The WWF continues to add to its pay-per-view line-up and add the pressure to their main competition with the inaugural Summerslam! Jim Crockett Promotions was having success, but they were bleeding out money at twice the rate they were making it. Vince McMahon’s creation of this summer event would help put the nail in JCP’s coffin and soon, Crockett would be forced to sell his company to Ted Turner. Summerslam would continue to keep momentum rolling, after the original plan of getting Ric Flair to jump ship and face ‘Macho Man’ fell through, they again capitalized on the continuation of WrestleMania’s main event rivalry. Let’s get to it….
Open: In the arena, our commentary team of Gorilla Monsoon & ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham. Superstar talks about the return of Hulk Hogan tonight, as The Mega Powers take on The Mega Bucks in our main event. Let’s go to the ring.
Match #1: The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Jacques & Raymond) vs. The British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid & Davey Boy Smith) w/Matilda
The bell rings and The Rougeaus try a handshake that doesn’t work. Davey Boy goes after Jacques, driving his head into the top turnbuckle over and over again. Davey tossses Jacques into his corner, allowing Raymond to make the tag. They lock-up, jockey for position in the corner, Davey backs up Raymond who doesn’t break clean. Right hands from Raymond, irish whip into the corner and a monkey flip attempt, Davey cartwheels out of it and gets him with an armdrag. Dynamite off the tag, double headbutt and he gets a side headlock, getting pushed into the ropes and scoring with a shoulder knockdown.
Dynamite with an armdrag, grounding Raymond with an armbar. Raymond to his feet, shooting Dynamite into the ropes, Kid puts the breaks on and hits a diving headbutt. He goes back to the armbar, tag to Davey and he comes off the top with a shot to the arm. Raymond reverses an irish whip, ducks down and a sunset flip from Davey for 2. Another armdrag and Raymond is in an armbar again. Jacques tries to get in the ring and The Bulldogs switch behind the ref’s back. Dynamite with an irish whip and a clothesline, Davey in for a back body drop, Raymond with a sunset flip for a 2 count, Davey with a bridge for a near fall of his own.
Kid tags, going back to work on the shoulder joint. Davey in, double forearm shot and he covers for a count of 2, gets a side headlock, into the ropes and Jacques trips him from outside. Raymond finally tags out and Jacques works over the legs of Davey Boy with a toe hold. Davey kicks him off for a monkey flip, but Jacques counters and tags his brother Raymond, making a wish with Davey’s legs. Raymond contines the punishment on the leg, Jacques tags and hits a seated senton to the knee. Jacques delivers a shot to Dynamite on the apron, allowing Raymond to come in without a tag and apply more pressure to the left leg. Davey kicks him off, gets sent into the ropes and Raymond with a back body drop, tagging out. Jacques with a spinning toe hold, Davey grabs a small package out of it for 2, but is unable to tag out.
Raymond back in, maintaining the pressure to the leg, Davey gets up on one foot and monkey flips Raymond, finally getting the tag to Dynamite. Kid comes in on fire with headbutts, a snap suplex and a falling headbutt for a 2 count. Back suplex for Raymond, cover and he’s too close to the ropes. Dynamite tosses Raymond out to the floor, Jacques there to meet him and now Davey gets involved, driving Raymond into the steel barricade. Jacques helps his brother to his feet and back in the ring, Dynamite is there to meet them and drive Raymond into Davey’s boot before tagging out. Davey Boy sets for the running powerslam and hits it, covers and Jacques breaks it up.
Dynamite comes in behind the ref’s back, climbs the 2nd rope for right hands and Jacques grabs him from behind for a back suplex. Both men are down, Raymond crawls to a tag, Jacques comes in with a slam and drops a knee for a near fall. Double team tactics by The Rougeaus behind the ref’s back. Raymond tags in and drops Dynamite onto Jacques’ knee for a gutbuster. Jacques back in, irish whip and he gets Dynamite in an abdominal stretch. Davey Boy rushes in the ring to break it up, Raymond steps in without a tag and puts Dynamite back into an abdominal stretch. Kid powers out of it, Raymond with right hands, Jacques tags and hits a splash for 2.
Jacques grounds Dynamite again with a camel clutch, Kid powers to his feet, but Raymond comes in with a cheap shot to knock him back down. Jacques gives up the hold, Raymond tags and goes back to it. Kid once again powers up, ramming Raymond into the corner to break the hold and crawl to his corner. Jacques tags first and stops it, delivering a shot to Davey Boy on the apron. Davey distracts the ref, who turns around to see Dynamite has Jacques in a small package for a count of 2. Jacques with an abdominal stretch, Raymond tags in and hits a kick to the midsection for a count of 2, then goes into a front facelock.
Dynamite finally makes a tag, but the ref was distracted by Jacques and Davey has to go back to the apron. Rougeaus with more double teaming, Jacques comes in and covers for a count of 2. Dynamite with a headbutt to the breadbasket, getting the tag to Davey Boy who misses a dropkick, but scores with a military press, dropping Jacques on the top rope. He covers, Raymond drops an accidental elbow on his brother and now all 4 men are in the ring. Davey launches Dynamite into a diving headbutt and the bell rings as time has expired.
Winners: Time Limit Draw
- After The Bell: The Rougeaus offer a handshake to The Bulldogs, then sucker punch them and run out as The Bulldogs chase them out of the arena.
- EA’s Take: Tremendous tag team contest to open the night, but the finish was really weird. Behind the scenes, real heat was building between these 4 men. Pranks had gone a little too far, one of which was done by Curt Hennig with the blame being put onto Dynamite Kid. This led to Dynamite punching Jacques a few times, with Jacques eventually knocking out a few of Dynamite’s teeth with a fistful of quarters. The beefs would continue into the fall, with Dynamite planning to get his revenge at Survivor Series 1988.
Video: Brutus Beefcake had his match won this past weekend on Superstars Of Wrestling. ‘Outlaw’ Ron Bass would attack from behind with his whip, viciously assaulting The Barber and tearing at his face with a boot spur. Due to this, Brutus Beefcake is unable to compete tonight against The Honky Tonk Man for the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
Match #2: Bad News Brown vs. Ken Patera
Bad News jumps Patera as he enters and the bell rings, Brown with right hands and a slam, then dropping an elbow. Patera still has his ring jacket on, Brown with an irish whip into the corner and runs into a clothesline. Patera firing back with rights, into the ropes and he scores with a back elbow. The former Olympian with a slam, attempts an elbow drop and Bad News rolls out of the way. Brown with more right hands, choking Patera on the apron and clubbing him back in the ring.
He drives Patera’s head into the top turnbuckle, irish whip and a back knife-edge chop. More choking, into the ropes again and Patera with a kick to prevent a back body drop. He takes Bad News over into a cover that only gets 1, clothesline and an elbow drop for a 2 count. Patera with a backbreaker for another 2, then a small package that only gets 1. He locks in his patented bearhug, Bad News goes to the eyes to break it and Patera attempts the full nelson now.
Brown gets to the ropes, Patera to the 2nd rope with a right hand and he calls for the full nelson again. Once more, Bad News gets to the ropes to cause a break, Patera with a back body drop attempt and Brown has it scouted. Bad News tries to reverse an irish whip into the corner and they botch it. The go into the same spot, Bad News avoids a charging Patera and he hits his shoulder into the ring post. Brown follows with the Ghetto Blaster and covers for a 3 count.
Winner: Bad News Brown (Ghetto Blaster)
- EA’s Take: Brutal. Neither one of these guys are known for their workrate and it really showed here. Patera’s skills were really declining at this point and his WWF run would come to an end later on in the year.
Video: For some reason there’s a promo for the Leonard/LaLonde fight at Caesar’s Palace. Weird.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is with The Mega Powers, who will take on The Mega Bucks in tonight’s main event. Hulk Hogan can feel Madison Square Garden rumbling already, together as one they are the strongest force in the universe. Macho can feel the electricity, saying Elizabeth is their secret weapon tonight. Hogan says the 24 inch pythons are loaded and The Mega Bucks will get the ‘kiss of death’ tonight.
Match #3: ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude w/Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan vs. Junkyard Dog
Rude attacks before the bell, JYD reverses an irish whip and hits a back body drop, then headbutts and Rude falls out to the floor. Heenan converses with Rude, The Dog grabs Rick by the hair and pulls him back in the ring. Into the ropes, JYD to the midsection and he drops Rude with a big right hand. Rude avoids a falling headbutt, clothesline to The Dog and Rude comes off the top with a double axe handle. Clubbing blows to JYD, snapmare and Rude with a rear chinlock to wear out The Dog.
The Ravishing One with a choke behind the ref’s back, Heenan providing the distraction. Rude back the rear chinlock, JYD battle out of it, irish whip into the corner and he runs into Rude’s boot for a count of 2. Rude utilizing the rear chinlock again, trying to drain JYD’s energy. He switches to a wristlock, tries drive his backside onto the shoulder joint and crotches himself. JYD to his feet as Rude tries to beg off, no mercy from The Dog with right hands and a big headbutt.
Heenan to the apron, allowing Rude to attack from behind and score with a russian leg sweep. Rude heads upstairs once more, exposes a 2nd pair of tight with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts’ wife’s face on them and connects with a fist drop. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts slides in the ring from behind, attacking The Ravishing One with lefts and rights, causing the bell to ring.
Winner: ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Roberts is unloading on Rude, sending him flying out to the floor and the ref stopping him from giving chase.
- EA’s Take: Really not much of a match here, as the story was really between Rude & Roberts. This would be Junkyard Dog’s final PPV for the WWF, as he would jump ship to the NWA and WCW just before Survivor Series. The Rude/Roberts saga continues, but it was odd that they weren’t matched up here tonight. They’d meet again at Survivor Series, where the rivalry would see its conclusion.
Backstage: This time, ‘Mean’ Gene is with WWF Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man & ‘Colonel’ Jimmy Hart. Jimmy’s happy that Brutus Beefcake won’t be competing tonight. Honky Tonk knew Beefcake wasn’t man enough, but he’s willing to take on anyone tonight. Gene is about to tell HTM who the challenger will be, but he wants it to be a surprise. He doesn’t care who it is because he can handle whoever the WWF throws his way.
Match #4: The Bolsheviks (Boris Zhukov & Nikolai Volkoff) w/Slick vs. The Powers Of Pain (The Barbarian & The Warlord) w/The Baron
They rush the ring and the bell goes off, all 4 men battling. The Bolsheviks attempt to whip The Powers Of Pain into one another, Warlord reverses and Barbarian with a back elbow. Things settle, Boris & Barbarian stay in the ring, Barbarian hits the ropes and Volkoff trips him from the outside. Boris misses an eblow drop, Warlord comes in and they level him with a double clothesline. Boris rolls outside for a breather, Nikolai slides in and The Powers Of Pain double team him with a thrust to the throat.
