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Chairshot Classics

WrestleMania VII: Hulk Hogan Fights for America & A Legend Begins

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WrestleMania VII Sgt Slaughter Hulk Hogan

WrestleMania VII came to us in the midst of the first Iraqi war, so patriotic feelings were running high. Entering on the stage is Sgt. Slaughter, once a proud supporter of the Red, White, and Blue, but he seems to have changed his stripes, voicing his support of Saddam Hussein as a conqueror, not an invader. Even worse, he beat WWF Champion, the Ultimate Warrior, and is walking around sporting the gold! So, who will save us from this injustice? Who will defend the glory of the Red, White, and Blue while our Armed Forces are away? Hulk Hogan, the symbol of all that’s good in the USA, that’s who!

 

At least, that’s the line WWF fed us in 1991. WWF is known for having over-the-top patriotic storylines, and anything with Hogan involved is going to be even more over-the-top than usual.  Overshadowed by all that rah-rah patriotism, is a retirement match, a reunion, a bizarre blindfold match that has to be seen to be believed, and the beginning of a legend that will span almost three decades.

 

So, how does WrestleMania VII do with all this going on? Let’s find out.

 

Opener:

We start with drum beats and flags. Everything is covered in flags. Willie Nelson sings ‘America the Beautiful’ as only Willie Nelson can, offkey and behind the beat. That said, he sounded so good, for Willie Nelson, my mother commented on it and asked what I was watching.

 

Monsoon welcomes us and tells us our color man for the first match is Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who comes out dressed like Uncle Sam, with a 2×4 decorated with stars and stripes.

 

The Rockers vs The Barbarian and Haku (with Bobby Heenan)

Heenan and company are already in the ring to loud boos. The Rockers get a huge pop.

 

This is one of those odd match ups that actually works really well because both teams are very athletic, but the contrast of styles and size just worked.

 

Winner: The Rockers.

Highlights: HBK is still the terrier that believes he’s a Rottweiler, which is always fun to watch.

Comments: HBK is starting to look and act like the HBK I remember.

 

After the match, Heenan joins the broadcast table, marking the first time he does color commentary at WrestleMania.

 

Mean Gene introduces us to our guest hosts: Regis Philbin, Marla Maples, and Alex Trebek. Everyone seems very nice and happy to be there.

 

The Texas Tornado vs Dino Bravo (with Jimmy Hart)

Bravo and Hart are already in the ring to loud boos. Texas Tornado is out to a huge pop

 

This match started awkward and ugly. Bravo really sold fear of the Von Erich Claw, but these two didn’t really mesh that well.

 

Winner: Texas Tornado by pinfall after leveling Bravo with the Discus Punch.

Highlights: Bravo selling the claw.

Thoughts: This was an ‘eh’ from me. This wasn’t a good outing for Von Erich or Bravo.

 

The British Bulldog vs The Warlord (with Slick)

Warlord are already in the ring to loud boos. Davey Boy and Winston get a huge pop

 

This match was good on paper but a little awkward in execution. The style of Davey Boy and Warlord are too alike to really work effectively for either of them, though Davey Boy has some aerial moves in his arsenal. It wasn’t a bad match though.

 

Winner: Davey Boy Smith. Davey brings Winston in to celebrate.

Highlights: Davey Boy talking to his new mascot, Winston the bulldog, in his promo. Winston wanting to come in the ring too. The crowd reaction when Davey Boy broke the Full Nelson

Comments: I liked this match, even with the awkward spots.

 

WWF Tag Team Championship: The Hart Foundation vs The Nasty Boys (with Jimmy Hart)

Nasty Boys and Jimmy Hart are out first to boos. Jimmy Hart is wearing a motorcycle helmet for some reason. Hart Foundation gets an amazing pop. No question who the crowd wants to win. We see Macauley Culkin in the audience, just being a fan.

 

This was a reasonable match. The Nastys have a well-earned rep for being stiff and they certainly were that, but the Hart Foundation was about to give them just as well back, especially with Neidhart in the ring.

