NBA Draft Recaps - 1982-91 And My All Time NBA Team!

Friday, July 31, 2009

The best thing that ever happened are the NBA Network's replays of old NBA Drafts at this time of the year. They start with '81, but I missed that this year (my DVR is limited to two shows at a time, and since one is always rolling on Bravo, competition is fierce for the second slot). Here are my thoughts about the '82 telecast.

-A recap of the rookie stars of '81 has still photographs of each of the ballplayers, the types of action photographs you'd expect - except they have what looks like a senior picture for Buck Williams. He's in a red sweater; his chin is in his hands; he's about to head to 3rd period English to read The Canterbury Tales.
-I miss the gruffness of Larry O'Brien, treating the fans in the Felt Forum like a middle school Principal, "if you don't quiet down we cannot get started with our assembly this afternoon. The Akron Fire Department rock and roll band is here to perform for you. Please be quiet."
-Jerry Buss is here; James Worthy is not. Fast forward 27 years and Buss can't be bothered to show up for the trophy ceremony for the Lakers title win. LA is the most jaded one time in a row winner ever; the Buss family sends a 19 year old to pick up the trophy; Coach Phil is just going to work home games; Kobe's going to pass twice per quarter; Adam Morrison's going to turn the channel in the middles of the third quarter.

-Terry Cummings is in jeans and a polo shirt looking like he just got off his shift at Baskin Robbins.

-Eddie Doucette, in the kiss and cry area, just told Bill Garnett that he didn't have a good jumper. Look for that in 2009:
Stu Scott (interviewing DeMar DeRozan): You were sort of a bust at USC, DeMar. And you have too many D's in your name given how you don't play any.

BEST THINGS LOUIE CARNESECCA SAID: "There are gonna be some surprises and there are gonna be some that's not so surprising." "Gimme that potato - I'll take it!"

 GUY WHO MAY BE DEAD: Keith Edmondson

Here came the weird academic portion of the draft - Edmondson said he couldn't attend the pre-draft camp in Hawaii because he didn't want his grades to slip. Sleepy Floyd said he had to take the LSAT because he wanted to go to law school. Paul Pressey cut off questions by asking Al Albert his views of the Malthusian catastrophe dilemma.
Stu Scott (to Brandon Jennings) What will you be doing to get ready for the leap to the NBA?

Jennings: Most importantly will be studying for the quantitative analysis section of the LSAT. I want to emulate Justice Floyd.

Doucett also went to his ironic nickname commentary bag selectively.

To Fat Lever: there's nothing Fat about you!

To Sleepy Floyd: there's nothing Sleepy about you!

To Lester the Molester Connor: best name in the draft! So weirdly appropriate!

Then Quentin Dailey beat Connor down for stealing what should have rightfully been his nickname.

Too bad I missed the '81 draft.

Doucette: Buck Williams! There's nothing Buck about you! Sharp sweater! When's your lunch period?

Sometimes, as I watch the old drafts, I take naps. Sure, a greater commitment to my craft would require that I rewatch the material that I slept through. But you will not see that here. When I fall asleep after Lancaster Gordon got picked, that's the end of my thoughts on the '84 draft.  No, I didn't sleep through 1983, they haven't aired it.  I mean the draft.  I was 12 in 1983 and slept through a healthy portion of that year.  I has Mrs. Gimbut for 7th grade English and that was a bad scene.  I got fined for the condition of my textbook when I returned it at year's end; it had obscenities in it; the truth is it was that way at the beginning of the year and I spent months worrying about what would happen when I turned it in.  They were particularly vulgar as well, scatological, the types of things that even at 12, I thought were a little beneath me.  I think I was less bothered that Mrs. Gimbut thought I was the kind of kid who wrote dirty words in his grammar book than that those would be the particular words which I thought amusing.    Like I was 1983 version of Beavis and/or Butthead. 

For the first time this week, I see a scenario where I could make use of Twitter. Not after Michael Jackson died, but after the Knicks took Kenny Walker in '86.

1984 Draft

-Moustache David Stern looks like he's just come back from a key party. Five will get you ten the phrase dirty sanchez has come out of that mouth.


-A good subtheme for the mid 80s drafts was the preponderance of draftees wearing tuxedos. Sort of like the Pete Rose/Kane run at Wrestlemania - out of nowhere, 3 straight years in this stretch - TUXEDO!! --

It was Olajuwon in '84. The Dream's 5th on pretty much everyone's all time center list, mine too - and that makes him the best center ever not to make the current version of my all time team:

C Wilt
PF Duncan
SF Bird
PG Magic
SG Jordan

C Kareem
C Russell
F Malone
G Oscar
G West
C Shaq
G Kobe

-Dream's on the next team, with Baylor and Stockton and Erving and Rick Barry and Barkley. Shoot, that gives me the top 18. 2 slots left for a top 20! Son of a bitch. This is clearly my ADD kicking in, my utter inability to see a potential for a list and not make that list...2 more for a top 20...Pettit. Yup. Pettit. Moses?

Moses or Admiral? Moses. Done.

-I liked Barkley in the maroon jacket; his mixture of weirdly naked honesty and total bullshit was evident in the kiss and cry interview, he says he has an "inability to play defense" which is three hundred steps further than any modern draft pick will go in knocking his own ball - and then immediately came back by saying "I feel I could learn a lot from Mark Iavaroni." If I ever meet Chuck, that's the question I'm gonna ask him "tell me about the life lessons you received from Mark Iavaroni."

-Jack Ramsey, 25 years after picking Sam Bowie over Jordan still draws paychecks for his basketball expertise, which is astounding. Sort of like Bill Buckner having a defensive drills video or Dick Cheney talking about foreign policy. At some point, you have to turn in your keys.

-Carnesecca, in his last draft, props up the Bowie over Jordan choice by saying it will allow the Blazers to move Mychal Thompson to his more natural power forward position. Way to look three moves ahead, Deep Blue. Thomspon was the top pick in '78, the year where the Celtics got Bird at #6 and sat on him for a year when he went back to school. GSW had #5 and took Purvis Short. That is my very, very, very first Warriors memory. And yet I remain a fan. This tells you a lot about me.

-Lancaster Gordon gets picked; Lancaster is a funny name - I had a student once named Lukie Pusey, he was related (brothers, I think) to the football player formerly named Luscious Pusey. They are large black men. Do with that what you will.

-Otis Thorpe responded to being picked by saying "The Day Has Arisen!" - which is one of the great, totally overlooked "Hello, World" sports quotations of all time.

-I always rooted for Patrick Ewing and those early 80s Georgetown teams. This wasn't acceptable in the early 80s; the Georgetown teams were clearly framed by the embryonic Sports Industrial Complex as the heels; John Thompson was big, black, angry guy and he had black angry players, and they wore grey and played in DC. I've written about this before, although maybe not in this space - trying to dig in the dirt to find the formation of my personality, which seems to be that of estranged outsider, viewing myself oppositionally - "I'm not you people." Politically and culturally I was as different from my surroundings as a teenager as was possible - and as an adult, the choices I've made have continued to place me as an outlier; if you see me in a meeting at work I'm sitting as alone and uncomfortable as if you saw me in the cafeteria in 8th grade. I don't know the chicken/egg on this, but sports certainly fed the machine - and when I'm 12 years old living in rural Ohio chanting "Let's Go Hoy-as!" it felt similar to talking about gay rights or the need for tax increases, both of which I also did at the time. This might just be lifelong social anxiety disorder; I'm thinking if that A&E show Obsessed did an hour on me at any point in my life I could pretty easily fit into that frame.

-BET Awards are tonight. That's unrelated, but I assume it's gonna be a thing. I watch them every year anyway in my annual attempt to catch up on hip hop culture "so that's autotune...gotcha." But tonight's gonna be a thing.

-Aw, man Wayman Tisdale caught me a little bit. He's got the "it's all in front of me" hitch in his stride, 24 years later it's all behind him. There's never been a single day in my life I didn't at least consider my own death. It fills me with abject terror. I completely get the afterlife/reincarnation myths; I want a way out too. There just isn't one.

-Benoit Benjamin apparently averaged 4.6 blocks a game at Creighton, I assume that's senior year and not career, but I'm not looking it up. Which seems crazy until you watch this clip - and he's blocking a bald dude's shot - not a shaved head dude - but a guy with a receeding hairline/male pattern combo that absolutely means he's 43 years old.


Detlef Schrempf.

-There's no evidence of this, because I said it to myself and no one else was around (see the above for how that might have happened) but there was a GSW game a couple of years after this where I said "I'd trade Washburn for Bias right damn now." Here's all you need to know about Chris Washburn, right after he's picked Bob Neal said that the way he notified NC St that he was declaring for the draft is that his mom called Jimmy V to tell him he wasn't coming back to school. It's never happened to me, but sometimes I'll hear a story about a parent calling the college about one of the students; and that always gives me the creepy chills. I don't claim any special powers, but I went away to school when I was 17 and there is literally no circumstance where I would have had my parents involved with my instructors. My bar on bad athlete behavior is crazy high; make me a GM and I'm going to make my living taking character risks, but this was just stupid.


Chuck Person. And better than that is the interview with Person's wife, who appears to still be in her wedding dress - they got married the Saturday before the draft - now, I am not the guy to rail about how divorce laws are unfair to men and that women are golddiggers and We Want Pre-Nup and all of that; that's not the world in which I live - but if you get married the Saturday before you are a lottery pick in the National Basketball Association you are just setting fire to money. The only way Chuck Person could have been dumber is if he celebrated getting drafted by overdosing on cocaine or if he took Chris Washburn third.

-Vecsey's reporting as almost done the Worthy/Scott to Dallas for Tarpley/Aguirre deal. Hard to imagine a thing like that getting forgotten. But it was 1986, the Poltergeist of NBA Drafts. I think somewhere in the middle of the second the Cavs took JoBeth Williams. Rodman went 27th and he isn't in the top half dozen of head cases from the 1986 NBA Draft.

-Pearl Washington looks a little like Beetlejuice from the Stern show. Pearl Washington is a bad as can and he knows he's the best.

-Hey John Salley - in 23 years you're gonna be in a Costa Rican jungle losing a game show to the guy who played Richie Valens.

-I was wrong about David Robinson. Whenever I'm asked "name something that you turned out to be really wrong about" I always think about Robinson; I thought he'd bust - he was a finesse guy and he had the growth spurt, and hadn't had top competition, and there was the prospect of the 2 year Navy deal (which Rick Barry says he should take - Rick Barry, analyzing the top pick in the NBA Draft says Robinson should leverage his Naval commitment so he can become a free agent; now, putting aside the merits of the advice, this again points to the differences in coverage of these events in just twenty years; if Jay Bilas said that the top pick in the 2009 draft should not sign with the team, should take a couple years off to become a free agent and make more money, the network would fire him before the 2nd pick; twenty years ago, at least one analyst was actually analyzing - now, everyone's in bed together; ESPN and the NBA are corporate partners; the same way all of the networks/newspapers/cable channels and the US government are corporate partners - when an actual question that is outside the accepted frame is asked at a White House press conference - it's not the Administration that needs to freeze out the questioner - the other journalists do that for them, they carry the water - if someone raises to Obama the hypocrisy of his condemnation of Iranian oppression while permitting our own, that person is excised from the realm of mainstream debate - the league doesn't have to do it, ESPN will do it for them)

-Anyway, I thought Robinson would bust - and I remember this interview from the draft where he said he was "learning to love basketball" - and all I saw were red lights. He was passionless! Where's the fury and the fire and the snorting!

Yeah, I was wrong. And not wrong because it just worked out that I wasn't wrong. I was wrong because none of that stuff matters. The yelling, the screaming, the crying - it's all bullshit. Kobe doesn't win the title because he juts out his jaw and "wants it more than he ever has" - Kobe wins because he's real good and Orlando's not. That's it. Sometimes the screamers win, sometimes the quiet guys win. Sometimes it's Leader Quarterback Swaggering Guy who raises the trophy, and sometimes it's Eli Manning, who I once called Johnny Drama. The yelling and slapping the floor is fun to watch, but it doesn't matter. Fortunately, I learned that, so the corollary to this is when Tim Duncan (another finesse, passionless center headed for San Antionio) was being debated before his draft several years later, I was out front in saying the guy was going to be an all time superpremium star. It's good to learn things.

-Neal and the whole TBS crew rips the Kevin Johnson pick. They were wrong. If I can do more of these (particularly in this century where it started to emerge) there's a theme that would develop in criticizing draft picks - you don't criticize big school guys who stayed at least 3 years, 'cause they know how to win and why draft on potential (Vitale's still in this pocket. That guy is embarassing.) and that meant for awhile ripping all the high school picks (go to school! They need to go to college! How can you take Dwight Howard over Emeka Okafor!) and then it became about ripping the European guys (they're soft, don't you know) and it never seems to matter how many Trajan Langdon's there are or how many Pau Gasol's there are - every year (one year, it was a TNT year, I recall Barkley just killing, just killing as culturally soft the entire continent of Europe, which falls under the Iavaroni side of Barkleytalk) you'll hear a run of "take Tyler Hansbrough! Tyler Hansbrough's a proven winner! A winner! A Tar Heel! Wooooo.

None of that explains why they botched the KJ analysis. And this year I thought both Ty Lawson and DeJuan Blair, big school vets, were really underdrafted, so don't get too locked into anything I'm saying.

Except for that Washburn stuff. That stuff's dead on.

