Jim Crockett Promotions and the NWA make their first foray into more pay-per-view events with the inaugural and only Bunkhouse Stampede! There were four Bunkhouse events, but this is the lone one to be broadcast as JCP follows in the WWF’s footsteps of adding to their PPV schedule. The match itself is another Dusty Rhodes creation to headline the show, however the WWF would fire back yet again with JCP in their stomping grounds of Uniondale, New York. After running the inaugural Survivor Series up against Starrcade ’87, Vince McMahon would do it again here with the first Royal Rumble event broadcast. Not on PPV mind you, but on the USA Network in an attempt to stop people from buying JCP’s product. Let’s see how it plays out as our opening match gets ready to begin, but first…
Ringside: Bob Caudle & Jim Ross run down the card for the night which consists of three title matches, plus the finals of the Bunkhouse Stampede.
Match #1 for the NWA World Television Championship: NWA United States Tag Team Champion ‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton w/Jim Cornette vs. NWA World Television Champion Nikita Koloff
A big pop for Koloff at his ring announcement. The two lock up and quickly release. Eaton immediately checks in with Cornette. They lock up a few more times and Eaton works Koloff into the corner before another clean break. The next lock up features brief chain wrestling before Eaton breaks it up in the ropes. At the next lockup, Eaton works Koloff into the corner and delivers punches that wake Koloff up. Nikita responds with a shoulder tackle. They lock up again and Koloff wins a test of strength. Koloff applies an arm bar followed by repeated blows on the back. Koloff works Eaton to the mat with a wristlock submission.
Back to their feet, Eaton breaks the hold with an elbow to the nose and kicks Koloff who stumbles through the middle rope to the floor. Some brawling ensues on the floor before Eaton rolls Koloff back into the ring. Eaton attempts to knock Koloff into the turnbuckle but Nikita reverses. They slow it down and both men are squaring up back in the ring. Eaton with a take down off of a side headlock and he maintains a headlock on the mat. Cornette is constantly barking at the referee. Koloff slowly makes his way back to his feet with the headlock still on. He whips Eaton to the rope but is hit with a shoulder tackle. They run the ropes after this and Koloff is able to land a power slam. Eaton regroups with Cornette at the side of the ring.
The two lock up again and Eaton hits another side headlock take down. Koloff rolls from the lock and attempts a pin but only gets 2. Eaton maintains control with the headlock on the mat. Back to their feet, Eaton once again powers Koloff to the concrete floor. He follows Nikita and lands some punches before Koloff throws him off and into the ring post. Koloff follows up with a hip toss on the concrete floor. More brawling happens on the floor before Koloff is pushed back into the ring. Eaton delivers a snapmare takedown followed by a standing elbow drop. There is a pin attempt and a 2 count. Eaton applies a hammerlock submission on the mat. Cornette plugs his ears as the crowd cheers for Koloff to get up.
The crowd loudly cheers “Cornette Sucks!”, Koloff slowly works up to his knees and finally stands, delivering 2 elbows and a shoulder tackle before Eaton gets a knee up in defense. Eaton climbs to the top rope and lands a missile dropkick. Pin attempt for a 2 count. Eaton applies another hammerlock submission. The crowd is really giving it to Jim Cornette. After a hammerlock that feels like forever, Tony Schiavone announces there are 5 minutes left in the time limit over the loud speaker. Koloff is back to his knees but he is still trapped in the hammerlock. Koloff finally breaks the hold with a few elbows and hits Eaton with a half-hearted Russian Sickle that hangs him up in the ropes.
They get to their feet at approximately the same time and Eaton has another arm submission takedown. 3 minutes remain. Koloff refuses to submit, and Eaton puts his knee into his opponents back. 2 minutes remain. Koloff back to his feet, with elbows to the stomach but Eaton responds with some kicks of his own and a modified arm bar take down. More submission work on the mat. 1 minute remaining. Koloff strengths back to his feet. They exchange stiff punches. Eaton begs for mercy. Koloff drives Eaton to the corner and delivers 6 punches before an Irish whip to the other corner. Koloff lands a solid Russian Sickle, but there’s not enough time for a pin.
Winner: Time Limit Draw
- After The Bell: Cornette is in the ring, but he loses his tennis racket in a terrified jump. Eaton attacks Koloff from behind and ‘Sweet’ Stan Lane of the Midnight Express runs in to make it a double team. The partners kick Koloff out to the concrete.
- EA’s Take: These two solid NWA stars delivered quite a stinker here. If I ever re-watch the match, I’m getting a stop watch out and timimg how many of these twenty minutes were simply spent laying on the mat in a hammerlock submission. JR did his best to make sense of the “strategy”, but there was no logic or strategy here. If the crowd wasn’t so interested in heckling Jim Cornette, you probably could have heard some snores. After Cornette claimed Eaton & Lane were respectively going after singles titles, that leads to our match tonight. Eventually, Nikita will team with Dusty (the champion Lane went after) to evolve the feud, but I don’t get the finish here. To me, Nikita goes over here, lays claim to a title shot due to the victory, THEN pairs up with Dusty to switch the focus to the US Tag Titles. That’s how this should have gone down.
Match #2 for the UWF Western States Championship: Larry Zbysko w/Baby Doll vs. UWF Western States Champion Barry Windham
Zbysko argues with the ref while Baby Doll argues with Windham. The ref finally demands Baby Doll get out of the ring. The two lock up and have a clean break. Windham gets the better end of the next lockup, powering Zbysko to the mat. Windham applies a head lock, runs the ropes and delivers two shoulder tackles and a hiptoss. A frustrated Zbysko consults Baby Doll outside the ring. He takes his time getting back in. Zbykso hits a single leg take down and a short leg submission.
Back to their feet, Zbysko is complaining that Windham is illegally pulling his hair. Windham applies another headlock. The two run the ropes and Windham stops short causing Zbysko to miss a dropkick. They lock up and Windham reverses a hammerlock into a fireman’s carry take down. The two work their way to the turnbuckle and they exchange right hands. Zbysko attempts a martial arts kick but Windham catches his foot. Zbysko is back to the concrete again, very frustrated.
