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WrestleMania 22: Big Hit or Big Flop?

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WrestleMania 22 Stage

WrestleMania 22 comes to us from the Windy City and features what looks like a very stacked card, including Rey Mysterio vying for the World Heavyweight Championship, a Casket Match, and the Chairman of WWE in a No-Holds Barred Match. Surprisingly, this show gets really great reviews all around, so let’s see if they’re justified!

Opener

Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child) sings ‘America, the Beautiful’. We get a great video about the superstars hanging with our Armed Forces.

There’s a great video about the history of WrestleMania and promos for the big matches on the card.

World Tag Team Championship Match: Big Show and Kane vs Chris Masters and Carlito

Carlito gets a decent pop, Masters does not. Big Show and Kane get a great pop. As Kane and Big Show get to the ring, Carlito and Master bail out, probably the smartest thing they could’ve done.

Winner: Big Show and Kane by pinfall. Afterwards, Carlito and Masters argue over who is at fault. Masters tries to blame Carlito, but Carlito leaves.

Highlights

  1. Kane hitting a dropkick and a leapfrog (yes, seriously)
  2. Show hushing the crowd, so they can hear the ‘smack’ of his hand on Masters’ chest.
  3. Carlito trying to do an armwringer on Big Show.
  4. Big Show hitting a superkick

Comments: This was a good match. Kane and Big Show worked really well together and with Carlito and Masters

We go to Coach who is talking to HBK about his issues with Vince. Shawn says he told Vince the truth and he’s never regretted telling the truth. He reflects on how last year, he and Kurt Angle tore the house down but he doesn’t expect a five star match tonight because his match with Vince is going to get violent, brutal, and ugly. He tells Vince to say his prayers because his ass is getting kicked tonight.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Rob Van Dam vs Bobby Lashley, Finlay, Matt Hardy, Ric Flair, and Shelton Benjamin

Just about everyone gets a decent pop. RVD and Flair get the best ones.

Winner: Rob Van Dam

Highlights:

  1. Ric Flair doing a ladder match at 57 years old and hanging with guys much younger than himself.
  2. RVD winning the briefcase
  3. Matt Hardy suplexing Flair off the ladder.

Comments: This is one of the best Money in the Bank matches, in my opinion.

We go to Josh Matthews who is interviewing Mean Gene Okerlund, the first commentator to be inducted into the Hall of Fame (Monsoon, Ventura, and Heenan don’t count because they were wrestlers and/or before their broadcast careers). Okerlund says he had a great time the night before and ran up quite a bar tab. They are interrupted by Randy Orton, who scoffs at Mean Gene’s induction. Mean Gene isn’t in the mood for this and walks off, saying some not-nice sounding things about Cowboy Bob Orton.

Randy is a little perplexed by Mean Gene’s attitude and says that what he was going to say is that when he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame, it’s going to be for nights like WrestleMania when he’ll make history by beating ‘paper champion’ Kurt Angle and ‘charity case’ Rey Mysterio and become World Heavyweight Champion. He goes on to brag about being The Legend Killer and dares anyone to disagree. A tap on the shoulder reveals Batista. Batista is all pleasantries but reminds Orton that whoever wins the title is just holding it until he gets back from injury and promises to be back soon. He also vows to be World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 23 (he’s either psychic or spoiling his storyline for the next year).

It’s time for the Hall of Fame reveal, but we’re told that Bret Hart won’t be there because he was ‘uncomfortable’ participating with the evening’s proceedings (Translation: He didn’t want to be around HBK). The audience isn’t happy with Bret chickening out. Our inductees: Mean Gene Okerlund,  Sensational Sherri (who is on the arm of Ted DiBiase), Tony Atlas (part of the first African-American Tag Team Champions, along with Rocky Johnson), Verne Gagne (Owner/Promoter of AWA), William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry (1986 Chicago Bears, participated in WrestleMania II), The Blackjacks, Eddie Guerrero (Vickie and Chavo Guerrero accepted for him), and Bret Hart, who refused to participate. Vickie gets a lot of love from the other inductees and Eddie gets the best pop. Tazz and Cole are clearly emotional.

