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Old 02-24-2012, 09:07 AM   #218 (permalink)
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Default Re: WWE: The Evolution Of Greed

Been working on this for weeks. First feedback I’ve given in the thread, and it’s a good time to start…

I don’t want to start off on a negative … but as I’m doing this piece of feedback in chronological order, I’m afraid I have to - but it’s minor {personal preference} criticism anyway. I know you would’ve wanted to put your own spin on WM 23 from Detroit, and for the most part you have, but one area that personally I didn’t think needed to be tinkered with was Aretha Franklin opening the show. With it being the twenty year anniversary of WM from Pontiac, it was fitting for Franklin to once again sing America The Beautiful, and would‘ve been a nice touch to this show too. Anyway, I’ve wasted a paragraph on the signing of a song…

As for the opening video, it felt poignant, touching on WM III and it’s twenty year anniversary, and it segued well into the superstars of today and ‘what they’d give’ in order to achieve greatness on THIS show. An opening video worthy of the Granddaddy of ‘em all.

Excellent choice for an opener (and not just because I predicted it) with two well above average workers, two guys the fans are into, and above all else - a feel good, crowd pleasing win to get the show off on the right note. The match had plenty of excitement with the run ins from the Little Bastard, the long chinlock to get the fans behind Hardy for the comeback, and I particularly liked Matts counter of a pinning combination out of Finlays Rolling Hills. Was also great to see The Little Bastard finally get his comeuppance - and means a lot more to have it happen at WrestleMania of all places - whilst you had a very believable false finish with Finlays shillelagh shot. In the end though, Hardy winning was the wise choice - starts the show off with a fan friendly win, and it’s about time he had his shot at a big run.

On one hand, Vince becoming the new special guest ref seems a bit of a letdown, yet, on the other, it’s a bit late in the day for a major twist like (as I’m sure I read someone predict) Bischoff or Foley etc. Certainly stacks the deck completely against Cena, but it’s also a perfect set up for Austin to save the day later on.

The Intercontinental title match was all about one thing - the build had been all centred around the impending heel turn of Torrie - and it came as expected. Glad that the match didn’t drag too long, as - for me - it was the match I was least excited about, but it was still a good effort for what it was. The finish itself was well done and original, using Carlitos own gimmick against him. The heel turn from Torrie should also serve to give this feud more legs in the coming months, and will hopefully help to establish Dykstra as the upcoming star he had the potential to be back in the day.

Little time wasted in the MITB match was there?? The right way to do those kind of matches if you ask me - straight into the juicy action. It seemed like everyone got to get in all their big high risk spots - but the German off the ladder from Benoit to Nitro was the SICKEST of the lot by a distance. Have to say, Hardy came out of this one as the star of the show, being a part of the biggest moments in the match; the Swanton onto everyone, Twist of Fate off the ladder and the Swanton off the ladder - both on Orton too. I could be mistaken, but I don’t remember reading Orton hitting an RKO at any point during the match, or Punk hitting the GTS which I found surprising and a little disappointing, considering the reactions either move gets from a crowd. Again though, I might have missed it - if I did, my bad.

The use of Masters helped the match too, adding another body to be played with amongst the carnage. I guess Dinsmore, Kelly and Melina had to become involved ay some point too, and with Punk so close to winning before being distracted by the commotion on the outside. Finish was bittersweet, with Benoit on the cusp of victory before having it snatched away (for the second time in MITB matches) right at the death. Orton was a smart enough choice to take the briefcase in the end - it’s easy to forget he was still at this point only a one time champion, and a very brief one at that, having lost a TONNE of momentum after it. Should be interesting to see how long it takes for him to cash in. I’m also wondering if this will be the last of Benoit in the thread, or if you’ll run a retirement angle in the coming months.

Good placement of the WrestleMania week video, right after the chaotic MITB ladder match, to give the fans a chance to catch their breath in the arena, and a nice segue into getting a look at all three men involved in the WWE Title match later, and their differing preparations. Especially liked the sight of HBK being him praying.

