Open: Bob Caudle & Tony Schiavone are ringside and welcome the loud crowd at the Omni in Atlanta. Standing by at the Greensboro Coliseum is Johnny Weaver who explains that there are over 17,000 excited fans there as the event was taking place at two separate sold out venues, and broadcast back and forth via closed-circuit television. Back to Caudle and Schiavone who induce a big crowd pop with mention of Dusty Rhodes returning from injury to be in action tonight. It is announced that both cage matches will take place in Greensboro. Schiavone explains that all major titles except for the TV title will be on the line tonight and we’re ready to kick off the action starting in Greensboro with the National Anthem (after an odd tech error that shoots us backstage for an awkward moment with Weaver)!
Match #1 for the Vacant NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship: Krusher Kruschev vs. Sam Houston
Caudle emphasizes that it’s anyone’s game despite Kruschev’s size advantage. The two lock up, Kruschev quickly throws Houston backwards on his head. Lock up, Houston uses momentum to send Kruschev through the middle rope onto the floor. Kruschev returns to the ring angry and misses a clothes line. He turns around the two exchange punches, crowd pops. The two regroup. Kruschev looks baffled by Houston’s ability to match him. He lifts Houston up by the neck with both hands and slams him to the mat. Tries to follow with a standing elbow drop, Houston moves. Back to their feet, lock up, Kruschev powers Houston to the rope and delivers a knee, but when he whips him to the rope Houston counters a gorilla press and lands on his feet. Kruschev misses a series of punches while Houston lands retaliatory punches. Houston applies a long headlock.
Finally Kruschev is able to whip Houston into the ropes and a the two have a fast paced series before Houston is able to take him down with a headscissor take down. Locked in a head scissor submission, Kruschev powers his way up. He maneuvers to pin Houston’s shoulders in a couple of near falls. Kruschev gets to his feet, picks Houston up off the ground and carries him to a seated position on the top rope. Houston deflects Kruschev away from the turnbuckle. Houston misses an axehandle but connects a dropkick. Some mat work followed by a strong arm bar by Houston. The crowd pops when Kruschev writhes in pain. Krusher breaks the hold and whips Houston into the ropes and lands a massive backdrop. He taunts the booing crowd. More heat as he lands a 2nd backdrop. Kruschev whips Houston into the ropes and catches him for a long bear hug. Houston breaks it with a punch but, but Kruschev body slams Houston in the middle of the ring and heads for the top rope.
Houston wills his way up and dropkicks the turnbuckle before Kruschev can do anything. Houston delivers a long series of punches both on the mat and at the turnbuckle. Houston whips Kruschev into the opposing turnbuckle and calls for the bulldog. A 3 count is made, but Kruschev had his foot on the rope. Houston celebrates his win unaware of this. When he turns, Kruschev delivers the Russian Sickle, covers and Houston gets his leg on the rope, but the ref misses it and we have a new champ.
Winner and NEW NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion: Krusher Kruschev (Russian Sickle)
- EA’s Take: For the first time in the three years of Starrcade, our opening bout involves not one, but TWO men I’m familiar with! Bonus! The master of the Russian Sickle, Barry Darsow, will of course be known for his portrayal of Smash in the WWF later, but this was his big break after making noise in Georgia and Florida. Unlike Nikita, Krushev was an American who was not portraying himself as Russian, merely a sympathizer. The hot babyface here, Sam Houston, is a second generation star, the half-brother of Jake Roberts. His arrival in the Mid-Atlantic immediately put him on the map, which will happen when you’re billed as the protege of Dusty Rhodes and Magnum TA. If I were to rate this match against the past two Starrcade openers, bar none this will be tops of the list. A nice, slow burn to this one and I found the reversal spots to be wisely placed, allowing for the crowd to get further behind the young Houston.
Match #2 is a Mexican Death Match: ‘The Raging Bull’ Manny Fernandez vs. Abdullah The Butcher w/Paul Jones
The winner of this match is the first man to grab the sombrero. The action starts quickly with Abdullah dominating the action, beating Manny with a couple of foreign objects and quickly splitting him open. Abdullah chokes him on the ropes before Fernandez makes a comeback, Manny gets him to the mat and jumps off the turnbuckle, clocking The Butcher with his boot. Several more boot shots follow, Abdullah’s got the crimson mask, The Raging Bull attempts a running shot with the boot now, but The Butcher trips him up. Abdullah takes the boot and uses it on Manny, makes his 1st attempt for the hat, but Fernandez hits him with a low blow.
Paul Jones being held back by the referee and The Raging Bull goes to work with body shots using the boot. He makes an attempt at the hat, but takes a shot from Abdullah with the boot. Abdullah attempts the hat, but Fernandez whips and beats him with his belt. Punches exchanged. Abdullah headbutts The Raging Bul to the mat and misses an attempted running elbow drop. Fernandez hits him with a running lariat. More hits with the belt followed by an impressive suplex. Fernandez’s hat attempt thwarted by a low blow. Abdullah head butts him but Fernandez ducks a clothesline and hits him with ‘The Flying Burrito’. Fernandez to the top rope but misses a splash. Abdullah misses a turnbuckle thrust and hits the post. This allows Fernandez to grab the hat and win the match.
Winner: ‘The Raging Bull’ Manny Fernandez
- EA’s Take: Ahh yes, the 80’s…when politically correct didn’t exist. If you’ve followed along from Starrcade ’83, you already knew what to expect going into this one from Abdullah and we saw a lot of the same from Fernandez last year. Abdullah is a legend if you look at what he did for the hardcore style, which is why he’s a WWE Hall Of Famer (Yes, I’m aware it’s a bit of a joke, but still). Fernandez’s efforts in the ring that I’m familiar with are limited to these events, so it has got me thinking. If Abdullah is considered a “fore-father of hardcore”, does Manny deserve the same consideration?
Backstage: Johnny Weaver is with Krusher Kruschev, Krusher claims to be the happiest man in the world and thanks The Koloffs for making him the”Russian” athlete that he is, vowing to show all Americans that they’re physically superior. Kruschev addresses The Koloffs’ match later, warning that The Rock n’ Roll Express is about to learn the same lesson.
Match #3 is a Texas Bullrope Match – If Bass Wins, He Gets A Match With James J. Dillon: ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass vs. Black Bart w/James J. Dillon
A tug of war ensues with the rope, Bass kicks Bart to the ground, wraps the rope around Bart’s neck in the corner and delivers some punches with a cowbell, causing Bart to bleed. Bass continues the offense, Bart has a few comeback shots here and there, but Bass is abusing him with the cowbell. Bart finally gets in a low shot and gains control of the bell. After the first shot, Bass is cut now, Bart works hims into the corner and digs at his forehead with the bell. Exchange of punches and Bart delivers some elbows. Bass manages to get Bart down and slams his head into the mat. He wraps the rope around the forehead of a screaming Bart, more punches are exchanged before Bart attempts to clothesline Bass over the ropes.
Bass avoids it and Bart launches over the top rope to the floor, The Cowboy jumps to the other side of the ring apron, then delivers a jumping blow with the cowbell. Back to the ring, more cowbell shots to Bart followed by a kick. He wraps the rope around the back of Barts neck to pull him in for 3 big punches. Bart falls to his back. Pinfall attempt, kickout at 2. Both men back to their feet. Bart with some offense, whips Bass to the ropes but Bass hits a shoulder takedown. Both men lying on the mat. JJ Dillon pleading at ringside for Bart to get up. Bart is up first and misses a punch. From his knees, Bass hits another cowbell shot. When Bart tries to get up the rope is pulled, flipping him to the mat. Back on their feet, punches are exchanged and Bass is backed into the corner. Bart misses a running lariat. Bass maneuvers Bart into position, climbs to the 2nd rope and delivers one final cowbell blow to put it away.
Winner: ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass (Cowbell Shot)
- EA’s Take: The Long Riders are no more and Bass is the one who “sees the light”, leading to this slugfest that can be completely summed up in one sentence: both guys clobber each other with a cowbell until there’s a three count. A little unusual putting two hardcore-type matches back-to-back as well. This would serve as a finale for the former partners, Bart going on to feud for and win the Mid-Atlantic Title before leaving for World Class. The Cowboy’s departure is still more than a year away, but it’s yet another departure from NWA upcoming nonetheless.
Match #4 is a Texas Bullrope Match: ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass vs. James J. Dillon w/Black Bart
JJ Dillon tries to take advantage of the situation by rushing Bass and kicking him to the mat immediately after the bell. He stomps and kicks Bass while he’s down before the ref can tie them together, Dillon hits Bass with the cowbell and gets a 2 count. Dillon chokes him with the rope, The Cowboy makes the crowd pop as he starts the comeback to his feet. JJ tries to run from the ring, gets yanked back, pleading with Bass not to hit him with the cowbell. Bass declines and clocks him, busting Dillon open, then continues the attack and gets JJ wobbly-legged. He does the same punching spot with the rope around the back of Dillon’s neck, Bass goes for one more big shot with the cowbell, but hits the referee on his wind-up. The Cowboy goes for the pin without realizing the official’s down, Bart takes the opening, hits the ring and ambushes him. BHe spikes Bass with a piledriver, drags Dillon on top for the cover and JJ steals the win.
Winner: James J. Dillon (Interference)
- EA’s Take: It’s kind of crazy to think about because he looks much older, but JJ was only 43 years old at this time, so stepping in the ring wasn’t really too uncommon for him yet. The NWA’s version of Bobby Heenan, Dillon is still backing a stable of performers, like most managers of the time. He’ll quickly ascend up the managerial ladder and overshadow Paul Jones, much like this match did the one previous.
Match #5 Arm Wrestling Challenge: ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham vs. The Barbarian w/Paul Jones
This contest is for a $10,000 prize. Barbarian seems unfamiliar with the rules. Long bout. Both men drop to their knees and struggle. As Graham is about to win, Paul Jones hits him with his cane leading to a bloody Superstar and a DQ.
Winner: ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham (Disqualification)
Match #6: ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham vs. The Barbarian w/Paul Jones
Match begins with Barbarian taking advantage of the cane shot using vicious headbutts and kicks. Whips Graham into the ropes for a big boot that connents, tries to follow with a leg drop that’s off the mark and Graham comes back with some punches. He shoots Barbarian into the corner, but Barbarian rebounds right out and shoves Superstar to the canvas. Barbarian to the top rope for the flying headbutt, Superstar avoid it, quickly back to his feet with some kicks, whips Barbarian into the ropes and applies his trademark Bearhug. The Barbarian tries going for punches to break free, but Graham wrenches it in tighter until he starts to fade. Ref goes to check the arm, Paul Jones again gets involved, cracks Superstar with the cane and we get a second disqualification.
Winner: ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: When Jones attempts another cane shot, Graham intercepts it, hits him once in the corner before Barbarian comes in from behind. Superstar falls to the floor and Barbarian follows, only to slam Graham into the post. The two stumble outside the barricade and Barbarian scores with a chair shot now, the ref is able to finally separate the two and declares raises Superstar’s hand.
- EA’s Take: The Karate Kid version of Billy Graham is no more and he’s back to being his old ‘Superstar’ self, at least gimmick-wise. Barbarian is another bruiser of course, so while it’s nice to have two names that most would be familiar with, the sledding is not so smooth. If you’ve seen one arm wrestling match, you’ve seen them all in terms of pro wrestling standards. Also, they just went to the second location for this match without saying anything. Very unusual.
Match #7 for the NWA National Heavyweight Championship: ‘The Nature Boy’ Buddy Landel w/James J. Dillion vs. NWA National Heavyweight Champion Terry Taylor
Landel teases a lockup and instead fluffs his hair and taunts the crowd with a…moonwalk?!. Lockup, Landel powers Taylor into the corner, but Taylor jumps up and they go nose-to-nose. Lockup again and we go to the ropes. Ref breaks it up. Landel slaps Taylor on the chest and Taylor slaps him across the face in return, Landel cowering around the ring on his backside. Ref backs Terry off. Lockup, arm bar by Landel this time around and he taunts the crowd some more. Taylor finally breaks free with an arm drag. Lockup and they go to the ropes once again, the ref breaks them apart, Landel attempts two cheap shots which are blocked by Taylor, who in turn lands a right. Regroup. Lockup, Landel with a snapmare takedown.
Headlock on the mat. Taylor muscles Landel over for a quick near fall, but The Nature Boy gets his positioning back. Both men to their feet with the headlock still applied, Taylor is able to reverse the maneuver into an armbar. Landel to the mat, armbar still applied. Taylor gets the shoulders down for several near falls, knees the affected arm and both men to their feet. Lockup to the corner. Knees to the stomach from Landel followed by chops, whips Taylor to the opposite corner, but Terry reverses and scores with a big boot. He shoots Landel to the ropes and hits a back body drop, goes to the ropes himself for a knee to the head and a finds a 1 count.
Armbar by Taylor, Landel reverses it and lands a stiff punch. Landel laying on a series of punches in the corner followed by a snapmare takedown. Landel applying a front headlock on the mat. Once to their feet, Taylor reverses with a side suplex, followed by a backbreaker. Taylor with a standing leg drop and attempts a pin but Landel has his leg on the rope. Landel whips Taylor into the corner and delivers a running lariat. 2 count. Landel in position for a snap suplex but Taylor reverses into a small package. 2 count. Landel gets up hot and stomps Taylor. Landel applies a chinlock. Taylor up to his knees, walks a few steps and throws Landel into the bottom turnbuckle. Taylor with some chops in the corner followed by a snapmare. Taylor stands on Landel’s face and then pulls him up for a suplex. 2 count.
