It’s the 2nd annual summer spectacular, SummerSlam! With this year’s Summer spectacular just a few months away now, The Chairshot will be bringing you back to look at the history of the event as I team up with a new member to the crew (He’ll be jumping in a few weeks from now). Since we posted the first SummerSlam last week, this time around we bring you the second installment!
For the 1989 event, the WWF looked to capitalize off the movie ‘No Holds Barred’, bringing in the character that played opposite Hulk Hogan in the movie as ‘Rip’. In the film, ‘Rip’ was victorious over Zeus, WWF blending this into their programming as Zeus (‘Tiny’ Lister) came in looking for revenge on Hulk in “real-life”. Zeus would debut in May, attacking the Hulkster before a title defense against Big Boss Man. He would align himself with Hulk’s WrestleMania V opponent in Randy Savage, Hogan forming a tandem with his friend Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake as The Mega Maniacs. Ultimate Warrior also looks to regain the Intercontinental Championship from Rick Rude and Dusty Rhodes makes his WWF debut from East Rutherford, New Jersey!
Open: A video package highlighting the participants in tonight’s event is couple with clips of summer activities.
Match #1: The Hart Foundation (Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart & Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart) vs. WWF Tag Team Champions The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard) w/Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan
Hitman & Tully will start things off, they lock-up, Tully with a side headlock, gets pushed into the ropes and Bret scores with multiple arm drags. He grabs Blanchard in an armbar, driving the elbow to the shoulder joint, Tully is able to back his way to the corner and tag out. Double A runs in, gets caught in a side headlock, he pushes Hitman off and gets a drop toe hold, grabs a side headlock and Bret counters into a hammerlock. Hitman works over Anderson’s arm now, hooking the arm and slamming Arn before tagging Neidhart.
The Anvil continues punishing the arm with an arm wringer, Arn breaks it with a knee to the midsection, reaches for a tag and Neidhart powers him to the mat, bringing Bret back in. Hitman drops a leg on the arm, wraps it in the ropes and pummels away. The Anvil in, maintaining a wristlock, Arn is able to finally fall back to a tag, but the ref doesn’t allow it. Neidhart forces Anderson back into his corner, Hitman with an arm drag off the tag, Anderson with a headscissors and he finally makes a tag to Blanchard. Tully tries a cheap kick, Hitman catches the foot, tag to The Anvil and he kicks the leg, going back to a wristlock.
Blanchard grabs the beard, sending Neidhart in the ropes for a hiptoss and The Anvil flattens him with a clothesline before going back to the wrist. Hitman tags, The Hart Foundation really doing a number on the shoulder joint, Arn attempts to hit the ring, allowing The Hart Foundation to switch behind the ref’s back. Tully finally gets to his feet, shots to The Anvil that have zero affect and Neidhart drives Blanchard into the corner with a forearm.
He whips Tully sternum-first into the turnbuckle, Bret re-enters and drops an elbow before going to a hammerlock. Blanchard gets to a vertical base, switching out into a top wristlock, taking Hitman to the canvas. Bret bridges to his feet, Anderson comes in for a double team, Hitman flips out of it and sends both of them out to the floor. They take a quick walk, Tully slides back inside and shoves Hart, Hitman unleashing right hands. Blanchard drops to the outside, Hitman gives chase around ringside and back in, Anderson making a blind tag and then blindsiding Bret. He slams Hitman, comes off the 2nd rope for a splash and Bret gets the knees up.
Tully hits the ring, but meets The Anvil and now all 4 men are brawling, The Hart Foundation clearing the ring. The Brain Busters regroup with Heenan on the floor, Tully gets dragged to the apron and brought in the hard way with a forearm. Blanchard reverses a whip into the ropes, Hitman picks the legs and drops a boot to the midsection. Neidhart off the tag, sends Tully into the corner, Blanchard hops to the 2nd rope and gets caught, then driven into the corner. The Anvil unloads with the heavy artillery, Anderson with a shot to the back from behind and Hitman makes him pay.
Neidhart gets sent into the corner by his partner for a splash, Arn pulls Blanchard out of the way and then tags in. Double A stomps away at The Anvil, Tully to the top off a tag, dropping an elbow to the back and grabbing a camel clutch. Neidhart powers up with Tully on his back, Anderson tags in and prevents The Anvil from tagging out. Left hands from Double A, shoots Neidhart in and lands a shot to the midsection for a count of 2. Blanchard back in, lefts and rights in the corner, then a quick tag back out. The Anvil battles out of the corner, gets sent into the ropes and they collide, both men down.
Arn goes to the eyes, stopping Neidhart from tagging, The Anvil reverses a whip, ducks down and Bret with a knee to Anderson’s back from the apron. Tags on both ends, Hitman firing away at Tully in the corner, sends him across and lands a back elbow. He slams Blanchard & Arn, then clotheslines both of them and hits Arn with a dropkick. He slams Blanchard again, comes off the 2nd rope with an elbow drop and follows with a vertical suplex. Anderson is still in the ring, Hitman leaves the cover and all 4 guys are in, paired off in opposite corners.
The Hart Foundation attempt to shoot The Brain Busters into each other, Anderson reverses and Hitman levels Blanchard with a clothesline. The Anvil disposes of Anderson and they exchange on the outside. Back in the ring, Bret with an inverted atomic drop as Neidhart sends Double A into the ring post on the floor, then climbs to the apron. Bret sends Tully into the ropes, then slingshots Neidhart in with a shoulder tackle. Neidhart slams Blanchard, then powerslams his partner into a splash on Tully and covers, but Heenan is on the apron with the ref’s attention. Neidhart goes after The Brain as Anderson drops a double axe handle to Hitman, covers and the referee turns around to make the 3 count.
Winners: The Brain Busters (Anderson/Partner Switch)
- EA’s Take: Pretty good opening contest for this red hot crowd, The Hart Foundation really dominating the majority of the match. The Brain Busters were not the champions when this match was made, thus being the ‘reason’ for it not being a title match. Like it would have mattered with them picking up the victory anyways. This would be the final PPV appearance for The Brain Busters, as Tully Blanchard would fail a drug test on the night of Survivor Series ’89. Blanchard was let go and Arn would follow almost immediately after, heading back to the NWA. Tully’s career would essentially end as a results of the failed drug test. The Hart Foundation would briefly split in late 1989, but then reunite again in early 1990.
Backstage: Joining ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is Dusty Rhodes, who will meet The Honky Tonk Man. Dusty is excited for the night, calling himself the proprietor of the Heartbreak Hotel and the man in the blue suede shoes. Tonight, Honky will get his booty kicked.