The Bolsheviks huddle outside, Boris finally heads back in the ring and gains a side headlock. Barbarian pushes him into the ropes, they hit shoulders and there’s a stalemate. Boris back into the ropes, Barbarian ducks down and hits a back chop, covering and Nikolai breaks it up. Boris takes the advantage with strikes, Barbarian reverses a whip into the corner and walks into a kick. Zhukov sends him across, ducks his head and eats a kick, Warlord tagging in and driving Boris into the top turnbuckle. He drops a fist, Nikolai breaks up the cover again and Zhukov goes to the eyes.
Irish whip, Warlord ducks a clothesline and hits a belly to belly suplex and Volkoff distracts the ref from the count. Slick to the apron, getting Warlord’s attention and allowing Nikolai to tag in and attack from behind. Boris chokes Warlord behind the ref’s back, double team tactics and Warlord tries to fight out of the corner. Zhukov tags, choking Warlord across the top rope and then stomping him in the wrong part of town. Warlord fights out again, Nikolai with a tag and more stuff behind the ref’s back.
Boris back in, snapmare and a rear chinlock to finally get Warlord off his feet. Warlord to a vertical base, but too close to the corner and Nikolai’s back in. Warlord with more rights, Volkoff with a roundhouse kick and Boris comes in for a double back body drop attempt. Warlord scounts it, gets the tag to Barbarian and he nails Boris with a karate shot, slams Nikolai and a thrust kick to Boris. Big boots to both, Volkoff is sent to the outside and Warlord tags. Double shoulder tackle by the Powers Of Pain, Warlord with a running powerslam, Barbarian tags and follows with a top rope diving headbutt for the win.
Winners: The Powers Of Pain (Barbarian/Top Rope Diving Headbutt)
- EA’s Take: Again, not much technicality here as these guys are brawlers and powerhouses. The Bolsheviks are nothing more than a bottom of the card tag team and losing to more established tandems and up and comers. The Powers Of Pain were brought in from the NWA, after they refused to do scaffold matches for the promotion. They aligned themselves with Tito Santana at first, feuding with Demolition after they had (kayfabe) injured Santana’s tag team partner, Rick Martel. The Baron, better known as Baron Von Raschke was put with them for the first time at this event, but would be released shortly after.
In The Ring: Brother Love is out with his message of ‘love’. He speaks about this being a special night due to him being here, but he has a very special guest this evening. This person needs to learn the lesson of love and that is ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan. Hacksaw is here for two reasons, to share this with everybody and to tell Brother Love what a phoney he is. Brother Love says he sees a man who has no love in his heart when he looks at him, stating he needs to learn about it. There are Superstars here that know about love, like Dino Bravo who loves his country. Duggan tells him not to question his patriotism, saying his blood flows to help keep this country free. Brother Love talks about Duggan’s 2×4 being a weapon, saying it’s not used for love. Hacksaw wants Brother Love to understand this is the WWF, not Sunday School. Duggan says it needs policing, but Brother Love disagrees. Duggan says if Brother keeps talking the way he is, he’ll take the 2×4 and put it where the sun doesn’t shine. He has until a count of 5 to get out of the ring. Brother Love tries to talk his way out of it, but ends up skirting out of the ring before Hacksaw gets to 5.
Match #5 for the WWF Intercontinental Championship: WWF Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man w/’Colonel’ Jimmy Hart vs. ???
HTM grabs the microphone and pleads for anybody to come out, he doesn’t care who it is. The Ultimate Warrior makes his way out and the crowd erupts, rushing in the ring and going right after HTM before he can get his jumpsuit off. The bell rings, Warrior levels HTM with a shoulder tackle and a clothesline, following with a splash and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: The Ultimate Warrior (Splash)
- EA’s Take: Just like that, Honky Tonk Man’s record breaking IC Title reign is over and the fans go berzerk. Warrior’s mix of a bulked up physique, high energy and unique look with the facepaint and neon colors really was capturing the attention of WWF fans. Vince McMahon would take notice, pushing the Warrior less than a year after his debut. HTM would never get back to the success he had during his IC Championship reign, slowly moving back down the card.
In The Arena: Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan interrupts the commentary team with some news. Heenan reports that The Mega Bucks & Mega Powers are up to. He says Andre is reading the Wall Street Journal while Ted DiBiase is counting suitcases of money. According to Heenan, The Mega Powers have blocked off their door so nobody can enter.
Match #6: ‘The Rock’ Don Muraco vs. Dino Bravo w/Frenchy Martin
Heenan stays on commentary for this match, a lot of posturing before they lock-up, neither guy getting the edge. Another tie-up, jockeying back and forth and they break clean again. A 3rd collar & elbow, Muraco with a side headlock, Bravo pushes him into the ropes and The Rock with a shoulder. Hits the ropes again, back and forth and Muraco thwarts a monkey flip attempt. A hip toss, slam and then an armdrag to Dino, forcing him to go to the outside and take a stroll.
Back inside, Muraco with a wristlock, gets back into the corner and Dino with shots to the midsection. The Rock reverses an irish whip, hip tossing Bravo out of the corner, monkey flip and then an armdrag, grabbing an armbar. He sends Bravo hard into the corner, shots to the gut, Dino reverses a whip across and sends Muraco face-first into the turnbuckle. Heavy artillery from Dino, hits an inverted atomic drop and celebrates a little before dropping an elbow for a 2 count.
He sends The Rock in for a back body drop, Muraco countering with a side russian leg sweep, then avoids an elbow drop. Muraco fires back with lefts and rights, back body drop to Bravo and then a right hand for Frenchy on the apron. He lifts Dino for a slam, the ref goes down for a second and Bravo takes advantage, planting The Rock with his Side Slam for the 1-2-3.
Winner: Dino Bravo (Side Slam)
- EA’s Take: A better match than Patera/Bad News for sure, as these two powerhouses (especially Muraco) can actually work a little bit. Dino Bravo with a bit of an upset, but behind the scenes Don Muraco’s run was coming to an end. This would be his final PPV appearance for the WWF, being fired leading up to Survivor Series for unknown reasons.
Backstage: Sean Mooney is alongside the referee for tonight’s main event, Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura. Jesse has accepted money from Ted DiBiase, but Ventura says this was the only good decision Jack Tunney ever made. The Body asks Mooney if he’s a fool and wouldn’t accept money. Jesse says if someone wants to give him money, he’s going to take it.
Match #7 for the WWF Tag Team Championships: The Hart Foundation (Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart & Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart vs. WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition (Ax & Smash) w/Mr. Fuji & ‘Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart
Ax & The Hitman to start it off, lock-up and Ax shoves Bret off like he’s nothing. Ax goes to the body, dropping Bret to the mat and clobbering away, following with a slam, but missing an elbow drop. Right hands from Bret, one for Smash on the apron and a shot to the gut for Ax. Hitman with a roll-up for a count of 2, Smash tags in and runs into a couple of armdrags. Neidhart enters, coming off the 2nd rope to the arm and maintaining a wristlock. Smash goes to the midsection, Neidhart into the ropes and he ducks a right, leveling smash and going back to the wristlock. Neidhart drops Smash with a shoulder off the ropes, back into the ropes and Ax with a kick from the outside behind the ref’s back.
Ax tags in, pounding The Anvil down and then quick tagging Smash for more clubbing blows. Ax is in, irish whip and Neidhart scouts a back body drop attempt, then gets the tag to Hitman. Bret with rights sending Ax outside, Smash comes in without a tag and Bret with a dropkick for him. Smash reverses a whip into the corner, sending The Hitman shoulder-first into the steel post and Demolition has control again. Neidhart chases off Jimmy Hart outside, Ax working over Bret’s arm, tying it up in the ropes.
He rams Bret’s shoulder into the turnbuckle, stomping away and then sending him into Smash’s boot. Smash off the tag, shoulderbreaker to Hitman and then he wrenches at the shoulder joint. Ax coming in, maintaining the hold, more double team tactics from Demolition and Ax kicks Bret to the outside. Smash sends Bret shoulder-first into the post, then tags in as Hitman is in pain on the floor. Smash merely lands a right hand, brings Ax back in and he sends Bret into the ropes. Hitman ducks a right and hits a flying clothesline, making the tag to Neidhart, but it was behind the ref’s back.
Smash comes in illegally, driving Bret into the turnbuckles and charging right into a boot. Bret finally gets the tag to The Anvil, coming in with rights for Smash, a dropkick to Ax and then slams for both of them. He sends Smash careening into his partner, then clotheslines Smash out to the floor. Bret slingshots The Anvil over the top with a shoulder tackle to the floor, rolling Smash back inside for a powerslam and a near fall. Hitman off the tag, Neidhart is whipped into a spear in the corner and Bret covers for a count of 2. Bret splits Smash with a backbreaker, Ax breaks it up and now all 4 men are in the ring. Fuji takes rights from Neidhart, distracting the referee. Bret goes for a piledriver, Ax delivers a megaphone shot and Smash makes the cover to retain.
Winners and STILL WWF Tag Team Champions: Demolition (Ax/Foreign Object)
- EA’s Take: I almost like this match better than the opening tag contest just because there was a clear cut winner. The Hart Foundation started their babyface turn back at WrestleMania IV and are on their way to becoming one of the most popular tag teams in WWF history. Demolition’s association with Jimmy Hart was only to play off the split between himself and The Hart Foundation, as they were only ever accompanied by Mr. Fuji at this point. They’re still fresh in their run and would soon undergo a change of heart with the fans themselves, battling another painted-up tag team.
Backstage: ‘Mean Gene’ is back in the locker room with some heels and former Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man. HTM says he’s been ripped off and robbed by the WWF. He said he’d wrestle anybody, but he didn’t say he’d wrestle the Warrior, claiming the title is his and he’ll get it back. HTM is furious.
Match #8: Big Boss Man w/Slick vs. Koko B. Ware w/Frankie
The bell rings, Slick’s still in the ring distracting Koko and Boss Man clobbers him from behind. He tosses Koko out to the floor, postures for the crowd and Koko hops back in, connecting with right hands. Irish whip, Koko ducks a clothesline and hits a dropkick, tying Boss Man up in the ropes in the process. Koko with a big splash, hammers away at the big man who unties himself.