Taylor with a whip into the corner and lands repeated headshots into the turnbuckle. Ref pulls Taylor away and Landel turns around for a punch that knocks both Taylor and the ref to the mat. Dillon up on the apron with his shoe. Taylor reverses the Irish whip and forces Landel to knock Dillon off. Taylor sets up for his trademark superplex. As he gets Landel up, Dillon trips Taylor causing Landel to fall on Taylor. Pinfall 1-2-3.
Winner and NEW NWA National Heavyweight Champion: Buddy Landel (Interference)
- EA’s Take: Don’t adjust your screens folks, that is in fact NOT Ric Flair, but an essential carbon copy in look and gimmick. Buddy Landel was going for the whole, “I’m the real Nature Boy” thing and it worked to a degree. Honestly, had he gone with another gimmick he may have had even more success. His opponent, Terry Taylor, what can you really say about him? He had solid runs, but is really known for the amount of people he’s broken in and helped further their careers along. The match I found to be fantastic, despite the fact that neither of these men were ever considered “big stars”. They are consummate professionals in the ring and The Nature Boy really could work the crowd. That is vitally important when you’re in the ring against a “white-meat” babyface such as Taylor. It’s funny that Landel is considered the tops of Dillon’s stable right now, since JJ will soon be “upgrading” one Nature Boy for another.
Match #8 for the NWA National Tag Team Championships: NWA National Tag Team Champions The Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Ole & Arn Anderson) vs. Wahoo McDaniel & Billy Jack Haynes
Arn and McDaniel start. They lock up, McDaniel powers Arn to the turnbuckle twice in a row. Lock up once more, McDaniel with a headlock. Whips Arn to the rope, picks him up for Gorilla press slam. Arn falls to the corner and tags Ole. The two lock up followed by an exchange of punches. McDaniel with the upper hand and Wahoo gets a shot in as well. McDaniel makes the tag. Wahoo whips Ole to the rope and hits him with a chop, followed by a snapmare and elbow drop to the head. Ole is able to crawl over for the tag. Arn and Wahoo lock up.
Wahoo ducks a punch and lands a chop. Wahoo with a headlock to Arn followed by a takedown to the mat with the headlock still applied. Arn reverses into a headscissor submission. Arn up to a seated position with Wahoo’s face driven into the mat. Wahoo muscles out and delivers a seated lariat. Both men to their feet. Lock up, Arn with a headlock, falls back into his corner and tags Ole with the headlock applied. Ole with some punches to Wahoo’s back before Arn releases. Ole with a snapmare. Ole with a submission maneuver. Wahoo gets a slap in but Ole quickly gets the tag. Arn continues to work on the arm with holds, kicks and knees.
While still applying a chicken wing, Arn tags Ole once again and Ole picks up where Arn left off. Ole delivers a body slam and gets a near fall. Works Wahoo to the corner for another tag and double team. McDaniel impatiently enters the ring and attacks Ole from behind and all 4 men go at it. The ref redirects McDaniel and Arn puts Wahoo in another armbar. Wahoo trying to fight back with chops but Arn again is able to make the tag. After working the arm some more, Wahoo is able to escape, roll to his corner and tag McDaniel. As he did so, Arn is tagged in and McDaniel delivers punches to both Andersons capping off by smashing their heads together.
Wahoo re-enters the ring until the ref is able to get Ole and Wahoo out of there. The legal men work to McDaniel’s corner where he makes the tag. Wahoo with chops to Arn, whips him to the ropes and delivers a clothesline. A 2 count before Ole makes the save. The ref directs Ole out and he moves to the floor. Wahoo applies a headlock, but Arn is able to whip him to the ropes. Wahoo is tripped by Ole from the floor. 2 count. McDaniel is in the ring upset about Ole. Wahoo works Arn into the Wrecking Crew’s corner while the ref is distracted, and Ole trips Wahoo to the mat and holds his legs down. Arn makes the cover 1-2-3.
Winners and STILL NWA National Tag Team Champions: The Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Arn/Interference)
- EA’s Take: As you would expect, superb technical work by TMWC, really demonstrating what dominating tag team wrestling is all about. The 27-year old Arn (Yes, he was bald by 27) comes in as Ole’s kayfabe nephew and immediately reinvigorates his “uncle’s” career. We know Wahoo’s story after the last two Starrcade’s, but his partner is a newcomer in Billy Jack Haynes. Billy Jack comes from Florida and the Portland (OR) area, teaming with The Chief in this heated rivalry, but would abruptly leave the company for the WWF in 1986 after a confrontation with Jim Crockett. It would work out in the end for The Andersons because much like the Drake line, if Wahoo & Billy Jack were a pair of ex’s to ask where they were going, Arn & Role would reply, “Onto better things”.
Match #9 I Quit Match for the NWA United States Championship: Magnum T.A. vs. NWA United States Champion Tully Blanchard w/Baby Doll
To win this match, your opponent must say the words “I quit” and it will also be contested inside the confines of a steel cage. The two lock up. Blanchard whips him down by 1 leg but Magnum kicks him of. Tackle to the mat and the two struggle for the upper hand. Blanchard works him to the corner and the two men return to their feet. Blanchard with the offense first but Magnum retaliates with a series of punches and uppercuts of his own. Magnum attempts to slam Blanchard into the cage but he holds on for a block. Blanchard on offense now and is able to whip Magnum into the case. Blanchard applies a camel clutch but Magnum works his way to his feet. Blanchard with a knee to the kidney. Magnum reverses the Irish whip and picks Blanchard up dropping him neck first on the rope.
The two exchange more punches and kicks. Blanchard falls to his knees but grabs Magnums trunks and throws him into the cage. More submission battling on the mat. Both men back to their feet. Blanchard delivers knees but Magnum able to throw him head first into the cage. Magnum picks him up and does it again. Blanchard is bleeding. Magnum demands, Blanchard refuses and headbutts T.A. in the stomach. Both men on their knees, Magnum delivering labored punches followed by a submission move on the mat. Magnum also has color. The bloodied men do a little brawling. With Magnum on his back, Blanchard demands, Magnum refuses.
Blanchard hits him on the head with the microphone and asks again. Magnum refuses. Blanchard delivers 4 right hands before picking him up and driving him into the cage. Blanchard goes to the top rope and delivers an axehandle. He demands again. With labored breathing, Magnum refuses. Blanchard delivers one standing elbow drop but Magnum moves for the 2nd. Magnum makes a comeback of punches and grabs the microphone. Blanchard refuses. Magnum delivers kicks to the stomach, pulls Blanchard up and clocks him with the mic. Demands again, Blanchard refuses. Both men roll on the mat digging at eyes and pulling on hair.
Both looking weary but exchanging punches from their knees. Magnum demands and Blanchard kicks the mic from his hands. Blanchard hits Magnum with the mic twice and demands again. Magnum refuses. Blanchard with some elbow drops and a knee to the ref. Blanchard throws the ref aside and a wooden chair is thrown into the cage. Blanchard breaks the chair into pieces and kicks the referee. Blanchard attempts to stab Magnum with a broken piece of wood but it is intercepted and they have a power struggle on the mat. Magnum knees Blanchard to the mat, grabs a piece of broken wood and drives it into Blanchard’s forehead. Blanchard quits. Huge pop from the crowd.
Winner and NEW NWA United States Champion: Magnum T.A.
- EA’s Take: This is by far the most enjoyable match of the card to this point, to nobody’s surprise if you’re familiar with Tully & Magnum, two of the most underrated performers in history to me. The rivalry was hot, the crowd was hot. It was the perfect storm and just an absolute war, but was brutally violent and if you’re squeamish may not be for you. Even Baby Doll was key, as her screams of terror for what was happening to Blanchard just draws you in more. Did to me at least. You already know how I feel about Blanchard if you read Starrcade ’84 and Magnum really echoes those same feelings, but on the babyface side. Obviously his name comes from his similarity to Tom Selleck and ‘Magnum P.I.’, which sounds silly now, but at the time Tom Selleck was what my mother would consider a “nice piece of man meat”. So you can only imagine the screams from women for Magnum TA and those would only increase over the coming year. He could have been and SHOULD have been one of the all-time greats, but in October of ’86 a devastating car crash would leave the right side of his body paralyzed for months, taking away his career and nearly his life. It’s really one of the tragedies of wrestling.
Match #10 is an Atlanta Street Fight: The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Dennis Condrey) w/ James E. Cornette vs. Jimmy Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively w/Big Mama
Mayhem ensues at the start when the Midnight Express try to rush their opponents. Lively sprays Condrey in the face with some kind of powder while Eaton and Valiant do battle outside of the ring. Lively chokes Condrey in the ring with a necklace while Valiant works Eaton over with a chair outside. They trade opponents in the ring exchanging some punches and the Midnight Express gets some comeback momentum. Condrey is working Lively in the corner. Valiant tosses Eaton across the cement floor outside the gate and re-enters the ring to save Lively. Eaton makes his way back to the ring but the double team of Lively and Valiant whip Condrey into his partner.
Valiant drops to a knee and puts Condrey in a headlock punching him several times with an unidentified foreign object. Valiant whips Condrey into the rope and catches him in a sleeper hold. Cornette wills Eaton back in the ring who engages with Lively. Eaton gets foreign object from his boot. It is some sort of powder thrown into the eyes of Valiant. Condrey and Eaton take advantage and attack him with a series of punches and kicks. Eaton throws the powder in Lively’s face. The Express remove their belts and whip and choke their opponents. Valiant is thrown to the floor and the Express double team Lively. Holding both arms, Cornette enters the ring and hits Lively over the head with some sort of racket. Condrey picks Lively up for Eaton who is preparing an elbow from the 2nd rope. He hits the elbow and Eaton kicks Valiant who was trying to re-enter the ring.
Valiant makes it into the ring but is thrown out again. More double teaming on Lively. Here comes Valiant again who lands punches on both members of the Express. Eaton and Condrey grab him, whip him into the ropes and Valiant goes down from a double elbow. Condrey positions Valiant as Eaton goes to the 3rd rope. Eaton leaps but is cutoff and punched in the face by Lively who falls to the mat. Eaton is knocked out and Lively pins him 1-2-3 just in time as Cornette was attempting to break it up.
Winners: Jimmy Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively (Lively/Punch)
- After The Bell: Lively and Valiant get ahold of Cornette and strip him to his boxer shorts.
- EA’s Take: This one will probably only leave you feeling one of two ways; either you loved it or you hated it. It’s gimmicky, it’s silly, but it’s also kind of fun, which is what wrestling is supposed to be and sometimes I forget that. While seeing Ronnie Garvin as Miss Atlanta Lively is certainly something I could live without, the guy can definitely perform, as can The Midnight Express. Oddly enough, this version of The ME would really put the team on the map, but most don’t know it was rehashed with Condrey, an original in 1980 alongside Randy Rose in Southeast Championship Wrestling.
Match #11 is a Steel Cage Match for the NWA World Tag Team Championships: NWA World Tag Team Champions The Koloffs (Ivan & Nikita) w/Krusher Kruschev vs. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) w/Don Kernodle
Nikita and Morton start. They lock up and Nikita powers him down into the corner. Morton runs the ropes and hits Nikita with a dropkick. They slow it down and pace the ring. Nikita with a kick to the gut, punch to the back, turnbuckle shot and a kick to the mat. He makes the tag to Ivan. Morton escapes his grasp, runs the ropes 4 times before landing a crossbody. Morton puts Ivan in a standing headlock but Ivan counters by lifting Morton, dropping him crotch first on the ropes and kicking him while down. 2 count. Ivan attempts to launch Morton into the cage, Morton blocks with his foot. Morton lands a few punches and tags in Gibson. Gibson whips Ivan into the ropes and lands a drop kick. Gibson bodyslams Ivan and lands a jumping knee to the skull. 2 Count.
Gibson headlocks Ivan and tags Morton. He works Ivan down to the mat. 2 Count. Reverse headlock and another tag. Gibson tackles Ivan. 2 count. Another reverse headlock and tag to Morton. He chokes Ivan to the ropes, lands a punch, and yet another reverse headlock for a tag to Gibson. Gibson lands elbow from the 2nd rope. 2 count. Ivan finally makes a comeback. Whips Gibson to the ropes but he ducks a clothesline and bear hugs Ivan into the cage. He picks Ivan up and slams him into the cage again. Picks up Ivan and holds him behind the arms while Morton comes off the top rope for an axehandle. Morton’s turn to slam him into the cage and come off the top rope for another axehandle. 2 Count. Tag to Gibson. Punch to the head. 2 count.
Both men up and Ivan fights back with an eye rake and is able to get the tag to Nikita. Ivan holds Gibson in place for a double axe handle from Nikita. Gibson is whipped into the ropes, grabbed in a bear hug and sent face first into the cage. Nikita picks up Gibson for 2 more hits into the cage. Nikita walks to Morton’s corner and gives him an elbow. Morton enters the ring the illegal man trying to attack Nikita and the ref redirects him. Ivan goes to the top rope on his side and delivers an axehandle to Gibson. He picks Gibson up and delivers shoulders to the midsection followed by a launch into the cage. Ivan with a standing elbow. 2 count. Ivan whips Gibson into the rope and sets up for a backbody drop but Gibson stops short and delivers a kick. The exhausted Gibson falls to the mat and Ivan is up first. He tags Nikita who delivers kicks while Gibson is down.