Baby Doll appears to be trying to distract Windham, but to no avail. Zbysko is back in and hits another single leg take down. Zbysko tries to work on the seemingly injured leg but Windham breaks the hold by yanking on Zbysko‘s face. The two run the ropes. Zbysko hits a shoulder tackle, followed shortly by a drop toe hold. Zbysko is applying what looks like a modified half-crab submission. He turns Windham over into a toehold submission. Windham works his way to one foot and breaks the hold with a kick to the head. They regroup, run the ropes and Windham delivers a power slam followed by a 2 count. Windham to the top rope but misses his jump. Zbysko goes right back to work on the vulnerable knee. Windham is back up and hopping on 1 leg but Zbysko maintains the hold until Barry finally lands a few punches. Zbysko delivers sloppy bodyslam and a lateral press for a 2 count.
Zbysko puts a head lock on, but Windham reverses it with a 1 armed belly to back suplex. Windham can’t build off the momentum as Zbysko hits another drop toe hold and goes back to that half-crab. One back to their feet, the two exchange hard rights until Windham lands 3 in a row and Zbysko goes down on his back. A whip into the ropes and Windham lands a dropkick. Windham with a vertical suplex and another 2 count. Windham with a side solto suplex and another 2 count. He whips Zbysko into the ropes and grabs him in a sleeper hold. Zybysko breaks the hold by stumbling to the ropes and he rolls out to Baby Doll. Windham has none of the attempted slow down and follows him out.
Some brief brawling before Zbysko rolls into the ring first. 15 minutes have expired. Zbysko walks toward the apron and Windham grabs his ankles dropping Larry on his back. Windham pulls him over for a low blow against the post. Windham re-enters the ring. Zbysko is whipped to the ropes but ducks down on the comeback. Windham attempts a massive lariat and his momentum takes him through the middle rope and back to the floor. He’s able to take control when Larry follows though, and Zbysko is smashed face first on a nearby table. As Windham slowly gets to the apron, he hits a shoulder to Zbysko’s stomach and attempts a sunset flip. This is countered by Zbysko’s right hand. Zbysko attempts a neckbreaker but Windham reverses it into a backslide for a 2 count.
Zbysko sets up for a piledriver but it is reversed into a back body drop. Back to their feet, Zybysko is whipped into the ropes. The two collide in the middle of the ring and they both drop to the mat. Slowly to their feet, Windham moves on an Irish whip to the turnbuckle. Windham steps up to the 2nd turnbuckle and the crowd counts the punches off. On the following Irish whip to the opposite turnbuckle, Zbysko collides with the referee. Windham has Zbysko rolled up into an apparent 3 count, but the ref is down. Windham celebrates but then realizes the situation. He checks on the ref and Zbysko appears to hit him from behind with a foreign object. Zbysko gets the pinfall win.
Winner and NEW UWF Western States Champion: Larry Zbysko (Foreign Object)
- EA’s Take: This is definitely better than our first match, but that wasn’t hard to accomplish. As I stated in my Starrcade ’87 review, Barry’s being setup for a push towards the top so losing the non-prestigious Western States Title is a good thing. Zbysko would take off from the NWA the following year still as the champion and it was subsequently retired, so that shows how “revered” it was. It wouldn’t be but a couple of months later that Windham will turn heel and join The Horsemen, possibly the most recognizable incarnation of the group in its history.
Match #3 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Road Warrior Hawk w/Paul Ellering vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair w/James J. Dillon
The two lock up and Hawk quickly powers Flair down. Flair takes his time contemplating his next move. Hawk with a side headlock. Flair works Hawk into the corner for a chop, but Hawk just stares him down. Flair walks out to the apron and paces, baffled by his opponent. The two lock up again, Flair delivers a knee and chop to the midsection. Flair attempts a shoulder tackle that doesn’t even move Hawk. He goes for a 2nd shoulder tackle and instead Hawk catches him in a gorilla press slam.
JJ Dillon tries to call timeout but the ref won’t have it. Yet another gorilla press from Hawk. Flair is backing up on the mat screaming “no”. Hawk delivers a barrage of kicks to Flair’s midsection. Flair with plenty of theatrics after this attack. Hawk pulls him up and lands a standing dropkick followed by a blow to the head. Hawk relentlessly pulls Flair up for a hiptoss. Flair rolls out of the ring and Dillon tries to give him some encouragement. Hawk meets him at the apron upon his return and vertically suplexes Flair back in. Flair is whipped into the rope and is caught in a bear hug. Hawk works Flair’s shoulders down to the mat for a two count. Flair is back to his feet and lands more useless chops. Flair is whipped into the ropes and Hawk lands a shoulder block.
Flair rolls out of the ring and around on the concrete while Ellering stares down Dillon. Hawk joins Flair on the floor who is able to rake the eyes. This only makes Hawk angry and he stalks Flair around the ring. Once back in the ring, Hawk muscles Flair to his knees and Ric finally gets some offense with a low blow. Flair with seemingly more effective kicks, chops and an eye rake after this disruption. The crowd is chanting for Hawk. Flair with a snapmare take down followed by a knee to the head. He covers Hawk for a 2 count. Flair pulls Hawk up and throws him through the middle rope and onto the floor. Flair follows him out and whips Hawk into the steel gate twice. Hawk stumbles back toward the ring as Flair taunts the crowd.
Flair climbs the turnbuckle and hits a double axe handle and another knee to the head. Lateral press from Flair for a 2 count. Flair whips Hawk to the rope who surprises Ric by reversing it into a neck breaker. Hawk to the turnbuckle but misses his attempt at a knee drop. His left knee is apparently injured so Flair takes advantage and works it over in a variety of ways. Outside, Ellering is stalking Dillon to make sure there is no funny business. Flair taunts Hawk yelling “Come on, tough guy” as he delivers more blows to the injured knee. Flair with some chops followed by a belly to back suplex. Flair pulls Hawk to the ring post and swings the injured knee into the metal. Back in the ring, Flair successfully applies the figure four leg lock and uses the ropes for leverage when he can. Hawk refuses to quit. Hawk starts an attempted reversal as Schiavone’s voice is heard saying 15 minutes has expired.
The crowd cheers loudly as Hawk completes the submission reversal. Flair is screaming in pain before breaking the hold at the ropes. Both men are slow to get up. Flair hits an elbow to the head and goes to the top rope. Hawk beats him to the punch and Flair takes his patented gorilla press bump from the top. Hawk with chops in the corner. Flair turns him around and sends him to the opposite side with an Irish whip. Hawk comes off the turnbuckle strong and lands a clothesline but he accidentally hits the ref as well. The two run the ropes. Hawk ducks a clothesline and comes back, sending Flair over the top rope with a clothesline of his own. Outside the ring, Hawk runs Flair face first into the post twice. Flair is bleeding.
