Hello again, hello. It’s that time again to put the ‘Flashback Friday‘ into Flashback Friday as we leap through the WWE Network Pay Per View by Pay Per View and show by show in as random a way possible.
Last week’s vote was such a roaring success that we did it again and you (or at least 42% of you) voted for Saturday Night’s Main Event. From what I can gather ( I didn’t watch it at the time) This was a special show that was designed to bridge the large gap between pay per views as WWE was only running FOUR a year at the time. Hard to imagine that now as we have had monthly pay per view since 1995 and it’s become a wrestling staple.
But what was it like?
Was it any good?
Was it better than last week’s WCW Thunder?
Actually the last one was a trick question. NOTHING can be as bad as last week’s WCW Thunder, although I feel we’ll get a few contenders. To answer the other two we leap into an episode of said show.
Saturday Night’s Main Event
February 8th 1992
We open with our commentators for this evening, Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan. They discuss some matches that are happening tonight (Randy Savage vs Jake Roberts and Hulk Hogan & Sid Justice vs Ric Flair & The Undertaker) and Bobby Heenan compares Randy Savage’s wife/manager, Miss Elizabeth, to a begging dog.
Roddy Piper vs The Mountie
Piper takes off his kilt but not his shirt as Jimmy Hart attacks him from behind. Piper turns his attentions to Jimmy Hart allowing Mountie to attack from behind too with fists before throwing PIper out of the ring. Piper gets back in the ring and Clotheslines both men sending Jimmy Hart out of the ring and knocking Mountie to the canvas where a cover gets Piper an early two count. Mountie heads out of the ring and into Jimmy Hart’s arms for a comforting hug but Piper follows and cracks their heads together with a Double Noggin Knocker. A Right Hand knocks Mountie down and allows Piper to roll him back into the ring. As Piper gets into the ring, Jimmy Hart grabs at Piper’s ankle allowing Mountie to unleash a barrage of stomps.
We see a picture in picture of with Bret Hart saying he doesn’t care who wins here, all he wants is his belt back. Back to the action and Mountie gets a two from a spinning Back Elbow. A Bodyslam by Mountie would have been followed by a Big Splash had Piper not gotten his knees up to block the move. Piper unloads on Mountie with Right Hands but a Bulldog is foiled when Mountie pushes Piper into the referee before hitting Piper with a Piledriver. Jimmy Hart hands Mountie a cup of water which, for reasons, he pours over Piper and not the referee before taking his cattle prod and zapping Piper with it. Miraculously, Piper stands straight back up and Right Hands Mountie before taking posession of the cattle prod. After throwing Jimmy Hart from the ring, he zaps Mountie with the cattle prod. The referee regains conciousness as Piper makes the cover and the ref counts the three to give Piper the win. Post match, Piper finally removes his shirt to reveal he’s wearing a Shock Proof shirt.
Winner: Roddy Piper (Still Intercontinental Champion)
We see the end of the 1992 Royal Rumble with Hulk Hogan, Sid Justice and Ric Flair complete with different commentary and background noise. This time around there are boos when Hogan is eliminated. Following that we see a press conference where WWE President, Jack Tunney, announces Hulk Hogan as the number one contender to the WWE Title at Wrestlemania 8. A desicion that Sid Justice, after the press conference calls ‘Bogus‘. In an interview taped this morning, Sid Justice has calmed down a bit and apologises to anyone who may have taken what he previously said the wrong way, especially Hulk Hogan.
Hulk Hogan & Sid Justice vs Ric Flair & The Undertaker
Prior to the match we see a backstage interview with Sean Mooney interviewing Hulk Hogan and Sid Justice. Mooney blatantly ignores Sid so he walks off as Hulk Hogan discusses Sid’s apology and says he is looking forward to his match with Flair at Wrestlemania.