Match #2: The Honky Tonk Man w/’Colonel’ Jimmy Hart vs. ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes
Honky Tonk Man & Dusty exchange dance moves, collar & elbow tie-up and Rhodes backs Honky into the corner, breaking clean and dancing some more. HTM rushes out into a back body drop, ducking out of the ring to avoid The Dream’s elbow. Back inside, Rhodes grabs a wristlock, feigns dropping the elbow on the shoulder joint and instead messes up Honky’s hair.
HTM misses with a right hand, Dusty with an atomic drop and then finally hits an elbow. He mounts the 2nd rope, reigning down fists in the corner and drops Honky Tonk to the mat. The Dream grabs a heel hold, applying pressure to the foot and knee joint, HTM using the other foot to break it. He scores with right hands to Dusty, Rhodes blocks one and fires back with shots of his own. The Dream with a side headlock, Honky pushes him off into the ropes and Jimmy Hart grabs Dusty’s leg. Rhodes chases Jimmy around ringside then into the ring, HTM grabs the megaphone and goes to the midsection behind the ref’s back, covering for a count of 2.
Honky Tonk keeps on the midsection with boots, distracts the referee which allows Jimmy to get in a choke on the apron. He grabs Dusty in a rear chinlock, Rhodes battles to his feet, breaks the hold and hits the ropes, but takes a knee to the midsection. HTM goes back to the hold after a couple of double axe handle shots, taking The Dream down to the canvas. The referee checks the arm, Dusty holding it up on the 3rd try, breaking the hold once more and slamming Honky Tonk. He tries to drop the elbow, HTM rolls out of the way and then gets the rear chinlock again. Rhodes is able to get to his feet and back Honky into the corner, driving the shoulder to the midsection and Honky Tonk goes to the eyes.
He hammers The Dream with right hands that have little affect, Dusty combatting it with lefts and rights, dropping HTM with a final blow. The Dream sends Honky Tonk into the corner and follows him in, Honky side-steps it, then sends Rhodes into the referee, knocking him down. HTM with boots to the head, he directs Jimmy to grab the guitar and he does so, hopping to up to the apron. Honky Tonk holds Dusty, The Dream moves out of the way and Jimmy lays HTM out with a guitar shot. Rhodes drops the big elbow, the ref comes to and that’s it.
Winner: ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes (Bionic Elbow)
- EA’s Take: Dusty was super over with the people upon his arrival to the WWF in the summer of 1989, even if he was wearing yellow polka-dots (which was always thought to be a rib on Rhodes for all his years competing against his new employer). Rhodes had been fired from the NWA/WCW following Starrcade ’88 for a segment he was a part and the perpetrator of. Turner Broadcasting didn’t want blood on their television station, so Rhodes ran an angle out of anger that saw The Road Warriors go after his eye with a spike from their shoulder pads, blood everywhere. According to Dusty, Vince was able to sign Rhodes on the premise of having no office responsibilities and just “having fun”.
Backstage: Joining ‘Mean’ Gene is Demolition & ‘King’ Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Ax states that they’re going back to basics against The Twin Towers & Andre The Giant tonight, going back into the dungeon for their gameplan. Smash claims they’ve been lifting cars in the parking lot in preparation for their meeting with the three giants. Duggan calls all three of them kings, saying Demolition has taught him how to destroy and that’s what they’ll do tonight.
Match #3: Mr. Perfect vs. The Red Rooster
Perfect sticks his finger right in Rooster’s face, there’s pushing and shoving, Perfect grabs a side headlock and backs The Rooster into the corner, slapping him in the face. The Perfect One with an arm drag off the lock-up, another tie-up and Perfect with a hiptoss. He mocks Rooster’s strut, takes him down with a fireman’s carry and does it some more, The Rooster delivering a slap to the face.
Perfect with a side headlock again, pushed into the ropes, back and forth they go, Perfect with a slam attempt and Rooster slides out for one of his own and Perfect falls on top into a cover for 2. The Perfect One with a knife-edge chop, boots to the face and a standing dropkick that sends The Rooster to the outside. He rolls back in the ring, Perfect with clubbing shots to the back, Rooster fights back and goes to the eyes. He throws Perfect outside and goes after him, The Perfect One unloading with right hands before heading back in the ring. Perfect has had enough, connects with the PerfectPlex and gets the 1-2-3.
Winner: Mr. Perfect (PerfectPlex)
- EA’s Take: The ‘Perfect’ record rolls on and the days as an enhancement talent continue for Terry Taylor, AKA The Red Rooster. Not a whole heck of a lot else to not here.
Backstage: With Gene Okerlund this time around is ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude & Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan. Rude talks about Warrior’s promise to win back the IC Title tonight, stating that they’re made to be broken along with arms, legs and necks. He will prove tonight that Warrior is “the ultimate liar” and he’s “the ultimate champion”. Heenan says the other thing meant to be broken are rules and they’ll do what they need to do to retain the title.
Match #4: The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) & Tito Santana vs. The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers (Jacques & Raymond) & Rick Martel w/Slick & Jimmy Hart
Santana & Jacques will get us started, Jacques tries to shake hands, but Tito doesn’t buy it. Collar & elbow tie-up, Jacques backs Santana into the ropes, no clean break, Tito reverses a whip into the ropes, The Rockers enter and hit a double hip toss followed by a double elbow drop. Raymond & Martel hit the ring, Rockers send Tito into them with a crossbody and clear the squared circle with dropkicks for everyone. Order is restored, Jannetty & Jacques are legal now, Jacques scores with boots and clubbing blows.
Marty reverses a whip into the corner, Jacques hops to the 2nd rope and fakes-out Jannetty, then jumps off and meets a left hand to the midsection. Raymond comes in from behind for a distraction, allowing Jacques to attack Marty and take control. Raymond off the tag with a savat kick to the midsection before tagging Martel, Martel unloading with right hands in his corner and The Rougeaus with a double team behind the ref’s back. Martel drives Jannetty head-first into the turnbuckle, Marty reverses a whip across, Martel hopping over and he dhoes some showboating.
Jannetty makes him pay with a dropkick, tag to Tito and Martel quickly tags Raymond to avoid facing his former partner. Santana grabs a side headlock, Raymond pushes him off into the ropes, misses a clothesline and Tito scores with one of his own for a count of 2. He goes back to the side headlock, pushed into the ropes again and Jacques grabs the leg, allowing his brother to hit Tito with a knee to the back for a quick 1 count. Jacques re-enters the match, The Rougeaus with a double knife-edge chop, Martel back in and they drop Santana throat-first across the top rope.
Martel pummels his former partner with stomps near the ropes, Jacques off the tag with a beautiful dropkick. Tito fires back to the midsection, makes a push towards his corner, but Jacques stops him, backing him into the wrong part of town. Here’s Martel again with big right hands, Tito comes back with some of his own, but Jacques gets involved from the apron to thwart the comeback. Martel sends Santana into the corner, driving the shoulder into the midsection, charges in and Tito hops up into a sunset flip for a 2 count. Martel goes into a choke on the mat, splits Santana with a backbreaker and brings in Raymond for a Boston crab.