They work their way back into the ring where Hawk delivers a power slam. Flair cowers into the corner and Hawk lands some rights, followed by an Irish whip and a clothesline. Somehow, Flair climbs to the top turnbuckle but Hawk meets him there. Hawk superplexes Flair, and there is plenty of time for a successful pinfall but there is no conscious ref. JJ Dillon enters the ring and hits Hawk with a chair. This barely phases Hawk who gets up and stalks Dillon down. Flair picks up the chair and delivers a headshot when Hawk turns around.
The ref rolls back in the ring shortly after this as Flair has a lateral press on Hawk but only gets a 2 count. Flair delivers a massive vertical suplex but is shocked to see Hawk is right back to his feet, completely unphased. Flair begs for mercy but Hawk climbs to the 2nd turnbuckle and the crowd counts off the 10 punches. Flair stumbles and falls in the middle of the ring. Flair retreats back to the turnbuckle but sneaks in a knee to the midsection and rushes to get the chair. He hits Hawk with the chair across the back and the ref calls for the bell.
Winner: Road Warrior Hawk (Disqualification)
- EA’s Take: Classic Flair here as Hawk looks like a million bucks. Lots of no-selling from one of of The Road Warriors and Naitch sells the crap out of the offense, so while I don’t care for screwy finishes, I don’t know how else you keep the belt on Flair while accomplishing the overall goal. It was interesting to see Hawk going for a singles title, which adds to my intrigue in the match. I have always been of the opinion that Hawk could have been a singles star had he wanted it and had his head screwed on straight. Animal? I’m not so sure, Hawk just always seemed to have much more charisma and was certainly a better promo. They would always come back together however, as we all know.
Match #4 is a Steel Cage Bunkhouse Stampede: Arn Anderson vs. The Barbarian vs. Tully Blanchard vs. Ivan Koloff vs. Road Warrior Animal vs. The Warlord vs. Dusty Rhodes vs. Lex Luger
Everyone takes a dance partner and goes to work. Arn Anderson and Dusty double team Ivan Koloff. Dusty almost eliminates Tully Blanchard immediately through the door. Luger and Warlord exchange blows as Dusty changes his attention back to Koloff. He goes for another elimination but Koloff holds on. Anderson and Blanchard try to double team Luger out of the cage to no avail. Koloff, Rhodes and Barbarian are all up on the top rope in one corner exchanging blows.
Barbarian tries to send Dream over but can’t get the big man over. Animal is stalking Tully Blanchard as they tight rope walk across the top rope. Animal grinds Blanchard’s face on the cage. Arn is being pursued by Dusty for an elimination but is saved when Koloff hits Dream from behind. Luger is up on the 2nd turnbuckle delivering blows to the head Barbarian. Rhodes throws Blanchard head first into the cage, where back in the center, Luger hits an atomic drop on Koloff. Arn Anderson is bloody and getting his face grated on the cage. Barbarian and Warlord double team Animal. Barbarian bites the bridge of Animal’s nose.
Luger is going crazy throwing rights to all comers and the crowd pops as Rhodes uses a strap on everyone else. The Barbarian is able to pull the strap away from Rhodes and uses it against him in the corner. Luger’s momentum slows and Arn Anderson delivers some rights. Animal has Dusty’s strap now and uses it on Koloff before giving it back to Rhodes. Dream whips Koloff who really seems outmatched. The Warlord and Barbarian with a double team clothesline on Animal. Arn Anderson has removed one of his boots. Koloff steals the strap and uses it against Rhodes’ bleeding arm. Luger takes the boot away from Arn Anderson and threatens to use it on Blanchard. Animal saves Rhodes from Koloff.
Luger is driven into the cage by the Warlord and receives a set of double team chops from he and Barbarian. We see Anderson being close to thrown over by Animal while partner Blanchard now has the strap around the neck of Koloff at the door. Anderson fights it off and is back in the ring delivering a double axe handle. Rhodes’ arm is a bloody mess. Ivan Koloff is eliminated over the top of the cage by Animal. Back in the ring, Luger rakes Barbarian’s eyes over the top rope. Barbarian fights back with some chops, but is met with an attack from Rhodes. At the door, the Warlord is hanging on tight as Animal is punching him out.
Animal is attacked from behind by the Barbarian and they both go out at the same time. Road Warrior Animal & The Warlord have been eliminated.The Horsemen and Rhodes and Luger team up and go at it. Power slam from Luger on Blanchard and he gets Tully into a brief torture rack submission. Barbarian takes over with Rhodes while Anderson tries to save his partner. Luger tries to fight both of them off but can’t overcome the double team. Barbarian is biting the bloody arm of Rhodes while the Horsemen carry Luger to the door. Luger fights back. Blanchard goes to the top rope, but Luger knocks him off.
All 3 men are battling at the door. Anderson hovers over a punching Luger on the apron. Blanchard is using his feet to slide Luger out but Anderson is father outside than Lex. All 3 men simultaneously fall out to the concrete. Arn Anderson, Lex Luger & Tully Blanchard have been eliminated. Only Dusty Rhodes and The Barbarian remain in the ring. Rhodes delivers some bionic elbows near the ropes but Paul Jones sneaks a foreign object into Barbarian’s hand. Barbarian wastes no time to use it.
Paul Jones cheers him on as Dusty is on his back in the middle of the ring. Barbarian goes to the top rope and delivers a diving headbutt. Barbarian drags Rhodes to the door. Both men are slowly out to the apron. Dream appears to be in trouble but comes back with more bionic elbows. Back in the ring, Rhodes whips Barbarian and hits an elbow. Both men to the turnbuckle and both men climb to the top rope. Rhodes lifts Barbarian to a seated position atop the cage. A first bionic elbow knocks Barbarian to the outside of the cage. A 2nd elbow knocks him to the floor.
