Here is our next event in my NWA/WCW timeline, The Great American Bash! Created by booker Dusty Rhodes, The Great American Bash, like our previous pay-per-view Bunkhouse Stampede, wasn’t the first show produced under this name, but was the only one to be broadcast. The other events, again like Bunkhouse Stampede, were simply what I call “glorified house shows”. This is the end of the road for Jim Crockett Promotions as well, selling the company to Turner Broadcasting in November, one month prior to Starrcade, but a relationship with the NWA would remain a little while longer. So it’s the finale of an era for Crockett, but the start of another for the Great American Bash event so let’s get into it and head right to the ring!
Match #1 for the NWA World Tag Team Championships: Sting & Nikita Koloff vs. NWA World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard w/James J. Dillon
After the bell rings, all 4 men pair up and brawl. Sting and Koloff clear the ring to the delight of the crowd. The Horsemen return to the ring for round 2. Anderson and Koloff stumble out and Sting almost steals the match immediately with a small package. Anderson ambushes Sting, but he’s met with a dropkick. Anderson rolls out of the ring, but turns around to meet a plancha from Sting. The crowd’s really digging it. Koloff and Blanchard go to the corners and Sting and Anderson start the structured action. Sting with a hip toss into an arm bar submission. He drags Anderson to his corner and tags in Koloff.
Koloff leads with some stomps and a submission of his own on Anderson’s arm. Anderson works his way to his feet, he powers out of the hold but misses an elbow drop. Koloff is back in control, now working on Double A’s other arm. Anderson is slow to his feet, works Koloff to the corner and lands a left and a few kicks. Koloff reverses Anderson’s Irish whip to the opposite turnbuckle but Anderson moves. Arn looks confident that Koloff collided with the turnbuckle, but Koloff had stopped short. Anderson turns around and is met by a Russian Sickle. Blanchard rushes the ring to prevent a cover and has the same fate. Koloff with a lateral press but Anderson’s foot is on the rope. Tag made to Sting. Anderson is sent to the turnbuckle but Arn gets his knee to Sting’s midsection.
Sting quickly counters a sleeper hold by driving Anderson’s head into the turnbuckle. Sting hits a leg drop on Anderson’s left arm and continues with the submission work. Anderson works his way to his feet and Blanchard illegally enters the ring to double team Sting. The Stinger counters their hold on both his arms with a backflip for positioning and a double hiptoss. The Horsemen stand up to meet Sting’s drop kick that strikes both. After a regroup, Anderson manages a headbutt to the midsection and can mercifully make a legal tag to Blanchard. Tully is whipped for 2 hiptosses before a tag is made to Koloff.
Sting holds Blanchard in place as Nikita lands several kicks and hard rights before back to the mat for an arm submission. Blanchard tries to squirm his way to the ropes but Koloff is in control. Koloff works Blanchard’s shoulders to the mat for several near falls. Tully finally gets his leg on the bottom rope. The hold is broken but he can’t escape Koloff. Tag is made to Sting. Blanchard reverses Sting’s Irish whip but Sting moves. Sting has a near fall after Blanchard’s collision. Tully gets up dazed and stumbles to the wrong corner for a tag. Nikita takes advantage of the blunder with a cheap shot and the crowd loves it.
Tag to Koloff and he powers Blanchard into the turnbuckle. Blanchard tags Anderson with his boot but the ref will not allow it. Blanchard tries to break the submission with a knee to Koloff’s midsection, but no luck. Nikita lifts Blanchard for an atomic drop and follows it up with a hiptoss. He goes right back to work on Blanchard’s shoulder. Blanchard slowly struggles his way to his corner while locked in and he’s able to make the tag. Koloff retreats to his corner and Anderson is frustrated with the lack of opportunity to take liberties. Anderson and Koloff square each other up and lock up. They run the ropes and Koloff executes a drop toe hold. Koloff dials in a half nelson on the mat, barking that he wants the title. Anderson slowly works to his feet reaching for Blanchard but instead he ends up in a standing full nelson.
He kicks Koloff’s knee twice which allows him to make the tag to Blanchard. A run to the ropes and Koloff delivers his Russian Hammer choke hold. Blanchard is surprisingly right back up, but Koloff hits him with a shoulder block. Blanchard is then clotheslined over the top rope to the concrete and Koloff falls over with him. Blanchard makes it back to the apron at a count of 8, but his met with a vertical suplex. JJ Dillon interferes with the pin attempt and Koloff pursues him on the floor. When Koloff rushes him, Dillon moves and Koloff runs into the post. Anderson is on the floor and drives Koloff’s shoulder into the post once again. Koloff is rolled back into the ring, injured. Tag is made to Anderson. Body slam by Anderson followed by several knees to the back.
Anderson with a hammerlock submission as it is announced that there is 5 minutes left in the match. Koloff works his way to his feet with a psychotic look on his face. Anderson is whipped to the ropes. Koloff sets up for a back body drop but Anderson reverses it by catching his head and executing a DDT. Koloff kicks out at 2. Tag is made to Blanchard who comes off the top rope with an axe handle. Blanchard attempts an unsuccessful pin, and then continues the armbar submission. Tag made to Anderson. Snapmare takedown by Anderson. He goes to the 2nd turnbuckle for a splash but Koloff gets his knees up. The 2 men work to their corners slowly and make simultaneous tags.
The crowd has a HUGE pop for Sting. He rushes Blanchard, and whips him to the ropes for a back body drop, followed by a dropkick. Sting with an Irish whip to the turnbuckle and a gorilla press to Blanchard. Anderson rushes Sting and is met with a bulldog. A double atomic drop reversal by Blanchard, then Sting, and the Stinger with another great dropkick. He pulls Blanchard to Anderson’s corner and bashes their heads together. 1 minute remaining and Sting has Anderson in a sleeper hold. Anderson breaks the hold with elbows and tags in Blanchard. Sting stops the momentum of Blanchard’s sunset flip and delivers a right to Tully.
With Anderson still in the ring, Koloff rushes Anderson with a Russian Sickle. Sting with an Irish whip and a Stinger Splash to Blanchard. Sting applies the Scorpian Deathlock to Blanchard and the bell rings 7 seconds later. Sting and Koloff celebrate and grab the tag team belts. There is a discussion in the ring, and it was determined the bell rang because of the time limit and not a submission.
Winners: Time Limit Draw
- EA’s Take: I’m not sure if Nikita is trying to match Stinger, but it’s really weird seeing him with hair, let alone a flat top. You’ve got the class of the tag team division here in Arn and Tully, the red hot Sting and a bruiser in Koloff. Magnifico! Not to mention Sting with an outside dive? You never see that in this era! This one began after Sting and Dusty challenged for the tag titles, but the newest member of The Horsemen, Barry Windham, would interfere, leading Dusty to focus on Windham and Nikita to step in. The Stinger’s coming off the heels of his famous World Title match against Ric Flair at the first Clash Of The Champions, while Nikita has dropped down the card a little, but is still over like rover. Arn and Tully are looking more and more like The Brain Busters, which we will see in the fall as Double A and Blanchard would give their notices to JCP in September, prior to the sale to Turner. It would put an end to The Horsemen and in the words of Tully, “It was the end of an era”.
Ringside: Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone review what we just saw as Sting & Nikita clear the ring, then preview our next championship match.
Match #2 for the NWA United States Tag Team Championships: The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) w/Jim Cornette vs. NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers)
Cornette grabs the mic and explains to the crowd that he’s not crazy. He introduces his team to a sea of boos. A stipulation of this match is that Cornette must be harnessed in a straight-jacket and hung in a cage as to not interfere. Additionally, should The Midnight Express lose, they face 10 lashes. Cornette pleads with the referee and protests the stipulation. He is consoled with hugs from the Express and begrudgingly obliges. The bell rings, Eaton and Fulton start. They lock up and Fulton grabs a headlock.They run the ropes and Fulton drops Eaton for a quick 2 count. Eaton lands a punch that sounded like a potato. Irish whip into the corner and Fulton delivers two consecutive head scissor takedowns.
Eaton stumbles to the wrong corner for the tag. Fulton lands a heavy right and Eaton regroups in his corner. Cornette is heard screaming from a distance. Eaton and Fulton lock up again and a tag is made to Lane. The crowd is heard chanting “Cornette Sucks”. Lane is in control his combo of kicks makes Fulton falls to the concrete. Back in, Fulton reverses an Irish whip and Lane is run over the turnbuckle and into the post. Tag is made to Rogers and Lane is back in the ring. Rogers lands some high energy dropkicks. Eaton is tagged in but is met with a hip toss. Back to their feet, Eaton hits a knee to Rogers’ midsection and he sets him up on the top turnbuckle. Rogers reverses an attempted vertical suplex and flips Eaton into a pin. He kicks out at 1.
Rogers jumps to the 2nd turnbuckle and hits a cross body and lateral press for another count of 1. The two regroup and are back on their feet. A tag is made to Fulton and the Fantastics hit Eaton with a double back body drop. Lane rushes the ring and they each take a partner. The Fantastics cause some confusion and get Lane to deliver another back body drop on his own tag team partner. The Express regroup on the concrete while the Fantastics strut in the ring. Fulton and Lane get the action going again but a quick tag is made to Rogers. Rogers leapfrogs his tag team partner and lands into an arm submission on Lane. Lane reverses with a knee to the midsection. He attempts a back body drop but Rogers lands on his feet.