Second Team:

C Olajuwon, Moses, Robinson

F Barkley, Baylor, Erving, Barry, Pettit, Havlicek

G Stockton, Isiah, Cousy

In my head the last guy out is Elvin Hayes. What about KG? KG's better than Cousy but I need a third guard. KG over Hondo? KG over Robinson? Probably, right? Yeah, KG over Robinson, I don't need that third center. What about that 3rd guard - Cousy over GP and Kidd? GP, extra underrated by the way. GP or Kidd, first of all, let's establish is it GP or Kidd? Kidd couldn't shoot or play defense like Payton. GP or Kidd? Either one over Cousy? Where are we on this?

Note that I've missed two drafts - NBA TV does show the '81 draft, but I didn't catch it this year; maybe next - and I've never seen the '83 draft listed (that's Ralph's draft; I can't offhand recall ever seeing it, so that would be a fun watch - I was a big Ralph kid, I think the first hoops meme that I ever bought into was the all court big man; everyone who ever played even one pickup game understood intuitively that there's a tradeoff in basketball - size is good, 'cause closer to the basket makes hitting shots easier to do - but ability to handle the ball is good, 'cause you do have to go up and down. But then came Ralph - taller than anyone and he had handle. When I was 11, that was superfreaky.

As it turned out, Ralph spent some time on the GSW bench before he wrapped up, napping next to Wash.


Craig Sager (before the cross dressing): What do you know about Phoenix?

Tim Perry: It's Hot! It was a hundred thirteen out there!

More upset than Perry was Dell Curry (thanks for your boy, Dell - unless we deal him, then the hell with both of you) on location at the Hornets first draft party as he had just been taken in the dispersal draft; you could see his gears turning as Charlotte made Rex Chapman their first ever pick and then TBS threw to Curry, "so - what do you think about Rex Chapman."

He thinks they just took an off guard is what he thinks. He thinks a white star off guard from UK has been taken by an expansion team and now Dell Curry's got to fight for minutes on a 15 win team.

-Rony Seikaly had great hair. He was the Greek JFK Jr.  Definitely the most spongeworthy of Orangemen busts.
-There's a "bull-shit" chant after the Bulls take Perdue; that's curious NY fan behavior and I'm unsure of its motivation - draft watchers know there are 2 types of picks NY fans regularly boo (1) picks by NY teams and (2) picks that swipe players away from NY teams.

So this has to fall into one of the auxillary categories - (3) picks who NY fans believe are overdrafted (4) picks by teams NY fans hate - you're tempted to say this is (4) but it's really too early for full on Ewing/Jordan era Knick/Bull hate -- so I'm going to say it's a Tyler Hansbrough pick, that they didn't yet have the "over-rated" chant available to them in '88 and the wave somehow didn't seem applicable, so they went with "bull-shit."

If Nellie deals Steph Curry in that Amare trade; I'm going to chant "Fire Russo" at my TV.

-Why did I remember Jeff Grayer as a white guy? Was it because Fred Hoiberg was white? Was Fred Hoiberg so white that I decided everyone associated with Fred Hoiberg was also white? Jeff Hornacek was white. Was Marcus Fizer white? Let's decide together that Marcus Fizer was also white.

-I enjoy the David Stern "you people are such rubes" smile as he approaches the podium - Vince McMahon has always had the same smile "you are the dumbest people on the face of the earth, thank you for the house in Boca."

-Rick Barry is way, way too excited for the prospective Clipper lineup of DannyManning/CharlesSmith/ReggieWilliams/GaryGrant/mystery off guard. And Joe Wolf coming off the bench! The '88 Clips are a dreamworld of magic.


Am I recalling correctly that some type of emotional condition happened with Pervis Ellison - a depression, a social anxiety disorder (which, given his nickname was Never Nervous, would have qualified as irony) 'cause if there's ever been a number one overall pick who looked more downcast, it eludes me. Ellison's downright glum after taken by the Kings. And his picture has scratches on it -- okay, there's a thing Turner did with the insert photos of the guys with this draft - they had these cat scratches on them, like the cast of In Living Color was getting drafted (who goes third in that draft? Carrey/Foxx are 1-2 given future events, I guess Damon has to go third, right?)

-Everyone's got hats! Hats! Glorious hats! Hats began to pop up the year before, but now, every pick, handed a hat - look at all the hats! Shiny Arsenio Hall suits and aerodynamic haircuts are starting to emerge. The 90s are coming!

-Bob Neal just compared the NBA draft to a political convention, because the fun part is "seeing who is going to get nominated next." Bob Neal has clearly never attended a political convention.

-Randy White is Mailman II, in case you were unaware. He comes from a small town, he went to LaTech, he has similar size/speed numbers and similar senior year statistics. He even worked out with Malone's trainer! He's almost a clone! If White had an extra 14,000 rebounds and knocked up a 13 year old girl he'd be going to the hall of fame too.


That convention metaphor apparently percolated in Neal's head all year as he opened up with it in '90, the NBA Draft is like a convention because you're "not exactly sure how it's all going to turn out." I'm trying to imagine Bob Neal on his couch watching a political convention, "It's gonna be Dukakis! They're gonna go with Dukakis! Over-rated! Over-rated! Clap-clap-clapclapclap."

-Rick Barry just called this the Top Gun draft. Is it filled with latent homosexuality puncuated by an appearance by then do-able Meg Ryan? Will the Heat take Rick Rossovich in the 2nd? If Derrick Coleman and Snapper Jones burst into You Lost Than Loving Feeling then it's all going to make sense.

(Meg Ryan raises the possibility of two separate lists - celebrities who you once wanted to sleep with but now no longer do - or celebrities who you still would sleep with just because they're famous, like you were a 20 year old girl nailing Jimmy Page in 2009.  I'm gonna say...Meg Ryan's on the second list.)

-Jones grabs Gary Payton's earring, says Charles Barkley has an earring and that means GP might be a good leader. Raises more questions than it answers. An analyst wouldn't touch a ballplayer's ear bling today; and it's good to note that in 1990 seeing a ballplayer with an earring was enough of a curiosity that its taken note of. I wonder when that happened with tattoos - Rodman's the start of that right - Rodman got the tattoos and it was framed as a sign of his emotional instability, and now there's more ink on the average NBA court than in the entire back catalog of Hi and Lois strips.

-Denver takes the artist formerly known as Chris Jackson. It was near the end of the 95-96 season when he made his national anthem protest; that was the end of his 6th year with the Nuggets, in that year he had career highs in ppg, apg, minutes, and steals/gm - the following year he was a part timer in Sacramento and never started even one more game after that. There's only one type of political speech allowed in American sports, and that is God Bless The Greatest Country on the Face of the Earth; God's Chosen Country, America! You stand for the patriotic song and you remove your hat and don't even think about going to get a hot dog in the 7th inning stretch at Yankee Stadium! If you don't stand here and recognize that God Blesses America you get out of this (partially publically subsidized) stadium. (edit, completely coincidentally, I just heard the podcast from Dan Patrick's radio show today; he and Rich Eisen talked about not only this topic, but of the specific example of Abdul-Rauf getting his house burned down after his anthem protest. In other places, I've acknowledged my fundamental bafflement that someone could construe the United States of America as requiring compelled political speech, and would be moved to burn down someone's house if not getting that political speech from another. Patrick/Eisen were talking about Jim Brown's criticism of Tiger Woods in the recent Real Sports piece - their take was it's not the 60s anymore and sports fans don't want politics mixing with sports. The analysis is wrong on every level. Sports and politics always mix. National anthems, subsidized stadiums, shows of establishment support like politicians throwing out first balls - shows of military force like the Blue Angels, shows of support for military actions are regularly requested at stadiums, American flag pins are still worn by the CBS NFL pregame crew on Sundays, the corporate hegemony in American life is upheld as good and right and beyond question - sports are drenched in politics, the messages are just so ubiquitous that we don't take note of them. 70,000 people all being compelled to stand as one and salute the state flag is a political act; we don't do it before movies, we don't do it at concerts; we don't do it at the comedy club - we do it at sporting events and it's done without question. And in the 60s the same type of sports fan who would hate an athlete who was outspoken politically today hated the athletes who were outspoken then - it's instructive to read the contemporaneous articles on Bill Russell - or on the Smith/Carlos protest. Muhammad Ali was not beloved hero to all; he was the most polarizing figure in the history of American sport. But he wasn't just hated - he was also beloved - and that's what the sports media misses - yes, there is a sports fan (and maybe most of them) who would hate a high profile activist athlete, a real counterculture, anti-establishment political voice in the Jim Brown tradition - but, just like the 60s, there is a not insignificant number who yearn to hear something more substantive from a hero than "buy my shoes." In a classroom lesson I'll often say something like "the most important thing I need you to get from today is______." If there's one thread that runs through my thought about sports and politics - it's that what mainstream media calls political is only a fraction of what is actually political - the far more constant, pervasive, insistent political messages embedded in sport are the ones hidden in plain sight.)

-Dennis Scott says he's going to give Orlando "100% every night even if it's cold or hot."

Have to admire that kind of postal service like commitment to his craft.

-Has there ever been a more cartoonish, over the top looking heel than Dwayne Shintzius? I'm half expecting him to get drafted by Cobra Kai. On a totally unrelated note, Mike Awesome really meant to kill himself, right? It wasn't an autoerotic asphyxiation thing like David Carradine and Karl Malden?


-I would have made the Owens/Richmond deal too. Now, I was 20 and had the mancrush on all-court big men, as earlier noted - so it's understandable if I was blinded by the Billy Owens pyrite. Nellie didn't have any of those excuses.  I hate the Warriors.  They're gonna give up on Brandan Wright and he's gonna be a good player and the Nellie apologists will say "well, he needed the change of scenery, sure was nothing Nellie could do!"

Meanwhile we win 40 games and spend another year going nowhere. 

-'Member how UNLV was everything that was wrong with everything? The ultimate poster kids for a dirty, tainted program?

"We decided we wanted to stay to get our degrees"

-Stacey Augmon, talking about the UNLV seniors.

Manny Ramirez Hearts Steroids

Thursday, July 30, 2009

(I wrote a lot about steroids at the other place - spoiler alert, I don't care about them - Manny got hit again today, something I suggested might happen when he got hit the first time. Here was that piece along with a couple of others, all about steroids, all right in a row.)

I'm giving a Critical Thinking Exam (I'll need to rethink my approach to this course) which leaves me some room to offer a thought or two about the issues of the moment.

1. Manny Ramirez apparently "let down" the Dodger organization, if the sports media is to be believed. Dodger owner Frank McCourt requested that Manny address his teammates this week, given the degree to which he has disappointed the entire city of Los Angeles.

This is a popular and peculiar spin. Assuming for the moment that the Dodger organization did not have good reason to suspect Ramirez of using steroids (or of trying to get pregnant, given the actual drug he was found to have taken; and that assumption is a little dubious; I was of the mind that one of the reasons for the soft market for Ramirez was informed speculation that he might be one of the 103 remaining names on the PED fail list that got ARod) we do believe, right, that he took those "performance enhancers" while a member of the Dodgers, in fact, almost certainly during the totality of his Dodger career.

Now, since the accepted narrative has been this - Manny comes to LA last season, hits everything in sight, raising the play of his teammates and carrying them into the NLCS - it's fair to say the Dodgers benefited from his performance.

That same performance that was "artificially enhanced".

Why is all the shame and punishment for this (and Ramirez is being punished, he's losing almost 8 million bucks with this suspension, significantly more than, say, if he had authorized or carried out torture in the name of the United States of America, which, apparently, is perfectly fine if you have what you believe to be a good reason. Unlike when everyone else in human history has done it apparently, as they all tortured for reasons that even they knew were insufficient) individualized when the rewards for the cheating were collective?

How are the Dodgers the victims and not the perpetrators?

If Manny took drugs.

And drugs enhance performance

And Manny performed for the Dodgers

Then the Dodgers performance was artificially enhanced.

Shouldn't they be fined? Shouldn't we be talking about taking away their gate receipts, their playoff shares?

Instead - what we're talking about is how they have been victimized.

How does that follow?

On KNBR, John Feinstein, fitting perfectly into the smartguy/goodwriter/entirely, laughably hyperbolic about steroids meme stated, not argued, but stated, that Barry Bonds's home run records were "fake"- that it didn't really happen.

Did the Pittsburgh Steelers win those Super Bowls in the 70s?

Because their offensive linemen sure have a way of dropping dead at early ages.

I don't recall ever hearing about athletic performance aided by stealing signals or taking speed, or getting shot up with epidurals or all manner of extra-legal activity ever once being thought of as having not happened.

The only time in sports we pretend something didn't happen is when the NCAA strips away someone's wins (is my guy Tim Floyd in trouble? (edit, yeah, looks like he was) A grand seems like a cheap price to get OJ Mayo - to me that sounds like a helluva deal) and even then we don't take it seriously; I'm not sure if the Fab Five officially has a final four appearance, but Michigan sure sold a helluva lot of crazy long shorts, and Chris Webber, who escaped prison time because the witness against him died, is perfectly comfortable talking hoops on my tv every night (I picked the Cavs before the season (edit, to be fair, I had them playing the Lakers in the finals) like I picked Carolina before the season, just saying) and I don't think anyone's returning any of the money.

Except for Manny. Manny's not going to get 8 million in checks from the Dodgers.

Who am I supposed to feel sorry for again?

