In this edition of WWE Network Lowdown we will be looking at one of the most talked about podcasts this week: Steve Austin’s sit-down with WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. Also, the 1987 WWE Slammy Awards Ceremony and we will be taken over by the “WDN Universe” as they preview next week’s NXT TakeOver special: “R Evolution”.
Are we wrestling fans going to be able to shut up about podcasts anytime soon? That’s all we’ve been talking about recently what with Colt Cabana & CM Punk and now Steve Austin with Vince McMahon as they present “Stone Cold Podcast: Mr. McMahon”!
To put it bluntly, this may be the best thing I’ve watched on the WWE Network to date. Actually I’ve watched it twice now. You could of course put WrestleMania 30 above it but personally I was in New Orleans live for that so I didn’t experience it as a Network offering, and, well… Austin’s podcast was just that good. The Network needs this type of content.
Stone Cold continues to shine as a podcast host here (it still surprises me how well he’s taken to the role), while Vince embraces being there at the same time as doing a good job dancing around the questions somewhat, but not really to any extent where it’s too off-putting. Since it was a WWE Network special there was always the risk of it toeing the company line too much or being overly scripted, but you can only praise the topics that came up and the delivery.
We’re talking the CM Punk walkout situation, whether or not “Macho Man” Randy Savage will ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame, the beef between WWE and Jim Ross, why Shane McMahon is no longer around, and that’s just to name a few. I do wish Austin had pressed the issue a little more on a few of the discussions (the state of the WWE Network and its subscribers is one that comes to mind) but that’s my only real criticism of the show.
Austin and Vince in a room, broadcast live, extended by 15 minutes. That’s the bottom line!
~ Daniel (@WDNcom)
Yesterday two REALLY big additions to Beyond the Ring were made: “Ladies and Gentlemen, My Name is Paul Heyman” and “Bret Hart: The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be“, the respective 2014 and 2005 documentaries were both added to the VOD section.
Regretfully, the Paul Heyman documentary would not actually play and has since been removed, however keep your eyes peeled as it may very well appear again at any time…
UPDATE: As of 12/08/2014 07:55am EST the Paul Heyman documentary is back up and streaming on the WWE Network.
WWE Network added a new category this week: Slammy Awards, to mark this coming Monday’s Slammy Awards on RAW. Included in the shows which were added is a very special one: The 37th Annual Slammy Award Ceremony (aka the second). This show emanates from Caesars in Atlantic City, NJ. The primary function of the show was to push the “Piledriver: The Wrestling Album 2”, not only did it do that, but it provided us wrestling fans with so, so many memories…
Now, I would be crazy to try and tell you that this is a really good “wrestling” show. It is rather a complete and utter train wreck – a beautiful, wrestle crap filled, abomination of a train wreck that you simply cannot take your eyes off – for that reason THIS SHOW IS ABSOLUTELY FRICKIN’ AWESOME!!!
The show begins with the WWE Superstars arriving, dressed in their “finery” in various modes of transport; from the Hulkster arriving on a motorbike, to The Hart Foundation arriving by ambulance, all the way to George “The Animal” Steele arriving on a bicycle. This really set the tone for the rest of the evening. If you are only aware of the more recent “Slammy” shows, this one is very, VERY different.
As you may expect the show features a number of awards which are handed out; from Manager of the Year, to the *cough* prestigious Hulk Hogan: Real American Awards and the Jesse The Body Award to the rather more ridiculous – Best Personal Hygiene Award. The winners of the awards were chosen by the WWF’s Acadamy of Sports Sciences; the WWF’s ASS, lead by Jack Tunney (Jack from ASS — get it?!?). The awards lead up to the main event, and big award of the evening: “Song of the Year”. Throughout the show special we are treated to special performances by the nominees for this award. So, let’s talk about the performances…
Without a doubt the most famous performance from this show is the one by Vince McMahon with The Hulkamania Band performing “Stand Back”. The other performances came from The Honky Tonk Man, Koko B. Ware, and Jimmy Hart, with the final performance from the entire roster as they perform “If They Only Knew” — who knew that the WWE superstars were so musically talented, with not only their vocal skills but their talents with the instruments. Honky Tonk Man manages to perform the whole song with the same chord, and the Hulkamania Band featured a plethora of Hall of Fame worthy talent (Randy Savage, Jake Roberts, JYD and George Steele) and the Hulkster himself on bass.
Something else that the WWE superstars should be commended on is their dance expertise. This isn’t just limited to the moves busted by the Chairman of the Board, but honorable mentions have to go to: The Hart Foundation and their crazy “Irish Whip” routine, and the sledgehammer wielding, hard hat wearing Ultimate Warrior. Let’s not forget the dance that I would be remiss not to mention: Rick Rude’s striptease, good lord this was awkward and almost would have taken the shows rating from TV-PG to a whole different rating, thankfully Mean Gene showed up with a towel.
