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
Chairshot Classics: WWE Fastlane 2015 – Reigns vs. Bryan
Looking back at WWE Fastlane 2015 with Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan!
Eric brings you the details of WWE Fastlane 2015 in this edition of Chairshot Classics!
Open: A video talking about destinations and the Road To WrestleMania, highlighting the rivalries between Bryan/Reigns, Cena/Rusev and HHH/Sting.
Match #1: Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan & Ryback vs. Big Show, Kane & “Mr. Money In The Bank” Seth Rollins w/J&J Security
A clip from last Thursday’s Smackdown, which led up to this 6 man tag. Ziggler & Rollins kick it off, with Rollins leading the charge until Dolph gets a roll-up for a quick 2, goes for a superkick and Rollins ducks out for a breather. Crowd chants “You Sold Out” at Rollins. Rollins with a quick edge, thwarted by a Ziggler dropkick and he tags Rowan who overpowers Rollins. Rowan ducks a kick and gets a pumphandle backbreaker, followed by an elbow for 2. Rollins is able to worm away to his corner and tag Kane. Rowan with a body slam, leg drop and 2nd rope back elbow, but is pushed in the wrong part of town and Big Show tags.
Show unloads in the corner, catches a boot from Rowan, but Show sends Rowan to the outside. Show out after him gets pushed into the ring post, J&J approach but get scared off by Rowan, who then goes for a heel kick, Show moves and Rowan’s leg hits the post. Show works over the injured leg and makes the tag to Kane, who follows suit before making a tag to Rollins. Rollins hits a 2nd rope blockbuster for a near fall and then brings back Big Show. Show continues to punish the leg, goes for a Chokeslam, but is countered into a DDT. Show tags Rollins, who cheap shots Ziggler in the corner, but turns around into a heel kick by Rowan using the bad leg.
Rowan is finally able to crawl over and tag Ryback, who goes to work on Rollins with heavy offense. Rollins rolls away from a splash and goes for the Curb Stomp, but gets caught into a powerbomb. Ryback sets-up for the Meat Hook, but Kane slides in and ends up taking it. Rollins misses a move off the distraction, Ryback goes for Shell Shocked, then J&J Security hit the apron giving Rollins the chance for a roll-up that gets 2, immediately followed by a head kick for another near fall. Rollins to the top for a flying knee, Ryback ducks it but takes a kick on the other side. Rollins goes for another 2nd rope blockbuster and gets caught in Shell Shocked.
Show hits the ring and splashes Ryback and quickly rolls back out. Ziggler & Kane gets tags, Ziggler dropkicks Show on the apron, Kane looks for a Chokeslam that gets reversed and Kane is pushed into Show, knocking him to the floor. Jumping DDT by Ziggler for a near fall. Dolph goes for a Fameasser and gets caught in a side slam, countered and Ziggler with a superkick. Rollins tries to get in the ring and takes a Fameasser, then Dolph mounts Kane in the corner. Show hits Ziggler with a WMD from the outside and Kane covers to grab the win.
Winners: Big Show, Kane & Seth Rollins (Kane/Interference)
- After The Bell: The Authority celebrates in the ring and Rollins delivers a Curb Stomp to Ziggler. Ryback & Rowan come in, but the numbers game is too much for them. Ryback takes a Chokeslam and Rowan eats a Curb Stomp. They set Ryback up for a Curb Stomp, but out comes the returning Randy Orton, who proceeds to clean house. Noble suffers an RKO and Mercury gets caught coming off the 2nd rope with another. Rollins takes a kick trying to get in the ring with the briefcase and Orton sets him up for the IEDDT, but Big Show grabs Rollins from behind and saves him. Orton hits Kane with an RKO as Rollins retreats through the crowd and leaves the arena.
- EA’s Take: You had to figure it was about time for Orton to return, as he was never originally scheduled to be off for that long. The match itself was decent with the pace really picking up when Ziggler & Rollins would get in the ring, as you would expect. Rowan is in a really unusual state right now. He’s just not clicking as a face with the fans, as he continues to get little to no reaction. Unless you watch Smackdown, then he’s as popular as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Hopefully now we can see Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan go do something else, they need to get away from this Authority angle already.
Video: Reviewing the dissolution of the tag team and “cosmic” brothers, Gold & Stardust.
Backstage: In the locker room is Goldust. In walks his father, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. He talks about Dustin doing what he has to do, but not hurting his brother in the process. Goldust says tonight he’s not facing Cody and he has to beat Stardust so bad that he will never want to wear paint again. “Tonight, I’m not leaving that ring until I bring my brother Cody home.”