Flair and Sid start and they are both wearing red. A Collar and Elbow Tie-up before Flair rakes Sid’s eyes. An Irish Whip is reversed by Sid and Flair hits the buckles so hard he rebounds back out of the corner and is Back Body Dropped by Sid. Sid Hip Tosses Flair who slides to the outside. Hogan tags in and he Irish Whips Flair so hard he rebounds back out of the corner and is Back Body Dropped. That last bit seemed familiar. Hogan Hip Tosses Flair. Again I’ve seen this somewhere. He does something new when he Hip Tosses Undertaker. Hogan rams Undertaker’s head into Sid’s knee before tagging him in. I admit I rewound this because Flair is on the apron and I didn’t see a tag. There was no tag! Flair got Hip Tossed and left the ring!
Sid knees Undertaker in the gut and Undertaker hits Sid with an Uppercut but for whatever reason Undertaker is unable to Bodyslam Sid. Sid can Bodyslam Undertaker though which he kindly proves before ramming Undertaker’s head into Hogan’s knee. Hogan tags in gives a Bodyslam to Undertaker and then Flair followed by a Clothesline each. Hogan puts Undertaker in a Headlock and tags Sid who Boots Undertaker in the ribs. A whip off the rope is telegraphed and Undertaker catches Sid with an Uppercut . Flair and Undertaker hit Sid with a Double Clothesline and Flair makes the cover getting a two before Hogan breaks the count, but don’t worry the ref is complaining to Hogan that he’s not legal when he broke the count. He should talk to Flair. A double Atomic Drop gets Undertaker a two as it’s broken again by Hogan. Undertaker and Flair attempt a Double Suplex but it’s broken as Hogan is in the ring again. Hogan and Sid Double Boot Flair in the face and Double Clothesline Undertaker out of the ring
Back from the ads and Undertaker hits Sid with yet another uppercutt before throwing him head first into the corner and tagging Flair who kicks Sid in the ribs and Chops him before connecting with some Right Hands. Hogan complains to the referee about double teaming as Flair and Undertaker double team Sid with a choke on the ropes. Undertaker tags in and climbs to the top turnbuckle and launches at Sid hitting a throat thrust. Flair is in again and they attempt a Double Suplex again. This time it is thwarted by a Double Noggin Knocker. Hogan tags in and hits Right Hands to Flair, Undertaker and Paul Bearer before Flair attacks Hogan from behind injuring his knee. He jumps off the ropes bringing his full weight down on Hogan’s knee and applies the Figure Four. Sid stands on the apron watching before adjusting his own knee pads. Hogan manages to roll Flair over breaking the hold and he crawls to his corner. Before he makes it to the corner, Undertaker has tagged in and stomps on Hogan before launching himself at Hogan with an always impressive Flying Clothesline. Flair tags in and Chops Hogan before climbing to the top turnbuckle. Long time watchers of Ric Flair will know this rarely works and he gets Gorrilla Pressed off the turnbuckles by Hogan who again crawls for the tag. Undertaker is back in and he drags away from Sid before choking Hogan in the corner. Flair tags in and Chops Hogan to zero effect. Flair and Undertaker Irish Whip Hogan and he hits the buckles so hard he rebounds back out of the corner and Clotheslines both opponents. Again Hogan goes to tag Sid. This time Sid jumps off the apron and walks away. Flair and Undertaker continue to stomp away at Hogan before Flair throws the referee across the ring. The ref calls for the bell disqualifying Flair. Post match, Brutus Beefcake causes a distraction allowing Hogan to clear the ring of both Undertaker and Flair.
Winners: Hulk Hogan & Sid Justice
Backstage, Sean Mooney finally wants to talk to Sid Justice and acuses him of turning on his friend Hulk Hogan. Sid tells him to ‘Shut up‘ and says he didn’t turn on his friends as he has none before adding that with a friend like Hogan he needs no enemies. He can’t believe that Hogan is Number one contender because he says Hogan can’t beat Flair on Hogan’s best day and Hogan can’t beat Sid on Sid’s worse day.
“You know something Mean Gene”.
Mean Gene is backstage with Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake. Hogan says Sid is a liar who knows nothing about friendship. He says Sid has stone cold eyes and ice water in his veins. He’s glad that while Sid turned his back on him, Brutus Beefcake was there for him. Beefcake says the last time Hogan was there for him was after his parasailing accident when Hogan was in the hospital bed next to him with his heart piumping blood into Beefcake’s veins. Seriously, he actually said that.