Why demonize Manny Ramirez while labeling the beneficiaries of his performance enhacement, the Dodgers, as victims?

Perhaps it's this - Big time corporate sport (hey, that acronym could be BCS! Fun!) supports authoritarianism, accepting the prevailing social structure, sublimating yourself for good of the corporation. The dominant social order must be protected – it’s not the Pentagon, not the White House, whose pro torture policies lead to My Lai or Abu Ghraib, it’s a few “bad apples” – it’s not a systematic failure intrinsic to capitalism which causes an economic meltdown, it’s some greedy bankers and irresponsible borrowers – it’s not the Sports Industrial Complex, its leagues and media grown rich and powerful by orders of magnitude over the past two decades – it’s a handful of immoral cheating baseball players.

We're good at isolated incidents of corruption. We can find Nixon's tapes. We can catch Shoeless Joe. We're not good at evaluating our systems, our patterns of belief. We can punish Mike Vick. "Don't put dogs on a rape stand. That's wrong." We're less good at considering our worldview where we sublimate animals just because we have the physical ability to do so.

(I hit the animal theme a lot; for two reasons; one, it is the area of my life where I am most immoral; I don't know that I have a bright line to draw, but if morality is a continuum, it's the place where I am least steady in reconciling my personal behavior with what I believe to be true about the universe. There are aspects of my character where I am less than who I want to be; when I take an inventory, there are tradeoffs that I make on a regular basis that do not cover me in glory. I have weaknesses. I don't perceive them as moral failures though, not in the way I do the issue with animals, for which I can't raise a defense any stronger than I'm a captive to my culture. And the second reason is, if I catch a medical science break and live another hundred years, I'll probably see the intergalactic revolution, and I'm hoping to curry favor with my future animal overlords.)

98 high school students died of injuries directly attributable to high school football between 1982-2005.

How many high school steroid related deaths were there in that time?

Where is the congressional inquiry about Friday Night?

And what about this:

In 1996, Brady Anderson hit 50 home runs and slugged .637 in 579 ABs.

In the almost 6000 ABs he had before and after, he had a total of 150 additional home runs and he never slugged as high as .480 in any other season. In a 15 year big league career, over 20% of his career value, by WARP, came in 1996.

Here is Anderson on his workout routine:

I was taking like 25 grams at once and then running back out to the field,” he says of his use of creatine that spring.

“Who knows how much my body absorbed...however much my body could absorb, it was absorbing. I was going through a lot.”

“I always wondered what he would bring into spring training. He’s very much into working out. Even at his age now, when people are physically deteriorating, he seems to be going the other way in some ways. His body fat seems to be down. His explosiveness seems to be going up. He can dunk a basketball off of two feet. I remember having hops when I was younger, and you to try to hold on to them. But you don’t have any when you get older. But he seems to be someone that figures it out.”

Oh, sorry. That last quote wasn't from but about Anderson. From his old roommate. Cal Ripken. You know, the guy who played in 2632 consecutive games. 10 years worth of which were with Brady Anderson, who Ripken has described as his best friend.

In that same John Feinstein interview on KNBR radio in San Francisco, the one where he said the Barry Bonds home runs weren't real - he said the one thing in baseball he clings to is Ripken's streak.

Let's get Cal Ripken in front of that grand jury.

Do I care? Nope? But when Ripken says things like this about ARod just this week:

"I really want to know why," Ripken said Thursday night at a banquet in Florida, according to the Palm Beach Post. "I'm going to make it my business to find out."

...then I think it becomes required of him to reveal what he has to reveal about the illegal activity that went on in his clubhouse.

And what about Nolan Ryan?

When he was 42 years old, winning 16 games with a 3.20 ERA, 43 years old, winning 13 with a 3.44 ERA, and 44 years old - with an ERA under 3.00 and a 12-6 record -

He did all of that in a hitters ballpark. Arlington. As a Texas Ranger.

He played with Palmeiro. And Sosa. And Kevin Brown. And Juan Gonzalez. And Pudge. (and Julio Franco, who still might be playing ball somewhere as he hits 50 years old - and Jamie Moyer, who now is how old Ryan was then and still going out for the Phils every 5th day) and Kenny Rogers and Ruben Sierra (ever looked at his career numbers?) And Brian Downing. And Kevin Reimer. Even Steve Balboni. What do we know about those guys?

And Jose Canseco. He got there in '92. Did Canseco bring the steroid culture from Oakland?

Or did he find one already flourishing in Texas?

Ryan's last year was '93. Also a Ranger in '93 - Billy Ripken.

You want to rip off the band aid, then let's do it.

What did you do and when did you do it?

Hell, rampant, crazy speculation is superfun! I've totally misjudged the BBWA! Let's start the congressional hearings!

This is from the September 11, 1985 edition of the New York Times:

Asked by the defense lawyer whether he had used the amphetamine pills, known
among players as ''greenies,'' Berra at first said no, then later said yes. Q. Where did you get them?. A. From Bill Madlock. You could get them from Willie Stargell.

Q. So Willie Stargell gave you amphetamine pills? A. Yes. Q. When did Willie Stargell give you amphetamine pills?

A. When he was playing with us. It could be on any given day when I asked him for one. On days when I would ask him, yes.

That's Dale Berra testifying in federal court that Willie Stargell gave him speed.

Willie Stargell's in the Hall of Fame. If there was a national debate about his candidacy - if Willie Stargell was hauled in front of Congress to apologize to the parent of some kid who got crazy hopped up on speed and killed himself (or who couldn't stop singing "I'm so Excited") perhaps someone could find the youtube clip of that testimony.

John Milner testified that as a young Met, he took a liquid amphetamine, "red juice" from Willie Mays's locker. Dwight Gooden wrote in his autobiography that 10 Mets regularly took speed; David Wells wrote in his bio that players had "season long stockpiles" of speed; in Ball Four, Jim Bouton talked about players getting jars of 500 pills. Even sainted Hank Aaron admitted to using them "one time" in his autobiography.

Illegal drugs. Illegal performance enhancing drugs.

Here's what I want to see the next time there is a former athlete on television wearing his righteous pants - I want him to tell me every drug he's ever put in his body. All of them.

In fact, I want Mike Lupica to tell me the same thing.

Has he ever popped an adderall to crank out another finger wagging essay?

Did he take a bennie as an undergrad to finish a term paper?

And more than that - I don't really want them all to have to say it on TV - I want them saying it under oath. Because that's the trap they set for Barry Bonds - let's bring every athlete and sportswriter in front of a grand jury and ask them about any drug they've ever taken ever - either they'll open up the windows to their lives or we got 'em. Let's ask about teammates and co-workers. I want to see the bodies hit the floor. What did you know and when did you know it?

You know that new documentary that outs the conservative closeted politicians like Florida's Governor Charlie Crist? That's the kind of thing we're talking about. These are not athletes accused of harming other people; these are not torturers for goodness sake (otherwise, the correct response would apparently be "let's look to the future") they took drugs without prescriptions. If you're Larry Craig and you spend your political life opposed to gay rights - when you turn out to be soliciting creepy toilet sex you're gonna get slapped.

That's what we need here. I want every single ex athlete who has criticized a ballplayer for steroids to have to get called before this grand jury. I want to know everything about his life and about the lives of everyone he ever played with.

If we're going to do it, then let's do it.

Giants/Phils Preview

Sort of a big series coming up.

Tim Alderson will probably not have the career we (meaning Giants fans) wanted him to 24 hours ago, but I am really surprised we couldn't get more for him than a guy with a career .336 OBP.

I don't hate Sanchez; in the context of the current NL, there really aren't that many better 2B. 

But I thought we could get an actual bat for Alderson.

Phils come in for 4.  Here's how it sets up:

Lincecum, shockingly, has good success against the Phils (Howard 2-9, Rollins 1-11, Utley 2-11, Victorino 4-15). 

They haven't seen Sadowski and there aren't many ABs against Sanchez.  Feliz is 3-12 against Zito, Ibanez 8-47, but Rollins is 4-10 and Utley's 3-5. 

The other way - you know who's had good success against Blanton is Garko - 5-14, 3 bombs.  Winn's 3-10 with 4 walks. Molina however is 2-15 and Uribe's 1-7. 

Molina also hasn't hit Chad Durbin, 1-8, but Uribe's 4-10.  Scott Eyre comes back to the Bay; Edgar is 4-5 against him.  I don't know what they'll do with their rotation, who we'll miss and who sits with Lee coming in - but who it would have been nice to have against Hamels might be Richie, he's 5-12 lifetime.  Renteria and Winn are both 3-14.  Edgar's 4-14 against Lee; Rowand (when's he back?) is 6-22.  Winn (yikes!) should maybe sit against Lee, he's 2-19. Uribe however is 10-35 with 2 homers.  Renteria's never hit Lidge, he's 3-14.  Lopez goes tonight - maybe Molina should sit for Whiteside - he's 1-15 career and Renteria should join hin, he's 2-16 while Uribe's 3-8.  Winn's 2-14.  Lopez is maybe not our best matchup.

We've hit Madson a little bit.  Renteria's 4-9 and Winn's 3-8.  Winn's almost the only guy you want against Moyer (doesn't it seem like the Jamie Moyer's always mean a 6 hit shutout?) Aurilia's 1-12, Molina's 11-48, Renteria's 3-13, Uribe's 2-17.  But Winn is 10-25 and Rowand's 7-18. 

I'd take a split.  Go Giants.     

Repost: The Michael Jackson Blogs

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

(Michael Jackson died.  I wrote about it at the other place.)

Here's what would have been great to hear from the Governor of South Carolina, somewhere in his litany of apologies to dudes named Cubby:

I've done a lot of moralizing in the past; I voted to impeach Bill Clinton, I said that lying within a marriage broke God's law; I explicitly campaigned as upholding Christian values - maybe I shouldn't have done any of that, not because I failed to live up to those beliefs, but because the connection between those beliefs and good government is tenuous. The truth is people can completely botch their personal lives and still be good at their jobs. In fact, most titans of public life have had disasterous patches that just went unexplored in earlier times. The combination of the media's neverblinking eye and our choice to hurl incredible invective has turned personal shortcomings into scarlet letters.

These are challenging times for the United States, and perhaps we need a paradigm shift. It could start today. I had sex with a woman who wasn't my wife. I don't think it's any of your business. Who I have sex with doesn't in any way impact how I do my job. I shouldn't have gone missing the past couple of days, but I needed a vacation anyway. You take days off. So do I.

And just like who I sleep with isn't any of your business - who you sleep with isn't any of mine. I've opposed gay marriage, and people of my political sensibility have long opposed attempts to end discrimination against homosexuals in the same way that, under the color of states rights, we used to stand in the way of attempts to end discrimination based on race.

Life is short. And often ugly. One day you stand triumphantly, the biggest celebrity in the world, the next you're on TMZ, being carried out of your house on a gurney, dead at 50 years old. We all triumph. We all fail. We all love. We all hurt. We should stop condemning each other and instead just support each other when we can and leave each other alone otherwise.

In debates about the morality of homosexuality, mainstream media permits as viable biblical passages that condemn those acts as an abomination. It is to my advantage that pundits will not be allowed on Fox News or CNN tonight to serious argue that I should be stoned for having committed adultery, as is commanded by Leviticus. It is time that we stop acting like a theocracy. We are not Iran; we are not to be governed by anyone's superstition. Not yours. Not mine.

I am committing myself to the following principle - my personal life belongs to me and yours belongs to you. When we come together as a society, in public life, we will do so in a way that is mutually supportive and minimally intrusive.

I have been wrong and I apologize. Not to my wife; I will apologize to her in private, because our relationship has nothing whatsoever to do with you. I have been wrong in much of my legislative history and political rhetoric. I will support measures to end discriminations based on who one chooses to love. I will immediately stop the drumbeat that my personal religious views should be yours and should guide the way our country is governed. I would not want to be treated in the fashion that my governance has treated others.

Something like that.

Dying is the best thing that could have happened to Michael Jackson, at least from a legacy perspective, and it would have been better had he died in 1992.

But it's not too late, the folksinger Dan Bern in "Too Late to Die Young" sings:

the day that Elvis died it was like a mercy killing

America breathed a sigh of relief

Elvis wasn't Elvis anymore in 1977; he was a joke and only a joke, a Hollywood Squares punch line; he was sideburns and percocet and flexible waistband jumpsuits. His career arc wasn't going to improve; age would have just given him more time to devalue his brand.

Like Brett Favre.

But fast forward 20 years - and Elvis gets to be all things to all people. He can be young, hip swiveling Elvis, he can be on postage stamps, he can have pilgrimages to Graceland. He's transcended his immediate circumstance of 1977 and the full flavor of his life can be viewed in broader context.

(and commodified, of course, Elvis is less person than product, he's Santa Claus or Mickey Mouse, more myth than man, but he only gets to be that guy 'cause he'd dead.)

Michael Jackson's gonna get to be that guy, I think. Not today, 'cause he didn't die in 1992, he died yesterday, and for the past 15 years he's been more freak than star, his brand eroded largely at his own hand. Anyone younger than 30 sees Jackson far more as sideshow than superstar.

But that's gonna change. And it'll happen quicker than you think. Something struck me few months ago while watching American Idol; they did a Michael Jackson theme week; the most watched tv show in the US spent 2 hours doing nothing but singing Michael Jackson songs. Apparently, Fox is going to repeat this Monday.

