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Chairshot Classics

WrestleMania 29: WWE Goes Home Again or Does It?



Wrestlemania 29 Met Life Stadium

WrestleMania 29 comes to us from New Jersey’s Met Life Stadium, instead of MSG, which had become too expensive to run TV from, sadly. This WrestleMania marks the start of the ‘NXT Generation’ as superstars that have come from NXT as a developmental brand are starting to come onto the main roster. The first to do this is the Shield, who are making their WrestleMania debuts after running through the roster for three months.

There are other things going on at this WrestleMania of course, The Rock/Cena feud will reach its climax, CM Punk and the Undertaker will lock horns, and Triple H will put his career on the line against the returning Brock Lesnar. So, does WrestleMania 29 live up to this card? Let’s find out!


We start off with a gorgeous tribute to the people of New York and New Jersey, who had withstood Superstorm Sandy, which totally trashed the Northeast, especially New Jersey and NYC. I don’t like Chris Christie, but that was great. I’m also crazy about ‘I’m Coming Home’. The New Jersey National Guard is there, and MetLife Stadium is packed.

Now, we get a promo about WrestleMania moments, and there have been tons of them. This includes promos for the three big matches: Taker/Punk, Triple H/Lesnar, and Rock/Cena.

Six Man Tag Match: The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins) vs Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show

Sheamus comes out first to what sounds like a pretty good pop, Orton is next to another great pop. Big Show doesn’t get quite as big a pop, but everyone seems really amped up for this. In a show of solidarity, Orton, Show, and Sheamus come to the ring together.

JBL points out the big problem with this set up: Orton, Show, and Sheamus are great individuals, while the Shield is a TEAM. Lawler thinks Orton and company are the people who can beat the Shield, who have been running roughshod over the roster since their debut.

The Shield get a really good pop, coming through the crowd. None of them look nervous, which is surprising. I’d be peeing my pants.

This was a really good match, all three members of the Shield were a little rough around the edges, especially Roman, but everyone looked really great.

I actually forgot how great the Shield were as a team back in 2013. I hear a chant for Ambrose going, but with the open stadium, it’s a little hard to tell.

Orton and company seem to like to take the clothes off the Shield. Rollins dang near killed himself in a suicide dive.

Winner: Dean Ambrose gets the pin on Orton for his team. Big Show is ticked that Orton tagged himself in when Sheamus was going for Show and KO’s both Orton and Sheamus before leaving.

Highlights: The Shield!!!!!!!! Ambrose shirtless (I’m shallow, what can I say?). Big Show spearing the Shield and saving Sheamus from the Triple Powerbomb. Big Show KOing Orton and Sheamus.

Comments: Seeing all three members of the Shield in their first WrestleMania is fantastic.

We get a promo about Rock/Cena Part II. I admit, I didn’t like Rock beating Cena in 2012, but this was probably already penciled in, so I won’t complain about it. I forgot that 2012 was a pretty rotten one for Cena personally and professionally. I won’t comment on Rock beating Punk since I haven’t seen the match in awhile.

Mark Henry vs Ryback

Mark Henry comes out first to a decent sounding pop. Ryback’s pop is quieter and it’s hard for me to say who the crowd is rooting for, to be honest.

We start off with a lot of trash talk, at least Ryback does. If you’re looking for something technical, skip ahead. This was a rough, physical match. It also had some old-school elements, such as bearhugs.

This match was slow, but very good. Both guys looked great and Ryback’s loss was more because of Henry’s veteran instincts than anything else.

Winner: Mark Henry by pinfall. Ryback is in bad shape after that finish, but Henry decides to put Ryback in the Hall of Pain for good measure, but Ryback hits a spinebuster and goes for Shell Shock and nails it this time.

Highlights: Ryback going for Shell Shock on Henry and getting squashed due to Henry grabbing the ropes.

Comment: I’m not sure what this feud was all about, but this match was interesting, if a little slow.

We’re getting getting a promo for some WWE toys and JBL has it in for his Rey Mysterio toy, due to his embarrassing loss at WrestleMania 25. A partnership with Special Olympics is also announced. The Special Olympics team is on the stage with Stephanie McMahon and Chris Christie.

WWE Tag Team Championship: Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) vs Dolph Ziggler and Big E (with AJ Lee)

Ziggler and Big E are out first to a decent sounding pop. It’s weird to see Big E not part of New Day. I like this more serious Big E better, personally.

Team Hell No get a great pop. Ziggler insists that AJ kiss him in front of Bryan. Bryan’s response is to kick Ziggler’s head off, which pretty much sets the tone for this match. This wasn’t a pretty match, this was a fight. There was a botch, the ref counted three before Kane got his shoulder up

Winner: Daniel Bryan pins Ziggler to retain the Tag Team belts.

