Connect with us

Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWF The Big Event (1986)

Published

on

When the WWE Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia was announced, we at The Chairshot drew comparisons to another special production in a big, outdoor, foreign venue. The Big Event produced by the WWF in August of 1986, was an outdoor spectacle held in Toronto, Canada. It was not a PPV, but was filmed for Coliseum Video and the commentary was added later. It broke the all-time attendance record for a wrestling show, drawing an estimated 74,000. That record still stands for a Canadian wrestling event, but would be broken by the WWF just a few months later stateside for WrestleMania III. Bragging rights and the WWF Championship are up for grabs, so let’s get into the action…

Open: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund narrates our opening, featuring the city of Toronto as seen from the sky, mixed with clips of the matches that will take place tonight.

Match #1: The Funks (Hoss & Jimmy Jack) w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair & ‘Jumpin’ Jim Brunzell)
Blair & Hoss begin the match, Hoss goes into the ropes and knocks Blair down with a shoulder, back into it and he gets caught by a hip toss. Blair with a slam to Hoss, Jimmy Jack comes in and takes one, make that two apiece and the Funk’s head outside for a breather. Hoss heads back inside and uses strikes to back Blair in the wrong part of town. Blair fights out of the corner, double noggin knocker and the Funk’s head to the outside once again. Hoss comes in and tags Jimmy Jack, Brunzell tags in as well. Into the ropes and Brunzell slams him, then hits Jimmy Jack with an elbow and he rolls to the outside.

Hoss tags in and works Brunzell with uppercuts, into the ropes and he runs into a crossbody that gets Brunzell a near fall. Tag to Blair and they go to work on the arm of Hoss, with a hammerlock and then a pinning predicament for a count of 2. Hoss with a slam to break the hold, Blair kicks up and slams Hoss, going back into an armbar. Blair brings Brunzell in who goes right to the arm, into the ropes and Hoss with a back elbow, then tags Jimmy Jack. He comes in and gets caught with an armdrag, tag to Blair who comes off the 2nd rope with an elbow to the arm. Frequent tags by the Bees, Brunzell coming in and applying a sleeper. Hoss comes in and breaks the hold behind the refs back, no tag was actually made.

He tosses Brunzell to the floor, Jimmy Jack slams him outside behind the ref’s back. There’s a cut in the tape and it goes to both Killer Bees out on the floor, pulling out their masks and putting them on. Blair rolls in the ring and goes to work on Hoss, Jimmy Jack coming in to get some too. Atomic drop to Hoss, followed by a big clothesline and Jimmy Jack takes one too. Blair gets Hoss in an abdominal stretch, Jimmy Jack rushes in to break up. The ref gets Jimmy Jack out of the ring and the Bees switch behind the refs back. Hoss tags Jimmy Jack in and now Brunzell catches him with a small package to pickup the victory.
Winners: The Killer Bees (Brunzell/Small Package)

  • EA’s Take: I always loved The Killer Bees and felt as if they were the most underrated team in WWF/E history. I remember seeing loads of their matches on tapes that family members had and found the use of the masks to swap as intriguing. It wasn’t commonplace to see babyfaces using heel tactics and remaining over with the people. They were the first really athletic team I had ever seen, long before teams like The Rockers would be flying high. Jimmy Jack Funk is not really a Funk brother, but he is actually Jesse Barr, if you remember from my Starrcade ’84 review. He was brought in with the mask as Terry & Hoss’ unstable, younger brother right after WrestleMania 2. However, when Terry left the company a short time later, Hoss & Jimmy Jack fell down the card. Actually, this was the most prominent match that they had and Dory Funk Jr. (Hoss), would leave Jimmy Jack alone to become more or less a jobber not long after.

Match #2: King Tonga vs. The Magnificent Muraco w/Mr. Fuji
They lock-up, Muraco sent into the ropes and Tonga with multiple hip tosses and a slam, Muraco rolls outside for a breather. Back inside now and Muraco wants to shake hands, then sneaks in a knee and a right hand. Tonga strikes back with right hands and a big dropkick that sends Muraco to the outside. Muraco takes another stroll, then comes in and gets caught in a wristlock. The Magnificent One tries to break the hold with a monkey flip, but Tonga hangs on to maintain the hold. Muraco finally breaks it by sending Tonga into the ropes, Fuji hooks the leg behind the ref’s back and his guy takes advantage.

Muraco is in control now, tossing Tonga to the outside and Fuji gets involved again, whacking Tonga with his cane as Muraco keeps the ref’s attention. Tonga gets dragged up to the apron by his hair, Muraco brings him in the ring with a powerslam, then locks-on a nerve hold to wear down the big islander. The referee checks the arm, Tonga shows some life and gets to a vertical base. He delivers heavy strikes, whips Muraco into the ropes and connects with a dropkick. More right hands in the corner, Muraco is sent across into the turnbuckle, Tonga charges, but Muraco moves out of the way and re-takes over.

The Magnificent One to the outside now, wrapping the leg of Tonga into the ring post. In the ring, Muraco capitalizes, hitting a knee breaker and then punishing Tonga’s left leg. That leg is taking a beating and Muraco uses a Figure 4, Tonga is able to slide to the ropes for the break. Muraco is starting to feel cocky, taking his time as he heads to the top rope. Tonga gets to his feet and slams Muraco off the top, then starts his comeback with right hands and chops. Tonga now heads upstairs, coming off with a crossbody, as the ref makes the count, the bell rings and the time limit has expired.
Winner: Draw

  • EA’s Take: We know how I feel about draws now. This didn’t further a storyline, so there was no real need for it other than trying to protect both competitors to a degree. King Tonga is a newcomer to the WWF, coming from Carlos Colon’s World Wrestling Council based in Puerto Rico. Tonga would make a name for himself after body slamming ‘Big’ John Studd on an episode of Championship Wrestling, but of course Bobby Heenan didn’t pay the $15,000 he offered to anybody who could do it. Tonga would undergo a name change, which most people know him as now ‘Haku’. Actually, the commentators would make note of this change during this match and the ‘King Tonga’ moniker would be dropped.

Match #3: Ted Arcidi vs. Tony Garea
They tie-up multiple times and everytime Arcidi overpowers Garea. Garea tries a side headlock, gets sent into the ropes and attempts a couple of shoulder blocks, but runs into a brick wall. Garea goes to the side headlock again, Arcidi is in the ropes and he shoves Tony to the canvas, following with a slam. Garea is sent hard into the turnbuckle and Arcidi with a big back elbow. Garea whipped into the ropes again, Arcidi tries a back body drop, but gets caught with a kick. Garea hits the ropes and staggers the big man with a shoulder, then a running dropkick and Arcidi is finally off his feet. Into the ropes once more and Garea gets caught in a bearhug and he gives up.
Winner: Ted Arcidi (Bearhug)

  • EA’s Take: Tony Garea arrived in the then-WWWF in 1972 from his home country of New Zealand. Mainly working as a tag team specialist, Garea formed partnerships with the likes of Larry Zbysko, Haystacks Calhoun and most notably, Rick Martel. Tony won multiple Tag Team titles, but after Martel left the company in 1982 he was relegated to a jobber status until his retirement in 1986. Garea still works for the company as a road agent, almost 30 years later. Ted Arcidi was brought into the fold in 1985, after working as a powerlifter and even becoming the first man to benchpress 700 pounds in competition. Arcidi’s run was nothing spectacular, as he would be let go when fellow strongman Ken Patera returned to the company in the spring of 1987.

Ringside: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund catches up with ‘Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart for comments on Adrian Adonis taking on the Junkyard Dog tonight. Jimmy says tonight’s the night of his life, when he gets revenge on JYD for ripping off his pants at the Slammy Awards. Adrian Adonis grabs Jimmy and they rush off to the ring.

Match #4: ‘Adorable’ Adrian Adonis w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart vs. Junkyard Dog
JYD quickly hits the ring and goes to work with right hands, then wraps the chain around his hand and clocks Adrian with it. Headbutts on the mat and Adonis goes shoulder-first into the ring post. Adrian gets whipped into the corner, flipped upside down and over the top to the floor. JYD tries to drag him in by the hair, but the ref backs him off. He gets Adonis up to the apron and hits more rights and a headbutt. The ref tries to get in between again, JYD pushes him off, allowing Jimmy Hart to jump on the apron and spray some fragrance into JYD’s eyes.

