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MCNEILL'S TAKE

McNEILL At The Bar For WWE Unforgiven 2008

Sep 9, 2008 - 8:14:54 PM


By Pat McNeill, Torch Columnist

Columnist Pat McNeill returns with another addition of his semi-monthly series, "McNeill At The Bar."

It's Sunday night at Richmond, and we are LIVE at barside, preparing for WWE Unforgiven. I am joined by several diehard WWE fans and a plate of "boneless buffalo wings," which is kayfabe for "chicken nuggets" in the parlance of 2008 pub grub. Ms. Anne has opted not to join me for this event. Something about needing to clean her house because her mother's coming to visit.

The other big news tonight is that the waitresses are decked out in pro football jerseys, in honor of this being the first weekend of the American football season. My waitress this evening is decked out in a Peyton Manning road jersey, even though she doesn't seem to know who Peyton Manning is. We wait for the start of the pay-per-view and watch the pregame show, while music plays from the overhead speakers. According to the music, God is watching us, from a distance.

Eventually, though, the show starts and we are greeting with the dulcet tones of Todd Grisham and Matt Striker. Well, they must be starting off with the ECW match. Please note that WWE isn't showing us the top deck at the Quicken Arena in Cleveland, an interesting note after all the trouble WWE supposedly had filling the seats for Unforgiven.

It's Matt Hardy versus The Miz vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. Finlay vs. Mark Henry. We now have eleven people in our little corner of the sports bar, as the last few guys have trickled in. Matt Hardy grabs a headlock on Miz, and for the next few minutes it is Tuesday night on Sci-Fi all over again.

As the match goes on, and more wrestlers are added to the match. I change my mind on the Championship Scramble concept. The whole thing is brilliant. In fact, I'd like to see it used outside of WWE. For example, the next UFC Championship match should be defended under Scramble rules. Imagine how much more exciting last night's show would have been if Liddell and Evans had started the fights, then the other contenders entered the Octagon at five minute intervals.

Chavo pins Matt. Matt pins Chavo. Todd Grisham tells us that there are 212 people in Cameron, North Carolina, and all of them worked in the OMEGA indy promotion at one time. Matt Striker credits Pat Patterson for coming up with the Scramble concept, which is news to me because I thought the whole idea was an Adamle Original.

Matt Hardy survives the onslaught of Mark Henry, Fit Finlay and Fit Finlay's midget son to capture the ECW Heavyweight Title. Guy #11, sitting at the next table, declares that Hardy's win is "awesome." Striker declares that Matt is "arguably everyone's favorite wrestler." That's fantastic. I'm stealing that. Pat McNeill is "arguably the sexiest man alive."

There's an ad for WrestleMania, which is only seven months away. And here's one of my pet peeves on display. This April will not be the "25th Anniversary of WrestleMania", no matter what WWE says. The first WrestlMania took place in 1985, so the 25th anniversary of the show will actually take place at WrestleMania 26 in 2010. Got it? Jeez, I'm starting to sound like editor Wade Keller gets when people confuse Saint Paul with Minneapolis.

Backstage, Jeff Hardy congratulates Matt on his title win. Matt congratulates Jeff on coloring within the lines with those Magic Marker streaks on his arms.

Here's tonight's WWE mobile poll question, presented by AT&T. If we raise the price of these shows to forty-five bucks each, will you still order them? Really? How about fifty?

It's time for the World Tag Team Titles, with the Texas In-Laws of Rhodes and DiBiase defending against Shad Gaspard and That Guy Who Can Work. It is at this point that Ms. Anne texts me with the news of Tom Brady's knee injury. Is it any wonder why I love this woman? Jerry Lawler, on commentary, claims he's been hanging out with Cryme Tyme. Where are the WWE.com cameras when we really, really need them?
Since we're on pay-per-view, this match is given time to develop. JTG takes the heat. I know, you're shocked. Shad Gaspard is surprisingly good here, hitting his marks and looking like he belongs with the others. Cody reverses a rollup with an assist from Young Ted and the champs retain. Then a Samoan with big hair runs in and helps Simply Priceless deliver a postmatch beatdown. Yes, there's a second generation Samoan in developmental, but I can't remember who it is for the life of me.