WWE United States Championship Match: Chris Benoit vs John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield (with Jillian Hall)

JBL comes out first, in his limo to a round of boos. Benoit gets a great pop. This was a really physical match, but it wasn’t a great one for either man. Still, it was a good one, but not as great as it seemed on paper.

Winner: JBL by pinfall, using the ropes for leverage.

Highlights: JBL playing up the heel by mocking Eddie Guerrero and getting his a** kicked for it.

Comments: This was an ‘eh’ for me.

We get a recap of the Foley/Edge feud.

Hardcore Match: Mick Foley vs Edge (with Lita)

Joey Styles joins us for this match. Edge and Lita are out first a round of boos. Foley is out to a great pop

This match was insanely good and starts with Edge trying to Mick with a baseball bat. This would be Lita’s last WrestleMania as a full-time competitor. She would retire in November, but would make occasional appearances, such as being inducted into the WWE HOF, and presenting the newly reinstated Women’s Championship.

Winner: Edge by pinfall

Highlights:

  1. Edge taking the thumbtack bump.
  2. Mick wearing barb wire under his shirt
  3. Spear through the flaming table

Comments: Kudos to both guys for an amazing match.

Booker T and Sharmell are backstage and Sharmell is begging Booker to not make her go through with this match. Neither of them know why the Boogeyman is after them. They make their way to the ring and are waylaid by various people, none of whom are much help.

Handicap Match: Booker T and Sharmell vs The Boogeyman

Booker T and Sharmell come out to a quiet pop. Boogeyman is out next to no pop. Booker T makes Sharmell start the match, which she doesn’t want to do, but it’s a ruse so that Booker can attack Boogeyman from behind. To say this match was filler is being kind. I don’t know who Booker ticked off to get put in this mess, but it couldn’t have been this bad.

Winner: Boogeyman by pinfall.

Comments: I have no idea why this had to be on WrestleMania.

We get a recap of the Trish/Mickie feud.

WWE Women’s Championship: Trish Stratus vs Mickie James

Mickie comes out to a pretty good pop despite being the heel. Trish gets a great pop. This was a really great match. The perfect mix of story, psychology, and match. The crowd turning on Trish and cheering Mickie was unexpected, but very interesting since Trish had been the perennial sweetheart of the fans, whether she was a face or a heel.

Winner: Mickie James by pinfall with the Mick Kick, which was a bit of a letdown. Mickie celebrates happily, to the joy of the crowd.

Highlights: The crowd turning on Trish mid-match and JR/Lawler’s reaction to it. Mickie showing her incredible in-ring skills.

Comments: This is the match that made me a Mickie James fan, so it is near and dear to my heart. This would be Trish’s last WrestleMania as a full-time competitor. She would retire in September after winning her seventh Women’s Championship and still makes occasional appearances.

We got backstage with the McMahons for a segment that I won’t go into because it bothers me immensely, even though I know it’s a work.

The Streak: Undertaker vs Mark Henry – Casket Match

The druids bring out a freight car sized casket. We get a quick recap of the Taker/Henry feud. Henry comes out first to a round of boos. Not very many people seem to think Henry has a prayer of beating Taker.

The lights go out, lightning hits the stage, and flames erupt. The Deadman Cometh.  Mark Henry is talking smack and trying, not very successfully, to act like he’s not scared.

As is usual, for most of Taker’s WrestleMania matches, this was not a technical or scientific masterpiece. This was a brutal, physical, fight. Mark Henry is NOT someone Taker can just toss around, like he has most of his opponents.

Winner: Undertaker by putting Mark Henry in the casket. The Streak is 14-0.

Highlights: Taker tombstoning Mark Henry.

Comments: This was an okay, match. Both guys did a great job, but I just wasn’t into it.

We get a great shot of Chicago and a recap of the feud between Vince and HBK.