The Rockers try to get in the ring, distracting the ref and allowing Jacques to come in and drop a knee on Tito. Raymond covers for another 2, tag to Jacques and he locks Santana in an abdominal stretch, using Martel for leverage on the apron. Tito breaks the hold with a hiptoss, but Martel had made a blind tag and he comes in to drop an elbow on Santana. Tito fires shots to the midsection, but can’t get to his corner as Martel goes to the throat. Into the ropes they go, Tito hangs onto the ropes, Martel rolls through it, but here’s Santana with right hands.
Raymond grabs Tito’s hair from the apron, again thwarting the comeback attempt and Jacques comes back into the match. He sends Santana into the ropes, Tito ducking a back elbow and landing a crossbody for a count of 2. Jacques stomps a hole in Tito, coaxes The Rockers to come back into the ring, tag to Raymond and Jacques whips Santana into Raymond’s double boots for a near fall. Raymond whips Tito into the ropes, ducks down and Santana with a sunset flip for 2, again being stomped on to keep him from tagging. Raymond utilizes a rear chinlock to wear Santana down some more, Jacques makes the tag and scores with a flying back elbow for another near fall.
Raymond back in, holding Tito up for Jacques who misses with a knee, hitting his own brother instead. Both men crawl to tags, Martel and Michaels hit the ring, Shawn unleashing a fury of right hands and elevating Martel with a back body drop. Michaels hits a dropkick, Martel reversing a whip into the ropes, ducks the head down and Shawn has it scouted, turning it into a vertical suplex. Michaels heads to the top, drops the fist and tags Marty in, pressing Jannetty over his head into a splash on Martel.
Jacques comes in to break the count at 2 with an elbow, Jannetty sees it and rolls out of the way, Jacques hitting his partner Martel instead. All 6 men are in the ring now, The Rockers whipping The Rougeaus together and sandwiching Martel in the center of the ring. Tito drills Martel with his flying forearm, spilling him out to the floor. Marty gets his hands on Jimmy Hart, dragging him to the apron, but taking a Jacques dropkick from behind. Marty counters a roll-up from Jacques, Martel hits the ring and levels Jannetty with a clothesline, makes the cover and gets the pinfall for his team.
Winners: The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers & Rick Martel (Martel/Clothesline)
- EA’s Take: Rick Martel’s solo heel run is just getting underway and his partnership with manager Slick would be short-lived. Soon he would drop The Slickster and find his own footing, using his good looks and introducing his own ‘arrogant’ fragrance that would help him win matches. As The Rockers’ run in the WWF was just seemingly beginning, The Rougeaus’ clock is ticking and wouldn’t last much longer as the chronic back pain Raymond was in would end his career in a few short months.
Video: The heated rivalry between ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude and The Ultimate Warrior began back at the Royal Rumble, when Rude viciously attacked Warrior from behind with his workout bar during their posedown. Bobby Heenan helped his man Rude effectively ‘steal’ the Intercontinental Title from Warrior at WrestleMania V, involving other members of his Heenan Family including Andre The Giant to try and dispose of The Warrior.
Backstage: The Ultimate Warrior is standing by with ‘Mean’ Gene, talking about his collision with Rude tonight. Warrior claims Rude will surrender to the Gods above and he will get the win…1-2-3.
Match #5 for the WWF Intercontinental Championship: WWF Intercontinental Champion ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude w/Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan vs. The Ultimate Warrior
Warrior stalks Rude, The Ravishing One trying to stay away, plants a kick to the midsection that doesn’t phase the challenger. Rude lands rights and lefts that have no affect, Warrior reverses a whip into the ropes, ducks a clothesline and sends the champion to the apron with one of his own. The Ravishing One drives a shoulder to the midsection, hops back in with a sunset flip and Warrior holds his ground before dropping down on Rude.
He presses the champion over his head, dropping him all the way out to the floor, following outside to drive Rude’s head into the apron. Warrior drags The Ravishing One around ringside, sending the champion into the barricade and then drives the IC Title down into the back, but no disqualification is called for. Warrior suplexes Rude on the floor, rolls him back in the ring, then tosses him back out and gives chase. He slams Rude on the floor, back inside again and Warrior heads to the top rope, scoring with a double axe handle for a near fall.
Warrior whips the champion hard into the corner multiple times, slams The Ravishing One and covers for another count of 2. The challenger plants Rude with a vertical suplex, the champion kicks out at 2 again, then hits an inverted atomic drop and mocks The Ravishing One. Warrior elevates Rude and drops him on his backside, climbs the corner again and The Ravishing One sees it, crotching the challenger on the top turnbuckle. Rude finally gets to go on offense, driving the forearm into the lower back, connects with a snap suplex and gets a 2 count.
The Ravishing One continues to work the back, pulling up on the Warrior’s head with a camel clutch. Warrior attempts to power up, but the champion drops himself onto the lower back, drops a forearm and covers for another 2. He drags the challenger to his feet, looks to finish with the Rude Awakening and Warrior powers out, tries a clothesline, Rude ducks it and jumps on the back with a sleeper hold. Warrior breaks the hold with a jawbreaker, grabs a side headlock, Rude pushes him into the ropes, back and forth they go, colliding heads and taking out the referee in the process.
The Brain tries to revive The Ravishing One, the champion gets his bearings back and Warrior slowly comes to. Rude with heavy shots that have no affect, Warrior firing back, then sending the champion into the ropes for a back body drop. He unloads with clotheslines, sends Rude to the ropes again and plants him with a powerslam, covers and the ref is still down. The challenger revives the ref, spikes The Ravishing One with a piledriver, the ref crawls to make a count and Rude gets his foot on the rope after 2. Warrior drives Rude into the mat with a running powerslam, tries to follow with a splash and the champion gets the knees up.
The Ravishing One sets up for and spikes the Warrior with a modified piledriver for a near fall, Rude scales the corner and connects with a fist for another 2 count. ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper makes his way to ringside, in the ring Rude scores with another piledriver that only gets 2, The Ravishing One sees Piper at ringside and exchanges words with Hot Rod. Roddy moons the champion, Rude berating him from the 2nd rope, Warrior comes from behind and delivers a german suplex. He hits the ropes, lands a shoulder tackle, presses The Ravishing One over his head, dropping him and following with a splash for the victory.
Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: The Ultimate Warrior (Combination Military Press-Splash)
- EA’s Take: The rise of the Warrior marches on, as he showed that with the right partner he could put on a watchable match. The fans came completely unglued for the title win, giving the WWF all the ammo they needed to strap the jetpacks on The Ultimate One. His rivalry against Rude and The Heenan Family would continue, mainly focusing on Andre The Giant for the time being and cementing Warrior as a bonafide main eventer.
