We’ve hit the beginning of the final year of the 1980’s and another new pay-per-view for WCW and the NWA, WrestleWar 1989! After venturing into the month of January in 1988 and being opposed by the inaugural Royal Rumble on cable television, this year WCW waits until early May, just over a month after WrestleMania V where the Mega Powers exploded. A questionable decision to have a PPV on the heels of one of WWF’s most successful? The Magic Eight Ball is telling me it’s likely. Regardless, let’s get to the show!
Open: Jim Ross & Bob Caudle are ringside to welcome us to the show before sending it to the ring. Ring Announcer Gary Michael Cappetta introduces The Oak Ridge Boys for our National Anthem. We go back to Ross at ringside, JR explaining that the NWA has stepped in and disallowed he stipulation of Hair vs. Hair for the US Tag Titles, however we will still see those titles on the line. He then sends us to a video package to run down the entire card.
Match #1: The Great Muta w/Gary Hart vs. Doug Gilbert w/Eddie Gilbert
The Great Muta lures Gilbert in and delivers a kick to the mid section. Another karate kick to the chest from Muta before dumping Gilbert outside. Gilbert is thrown face first into the gate. Back to the ring, and they run the ropes. Gilbert is able to land a high cross body and a clothesline. Muta rolls to the floor to regroup. Back in the ring, they lock up and Muta rakes Gilbert’s eyes several times before landing an aggressive elbow.
Irish whip to the rope, and Muta does a handstand roll and splashes him in the corner. They run the ropes again – Muta looks for a cross body but Gilbert reverses it and slams his face into the mat. Muta reverses the momentum with another eye rake. He goes to the top rope but misses a moonsault. He lands on his feet though and drop kicks Gilbert to the outside. Muta goes flying with a body press and he rolls Gilbert back to the ring. Muta delivers a back breaker. This time he lands the moonsault and gets the pin.
Winner: The Great Muta (Moonsault)
- EA’s Take: Really basic stuff here to begin the show and other than some high-flying from Muta, it’s essentially a squash match. Keiji Mutoh (or The Great Muta) had arrived in WCW less than two months prior alongside Gary Hart, who proclaimed Muta was the son of The Great Kabuki who he previously managed. He immediately embarked on an undefeated streak and gained a push. Doug Gilbert, the younger brother of Eddie…well, that’s primarily all he’s known for. He was a solid worker and we’ll see him make his way around multiple companies like the WWF, USWA and ECW, but really he was another in a long line of people that got into the business because they were related to someone in the business.
Match #2: ‘Hacksaw’ Butch Reed vs. Ranger Ross
Ranger Ross comes to the ring with a color guard. The two men circle – they lock up and break it off. Side headlock takedown by Ranger Ross and he holds the submission on the mat. They work to their feet and run the ropes. Ross can’t move Reed with a shoulder tackle, but he delivers a hiptoss. Reed holds the ropes in the corner but Ross pulls him off. Another side headlock by Ross.
Reed works him to the corner, Ross reverses an Irish whip but Reed comes off the turnbuckle with a clothesline. Snapmare takedown by Reed who follows it with a stomp to the head. Teddy Long is now ringside and scouting the match. Ross delivers a bunch of right hands, but Reed comes off the ropes with a kick to the chest. Snapmare takedown and several heavy elbows by Reed. He applies a lateral press but only gets a 2 count. Reed keeps Ross on the mat with a reverse chin lock and uses the ropes for leverage.
The referee checks the arms but he only gets 2. Back to their feet, and Ross delivers some elbows to the midsection but Reed pulls him back down. The referee finally catches Reed’s foot on the ropes and breaks the hold. Reed stays on him with rights. They run the ropes and Ross is able to get a European take down. 2 huge dropkicks and knocks Reed out of the ring, and Ross gives chase by leaping over the top rope.
Reed is rolled back in the ring, but he catches Ross with a cheapshot as he was trying to enter. Reed delivers a vertical suplex from the apron and goes to the top rope. Ross gets up to his feet but he’s stunned, and Hacksaw flies at him with a shoulder tackle. This is enough to get the pin.
Winner: ‘Hacksaw’ Butch Reed (Shoulder Tackle)
- EA’s Take: Ranger Ross was surely athletic, but it’s funny how Reed had a way to burn match minutes with long reverse chin locks. This is clearly the start of a new managing gimmick for Teddy Long as he scouts the ring from the outside, which there will be more of in the future. Ross obviously comes from a military background and got his start with Continental in Tennessee, but to say he’s not remembered may be an understatement. Reed is fresh off his run with the WWF, but toiled in the mid-card of WCW upon his arrival, which is exactly what he was doing in New York.
Match #3 is a Bullrope Match: ‘Cowboy’ Bob Orton w/Gary Hart vs. ‘Captain Redneck’ Dick Murdoch
The two play tug of war with the rope and Murdoch bests him first. Orton is cornered and Murdoch threatens him with the bell. He swings and misses but he’s able to land some rights with the fist. Orton turns the tables and replies with shots of his own. Orton tries to use the post to his advantage but Murdoch rolls out to the floor to meet him. Orton tries to run away but he’s stopped by the pull of the rope. Muroch rolls into the ring.
Orton tries to get away but he’s pulled in. They two exchange blows but Orton takes control with some kicks and an elbow. Murdoch is down in the corner and Orton stays right on him with knees. Orton is able to land a straight right with the cowbell in hand. Orton continues to stomp Murdoch and he gets a 2 count. Murdoch backs Orton off with a right hand to the midsection but he’s slow to get up. Instead Murdoch takes off his cowboy boot and uses it as a weapon. The crowd enjoys that move. Orton suffers more blows with the boot.
Orton is sent with an Irish whip to the corner and he comes off the turnbuckle and takes another shot with the cowboy boot. Murdoch only gets a 2 count. Back to their feet, Orton stops the hypothetical bleeding and knocks Murdoch down with a couple rights. Orton stomps the back of the head, picks up Murdoch, whips him to the ropes and delivers an elbow. Orton goes to the top rope but Murdoch is up first. He uses the rope to pull Orton down and he immediately hogties him! Murdoch delivers a few elbows before getting the 1-2-3 on the helpless Orton.
Winner: ‘Captain Redneck’ Dick Murdoch (Elbow Drop)
- After The Bell: A complete melee in the ring involving the wrestlers, manager and referee Nick Patrick. Orton is able to get the rope around Murdoch’s neck and he practically hangs him from the apron.
- EA’s Take: These sort of gimmick matches are never scientific and to me all Bullrope matches are the same. The Cowboy made his return to just a month prior and immediately put himself beside Gary Hart, solidifying his heel status from years past. There was some backstory here, as the feud with Murdoch began after getting a cheap win, but it’s obviously a secondary feud on this card. His WCW run won’t last long though and he’d unsuccessfully attempt a comeback to the WWF later in the year, essentially finishing his career.
Match #4: The Dynamic Dudes (Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace) vs. The Samoan Swat Team (Samu & Fatu) w/Paul E. Dangerously
Dangerously introduces himself in a very familiar way and introduces The Samoan Swat Team. The DDs come down to the ring wielding skateboards. All 4 men are in the ring, and Tommy Young demands they pick starting competitors. It’s Ace and Fatu to start. They lock up and let go. The crowd chants Paul E sucks. Ace can’t seem to damage Fatu with some kicks. Fatu misses a clothesline and Ace drives his head to the mat but he’s right back up. Samu rushes the ring but he’s taken down with a bodyslam. Ace delivers an arm drag to Fatu and tags in Douglas. They run the ropes and Fatu thinks Douglas has stumbled outside the ring.
Paul E barks for him to turn around where Douglas is waiting for him with a standing drop kick. The crowd is loud for the Dudes. Samu is tagged in and he immediately takes over on offense chopping ace to the ground. They run the ropes once again and Shane climbs up Samu’s shoulders and flips him down to the mat. Wristlock applied to Samu and Ace is tagged in. The Dudes exchange wrist locks and tags before Ace and Samu work the action to the Samoan side. Ace backs Samu into the ropes and when he goes to whip him to the opposite rope, he didn’t notice that a tag was made to Fatu. He leeps over Samu’s back but he’s met with Fatu’s big right foot.
Both Samoans stomp away and Dangerously brags on the outside. Fatu delivers a barefoot to the midsection. Ace tries to counter Fatu’s hip toss but can’t move the man. Famu clotheslines him down to the mat. Samu is tagged in. Ace tries fighting back but Samu delivers a big chop in the corner. Ace reverses an Irish whip to the corner and Samu runs right into the turnbuckle. Ace delivers kicks to the midsection but Samu catches his leg. Dangerously distracts the ref and the Samoans double team Ace. Johnny is reeling and finds himself in a nerve submission. Tag is made to Fatu and he comes off the top with an axehandle.
Fatu chokes Ace on the mat and Fatu tells off the referee who tries to break it up. A reverse chin lock is applied as Ace tries reaching out for a tag. A vicious headbutt by Fatu, but Ace is able to reverse the Irish whip and hits Fatu with a back body drop. Ace tries following it with a drop kick but he misses. Tag is made to Samu who prevents Ace from getting to his partner. Ace is moved to the corner so Fatu can hold him in place for a punch, but Ace ducks and Samu nails his partner. Ace crawls for his corner but Samu stomps him down. Samu follows it up with a side slam and a 2 count. Dangerously demands the ref count faster.
