Tag Archives: Smackdown

Spaceman Frank’s Money in the Bank 2017 Predictions

by Frank Lucci

The world is focused on “Money” Mayweather announcing that his fight with Conor Mcgregor, but wrestling fans have Money in the Bank to look forward to instead.

Overall the card will be better than anything those two can put on, but WWE has been pushing fan’s patience with some terrible TV. It is like the closer the company gets to a live special the more they fall apart creatively. Throw in the massive hype for Brock Lesnar vs Samoa Joe and fans are looking past this PPV hard. Despite everything though WWE PPV’s are better watches than Raw or Smackdown Live, and there is going to be some (JBL three beers in voice) “HISTORY MADE HERE TONIGHT, TOM” as we get our first women’s Money in the Bank match. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my Money in the Bank 2017 predictions!

The Hype Bros vs. The Colons (Preshow Box Social Funtime Hoopla Tag Team Doritios Pizza Rolls Match)

Zack Ryder is back in the most Zack Ryder way possible: coming back one week before the PPV for a preshow tag team match.

While he seemed to have some sort of push planned with his comeback videos on Youtube, instead he gets a nothing match with his buddy Mojo “ All Gojo” (feel free to send me a check for that one WWE) Rawley who can be seen taking sad selfies with his Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy on Instagram (Hey kids remember when he beat our current champ Jinder Mahal with the help of Gronk?! WWE doesn’t!).

The Colons have somehow even less momentum, so I predict a whole bunch of nothing. Hype Bros win because somebody has to win and it might as well be those spunky lads.

The Usos (C) vs. The New Day (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship)

Everything on the main card is for a title or a Money in the Bank briefcase, which helps make every match feel important. However, it has been awhile since The New Day have had a major PPV match that mattered, as they seem to fart along in promo segments when the chips are truly down (IE Wrestlemania). Meanwhile The Usos are doing fine as champs, but have been overshadowed by Breezango’s (where are they anyway?) pretaped segments. I think WWE will give The New Day a run with the belt eventually, but that feels more like a match for a bigger show like Summerslam. Plus, the Usos should get the initial win via shenanigans to preserve their heel status and look more credible against all the jokey tag teams that dominate Smackdown.

Naomi (C) vs. Lana (WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship)

The only active women on Smackdown not in the Money in the Bank match (where are you Nikki Bella?) sees Naomi being challenged versus longtime manager/ master of maybe one move Lana. I think the time for Lana to transition into a wrestler has come and gone, and to immediately give her a title show sends off red flags for me. Rumor is this came about due to WWE wanting to have the Eva Marie push sans the (probably) gone redhead, so Lana gets the spot. She is not the one to pull it off, since she is way more popular than Eva Marie ever was, while at the same time Naomi is not the person to face off against her. If you want the Eva Marie stuff to work you need somebody the snarkier fans will rally behind like Bayley rather than the middle of the road Namoi. Namoi really has not done much since winning the belt back, but there is no way WWE has Lana take her out in her first match unless she secretly is a fantastic wrestler. Naomi wins in a five minute nothing match.

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Carmella (Money in the Bank Ladder Match)

Fan booking for this match has been more interesting than the build for this, along with many of the other recent news coming out of the women’s division. Between the first official (and rumored) entrants into the Mae Young Classic, plus the potential new Smackdown signings and NXT matches happening  and this has been overshadowed quickly despite the history being made. Here are my rankings for who will win the briefcase on Sunday, from least likely to most likely.

Tamina- Has very little momentum, and while I think heels have more of a shot in these things she barely qualifies as a heel with the poor reaction she garners. I think she has a role to play on Smackdown, but she needs to get some wins to look like any sort of threat.

Becky Lynch- While she somehow has retained most of her popularity despite being booked like she has been hit in the head with an air conditioner unit moments before wrestling, it does not fit her character to cash in on someone. Thankfully Bayley has firmly taken the idiot ball from Lynch since Extreme Rules. Becky could be a good heel, but with a thin roster of women WWE needs a babyface they can depend on. She will do some cool spots, but if she does a disarmer on top of the ladder I will give out on her on Manopera. Submissions on ladders is one of my major kayfabe breaking spots in wrestling.