Backstage: Mr. Perfect has joined Gene Okerlund to talk about his win tonight. Perfect calls The Red Rooster a perfect example of how he sees everyone in the WWF, merely a stepping stone. He did exactly what he said he was going to do and that’s win. Everybody needs to remember, nobody beats Mr. Perfect…nobody. Perfect leaves and Gene brings in ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, speaking about how he can get ‘Rude’ with the best of them. Hot Rod warns Heenan & Rude that everybody’s got to pay the Piper. Roddy says of course it’s his fault that Rude lost the IC Championship, taking all the blame. Next in is ‘Rugged’ Ronnie Garvin wearing a tuxedo. He says tonight he has a special job, but won’t give Okerlund any details. Bobby ‘The Brain Heenan storms in, irate that Roddy Piper was allowed to be at ringside. ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude claims he had Ultimate Warrior beat until Piper showed up at ringside. Rude vows to get his title back, no matter who has to go through. Heenan wants the match to be restarted right now, absolutely beside himself still.
Video: On the set of ‘No Holds Barred’, the animosity built between Hulk Hogan & Zeus. The big Zeus would make his presence felt on Saturday Night’s Main Event, attacking the WWF Champion prior to a cage match against Big Boss Man. Randy Savage would officially introduce Zeus with ‘Sensational’ Sherri on The Brother Love Show. They’d lay the challenge down to Hogan & Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake, Hulk & Brutus quickly accepting it.
Match #6: The Twin Towers (Akeem & Big Boss Man) & Andre The Giant w/Slick & Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan vs. Demolition (Ax & Smash) & King Duggan
Hacksaw & The African Dream kick the action off, some jawing back and forth to start, Duggan blocks a right and unloads with lefts. He sends Akeem into the corner, catches him with a big right off the rebound, then grabs a wristlock and tags Ax in. Ax pummels The African Dream, brings in Smash and they both pound him into the canvas. Smash with a tag back to Hacksaw, working over the shoulder and driving it into the top turnbuckle. Ax back in, Akeem goes to the eyes, whips him into the corner and follows in, running into a back elbow.
Ax delivers more shots to the shoulder, Akeem goes to the throat and tags Boss Man. He walks into a right hand to the midsection, Ax with more clubbing shots before tagging Smash for a flurry of right hands. Smash gets a wristlock, Boss Man backs him into the corner, doesn’t break clean and fires away with rights of his own. Smash fights his way out of the corner, Boss Man goes to the eyes, Smash returns the favor and tags The King. Duggan keeps a wristlock, pounds on the shoulder, Ax back in and he hooks a front facelock.
Boss Man punches out of it, Andre with a cheap shot from the apron before getting the tag. The Giant utilizes his body weight to squash Ax, grabs a nerve hold and then chokes him with the bottom rope. Andre pushes Ax out to the floor, drags him back inside and Boss Man tags in for a headbutt. He rams Ax’s head into Akeem’s boot, The African Dream gets the tag, sends Ax into the corner and misses a splash. Smash off the tag with heavy rights, Boss Man hits the ring and eats some too, Smash whipping them into one another and then slamming them both.
The Giant hits the ring now and drops Smash with one shot, Boss Man dropping an elbow and covering before all hell breaks loose. Ax & Boss Man battle on the outside, Akeem slams Smash while the ref deals with Andre, The African Dream with a 2nd rope splash and Duggan hammers him with the 2×4. Smash rolls over and drapes the arm to get the 1-2-3.
Winners: Demolition & King Duggan: (Smash/Foreign Object)
- EA’s Take: The addition of King Duggan wearing facepaint that looked like an American flag was probably the best part of the whole match. Demolition would finish off their feud with the aid of ‘Hacksaw’ here, in a match full of punches. Andre’s health is pretty rough at this point and he can only be showcased in tag team matches (for the most part), which certainly doesn’t help the quality of the contest.
Backstage: Standing by is ‘Mean Gene’ with ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase & Virgil. The MDM laughs about his competition tonight, Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka. Tonight he will prove that he’s not only the wealthiest, classiest man, but Snuka is merely a primitive native. He’ll end up just like Jake Roberts, another sorry statistic and victim.
Match #7 – Special Ring Announcer ‘Rugged’ Ronnie Garvin: Hercules vs. Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine w/’Mouth Of The South’ Jimmy Hart
Garvin really cuts up Valentine during his introductions, the bell rings and The Hammer is giving it right back, Garvin hops back in the ring and feigns a punch, but Hercules ambushes Valentine instead. He drops clubbing blows to the back, lefts and rights, then sends The Hammer into the ropes for a back elbow and a count of 2. He whips Valentine back in for a slam and another 2, The Hammer slides to the outside to take a breather. He slides back in and has his attention on Garvin, Herc with a schoolboy for a near fall before Valentine rolls back outside, getting in Garvin’s face.
Hercules drops an elbow to the back from the apron, tosses The Hammer back inside and gets caught with a knee coming back in. Valentine drops elbows, looks for the Figure Four and Herc kicks him off. Snapmare to Hercules, Valentine climbs up top and takes a right hand to the midsection on the way down. The Mighty One with lefts and rights, irish whip and he ducks down, Valentine sees it and clubs the back. He attempts a suplex, Hercules counters into one of his own and The Hammer tries to beg Herc off. Valentine with a double leg takedown in the corner, props his legs on the ropes for leverage and covers for a 3 count.
Winner: Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine (Double Leg Takedown)
- After The Bell: Garvin announces Hercules as the winner in his mind, the referee directs him to announce The Hammer as the winner and he announces Herc as the winner by DQ. Valentine clobbers Garvin, then exchanges shots with Herc in the ring. Garvin comes back in and levels Valentine with a right hand, Jimmy Hart grabs his guy and heads for the exit.
- EA’s Take: After defeating ‘Rugged’ Ronnie in a retirement match, this was another way to get Garvin involved and keep the rivalry going with The Hammer. Garvin would continue to needle Valentine until he and Jimmy Hart demanded that Garvin be re-instated, continuing their feud in the ring through the fall and winter of 1989.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene joins ‘Sensational’ Sherri, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage and his partner for tonight, Zeus.They’re gathered around a cauldron, Sherri calling it the ‘Cauldron of Madness’. When she looks in it she sees Hogan & Beefcake lying flat on their backs. She wonders where Miss Elizabeth is, Savage agrees with Sherri’s visions, but he sees Hogan & Beefcake in pieces. Macho warned Hulk that this was the end of the road, with Zeus who’s impervious to pain in his corner, the possibilities are endless.