The Birdman sticks and moves, gets caught in a front facelock and then driven to the mat. Boss Man with a big headbutt, sends The Birdman into the corner and squashes him. Boss Man with knees to the back, then levels Koko with a clothesline, covers and pulls up after a 2 count. He tortures Koko, grabbing the arms and wrenching back, The Birdman flips out and kicks to break it. Boss Man right back on him though, using all his weight to the back. Stiff right hand and a slam, Boss Man heads to the top and misses a splash, kind of. Boss Man whips Koko into the corner, tries a splash and misses.
The Birdman gets the blood flowing, landing a succession of punches, then a missile dropkick off the top and a splash for a near fall. Koko gets caught by Boss Man, gets dumped out on the apron, then brought back in for a Boss Man Slam to finish it.
Winner: Big Boss Man (Boss Man Slam)
- After The Bell: Boss Man drills Koko in the midsection with his nightstick, sending him spilling out to the floor.
- EA’s Take: Essentially a glorified squash match, as Big Boss Man had just entered the WWF in June via the UWF. Formerly, he was known as Big Bubba in the NWA and would use the moniker again, much further down the road. This character would by far be his most successful, as he would jump right into a big time feud against Hulk Hogan.
Backstage: Sean Mooney is with the new Intercontinental Champion The Ultimate Warrior in the babyface locker room. Warrior says he thought it was something out of a comic book, but this is real life. Warrior rose to the challenge and conquered it. If HTM wants a piece of him, he’s not hard to find. He’ll be on the next spaceship to Parts Unknown.
Match #9: Hercules vs. Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts w/Damien
Hercules has a problem with Damian being on the apron, the ref makes Jake move it and Hercules makes a failed attempt to attack from behind. Jake with lefts and rights, sends Hercules into the corner and charges right into a knee. Heavy rights from Herc, into the ropes and Jake stops a back body drop try with a kneelift, then calls for the DDT.
Herc slips out of the ring to avoid it, taking a stroll to regroup. Back in the ring Hercules wants to throw hands, The Snake blocks them all, ducks a clothesline and slams Hercules, then grabs a side headlock. Herc tries to push him off unsuccessfully, hits a back suplex and The Snake hangs onto the hold. Hercules gets the ropes to force the break, headbutt to the midsection of Jake and Hercules with a big right hand. He drops elbows, snapmare and puts Roberts in a rear chinlock to drain his energy.
The Snake to his feet, but gets clotheslined multiple times for a count of 2. Herc goes back to the rear chinlock, Jake battles to a vertical base, but catches a back elbow and it sends him out to the floor. Herc with rights to The Snake on the apron, Roberts grabs Hercules and pulls him over the top to the outside. Herc hangs Roberts on the top rope from the apron, heads inside and goes to the chinlock again. Jake gets out with a jawbreaker, lefts and rights, dropping Hercules and hitting a short-arm clothesline.
The crowd wants it, Jake goes for the DDT and Hercules flips Roberts over, then side-steps a kneelift in the corner. The Mighty Hercules with control, slam and an elbow drop, Jake kicks out at 2. Herc argues with the ref, goes for another slam, Roberts gets out and spikes him with the DDT, rolling into a cover for to get the W.
Winner: Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts (DDT)
- After The Bell: Jake unveils Damien and sticks him right in Hercules’ face, much to the delight of the MSG crowd.
- EA’s Take: A lot of Hercules offense in this one, which isn’t exactly pretty. Jake always would get his ass kicked for a while, then hit a quick DDT for most of his wins. I still think it would have made much more sense for him to face Rick Rude 1 on 1. Hercules’ current manager (although not part of this match) Bobby Heenan, would sell his contract to Ted DiBiase, leading to a turn for The Mighty One. Jake’s rivalry with Rick Rude continues into Survivor Series.
Video: The feud between The Mega Powers and The Mega Bucks is chronicled, starting with a 2 on 1 attack to WWF Champion Randy Savage while Elizabeth was forced to watch. Savage would issue a tag team challenge, not yet announcing who his partner is. Bobby Heenan would accept on Andre & DiBiase’s behalf, Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura would be announced as the special referee to their delight. ‘Macho Man’ announces his tag team partner, the returning Hulk Hogan. Brother Love would accuse Ventura of being afraid of Andre, but The Body says he could step in the ring tomorrow and be champion if he wanted. Heenan & Company would make their way out, The Giant warning Jesse to pay good attention. DiBiase would stick money in Jesse’s pocket, saying it pays off to pay attention to him.
Match #10 Special Referee – Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura: The Mega Bucks (‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase & Andre The Giant) w/Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan & Virgil vs. The Mega Powers (WWF Champion ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage & Hulk Hogan) w/Elizabeth
Savage & Andre kick it off, The Giant pushing Macho into his corner and DiBiase tags. They circle each other, The MDM says he wants Hogan and gets it. Collar & elbow, Hogan catches the foot and hits an atomic drop, playing back and forth with Savage in their corner. Into the ropes and Hulkster with a clothesline, Macho tags, double back elbow and double elbow drop. Heenan & Virgil get to the apron, Savage drives DiBiase into the top turnbuckle and brings Hulk back in. Ventura gets Heenan & Virgil down, more turnbuckle shots for MDM and Macho back in, off the top with a double axe handle.
He drops a knee, Ventura gets to the count slow and only gets 1. Hulkster in, double big boot and a count of 2, Hogan with a slam and elbow drops. He goes after Andre and gets caught, Macho in to argue with The Body and The Giant hits the ring as well. Elizabeth to the apron, getting berated by Ventura as DiBiase tags in Andre, squashing Hulk with all his weight. He rams Hogan into his boot, then grabs a nerve hold to wear out the Hulkster, taking him down to the canvas. The Giant uses his trunks to choke Hogan, Macho jumps in, allowing DiBiase and Andre to double team. MDM tags in, right hands to Hulk and a clothesline out of the ropes for a 2 count. DiBiase with fist drops for another 2, then a rear chinlock to ground Hogan.
Hulkster to a vertical base, but gets dropped to his knees again by the hair. Ventura checks the arm, Hulkster keeping it up on the 3rd attempt and getting to his feet to break the hold. He hits the ropes, ducks a clothesline and they both connect with one, both men doubling down and crawling to their corners. Hogan makes it to Macho, right hands for DiBiase, hard irish whip into the corner and a back elbow. Back body drop by Savage, he hangs DiBiase across the top rope, then heads upstairs and connects with a double axe handle. He charges MDM in the corner and misses, but retakes control with a crossbody for a count of 2.
DiBiase levels him with a clothesline, then tags in The Giant to change the pace. Andre dominates the champion in the corner, squashing him with his backside and delivering rights and headbutts. MDM off the tag, vertical suplex and Savage kicks out at 2. DiBiase with a backbreaker, heads to the 2nd rope and misses a falling back elbow. Macho crawls to the wrong corner, kicks DiBiase off and then dives to tag the Hulkster. Hogan with a flurry of right hands in the corner, irish whip and a corner clothesline, followed by a vertical suplex.
He catches Andre with a clothesline entering the ring, Savage to the top, Andre sticks up the boot as Hogan has DiBiase in a sleeper. The Giant grabs Hogan from behind with headbutts, tossing the Hulkster outside. Elizabeth gets to the apron, distracting Ventura who turns around to see Heenan & Virgil up also. Elizabeth removes the bottom of her dress to reveal a bikini bottom, everyone is distracted now.
Hogan & Savage shake hands on the floor, Savage to the top with a double axe to Andre, Hogan slams DiBiase and Macho follws with the top rope elbow drop. Hulkster drops the leg, Ventura counts to 2 and Savage forces him to make the 3 count.
Winners: The Mega Powers (Hogan/Leg Drop)
- After The Bell: The Mega Powers celebrate, posing for the crowd together and raising Elizabeth on their shoulders to end the show.
- EA’s Take: Definitely the most entertaining bout of the night. There was very little of Andre in the match, as he couldn’t do near as much. DiBiase was allowed to carry the majority of the workload for his side, crowd was very hot for this, as expected. The feud between Hulk Hogan & Andre The Giant is finally over, but they’d still see more of Ted DiBiase. The Mega Powers would continue to team together into the fall and early part of 1989, until tensions began to rise between the partners. The Mega Bucks team would be short-lived, as this would be the last time Andre & DiBiase would pair up.
Finisher: Other than the main event and a match here and there, this is really a forgettable show for the first Summerslam. Ultimate Warrior winning the IC Title and Elizabeth’s disrobing at the end were the only big moments that really stood out. The opening contest was good, but the time limit draw finish detracts from it. The Tag Title contest was good, but nothing special. Jake Roberts should have taken on Rick Rude instead of them having insignificant singles matches with other guys. The main event did deliver however, the addition of Jesse Ventura into the fold helped to keep this long-running feud going just long enough.
Top Three To Watch
1 – The Mega Powers vs. The Mega Bucks
2 – The Hart Foundation vs. Demolition
3 – The Rougeaus vs. The British Bulldogs
Chairshot Classics: WWE Fastlane 2015 – Reigns vs. Bryan
Looking back at WWE Fastlane 2015 with Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan!
Eric brings you the details of WWE Fastlane 2015 in this edition of Chairshot Classics!
Open: A video talking about destinations and the Road To WrestleMania, highlighting the rivalries between Bryan/Reigns, Cena/Rusev and HHH/Sting.
Match #1: Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan & Ryback vs. Big Show, Kane & “Mr. Money In The Bank” Seth Rollins w/J&J Security
A clip from last Thursday’s Smackdown, which led up to this 6 man tag. Ziggler & Rollins kick it off, with Rollins leading the charge until Dolph gets a roll-up for a quick 2, goes for a superkick and Rollins ducks out for a breather. Crowd chants “You Sold Out” at Rollins. Rollins with a quick edge, thwarted by a Ziggler dropkick and he tags Rowan who overpowers Rollins. Rowan ducks a kick and gets a pumphandle backbreaker, followed by an elbow for 2. Rollins is able to worm away to his corner and tag Kane. Rowan with a body slam, leg drop and 2nd rope back elbow, but is pushed in the wrong part of town and Big Show tags.
Show unloads in the corner, catches a boot from Rowan, but Show sends Rowan to the outside. Show out after him gets pushed into the ring post, J&J approach but get scared off by Rowan, who then goes for a heel kick, Show moves and Rowan’s leg hits the post. Show works over the injured leg and makes the tag to Kane, who follows suit before making a tag to Rollins. Rollins hits a 2nd rope blockbuster for a near fall and then brings back Big Show. Show continues to punish the leg, goes for a Chokeslam, but is countered into a DDT. Show tags Rollins, who cheap shots Ziggler in the corner, but turns around into a heel kick by Rowan using the bad leg.
