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Chairshot Classics: NWA Starrcade ’87 – Chi-Town Heat

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The NWA and Jim Crockett Promotions bring us their fourth annual Starrcade from Chicago and we’re no longer on closed circuit, but pay-per-view! JCP has also just recently purchased the Universal Wresting Federation (formerly Mid-South Wrestling) from Bill Watts, so we have a number of new talents including one on our announce team. Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross welcome us to the UIC Pavilion and send us directly to the ring, where the combatants for our first match are on their way out!

Match #1: ‘Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert, Rick Steiner & Larry Zbysko w/Baby Doll vs. Sting, Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes & ‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin w/Precious
Sting and Rick Steiner will get this one started. Steiner blindsides Sting with a lariat followed by a shoulder block. On an attempted 3rd attack, Sting issues a drop toe hold and Steiner stumbles through the middle rope onto the floor. As Steiner gets to his feet, Sting launches over the top rope with a plancha. He rolls Steiner back into the ring, climbs to the top rope and lands a missile dropkick. Zbysko and Gilbert rush the ring but they’re cutoff by dropkicks from Hayes and Garvin. Sting’s team knocks Gilbert’s team into one another with simultaneous Irish whips and they knock the heels to the floor.

Steiner tries slowing things down by taking his time back to the ring. He meets Michael Hayes who goes to work on Steiner’s left arm before a quick tag to Garvin. Jimmy whips him to the rope and delivers a backbody drop. Steiner gives, and crawls to his corner to tag Zbysko. The two lock up and Garvin lands several shoulder blocks before it’s Hayes’ turn again. The Freebird lands an elbow and struts around the ring. The defeated Zbysko tags in Gilbert, but it is all Michael Hayes. Sting is tagged in, climbs to the 2nd rope and delivers an axe handle followed by a clothesline. Gilbert thwarts the offensive attack and comes back with a body slam. He makes the tag to Steiner who is greeted with an arm drag. Sting tags Garvin who goes up for a sunset flip and gets a 2 count. Back to their feet, Steiner is able to work Garvin into his corner and tag in Zbysko.

The “Living Legend” pulls the ref’s attention away so Gilbert and Steiner can take advantage of Garvin in the corner. Zybysko delivers a power slam to Garvin. 2 count. Gilbert is tagged back in. He executes an atomic drop and a back breaker before trying another pin. Another 2 count. Gilbert lifts Garvin for a body slam. He runs the ropes for an elbow drop but Garvin moves. Nonetheless, he is the first one to make a tag and Rick Steiner is back in. The Michigan shooter delivers a power slam for a near-fall. Steiner puts Garvin in a long bearhug. He tries to run Garvin into the corner unsuccessfully. Steiner makes the tag to Zbysko and Garvin is prevented from making his. The crowd is hot for Garvin to make that tag.

Zbysko applies an abdominal stretch on Garvin, but Jimmy is able to reverse out of it and give a hip toss and make that tag to Sting. He is attacked by all 3 heels but is able to get the better of them until finally Zbysko rakes his eyes. The ref is once again distracted by the heels and Gilbert gets some cheap work in before throwing Sting over the top rope. The heels regroup and Gilbert is now the legal man even though I never saw a tag. Gilbert with a vertical suplex to Sting for a near fall. He issues a knee to Sting’s head and tags in Zbysko. Zbysko attempts a vertical suplex twice but Sting reverses and both men are down. Zbysko is the first to make the tag and in comes Rick Steiner. After a few punches and kicks, Sting is locked in a sleeper hold.

There is less than 3 minutes left in the time limit. Sting is able to break the sleeper hold by running Steiner into the turnbuckle, but Sting cannot make a tag yet. Zbysko returns to the ring but Sting reverses his Irish whip to the corner and Larry is down. Near simultaneous tags are made to Hayes and Gilbert and Hayes is first to strike with a back body drop. The heels rush Hayes and the babyfaces respond. All 6 men are in the ring brawling in their respective corners. Hayes hits Zbysko with a huge running bulldog. He appears to get the 3 count, but Zbysko had his leg on the rope.

Desperate for a decision before the time limit, Hayes puts Zbykso into a sleeper, but it’s broken up by Gilbert’s axehandle. A tag is made and Rick Steiner is now the legal man. Hayes is once again in Steiner’s bear hug. Rick flips him for a belly to belly suplex and a near fall. Gilbert is tagged in but Hayes reverses his attempt at a back body drop with a small package for a 2 count as the arena announcer exclaims that there are 15 seconds left. The other 4 men rush the ring as the countdown is on. Hayes executes a sunset flip for an apparent 3 count, but the time limit is hit when the ref gets to 2.
Winners: Time Limit Draw

  • EA’s Take: Unlike any other Starrcade, this year we start off with a bang. The crowd was popping for everything the babyfaces did in this pretty basic 6-man tag team match. It’s strange that Hayes & Garvin are getting cheered since they were primarily known as being heels, but Zbysko & Gilbert make it easy to cheer the future incarnation of The Freebirds. Rick Steiner is one of the UWF stars who has arrived via the sale of the company and is not yet sporting his trademark headgear, as Scott is not around yet. Another guy who we’re used to seeing “on the other side of the fence” so to speak in regards to his heel/face status. Our biggest name in this match is of course The Stinger, who the crowd is wildly into already. This match was used by booker Dusty Rhodes as a means to showcase his young star, because The American Dream saw the writing on the wall. Sting would very soon be pushing for the World Title.

Match #2 for the UWF Heavyweight Championship: UWF Heavyweight Champion ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams vs. NWA Western States Champion Barry Windham
The commentators explain that these two are friends out of the ring and they shake hands as the bell rings. The two run the ropes perpendicularly before Williams hits a hip toss. Williams attempts a gorilla press slam and actually lifts his opponent several times over his head but Windham is able to reverse it, get down, run Williams to the rope and get a near fall. The two start a series of what looks like amateur wrestling and they eventually roll out onto the floor in undramatic fashion. The crowd seems restless and they boo when the two mutually agree to return to the ring. Windham with a headlock that is reversed by Williams into a side suplex.

The two lock up and Windham lands a gutwrench suplex. The two lock up and Williams has Windham in a headlock, turning it into a suplex while maintaining the hold. The headlock is held for a while and I think I can hear random people yelling “boring”. Windham is finally able to free himself and lands a shoulder block. There seems to be a little confusion, followed by the two running the ropes. Windham leaps over a ducking Williams and on the comeback, Williams attempts to leap over Windham and bashes his crotch right into Windham’s head and yelps in pain. Williams is down in what appears to be a legitimate injury.

The ref starts counting but Windham stops the count. Windham is checking on Williams and it takes a while for Williams to get up. Williams is adjusting himself in a way that tells you that bump was not a work. When the action returns, Windham breaks a head-scissors attempt. Williams is limping. Windham takes Williams down with another shoulderblock, then tries a cross body, only to fly over the top rope. Windham climbs back into the ring, but is immediately rolled up for a pinfall.
Winner and STILL UWF Heavyweight Champion: ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams (Roll-Up)

  • EA’sTake: After an opening match that featured some great crowd work and a lot of action, this was frankly boring for two notable stars, even before their big botch. There was absolutely some sort of miscommunication on that leapfrog spot, Williams took a legit low blow, then it just got strange with the finish coming off a surprise roll-up. The son of BlackJack Mulligan is a tremendous worker, so we know that he can do much better than what we got here. Dr. Death comes with a big reputation from the UWF, but personally I never saw his appeal. Total dud.