Winner: Dusty Rhodes
- EA’s Take: Kind of like the scaffold matches, this gimmick match is visually interesting, but conceptually nonsensical. Granted, five of the competitors were eliminated at the door which is at least a realistic sell, but over the top of the cage? It meant there were a lot of spots where multiple wrestlers were up on the top turnbuckle and walking across the top rope in a way they never would in a normal match. Most of the time, the wrestlers were simultaneously climbing up the ropes willingly and unprompted. If your goal is to avoid being thrown over the cage, why would you put yourself in a more dangerous spot? It made as much sense as someone in a modern Royal Rumble choosing to jump over the top rope and fight guys off from the apron. Being eliminated at the door is more realistic, but the door eliminations weren’t very exciting. The guys gave a good brawl in the ring, but I think they would have been better off with a traditional battle royal concept.
EA’s Finisher: This two hour event leaves a lot to be desired and quite frankly, that would be reflected in the number of buys it would gain. It was widely ridiculed by the pundits, primarily because Dusty booked himself to win all four Bunkhouse Stampedes. Was it justified? Who am I to say? I think it may have helped had the dark match been on the main card, which was Sting & Jimmy Garvin vs. The Sheepherders, better known as The Bushwhackers. With only four matches, there was no reason that couldn’t be part of the broadcast. While many on this card are beloved Hall of Famers, none of these matches were exactly Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart putting on a technical clinic that captivates our attention for a long period of time. JCP will be back at it as they go to a whopping THREE PPVs in 1988, with The Great American Bash up next in June. It’s refreshing to cover an event other than Starrcade and JCP does have talent, but unless you are interested in seeing what this Bunkhouse Stampede match is all about, you should avoid this one.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Ric Flair vs. Road Warrior Hawk
2 – Bunkhouse Stampede
3 – Barry Windham vs. Larry Zbysko
Chairshot Classics: NXT TakeOver Toronto (2016)
On the eve of NXT TakeOver: War Games II, we look back at a previous November TakeOver event with TakeOver: Toronto
Open: “Toronto, the birthplace and proving ground for some of the greatest Superstars from the ‘Great White North’. For over three decades, the host of some of the most memorable moments in WWE history. Now, it’s NXT’s turn to takeover Toronto.”
Match #1: ‘The Glorious’ Bobby Roode vs. ‘The Perfect 10’ Tye Dillinger
We have a staredown at the bell, Roode slowly starts to circle Tye and he starts to strike a ‘Glorious’ pose. Dillinger strikes with left hands, Bobby goes to a side headlock, quickly gets pushed off to the ropes, scores with a shoulder knockdown, then goes back to the ropes. The Perfect 10 catches him with a back elbow and clotheslines him to the outside, throws him back in, clotheslines him back out the other side, then steps out and fires away with stinging chops. The Glorious One sneaks in a right hand to stop the onslaught, irish whip into the barricade is reversed, Tye elevates him with a back body drop off the rebound and Roode smacks off the floor.
Dillinger sends him into the ring and Bobby tries to beg him off, The Perfect 10 mocks him and stomps away at the fingers, flashes a ’10’ in his face, avoids a chops and scores with one of his own. He puts The Glorious One in the corner, climbs to the 2nd rope and lets go with stiff lefts, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Roode ducks down for a back body drop, Dillinger catches him with a kick, charges and gets deposited over the top to the outside. The Glorious One slides out the opposite side, clobbers Tye with a forearm from behind, drops him chest-first across the top of the barricade, then drapes him across the apron. Bobby comes down with a clubbing shot to the sternum, drives him down into the apron, pushes him in and chokes him in the corner with the bottom of his boot.
Roode with heavy knife-edge chops, shoots The Perfect 10 hard into the turnbuckles, follows in with a clothesline, then heads to the 2nd rope for a shot across the back of the neck. The Glorious One is supremely confident now, hooks Dillinger for a neckbreaker, Tye surprises him with a backslide and gets a count of 2. He starts to build some momentum with chops, irish whip to the corner is reversed, The Perfect 10 hits the turnbuckles hard and Roode follows with a neckbreaker for a 2 count. He drops a knee across the chest, rakes his bootlaces across the eyes and starts toying with Tye as he pummels him.
Roode puts him in the corner and goes to the 2nd rope to right down punches, gets a little to confident and The Perfect 10 powers him out into an inverted atomic drop. Dillinger gets a rush of adrenaline and battles to his feet, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Tye ducks a clothesline and scores with multiple flying forearms. He delivers a knee lift, flattens Roode with a clothesline, stomps away in the corner and then exposes the knee for the Tye Breaker. The Glorious One sees it coming, rolls outside and starts walking to the back, Dillinger goes out in pursuit, throws him back in the ring and slides in, Bobby catches him with a spinebuster and nearly puts it away.
He props Tye on the top turnbuckle and sets for a superplex, plants The Perfect 10, rolls into a cover and only gains a near fall. The Glorious One starts to look puzzled, stands over Tye and flashes a ’10’, then exposes his knee and tries for a Tye Breaker of his own. Dillinger slips out of it and looks for a superkick, Roode ducks it, goes to a schoolboy, puts his feet on the ropes, but the official sees it and stops at 2. Bobby can’t believe it and argues with the referee, The Perfect 10 surprises him with a schoolboy for a near fall, both guys up quick, he connects with the superkick, but still can’t finish it.
Both guys stagger to their feet and exchange fists, The Perfect 10 gets the better of it, powers Roode up for the Tye Breaker, The Glorious One escaping and hooks him for the Glorious Drop. Tye avoids it, Bobby attempts a sunset flip, The Perfect 10 rolls through it, slaps on the Sharpshooter, but Roode is able to crawl to the ropes. Tye stumbles back up, tries to pick The Glorious One to his feet, gets caught in a small package for a 2 count, counters to one of his own off the kick-out, but still only gets 2. Roode staggers to the corner and Dillinger comes charging in, The Glorious One side-steps out of the way, drives him shoulder-first into the steel post, spikes him with the Glorious Drop and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: ‘The Glorious’ Bobby Roode (Glorious Drop)
- EA’s Take: I think about what it must be like to be Bobby Roode walking into the arena, to a packed house and a massive pop compared to his previous situation in TNA. I have made my feelings on Dillinger clear before, the man is a future champion and I stand by that. This was the best way to start this event off. The match was well paced and the two men worked together wonderfully. The crowd was high energy which only heightened the already great match’s intensity. Roode getting the win makes sense. He is set to advance into the title picture imminently. My boy Tye however, got to show what he could do and look as good as you can in a loss. Good luck to the rest of the card because these two just set an epic tone to start the night.