Rowan is finally able to crawl over and tag Ryback, who goes to work on Rollins with heavy offense. Rollins rolls away from a splash and goes for the Curb Stomp, but gets caught into a powerbomb. Ryback sets-up for the Meat Hook, but Kane slides in and ends up taking it. Rollins misses a move off the distraction, Ryback goes for Shell Shocked, then J&J Security hit the apron giving Rollins the chance for a roll-up that gets 2, immediately followed by a head kick for another near fall. Rollins to the top for a flying knee, Ryback ducks it but takes a kick on the other side. Rollins goes for another 2nd rope blockbuster and gets caught in Shell Shocked.
Show hits the ring and splashes Ryback and quickly rolls back out. Ziggler & Kane gets tags, Ziggler dropkicks Show on the apron, Kane looks for a Chokeslam that gets reversed and Kane is pushed into Show, knocking him to the floor. Jumping DDT by Ziggler for a near fall. Dolph goes for a Fameasser and gets caught in a side slam, countered and Ziggler with a superkick. Rollins tries to get in the ring and takes a Fameasser, then Dolph mounts Kane in the corner. Show hits Ziggler with a WMD from the outside and Kane covers to grab the win.
Winners: Big Show, Kane & Seth Rollins (Kane/Interference)
- After The Bell: The Authority celebrates in the ring and Rollins delivers a Curb Stomp to Ziggler. Ryback & Rowan come in, but the numbers game is too much for them. Ryback takes a Chokeslam and Rowan eats a Curb Stomp. They set Ryback up for a Curb Stomp, but out comes the returning Randy Orton, who proceeds to clean house. Noble suffers an RKO and Mercury gets caught coming off the 2nd rope with another. Rollins takes a kick trying to get in the ring with the briefcase and Orton sets him up for the IEDDT, but Big Show grabs Rollins from behind and saves him. Orton hits Kane with an RKO as Rollins retreats through the crowd and leaves the arena.
- EA’s Take: You had to figure it was about time for Orton to return, as he was never originally scheduled to be off for that long. The match itself was decent with the pace really picking up when Ziggler & Rollins would get in the ring, as you would expect. Rowan is in a really unusual state right now. He’s just not clicking as a face with the fans, as he continues to get little to no reaction. Unless you watch Smackdown, then he’s as popular as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Hopefully now we can see Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan go do something else, they need to get away from this Authority angle already.
Video: Reviewing the dissolution of the tag team and “cosmic” brothers, Gold & Stardust.
Backstage: In the locker room is Goldust. In walks his father, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. He talks about Dustin doing what he has to do, but not hurting his brother in the process. Goldust says tonight he’s not facing Cody and he has to beat Stardust so bad that he will never want to wear paint again. “Tonight, I’m not leaving that ring until I bring my brother Cody home.”
Match #2: Stardust vs. Goldust
They lock-up and Goldust back Stardust into the corner, tries to clean break and Stardust with a couple shoves. Lock-up again and Stardust backs Goldust up, pushes him again and then receives a slap in return that makes Stardust rethink his approach. Crowd chants “Cody” to Stardust’s extreme disdain. We get a nice back and forth, with neither man getting an edge until Stardust is arm dragged into a corner. More loud “Cody” chants. They go back at it with more back and forth, both men posturing until Goldust gets Stardust set-up for the Director’s Cut, but Stardust slips to the outside. Dusty Rhodes is shown watching on a monitor backstage.
Stardust tries for a running bulldog that gets countered into a backbreaker, Goldust follows up with a clothesline that dumps Stardust back outside. The “Cody” chants seem to be getting to Stardust. Both men are able to hit duck-under strikes, Goldust sets-up Stardust for Shattered Dreams, but he slips out onto the apron. Stardust goes for a sunset flip, but Goldust moves and heads to the 2nd rope and Stardust gets the boot up in the mid-section. Stardust goes to work on the boot, spilling Goldust to the outside and battering him into the ring apron before rolling him back inside and punishing Goldust’s torso. Stardust with a front suplex and an arrogant cover that gets 2.
Stardust just continues going to work on the rib area. Goldust misses a springboard back elbow, Stardust sets-up for Cross Rhodes, but Goldust counters into a roll-up and gets a very shaky 3 count.
Winner: Goldust (Roll-Up)
- After The Bell: Stardust looks stunned about the end of the match. Goldust implores Stardust to shake his hand, Stardust grabs it quickly and rolls out of the ring, still looking in shock from the outcome.
- EA’s Take: Really an odd ending because of the count. Was it supposed to go that way? It almost seemed like it was meant to be part of the story with the way Stardust was reacting. I’d expect this to continue on into a match at WrestleMania for Goldust’s farewell.
Video: Seth Rollins from Monday Night Raw last week, referencing that he could host The Daily Show better than Jon Stewart. Jon Stewart has a few choice words for Rollins and then Rollins has a retort, and invites Stewart to show up at Fastlane.
Backstage: Dusty Rhodes and Goldust are talking about the previous match when Stardust walks up and says it looks like a family reunion, but they forgot to invite him. Stardust asks Goldust if he thinks they’re done and ambushes him, beating him down. Dusty implores Stardust to stop, calling him ‘Cody’. Stardust tells Dusty that he killed Cody, by sending him “this bag of bones” and that he is no longer living in Dusty’s shadow.
Match #3 For The WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) w/Naomi vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro w/Natalya
Video of the dinner between Kidd/Natalya and Jimmy/Naomi from Smackdown 3 weeks ago. Kidd & Jey begin with Jey getting the upper-hand after a flying forearm and a slam, then a tag to Jimmy. Double team move now, a combo backbreaker/top rope forearm gets a 2 count. Jimmy with heavy chops and he hits a corkscrew senton from the top for a near fall. Kidd backs Jimmy in for a tag to Cesaro, shoots Jimmy in and runs him into Cesarom Jimmy counters but Cesaro chops the leg. Jimmy tries to fight out of the wrong corner, Kidd gets a tag and langs Jimmy’s leg across the ropes.
Kidd works the leg and makes a tag to Cesaro, for more of that same prescription. Cesaro with a one-legged big swing into a single leg crab, Kidd tags and hits a slingshot leg drop for a count of 2. Kidd continues to work the leg, wrapping it on the ring apron, but Jimmy gets himself a small window of opportunity. Cesaro rolls kid back inside and gets the tag as Jimmy reaches Jey, who hits a flurry of moves exclamated by a Samoan drop. He lines up for the Umaga Hip Attack, but Kidd is on the apron with a distraction that allows Cesaro to get a roll-up for 2. Jey with an enzuigiri and this time connects on the Umaga Hip Attack, but Cesaro is out at 2. Jey ascends the turnbuckle, but Cesaro hits the ropes which crotches Jey.
Kidd makes a tag, Cesaro hits the Swiss Superplex and Kidd follows with a springboard elbow drop that nearly wins them the titles. Kidd wants the Sharpshooter, counter by Jey, Kidd hits the apron and gets a roll-up on Jey, but Jimmy made a blind tag. Uso’s hit Alley Us and Jimmy covers, but Cesaro breaks it at 2 and pulls Kidd to the outside. Jimmy eats a kick from Kidd and Jey with an outside dive onto Cesaro. Kidd takes out Jey with a kick and here comes Jimmy who misses a baseball slide, then counters a kick from Kidd to a Samoan drop into the barricade. Jimmy rolls in Kidd and heads to the top, Cesaro’s distraction on the apron is thwarted and Jimmy goes for the Samoan Splash.
Kidd gets the knees up and rolls Jimmy into a cover for a near fall, then locks Jimmy in the Sharpshooter. Jey breaks it up with a kick to the back of the head, Cesaro in now and they brawl to the outside as Jimmy crawls to a cover that’s only good for 2. Cesaro rolls Jey into the ring which distracts the ref, then swallows a kick from Jimmy. Kidd capitalizes on the distraction and hits the swinging fisherman neckbreaker to capture the gold.
Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (Kidd/Swinging Fisherman Neckbreaker)
- EA’s Take: Lillian Garcia – “Here are your winners and still….the new WWE Tag Team Champions…”. Why in the BLUE HELL did they let Justin Roberts walk again? Anyway, this was yet another example of why The Uso’s are the best tag team in the business. Not to discredit Kidd & Cesaro because they are great too and I like the different paths they could take with them going forward in terms of challengers. There’s a bunch of babyface teams right now with the breakup of Gold & Stardust and the eventual split of The Miz & Damien Mizdow. Add to that the recent call-up of Kalisto to add The Lucha Dragons into the mix.
Video: Triple H talking about his allegiance to WWE, 2 weeks ago on Raw and what has led up to Triple H calling him out for tonight.
In The Ring: It’s time for that confrontation and here comes Triple H, who is wearing street clothes and not his usual suit. Triple H talks about last week on Raw, when he was confronted by Ric Flair about Sting and how he regrets losing his cool and apologized to Flair, but doesn’t apologize for what he said about Sting. He says he is not standing in the ring as the COO, but as the heartbeat of WWE, The Game, The King of Kings and “Sting, I am waiting for you!”. He makes Triple H think about it for a moment and finally “The Vigilante” Sting makes his way to the ring. HHH says that they are past pleasantries and cuts right to the chase, he knows why Sting is here and isn’t mad about it, but feels sorry for him.
HHH says Sting backed the wrong horse by being undyingly loyal to WCW, but he respects that Sting “went down with the ship”. HHH says that guys like himself made that ship go down and he knows Sting came for him because without HHH & Stephanie the “WWE dies.”, but Sting failed and that’s what Sting does. HHH offers to let Sting have his legacy back and wants to do what’s best for business by putting all this behind them and doing business with Sting. All Sting has to do is walk away and HHH promises to make Sting bigger than ever by putting out DVD’s, action figures, loads of merchandise and possibly someday get him a Hall of Fame induction. Sting still says nothing and HHH takes his coat off and says the other option is the hard way, where he will beat the legacy out of Sting and he’ll be carried out and his legacy erased.
HHH says the choice is Sting’s, but he still doesn’t respond. HHH says he can tell by the look in Sting’s eye, he’s already made up his mind and tries to sucker punch Sting. Sting sees it coming and attacks The Game, but is hit by the microphone and HHH takes over. HHH beats down Sting, yelling at him “I gave you a chance!”, before rolling to the outside and grabbing his trusty sledgehammer. Sting pulls a baseball bat out of his jacket and catches HHH under the chin with it, pushing him into the corner until HHH drops the sledgehammer outside. He backs off and points to the WrestleMania sign with the bat, HHH tries to sneak attack, but gets pushed back into the corner and Sting points to the sign again. This time HHH agrees, Sting pushes HHH back again, points to the sign once more and begins to make his exit. HHH comes up from behind, but takes a ball-bat to the gut and receives a Scorpion Death Drop before Sting leaves.