What struck me was how it wasn't about pedophilia; Fox made a corporate decision that, in 2009, Michael Jackson's personal sins didn't overtake his professional merit. Absent a litany of highly disseminated and widely believed new information that comes out now - the summer of 2009 will be the worst it gets, the low ebb going forward, for Jackson's persona.

Consider this - ESPN didn't do a 2 hour tribute to OJ Simpson last year. His football accomplishments have been subsumed by the homicides. But Jackson still got to be Jackson to enough of an extent for the American Idol tribute.

And like Elvis, as we get further away from today, Jackson gets to be young again. He can be Jackson 5 Michael and the Wiz Michael and Off the Wall Michael and moonwalking Michael. The full flourish of his accomplishments gets to be viewed, and when there's money to be made, he can be mythologized, the sins receding in our public memory.

Michael Jackson was done. Broke. Headed toward a diasterous and probably truncated comeback tour. All that was left for him were drugs and the Vegas shows, and when he died, there wouldn't be anything that looked like grief.

But not anymore. Now he gets to be Michael Jackson again.

I mean, he doesn't care. He's dead.

But we get him back.  There's shit to buy, after all.  And when there's buying to be done, we'll be there. 

William Appleman Williams's The Tragedy of American Diplomacy is the most influential work to come out of the "Wisconsin school" of American historical interpretation; his narrative of United States as empire is the pivotal work done in New Left historiography. His work has been re-released in honor of its 50th anniversary. Williams's view that essentially, while imperalist, the American establishment has largely been motivated by a genuine belief that American global economic and military domination was good for the world - that the US was building the globe's first beneficent empire was considered radical, dangerous, and sympathetic to communism when it was first published (and that was by the liberals like Arthur Schlesinger), but now seems overly generous in light of the past two and a half decades. It's worth noting that the thesis of US as empire was considered incendiary when published in 1959, but barely more than a year later the outgoing Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower, coined the term "military industrial complex" in his farewell address; Ike warning that the amount of potential profit to be made by the defense industry would make war economically desirable to corporate America in future generations. Read that speech sometime; if Obama gave that speech he would be burned in effigy on Fox News.
Michael Jackson was the King of Pop.

Here are the Top 10 Michael Jackson songs or passages from The Tragedy of American Diplomacy
10. "I'll Be There"
-An upset in its relatively low ranking, partially owing to my disinclination to like kid singers, partially because there's a law of diminishing returns with this song and I just have heard it as many times as I need to.

9. "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough"
-Disco Michael is historically underrated - and Don't Stop had cowbell, the most magnificent of all the bovine instruments.

8. History is a mirror in which, if we are honest enough, we can see ourselves as we are as well as the way we would like to be.

7. It is only by abandoning the cliches that we can even define the tragedy. When we have done that, we will no longer be acquiescing in the deadly inertia of the past...realism goes nowhere unless it starts at home.

6. "Rock With You"
-When you consider Don't Stop... and not on this list but still dancetastic Workin' Day and Night, my vote goes to Off the Wall as best Jackson album.

5. "Smooth Criminal"
-Is this song on my Blackberry? Yes. Was it there before last Thursday? Yes? I want to know if Annie is going to be okay and I'm unashamed to admit it. Bad's underappreciated; I underappreciated it - at the time it was just snowed under by all of the hype; Michael was the biggest star in the world in 1983, to a level that's hard to communicate in a world where everyone's entertainment options are so personalized; Thriller was just so ridiculously massive that the expectations for the follow couldn't possibly be met. They weren't met, but Smooth Criminal and Dirty Diana and The Way You Make Me Feel would all be on my list of 20 best MJ tracks. So, by the way, speaking of underappreciated Jackson tracks, would be "State of Shock."

4. Here is a primary source of America's troubles in its economic relations with the rest of the world. For in expanding its own economic system throughout much of the world, America has made it very difficult for other nations to retain any economic independence...American corporations exercise very extensive authority, and even commanding power in the political economy of {developing} nations. Unfortunately, there is an even more troublesome factor in the economic aspect of American foreign policy. That is the firm conviction, even dogmatic belief, that America's domestic well-being depends upon sustained, ever-increasing overseas economic expansion. Here is a convergence of economic practice with intellectual analysis and emotional involvement that creates a dangerous propensity to define the essentials of American welfare in terms of activities outside the United States. Chamone.  (that one turned into sort of a blend).

3. "Who's Lovin' You"
-This contradicts my previous claim to dislike songs by children, as the Jackson 5 version of this Smoky Robinson song was released 40 years ago when Michael was 11 - but my predispostion toward disliking this kind of thing should be testament to how ridiculously great it is. Michael Jackson was a prodigy. Like Jodie Foster and Alexander the Great.

2. {The belief in required overseas expansion} is dangerous for two reasons. First, it leads to an indifference toward, or a neglect of, internal developments...And second, this strong tendency to externalize the sources or causes of good things leads naturally enough to an even greater inclination to explain the lack of good life by blaming it on foreign individuals, groups, and nations. This kind of externalizing evil serves not only to antagonize the outsiders, but further intensify the American determination to make them over in the proper manner or simply push them out of the way.

1. Billie Jean

Another One on Professor Gates

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Over the weekend I wrote about Henry Louis Gates. I shouldn't be, given that I did just hear a US Senator do a Ricky Ricardo impression during the confirmation hearings of the first Hispanic ever nominated for the US Supreme Court, but I've been surprised by the degree of apologizing that seemingly moderate thinking people are doing for the behavior of the police. Hell, apologizing is too weak - I just heard Chicago attorney Lester Munson on Dan LeBatard's Miami radio show essentially say that Gates was uppity.

He had met Gates; Gates had that "Harvard arrogance" and he could see a scenario where that arrogance could have manifested into arrest being reasonable in this circumstances.

Honestly - and this tells you how far I am from the current "everyone's a little at fault" view that we've settled on as a society about this - if Gates had cut a full on Rocky III promo, said that he would find the cop's wife and show her what a real man was like, that still wouldn't give rise to an arrest in a free society (note, that's different than saying people aren't arrested in circumstances like Gates - although prominent white people aren't - and it's different than saying disorderly conduct doesn't provide legal cover for the actions of that cop and cops all over this country - I'm talking about a free society, not the United States of America in 2009 which jails its citizens at a rate higher than any industrialized nation in the history of mankind).

I'm not sure, absent an actual threat, if there's any pure speech that should give rise to being arrested in this factual circumstance. Students of mine want to go the other way - I keep hearing the same refrain "you shouldn't talk back to a cop - what do you expect the cop to do?"

Which is good practical advice - but what does that have to do with law?

I find myself in the curious position of agreeing with, of all people, Tucker Carlson (except for his version of the uppity black guy slur that starts this quote) from today's Washington Post:

So I wasn't surprised by what happened in Cambridge. Yes, Gates is a self-righteous whiner who probably cries racism every time he gets the wrong order at Starbucks. What happened to him likely had little to do with race, but it's still appalling. His crime? Failing to be polite to a policeman. Except that's not a crime, or shouldn't be, and the rest of us ought to do all we can to make sure it doesn't become one.

The police are not law. They serve the public. We deify power in this country - to "talk back" to authority - even if you're a Harvard professor (maybe especially if you are a Harvard professor) means you are stepping out of line. Stepping out of place. Carlson is right - you don't have to be nice to the police.

You don't have to be nice to anyone.

Maybe you should be. Maybe it's wise or decent or will keep your train running on time.

But the penalty for rudeness is not arrest. You should not be arrested for yelling "do you know who I am" to a cop. This is not a police state. This is the United States of America. We don't pull people out of their homes in handcuffs for saying unkind things to police.

Has everyone gone mad?

Next we'll have the government reading our emails and listening to our phone calls and holding suspects for years without charge and torturing prisoners and...


Authoritarianism is our civic religion.

War - torture - the death penalty - domestic surveilance - abuse of police power -

How much of our civic discussion is really a discussion about power - about authority - about bowing down before the man? How much of the political stances taken by people can be cleaved into muscular terms?

I learned as a very young person that to be pro gay rights meant I'd be labeled as unmanly, as soft - saying "gays are people too" in 1986 would get you looked at as if you were weak, soft.

The same reaction, literally, exactly so - was how my anti-death penalty stance, was my anti police abuse stance - my anti-war stance - was framed.

Liberal positions have been put in this box as insufficiently tough - from torture to animal rights, from Iraq to Cambridge - you either line up with the powerful, either line up with principles of muscularity or you are labeled as feminine, as insufficiently hard minded, as fragile, as effete.

I don't know what to do with that; if our love of authoritarianism is a symbol of patriarchy and/or how much of that, how much of that is our attempt to grab some control in our "lives of quiet desparation" to quote Thoreau. I don't know how much of that patriarchy relates to the version of Christianity, the "my god is bigger than your god" version that holds so much sway in the US (as opposed to the sandal wearing, prince of peace version - I can't tell you which reading is superior, that's inside baseball stuff and I don't play on that field).

But I do know that throughout my life I have felt the same sort of "what are you, a fag" response whether I was opposing the death penalty or opposing beating dogs or in favor of the exclusionary rule or the equal rights amendment. There is an authoritarianism strain in American civic life on which I'm just never going to sign off.

I don't know what role race played in Professor Gates's getting taken off his front porch in handcuffs, but this need to worship at the altar of authority certainly plays a role in our reaction to it.

(Tuesday, Glenn Beck said that Obama's reaction to Gates demonstrates his "deep seated hatred of white people".  My reaction to Gates is stronger than is Obama's.  Does that mean I have a deep seated hatred of white people?  And why aren't we talking about how the Republicans - considering Sotamayor, considering the birther movement - are playing the race card?  When it's Johnny Cochran defending OJ Simpson, we derisively throw the phrase race card around.  When it's a black activist like Al Sharpton weighing in on an issue - we say he's injecting race into another issue again.  But Glenn Beck just said the President of the United States hates white people and....and what?)

Repost - The Mickey Rourke Blog

(Pete Rose is being considered for reinstatement, apparently at the prodding of Hank Aaron, who also said those implicated in the steroid scandal should have asterisks in the record books. Yesterday's repost was the Mike Vick piece, which also included steroid talk. I figure it's time to start with the steroid reposts. So, here's one.)

When I'm a wrestler, I behave as a wrestler.

That was Mickey Rourke responding to a Men's Journal question if he used steroids to aid in his nearly 40 pounds of muscle weight gain for his role in The Wrestler.

I don't know if, as non-denial denials go, that puts Rourke in the same category with Mark McGwire's "I'm not here to talk about the past," but adults can look at the rapid change in middle aged Rourke's physique and comfortably speculate about how much flaxseed oil he had to inject to make that happen.

So, what am I not understanding?

I mean, I assume that, if Rourke took some steroid it wasn't done by happenstance; he didn't find it mixed in with the chocolate syrup on Kim Basinger's ass in some unfortunate 21st century sequel to 9 1/2 Weeks. I assume if he took steroids for a film role it was for cosmetic purposes, for purposes of authenticity, to better enable him to train and recover for an athletically demanding role. I assume that, if Rourke took some steroids that was a step beyond which some other actors, had they had a chance at this part, would have taken. I assume that the widespread acclaim, the career rejuvination which Rourke has received will translate not only to awards but to dollars. I assume this will be a lesson not lost on young actors, actors hoping to emulate Mickey Rourke - acting is as highly a competitive marketplace as exists; every now and again you'll read that the average yearly acting income for someone with a SAG card is like 6 grand - actors will do virtually anything to scratch and crawl their way into exactly the position in which Mickey Rourke has found himself, a position solely existing because of the authenticity of his protrayal of a professional wrestler.

So, what am I not understanding?

I turn on the TV, I read the entertainment magazines - and I see Mickey Rourke showered with acclaim for his work in this film. It's a rebirth, a rejuvination - he tells jokes on the talk shows, he's given the full star treatment by the celebrity journalists, and he won the Golden Globe last weekend for Best Actor in a Drama.

If Rourke isn't now the favorite to win the granddaddy of them all, the Academy Award, he's second in a hotly competitive race to Sean Penn.

I don't use the word competition loosely - this is a competition - movie studios spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaigning, tens of millions of people in the US and far more than that across the globe tune in to see who wins and who loses, there's a significant difference in the trajectory of Rourke's career with the words Oscar Winner for Best Actor attached to his name than if he's defeated by Penn.

I have yet to see Milk, but I'm guessing Penn didn't use performance enhancing drugs (edit, I've subsequently seen Milk and all of the significant films from 2008; my favorites were Synecdoche and Dark Knight - Penn deserved the Oscar).

So, what am I not understanding?

How else would you classify whatever drugs Rourke seems to have taken for this role? He gave a performance. His performance was enhanced to some degree by his look and ability to train and do stunts (even if he didn't really take as many bumps as they'd like to have us believe) I don't have a metric to quantify how much his performance was enhanced - but given the downward trend of his career path, the few hits he has been able to produce, what clearly looked like the normal end of a career - given that it has wildly spiked outside of normal levels - I think it's not unreasonable to correlate that wild spike with the use of performance enhancing drugs.

So, what am I not understanding?

Where's the Congressional hearings? When's the grand jury convening? When's the raid on his house, gym, doctor's office? When will Sports Illustrated start a jihad to see that he is viewed in the same league as OJ Simpson? When will we talk about the children? The innocent, impressionable children?

What am I not...

Oh, you know what - things make more sense after I read this:;_ylt=AmVKR0i8rg8m8d1YjOnOr8c5nYcB?slug=li-clear011409&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

You should read it, it's the biggest sports story of the year so far.