No-Holds Barred Match: Shawn Michaels vs Vince McMahon

HBK gets a great pop. Vince gets a good pop too. He shows off his jacked physique and does his BMF walk. This was one of those ‘Vince and _ work out past issues by beating each other to a pulp’ matches. It wasn’t pretty or fancy, but it told a good story.

Winner: Shawn Michaels by pinfall, leaving Vince in a pool of his own blood.

Highlights:

  1. HBK taking out the Spirit Squad.
  2. Vince taking an elbow drop from a 20ft ladder.
  3. Shane trying to save his dad while being handcuffed.
  4. JR and Lawler’s commentary.

Comments: A Vince match works because everyone wants to see the boss get his butt kicked, no matter how much they might like them.

We get recap of the Angle/Mysterio/Orton situation.

Triple Threat Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Kurt Angle vs Rey Mysterio vs Randy Orton

Mysterio is sung to the ring, and instead of a superhero costume, he comes out dressed as an Aztec warrior (or, that’s what I THINK that’s what his outfit is supposed to be). Orton gets a good reaction. Angle comes out to a really good pop.

This was a great match, which is no surprise, given the men involved. A great story of perseverance is told, and we get a great WrestleMania moment.

Winner: Rey Mysterio by pinfall. The crowd LOSES it. Angle and Orton are furious. Rey’s in tears and is joined on the top of the ramp by Vickie and Chavo Jr, who congratulate him.

Highlights: Rey FINALLY becoming World Heavyweight Champion!!! Everyone being emotional.

Comments: I have no shame in admitting that I still BAWLED when Rey won. Eddie would’ve been so proud of him.

We see Cena and Triple H prepping for their match.

Playboy Pillowfight: Torrie Wilson vs Candice Michelle

Candice Michelle is out first to a quiet pop, as does Torrie.  For some reason, even though it’s supposed to be a pillow fight, Torrie and Candice are both in evening gowns.

Unbelievably, this actually ended up being a wrestling match, not a very good one, but an actual wrestling match, instead of a sexy pillow fight. I’m almost glad I didn’t skip it.

Winner: Torrie Wilson by pinfall.

Comments: Best that I’ll say is that it was quick and they didn’t use pillows.

Now that that’s over, it’s time for the recap of the Triple H/Cena feud.

WWE Championship: John Cena vs Triple H

Triple H comes out in his first ‘Skull King’ entrance. These would become more and more elaborate. He gets a really good pop, despite the outfit and entrance, that Triple H even said looked stupid.

Cena’s entrance begins with a video about the Chicago gangsters and tying it to ‘Hustle, Loyalty, Respect’. A NICE 1920/30s era car comes out (don’t ask me what kind), protected by ‘gangsters’ with Tommy guns. Our tough guys (most of whom are soon to be familiar faces) surround the ring as Cena’s music hits. Cena gets his usual mixed reaction, dressed in a trenchcoat and fedora, with his own Tommy Gun, that he fires off (blanks were used, obviously).

This was a really good match. The clash of styles really worked for the story and psychology.

Winner: John Cena by submission.

Highlights: The entrances

Comments: I liked this match a lot.

Notes: One of the ‘gangsters’ accompanying Cena was a little-known superstar in development named CM Punk.

Overall Comments

So, was WrestleMania 22 all it was cracked up to be? Yeah, for the most part. There were not outright bad matches and the bad ones were mostly just ‘Why is this on here?’ than ‘WTF?’.

Stinkers: Booker T and Sharmell vs Boogeyman. I have no idea why that was put on the WrestleMania card. Playboy Pillow Fight gets a pass on this one because it actually turned out better than it sounded.

Match of the Night: Edge/Foley and Michaels/McMahon.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this show a lot. The focus was on the wrestling and not on the backstage stuff.