- EA’s Take: Seems like they are paying homage to the Sting/nWo storyline here a bit, with The Authority playing the nWo role. Loved this segment, Sting didn’t have to speak to get his point across. I’m not sure the WCW vs. WWE part of the story is really something that needs to be played up as much as they have been, but they ultimately need to talk about Sting’s history for the younger crowd to really understand the mark he’s made in the industry.
Backstage: We see Daniel Bryan preparing for his match with Roman Reigns later tonight.
Video: Recap of the Kickoff Show, where The Miz’s guest on Miz TV was Paul Heyman. Heyman says it doesn’t matter who wins tonight, Bryan or Reigns because they will lose to Brock Lesnar and we can “believe that”.
Match #4 For The WWE Divas Championship: Paige vs. WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella w/Brie Bella
Video of 3 weeks ago on Raw when The Bella’s sprayed Paige with tanner, then last week when they stole her ring gear and Paige had to wrestle in Rosebud attire. According to Lillian Garcia, Nikki is the Women’s Champion. Brawl to start and Nikki rolls out of the ring, Paige after her with Brie standing in the way, Paige catches Nikki in the ring, then goes for the knees on the apron that is countered and Paige spills to the floor. Nikki sends Paige into the apron and barricade, then back in the ring for a 1 count. Nikki grounds Paige and hits an Alabama Slam for a count of 2. Nikki continues to control until Paige gets in a kick, goes for a roll-up into the bottom turnbuckle, Nikki botches it. Paige with a series of clotheslines and a dropkick for 2.
Nikki ducks a kick into a roll-up that gets 2. Paige connects with the kick this time for another near fall. Paige sets-up for RamPaige, Nikki counters to a facebuster, but Paige retorts with a side kick and crawls into a count of 2. Nikki is caught climbing up top, she counters Paige into a powerbomb for 2. Paige is able to set for the PTO, but Nikki gets the ropes before Paige fully locks it in. Nikki grabs Paige’s tights and hauls her face-first into the turnbuckle, then rolls her up and grabs the tights again for the win.
Winner and STILL WWE Divas Champion: Nikki Bella (Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: If this is headed in the direction that I think it is, which is the return of AJ Lee to help Paige…then shouldn’t Brie have gotten involved to help Nikki win? Maybe AJ is not the plan after all.
Match #5 For The WWE Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett
Clip of last Monday’s Raw, when Ambrose zip-tied Barrett to the ring post and forced him to sign the contract for an IC Title match. Both men connect with strikes, trying to prove who’s tougher, Ambrose with the advantage hits a crossbody and some rights, Barrett avoids a clothesline and ducks outside to regroup. Barrett back in, still can’t solve the puzzle of Ambrose, absorbs punishment until he catches Ambrose on the top with a big boot. Barrett sends Ambrose face-first into the steel steps before rolling him in and now he punishes Ambrose in the corner and grounds him. Ambrose gets a couple strikes in, but runs into Barrett’s boot and to the outside.
Barrett throws Ambrose in the ring, but he counters with a variation of the pendulum clothesline on the outside. Inside they go and Ambrose hits a tornado DDT and they double down. Ambrose is on fire now with a series of strikes and a running bulldog, he goes to the top, hops Barrett and rolls through. Barrett looks for Winds Of Change, Ambrose reverses into a roll-up for 2. Ambrose delivers a dropkick and a top rope diving elbow for a near fall. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds, countered into Wasteland, Ambrose gets out and takes a kick, springs off for a pendulum clothesline again countered and Barrett hits Wasteland for 2.
Barrett sets his sights on a Bullhammer, Ambrose into a roll-up for 2 and then hits with the pendulum clothesline and Barrett rolls outside. Barrett grabs his title and tries to leave, but Ambrose with a suicide dive. Barrett tries escaping through the crowd, but Ambrose gets him back in the ring. Barrett tries to crawl out again, Ambrose catches him and delivers a beat down in the ropes. Ambrose doesn’t break on the refs count and the ref calls for the bell.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Bad News Barrett (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Ambrose hits Barrett with Dirty Deeds, goes to leave, then comes back in and grabs the IC Title.
- EA’s Take: This was one of the more predictable finishes of the night, as its been rumored that they’re penciled in to go 1-1 at WrestleMania. Decent match that did what it needed to do and advanced the story and rivalry between Ambrose & Barrett.
In The Ring: The Undertaker’s druids come out carrying torches to a spiritual chant. Taker’s music hits and out comes 2 more druids, pushing a casket down the aisle and up next to the ring. The casket opens to reveal…Bray Wyatt. Bray says there’s a wicked feeling in the air tonight. He talks about the first time he saw The Undertaker and how he feared him, but now he has become like everyone else, weak and broken with his soul lost. Bray says it’s time for Taker to go home. He knows he can hear him and he wants Taker to know he’s not afraid anymore. He is the new face of fear. “At WrestleMania, I will claim the soul of The Undertaker.”
- EA’s Take: Great way to keep the suspense of whether or not Undertaker will accept the challenge by Bray. I’d leave Taker off until WrestleMania or perhaps even the Raw before. Bray Wyatt is pure gold and doesn’t need Taker to appear to make this feud interesting. Wyatt is a perfect example of someone when they’re firing on all cylinders.
Panel: Renee Young and the rest of the Kickoff panel offer their thoughts on what just happened with Bray Wyatt. Booker T, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton recap the nights events.
Video: The buildup between John Cena and Rusev, leading up to their match tonight for the United States Championship.
Match #6 For The WWE United States Championship: John Cena vs. WWE United States Champion Rusev w/Lana
They feel each other out and circle around, Cena floors Rusev with a right and grabs a headlock. Rusev with a big kick for 2, then begins to dominate Cena with strikes in the corner. Cena fights back and shoots Rusev in, but falls victim to a spinning heel kick and a count of 2, then goes back to beating Cena down. Rusev grabs another near fall off a corner avalanche, Cena’s out on the apron and Rusev drives him off into the barricase, rolls him in for a cover and gets 2. Rusev gets distracted by the crowd and hits a dropkick for 2, only to have the favor returned by Rusev for 2 as well.
Cena gets a short burst of energy and takes Rusev down, raining fists, hits a shoulder tackle off the rope, goes for another and gets caught in a fallaway slam. Rusev really in control and gets 2 off multiple elbow drops. Cena uses Rusev to get to his feet and throws some gut shots, whip into the corner and runs into a back elbow, before being grounded by Rusev again. Cena powers out of the hold and takes a kick, Rusev goes for a suplex and Cena reverses, then hits a big clothesline for a count of 2. Cena tries the AA, Rusev counters into a DDT for a 2 count. Splashes in the corner by Rusev only get another 2 and Rusev shows signs of frustration. Cena shows signs of life and makes the comeback, hitting the 5 Knuckle Shuffle and going for an AA, Rusev pushes off and kicks Cena’s head off for another near fall.
Rusev tries to go for The Accolade, Cena counters to the STF, Rusev pushes off and hits a Gunnslinger that Rusev can’t believe doesn’t get 3. Rusev charges Cena and runs into a boot, Cena to the 2nd rope hits a tornado DDT, Rusev kicks out at 2. They slug it out in the middle of the ring, Cena looks AA again, Rusev goes for another Gunnslinger, but Cena turns it into a crossface. Rusev just powers out of the hold and hits an Alabama Slam, Cena kicks after a 2 count. Rusev attempts The Accolade once more, Cena catches his foot and gets him in the STF, but Rusev makes it to the ropes. Cena sets for an AA, Rusev is out with an elbow then a kick, looks for another superkick and this time Cena connects on the AA, but still can’t get a 3 count.
Cena climbs to the top and goes for the leg drop, Rusev catches him into a powerbomb and immediately locks in The Accolade. Cena breaks the grip a couple times and is finally able to get to his feet with Rusev on his back. Lana enters the ring and distracts the ref, Rusev with a low blow and then a kick to the face. He slaps The Accolade on again and Cena passes out.
Winner and STILL WWE United States Champion: Rusev (The Accolade)
- After The Bell: Trainers check on John Cena, who is still unconscious, face down in the ring. Rusev & Lana celebrate and the Russian flag drops behind them. Cena starts to come-to, but has trouble getting to his feet. He fights off help and heads to the back.
- EA’s Take: Really liking the mid-card title scene since some of the bigger names have been getting involved. Both the IC & US titles have been begging for a revival and these kinds of feuds will do that. Lana’s interference allows for a logical reason to have the rematch at Mania, which is where this is headed. Hopefully, more layers can be added to the story to keep it interesting until then.
Panel: Back to the Kickoff Panel to recap the night before heading to the main event.
Video: The rising tension between Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns, as they vie for a spot in the main event at WrestleMania.
Match #7 – Winner Gets WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match At WrestleMania: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
They posture, lock up and break clean. Dueling Bryan & Reigns chants. They posture, lock-up and break again. Both men still trying to feel each other out, Bryan gains a headlock, Reigns powers out and reverses, catching Bryan with a shoulder, Bryan comes back with a roll-up for 2. Bryan catches Roman’s legs and attempts a surfboard, but Reigns powers out, leading Bryan to ponder his next move. Bryan kicks at Reigns, but is overpowered. Bryan flips over Reigns and hits the ropes, Reigns with a tilt-a-whirl slam, then clotheslines Reigns to the outside. Reigns follows him and viciously attacks Bryan using the barricade.
Bryan catches Reigns with a kick back in the ring, trying to cut Reigns down at the legs. Reigns breaks a submission with heavy rights, slingshots Bryan across the top, hits a Samoan drop and a flying clothesline. He charges Bryan, but Bryan with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle. Bryan charges and is hammered with a big clothesline that turns Bryan inside-out for a count of 2. Reigns hits rolling suplexes and his signature apron dropkick, then sets-up the Superman Punch. Bryan counters with a kick and tries to take advantage, but the ref is checking on Reigns to see if he can continue. The match goes on and Bryan works the mid-section, the same area that Reigns had hernia surgery months before. Cormer dropkicks precede a top rope hurricanrana attempt by Bryan, countered by Reigns into a powerbomb for a near fall.