Jim Duggan & Sgt Slaughter vs Blake Beverly & Beau Beverly
Remember last week during Thunder I was discussing how Mike Enos was Blake Beverly? Well by genuine coincidence, here he is! He starts with Jim Duggan and they lock up and roll up the ropes before an eye rake gives Blake control and he keeps it with kicks and knees in the corner. An Irish Whip is cushioned by Slaughter and Duggan rebounds out of it with a Clothesline. How many times has someone rebounded out of a corner? What makes it worse is that each time, it’s the SAME corner!! Blake throws Duggan of the ropes where Beau hits him in the back with a steel scroll. The Beverlys double team Duggan when Beau Leap Frogs over Blake and comes crashing down across Duggan’s back. Beau shoots Duggan of the ropes but he keeps his head down too long and is kicked in the face by Duggan. This gives him time to tag Slaughter who unleashes a series off rights on Blake and (yep another one) an Irish whip into the corner so hard that he rebounds out into a Back Body Drop by Slaughter. Can’t anyone get Irish Whipped into that corner and stay there? Are there springs in the pads? Slaughter applies an Abdominal Stretch but it’s quickly broken up by Beau so Slaughter hits Blake with a Backbreaker that gets a two. Slaughter Bodyslams Blake, Back Body Drops Beau and smacks Blake in the face with the steel scroll. Duggan then hits Blake with a Three Point Stance Clothesline and Slaughter pins him
Winners: Jim Duggan & Sgt Slaughter
We see highlights of the Jake Roberts/Randy Savage feud. Jake’s cobra bit Savage on the arm on Superstars in November while Savage released a really girly scream (watch it back) and from Tuesday In Texas, Jake slapped Savage’s wife Elizabeth.We then see a short promo where Jake threatens to slap Elizabeth again if she shows up tonight.
Randy Savage vs Jake Roberts
As Jake wanders to the ring we see Mean Gene with Randy Savage. Savage says what happened would make most men go over the edge and insane but not him. He knows what he’s going to do to Jake tonight before adding that he might be insane and t’s time for Jake Roberts to find out how insane he is.
The bell rings with both men outside the ring where Savage blocks a Right Hand from Jake and hits one of his own before shoving Jake into the ring post. Both men kick each other in the ribs before Savage tugs Jake’s arm pulling him into the post yet again. In the ring Savage chokes Jake with his foot forcing the ref to break it up. Savage Elbows Jake in the face and draws blood before a knee sends Jake into the corner. Finally someone goes in that corner and doesn’t immediately bounce out of it. Savage digs his fingers into the cut on Jake’s nose but a thumb to the eye by Jake gets Savage off him and then Jake launches Savage over the top rope and out of the ring. Savage slides back into the ring and attacks Jake with an Axe Handle but, when he goes to ram Jake into the turnbuckles, Jake reverses it and Savage goes head first into the buckles after which Jake again lobs Savage out of the ring.
Jake follows savage and throws Savage face first into the ring post with a clunk twice. We come back from the ads as Savage drags himself into the ring. Jake grabs Savage and Irish Whips him. However, Savage reverses it and GOD DAMN IT!!! Jake hits the buckles so hard he rebounds back out into a back elbow. On the plus side, at least it’s a different corner. Savage climbs to the top turnbuckle but is stopped in mid air by a punch to the gut by Jake who follows with the DDT. Instead of going for a pin Jake taunts the crowd while the referee starts a ten count, bit like a Last Man Standing Match even though this isn’t one. At eight, Jake grabs Savage and drops him with a Short Arm Clothesline. Jake grabs Savage for a second DDT but Savage counters it by Backdropping Jake out of the ring. Savage climbs to the top turnbuckle and Flying Axe Handles Jake into the barrier a-la Ricky Steamboat before WrestleMania 3. One Flying Elbow later and Savage is your winner. Post match Savage flies over various officials and referees and hits Jake with a second Flying Elbow. Miss Elizabeth comes to the ring to celebrate with Savage and we are done.
