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Chairshot Classics

WrestleMania 26: Demolition Derby in the Desert

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The Undertaker Shawn Michaels WrestleMania 26

WrestleMania 26 comes to us from the University of Phoenix stadium and boasts a pretty interesting sounding card, including the sequel to Undertaker/Michaels, but much like WrestleMania, it has received mixed to negative reviews from the wrestling press. Is this warranted, given the card’s potential? Let’s find out!

Opener

We start off with a flyover of the stadium by the Blue Angels, judging by the planes. Fantasia sings ‘America, the Beautiful’.

We get a montage/promo about WrestleMania and the big matches, along with what has happened in a year.

Unified WWE Tag Team Match: ShoMiz vs John Morrison and R-Truth

R-Truth and Morrison are out to a good pop. ShoMiz’s music doesn’t blend well, but they get a decent pop. This was a short, but very good match.

Winner: Big Show gets the pin on Morrison after a knockout punch.

Highlights: Big Show’s athleticism.

Comments: That’s a good opener for WrestleMania

We get video about Axxess and WrestleMania week.

Triple Threat Match: Randy Orton vs Cody Rhodes vs Ted DiBiase

Ted DiBiase gets a minimal pop, as does Cody Rhodes. Orton gets a huge pop. This is a good match, but I hate Triple Threat matches that aren’t for a title. I’m a little lost about who I’m supposed to be cheering for here.

Winner: Randy Orton by pinfall on Ted DiBiase

Highlights: Rhodes/DiBiase turning on each other. Double rope-assisted DDT.

Comments: I’m a little confused by who was supposed to be the face(s) or the heel(s) in this match because the audience reaction indicated that Orton was the face, but the commentary indicated he was the heel.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Jack Swagger vs Christian vs Dolph Ziggler vs Drew McIntyre vs Evan Bourne vs Kane vs Kofi Kingston vs Matt Hardy vs MVP vs Shelton Benjamin

Just about everyone gets a decent pop, except for Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre.

This was a really good match, a good case could’ve been made for anyone to win, but Swagger was a surprise, at least to me.

Winner: Jack Swagger

Comments: This would be the last time MitB would be contested at WrestleMania, it would get its own PPV later this year.

We get the Hall of Fame reveal. Our inductees are: Mad Dog Vachon, Wendi Richter, Stu Hart, Gorgeous George, Antonio Inoki, Bob Uecker, and Ted DiBiase.

Triple H vs Sheamus

Sheamus is out to a round of boos. Triple H comes out to a huge pop. This was a really good match. Sheamus and Triple H really worked well together and really put on a sleeper gem.

This was the match that really got Sheamus over as a performer, even though he lost, he hung with the Game and shined very brightly. Having Trips win due to veteran experience than overwhelming skill protected Sheamus.

Winner: Triple H by pinfall.

Comments: It’s weird to see Triple H this low on the card, maybe they were planning a run-in during Taker/Michaels.

Rey Mysterio vs CM Punk (with Luke Gallows and Serena)

Punk and company are out to a mixed reaction. Punk runs his mouth and the crowd hates it. Rey Mysterio gets a good reaction, according to Michael Cole, his outfit is based on Avatar. This a really good match, Punk and Mysterio work really well together. The whole storyline really bothered me, but it worked well in the match, especially with Rey being the eternal underdog.

Winners: Rey Mysterio by pinfall

Comments: I can’t stand Punk, but that was a good match. It’s funny to see Luke Gallows before The Club.

No Holds Barred Lumberjack Match: Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon. Special Guest Ref: Bruce Hart

Bret gets a great pop, though why he’s not in wrestling gear escapes me. Vince comes out to boos and announces that he wants to give Bret Hart a WrestleMania sized screwing and says he paid off the Hart family to turn on Bret. Bret calls out his family and makes sure they all got paid before dropping a bomb: He already knew about the payoff because the family told him and that there’s nothing sweeter than a good double-cross.

Of all the ‘Vince irons out issues with employee’ matches, this was the most boring. Even with the Hart family as part of it, this wasn’t very exciting. I don’t know if it was because of Bret’s health or what, but the fact that Vince got in almost no offense, is odd and really hurt the match.

Winner: Bret Hart by submission. The Hart Family celebrates together.

Highlights: The Harts getting some of Vince. The Harts double-crossing Vince.

Comments: I wanted to enjoy this match but there was just nothing exciting about it.

World Heavyweight Championship Match: Chris Jericho vs Edge

Jericho is out first to a round of boos. Edge gets a huge pop.

