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Showing posts from March, 2018

Smark Henry’s Favorite WrestleMania Moments: The (Double) Turn of the Century

As we count the days down to WrestleMania 34 on April 9, we here at Smark Henry want to do something different than our usual trivia promotion. Over the next two weeks, we'll be sharing and talking about our favorite WrestleMania moments in the hopes of getting some more this year.

Taken as a whole, Wrestlemania 13 could have been a forgettable event: while it did feature one of the iconic images of The Undertaker genuflecting with the WWF Championship, the rest of the card fit an In Your House special more than The Granddaddy of Them All.

Except for one match: the one that defined an entire era, the moment that quite literally changed the wrestling world.

It all started in 1996: when Stone Cold Steve Austin won King of the Ring, read a passage from “Austin 3:16,” and cemented himself as the most despicable heel in wrestling. At this time, Bret Hart—one of the most beloved faces in the promotion—was at a crossroads in his career, trying to do right while being constantly taunted a…

Smark Hen-XT (3/28/18): Of New Titles and Percentages

Hoo boy, there's a lot to unpack in this week's episode, I don't even know where to begin!

NXT General Manager William Regal opened with two bombshells that were dropped in the first half of the show: the creation of the NXT North American Championship. Finally, a (permanent) secondary title in the very much stacked yellow and black brand!

But even before GM Regal finished his announcement, EC3 interrupted him and made his NXT TV debut!


Huh. Not bad after being fired from his former employer(and unceremoniously ejected) just less than a week ago.

This segment was the first time I'm seeing the Artist Formerly Known as Derrick Bateman and Ethan Carter III (but just EC3 now, which means "the formula for success," as he told play-by-play announcer Mauro Ranallo), and he's already great in my eyes. His ability to inject the crowd's reactions in his promo is just so good, and his charisma makes it easy for people to love or hate him.

Mr. Regal cut off EC3 mi…

Smark Henry's Favorite WrestleMania Moments: Edge's Superspear at WrestleMania X-Seven

As we count the days down to WrestleMania 34 on April 9, we here at Smark Henry want to do something different than our usual trivia promotion. Over the next two weeks, we'll be sharing and talking about our favorite WrestleMania moments in the hopes of getting some more this year.

Editor's note: The following 'Mania moment is brought to us by the enigmatic potato only known as KP.
WrestleMania X-Seven is generally considered as one of the best WrestleManias in history. With blood feuds like Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock and the iconic street fight between Vince McMahon and Shane McMahon, X-Seven was already story-heavy. But the second-ever Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match from the 2001 PPV remains one of the most-remembered WrestleMania moments ever.

The TLC combines the specialty of The Dudley Boyz, The Hardy Boyz, and Edge and Christian and culminates the rivalry between the three since E&C lost their titles to the Dudleyz at that year's Royal Rumble. The …

Live From the 205 (3/27/18): Murphy's Law, Except The Opposite

205 Live knew that once they had their finals of the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament set, they'd have to reestablish the rest of the division. They've been doing that slowly over the past couple of weeks with the Lucha House Party and Team Japan, but by God, did this week's episode cement the show as the main roster show for top-notch wrestling.

The show decided that it would like to remind everyone that some of the guys they brought up from NXT and the UK division, namely Buddy Murphy and Mark Andrews, are here to stay to bolster the cruiserweight division. I'm kind of sad that this doesn't also include Roderick Strong, but as we already know by now, guy's pretty busy in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic up until Takeover: New Orleans. I do hope that the door's still open for his involvement, especially given that he made it to the final four.



This fatal four-way wasn't for any tangible stakes, but the show did a good job anyway of building it up…

SmackDown RunDown Live (3/27/18): Nothing To Rant About

I’m not gonna lie; WrestleMania 34 is shaping up to be my favorite WrestleMania ever. Remember when I wrote a scathing rant about last year’s lackluster show and how it ignored hardcore fans like us? I’m looking at the card for this year and I have to say, I can’t find anything I don’t want to see. Sure, Roman Reigns will still headline the show, but at least they’re giving it a decent storyline that totally makes sense and actually makes Reigns a sympathetic babyface.

