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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WCW Halloween Havoc 1989

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WCW continues adding to its pay-per-view lineup with the inaugural Halloween Havoc! This October event would become a mainstay for the company, this first event venturing into the WWF’s territory in Philadelphia. It also sported one of the most memorable (at least to me) cover arts for a video tape, as The Road Warriors and their face paint really fit the Halloween theme. Let’s see what WCW has to offer after their last effort was arguably their top-to-bottom best!

Match #1: ‘Captain’ Mike Rotunda vs. ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk
Rotunda starts the action with a waist lock take down. Collar and elbow tie up and Zenk catches him in a side headlock. Rotunda runs the ropes but he’s taken down by Zenk’s shoulder block. Another collar and elbow into a side headlock. They run the ropes and Zenk again gets the better of him with a football tackle. The crowd gets behind Zenk and Rotunda paces on the outside. Back into the ring and Zenk gets another side headlock. They run ropes, Rotunda leaps Zenk and uses a hip toss.

He cannot follow up as Zenk moves on the attempted elbow drop. Zenk is quickly back up and hits Rotunda with a drop kick. Rotunda rolls to the outside and the referee counts. The Captain gets back up on the apron and slowly enters the ring. Collar and elbow tie up and the two men move to the corner. Rotunda takes a cheap knee to Zenk’s mid section. Rotunda catches Zenk in a headlock and sticks a thumb into his eyes before sending him out to the floor. Zenk climbs back to the apron and meets Rotunda with a shoulder to the midsection and executes a sunset flip.

He can only get a 2 count and Rotunda rolls out of the ring once again. Rotunda rolls into the ring, and Zenk locks in an arm bar. Rotunda is up and down from his knees. Rotunda gets a knee to the mid section and sends Zenk running. Zenk comes back with a modified arm drag take down and locks Rotunda in a hammerlock. Rotunda strengths his way up and breaks the hold on the ropes. Another collar and elbow and Zenk delivers a side headlock take down and gets a 2 count. Rotunda uses his positioning and captures Zenk in a head scissor submission.

He uses the ropes for leverage when he can. He is caught using the ropes and the hold is broken. Rotunda paces the outside and re-enters the ring. Collar and elbow tie up and Zenk works Rotunda down to his knees with another side head lock. A run of the ropes and Rotunda dumps Zenk out of the ring and to the floor. Rotunda stalks him on the floor and slams his head on the ring apron. Rotunda pulls Zenk back to the apron and chokes his neck over the top rope before kicking him back out. Rotunda viciously kicks Zenk down in his effort to re-enter the ring. Back to the apron for Zenk and Rotunda hits a vertical suplex.

Rotunda hesitates before the lateral press and he only gets a 2 count. Frustrated, Rotunda applies an abdominal stretch and uses the ropes once again. Referee Nick Patrick catches Rotunda using the ropes and breaks the hold. Rotunda and Patrick get in each other’s face. Rotunda applies a reverse chin lock and Zenk falls to his knees. He fights back and delivers elbows to the mid section. The hold is broken and he runs for the ropes. Rotunda foils his plan and delivers a massive clothesline.

Rotunda whips Zenk to the ropes, but the Z-Man holds on to them causing Rotunda to miss his drop kick. Irish whip from Zenk and he follows it with a big elbow. Rotunda stops the momentum with an eye rake. Zenk reverses an Irish whip but Rotunda spring boards from the 2nd turnbuckle for a cross body. He rolls up Zenk, but the Z-Man reverses it and gets the pin.
Winner: ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk (Roll-Up Counter)

  • EA’s Take: Pretty standard affair kicks this one off, nothing really good or bad about it. Rotunda was a good opponent for the freshly debuted Z-Man who arrived from the AWA the month prior. He always struck me as a guy with a great look and potential, but just never realized it and severely lacked in the charisma department. He also looked really soft here, just watch how he applies his side headlocks. Theree’s no real aggressiveness there and for me, something like that is always glaring.

Backstage: Bruno Sammartino discusses his role as special guest referee in the main event. He see’s nothing about this match that will cause him to stop it beyond a manager throwing in the towel.

Match #2: The Samoan Swat Team (Samu, Fatu & The Samoan Savage) w/Big Kahuna vs. The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) & ‘Dr Death’ Steve Williams w/Jim Cornette
The Samoans are out of control and causing problems outside of the ring. The referee is doing his best to maintain order. The Savage and Stan Lane start the action. Brief collar and elbow tie up before the Savage rakes the eyes, hits an elbow and delivers a kick to the midsection. Stan Lane reverses a whip to the ropes and lands a back body drop on th Savage before clothes lining him to the floor. Eaton takes advantage on the outside with a straight right and now all 6 men have a stand off on the floor. Things slow down and they enter the ring.