Nikita bites the bridge of the nose until the ref pulls him off. Bodyslam to Gibson. The ref goes to argue with an irate Morton while Ivan returns to the third rope and delivers another punch. 2 count before Morton breaks it up. Whips Gibson into the rope and kicks him in the kidney. Gibson falls to the 2nd rope. Ivan misses his attempt move on the rope. Ivan walks Gibson to the Koloffs turnbuckle. Nikita is holding his arms and biting his face while Ivan delivers midsection blows. Morton rushes Ivan and pulls him off. The ref redirections Morton once again. Ivan whips Gibson into the ropes, kick to the midsection, snapmare takedown, standing legdrop. 2 count. Ivan misses his next legdrop. Ivan makes the tag to Nikita who takes Gibson down into a seated sleeper hold. Gibson fights out of it but the the tag is made to Ivan. Headbutts and knees to Gibson. 2 count – leg on the rope.
Gibson is brought to his feet and fights back with punches until Nikita rushes the ring and delivers a kidney shot and slams him into the cage. 2 count broken up by Morton. Tag to Ivan. Gibson is whipped into the ropes, he sneaks between Ivan’s legs and delivers a dropkick. Crowd is chanting USA. Gibson attempts a cover but the ref is down. Morton rushes the ring and is hit with a lariat from Nikita. Nikita then hits Gibson with a lariat and Ivan covers but the ref is still down. Both men to their feet. Nikita whips Gibson to the rope who tags Morton in the process. He delivers a backbody drop to Gibson but Morton rushes him into the rope from behind and rolls him into a double leg cradle. The ref is there for a 1-2-3 pin. Enormous pop.
Winners and NEW NWA World Tag Team Champions: The Rock & Roll Express (Morton/Double Leg Cradle)
- After The Bell: The Koloffs are up and grab Gibson. Morton escapes by climbing over the cage, but Krusher Kruschev enters the cage with a chain. The 3 clothesline Gibson with the chain. Triple team clothesline from the top rope followed by whipping Gibson with the chain. Wrestlers from the back come out to fend off the Russians.
- EA’s Take: After being paired together by Jerry Lawler in 1983, Morton & Gibson would arrive in Jim Crockett Promotions in 1985 and quickly take the division by storm. If you are a fan of The Rockers, Michaels & Jannetty, you can thank these guys for it as they are really the originators of the oft-used tandem offense style of tag wrestling…and they are fun to watch. The Russians are still hot as heels with the Cold War still ongoing, Nikita is coming along, but he’s still a little more “sizzle” than “steak” as Good Ol’ JR would say. Ivan is still able to hold a good portion of the work and combining that with the energy of Morton & Gibson makes this one of the better matches of the night.
Match #12 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
Dusty gets the crowd going with a strut around the ring. Lockup, Dusty is in the corner and Flair takes a cheap shot when the ref breaks them up. The two exchange chops until Dusty gets about 10 punches in a row in knocking Flair to his back. Rhodes struts. Flair rolls out to the floor and paces. Back to the ring and they lock up again. Flair gets a little offense in before Rhodes takes control again delivering many of his patented elbows. Flair is flustered and rolls out of the ring again. A long staredown ensues. A lockup, Rhodes reverses a headlock into a chicken wing. Flair drops to the mat kicking his feet and screaming. Flair makes it to the ropes and the hold is broken.
Both men to their feet and cautious to lock up. Flair on the offense with chops and digs. Snapmare take down by Flair and a knee to the head. “Wooo!”. 1 count. Armbar by Flair who kicks Rhodes behind the knee. Rhodes yelps and rolls out of the ring. Flair grabs Rhodes as he gets up the apron. Rhodes blocks Flair’s punch and delivers some elbows with Flair stuck on the top rope. Flair to the mat and Rhodes stomps Flair’s knee. Rhodes pulls him on his back to the center of the ring and an elbow to the knee. Rhodes applies a submission hold targeting that knee. Flair in pain attempting to break the hold by putting Rhodes in a headlock.
Rhodes to his feet again holding Flair’s leg. The crowd pops and another elbow to the knee. Flair is able to get up after a poke to the eye. Flair positions for a suplex but can’t lift him as he’s favoring the knee. Rhodes reverses the hold and suplexes Flair. Another elbow and submission hold to the knee. Both men work their way to their feet. Whip to the ropes. Rhodes hits flair with a shoulder takedown. Another whip and Flair puts Rhodes in a sleeper. Rhodes escapes by running Flair into the turnbuckle and Flair goes down. Rhodes pulls Flair to the corner and smashes the knee on the pole.
Back to the ring and more stomps and elbows to the knee. More exchanging of chops and weak snapmare to Flair. Rhodes misses a standing elbow drop. Flair limping around the ring but goes to the top rope. Rhodes is up and gives Flair a gorilla press from the top. Both men staggering. Flair is the first to attack and gets Rhodes down on his back. He attempts a figure four leg lock but Rhodes kicks him away. Flair tries again, same result. Flair comes back and stomps Rhodes’ head. Flair picks Rhodes up, puts him in the corner and tries to target Rhodes’ leg but Dusty fight back. He whips Flair to the opposite corner and he does his trademark fall over the turnbuckle and onto the floor. Rhodes follows him to the floor and drives Flair into the ringpost.
He picks Flair up to his knee and smashes him on the gate. Rhodes back into the ring. Flair climbs onto the Apron and Rhodes hits more elbows to the head. Flair is pulled back into the ring and he reverses Rhodes’ attack and throws him over the top rope. Rhodes is quick to return to his feet and he climbs onto the apron and onto the top turnbuckle. Flair rushes over to give him a gorilla press but Rhodes falls and lands on top of him. The ref is delayed to lay down for the count. 2 count. Both men slow to their feet. Rhodes blocks a punch and lands one of his own. Flair to the mat. Rhodes kneels over Flair’s chest and delivers a series of punches. Pulling him back up and to the corner, more elbows and stands on the 2nd rope for more punches. Flair with his trademark face first fall to the mat. Crowd cheering. He pulls Flair back up for another barrage.
Flair is seated and scooting backwards away pleading for no more. Rhodes picks him up near one turnbuckle and whips him to the opposite. Flair flips over the rope again but this time stays on his feet, runs across and climbs the other top rope, but is hit in the midsection when he jumps to hit Rhodes. Flair crawls to the opposite turnbuckle and Rhodes attempts a punt. Flair moves and Rhodes kicks the turnbuckle. Both men are down. Flair is the first one up and takes Rhodes’ bad foot to the rope and stomps it. Flair pulls him to the center of the ring and drops a knee on the bad leg. Flair successfully applies the figure four leg lock. Rhodes is writhing but shaking his head no. Each time he falls backward, the ref makes a 2 count.
The crowd is cheering Rhodes on as he attempts to turn it. A successful turn is made. Both men release and are slow to get up. Flair delivers chops and punches but Rhodes is fired up and returns the favor. Flair is whipped to the ropes and Rhodes delivers a clothesline. 2 Count. The ref is hit by Rhodes on the kickout. Rhodes is trying to apply the figure four but the ref is on the floor. Rhodes successfully applies the figure four. Arn Anderson makes a run in but Rhodes fights him off. Now Ole Anderson rushes the ring and attacks Rhodes from behind knocking him to the mat. Ole pulls Flair on Rhodes for the cover. The ref is delayed in getting back to the ring for the count and Rhodes kicks out at 2. Flair picks up Rhodes and positions for a body slam but Rhodes reverses into a small package. Pinfall 1-2-3.
Winner and NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Dusty Rhodes (Small Package)
- After The Bell: A variety of babyfaces rush the ring to celebrate with Rhodes and lift him up. Flair and The Andersons walk away livid and screaming at the referee.
- EA’s Take: Simple, effective and crowd involved would be the best way to describe this one. PWI’s Match Of The Year for 1985 is a great example to show someone why mic work and storyline will always sell better than a match based off just pure in-ring work. Nothing overly flashy in the ring, you’re not going to see anything innovative, but it’s Flair & Rhodes at their best. What more do you need?
Backstage: Tony Schiavone is backstage with Dusty Rhodes who is being showered with champagne by celebrating babyfaces. Rhodes cuts a promo celebrating the blue collar workers. Schiavone and Caudle then recap the night to close us out.
EA’s Finisher: While the card gets a bit rough after the opening contest, it absolutely picks right back up with a great mix of excellent in-ring work, tremendous physical storytelling and just straight-up overall entertainment. There’s not much in the way of long-term historical significance outside of the title wins by Magnum & Dusty, along with the introduction of some faces we’ll see in the WWF, but Starrcade ’85 is easily the most enjoyable effort of the three to date. There are still minor details, which is a bit of a recurring theme (or at least it seems like New York always did it better on the production side). It’s another case of Crockett trying to one-up McMahon by broadcasting from multiple venues, as WrestleMania 2 just a few months later would pull it off from three, all with a different time zone.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A.
2 – Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair
3 – The Koloffs vs. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express
Chairshot Classics: WWE Elimination Chamber 2017
As we approach this year’s Elimination Chamber, we look back at one from the past with this SmackDown-exclusive from 2017!
Kickoff Match: Curt Hawkins vs. Mojo Rawley
The bell rings and Mojo chases Hawkins out to the apron, Hawkins steps back inside, ducks in the ropes to create separation, then delivers a cheap shot right hand. Rawley absorbs it, levels him with a clothesline, shoots Hawkins into the corner, then chops him down with a tackle to the knee. Hawkins rolls outside and Mojo goes out in pursuit, drapes him over the apron to drive him chest-first off the mat, throws him back into the squared circle, but gets caught coming in with a kick to the midsection. Mojo falls back to the floor, Hawkins goes out after him, drives him sternum-first into the ring apron, then slides in the ring and allows the referee to count.
Rawley slides in at 9, Hawkins is there to meet him with fists, puts him in the corner and stomps away as we head to break….We come back and Mojo battles up from a rear chinlock, hits the ropes, Hawkins follows him in and slides to the outside with a leg sweep, steps back in and hits a vertical suplex for a count of 2. He hooks a rear chinlock back on to wear Rawley down, Mojo works to his feet and escapes with a jawbreaker, hits the ropes and gets floored by a clothesline for multiple 2 counts. Hawkins starts talking trash and connects with fists, Rawley absorbs the shots and returns fire, whips Hawkins to the ropes and scores with multiple shoulder blocks. He flattens Hawkins with a clothesline, measures him in the corner for a splash, plants him with a fireman’s carry facebuster and nearly puts it away.
Hawkins tries to crawl out of the ring and Mojo grabs him by the foot, the official forces a break, Hawkins sneaks in a cheap shot, delivers a reverse STO and covers, but still can’t finish it. He start to shoot his mouth off and sets for a DDT, Mojo slips out, attempts a clothesline, Hawkins ducks it, connects with an enzuigiri and gets another 2 count. He gets set in the corner for a spear, Rawley powers him back into the turnbuckles, hits the ropes for a heavy right hand, plants Hawkins with a tilt-a-whirl powerslam and gets the win.
Winner: Mojo Rawley (Tilt-A-Whirl Powerslam)
- EA’s Take: Yikes, this one really started out pretty sloppy, but turned out to be what I would call decent to finish it out. This one was basically thrown together after a backstage segment last week on SmackDown Live and you could feel that, although Mojo is more over with the crowd than I thought. I’m not necessarily a big fan, but I can see the appeal. Hawkins was essentially brought back to the company to put guys like this over and as much as I am a fan of his previous work, this was the right move unless you want to turn this into a longer program.
Open: “Beauty, it’s everywhere. It’s the warm glow of our aspirations, but it can also be cold as steel and that’s beautiful. Tonight inside the steel beast, opportunity is a beautiful thing.” This is Elimination Chamber.
Match #1: Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James
Collar & elbow tie-up to begin, both ladies jockey for position down to the canvas and to the outside, finally breaking away and rolling back into the squared circle for a staredown. They tie-up again and Becky hooks on a wristlock, Mickie cartwheels through for a wristlock of her own, switches to a hammerlock, Lynch counters out back to a wristlock and Mickie grabs the ropes to force the break. She quickly slaps on an armbar The Lass Kicker sends her outside to break free, invites Mickie to step back in, grabs her on the apron and rams Mickie head-first into the top turnbuckle. She scores with a slingshot sidekick to drop her to the floor, comes off the apron with a flying forearm, tosses Mickie back in the ring and climbs up, Mickie surprises her with a kick coming in, spikes Lynch with a DDT and gets multiple 2 counts.
She wraps Becky’s arm up in the ropes and goes to work on the shoulder joint, snapmares her out and grabs a modified key-lock, drops a leg on the shoulder and then buries a kick to the face for another 2 count. Mickie stays on the left arm and wrenches it up in the ropes again, hooks on a hammerlock to ground The Lass Kicker, Lynch fights to a standing position, scores with forearms and levels Mickie with a clothesline. Irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Mickie delivers a boot to the jaw, drives Becky shoulder-first into the ring post, climbs to the 2nd rope and hits a hurricanrana. She starts to toy with The Lass Kicker, Lynch tries to fight back and gets kicked back down for 2, Mickie employs a half-nelson to grind her down, Becky battles back to a standing position and arm drags her away.
They trade-off forearm shots, The Lass Kicker blocks a kick, scores with multiple clothesline, drops Mickie with a leg lariat, then tosses her with a Bexploder for a 2 count. Mickie pulls herself up in the corner, Lynch charges in with a Flying Firearm, Mickie side-steps it, plants her with a flapjack, kips up to her feet and then climbs to the top turnbuckle. She hits a Thesz Press that almost puts it away, looks to ram Becky shoulder-first into the ring post again, Lynch puts on the brakes, cracks her with a back elbow, executes a springboard back kick, then comes off the top with a dropkick for a near fall.