Adrian takes the opportunity and hits a clothesline, knocking JYD to the canvas. Big forearms from Adonis, he heads to the 2nd rope and connects on another for a count of 2. JYD gets tossed to the outside, tries to get back on the apron and is knocked to the floor again. Jimmy Hart whacks him with the fragrance bottle behind the ref’s back, with no effect. Adrian heads up top, Jimmy Hart jumping on JYD’s back and getting thrown aside, then JYD crotches Adonis in the ropes and he falls to the floor. They slug it out a little before getting back inside. Jimmy Hart is on the apron, Adonis charges JYD, misses and hits his manager, both men crashing out to the floor. The bell rings and the winner is…
Winner: Junkyard Dog (Count-Out)

  • EA’s Take: This had to be a botched finish or something. How in the hell does JYD win by count-out when Adonis was back in the ring, then hit Jimmy Hart and spilled back out to the floor? The bell rang after he was outside for about a second and a half. The match was fine for what it was, simply a continuation of the heated rivalry. However, the screwed-up finish diminishes it all for two of the better characters in the company. JYD is a trailblazer, the first real African-American mainstream wrestling star. There were men before him like Ernie Ladd, but never to the level of popularity as the dog.

Match #5: Dick Slater vs. ‘Iron’ Mike Sharpe
Sharpe with a top wristlock, Slater counters into a hammerlock and Sharpe goes into the ropes to break. They go for a test of strength know, Slater with a boot and he stomps on Sharpe’s fingers before rolling to the outside and taking a walk. Back between the ropes, Sharpe strikes with his forearm support, the ref sees it and Iron Mike claims it was an open hand. Slater doesn’t appreciate it, stalking Sharpe and backing him in the corner with right hands and headbutts. Into the ropes they go, Slater ducks a clothesline and catches Sharpe’s boot, then hits a swinging neckbreaker, but misses a follow-up elbow drop. Sharpe attempts a slam, Slater’s out of it and he connects with a russian leg sweep. Slater climbs to the top turnbuckle, and comes down with a big elbow. He floats over into a double leg pinning predicament and gets the 1-2-3.
Winner: Dick Slater (Top Rope Elbow)

  • EA’s Take: In the NWA, Dick Slater was a mainstay and a top draw, but after debuting in 1986 with the WWF he never did much, making this a match between 2 relative jobbers. Slater would continue to work as an enhancement talent until early 1987. ‘Iron’ Mike Sharpe is a 2nd generation star that would become a mainstay in the WWF’s undercard from 1983 until his retirement in 1995, only gaining untelevised victories against lower level talent.

Ringside: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is with Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan who has some words about his upcoming contest against The Machines. He says in the main event, his man Paul Orndorff is going to take away Hulk Hogan’s WWF Championship.

Match #6: Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, King Kong Bundy & ‘Big’ John Studd vs. The Machines (Super Machine & Big Machine) & Captain Lou Albano w/Giant Machine
Super & Studd begin, Studd backs him in the corner and there’s a shoving match. Studd backs Super into the ropes this time, he goes for a right hand and it gets block, Super fighting back with rights and a failed slam attempt. Super is sent into the ropes and runs into a big shoulder, sent in again and Super with 3 straight clotheslines, taking Studd off his feet and to the outside. Giant Machine grabs Studd and rolls him back in the ring, Super tries another slam, but Studd’s too close to the ropes.

Tags on both ends as Bundy & Big enter the match, Bundy into the ropes, Big tries a shoulder and it’s a stalemate. Big hits the ropes and can’t stagger Bundy with another shoulder, he ducks a right and delivers rights of his own. Bundy reverses a whip into the corner, misses a splash and Big with a back elbow, finally taking the big man off his feet. Bundy regroups and comes back with heavy forearms, tags Studd in and he pummels Big in the corner, then down to the canvas. Heenan tags in and he goes after Big, trying to unmask him. Super comes in with a shot on Heenan and he quickly tags Studd back in. Big is sent into the ropes and he delivers a kick, Super tags in and goes to town with a series of rights, he gets distracted by The Brain in the corner and Studd capitalizes with a back elbow.

Tag to The Walking Condominium, he maintains the upper-hand, then gets the ref’s attention which allows Heenan & Studd to double team. They hold Super in the ropes, Bundy attempts a shoulder, but misses and hits Studd. Super builds some momentum, hitting the ropes and delivering a shoulder to Bundy. He goes into the ropes again, but Studd with a kick. Bundy covers and Big comes in to break it at 2. Tag to Studd, knocking Super down with a back elbow and then bringing Heenan in.

The Brain tries to direct traffic, but doesn’t see Super make the tag to Albano until he’s already in the ring. Albano offers Heenan a free shot, Bobby slaps him and Albano with a flurry of rights, then sending Heenan into the corner and turning him upside down. Bobby goes to the eyes, then tags Studd who pummels Albano and then knocks The Machines off the apron. Chaos breaks out as Giant Machine is in the ring now and he starts taking out everybody with headbutts and chops causing a DQ.
Winners: Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan, King Kong Bundy & ‘Big’ John Studd (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: Giant Machine gets ahold of Heenan, hammering him with a right hand and a big headbutt.
  • EA’s Take: This match was entertaining because of the personalities involved, but was not exactly a sight to be seen for in ring ability. Andre The Giant was starting to have problems with his health due to his acromegaly and took some time off to also film the movie ‘The Princess Bride’. To explain Andre’s time off, Bobby Heenan lobbied to get him suspended after he missed a match against Bundy & Studd. It worked and Andre was suspended, but 2 months later vignettes for a new team called The Machines started airing. It was obvious that the man known as ‘Giant Machine’ was indeed Andre The Giant and Heenan would try vehemently to prove that it was. Bobby was never successful and the angle would last until November, when Andre was officially “re-instated”. Big Machine was Blackjack Mulligan, who would go back to that moniker when The Machines ended, while Super would go on to be part of a tag team that would ‘demolish’ it’s competition.

Match #7 is a Snake-Pit Match: Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat
A ‘Snake-Pit Match’ is just a no disqualification match. Jake goes right after Steamboat on the apron before he can get in the ring. Ricky fights back with right hands, whips Roberts into the ropes and hits a back body drop, The Snake rolls outside to catch his breath. Steamboat catches Jake coming back inside with more rights, into the ropes and he connects with a big chop, covers and gets 2. Ricky goes to a wristlock now, working the arm then into the ropes they go again.

The Dragon lands another big chop and gains another count of 2, then goes back to punishing the arm. Roberts gets to a vertical base, misses a right and Steamboat goes back on the offensive with a chop and then a back kick. Roberts falls to the outside, Steamboat chases and gets caught. Jake with a stiff right hand and then a slam on the floor. The Snake tortures The Dragon, Ricky fights back and stops Jake from using a chair. Steamboat wants the weapon, connecting to the midsection and head of Roberts with it. Back inside, Ricky climbs to the top and comes down with an overhead chop for a near fall.

Steamboat looks to wear Roberts down some more, locking in an armbar. Jake is up, but gets slammed into the top turnbuckle, Steamboat climbs the 2nd rope and reigns down right hands to The Snake’s head. Steamboat with an irish whip into the corner, reversed and Ricky is sent flying over the top to the outside. Roberts slides out after him and starts to take control, catapulting Steamboat into the ring post and he’s been cut. Jake using everything around ringside, driving Ricky into the barricade and then sending him in the ring. Roberts begs The Dragon to fight back, then pummels him with heavy shots. Jake with a short-arm clothesline, then sets for the DDT, but Ricky drives him into the turnbuckle. Jake stops any momentum with a right hand, followed by an inverted atomic drop and a gutbuster, then makes an arrogant cover. Ricky counters, holding Jake down for the 3 count.
Winner: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (Pinfall Counter)

  • EA’s Take: The continuation of their heated rivalry, this was the first major feud in the WWF for Jake Roberts and in a lot of ways it was for Steamboat too. It all started on an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event in May, when Jake delivered his patented DDT to Ricky on the concrete floor, right in front of Steamboat’s wife. Ricky’s head legitimately hit the concrete and he was rendered unconscious and suffered a severe concussion. After taking time off to recoup, Steamboat would return and immediately set his sights on revenge. This was one of the bigger matches they had, other than the final encounter on another edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event in October.