When Rogers pushes Lane to the ropes he is unaware the tag was made to Eaton. As Rogers rolls up Lane for a pin, Eaton grabs him from behind with a bulldog. Eaton goes for a pin and gets a 2 count. Lane is tagged back in (wait, wasn’t he the legal man all along?) and wraps Rogers’ neck around the top rope. He levels Rogers with a lariat and tags Eaton back in. Eaton lands a hard elbow following a whip to the ropes. Eaton makes a cover for a 2 count. Rogers is trying to fight the momentum, but Eaton delivers a swinging neckbreaker. Quick sequence of tags back and forth between Lane and Eaton, and Beautiful Bobby finally delivers an impressive backbreaker. Fulton makes the save on the pin attempt. More double team work by the Express and they are in complete control. Eaton delivers a backbreaker on a worn down Rogers.
Eaton with a hammerlock submission. Rogers is finally to his feet. He breaks the hold with elbows and reverses Eaton’s attempted back body drop by dropping Bobby face first on the mat. Both men are down and the ref is counting. Eaton makes it to his corner first. Lane comes in with an abdominal stretch on Rogers and gets extra leverage from Eaton. When Fulton protests what he sees the ref backs him off. Rogers finds himself outside of the ring with Eaton as this happens. Rogers reverses Eaton’s attempt to bash him head first into the post and instead that is given to Bobby. He rolls back into the ring and starts fighting off Lane’s momentum. Rogers is whipped into the ropes but comes back with a beautiful sunset flip for a 2 count.
Lane is quickly up and makes the tag to Eaton. Bobby with a body slam on Rogers followed by a legdrop from the 3rd rope. Fulton breaks up the pinfall attempt and the crowd is getting behind The Fantastics. Another abdominal stretch applied to Rogers followed by leg sweep takedown. Eaton sets up for the team’s Rocket Launcher from the top rope but Rogers gets his knees up. Hot tag made to Fulton who hits a back body drop on Eaton. Stan Lane is back in the ring and Fulton is fending them both off.
He runs the ropes, leaps over both Eaton and the referee but his leg is grabbed by Lane who is standing outside the ring on his comeback. Lane pulls him through middle rope for a body slam on the concrete. Rogers rushes back into the ring and goes after Eaton but collides with the referee on a cross body tackle from the ropes. He throws Eaton into the post. Stan Lane is back in the ring with a foreign object. He rushes Rogers but Rogers hits him with a back body drop. The foreign object (chain) falls to Eaton who wraps it around his first. After Rogers sends Lane back out to the floor, Eaton hits Rogers with the chain. Pinfall victory for the Midnight Express.
Winners and NEW NWA United States Tag Team Champions: The Midnight Express (Eaton/Foreign Object)
- After The Bell: Cornette is out of the cage but the Fantastics chase him down. They whip Cornette with referee Tommy Young’s belt. The Express pull their manager out and head to the dressing room.
- EA’s Take: Finally The Midnight Express is used correctly on pay-per-view! After seeing them in scaffold matches for the last couple of NWA events, this was a breath of fresh air to see one of the best tag teams ever ACTUALLY get to wrestle instead of fearing for their lives. Although, having “ten lashes” on the line isn’t exactly something to scoff at. This feud really began in Mid-South in 1984, would run through WCWA and then into the NWA before The Fantastics arrived in JCP in ’88. Like their name says, they were pretty fantastic in the ring and are really one of the forgotten about tag teams in wrestling lure, at least outside of fans that consider themselves historians. Tommy Rogers is pretty undersized which is rare, but he looks much better than when I became more familiar with him during a brief stint with ECW about ten years later. My only real gripe here? It probably should have opened the show, it’s unusual that your secondary tag titles go on directly after your World Tag Titles.
Ringside: Jim Ross & Toy Schiavone review the finish of our last match as the cage is being set up for the next contest.
Match #3 is a Tower Of Doom Match: ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams, Ron Garvin, The Road Warriors (Animal & Hawk) & ‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin w/Precious & Paul Ellering vs. Kevin Sullivan, Al Perez, Mike Rotunda, The Russian Assassin & Ivan Koloff w/Gary Hart
A three-level cage is set up. In two minute intervals, doors will open for a new competitor to come into the top level. At these same intervals, trap doors will open for approximately 10 seconds giving competitors a chance to jump down to the next level. The first team who has all five members of their team move through all 3 levels and exit the cage will win. Precious is in the ring and is holder of the key. Ron Garvin and Ivan Koloff will be the first to enter the tower at the smallest level on top. The two lock up and brawl. They use the cage as a weapon and exchange punches and chops. Steve Williams and Mike Rotunda wait outside the door for the first 2 minute horn to sound. All you can really do is brawl in this scenario and they slug it out.
The first horn sounds. The trap door is open and Garvin opens it. Garvin gets down successfully but Koloff is stuck on the first level. This makes it a 2 on 1 against Williams at the top level while Garvin just paces alone on the 2nd level. Despite this, Williams has plenty of offense, bashing the heels’ heads together. The 2nd horn sounds. Williams is headed for the door but Koloff grabs onto him. With no opposition, Garvin easily jumps down to level 1 and walks out of the cage. Road Warrior Animal is now on the top level, double teamed by Rotunda and Al Perez while Koloff and Steve Williams have moved on and do battle on the middle level. Animal is handling the double team well and the crowd is roaring for him. Hawk is waiting in the wings to come in next.
Steve Williams holds on to the cage and delivers stomps to Koloff. The next horn sounds and the doors are open. Al Perez easily makes it to the 2nd level and right behind him is Road Warrior Animal. No one from the 2nd level advanced, so it’s now Williams and Animal against Koloff and Perez on that middle level. Hawk brawls with Rotunda and the Assasin up top. The crowd is really reacting to the Road Warriors. Steve Williams delivers a body slam on Koloff for the first non-brawling move. The final horn sounds and here comes Jimmy Garvin and Kevin Sullivan. Al Perez and Animal make it through the doors to the ring (1st level).
Hawk escapes to the 2nd level to join teammate Steve Williams, and behind him the Assasin joins Koloff to even the field. Jimmy Garvin deals with a 2 on 1 on the top level. Animal makes quick work of Perez in the ring and exits the cage. With no one else in the ring, Perez is able to stumble out as well despite his losing effort to Animal. The horn for the trap door sounds and Rotunda is finally able to make it to the 2nd level. Koloff and the Assasin make it to ring followed by Hawk who will face a 2 on 1 for 2 minutes. Hawk runs the ropes and hits the Russians with a double clothesline. Jimmy Garvin and Kevin Sullivan are still battling on the top level. Williams and Rotunda are squaring up on the middle level.
Despite the 2 on 1, Hawk escapes the cage first. Again, with no opponents to stop them, both Russians stagger out despite Hawk getting the best of them. The next horn sounds. Steve Williams makes it to the ring and walks out. Garvin and Sullivan both make it to level 2, which makes it a 2 on 1 against Garvin as the final 3 men who are left do battle. Garvin bashes their heads together and fights off the mismatch. The horn sounds and the crowd begs Garvin to get down. Sullivan holds Garvin down on the cage allowing Rotunda to jump down to the ring and walk out with ease. The final 2 competitors, Garvin and Sullivan are on level 2.
A brawl breaks out on the floor between the 8 men who have escaped the tower. Garvin with some submission work on Sullivan’s knee, but Kevin fights back. The horn sounds, the door is open and Sullivan is first through the door but Garvin is right behind him. Sullivan goes to Precious who is holding the key and she kicks him away. Garvin does more work with legs and elbows on Sullivan’s knee. Garvin delivers a brain buster. Garvin struggles with the lock on the door for a second, but finally gets the chain off. Sullivan makes a last ditch effort to stop him from behind, but Garvin leaps to the floor.
Winners: ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams, Ron Garvin, The Road Warriors & ‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin
- After The Bell: Sullivan locks himself in the cage with Precious and pursues her. With no way in, the winning team must re-climb the ladder and drop through the levels again to save her. Sullivan pulls a rope from his trunks and chokes her until finally Hawk and Jimmy Garvin make it to level 1 take him out.
- EA’s Take: More gimmick matches here and holy cow, was this structure quite the sight to behold. Not to mention, how forward thinking was this concept in 1988? I prefer this much more than the scaffold matches. It’s primarily brawling on the top two levels of the cage, but you can at least use the ring on the bottom level, so you’re not even close to as limited with what you can do. The time intervals also create some interesting handicap situations, something the WWF did with its Royal Rumble concept back in January. One thing I will say though, that spot where Precious was getting choked at the end…man, people would have a field day with something like that today. It would NEVER fly!
Ringside: Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone go over the action once again, showing us replays of Sullivan stalking Precious and Hawk making the save with Jimmy Garvin. They send us to Bob Caudle in another part of the arena for his thoughts on the Tower Of Doom.
Match #4 for the NWA United States Championship: NWA United States Champion Barry Windham w/James J. Dillon vs. Dusty Rhodes
The two lock up and Rhodes hits a quick arm drag. Windham rushes Rhodes, but Dusty intimidates him with his elbow. There is a side headlock and shoulder tackle from Rhodes. Windham rolls out to the concrete for a regroup. The two criss-cross through the ropes but Windham stops it with an elbow to the back of Rhodes’ head. Back to their feet, the Dream is able to send Windham into the ropes for a gorilla press followed by a DDT. Rhodes heads for the top rope and lands a cross body press. Very close 2 count by Rhodes. Windham once again is out to the floor and this time feigning like he’s walking to the dressing room.
