Tag Archives: wrestlemania 33

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.

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DNC Unable to Watch ‘Mania, Blames Russia

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The DNC was rather upset Sunday evening, but not for the reasons you may think.

The entire committee gathered at the Clinton estate to watch WrestleMania 33, but things went awry after the one hour WWE Kickoff special on the USA Network aired.

“Due to large amounts of delays, we were unable to watch WrestleMania,” said Hillary Clinton, an avid John Cena fan. “We believe the Russians hacked into our Xbox One console, sabotaging The Ultimate Thrill Ride for the Democratic Party.”

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin could not be reached for comment, but sources say he was very upset Rusev was unable to compete due to his shoulder injury and hopes he receives a proper main event push upon return.

“This is preposterous,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, who had no issues watching the event on his 80-inch Smart TV from his Vermont home. “Everyone knows the WWE Network lags on the Xbox One, plus when you account for the amount of new subscribers and people watching this event, it’s very clear that Russia has nothing to do with this.”

Over in the White House, the Trump Administration thoroughly enjoyed The Show of Shows on their Playstation 4. However, Vice-President Mike Pence was reportedly unable to watch any matches involving women as his wife Karen was out running errands all day.

“Mother and I love Bayley,” said the Vice-President.

It was also reported that President Trump and his wife Melania were having marital issues over the main event as Melania is a huge fan of Roman Reigns – a Superstar her husband despises.

“He’s hot and has muscles,” said the First Lady before calming down her son Baron, who was upset his favorite Superstar Baron Corbin did not win the Intercontinental Championship from Dean Ambrose.

President Trump could not be reached for comment, but we were told by Secret Service Agents that he thought “very bigly” of this year’s event and popped huge for the returning Hardy’s.

Then. Now. Hoax.

Spaceman Frank’s WrestleMania 33 Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

WrestleMania 33 is almost upon us, and it has to be better than last year’s WrestleMania…right?

The overall build has been very vanilla for the most part, with a few matches given stellar storylines while others feel like WWE just picked names out of a hat, announced a match, then moved on. Even more curious is that WWE has chosen to fill up much of the Raws and SmackDowns before the Ultimate Thrill Ride with mini rivalries that won’t even factor into the main show such as Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman, Luke Harper vs. Bray Wyatt, and Charlotte vs. Dana Brooke. Sure, there might be something to these throwaway matches on WrestleMania, but why cram all that into the preamble when you could just wait until after the Show of Shows and actually build up the main matches for the biggest show of the year?

However, it is WrestleMania after all, and there is always enough buzz in the air about the event to keep you excited enough to check it out. As I explained it to my manager at work, WrestleMania is like Christmas if it lasted for three days…so I guess that makes it a Mini-Hanukkwanzikkah. I’m Spaceman Frank and here are my WrestleMania 33 predictions!

2017 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

I wish this opened the show proper, as battle royals are always fun and wacky affairs and a good way to cart out all the mid and lower card wrestlers to give them some attention before the “real” (AKA part time) wrestlers take over the show. WWE initially seemed to be trying to build up this event by announcing a few guys early, but then did absolutely nothing with this match for weeks. Then they plugged in all the guys from SmackDown’s tag team division (sorry lads, better luck next year!) and here we go.

Really, this is the Braun Strowman show, and it seems stupidly obvious he is going to win here. I think it will come down to him and Sami Zayn, Zayn will struggle a bit, and then he will get tossed into the second row of the arena and crowd surfed away. Or maybe James Ellsworth will be last and sneak out a victory before being thrown into the second bowl of the stadium. Or, Beth Phoenix will enter and recreate her spot from the 2010 Royal Rumble and kiss Strowman so she can eliminate him. Just kidding, Strowman is hoofing people over the rope like it’s his favorite activity (which it is).

Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries (WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match)

Aries, being the pro that he is, sold me on this match when a fan asked him if he was upset that he was on the pre-show. He responded with “The pre-show just became must-watch, so no.” Classic.