Carmella- The Princess of Staten Island has been gaining some steam online from those who think WWE will give her the briefcase, so that they can begin building her up as a major player in the division. While I do not mind if she wins the briefcase, paints it with leopard spots, and makes Ellsworth carry it around for her, I still think she is not ready to be anywhere near the title.

Charlotte-While being a decorated champion and probably better than 3/5ths of the women in this match combined, WWE seems determined to make her a face. It would not make sense for her to be able to cash in anytime, especially since we all know she could just declare herself number one contender and Shane Mcmahon would agree. Plus, the chances of Flair hitting a crazy moonsault off the ladder and crashing through the table to take herself out of the match is roughly at 90%.

Natalya- While there is no chatter about Nattie Ice winning, I think it makes the most sense here. Nattie has been away from the title scene for ages despite carrying the division through some dark times, and it is time for her to get a push. She still cannot cut a promo without sounding like an extra from a church production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat she can put on a good match. Bitter Natalya getting the briefcase and cashing in to remind the WWE who is the best there is would be a good move.

Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (Money in the Bank Ladder Match)

Not much to say about the build to this match, other than WWE has tried to get the crowds to have equal amounts of apathy towards everyone involved. Here is the power rankings for winners of this match, from least to most likely.

Dolph Ziggler-Ziggler is here because it would be weird if he was not, but I would believe I was winning Money in the Bank over Dolph.

AJ Styles- Similar to Charlotte Flair, I think AJ is going to get title opportunities regardless if he wins here or not. He already is very established and the crowd is quite taken with him, so he does not need the briefcase to add to his appeal. He also has a feud with Owens on the backburner that he can go back to once this PPV is over. I will laugh if he continues to get his foot stuck in things just when he is starting to get close to winning.

Shinsuke Nakamura- Not sure what WWE is trying to do with Shinsuke on Smackdown. He is still wildly over with crowds, but portraying him as just some weird Japanese man who struggled to put away Ziggler last PPV is not what anybody expected. He could win the briefcase to add some actual mystery to “The Artist,” but I cannot see WWE pulling the trigger on him so soon when he has not had any sort of big moment since his debut. Dream match with Cena at Summerslam please.

Sami Zayn- People seem to think that Zayn may win the belt, be a goody two shoes and announce he will cash in well in advance. I do not buy it. A Sami push would be lots of fun, but I see him having to climb the ranks and grab the US title well before WWE considers putting him into the main event. Plus I can 100% seen Owens reminding us of their fight forever feud and destroying Zayn just for the lulz

Baron Corbin- It seems as though everyone is banking on Corbin to win here, and it would be a fine way to show that WWE has faith in the Lone Wolf. It would fit his character, and WWE has given him enough big moments that fans will buy him invading the main event scene at some point. I do not think he is quite a main eventer yet, but he could be very soon. I just wish he would cut his rapidly retreating hair and go for a more skinhead look.

Kevin Owens- Take everything I said about Corbin cashing in Money in the Bank and double it for Owens. Sure, he has already been champ, but just imagine Owens with the briefcase stalking the champ and being on commentary every time the champ has a match. He would be a perfect Mr. Money in the Bank, and WWE knows they can rely on him if a main eventer gets hurt or if Jinder starts to struggle.

Jinder Mahal (C) vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship Match)

The rematch you did not know you wanted but WWE is giving to you anyway!

While I think Rusev should have gotten in this match back when he called for a shot at the belt at Money in the Bank, Jinder is doing far better as champ than anyone predicted. WWE somehow is pulling off booking him well, as the individual fans can easily decide if they want to cheer or boo him depending on their own thoughts.

This nuance has been missing in WWE for so long, and his popularity in social media and Youtube definitely helps him out. Meanwhile Orton continues to act like he is on horse tranquilizers, and I think his lack of effort has given Mahal some fans. I think Mahal will win, and I think he has put in enough work to warrant it (something I would have never predicted I would say).

My big fear is Cena returns (on July 4th no less), declares himself number one contender because something something AMERICA and Jinder turns into a caticure. Then he beats Jinder and ruins him forever while become a record breaking 17 time champ because “BALD EAGLES AND PURPLE MOUNTAINS MAJESTY, MAGGLE!”

