Wrestler of the Day – May 3: Rhyno

Today it’s RHYNO! RHYNO! RHYNO!

Rhyno started in the indies near Canada, joining forces with Christian Cage and Sexton Hardcastle, who would later become known as Edge and Christian. He would eventually get a spot on Raw as a jobber. From November 6, 1995.

Terry Richards vs. Henry O. Godwin

Richards takes him into the corner and hammers away but misses a charge. A belly to back suplex and elbow drop have Richards in trouble. Godwin sends him into the buckle and rips at Richards’ face for good measure. The announcers spend the whole match talking about Henry Godwin vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley, which to be fair is what you should do in a match like this. The Slop Drop (reverse DDT) gets an easy pin to complete Henry’s squash.

We’re going to skip ahead several years here as Rhyno spent most of the next several years in the indies and Germany where there isn’t a ton of video. We’ll pick things up in ECW, where Rhyno appeared on the third episode of ECW on TNN, from September 10, 1999.

Rhyno vs. Super Crazy

Before the ECWites start complaining, yes I know that’s the WWE spelling of it and that’s how I spell it. Get over it. Speed vs. power here. Crazy moves as fast as he can but his springboard moonsault press is caught in a powerslam for two. Rhyno is brand new here. He misses a charge and Crazy hits a springboard missile dropkick and a leg lariat of the same kind of two.

Gertner keeps trying to order Mexican food. Out to the floor and Rhyno is knocked into the crowd. HUGE Asai moonsault takes Rhyno out. Back in the ring and Rhyno starts up the power offense. Crazy comes back with a tornado DDT for two. Selling and being on offense for an extended period weren’t things commonly done in ECW. A moonsault gets knees and another powerslam gets two. Crazy counters a powerbomb into a rana for the pin.

Rating: C-. Not a bad match here with Crazy moving around quite well. The ECW midcard was usually very solid and this was one of their better periods. That being said, I eventually got tired of Tajiri vs. Crazy which happened for months on end. Decent little match here, although the ending was pretty weak. To be fair, Rhyno was brand new at this point so he didn’t have his whole deal down yet.

Rhyno was a big enough deal that he was in the main event of November to Remember 1999, ECW’s biggest show of the year.

Rhyno/Justin Credible/Lance Storm vs. Sandman/Tommy Dreamer/Raven

Literally, we see RVD celebrating and then Rhyno’s music is playing. At least we get to look at Dawn Marie. Francine comes out in a bikini. Ok then. Raven and Dreamer are tag champions at this point. Sandman’s entrance effectively kills five minutes of the show. Why is this a big match? Not important. Why are they fighting? Not important. Why are these people teaming together? Not important.

Actually, I don’t think any of these feuds/matches have been explained. Not important I guess. So with like 5 minutes, the heels don’t bother jumping Raven and Dreamer at all. Brilliant there guys. It’s a good sign when you can walk around for the length of Enter Sandman. We’re already past the prayer. Tommy has a case around hits elbow. Wasn’t he supposed to retire? We kill more time by doing entrances.

Seriously nearly fifteen minutes have passed since the end of the previous match. Hey it’s a bell and we’re going to get a match! Sandman vs. Rhyno start us off since Justin makes a fast tag when he sees who is starting for the faces. And we stall. Raven won’t tag Dreamer. The showdown here is Sandman vs. Credible but we don’t get it yet due to Credible running. Credible had allegedly run Sandman out of ECW to WCW where he sucked for the most part.
We actually have something close to a wrestling match for a little bit. You can tell this is the super show. Storm vs. Sandman is a weird pairing to say the least. I’m not sure if Rhyno had the Gore or not yet. Raven punches Dreamer to get the hot tag. Apparently he does have the Gore as he uses a bad one on Raven. Yep it’s a big brawl. They lasted all of 7 minutes without one. That has to be a record for a main event here.

DDT to Credible gets two. Raven and Dreamer working together is weird and just as I say that Raven drop toe holds him into a chair. NOW THAT’S MORE LIKE IT! The Gore hits Storm and Sandman has a cane. The girls go at it for a bit. Dawn isn’t wearing underwear. Nice. Raven possibly accidently canes Sandman and Credible hits the Tombstone for the pin.

Rating: F+. This is the main event of the biggest show of the year and it doesn’t even break ten minutes? This felt like a total filler match and nothing more. Does this actually change anything? Raven is a bad guy. Is this supposed to be like surprising or something? Seriously, why was this on last? With RVD and Taz at least it would have felt huge. This feels like just another match. I have no idea what Heyman was thinking back then, but it couldn’t have been coherent.

Rhyno would win the TV Title at Cyberslam 2000 and defend it against Sandman at Hardcore Heaven 2000.

TV Title: Sandman vs. Rhyno

We hear about how Sandman has never held this title, which should imply he wins it here. That would make sense of course, so I’m betting against him. His entrance is always cool, but it’s a glorified way to kill 3 minutes. That being said, it’s still completely awesome and I’m hardly complaining.

We go straight to it after a four and a half minute intro. This is the third attempt at this match so it’s a long time coming. Joey admits that this is going to be a fight and not a match, which is about what I expected. There’s your first table. The fans want Sandman to screw him up. Could we please wait until we’re in a hotel for that? This is back when Rhino was still insane and awesome looking so he’s a big favorite.