Windham consults with Dillon takes his sweet time to get back in the ring. Finally back, Windham signals Rhodes to slow it down. They lock up and Windham delivers a series of blows in the corner, but it has little effect. Rhodes dances around the ring and returning shots to Windham. Dillon is up on the apron but Rhodes takes care of him with a big elbow. Windham is back on the floor again and barking at the ref who is counting. Windham gingerly returns to the ring and sets up a test of strength. Windham takes advantage of the open torso with some kicks to the midsection and Rhodes tumbles out to the floor. Windham stays on the attack and sends him shoulder first into the steel rail.
Windham sets up for a piledriver on the floor, but Dusty reverses with a back body drop. Rhodes hits a huge clothesline on Windham and proceeds to chase Dillon around the ring. Slowly back to the ring, Windham is able to regain some offense, pummeling Dusty in the corner. Back to the floor again and Rhodes’ head is bashed on the apron. Windham crawls back into the ring as Rhodes gets up. Dusty steps up to the apron. Windham attempts to use the ropes to flip Rhodes back into the ring but Dusty reverses it and sends him over the top and to the floor. Windham stumbles around the outside of the ring as Dillon provides a distraction for the referee.
This allows Windham to attack Rhodes from behind, and deliver a body slam to the big man. Standing elbow drop from Windham and he pulls Rhodes up for his patented claw, digging his fingers into Rhodes’ skull. Rhodes fades as the ref checks on him. Rhodes is on his back and Windham gets a couple of 2 counts. Rhodes uses the crowd’s energy to work his way to his feet, but he’s quickly forced back down. Dusty is up again for attempt number 2 at breaking the hold. He backs his way to the corner and steps up to the 2nd turnbuckle. He teases a big elbow but Windham pulls him back to his knees and taunts the crowd before he can do it.
Rhodes swings his arms around for attempt number 3 to break the hold and finally lands midsection shots as Windham holds on. Finally, Rhodes hits 3 elbows. The hold is broken and Windham is down. Rhodes attempts a figure four, but somehow Windham reaches out and has the claw applied once again. Rhodes backs his way to the 2nd turnbuckle again and he lands some rights. Windham reverses with a shot to Rhodes’ midsection and sets up for a superplex. Rhodes instead shoves him off and the ref is hit.
Rhodes misses a standing elbow and Windham heads for the top rope. Dusty pursues him and sends him flying for a huge body slam from the top rope. Dusty lands an elbow drop but there is no referee to make a cover. Ron Garvin comes down to the ring but surprisingly attacks Rhodes knocking him nearly unconcious. Dillon rolls the referee back into the ring, and Windham applies a claw once again. Rhodes is out cold and his shoulders are down. Windham gets the pinfall victory.
Winner and STILL NWA United States Champion: Barry Windham (Outside Interference)
- EA’s Take: One thing I love about this era is how genuinely emotional the crowd gets at certain spots. For example, the panic in the crowd with fans trying to get Dusty’s attention. Small things like that are what make me miss the old days! The Dream always knows how to entertain and Jim Ross is too good at calling matches for this one to disappoint. Windham had been saddled with some bad luck in his previous Chairshot Classic appearances and we really see what he can do here when all goes well. I previously mentioned how Barry had jumped Rhodes during a tag title match, but Dusty had also previously been stripped of the US Title and suspended for attacking Jim Crockett. Of course, all kayfabe. Dusty keeps finding ways to stretch out his program with The Horsemen, moving from one member to another and keeping himself away from Flair. Most people complain that he put himself in such spots as the booker, but you can’t argue that he didn’t help guys like Windham and previously, Lex Luger by working with them. My stance is that he was grooming his young talent with his own name value. Surprising heel turn here as well with Ronnie Garvin costing Dusty the match, but it wouldn’t lead to much as he’d leave the company about a month or so later.
Backstage: Ronnie Garvin is shown with Gary Hart & James J. Dillon, celebrating and lathering himself with cash after receiving a briefcase full of it.
Match #5 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair w/James J. Dillon vs. Lex Luger
Flair works Luger to the corner, but Luger uses power to shove Flair across the ring. They regroup and lock up again, resulting in a hip toss from Luger. They circle the ring tentatively and lock up. Luger with a big headlock until the ropes break it up. Another lock up and they move toward the turnbuckles. Flair delivers ineffective chops and kicks in the corner. Luger stalks Flair and delivers another hip toss and follows it with a drop kick. Flair rolls out of the ring and paces the concrete. Flair returns to the ring and backs up until they grapple, Flair attempts an shoulder tackle that doesn’t move Luger.
The next run and Luger catches him in a Gorilla press. Flair stumbles over the outside railing and calls for referee Tommy Young. He tries to accost Young, but Young runs and hides behind Luger. Slowly, Flair returns to the ring. After a test of strength, Luger twists Flair’s arm and whips him into another gorilla press slam. Flair is whipped to the ropes again and is caught in Luger’s bearhug. Luger drops Flair’s shoulders to the ring for a 2 count. The bearhug continues, and Flair refuses to give up. Finally they wander to the ropes and the hold is broken. Flair is whipped to the ropes, he puts the brakes on but stumbles out to the apron. Luger pursues Flair and delivers a vertical suplex back into the ring. Luger pins but Flair kicks out at 2.
Luger hits a massive elbow drop, but misses his 2nd attempt. Luger is right back to his feet and Flair begs for mercy in the corner. Luger delivers another hip toss and Flair retreats to the floor. Luger follows and the two brawl on the floor Flair uses the gate as a weapon twice. Luger stumbles back into the ring and Flair takes advantage with a snapmare take down and a knee drop. The Nature Boy drags Luger’s face across the top rope and hits another snapmare/knee combo. Luger kicks out of a pin attempt at 2. Flair uses an armbar, but is warned by Tommy Young about making a cheap shot to Luger’s ribs while doing so.
From his knees Luger fights off Flair’s next pursuit with shots to the midsection. They run the ropes, Luger ducks Flair’s elbow, stops short, and hits a clothesline on the return. Flair kicks out at 2 1/2. Both men back to their feet. Flair with another snapmare take down to Luger and he heads for the top rope. Luger is up before anything happens. He shakes the ropes and Flair falls groin first on the top rope. Luger follows with an enormous hiptoss across the ring to, but he misses the subsequent dropkick when Flair gets up. Flair can’t capitalize on the misfire and he stumbles face first on the mat. Both men are slow to get up. Flair with an Irish whip but Luger bounces off and comes back with a clothesline. Luger uses a lateral press but Flair’s foot is on the ropes. Luger is bumped to the apron, but he comes back with a sunset flip.
Flair fights for the ropes but he goes down for a 2 count. On their feet, and Flair starts working on Luger’s left knee. Multiple kicks from Flair, and he uses the bottom rope for leverage. Flair pulls Luger to the center of the ring and applies the Figure Four, pulling on the bottom rope for leverage when he can. Luger gets the crowd behind him for an attempted reversal, and he succeeds but Flair breaks the hold on the ropes. Flair is right back up and is back to work on that left leg. He pulls Luger to his feet, whips him to the ropes, Luger ducks Flair’s elbow and clotheslines Ric over the top rope. Back in the ring, Flair tries chops in the corner but it energizes Luger.
The Total Package whips Flair to the ropes for another gorilla press slam but he’s still favoring that leg. Luger is the first up, but he misses Flair on an attempted knee drop. Flair heads for the top rope with a “Wooo”, but Luger beats his attempt and delivers a 4th gorilla press slam. At the opposite corner, Luger steps to the 2nd turnbuckle and delivers rights as the crowd counts them off. Flair counters by lifting Luger for an atomic drop, but Lex gets right back up and knocks Flair out with a clothesline. Luger attempts a pin, but they’re too close to the ropes. Luger is up on the turnbuckle again for 10 punches, this time executed successfully.
Luger with an Irish whip and Flair tumbles over the opposite top turnbuckle and out to the floor. Luger gives chase and rolls Flair back in the ring. They run the ropes, and Flair can’t execute a hiptoss. Instead, Luger grabs Flair’s arms and rolls him into a backslide for a 2 count. They run the ropes again, Flair ducks an elbow and leaps awkwardly on Luger. They both get caught on the top rope and both fall to the concrete. Flair is barking about his leg, but when they’re up he’s able to run Luger face first into the post. Flair bluffs like he’s going to use a chair but Tommy Young stops him.
While Young is distracted, JJ Dillon takes a cheap shot at Luger by running his head into the post once again. Luger’s forehead is busted open and he is rolled back into the ring. Flair attempts 10 punches at the turnbuckle but Luger returns the favor with an atomic drop of his own. The Maryland Athletic Commissioner and the company doctor are ringside saying something to the referee. While this happens, Luger whips Flair to the ropes for a huge power slam. The crowd cheers as Luger puts Flair in the torture rack. The ref calls for the bell and the crowd goes wild. Sting and other babyfaces join Luger in the ring to celebrate. The crowd chants “Luger” and cheers, but the ring announcer explains that the commissioner and company doctor stopped the match due to the laceration on Luger’s face.