Armbar by Lane and a tag is made to Eaton. The Express deliver a double elbow and Eaton takes control. Straight right from Eaton but the Savage reverses an arm bar. Eaton returns the favor with a reversal of his own but the Savage rakes his eyes. Body slam from the Savage and a tag is made to Samu. He misses an elbow on his entrance and Bobby goes to work with rights and fends off distractions. Another 6 man stand off before Eaton and Samu slow it down for some one on one action. Big chops from Samu. Irish whip by Samu but Bobby moves away from the big splash and a tag is made to Williams.

Dr. Death fights all the Samoans off and delivers a football tackle to Fatu. The crowd goes wild and the Samoans are reeling on the outside. The Samoans regroup and a tag is made to Fatu. The two exchange rights, but Fatu rakes the eyes. Williams reverses the Irish whip and hits a clothesline. Williams fights off the Samoans who are trying to interfere with the match. He hits more football tackles on Fatu and clears the ring once again. Cornette taunts the Big Kahuna from the outside. A tag is made to Eaton who catches Fatu in a standing arm bar. Quick tag made back to Lane who delivers a series of kicks before holding a side headlock.

There is a whip to the ropes and Fatu stiffens up before Lane can deliver a hip toss. Instead there is a big right from Fatu and a tag is made to Samu. Samu delivers a karate kick and a standing drop kick to Lane. From his knees, Lane tries to fight back with lefts and rights to the abdomen. He’s able to buy enough time to get a tag to Dr. Death. Williams and Samu with a collar and elbow tie up. Samu rakes the eyes and works Williams to the corner. Irish whip is reversed by Williams who delivers a big clothesline. Williams sends Samu to his corner to meet Bobby Eaton’s big right hand. Williams keeps on him with a snapmare and a legdrop.

Williams picks him up and makes a tag to Eaton. A big right from Eaton followed by a running clothesline. He executes a lateral press but only gets a 2 count. Cornette gets the crowd clapping by banging on the apron. Collar and elbow tie up between Eaton and Samu. They run the ropes, Samu leaps Eaton but when he ducks down to the mat, Eaton delivers an elbow drop. A tag is made to Stan Lane and Fatu. A collar and elbow tie up before Lane delivers a drop toe hold. Lane holds Fatu in an arm bar but he works his way to his feet. Lane is thrown to the ropes. He attempts a crossbody but Fatu catches him and slams him to the mat.

Fatu attempts an elbow drop but misses and Lane is quick to his feet and ties up the Savage’s arm on the rope before making a tag to Eaton. Fatu rakes the eyes and gets a double team after a tag is made to the Samoan Savage. Eaton lands a couple rights. He goes for a bulldog, but The Savage uses the momentum and drives him groin first into the post. Eaton is dumped to the outside and he is double teamed by the Samoans while the referee is distracted. On the outside, Eaton is hiptossed on the concrete as his teammates try to regain control. Eaton is back in the ring, he’s whipped to the ropes and reverses into a sunset flip but can only get a 2 count.

The Savage is still in control and chops Eaton when he’s on his feet. A tag is made to Fatu. Eaton is whipped to the ropes for a double clothesline and Fatu gets a 2 count on a lateral press. Fatu holds Eaton on the mat in a pressure point lock. Eaton works back to his feet slowly. He delivers a few rights before running the ropes and reversing a back body drop by slamming Fatu’s face into the mat. Fatu is unfased and comes back with a clothesline. The Savage attacks Eaton on the apron and rolls him back into the ring. A tag is made to Samu who keeps the offense going with a leg drop and a head butt. Eaton is pulled to his feet and receives an elbow to the head before the Samoan partners deliver cheap shots on the outside.

There is a 3 on 1 against Eaton as the referee is distracted by Stan Lane attempting to help his partner. The Savage is tagged in and he delivers a head butt to Eaton before biting his arm. The Savage delivers a side slam and gets a 2 count before Dr Death breaks up the pin. A tag is made back to Fatu who re-applies a nerve submission maneuver. A tag is made back to The Samoan Savage. The Savage goes for a splash from the first turnbuckle but Eaton gets his knees up. Eaton is looking for his corner and a hot tag is made to Williams who enters with a double axe handle on The Savage and follows it with kicks to the ribs and big clothesline.