Match #3 is a Skywalkers Match: NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) w/Jim Cornette & Big Bubba vs. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)
There is a little bit of hesitancy to climb the ladder from both sides as the teams jaw at each other. The Midnight Express and Gibson from The Rock n’ Roll Express climb up, but before Morton can get there, he is attacked by Big Bubba. Cornette is directing traffic as always. Midnight takes advantage of the 2 on 1 and drives Gibson’s face into the grate. Big Bubba is on his way up the latter to make it 3 on 1, but before he could get there, Morton steals Cornette’s tennis racket and gives him repetitive shots.

Morton climbs up with the racket and takes a shot at Lane’s knee with it, followed by a head shot. With Gibson down, Morton attacks Eaton with the racket. As Eaton starts to get up, we see some powder in his hand that he throws in Morton’s face. Morton has a “near fall” if you will. Lane is holding Gibson for Eaton to go to work on, but Gibson moves and Lane is hit. Eaton is once again hit with the racket and a punch. The two go back and forth with some very careful work and attempted shove-offs.

A railing on the scaffold appears to break and Gibson uses it as a weapon on Eaton. Gibson goes for a double team on Lane who is slowly “slipping” from the scaffold to the lower bars. The tennis racket had fallen and Cornette throws it back up to Eaton who is back to his feet and uses it on Gibson. Lane is now underneath the scaffold and Morton is giving chase. Gibson is working over Eaton with the racket up top. Lane tries to monkey-bar his way away from Morton but instead swings a few times and falls to the ring. Cornette is incensed. It’s 2 on 1 and the Rock n Roll express make quick work of Beautiful Bobby, beating him to his stomach, Eaton grabs the bars underneath and falls.
Winners: The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express

  • After The Bell: Cornette orders Big Bubba to climb the scaffold and attack the RnR. Gibson had been climbing down one ladder but Morton is still there. Bubba is wielding the racket and the two have a long stare down. Bubba takes off his coat and Morton appears to oblige. Morton distracts Bubba by pointing off in another direction and uses the distraction to hit a low-blow and quickly descends from the ladder.
  • EA’s Take: Like I said during my last Starrcade review, I could really live without the scaffold match. You’ve got two of the better tag teams of all-time and unlike last year with The Road Warriors, all of these guys are workers. Yet, you have them in a match where they really can’t do anything. Honestly, beyond the morbid curiosity of whether or not someone is going to have a horrible accident, what’s the appeal? I get that they were trying to make this almost a signature match for The ME due to Cornette’s fear of heights, but the match doesn’t deliver. It CAN’T. The majority of offense has to be done from your knees since everyone’s forced to be so careful, plus when someone goes to “fall”, they have to do so in a manner that they end up hanging first to make it a controlled fall. Even then, we saw last year a controlled fall can still go haywire. No thanks, I’m cool with the scaffold match.

Backstage: Jimmy Garvin and Michael Hayes are interviewed by Bob Caudle. They explain that they want to challenge the winner of the NWA Tag Team Championship match and Jimmy Garvin gives a rambling (but decent) promo putting over every babyface on the card. ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams comes in next and speaks about the controversy in his win, comparing it to a recent Oklahoma Sooners football game, then stumbles through a promo about what he’ll do to remain champion.

Match #4 is a Unification Match: NWA Television Champion Nikita Koloff vs. UWF Television Champion Terry Taylor w/’Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert
The two men are showing a lot of animosity with their stare down. The crowd is chanting for Nikita. The two lock up and Nikita powers him off twice. The two jaw in each other’s face. An aggressive lock up is broken in the corner. Another lock up and Taylor with an arm drag but Nikita is up quickly. Nikita applies a headlock and whips Taylor for a shoulder block. The ref breaks up a subsequent lockup. Taylor applies a wristlock to Nikita who is simply taunting him. Nikita reverses the wristlock and turns it into an arm drag. Nikita follows this up with some submission work on the mat. Taylor tries to escape but he is dragged right back in.

Gilbert is barking to the ref, and Nikita taunts him. Nikita continues the submission attack and gets a near fall. Taylor rolls out of the ring to slow it down. Upon his return they are back in each other’s faces and exchange slaps and punches and Taylor can’t keep up. Nikita hits a back body drop and Taylor escapes to the floor. The ref is forcing Taylor to get back into the ring. He rolls in but rolls right back out. Nikita comes over, grabs Taylor by the hair and pulls him back into the ring. Nikita pounding on the head and back of Taylor. Arm bar to the corner. Irish whip. Taylor reverses with a knee to the midsection. Taylor.

Arm bar to the corner. Irish whip. Taylor reverses with a knee to the midsection. Taylor gets a nearfall and before he knows it, he’s back in a hammerlock. Nikita works him up to a half nelson on the mat. Taylor is able to work himself to the ropes. Back to their feet, Taylor rakes Koloff’s eyes. Taylor with some shots in the corner and snapmare but he misses an elbow drop. Koloff right back to work with the arm. Both men back to their feet with the lock still on and Taylor gets to the corner. The ref breaks the hold and Taylor headbutts Koloff. Nikita is enraged and executes the Russian Hammer chokehold. Koloff is up and positioned for the Sickle, but he misses and runs into the turnbuckle instead. Koloff is dangling off the apron and Taylor kicks him to the floor.

Taylor bashes Koloff into the steel rail and runs him into the post. He then uses the post. Koloff is slow to roll into the ring and the crowd is chanting his name. Taylor distracts the ref as Gilbert takes a cheap shot. Snapmare takedown by Taylor followed by a couple knees to the head. Taylor attempts a pin and gets 2. Koloff tries to pull himself up by the ropes but Taylor is back to work on the arm. They run the ropes and Taylor attempts a sunset flip that is reversed by Koloff’s punch to the head. Taylor with a kick to the midsection. Koloff reverses Taylor’s attempted vertical suplex with one of his own. Taylor is still the first on the attack, but after a few punches, Koloff bashes his own head off the turnbuckle and turns around looking fired up. He works Taylor into the corner for 10 punches.

For some reason, Hebner breaks this up and Taylor takes advantage of the pause with an atomic drop. Taylor slowly rolls him for a pin but Koloff’s foot was on the rope. Taylor argues with the ref and Koloff almost catches him with a small package. Koloff reverses an attempted piledriver with a back body drop. Koloff pounds on him until Taylor leaves the ring and runs away. When Koloff follows him back to the ring, Taylor greets him with a knee to the midsection. The ref lectures him on this and Gilbert uses the distraction to cheapshot Koloff on the knee. Taylor stomps on the injured knee and executes the figure four.

