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: PROGRESS Chapter 2
Chairshot Classics continues to it’s foray across the pond thanks to Harry’s dedication. Let’s see what Harry thought about Chapter 2!
PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 2
‘The March of PROGRESS’
From: ‘The Garage’ in Islington, London, England
Date: June 24th, 2012
Run Time: 2:16:19
WITH SPECIAL THANKS: Ian Hamilton for some of the research that I did while working on this review. (http://www.backbodydrop.com)
Well, would you look at that? They are actually letting me continue doing these. Chapter 1 was a fun way to get back into reviewing, but man, I realized real quick just how rusty I was. I used to do two or three full length reviews a week for ‘Smash’ and it took me dang near three weeks to get ‘In The Beginning’ finished. Hopefully, you all enjoyed it. But even if you think I suck, thanks for reading all the same.
That brings me to why I’m here today. PROGRESS itself is coming off a critically acclaimed debut. They then proceeded to take off three months as the March debut was not followed up on until this show, all the way in the month of June. But we do return to the scene of the first chapter. Once again, we go into the way back machine with our date set at June 24th, 2012 as “What I Watched” presents ‘The March of PROGRESS’ or PROGRESS Chapter 2
*General Notes: the setup looks a lot cleaner this time. The hard cam is still set up by the sound table, but there is only one computer monitor visible with it being used for music. The angle towards the ring is a lot cleaner. The lighting on the ring is a lot better as well…
*Immediately, you can see them moving forward with storylines as the hype video package to open the show is to build to the main event, as ‘Show-Stealer’ Nathan Cruz defends the title in two-out-of-three falls against ‘Party’ Marty Scurll with promos from both to set it up. Sort of assumed this is where they were going for the second chapter, but the two out of three falls was not something I saw coming.
*Smallman does do his opening promo here, so all feels right into the PROGRESS world…not only does Smallman do his full opening interaction, but they actually use it to bring in a new talent in Stixx (or so I find out by the splash graphic before the first match). Stixx quickly establishes himself as a heel by running down Smallman, the crowd at the ‘Garage’ and the city of London in general. I’ll also take this opportunity to point out that Stixx is what would have happened if the Pitbulls from ECW would have still been in wrestling in 2012. Gary Wolfe, Anthony Durante and Stixx apparently (let’s all do Jaime Noble and Kid Kash a favor and let the WWE Pitbulls thing go)…the segment with Smallman and Stixx doesn’t really go anywhere, but does take us to our opening contest.
*Match #1: Lion Kid vs. Stixx
The Who: Well, let’s see. Lion Kid is a guy in what looks like a Halloween costume. Stixx, as I mentioned earlier, is a guy who looks he’d fit in better with the Pitbulls then in the current British independent wrestling scene. Upon looking for information (again, highly recommend Ian Hamilton’s work at BackBodyDrop): Lion Kid is apparently Wade Fitzgerald, who I believe I have previously seen in wXw in a team with Marc Redman. Stixx, well, looks like he’s just going to continue his cosplay.
The Why: I can’t say I have a viable reason for this one. I guess I’ll go with Stixx being an ass hat to Smallman and Lion Kid is sticking up for him. Sounds as good as anything at this point.
The Match: There was an attempt at a ‘Let’s Go Simba’ chant at the start of the match. Not so great attempt at humor. Now I gave the fans grief during my review of Chapter 1, but if whomever quoted Pride Rock scene from ‘Lion King’ afterwards right after the intros is reading this: good on you, mate. That was wonderful…Lion Kid gets a inset interview, Stixx doesn’t. But he did get the opening interruption…it’s once again *cough cough* Jimmy Barnett *cough cough* on commentary and he sounds a lot clearer this time…they cut the entrances, but what are the odds that Lion Kid comes out to ‘Lion Sleeps Tonight’?…noticeable size disparity here which will probably tell the story of the match…impressive springboard hurricanrana by Lion Kid early…and our first participant out of the ring happens at 1:48 into the first match…powerbomb into a ring post on the floor. Seems a bit excessive for the opening match, no?…fans quickly on Stixx’s case…will say for two guys making their debuts here to me, they have very good chemistry. Lucha spots from the big guy as well…and now the ‘Let’s Go Simba’ chant catches on. Sigh…cross body in the corner by Stixx. That’s a big dude to be doing that move…unique take on a grounded chin lock by Stixx. Still ultimately a rest hold, but at least it looks better…‘you wrestle, we shout things’. And that’s the PROGRESS fans in a nutshell…corkscrew enzugiri and then they badly blow a catch spot on a plancha attempt. I’m not sure who I’d put that one on…Lion Kid does mess a double springboard attempt but gets it on the second attempt…huge Black Hole Slam by Stixx…little later, a Splash Mountain attempt by Stixx is countered into a top-rope head scissors. Lion Kid goes for the Lionsault-DDT that AJ Styles likes to use but gets countered. Lion Kid reverses out and into a rolling prawn hold and that’s a three count at 10:24…they had a few rough spots, but managed to recover nicely from them. I wouldn’t call this a blow away start to the show, but it’s worth the ten minute run time and the crowd was pretty much into it. That’s ultimately what matters for an opener. After all, as Jimmy Barnett said: “You don‘t have to be a kid to enjoy saying rawr”. (AVERAGE)
*Match #2: BWC Scarlo Scholarship Title- Mark Andrews © vs. ‘Wild Boar’ Mike Hitchman
The Who: Mark Andrews is a pretty well known name, I feel. He’s not only had this run in PROGRESS, but he was in TNA as ‘Mandrews’ where I believe he won ‘British Boot Camp (have to look into that) and he now works for the WWE as part of their UK Division. Mike Hitchman is brand new to me and looks like Larry D from IWA-MS got shrunk in a dryer.
The Why: For the BWC Scarlo Scholarship. This same belt was defended on the first show back in February of 2012 and Barnett said the BWC belt would appear on all PROGRESS shows going forward. Two for two at this point. It was a triple threat on the first show that I thought was pretty good which involved then champion Xander Cooper, Zack Gibson and Darrell Allen.
