Magical Mat-stery Tour: 200 in the crosshairs!

Pardon me for a brief rant. And what’s better for a blog than a good old-fashioned rant?

Everyone who knows me knows I likey the wrestling. Give me two thick-necked dudes in tiny pants pretending to beat up one another in the ring, and I will call it art.

I’ll watch all kinds of wrestling. WWE… TNA… ROH… the old-school terrtorial stuff… tiny federations like NWA Anarchy. The only thing I won’t bother with these days is NWA’s Wrestling Showcase show, which is terrible.

The key word in this little rant is WRESTLING, boys and girls. And though WWE dominates the landscape these days, the cookie-cutter mentality seems to become more and more prevalent in McMahon Land.

Stop me when you’ve heard this one before.

Wrestler A is in the corner. Wrestler B charges Wrestler A. Wrestler B lowers a shoulder and flips Wrestler A out over the top rope. Wrestler B lands on the apron and hits Wrestler A with a forearm or punch when he turns around, then follows up with some sort of (WWE sanctioned of course) highspot.

I see that in WWE, again and again and again.

I grow weary of WWE Style. The punchy-kicky, headlocky, everyone works the same basic spots style. Now, I understand these guys wrestle hundreds of shows a year and have to dial it back. I understand that completely. And, at least they’re getting a decent paycheck in return.

But these days, I’ve been watching a lot of old-school territorial stuff. And what strikes me in both that, and the current independent circuit, and even in TNA, is the divergence in wrestling styles you see from match to match. Guys allowed to do their own thing.

You can vive la difference watching the Mid-South and Memphis sets recently produced by a certain message board of import.

When the current mainstream product becomes “retro” and someone produces a best-of, how will history treat the current McMahon “vision”?

Updated list, after the jump.

THE HARD FACTS
Total Days Watching Wrestling In 2009: 61
Longest Streak Of Days Watching: 6
Current Streak: 4
Best Match Of 2009: #141, Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania XXV
Best Match Overall: #141, Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania XXV

