Chairshot Classics: NWA Starrcade ’86 – The Skywalkers
Open: Starrcade ’86 is once again multi-venued at the Omni in Atlanta and the Greensboro Colesium in Greensboro, North Carolina. Tom Miller welcomes us to Greensboro, meanhile the scaffold hovers above the ring in Atlanta. Miller then asks everyone to rise for the National Anthem. Tony Schiavone & Rick Stewart are standing by at The Omni, while Bob Caudle & Johnny Weaver open the show in Greensboro, Caudle giving us a rundown of what’s to come before heading to the squared circle.
Match #1: Tim Horner & Nelson Royal vs. Don & Rocky Kernodle
Horner and Rocky start the match. A couple hip tosses and they exchange a variety of wrist and hammer locks. A little chain wrestling including Kernodle missing a dropkick before Rocky gives Horner an arm drag. Don is tagged in. Horner with a bodyslam on Don. He runs the ropes and executes a powerslam. Horner tags in Royal. Don connects with a shoulder tackle before Royal catches him with an abdominal stretch on Don, who reverses to a hip-toss. Don misses a charge to the corner and Royal tags out.
Horner cannot get much going on Don. Royal tags back in and puts a sleeper on Don, but Don is able to walk to the corner for a tag. Rocky enters the ring with a sunset flip from the top rope. 2 count is broken up with a headscissor. Rocky follows with a bodyslam, but misses a cross body. Royal tags Horner. and gives him a powerslam. A small package gets the same. A little brawling in the ring and Don makes the tag, and gives Horner a delayed vertical suplex. 2 count and a kickout. Don gives Horner a backdrop, and tries running into a diving headbutt, but he misses. Horner gives Don a dropkick. 2 count. They run the ropes and Don nails a big clothesline. Rocky tags in again, sends Horner to the ropes and hits a gorilla press slam. Rocky cradles Horner for a pin, but Horner reverses it into a pinfall of his own sitting on his chest and holding his legs. 1-2-3 for the win.
Winners: Tim Horner & Nelson Royal (Pinfall Counter)
- EA’s Take: This was a nothing happening match for me and in retrospect, I’m a little curious as to why it’s on the card. Don Kernodle is the most known of this grouping, but only if you’re familiar with Sgt. Slaughter’s career since they were partners and tag champions. Nelson Royal was a wrestler back in the 1960’s, had retired, then came back in 1983. Meanwhile, Horner is still a bit of an upstart, but neither he or Royal are ever anything more than jobbers. I don’t know why I was supposed to care about this match and unlike in year’s past when the crowd was into seemingly everything, the noise was fairly subdued in this one. Honestly, I had no idea who was even supposed to be the heels until the match was over.
Match #2: Brad Armstrong vs ‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin w/Precious
Both men lock up and let go. Garvin is taunting the crowd. They lock up again very aggressively. Lots of fast paced, vicious, traditional wrestling. Garvin slows it down with a headlock but Armstrong fights it. The ref finally breaks it up. Garvin applies another headlock but Armstrong attempts to counter with a wristlock. Armstrong wrestles Garvin down into an armbar submission. He continues to work on the arm with his knee and he gets some near falls. Both men are back to their feet fighting for control, trading armbars. Armstrong with a headlock takedown. They trade submissions on the mat until it’s broken by the rope. Back to their feet. Garvin wrestles Armstrong down and locks up his leg. He and Precious both taunt the crowd and camera.
Armstrong struggling to no avail with Garvin really strong on his legs for an extended period. Armstrong is able to get Garvin in a headlock despite the hold, and it’s what ultimately breaks it. Both men to their feet, back and forth on the ropes until Armstrong takes him down with a drop toe hold. Armstrong goes to work with some arm submissions until Precious is up distracting the wrestlers and ref on the apron. Garvin takes advantage of the distraction and works Armstrong down into a headscissor submission by illegally pulling him down by his hair. Armstrong trying to find strength but he’s caught in the grasp. Garvin continues to taunt the crowd. A huge pop when Armstrong escapes. Both men to their feet, they run the ropes and Armstrong delivers a hip toss, followed by a snapmare.
Garvin is quickly up though, and somehow gets Armstrong back down to the mat in the same headscissor submission. Armstrong once again escapes. They’re on their feet and Armstorng takes control, Garvin is caught in a headlock and fighting. Multiple kidney shots and he picks Armstrong up for a side slam, but Armstrong is able to counter. Garvin is still caught in that headlock. Garvin wills Armstrong’s shoulders to the mat for an apparent 3 count, but the ref saw Garvin holding the trunks and pushes them back over. Both men slowly to their feet, Garvin still caught in the headlock. He fights until finally breaking the hold with a side suplex. Both men down, Garvin is first to his feet. Attempts a pin, gets a 2 count. He bashes Armstrong’s head into the turnbuckle and throws him through the middle rope. The crowd boos. Precious approaches Armstrong taunting him.
Garvin kicks him into the rail on his attempt to re-enter the ring and Precious continues to taunt. The same results happens again. The ref backs Garvin off long enough for a drowsy Armstrong to make it back to the ring. Garvin with a snapmare and a 2 count. The crowd is trying to encourage Armstrong but Garvin is in control. Several 2 counts for Garvin after several attacks including a backbreaker. A shoulder tackle for Garvin but it looks like the men bumped heads so they’re both down on the mat. Both are up after a referee 6 count. Garvin attempts a body slam but Armstrong falls on top of him. 2 count. Garvin is frustrated and they exchange blows. Armstrong whips him to the corner but Garvin counters with a knee to the face. 2 count for Garvin. Shiavone explains there is 1 minute left! Garvin attempts a sleeper, but Armstrong with a takedown. They exchange pin attempts to no avail. Schiavone explains they’re at the 15 second mark as Garvin bodyslams Armstrong and heads to the top rope. As he executes an attempted splash, the bell rings and Armstrong moves.
- After The Bell: Armstrong attacks Garvin and sends him to the outside. He’s fired up now, Precious confronts Armstrong in the ring and the crowd is hot. Garvin attempts to get Armstrong from behind, but he’s wise to it and delivers punches until Garvin stumbles back out of the ring. Garvin is upset, but is consoled by telling himself he’s still undefeatedas the crowd boos him out of the arena.
- EA’s Take: Great selling of the aggression at the beginning of the match here by two real pros. Brad comes from the famed Armstrong family of course, arguably the most talented of the bunch. Even his brother ‘Road Dogg’ Jesse James has stated as much. Coming from a pedigree almost makes it inevitable sometimes that you’ll be skilled in the ring and that’s certainly the case with the son of WWE Hall Of Famer Bullet Bob. The flamboyant Jimmy Garvin is a fantastic heel and the kayfabe brother of Ronnie Garvin and Terry, something that was never really brought up much after The Gorgeous One made a name for himself in WCCW. He strikes you as a David Lee Roth-type and Precious added to his rock star aura. My only issue with this contest is having it finish as a draw, but I can understand why they’d want both guys protected at this point in their careers.