The Match: I have always enjoyed what I’ve seen from Andrews, so my expectations of this are a little higher then they were of the triple threat from Chapter 1…both guys get inset promos. Neither one of them is anything to write home about, however…the snap amateur takedown by Hitchman early impressed me. That’s a move we see all the time in wrestling, but I’ve never seen someone do it as aggressively as Hitchman did. It made it look awesome, sound awesome and put over the aggression of Hitchman for his desire to win the title. Sometimes it’s the little stuff…nice bridge out of an attempted float over by Andrews. Like I said, it’s the little things…Barnett compares Hitchman to Tazz. ‘Not the fat annoying commentator in TNA either’. Big fish in a small pond still, Jim…don’t usually see a lot of mat wrestling on the Indies. It’s a nice change of pace from the opener which had the first dive attempt less then two minutes in…and the mat based crucifix gets two. Drago calls it ‘Tail of the Dragon’…and the first dive to the outside is a moonsault off the apron for the first ‘This Is PROGRESS’ chant…don’t know why everyone teases the German suplex off the apron. It’s not like any one every hits it…Hitchman with a DDT on the apron for the first fecal chant of the show…Hitchman is built like Bull Dempsey if that helps anyone…someone’s got a dirty face (TM Dave Prazak)…for the first time seeing him, Hitchman has impressed me. He’s very smooth in the ring and seems to have a good grasp of the what to do and when…counter sequence leads to a half nelson suplex and Andrews lands clean on his dome. Not wise, young Mark…you can’t powerbomb Andrews!!…standing sky twister gets two for Andrews. PAC (Neville) hits it cleaner, but still nice…Hitchman has Andrews in the tree of Joey Lawrence (WHOA) and hits a spear. I guess he kinda does look like a smaller Rhyno…back body drop into the turnbuckle by Andrews! Why? Like, why?…and Hitchman returns the favor with an exploder into the buckles…and now the fans are calling Hitchman Rhyno. So it wasn’t just me…and Mike Hitchman just Kevin Steen’d a bitch! Package Piledriver! And it only gets two! Strongly disagree with that…Hitchman looking for a top rope PPD. Andrews pushes him off and the Shooting Star misses!…another attempt at the Package PD is escaped by Andrews and into a small package for the three count at 14:05…and the BWC Scarlo lives up to expectations once again. Other then the Package Piledriver kick out (a move I strongly disagree with anyone kicking out of), these two put together a very good match that started heavily focused on the ground and then quickly picked up the pace at the mid point into a nice closing sequence. Andrews retains, but Hitchman definitely impresses and I’d like to see both of them back in PROGRESS sooner then later. (VERY GOOD)
*Post match, Mark Andrews is celebrating with the fans when a man in a suit and a t-shirt attacks him! That man is the former champion Xander Cooper. Well, that explains where he was and how Andrews got the belt. Cooper tries to belt shot Andrews, but Andrews ducks, gets in a dropkick to send Cooper to the floor and then chases him to the back.
*Match #3: Noam Dar (0-1) vs. Darrell Allen (0-0-1)
The Who: And for those wondering, this answers the question of the first guys to have matches on back to back PROGRESS chapters. Noam Dar was defeated by El Ligero in a PROGRESS Wrestling Staff’ qualifying match. ‘Dazzling’ Darrell Allen was part of the BWC Scarlo three way, where he ended up with a no decision as champion Xander Cooper pinned Zack Gibson.
The Why: To build some momentum going forward for one of them would be my guess. Dar got a pretty strong heel reaction on the first show. Allen’s high flying antics made him a crowd favorite, so it seems like a viable contest to me.
The Match: Both men get inset promos. Noam Dar doesn’t have a lot to say in his. Darrell Allen finds his inner Booker T. Yes, that Booker T promo. The less said the better, so let’s move on…apparently Allen dislocated his shoulder in the triple threat at Chapter 1 and finished the match. Having dislocated a shoulder before, that’s pretty impressive…little bit of miscommunication between the two early, but nothing that will greatly hurt the match…Dar is apparently a student of the Tracy Smothers school of wrestling as he tries to call a timeout…Dar with a dropkick while Allen tries to climb the ropes, catching Allen right in the injured shoulder. Spot on precision…Dar threatens to throw his gum at a fan before chomping back down on it. Good. Bodily fluids should never be a way to get heat from the crowd…airplane spin into a NLS as Barnett laments the lack of airplane spins in wrestling. I can agree with that. Very underutilized move…and now Dar shares his gum with Allen before chowing down again. That’s freaking gross…strike exchange see Dar get the better, but a superkick by Allen turns the tide…and another corkscrew enzugiri causes the double down for an eventual two…for all the people who complain about the overuse of superkick’s, I’d argue the enzugiri is just as overused…northern superkick into a rolling prawn for two by Allen…leg capture head kick by Dar. That’s new…crucifix knee bar is applied. Allen tries to fight out, but Dar pushes him back to the mat and starts kicking him in the face with Dar’s free leg. That gets a tap out from Allen at 11:04…Good, but not great. Don’t think the crowd was as invested in this match as they were in the first two and it kinda hurt the competitors. I know Dar is capable of much more. Allen was honestly just another guy here. The story telling of Dar being a dirty little prick works, but Allen doesn’t have the kind of following needed to get the emotional investment that a story like that needs. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
*Match #4: Danny Garnell vs. Jimmy Havoc
The Who: Up until watching this show right now, I would not have been able to pick Danny Garnell out of a lineup. I know nothing about him. Jimmy Havoc however, I’m very well aware of. As a follower of death match wrestling, the name Jimmy Havoc carries a lot of weight these days. He’d eventually go on to be a marquee player for this very company as well. How does he get there? Let’s find out…
The Why: So, this is where Ian Hamilton of BackBodyDrop helped. PROGRESS apparently sent out a tweet to its fans, asking them who they would want to see. Jimmy Havoc’s name came up a ton, so he’s being given the shot here. Ian also points out that Danny Garnell is Jimmy Havoc’s original trainer as well.
