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Three Stars Of the Night: WWE Raw 5/14/18

Here is a look at the three stars for this week’s edition of WWE Monday Night Raw, May 14, 2018!

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A look at the three stars for this week’s edition of WWE Monday Night Raw.

In hockey, a game’s “three stars” represent the top three performers of the night. For more clarification, I defer to this Pittsburgh Gazette explanation:

“The tradition dates to the 1936-37 season, when Imperial Oil became the principal sponsor of Hockey Night in Canada radio broadcasts and was seeking a way to promote one of its products, Three Star gasoline. The idea of doing so by selecting the top three performers in a particular game purportedly came from a Canadian advertising agency.

Many clubs do recognize the player with the most three-star selections with an award or trophy, usually in conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, at the end of the season (or sometimes, each month). All six Canadian franchises, for example, have an affiliation with a well-known brewery.

The NHL keeps track of its own three-stars-of-the-night selections, but that is done on a league-wide basis. The league employs a system that awards 30 points to a first star, 20 to a second star and 10 to a third – a running total can be found on the league’s website – but it does not present an award based on them.”

In hockey tradition, the first star represents the best of the three, but all three are considered to be receiving a high honor.


Without further ado, here are the three stars of WWE Monday Night Raw, May 14, 2018!

Honorable Mention:
Bobby Roode

The Glorious One rebounded from a slow start to his RAW campaign with a big win over Baron Corbin and No Way Jose. Okay, maybe that isn’t a really big win, but Bobby has qualified for Money In The Bank! Can Bobby use this win to gain some momentum? I have my doubts, but this was a win he needed to get some semblance of “back on track.”

The Third Star:
Sami Zayn

Sami Zayn is a brilliant heel. He’s playing a heel character that would make the likes of “The Genius” Lanny Poffo and Damien Sandow proud. Do I believe he is going to legitimately deliver on his promise to discredit Bobby Lashley by using his three sisters (Jessica… Francis… Kathy) against him? Of course I don’t! But that’s the best part.

Actually, it’s the second best part. The best part? Sami Zayn getting to stand on his own, with a feud of his own, being trusted to carry this story as the heel.

The Second Star:
The “B” Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)

Dallas & Axel were crazy entertaining as The Miztourage, and it was easy to be concerned with their status after The Miz left Raw as part of the Superstar Shakeup. After trying to align themselves with others, they decided to do it themselves (because no one was gonna do it for ’em!) and are now minted The B Team.

And now they are “undefeated.” The best part of the act is the act itself. Their adulation for their own win afterwards was spot-on

Others given consideration:
Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler, Roman Reigns, Jinder Mahal, Kurt Angle, and Corey Graves

And now…a distinction usually reserved for the top performer of the night…the first star!

The First Star:
Kevin Owens

It’s apropos that my first ever “first star” is a Canadian, in Kevin Owens. Owens delivered big time this week, delivering a great performance against Seth Rollins. It seemed short, but that was with good reason, as Owens would find himself inserted into the Money In The Bank qualifying match at the end of the night, where Sami Zayn assisted him in his win, earning a spot in the men’s ladder match at the fifth major.


Who are your three stars of the night? Comment on social media @ChairshotGreg, @theCHAIRSHOTcom, and use the hashtag #UseYourHead!


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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The Streak Part 4: Darkness Falls – 1998-99

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The Undertaker The Streak WWE

Tiffany MC brings you the next two matches as part of The Streak, as The Undertaker battles Kane and the Big Boss Man at WrestleMania!

The years of 1998-99 were turbulent times for WWF and the Undertaker. The Monday Night Wars, started by the advent of WCW Monday Nitro were heating up and the question of which company would prevail was on everyone’s mind. In order to compete, WWE began featuring edgier, sexier, more reality based storylines.