I think this has potential to be a top three match of the evening, and both men have elevated the Cruiserweight division. The problem is while they are riding high they forgot to bring the rest of the division with them. I really wish they would have made this a multi man ladder match to get more people involved, but whatever. Neville needs to keep the belt here, but Austin is not a bad choice to prematurely end the reign of the king. Neville wins and this feud lasts for quite a bit as both men step up their game and keep the division hot.

Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Baron Corbin (Intercontinental Championship Match)

With the Smackdown women getting the bump back up to the main card of ‘Mania, I honestly think this will take it’s place on the pre-show. It’s not fair to the men involved because they have made the most of the limited minutes of TV time they have seemed to get over four weeks to build this.

Ambrose has done nothing since getting the belt, which is a shame considering Miz and Dolph Ziggler worked so hard to get people to actually care about the Intercontinental title again. Corbin does really well whenever the WWE give him something to sink into, and this feud has plenty of untapped potential. Also, if it were taking place at any other time it would be a marquee match. Instead, they’ll probably get the shaft and we get a condensed version of what could have been. Corbin wins because he needs the belt while Ambrose can bounce around wherever needed. Plus, Corbin has a better chance of elevating the belt to where it was before.

The Club (c) vs. Enzo and Big Cass vs. Sheamus and Cesaro (WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Ladder Match)

This would have been my choice to get bumped to the preshow if it was not for the ladder stipulation that was tacked on after Sheamus had his head graphically split open. It seems like an odd stipulation given that there are plenty of huge men that I don’t see flying around and falling off ladders. I get the sinking feeling Enzo is going to bounce around like a pinball, and maybe Cesaro will fly around as well doing something inhumanly athletic (seriously, I’m pretty sure the guy is part of the X-Men. Is Cesaro secretly Cyclops? I’ve never seen them in the same room…). Anyway, I’d like The Club to retain now that they actually have the belts, but I think Enzo and Cass will get the win. They will have the feel good moment of the night, and since they are all over the Network’s build to the event it would make sense. They have deserved gold for some time, and it might as well be at WrestleMania.

Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Carmella vs. Becky Lynch vs Natalya vs. Mickie James vs. Naomi (Six Pack Challenge for WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship)

After some confusion with Naomi’s injury status we initially had this match advertised as SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss competing against every available women wrestler on the blue brand going for the belt.

However, WWE is now selling this as a Six Pack Challenge, so I’m not sure if any surprise entrants are coming. I’ll just take this match as is, but if any surprise entrants do show up I think it will be Tamina Snuka over somebody like Asuka (especially since she retained her NXT Women’s Championship at NXT TakeOver: Orlando). Despite the multitude of ladies in this match, this might as well be Bliss vs. Naomi since they are the only two with a real chance of winning. Naomi is the popular pick here to win in her hometown, but Bliss is just too good as champ to lose the belt this quick. I think Bliss will retain after we get the customary R1 chain of finishers spot and we can transition into continuing her feud with Naomi.

Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles

After putting the company on his back for months and delivering stellar matches with everyone under the sun, Styles deserves a better ‘Mania match than Shane O’Mac. The Boy Wonder pretty much has just one move – and while it is a spectacular one, this match is just a standard one, so I doubt we will see him dropping elbows off of something tall.

Instead, Styles will spend the whole match making his onscreen boss look good, despite Shane’s history of rather dubious boxing (drop the punches and focus on either diving off things or learning some real moves). That being said, they did do a fine job of building this contest, and they could not really do anything else differently to make it better. Shane is the weak point in it all, and we don’t need a Shane O’Mania match every year to go with the Undertaker and Triple H matches every year.

AJ wins and moves on to something bigger and better once the part timers are gone.