Match #3: Hector Guerrero & Baron Von Raschke vs. Shaska Whatley & The Barbarian
Barbarian is looking pretty intense, wrapped in chains. HUGE pop and HUGE sombraro for Hector! The heels both attack Hector. They work each other to corners before Hector and Baron whip their opponents into each other. Hector with a backbody drop on Whatley. Hector in control with a dropkick and a splash. Whatley is able to reverse and make the tag to Barbarian. Whatley holds him while Barbarian delivers a big fist from the 2nd rope. Barbarian takes control and hangs up Hector on the ropes.
Hector moves an attempted clothesline and Barbarian goes over the top rope. Baron rushes over to hold Barbarian as Hector leaps over the top rope for a splash. Whatley goes after Hector and runs him into the post. Barbarian back on the attack with a snakeeyes on the gate. Whatley comes back for a few more cheap shots and rolls him back into the ring. Barbarian with a gorilla press slam and a leg drop. He makes the tag to Whatley who hits a backbody drop before tagging Barbarian again. They double team Guerrero who is in trouble. Barbarian executes a backbreaker followed by a headbutt. Whatley with some dirty play in the corner before Barbarian makes the tag and they deliver a double backbody drop. Attempted pin, 2 count. Whatley foils Hector’s attempt at a tag and drags him back to his corner. While the ref is lecturing Whatley, Barbarian is holding Hector in the corner.
Another tag is made and Barbarian gets off a big boot. 2 backbreakers in a row from Barbarian and another tag is made to Whatley. Whatley with a headbutt followed by spitting on Hector. He whips Hector to the rope for an apparent backbody drop but Hector stops short to the surprise of Whatley. The crowd goes wild as Hector dives to his corner for a tag to Baron. Baron marches around the ring and goes to work. Barbarian attempts to interfere but Baron knocks their heads together. He delivers the claw to Whatley but it’s broken up by Barbarian. All 4 men in the ring going to work. Whatley whips Baron to the corner but Baron moves and Whatley hits the turnbuckle. Baron drops the elbow and gets the pinfall.
Winners: Hector Guerrero & Baron Von Raschke (Von Raschke/Elbow Drop)
- After The Bell: The heels toss Hector over the top and double team Baron. Barbarian to the top rope as Whatley positions him for a diving headbutt. Hector back to the ring, delivers a dropkick and the heels retreat.
- EA’s Take: The Barbarian really seems to be finding himself a bit more in this one. Like I stated, he really seemed to be more intense. His partner, Shaska, might be better remembered as Pez Whatley, who had arrived in JCP in 1985 and initially feuded alongside Jimmy Valiant against Paul Jones’ Army. Now a turncoat, he really felt like just an interchangeable body next to Barbarian. I think we all know who Hector Guerrero is or are at least aware of who The Guerreros are, so you should be familiar with what he can do in the ring. He essentially did the heavy lifting here. Baron is of course a legend in the Minnesota area and is also a turncoat, but going the opposite direction of Pez. In all, this is really just an odd mix, Baron’s best days are long behind him, but Hector can work and Barbarian is getting his footing under him.
Backstage: Johnny Weaver is outside Dusty Rhodes’ locker room. The American Dream hasn’t granted and interview about his match tonight, Weaver pleads for one and Dusty is heard through the door saying to leave him alone.
Match #4 is No Disqualification for the NWA United States Tag Team Championships: The Kansas Jayhawks (Bobby Jaggers & Dutch Mantel) vs. NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Russians (Ivan Koloff & Krusher Kruschev)
Ivan and Mantel start. Ivan using his power but Mantel manages a quick backbody drop and a tag to Jaggers. Ivan is punched to the ground followed by a whip and an elbow. Jaggers delivers more blows and uses Mantel’s boot in the corner and makes the tag. Lots of quick tags as the Jayhawks are in control. Ivan finally makes the tag to Krusher and the crowd boos. Krusher and Mantel lock up. Krusher works him to the corner and bullies him with rights. Ivan holds Mantel on the ropes and Jaggers breaks it up. Mantel rebounds with some offense forcing Krusher to the Jayhawks corner where they use the no DQ rule to their advantage.
More quick tags and double teams from the Jayhawks. Krusher stops short of a drop toe hold attempt and makes the tag to Ivan. Now it’s the Russians’ turn to doubleteam Mantel. Both Ivan and Mantel exchange failed Irish whips and Jaggers is tagged in. After a headlock, Mantel is tagged back in for a double elbow. Ivan wills himself back to the Russian corner. Mantel is fighting but can’t keep up with the two sided attack. Mantel is pulled out of the ring and is dropped knee first on the gate. Krusher rolls him back to Ivan who is waiting in the ring. Shoulder tackle by Ivan. Tag made to Krusher and more double team action ensues. 2 count by Krusher.
Double team work in the corner by The Russians. Jaggers is trying to break it up, but is being led away by the ref. The Russians whip Mantel to the ropes and he counters with a double clothesline. Mantel tags Jaggers who doesn’t discriminate going after both Russians and bashing their heads together. He whips Ivan for a lariat but the pinfall is broken up by Krusher. Now all 4 men are going at it, Jaggers and Krusher in the ring, Mantel and Ivan out. Commentators remind fans that there is no DQ. Ivan gets his trademark chain and climbs to the top rope while Krusher has Jaggers in his patented Bearhug. Before Ivan can jump he is literally whipped by Mantel from the apron. Krusher lets go of Jaggers and is whipped by Mantel, they both stumble out of the ring and brawl on the floor. Jaggers and Ivan are doing battle in the ring, as Jaggers is whipped to the ropes he’s hit from behind by Kruschev with Koloff’s chain. Jaggers falls to the mat and Mantel cannot get back in the ring thanks to Krusher. Pinfall for the win.
Winners and STILL NWA United States Tag Team Champions: The Russians (Kruschev/Foreign Object)
- EA’s Take: Nikita is no longer around with Ivan and Krusher, but we’ll get to that later in the main event. The future Zeb Colter & Bobby Jaggers don’t have a pretty offense, which can also be said about The Russians, so this was basically a slugfest for the secondary tag titles. Boy, if you thought WWE had a lot of titles, they’re surely following the footsteps of the NWA! Absolutely nothing historical about this one, The Kansas Jayhawks were a fairly short-lived duo, Jaggers is most known for feuding with Dusty in Florida, but that’s really it. Obviously, Dutch’s best days are probably coming up when he steps behind the scenes.