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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.

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

SSEP: Episode 13 – The World of Sports/This Week in WWE

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by Jon Schorr

Jon and Matt delve into major sports news including the NY Rangers win over the Montreal Canadiens, some NBA playoff news, the beginning of the new MLB season, some major UFC talk and review this week in WWE.

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

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: #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!

Spaceman Frank’s Top 10 WrestleMania Moments: #3 – The Attitude Era’s Supernova

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: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock, WrestleMania X-7

WrestleMania X-7 (or 17 to those who the words “attitude” and “extreme” do not apply to) is regarded as the best WrestleMania of all time, and for good reason. It features several classic battles and marks the distinct end of the Monday Night Wars and showcased the deep WWE roster during their most successful period. No other WrestleMania looks and feels like this one, including the ones that came immediately before and after it. This is the singularity in the center of the WWE Universe, and more than any other event is the reason the company is still going strong today. This is modern wrestling distilled into its most basic form, and at its nucleus is the main event between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.

Even though these two faced off two years earlier at WrestleMania 15, circumstances had changed so much in the wrestling world that their previous encounter felt like ancient history. It would be like if the WWE decided to put John Cena vs. The Rock on at WrestleMania 34 after Cena becomes the new Superman in the Justice League movie and it grosses $3 billion worldwide. Both men had reached absurd levels of mainstream success since ‘Mania 15, and I would rate The Rock and Stone Cold as numbers one and three respectively of wrestlers normal people are likely to recognize (two is Hulk Hogan and Cena is a distance fourth due to the memes). If both men stuck around I could have seen a scenario where these guys constantly headline every other WrestleMania until…well today and fans would still be into it all.

It’s unimaginable that WWE would have one super hot megastar on their roster, let alone two, so this is already catapulted into the top ten. It also doesn’t hurt that the crowd for this match is on fire, the story leading into it is on point, and both men happen to be damn good wrestlers. This moment is proof that WWE had the most success when they gave the wrestlers a chance to adapt to what the crowd wanted and let the most talented people on the roster shine on their own merits instead of trying to lead audiences by the nose (makes coughing noises).

We start off with one of, if not the best video packages WWE has ever produced (the fact that I say that with Limp Bizkit playing over it is mind boggling). Stone Cold won the Royal Rumble, The Rock beat Kurt Angle at the next PPV, and here we are. The only two  things I would really change is jamming Debra (Stone Cold’s then real wife) into the picture, and Stone Cold’s look. I know it’s an iconic look, but the dude’s knee braces/shorts combo makes him look like an old man with garters on. Every staredown, every line of their sitdown interview we see, every physical blow between the two is pure gold, and it all revolves around the WWE Championship, as it should be.

Howard Finkel is here to announce this is a No-Disqualification match, and WWE should have him announce the main event of every WrestleMania since he named the damn thing. Stone Cold comes out to the best song Disturbed every recorded (again, licensed music makes wrestlers seem so much more legit) and a massive pop.  Rocky gets a mild pop and his classic movie sounds like call holding music to me. Commentator Paul Heyman reminds us that Stone Cold is a man of integrity which is why Texas loves its native son (not because of the swearing, beer drinking, and ass kicking). Speaking of ass kicking, things immediately break down as the two trade blows. This is how to start a WrestleMania main event, and if Brock Lesnar and Goldberg just stand there after all that has happened between them (as I assume they will headline) I will be pissed. We get brawling around the floor and flurries of punches and kicks with the occasional big move through in. Heyman and JR sell everything so well, and I do not think there has ever been a better commentary team despite their brief tenure together.

