James Bond Casino Royale Jacket Daniel Craig Leather Jacket

[lets build] 100 shops and attractions that might be in a (fantasy) capital city

  1. The palace
  2. A royally sponsored library
  3. A dance/performance hall
  4. Bards Guild
  5. A shop selling illegal magic items
  6. Alchemist's shop
  7. A jeweler's shop
  8. A history museum dedicated to the history of the royal family
  9. Headquarter of a nation-wide business
  10. Nation's largest ball of twine
  11. A walking tour of alleged haunted attractions in the city (ghost tour)
  12. A gift shop selling merchandise of the royal family (keychains to dinner plates, to wall banners with the king's face!)
  13. A store selling exotic pets, meats, and spell components - all sourced from the same group of creatures
  14. A warriors training hall
  15. Two competing spell component stores who spread rumors about each other to rediculous extremes
  16. A wig store
  17. A laundering/housekeeping service ran 100% by unseen servants
  18. A children's toy shop selling enchanted stuffed animals & toys
  19. A "help wanted" board with work requests and ways to make a few GP
  20. Ruins that have become a tourist attraction
  21. A wax museum, made of wax golems
  22. A ghost removal service
  23. A wine tasting room
  24. An aquarium!
  25. A currency exchange booth
  26. A weekly farmer's market
  27. An archery range
  28. A botanical and sculpture garden (possibly with a magic element)
  29. A hag coven
  30. A shop of some kind that pops up in various places around town and disappears a few days later
  31. A pet shop, selling both companions and the supplies needed to care for them!
  32. A renowned theater or opera hall
  33. A magical bathhouse fed by spring with healing properties
  34. A literal black market, hidden in the seedy area of town. All stalls are painted black and they sell various illegal items
  35. The bard college
  36. A cursed item prank store
  37. A spooky wizard's tower that city officials dare not mess with
  38. A perfume shop
  39. A large tree in the center of the city that pours a fountain of sap with magic properties
  40. A central park
  41. A thrift shop for magic items
  42. Military headquarters
  43. A massive bridge crossing a large river that splits the city
  44. A well-favored locksmith
  45. A shoemaker with a foot fetish
  46. The Butcher, The Baker, and The Candlestick Maker
  47. An old woman who somehow is always making soup for the entire city
  48. An inn that's nation famous for its free breakfast buffet
  49. An armorer who will put spikes on everything
  50. A reformatory of children from thieves and other crime guilds
  51. All-In Broth: a giant cauldron of free soup that's been cooking for years, full of who knows what!
  52. A fortune teller
  53. A casino
  54. A cemetery for the royal family
  55. A fair or carnival
  56. A Adventurer's/Hero's Guild
  57. Embassies of other realms
  58. A zoo, complete with a petting zoo!
  59. A giant boulder in the center of town with a +3 long sword lodged in it that no one has been able to remove to date
  60. Temples of the largely worshipped6 deities
  61. Home of a child prophet, who's gift has been granted by an Old God
submitted by Anxious_Masochist_ to d100 [link] [comments]

A Long-form Analysis of MGM and It's Assets: What Would Its Suitors - Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Comcast - Be Getting?

By now I think you've heard the big news about the Lion: They are looking into getting sold. After a solid decade of Hollywood perks, Anchorage Capital manager Kevin Ulrich is looking to off-load MGM in the midst of a pandemic after a series of tumultuous valuation drops.
Among the potential acquirers were Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Comcast. Among those, three are tech companies and one is a more traditional Hollywood media company.
There are some major hurdles to a potential deal, however. Danjaq, the IP holding company that owns Eon Productions and is run by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, owns merchandising rights and shares greenlight authority for all Bond movies. Distribution rights for movies like Creed and Casino Royale are divvied up between different companies. Reality TV assets, which were brought in to bolster their holdings, include Big Fish Entertainment, which among other things produces the now-cancelled Live PD. Debt hides in the balance books; any purchase would include about $2b, making the purchase that much harder to stomach.
For fun though, let's take a look at each of these four buyers to see how it could play into their strategies.
Apple: The much ballyhooed content lack for Apple might've motivated a deal back in the day, especially in 2019; indeed, the article notes that a deal with Apple that would've valued MGM at $6b was almost reached in 2018.
In 2018, Mr. Ulrich, by then the board chairman, and others on the board fired Mr. Barber for having early, unsanctioned conversations with Apple to sell the studio for more than $6 billion. The preliminary talks fell apart when he was ousted. Minority shareholders protested, with Owl Creek founder Jeffrey Altman sending a letter to the board saying Owl Creek and other shareholders wanted a deal.
From an accounting perspective, there are some serious perks to buy MGM. Say you spend 8b to get The Lion plus debt; assuming 4,000 movies and 50 100+ hour TV shows, that means you got 13,000 hours for about $600k per hour, pretty cheap all things considered and a fraction of what it would have cost to get the equivalent amount of content at Apple TV+ production prices (seriously where does that money go I don't see it on screen). Plus you get a full-fledged studio with Emmy credentials on the TV side and blockbuster franchises on the feature side; Fargo and Handmaid's Tale alongside Rocky and Bond.
Now here's the question: will Apple actually buy MGM? Their biggest M&A to date was the acquisition of Beats for $4b, and that came with technology that they could use for Apple Music.
This $6b offer came in 2018, before Apple had an in-house studio and any library to speak of. So far, they've been weathering the pandemic surprisingly well; they've managed to keep a steady drip of content between stuff like Ted Lasso and Tehran, while also building up their own in-house production arm (presumably at significant expense).
What this gets Apple now is a still not-insignificant franchise portfolio as well as a library of 4,000-ish movies plus TV shows. That's nothing to sneeze at, but it's still a far cry from the benefits that would've come from acquiring MGM earlier. If your only goal is library, then you don't spend $6b on it. Indeed, I don't think Apple will. Whether Ulrich will be willing to accept a deal for, say, $4b is an open question. My bet would be no.
Amazon: Same deal for Apple, though slightly less urgency because they already have a homegrown studio.
Facebook: Now this is interesting. Facebook exited the scripted content business pretty recently but there is a cognizance that content keeps users coming back to platforms and they need that content. Buying MGM would get them a fairly significant unscripted division with producing roles or control over valuable formats; among other things, they would own Botched! and have producing roles in several Real Housewives franchises, Survivor, and Shark Tank. That having been said, I see any deal that involves the House of Zuck to involve a private equity company like Vine Investments or something that will take command of the library and other such assets - that way, Facebook isn't overpaying for one component.
Comcast: And the more traditional content company. There are interesting synergies that come with ownership by Comcast, but also big stumbling blocks. Their justification for buying Dreamworks was turning a low-margin business like movies into high-margin businesses like consumer products and theme parks. Similar thinking wouldn't be applicable to MGM, at least with regards to Bond; as mentioned before, Danjaq controls Bond's merchandising rights, and Comcast is pulling back investment in Theme Parks hard in the wake of the pandemic (many, many people got fired recently, unfortunately).
Still, control of Bond is important when Comcast is the owner of Sky, a European media company. That alone may end up making a lower-valued deal for MGM "worth it" for the cabler. A sale of MGM might also spur Danjaq to sell the rest of their rights to the property, though I wouldn't hold my breath. An Mi-6 land in Comcast's planned "Epic Universe" Theme Park in Orlando could make a great replacement for the now problematic Fantastic Beasts/Ministry of Magic land that was planned before.
Additionally, weetening the deal for Comcast are a myriad other smaller-scale IPs and franchises that could help beef up their portfolio and generate lucrative TV or movie revivals; among them are Stargate: Atlantis, Teen Wolf, Rocky, Robocop, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Addams Family, Jump Street, Pink Panther, Legally Blonde, Carrie, Bill & Ted, and Poltergeist. Rights to adapt the musicals to film would also be taken; Dirty Rotten Scoundrel and Legally Blonde: The Musical are tantalizing possibilities.
Tolkien properties like The Hobbit are presumably still tied up in rights tangles with New Line and the Saul Zaentz company, as well as Tolkien's estate. So far as I can tell, Zaentz owns merchandise, New Line has license for the film rights - but not necessarily/fully TV? - and the Tolkien estate own Theme Parks. Look, if MGM had sole rights, it'd be a Disney subsidiary by now.
In terms of TV: Epix, I assume, would be on the chopping block. Steve Stark's MGM/UA Television appears built to be a prestige-outlet (Fargo, Perpetual Grace LTD, Vikings, Handmaid's Tale, though they're programming more sci-fi and general interest stuff like Clarice and Condor) and can thus complement the more genre/thriller-y UCP. By the same token, Orion TV would get retired. The dedicated formats division could be a component of Universal Alternative; Evolution Media, producer of Botched, can be kept as a separate division. Other assets, like Christian Film and TV producer Lightworkers, Live PD producer Big Fish, Mexican Media joint-venture Gato Grande, and Linear Channel Impact, can be sold.
MGM Films could go either way, De Luca has a relaxed relationship with Donna Langley so I could see her protecting him for a while. The best case scenario for him IMO is a FOX 2000 type situation where the team is dedicated to producing a small slate of good, lower-mid budget movies that are intended for Oscar season. Trouble is, Fox 2000 had like, 16 employees including assistants, and MGM is a full-on studio, so the overhead's gonna be a lot higher. Distribution and Marketing would also presumably gonna get pink-slipped, unfortunately; unlike Disney, Universal has ample infrastructure for distributing those sorts of movies. Not helping him would be if any of MGM's movies bomb. Overall, I think MGM has a strong enough brand to where it'll survive as Universal's New Line Cinema, a smaller-scale division with occasionally unclear branding (ironically, De Luca was NLC's President of Production). I am, however, left wondering if execs like Pam Abdy would tolerate being in charge of a glorified boutique when they signed on to be part of a studio.
Orion Pictures is in an awkward place in the case of a Uni merger. Their historical brand is as a genre outfit and said brand was revived in recent years with releases like the 2019 Child's Play and The Prodigy. However, they've recently pivoted to making it an outlet for underrepresented voices... but haven't had the chance to actually make that pivot public with some theatrical releases (or even projects). That leaves Langley and co with a choice regarding what to do Orion: keep it as a genre label, keep it as a minority-focused label, or retire it completely.
Now the plus side is that the overhead is likely to be small; the downside is that unlike say, Sony, Uni has little patience for prodigious numbers of labels (hence how short-lived experiments like reviving Gramercy as a label were, and stuff like selling off Rogue Pictures), so that bodes ill for the continued survival of Orion. Uni also already programs tons of minority-focused movies in general, so it's unclear if the brand would stand out in the broader company. On the flipside of that, Universal's large number of minority-focused Overalls (Will Packer, Jordan Peele, Malcolm Lee, Eva Longoria, SpringHill, Justin Lin) could help feed Orion's pipeline; I would imagine people like Michael B. Jordan, Taika Waititi and The Rock being wooed over to a producer deal with Universal by the presence of a dedicated minority-voice division designed to put out passion projects related to their heritage. The real test of whether or not Uni would want to nurture Orion as that kind of brand would be if they put out the next Jordan Peele movie through them.
Overall, it might be worth it to keep Orion around and see where it goes. If it doesn't work out, they can always just promote Alana Mayo as an EVP in Universal proper and retire the label completely. If Universal really wanted a genre label that badly, I would suggest taking a minority-stake in Blumhouse first.
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Jackpot City Casino 25 free spins bonus on Immortal Romance (Exclusive)

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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Jan. 28, 2002