Match #5 is an Indian Strap Match: Rick Rude w/Paul Jones vs. Wahoo McDaniel
To win this match, you must touch all 4 corners in succession. Before the bell, Paul Jones takes the strap and demands Wahoo put it on first. Wahoo has no trouble obliging. Rude disropes and flaunts. Wahoo responds by whipping him and gets a big pop. The two bluff at starting a tug of war with the strap. Wahoo delivers a few whips before both men exchange punches. Rude is taken down with a shoulder tackle and Wahoo chokes him on the mat. Rude rolls out of the ring but Wahoo drags him back in. Rude applies a headlock and eventually rolls him to the mat. Both men get back to their feet and Rude’s on the offense beating Wahoo into the corner.
Rude wraps the strap on his feet and beats on Wahoo who is still sitting down in the corner. Rude flaunts to the crowd again and receives a boo. Back on the offense in the corner again. Bodyslam delivered by Rude who then wraps Wahoo’s wrists to restrict his motion and attempts the corners. He gets two before Wahoo gives a boot to the face. Wahoo lands a couple elbows to the head and works Rude into the corner. Paul Jones is demanding the ref break it up when Wahoo wraps the strap on the head of Rude. Wahoo delivers a flurry of whips to the back of Rude. Wahoo whips Rude to the corner and delivers a backhanded clotheline before dragging Rude to the corners. Rude appears to be deadweight as Wahoo gets 3 corners. Rude finally starts fighting back and pushes Wahoo down to the mat with his feet.
With Wahoo still down, Rude goes to the top rope and lands an elbow to the neck. The two fight for control, Rude gains it and he is back to the top rope again. Wahoo rolls to the ropes and uses the strap to throw Rude off the top and to the mat. Wahoo lands an elbow to the forehead and now he’s going for the corners. Paul Jones is going nuts. Wahoo gets 3 corners but Rude appears to be coming back to life. There is a tug of war as Wahoo goes for number 4. Jones is up on the Apron to attempt a stop to Wahoo’s pursuit. Wahoo elbows him back to the floor and dives for the 4th corner successfully.
Winner: Wahoo McDaniel
- After The Bell: Rude is enraged and attacks Wahoo in the corner. Jones is up into the ring to help. They tie Wahoo to the ropes but Hector and the Baron have a run in to save him before any further damage is done. The babyfaces celebrate in the ring.
- EA’s Take: Boy, The Ravishing One surely stands out among anybody you’ll see tonight just because of his look. Now, I’m not obsessed with jacked dudes like Vinnie Mac supposedly is, but Rude just LOOKS like a star. Rude would make a name for himself in Florida and WCCW, hailing from Minnesota, the land of many legends. The relative newcomer would quickly jump into Paul Jones’ Army and join the feud against Wahoo upon his arrival to JCP. The Chief is still hanging on by a thread career-wise and if you remember what Rude was famous for (at least to me), his ability to sell is really the entertaining point of this match. I’ve never really been a fa of the strap match and just the whole concept of having to touch all four corners, not my cup of tea. Of course like many others who did it before him, Rude would leave for greener pastures in the WWF the following April.
Backstage: The Russians are backstage with some words on tonight’s events. Ivan talks about outsmarting the Jayhawks and calls out Dusty Rhodes. He talks about Nikita’s upcoming match with Ric Flair tonight, Krusher demands Nikita do the honorable thing and give him the first title shot if he wins.
Match #6 for the NWA Central States Championship: ‘Superstar’ Bill Dundee vs. NWA Central States Champion Sam Houston
Dundee looks bothered by the crowd’s support for Houston. Dundee works Houston into the corner but Sam ducks a lariat. They lock up again and exchange armbars until Houston works him to the mat and delivers a legdrop. Both men regroup. Dundee has Houston on the mat in a headlock but Houston turns him for a couple near falls. They are back to their feet and to the ropes. The ref breaks it up. The two regroup. Irish whip to the corner and Houston with a headscissor takedown. Houston applies a headscissor submission. Dundee refuses to submit. Back to their feet once again, and Houston with a couple arm drags followed by a dropkick. Dundee is frazzled. They lock up and Dundee manages a takedown.
The ref is questioning if Dundee used Houston’s hair to bring him down. More submission work on the mat and Dundee lands a knee on the neck. 1 count. Houston stumbles to the corner before turning around and landing a punch on the pursuing Dundee. Houston is on the offense and tries for a running bulldog, but Dundee reverses it with a side suplex. Houston counters this with a full backflip and lands on his feet. Dundee runs him into the turnbuckle and pulls him backward for an attempted pin but Dundee pulls the trunks. The ref lectures Dundee on pulling the trunks.
They lock up again and Dundee sends Houston through the middle rope. It appears Houston hits the side of the table, he’s hurting. Dundee tries an attack on the floor, but Houston reverses it with an atomic drop and rolls back in the ring. Dundee is pulled back into the ring for a 2 count. Houston lands a punch but Dundee gets a big boot to Houston’s face. Dundee goes to the top rope and lands his Bombs Away, but he arrogantly delays the pin and only gets a 2 count. Dundee on the attack and appears to have his fingers in Houstons mouth. Dundee applies a front facelock and tells the cheering crowd to shutup. More punches and elbows. 2 Count.
Dundee lands 4 more punches before Houston goes down, and Dundee struts around the ring. He taunts again before a pinfall attempt and only gets 2 with the delay. Dundee applies a Boston crab and Houston screams “NO” when the ref asks him. Houston powers his way out but they’re in the ropes. Houston is once again thrown through the middle ropes. Dundee looks like he was headed for the top rope but the ref stops him from jumping to the floor. Houston crawls back into the ring and this time Dundee can land a big fist from the top rope. 2 count and Dundee is frustrated. Dundee takes Houston down to the mat with an inverted headlock.
Houston pumps the fans up by kicking the mat and slowly gets back up. He drives Houston to the corner and lands several rights. He whips Dundee for an elbow to the jaw. 2 Count. Houston with a knee to the jaw. Bodyslam by Houston, but Dundee moves an attempts knee drop. Dundee goes to work on the affected knee, using the bottom rope to make it vulnerable. Several knee submissions applied by Dundee. When Houston is able to shove Dundee off, he knocks the ref into the corner. This gives Dundee the opportunity to grab Houston’s the boot that fell off when the hold was broken and he clocks him with it. The ref saw it from the mat and calls for the bell. Dundee celebrates but the ref raises Houston’s hand.
Winner and STILL NWA Central States Champion: Sam Houston (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: An enraged Dundee beats Houston with his own boot until he’s able to roll out of the ring. Dundee is showered with boos.
- EA’s Take: Sam Houston moves up the card for this year’s Starrcade after opening the show the year prior. This was a really quick pace for these smaller stars, good job from Dundee to keep up with the young Houston at his age before slowing the pace. Dundee’s biggest exploits were in Memphis where he had a pretty hot feud against WWE Hall Of Famer Jerry Lawler, but by 1986 he was the same age as JJ Dillon. Again, another unusual title in the Central States Championship, which was the primary title of NWA affiliate Central States Wrestling (Kansas City).