The Lass Kicker hooks Mickie for a pumphandle suplex, Mickie slips out of it, clocks her with a Mick Kick, covers and only gets a 2 count. She mounts Lynch and hammers her with right hands, calls for the Mickie-DT, Becky reverses out with a back body drop, looks for the Dis-Arm-Her, Mickie counters with a roll-up, Lynch reverses right back and stacks her up for the victory.
Winner: Becky Lynch (Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: As Mauro said on commentary, this was a wrestling clinic between arguably the two best technicians on the SmackDown Live side. I picked Mickie to get the win here because I don’t like having someone come in and start losing right away, but I understand that is likely the reason why she returned to begin with. I just have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of these two taking each other on, especially considering how it ended after a real back-and-forth battle.
In The Arena: Carmella & James Ellsworth are watching the show from a skybox when Dasha Fuentes comes in for comment, The Princess of Staten Island stating the wrong woman won the last match.
Match #2 is a Handicap Match: Apollo Crews & Kalisto vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler ambushes Kalisto from behind as he makes his way to the ring, drives him into the LED board on the stage, Crews leaves the ring to check on The King of Flight and Dolph heads to the squared circle through the crowd. Apollo marches to the ring and we’re underway, Crews powers The Show Off into the corner, unleashes a flurry of right hands and puts the boots to Dolph. The referee separates them, Apollo rushes back in and meets a back elbow, Ziggler charges out and Crews delivers a back elbow of his own, then scores with more heavy punches. He delivers a snap suplex, Ziggler rolls to the apron, Apollo reaches out to grab him, gets surprised by a hot shot, The Show Off following up with a neckbreaker through the ropes.
He steps back inside and rips away at Crews’ face in the corner, plants him with another neckbreaker for a count of 2, drops an elbow to the back, hooks the leg and gets another 2. Ziggler hooks on a rear chinlock to ground Crews, Apollo finds his footing, Dolph goes to the knee with a kick, hits the ropes for a Famouser, Crews blocks and rolls him up for a 2 count. Ziggler staggers to the corner and Apollo rushes in, gets caught with a back elbow, The Show Off plasters him with stiff punches, uses a single-leg takedown for a 1 count, then jumps on his back to hook on another rear chinlock. Crews works back to a vertical base, Ziggler with another kick to the knee, sets for a neckbreaker, gets pushed away to the ropes and Apollo buries a kick to the midsection.
He can’t capitalize and The Show Off delivers another neckbreaker, Kalisto starts to limp his way back down to the ring and climbs on the apron, Dolph is distracted and Apollo explodes up with an enzuigiri. Crews crawls over and tags out, Kalisto clocks The Show Off with an enzuigiri from the apron, springboards in with a seated senton to the back, scores with leg kicks, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, but The King of Flight handsprings into an enzuigiri. He hooks Ziggler for the Salida Del Sol and gets pushes away, Apollo makes a blind tag, Kalisto flips under a clothesline attempt from Dolph, drills him with an enzuigiri, Crews follows with a Toss Powerbomb and finishes it.
Winners: Apollo Crews & Kalisto (Crews/Toss Powerbomb)
- After The Bell: Kalisto & Apollo celebrate, The Show Off catches The King of Flight on the apron with a leg sweep, Crews chases him around ringside and back into the ring, Dolph catching him with fists and kicks. He gets a chair and locks Apollo’s foot in it, stomps away and Crews writhes in pain on the mat, Ziggler then doing it again.
- EA’s Take: Personally I was excited when Ziggler jumped Kalisto before the match because I thought that would lead to him getting a win. As I stated with Doug Berrill on yesterday’s episode of the Top Of The Morning Podcast, I didn’t see what good this would do for any of the parties involved. Thankfully, the aftermath allowed Dolph to save face, but it makes Kalisto & Apollo look pretty stupid that they were still bested in the end by one guy.
Match #3 – Tag Team Turmoil for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships: Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable)
Slater & Rhyno will kickoff with Breezango, Fandango & Heath to start the match off. They tie-up and Fandango backs Slater to the corner, breaks clean and does a little dance, another collar & elbow and The Lord of the Dance slaps on a side headlock. Heath pushes him away to the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder, Fandango with another little shimmy, hits the ropes, The One Man Band leapfrogs over, delivers a hip toss and does a dance of his own. He ducks a clothesline and splits The Lord of the Dance with an atomic drop, Breeze tags in, swings wildly with a clothesline that misses and gets hit with an atomic drop for his troubles.
Heath rocks him with a right hand and makes a tag, Rhyno utilizes a wristlock, Prince Pretty breaks free after a kick to the midsection, hits the ropes and gets flattened by a shoulder block. The Man Beast shoots him to the corner and follows in with a shoulder to the ribs, flattens Tyler with a short-arm clothesline, brings Slater back in and they send Breeze to the ropes for a double back elbow. The One Man Band hooks in a side headlock, gets sent off to the ropes, Fandango makes a blind tag, Heath ducks a clothesline from Tyler, but The Lord of the Dance sweeps the legs from the outside. He slides in and rains down heavy right hands, drops Slater stomach-first across the top rope, tags Breeze and they deliver in-sync kicks to the head for a count of 2.
Prince Pretty puts the boots to Heath in the corner and makes a tag, The One Man Band fires up with rights, hits the ropes, Fandango ducks down for a back body drop, Slater counters with a sunset flip, but can’t pull him down and gets rocked by a punch. The Lord of the Dance tosses a stack of tickets in Heath’s face, The One Man Band rolls him up off the distraction for a 2 count, both guys up quick, Slater connects with a heel kick and covers, but Breeze is there to break it up at 2. Rhyno steps in and runs Tyler over with a shoulder block, Fandango dumps him to the outside, Slater with a roll-up from behind for 2, makes a tag off the kick-out, The Lord of the Dance with a roll-up from behind now, but he’s got the illegal man. The Man Beast steps in behind him, charges in with a Gore and finishes Breezango off. Breezango has been eliminated.
The Vaudevillains are up next, they drag Rhyno to the outside as they head to the ring, drive him into the barricade, Slater comes off the top with a crossbody, helps The Man Beast back inside and makes a tag to pull Gotch in. Aiden ambushes Heath from behind and puts the boots to him, delivers a knee drop for a count of 2, planks The One Man Band across the top in the corner, The Vaudevillains rocking him with a barrage of boots as Gotch tags in. The Gentleman Brawler buries a barrage of knees to the ribs, powers Slater on his shoulders, makes a tag and plants him with a rolling fireman’s carry and English heads upstairs.
Rhyno steps in and splits Gotch with a Gore, Aiden looks for That’s A Wrap on Slater, The One Man Band rolls out of harm’s way, spikes him with The Smash Hit and gets the pinfall. The Vaudevillains have been eliminated. The Usos come out next, Jimmy slides inside, Heath unloads with rights, Jimmy drops him with a kick to the abdomen, then scores with stinging chops and shoots him to the ropes. Slater explodes back out with a flying forearm and makes a tag, Rhyno looks to whip Jimmy into the corner, Jimmy reverses, The Man Beast hits the turnbuckles hard and Jimmy drives him into his own corner. Jey tags in, Jimmy holds Rhyno in place for Jey to deliver a flying forearm for a 2 count, whips him back into the corner, The Man Beast rebounds out with a clothesline, Slater tags in and comes off the top with an overhand chop.
He drops Jimmy off the apron, avoids Jey charging into the corner, fires away with lefts and rights, hits the ropes for a running boot, Jey side-steps it and plants him with a pop-up Samoan Drop. He makes a cover and Rhyno breaks the count at 2, Jey grabs The Man Beast from behind and deposits him out of the ring, The One Man Band pushes Jey to the ropes for a roll-up, but Jey hangs on and Jimmy makes a blind tag. Jimmy rocks Heath with a superkick, hooks the leg and gets a 3 count. Heath Slater & Rhyno have been eliminated. American Alpha is the next team up, The Usos go to the outside to meet them on the ramp and the brawl is on before they head in the ring.
The champions hit double german suplexes, Jordan clotheslines Jimmy near the ropes and they both spill over the top, Gable ascends the corner and hits Jey with a crossbody for a count of 2. He snatches a wristlock and looks to make a tag, Jordan tries to step in early and the official cuts him off, Jey shoots Gable to the ropes and Jimmy with a cheap shot from the apron to give his brother the advantage. He pushes Gable into his corner and runs in with a shoulder to the midsection, Jimmy tags in, Jey cracks Gable with a backbreaker, Jimmy follows with a top rope double axe and gets a count of 2. He whips Chad sternum-first into the turnbuckles for another 2 count, chokes him on the 2nd rope, the ref backs him off, Jey sneaks in an uppercut from the apron, Jimmy follows with a big chop and tags out.
Jey buries a kick to the ribs and immediately brings Jimmy back in, Jimmy with a leg drop for another 2, then looks to wear Gable down with a rear chinlock. Chad fights back to his feet, Jimmy rocks him with a headbutt, tosses him out of the ring, Gable climbs back to the apron, fights off both Usos and slides in through Jimmy’s legs to try and tag. Jimmy hangs onto Chad’s arm to prevent it, gets sent into the corner, Gable knocks Jey off the apron with a forearm, turns to deliver a clothesline, Jimmy’s thinking the same thing and they both connect, then crawl to tags. Jordan comes in with forearm shots for Jey, connects with a dropkick, Jimmy steps in and gets tossed by an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, Jordan following with another for Jey.
He powers Jey up for an electric chair and Gable tags, heads to the top rope, Jey slips away and rolls Jordan up, Chad rushes in with a roll-up and scores the fall. The Usos have been eliminated. The Usos sneak attack the champions after the pinfall, drive Jordan shoulder-first into the ring post, slam Gable on the floor, then deposit him into the steel steps and rolls Jordan in the ring. Jimmy heads up top, scores with the Uso Splash and multiple referees have to finally pull them away. The Ascension is the last team out, Konnor & Viktor stand over a fallen Jordan in the ring and measure for the Fall Of Man, hit it and Konnor covers, Gable just barely making it in to break the count at 2.
Konnor powers Chad up on his shoulder, drops him throat-first across the top rope, Viktor tags in, The Ascension puts the boots to Jordan, Viktor pulling him up for heavy chops in the corner. He shoots Konnor at Jordan with a corner clothesline, follows with a high knee, Konnor with a lateral press and gains a near fall. Tag back to Viktor for more stinging chops, lines him up for a splash, Jordan avoids it, tosses him with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, then tries to crawl to his corner. Konnor steps in and rushes at him, Jordan ducks down to send him to the outside, reaches Gable for the tag, but Konnor rips him to the floor from the outside. Gable ducks under a clothesline and slides in, American Alpha hits Grand Amplitude and Chad covers to retain.
Winners and STILL SmackDown Tag Team Champions: American Alpha
- EA’s Take: Really entertaining match here that allowed every team to get a little bit of shine at the very least. I really thought my pick of The Ascension was going to be good after The Usos left the champions laying, then even more so after Ascension dropped Jordan with the Fall Of Man and by the sounds of the crowd, they thought the same. For those that missed Top Of The Morning yesterday, I talked about The Ascension coming up with a tweaked look and we saw it tonight, so remember…it pays to #GetOnTop. What’s next for the champs? I’m not sure because the attack by The Usos leads me to believe they aren’t finished, but the staredown with The Ascension could also be teasing something as well.
Match #4: Nikki Bella vs. Natalya
They go face-to-face at the bell and Natalya mocks John Cena, slaps her across the face and brings her down with a side headlock, Nikki counters out with a headscissors, but Nattie kips up to break free. She quickly hooks in a wristlock and does some trash talking, Nikki paintbrushes her with a slap of her own, rolls into a cross armbreaker, The Queen of Harts breaks free, but gets slapped again. She tackles Nikki down to the mat and bludgeons her with right hands, brings her to the mat with a waistlock takedown, buries a kick to the ribs, then delivers another waistlock takedown and poses for the people. She hooks Nikki for another waistlock takedown, Nikki blocks and rolls her into a knee bar, Natalya claws to the bottom rope to force the break, then rolls outside for a breather.
Nikki hits a baseball slide frm behind, steps out to the apron and jumps off with a clothesline, sends Nattie back in the ring, but The Queen of Harts rolls back out and calls for a time-out as Nikki is in pursuit. Natalya shoves her spine-first into the ring post, throws Nikki back into the squared circle, steps in, hauls her up by the hair and delivers a snap suplex, then drives a kick into the back. The Fearless One pulls herself up in the corner, The Queen of Harts puts the boots to her, taunts Nikki, snapmares her over and scores with a basement dropkick to the spine. She utilizes a rear chinlock to wear her down some more, Nikki fights back to a vertical base, arm drags Nattie away, but gets flattened by a clothesline.
The Queen of Harts mocks Cena again and walks over Nikki, gets surprised by a schoolboy from behind for a count of 2, Nattie quickly drops her with a kick to the abdomen, rams her face-first into the mat, then goes to work on the left leg with an inverted figure four. Nikki slaps Nattie across the face and slips out for an STF, Natalya quickly reaches the ropes to gain separation, misses with a clothesline and Nikki delivers a shoulder tackle. She connects with a dropkick, cracks The Queen of Harts with a modified jawbreaker for a count of 2, measures for a forearm shot, but walks into a kick to the breadbasket. Nattie follows with a Michinoku driver for a near fall, hooks her for the Sharpshooter, Nikki kicks her away and levels Natalya with a stiff forearm that almost finishes it.