For the Undertaker, this meant the introduction of his long-lost brother, Kane, setting off a storyline and partnership that has lasted 20 years and had more twists and turns than a daytime drama. Also in these years, Taker would reunite with Paul Bearer and unleash his disturbing Ministry of Darkness on the WWF, igniting a feud with Vince McMahon, which would culminate in one of the most shocking reveals in wrestling history.

WrestleMania XIV: Cain vs Abel Part 1: Of all the matches Taker had in this period, this WrestleMania match with Kane is not only one of the best in terms of quality, but had a very compelling storyline. The story has become a little convoluted over the years and there have been a lot of twists and turns, but the story in 1998 was this: Undertaker and Kane were brothers, there was a fire at the funeral home their parents owned, their parents were killed and Undertaker thought Kane had been killed as well, but Kane had only been horribly burned. Paul Bearer nursed Kane back to health and raised him while encouraging his hatred of his older brother.

When it was  revealed to Taker that Kane was not only alive, but looking for revenge, he actually refused to fight his brother due to a promise he’d once made to their parents. It wasn’t until Kane and Paul Bearer cost Taker the WWF Championship at Royal Rumble 1998 and set the casket containing Taker on FIRE, did Taker finally fight back and vowed to unleash unholy vengeance on his brother and his former manager.

Before this match gets started, we’re introduced to Pete Rose, who was going to be guest ring announcer for this. Ol’ Charley Hustle was never afraid to shoot his mouth off and proceeded to insult the Boston fans and the Boston Red Sox, who at that time hadn’t won a World Series in 80 years. Before the riot could get going, Kane came out and attacked Rose and Tombstoning him, much to the delight of the crowd.

Taker’s entrance was simply AMAZING! It was such a cool entrance that a clip of it was used in WrestleMania promo videos for a few years. It started with a Gregorian chant while the druids, with lit torches, came out and since there was a long entrance ramp at WrestleMania XIV, there were a lot of druids when the chanting reached its crescendo, the lights went out and the gong started. Taker came down the ramp in a coat that made him look like Dracula, but it looked SUPER cool with all the lit torches.

Taker’s matches are never pretty or extremely technical, and this match was no exception. It started with punches and shoves and stayed there. Kane dominated much of the match and caught Taker during a crossbody attempt. Kane had the Tree of Woe in mind but the 6’10” Undertaker was way to tall for that.

Kane did a really great job of hanging with Taker on a big stage, but he was definitely a little rough around the edges. It wasn’t quite ‘Do I Owe You Money?’ territory, but it was close.

Throughout the match, Paul Bearer made his presence known, chastising Undertaker throughout the match in that annoying voice of his and getting in some cheap shots whenever the ref wasn’t looking. Have to say that Bearer was clearly whiffing a lot of his punches, but Taker sold his butt off anyway.

The match went out to the floor, but Jack Doan was very reluctant to do a count or do anything other than get out of the way. Even using the steps Kane had thrown to get back in the ring.

One of the craziest parts of the match was Taker going for the running dive and being…directed into the Spanish announce table, which was being manned by WWF Legend Tito Santana, who kept doing commentary on the floor while his colleagues tried to get up.

Taker’s self-preservation would finally kick in, but it would take THREE Tombstone piledrivers to put Kane away, and Kane still nearly kicked out at the last possible second.

Enraged at his son’s defeat, Paul Bearer grabbed a chair and attacked the Undertaker just for the hell of it. Kane joined in the attack and Taker was left in a heap in the ring, which made the win over his demented brother less than the sterling victory he’d wanted. However, Taker sat up and was able to leave the ringside area under his own steam.

Highlight: Pete Rose being a damn good sport and taking that tombstone like a champ. Taker’s entrance. Tito Santana continuing to do commentary in the wreckage of the Spanish Announce Table.

Rating: 7/10 This was a fantastic match and my favorite of Taker’s WrestleMania matches in the 1990s.