Rocky ends up bleeding due to a shot to the head via ring bell and then flops on a table that breaks under his weight. One of the funniest accidental moments in WrestleMania history, and The Rock almost got away with it not being on camera. These guys are such master craftsmen that simple things such as mounted punches makes the crowd go crazy. This is why WWE needs to let their product breathe a bit more. Many “big time” matches these days usually consist of one person hitting a move as the other stands there with a “OMG I can’t believe they hit that move!” look on their face (for an example of this, see Sting vs. Triple H from WrestleMania 31). Here both men work a normal pace, but they exaggerate every move so that it feels like a move that is championship caliber. Just look at the way The Rock flies through the air when taking a simple hip toss and the way Austin flops around when hitting the exposed turnbuckle. When people mention how selling is important to wrestling, this is an essential match that shows why. The only other people I can think of that goes to such lengths to make their opponent look like a million dollars these days is AJ Styles and Sami Zayn.

Steve Austin, perhaps to show Rocky how a real Texas SOB blades, soon has his entire head turn red under the crimson mask. Both men get a turn to grimace under sharpshooters and look like maniacs as they scream and writhe in pain. There are no finishing moves done in the first few minutes, so once we actually get one it actually means something – and in a twist it’s Rocky hitting the Stunner on Austin! It’s one of my favorite moments of the match that for some reason never really gets mentioned.

Fresh off getting beat up by his son and formerly comatose wife (did that come up during Linda McMahon’s congressional confirmation hearing?), Vinny Mac is here to creep on the match. The crowd has gone from booing The Rock to cheering his People’s Elbow, but Vince breaks it all up. Heyman has been hinting that Stone Cold may be up to something dastardly all night, and this is clue number two to what’s going to happen next. Vince hits Rocky with a chair while Austin holds him up. Honestly, I think they could have done the turn better. For example, have the turn come at the very end with a sudden Austin heel turn rather than having him cheat (in a No-DQ match by the way) and selling out to his boss and mortal enemy. The Rock sells a stunner as only he can (acting 101 ladies and germs), but when it does not get the three count Austin just goes berzerk and beats him with a chair until he wins. What should be the biggest betrayal in wrestling history falls slightly flat when the crowd still cheers.

This is like watching Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Judas Priest touring in 1978 with Motörhead as the opening act. This is undefeated 1972 Dolphins vs. undefeated 2007 Patriots in the Super Bowl. This is a blockbuster movie with Humphrey Bogart, Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, and Meryl Streep as the main cast. Nothing else comes close to wrestling fans as the holy grail of an event, and this match solidified the evening as one of the greatest. From here we transitioned to The Invasion and the gradual decline in wrestling’s importance, but the match between Stone Cold and The Rock will be the lasting image of the sport for decades to come. The Rock’s career has soared since leaving WWE full time, and Austin has enjoyed plenty of his own success after retiring two years after this (in poetic justice, his last match would also be against The People’s Champion at WrestleMania XIX). Neither man truly passed the baton to a successor who could match them, but their gift to modern WWE wrestlers is a standard that they should all strive for. With the talent WWE has in their wheelhouse I can see a revival eventually happening, and when it does happen I see this match being the one people pointing to as the bar. It replaced Steamboat/Savage at WrestleMania 3 as the showcase match example, and for good reason. For ending an era the right way and giving causal fans, smart fans, and wrestlers themselves a masterpiece on ‘Mania main events this match is my number three pick for WrestleMania moments.

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: #4 – The End of an Era (Almost)

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 Undertaker vs. Triple H – Hell in a Cell (Special Guest Referee Shawn Michaels), WrestleMania XXVIII

WrestleMania 28 was the very first wrestling event I ever watched. The Bonesaw’s very own Chris Butera knew of a showing that was happening on campus at SUNY Oswego and told me to show up. I had zero context for what was happening, and I picked my favorites based on appearance and who had better entrance music. Sure, I knew who The Rock was and he’d be appearing, but beyond that I was going in blind. Most of the event was fairly unmemorable, and I honestly get this PPV confused with WrestleMania 27 frequently. However, one match stuck with me that I can still recall: Triple H vs The Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee.

What I remember from watching this match live was several random details. The Hell in a Cell structure looks like something from a video game, there was licensed music during the entrances, which in today’s WWE is nearly impossible to get the company to spring for, and yet I remember thinking “The guy with the Motörhead theme song is cool, but this other guy got Johnny Cash so I’m not sure who to root for.” Hell, even the cell got a Metallica theme song!

