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Old 03-19-2018, 05:26 AM   #1
hb2k
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2002 By The Quarter (January to March)

So, for this week's podcast, we're starting a new mini-series tentatively dubbed "2002 By The Quarter", covering a year of drastic change in short bursts by looking at the five or six big stories of each three-month period. Kicking it off with January to March, we have a few questions that we'd love to get some feedback on:

1. What were your thoughts at the time on HHH's return as a babyface?

2. What were you thoughts on the nWo coming in - what were your expectations, positive or negative?

3. How did you feel about WrestleMania 18? (I hear Shisen may have seen this live, but have never been able to get him to confirm)

4. What did you make of the brand extension when it was announced, and of the original Draft show in execution?

As always, the best feedback will be read on the show and you'll be credited accordingly...





Crazy Like A Fox - The Definitive Chronicle of Brian Pillman 20 Years Later
**Featuring interviews with members of the Pillman family, Dave Meltzer, Kim Wood, Raven, Jim Cornette, Mark Madden, Shane Douglas, Mark Coleman, Alex Marvez, Les Thatcher and many more close friends and colleagues**
Available on Amazon now:
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:28 AM   #2
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1. What were your thoughts at the time on HHH's return as a babyface?

Not much, I didn't care for Triple H very much at this time, and the crazy reaction at MSG surprised me.

2. What were you thoughts on the nWo coming in - what were your expectations, positive or negative?

I felt gentrified from the beginning, the stable was already overbooked to death in WCW. By the time the 3 originals come to WWE, they were too broken for me to take seriously. They were a few steps behind.

3. How did you feel about WrestleMania 18? (I hear Shisen may have seen this live, but have never been able to get him to confirm)

It wasn't as good as 17 when it comes to match quality. The main event was a letdown at the time. Rock/Hogan was great. I don't remember anything else about it.

4. What did you make of the brand extension when it was announced, and of the original Draft show in execution?

I thought the names were stupid. To call a company Raw or Smackdown! seemed really lame to me.
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:39 AM   #3
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1. What were your thoughts at the time on HHH's return as a babyface?
The initial comeback was fan-fucking-tastic. The workout montages, the ovation for the actual return, even HHH coming back as a walking steroid was amazing.

But--then it turned into a WWE production. The breakup angle with Steph was horrendous. The Jericho storyline was embarrassing for both of them.

As time has gone on, it seems a lot of this is more Vince and Steph's fault than HHH. While the guy loved to put himself over, I think it's fair to think he would have preferred to have gone over in a compelling storyline. Yeah... he passed the heat onto Jericho for the (dog)shit main event, but if Hunter had it his way, the storyline would have been more about the belt than the custody of a canine.

2. What were you thoughts on the nWo coming in - what were your expectations, positive or negative?
I was only 15... and it went almost exactly as one would have imagined. Vince produced it as a WWE angle. From the way they came in with a whimper at No Way Out, to the wet fart that was their essential disbanding (due to Hogan babyfacing himself) at mania, it was pretty sad.

Yeah, the Rock beating was cool, until they crushed him with an 18-wheeler- then it was dumb. Plus, Rock back at the next show with a band aid was a nice "fuck you" to anyone who cared.

3. How did you feel about WrestleMania 18? (I hear Shisen may have seen this live, but have never been able to get him to confirm)

Interesting show. Match quality was mediocre. Flair vs Taker was fucking great (which was miraculous, because Taker stank to high heavens before Mania... and I'd say after Mania he really collected steam as a heel and was very entertaining-- I'm not saying he was perfect, but heel biker taker was way better than face biker taker).

Obviously Hulk vs Rock was something to behold. But let's get serious, that was a happy accident on the WWE's part (and Hulk being his savvy self).

4. What did you make of the brand extension when it was announced, and of the original Draft show in execution?

It could have been good. But you had "invasions" going on within the first few weeks so it was dumb. Smackdown was awesome and RAW was shit. So, that was interesting.

What I find interesting is for all the drivel being booked at the time, the product was actually pretty good in retrospect. Stacked roster, interesting storylines, and still residual energetic-ish crowds from the attitude era. At the time however, they had to wash the stink off from the bungled Invasion. Sadly, HHH fucked a pretend corpse and I have to say, it was pretty much downhill from there.

