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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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Taking Over: Greg DeMarco’s Look at WWE NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way (9/11/14)

“Taking Over” continues as we see how Takeover Fatal 4-Way (9/11/14) holds up today!

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WWE NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way Neville Tyson Kidd Tyler Breeze Sami Zayn

Greg DeMarco takes a look back at the second NXT Takeover in the first edition of “Taking Over” as we march towards WWE NXT Takeover XXV!

WWE NXT Takeover is turning 25 on June 1! Well, sort of… On June 1, WWE NXT will present the 25th Takeover event, a stand-alone show from Connecticut–which I wouldn’t call the heart of WWE, but the brain. I am taking a look back at the first 24 to see just how far we’ve come. Join me for “Taking Over,” my look back at the first 24 Takeover events.

Prior editions:

NXT Takeover Fatal 4 Way
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentary Team: Tom Phillips, Renee Young, and Byron Saxton

  • NXT Tag Team Championship: Lucha Dragons beat The Ascension to win the championships – A good match, but not great. It’s a far cry from what the Takeover opening tag team match would become. Big pop for the finish, though.
  • Baron Corbin beat CJ Parker – This was back when I hated Baron Corbin. Wait, that was yesterday. Anyway, this is a squash to elevate Baron Corbin, even though we didn’t get a true entrance for Corbin. Corbin’s hair didn’t look terribl ehere, in fact it looked better than CJ’s. According to commentary, this was Corbin’s NXT debut. Huge pop for the End Of Days. In fact, Crbin was crazy over here.
  • Hair vs. Hair Match – Sylvester Lefort vs. Enzo Amore – NXT was definitely more “developmental” at this time, and this match showed it. Both these guys had the personalities to excel, but never pans out. They worked hard and did get the crowd invested, which is job #1.
  • Hideo Itami NXT debut promo – Thi sis where he shifts from KENTA to Hideo Itami, , and he cut most of the promo in Japanese. The Ascension would come out and eventually attack, but Itami got the upperhand in the end. This was an insanely promising start to his WWE career. The visual of him sitting in a chair begging them both to get back in the ring was amazing.
  • Bull Dempsey vs. Mojo Rawley – Quick win for Bull Dempsey, who should have been a bigger deal. He’d be a great fit at NXT UK. His theme song is still the most underrated they’ve ever made.
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair successfully defended against Bayley – Bayley, just like everyone, was crazy over at Full Sail. Her “childhood dream” gimmick can only go so far, though. Charlotte Flair was the decided heel here, and showed signs of the greatness she’d achieve while also showing how green she was. Charlotte was absolutely ripped here. Charlotte nailed a terrible looking moonsault that the announce team didn’t know how to sell. Charlotte won with Natural Selection, which may have been an audible after the moonsault debacle as you can hear Bayley call for the spot. It’s amazing what Charlotte has become. Sasha Banks attacked Bayley after,and Charlotte
  • NXT Championship: Adrian Neville successfully defended against Tyson Kidd, Sami Zayn, and Tyler Breeze – One hell of a match, and I remember how great the build was. Breeze won a #1 contender match but had his title match interrupted by Kidd, Kidd and Zayn were eventually here to make it a Fatal 4-Way. I really thought Breeze would win here, but that was really wishful thinking on my part. This match was one-fall rules. Tyson Kidd’s Sharpshooter is criminally underrated. Neville shows heel tendencies here, pulling the referee out of the ring before he can count the three in Zayn’s favor (legal in a 4-way match), Neville would then superkick Zayn on the floor and pin Kidd after a Red Arrow. The story after the match was Zayn’s reaction and dejection, setting up the obvious main event for the next Takeover. I loved the character shift for Neville, winning “by means necessary” and showing signs of the amazing heel we’d see later.