WrestleMania XV – Boss Man Goes to Hell: This match came about through one of the most disturbing storylines of the Attitude Era. The Undertaker had reunited with Paul Bearer and became the Lord of Darkness. Then he began recruiting superstars to form The Ministry of Darkness, which would be the launching pad for teams like Edge and Christian and the APA. Taker began demanding that Vince give him a title shot and began targeting Vince’s family, specifically Vince’s daughter, Stephanie McMahon. In an attempt to end the threat, Vince sanctioned the first ever WrestleMania Hell in a Cell Match and sent the Corporation’s Chief of Security, the Big Boss Man to end the threat of the Undertaker.

Boss Man comes out and still didn’t get in a great reaction, despite being the nominal babyface in this match. Undertaker, despite being a very scary heel, got a pretty good pop when the gong hit, though the pop died a little during the ‘Accept the Lord of Darkness’ stuff. Undertaker came out looking like a 90s horror film maker’s idea of Satan.

I’m going to be honest, I really hated this match. I wasn’t a fan of Taker’s Satanic stuff  and that killed my enjoyment of this match. Boss Man, though being a good half a head shorter than Taker was still large enough to really be able to take it to Taker, including cuffing Taker to the cell and beating him with the nightstick. One funny thing was Taker going for Old School and then realizing that he was too tall to be able to pull that move in the cell, which was much shorter then, and then getting nut shot by Boss Man.

That said, this was a pretty good Hell in a Cell match and it was as brutal as you’d expect it to be in the days when bloody matches were a staple of WWE shows.

It wasn’t until after the match was over that the thing I hated most about this match happened. The Brood (Edge, Christian, and Gangrel) descended from the rafters and helped Taker ‘hang’ Boss Man from a noose from the roof of the cell. Even knowing that Boss Man had a harness on and wasn’t in any real danger, the sight of that…lynching was so disturbing that I can hardly stand to watch it. If I had to consider who would think that was ‘edgy’ and not ‘disturbing’, I’d say this spot came from the brain of Vince Russo.

Highlight: It ended.

Rating: 4/10 The match was fine, but I HATED what happened afterwards.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Steve Cook’s 2012 WWE Royal Rumble Road Trip

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2012 Royal Rumble

Steve Cook takes you on a stroll down memory lane as he attends the 2012 WWE Royal Rumble live and in person!

It’s Royal Rumble Week! If you’re anything like me you get nostalgic during these huge events in the wrestling year. We can’t help but think about some of our favorite Royal Rumble memories. Ric Flair winning the WWF Championship in the 1992 Rumble still rates as my favorite match ever. I watch it at least once or twice a year. Stone Cold Steve Austin’s various Rumble victories were a highlight of my teenage years. I think I can mention now that I watched them on a black box of questionable legality.

The one I remember most has to be the 2012 Royal Rumble. Internet experts might not agree with the idea of it being memorable. 2012 wasn’t one of the more well-received editions of the event. I might not remember it either if I wasn’t there. Oddly enough, I still have many fond memories of my trip to St. Louis. Since I was nowhere near sober for most of the weekend, this surprises me.

I thought it would be fun to dip into the archives and take a look back at that trip. The following originally appeared in the 02.01.12 edition of News From Cook’s Corner. If you’d like to read more of my classic writing, or even more of my recent stuff, 411mania.com has plenty of both.


The Royal Rumble has always been one of my favorite events of the year. There’s nothing quite like the Rumble Match, where thirty wrestlers enter in intervals to determine who will challenge for the WWE or the World title at WrestleMania. I’ve always wanted to see it live, but never had the opportunity until this year. The Rumble was in St. Louis, Missouri, which is a couple of states over from where I live and a couple of hours from the home of my Offtheteam.com podcasting partner and best Internet friend, Trent “The Penguin” Howell. I hadn’t seen ol’ Trent in person since we went to a Raw house show back in 2004, so going to the Rumble with him seemed like a darn good idea.