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Chairshot Classics: WWE Survivor Series 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • EA’s TakeA better match, a lot cleaner than our first semi-final. I had a hard time believing Ambrose wouldn’t win this, but figured the odds were greater than that of Reigns, so it definitely helped make the match more interesting. I’m hoping for something more interesting to happen in the main event, as everything thus far has been expected.
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Chairshot Classics: WCW Halloween Havoc ’92 – Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal

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Open: Tony Schiavone & Bruno Sammartino introduce the show, specifically talking about the “Spin the Wheel – Make the Deal” match between Sting and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ron Simmons must be cautious of The Barbarian, and there has been some conflict between Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham. Missy Hyatt is backstage to figure out whether or not Rick Rude has decided who his choice of guest referee will be for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship match. She has no information at this time and sends it off to the commentary team.

Match #1: Arn Anderson, ‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton & Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes vs. ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk, Johnny Gunn & Shane Douglas
Anderson and Gunn get us going. Collar and elbow tie up, Anderson with position, the veteran with some condescension before beating the young kid down. Irish whip, Gunn puts on the breaks and lands a drop kick. Anderson gets a knee to the midsection after a distraction by his teammate, he goes to the top but the Z-Man takes care of him with a drop kick of his own. Anderson’s team regroups on the floor, Double A comes back to the ring. Collar and elbow, Gunn with a wristlock and a tag to Z-Man. Zenk with an elbow and he grabs the wrist. Anderson with a drop toe hold and he tags in Eaton.

Beautiful Bobby with some rights. Zenk reverses the Irish whip and Eaton digs his heels in giving Z-man a shot. They hit the ropes and Zenk executes a high elevation back body drop. He follows it with a drop kick back to Eaton’s corner and Michael Hayes is tagged in to a big pop. Hayes with a side headlock, Z-Man forces him on the ropes, they run and Zenk delivers a hip toss. Hayes slows it down. Collar and elbow tie p and Zenk makes a quick tag to Douglas. Shane twists the wrist, they hit the ropes and Shane is quick with an arm drag. He hangs on with an arm bar until Hayes gets a knee to the gut and tags in Eaton. Shane greets him with an arm drag and he locks in.

Bobby gets position with a vertical base, he moves to the corner for a break but takes some liberties. Douglas reverses the Irish whip and elevates with the back body drop. Headscissor takedown by Shane followed with a single leg takedown. A tag is made to Zenk and he goes right to work on Bobby’s leg. Eaton is able to crawl his way to his corner and tag in The Enforcer. Arn with a forearm and a side headlock, they hit the ropes, Double A gets a shoulder tackle but he’s caught in a sleeper hold on the comeback. Anderson escapes it with a belly to back suplex. Hayes is tagged in and he hits a quick elbow, followed with a fist to the face before grabbing a reverse chin lock. Z-Man fights out with elbows to the gut, he hits the ropes but Hayes catches him with a kick.

Swinging neckbreaker by Hayes and he gets two. Eaton is tagged back in, Z-Man trying to fight him off. Z-Man lifts Eaton for an atomic drop, unaware Eaton tagged in Anderson. Eaton reverses the Irish whip, Z-Man ducks his clothesline but runs into the elbow of the legal man. Anderson with a lateral press and he gets two. Anderson feeds Z-Man to the corner and he tags in Michael Hayes. The Freebird locks in a modified camel clutch, he breaks it, goes for a vertical suplex but it’s reversed. Hayes tags Anderson while Zenk tags Douglas. Shane goes to work on all of his opponents. A front face lock is placed on Anderson, and Eaton cheap shots him at the knees.

Double A goes to work on the leg that was clipped, Eaton is tagged in and he enters with some flying knee to knee contact. Beautiful Bobby locks in the figure four and he gets some help from Michael Hayes. Douglas tries to roll it over and Eaton smartly tags in Anderson. Arn sends him for an Irish whip, he comes off the ropes and catches Double A with an atomic drop but both men knock heads and they’re down. Anderson crawls and tags in Hayes but Douglas is able to tag is Gunn right after. Johnny sends Hayes for the ride and a back body drop, he’s rushed by Eaton who gets a scoop slam and a melee breaks out. While all six competitors brawl, Johnny Gunn hits a Lou Thesz Press on Michael Hayes and they pick up the win!
Winners: ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk, Johnny Gunn & Shane Douglas (Gunn/Lou Thesz Press)

  • EA’s Take: This match felt like a collection of guys with nothing meaningful to do storyline-wise (which is basically the case), but they still delivered a perfectly fine opening bout. With three grizzled vets on the other side of the ring, I’m not sure who they’re trying to put over here, if anyone. No one on the winning team stood out, but I sincerely enjoyed the match all the same.