The Match: Smallman telling Havoc to ‘fucking behave himself’ before the match is a nice touch and a bit of a nod and a wink as to how the behind the scenes workings are at PROGRESS as well…during pre-match inspections, the referee finds a spoon on Jimmy. At least it wasn’t a fork, Abdullah the Butcher style…the spoon then gets a series of crowd chants…Danny’s inset promo is where he admits he was Havoc’s trainer. Not sure if that’s something to be proud of or not…it’s the basic promo from Danny else wise. ‘I taught you all you know but not all I know’…Barnett is lamenting Havoc’s involvement in the show. Yeah, not suspicious at all…Havoc surprising people by holding his own on the mat. Similar to his American namesake, Danny…Havoc gets an inset promo as well. I’d like to see them do some post match interviews in the future…and a spoon happens. An actual spooning…fans chant for the ref to get some spooning too but he’s having none of it…dropkick takes Garnell to the floor and Havoc follows out with a plancha at about the four minute mark…and Garnell lariats the shit out of him as they come back into the ring. Jesus…body slam and a variation of the surfboard applied. Five minutes in and they go a rest hold. But Havoc able to surprise people with a spinning head scissors to escape…Garnell goes for another clothesline but Havoc is able to duck and take Garnell down into a Crossface. Garnell gets to the ropes as a ‘We Miss Benoit’ chant starts. Remember what I said about PROGRESS fans going too far sometimes? Yeah, this is one of those…Havoc with a running step up knee in the corner. He goes for a second but Garnell ducks and Havoc goes out to the floor. Garnell pulls him back in with a hanging DDT for two…half-nelson suplex and a snapmare driver both drop Havoc on his head, but again only two…Garnell goes for the dirty face, but Havoc moves and catches Garnell with a chest blower for two…and back into the Crossface for another Benoit chant…Havoc gets frustrated and grabs a steel chair. Referee talks him out of using it, but Garnell gets a rollup for two…Havoc turns a tilt-a-whirl attempt into another Crossface (Jimmy Rave’s ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’) but Garnell is able to flip Havoc onto his shoulders and cradles the leg to get a three count for the win at about 10:36 (there were stopwatch issues)…for a guy who is supposed to just be a ‘death match’ or ‘garbage’ wrestler, Havoc more then held his own here. I think Jimmy is a part of that hybrid group of death match guys that can work pretty much any style. Danny Havoc, Drake Younger, JC Bailey (RIP), Nate Webb and Rickey Shane Paige are among the names that spring to mind here. The story of Havoc fighting himself to stay within the rules of PROGRESS was well done too and I do like that it didn’t directly lead to the finish. Instead of Havoc’s temper getting the better of him, his trainer just managed to get one up instead. Good stuff here. (GOOD)
*Post match, Smallman gives Havoc his spoon back (that was nice of him) and compliments Jimmy on his performance, saying that he’ll give Jimmy another chance on Chapter 3. I feel like that may come back to bite him…and the segment ends with a Havoc/Garnell/Smallman triple spoon. ‘This is PROGRESS’ indeed.
*Match #5: Velocity Vipers vs. London Riots
The Who: The London Riots consist of James Davis and Rob Lynch. I’ve seen them once before on the review that Patrick and I did for Chapter 36 for Wrestling Unwrapped, but I’m still going to have a hell of a time telling them apart. The Velocity Vipers are Will Ospreay (yes, he of New Japan and PWG fame) and Alex Esmail. The comparison that I saw made for them was the team of Brian Kendrick and Paul London, and physically, that certainly pans out. In the ring, we shall see…
The Why: Well, this is the first tag match in the history of PROGRESS, occurring in match number twelve. My guess is this is the beginning of establishing something of a tag team division, but I could be wrong.
The Match: Vipers make their entrance and immediately get nailed from behind by Lynch and Davis…the pre-match attack continues on the floor as the Riots are just beating the hell out of both Vipers…Vipers turn the tables and get both Riots out of the ring. Esmail catches Davis (I think) with a somersault plancha. Ospreay tries to dive out of the ring, but gets the ever loving bejesus forearmed out of him by Lynch (I think)…and Barnett confirms that it was Lynch that caught Ospreay with the European uppercut, so that confirms that I did tell them apart correctly, even if I got the move he stopped Ospreay with wrong…Lynch is in bikers, while Davis has the singlet for those following along at home…and we finally get an opening bell with Lynch beating the tar out of Ospreay…it’s kinda cool to think where they’d end up seeing that Andrews, Havoc and Ospreay all debuted for PROGRESS with only a Noam Dar match in between…Fit Finlay roll by Davis. One of my favorite moves…followed by a partner capture piggyback senton. Impressive display…he’s gotten significantly more technically fluent, but man, early Ospreay was a sight to see with all the flying around the ring he did…that’s fucking disgusting. Davis spits on Ospreay’s mouth guard and puts it back in Ospreay’s mouth…and Davis just kicked the absolute crap out of Ospreay. This match is feeling like legalized assault…Esmail is trying to reach out to Ospreay for the tag. I’m sitting here thinking “why would he want any part of this?”…and that was a super flippy-doo. Corkscrew head scissors takedown…crowd chanting for Esmail by chanting ‘Bieber’. They aren’t wrong…and Lynch welcomes Esmail to the violence party with a brutal spear to a chant of ‘you killed Bieber’, as Barnett laments the lack of Justin’s demise…Esmail tries to chop Lynch. It ends poorly for him…release German by Lynch and looked like Esmail landed on his shoulder…at what point does referee stoppage due to empathy become an option?…Davis with a huge exploder for two, allegedly. It does not look like Esmail kicked out, but grabs the knee right afterward, so I’m guessing that’s not good…and the match basically stops until Esmail can tag Ospreay…handspring Pele kick. That’s a new one…and Lynch gets caught with Code Red for two…C4 style snapmare by Ospreay…and Ospreay misses the double moonsault. Yes, you read that right. I said the words ‘double moonsault’…one Lariat by Lynch later and Davis covers for the three count at 10:19…from what actually happened before Esmail got hurt, it was actually a fun little battle of aerial vs. strong style. When Ospreay and Esmail could get into the air, they had a chance. On the ground, they were taking an absolute ass kicking. Unfortunately, Esmail’s injury robbed us of the sequence leading to the hot tag and thus took the fans out of the match. My guess is they went home early after the injury. Fun effort, with an unfortunate injury to Esmail. (ABOVE AVERAGE+, BUT WAS ON WAY TO BETTER)
*Upon checking Ian’s review of the show, it wasn’t the knee that Esmail was holding. It was his leg. He broke it on the landing of the exploder. As I said, unfortunate for him. I don’t know that he ever returned to PROGRESS. I’d say it worked out okay for Ospreay though.
*Post match promo from Rob Lynch where he basically says what he said in his inset promo. Kinda defeats the purpose of those, no?