He misses a shoulder block/spear thing though and crashes through a table. Sandman gets a piledriver for two on a table. Since it didn’t work he does it again. Here’s Sandman’s wife to beat up Jack Victory and Corino stops her. Sandman takes a piledriver on the ramp…and Lori takes a piledriver from the apron through a table which was one of the most played spots in ECW’s following history. For some reason her being dragged with her feet crossed is making me laugh. Sandman picks her up and gets Gored through a table to end it.

Rating: D+. Another wild brawl with Sandman getting his teeth kicked in for the most part. It did its job of making Rhyno look like a tough guy though it was too short and of course had too much interference. Again though, did you expect anything more? This just wasn’t anything special and it came off like another big mess. Decent little brawl though.

Since RVD never lost the TV Title due to his broken ankle, he received a rematch for the title at Anarchy Rulz 2000.

TV Title: Rhyno vs. Rob Van Dam

The whole RVD never got beat and Rhyno is the bigger and better champion is decided here apparently while Justin Credible is main eventing another PPV. Rhyno charges while RVD is doing his spin kick to his name. We immediately go to the floor and I’m not sure if there was a bell yet. This is another of those big brawls that doesn’t really prove anything at all but the fans love them so they kept happening.

The lights are weird here as things are really dark. It’s likely the company just couldn’t afford it I guess. Van Dam hits an over the ropes dive to take out Rhyno. The idea here is RVD’s usual stuff isn’t working so he’s having to hit and run. The skateboard dropkick hits in the corner and the challenger is dominating. Cyrus calls the fans troglodytes. It must be a Canadian thing.

Rhyno hits a middle rope clothesline to kill RVD and take over. And it’s table time. You knew it was coming. Rhyno hits a chinlock as Alfonzo blows his whistle in time with the RVD chants. Five Star gets two and he’s stunned. The Gore hits and there’s the piledriver through the table. Fonzie hits Rhyno with a chair to set up the Van Daminator.

Van Terminator misses thanks to Justin interfering for no apparent reason and it hits Fonzie. Rhyno hits a running spinebuster through the table and then a piledriver on a chair ends it. I always hated that move for him as he’s a power guy using a move that Jerry Lawler used a lot. Never got that.

Rating: D+. You know for a big clash, this was pretty weak. RVD loses….why? Heyman wouldn’t put the spotlight on him because of guys like Justin? This wouldn’t have saved the company but it would have given them a better chance. This was a pretty weak match that didn’t feel special. It’s not really that good and while it’s entertaining, this should have been a main event somewhere instead of a throwaway match. But that would be logical booking which didn’t exist around this time so there we are.

I’ll skip Rhyno winning the ECW World Title at Guilty As Charged 2001 because the match is only about 45 seconds long. He would be in the WWF almost immediately and hook up with Edge and Christian as a loose alliance. One of his first major matches would be at Backlash 2001 for Raven’s Hardcore Title.

Hardcore Title: Raven vs. Rhyno

Rhyno is champion. This is considered one of the best hardcore matches ever so let’s see if it lives up to its hype. Rhyno tries a Gore immediately but Raven drop toeholds him into the stop sign. Trashcan shot gets two. Rhyno takes over with a running shoulder in the corner and the beating begins. Raven gets a trashcan up to block a running charge but it hurts him even more. He falls out to the floor and gets covered for two.

Rhyno sets up the steps and puts Raven in a chair. He tries a run up the stairs to set up a dive, only to crush the chair. Raven uses the same setup but gets a clothesline off the steps for two. Back inside for half a second as Rhyno takes over again. Raven gets his head taken off by a trashcan lid and a sign shot gets two. Back into the ring and Rhyno hits him with a shopping cart. Whatever works I guess.

Drop toehold puts Rhyno into the cart and down he goes. A bunch of sign shots take Rhyno down and a LOUD one does it again. Bulldog out of the corner gets two. Rhyno picks up the shopping cart but Raven gets a trashcan shot in to have the cart fall on Rhyno for two. Cart goes into Rhyno’s ribs but Rhyno gets a sign shot in to get two. Momentum shifts back and forth a lot in this match. Rhyno tries the Gore into the shopping cart but misses and Rhyno is stuck inside the cart. We go to a replay of it and during that the Gore ends Raven. That fits the move as the move is supposed to come out of nowhere, which it did there.

Rating: B. Well they were right, this was good. The key thing here is it never got silly. This was more about violence than the weapons if that makes sense. Most of the time there would be comedy spots in something like this but here, it was all about the violence and the brutality out there, making for a far better and more entertaining match.

And then the InVasion happened. Rhyno would be on the Alliance team at the InVasion pay per view, wrestling in the main event known as the Inaugural Brawl.

Inaugural Brawl: Team WWF vs. Team WCW/ECW

WWF – Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Kane, Undertaker
WCW/ECW – Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page, Rhyno, Dudley Boys

All three Alliance bosses get entrances. Now Vince gets an entrance. It’s been over 12 minutes since the last match ended and we’re not even to the wrestlers’ entrances yet. So yeah for you trivia buffs, this is the other non-ECW PPV that the Dudley Boys main evented. Kane and Taker were still kind of tag partners at this point but not really. So apparently Taker and Kane are balanced out by the Dudley Boyz? Ok then.

Oh and this is just a ten man tag. No special rules or anything like that. And pay no attention to the fact that both Taker and Kane (albeit as a jobber) used to work for WCW. Rhyno makes it the third ECW guy in a row. Talk about a push that died after this. Next is Jericho, who is about as opposite of Rhyno after this show as you could ask of anyone. Stephanie and Jericho was one of the funniest feuds I can ever remember.