Backstage: Missy Hyatt is still outside Rick Rude’s locker room. She can’t get in, but here comes Harley Race. The former World Champion is just here to watch a championship match and he won’t let Hyatt into the locker room.

Match #2: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman
Collar and elbow tie up, Pillman gets position and chops away. Steamboat retaliates with a chop of his own, they hit the ropes and Ricky takes Pillman down with a shoulder block. He tries another and gets a two count. Pillman tries flipping Steamboat over the top rope but The Dragon hangs on and grabs a victory roll for two. Off the kickout, Steamboat hits the turnbuckle and Pillman scoop slams him. Pillman taunts and Steamboat plays possum, baiting him into an arm bar. Pillman up to a vertical base, they hit the ropes, Steamboat with a shoulder tackle and a hip toss. Deep arm drag by The Dragon and he hangs on.

Steamboat moves to the wrist and he puts a lot of power on it. Pillman reverses with a drop toe hold, he can’t grab the chin lock and Steamboat reverses back into the hammerlock. Steamboat with knees to the kidneys, they’re up to vertical. Pillman fights back with forearms and Steamboat retaliates with chops and a back body drop. Scoop slam by Steamboat, but he’s met with a slow blow, an eye rake and a clothesline. Pillman hangs Steamboat on the ropes and throws him back. Steamboat is sent for the ride, he leap frogs Pillman and catches him in a choke on the comeback. Pillman meets the turnbuckle, Steamboat tries to send him for the ride but Brian drops down. The ref backs Steamboat off and Flyin Brian takes a cheap shot.

Brian rubs Steamboat’s face into the canvass. Steamboat fights back with some chops and sends Pillman into the turnbuckle. They run the ropes and Pillman counters with a head scissor take down. Pillman takes Steamboat to the middle rope, he sends The Dragon for the ride and he counters into a back slide and a two count. Pillman quickly hammers Steamboat’s head into the canvass and chokes him out. Ref breaks it up. Pillman sets Steamboat on the top turn buckle and slaps him in the face. He sets up for a superplex, Steamboat blocks it and throws Pillman to the canvass. Steamboat comes off the turnbuckle but he runs into a drop kick by Flyin Brian.

Pillman says its over, Steamboat gets his shoulder up on multiple covers. Brian checks in with the ref and is victim of a belly to back suplex. The ref starts his 10 count, Steamboat is up first, Pillman reverses the whip to the ropes and catches The Dragon in a sleeper. Steamboat drives into the corner, Pillman hangs on, but not the second time. From the apron, Pillman snaps Steamboat’s neck off the top rope. He climbs the turnbuckles, Steamboat catches him with a gorilla press. Steamboat is fired up, Pillman escapes to the floor. Ricky gives chase and chops him on the outside. Pillman is rolled back in, Brian regains the advantage with a knee to the face and some chops.

Steamboat is sent into the turnbuckle, The Dragon fights back with chops. Steamboat tries to grab him, again Brian rolls to the floor but he’s followed again. Irish whip by Steamboat and he runs into a knee. Pillman with a cross body press from the 2nd rope and he gets a two count. Standing switch into a back breaker by Steamboat who heads for the top rope. A big sunset flip earns him two. Pillman counters the pin, but The Dragon flips him back and he picks up the 3 count.
Winner: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (Roll-Up)

  • EA’s Take: This was exactly what you would expect, Pillman is showing some heel behavior. He’s also taken quite a few losses, albeit to legitimate opponents, you’d hate to see his talent get buried. Unfortunately, this is kind of his road until a partnership that wasn’t fondly remembered until years after Pillman’s early passing.
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NWA-TNA Episode 11: Going Out With a Bang? (Part 2)

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This week, TNA has a couple of mysteries that need solving: Who is the Masked Bullet that Bob Armstrong brought in to fight Jeff Jarrett and what the hell is Brian Lawler’s problem with Jarrett? The Miss TNA challenge is open again, God help us all, Sonny Siaki will take on Monty Brown, and Lo-Ki, AJ Styles, and Jerry Lynn will meet up in a ladder match that has to be seen to be believed. Let’s check out what’s going on this week!