Tough spot for the CW title match, following the MITB match, but having said that, this is a CW title match that people DO have a vested interest in. I was a bit 50/50 on having Danielson talk last week on Smackdown, but I guess in the end, the guy had to open his mouth sooner or later, and it should open doors more in the future for him to partake in angles. Anyway, the action felt very true to Danielson - very hard hitting, physical and believable. And with the challenger dominating much of the proceedings, I had a feeling it wouldn’t end well for him on this night. Helms definitely came out looking second best for the best part of the match, really only enjoying prolonged dominance with his work on Danielsons shoulder. Given the finish, it’s a sure thing that Helms record breaking title reign is on borrowed time, and it WILL be Bryan that eventually ends it - surely come Judgment Day??

Really enjoyed the Foley interview which led into his showdown with Edge. Acknowledging the past - and past WrestleManias - is always a hit for me personally, so to see you giving a nod to last years show stealing Hardcore Match was lovely to see, with Edge moving onto a bigger match this year. One thing that hit me during this segment - Edge is still undefeated at WrestleMania at this point. Maybe missed a trick during the build up not to touch on that little fact??

Splendid job with the video package for the Womens title match - in fact, I’ll take the moment to say it now; splendid job with ALL the video packages on this show. Recapped all the feuds nicely, and it really makes this match in particular feel that much more important - arguably the most important a womens title match as there ever has been at a big show like WrestleMania.

Makes sense to kick the match off right into a dogfight, given the back story going into it. Wouldn’t have fit if it started out in a traditional sense, and I liked how it was noted during the entrance that Mickie was in a different mood, and her aggressive start backed it up. Surprised just how dominant Mickie was during the opening salvo, given the size and dominance Beth portrays. It took her quite a while to get a grip on proceedings - longer than I expected. However, her period of control was long and indeed dominant, and it done a good job of showing both Beths freakish power and strength (for a lady), while also putting over Mickies will and determination to survive the onslaught.

In the end, it kinda followed a predictable path of hot face start, heel takes over and dominates, then the face makes a comeback, but that doesn’t mean the match wasn’t booked well - it just maybe could’ve done with something different in the middle to spice things up. Must say though; the finishing sequence was nice - and unexpected. I honestly felt that after the Long Kiss Goodnight failed that Beth would then go on to win, but the last ditch counter out of the BVD was a nice shock, and a surprise retention for Mickie. Thought Beth walking out with the belt would be a lock, but it would appear she’ll have to wait just a little bit longer…

Interesting to see quite a bit being made out of Londons recent knee injuries during the entrances, and makes sense for Kendrick to open the match for them. Honestly, given the fact it’s the least built up match of the night, I fully expected it to be a ‘buffer’ match between either two main events, or to come after MITB to cool the audience down. With so little riding on the outcome, it also felt a little flat coming into the middle portion of the show, even though there was plenty of athleticism and eye catching spots from four tremendous performers, such as the inventive (I don’t remember seeing it before) Kendrick hip toss to London onto Shelton. WGTT say they are the best, and it would’ve been stupid for them to concentrate on anything other than the knee of London to live up to that moniker. Effective into building some heat into a hot tag, and while the ‘ol fashioned ‘ref didn’t see the hot tag’ spot isn’t new - it’s DAMN effective.

Ideally, I would’ve liked to see WGTT dominate London a little longer than they did after the near tag, but, being pushed for time on a big show, and this match having little to no build or major importance, it’s forgivable to not over extend the beat down, and get to the finishing sequence. The near falls and false finishes in the closing stretch was pieced together nicely, proving to be a great advertisement for the burgeoning tag divisions and what should follow in the coming months on Raw and Smackdown. Proof positive that tag team wrestling CAN be an exciting tool in a show - and how much more exciting will the tag matches be when there is heat in the feuds coming into PPV events?? Future looks good. Saying that, although it’s WrestleMania, and people tend to want to see matches end cleanly, I think this match - given the lack of anticipation or rivalry - could’ve benefited from a run in from the New Breed to screw over L&K and help kick start that particular feud, and also give the New Breed a WM sized rub. The clean win for WGTT puts them over solidly, and L&K also have an out with Londons pre existing knee problem. Nice match up in the end.