A tag is made to Fatu and the team delivers double head butts. Ace ducks a clothesline but can’t avoid Fatu’s power slam. Another 2 count as Ace kicks out of a pin. Samu is tagged in once again and they both rake the eyes of Ace. Johnny can’t make the tag. Shane tries to enter the ring which distracts the ref so the Samoans can get another double team in. Samu holds Ace down on the mat with a shoulder submission. Shane gets the crowd behind them. Ace finally fights his way out with elbows to the midsection and driving Samu’s head to the mat. He still can’t make the tag. They run the ropes and Samu catches Ace’s foot.
He works him down to the mat and Samu applies a Boston Crab. Dangerously grabs the mic and taunts Ace. Back to their feet, Ace tries a kick to the midsection but his foot is caught. He hops around before pulling himself to Samu’s torso and flipping him to the mat. Hot tag is finally made to a fired up Shane Douglas. He delivers an Irish whip and a dropkick. Fatu tries to rush the ring but he’s met with a dropkick as well. Samu gets another dropkick . He whips Samu to the ropes but is met by the Samoan’s clothesline.
A tag is made to Fatu who immediately goes to the top rope and lands a huge splash. A pin attempt is broken up by Johnny Ace. Samu knocks Ace out of the ring. Fatu scoops Douglas for a powerslam, but Ace heads for the top rope. He dropkicks his partner on top of Fatu while the referee is distracted by their opponents. The Dynamic Dudes pull off the upset.
Winners: The Dynamic Dudes (Douglas/Assisted Full Body Press)
- EA’s Take: WOW! Tons of energy and tons of action in this one! Fatu was a little smaller than in his Rikishi days and boy does he look like he could be an Uso. I was very impressed with the agility of the Samoans, but I mean, it runs in their blood, right?. Johnny Ace definitely worked 75% of the match before that hot tag. Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat’s rematch is a classic, but this is easily the most underrated match on the card, despite how ridiculous The Dudes’ gimmick is.
Match #5 for the NWA United States Championship: NWA United States Champion Lex Luger vs. Michael ‘P.S.’Hayes w/Hiro Matsuda
Hayes wants Luger to back off so he can strut. The too lock up and Luger powers Hayes to the corner. Nick Patrick breaks it up to the dismay of the crowd. Another lock up and Hayes holds a side headlock. Luger throws him to the ropes but Hayes hits a high cross body press and gets a 1 count. Hayes applies another side head lock and laughs at the crowd. They run the ropes and Hayes escapes a military press attempt, instead hitting Luger with a Russian leg sweep.
Another tie up and Patrick breaks it up in the corner once again. Luger slaps Hayes across the face, and the frustrated Hayes paces outside. Back in the ring, another tie up. Luger blocks a round house and slaps Hayes once again. The two exchange rights before Lex delivers a back body drop. Hayes rolls out of the ring and the crowd taunts him. They go for the tie up, but Hayes kicks him into the midsection. He drives Luger’s head into the turn buckle and flies through the air with a clothesline. Hayes signals it’s time for the DDT but Luger pushes off. Hayes falls on the back of his head and rolls out of the ring once again. Hayes is upset by the “Luger” chants.
He tells the crowd to shut up. They lock up and Luger holds onto an impressive wristlock. He turns it into an armbar submission on the mat. Hayes fights back and they run the ropes. Hayes can’t get Luger down with a sunset flip and instead Luger goes back to the submission after an arm drag takedown. The two work their way to their feet. They run the ropes and Luger catches Hayes in mid air and puts him down with a back breaker. Back to the wristlock from Luger. Hayes delivers unsuccessful shots to the mid section. They work their way to the corner and Hayes delivers a cheap shot and follows it with some chops.
Irish whip by Hayes and he follows him with a clothesline. Hayes taunts but Luger didn’t go down. Luger catches him with a choke hold and follows it with 10 punches in the corner. They run the ropes and Luger misses a cross body slam and tumbles over the top rope. Hayes opportunistically attacks Luger on the outside and runs him into the ring post. Hayes brings Luger back into the ring with a vertical suplex and gets a 2 count on the lateral press. Hayes stays on Luger and holds him in a reverse chin lock. Luger strengths his way up to a vertical base and delivers elbows. Luger is freed up and they run the ropes. Hayes’ foot is caught, but he breaks it up before Luger can capitalize. Hayes hits Luger with a bulldog and gets another 2 count.
It’s right back to the reverse chin lock by Hayes. Luger works his way up as the crowd cheers. Luger delivers a few blows but Hayes rakes the eyes and sends him outside. Matsuda rams Luger’s face into the railing while the referee is dealing with Hayes. Back to the ring, and Hayes hits a body slam and an elbow. Luger kicks out at 2. Hayes drops fists on Lugers face and taunts the crowd from the 2nd rope. Another reverse chin lock by Michael Hayes. Hayes barks that he’s “got him down”. Referee checks the arms but only gets two.
Luger works his way back to his feet and fights to break the hold. Hayes tries to ram his head into the turn buckle but Luger blocks it. Instead it’s Luger who rams Hayes’ head, but Michael gets a thumb to Luger’s eye. Hayes sets up for a trademarked bulldog, but Luger throws him across the ring. Punches by Luger in the corner followed by a hip toss and clothesline. He can only get a 2 count.
Luger delivers a huge military press and follows it with another! He looks to do it one more time and executes it! Lex is calling for the torture rack. Hayes flips off Luger’s back and nails a DDT. Both met are down and slow to get up. Hayes hits a shoulder tackle and the referee goes down with Luger. Michael Hayes is fatigued on the ropes but Terry Gordy comes down and pushes Hayes on top of Luger as the referee gets up. Nick Patrick calls 1-2-3.
Winner and NEW NWA United States Champion: Michael ‘P.S.‘ Hayes (Outside Interference)
- EA’s Take: These NWA matches have given me a new level of respect for Michael Hayes. He was a superb entertainer, despite his ring work being a bit rough at times. It makes perfect sense to turn him heel since the previous pay-per-view, Starrcade. Luger was red hot at this time, but his short comings could be seen in this one. A mile away in retrospect. He made his living on a good physique and a predictable’ repetitive move-set. This win was short lived as the two continued the feud and exchanged belts a few times.
Match #6 for the NWA Television Championship: NWA Television Champion Sting vs. The Iron Sheik w/Rip Morgan
Sting is led to the ring by a group of running children. The Iron Sheik demands to be introduced as a former world champion. The Sheik takes cheapshots with his flagpole. He takes part of his garment off and chokes Sting. He tells the crowd to shutup. He tries chopping Sting but Sting’s unaffected. Sting with kicks to the midsection and he returns the favor with the choking.
Sting whips Sheik to the rope and delivers a clothesline. The crowd responds to Sting’s yell. The two tie up. Sheik chops Sting and delivers a side salto suplex. Sting is thrown to the ropes and Sheik hits a clothesline. Sting fights back with kicks. Irish whip to the corner and Sting flies for a Stinger Splash! Sting applies the Scorpian Death Lock and the Sheik gives in!
Winner and STILL NWA Television Champion: Sting (Scorpion Deathlock)
- EA’s Take: Well…what can you say about a two minute match? Sting’s clearly a company and fan darling, but did Sheik just need an easy payday at this point? He’s so far beyond his good days, it’s not even funny. Yet, we’ll continue to see him compete over the next few years. It’s really quite strange to think about now, anyone who moved around as poorly as he did in his later years would NEVER be allowed back in a WWE ring. Unless you’re The Great Khali.
Match #7 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
Terry Funk, Pat O’Connor and Lou Thesz are ringside as judges. A tie up and a clean break. Another tie up and Steamboat delivers an armdrag. Flair claims his hair was pulled. They circle and tie up again. Side headlock and shoulder tackle by Flair. Steamboat comes back with a hip toss and a unique arm drag. Steamboat holds the arm but Flair tosses Steamboat to the corner. The two exchange face slaps before Flair falls onto his backside and backs off. Another tie up and Flair takes a cheap shot and big chops in the corner. A straight right from Flair, and the two exchange a flurry of vicious chops. Irish whip and a back body drop from Steamboat.
Flair stumbles out to the floor and he’s slow to return to the ring. The two cautiously square each other up, and Steamboat reverses a side headlock into an overhand wristlock. Steamboat strengths Flair down to the mat and goes into an arm bar. He emphasizes the pain with knees to the shoulder. Flair is reeling and screaming out in paid. Steamboat with elbow drops to Flair’s shoulder without letting go of the lock. They run the ropes, and Steamboat delivers a shoulder tackle and an armdrag before going right back into the armbar.
The two are on their feet and Flair is caught in a hammerlock. Flair reverses it with a drop toe hold, but Steamboat regains control immediately. Steamboat has Flair down in a half nelson. Working back to their feet, Flair breaks it up with more vicious chops. He whips Steamboat to the ropes but Ricky sneaks under his legs and drags Flair right back to the mat and into the hammerlock. Back to their feet, Flair uses Steamboats hair to get to the corner and break the hold. Flair takes a cheap forearm to Steamboat’s head and follows it up with 2 more that knocks the champion down.