Where are they now:

  • The Ascension – Konnor & Viktor are on Raw, and are basically an afterthought after being repackaged as a ripoff of late 80s/early 90s tag teams like The Road Warriors.
  • Kalisto – Doing very little as a member of the Lucha House Party on Raw, but he’s also a former NXT Tag Team Champion and 2-time United States Champion, along with a former Cruiserweight Champion.
  • Sin Cara – Still wearing that cursed mask, so he’s injured.
  • Baron Corbin – Sucking on the main roster! He’s been a Money In The Bank briefcase holder (he lost his cash in), Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, and United States Champion. He was also Constable Corbin and the General Manager of Raw. He retired Kurt Angle. And he sucks.
  • CJ Parker – He is likely best known for being Kevin Owens’ first NXT opponent, and busting his nose in the process. He left WWE, and is now back to working as Juice Robinson in ROH and New Japan, where he is the IWGP United States Champion (although you wouldn’t know it by watching their product).
  • Sylvester Lefort – He ended up getting released in early 2016, went to TNA to be part of The Tribunal under his name Tom LaRuffa. He worked there through the end of 2016, before returning to Europe where he remains active to this day.
  • Enzo Amore – Ugh…he went to the main roster with Big Cass (on Raw) and Carmella (on Smackdown), working as a team until they broke up in what was actually a good angle. He eventually showed up on 205 Live, where he drew some good heat, but ended up leaving the company for outside the ring issues. He’s released some rap songs/videos, and made an ill-fated appearance at ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard.
  • Hideo Itami – Such a promising start, he had a good run in NXT that included a NXT Championship shot at Bobby Roode. He went to 205 Live, but failed to become Cruiserweight Champion. He eventually requested his release and returned home to Japan.
  • Bull Dempsey – He had a small NXT run before being released, and works as Bull James on the independents, mostly in the Northeast United States.
  • Bayley – She’d have a better run later with Sasha Banks, before moving to the main roster and holding the Raw Women’s Championship. She won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship with Sasha Banks, and is not on Smackdown.
  • Charlotte Flair – Just main evented WrestleMania, is an 8-time Women’s Champion, and is one of the very best performers of either gender on the main roster.
  • Sami Zayn – A mid-card player on the main roster, just recently returned from injury and is doing some great character work on Raw. Also (briefly) held the NXT Championship but was just the transitional champion from Neville to Kevin Owens.
  • Tyler Breeze – Moved to the main roster too soon, found some critical success with Fandago as the Fashion Police, has floundered during Fandango’s injury recovery, is back in NXT and working a program with Velveteen Dream.
  • Tyson Kidd – Career cut short by injury after holding tag team gold, and now works as a producer behind the scenes.
  • Neville – Had a respectable main roster run before taking over (pun intended) WWE 205 Live. That alignment led to his eventual downfall when he didn’t want to put Enzo Amore over strong after being pushed to the kickoff in his match with Austin Aries. He’s currently preparing to face Adam Page at All Elite Wrestling’s Double Or Nothing event.

Overall Impression

Renee young was better than I remember on commentary here. Overall this was a good show that, outside of the main event, wouldn’t hold up against the Takeover events of the past few years. But the foundation was being laid, and this should be evaluated as such. The main event was spectacular, and this was a rare Takeover with six matches. Those, plus two other in-ring segments, still went just under two hours. All four members of the main event wrestled on the Raw before this, and that decision, along with this match, can really be credited with the early rise in populary of NXT.

One additional thing that’s quite evident in watching these events, is now much easier it is for the talent to stay in perfect shape in NXT as they’re spending less time on the road. You can see the differences in Charlotte, Bayley, Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, and others.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Taking Over: Greg DeMarco’s Look at WWE NXT Takeover I (5/24/14)

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WWE NXT Takeover Neville Tyson Kidd

Greg DeMarco takes a look back at the first NXT Takeover in the first edition of “Taking Over” as we march towards WWE NXT Takeover XXV!

WWE NXT Takeover is turning 25 on June 1! Well, sort of… On June 1, WWE NXT will present the 25th Takeover event, a stand-alone show from Connecticut–which I wouldn’t call the heart of WWE, but the brain. I am taking a look back at the first 24 to see just how far we’ve come. Join me for “Taking Over,” my look back at the first 24 Takeover events.

NXT Takeover
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentary Team: Tom Phillips, William Regal, and Byron Saxton