He takes care of the Samoans rushing the ring and military presses the Savage into Samu and Fatu. Powerslam by Williams on the Savage but he only gets two before the pin is broken up. A tag is made to Lane who delivers a botched neck breakers and he fights off Samu and Fatu. A karate kick to the head on The Savage from Lane, but all the participants are entering the ring and picking a dance partner. The ref is struggling to maintain order. The Big Kahuna is distracting the referee on the apron and Cornette comes over and hits him with his tennis racket to a big pop. Lane walks toward Cornette, but he’s hit from behind by The Samoan Savage. Lane clocks heads with Cornette and The Savage picks up the pin.
Winners: The Samoan Swat Team (Savage/Outside Interference)

  • EA’s Take: Another really good bout from these two teams who work beautifully together. The Express continues to use heel tactics as babyfaces with the crowd loving it, which is really something that WCW/NWA was ahead of their time on. We wouldn’t see anything like that in the WWF for a much longer time, so credit to WCW on that. Regardless, next time we see them, they’ll be back to their old ways of being heels. Little bit of a strange finish here. Who knew Cornette’s head was so hard that it could cost his team a match?!

Match #3: The Cuban Assassin vs. ‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich
The Assassin goes to work with many hard rights and bashes Rich’s head into turnbuckles. Rich ducks a clothesline and comes back with a big right hand of his own. Two power slams given by Rich before knocking the Assassin outside of the ring with a right elbow. The Assassin is back in and there is a collar and elbow tie up. They exchange right hands before another tie up. Rich is worked to the ropes and hits a shoulder to the abdomen before a delivering a head butt.

An Irish whip is reversed by Rich but the Assassin comes back with a cross body and he gets a 1 count. Quickly back to their feet and Rich executes an arm drag takedown and holds the arm bar. The Assassin fights out of it and tries to dump Rich to the outside. Rich stops on the apron, he delivers a shoulder to the mid section and jumps back in with a sunset flip and he gets a 1 count. A collar and elbow turns into an arm drag by Rich who holds on for an arm bar. The Assassin is back to his feet. He breaks the hold and works Rich to the corner. The Assassin delivers chops and sends Rich for an Irish Whip to the corner. Rich moves and the Assassin runs into the turnbuckle.

Rich takes him down with an arm drag and goes right back to the arm bar. Back to their feet and Rich works the arm more with an elbow. The Assassin rakes Rich’s eyes and delivers some rights. He chops Rich to the mat and delivers another right. The Assassin executes a body slam but he misses the follow up elbow. Rich comes back with an arm drag and continues to go to work on that arm. The Assassin reverses it back into an arm bar of his own. He uses Rich’s hair to pull him down to the mat and he maintains the hold. Rich is slowly back to his feet.

He uses a head butt to break the hold. The Assassin goes for a pile driver but Rich reverses it into a back body drop. The Assassin lands a head onto Rich’s solarplex and gets a 2 count on a lateral press. Reverse chin lock from The Assassin, and he works up to a vertical suplex. The Assassin heads for the top rope but he’s caught by Rich. Down to the mat and Rich sends him for a big elbow. Rich comes off the ropes with a fast press and gets the win.
Winner: ‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich (Lou Thesz Press)

  • EA’s Take: This is just a “get over” match as its the shortest of the night at just over 8 minutes. Some consider Tommy Rich a legend, but personally I think he’s more of a legendary underachiever. There was a handful of veterans that were brought in when Turner purchased the company from Crockett, including Bill Irwin, The Iron Sheik and Rich. Unfortunately, the young talents the promotion also brought in wouldn’t leave a whole lot of room for these kinds of guys.

Match #4 for the NWA World Tag Team ChampionshipsNWA World Tag Team Champions The Fabulous Freebirds (‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin & Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes) vs. The Dynamic Dudes (Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace) w/Jim Cornette
Hayes and Douglas get things started. A quick arm drag from Hayes and the two regroup. Side headlock from Hayes, they run the ropes and Hayes delivers a sunset flip to no avail. The crowd is firmly behind the birds. Kick to the midsection and a chop by Hayes. They run to the ropes, and Douglas grabs a side headlock. They run and Douglas delivers a neckbreaker. Garvin and Ace are tagged in. Collar and elbow and Garvin immediately goes on the offense. Ace fights back.

Garvin misses a clothesline and Ace delivers an arm drag and works into an arm bar. A tag is made to Douglas who maintains the arm bar. Garvin shoots Douglas to the corner and delivers some rights. Douglas reverses an Irish whip and lands a back body drop. Garvin is quick to his feet, grabs a side headlock and a tag is made to Hayes. Shane uses a nifty flip to reverse a wristlock and makes the tag to Ace. Johnny comes off the top with an elbow and maintains a wrist lock. Hayes fights back with a right and a chop, but a tag is made to Douglas on the run and the double team ends with a scoop slam from Douglas. Garvin runs into the ring, but the Dudes deliver a double drop kick.