Winner: Randy Savage
Post Show: I don’t know if it’s because it’s WWE, if it’s the era I grew up with or if it’s just because it’s better, but this show was miles better than Thunder. Most matches on here were good and the one that wasn’t as good was at least short. Well done.
Match Of The Night: Savage vs Jake. The rest were just matches on a show. These two wanted to tear each other apart. It’s not brilliant from a technical standpoint but it had all the chemistry and drama that you need.
MVP: Sid. From his heel turn and walking out of an interview to his clearly fake apology and yelling at Sean Mooney, Sid was amazing here.
With that I am done here. As always I can be found on Twitter @@Callaweasy2220 where I live tweet my way through Raw, Smackdown, NXT and when there’s one on, Pay Per View. This will probably go out after the Greatest Royal Rumble but, like a good bus service, I’m sure there will be another one along shortly. The vote continues over @theCHAIRSHOTcom where YOU can vote on the next review I do so head there also.
I’m going blue and that means I’m about to leap. I’ve been Stevie C in the meantime #UseYourHead and ALWAYS have an Angle.
“Take it away Stephen”
Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #16 – ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
Breaking up the 2018 time travel with a much deeper dive! Harry goes back to some prime ECW with Guilty As Charged 1999!
Greetings, salutations and welcome back. Harry here once again with another edition of ‘What I Watched’. As the calendar year turns to 1999 on my watch-through of all things ‘big three’ wrestling, I covered Starrcade 1998 in an earlier edition of WIW. I figured since this is probably the last year where all three major companies are relevant (at least at the start), it could be fun to compare and contrast how I feel about the respective PPVs when compared to some of the independent wrestling I’ve been covering recently. Or even going back to the PROGRESS or Impact Wrestling shows that I’ve covered before. I am fully aware there are going to be some bad shows in 1999. But there is also a lot to talk about in a drastically changing industry. Let’s do this, shall we?
ECW is in flux as talent losses haven’t yet gotten to what they would become but names like Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Bam Bam Bigelow and others are no longer with the company. To make matters worse, the ECW-FMW relationship is falling apart now as well as a Chris Candido and Sunny (sorry, Tammy Lynn Sytch) no-show of a scheduled FMW appearance. Paul Heyman himself is the first person we see telling us the card is going to change…how much does it change? The WayBack Machine takes us to January 10th, 1999 in Kissimmee, FL as it’s time for ECW to be Guilty as Charged!
What I Watched #16
ECW Guilty as Charged 1999
Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL
Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)
Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)
- Match 1: Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney win 3 team tag elimination match, eliminating Little Guido/Tracy Smothers @ 10:44 (Danny Doring/Roadkill eliminated @ 8:15)
- Match 2: Yoshihiro Tajiri pins Super Crazy, dragon suplex @ 11:37
- Match 3: Psycho Sid Vicious pins John Kronus, powerbomb @ 1:31
- Match 4: Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley def. New Jack/Spike Dudley, both Dudleyz pin Spike @ 10:05
- Match 5: ECW TV Title- Rob Van Dam pins Lance Storm, bridged German suplex @ 17:46
- Match 6: Justin Credible pins Tommy Dreamer, That’s Incredible on ladder @ 18:44
- Match 7: ECW Heavyweight Title- Taz defeats Shane Douglas © by KO, Tazmission @ 22:15
Three Team Tag Elimination Match
Started as a straight up 2 vs. 2, but within the first two minutes, Ballz and Axl (Axl making his return to the company after the passing of his grandmother) join the frey and it becomes your traditional ECW three team brawl. Nothing really stands out here but the overall work is good enough for what the match is supposed to be. The elimination of Doring and Roadkill is well done, as a FBI double-team fishermanbuster looks really cool and gets a decisive win for what was to be the original match. They do give the win to Axl and Ballz here, which I get given the fact they are a popular act, but I personally think that Guido and Tracy were a better team during the time frame. (**½)
Super Crazy vs. Tajiri
Yes, it’s the feud that never ends. But this is where it begins. Both men were relative newcomers to the American wrestling scene with both having had limited exposure on WWF TV (both were in the Light Heavyweight title tournament). This is a good match but not a great match and honestly, I think timing is the issue here. Eleven minutes may seem like a lot but knowing what these two would be capable of down the road once there is more of a fan and time investment into their matches, it ends up being a good starting point but probably not the blow away match that ECW was expecting to deliver here. (***)
