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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWF SummerSlam ’93

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Open: Earlier in the day, The Lex Express finally reached it’s destination to a crowd of fans. Tonight, Lex Luger looks to regain the WWF Championship for America.

Match #1: ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase vs. Razor Ramon
DiBiase strikes before the bell while Razor’s handing off his jewelry, the bell rings and MDM continues to hammer away with boots and now chops in the corner. Irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Ramon elevates him with a back body drop, throws The MDM across the ring with a fallaway slam, then scores with a stiff right hand, DiBiase rolling to the outside to take a breather. He climbs back inside, collar & elbow tie-up, Razor backs MDM to the corner, DiBiase switches out and buries rights to the breadbasket.

Irish whip across is reversed, The Bad Guy levels DiBiase off the rebound with a clothesline, delivers another, then a third that sends him over the top rope to the floor. The MDM staggers to his feet and pulls himself up to the apron, Ramon flips him back into the squared circle and DiBiase tries to beg him off, baiting him in to pull Razor into the middle turnbuckle face-first. Million Dollar Man now taking control by choking Razor on the top rope, flings him down to the mat and again grabs him by the throat. He shoots Ramon to the ropes for a back elbow, cracks him with a backbreaker, hooks the leg and only gets a count of 2.

The MDM sends him back to the ropes for a clothesline that gets another 2, picks him up only to snapmare The Bad Guy back down and grabs a rear chinlock. Ramon starts to fade away, the referee checks the arms, Razor holds them up on the third attempt and battles back to his feet, hits the ropes, but MDM buries a knee to the midsection, He plants Razor with a neckbreaker, hits a vertical suplex, calls for the Million Dollar Dream, but The Bad Guy staves it off with an elbow to the gut. He can’t build off of it and gets clobbered across the back, DiBiase shoots him to the ropes, Ramon reverses and flattens The MDM with a clothesline, both guys struggling to their feet.

MDM strikes first by driving Razor’s head into the top turnbuckle, The Bad Guy spills to the outside, the ref starts the 10 count and DiBiase exposes one of the turnbuckles. Ramon rolls back in, The MDM meets him with boots, attempts to ram him into the exposed turnbuckle, but Razor turns the tables and introduces DiBiase instead. He lifts The MDM up and drives him down with the Razor’s Edge, hooks the leg and gets the win.
Winner: Razor Ramon (Razor’s Edge)

  • EA’s Take: Crowd is pretty hot for this opening match, Razor’s character had finally turned that babyface corner and he was incredibly over. Although you could make a case that The Four Horsemen started it, Razor Ramon was one of the first wrestling heels that was so cool, he became loved, which really was prevalent back at WrestleMania IX when the people were 100% behind him against Bob Backlund. This was his first PPV match after “seeing the light” as they say, DiBiase was really the perfect opponent to help solidify Ramon as a good guy. Money Inc. had been poking fun at Razor over his upset loss to 1-2-3 Kid, leading to the turn and two of our singles matches tonight. The Bad Guy’s ascent would continue, but tonight would be the last WWF match for Million Dollar Man, leaving the company until 1994 when he would return in a managerial role.

In The Arena: Todd Pettengill is standing by with the mom and sister of The Steiner Brothers for their thoughts on what it was like growing up with Rick and Scott as children. Jim Cornette interrupts from the ring to introduce the challengers in our next match.

Match #2: The Heavenly Bodies (Dr. Tom Prichard & ‘Gigolo’ Jimmy Del Ray) w/Jim Cornette vs. WWF Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott)
The Heavenly Bodies attack as The Steiners enter the ring, the bell sounds and we’re officially underway, Del Ray dumping Scott to the outside, then hitting Rick with a double suplex. They continue to keep Scott from entering the squared circle, shoot Rick to the ropes for a double flapjack and continue to put a number on him. Scotty’s finally able to get inside and sends Prichard hard into the corner, Rick comes to and the champions send The Gigolo into the same corner to squash his partner.

Scott charges in and monkey flips Del Ray, double hip toss for Dr. Tom, he ducks a clothesline from Rick, The Gigolo gets hit instead and Scott tosses Prichard with a belly-to-belly suplex. The Steiners whip Del Ray to the ropes, Scott plants him with a tilt-a-whirl slam and The Heavenly Bodies finally escape the ring to try and regroup. Order is finally restored, Scott & Prichard taking the ring, collar & elbow tie-up sees Dr. Tom back him to the ropes, but doesn’t break clean. Irish whip into the ropes is reversed, Scotty elevates Prichard with a military press slam, Del Ray tries to insert himself and pays for it via a back body drop.

Scott turns back to Dr. Tom, snapmares him over for a front facelock, tags out and Rick steps in now, locks up with Prichard and Dr. Tom gains a side headlock. Rick pushes him away to the ropes, Prichard counters a hip toss attempt to one of his own, Rick blocks it, levels him with a clothesline, then catches The Gigolo coming in yet again with another clothesline. The Dog-Faced Gremlin delivers a body slam to Del Ray, The Heavenly Bodies hit the floor to re-think their strategy with Cornette. Dr. Tom rolls back in, Rick goes to a wristlock, makes a tag, Scott sends him to the ropes for an inverted atomic drop, Del Ray still hasn’t learned his lesson and comes in again, only to get split by another inverted atomic drop.

