworker.

Ziggler is the guy that feuds with whoever showed up last, and while objectively I should care about this match, I just can’t find a reason why this needs to be a PPV match rather than a random match on SmackDown. Hopefully this match will surprise me and be really good, but I see this as being a way to kill about ten minutes with entrances and 15 minutes in the ring. Roode wins as the new guy who will probably move into the main event scene sooner rather than later.

AJ Styles (C) vs. Baron Corbin (US Title Match)

Baron Corbin couldn’t beat Mahal, couldn’t beat Cena, and couldn’t beat Dillinger (somebody give that man a title shot!).

I get that WWE has to do something to rehab his character, but constantly losing and getting rewarded for it is not the answer. Shouldn’t this be Styles vs. Dillinger as a way to crown The Perfect 10 as the hot new babyface? Instead we get Baron’s weird belly and receding hairline that is disappearing faster than management’s faith in him.

Despite my gripes about Baron I think he will win here. Sure AJ is better in every conceivable way, but I think they need him in the main event picture now. The WWE Championship is in a weird place where it is clearly not the focus of the show and fans know the best wrestlers do not challenge for it, so having Styles chase the belt will help rebuild it and Mahal as well. So Corbin will become champ and try to get some momentum going again after a rocky summer.

Natalya (C) vs. Charlotte (WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match)

Nattie’s title reign has been..a thing that has happened, and she has been a massive afterthought despite SmackDown having very little going on. It is sad really as this will probably be a good match that is going to set several records.

According to the champ herself, she will break Trish Stratus’ record of most PPV matches by a women in WWE and her and Charlotte will be the first pair of women to fight for the NXT, Divas, Raw and SmackDown Women’s titles. So why isn’t that the main focus of their feud???

For all of WWE’s talk about focusing more on women and treating them as equal to the men they sure messed up this historic match. It looks like a slam dunk for Charlotte to win her sixth (Sixth??? Really??!!!) women’s championship and go on to be the face of SmackDown’s women’s division.

The New Day (C) vs. The Usos (Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship)

The Savior of this PPV sees these two white hot teams square off in Hell in a Cell.

While WWE has not done the best to keep this feud seem important enough to warrant a match in the demonic structure, the fans know these guys will deliver in the ring. I expect some exciting yet PG spots and some crazy bumps to take place, and with the added drama of everyone in the ring at once I see this being a hoot.

The big question is if Xavier Woods will be able to get into the cell as well, or if he will hold off getting involved. With the other Hell in a Cell match guaranteed to have some sort of big stunt it is good to have this here to be the excellent wrestling match to balance it out. The Usos could sneak away with the belts here, but I think The New Day retain since they are such huge ambassadors for the company.

Jinder Mahal (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (WWE Championship Match)

WWE has a tour of India in December, so guess who’s winning this match?

WWE has left it wide open for the Singh Brothers to interfere yet again, so that seems like the most obvious route to a finish here since we have seen that in literally every Mahal match. Nakamura is in a weird place where he is getting a huge push, but it seems like creative have no idea how to capitalize on the unique superstar. Meanwhile, WWE has flushed any nuance and subtly with Mahal’s character down the drain when they decided to have him tell racist jokes.

When the crowd chants “That’s Too Far,” it’s easy to see why attendance is hitting record lows. Mahal wins again and hopefully we get Styles in the title picture to see if Mahal can step up and have a decent match for once.

Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens (Hell in a Cell match)

This Hell in a Cell match will probably lead to some memorable moment WWE puts into video packages for years.

I’ve heard rumors that WWE is filming something with a stunt Shane so he does not hurt himself, which is good for protecting his health but lessens the excitement factor. This is the only match WWE has thought to put some effort in, because Shane is the coolest dad on the roster and it’s a big deal when he decides to let someone beat him up (sorry, Titus).

I hope Shane brings his kids to the match and Owens throws them off the cell one at a time. 

Owens wins and possibly moves into the title picture at some point, though he has appeared on advertisements for Raw brand live events. Because Raw definitely needs more wrestlers they can ignore.

