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WrestleMania 21: Two Thumbs Up or Two Thumbs Down?

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WrestleMania 21 comes to us from Los Angeles, California and was billed as ‘WrestleMania Goes Hollywood’ and is generally viewed as a changing of the guard, since three future Main Event stars would make their marks at this show: John Cena, Dave Batista, and Randy Orton.

Something that surprised me as I did some research on Wikipedia was that while the show overall was received very well, the two Heavyweight Championship matches were both perceived as ‘boring’ and ‘anti-climactic’. How could that be when three of the biggest stars in the following five years were on the card and two of them were in top title matches, not to mention the first Money in the Bank match? Does WrestleMania 21 deserve that kind of review? Let’s find out!

Opener:

Lilian Garcia starts us off with ‘America, the Beautiful’. As usual, she sounds gorgeous. We get a great video tribute of our Armed Forces.

They really went all out for this, and we get to see the awesomely bad movie…tributes the WWE superstars did. I seriously wish there was a blooper reel to these videos. Undertaker as Dirty Harry is seriously inspired.

Now we’ve got Austin as Gladiator, and his speech is better than Russell Crowe’s.

Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio

Eddie comes out in a low rider to a nice pop. Eddie and Rey were tag champs at this time, but instead of having a tag team championship, they’re going one-on-one. Rey comes out to a nice pop. Instead of his usual superhero outfit, he’s wearing an outfit inspired by the Mexican flag on one side and the American flag on the back.

Unsurprisingly, this is a fantastic match. Eddie and Rey’s styles are very similar, but it really works here. It more than makes up for not having a tag team championship match instead.

Winner: Rey Mysterio by pinfall. Eddie can’t believe that he lost.  He and Mysterio shake hands, but you can sense something is brewing.

Highlights: Rey and Eddie knowing each other so well.

Comment: Sadly, this would be Eddie Guerrero’s last WrestleMania. He would pass away, suddenly, in November 2005, at the age of 38. Descansa en paz, Eddie.

JBL and his Cabinet are walking through the Staples Center, predicting victory over John Cena, when they run into Triple H and Ric Flair. Flair and Trips make fun of JBL’s assertion that he’s a ‘Wrestling God’, which JBL doesn’t appreciate. Triple H then says that if JBL wants to see a wrestling god, all he has to look at is right here, implying Triple H, but could include Flair. JBL says all he has to do is look in the mirror and that he’s the only champion to have never lost. He then tells Trips to watch out for Dave Batista or he’ll lose for the 10th time tonight.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match – Winner gets a contract for a title shot good for the next 12 months: Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit vs Christian (with Tomko) vs Kane vs Edge vs Shelton Benjamin

Jericho gets a good pop. Benoit gets a pretty good pop. Christian gets little reaction. Benjamin gets a good pop. Edge gets an okay pop. Kane gets a good reaction. This was a chaotic, but very fun match. The Money in the Bank Match is one of my favorite matches of the year.

Winner: Edge after knocking Benoit off the ladder with a chairshot to the shoulder. He gets a mixed reaction and takes off like a bat out of hell.

Highlights

  1. Benoit suplexing Jericho and the ladder
  2. Dueling high risk maneuvers.
  3. The crowd reaction to Christian having Tomko’s help to get to the briefcase.

Comment: This would be Jericho’s last WrestleMania for a few years. He would leave WWE in late 2005 and not return until 2008. It would also be the same for Christian, who would leave in fall 2005 and not return until 2009.

WrestleMania Moment

Eugene comes out to a great pop. Eugene is very excited to be there, and the crowd is happy to see him. Eugene tries to remember his favorite WrestleMania moments when he’s interrupted by Muhammad Hassan, and his manager, Daivari. Hassan isn’t happy about being left off the WrestleMania card and says he wants to create a moment of his own and begins to attack poor Eugene. Thankfully, Eugene is saved by the Real American Hero, Hulk Hogan. Hogan fights off Hassan and Daivari and celebrates with the crowd.

We get a video recap of the Orton/Undertaker feud. This feud marks the first time the Streak was mentioned outside of WrestleMania.

The Streak: Undertaker vs Randy Orton

For some reason, Taker’s entrance is first, which has never happened before. The Druids come out with lit torches and surround the ring. Taker comes out to a great pop and he seems to be floating. Tony Chimel calmly bails out of the ring. I have to say, I don’t like Taker coming out first at WrestleMania, it ruins the mind games. Orton comes out to boos, hardly surprising, but he doesn’t look scared.

Unsurprisingly, this was a really good match. It was a fight on Taker’s end, but these two worked really well together and told a great story.

Winner: Undertaker by pinfall. The Streak is 13-0

Highlights: Orton twisting out of Snake Eyes.