Scotty shoots him to the ropes, The Gigolo slides through between his legs, Prichard from behind with a bulldog and the challengers finally get in some offense. Dr. Tom looks for a kick, Scott catches his foot, doesn’t avoid an enzuigiri, Prichard deposits him to the outside and baits Rick into the ring to get the referee’s attention. This allows The Gigolo to jump onto Scotty from the apron with a somersault senton, throws him back into the ring and legally tags in. He comes off the top with a double axe handle to the back, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Scott attempts a clothesline, but The Gigolo counters and spikes him with a DDT.

Prichard tags back in, Del Ray sends Scotty to the ropes for a drop toe hold, Dr. Tom follows with a knee drop to the head, briefly chokes him on the canvas and slaps on a rear chinlock. He changes his mind and picks Scott up for right hands, Scotty tries to battle back, but Prichard picks the leg and makes a tag, Del Ray coming in to maintain control. He sends Scott to the ropes and clocks him with a superkick for a count of 2, tags back out, Dr. Tom choking Scott on the middle rope, Cornette getting in a cheap shot while the ref backs Prichard away. This baits Rick to come around on the apron, the official works him back to his corner, allowing the challengers to switch out without making a tag and The Gigolo goes back to a choke on the mat.

He makes a legal tag and Dr. Tom drives a knee lift to the abdomen, another tag sees Scott reverse an irish whip to the ropes for a clothesline, Del Ray tries to use the same counter into a DDT from earlier, but this time it’s blocked. Scott throws him with a suplex, crawls toward his corner, Prichard gets the tag first to cut him off, shoots him to the ropes for a back body drop, but Scotty puts on the brakes and plants him with a double underhook powerbomb. Both guys make it to their respective corners this time, Rick comes in with right hands for The Gigolo, sends him to the ropes for a big clothesline, flattens Dr. Tom with another, then delivers body slams to both.

Scott comes back in and clears Prichard out with a dropkick, drops Del Ray with one, The Dog-Faced Gremlin goes up top, spikes The Gigolo with a bulldog and makes the cover. Dr. Tom is back in to break the count at 2, Scott grabs him, throws him into the corner, climbs to the 2nd rope for right hands, but Prichard pushes him over the top to the floor. Meanwhile, Del Ray reverses an irish whip to the ropes from Rick, attempts to leapfrog over, Rick catches him in the air and plants him with a suplex which causes Cornette to climb up to the apron. The official has his back turned as Cornette throws his tennis racket over Rick’s head, Dr. Tom catches it, wallops The Dog-Faced Gremlin in the back, disposes of the evidence and The Gigolo covers, but only gets a near fall.

The Heavenly Bodies with more double teaming, Prichard holds Rick up for Del Ray to head upstairs for a moonsault, Scott makes it back in to pull his brother out of the way, Dr. Tom getting clobbered instead. Rick sends The Gigolo to the ropes, Scott connects with a Frankensteiner, The Dog-Faced Gremlin hooks the leg and the champions retain.
Winners and STILL WWF Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers (Rick/Frankensteiner)

  • EA’s Take: A really exciting match with The Steiners getting the big home town victory, some nice moves from The Heavenly Bodies (specifically Del Ray) that were almost unheard of in this era as well. After finally defeating Money Inc. for the WWF Tag Titles, The Steiners were far-and-away the face of the tag division, but unfortunately the competition was scarce for the company at this time. The Heavenly Bodies were a team that saw a few iterations, previously being comprised of Prichard & ‘Sweet’ Stan Lane, formerly of The Midnight Express. They would compete in the WWF as part of a talent exchange agreement that the company had with Smoky Mountain Wrestling, a promotion based out of Tennessee run by Cornette. This arrangement would see SMW stars not only compete for both companies, but also led to SMW Titles even being defended on WWF TV.

Backstage: Joe Fowler is in the interview area with WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels & Diesel. Michaels says it’s time for all the questions to be answered, such as who is the greatest IC Champ of all-time, himself or Mr. Perfect? Tonight, Shawn vows to prove that he is that man, Fowler reminds him Perfect caused Michaels to lose the title before, but he only regained it with help from Diesel. The champion states that he’s the one wearing it, Diesel letting us all know that HBK can get it done in the ring and he’s just around to keep all the chicks from going too crazy.

Match #3 for the WWF Intercontinental Championship: WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels w/Diesel vs. Mr. Perfect
Collar & elbow tie-up to begin, Michaels with a wristlock, switches to a top wristlock and trips Perfect, arrogantly fixing his hair. They lock-up again, this time Perfect with a hammerlock, snapmares Shawn over and returns the taunting. Third tie-up sees the champion gain a side headlock, The Perfect One pushes him off to the ropes, Shawn slides between the legs, misses a wild right hand and the challenger sets him for a back suplex. Michaels ducks under it, hits the ropes for a clothesline and misses, Perfect tries one of his own with the same result, but catches Shawn coming back through with one from the left side.