A couple near falls when his shoulders are down. Hebner turns around to see Gilbert giving Taylor leverage and the hold is broken. Taylor and Hebner are arguing again and Gilbert tries to take another cheapshot. Instead, Gilbert is dragged up to the apron by Koloff. When Taylor attempts to hit him from behind, Koloff moves and runs into his friend knocking him off the apron. After Taylor falls back, Koloff lands the Sickle for the pinfall.
Winner and Unified NWA & UWF Television Champion: Nikita Koloff (Sickle)

  • EA’s Take: Very solid match to unify the TV Titles where the crowd was hot for Nikita, but there was still a miniscule smattering of boos for him at the beginning. The now-former UWF TV Champion Terry Taylor had left the NWA once, becoming arguably the UWF’s hottest star. It’s funny how things work out sometimes though, as he was obviously brought right back into the NWA with JCP’s purchase of the promotion. Ultimately, this would be a quick trip as the consistently solid Taylor would take off again not long after this match for WCCW.

Match #5 for the NWA World Tag Team Championships: The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal) w/Paul Ellering vs. NWA World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard w/James J. Dillon
Arn and Hawk start the match. Arn fights off a choke hold, but is sent to the corner by Hawk. Arn reverses with a knee and climbs the ropes. Hawk rushes to the corner and picks him up and a gorilla press. Arn rolls out of the ring and JJ Dillon wants a timeout. The ref demands Arn return to the ring. Arn cautiously approaches Hawk. Arn gets a headlock on but Hawk strengths his way out of it and pulls Arn to the mat. Arn rolls out again. Anderson slow to get in the ring and there is a standoff between Ellering and the Horseman outside.

A tag is made to Blanchard and Hawk strengths him down. Blanchard attacks but is met with a clothesline. Blanchard tries to escape the ring but Animal presses him back to the ring. Blanchard has had enough and goes down the entry way but he is chased down and brought back to the ring. Hawk with a dropkick and lateral press for a two count. Tag made to Animal. Blanchard reverses an Irish whip with a knee to the mid section. Blanchard heads for the top rope but Animal catches him for a body slam from mid air and the crowd explodes. Animal attempts a pin but it’s broken up by Anderson. Animal stares down Anderson who is getting heat from the crowd. Anderson is tagged in and he’s barking for Hawk to back up. Anderson gets the first offensive blows in, but Hawk hits a clothesline following a whip to the corner.

Anderson is back in the ring, standing in his corner and checking on his face. Anderson whispers something to Blanchard. Anderson with some kicks, but is caught in a bear hug that is quickly broken by Blanchard’s interference. Anderson and Blanchard double team Hawk, they whip him to the corner but he comes back with a double clothesline. Hawk pins the legal man but his leg is on the rope. A couple big rights from Hawk and a tag is made to Animal. They double team Blanchard into a big bear hug followed by an atomic drop. Tully is up and he tries to land some chops to no avail. Animal goes to work on Blanchard until he can take no more and from his knees tags Anderson back in.

Anderson with a headlock, the two run the ropes, and Anderson cowardly grabs the rope, rolls out of the ring and runs away. Once back in the ring, Animal with a gorilla press slam to Anderson. Blanchard is tagged back in but is looking at the same fate from Hawk who is now legal. Anderson takes a cheap shot at Animal’s knee before he can do so. Blanchard goes to work on the knee and Hawk looks for a tag. Hawk rolls out of the ring where he is double teamed, with Anderson and Blanchard using the post and a chair to the injured knee. Hawk is rolled back into the ring for a DDT from Anderson. He kicks out at 2. Blanchard is tagged, and tries a figure four but Hawk reverses with a small package. 2 count. Blanchard doing more damage to the leg before Anderson is back in. Anderson attempts a spinning leg lock but Hawk pushes him off. Anderson regroups and prevents Hawk from the tag before Blanchard is tagged in again.

This time, Tully gets the figure four locked in. After a long while, Anderson is tagged in and attempts a couple of pins only getting 2 counts. When Anderson attempts a double knee while Hawk is on his back, his groin is met by Hawks knees. This gives Hawk time to make the hot tag. Animal drop kicks Anderson and fends off the charging Blanchard. When Animal goes to the ropes for a clothesline on Anderson, he is tripped from the outside by Blanchard.

Hawk gives chase to Blanchard around the ring while Anderson tries to take advantage. Running from Hawk, Blanchard rolls back into the ring, runs across and bumps referee Tommy Young out of the ring hard. When Anderson tries to clothesline Animal over the ropes, a dazed Animal ducks and lifts Arn over instead. Inside the ring, the Road Warriors connect with the Doomsday Device. Earl Hebner is now out to the ring and makes a 3 count. The bell sounds for a Road Warrior win. The crowd goes bezerk.
Winners and NEW NWA World Tag Team Champions: The Road Warriors (Animal/Doomsday Device)

  • After The Bell: The original referee returns to the ring, vetoing Hebner’s decision. He says he saw Arn flipped over the top rope, which was grounds for automatic DQ and awards the victory to Arn and Tully.

Winners and STILL NWA Tag Team Champions: Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard (Disqualification)

  • EA’s Take: Excellent match here and we get the swerve finish as the hometown boys get screwed over. I think I would have gone the other way here, The Horsemen didn’t need any more heat and the crowd went ballistic for the pinfall. This could have been a great moment, but we know that has always been the WWE’s forte, not JCP or WCW. The air seemed to be let out of the room anyways, so if the goal was more heat on Arn & Tully, it didn’t really work that way. Historically speaking, obviously the big change here is there’s no more Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Ole, who had been kicked out of The Horsemen in early 1987 and replaced by Lex Luger, retired shortly after.

In The Arena: Jack Gregory & Magnum T.A. talk about The Road Warriors getting hosed for the Tag Titles, then run down our next two matches for the US and World Heavy weight Championships. They throw it to Bob Caudle who is standing by with the new Unified TV Champion Nikita Koloff. Nikita goes off in broken English about defeating Terry Taylor and how good he feels to be the only holder of the TV Title, but next one his agenda is the World Championship. James J. Dillon steps in next and speaks about his busy night, stating he’s relieved that Arn & Tully got justice and held onto the Tag Titles. He talks about helping Ric Flair get ready for his match tonight, but admits he’s spent more time focusing on Dusty Rhodes and getting US Champion Lex Luger ready. JJ claims he’s got the perfect athlete and the perfect plan.

Match #6 is a Steel Cage for the NWA United States Championship: Dusty Rhodes vs. NWA United States Champion Lex Luger w/James J. Dillon
The two circle the ring and lock up and tie up in the corner. They back off and restart. Luger lands some kicks and tries to run Rhodes into the cage. Rhodes blocks it and reverses with an elbow. The two circle again and Luger taunts Rhodes with his trademark flex. Rhodes laughs him off and struts to the crowd’s cheer. Another tie up in the corner, they exchange punches before Rhodes rattles off about 8 in a row before another elbow. Rhodes goes for the Weaver Lock but Luger runs to the corner to break the hold. Dillon cheers Luger on as he gets Dusty in a headlock. They run the ropes and Luger hits a shoulder block. On 2nd attempt, Dusty catches him in a sleeper – Luger runs to the ropes again to break the hold.