Manopera! Episode 47: SummerSlam 2017 Review

Chris, Frank, and Pro Wrestling Opinion’s Nicholas Jason Lopez review WWE’s biggest party of the summer, SummerSlam 2017.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

 

Manopera! Episode 40: All Shook Up

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We cover a lot of ground as the dynamic duo analyze the Superstar Shake-Up, the growing Mauro Ranallo/JBL situation and more. Chris recaps his experience at the WWE shareholder meeting and reads the news as Dusty Rhodes. Spaceman Frank cuts a promo on United Airlines.

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Matt “Rosey” Anoa’i.

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Manopera! Episode 39: WrestleMania 33 Part 2 – DayShiftAMania Runs Wild

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Chris and Spaceman Frank are joined by www.ProWrestlingOpinion.com‘s Nicholas Jason Lopez to review WrestleMania 33, it’s aftermath, and speculate on the “Superstar Shakeup” angle. Spaceman Frank cuts a promo on the JBL/Mauro Ranallo situation.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

SSEP – Episode 12: WrestleMania 33 Review and Aftermath

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by Jonathan Schorr

Jon and Matt review the “ultimate thrill ride” known as WrestleMania 33 and tackle the aftermath from Raw and SmackDown Live.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Manopera! Episode 38: WrestleMania 33 Part 1 – NXT TakeOver Orlando

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For the first half of our WrestleMania 33 coverage, we begin with NXT TakeOver: Orlando. Spaceman Frank cuts a promo on Amy Schumer and her recent swimsuit cover controversy.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania Moments: #2 – Icon vs. Icon

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: The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan, WrestleMania XVIII

Whenever two of the all time greats come together and compete it’s always a spectacle that demands attention. Even if it ends up disappointing like Mayweather vs. Pacquiao huge amounts of people dissect every aspect of the contest right up until things actually kick off. What’s even rarer is when the best of different generations come together and have a contest worthy of all the hype, which is why Hulk Hogan vs The Rock at WrestleMania 18 is such a special moment in wrestling. While such contests are either improbable or even impossible, this not only happened but it was a pretty damn good match to boot.

The Rock was inching his way out the door in 2002, and while he would stick around for a little bit after this, it was clear he was moving on to bigger and better things. He guided the WWE through the dreaded Invasion angle and was looking for something to do to follow up his spectacular match at the previous WrestleMania with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.

How do you follow up on the match that is widely considered the greatest main event in WrestleMania history and the end of the Attitude Era?

Enter Hulk Hogan. He collected on his guaranteed contract from the now dead WCW, missing the Invasion entirely. This probably helped himself and many other big names from tarnishing their legacies and made sure they were able to pop up in WWE with some actual fanfare and hoopla. When he showed up with the rest of the NWO in tow it was a big deal, and I can only imagine how much this match would have suffered if Hogan and his cronies were forced to plod through the Invasion and kiss up to Stone Cold.

Instead we get Hogan being quite the evil bastard. The video package highlights his cartoon villainy as he blames the fans for making him walk out of the WWE in the early 90’s and running into his ambulance with a freaking semi truck. This match is famous for the double turn during the match that the fans started by cheering Hogan over The Rock, but to be fair Rocky acts like a dick during this hype video. Despite the choral music that accompanies his first appearance in the video he does attack Hogan first, and I can excuse an old man for getting his buddies to help him face off against a man half his age.

Hogan is out first and he definitely gets some cheers, but nothing like he would receive later. At some point people are just happy you’re still around and conceded that yes, you are one of the best of all time. It happened to Hogan, it happened to Flair, and it’s even starting to happen to the greatest heel of all time, Tom Brady. Thankfully, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler do not try to ignore or cover up the fact that Hogan is getting cheered like today’s WWE announcers would (and if we had to listen to JBL yell “THESE CANUCKS JUST LOVE TO HAVE FUN MAGGLE!” during this match I would have shot my television). Poor Rocky again gets a pretty lame pop for the second ‘Mania in a row, and the dude just cannot seem to catch a break.

