I can’t wait to be alone with my baby tonight~!
WWE Backstage welcomes yet another Hall of Famer to the show! It’s Double J, Jeff Jarrett! He and Booker T will talk Bash at the Beach 2000!
Renee Young welcomes us Backstage!
After watching the FCW special, you’ll love tonight! “Choke on this, Slap Nuts!” Double J, Jeff Jarrett, makes a Backstage debut! He and Booker T will go back in time to Bash at the Beach 2000 for their title match up. But first, Renee and Booker are joined by the Monday Night Messiah, Seth Rollins! A pioneer within FCW joins us Backstage and admits, this is an odd set-up. But his own set-up looks nice, it’s almost a disco or something. Renee congratulates Rollins on becoming a dad, and Rollins says it’s great to have people being supportive. Well there are a few weirdos but other than them, the WWE Universe is so excited for him and Becky Lynch so he thanks us for that.
Renee asks what it’s like for Rollins to realize he’ll be a dad in about eight months. Just the idea of being responsible for another human being is big. Pro-wrestling is basically about putting yourself first, and he’s been that way for all of his adult life. Now becoming a dad, and how at every turn there is someone else that’s #1 on the list, that’ll be an adjustment. Booker asks how Rollins is changing his style. Booker admits he was wild and crazy but then changed as a dad. Rollins says that once that son or daughter is born, he will definitely have a new perspective. Coming out of his match with Drew McIntyre, he was sore as always, but now he’s thinking, “I don’t know if this is going to work out.” If he wants to spend time with his kid, he’ll have to be more careful. That was the first time he thought about it but it is something he is going to have on his mind for the next few years.
Booker adds on by saying Rollins has settled into his role on Raw. Booker becoming King Bookah, there was an energy he had to tap into, but it was this big realization that he knows why he’s here. What does this new role mean for Rollins? Rollins absolutely agrees. Booker got it to a T. Rollins isn’t sure when it happened, if it was one moment or the entire quarantine changing things, but Rollins has been so in-tune with the Monday Night Messiah. Once you feel it, you’re there and everything comes to you so simply. Every match, promo, character work, it’s weird but it’s like a runner’s high. You feel like you can do it forever.
Renee adds the said situation of the lockdown, those promos without fans were different but still great. How did it feel to have people back in the crowds last night? Rollins got into a groove doing promos without anyone around. From an audience’s perspective, the words were allowed to sink in because there was no one to interrupt or hijack things. When the fans are listening, they’ll take it where they want to, they don’t always listen. The wrestler doesn’t get to tell the story they want. So going out to another crowd, getting the boos again, that part actually felt nice. Who knows what happens when real fans come out and Rollins will really be talking in front of them, but this much normalcy was nice.
Booker talks about those promos. That promo was so real, it wasn’t even a promo anymore. That energy was palpable through the screens. As far as Austin Theory and Buddy Murphy goes, we’ve seen Rollins in a faction, perhaps one of the greatest factions ever in The Shield. Is that this again but with new talent? What will they call themselves? The Legion? The family? Renee says it’s Rollins and his Disciples, duh! Rollins has to agree with that, but there is no formal name yet. Sounds more like a band name, really. But he’s been fortunate enough to be in great groups like The Shield or the Authority. But to be a clear leader is definitely different.
The Shield were three men on equal footing, and The Authority had him as the centerpiece learning under HHH and Kane and Randy Orton. Now, Rollins takes all that and bestows it upon Theory and Murphy. Who knows where it goes or how it ends, but it feels great to be in this role. Rollins has been here for almost a decade and it’s a wild ride. Who else would Rollins want as a disciple? Who will Rollins look to add to the group? Rollins always has his eyes on someone, but he won’t divulge too much here. But it is someone very close that will make a great addition. Renee will also be keeping an eye on things.
Renee brings up FCW and asks what some standout moments are for Rollins. That promotion was very influential for how Rollins is today, both in the ring and backstage. It was his first experience with a hierarchy. Indies are free-for-all’s. You respected elders but it was just different in FCW. What you see in the Performance Center and in NXT today is not how FCW was. When Rollins showed up, it was a warehouse in Tampa. Rollins thought he went backwards for a moment. But what he learned was how to play things behind the scenes. Rollins had his stuff together in the ring, having worked with the best in the world in ROH. It was the game backstage that Rollins needed to learn to get to the next level.
Renee asks about gender reveal plans. There was a lot of talk last week, such as Asuka’s mist and Elias’ guitar smash. What would Rollins like? Rollins likes the clip for Elias, when it was a smash on Rollins. But of the ideas from the panel, Rollins and Becky are both fans of the Steveweisers. They’ve both had a drink with Steve Austin, so it just fits. Renee thanks Rollins for stopping by and wants to send love to Becky. Let’s all be together again soon!