Winner and STILL NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair (Referee Stoppage)
- EA’s Take: The usual Flair entertainment in this one as he works to make Luger look amazing. There were some fun spots and a lot of people groan when they see/hear Lex’s name, but honestly he was capable of putting on a good performance. It’s not until his later years when he couldn’t care less and was older that he became stale. The NWA had some outdated rules still in these days and the finish is blamed on the Maryland State Athletic Commission, which is completely storyline. We’re squeezing more time out of this rivalry and we’ll see the finale coming up at Starrcade. Overall solid match, hot feud.
EA’s Finisher: Of all my Chairshot Classics to date, top to bottom this is the most enjoyable of them all. There’s not a bad match on the card and even if maybe the Tower Of Doom is not your cup of tea, it’s watchable at worst. The crowd was into absolutely everything, which has been a factor in how a show is perceived in my book forever and I just really enjoy the mix of new stars and veterans alike. With the sale to Turner around the corner, many former NWA stars have spoken on what led to Crockett’s demise, primarily bad finance management. It really was a shame because Flair has stated that Crockett could still be in business today had he stayed within his region and frankly, I think that’s entirely possible, but mismanaging your money also is a killer. Regardless, it was thirty years ago so we are far too late to send warning! Next week, we move on as well with Starrcade ’88!
Top Three To Watch
1 – Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. Sting & Nikita Koloff
2 – The Midnight Express vs. The Fantastics
3 – Barry Windham vs. Dusty Rhodes
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Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 3 “Tag Team Turmoil”
This week, TNA is building on two good shows, and this week is all about the Tag Team Division. We’re getting a one-night tournament to crown the new NWA Tag Team champions, Ken Shamrock will be facing Malice (I guess the rest of Guns n Roses weren’t available this week for Slash) and AJ Styles will defend his brand new X Division Championship against David Young. Let’s see how they do!
TNA seems very pyro happy this week. There’s a sign about the show needing ‘Athena’. Don West is wearing an ugly red suit jacket with black pinstripes. We’re told that Ken Shamrock and AJ Styles will be defending their titles against Malice and David Young, respectively, as well as crowning new Tag Team Champions and our Main Event is going to be Scott Hall and Brian Christopher vs Jeff Jarrett and K-Krush. Ferrara points out that Jarrett and K-Krush got screwed last week by the ‘babyfaces’.
(Gotta agree with Ferrara on this one, that was BS.)
We’re introduced to Jim Wilson, who is president of the NWA. Wilson apologizes for missing the first show, he was in Japan on a scouting mission (I think that’s what he said). He says that there’s a surprise but won’t reveal the surprise just yet, but does give Tenay a trophy and welcomes TNA to the NWA.
(I thought they were already in the NWA.)
Tenay gives an awkward thanks for the trophy, clearly he thought they were already in the NWA too, but presses about the surprise. Wilson says that during his tour of Japan, he met a big, 280lb Japanese man and that next week, this gentleman, whose name is Omori will face the winner of the Shamrock/Malice match next week (sorry Guns-n-Roses).
Round 1 of the Tag Tournament: ‘Cowboy’ James Storm and Chris Harris vs The Johnsons (with Mortimer Plumtree)
Storm and Harris get a HUGE pop. If I remember correctly, this was the start of their run as ‘America’s Most Wanted’. Storm’s got a pistol that’s he’s shooting off (blanks, I assume).
The Johnsons are back and not looking any better than they did two weeks ago, and Plumtree is every bit as obnoxious. I’m hoping this doesn’t last long.
We start with Harris and Johnson #1. I think it’s safe to say that the Johnsons are only going win this by dumb luck, because they stink.
This match is…not good. It’s very awkward and both teams are trying to find their footing and the Johnsons just…ugh! Thankfully, this is a short one.
Winner: James Storm and Chris Harris by pinfall, they advance to the next round. Plumtree is berating the Johnsons and the Johnsons aren’t happy and start to give Plumtree the worst looking chokeslam ever, but then settle on just pushing him down.
Comments: Thank god, that’s over. This was awkward on both sides of the ring, but Storm and Harris, even with only being a week-old team, were a lot better than the Johnsons.
Scott Hall comes out, he’s not dressed to wrestle, so I guess this is a promo segment. Hall looks like he’s had a few cocktails, but before he can get past ‘Hey, yo’, Jarrett crashes the party. After a ‘Hey, yo, my ass’ that the crowd seems to like, Jarrett tells Hall that no one wants to see or hear him, which the crowd disagrees with. He tells Hall to take his ass exactly where he came from…bitch.
(Uh…okay, that sounded more awkward than it needed to sound)
Hall says that Jarrett hasn’t changed at all. He still talks a lot of smack but he (Hall) doesn’t think Jarrett can back it up. He then tells Jarrett ‘Don’t sing it, just bring it’, which sounds like they ripped it right out of Rock’s mouth, to be honest.
Jarrett is fine with that and heads for the ring, saying they don’t have to wait until later. Unfortunately, Wilson, who seems to have drawn the ‘Irritating Management Figure’ straw this week. Wilson seems to have forgotten that the NWA stopped being a big deal to anyone about fifteen years ago and was definitely not a big deal eight years ago when Shane Douglas threw the belt down and cut his epic promo when Eastern Championship Wrestling went extreme, and says that Jarrett is not going to run roughshod over the NWA and that Jarrett is going to do what they say. Jarrett seems to find Wilson’s delusions of power and authority amusing but backs off for now.
Wilson doesn’t know when to shut up and actually seems to think that his word is law, but Jarrett plays nice and backs off. Jarrett’s uncharacteristic retreat is quickly explained when K-Krush attacks Hall from behind.
(Okay, now that’s how a heel acts.)
Hall quickly gets the upper hand and sends K-Krush out of the ring, but Jarrett’s message was sent loud and clear: Hall doesn’t only have Jarrett to worry about.
(Okay, is someone not paying the light bill here, because the lights in the building keep dimming).
We get sent back to the back, where Storm and Harris were apparently jumped in the locker room after beating the Johnsons. Storm is a bloody mess. The NWA VP throws everyone, including Goldilocks, out of the locker room with orders for someone to get the EMTs.
Anthony Ingraham vs Monty Brown
Back in the ring, we’ve got a filler match. Anthony Ingraham is already in the ring and Monty Brown is on his way out to a pretty good pop.
Brown cuts a promo that’s a little hard to understand over the music, but from what I can hear is Brown saying that he’s there for one reason and that is to beat Ken Shamrock and he’s going to show everyone how he’s going to get what he wants.
Okay, maybe it’s my eyes, but it looks like either Brown is really whiffing these punches, or Ingraham’s timing is off.
This is a typical jobber match. Ingraham’s just there to get beat up, but Brown’s rough as a cob in spots.
I’m guessing, judging by the movements, Brown’s setting Ingraham up for his finisher, which he hits and gets three.
Winner: Monty Brown by pinfall.
Comments: This was an okay match. Brown was pretty rough in spots and some of the spots weren’t crisp, but it wasn’t an awful match.
Goldilocks is looking for the NWA president, who I thought was Jim Wilson, but she’s saying Jim Miller. Either way, she isn’t having much luck when she’s interrupted by the Psycho Dwarf. Psycho is mad that he wasn’t allowed to wrestle two weeks ago and wants to ‘Makes some midgets/bitches (can’t really understand him) bleed.’ He calls out Gary Coleman (Diffr’nt Strokes), Mini Me (Austin Powers), and the drunk midget from Howard Stern (don’t know his name). Either way, he wants to see a midget bleed. Goldilocks looks weirded out (or she’s trying not to laugh at him).
Back in the ring, it’s time for our second Tag Team Tournament Match.
Round One of the Tag Team Tournament: The Rainbow Express (with Joel Gertner) vs Buff Bagwell and Apollo
Rainbow Express gets the reaction you’d expect them to get. I’m not sure who is more hated, Gertner or the Express, but at least we don’t have to listen to Gertner talk.
Backstage, Goldilocks is interviewing the Rainbow Express’ opponents: Buff Bagwell and Apollo.
Apparently, Buff and Apollo are surprise entries into this tournament, or they were to Goldilocks. Buff takes exception to being termed a ‘surprise’ and calls Goldilocks ‘Goldilegs’, much to her irritation, before reminding us that he’s a six-time World Tag Team Champion.
Buff vows to become a seven-time tag champion and that’s why he picked Apollo. Apollo’s the biggest, baddest, the #2 man in the business (Buff apparently thinks he’s the #1 guy, not, you know, the NWA Champion). Apollo’s game, until the #2 comment.
Goldilocks looks bored and unimpressed.
Apollo vows victory, but apparently, Buff doesn’t think people will be able to understand Apollo, because he interrupts and basically repeats what Apollo said.
(This is going to end badly.)
Goldilocks thanks them for a wonderful (yes, it was that dripping with sarcasm) interview and sends it back to the ring.
Bagwell gets a surprisingly good pop, as does Apollo. Ferrara, who is the HEEL commentator, is panning Bagwell’s interview, but West defends him…kind of.
(Okay, who dropped out of this tournament for this team to be put together?)
Bagwell and Bruce start us out and we get a quick back and forth before Bruce gets the upper hand and kisses in Lenny.
Alicia comes out, wonder who she’s going to be bothering this time, and apparently, it’s Ferrara, who is more than happy to pay up, unlike Alicia’s other…transactions.
Back in the ring, Apollo’s been tagged in and is taking on both member of the Rainbow Express. Where Bagwell is, I have no idea.
When asked about the Alicia thing, Ferrara assures us that it’s not what we think. (It’s not, I researched it and I’m glad they scrapped it).
Apollo is doing a pretty good job, but Gertner’s inserting himself in this thing.