The Perfect One takes the champion down with a hammerlock, drives knees into the elbow and wrenches away, Michaels gaining a vertical base and they trade-off hammerlocks. Shawn switches to a side headlock, scales the ropes to take Perfect over, the challenger utitlizes a headscissors to break the hold, then avoids an elbow drop to frustrate the champion. Michaels is more cautious, collar & elbow tie-up sees Perfect back Shawn to the corner, the champion, switches out and doesn’t break clean, scoring with stiff right hands. The challenger gets a surge of energy and turns the tables, serves up a plate of chops, whips him across, Shawn tries to hop up and over, Mr. Perfect sees it coming and puts on the brakes, the Michaels sneaks in a back elbow.

He tries to send Perfect back into the corner, it’s reversed, the champion scales the ropes to the top for a moonsault, The Perfect One ducks it and Shawn lands on his feet, but gets turned inside-out by a clothesline for a count of 2. The challenger goes back to the left arm with an armbar, Heartbreak Kid finds his footing, backs him to the corner and buries shoulders to the midsection. Irish whip across is reversed by Perfect, he follows Michaels in, the champion side-steps out of the way and the challenger runs himself into the turnbuckles. Shawn hops to the top rope, jumps off and gets caught in the air with an arm drag, The Perfect One scores with another, nearly gets a 3 count and slaps the armbar back on.

The Heartbreak Kid gets to a standing position and sends Mr. Perfect off to the ropes, he misses a couple of shots, attempts a dropkick, the challenger catches him by the legs and catapults Shawn over the top to the floor. The Perfect One heads outside after him, Diesel creeps up behind him to get his attention, he turns around and Michaels clocks him with a superkick, then climbs to the apron and comes off with a clothesline. The champion throws Mr. Perfect back in the ring, buries knees into the spine, drops numerous elbows to the lower back, then enjoys his work a little.

He whips the challenger hard into the corner to further damage the back, delivers clubbing blows, then shoots him hard to the turnbuckles again. Michaels cracks The Perfect One with a backbreaker, stretches him over his knee, the fans start coming to life and the challenger breaks out after a fews fists. He battles to his feet from the canvas, Shawn whips him to the ropes, misses a right hand, Perfect hops over a back body drop attempt and connects with a dropkick. The challenger sends Michaels back to the ropes for a back body drop, buries a big knee lift to the chest, then splits Shawn with an inverted atomic drop for a near fall.

The Perfect One shoots the champion back in, scores with a forearm to the face for another 2 count, The Heartbreak Kid reverses another whip to the ropes for a hip toss, but Perfect blocks it and attempts a backslide. Instead Michaels is flipped over, the challenger quickly plants him with a Perfect-Plex, the referee counts to 2, but Diesel reaches in and sweeps The Perfect One’s leg to break the count. The Perfect One is livid, hops to the outside and unleashes a flurry of right hands on Diesel, Shawn tries to clobber him from behind with a double axe handle off the apron, but Mr. Perfect avoids it and The Insurance Policy gets drilled.

The challenger rolls Michaels into the ring, the official’s in the way and Shawn accidentally takes him down, Diesel taking the opening to drive Perfect’s head into the ring post, the referee is back to his feet and finishes his 10 count.
Winner and STILL WWF Intercontinental Champion: Shawn Michaels (Count-Out)

  • After The Bell: Diesel raises Shawn’s hand in the ring, Mr. Perfect recovers and ambushes them both from behind, puts up a good fight, but the numbers game catches up to him, getting knocked out cold by a Diesel right hand.
  • EA’s Take: Fairly exciting contest between two of the greatest workers to ever lace up a pair, but I think it could have been better. To be fair, the fact that these are two of the greatest athletes in WWE history makes my expectations higher, so don’t get me wrong and think this was a bad match because it wasn’t. I just think it could have been more. Oddly enough, this was the first time in SummerSlam history that the IC Title did not change hands. The feud between Perfect & Michaels was fairly brief, Shawn would end up getting suspended for a positive steroids test the following month. For Mr. Perfect, this would serve as his final WWF PPV match. He’d stick with the company until October, but after being by-passed for the IC Title due to Shawn’s suspension, he was taken off the road by the company for allowing his anger to get the better of him. He’d make a brief return in 1994, attempting to get back into the ring until his back issues flared up again and eventually leaving the company…for a short while.

Backstage: Joining Joe Fowler is The 1-2-3 Kid, making his WWF pay-per-view debut tonight. The Kid speaks about stepping in the ring with IRS and being excited to be out there. He talks about how Schyster is bigger and stronger, but everyone he gets into the ring with is bigger and stronger, so that’s nothing new.

Match #4: Irwin R. Schyster vs. The 1-2-3 Kid
They lock-up to start, IRS backs Kid to the corner and buries right hands to the breadbasket, then grabs a side headlock. The Kid pushes him away to the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder, Schyster back into the ropes, Kid leapfrogs over, then catches him coming back through with a spinning heel kick for a quick 2 count. IRS checks his mouth, adjusts his suspenders and they tie-up again, Schyster burying a knee to the abdomen, whips Kid to the ropes and tosses him into the air, 1-2-3 Kid landing face-first on the canvas.