Comment: I enjoyed this match. Watching Randy Orton get beat up is always fun.

We get a video recap of the Trish/Christy feud.

WWE Women’s Championship Match: Trish Stratus vs Christy Hemme (with Lita)

Hemme and Lita are out first to a great pop. Trish, even as a heel, gets a good pop. Unsurprisingly, Trish dominates most of this match. Hemme really seemed to be in way over her head in terms of experience and skill, but Trish took care of her and really played up being the arrogant heel champion. I don’t think the audience really thought Trish would be defeated by Hemme, but it was fun to watch.

Winner: Trish Stratus by pinfall. Trish celebrates while Lita looks on in frustration.

Highlights: JR trying to keep King’s mind on the wrestling. Hemme showing a surprising amount of skill.

Comment: I enjoyed this match. I didn’t think Hemme had a prayer of winning, but this was a good match.

We get a video recap of the Shawn Michaels/Kurt Angle feud that started at the Royal Rumble when HBK eliminated Angle, who wasn’t happy about that face and attacked HBK.

Kurt Angle vs Shawn Michaels

HBK is out first to a great pop. Angle gets a round of boos. The crowd is firmly on HBK’s side.

This match was amazing, totally lived up to the hype. Angle and Michaels were extremely well-matched and worked well together. This match easily could’ve gone either way and, in my opinion, should’ve ended in a draw, instead of HBK tapping out, but that wasn’t to be.

Winner: Kurt Angle by submission

Highlights: Way too many to pick the top ones. Watch. This. Match.

Comment: I loved this match and would watch it again just for the heck of it. It’s also Greg DeMarco’s favorite match ever.

WrestleMania Moment

Next up is a special edition of Piper’s Pit. Piper comes out to a great pop. He’s here to interview Stone Cold Steve Austin (oh, dear). Austin comes out to a great pop. This is either going to be fantastic or a disaster.

Piper, for reasons best known to him, throws the stools out of the ring, and after welcoming Austin to Piper’s Pit, slaps him in the face. Austin is either laughing or trying to not blow a gasket. He thanks Piper for having him, calls him a ‘little sonofabitch’ and returns the slap. I guess this is how rebels and badasses greet each other in social settings.

Once the ice is broken, Piper and Austin get down to business. Piper says that he has a lot of respect for Austin because of how he dealt with Vince McMahon, except for one thing: Austin isn’t nearly the rebel Piper was. Piper says that he was pissing Vince off when the red on Austin’s neck was diaper rash. Austin insults Piper, his jacket and the kilt.

This looks ready to blow up into a brawl, when Carlito comes out. Carlito says the only thing Piper and Austin have in common is that they aren’t cool and that no one wants to see them anymore (I think the audience would disagree) and that everyone wants to see Carlito. Austin challenges him to get in the ring and Carlito obliges. Piper has no clue who Carlito is and says he looks like Alfalfa. Carlito seems to have no understanding who he’s pissing off.

Piper takes Carlito’s apple and eats it (ew) and spits it back in Carlito’s face. Carlito attacks Piper. Austin finds it amusing for about a minute before attacking Carlito and mudhole-stomping him. The two vets quickly dispatch Carlito before deciding to celebrate with a beer. However, Austin stuns Piper just for the hell of it.

Note: The audience kept chanting ‘What?’ and Piper actually fired back at them, pretending to think that they weren’t understanding him or Austin. Piper also seemed to be having trouble speaking, either because he had new dentures, or he’d been at the bar before coming out. Austin comments on this by calling him a ‘mealy mouthed sonofabitch’.

Sumo Match: Akebono vs Big Show

Chimel gives us the rules for this: To win, you must either push your opponent out of the circle or knock him off his feet. Sounds simple enough.

Akebono is out first to little reaction, though there are Japanese fans and signs in the audience. His stats are impressive: First foreign-born Grand Champion in Japanese Sumo history, 6’8” and 504lbs (Commenter: Holy crap). Akebono bows to the audience before coming to the ring.

Big Show is out next to a better reaction. Show seems to be a good sport and playfully lifts the hem of his robe to show his leg.

The robes come off and both men are in the traditional sumo gear, both enter the circle and the match starts. I don’t know enough about sumo to even begin to call this with any credibility.

Winner: Akebono pushes Big Show out of the ring and wins the match. The men hug, and Show raises Akebono’s hand in victory.

Comments: I have no idea why a sumo match was done at WrestleMania, but it was interesting to watch. Cole and Tazz both explained the rituals to the non-Japanese audience, which was nice, and everything seemed to be done in the traditional way and was very respectful, as far as I can see.

We get a recap of the JBL/Cena feud.