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
PREVIOUSLY: The Complete Wrestling Observer Rewind 1991-2001
1-7-2002 1-14-2002 1-21-2002
  • NJPW was thrown into chaos this week when Keiji Muto, Satoshi Kojima, and IWGP Jr. Heavyweight champion Kendo Kashin all abruptly quit the company, along with 5 of NJPW's front office employees, and are headed to AJPW. Needless to say, this immediately killed the working relationship between the two companies and NJPW is already attempting to forge a new partnership with NOAH. There's also said to be a significant power struggle within NJPW right now behind the scenes that will likely be straightened out whenever Inoki returns to Japan (he's in Los Angeles right now). Tatsumi Fujinami is NJPW president but in the wake of losing these big stars, and the disappointing TV ratings for the Jan. 4th show, it's rumored his days may be numbered. There's rumors that Inoki may take over the role for the first time since he was forced out of the position back in 1983 (long story, bunch of financial scandals, Google is your friend here). Muto is currently half of the IWGP tag team champions and they were scheduled to defend the titles next month and he volunteered to still work the show, but NJPW wasn't having that so that won't be happening now and the titles will instead be vacated, along with the Jr. title Kashin held. And of course, the IWGP title is also currently vacant due to Fujita's injury, so all of NJPW's top titles are vacant right now (the only other active title is the Jr. tag belts, held by Gedo and Jado).
  • Lots of rumors floating around about how this happened, but the gist appears to be that Hiroshi Hase was the architect (no Seth) behind this whole thing. Reportedly, Muto (and maybe some of the other people who left) may be purchasing a stake of AJPW from Motoko Baba so he'll have some ownership say. The long-term idea is that Mrs. Baba will step down in a few years and Muto, who by then should be ready to retire (lol) will take over the role as AJPW president. Of course, that was the original plan for Misawa after Giant Baba died, but he and Motoko Baba couldn't get along and Misawa eventually left and formed NOAH instead. It's also worth noting that Kashin in particular wasn't thrilled about doing shoot fights while working in NJPW, but felt pressured to by Inoki and he reportedly wanted out of the company even if the AJPW thing hadn't been an option. As for Kojima, he and Tenzan have been the best tag team pro wrestling has seen in years and from an in-ring perspective, may have been the best pure worker in NJPW so his loss is going to hurt a lot too. The office workers who left are mostly accounting and merchandising people who will be doing the same jobs for AJPW.
  • One bummer of a note here is that, before this, Muto had talked of putting together a dream match against Misawa. But as long as Motoko Baba is breathing air, an AJPW star isn't going to work with Misawa, so that's probably a dead issue (yeah, sadly we never did get that match).
  • One final note: Muto also tried to recruit NJPW rising star Hiroshi Tanahashi, who most believe has the most potential of anyone in the entire company, to jump ship with him but Tanahashi decided to stay (oh man, can you imagine how different things would be if he had gone).
  • On Raw this week, Vince McMahon teased the impending arrival of Hall, Nash, and Hogan, saying he's going to do something soon that even he will regret. Vince has reportedly caved on most of Nash's demands, including the reduced schedule. Hall will be making less money than Nash and will be given an even lighter schedule, because he's a single parent with custody of his children (and Dave questions how fucked up Dana Hall must be if SCOTT is the one who has custody). And of course, you gotta figure Hogan ain't working a full schedule, since he hasn't done that in a decade and probably ain't gonna start now. Of course, this puts WWF in the same position WCW was in a few years ago: having all the top stars working TV and not appearing on house shows, which is something WWF used to openly mock WCW for. Now they'll be doing the same thing, with the same guys. It's something that killed WCW's house show business long before the TV ratings started going down. There's also the issue of how they'll get along backstage, since many of the agents (Dave says Gerald Brisco in particular) were very vocally against bringing these guys back. And then there's John Laurinaitis, who has a lot of power backstage now and he and Nash used to butt heads constantly in WCW. So things are gonna be interesting.
  • In a bit of a surprise, Vince has also agreed to let them use the NWO name and gimmick, and that reveal was made later in the week on Smackdown when Vince talked about killing the WWF with the help of the NWO. As of now, there's no plans for Triple H to join the group. X-Pac will probably find his way into it, given his relationship and history with the group. Nash is reportedly pushing for Shawn Michaels to be involved, but Dave has heard that's unlikely because there's still some fences that need to be mended there between Shawn and some in the company. But then again, Nash has gotten his way on everything else he's asked Vince for so far, so who knows? Anyway, Hall and Nash have officially signed, but Hogan still hasn't finalized his deal as of press time, but the office has been told it's inevitable and to start making plans as if he's signed. It's expected all 3 men will probably debut at the No Way Out PPV next month.
WATCH: Vince McMahon announces the arrival of the NWO
  • The Royal Rumble is in the books and was a huge success. Critically, it was an excellent show, nothing MOTY-worthy or anything, but nothing bad at all and was a legit sellout. Coming out of the show, it appears Chris Jericho will be defending the WWF title against Triple H at Wrestlemania, though that can still change. Triple H winning the Rumble was expected but made the most sense. The Rumble match lasted just over 69 minutes (nice), surpassing the 1993 Rumble and, as far as Dave is aware, making it the longest mach in WWF history (a famous Pedro Morales vs. Bruno Sammartino match in 1972 was reported in all the newspapers as lasting 75 minutes, but it was actually only 65 so don't come at Dave with no "well actually..." bullshit)
  • The return of Mr. Perfect and him being put over like a major star (he lasted until the final 4) proves that WWF has no intention of letting any other competitor get off the ground and will nip that in the bud before it ever happens. Hennig has been available for more that a year (WCW released him before they folded) and WWF never seemed interested, but as soon as XWF came along and made him their featured star (with plans to make him the face of the company), suddenly WWF swooped him up. Hennig's appearance was meant to be a one-off but it was known they were likely going to offer him a deal if he was impressive, and they have. It may not be a huge get for WWF, but it's a massive loss for XWF and pretty much renders their entire first set of TV tapings meaningless now, and Dave says that was precisely the point. Vince left the door open for competition once before and it nearly killed him. He won't make that mistake again (not until 2019 anyway). Dave says to let this be a lesson to any new promotion trying to start up: make sure you have people signed.
  • Other notes from Royal Rumble: Goldust, who was also a one-off for the match, is expected to sign a full-time deal as well. FlaiVince street fight was way better than it had any right to be considering it was between two guys over 50, one of whom isn't even a trained wrestler and the other hasn't wrestled in nearly a year since the final Nitro. Jericho retained the title over Rock in an excellent match and Dave notes that no one in the history of wrestling with the kind of main event star power Rock possesses has ever done as many jobs as him. Maven dropkicking Undertaker out of the Rumble match was the biggest pop of the entire show. But then Undertaker spent the next several minutes beating poor Maven nearly to death, lest anyone think Undertaker was actually trying to get this kid over or anything. Overall, Dave thinks it was the best Rumble match in several years.
WATCH: Maven eliminates Undertaker from the 2002 Royal Rumble
  • The tradition of Memphis wrestling on WMC-TV has been revived! Sorta. The show, dating back to the 70s, has been off the air since last spring when the TV station refused to allow them to tape shows in their studio anymore. For the next few months, they aired a bunch of "Best of" shows but those eventually stopped in December and they've been airing infomercials in that time slot ever since. But this week, a show featuring Jerry Lawler and Brian Christopher in the main event, taped at a nearby casino in Tunica, MS aired on the channel in the usual Saturday morning time slot. Dave says the production quality was garbage and there was no local publicity for it, so it probably did a terrible rating, but it's something (pretty much just one last dying gasp, this doesn't lead to anything).
  • Carlos Colon said he's going to cut back on being an active wrestler because he wants to spend more time with his kids. Dave points out that most of his kids are wrestlers in his company, so maybe he's actually trying to get away from them.
  • NJPW star Minoru Tanaka announced his engagement to former women's wrestler Yumi Fukawa, who retired last year (did some research and they're still married to this day. Tanaka still wrestles in NOAH and Fukawa is an actress in Japan).
  • Atsushi Onita, who has been issuing grandstand challenges to Antonio Inoki for months with no response, has now challenged Naoya Ogawa for a match and wants it to be a benefit show in Afghanistan for the kids there. Dave says don't hold your breath for that one either. Onita says if he beats Ogawa, he wants the match with Inoki. Again, none of this is happening, just Onita trying to work his own angle. Neither Inoki nor Ogawa want anything to do with him.
  • Goldberg participated in a charity golf tournament this week and while there, he made some comments about going to the WWF. "I personally believe that everything I've stood for when I got into the ring would be compromised and succumbed to the circus-like atmosphere that's out there, and that's putting it mildly. I would be an imbecile if I gave up half my money to work for a company I didn't respect." Dave wonders if his tune will change when that WCW contract money dries up (yup). Also, at the same tournament, they did a funny little angle with Goldberg throwing his caddie into a lake.
WATCH: Goldberg torpedoes his caddie into the lake
  • Superstar Billy Graham has reportedly lost nearly 60 pounds in just 3 weeks, most of it water weight due to edema he's suffering from and all the other liver issues he's currently dealing with.
  • Bruno Sammartino did an interview talking about the role he has in a new low-budget movie called Saloonatics where he plays a mob guy with cancer. Sammartino talked about how uncomfortable he was with all the profanity his character had to say but he eventually got more comfortable with it and was able to put aside his personal feelings and eventually was okay with it. (No idea where the full movie is, but here's a trailer and yeah this shit is LOOOOOOOW budget).
WATCH: Saloonatics trailer
  • Former WCW announcer Mark Madden is in some controversy in Pittsburgh, where he hosts a daily sports talk show on the local ESPN radio station there. A few weeks back, the sports media in the city was swirling with rumors about NFL star Kordell Stewart's sexuality. Madden went on his radio show and criticized people who were spreading those rumors. A writer who works at the radio station then went on the air and accused Madden of being one of the main people who fueled those rumors and claimed Madden had said things in the past on his show implying that Stewart is gay. Madden denied ever saying that, demanded the guy find the tapes to prove he ever said it, and basically felt like the guy ambushed him live on the air with the accusations. The radio station apparently agreed because the writer was fired when he refused to apologize (for what it's worth, several people have made accusations about Stewart being gay over the years and he's always denied them, and even successfully sued someone a few years ago for claiming he had a relationship with him. Who knows and who cares? Not anybody's business anyway).
  • Jake Roberts was on a radio talk show in England recently and said some interesting stuff. Said he plans to stay in the UK for the next 2 years. Said he could walk back into the WWF and have a writing job tomorrow if he wanted it. Dave scoffs at that and says I guess he prefers wrestling in front of empty indie show crowds in England instead of earning a steady paycheck. Jake also talked about the scene in Beyond The Mat where the movie alleges that Roberts asked an indie promoter for crack cocaine as his payoff for working the show. Roberts denied it happened and said he doesn't trust a promoter with anything, so he wouldn't trust one to get him crack. Well okay then. Claimed he left the WWF last time because he wasn't comfortable with the angle he was doing with Jerry Lawler, feeling like they were exploiting his sobriety. Dave pretty much rolls his eyes at all this, because Jake was actually fired for going on a bender and no-showing a bunch of events (I'm glad we all love Jake now, but he was still 1000% full of shit and off the deep end during this period).
  • Iron Shiek missed an appearance on the Opie & Anthony radio show this week because he was detained for several hours at the airport. Turns out he wore his curly toed wrestling boots on the plane and because this is 4 months after 9/11 and only 1 month after the attempted shoe-bomber, and let's be honest, simply because Iron Shiek is Middle Eastern, people freaked out. And when they wanted to examine his boots, he initially refused to let them and, well, you can imagine how well that went over with airport security.
  • If WWA's PPV in Las Vegas happens next month, Bret Hart has agreed to reprise his role as the on-screen commissioner. As best Dave can tell, no one else has really been signed on for the show and the MGM Grand doesn't know anything about this alleged plan to hold the event in their arena and in fact, WWA hasn't even applied with the Nevada commission to get a license to run a show anywhere in the state and it's almost certainly too late to get one by the scheduled date. So Dave is skeptical that this even happens, and if it does, he can't see it being in Las Vegas. (Surprisingly, it does happen and it is in Vegas, but we'll get there.)
  • Speaking of the Nevada athletic commission, XWF brought a bunch of wrestlers and a wrestling ring to the National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Vegas, with hopes of putting on a live show and impressing all the TV execs and trying to secure a TV deal. But the XWF didn't get permission from the Nevada commission, so they weren't allowed to use the ring and do a show. Whoops.
  • Speaking of XWF, morale is in the dumps in that company right now. Losing both Hulk Hogan and Curt Hennig (neither of whom were signed but had been working with them) as well as Sting reportedly not being interested has killed a lot of the excitement about the promotion for people within it.
  • Notes from Raw: Flair cut an emotional promo about his history in wrestling and how he was on the road so much and put wrestling ahead of his family and not seeing his kids and all that stuff. During the promo, Lawler made a sarcastic joke about Flair needing to have his priorities in order, which Dave thinks is pretty rich coming from Lawler, who lived the exact same life and wasn't much of a father to his kids either (which Lawler has admitted, to be fair). They're continuing to tease a Triple H/Stephanie split, with him being annoyed at her nagging. Speaking of Triple H, Dave thinks he needs to lose at least 15 pounds because he's totally slow and lumbering since he came back.
  • Notes from Smackdown: AJ Styles worked a dark match, losing to Rico Constantino, but apparently he looked awesome in the match (yeah he hits an awesome shooting star to the floor late in the match). And the show ended with McMahon doing the big NWO reveal on the back of his chair during his promo.
WATCH: AJ Styles vs. Rico Constantino dark match - 2002
  • Regarding Triple H's match on Smackdown last week, where they gave away his return match on free TV 3 days before the Rumble. Remember how Dave was flabbergasted that they would be so short-sighted? Turns out Triple H felt the same way and fought hard against it, but Vince wouldn't budge.
  • Chris Benoit is telling people he expects to be back in the ring around June (yup).
  • Jim Ross answered some questions at a press thing last week and had lots of interesting stuff to say. He said the criticism WWF was receiving for bringing in Hall, Nash, and Hogan hurts, but they have to do what's best for the company and Vince feels this is it. Doesn't sound like JR loves the idea too much either. They've had no talks with Scott Steiner. When told of Goldberg's recent comments (mentioned above), he said he wanted to believe Goldberg hadn't really said that and thought it was a shame. Said there's heat on Jeff Jarrett for how he left the WWF last time so he probably won't be welcomed back anytime soon. JR also hinted that the brand split will come after Wrestlemania and implied that they will be reviving the cruiserweight division. Dave says he's convinced that Vince will never get behind pushing cruiserweights as major stars so he's not holding out hope for that. Said they may bring in Rey Mysterio if they decided to launch a cruiserweight division. Said they'd love to have Eddie Guerrero back but he has to get his personal issues straightened out first. Same with Shawn Michaels, plus they don't know if he could physically do it.
  • ESPN's Bill Simmons wrote an article reviewing Royal Rumble 2002 and Dave thinks it was great. In one piece, Simmons managed to pretty much sum up all of WWF's recent problems while still acknowledging that the show was entertaining. And the link Dave posted for it in 2002 still works!
WATCH: Bill Simmons reviews the 2002 Royal Rumble
  • Unless things change, Chris Jericho is gonna be in an awkward situation next week. Jericho is scheduled to play in a celebrity hockey game as part of NHL All Star Weekend. Who will his celebrity coach be, you ask? Goldberg. As of press time, most people in WWF don't seem to be aware of it and Dave wouldn't be surprised if Jericho gets pulled from it.
  • Booker T was on the Howard Stern show (after his comments last week saying he wasn't a fan of Stern, go figure) and talked about his time in prison and his plans to write a book. He also said he hopes to retire in 2 years which Dave ain't buying (yeah, still about 10 years away from that). He also said someone is suing him over the term "Spinaroonie" because apparently someone else thinks they own the rights to that name. Booker also mentioned that he's dating former Nitro Girl Sharmell Sullivan. Dave notes that they've been dating since WCW and Booker is the one who helped her get hired by WWF, where she's currently in developmental.
  • DDP has also said he plans to retire in 2 years, to become a motivational speaker. This one actually almost happened. He left WWF just 3 months after this and didn't wrestle at all for several years. Then he had a brief run in TNA but he's been mostly retired other than some one-offs ever since.
  • Randy Orton is moving up to the main roster. In his final OVW match, Orton lost clean to Prototype and Dave says it's clear they're grooming Prototype to be the next OVW champion.
WATCH: Randy Orton vs. Prototype - OVW 2002
WEDNESDAY: More on the impending arrival of the NWO, more on the upcoming brand split, cruiserweight division, and more...
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The Legendary Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards

The Legendary Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards
JERRY'S NUGGET PLAYING CARDS
Almost every hobby that involves collecting has a holy grail which every collector dreams of finding and owning in their personal collection. For some playing card collectors, the grail of collecting would be a sealed deck of original Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards in pristine condition. If you've spent some time in the world of playing cards, you'll almost certainly have heard of this famous deck, because name-dropping the famous "Jerry's Nuggets" often happens in discussion forums about cards. Owning an original deck of these is often mentioned as a badge of honour that cements your credentials as a serious collector. If you have one, it's likely a prized item in your collection, because it is one of the most iconic and valuable decks of cards there is from the latter half of the 20th century.
These playing cards were first created in 1970 in order to be used at Jerry's Nugget Casino, which is located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The casino was founded by Jerry Lodge and Jerry Stamis in 1964, hence the name "Jerry". It's still owned and operated by the Stamis family today.
But after being manufactured, the Jerry's Nugget playing cards were put into storage for around 20 years, and were never used on the casino's gaming tables. Why? Even the folks at the casino don't remember the reasons why. Was it because they wanted to keep in step with the other casinos in town that were using borderless Bee-backed cards at the time? Was it because the back design was too detailed or too simple, and could be marked too easily by card cheats? Who knows.
At any rate, they were sometimes offered as complimentary gifts to guests who stayed at the casino, while the rest were eventually sold individually at the casino's gift store for as little as one or two dollars each. They finally sold out around 1999, and according to rumour the final case was purchased by an overseas buyer.. But with magician and playing card expert Lee Asher singing their praises and selling them on his website, and with cardists Dan and Dave Buck also getting on the bandwagon, using them in some of their cardistry videos, and vouching for them, demand only continued to grow.

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What made these playing cards special is that they were produced with a top-of-the-line grade of USPCC card-stock that was only produced for a limited period of time. It is thinner than most contemporary playing cards, and is simply not available today. What's more, modern printing methods simply can't replicate the original process used to produce these playing cards. This involved a cotton roller that would paint the embossing pattern on one side of the card, followed by a varnished finish that was applied by a dip coat technique. Environmental restrictions also mean that the chemical finish used for this has been abandoned. In short, technology has made these manufacturing methods completely obsolete, and this all means that it's just not possible for there to be anything quite like these decks ever again.
That in itself wouldn't make them the stuff of legend. But Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards began to develop a legendary reputation for amazing handling qualities. Demand began to increase, and over time, they have become highly sought after by playing card collectors and by those with an interest in card flourishing. As demand increased, the price went up, and their growing scarcity means that today you can expect to pay up to $500 for a deck on the secondary market.
As often happens in such cases, the story of Jerry's Nuggets Playing Cards began to attract some interesting side stories. There are reports about a large remaining haul of these playing cards being bought up from the gift shop, and held back by an unknown stranger who is sitting on what is now a valuable commodity. They also attracted the attention of counterfeiters, since the increasing price-tag suddenly made it viable to sell forgeries. Lee Asher has an extensive guide that contains information to help you identify illegal fakes, after sophisticated counterfeiters began flooding the market with them just over a decade ago.
But all this has only served to add to the legend that is Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards. Today most playing card collectors and magicians have all heard of Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards, and consider them to be the stuff of legend: a unique product with legendary handling, that is hard to find, and impossible to reproduce. As the old adage puts it, it's something often imitated but never duplicated. And as the number of playing card collectors continues to grow, the appeal, scarcity, and value of a deck of authentic Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards only continues to increase.

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A RECREATION OF THE ORIGINAL
But this doesn't end the story of the famous Jerry's Nugget playing cards. Given how much in demand these legendary decks were, it was only a matter of time before someone saw a business opportunity here. What about a reprint, to cater to the desire of modern collectors to own their own copy of Jerry's Nuggets? The idea was not a new one, and it appears that there have been other Jerry's Nugget decks produced besides the ones that have become the stuff of legend, including a small printing by USPCC around 2010.
But in 2019 the market was ripe for producing something that would serve as a tribute and homage to the famous Jerry's Nuggets, while retaining as much of the original as possible. So a crowdfunding project was launched to produce an authentic recreation of the original Jerry's Nugget playing cards. Obviously such a deck could never be an exact replica, not only because printing methods made this impossible, but also because look-alike decks might only be abused by people seeking to make a quick buck by passing them off as a genuine vintage copy.
The recreation project happened with the blessing of Jerry's Nugget Casino, and with the cooperation of the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC), and the Expert Playing Card Company (EPCC). The amount of support this Kickstarter received is in itself a testimony to the popularity of these iconic decks. It raised almost half a million dollars, with the support of over 4,000 backers.
Two main versions of the deck were produced. The Modern Feel deck was produced by USPCC, with their popular thin-crushed stock preferred by many cardists. This means that its quality, feel, and handling performance is very similar to any other thin-crushed cardistry deck printed in their factories. But unlike most custom decks, the high volume of decks produced meant that USPCC could print these reproductions on the larger web press which they also use for big print runs of their Bicycle decks.
The Vintage Feel deck was produced by EPCC, and was manufactured in China with what is known as their "JN Finish". This is a firmer and more snappy card stock than what USPCC uses, while also being somewhat thin, smooth, and yet very durable. In EPCC's estimation, these match the look and feel of the originals as close as anyone has been able to achieve. In reality, many have reported that they don't quite live up to this claim, and suggest that the cards tend to clump more quickly then a USPCC deck, and that intense shuffling of the red deck can cause some bleeding of the colour onto the card faces. My own experience with the Vintage Feel decks has been fairly positive, and I appreciate the thin card-stock, smooth feel, and snappy handling. It performs more similar to a typical USPCC deck than the Master finish decks from EPCC deck do, but with heavy use the coating will wear, making spreads and fan inconsistent, although the fact that the cards tend to cling together slightly under pressure makes it ideal for packet cuts and sleights like the double lift.

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So how do these decks compare with the original Jerry's Nugget decks from the 1970s in terms of looks? In the case of both decks, colour matching was used to recreate the iconic red and blue colours as closely as possible. The back design, court cards, and Jokers are all the same as the originals, as is the Ace of Spades (aside from some tiny numbers). There's also an off-center seal and a red tear strip on the plastic, all of which were distinctive features of the original deck as well. Both the Modern Feel and Vintage Deal decks also have a traditional cut.
A difference that the Modern Feel decks have from the original Jerry's Nuggets is that they come with an extra two cards (a double backer and a blank card), since USPCC now prints decks with 56 cards instead of 54. The new deck is also clearly distinguished from the original deck since the bottom of the tuck box states "Modern Feel 1st Edition - 2019".
The Vintage Feel deck shares one extra similarity with the original deck that the Modern Feel deck does not, namely the style of the long-tongue flap. This is a distinctive feature of the original tuck box, but couldn't be replicated with the Modern Feel decks due to the fact that USPCC has long discontinued this style of tuck design. And of course the unique and snappy stock of the Vintage Feel decks makes them look and feel different than a traditional USPCC printed deck, much like the original Jerry's Nuggets also had a unique touch about them.
Due to the high level of crowdfunding, many extras were produced as part of the campaign for the recreated decks. The Modern Feel deck was produced in two additional colours, Teal and Coral, as well as a blue luxury foil deck, a stripper deck, and a gaff deck. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards, the year 2020 has seen the release of yet more colours for the Vintage Feel decks, making them available in Steel Grey, Black, Yellow. A Modern Feel deck in rose (pink) was also recently released as part of a collaboration with Riffle Shuffle Playing Card Company, while a purple deck is being released in conjunction with Penguin Magic.
Suddenly, the market is full of Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards once again. But unlike the originals, they are now very affordable and readily available, which was one of the aims of this project. Now anyone can own their own deck of Jerry's Nuggets, without breaking the bank, with a recreation that is faithful to the striking and iconic design of the originals, and yet has the qualities and performance that the modern collector wants and expects.

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CHICKEN NUGGET PLAYING CARDS
At this point you might think there is little more to say about the famous Jerry's Nuggets. Not so, because there is one more important chapter to tell in this saga. This one, however, is a miniature comedy, and will especially appeal to those with a good sense of humour.
Already back in 2016, and well before the concept of the recreated Jerry's Nugget decks appeared, Taiwanese magician and cardist Hanson Chien decided to create something very similar to the original Jerry's Nuggets, as somewhat of a joke: the Chicken Nugget Playing Cards.
Hanson has extensive experience as a magician and a cardist, and magicians know a thing or two about achieving the impossible. As a result, the fact these classic decks could not be replicated was not about to stop him. He set about to recreate them in the form of a parody deck, that would serve as a tribute to the original and iconic Jerry's Nuggets, but at the same time serving as a witty satire that would poke fun at our love for fast food. Not surprisingly, especially because this was prior to the announcement of the official replicas in 2019, these were tremendously popular, due to the Jerry's Nugget look, as well as the amusing artwork.
To produce the decks, Hanson set up his own playing card company, Hanson Chien Production Company (HCPC). He also used the exact colour specifications from the familiar red and blue originals, and he employed creative artist Limin for the artwork.
It was important to retain as many of the distinctive features of the original decks as possible, so the Chicken Nuggets carefully replicate details such as the off-center tax stamp, the red tear-strip on the plastic wrapper, and the historical 1970 date inside the tuck box flap. Paper of the same weight and texture of the old tax stamp was used, with a similar design and shape. The card backs feature the familiar "oil derrick" design of the originals, but with an important difference: these now read "Chicken Nugget".
But perhaps the biggest unique contribution that this parody deck makes is with the court cards. At first sight, everything seems very standard, until you look more closely at them.

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Upon close observation, you'll see all kinds of details that parody our love for fast food. The royal characters that inhabit the court cards are consuming all kinds of junk food, including sweet things like ice-cream, chocolate, and donuts, snacks like potato chips and popcorn, plus American favourites like hamburgers, hot dogs, and french fries. Even noodles come in for punishment, as our court card friends are literally stuffing themselves with all kinds of unhealthy eats and drinks! The artwork will prove amusing even for people unfamiliar with the original Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards that these pay homage to. The court cards in particular are quite hilarious and well-drawn, and reflect a good sense of humor.
Of course anyone who is familiar with the iconic Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards will especially appreciate the clever spoof that this deck is, while being a wonderful tribute to a classic and famous deck. In parodying the original, great attention has been paid to detail in all elements of the design, faithfully copying the exact specifications of the original wherever possible.
The Joker gives us some indication about a serious message that underlies the amusing artwork, with this warning message: "Quit Junk Food. Make Life Good." As the creator wrote elsewhere during the crowdfunding campaign: "So while you're performing amazing magic, don't forget to rub your bellies and remind yourself to quit junk food." I appreciate this warning about the dangers of eating too much fast food and junk food - a message that today's culture needs to hear.
The decks were printed in Taiwan, which is also where industry leaders like Legends Playing Card Company (LPCC) and Expert Playing Card Company (EPCC) produce their cards. The quality of the cards closely corresponds to the Diamond and Master finish used by these manufacturers, and given that the same factory in Taiwan is used for the printing, the look and feel of these cards is almost identical. They have a very firm spring, and are extremely durable. While they don't spread and fan as smoothly as a USPCC deck, they do have a quality embossed finish, and are particularly good for packet cuts, since the cards hold together well.
It's not hard to see that a deck like this would be popular, and have a lot of cross-over appeal as a novelty item. It especially appeals to people who are already familiar with the iconic status of the Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards, and who can appreciate how this parody replicates the original. But anyone with a sense of humor can enjoy the amusing court cards and the fast-food spoof that is key to what this deck is about, giving it a broad appeal to card collectors and gamers too.

https://preview.redd.it/guu9k8lyb0e51.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=fddca43869ab90fa109fa9f3bc6bf879c19982f5
Due to the success of the original project, Hanson Chien was able to produce several special decks and unique packaging options, my favourite being the fast-food style brick box. Since the original campaign, the popularity of the deck has enabled it to be published in a number of other sizes and colours, including a deck with jumbo-sized cards, a limited edition black deck, a limited edition white deck, and a host of Chicken Nuggets themed novelty items.
ANOTHER JERRY'S NUGGET
Surprisingly, the story of Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards has one final twist. Just like prospecting for gold, in the world of playing cards and collecting, you never know when you're going to find another nugget. In this case, our "prospector" is Hanson Chien, creator of the Chicken Nugget decks, and the unexpected "nugget" that he acquired was a deck of Jerry's Nugget Playing Cards that hails roughly from a similar time as the original decks.
The precise date when it was produced hasn't been established with any certainty, but it was produced by the Arrco Playing Card Company in Chicago. More significantly, the artwork has a different look. The artwork and design corresponds to the chips and merchandise used by the Jerry's Nugget Casino at the time when it opened in 1964. The findings were reported by Lee Asher in a 2018 article in Card Culture, the official periodical of 52 Plus Joker The American Playing Card Collectors Club.