He picks Kid back up, shoots him to the ropes again, attempts a clothesline from the left side, The Kid ducks it, Schyster tosses him into the air again, but this time 1-2-3 Kid counters with a dropkick, gaining another 2 count. He looks to whip IRS to the ropes now, it’s reversed, Schyster drops him with a back elbow, then throws him over the top to the floor. Kid climbs back to the apron only to get clubbed back down, The Kid pulls himself back up, gets flipped into the ring, but grabs a schoolboy on IRS and gets another quick 2.

He can’t build off of it and IRS rakes his eyes, sends him to the ropes for another back elbow, drops one across the chest and hooks the leg for a count of 2. Schyster looking to wear Kid down now with an abdominal stretch, uses the top rope for leverage behind the official’s back, finally gets caught and is forced to release the hold. He snapmares The Kid over and utilizes a rear chinlock, the people chant “1-2-3” and Kid works to his feet, IRS tries to drive his head into the top turnbuckle, but it’s blocked and he gets driven in instead.

1-2-3 Kid with a series of kicks in the corner, whips Schyster across hard, IRS hits the mat, Kid connectsing with a moonsault from the top for a near fall. He stays on IRS with a mahistral cradle for another 2 count, shoots him to the ropes for a spinning heel kick, Schyster catches the foot, but doesn’t see the other coming back around and gets clocked. Kid covers and only gains 2, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, IRS flattens him with the Write-Off and picks up the victory.
Winner: Irwin R. Schyster (Write-Off)

  • EA’s Take: Pretty quick match here, lots of high energy as you would expect from The Kid with IRS trying to keep him grounded. IRS was getting back into singles competition because of Ted DiBiase’s hiatus and eventual retirement from in-ring competition, but it’s a little strange that he got the win here. The Kid was making his PPV debut, but had already picked up upset victories over competitors that I’d classify as higher up on the food chain, such as Razor Ramon. 1-2-3 Kid had really taken on the underdog role and was something much different than we had seen in previous years, adding a new element as the company continued to push younger stars.

In The Arena: Todd Pettengill is with Owen & Bruce Hart, the Hart boys informing Todd that their parents aren’t here tonight after Stu had to have knee surgery because of Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler’s antics this past Monday on RAW. Owen states that his parents may not be in attendance, but he and his brother will be at ringside watching in support of Bret.

Match #5: Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart vs. Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler
The King makes his entrance and is on crutches. Todd Pettengill meets his in the aisle to find out what’s going on, Lawler stating that he hates Bret and his family. He can’t wait to get his hands on The Hitman, but he got into a car accident on his way to the building tonight. He claims to have pulled himself from a fiery wreck and showed up at the arena to fight, however the doctors backstage gave him strict orders to not compete. Bret won’t get off easy though, as Lawler brings out his court jester, Doink The Clown to take his place.
Match #5: Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart vs. Doink The Clown
Doink comes down to ringside and finds himself in front of Bret’s brothers, tosses a bucket of water in Bruce’s face. Bret comes up from behind and fires away with right hands, the bell rings and the match is officially underway. He tosses The Clown inside, a group of referees have to stop Bruce & Owen from entering the ring, The Hitman hammering Doink with punches, then clotheslines him over the top to the floor.

Lawler watches on from ringside, The Excellence of Execution climbs outside to keep the punishment going on Doink, driving his head into the ring apron and then sending him to the post. He rolls The Clown back in again, Doink’s trying to beg off, backs himself into the corner and Hart unloads with more big rights, then whips him across and charges in. Doink puts the boot up, The Hitman sees it and blocks it, spins him around for another heavy right hand and sends The Clown spilling to the outside again.

The King gives some words of advice to Doink as he pulls himself up to the apron, Bret walks over and takes a shoulder to the abdomen, The Clown goes to the top, Hitman’s back up and he crotches him on the top turnbuckle. The Excellence of Execution drops Doink face-first on the mat, keeps pummeling him with boots, has words with Lawler, turns around and blocks a number of right and lefts before dropping The Clown with a headbutt. Hitman climbs to the outside and wants to go after The King, this gives Doink the opening to ambush him from behind, drives Bret’s head into the steel steps, rolls him back and and goes up top for a double axe handle to the back.

The Clown starts to take control, Hart tries to battle back, but gets lifted up into a kneebreaker. Doink rolls out to the floor, drags The Hitman to the ring post and wraps his leg into it over and over, slides back in and makes a cover for a 1 count. Doink keeping on the left knee and he hooks on an STF, Bret squirms his way out and to his feet, hits the ropes and runs into a knee to the breadbasket. The Clown hits the ropes for an elbow drop and a count of 2, keeps on the hurt leg by locking on a stump puller, Doink uses the ropes for extra leverage, gets caught by the referee and the official kicks his arm to break the grip. He positions Bret with a body slam, goes to the top rope for the Whoopie Cushion, The Hitman gets his knees up and Doink gets hit right in the groin.