 

Winner: The Nasty Boys after Neidhart was clocked with the helmet because the ref was too busy chasing Bret out of the ring to count the pin.

Comments: This was a really good match. There was a swerve where it looked like the Hart Foundation was going to pull out the win when one of the Nasty Boys got clocked by Jimmy Hart’s megaphone.

 

We get a recap of the feud between Martel and Roberts and why we’re having a blindfold match.

 

Blindfold Match: Jake Roberts vs Rick Martel

Martel is already in the ring to lukewarm boos. Roberts is out to a loud pop and he has Damien with him.

This match was weird on paper but surprisingly good. Both guys were good sports about this and it worked. It was fun to watch, and I got a good laugh. The crowd was into it, which made it bette

 

Winner: Jake Roberts by DDT, even blindfolded.

Highlights: The crowd helping Roberts find Martel. The ref nearly getting beat up by the participants.

Comments: This is one of my hidden jewel matches. Very good.

 

The Streak: Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) vs Jimmy Snuka

Snuka’s already in the ring and he gets a good pop. Undertaker and Paul Bearer actually get a really good pop despite being heels.

 

This was an okay match that was to build up Undertaker and it did that. The pop he got surprised me, especially since he hadn’t been in the WWF very long.

 

Winner: Undertaker by pinfall. Streak stands 1-0

Comments: I’m actually ‘eh’ on this match. It was okay, but I wish Snuka had gotten a little more offense in.

 

We get a recap about the issues between Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage, leading up to a retirement match.

 

Retirement Match: The Ultimate Warrior vs Randy ‘Macho King’ Savage (with Queen Sherri)

 

As Finkel is doing the introductions, Heenan is astonished to see something. He asks the director to pan around and they realize that Miss Elizabeth was in the audience.

 

Savage and Sherri are out first to a mixed reaction and we go back to Elizabeth, who looks worried.  Warrior gets a huge pop and he comes out in an odd outfit, with his and Savage’s pictures on his kneepads. For once, Warrior, isn’t running. It’s so unusual, Heenan expresses doubt that it’s the real Ultimate Warrior.

 

This was a great match. This had a main event match feeling, even though it was smack bang in the middle of the card.

During the match, Monsoon announces that they’ve got the largest audience in PPV history watching the show.

Winner: Ultimate Warrior by pinfall. Afterwards, Sherri attacks Savage, but Elizabeth runs to the ring and throws Sherri out. Savage comes to and sees her there, not realizing what had happened. After explanations from the crowd, Savage and Elizabeth reunite for the first time since before WrestleMania V. The crowd loves it and they leave together, Savage opening the ropes for Elizabeth, like a gentleman.

Highlights: Sherri taking it to Warrior was really cool, especially for that time period. Savage and Elizabeth’s reunion.

Comments: I really liked this match. Warrior and Savage really gave us a great match. Even knowing how it would end for them in real life, Savage and Elizabeth’s reunion was wonderful.

 

Tenyru and Kitao vs Demolition (with Mr. Fuji)

Demolition is out first to boos and their entrance music is not what I’d expect from Demolition. Tenyru and Kitao get no reaction.

This was…okay. I’m not sure what else to say about it since I’m not sure why they had a match to start with.

 

Winner: Tenyru and Kitao by pinfall

Comments: That happened, I’m not sure why it happened, but it did.

 

Intercontinental Championship Match: Mr. Perfect (with Bobby Heenan) vs Big Boss Man

Boss Man is out first to a great pop. Mr. Perfect and Heenan are out next to loud boos.

 

About halfway through the match, Andre the Giant comes out to ringside, apparently to neutralize Heenan. Andre grabs the IC belt and levels Perfect with it while the ref wasn’t looking.

 

This was a really good match, both men were great athletes and meshed really well together. The partnership of Mr. Perfect and Heenan was magical. It’s too bad Heenan had to retire from managing within a year or so and Perfect’s back problems got too bad.