https://preview.redd.it/49wtcubpb0e51.jpg?width=509&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=6e2ce1e7100b37ea2992b91b04ac45dc1885c9f3
So is it possible that this is in fact the original Jerry's Nugget deck, and that what we've been describing all along as the "original" deck may in fact have been part of a second wave?
Who knows. At any rate, where there's a nugget, perhaps there's a seam of gold to be found in those hills. Hanson saw another opportunity here, and towards the end of 2019, he launched a project to make another version of his Chicken Nugget deck, intended as a homage to this new find. It is a vintage styled version of his Chicken Nugget deck, in the alternative design and colours of the vintage Arrco Playing Card Company Jerry's Nugget deck. Hanson Chien describes it as a remastered version of the Arrco deck, and has marketed it under the label "New Vintage Chicken Nugget". Much like the recreated Vintage Feel Jerry's Nugget decks printed by EPCC, these will have a thinner and firmer card stock.
But sometimes the twist in a tale comes back to bite you. Unfortunately for us, at this stage we don't know whether this latest twist will turn out to be a comedy or a tragedy. While the new decks are still being advertised on the Hanson Chien website, albeit with some production delays as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the Kickstarter project behind the new decks seems to have run into trouble. A few months ago it was reported that this campaign has become the subject of an intellectual property dispute, and the rumour is that it was issued by Jerry's Nugget Casino. This isn't likely to stop the new decks being produced, mind you, given that Hanson runs his own printing company, and he has since successfully run an independent campaign to get them published.
Comedy or tragedy? We don't know the final outcome of this latest twist just yet. But certainly the Jerry's Nuggets have provided us with a lot of entertainment along the way, and we can only be glad to see them getting revived interest and attention, and some spiffy new editions that give every collector the chance to add a recreation of this famous deck into their collection at a very affordable cost.

https://preview.redd.it/aahdy5nnb0e51.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d274a33d2d7cc539d2f64d10d8065982cad4aeec
Where to get them?
Want to learn more?
Author's note: I first published this article at PlayingCardDecks here.
submitted by EndersGame_Reviewer to playingcards [link] [comments]

What If Series #20: 20th Post Special: Answering Your What Ifs?

This special post is going to be answering What Ifs submitted by you, the fine people of the Fantasy Booking Subreddit! Enjoy!
  1. What If Otis Didn’t Win MITB? Shoutout to u/443610 I would have had Aleister Black winning the match (which is held in June in this alternate reality), and going on a massive path of destruction through the roster, before cashing in on The Fiend (who is still Universal Champ after destroying Goldberg in this alternate reality) at Survivor Series, setting up a supernatural feud between the two, with their final match set for Wrestlemania 37. Black wins a epic bout, and keeps the Universal Championship, while still making Bray look great. This is just what Black needs to kick off his dominant run in WWE.
  2. What If WWE Never Turned Sami Zayn Heel? Shoutout to u/OrangeForeign In my opinion, this is one of WWEs biggest missed opportunities. Sami was more over than most of the roster at any point before his heel turn. Here’s my version of that story: Sami Zayn, mega popular, big merchandise seller. Vince has finally seen Zayns potential, and his popularity. At HIAC 2017, Sami saves Shane McMahon from certain doom in the form of a Kevin Owens senton off the cell. Owens gets “injured”, but cows revenge on Sami. On the next episode of Smackdown, Shane tells Sami that his career could have been over if Sami hadn’t saved him, and that he wants to repay him in any way. Sami asks for a world title shot, and wins it to the delight of the fans. Sami enjoys his world title for a few months before Kevin Owens returns, and sends a violent message with a Package Piledriver to Zayn off the top rope through a table. The two men pull out all the stops in yet another continuation of their epic feud. This leads to the super-over Sami letting the ultra-Heel Owens pick the stipulation for their Mania 34 match, and KO picks Hardcore. The two tear the house down in an epic match that concludes in “I’m sorry, I love you” moment with Sami hugging Owens before placing a trash can on his head and delivering 4 consecutive Heluva Kicks to keep his WWE Championship. Zayn goes on to be the top face of the company for years and years afterwards, leading WWE to new heights.
  3. What If Cesaro Won The World Title At Wrestlemania 37? Shoutout to U/Infernova007 Cesaro wins the Royal Rumble to everyone’s surprise, and choses to go after the WWE Champion, Drew McIntyre. The two begin to feud in the build up to Mania 37, and Cesaro puts in such great performances on the road to WM, fans start to believe he has a chance. At Mania, as the two big men collide, the fans slowly begin to support Cesaro as the match, a 6 star match, goes on. Cesaro hits the Neutralizer on Drew to pick up the win and the title on the grandest stage of them all. Cesaro, now with the fans fully behind his push, goes on a warpath, taking on any challenger and defending his title against multiple foes, but still wins every time. At Mania 38, Cesaro drops the title to fellow strongman Big E in an epic showdown. After that, Cesaro stays in the main event spot, and has high profile rivalries and matches throughout the years, picking up the world title when WWE needs a solid Champ to rely on.
And Finally:
  1. What If Britt Baker Was The Inaugural AEW Women’s Champion? Shoutout to u/443610 We are jumping right into the action with this one: Britt Baker wins the Casino Battle Royal by eliminating Nyla Rose, and defeats Riho on the first episode of Dynamite. Baker, who becomes more over with every title defence, every ally gets attacked by Rose to set up a David vs Goliath feud, which lasts for a few months, with Britt keeping her title. Baker adds prestige to the newer title, and elevates the women’s division to new heights. After her match at DoN 2020, Britt snaps and attacks Kris Stratlander, who beat her for the title. Britt brutalizes Kris, and turns into a no nonsense heel. Britt attacks anyone who disagrees with her, slowly building a group of ally’s (Anna Jay, Allie, Ivelisse, Diaminte) that do her evil deeds and inflict the numbers game on Kris Stratlander. This leads to a falls count anywhere match at ALL OUT 2020, with Britt braking the jaw of Kris to force a referee stoppage to win the title back. After that, Baker leads AEW as one of the faces of the company, leading All Elite Wrestling to huge success.
And that’s it, thanks for the requests, and have a great week!
Coming Tuesday: What If Roman Reigns Pulled A Hulk Hogan And Signed With AEW.
submitted by Omegaman2005 to fantasybooking [link] [comments]

[Let's Build] d100 Strange Shops

Maybe magical, extraplanar, or just unusual. Comment and I'll add yours to the list :)