More chops as the crowd “Wooos”, Flair with shots to the abdomen and the back but Steamboat gets a 2nd wind and chops Flair back. Flair falls face first on the canvass and Steamboat goes back to the hammerlock. Steamboat flips over Flair to get extra leverage. Back to their feet and Flair lifts Steamboat on his shoulders and sets him on the top turnbuckle. Steamboat leaps off the turnbuckle, chops Flair, delivers a hiptoss and sends him over the top rope with a drop kick. Steamboat goes to the top turnbuckle as the ref pleads with him and gets him down. Flair regroups and re-enters the ring. Flair baits him with a test of strength and kicks him to the mid section.
When they run the ropes, Steamboat delivers another arm drag and hammerlock sequence. Flair is quick to get up this time, but Steamboat maintains the arm bar. They run, and Steamboat delivers a shoulder tackle, but Flair comes back with a hip toss. He takes his time and therefore misses an elbow drop and Steamboat goes back to work on the arm. They work to the corner and Flair uses his shoulder to hit the abdomen of the Dragon. Trademark chops from Flair who mixes it up with some kicks. Through 15 minutes, the judges decide Steamboat is ahead. Steamboat fights back but Flair gets him in the eye. Flair with a football tackle and he tosses the champ out to the floor.
Steamboat is immediately back in and aggressively fights back which includes 10 punches in the corner. Flair is whipped to the opposite turnbuckle and Flair gets caught upside down on it. The Dragon with more offense in the corner followed by a shoulder tackle. When he tries to follow it up, Flair grabs his head and Steamboat goes over the top rope. The referee decides it was not intentional and doesn’t call for a DQ. Now outside of the ring, Flair chops Steamboat over the railing and goes for a chair. The referee stops that before it starts and instead Flair lands an elbow on the throat of Steamboat and re-enters the ring.
Flair gets impatient and heads back to Steamboat and the two exchange more hard chops. Steamboat gets the advantage and he chases Flair back into the ring. Steamboat is quick to the top rope and he delivers a fist to the Nature Boy. Flair is whipped over the top turnbuckle and meets a clothesline on the apron. Steamboat hits a snapmare takedown on Flair and relentlessly goes back to the arm bar. Back to their feet and Steamboat lands a shoulder tackle before leaping for a cross body and stumbling down to the floor. Flair takes advantage with an elbow to the skull while he’s on the apron. He pulls Ricky back into the ring and delivers a knee to the head. More chops by Flair and Steamboat keeps fighting his way to his feet. Flair chokes Steamboat with his boot near the rope. Steamboat tries to fight back but Flair has the upper hand. Belly to back suplex from Flair and he gets about 2 and a half! Flair continues to try to hold Steamboat’s shoulders down but to no avail. Another knee drop to the head from Flair followed with a WOOO!
Flair delivers a butterfly suplex and again, a hair away from getting a 3 count. He backs up again and this time drops an elbow on Steamboat’s neck. Flair barks at Tommy Young after another 2 count. Flair whips Steamboat to the ropes, Ricky ducks a clothesline but on the comeback, Flair catches him and hot shots him on the top rope. He pins Steamboat but it’s too close to the ropes. Flair backs off and he’s met with a chop on his return. Flair drags Steamboat out to the floor and delivers a vertical suplex on the floor. The 2nd round of judges voting is split, but with a 2-1 favor for Flair. Back to the apron and Steamboat reverses a vertical suplex from the apron. He lands on his feet and surprises Flair with a roll up but can only get 2. Steamboat is on the offense and whips Flair to the ropes. Flair ducks a clothesline and goes for a cross body and both men go flying over the top rope.
Flair’s up first and he throws Steamboat back into the ring. Flair goes to the top rope, but as expected, he’s gorilla pressed from the top. Steamboat is feeling the energy of the crowd. Punches from Steamboat in the corner followed by an Irish whip and a back body drop. Flair plays possum before getting a kick to the mid section in. He goes for a side suplex but Steamboat lands on his feet, pulls Flair down and cradles him for a 2 count. Steamboat sets Flair atop the top turnbuckle and hits a massive superplex! Steamboat goes for the double chicken wing but Flair gets his feet on the ropes. Flair’s head is bashed off the top turnbuckle and Steamboat heads for the top rope. He hits a massive chop from the top and he returns to the top rope.
This time, Flair jerks the ropes and Steamboat falls all the way to the floor. As Steamboat tries to re enter the ring, he’s attacked by Flair on the apron who finishes it with a long hold vertical suplex. Flair pulls the leg of Steamboat to weaken it as he applies the figure four. The ref counts as Steamboat’s shoulders drop to the mat but he kicks out. Steamboat fights and tries to get to the ropes. Steamboat gets to the ropes and the hold is broken. Flair uses his knee on Steamboat’s knee in the corner.
Steamboat chops back as Flair holds the champ’s foot. Steamboat breaks the hold by leaping up for a kick to the head. Steamboat pulls Flair up for a body slam, but Flair reverses it into an inside cradle and picks up the win! Ricky Steamboat shows gives a handshake and pays his respect for a great match.
Winner and NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion: ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair (Inside Cradle)
- After The Bell: Jim Ross interviews Ric Flair who gives a surprisingly humble interview, complimenting Ricky Steamboat. Terry Funk interrupts the interview and issues a challenge to Flair for the belt. When Flair denies the opportunity due to Funk’s time in Hollywood, Terry attacks him which includes a pile driver on a table.
- EA’s Take: Another fantastic bout between these two and I love how it seamlessly flowed right into Flair’s next feud, which brings us one of my all-time favorite matches at Clash Of The Champions IX. The face turn here for Flair is starting to become needed at this point in time. An incomparable heel, you could see that the crowd was somewhat split and people were getting behind the arrogant character to a certain extent. The booking for Flair/Steamboat over the past few months was superb, giving us three straight instant classics and then a great transition into the Funk rivalry. Some of the best stuff WCW will put together for literally years.
Match #8 for the NWA World Tag Team Championship – Special Referee Nikita Koloff: NWA World Tag Team Champions The Varsity Club (Mike Rotunda & ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams) w/Kevin Sullivan vs. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal) w/Paul Ellering
The Road Warriors waste no time in ambushing the Varsity Club right after their entrance and they clear the ring. The Club tries to fight back and there is a 4 man melee in the ring but the Warriors are still in control. We start with Animal and Williams. They lock up and go to the corner. Sullivan immediately gets in the ref’s face and he gets “ejected”! Animal with a shoulder tackle and a clothesline. Animal pursues but Williams gets a foot to the midsection. They fight for position and guest referee Koloff tries to separate them.
Williams gives him a hard time and Koloff threatens to “eject” him too. Williams backs off and tags in Rotunda. They run the ropes. Animal gets a shoulder tackle but on the next run, Rotunda lands a drop kick. Rotunda heads for the top body, but his cross body press is reversed by Animal’s body slam. Williams tries to break up a pin attempt and it distracts Animal. Hawk is tagged in. Williams lands the first shots and he scoop slams him. Hawk moves on an elbow drop attempt and power slams Williams instead. He drops a fist on Williams who then rolls out of the ring. Hawk gives chase and clotheslines him off the apron!
Hawk tries a follow up clothesline that misses and Hawk’s arm hits the ring post. The referee is caught up with Animal who is protesting as Rotunda comes over for a cheap shot. Williams goes to work on the outside and then rolls back into the ring. Hawk follows but he’s reeling. Hawk reverses a whip to the ropes but Williams comes back with a clothesline and makes a tag to Rotunda. Before Rotunda can take advantage of the situation, Hawk makes the tag to Animal. He lands an atomic drop and a drop kick.
Huge shoulder block by Animal, but Williams tries to break it up. Another melee in the ring. Rotunda misses a clothesline and tumbles over the top rope. The Warriors set up Williams for the Doomsday Device and execute it. The referee goes for the pin, but Kevin Sullivan and Dan Spivey have run back out and they drag Koloff out of the ring. They attack Koloff and Hawk tries exits the ring to come to his aid.
This leaves a two-on-one situation in the ring for the Varsity Club. Animal is the victim of a double clothesline. Williams joins the attack on the outside while Animal and Rotunda look to face off 1:1. Williams and Hawk roll back into the ring and Hawk hits him with a big boot. Shortly thereafter, the bell rings. There has been a disqualification due to outside interference.
Winners: The Road Warriors (Disqualification)
- EA’s Take: I knew going into this match that the Warriors either had to win or be screwed again and that’s exactly what happened. You really have to question the match order of this card, but I’ll get into that in my finisher later. The Road Warriors’ heel turn didn’t last very long, as the people never wanted to boo them. Varsity Club was arguably the top heel team, so this was the natural progression. They had previously been screwed out of the titles just a little more than a month prior. This one featured lots of brawling (I know…shocker), since Rotunda is easily the best worker of the group.