I’m not too excited to see Ronda Rousey in action, but who knows, maybe she’ll shock everyone and her first match will steal the show. We have two dream matches courtesy of SmackDown Live, two battle royals, Triple Threat (and Fatal 4-Way) title matches, and the in-ring return of Daniel Bryan for good measure. Aside from being epic, this show will probably break the record for the longest PPV in WWE history. I’m excited af.

And the build-up for it, at least from the Blue Brand perspective, has been top notch. Look no fur…

Smark Henry’s Favorite WrestleMania Moments: A Tremendous Stunner

As we count the days down to WrestleMania 34 on April 9, we here at Smark Henry want to do something different than our usual trivia promotion. Over the next two weeks, we'll be sharing and talking about our favorite WrestleMania moments in the hopes of getting some more this year.
Before he became the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump was a lot of things: a business magnate, a real estate mogul, a restaurateur and hotelier, and a purveyor of the finest and most luxurious steaks and natural spring water that—to a certain extent—weren’t as huge as his other ventures. 

Trump and wrestling have a long history together: WrestleMania IV and WrestleMania V were held in his properties in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 2009, in a storyline that had Vince McMahon accept an “offer he cannot refuse,” Donald Trump became the new independent owner and operator of Monday Night RAW. But this wasn’t the angle that The Donald became most infamous for.
In early 2007, Donald Trump …

The Smark Henry RAW Report (3/26/18): Friendship Over

This past month, Monday Night RAW has been on fire and gave us great episode after great episode. You'd expect nothing less on the road to WrestleMania, after all. Unfortunately, it gave me high expectations for the last two episodes before the big day—which was silly of me because this week's episode surely disappointed me.


My favorite storyline is seeing John Cena bully a crippled old man into a fistfight. (That was a joke. Please laugh.) It pains me a little to say that it was actually the best part of the episode, and that's only because the rest of the show was that boring. It was Cena vs. Kane—who interrupted the former last week in defense of his brother, The Undertaker—in a No Disqualification match. Now, don't get me wrong, I truly do like this storyline, it was just the match that bothered me—it was obvious that a clearly-aged Kane had put on a lot of weight and was moving much slower than usual, which made the match feel a bit sluggish in general.

However, …

Smark Henry's Favorite WrestleMania Moments: Savage and Steamboat's Perfect Classic

As we count the days down to WrestleMania 34 on April 9, we here at Smark Henry want to do something different than our usual trivia promotion. Over the next two weeks, we'll be sharing and talking about our favorite WrestleMania moments in the hopes of getting some more this year.

The early days of WrestleMania guaranteed that the event was going to be an annual success for the World Wrestling Federation, but it wasn't until WrestleMania III that the franchise would be put on the map.

The classic at the Pontiac Silverdome would be marked with two big happenings inside the ring, and we'll talk about the more famous one somewhere down the line. Today, we'll talk about what many consider the greatest pro wrestling match in history: Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat for the WWF Intercontinental Championship.


It's a thing of beauty to watch them wrestle and trade pin attempts with intensity and urgency, and you kind of miss the quick, meaty cracking of the old-school ri…

Smark Henry's Favorite WrestleMania Moments: Seth Rollins Cashes In At WrestleMania 31

As we count the days down to WrestleMania 34 on April 9, we here at Smark Henry want to do something different than our usual trivia promotion. Over the next two weeks, we'll be sharing and talking about our favorite WrestleMania moments in the hopes of getting some more this year.

In hindsight, this moment shouldn’t have surprised anyone. Almost everyone who’s ever held the Money in the Bank briefcase have promised a cash in at ‘Mania, and yet we’ve never really had one during the briefcase’s then-decade of existence. We were hoping for this when the WrestleMania 31’s main event was announced, but we never really thought it would happen, right?

Right?

WrestleMania 31’s main event felt like it was a done deal. This had to be Roman Reigns’s crowning moment. What better way to put up your next anointed face of the company than have him go over Brock Lesnar? Reigns was going to be the next WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Who cares if people didn’t like Reigns, especially after the Roy…

#ThemeSongTuesday: Eyes of Righteousness

A blessed Holy Week to you from us here at the Smark Henry offices!