  1. Imp Imporium - This store is small and boxy, and entirely made of redwood. A tall devil stands behind the counter wearing a suit and tie, and imps are chained to the walls. He offers you the services of one of his imps for a small price- the rights to the imp's memories of what they did when you're done. He requires a much larger material collateral for if you don't return the imp or it dies/is irreparably maimed in your service.
  2. Coagulation Station - A seemingly normal (if ugly) old woman runs this roadside popup store. It is nothing more than a cart with a sign next to it reading "Coagulation Station" painted roughly in red over a lime background. She offers healing supplies, potions, and rations in return for a small vial of your blood. (Feel free to come up with consequences for buying from her, such as her being a hag or using it for a strange ritual, etc.)
  3. Elemental Extras - An air, earth, fire and water elemental stand in the four corners of this (entirely brick) shop. Unfortunately, the "shopkeepers" only speak primordial, so good luck if you don't. They each offer to put special elemental effects on whatever you own, such as a fire effect on your sword, an ice effect on your armor to freeze whatever hits you, or an earth effect on an arrow to have surrounding dirt swallow whoever it hits. Everything here is understandably very expensive.
  4. Vraug aks stor - A very tall, older orc hero enthusiastically tries to sell his weapons in this shop in order to retire. They're hung up on the walls, all showing varying signs of use. Some appear to be magical. Vraug also tries to tell his customers stories about each weapon before they buy (and especially before they ask.) The weapon most prominently displayed is a +4 Great Axe, with obsidian blades, a dragon-scale tip on the end and golden threads running down the handle. There are a few chinks in it, and the tip somehow has a dent in it, but the damage only seems to add to the charm. He charges an extraordinary price for this axe.
  5. Angel Bazaar - Apparently recently the churches haven't been generating enough coin to keep the local deity fiscally afloat, and some angels have taken it upon themselves to raise that extra money. Some are selling more regular items for cheaper prices, such as healing items, some are selling more extravagant magical items, and even others are offering "miracles." They're all set up in a series of stands in a small square that you swear wasn't here before.
  6. Betsie's Black Cauldron- everything is black, especially Betsie. From black oak ethanol to black licorice she has ingredients and potions unique to her gimmick. u/LateLolth96
  7. The Fleeting Flyer's Fast Findings- if the item floats, flies, or is otherwise airborne this shop might have it. Limited time only and has (randomized) a rare three uncommons and six commons but the more you travel the more likely you are to come across it because it's on a one man spell jammer with two carnival cars behind it. u/LateLolth96
  8. The Kyuss Kasino- a worm themed casino where the main attraction is the purple tunnel which is a purple worm in a metal harness designed to prevent it from moving and to keep its mouth open. The wager, and incidentally, the show is if you can make it out the other end alive you [win]. There are scrying orbs that display a live feed of the current "adventurer" in the worm for 5 silver lasting 30 min before the next five silver (no refunds). Quest hook? u/LateLolth96
  9. Djinni Gin Jamboree- a once a month festival celebrating a moon cycle of the dm's choosing. Marids sell their distilled saliva as well as various forms of never-before-seen-by-man fish dishes, and water elementals play live music which more or less sounds like the rhythmic gurgling of a muddy brook. u/LateLolth96
  10. The Crossroads Corridor - An invite only shop, given to adventures who have a number of their own magical items. When the invitation is slid under any closed doorway, said doorway will become the doorway to the shop. Operated by The Masked Man, it is a magical item shop that trades magical items for magical items of similar value. Leaving will exit out the door you originally put the invitation under. u/Hacknslaasher
  11. Bottom's Bottomless Meatpies - It's cheap, delicious (although a bit gamey and hard to chew) and the servings are enormous. The shop is run by an old goblin with an enormous smile, his name is Toothy Bottom, less so because of his bum, and more so because of a secret that he isn't telling any one, the secret that has made his Meatpie-shop the most well visited in the entire area, at least by those not able to afford fine dining in the upper districts.For you see, underneath this humble shopped, staffed every hour of every day with more goblins than you can count on one hand, or two hands if you have taken ABM (Advanced Barbarian Maths), lies a large, cavernous mining operation.You enter it through a set of large trap-doors found in the cold-store basement where you find the literal wheelbarrows of meat that allow every customer to order however much meat they want in (or on) their pies, as long as the Goblins can lift it up to the counter (the largest order so far was, according to the Goblins managing the front of the house, "the weight of a small baby wrapped in a nasty hunting dog." they have made no comment as to how they know that specific measurement).Once you are through the trap-doors, you'll find a rail-system rivaling that of the largest Dwarven mines, with rail-master goblins timing and directing all the in- and out- going traffic, and every cart that comes in is absolutely and utterly loaded with meat, which is then loaded on wheelbarrows and carted up through the trapdoor.If you were to follow the rails as deep as they go, through all of the winding tunnels, across chasms, past various cave-dwelling monsters that try to snack on the meat or goblins or, well, you, then you'll eventually find yourself at the namesake of mr. Toothy Bottom.A large, mass of rock-hard skin, covered in spines and horns and other sharp shapes, it has been split open, and the dark flesh underneath is mined ceaselessly by a small army of Goblins. They aren't violent, in fact, they are quite cowardly, but they are as professional as any Goblin can be, and they are also fighting a continuous fight against the flesh with their pickaxes.For you see, the open wound is constantly trying to close itself, regenerating at a blinding speed that the Goblins have learned to keep up with after opening the wound large enough to allow for their massive excavation progress.This may be the toothy bottom of the pits and chasms.But it is also a small area of the sleeping Tarrasque, regenerating fast enough that it does not notice the harm being done to it, and with a large enough Goblin Workforce to drive the economy of what is, essentially, a small Goblin Kingdom in these tunnels, complete with blacksmiths making new Meat-axes and monster-hide-leathercrafters making workboots and pants for the Goblins working down in that caustic blood.And let's not forget, that the entire lower class of the city has eaten Tarrasque meat at least once, some of them for years.But it's only two silver pieces for as much pie as you want (or can carry), so who cares to ask where it's all coming from? u/Neknoh
  12. Sarah’s sewing shop, “World class Seamstress.” - She means world class! She can repair even magical fabric to like new condition. Everything she makes alterations to gives them a +1 to charisma for 24hrs or until dirtied. Bonus returns after being thoroughly washed and dried (some items are dry clean only)She’s also a dry cleaners. u/rab-byte
  13. The Philosopher’s Time Shop - Sundials, watches, windup clocks, candle clocks, hourglasses the size of mites up to the size of your average goliath, the Philosopher has a range to suit almost any buyer in need of a way to measure time. Be careful, the hours you spend there fly away like seconds! u/ElZoof
  14. Oakshot Saddliery - Gwinnett Oakshot caters to a select clientele, those looking for clothes, armour, weapons and equipment specifically designed to suit those who spend at least part of their days in a different body shape. Minor magic at most, it’s mostly just very well designed to suit your Druid on the go or werebeing out for a night on the town. u/ElZoof
  15. Jasper, Goldhand, Bloodstrangler and Smith - What does “‘til death us do part” mean if your wife is now a lich? Does a lifetime guarantee still stand if the object in question broke before the manufacturers were born? What exactly is an annuity? The firm of JGB&S is on hand to assist with non-devilish contracts of any kind. u/ElZoof
  16. Morogh's "Pet's" - This pet shelter is run by an older halfling named Morogh. He's kindhearted and only wants the best for his little animal companions he sells. From apes over hawks to wolfs, he just has every animal companion you could think of, but his store also has a back area. Not everyone is welcomed there as he also sells abandoned monster hatchlings, like griffons, owlbears, pseudodragons and even a red dragon wyrmling. Those monsters are all tamed so no danger there, Morogh just wants to know his customers better before trying to sell one of his more 'exotic' assets.The adventurers maybe can persuade him or do a favor for him (possible quest), like acquiring some exotic food for the more demanding beasts and monsters he houses. After this Morogh decides to sell them one of his monsters as a companion. u/Th3Banzaii
  17. Plane Ole' Butcher - A butcher shop that sells meat from an unknown plane of origin. One day a small portal opened up from the ground and strange-smelling exotic meats have been extruding from the portal. A shop was built around the portal which has been active and pumping for 50 years. People come to see the wonder firsthand but they stay for the dirt-cheap meats. The meats are char-grilled and heavily spiced to soften the meat's naturally pungent flavor. u/HeyShipmate
  18. Looters Late Return (aka LooLaRe)- A seedy smelling store run by an androgynous goblin who wears overly fancy clothes. This goblin sells in bulk only, and at discounted prices. The catch is that if you make a purchase, you must sign a contract guaranteeing repeated weekly purchases. Your bulk discount increases the more product you are able to move, but if you are unable to maintain your weekly purchases, the goblin’s secret network of enforcers comes for it’s dues. Or your life. u/pikkl_rikk
  19. Sandman Fisheries - This tightly packed stall smells or marine air and salty nets. It has all the sea can offer to the gourmet with a striking emphasis on huge fish: tuna, spadefish, and the occasional gargantuan squid. The product is impeccably fresh. Always. Sandman (a desert dweller and camel race aficionado) doesn't seem to understand what you're asking about the supply chain and how come his shop ever exists at hundred of miles from the nearest sea! u/Banuken
  20. T'zargo's fine wares - This shop can be mysteriously seen in any plane, but always appears as an identical modern convenience store looking building. Inside is a tabaxi named T'zargo, always advertising his "fine wares at reasonable prices." He sells extremely rare and powerful items for millions of gold, along with random everyday items. Some of these rare items include an axe once wielded by Baphomet, and draws from a deck of many things. His mundane items he always pulls out of a box on his counter, and they include a full rowboat and 30 chairs. u/Kellen1013
  21. The Magic Commoner - A basic magic item shop owned by a young elf wizard named Tavon Ilidan. He sells all sorts of magical things from armor to weapons and rings an such.The thing about his shop even though on the outside it looked like a regular building despite being one solid color; purple, orange, green ect. But when you walk inside it's much larger than its outward appearance.The shop also travels via a magical door. Tavon has a set of different keys he keeps with him representing the different cities of the land/world. He first closes the front door, locks it, then unlocks it with a new city key and when he opens it, it opens to the new city.Tavon's appearance reflects on which city he is in and what color his shop is. If is shop is blue his robes are blue as well. Tavon also has a secret. Even though he looks like a young elf he is actually an ancient gold dragon that simply likes to travel and meet new people without the stigma of being a dragon. He likes to play tricks on people and test them to see if they are worthy of specific items in his shop, (IE a wand of fireballs he made himself.) u/nota_person
  22. Mallard Maladies - A veterinary clinic for ducks. The shop keeper is an old blind man who refuses to heal non duck creatures, but can be tricked into healing non ducks with a high enough deception ability. Despite the name, the clinic services male and female ducks. u/El_Jewbacabra
  23. The Exploding Wand Shop- A shop that is characterized by an explosion that lifts the roof of the building off the walls and expelled black smoke every few hours - followed by the owner shouting from inside "I'M FINE, EVERYTHING'S OKAY!"The owner is a young Eladrin Artificer named Seyf Melorathian who experiments on new wands and other magical wonders. His face is a black charcoal from the soot of the explosions but otherwise would be a light brown. He has a pair of glasses that protects his eyes from being covered in soot. He has blond hair and wears a Smith's apron. He sells common rarity wands, up to rare rarity wonderous items, and has been working on an experimental wand of fireballs. You can only purchase an experimental wand if you do a material gathering quest for him.If you buy one of his wand of fireballs (2000gp and a waiver signed to not sue) there's a 10% chance that when used the wand will cast a second fireball centered on you during the spell.He also offers enchanting services at various speeds depending on the rarity of the requested enchantment. He will also willingly take on apprentices or teach enchantment to anyone. u/xBramStokerx
  24. Fishman’s Man Fry – A Triton, named Vamras Vogalath, with broken Common serves delectable seafood dishes. If asked about the name, he explains that it is food FOR men, not for fishes.Side note- this is shop is not anywhere near any large body of water. Nobody in town is sure exactly where the fish come from. u/Unprincipled
  25. Shwarma Tent - delicious herb infused fried flatbread with cured meats and shredded carrot and cucumber. The tent has small tripod tables and stools of worn wood. Patrons carve their names and other messages into the tabletops. Among the mundane names can be found the names of previous characters and NPCs that the party met, BBEGs they defeated, dated long ago, the current ruler of the land and the name of an old lover with a heart around it, Ash Ketchum, Drizzt, The Doctor, and the original Avengers. Searching carefully can also reveal a cryptic message to the party, seemingly carved years prior, but naming the PCs. u/bluecor
  26. Threads of Fate - three old sisters weave spidersilk and mundane silk into beautiful garments with embroidery that sometimes changes its image. For instance, a nightrobe has the moon and a starry sky embroidered, and the moon changes its phase with the real moon. On another, a dragon slowly chases its own tail, with its wingtips pointing to the time, as a clock. Yet another displays an hourglass which constantly drains, and runs out when the wearer dies. Other images might show great moving battles, gently waving flags that slowly fade and dilapidate as the empire becomes more corrupt, or ruins that become progressively overgrown with vines. The theme of the garments deal with the passage of time and the inevitable end of life. u/bluecor
  27. Salty's - the owner Saltamancia sells salt of differing coarseness and colors, and is an expert on which textures best compliment which purposes, from baking fine rolls to soaking one's feet after a days march. He has certain rare salts from distant lands with rare properties. For abjuring circles, he has a blessed salt that cannot be dispersed by gusts of wind. For healing, he has a fine blue salt that, when mixed with honey and packed into a wound, prevents infection and scarring. Another salt taken with hot peppermint tea can remove an additional level of exhaustion with a rest. True to his name, Saltamancia is old and curmudgeonly u/bluecor
  28. Bestboots - Bestboots sells custom footwear of exceeding quality, made from rare materials. The footwear can be light for nimble moves or heavy for kicking doors. With the right materials (possibly a quest) minor advantages can be built into the footwear. For example, a sole of felted yeti hair can give normal traction on ice, and a sole of gummed soapwood sap can allow the wearer to ignore a casting of grease underfoot. u/bluecor
  29. Hap's Microbrews - Hap claims to have perfected the means of beer portability, in that his brews are bottled and sealed under pressure in containers of lightweight spun cellulose which dont shatter when dropped. Opening his bottled beer releases a small localized burst of cold, chilling the beer just shy of freezing. The locals generally ignore his cart and "ice cold beer" sign, as ales are meant to be drunk at room temperature so that they don't unsettle the stomach. A discouraged Hap sits by his cart of beer bemoaning his own foolishness at sinking his fortune into such a folly. u/bluecor
  30. Indelible - this quiet dusty alcove sells the magical inks, parchment, paper, vellum, papyrus, and delicate quills needed to prepare arcane and divine scrolls. Also sketch artistry, heraldry, and calligraphy supplies. Blank spellbooks, charcoal, pastels, and a few unique items are sold. Glowing chalk leaves marks that remain luminous for several hours. A special lightly waxed paper is waterproof and can be written on underwater with a special pencil. A waterproof scrollcase holds six tightly rolled papers in individual tubes, designed so you can immediately draw out the scroll you desire without searching through a sheaf of papers. The proprietor Abagnale is a gifted forger, and can make needed documents for the right fee, but only those skilled in thieve's cant would be able to recognize this based on a small glyph carved above the lintel. u/bluecor
  31. The Magical Arts - this is a totally mundane shop which sells shaved and marked decks of cards, scarves for pulling from your sleeves, salted nuts cans that shoot a confetti burst when opened, squirting lapel flowers, palm buzzers, chewing gum that turns your teeth black, whoopie cushions, and stink spray. The guy working there isn't the owner, but is happy to teach you how to use his goods. While distracting you with a card trick, he will also attempt to shortchange you or pickpocket something (minus 4 to notice his ledgerdemain). If caught, he will only say "check your pocket" and there you will find the item you thought he pickpocketed. "Its all part of the trick, man," he will say, as he pulls a coin from your ear. u/bluecor
  32. The Bee's Knees - honey from different types of flowers with exceptional flavors. Meads of each type are also sold, as well as bee pollen and honey candies. A honey from frostclover will quickly dispell a hangover. Phasebee royal jelly can allow an additional use of misty step for a character with that feature, but the cost is exorbitant. The affogatto with honeycomb, coffee, and ice cream is delicious, and gives the benefits of a short rest when consumed in the shop over the course of an hour. u/bluecor
  33. Wacky Backy - Mr. C. Marin runs this fine tobacconist. House blends of pipe and cigarette tobacco can have classic Gandolf effects: controllable luminous smoke rings of various colors, and custom flavors and scents. The halfling weed is also sold. A self-lighting pipe is available, as well as a "peace pipe," which is a heavy iron pipe useable as a club (but you can also smoke out of it). Mr. Marin can craft custom peace pipes of nearly any light weapon. u/bluecor
  34. Wild Bill's Skins - Bill buys and sells tanned and untanned hides of all types. All. Types. Bill can craft armor and other leather goods from nearly any type of hide. Custom saddles can be made for any beast. A saddle on display is embossed "ride me hard and put me away wet." It isn't for sale, and it looks like it would fit Bill. He can craft a skin-tight custom leather armor that is concealable under clothing, but the customer must go into the back of the shop for a very long and invasive fitting. Rumor has it that some customers never emerge. u/bluecor
  35. Yellow Dancer - This is a musical instrument store run by a purple-haired elf named Lancer who was a freedom fighter in the past. His sister, Yellow Dancer herself, a famous concert performer who is a recognized star, is sometimes there in his place. Instruments of high quality and beginner pieces are sold. On commission, Lancer can craft an instrument which contains a secret sheath for a hidden weapon or wand. Also sold is "the Axe," a battleaxe/guitar combo, with a magical property of sound amplification that allows it to be heard in the largest venue, and allows for unique distortion effects. At DM Option, the Axe can also be used for ranged sonic attacks, mimicking the effects of Eldritch Blast. u/bluecor
  36. The Titty Twister: an adult entertainment venue, mostly for merchants and caravan guards. A goblin barker in a tophat and coattails out front gives a spirited pitch about the feminine wonders to be found within. Inside is a seedy establishment styled to look like an ancient temple. Billiards and darts games line the walls, and a poker game is playing out at a table near the center. Its a rough crowd, and fights that break out are settled with the loser being dragged away by the bouncers and the winner buying a round for the house. Beautiful dancers take turns on stage and mingle with clients between songs. Private shows are available. During the day the massive door is barred and the place is eerily silent, but from dusk til dawn raucous action is there for the taking. Locals stay well clear and pray for protection if they must pass near this den of sin. u/bluecor
  37. The Campus Martius: This strange storefront is a place for games of strategy, including draughts and card games, as well as sandtable war strategy matches involving miniature army figurines, played out with dice and measuring sticks. Arguments over rules are common, and are arbitrated by a robed and wigged judge on a low dias at one end, who often consults an enormous tome of rules which only he is allowed to read from. 1sp per game, per player, but by convention, the loser pays the fees of his opponents. A sweet green drink called mountain brew is popular here. It enhances focus, adding +1 to concentration saves for an hour, but leaves one tired, -1 to all saves for an hour thereafter. u/bluecor
  38. Millenium Sustainable Armory: run by an elvish druid, Millenium sells "murder free" armor made from silk, giant leaves, sustainably harvested ironwood and similar materials. The armor otherwise has the properties of normal light and medium armors, but contains no leather, bone, or metal. Cost is about double. Heavy armor is not available. The leaves making up the armor do not wilt or turn brown. u/bluecor
  39. The Meat Market: run by a shadowy figure in torn robes, this odd shop gives permanent magical effects in exchange for body parts. The more important the organ or body part, the better the effect. The effect goes to whoever the part comes from, so don’t get greedy! Wonder where the parts are going... u/CephaloPawd
  40. Fernado's Fish Frenzy - in a village where magic and fishing collide, you might run into a man who can be at multiple places at a time, Fernado. He is a mystical fisherman who sets up booths in town squares, where the fish fight to the death in gladiator-style combat. The loser, is placed on his selling slab and the victor becomes larger in size. He has a 'leaderboard' that updates magically after every battle, accounting for all of the places Fernado is at in your world. u/BEZERK0xD
  41. A rickety old shop plastered with the title of some famous adventuring party / adventurer on it. The entire shop is run by a near delusional fan of the party/individual, and sells merchandise about them, as well as weirdly specific information that you aren't sure how they know. (If your party is famous enough, the store might be dedicated to them) u/bladeraptor3
submitted by vastowen to d100 [link] [comments]

New Beginning II - Book Shawn Michaels if he were in his prime today - Part 1: Heartbreak Kid

In this booking, Shawn Michaels is an indie legend; compared to the likes of David Starr. He’s won countless championships in promotions from all over the world, but never really burst onto the big company scene. Shawn’s first major appearance was at Double or Nothing, competing in the Casino Battle Royal and making it to the final 3, before being eliminated by MJF. He would then continue to work AEW shows such as Summerfest and Fyter Fest, losing to Cody and defeating the man who took him out in the Battle Royal, MJF, but it was at Fight For The Fallen where he challenged Kenny Omega to a bout at All Out, and it was made official a week later, with it being billed as The Best vs The Future. Rookie vs Veteran. All Out.