Booker is US and World Champion at this time but he would hand the US Title to Kanyon soon after this. This just feels entirely thrown together. Sting is mentioned on a WWF PPV for likely the only time ever. Stephanie dancing to Booker’s music is just hilarious. Angle gets a HUGE pop despite going the wrong way down the ramp.

The level he reached about two months from now was insane. DDP is apparently the biggest deal in the Alliance. Dang did they ever jump the gun here. The 9 mentioned start fighting in the aisle and we have Austin. Notice a certain one sidedness here?

Austin and Rhyno start us off. Austin hits a superplex off the top. Sweet goodness. Jericho gets a NICE pop for the tag. Booker, the only one of the WCW/ECW guys to get a legit push in WWF comes in. Angle gets another great pop. This was after the peak the company had a few months earlier, but it was still a huge deal. This evolves into your standard big time tag match with various people beating on each other with no one really controlling for a ton of time.

DDP hits a Stunner on the top rope on Taker to finally get something resembling control. Austin works on a wristlock on Booker. There’s something you don’t see everyday. We’ve been at this for about ten minutes now and there hasn’t been any long term control. There isn’t much to say here either though as it’s exactly what you would expect it to be. Heyman is awesome at being completely evil when he has to be.

Angle is in some trouble here and the Spinarooni hits. Page hits a spinning powerbomb on Angle which is one of my favorite moves. So after nearly 20 minutes we get to the traditional face in peril sequence of the match. We go old school with Austin getting the tag but the referee didn’t see it. I love things like that. Diamond Cutter on Angle and it gets NO reaction. Cole of course calls it a neck breaker while Ross, 10 seconds after it, says the name right.

And here is the brawl that you knew was coming. Rhyno hits the Gore on Booker and Taker finally gets his hands on DDP again. Chokeslam to Page. Booker and Austin fight on the floor while the WCW referee gets a Last Ride. Taker and DDP go into the crowd while Austin’s knee is messed up after going into the steps. Kane is fighting both Dudleys.

That’s how you can tell Taker is a bigger deal than Kane: when Taker did that, they got their own match. It’s table time. Kane hits a chokeslam through the announce table on D-Von. He got him UP there too. Rhyno and Bubba put Kane through the Spanish Announce Table. Good to see a tradition still alive. Jericho puts Rhyno through the table the Dudleyz set up. Booker and Angle are the only guys still conscious. Oh and Bubba also.

The referee is still looking at Austin’s knee. Yes I’m listing a lot of play by play but you have to here so you know what’s going on. Angle fights off Booker and Bubba with an ankle lock and the Angle Slam, back when it was a good finisher, respectively. And there goes the referee. Cue the finish. Vince grabs the WWF Title and throws it to Angle. Shane gets it though and down goes Vince.

It’s Booker vs. Angle now. Angle hits his pair of finishers on him, Austin throws the referee in, kicks Angle in the head, Stunner, pin, WCW/ECW wins. Austin turned heel again, shocking JR despite him having done the same thing TWO AND A HALF MONTHS EARLIER. Austin and the three Alliance leaders have beers to end the show.

Rating: B. This did something I didn’t think it did: it made the far weaker WCW/ECW team look legit. This was all about making WWF look like they were in danger and it did that. WWF never had the advantage in the whole match until the very end. WCW/ECW controlled this as they should have. Austin turning heel had to be done given the totally rushed nature of this angle but that’s neither here nor there. The match wasn’t terrible either, so I’d say this was a success. Not a classic or anything, but a success.

Rhyno would get a US Title shot against old rival Tajiri at Unforgiven 2001.

US Title: Rhyno vs. Tajiri

Tajiri is champion. JR doesn’t get how Tajiri can date an Alliance chick in Torrie. Common sense never was Ross’ strong suit. Tajiri fires off some kicks and chops but the fans don’t care. To be fair this is a filler match between the Rock match and Austin vs. Angle. Rhyno gets in a shot and we hit the chinlock. Big spinebuster gets two. Rhyno goes after Torrie and loads up a Gore but Tajiri kicks him HARD in the face to break it up. Tornado DDT is countered so there’s an Octopus Hold and an attempted Tarantula. Buzzsaw Kick misses and a suplex sets up the Gore to give Rhyno the title.

Rating: D+. This was nothing but it wasn’t that awful. It needed to be on Smackdown as far as quality but at the same time it did let them have a buffer between the title matches which is a good idea. Also it’s not like there was much to see here so a nacho break was a good idea. Why did Tajiri want to fight here though?

Rhyno would have to have neck surgery in late 2001, putting him out for over a year. We’ll pick things up in 2003 at Wrestlemania XIX where Rhyno is teaming with Chris Benoit in a Smackdown Tag Team Title match.

Smackdown Tag Titles: Los Guerreros vs. Chris Benoit/Rhyno vs. World’s Greatest Tag Team

Haas and Benjamin are defending here. This is Benoit’s reward for having the match of the year against Angle two months earlier, followed by a feud with the freaking FBI while Kevin Nash got world title shots on PPV. I’m sure HHH has NOTHING to do with this right? It’s a big brawl to start until we get down to Benoit vs. Guerrero for a chop off. They collide in the middle of the ring with both guys going down. Rhyno comes in to face Eddie and gets two off a powerslam.