*Match #6: #1 Contender’s Match- El Ligero (1-1) vs. Greg Burridge vs. RJ Singh
The Who: El Ligero was on the first show. He beat Noam Dar in the opener to advance to the four way, where he was the first person eliminated in the four way. Greg Burridge (which I originally read as Gurridge) is brand new to me. Have never seen or heard of him before. RJ Singh was supposed to be on the first show facing Colt Cabana in one of the qualifier’s, but didn’t make the show and was replaced with ‘Loco’ Mike Mason, who we don’t see on this second Chapter. Probably because he was basically less talented Davey Richards. And I’m not a huge Davey fan in the first place.
The Why: The graphic for the match said it’s for the number one contendership. What any of these guys have done to become number one contender is anyone’s guess. This could give an interesting sign of things to come in the main event though.
The Match: RJ Singh has a pair of managers. He didn’t have managers on the graphic. Hopefully Jim Smallman tells me who they is during the intros…I couldn’t make out what he said during introductions for them……I’ll keep looking and listening (there is a Jimmy Barnett still) and let you all know…Burridge gets the only promo and mentions what Smallman just mentioned that he’s the hometown boy. Ligero was also a crowd favorite on the first show, so it appears RJ Singh is the heel in this contest…nope, RJ Singh gets an inset promo too. It just happens a bit later. ‘This is PROGRESS and Singh is King’ is a strong line, give him that…Burridge and Ligero trade sissy kicks, until Burridge with a finger poke for a ‘holy shit’ chant…Singh comes back in and gets knocked right back on wallet…okay, I do like that they are mixing in spots with all three guys involved…and Burridge has fluffy dice hanging from his crotch. Because of course he does…Ligero’s reputation proceeds him, Singh is a nice little high flyer despite and Burridge is the charisma of this contest…Singh does like to focus on knee strikes…Barnett points out this is one fall to a finish, not elimination rules like the title match was…rolling hilo by Burridge. The Eddie Guerrero special from the big guy. If I had to give a build comparison for Burridge, I’d say Wade Barrett sounds about right…and the director for Singh gets an in ring face humping after attempted interference. No wonder these shows don’t allow kids…Ligero with a huge dive to take out Singh’s other second…Ligero with the Rings of Saturn that gets broken up with a back chop by Burridge. Back chops are for jerks!…RJ Singh applies a Camel Clutch, decreeing it’s name to the ‘Ethnic Submission’. That’s a whole lot of wrestling history wrapped up into two words right there…Ligero catches with the same DDT he beat Dar with, Burridge stops any attempt at a cover with a submission hold…they O’Connor Roll into the ropes, knocking Singh to the floor and Ligero ends up with the cover, grabbing the tights for the three count at 11:03 and the fans are pissed at Ligero for such dastardly tactics…match itself wasn’t bad, but nothing to write home about either. The finish is the big talking point as Ligero wasn’t seen as a guy who would have previously stooped to the level of using the tights in order to get a victory. I actually like him doing so here, because it keeps an air of mystery about the main event still. If Nathan Cruz wins, Ligero can go back to loveable baby face who did what was necessary to get the title shot. If Marty Scurll wins, Ligero can be the little bastard who will cheat against even his friends if it means being champion. Good story, average match. (AVERAGE)
*Post match, Burridge has a promo where he uses pretty much every curse word in the book and probably makes up a couple to describe the fact that Ligero cheated him out of the number one contendership. Definitely not a family show.
*Match #7: PROGRESS Wrestling Staff: ‘Showstealer’ Nathan Cruz © (2-0) vs. ‘Party’ Marty Scurll (1-0-1)
The Who: Nathan Cruz is the first PROGRESS champion, crowned at ’In The Beginning’ (available in my archive if you’ve not read). He won both a singles match over Colossus Kennedy and then the four way elimination main event. ‘Party’ Marty Scurll is the ‘Villain’ of modern day ROH and New Japan, but here he’s still more commonly known as one half of the ‘Leaders of the New School’. Scurll pinned Zach Sabre Jr at the first show in what I still feel is the best match in PROGRESS history to this point to advance to that four way.
The Why: The why here is simple and I touched on it earlier in the review. At ‘In The Beginning’, there was a previously mentioned four way. It came down to two people: Marty Scurll and Nathan Cruz. Scurll had a clear three count during the match, but the referee got knocked stupid. As Scurll was trying to resuscitate the referee, he was given a low blow by Cruz and then eventually Cruz’s sliding single foot dropkick spelled curtains for Scurll. On the PROGRESS YouTube channel (2012 and all, a company has to have a digital presence), Cruz challenged Scurll to the rematch, even letting Scurll pick the stipulation. Scurll choose ‘two out of three falls’ and here we are…
The Match: IT IS NOT A NAZI STAFF!!! Okay, maybe it is…interesting that the win-loss records on the chyron for Marty Scurll has him at 0 wins and 1 loss. Two things for that- first, they are completely ignoring him pinning Zach Sabre Jr. for that 0 wins total. Second, technically he didn’t lose the main event of Chapter 1. He just didn’t win. I personally consider that a draw, and therefore you see the 1-0-1 record that I have given to Scurll…Nathan Cruz’s chyron has him listed at 1-0, so I don’t know what the hell is going on…and the crowd once again gets on Cruz with a ‘shit Zack Ryder woo woo woo’ chant. Made me laugh the first time, makes me laugh the second…and Scurll spits his gum at Cruz. This has been a very unhygienic show…Barnett points out Scurll’s tan advantage. That checks…Scurll is quickly going after the arm and hand of Cruz. Makes sense to weaken a limb for what will probably be a long match…and Scurll busts out the Jim Briggs special. That move doesn’t get enough love…overhead chop from Scurll after a shushing. Wonder if he got that from Big Show or vice versa…Cruz fires back just as strongly with chops of his own…any chop you can throw, I can throw harder. I’ve never understood chops. Good for crowd reaction, but painful as all hell. In a business that supposed to look like it hurts without actually doing so…we once again go out to the floor for a brawl, because that’s exactly what this event needed. More crowd brawling like the main event of Chapter 1…slingshot back suplex by Cruz. Not sure if I’ve seen that one before…Cruz eats foot on a charge not once but twice, but a leaping knee strike gets two for Nathan…Barnett credits a delayed vertical as ‘shades of the late great Davey Boy Smith’…and it totals a fifty second delayed vertical, but I think it took as much out of him as it did Nathan…that suplex gets our second ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant of the match…Cruz went for the sliding kick again and nobody home. Eventually it leads to a tornado DDT for a close two count…looked like Scurll was going for a rack bomb there. Don’t think I’ve ever seen him use one of those…Scurll looks to be heading to the top fall here…Cruz catches him with an enzugiri while he’s on top. They battle up and Scurll manages to get a CIMA style Meteora with Cruz trapped on the buckles. Scurll lifts up Cruz into position for the Rack Bomb, but turns it into a double knee backcracker out of it. He calls it the ‘Hangover’ and that’s fall number one to ‘Party’ Marty @ 12:11
