Happy Friday, Carty Free! I’ve hijacked the Hoddle from Pardeep because this is my Christmas time in April. It’s that magical weekend where I spend double digit hours watching various events in a five day span and end up in overload by the time Tuesday night hits.
That’s right, it’s Wrestlemania weekend!
This year is historic for an awesome reason. This will be the first year that a women’s match headlines the show. Former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion and current WWE Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey will be in a triple threat match against WWE Smackdown Live Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair and “The Man” Becky Lynch. WWE kind of stumbled head first into this match because it had been long rumored that Vince McMahon wanted Rousey and Flair to headline the match, but a funny thing happened on the way to New Jersey: Becky Lynch caught fire and became the hottest thing in the business.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a gif of her sporting “Irish war paint” back in November that only took her to another level:
And here’s the entire segment that helped lead to Becky’s white-hot status:
Becky Lynch basically forced her way into this match and the crowd has eaten it up ever since her attempted heel turn in August turned into something that resembled Steve Austin’s rise to the top. On Sunday, it’s a “Winner Takes All” match even though WWE is being intentionally vague about if it means unifying the belts. That’s typical WWE, though.
As a Becky Lynch fan (the avatar is a dead giveaway) I will be all in on this match and hope to see Lynch raising both belts at the end.
There have been so many moments in Wrestlemania, but I want to share with you a couple of my personal favorite moments and a couple of bad ones.
Wrestlemania VII: Ultimate Warrior def. Macho King Randy Savage in a career match
Skipjack and I had a conversation while I was writing this and we came to the conclusion that a lot of Wrestlemanias are basically two or three good moments or matches with a lot of average to bad stuff around it. WM7 fits that bill because the show was mainly bad, surrounding a main event that had Hulk Hogan taking on Sgt. Slaughter for the WWE Championship. The one major moment out of this show was Ultimate Warrior beating Macho King Randy Savage in a career match. Here’s the ending:
The 21 minute match was surprisingly good, given that Warrior wasn’t a technician in the ring by any stretch. But this isn’t what made this match so special. What made it special was the reuniting of Savage with his former manager (at the time, his actual wife) Miss Elizabeth. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house except for Bobby “The Brain” Heenan:
“The Double Turn” at Wrestlemania 13: Bret Hart def. Steve Austin in I Quit match
I talked a bit about Becky Lynch’s rise to the top and her iconic “Irish War Paint” moment that put her on the fast track to Sunday’s main event. When it happened, everyone compared it to this match back in 1997. This was a fantastic match that saw one of the rarer moments in wrestling: A successful double turn. Hart went into the match as a babyface while Austin was the heel that refused to believe he could be tapped out.
The two went 22 minutes and is one of the best matches in the 90s era of the event. The video below is the full match, but if you want to get to the moment I’m talking about, fast forward to about 25:45 to watch the moment that began the year-long build to Austin winning the WWE Championship.
In an interview on WWE Network, Austin described the moment as nearly orgasmic and said “if I had a cigarette right there, I would have smoked it.”
Wrestlemania 28: Sheamus squashes Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan is currently on one of the best heel runs in WWE history. He’s essentially playing an evil Captain Planet dressed as The Big Lebowski. He’s so committed to his craft that he talked Vince into making the WWE Championship into a belt made of hemp and wood because it is 100% sustainable. It’s amazing! Seriously, look at this:
What’s not amazing is what happened with him and Sheamus at Wrestlemania 28. Bryan was the World Heavyweight Champion at the time. His opponent, Sheamus, had won the Royal Rumble to earn a shot at the title of his choice, which meant CM Punk defended the WWE Title against Chris Jericho in the same show. While Punk and Jericho had a 20+ minute thriller, Sheamus and Bryan went out with the sound of a wet fart:
Officially, the match was 18 seconds. Even worse, this is the match that opened the show. Great choice, Vince!
Wrestlemania IX: All of it except Bobby Heenan
The “rasslin” room on our Slack is a place where a few of us come together to watch the shows and talk about what’s going on. There are almost always discussions and disagreements about what’s good, what’s bad, etc. There is one universal thing that we all agree upon, though:
Wrestlemania IX was trash. From start to finish.
The mid-card was bad.
Giant Gonzalez was especially bad.
Nothing really made sense.
The whole show was trash...except for Heenan, because he was always the best.
This was a very weird show, done outdoors for the first time at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Naturally, it was themed like ancient Rome. Everyone wore togas and the match quality was crap, but the way the show ended might have been the worst. At the time, McMahon was doing a youth movement but Hogan wanted one last hurrah and felt he should have a fifth title reign at the top. Here’s how it happened and why it sucked:
Hart had just lost to Yokozuna after being hit with salt by Mr. Fuji. Hogan, for reasons, came out to the aid of Hart and that led to Hogan beating Yokozuna for the title. Officially, Yokozuna’s reign is 191 seconds. Hogan had his fifth title reign, but Hart knew this wasn’t going to go over well before it happened.
Don’t let that crowd reaction fool you, though: Hart was right. Fans rejected it and Hogan dropped the belt back to Yokozuna at King of the Ring 70 days later while barely making any appearances at house shows or TV tapings. It was Hogan’s last appearance in wrestling before coming back to the business with rival company WCW, eventually kicking off the Monday Night Wars.
The Wrestlemania theme song from 1993.
No intro needed. Just try to listen to this:
This song was part of an actual music album. The entire thing is awful, but somehow this stands out as the worst of the worst. If you managed to get through the entire 3:31 without gouging your eardrums out, you have my respect.
And now the “news”.....
Becky Lynch’s quest for greatness culminates in WrestleMania main event - Orlando Sentinel
This is a good back story on Lynch and her take on the last several months, as well as some background on her early days in the ring.
The AAF’s Sudden Collapse Left Players High and Dry - Deadspin
The irony here is that the AAF guaranteed health insurance to all players who stayed for a full season. The league didn’t even get to the playoffs of their first season.
Danny Rose on racism: Tottenham defender ‘can’t wait to see the back of football’ - BBC Sport
Don’t blame him one bit. Also, f*ck the Daily Star for the way they framed this story. I’m not linking it and it isn’t worth you giving them clicks to read it.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium: Fireworks and tears as Spurs return home - BBC Sport
Another outlet’s take on Spurs’ magnificent home.
Tottenham’s latest financial report matches its new stadium in grandeur - Cartilage Free Captain
If you missed this yesterday, community member Willl did a comprehensive breakdown of the financial report that came out yesterday from the club. A big thank you to him!
Enjoy your weekend everyone!