John Kronus vs. Mystery Opponent
So, ECW fans are notorious for their belief that the “big oaf” style of the WWF and WCW wouldn’t work in ECW. Obviously, they are wrong. Guys like Big Dick Dudley and 911 became massive fan favorites due to their look, not anything they could do in a wrestling ring. You can add another name to that list, as Psycho Sid makes his ECW debut here (following an introduction by the ‘Judge’ Jeff Jones) and absolutely kicks Kronus’ ass in less than two minutes. Sid was never anything special in the ring but he is one of the more charismatic big men in wrestling history so the cult-like following is easy to understand. Too short to rate, but fun for what it was. (X)
Dudleyz vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley
Sixteen year old Harry getting into ECW was a huge Joel Gertner fan. Thirty seven year old Harry going back and watching these shows is an even bigger fan of Joel Gertner. Granted, his shtick is incredibly juvenile but sometimes, you just want to laugh…
The match is your standard ECW garbage brawl. Most New Jack matches definitely have a similarity to them that does not hold up well for re-watching. I will openly admit to being a Spike Dudley mark and he does well taking an ass whooping from Bubba Ray. The Dudleyz definitely have their moments in ECW (the best is still to come in my opinion) but this isn’t one of their best performances. I will give props to New Jack for taking 3D on the ramp, even if it doesn’t come across the cleanest. About what you’d expect, but nothing more. (**)
TV Title- Rob Van Dam © vs. Lance Storm
Rob Van Dam vs. Masato Tanaka was the originally scheduled match and I think it could have been fun. However, Tanaka apparently has visa issues which prevent him from being able to get into the US for the show and thus ECW has to pivot quickly. I do have to give credit to Lance Storm for his pre-match promo here. For someone who is not known as one of the better talkers in wrestling history, he does a really good job explaining the situation with the 3 way that was supposed to happen (Storm vs. Spike vs. Jerry Lynn (cracked pelvis)) and then calling out Rob Van Dam since his opponent wasn’t there either. Storm has a really good closing line for the promo too: “I’m not the ‘Whole F’n Show’, but I am the best damn part of it’. That is one of the lines that sticks with you and you remember it.
The match itself is very good but not great. It is better than anything else on the show, so perhaps I’m rating it on a slight curve for that. Van Dam’s selling is sporadic but to be fair, Van Dam’s selling is always sporadic. The biggest thing for me is that despite that, they still keep an impressive pace and the match is by and large clean. There is a super weak chair shot by Storm (which the crowd gives him a good ration of shit over), but they do manage to turn that crowd around for the finishing sequence. A little surprised by the choice of finish, but I imagine that has something to do with telling the idea that Storm got caught and wasn’t soundly defeated like most of Van Dam’s prior opponents had been. (***½)
Stairway to Hell- Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer
The problem for Credible in ECW is that Paul wanted you to believe that Justin was this huge deal but truthfully, the booking never actually treated him as such. Yeah, he won…A LOT…but more often than not, it was almost treated as an afterthought. He very rarely won the big matches on his own and while I get that as a heel, you want to give him that sense of dickishness, as a wrestling fan eventually you have to make it look like the dude could stand up on his own. Dreamer has long been a favorite of mine, even if he has overstayed his welcome in the ring on occasion. You know going in that win or lose, Tommy will bust his ass to give you as good a match as he is capable of.
As for this match, it never reaches that next level that you expect a gimmicked semi main event of a PPV to reach. It’s not actively bad or anything (in fact, probably up there for Credible’s best match in ECW to date) but with the stipulation and the gaga around it, it feels like there was so much more it could have been. The finish comes off really flat as well as it renders the whole point of the stipulation useless and only serves to put more heat on Credible by way of Funk. (**½)
Heavyweight Title- Shane Douglas © vs. Taz
So, I’ll be a little nicer to this match then some other reviewers I’ve seen for a couple reasons. It completely accomplishes the goal that Heyman set out for it. Taz comes out of the match looking like a world beater. Douglas comes out of the match as the face of the company who “went out on his shield” as the old phrase goes. Sabu looks like a lunatic and a viable threat to take the title at any time he damn well pleases. Candido comes off as a huge dick and sticks the final knife in Douglas’ back for the end scene. So the story telling is magnificent.