*Fall Two: For those wondering, I’m going to leave the clock running between falls, despite the both men on their feet rule…Cruz tries the Flair corner cradle right as the second fall starts but only gets two…it breaks into a slugfest before a Scurll cross body takes both to the floor…and Scurll uses beer as a weapon on the floor. I’m guessing that’s called the ‘Party Foul’…and a loud ‘we can’t see shit’ chant starts while they brawl on the floor. This is exactly why I advice against it. In larger crowds, it takes a portion of the crowd out of the match…Cruz traps Scurll somewhere and sprints back into the ring looking for a countout…but Scurll rolls back in at 8…and Scurll gets Irish (English?) whipped into a couple rows of chairs, where Cruz looks for the countout again…and the fans helped Scurll back into the ring at 8 again. I’m sensing a pattern here…once again out to the floor. This is getting repetitive, gentlemen…okay, that was almost worth it. Fireman’s carry slam on the sound desk by Cruz!…this time Scurll gets to the ring with a fan assist at the count of nine…Scurll eventually turns the table back in the ring with a series of windmill chops…Scurll busts out a move I’ve only see Cesaro (Claudio Castagnoli) use. A suplex from the apron back into the ring…a series of attempts at the figure four by Scurll are countered. Both men back up. Scurll tries for a tilt-a-whirl head scissors, but gets caught and dropped square on his dome with a Tombstone! That’s the second fall (and it should be. Tombstone is another of those moves that should not be kicked out of) @ 22:00
*Fall Three: The both men on their feet rule here helps Scurll. He’s out of it after that Tombstone…Scurll collapses at the bell, but the cover only gets two. Almost two minutes passed, so I can let that one go…Cruz looks to be setting up the sliding kick, but Scurll pops up with a rolling elbow and Barnett shouts out Mitsuhara Misawa. I went Masato Tanaka myself, but I’m an ECW mark…both men back up and punch drunk. Twenty five minutes in, it makes sense…series of pin attempts by Scurll, which I like. Puts over his desperation for the title…Scurll tries to run Cruz into a buckle but it’s the buckle where the ref is. Scurll puts on the brakes and Cruz’s trick knee acts up. Man, we’re hitting all the classic heel cliches in this one; aren’t we?…Barnett runs over the card for Chapter Three and he says we’re getting Andrews vs. Cooper for the BWC Scarlo…after trying to fight it most of the night, Cruz finally gets caught in the figure four by Scurll…Cruz keeps trying to get to the ropes, but losing his shoulers in the process…finally, Cruz to the ropes. It would have been a viable finish. Let’s see how Cruz sells it the rest of the way though…and Cruz pulls Chris Roberts into the way of a Scurll leaping knee…Cruz out to the floor and grabbing a chair. This is why not using the chair early means more…El Ligero comes out and pulls the chair away from Cruz. Cruz spits at Ligero, so Ligero delivers a superkick…to Marty Scurll as Nathan Cruz ducks. Ligero shrugs his shoulders about the whole thing and exits, as Cruz makes the cover…referee Roberts comes too and that’s a third fall, giving Nathan Cruz a 2-1 win @ 30:31…so, I get the idea here. And it makes sense given that El Ligero was facing the winner of this match on Chapter 3 that he would be an interested party. What I don’t care for is the fact that he stopped Cruz from using the chair. What does Ligero care if Cruz would have split Scurll’s wig with the chair? Either way, he ends up facing Nathan Cruz at Chapter 3 for the title anyway…that said, the match was very good, but I can’t give it excellent. Nor can I put it at the level of the Scurll-Sabre Jr match due to the booking involved. Just because I kind of understand the booking, doesn’t mean I have to like it. (VERY GOOD)
*Post match: Cruz celebrates with the staff and then exits…Scurll gets the microphone from Smallman before he can wrap things up and Scurll proceeds to lament the fact that this is twice in the first two shows in PROGRESS that he’s been screwed out of the title. He then makes a point to say that it doesn’t matter who is champion, he will be the man to be the PROGRESS Heavyweight champion in the future. With that, Scurll exits and we fade with a splash screen telling me that Chapter 3 will be subtitled “Fifty Shades of Pain”. So many jokes, so little time…after that, the credits roll and the website advertisements pop up, bringing us to a conclusion for Chapter 2.
Match #1: Lion Kid pins Stixx with a rolling prawn hold @ 10:24 (AVERAGE)
Match #2: BWC Scarlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © pins ‘Wild Boar’ Mike Hitchman with a small package @ 14:05 (VERY GOOD)
Match #3: Noam Dar taps Darrell Allen via ‘Champagne Super-Knee-Bar’ with head kicks @ 11:04 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #4: Danny Garnell pins Jimmy Havoc with a roll-up out of the Crossface @ 10:36 (ish) (GOOD)
Match #5: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) def. Velocity Vipers (Alex Esmail/Will Ospreay) when Davis pins Ospreay after a Lynch Lariat @ 10:19 (ABOVE AVERAGE+, BUT WAS ON WAY TO BETTER)
Match #6: #1 Contender’s Three-Way: El Ligero pins Greg Burridge with a tights assisted O’Connor Roll @ 11:03 in a match that also involved RJ Singh (AVERAGE)
Match #7: PROGRESS Wrestling Staff: Nathan Cruz © defeats ‘Party’ Marty Scurll by a score of 2 falls to 1 @ 30:31 to retain (VERY GOOD)
-Scurll, pinfall, Hangover, 12:11
-Cruz, pinfall, Tombstone, 22:00
-Cruz, pinfall, superkick by El Ligero @ 30:31
FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
I’m going to try to keep these a bit shorter then they were for Chapter 1. Mostly because this is already rocking almost ten pages here and I don’t want to go much more. They improved
the lightning in the building on the hard cam, but the roaming cam lighting is still hit and miss. With the amount of crowd brawling that went on in the main event, that becomes a seriously noticeable flaw.