Match #9 for the NWA United States Tag Team Championship: NWA United States Tag Team Champions Eddie Gilbert & Rick Steiner w/Missy Hyatt vs. The Varsity Club (Kevin Sullivan & Dan Spivey)
Sullivan and Spivey waste no time attacking the champs. Sullivan appears to chase Hyatt but he’s interrupted by Gilbert. On the outside, Spivey attacks Steiner with a shoulder block. In the ring, Gilbert and Sullivan go to work. Gilbert with an Irish whip but Sullivan gets his foot up. He tags in Spivey but Gilbert rolls out to the floor. Back to the ring Gilbert ducks clotheslines and they lock up. Spivey delivers rights in the ring while Sullivan cheap shots Steiner on the floor. Gilbert is whipped to the ropes but he reverses the momentum with a right to the face. Spivey rakes the eyes but Gilbert rolls out to the floor.
Sullivan attacks Steiner and rams him into the post as the other two brawl their way back into the ring. Sullivan is tagged back in. Sullivan lands a right and mocks the fact that Steiner isn’t in his corner. More rights and a clothesline from Sullivan before he tags Spivey back into the ring. Spivey holds Gilbert in a choke hold and slams him to the mat. Gilbert is whipped to the ropes and dropkicked.
Gilbert is caught in a a potential back breaker but he reverses it to a small back body drop. Spivey is up immediately though, and Sullivan is tagged back in. Sullivan is on the offensive and he quickly tags Spivey back into the ring. Side slam by Dan Spivey who gets a 2 count. Spivey whips Gilbert to the ropes and lands a big boot. Sullivan takes a cheap shot while the referee is distracted.
Spivey lands a powerslam on Gilbert and tags Sullivan back in. Sullivan slaps Gilbert’s face several times before Gilbert’s able to sneak through Sullivan’s legs and make a hot tag to Rick Steiner. The ref didn’t see the tag and won’t allow it. Spivey attacks Steiner and the ref attempts to redirect him. Sullivan appears to be setting up for a pile driver but while the ref is distracted with Spivey, Rick ‘Steiner-lines’ Sullivan and Gilbert flips over him for a successful pin.
Winners and STILL NWA United States Tag Team Champions: Eddie Gilbert & Rick Steiner (Gilbert/SteinerLine)
- EA’s Take: Utter garbage that this is the main event of this show. I don’t think anybody could explain to me any reason this closes things out other than “the faces went over”. With a screwy finish in the NWA World Tag Title Match, plus Flair getting left laying by Terry Funk, you have to think the thought process here is “send ’em home happy”. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make any logical sense in the grand scheme of things. This isn’t even your primary Tag Title. Get outta here with that!
Finisher: As Conrad Thompson always says on Something Else To Wrestle, “Who booked this s$%*?”. Not only did Flair and Steamboat make it impossible for anyone to follow them, like I said before, you put your secondary tag titles in the main. What?!? I think it’s entirely fair to wonder, since the man booking the show is in the main event, perhaps that played a part? I can’t say that for sure, but you certainly have to wonder. This card had two real gems in the Flair vs. Steamboat and Dynamic Dudes vs. Samoans bouts, but it was filled out by a ton of sub seven-minute matches that made you wonder what it was doing on the card. Vince’s grip on pro wrestling is at full-strength for sure.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat
2 – The Dynamic Dudes vs. The Samoan Swat Team
3 – Lex Luger vs. Michael Hayes
Chairshot Classics: WWE TLC (2015) featuring Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns
As we approach the 2020 edition of WWE TLC, we look back at one from the past featuring a very different Sheamus against a very different Roman Reigns!
As we approach the 2020 edition of WWE TLC, we look back at one from the past featuring a very different Sheamus against a very different Roman Reigns!
As we get closer to closing the book on 2018, we’re approaching WWE’s December pay-per-view TLC, so today we’re looking back at one from the past with TLC 2015! After cashing in Money In The Bank on Roman Reigns after a grueling tournament to crown a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus must now face Reigns fair and square in a TLC Match! Let’s get into the action…
Kickoff Show Match: Sasha Banks w/Naomi & Tamina vs. Becky Lynch
Collar & elbow tie-up to kick things off, Sasha with a side headlock, Becky counters into one of her own, Banks attempts to roll her away, but Lynch hangs on. The Boss reverses an irish whip to the corner, charges in and scores with a monkey flip into a cover, celebrates a little early and Becky rolls her up for a quick 2. Banks tries to pick the leg, Becky counters and gains a side headlock, Sasha pushing her to the ropes and scoring with a shoulder knockdown for a count of 2. Back to the ropes they go, The Boss tries a leapfrog, Lynch hooks the leg and Banks faceplants into the canvas, The Lass Kicker looking for the Dis-Arm-Her, but Sasha squirms to the ropes to escape.
Lynch tries to slingshot The Boss to the mat, Sasha lands on her feet and connects with a big forearm, rushes in and gets caught in an armbar. She pushes Becky off to the ropes, follows in and Lynch with an armdrag, going right back to the armbar. Banks attempts to roll her away, Becky maintaining the hold, ducks a right hand and rolls Banks up for multiple 1 counts, then slaps the armbar back on. The Boss creates some separation with stiff forearms, sends Lynch to the corner and charges in, The Lass Kicker hopping up and over, controlling Sasha with another armbar. The Boss backs her into the corner using the hair, briefly breaks clean and tries to sneak in a forearm, Becky avoids it and connects with a springboard kick.
Naomi climbs to the apron and gets dropped back down for her troubles, Lynch turns back to The Boss and rushes in, Sasha side-steps and Becky hits the ring post shoulder-first. Banks planks her across the middle rope and drops down the double knees, taking control as we head to a break….The Boss chokes Lynch on the bottom rope when we come back, Tamina with a cheap shot behind the official’s back. The Lass Kicker tries to battle back with forearms, sends Sasha to the ropes for a clothesline, Banks counters into a tilt-a-whirl and cracks her with a backstabber. She rolls through, crosses Becky’s arms across her faces and wrenches back, grinding Lynch down to the canvas.
The Lass Kicker powers to her feet with Banks on her shoulders The Boss turns it into a victory roll for a near fall, Becky with a roll-up off the kick-out and she gets 2. She catches Banks rushing in with another roll-up for 2, drops The Boss face-first on the 2nd turnbuckle, then builds momentum with a flurry of clotheslines and a heel kick. She drops a leg, tries for another and Sasha avoids it, planting her with a cross-arm neckbreaker, covering numerous times and only getting 2 counts. The Boss slaps Lynch in the face, Becky comes back with a heavy shot, pushes Sasha to the ropes and throws her with a LassPlex, Banks grabbing the bottom rope at a count of 2.
Sasha kicks her way back to her feet, Becky takes her down with an armwhip, slaps on a cross armbreaker, The Boss tries to roll her way out and Lynch hangs on for the Dis-Arm-Her. Banks switches the momentum into a roll-up for 2, The Lass Kicker hangs onto the arm on the kick-out, going right back to the Dis-Arm-Her, Tamina getting to the apron to distract the referee, allowing Naomi to sneak in and kick Lynch in the face. The Boss takes the opening and scores with the backstabber, rolls through into the Bank Statement and Lynch is forced to tap.
Winner: Sasha Banks (Bank Statement)
- EA’s Take: Solid showing on our Kickoff match from both ladies, The Boss getting the big win in her hometown with help from the unity of Team B.A.D. Becky’s in an odd spot right now, seemingly playing the 3rd wheel between her former Team PCB members, Paige & Charlotte. With performances like this it will be very difficult to keep Becky & Sasha near the bottom tier of the Divas division for much longer, especially if the “We Want Sasha” chants continue.
Open: After Seth Rollins cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase at WrestleMania, Roman Reigns’ luck as it pertains to winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has been less than stellar. He finally reached the mountaintop at Survivor Series, winning a tournament to gain the vacant title, only to have Sheamus cash in his Money In The Bank and steal the championship. Tonight, Roman looks for revenge with tables, ladders and chairs.
Match #1 – Triple Threat Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) w/Xavier Woods vs. Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
Xavier joins commentary for this match, the bell rings and the brawl is on, Jimmy & Sin Cara send Big E to the ropes, Jimmy drops down and Sin Cara scores with a dropkick. Jey, Kalisto & Kofi attempt to bring ladders in, Big E clears the ring, pushes back on Kalisto & Jey, then pulls Kingston’s ladder inside. New Day stand it up and start to climb, The Usos are there to meet them, toss Kofi outside and then pair-off with Big E & Sin Cara. Kingston & Kalisto climb up opposite sides of the apron, springboard into the ring and land on their feet on the ladder.
The Usos playing defense, everyone takes a turn climbing up with no success. Big E & Kofi get thrown outside, climbs to the 2nd rope on the apron and fly with synchronized moonsaults to New Day. The Usos grab the ladder in the ring, knock The Lucha Dragons off the apron with it, then throw it outside, New Day & Luchas catching it in the air. The Usos hit the ropes and take flight with crossbody planchas onto the ladder, taking all 4 of their opponents out. They head back in and set the ladder up under the titles, Kingston slides in, hops through the middle of the ladder for a dropkick, gets his feet caught and The Usos dump him over the top to the floor. Big E rolls in behind them, pushes the ladder into The Usos and sends Jimmy flying outside.