THE LIST
1. Triple H vs. John Morrison, Tables Match, Smackdown! 1/9 episode (1/12)
2. Undertaker vs. Shelton Benjamin, Smackdown! 1/9 episode (1/12)
3. Triple H vs. Miz & Chavo, Smackdown! 1/9 episode (1/12)
4. WWE Tag Titles-Carlito & Primo vs. Kendrick & Ezekiel, Smackdown! 1/9 episode (1/13)
5. Triple H vs. Big Show, Last Man Standing, Smackdown! 1/9 episode (1/13)
6. Billy White Cloud vs. Curt Hennig, Portland 5/8/82 (1/13)
7. Mike Miller vs. Rocky Johnson, Portland 5/8/82 (1/13)
8. 2 Out of 3 Falls-Dizzy Hogan, Rip Oliver & Matt Borne vs. Hacksaw Brett Sawyer & Andre the Giant, Portland 5/8/82 (1/13)
9. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. The Miz, Raw 1/12 (1/13)
10. Intercontinental Title-William Regal vs. CM Punk, Raw 1/12 (1/13)
11. Randy Orton vs. Kane, Raw 1/12 (1/13)
12. Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena, Raw 1/12 (1/15)
13. Necro Butcher vs. Abdullah the Butcher, IWA-EC 11/5/04 (1/15)
14. Don Fuji vs. Susumu Yokosuka, Dragon Gate Osaka Special 11/23/06 (1/16; completed 1/18)
15. Sting vs. Hernandez, Impact 1/15 (1/17)
16. Junk Yard Dog & Mr. Wrestling II vs. Ted DiBiase & Matt Borne, Mid-South 2/16/83 (1/19)
17. Steel Cage Match, Magnum TA & Mr. Wrestling II vs. Butch Reed & Jim Neidhart, Mid-South, 12/25/83 (1/19)
18. Magnum TA & Mr. Wrestling II vs. Midnight Express, Mid-South, 2/10/84 (1/19)
19. Bruiser Brody vs. Abdullah the Butcher, Japan 4/10/81 (1/19)
20. Amazing Red, SAT & Divine Storm vs. Special K, ROH Scramble Madness, 11/16/02 (1/19)
21. Finlay & Matt Hardy vs. Mark Henry & Jack Swagger, Smackdown 1/16 (1/19)
22. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Chris Jericho, Souled Out 98 (1/19)
23. Over The Top Challenge, Raw 1/19 (1/20)
24. Intercontinental Title-CM Punk vs. William Regal, Raw 1/19 (1/20)
25. Undertaker vs. Shelton Benjamin, Smackdown 1/23 (1/24)
26. Shelley vs. Sabin vs. Dutt vs. Bashir, Impact 1/22 (1/24)
27. Claudio Castagnoli vs. El Generico, ROH Race To The Top Finals, 7/28/07 (1/25)
28. ECW Title-Jack Swagger vs. Matt Hardy, 2009 Royal Rumble (1/25)
29. WWE Women’s Title-Beth Phoenix vs. Melina, 2009 Royal Rumble (1/25)
30. WWE Title-John Cena vs. JBL, 2009 Royal Rumble (1/25)
31. World Title-Jeff Hardy vs. Edge, 2009 Royal Rumble (1/25)
32. Royal Rumble Match, 2009 Royal Rumble (1/25)
33. Axel Bros vs. Young Bucks, NWA Wrestling Showcase 1/30 (1/29)
34. Skull Krushers vs. Chris Kadillak and Roger Ruiz, NWA Wrestling Showcase 1/30 (1/30)
35. Jerome “LTP” Robinson vs. Mr. Wrestling IV, NWA Wrestling Showcase 1/30 (1/30)
36. Rob Adonis & Jeremy Vain vs. Culture Shock, NWA Anarchy 12/29/08 episode (1/30)
37. CM Punk & Mickie James vs. William Regal & Layla, Raw 2/2 (2/2)
38. Cryme Tyme vs. Priceless, Raw 2/2 (2/2)
39. Rey Mysterio Jr. & Kofi Kingston vs. Mike Knox & Kane, Raw 2/2 (2/3)
40. John Cena vs. Chris Jericho, Raw 2/2 (2/3)
41. Adam Pearce vs. TJ Perkins, NWA Wrestling Showcase 1/30 (2/6)
42. Battle Royal for Elimination Chamber spot, Smackdown 2/6 (2/9)
43. Shelton Benjamin vs. MVP, Smackdown 2/6 (2/9)
44. Morrison, Miz & Kendrick vs. Truth & Colons, Smackdown 2/6 (2/9)
45. Umaga vs. Funaki, Smackdown 2/6 (2/9)
46. Dixie Dynomite vs. Dirty White Boy (w/ Ron Wright), Smoky Mountain Wrestling Volunteer Slam 1992 (2/9)