Then the magic happens. Toronto just goes nuts when both men stare at each other and they never really stop. The two stars know how to work a crowd, and being the pros that they are they milk the reaction for everything it’s got. Hulk has a reputation for not wanting to put people over, but props to him for agreeing to lay down for The Rock here. Hogan pushes Rocky down and crowd acts like Jesus Christ just came down from heaven wearing a Maple Leafs jersey and the sky was raining poutine down like manna. One shove was all it took to people to lose their minds.

I cannot help and have a flashback to Mayweather v.s Pacquiao at this point. I watched that fight expecting a slugfest between two of the greatest of all time, and instead we got a lame duck boxing match. That legitimate sporting event collapsed under the weight of it’s own hype. Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg fell into the same trap when they first wrestled at ‘Mania 20.

Wrestling is a much more forgiving form of entertainment, and due to it’s unique nature we can see the fantasy matches we want and they can be just as good as they were in our head. Hogan was never the best technical wrestler (and neither was The Rock, for that matter), but when you book dream matches for him they look exactly like this.

This match goes back and forth pretty evenly for the first part, and Hogan pulls out some excellent heel moves. He really knows how to cheat in that old-school way that makes the internet lionize people like Kevin Owens and the like. Hogan worked like a bad guy even when he was America’s favorite hot dog in the 80’s so it is no surprise when he pokes eyes, rakes backs, and literally starts choking The Rock. Like Flair’s retirement match, this is essentially a greatest hits montage for Hogan. Rocky being the future actor that he is, bounces around like a cruiserweight.

It is so engaging to see, even if Hogan’s reluctance to leave his feet is stupendously obvious. They work the crowd like the two bosses that they are, and it still feels surreal that this match actually happened. Hogan vs. Michaels and Cena vs. The Rock tried to mimic this match, but they just could not follow in this match’s footsteps. Blame ego, blame age, but this is damn near as perfect of a big time wrestling match as you get. This is the wrestling equivalent of a Mark Twain book. It may not have the pop of modern day writing, but you can appreciate the wisdom and wit on display.

The end is wrestling 101. The referee gets knocked out and misses Hogan tapping out to the Sharpshooter from the People’s Champion. Hulk regains control with a low blow/stolen finisher combo because WrestleMania is one of the few times a year wrestlers resort to stealing finishing moves. Hogan whips The Rock, but Rocky channels his future self playing Black Adam and returns the favor while looking like a menacing bastard. He hits a Rock Bottom but Hogan gets his seizure of strength and we get the moment that lives on in a million YouTube ‘Mania countdowns.

In this moment it does not matter what Hogan has said and done in his personal life, because brother he is coming for Rocky! Rocky sells this like he is having an out of body experience. He has realized that he is the villain in all this, and he is standing across the ring from his childhood hero much like Roddy Piper, Andre The Giant, and Randy Savage have done before him and is staring down at his doom. I cannot say this enough, but the crowd is unreal.

When people talk about suspension of disbelief, this is what they are talking about. There are no crazy athletics or extreme violence to sell you on the fact that these guys are tough. In a vacuum this scene is slightly ridiculous. An actor is staring in fear of an old balding man as he grimaces and shakes his fists, but to wrestling fans, this is like watching The Power Rangers form their Megazord right in front of their eyes.

In the end, Hogan’s comeback is cut short, and the legendary Leg Drop of Doom cannot put The Rock away and The People’s Champ must chain together two Rock Bottoms and The People’s Elbow to put down the old lion. Despite Hogan’s monstrous face pop this was the right call, and we get a sign of respect from both men as the torch is officially passed. This is how it should be, as one man gives his endorsement of the other in front of a stadium of people and millions around the world.

Oftentimes in wrestling, backstage drama and politics get in the way so that these dream moments either don’t happen or are not of this quality. Hogan himself is guilty of doing this many times over his career, and Rocky would leave before he could put his stamp of approval on many of the superstars of the new millennium. I think the decline of wrestling after the Attitude Era can be linked to the lack of these critical transitional matches, as many of the Superstars of old were either unwilling (Triple H, Hogan) or unable (Stone Cold, The Rock) to give their blessing in the ring to a replacement, but for one night the right move is done properly.