Match #2 – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals with Paul Ellering Suspended Above The Ring In A Shark Cage: The Authors Of Pain (Rezar & Akam) w/Paul Ellering vs. TM61 (Shane Thorne & Nick Miller)
The cage lowers, Ellering holds a quick conference with The Authors, the official locks him inside and it is raised above the squared circle. Akam & Miller to kickoff the action, Akam immediately drives Miller into the corner at the bell, shoots him across, Miller puts on the brakes and fires back with forearms. Akam blocks a whip and sends him to the ropes, Thorne tags in on the way through, delivers a big boot to send Akam to the outside, Rezar hits the ring and runs into a double dropkick. TM61 clothesline him to the outside, Thorne spills to the outside, Miller builds a head of steam and flies over the top with a somersault plancha onto Akam.
Rezar looks up at the support structure for the shark cage, powers Thorne onto his shoulders and starts to climb up with some devious plans in mind. Shane kicks him away, climbs to the top of the structure, jumps off with a somersault and takes out The Authors Of Pain. He throws Akam back in the ring and climbs onto the apron, Miller slides inside, the official tells Miller he’s not legal and works to get him back to the corner, Rezar taking the opening to sweep the legs of Shane on the apron. He climbs up to the apron and tags in, sends Thorne into the squared circle and covers for 2, bludgeons him with big right hands and stomps, then rips away at the face. Akam tags in and comes off the 2nd rope with a combination stop/side slam for a count of 2, Akam hammers Shane with heavy shots, hooks the leg and gains another 2 count.
He looks to ground Shane now with a rear chinlock, Thorne works his way to a standing position, Akam launches him across the ring, lateral press and another near fall. He measures Thorne in the corner and rushes in, Shane side-steps out of harm’s way, Rezar gets the tag and knocks Miller off the apron, picks Thorne up and gets surprised by a dropkick. Miller pulls himself back to the apron and tags in, cracks Rezar with forearms, slams Akam coming in, delivers a corner clothesline to Rezar, then hits an exploder suplex on Akam. He plants Rezar with a back suplex, smashes them both with basement flying forearms, goes to the top turnbuckle and executes a moonsault, but can’t finish it. Akam & Thorne get back involved and every pairs off in opposite corners, TM61 with in-sync punches from the 2nd rope, The Authors look to counters into the Clink Powerbomb, but Thorne & Miller reverse with hurricanranas.
Shane gets a tag, TM61 plant Rezar with Thunder Valley, Thorne hooks the leg, but Akam is there to make the save. Miller dumps him to the outside, slingshots over the top with a crossbody, Thorne follows with a somersault plancha, the official takes in the chaos and Ellering drops a chain into the ring from above. Rezar wraps it around his fist, tries to clock Thorne climbing up to the apron, Shane blocks it, the chain flies into the crowd and he rolls Rezar up for a near fall. He pops back to his feet, Rezar delivers a spinebuster, tag to Akam, they take out Miller on the apron and deliver The Last Chapter for the win.
Winners: The Authors Of Pain (Akam/The Last Chapter)
- After The Bell: The cage lowers and Ellering is freed to raise his guys’ hands. NXT General Manager William Regal & Triple H come down to the ring along with Dustin Rhodes, presenting The Authors with the Dusty Cup and posing for a photo-op.
- EA’s Take: I called AOP to win this tourney before it began. It just made too much sense as hard as they have been pushed. The way the match was completed fits into the idea that Ellering always is involved in some way. TM61 kept the pace of the match where it needed to be. It was bogged down in spots, but not so much so that it made the match plodding. Both teams should look to be competing in the title picture in the aftermath of this event. Also, I hope no one got hit by that chain that went into the crowd….jeez!
Match #3 – 2 out of 3 Falls for the NXT Tag Team Championships: #DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) vs. NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
Gargano & Dawson to begin, Dawson with an arm drag off the opening lock-up, Johnny with a headscissors to escape, scores with an arm drag of his own and Dawson returns the favor with the headscissors. Quick pace to start, Johnny Wrestling with an early 2 count off of a roll-up, Dawson collects himself, they tie-up again and Dawson backs Gargano into the corner. No clean break and he goes to the breadbasket with a fist, snapmares Johnny over, hits the ropes for a shoulder knockdown, goes back in, puts on the brakes and sends Gargano to the ropes instead.
Ciampa gets a tag, Johnny Wrestling catches Dawson with an inverted atomic drop, Tommaso follows with a running forearm, connects with one for Dash stepping in, DIY then scoring with in-sync dropkicks. The Psycho Killer covers for a count of 2, goes to a wristlock, Dawson rakes the eyes to break it, brings Wilder in and he clubs Ciampa down to the canvas. He tries to drive Tommaso head-first into the top turnbuckle, The Psycho Killer blocks it, returns the favor, irish whip across is reversed into a knee, Dash tagging out. Dawson delivers a body slam and brings back Dash, drops him into a leg drop on Ciampa for a 2 count, Wilder grabs a side headlock, looks for a running bulldog and gets pushed away into the opposite corner.
Both guys crawl to tags, Gargano slingshots in with a kick to Dawson, levels him with a clothesline, ducks a shot from Wilder and tosses him with an overhead belly-to-belly. He lines The Revival up in opposite corners and charges in with running chops, pulls Dash out for a running bulldog and clotheslines Dawson in the process, plants him with a leaping neckbreaker and almost gets 3. Johnny Wrestling charges Dawson in the corner, gets elevated over the top, Wilder makes a tag, Gargano lands on his feet on the apron and Dawson clocks him with a right hand. He hits the ropes to build a head of steam, Johnny looks to slingshot back in with a spear, Dawson counters into the Shatter Machine and Wilder covers for the fall.
First Fall: The Revival
Gargano staggers to his feet, Wilder tries to attack him from behind, gets surprised by a roll-up for a near fall, but Johnny can’t capitalize. Dawson tags in and ties Johnny up in the ropes for heavy shots, Wilder clotheslines him back into the ring behind the ref’s back, Dawson follows with a slingshot suplex and again gets a count of 2. Dawson shoves him into the corner, Dash tags in and the champions pound him with clubbing shots, Wilder with some words for the crowd, then Dawson re-enters the match. Dash sends Gargano to the ropes for a drop toe hold, Dawson follows with an elbow drop for a 2 count, then looks to ground Johnny Wrestling with a body scissors. Gargano works to a vertical base, Dawson switches into a Gory special, Johnny slips out of it, takes a shot at Dash on the apron, but gets clocked by Dawson.