The match itself? At least a good five to seven minutes too long for that story. I get wanting that epic storytelling to fold out but when you guys are down and low on ideas, it might not be the worst idea to take it home. The other issue is that by trying to serve so many masters, Heyman causes the main event to end up being epically overbooked. Granted, that is an ECW trademark but for what was to be the crowning moment for Taz, I don’t think the 73rd Airborne needed to be a part of it. Sabu could have just as easily returned post match to set up a run with Taz. Or Candido could have turned on Douglas post match to give him a direction going forward since Taz would be occupied with Sabu. I’m not saying it completely takes away the moment but it does make it mean less than it could or should have in the overall scheme of things. (**)
THE FINAL REACTION
- Best Match/Moment: Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm, although I do think their match at the first ECW PPV ‘Barely Legal’ (which I imagine I’ll eventually do) is better
- Worst Match/Moment: The main event. What could have been an awesome moment for the ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and the biggest ass kicker in the company is ruined with a boring crowd brawl (to the home viewer) and a couple of run-ins that either end up actively taking away from it.
- Overall Show Score: 5.5/10
- MVP: Joey Styles is the best thing about this show with his one man performance. There is a reason he was such a major influence on what I did as an announcer.
It’s not a bad show. It’s just not a particulary good one either. And while ECW would put out worse, it only barely outdoes Starrcade 98 to avoid the worst show of the return thus far.
So, where do we go from here? January of 1999 had no chill. The very next Sunday would see the first WCW outing of 1999, called Souled Out. The Sunday after that would be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. I’m going to hit both of those but as a fair warning, I’ll probably try to mix an Independent show from 2018 in the middle of them. Hope to see you guys at Souled Out. And feel free to check out my archives by clicking on my name at the top of this review. Thanks for reading, everyone.
What I Watched #10b: All IN 2018
Harry decided to abridge his All In write up and bring us the blast from the past while he’s on vacation! With only a few weeks until All Out, reminiscing could be fun!
Greetings, salutations and what nots. At the time you are reading this, I will be away from home on vacation with my amazing girlfriend. In the interest of not want to lose everyone’s attention in the downtime, I decided to go back to one of my earlier reviews and reformat it to match the current style while giving people who may have not been interested due to the length of the previous review a chance to see what they may have missed as well as share my thoughts on a show that had quite the buzz when it happened.
I mention in my review of AAW’s Destination Chicago 2018 (full review available in my archive by clicking my name at the top of this review) that everyone was in Chicago for this particular show. Obviously, though it was presented as part of a deal with ROH (and to some extent New Japan), this ends up being what many consider the launching point for AEW. So join me once again as the WayBack Machine takes us to suburban Chicago on September 1st 2018 and we revisit ‘All In’ here on ‘What I Watched’.