Kofi smashes him with a ladder as Big E stomps a hole into Jey in the corner, Kingston comes in and they sandwich him behind the ladder. Big E whips Kingston in for a basement dropkick, Jimmy rolls inside and gets caught, E tossing him onto the ladder with an overhead belly to belly suplex. The Dragons are back in the ring and clock Kingston with another ladder, attempt to smash Big E, but he powers them back to the corner. Kalisto climbs to the top, hops through the ladder and lands on Big E with a seated senton, Kofi gets to his feet and drills him with a superkick. Sin Cara goes to the 2nd rope with the ladder, Kingston scales up to meet him, gets knocked down and Sin Cara rides the ladder down into a splash on him.
He takes The Usos out on the outside with a baseball slide into a ladder, hits the ropes and jumps onto the ladder on the floor with a somersault senton on Jimmy & Jey. Kalisto spears Big E with a ladder back inside, sets it up over his prone body and starts the climb up, Big E benchpressing him up, but Sin Cara hops on it to bring it back down. E benchpresses it again with both Luchas on it, Sin Cara falls and gets hanged on the top rope, The Usos slide in and Kalisto jumps off with a crossbody. Jimmy & Jey catch him in the air, Jey plants him with a spinning side slam, then they drop Big E with a double superkick. The Usos prop him in the corner and sandwich him with a ladder, Kingston comes in for a save and gets leveled, Jimmy & Jey charging into the corner with a dropkick to the ladder.
Kofi comes to and elevates Jimmy to the outside, Jey pulls a smaller ladder into the ring, slams Kingston on it then heads up top. Kingston crotches him on the top turnbuckle, climbs up and gets sent back down, getting his foot caught in the ropes and hanging in the tree of woe. Jimmy passes a ladder to Jey and he hammers Kingston, holds it in front of Kofi and Jimmy charges in with the hip attack. The Usos are alone in the ring now, stand a ladder up, The Dragons are their to meet them and we get a staredown before everyone takes a shot at climbing. Sin Cara assists Kalisto into a senton on Jimmy, they place a ladder over his body and Sin Cara flips his partner into a 450 splash on top.
Lucha Dragons now holding the ring and starting to ascend the ladder, Kofi’s back in to lay them out with forearms, then planks another ladder between the ropes and the standing ladder. He attempts to drive Kalisto into it, Kalisto slides under, pushes the ladder into Kingston’s ribs, springs off of it with a hurricanrana and Kofi hits the ladder head-first, spilling to the floor. Kalisto heads up after the titles, The Usos hit the ring climbing up opposite sides, Sin Cara pulls Jimmy down to the canvas as Kalisto is sent down as well. Kalisto springs back up, climbs over Jey, hooks him for Salida Del Sol and they both go crashing through the planked ladder. Sin Cara climbs upstairs and follows with a somersault senton.
Kalisto & Jimmy drag themselves up the ladder and reach for the championships, Kalisto gets knocked down and Jimmy’s all alone. Big E hits the ring to make the save, pulling him down and pushing the ladder over, looks to toss Jimmy to the floor, but he turns tables and E is sent outside. Jimmy attempts a suicide dive and runs into a forearm, E grabs a ladder to bring into the ring and Jimmy hits with a baseball slide. He looks to the corner, scales to the top rope and jumps to the floor onto the ladder, squashing Big E with the Uso Splash. Kalisto stirs around in the squared circle and drags himself up the ladder, Woods leaves commentary, grabs the trombone and throws it into Kalisto’s back, Kingston quickly sliding in and flipping him off the ladder to the mat. Kofi climbs up, unhooks the titles and The New Day retains.
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day
- EA’s Take: Wow, the tag division just spat on the rest of the roster and proclaimed “Follow that!” with this match. Amazing high-spots and some pretty innovative stuff here, Kalisto’s Salida Del Sol being the showstealer. This is going to be very difficult for anyone to measure up to the rest of the night and we’re just getting started. I think it’s a little odd that New Day retained, they’re starting to run out of babyface challengers at this point after running through everyone for the majority of 2015. Unless someone’s getting called up from NXT, they may end up having to turn themselves.
Match #2: Rusev w/Lana vs. Ryback
Rusev jumps Ryback right at the bell, clobbers him in the back and whips him to the ropes, The Big Guy hanging on and catching Rusev coming in with a back elbow. He sends The Bulgarian Brute to the outside after a shoulder tackle, follows him out and drives Rusev into the barricade before rolling him back in. The Big Guy heads up top and scores with a double axe handle, presses Rusev over his head, drops him face-first and follows with a splash for a count of 2. He rams The Bulgarian Brute back into the corner and fires away, climbs to the 2nd rope for right hands, Rusev powers him out and drops him on the ropes with a hot shot.
He takes control and chokes Ryback on the bottom rope, rams him head-first into the top turnbuckle and drives shoulders to the solarplexes, flattening The Big Guy with a short-arm clothesline. Rusev grabs the neck with a nervehold to ground Ryback, The Big Guy fights to a vertical base, gets clubbed in the back and The Bulgarian Brute hooks him for a vertical suplex. Ryback blocks and they trade suplex attempts back and forth, The Big Guy finally plants Rusev and starts to build a head of steam with multiple shoulder blocks. He squashes The Bulgarian Brute in the corner, Rusev reverses a whip across, charges in and runs into a boot, Ryback following up with a 2nd rope dropkick that gets a 2 count.
The Big Guy’s ready to finish it, picks Rusev up and gets driven into the corner, The Bulgarian Brute attempting a splash, but Ryback side-steps and goes to the top rope. He connects with a crossbody that gains a near fall, drops the straps and sets Rusev in his crosshairs for a Meat Hook. The Bulgarian Brute wisely rolls out of the ring and walks off with Lana at his side, Ryback giving chase up the aisle and brings him back by the hair. Rusev breaks the grip with a back elbow, he pushes The Big Guy and he falls back, running into Lana and sending her down. Ryback is distracted, turns around and gets clocked by a superkick, Lana springing to her feet and celebrating after deceiving The Big Guy.
The Bulgarian Brute rolls Ryback in the squared circle and covers for 2, calls for The Accolade, but The Big Guy blocks it, powering to his feet with Rusev on his shoulders for Shellshocked. Rusev slips out of it, scores with a roundhouse to the head, locks in The Accolade to a knocked out Ryback and the official calls for the bell.
Winner: Rusev (The Accolade)
- EA’s Take: Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that this was a bad match. It’s just that…who cares? The story was a little absurd heading into it and both of these guys have really fallen off the map in comparison to where they were at the height of their WWE runs thus far. Ryback is still missing something, it’s tough to put my finger on exactly what it is. It’s certainly not his ability, which you can also say about Rusev as well.
Backstage: Dean Ambrose warms up for his match when Roman Reigns comes in. He tells Dean he was just speaking to The Usos and it’s down to them tonight to hold it down for the family. Reigns is excited for tonight, describing how good it will feel to regain the WWE Title and put a hole in Sheamus’ head with a ladder. Win, lose or draw, tonight’s about making a statement. Ambrose says he had a different vision and that’s for both of them to be standing in the ring later as champions.
Match #3 – Chairs Match for the WWE United States Championship: WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger
Ringside is littered with set-up chairs, both guys slide out to the floor after a chair at the bell, roll back in and the duel is on. They drop the chairs and Swagger hits a clothesline, the champion rolls to the outside, The Real American in pursuit and Del Rio tries to drive him into the post, only to get rammed into the steel instead. The challenger bounces Alberto’s head off a chair multiple times, back into the ring they go and The Real American looks for the Swagger Bomb, El Patron sticking a chair up and catches him in the throat. The champion scores with a clothesline that gets 1, sends Swagger sternum-first into the turnbuckles, then rams the chair to the ribs and smacks it over his back.
He props the chair flat between the ropes in the corner, the challenger firing away with right hands, Alberto reverses a whip into the chair, The Real American puts on the brakes to avoid it, but Del Rio makes him pay with a backstabber for a count of 2. El Patron hammers the challenger in the back with a chair, sets his sights on a superkick, but Swagger is able to throw the chair in his face to avoid it. He ducks a clothesline, hits the ropes for one of his own, follows with another, then connects with two more in the corners. The Real American wants the Swagger Bomb again, Del Rio gets the feet up, Swagger catches the foot and goes for the Patriot Lock, but the champion is able to kick him away. Swagger rushes right back in and is split with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a near fall, tosses The Real American out to the floor, then throws a pile of chairs onto him.
He sends the challenger back in the squared circle and covers for 2, calls for the Cross Armbreaker, Swagger counters out and sends him shoulder-first into the ring post, follows with a roll-up and nearly gets the 3 count. The Real American pounds Del Rio’s back with a chair, wraps his ankle in it and slaps on the Patriot Lock, the champion crawling to grabs the apron, but there’s no breaks in this match. El Patron works his way out of the ring using the ring skirting, Swagger ducks his head out to grab the champion and takes a chair shot to the breadbasket. Alberto heads upstairs with a chair-in-hand, The Real American catches him coming down with a slam, finally hits the Swagger Bomb and Del Rio kicks at 2.
The challenger slides to the outside and sends a handful of chairs into the ring, pummels Alberto in the back again, then props him on the top turnbuckle and climbs up. The champion pushes him away, picks the arm and hangs over the ropes with the Cross Armbreaker, releasing the hold on his own accord. He heads back inside and unleashes a barrage of chair shots to the back in the corner, stacks the chairs up under Swagger, climbs up top and delivers tree of woe double stomp for the 1-2-3.