I'll short version it for you.

1. Use of the Clear, the drug Bonds is accused of taking, wasn't illegal.
2. The active ingredient wasn't classified as a steroid.
3. There are no studies to indicate that the clear enhances muscle growth.

I have been saying for years that the degree to which the federal government has attempted to imprison Barry Bonds for his miniscule part in a miniscule crime (less than $2000 worth of drugs was uncovered in the BALCO raids) is an utter abuse of power. I've been saying for the past 18 months that Bonds was going to beat this charge. And I've been saying for the past year that Barry Bonds is going to the Hall of Fame.

History will regard as silly the persecution of Barry Bonds, and of virtually all of those branded with the scarlet steroid S. Less because we'll decide that steroids were okay to take after all (although, we will) but because justice, legal and moral, requires some level of proportion and evenhandedness. Jason Giambi gets his own moustache day at Yankee Stadium; Andy Pettitte and Evander Holyfield get to keep their reputations as good guys (both overtly Christian, huh, imagine that) Arnold gets to be the Governor of California, everyone associated with the Bush Administration goes into the private sector, Mickey Rourke gets a Golden Globe, and Barry Bonds goes on trial in March.

I guess I understand it pretty well after all.

Repost - The Mike Vick Blog

Monday, July 27, 2009

This repost is necessitated by two happenings - Mike Vick got reinstated today, which makes sense, under the way the NFL discipline process goes, and Mike Florio, of, said on KNBR that he doesn't think any political disconnect between the lefty culture of San Francisco and a 49er (speculative) decision to sign Vick would be an issue as he thinks those are decidedly different populations. 

A couple of years ago there was a piece written for (don't feel like finding a link - I'm also not going to link to the SI site, but you've got to check out the current issue; without any sense of irony the magazine begins by blasting ARod, then deifying Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods, then aiding in the rehabilitation of Jason Giambi. The sports media doesn't have the slightest idea what it's doing.

Oh, and yeah, I assume Tiger's taken PEDs. Yup. And LeBron. And Jordan. And every other damn superstar athlete for the last 20 years. Any "ageless wonder", "workout warrior", "look how he's chiseled in stone, he's a physical freak" any of them. Hanley Ramirez is up 25 pounds since last year, we hear uncritically reported from the Grapefruit League. Okay. How about Ray Lewis recovering from a multi-year slide last season? Or Shaq? Brett Favre and Cal Ripken never missing a game? Hey, I'll throw one of my guys under the bus for fun - Jerry Rice. Boom.

I don't know. I don't care. Not even a little bit. But good god does the sports media not have the slightest idea what it's doing.)

Anyway, there was this piece at ripping Giants fants who continued to support Bonds as being beneath the cosmopolitan, socially aware station of the city of San Francisco. The premise was that in (insert cold weather flyover city here) they swallow whatever their local sports star serves up, but San Franciscans were too bright to act similarly.

It wasn't a badly written piece.

It was wrong, however, on at least two fronts. The political analysis was faulty; a city that tilts as left as does San Francisco contains a hefty percentage of people for whom the war on drugs propaganda hasn't taken hold. It could be that San Franciscans reject the almost purely artificial constructs we make separating "good drugs" (nicotine, alcohol, Viagra, anti-depressants, painkillers) from "bad drugs" (pot, steroids, street drugs), that a good, upstanding member of society can be medicated all day long in every aspect of his life - professionals can use adderal to keep their focus sharp (I sort of want Obama on adderal, right? I mean, let's decide that in 2009 we need a President working to full capacity, don't you want him to take full advantage of whatever science there might be to aid him?) musicians can be pumped full of beta blockers

and every man over the age of (how old am I again..let's make this one year older than me..) 38 is required to pop Cialis before making the sex. Uppers to get going in the morning, Downers to unwind at night. One pill makes you bigger, one pill makes you small.

Pharmaceutic is the grease that lubricates the machinery of western civilization.

And that goes double for athletes - cortisone, epidurals, Lasik, sewing their ankle tendons to their socks - constant, lifelong medical treatment as part and parcel of the sport itself - but if you take the wrong drug - the "bad" drug - then you are a cheater, a bad, evil person, on par with OJ Simpson and you'd better apologize the right way and you'll never go to the Hall of Fame and we'll lock you up if we can catchya lying to us!

Rooting for Barry Bonds might have been a socially conscious act. It sure felt that way when he got taunted by 45,000 fans of the all white Houston Astros (hey Houston - one word - Bagwell). 

I mean, whose side do you want to be on? Lupica's?
But the second fault of the piece is that a San Francisco Giants fan and a Cincinnati Reds fan might have very little in common, except for the most important thing - they root for their guys, 'cause that's how it works.
I'm a good San Francisco lefty. Anti-corporate power. Pro high marginal tax rates. Pro gay and anti gun.
And I'm a sports fan.
And not a "let's bounce the hacky sack and pass the granola from the left hand side" sports fan - I'm a lifelong fan of the machine, big time, full on corporatized, establishmentarian - pregame prayer, there's no I in team, defer to the captain, the coach, the owner and then the Big Man upstairs sports fan.
Giants baseball. Niners football. The god awful Golden St. Warriors. And even USC sports.

USC! The University of Spoiled Children - where John Wayne played. Yup. True story.

To borrow a line from another endeavor, a lefty who is invested in big time American sports is like a chicken cheering for Colonel Sanders. I recognize that virtually every value I hold is rejected by virtually every member of every organization I've devoted so much passion toward. Dave Dravecky was in, like the John Birch Society. Garrison Hearst was homophobic. Sleepy Floyd may have eaten babies, but that's just a rumor I made up right now.

In 2004 there was a breakdown of what candidates received donations from sports figures - then Giants Owner Peter Magowan gave the maximum to Bush - Dodgers owner Frank McCourt gave the maximum to Kerry.

Virtually every athlete for my entire life has professed either political disinsterest or complete support for American wars and tax cuts. Sports arenas are havens for suppression of dissent, rejection of personal liberties, forced compliance with jingoistic values. There's really never been a second in my conscious life where I thought the teams and athletes I most loved would give me the slightest time of day; never a moment where I didn't get that, in my "real" life almost certainly everyone I cheered for would want nothing to do with me, and I'd almost certainly feel the exact same way about all of them.

Sure, I could root for Steve Nash and Etan Thomas. But I don't. Giants. Niners. Warriors. Trojans.

Forever. No matter what.

Except for this.

Mike Vick got out of jail today. His house arrest will be over prior to the next NFL season.

There's been talk recently of where he might land. Most of that speculation has been about San Francisco.

Now, I don't think this will ever happen. I don't think Vick's going to play this year. I don't think he'll ever play quarterback in the NFL again, at least not as a starter. I don't think the Niners are looking for a veteran QB; we have lots of needs (pass rusher, right tackle, safety, fullback, running back, wide receiver) that all have to be filled before we look to replace Shaun Hill.

But more than that - I think where the piece was wrong about Bonds - I think the premise is stronger about Vick.

And if I'm conflating my own views to speak about the city of San Francisco, well then, I'll do it this way.

There is no circumstance I will ever root for Michael Vick. None. If he is leading the Niners down the field to win their 6th Super Bowl, I will not be cheering and it won't be a difficult decision. I'm a Niner fan to the bone. Through thick and thin - and there have been a lot of skinny, skinny days the past decade.

Dump Bill Walsh. Trade Joe Montana. Cut Jerry Rice.

I'll stay. It's sports. It's what we do.

But no Mike Vick. Never. Never, ever, ever.

I'll do anything for love, but I won't do that.

I've written about Mike Vick before, here's an excerpt:

Real quick – I have zero sympathy for Michael Vick, imprisoned for dog fighting. I’m just glad he’s not one of my guys.

Except…not for nothing, but I eat pork.

And in terms of measurable brain activity, the only difference between dogs and pigs is pigs are smarter.

So – we torture a dog and call it prison.

We torture a pig and call it breakfast.

(I don’t want to walk down the road with you regarding how pigs are raised and treated on their way to slaughter, but it’s bad, sister, b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-ad.)

Maybe there’s some small difference between the two things, some small difference that one could point to between torturing dogs and torturing pigs.

But probably not enough difference to justify the difference in treatment.

One is prison. One is breakfast.

Don’t misunderstand, I do it too. Not only wouldn’t I torture a dog, I’ve stopped kids from being cruel to animals in a way I’d never stop someone from being cruel to a, you know, person. If you were to tell me “yup, I regularly kill and eat kittens for the meat” there is literally zero chance I would ever speak civilly to you regardless of what level of beaver worship you promised me.

But I eat pork.

It’s delicious.

And I have no moral justification for it. None.

If it turns out that I’m wrong, and above us isn’t only sky, and someone is there at the pearly gates after I’m dead to say I’m not allowed in because I didn’t pray to Mecca five times a day or I didn’t confess my sins to a guy in a robe or I never had my head dunked in a lake to be born again –

Well, you know, okay.

That stuff is so antithetical to the way I view the world, that if the world actually works that way, it would seem incomprehensible to me that this was the result. I wouldn’t want to be a member of that club. I’ll go somewhere else, thanks.

But if St. Peter is actually a giant bear sized beaver, and he says I’m going to hell for all the bacon I ate.

I’d have absolutely no defense.

I’m guilty.

100% Guilty.

So, I'm not saying he should never be allowed to play football again; not saying that his crime should be viewed by the league as unforgivable; I get that the ethics of the situation are harder than "Jim Jividen good, Mike Vick bad."

I get that. I'm not a cartoon. Bobby Jindal can use his grown up voice when he talks to me.

But I'm not going there with Michael Vick. I'm just not.

I love my Niners.

But I won't do that.

Every WWF/WWE 4 Star Match...Ever.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

4 star (and up)WWF Matches

Here’s a comprehensive catalog of every 4 star WWF/E match ever.

Maybe not ever, but for televised matches in the Wrestlemania era, it’s a pretty good list. I’ve given the Dave Meltzer ratings for comparison. All my four star matches are here; I think all of Meltzer’s are also. I’m less worried about that. Note that many of the matches are 4 stars for him, but not me. Sometimes, but less so, that works the other way. Occasionally, but it’s rare, our ratings are identical. If there’s only one set of star ratings, it means that the other didn’t give it 4 stars. I haven’t given any of Meltzer’s sub 4 ratings; many times, for matches that Dave gave 4 stars but I did not, I give my sub 4 rating. 

5 stars – among the best matches of all time. I’ve rated 3 WWF matches at 5 stars.
4 ¾ - 4 ½ - MOTY candidates.
4 ¼ - 4 – Great matches, worthy of keeping in a permanent file.
3 ¾ - 3 ½ - Really solid matches, something about them makes them worth additional viewings.
3 ¼ - 3 – good matches, worth watching but not matches that you need to watch.

Jividen ratings in bold. Bold, I say! Bold numerals Like this: 4  Bold! Meltzer ratings in regular type. Regular type.  And with the characters.  Like this. ****.  He likes John Cena a lot more than I do, if you get confused. 

Pre Wrestlemania Era:

Sept - Pedro Morales v. Bruno Sammartino 4 stars

June – Stan Hansen v. Bruno Sammartino 4 stars

Aug – Larry Zbyszko v. Bruno Sammartino 4 stars

Mar – Jimmy Snuka v. Don Muraco (cage) 4 stars


4/7/86 Wrestlemania II British Bulldogs vs. Greg Valentine/Brutus Beefcake **** (3 stars)
4/21/86 Randy Savage vs. Tito Santana ****
March – Bret Hart v. Ricky Steamboat 4 stars


2/23/87 Roddy Piper/Junkyard Dog/Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage/Harley Race/Adrian Adonis (Elimination) ****
3/29/87 Wrestlemania III Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat ****1/2 (4 ¾ stars)
11/26/87 Survivor Series: Killer Bees/Young Stallions/Strike Force/British Bulldogs/Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. Demolition/Hart Foundation/Islanders/Bolsheviks/Greg Valentine/Dino Bravo (Elimination) **** (3 3 /4 stars)

8/28/89 SummerSlam Hart Foundation v. Brainbusters (4 stars)

7/28/90 Mr. Perfect vs. Tito Santana ****
4/28/90 SNME Hart Foundation v. Rockers (4 stars)1991

1/19/91 Royal Rumble: Rockers vs. Pat Tanaka/Kato **** (4 stars)
3/17/91 Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Perfect ****
3/24/91 Wrestlemania VII Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage (Retirement) ****1/4 (4 stars)
4/91 Shawn Michaels vs. Kato ****
8/26/91 SummerSlam Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect **** (4 ¼ stars)

1/25/92 Royal Rumble Match (4 stars)4/5/92 Wrestlemania VIII Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair ****1/4 (4 ¼ stars)
4/5/92 Wrestlemania VIII Bret Hart v. Roddy Piper (4 stars)
7/21/92 Prime Time Bret Hart v. Shawn Michaels (ladder) (4 ¼ stars)
8/29/92 SummerSlam Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy Savage **** (3 ½ stars)
8/29/92 SummerSlam Davey Boy Smith vs. Bret Hart ****1/4 (4 ¾ stars)
11/25/92 Survivor Series Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels ****1/2 (4 ¼ stars)

1/24/93 Royal Rumble Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty **** (3 ¼ stars)
1/25/93 Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair (Loser Leaves Town) **** (3 ½ stars)
6/13/93 KOTR Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect ****1/4 (4 stars)
7/19/93 Shawn Michaels vs. Marty Jannetty ****3/4 (3 ¾ stars)
8/30/93 SummerSlam Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler **** (3 ¾ stars)

