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Chairshot Classics: WCW WrestleWar ’89 – Music City Showdown

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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 KoloffNWA 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


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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