Match #2: Stardust vs. Goldust
They lock-up and Goldust back Stardust into the corner, tries to clean break and Stardust with a couple shoves. Lock-up again and Stardust backs Goldust up, pushes him again and then receives a slap in return that makes Stardust rethink his approach. Crowd chants “Cody” to Stardust’s extreme disdain. We get a nice back and forth, with neither man getting an edge until Stardust is arm dragged into a corner. More loud “Cody” chants. They go back at it with more back and forth, both men posturing until Goldust gets Stardust set-up for the Director’s Cut, but Stardust slips to the outside. Dusty Rhodes is shown watching on a monitor backstage.
Stardust tries for a running bulldog that gets countered into a backbreaker, Goldust follows up with a clothesline that dumps Stardust back outside. The “Cody” chants seem to be getting to Stardust. Both men are able to hit duck-under strikes, Goldust sets-up Stardust for Shattered Dreams, but he slips out onto the apron. Stardust goes for a sunset flip, but Goldust moves and heads to the 2nd rope and Stardust gets the boot up in the mid-section. Stardust goes to work on the boot, spilling Goldust to the outside and battering him into the ring apron before rolling him back inside and punishing Goldust’s torso. Stardust with a front suplex and an arrogant cover that gets 2.
Stardust just continues going to work on the rib area. Goldust misses a springboard back elbow, Stardust sets-up for Cross Rhodes, but Goldust counters into a roll-up and gets a very shaky 3 count.
Winner: Goldust (Roll-Up)
- After The Bell: Stardust looks stunned about the end of the match. Goldust implores Stardust to shake his hand, Stardust grabs it quickly and rolls out of the ring, still looking in shock from the outcome.
- EA’s Take: Really an odd ending because of the count. Was it supposed to go that way? It almost seemed like it was meant to be part of the story with the way Stardust was reacting. I’d expect this to continue on into a match at WrestleMania for Goldust’s farewell.
Video: Seth Rollins from Monday Night Raw last week, referencing that he could host The Daily Show better than Jon Stewart. Jon Stewart has a few choice words for Rollins and then Rollins has a retort, and invites Stewart to show up at Fastlane.
Backstage: Dusty Rhodes and Goldust are talking about the previous match when Stardust walks up and says it looks like a family reunion, but they forgot to invite him. Stardust asks Goldust if he thinks they’re done and ambushes him, beating him down. Dusty implores Stardust to stop, calling him ‘Cody’. Stardust tells Dusty that he killed Cody, by sending him “this bag of bones” and that he is no longer living in Dusty’s shadow.
Match #3 For The WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) w/Naomi vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro w/Natalya
Video of the dinner between Kidd/Natalya and Jimmy/Naomi from Smackdown 3 weeks ago. Kidd & Jey begin with Jey getting the upper-hand after a flying forearm and a slam, then a tag to Jimmy. Double team move now, a combo backbreaker/top rope forearm gets a 2 count. Jimmy with heavy chops and he hits a corkscrew senton from the top for a near fall. Kidd backs Jimmy in for a tag to Cesaro, shoots Jimmy in and runs him into Cesarom Jimmy counters but Cesaro chops the leg. Jimmy tries to fight out of the wrong corner, Kidd gets a tag and langs Jimmy’s leg across the ropes.
Kidd works the leg and makes a tag to Cesaro, for more of that same prescription. Cesaro with a one-legged big swing into a single leg crab, Kidd tags and hits a slingshot leg drop for a count of 2. Kidd continues to work the leg, wrapping it on the ring apron, but Jimmy gets himself a small window of opportunity. Cesaro rolls kid back inside and gets the tag as Jimmy reaches Jey, who hits a flurry of moves exclamated by a Samoan drop. He lines up for the Umaga Hip Attack, but Kidd is on the apron with a distraction that allows Cesaro to get a roll-up for 2. Jey with an enzuigiri and this time connects on the Umaga Hip Attack, but Cesaro is out at 2. Jey ascends the turnbuckle, but Cesaro hits the ropes which crotches Jey.
Kidd makes a tag, Cesaro hits the Swiss Superplex and Kidd follows with a springboard elbow drop that nearly wins them the titles. Kidd wants the Sharpshooter, counter by Jey, Kidd hits the apron and gets a roll-up on Jey, but Jimmy made a blind tag. Uso’s hit Alley Us and Jimmy covers, but Cesaro breaks it at 2 and pulls Kidd to the outside. Jimmy eats a kick from Kidd and Jey with an outside dive onto Cesaro. Kidd takes out Jey with a kick and here comes Jimmy who misses a baseball slide, then counters a kick from Kidd to a Samoan drop into the barricade. Jimmy rolls in Kidd and heads to the top, Cesaro’s distraction on the apron is thwarted and Jimmy goes for the Samoan Splash.