For me personally, the Flair - Kennedy match was the one I was most into during the build up coming into Mania, and it’s the one I wanted to read the most for sure. Just like the womens title match, it made perfect sense for this to open up as an all out brawl, because there’s no way Flair would idly stand by and let Kennedy go through his intro schtick. Quite pleased that my prediction of blood flow came up trumps - and very early on too!! The intensity from Flair was believable and expected, walking a thin line of nearly getting a DQ so much is his hatred for the loudmouth. I thought it would’ve been Flairs emotions clouding his judgment that would’ve led to Kennedy taking control, but alas, it didn’t quite pan out that way. No WOOO from Kennedy after hitting the chop?? I guess he learned his lesson after the ill timed strut earlier, ha ha. The tumble out of the ring sounded heavy for a guy of Flairs condition to be taking imo. I can imagine the spot of him hitting the buckle upside down, but the fall to the floor sounds risky for a man of that age … although he is a crazy old bastard, so it’s not exactly unbelievable. Obviously Flair was a little jealous of Kennedys blade job Plenty of claret flowing now. I probably would’ve enjoyed Kennedys dissection of Flairs knee a little more if the previous match hadn’t had such a similar match structure. Two consecutive matches dominated by knee work in the middle hurt this contest a little bit in my eyes, although I liked the idea behind it, with Kennedy out-Flairing Flair. Going to the Figure Four especially adds salt to the wound of Flair, and personally, I would’ve loved the match to end with that move - whether by submission or passing out. Would’ve made for UNGODLY heat for Kennedy to beat Flair with the F4LL.

Still though, there was a lot more of a story to tell in this one, and you portrayed Flairs comeback well - making it look like a really gutsy display from the veteran to make a comeback after the punishment he’s took from the younger man. I simply couldn’t believe that Flair KICKED OUT of the Green Bay Plunge. Shocking kick out, personally - THAT should’ve finished him IMO. Also didn’t like how quickly Flair was back up after the kick out, and although he made his comeback with the rather illegal testicular claw, it just felt like he recovered way too fast. Kennedy making the ropes from the Figure Four pretty much makes it the death knell for Natich in this match. Just about took everything in the end for Kennedy to finish the legend, and I especially liked the writing in the final paragraph, of Kennedy expressing his disbelief to Flair, and the old warrior responding with a bit of a fuck you slap. I think the Plunge should’ve finished it, and the Mic Check should’ve been a near fall, personally, with the Plunge (in my eyes) being a much more deadly move. However, the important thing is that the right man won, and won in the correct fashion. Certainly a star affirming victory for Kennedy, and the sky is surely the limit for him now over on Smackdown. He can ride this win all the way to the title IMO, and that might be his next destination, as I think this feud is done, with Kennedy leaving no doubt as to who was the better man in the end. Great brawl, and the emotions and animosity were put over tremendously. Despite the way he left the ring, I don’t think Flair will bow out like this. He might disappear for a while, but I think he has one match/run left in the tank, before calling it quits.

Over the weeks, you did a fantastic job of putting together the videos for the various Hall of Famers. A lot more work than you had to do, putting the rest of us to shame really in that department. Another nice package, and a sterling line up for the Hall of Fame in ‘07.

Now then, ‘Streak vs. Streak’. Quite the dream match that unfortunately we’ll never get to see. Normally, a big man vs. big man match would be a bitch to write, but the level of talent and athleticism between Taker and Umaga would surely make this more of a pleasure to write than a struggle. Liked the opening sequence of Taker having to be the elusive one, showing the fear/respect he has for Umaga, picking his shots rather than steaming in. Looks good for Umaga to get the upper hand early on too, taking Taker off his feet with the body block. Absolute knockdown drag out fight after that early easing in period, like two heavyweights going toe to toe, with the action depicting the two men as EQUAL - which is huge for anyone to do against Undertaker. The match did seem to take on a bit of a Terminator vs. Terminator turn, with big kick outs from both men off big offensive moves, and Umaga getting right back up from the (my favourite Taker move BTW) running DDT, but that’s okay, given the personalities of both men involved. I really dug fact that Umaga was able to overpower Takers goozle, but I would’ve preferred the Banzai Drops to be used as a potential false finish rather than a throwaway ‘beatdown’ move when Umaga delivered them. It could - and should - be a potential finisher for him as an alternative to the Spike.