Rainbow Express hit the Broken Arrow, the signature finisher of the World’s Greatest Tag Team on Apollo, and think it was so nice, they had to do it twice, only it looks like Bruce botched it a little.
Lenny goes for pin, but Apollo doesn’t want to cooperate.
Bruce and Buff are tagged in, no kissing this time, and Buff actually seems to be making some headway, but things get a little screwy and suddenly Apollo is taking on Bruce instead.
Apollo is about to end this thing when Lenny and Buff come back in. Buff hits the Blockbuster, but eats a superkick by Lenny, who gets the pinfall.
Afterwards, Buff is upset and embarrassed. Apollo is giving him a lot of flack for the loss and leaves, leaving Buff in the ring.
Ferrara goes for an interview and asks if Buff wants a mic. A very sad looking Buff tells Ferrara to call him ‘Marcus’ (his real name) and not to call him ‘Buff’ anymore. Ferrara is surprised and asks him why. Marcus says that he’s been ‘Buff’ his entire career and what has it gotten him: A broken neck that he came back from and no one gave a s**t (his words, not mine). He bemoans being a six-time tag champion and getting beat by two gay guys. He says he wants to be called Marcus forever and the other thing he wants is to go home.
Ferrara is stunned. Marcus says that ‘Buff’ has ruined his career and that his ass is going home and gives Ferrara his top hat.
Winner: Rainbow Express by pinfall.
Comment: Okay, that wasn’t a total trainwreck. The promo at the end really broke my heart and I’m not a fan of Bagwell’s.
Back to business, Ken Shamrock is coming out, but he’s not dressed for wrestling.
Shamrock cuts a promo on Brown and pans Brown’s comments about going for the NWA title. He reminds us that he went through nineteen guys to get the NWA title and Brown’s only had one match. He also tells Brown to be careful what he wishes for because he could have a short career.
The crowd is doing the ‘What?’ chant and it’s really irritating, thankfully, Shamrock seems amused by it.
Shamrock reminds us that he faces Malice this week and Omori next week. He also says that IF Brown is able to get a title shot by then, he’d be happy to beat him up and send him home with his head shoved up his ass.
The lights go out and James Mitchell is here and tells Shamrock not to concern himself with Monty Brown or Omori but that he DOES need to fear Malice.
When the lights come back up, Shamrock’s been laid out and Malice is standing over him. Security and EMTs come in, putting the title match in doubt.
Backstage, Goldilocks is trying to get a word with NWA VIP Bill Berens over what is going on tonight. Apparently, Mr. Berens is trying to get an update on James Storm and Chris Harris. Jerry Lynn is also there and tells Berens that he can find a tag partner he can step in. Berens is being very uncooperative with Lynn and Goldilocks.
Up next is Puppet, aka Psycho Dwarf.
Puppet vs Todd Stone
Puppet gets the mic and continues his rant from earlier tonight. Before he can get too far, his opponent comes out. Puppet isn’t sure what to make of this guy, but here we go.
Puppet greets his opponent with several shots to the head with a kendo stick and a size appropriate trash can.
I have no idea what the heck is going on, but this is basically a hardcore match with little people and Stone seems to be the jobber. Puppet hits an F-5 (F-2.5?) on Stone for the win.
fterwards, Puppet celebrates by hitting the ref with the kendo stick before attacking Stone some more. He nails Don West when West wants a high five and basically is swinging his stick at anything moving.
Winner: Puppet by pinfall.
Comment: Uh, yeah, okay.
Goldilocks is with Shamrock, trying to figure out if Shamrock will be able to face Malice later on. The EMT tells her that they’re trying to figure that out and they’re going to do a further assessment. Shamrock tries to get up (not very hard, I might add) and the EMTs get him sat back down.
We get a recap of the Miss TNA match and what happened to Francine, including the creepiness that Ferrara pulled, and rightly got his butt kicked for. Apparently, we’re getting a match.
Francine vs Taylor Vaughn
Francine gets a good pop, as does Taylor, whose music sounds like a little like Charlotte’s.
Apparently, someone didn’t tell Francine that ECW’s rules (or lack thereof) don’t apply in TNA, because she produces the belt from last week and starts whaling on Taylor with it.
Scott Armstrong gets the belt away from Francine and I guess this match has started. Vaughn gives Francine a taste of her own medicine, and even gives Armstrong a smack for interfering…which gets her disqualified.
Taylor and the crowd are furious because Francine got what she deserved. Ferrara apparently didn’t learn his lesson from last week and goes to comfort Francine and raises her hand and that’s when things get weird. Francine puts Ferrara’s hand on her boobs. When Ferrara responds the way most men would to a woman putting his hand on her chest, Francine beckons him closer and then smacks him before nailing him with the belt.
Winner: Francine by DQ.
Comment: That happened.
Borash introduces Hervey Sadler…who apparently is not going away anytime soon. Apparently, Hervey is worried about K-Krush showing up because he’s got some big security guys backing him up.
It’s a good thing Sadler’s success relies on his driving skills and not his promo skills because the promo was nothing to write home about, even if I could totally understand what he was saying.
Thankfully, K-Krush is back to save us from this monotony. He tells Sadler to shut up and reminds him and us of their on-going feud.
The promo goes about as well as it has for the last two weeks, until K-Krush shoves Sadler, who responds with a decent spear and begins punching K-Krush until security gets them separated.
K-Krush is furious and says that he doesn’t have time for Sadler this week due to his main event match this week but that he’s free next week, and challenges Sadler to a match, which Sadler accepts before security escorts him out.
(Why do I have a bad feeling about this?)
NWA Championship Match up next.
NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Ken Shamrock vs Malice (with James Mitchell)
Mitchell and Malice are out to music that Paul Bearer would call cliched to a round of boos. Malice looks a little like Sycho Syd and JBL, which is an odd combination.
Shamrock comes out, to everyone’s surprise and he’s selling the pain of the beatdown like he’s just stubbed his toe and is trying to walk it off.
Anyway, this match is all Malice at the start and he’s rough as a cob, but he’s doing a good job of looking like a credible threat.
Malice does a move where he climbs to the middle turnbuckle while having Shamrock in a headlock. It looks like it could be an impressive strength move if he can make it look a little smoother.
Shamrock starts showing some life and tries to get Malice in a submission hold, but he’s too beat up and Malice gets away.
Malice throws Shamrock outside and Mitchell tries to distract the ref, who refuses to cooperate.
Malice throws Shamrock back in the ring, but gets caught when Shamrock gets him in a leg bar, but Malice gets to the ropes.
This match has been all Malice, Shamrock’s only gotten in two offensive moves the whole time and it’s starting to get boring.
Spoke too soon, Shamrock finally wakes up and starts acting like he’s got a horse in this race. After one belly to belly suplex, he gets a pinfall.
Malice and Mitchell are furious and confused, and I don’t really blame them.
Result: Ken Shamrock by pinfall.
Comment: That was not a great showing by either man. Malice is not quite ready for the spot he was in and hesitated several times before making a move. Shamrock was basically a punching bag and his sudden victory didn’t really do either man any favors. Hope the match against Omori is better than this.
X-Division Championship: AJ Styles for David Young (with Bobcat)
So, David Young and the ever classy Bobcat are back and Young has a title shot against Styles for some reason. Bobcat is loving the attention, but Young isn’t happy. Styles gets a great pop. His music is a hokey country music sound, but it works for him.
Young gets the jump on Styles, but Styles quickly recovers. Young is very awkward, but he’s doing an okay job out there.
There’s a REALLY awkward spot where Styles looked to be going for a plancha but either misjudged did the spot wrong or Young was too close to do the spot correctly. They recover and Styles throws Young back in the ring for a two count.
Meanwhile, Bobcat has lost interest in Borash, much to Borash’s relief, I’m sure, and is busy talking on her cellphone. Yes, kids, cellphones did exist in 2002 and there were obnoxious people on them even then.
Styles goes for a springboard move but Young knocks him off and back onto the floor, before hitting a surprisingly good springboard moonsault. Young seems a little irritated by Bobcat being on the phone, but it’s not making an impact on the match. Young goes for a German Suplex, but Styles lands on his feet. There’s another awkward spot that ends with Styles being suplexed into the corner. Young is showing some impressive moves, but this match is really awkward.
Bobcat puts down her phone long enough to wave to the camera before going back to her conversation. Young hits a really good powerslam but only gets two.
(Come on, guys, pick it up a little.)
Styles hits a superkick but only gets two. He hits what looked like it was supposed to be a springboard moonsault but it didn’t go off and he transitioned it into a reverse DDT, but again, only got two. Young hits another powerslam that looked nasty, but Styles won’t stay down. He gets Styles into the corner and goes for a Frankensteiner, but Styles counters into a Styles Clash from the middle turnbuckle.
Bobcat either doesn’t notice that Styles won or doesn’t care because she gets in the ring and mugs for the crowd. Styles, quite ungentlemanly, shoves her out of the way, but she gets up and keeps going
Winner: AJ Styles by pinfall.
Comment: Another not great outing for a defending champion. There were a lot of awkward spots in this match and I can’t say they were all Young’s fault. I’m a little curious to see what they have planned for David Young and Bobcat.
Backstage, Goldilocks is with the Rainbow Express, who currently don’t have an opponent for the Tag Team Tournament due to Storm and Harris being taken out earlier in the evening.