Off to Shelton who pounds Rhyno down before hitting an elbow to the face for two. Off to Haas for a double tag team by the champions on Rhyno. Rhyno throws Haas around with ease and it’s off to Benoit for more chops in the corner. A snap suplex gets two as does its belly to back cousin. Back to Rhyno vs. Benjamin as the announcers talk about Haas and Benjamin having stage fright.

Eddie comes in and dropkicks Rhyno down before it’s back to Benoit for more chopping on his fellow dead guy. Eddie snapmares him down and loads up the Frog Splash, only to have Benoit run over to the corner for some crotching and a superplex. Guerrero comes right back with a brainbuster for two as Haas breaks up the cover again. Off to Chavo who fires off some fast clotheslines to the champions, only to get caught in Rolling Germans by Benoit.

Benjamin comes in off a blind tag and superkicks Chris down for two. Eddie tags himself in and collides with Benoit to put both guys down. Shelton comes in to work on Benoit some more and a legdrop gets two. Eddie breaks it up with a Frog Splash but Chavo tags himself in, only to be suplexed down by Haas. Rhyno comes in for some Gores including one to Chavo, but Benjamin comes in (I have no idea if he was legal) and steals the retaining pin on Chavo.

Rating: C. The match was fine but it had no business being on Wrestlemania. This could have been on any given episode of Smackdown and no one would have noticed the difference. Rhyno and Benoit were just thrown together while the Guerreros were a regular team and former champions. Not bad here but not Wrestlemania worthy.

Rhyno would get back in the swing of things by the end of the summer, getting a US Title shot at Summerslam 2003.

US Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit vs. Tajiri vs. Rhyno

Eddie is defending and this is one fall to a finish. Eddie has ticked off all three challengers so they all want to take him out. The champion bails to the floor so everyone else can fight and we quickly get down to Rhyno vs. Benoit. Chris hooks a quick Crossface, drawing Eddie in for the save. Tajiri is back in as well but Eddie breaks up a cover. Everyone is in now and all three challengers go after Eddie at the same time.

Rhyno hits a running shoulder to Eddie’s ribs in the corner and powerslams him down for two but Benoit comes back with a German suplex. A belly to back gets two on Tajiri but Eddie makes another save. Benoit is suplexed to the floor and Eddie is left alone with Tajiri, only to have the challenger monkey flip Eddie down for two. Rhyno comes back in and sends Tajiri to the floor but Benoit wants to beat up Eddie himself, triggering a brawl between challengers.

Rhyno gets control again and superplexes Eddie down for two but Tajiri kicks him in the back of the head. Tajiri snaps off the handspring elbow for two on Chris but Rhyno sends Tajiri to the floor, only to have Eddie headscissor him out to the floor. Eddie hurricanranas Benoit out of the corner for two and it’s Tajiri in again for some hard kicks. Eddie hooks the Lasso From El Paso (Liontamer crossed with the Texas Cloverleaf) on Tajiri but Benoit stops Rhyno from making the save with the Crossface.

Tajiri makes the ropes so Eddie turns around to dropkick Benoit in the head for the save. Benoit grabs the Crossface on Guerrero but Rhyno and Tajiri make the double save. Rhyno hits a spinebuster for two on Tajiri but Benoit knocks Rhyno to the floor. Chris rolls some Germans on Tajiri but Tajiri reverses into one of his own for two on Benoit.

Tajiri catches a charging Benoit in the Tarantula and the distraction lets Eddie get the US Title to shield himself from Rhyno’s Gore. Tajiri breaks up the Frog Splash but gets caught in the Tree of Woe. Benoit Swan Dives Rhyno but Tajiri makes a last second save. Tajiri and Benoit fall to the floor and Eddie frog splashes Rhyno to retain.

Rating: B+. This was non-stop action for about eleven minutes and incredibly entertaining as a result. It’s a great example of how wrestling and action can be so much more interesting than whatever drama the McMahons have going on at the moment. Watching these four make save after save is WAY more fun than hearing about Bischoff forcing himself on Linda or Stephanie being FURIOUS with Sable over whatever affair her dad is having this month.

We’ll skip 2004 as Rhyno was stuck in the lower card. Instead we’ll move forward to 2005 where Rhyno went to TNA and was put in the main event scene almost immediately. He would receive a World Title shot at Unbreakable.

NWA World Title: Raven vs. Rhyno

This is No DQ and Raven is defending. Raven brings in his shopping cart full of weapons as is his custom. The weapons are brought in almost immediately and Rhyno bails. He finds a kendo stick from somewhere but stalls more anyway. Raven’s Rules include falls count anywhere apparently. They both have sticks and it’s time for a duel. I don’t think Thesz and Brisco ever did anything like that other than that one show in Boston back in 63. Rhyno knocks him down and chokes with something we can’t see. Apparently it was a nunchuck.

Raven comes back with a pizza cutter to bust Rhyno open. The fans chant that they want pizza. WELL GO BUY IT YOU FREAKING TIGHTWADS! You didn’t pay for a ticket so go buy yourselves a slice! They head to the floor and Raven rams him into a keg. WHY IS THERE A BEER KEG? Either way Rhyno is busted open and Raven finds a ladder. Rhyno hits him with the keg and Raven hits him with the kendo stick. Some cane shots to the back get two.