Match #8: Billy Jack Haynes vs. Hercules Hernandez
They tie-up and it’s a stalemate off the bat, locking up again and neither man can get the upper-hand. A 3rd lock-up and Haynes scores a side headlock, into the ropes he knocks Herc down with a shoulder, back and forth with leapfrogs and Hernandez flattens Haynes with a clothesline. Hercules locks the hands together in a bearhug, Haynes breaks the hold by clapping at the ears. Hernandez with hard rights, dropping Haynes and hitting 3 consecutive elbow drops for a count of 2. Billy Jack eats a top turnbuckle, reverses an irish whip into the opposite corner and they crack heads and double down.

Hercules is to his feet first, Billy Jack catches him with a series of boots and a big knee. Into the ropes and Haynes with a back elbow, followed by a backbreaker. He heads to the 2nd rope and comes down with a forearm drop for a near fall. Haynes goes for the Full Nelson, but Hernandez with a low blow and the ref doesn’t see it. Herc takes advantage, tossing Haynes to the outside and posturing for the crowd.

He drags BJH to the apron and delivers a forearm shot, then a kneelift that drops Haynes back to the floor both times. Hernandez brings BJH in the hard way, delivering a suplex in from the apron for a 2 count. Herc follows up with a decapitating clothesline and covers, the ref counts to 2 and Haynes gets a foot on the bottom ropes. Hercules thinks he’s won, BJH capturing him from behind with a roll-up and a near fall. Hernandez hits a couple of shots and attempts a neckbreaker, BJH counters into a backslide and he gets the count of 3.
Winner: Billy Jack Haynes (Backslide)

  • EA’s Take: Both of these big guys actually put on a pretty good match as Haynes scores the sneaky victory. Billy Jack is another newcomer to the WWF, after leaving the NWA following a heated physical confrontation with promoter Jim Crockett. He had a quick feud with Randy Savage over the IC Title, but this rivalry with Hercules is his most notable work of his WWF career. Both men would become rivals over who had the best Full Nelson, which they used as their mutual finishing maneuver.

Match #9: The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques & Raymond) vs. The Dream Team (Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine & Brutus Beefcake)
The Dream Team jumps the Rougeaus before the bell sounds, they pair off in the corners as the bell rings. Rougeaus start to take the upperhand and throw Valentine & Beefcake to the outside. Order is restored as Raymond & The Hammer are the legal men, tag to Jacques and he comes in with a sunset flip for a count of 2, as Beefcake comes in to get dropped by Raymond. Valentine is sent into the ropes for a chop, then a knee drop before tagging Raymond. He comes in and lands a couple of kicks to the midsection, Jacques back in for a jumping back elbow for 2. Jacques locks in an abdominal stretch, but The Hammer powers out with a hip toss and brings in Brutus. Beefcake with a big slam and a 2 count, Jacques backs him near his corner and tags out.

Brutus is dropped to the canvas, Raymond grabs the legs and hops on his chest with a seated senton. Brutus backing Raymond into a corner and he unleashes a flurry of knees, then tags The Hammer who comes off the top with a forearm smash. Another forearm for Raymond, then a slam for a 2 count. Raymond is sent in, ducks a back hand and hits a crossbody for 2, then tags his brother. The Rougeaus drop Valentine with a double dropkick, Jacques rolls him up and gains a count of 2. Valentine with big chops and Jacques is in the wrong part of town. Dream Team with a couple quick tags and slam Jacques back-first into the turnbuckle. The Hammer with an atimoc drop, Beefcake back in and delivers a low-looking boot, then struts his stuff. Jacques battles in the corner and now all 4 men are in the ring.

Dream Team has the Rougeaus in headlocks on opposite corners, they got ram the brothers into each other, but get shoved off into one another. Jacques with a slam on Beefcake, then he flips Raymond off the top and into a senton. They make the cover, Valentine breaks it up to save the match. Brutus tosses the Rougeaus to the outside, The Hammer does a number on Raymond on the floor. Raymond’s lower back is being destroyed and continuously rammed into the ring apron. Jacques tries to come in the ring, distracting the ref for more double team tactics by the Dream Team. Brutus lifts Raymond in a military press, then drops him into a backbreaker for what I guess is a 2 count. Valentine in off the tag, with heavy offense, they call him ‘The Hammer’ for a reason.

Valentine with an inverted atomic drop, Brutus with more rights off the tag and a vertical suplex for another near fall. The Hammer comes in and utilizes a bearhug, Raymond fights out, but still can’t make the tag and gets caught in it again. Jacques again wants to get in the ring, allowing his opponents to double team his brother again. Raymond is finally able to get something going, getting the tag to Jacques after Valentine misses consecutive elbow drops. Jacques is the proverbial ‘house of fire’, connecting on dropkicks to Beefcake & Valentine, then slamming them.

The Hammer briefly stops the momentum, more double teaming from him and Beefcake, they go for a double clothesline, but Jacques ducks it and lands a double dropkick. He heads to the 2nd rope, missing a knee drop to Valentine. The Hammer tries to go for the Figure 4, Jacques kicks him off, but Valentine is persistent and he finally gets it on. Raymond comes in to break the hold and all hell is breaking loose again. They pair-off, leaving Valentine & Jacques in the ring. Raymond & Brutus come back in, the ref tries to get Brutus back on the apron and Raymond hits a sunset flip on The Hammer as he’s trying to put the Figure 4 on Jacques again. The ref doesn’t realize it’s not the legal man and he counts to 3.
Winners: The Rougeau Brothers (Raymond/Sunset Flip)

  • EA’s Take: The match could have been really entertaining, but the referee was ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE. His counts were very slow and he just was not quick to the trigger on anything he was supposed to do, which really took away from what could have been. Jacques & Raymond came to the WWF from their family’s promotion in Montreal, having an enormous feud with Jimmy & Ronnie Garvin. Like many of Superstars on this card, they are still relative newcomers, having just signed 6 months prior and debuting as clean-cut faces…for now. The Dream Team is still looking to get on track after dropping the WWF Tag Team Championships to The British Bulldogs at WrestleMania 2. They’d start to move in a different direction with the addition of another member to come.

Match #10: ‘King’ Harley Race vs. Pedro Morales
Harley plants a knee into the midsection, but Pedro strikes back with big left hands and Race spills out to the floor. Harley grabs the Pedro’s legs and drops him out onto the apron, delivering elbows to the throat and then dropping him on the timekeeper’s table. Harley with a diving headbutt on the floor, heavy lefts and then he rams Pedro into the ring post. Back in the ring, Pedro blocks a suplex and plants Race with one of his own. Morales with a small package and he gains a count of 2. Harley reverses a whupe into the corner, Pedro hops up into a sunset flip for another near fall. Pedro works over Harley in the corner, the ref gets in between and Race with a double leg takedown. He stacks Pedro up, puts his feet on the ropes for leverage and Harley gets the win.
Winner: ‘King’ Harley Race (Double Leg Pinfall)

  • EA’s Take: It’s well-known that Harley Race is an NWA icon, but during a time when the WWF didn’t recognize a Superstars accomplishments in other organizations, they needed a way to recognize Harley as a true legend of the business. Thus, the WWF took ‘Handsome’ Harley Race and had him win the King Of The Ring Tournament, altering to ‘King’ Harley Race. Harley would later say he waited to go to the WWF until he was near the end of his career because he knew he could “get away with doing a lot less”. Pedro Morales is a former WWWF Champion, who was also near the end of his career, retiring just one year later. Had this match happened 10 years earlier, it would have been a tremendous draw.

Match #11 for the WWF Heavyweight Championship: ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff w/Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan vs. WWF Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan
The ref checks both men and as Hogan is being checked, Orndorff levels him with a big clothesline as the bell rings. Orndorff takes advantage, unloading on the champion, Hogan turns the tide until the ref pulls him off by his hair. They slug it out, Hulk getting the upper-hand and knocking Mr. Wonderful to the outside with a big right. Orndorff quickly back in, he catches a back elbow and spills outside once more, this time grabbing Hogan’s legs and dragging him outside. Ornodorff with heavy shots, tries to slam Hulk into the apron, but Hogan counters and rams Orndorff instead.