1/11/94 Wrestling Challenge Bret Hart/Owen Hart v. Steiners (4 stars)
3/20/94 Wrestlemania X Owen Hart vs. Bret Hart ****3/4 (5 stars)
3/20/94 Wrestlemania X Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (Ladder) ***** (5 stars)
8/29/94 SummerSlam Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart (Cage) ***** (4 ¾ stars)
9/29/94 Action Zone Bret Hart v. Owen Hart (4 stars)
10/30/94 Shawn Michaels/Diesel vs. Razor Ramon/123 Kid ****1/2 (4 stars)1995

1/22/95 Royal Rumble Diesel vs. Bret Hart ****1/4 (4 stars)
4/2/95 Wrestlemania XI Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel **** (3 ½ stars)
7/23/95 IYH2 Shawn Michaels vs. Jeff Jarrett ****1/2 (4 ¼ stars)
7/24/95 IYH Bret Hart vs. Hakushi **** (3 ½ stars)
8/27/95 SummerSlam Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon (Ladder) ****3/4 (4 ½ stars)
9/24/95 IYH3 Bret Hart vs. Jean-Pierre Lafitte **** (4 stars)
11/29/95 Survivor Series Bret Hart v. Diesel (4 stars)
12/17/95 IYH5 Bret Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith ****3/4 (4 1/4 stars)

2/18/96 IYH6 Shawn Michaels vs. Owen Hart **** (4 stars)
3/31/96 Wrestlemania XII Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart (Iron Man) ****1/4 (4 ½ stars)
4/28/96 Good Friends Better Enemies Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel (No Holds Barred) ****1/2 (4 ½ stars)
5/28/96 Beware of Dog Steve Austin vs. Savio Vega (Strap) **** (3 stars)
6/23/96 KOTR Shawn Michaels vs. Davey Boy Smith ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
8/18/96 SummerSlam Shawn Michaels vs. Vader **** (4 stars)
9/22/96 Mind Games Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind ****3/4 (4 ¾ stars)
9/14/96 Sun City Superbowl Austin v. Bret (4 stars)
11/17/96 Survivor Series Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin ****1/2 (4 ¾ stars)

2/16/97 Final Four Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin vs. Vader vs. Undertaker ****1/4 (4 ¼ stars)
3/1/97 Owen Hart vs. Davey Boy Smith (European Title Finals) ****1/2 (3 ¾ stars)
3/23/97 Wrestlemania XIII Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (Submission) ***** (4 ¾ stars)
4/20/97 Revenge of the Taker Bret Hart v. Steve Austin (4 stars)
5/26/97 RAW Shawn Michaels/Steve Austin vs. Davey Boy Smith/Owen Hart ****1/4 (3 1/2 stars)
6/9/97 KOTR Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin **** (3 ½ stars)
7/6/97 Canadian Stampede Great Sasuke vs. TAKA Michinoku **** (4 stars)
7/6/97 Canadian Stampede Bret Hart/Owen Hart/Davey Boy Smith/Jim Neidhart/Brian Pillman vs. Steve Austin/Legion of Doom/Goldust/Ken Shamrock ****1/4 (4 ¼ stars)
9/7/97 Ground Zero Shawn Michaels v. Undertaker (4 stars)
9/7/97 Ground Zero Bret Hart v. Patriot (4 stars)
9/22/97 RAW Cactus Jack vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley **** (3 ½ stars)
10/5/97 Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker (Hell in the Cell) ***** (4 1/2  stars)
11/9/97 Bret Hart v. Shawn Michaels (4 stars)

4/26/98 Unforgiven Dude Love vs. Steve Austin **** (3 ¾ stars)
5/4/98 RAW Mick Foley vs. Terry Funk (Falls Count Anywhere) **** (3 ½ stars)
5/31/98 Over the Edge Steve Austin vs. Dude Love ****1/2 (4 ¼ stars)
6/28/98 KOTR Undertaker vs. Mankind (Hell in the Cell) ****1/2 (4 ¼ stars)
8/30/98 SummerSlam Triple H vs. Rock (Ladder) ****1/4 (3 ¾ stars)
9/27/98 Breakdown Rock v. Mankind v. Ken Shamrock (4 stars)

2/15/99 St Valentines Day Massacre Rock vs. Mankind (Ladder) **** (4 stars)
3/28/99 Wrestlemania XV Steve Austin v. Rock (4 stars)
4/25/99 Backlash Steve Austin vs. Rock ****1/4 (4 stars)
10/17/99 No Mercy Matt Hardy/Jeff Hardy vs. Edge/Christian (Ladder) ****1/2 (4 ½ stars)
10/17/99 No Mercy Triple H vs. Steve Austin (No Holds Barred) **** (3 ½ stars)2000

1/23/00 Royal Rumble Triple H vs. Cactus Jack (Street Fight) ****1/2 (4 ¼ stars)
2/7/00 No Way Out Triple H/X-Pac/Chris Benoit/Perry Saturn/Dean Malenko vs. Cactus Jack/Rock/Rikishi/Brian Christopher/Scott Taylor ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
2/27/00 No Way Out Triple H vs. Cactus Jack (Hell in the Cell) ****1/2 (4 ¼ stars)
4/2/00 Wrestlemania XVI Edge/Christian vs. Matt Hardy/Jeff Hardy vs. Bubba Ray Dudley/D-Von Dudley (Ladder) **** (4 ¼ stars)
4/24/00 Triple H/Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho/Rock ****
4/30/00 Backlash Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho (4 stars)4/30/00 Heat Dean Malenko vs. Scott Taylor **** (4 stars)
5/21/00 Judgment Day Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho (Submission) **** (4 stars)
5/21/00 Judgment Day Triple H vs. Rock (Iron Man) **** (4 stars)
7/23/00 Fully Loaded Triple H vs. Chris Jericho (Last Man Standing) ****1/2 (4 stars)
7/23/00 Rock vs. Chris Benoit ****1/4 (4 stars)
8/27/00 SummerSlam Edge/Christian vs. Bubba Ray Dudley/D-Von Dudley vs. Matt Hardy/Jeff Hardy (Tables, Ladders & Chairs) ****1/2 (4 ½ stars)
10/22/00 No Mercy Triple H vs. Chris Benoit **** (4 stars)
10/22/00 Kurt Angle vs. Rock (No DQ) ****1/4 (3 ¼ stars)
12/10/00 Armageddon Kurt Angle vs. Triple H vs. Rock vs. Steve Austin vs. Undertaker vs. Rikishi (Hell in the Cell) ****1/2 (3 ½ stars)

1/21/01 Royal Rumble Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit (Ladder) ****3/4 (4 ¼ stars)
2/25/01 No Way Out Triple H vs. Steve Austin (2/3 falls Straight wrestling, Street Fight, Cage) ****3/4 (4 ½ stars)
2/25/01 No Way Out Rock vs. Kurt Angle ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
4/1/01 Wrestlemania XVII Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit ****1/4 (4 stars)
4/1/01 Wrestlemania XVII Edge/Christian vs. Matt Hardy/Jeff Hardy vs. Bubba Ray Dudley/D-Von Dudley (Tables, Ladders & Chairs) ****3/4 (4 1/2 stars)
4/1/01 Wrestlemania XVII Steve Austin vs. Rock (No DQ) ****1/2 (3 ¾ stars)
5/20/01 Judgment Day Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (2/3 falls Pinfall only, Submission only, Ladder) **** (4 stars)
5/21/01 RAW Chris Benoit/Chris Jericho vs. Steve Austin/Triple H ****3/4 (4 1/4 stars)
5/24/01 Smackdown Chris Benoit/Chris Jericho vs. Bubba Ray Dudley/D-Von Dudley vs. Matt Hardy/Jeff Hardy vs. Edge/Christian (Tables, Ladders & Chairs) ****3/4 (4 ¼ stars)
5/31/01 Smackdown Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit ****1/2 (4 ¼ stars)
6/11/01 RAW Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit (Cage) ****1/4 (4 ¼ stars)
6/24/01 KOTR Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon (Street Fight) **** (4 ¼ stars)
7/22/01 Invasion Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy **** (3 ½ stars)
8/19/01 SummerSlam Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin ****1/2 (3 ¾ stars)
9/23/01 Unforgiven Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam **** (3 ¾ stars)
9/23/01 Unforgiven Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin **** (4 stars)
10/21/01 No Mercy Chris Jericho vs. Rock ****1/2 (3 3/4 stars)
10/21/01 No Mercy Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin vs. Rob Van Dam **** (3 ½ stars)
11/15/01 Steve Austin/Kurt Angle vs. Rock/Chris Jericho ****1/4
11/18/01 Survivor Series Rock/Chris Jericho/Undertaker/Kane/Big Show vs. Steve Austin/Kurt Angle/Rob Van Dam/Booker T/Shane McMahon (Elimination) ****1/2 (3 3/4 stars)
12/9/01 Vengeance Chris Jericho vs. Rock **** (3 ½ stars)

1/20/02 Royal Rumble Chris Jericho vs. Rock ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
4/21/02 Backlash Kurt Angle vs. Edge ****1/4 (3 ¾ stars)
5/19/02 Judgment Day Edge vs. Kurt Angle (Hair vs. Hair) ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
5/27/02 RAW Rob Van Dam vs. Eddy Guerrero (Ladder) **** (3 ½ stars)
5/30/02 Smackdown Kurt Angle vs. Edge (Cage) ****1/4 (3 ¾ stars)
7/21/02 Vengeance Rock vs. Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle ****1/2 (3 3/4 stars)
7/25/02 Edge vs. Chris Jericho (Cage) ****
8/25/02 SummerSlam Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (Street Fight) ****1/4 (4 stars)
9/22/02 Unforgiven Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle ****1/2 (4 stars)
9/26/02 Smackdown Edge vs. Eddy Guerrero (No DQ) ****1/2 (4 stars)
9/26/02 Smackdown Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle **** (3 ¾ stars)
10/3/02 Smackdown Edge vs. Kurt Angle ****1/4 (4 1/4 stars)
10/3/02 Smackdown Chris Benoit vs. Rey Mysterio **** (3 ½ stars)
10/7/02 RAW Kane vs. Chris Jericho/Christian vs. Jeff Hardy/Rob Van Dam vs. Bubba Ray Dudley/Spike Dudley (Tables, Ladders & Chairs) ****1/4 (4 stars)
10/17/02 Chris Benoit/Kurt Angle vs. Eddy Guerrero/Chavo Guerrero ****
10/20/02 No Mercy Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit vs. Edge/Rey Mysterio ****3/4 (4 ½ stars)
10/20/02 No Mercy Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker (Hell in the Cell) **** (3 ¼ stars)
10/26/2002 Rebellion Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit v. Eddy Guerrero/Chavo Guerrero 4 stars
11/7/02 Smackdown Edge/Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit (2/3 falls) **** (3 ½ stars)
11/17/02 Survivor Series Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Booker T (Elimination Chamber) ****1/4 (3 1/2 stars)
12/5/02 Smackdown Kurt Angle vs. Edge vs. Chris Benoit vs. Eddy Guerrero (Elimination) ****1/2 (4 stars)
12/15/02 Armageddon Chris Benoit v. Eddy Guerrero (4 stars)

1/16/03 Smackdown Chris Benoit/Edge vs. Kurt Angle/Shelton Benjamin/Charlie Haas **** (3 ¾ stars)
1/19/03 Royal Rumble Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit ****3/4 (5 stars)
2/6/03 Smackdown Eddy Guerrero/Chavo Guerrero vs. Shelton Benjamin/Charlie Haas **** (3 ½ stars)
2/6/03 Smackdown Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit ****1/4 (4 stars)
2/23/03 No Way Out Brock Lesnar/Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle/Shelton Benjamin/Charlie Haas **** (3 ½ stars)
3/13/03 Smackdown Chris Benoit/Rhyno vs. Eddy Guerrero/Chavo Guerrero ****
3/30/03 Wrestlemania XIX Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho ****1/4 (4 stars)
3/30/03 Wrestlemania XIX Rock vs. Steve Austin **** (3 1/4 stars)
3/30/03 Wrestlemania XIX Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle ****1/4 (4 stars)
7/27/03 Vengeance Eddy Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit **** (3 ¾ stars)
7/27/03 Vengeance Shelton Benjamin/Charlie Haas vs. Rey Mysterio/Billy Kidman **** (4 stars)
8/24/03 SummerSlam Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar ****1/4 (3 ¾ stars)
9/4/03 Smackdown Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
9/18/03 Smackdown Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle (Iron Man) ****1/4 (4 ¼ stars)
9/29/03 RAW Christian vs. Rob Van Dam (Ladder) **** (4 stars)
10/19/03 Kurt Angle vs. John Cena ****1/4
11/16/03 Survivor Series Shawn Michaels/Rob Van Dam/Booker T/Bubba Ray Dudley/D-Von Dudley vs. Chris Jericho/Randy Orton/Mark Henry/Scott Steiner/Christian (Elimination) ****1/4 (3 1/4 stars)
12/4/03 Smackdown Brock Lesnar vs. Chris Benoit ****1/4 (4 stars)
12/29/03 RAW Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels ****1/4 (3 ¾ stars)