We get our prematch hype for Michaels vs. Jericho. Guy #11 thinks this video package is "stupid". Turns out he's not a Michaels fan. Huh. Shawn gets all biblical on Michael Cole in his prematch promo. We are informed that for this particular unsanctioned match, WWE made both wrestlers sign waivers protecting the promotion from legal liability should anything go wrong. Which means that, technically, every WWE match is an "unsanctioned match."

We all get the great, vicious brawl we'd been hoping for. I liked in the early portion of the match when Michaels went to look under the ring for a weapon, couldn't find whatever he was looking for, then cursed and grabbed a ringside chair instead. That was a nice little piece of realism. Shawn does the strangulation spot, briefly. Guy #11 complains about the lack of "color" in the match. The man has a point.

Then comes the creepy part of the match. Michaels has Jericho down in the crossface, leans in and whispers something to him, which turns out to be "an eye for an eye". Fortunately, Michaels doesn't kill Jericho with the crossface, but modifies the hold to keep Y2J still so he can keep punching the ex-champ in the eye. That stops the match. Michaels takes out Marty Elias for stopping to match, but manages to look like he's agonizing over that fact.

So, the best match of the night is over. What do we do next? Oh, right. Back to the scramble matches. Next up is Triple H vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Jeff Hardy vs. M.V.P. vs. Shelton Benjamin. Hardy and Benjamin are out first. By the way, I think that, instead of starting a new season, the NFL ought to have a scramble match for the Lombardi Trophy between the Giants, the Patriots, the Cowboys, the Packers and the Colts. Two teams start the game, and a new team is added each quarter. Last touchdown wins.

It's Aryan Supremacy night here at the ol' Quicken Arena, as M.V.P. and Shelton Benjamin are shut out for the full twenty minutes of the scramble match. The top heel role goes to Brian Kendrick. The only good news out of this is that Kendrick rules. Whether he was be-bopping along mockingly to M.V.P. or motioning for Hunter to "bring it" during The Game's elaborate entrance, Kendrick was working on all cylinders. Guy #11 even came up with a nickname, calling Kendrick "the Spider Monkey." The match ended with Hunter pinning M.V.P. while Jeff Hardy failed to protect his title by making the save. The Game ruled, and Jeff got to look stupid.

C.M. Punk talked with Eve, and then got a beatdown from the Next Evolution. Kofi Kingston tried to make the save, but he took a similar beating. It was obvious Punk was being written out of the Raw championship match, but who would earn the spot? My guess is Randy Orton.

Michelle takes on Maryse next. I think Tazz was the one who speculated about whether Maryse was being tutored by Hall of Famer Pat Patterson, which almost made me spit out my Diet Coke. We're up to fourteen people in our little section as we're into the third hour. There hasn't been much reaction from this crowd at all, much like what's happening in the arena at the moment.

We have a pantsuit alert as Smackdown general manager Vickie Guerrero and Big Show trick Undertaker into an ambush and leave him laying. This segment took approximately forever. William Regal asked for a shot at the Raw title in Punk's place. At the very least, you have to give WWE credit for realizing they needed to break up the three scrambles on the show.

It's Dave Batista vs. JBL vs. Kane vs. Rey Mysterio versus a player to be named later. Now Batista has a shaved head. John Layfield's elaborate entrance made me realize how much JBL needs a valet with Kawasaki glasses and a beehive hairdo. The opening five minutes feature Batista applying the figure-four leglock, something we'll all have to come to grips with in the post-Flair era. Meanwhile, I'm pondering how great it would be if March Madness this year was a giant series of championship scramble matches. Kane is out third and things aren't improving. Rey Mysterio stole Erick Stevens' Mohawk. Chris Jericho is out last, battered and bruised. He sneaks around until the end and steals a pin on Kane for the victory. Most of the bar crowd loves it, except for this one tattooed girl, who sat there with her mouth open for a few minutes.

That's it for this month. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go home and e-mail Bud Selig. I just came up with this great idea for the World Series.

====

Pat McNeill of Richmond, VA has been a Torch columnist since 2001.


Send feedback on this article to pwtorch@gmail.com and we'll regularly publish reader feedback in the "Torch Feedback" category on the Main Listing.