Back inside, the Hulkster with big rights and a clothesline, followed by an elbow drop. Hulk with an irish whip into the corner, following Orndorff with a clothesline. Hogan plays to the crowd and Mr. Wonderful catches him in the midsection, then Heenan delivers a slap from the outside. Orndorff comes from behind and Hogan scouts it, planting him with an atomic drop and then going after Heenan on the outside. The Brain slides through the ring and Orndorff puts the boots to Hogan coming in. Orndorff has the edge, sending Hulk to the outside with a clothesline and landing a suplex on the floor. Mr. Wonderful heads back in the ring to bask in the glory and hit Hulk with a knee when he tries to roll in.

Orndorff continues to dominate, driving the point of the elbow into Hogan’s neck on the apron. Hulk is dragged to the apron, Orndorff with a big forearm shot before they finally get back in the ring. The referee is getting all over Mr. Wonderful, he drops a knee and covers for a 2 count. Orndorff with a slam, then drives the elbow into Hulk’s neck again for another 3. Mr. Wonderful is perched on the top, coming down with another elbow. He signals for the piledriver, but Hogan flips Orndorff over to avoid it. The Hulkster can’t capitalize and Orndorff continues to pummel the champion. Hogan desperately grabs a side headlock, but Orndorff with a back suplex and Hulk gets his foot on the rope after a count of 2.

Hogan’s starting to feel it now, Hulking up and hitting Orndorff with a knee that also knocks down the ref. Hulk gives Mr. Wonderful the thumbs up, then clotheslines him the same way that Orndorff turned his back on him. Hogan signals for the piledriver, he gets Orndorff in the air, but Heenan comes in and clocks him with a chair. Mr. Wonderful crawls to a cover, but the ref is still down. He slowly crawls over and taps Orndorff’s shoulder. Mr. Wonderful grabs the belt and begins to celebrate as the bell rings. The referee tells Howard Finkel that Orndorff has been disqualified.
Winner and STILL WWF Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: Orndorff has the title around his waist and he puts the boots to Hogan, incensed that he didn’t win the title. He Hulks up and goes to town on Mr. Wonderful with right hands, a clothesline and a big boot, sending Orndorff to the outside.
  • EA’s Take: A highly enjoyable main event, as this was the main draw of the evening. Paul Orndorff turning heel on Hulk all began when the seeds were planted by Adrian Adonis, who would refer to Orndorff as ‘Hulk Jr.’, saying he went soft by teaming with Hogan. Mr. Wonderful’s jealousy of Hogan would come to a head during a tag match, in which Hulk would suffer Orndorff’s signature piledriver. Paul would reunite with Bobby Heenan, adding fuel to the heated rivalry. It was during this time that Orndorff would suffer a severe arm injury while weightlifting, but did not take the time off to properly fix the issue. This would creep up later on for Mr. Wonderful. Paul Orndorff was a great technician and sports-entertainer, who was vastly overshadowed by Hulk as many other stars were during this time.

EA’s Finisher: This 2 hour event had very little of anything other than in-ring action, there wasn’t much in the way of interviews and such. In this time period, Hogan was really all you needed to draw, plus we know how rabid Canadian fans tend to be. In addition to your main event, other matches like the Snake Pit Match, JYD vs. Adrian Adonis and Heenan’s squad against The Super Machines are your selling points. I think that’s why we see them almost alternating between them and your squash matches like Harley vs. Pedro or Slater vs. Sharpe. It’s basically a glorified house show, nothing of any real importance happened, no title changes or rivalries concluding. Compared to the Greatest Royal Rumble? This will obviously be peanuts when it comes to production value, spectacle and overall importance of the show. Not just because I’m expecting at least one championship to change hands, but because it’s the first step into a new country.

3 On Top
1 – Hulk Hogan vs. Paul Orndorff
2 – Ricky Steamboat vs. Jake Roberts
3 – The Funks vs. The Killer Bees


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
Advertisement
Comments

Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: PROGRESS Chapter 5 – ‘For Those About to Fight’

Chapter 5 of the Progress time machine checks in! Harry breaks down the action, the stories and much more!

Published

on

Chapter 5 of the Progress time machine checks in! Harry breaks down the action, the stories and much more!

Greetings and salutations, everyone. Welcome back to the return of ’What I Watched’ now under the Chairshot Classics banner. The first four chapters of PROGRESS as well as Slammiversary and Bound for Glory 2018 from Impact Wrestling are available in my archive, which you can reach by clicking my name at the top of this article. To update everyone on future plans for What I Watched, obviously we’ll be continuing to cover PROGRESS. Eventually, I’ll get to a somewhat modern show. For other companies, once I hit 2005 on my watching of CHIKARA, I hope to start cover those here as well (the pre 2005 shows don’t have commentary and are (for me anyway) much harder to get through). 

That brings us to why we’re here today. PROGRESS has just crowned a new champion at Chapter 4 in El Ligero, who tapped Nathan Cruz in the main event. Rather then do the immediate rematch, PROGRESS’ brass decided that instead they would do a bit of a ‘pick your poison’ situation as Ligero picks Cruz’s opponent and Cruz picks Ligero’s. There was another match revealed before the show as well, but I’ll save the mention of that for a bit later. In addition, the ‘Natural PROGRESS’ tournament continues, but we don’t know the participants for this Chapter. Beyond that, I don’t have a clue what to expect for this show, so it’s looks like we’ll find out together. With that said, it’s into the way back machine once again, as we head to January 27th, 2013 as “What I Watched” presents ‘For Those About to Fight’ or PROGRESS Chapter 5.

WRITER’S NOTE #1: My reviews will not be a play by play recap. I’ve done that style in the past and honestly, I don’t especially care for it. Instead, it’ll be more of a stream of consciousness review as I talk about the wrestlers, the matches, the storylines and whatever else happens to pop into my head while I watch.

WRITER’S NOTE #2: As much as I’d like to let everyone make their own decisions on the matches, giving away match results in the review will be a necessary evil. The reason being is that I will discuss what I think everything means going forward and maybe even doing a little fantasy booking of where I would go from where they presently are. I will still post the results as one big listing at the end of the articles as well as my ratings for the contests. The final show review will be after that as well as the ‘Final Reaction’ for the show. Going forward, I’ll have an archive to all of my previous reviews here on the Chairshot if you click on my user name.

MY RATING SCALE: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Above Average, Average, Below Average, Bad, Very Bad, Terrible and SKIP. Some matches will occasionally get a ‘N/A’ rating as well. That will be reserved for matches that I feel don’t warrant a rating.

PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 5
For Those About to Fight…We Salute You’
From: ‘The Garage’ in Islington, London, England
Date: January 27th, 2013
Run Time: 1:55:53 (Demand PROGRESS)
WITH SPECIAL THANKS: Ian Hamilton for some of the research that I did while working on this review. (http://www.backbodydrop.com)

*OPENING VIDEO: The first match that the opening video reveals is the London Riots (James Davis and Rob Lynch) taking on the Leaders of the New School (Zach Sabre Jr. and Marty Scurll). That should be a lot of fun…RJ Singh has an open challenge as well…finally, we get highlights of the title match from Chapter 4 to show how El Ligero won the title and then it’s revealed that Nathan Cruz has picked Dave Mastiff to face El Ligero, while El Ligero has selected the debuting Rampage Brown as the opponent for Nathan Cruz.

*GENERAL NOTES: We return to the scene of the first three shows but with what appears to be a different setup. You can’t see any monitors in the frame, but the lighting is absolutely awful. Will not make a fun review if I can’t see stuff that happens…EDIT AT MATCH 3: the lighting gets a bit better as the show goes on, but still not what I’d call great.

*Once again, either Smallman doesn’t have an opening welcome promo or we skip it on the show. Shame, really. As I said time and time again, I really enjoy those in the future Chapters.