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Old 03-19-2018, 08:40 AM   #4
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1. What were your thoughts at the time on HHH's return as a babyface?

Didn't like it at first. He was the one of the most over heels in recent memory at the time. He did too many despicable things to just be a face because he got hurt. The music of Beautiful Day really sold it on me. That crowd at MSG was insane. I'm sure Triple H was pretty pissed off because he always wants to be a heel.

2. What were you thoughts on the nWo coming in - what were your expectations, positive or negative?

Thought it was going to be way better. Though it was going to lead to some WCW stars coming into the company to challenge them or join them. Could have been a great way to do a backdoor Invasion the right way.

Putting them with Vince was probably the biggest mistake. They can't really rebel against authority when the owner is bringing them in. It worked better with Bischoff because he wasn't the owner.

Too many injuries and then Booker T. WTF?

3. How did you feel about WrestleMania 18? (I hear Shisen may have seen this live, but have never been able to get him to confirm)

Rock/Hogan was probably had one of the best moments in wrestling history. Not the best match but just like Hulk/Andre it was must-see. Really great emotion and the crowd no-selling Hogan in Toronto.

Rest of the show was just meh. I liked the 24/7 segment until I found out the real idea was to have had a gauntlet type match at the CN Tower. Seeing Scott Hall wrestle again on a PPV was great but the match was just meh. Wish they had Nash in a match but he probably had an injury or something.

4. What did you make of the brand extension when it was announced, and of the original Draft show in execution?

Felt it would have been a good way to get more people on TV. They changed too much of it around from the start. Split PPVs was the only real problem I had with it except for having two World titles. The traveling Male and Woman Champion was a great concept that they gave up on for.....reasons.
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:51 AM   #5
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1. What were your thoughts at the time on HHH's return as a babyface?

It didn't get me that excited. Was a meh moment for me.


2. What were you thoughts on the nWo coming in - what were your expectations, positive or negative?


I had huge expectations, I thought it was going to be a big angle, I am sad it never really got off the ground due to injuries and Scott Halls alcohol abuse. It's a bit annoying on how it just ended so abruptly too.

3. How did you feel about WrestleMania 18? (I hear Shisen may have seen this live, but have never been able to get him to confirm)


I really enjoyed the card except for the MainEvent. Anyone could have told you Y2J was losing. Rock/Hogan was the real mainevent and probably should have went on last.

4. What did you make of the brand extension when it was announced, and of the original Draft show in execution?

The brand extension was a necessity at that time. Sooo many big names were around. You had Hogan, The Rock, Tommy Dreamer, Stone Cold, and many others. There were many main eventers on both brands; I am quite surprised Dreamer didn't have a run with the title, but WWE values it's originals over work rate so I can understand why.
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Old 03-19-2018, 09:10 AM   #6
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Rock vs Hogan is still my favourite match of all time. Hogan "hulking up" during the match is my favourite moment in a Wrestling match. I've watched that match a dozen times and I still cheer when Hogan hulks up.
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Old 03-19-2018, 09:17 AM   #7
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I still to this day have never watched Wrestlemania 18. I pretty much stopped watching wrestling from late 2001 until JBL became a thing.
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Old 03-19-2018, 06:05 PM   #8
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1. What were your thoughts at the time on HHH's return as a babyface? I was excited, because this was before I really knew Trips as the backstage factor, and just considered him a totally awesome heel.

2. What were you thoughts on the nWo coming in - what were your expectations, positive or negative? Felt it fell flat.

3. How did you feel about WrestleMania 18? (I hear Shisen may have seen this live, but have never been able to get him to confirm) ( I was actually there. I felt outside of the Hogan/Rock match which basically burned everyone out because of how electric it was and a decent European Title Match between Christian and DDP, it was mostly forgetable.

4. What did you make of the brand extension when it was announced, and of the original Draft show in execution? Was really excited and loved the concept of it.

As always, the best feedback will be read on the show and you'll be credited accordingly...
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:01 PM   #9
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1. What were your thoughts at the time on HHH's return as a babyface?
Thought his initial return and the pop it generated was great but hated him winning the Rumble since I was a way bigger fan of Jericho. Also really hated Jericho being made irrelevant for the Undisputed title storyline going into Mania X8.