The Birds take a walk around the ring and Hayes is slow to re-enter the ring. Plenty of enthusiasm from the crowd for the Birds. Collar and elbow and Shane holds an arm bar. Hayes misses a drop kick, and he’s the victim of another double team off a tag. Face buster by Ace and he gets a 2 count. A tag is made to Garvin. Ace consults with Douglas. Collar and elbow and Ace grabs the side headlock. Shots to the midsection by Garvin. Ace kicks Hayes’ hand away from a tag attempt twice. Hayes is angry and he enters the ring but gets a back body drop.

Ace manages to take Hayes down with a head scissor while holding the side headlock. The Birds regroup outside of the ring. Garvin and Ace lock up, and it’s back to the side headlock for Ace. They run and Ace delivers a football tackle followed by a roll up. Garvin kicks out and sends Ace to the Birds’ corner where Hayes delivers a right. Douglas protests but the crowd loves it. Kick to the mid section followed by a running knee by Garvin. Ace is down on the floor and Douglas and Cornette check on him.

Michael Hayes takes a cheap shot on the floor and struts on the apron. Garvin keeps Ace out every time he tries crawling back up. Once back in the ring, Garvin sends him to the turnbuckle and tags in Hayes. They exchange a series of rights before Hayes delivers an elbow to the head and tags Garvin back in. Big back body drop by Garvin followed by an Irish whip. He tags Hayes back in and sends him flying into Ace for a clothesline in the corner. He sets up for the DDT and the crowd pops. Ace fights it off and shoves him away.

Tags are made to Garvin and Douglas. Douglas executes a back body drop followed by a series of drop kicks. Hayes enters the ring, but he receives a double clothesline from the entering Ace. Hayes is sent to the ropes for a double knee. They attempt to double team Garvin who is the legal man with a double side suplex, but Hayes pulls their feet and Garvin lands on Douglas with a cross body. They get a 3 count and retain the titles.
Winners and STILL NWA World Tag Team Champions: The Fabulous Freebirds (Garvin/Crossbody)

  • EA’s Take: This isn’t our first time seeing them obviously, but man, The Dynamic Dudes have to have one of the most dated, ridiculous gimmicks of all time! As “tubular” as their schtick was, they could give a quick pace and that’s what we saw here. Hayes continues to impress me as well and if you want to see some of his great stuff that’s got better production value, these years are for you.

Backstage: Scott Steiner cuts what feels like a nervous, weak promo and Rick is playing up the “crazy” card big time. Rick assures everyone he won’t be distracted by Woman.

Match #5: The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) vs. Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed) w/Woman
Doom enters the ring and the Steiners waste no time brawl. They send Doom into one another for an Irish whip collision and each take one for a belly to back suplex. Doom is back in the ring but the Steiners clothesline them over the top rope. Doom regroups on the outside with Woman. The structured action will start with Scott and Reed. Scott shoves him to the corner and the ref can’t break the action. A reversal of an Irish whip followed by a clothesline by Scott. Snapmare takedown and a knee to the chest by Steiner and he gets 2 off of a lateral press. A tag is made to the Dog Faced Gremlin who enters the ring with fury.

He delivers Steinerlines to both members of Doom who need another regroup outside. Back in the ring, it’s Rick and Simmons. Simmons gets the upper hand with straight rights but Rick comes back with a big right hand. He can only get a 2 count but he locks in a reverse chin lock. Simmons reverses this with an atomic drop and sends him into his partners boot. A tag is made to Reed who keeps the momentum going until Rick blocks a front face lock. A vertical suplex by Rick and a tag is made to Scott. The younger Steiner comes off the rope with a clothsline and locks in a reverse chin lock of his own. A quick tag is made back to Rick, but he’s quickly met with a jaw breaker and a tag is made back to Simmons.

A punch to the head by Simmons who then whips him for a clothesline. Simmons hot shots Rick and only gets a 1 count. They run the ropes and Rick kicks the doom member who was attempting a back body drop and makes a tag to brother Scott. A kick to the mid section and a face first suplex comes from Scott. He gets a near fall and Reed is tagged back in. Scott is sent to the ropes but grabs a waist lock and a belly to back suplex. Two elbow drops from Steiner and a two count. Scott holds Reed in a reverse chin lock but Reed strengths his way up.