*Match #1: Stixx (1-2 as a singles competitor) vs. Danny Garnell (1-0 as a singles competitor)
The Who: Stixx is coming off a loss in the triple threat at Chapter 4, where he was pinned by Dave Mastiff. He had split a pair of matches against Lion Kid before that. Danny Garnell was not at Chapter 4. His most recent match was a loss in a tag match at Chapter 3 where he and Darrell Allen were defeated by the London Riots. In his only previous singles match, Garnell defeated Jimmy Havoc at Chapter 2.
The Why: I haven’t a damn clue here. Makes zero sense to me. If Jimmy *cough cough* Barnett mentions something on commentary, I’ll be sure to pass it along.
The Match: Before the match gets underway, Stixx lets everyone know that he, like Garnell, is originally from London but he moved away because London ‘is full of a bunch of pillocks’. Somewhere, William Regal smiles…opening bell goes here and gets a rousing ovation…Stixx impressed me in his last match against Lion Kid, but the first one was less then appealing. Garnell had a surprisingly good match with Havoc at Chapter 2…first topical reference from 2013 gets explained by Barnett and given the PROGRESS fan base, it’s no surprise that it makes light of a death. Highs and lows of these crowds…the ‘crowd counts the next number’ has run it’s course now but was still pretty fresh when this show happened…not the opening match you’d come to expect but technically proficient thus far…heavier shots finally start getting fired around the five minute mark. This is more what you’d expect from these two…first crowd expletive based chant at six and half minutes into match one. I would have had the under there…cravat with knee strikes and that’s more what I expect from this match then the opening five minutes where they basically stayed on the mat. Not saying they can’t do it, but not what you expect or want to see with two guys this size. You expect more ‘Hoss Fight’ here…Garnell busts out a nice looking Northern Lights for two…slingshot neck snap by Stixx. That was new and very nice looking. Also not what you’d expected from a guy who’s probably closer to two fifty then two hundred…I’ve never seen a crowd response so favorably towards exploder suplexes. It doesn’t happen but the crowd was ready to, pardon the pun, explode for it…Stixx gets two with a Black Hole Slam. Which I think was the move that did pin Lion Kid at Chapter 3…I don’t mean this is a terribly negative way, but this match has been pretty long for an opener…Garnell goes for a tornado DDT off the second buckle, but Stixx is able to counter. A series of reversals leads to Garnell attempting that same tornado DDT a second time and this time hitting it, which gives him the pinfall at 14:52…technically proficient, sure. But not especially enthralling. The match had it’s moments where I went ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’, but to me, it seems like it may have been a mistake having these two go this long in the opener. Closer to the first Lion Kid match then the second for Stixx and Garnell looks like just another guy here. Call it AVERAGE and mildly disappointing at that. (AVERAGE)

Post-match:

*Match #2: ‘Natural Progression’ Quarterfinal: Lord Jonathan Windsor (debut) vs. ‘Wild Boar’ Mike Hitchman (0-1 as a singles)
The Who: Lord Jonathan Windsor debuts here, looking like a very British Chuck Taylor. Not sure if that’s a compliment or not. Anyway, he appears to have a Blue Bloods gimmick a la 1995 WCW Bobby Eaton or William Regal. Mike Hitchman we saw before when he challenged Mark Andrews for the BWC Starlo Scholarship. He was unsuccessful in that match but he and Andrews had a barnburner. Happy to see Hitchman back for another opportunity.
The Why: Speaking of Mark Andrews, he advanced to the semifinals at Chapter 4. This is the second of the four quarterfinal matches. The winner of which will join Andrews in the semifinals and maybe face him. No release on the brackets to my knowledge.
The Match: Hitchman is now on WWE TV as part of NXT UK, but if you didn’t know it was the same guy, you’d never be able to tell. He looks so different here…opening bell goes and Windsor takes time to fold his robe…Barnett points out there’s nothing wrong with a Blue Blood gimmick as in twenty years time, you could be married to Jim Smallman’s daughter and own part of PROGRESS. Okay, that drew a legit chuckle from me…not sure if Windsor is big or Hitchman is just really small even by Indy standards…Hitchman gets tired of Windsor’s stalling and it leads to a DDT on the apron. Not sure that’s a spot I’d use in match two, but okay then…we go to the crowd brawling in the second match as well. It’s like an ECW show broke out…Windsor seems more concerned about posing then wrestling. I get that you are new, but this is a company that prides itself on ring work…fans seems to remember the Package Piledriver that Hitchman used against Andrews because they respond every time he goes for. So far, Windsor has had the counter, but one feels that won’t be the case forever…Hitchman once again goes the for the Package PD, but Windsor counters with a backdrop over. Hitchman hooks the legs on the landing and goes for the sunset flip, but Windsor sits out with a deep cradle and that’ll be a three count at 11:24…can definitely say I don’t agree with the who won here. Hitchman had a cracker against Andrews in his first appearance and if the winner of this match was to get Andrews in the semis, I’ve had loved to see them run it back. Windsor did absolutely nothing for me as the gimmick is just basically cheap heat and there’s not a lot of steak to go with the sizzle. Call this BELOW AVERAGE and it’s two matches, two misses thus far for PROGRESS Chapter 5. (BELOW AVERAGE)

*Match #3: Nathan Cruz (3-1 as a singles) vs. Rampage Brown (debut)
The Who: Nathan Cruz is the former champion, looking for a bit of redemption against the handpicked opponent of the new champion. One could argue that Cruz has been the guy who has meant the most to the company thus far, so seeing him in match three on the night is kind of odd. Rampage Brown makes his debut here. I don’t know much about him other then he had a brief run with NXT in the US before going back over to the UK and a run with WCPW in the UK as well.
The Why: Discussed it earlier but to reiterate, it’s part of the ‘pick your poison’ series with Cruz and Ligero picking each other’s opponents for the evening.
The Match: Before the match, Cruz announces that he has hired a bodyguard to deal with his Marty Scurll problem named Fug. We don’t see him yet, but Cruz claims he’s seven feet tall and two hundred and eighty pounds. That would be a very skinny bodyguard…the chyron for Cruz has him listed at 3-2. I’m guessing there are including the tag loss from Chapter 3, which I do not in singles competition. If you guys would like, I can keep a running archive of records at the bottom of the reviews going forward. Let me know what you think and I’ll add it in the future if so requested…second expletive based chant of the night encourages Rampage to ‘fuck him up’…opening bell goes here…Rampage is well put together. It’s easy to see why he got a developmental deal with the WWE…for a bigger guy, Rampage is pretty adept on the mat. Cruz tries a sunset flip off the second turnbuckle, but Rampage is able to roll through and escape into a Crossface. Thankfully, no Chris Benoit chants follow this time…think the sound may be a little off on this Chapter from a technical aspect. Spinal Tap kick sound happens shortly after the kick occurs…Rampage dumps Cruz to the floor with a back suplex and the around ringside brawling commences where Cruz surprisingly gets the advantage…for as much crap as the PROGRESS fans give him, Cruz is one of the smoother guys on the roster. He wrestles like a wrestler, not just a guy trying to string things together in the attempt to tell a story…Cruz has gotten a good portion of this match. A bit of a surprise given that it is Rampage’s debut but with Cruz being the former champion, it’s also understandable…sliding dropkick gets a series of two counts. Standard basement dropkick, not the sliding kick he pinned both Ligero and Colossus Kennedy with back at Chapter 1…ugh, headbutts. So not a fan of those…huge back body drop by Rampage. Looked really good despite the slight delay going to it…Rampage looked for a powerbomb but Cruz got out into a chestblower. Cruz looks to follow up and gets countered into a good looking series of powerbombs, first standard and then sit out for a very close two…Cruz hits Show-Stolen and much like Ligero did at Chapter 4, Rampage kicks out. It also gives our first ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant of the night…Rampage catches a Falcon Arrow and looks to have the cover but doesn’t want it. That drives me nuts! 2 Cold Scorpio used to do that shit all the time and it’s stupid to me. The point is to win the match…Rampage then catches the Crossface a third time but Cruz finds his way to the ropes and then to the apron. Rampage tries to suplex Cruz back in, but Cruz lands on his feet and a O’Connor Roll with a hook of both the ropes and the tights gives Cruz the win at 15:27…that was more like it, PROGRESS. Very well contested match from the standard bearer of the company and a new guy who got a definite opportunity to shine. Cruz may pick up the win here, but the way he picks up the win is the story as it keeps Rampage looking good going forward for when he comes back. Rampage definitely impressed in what was I believe my first time seeing him and I look forward to seeing more, assuming he can curb the 2 Cold Scorpio aspect of not wanting the pinfall. Cruz bounces back nicely from the Staff loss and one assumes sets himself back up into title contention. GOOD match between these two here and finally something worth the time on the show. (GOOD)

*Post-match: We see Fug help Cruz to the back. He’s not nearly what Cruz claimed him to be. 6’8-6’9 maybe. The two hundred eighty pounds may be accurate though.