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NEWS REPORTS
WWE NETWORK: Sunday, April 20 Programming Schedule
SHOW RESULTS - 4/19 TNA in Winston-Salem, N.C.: Tables main event, no Hardy, Magnus vs. Samoa Joe, more
SHOW RESULTS - 4/19 ROH in Baltimore, Md.: TV taping SPOILERS for A.J. Styles vs. Elgin, TV Title match, ROH champ in action
SHOW RESULTS - 4/18 WWE in Riyadh, KSA: Updated with More Details - Cena vs. Bray main event of Night 2, Ambrose defends U.S. Title, Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro
UFC on Fox 11: MMATorch coverage of "Werdum vs. Browne" event
SD NEWS: Smackdown hits post-WM30 lull in Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings, Video - Torito & Swoggle on "Fallout"
WWE NEWSWIRE: D-Bryan set to return, gruesome referee injury, London TV main event, Rock's next movie, Linda donates big check
GFW NEWS: Report - NASCAR's Sadler joins Jarrett promotion
WWE NETWORK: Saturday, April 19 Programming Schedule
WWE NEWS: Saudi Arabia tour wraps Saturday with Cena, Orton, NXT star, more; Reports Wanted
SATURDAY EVENTS: Hogan at Chicago Con, big East Coast show with DiBiase, Jr. & Vader, Carlito in Florida, Hernandez in Texas
SHOW RESULTS - 4/18 TNA in Concord, N.C.: Bully & Willow team in Jeff Hardy's home state, Joe returns to the ring vs. Magnus, Tag Title match, more
PPV REPORTS
KYGHT'S PPV EVALUATION - WWE WrestleMania 30: Best & Worst Match, Biggest Surprise, What Will Mania Be Remembered For?, Updated 2014 PPV Rankings
WRESTLEMANIA 30 PPV RESULTS (Hour 4): Complete "virtual-time" coverage of WWE Title main event, Divas Title
WRESTLEMANIA 30 PPV RESULTS (Hour 3): Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Undertaker vs. Lesnar Streak match
WRESTLEMANIA 30 PPV RESULTS (Hour 2): Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Cena vs. Bray, big moment for Cesaro in the Andre Battle Royal, Shield vs. Outlaws
WRESTLEMANIA 30 PPV RESULTS (Hour 1): Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Bryan vs. Hunter, Hogan & Austin & Rock open PPV
WRESTLEMANIA 30 PPV RESULTS (Pre-Show): Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Tag Title match, big face turn, more
CALDWELL'S NJPW PPV RESULTS 4/6: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of "Invasion Attack 2014" - Nakamura regains IC Title, A.J. Styles big angle, new NWA tag champions, more
IPPV RESULTS: 4/5 DGUSA "Mercury Rising 2014" - RADICAN'S Report on Gargano vs. Low Ki, six-man tournament, Teddy Hart changes course of entire show, more
IPPV RESULTS - 4/4 DGUSA in New Orleans, La.: RADICAN'S Report on historic main event result, Hero vs. Tanaka, more
IPPV RESULTS - 4/4 Wrestling Odyssey in New Orleans, La.: RADICAN'S report on Hero defending EVOLVE Title, stand-out CZW Title match, more title matches
KYGHT'S PPV EVALUATION - TNA Lockdown: Best/Worst Match, Biggest Surprise/Letdown, updated 2014 PPV Rankings
RADICAN'S ROH "12th Anniversary" Report 2/21: The Decade-Mark Briscoe & Alexander & Page, ReDragon-Adrenaline Rush, Hero-Cole
TV REPORTS
JAMES'S WWE SUPERSTARS REPORT 4/19: IC champ in action, 3MB vs. Los Matadores continues, Overall Reax
PARKS'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 4/18: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Friday show, including Batista vs. Sheamus
TV REPORT - 4/17 "Legends House" Episode #1: CALDWELL'S Report on introductions, Piper vs. Everyone, more
CALDWELL'S WWE MAIN EVENT RESULTS 4/15: Big Show vs. Swagger, #1 contender Divas Battle Royal, more
JAMES'S WWE NXT REPORT 4/17 - Week 94: NXT champ Neville vs. Brodus main event, Camacho resurfaces, Paige appears as Divas & NXT Women's champ, Overall Reax