Imagine how much more legitimate WWE Superstars would look if the company got a couple of popular bands to make up themes for them? Call up Snoop and have him make a theme for his cousin Sasha Banks, or get metalcore bands from Warped Tour to give Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins proper music instead of the generic dribble they get. Just a thought, but it would probably make all the difference in how the WWE Superstars are presented.

This was head and shoulders the best match on the card, even as somebody with no clue about the story behind it. Re-watching it now as a smarmy internet fan, it’s gotten better with age. Easily one of Undertaker’s and Triple H’s  best ‘Mania matches, there is so much drama in the build and during the match itself it almost feels like a theater production rather than a wrestling match.

To start we get Jim Ross coming out to announce this match, because we cannot have Booker T ruining this moment (side note: RIP Jan Ross). This match is billed as the End of an Era, which has been diminished slightly due to the  fact that neither man has retired nearly five years after this match. Shawn Michaels is then out in his referee shirt and actual pants, which is oddly disconcerting. I am so used to HBK dressing like a stripper who bought his sexy outfit at Dick’s Sporting Goods that seeing him in professional attire is strange. His best buddy Triple H is out next, being barfed out of a weird warrior’s mouth. Triple H has his scary dad bode out, but I wish he cut his hair short much earlier, as he looks older here than he does now. Undertaker has a pretty plain entrance that just has a bunch of pyro shooting out behind him. JR claims they are 50 feet tall, but that seems a little suspect, unless the man in front of them is a whopping 30 feet, which would mean the cell is at least 150 feet high and 75 feet wide (spoiler: they aren’t).

The announcers do a good job of highlighting the story of the match: Triple H lost last year, but he walked out and Taker did not, so here we are with the rematch. Triple H, being the bastard boss, makes his buddy and fellow streak victim Michaels the ref to ensure, in his mind, that he will be the one to give Undertaker his first loss at WrestleMania. Undertaker has short hair, a stubble goatee, and eyeliner on, making him look like an old crossdressing goth that just took off his wig.

The match starts and both men just start slugging it out, and Jim Ross calls Triple H’s punches “carcinogenic,” which is perhaps not the best word to use. The Hell in a Cell cage is closer to the ring here, but that leads to a bunch of cool shaky cam style close ups of the action as the cameraman tries to dodge the two behemoths. ‘Taker shoves Michaels out of his way, and we get the first sign that perhaps HBK might pull something shady out of his playbook for his friend later. I couldn’t understand it back then, but the spectre of Triple H, COO and glory hog looms large here. If anyone was going to end the streak, it was going to be the one who runs the place in real life (who’s been known to use his pull to get what he wants). Going into WrestleMania 30 I distinctly thought that since Hunter didn’t end the streak, nobody ever will (Oops…).

Undertaker moves at a pace that can generously be called glacial, but unlike more recent years he moves well when doing moves and throwing strikes. The match mostly takes place outside the ring, but things pick up soon. We get a cool back body drop off the steps, followed by Triple H giving Taker a sickening spinebuster on the steps. ‘Taker tries to counter with the Hell’s Gate, but Triple H hoofs up the massive man and slams him down. Everything here is downright painful looking, and that’s before Triple H just goes on the warpath and beats Undertaker with a chair for what seems like five minutes. Triple H wrestles like someone trying to win a match in a WWE video game, and it just adds to the high drama on display.

HBK starts panicking, and he begs his buddy to end it by covering The Undertaker. HBK does some great acting here as he’s torn between his friend and the man he respects for retiring him. Shawn literally pleads with ‘Taker to stay down, but The Dead Man speaks and simply says “do not stop.” We need more matches like this, and seeing Triple H bleeding from the head yelling that he will end Undertaker and almost squash his opponent’s head like a watermelon with the hammer is an arresting visual. I still jump when it happens, even though three seconds later I realize there is no way Triple H is going to murder someone on live television.

The amazing moments just keep happening. HBK gets put in the Hell’s Gate to prevent him from stopping the match, but Triple H uses the sledgehammer again when he is down. The Undertaker pays for his hubris when Triple H passes out, but Shawn is still knocked out from before. Finishers start flying as Undertaker hits R1 to Chokeslam Triple H and replacement ref Little Naitch, and when he tries to Tombstone Triple H HBK nails him with the Sweet Chin Music.