2. What were you thoughts on the nWo coming in - what were your expectations, positive or negative?
Based on how WWE handled the Invasion and WCW/ECW's top stars, had very little expectations of WWE handling the group well.

3. How did you feel about WrestleMania 18? (I hear Shisen may have seen this live, but have never been able to get him to confirm)
Overall it was pretty good but looking back, Hogan-Rock should have been the main event.

4. What did you make of the brand extension when it was announced, and of the original Draft show in execution?
Thought it was a very interesting idea and the original Draft being very good in general. Also Smackdown being the more enjoyable show of the two during this period.
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:20 PM   #10
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1. What were your thoughts at the time on HHH's return as a babyface?

I remember being very hyped up. Totally loved Triple H at the time. I think RAW was pre-empted that week in Canada for some reason. I remember asking my dad if he could take me to some bar where they were showing it live somehow. He was just all "ha ha, no".

2. What were you thoughts on the nWo coming in - what were your expectations, positive or negative?

My thoughts at the time were "Ugggghhhhh nWo? I thought we had seen the end of rehashing the nWo with the end of WCW"

And that if they were gonna do it there was probably better ways to do it than have Vince McMahon say he was going to inject a lethal dose of poison.

3. How did you feel about WrestleMania 18? (I hear Shisen may have seen this live, but have never been able to get him to confirm)

At the time I think I only cared about DDP vs Christian and also Chris Jericho vs. Triple H. Cared less about Triple H by this time and didn't like the storyline at all and wasn't looking forward to Triple H taking the belts from Jericho.

Remember dreading Rock/Hogan and Austin/Hall. This was during a stretch where I was really pretentious and hated Rock/Austin/Hogan/pretty much everyone in the usual main event scene.

4. What did you make of the brand extension when it was announced, and of the original Draft show in execution?

I remember being excited for it and thought it was a cool story and progression. Don't really remember much of the actual execution.
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Old 03-19-2018, 08:25 PM   #11
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Also, Liam please quote me as saying "A LETHAL DOSE... OF POIIIIIISONNNNNNNNNNN" in Vince's voice.
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Old 03-20-2018, 01:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bad News Gertner View Post
Rock vs Hogan is still my favourite match of all time. Hogan "hulking up" during the match is my favourite moment in a Wrestling match. I've watched that match a dozen times and I still cheer when Hogan hulks up.
Guess what?
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Old 03-20-2018, 05:31 PM   #13
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Hi guys, glad to see you guys have been turning out frequent podcasts lately. I hope the book sales are going well, Liam, and Karl is feeling better, on the hole.

1. I had not yet entered my smarkiest of stages, but I knew the Invasion was bad. The turns of Austin, Angle and even Jericho were all pretty flat. I was enjoying wrestling, but I knew it wasn't good stuff. Triple H's return somewhat marked a possible return to form. The hype videos were good, and people seemed happy to see him back, but the good vibes ended pretty quickly.

I'm not a big Triple H apologist. I even criticize the modern narrative about wrestling suddenly getting better when he takes over. I hate that he's still "putting guys over" at WrestleMania, just for them to open the show the following the year while he still gets his Triple H match. But I don't think I can put the blame on babyface Triple H fizzling out as quick as it did on Triple H himself, in any other sense than Triple H was a horrible babyface. Actually...fuck that. Yes I can: Triple H was a horrible babyface.

His stuff with Pedigreeing Vince and breaking up with Steph reeked of "we need to distance Triple H from all the heel stuff that made him Triple H," and it felt awkward even to someone not looking at the product critically at the time. By the time WrestleMania came around, I can't remember what I was looking forward to, but I remember it was not Jericho vs. Triple H.

2. I had seen one episode of Nitro at this point in time. All I remember is Scott Steiner was yelling at a coffin or something. That, in particular, was tremendous, but I had absolutely no idea what was going on. The nWo coming in seemed interesting, because the WWF needed something. My general feeling was that all three were past it, but I had heard of Nash and Hogan even before I got into wrestling, which made it feel like a heavyweight announcement. I think my expectation was that it would be something, so you can imagine my disappointment.