Seth Rollins vs. Triple H (Non-Sanctioned Match)

I have a big problem with this match from a kayfabe perspective. If Rollins signed the Hold Harmless papers and agreed to an unsanctioned match, what is to stop Triple H from bringing Samoa Joe or even some NXT callups from just dogpiling on Rollins?

Issues with the logic aside, this will be a fun little match depending on how healthy Rollins really is. WWE keeps running video packages telling us how devastatingly hurt he is, yet for a guy coming to the ring in crutches he sure can hit a lot of leg/knee-based moves (RIP kayfabe). Triple H will work said knee and generally be an evil bastard for a while, send Rollins to Dad Bod City before Crossfit Jesus recovers and wins the match via Holy Crossfit Powers (it is a Sunday, after all).

John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse

The build to this has been absolutely golden, and it is easy to get people into this match based on the easily consumable YouTube videos that the skits and promo wars have produced.

Props to WWE for realizing that giving The Miz a chance to jab and poke the bear is the best. He is so good, and while people think this is a step down for Cena I think this is a makeup made in heaven. Plus, getting their respective female life partners involved also helps elevate their own division in the process. Sure, Maryse has not competed since coming back to WWE, but she is a former Divas champ and can go if need be. Having these two alongside a bonafide Superstar like Cena and the veteran Miz shows WWE has faith in their women to compete with the best of the men.

Cena has said that he is going to run through Miz with no problem, which makes me think Mr. and Mrs. Miz are going to get the win. Maryse gets the sneaky heel rollup because The Miz’s are just that good of bad guys. As for the rumored proposal of Cena to Nikki, I honestly don’t care, but if they do get engaged then congrats – but only if it’s for real and not happy ending storyline purposes (which would actually prove Miz right, turning Cena heel in real life).

Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte vs. Nia Jax (Fatal 4-Way for WWE Raw Women’s Championship)

WWE shot their load early by giving the title to Bayley on Raw, which would have been the WrestleMania worthy moment. Instead, she ended Charlotte’s undefeated Pay-Per-View streak at Fastlane to further kill interest in this match and then said “screw it” and added Sasha Banks and then Nia Jax to this feud.

I think this was WWE’s only choice, and hopefully they mix things up soon because I am rapidly growing sick of seeing the same matches over and over again on Raw. Jax is my dark horse here, and I think she needs to eliminate Charlotte to establish how dominant she really is, then feud with her going forward. Sasha and Bayley should then team up to take Jax down before Sasha does a betrayal five to win the belt.

Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens (United States Championship Match)

THE MEGA BEST FRIENDS EXPLODE!

The Festival of Friendship is the new standard of ending friendships in wrestling, and since then these two men have done…not a whole lot. Sure, Owens lost the Universal Championship when Y2J meandered out at Fastlane to distract him, but since then Owens has been regulated to one of Triple H’s lackeys – the other being Samoa Joe (who for reasons unknown is not on the card at all). Jericho will probably be done with his current run by May, and since he has done nothing with the US title, I see Owens grabbing it here.

They then can have an Extreme Rules match to settle things and have Owens destroy him to write Jericho off TV. Then we can pray for an Evolution 2.0 with Owens, Joe, Pete Dunne, and Triple H because that would be excellent.

Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Randy Orton (WWE Championship Match)

One of the best long term stories WWE has put on since Rock vs. Cena sees Bray finally getting his belt and defending it against WWE’s longest tenured crazy person.

Seeing Wyatt get his due was great, but the build to this match since has been hit and miss. Orton commits arson and nobody but AJ Styles seems to bat an eye, while Wyatt spreads ashes all over himself and gets some buddies to beat up Orton with him. This should be a Triple Threat with Luke Harper involved, but maybe next month he can get his chance at the main event. However, I see Harper making his presence felt before the returning Erick Rowan takes him out and helps Wyatt retain.

Side note: I really don’t want to see babyface Orton on top of SmackDown. He is a boring good guy and I just cannot handle it. Please don’t do this WWE.