WWE Championship Match: John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield vs John Cena

JBL comes out in his limo, and a police escort, to a round of boos, along with his Cabinet. Cena comes out to a lukewarm pop, or it seems that way compared to the reaction at WrestleMania XX, though there seems to be a lot of pro-Cena signs in the audience. This match had good psychology, but the in-ring wasn’t the best, the styles were too similar and didn’t mesh as well as they could have for this.

This match hasn’t been well-received over the years and I sort of see why. It was a boring match that was mostly dominated by JBL. I think WWE was trying to really sell Cena as the underdog, but it just seemed to flop here. I do think part of the problem was that the audience was getting a little tired and bored after the nearly thirty-minute Michaels/Angle match, Piper’s Pit, and the sumo match. Still, this wasn’t a godawful match, just not an exciting one.

Winner: John Cena by pinfall after a FU. Cena celebrates with the crowd, beginning his first of 16 Heavyweight Championship title reigns.

Highlight: JBL going for a high-risk move and Cena catching him in a scoop slam.

Comment: This was an ‘eh’ for me. There seemed to be no real drama here and it was very formulaic.

We get a recap of the 2005 Hall of Fame. Our inductees are: ‘Cowboy’ Bob Orton, Nikolai Volkoff, the Iron Sheik, Paul Orndorff, Jimmy Hart, Roddy Piper, and Hulk Hogan.

We get a video recap about the implosion of Evolution and the Batista/Triple H feud.

World Heavyweight Championship Match: Triple H (with Ric Flair) vs Batista

Motorhead sings Triple H to the ring. Trips gets a pretty good reaction. Batista gets a great reaction. This was a pretty good match. I think Trips bladed a little too deep because the amount of blood for hitting his head against the post was a little ridiculous. Batista is still rather rough around the edges, but it works with his character and meshes well with Triple H’s more polished style.

 Winner: Batista by pinfall.

Highlights: Flair being the Dirtiest Player in the Game.

Comment: I really liked this match. It told a really great story and we got a great moment.

Overall Comments:

So, does WrestleMania 21 deserve the reputation as a great show with lackluster main events? Not totally and the one that was lackluster was not totally the part of the participants. The WWE Championship match was lackluster due partly to coming after a barn burner of a match, and several segments that really seemed to wear the crowd out, so by the time JBL and Cena got ready for their match, the audience was tired and/or bored. That said, the match was lacking in excitement and the in-ring was ‘eh’. Cena’s comeback from certain defeat seems too formulaic.

The World Heavyweight Championship match was amazing. The styles, story, and psychology all worked together wonderfully and gave us a great moment.

Snoozers: WWE Championship match.

Match of the Night: Tough call, but I’m going to give it to Angle/Michaels. That match was amazing.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I liked this show. I can’t say I’d just sit down and watch it again just for fun, but it wasn’t awful.


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Chairshots Classics: SummerSlam 2008

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SummerSlam 2008 gives us The Undertaker and Edge in a Hell in the Cell match.  CM Punk and JBL go face-to-face for the World Heavyweight Title,  Matt Hardy squares up with Mark Henry for the ECW Championship and on the WWE side of the Strap we get Triple H and The Great Kahli….all this and so much more in this edition of The Chairshot Classic.

Today we will spend the evening in The Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The show is sold-out with 15,997 in attendance and another 447K tuning in on PPV at home. The theme song for the night will be “Ready to Roll” by Jet Black Stare and the event is sponsored by the 20th Century Fox film “Street Kings”. On a sidenote this is a great movie that stars Keanu Reeves and Forrest Whitaker. Its the story of crooked cops and one mans journey to bring it all down. Check it out. This is also the first PPV after the WWE went to a PG rating, the last one of the PG-13 era being The Great American Bash. Let’s head to the arena and see if this effects the overall product as it’s time for “The Biggest Blockbuster of the Summer”!

The show opens with a movie trailer that is done to make SummerSlam seem like the Blockbuster event of the Summer. It goes on to show Vickie Guerrero reinstate The Undertaker and grant him his Hell in a Cell match with Edge. This a feud that carried over from WrestleMania and Taker and Edge were the first to Main Event both events in the same year. This is a well done package and ranks up there in best opens at SummerSlam for sure.

After the package ends Jim Ross welcomes us into the sold-out show and he introduces the other announcers, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Michael Cole. The three men run through the nights card and the first competitor of the night is introduced. Jeff Hardy enters and he gets the usual love from the fans. Or as a JR says “A Michael Phelps-like welcome.”  JR is tasked with calling the first match and his partner is Tazz. I wish they would move past this mutli-brand announcing as I am a fan of just one announce crew, not three. Montel Vontavious Porter, or MVP is next out for what looks to be a good opening bout.