Second, the lack of decisive finishes kind of bothered me. I get that it’s early in the company’s run. But one of the trademarks (in my opinion) of ‘strong style wrestling’ are clean and decisive finishes. Off the seven matches on this show, two had dead in the center of the ring clean finishes that weren’t rollups. I don’t like that at all.
There was no one on this show that felt like they didn’t belong to me. Despite me not knowing who Mike Hitchman was, he really impressed me in his match with Mark Andrews. Despite not knowing who Danny Garnell was, the story that he and Jimmy Havoc told more then justified his involvement. The opener was kinda lackluster overall, but it was good for the spot with the Lion Kid gimmick being something that’s easy for a crowd to get behind.
I gave them credit on the first show for crowning a champion. I’ll give them credit here for knowing that they needed to set things up for future shows to keep the hype train rolling. Yes, PROGRESS got off to a strong start, but the company didn’t yet have the name they do now where they could continue drawing huge cards solely on the PROGRESS name. In addition to being able to do several things for shows down the road, they immediately set up at least two matches for the next show. Nathan Cruz vs. El Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff and Mark Andrews vs. Xander Cooper for the BWC Scarlo Scholarship title. Good forward thinking.
A better show then Chapter 1, but not the blow away show that we would eventually come to expect. We top out at ‘very good’ on the scale and a good portion of that is because of the booking. We’ll chalk this up to the learning curve though. So where does this leave us? Well, it leaves me about to come back to check out “Fifty Shades of Pain”. It leaves you guys hopefully wanting to see me do so. And I’m still hungry. I clearly need to eat more…
THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: I’m going with the BWC Scarlo match between Mark Andrews and Mike Hitchman here. Despite the main event earning the same rating, I was more pleasantly surprised by this one then I was by the main event.
Worst match/moment: Lion Kid and Stixx as far as in ring content went. I get that it was there to get the crowd hyped and I appreciate that but it was still really sloppy, mostly on Lion Kid’s part.
MVP: I’m going to issue co-MVPs here to Mark Andrews and Jimmy Havoc. Andrews for delivering the in-ring performance that he did and Havoc for telling the story that he did during his match. Credit to both Hitchman and Garnell, but clearly Andrews and Havoc were the stars of those respective matches.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10
Until next time: “This Is PROGRESS” and that’s “What I Watched”. Catch you all for Chapter 3: “Fifty Shades of Pain”.
Chairshot Classics: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 – One Versus All
Our road to the 2019 Royal Rumble continues with a look back at one from the past!
For only the second time in WWE history, the WWE Championship is on the line in the Royal Rumble Match!
Kickoff Show Match – Fatal 4 Way Royal Rumble Qualifying Match: The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) vs. Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs. Damien Sandow & Darren Young vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
Swagger & Young to kick the action off, The Real American with a side headlock, Darren pushes him off into the ropes and is knocked down by a shoulder for a quick 1. Swagger to a wristlock, Henry tags in and flattens Darren after a whip by The Real American. The WSM chokes Young in the corner, tag back to Swagger, Darren reverses a whip to the ropes, ducks a right hand and drills The Real American with a discus forearm. Sandow gets a tag to a nice ovation, plant Swagger with a russian leg sweep and connects with the Cubito Aequet.
Darren back in, lands a corner clothesline to The Real American, hits a bridging northern lights suplex and only gets a 1 count. Young to a rear chinlock, Swagger rolls him out of it and Konnor tags himself into the match, forcing Darren out of the ring. He delivers a haymaker to The Real American, shoves Mark Henry on the apron and all 8 guys step into the ring for a shoving match as we go to a break….Swagger has Konnor grounded with a rear chinlock when we come back, Konnor gains his footing, gets pushed into the ropes and The Real American with a greco-roman slam.
D-Von reaches over and tags Swagger out, hits the ropes and knocks Konnor down with a shoulder block, then a clothesline, looking for a neckbreaker and he gets pushed into the corner, dropping Viktor off the apron in the process. Konnor rushes into the corner, D-Von sticks the boot up into the chin, Viktor with a leg trip from the outside as Konnor keeps the referee’s attention. Viktor enters the match, The Ascension stomp away at D-Von in the corner, Viktor with heavy shots, brings Konnor back in and whips him into a corner clothesline, scores with a high knee and Konnor gets a count of 2. He looks to grind D-Von down with a rear chinlock, D-Von battles to his feet, hits the ropes and runs into a back elbow for another 2 count, Konnor going back to the rear chinlock.
D-Von fights up again, Konnor sends him into the corner, charges in and misses, going shoulder-first into the ring post and allowing Bubba to get a tag. Viktor tags in and runs into multiple clotheslines, Bubba squashes him in the corner, drops Konnor off the apron and plants Viktor with a uranage, getting 2 before Swagger is in to break it up. Sandow clears Swagger out, Henry lays out Sandow & Darren, then turns into a big boot from Bubba. He slams Young, D-Von heads up top and connects with the Wazzup Headbutt. The Dudleys call for tables, Viktor slides in and misses a clothesline, rebounding off the ropes into a 3D.
Bubba covers and Swagger again makes a save, dragging Bubba out and grabbing the Patriot Lock from the floor. The WSM takes advantage and hits a big splash to Bubba’s back, turns over, covers Viktor and advances to the Royal Rumble Match.
Winners: Mark Henry & Jack Swagger (Henry/Splash)
- EA’s Take: Fair Kickoff match this evening with the sentimental favorite picking up the victory. When this match was announced, I figured either The Dudleys or Swagger/Henry would get the win. Sandow/Young is just a thrown-together pairing (which reminds me, what the hell happened to the Primetime Players?) and The Ascension are the jobbers of the tag team division. If it weren’t for Mark Henry’s interview speaking about how this could be his last Royal Rumble Match earlier in the week, I probably would have never anticipated Swagger/Henry having a shot. The Dudleys were a favorite merely for the name value, while it’s obvious that none these guys will have much, if any kind of impact in the Rumble itself.
Open: A limousine pulls up in the back and out steps Vince & Stephanie McMahon. Jojo walks up asking Mr. McMahon about Roman Reigns tonight, Vince speaks about giving the champion the opportunity to make history tonight and successfully defend his title in the Royal Rumble. Steph agrees and says not only would he make history, but he’d go onto WrestleMania as champion. Vince is loving tonight, almost as much as he loves himself.