Nikki picks her up for the Rack Attack 2.0, The Queen of Harts slips out, looks to shoot her to the ropes, Nikki reverses and plants her with a spinebuster, but can’t put it away. She springs off the 2nd rope with a roundhouse kick and gains another near fall, Nikki heads out to the apron, catches Nattie charging in with a shoulder to the midsection, scores with a knee lift and heads to the top turnbuckle. The Queen of Harts is there to meet her with right hands, plants her into the mat with a superplex, staggers to her feet and slaps on the Sharpshooter. Nikki rolls out of it and hooks on the STF, Natalya crawls to the ropes to force the break, grabs Nikki by the hair and they spill to the outside. The Queen of Harts drives her into the barricade and pummels her with right hands, Nikki fires back, deposits Nattie into the barricade, they continue to battle the ref’s count reaches 10.
Winner: Double Count-Out
- After The Bell: Natalya tosses Nikki back in the ring and argues with the official, Nikki rises to her feet and has some words for the ref, Nattie clocks her with a forearm and starts to walk away. Nikki rolls out of the ring, spears The Queen of Harts on the ramp for a barrage of fists, Nattie breaks free and sprints away.
- EA’s Take: Pretty vicious battle here which I expected and to be honest, I was surprised this was just a basic match and didn’t have a stipulation like No DQ. I suppose that’s the reason for the double count-out, this feud has been too good for it to end here and I can’t imagine we don’t get something better from them in the coming weeks on SmackDown.
In The Arena: Carmella & James Ellsworth are still watching on from the skybox and Dasha Fuentes asks for comment, The Princess of Staten Island stating Nikki Bella & Natalya have been out of control, Ellsworth echoing her sentiments.
Backstage: Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton are in a dark, smoky room in the back, The New Face of Fear saying that in order to be victorious tonight, they must go their separate ways. The Viper warns that everybody should run.
Match #5: Randy Orton vs. Luke Harper
Collar & elbow tie-up to begin and we have an early stalemate, they tie-up again with the same result, another lock-up, they jostle for position and Harper hooks on a side headlock. Orton pushes him away to the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder for a quick 1 count, The Apex Predator rolls out of the ring to regroup, Harper goes out after him, intercepts him with uppercuts, drives Randy into the barricade, then bounces him head-first off the announce table. He tosses The Viper back inside and Orton staggers to the corner, catches Harper walking in with a back elbow, Randy hits the ropes, Harper explodes up with a dropkick, then heads upstairs.
The Apex Predator drops him to the floor with a big right hand, Harper bounces face-first off the apron, Luke drags himself back inside and gets hammered with fists in the corner. Orton shoots him across hard into the turnbuckles and dumps him to the floor, heads after him and rams Harper head-first off the announce table, then drops him on it with a back suplex. He throws Luke into the ring and gets a count of 2, grabs a rear chinlock to grind the big man down, Harper makes it back to his feet, The Viper clubs him across the back, then drops him gut-first on the top rope. He climbs to the 2nd rope and poses for the people, rakes his boot across Harper’s face, stomps away in the corner, then drags Luke out and goes back to a chinlock.
Harper fights back to a vertical base, rocks Randy with uppercuts, The Viper returns the favor, shoots him into the corner, but the big man explodes back out with running forearms. Irish whip back to the corner is reversed, Harper leaps out to the apron, drops The Apex Predator with a forearm, then slingshots back in with a somersault senton. He floors Orton with a big boot for a 2 count, grabs him by the leg, The Viper kicks him away, grabs Harper by the jeans to send him to the apron, then hooks him for the elevated DDT. Luke fights it off, catapults Randy throat-first into the 2nd rope, The Apex Predator rolls outside to catch his breath, Harper hits the ropes for a suicide dive, but gets clocked by a forearm shot.
Orton looks to dump him to the outside, Harper turns the tables and sends Randy out instead, takes flight with a suicide dive and The Apex Predator flies over the announce table. Harper picks him up and drops him on the announce desk with a back suplex, lines him up and charges in, The Viper planting Luke on the floor with a powerslam. He rolls back in the ring and grabs Harper on the apron, Luke surprises him with a forearm shot, climbs the corner for a suplex to the outside, The Viper slips out of it, crotches Harper on the top turnbuckle and executes a superplex to the inside. Randy crawls to a cover and only gets 2, pulls Harper up, they exchange shots, Orton ducks one fot he RKO, gets pushed away, but counters a clothesline for a full nelson slam that gains a near fall.
Harper rolls out to the apron, The Apex Predator spikes him with a rope-assisted DDT, gets set for the RKO, but Luke explodes up with a superkick. He connects with another superkick and nearly puts it away, hauls Randy up for a powerbomb, The Viper slips out for the RKO, Harper blocks it again, but gets kicked in the abdomen. The Apex Predator hits the ropes and runs into a kick to the breadbasket, Harper plants him with a sit-out powerbomb that almost finishes it, “This Is Awesome” chants take over the crowd, both guys struggle to their knees and trade-off right hands back to their feet. Harper gets the better of it, hits the ropes for the Discus Clothesline, Orton blocks it, delivers an RKO and gets the victory.
Winner: Randy Orton (RKO)
- EA’s Take: Tremendous match and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say these guys just stole the show, which I had mentioned previously was a strong possibility. I am surprised Bray didn’t get involved here, but I suppose that was addressed with his previous promo of having to be separated from Orton tonight. Harper showed a lot tonight although we already knew he could do it, he just has never been given a chance to really shine. The Viper may have won the match, but Harper was the real winner here in the long run as long as the company does something with him to follow up.
Backstage: Renee Young is standing by with Nikki Bella, Nikki states things are far from over with herself and Nattie, but Natalya ambushes her from behind. They battle into the hallway where Maryse is near a makeup table, The Queen of Harts bounces Nikki’s face off of a production box and Nikki falls backwards into Maryse, causing powder to go everywhere. Nikki tackles Natalya and a group of referees finally separate them.
Match #6 for the SmackDown Women’s Championship: Naomi vs. SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss
Alexa with some trash talk for the challenger at the bell, attempts to slap her across the face, Naomi surprises her with a schoolboy and gets an early 2 count. The champion pulls out her gum and tosses it in Naomi’s face, The Glow Queen grabs her by the hair, drives Bliss multiple times head-first into the top turnbuckle, climbs up top, but gets pushed down to the apron. She lands on her feet and rocks Alexa with a roundhouse kick, looks to springboard in the champion grabs a handful of hair, slams her down to the mat, then unleashes a series of rights for a count of 2. She puts the boots to the challenger in the corner and chokes her with her foot, chokes Naomi on the 2nd rope now, charges in with double knees to the back and gains another 2 count.
Bliss tries to ram her head-first into the top turnbuckle, The Glow Queen blocks it, attempts to bulldog Alexa into the turnbuckles, but gets pushed away. The champion wraps Naomi’s hair up in the ropes and rips away, covers for another count of 2, stands on the challenger’s hair, then pulls her up by the arms, this time getting a 1 count. She slaps on a rear chinlock to wear Naomi down, The Glow Queen works to a standing position, arm drags the champion away, rushes her in the corner, but runs into a back elbow. Alexa hooks her by the arm and goes to the 2nd rope, the challenger tries to hip toss her down to the mat, Bliss flips to her feet, rolls her up for 2, Naomi with a roll-up of her own off the kick-out, but can’t finish it.
Both ladies are up quick and Naomi looks for a kick, the champion blocks it, attempts to clock her with a right hand, Naomi delivers a roundhouse at the same time and they both go down. Both women stagger back to their feet, The Glow Queen ducks under a clothesline and hits the ropes for one of her own, drops Bliss with a jumping back elbow, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Alexa charges in, blocks Naomi putting the boots up, but gets drilled by an enzuigiri instead. The challenger follows with a stiff kick to the abdomen, hits the ropes for a somersault clothesline, measures the champion in the corner and charges in, gets elevated over the top, but lands on her feet and scores with a forearm shot.
Naomi ascends the corner and connects with a blockbuster, hooks the leg and nearly finishes it off, Alexa crawls to the ropes for some reprieve, the challenger grabs her by the foot, but gets kicked away. Bliss pulls herself back up in the corner and rushes out, The Glow Queen catches her with the Rear View, hooks both legs, but still only gets a count of 2. She positions the champion near the corner for the Split-Legged Moonsault, Alexa grabs her by the foot, Naomi kicks free, Bliss tries to beg her off and ducks into the ropes. The referee gets in between to create separation, the champion with a cheap shot, slams Naomi to the mat by the hair, delivers Insult To Injury, covers and gains a near fall. Bliss hammers the challenger with right hands and heads to the high-rent district, The Glow Queen pops up with an enzuigiri, Alexa falls to the floor, Naomi gets set for an outside dive, but the champion climbs on the apron and cuts her off with forearm.
She steps back in, spikes The Glow Queen with a DDT and covers, the challenger just barely kicks out at 2 and Bliss starts to show her frustration. Alexa pulls Naomi up, gets surprised by a modified jawbreaker, tries to follow with the Split-Legged Moonsault, the champion rolls away to avoid it, rolls her up and puts her feet on the ropes. The referee counts to 2 and notices it, stops the count, Alexa argues the call, pummels the challenger with fists, then goes back up top for Twisted Bliss. The Glow Queen gets the knees up, follows with the Split-Legged Moonsault and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW SmackDown Women’s Champion: Naomi (Split-Legged Moonsault)
- After The Bell: Renee Young enters the ring for comment, a “You Deserve It” chant breaks out and Naomi is brought to tears, The Glow Queen states she’s envisioned this moment for many years and Alexa was a great champion, but she’s taking the title home to Orlando at WrestleMania.
- EA’s Take: Not a bad match in my opinion, but there were certainly a couple of spots that didn’t look great, the finish for example. Naomi has always been one of my favorites and very underused in my opinion, so I absolutely agree with the crowd and the “You Deserve It” chant. It’s been a long-time coming for her and I called for this to happen, mostly because of WrestleMania being in her hometown, which gives her that “feel-good” moment. Certainly Alexa will get a rematch and the way things are going, I still feel as if we’re headed towards multi-person title matches for both Women’s Divisions at the Showcase of the Immortals.
In The Arena: Carmella & James Ellsworth continue watching the show from the skybox, Dasha Fuentes tries to get comment, but The Princess of Staten Island says she’s sick of being bothered while trying to watch the show. Ellsworth tells Dasha to scram, sits back and puts his feet up.
Match #7 – Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Championship: WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin vs. The Miz vs. Bray Wyatt vs. AJ Styles vs. WWE Champion John Cena
Styles & Cena are going to begin, collar & elbow tie-up to start, the champion goes to a side headlock, AJ pushes him off to the ropes, but gets dropped by a shoulder block. They lock-up again and this time Styles hooks in a side headlock, Cena sends him off to the ropes, drops down, leapfrogs over and AJ scores with a leg kick. The Leader of the Cenation battles back with heavy rights, whips him to the corner and rushes in, The Phenomenal One side-steps out of harm’s way, powers him up on his shoulder and delivers a spin-out torture rack bomb for an early 2 count.
AJ looks to set for the Styles Clash, Cena powers out, launches him into the air, lets him drop face-first to the mat, then follows with a sunset flip bomb for a 2 count. The Leader of the Cenation pulls Styles up and they exchange shots, the champion takes The Phenomenal One down for the STF, AJ kicks him away, scores with the Ushigaroshi, hooks the leg and gains a near fall. Cena pulls himself to his feet in the corner, Styles rushes in for a flying forearm, the champion avoids it, hits the ropes for multiple shoulder tackles, ducks a clothesline and delivers a spin-out back suplex. He calls for the 5 Knuckle Shuffle, the countdown begins and Cena decides against it as Dean Ambrose enters the match.
He ducks a right hand and levels Cena with a flying clothesline, tosses him out over the top, drives the champion multiple times into the chain link, then stomps away. AJ comes out after them and The Lunatic Fringe rams him into the chain, clotheslines Styles back in the ring, kicks him to the apron, and sets for a suplex back inside. The Phenomenal One blocks it, looks to suplex Dean out on the chamber floor, Ambrose slips out, drops him with a release vertical suplex on the floor, Cena climbs up top, but The Lunatic Fringe drops him down with a forearm shot. He climbs on top of one of the pods and flies off with a diving elbow to the champion, tries to drag Cena into the squared circle, AJ grabs him with a waistlock, standing switch from Ambrose, Styles switches back, but the champion comes in and plants them both with a double german suplex.
The Leader of the Cenation picks Dean up for an AA, The Phenomenal One charges in, Cena drops Dean, lifts AJ for the Attitude Adjustment, rocking The Lunatic Fringe with Styles’ feet in the process. AJ counters the AA by landing on his feet, clobbers the champion with a kick, Dean rebounds off the ropes and floors Styles with a Lunatic Lariat as the timer hits zero. Bray Wyatt steps out and drops Dean with a right hand, flattens Cena with a running crossbody, tosses The Lunatic Fringe with a release vertical suplex, then charges AJ near the ropes and gets dumped outside. Styles tries to springboard out after him, gets thrown into the chain link, goes into the Spider Crawl for Sister Abigail, but The Phenomenal One slips away and shoves him into one of the pod doors.