CM Punk returns to Backstage next week!
Will it be Clobberin’ Time again with NXT TakeOver: In Your House and WWE Backlash on the horizon?
The panel assembles!
Renee and Booker are once again joined by the World’s Strongest Man, Mark Henry! And now, J E Double F, J A Double R E Double T is here! Ain’t he great? But with so much to talk about, let’s stick to…
Just the Highlights!
On SmackDown: The Blue Brand is Phenomenal as AJ Styles returns! He wins big in the WWE Intercontinental Championship tournament, but is he going to make it all the way to the title? Meanwhile, Braun Strowman puts away The Miz, only for John Morrison to challenge him to a handicap match for the Universal Championship! Challenge accepted, but is it reckless for the Monster Among Men to take on the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century all alone? More WWE Intercontinental Championship action saw Sheamus get ahead of himself and lose to Jeff Hardy! Is this the comeback we’ve been waiting for? And lastly, Bayley outsmarted Charlotte Flair and proved she’s ready for the next level of being a champion!
On Raw: Gronk warned R-Truth about coming for the 24/7 Championship, because he has eyes on the back of his head. McIntyre and Bobby Lashley brawled all over and had to be held back by the superstars in attendance! Will nothing stop these two from bringing down the house at Backlash? And speaking of Backlash, Nia Jax is headed for the Raw Women’s Championship! The Irresistible Force managed to win against both Queen of Flair and Queen of Harts, but is she really ready for the Empress of Tomorrow? But perhaps biggest of all was the victory of Apollo Crews to become the NEW WWE United States Champion! Crews never gave up and now he’s on top!
The panel discusses.
Every once in a while, WWE gives you a moment that hits right in the feels! That’s surely how we all felt watching Crews finally win a title. Mark Henry was the one to bring Crews to the WWE, and he is so proud. Crews can finally celebrate, but now he has to be the champion. And Henry lets Crews know, it’s harder to keep the title than to get it. Booker agrees, because Crews checks off the boxes. Crews is not small by any means, and he has the ability to defy gravity. Not too many guys can moonsault then shooting star like that. Crews does still need an edge, which he can do with the title now. We need to see more of the “real” Apollo Crews. Renee says Booker wants that nasty side, and Booker agrees. Crews needs to be like Apollo in Rocky.
Jeff Jarrett says Crews doesn’t need to be nasty. Renee says there was a moment, and Crews can string together moments to get momentum. More big wins will help Crews. Crews has the skills and the charisma and the look. Jarrett likes Crews and wants him to win. Booker adds that he teaches his students in Reality of Wrestling that it’s easy for guys to get women to like them. The trick is getting guys to like you, too. To getting guys to like you, you need to be tough and rugged. Y’know, like a Mark Henry. We’ll wait and see where Crews goes with it, but it’ll be all good.
Now to the WWE Intercontinental Championship. The talk is once again making this the wrestler’s title, the workhorse title. The semifinals have quite the four wrestlers in AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy and Elias. Styles VS Elias, Hardy VS Bryan, all this Friday on SmackDown! Which of these four should be champion? Jarrett says that all four are hungry for it. Hardy has had reigns, has had his rolls, but has also had his trials and tribulations. Hardy already has a HOF level career, but he still needs this title. Jarrett knows Hardy is at a great place in his life, but his career needs this for momentum. Renee is sure the fans will love that. Henry says he’ll play the dark side and wants to see all the plans be ruined. Make Elias VS Hardy happen for the championship, just because everyone expects Bryan VS Styles. Renee likes the curve ball.
Henry answers for Booker now and Booker laughs. Booker doesn’t mind since Booker always steps on Henry. But Booker does say that while Jarrett was thinking of Hardy, we didn’t even know Hardy was going to be here. Of course everyone wants to redeem themselves, so it’s not that Hardy can’t do that. But the one who has all the consistency has been AJ Styles. Styles performs at a high level, no matter what. Styles flew overseas to get back to a show just to do a match. That is the kind of guy that should be champion. So no one votes Bryan? No offense, but no. Henry does think Bryan is the guy who will do it, with his promo about this title being for wrestlers. But Jarrett brings up that very few times does the actual best wrestler win. This is the WWE and anything can happen, but for that same reason, it isn’t a shoe-in for Bryan, certainly not with Styles in this. One thing that is certain is that nothing is certain!
Backstage talks WCW Bash at the Beach 2000!
