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.
- 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
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Chairshot Classics: WWF King Of The Ring 1993
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 Take: Tremendous 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 Take: Short 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 Take: Not 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
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.
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.
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
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 Take: I 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 Take: Del 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 Take: A 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.