They run the ropes and Simmons takes a cheap shot on Steiner from the apron. Reed takes advantage and goes to work. A snapmare from Reed followed by a tag to Simmons who enters with a double axe handle blow. Scott is booted outside of the ring and Reed takes cheap shots while the referee is distracted by Rick. Scott takes several hot shots on the security railing before being rolled back in the ring. A tag is made the Scott receives a double elbow. Two lateral presses but Doom cannot get a 3 count. Scott fights out of a headlock but not for long. He is kneed to the midsection and Reed is tagged back in.

Scott is hung up on the 2nd and is the victim of some extracurriclars. Rick protests but Scott is dumped over the top to the outside. Scott is kicked off the apron on his first attempt. On his 2nd attempt he gets a knee to the midsection and rolls Reed over on a sunset flip. Reed still has the energy and momentum and lands a neckbreaker getting a 2 count. A tag is made to Simmons as Scott tries to fight both members of Doom out of the corner. He’s sent to the ropes though and receives a power slam. The referee is distracted and Scott gets a double vertical suplex. A tag is made to Reed who holds Scott down in a front face lock.

Scott powers his way back up and makes the tag, but the referee didn’t see it and won’t allow it. Scott is instead pile driven into the mat but he kicks out at 2. Simmons holds him in a reverse chin lock and the crowd is getting behind Scott. Simmons is kicked in the face while attempting a back body drop. A tag is made to Reed but the hot tag is made to Rick. A back body drop from Rick followed by a couple of Steiner lines.Scott takes Simmons over with a head scissor while Rick Power Slams Reed. Woman comes up on the apron and Rick is having none of it. Rick turns around to fend off Simmons and Woman puts a foreign object in Reed’s mask. Rick picks up his opponent but receives a headbutt with the foreign object.
Winners: Doom (Reed/Foreign Object)

  • EA’s Take: Where, oh where is Mean Gene? I know he was in the WWF at the time, but I couldn’t help thinking of him because during this match, I heard the first reference to the hotline. 1-900-909-9900, folks. Are 900 numbers still a thing? I hope not. What a money making scheme those were, eh? Anyways, this is your typical Steiners match, but the debut of Woman on PPV after using her…charms, to toy with the dimwitted Rick. I guess technically I broke kayfabe here since Doom is not using their names yet, but I mean, come on. It’s so obviously Ron Simmons and Butch Reed!

Backstage: NWA United States Champion Lex Luger tells Brian Pillman that this match is the real deal. He will prove to Pillman why he is the premier wrestler and the champion of the 90s.

Match #6 for the NWA United States Championship: NWA United States Champion Lex Luger vs. ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman
Collar and elbow tie up and Luger powers Pillman to the corner. Pillman squirms out. Another tie up and another corner break up. A third tie up and Luger hits a knee to the mid section and sends him face first into the turn buckle. Straight rights followed by a body slam by Luger. The Package sends Pillman through the middle rope, but Flyin Brian comes back with a fire in his belly. A chop, Irish whip, backbody drop and drop kick sequence by Pillman. Luger rolls out and Pillman stalks him with chops. Luger is rolled back in the ring, but he moves from Brian’s attempted leap off the ropes.

Pillman chases Luger around the ring who baits him back into the ring and greets him with stomps. Luger pulls him up and delivers an elbow to the back of the head. Straight rights by Luger before a series of kicks to the gut. Pillman leaps off the turnbuckle on an Irish whip attempts. He runs to the opposite turnbuckle and gets a two count off of a cross body press. Arm drag from Pillman who hangs on for an arm bar. Pillman keeps the pressure on Luger’s left arm and turns it into a wrist lock. Luger breaks the hold with a knee to the mid section. Straight right from Luger and he sends Pillman to the ropes.

Pillman reverses a hip toss, lands a drop kick and an arm drag and he goes back to the arm bar. Back to their feet and Luger delivers a big right hand and a kick. He delivers a football tackle to Pillman twice. After another run and Pillman is able to regain momentum with a similar series as before. Luger is trapped in the arm bar once again. Pillman delivers a right shot to the shoulder as well as a kick to the mid section. Luger works his way up from a wrist lock and fights Pillman off with rights. Pillman leap frogs over Luger and on the come back, wraps around his back and rolls him to the mat. He can only get a 2 count.

