OFF THE CHART CROWDS
What is good, my people.
While writing this article, I was stuck on a 4th entry for a moment, and almost went with Goldberg vs Raven, when Goldberg won the US Title. Now, a lot of people may say Hogan vs Goldberg, but I’m telling you to watch the US Title match. This was Goldberg at the peak of his coolness, before he becomes mainstream, just like Cena when he was the Dr. of Thuganomics. Goldberg was still a true-blue killer here, and not the “I help old ladies! I’m a pillar of the community!” kinda guy he’d soon be shortly. It’s also one of Goldberg’s best matches. I also wanna give a shout-out to the homie, The Fuj, who lent some brain power, and in return, I gave him $7,000.
Alright, let’s get it, buckshots…
Why It’s On The Mountain: Easily the most well known and well remembered crowd in wrestling history, if you ask me. Hogan had been getting pretty big responses when he came back, but I don’t think anyone expected there to be an all-time-great crowd reaction at WMX8, which there absolutely was. I get more in depth as to the crowd’s responses and such in the match review below, so I won’t get too into it here, but it never ceases to me amazing. Everyone is molten, and it makes this match that much more fun to watch. It was only recently I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who holds this match in very high regard, with many people my age calling it their favorite match of all time, something I would never fault anyone for, this match is amazing.
Hulk Hogan vs The Rock – WrestleMania X8
I think they dubbed the music on the version I’m watching, which is from WrestleMania Rewind. I’m pretty sure in the original match, he came down to the WWE’s nWo music, which isn’t as good as the original, but I liked it. The crowd is hyped as hell, but man, it REALLY gets going when they first lock up and Hogan throws Rock before doing some posing. I mean, they literally come out of their seats and cheer like they each won the lottery. They’re losing their goddamn minds for the simplest of things, and Rock & Hogan play it perfectly. It starts off with Hogan getting the best of The Rock in most exchanges, but eventually the Rock starts to catch up, and they eventually get to a point where they ping-pong back and forth, with neither being able to gain a big advantage. Every time Rock hits a big move, the crowd roars in disapproval. Rock puts Hogan in his version of the Sharpshooter, which is just the worst looking submission this side of ‘Taker’s ridiculous Triangle Choke. Hogan soon hits a Rock Bottom afterward, which causes the crowd to lose their shit in a big way. However, they reserve for REALLY losing their shit when Hogan Hulk’s Up and hits the leg drop. He’s unable to get the pin, so he tries for another but Rock rolls away, and nails Hogan with 2 Rock Bottoms and a People’s Elbow for the pin. I absolutely love this match, and have for almost 20 years. I mean, this match is exactly what WrestleMania means to me. It never ceases to entertain or give me constant goosebumps. Awesome stuff.
The Rock pins Hulk Hogan after the People’s Elbow at | *****
Why It’s On The Mountain: Now, while Hogan/Rock was heavily in favor for the Hulkster, a large portion of the crowd was still rooting heavy for Rocky, which his portion getting bigger as the match went on. Here, however, not a single, solitary person cheers for John Cena. If John’s own mother was in the crowd she would have thrown the shirt back. This crowd was absolutely relentless and never let up for a single second. They didn’t just boo John, they were down right abusive to him, which John played perfectly too. I love this match for one reason, and it’s because a year prior, RVD, who had the idea for this PPV, was injured, and unable to preform, which broke his heart. Fast forward a year later, and at the same PPV he’s living his greatest professional accomplishment. Other than landing that ultra mega hot girlfriend of his, Katie Forbes. Pretty damn cool.
RVD vs John Cena [C] – WWE Championship – ECW One Night Stand 2006
First up, the sign that we’d see variations of for honest to God years afterward, “If Cena wins we riot”. This crowd is damn near violent towards him. I mean, it’s unreal. He tries to throw his shirt out like always, and they throw it back. Multiple times. Then start chanting “Fuck you Cena!”, “You can’t wrestle” and “Same ol’ shit” at him as things get going. John controls from the start, with Rob getting in bursts of defiant offense. They have a great spot where Cena sets a chair between the top and middle turn buckles, then slingshots RVD head first into it. Brutal. Cena plays to the crowd pretty damn well, proving early that he belonged to be in the spot he’d earned. There’s a part that made me laugh out loud. Rob tries to crotch Cena on the ropes, but can’t quite get it, and it causes Cena to just fall to the outside and eat shit. Instead of chanting “you fucked up!” which is par for the course, they cant “Cena fucked up!”. Fucking brilliant. They bust out some steel steps, along with a table set up in the corner that eventually Cena goes through, thanks to Edge, who showed up in classic the classic ECW attire for when you want a reveal, the motorcycle helmet and black coat. Hey, it works. RVD then hits the 5 Star, as Heyman comes in to count and the place explodes.