Reigns crushes Bryan with clotheslines in the corner, props him up top, but Bryan counters and seats Reigns on the turnbuckle. Bryan lands a top rope back suplex that only gets 2. Bryan gets the Yes Lock, but Reigns drags him to the ropes and rolls outside. Bryan hits on 2 suicide dives, goes for a third and is caught into an overhead belly to belly on the floor. Reigns has Bryan in his crosshairs for a Spear, but Bryan side swipes him into the steel steps. Both men struggle to reach the ring before the count of 10, but do. Bryan comes off the top and is caught with a Superman Punch for 2. Reigns tries a Spear and Bryan catches him in a roll-up for a near fall. Bryan with a big kick, and then connects with Knee Plus, but Reigns kicks at 2.
Reigns on his knees and Bryan goes back to the kicks, tries for a head kick, but Reigns catches the leg. Bryan slaps Reigns and snatches the arm, worming down to the mat into the Yes Lock. Reigns finally powers out and mounts Bryan, hammering down with big forearms. Bryan grabs a triangle choke, Reigns is able to lift him up and slam him to break. They double down and then get into a striking contest on the mat, Bryan to his feet and hits the big head kick before setting up for Knee Plus again. Bryan charges and Reigns catches him with a Spear to get the victory.
Winner: Roman Reigns (Spear)
- After The Bell: Both men are in the ring, spent. Bryan grabs Reigns and turns him arounf. Face to face, Bryan tells Reigns he better win at WrestleMania and then offers his hand. Roman takes it and then celebrates.
- EA’s Take: Excellent main event match that exceeded my expectations. Easily, the best match of Roman Reigns’ career. A lot of people will attribute that to working with Bryan, but Reigns really answered the call and brought it. Bryan was the perfect opponent to get Reigns ready for Lesnar. Bryan is a very physical wrestler and working that style with Reigns can only help him going into an even more physical opponent, in Brock Lesnar.
EA’s Finisher: Overall a much better show than I was anticipating. I half-went in thinking most of the finishes would be DQ’s or count-outs so they could build to rematches at WrestleMania. Have to give WWE credit for coming up with alternatives as they could easily have taken that route, especially since this is free trial month and a lot of people are probably not paying anything for this. Bryan/Reigns exceeded all expectations I had and I applaud WWE for sticking to the plan this time around and not giving in to all the post-Rumble noise. Bryan can help out in other ways without being involved in the title picture right now. Doesn’t mean he’s out of it forever. Storylines for WrestleMania became a lot clearer, with Randy Orton returning for revenge on Seth Rollins. Cena never tapped to Rusev, so that will continue. Sting & HHH are already official for the big show and as an admitted Sting mark, I for one couldn’t be more pumped (eventhough that has been the direction since Survivor Series). Also, good to see Tyson Kidd & Cesaro putting themselves on the map. I really like the tandem, especially now that Kidd actually has developed a character to go along with the tremendous in-ring skills we all knew he had. Maybe he can pull Cesaro’s out too. Great segment by Bray Wyatt, which has to ultimately lead to The Undertaker accepting the challenge. Why else would they put the thought in our heads if it wasn’t going to happen?
Top Three To Watch
1 – Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
2 – Rusev vs. John Cena
3 – The Usos vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
Chairshot Classics: PROGRESS Ch. 3: Fifty Shades of Pain
Harry brings us another throwback episode of Progress! His play by play style will paint a picture so clear Bob Ross wouldn’t even need to add trees!
Harry brings us another throwback episode of Progress! His play by play style will paint a picture so clear Bob Ross wouldn’t even need to add trees!
Two of these reviews down. Let’s go ahead and make it a trifecta. Hopefully, you are enjoying the series as ‘What I Watched’ returns under the Chairshot Classics banner for PROGRESS (as well as Impact Wrestling. Hopefully, we can eventually cover some other promotions as well). I’ll be taking note of all the comments left on these reviews and addressing them as new ones get typed out. In the interest of a somewhat regular schedule of these posting, the first couple PROGRESS reviews are being typed out in advance of their release on the website.
So, to the reason of today’s gathering. PROGRESS has had two good (but not necessarily great) shows so far. Instead of going to a more regular occurrence, they stuck with the three months between shows model. Chapter 2 had us in June, whereas this show doesn’t take place until September. The bigger story to me though is that the main event is not what I though it would be at the end of Chapter 2. Instead of getting Nathan Cruz vs. El Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff, we are instead getting a tag match with Cruz and Ligero as partners. With that, we once again step into the way back machine and head to September 30th, 2012 as “What I Watched” presents ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’ or PROGRESS Chapter 3.
WRITER’S NOTE #1: My reviews will not be a play by play recap. I’ve done that style in the past and honestly, I don’t especially care for it. Instead, it’ll be more of a stream of consciousness review as I talk about the wrestlers, the matches, the storylines and whatever else happens to pop into my head while I watch.
WRITER’S NOTE #2: As much as I’d like to let everyone make their own decisions on the matches, giving away match results in the review will be a necessary evil. The reason being is that I will discuss what I think everything means going forward and maybe even doing a little fantasy booking of where I would go from where they presently are. I will still post the results as one big listing at the end of the articles as well as my ratings for the contests. The final show review will be after that as well as the ‘Final Reaction’ for the show. Going forward, I’ll have an archive to all of my previous reviews here on the Chairshot if you click on my user name.
MY RATING SCALE: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Above Average, Average, Below Average, Bad, Very Bad, Terrible and SKIP. Some matches will occasionally get a ‘N/A’ rating as well. That will be reserved for matches that I feel don’t warrant a rating.
PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 3 – ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’
From: ‘The Garage’ in Islington, London, England
Date: September 30th, 2012
Run Time: 2:08:49 (Demand PROGRESS)
WITH SPECIAL THANKS: Ian Hamilton for some of the research that I did while working on this review. (http://www.backbodydrop.com)
*Our opening video focuses on a tag match between the London Riots (James Davis and Rob Lynch) facing Danny Garnell and Darrell Allen. In addition, we see that Marty Scurll will be the special guest referee for our main event. Which apparently will not be the previously thought Cruz vs. Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff, but a tag match instead with Cruz and Ligero as partners…
*There is no Smallman opening promo, as I believe it was it edited into the opening video with Scurll being added to the main event as the referee. Disappointing start, as I find Smallman’s opening welcome to be a nice light hearted way to get these shows started.
*Match #1: Noam Dar (1-1) vs. Paul Robinson
The Who: Noam Dar is coming off a victory over Darrell Allen via ‘Champagne Super KneeBar’ at the last show to even his record up. Paul Robinson is making his in-ring debut for the company and he is replacing MK McKinnan, who was the originally announced opponent for Dar in this contest.
The Why: My guess would be to get Dar more momentum going forward. I don’t imagine that Robinson is going to be added last minute and beat Dar, but stranger things have happened.
The Match: They still have the records on the name bar’s for the intros. I know that’s not something they do any more, but I’m curious how long it sticks around for…both guys get inset promos. Dar’s is by far the better, as he informs us that he’s going to keep winning so he can get the ‘big stick’ by which he means the PROGRESS Championship Staff, despite the crowd’s borderline racist chants towards him…opening bell rings and we’re underway…Robinson shows off the Chris Hero shoulder kips into the forward roll. Pretty sure that dates back to England before Hero, but Hero is where I personally remember first seeing it…commentary starts a little late, but there’s Jimmy Barnett, who claims he’s not affiliated with Jim Smallman despite sounding a lot like him. That cat is now long since out of the bag…backslide for two and then a super spinning backslide for another two. Seemed a little unnecessary but the fans enjoyed it. Know your audience, I guess…Paul Robinson is a very small guy. Believed the announced weight was just over one hundred forty. For a visual representation, think Spike Dudley…certainly a unique twist on the Garvin Stomp…Dar focusing on Robinson’s knee pays off the fans who have watched the previous shows and the ‘Champagne Super KneeBar’…Dar repeats the gum spot from Chapter 2. Gross. And the fans appropriately respond with a ‘you sick fuck’ chant. Not the most hygienic man in wrestling, is he?…lighting for this show is quite a bit better then it has been for previous shows…Robinson with a suicide dive, which could have been a disaster. There is almost no room between the ring and the front row of fans…said it before, say it again: the superkick and the enzugiri are the most overused moves in wrestling…airplane spin however, we could use more of…Robinson tries to drop the Guillotine Legdrop, but Dar moves and Robinson lands hard…pair of fisherman’s (both suplex and buster) lead to a grounded kneebar. Not quite the ‘Super Kneebar’, but it’s enough for the tap at 11:41…pretty basic match to kick off the show. The crowd was into it, which is good. But as a fan who watches a lot of wrestling, it never seemed to get out of the first gear and move into being more then just there. Dar’s personality make his matches an easy enough watch, but at same point, the in ring product has to be risen up to mean anything. (AVERAGE)
*Match #2: BWC Starlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © (1-0) vs. Xander Cooper (1-0)
The Who: Mark Andrews is a pretty well known name here in the States now. He’s coming off a successful title defense against Mike Hitchman at Chapter 2. Xander Cooper wasn’t in a match on Chapter 2, but did win a three way match at Chapter 1 with this title on the line,
The Why: Between Chapters 1 and 2, Andrews beat Cooper for the title. Andrews had his previously mentioned defense at Chapter 2 and after that match, Cooper came in through the crowd and attacked him. That led to PROGRESS management scheduling this rematch between the two for the title.
The Match: I believe only the second match in PROGRESS history to have been set up on the show before. The only match on Chapter 2 that was set up at Chapter 1 was the main event, if memory serves…‘Man for All Seasons’ is such a proper asshole nickname. I dig it…Cooper impressed me at the first show. Andrews and Hitchman had a banger at the second. My expectations are pretty high for this one…both get inset promos. Andrews has the best line: “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and you’re just a dick”…bell goes and we’re underway…the fans insinuate that Cooper has herpes. Somewhere, Rhett Titus is pissed his chant got taken…pace finally starts to pick up around three minutes in…Cooper busts out Miz’s old Reality Check combo. Personality wise, he kind of reminds me of Miz as well…Andrews with a Bubba Bomb. Not something you usually see a guy his size use…standing moonsault senton gets two and looks really cool in the process. Andrews was a lot like Ricochet and PAC early in his career. Not everything made sense, but most of it looked cool…stranglehold Golden Rule by Cooper. That’s a first for me…rope assisted enzugiri kick knocks Cooper back into the center of the ring. Andrews comes flying in with a Shooting Star Press (over-shooting just a bit, actually) and that’s the closing bell at 8:52…better then the opener, but a step down from what both of them did before. Took a bit of time to get out of the starting block, but once it did, it picked up quite nicely. I would recommend the three way for Cooper and the Hitchman match for Andrews more personally though. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
*Match #3: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) (1-0) vs. The Bastard Squad- Darrell Allen and Danny Garnell (debut as a team. Allen is 0-1-1 as a single. Garnell is 1-0 as a single)
The Who: London Riots were successful in their debut at Chapter 2 against Will Ospreay and Alex Esmail in what was shaping up to be a good match until Esmail got hurt (broken leg). Allen got a no decision at Chapter 1 in the three way for the Starlo Scholarship and was tapped by Noam Dar at Chapter 2. Danny Garnell won his debut match, pinning Jimmy Havoc at Chapter 2.