They lock up, Luger lands a couple punches and a snapmare. Dusty moves when Luger tries to land an elbow and Rhodes is up for an arm submission. Luger is trying to get to the ropes but is caught for a while. Rhodes delivers his patented elbow on the shoulder and continues the hold. Luger is finally able to push Rhodes to the corner, delivers a punch and whips Rhodes to the corner. Rhodes moves and Luger hits the turnbuckle hard. They are back to the mat with Rhodes working that arm. Rhodes lets up and stomps on Luger’s back before pounding on him in the corner. Luger takes advantage of the ref breaking it up with a cheap shot.

This opens up Luger for an attack that culminates in running Dusty into the cage and grinding his head against it. Luger hammers on Rhodes who is now bleeding in the corner. Again, Rhodes is thrown against the cage. Rhodes kicks out of a pinfall attempt at two. Luger pounds him in the corner, delivers a snapmare and an elbow drop. Rhodes kicks out at 2. Luger taunts with another flex. Both on their feet, Rhodes reverses a whip to the rope and hits an impressive (for his size) dropkick. But Rhodes is still too beaten down to take advantage and Luger is back on offense. He signals for his patented torture rack but he can’t get the big man all the way up. He stumbles to the corner and that’s where Rhodes lands.

The frustrated Luger grinds his face on the cage some more, as well as chokes him on the top rope before Hebner breaks it up. Luger applies a wristlock submission, but the crowd is rallying behind Rhodes who gradually rises to his feet. He gets there, but Luger knocks him right back down. JJ Dillon is looking very cocky as Luger is in control. The crowd rallies more and Rhodes is back to his feet, Luger pulls him back down by his hair. A determined Rhodes is up again. Luger works him to the corner and lays in punches and kicks which only seems to be firing Rhodes up. Dusty fights back to the delight of the crowd. He works Luger down to the mat and gets a 2 count.

Both men are back to their feet, Luger whips Rhodes to ropes, Dusty ducks a clothesline and Rhodes applies the Weaver lock. A distressed JJ Dillon knocks out Johnny Weaver and takes the key. Hebner won’t let him in. Instead, Dillon throws a chair over the cage top as Luger bashes into Hebner to break the lock. Luger reaches for the chair but as he does, Rhodes catches him bent over and lands a DDT on the chair. He gets the pin for the win. Rhodes and Weaver embrace as Rhodes exits.
Winner and NEW NWA United States Champion: Dusty Rhodes (DDT)

  • EA’s Take: The relative upstart champion surprised me here. We all know Luger was definitely more of a “look” guy than a worker, but he managed to hold his own. However, he was also led by and opposite one of the all-time greats. Dusty’s workrate wasn’t stellar in his later years, but he could still lead the right horse to water AND make him drink it. Two years into the business and less-than one year into his JCP tenure, Luger comes from Florida and was immediately thrust into The Horsemen when Ole chose to retire. He quickly took the US Title from Nikita Koloff in July, building to tonight where the seeds were planted for his departure from The Horsemen.

Match #7 is a Steel Cage for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair w/James J. Dillon vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ronnie Garvin
The two lock up and have a clean break. Ric Flair gives a taunting “Wooo”! They exchange chops and lock up again. More exchanges of chops and slaps before Garvin hits a hip toss. Flair cowers again. Garvin with a side headlock, and whips Flair into the corner for a shoulder block. Garvin with more chops to Flair in the corner and Ric walks away with his patented fall on his face. Back body drop from Garvin followed by an armbar submission. He leads Flair around the ring and into the corner. Garvin with a series of rights to the head as the crowd counts to 10. Garvin with an Irish whip into the corner and another back body drop.

The crowd cheers as he delivers the Garvin Stomp. Flair is back up and they have a vicious exchange of punches, chops and slaps and Flair hits the mat first. Garvin tries pulling him back up but Flair hits a low blow. Flair methodically back to his feet and he lifts Garvin for an atomic drop. The crowd responds to his “Wooo!” Flair with more chops and punches in the corner followed by a kick to the midsection and a snapmare. Flair backs up and hits his patented knee to the head for a near fall. Flair uses the bottom rope to work on the left leg of Garvin. Flair intimidates Garvin as he pulls him to his feet. Flair drops Garvin on his knee and turns it immediately into the Figure Four leg lock. Garvin is struggling.

Flair uses the rope for leverage each time the ref is not looking. Garvin’s shoulders drop for a couple near falls. Garvin is trying to turn the hold and the crowd cheers. He is successful but Flair immediately grabs the ropes. Flair is up to his feet first. Flair delivers an elbow the head and a kick to the knee. Garvin is taking a lot of punishment right now. Flair tries to use the cage as a weapon but Garvin is able to block all of his attempts. Garvin reverses a whip to the ropes and instead throws Flair head first into the cage. Garvin rubs Flair’s face on the cage and he is bleeding. Garvin bites Flair’s head and the Nature Boy tries to escape by climbing over the top of the cage. Garvin stops him and both men are up on the turnbuckle.

Garvin bashes Flair several times into the top of the cage and he tumbles back to the mat. Garvin slaps Flair in the corner. Flair fights back with some kicks and goes to the top rope but Garvin is up too soon and hits him with a gorilla press slam. Garvin tries to use Flair’s move against him and puts him in the Figure Four! A couple near falls as Flair yelps in pain. Flair finally works his way to the ropes to break the hold but Garvin continues to work on Flair’s right leg. More exchanges of chops in the corner before Flair tries to throw Garvin into the cage, but again Garvin blocks it. He instead reverses it, knocks Flair to the mat and heads for the top rope. Garvin lands a cross body block from the top rope and gets a near fall. Garvin attempts a backslide, once again for a 2 count.

Flair’s head is raked against the cage some more and is slapped around on the apron. Flair tries to escape again and Garvin follows him to the top turnbuckle. Garvin bashes his head on the top of the cage and delivers a headbutt. Flair falls groin first onto the top rope and back in the ring. Garvin sets up for a sunset flip but he can’t get Flair on his back. Flair sits on Garvin’s shoulders for a pin but the ref notices he’s holding the top rope and breaks it. Garvin rolls Flair back over again for a 2 count. Garvin goes for 10 punches in the corner but Flair carries him across the ring to the other corner, hitting the ref along the way. Garvin bounces off and hits Flair with his knockout punch. Tommy Young is delayed getting over there and Flair kicks out at two. The two run the ropes, Garvin leaps up and is caught by Flair who uses the momentum to drive him into the cage. Flair pins him 1-2-3.
Winner and NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair (Cage Shot)

  • EA’s Take: I think I would have rather seen a screwed finish than that one because it didn’t make a lot of sense to me. First of all, why is Garvin jumping into Flair like he wanted to be caught in a bearhug? Secondly, the first and only time Garvin’s head touches the cage, he’s out cold? It would be sold better if Flair hadn’t been abused by the cage all match, taking probably a dozen similar shots. It’s pretty unusual seeing Garvin come in as the champion in a feud that started over Flair’s lusting after Precious, the wife of Ronnie’s kayfabe brother Jimmy. However, she wasn’t referred to as such on television. Also, Ronnie Garvin was the legit stepfather of Jimmy Garvin. What is this, Jerry Springer?!?