This is perhaps Shawn’s greatest piece of work in the world of wrestling. Everything comes together here so well it is re-watchable again and again. He nails the kick to Undertaker, who immediately gets hit with the Pedigree. Watching this five years later, I am convinced every time that the streak is done. The Pedigree is so well protected, and the combo between that and Shawn’s kick would take down an elephant under normal circumstances. HBK goes to count the pinfall, and when Undertaker kicks out Shawn completely breaks down. HBK let out the Shawn Michaels of old, the primadonna who held down and bullied people, and for just one second he let that bastard out to show ‘Taker that he is not someone to get pushed around. He then pulls a 180 and we return to Shawn Michaels the God fearing man, who huddles in the corner and cries knowing that his anger and pettiness almost destroyed one of the most hallowed institutions in WWE. He has changed so much since the days of his wild youth, but underneath the piousness he is just as dangerous and reckless as ever. ‘Taker brought that out before when they tussled at WrestleMania, and whatever leftover angst powered that kick after being disrespected repeatedly by Undertaker, the man he is only trying to look out for.

This is, in my mind, one of the best sixty seconds of wrestling I have ever seen, and one of the moments that drew me into the world of wrestling. The drama, the action, the crowd, the announcers, it all comes together in one perfect moment. I can watch this over and over again, constantly rewinding and hearing Michael Cole yell “Streak’s over! Streak’s over!” again and again and again.

But of course, this is not the end of the streak, and now Triple H is abusing his buddy for showing weakness. Big Daddy ‘Taker sits up and Hunter nearly pees his pants as he begins his rally. A Tombstone Piledriver is not enough to stop Triple H, but the real victim is Shawn. Repeatedly we see him crouched in the corner with tears running down his face as ‘Taker and Triple H slug it out despite being too tired to stand. This match is shortening both men’s lives physically, but HBK must take on the emotional toll for both men as he witnesses the two men he respects the most destroy each other like two massive stars caught in each other’s orbit. Finally, after an exhausting half an hour Undertaker proves he is tougher than The Game by beating him senseless as Shawn cannot even look at the carcass of his friend. Triple H manages to stand one last time and give a crotch chop, but it’s curtains for him. All three men truly have gone to hell and back, and they fittingly leave supporting each other up the ramp as the crowd gives them the standing ovation they deserve.

This match is half an hour long, but it both feels longer and shorter than this. It does not drag like many longer matches, but the journey you go on during this bout feels like the series finale of your favorite hour long drama. This is Undertaker’s best WrestleMania match, period; and most likely the best Triple H match at ‘Mania as well.

Usually when I try to get people to start watching wrestling, I either go for extreme violence (to show how tough and legitimate the wrestlers are), or pure comedy (to show how goofy wrestlers can be). This is the best match to show people how engrossing wrestling can be on an emotional level, and it takes three master craftsmen to show just how special an incredible wrestling match can be. Get a stadium full of crazy fans and plenty of atmosphere to boot and you have plenty of lasting images that sink their hooks into a potential fan’s brain, leading them down the path to becoming a lifelong mark. It worked on me, and I’m sure it worked on many other people as well.

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: #5 – Cash Me Outside

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: Seth Rollins Cashes in his Money in the Bank Briefcase, WrestleMania XXXI

Going into WrestleMania 31 doubt hung in the air. Roman Reigns had infamously won the Royal Rumble in such a way that even his cool cousin The Rock couldn’t shield him from the chorus of boos. At the same time WWE Champion Brock Lesnar’s contract was running down, and the WWE Universe was in full-blown panic mode. Nobody besides women, children, and Vince McMahon seemed to like Reigns, but the company felt it was forced to give The Big Dog the push due to Brock potentially leaving. Rumors swirled around the main event, and it appeared nobody knew what the hell was going to happen when the event actually took place on March 29th, 2015.