Opening: We get the usual opening, crowd seems hot. We see Goldilocks trying to talk to Brian Lawler about what Jarrett allegedly did since Slash jumped Lawler before he could tell us last week. Lawler is about to tell us when Jarrett jumps him from behind and we STILL don’t know.

Kid Kash vs Amazing Red: Kid Kash is out first and gets a good pop since he’s from Johnson City, Tennessee. Amazing Red doesn’t get as good a pop. This was an interesting match-up. Every match I’ve seen of Amazing Red’s seemed to be more about high spots than wrestling, however this match had some pretty decent wrestling. Red makes the mistake of calling Kash an old man (Kash isn’t exactly a ‘kid’) and Kash doesn’t appreciate it and the spot fest starts. Kash calls on his ECW experience and throws a chair and NAILS Red with a great throw, but only gets two.

Kash does such a good job of being the heel in this, he actually reminds me of 80s Roddy Piper. Red does a good job of hanging with him, but it’s clear, at least to me, that Red is better at hitting high spots than wrestling because when it goes to the mat, he’s not nearly as good. There’s a really lame spot where Kash ‘accidentally’ pushes the ref into the ropes and the ref either didn’t hit the ropes hard enough or what, but Red’s ‘slip’ to nut shot himself on the turnbuckle was pathetic.

Kash gets the victory after hitting the Bankruptcy, a cradle Argentine Rack. Red goes for a handshake but Kash isn’t having it and takes Red out. The Maximos come to Red’s aid and take Kash, and maybe themselves, out.

Winner: Kid Kash by pinfall.

Comment: That was really good.

Backstage, Goldilocks is trying to get an interview with Sonny Siaki. Siaki is still in his Elvis gear, for some reason. Siaki doesn’t like Goldi asking him, admittedly very impatiently, to turn around and says he’ll turn around when he’s ready. They trade barbs, because Goldilocks is clearly tired of being insulted by the wrestlers. Siaki warns her to not be a smart ass and that the only thing Elvis did right was slap Priscilla. (Oh, HELL no!) He then says if Goldilocks keeps it up, she won’t get to have her way with him. Siaki says he’s bigger than the Super Bowl. Siaki makes Goldilocks do her ‘Sonny Siaki has left the interview’ thing, but she’s PISSED and I don’t blame her.

Sonny Siaki vs Monty Brown: Siaki gets an okay pop, as does Brown. Brown cuts a promo on Jarrett about Jarrett using chairs and promises to take Jarrett apart if he ever gets his hands on him. You know that feeling you get when you can tell from the start that something’s not going to be good? I got that feeling during the first lock up of this match. This match was awful. Monty Brown has a lot of power, but his skill level is not the best. He’s an incredible athlete, but it always seems like he got the absolute minimum training on how to wrestle outside of hitting power moves (and even those seem like a struggle in a few spots) and it really shows with guys who have more experience. Siaki did a great job of selling, but this match was just blah.

Siaki finally turns the tide after a dominate performance by Brown by utilizing the low blow after Jarrett causes a distraction. As Jarrett runs his mouth, Bob Armstrong and a masked wrestler that is referred to as ‘The Bullet’ come out, armed with a steel chair. While Jarrett is distracted by that, Brown attacks him. While Jarrett sells Brown’s whiffed punches, Lawler comes out and starts choking Jarrett with his belt. Jarrett and Lawler have an actual fight before being separated by security.

Winner: Sonny Siaki by pinfall.