As soon as the bell sounds, MVP goes for a big opening kick but Hardy dodges it. This opens a window of opportunity for Jeff to land a series of haymakers to the midsection. MVP rolls from the ring to recover and Hardy is quick to follow him. MVP uses this to his advantage and slides right back into the ring, hoping to get the upper hand. This backfires, and Jeff pulls him back out of the ring by his feet. Hardy then slams MVP into the security wall getting the first nice pop of the night. After high-fiving some fans, Hardy bounces MVP off the apron and returns him to the ring. A springboard leg drop and a pin attempt follow, but MVP gets his foot on the rope to break the count. An armbar is next, and when Hardy transitions into a standing variety of the hold, MVP is able to find the ropes. Hardy keeps the advantage for some time but it starts to shift after MVP hits the charging Hardy with a belly-to-belly toss into the turnbuckle. MVP tries for a cover but Hardy gets the shoulder up at two. MVP works Hardy with an armlock next and every time Hardy is close to escaping, Porter nails him with strikes to keep the hold applied. This eventually leads to Jeff Hardy being put in the camel clutch in the center of the ring. Jeff manages to escape it, but MVP is quick to put him into a variation of  a single leg crab. Hardy finally finds the ropes and the official is forced to break the hold.

Hardy rolls to the apron to escape the stomps of MVP and tries to springboard back into the ring. This doesn’t go as planned and MVP catches Jeff, mid springboard, with a right hook. The crowd have a little “MVP” chant here as he brings Hardy back into the ring. Porter tries for a cover and is shocked when he is only rewarded a near fall. An Alabama slam is next, and this leaves Hardy suspended in a tree of woe position. After a quick argument with the official, MVP slams Hardy to the mat and goes for another cover. He is again only gets a near fall and pick Hardy back up. He puts Jeff into a Razor’s Edge like set-up but Hardy escapes with the backslide and catches MVP with a reverse neckbreaker. Hardy lands the mule kick and this sends MVP into the corner. When Hardy charges him, MVP pulls off the ropes for momentums and dropkicks Hardy square in the chest. This had some nice impact and sends Hardy sailing across the ring. MVP is quick with another cover attempt, but for the fourth time he only gets the two count. MVP then whips Jeff into the corner, and when he bounces back out, MVP sends him right back into it with a dropkick. MVP tries for the Drive-by Kick but Hardy explodes from the corner and catches him with a slingblade. Both men lay prone as the ref starts his count. They both slowly return to their feet at the count of seven and Hardy gets the advantage with a Russian leg sweep. Hardy tries for the leg drop cover but it’s MVP’s turn to kick-out. Hardy explodes into a springboard Whisper in the Wind and so does the crowd when this happens. Hardy is quick to return to the top rope, and when he gets up there we see Shelton Benjamin appear at ringside. Hardy crossbodies him and returns right to the top rope. Jeff tries for the Swanton Bomb, but the interference allows MVP to roll from harms way. Hardy hits the mat hard and this allows MVP to hit the Drive-by Kick. When MVP makes the cover, this time he gets the three count and the victory. This was a decent match but I expected better from these two. Not a must watch by any stretch of the imagination and could be skipped over. Match Time-10:21

Next we get an interview with two of the competitors in the next match that is an inter-gender bout with the Intercontinental and Women’s Championships on the line. This is team Glamerella, which is made up of Beth Phoenix and Santino Marella. Maria Kanellis interviews the two and this is all really lame stuff here. We re-enter the arena after this tragedy and Lillian Garcia tells us that this is a winner takes all tag-team bout for the IC and Women’s Titles. I find this quite offensive to one of my all-time favorite Titles, The Intercontinental Championship. Out first is the Women’s Champion Mickie James, who receives a nice pop from the fans. The IC Champ is out next and the crowd has even more pop for Kofi Kingston. Glamerella is out next and incase you’re to young to remember this name was a play on the common theme of combined celebrity names at the time. Most famously was the couple of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, or Brangelina, if you will.

The Glamazon and Mickie James start the bout and the collar and elbow leads to a side headlock for Mickie. She tries to hip toss Phoenix, but she is overpowered and Phoenix tosses Mickie off of her. Phoenix is soon kneeling after James dropkicks her knee out from under her. James then hits the ropes and lands another dropkick, this time to the face of Phoenix. Phoenix reverses into a backdrop and this allows her to tag in Marella. As this is a inter-gender match Mickie James isn’t forced to come out and lands a kick to the back of Marella’s head. She avoids a clothesline from him and this gives her the opportunity to tag in her partner. After the tag is made, Kingston enters the ring via the top rope and nails Marella with a crossbody. Kofi lands a few flipping maneuvers before he sends Santino Marella flying from the ring with a European uppercut. Phoenix starts to yell at her partner and this is when James enters the ring and sends Phoenix sailing off the apron with a dropkick to the back. The crowd pops for this and Beth picks Santino up, as to protect him, because it looks like Kofi is coming out of the ring with a suicide dive. Kofi instead dives into the top rope, intentionally, and bounces back into the ring. Cool stuff here from Kingston.