47. Buddy Landell vs. Brian Lee, SMW Volunteer Slam 1992 (2/9)
48. Melina & Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix & Jillian, Raw 2/9 (2/10)
49. Cryme Tyme vs. Priceless, Raw 2/9 (2/10)
50. John Cena, Rey Mysterio & Kofi Kingston vs. Chris Jericho, Mike Knox & Kane, Raw 2/9 (2/10)
51. CM Punk vs. William Regal, Raw 2/9 (2/10)
52. Bryan Danielson vs. Necro Butcher, PWG Giant Sized Annual #4 7/29/07 (2/15)
53. Elimination Chamber-Edge vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Vladimir Kozlov vs. Big Show vs. Triple H vs. Undertaker, No Way Out ’09 (2/15)
54. Randy Orton vs. Shane McMahon, No Way Out ’09 (2/15)
55. Jack Swagger vs. Finlay, No Way Out ’09 (2/15)
56. Shawn Michaels vs. JBL, No Way Out ’09 (2/15)
57. Elimination Chamber-Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Mike Knox vs. Edge vs. John Cena, No Way Out ’09 (2/15)
58. CM Punk & Cryme Tyme vs. William Regal & Priceless, Raw 2/16 (2/17)
59. Kane vs. Jamie Noble, Raw 2/16 (2/17)
60. Rey Mysterio vs. Mike Knox, Raw 2/16 (2/17)
61. Melina vs. Beth Phoenix, Raw 2/16 (2/18)
62. Amazing Red vs. Jay Briscoe, ROH Era Of Honor Begins, 2/23/02 (2/19)
63. Rey Mysterio Jr., Latin Lover & Heavy Metal vs. Fuerza Guerrera, Madonna’s Boyfriend & Psicosis, When Worlds Collide (2/23)
64. CM Punk vs. John Morrison vs. Miz, Raw 2/23 (2/23)
65. Santino, Dolph Ziggler & Beth Phoenix vs. Cryme Tyme & Melina, Raw 2/23 (2/23)
66. Shawn Michaels vs. JBL, Raw 2/23 (2/23)
67. Mike Knox vs. Jamie Noble, Raw 2/23 (2/23)
68. Bob Roop vs. Mike George, Mid-South 12/16/81 (2/24)
69. Mr. Olympia vs. Paul Orndorff, Mid-South 2/3/82 (2/24)
70. Bob Roop vs. Ted DiBiase, Mid-South 4/2/82 (2/24)
71. Junkyard Dog vs. Nick Bockwinkel, Mid-South 6/11/82 (2/24)
72. DJ Gabriel vs. Mark Henry, ECW 2/24 (2/25)
73. Tyson Kidd vs. Jobber, ECW 2/24 (2/25)
74. Paul Burchill vs. Tommy Dreamer, ECW 2/24 (2/25)
75. Jack Swagger vs. Christian, ECW 2/24 (2/25)
76. Joey Ryan vs. Willie Mack, NWA Wrestling Showcase 2/13 (2/26)
77. Lance Cade & Trevor Murdock (how clever) vs. Tito Aquino & Liger Rivera, NWA Wrestling Showcase 2/13 (2/26)
78. Colons vs. Morrison & Miz, Smackdown 2/27 (2/28)
79. Undertaker vs. Vladimir Kozlov, Smackdown 2/27 (2/28)
80. Shelton Benjamin vs. Chavo Guerrero, Smackdown 2/27 (2/28)
81. John Cena vs. Big Show, Smackdown 2/27 (2/28)
82. Mr. Olympia vs. Bob Roop, Mid-South 7/15/82 (2/28)
83. JYD & Mr. Olympia vs. Ted DiBiase & Hacksaw Duggan, Mid-South 8/18/82 (2/28)
84. One Man Gang vs. Buck Robley, Lumberjack Match, Mid-South 9/15/82 (2/28)
85. Rey Mysterio vs. Kane vs. Mike Knox, Raw 3/2 (3/3)
86. Shawn Michaels vs. Vladimir Kozlov, Raw 3/2 (3/3)
87. Edge vs. John Cena, Raw 3/2 (3/3)
88. Xavier vs. Scoot Andrews, ROH Era Of Honor Begins 2/23/02 (3/3)
89. Kane vs. Boogeyman, ECW 3/3 (3/4)
90. Mark Henry vs. Santino Marella, ECW 3/3 (3/4)
91. Christian, Tommy Dreamer & Finlay vs. Jack Swagger, Morrison & Miz, ECW 3/3 (3/4)
92. Border Patrol vs. Espiritu & Sidareal, NWA Wrestling Showcase 2/13 (3/5)
93. Derrick Sanders vs. Blue Demon, NWA Wrestling Showcase 2/13 (3/5)
94. MVP vs. Matt Hardy, Smackdown 3/6 (3/7)
95. Bill Dundee vs. Larry Latham, Memphis 4/19/80 (3/13)