Wilder steps in, Gargano charges, grabs Dash for a tornado DDT, kicks Dawson in the process, crawls to his corner and reaches for the tag. Dash grabs Ciampa from the outside and then slides in the ring, the official is distracted as Gargano tags out, the ref doesn’t allow it and The Revival double team Johnny in the corner. Tommaso has had enough and chases Dawson around the ring, the official cuts him off as they slide back in, the champions hit Gargano with a Hart Attack, Dawson covers and nearly finishes it. Wilder re-enters the match and props Johnny on the top turnbuckle for a super back suplex, Johnny Wrestling switches the weight in mid-air, lands on top and gets 2. Dash tags out and Dawson quickly tries to prevent Gargano from reaching his corner, Johnny clocks him with an enzuigiri, leaps and finally tags out.
The Psycho Killer hits the ring off the top with a dropkick, crushes Dawson in the corner with a running knee, then drops him with back elbows. Dawson ducks under one and shoots him to the corner, rushes in and meets a boot to the chin, Tommaso runs out with a Famouser, covers and only gets a count of 2. Wilder rolls into the ring and gets dumped back outside just as quick, Dawson takes the opening for a roll-up from behind, Ciampa rolls through it, delivers rolling german suplexes, scores with the Running Knee for a near fall. He calls for Gargano to climb back on the apron, Dawson clobbers him from behind, pulls Johnny into the ring and The Revival set for a spike piledriver.
Ciampa knocks Wilder off the top turnbuckle, Johnny blocks the piledriver, Tommaso comes off the top with a crossbody, but still can’t find a 3 count. Dash slides in again and Ciampa cracks him with a high knee, the referee forces Wilder back to the apron, #DIY lineup for the Combination Superkick/Running Knee to Dawson and Tommaso covers to tie it up.
Second Fall: #DIY
Dawson rolls to his corner and tags out, Dash steps in, has some words for Ciampa and they trade-off shots. The Psycho Killer gets the better of it and measures for a discus clothesline, Dawson makes a blind tag, sneaks into the ring and ducks it, but Ciampa picks the arm and goes into the Bridging Fujiwara Armbar. Dawson reverses into a roll-up for a 2 count, Gargano makes a blind tag, decks Dawson with an enzuigiri from the apron, Tommaso following up with a rope-assisted reverse STO. He looks to dive outside onto Dash and gets surprised by an uppercut, Wilder charges around ringside after Gargano, Johnny laying him out with a kick from the apron. He slingshots into the ring and spikes Dawson with a DDT, stacks him up for a count of 2, then looks around wondering what to do next.
Dawson rolls out to the apron, Johnny hooks him for a suplex back inside, Dawson slips out of it, waistlock by Gargano and he pushes him towards the ropes for a roll-up. Dash hangs onto Dawson from the outside to block it, tags himself in, Gargano battles them both off, looks for a tornado DDT on Wilder, but gets thrown off. The champions plant him with a combination clothesline/german suplex, Dawson hooks both legs, but The Psycho Killer just barely breaks it up before 3. Dawson drives Ciampa shoulder-first into the ring post, goes back to the apron to tag in, then trades shots with Gargano. Johnny gets the upper-hand, Dawson ducks a shot for a backslide, Gargano counters out, kicks Dash in the process of rolling up Dawson with a small package and almost steals it.
Wilder goes to the timekeeper’s area and grabs one of the titles, slides back into the ring, Ciampa meets him with a clothesline and they both fall over the top to the floor. The official is distracted, Dawson grabs the championship, blocks a Gargano kick with it and then slaps on an inverted figure four. Johnny Wrestling struggles to hold on, scratches and claws his way to the bottom rope and forces the break, but the damage has been done. Wilder calls for a tag and gets it, they mock #DIY and go for their combination finisher, Gargano ducks it, Dawson gets clocked by a superkick, #DIY hit Wilder with a Shatter Machine, but Dawson is able to stop the count before a finish.
Ciampa tries to roll back inside and the ref forces him back to the corner, Dawson switches out without making a tag, surprises Gargano with a roll-up, the official turns around and counts to 2, but notices it’s not the legal man in the ring. Wilder rams Tommaso into the ring post on the outside, Johnny deposits Dawson through the ropes with a superkick, Dash slides in from behind and takes Gargano out at the knees. He sets for the inverted figure four, Gargano counters into a small package for 2, they exchange roll-ups for near falls, Johnny finally hooks on the Garga-No-Escape, Ciampa cuts off Dawson and slaps on the Bridging Fujiwara Armbar, Wilder tapping out.
Winners and NEW NXT Tag Team Champions: #DIY
- EA’s Take: Is it just me or did this whole feud get undersold and was not well built up? I picked The Revival to win this one mainly because I am so used to seeing them win at these TakeOver events. I am glad to have been wrong. #DIY looked great, as did The Revival. There were a couple of sloppy moments, but they were few and far enough between and the match was still quite good. #DIY I am sure will be seeing The Authors of Pain very soon. As for their counterparts, RAW’s Tag Team Division has become quite stale and to steal a quote from my editor, could use a “Revival”.
Chairshot Classics: WCW Starrcade ’93 – It’s All On The Line!
Our weekly WCW Chairshot Classics series continues with Starrcade ’93!
Open: A sentimental video package plays featuring pictures and videos of Ric Flair’s life and career as he’s putting it all on the line tonight against Big Van Vader.
Video: Vader arrives with Harley Race at 2:00pm, Race tells him to keep his focus as they enter the arena for a pre-show workout. In a separate video, ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund has gone to Ric Flair’s home as he’s prepared to leave for the event. He says goodbye and hugs his children. Gene talks to Flair as he explains the kids are worried about tonight. They get in the limo, Flair knew what he was doing when he signed the contract, but he has a lot to prove.