Raven puts on an ankle lock but Rhyno makes a rope. He slugs Bird Boy to the floor and pops him in the back with a chair a few times. Back inside and Raven is busted open by a garbage can shot. Rhyno does a Joe Face Wash in the corner but Raven grabs the foot for the ankle lock again. Rhyno shrugs that off and pulls out the staple gun. He staples the head of Raven, right on the cut. They didn’t even do that back in Boston in 63.

Rhyno goes up but misses a splash, hitting a chair instead. They slug it out with Raven taking over via the discus lariat. A knee lift puts Rhyno down in the corner and there’s the bulldog for two. Rhyno fights back and here’s Cassidy Riley (Raven worshipper) to help but his distraction means Raven’s DDT only gets two. Rhyno sets up the ladder against a chair like a ramp and then pounds away in the corner on Raven in front of it. If you don’t know what’s coming here, you’re an idiot. That only gets two and both guys are spent.

Rhyno seesaws the ladder into Raven’s face and the champ is in even more trouble than he was before. That also gets two so Rhyno brings the shopping cart inside. This is starting to look like their Backlash 2001 Hardcore Title match which is a good thing. Raven rams him into the cart and avoids the Gore, sending it into the cart. That’s right out of the 01 match and here’s Jarrett. He loads up a belt shot but Jeff Hardy comes down to take the belt away. Raven DDTs Jarrett and Rhyno to retain.

Rating: B-. Decent brawl here but it was too messy for my tastes. Raven was a good champion but him being off TV makes him mostly forgotten. That’s a shame too because he breathed some fresh air into the main event scene. He would lose the title four days later in Canada at some other NWA event, likely because the NWA thought it was a good idea. Anyway, decent match but nothing great.

Rhyno would be entered into a gauntlet match at Bound For Glory 2005 for a shot at the World Title later in the night.

Gauntlet For The Gold

This is kind of like the Royal Rumble as everyone comes in after I think a minute and it’s over the top eliminations. The winner gets Jarrett immediately thereafter. Joe and Truth are the first two entrants. Oh ok these two go for two minutes and then every entrant is one minute. Got it. Truth dances for about 20 seconds to make fun of the Polynesian dance stuff earlier.

There’s no contact until 46 seconds in when Joe punches him in the face. Off to some Facewashes and the running boot. Truth pulls himself to the top and hits a Blockbuster. Downward Spiral puts Joe down and #3 is Sabu who can barely walk. He falls through the middle and bottom rope but has a chair. He BLASTS Truth with it and hits the triple jump moonsault on the same. Air Sabu hits Joe. Remember that there are only one minuet intervals from now on.

Joe throws the chair at Sabu’s legs and Lance Hoyt is in at #4. Joe no sells Hoyt’s punches but can’t no sell a big boot. Abyss is #5 who cleans house and has a staredown with Joe. They chop it out and Abyss grabs him for a chokeslam. Joe grabs HIM for a chokeslam, which is why Joe is awesome. And then Truth breaks it up because he likes to annoy me. Jeff Hardy is #6 and Sabu is busted open. No one has been eliminated yet.

Monty Brown is #7 and he’s limping for some reason. He Pounces Sabu and throws Hardy to the apron, but Hardy pulls him along with him to eliminate both guys. Abyss is almost out but he fights everyone off. #8 is Rhyno who also can barely walk. All of the Monster’s Ball people are in this. Rhyno easily clotheslines Hoyt out and we have five in and two still to go. Kip James (who didn’t wrestle earlier) is #9 and he cleans house. Fameasser to Abyss and AJ is somehow #10, meaning no Raven which is a surprise.

So we have Kip, AJ, Abyss, Joe, Sabu, Truth and Rhyno. AJ goes right after Abyss because he’s just that kind of guy. Apparently Sabu went out off camera somewhere so it’s down to six. Joe pounds on Kip and is the big crowd favorite. Things slow down a bit until AJ hits a big jumping kick to the head of I think Truth. Truth is put onto the apron but he hangs on. Kip charges like an idiot and goes out to get us down to five.

Pele puts Truth down and everyone is down. Abyss talks to Truth, calling him Ronnie. AJ throws Truth over but Kip holds him up from hitting the floor. And never mind as he goes out anyway. So it’s Rhyno, Abyss, AJ and Joe. There’s a solid tag match in there somewhere. AJ somehow explodes on Joe with forearms but gets caught in the choke next to the ropes. Abyss eliminates them both and apparently you win by over the top. Usually it’s a one on one match when it gets down to two. Gore to Abyss and Rhyno tosses him for the quick win.

Rating: C-. Considering that these guys had all fought tonight this wasn’t half bad. AJ had to be gassed after having to stop for about 10 minutes and then start up again. Raven belonged in there instead of freaking Billy Gunn but I think that was part of his feud with management so it made sense I guess. Still though, it was relatively short and the minute time limits weren’t so bad because there weren’t that many people in it.

And now the title match.

NWA World Title: Rhyno vs. Jeff Jarrett

Tito Ortiz is guest referee. Jarrett brings out a casket for no apparent reason. He jumps Rhyno before the belt even comes off and hits a dropkick to put Rhyno down. Out to the floor and Rhyno gets rammed into the announce table and then the casket. Back in a top rope clothesline puts Rhyno down again. He’s had zero offense at all so far. Another top rope clothesline puts the challenger down again so Jeff goes up a third time. Rhyno catches him in chokeslam position but instead throws Jeff into the air and kicks him in the balls.