Highlights: Ziggler trying to nail Kane with the MitB briefcase and missing badly.

Comment: I really liked this match. It had a lot of great elements, and again, veterans winning due to experience not poor wrestling by newcomers.

We get a promo by Cena for Make a Wish.

Fandango vs Chris Jericho

We have a lot of dancing ladies for Fandango’s debut. Funny, he looks like Johnny Curtis from NXT. Okay, Dude, you can sort of dance, this isn’t ballet or ballroom dancing. Jericho gets a great pop, I can’t say that the audience seemed very impressed with Fandumbo (my favorite of Jericho’s nicknames for him).

Fandango exhibits some dance…steps, but Jericho isn’t having it and proceeds to take Fandango to the woodshed, as JR would say. This match was pretty much all Jericho at the start. Fandango did manage to get some offense in, but this match was not great, especially for someone making their in-ring debut, even his victory seemed like more a fluke than being a better wrestler.

Winner: Fandango by pinfall. The crowd is not impressed with this result, and neither am I, to be honest.

Highlights: The reel of Jericho’s nicknames for Fandango. Finding out that Cole studied ballroom dancing.

Comment: There’s a story that Jericho summed up Fandango’s prospects as ‘The song will get over, but the guy won’t’. IF that story is true, I can see what he was talking about, at least at this point.

We get a highlight of the pre-show IC title match between Barrett and Miz.

We get another promo for Rock/Cena, but from Rock’s POV. There’s parts of this that seems fake. Like the kids claiming to be one of the millions, but they were born after Rock was gone from WWE. I’m just not buying this promo.

After that, we get a montage of WrestleMania moments, so this must be the halftime show. Our performer is Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs. I’m not a listener of his music, so I can’t tell you how good or bad this is.

Diddy reminds us that WrestleMania started in New York City and really gets the crowd going.

We get a promo for ADR/Swagger. I’d totally forgotten how much they danced around the racism line during this feud.

World Heavyweight Championship Match: Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) vs Jack Swagger (with Zeb Colter)

Swagger and Colter are already in the ring, Colter is yapping and the NYC/New Jersey crowd isn’t having it. Considering that New York City has been multi-cultural for pretty much all of its history, I’m not sure letting him cut a promo against multi-culturalism was such a good idea.

ADR and Ricardo are out next, Ricardo not very convincing on crutches. ADR gets a great pop, which is surprising to me. For whatever reason, ADR is wearing a robe like a boxer.

To no big surprise, this was a really good match, the storyline of the ‘Real American’ vs the Immigrant Who Made Good was a good one and made the great ring work really meaningful. ADR vs Swagger is one of those great feuds that could go forever in a lot of different ways, they’re so well matched and work so well together. I honestly thought the barely hidden racism of the story would turn me off, but it didn’t. I really wanted to see Swagger get beat by ADR.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio by submission by the cross armbreaker, he retains the World Heavyweight Championship. ADR and Ricardo celebrate in the ring.

Highlights: ADR stomping on Colter’s hand for trying to trip him up. ADR countering the Ankle lock into the cross armbreaker and Swagger reversing it back into an Ankle Lock.

Comment: It’s weird thinking of ADR as a babyface, but it worked.

We get a promo for the National Guard.

We get a promo for Undertaker/Punk. I have to admit that this whole thing about disrespecting Paul Bearer bothered me deeply and having his death be used in a storyline angered me. That might have been the point, but it still makes me mad and deepened my dislike for Punk.

The Streak: Undertaker vs CM Punk (with Paul Heyman)

Living Color sings Punk and Paul Heyman to the ring, the reaction to Punk is mixed and the cheers seem to be for the band more than Punk. The Deadman Cometh.  Taker comes out of the floor, with the ands of fans through the smoke looking like hands reaching out from hell. Taker’s in his Lord of Darkness type rig.

Punk plays some mind games with Taker and draws first blood, but Taker is the Master of mind games and gets in the saddle quickly. This wasn’t a pretty match, but if you want a match where the heel gets his can kicked, this is a good one to watch. There was a possible botch towards the end of the match, Punk hit an elbow drop from the turnbuckle to where Taker lay on the Spanish Announce table and the table didn’t break, which hurt Punk and Taker.

My deep dislike of Punk aside, this was a really great match, and easily could’ve gone either way. That said, I’m not sorry Punk lost, though it looks like a big part of the audience thought he’d win.

Winner: The Undertaker by pinfall. The Streak is 21-0. Afterwards, Taker takes the urn back, places it in the ring and celebrates, just as if Paul Bearer were there with him…maybe he was.

Highlights: Heyman nearly crapping his pants when his attempt to save Punk from the suicide dive nearly ends with him getting chokeslammed. Taker countering the GTS into a tombstone. Chioda waiting for Taker to finish the ‘Rest in Peace’ pin before counting.