He pulls Wyatt through the 2nd rope in the corner, hops in the ring and slingshots out with a leg drop to the back of the head, The Leader of the Cenation picks him up for an AA outside, but AJ breaks free and clocks him with forearms. He climbs the side of the cage and Cena goes up after him, they battle on the side of the wall, Styles clobbering the champion with fists and drops him to the chamber floor. The Phenomenal One climbs on top of The Miz’s pod, Ambrose scales up to meet him, rams Styles face-first off the plastic part of the wall, jumps off at Bray, but gets caught with a right hand on the way down. The Eater of Worlds tosses him in the ring, props The Lunatic Fringe on the top turnbuckle, climbs up for a barrage of headbutts, Dean slips down for a powerbomb, Bray grabs Styles in the process and tosses him across the ring as he gets planted into the mat as the clock ticks down again.
Baron Corbin comes in next, The Lunatic Fringe meets him with a flurry of forearms, hits the ropes, The Lone Wolf flattens him with a clothesline, deposits Dean to the outside, then rams him face-first off the chain multiple times. He throws Ambrose back in the ring and charges him in the corner, The Lunatic Fringe side-steps out, rushes in with a forearm, looks to follow with a running bulldog, but gets pushed away. He charges back in at Baron and gets planted by Deep Six, rolls out under the bottom rope, Corbin goes after him, but Wyatt attacks from behind and hooks him for a uranage. The Lone Wolf blocks it and sends Bray face-first into Miz’s pod, drops him with a big boot, slams him into the floor with a modified STO, then heads back inside.
The Phenomenal One meets him with a flurry of right hands and hits the ropes, Corbin cuts him off with End Of Days, Cena quickly grabs Baron by the leg and slaps on the STF. The Lone Wolf powers out of it, plants the champion with End Of Days, Ambrose comes off the top with a dropkick, then clotheslines Baron over the top and drives him into the chain numerous times. The Lone wolf finally puts on the brakes and returns the favor, launches Dean face-first into the wall, rams him head-first into one of the pods, then sends him back in the ring. He powers The Lunatic Fringe over his shoulder, Ambrose slides out behind, hooks him for Dirty Deeds, Corbin blocks it, tries to drive him into the corner, Dean holds up from hitting the turnbuckles and catches him with a back elbow. Ambrose climbs to the top rope now, The Lone Wolf pushes him off, The Lunatic Fringe hits the chain link face-first and the last man enters the match.
The Miz is in no hurry to step out of his pod as Corbin is waiting for him, Dean grabs The Lone Wolf with a schoolboy from behind and gets the 1-2-3. Baron Corbin has been eliminated. Baron is less than pleased, bludgeons Ambrose from behind with a clothesline, throws him through the plastic of one of the pods, props him up against the chain link, then unloads with forearms to the back of the head. He tosses Dean in the ring, plants him with End Of Days, multiple referees come inside and The Lone Wolf finally leaves, Miz quickly stepping in the ring to pin Ambrose. Dean Ambrose has been eliminated.
The A-Lister points to the WrestleMania sign and mocks a “Yes” chant, drills Cena & Bray with his Yes Kicks, hits the ropes and takes them both down with a double dropkick. Styles steps back in the ring and Miz puts him in the corner for another barrage of kicks, Cena & Wyatt stagger to opposite corners, The A-Lister delivering running dropkicks to everyone in the ring and dumping Bray to the outside. He crushes the champion in the corner with an Awesome Clothesline, climbs to the top turnbuckle, The Eater of Worlds drags him down to the floor for a clothesline, Miz blocks it and plants him with a Skull Crushing Finale.
The A-Lister heads back up top for a crossbody to the champion, The Leader of the Cenation rolls through, powers him onto his shoulders for the Attitude Adjustment and ends his night. The Miz has been eliminated. Bray & AJ attack Cena from behind and put the boots to him, The New Face of Fear holds the champion up for AJ, The Phenomenal One scores with right hands, poses for the crowd and Wyatt clocks him with an uppercut. He looks for a running senton to Cena and misses, drops Styles with multiple shoulder tackles, delivers a spin-out back suplex, catches Bray with one for his troubles, then hits them both with a double 5 Knuckle Shuffle. He scores with an AA to Wyatt, powers The Phenomenal One up for one, AJ slips out of it, connects with the Styles Clash, but only gets a near fall.
AJ rolls out of the ring and measures for a Phenomenal Forearm, The Leader of the Cenation ducks under it, delivers the Attitude Adjustment, but Styles just barely kicks out at 2. The champion looks stunned, steps to the outside and climbs on top of a pod, jumps off with a crossbody to wipe-out Styles & Wyatt, all three guys now down. Cena staggers back to his feet, hauls Bray up for an AA, The Eater of Worlds slips out of it, scores with Sister Abigail and covers for the 1-2-3. John Cena has been eliminated. Styles pulls himself to his feet and charges out at Bray, gets clocked by a forearm, The New Face of Fear batters him with right hands to the back of the head, throws AJ into the corner and charges in, but gets cut off by a dropkick to the knee.
The Phenomenal One follows with a basement forearm for a count of 2, Bray Spider Crawls back to his feet, snatches Styles for Sister Abigail, AJ breaks free, rolls him up and gains a near fall. He quickly scores with the Phenomenal Blitz, Bray comes right back and turns him inside-out with a clothesline, hooks the leg, but can’t put it away yet. He pulls AJ up for a uranage, Styles battles out of it, clobbers him with a Pele Kick, hits the ropes for a shining wizard, then rolls outside and springboards in with a 450 splash. He hooks the leg and The New Face of Fear just kicks out at 2, The Phenomenal One rolls back outside, pulls his elbow pad off, springboards in for a Phenomenal Forearm, Bray catches him in the air, hits Sister Abigail and finishes it.
Winner and NEW WWE Champion: Bray Wyatt
- After The Bell: Randy Orton comes out to the stage and watches on as Bray celebrates the win.
- EA’s Take: What an amazing match, I think we just saw the best Chamber match in WWE history. I have to admit, at first when I saw the padding on the outside of the ring instead of the usual steel grating we had in the old chamber, I was not overly enthused. The participants completely made me forget about that very quickly however and it allowed them to do so much more with less risk of injury. I’ve called for so long to have Bray get his big moment and we finally saw it, but we also saw some other interesting things take place which will shape for WrestleMania such as Corbin & Ambrose. I dare RAW to follow that, but I just know they can’t.
EA’s Finisher: Obviously the namesake of this pay-per-view is the big standout of the evening, but we also had another great moment in Naomi finally getting her just due by becoming the SmackDown Women’s Champion. While I wouldn’t call the undercard poor by any means, I truly could have lived without the Handicap Match personally. I think the Tag Team Turmoil was highly entertaining and showed why SmackDown Tag Team Division is far superior to RAW, meanwhile the women showed they have a lot more depth on the blue brand, which is not news to anyone. Overall, a very entertaining event that I think RAW will really have a hard time following up at FastLane.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Elimination Chamber
2 – Luke Harper vs. Randy Orton
3 – Tag Team Turmoil
Chairshot Classics: WCW Halloween Havoc 1995 – There’s Nowhere To Hide!
Our weekly Chairshot Classics WCW PPV series continues with Halloween Havoc ’95!
Open: “Motown’s gone mad, Halloween Havoc is here. Two demons have emerged, The Giant who has a jones for destruction. WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan has crossed over to the dark side to take on eerie powers in their world. Shutter to think two monster trucks will collide and if survival is possible, they’ll square-off eye-to-eye in the fortress known as the ring. It will happen before your very eyes here at Halloween Havoc.”
Kobo Hall: On the roof, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan & The Giant both get a feel for their monster trucks before tonight’s battle.
Video: At Fall Brawl, Johnny B. Badd won the right to face Sting for the WCW United States Championship, but when the moment arrived, Johnny was nowhere to be found. ‘Flyin’ Brian would get the opportunity instead, but at the end of the night Badd finally showed up, explaining he had a flat tire on the biggest day of his career. WCW World Television Champion Diamond Dallas Page would feel the need to rub it in Johnny’s face claiming he should have had the US Title shot, Max Muscle unknowingly admitting that they had something to do with Badd’s car problems.
Match #1 for the WCW World Television Championship: WCW World Television Champion Diamond Dallas Page w/The Diamond Doll & Max Muscle vs. Johnny B. Badd
Badd slides into the ring behind the champion while a stand-in walks down the ramp, Page is distracted and the challenger unloads with big right hands as the bell sounds. Johnny shoots DDP to the ropes for a kick to the midsection, follows up with a knee lift, whips the champion to the corner and Page spills over the top to the floor. Badd goes out in pursuit, thwarts off Max Muscle trying to get involved, drives him into the champion with a noggin knocker, then sends Page into the crowd with a big right.
Johnny steps over the barricade after him, deposits DDP into the steel barrier, clotheslines him back to ringside, gets his hands on a bucket and puts it over the champion’s head, then smacking it with an ear clap. He rolls Page into the ring, DDP catches him sliding in with clubbing blows, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, the challenger scores with a hip toss, follows with a drop toe hold and hooks in an armbar. The champion finds his footing, Badd switches to a wristlock, continues wrenching away at the left arm, but can’t break free. Dallas grabs a handful of hair and slams Johnny to the mat, the challenger kicks back up, returns the favor, then goes right back to the armbar.
DDP backs the challenger to the ropes, doesn’t break clean and buries a knee to the abdomen, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Johnny ducks down for a back body drop, the champion leapfrogs over it, gets surprised by another hip toss and Badd covers for a count of 2. He quickly connects with a dropkick and corners Dallas, climbs to the 2nd rope to rain down fists, DDP powers him out, drops the challenger face-first on the top turnbuckle and takes control, taunting Johnny while delivering kicks to the breadbasket. He shoves the challenger to the corner and drives shoulders to the ribs, stomps on Badd’s fingers, scores with a knee drop for a 2 count, then shoots him sternum-first into the turnbuckles. Page plants Johnny with a back suplex, spikes him with the Diamond Clash, goes into a lateral press and again finds a count of 2.
The champion looks to grind Badd down now with a rear chinlock, the challenger makes it to a standing position, DDP rips him back down by the hair, covers for 2, then argues with the official about the count. He quickly slaps the rear chinlock back on, gets frustrated after getting another 2 count, sends Johnny to the ropes for a hip toss, the challenger blocks it for a backslide and gains a near fall. Both guys back up quick, Dallas levels Badd with a clothesline for 2, shoots him to the ropes for a back body drop, Johnny counters with a sunset flip, can’t bring the champion over and gets nailed by a right hand. DDP drops down on top to cover, Badd kicks out at 2, rolls Page up for a 2 count of his own, can’t capitalize and gets dropped by a big boot.
Page muscles him up for a powerslam and still can’t put it away, wants to wear him down some more with a rear chinlock, Johnny battles back to his feet, counters to a top wristlock, but Max reaches in to lend a hand, the champion driving Badd back down to the mat for a near fall. DDP instructs Max to climb onto the apron, the referee is distracted, the champion unravels his wrist tape, then proceeds to choke the life out of the challenger. The official turns back to the action and Page switches to the rear chinlock, the ref checks Badd’s arm, Johnny holds it up on the third attempt and fights to a vertical base, countering out with a top wristlock. Page calls for Max’s help again, can’t reach him and gets planted by a back suplex, DDP stumbles back to his feet, gets caught by a right hand, tripped up by a leg sweep, but quickly rocks Badd with a punch of his own.
He drags Johnny up for another that’s off-target, the challenger splits him with an inverted atomic drop, follows with an atomic drop and then unleashes a flurry of fists. He looks to send the champion to the ropes and Dallas reverses, Johnny surprises him with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, ascends the corner to the top turnbuckle, connects with a double axe handle and almost finishes it off. He hooks DDP for a sit-out powerbomb and gets a near fall, shoots Page to the ropes, the champion spikes him with the Diamond Dream and both guys are down now. Dallas crawls into a lateral press for a count of 2, sets for the Diamond Cutter, Badd hangs onto the ropes to block it, tries a cover of his own, but still only finds a 2 count.
He tosses the champion into the corner, goes to the 2nd rope to fire away with punches, DDP tries to power him out, gets flipped over the top to the floor by a hurricanrana, Max coming around ringside to help him up. Johnny charges in and feigns an outside dive, instead flies over the top with the Badd Day, rolls Dallas back inside and heads to the apron, then slingshots in with a splash and nearly polishes Page off. Badd calls for the Tutti Frutti, Max climbs to the apron and hooks him by the arms, DDP looks to clock him with a fist, the challenger side-steps out of harm’s way, Page nearly hits Max, but instead holds up. Johnny with a dropkick from behind, Dallas gets knocked into Max to drop him to the floor, Badd with a schoolboy from behind and almost steals it.
DDP quickly grabs him by the trunks to dump him outside, Max looks to ram him into the ring post, Johnny pushes him off, climbs back inside and Max steps up after him. The champion grabs Badd from behind and holds him for Max, Page gets flattened by a clothesline as Johnny ducks, the challenger clocks Max with Tutti Frutti, makes a cover and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WCW World Television Champion: Johnny B. Badd (Outside Interference)
- EA’s Take: Solid opener tonight, Page really slowing down the action while Johnny picked up the pace when he was in control. A little silly that a clothesline from Max Muscle is what put Page away, but this is honestly about as good of in-ring work as we’ll get tonight. DDP was really starting to come into his own as a character and it was nearing the time for him to start losing the entourage, so the seeds had been planted already for dissension between The Diamond Doll (Kimberly) and Dallas, which will continue in the coming weeks.
