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    Monday, December 21, 2015

    Miss Universe 2015, and the Dusty Finish

    Social media exploded this morning when host Steve Harvey committed the biggest botch in the history of beauty pageants by mistakenly announcing Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner of the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, only to quickly retract his announcement as Gutierrez was celebrating and instead declare Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach as the real winner.

    We're as thrilled about the Philippines winning Miss Universe for the first time in 42 years as any red-blooded male wrestling fans could be, but frankly speaking, when you've been a fan of wrestling for as long as we have, this kind of controversy is an all-too-common phenomenon.

    Sorry Colombia. :(
    Posted by PWRtists on Sunday, 20 December 2015

    Now listen. In pro wrestling, we have this thing called a "Dusty Finish," which was popularised by the legendary Dusty Rhodes and happens as follows, according to the Pro Wrestling Wikia:

    One wrestler—usually the face—appears to have scored a win only to have the decision reversed, often on some small technicality. For example, the referee gets hit and knocked out and a substitute referee comes in and eventually declares a clean pinfall or submission win ... At this point the original referee is revived and reverses the decision, declaring a disqualification from either the hit on himself or another incident, like an illegal wrestling move or toss out of the ring. The originally-announced face victory is negated, leaving the crowd stunned, rabid, and in disbelief.

    Here are some of the most recent examples from the wild and woolly world of wrestling that pre-date the shenanigans at the 2015 Miss Universe.

    Dean Ambrose "Beats" Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

    Starting off with a match of recent vintage, here's Dean Ambrose's supposed victory over then-WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins at Elimination Chamber 2015, knocking out Rollins with his Dirty Deeds DDT and scoring the 1-2-3, only for the match's original referee—who had been inadvertently knocked out by Rollins earlier in the match—to step in, explain Rollins' own dirty deeds, and declare that Ambrose should still be the winner of the match, but only via disqualification. That meant that the Lunatic Fringe did not actually become champion.

    Of course, this didn't stop Ambrose from running off with the belt and celebrating with Roman Reigns in the crowd, creating one of the more iconic images of 2015.

    Daniel Bryan "Beats" Randy Orton... Via Fast Count

    How about that time when the crowd-favorite everyman Daniel Bryan actually secured a convincing victory over the slithering WWE Champion Randy Orton (and Authority golden boy) at Night of Champions 2013? That match had everything you could ask for—a big-match feel, multiple reversals and finisher kick-outs, and a satisfying Running Knee by Bryan to finally put down Orton for the pinfall?

    WWE Night of Champions 2013 - Randy Orton vs... by BuuPetit

    Too bad the next night, WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H took WWE official Scott Armstrong to task for supposedly counting too fast—despite the fact that Orton was knocked loopy much longer than three seconds—and declaring the title be held "in abeyance." Classic Dusty Finish right thurr, folks.

    Chris Jericho Beats Triple H... For Real, Actually

    Going back even further, remember when crowd darling Chris Jericho had made it a point to besmirch the (admittedly dubious) honor of Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, Triple H's real-life wife and heir to the McMahon empire, forcing Triple H to defend his championship against him. With Stephanie, her brother Shane McMahon, the APA at ringside, it seemed like the odds were stacked against Y2J, but he capitalized with a beautiful Lionsault to crush The Game for the three-count and claim the gold.

    But later the same evening, Triple H forced referee Earl Hebner to reverse his decision under threat of bodily harm, wiping out the results of that match from the record books and returning the World Championship to him. Boo.

    Shawn Michaels Beats Triple H... But Both Men's Shoulders Are Down

    Triple H seems to be involved in more Dusty Finishes than your average wrestler, but that's to be expected when a wrestler operates under the "Cerebral Assassin" monicker, using every trick in the book to hang onto his prized gold. Here's a shining example from the final RAW of 2003, when he put his gold on the line against "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels.

    Michaels appeared to have the match and title won after felling HHH with his world-famous Sweet Chin Music. The crown was nuclear for HBK's supposed victory after seeing the hated HHH dispatched from the top of the WWE. However, Eric Bischoff, who made the count, declared that both men's shoulders had been down for the count—and to be fair—he was right, making the match a draw, and keeping the gold in Triple H's unconscious hands.


    The phenomenon of the Dusty Finish is one of the more notorious, frustrating things to see as a fan, but it comes part and parcel with the theater and drama of pro wrestling. We'll tolerate it for the fact that it's nice to see the odds stack even higher against our favorites, which makes the eventual pay-off even more satisfying.

    If anything, it's funny to see it implemented in the Miss Universe pageant—but if we may be brutally frank, it was poorly done.

    As you can see from the examples above, the Dusty Finish works best when it's used to pop a crowd with the false hope that their hero has finally won, only to be deflated by the evil machinations of a heel who survives to run away with their gold. That's the core principle of the Dusty Finish—it allows bad guys to benefit, while still giving the good guys a brief shining moment.

    We've seen rare occasions when the Dusty Finish was used to benefit the face instead of the heel, and it fell completely flat. In this particular match from Fully Loaded 2000, when Chris Benoit challenged then-champion the Rock under a special stipulation that if the Rock got disqualified, he would lose the title. Towards the end of the match, the Rock brought a steel chair into the ring to use on Benoit, but before he could actually use it, Shane McMahon interfered and blindsided the referee with a steel chair shot of his own. When the referee revived, he assumed that it was the Rock who hit him, and declared Benoit the new champion via a disqualification. Unfortunately for the Canadian Crippler, WWE Commissioner Mick Foley had the match immediately restarted due to SHENANIGANS, and the Rock would go on to retain his championship with a vicious Rock Bottom.

    The Rock vs Chris Benoit (Fully Loaded 2000 WWF... by puropwgwwestuff

    If anything, the Rock came out of the match looking all the weaker despite being the victor; good guys are supposed to use their natural gifts and talents to win matches and championships, not rulebook loopholes and reversals.

    So despite our joy over Pia Wurtzbach taking the tiara home to the Philippines, all the sympathy ends up going to Miss Colombia, who genuinely thought she had done just enough to be declared the winner of the competition only to be brutally crushed by the Steve Harvey reversal. She ends up looking like the one most deserving of the world's sympathy, not us.

    Try again next year, girls.

    We see what you were doing here, Miss Universe booking committee. Bad execution though.

    Take note: This is a good day para magpagupit, guys. Balita namin GV lahat ng mga parlorista ngayon.
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    Item Reviewed: Miss Universe 2015, and the Dusty Finish Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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