Match #9: Million Dollar Champion ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase w/Virgil vs. ‘Superfly’ Jimmy Snuka
DiBiase tries to attack Superfly before the bell, Snuka sees it coming and makes him pay with right hands and a headbutt, sending DiBiase out to the floor. Virgil gets on the apron to cause a distraction, Snuka gets ahold of him, MDM charges and Superfly side-steps it, dropping Virgil to the floor. More hard shots from Snuka, he ducks a clothesline and hits an atomic drop that again sends DiBiase to the outside. MDM heads back in, collar & elbow and DiBiase gains a side headlock. Snuka pushes him into the ropes, leapfrogs and they botch it, Superfly driving DiBiase head-first into the top turnbuckle.
MDM comes back with a boot to the midsection, delivering clubbing shots to the back of the head and right hands in the corner. Superfly reverses a whip across, back body drop to DiBiase and MDM tries to beg Snuka off. Jimmy with a side headlock, gets shoved into the ropes and scores with a shoulder knockdown, back into it and DiBiase drops him throat-first across the top rope. MDM punishes Superfly with rights to the midsection in the corner, plants him with a vertical suplex and gets a 2 count. DiBiase drives the knee into the spine, splits Snuka with a backbreaker and again only gets a count of 2. He slams Superfly, goes to the 2nd rope and misses a falling back elbow.
Snuka fires away with chops and a headbutt, DiBiase tries to beg off once again and Superfly slams him, then comes off the 2nd rope with a flying headbutt. He heads to the top for the Superfly Splash, Virgil gets to the apron again and Snuka drops down, chasing him around ringside. He grabs Virgil and fires away with right hands, MDM recovers and drills Superfly with a double axe handle off the apron. He drives Snuka into the ring post, rolls in the ring and the ref’s count reaches 10.
Winner: ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase (Count-Out)
- After The Bell: Snuka climbs to the apron and connects to DiBiase & Virgil with a springboard clothesline. He sends MDM to the outside, whips Virgil into the ropes and flattens him with a double chop, then splits him with a backbreaker. He heads to the top once again, connecting with the Superfly Splash.
- EA’s Take: After returning from 4 years away, Superfly never really regained his spot he had once enjoyed. At this time in his career, Snuka was primarily used to put over younger, up and coming talents following this count-out loss to DiBiase.
Backstage: Standing by with Gene Okerlund is Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake & WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. The champion talks about riding Harleys with Beefcake and their being a traffic jam on their way to the arena, claiming they parted the river like Moses. Brutus talks about the titanium steel blades on his clippers, warning Savage that he will make them apart of him. Hogan implies that he has a secret weapon for tonight, describing a woman.
In The Ring: It’s poem time, so here’s The Genius. He recites a poem describing tonight’s main event, clearly favoring Randy Savage & Zeus.
Match #10: ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage & Zeus w/’Sensational’ Sherri vs. Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake & WWF Champion Hulk Hogan
Hogan whispers something to our ring announcer Howard Finkel and he introduces Miss Elizabeth. The bell rings, Zeus & Savage charge at Hogan & Beefcake, Brutus tosses Macho to the outside, Hulk’s punches having no affect on Zeus at all. Hogan rakes the eyes, goes for a slam and Zeus clubs him in the back, then chokes him on the apron. The Barber comes into the ring, comes off the 2nd rope for a double axe and Zeus catches him in the air with a bearhug. The Hulkster with a shot to the back that merely gets Zeus’ attention, Hulk hitting the ropes for a shoulder and running into a wall.
Zeus locks him in a bearhug, Macho comes off the top with a double axe to the back and they drive the champion back into the corner. Savage takes the ring, slams Hulk and goes up top for another double axe handle. He delivers a knee to the back, sending Hogan into the corner, then flattens him with a clothesline off the rebound for a count of 2. Macho grabs a rear chinlock, Hulkster fades to the canvas, then fires back up to his feet. He breaks the hold with elbows, hits the ropes and knocks Macho down with multiple shoulders.
Hogan into the ropes again, Zeus with a knee from the apron, allowing Savage to send Hulk into the corner with a hard irish whip. Zeus tags in, sends Hogan across and puts him in the bearhug again off the rebound. The champion fades, Zeus taking him to the canvas, Hulkster battles back to a vertical base and Zeus rams him into the corner. Savage off the tag, hanging Hogan throat-first across the top rope and planting the champion with a back suplex for a near fall. Macho tries a seated senton to Hogan on the 2nd rope, misses and Hulk avoids elbow drops to finally get the tag to The Barber.
Beefcake with a clothesline for Macho, following with a high knee and gaining a count of 2. He whips Savage in, Macho ducks a right hand and gets caught coming on the other side with a Sleeper Hold. Macho charges at the corner, driving Brutus into the turnbuckle to break the hold and bring Zeus back in. Beefcake rakes the eyes, jumps on the back and gets Zeus in the Sleeper Hold. Savage draws Hogan into the ring, the ref prevents Hulk from coming in and it allows Macho to nail Beefcake with Sherri’s purse, breaking the hold. Savage tags in and covers, but Hulk breaks it up at 2.
He enters the ring and chases Savage around ringside, Macho grabbing Elizabeth and Hogan prevents anything from happening. Macho hops back in the ring for another 2 count, Zeus re-enters the match and chokes The Barber on the top rope, then again on the mat. Zeus lifts The Barber to his feet, holds him the air with a choke, then chokes him some more in the corner. He taunts Hogan, drops Beefcake throat-first on the top rope and Savage tags in. Brutus reverses a whip into the ropes, Savage ducks a shot and they both hit clotheslines, doubling down.
Beefcake crawls toward his corner, kicks Macho off with both feet and makes the tag to the champion. Hogan unloads with right hands, whips Macho into the corner and follows him in with a back elbow before giving Zeus a right hand on the apron. He sends Savage into the ropes, connects with the big boot and Macho spills to the outside. Hulk drags him to the apron by the hair, suplexes Macho back in, Sherri tripping the champion and allowing Savage to fall on top for a 2 count.
Macho levels Hulk with a clothesline, makes a tag, then scales the corner and lands the elbow drop, Hulk immediately getting right to his feet. He hits Macho with an atomic drop that sends him to the floor, Zeus comes in and they circle each other. Hogan with right hands that stagger the big man, he hits the ropes, ducks a clothesline and lands on of his own, dropping Zeus to a knee. More heavy shots from the Hulkster, Sherri is on the apron screaming and bouncing on the ropes, Elizabeth tripping her up and Sherri falls in the ring. Savage grabs the purse, looks to come off the 2nd rope with it and Beefcake is there to thwart his efforts. Hogan gets the purse behind the ref’s back, drilling Zeus with it and slamming him to the mat. The champion follows with the leg drop and covers for the win.
Winners: Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake & Hulk Hogan (Hogan/Leg Drop)
- After The Bell: Sherri comes into the ring too late to break up the 3 count, Hulk feigns a right hand and instead hits her with an atomic drop. Elizabth follows with a purse shot, Hulkster grabs Beefcake’s clippers and they cut chunks of Sherri’s hair out before celebrating.