In retrospect, everything appeared much more dire than it actually ended up being. Sure the Royal Rumble match itself was a colossal failure, but Lesnar was coming off the best match of his most recent run (a triple threat between himself, John Cena, and Seth Rollins) that firmly established that, while Lesnar may not show up all that frequently, when he was wrestling it was always a spectacle and could also be legitimately stellar. Brock also helped calm the nerves of fans everywhere when he appeared on ESPN days before the event and announced he was officially retiring from the UFC (lol!) and had re-signed with the WWE. Fans could breathe, but would Vinny Mac punish the Beast for leaving him dangling? Would WWE really put the belt on the undercooked Reigns despite the amount of backlash he had received mere weeks into his main event push?

This atmosphere made ‘Mania 31 one of the most exciting versions of the event that I had the pleasure to watch live. Granted, the only ones I have seen live were 28 and then 30 on forward, but this one was the one I was the most invested in emotionally, and I was curious if WWE would be able to pull it off or if it would turn into a dumpster fire.

Thankfully the WWE pulled it off. This is easily the most re-watchable ‘Mania of the WWE Network Era, and there is very little fat to trim here. The highlight of the evening was big Brock Lesnar getting his hands on Roman Reigns.

To clarify my stance on Reigns: I’ll admit he is a good wrestler. Sometimes he can be great in the ring, but the man is a black hole of charisma and I cannot imagine buying a watch from the guy from a mall kiosk, let alone wanting to buy a PPV he’s headlining. WWE has done the man no favors in helping him get over, so while the video package played my buddies and I grabbed some beers and got ready for Reigns to Superman Punch our hopes and dreams away. Despite everything that can go wrong, WWE makes my number five WrestleMania moment here, and Lesnar vs. Reigns delivers so much on every level. From the atmosphere to the video package and entrances to the match itself and its epic ending, this is modern WWE storytelling done right.

The video package tries so hard to make Roman seem legit. Hilariously they chose to not feature any audio involving the fans, as this supposedly triumphant montage would sound quite different with two straight minutes of boos behind it. Meanwhile, Brock looks like a killer. Reigns is just trying to get you not to boo him, while Brock is here to suplex people so hard there souls leave their bodies. Of course, Paul Heyman slays Reigns with the immortal line, “When you lose, how will you handle disappointing your family?” Grab the shovel, this package just makes me love Lesnar and Heyman all the more.

Reigns enters first and the crowd is…curiously silent – almost as if WWE has gone back and turned down the crowd audio (here’s looking at you, Kevin Dunn). The Big Dog is seen shoving away fans as he enters from the crowd. We all get the infamous “We listen to our fans LOL” and “Roman is a Wank Pheasant” signs that belong in the WWE Hall of Fame. Even Reigns’ pyro is really lame as he initially gets giant roman candles going off around the stadium for him (Roman Reigns…Roman candles? I just got it!). Anyway, Brock gets the hero’s welcome from the tens of thousands of fans who traveled hundreds or thousands of miles and paid thousands of dollars to watch a man I believe can deadlift several cows beat up a guy who looks like someone who tries to flirt with your wife on your honeymoon. Lesnar’s pyro seems to blow up much of the stadium and we are off to the races.

This match really breaks out from a decent WrestleMania moment to something truly memorable. Brock dismantled everyone he came across, including Reigns predecessor John Cena. Would WWE try to play this off like Reigns is equal to Lesnar, and how much would the crowd rebel against this? Will WWE have Brock just steamroll Roman in the squash matches we’d come to expect? I waited on baited breath with my friends as we prayed to the Wrestling Gods that a miracle would happen and we would not get a stinker in the main event.

Then it happens. One minute in and Brock Lesnar hits an F-5 and you can hear the tension in the stadium and across the WWE Universe melt away. I have never seen or experienced such an electric feeling from a live WWE PPV. As much as I loved Daniel Bryan winning the title at the previous ‘Mania, we all knew it was going to happen. This was as shocking and violent as a shark attack, and in that moment my suspension of disbelief was in full force. I truly believed that Brock Lesnar was that unbeatable, and the pretender Reigns was going to be carted off the field at Levi’s Stadium and we would never have to deal with him in the main event of any PPV again (sigh…).