Video: “Here stands a time-tested arena where warriors have solved what countless others cannot. Now, one’s immortality awaits ahead as 30 will battle to etch their place in history. But, fate twists it’s cruel head. An unprecedented event occurs.” For the first time in history it’s One Vs. All, as Roman Reigns defends the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against 29 challengers in the Royal Rumble Match.
Match #1 – Last Man Standing for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens
The bell rings and the brawl begins with both guys throwing bombs, The Lunatic Fringe getting the quick advantage and working over the champion in the corner. Owens fires back with rights and chops, Ambrose calls for more, turns the tables and serves some chops of his own. He whips the champion to the opposite corner, charges in with a running forearm and follows it with a bulldog The Prize Fighter rolling to the outside. The Lunatic Fringe flies through the middle rope with a suicide dive, the champion is sent across the announce table and lands on Michael Cole. Dean tosses Owens back across, jumps off the table and meets a right hand to the ribs.
The champion attempts to drive Ambrose into the steps, Dean reverses and Owens meets the steel, getting up at a count of 4. The champion reaches under the ring and pulls out a kendo stick, teeing off on Owens back in and then out of the ring.. The Lunatic Fringe with a big swing and a miss, hitting the ring post instead and the challenger counters with a superkick. Ambrose is propped up against the barricade, The Prize Fighter charges and connects with the Cannonball, exploding into the timekeeper’s area with Dean. The champion makes it up at 8, Owens returning the kendo stick shots, splits it in half and spears it into Ambrose’s midsection.
Owens levels The Lunatic Fringe with a short-arm clothesline, hits the ropes for a running senton, then tosses the champion to the outside, driving him into the ringside barricade once more. The challenger now looks under the ring for some toys, putting a pile of chairs in the ring. He rolls outside and hammers Dean in the back with one, rolls back inside and grabs a seat as Ambrose gets up at 5. Back in the ring, The Lunatic Fringe eats a big right hand, Owens sets two chairs up and builds a bridge, elevating the champion on his shoulders. Dean battles out of it, takes a forearm shot, bounces into the ropes and scores with a Lunatic Lariat.
Both men reach their feet at 6, the challenger utilizing the chair again to Ambrose’s ribs and pounding the back. Dean’s up at 6, The Prize Fighter looks to slam him on the chairs, Ambrose blocks it, bounces off the ropes again and meets a boot to the midsection. Owens tries a powerbomb on the chairs, The Lunatic Fringe counters with a back body drop and sends the challenger through them instead. Both combatants are up at 7, Owens rolls to the floor, the champion attempts another suicide dive and gets caught, then driven spine-first into the ring apron. The Prize Fighter gets real aggressive, driving Ambrose into the ring steps numerous time, Dean struggling to his feet at 8.
Owens drags a table out and sets it up at ringside, then gets another and stacks them as Dean pulls himself back into the ring. The challenger climbs to the apron, then pulls Ambrose up to the top turnbuckle to superplex him through the tables. The Lunatic Fringe fights it off, grabs a chair and tosses it into Owens’ face, the chair hanging off his head. The champion with a series of rights and chops, hits the ropes and runs into a superkick, The Prize Fighter looking for the Pop-Up Powerbomb and Dean counters into a hurricanrana. The champion ducks a clothesline, spikes Owens with Dirty Deeds and the challenger uses the ropes to get up at 8.
Ambrose spikes Owens with Dirty Deeds again, this time on a chair, but The Prize Fighter rolls out of the ring to get to his feet at 9. The Lunatic Fringe rolls outside, finds himself a table and sets it in front of the announce table. He drives Owens off the announce table, places him on the table, climbs to the top rope and comes off with an elbow drop through the table. The referee counts as both men are down, using the apron to pull up and back into the ring at an 8 count. The champion rolls out and slides another table into the ring, smacks Owens with a chair, sets up the table and props the challenger on the top turnbuckle.
Dean climbs up for a superplex, The Prize Fighter blocks and smashes Ambrose through the table with a 2nd rope fisherman’s buster. Owens to his feet at 6, Ambrose stumbling up at 9 with help from the table wreckage. The Prize Fighter scores with a Pop-Up Powerbomb, the champion barely up at 9, Owens delivering a vicious chair shot then building another chair bridge. He lays the champion on the chairs, climbs up top for a moonsault, Ambrose gets to his feet and pushes Owens forward, The Prize Fighter falling through the two stacked tables and he can’t make the count.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Dean Ambrose
- EA’s Take: Great opening contest that really got the crowd going to begin the night. A brutal brawl is what this should have been to be the blow-off to this rivalry as has been reported. I’d really like to see Owens stay in something relevant heading into WrestleMania, the guy is the best heel in the company right now. Ambrose could be involved in the main event heading to WrestleMania, but I suspect some kind of multi-man match for his IC Title could take place again. It would be a great way to showcase guys with so much up in the air right now due to injuries.
Match #2 for the WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) w/Xavier Woods vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
Prior to the match, Big E talks about The New Day being in mourning since Chris Jericho broke Francesca the trombone. Kofi calls for a moment of silence, but we hear a trombone in the background and out comes Woods. They welcome the newest member of New Day, Francesca 2. Jimmy & Kofi will begin, Jimmy with a waistlock, Kingston switches out, they trade side headlocks, Jimmy getting pushed off into the ropes. Kofi with leapfrogs, Jimmy stops short of one for a back suplex, Kingston lands on his feet and runs into a stiff right hand. Jey gets the tag, The Usos with a combination backbreaker/top rope foream and Jey tosses Kofi to the outside.
Jimmy levels Kingston with a clothesline on the floor as Jey distracts the official, rolls Kofi inside and covers for a count of 2. Kingston sneaks in a jawbreaker, makes a tag to Big E who charges into a right hand. Jey backs him to the corner, Big E reverses a whip across, Jey attempts to hop up and over, but E has it scouted and drives him shoulder-first into the ring post, falling to the outside. Big E follows him out, lifts Jey on his shoulder and charges toward the barricade, Jey slipping out and connecting with a dropkick to turn the tables. Woods gets involved behind the ref’s back, using the barricade to spring into a tornado DDT.
Kingston tags, drops to the floor and rolls Jey in to deliver some punishment in the corner, gaining a 2 count. He grounds Jey with a chinlock, Jey to a vertical base, gets backed into the wrong corner, Big E tagging as Jey battles out. Kofi & Jey both look for superkicks, Kingston hooking the leg and holding Jey down for a Big E splash for a count of 2. Big E pounds away at Jey’s chest, flattens him with a back elbow and covers, but is too close to the ropes. Kofi slingshots in with a stomp off the tag, hammers Jey in the corner, charges in and gets elevated to the apron, landing on his feet. Kingston gets a handful of Jey’s hair and pays for it, getting dropped to the floor by an enzuigiri.