I spent a lot of time before the trip worrying about the weather for the 6+ hour drive to Cape Girardeau. Weather is always an issue in this part of the country this time of year, but I was blessed with clear skies and decent temperatures for the trip. Saturday night in Cape was pretty fun, we hit a couple bars once Trent finally got the headlight on his motor vehicle working after two trips to an auto part store. Trent’s wife joined us later in the evening and she was even cooler than he said she was. If you think AJ’s attractive you’d like her, as they’re the same size. Better-looking face too. Trent did good there.

On Sunday we headed up to St. Louis and set up camp in Harrah’s. I haven’t been to too many casinos in my day, but I might have to make that happen more often because the vibe there was awesome. Even if they rob you blind they’re really nice about it. They’ll give you a bottle of water when they close the bar at 3 AM. (By the way, if you’ve listened to our OTT podcasts and think we’re ridiculous, you should hear us talking sports & politics at 3 AM after a long, long night.) The chicken fingers I had at 2 AM really hit the spot. Making things even better was the fact that they were having a Chinese New Year’s celebration and the place was full of fine Asian chicks. Chinese New Year’s is my new favorite holiday.

But you’re not here to read about my casino adventure with the Penguins, you want some Royal Rumble thoughts! We were joined for the show by Trent’s friend Shawn and Andy Critchell, Larry Csonka’s Monday night 411 on Wrestling co-host. Andy is a very jovial fella and went absolutely crazy for Mark Henry, so he was pretty much what I expected. Good dude. I thought the crowd was really good but apparently it didn’t come across that way on TV for whatever reason. It was a pretty smart crowd, one that started chanting about how Cena sucked before the show started. The people around us were pretty good…there was somebody in front of me that held up a sign early on, but I approved because it said “I Paid To See Daniel Bryan”. If you want to block my view for a couple of minutes during a three-hour show I won’t mind if you have something that’s worth saying. I thought the crowd was a lot better than the crowds I’ve been part of in places like Cincinnati & Lexington, where people actually don’t respond to much of anything. People were reacting to stuff here, and all of us were going crazy at various points in the show.

Dark Match: Yoshi Tatsu d. Heath Slater

This would have fit right in on Superstars for sure. It wasn’t spectacular or anything, but both guys worked hard and it definitely wasn‘t bad. Yoshi was quite popular with the crowd and Heath got a good heel reaction. For all I know this might actually be a feud on NXT. I like Yoshi a lot, and Heath’s going to be around for awhile because he’s good at making other people look good.

Triple Threat Cage Match: World Champion Daniel Bryan d. Big Show & Mark Henry

With Mark Henry hurt and Big Show reportedly hurt, it was on Daniel Bryan to put on a show and he did just that. D-Bry got a hell of a mixed reaction from the St. Louis crowd, as boos dominated his entrance but there were a few loud “DANIEL BRYAN CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP-CLAP” chants during the match. Like I told Larry (Csonka) people can’t say that he doesn’t get a reaction now. Well, they can say it, but they’re wrong. I question the reports of Big Show being hurt because he looked pretty good here and even got his 450-pound butt on top of the cage. Nice story here, with Bryan constantly trying to get out of the cage early, getting some offense in later, and a great ending sequence with Bryan hanging off the wrist of Big Show. Eventually he fell to the floor and retained the title, and I screamed about how that was my boy D-Bryan. Watching Critchell mark out for Mark Henry in person was quite the experience, and I don’t know what he would have done if Mizark had won.

Beth Phoenix, Natalya & the Bella Twins d. Kelly Kelly, Eve, Alicia Fox & Tamina

I wasn’t sure how they would get the Divas on the show, so we probably should have seen this match coming. This had Kelly Kelly doing a freaking cross-body off the top rope to the floor, so it was better than any Diva match I’d seen in quite awhile. Also, it was nice to see that Beth Phoenix is still alive and they actually had her win the match. Guess it’s time to build her up for her next challenger.