- EA’s Take: Zeus is absolutely brutal in the ring and never really had much business even being in there. As expected Macho had to do all the heavy lifting and could be seen instructing Zeus on what to do numerous times. Zeus would go on to form an alliance with Ted DiBiase to continue his rivalry with Hogan heading into the fall. Macho Man would continue to meet Hogan going into the winter, remaining opposite of his former manager Miss Elizabeth.
EA’s Finisher: This was all about the undercard to me, as the main event was about as good as you could hope for when one of the main players is greener than goose crap. The tag contests early on really delivered and were the best matches of the night, while other younger up and comers would continue to emerge as stars (Ultimate Warrior, Mr. Perfect). I’m sure there was some satisfaction for Dusty Rhodes, performing for the “big boys” and getting to stick it to his former employers in any fashion he could. We are transitioning into the 1990’s and along with the decade change would come changing opinions on what the fans would begin to clamor for, but not just yet.
Top Three To Watch
1 – The Brain Busters vs. The Hart Foundation
2 – Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior
3 – The Rockers & Tito Santana vs. The Rougeaus & Rick Martel
Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #16 – ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
Breaking up the 2018 time travel with a much deeper dive! Harry goes back to some prime ECW with Guilty As Charged 1999!
Greetings, salutations and welcome back. Harry here once again with another edition of ‘What I Watched’. As the calendar year turns to 1999 on my watch-through of all things ‘big three’ wrestling, I covered Starrcade 1998 in an earlier edition of WIW. I figured since this is probably the last year where all three major companies are relevant (at least at the start), it could be fun to compare and contrast how I feel about the respective PPVs when compared to some of the independent wrestling I’ve been covering recently. Or even going back to the PROGRESS or Impact Wrestling shows that I’ve covered before. I am fully aware there are going to be some bad shows in 1999. But there is also a lot to talk about in a drastically changing industry. Let’s do this, shall we?
ECW is in flux as talent losses haven’t yet gotten to what they would become but names like Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Bam Bam Bigelow and others are no longer with the company. To make matters worse, the ECW-FMW relationship is falling apart now as well as a Chris Candido and Sunny (sorry, Tammy Lynn Sytch) no-show of a scheduled FMW appearance. Paul Heyman himself is the first person we see telling us the card is going to change…how much does it change? The WayBack Machine takes us to January 10th, 1999 in Kissimmee, FL as it’s time for ECW to be Guilty as Charged!
What I Watched #16
ECW Guilty as Charged 1999
Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL
Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)
Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)
- Match 1: Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney win 3 team tag elimination match, eliminating Little Guido/Tracy Smothers @ 10:44 (Danny Doring/Roadkill eliminated @ 8:15)
- Match 2: Yoshihiro Tajiri pins Super Crazy, dragon suplex @ 11:37
- Match 3: Psycho Sid Vicious pins John Kronus, powerbomb @ 1:31
- Match 4: Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley def. New Jack/Spike Dudley, both Dudleyz pin Spike @ 10:05
- Match 5: ECW TV Title- Rob Van Dam pins Lance Storm, bridged German suplex @ 17:46
- Match 6: Justin Credible pins Tommy Dreamer, That’s Incredible on ladder @ 18:44
- Match 7: ECW Heavyweight Title- Taz defeats Shane Douglas © by KO, Tazmission @ 22:15
Three Team Tag Elimination Match
Started as a straight up 2 vs. 2, but within the first two minutes, Ballz and Axl (Axl making his return to the company after the passing of his grandmother) join the frey and it becomes your traditional ECW three team brawl. Nothing really stands out here but the overall work is good enough for what the match is supposed to be. The elimination of Doring and Roadkill is well done, as a FBI double-team fishermanbuster looks really cool and gets a decisive win for what was to be the original match. They do give the win to Axl and Ballz here, which I get given the fact they are a popular act, but I personally think that Guido and Tracy were a better team during the time frame. (**½)
Super Crazy vs. Tajiri
Yes, it’s the feud that never ends. But this is where it begins. Both men were relative newcomers to the American wrestling scene with both having had limited exposure on WWF TV (both were in the Light Heavyweight title tournament). This is a good match but not a great match and honestly, I think timing is the issue here. Eleven minutes may seem like a lot but knowing what these two would be capable of down the road once there is more of a fan and time investment into their matches, it ends up being a good starting point but probably not the blow away match that ECW was expecting to deliver here. (***)
John Kronus vs. Mystery Opponent
So, ECW fans are notorious for their belief that the “big oaf” style of the WWF and WCW wouldn’t work in ECW. Obviously, they are wrong. Guys like Big Dick Dudley and 911 became massive fan favorites due to their look, not anything they could do in a wrestling ring. You can add another name to that list, as Psycho Sid makes his ECW debut here (following an introduction by the ‘Judge’ Jeff Jones) and absolutely kicks Kronus’ ass in less than two minutes. Sid was never anything special in the ring but he is one of the more charismatic big men in wrestling history so the cult-like following is easy to understand. Too short to rate, but fun for what it was. (X)
Dudleyz vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley
Sixteen year old Harry getting into ECW was a huge Joel Gertner fan. Thirty seven year old Harry going back and watching these shows is an even bigger fan of Joel Gertner. Granted, his shtick is incredibly juvenile but sometimes, you just want to laugh…
The match is your standard ECW garbage brawl. Most New Jack matches definitely have a similarity to them that does not hold up well for re-watching. I will openly admit to being a Spike Dudley mark and he does well taking an ass whooping from Bubba Ray. The Dudleyz definitely have their moments in ECW (the best is still to come in my opinion) but this isn’t one of their best performances. I will give props to New Jack for taking 3D on the ramp, even if it doesn’t come across the cleanest. About what you’d expect, but nothing more. (**)
TV Title- Rob Van Dam © vs. Lance Storm
Rob Van Dam vs. Masato Tanaka was the originally scheduled match and I think it could have been fun. However, Tanaka apparently has visa issues which prevent him from being able to get into the US for the show and thus ECW has to pivot quickly. I do have to give credit to Lance Storm for his pre-match promo here. For someone who is not known as one of the better talkers in wrestling history, he does a really good job explaining the situation with the 3 way that was supposed to happen (Storm vs. Spike vs. Jerry Lynn (cracked pelvis)) and then calling out Rob Van Dam since his opponent wasn’t there either. Storm has a really good closing line for the promo too: “I’m not the ‘Whole F’n Show’, but I am the best damn part of it’. That is one of the lines that sticks with you and you remember it.