Winner and STILL WWE United States Champion: Alberto Del Rio (Tree Of Woe Double Stomp)
- EA’s Take: Brutal, physical match between two of the better technicians in the company, showing they can also deliver a good brawl. The chairs were really used to perfection and were a real focal point of the match, which is what you’d expect from a chairs match. I get that Swagger & Del Rio have a history, so it only makes sense for The Real American to be one of the first challengers to Alberto’s title. I just don’t like that I’m supposed to take Swagger as a serious contender after months and months of being relegated to Superstars, most of the time on the losing end.
Chairshot Classics: 2015 WWE Hell In A Cell
With WWE Hell In A Cell 2020 looming, Eric takes a look back at the 2015 edition featuring The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar inside the Cell!
With WWE Hell In A Cell 2020 looming, Eric takes a look back at the 2015 edition featuring The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar inside the Cell!
Before you get to Sasha vs Bayley, Roman vs Jey and Drew vs Randy, check out the happenings of the 2015 version of WWE Hell In A Cell, emanating from the Staples Center in Los Angeles!
Kickoff Show Match: Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro & Neville vs. Rusev, King Barrett & ‘Mr. Money In The Bank’ Sheamus
Stardust & The Ascension are sitting at ringside again with a “Stardust Section” sign. The Man That Gravity Forgot & The Celtic Warrior to kick things off, collar & elbow, Sheamus powers Neville into the corner and goes to the midsection. He whips him into the ropes, Neville slides through the legs and scores with a flurry of kicks, misses a dropkick, then slips out of a slam attempt for an enzuigiri. Cesaro gets the tag, slams Sheamus, goes to all fours and Neville jumps off his back into a corkscrew splash on Mr. MITB that gets 2 for The Swiss Superman. He quick tags back out to Neville, Sheamus sends him hard into the corner and brings in Barrett.
The King fires away a headbutt, quick tags out to Rusev and The Bulgarian Brute pummels The Man That Gravity Forgot. The Celtic Warrior off the tag with more heavy shots, Neville tries to battle back, but Sheamus catches him for a suplex. The Man That Gravity Forgot counters and lands on his feet, gets the tag to Ziggler and he comes in on fire, dropping Mr. MITB with a jumping clothesline. The Show Off splashes Sheamys in the corner, drops him with a neckbreaker and plants an elbow drop to the chest. Dolph knocks Rusev & Barrett off the apron, goes for a Fameasser, The Celtic Warrior catches him into a powerbomb, but Ziggler with a reversal back into the Fameasser for a near fall. Barrett slides in and distracts the ref, Rusev coming in from behind and decapitates Dolph with a superkick, Mr. MITB slides over into a cover and Ziggler kicks out at 2 as we go to break…
The King controls The Show Off with a rear chinlock when we come back, Dolph tries to gain his footing and gets slammed to the canvas by the hair. Barrett maintains control, posting his knee to Ziggler’s spine and wrenching back on the arms. The Show Off powers to a vertical base, gets sent into the corner, tries to hop over a charging Barrett and takes a kick to the midsection for 2. Sheamus off the tag with stiff right hands, The Bulgarian Brute takes a turn and stomps away at Ziggler in the corner. He eggs The Show Off on to make a tag, but unloads with clubbing blows when Dolph reaches out. Rusev scores with a kick to the back for a count of 2, The Celtic Warrior re-enters the match and plants Ziggler with a release vertical suplex before going to a rear chinlock.
Dolph battles to his feet and spikes Sheamus with a jumping DDT, Rusev gets a tag and barely prevents Ziggler from making it to his corner. He props The Show Off up in the corner, runs to the other side to build a head of steam and goes to splash Dolph, but misses and hits the ring post. Barrett gets a tag as Cesaro enters, he drops Sheamus off the apron with a big boot, then unleashes a series of running uppercuts to the King, going from corner to corner. The Swiss Superman levels Barrett with a running big boot, the King reverses a whip into the ropes and Cesaro flips himself out to the apron, lifting a boot to Barrett’s face. The King Of Swing jumps onto Sheamus from the apron with a somersault senton, runs around ringside and unloads an uppercut to Rusev, then back around to deliver one to Mr. MITB.
Cesaro heads to the top rope, connects with a crossbody back in the ring to Barrett, but only gets a 2 count. The Swiss Superman calls for the Cesaro Swing, Rusev slides in to stop it and takes a back body drop. Neville hits the ring, Cesaro tells him to hit the ropes and sends The Man That Gravity Forgot to the outside onto Sheamus & Rusev. Barrett sets for the Bullhammer behind Cesaro, Dolph slides in and hits a superkick, Cesaro puts him in the swing and Neville tags to finish the King with the Red Arrow.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro & Neville (Neville/Red Arrow)
- EA’s Take: GREAT opening contest here, the babyfaces get the win, but Cesaro looks like a million bucks coming out of this. I would have preferred to see the heels win with help from either Stardust at ringside or Tyler Breeze, generally I prefer to advance a story when it comes to who wins matches. Certainly one of the better kickoff show matches I can remember seeing though.
Open: “Hell comes in many forms.” Tonight, Seth Rollins looks to hang on to his WWE World Heavyweight Title, while Kane looks to keep his job as Director Of Operations. After a controversial finish at SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar & The Undertaker walk into Hell In A Cell seeking revenge in the final chapter of their rivalry. “It all ends…in hell.”
In The Arena: WWE United States Champion John Cena heads to the squared circle to a chorus of boos. The champ says he had a long winded speech, but it sounds like everyone’s ready to get down to business. The US Open Challenge starts….now. Zeb Colter comes out on a motorized scooter, talking about how some people like Cena and some people don’t. He calls Cena a divider and it’s time for people from all different countries and backgrounds to come together. More importantly, it’s time for John to lose the US Title to this man…
Match #1 for the WWE United States Championship: WWE United States Champion John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio w/Zeb Colter
Collar & elbow tie-up to start, Cena goes to a side headlock, Del Rio pushes him into the ropes and John scores with a shoulder knockdown. They lock-up again, Alberto grabs a side headlock this time, Cena pushes him into the ropes, leapfrogs over and Del Rio with a kick to the leg that forces John to regroup outside. Loud dueling Cena chants as John goes to the striking game, firing away with right hands in the corner, whips Del Rio across, charges in and Alberto side-steps, going into an armdrag and holding an armbar. Alberto goes back to a leg kick, Cena crawls to the 2nd rope, Del Rio attempts a running senton and misses, spilling to the outside. The champ rolls Alberto back inside, charges at him and Del Rio splits him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a count of 2.
El Patron heads upstairs, connects with an overhead chop and gains another 2 count before utilizing a rear chinlock. The champion powers to his feet, Del Rio with a kick to the breadbasket and an attempted suplex, Cena blocks and hits one of his own. John climbs to the top, the challenger quickly scales the corner and scores with an enzuigiri, dropping the champion to the canvas for another near fall. Del Rio climbs to the top once more and again hits an overhead chop for a count of 2, then calls for the Cross Armbreaker.
Cena explodes to his feet, flattening Alberto with a clothesline. They exchange right hands, Cena hits his shoulder tackles, plants Alberto with a spinning back suplex and hits the 5 Knuckle Shuffle. He sets for the AA, Del Rio slips out and cracks Cena with a backstabber, follows with a superkick and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WWE United States Champion: Alberto Del Rio (Superkick)
- EA’s Take: What a surprise return, it takes a lot for me to not see something coming and I was stunned, eventhough I knew there had been talks between Del Rio and WWE about coming back. I’m a little shocked at the way that it happened also though, as I feel like the execution was not as it should have been. Cena has had incredible US Title matches during his reign and successfully defended it, but this match didn’t quite live up to any of those. Great coup for WWE either way, hopefully they can keep the title relevant as Cena is slated to step away until the end of December.
Backstage: The Authority is watching with enjoyment at the start of the show, Seth Rollins comes in and agrees with them. However, Rollins has some thoughts about tonight when Kane interrupts. He tries to apologize, but Seth isn’t buying it and they bicker back and forth. Hunter stops them and says this is a private meeting, Kane’s attendane isn’t required. Kane wishes Seth luck, telling him he’s going to need it.
Match #2 is Hell In A Cell: Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns
Roman strikes first with a kick to the gut and right hands, drives Wyatt into the top turnbuckle and continues to fire away. Bray takes it right back to Reigns, shoots him into the ropes and The Big Dog explodes with a jumping clothesline, then tosses Wyatt with multiple pumphandle throws. He goes for a Samoan Drop, Bray battles out, but eats a big right hand, crawling to the ropes. Roman to the outside, looks for the Drive-By, Wyatt avoids it, but Reigns comes right back with another right hand, this time hitting the Drive-By. The Big Dog introduces Bray to the cage, sends him into the steps, then rolls him into the ring.