Goldberg (c) vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE Universal Title Match)

You know you’ve got a barnburner of a match on your hands when the champ has wrestled five minutes in the past three months, has two moves in his arsenal, and has not defended the belt since winning it.

When your champion of a brand featuring some truly talented individuals threatens to hit a third move in interviews, you know your main event scene is messed up. Brock Lesnar has been severely damaged by all this, so I hope he destroys Goldberg to win the belt and we get The Beast returning to his unstoppable ways. With Goldberg’s run rumored to be finished after ‘Mania, he is probably going to lose.

The next night on the Raw after ‘Mania, Finn Balor comes out and challenges Brock to a match for the belt he never lost, kicks Lesnar’s head in, and I start caring about the Universal Championship again.

Side note: The Beast Incarnate vs. The Demon King is serious money. Please do this WWE.

The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns

This is rumored to go on last, and I think it should – especially if this is Undertaker’s last match (judging from his frankly rough look over the past few weeks, I believe this to be true).

Triple H has already stated in interviews that Reigns is the heel here, so I’m glad they’re smart enough to realize that nobody is cheering him over ‘Taker. ‘Taker does not seem very mobile, so this will be a plodding affair since Reigns is not good enough to elevate a match with a limited opponent. Expect a greatest hits package from Undertaker in a match that will be more memorable for the crowd giving Reigns the business rather than anything entertaining happening in the ring. Reigns wins due to ‘Taker being a pro and wanting to put people over, plus the rumored ‘Mania 34 main event of Reigns vs. Lesnar being more interesting if both men have beaten the Undertaker at WrestleMania.

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

Spaceman Frank’s NXT TakeOver: Orlando Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

It’s time again for WWE to put on their biggest show of the year. Lately, that big show had been overshadowed by the critically acclaimed Takeovers that precede it, which act like the Guardians of the Galaxy films to the populist Avengers movies. They are not suppose to be better, but really, with this cast, how could they not be? This year it seems like WWE has made a concentrated effort to tamper or even dull the NXT before Wrestlemania, with the build being built primarily on video packages as other people who are not even on the card (cough, Kassius Ohno) to keep the weekly NXT shows running in the meantime. I mean, I get that WWE does not wanting for Shinsuke during the main event of their big show like last year, but why not just try to make Mania better rather than hurt NXT? Petty conspiracy theories aside, until NXT actually disappoints me I will be all in on their live events, and their is plenty to like here despite the promo package heavy build. I am Spaceman Frank, and here are my NXT: Orlando predictions.

Team Perfect Best Friends (Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong, No Way Jose, and Ruby Riot) vs. Sanity

The big question here is if this will be the standard WWE mixed tag match, or if NXT will be bold and allow Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross to mix it up with the boys. It would make sense for Cross to attack the men since that would very much be in her character, and I believe the best way to get the debuting Ruby over with new fans is to have her stand up to Sanity and lay into them  regardless of gender. I like everyone here, and given that this is one of the best built up feuds in NXT, I think NXT can have a brawl for the ages here. If this is a plain jane mixed tag natch I see Cross getting the win to give Sanity some cred and herself some momentum because I think she is next up for the Women’s Championship. If everyone can hit anyone I think this will end up being an epic chain of finishers that give Tye a win that he is desperate for. Dillinger has put in the work in NXT, and her deserves a Big Damn Hero moment for once. In front of the Mania crowds right in the backyard of NXT and I think The Perfect Ten gets the pin.

Aleister Black vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas

Another big debut sees the former Tommy End get his proper debut (after showing up during the UK Tournament in an exhibition loss to Neville) against Almas. Almas has gotten so much better as a heel, and honestly I see him taking over the mantle of cocky heel for Bobby Roode whenever he gets called up. It seems odd then that NXT would feed him to their next big debut, and it is even stranger that Kassius Ohno is nowhere to be found despite being all over NXT TV the past weeks. Ohno has not exactly impressed since coming back, and NXT honestly seems to be punishing him by having him lose and wear unflattering outfits. I think a triple threat between the three would have been dynamite and add an air of mystery here, but without Ohno I see Black getting the win. He is knew, he has a stellar look, and he can be the star power NXT will need post-Mania. I just hope Almas gets his stuff in and looks good here because NXT is going to need him to step up even more in the weeks and months to come.