What I Watched #10-B
ROH/NJPW/Friends ‘All In’ 2018
Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, IL
Runtime: 4:45:24 (45:27 on YouTube for the preshow, 3:57:57 on Fite.TV/HonorClub/NJPW World/traditional PPV for the main show)
Commentary By: Excalibur (PBP), Don Callis (Color), Ian Riccaboni (PBP/Color)
- Match #1: Zero Hour- Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky def. Jay/Mark Briscoe, Kazarian pins Mark with a powerslam counter to the Doomsday Device @ 12:35
- Match #2: Zero Hour- Flip Gordon wins the ‘Over the Budget Battle Royal’ @ 17:11, last eliminating Bully Ray
- Match #3: Matt Cross pins Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Shooting Star Press @ 10:07
- Match #4: Christopher Daniels pins Stephen Amell, Best Moonsault Ever @ 11:45
- Match #5: Tessa Blanchard wins four way, pinning Chelsea Green with the Buzzsaw DDT @ 12:43 of a match that also involved Britt Baker and Madison Rayne
- Match #6: NWA World Heavyweight Title- Cody Rhodes pins Nick Aldis ©, sitdown on sunset flip attempt @ 22:03
- Match #7: Adam Page pins Joey Janela, Rite of Passage off a ladder through a table @ 20:09
- Match #8: ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © pins Flip Gordon, Lethal Injection @ 14:25
- Match #9: Kenny Omega pins Pentagon Jr., One Winged Angel @ 17:48
- Match #10: Kazuchika Okada pins Marty Scurll, Rainmaker #2 @ 26:06
- Match #11: Kota Ibushi/Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson def. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio Jr., Matt pins Bandido after the Meltzer Driver @ 11:44
Zero Hour- SCU (Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky) vs. The Briscoes (Jay/Mark)
*Hell of a way to kick things off and the exact kind of match that you want to put out to people in order to get those on the fence to order the show. I don’t know about the $50 price tag that the PPV had, but this would have been enough for me to sign up for Honor Club for $10 to watch the show at least. I’m curious if ROH ever followed up on SCU pinning the ROH tag champions here. I’d imagine so even though the end is near for Kazarian, Scorpio and Daniels in ROH with AEW looming on the horizon. (***½)
Over the Budget Battle Royal
*It was fun for what it was. Maybe a little overcrowded, but there are several people who have got to make a name for themselves off this match. Marko Stunt is all over Game Changer Wrestling (and got a run in AEW as part of Jurassic Express) and Jordynne Grace, who got herself a deal with Impact, being two to spring immediately. I don’t rate battle royals but it was entertaining, which is all you can ask for sometimes. (X)
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Matt Cross
*Good little opener here for the main show. My misgivings on the rope hanging piledriver aside (MJF calls it the Heatseeker), they worked together well without throwing too much against the wall and burning out the crowd for later. I had hoped Cross would get a chance with AEW but we know that doesn’t happen, unfortunately. MJF does become one of the biggest creations AEW has up until this point, but no-one is really sure where his status lies with the company at present. Strong start to open the show and really happy for a genuinely good dude in Matt Cross to have gotten this opportunity. (***)
Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell (special guest referee: Jerry Lynn)
*When this show first happened, I heard a myriad of opinions on this match. Some thought it was really good, others thought it stunk. I fall somewhere in the middle here. Amell, for an actor, put in a pretty good performance here. I’m not saying he should do this full time or anything, but it’s not like he embarrassed himself either. Daniels had his own hiccups here as well though. So the blame doesn’t fall solely on Stephen. Overall, I’d call it above average given who Daniels’ opponent was. But I know first hand that Daniels is capable of much, much more. (**½)
Britt Baker (bay bay) vs. Madison Rayne vs. Chelsea Green vs. Tessa Blanchard
*Not sure if it was just me but the finish looks a little suspect. Tessa getting the win did make sense though at the time (I’d imagine this result changes with benefit of hindsight). As for the match, they worked hard and it by and large came together well. It definitely lost its way a bit towards the end, so I have to dock it a bit for that. All in all, I’d say good effort from the ladies involved and I’d even put it just slightly above the Daniels and Amell match it just followed. (***)
NWA World Heavyweight Title- Nick Aldis © vs. Cody (Don’t Call Him Rhodes)
*A very good match but a couple of little things keep it from the next level for me. First, the blatantly missed superkick. I’m not really as upset about that one as some people may be because I get it, shit happens in the moment. The blade job however, I can’t forgive. It was terribly obvious. I get the intent behind it to help Cody fight from underneath. I have no issues with blood in general (hell, I watch death matches). But if you can’t do the blade job more realistically there, it shouldn’t have been done. It doesn’t really factor into the match in the grand scheme of things. Also while I personally don’t mind the methodical pace, I do know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I dug the match as a whole though. And props to Brandi for eating it on that flying elbow drop. (****)
‘Chicago Street Fight’- Adam Page vs. Joey Janela
*This match won’t be for everyone. Some people like the old school ECW brawl and some people don’t. I do when it’s well executed but there seemed to be quite a bit of downtime in this one. Honestly, to me…Penelope Ford came out of this match looking like the biggest star of the three. All in all, I’d say good for what it was but nothing I’d probably want to go back and re-watch either. The finish was dope though. Janela is a crazy person for taking it. (***)
ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © vs. Flip Gordon
*Let’s not kid ourselves. There was no way that they were going to change the ROH title on a non-ROH show. As much as they enjoyed having the belt defended, this defense was a lock for Lethal regardless of the opponent. Flip getting the match itself is the story here and his performance justifies it. I’d call it good but again, it’s nothing that you’ll want to re-watch again, despite the impressive agility of Gordon and the sheer nostalgia of Lethal busting out the ‘Black Machismo’ shtick again. (***½)
Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr.