Looking back at other singles matches I singled out for this list, most have a No-Disqualification stipulation around them. This may be the biggest non-gimmick match in WrestleMania history, and it certainly is my favorite. These two colossus are bigger than gimmicks, and they did not need the shortcut of weapons or bloodshed to tell the story that they wanted. All that mattered was the two men in the ring, and everything else was just icing on the cake. For delivering a real Icon vs. Icon moment rarely seen in any entertainment medium, Rock vs. Hogan is my number two WrestleMania moment.

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

Manopera! Episode 37: WrestleMania 33 Preview with All the Fixins!

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Chris and Frank give their picks and previews for WrestleMania 33 as well as their take on the controversial Twitter hack surrounding Paige, Xavier Woods, and others. Spaceman Frank cuts a promo on the hacker.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania Moments: #6 – Hail to the Chief

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: The Battle of the Billionaires, WrestleMania XXIII  

This moment may be controversial due to the current real life situations surrounding it, but it is still one of the more interesting ones in the company’s history.

Although there are plenty of ‘Mania moments that involve much more talented wrestlers and personalities along with moments that add more to the world of wrestling, this moment is on my top 10 list because there is nothing in wrestling period that can compare to something like this. That is the Battle of the Billionaires featuring the current President of the United States and WWE Hall of Famer Donald J. Trump.

Now Trump is an incredibly polarizing figure, and his very mention may incite plenty of negativity, but this is a column about WrestleMania moments and not a political forum.  That said, it is now impossible to see the match between Umaga and Bobby Lashley and not find it surreal. What we have is one of the most powerful men on the planet shaving Vince McMahon’s (not exactly an insignificant businessman today as well as back in 2007) head. This is the President of the United States of America, and he is part of one of the marquee matches on the biggest wrestling event of the year. No other President has ever been involved in a sport or form of entertainment to this degree, with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt getting involved with football’s early outlaw history.

The match itself is pretty average, and just taken as Lashley vs. Umaga this feels like a main event of Raw instead of the third to last match at a WrestleMania, but Vinny Mac and D-Trump are having a bit of an issue, and these monstrous men are fighting for their honor like the billionaires are their maidens fair. In hindsight, it is slightly uncomfortable that these two old rich white men have two minorities fighting each other for their amusement, especially with Trump’s checkered history when it comes to race relations. What is at stake is not a title, or even simple bragging rights for that matter. The outcome of this wager is that whoever’s champion takes the pin must shave their head, and it is no surprise that Vince took the impromptu haircut here. To add to the proceedings, Stone Cold Steve Austin is here to collect a paycheck as a special guest referee in a role he goes back to every few years.

Nothing too special in the ring stands out, as Trump overshadows every single big move during the match. In 2017 every glance by the camera at the future President causes me to study the screen. I feel like I’m dreaming when I see the man with the nuclear codes throw possibly the worst punch in wrestling history. Then Stone Cold Steve Austin earns a spot on the no-fly list by giving the Stunner to a man with a fleet of Secret Service agents current protecting him and his family. All these moments are amazing in retrospect, and it is hard to compare something like the Undertaker’s WrestleMania win streak ending to something like this. What if Ronald Reagan actually played football instead of being in a movie about it? What if Grover Cleveland was on the New York Yankees before entering politics? I cannot wrap my head around any of that, but I have video evidence of the leader of the free world hanging out by a wrestling ring and being part of a Hair vs. Hair match.

Donald Trump will leave behind a complicated legacy when he passes, but for one night in Detroit he was the good guy fighting against the elitist billionaire. Much in the alleged fashion of his electoral campaign, he was standing up for the common man, using his resources to stand up against someone who usually is unchallenged in power. Trump gets the people behind him and promises to humiliate the people who have been in charge and unchecked for decades. In the end (via his champion Lashley) he managed to get a victory that he assured us he would get, despite his own hiccups performing on the big stage. We see his opponents humiliated and he eventually goes on to become the onscreen owner of the WWE. We should have seen his run at the Presidency coming, and seeing his ascent from WrestleMania 23 to kayfabe owner of the company and Hall of Famer mimics his rise in politics in such a way that is completely bonkers watching it now. For involving the President in a WrestleMania main event and giving WWE something they can brag about for the rest of the company’s history, the Battle of the Billionaires rolls in at number six on my list of WrestleMania moments.

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