Gail Kim comes out as the Gore misses. Gail goes up but jumps into the arms of Tito. She tries to slap him so she gets placed on the apron. Guitar shot misses but the second one hits Rhyno square in the face. Rhyno is busted open but it only gets two. Jarrett yells at Ortiz and AMW comes out. There’s another guitar but Ortiz drills both members of AMW. Rhyno Gores Jarrett down and pins him out of nowhere in I think his second offensive move of the match.

Rating: C. The match was nothing great but at the same time, this was Rhyno’s third match of the night and second in a row, plus there was no story to the match but that’s certainly beyond TNA’s control in this case. The match only ran about six minutes and Tito didn’t have much to do with it but again I’m assuming it made more sense with Nash in there. All things considered, this wasn’t bad.

After doing a bunch of meaningless hardcore stuff, Rhyno would get an important hardcore match at Bound For Glory 2006 against Christian Cage. They had been friends but Christian turned on him to set this up.

Christian Cage vs. Rhyno

This is an 8 Mile Street Fight which should be good. Rhyno comes through the crowd and goes straight through the entrance to meet Christian in the parking lot. Christian gets slammed onto a car and thrown into whatever Rhyno can find to throw him into. They climb onto a zamboni machine and Rhyno gets in the driver’s seat. He drives the machine with Christian on top into the arena. Rhyno climbs up to pound on Christian who falls off the machine.

Christian gets away down by the ramp and picks up a fake street lamp, only to get it ripped out of his hands and rammed into his chest. This is total domination so far. Rhyno throws in four chairs and hits Christian with a street lamp before Christian can get to one of the chairs. He loads up the Gore but Christian takes his head off with a chair shot. Rhyno shrugs that off and they go into the crowd with Christian running away even more.

After ramming Christian into some hockey glass they go back to the ring and Rhyno sets up a table at ringside. Back inside and Rhyno suplexes him down and puts up another table in the corner. Christian picks up an 8 Mile Road street sign and CRACKS Rhyno in the head with it. This is the first breather Christian has had. He goes to the floor and pulls out a ladder as Rhyno is busted open and might have another concussion. Christian charges with the ladder but Rhyno drop toeholds him into the ladder.

DDT gets two for Christian and they’re both spent. Rhyno is gone from the concussion and a ladder shot to the head makes it even worse. Christian goes under the ring again and comes up with a straightjacket and another chair. Rhyno gets tied up in the jacket and Christian grabs a pair of chairs to set up the Conchairto but Rhyno moves. Using just his legs and his head he tries a comeback and manages to get Christian down. The referee unhooks the jacket and they fight to the apron in front of the table.

Rhyno PILEDRIVES HIM THROUGH THE TABLE to put both guys down again. THAT gets two so Rhyno loads up the Gore, but Christian moves to send him through the table. It gets two, as does an Unprettier onto the metal part of the broken table. With no idea what else to do, Christian piles up everything on top of Rhyno and hits about eight chair shots onto the pile to crush Rhyno, which FINALLY gets the pin.

Rating: B+. I don’t say this that often, but that was AWESOME. I’m not a fan of the street fights, but this one was really intense with a feeling that someone had to do something big to get the win. The piledriver was awesome, as were the kickouts from Rhyno. Christian finally just pounding the tar out of Rhyno with everything he had until Rhyno couldn’t move an inch was a great finish. Loved this.

Next up was a feud with AJ Styles, with one of their first matches being a last man standing match (thanks Russo) at Final Resolution 2007.

AJ Styles vs. Rhyno

Last man standing but you have to get a pin before the count starts. AJ keeps stealing wins over Rhyno so somehow that means last man standing. Rhyno starts off fast and hammers away. This might be the PPV debut of AJ’s long tights. Rhyno busts out a tope and AJ is reeling early. AJ does his drop down into the dropkick spot. The fans seem split here. Rhyno Hulks Up and beats AJ back again.

AJ pulls the tape off his wrist but as Hebner throws it out, Rhyno takes a low blow. A springboard splash gets a pin and an eight count. AJ pounds him down but a charge results in Rhyno picking him up and dropping him onto the top rope snake eyes style. Out to the floor and AJ hits a flip dive. Quickly back into the ring and AJ gets two. AJ is the heel here but he’s still more popular than Rhyno.

AJ comes off the ropes with a forearm but jumps into a spinebuster for the pin. It only gets about seven. They circle each other and slug it out. Rhyno takes over and loads up a superplex but walks into a sunset bomb for two. TKO gets two for Rhyno. It’s Table Time but Styles manages to crotch Rhyno on the edge of it. Back in the springboard forearm only gets two.

Powerbomb puts AJ down but Rhyno walks into a Pele to put him down. A Gore out of nowhere kills AJ but Rhyno doesn’t cover. Another Gore kills him even deader for the pin and the ten count. That second one looked SICK. AJ could have gotten up but sat down to avoid a third Gore.

Rating: C+. Not bad but the going back and forth came a little too fast. You would see them go down and then be up seconds later. Also they didn’t get particularly violent at all, which makes me question why they went with this as the opener. It was good but you would expect more when you hear the words last man standing.

After a bad feud with James Storm about Rhyno’s alcoholism, Rhyno would go after the World Title again, getting a shot in King of the Mountain at Slammiversary 2008.