The main thing I noticed from this match compared to the last few on the show was the pattern, and the switch from just being face controls early, heel takes over, face makes comeback, go to the finish, to a more back and forth barnburner REALLY helped make this an enjoyable brawl. The tussle for supremacy on the outside was terrific, with both men trying to up the ante, and the other consistently fighting back with something better was a great sequence, and the reversal out of the Chokeslam to counter into the Samoan Drop through the table was splendid. The match was obviously never ending on a count out - but as WM25 proved - the near count out works beautifully in a Taker Mania match with the streak on the line. I could imagine the fans being really into that moment. Boy oh boy, this thing didn’t slow down - as I mentioned earlier - it was like two heavyweight sluggers throwing everything they had into everything they did, with the opponent consistently surviving the onslaught from the other guy. Superb moment with the cigar snap and the simultaneously sit up - THAT would get the fans rocking. It’s slightly disappointing how much the Last Ride has been devalued over the years - not just by you BTW, I’m guilty, so are others, but I’m sure the WWE did it first - it’s such a deadly power bomb that NO ONE should ever kick out of it, but even still, Umaga being able to survive it just shows how freakish the dude is.

Add to that the kick out from the Chokeslam, and you KNOW that this is how a Streak vs. Streak match should be done - where it seems NOTHING can finish either guy. Umaga kicking out of the Chokeslam right after the Last Ride works -BUT- only for Umaga. Had it been say a Kurt Angle or Shawn Michaels or Triple H it would’ve been overkill. For a freak like Umaga, it’s just about acceptable. If I’m honest, I thought we might’ve seen a bit more of AAE and Bearer in the final stretch, with some sort of sequence where AAE would put Umagas foot on the rope or something, then Bearer would attack Estrada, which would distract Taker and allow Umaga to strike with something to lead into a false finish, even just to switch things up. As it was though, it’s hard to criticise; Taker and Umaga traded big blow after big blow, taking everything the other had to offer, and the fact they both kicked out of their primary finishers (Spike and Tombstone) puts an exclamation point on why both men have such incredible streaks. The finishing counters added great drama, with both men attempting Tombstones, but rightfully, Taker executed it in the end, and kept his streak alive. Some very believable near falls in the closing moments, and a nice job in creating drama around ‘The Streak’ even though the outcome looked to be rather predictable. Umaga, despite the loss, loses little in such a 50/50 fight - and I suspect coming out of this event, AAE will play up just how far his man pushed Taker, and that next time (and I’m sure this isn’t going to be the one and only meeting) the outcome will be different.

Gotta say (and you shouldn’t worry about it, I’m likely to be the only one that says this) but for me, the Cena vs. Lashley match was a bit of a letdown for me. The setup was nicely executed with Vince appointing himself as the referee, stacking the deck to mammoth levels against Cena, and Joey Styles getting a big WrestleMania moment by being allowed to come back was a nice touch. The match itself was good, and definitely incorporated all the intertwining feuds, allowing Styles another big, feel good moment with the slap to Lashley, whilst also showcasing the animosity between Cena and Vince with Cena goading the chairman and ‘daring’ him to DQ him, knowing Vince hates him that much, he wouldn’t dare. Also, the lack of admonishment for some questionable things done by Lashley, followed by quick counts adds to the likelihood of a screw job on Cena. I thought you done an excellent job of highlighting the numbers game, with Cena always falling victim to it just as he would get a foothold on the competition.

One of the things that kind of irked me was the slow count when Cena covered Lashley. Obviously, it’s a tough spot to be in, as you want to add drama to the match, therefore Cena HAS to go for covers, but with Vince clearly not wanting him to win, he wouldn’t want to count Lashleys shoulders down. It makes Lashley look weak though, kicking out at a LONG two count from a suplex. I think a better way around it might’ve been for Vince to just flat out refuse to make the cover, and keep Lashley looking strong, and as it was the only cover Cena made before the introduction of Austin, it would’ve worked just fine imo. After that spot though, I really thought the pace and intensity of the match turned up a notch or two, with Lashley really taking it to Cena. Catching Cena coming off the top and nailing the fall away to start the dominance of Bobby (with a nice distraction from Shane stopping a potential Cena fight back during that period) was a great spot too.