*Match #4: ‘PROGRESS Championship Staff’ – El Ligero © (3-1 as a singles competitor) vs. Dave Mastiff (1-0 as a singles competitor)
The Who: El Ligero has just won the Staff at Chapter 4 as we established above. In doing so, he also got revenge on the only man to have pinned him thus far, as it was Cruz who eliminated Ligero from the four way at Chapter 1. Dave Mastiff has had two matches and two victories thus far in PROGRESS. A tag match at Chapter 3, where teaming with the now departed Greg Burridge, he pinned the then champion Nathan Cruz. Mastiff won a three way at Chapter 4, pinning Stixx after Cruz got involved in taking Marty Scurll out of the match
The Why: Two parts here. One, obviously, is that it’s for the PROGRESS Championship (Nazi) Staff. Second, it’s the second bout in the ‘pick your poison’ series for Cruz and Ligero, as Mastiff is Cruz’s handpicked challenge for the title.
The Match: It occurs to me that this is the fourth match and we’ve yet to see an inset promo on this show. They just vanished into a void of non-existence…hot start as once Ligero is introduced, he shotgun dropkicks Mastiff to the floor and follows out with a tope con hilo…Ligero goes for the guillotine early but Mastiff quickly escapes…once again, the PROGRESS fans encourage a good “Fing” up, this time in support of Mastiff…Mastiff counters a frankensteiner attempt into a powerbomb try but Ligero escapes into a second attempt at the guillotine. It’s about as successful as the first attempt…Barnett says that he described Ligero to an American friend as a mix of the ‘best of El Generico and the best of LowKi’. Not sure I agree that he’s at Generico’s level, but the point is understandable…wrecking ball dropkick by Ligero and he buries Mastiff under a pile a chairs, going for the count-out. Mastiff up at six and Ligero tries another dropkick, only to get flung wheelbarrow style into the ring post…stalling delayed vertical suplex by Mastiff goes for a full minute goes Mastiff brings down Ligero. Impressive in length but to be fair, El Ligero weighs like a third of what Mastiff does…Mastiff goes for a second but Ligero escapes into a rollup for two. Looked good…sound is definitely slightly off on this stream…sleeper (I think?) variation…out to the floor again, but only long enough for Mastiff to pitch Ligero back in. Smart. Can’t win the Staff by count-out. Wish more people would do that instead of letting opponents take the count…Mastiff goes for a Buckle Bomb but once again gets caught in the guillotine. Mastiff counters by putting Ligero on the top rope. The guillotine isn’t working, but bless his heart, he keeps trying…absolutely hate that corner hanging double stomp. Almost always looks so contrived no matter who is doing it…shotgun dropkick by Ligero is no sold and Mastiff hits one of his own, followed by a dead lift German to put Ligero on the floor again…Ligero finally gets the guillotine in with both guys on the floor and rolls back into the ring to try to take a count-out win. Mastiff breaks the count just before the ten…Ligero goes for the C4L but Mastiff stops him and gets a running Liger Bomb for a close two count and the second ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant…Into The Void (corner cannonball) misses and Ligero goes up, leaping into a sixth attempt at the guillotine. This time, Mastiff flings Ligero overhead with a belly2belly variation. Mastiff tries to follow up with another Liger Bomb, but Ligero counters back into the guillotine. Mastiff tries to power out once but collapses and it’s a KO victory for the champion at 18:18…solid big match vs. little man contest but to be frank, nothing special here. A couple cool moves and a very impressive bit of dogged determination from El Ligero but if I’m being honest, I never bought that Mastiff was going to take the title from Ligero. Ligero’s deal with Cruz isn’t over and Mastiff hasn’t been around long enough to really establish much of a name for himself in PROGRESS. The fans kinda responded the same way I did as they got involved in the match here and there, but never for any significant portion of time. The match itself was GOOD due to the efforts of both men, but not must see by any stretch of the imagination. (GOOD)

*Match #5: RJ Singh (2-0-1) vs. ‘Dazzling’ Darrell Allen (0-1-1)
The Who: RJ Singh comes in off consecutive victories, beating Paul Robinson and Rob Cage at Chapters 3 and 4, respectively. The draw is a no decision in a three way where El Ligero pinned Greg Burridge to become number one contender at Chapter 2. Darrell Allen is looking for his first victory here in PROGRESS as not only does he have the 0-1-1 singles record (tapped by Noam Dar (Chp2), no decision in three way where Xander Cooper pinned Zack Gibson (Chp1)), he was on the losing side of a tag match at Chapter 3 as well and completely left off Chapter 4.
The Why: This one I have an answer for as well. It is an RJ Singh ‘Bollywood’ Open Challenge here. Adding to the intrigue of this open challenge is info that Jim Smallman gives us before the match during introductions that these guys are usually a tag team known as the Bhangra Knights.
The Match: Pre-match, Singh reads Allen the riot act, stating that they promised to stay out of each other’s way in PROGRESS and that while Singh has thrived, Allen has been something of a loser. Allen says in his (Allen’s) hometown of London, why don’t we find out if Singh really is King (which has been RJ’s catchphrase during this PROGRESS run)…bell goes and we’re underway…Singh has the edge early but it is pretty evenly matched…this is going to come down to a classic story of aerial vs. technical. Allen is more of a flyer whereas RJ likes to stay on the match…Director and Boudica again get on the apron, but Singh tells them to get down once again. I thought that pairing dissolved at Chapter 4…Boudica and Director do find themselves ejected and in a moment that’ll make Vince smile, the ‘Na Na Hey Hey’ song accompanies them doing so…springboard kick to the midsection. Called an enzugiri. It wasn’t, but I don’t know what the technical name is…Singh catches Allen with a version of the Tyebreaker that gets two (fireman’s carry into spinning facebuster over the knee). It looked good…this may not be the most PC thing to say but every time Allen takes a big bump, it looks like he’s trying to fellate himself…crowd very wittily chants ‘This is Bhangra’ instead of ‘This is PROGRESS’. Dug that…Singh loads up for a superkick, preceding it with a ‘I’m sorry. I love you’. The crowd and Barnett pop. The move is countered but the thought that counts…Allen up top and distracted by Boudica and Director on stage. Singh pulls Allen up the top and hits Widow’s Peak. Singh looks to apply the ‘Ethnic Submission’ (Camel Clutch, obviously) but Allen is able to pull Singh forward and trap him in a cradle for the three count at 9:56…alright, so I had some doubts. Singh has been pretty basic up to this point. Allen had a good performance in the triple threat at Chapter 1 but both he and Garnell were kind of just there for the match with the London Riots. With all that being said, it actually turned into a pretty nice little match here. There was a good amount of action thrown in with the story that they told and most importantly to me, I like that the story actually played into the finish with Allen knowing the ‘Ethnic Submission’ and having a counter planned. Call this one a GOOD showing for both guys and the best match on the card thus far, in my opinion. (GOOD)

*Post-match: Singh offers the handshake and instead, he and Allen hug it out. Shah Boudica takes not kindly to this and attacks Allen from behind. Singh pulls Boudica off of Allen twice, before Boudica slaps Singh in the face. Allen then superkicks Boudica in the back of the head. Allen and Singh then team up as a Samoan Drop-Blockbuster combination (called the Bhangra Buster, but for point of reference look for Cryme Tyme’s G-9) and looks like the Bhangra Knights will be a thing going forward in the tag division….as the Bhangra Knights are making their way to the back, the London Riots make their entrance, so me thinks that may play a factor in a future Chapter.