For whatever reason, Lenny decides to tell Goldilocks that while they aren’t interested in her, she should be interested to know that they know a place where she can get her hair fixed.
Goldilocks isn’t having it and tries to continue her interview but Gertner seems more interested in being a sexist creep, emphasis on CREEP, by hinting that he takes ‘toys’ with him to the airport. Goldilocks isn’t having it and asks about the tag team tournament. Gertner replies that since every other team has either been beaten or beaten up, the Rainbow Express not only get the rest of the night off but will leave as NWA World Tag Team Champions. He then tells Goldilocks that he might just wrestle her. Goldilocks is disgusted. He then states that under NWA rules and regulations, if all the other teams have been beaten or can’t compete, the last team standing (Rainbow Express in this case) wins by default.
(Guess we know who was behind Storm and Harris getting beat up).
Gertner then kisses Goldilocks and leads his team out of the locker room. Goldilocks laughs it off, but I’d be rushing to sanitize my face after that.
Up next is the final match of the Tag Team Tournament, but we only have one team.
Gertner comes out with the Express, all looking confident that they’ll be handed the belts and leave since Storm and Harris were taken out.
Borash says that the NWA officials have said that the Rainbow Express must have opponents for the match. Gertner is audibly furious. Their opponents are…Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles.
Final Match For NWA Tag Team Tournament: The Rainbow Express (with Joel Gertner) vs Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles
Lynn and Styles get a great pop. Styles looks sore and tired from earlier. Rainbow Express get the jump on Styles and Lynn, but that quickly changes.
This quickly turns into a brawl outside the ring, but inside, Lenny and Lynn are facing off and Lynn is outclassing Lenny at every step.
Couple of funny/risqué moments. Lynn goes for the Bronco Buster, but changes his mind, getting a few kicks in before hitting a drop toe hold on Bruce, who was trying to get a cheap shot in, that sends Bruce head first into Lenny’s Jesus Zipper, and then rams Bruce back into Lenny’s crotch several more times.
Lynn seems to be in control, until Gertner grabs his leg to keep him from going to the top turnbuckle, allowing Lenny time to pull himself together and take control of the situation. Lenny kisses Bruce in and West’s fairly homophobic ranting about it is a little nauseating. Bruce only gets a two count for his pin attempt.
Lynn manages to get back in control but only gets a two count after a guillotine leg drop. Styles is tagged in and manages a little offense before tagging Lynn back in. Gertner goes for the leg distraction again, but Lynn ignores it, while the ref is berating Gertner, Bruce gets a low blow in. Bruce tags Lenny in, but Lynn hits a jawbreaker.
Lenny goes for a Full Nelson, but Lynn slips away and hits an awkward Victory Roll but only gets a two count. Lynn misses a dropkick, giving Lenny an opening for his really bad looking Lion Tamer, but Styles makes a run-in and gives a stiff looking clothesline to break things up. While the ref is berating Styles about coming in without a tag, Bruce does exactly that, but the ref does nothing, of course.
Bruce kisses in Lenny, who gets Lynn up in a vertical suplex, but then seems to have forgotten what he was going to do with him, before finally hitting the suplex, but only gets a two count. Frustrated, Lenny takes a cheap shot at Styles and kisses in Bruce. Bruce shoots Lynn into the corner, but Lynn counters with another Victory Roll, but only gets another two count.
There’s a very funny exchange where Bruce tries to go for a Sunset Flip and Lynn sits down on him for a pin and then realizes what he’s doing. Bruce counters a headscissors takeover attempt with a faceplant, but only gets a two count.
After an extended time in a head scissors submission, Bruce tries to get Lynn into a piledriving or powerbombing position, but Lynn blocks and gets clobbered for his effort. Bruce goes for a powerbomb, but Lynn counters and goes his piledriver, but Bruce counters, Lynn counters the counter and would’ve gotten three if Gertner hadn’t distracted the ref for a few seconds.
Lynn hits a reverse DDT but can’t capitalize on it and both men tag in (no kissing) their partners.
Styles seems to have finally gotten his wind back because he comes in like a house of fire. Styles gets two near falls, the last of which is broken by Bruce. Lynn comes in and we have chaos. Lenny hits a Full Nelson facebuster, but Lynn breaks up the pin and hits his piledriver on Lenny, giving Styles time to hit the corkscrew senton and we have new Tag Team Champions!
The crowd is ecstatic! Though, oddly, Styles is the only one celebrating at first, maybe because Lynn and Bruce were out of the ring and Lynn didn’t realize what had happened. He gets in the ring and both men celebrate.
Winner: Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles
Comments: That was a really great match once Styles was able to get his wind back and take the pressure off of Lynn. It was still awkward in several places, but a very good match.
We go backstage and find President Wilson/Miller tied up backstage with FU written on his belly.
We get a recap of the issues between Jarrett/Hall/K-Krush/Christopher, including last week where the babyfaces screwed over the heels.
Jeff Jarrett and K-Krush vs Scott Hall and Brian Christopher
Krush gets a minimal reaction, as does Jarrett. It’s implied that Jarrett might have had something to do with whatever happened to NWA President Whatshisname. Christopher gets a great pop as does Hall. Thankfully, Hall and Christopher came out without help.
We start off with a brawl that quickly heads to the floor.
This was a really great match, but it seems to be struggling to top the Tag team final match, which probably should’ve been the Main Event.
Jarrett and Krush are a really good team, but Hall/Christopher just seem like very odd ringfellows. Christopher’s got a lot of talent, but he just doesn’t fit in with Hall, Jarrett, and K-Krush. Jarrett is really making a case of being the guy to build the TNA brand around. Despite not being the biggest guy on the roster, he’s easily one of the most talented and it’s really showing in this match.
Christopher makes an error, by trying to stop a tag attempt by Jarrett to Krush by grabbing Krush at the other side of the ring, which takes him out of position for Hall to make the tag. What the heck?! Christopher acts like he wants Hall to tag him in, then yanks his hand away and punches Hall. In the exchange that follows, the ref gets knocked out and Hall is left fending for himself and takes out Christopher.
Okay, so Christopher has turned heel and helps Jarrett hit the Stroke. Christopher hits the leg drop and Jarrett and K-Krush get the win.
The heels are celebrating, and the crowd is livid.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett and K-Krush by pinfall.
Comment: That was better than I expected, the heel turn was a nice swerve, but it still felt a little flat after that Tag Team match.
Jarrett gets on the mic and says that he proved his point: Scott Hall isn’t worth a s**t. He goes on to say he’s beaten Hall in 1995, 1997, ran him out of WCW and WWF, and that he’s going to run him out of the NWA. Jarrett then proceeds to beat up Hall some more.
Jarrett says that Hall is just like all the other legends in the NWA, he’s not worth a damn. He then tells Tenay to take that to NWA President Jim Whatshisname, since apparently no one knows if his last name is Wilson or Miller, Harley Race, Dory Funk and all the other NWA legends. Jarrett seals the deal by cracking the NWA trophy over Hall’s head. Apparently the NWA didn’t skimp on the trophy because it takes Jarrett two tries to break the thing.
As the EMTs come out, Jarrett challenges everyone he can think of: Toby Keith, Starling Marlin and vows to whip everyone’s ass. He also says he’ll run Scott Hall out of the NWA if it’s the last thing he does.
Jarrett then drops an elbow on Hall for the sheer hell of it and then tells everyone to put it down in their books: He got screwed the first night of TNA (which is true), and he’ll be damned if he’ll ever let it happen again. Jarrett makes a comment about Toby Keith but I couldn’t understand it over the commentators talking. He tells Scott Hall to never forget what happened and then attacks him again. Jarrett walks out still complaining about Episode #1 and him getting screwed by Fargo and the NWA.
Tenay reminds us that next week we’re going to have a NWA title match between Shamrock and Omori, an X-Division match featuring the return of the Flying Elvises. Jarrett is back again and still attacking Hall. We end with Jarrett dropping the stretcher frame on Hall.
So, how was Episode #3? It was pretty good, it did a good job of moving the storylines forward now that we’re past the first two episodes. The three titles for TNA have been introduced and have champions for them.
There is still a lot of awkwardness in the matches and a lot of guys who were put into spots they aren’t ready for in terms of in ring skill. I saw several awkward spots in just about every single match tonight. A lot it is probably because TNA is just starting and are using what’s available and what’s available are…the guys WWF/E doesn’t want or isn’t interested in at the moment, or the guys who were in WCW or ECW and didn’t want to work for WWE.
That said, it was a very good show. The tag team tournament was really good, though the final match went a little long for my liking and was mostly all Jerry Lynn because Styles had JUST wrestled a fairly tough match not five minutes earlier.
Speaking of Styles, having seen how great he is in WWE, it was a surprise to me to see so many awkward spots in his match against David Young and I can’t say that all of it was Young’s fault. That said, Styles had only been in the business a few years and so some awkwardness is still going to happen.
The main event was really good, but it felt like someone was telling Jarrett to keep talking because the run time hadn’t be reached, but it put Jarrett over as a top heel, which he was needing.
One of the tough things about watching TNA from 2002 is seeing all the sexism and homophobia that was out there for everyone to see. I found myself very uncomfortable with several segments simply because things have changed so much in the past fifteen years, that being reminded of how things were is a little disconcerting.
Stinkers: Oh, that’s hard. I’d have to say that the Johnsons vs Storm and Harris was the worst.
Snoozers: Shamrock vs Malice. It was just very awkward and watching Shamrock, a legit badass, being tossed around was not entertaining.