96. Ricky Morton vs. Sonny King, Memphis 4/26/80 (3/13)
97. Bill Dundee vs. Paul Ellering, Memphis 5/24/80 (3/13)
98. Bill Dundee & Tony Boyles vs. Wayne Farris & Larry Latham, Memphis 6/7/80 (3/16)
99. Christian & MVP vs. Shelton Benjamin & Mark Henry, ECW 3/17 (3/17)
100. Evan Bourne vs. Jamie Noble, ECW 3/17 (3/17)
101. Bill Dundee vs. Tommy Rich, Memphis 8/23/80 (3/17)
102. Television Title Battle Royal, Memphis 11/22/80 (3/17)
103. Bill Dundee vs. Wayne Farris & Tojo Yamamoto, Memphis 3/7/81 (3/18)
104. Bill Dundee & Tommy Rich vs. Dutch Mantell & Austin Idol, Memphis 3/12/81 (3/19)
105. Bill Dundee & Dream Machine vs. Dutch Mantell & Wayne Farris, Memphis 3/14/81 (3/19) 106. Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Funk (No DQ), Memphis 3/23/81 (3/23)
107. Jerry Lawler vs. Dory Funk Jr., Memphis 3/30/81 (3/23)
108. Jeff Hardy vs. Dolph Ziggler, Raw 3/23 (3/23)
109. Christian, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston & MVP vs. Finley, Shelton Benjamin, Kane & Mark Henry, Raw 3/23 (3/23)
110. Edge vs. Big Show, Raw 3/23 (3/23)
111. Rey Mysterio vs. William Regal, Raw 3/23 (3/23)
112. Mickie James vs. Santino Marella, Raw 3/23 (3/23)
113. Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Funk (Empty Arena), Memphis 4/6/81 (3/24)
114. Contract Match-Spanky & Ikaika Loa vs. Michael Shane & Oz, ROH Era Of Honor Begins, 2/23/02 (3/25)
115. Jerry Lynn vs. Delirious, ROH TV 3/21 (3/25)
116. Kenny King vs. Sami Callahan, ROH TV 3/21 (3/25)
117. Brent Albright vs. Rhett Titus, ROH TV 3/21 (3/25)
118. Jimmy Jacobs vs. Tyler Black, ROH TV 3/21 (3/25)
119. CM Punk, Mark Henry, MVP & Kofi Kingston vs. Finley, Shelton Benjamin, Kane & Christian, Smackdown 3/27 (3/30)
120. Big Show vs. Jesse & Festus, Smackdown 3/27 (3/30)
121. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr., Smackdown 3/27 (3/30)
122. Matt Hardy vs. R Truth, Smackdown 3/27 (3/30)
123. Carlito, Primo & Good Bella vs. Morrison, Miz & Bad Bella, Smackdown 3/27 (3/30)
124. 18 woman tag match, Raw 3/30 (3/30)
125. Chris Jericho vs. Jerry Lawler, Raw 3/30 (3/30)
126. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. JBL, Raw 3/30 (3/30)
127. John Cena vs. Big Show, Raw 3/30 (3/30)
128. Eight man battle royal, Raw 3/30 (3/30)
129. Kevin Steen vs. Eddie Edwards, ROH TV 3/28 (3/31)
130. Sara Del Rey vs. Daizee Haze, ROH TV 3/28 (3/31)
131. Claudio Castagnoli vs. Alex Payne, ROH TV 3/28 (3/31)
132. Bashir, Kiyoshi & Team No Limit vs. LAX & Lethal Consequences, Impact 4/2 (4/2)
133. Team 3D vs. Main Event Mafia Security, Impact 4/2 (4/3)
134. Taylor Wilde vs. Madison Rayne, Impact 4/2 (4/3)
135. Nigel McGuinness vs. Jay Briscoe, ROH TV 3/28 (4/3)
136. Money In The Bank ladder match, WrestleMania XXV (4/5)
137. 25 Diva Battle Royal, WrestleMania XXV (4/5)
138. Chris Jericho vs. Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka & Ricky Steamboat, WrestleMania XXV (4/5)
139. Extreme Rules-Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy, WrestleMania XXV (4/5)
140. JBL vs. Rey Mysterio Jr., WrestleMania XXV (4/5)
141. Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania XXV (4/5)
142. Edge vs. John Cena vs. Big Show, WrestleMania XXV (4/5)
143. Triple H vs. Randy Orton, WrestleMania XXV (4/5)