Match #1: Pretty Wonderful (‘Pretty’ Paul Roma & ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff) w/The Assassin vs. 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Alexander Bagwell w/Teddy Long
Teddy Long is presented with a plaque naming him the 1993 Manager of the Year prematch, voted for by fans using the WCW Hotline. They waste no time to have an all out brawl. Scorpio and Bagwell throw their oppenents into one another. They dropkick Roma out of the ring and hit Orndorff with a double hiptoss. Bagwell lifts Scorpio for an assisted pele kick on Wonderful. He tries a quick pin but Nick Patrick wants order. The babyfaces hold the ring and they finally head to their corners as the crowd taunts Orndorff. Bagwell and Roma start the action.
Roma is hesitant to lock up. Roma throws a kick to the gut and Paul with some high impact blows. To the ropes, Bagwell ducks and hits a crossbody. Arm drag into an armbar by Bagwell as Roma complains he pulled his hair. Bagwell with leverage on the wrist and he tags his partner. Scorpio with some quick forearms as he works over the damaged arm. Scorpio grabs a wristlock and dives over the top rope to slingshot Roma. Back to the wristlock and it’s a quick tag to Bagwell. He goes to the hammerlock and drives Roma shoulder first into the corner. Snapmare by Bagwell and a leg drop across the shoulder. Bagwell continues to hammer but it’s Roma with a desperation scoop slam. He’s able to tag in Orndorff but Bagwell greets him with an armdrag.
Tag is made to Scorpio who hits a double ax handle. He holds the wrist and drives him with headbutts. Orndorff goes to the eyes to break it and hits a European uppercut before booting Scorpio to the ramp. Front face lock, he tries a suplex but Scorpio lands on his feet. The Cold Man tries a victory roll but Orndorff holds the ropes. Scopio flips back and lands a hip toss. He climbs to Orndorff’s shoulders and takes him down with a head scissor. He holds Orndorff down with a modified head scissor submission. Tag is made to Bagwell who comes in with a big splash that earns a two count. Back to the wrist but Orndorff reverses with a drop toe hold.
A tag is made to Roma but he gets the drop toe hold as well. To the ropes they go, Bagwell catches Roma’s boot, taunts him and hits an atomic drop. Arm drag by Bagwell and he holds the arm. He twists the wrist and tags in Scorpio. An impressive sequence while hitting the ropes that ends with a hiptoss by Bagwell and a splash by Scorpio. He makes the cover and Roma kicks out. Scorpio pounds on Roma’s head and knees him in the forehead. Modified hammerlock drop by Scorpio and Bagwell is tagged back in. Roma reverses the wristlock and tags in Wonderful. European uppercuts and some kicks to the ribs for Bagwell. Orndorff drives his face into the canvass and elbows the back of Bagwell’s head.
A scoop slam and another driving elbow by Orndorff who appears to have a lot of energy. He sends him for the ride, but Bagwell ducks and hooks in a sleeper. The partners rush into the ring, Patrick backs off Scorpio allowing a cheapshot from the top by Roma. Back breakers by Roma while Scorpio protests that there was no tag. Pretty Paul elevates with an elbow and Bagwell kicks out. He tags in Orndorff and they each take liberties. Belly to back suplex by Mr. Wonderful and Scorpio is still incensed. Quick tag is made to Roma who snaps Bagwell to the mat. He sends Bagwell for a power slam but he pulls off the cover and heads for the top rope. He tries the big splash but Bagwell moves. Orndorff is tagged first but he misses the elbow, so here comes 2 Cold.
He beats Orndorff down with rights and sends him to the ropes for a leaping forearm. Roma rushes to help but he’s drop kicked to the floor. Scorpio with a snap suplex on Orndorff and he heads to the top rope. Roma tries to pull him off the turnbuckle but Bagwell saves the day. Orndorff staggers to his feet and he’s hit with a double ax on the top of the head. Spinning karate kick by Scorpio. The Assassin climbs onto the apron and he’s decked by The Cold Man.Snapmare by Scorpio on Orndorff and he measures Wonderful while The Assassin puts something into his mask. Scorpio charges Orndorff, he’s lifted up and Assassin delivers a headbutt. Orndorff falls on top of Scorpio to pick up the win.
Winners: Pretty Wonderful (Orndorff/Outside Interference)
- EA’s Take: I’ve expressed how much I liked this pairing of Scorpio and Bagwell on several of these now and how I was surprised that they never rose higher together, so I did a little research. They were the 1992 Tag Team Of The Year, very popular with the fans, but apparently developed some confusing heat with one another that started on a plane ride. Strangely, it has escalated in recent years as they’ve replied to one another on the shoot interview scene. If you ever watch the clips, I think Scorpio has been watching a few too many New Jack shoots, personally.
Video: ‘Mean’ Gene and Ric Flair continue their limo ride to the arena, quietly discussing everything that’s on the line tonight. Flair is appreciative of Gene’s friendship whether he wins or loses. Gene reflects on all the memories he’s made for himself and all the fans over the years. Flair tells a story of a fan who approached him, asking who will be the one to “Wooo” if he loses. He told him he will be the only one to do that and he’s not going anywhere.
Match #2: The Shockmaster vs. Awesome Kong w/King Kong
The Kongs ambush Shockmaster and send him for a double clothesline. They hold him in place for a splash in the corner. Awesome hits a splash on the mat while the ref gets King out of there. Kong with rights and forearms, Irish whip but Shockmaster gets the big boot up. He charges him with a clothesline and then sends him for a flying body press. King Kong is on the apron Shockmaster knocks him off. He lifts Awesome Kong for a body slam and he picks up the quick win.
Winner: The Shockmaster (Body Slam)
- EA’s Take: This match wouldn’t have thrilled me even if it was on WCW Saturday Night let alone Starrcade, but they’re trying to maintain a dominant big man, so it is what it is. Honestly, The Shockmaster should have died the night he fell through that damn wall.
Backstage: Flair’s limo has arrived at the arena, surrounded by police. Gene shakes his hand and sends him on his way.
Match #3 for the WCW World Television Championship: WCW World Television Champion Lord Steven Regal w/Sir William vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat
Steamboat grabs the belt and holds it up to an ovation. Steamboat corners Regal and the ref tells him to back off. Regal doesn’t want to be touched and stays in the corner. Steamboat charges with a single leg pick up and Regal lectures the ref to get him away so he can take his time. Finally a collar and elbow, Regal gets position on the ropes but they keep going. Steamboat drops to a knee but he pushes the champ’s chin, Regal backs to the ropes and it has to be broken. Steamboat charges right back in and Regal retreats again to the corner.