Out of the ashes of Hulk Hogan’s departure came the rise of Booker T! Booker and Jarrett join Renee in looking back at the WCW World Heavyweight Championship match. This is surprisingly the first time either man has looked back at this match. Jarrett notes how surreal it was to be on a Zoom call discussing this. Neither man knew this match was coming, so how did this all feel? Vince Russo, Hogan and Jarrett, Booker was watching it all play out just like the fans. Everything that night was instantaneous and surreal. Booker remembers getting in the ring with so much energy, after working earlier that night, and he jumped so high when he got the nod. Where did all those Slap Nuts shirts go? Jarrett still has a few at the house.
A crazy night, so how did it feel for them all to reset like that? Looking back, just seeing those clips about Hogan saying “crap like that” is why WCW was falling apart, it was prophetic. Here we are, 20 years later, we’re still talking about it. It was a microcosm of the culture. Before going out for the Hogan segment, Jarrett just felt how bad and how unfortunate this all was for the fans who were about to watch it. But then, the opportunity and excitement that came after, talking with everyone, that was “total chaos.” In the match, the belt is raised and the bell rings. Booker and Jarrett circle and the fans fire up with Booker. Booker marvels at seeing himself jump that high. He was so hyped up as he tied up with Jarrett. Real life was playing out on air, this was a moment that you didn’t want to miss.
In the match, Jarrett and Booker tie up and go around, Jarrett headlocks to a takeover but Booker headscissors. Jarrett pops out but Booker was ready. They tie up again, Jarrett again headlocks and hits the takeover, but Booker again headscissors. Booker didn’t say it then but he’ll say it now: If it wasn’t for a guy like Jarrett, a true professional who knew how to deal with the turmoil, Booker wouldn’t have had this moment. Booker and Jarrett just knew to work the match. The match replay fast-forwards to Booker dropping ax handles from the apron. He then whips Jarrett into railing and goes after him among the crowd! Booker followed Jarrett’s lead in this match and that is true pro-wrestling! Just look at the fans getting fired up! Jarrett remembers the “bad taste” left in the arena, the air being sucked out. It was a big PPV and yet they got what they got. But then the fighting, the rush of the fans getting back into this, that helped him and Booker immensely.
Who let them know this match was even happening? Booker remembers seeing it all happen in real-time. He wasn’t sure the WHC meant that much to him before this, but he almost thought he should go home. He was told to stay and wrestle for THE title. In the match, Booker and Jarrett go to the announce table, and Jarrett brings Booker up for a PILEDRIVER! This is history in the making. What was the vibe backstage with the boys like? Jarrett barely remembers a thing about anyone else. He remembers the catering, all the small meetings, and just the confusion going on. There was a lot of, “Really? This is what we’re doing?” But again, the culture of the company, what was supposedly best for WCW, those decisions. But in the WWE, you know where the buck stops and who made those decisions. In WCW, it was a committee and a culture, contract conflict after contract conflict. But at the end of the night, the fans won and history was made.
Booker remembers that he had been in WCW since the beginning, and started at the bottom. Then 8 years later, he was at the top! He worked with all the guys in WCW, they all saw his development over the years. Booker broke the glass ceiling and the boys were so pumped for him. He heard about all those meetings, “Who should be the guy?” There was a vote, and Vince Russo raised his hand first. If it wasn’t for Russo, Booker doesn’t think he would’ve ever been champion.
In the match, Booker hits the SCISSOR KICK! And a SPINE BUSTER! Cover, TWO!?!Booker whips again, Jarrett baits him in, and Booker gets crotched! Fast-forward to when the ref is down, and Jarrett grabs the title! But Booker kicks Jarrett first, and he uses #BigGold to SMASH Jarrett! Cover but the ref has to hurry over. TWO!! Booker drags Jarrett up, but the ref is still recovering, so Jarrett LOW BLOWS Booker! Jarrett puts a chair in the corner then goes after Booker. Booker denies Jarrett the chair smash to smash Jarrett into the chair instead! Roll up, TWO! Booker slowly rises, brings Jarrett up and whips. Jarrett uppercuts back! Jarrett gives the ref a FACEBUSTER!? Then he LOW BLOWS Booker again! Jarrett gets his guitar and climbs up top! Jarrett leaps, but into a BOOK END! Cover, Booker wins!
Renee speaks to what Booker said about not knowing how fans would react. In an age of NO social media, no instant feedback, this was the “good ol’ boy” system, where you had to wonder if fans would care. No one knew! Jarrett says he knew. But the system existed, and Booker could tell from the fan reactions at that moment, the question was answered. That was a real moment for Booker, and for many of those fans. A lot of kids have grown up and become adults, telling Booker that they cried that night for him. It was a moment, with the raising the roof, it was all a dream come true. This was just pure feeling. Jarrett was still selling, too. The people were immersed in the moment, and Jarrett remembers them washing away that bad taste. Thank God it was Booker, and thank God it was Jarrett. That wouldn’t have happened without the contrast. Booker winning was just one part of it. Jarrett taught Booker so much about being a Ring General! Even the finish was masterful because of how it was all on the fly.