The Excellence of Execution starts to build momentum now with fists, shoots Doink to the rope for one to the midsection, scores with a side russian leg sweep and comes off the 2nd rope with an elbow drop. He goes to put it away with a Sharpshooter and locks it on, The King slides into the ring from behind, clobbers Bret with his crutch and reveals that he’s not injured.
Winner: Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: Lawler’s assault continues until he’s destroyed the crutch completely over Bret’s back, a group of referees have to hold Owen & Bruce from getting into the ring and The King finally starts to leave, bringing Doink with him. WWF President Jack Tunney comes out and cuts them off, informs Lawler that people paid to see him wrestle The Hitman while Bret tries to fight through more officials to get his hands on The King. Tunney comes down to ringside and passes news along to Howard Finkel, The Fink announcing that if Lawler doesn’t face Bret, he will be banned from the WWF for life.

Match #6: Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart vs. Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler
Hart finally breaks through the officials and the brawl is on in the entrance way, Hitman pounding The King with punches and driving him into the barricade back to the ring. The bell rings making it official, Bret really aggressive biting Lawler’s forehead in the corner and smashing him with another big right hand. He whips The King to the ropes for a back body drop, drops an elbow, grabs him by the legs and drops a headbutt to the lower abdomen.

The Excellence of Execution throws Lawler outside, grabs the other crutch and bashes him across the back, sends him into the barricade again and throws him back into the squared circle. Lawler rolls back out the other side, Hitman stays in pursuit, King getting ahold of a piece of the crutch and buries it into Bret’s stomach, then hits him in the throat. He walks around ringside and delivers a cheap shot to Bruce, runs back to Bret as the referee keeps Owen at bay, The King choking the life out of The Hitman with the butt of the crutch.

He sends Bret into the ring, pulls him to the ring post and crotches him on it, King sneaks in behind the official with the crutch to deliver another shot to the throat before disposing of the evidence. Jerry rams The Hitman head-first into the top turnbuckle, talks some trash to the fans, goes to get Bret again and Hart scores with a low blow. Bret drops the straps and Lawler tries to beg him off, The Hitman hammers him in the corner with big rights, shoots him to the ropes for a back body drop, cracks The King with a backbreaker and gets a count of 2. The Excellence of Execution spikes King with a piledriver, comes off the 2nd turnbuckle with an elbow drop, slaps on the Sharpshooter and Lawler gives up.
Winner: Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart (Sharpshooter)

  • After The Bell: The Hitman keeps the Sharpshooter on after the bell and refuses to let go of it, multiple referees having to pry him away. The original ref confers with Howard Finkel, reversing the decision and disqualifying Bret for not relinquishing the hold. This only angers Hitman more and he attacks Lawler, WWF officials are able to keep him away, Bruce & Owen hop the barricade and get a couple of shots in before The King is stretchered away.

Winner: Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler (Disqualification)

  • EA’s Take: A very heated rivalry here after Lawler’s attack of Bret at King Of The Ring. The Hitman’s hatred for The King really showed a side of Bret that we had never seen before, becoming more vicious and aggressive and leading to very different kinds of matches from him than we’re used to seeing. Jerry was a magnificent heel and talker and although he was older at this point and his in-ring work was never the best, this feud with Bret really hid those deficiencies. The WWF would engage in cross-promotion with Lawler’s USWA company while the rivalry with The Hitman continued into the fall. The King would be set to captain a team at Survivor Series against Bret and his brothers, but had to step away for a period of time. Lawler was facing legal issues after being accused of rape, a charge that he was found not guilty on before returning to the company in 1994.

Video: Ludvig Borga was checking out some of Detroit earlier in the day, speaking about Lex Luger going for the WWF Title tonight and trying to fulfill the “American dream”. Borga is in a run-down part of the city and wonders if this is the “American dream”, broken buildings and crime. Tonight, he will show his opponent Marty Jannetty and Lex exactly the kind of nightmare he is.

Match #7: Marty Jannetty vs. Ludvig Borga
The bell rings and Jannetty gets in Ludvig’s face to have a couple words, unwisely turns his back and Borga ambushes him from behind, putting him in the corner and delivering rights and lefts to the ribs. He whips Marty across and flattens him with a clothesline off the rebound, puts him back in the corner for knees to the abdomen, sends him to the ropes and elevates him into the air, delivering another big punch to the breadbasket in mid-air. He lifts Jannetty with a choke and drops him in the corner, more heavy blows to the midsection and Marty can’t get anything going.

Borga whips him back across, charges in for a splash, Jannetty side-steps it, scores with right hands, hits the ropes and Ludvig levels him with another clothesline. Borga sends Marty back to the ropes for a back body drop, Jannetty tries to counter with a sunset flip, can’t get him over and Ludvig scores with another big right hand, then utilizes a bearhug. Marty with a barrage of rights and lefts to break out of it, attempts a body slam and his back gives out, Borga turning him inside-out with another big clothesline.