While the McMahon influence was always going to be a major factor in the match, I’m glad you allowed a period for Cena and Lashley to duke it out without any interference (although the McMahons were rightly still involved by encouraging, rather than interfering) and the sequence in the STFU was superb, and portrayed the McMahons desperation beautifully. And, while I earlier criticised the awkward slow count for Cena, the counts for Lashley to gain believable near falls yet not let Cena look like superman were well done. McMahon being out of position after the Spear, and the slow count from the Dominator due to getting caught up and wanting to milk the moment helped to make Cena NOT look like the superhuman figure he is often made out to be. I know it’s been done in the past, but I still got a kick out of Vince being ‘distracted’ by Shane, and ‘missing’ Lashley tap out to the STFU. And, just as it seems it’s all over for Cena … Glass Shatters, and Detroit comes unglued!! It was always going to go down this way, but there’s nothing wrong with predictability if it’s something that works. Glad the arrival of Austin led to the finish, and things didn’t just settle down before going into a finish. The finish worked nicely with Austin getting to look good by saving the day and getting rid of Vince and Shane, while Cena got to take care of Lashley himself to win the match.

Now, when I said about the match being a bit of a disappointment, it was the aftermath that made things disappointing for me. Austin and Cena sharing a beer was just a little … anticlimactic for my liking. Maybe it’s down to the fact that in my predictions, I got this outlandish idea that you’d plant the seeds for Cena vs. Austin @ WM24, so the basic ‘passing of the torch’ moment didn’t quite match the expectations I had for the aftermath. Putting aside what I wanted to see, the respect for each other was a nice way to wrap things up, and solidify Cena as the man of the era.

Now … THIS is a surprise. I fully expected the triple threat to close the show, with the feel good RVD win … but this placement could throw a spanner in the works. One of the things I always look out for in triple threats is how the match starts, as I personally find it quite tricky to write normally with a third wheel involved. This one wasn’t awkward at all though, and it made sense for Trips and RVD to want HBK, and to go through each other to get to him. Right from the get go, RVD is being portrayed as the hungriest, with the writing on his offence really giving an air of intensity to him. WOW - I can tell you’re going all out in this one from the get go, with the teased Pedigree at the announce table, and THEN a ‘vintage’ HBK moonsault. What a great sequence. I was really impressed that you managed to keep all three men involved together for such a long period in the beginning, and even once the usual two in, one out formula began, it was never for a long period - which again was impressive to see, as the long periods of one guy being out of the ring while the other two battle is usually a negative point that’s made about multiple man match ups. Sweet Chin Music also being teased here on both guys furthers my thinking that this one is going to be an all out sixth gear match with no brakes, as all three have teased - but been unable to execute - their finishing moves.

Another super sequence with Trips electric chair to RVD and HBK hitting another moonsault to both guys. Not sure about Michaels hitting two moonsaults in the match, but you get a pass this time due to the innovation of the spot, and the fact that his one happened in the ring. SCM city!! The out of nowhere ones are always the best, but it might’ve been nice to detail some sort of disappointment from Michaels as Van Dam fell out of the ring. One thing I didn’t like was how quickly RVD recovered from the super kick, being able to pull HHH from the ring, and by the end of the next paragraph he was just about to hit the 5*. Seemed a bit too much too soon after eating SCM. Having your finisher denied twice before hitting it seems to be the running theme here … and HOLY SHIT - the 5* through the table = EPIC WrestleMania moment. Felt like typical Triple H to sneak in after such a big spot and take over, but the Pedigree didn’t feel like it would be enough to end the match - it would’ve been anticlimactic at this stage. Again, the recovery time seemed off, with HBK back in play not too long after going through the table. An extended period of RVD vs. HHH might’ve been a good idea at that point, and slow things down momentarily before the big finish. Van Dam kicking out of BOTH the Pedigree and SCM?? That’s a big middle finger to the Kliq . And man, that finish was electric - bringing in the belt, and getting a chance for RVD to hit a Van Daminator was tremendous, as was the SCM-Pedigree sequence before RVD crashes the party … and what a way to hit the mountain top!!! Match of the night without a doubt, and a great feel good finish for the Michigan native … but why didn’t this one close the show??

I can only assume you wanted to stick to the tradition of the Rumble winner main eventing WrestleMania … but IMO, I think this was a mistake. I simply cant see Edge vs. Batista topping the triple threat, and to me, it came off as a bit of an anticlimax, with Batista retaining the title closing WM. Not quite the moment that RVD winning the title in his home state is, and would’ve been an awesome finish to the show with the best match of the night.