Comment: Brown could really be a great wrestler if he could learn to do more than power moves.

Goldilocks is with Slash and a guy who looks like he was just pulled out of a bar. Slash laughs at the idea of this guy being his friend and introduces the guy as his brother in pain, Cobain (oh, lord) and that suicide is what he lives for (oh, LORD!) and his ecstasy comes from his own pain. Cobain finally says something, he says that he overdoses on the sweet nectar of his own pain. This interview gets increasingly weird and I’m glad it’s over.

Four Team Elimination Match: The Backseat Boys vs Slash/Cobain vs The Hot Shots vs James Storm/Chris Harris: The Backseat Boys are out first and they look like Dollar Store versions of 3 Count from WCW. Slash and Cobain are out next and they don’t inspire confidence. Hot Shots don’t get much of a reaction either.  We’re told that whoever gets the final pinfall will be the final entrant in the Gauntlet for the Gold match in two weeks. Storm and Harris get a good reaction and Storm still has his pop guns.

This match was pretty good…once Backseat Boys and the Hot Shots were eliminated. Backseat Boys were more interested in spots than wrestling and were quickly eliminated. I’m not sure how much training or experience Cobain had before TNA, he just seems to be there for Slash to have a partner because Malice is MIA. While this is going on, Ron Harris and Brian Lee are at commentary, griping about being left out of the match, and I’m almost on their side. This match was super rough towards the end, but it was a lot of fun. Harris and Storm get the victor, but suffer a beat down by Harris and Lee, which brings out the rest of the tag division.

Winner: Chris Harris and James Storm by pinfall.

Comment: That got really good, eventually.

Backstage, Jarrett is arguing with Bob Armstrong. For some reason, Jarrett seems to think he’s in charge and tells Armstrong to either get things running smoothly or he’s taking matters into his own hands. Armstrong tells Jarrett to shut up and that Jarrett’s going to get everything he deserves tonight. Jarrett says that what he deserves is a title shot, the tag titles, and that he’s going to reveal who the Masked Bullet is and promises to beat his ass. Armstrong isn’t happy, but Jarrett seems to have already figured out who the Masked Bullet is.

Bruce vs April Hunter: Here we go again. I still want Bruce’s dress but other than that, I really wish this storyline was over.

Winner: Bruce

Comment: Who is actually wanting this match on every week?

Goldilocks is interviewing the remaining Elvises and brings up Siaki. Neither Yang nor Estrada are all that upset about Siaki going solo. It also seems that Yang doesn’t seem to remember Elvis’ best lines. ANYWAY, the gist is that it’s being made clear that Siaki won’t be welcomed back to the Heartbreak Hotel any time soon.

Speak of the Devil and he shall appear, Siaki pops up with some big news: He’s the new #1 Contender for Truth’s NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

Maximos vs Jimmy Yang and Jorge Estrada: Maximos get little reaction. Tenay informs us that we will finally find out what Brian Lawler’s issue with Jarrett is after this match and that poor Goldilocks has the job of doing the interview. On to the match. This was an okay match. Neither the Elvis’ nor the Maximos are the most exciting parts of the X-Division and this match was slow. The Maximos, like Amazing Red, are really great as long as they can do their high spots, but they struggle when it comes to mat wrestling. Yang and Estrada pick up the victory, while Siaki looks on from the ramp.

Winner: Flying Elvis’ by pinfall.

Comment: Eh

Now for what we’ve all been waiting for: What is going on with Brian Lawler? Goldilocks gets a lot of appreciation from the crowd, but not Brian Lawler, who calls her a piece of trash and Goldi leaves, to the dismay of the crowd. He demands that Jarrett come out, but Jarrett doesn’t show up. Before we finally get an answer, Truth comes out, apparently still pissed about Lawler hitting him with a chair last week. Truth doesn’t think it was an accident, though Lawler swears otherwise and that he and Truth are still good, they have a common enemy, Jeff Jarrett. After Truth warns Lawler that the Asylum is Truth’s house, he leaves, and we get back to business. Apparently, this whole thing is about Jarrett doing something with or to Lawler’s girlfriend, who is sitting at ringside. Lawler realizes that a photographer is taking pictures of her because that’s his job, and goes ballistic.