Arm drag and arm bar sequence once again from Pillman. Luger tells the fans to shut up while he’s held in the submission. Luger strengths Pillman into the corner and sends him for an Irish whip but Brian gets his feet up. Flyin Brian heads for the top rope but Luger moves out of the way. Lex shows his strength by lifting Pillman from a front slam and hot shots him on the top rope. Luger taunts the crowd. Off the ropes, Luger hits a massive clothesline and he continues taunting the fans. A stumbling Pillman fights Luger off with chops and kicks.

He sends Luger to the ropes but Lex is too fresh and he delivers clotheslines in front and from behind. Luger viciously stomps Pillman and drops big forearms. Standing vertical suplex from Luger and he is slow to make a cover. He only gets two. Luger drops an elbow to the chest twice on Pillman. Brian takes shots to Luger’s midsection but he’s dumped through the middle rope to the floor. Luger pulls Pillman back to the apron and clubs him on the chest. Luger goes to pull his opponent back into the ring, but Pillman delivers a shoulder to the midsection and a sunset flip for a two count.

Luger attempts a clothesline but Pillman ducks and Luger falls out to the floor. Pillman pulls Luger back in, delivers a big chops and stands up for straight rights. Luger strengths him away with an inverted atomic drop. Luger sets Pillman up in a seated position on the top turnbuckle. Luger goes for the superplex but Pillman pushes him off. Pillman attempts a sunset flip from the top rope but Luger scissors his legs and gets out of it. Pillman is quickly back to his feet delivering chops to Luger. He comes off the ropes with a flying elbow and Luger begs for him to slow down. Irish whip and a back body drop by Pillman.

‘Flyin’ Brian comes off the ropes with a clothesline but Luger gets his foot on the ropes. Pillman hits a neck breaker and heads to the top rope for a high risk move. Luger moves away from Pillman’s drop kick. Lex pulls him to his feet. They run the ropes and Luger lifts Pillman for a hot shot across the top rope. The champ gets the pin.
Winner and STILL NWA United States Champion: Lex Luger (Hot Shot)

  • Off The Top: The commentary team is really propping Luger up verbally. They went on and on about his football career, his physique, and pushing the narrative that he will be one of the top stars of the 90s. While he did go on to win a share of gold that decade, in retrospect it reminded me of ESPN heralding the top overall pick in the NFL draft as a generational talent, but then his career production was more in line with a 2nd or 3rd rounder. Good match though, Pillman certainly knew how to get the most out of everyone.

Backstage: The Road Warriors discuss their chances against the undefeated Skyscrapers. They explain that people build skyscrapers, but they also tear them down.

Match #7: The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal) w/Paul Ellering vs. The Skyscrapers (Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey) w/Theodore R. Long
A nose to nose stare down when the two teams meet in the ring. The action starts with Spivey and Animal. Collar and elbow tie up and Spivey gets the early advantage. Animal comes back with two clotheslines but it doesn’t take Spivey all the way down to the mat. Arm bar from Animal who tags Hawk and he maintains the hold. A run to the ropes and the two collide, neither giving an inch. Finally on the third attempt, Hawk knocks Spivey outside of the ring with a flying shoulder block. A tag is made to Sid. Tie up and Sid delivers some rights. Sid misses a clothesline and Hawk hits one. It only knocks Sid down to his knees. Sid works Hawk to the corner.

He tries a flying shoulder off an Irish whip but Hawk moves. Animal is tagged in and they double team Sid for a double elbow. Sid is right back up, though. Animal and Sid tie up, Animal ducks a clothesline but can’t move Sid on his first couple shoulder tackle attempts. He finally lands a flying clothesline and Vicious rolls outside of the ring and regroups with Long. A tag is made to Hawk as Sid is slow to re-enter the ring. Hawk asks for a test of strength. The two are at a stalemate until Sid finally works Hawk down.

The crowd gets behind the Warriors and Hawk strengths back up. He throws Vicious to the corner and hits him with a monkey flip. Hawk hits Vicious with a clothesline and holds him with an arm bar before tagging Animal back in. Animal keeps the hold but Sid strengths him to the Skyscrapers’ corner. A tag is made to Spivey, but Animal maintains the offense. Hawk is back in, but he’s thrown to the opponents corner and Sid is back in. Snapmare takedown by Sid and he follows it with a clothesline. Sid lifts Hawk and executes a helicopter carry.

A tag is made to Spivey who gets a side slam on Hawk before a 2 count. They run the ropes and Hawk comes back with a clothesline. Spivey is the first one up and he baseball slides Hawk outside of the ring where Sid takes advantage. Hawk receives a hot shot on the guard rail and is slow to return to the ring. Spivey greets him with a vertical suplex and can only get a two count. A tag is made to Sid. Hawk is whipped to the corner and receives a clothesline from Spivey followed by a knee from Sid.