Match #7 is Hair vs. Hair: Jimmy Valiant w/Big Mama vs. Paul Jones w/Manny Fernandez
Before the bell, Fernandez argues with the referee about going into the cage saying he’s going to sit ringside. He reluctantly works his way down. Several wrestlers from the back attack Fernandez to get him in the cage. Valiant is on the attack first. Irish whip and lariat to Jones. Valiant with a hiptoss as the crowd goes wild. Valiant rakes the back of Jones and hits another hiptoss. He continues the attack with a facerake.
The ref backs Valiant off Jones as they move to the turnbuckle. Jones goes to his tights and takes out a foreign object. He hits Valiant with it. “Big Mama” is trying to distract from ringside, but Jones is able to land several stomps and punches on a bleeding Valiant. 2 count. Jones is enraged and goes back to work on Valiant. Another pinfall attempt but the leg is on the rope. When Jones sees this he attempts a knee drop on Valiant’s leg, but Jimmy moves. Valiant starts pumping the crowd up “Hulk Style”.
Valiant is once again struck by the foreign object without the refs seeing it. Pinfall attempt by Jones, 2 count. Jones goes for the Indian Deathlock but Valiant pulls his head to the mat. The two are back to their feet and they exchange rights before Valiant takes control. Whips Jones to the ropes and into a sleeper. A desperate and struggling Jones once again reaches for a foreign object. Valiant shoves Jones to the turnbuckle who then falls to his back and the foreign object flies from his hand to the center of the ring. Valiant picks up the foreign object and hits him with it. 1-2-3.
Winner: Jimmy Valiant (Foreign Object)
- After The Bell: Valiant with the clippers shaves a knocked out Jones. Fernandez is slowly lowered to the floor and is demanding to come out. After the shaving is done, Fernandez attacks Valiant from behind and Rick Rude runs in joining the attack. Rude works on Valiant while Fernandez gets a chair. The two piledrive Valiant into the chair and then cover Jones’ head as they exit the ring.
- EA’s Take: The never-ending feud between Valiant and Paul Jones continues on, but would conclude after this one. In years past, the crowd was hot for anything going on between these two. That was not the case tonight as they would really die down almost into a silence during some points before a big pop for the finish. Maybe they were finally catching on that the matches just weren’t that good. I’d argue that Jones was a better worker even at this stage.
Intermission: Like every other year, we have an intermission like this is some kind of house show. Instead of highlights from previous Starrcade shows and interviews, we get a look at the last Jim Crockett Cup to promote the next upcoming tournament.
Match #8 is a Street Fight: Big Bubba Rogers w/Jim Cornette vs. Ronnie Garvin
Prematch, Cornette is on the mic to introduce Rogers. Schiavone explains the rules of the street fight which is the same as a last man standing. Garvin lands a few punches that seem to not effect a towering Rogers. Rogers looks for a traditional test of strength tie up. Garvin bluffs at it and punches Rogers out of the ring. Cornette helps Rogers regroup and he’s back to the ring. Rogers sends Garvin through the middle rope but he lands on his feet. Garvin is back to the ring and the men tie up. You can hear Cornette barking from ringside. The two brawl before Garvin is once again thrown through the middle rope.
Garvin slow to get back to the ring but he does so with a soda from the announce table. He splashes it on Rogers face and takes advantage with some vicious offense. Bubba finally rolls out of the ring and the crowd pops. Cornette gives Bubba a foreign object but Garvin catches Bubba in a chokehold as he enters the ring. Garvin works Bubba to the corner but Rogers out strengths him and gets in some blows. Bubba knocks him into the turnbuckle and nails him with a foreign object which appears to be a roll of nickels. Garvin gets up at an 8 count from the ref and Bubba goes back to work with punches to the mat. Garvin is once again up and an 8 count but is immeditaley bodyslammed by Bubba. 2 count. Bubba is up and the ref goes for another 10 count. Again, up at 8. The two exchange punches but Garvin pulls a rope out of his boot and starts choking Bubba with it.
The two work on the mat and Garvin lands several punches before once again tying Bubba up with the rope. After some exchanges, Rogers is able to take control and gets Garvin in a bear hug. Garvin gradually works the crowd up and is able to counter the bearhug with a headbutt but not for long. Bubba puts him in another. Garvin again counters with headbutt. Garvin lands multiple rights until finally punching him over the top rope to the floor. Cornette is pleading with Bubba to get up. Bubba’s back in the ring at the 6 count. Garvin still on the offense with rights until Bubba falls through the middle rope.
Garvin gives chase to the floor but Bubba counters with a knee to the midsection and rolls him back to the ring. Bubba to the top rope for a “Bubba Slam” but Garvin is to his feet for a gorilla press slam from the top rope. 2 count. When Bubba kicks out, Garvin lands on the referee. Garvin is first to his feet and lands a piledriver while the ref is unconcious. As Garvin stumbles near the ropes for a pin, Cornette hits Garvin on the back of the head with his racket and the referee starts his 10 count for both men who are down for the 10 count. He reaches 10 but explains on the mic that there must be a winner, so the first man to his feet will win. Cornette continues to plead with Bubba and gets in the ring but the ref pushes him back out. Garvin is the first to his knees. The ref is standing near Bubba and is pulled down. Garvin was to his feet but is hit in the knee by Cornette without the ref seeing. Bubba makes his way to his feet and win the match.
Winner: Big Bubba Rogers
- After The Bell: The crowd chants “Bull$#%!“.
- EA’s Take: In the words of Greg DeMarco referring to Big Bubba, “Thank God someone got him a gimmick!”. We know about the exploits of Ronnie Garvin after last year, but Bubba is obviously Ray Traylor, the future Big Bossman. I previously posted a picture of him working under his real name in JCP on The Chairshot’s Instagram and let me tell you, he was as bare bones (character-wise) as it gets. This upstart came into JCP and got pulled from television by Dusty Rhodes, who saw the potential in him and no longer wanted Traylor jobbing out. He was given the Big Bubba name and places alongside Jim Cornette as his bodyguard, looking like Mr. Hughes with a suit and shades (although not permanent shades like Hughes). He would get a good push and end up working opposite Dusty into 1987, but would make his way to the WWF in July of the same year.
Match #9 is First Blood for the NWA World Television Championship: Dusty Rhodes vs. NWA World Television Champion Tully Blanchard w/James J. Dillon
Before the match, they show Rhodes coming to the ring straight from his dressing room. JJ Dillon is putting a piece of headgear on Tully but Dusty is protesting. The ref and JJ get into an argument until finally JJ gives it up. Now JJ is putting some form of grease or oil on Tully’s face. The ref angerly protests this as well and wipes his face with a towel. Meanwhile, Dillon confronts Rhodes and is pushed to the mat. Dusty gives him some kicks and Dillon is bleeding. Tully misses a charge and offers Rhodes a test of strength.