1/25/04 Royal Rumble Match 4 stars
2/15/04 No Way Out Eddy Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar **** (4 ¼ stars)
2/16/04 Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels ****1/4 (3 ¾ stars)
3/14/04 Wrestlemania XX Eddy Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle **** (4 stars)
3/14/04 Wrestlemania XX Triple H vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels ****3/4 (4 ½ stars)
3/18/04 Smackdown Eddy Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio **** (3 ¾ stars)
4/12/04 RAW Triple H/Randy Orton/Batista/Ric Flair vs. Shelton Benjamin/Chris Benoit/Mick Foley/Shawn Michaels **** (3 ½ stars)
4/18/04 Backlash Randy Orton vs. Mick Foley (Falls Count Anywhere Street Fight) ****1/2 (4 stars)
4/18/04 Backlash Chris Benoit vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H ****1/2 (4 ¼ stars)
5/3/04 RAW Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Benoit ****1/4 (4 stars)
5/10/04 RAW Christian vs. Chris Jericho (Cage) **** (3 ¼ stars)
5/17/04 RAW Chris Benoit/Edge vs. Randy Orton/Batista **** (3 ½ stars)
7/11/04 RAW Randy Orton vs. Edge ****1/4 (3 ¼ stars)
7/19/04 Vengeance Edge vs. Randy Orton **** (3 ¼ stars)
8/2/04 RAW Chris Benoit/Edge/Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton/Ric Flair/Batista ****1/4 (3 ¾ stars)
8/15/04 SummerSlam Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton ****1/4 (3 ¾ stars)
8/16/04 RAW Chris Benoit vs. Randy Orton **** (3 ½ stars)

1/9/05 New Years Revolution Triple H vs. Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho vs. Edge vs. Batista vs. Chris Benoit (Elimination Chamber) ****1/4 (3 ¾ stars)
2/10/05 Smackdown Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle **** (3 ½ stars)
2/21/05 RAW Edge/Christian vs. Randy Orton/Shawn Michaels ****
4/3/05 Wrestlemania XXI Edge vs. Chris Benoit vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Kane vs. Chris Jericho vs. Christian (Ladder) ****1/2 (4 stars)
4/3/05 Wrestlemania XXI Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle ****3/4 (4 ½ stars)
4/4/05 RAW Edge vs. Chris Benoit **** (3 ½ stars)
4/14/05 Smackdown Kurt Angle vs. Eddy Guerrero ****1/4 (3 ¾ stars)
5/1/05 Backlash Chris Benoit vs. Edge (Last Man Standing) **** (3 ¾ stars)
5/2/05 RAW Shelton Benjamin vs. Shawn Michaels ****1/2 (4 stars)
5/22/05 Judgment Day John Cena vs. John Bradshaw Layfield (I Quit) ****1/4 (4 stars)
5/22/05 Judgment Day Rey Mysterio v. Eddy Guerrero 4 stars
6/12/05 One Night Stand Masato Tanaka vs. Mike Awesome ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
6/23/05 Smackdown Eddy Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio **** (4 stars)
6/26/05 Vengeance Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle ****1/2 (4 ½ stars)
6/26/05 Vengeance Triple H vs. Batista (Hell in a Cell) ****1/2 (3 ¾ stars)
7/16/05 Velocity Chris Benoit vs. William Regal ****1/4 (3 ¾ stars)
9/18/05 Unforgiven Matt Hardy vs. Edge (Cage) ****1/4 (4 stars)
12/18/05 Armageddon Chris Benoit vs. Booker T **** (4 stars)

1/16/06 RAW Edge vs. Ric Flair (Tables, Ladders and Chairs) **** (3 ½ stars)
2/19/06 No Way Out Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker **** (4 stars)
4/2/06 Wrestlemania XXII Rob Van Dam vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Matt Hardy vs. Finlay vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Ric Flair (Ladder) **** (3 ½ stars)
4/2/06 Wrestlemania XXII Mick Foley vs. Edge (Hardcore) **** (3 ½ stars)
4/30/06 Backlash John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Edge ****1/4 (3 1/2 stars)
5/21/06 Judgment Day Chris Benoit vs. Finlay **** (4 ¼ stars)
6/2/06 Smackdown Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
9/17/06 Unforgiven John Cena vs. Edge (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs) ****1/4 (4 stars)
11/24/06 Smackdown Chris Benoit vs. Finlay ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
12/17/06 Armageddon Paul London/Brian Kendrick vs. Joey Mercury/Johnny Nitro vs. Jeff Hardy/Matt Hardy vs. Dave Taylor/William Regal (Ladder) ****1/4 (4 ½ stars)

1/22/07 Shawn Michaels vs. Edge (Street Fight) ****
1/27/07 Royal Rumble John Cena vs. Umaga (Last Man Standing) **** (3 ½ stars)
1/27/07 Royal Rumble Match **** (3 ¼ stars)
4/1/07 Wrestlemania XXIII Mr. Kennedy vs. Edge vs. Jeff Hardy vs. King Booker vs. Randy Orton vs. Matt Hardy vs. CM Punk vs. Finlay (Ladder) ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
4/1/07 Wrestlemania XXIII Undertaker vs. Batista **** (3 ¼ stars)
4/1/07 Wrestlemania XXIII John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels **** (3 ¼ stars)
4/23/2007 RAW John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels ****1/4
4/29/2007 Backlash Undertaker vs. Batista (Last Man Standing) **** (3 ½ stars)
4/29/2007 Backlash John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Edge ****1/2 (4 stars)
4/30/2007 RAW Edge vs. Randy Orton ****1/4
6/3/2007 One Night Stand Matt Hardy/Jeff Hardy vs. Charlie Haas/Shelton Benjamin (Ladder) **** (3 ½ stars)
6/8/2007 Smackdown Edge vs. Chris Benoit ****
7/22/07 Great American Bash John Cena vs. Bobby Lashley **** (3 stars)
8/26/07 SummerSlam John Cena vs. Randy Orton **** (3 stars)
10/6/07 No Mercy Randy Orton vs. Triple H (Last Man Standing) ****1/4 (3 ¼ stars)
10/28/07 No Mercy Undertaker vs. Batista **** (3 ¼ stars)
11/17/07 Survivor Series Undertaker vs. Batista (Hell in a Cell) **** (3 stars)

1/7/08 Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga (Cage) ****
1/27/08 Royal Rumble ****1/4 (3 ¼ stars)
2/17/08 No Way Out Triple H vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho vs. John Bradshaw Layfield vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Umaga (Elimination Chamber)**** (3 ½ stars)
3/30/08 Wrestlemania XXIV Edge vs. Undertaker ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
5/18/08 Judgment Day Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho **** (3 ¼ stars)
8/17/08 SummerSlam Edge vs. Undertaker ****1/2 (Hell in a Cell) (4 stars)
9/7/08 Unforgiven Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels (Unsanctioned) ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
10/5/08 No Mercy Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
10/5/08 No Mercy Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho (Ladder) ****1/2 (4 ¼ stars)
12/14/08 Armageddon Edge vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Triple H **** (3 ¾ stars)

2/15/09 No Way Out Edge vs. Triple H vs. Undertaker vs. Big Show vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Kozlov (Elimination Chamber) ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
2/15/09 John Cena vs. Edge vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Mike Knox (Elimination Chamber) ****1/4 (3 ½ stars)
4/5/09 Wrestlemania XXV Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels ****3/4 (4 1/2 stars)
4/26/09 Backlash John Cena vs. Edge (Last Man Standing) ****1/2 (3 ½ stars)
6/7/09 Extreme Rules Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho (No Holds Barred) **** (4 stars)
6/7/09 Extreme Rules Jeff Hardy vs. Edge (Ladder) ****1/4 (4 stars)
6/28/09 The Bash Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio****1/2 (3 ¾ stars)
7/10/09 Smackdown Chris Jericho v. Rey Mysterio **** (3 ¾ stars)
8/23/09 Summer Slam Jeff Hardy v. CM Punk **** 1/4 (4 1/4 stars)
8/28/09 Smackdown CM Punk v. Jeff Hardy (Cage) **** (4 stars)
9/4/09  Smackdown Rey Mysterio v. John Morrison **** 1/4 (4 stars) 
9/13/09 Breaking Point Randy Orton v. John Cena **** 1/4 (3 stars)
12/13/09 Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. (TLC) Christian v. Shelton Benjamin ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)

3/28/10 Wrestlemania 26 Chris Jericho v. Edge **** (3 1/4 stars)
3/28/10 Wrestlemania 26 Undertaker v. Shawn Michaels ****3/4 (4 stars)
4/25/10 Extreme Rules John Cena v. Batista (Last Man Standing) ****1/4 (3 1/2 stars)
6/20/10 Fatal 4 Way Evan Bourne v. Chris Jericho **** (3 1/2 stars)
7/18/10 Money In the Bank: RAW MITB Match **** (3 3/4 stars)
                                            Smackdown MITB Match **** (3 1/2 stars)
                                            Rey Mysterio v. Jack Swagger **** (3 1/2 stars)
7/19/10 RAW Randy Orton v. Edge v. Chris Jericho **** (3 1/2 stars)
12/10 TLC: John Morrison v. Sheamus (Ladder) **** (4  stars)
                   Edge d. Rey Mysterio/Alberto Del Rio/Kane ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)

1/11 RAW Falls Count Anywhere The Miz v. John Morrison **** (3 3/4 stars)
2/11 Elimination Chamber (Smackdown Chamber Match) ****1/4 (4 1/4 stars)
        Elimination Chamber (RAW Chamber Match) **** (3 3/4 stars)
4/11 Wrestlemania 27 Undertaker v. HHH ****1/2 (4 stars)
5/11 Extreme Rules Christian v. Alberto Del Rio (ladder)****1/4 (4 stars)
                               John Cena v. The Miz v. John Morrison (cage)**** (3 3/4 stars)
                               Randy Orton v. CM Punk (last man standing)(4 stars)
5/11 Over the Limit Randy Orton v. Christian ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
6/11 Capitol Punishment CM Punk v. Rey Mysterio (4 stars)
7/11 Money in the Bank: Smackdown MITB **** (4 stars)
                                      John Cena v. CM Punk ***** (4 1/2 stars)
8/11 Summer Slam: Randy Orton v. Christian (no holds barred) **** (4 1/4 stars)
                               John Cena v. CM Punk ***1/2 (4 stars)
10/11 Vengeance Alberto del Rio v. John Cena ****(3 stars)
12/11 TLC CM Punk v. Miz v. Alberto del Rio (TLC) ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)

4/12 Wrestlemania 28: Undertaker v. HHH (HIAC)****3/4 (4 stars)
4/12 Wrestlemania 28 CM Punk v. Chris Jericho ***3/4(4 stars)
4/12 Extreme Rules: Daniel Bryan v. Sheamus ****(3 3/4 stars)
4/12 Extreme Rules: Brock Lesnar v. John Cena****1/2 (4 stars)
5/12 Over the Limit: Daniel Bryan v. CM Punk ****1/2 (4 1/2 stars)
7/12 Money in the Bank: RAW MITB Match****(3 3/4 stars)
7/12 Money in the Bank: Daniel Bryan v. CM Punk ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
9/12 Night of Champions: CM Punk v. John Cena ****1/4 (4 stars)
12/12 TLC: The Shield v. Bryan/Kane/Ryback ****1/2 (4 stars)
12/12 TLC: Dolph Ziggler v. John Cena ****(3 1/2 stars)

1/13 Royal Rumble: CM Punk v. The Rock **** (3 1/4 stars)
2/13 Elimination Chamber: Chamber Match **** (3 3/4 stars)
2/13 RAW: CM Punk v. John Cena ****1/2(4 1/4 stars)
4/13 Wrestlemania 29 Undertaker d. CM Punk ****1/2 (4 stars)
4/13 Wrestlemania 29 HHH d. Brock Lesnar **1/2 (4 stars)
5/13 Main Event Kofi Kingston d. Antonio Cesario ****1/4(4 stars)
5/13 Extreme Rules Brock Lesnar d. HHH (cage) ****(3 1/2 stars)
6/13 RAW Daniel Bryan d. Seth Rollins ****1/4 (4 stars)
6/13 Payback CM Punk d. Chris Jericho ****1/2 (4 stars)
7/13 Money in the Bank Damien Sandow d. Jack Swagger/Cody Rhodes/Fandango/Antonio Cesaro/Wade Barrett/Dean Ambrose (MITB Match) ***3/4 (4 1/4 stars)
7/13 Money in the Bank Randy Orton d. Daniel Bryan/Sheamus/RVD/Christian/CM Punk (MITB Match) ****1/2 (4 stars)
7/13 RAW Daniel Bryan v. Antonio Cesaro ****(4 stars)
8/13 Summer Slam Brock Lesnar v CM Punk (No DQ) ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
8/13 Summer Slam Daniel Bryan v. John Cena ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
11/13 NXT Adrian Neville v. Sami Zayn ****(3 3/4 stars)
12/13 RAW Daniel Bryan v. Randy Orton ****(3 3/4 stars)