Comment: This whole thing seems to be leading up an angle where Lawler is being used by his girlfriend to attack people, but the set up is weird.

We get a recap of Jarrett’s encounter with the Masked Bullet.

Jeff Jarrett vs The Bullet: Jarrett comes out to an okay pop, as does the Bullet. This isn’t much of a match. It’s a brawl. It’s pretty obvious who the masked man PROBABLY is, just judging by the guy’s selling and the way he moves. Jarrett’s really in the doghouse, if you get my drift. If not, well, we’ll all find out together.

Jarrett finally gets tired of playing with Bullet, handcuffs him to the ropes, and goes to get a chair, vowing to reveal who the masked man is, but is stopped by Bob Armstrong, who gets a couple of shots in before saying hello to Jarrett’s little friend. Jarrett continues to pummel Bob while the Bullet can only watch. Armstrong is bleeding from the lamest blade job ever and is eventually laid out by a weak chairshot (Jarrett barely touched him). After all that fun, Jarrett’s finally going to reveal who the mystery man is. Before he can, security runs in and stops him. I guess we’ll find this out next week.

Winner: No Contest.

Comment: Good grief.

Don West pumps us up for next week’s episode, provided there is one and he’s more excited than the crowd.

We get a recap of Lynn and Styles’ epic 2 out of  3 falls match and why we’re having a Triple Ladder match.

Triple Ladder Match For the X-Division Championship: Lo Ki vs AJ Styles vs Jerry Lynn: All three guys get a pretty good pop. Ladder matches are hard for me to follow and type but this was a really great match. All three guys worked like it was their last chance, which was a very real possibility at the time. Styles seemed a little hesitant during this match, but Lynn’s veteran experience really helped the match along.

If you’re used to ladder matches with a lot of crazy spots involving the ladder, this isn’t the match for you. There were some ladder spots, but the focus was on wrestling. I’m not sure if it was that none of the guys had done ladder matches before or what, but the lack of ladder spots didn’t hurt the match.

Winner: Jerry Lynn is the NEW X-Division Champion.

Comment: That was fantastic!

Overall Comment: So how was episode 11 of TNA? It was okay, all things considered. In doing some research, I found out that due to Health South pulling out as backers of TNA, episodes 10 and 11 were filmed on the same day, which means almost everyone worked at least two matches, and Styles and Lynn did four. This explains why the crowd seemed not as interested in the proceedings as earlier. TNA took a couple of weeks off after this in order to try and find another backer.

My issues with the treatment of women are still there, and I still say someone needs to get Vince Russo help to deal with this apparent hatred of women. The Miss TNA thing needs to be scrapped and never mentioned again.

Jeff Jarrett’s position in the company is still confusing. It honestly feels like there’s a fight every week over whether or not he’s a heel and it seems no one can make up their mind. His actions and attitude should make him a heel, but the NWA’s actions make him seem like a babyface and as much as I like Jarrett, he isn’t cut out to be a Stone Cold type character. Plus, he’s fighting against NWA reps who are mostly older men past their prime, not a boss that pushes himself to lift more weight than his wrestlers and doesn’t hesitate to take nasty bumps to put someone over. Not saying Armstrong, Steamboat, and the others weren’t willing to take bumps, because they were, but it seems like the idea of treating them like lot of WWE superstars treated Vince was deemed too disrespectful to men who had once been NWA champion.

Stinkers: Bruce vs April Hunter. Someone PLEASE stop putting this on TV.

Snoozers: Flying Elvis’ vs Maximos. Boring and slow is the best way to describe it.

Match of the Night: Triple Threat Ladder Match.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I think this could’ve been a really great episode if they hadn’t been forced to tape two two-hour shows in one day. As anyone who has griped about crowd reaction at a WWE PPV will know, it’s hard for even the best performers to keep a crowd engaged after four hours.


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