Comment: This is the one match in the Streak where I wanted to see Taker’s opponent get the s**t kicked out of them. I had enough respect and/or liking for Taker’s other opponents to not want that for them. Punk pissed me off and I wanted Taker to teach him respect. Also, this would be Punk’s last WrestleMania, he would leave the company in January 2014 and has not returned.

We get a promo of Mick Foley’s newest documentary: For All Mankind.

We get a third promo for Rock/Cena. They’ve promoted this one match more on this show than the rest of the card. I get it, WWE, lay off.

We get a promo for Triple H vs Brock. I’m irked by the commentators saying No Holds Barred is Brock’s match, when Triple H has been in, and won, his fair share of No Holds Barred matches.

Disclaimer: I do not like Brock Lesnar, I haven’t since his first run in WWE, so if the following comes across as heavily biased against Lesnar, that’s why. I will try to be neutral, but I won’t promise.

Triple H (with Shawn Michaels) vs Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) – No Holds Barred. If Triple H Loses, He Retires

HBK comes out first and gets a great pop. He looks like he just got in from hunting something and considering that it was 50F when the show started, the tank top cannot be keeping him warm.

Lesnar and Heyman are out next and the reaction seems mixed for Lesnar.

Triple H gets a really great pop and has his Skull King entrance. For some reason, he’s got something glowing on his stomach. I’m not sure if that’s water or something else.

Lesnar tries get go for the kill quickly, but Triple H is ready for him. This match starts off as a slugfest pretty quickly. This narrative that No Holds Barred favors Lesnar is deeply irritating to me because it ignores that Triple H has been in many No Holds Barred matches. It’s like they completely forgot about Taker/H two years before, all the Hell in a Cells, and the Street Fights Triple H has been in over the years.

My almost pathological hatred of Lesnar aside, this was a pretty good match, but it was slow moving and not quite as excited as other ones I’ve seen, including Triple H vs Taker. I’ll give both guys their due, that was a great match and one I’d recommend watching.

Winner: Triple H by pinfall. HBK and Triple H celebrate in ring, the McMahons were avenged.

Highlights: HBK distracting Lesnar without doing anything. HBK taking an F-5 to help Triple H. The look on Lesnar’s face when Triple H gives him a taste of his own medicine. HBK hitting Sweet Chin Music on Heyman.

Comments: I despise Lesnar, but that was really good.

We get a promo for WrestleMania 30.

New attendance record: 80,676!!!

WWE Championship Match: The Rock vs John Cena

Cena is out first to a mixed reaction. The crowd doesn’t seem to really be behind him, but he shakes hands with Michael Strahan. Rock gets an amazing pop. It’s been eleven years since Rock was the defending champ at WrestleMania.

Cena and Rock circle each other and we are off! Cena gets first blood, but Rock gets the upper hand quickly.

I’m getting Hogan/Andre vibes and not the good ones. This match is like Hogan/Andre at WrestleMania IV with bloom off the rose. This is a slow match and it is getting boring. I almost want to poke them and say ‘Come on guys, pick up the pace a little’. It did pick up the pace towards the end, but not enough to salvage the whole thing.

Winner: John Cena by pinfall, we have a new WWE Champion. Afterwards, Rock and Cena exchange words (nice ones) and hug. Cena lets Rock have the ring to himself. On the stage, they have a moment and Rock raises Cena’s hand. The torch is passed.

Highlights: Cena using Rock’s moves against him and suckering Rock in.

Comments: I’m sorry, but that was a boring match. It was good, but very boring.

Overall Comments

So how did WrestleMania 29 do? It actually did really well, in my opinion. Compared to the previous two WrestleManias, this was a great show. All of the matches had great spots in them, even the boring/not great ones. My biggest issue is that a lot of the matches were slow. I realize that everyone wants to do their best at WrestleMania, but the slowness really bugged me.

Snoozers: Cena vs Rock. I’m sorry, but that was incredibly boring and not what I expected from either man.

Stinkers: Fandango vs Jericho, having your first match at WrestleMania, with a legend like Chris Jericho, should produce something more impressive than that match.

Match of the Night: Triple H vs Lesnar. My deep dislike of Lesnar aside, that match was fantastic.

Sign of the Night: I hate Cena Guys. Last year, I saw three of them spill beer on a Baby!

Hall of Fame: Mick Foley, Bob Backlund, Bruno Sammartino, Trish Stratus, Booker T, Donald Trump.

Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this show, even the not great matches had good spots and there was a lot of interesting things going on. Only thing I didn’t like were the three promos for Rock/Cena, it just about killed any desire I had to see the match.

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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. (**)



  • 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.

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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)


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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