Other notable moments of the show included Matilda trying to eat Frankie and the Slick-ster using his doctorate in style to put together a rather incredible gold lamé suit.
However, despite all this really, really good stuff, the true highlight of the 37th Annual Slammy Awards has to be the fight between “King” Harley Race (with Bobby Heenan) and Jim Duggan. Beginning after an award presentation, these two brawled off the stage and into the backstage area. The craziest moment of the fight (quite possibly in the whole history of pro-wresting) had to be when Race preceded to beat Duggan with a real live chicken! As the ceremony proceeded we cut back to the ongoing fight which contained through the remainder of the ceremony and the building (including the women’s dressing room and a catering area which was setup for a Christmas party) as Gorilla Monsoon provided roving commentary.
There are a couple of musical edits on the show, namely the 1980s classic: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” from a music video, however outside of this the majority of the show remains relatively intact.
If you can’t tell, I really love this show. I would like to give kudos to everyone who put it together, especially the director: Kaye Fabe. Sadly Kaye has since passed away, but they will always be remembered in the hearts of wrestling fans. –Kaye, we miss ya! 😉
All in all, this is a really good “bad” show. You get the impression that they knew it was bad, so why not just embrace it!? I’m sure you will love this one, it’s a true classic. I implore you to check out, I’m almost positive that you will love it too.
~ Mark (@_MarkD_)
In the prime Monday night 11:06pm EST slot this week is a brand new special hosted by the Hardcore Legend and WWE Hall of Famer – Mick Foley! The special titled: “Demolition Derby: The Best of TLC” will look at some of the most spectacular moments in TLC History. “Tables, Ladders, Chairs… OH MY!”
Tuesday night sees the return of WWE Rivalries with an episode looking at the long running feud between Hulk Hogan and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Monday Night War also returns with an episode looking at how WWE and WCW developed their rosters in order to emerge victorious.
The WWE Network gets explosive this Wednesday as Tuesday Night Titans (TNT) will be added. At the moment there are three episodes up already (adding them to the watch list from the schedule is a great way to find them all) and we expect more to be added between now and then. If you haven’t ever seen this show before, it is a wrestling talk show hosted by Vince McMahon (later Gene Okerlund) with interviews, special features and matches. It really is a fun show, some of the skits are sure to crack you up!
This Thursday the fourth live NXT special: NXT TakeOver: R Evolution will air on the WWE Network. These specials always provide an incredible 2 hour wrestling show leaving wrestling fans around the world in awe.
In honor of TakeOver, here at WrestlingDVDNews.com this feature will be taken over by five members of the “WDN Universe”, who each preview the big matches announced for R Evolution.
NXT Championship Match
Adrian Neville (c) vs. Sami Zayn
“If you wanna step up, you’re gonna get knocked down” (Drowning Pool)
A perfect way to describe Sami Zayn’s road to the NXT championship throughout 2014. After finally settling his problems with the Swiss Superpower Cesaro, Zayn set his eyes on the prize that could ultimately lead him to being one of the biggest stars in WWE right now… the NXT Championship. Every time the Universe has thought that it might be his time, something has set him back, whether it be lack of concentration on his opponent or simply being outsmarted.
At TakeOver, Zayn attempts to complete his road to redemption by taking on “the man that gravity forgot”, Adrian Neville. Neville has easily been the face of NXT throughout the year, defending his Championship with pride and honor, having won it at the first NXT live special in February (which you can re-watch for just $9.99; if you didn’t know already). It has been heavily speculated that these two have been good friends for years, having wrestled for Dragon Gate in previous years. However, recently, we have seen a more serious side from both competitors. With Neville taking advantage of Zayn in their recent encounters, demonstrating that a champion will do whatever it takes to retain their title. This led Zayn to go on a path to redemption to show the NXT universe, the wrestlers and most importantly, himself that he is worthy of the big prize. Leading to adding the stipulation that if he does not win, Zayn will quit NXT! Could this be Zayn’s big chance to show he has what it takes? Or could this be his “D-Evolution”? Find out at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution.
~ Joe Phyall (@JJPhyall)
NXT Women’s Championship Match
Charlotte (c) vs. Sasha Banks
It’s been a bit of a trend so far in the 3 NXT events to have a high quality Women’s Title match, so expect nothing else from these two. The former tag team partners and BFF’s (Beautiful Fierce Females) split shortly after Charlotte’s title win back in May, and Banks has had her sights set firmly on the strap ever since, aligning herself with Becky Lynch and tearing through the NXT Women’s division over the last few months. Meanwhile, Charlotte has been seeing off the competition convincingly as well, and with the rumors circling the dirt sheets that she is in line for a spot on the main roster, she’ll be looking to go out with a bang. The Nature Boy’s daughter (as if you didn’t already know!) claims to be ‘genetically superior’, while Banks is the self-proclaimed ‘baddest Diva in NXT’, and with the added factor of Lynch in her corner, could the Champion’s time be up?