The Why: Damn good question and one I don’t presently have an answer for. I checked the history of PROGRESS that is maintained at Voices of Wrestling by Rob Reid and found nothing to give any reasons as to why this is happening. Maybe Jimmy Barnett will shine some light on the reason during the match itself.
The Match: Lynch has what I thought was a paddle but was corrected by Barnett is a cricket bat in his hand. Is cricket big in England? Thought that was more of an Australian thing…Barnett informs us that a poll on the PROGRESS website has dubbed Garnell and Allen as ‘The Bastard Squad’, so my why maybe just as a way to try to build up a tag division…as per the warning I issued during Chapter 2, it is entirely possible that I will screw up Lynch and Davis. If I do so, I apologize…then again, they appear to have keep the one in singlet, one in trunks look. I should be okay…and we’re off as a brawl breaks out…man, that one roaming cam is making me sea sick. Super wobbly…Lynch drops Garnell on the floor with a Michinoku Driver…and the official PROGRESS Chapter 3 chair of that fan has been broken…Lynch and Garnell just trading bombs in the center of the ring…high angle release German by Garnell. Lynch lands almost square on the back of his damn head…Allen and Garnell do have quite the big guy/little guy dynamic going for them…first ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant…Allen has Davis caught in a Octopus but Davis turns it into a wheelbarrow facebuster. Again, another first…Riots grind down the pace of the match on Allen, but it makes sense for them to do so. They have a significant size edge over Allen, why not use it?…one of these shows, I’m going to keep a running enzugiri count. If we don’t hit double digits, I’d be stunned…Barnett advocates the old Gorilla Monsoon stance of multiple referees for tag matches…Lynch with an overhead superplex on Allen and Allen lands square on his tailbone. I’m guessing that probably sucked…both men on the ropes and Allen with another enzugiri to knock Lynch to mid-ring. The same thing Andrews did to Cooper in the previous match…Allen tries to come in with a cross-body off the top but gets caught by both members of the Riot Squad. Lynch helps Davis pop Allen up and into a sit out powerbomb which gets the three count at 12:25…a few good moments here and there but not enough to make it anything really worth remembering. It followed the old school tag wrestling formula to a tee. The thing about formulas is that they become formulas because they work. It does here and while it’s not going to light the world on fire or anything, it produced an above average tag match that sees the Riot Squad continue their winning ways. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Post match: The Riots lay in a beat down to Garnell, as one of the chairs from ringside is used multiple times against the knee of Garnell, before they use the cricket bat into the chair to ‘Pillmanize’ the ankle of Garnell. Microphone time for Lynch afterwards and declares war not just on the tag teams in the UK but on PROGRESS as well, laying down an open challenge for any place, any where, any time. Guess this story will develop more going forward then…
*Match #4: Jon Ryan (0-0) vs. Jimmy Havoc (0-1)
The Who: Jon Ryan makes his PROGRESS debut here, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him before working for wXw out of Germany. Jimmy Havoc is back after a losing effort to Danny Garnell on Chapter 2 as a favor from his friend, Jim Smallman.
The Why: ‘Strictly No Blood, No Hardcore’ is the tag line for the match. Let’s just say that somehow I doubt this…
The Match: Ryan does get booed on his intro and the fans love Havoc, chanting ‘Jimmy’s Gonna Spoon You’, a call back to the great spooning debacle of Chapter 2…apparently Ryan was Havoc’s original trainer whereas Garnell was the one who trained him in the ways of technical wrestling…an attempted handshake by Havoc is met by a bitch slap from Ryan. That’ll end poorly for him, I feel…Havoc works in a spoon while on the mat to continue that bit…knowing Havoc’s reputation, it’s weird seeing him in normal matches…and as I type that, Havoc goes for dive and misses but lands on his feet. He turns towards Ryan, who thwacks him with a frying pan for the DQ at 3:36…normally, three minutes is about the mark where I would try to give a match a rating. I don’t feel like I can’t rate this here given what happens next, therefore I’m not going to…(N/A (ANGLE ADVANCEMENT))
*Post match- Havoc is understandably less then pleased about Ryan going upside his dome with a frying pan, which opened up Havoc’s forehead. He demands that Smallman restart the match under ‘Hardcore’ rules. Smallman warns people that don’t like this style of match to move away from the ring but as far as he is concerned: “fucking kill him, I don’t care.”
*Match #4b: Hardcore Rules: Jon Ryan (0-1) vs. Jimmy Havoc (1-1)
The Match: And thus the lack of rating for the previous match…opening bell once again here…and the first official weapon is a kendo stick. Which Ryan just beats the hell out of Havoc with. I think the kendo stick is one of those overrated weapons. Not enough reaction to justify how much those things actually hurt…cheese grater. It’s like every ECW brawl from 1998 on featuring New Jack…there’s not really a lot to discuss in a match like this. It’s basically just them hitting each other with a bunch of various shit…feel like throwing a bloody person into a group of people’s chairs is a bad idea…powerbomb through an ironing board. Not what those are intended for, but it looked cool enough…never cared for staple guns, myself. Similar to the kendo stick, but I guess a little easier to gimmick…staple to the dingus. Because of course he does…I’m guessing this is the match that leads into intermission so they have time to clean up the ring after it. It’s a combination of the old WWF hardcore brawls and the ultra-violent style matches you’d see from a CZW or a Big Japan…and now the thumbtacks make an appearance…DVD into the tacks. And the referee wusses out by grabbing a cookie sheet to count on. It was a smart move on his part, but not the most masculine….the problem with matches like this is it takes a while to set up the next spot. Spot, set-up, spot, set-up. Rinse and repeat as necessary…a ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant breaks out, followed immediately by a ‘No, it’s not’. That could make for an interesting way to go down the line with it. And a definite divide in the fan base for someone like Havoc…okay, that finish worked. They had set the BW board across two chairs. Havoc tries for a spinning head scissors and gets caught and dropped clean on his head with a package Tombstone (think Tombstone set-up and then Ryan cradled both legs under his own arms). Rather then go for the pin there though, Ryan adjusts his grip around Havoc’s waist and launches him through the BW board with a release wheelbarrow suplex. It was all over but the counting and the counting hits three at 14:36…this kind of match is going to be very divisive. There are fans of this genre and there are those who feel like it’s a black eye on the sport. I personally enjoy death match wrestling as long as we don’t go too over the top with it (needles, fire, stuff that can really hurt someone). I thought this was a pretty good match for the genre while not going too far in order to affect the crowd that may not be as interested in this style. We’ll go ‘above average’ for the rating, but your mileage will vary. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
*Post match- both guys get a nice ovation from the crowd and a ‘That was awesome’ chant. Let’s not go around tossing that out so freely. A sign of respect as a hug and handshake from teacher and student occurs and Havoc pops on the microphone once again to put over the crowd and Jon Ryan as well. He also asks the fans to buy him and Ryan beer and have a chat. Always working, that Havoc…
*Match #5: RJ Singh (0-0-1) vs. Rob Cage (debut)
The Who: RJ Singh returns after getting a no decision in the number one contender’s three way at Chapter 2. He still has his entourage with him as well. Rob Cage is a man that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of before so we’ll see what he can do in this match.
The Why: Can’t say I really have an answer for this. My guess would be to help flush out the roster with more people.
The Match: Can’t say my expectations are really high here, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised before. Mike Hitchman at Chapter 2 comes to mind there…the match graphic has Singh listed as 0-1. However, since he didn’t get pinned in the three way, I gave him a draw/no decision instead…inset promo for RJ Singh and the ‘Singh is King’ catchphrase remains in tact. It works for him. Promo wasn’t anything special however…opening bell goes as Singh’s accomplices make friends at ringside…apparently Rob Cage went the Jimmy Havoc route of campaigning on Twitter in order to get a spot on this show…I do still enjoy the fact that RJ calls his Camel Clutch the ‘Ethnic Submission’. It’s wrong on several levels, but still funny…Cage gets caught up with Singh’s crew and Singh gets a nice looking leaping neckbreaker, done Zig Zag style. That was smooth…running knee strike looks less smooth…Cage goes to the top and the ‘Director’ pushes him off while the referee was working on getting the other member of the Bollywood Empire out of the ring. That said, it happened so close to the referee that he had to have seen it. Really poor ring positioning…that leads to RJ Singh applying the ‘Ethnic Submission’ and it leads to a tap out from Rob Cage at 7:27…well, they reached my expectations with this. Worst match on the show thus far. I found RJ to be very entertaining for the role he had in the three way, so this was a major step down for him. As far as Rob Cage, not the best first impression made. For the first time on the show, I go with a ‘below average’ rating. It’s not awful, but if you are in a rush while watching this show, it’s seven minutes you can easily skip and not miss anything. (BELOW AVERAGE)
*Post match: it appears that all is okay as Singh offers his hand and Cage accepts it. Until RJ kicks Rob in the junk and puts him back in the Camel Clutch while his cohorts talk trash right in his face. The hold gets broken by the referee and Singh poses on the turnbuckle to celebrate his victory.
*Match #6: Stixx (0-1) vs. Lion Kid (1-0)
The Who: Stixx and Lion Kid both make their return after opening up Chapter 2 with a singles match. As previously mentioned there, I’ve heard that Lion Kid was the former Wade Fitzgerald, but have never seen any confirmation of this.
The Why: This one is easy. As mentioned, they had a match at Chapter 2. Lion Kid won. Stixx wants revenge. Pretty simple, really.