*Match #6: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) (3-0 as a team) vs. Leaders of the New School (Marty Scurll/Zach Sabre Jr.) (Debut as a team)
The Who: London Riots are clearly the class of the PROGRESS tag division thus far. Wins over the Bastard Squad (probably done now that Allen is back with Singh), the Hunter Brothers and the Velocity Vipers (shame about Esmail’s leg) have led them to here, a main event level match. Leaders of the New School make their debut as a team here for PROGRESS, but it will not be my first time seeing them as a team. I remember getting into the European wrestling scene by watching wXw out of Germany and Scurll and Sabre Jr. were the wXw Tag Team champions for a while there. Scurll has been one of the biggest stars of PROGRESS thus far and in my opinion, Scurll vs. Sabre Jr. from Chapter 1 remains the best match in PROGRESS history to this point.
The Why: London Riots wanted competition, Jim Smallman decided to give them competition in the form of what many at the time considered to be the best tag team in Europe. Pretty straight forward here.
The Match: As per the usual, if I screw up Davis and Lynch, I apologize. They have stuck with the singlet and bikers gear, so once again, I should be okay…aw, Chris Roberts just got his first kiss. It was from Marty Scurll, but it still counts!…Davis is the one in the singlet. Now I know. Thanks Smallman, er, Barnett…Barnett lets us know that the Chapter 1 match between the Leaders was voted best match in Britain in 2012. That’s fair…Scurll spits his gum at Lynch. Well, with no Noam Dar on this show, someone had to be unhygienic…has that sit out butt drop worked for another then Rikishi in the last decade?…a little Poetry in Motion by the Leaders and then Scurll uses Sabre Jr. as a weapon to take out both Riots…off to an insane pace. Shit ton of action and we’re not even four minutes in yet…Scurll with a running bitch slap to Davis. Davis responds with a STIFF running body block. Don’t think he appreciated the slap…everything Sabre Jr. does is so fluid. With as many huge Indy names that ended up in NXT, I am stunned that Zach never got a shot there. I know he had a set of Japanese commitments, between NOAH and NJPW, but what could have been…believe the word to describe Sabre would be lanky. But he makes the most of it…apparently, I owe Rob Lynch and James Davis an apology. My Chapter 3 review got posted as I’m typing this and I apparently called them the Riot Squad during the course of that. They were facing the Bastard Squad and I just joined the names for a common WWE name. My bad…Lynch just knocks Sabre weak kneed with a forearm. Good lord…we’ve settled into a bit of tag formula here but as I’ve said before, it’s a formula because it works. Riots are hated and Leaders are loved. What better way to do this then to keep a member of the Leaders isolated and get the crowd to rally behind him…despite a pretty good experience gap, Riots are looking good in this match. Part of it is a master class from Sabre and Scurll as babyfaces, but Riots are more then holding their weight…I really hope Sabre Jr. is around more in PROGRESS in 2013. That war he had with Scurll at Chapter 1 was his only match for 2012. It would definitely make these reviews more fun to get to see more of the wizardry that Sabre possesses…tag finally made and Scurll comes in a house of fire…Scurll gets the Cesaro apron superplex that gets broken up by a bloody nosed Rob Lynch. A kick from Sabre caught him flush before the hot tag…gamengiri by Sabre Jr. into a DVD by Scurll gets two with another save by Lynch. It looked good…pop-up spear by the Riots and it looked really good. Last second save by Scurll…Riots look for the ‘District Line’ powerbomb but Sabre is able to get out and he chuffing loves putting people in cross-armbreakers. It’s broken up by getting Scurll powerbomb’d onto him…everyone down after a series of strikes and the crowd hits our fourth ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant…saves are coming hot and heavy here. I like it to a point, but let’s not get to the line of overkill…Sabre nails Scurll with a kick by mistake and the Riots take advantage with a really good looking Doomsday Device which Sabre kicks out of at two. That would have made for a good finish…shortly thereafter, the ‘District Line’ powerbomb does land (looking a bit rough but the point was there) and James Davis pins Zach Sabre Jr. at 20:07…VERY GOOD but not to the level are the previous Scurll main event matches in PROGRESS. The biggest issue I have here in that while the Riots had a good heat segment on Sabre, it didn’t break down nearly as much as I expected it to in the finish. Speaking of the finish, it looked slightly blown as I think Lynch may have tried a neckbreaker for the ‘District Line’ or he just didn’t get far enough out of the way. The big thing here is that it definitely establishes the Riots as the team to beat in PROGRESS as they take down the Leaders relatively cleanly. (VERY GOOD)

Post-match: London Riots don’t attack after the match as has been their tradition, instead heading to the back. Probably to fix Rob Lynch’s nose. Jim Smallman gets on the mic and lets us know that the first match they’ll announce for Chapter 6 will be a rematch of Chapter 4 as the Riots will once again face the Hunter Brothers, this time in a weapons match. Seems like an odd time to announce this with Sabre Jr. still down in the ring, but the show must go on, I suppose. Scurll goes to get a bit of mic time as well, but the show fades before he speaks and that’s a wrap for Chapter 5.

RESULTS
Match #1: Danny Garnell pins Stixx, tornado DDT off second buckle @ 14:52 (AVERAGE)
Match #2: Lord Jonathan Windsor pins Mike Hitchman, sit-down on sunset flip @ 11:24 (BELOW AVERAGE)
Match #3: Nathan Cruz pins Rampage Brown, O’Connor Roll with hook of tights and ropes @ 15:27 (GOOD)
Match #4: PROGRESS Wrestling Staff- El Ligero © defeats Dave Mastiff by KO, guillotine choke @ 18:18 (GOOD)
Match #5: Darrell Allen pins RJ Singh, leverage pin out of ‘Ethnic Submission’ attempt @ 9:57 (GOOD)
Match #6: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) defeat Leaders of the New School (Marty Scurll/Zach Sabre Jr.), Davis pins Sabre Jr. after the ‘District Line’ powerbomb @ 20:07 (VERY GOOD)

FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
It picks up quite a bit at the end, so I can’t call it the worst of the five shows thus far. That being said, it’s definitely not mandatory viewing either. The issue that I find myself with is that I know what PROGRESS is capable of as it goes forward. When you go back and watch these formative shows, you can see moments of potential. But that’s all they are usually at this time frame. Just moments. Top to bottom, none of these shows have delivered a knock out show. Try to find the semi main and main event if you have a chance, but the rest is watch at your convenience. Except for the Windsor and Hitchman match. Do yourself a favor and skip that.

Where does this leave us? It leaves me a little disappointed, but that’s what happens when expectations are set so high. It leaves you hopefully wanting to come back as we take the next step in this journey with Chapter 6. In addition, it leaves me still hungry. I wonder if I could work out a ‘burgers per review’ deal around here.

THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: Despite the fact that I gave the main event a higher rating, I going to give this honor to the RJ Singh and Darrell Allen match. The match itself is a good mix of comedy and ring work. The post match is where the money is as the fans go crazy for the Bhangra Knights reunion.
Worst match/moment: Feels like I’m beating a dead horse, but Mike Hitchman and Lord Jonathan Windsor can be classified as nothing less then a disappointment. The blueblood gimmick has potential, but in a company like this, you need to be able to back it up in the ring. Windsor simply did not.
MVP: Going to give this as co-MVPs again and I’m going to give it to James Davis and Rob Lynch for a star making performance in the main event as the London Riots prove they are the class of the PROGRESS tag team division.
FINAL SCORE: 6.0/10.0

Until next time: “This Is PROGRESS” and that’s “What I Watched”. Up next is Chapter 6: “We <3 Violence” And make sure you guys check out the Raw Reaction every Monday night at 11:30 PM (EST) to hear Tony Acero, Andrew Balaz and myself break down the important news and cover Monday Night Raw over on the Chairshot Radio Network.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
Continue Reading

Chairshot Classics

Doctor’s Orders: Ranking The Greatest Matches and Rivalries in NXT Takeover History

Objectively subjectifying all-time greatness on NXT’s premiere stage, Takeover. See what matches are on the list!

Published

on

WWE NXT Takeover Philadelphia Andrade Almas Johnny Gargano

The Doctor is in as Chad Matthews updates his list of greatest WWE NXT Takeover matches and rivalries with a look at two of the very best, from different NXT eras.

Attempting to contextualize greatness in pro wrestling is a fascinating exercise, a much more multi-faceted conversation than it is often given credit for.  To some in the business, for instance, Rock vs. Cena is the greatest match of all-time because it set the pay-per-view buy mark, while others would say the greatest match is Austin vs. Bret because of the exemplary storytelling.  Why should greatness be limited to a plethora “one or the other” positions (best vs. most popular or anything of the sort)?  Such has been my stance during this entire decade (see The Greatest Matches and Rivalries of the WrestleMania Era), tackling the process of adding measures of objectivity to a topic deemed completely and utterly subjective and attempting to broaden the way that we have these discussions. I can also apply that to NXT.

Greatness has become regularly associated with NXT.  I am personally enamored with what the yellow brand has accomplished over the past few years, with the Takeover franchise especially.  The reputation that Takeover has built should astound any diehard WWE fan who, at times during the WrestleMania Era, may have felt like Vince and Co. unnecessarily (and oddly) put a critical ceiling on its in-ring product.  Bold statement: Takeover has, based purely on what happens from bell-to-bell, produced nearly as many bonafide classic wrestling matches as WrestleMania in just five years of existence.  Think about that for a moment, because it was with that idea in mind that I started asking, “What’s the greatest in NXT history?”