CALDWELL'S TNA IMPACT RESULTS 4/17: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Orlando Impact - EY defends TNA Title on first night as Champ, Tag Title match, more
CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 4/14: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw - Warrior tribute, latest WM30 fall-out
METZGER'S ROH TV REPORT 4/12: Lethal captures ROH TV Title and turns heel, The Streak continues
PARKS'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 4/11: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of Friday show, including Daniel Bryan & The Usos vs. Kane, Batista, and Randy Orton
JAMES'S WWE SUPERSTARS REPORT 4/10: Kofi vs. Titus main event, Ziggler loses to Ryback
JAMES'S WWE NXT REPORT 4/10 - Week 93: Bo Dallas breaks down, Mojo gets hyped, Neville-Brodus feud continues, more
CALDWELL'S TNA IMPACT RESULTS 4/10: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of Orlando Impact - new TNA World champion
OPINION & ANALYSIS
SATURDAY’S ASK PWTORCH STAFF: Time to split the World Titles and rosters again? Was Taker-Lesnar worth it because it was a crazy ride? What are most disappointing feuds? Why didn’t Fabulous Ones get a run in the NWA or AWA?
SATURDAY'S ASK PWTORCH ALL-STAR PANEL: Is Impact Wrestling really serious? Do wrestlers call themselves by ring names or real names? Did Vince really decide to end The Streak? Was WWE trying to replicate end of Anderson Silva’s streak?
SATURDAY’S ASK PWTORCH STAFF: Was Taker-Lesnar worth it because it was a crazy ride? What are most disappointing feuds? Why didn’t Fabulous Ones get a run in the NWA or AWA? Time to split the World Titles and rosters again?
SATURDAY'S ASK PWTORCH ALL-STAR PANEL: Do wrestlers call themselves by ring names or real names? Did Vince really decide to end The Streak? Was WWE trying to replicate end of Anderson Silva’s streak? Is Impact Wrestling really serious?
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FRIDAY'S ASK PWTORCH ALL-STAR PANEL: Is Cesaro better off as a babyface without Heyman? Why does Michael Cole get such a bad rap? Is it finally a perfect time for War Games? Is there a real youth movement going on in WWE?
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IMPACT POLL 4/17: Vote on Eric Young's first week as Champ
THE SPECIALISTS
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ASK THE SPECIALISTS: Roundtable #3 Double Play - Is there a true Youth Movement?, how should Sting debut in WWE?
TUCKER ON TV: Reviews of Warrior Tribute, "Legends House," NXT on WWE Network Thursday night
CHIVERTON'S NXT SCOUTING REPORT: Network Era Rankings #6, plus evaluation of NXT Prospects
ASK THE SPECIALISTS: Roundtable #2 - is Dolph Ziggler's name or something else holding him back?
HITS & MISSES - 4/14 WWE Raw: RVD vs. Del Rio, Heyman, Cena Discovers Photoshop, Barrett vs. Ziggler, Evolution Reforms
TUCKER ON RAW 4/14: WWE sets the path for Extreme Rules, but is it an interesting path?
ASK THE SPECIALISTS: Introducing a new Roundtable discussion - Installment #1 on whether Punk regrets walking away from WWE
COLLECTIBLES COLUMN: How the Collector's Market Has Reacted to Ultimate Warrior's Death
APR. 14 IN HISTORY: This 1997 Raw episode captures why WWF/E was struggling against WCW
EATON'S PERSPECTIVE OF THE COMMON FAN: WrestleMania 30 Aftermath - Bryan, Youth Movement, Network, more
VALENTINO'S MAGIC, MEMORIES & MANIA - Live At WrestleMania 30 Ratings: From a Magical Opening to the Worst Moment in WrestleMania History
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EXCLUSIVE: Steve Austin reveals how the WM30 opening with Hogan & Rock came together, where he watched The Streak end
EXCLUSIVE: Steve Austin talks possibility of wrestling again