The match itself is very good but not great. It is better than anything else on the show, so perhaps I’m rating it on a slight curve for that. Van Dam’s selling is sporadic but to be fair, Van Dam’s selling is always sporadic. The biggest thing for me is that despite that, they still keep an impressive pace and the match is by and large clean. There is a super weak chair shot by Storm (which the crowd gives him a good ration of shit over), but they do manage to turn that crowd around for the finishing sequence. A little surprised by the choice of finish, but I imagine that has something to do with telling the idea that Storm got caught and wasn’t soundly defeated like most of Van Dam’s prior opponents had been. (***½)
Stairway to Hell- Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer
The problem for Credible in ECW is that Paul wanted you to believe that Justin was this huge deal but truthfully, the booking never actually treated him as such. Yeah, he won…A LOT…but more often than not, it was almost treated as an afterthought. He very rarely won the big matches on his own and while I get that as a heel, you want to give him that sense of dickishness, as a wrestling fan eventually you have to make it look like the dude could stand up on his own. Dreamer has long been a favorite of mine, even if he has overstayed his welcome in the ring on occasion. You know going in that win or lose, Tommy will bust his ass to give you as good a match as he is capable of.
As for this match, it never reaches that next level that you expect a gimmicked semi main event of a PPV to reach. It’s not actively bad or anything (in fact, probably up there for Credible’s best match in ECW to date) but with the stipulation and the gaga around it, it feels like there was so much more it could have been. The finish comes off really flat as well as it renders the whole point of the stipulation useless and only serves to put more heat on Credible by way of Funk. (**½)
Heavyweight Title- Shane Douglas © vs. Taz
So, I’ll be a little nicer to this match then some other reviewers I’ve seen for a couple reasons. It completely accomplishes the goal that Heyman set out for it. Taz comes out of the match looking like a world beater. Douglas comes out of the match as the face of the company who “went out on his shield” as the old phrase goes. Sabu looks like a lunatic and a viable threat to take the title at any time he damn well pleases. Candido comes off as a huge dick and sticks the final knife in Douglas’ back for the end scene. So the story telling is magnificent.
The match itself? At least a good five to seven minutes too long for that story. I get wanting that epic storytelling to fold out but when you guys are down and low on ideas, it might not be the worst idea to take it home. The other issue is that by trying to serve so many masters, Heyman causes the main event to end up being epically overbooked. Granted, that is an ECW trademark but for what was to be the crowning moment for Taz, I don’t think the 73rd Airborne needed to be a part of it. Sabu could have just as easily returned post match to set up a run with Taz. Or Candido could have turned on Douglas post match to give him a direction going forward since Taz would be occupied with Sabu. I’m not saying it completely takes away the moment but it does make it mean less than it could or should have in the overall scheme of things. (**)
THE FINAL REACTION
- Best Match/Moment: Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm, although I do think their match at the first ECW PPV ‘Barely Legal’ (which I imagine I’ll eventually do) is better
- Worst Match/Moment: The main event. What could have been an awesome moment for the ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and the biggest ass kicker in the company is ruined with a boring crowd brawl (to the home viewer) and a couple of run-ins that either end up actively taking away from it.
- Overall Show Score: 5.5/10
- MVP: Joey Styles is the best thing about this show with his one man performance. There is a reason he was such a major influence on what I did as an announcer.
It’s not a bad show. It’s just not a particulary good one either. And while ECW would put out worse, it only barely outdoes Starrcade 98 to avoid the worst show of the return thus far.
So, where do we go from here? January of 1999 had no chill. The very next Sunday would see the first WCW outing of 1999, called Souled Out. The Sunday after that would be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. I’m going to hit both of those but as a fair warning, I’ll probably try to mix an Independent show from 2018 in the middle of them. Hope to see you guys at Souled Out. And feel free to check out my archives by clicking on my name at the top of this review. Thanks for reading, everyone.
What I Watched #10b: All IN 2018
Harry decided to abridge his All In write up and bring us the blast from the past while he’s on vacation! With only a few weeks until All Out, reminiscing could be fun!
Greetings, salutations and what nots. At the time you are reading this, I will be away from home on vacation with my amazing girlfriend. In the interest of not want to lose everyone’s attention in the downtime, I decided to go back to one of my earlier reviews and reformat it to match the current style while giving people who may have not been interested due to the length of the previous review a chance to see what they may have missed as well as share my thoughts on a show that had quite the buzz when it happened.
I mention in my review of AAW’s Destination Chicago 2018 (full review available in my archive by clicking my name at the top of this review) that everyone was in Chicago for this particular show. Obviously, though it was presented as part of a deal with ROH (and to some extent New Japan), this ends up being what many consider the launching point for AEW. So join me once again as the WayBack Machine takes us to suburban Chicago on September 1st 2018 and we revisit ‘All In’ here on ‘What I Watched’.
What I Watched #10-B
ROH/NJPW/Friends ‘All In’ 2018
Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, IL
Runtime: 4:45:24 (45:27 on YouTube for the preshow, 3:57:57 on Fite.TV/HonorClub/NJPW World/traditional PPV for the main show)
Commentary By: Excalibur (PBP), Don Callis (Color), Ian Riccaboni (PBP/Color)
- Match #1: Zero Hour- Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky def. Jay/Mark Briscoe, Kazarian pins Mark with a powerslam counter to the Doomsday Device @ 12:35
- Match #2: Zero Hour- Flip Gordon wins the ‘Over the Budget Battle Royal’ @ 17:11, last eliminating Bully Ray
- Match #3: Matt Cross pins Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Shooting Star Press @ 10:07
- Match #4: Christopher Daniels pins Stephen Amell, Best Moonsault Ever @ 11:45
- Match #5: Tessa Blanchard wins four way, pinning Chelsea Green with the Buzzsaw DDT @ 12:43 of a match that also involved Britt Baker and Madison Rayne
- Match #6: NWA World Heavyweight Title- Cody Rhodes pins Nick Aldis ©, sitdown on sunset flip attempt @ 22:03
- Match #7: Adam Page pins Joey Janela, Rite of Passage off a ladder through a table @ 20:09
- Match #8: ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © pins Flip Gordon, Lethal Injection @ 14:25
- Match #9: Kenny Omega pins Pentagon Jr., One Winged Angel @ 17:48
- Match #10: Kazuchika Okada pins Marty Scurll, Rainmaker #2 @ 26:06
- Match #11: Kota Ibushi/Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson def. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio Jr., Matt pins Bandido after the Meltzer Driver @ 11:44
Zero Hour- SCU (Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky) vs. The Briscoes (Jay/Mark)
*Hell of a way to kick things off and the exact kind of match that you want to put out to people in order to get those on the fence to order the show. I don’t know about the $50 price tag that the PPV had, but this would have been enough for me to sign up for Honor Club for $10 to watch the show at least. I’m curious if ROH ever followed up on SCU pinning the ROH tag champions here. I’d imagine so even though the end is near for Kazarian, Scorpio and Daniels in ROH with AEW looming on the horizon. (***½)
Over the Budget Battle Royal