Vicious pulls Hawk up and delivers a straight right before choking him on the middle rope. Hawk tries to fight back but Sid takes him down and gives a blatant choke until the ref breaks it up. A tag is made to Spivey. Hawk kicks Spivey in the head but it has no effect. Spivey delivers a clothesline. Hawk counters a vertical suplex with one of his own but he’s not able to make the tag. Sid is tagged back in and he’s holding Hawk in a front face lock. Hawk lifts Sid up in his arms and makes the tag to Animal but the ref is blind to it. Hawk and Sid march back to the Skyscrapers’ corner where a tag is made to Spivey.

The referee calls off Animal’s tag that he didn’t see but allows Spivey’s. Irish whip from Spivey with a run to the corner, He attempts a second but Hawk gets his boot up. Finally, the hot tag is made to Animal who ambushes Spivey with a drop kick followed by a flying shoulder block. Sid enters the ring and takes up Animal while Hawk and Spivey brawl. There is a powerslam from Animal on Sid, but Sid is not the legal man and the referee isn’t looking. Long enters the ring with a foreign object and Ellering gives chase. Long tosses the object to Spivey who uses it on Hawk. Nick Patrick sees the object and calls for the bell.
Winners: The Road Warriors (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: The Skyscrapers mug Animal until Hawk makes the save with a clothesline off the top rope.
  • EA’s Take: Much more action from Sid in this one than his last PPV appearance. You know they’re building up The Skyscrapers as a power team when on multiple occasions, The Road Warriors are bouncing off of them like immovable objects. If they’re being told to frequently no sell Hawk and Animal, I’m not sure how you could sell teams like The Midnight Express and The Dynamic Dudes as even standing a prayer against these guys. I’m not sure what the Starrcade card looks like yet, but I’d like to see how they’re booked at this time against a team like The Steiners.

Backstage: Ric Flair, Sting and Ole Anderson are standing by. Ole is asked when he’ll throw in the towel. Anderson explains that the towel is wrapped around his arm for a reason: he won’t throw it in under any circumstance.

Match #8 is a Thunderdome Cage Match – Special Referee Bruno Sammartino: NWA World Heavyweight Champion ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & Sting w/Ole Anderson vs. NWA World Television Champion The Great Muta &Terry Funk w/Gary Hart
Your opponents’ corner man must throw in the towel to end this contest. Flair and Funk start the action and Funk takes him down with a shoulder block. Flair works some chops in the corner and whips him into partner Sting who takes a free shot. Muta enters the ring but Sammartino kicks him out. Collar and elbow tie up with Funk and Flair. Terry gets a body slam in, but Flair comes back with a chop and two slams of his own. Funk is thrown out of the ring onto his head. He’s slow to return and Flair hits him with an elbow from the apron.

A tag is made to Sting who delivers a right and dumps Funk outside. Sting hangs Funk up on the cage and rakes his back. Back in the ring and Sting makes a tag to the Nature Boy. The teammates deliver a double elbow. Flair sends Funk for two consecutive Irish whips and knocks Funk down with a huge chop. He delivers his patented knee to Funk’s head and goes after Muta who is standing on the apron. Funk is dazed as Flair delivers straight rights before tagging in Sting who lands a drop kick. Funk is frustrated and he tags in Muta.

Sting delivers a flurry of punches before throwing Muta on Funk with a military press. Sting delivers a vertical suplex and he tags in Flair. Snap mare takedown by Flair who follows it with an atomic drop. Flair chops Muta in the corner and takes him down again and delivers a knee drop. Stinger is tagged back in and he dumps Muta to the outside. Sting uses the cage as a weapon and pushes Muta’s head through the cage. Flair and Funk brawl on the outside while Muta changes the momentum inside of the ring. Snapmare followed by an elbow by Muta. Standing leg drop as Muta keeps the momentum rolling.

He dumps Sting to the outside for Funk to deal with while Flair rushes Muta. Funk chokes Sting with his boot as Muta takes Flair to the floor. As they round the corner, Funk cuts them off and goes to work on Flair. The legal men are in the ring and Sting is on the receiving end of a standing suplex before his opponents deliver a series of knees. Flair makes the save and hits a vertical suplex on Funk. Sting comes back with a running bulldog on Muta and gives one to Funk for good measure. He measures Muta’s neck over the top rope and makes a tag to Flair.