Asuka (c) vs. Ember Moon (NXT Women’s Championship Match)

Asuka is facing literally the only women possible that seems to have a remote chance to take her championship. I should be super hyped for this and yet…I am not. Triple H is on the record for saying he is not pleased that the NXT Women’s Division was gutted by the WWE draft, and it really shows that only Asuka and Moon are the legit ladies left who can get the crowd into a singles match for the belt. But the booking has done Ember Moon no favors, and she has been hot and cold since her debut the past summer in Brooklyn. She is undefeated, sure, but she appears infrequently and did not face as stiff competition as Asuka has. I think Asuka will win here in a competitive match, then go the main roster (preferably Smackdown because in generally I think they handle people much better there). She is very close to breaking Goldberg’s streak, and if there is one thing WWE loves is stats they can parade around every week. Have her keep the streak intact so she has a default storyline and drawn out her beating each person on the roster as she gets closer. Then we get Asuka vs Charlotte in the battle of ladies with have/had streaks to get her past 176. Asuka is ready and we need new blood ASAP. Meanwhile to cover the cost of getting to the main roster she gives up her NXT championship without losing it and the long rumored women’s tournament crowns a new champ in Moon leading to an eventual rematch down the line. Book it Triple H the Spaceman demands it (please don’t hurt me).

Authors of Pain (c) vs. The Revival vs. Team DIY (Triple Threat Match for the NXT Tag Team Championships)

This is NXT’s (and WWE’s by extension) Big Giant Indy Exhibition Craziness Matchup of the weekend. The important (aka only) tag teams in NXT go at it all at once, and this will surely big the match that people talk about when the dust has settled on the weekend. Team DIY and The Revival are opposite sides of the same workhorse coin, while The Authors of Pain are the stereotypical team WWE craves while at the same time showing of some impressive moves when asked. Something special is here, and what I really want is a Wrestlemania 17 TLC match between the three to crown the next wave of stellar tag teams going forward. Instead, we get an elimination match between the teams, which is fine but I really want to see something that requires people to crash and burn to achieve glory. I could almost see the two smaller teams teaming up on Authors of Pain to take them out, but I think they are keeping the belt her and sticking around to dominate for a long time as is customary in NXT I could also see the long standing split between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Wrestling actually happen if not for the fact that NXT (and WWE) are desperate for tag teams. I think The Revivial are the ones out first because they are the most main roster ready (Evolution 2.0 with them, Joe, and Pete Dunne with Triple H being the shadow puppet master please!) and to balance things out between face and heels. But in the end AOP needs the belts to stay relevant, as heel tag teams have a bad record in NXT once they lose the belts.

Bobby Roode (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (NXT Championship Match)

After putting on a psychological showcase, we now get Roode trying to fend off a pissed off Nakamura in Orlando. What I do not get is WWE first running the injury angle of Nakamura, followed by backstage or pre taped segments of the former champ. I can give a pass on the whole injury angle if I believed for a second Nakamura was actually inured. Meanwhile, Shinsuke is best in front of a live crowd to feed off their energy and showcase his charisma, as he just does not have the same effect over Twitter updates and taped footage. Roode has suffered as well, though props go to the props department for adding little things for people to praise the champ over such as the picture of himself behind the champ during his sit down interview. Bobby is such a dastardly heel that my roommate Kim has wished get dies in a fire, so he must be doing something right. I think he will retain here cause Nakamura has nothing left to give NXT and needs to be on the main roster. Roode is the evil champ the brand needs as it collects some new stars, and Nakamura is the exciting new babyface both shows needs. I think this match will be fine, but I am ready to see what’s next.