  • Adam Rose beat Camacho – A solid opener, which was more about furthering the character of Adam Rose and the Rosebuds. Notable Rosebuds on this night included Ryan Katz (currently Creative Producer for WWE/NXT), Becky Lynch (just main evented WrestleMania), Carmella (she’s F A B U L O U S, and is a former Smackdown Women’s Champion), and Braun Strowman (he’s in the Andre The Giant role).
  • NXT Tag Team Championship: The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) successfully defend against Kalisto & El Local – This was  a step above a glorified squash. The world likely won’t remember them this way, but The Ascension were total bad asses in NXT.
  • NXT Championship #1 Contender: Tyler Breeze beat Sami Zayn – Both guys were on their game here. Zayn of course went on to be NXT Champion and Breeze was called up to NXT too soon. Zayn would lose this match to Breeze, but both men would compete for the NXT Championship at the next Takeover. The crowd was insanely into this match, and it build beautifully to the finish. the finish, by the way, was amazing as Breeze blocked the Helluva Kick but inadvertently low-blows Sami in the process. One Beauty Shot later and Tyler Breeze is the #1 contender to the NXT Championship.
  • Rusev promo, with Lana, that’s interrupted by Mojo Rawley – I am pretty sure this is where Rusev’s theme introduction comes from. Mojo wasn’t ready yet, but he still owned his character…which at this point was a bargain basement “hype” John Cena. Rusev was already looking like the man.
  • Vacant NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair beat Natalya – Ric Flair accompanied Charlotte to the ring, who wasn’t taking the “Flair” name yet. Natalya was accompanied by Bret Hart because, well, symmetry. Charlotte was obviously green here, and didn’t have nearly the work done she has now. Natalya is actually in better physical condition now, five years later. The match served as a vehicle to get the NXT Women’s Championship onto Charlotte, and it served that purpose. Charlotte Flair would obviously grow into her role and is not one of the best performers on the main roster.
  • NXT Championship: Adrian Neville successfully defended against Tyson Kidd – Given their leadership roles on the main roster today, it’s no surprise that Natalya and Tyson Kidd were a part of the early success of NXT. The crowd was hot for this match, and both men delivered. Of note: before Neville hits the Red Arrow on Tyson, Tom Phillips notes that Kidd is in the drop zone. Take that, Michael Cole!

Where are they now:

  • Adam Rose – About to wrestle his last match, ever, against Bull James.
  • Camacho – One half of the Guerrillas Of Destiny as Tanga Loa, along with his adoptive brother Tama Tonga, running wild in Bullet Club and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • The Ascension – Konnor & Viktor are on Raw, and are basically an afterthought after being repackaged as a ripoff of late 80s/early 90s tag teams like The Road Warriors.
  • Kalisto – Doing very little as a member of the Lucha House Party on Raw, but he’s also a former NXT Tag Team Champion and 2-time United States Champion, along with a former Cruiserweight Champion.
  • El Local – The former Ricardo Rodriguez is no longer with the company, and is working the California independents.
  • Sami Zayn – A mid-card player on the main roster, just recently returned from injury and is doing some great character work on Raw. Also (briefly) held the NXT Championship but was just the transitional champion from Neville to Kevin Owens.
  • Tyler Breeze – Moved to the main roster too soon, found some critical success with Fandago as the Fashion Police, has floundered during Fandango’s injury recovery, is back in NXT and working a program with Velveteen Dream.
  • Rusev & Lana – Multiple time United States Champion, feuds with John Cena and AJ Styles just to name a few, and sadly not a lead heel on either brand like they should be. They’re also not supporting Russia, like, at all.
  • Mojo Rawley – Moved up in the first draft of the modern era, teamed with Zack Ryder before breaking up, cut a series of intriguing mirror promos, but hasn’t really done much. He did win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33, though.
  • Charlotte Flair – Just main evented WrestleMania, is an 8-time Women’s Champion, and is one of the very best performers of either gender on the main roster.
  • Natalya – Back on the main roster and serves as the veteran presence, and delivers in a big way nearly every time out.
  • Tyson Kidd – Career cut short by injury after holding tag team gold, and now works as a producer behind the scenes.
  • Neville – Had a respectable main roster run before taking over (pun intended) WWE 205 Live. That alignment led to his eventual downfall when he didn’t want to put Enzo Amore over strong after being pushed to the kickoff in his match with Austin Aries. He’s currently preparing to face Adam Page at All Elite Wrestling’s Double Or Nothing event.

Overall Impression of WWE NXT Takeover I

For starters, I love hearing William Regal on commentary–he adds so much. Nigel McGuinness should be playing this exact role. The commentary team also had longer spells where they let the action speak for itself, and it really worked (especially in the main event). Byron Saxton is also quite underrated as he was money tonight. Overall, this was a really good that followed the NXT Takeover 5-match format. The first two matches weren’t really in doubt, but things really kicked up for the last three. Great show.


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