John Cena vs. Kane – Double Countout

I wasn’t feeling this at all going in, and the match & aftermath only made things less interesting. The Cena crowd response was interesting, as they got the LET’S GO CENA/CENA SUCKS chant going a couple of times (For the record, Critchell chanted the former while Penguin and I chanted the latter), but when that wasn’t going on nobody really knew what to do. Match was pretty much what you’d expect, then they went to the back so Kane could drag Zack Ryder out of his locker room and Tombstone him. I had a feeling something would happen to Zack when I saw that he had his own locker room. I guess it was nice that all the people that bought Broski headbands got to see their guy, even if he got Tombstoned.

The stretcher job seemed like a good time to get a t-shirt, but the Royal Rumble XXL shirts sold out. I probably should have seen that one coming. Fortunately I got back in time for the next match…

Funkasaurus d. Drew McIntyre

I was happy when Drew came out, then Funkasaurus came out and I lost my shit. You can’t help it, that song will get stuck in your head for days and how many chances will you have to dance along with a Funkasaurus? Hell yes I did the Dactyl arms. I got my Funkasaurus entrance so I didn’t have to start a riot or anything. Good times. I love the Funkasaurus and I’m so happy I got to see him do his thing live.

There were quite a few people wearing their James Laurinaitis St. Louis Rams jerseys at the show, but that didn’t stop John Laurinaitis from getting booed out of the building when he came out. He had to wear the sleeveless ref shirt so he could show off the guns!

CM Punk d. Dolph Ziggler

This got off to a really great start and most of it was enjoyable, but the overbooking at the end drug it down a bit. Of course that was to be expected with Big Johnny out there as the ringside enforcer, but it seemed kind of blah to me. Some darn good wrestling led up to it, but it didn’t quite live up to the MOTYC potential that most of us thought it had. Punk was rather popular. Ziggler had a solid performance, but as good as he is I don’t think he’s quite ready to carry Raw’s main title yet. He could be very soon, but he doesn’t quite have that connection with the audience.

As somebody who has watched CM Punk & Daniel Bryan compete on ROH shows with about 500 people at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds and at an IWA-MS show in a national guard armory with somewhere around 50 people, it was incredible to see both of them retaining their world championships with 18,120 other people in a huge arena. People often ask me why I bother with that indy wrestling stuff that isn‘t as slickly produced as WWE or Impact Wrestling, and that’s the reason. To see guys like Punk & Bryan go from performing at county fairgrounds & national guard armories to huge arenas…it’s a beautiful thing.

Royal Rumble Match

It was 55 minutes, so it’s best if I cover it in the Raw Thoughts format…

-Miz had a long run in the match and was the Iron Man by a couple of minutes over Cody Rhodes, but he didn’t do a whole lot for most of it. He laid on the floor for awhile after R-Truth took him out, then he got back in the ring and laid around most of the time. It’s like most of Miz’s career…he accomplishes stuff like winning the WWE title and headlining WrestleMania, but it doesn’t quite connect the way it should.

-I called Alex Riley being number two, and he lasted about as long as I expected.

-Cody had a much more impressive showing at number four, as he was active most of the time and threw out a pretty good collection of legends. Something tells me he’ll be feuding with a veteran at WrestleMania. It might be his brother Goldust, or perhaps his elimination of Mick Foley will lead to something. Either could work pretty well.

-Ricardo Rodriguez was fantastic. I thought it was actually ADR at first because I didn’t see just how wrecked the car was. I wonder if WWE expected a “RICARDO” chant.

-Socko vs. the Cobra got a tremendous reaction. I guess Santino started wearing the cobra sock just for that spot. Why not?

-Kofi Kingston needs to be doing something since his tag partner‘s having issues, and if Sunday’s Rumble performance & Monday’s victory over The Miz are any indication WWE gets that too. The walking handstand to remain in the Rumble was insane.