Dusty instead kicks him to the midsection. The two regroup and lock up. Dusty taunts Blanchard by threatening him with his elbow. The two temporarily lock up but protect themselves from getting hit with punches or elbows. They regroup and lockup. Blanchard catches a kick, takes Rhodes to his back but misses an elbow. They lockup, and Rhodes hits a headbutt. Rhodes delivers a snapmare and a stomp to the knee. They tie up in the corner and Dusty works the midsection. The crowd goes wild as Rhodes hits an elbow. Dusty wants Tully checked but there’s no blood. Rhodes with a chop and Blanchard’s on the mat.
Rhodes with an elbow drop to the inside of the knee x2. When Rhodes threatens for the head, Blanchard rolls outside the ring. The two regroup and this time Blanchard takes control. After a snapmare, he rips at Rhodes’ face but is pulled to the mat instead. Rhodes works Blanchard to the corner, but JJ Dillon trips Rhodes from the outside and the big man falls into the ref. Meanwhile, Blanchard climbs the ropes. Dillon tosses Blanchard a shoe, but he can’t use it as Dusty catches his jumping effort. Rhodes with a suplex to Blanchard, but they hit the ref once again. With the ref out, Dusty delivers a barrage of punches to Blanchard’s head and he is bleeding but the referee is unconcious. As Rhodes celebrates, Dillon cleans the blood from Blanchard, puts oil over the cut and gives him a roll of coins. Blanchard hits Rhodes with the coins and he falls to the mat. When the ref comes to, the first thing he sees is a bleeding Dusty Rhodes.
Winner and STILL NWA World Television Champion: Tully Blanchard
- After The Bell: Dusty is enraged, pleading with the ref that Blanchard was bleeding first to no avail.
- EA’s Take: Another bloody brawl at Starrcade for Tully and another screwed finish going against the babyface. The build to this one was much better than the match itself and although I prefer Blanchard’s match against Magnum TA last year, it’s still a good watch and of course the crowd was white-hot. The formation of The Four Horsemen in early 1986 changed everything for pro wrestling’s future and anybody they were put up against seemed to come out the better of it. I stated previously that Dusty’s got the book and while he had put himself in main events in years past, he was starting to move himself down the card a bit and use his name to solidify other talent. Tully didn’t necessarily need it, but it gave him another high-profile match on Starrcade and continued The Horsemen/Rhodes rivalry without going to Dusty vs. Flair for the third year in a row.
Match #10 is a Skywalkers Match: The Road Warriors (Animal & Hawk) w/Paul Ellering vs. The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Dennis Condrey) w/ Jim Cornette
To win this contest, you must push your opponents off the scaffold. Condrey starts to climb the ladder to the top of the scaffold but is very hesitant. Cornette encourages him up. As Eaton begins his climb, Cornette is grabbing his leg. Cornette comes to the announce table and proclaims that this match is insane. The Express look very nervous and start by sitting and crawling. Condrey crawls under Hawks legs and begins with Animal while Hawk and Eaton start as well. The Express are down face first early. Pretty slow moving basic stuff until the Express throws powder in the face of both Road Warriors.
Animal dangles off the right side of the scaffold and the Express are in control. Hawk’s legs are dangling. Eaton works Animal over and has one leg over. Bobby is underneith the scaffold trying to pull Animal over. He’s now hanging onto to Animals leg with one arm, the scaffold with another before catching himself on the scaffold. Eaton climbs back up as does Animal. Animal faceplants Eaton on the scaffold. Condrey is bloody from the work of Hawk. Both are bleeding. Condrey to the ladder. It looks like he may be trying to crawl down.
Hawk’s got him by the hair and delivers a right. Another right as Condrey moves down the ladder. A kick to the head as Condreys in a bad spot. Hawk comes down to kick him some more but Eaton stumbles over to save him. Animal is trailing Eaton though and catches him. Hawk delivering a series of punches to Condrey from just below the scaffold. The two continue to exchange blows while Eaton and Animal exchange up top. Animal beats beats Eaton the the lower scaffold but Eaton uses the monkey bars. All 4 men on the monkey bars swinging back and forth. The Roadwarriors kick them down. First Condrey, then Eaton.
Winners: The Road Warriors
- After The Bell: Outside the ring, Paul Ellering steals Jim Cornettes tennis racket and chases him down. Cornette tries to escape up the scaffold. Ellering gives chase. Cornette does realize Animal is still up there. Surrounded, a scared Cornette drops to him belly as Animal pulls on him. Cornette is hanging from the monkey bars and quickly falls to the ring in obvious pain.
- EA’s Take: This is of course the famous spot where Cornette blows out both of his knees and despite his acrophobia (fear of heights), would be willing to do the spot since it was on such a big stage. Big Bubba was supposed to catch him, but obviously that didn’t happen and Corny was seriously hurt. Now, if this isn’t the most dangerous gimmick you’ve seen that didn’t involve barb-wire or explosives, I’m not sure what is. Being so high up in the air leaves you on the edge of your seat, but with such an element of danger, you can imagine how difficult it is to have any sort of match under these circumstances. With two of the greatest tag teams ever, I understand the idea of the gimmick keeping Cornette at bay, but it just wasn’t for me. Waiting to watch somebody DIE is not really something I’m interested in.
Match #11 is a Steel Cage Match for the NWA World Tag Team Championships: The Andersons (Arn & Ole) vs. NWA World Tag Team Champions The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)
Gibson and Ole start. Ole’s aggressive but Gibson dodges a punch and Ole punches the cage. They lock up, Gibson on the offense but they roll to the Anderson’s corner and Ole makes the tag. Morton rushes the ring but is kicked out by the ref. Arn and Gibson working. Arn is driven into the cage multiple times before stumbling to Morton’s corner for some cheap shots. He’s able to stumble to his own corner and make the tag to Ole. Ole and Gibson exchange blows until Gibson is able to make the tag to Morton. Morton on the offense knocking Ole to the mat. They exchange a couple of reversals until Ole is able to tag Arn. Arn and Morton lock up.
Arn attempts to bash Morton to the cage but he puts his boot up. Multiple arm lock reversals before Arn backs off. Regroup. Morton with an armbar and tags Gibson. Gibson with an Irish whip into corner. Arn moves and Gibson is put up to the top rope. Arn works Gibson’s leg into the cage before dragging him off the top rope for a tag to Ole. Ole continues to work the left leg with stombs and leg drops. Another tag to Arn who picks up where Ole left off, working the left leg. Gibson is able to kick him off but before he can tag Morton, another tag is made to Ole. Ole stomps the leg but Gibson tries to fight back. The referee breaks the hold at the ropes.