He whips Jannetty to the ropes to try the back body drop again, Marty with another sunset flip try, Ludvig goes to deliver another punch like last time, but Jannetty avoids it. Marty staggers him with multiple superkicks, goes to the 2nd rope for a crossbody, Borga catches him in the air and drives him down to the canvas. The Hellraiser from Helsinki with more shots to the ribs, puts him in the Torture Rack and Jannetty gives up.
Winner: Ludvig Borga (Torture Rack)

  • EA’s Take: Pretty unexciting match and easily the worst contest of the night to this point, a total squash. Ludvig Borga came to the WWF from New Japan, the Superstar from Finland making his debut on the July 10th episode of Superstars and beginning an undefeated streak similar to Tatanka’s. Interestingly enough, after pulverizing Marty Jannetty here, he would go on to end The Native American’s streak in late September before embarking into a feud with Lex Luger. Jannetty would venture back into the tag division after a lackluster singles run, even though he did manage to gain an IC Title out of it.

Match #8 – Rest In Peace Match: Giant Gonzalez w/Harvey Wippleman vs. The Undertaker
This match is no DQ’s or count-outs, there must be a winner. The bell rings and Undertaker goes right at Gonzalez with uppercuts in the corner, grabs him by the throat and climbs to the 2nd rope to choke the breath out of him. Wippleman hops to the apron to gain his attention, Taker breaking the hold, turns around and The Giant catches him with a big boot, then fires away with headbutts and clubbing shots. He shoots him to the ropes for a clothesline, The Deadman ducks under it and hits one of his own to stagger the big man, then another.

He goes back to the well again and Gonzalez drops him with a shot to the throat, tosses him to the outside and climbs out after him. They trade shots on the floor, The Giant rips at his eyes, drives Taker into the apron, then the ring steps and goes around ringside after a chair. He clobbers The Deadman across the back with it, whips him knees-first into the steel steps and sends him back into the squared circle. The Undertaker crawls towards the urn, Gonzalez clubs him with the heavy artillery, Taker battles back to his feet, goes back for the urn, but Harvey snatches it away.

The Giant shoots him hard into the turnbuckles, The Deadman keeps crawling for the urn, the gong hits and Paul Bearer makes his way to ringside carrying a black wreath. Meanwhile, Gonzalez chokes the life out of Undertaker in the corner, hammers him with big punches, Wippleman charges at Bearer on the outside and gets dropped by a clothesline. He goes around ringside and reclaims the urn, The Giant delivering a body slam to Taker in the ring, notices Bearer with the urn and The Deadman sits up. He unloads on The Giant with uppercuts, hits multiple clotheslines that get the big man reeling, goes to the top rope for a flying clothesline, finally knocking him down and covering for the 1-2-3.
Winner: The Undertaker (Top Rope Clothesline)

  • After The Bell: The Deadman places the black wreath next to Giant Gonzalez’s prone body, kneeling to the power of the urn before taking his leave with Paul Bearer. Gonzalez comes to and Wippleman is giving him the business, The Giant hearing enough of it and grabbing by the neck for a Chokeslam, then placing the wreath on his body.
  • EA’s Take: Back-to-back rough matches to watch, this one being better than the last. The Undertaker really was getting saddled with some hard opponents to work with and get over, the company really sticking to the formula of matching him up with pro wrestling’s biggest monsters. His face turn would set the stage for a feud with Wippleman’s newest charge, Adam Bomb, however it never came to fruition as Gonzalez would leave the company in October. He would pass away in 2010 at the age of 44 due to complications from diabetes and severe heart issues (Side note: shouldn’t the gimmick for a ‘Rest In Peace Match’ be having to put your opponent in a body bag or something?).

Backstage: Joe Fowler is standing by with WWF Champion Yokozuna, Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette. Cornette talks about hometown bias being the reason for The Heavenly Bodies losing earlier in the night, but the same thing will not happen to Yokozuna. He warns Lex Luger to listen up good, explaining that Yoko has no fear or compassion for his fellow man, something the power Luger draws from the American people can’t match. The time for talking is over and the last thing we will hear tonight is “Banzai!”.

Match #9: The Smoking Gunns (Billy & Bart) & Tatanka vs. The Headshrinkers (Samu & Fatu) & Bam Bam Bigelow w/Afa & Luna Vachon
The bell rings and all 6 guys start brawling, Bam Bam and The Headshrinkers clearing out the ring, leaving Bigelow and Tatanka. The Beast from the East shoots Tatanka to the ropes and scores with a shoulder knockdown, sends him back in for a clothesline, The Native American ducks under it, hits a shoulder block of his own to stagger Bam Bam, then takes him off his feet with a dropkick. Heavy rights from The Native American, whips Bigelow to the ropes for a back body drop, another irish whip is reversed, The Beast from the East misses another clothesline, both guys are thinking crossbody and they collide in the air.

They crawl  to their corners and tag out, Fatu meeting Billy to exchange right hands, Billy gets the better of it briefly, but Fatu clocks him with a superkick. He hooks him up for a vertical suplex, Billy counters, dropping him face-first to the canvas, climbs to the top turnbuckle and scores with a bulldog. Irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Fatu flattens him with a shoulder knockdown, Samu tags in and The Headshrinkers with a double headbutt. Samu shoots him Billy to the ropes and drops him on the top rope with a hot shot, Billy rolls to the outside to collect his breath, Samu distracting the official and allowing Afa to get in a cheap shot.