-I don’t need to see another Khali/Jinder feud, but at least Khali eliminated Jinder from the match. Speaking of which, WWE has some interesting wrestlers on the sides of their semis:

Khali
Drew McIntyre
Beth Phoenix
Kelly Kelly
Sin Cara
Ezekiel Jackson
Kane (without mask)

There are some more I’m forgetting, but there were some interesting choices. They also have a couple of Rock/Cena WrestleMania semis.

-I know some of you guys didn’t like having all the announcers in, but the crowd went crazy for Lawler & Booker and booed the hell out of Cole. We were glad not to have to listen to them all night, but it would have been interesting to hear how they handled things when they all got back to the announce table.

-Hacksaw & Road Dogg got huge pops (and apparently Road Dogg still has it), but to me the biggest surprise in the Rumble by far was Kharma. We were actually talking about her earlier in the day while explaining the current storylines to Mrs. Penguin, and weren’t sure when she’d be coming back. Good job by her keeping that a secret, and the Implant Buster on Dolph Ziggler was tremendous.

Not a fan of the new Wade Barrett music. He finally had a decent re-mix of his old theme so I guess it was time to change it.

-People in the crowd were getting way too excited over who #30 would be. I told them not to get their hopes up, but no, they were sure that it’d be Batista or Rey Mysterio or somebody else making a big comeback. So they were pretty disappointed when it was Big Show.

-They saved a whole lot of the heavy-hitters for the end of the match, but it made sense to keep Orton’s return appearance a bit brief and it was Jericho’s first real in-ring action since September 2010. Not that you could tell, because the ending sequence with Jericho vs. Sheamus was the best part of the match. I had no idea who was going to win out of those two, and they showed some damn good chemistry. I’m sure we’ll be seeing it again sometime down the road.

-No Hornswoggle. I’m not really complaining, I’m just saying he wasn’t in the match.

-Sheamus won! He was one of the favorites to win and the person I went with on the podcast, and he’s a fine choice to have in one of the title matches at WrestleMania. I’m hoping it ends up being Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan, as it’d be pretty cool to have a match that got bumped off of WrestleMania XXVII be one of the main events for WrestleMania XXVIII. I was one of the people that thought Sheamus was getting pushed too soon a couple of years back, but he’s proven to be a solid wrestler, a good/unique promo, and he always comes off well as a spokesperson for the company whenever he’s doing radio shows & TV appearances. I, for one, will not be hopping off the Sheamus bandwagon anytime soon. Dude does a good job.

-Of course, if he goes against my boy D-Bry I’ll have to root against him at WrestleMania. But I won’t be too broken-hearted if he gets the win.

-I thought the Rumble match was pretty good overall. The comedy went over pretty well, the stretch with Jericho & Sheamus at the end was awesome, and there was a lot of Cody Rhodes. There were a lot of people in the match that didn’t have a chance of winning, I wouldn’t rate it as one of the greatest Rumble fields of all time or anything like that. It was still put together really well and had some good spots. You would think that yelling the countdown numbers over and over again gets old, but it really doesn’t.

After the show we met up with a gentleman from England that goes by “Snowman” on the OTT Forums and headed to the Sheraton for drinks. Yeah, he flew in from England so he could see the Rumble & Raw. That doesn’t suck. The Penguins and I went back to the casino, and that is pretty much the end of our story. There are more stories, but I think I’ll save them for another time…Trent and I are doing a Super Bowl podcast on Thursday night so I’m sure we’ll be talking about some of the crazy things that happened then.

If I had to rate the weekend on a scale from 1-10, it would come in at about an 11 because I had so much fun. I can officially cross the Royal Rumble off of my wrestling bucket list. And hey, as Trent said, maybe St. Louis will host a WrestleMania after they build another football stadium for the team they get after the Rams leave. So there’s hope I can see one of those too.

——————–

…St. Louis ain’t getting no WrestleMania.

Can you believe I still had a full news column after this? Man, 2012 was great if you liked reading lots & lots of words about wrestling.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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