 

Winner: Boss Man by disqualification after the Heenan family storms the ring. Andre levels Perfect while Boss Man takes care of business in the ring. Mr. Perfect retains the IC belt.

Highlights: Boss Man swinging Perfect by the hair. Perfect’s selling of everything. Boss Man whipping Perfect with the belt.

Comments: Perfect and Heenan were one of the best wrestler/manager partnerships. Boss Man was a great athlete, especially for such a big man. Andre’s addition was nice, as was his visible rub of Boss Man. However, Andre was visibly declining.

 

Earthquake (with Jimmy Hart) vs Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine

Earthquake and Jimmy Hart are heading out to the ring to loud boos.

 

Mean Gene is talking to some of the celebrities at the show, including Chuck Norris and Henry Winkler. Chuck Norris is impressed with WWF superstars and has been watching wrestling all of his life. Winkler is glad for the Ultimate Warrior’s win. Lou Ferrigno (original Incredible Hulk) is there, but I couldn’t quite understand what he said.

 

Back in the ring, Valentine is in the ring now, back to being blond, thank God and ready to go.

 

This match wasn’t awful, but it was forgettable. It was one step up from a squash and Valentine didn’t seem to want to be there.

 

Winner: Earthquake by pinfall

Highlights: Valentine rolling out of the ring before Earthquake could hit the Splash again.

Comments: This was a definite ‘eh’. It was a time filler.

 

The Legion of Doom vs Power and Glory (with Slick)

Power and Glory are already in the ring to boos. The Road Warrior pop is in full force for the Legion of Doom.

 

There’s not a lot to say about this one, it didn’t even last a minute.

 

Winner: Legion of Doom by pinfall

Highlights: Legion of Doom’s promo was pretty good.

Comments: It was short and to the point, LOD didn’t even break a sweat.

 

We get a recap over the feud between DiBiase and Virgil and how Piper was involved.

 

Virgil (with Roddy Piper) vs Ted DiBiase

 

DiBiase is out first to a loud round of boos. Piper is out next, on one crutch, but he’s there. Apparently, he was in a motorcycle accident, but had promised Virgil he’d be there and he was keeping his word. Virgil comes out to a really good pop.

This match was okay. There was no real resolution to DiBiase and Virgil’s feud, but the crowd got to see Virgil get some revenge on DiBiase.

 

Winner: Virgil by countout after DiBiase spent too much time harassing Piper. Afterwards, DiBiase attacks Virgil and slaps on the Million Dollar Dream. Piper crawls into the ring and nails DiBiase with his crutch. Sherri runs to the ring and stops Piper from hitting DiBiase again and they attack Piper some more. Virgil finally gets to his feet and chases DiBiase and Sherri away.

Highlights: Piper keeping his word to Virgil, even on one crutch and coming to his aid. Virgil and the crowd urging Piper to his feet after the attack.

Comments: This was an ‘eh’ match overall, but the story was good.

 

We get a recap of the Slaughter/Hogan feud, including the infamous burning of the Hulkamania shirt. According to Slaughter, they wanted him to burn the flag, but he refused, so they burned the Hulkamania shirt instead and he got more death threats for that than if he’d actually burned the flag.

 

The Mountie (with Jimmy Hart) vs Tito Santana

Mountie (Jacques Rougeau) is already in the ring to a chorus of boos. Tito comes out to a great pop.

 

This match was so fast that looking away to check my emails caused me to miss the ending sequence.

 

Winner: The Mountie after hitting Santana in the gut with the Mountie stick thing

Highlights: Santana ramming Mountie and Jimmy Hart’s heads together.

Comments: This was definitely a time filler match.

 

Finkel introduces Regis Philbin, Marla Maples, and Alex Trebek as the guest co-hosts. Trebek will be the guest ring announcer, Ms. Maples will be the guest timekeeper, and Regis will be the guest commentator.