What really sells this opening minute is Brock’s acting. Lesnar will never be known for promos, but when he needs to he is great at conveying emotions non-verbally. He realizes that Reigns had opened up his cheekbone, so instead of getting the pin like JBL is screaming at him to do he decides to punish Roman. The Beast is bleeding, and The Beast is mad. He will use the WrestleMania Main Event to punish those who defy him and send a message that nobody on God’s Green Earth dares to try to humanize him. Reigns attempts to fire back and Brock tosses him around like a German Shepard who is tired of the new kitten clawing at it’s face.

Here we see things truly shift into Lesnar’s corner, both in ring and in the eyes of fans. While Roman was at a mild level of annoyance before, here he makes the curious decision to try and hulk up by either doing a classic “seizure of strength” gesture or laughing after being hit. Whoever told him to try and laugh off hits from a former UFC champion deserves to be fired on the spot. It makes him completely insufferable during this match and draws the bloodlust of Lesnar out even more, and the crowd, God bless them, are right there seeing red with him.

The match devolves into a brutal beating, as Lesnar hits Reigns with several legitimately brutal punches and suplexes. He utters the most famous line of his career as he indeed sends Reigns to “Suplex City, Bitch.” While many WrestleMania matches (especially main events) try to go for that methodical, epic beat fight feel, this match is all one giant beatdown cut with shots of Paul Heyman smiling like the zealot he is. Every time Reigns tries anything Brock just does it bigger, better, and more devastating than Roman could ever do. Even a slap from Lesnar looks like it registers on the Richter Scale.

At this point the crowd is riding high, and despite some small rallies from Roman is met with a resounding piece of thunder from the champ, but then, suddenly, things turn. Lesnar goes into a ring post and starts gushing blood from his fourth head wound of the match. The crowd, previously punch drunk, starts booing in earnest protest of what looks to be happening. I was apocalyptic as soon as I saw Lesnar truly bleeding, as I thought in my heart of hearts that this was when The Roman Empire was going to begin. Reigns hits his two moves of doom repeatedly as I worry commentator Michael Cole is going to need a new pair of pants. Sadly, despite Brock’s epic ass kicking, all our worst fears are coming true, and Roman truly is the future of the WWE. It does not matter how much we rally behind our Daniel Bryan’s, the most vocal of fans (and, if I give my own two cents, the most important given that they refuse to abandon WWE while demographics and sponsors come and go) must concede that Vince is going to get his way. We will have a Ken doll as champ, and if we’re lucky we get to see Brock Lesnar throw people around and see our internet darlings put on some good matches beforehand.

This dreary mindset lasted a whole three or four minutes. Heyman is pleading with Brock to stay down, or put up his hands, or do anything to prevent this doomsday scenario (I’m right there with you, Paul). Thankfully, it’s Christmas Day, and on this day our lord and savior Crossfit Jesus was born. Seth Freaking Rollin’s music hits and upon the first notes hitting my WWE Network crashes and my entire party panics like a Xenomorph just burst through the wall. Thankfully, we got it back just in time to see Rollins become the first WWE Superstar to not only cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania but win the title and make this a legitimately legendary main event as well. The crowd was invested from the beginning to end, and WWE decided to be bolder than they ever have been before by having the unproven Rollins sneak into the last five minutes of the show and win it all.

We do not get the chorus of boos, we do not get the predictable outcome, we get something that actively makes fans happy and want to tune it the next night on Raw. That is sorely lacking in today’s WWE, and it just goes to show why this match is so critical and important. Looking ahead to the current ‘Mania main event of Goldberg vs. Lesnar, we potentially have three of the last four Mania’s end in the most predictable fashion. WrestleMania 30 tried to do this with the streak ending and D-Bry’s epic win, but that has been tarnished by Taker’s subpar post-event wrestling output and Bryan’s early retirement.

This now stands out much more to me as a wild and unpredictable WrestleMania main event that, more than any other modern ‘Mania, convinced people to stick around and invest in the product (and the Network). For playing into and subverting fan expectations repeatedly over the course of an exhausting twenty minutes and giving every spectrum of fans a reason to be excited and invested in the WWE going forward, WrestleMania 31’s main event of Lesnar vs. Reigns (vs. Rollins) is number five on my list.

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!

manopera

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!