The New Face Of Fear rolls back to the outside, goes to Reigns’ eyes, then pulls out a kendo stick and goes to work, taking control of the match and swinging away at Roman’s back. Wyatt tries to send The Big Dog into the corner, Reigns fights back briefly, but Bray goes to the lower back with the kendo stick again. He clotheslines Roman to the outside using the cane, heads out after him and tosses him into the cage. The Eater Of Worlds finds a chair under the ring, goes to swing at Reigns, changes his mind and instead sits down, whacking Roman with the kendo stick and begging him to fight back. Bray props the chair and cane in the fencing, Reigns with a quick burst of energy, but Wyatt drives him into the cane, splitting it in two.
The Big Dog with another adrenaline rush, hammers Bray with fists and sends him into the chair, then back into the cage. He finds 2 kendo sticks and stalks Wyatt before combining them and unloading to Bray’s chest. Roman seeks out a table and slides it in the ring, then pulls out another and sets it up on the floor. Wyatt throws the other table out of the ring, Reigns notices and connects with another Drive-By, setting the other table up on the opposite side of the ring. Reigns pulls himself to the apron, avoids a charging Bray and hits a series of kicks, goes to suplex Wyatt through the table, but gets put through it himself with a one-arm slam.
The Eater Of Worlds rolls Roman in and covers for a count of 2, squashes him with a running senton for another 2. Wyatt dumps Roman to the outside, rushes at him and squashes him into the side of the cell. He pins Roman’s head up against the ring post, gains some speed and squashes him again. The New Face Of Fear pulls another table out and slides it in the ring, places Reigns in the corner and drives a knee to the head before setting the table up. Bray props The Big Dog on the top turnbuckle, hooks him for a superplex, Reigns blocks, drops down and powerbombs Wyatt through the table for a near fall. Both guys struggle to their feet, Roman unleashes a flurry of clotheslines in the corner, hits the ropes and Bray catches him for Sister Abigail.
Reigns counters into a schoolboy for a count of 2, then comes right back with a Superman Punch, Wyatt kicking out at 2. The New Face Of Fear rolls out to the apron, Roman goes out to meet him, hitting a Spear off the apron to the floor and going through a table. The Big Dog drags Wyatt into the ring, crawls to a cover and still can’t get a 3 count. Roman sets up for a Spear, Bray gets his boot up and plants him with Sister Abigail, but he can’t get the 3 either. The Eater Of Worlds goes to the 2 kendo sticks, delivers a shot to the midsection and hooks them up in the turnbuckles like javelins. Bray goes to drive Reigns into it and he blocks, connecting with kendo stick shots, sends Wyatt into the cane instead, then follows with a Spear to get the win.
Winner: Roman Reigns (Spear)
- EA’s Take: Excellent brawl here with a couple of nice spots. Reigns finally seemingly gains revenge on Bray which makes me wonder if he’ll turn his attention back to the WWE Title. I can’t find much to complain about with the match, however the “No Color Policy” always seems to put a bit of a damper on these kinds of matches. Cage matches are supposed to be brutal, bloody brawls and these kind of matches make me miss those days.
Match #3 for the WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von)
Prior to the match, Kofi thanks the WWE Universe for all their support towards Xavier Woods. Big E calls today a sad day, almost as sad because the broken trombone is all they have of Woods. They promise to play the drums with D-Von’s head and Bubba’s belly. Kingston & D-Von kick off the action, Big E provides a distraction and Kofi takes quick control. He sends D-Von into the ropes, D-Von with a jumping back elbow, follows with a diving headbutt and covers for a count of 2. Bubba tags in, The Dudleys with a double shoulder knockdown and double elbow drop for 2, Bubba whips Kofi to the corner and he scales to the top, but gets caught and slammed to the canvas.
New Day collects themselves on the outside, Big E tries to give Kofi another distraction to no avail, Bubba shooting him into the corner for a splash. D-Von back in, The Dudleys go for a double team move and botch it terribly. D-Von whips Kofi into the ropes, ducks his head and eats a kick, Big E tagging in and leveling D-Von with a clothesline. New Day with frequent tags in their corner, taking turns stomping away at D-Von, Big E eventually whipping Kofi into a corner dropkick. Kingston chokes D-Von on the 2nd rope, spikes him with a DDT and covers for a 2 count before going to a wristlock. D-Von battles to his feet, Kofi hits him with a jawbreaker, then drags him to the corner and brings Big E in for a splash that gets a count of 2.
Kingston back in, they set D-Von up for a Wazzup Headbutt, but D-Von kicks Kofi away and crawls to a tag. Bubba with clotheslines to Kingston, elevates him with a back body drop, then scores with lefts and rights to Big E. The Dudleys connect with the Wazzup Headbutt, Bubba is about to call for the tables, but Kofi springboards in the ring, taking them out with a dropkick. He slides out and grabs the trombone, tosses it to Bubba and drops to the mat as if Bubba nailed him with it The ref argues with Bubba and goes to call for the bell, but decides against it because he didn’t see it.
Bubba snaps the trombone in half over his knee, D-Von tags and they plant Kingston with a combination back suplex/neckbreaker for a near fall. Bubba tags back in, they call for 3D, Big E slides in and drills Bubba with the trombone behind the ref’s back, then disposes of D-Von. Kingston scores with Trouble In Paradise to Bubba, makes the cover and retains.
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day (Kofi/Trouble In Paradise)
- EA’s Take: Maybe it’s just me, but the shine of The Dudley Boyz’s return seems to be wearing off already. I’m not sure what move they were going for during the match, but they botched it horribly and couldn’t cover for it. I still believe that The Dudleys will get their 10th title run, but the time just isn’t right. There are not enough heel teams to justify taking the titles off New Day, not to mention the fact that New Day are arguably the hottest heels in the company.
Match #4 for the WWE Divas Championship – Everyone Banned From Ringside: Nikki Bella vs. WWE Divas Champion Charlotte
They lock-up to start, Charlotte backs Nikki into the ropes, the ref forces a clean break and they tie-up again, this time Charlotte backing Nikki into the corner. Nikki doesn’t break clean, charges out of the corner with a clothesline, Charlotte ducks it and scores with a modified neckbreaker. She puts the challenger in the corner, climbs to the 2nd rope and reigns down right hands, Nikki tries to counter to a powerbomb, but the champion reverses with a hurricanrana. Charlotte with more right hands, hits the ropes and the challenger fires a stiff forearm that sends the champion to the outside.
Nikki gives chase, tosses Charlotte out into the crowd, the champion looks to bring the fight back at her and gets caught, Nikki jumping off the barricade with a kick. She drives Charlotte spine-first into the ring post, tosses her into the barricade, then rolls her in the ring for a count of 2. Nikki sticks the point of the knee into the back and pulls back on the champion’s neck, drags her to her feet and hits a snap suplex for another 2 count. The challenger goes for a slingshot suplex, Charlotte lands on her feet, delivers a plate of patented Flair chops, Nikki ducks one and goes to a backslide for a near fall, then turning it into a modified facebuster, but still can’t get 3.
Nikki uses a single leg crab to punish the champion, breaking it on her own accord. She catapults Charlotte off the ropes down on the knees, covers for 2 and then sends the champion into the corner. Charlotte flips around, explodes out and levels the challenger with a big boot for a near fall. The champion tries a suplex, but her back gives out and Nikki keeps control, continuing to pummel the lower back. The champion ducks a right hand, turns around into a spinebuster and Nikki gets another count of 2 before trash talking Charlotte and slapping her in the face. Charlotte comes back with chops, the ref has to seperate them and Nikki takes advantage, looking for a springboard kick and missing, hurting her knee in the process.
The champion takes the opening planting Nikki and then climbing to the top for a moonsault. Nikki sees it coming climbs up with her for a german suplex and Charlotte lands on her feet, splitting the challenger with a spear. She locks in the Figure Eight, but can’t bridge due to her injured back, Nikki crawling to the ropes to force the break. Charlotte charges Nikki and gets dumped to the floor, the challenger following her outside and scoring with an Albama Slam on the apron. She rolls Charlotte back inside, attempts the Rack Attack and the champ counters, locking in the Figure Eight and Nikki’s forced to tap.
Winner and STILL WWE Divas Champion: Charlotte (Figure Eight)
- After The Bell: Paige & Becky Lynch hit the ring to celebrate with Charlotte, raising her hand in victory.
- EA’s Take: Finally a good Divas match for the main roster. Not anything on par with what Sasha Banks & Bayley have been doing down in NXT, but I really enjoyed this one. The Divas Division has been begging for a 1 on 1 match like this and while it won’t change things overnight, WWE keeps making steps in the right direction. Too bad they couldn’t have taken those steps at the beginning of the ‘Divas Revolution’.
Backstage: Sitting in the locker room is Roman Reigns when Dean Ambrose comes in offering congratulations on finishing things with Bray Wyatt. Dean talks about them knowing what’s next, but Reigns wants to talk about that tomorrow. Ambrose agrees because tonight they’ll celebrate.
Match #5 for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship – If Kane Loses, He’s No Longer Director Of Operations: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs. Kane
The champion has some harsh words for the challenger at the bell, pushes him and ducks a right hand, delivering a series of his own. He shoots Kane into the ropes, ducks his head and The Devil’s Favorite Demon spikes him with a DDT, following with a low dropkick. He knocks the champion to the floor with a right hand, goes out after him and drives him head-first into the announce table. The challenger clears the spanish announce table, Rollins tries to scurry away into the ring, hits the ropes for a suicide dive and gets caught, then planted on the floor. Kane rolls him back inside, whips Seth into the ropes and hits with a flapjack.