Since it is Holy Tuesday, it's only appropriate that we feature a religious-themed entrance song this week. And with the Dudley Boyz' upcoming induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in a couple of weeks, why not shine the spotlight on D-Von Dudley, who once took on a reverend gimmick and had a rather #blessed theme song:


Damn, this song can actually pass off for a legit church anthem!
I wouldn't be surprised if I heard this at a praise and worship session. The organ at the start, along with the slow cadence of the drums give the track a nice little beat that lets it belong both at the service and at the wrestling arena. Hell, even without the vocals, I love how this track is arranged because it gets me all upbeat and ready to praise Jesus... or deliver a beatdown.
You have to give Jim Johnston a lot of credit for how this track came together. If you look at the lyrics, they don't sound all that different…

Smark Henry's Favorite WrestleMania Moments: Daniel Bryan Wins The Big One At WrestleMania 30

As we count the days down to WrestleMania 34 on April 9, we here at Smark Henry want to do something different than our usual trivia promotion. Over the next two weeks, we'll be sharing and talking about our favorite WrestleMania moments in the hopes of getting some more this year.

On April 6, 2014, dreams were made.

As a wrestling fan, you don't really fully suspend your collective disbelief anymore strictly over the storylines unfolding on your TV screen. In the age of the Reality Era, where everyone (thinks) they know everything about how wrestling—or in this case, the WWE—is supposed to work, the tension and anxiety now lay in how we think the booking is going to go. "Will John Cena take the loss from AJ Styles?" we ask. "Is Shinsuke Nakamura really going to win the Royal Rumble?"

"Will Daniel Bryan ever main event WrestleMania—and win?"

As you all know by now, the answer is a resounding YES, echoed 75,167 times across the Pontiac Silverdome M…

Smark Hen-XT (3/21/18): Juanito Lucha!

This week's episode of NXT TV opened with Tommaso Ciampa once again trying to explain himself to the NXT Universe. Just like his previous attempts, shit rained down on him, and deservedly so. THAT SNAKE.

But really, all these Ciampa segments are great. He never did a lot, aside from take in all the boos and provoke the crowd (He was able to say a few words this week, though), but these segments are perfect in driving him further down the madness lane. He is frustrated that the people still look for his former tag team partner Johnny Gargano while he's just there all along.

Ciampa surveying and provoking the crowd as he attempted to leave the building was a really good build-up to the climax: Johnny Gargano's ambush attack on the Psycho Killer!



I found myself giggling at the whole segment because man, Ciampa is so good at what he does, and when it was revealed that it was Johnny Wrestling who was under that luchador mask, I was just grinning from ear to ear.
It's amazi…

Live From the 205 (3/20/18): Make Way For Prince Ali

So we finally have our finalists for the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament. Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander are deservedly headed to WrestleMania to fight for the vacant purple belt, but let me tell you why this semifinal match would've made for a more compelling final.

Cedric/Roddy was great, but Ali/Gulak was even better, simply because 1) it's a clear face vs. heel story, and 2) they have a lot of history. I have no doubt in my mind that Cedric and Mustafa are going to maximize their WrestleMania minutes no matter where they are on the card, but with two weeks left to build up to the match, there's a lot more to be gained if either one were paired against such an effective heel in Drew Gulak. (This is why I'd been pushing for Gulak to make it to the finals since the first round.)

Gulak and Ali's history made their semifinal match even more brutal. Drew wanted to reinforce the fact that 205 Live should be a no-fly zone, and he was willing to go the distance…

The MMC With Smark Henry: Get The Seahands

After a string of a couple lackluster episodes, this week's Mixed Match Challenge tournament bout was the most exciting we've had. Asuka and Miz's streak was on the line, and so was Braun and Alexa's, uh, budding chemistry.

By now, the teams in the Mixed Match Challenge have already perfected the way these intergender matches are wrestled. I mean, given enough time, they'd have figured out how to maximize the tag rule, and a lot of the matches since the early rounds create some pretty good and logical drama using this mechanic. I liked how both Miz and Alexa tried to keep tagging out in the beginning to avoid their much more intimidating counterparts. In the end, Asuka's streak had to live on, because she and Miz are winning the whole thing, as expected.

However, the fact that we only really get interesting episodes when AweSuka and Little Big are on the docket points to a problem the tournament's had since the first round: only around half of the teams are …