Billy crawls back into the ring and gets decked by another superkick, falls backwards into his corner, Bart tagging himself in and he unloads a barrage of left hands to Samu. Irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Bart ducks under a clothesline, scores with a crossbody for a quick 1 count, catches Samu with an arm drag and goes to an armbar. Bart swiftly brings him back up, whip to the ropes is reversed, Bart ducks another clothesline, tries to go to a crossbody again, but Samu meets him in mid-air with a back elbow. He shoots Bart back to the ropes and plants him with a facebuster, Bam Bam tags back in, sends Bart to the ropes again and connects with a dropkick for a count of 2.

Fatu re-enters the match, whips Bart to the ropes for a powerslam that gains a near fall, brings Samu back and he maintains control with shots to the throat, then bites Bart on the ropes. Fatu gets a tag and The Headshrinkers with another double headbutt, Bigelow back in and drops Bart with a shoulder knockdown, then uses The Headshrinkers’ skulls to bash Bart’s head off of. Tag back to Fatu, he shoots him to the ropes for a back body drop, Bart puts on the brakes, drives Fatu face-first into the mat, but it has no affect and Fatu floors him with a clothesline. He baits Tatanka & Bart into the ring to hold ref’s attention, Samu comes in with no tag for some double teaming, then he chokes Bart in the corner, baiting Billy back in for Bam Bam & Fatu to do a number on Bart.

Bigelow tags in, double irish whip to the ropes with Samu for a double back elbow, The Beast from the East whips Bart to the corner, charges in for a splash, but he misses and hits his head off the top of the ring post. Bart finally tags out, Tatanka hitting the ring with a clothesline, fires away at The Headshrinkers in the corner, hits the ropes for multiple overhand chops to Bam Bam, then plants him with a body slam. He spikes Bigelow with a DDT, goes up top for a crossbody, covers and gets a near fall

The Native American has an issue with the count and argues with the referee, The Beast from the East takes the opening to drive fists to the breadbasket, rams him head-first into the top turnbuckle, but Tatanka absorbs it and goes into the war dance. He absorbs more shots from Bigelow, Bam Bam cracks him with an enzuigiri to put an end to it, tags out and Samu positions The Native American to come off the 2nd rope with a headbutt. Bart comes in to break up the count at 2, Fatu hits the ring and makes him pay with a superkick, Billy’s right behind him to deliver a dropkick, but here comes Bam Bam and he clotheslines Billy to the outside.

It’s a 3-1 advantage in the ring on Tatanka, The Headshrinkers shoot him into the corner, whip Bigelow in with a splash, triple headbutt to The Native American, The Beast from the East and The Headshrinkers all climbing up opposite turnbuckles to the top rope. They look to hit synchronized diving headbutts, Tatanka’s able to roll out of the way, The Smoking Gunns slide back in, take out Fatu & Bam Bam on the outside with slingshot crossbodies, The Native American utilizes a schoolboy on Samu and steals a 3 count.
Winners: The Smoking Gunns & Tatanka (Tatanka/Schoolboy)

  • EA’s Take: A solid contest in what seems to be a bit of a thrown together match with little backstory to it, but pretty good for a 6-man which is something the WWF had always seemed to be less than sub-par at. Tatanka & Bigelow had been feuding a little bit on WWF television, The Gunns & Headshrinkers with no real issue other than they are both tag teams. Billy & Bart are two young talents that are still looking to make a name for themselves as a tandem, their cowboy gimmicks and flare for shooting off blanks with real guns being used to try and bolster their standing with the people.

Backstage: Joe Fowler is in the parking lot on the Lex Express, speaking with the driver of the bus who has been watching the show on a monitor. He speaks about spending the last two months with Lex Luger and how genuine of a guy he is, visiting children’s hospitals on their cross-country trip and lighting up kids faces.

In The Arena: Todd Pettengill is in the crowd speaking with some of the fans about their support for the USA in tonight’s main event. In the ring, Howard Finkel asks everyone to rise and show their respect for the Japanese National Anthem. The Fink then introduces our master of ceremonies for the WWF Title match, ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage accompanied by Aaron Neville, Aaron singing the USA National Anthem.

Match #10 for the WWF Championship: WWF Champion Yokozuna w/Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette vs. Lex Luger
The official calls for the bell and Luger goes face-to-face with the champion, Fuji sneaks his way up to the apron, tries to get into the ring, Lex feels it coming, turns his back and Yokozuna attacks, but its unsuccesful. Luger with big right hands, shoots Yoko to the ropes for a back elbow, goes for another big haymaker, the champion blocks it and attempts a body slam, but the challenger slips out. He pushes Yokozuna to the ropes and gets clobbered by a back elbow, the champion hits the ropes for a leg drop, Lex avoids it and then targets the leg with kicks to the knee.

Yoko steps to the outside to escape, Luger kicks the ropes for a low blow, Yokozuna falls flat to the canvas, the challenger following with an elbow drop for a 2 count. Lex hits the ropes, the champion catches him with a body slam, hits the ropes for an elbow drop that doesn’t connect, Luger firing away with fists and kicks in the corner. He rams Yokozuna head-first off the top turnbuckle, shoots him across, follows in with a clothesline, then climbs to the 2nd rope for a flurry of punches. The official steps in and forces a break, the champion seizing the opening for a chop to the throat, then chokes the challenger in the corner.