Ole drags him back toward the Anderson corner but Gibson retalitates with shots to the head. He’s able to keep hold of Gibson’s foot though and makes the tag to Arn who continues submissions and knees shots to the damaged leg. Arn drags him up, Gibson attempts one kick but Arn catches it. From one foot Gibson lands a kick to Arn’s head. Arn is in position to make the tag to Ole but meanwhile, Gibson barrel rolls to his own corner and tags Morton. A huge ovation from the crowd. After brief offense, the Andersons double team Morton and Ole, the legal man, runs Morton into the steel cage twice. Ole punches him into the corner and puts his boot to Morton’s head until the ref calls him off. Snapmare by Ole. 2 count. Ole with a kick to the shoulder followed by an armbar. Morton fights him off and punches him to the ground, but Ole makes the tag along the way.
Arn works Morton into the corner and drags his face along the cage on both sides. Morton is bloody but fighting back. Arn stops the momentum wrapping Morton’s arm around the rope and tagging Ole. Ole goes to work with some stomps. He continues to target the left arm with a submission but it’s broken by the ropes. Ole hurls Morton over the turnbuckle and into the cage. More submission maneuvers and stomps on the left arm. He drives Morton into his own corner and tags Arn. Arn with an Anderson slam and goes to the 2nd rope. Morton reverses the double axe hammer with a shot to the gut and the crowd goes wild. Morton lands a DDT but Ole rushes the ring with stomps to Morton. When Gibson tries to stop this, the ref singles him out and forces him back to the corner while Ole continues to beat on Morton. Despite any official tag, it appears Ole is the legal man and he hits a shoulder drop. 2 count. Morton is fighting back but they’re in the Anderson’s corner again and the tag is made to Arn. A brief double team before Arn takes control and continues working the arm and pounding on his head.
Arn whips Morton to the ropes, he ducks a clothesline and gets Arn on the back of the head on the rebound. Both men are lying on the mat. As both men struggle to get up, Arn holds Morton’s trunks and makes the tag to Ole. Ole with a stomp followed by an arm submission. The ref checks but Morton says no. The two are down on their knees and Morton tries to fight back and respond to Ole’s punches. Ole works him to the ropes near the Anderson corner where Arn holds him and delivers cheap shots. When they lock up again, Morton tries to attack Ole’s leg but despite this, Ole makes the tag to Arn. Morton ducks a clothesline, but Arn lands a spinebuster. 2 count before Gibson saves. As the ref is redirecting Gibson, a tag is made to Ole who goes to the top rope while Arn holds him. Ole delivers a kick to the back of Morton’s head and is immediately to the mat in another armbar submission.
Both men to their feet before Morton drops and kicks Ole in the face. Ole rebounds into another headlock, but a whip to the corner results in both men hitting each other’s head. Both men slow to get up but Ole is first and tags Arn who thwarts Morton’s attempt with a stomp. He applies a front facelock to Morton who refuses to give up. Both men slow to their feet, front facelock in tack. Morton fights back with rights while Arn misses his punches. Both men to the mat. Arn makes the tag. Morton desperately fights Ole off and works him into a small package but Arn makes the save. Gibson rushes Arn and the referees try to get them out of the ring. Meanwhile Ole lifts Morton for a body slam but Gibson dropkicks Morton on top of him and they get the 3 count.
Winners and STILL NWA World Tag Team Champions: The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express (Morton/Assisted Body Slam Counter)
- After The Bell: The Andersons go after the Express as they crawl their way out of the cage.
- EA’s Take: What a loaded tag division JCP has, at least it feels that way with your top four! This was a masterful work of art by two more of the best duos ever, The Andersons dominating the action much like they did last year. I don’t need to delve too much into this one because you should already know what to expect from them and that’s exactly what they gave us. This was everything tag team wrestling should be.
Match #12 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: NWA United States Champion Nikita Koloff vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair
Before the match there’s a tribute to Magnum TA. Mixed reaction for Nikita. The two lock up and Koloff powers him down. They lock up again and get the same result. Flair walks out of the ring to regroup. Test of strength and Koloff immediately twists his arm. Flair screams and the crowd cheers. Flair responds with chops that do not effect Koloff. Frustrated, Flair goes for another walk. They finally lock up again, and Flair is once again powered to the mat. You can hear Flair say “OK, Now you get your butt kicked you son of a gun!”. Flair works Koloff to the corner, but Koloff is able to turn and ultimately hiptosses Flair back to the center of the ring. Regroup and lock up.
Nikita powers him to the turnbuckle and hiptosses him once again followed by a couple impressive 1 handed body slams. Flair cowers away on his backside and demands the ref to back Koloff off. They lock up again, run the ropes and Flair tries an unsuccessful shoulder tackle. On attempt number two he is caught in a bear hug. Flair is screaming “No”. Koloff works Flairs shoulders to the mat but he kicks out at 2 several times. He’s pulled up to a full bear hug. Flair walks himself to the ropes to break the hold but Koloff immedaitely with shoulders to the midsection. Flair pulls a reversal on an Irish whip and gets Koloff up for a vertical suplex. But Nikita is right back to his feet and the frustrated Flair leaves the ring and paces outside in pain. He crawls back into the ring begging Koloff to back off for a minute. They lock up and Koloff administers a headlock.
Flair fights back with punches and works him to the corner for shoulders to the midsection and chops. Flair with a punch to the face and a whip to the ropes. After a failed shoulder tackle, Koloff reverses the next run with The Russian Hammer. The ref breaks the hold. Flair pulls himself up by the rope. Koloff attempts a clothesline but Flair moves and Koloff flies over the top rope. Flair starts to work on the knee, running it into the post outside and clipping him inside. Flair taunts Koloff who is struggling to get to his feet. Flair with multiple chops before getting into the Figure Four Leglock. As the ref isn’t looking, Flair takes extra leverage from the rope. Koloff struggles but refuses to give up. Koloff manages to turn the figure four, but Flair is on the ropes and the hold is broken. An angry Flair gets up and runs Koloff’s eyes across the top rope.
Flair with chops in the corner, but it seems to invoke Koloff. Koloff powers him down to the other corner. A begging Flair receives kicks and shoulder shots before a shoulder tackle. On the 2nd attempt, Flair is able to reverse and throw Koloff through the middle rope. Flair follows and leads Koloff around the ring and smashes his head on the scaffold. Koloff is bleeding. Back to the ring, Flair hits a snapmare followed by a knee to the head. 2 count. Side suplex by Flair and another 2 count. Flair is frustrated and delivers a series of punches to the head before the ref backs him off. This seems to have woken Nikita up. Nikita is up and stalking Flair. Koloff on the offense with shoulder blocks and a body slam. Koloff hip tosses Flair who is screaming “NO!”. Koloff whips Flair to the turnbuckle and he tumbles outside the ring. Koloff giving chase, but when he gets there Flair delivers a headbutt to the midsection. He tries to run Koloff into the scaffold again but its blocked and instead Koloff drives Flair’s head into the structure. Koloff back to the ring first as the ref counts. Koloff hits him again from inside the ring. Flair works his way into the ring and Koloff drives him into the turnbuckle.