Match #2: The Zodiac vs. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage
The Zodiac stands on the 2nd rope facing the crowd as Savage enters the ring, Macho Man rips him down, the bell rings and Zodiac gets sent head-first into the top turnbuckle. Macho unloads with punches, rakes Zodiac’s face across the top rope, a fan jumps into the ring and the referee tackles him, the action spilling to the outside. Savage sends Zodiac head-first into the ring post and barricade multiple times, The Zodiac surprises him with an eye rake, then sends Macho Man shoulder-first into the steel post. He tosses Savage back into the squared circle, scoops him up for a body slam, The Zodiac climbs to the 2nd rope, comes off for a splash, but nobody’s home. Macho Man quickly heads upstairs, connects with the Flying Elbow Drop and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage (Flying Elbow Drop)
- EA’s Take: Yikes, pretty quick one here that was only made even worse by that fan hopping the barricade. The most interesting part of this match was that Zodiac came out to the music that would later be used for Rey Mysterio. Hell, he got a bigger pop from the crowd than even Savage did during his entrance as he fought off security. This is your basic squash match as Macho Man lays waste to the cartoonish Zodiac in under two minutes and rightfully so. Initially, Savage’s opponent was supposed to be Kamala, but The Ugandan Giant had left the company after only getting a pay-per-appearance deal and never a full-time contract. Also, the stipulation here is that if Savage wins and Luger wins his match later, they’ll meet one-on-one tonight. I wonder what will happen?
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is in the locker room, plugs the WCW Hotline and teases Jimmy Hart recently speaking to a man he used to work with. Okerlund welcomes in WCW World Television Champion Johnny B. Badd, the new champion proclaiming there will be a celebration in the Motor City tonight. He speaks about how dreams can come true if you work hard, states he never gave up despite Diamond Dallas Page from Max Muscle and he plans on keeping the title for a long time.
Video: Back at Clash Of The Champions over the summer, Kurasawa viciously attacked Road Warrior Hawk’s arm, locking on the Kurasawa Crush and breaking it in the process.
Match #3: Kurasawa w/Col. Robert Parker vs. Road Warrior Hawk
The bell rings and Hawk immediately goes on the attack, clobbers Kurasawa with clubbing blows and chops, shoots him to the ropes and connects with a shoulder tackle. He cracks Kurasawa with a neckbreaker, follows with a fist drop for a count of 2, fires away with more stiff shots, then puts the boots to him. Hawk shoots him to the corner and charges in, Kurasawa side-steps out of harm’s way, Hawk goes shoulder-first into the ring post, absorbs it and peppers Kurasawa with big right hands. He muscles him up for a gutwrench suplex, plants him with a powerbomb, Parker distracts Hawk from the outside, Kurasawa rises back to his feet and ambushes him from behind.
He scoops Hawk up for a body slam and goes to the top rope for an elbow drop, Hawks avoids it, clotheslines Kurasawa to the outside, then steps out to the apron. He flies off with a clothesline to Parker, Kurasawa sends Hawk head-first into the ring post, rolls him into the squared circle, launches him with a back body drop, then hits a samoan drop. He goes into a cover and puts his feet on the ropes for leverage, Parker holds Kurasawa’s feet in place, the official doesn’t see it and makes the 3 count.
Winner: Kurasawa (Samoan Drop)
- EA’s Take: Alrighty then, I definitely did not see that coming. Hawk has been on his own for a bit now as Animal continues to rest up a back injury, so it seems like Hawk has just been floating around with not much to do. There was supposed to be a good feud here, but Hawk had been legitimately injured, leading to the angle where Kurasawa “broke his arm”. To sum it up, boring match, boring storyline.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is back in the locker room with ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage, Macho saying there’s one down and one to go, reminding us he beat The Zodiac with no problem. Savage states he heard what Hulk Hogan recently said about him, says that he and Hogan are friends until the meet in the ring, claiming he can beat Hulk anytime. He talks about his curiosity to see what will happen tonight in the Monster Truck battle, warning he will be watching very closely.
Match #4: Mr. J.L. vs. Sabu w/The Sheik
Sabu slides right in and ambushes JL, blocks a kick, JL comes back with an enzuigiri and Sabu spills outside as the bell rings. JL slides to the outside in what looks to be a botched spot, Sabu drives him into the barricade, climbs to the apron, springs off the 2nd rope with a moonsault, taking out JL and The Sheik. Sabu lines JL up, leaps off the stairs for a crossbody, JL avoids it, climbs to the top turnbuckle and flies to the floor with a crossbody of his own. He sends Sabu back inside, Sabu surprises him with a kick to the abdomen, whips him to the corner, charges in and JL elevates him up. Sabu lands on his feet on the top rope, comes off with a moonsault that misses, JL heads upstairs for one of his own and gains a count of 2.
He delivers a sit-out powerbomb for another 2 count, sends him to the corner and rushes in with a dropkick, Sabu side-steps it, steps out to the apron and slingshots in with a somersault leg drop for a near fall. He ascends the corner back up top, JL clubs him across the back, pulls him down for a bridging german suplex, but Sabu kicks out at 2. JL looks to the high-rent district now, Sabu clocks him with an uppercut, climbs up for a super victory roll, hooks both legs, but still can’t put it away. Sabu scales the corner again, JL springs off the 2nd rope with a dropkick, sends Sabu spilling to the floor, but can’t capitalize. Sabu climbs to the apron and buries a shoulder to the breadbasket, drops JL throat-first across the top rope, steps inside, hits the Arabian Press and gets the win.
Winner: Sabu (Arabian Press)
- After The Bell: The Sheik lights is trademark fireball and throws it in JL’s face for good measure.
- EA’s Take: No selling, no pacing, no storyline…brutal. If you unmasked JL and gave these guys ten more minutes, you may have had something, but obviously this wasn’t the case. After being fired from ECW, Sabu arrived in WCW just over a month prior, however it was very short-lived and this would be his only PPV appearance before heading back to ECW just a couple of weeks later. JL is also a newcomer to WCW, who would be better known as Jerry Lynn in the future, but for the time being he would work under a mask as one of the lower-tier Cruiserweight competitiors until 1997.
In The Arena: The Master & The Taskmaster are on the stage for The Master’s Lair, The Master speaks about the moon falling over Detroit, claims the stars are lined up and the Milky Way is ready for The Taskmaster. He speaks about it being the start of a new day from China to the USA, believes there will be an eclipse of the sun and The Taskmaster will walk upon the galaxy as The Giant destroys Hulkamania with The Yeti as their back-up plan. The Taskmaster says that a giant will lead them into the next century, claims that when Hulk Hogan dawned black attire it pulled the evil out of him, warning that Hogan doesn’t have anyone to watch his back tonight.
Backstage: Gene Okerlund is standing by in the locker room with WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan & Jimmy Hart, the Hulkster joined by the winners of WCW’s Harley Davidson Sweepstakes. Hogan says it was important for him to be on a roll going into tonight, thinks giving this Harley away will give him the extra edge he needs, then offers up some extra custom work. The winners are presented with some t-shirts, Hulk speaks about The Giant running over his Harley recently and looks to return the favor.
Match #5: Meng w/The Taskmaster vs. Lex Luger
Luger wastes no time and fires away with fists at the bell, rams Meng head-first into the top turnbuckle numerous times, then grabs a side headlock. Meng pushes Lex off to the ropes, drops down, Luger grabs him by the legs, buries a stomp to the abdomen, then catapults him face-first into the top turnbuckle. He rakes Meng’s eyes across the top rope, Meng begins to battle back with kicks and chops, drives The Total Package face-first off the top turnbuckle, then looks to send him to the ropes. Luger reverses for a back body drop, Meng catches him with a kick, utilizes a small package for a quick 2 count, then unloads with shots across the back.
He tries to send Lex face-first back into the top turnbuckle, The Total Package blocks it, returns the favor, irish whip to the opposite corner is reversed, Meng charges in and meets a boot to the chin. Luger clotheslines him over the top to the floor, The Taskmaster helps Meng to his feet, Lex comes outside from behind, ramming Meng shoulder-first into the steel post. Lex rolls him back inside, climbs to the apron and drops the arm down across the top rope, climbs into the squared circle and Meng surprises him with shots to the ribs. Meng sinks his teeth into The Total Package’s nose, Luger starts fighting back with stiff right hands, shoots him to the corner and rushes in, but nobody’s home.
Meng measures for a clothesline that’s off-target, Lex powers him up for a back suplex, Meng switches his weight, falls on top and gets a count of 2. He puts the boots to The Total Package, scoops him up for a shoulder breaker, corners him and wrenches the right arm up in the ropes. He buries boots into the breadbasket, chokes Luger with his foot, spikes Lex with a piledriver and goes into a lateral press for a near fall. Meng quickly applies a choke, slaps on a rear chinlock to wear Luger down, The Total Package works his way back to his feet, hits the ropes for a clothesline, Meng ducks under it, both guys go for a crossbody and collide, Lex landing on top for a 2 count. Both guys back up quick and Meng goes to the ribs with a kick, plants Luger with a back suplex for a count of 2, deposits him out of the ring and The Taskmaster stands over Lex to have some words.
The Total Package tries to crawl back into the squared circle, Meng continually kicks him back down, Luger finally rolls back in and Meng keeps up the punishment with stomps. Lex catches Meng with shoulders to the abdomen and gets raked in the eyes, dishes out more shots across the back, sends The Total Package to the ropes for a dropkick, but Lex hangs onto the ropes to avoid it. Meng staggers to his feet and charges, Luger elevates him over the top, Meng hangs onto the apron, hooks The Total Package for a suplex to the floor, but Lex blocks and brings him in with a suplex of his own. He can’t capitalize and Meng shoots him to the ropes for a back body drop, Luger avoids it with a kick, tries taking him off his feet with multiple clotheslines, finally does it, then sends him to the ropes for a back body drop off of his own.
He measures Meng for more clotheslines, sends him to the ropes for a powerslam, calls for the Torture Rack, but Meng reaches into his boot for the gold spike. He surprises Lex with the gold spike to the throat, hooks the leg, The Taskmaster steps into the ring, kicks Luger and the referee calls for the bell.
Winner: Lex Luger (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Meng gets angered and shoves The Taskmaster, Sullivan trying to explain that now Luger will have to face Macho Man.
- EA’s Take: Not a bad match, but again, nothing overly exciting or entertaining. Since returning to WCW just over a month prior, Luger has been in a tweener state and a teased member of The Dungeon Of Doom. Thus, further explaining The Taskmaster’s interference. This was a strange time for Lex, as the fans didn’t really want to boo him at the time, however WCW was trying to lay some ground work for a big match-up with Hulk Hogan that would never really come to pass. Despite the tension between Meng & Sullivan, nothing would come of it and Meng would go on to become more of a tag team competitor alongside The Barbarian as The Faces Of Fear.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is joined by The Giant in the locker room, The Giant saying that if Hulk Hogan has the courage to show up for their Monster Truck battle, the roof won’t be big enough for the both of them. He states he will push the Hulkster right off of the building, then plans on Chokeslamming him through the floor to become the WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
Match #6: The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson & ‘Flyin’ Brian) vs. WCW United States Champion Sting & ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
Sting comes out on his own after Flair was ambushed earlier in the night by an unknown assailant. Double-A will kick things off, has some words for the Stinger and they lock-up, Anderson working to a hammerlock. The champion counters to one of his own and Arn reaches for the ropes to get the break, the fans chant “We Want Flair” they go in for another collar & elbow and Anderson goes to the midsection with a knee. He slaps on a full nelson, Sting kicks Pillman off the apron and reverses to one of his own, Double-A tries to scale the ropes with his feet, but the champion releases him and he falls to the mat.
Anderson rolls to the floor to regroup, steps back into the squared circle and the “We Want Flair” chants break out again, he locks-up with Sting, then goes to a wristlock and rips him down by the hair. The Stinger kips right back up and shoots Arn off to the ropes, gets knocked down by a shoulder block, Double-A goes back into the ropes, the champion leapfrogs over, then goes to the breadbasket with a kick. He hits the ropes and plants him with a facebuster, Flyin’ Brian comes in to help out, Sting thwarts both of the Horsemen off and clears the ring, Anderson & Pillman having a conference on the outside. Double-A rolls in and tags out, Pillman into the collar & elbow tie-up, the Stinger backs him to the ropes, Flyin’ Brian slaps him across the face off the break, then ducks to the floor to retreat.
The champion heads out in pursuit, Arn lays in wait around ringside for a clothesline, Sting ducks it, levels him with a clothesline of his own, then flattens Pillman with another. Flyin’ Brian takes a walk before heading back inside, he offers Sting a handshake, the champion accepts it, goes to the ribs with a kick, then powers him up for a military press slam. Pillman crawls away and makes a tag, Double-A cautiously steps in, has some words for the Stinger and then convenes with Flyin’ Brian. He avoids a lock-up with a boot to the breadbasket, clobbers the champion to the mat with double axe handles, picks him up for a piledriver and Flyin’ Brian climbs to the top rope. Sting blocks it, takes Arn down with a double leg, catapults him into Pillman and Flyin’ Brian gets crotched on the top turnbuckle.
The champion drops Anderson with a back elbow, steps to the apron, launches Pillman off the top down into the guardrail, then turns back to Double-A and peppers him with right hands. Arn sneaks in a thumb to the eye to stop the onslaught, unknowingly drives Sting head-first off Pillman’s skull in the corner, whips the champion to the ropes and buries a fist into the abdomen. ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair finally sprints down to the ring in street clothes, nearly runs over the official trying to get a piece of Anderson, but the ref works him over to his corner. Double-A deposits the Stinger to the outside, Flyin’ Brian goes to work behind the referee’s back, the champion staggers back inside and Arn puts the boots to him, then chokes Sting with the bottom of his foot.