Marella returns to the apron and when Kofi tries to pull him into the ring Marella hotshots him with a reverse neckbreaker. After Marella does a little more offense and delivers a thumb to the eye of Kingston, he tags Beth Phoenix back in. After a quick kick to the midsection of Kofi, she tags her partner right back in. Marella hits a snap suplex and goes for the cover. Kofi kicks it out at two. Marella responds to this by sitting on the back of Kofi and wrenching on the IC champ’s neck. Kofi eventually stands this up and both men hit the ropes. The two collide in the middle and it looks as though they accidently bumped heads. Marella makes the tag and Kofi is able to do the same. Mickie comes in hot and nails the Glamazon with a series of forearms. Mickie then hits the ropes and takes Phoenix off her feet with a slingblade. She hits a second slingblade and when Marella tries to enter the ring James dropkicks him off the apron. After a hurricanrana, Mickie heads to the top rope and hits Phoenix with the Lou Thesz press from the air. She goes for the cover but Marella enters the ring to break it up. James hits him with a cool tornado DDT but this allows Phoenix to attack her from behind. Phoenix hits James with the Glam Slam and makes the cover. The ref counts the three and Beth Phoenix and Santino Marella are new Title holders. This is the first time the IC Title changed hands at SummerSlam since 2002 when Rob Van Dam beat Chris Benoit. (More on that here.) If you have taken the time to read about this match do yourself a favor and DON’T watch it. Pure trash and a disgrace to a Title that has been carried by some of the greatest bell-to-bell performers of all-time. Match Time-5:35

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Chairshot Classics: WCW WrestleWar ’91

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For the first time, WCW holds a pay-per-view fully on their own, as they continue their slow split with the National Wrestling Alliance. This event is not under the NWA banner any longer, but brings back the WarGames for the continued fallout from Starrcade. ‘The Nature Boy’ is also the new World Champion again, ending Sting’s reign roughly a month and a half prior. Sting has now fielded his squad to even the odds with The Four Horsemen, but can his patchwork team match the cohesion of Ric Flair’s men?

Match #1 for the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championships: WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Champions Junkyard Dog, Ricky Morton & ‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich vs. The State Patrol (Lt. James Earl Wright & Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker) & Big Cat
Cat and JYD start the action. The two big men exchange rights and JYD catches his jaw. JYD ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own. He headbutts Big Cat who quickly tags in Wright. Side headlock and a tag to Morton. Wright sends Morton, but Ricky avoids contact and sends him down with a hiptoss and an armdrag. More arm drags from the RnR man. Tag is made to Rich and they double clothesline Wright. Wristlock into an armbar on Wright. He fights out of the hold and sends Rich to the ropes.

Wildfire reverses the offense and scoop slams him. Wright moves away from an elbow but Rich doesn’t pull the trigger. An arm drag into a wristlock by Rich, Wright breaks it up with a poke to the eyes. He slams Rich and tags in Parker. Parker misses an elbow and is sent over with an arm drag and gets caught in an arm bar. Shoulder blocks to the midsection from Parker who sends Rich to the ropes. Shoulder tackles by Rich, who then reverses a hiptoss into one of his own. Another arm drag by Rich. Tag is made to Morton and Parker powers him into the corner. Morton reverses an Irish whip and delivers an inverted atomic drop. Wright rushes the ring and has the same fate. Arm drag by Morton and he pulls his opponent up, tagging in JYD. Snapmare and a stomp by the big man. A headbutt from JYD and Big Cat is tagged back in.

JYD looks for a test of strength, Big Cat has the early advantage but JYD reverses it with a back heel trip. They exchange head butts and Big Cat drops an elbow for two. Parker is tagged back in, he strikes JYD with no effect. JYD fights back and tags in Morton. They run the ropes and Morton is hit in the mid section. Wright is tagged in and the Patrol double teams Morton. More double team work by State Patrol after another quick tag. Big Cat is tagged in. Drop toe hold/elbow combo from the partners. Lateral press but Morton kicks out. Morton is sent and gets a dropkick by the big man. Cat headbutts him to the ground and kicks him into the corner. He slams Morton down but Ricky moves from the big elbow. Parker is tagged in and he exchanges rights with Morton. Powerslam in midair from Parker but Morton kicks out.