The Match: The who and the why was pretty easy to get through. I fear the match may not be. These two didn’t exactly set the world on fire at Chapter 2. Hopefully, it was just nerves and we get a better performance here…we start hot as Stixx knocks Lion off the apron and proceeds to beat him around ringside before the opening bell…Stixx rolls back in and demands a count-out, despite the fact we’ve not had an opening bell (at least, not one I’ve heard)…appears Lion Kid caught a knee injury in the floor brawl, but we’re a go now with an opening bell and everything…huge Black Hole Slam forty seconds in and I thought that was three. It wasn’t, but it wouldn’t have surprised me. Looked really good…huge Flair shin breaker by Stixx. He’s definitely looked better tonight then last outing…Lion Kid looked for a reverse rana but Stixx powered him back up. Kid transitions right into a victory roll, which I believe is how he won at Chapter 2. It only gets two this time…Stixx with a nice looking variation of the half calf, but Kid does eventually get to the ropes…series of chops sees Lion Kid ‘roar up’, but a shot to the knee keeps Stixx in charge…half crab giant swing. That’s just a dick move…Lion Kid goes for a springboard and falls. Crowd chants ‘you fucked up’, but I don’t think he did. I think it was on purpose to sell the knee and if it was, bravo…the crowd continues the ‘roar’ chant to rally Lion Kid. As Jim Smallman said in the favorite chants video he did, it’s just fun to say ‘roar’…avalanche tabletop (fall away slam to vertical) suplex. Don’t believe I’ve ever seen that done from the buckles before…Stixx is being almost Anderson like in his focus on the leg here. These guys are putting on quite the show here…very cool turnbuckle sequence leads to the big guy coming in with a frog splash on the knee…Lion Kid with a series of roll-ups to put over how desperate he is. Psychology, psychology, psychology…Stixx tries the Black Hole again but Lion Kid counters into a tornado DDT. Lion Kid goes for a 450, but Stixx rolls in. Lion Kid lands on his feet. Normally, that’s a good thing. With a bad knee, not so much. Stixx hauls Lion Kid up and drives him into the mat with Splash Mountain (Crucifix PB set-up but into a standard PB finish. I dub it the River Stixx). After a quick debate of a submission attempt, it’s a three count instead at 12:21…well done, gentlemen. Way to make me eat my words. After being significantly less then impressed with their match at Chapter 2, they turned things around and put on in my opinion the best match of Chapter 3 thus far. A big credit for this goes to big man, Stixx. He put on a technical clinic in this match, which you wouldn’t expect from a guy his size. Lion Kid more then held up his end of the bargain as well. You mix psychology with solid in ring work and no noticeable blown spots, it makes for a happy reviewer. I would rate this match as ‘very good’. (VERY GOOD)
*Match #7: Nathan Cruz (3-0, PROGRESS Championship Staff Holder) and El Ligero (2-1, #1 Contender to Nathan Cruz) (debut as a team) vs. Dave Mastiff (debut) and Greg Burridge (0-1) (debut as a team)
The Who: Cruz and Ligero are the champion and challenger elect for the next time the PROGRESS Staff is on the line. Cruz won the four way on the first show for the Staff. Ligero won a three way on the second show for the number one contendership. Dave Mastiff is making his PROGRESS debut here. From what little of him I’ve seen on NXT UK, he’s impressed me. Greg Burridge took the loss in the three way at the last show. Marty Scurll is the referee and he’s probably not going to be an unbiased one as he has issues with both Cruz and Ligero.
The Why: If I’m being entirely honest, I don’t have a damn clue for this one. I expected we’d get Cruz vs. Ligero here, but instead it’s this tag match. Burridge wanting revenge on Ligero makes sense. Burridge wanting a crack at Cruz makes sense. Where Dave Mastiff fits into this is anyone’s guess. As for Scurll, that’s easy. He was cheated out of the title by Cruz at the first show. He had Cruz beat at the second show while the referee was down. Ligero attempted to interfere and superkick Cruz, but Cruz ducked and Ligero wiped out Scurll. Despite not hitting his intended target, Ligero didn’t seem especially upset about it. Cruz got the victory and Scurll got screwed once again. How does this all tie together? Hell if I know. Let’s find out…
The Match: Man, this is a clusterfuck and a half just based on the description I had to type…once again, Cruz is greeted with the ‘shit Zack Ryder’ chants. Probably still my favorite one thus far in PROGRESS…Scurll gestures that he’ll call it down the middle during intros. I doubt that…Ligero and Mastiff are both in NXT UK. I think Burridge is now retired. I think Cruz just came back to wrestling, but I’m not sure…Mastiff’s beard is not nearly as impressive as it is these days…inset promos for only Cruz and Mastiff. Nathan Cruz is laying on the Shawn Michaels impression a bit thick. He is not only the ‘Show-Stealer’, he’s also the ‘Leader of the New Generation’. Bloody hell, mate…opening bell and we’re underway…Burridge and Ligero to start, until Ligero tags out to Cruz…I can’t entirely tell with the accent, but I believe that Burridge is calling Cruz a ‘slag’…I believe Cruz and Burridge are the two biggest guys height wise in PROGRESS (maybe outside of Stixx to this point). I’m almost certain that Mastiff is the heaviest…tags made on both side and we go to Ligero and Mastiff…do believe that Mastiff just called Ligero a cat. Or something similar. It was of the feline variety…Mastiff with a massive delayed vertical…and Burridge comes in to beat the hell out of Ligero…Ligero turns the table by going to the knee of Burridge and takes control…and that explains why Scurll wasn’t allowed to wrestle on this show. It was around the time of his ‘British Boot Camp’ run with TNA. And TNA were being dicks about their people working elsewhere due to not wanting injuries…last few minutes of this match has been all Ligero and Cruz working over Burridge’s knee. Smart wrestling, but not always the most entertaining…the f bombs are flying in this one. Viewer discretion is advised…little bit of in-fighting between Cruz and Ligero leads to Burridge making the tag to Mastiff…even back here some six years ago, Mastiff moves very well for a guy his size…Cruz and Ligero try to work together to suplex Mastiff. It doesn’t go well. Mastiff takes them both over with a double vertical…Ligero clearly gets caught calling a spot. I usually try to get the guys the benefit of the doubt, but that was blatant…Ligero trying to trade shots with Burridge. Why would he want to do that?…breaks down to Ligero and Mastiff in the ring. Top rope cross body attempt by Ligero just bounces off Mastiff. Mastiff tries to climb, but Ligero dropkicks the legs and then hits the Del Rio corner double stomp. Scurll refuses to count for Ligero and shit cans him to the floor…Cruz gets caught in a submission but manages to escape and hit his version of the Whiplash. Again, Scurll refuses to count though…Ligero goes for his tornado DDT, but Cruz tags himself in and sets up for his superkick. He goes for it on Mastiff but Ligero superkicks him mid-move. Ligero again shrugs his shoulders and rolls out of the ring as Mastiff lands on Cruz with a huge cannonball senton in the corner. He pulls Cruz to center ring and a follow-up cover gets the three count for the ‘Bastard’ Dave Mastiff at 18:10…took a bit to get going, but once it did, it was pretty entertaining. I’d say basically the first ten minutes of this match are a wash though, as it’s mostly mat wrestling and then leg work on Burridge that gets completely forgotten about in the closing stretch. I understand the idea of having Ligero and Cruz lose here. I even get the idea of Cruz taking the pinfall. To me, it would have made more sense for Burridge to get the pin since it would validate his point from the last show. Then again, we’d never see Greg Burridge in PROGRESS (to this day, I believe), so in hindsight, Mastiff was the right choice. The first half of the match was average, the closing sequence was pretty good. So we’ll settle in the middle and give this a good rating overall but easily the lowest quality of the three main events to this point. (GOOD)
*Post match: Mastiff gets mic time, saying that he did what he said he was going to do, which was something Scurll couldn’t do. He says that Cruz may be the man around here, but he’ll never be a ‘Bastard’. Mastiff and Burridge exit, with Scurll following shortly behind…Cruz gets the microphone as he’s recovering and points out that he’s still the champ and that picking up a win on the scraps of Ligero means nothing…eventually, it leads to Ligero making his way back out and security having to separate Cruz and Ligero. Smallman yells at them for screwing around at this end of his show and makes the title match official for Chapter 4. Smallman then cuts a quick version of his usual opening promo and we’re officially out for Chapter 3.
Match #1: Noam Dar taps Paul Robinson with a grapevined kneebar @ 11:41 (AVERAGE)
Match #2: BWC Starlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © pins Xander Cooper with a Shooting Star Press @ 8:52 to retain (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #3: Riot Squad (J. Davis/R. Lynch) defeat Darrell Allen and Danny Garnell when Davis pins Allen after a sit out powerbomb @ 12:25 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #4: Jimmy Havoc defeats Jon Ryan by DQ @ 3:36 (N/A (ANGLE ADVANCEMENT))
Match #4b: Hardcore Rules: Jon Ryan pins Jimmy Havoc with a release wheelbarrow suplex through a barbed wire board @ 14:36 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #5: RJ Singh taps Rob Cage with the ‘Ethnic Submission’ (Camel Clutch) @ 7:27 (BELOW AVERAGE)
Match #6: Stixx pins Lion Kid after a Splash Mountain Bomb @ 12:27 (VERY GOOD)
Match #7: Dave Mastiff and Greg Burridge defeat El Ligero and Nathan Cruz when Mastiff pins Cruz following a corner cannonball senton @ 18:10 (GOOD)
FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
Rather then do positives and negatives here, I feel it’s easier to save those for the Final Reaction going forward. Two reasons for that…one, the Final Reaction gets a bit redundant if I’m typing the same thing there that I am here. Two and just as importantly is it’ll help decrease the length of these reviews a bit.
As far as ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’ goes overall, I’d say it’s the weakest of the three shows thus far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad show. Once again, we top out with a ‘very good’ match on the scale. This time though, we do see the ‘below average’ make a return to the scale as well. Consistency is key and while top to bottom, the shows are watchable, there is nothing really blow away that the company would eventually be known for having show in and show out down the road. We see more stuff coming together for the future of the company and the cream is starting to rise to the top in guys like Scurll, Andrews, Ligero, Cruz and the London Riots.
So, where does this leave us all? Well, it’ll leave me coming back to watch ‘The Ballad of El Ligero’ or PROGRESS Chapter 4. It’ll leave you all hopefully wanting to come back and read when I do so. I’m once again off to find food. Honey Buns sound really good right about now.
THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: Has to be the surprise contest of the evening to me. The super redeeming effort that we got from Lion Kid and Stixx earns them best match.
Worst match/moment: That RJ Singh and Rob Cage match was rough. From both an in ring content and from a ‘suspension of disbelief’ perspective. I’ve seen better from RJ but Cage was a definite disappointment in his first outing here.
MVP: This one is going to go to Dave Mastiff, who debuted in the main event of the show for the company and didn’t even look the slightest bit out of place doing so. Not only did he get to showcase his impressive arsenal, he even got to pin the champion in the center of the ring, even if it was under somewhat dubious methods.
FINAL SCORE: 5.5/10
Until next time: “This Is PROGRESS” and that’s “What I Watched”. Catch you all for Chapter 4: “The Ballad of El Ligero”.