The Director Of Operations heads to the top, The Architect sees it and drops Kane to the apron, then hangs him on the top rope, dropping Kane to the floor. Seth flies to the outside with a somersault plancha, places The Devil’s Favorite Demon on the apron and drives elbows to the throat. Back in the ring, Seth scores with a sling blade that only gets a 1 count, chokes The Big Red Machine on the 2nd rope, then plants him with a neckbreaker that barely gets 2. The champion goes to a rear chinlock, Kane attempts to battle up and Rollins with a kick to the chest. He scales the top turnbuckle, jumps down and meets a big right hand, but side-steps a big boot in the corner.
Seth splashes him and stomps away, runs to the other side to build momentum and scores with a running forearm. The Architect goes to the well again and gets leveled with a clothesline, but again avoids a charging Kane in the corner. Seth climbs up top, Kane catches him with a right hand and then connects with a superplex. The Big Red Machine hits multiple corner clotheslines, attempts a tilt-a-whirl slam, Rollins lands on his feet, hits the ropes and runs into a big boot that gives Kane a 2 count. The Devil’s Favorite Demon goes to the top again, the champion runs up the turnbuckle to meet him, gets pushed off and Kane scores with a top rope clothesline. He grabs Seth for a Chokeslam, Rollins slips out and hits an enzuigiri, tries to follow with the Pedigree, the challenger powers out and plants the champion with a Chokeslam, but only gets 2.
He calls for the Tombstone, The Architect slips out and retreats to the outside, Kane in pursuit to drive the champion spine-first into the apron. Kane drops Rollins back-first on the announce table, clears it off and tosses Seth over it. He drags Rollins up, Seth slides out and powerbombs the challenger on the spanish announce table, but it doesn’t break. Rollins rolls in the ring and the ref starts his count, Kane making it back in at a count of 8. The Architect goes for another Pedigree, gets tossed to the apron, Seth scores with an enzuigiri, then comes off the top with a flying knee.
The champion goes back up and connects with another flying knee, then lands two superkicks to finally drop the challenger. Seth goes up once more and hits a frog splash, but still can’t put The Devil’s Favorite Demon away. The champion can’t believe it and seemingly has a conversation with himself, goes back over to The Big Red Machine and he gets Seth by the throat. Rollins delivers a kick to the breadbasket, drives Kane into the canvas with a Pedigree and picks up the 1-2-3.
Winner and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins (Pedigree)
- EA’s Take: I’m not certain that I’d call this match good or not. I wouldn’t say it was bad, but it went exactly the way I figured it would go. There was never any doubt in my mind that Seth wouldn’t retain, so this didn’t do a whole lot for me. I am glad however that they allowed Rollins to win clean. They’ve done a good job of weening Seth off of the tainted wins which will serve his character well (not to mention whoever finally beats him) in the long run.
Match #6 for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: Ryback vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens
The bell rings and The Big Guy goes right at the champion, Owens trying to retreat to the outside, then back in and catching Ryback with boots. KO hits the ropes and runs into a big shoulder, the challenger powers Owens into the corner and drives shoulders to the midsection, lifting him and tossing KO with a back body drop. The Big Guy goes for a military press, the champion slips out, attempts a suplex and Ryback counters into one of his own. He charges KO in the corner, Owens side-steps and Ryback goes shoulder-first into the ring post. The champion looks to take control, Ryback uses his power again and plants Owens with a powerslam, KO rolling to the apron and getting blasted to the floor with a clothesline.
Ryback tosses Owens back inside, puts him in the corner and reigns down rights from the 2nd rope. The champion escapes out, crotches the challenger on the 2nd turnbuckle, following with a running senton for a 2 count. Owens sets his sights on a Cannonball, The Big Guy pops to his feet and catches him in a spinebuster, then puts Owens in his crosshairs for the Meat Hook. KO ducks it, but can’t avoid Ryback’s powerbomb and the challenger gains a near fall before climbing to the top. Owens has it scouted, dropping the challenger to the apron and then connecting with a superkick, spilling Ryback to the floor.
The Big Guy makes it back in the ring at the ref’s count of 9, charges into the ring and gets dropped throat-first across the 2nd rope, KO grabbing him in a schoolboy for a near fall. He sends the challenger into the ropes for a Pop-Up Powerbomb, Ryback counters with a Meat Hook, then lifts him for Shellshocked. KO grabs the ropes to get out of it, goes out to the apron and rakes the eyes, following with the Pop-Up Powerbomb to finish it.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Kevin Owens (Pop-Up Powerbomb)
- EA’s Take: It’s officially time for both of these guys to move on. I’ll be honest, I completely forgot this match was even on the card and it appears as if most everyone else did too. It shows how much the company really cares about this feud, as they’re given the spot between the WWE Title match and the main event. Generally, this spot on the card is the one that gets time taken away from it or cut completely. This rivalry has done nothing for either of these guys.
Match #7 is Hell In A Cell: Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman vs. The Undertaker
They meet face to face in the ring, Taker giving Lesnar the throat-cut sign and the bell rings. Lesnar uses his quickness to duck right hands, looks for a german right off the bat, but Taker hangs onto the ropes. The Beast goes to the midsection, drives shoulders into the breadbasket in the corner, The Deadman reverses a whip across and follows in with a clothesline. The Conqueror buries a knee to the ribs, hooks The Phenom for a german suplex again and Taker sends him flying to the outside. Undertaker follows, delivering right hands, Lesnar countering a whip into the cage and he elevates Taker for an F5. The Demon Of Death Valley slips out of it, pushes Brock face-first into the ring post and he’s been busted open.
The Phenom uses the cell to his advantage, driving Lesnar face-first into the cage, then pulls a chair out and heads back inside. The Beast is there to meet him, planting Taker into the mat with a double leg, getting his hands on the chair and smashing it into The Deadman’s back. Brock falls into the corner and the ringside doctor comes in to check on Brock’s cut, cleans him up a little bit and Lesnar takes the chair again, smashing it into Undertaker on the floor. The Conqueror tosses Taker into the cage again, attempts a suplex on the floor and The Phenom blocks, delivering one of his own. The American Badass has been cut now, rolls Lesnar inside, props the chair under his throat and slams down on it, covering Brock for a count of 2.
Undertaker hammers away at Lesnar’s cut, shoots him into the corner, Brock rebounds out and ducks a right hand, snapping off a german suplex. The Beast scores with a couple more, elevates Taker and connects with an F5, but The Deadman kicks out at 2. The ringside doctor comes in the ring again to check on both guys, Lesnar tosses the doctor aside and plants The Phenom with another F5, but still can’t get 3. The Conqueror goes out to grab the steel stairs, tosses them in the squared circle and clobbers The Deadman for a near fall. He takes the steps again, attempts to slam them on Taker’s leg, but he’s able to roll out of the way. The Beast goes for it again, Taker kicks him away and the stairs land on Lesnar’s head, cutting him open again.
The Deadman locks in Hell’s Gate, Brock fires off lefts and rights and pounds Taker into the mat to break the hold. Lesnar notices a rop in the ring mat, tears it open and exposes the boards underneath, allowing The Phenom time to get to his feet, grab Brock and plant him with a Chokeslam on the wood. Taker powers Brock up, spikes him with a Tombstone, covers and The Conqueror kicks out at 2. The Deadman calls for another Tombstone, Brock goes with a low blow, delivers an F5 on the exposed boards and finally ends it.
Winner: Brock Lesnar (F5)
- After The Bell: Lesnar gets help getting to the back from Heyman, leaving Undertaker in the ring alone. It takes a couple of attempts for him to be able to sit-up, but he finally does to a loud “Thank You Taker” chant. Undertaker makes it to his feet, but the lights go out and The Wyatt Family makes their way to the ring. They surround the ring, step-up to the apron and go on the attack with Bray watching. Strowman, Harper & Rowan hold The Deadman up for Bray and he continues the beatdown, mocking The Phenom in the process. They carry Taker out of the arena as the show comes to an end.
- EA’s Take: What an absolute war and rightfully so, the end to this rivalry needed to be done justice and this match provided it. I’m left wondering about the “No Color Policy” I spoke about earlier, as both men get busted open here. I completely understand why they do it, but nobody can sit there and tell me with a straight-face that it didn’t add to the drama of this match. This was one of the few times where the match lived up to all of the hype and now we have another classic Lesnar/Taker Hell In A Cell match to go back and watch on the WWE Network.
EA’s Finisher: This PPV is one of those “in-betweeners” for me, there were some decent matches and some nice moments, but it was not the greatest thing WWE has ever produced either. The return of Alberto Del Rio was a great surprise and choice to hold the US Title while Cena’s away, as long as WWE can capitalize on Del Rio’s return. Both HIAC matches delivered to me, especially Taker/Brock as it was an absolute war, the likes of which we don’t see enough of at this point in time. The Divas stepped up to the plate tonight finally as well, but the other 3 title matches were nothing to write home about. Owens/Ryback was completely forgettable, the tag match was basic at best and the WWE Title match went exactly how I pictured it would.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker
2 – Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
3 – Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte
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