AEW All Out
Kenny Omega vs Shawn Michaels
V-Trigger! Shawn falls to the floor, using the turnbuckle as leverage, not wanting to stay down but after being hit with second V-Trigger of the match, he couldn’t hold on, yet still managed to kick out at 2 when Kenny dragged him into the middle of the ring and pinned him! Omega, furious, picked up Michaels and went for a Cross-Legged Brainbuster, but Shawn escaped, going for a roll up but Kenny kicked out, before nailing Omega with an Inverted Atomic Drop! Shawn then ran towards the ropes and took Kenny down with a Flying Forearm Smash, and then synched in a devastating Figure Four Leglock! Omega was in serious pain and anguish, with Shawn not letting go, but Kenny made his way inch by inch towards the ropes to break up the hold, however he was immediately clotheslined to the outside! Shawn then climbed the top rope and went for an Elbow Drop, but Omega countered with another V-Trigger! Kenny sent Michaels back into the ring and nailed him with a Butterfly Piledriver! But that wasn’t enough as Shawn once again kicked out! Omega had had enough, and went for a One Winged Angel, but Shawn flipped forward, landing on his feet, before going for a Sweet Chin Music! But Omega dodges and catches Shawn, going for a Ripcord V-Trigger, but Michaels holds onto the knee and hits him with a Teardrop Suplex! Shawn then goes to the top rope, attempting to pull off one last maneuver in the form of a Moonsault on a standing Kenny, but Omega moved out of the way and Shawn landed on his feet, allowing for The Terminator to lift up Shawn and put him away with the One Winged Angel for the win. After a grueling 26 minute match, Kenny Omega stands tall over the rookie Michaels. Kenny helps Shawn back up and in a show of respect shakes his hand, before rolling out of the ring, leaving a defeated, yet improved Shawn Michaels in the ring.

Shawn isn’t seen on AEW Programming after his loss to Omega, and it isn’t just AEW shows, as he doesn’t appear on any of his regular indie promotions, instead goes on a short hiatus, with his Twitter and Instagram going completely blank. However, on September 18th, the wrestling world got the answer.

The NXT Champion Adam Cole stands in the ring alongside his Undisputed Era stablemates, the NXT Tag Team Champions Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reily and the new NXT North American Champion Roderick Strong. It’s the first ever live episode of NXT and Cole is cutting a promo on his success in this brand, from having the most impactful debut in all of history, to winning the first ever Wargames, to becoming the inaugural NXT North American Champion, to finally winning the NXT Title and completing the Triple Crown. But he wasn’t done, saying that there is not a single soul back there who can beat him. And that’s undispu-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4ErmBDTOJo
An unfamiliar theme song plays, but when the graphic on the Titantron shows “The Heartbreak Kid”, the crowd go insane. “SHAWN MICHAELS IS NXT!” shouts Mauro Ranallo as HBK walks out from the back, dressed in black, red, and white attire. Cole is shocked, Kyle is shocked, Bobby is shocked, Strong is shocked, everyone is shocked at the debut of Shawn Michaels! Michaels makes his way down to the ring with a mic and goes to say something but he’s drowned out by “HBK!” chants that echo throughout the arena. The NXT Champ looks disgusted at the fact that Shawn thinks he can interrupt him, but Michaels doesn’t say anything, instead nails Cole with a Sweet Chin Music! Adam drops to the floor and Shawn is swarmed by the rest of The Era, with Michaels receiving kicks from all directions, however he manages to fend them off, chucking Fish over the top rope and onto the apron, with Kyle accidentally knocking his own partner when Shawn ducked a forearm. Strong went for a Strong Slam on HBK, but Michaels escaped and shoved Roderick into O’Reily, before going for a Sweet Chin Music on him. Roddy ducked, allowing for the finishing move to hit Kyle behind him, meaning Strong could take advantage of Shawn and hit him with an End of Heartache. He helped Adam back up and the champ hit the new star with a Last Shot to stand tall. William Regal came out next and announced that next week, Shawn Michaels will face off against Roderick Strong in his NXT debut, and if he wins, he will get a title shot at Adam Cole the following episode! The Undisputed Era evidently disliked the idea, but they knew they had no choice so left, all their gold still around their waists… for now.

On NXT, Roderick Strong vs Shawn Michaels is set for the main event. Throughout the night, Shawn is seen encountering members of the NXT roster such as Johnny Gargano, Keith Lee, and the returning Finn Balor. But at one point, Michaels gets ambushed by Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reily backstage, with the pair double Powerbombing him through a catering table. Regal is furious when he finds Shawn in the debris and bans the rest of UE from ringside. Michaels is taken to medical to see if he can compete but before they can get an answer, Shawn storms out of the room, reminding them he has a match to prepare for. Finally, we get to the main event of the night, and as Roderick is making his entrance he’s attacked by Michaels! HBK and Strong brawl their way down to the ring where the bell rings, and the match is officially under way. They start off fast-paced, with Shawn really impressing the NXT audience, and after only 5 minutes in Shawn goes for a Sweet Chin Music but Roderick catches the leg and hits him with an End of Heartache, only for Michaels to kick out! This infuriates Strong, and he becomes more aggressive, but Shawn still manages to stay on top, and after another 12 minutes, nails him with a Sweet Chin Music to get the 1, 2, 3! Two of the best up and comers of their time put on a great main event for the NXT Universe, but it isn’t all a happy ending, because as soon as the ref slammed his hand down on the mat for the third time, Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reily, and Bobby Fish all made their way down to the ring to attack the victor. But the assault is ceased, as Shawn is saved by Johnny Gargano! The Heart of NXT sprints down to take out The Era, with Shawn and Johnny hitting simultaneous Superkicks on Fish and O’Reily, while Adam and Roderick lay on the outside, stunned. It was official: Shawn Michaels vs Adam Cole for the NXT Championship would be happening next week.

This NXT Title bout did not disappoint, with both wrestling legends giving it their all and proving why they are in the main event slot. Despite Shawn only being exposed to the NXT crowd for 2 weeks, he had quickly ascended to the top, with his merchandise sales rising fast and Shawn becoming overly popular with the audience. Cole was the perfect opponent, a technical wizard but also heelishly cunning and able to pinpoint his enemy’s weaknesses. He targeted the neck of Shawn throughout the 17 minute match, setting him up for an inevitable Last Shot, but Michaels fought back with fire in his eyes, pulling off a Moonsault at one point to the outside, only to be hit with a Panama Sunrise after Cole dodged. The Undisputed Era ran down to distract Shawn, but they were taken out by Gargano who sent the Tag Champions running for the hills after a vicious Superkick to Strong! However, this was the perfect diversion, as Cole hit Michaels with a Last Shot to the injured neck, only for Shawn to get his foot on the ropes! Johnny stayed at ringside, cheering on Shawn after the attack, and the crowd popped huge when Adam went for another Last Shot, but Michaels ducked and nailed the champion with a Sweet Chin Music from behind! HBK struggled to crawl into the cover, but the match was stopped completely when Johnny slid into the ring and beat down Shawn! “What the hell is going?” Mauro exclaimed as he watched Gargano rain down fists on Michaels, giving him the DQ win! Johnny took HBK out with a Slingshot DDT and stood over his exhausted body as Cole celebrated with his title on the ramp alongside The Undisputed Era.

The next week, Johnny would explain his actions, saying that he was insulted at how Shawn thinks he can waltz in here and suddenly become the new hero. Johnny Wrestling is the only true hero you need! Michaels was reportedly at home for that week due to the neck injury and DDT he suffered last episode, and Johnny reminded the NXT masses that he’ll always be here for them. He left, only after repeating that he’s the real hero. Johnny would then go onto dismantle Shane Thorne the subsequent episode in their scheduled bout, calling out Shawn for a fight at NXT Takeover: Wargames in a post-match promo. He was answered by none other than Michaels himself, who ran down to the ring and sparked a brawl, laying Gargano out with a surprise Sweet Chin Music, accepting the challenge on the stage. The two would feud going into the illustrious NXT show, which saw Gargano continuously remind the crowd that he’s the real hero, and Shawn proving every week why he’s the best, going up against Kushida in a fantastic bout one week. On the go-home show, a contract signing is scheduled, but before anything can happen, Gargano ambushes Shawn, and they fight all the way down to the ring where Johnny sends Shawn through the table after a wicked Superplex, standing tall to end the show.

While all of this was going on, NXT had also started invading Raw and Smackdown, demanding a spot in Survivor Series that year. Dream matches were made, including a 3 on 3 on 3 Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match between all the brands, and Champion vs Champion vs Champion Triple Threats that would only be seen once in a lifetime. However, Shawn Michaels was also brought into the brand supremacy mix, and he quickly came face to face with one of Raw’s top stars and a pro wrestling icon called AJ Styles. The two would appear on each other’s shows, starting brawls and going back and forth on the mic, leading to a dream match being made between the pair. This easily became one of the most highly anticipated matches on the card, and the WWE Universe could only wait and see.

NXT Takeover: Wargames III
Shawn Michaels vs Johnny Gargano
Michaels and Gargano put on a fantastic opener, with both men bringing their all. It was Shawn’s Takeover debut, and he walked away 1-0 when he put away Johnny in a great conclusion, which saw Shawn pull off a beautiful Elbow Drop off of the top rope onto the apron, followed up by a Sweet Chin Music to get the win. Shawn managed to kick out of two Slingshot DDT’s, but Johnny also was able to stay in the match after a picture perfect Moonsault from HBK. Michaels cut a promo after the match, telling the Illinois crowd that he has his eyes set on the NXT Championship. He left quickly, drained after the amazing showdown he had just had with one of NXT’s finest, Johnny Gargano.

Survivor Series
Shawn Michaels vs AJ Styles
After going all out on Johnny Gargano the previous night, Michaels came back refreshed and better than ever, pushing Styles to the limit, and putting on a fantastic match with The Phenomenal One. Despite the bout only going 20 minutes, those 20 minutes were full of innovative spots and great storytelling, with AJ reminding Shawn throughout the match that he can’t beat him and that he’ll never be main event material, yet Shawn proved him wrong, getting near fall after near fall and showing his athletic ability by hitting Moonsaults and Elbow Drops all around. However, Michaels set up for a Sweet Chin Music only for it to be caught by Styles, who grabbed the other leg and put him down with a Styles Clash, before going for a Phenomenal Forearm. AJ set up for the devasting finisher, but he was hit with a Sweet Chin Music as he soared through the air! An amazing counter gave Michaels the win, cementing that he is not to be underestimated. Michaels helped AJ up and they quickly shook hands before Styles left the ring, leaving Shawn to celebrate.

It is announced that in two weeks, an 8-Man Tournament will occur, with Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Damian Priest, Matt Riddle, Finn Balor, Velveteen Dream, Pete Dunne, and Shawn Michaels all competing for an NXT Title shot at the next Takeover, Takeover: Portland. On the show after Wargames, Lee, Tommaso, Damian, and Michaels all had a promo war, with Shawn stating he wants revenge on Cole and The Era, Ciampa saying how he needs Goldie back, Keith wanting to elevate himself to the main event, and Damian reminding them all that he just wants to cause destruction, and the NXT Title will help him with that, which inevitably leads to an all out fight, which sees Keith stand tall. The next week, the first round matches start, with Shawn going up against Velveteen Dream in an excellent battle. They both had similar fighting styles and were both at the same level wrestling-wise, but Shawn managed to go through to the semi’s when he put away Dream with the Sweet Chin Music, a move no man has ever kicked out of. The two shook hands afterwards, and Shawn walked up the ramp unknowing of who he would have to face next. The other match results were: Keith Lee defeated Damian Priest, Finn Balor defeated Matt Riddle, and Ciampa defeated Pete Dunne. It was revealed that Shawn would face Finn Balor next week, and their bout would be made the main event. As soon as the bell rang, Balor charged at Shawn, knowing what Michaels was capable of. Shawn tried to fight back but Finn was like no one else he had ever faced before. Balor’s fast kicks and weakening holds allowed The Prince to be in control for most of the match. However, Michaels didn’t give up, fighting back against Finn, and he nearly hit him with a Sweet Chin Music but it was countered into a Shotgun Dropkick. As the match progressed, Balor lost his control by the minute, until it became even, with HBK pulling out all the stops to take Finn down. He planted him down with a Sunset Flip Powerbomb, only for his opponent to roll through and nail Shawn square in the chest with another Shotgun Dropkick. Balor then ascended the turnbuckle, with Michaels in position for his devastating finisher. However, Shawn rolled out of the way as Finn went for it, and when Balor got back to his feet, he ran right into a Sweet Chin Music. 1, 2, 3! Shawn has defeated Finn Balor and will be going to the fina- Balor from behind! Finn didn’t take the loss easily, brutally beating down Shawn all over the ring, hitting him with a Slingblade on the outside. Balor drilled Michaels into the steel ramp with a 1916 to stand tall and to send a message. Earlier in the night, Ciampa beat Lee to advance into the finals, and to end the show a graphic appeared on the Titantron: Shawn vs Tommaso.