3. WrestleMania X-7 was the first WrestleMania I ever saw, so I was a bit spoiled there. I was mostly fine with the under-card at the time, and it's only in retrospect that I realize what a waste it was. I never got into Van Dam as much as everyone else at the time, so him being in the opening match against William Regal seemed like fine placement. DDP made me laugh -- I liked him and Christian together. Nothing really hit the spot though, and when I think of Manias that could have used a card re-shuffling, this one comes immediately to mind.

Was Jericho the best choice as champion heading in? I think Austin would have been a better option, even ignoring where they were heading in 2001 before Triple H got hurt. Kurt Angle's anti-Canada promo on the way to the ring would have worked better if he was getting beaten by Edge in Toronto, and not barely beating Kane. I liked Kane at the time, however (sorry), so it didn't actively bother me as much as it all just felt pieced together at the last minute.

4. The brand extension actually got me excited, because there's something about ordering and categorizing that is just fun. I had no clue who was going where, what the angles were going to be, what effect politics were going to have -- it actually, in this way that the split isn't now, felt like something that even the talent kind of took a little seriously. That the shows could have this different feel, and that certain talent wouldn't be seen on one of these staples of wrestling television felt like a deal at the time. Maybe not a huge deal, but a deal. The constant drafts, roster jumps, random swaps, unifications and re-split have colored that, retroactively, and it's hard to remember that feeling of the unknown. Whereas, you can almost predict the path this split is going to take by simply looking at the last one and observing how this one follows it almost exactly, only in fast-forward.

The draft show itself only sticks out in my head for Brock Lesnar F5ing someone. I should go back and watch it, but I think that emphasizes I was more interested in what the future would bring.

The first three questions really betray a malaise the product was facing for the first quandrant. It felt like things were happening, but there was no power behind the punches (except for Regal's). Here's Triple H -- isn't that great? Here's the nWo -- aren't they great? Taker is a heel now -- ain't it great? Nothing felt like it had any momentum or any really plan behind it. The roster split helped give focus to some things, specifically with Heyman at the helm.

A promo from Q1 2002 I'd like to give a shout-out too though: Edge had just beaten someone (I think it was the Big Bossman), when Regal appeared on the titantron. Regal cut one of my favorite promo from this quarter when he educated Edge on the history of the British and their barbarism, subverting the goofy gimmick he had been playing for the year or so previous. Even a me who didn't truly appreciate Regal to the fullest at this point in time took notice and thought "Hold on -- that was bloody good."
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Old 03-24-2018, 11:43 PM   #14
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1. What were your thoughts at the time on HHH's return as a babyface?

I was initially excited but became disappointed after a few weeks. As is the case with many newly-turned faces in the WWE, the WWE altered Triple H's 'face' personality too drastically. Since his face personality became quite different from his heel personna (the personna that the fans grew to love), his facedom started to fade quite fast. Triple H's lackluster facedom, combined with Chris Jericho's EXTREMELY poor build up as champion (I'll elaborate on this later) lead to a horrible main-event that year.....and had zero chance of being an adequate follow-up to Rock/Hogan.



2. What were you thoughts on the nWo coming in - what were your expectations, positive or negative?

I was excited and had positive expectations. The nWo was a big name stable obviously, and we hadn't seen Hall, Nash, and Hogan in the WWE in quite some time. In retrospect, I think it would have been better for the following to happen:

-Kevin Nash/Scott Hall develop a program with Triple H
-Hogan vs. Rock as scheduled
-Chris Jericho vs. heel Austin at Mania....with Austin staying heel even after Survivor Series 2001. A well built up FACE Jericho going over Austin would have achieved the following:

A) A true 'passing of the torch' and a good 3 year stop gap between the Attitude era and the John Cena era with Jericho being the 'top face' of the company.
B) A worthy following act after Rock/Hogan
C) Austin doing a meaningful job before taking a much needed sabbatical to heal his injuries (instead of feeling self-obligated to 'walk out' on the company).

Hall and Nash feuding with Hunter would have allowed Hunter to be built up a little more as a face instead of being shoved down our throats. Given "The Kliq's" past, I think this feud would have been more interesting than the actual Hall/Austin........especially with HBK's return not too far off.