TNA World Title: Samoa Joe vs. Robert Roode vs. Booker T vs. Christian Cage vs. Rhyno

No one in history has come in as champion and left as champion. Nash is guest enforcer. Everyone gets a video on their way to the ring so this takes a LONG time. Now let’s have big match intros. The entrances for this match have been going over ten minutes already. Nash is the referee holding the belt and we’re FINALLY ready to go. It’s a big brawl all around to start with Rhyno and Christian working on Roode and Booker fighting Joe in the ring.

Scratch the in the ring part as they’ve switched places. Rhyno and Christian destroy Roode with a lot of double teaming but here’s Booker. Booker shoves Christian off the top to the floor and he’s holding his knee. The axe kick and Gore both miss and here’s Joe again to fight Rhyno. Joe gets a running boot and a backsplash for two as Roode makes the save. Roode tries a flying clothesline but Joe just steps to the side. I still love that.

Christian is back in now and the knee looks ok. He hits an inverted DDT on Roode but gets struck down by Joe. Scoop powerslam gets two for Joe. He ties the Canadian in the Tree of Woe and hammers away and is in total control here. Booker trips him up and pulls him to the floor, pounding away out there. Booker comes back in and meets Rhyno with a Book End for a pin. Booker is now eligible to hang the belt and Rhyno is in the box for two minutes.

He’s got the belt now and Nash isn’t happy. The ladder is brought in and Christian hits a baseball slide to send it into the faces of Booker and Joe. Christian sends Roode over the top and here’s Rhyno out of the box. He and Christian go at it even though they’re friends. Rhyno loads up the Gore but Joe trips him up and crotches him against the post. Joe is like screw it and hits a spinning dive to take out Rhyno, Booker and Roode all at once.

Christian is like I can top that and goes on top of the box and dives off to take out all four of those guys. Christian channels his inner Dudley and sets up a table on the floor. Back in the ring Captain Charisma has the ladder but Roode gets a chair from somewhere and pops it against the ladder into Christian’s head for the pin. Roode and Booker are now eligible. Less than thirty seconds later, Rhyno rolls up Roode to become eligible too.

Nash beats up Roode to make sure that he gets in the box along with Cage. Rhyno goes up with the belt but Booker makes the save. Joe hooks a cobra clutch on Booker and Cage is freed from his namesake. He goes on top of the penalty box and hits a frog splash onto Booker to become eligible and send Booker to the box. Roode is out as well. Quick recap: Everyone but Joe is eligible and Booker is in the box.

Roode goes up but Joe suplexes him off the ladder. Now Christian goes up and is taken right down with a big cutter off the ladder. Gore hits Joe and everyone is down. Booker is out of the box and can’t even stand up. Ok maybe he can as he grabs the belt and blasts Nash and Rhyno and Joe and Roode. Down goes Christian too, leaving Booker as the only person conscious. Since he’s mostly a heel though, he stops for a Spinarooni.

Nash comes into the ring and powerbombs Booker off the ladder. That makes sense given that he was provoked. Joe tries a MuscleBuster on Christian but he escapes. Joe knocks Christian through the table from earlier as Roode sets up the ladder. Roode goes up but Joe takes him down with a MuscleBuster. Joe immediately goes up and hangs the belt to retain. That was a fast ending but it was effective and smart.

Rating: B-. This wasn’t a classic or anything but it was a pretty solid King of the Mountain match. I don’t think many people were thinking Joe would lose here, namely due to a lack of an A-List challenger outside of maybe Booker or Christian. The idea here was how does Joe win it and he did a good job of that here. Pretty fun match despite the traditional insane rules this match has.

One more title shot, from Genesis 2009.

TNA World Title: Sting vs. Rhyno

Sounds like a weak superhero comic. I still don’t like these tales of the tape. Why do we need to be told again what the main points here are? Also why isn’t this the main event? Oh that’s right: there are more old guys and D-Von in the main event. Rhyno is holding his back, has tape around his head and has blood on his face. He couldn’t even just wash his face?

Rhyno jumps him when the coat is still on. NO reaction for Rhyno shouting to the crowd as this is a very Sting crowd. Rhyno as usual has the Detroit Tigers D on his back which always comes off as cool to me. Cue people suggesting the Guns should join him because it would be AWESOME. The tape is off of Rhyno’s head. About two or three minutes in Sting gets his t-shirt off.

He throws on a bearhug, which isn’t something you would imagine him using. This however is smart as Rhyno’s back is hurt so Sting goes after it. This is a great example of what I always talk about: psychology. Sting’s finishing hold works on the legs and back and Rhyno has a bad back. It would make no sense for Sting to go after Rhyno’s arm would it? Working on his injured back makes sense though. That’s a fine example of psychology.

Belly to belly by Rhyno gets two after he breaks out of the hold. GORE out of nowhere and it gets no reaction at all. Sting hits the floor and I’m puzzled as to the lack of reaction. Rhyno goes up top and misses a splash and there’s the Scorpion. Ever since the late 90s Sting has never really done this move the same. He’s always kind of leaning over Rhyno instead of sitting down. I’ve never gotten why either but it just doesn’t look nearly as effective as it could be otherwise.

Fans loudly booing Rhyno now. He goes for the Gore but his back gives out and Sting hits the Death Drop to retain. I’m still trying to understand the crowd here as they were just completely anti-Rhyno the whole time. Again, and please Vince Russo pay attention: PEOPLE LIKE STING. No matter who you put against him or what you do with him, the people love him.