EA’s Finisher: JCP no longer has the roster depth to give us a 12-match card, making this a shorter show, but it seemed more star-studded. The main event is easily the weakest of all the Starrcade events to date and unless you were up on the angle, you probably didn’t care. Then again, it felt that way in ’86. At least your undercard is loaded with young talent. Again, this is vital with the ongoing battle against the WWF, which continued tonight. Vince McMahon would run the first Survivor Series on the same night as Starrcade and do better numbers, just one of many shots in the back-and-forth between the promotions. JCP does beat the Fed on adding affects for wrestler entrances like smoke and colorful lighting, but if this is supposed to be their version of WrestleMania after the WWF put 90,000-plus in the Silverdome, there’s just no comparison.

Top Three To Watch
1 – The Road Warriors vs. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard
2 – Gilbert, Zbysko & Steiner vs. Hayes, Garvin & Sting
3 – Nikita Koloff vs. Terry Taylor


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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWF King Of The Ring 1993

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The nWo is reuniting next month for a very rare event where fans can see all three original members in the same place at the same time. So today, were looking back at another rare occurrence when Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were all apart of the same card before they “took over” with King Of The Ring 1993! ‘The Bad Guy’ takes part in the King Of The Ring tournament, meanwhile ‘Big Daddy Cool’ accompanies Shawn Michaels as he defends the Intercontinental Title, on top of Yokozuna challenging ‘The Hulkster’ for the WWF Championship!

Open: Vince McMahon voices over a video package highlighting tonight’s King Of The Ring Tournament, running down our Quarterfinal match-ups before we head to the arena.

Match #1 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Razor Ramon vs. Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart
The people chant “1-2-3” at Razor, they lock-up, Ramon using his power and pushes Bret away. Another collar & elbow, The Bad Guy powers The Hitman away again, a third lock-up now and Hart applies a side headlock. Razor pushes him away to the ropes, they collide shoulders, Bret back to the ropes, ducks a couple of shots and scores with right hands before taking Ramon over with an arm drag. Hitman grounds him with an armbar, Ramon back to his feet, shoots Hart to the ropes for a hip toss, it’s blocked, Bret attempts one of his own, but that is also blocked and The Bad Guy floors him with a clothesline.

Follow-up elbow drop doesn’t find the mark, The Excellence Of Execution with another arm drag, targeting the left arm again with a standing armbar. Ramon throws him to the corner and charges in, Bret side-steps it, hits another arm drag and is persistent in applying the armbar. The Bad Guy attempts to body slam his way out, The Hitman maintains his grip, drives fists into the shoulder joint, Razor coming back with a thumb to the eye. He whips Hart to the ropes and scores with a back elbow for a quick 2 count, looks to hook on a rear chinlock, Hitman quickly counters out and utilizes a hammerlock, Ramon finding his way to a corner to force a break, but sneaks in a back elbow. Irish whip to the opposite corner is reversed, Hart charges in and is met by a knee to the jaw, Razor grabs him and drives Bret shoulder-first into the ring post.

The Bad Guy takes control and hammers The Hitman on the outside, throws him back inside to more loud “1-2-3” chants, starts to pummel Hart with heavy rights and boots, tosses him with a fallaway slam and hooks the leg for a count of 2. He lifts Bret onto his shoulders and plants him with a running powerslam for another near fall, drops a succession of elbows, then hits a side slam. He goes to the ropes for another elbow drop and misses, Bret avoids a couple more attempts, fires up with stiff right hands, splits Razor with an inverted atomic drop and levels him with a clothesline for a 2 count. He whips Ramon to the ropes, goes downstairs with a right hand, scores with a side russian leg sweep for another 2, The Excellence Of Execution cracking him with a backbreaker, but still can’t get a 3 count.

The Hitman off the 2nd rope now with an elbow drop that nearly gets 3, The Bad Guy swings with a wild right, Hart ducks under, rolls him up and Razor barely kicks out again at 2. Bret sets him for a running bulldog, Ramon pushes him away sternum-first into the turnbuckles, staggers to his feet and calls for The Razor’s Edge. He gets Hart up in the air, Hitman slips out of it for a backslide, The Bad Guy blocks it, but Bret uses his feet to scale the ropes and flips himself over, grabbing a small package for a near fall. The Excellence Of Execution can’t believe it and argues with the referee, Razor takes the opening to clobber him from behind, props Hart on the top turnbuckle for a super back suplex, Hitman counters and falls on top of Ramon and gets the pinfall.
Winner: Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart (Super Back Suplex Counter)

  • EA’s TakeTremendous opening contest and one of the better WWF pay-per-view matches since WrestleMania VIII, if not the best one. After losing the WWF Title 3 months earlier at WrestleMania, Bret was moved away from the championship picture for a few months and although Razor had been getting cheered at Mania, the people were clearly behind The Hitman tonight. Ramon was just getting into the start of his angle that would turn him face, recently losing in a major upset to 1-2-3 Kid on RAW, hence the “1-2-3” chants aimed at him.

Video: This past weekend on WWF Superstars, Harvey Wippleman masterminded a plan to punish The Undertaker, using Giant Gonzalez as a distraction and allowing Mr. Hughes to lay him out with Paul Bearer’s urn and take possession of it.

Match #2 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Mr. Hughes w/Harvey Wippleman vs. Mr. Perfect
They lock-up to begin and Hughes uses his raw power to shove Perfect down, they tie-up again with the same results, Hughes hits the ropes, The Perfect One drops down and scores with a hip toss. Irish whip back to the ropes is reversed, Perfect leaps over a back body drop attempt, comes back through with a dropkick, but it doesn’t take Mr. Hughes off his feet. Hughes powers Mr. Perfect to the ropes off the collar & elbow, doesn’t break clean and clocks Perfect over the top to the floor, The Perfect One staggering back into the squared circle.

Mr. Hughes with heavy shots, wrenches away at the neck, Mr. Perfect battles to his feet, hits the ropes, ducks a clothesline, but gets flattened by a big boot on the other side. Hughes shoots him back to the ropes and connects with a clothesline, snapmares Perfect back over and focuses his attention on wrenching at the neck again. The Perfect One uses Hughes’ tie to works his way up, tries to hit the ropes, Mr. Hughes with a handful of hair to prevent it and he buries a knee to the abdomen. Irish whip to the corner turns Perfect inside-out, maintains control with more heavy blows as Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart offers up his comments about the outcome of this match. Mr. Hughes sends Perfect hard into the turnbuckles again, whips him to the ropes and we have a badly botched spot before Hughes rakes at the eyes, then chokes him on the middle rope.

Hughes hits the ropes to gain a head of steam and land on The Perfect One’s back, he misses and gets crotched on the 2nd rope, Perfect taking the opening to send him to the ropes for a hip toss. He shoots him back in for a back body drop, snapmares Hughes over and hits the patented neck snap, Mr. Perfect then working him over in the corner with rights and lefts to the breadbasket. The officials steps in to force a break, Wippleman hands Mr. Hughes the urn and he clobbers Perfect right in front of the referee.
Winner: Mr. Perfect (Disqualification)

  • EA’s TakeShort and a little bit rough, Perfect doing what he could to make this at least decent, Mr. Perfect moves on to meet Bret Hart in a semi-finals dream match. Also known as Big Cat, Mr. Hughes is most known for competing with sunglasses on. Hearrived in the WWF to join in with Harvey Wippleman in his rivalry with The Undertaker. He generally played more of a ringside enforcer and his in-ring career never really took off because he was sloppy at best. This stint with the WWF was very brief as this was his only PPV match. Interestingly enough, he was released not long after this match, ironically suffering an eye injury after his sunglasses shattered during a match against Tatanka.