3. How did you feel about WrestleMania 18? (I hear Shisen may have seen this live, but have never been able to get him to confirm)

Great PPV, but it also marked the end of the Attitude Era. If the Attitude era was akin to a city, then I believe that Austin/HBK/WM14 to Rock/Austin/WM17 was the "downtown city," while Austin/Bret/WM13 to Rock/Hogan/WM18 was the 'downtown city + metropolitan area. Although the Attitude Era winded down after Wrestlemania 17, I feel like the Attitude Era was truly over after Rock/Hogan. The horrible Jericho-Triple H match and poorly built up feud then "kickstarted" the forgettable Post-War era. The WWE really screwed the pooch with Jericho in my opinion. Jericho should have been the guy to 'take the torch' after Austin and Rock, and then pass the torch to Cena back in 2006 (instead of Hunter). 2002-2006 should have been Jericho's time, and I believe that the WWE would have stayed a lot closer to their Attitude Era level of popularity had they done this.

Jericho was pretty much the only guy in the WWE that was worthy of being the top guy at the time.
A) He was way over as a face (unlike most other wrestlers that attempted face turns after successful heel runs and had their personalities drastically altered after turning face.....and then flopping as faces).
B) He had the necessary in-ring ability.
C) The guy was a lockerroom leader and team player (which is why guys like Orton and Lesnar should never have been made long term champions......the WWE made the right call with Orton here).
D) The guy didn't have a history of injuries and didn't have a drug problem (drugs are why Angle wasn't given the ball, and drugs/in-ring ability/character issues outside the ring was why RVD wasn't given the ball. The WWE made the right call with both Angle and RVD).

Jericho truly was the guy that should have been given the ball and the WWE fudged it up. Triple H was given the ball due to his marriage to Stephanie, and he couldn't bring it as a face. The WWE then turned him heel and had him dominate everyone without an adequate opposing face (recipe for bad business). The WWE also tried to hot-shot Lesnar by pushing him to the moon and handing the business to him on a silver platter, but the problem with that strategy is that the wrestler develops an "entitlement" attitude (which is what happened with Lesnar). Lesnar also flopped as a face due to his personality being altered after Summerslam 2002. Jericho was the guy. Period.

A) Jericho should have never been made to look inferior to guys like Benoit and Angle during their feuds in 2000. Given Jericho's potential to draw, Jericho should have gone over both men strong here.
B) His 'phantom' title win over Hunter back in 2000 should never have been phantom.
C) Jericho should have never turned heel during the Invasion angle. Him and Rock both should have stayed face. Actually, if I recall correctly, Jericho and The Rock had a match well before the Invasion angle and both men were faces. The fans were actually siding a little with Jericho. Jericho was getting the better of The Rock before the match was stopped due to interference. Jericho clearly had fanfare comparable to The Rock at this time.
D) Face Jericho should have gone cleanly over a Face Rock at that one PPV (the one where Jericho became Undisputed Champion). THIS would have been what Hogan/Warrior should have been back in 1990 (or whenever it was). In the final, you can have Austin do something to 'default' the match against Jericho so that he wouldn't have to defend the title, yadda yadda.

Bottom line? Jericho should have been the guy to transition between Austin/Rock and the John Cena era. The WWE would have kept a lot of their Attitude Era steam had this happened in my opinion.


4. What did you make of the brand extension when it was announced, and of the original Draft show in execution?

Like Communism, great in theory. In theory, you'd get wrestlers having more days off and more wrestlers having the opportunity to get over. In actuality, you'd have more titles in the WWE which would result in titles having less meaning and significance. You would also get more poorly built up characters getting more TV time and boring the WWE audience (leading to a decline in fan interest and ratings). I believe that this was the problem then, and is the problem now.
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Old 03-25-2018, 08:33 AM   #15
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lmfao, Heyman.
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Old 03-25-2018, 02:37 PM   #16
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1. Kinda ingenious to play the long con in order to have him turn heel and eventually become the first World Heavyweight Champion.