This is a great match. These two worked really well together and the story was pretty good. Edge not winning really bothered me because it seemed like the most logical thing to do given the storyline.

Winner: Chris Jericho by pinfall. Afterwards, Jericho tries to attack Edge’s bad knee but is kicked into the announce tables by the enraged Rated-R Superstar who puts Jericho on the announce table and spears him into the timekeeper’s area.

Comments: Edge is one of only nine superstars to have lost at WrestleMania after winning that year’s Royal Rumble since the beginning of the ‘Winner gets a title shot at WrestleMania’ stipulation was added in 1993*.

*Triple H won the Royal Rumble in 2016 and won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as a consequence and lost it to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 32. Vince McMahon won the 1999 Royal Rumble but lost the opportunity in a cage match with Austin. Austin’s 1997 victory was vacated due to him actually being eliminated by Bret Hart.

We get a look at the precursor of the Andre the Giant battle royal, which Yoshi Tatsu won.

10 Diva Tag Match: Alicia Fox, Maryse, Layla, Michelle McCool, and Vickie Guerrero (heels) vs Beth Phoenix, Eve Torres, Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly, and Mickie James (faces)

The heel divas are out first to a decent pop. The face divas get a really good pop. This was not the worst match I’ve ever seen, but it was the biggest mess. Vickie had no business being in the ring.

Winner: Vickie Guerrero gets the pin for her team.

Comments: I really wish the WWE had done the Women’s Revolution earlier, there were a lot of women in the Divas era that deserve more respect for their talent that get overlooked.

WWE Championship Match: Batista vs John Cena

Batista comes out to a mixed reaction. The US Air Force Honor Guard Drill Team (Thank you, Wikipedia) brings Cena to the ring to a mixed reaction. This match was weird. The fans didn’t seem to be behind either Batista or Cena and this match just didn’t seem to mesh, which is odd because I remember loving their match at SummerSlam 2008, so I’m not sure what was going on here.

Winner: Cena by submission, wins the WWE Championship.

Comments: This would be Batista’s last WrestleMania for a few years. He would leave shortly after WrestleMania and return in 2014 for a few months before leaving again.

The Streak: Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels –  No Disqualification Streak vs Career

HBK comes out to a great pop. Like last year, there are a lot of signs indicating that a good chunk of the fans believe HBK will end the Streak. The Deadman Cometh. Undertaker rises from the floor in a robe reminiscent of his Lord of Darkness gimmick.

This match wasn’t quite as good as the one at WrestleMania 25, but it was still the best match on the card by a mile or more.

Winner: Undertaker by pinfall. The Streak is 18-0

Highlights: HBK and Taker’s handshake, Taker letting HBK have the ring to say goodbye.

Comments: This is the one time that I wanted Taker to lose. Thank you for twenty years of memories and for being my hero since I was nine years old, Shawn. Godspeed, Heartbreak Kid.

Overall Comments

So, does WrestleMania 26 deserve its mixed reactions? In my opinion, not really. Several matches didn’t live up to the potential, but the card was still pretty good, save for a couple of matches that just didn’t work.

Snoozers: Bret Hart vs Vince McMahon.

Stinkers: Divas match. It was a waste of a lot of talent.

Match of the Night: Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this show.


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Chairshot Classics

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!

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ALL IN

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

9/1/2018

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)

THE RESULTS

  • 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

 

THE BREAKDOWN

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.

THE SIGNOFF

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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Attitude Of Aggression #275- The Big Four Project Chapter 3: Royal Rumble ’88 & WrestleMania IV

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Attitude of Aggression
Attitude Of Aggression #275- The Big Four Project Chapter 3: Royal Rumble ’88 & WrestleMania IV

The Attitude Of Aggression returns for Chapter 3 of The Big Four Project, a chronological analysis, review, and discussion about WWE’s Big Four PPVs/ Premium Live Events. On this Episode, Dave welcomes back the one and only PC Tunney to discuss two more immensely important events in pro wrestling history, the inaugural Royal Rumble and WrestleMania IV. The 1988 Royal Rumble was different than any other Rumble in history and not just because it was the first. Dave and Tunney break down the fascinating history of the first installment of an event that would evolve into an annual favorite for many in the WWE Universe. From there, the guys recap the surreal events that led to the end of Hulk Hogan’s 4-year reign as WWF Champion and set the stage for, arguably, the most important tournament in WWE History at WrestleMania IV. Macho Madness reached new heights that night. But was Savage the first choice of Vince McMahon to emerge from Atlantic City with the gold that night? We have the whole story for you here on Chapter 3 of The Big Four Project!

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