Video: Gene Okerlund caught up with Yokozuna & Mr. Fuji earlier in the day in the locker room, Fuji reminding us that Yoko defeated Bret Hart for the WWF Title in a hard-fought match at WrestleMania. Hulk Hogan then cheated to steal the championship away, Yokozuna warning The Hulkster that tonight he and America will go down.

Match #3 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Bam Bam Bigelow vs. ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan
Duggan starts the “U-S-A!” chants, they lock-up, Bam Bam with a side headlock, Hacksaw pushes him away to the ropes, they collide shoulders and neither man budges. Bigelow goes back to the ropes to try again to no avail, hits the ropes for a clothesline on the third try, Duggan ducks it, scores with multiple clotheslines of his own to stagger the big man before finally dropping him. Bam Bam rolls to the floor to regroup, steps back inside and goes to the eyes, attempts right hands and Hacksaw fires back, forcing him to the corner.

Irish whip across is reversed, Hacksaw grabs the ribs, manages to avoid Bigelow running in and crumbles to the mat holding his midsection. He looks to deliver a body slam, can’t get The Beast From The East up, Bam Bam with big headbutts and he starts targeting the injured abdomen. He sends Duggan to the ropes and hooks on a bearhug, Hacksaw clubs his way out of it, but Bigelow goes right back to the breadbasket to stop any momentum. He bounces off the ropes to drop a headbutt, Duggan rolls out of harm’s way, gets Bam Bam up for a body slam, but can’t hold the weight, Bigelow falling on top for a count of 2 before going back to the bearhug.

Hacksaw resorts to biting Bam Bam to break the grip, he reverses a whip to the ropes, finally hits the body slam and goes into the 3 Point Stance, The Beast From The East side-stepping out of the way. Duggan goes crashing into the top turnbuckle and hits the mat, Bigelow heads to the top rope, connects with a Diving Headbutt and advances.
Winner: Bam Bam Bigelow (Top Rope Diving Headbutt)

  • EA’s TakeNot much excitement here, nothing really sloppy, but a pretty short one. Bam Bam is still being built as one of the top heels in the company, maintaining a status that was at the top of the mid-card with the ability to also work main events. Hacksaw had returned from a brief hiatus after an attack at the hands of Yokozuna, but the WWF’s youth movement put him in a position to help establish the new stars. This would be his final WWF PPV match until a nostalgia run in 2006, leaving the company just before SummerSlam in August.
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Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 12 – Best of the X-Division

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This recap is going to be a little different from the usual. Since, at the time this episode was done, TNA was still looking for new investors after Health South withdrew its financial backing of the program, the decision was made to do a clip show of the X-Division for Week 12 to fill the timeslot. This was September 4, 2002, Week 13 wouldn’t air until the 18th due to being preempted by remembrance of the 9/11 attacks, which had happened the year before. So, let’s see what’s going on.

We start off with a RARE Lo-Ki interview with Goldilocks. Lo-Ki says there’s no bigger opportunity than this and that opportunities like him don’t get many shots like this on a national level.  We also get some fan interviews stating that they keep coming back for the X-Division matches. A lot of TNA stars like Kid Kash, Ron Killings, Monte Brown, and the Flying Elvises sing the praises of the X-Division and how great it is that anyone can compete in it, despite the fact that the division is pretty much made up of cruiserweight size guys.

Jeremy Borash and Goldylocks, who seems to be in a very good mood, probably because Borash isn’t being a jerk to her. Borash and Goldy discuss how great the X-Division has been and how you never know what to expect. We get the explanation about how the X-Division is open to all kinds of athletes regardless of size or wrestling style. Again, I will point out that except for Sonny Siaki, all of the athletes in the X-Division fall into the Cruiserweight category. Also, Siaki had BARELY competed in the X-Division, at least as far as this episode.

ANYWAY, let’s take a look at the matches TNA has dubbed the best of the X-Division.

The Flying Elvises vs Lo-Ki, AJ Styles, and Jerry Lynn

Comment: I remember being very impressed with this match. It seemed like a good opening match for TNA. These six men are easily the best of the X-Division as they actually WRESTLE and do the high-flying stuff. Sonny Siaki stands out here, not only due to his skills, but because he’s easily the tallest and largest man in the match. This was such a good match that the fact that Styles took the pin doesn’t really seem to matter.

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In the backstage interview, Estrada talks about how much pressure they were under because they were the first match. Yang says that his favorites to watch were Amazing Red, Lo-Ki, and AJ Styles. We also learn that Styles and Yang are great friends and started out together, which is a nice tidbit. Estrada talks again about paying their dues and working hard and wanting some changes. Yang talks about his WCW run and how he never felt like he’d be an impact player and that it feel different in TNA.

Tenay talks about how the Elvises were the first winners of TNA but that they’ve had communication issues and issues with Siaki’s ego, which prompts a clip of Siaki saying that he’s the best of the X-Division.

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Borash and Goldy talk about the Elvises and Borash comments about Siaki thinking Goldy is sweet on him, to which Goldy says ‘Only in his own mind.’

With that settled, we are turning our attention to Lo-Ki, Styles, and Lynn who, along with Psichosis, competed to be the first X-Division Champion.

Double Elimination Round Robin Match For the X-Division Championship: AJ Styles vs Psichosis vs Lo-Ki vs Jerry Lynn.

Comment: This match is, for me, still the best match, not just X-Division, but overall match that TNA has put on so far. That said, I still think they should’ve had a tournament to decide who would compete for the title and brought it down to Jerry Lynn vs AJ Styles because it felt like Lo-Ki and Psichosis were just there to take the pins, especially Psichosis.

*-**-*–*-*–*-*-*–*-*-*-*-*-*-*–*-*-*

Borash and Goldy discuss Styles and Lynn getting the Tag Team Championship and the issues the two men have had with each other during the show’s run so far.

NWA Tag Team Championship: Jerry Lynn and AJ Style vs Slash and Tempest (with James Mitchell).

Comment: First of all, I’m annoyed that they didn’t show us the Tag Team Championship Final between the Rainbow Express and Lynn/Styles, which is what it looked like they were going to show.

Anyway, I still think this was a pretty good match. Slash and Tempest, like many guys in TNA weren’t totally ready for prime time, but still did a really great job of keeping up with Lynn and Styles.

As I’m watching this, a scroll is going across the screen, announcing that TNA will be back in two weeks, so the partnership with Panda Energy must’ve happened pretty quickly.

Watching this back, I’m not totally buying Jerry Lynn’s excuse about Styles playing mind games and pulling ribs as the reason he turned on him. Lynn is clearly not happy about Styles tagging himself in the get the pinfall. Why not just stick with that instead of ret-conning it to make Lynn more sympathetic instead of a veteran being mad about a kid showing him up?

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*–*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

Borash and Goldy continue their discussion about the issues between Lynn and Styles, which has been the central story of the X-Division and how it was all about respect.