2. I had high hopes after the initial appearance and promo at No Way Out - and then it was ruined by bloating it all to Hell with probably 1/5th the RAW roster, not to mention Austin/Hall at WM x8.

3. Loved it mostly, except for the aforementioned Austin v. Hall match and Jericho and Triple H main-eventng (didn't have a problem with the match - it should've been the penultimate match). For the first WM I watched on PPV (and on my 21st birthday no less), it blew my mind. I also don't know if Shisen was there or not - if he was, he was better hidden in that crowd than Waldo from Where's Waldo?.

4. As someone who has been proven to be quite resistant to change, at first I didn't like it at all. But then the brands got their own GM's and championships and took on identities all their own. The draft was pretty cool although I don't remember much except Vince taking Rock to SD! as the first pick ever and Rock coming out and getting half the crowd to chant "YOU ARE..." and the other half, "AN ASSHOLE!", which was pretty funny. Other than that kinda MEH.
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Old 04-09-2018, 03:28 PM   #17
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Did this show go up?
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Old 04-09-2018, 03:35 PM   #18
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it did.
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Old 04-09-2018, 03:52 PM   #19
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His podcast link is not longer in his sig.... can't find it
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:52 PM   #20
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Type SCG Radio into Google and it's the top link. Or go to squaredcirclegazette.com. Your Tommy Dreamer comment made it in, haha. I love that ongoing shtick.
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:10 PM   #21
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I got put over big time on this one B-)
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:13 PM   #22
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Yeah, congratulations on your engagement.
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:21 PM   #23
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@HB2K - did my post make it on to your podcast? If not, may I please know what your thoughts are with regards to my post? I’d be interested in hearing your opinion if possible.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:16 PM   #24
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EIWF does not have that much rep yet (10+)
I was lucky enough to go to wrestlemania 18. Went to fan access as well.

I enjoyed wm18 and when i watched it after i felt it did reflect some of the atmosphere truely. Yes you hear the fans booing rock but there it seemed like the fans were much more pro Hogan. There was plenty of Hitman chants.

The reaction to HHH and Jerichio seemed dead after the Hogan Rock match. People started leaving as well after Hogans match and before the main event. Not those ringside but the upper reaches.

Could see Nash and Hall backstage waiting to come out after Hogans match (i was in line with the entrance way/curtain)

I enjoyed it, not many people have been to a wm, and im from the UK.

I was in the minority when i was cheering Regal!
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Old 04-12-2018, 01:06 AM   #25
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I am hoping that a WrestleMania and Beyond podcast is coming. Honestly enjoy listening to you guys banter than the actual product.
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Old 04-12-2018, 01:09 AM   #26
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If you find the time to do them weekly again, have you considered a Patreon or something? Some people don't feel comfortable asking listeners for money, but I hope you guys keep going with them, because they're ace.
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Old 04-12-2018, 02:11 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Vic View Post
[U] Sooo many big names were around. You had Hogan, The Rock, Tommy Dreamer, Stone Cold, and many others. There were many main eventers on both brands; I am quite surprised Dreamer didn't have a run with the title, but WWE values it's originals over work rate so I can understand why.
Hogan, Austin, The Rock and TOMMY MOTHERFUCKIN' DREAMER. Big names.
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Old 04-12-2018, 08:23 AM   #28
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I forgot he hates Kane too..... gives me more options.
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Old 04-12-2018, 04:24 PM   #29
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Thanks for the reminder to post this guys, been so busy I felt behind...

Join us for the first in a four part series, dubbed "2002 By The Quarter". Looking at an extremely turbulent year in the WWF/WWE, we first break down January to March, hitting all the big talking points and breaking them down, discussing the return of Triple H as the top babyface, the debut of the New World Order, the struggling Undisputed Title run of Chris Jericho, WrestleMania X8 and the bizarre dynamic the company found themselves in, the growing discontent of Steve Austin and the launch of the Brand Extension, featuring the first ever WWF Draft show. All this and more within the space of three months, and of course we have comments from you, the loyal listeners! Check it out and let us know what you think!

https://squaredcirclegazette.podbean...ter_Part_1.mp3

Will get to the fine folks who responded after we recorded as well shortly :-)

And yep, recording an NXT, Mania and Beyond tomorrow evening...
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