Match of the Night: The Tag Team Final, even though it ran a little too long for my liking.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed this show and I’m intrigued to see what’s next.
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Chairshot Classics: WWE SummerSlam 2007
The Twentieth edition of SummerSlam is here and it features three World Titles. John Morrison will clash with CM Punk for the ECW Title. John Cena faces off with Randy Orton in their first singles match for the WWE Strap. Oh yeah, there’s Batista/Khali too…
The Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey is jammed packed with a sold-out crowd of 17,441. The tickets for this SummerSlam went on sale December 30, 2016 and sold-out in forty minutes. This netted the WWE over a Million bucks in ticket sales alone. This number doesn’t include the other 537,000 Pay-Per-View buys that were 30 bucks a pop, either. The theme song for the evening is “Whine Up” by Kat DeLuna Feat. Elephant Man. Lets get to it and head into the arena because apparently “The Party is Over”.
The opening monologue is great and is the better we have had in a few years. It begins by highlighting the return of the Sultan of the 619, Rey Mysterio from injury. Next up is Batista challenging The Punjabi Nightmare and World Heavyweight Champion, The Great Khali. Next we see The Viper Randy Orton and his quest to take the WWE Title off of John Cena. Just as the narrator says “Get ready for the party of the summer” his voice is cut off and the screen burns up. Through the fire a video of Triple H being rebuilt like the Terminator begins. This is done to hype up the return of Triple H, who is also on his way back from Injury. It shows the build of his feud with the false king, King Booker. The Motorhead song, and Triple H’s theme, “King of Kings” plays as the video rolls on. Like I said, great opening here folks.
Michael Cole welcomes us in to the sold-out arena and introduces his SmackDown announce partner, John “Bradshaw” Layfield. They then turn it over to the Raw announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. They then send it over to the ECW crew of Tazz and Joey Styles. They then send it back to the SmackDown guys who introduce the competitor in the first match Kane. Kane enters and has the ribs taped up. This is from a previous attack at the hands of Finlay and his Shillelagh. The entrance stag here is cool and looks like a 90’s Bash at the Beach set. His opponent is out next and Finlay wastes no time getting to the ring. This is a feud that was rushed together because Finlay spilled a cup of coffee on Kane. This is a common theme for this SummerSlam, as a lot of injuries occurred around this time.
Kane is quick with the first punch, an uppercut, and pounds Finlay into the corner. He whips Finlay into the ropes and drops him with a back elbow that he follows up with a dropped elbow. Kane scoopslams Finlay next and is already selling the rib injury. The momentum stays in Kane’s favor and he works Finlay with a lot of rope chokes. Of course the ref is there to break these, and Kane is growing frustrated with the ref for this. Finlay finally does something and catches Kane with a big boot after he is whipped to the corner. Finlay takes to the second rope but Kane smokes him with a right hand and Finlay falls to the outside. The clap from this right hand is loud and really looked to have landed solid. Kane joins Finlay on the outside and flattens him with a big boot before returning him to the ring. For some reason Kane tries to take to the top rope, but Finlay chops his leg out. This sends Kane crashing into the turnbuckle, ribs first. Finlay starts to stomp the ribs of Kane and eventually splashes onto them. This leads to a cover for Finlay, but Kane kicks it out. Finlay puts Kane in a single leg crab and starts to stretch the big man. Kane turns him over after some time and out of nowhere Kane nails Finlay with an enziguri. This gets the first real pop of the night from the fans and me as well.
Both men are slow to rise to their feet but Kane gets there first. He nails Finlay with a pair of uppercuts before landing a big boot that lays Finlay on his back. Kane whips Finlay into the corner and charges with a clothesline. He then picks Finlay up with one arm and gives him a sidewalk slam. Kane goes for the cover but Finlay gets the shoulder up at two. Kane takes to the skies and comes off the top rope with a diving lariat. The ribs are really bothering Kane at this point and both men are slow to regain their footing. Kane charges Finlay, who is in the corner, but Finlay dodges him and Kane collides with the turnbuckle. Finlay then delivers a leg drop to the ribs of Kane and attempts a cover. This is only a two and Finlay does a good job of selling the shock here. Finlay then leaves the ring and checks under it. The crowd really pops when the Cruiserweight Champion, and resident leprechaun, appears. Hornswoggle joins Finlay in the ring but as soon as they do Kane sits up in his usual fashion. When Kane is on his feet Hornswoggle runs from the ring and Kane catches Finlay with the big boot. Kane then leaves the ring and grabs the leprechaun, who is trying to escape back under the ring. Kane throws him into the ring ad tries for the double chokeslam. The rib injury is cause for problem here and is struggling to left them up. This opens the window for Finlay to kick the ribs and escape the grasp of Kane. He kicks the ribs a few more times and then hits Kane with a kneeling DDT. Finlay goes for a cover and Kane is still able to get a shoulder up. Finlay is frustrated and removes the turnbuckle cover. The ref comes over a puts it back on, but the distraction allows Finlay to bring his Shillelagh into the ring. Kane stops the attack with an uppercut and is now staring at the weapon. The ref grabs it first and turns his back to remove it. This is when Finlay rolls from the ring and is handed another one from under the ring and strikes Kane in the ribs with it. He then tries to steal the win with a roll-up pin but Kane manages to kick it out. Kane nails the chokeslam next and the fans count along as the ref bangs the three count. Not a fan of this opening match and it surely can be skipped over. Match Time-8:54
We see Jonathon Coachmen and he is joined by Vince McMahon and some of his lackeys. They include SmackDown GM, Teddy Long, Steven Regal and Alejandro. The men look to be in a room that is set-up for a Tiki Party. Coachmen tells Vince “This is party central” to which Vince replies “Four men. How can you have Party Central with four men? Where are the women?” MVP eventually joins the party and issues a non-wrestling match challenge to Matt Hardy. This is because MVP is unable to wrestle because he was diagnosed with a rare heart condition, Wolf-Parkinsons-White Syndrome. It was easily treated, but MVP just had to take a break from the ring to do so. This whole segment is straight goofy. Next.
We are back in the arena and Mr. Kennedy is quick to make his way to the ring. We get JR and The King back for this Triple Threat bout that is for the Intercontinental Championship. Mr. Kennedy takes to the mic and re-introduces himself to the fans and they react positively to this. The next challenger out is Carlito. Carlito has a few words for Kennedy before the Champion is introduced. Umaga makes his way to the ring, and this is another match that was just thrown together after the original plans fell through. Originally it was scheduled to be Umaga Vs. The MTV Jackass Crew. They backed out at that last minute due to not wanting to be associated with all the recent controversy surrounding the Chris Benoit situation. This would have included a boxing match between Hornswoggle and Wee Man. What could of been. The next plan also had to be scrapped, as Jeff Hardy was going to face Umaga for the Strap here, but he was sent home four days prior for thirty days. The reason being “Unspecified Violation of Company Policy.” Hmm…
Umaga makes quick work of the other two competitors with some big right hands. Kennedy rolls from the ring and Carlito is whipped to the corner. Carlito then rolls from the ring and starts to form a plan with Kennedy to take on Umaga together. Both men enter from opposite sides of the ring but this plan backfires and Umaga lays them both down with more right hands. Kennedy again rolls from the ring while Carlito is whipped to the corner. Kennedy grabs the foot of Umaga though and this allows Carlito to dropkick him out of the ring. Umaga falls to the floor and Kennedy uses a scissor kick to drive Umaga’s shoulder into the steps. Kennedy returns to the ring but Carlito is quick to roll him up for the pin. It looks like Carlito may get the three but the ref notices him using the rope for leverage so he stops the count. Both men hit their feet and Kennedy hits Carlito with a clothesline. Soon after Kennedy attempts a second one but this one Carlito ducks and lands a springboard back elbow. Carlito covers but only gets a two.
Kennedy eventually gets some offense in, and after a inverted side Russian leg sweep, Umaga is starting to stir on the outside. This doesn’t go unnoticed, and Kennedy attempts to baseball slide him. Umaga catches his foot and yanks him from the ring. After a quick beat down of Kennedy, Umaga returns to the ring and turns his attention on Carlito. He hits Carlito with a scoopslam and then comes off from the second turnbuckle with the diving headbutt. Carlito finds himself in the corner with Umaga charging him next. This backfires when Kennedy pulls Carlito from harms way and Umaga splashes into the turnbuckle. Kennedy then takes a monitor from the announce table and rams it into the top of Umaga’s head. When Kennedy tries to return to the ring Carlito sends him flying off the apron with a forearm. Carlito goes for a cover but the Samoan Bulldozer kicks out. Kennedy returns to the ring and once again Carlito convinces him they need to work together on this one. The double suplex fails them and Umaga lifts them both up for a suplex of his own. Umaga makes quick work of the two, hitting Carlito with a Samoan drop and Kennedy with a swinging sidewalk slam. He covers Kennedy, but Carlito is there to break it up. For this, Carlito is rewarded with a superkick that sends him flying into the corner. Umaga rams his ass into the face of Carlito before he charges at Kennedy. This doesn’t work out for Umaga, and Kennedy pulls the top rope down sending the big man crashing to the floor. He hits Carlito with the Green Bay Plunge and goes for a cover. Umaga re-enters the ring, though, and breaks it up. Umaga then hits Kennedy with the Samoan Spike and makes the cover. The ref counts the three and Umaga retains the IC Title. The match wasn’t good at all and is definitely worth hitting fast forward on. Match Time-7:35
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Chairshot Classics: NXT TakeOver Chicago (5/20/17)
Open: “Welcome to the city of wind, the city where champions become legend. The city where underdogs defy the impossible, turning fairy-tale endings into reality. Tonight, true champions will be defined.” This is NXT TakeOver: Chicago.