The panel assembles to discuss Bash at the Beach 2000.
That really makes you miss the fans, don’t it? But after watching the highlights of that WCW World Heavyweight Championship match, we bring back Henry to talk the parallel. What was it like for WWE wrestlers to watch WCW? Henry always cheered Booker, and was happy for Booker to have that opportunity. But again, Monday Night War, things were tense. There would be multiple scenarios thrown at you, and so depending on what happened on WCW that night, it’d be this plan or that plan being put on. It was tricky going through that. The WWE won the war, but they lost plenty of battles, especially with WCW having unbelievable talent. And the craziest thing is that there was no issue, no beef, between the boys across the promotions. Everyone just wanted to see great matches. Henry would see what WCW did and go, “D’Lo! We gotta change something!”
Jarrett says how quickly we forget. Who gave Henry the European Championship? Jarrett! Henry didn’t forget that. But was it like that in WCW back? Meeting after meeting to change things must’ve made for tense TV. Yes, the culture was a mess. Going to the monthly PPV system to compete with the WWF/WWE, who was leading the war. For WCW, it wasn’t going to be good no matter how you sliced it, knowing things could go any which way at any time, and it did. It wasn’t good for WCW, for the business, and Jarrett is just glad he had a chance to do the right thing. It was a blessing to have someone that was so talented and that fans knew was talented in Booker T. It was definitely a special moment.
Backstage shares a touching Tweet from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“On my bike ride today, I stopped to pay respects to Shad Gaspard. He was such a positive force in the gym and the world. He was a hero in bodybuilding, a hero in wrestling, and the moment he told lifeguards to save his son first, the ultimate hero. My thoughts are with his family.” So very true.
Dave Batista also pays tribute to Shad.
Via his Instagram, Batista says that Shad went after everything he was passionate about in his life, from wrestling to film, with everything he had. Shad was so happy on the red carpet, he never wanted to leave. We should all be inspired by his journey and his final sacrifice. Batista’s thoughts and prayers are with his family, and knows that all of his friends and Shad’s friends are hurting over this loss.
Backstage also pays tribute.
Shad tragically lost his life at the age of 39 while swimming with his son on Venice Beach, CA. His final moments were spent saving his son’s life. The WWE send their prayers to the Gaspard family. Just earlier today, Renee talked with Kofi Kingston, one of Shad’s long time friends. Kofi signed in 2006, and he came to the WWE as an extra. There is a point when even extras get in the ring. Shad came up to Kofi and talked it over. Kofi thought he’d just get beat up, but Shad wasn’t like that at all. It was flabbergasting to think someone would go out of their way to put over some random guy. That was the kind of person Shad was.
Shad left an impact on everyone. Kofi and the others went to the Venice Beach memorial, and it was just amazing to see all the people from different walks of life. Shad was a gentle giant who loved being around others, and that memorial proved it. It was definitely unfortunate, but keeping the glass half full mentality, it shows how important it is to live with enthusiasm, passion and kindness. That way, when the day comes, you’ve left an impact on those who you leave behind.
On This Day in WWE History!
It was SmackDown on 5/26/2006 when the “FIVE-TIME! FIVE-TIME! FIVE-TIME! FIVE-TIME! FIVE-TIME! WCW Champion, Booker T, is your new KIIIIING!” Jarrett wants King Bookah to bring back the accent. And Henry wants the pinkie. Renee wants the white suit. Booker isn’t sure about that last one. Pinkies out for Booker! But that’s a wrap on Backstage. Adios, amigos! And kiss the ring!
A real fun episode, though clearly NASCAR or something live bumped the FCW special back to bump Backstage back. It might have caused a rearranging of segments there, because we just kinda jumped into having Rollins on the show. Hearing even just a little about FCW from Rollins was good, and Booker has a good point about Rollins needing to tone down the high-flying, risk-taking part of his moveset. Having Jeff Jarrett outta nowhere was great, and so was reliving Bash at the Beach 2000 and hearing about the real circumstances of that moment and the Monday Night Wars as a whole. It’s kinda wild hearing Jarrett say WCW was just a mess. People can say what they want about the WWE programming, but the awful ideas have admittedly been far and few between these days. Though I am a bit worried where Raw is going with Natty and about the SmackDown’s hacker payoff…
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