The ref now backs Yokozuna away, Fuji climbs up the steps to throw salt in Luger’s face, but Lex sees it coming and avoids it. He hammers Yoko with heavy rights, goes for a slam, can’t lift the big man and the champion cracks him with a superkick. Yokozuna delivers a headbutt that sends Luger to the outside, Lex tries to pull himself back into the ring, getting dropped back down to the floor after another headbutt. The champion climbs out after him, wraps part of his mawashi around the challenger’s throat, positions him on the ring post and squashes Luger with a splash. Yoko goes after a chair now, takes a big swing, Lex ducks it, fires off a series or fists, rolls the champion back inside, then heads back in and comes off the 2nd rope with a double axe handle.

Yokozuna is rocked, the challenger goes to the top rope and hits another double axe, then back up again, finally taking him off his feet with a forearm shot. Lex covers for a near fall, hits the ropes for a head of steam, flattens Yoko with a clothesline to the back of the head, hooks the big leg and gains another count of 2. Irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Luger ducks under a right hand, both guys go for a clothesline, connect and drop to the canvas, doubling down. Cornette hops onto the apron and grabs the official, Fuji throws the salt bucket in to the champion, Yoko waffles Luger in the head with it and lays him out.

Yokozuna crawls to a cover and only gets 2, scores with stinging knife-edge chops, plants him with a side belly-to-belly suplex, hooks the leg and still can’t finish it. The champion chokes the challenger on the 2nd rope, rips at his face and is totally dominating now. Yokozuna hits him with a back suplex for a 2 count, the champion can’t believe it, snapmares Lex over and slaps on a nerve hold to the trap muscle. Luger gets a rush of adrenaline and works to his feet, battles out of the hold, goes for a slam, Yokozuna falls on top of him, but is still unable to get a 3 count.

The champion drops a big leg drop for another near fall, drags Lex to the corner and positions him for the Banzai Drop, the challenger just rolling out of the way in the nick of time. The challenger tries to regroup, gets his head rammed into the top turnbuckle, absorbs it to fight back, but the champion resorts to biting him on the forehead. Yoko hits stiff chops in the corner, whips Lex across, measures him for a back splash and misses, Lex lifting him off the rebound for a body slam. Fuji climbs onto the apron and pays for it, Luger exposes his forearm with the metal plate in it, clobbers Yokozuna and he spills to the outside, the ref putting the count on as Cornette climbs to the apron, eating a right hand as the count reaches 10.
Winner: Lex Luger (Count-Out)

  • After The Bell: Savage, The Steiner Brothers & Tatanka meet Lex in the ring, hoisting him on their shoulders and waving the American flag high in the air as confetti and balloons drop from the ceiling. A montage video is shown about America and The Lex Express making its way across the country towards the site of SummerSlam. Joe Fowler catches up with Luger in the locker room following the video, Lex stating it was an honor to represent his country and wrestle for the WWF Title, Ludvig Borga interrupting. He informs Luger that he’s not impressed with him, his friends or the country he stands for and if he ever steps in the ring with him, he’ll crumble much like the USA is crumbling.
  • EA’s Take: Definitely not the best main event I’ve ever seen and certainly an unusual ending. Lex Luger got the epitome of a “mega push” over the previous two months, the WWF doing its damnedest to catapult him into the spot that had been occupied by Hulk Hogan for the past nine years. For some reason however, they chose not to give Luger the WWF Title after all of that build-up, which makes absolutely zero sense. He really should have won the championship here. He may not have been as popular as Hulk, but there’s no denying how over Lex was at this time and it was borderline absurd to hold a big celebration at the end of the night after he won by count-out, but didn’t gain the strap. This would not be the end of the rivalry as they’d continue to off-and-on over the next year.

EA’s Finisher: Another in a lineup of WWF pay-per-views since WrestleMania VIII that really failed to put out any matches that really were memorable or that stood out from the rest, but overall an entertaining show. Luger not winning the WWF Championship at the end was a big mistake and would have given us a memorable moment from this show, but for whatever reason the company went a different direction. The Superstars of the 1980s are continuing to fade away as the company remains persistent in pushing younger talent, this being the final in-ring PPV for an 80’s mainstay, Ted DiBiase. Some failed gimmicks and characters would be moved away from, another trend that will be repeated in the coming years with the WWF sticking by their “cartoon-like” creations of characters, leading to some down years for the company.

Top Three To Watch
1 – The Steiner Brothers vs. The Heavenly Bodies
2 – Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Perfect
3 – Bret Hart vs. Doink The Clown/Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler


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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!

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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

1/10/1999

Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL

Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)

Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)

 

THE RESULTS

  • 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

 

THE BREAKDOWN

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.

 

THE SIGNOFF

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.


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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!

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ALL IN

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

9/1/2018

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)

THE RESULTS

  • 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

 

THE BREAKDOWN

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.

THE SIGNOFF

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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