Another quick tag and a bulldog/elbow combo from the Patrol. Yet another quick tag and Morton is reeling from double team work. Big Cat is in. Morton tries a cross body but is caught with a back breaker. Big Cat gets some heat on his opponents and with the ref’s back turned, Morton is triple teamed. Parker is tagged in and applies a reverse chinlock. Irish whip, but Morton moves and Parker hits the turnbuckle. Wright is tagged in, but Morton somersaults over and tags in big JYD. He goes right to work and hits Parker with the Big Thump. Cat breaks up the pin attempt as all participants rush the ring. JYD gets up and knocks Cat out of the ring and Morton jumps on the laid out Parker and picks up a three count.
Winners and STILL WCW Six-Man Tag Team Champions: JYD, Morton & Rich (Morton/Thump)

  • EA’s Take: Well, I guess you don’t have to be the legal man to pick up the win. I’ve seen he idea of a 6-Man Title in WWE being tossed around by some on social media and I can’t even begin to imagine how much of an abortion that would be. Nevertheless, this one was just a way to just cluster mid-card guys together and the championships don’t even last a calendar year in WCW. It just doesn’t have the appeal and excitement you’d think outside of Mexico. I’ve never seen the need for it.

In The Arena: Tony Schiavone is standing by with Terry Taylor and Alexandra York. York explains that thanks to Taylor’s in-ring success, the York Foundation is flourishing. They have been using computers to scientifically determine their opponent’s weakness. York predicts Taylor will win in less than 15 minutes and 28 seconds, Taylor predicts pain.

Match #2: Brad Armstrong vs. ‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton
Eaton blindsides Armstrong right off the bat. Armstrong fights back and they run the ropes. Headscissor, dropkick and an arm drag by Armstrong. He hangs on for an armbar. Back to a vertical base, wristlock by Armstrong. It’s broken in the corner and Eaton slaps Armstrong across the face. A reversed Irish whip, and Armstrong monkey flips Eaton and goes right back to the arm bar. He keeps the pressure on the arm. Back to their feet and Eaton breaks it with a knee before dumping Armstrong to the floor. He gives chase and Randy Anderson starts the count. Armstrong drives Eaton into the rail and ring post. Both men back to the ring and Armstrong returns to the arm.

He holds a wrist lock before transitioning back to the armbar. Eaton gets over to the ropes to break it. Tempers flare and they shove one another, Eaton cowers back to the ropes again. Eaton calls for a test of strength and Amrstrong obliges. Kick to the mid section by Eaton and Armstrong drops to his knees. Back to a vertical base for Armstrong. He disorients Eaton by climbing up over his shoulders, running up the turnbuckle and turning around with a flying cross body and a two count. Arm drag/Armbar combo once again for Armstrong. Back to their feet and to the corner, Eaton hits a cheap right. Eaton slingshots Armstrong over the ropes but it’s reversed.

Armstrong with a right to the abdomen and goes back to work on the wrist and arm. Eaton reverses a waist lock and hits a huge clothesline. Eaton is slow to cover and only gets two. He sends Armstrong and lifts him for a back breaker. He leans in but Armstrong kicks out again. Scoop slam by Eaton  followed with an elbow, he can still only get two. Reverse chinlock by Eaton. Armstrong hits elbows but Eaton stops the breakup with a knee to the face. Slingshot backbreaker by Beautiful Bobby. He goes for the pin and Armstrong kicks out.

Eaton applies a modified Camel Clutch. The crowd gets behind Armstrong who works to his feet. Shots to the midsection, but Eaton counters the attempt with an elbow and he kicks Armstrong out to the floor. Bobby hotshots him across the railing and heads back to the ring. Armstrong is slow to return but he beats the count. An abdominal stretch is applied by Eaton who uses the ropes for leverage. Randy Anderson crawls in between Armstrong’s legs to catch Eaton cheating and breaks it up.

The two exchange blows, Irish whip but Armstong moves and Eaton goes legs first into the turnbuckle. Drop kick followed by a side Russian leg sweep by Brad but Eaton is too close to the ropes to get the pin. Irish whip by Armstrong but Eaton reverses with a neck breaker. Eaton heads to the top rope and he lands a flying leg drop which earns him the win.
Winner: ‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton (Alabama Jam)

  • EA’s Take: Cornette and Lane have both departed the company at this point. I miss The Midnight Express, but I’m happy to see Eaton putting on great singles matches. Unfortunately for him, we’d find out there was a reason why he was always in a tag team as he can’t really talk well or change his look with the times. The Armstrong family has to be one of the most underrated families in wrestling. When I started watching WCW religiously in the mid 90’s, Brad was doing a lot of jobs, but there’s no doubt the guy could work. It’s just too bad he was never able to show his personality on-camera, then later gets saddled with a gimmick blatantly ripping off his own brother.
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Chairshot Classics: Raw #7 [March 1st 1993]