 

WWF World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sgt. Slaughter (with General Adnan) vs Hulk Hogan

 

Sgt. Slaughter is out first a loud round of boos. I’m honestly surprised Slaughter doesn’t have security with him in some form, this crowd is hot. Slaughter admonishes Trebek to stand up straight, or I think that’s what he was telling him to do.

 

To no one’s surprise, the pop for Hogan is deafening. I think this is the loudest pop he’s gotten at WrestleMania in a couple of years.

 

This was a really good match. It told a great story. Slaughter and Hogan worked really well together and brought out the best in each other. Hogan became the only man, at that time, to hold the WWF Title three times, breaking the record of Bruno Sammartino.

 

Winner: Hulk Hogan by pinfall. Afterwards, Hogan brings the flag into the ring and celebrates with the crowd.

Highlights: Hogan getting out of the Camel Clutch.

Comments: The outcome of this match wasn’t a surprise, what did surprise me was the amount of blood involved. Hogan bled like he had nothing better to do. The tearing up of the Iraqi flag would never fly today, but it got a huge reaction then, and that bothers me a little.

 

Overall Comments: So, did WrestleMania VII measure up to the history that was happening on its card? In my opinion, yes. This was a really good card and had a lot of good or great matches. There were a few ‘eh’ ones, but no out and out stinkers.

Celebrities: I’m not sure if any of the celeb guest hosts were actual wrestling fans, but they were all great sports. Watching these guys try to do interviews was honestly hilarious because they looked so out of their depth.

Snoozers: Tenyru/Kitao vs Demolition was just an ‘eh’ for me, I have no idea why that match happened.

Match of the Night: Ultimate Warrior vs Macho Man. It was a great match and gave us a happy ending. I will give an honorable mention to Roberts vs Martel, simply because it was so much better than it sounded on paper.

Promo of the Night: Undertaker and Paul Bearer measuring Regis Philbin while he tries to interview them. It was an unexpectedly funny moment, especially so early in Taker’s WWF career.

 

Final Thoughts: This is the first WrestleMania that I honestly remember hearing about. I have some VAGUE memories about the Mega Powers implode on Saturday Night’s Main Event, but I don’t know how I would’ve seen it, as I was only six at the time. I was eight in 1991, and do remember hearing about Hogan/Slaughter, so it made this WrestleMania a little more special than the previous six. It was a really good card and had a lot of great moment in it.

 


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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classic: Andrew’s 2019 AEW Double or Nothing Ratings & Analysis

Take a look back at AEW’s first PPV effort, the 2019 Double Or Nothing in Andrew’s Retro Ratings and Analysis!

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AEW Double Or Nothing 2019AEW Double Or Nothing 2019

Take a look back at AEW’s first PPV effort, the 2019 Double Or Nothing in Andrew’s Retro Ratings and Analysis!

With AEW Double Or Nothing–the 2022 edition–on the horizon, enjoy this trip down memory lane as Andrew Balaz reviewed the inaugural Las Vegas AEW pay-per-view…spectacular?

Well this is history boys and girls. Good, bad or indifferent, it’s the first show of the IWC’s favorite t-shirt company. What becomes of Hangman since he’s injured and PAC cancelled? What surprises will we get?

We all sit here with bated breath. Some want it to fail, many want it to succeed. Me? I just want it to not suck.

Let’s see what we got!

Ratings:

  • Casino Battle Royal: Hangman Page wins @10:45 – **
  • Sammy Guevara vs Kip Sabian: Sabian wins Argentine Facebuster @9:55 – ***
  • So Cal Uncensored vs Strong Hearts: SCU wins via Best Meltzer Ever @14:00 – *** 1/2
  • Britt Baker vs Nyla Rose vs Kylie Rae vs Awesome Kong: Britt Bakers wins via Kneecap Brainbuster @11:05 – ***
  • Best Friends vs Angelico & Jack Evans: Best Friends win via Strong Zero @12:55 – ** 1/2
  • Riho, Hikaru Shida &  Ryo Mizunami vs Aja Kong, Yuka Sakazaki & Emi Sakura: Hikaru wins via Three Count @13:10 – *** 1/4
  • Dustin Rhodes vs Cody Rhodes: Cody wins via Crossroads @22:35 – *****
  • AAA Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks (c) vs Lucha Brothers: Bucks retain via Meltzer Driver @25:00 – *****
  • Kenny Omega vs Chris Jericho: Jericho wins via Judas Effect @23:50 – **** 1/4