Match #1: Eric Young w/SAnitY vs. Roderick Strong
Roderick enters from the crowd and shoves Killian face-first into the ring post, plants Wolfe spine-first on top of the barricade, slides into the ring and we’re underway. Strong fires away with right hands, Young comes back with a kick, tries to send him head-first into the top turnbuckle, Roddy blocks it, returns the favor and scores with stinging chops. He shoots EY to the opposite corner, elevated him with a back body drop off the rebound, Strong clotheslines him over the top, then goes out in pursuit. The Messiah of the Backbreaker unloads with more chops, Young fires back with a right, rolls him back into the ring and slides in, they exchange shots and EY hits the ropes.
Roderick explodes up with a dropkick, batters Young with more chops and clubbing blows, whips him to the corner and charges in, EY surprises him with a back elbow, then delivers a back suplex. He puts the boots to Roddy, bludgeons him with elbows to the back, hits the ropes for a swinging neckbreaker and gets a count of 2. EY grounds Strong with a chinlock, The Messiah of the Backbreaker finds his footing, Young clobbers him across the spine again, sends him to the corner and follows in. Roddy gets the boot up, looks to whip EY to the opposite corner, double reversal, Strong charges in and gets caught by a back elbow, staggers to the ropes and comes back with a clothesline.
He hammers Young with a series of strikes, EY stumbles to the corner, Roderick rushes in with a stiff right hand, then whips him across. Young flips himself to the apron, The Messiah of the Backbreaker rocks him with a big boot, hits the ropes for a baseball slide to Wolfe, ducks under a clothesline from Dain and sweeps EY’s legs on the apron. Killian flattens Roddy with a running crossbody out of the referee’s sight, Young steps out and drapes Strong over the apron, clocks him with a kick to the head, then slides back into the ring. He drags Roderick inside and drives him head-first off the top turnbuckle, goes to the 2nd rope and lifts him with a hanging dragon sleeper, allows Roddy to fall to the mat, then comes off with an elbow drop that gets 2. EY batters The Messiah of the Backbreaker with heavy shots, chokes him over the bottom rope, the official steps in to back him off, Wolfe delivers a cheap shot and Young covers, but again only gets a 2 count.
He sends Strong throat-first into the top rope for a 1 count, chokes him using the middle rope, snapmares Roderick over and wrenches away on the neck. Roddy works to a vertical base, gets dropped by a back elbow, EY hooks the leg for another 1 count, then rams him head-first off the top turnbuckle. Young corners Roddy and goes back to the 2nd rope, tries to hang him with the dragon sleeper again, The Messiah of the Backbreaker, fights his way out of it, EY tries to come off the 2nd rope, but gets hit mid-air by a dropkick. Both guys struggle back to their feet, Young charges near the ropes, runs into a back elbow, Roderick starts to build momentum with right hands and clotheslines, sends EY to the ropes and he hangs on, attempts to catch Strong walking in with a kick, but it’s blocked.
Roddy pulls Young into a modified backbreaker, measures him in the corner for a running knee, plants him with an inverted back suplex and goes into a lateral press, but only gains a near fall. Young wisely rolls out of the ring for a breather, Roderick reaches out through the ropes to grab him, EY drags him to the outside, then drops him on the floor with the Youngblood. EY tosses Strong in and rolls into a cover, The Messiah of the Backbreaker barely kicks out at 2, Young can’t believe it and hauls him back up. Roddy battles back with chops, gets immediately clobbered by a stiff forearm, EY looks to head upstairs, but Strong climbs up to meet him. Young knocks him to the canvas with a headbutt, leaps off the top with a flying elbow drop, hooks both legs and still can’t finish it off. He hooks Roderick for the Youngblood again, The Messiah of the Backbreaker reverses into a victory roll for a near fall, staggers near the ropes, catches Young charging in with a kick, follows with an enzuigiri, Killian climbs up on the apron, but gets sent back to the floor by a kick.
Wolfe hops on the apron and Roderick drives Young into him, lifts EY for an olympic slam, Young rakes the eyes to avoid it, then goes back up top. Roddy quickly staggers up and catches EY with fists, climbs up to deliver a superplex, Young battles his way out of it, then tries to superplex Strong to the floor. The Messiah of the Backbreaker slips out of it, rocks EY with a high knee, Young spills off the top onto Wolfe & Dain on the floor, Roddy coming outside to retrieve him. He throws Young into the squared circle, gets surprised by a stiff jab coming in, EY hits the ropes, Roderick explodes up with a high knee, then cracks him with the Strong Breaker for the win.
Winner: Roderick Strong (Strong Breaker)
- EA’s Take: Great open to the show here, EY is nowhere near the athlete he once was in his younger years, but he’s such a smart wrestler that he knows how to use simple tactics to get the job done. I’m pretty surprised Roderick got the win, I think SAnitY should have been left unstoppable until they ran into the “right guy” or another imposing figure, someone like a Drew McIntyre. I know they’ve been trying to get Strong going, especially with the recent vignettes about his life on NXT, but I just see more potential in SAnitY long-term.
Match #2 for the WWE United Kingdom Championship: Pete Dunne vs. WWE United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate
Jim Ross has joined commentary for this match. A loud “Bruiserweight” chant breaks out, collar & elbow tie-up to begin, the challenger rides Bate to the canvas and hooks in a front facelock, Bate counters out to a wristlock, Dunne rolling out to a snapmare. He grounds the champion with a headscissor, Tyler goes into a headstand to spin out of it, they lock-up again and The Bruiserweight picks the arm, then starts to wrench away at the shoulder joint. Bate works back to a standing position, rolls himself free and scores with a dropkick, the challenger rolls out of the ring for a breather, the champion steps out in pursuit and gets clocked by a stiff forearm.
The Bruiserweight rips at Tyler’s fingers, tries to stomp his hand on the steel steps, Bate avoids it, connects with an uppercut, then comes off the stairs with a corkscrew uppercut. He sends the challenger back inside and slides in, Dunne rolls right out the other side, Bate comes out after him, gets decked by another heavy forearm, The Bruiserweight then planting him on the apron with an X-Plex. He tosses the champion back in and puts the boots to him, goes back to work on the arm, begins to tear Tyler’s fingers apart some more, then unloads with more forearms and kicks. Bate starts to absorb it, launches Dunne with a dead-lift exploder suplex, the challenger staggers to the corner, the champion charges in with multiple uppercuts, goes across the ring to build a head of steam, The Bruiserweight follows him in and flattens Tyler with a clothesline.
He hooks him for the X-Plex, Bate lands on his feet, takes Dunne out at the legs, follows with a standing shooting star press, then dead-lifts him with a bridging saito suplex for a count of 2. The champion pulls himself back to his feet, looks for a running shooting star press, The Bruiserweight catches him with a triangle choke to counter it, firing away with punches while maintaining the hold. Bate finds his footing, muscles Dunne up for a powerbomb to break the hold, then calls for the airplane spin, falls into a cover and almost puts it away. Both guys struggle back to a vertical base, the champion hooks Dunne for a german suplex, the challenger flips to his feet, swings wildly with a clothesline, Bate ducks under it, springs off the 2nd rope with a crossbody, but gets drilled in mid-air by a right hand.
The Bruiserweight powers Tyler up with a suplex sit-out powerbomb and nearly finishes it, they exchange shots rising back to their feet, the champion surprises Dunne with a stiff left, then grabs hauls him back up. The challenger surprises Bate with an enzuigiri, they exchange blows again, Tyler connects with a somersault mule kick, Dunne rebounds off the ropes with a boot to the jaw, tries to dump the champion over the top, but Bate bounces off the rope and floors the challenger with a clothesline, draping the arm over for a near fall. Both the champion and challenger drag themselves to a standing position, a “Fight Forever” chant takes over the arena, Bate hooks Dunne for the Tyler Driver 97, The Bruiserweight slides out of it and goes for The Bitter End.
Tyler counters it and spikes the challenger with a DDT, Dunne rolls to the outside to regroup, the champion hops to the apron, springs off the 2nd rope with a moonsault, then tosses him back into the squared circle. Bate quickly ascends the corner, comes off the top with a corkscrew 450 splash, hooks the leg, but Dunne it able to kick out at 2 again, then rolls back to the floor. Bate looks stunned, hits the ropes for a head of steam, flies over the top with a crossbody plancha, The Bruiserweight side-steps it, tosses him back in and delivers The Bitter End to take the title.
Winner and NEW WWE United Kingdom Champion: Pete Dunne (The Bitter End)
- EA’s Take: Absolutely tremendous contest and certainly a match of the year candidate. This had it all, technical skills, great psychology, power moves and high-flying. No complaints here. I had gone with Bate to retain, but primarily because I wasn’t sure WWE would go through with a title change before the weekly UK show even gets started. There’s no denying that Pete Dunne is a Superstar in the making, I love his intensity and aggression. For a 23-year old, Dunne has a very, VERY bright future ahead of him which could be coming sooner than expected. Mind you, that’s nothing against Bate who is only 20-years old, I just think Dunne is the complete package right now.