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Hello from the Raw side where we chronologically wander through past episodes of WWE’s Monday Night Raw episode by episode. Seven weeks in and it’s time for a WWE Title match. To see who it was defended against and if it was defended at all (see what I did there?) lets head on to

Raw #7 [March 1 1993]

As soon as Raw opens, WWE Champion, Bret Hart is on his way down the isle for……

. Bret Hart vs Fatu [WWE Title]

Fatu pushes Bret out of a Collar and Elbow. Bret turns a second one into a Headlock but Fatu sends him off the ropes. Nobody moves as both men clash shoulders together in the centre of the ring. Bret charges at Fatu who catches Bret and Bodyslams him before an Elbow Drop that Bret rolls to avoid. Bret hits an Armdrag followed by knees to the shoulder before applying an Armbar. Fatu breaks it by throwing Bret into the turnbuckles. However, Bret avoids a charging Fatu and Armdrags him into another Armbar. Fatu breaks this one by sending Bret off the ropes. Again nobody moves when both men clash shoulders in the centre of the ring. Bret hits Fatu with another Shoulder Block and this time Fatu goes down. Bret runs the ropes and falls over Fatu (which Vince tries to pass off as a trip by Fatu’s manager, Afa, despite Afa being nowhere near Bret) and clutches his knee. He’s faking it. As Fatu celebrates his opponent’s injury Bret runs at Fatu and rolls him up with a School Boy that gets him a two count.

Bret Arm Wringers his way back into the Armbar. Fatu tries to break it with a Bodyslam but Bret rolls through it still holding the Armbar. Fatu breaks it again by sending Bret off the ropes but Fatu telegraphs a Back Drop and Bret Faceplants Fatu into the canvas. Fatu is Samoan and apparently shots to the head (like a Faceplant) have no effect on him and he stands straight back up and Superkicks Bret for a two count. Fatu uses his hard Samoan head to hit Bret with a Headbutt. Fatu sends Bret off the ropes and tries to Hip Toss Bret. He counters it and, despite managing to Armdrag Fatu twice so far this match, can’t Hip Toss Fatu because he’s too heavy and gets Clotheslined by Fatu for another two count. Fatu applies a nerve grip to Bret’s shoulder. Bret tries to fight his way out with Elbows to the gut but Fatu pulls Bret’s hair and re-applies the nerve grip. It’s eventually broken when Fatu gets hungry and bites Bret. Fatu catches Bret as he runs right into a Back Elbow and gets a two count. Samu walks down the isle. Bret ducks a Clothesline and hits a Cross Body for a two. Fatu kicks out hard enough to send Bret rolling out of the ring. Afa distracts the referee allowing Samu to Bodyslam Bret Hart onto the ringside mats followed by a series of Headbutts and finally Sam rams Bret into the ringside steps.

Back from the ads and Bret is still on the outside of the ring and not been counted out. (how short were the ads back in ’93 and can we have those back?) Fatu is fanally bored waiting and hits Bret’s head off the apron before rolling Bret back into the ring. Fatu Headbutts Bret and Irish Whips him hard into the corner. Fatu gets a two from a side Backbreaker. Fatu Irish Whips Bret again and drops with another Headbutt for another two count. Fatu gets another two count from a Piledriver. Fatu bites at Bret again and kicks him in one corner before Irish Whipping Bret chest first into another for yet another two count. Fatu gets another one from a Sidewalk Slam and a second rope Headbutt. Fatu climbs to the top turnbuckle but Bret stops him with a Right Hand and Superplexes Fatu for a two count as does a Bulldog. Bret hits a Side Backbreaker and a second rope Elbow Drop before applying the Sharpshooter. Afa distracts the referee while Samu Clotheslines Bret. Fatu rolls out of the ring and Samu gets a two count. Afa distracts again and Fatu is back in. Bret slips out of a Bodyslam attempt and pushes Fatu into Samu causing Samu to get tied up in the ropes. Bret hits Fatu with a Russian Leg Sweep and Dropkicks Afa to prevent him interfering. Bret locks Fatu in the Sharpshooter and this is over.

Winner: Bret Hart [still WWE Champion]

Time for a Wrestlemania Report. Mean Gene hypes the matches for Westlemania including Hogan & Beefcake vs DiBiase & IRS, Giant Gonzales vs The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels vs Tatanka, Lex Luger vs Mr Perfect and Bret Hart vs Yokozuna. Tickets are still available.

Via sattelite we link up with Crush. He demonstates his prediction for his Wrestlemania match by crushing a coconut.