Analysis:

This was definitely a mess. A few spots, a bunch of messy spots and just generally awkward moments. Flying Brian Jr had a few decent spots, Luchasaurus looked good and Orange Cassidy is awful. Hangman being the 21st entrant made a lot of sense, but probably already upset a few people since it wasn’t CM Punk or Jon Moxley. Of course Page won. He can fight with a bum leg, cause he has three of them. So yeah, not an awful match, but it had a lot of issues.

Sabian looked tremendous in this match. Guevara definitely did too much. Shooting Star onto Sabian draped over the outside barricade, a bad double Moonsault and standing Shoot Star hurt the match a little. But Sabian’s technically proficient, charismatic and can hang in the air a bit too. So Sabian was the star here. Solid match.

Well now, this was great. Strong Hearts trio pulled off some great fluid offense and SCU did fantastic. This was just a great match, I can’t really accurately describe more than great match. Best Meltzer Ever is a little dumb when it comes to names, but damn was this a good match.

So Brandi comes out in her gear to swerve us that she’s adding herself to the match, but instead she adds Awesome Kong! So the Triple Threat turns into a Fatal 4 Way and it’s not bad. A lot of the early portion is focused on taking out Kong, then Nyla becomes the target. Britt and Kylie are the ones left in the ring after the collateral damage. Kylie looks to be firing up for a finish, but Britt catches her in a Kneecap Brainbuster (Adam Cole’s Last Shot in ROH).

Excessive spots, excessive near falls, I knew to expect it to a degree with these four, but that doesn’t make it better. This was definitely an ‘Indie style” match, but the crowd seemed to enjoy it. There was a lights out attack on both teams from…some team, with masked minions. The “Who Are You” chant kicks up and commentary doesn’t lend any information. So that’s really not helpful.

Everyone got their stuff in, we got to see a lot of personality from the different women and the action was solid. I also appreciated Emi Sakura trying to rally momentum doing We Will Rock You stomps (since she was dressed as Freddy Mercury). Save for the big mess up with the bell ringer calling the end of the match when the referee obviously held up 2 and said 2, just messed up the flow and gave away the finish since Hikaru’s music played. Not bad, just the ending did kind of take the air out of a pretty good match.

Wow. Dustin and Cody brought it, Dustin bladed pretty deep, I think even Dusty would’ve blushed. New moves from Dustin like the Misawa style Apron Senton, a Code Red and a few classics. The blood, the desire to keep fighting, this was everything wrestling should be. It made sense for Cody to win the match of course, but wow after the match was a beautiful moment. Also call of the night might have to go to Excalibur when Cody hit a Pump Kick aka Bicycle Kick and you hear him say something like ” He hit him with a BICYCLE”.  In a huge homage to Dustin and Dusty’s Heart to Heart promo, Cody tells Dustin he can’t retire, because he needs a partner. He doesn’t just need a partner, he needs his big brother. This was a great way cap off such a hard hitting personal match. Wow.

Belt reveal with a few extra curricular and Bret Hart. Much like Bret Hart, the belt doesn’t do anything for me. It looks a lot like Big Gold, but it’s so ostentatious it’s hard to love it. Just too shimmery or whatever. It’s not bad, but I in no way love the belt.