We’ve reached the finals of the tournament and once again we see HBK go up against a wrestling legend in a first ever encounter. Tommaso is desperate to win here so he can fight for Goldie, but Shawn won’t give up. Michaels fought back against Ciampa’s relentless attacks, and kicked out of an Air Raid Crash and Fairytale Ending consecutively just to stay in. They went for a solid 20 minutes, keeping the NXT fans on the edge of their seats the whole time, but it was the ending that really shocked them, as Finn Balor’s music hit and The Prince walked out on the ramp to stare down a stunned Shawn, only for Michaels to be blasted from behind and pinned following a knee to the skull and Fairytale Ending! Tommaso was the Number 1 Contender to the NXT Championship and Shawn had lost at the hands of Finn. As the bell rang signaling the end of the match, Balor wasted no time in attacking HBK once again, this time putting him through the announcer’s table with a 1916.

Shawn and Finn would start a rivalry, with a Street Fight being confirmed for NXT Takeover: Portland between the two. Finn was a ruthless heel, wanting to show that Michaels is just an overrated rookie with a couple of wins under his belt, but Michaels proved him wrong each week, holding an Open Challenge where he would go up against the greats of NXT, such as Pete Dunne, Damian Priest, and in a MOTY contender Keith Lee, when The Limitless One took Shawn to his limits in a great match. He defeated Dunne and Priest in earlier weeks, with Pete and Damian really giving Michaels a challenge, however, when they were hit with the Sweet Chin Music, it was all over for the Brusierweight and Archer of Infamy. Balor cut promos on HBK, reminding him of Finn’s accomplishments in WWE and how Shawn is a mere blip on the radar of Finn Balor, but when he beat him in thee semi-finals, he made himself a threat. And that’s not good news, because Finn doesn’t miss.

NXT Takeover: Portland
Shawn Michaels vs Finn Balor
Street Fight
As soon as the ref called for the start of this match, Finn and Shawn went at each other with kicks, headbutts, and grinding submissions. Nearly 3 minutes into the match was when the first weapon was brought out, as Finn retrieved a kendo stick to use against HBK. He wearied down Shawn early on but that wouldn’t stop Michaels, who had a burst of energy, taking down Finn and allowing him to get a chair. From there on it was utter chaos, with Shawn reversing a 1916 on the announcer’s table into a back body drop through the table behind them, and Finn landing a Coup De Grace onto Shawn while he had a stack of chairs on him! The finish came when Balor and Shawn were battling on the top rope in the corner of the ring. They traded fists but Shawn got the upper hand, and just like their match in the semi-finals, Michaels pulled off a Sunset Flip Powerbomb, this time getting all of it, with Balor crashing down spine-first onto a row of set up chairs! The audience were going crazy, but HBK wasn’t done yet, instead made it back to his feet, and ascended the turnbuckle again, before pulling off an amazing Moonsault onto The Prince! But Finn moved out of the way! Shawn clutched at his rib as he landed hard on the steel chairs and was hurt even more when he was hit with a Shotgun Dropkick to the outside! Michaels landed hard on the apron on his way out but Finn was relentless, going onto the second rope from the apron and nailing him with a Coup De Grace! The Prince wasn’t done, instead ripped open the padding covering the floor, exposing the hard concrete ground, before lifting up Shawn to get him in position for a 1916! The first few rows could feel the pain as Michaels’ head was driven into the concrete, but the ref making the three count after Balor had rolled a lifeless HBK into the ring seemed more painful than anything. Balor left with his hand raised, and the ref had to help Shawn back up. After a gruesome match with one of pro wrestling’s finest, Michaels was aching all over, and had to be helped out by medical staff to the back. Rumors circulated that he might be injured, however they were dismissed on the conference call by Triple H after the show, but Hunter sounded quite unsure at the time.

The next Wednesday, we saw Shawn Michaels walk out to start the show to a massive pop from the crowd. He got into the ring and told the NXT Universe that during his match with Finn Balor, he suffered a concussion, and he would like to apologize for not being able to put Balor away. But, he has unfinished business with a certain Era. Concussion or not, he will do whatever it takes to get his hands on Adam Cole. Inevitably, he was interrupted by the NXT Champion, with Strong, Fish, and O’Reily all closely behind him, their championships all still around their waists after successfully retaining all their titles at Takeover: Portland, and Adam reminded Shawn that the last time they faced off he was the one left standing, so why does he deserve another shot? Shawn informed Cole that he deserves a title shot because their last one ended in a DQ win for Michaels, so technically he has a win over Cole, and this time it will be fair; no interference. William Regal appeared on the stage and told both The Undisputed Era and Shawn Michaels that everyone has to prove themselves here, and yes Michaels does have a win over Cole, but that does not put him any higher than the other members of the roster with wins over the champ. If Shawn wants his shot at Tampa Bay, he’s going to have to compete in one of two Fatal 4-Way matches, going up against a range of superstars who have also claimed their match with the NXT Champ. Next week, it will be Matt Riddle vs Kushida vs Pete Dunne vs Dominic Dijakovic in one 4-Way, and in the other, Lio Rush vs Keith Lee vs Killian Dain vs Shawn Michaels. The two victors will face off in two weeks’ time, with the winner of that match challenging Adam Cole for the NXT Championship at NXT Takeover: Tampa Bay! Shawn and The Era seemed satisfied with that, however Cole wasn’t done, instead ordered Strong, O’Reily, and Fish to go beat down HBK! Roderick ran down to the ring and went for knee but it was reversed into a back body drop, only for Shawn to be charged at by Bobby Fish from behind. Kyle and Bobby kicked at Shawn on the ground, and then went for a High Low, but Michaels dodged the move and nailed Fish with a Sweet Chin Music! He ducked a lariat from O’Reily and gave him one too! Strong was on the apron and went to go for a Springboard Clothesline but was hit with a Sweet Chin Music mid-air! HBK was on fire, only to be taken out from behind by Adam Cole with a chair. Cole smashed the weapon repeatedly on Shawn’s back, and finished him off with a Last Shot, standing tall with his NXT Title before the ad break.

Shawn wouldn’t be the only victim that night, as Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, and Pete Dunne were all attacked by The Undisputed Era, with Cole leading the assault, wanting to make sure some of his possible challengers were incapacitated before next week. We got a video package to hype up the two 4-Way’s throughout the night and the NXT Universe couldn’t wait for next episode.

The opening bout of the following week was the first contender’s match, which saw Dijakovic, Kushida, Riddle, and Dunne have a hard-hitting Fatal 4-Way. Dunne hit Kushida with a Bitter End on the outside but was nailed with a Big Boot on the apron from Dominic, however Dijak ran right into a knee from Matt, followed up by a Floating Bro to give Riddle the win! The Original Bro celebrated after the match, only to be once again ambushed by The Undisputed Era, with Strong laying him out after an End of Heartache, sending a message to Matt as he lay exhausted in the ring.

In the main event, we got the second Fatal 4-Way, which was an absolute paragon of wrestling multi-man matches. Keith Lee was a mix of Rush and Dain, using his athletic skills and undeniable strength to his advantage. Lio obviously had a game plan going into the bout, staying out of the action for some parts, but when he was forced to fight, he easily dismantled his opponents with his quickness and agility. Killian utilized his massive body and power to beat down Shawn, Lee, and Rush, but showed he could also soar from the top rope when he took out everyone with a Diving Cannonball! But it was Shawn Michaels who stole the show, making sure he was the spotlight throughout the match as he pulled off amazing spot after amazing spot. This ultimately lead to his victory, with the finish occurring when he used all the strength he had left to hit Dain and Lee with a Double Powerbomb from the corner, however he was attacked by Lio Rush from behind. Rush saw his opportunity and climbed to the top rope to hit a Final Hour on Killian, but he was nailed with a Sweet Chin Music while in the air! Shawn disposed of him to the outside and hit Dain with one last Sweet Chin Music to get the win! Matt Riddle made his way down to the ring post-match to have a stare down with Shawn, and the two shook hands, ready to do battle next week.

The main event was set: Matt Riddle vs Shawn Michaels, with the winner going onto face Adam Cole at Takeover: Tampa Bay. Riddle had had his fair share of conflict with Cole, as he was the guy who eliminated him from the Royal Rumble and also cost him a North American Title shot against Roderick Strong, allowing Johnny Gargano to get the win, which Johnny then lost at Takeover: Portland. Both men’s incentive was high, and this first-time encounter started off hot, with both men wanting that match with Adam more than anything. Instantly, Matt charged at Shawn with a Flying Knee but it was caught and he was hit with a Snap German Suplex! They then traded fists, with Riddle getting the upper hand, and he ran at Shawn again only to be stopped dead in his tracks with a chop that would make WALTER shiver. For the next 15 minutes these two poured all their fire into this match, with the speed never stopping, and it made it hard for the audience to catch up. But eventually, Shawn was lying on the apron and Riddle was on the top rope, but Matt missed a Floating Bro and landed hard on his shoulder when Shawn rolled out of the way! Michaels then placed Matt on the apron and went to the top turnbuckle, before successfully pulling off a Moonsault to Riddle on the apron! One Sweet Chin Music later and Shawn Michaels is going to Tampa Bay! Adam Cole walked down to the ring alone afterwards and the two came face to face for the first time as official opponents. Adam got right in the face of Shawn, provoking Michaels to lay him out with a Sweet Chin Music, closing the show with The Heartbreak Kid holding up the NXT Title over Cole.

After the Riddle/Michaels match to determine Cole’s Number 1 Contender, Adam and Shawn would pick up where they left off back in September last year. Since then, the NXT Champion had lost inside of Wargames, but was able to redeem himself the next night by beating Pete Dunne at Survivor Series. He would then start a feud with Tommaso Ciampa, the man who beat HBK in the finals of that tournament, and he’d go on to beat him at Takeover: Portland. Michaels on the other hand, had faced off with Johnny Gargano at Takeover: Wargames, walking away the victor, before losing to Ciampa, only to be attacked by Finn Balor, who Shawn had defeated in the previous week. At Portland, Shawn lost to Finn in a Street Fight, but bounced back, pinning Matt Riddle to earn his shot at Adam Cole after a great Fatal 4-Way the week before. Now, they meet again, this time with the stakes higher than ever, as Shawn Michaels, the rookie who ascended to the main event in less than 4 months in NXT, going over with the crowd and quickly becoming one of the most popular wrestlers in the world, will take on Adam Cole, the pinnacle of NXT, who’s defeated any and every challenger that’s come at him. Throughout the build, The Undisputed Era tended to interfere, costing Shawn matches and beating him down whenever available, but one episode Michaels had backup in the form of Keith Lee, and the new team called The Broserweights, Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle, all people Shawn had beaten but people that he respected. On the second episode before Takeover: Tampa, we got Lee, Riddle, Dream, and Michaels versus The Undisputed Era, which saw Lee pin the North American Champion Roderick Strong to pick up the win for his team. It was then announced that next week, Shawn Michaels will take on Adam Cole in a Takeover preview, with the winner getting to choose the stipulation for their NXT Title match! On the go-home episode of NXT, we got Michaels vs Cole II, and once again they put on a showstopper of a match, but this time it was Shawn that walked away the winner, holding onto a Panama Sunrise and hitting him with a Samoan Driver! Then, after a Sweet Chin Music, Shawn was able to pin him for the 1, 2, 3 to get the win! However his post-match celebration was ended quickly as O’Reily, Fish, and Strong attacked him, but HBK was ready, taking them all out and laying them out with a Moonsault from the top rope to the outside! Shawn grabbed a mic as he made his way up the ramp, Cole staring a hole through him from the ring, and Shawn announced that at Takeover: Tampa Bay, Cole and him will be locked up inside a Steel Cage! It was made official on Twitter, and the wrestling world grabbed their popcorn to watch what was sure to be a great show.