The champ backs Muta up for an atomic drop and Sting hits a clothesline. Stinger goes for the Scorpian Deathlock but Funk interupts it. Funk goes to work on Sting in the corner and Muta comes back with a kick to the mid section. There seems to be no control over the match and Flair chases Funk out of the ring. Sting is dumped to the outside and pursued by Funk. Sting rolls back into the ring and he’s choked with a boot from Muta. Flair chops Funk on the apron and bashes Funk into the steel cage. Inside the ring, Sting hits a vertical suplex on Muta. Muta and Sting climb the cage and Muta gets shocked by the cage.

Sting bashes Muta face first into the metal while Flair and Funk continue to brawl themselves. Muta and Sting are back in the ring and Sting received a low blow. Flair and Funk climb around the cage and Flair delivers chops from that height. Funk is trapped on the cage, while Sting holds Muta up over his head for a prolonged military press. Sting dumps Muta outside of the ring while Funk is still trapped on the cage. Muta appears to have snuck under the ring while Sting pursues Funk. Muta comes out of the ring and brawls with Flair on the floor. They exchange chops and roll back into the ring. Belly to back suplex by Flair on Muta.

Sting uses a rope hanging from the cage for leverage to slam himself into Funk. Back in the ring, Ric Flair locks in the Figure Four on Muta. Flair breaks the hold unprompted and simply dumps Muta outside. Flair inspects what is going on with Sting and Funk on the cage, but Muta comes back and kicks him in the back of the head. Sting has a misstep on the cage and Funk attempts to tie him up. Back in the ring, Muta locks Flair in a reverse toe hold. Muta keeps the toe hold and grabs a front face lock. Sting appears to be tied to the cage and Ole comes over to save him.

In the meantime, Funk and Muta double team Flair. Funk hits his pile driver on Flair as Ole struggles to get the rope off of Sting. Flair is stuck in their mercy until Sting is finally freed. He climbs up the wall of the cage and leaps off of it hitting Funk with a cross body. Sting is fired up and delivers rights to Muta. Once outside, Muta climbs the cage and Sting pursues him while Flair and Funk fight in the ring. Flair works over Funk’s knee with a variety of maneuvers. Sting and Muta are back in the ring and Muta hits a back breaker.

Muta is going up for a moonsault but he’s knocked to the floor by Sting. Flair locks in the Figure Four on Funk and Sting leaps off the top rope with a splash. Hart refuses to the throw in the towel, so Sting does it again. Muta crawls back into the ring and takes a chop at referee Sammartino. Bruno delivers a strong right and knocks Muta out of the ring. Gary Hart climbs the apron and Ole Anderson rushes to stop him from interfering. Ole delivers a right to Hart who drops the towel upon impact.
Winners‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair & Sting

  • EA’s Take: If you’re looking for some big stars participating in a car crash match, you’ll enjoy this one. Just don’t try to make ANY sense of it. You’ve got the special cage and a special stipulation which is fine, but the first quarter of the match had the vibe of a traditional tag team match with partners waiting in the corners and the referee backing off outside interference. The second quarter of the match was a bit more disorganized with dance partners swapping, despite not being tagged. With no distinction or reasoning laid out, the last half of the match was a complete free-for-all which was apparently fine now. Also, there were a half dozen times when guys would just start climbing the cage and their opponents would give chase. Why were they doing this? You can’t win by escaping the cage,where were they going? Some good legends in this bout, but I found myself confused through most of the match.

EA’s Finisher: Wow, 5 tag team matches on an 8 match card. I’ll say it made for plenty of movement and very few rest holds, which was good. The company would frequently and understandably try to distinct themselves from the WWF. I’m really glad they laid off saying “This is NWA… We wrestle here!” 6 times in the show, but the most interesting, subtle comment made tonight was JR citing Sting’s days as a member of The Blade Runners. He “uipped, “I think he’s developed better than his partner has”, of course referring to The Ultimate Warrior. If this card was on a prime time cable show for the company, I’d say it was good, but the main draw (Thunderdome) turned out to be a total cluster. Let’s look at it positively though because I think too many focus on the negatives of WCW. At least they were always trying new things!

Top Three To Watch
1 – The Fabulous Freebirds vs. The Dynamic Dudes
2 – Lex Luger vs. Brian Pillman
3 – The Steiner Brothers vs. Doom


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWE Fastlane 2015 – Reigns vs. Bryan

Looking back at WWE Fastlane 2015 with Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan!

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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 TakeYou 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 TakeReally 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 TakeLillian 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 TakeSeems 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 TakeIf 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 TakeThis 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 TakeGreat 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 TakeReally 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 TakeExcellent 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 FinisherOverall 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


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Chairshot Classics

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!

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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.

RESULTS
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”.


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