1/14 Royal Rumble Daniel Bryan v. Bray Wyatt ****(4 stars)
2/14 RAW Daniel Bryan v. Randy Orton ****(3 3/4 stars)
2/14 RAW Cesaro v. John Cena ****1/4(3 3/4 stars)
2/14 Elimination Chamber: The Shield v. The Wyatt Family ****1/4(4 stars)
2/14 Elimination Chamber: Daniel Bryan v. Christian v. Cesaro v. Randy Orton v. Sheamus v. John Cena ***3/4(4 1/4 stars)
2/14 NXT Arrival Cesaro v. Sami Zayn ****1/4(4 1/2 stars)
3/14 RAW Wyatt Family v. The Shield ****1/2(4 stars)
4/14 Wrestlemania 30 Daniel Bryan v. HHH ****1/4(4 stars)
4/14 Wrestlemania 30 Daniel Bryan v. Randy Orton v. Batista ****1/2(3 3/4 stars)
4/14 Main Event Wyatt Family v. The Shield ****1/4 (4 stars)
5/14 Extreme Rules The Shield v. Evolution ****1/2 (4 stars)
5/14 NXT Takeover Sami Zayn v. Tyler Breeze ***1/2(4 stars)
                                Charlotte v. Natalya ****(3 1/2 stars)
6/14 Payback John Cena v. Bray Wyatt ****1/2(4 1/4 stars)
                      The Shield v. Evolution ****(3 3/4 stars)
6/14 Money in the Bank Briefcase Match ****1/2 (4 stars)
        Money in the Bank Title Match ****(3 1/2 stars)
7/14 Backlash Usos v. Wyatts ****(4 stars)
8/14 Summer Slam Roman Reigns v. Randy Orton ****(3 1/4 stars)
8/14 Summer Slam Brock Lesnar v. John Cena ****1/4 (4 stars)
8/14 RAW Dean Ambrose v. Seth Rollins ****1/4(4 1/4 stars)
9/14 NXT Adrian Neville v. Sami Zayn/Tyson Kidd/Tyler Breeze ****1/2 (4 stars)
9/14 Night of Champions Sheamus v. Cesaro ****(3 3/4 stars)
        Night of Champions Randy Orton v. Chris Jericho ****(3 1/2 stars)
10/14 Hell in a Cell Dean Ambrose v. Seth Rollins ****(3 3/4 stars)
11/14 NXT Zayn v. Neville (4 stars)
11/14 Survivor Series Team Cena (John Cena & Ryback & Dolph Ziggler & Erick Rowan & Big Show) v. Team Authority (Seth Rollins & Kane & Mark Henry & Rusev & Luke Harper) ****1/2 (3 1/2 stars)
12/14 TLC Dolph Ziggler v. Luke Harper ***3/4 (4 stars)
12/14 NXT R-Evolution Zayn v. Neville ****3/4 (4 1/4 stars)

1/15 NXT Zayn v. Neville (4 stars)
1/15 Royal Rumble Lesnar v. Rollins v. Cena ****3/4 (4 1/2 stars)
2/15 NXT Takeover Rivals Balor v. Neville ****1/4 (4 stars)
       Banks v. Charlotte v. Bayley v. Lynch ****(3 1/2 stars)
       Owens v. Zayn ***1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
2/15 Fast Lane Daniel Bryan v. Roman Reigns ****1/2 (4 stars)
3/15 Wrestlemania 31 Seth Rollins v. Brock Lesnar v. Roman Reigns ****1/2 (4 stars)
                                    IC Ladder Match **** 1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
                                    Rollins v. Orton **** (3 1/2 stars)
3/15 NXT Sasha Banks v. Charlotte ****
5/15 NXT Sasha Banks v. Becky Lynch ****(3 3/4 stars)
5/15 Elimination Chamber Kevin Owens v. John Cena ****1/2(4 stars)
6/15 Money in the Bank Kevin Owens v. John Cena ****1/2 (4 stars)
        Money in the Bank Seth Rollins v. Dean Ambrose ****(3 3/4 stars)
6/15 RAW Cesaro v. Cena ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
7/15 Beast in the East Chris Jericho v. Neville ****(3 1/2 stars)
                                    Finn Balor v. Kevin Owens ****1/4 (4 stars)
7/15 RAW Cesaro v. Cena ****1/4 (4 1/4 stars)
7/15 RAW Cena v. Rollins ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
8/15 RAW Rollins v. Neville ****(3 1/2 stars)
8/15 RAW Orton v. Owens v. Cesaro ****1/4 (4 stars)
8/15 NXT Sasha v. Bayley ****1/2 (4 stars)
8/15 NXT Owens v. Balor **** (3 3/4 stars)
8/15 Summer Slam Rollins v. Cena ****1/2 (4 stars)
8/15 Summer Slam Brock v. Taker ****(3 1/2 stars)                                                                      
9/15 Night of Champions Bray/Harper/Strowman v. Jericho/Ambrose/Reigns ****(3 1/2 stars)
        Night of Champions Cena v. Rollins ****(4 stars)
10/15 MSG House Show Cena v. Rollins ****(3 1/2 stars)
10/15 NXT Sasha v. Bayley ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
10/15 HIAC Wyatt v. Reigns ***3/4 (4 stars)
          HIAC Lesnar v. Undertaker ****1/4 (4 stars)
11/15 RAW Cesaro v. Reigns ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
12/15 TLC New Day v. Lucha Dragons v. Usos ****1/4 (4 1/4 stars)
           TLC Reigns v. Sheamus **** (3 1/2 stars)
12/15 NXT Asuka v. Emma **** (3 1/2 stars)
          NXT Balor v. Joe **** (4 stars)
12/15 NXT Gable/Jordan v. Vaudevillains v. Rawley/Ryder v. Blake/Murphy ****(3 1/4 stars)

1/16 Royal Rumble Ambrose v. Owens ****1/4 (4 1/4 stars)
2/16 Fastlane Styles v. Jericho ****(3 1/2 stars)
                      Reigns v. Lesnar v. Ambrose ****1/2 (3 3/4 stars)
3/16 Roadblock Ambrose v. HHH ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
4/16 NXT Dash/Wilder d. Jordan/Gable **** (3 1/2 stars)
                  Nakamura v. Zayn ****1/2 (4 1/2 stars)
4/16 Wrestlemania 32 IC Ladder match ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
                               Sasha v. Becky v. Charlotte ****(3 3/4 stars)
4/16 RAW Zayn v. Owens v. Styles v. Jericho ****(3 3/4 stars)
                  Zayn v. Styles (4 stars)
5/16 Payback Owens v. Zayn ****(4 stars)
5/16 Exteme Rules Miz v. Owens v. Zayn v. Cesaro ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
                               Reigns v. Styles ****1/2 (4 stars)
6/16 NXT  Dash/Dawson v. Gable/Jordan **** (4 stars)
6/16 MITB Cena v. Styles ****1/4 (3 1/2 stars)
                   MITB Match **** (4 stars)
7/16 NXT Balor v. Nakamura ****(4 stars)
7/16 Battleground Zayn v. Owens ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
                              Ambrose v. Rollins v. Reigns ****(3 3/4 stars)
8/16 CWC  Ibushi v. Alexander ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
8/16 Summerslam Styles v. Cena ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
                              Balor d. Rollins ****(4 stars)
8/16 NXT Revival v. Ciampa/Gargano ****1/2 (4 stars)
                  Asuka v. Bayley **** (3 1/2 stars)
                  Joe v. Nakamura ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
8/16 CWC Metalik v. Tozawa ****1/4 (4 1/4 stars)
                  Ibushi v. Kendrick                (4 1/4 stars)
9/16 Backlash Styles v. Ambrose ****1/4 (4 1/4 stars)
9/16 CWC Metalik v. Sabre ***3/4 (4 stars)
                  Perkins v. Ibushi ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
                  Perkins v. Metalik ****1/4 (4 stars)
9/16 Clash of Champions Sheamus v. Cesaro ****(3 3/4 stars)
                                          Jericho v. Zayn ****(3 1/2 stars)
10/16 RAW Sasha v. Charlotte ****(3 1/2 stars)
10/16 No Mercy: Styles v. Ambrose v. Cena ***3/4 (4 stars)
                             Miz v. Ziggler ****1/2 (4 stars)
10/16 Hell in a Cell Rollins v. Owens ****(3 3/4 stars)
11/16 NXT Gargano/Ciampa v. Dash/Dawson ****1/2 (4 1/2 stars)
                    Joe v. Nakamura ****1/4 (4 1/4 stars)
11/16 Survivor Series Elimination Match  ****1/2 (4 stars)
                                    Tag Elimination Match ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
11/16 RAW Sasha v. Charlotte ****(4 stars)
12/16 TLC Miz v. Dolph ****(3 3/4 stars)
                  AJ v. Ambrose****1/2(4 stars)
12/16 NXT Gargano/Ciampa v. Tozawa/Tajiri **** (3 3/4 stars)
12/16 NXT Gargano/Ciampa v. Revival ****

1/17 UK Tournament Dunne v. Andrews ****(3 3/4 stars)
                                   Dunne v. Bate ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
1/17 Royal Rumble Owens v. Reigns ****1/2 (4 stars)
                                 Cena v. Styles ****3/4 (4 1/4 stars)
1/17 NXT Takeover Roode v. Nakamura ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
2/17 Elimination Chamber Match ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
2/17 RAW Bayley v. Charlotte ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
3/17 Fastlane Reigns v. Strowman ****(3 stars)
4/17 Wrestlemania 33 Styles v. Shane ****(3 3/4 stars)
                                    RAW Tag Titles ***3/4 (4 stars)
4/17 NXT Takeover    AoP v. Revival v. DIY ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
                                    Asuka v. Moon ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
                                    Nakamura v. Roode ****1/2 (4 stars)
5/17 RAW Balor v. Rollins v. Miz ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
        NXT Itami v. Strong                            (4 stars)
5/17 UK Challenge     Bate v. Andrews **** (4 1/4 stars)
                                    Dunne v. Seven ****(3 3/4 stars)
5/17 NXT Takeover Dunne v. Bate ****3/4 (4 1/2 stars)
                                 Itami v. Roode ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
                                 AoP v. DIY ****1/4 (4 stars)
5/17 205 Live          Tozawa v. Kendrick **** (3 3/4 stars)
5/17 RAW Reigns v. Rollins ****(3 3/4 stars)
6/17 Extreme Rules Joe v. Rollins v. Balor v. Reigns v. Bray ****1/2 (4 stars)
6/17 MITB   Corbin v. Owens v. Zayn v. Nakamura v. Ziggler v. Styles ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)
6/17 NXT  Asuka v. Cross **** (4 stars)
8/17 NXT House Show Roode v. Strong ****1/4
8/17 SummerSlam pre show Usos v. New Day ****(4 stars)
        SummerSlam Rollins/Ambrose d. Cesaro/Sheamus ****( 3 3/4 stars)
                               Lesnar/Reigns/Joe/Strowman ****3/4 (4 1/4 stars)
        NXT Almas v. Gargano ****1/4 (4 stars)
                 Black v. Itami ****(4 stars)
                 Asuka v. Moon ****1/2 (4 stars)
                 McIntyre v. Roode ****1/4 (3 1/2 stars)
9/17 No Mercy Ambrose/Rollins v. Cesaro/Sheamus ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
                         Reigns v. Cena ****1/4 (3 1/2 stars)
10/17 HIAC Usos v. New Day ****(4 1/4 stars)
                     Owens v. Shane ****1/4 (3 stars)
          TLC Balor v. Styles ****1/4 (4 stars)
                  Angle/Ambrose/Rollins v. Miz/Strowman/Cesaro/Sheamus/Kane ****1/4 (3 stars)
11/17 Survivor Series Lesnar v. Styles ****1/4 (4 1/4 stars)
11/17 NXT Black v. Dream ****(3 1/2 stars)
                   Almas v. McIntyre ****(4 stars)
                   O'Reilly/Cole/Fish v. AoP/Strong v. Sanity ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars) 
12/17 Clash of Champions Benjamin/Gable v. Kofi/Langston v. Usos v. Rusev/English ****1/4 (2 3/4 stars)
12/17 NXT Dunne v. Bate ****1/2 (4 1/4 stars)

1/18 Royal Rumble Men's Match ****1/4 (4 stars)
1/18 NXT Black v. Cole ****1/4 (4 1/4 stars)
                 Almas v. Gargano *****(5 stars)
1/18 RAW Asuka v. Sasha (4 stars)     
1/18 NXT Strong v. Bate **** (3 3/4 stars) 
2/18 205 Live Strong v. Itami (4 1/4 stars)    
2/18 RAW Gauntlet Match (4 stars)
2/18 NXT Almas v. Gargano ****1/4 (4 stars)
3/18 Fastlane 6 Way ****1/4 (4 stars)
3/18 205 Live Alexander v. Strong ****(4 stars)
4/18 RAW Rollins v. Balor ****1/4 (4 stars)
4/18 205 Live Murphy v. Kalisto **** (3 3/4 stars)
4/18 Wrestlemania 34 IC: Rollins v. Balor v. Miz ***1/2 (4 stars)
                                   Smackdown Women: Charlotte v. Asuka ****(3 3/4 stars)
                                   Angle/Rousey d. HHH/Stephanie ****1/4 (3 1/4 stars)
4/18 NXT Ladder: Cole v. Ricochet/Dain/Sullivan/EC3/Dream *****( 4 3/4 stars)
                               Black v. Almas ****1/4 (4 stars)
                               Gargano v. Ciampa *****(4 1/2 stars)
4/18 205 Live Gauntlet Match (4 stars)
4/18 NXT House Show Ricochet v. Dream ****+                                   
4/18 RAW Rollins v. Balor ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)
5/18 Backlash Rollins v. Miz ****1/4 (3 3/4 stars)                                    
5/18 205 Live Murphy v. Ali ****(4 stars)
5/18 205 Live Alexander v. Murphy ****1/4(4 1/4 stars)



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