My second book (referenced above) was published last summer and in it I crafted a detailed formula to thoroughly assess the various aspects that shape how fans and pundits use the term “greatest.”  Turning my attention to NXT, I took that formula and tweaked it to fit Takeover.  On a 1-5 star scale, appropriately, I graded the best match in each of the top rivalries in NXT history, picked from a pool of consensus classics, on the psychology, storytelling, selling, execution, and climax of their in-ring performances, their historic ramifications on NXT lore, the setting (as defined by a pre-made scale for crowd size), the strength of their pre-match build-up, and the rating given by Dave Meltzer to account for popular opinion, as well as a few additional points (not on a scale of 1-5, mind you) for any intangible qualities (i.e. a special entrance, an innovative move or sequence never before seen, a rivalry-befitting gimmick, etc.).  The sum total of the scoring yields the rivalry’s standing, which will be continuously updated as this long-term process advances.

Today’s entries grow the list from fourteen to sixteen matches, which have been selected at random throughout this project’s history dating back to last fall. Here are the rankings ahead of today’s additions (the links will take you to the objectively subjective breakdown of each match):

Leaderboard

#1- Revival vs. #DIY (46.5)
#2- Bate vs. Dunne (43.5)
#3- Ricochet vs. Cole (43.0)
#4- Undisputed Era vs. Mustache Mountain (42.25)
#5- Dream vs. Ricochet (42.0)
#6- War Games 2018 (41.5)
#7- Nakamura vs. Zayn (41.0)
#8- Asuka vs. Moon (40.75)
#9- #DIY vs. AOP (39.75)
#10- Dream vs. Black (39.5)
#11- Balor vs. Joe (39.0)
#12- Owens vs. Balor (38.75)
#13- Almas vs. McIntyre (36.0)
#14- Four Horsewomen-Way (33.75)

Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Johnny Gargano for the NXT Championship at Takeover: Philadelphia
Psychology: 5 / Historic: 4.5 / Setting: 5 / Storytelling: 5 / Selling: 5 / Climax: 5 / Execution: 5 / Popular Opinion: 5 / Build: 4.5 / Intangibles: +4
Total Score: 48.0

There have been very few matches in WWE history that have found me clapping while watching them in replay, and Cien vs. Johnny Wrestling from Philly is one of them. Hand to heart, I am unsure that there has ever been a better performance in WWE, which is partly what makes the added dynamic of including NXT lore when historically ranking matches throughout the WrestleMania Era so challenging and simultaneously so fascinating. The depth of storytelling and the instances when believably this match could have been over but somehow was not is virtually unmatched in mainstream North American wrestling over the past thirty plus years. Gargano and Almas judged everything picture-perfectly, selling their butts off, adding layers of psychology as they reached an utterly captivating climax, and drawing every ounce of intrigue out of the in-ring chemistry that they first prominently put on display against each other at Takever: Brooklyn III.

Gargano vs. Andrade is truly one of the greats as “epic” matches go, and the Philadelphia match certainly fits the profile of the genre (an “epic match”) that I have been quietly working on popularizing in the IWC, offered up to properly label a lengthy main-event style performance that builds to crescendo after crescendo and features finisher kick-outs as one of its primary hope spot wells to tap. I have been critical of the over-use of it, as many of its staples have trickled down to ten minute mid-card matches, and I do believe that epics, like Cena vs. Styles for example, are suffering from a distinct lack of rewatchability because of how ardently they cling to bout-ending signature offense, but Cien vs. Johnny is not to be lumped in with such over-done peers because it is smarter, more intricate, better executed, and expertly paced, its gaps in action replaced with the outstanding managerial act of Zelina Vega (and the eventual cameo by Candice Wrestling).

I believe it was a truly remarkable achievement. Maybe Banks vs. Bayley, Gargano vs. Ciampa, or Gargano vs. Adam Cole beats it in the scoring system, but even if one of them or another Takeover match in the pipeline down the road unseats it, I think it is going to be a long time before something removes it from the pedestal of what yours truly would call the finest match in Takeover history. Aesthetically, athletically, psychologically, I just struggle to see how anyone could really argue that another match was better. I was fortunate enough to see them wrestle one of their prequels in Brooklyn, and that was one of the four or five best mid-card type bouts in Takeover lore too, so when you combine that match with what happened in Philly – of the nine scoring categories here, their NXT Title match scored a 5 in seven of them – you have an all-time great.

You know, it is funny that Dave Meltzer awarded the Takeover: Philadelphia match the first “5-star” rating for a WWE match since Punk vs. Cena in Chicago, and if you watch any of New Japan Pro Wrestling and know of Meltzer’s fascination with it, you can appreciate why. Almas vs. Gargano was an NJPW match in an NXT ring with WWE production value. If in the coming years, a main-event of that style and caliber is featured on Summerslam or eventually works it way to the WrestleMania headlining position, I think we may have Gargano vs. Almas to thank for it.

Neville vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship at Takeover: R-Evolution
Psychology: 4.5 / Historic: 4.5 / Setting: 3 / Storytelling: 5 / Selling: 5 / Climax: 5 / Execution: 4.5 / Popular Opinion: 4.75 / Build: 5 / Intangibles: +3
Total Score: 44.25

While in the beginning of this process, it seemed probable that Cien Almas vs. Johnny Wrestling had a shot at topping this match to advance ever closer to the #1 spot, what seemed assured from the out-set was that Zayn vs. Neville would rate among the premiere title matches in NXT lore because, in terms of storytelling, there may still have never been a championship bout that possesses the same sense of urgency or the same sense of occasion.

Here you had Neville, a bit shy of a year-long reigning as NXT Champion (who held the title during the promotion’s rise to WWE Network prominence) and possessing one of the most amazing offensive arsenals in pro wrestling’s entire history, coming up against Zayn, arguably the quintessential example of how legends are capable of being made in NXT. No matter what happens elsewhere within the Titan ranks, Zayn will be someone revered by any who watched what he did in NXT from 2014 to 2016.

One of the greatest things that NXT brings to the table is how wrestlers, as personalities, are characters first, their labels (or face-heel dichotomies) rather arbitrary by comparison. Neville strayed a bit more toward a black and white personic construct during the match, but he was clearly pushed toward the line that Zayn managed to straddle a bit better and showed glimpses of the viciousness and single-mindedness (toward winning) that made his run on 205 Live so engaging to purple brand followers in 2017; it was Zayn who was truly marvelous, though, displaying a depth of character so rarely seen from protagonists in WWE proper, and far more relatable for it, as evidenced by the incredibly raucous crowd support that he garnered in what was still ostensibly a babyface match. Zayn’s ability to connect on that deeper emotional level lifted this effort to pantheon status.

The end result – the total package from the storyline build-up to the hype video package to the atmosphere it generated to the bell-to-bell fight (and it felt like the fight that pro wrestling should be in the modern era main-event scene with the athletic potential of the combatants) – closed the first chapter in the history of NXT in the Network Era with a timeless classic destined for massive hindsight accolades in the near and distant future.

New Leaderboard

#1- Andrade vs. Gargano (48.0)
#2- Revival vs. #DIY (46.5)
#3- Neville vs. Zayn (44.25)
#4- Bate vs. Dunne (43.5)
#5- Ricochet vs. Cole (43.0)
#6- Undisputed Era vs. Mustache Mountain (42.25)
#7- Dream vs. Ricochet (42.0)
#8- War Games 2018 (41.5)
#9- Nakamura vs. Zayn (41.0)
#10- Asuka vs. Moon (40.75)
#11- #DIY vs. AOP (39.75)
#12- Dream vs. Black (39.5)
#13- Balor vs. Joe (39.0)
#14- Owens vs. Balor (38.75)
#15- Almas vs. McIntyre (36.0)
#16- Four Horsewomen-Way (33.75)

If you want to discuss NXT  or other wrestling matters with Doc, follow and tweet @TheDocLOP !


Check out the latest episode of The Doc Says podcast, featuring a review of NXT Takeover 25!

The Doc Says NXT Takeover

Listen here:
http://thechairshot.com/2019/06/the-doc-says-instant-reaction-analysis-to-a-memorable-milestone-nxt-takeover/


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
Continue Reading

Trending Today