*Your mileage may vary for sure on this one. Everyone heaped a ton of praise on it and while it is very good, it does not raise to the level of excellence for me. The ridiculously spotty selling and the absolute disrespect to some of the most protected moves in wrestling cause me to take an issue. I do think they worked really well together and the styles meshed a lot better than I thought they might. But there was nowhere near the emotion here that came through clear as day on the Cody and Aldis match earlier. From a pure work rate aspect, it’s the best on the show so far. But personally, I prefer Cody and Aldis to Omega and Pentagon Jr. (****)
Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurll
*A little long. But they told a pretty strong story throughout.At the time of this writing, I had made it no secret that I was not sold on Kazuchika Okada as a draw in the US. Clearly, I was wrong. He had the entire crowd in the palm of his and Scurll’s hands for basically the entirety of this contest and it was one that I think both raised Scurll’s standing in the world of wrestling and confirmed what many people already feel about Okada. That being said, it’s a better match if you chop off five to eight minutes from it. (***½)
Young Bucks/Kota Ibushi vs. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio
*Clearly much shorter than it was probably supposed to be, they packed a ton of action into these almost twelve minutes. I’d have been curious to see what was possible with a full run time but with Rey already gone (he had just resigned with the WWE), there would be no chance to run this back. I think it was a good way to send everyone home happy and get all the marquee moments in, but overall it just ends up being a spotfest fluff match rather than anything that’ll be strongly remembered as standing out down the road. (***½)
THE FINAL REACTION
There is a lot to get through here. As you guys saw above, the totality of both Zero Hour and All In run almost five hours. While not all of that is well spent, there is more than enough to sink your teeth into here, even if you wouldn’t classify yourself as a traditional ‘Independent Wrestling’ fan. There are a couple of real good spotfests if you liked the ECW/WCW luchador/cruiserweight style. There’s a tremendous call-back to the old NWA days with how Nick Aldis vs. Cody plays out. There is a interesting take on the old ‘hardcore’ styles that both ECW and the WWF used to enjoy presenting in Janela vs the ‘Hangman’. You even get the chance to see the celebrities that get trotted out for the big shows in places like the WWE and Impact Wrestling. Does it all work? No. But a good majority of it does. As I said, it’s almost five hours. But by and large, it’s five hours well spent. Call it an 8.5 and while there is room for improvement (as with everything), a very strong start for Cody and the Bucks as promoters.
Best Match/Moment: I’ll go moment here and go with the obvious of Cody getting to hold the same NWA title his father did in what was an NWA stronghold town. It’s cool to see the torch passed like this.
Worst Match/Moment: The fact that the main event with arguably six of the best wrestlers in the world at the time ends up getting the second shortest amount of time.
Overall Show Score: 8.5/10
MVP: I’m going to give this one to Cody, both for the role he played as a producer/agent for the show as well as the performance in the match with Aldis as well. A good night for young Mr. Runnels.
And that wraps up the first of the ‘retro’ look backs at previous ‘What I Watched’ reviews. When I return, I will be coming back with ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999, the first pay-per-view of the last year of the 1900s. Following that, I know the WWF’s Royal Rumble 1999 is on the list. I’d imagine I’ll get to WCW’s Souled Out 1999 and when I do return to the Indies, promotions like IWA-MS, CHIKARA, Freelance, BEYOND, WWR and so many others are within my potentially planned scope. Hope to see you down the road and may you all enjoy quality time with those you care. See you next time and thanks for reading, everyone.
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