NWA World Tag Team Match: The Flying Elvises vs Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles.

Comment: This was another really great match from these teams. The five guys in this segment are the core of the fledgling X-Division because they consistently put on great matches together, though the Elvises tend to stumble when they work with other teams. I still don’t know who did the blade job on Lynn, but they overdid it for that little bump on the guardrail.

After this match, we get a clip of the Styles/Lynn backstage fight and them trying to work things out so that they can function as tag partners. I find it interesting that for all Lynn’s talk about respect, he goes out of his way to disrespect Styles and what Styles has done in his, then, short career. I guess no one told Lynn that the best way to get respect is to give it in return and that he should earn Styles’ respect instead of demanding it after jumping him from behind and beating him up. I guess this is why they had Lynn come up with the excuse of mind games and ribbing to justify him being the babyface despite being a jerk.

We see Styles and Lynn seeming to want to work things out and have the kinks ironed out, but that didn’t even last the one show.

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Chairshot Classics: WWE Survivor Series 2015

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With all signs pointing to The Brothers Of Destruction teaming up at WWE’s Crown Jewel on November 2nd, today we’re looking back at another time The Undertaker partnered up with his brother Kane, Survivor Series 2015! It was a celebration of 25 years of ‘The Deadman’ on this evening, but The Wyatt Family looked to spoil the party. Could ‘The New Face Of Fear’ defeat The Brothers Of Destruction and take his place as WWE’s newest evil?

Kickoff Show Match – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Miz, Bo Dallas, Stardust & The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) vs. Neville, The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von), Titus O’Neil & Goldust

  • Gold & Stardust will kickoff the action, Stardust tries a boot, Goldust catches the foot and they slug it out, The Cosmic One falling back into his corner and tagging out. Viktor hits the ring, charges right into a powerslam, Goldust with the cover and he scores an early elimination. Viktor has been eliminated.
  • Konnor steps in and has words for The Bizarre One, Titus calling for the tag and he gets it. Collar & elbow lock-up, Konnor backs O’Neil into the corner, doesn’t break clean and hammers away with right hands before celebrating prematurely, Titus turning the tables and unleashing a series of his won. Konnor reverses a whip across, charges in, O’Neil hops up and over and delivers a slam, following with a leg drop before tagging out. D-Von enters the match, connects with a couple of rights and brings in his brother, Bubba hitting a slam and calling D-Von to the top, hitting the Wazzup Headbutt. Bubba gives the orders for tables, Stardust and Miz charge the ring, only to get clotheslined to the outside. The Man That Gravity Forgot comes in, sees Dallas running in and elevates him out to the floor, hits the ropes and flies to the outside with a moonsault plancha as we go to a break….Konnor whips Bubba into the ropes for a back body drop when we come back, drops a big elbow and covers for 1. Bubba ducks a right hand and plants Konnor with a uranage out of nowhere, hooks the leg and gets a sneaky 3 count. Konnor has been eliminated.
  • Stardust rushes the ring and runs into a hiptoss, D-Von tags in and takes a knee to the breadbasket, The Cosmic One tagging out and Miz pummels D-Von in the corner. Bo tags and does more of the same, quickly tags out and Stardust rips at D-Von’s face. The A-Lister re-enters the match, snapmares D-Von over and hits the ropes for a running boot that gets a count of 2. He goes to a front facelock, D-Von battles to his feet, Miz with a kneelift, hits the ropes and D-Von plants him with a spinebuster. Stardust gets a tag, climbs to the top for a double axe handle and catches a right hand to the midsection on the way down. D-Von crawls to a tag, The Man That Gravity Forgot spingboards into the ring over Stardust, takes down Dallas and Miz on the apron, then connects with a flurry of kicks to The Cosmic One. Neville scores with an enzuigiri, shoots him in for a back body drop and Stardust with a kick to the chest. He charges Neville in the corner, The Man That Gravity Forgot side-steps it, Bo makes a blind tag and plants him with the Running Bo-Dog, Miz with a blind tag, follows with the Skull Crushing Finale and finishes Neville off. Neville has been eliminated.
  • The A-Lister runs his mouth at The Dudleys on the apron, Goldust slides in from behind with a schoolboy and gets the 1-2-3. The Miz has been eliminated.
  • Miz can’t believe it and argues with the referees on his way out, Goldust is distracted and Stardust takes advantage as we go to another break….Bo has Goldust on the floor when we return, rolls him back inside and covers for a 2 count before going to a rear chinlock. The Bizarre One finds his footing, breaks the hold and hits the ropes, running into a dropkick by Dallas for another count of 2. Stardust tags, clobbers away at Goldust on the apron, feigns going for a table and changes his mind, stomping away at his brother in the ring. The Cosmic One grabs a crossface chickenwing, pulls Goldust up for a suplex, The Bizarre One counters to a small package for a count of 2, but gets immediately laid out by a clothesline. Stardust with some early celebration, Goldust takes advantage with a schoolboy for 2, The Cosmic One angrily pounding away and bringing Dallas back in. The Inspirational One continues the onslaught, levels Goldust with a short-arm clothesline for a near fall, then goes back to the rear chinlock to wear him out. Bo slams him to the mat trying to get to his feet, Stardust tags and they split The Bizarre One with a wishbone, then drops The Dudleys & Titus off the apron. The Cosmic One runs at Goldust in the corner, meets a boot to the midsection and The Bizarre One plants him with a sunset flip bomb. Bo gets the tag as Goldust reaches Titus, O’Neil with a shoulder to Dallas, squashes Stardust in the corner, then clotheslines Bo and shoots him in for a back body drop. The Inspirational One sees it coming and hits a kick, but gets dropped by a big boot, Titus turning around and catching Stardust coming off the top into multiple backbreakers. O’Neil stacks them in the corner, squashes them both and Goldust & Bubba enter the ring with synchronized Dusty tributes, Clash Of The Titus to Bo and we’re down to 4 on 1. Bo Dallas has been eliminated.
  • Stardust realizes he’s all by himself, drops off the apron and tries to take a walk. O’Neil goes out to meet him, Goldust comes up from behind and catches a back elbow, The Cosmic One tries to run away, slides in the ring and runs into a 3D to finish it.

Winners & Sole Survivors: The Dudley Boyz, Titus O’Neil & Goldust

  • EA’s TakeI think Renee Young is overblowing just how ‘good’ this match really was. To me it was just an appetizer, a time-filler, something to get the people in the arena a little more hyped up for the main show. The match was not bad by any means, but it was merely a bunch of thrown-together parts and the only significance was the return of Goldust.

Open: Everyone rises to their feet in the arena, as Lilian Garcia is in the ring to sing our National Anthem.

Video: “Once in a generation there comes a phenom. An individual not measured in seconds, days, weeks or even years, but by the legacy he’s built. A presence that’s risen above all challenges and gone head-first into the unknown. But, when a Phenom joins a Demon from the depths of Hell, only time will tell us what the future will bring.” Tonight marks the 25 year anniversary of The Undertaker in WWE, as he and his brother, Kane, look to cement their spot as the keepers of the darkness over The Wyatt Family. A change is coming, as tonight we crown a brand new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. “History is written, by the survivors.”