*It was fun for what it was. Maybe a little overcrowded, but there are several people who have got to make a name for themselves off this match. Marko Stunt is all over Game Changer Wrestling (and got a run in AEW as part of Jurassic Express) and Jordynne Grace, who got herself a deal with Impact, being two to spring immediately. I don’t rate battle royals but it was entertaining, which is all you can ask for sometimes. (X)
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Matt Cross
*Good little opener here for the main show. My misgivings on the rope hanging piledriver aside (MJF calls it the Heatseeker), they worked together well without throwing too much against the wall and burning out the crowd for later. I had hoped Cross would get a chance with AEW but we know that doesn’t happen, unfortunately. MJF does become one of the biggest creations AEW has up until this point, but no-one is really sure where his status lies with the company at present. Strong start to open the show and really happy for a genuinely good dude in Matt Cross to have gotten this opportunity. (***)
Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell (special guest referee: Jerry Lynn)
*When this show first happened, I heard a myriad of opinions on this match. Some thought it was really good, others thought it stunk. I fall somewhere in the middle here. Amell, for an actor, put in a pretty good performance here. I’m not saying he should do this full time or anything, but it’s not like he embarrassed himself either. Daniels had his own hiccups here as well though. So the blame doesn’t fall solely on Stephen. Overall, I’d call it above average given who Daniels’ opponent was. But I know first hand that Daniels is capable of much, much more. (**½)
Britt Baker (bay bay) vs. Madison Rayne vs. Chelsea Green vs. Tessa Blanchard
*Not sure if it was just me but the finish looks a little suspect. Tessa getting the win did make sense though at the time (I’d imagine this result changes with benefit of hindsight). As for the match, they worked hard and it by and large came together well. It definitely lost its way a bit towards the end, so I have to dock it a bit for that. All in all, I’d say good effort from the ladies involved and I’d even put it just slightly above the Daniels and Amell match it just followed. (***)
NWA World Heavyweight Title- Nick Aldis © vs. Cody (Don’t Call Him Rhodes)
*A very good match but a couple of little things keep it from the next level for me. First, the blatantly missed superkick. I’m not really as upset about that one as some people may be because I get it, shit happens in the moment. The blade job however, I can’t forgive. It was terribly obvious. I get the intent behind it to help Cody fight from underneath. I have no issues with blood in general (hell, I watch death matches). But if you can’t do the blade job more realistically there, it shouldn’t have been done. It doesn’t really factor into the match in the grand scheme of things. Also while I personally don’t mind the methodical pace, I do know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I dug the match as a whole though. And props to Brandi for eating it on that flying elbow drop. (****)
‘Chicago Street Fight’- Adam Page vs. Joey Janela
*This match won’t be for everyone. Some people like the old school ECW brawl and some people don’t. I do when it’s well executed but there seemed to be quite a bit of downtime in this one. Honestly, to me…Penelope Ford came out of this match looking like the biggest star of the three. All in all, I’d say good for what it was but nothing I’d probably want to go back and re-watch either. The finish was dope though. Janela is a crazy person for taking it. (***)
ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © vs. Flip Gordon
*Let’s not kid ourselves. There was no way that they were going to change the ROH title on a non-ROH show. As much as they enjoyed having the belt defended, this defense was a lock for Lethal regardless of the opponent. Flip getting the match itself is the story here and his performance justifies it. I’d call it good but again, it’s nothing that you’ll want to re-watch again, despite the impressive agility of Gordon and the sheer nostalgia of Lethal busting out the ‘Black Machismo’ shtick again. (***½)
Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr.
*Your mileage may vary for sure on this one. Everyone heaped a ton of praise on it and while it is very good, it does not raise to the level of excellence for me. The ridiculously spotty selling and the absolute disrespect to some of the most protected moves in wrestling cause me to take an issue. I do think they worked really well together and the styles meshed a lot better than I thought they might. But there was nowhere near the emotion here that came through clear as day on the Cody and Aldis match earlier. From a pure work rate aspect, it’s the best on the show so far. But personally, I prefer Cody and Aldis to Omega and Pentagon Jr. (****)
Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurll
*A little long. But they told a pretty strong story throughout.At the time of this writing, I had made it no secret that I was not sold on Kazuchika Okada as a draw in the US. Clearly, I was wrong. He had the entire crowd in the palm of his and Scurll’s hands for basically the entirety of this contest and it was one that I think both raised Scurll’s standing in the world of wrestling and confirmed what many people already feel about Okada. That being said, it’s a better match if you chop off five to eight minutes from it. (***½)
Young Bucks/Kota Ibushi vs. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio
*Clearly much shorter than it was probably supposed to be, they packed a ton of action into these almost twelve minutes. I’d have been curious to see what was possible with a full run time but with Rey already gone (he had just resigned with the WWE), there would be no chance to run this back. I think it was a good way to send everyone home happy and get all the marquee moments in, but overall it just ends up being a spotfest fluff match rather than anything that’ll be strongly remembered as standing out down the road. (***½)
THE FINAL REACTION
There is a lot to get through here. As you guys saw above, the totality of both Zero Hour and All In run almost five hours. While not all of that is well spent, there is more than enough to sink your teeth into here, even if you wouldn’t classify yourself as a traditional ‘Independent Wrestling’ fan. There are a couple of real good spotfests if you liked the ECW/WCW luchador/cruiserweight style. There’s a tremendous call-back to the old NWA days with how Nick Aldis vs. Cody plays out. There is a interesting take on the old ‘hardcore’ styles that both ECW and the WWF used to enjoy presenting in Janela vs the ‘Hangman’. You even get the chance to see the celebrities that get trotted out for the big shows in places like the WWE and Impact Wrestling. Does it all work? No. But a good majority of it does. As I said, it’s almost five hours. But by and large, it’s five hours well spent. Call it an 8.5 and while there is room for improvement (as with everything), a very strong start for Cody and the Bucks as promoters.
Best Match/Moment: I’ll go moment here and go with the obvious of Cody getting to hold the same NWA title his father did in what was an NWA stronghold town. It’s cool to see the torch passed like this.
Worst Match/Moment: The fact that the main event with arguably six of the best wrestlers in the world at the time ends up getting the second shortest amount of time.
Overall Show Score: 8.5/10
MVP: I’m going to give this one to Cody, both for the role he played as a producer/agent for the show as well as the performance in the match with Aldis as well. A good night for young Mr. Runnels.
And that wraps up the first of the ‘retro’ look backs at previous ‘What I Watched’ reviews. When I return, I will be coming back with ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999, the first pay-per-view of the last year of the 1900s. Following that, I know the WWF’s Royal Rumble 1999 is on the list. I’d imagine I’ll get to WCW’s Souled Out 1999 and when I do return to the Indies, promotions like IWA-MS, CHIKARA, Freelance, BEYOND, WWR and so many others are within my potentially planned scope. Hope to see you down the road and may you all enjoy quality time with those you care. See you next time and thanks for reading, everyone.
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