RVD gets the pin on Cena for the WWE Title at 14:42 | ***
Why It’s On The Mountain: I always hated The Fire Burns, and so wish they’d re-edit this enterance with him coming out to Cult of Personality, fits him so, so much better. That said, this is Rock/Hogan, but with fantastic work as well. Not to say Hogan & Rock didn’t work and have a solid match, but they obviously aren’t on the level of Punk & John, who are in their primes. Watching this, I get mixed emotions, because it’s some of the most pitch-perfect booking the WWE has ever done. For one fucking week. From the Pipe Bomb till now, they did everything absolutely perfect. Then they IMMEDIATELY ruined it. Ugh. That said, the crowd is just off the charts, and helps make this match even greater than it is. Not to mention, this whole PPV was absolutely incredible, from top to bottom. Just one of those moments where all the stars align.
CM Punk vs John Cena [C] – WWE Championship – Money In The Bank 2011
The crowd here is absolutely insane. I’d say it’s just as live as Rock vs Hogan. They start off with some basic starter stuff, headlocks, take downs, all while the crowd comes up with a chant every 5 seconds and legit cheers any time a hair on Punk’s head moves. They keep the match really competitive, with neither guy holding momentum for long. They did a sick suplex to the out-side spot, which always amazes me, and Punk took that bump flat. Cena eventually gets the receipt by eating a brutal looking knee from Punk. We get our first STFU of the night, a move I hate when Cena does, because it looks like the most unpainful thing ever. It’s literally no different than when you use to lay on the floor in front of the TV like a kid. They have an awesome sequence where Punk attempts a flying crossbody, just for Cena to reverse it into an AA, which Punk reverses into a GTS, which Cena reverses into another STFU, and Punk then turns it into the Anaconda Vice, which looks like a weird head & arm triangle. They played this match so well, especially near the end where literally any big move or submission looked like it could have been it. Eventually we see Vince & John as they attempt to fuck over CM Punk, but Cena won’t allow it. Once he gets back in the ring he gets a GTS for his troubles, giving the crowd reason to fucking EXPLODE. Afterward, Del Rio shows up to cash in, but gets a boot to the dome before Punk runs through the crowd and heads home after blowing Vince a kiss goodbye.
CM Punk wins the WWE title after serving John a GTS at 25:46 | *****
Why It’s On The Mountain: Man, this is probably the grand-daddy of amazing crowds. Because it’s legit like you had 5 CM Punks, or 5 RVDs in the previously mentioned matches. I was at my most die-hard during this era, and I LOATHED Bret Hart. I thought he was a whiny, obnoxious little bitch, and I hated Canada because of him. He was at his peak here, in my opinion. Bret’s a natural heel. With that said, the crowd didn’t just sit on their hands until someone Canadian or pro-Canadian showed up, they were live the entire damn PPV. Hell, they were so rowdy at times the screen starts to shake. It’s really evident in The Undertaker vs Vader. However, when the Hart Foundation finally did make their entrance, every single member got a roaring ovation, with each one louder than the last. It’s absolutely incredible. Everything done by a member of Team USA is booed out of the building, while they cheer if a Canadian wrestler’s hair grows. It’s really a sight. Also, much like MitB 2011, Canadian Stampede is widly recognized as one of the greatest PPVs of all time, with no match coming in below ***, and each match delivering something different. Hell of a card, and probably the best 2 hours of wrestling ever.
Because the crowd was super live the whole night, I decided to review a match that wasn’t the main event, simply because I’ve seen that main event so much, and I just don’t want to sit through it again. I figured we’d take a look at Taka vs Sasuke instead.
Taka Michanoku vs Great Sasuke – Canadian Stampede
I was always a big Taka mark back in the day. He always had this type of goofy arrogance to him that I loved, especially when he was in the bWo. These guys bring shit to the table that this crowd is definitely not going to get from anyone else. They’re kicking and punching the absolute hell out of each other. After Taka does a fantastic spring-board splash to the outside, we get a look at a sign that says “WCW – Where The Gay Boys Play”. Ah, the Attitude Era. These guys move at an insane pace. Eventually we see Taka eat a double-arm suplex, which I’m sure in Japan is called a Thunder Fire Tiger Nuke Bomb Gorilla Boner, and the pin. I’m honestly bummed this match is over so quick. These guys wer out there killing it, and they weren’t just doing the flippy-floppy crap, but also getting in that strong style, so everybody had something to hang their hat on. Damn good stuff.
Sasuke wins with the Thunder Fire Tiger Nuke Bomb Gorilla Boner at 8:48 | ***1/2
Thanks for reading, buckshots, and for no reason, here’s my favorite Stephanie McMahon moment….
Any questions, comments, drunk-ramblings, feel free to send them my way, I always dig hearing from you, the beautiful people.
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