. Doink vs Koko B Ware

Doink attacks Koko before the bell with a Running Knee and then stops on Koko before Elbow Dropping Koko’s knee. He then stops Koko’s knee. Doink applies a Half Crab that quickly becomes an STF. Doink kicks at Koko’s hamstring. Doink hits Koko with a Neckbreaker. Doink applies the Stump Puller and this one is over. Night of Submissions this is.

Winner: Doink

Elvis” or Rob Bartlet interviews Doink at ringside. Doink hands Bartlet a tiny cream pie. Bartlet shows it to the crowd and turns right into… Doink smushes a normal sized cream pie into Bartlet’s face. I love Doink sometimes.

We get the Bret Hart IcoPro ad, the Savage Slim Jim ad and the action figure ad.

Vince McMahon is in the ring with Ted DiBiase & IRS. DiBiase says he thought Hogan had gone off into the sunset but “oh no, here he comes again“. DiBiase says that insted of taking an asset, Hogan has taken an overpaid loss in Jimmy Hart. IRS says if they wanted they could have put Beefcake out of wrestling for good, but they didn’t and calls their attack “a wake up call“. DiBiase says not only will they put the titles on the line against Hogan and Beefcake, but they wll do so at Wrestlemania. He should watch Raw, Mean Gene told me about this match earlier in the show on the Wrestlemania Report.

The Wrestlemania ad airs. Slightly over a month away and tickets are STILL available.

. Lex Luger vs PJ Walker

Yes people it’s Enhancement Time! This time it’s PJ Walker. He will go on to become ECW alumni Justin Credible. We will see him turn up in about 2020 as masked jellyfish Aldo Montoya.

Luger starts with a Kick to the gut and an Elbow to the back of PJ’s head. Luger then Irish Whips PJ hard into the corner twice. Luger then lifts PJ and drops his back across Luger’s knee for a Backbreaker and then hits a Suplex. Luger then rams PJ head first into the corner twice and then catches PJ with a High Knee. Luger then lifts PJ for a Bodyslam but instead runs him into the corner (similar to an Oklahoma Stampede). With PJ hanging from the turnbuckles in a Tree Of Woe stylee, Luger kicks at PJ’s gut. Down off the corner, Luger then Soccer Kicks PJ in the ribs. Luger then hits PJ with a running Forearm and pins him with his pinkie.

Winner: Lex Luger

. Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner vs Duane Gill & Barry Hardy

Yes people, it’s another Enhancement Time! This match feel familiar to anyone? It should, this is basically the Executioners vs The Steiners from Raw #1 only the Executioners are maskless.

Scott and Barry start. Scott goes quickly from an Arm Wringer into a Double Leg Takedown but Barry quickly gets to the ropes. Scott turns a Collar and Elbow into a Headlock and Barry pushes him off the ropes. Scott hits him with a Shoulder Block as he rebounds which knocks Barry down. Scott goes off the ropes again, leapfrogs Barry and smashes a Forearm across his back. Scott grabs Barry and lauches him with an Overhead Belly To Belly Suplex. Scott hits a Snapmare and tags Rick who Clotheslines Barry over the top rope and out of the ring. Scott throws Barry back into the ring where Rick lifts him onto his shoulder and runs (similar to Luger’s variation of the Oklahoma Stampede earlier) into the corner. Rick throws Barry into his own corner so he can tag Duane who runs straight into a Back Drop by Rick. Duane is then thrown off the ropes where Rick catches him with a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker and an Elbow Drop. Scott tags in and hits Duane with a Pump Handle Slam. Scott sends Duane off the ropes and Dropkicks him. Rick tags in and briefly applies a Camel Clutch before tagging Scott back in. Scott hits a Double Underhook Suplex and a Frankensteiner. He covers Duane and to no surprise, this is over.

Winners: Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner

The ad for Mania airs again.

Commentary hype next weeks matches including Mr Perfect vs Rick Martel and Ted DiBiase & IRS vs El Matador & Virgil and we are done for another week.

Post Show: What can I say? Raw in 1993 is what it is and it will be that way for a couple of years yet.

Match Of The Night: Bret Hart vs Fatu. It was a WWE Championship match on TV and was at least given time for them to do something with. The rest was just filler.

MVP: Bret Hart AND Fatu. Fatu’s offence plus Bret’s selling made the match.

Rating: 6/10

With that I bid you farewell. I’ll be back next week with Episode 8. In the meantime I can be found on Twitter @Callaweasy2220 where I live tweet Raw, Smackdown, NXT and (when there’s one on like the other night with Extreme Rules) pay per view. I also talk Wrestling and post random pictures of what wrestling I am watching so feel free to pop over.

While you are here on TheChairshot.com we have news, views and reviews for you to amuse yourself with.

As I said, I’ll be back next week so until then, #UseYourHead and ALWAYS have an Angle!


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