When Koloff slowly approaches an offensive maneuver, Flair reverses with a kick to the gut and a chop in the corner. Koloff matches chops and punches and Flair falls face first to the mat. Whip to the rope. Koloff hits an awkward shoulder tackle which also hits the referee who is knocked to the floor. Flair with the Irish whip to the corner, but Koloff comes back with a huge lariat. He makes a prolonged cover but there is no referee in the ring. Koloff tries to pull the referee back in (who is being helped by other official) In the meantime, Flair is up and delivers a knee to Koloff’s back. A new official rolls into the ring for a pinfall attempt. 2 count. Koloff blocks a punch and attempts to whip Flair into the ropes. Flair reverses the whip but when Koloff comes back, Flair ducks a clothesline and hits the new referee. Koloff bullies Flair in the corner as the original referee returns to the ring. As he tries to break the hold in the corner x2, Koloff pushes him down. Ref calls for the bell.
Winner: Double Disqualification
- After The Bell: A complete melee as various wrestlers rush the ring to pull them apart.
- EA’s Take: This is very unusual in terms of crowd reaction, Nikita getting a mix of cheers and boos, but Flair’s a Horsemen and they’re heels. After the accident to Magnum TA, booker Dusty Rhodes had to make a change as Magnum was set to be pushed into a main event title match against Flair. The era of the evil Russians was starting to come to a close, so in order to capitalize on the changing political tides, Nikita would side with Rhodes and make the switch. Clearly, not all of the crowd was buying it yet. Nikita is much improved at this point and it allows Flair to do what he does best and that’s sell, sell, sell. This clash put Dusty in an unusual spot however, as Nikita isn’t ready for the World Title, but still needed to be protected to a degree if he was ever to get there. That leaves us with a finish I don’t care for, but again, I understand why it had to be done.
EA’s Finisher: A solid show. I think the gimmick matches were a lot cleaner than last year and made them more enjoyable, but that Skywalkers Match I definitely could have lived without. I applaud JCP for trying something new, but to me it just doesn’t work, it’s far too dangerous and was a wasted opportunity to have a quality match between two all-time great teams. The Andersons and Rock ‘N’ Roll Express put on a tag team clinic, the main event was a better in-ring product than the year before and we continue to see Crockett replenish his roster with young talent (which was really a necessity, but if not for that ability they may have had to sell much sooner). The production value is certainly getting better as well, plus there weren’t really any tech issues that I can recall. If I’m being honest, JCP’s product is really every bit as good as the WWF’s and in cetain aspects, is even better. The difference is WWF is mainstream, JCP was not.
Top Three To Watch
1 – The Andersons vs. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express
2 – Ric Flair vs. Nikita Koloff
3 – Sam Houston vs. Bill Dundee
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Attitude Of Aggression #277- The Big Four Project Chapter 4: Summer Slam ’88 & Survivor Series ’88
The Attitude Of Aggression returns for Chapter 4 of The Big Four Project, a chronological analysis, review, and discussion about WWE’s Big Four PPVs/ Premium Live Events. On this Episode, Dave is again joined by the one and only PC Tunney to discuss two more huge events in pro wrestling history, the inaugural Summer Slam and Survivor Series’88. However, the guys are also joined by the debuting DJ of The Mindless Wrestling Podcast to join in the festivities. Summer Slam ’88 was a key event in the story of the rise, and eventual fall, of The Mega Powers. But it also saw a different kind of explosion as The Ultimate Warrior burst upon the scene like few had before him with an iconic dethroning of The Honky Tonk Man. The fellas look at how the events of that night in MSG nearly 35 years ago redefined an industry. From there, Dave & DJ recap the second Survivor Series. While not as unique or good as the first Survivor Series, there were still many key moments that took place that night. The Mega Powers would be the sole survivors of their match that night,,,,but they would not survive as a united force for much longer. What changed that night in Richfield, Ohio so long ago? We have the whole story for you here on Chapter 4 of The Big Four Project!
About the Chairshot Radio Network
Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, Chairshot Radio daily editions, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, Turnbuckle Talk, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.
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Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #16 – ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
Breaking up the 2018 time travel with a much deeper dive! Harry goes back to some prime ECW with Guilty As Charged 1999!
Greetings, salutations and welcome back. Harry here once again with another edition of ‘What I Watched’. As the calendar year turns to 1999 on my watch-through of all things ‘big three’ wrestling, I covered Starrcade 1998 in an earlier edition of WIW. I figured since this is probably the last year where all three major companies are relevant (at least at the start), it could be fun to compare and contrast how I feel about the respective PPVs when compared to some of the independent wrestling I’ve been covering recently. Or even going back to the PROGRESS or Impact Wrestling shows that I’ve covered before. I am fully aware there are going to be some bad shows in 1999. But there is also a lot to talk about in a drastically changing industry. Let’s do this, shall we?
ECW is in flux as talent losses haven’t yet gotten to what they would become but names like Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Bam Bam Bigelow and others are no longer with the company. To make matters worse, the ECW-FMW relationship is falling apart now as well as a Chris Candido and Sunny (sorry, Tammy Lynn Sytch) no-show of a scheduled FMW appearance. Paul Heyman himself is the first person we see telling us the card is going to change…how much does it change? The WayBack Machine takes us to January 10th, 1999 in Kissimmee, FL as it’s time for ECW to be Guilty as Charged!