AND THE NEW ADDITIONS…
144. Colons vs. Morrison & Miz, Raw 4/6 (4/7) (Awesome spot with Morrison doing the Shooting Star Press onto the lumberjacks. Fun match, hopefully unifying the tag belts elevates tag wrestling as a whole in WWE.)
145. John Cena, Rey Mysterio Jr., Ricky Steamboat, CM Punk & Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho, Edge, Matt Hardy, Big Show & Kane, Raw 4/6 (4/7)
146. John Morrison, Miz & Tyson Kidd vs. Evan Bourne & Colons, ECW 4/7 (4/14)
147. Bill Dundee & Dream Machine vs. Kevin Sullivan & Wayne Farris, Memphis 5/2/81 (4/16) (HOLY CRAP, Sullivan looks like a mini Chris Masters! Fun fast-paced tag match. Dundee could work.)
148. Jerry Lawler vs. Crusher Blackwell, Memphis 5/4/81 (4/16)
149. Dutch Mantell vs. Kevin Sullivan, Memphis 5/9/81 (4/16)
150. Sterling James Keenan vs. Erick Stevens, ROH TV 4/4 (4/17)
151. Dark City Fight Club vs. Up In Smoke, ROH TV 4/4 (4/17)
152. Demolition vs. Strike Force, WrestleMania IV (4/19)
153. Batista vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr., Raw 4/20 (4/21)
154. CM Punk vs. Kane, Raw 4/20 (4/21)
155. Butch Reed vs. Chick Donovan, Parade Of Champions 1 (4/21)
156. Melina vs. Beth Phoenix, Raw 4/20 (4/22)
157. John Cena vs. Chris Jericho, Raw 4/20 (4/22) (The crowd really added to this match. Liked the postmatch bit with Edge to hype their match at Backlash…)
158. Rey Mysterio vs. Big Show, Raw 4/20 (4/23)
159. Kamala vs. Ted Allen, Mid-South 10/29/82 (4/27)
160. JYD & Mr. Olympia vs. Ted DiBiase & Matt Borne, Mid-South 10/29/82 (4/27) (The infamous gorilla suit angle. The match is as good as old school gets.)
161. Gino Hernandez vs. Jesse Barr, Mid-South 10/29/82 (4/27)
162. Mr. Wrestling II vs. Marty Lunde, Mid-South 10/29/82 (you may know Lunde better as Arn Anderson.) (4/27)
163. Vinnie Romeo & Tim Horner vs. Hiro Matsuda & Yoshi Yatsu, Mid-South 10/29/82 (4/27)
164. Kofi Kingston vs. THE Brian Kendrick, Raw 4/27 (4/27)
165. Matt Hardy vs. Goldust, Raw 4/27 (A “match” only because the bell rang. Goldust was made to look like the biggest idiot in WWE, which is saying something.)
166. Randy Orton vs. MVP, Raw 4/27 (4/27)
167. Big Show vs. Batista, Raw 4/27 (4/27) (Terrible.)
168. Jimmy Hart vs. Jerry Lawler, Memphis 6/29/81 (4/28) (Come to watch Hart get his comeuppance. Stay for the awesome promo with Hart and Kevin Sullivan from his hospital room.)
169. Buddy Wayne vs. Jerry Lawler, Memphis 7/25/81 (4/28) (A one minute match, but a patented wild Memphis Brawl at the end. Bonus poinys for the heels attacking a second time as the babies tried to carry Lawler’s carcass out.)
170. Christian vs. Jack Swagger, Backlash 09 (4/29) (Not as good as their match on ECW TV, but a quality PPV opener nonetheless.)
171. Chris Jericho vs. Ricky Steamboat, Backlash 09 (4/29) (Steamboat can tell a story and work a match better than about half of the roster. Is that praise of him, or a condemnation of the current crop of “new superstars”? Both?)
172. Tyson Kidd vs. Finley, ECW 4/28 (4/30)
173. Christian vs. Tommy Dreamer, ECW 4/28 (4/30)
174. I Quit-Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy, Backlash 09 (4/30) (Disappointing.)
175. Bill Dundee, Steve Keirn, Rick & Robert Gibson vs. Dream Machine, Nightmare #1 & Heartbreakers, Memphis 7/25/81 (5/1)
176. Gail Kim & Maria vs. Michelle McCool & Alicia, WWE Superstars 4/30 (5/2)
177. Evan Bourne vs. Paul Burchill, WWE Superstars 4/30 (5/2) (Really liked this one.)
178. John Morrison vs. Shelton Benjamin, Smackdown 5/1 (5/4)
179. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane, Smackdown 5/1 (5/4) (Really really good.)
180. MVP vs. Dolph Ziggler, Smackdown 5/1 (5/4)
181. CM Punk vs. Edge, Smackdown 5/1 (5/4)
182. Tag Team Scramble -Dunn & Marcos vs. Homicide & Ricky Reyes vs. Jason Blade & Kid Mikaze vs. The Briscoe Brothers, ROH Arena Warfare 3/11/06 (5/5)
183. Tyson Kidd vs. Evan Bourne, ECW 5/5 (5/6)
184. Jerry Lawler & Bill Dundee vs. Masa Fuchi & Atsushi Onita, Memphis 8/1/81 (Apparently stooging crosses national and ethnic barriers. Fuchi and Onita play the bumbling heels quite nicely.)
185. Jerry Lawler vs. Nightmare #1, Memphis 8/8/81 (Not technically part of the “Best of Memphis” set but I enjoyed this one more than some of the matches that were included. Lawler really made Nightmare look credible, and won with a small package out of nowhere.)

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