NXT Takeover: Tampa Bay
Adam Cole (c) vs Shawn Michaels
NXT Championship
Steel Cage
Cole and Michaels did not hold back, tearing into each other with all the passion in their soul. They used the cage to their advantage, slamming each other back-first into the wire mesh whenever possible. The Undisputed Era tried to interfere, with Strong attempting to unlock the door to no avail, and Bobby and Kyle climbing up the side to drop in. Michaels was drained but managed to fight them off, knocking Fish’s skull off of the steel forcing him to drop down, and nailing O’Reily with a Sweet Chin Music off the top, and he watched as Kyle fell down to the ground through the announcer’s table, receiving a massive pop from the crowd! From there, Shawn could climb down and escape, winning the NXT Title in the process, or, he could choose what he decided to go with, which was put his career on the line by pulling off an Elbow Drop from the top of the cage onto Cole! The audience went insane, refusing to believe what they had just witnessed, but there was not a single soul in the crowd who didn’t count along with the ref as Shawn pinned Adam to become the new NXT Champion! It was an emotional moment, with The Heartbreak Kid bursting into tears as he was handed his new NXT Title. The cameras just picked up Michaels saying, “It’s only up from here” as he walked up the ramp, the NXT Universe chanting “HBK!” behind him just like they did in his NXT debut last year. He celebrated on the stage before returning to the back, his championship glinting in the light around his waist.
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Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Aug. 17, 1998

Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives.
PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE: 1991199219931994199519961997
1-5-1998 1-12-1998 1-19-1998 1-27-1998
2-2-1998 2-9-1998 2-16-1998 2-23-1998
3-2-1998 3-9-1998 3-16-1998 3-23-1998
3-30-1998 4-6-1998 4-13-1998 4-20-1998
4-27-1998 5-4-1998 5-11-1998 5-18-1998
5-25-1998 6-1-1998 6-8-1998 6-15-1998
6-22-1998 6-29-1998 7-6-1998 7-13-1998
7-20-1998 7-27-1998 8-3-1998 8-10-1998
  • WCW Road Wild is in the books, featuring the "wrestling" debut of Jay Leno. Well, really he did a hold, 2 punches, and a double-clothesline and that's about it. The finish was supposed to be Leno hitting the diamond cutter on Bischoff, but they didn't trust him to do it properly, so they ended up having Kevin Eubanks do it instead. DDP and Hogan worked the majority of the match and worked well together so it was better than the Rodman/Malone match, but that's a pretty low bar. Sure, they got a few weeks of mainstream publicity but it doesn't seem to have helped the ratings at all and Dave doesn't think it's going to do much for the PPV buyrate either. Leno was reportedly paid $1 million to participate, although that figure might not be accurate. But even still, there just doesn't look to be any way that this Leno experiment was a good business decision. Beyond that, this was the worst Road Wild PPV ever and that's saying something because that show is a disaster every year. If not for Jericho vs. Guerrera, it would have been the single worst PPV in history. Dave calls it part of "the speedy self-destruction" of a company that was arguably the hottest promotion on the planet just a few weeks ago. It's a free show for the Sturgis crowd, which means foregoing an easy $300,000 or more at the gate, plus another $100,000 in merch that they would do at a normal PPV. It's also a crowd of mostly non-wrestling fans, so the atmosphere sucks the life out of everything. As for this show in particular: horrible matches, horrible booking, etc.
  • Other notes from Road Wild: Steve McMichael vs. Brian Adams was originally scheduled for 17 minutes but was thankfully cut down to 7, which probably saved it from being the worst match of all time. Dave gives it negative-2 stars anyway. Disco Inferno/Alex Wright vs. Public Enemy gets negative-1 star. Stevie Ray vs. Chavo Guerrero gets negative-1 star. There was a 9-man battle royal that Goldberg won and the only interesting note from that is that Kevin Nash was in it. The heat with him is so bad right now that WCW wasn't even sure if Nash was going to show up but fortunately he did. But in the battle royal, he simply stepped over the top rope and eliminated himself so he managed to be the only person not thrown out by Goldberg. And finally, after the main event was the 30-minute Travis Tritt concert which is interesting because at the show, Tritt's management held up WCW to make sure they got their money in advance, plus they wanted a Learjet ride home and 3 motorcycles, or else Tritt wouldn't perform. For some reason, a lot of PPV outlets didn't air the Tritt concert which has caused issues because now they're offering full refunds to anyone who wants them. That means a loss of money to WCW as well. WCW is arguing that the Tritt concert wasn't the draw of the show and telling the PPV providers not to give refunds for the show and are making noises about legal threats if they do.
WATCH: WCW Road Wild 1998 highlights
  • New Japan drew its smallest crowd ever for a Dome show, drawing 35,000 to the Osaka Dome this week. Last year, they sold it out (53,000) but this year, due to stale business and the weak Japanese economy, they didn't even come close. As expected, the show was capped off with Masahiro Chono winning the IWGP title from Fujinami.
  • Rick Martel has quietly retired from wrestling due to recent knee and neck injuries. Dave recaps his career, from his early AWA days where he was one of their top stars, to the WWF as part of Can-Am Connection, his Model gimmick, and finally to WCW where he returned only to injure his knee twice and suffered a recent vertebrae injury. He ultimately decided he didn't want to end up crippled from wrestling and he has invested his money well, so he decided to retire while he still had most of his health.
  • USA Today ran a story on WWF and WCW, featuring lots of choice quotes from both sides and enough incorrect facts to drive Dave to suicide. It said the companies combined do $650 million in merchandise yearly which is such exaggerated bullshit that it's laughable. It claimed WCW began Nitro to compete with WWF a year ago (it's been 3 years). Claimed WWF has been mostly winning the ratings battle since the beginning (obviously not true). So on and so forth. It also talked about the early history of both companies, basically describing it that Vince was the only wrestling promotion in the world until Ted Turner suddenly decided to open the checkbook and steal all his top stars and start his own company which is, of course, total bullshit.
Here are some of the quotes from the USA Today story:
  • Goldberg had this to say about allegations of being a clone of Steve Austin:
    "I respect the guy for what he's done, but I don't respect him enough to copy him. Steve Austin is known as one of the best promo guys in the world. But Steve Austin doesn't do one thing that I can't do in the ring."
  • In response, Austin had this to say about Goldberg:
    "Goldberg is squashing people with his power moves, and that's great. But he doesn't know the psychology yet. I'm able to go out there and take the fans on a 30-minute roller coaster ride."
  • Vince McMahon had this to say about the Monday night wars:
    "It's the same old Hulk Hogan situation. Every time Hogan is on the air, we clobber them. It's a tired, old situation." (Dave points out that this is complete bullshit because Hogan is still one of the few people in WCW who actually does strong TV ratings, "but McMahon has never let the truth get in the way of a good quote.")
  • Hogan had this to say about retiring:
    "My wife doesn't want me to quit, my kids don't want me to quit, the promoters don't want me to quit, the fans don't want me to quit and the IRS really doesn't want me to quit."
  • The Monday night ratings trend went completely backwards this week. For once, Nitro was the much better show, Raw sucked, and in the end, Nitro actually won the ratings battle for the night. The news isn't all bad for WWF though. The 2nd episode of the new Sunday Night Heat did a monster rating almost on par with Raw. Furthermore, the episode of Pacific Blue that aired afterward (featuring Triple H) did double its normal rating, which makes USA Network plenty happy. So expect more WWF tie-ins on other USA shows. As for Sunday Night Heat, this show is being done on a 5-week trial basis right now, but given the ratings, you can almost certainly expect it to be added to the permanent Sunday schedule going forward.
  • The International Wrestling Institute and Museum will open in Newton, IA next month. It will mostly focus on amateur wrestling but will also feature a section devoted to pro wrestling, but mostly focusing on guys like Lou Thesz, Danny Hodge, Verne Gagne, etc. (this museum was later named the Dan Gable Museum and was moved to Waterloo in 2006. In 2010, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame absorbed it).
  • Speaking of Halls of Fame, the next round of the Observer Hall of Fame will be next week and Dave mentions that ballots have been sent to dozens of other major names within the business. Top wrestlers, promoters, wrestling historians, reporters, etc. All of those people will be voting on it so if you don't like who is and isn't inducted, don't bitch at Dave about it because he has no more say in it than everyone else (this is still how it operates to this day, and yet every year, people bitch Dave out as if he's personally choosing to spite their favorite wrestler by not inducting them).
  • A big news story aired on TV in Puerto Rico building up the recent 25th anniversary show for WWC. The story paid tribute to all the wrestlers who were stars in WWC who have since passed away like Eddie Gilbert, Junkyard Dog, Andre The Giant, Dick Murdoch, etc. However, there was no mention of Bruiser Brody. Considering his death was the biggest story in the history of wrestling in that part of the world and Brody was the biggest foreign star there ever aside from Andre, it's a little conspicuous. But to this day, the reputation of WWC never fully recovered from Brody's murder and the man who killed him still works for the company, so no surprise that they've essentially wiped his name from their history.
  • After a decade of rumors, it appears Stampede Wrestling will be starting back up again in September under Bruce Hart. They plan to produce a weekly TV show to air in Calgary and Edmonton. Dave assumes it will be mostly local talent.
  • UFC is planning to run low budget shows for awhile until the PPV companies come to their senses. The way wrestling is these days, they figure the PPV companies can't keep singling out UFC for too much longer without it being obvious to everyone how unfair it is. Dave says that's the logical argument, but logic has never played a part in these decisions before so he isn't holding his breath.
  • Sandman still hasn't signed a new deal with ECW. In the meantime, Paul Heyman has been having Sandman do 3-minute clean jobs to Justin Credible at every show. Heyman is openly telling people that if Sandman doesn't re-sign, he will use the money Sandman would have made and attempt to buy out Chris Benoit's contract from WCW. This has gotten a lot of people within ECW excited and now a lot of people don't really care if Sandman stays or goes if they can get Benoit in exchange. Dave says this has almost no chance of actually happening because he's pretty sure Bischoff wouldn't go for it and besides, that's not how money works in the wrestling business (which Dave goes into detail on, but I'm really sleepy right now and it's numbers so....no). But it's made Heyman the babyface among the locker room and doesn't really help Sandman's bargaining position.
  • The New Jack/Eric Kulas (Mass Transit) case is still pending and has been continued until October. The D.A. is still deciding whether to prosecute or if this whole thing is more suited for civil court rather than criminal.
  • Tammy Sytch didn't appear at the most recent ECW show because she recently had some surgery done. For the crowd, they announced that WWF wouldn't allow her to be there (in reality, she's already been fired from WWF). Lance Storm cut a promo saying that WWF may be able to keep her from being at ringside, but they couldn't stop her from coming to his hotel room later.
  • Ultimate Warrior is still scheduled to debut on Nitro this week, but it's not like you'd know it. WCW hasn't even hinted that he will be showing up which is mind-boggling because he's only going to matter to the ratings for a couple of weeks. His biggest value to the ratings would be his debut, so why wouldn't they hype it up for weeks in advance? Surprises are good at times, but often the best bet is to give something the proper hype so you can get a ratings boost out of it. Also, he will only be known as The Warrior because there's still legal issues with WWF owning the name Ultimate Warrior.
  • Still no real update on the Flair situation. Everybody expects him to return eventually but not until after the next court hearing regarding his contract. Bischoff himself has reportedly told Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko that Flair is coming back because they're part of the new 4 Horsemen plans and they weren't thrilled with the idea of doing that gimmick without Flair involved. Speaking of Benoit...
  • Chris Benoit is reportedly extremely hesitant to sign a new contract with WCW. Right now, it seems that odds are he will be leaving when his contract expires next year. If he doesn't re-sign soon, WCW likely won't use him in the Horsemen angle.
  • Rey Mysterio Jr. injured his knee in a three-way match on Nitro and rolled out of the ring off camera for a bit before getting back in to finish the match. But he's expected to miss some time, no word on how severe it is yet though. Dave thinks that knee seems to give him trouble every time he lands which is getting scary to watch.
  • Lex Luger won the US title from Bret Hart on Nitro, but Dave suspects he'll be dropping it right back to Bret on Thunder in a couple of days (yup). Dave calls Bret a miracle worker for getting a pretty good 16-minute match out of Luger.
  • On Thunder last week, Scott Hall came out holding a drink in his hand as a joke about his alcohol issues. Dave says at this stage, it's no longer funny since Hall clearly has a real problem and it's pretty classless of WCW to turn it into an angle.
  • With WWF winning the ratings battle in recent weeks, there are a lot of people within WCW who want to push the product in a more risque direction to try to compete. They have talked of having the Nitro Girls in more revealing outfits since Sable has been such a big hit for WWF.
  • The WWF is getting into real estate. WWF (well, technically Titan Sports) was part of a group that were the top bidders for the Debbie Reynolds Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. There's still a lot of legal hoops to jump through but if it all goes through, the plan is for it to be turned into a WWF-themed hotel and casino (this almost happened, and they even started construction on it before abandoning the plan and selling it in 2000). WWF also has recently bid on a restaurant location in Times Square in New York City with the plan to open some sort of WWF-themed restaurant.
  • So many random interesting notes from Raw: David Heath debuted doing some sort of vampire gimmick "called something like Gang Grill." LOD came out but Hawk was doing his drugged out gimmick again (and much like the Scott Hall drink gimmick, this is pretty shitty on WWF's part given Hawk's well-known real life issues) and then Droz came out. Dave thinks they may be doing an angle to put Animal and Droz together as a team and get rid of Hawk. Austin did an interview and threw Michael Cole in the shower. "It sucks being him," Dave adds. Val Venis came out with John Wayne Bobbitt (of getting-his-dick-chopped-off-fame) in a stupid segment with Venis revealing his dick never got chopped off last week because of cold shrinkage.
  • There will be some sort of risque Sable video being released in November. Can't find it online, at least not while I'm at work. It might be available on....other....websites. But here's a WrestleCrap entry for it.
READ: WrestleCrap - Sable Unleashed
  • It's only been 2 weeks but the commentary on Sunday Night Heat sucks because Shane McMahon is apparently just horrible at it and his whole rich kid gimmick is getting old fast.
MONDAY: Warrior debuts in WCW, Observer Hall of Fame, Eddie Guerrero cuts worked-shoot promo on Eric Bischoff, and more...
submitted by daprice82 to SquaredCircle [link] [comments]

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