Big E & Xavier assist him back into the ring, Big E makes the tag just as Jimmy hits the ring with a right hand, then knocks Kofi off the apron. Big E reverses a whip into the ropes, Jimmy ducks a right and delivers a kick to the midsection, drops Kingston off the apron again, ducks a Big E clothesline and scores with a samoan drop. Kofi springboards into the ring and gets caught in a samoan drop, Jimmy rushing him in the corner with the hip attack. He ducks another shot from Big E, scales to the top and hits a corkscrew senton for a near fall, then heads back upstairs. Kofi hits the apron, Jey pulls him to the floor, looking to toss Kingston into the barricade, but it’s reversed and Jey is sent into the crowd.
Back in the ring Big E crotches Jimmy on the top turnbuckle, plants him with a belly to belly suplex and covers for a 2 count. Jimmy rolls to the apron, Big E looks for a spear and meets a knee for his troubles, Kofi grabs the leg and gets kicked away, then taken out by Jey who dives in off the barricade. Jimmy is distracted and Big E spears him off the apron to the floor, all 4 men down outside, struggling to their feet. E rolls Jimmy inside and covers for 2, tag to Kofi for the combo Big Ending/top rope DDT, Jimmy slips out and shoves Big E into the corner, knocking Kingston to the canvas. Kofi looks to sneak in Trouble In Paradise, Jimmy ducks and hits a superkick, tag to Jey and he connects with an Uso Splash, Kingston getting a foot under the rope at a count of 2.
Woods has words with Jey from the floor, Jimmy takes him out with a suicide dive, but Big E is there to drive him spine-first into the barricade. Kofi looks to take advantage with a roll-up on Jey for 2, Jey rolls through and gets 2 of his own. Kofi hops to Jey’s shoulders in the corner, E making a blind tag, Jey drops Kingston down and connects with another superkick before scaling to the top rope. He comes off for another Uso Splash, Big E slides in and catches him in the air into the Big Ending to retain.
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day (Big E/Big Ending)
- EA’s Take: Part of me thought this could be the night that The New Day drops the titles given the way The Usos have been getting over on them of late. The problem is that New Day is just so entertaining that they are getting cheers, or as evidenced tonight, their opponents are getting booed. And that’s not a knock on The Usos because they’re a great team, that’s just how over New Day is. The match itself to me was a little ho-hum, I did enjoy the finish however.
Video: Last Monday on Raw, Brock Lesnar sent a message to the participants in the Royal Rumble Match before falling to a Spear from Roman Reigns. Then, The Wyatt Family showed up and took them all out.
Backstage: In a dark room is The Wyatt Family, Bray speaking about slaughtering everyone in his path. After tonight, he will truly have the whole world in his hands. “The apocalypse is here…run.”
Match #3 for the WWE United States Championship: WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto
Collar & elbow to start, Del Rio backs Kalisto into the corner, the challenger switches out and delivers right hands, Alberto doing the same. He snapmares Kalisto over for a kick to the head and a count of 1, then shoots the challenger sternum-first into the turnbuckles. The champion to the 2nd rope, reigns down right hands, Kalisto with a kick to the back that sends Del Rio outside, then hits the ropes for a suicide dive. He drives Alberto into the barricade, tosses him in the ring and climbs to the top, Del Rio sees it and drops him with an enzuigiri for a count of 2.
El Patron with a snap suplex for another 2, then looks to ground the high flyer with a rear chinlock. Kalisto fights to his feet, hits the ropes for a kick, back to the ropes and the champion splits him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Del Rio heads up top now for a double axe and a near fall, slides the challenger to the outside, dropping him face-first to the floor. Alberto outside after him, Kalisto with a hurricanrana out of nowhere, rolls the champion in the ring, attempts a headscissors takedown, Del Rio countering into a gutbuster that only gets 1. El Patron takes the fight outside, tosses Kalisto into the barricade, back into the ring and he props him on the top turnbuckle, trying to remove his mask.
The challenger fights Alberto off, comes off the top with a seated senton, into the ropes he goes, missing a 2nd rope springboard corkscrew headbutt, the champion following with a superkick and he nearly gets a 3 count. Alberto looks to finish with the Cross Armbreaker, Kalisto slips out of it, goes to the 2nd rope and spikes Del Rio with a tornado DDT for a count of 2. Kalisto this time scores with the corkscrew headbutt, hits the ropes and plants Alberto with a spikerana, covers and again only gets 2. He scales the top rope, El Patron crotches the challenger on the top turnbuckle, climbs up and brings him down the hard way with a top rope reverse suplex.
The champion toying with Kalisto and slapping him in the face, Kalisto fires back with a kick, follows with a roll-up and gets another near fall. He charges Alberto in the corner and meets boots the to face, Del Rio to the top, know he gets crotched on the turnbuckle. Kalisto climbs up to meet him, the champion with right hands, dropping the challenger and he’s caught in the tree of woe. Del Rio looks for the double stomp and misses, Kalisto goes into Salida Del Sol, covers and Alberto grabs the bottom rope at 2.
El Patron dumps the challenger outside to buy some time, Kalisto to the apron, springboards in and Del Rio turns it into a codebreaker, still unable to get a pinfall. He exposes the top turnbuckle, looks to drive Kalisto into it, the challenger blocks and connects with an enzuigiri. He charges Del Rio in the corner, Alberto elevates him towards the exposed turnbuckle, Kalisto landing on the 2nd rope. He comes off the with a hurricanrana that sends the champion into the turnbuckle, follows with a 2nd Salida Del Sol and regains the championship.
Winner and NEW WWE United States Champion: Kalisto (Salida Del Sol)
- EA’s Take: I have to admit that I’m a little surprised to see Kalisto regain the title. I keep thinking that Sin Cara will be back here fairly soon, but with the amount of momentum Kalisto has it could be best to keep him on his own. Although I don’t see him having the career longevity due to his age, you can’t help but see a lot of Rey Mysterio in him and the company certainly recognizes it. I think Kalisto should get a decent title run this time around, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this feud stretched out further, possibly into Fastlane.