Seeing the big intro for Edge made me stop to think for a second; this was the only ‘major’ entrance for the entire show. At WrestleMania, it adds to the occasion for some more ‘special’ entrances, and while not imperative, it’s something that this occasion lacked. A big entrance for Cena and maybe one of the guys in the triple threat would’ve been a good touch to add during the show. Batista being in charge in the early going was the right way to start - he’s the one that’s been desperate for a piece of Edge lately. You done a good job of keeping an extended beat down interesting and engaging during that early sequence before the turnaround in Edges favour. And right from the moment he started to take charge, the intensity was clear to see from Edge, using the ropes, knocking Batista out of the ring, sending him into the announce table, using the ring post - just about everything around him to damage The Animal. WHOA!!! I didn’t expect to see a spot as big as a Spear through the barrier in this one - but you brought it, and brought it big!! The thing I liked most about the spot though was the tease just beforehand, as once I read that, I honestly thought we wouldn’t see it happen. Nice bait and switch and delivery on that one.

It struck me as odd though that they took as long as each other to recover. The Spear should’ve been enough to put Edge in the drivers seat for a longer period, recovering quicker than Batista and taking him apart from there, rather than battling toe to toe in the ring, and going back and forth. It was nice to see Batista bust out the (WM only) shoulder off the top, and a crowd friendly ten punch in the corner, with Edge eventually coming back into it. At this stage, I really think we need to see a extended period of control for Edge as his offence has come in fits and spurts throughout the match up. Sleeper hold was a nice transition, and it’s another one that always gets a crowd riled up nicely to get the face back into it. It was good to see that extended period of control for Edge that I had previously mentioned, and the spinning slam to counter Edges spear was a great turning point move IMO to end the dominance of Edge. Some great intensity from Batista in his comeback, but the last ditch Edgecution to stop the Bomb was immense, and a great false finish, with the closeness indicated by the 3 then NO. But, that near fall was well and truly outdone by the next one … it just felt like the end, with Edge missing the spear and Batista NAILING the Batista Bomb … but Edge … KICKED OUT!?

Something I don’t ever recall happening, and instantly, I thought back to real life WM25, and Michaels kicking out of the Tombstone. I genuinely think that is the same kind of reaction that kick out would’ve got in the arena. And probably the Spear moments after it might’ve got something similar, as it this point, all the big moves have been busted out - any finisher could finish the match for sure. Another big kick out of a finisher means it’ll take something special to finish this one for sure. Not sure what the point was in Edge bringing the chair in to get himself disqualified … seemed odd, considering there were other ways to get to that point, by having the ref bump first, THEN have Edge go after the chair. Big Dave getting busted open was unexpected, but I always thought he’d avoid the Con-Chair-To, although I DIDN’T expect a Batista Bomb on the chair. For a moment, I thought that it would be the finish, before remembering; no referee. Again, like the triple threat, the recovery times were off IMO. Edge got up way too fast for my liking after the Batista Bomb on the chair to hit the Spear … and how sneaky is Coach!? LOL. That would’ve been a shitty way to close the show. The leapfrog from Batista would be awesome, and finally he finishes Edge off with ANOTHER Batista Bomb. While closing the show with an anticlimactic retention by Batista, I cant deny that this match just about pipped the triple threat as MOTN for my money. I certainly did NOT expect to say that at the beginning of the match. You delivered big time with this main event, and ultimately, I guess you done the right thing in ending with this, despite my dislike for the anticlimactic closing scenes with Batista celebrating his win.

Overall, give yourself a pat on the back. This was a brilliant job. I must also commend you on not going overboard with match lengths etc, where most people (me included) go too overboard and have five or six twenty minute plus matches on a PPV, you’ve managed to keep things tight, and didn’t lose any momentum because the matches weren’t ‘epic’ in terms of length. Not one bad match on the show, and despite some personal disappointments in terms of things not happening as I would’ve liked to see them turn out, everything delivered. One thing that was missing perhaps was a big 'HOLY SHIT' moment like a major heel or face turn (Torries turn wasnt 'huge' per se) or a shocking return ... but I guess you cant force these things, or have someone turn or comeback for the sake of it. Regardless, I want to close this out by simply saying well done on your first WrestleMania, and here’s to the next one

__________________
THE UNDERTAKER : 21-1

LIVERPOOL ON THE VERGE OF GOING 1-21 IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE ERA

#APOCALYPSE

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