Tag to Flyin’ Brian, he fires away with stinging chops in the corner, the Stinger begins to battle back with shots of his own, Pillman catches him with a drop toe hold, then reaches for the tag. The Enforcer continues the punishment by choking with his knee, grounds Sting with a rear chinlock, Flair gets tired of waiting and comes in with one of his shoes in his hand, the official cuts him off and Arn scoops the Stinger up for a body slam. He makes a tag and Flyin’ Brian heads upstairs, Double-A launches him off the top for a splash, Sting gets the knees up to avoid it, but Pillman tags out before he can reach Flair. Anderson plants the champion with a back suplex for a count of 2, he locks knuckles with Sting to try and hold him down, tries dropping down onto the Stinger, but he gets the knees up again.
The champion reaches for his corner and The Enforcer grabs him by the foot, Pillman drops off the apron, goes around ringside and baits Flair off the apron, The Nature Boy chasing him around ringside before order is restored. Double-A hooks Sting in an abdominal stretch, uses Flyin’ Brian for extra leverage out of the official’s sight, tags out and Pillman grinds the champion face-first into the canvas. He mocks Flair and fires off a chop to the chest, bites the Stinger across the nose, bludgeons him with heavy right hands, then snapmares him over for a single-leg crab. He uses The Enforcer to apply more pressure, Flair comes in to distract the referee, Flyin’ Brian and Anderson swap out, Double-A locking on a modified camel clutch.
He releases it and buries a boot to the spine, brings Pillman back in, Flyin’ Brian delivers a kick to the ribs, covers and only gets a 2 count. Tag back to Anderson, Arn goes to the midsection with a barrage of punches, The Nature Boy jumps into the ring to stop a 2-on-1 assault, the Stinger begins battling back, irish whip to the ropes is reversed and Double-A delivers a spinebuster for a near fall. Pillman reaches for the tag, targets the left knee with an elbow drop, slaps on a heel hold, brings The Enforcer back in for a wishbone, then Anderson goes to a heel hold of his own. Sting digs deep and starts crawling towards his corner, Arn buries knees into the back to put a stop to it, locks on a bearhug to wear him down further and the official has to check the arm.
The champion keeps it up on the third attempt, breaks free after an ear clap, Arn hooks him by the legs, reaches for Pillman and Flyin’ Brian cuts the Stinger off with an elbow drop. He chokes the champion, drags him up in the corner for heavy chops, snapmares him over and goes to a seated abdominal stretch. Sting starts working to his feet and Flyin’ Brian drives him head-first off the top turnbuckle, The Horsemen go on the attack, the champion fights his way out of the wrong part of town, but Pillman goes to the eyes. He brings Sting back to the corner, the Stinger rams Flyin’ Brian head-first into Anderson, finally reaches his corner and makes a tag. The Nature Boy steps in, hits the ropes, blasts Sting with a big right hand, then puts the boots to him with The Horsemen and the ref calls for the bell.
Winners: Sting & ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Flair, Anderson & Pillman work the champion over with an assault of punches and chops, put the boots to him and another official runs down to try and stop them unsuccessfully. ‘Mean’ Gene waits on the stage to speak with The Horsemen, plugs the WCW Hotline to kill time first, Flair takes the mic and proclaims that it’s now time to go to school. The Nature Boy says the first thing you’ll learn is not to jump on Double-A and secondly, you don’t play around with Flyin’ Brian. Flair states that thirdly you don’t mess with him and fourth you don’t breathe unless The Horsemen allow you to, Anderson saying everyone who asked for it now has it and needs to deal with. The Nature Boy exclaims they are reunited and it feels so good.
- EA’s Take: Beautifully put together swerve here after Flair and Anderson had been separated for a number of weeks now. Pillman was also just getting into his ‘Loose Cannon’ persona at this time too, which was very groundbreaking and left viewers, as well as the boys in the back wondering if he had legitimately lost his mind. Classic tactics during the match from two excellent tag team performers as well prior to Flair’s big turn, then of course you have Sting pulling off his babyface role perfectly. Overall a lot to like about this one.
Backstage: Mike Tenay is standing by with Lex Luger, The Total Package thinks there are forces at work here in WCW besides Sting who want him to face ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Luger says he can’t figure out why just yet, but when he hears the bell ring it’s time for the big boys to play and he will be victorious. Lex claims he knows Savage is in cahoots with Hulk Hogan, but it doesn’t matter because he will be the greatest wrestler WCW has ever seen, making an example of Macho Man.
Video: WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan knows the wrath of The Giant all too well by now, as we take a look at their history beginning with The Giant throwing a t-shirt of his father, Andre The Giant, into the champion’s face. He would continue to target the Hulkster, even nearly running him over with a monster truck, but destroying Hogan’s Harley Davidson in the process. The champion would announce his intentions to have his own monster truck built, however The Giant would continue to dominate him with help from The Taskmaster and the Dungeon Of Doom, even laying him out to shave Hulk’s mustache. This would lead Hogan to turn to a darker side of himself, showing he be as dastardly as anyone in the Dungeon Of Doom. The Master would notice this change in the champion, revealing he has an insurance policy of his own in The Yeti.
Match #7 is a Monster Truck Match: The Giant vs. WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan
Eric Bischoff & Bob Chandler join Heenan for commentary, as we go to the rooftop of Kobo Hall. Hogan and Giant are face-to-face as the rules are explained, as you must get all four of your opponents tires outside of the circle to win, but there are also two explosives charges randomly placed within it. They weld the front bumpers together, the engines fire up and we’re ready to go, Hogan and The Giant forcing each other back-and-forth around the circle. The Hulkster gets pushed through the circle, but only two wheels break the line and they continue jockeying back-and-forth. Hogan gets pushed back through the circle again, one of the charges explodes, the champion forces his way back into the circle and avoids getting knocked out. He battles back, forces The Giant backwards all the way through the circle and gets the victory.
Winner: Hulk Hogan
- After The Bell: The Giant steps out fuming and stalks the Hulkster near the edge of the roof, misses a double axe handle, but grabs Hogan by the throat and powers him into the air. They steps up to the ledge, the champion breaks free, Giant loses his balance and falls backwards off the roof.
- EA’s Take: So…they killed a guy? It was very strange covering a Monster Truck Match for one and while I give bonus points for trying to be creative, this was as unexciting as it reads. Then to finish it off, The Giant falls off the roof of an arena? Honestly, who thought this was a good idea?
Match #8: Lex Luger vs. ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage
The bell rings and the two men exchange some words, Luger offers a handshake, but Savage suckers him with a fist. He rams Lex head-first into the top turnbuckle and whips him to the corner, The Total Package rebounds out with a clothesline, then rams Macho Man face-first into the turnbuckle. Jimmy Hart makes his way down to ringside, Luger puts the boots to Savage in the corner, chokes him with his foot and the official forces a break. Lex batters Macho Man with punches, clubs him with a double axe handle, buries a kick to the chest and then chokes him over the top rope. He taunts Savage to get back up, Macho Man starts fighting back, The Total Package rocks him with a forearm, deposits him to the outside, Savage tries to crawl back up to the apron and Lex kicks him to the floor.
He steps out to the apron and comes off with a double axe handle, looks to send him head-first into the barricade, Macho Man blocks it, returns the face, then rams Luger face-first off the steps. He sends The Total Package back into the guardrail multiple times, throws him back inside, steps in and clocks Lex from behind with a clothesline. Savage ascends the corner and flies off with a double axe handle, Luger catches him in the abdomen with a right hand, Jimmy Hart climbs on the apron and distract the official, Lex tries to whip Macho Man into the corner, but it’s reversed. Savage rushes in and eats a knee to the jaw, The Total Package makes a cover, the ref is still dealing with Jimmy, he hauls Macho Man up to shoot him to the ropes, Savage reverses and Lex collides with Hart to send him to the floor. Savage quickly climbs to the top rope, connects with the Flying Elbow Drop and gets the 1-2-3.
Winner: ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage (Top Rope Elbow Drop)
- EA’s Take: Another quick one with very unusual circumstances if you weren’t keeping up on Monday Nitro. They were really beginning to pit Luger and Sting to a certain extent up against Hogan & Savage, a bit of reality meets fiction played out on television. We will see more of Lex tonight though to further explain the situation.
Match #9 for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship: WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan w/Jimmy Hart vs. The Giant w/The Taskmaster
Hogan takes a microphone and explains that what happened earlier tonight wasn’t supposed to be, apologizes and says there was a terrible accident. Music hits and The Giant & The Taskmaster march to the squared circle. Giant chases Hulk out of the ring, the champion steps in, shreds his shirt and we’re underway. The champion peels off his bandana and reveals paint like The Taskmaster, The Giant charges in, Hogan side-steps him and unloads with big punches. The challenger absorbs them, the Hulkster hits the ropes for more fists, staggers the big man, then attempts a body slam. The Giant blocks it and clobbers him across the back, whips Hogan into the corner, then scores with a boot off the rebound.
He continues hammering the champion with shots to the spine, delivers big chops in the corner, chokes the Hulkster, then whips him to the opposite corner. Giant buries a boot to the breadbasket off the rebound, locks knuckles with the champion and powers him down to his knees, Hulk muscles his way to his feet, but the challenger goes back to the midsection with a kick. He whips Hogan to the ropes for a back elbow, scoops him up for a body slam, The Giant hits the ropes for a leg drop, but it’s off-target. The Hulkster gets a rush of adrenaline and fires away with fists, drives the challenger head-first into the top turnbuckle multiple times, corners him, then climbs to the 2nd rope to rain down rights. He rakes Giant across the back, sends him to the corner and follows in with a clothesline, shoots him to the ropes for a clothesline and the big man only staggers.
Hogan makes him stumble with a second clothesline, dumps him over the top with a third, The Taskmaster helps The Giant to his feet and they start to walk off to the back. The champion climbs outside and chases them down, delivers a double noggin knocker, sends The Giant into the squared circle, roll in and pokes him in the eyes multiple times. The Hulkster batters him with punches, hits the ropes for a shoulder block, still can’t bring the challenger down with another, goes back to the well again and Giant grabs him for a Chokeslam. Hogan rakes the eyes to escape it, chokes him against the ropes, The Giant goes to the eyes to stop the onslaught, whips him to the ropes and cracks the champion with a backbreaker.
The challenger goes into a lateral press for a count of 2, pummels Hulk across the back, sends him to the ropes and locks on a bearhug to wear him down. The Hulkster fights his way free, can’t capitalize and gets clubbed across the spine, The Giant delivers another body slam, then goes right back to the bearhug. Hulk begins to fade away and the ref checks the arm, the champion keeps it up on the third attempt, breaks the grip with heavy right hands, hits the ropes and gets planted by a Chokeslam. The Giant makes the cover, Hogan powers out of it, begins Hulking up and absorbs a number of shots. He blocks one, delivers a series of punches, whips The Giant to the ropes for a big boot, but the big man stays on his feet. The Hulkster calls for a body slam, rakes the eyes and scoops Giant up for the slam, hits the ropes to deliver the Leg Drop and covers, but Jimmy Hart nails the official to stop the count.
Hogan doesn’t know what happened, Jimmy steps inside and helps him pick the referee up, Hulk turns back to the challenger and Jimmy shoves the official to the mat. He picks up the WCW Title, clocks the champion from behind, the Hulkster absorbs it, gets his hands on Jimmy, but The Giant grabs him in a bearhug. The Taskmaster steps in and fires away at the champion’s back, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage & Lex Luger run down to the ring to make the save, but Luger turns on Savage and puts the boots to him. The Yeti marches down to the squared circle, wraps his arm around both Giant & Hogan, squeezing the champion in between the two big men. They put the Hulkster out, The Total Package powers him up in the Torture Rack, Yeti & Giant put Macho Man in their double bearhug, Luger following with another Torture Rack.
Winner: The Giant (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: The Giant grabs the World Title, raises it in the air and leaves with it.
- EA’s Take: So much bad to talk about here. The match was at least watchable thanks to Hogan, as this was The Giant’s first match, so he’s obviously greener than Kermit The Frog. A couple of spots it was very clear that he was ducking in to get the call from Hulk, but you could definitely see the potential there with him. I always found it absurd they claimed he was the son of Andre The Giant, but with everything else going on in the Dungeon Of Doom it wasn’t bad by comparison, specifically like The Yeti. This gimmick was so bad that it wasn’t even good enough for the Dungeon Of Doom, as he would only make three appearances before being repackaged later on (We will see him again, just not wrapped in toilet paper). Luger finally turns on Hulk and officially joins the Dungeon, plus Jimmy Hart swerves Hogan with it being revealed the next night on Nitro he had a clause in the contract stating the title would change hands by DQ. Therefore, The Giant wins the World Title in his very first match against the all-black Hogan, giving us a preview of things to come.
EA’s Finisher: No matter how you slice it, this event will always infamously be known for the Monster Truck Match, The Giant falling off of a rooftop and the debut of The Yeti…and not for good reasons. If you can look past those mishaps, the rest of the card wasn’t as bad as it seems aside from a couple. I thought the turn of Ric Flair on Sting was magnificently executed, Diamond Dallas Page and Johnny B. Badd showed what WCW’s up-and-coming stars can do, plus it is still the debut of a future Hall Of Famer in The Giant, even if it was rough. So whether you watch this for its comically epic failures, you can still find a couple of hidden gems in here. Basically, what I’m saying is if I didn’t have to pick three for the ‘3 On Top’, then I’d only choose two this time around.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Diamond Dallas Page vs. Johnny B. Badd
2 – Sting & Ric Flair vs. Arn Anderson & Flyin’ Brian
3 – Lex Luger vs. Meng