Now it’s Steamboat stalling as he appears to favor his arm. Single leg by Regal, he steps on the bicep and takes a wristlock. Steamboat flips to his feet but Regal works him back to the mat. Steamboat up again and he reverses it. Regal somersaults and regains control. Steamboat says touché and flips out of it and whips Regal down hard. Hammerlock into a side headlock by Regal, to the ropes they go, they each block hip tosses and Steamboat takes him down with a double leg and flips over to bridge for a pin. Regal kicks out, but Steamboat is quick with the hiptoss. Regal reels back to slow it down. Collar and elbow, side headlock take down by Steamboat and Regal is forced to keep getting his shoulders up.
To the ropes they criss cross. Steamboat counters Regal’s pick up and flips the champ on his back. Regal is quick to move to an ankle lock. Steamboat climbs up but Regal kicks him in the ribs and holds onto the ankle. Steamboat puts his boot to Regal’s head and stands up for an enzigure. Scoop slam by The Dragon and he heads for the top. He flies with a big karate chop and Regal must kick out at two. Steamboat hooks on an armbar and maneuvers for leverage. The champ works to his feet and they hit the ropes. Shoulder block by Steamboat and he goes back to the arm. Regal leaps up to his feet, lifts Steamboat with a fireman’s carry but the challenger escapes. He grabs a wristlock as there are 5 minutes left in the 15 minute time limit.
He muscles Regal to his back and the champ must keep his shoulders up. William tells the fans to shutup as “USA” chants start. Steamboat drives the knee into Regal’s tricep. He cranks back on the wrist but Regal doesn’t submit. Steamboat flips over with a modified hammerlock. He tries moving into some roll ups but can’t get 3. Regal tries bridging out of a head scissor submission. Back to their feet, Regal clubs with high impact forearms and then turns Steamboat around for a European uppercut. More from the champ, but Steamboat gets some adrenaline and chops Regal out of the ring. Sir William approaches him with the umbrella but Steamboat turns around and catches him in the act.
He pursues William and chases him around the ring, baiting him into a Regal dropkick. Steamboat is rolled back into the ring, Irish whip, Steamboat tries leapfrogging Regal but is pulled face first on the mat. Regal applies a reverse chin lock and chops Steamboat. Steamboat reverses an Irish whip but Regal comes back with an elbow. Steamboat with a desperation arm drag and hits another one. Regal grabs a head scissor but Steamboat somersaults into a cover. Regal bridges out of it, he hooks the arms but Steamboat fights out. Butterfly suplex by Steamboat and Regal kicks out. The champ bails out to the floor but Steamboat catches him. He knocks William and Regal’s heads together and rolls Lord Steven back in.
He heads up to the apron but William holds his boot. Steamboat kicks him into the post and slingshots Regal across the top rope. He tries a flying cross body but Regal moves. Both men are slow to get up at the 10 second mark. Steamboat ducks a right and scores with a German suplex but he’s out of time. Regal retains the title on a draw.
Winner: Time Limit Draw
- EA’s Take: It’s all about subtleties with Regal and it’s the little things like cowering out of the way to waste time at the beginning of a time limit match. Lots of great mat work in this one, if I were booking I would set up a rematch with a no time limit stipulation because this one was just a clinic.
Match #4: Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne vs. Tex Slazenger & Shangai Pierce
It’ll be Payne and Pierce to get the action rolling. Collar and elbow tie up and there is a quick break. They lock up again, Pierce with a side headlock, to the ropes and neither moves on a shoulder block. Pierce boots the gut, they hit the ropes and Pierce takes him down. Payne reevaluates. Payne with a boot this time and to the ropes again, this time Payne with the shoulder block. He scoop slams Pierce and he backs to his corner. Here comes Slazenger… and here comes Jack. Collar and elbow, Slazenger with position in the corner and he lays in a few rights. They lock up, Jack blocks a right and sends Slazenger down with shots to the jaw.
Jack drives him into the turnbuckle but Slazenger comes back with an elbow. He goes to the eyes and sends him for an Irish whip. Jack gets his boot up and comes back with a few strikes. Tag is made to Payne as Jack grabs the wrist. Elbow from Payne and he grabs the wristlock and makes a quick tag back. Jack yanks him down by the arm, goes for a cover and Pierce has to make the save. Jack decks him on the apron while Payne takes care of Slazenger. Double team clothesline by Payne and Jack. Pierce tries pulling his partner out but Jack won’t have it. Tag is made to Payne, Irish whip but Slazenger moves and comes back with a bulldog.
Slazenger is up first, boots Payne in the head and tags in Pierce. Clubbing forearm and to the ropes they go. Payne comes in with a sunset flip and gets two. Payne ducks a right and hits Pierce with a belly to back suplex. Payne makes a tag and Jack goes to work with rights and a headbutt. Slazenger comes in to save his partner and Payne takes exception. Jack clotheslines Pierce over the top rope and falls to the apron himself. Slazenger confronts him and instead he’s slingshot to the floor. Payne lifts Jack with a backbody drop outside to fall on top of Slazenger. Back in the ring, Pierce blindsides Payne. He heads to the top, tries a double ax handle but Payne cuts him off. He pulls him down with an armbar submission but Slazenger makes the save.
Payne ducks a double clothesline and hits both opponents with one instead. Tag is made to Jack and he’s immediately ambushed by the Texans. Slazenger holds Jack in place, Jack ducks and Tex is clotheslined to the outside by his own partner. Pierce glances over to check on his fallen partner, he turns around and walks right into a double-arm DDT.
Winners: Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne (Jack/Double-Arm DDT)
- EA’s Take: This match had really poor flow for which I don’t blame Jack, he brought the most sense to it all. While it seemed like a creative idea, that assisted back body drop by Payne couldn’t have been much sloppier unless Foley fell square on his head on the apron. Cactus Jack has a funny spot on this roster. He’s popular with the fans, he’s not main event, but he’s certainly not undercard. He’s not the most technical guy in the world, but he can give you a good match. Lord knows he’s willing to put his body on the line. It seems like they either have something specific that is really great like working with Vader or otherwise they don’t quite know what to do with him. They know they definitely want him on the show, so he’s thrown into debacles like this.
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