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: #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!

SSEP: SSEP – Episode 11: WrestleMania 33/NXT Takeover Orlando Preview

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by Jonathan Schorr

Jon and Matt go on the ultimate thrill ride with their WrestleMania 33 and NXT Takeover: Orlando predictions while watching WrestleMania 13 from 1997.

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

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!

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.

Manopera! Episode 34: ‘Member The Rumble?

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In honor of Bonesaw Entertainment’s two-year anniversary, Chris and Spaceman Frank talk the ‘member berry madness of Royal Rumble 2017.

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

Fantasy Booking The Undertaker vs. Finn Balor at WrestleMania 33

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On the 900th episode of SmackDown, The Undertaker appeared for the first time since WrestleMania 32.

Many speculated it would be to either announce his retirement or to select his WrestleMania 33 opponent. However, the Phenom did none of these things. He simply stated that he’s back to “take souls and dig holes,” and that WrestleMania will no longer define him before giving the SmackDown Survivor Series team a pep-talk from beyond the grave.

As vague as his statement is, it’s safe to assume he will now be appearing sporadically in some type of authority role, almost in a way President Jack Tunney would in the 80’s and early 90’s. ‘Taker will probably end up in the occasional tag match as well as more Pay-Per-Views leading up to ‘Mania 33.

But if the Show of Shows in Orlando is the endgame for The Deadman, he should have an opponent, and it should be a demon. Not Demon Kane, but a Demon King.

The Undertaker’s WrestleMania 33 opponent should be none other than the returning Finn Balor, and unlike his ‘Mania 31 encounter with Bray Wyatt, it should be a passing of the torch.

But how can this feud be built with Balor on Raw and ‘Taker on SmackDown?

After Survivor Series this Sunday, the next inter-brand Pay-Per-View is Royal Rumble.

In the Royal Rumble match, Balor should make his return to the ring as the surprise number 30 entrant to a Road Warrior pop and battle his way into becoming one of the final competitors fighting for a World Championship opportunity alongside John Cena, Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins.

With the way things are heading, it looks as though Rollins and Triple H will meet at either the Rumble or ‘Mania, so we’ll keep it for the latter. Here, The Game screws Rollins out of the title via shenanigans and Rollins is promptly eliminated. We now have our final three Rumble combatants. One from Raw, two from SmackDown. Cena and Wyatt will set their differences aside for the sake of their brand and team up against Balor.

The lights then go out inexplicably and we hear the one sound every WWE Superstar dreads.

GONG!

The lights reactivate as The Undertaker stands in the ring and stares down all three men. As a red herring, he chokeslams Cena. Still setting his sights on being “The New Face of Fear,” Wyatt tries for a Sister Abigail but it’s countered into another chokeslam by the Phenom. Balor has been down the entire time from the Cena/Wyatt smack down (pun intended). As he slowly recovers to his feet he turns to The Deadman, who stares into his eyes and makes his signature throat-cutting gesture before driving Balor into the mat with a Tombstone. He picks up the fallen Irishman and tosses him over the top rope, eliminating him from the match and his chance to reclaim the title he was forced to vacate due to injury.

The stage is set. The Demon of Death Valley vs. The Demon King at the Granddaddy of ’em All, where after putting on a clinic, Balor puts ‘Taker to rest en-route to winning back his WWE Universal Championship from Rollins, who defeats both Triple H and Kevin Owens in the same night.

Since the current Cena angle is his journey to tie Ric Flair for the all-time World Championship record, he goes on to win the Rumble and dethrone A.J. Styles at ‘Mania. As for Wyatt, we could see a match against stablemates Randy Orton, Luke Harper, or both. Regardless of whether or not any of this happens, April 2, 2017 is going to be a hell of a show.