What I Watched #16
ECW Guilty as Charged 1999
Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL
Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)
Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)
- Match 1: Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney win 3 team tag elimination match, eliminating Little Guido/Tracy Smothers @ 10:44 (Danny Doring/Roadkill eliminated @ 8:15)
- Match 2: Yoshihiro Tajiri pins Super Crazy, dragon suplex @ 11:37
- Match 3: Psycho Sid Vicious pins John Kronus, powerbomb @ 1:31
- Match 4: Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley def. New Jack/Spike Dudley, both Dudleyz pin Spike @ 10:05
- Match 5: ECW TV Title- Rob Van Dam pins Lance Storm, bridged German suplex @ 17:46
- Match 6: Justin Credible pins Tommy Dreamer, That’s Incredible on ladder @ 18:44
- Match 7: ECW Heavyweight Title- Taz defeats Shane Douglas © by KO, Tazmission @ 22:15
Three Team Tag Elimination Match
Started as a straight up 2 vs. 2, but within the first two minutes, Ballz and Axl (Axl making his return to the company after the passing of his grandmother) join the frey and it becomes your traditional ECW three team brawl. Nothing really stands out here but the overall work is good enough for what the match is supposed to be. The elimination of Doring and Roadkill is well done, as a FBI double-team fishermanbuster looks really cool and gets a decisive win for what was to be the original match. They do give the win to Axl and Ballz here, which I get given the fact they are a popular act, but I personally think that Guido and Tracy were a better team during the time frame. (**½)
Super Crazy vs. Tajiri
Yes, it’s the feud that never ends. But this is where it begins. Both men were relative newcomers to the American wrestling scene with both having had limited exposure on WWF TV (both were in the Light Heavyweight title tournament). This is a good match but not a great match and honestly, I think timing is the issue here. Eleven minutes may seem like a lot but knowing what these two would be capable of down the road once there is more of a fan and time investment into their matches, it ends up being a good starting point but probably not the blow away match that ECW was expecting to deliver here. (***)
John Kronus vs. Mystery Opponent
So, ECW fans are notorious for their belief that the “big oaf” style of the WWF and WCW wouldn’t work in ECW. Obviously, they are wrong. Guys like Big Dick Dudley and 911 became massive fan favorites due to their look, not anything they could do in a wrestling ring. You can add another name to that list, as Psycho Sid makes his ECW debut here (following an introduction by the ‘Judge’ Jeff Jones) and absolutely kicks Kronus’ ass in less than two minutes. Sid was never anything special in the ring but he is one of the more charismatic big men in wrestling history so the cult-like following is easy to understand. Too short to rate, but fun for what it was. (X)
Dudleyz vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley
Sixteen year old Harry getting into ECW was a huge Joel Gertner fan. Thirty seven year old Harry going back and watching these shows is an even bigger fan of Joel Gertner. Granted, his shtick is incredibly juvenile but sometimes, you just want to laugh…
The match is your standard ECW garbage brawl. Most New Jack matches definitely have a similarity to them that does not hold up well for re-watching. I will openly admit to being a Spike Dudley mark and he does well taking an ass whooping from Bubba Ray. The Dudleyz definitely have their moments in ECW (the best is still to come in my opinion) but this isn’t one of their best performances. I will give props to New Jack for taking 3D on the ramp, even if it doesn’t come across the cleanest. About what you’d expect, but nothing more. (**)
TV Title- Rob Van Dam © vs. Lance Storm
Rob Van Dam vs. Masato Tanaka was the originally scheduled match and I think it could have been fun. However, Tanaka apparently has visa issues which prevent him from being able to get into the US for the show and thus ECW has to pivot quickly. I do have to give credit to Lance Storm for his pre-match promo here. For someone who is not known as one of the better talkers in wrestling history, he does a really good job explaining the situation with the 3 way that was supposed to happen (Storm vs. Spike vs. Jerry Lynn (cracked pelvis)) and then calling out Rob Van Dam since his opponent wasn’t there either. Storm has a really good closing line for the promo too: “I’m not the ‘Whole F’n Show’, but I am the best damn part of it’. That is one of the lines that sticks with you and you remember it.
The match itself is very good but not great. It is better than anything else on the show, so perhaps I’m rating it on a slight curve for that. Van Dam’s selling is sporadic but to be fair, Van Dam’s selling is always sporadic. The biggest thing for me is that despite that, they still keep an impressive pace and the match is by and large clean. There is a super weak chair shot by Storm (which the crowd gives him a good ration of shit over), but they do manage to turn that crowd around for the finishing sequence. A little surprised by the choice of finish, but I imagine that has something to do with telling the idea that Storm got caught and wasn’t soundly defeated like most of Van Dam’s prior opponents had been. (***½)
Stairway to Hell- Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer
The problem for Credible in ECW is that Paul wanted you to believe that Justin was this huge deal but truthfully, the booking never actually treated him as such. Yeah, he won…A LOT…but more often than not, it was almost treated as an afterthought. He very rarely won the big matches on his own and while I get that as a heel, you want to give him that sense of dickishness, as a wrestling fan eventually you have to make it look like the dude could stand up on his own. Dreamer has long been a favorite of mine, even if he has overstayed his welcome in the ring on occasion. You know going in that win or lose, Tommy will bust his ass to give you as good a match as he is capable of.
As for this match, it never reaches that next level that you expect a gimmicked semi main event of a PPV to reach. It’s not actively bad or anything (in fact, probably up there for Credible’s best match in ECW to date) but with the stipulation and the gaga around it, it feels like there was so much more it could have been. The finish comes off really flat as well as it renders the whole point of the stipulation useless and only serves to put more heat on Credible by way of Funk. (**½)
Heavyweight Title- Shane Douglas © vs. Taz
So, I’ll be a little nicer to this match then some other reviewers I’ve seen for a couple reasons. It completely accomplishes the goal that Heyman set out for it. Taz comes out of the match looking like a world beater. Douglas comes out of the match as the face of the company who “went out on his shield” as the old phrase goes. Sabu looks like a lunatic and a viable threat to take the title at any time he damn well pleases. Candido comes off as a huge dick and sticks the final knife in Douglas’ back for the end scene. So the story telling is magnificent.
The match itself? At least a good five to seven minutes too long for that story. I get wanting that epic storytelling to fold out but when you guys are down and low on ideas, it might not be the worst idea to take it home. The other issue is that by trying to serve so many masters, Heyman causes the main event to end up being epically overbooked. Granted, that is an ECW trademark but for what was to be the crowning moment for Taz, I don’t think the 73rd Airborne needed to be a part of it. Sabu could have just as easily returned post match to set up a run with Taz. Or Candido could have turned on Douglas post match to give him a direction going forward since Taz would be occupied with Sabu. I’m not saying it completely takes away the moment but it does make it mean less than it could or should have in the overall scheme of things. (**)
THE FINAL REACTION
- Best Match/Moment: Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm, although I do think their match at the first ECW PPV ‘Barely Legal’ (which I imagine I’ll eventually do) is better
- Worst Match/Moment: The main event. What could have been an awesome moment for the ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and the biggest ass kicker in the company is ruined with a boring crowd brawl (to the home viewer) and a couple of run-ins that either end up actively taking away from it.
- Overall Show Score: 5.5/10
- MVP: Joey Styles is the best thing about this show with his one man performance. There is a reason he was such a major influence on what I did as an announcer.
It’s not a bad show. It’s just not a particulary good one either. And while ECW would put out worse, it only barely outdoes Starrcade 98 to avoid the worst show of the return thus far.
So, where do we go from here? January of 1999 had no chill. The very next Sunday would see the first WCW outing of 1999, called Souled Out. The Sunday after that would be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. I’m going to hit both of those but as a fair warning, I’ll probably try to mix an Independent show from 2018 in the middle of them. Hope to see you guys at Souled Out. And feel free to check out my archives by clicking on my name at the top of this review. Thanks for reading, everyone.
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