~ Alex Worrall (@AnAlexWorrall)
NXT Tag Team Championship Match
The Lucha Dragons (c) vs. The Vaudevillans
It was at the last NXT TakeOver event that the Lucha Dragons ended the longest NXT Tag Team Championship reign of all time. The Lucha Dragons defeated The Vaudevillains in the finals of the #1 contenders tournament to earn that title shot at takeover. Fast forward 3 months and the two teams will meet again, this time with NXT Tag Team gold on the line! The Vaudevillains have been playing mind games with the Lucha Dragons over the past few weeks compliments of the Mini-Lucha Dragons and “Vaudevillains Pictures”. The Vaudevillains have called out the Lucha Dragons on nights when they were not at the NXT area, only to have the Mini-Dragons answer the challenge… and promptly lose. They would also submit old silent black and white movies to the NXT production team depicting the same Mini-Dragons getting blown up with TNT or anvils being dropped on their heads in defeat.
Will the mind games pay off for The Vaudevillains and lead to NXT gold at TakeOver? Or will it be another NXT TakeOver victory for the Lucha Dragons?
~ Taylor Burck (@Taylor_Burck)
Hideo Itami & Finn Bálor vs. The Ascension
Hideo Itami (formerly KENTA) made quite the impact with his NXT debut, even even among fans who hardly watch NXT (why they don’t watch is beyond me!). During their record setting Tag Team Championship reign The Ascension garnered a reputation for being an entertaining and hardworking team with a strong work ethic. However, after losing their tag titles (ending the longest tag team championship reign in more than 25 years!) the Ascension attempted to make an impact at the expense of the newly debuted international superstar: Hideo Itami and even his translator, Funaki. Until Hideo had finally had enough and called for backup from Finn Bálor (fka Prince Devitt) – founding member of New Japan’s Bullet Club. Bálor is a big time star in the making (with some pretty sweet entrance music too).
Itami and Bálor have of course had name changes, which isn’t too bad, and no matter what, hardcore fans know their true names. Both Itami and Bálor have had very strong outings thus far on NXT and with The Ascension looking to be main roster bound, this match could be [thei]R Evolution and a stepping stone for all four superstars. Look to this one as a potential show stealer!
~ David Díaz (@DJDiaz88)
The Debut of Kevin Owens
R Evolution, Kevin Steen arrives in the WWE. One of the most well-respected indy competitors this decade, renowned for classic encounters with the likes of: Davey Richards, Roderick Strong, and of course, El Generico (Sami Zayn). He’s been on the scene for many years now, wrestling all over the world, but has only now had his immense talent recognized by WWE. He’s unlike any other wrestler on the WWE roster, he can be a powerhouse, brawler, or high-flyer when he needs to be, and has a proven track record of getting a fine match out of all different kinds of competitors, big or small. He may be arriving under a slightly different name, and we aren’t quite sure just what type of character he’ll be playing, but if Kevin Owens is half as bad-ass as his indy predecessor, NXT is about to get a hell of a lot more interesting.
~ Evan McFarlane (@EvanMcFarlane)
The NXT festivities will begin at 7:30PM on Thursday with the live preview hosted by Renee Young with panelists Jason Albert and Alex Riley along with their special guest Corey Graves. Graves himself has been out of action for a while, however on the live pre-show he will be making a special announcement about his future in NXT!
We hope you are suitably hyped for “R Evolution” on Thursday now. However, if this preview wasn’t quite enough for you, Renee Young will be hosting her own “R Evolution” preview show this Wednesday at 10pm EST only on the WWE Network.
This week’s classic match is less of a “classic-classic” and more a “recent-classic”, coming from earlier this year at the inaugural NXT live show – ArRIVAL. NXT ArRIVAL was the very first live programming ever on the WWE Network and honestly there were three matches that stole that show – all three would not feel out of place taking this weeks spot, but we have decided to give the Divas some love (*wink-wink*) as this week’s classic match sees NXT Women’s Champion Paige take on Emma.
NXT Women’s Championship Match
Paige vs. Emma
NXT ArRIVAL • February 27, 2014
After seeing Emma as a bumbling buffoon on WWE TV at the time, non-NXT viewers may not have had very high expectations of this match from what we knew of Emma, but how wrong were they?!? These two Divas tore down the house with an incredible wrestling match; the likes of which we have not seen the Divas have, in well… forever! This match along with the awesome: Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro match and Adrian Neville vs. Bo Dallas Ladder Match really helped make NXT destination viewing on the WWE Network, and honestly it has not disappointed ever since.
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