PWTORCH YOUTUBE EXCLUSIVE: Scott Hall talks 2014 WWE Hall of Fame induction, receiving the news, health, more
CALDWELL'S DVD REVIEW: WWE's "Ultimate Collection" - Jim Hellwig tells his story on the Ultimate Warrior
RADICAN'S DGUSA DVD REVIEW SERIES: "Enter the Dragon 2012" (7-29-12) Gargano-Taylor I Quit match, Generico-Tozawa, Fox & CIMA vs Ricochet & Swann
RADICAN CZW DVD REVIEW SERIES "Cage of Death XV" (12-14-13) - Gulak-Hero, Dickinson-Richards, NOI vs. The Forgotten Ones Cage of Death match
RADICAN'S WRESTLING REVIEW LOG: Comprehensive Reference Guide for the latest wrestling DVD, Book, and Video Game reviews
RADICAN'S AIW REVIEW SERIES: "Hell on Earth 9" (11-29-13) - Steen-Gargano, Hutter-Donst, #Nixon-Team AIW main event
MITCHELL FLASHBACK: His feature column 10 years ago - Surviving Crazy Jonny Fairplay of Survivor and TNA fame
RADICAN'S DVD REVIEW SERIES: "The Kevin Steen Show with Chris Hero" - WWE departure, thoughts on WWE Performance Center, great CZW & IWA-MS stories
RADICAN'S ALPHA-1 REVIEW SERIES: "Rehab" (4-20-13) - Alexander-Fire Ant, Silver-Elgin, Page-Brown
RADICAN'S DGUSA DVD REVIEW SERIES: "Untouchable 2012" (7-28-12) Fox & CIMA vs. Del Sol & Generico, Gargano-Tozawa
REFERENCE
WWE NEWS: Raw TV ratings are in for Monday's show
TNA NEWS: Impact quarter-hour TV ratings last Thursday - TNA Title change draws lowest rating of the show
WWE NEWS: Smackdown TV ratings are in - how did the first Smackdown after WM30 fare?
TITLES & CHAMPS: Ongoing list of 2014 Titleholders
TNA NEWS: Impact TV ratings are in - how did Thursday's show fare with a TNA Title change?
WWE NEWS: Raw TV quarter-hour ratings - Daniel Bryan draws big numbers post-Mania, plus very detailed report on the other segments that boosted Raw
WWE NEWS: TV Rating for Hall of Fame special on USA Network
WWE NEWS: Raw TV ratings are in - Raw surges the night after WrestleMania, hits highest points since Raw 1,000
RAW NEWS: Comparison of post-WM TV ratings last eight years
WWE NEWS: Smackdown TV ratings are in - how did the final Smackdown before WrestleMania fare?
TNA NEWS: Impact quarter-hour TV ratings 4/3 - details on how Thursday night's Impact fared
TNA NEWS: Impact TV ratings are in - Impact still in a rut
PWTorch Free Podcast
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AUDIO: Thursday PWTorch Livecast (4/17) now available - James Caldwell & Greg Parks
AUDIO: Wednesday PWTorch Livecast (4/16) now available - Pat McNeill & Jonny Fairplay
AUDIO: Tuesday PWTorch Livecast (4/15) now available - Wade Keller & Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net
AUDIO: Monday PWTorch Livecast (4/14) now available - Bruce Mitchell & Travis Bryant
AUDIO: Friday PWTorch Livecast (4/11) now available - James Caldwell & Greg Parks
AUDIO: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin Interview w/Keller on Thursday's PWTorch Livecast (4/10) now available
AUDIO: Wednesday PWTorch Livecast (4/9) now available - McNeill hosts All-Star Panel
AUDIO: Tuesday PWTorch Livecast (4/8) now available - Wade Keller & Jason Powell of Prowrestling.net
AUDIO: Monday PWTorch Livecast (4/7) now available - Bruce Mitchell & Travis Bryant
AUDIO: Special PWTorch Livecast (4/6) following WWE's WM30 PPV now available - James Caldwell & Greg Parks
AUDIO: Friday PWTorch Livecast (4/4) now available - Zach Gowen Interview w/Wade Keller
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VIP - 04/18 Best of Bruce Mitchell Audio Show with Wade Keller: A look at the controversial life and career of the Ultimate Warrior the week the Self-Destruction of Warrior DVD was released - Recorded Sept. 5, 2005 (75 min.)
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