Rating: D. This would be an ok match on TV or something, but for a PPV, this was very bad. This is supposed to be the match that the title is for on PPV? People were supposed to pay to see this? It could have been an ok match but I don’t get why they had to do the injury angle and such. It just wasn’t entertaining on a PPV main event level. Just didn’t do it at all.

Since TNA is TNA, they decided to have an ECW reunion in 2010. Rhyno was on the card at Hardcore Justice.

Brother Runt vs. Al Snow vs. Rhyno

Runt is Spike Dudley of course and is nearly bald. This is elimination rules and better not break 8 minutes. Spike hits a dive that is ok after some basic stuff. He plays the role of the pinball of course and I still wonder what Snow has to do with this. Snow hits the trapping headbutts on Rhyno. TNA guys are watching in the back. Why they’re here is beyond me because they’re not wrestling.

Acid Drop to Rhyno is blocked and this needs to end fast. We’re on the floor again and you actually can’t see due to the lighting. The referee goes down and Head drills Rhyno. Spike does the Eddie chair thing by slamming the mat with it and throwing it to Rhyno. He and Snow do the same thing so they’re all down. Oh my head hurts. Acid Drop ends Snow and then the Gore ends the whole thing.

Rating: D. I like Snow but this was just bad. There’s a reason these guys retired: THEY AREN’T THAT GOOD ANYMORE. Rhyno is ok at best and he’s the biggest star by far in this. At least he won I suppose, but this was just random with no point at all. Well at least it’s over and wasn’t that long.

Rhyno would be gone by the end of the year and hit the indies. One stop was JCW and Bloodymania V.

Rhyno vs. Kongo Kong

No countout or DQ. Apparently Kongo has lost over 90lbs since the video was made because he’s billed as 410lbs here and was said to be over 500lbs in the video. Kong is a savage or something close to one. Kong immediately clotheslines him down but Rhyno pops back up. Rhyno hits a decent belly to belly given how fat Kong is but Kong pops back up. Kong misses a charge and flips over the top rope to the floor in a surprising display of balance.

Rhyno dives onto Kong but loses a slugout on the floor. Back in and the fat man (Kongo if you’re not familiar with Rhyno, which makes me wonder why you’re reading this) pounds away and we get the required nerve hold. Rhyno Hulks Up and finally knocks Kong down with shoulders. The Gore hits….for two? I didn’t see that coming. A second Gore again only gets two but the third one hits the buckle, giving Kongo a rollup win out of nowhere.

Rating: D. Kong is a big guy but there’s nothing more to him than that. Also, why would you have a monster come off looking like he can only win on a fluke? Kicking out of two Gores was a nice surprise as the Gore is a very famous finisher. This was short which helped a bit but it didn’t work that well due to Kong being unable to do much.

The next stop was ROH and Rhyno fought at Border Wars 2012 as a mercenary.

Eddie Edwards vs. Rhyno

Before the match, Truth Martini says that Rhyno is a hired mercenary and the newest member of the House of Truth. We got that from the video we just saw. He’s here to clear the path to the world title for Michael Elgin and Roderick Strong by Goring everyone in his way. The fans are of course split because what would an ROH crowd be without annoying chants from the start of the show?

Edwards starts with a wristlock followed by an armdrag into an armbar as we seem to be in for a long match here. Rhyno powers him into the corner and pounds away before running Edwards over with a shoulder block. Edwards fights out of the corner with some chops and a rana to put Rhyno down, followed by a baseball slide to send Rhyno into the barricade. The cameraman goes down somewhere in there and Eddie is a bit stunned. Rhyno hits a HARD shoulder to the ribs in the corner and Edwards is in big trouble.

McGuinness starts talking about fast moving sperm and thankfully Kevin ignores him. Eddie comes back with a quick enziguri, only to be picked up and throws over the top and out to the floor with a loud THUD. Back in and Rhyno stays on the ribs in a smart move. The audio keeps slipping in and out. Off to a bearhug by Rhyno as at least he’s using psychology here. Rhyno loads up another gorilla press but Edwards escapes out and hooks a quick German suplex to put both guys down.

Eddie fires off some chops and superkicks the leg, followed by something close to a Shining Wizard for a close two. The fans are split again because this is REAL WRESTLING, where you cheer for the heels. Edwards avoids a charge to send Rhyno to the floor before hitting an Asai Moonsault, hurting his ribs again in the process. Back in and Edwards hits a missile dropkick for two but walks into a belly to belly suplex. The Gore is blocked with a dropkick and Truth Martini gets up on the apron. He holds up the Book of Truth (foreign object) in the corner but Rhyno has to stop before hitting it, allowing Edwards to roll him up for the pin.

Rating: C+. Nice basic match here with Edwards selling the ribs…..sometimes. He more or less stopped doing anything with them after they got back inside the ring but at least before that things were going well. Rhyno was his usual self here with nothing out of character for him at all. Then again, that’s probably a good thing for a guy like him. Edwards is still rather uninteresting though.

We’ll wrap it up there as there wasn’t much else in ROH for Rhyno and I really don’t want to go through his time in House of Hardcore and Extreme Rising. Rhyno has never been the top guy in a promotion, but he’s a great gatekeeper, meaning he’s a good feud for someone to have before they move onto something bigger. It’s similar to Kane in WWE. Rhyno is a big one dimensional at times, but he’s solid in that dimension.

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