I’m very happy there was the unveiling ceremony between the Rhodes match and this one. Cause this was a great match and moving it out too quick could’ve hurt the crowd immersion. Great tandem moves, a decent thread of the ring rust playing a part against the Young Bucks early on and just generally great spots. There definitely was a lot of stuff, big spots and it was “spot monkey” style, but it all worked. The Lucha Brothers pulled out crazy moves to try and get the AAA belts back and the Bucks were trying to prove they still had it with most of the year off. Just really really good.

Well now Jericho and Omega pick back up where they left off. Referee Paul Turner allows for a lot of out of the ring shenanigans. Jericho busts Omega open, tries to use a table as a shield, but Omega still throws himself at Jericho.Jericho focuses on Omega’s face with the Triangle Dropkick, a Lionsault went high and this was pretty damn solid. A few missteps and Jericho not countering the first One Winged Angel was car crash worthy, but aside from that, this was nice. Multiple Codebreakers followed by the new Judas Effect, leave Omega laying for the 1, 2, 3.

Jericho says AEW is for him not for fans, and he deserves a thank you. When the crowd pops, Jericho thinks it’s for him, but Jon Moxley makes his debut through the crowd! Almost as if it were a reference to Lex Luger showing up on the first Nitro, it looks like Jericho basically says “You don’t work here”. Dirty Deeds to Jericho, Dirty Deeds to referee Paul Turner and Omega manages a burst of energy to brawl for a little bit. They end up on the poker chips, Moxley hits Dirty Deeds and then just dumps him off, onto some other stage item.

Overall Score: 8.5/10

Well damn, I was skeptical since All In didn’t rate as highly for me as other fans, but this was great. Aside from a few personal gripes, and not really enjoying the cluster that was the Battle Royal, this was one of the better shows of the year thus far. Good surprises like Awesome Kong, Bret Hart and Jon Moxley. Jericho winning the main event breaks up The Elite getting the clean sweep, so that shows it’s not as predictable as All In.

Oh and yes, I can’t express how good the Rhodes match was. The match itself, the story it told, the promo after, everything was just beautiful. That is my number 1 match of the year personally, cause it was just too damn poignant.

Good job AEW. Great show, and the symbolic moment where Cody used the sledgehammer to break the replica throne Triple H used for his WrestleMania 22 entrance. It was awesome.


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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock from WWE Backlash 1999

Ahead of WrestleMania Backlash, Chris King takes a stroll back to WWE Backlash 1999 as Stone Cold Steve Austin defends his WWE Championship against The Rock. 

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WWE Backlash 1999 Steve Austin The Rock

Ahead of WrestleMania Backlash, Chris King takes a stroll back to WWE Backlash 1999 as Stone Cold Steve Austin defends his WWE Championship against The Rock.

Let’s set the scene for a minute, you’ve got “The Texas Rattlesnake” and Corporate Rock going one-on-one at WrestleMania XV. Austin wins the championship and the McMahon family is livid. Stone Cold wants his Smoking Skull Championship belt back, and Vince and Shane McMahon are trying to keep it from him by hook or by crook.

Damn, things were different during the Attitude Era, The Rock threw Stone Cold over a bridge and held a funeral for his rival. The storytelling was captivating and exciting, and it kept you guessing what would happen next. Keep in mind this match was conclusively built around a championship belt, something that would never work in the current product.

It was a high-octane no disqualification match with Shane as the special guest referee for their latest encounter. Austin began the match running straight into the ring for a brawl which spilled out all over the arena.  I miss how exciting these two superstars were. Rock hit a vicious Rock Bottom through the Spanish announce table and then got on commentary to talk some smack.

The arrogant challenger took the camera to talk trash while Austin laid on the other announce table, and ate a Stunner through the table. Man, the WWE Universe was on fire throughout the entire match. I feel like both superstars can’t put on a bad match because they have such strong in-ring chemistry.

The finish of the match came when Austin had Rock set up for the three-count but Shane refused to count. Vince came down and struck Shane with the Smoking Skull belt. Austin hit another Stunner and decked the challenger with the belt for the victory. Vince then tossed his rival his precious Smoking Skull Championship.


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