Match #1 – WWE Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Roman Reigns vs. WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio w/Zeb Colter
Collar & elbow tie-up to start, Alberto backs Roman into the corner and they break clean. Another lock-up, Reigns with a side headlock, Del Rio pushes him off into the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder, re-thinking his strategy. The champion with a leg kick, backs Reigns into the corner for more to the ribs, then fires off right hands from the 2nd rope. Roman powers out of the corner with Alberto on his shoulder, flipping him to the mat, Del Rio coming right back by pulling Reigns to the outside. The Big Dog drags Alberto out by the foot, looks to drive him into the barricade, Del Rio counters and Roman is sent into the wall, then rolled back inside.

Alberto comes off the top with an overhand chop for a count of 2, Roman reversing a whip into the corner, climbs to the 2nd rope with right hands, Del Rio pushes him off, charges in and gets planted by a tilt-a-whirl powerslam for 2. Roman drives the champion into the top turnbuckle, whips him hard into the corner, charges in and gets elevated to the apron, Alberto hanging him across the top rope and dropping him to the floor with an enzuigiri. Del Rio heads out and rams Reigns into the steel steps as Triple H watches from the back. Back in the arena, El Patron tosses Roman inside, heads up top for another overhand chop and goes to a rear chinlock.

The Big Dog battle to a standing position, whips Del Rio into the corner, rushes in and misses, hitting the ring post shoulder-first. The champion keeps the pressure on with kicks and right hands, charges for a running dropkick, Roman avoids it and Alberto flies through the ropes to the outside. Reigns rolls outside, catches Del Rio climbing up the apron with the Drive-By, bashes his head off the apron and announce desk, then rolls him back in the ring. Alberto tries a clothesline, Reigns ducks it and connects with one of his own, then clobbers the champion in the corner with a flurry more before hitting the ropes for a big boot. The Big Dog calls for the Superman Punch, El Patron ducks out of the way and scores with a Backstabber, makes the cover and gets a near fall.

Del Rio goes back to kicks in the corner, spikes Roman with a DDT for another count of 2, arguing with the ref about the count. The champion sets his sights on a superkick, The Big Dog ducks out of the way, plants Alberto with a Samoan Drop and gets 2. Reigns props Del Rio on the top turnbuckle, attempts a superplex, Alberto with headbutts, gets Reigns in the tree of woe and tries the double stomp. Roman avoids it, Del Rio’s knee buckles on the landing, Reigns coming back with a Superman Punch and positioning himself for the Spear, Alberto countering with a superkick for a near fall.

The champion thinks it’s time for the Cross Armbreaker, Reigns counters into a schoolboy powerbomb, Alberto kicking out at 2. Both men struggle to get to their feet, Alberto grabbing a Cross Armbreaker out of nowhere on the canvas, Reigns powers Del Rio up to a vertical base, but the champion hanging onto the hold in the ropes. The referee finally forces the break, El Patron heads to the top, jumps over Roman who’s getting to his feet, turns around and takes a Spear, Reigns covering to advance.
Winner: Roman Reigns (Spear)

  • EA’s TakeDel Rio clearly still hasn’t quite gotten his footing back yet, there were some mix-ups at the beginning of the match that were glaring, things were a bit choppy for a bit there. They were able to turn it around towards the end of the match, but I’ve had Roman as a lock for the finals since the tournament was announced. Nothing surprising here in a match that was similar to a Raw main event.

Backstage: Jojo brings in Roman Reigns for some words, Dean Ambrose coming right in and congratulating his friend on the victory. Roman tells Dean that all he has to do is win and it’ll be them for the title, Ambrose walking away. The Big Dog tells Jojo that once Dean’s done, it will be best friends fighting for the championship. Kevin Owens comes in to remind Roman that he’s not eliminated yet, telling Reigns he’s been close before and tonight, he’s the guy that will stop him. KO walks off, Reigns stating that Owens is about to get his ass whooped.

Match #2 – WWE Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Dean Ambrose vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens
Ambrose with a hammerlock to start, switches to a side headlock, Owens fighting out and grabbing one of his own. The Lunatic Fringe pushes KO into the ropes and gets dropped by a shoulder knockdown, Owens back into the ropes and Dean with multiple armdrags. The champion reverses whip into the ropes, Ambrose with a schoolboy for a quick 1, gets a waistlock and Owens with a back elbow, using a schoolboy for a quick 1 of his own. KO with shoulders to the midsection in the corner, shoots Dean across and charges in, The Lunatic Fringe hops up and over, hits the ropes and takes Owens down with a forearm.

He rakes KO’s face on the top rope, clotheslines him to the outside and flies with a slingshot crossbody to the floor. Ambrose sends the champion back inside, charges him in the corner with a forearm, follows with a running bulldog and covers for 1. The Lunatic Fringe heading upstairs, Owens hits the ropes and crotches Dean, dropping him to the mat with right hands and scoring with the Cannonball that gets 1. The Prize Fighter utilizes a rear chinlock, Ambrose gains a vertical base and breaks the hold with jabs and chops, Owens countering a whip into the corner and Dean goes in sternum-first.

The champion plants Dean with a torture rack neckbreaker for a 2 count, hits the ropes for a running senton and gets another count of 2. He chokes Ambrose on the middle rope, levels him with a short-arm clothesline, fires away with heavy rights, sends Dean into the ropes for a back elbow and gets another near fall. KO back to the rear chinlock, again Triple H is watching from the back as The Lunatic Fringe fights to his feet. Owens catches him in a sleeper, Dean counters to a back suplex, then avoids a running senton, hits the ropes and they double down off a double clothesline. The Lunatic Fringe tries Dirty Deeds, KO blocks it, they exchange right hands, Ambrose hits the ropes and Owens hangs him on the top rope.

He splits Dean with a gutbuster, heads up top for a moonsault and misses, The Lunatic Fringe scaling the corner to follow with a diving elbow drop and a near fall. Ambrose props Owens on the top turnbuckle, hooks for a superplex, KO blocks it and drops Dean back to the mat. The Lunatic Fringe fires back up to attempt a superplex, the champion counters and powers him into a 2nd rope fisherman’s buster, but still can’t get a 3 count. Owens yells at Dean to stay down, sends him into the ropes for a Pop-Up Powerbomb, Ambrose rebounds off the middle rope and scores with the Lunatic Lariat, KO rolling to the outside.

Ambrose flies through the ropes with a suicide dive, tosses the champion in, Owens rolls out the other side and Dean tries another suicide dive, but gets caught. KO drops The Lunatic Fringe on the announce table, tosses him back in for a Pop-Up Powerbomb, Dean avoids it and lands on his feet turning around into a superkick. Ambrose rebounds off the ropes for another Lunatic Lariat, walks into another superkick, the champion attempts the Pop-Up Powerbomb again, Dean counters with a hurricanrana, then spikes Owens with Dirty Deeds to head to the finals.
Winner: Dean Ambrose (Dirty Deeds)

  • EA’s TakeA better match, a lot cleaner than our first semi-final. I had a hard time believing Ambrose wouldn’t win this, but figured the odds were greater than that of Reigns, so it definitely helped make the match more interesting. I’m hoping for something more interesting to happen in the main event, as everything thus far has been expected.
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