Kidd gets the knees up and rolls Jimmy into a cover for a near fall, then locks Jimmy in the Sharpshooter. Jey breaks it up with a kick to the back of the head, Cesaro in now and they brawl to the outside as Jimmy crawls to a cover that’s only good for 2. Cesaro rolls Jey into the ring which distracts the ref, then swallows a kick from Jimmy. Kidd capitalizes on the distraction and hits the swinging fisherman neckbreaker to capture the gold.
Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (Kidd/Swinging Fisherman Neckbreaker)
- EA’s Take: Lillian Garcia – “Here are your winners and still….the new WWE Tag Team Champions…”. Why in the BLUE HELL did they let Justin Roberts walk again? Anyway, this was yet another example of why The Uso’s are the best tag team in the business. Not to discredit Kidd & Cesaro because they are great too and I like the different paths they could take with them going forward in terms of challengers. There’s a bunch of babyface teams right now with the breakup of Gold & Stardust and the eventual split of The Miz & Damien Mizdow. Add to that the recent call-up of Kalisto to add The Lucha Dragons into the mix.
Video: Triple H talking about his allegiance to WWE, 2 weeks ago on Raw and what has led up to Triple H calling him out for tonight.
In The Ring: It’s time for that confrontation and here comes Triple H, who is wearing street clothes and not his usual suit. Triple H talks about last week on Raw, when he was confronted by Ric Flair about Sting and how he regrets losing his cool and apologized to Flair, but doesn’t apologize for what he said about Sting. He says he is not standing in the ring as the COO, but as the heartbeat of WWE, The Game, The King of Kings and “Sting, I am waiting for you!”. He makes Triple H think about it for a moment and finally “The Vigilante” Sting makes his way to the ring. HHH says that they are past pleasantries and cuts right to the chase, he knows why Sting is here and isn’t mad about it, but feels sorry for him.
HHH says Sting backed the wrong horse by being undyingly loyal to WCW, but he respects that Sting “went down with the ship”. HHH says that guys like himself made that ship go down and he knows Sting came for him because without HHH & Stephanie the “WWE dies.”, but Sting failed and that’s what Sting does. HHH offers to let Sting have his legacy back and wants to do what’s best for business by putting all this behind them and doing business with Sting. All Sting has to do is walk away and HHH promises to make Sting bigger than ever by putting out DVD’s, action figures, loads of merchandise and possibly someday get him a Hall of Fame induction. Sting still says nothing and HHH takes his coat off and says the other option is the hard way, where he will beat the legacy out of Sting and he’ll be carried out and his legacy erased.
HHH says the choice is Sting’s, but he still doesn’t respond. HHH says he can tell by the look in Sting’s eye, he’s already made up his mind and tries to sucker punch Sting. Sting sees it coming and attacks The Game, but is hit by the microphone and HHH takes over. HHH beats down Sting, yelling at him “I gave you a chance!”, before rolling to the outside and grabbing his trusty sledgehammer. Sting pulls a baseball bat out of his jacket and catches HHH under the chin with it, pushing him into the corner until HHH drops the sledgehammer outside. He backs off and points to the WrestleMania sign with the bat, HHH tries to sneak attack, but gets pushed back into the corner and Sting points to the sign again. This time HHH agrees, Sting pushes HHH back again, points to the sign once more and begins to make his exit. HHH comes up from behind, but takes a ball-bat to the gut and receives a Scorpion Death Drop before Sting leaves.
- EA’s Take: Seems like they are paying homage to the Sting/nWo storyline here a bit, with The Authority playing the nWo role. Loved this segment, Sting didn’t have to speak to get his point across. I’m not sure the WCW vs. WWE part of the story is really something that needs to be played up as much as they have been, but they ultimately need to talk about Sting’s history for the younger crowd to really understand the mark he’s made in the industry.
Backstage: We see Daniel Bryan preparing for his match with Roman Reigns later tonight.
Video: Recap of the Kickoff Show, where The Miz’s guest on Miz TV was Paul Heyman. Heyman says it doesn’t matter who wins tonight, Bryan or Reigns because they will lose to Brock Lesnar and we can “believe that”.
Match #4 For The WWE Divas Championship: Paige vs. WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella w/Brie Bella
Video of 3 weeks ago on Raw when The Bella’s sprayed Paige with tanner, then last week when they stole her ring gear and Paige had to wrestle in Rosebud attire. According to Lillian Garcia, Nikki is the Women’s Champion. Brawl to start and Nikki rolls out of the ring, Paige after her with Brie standing in the way, Paige catches Nikki in the ring, then goes for the knees on the apron that is countered and Paige spills to the floor. Nikki sends Paige into the apron and barricade, then back in the ring for a 1 count. Nikki grounds Paige and hits an Alabama Slam for a count of 2. Nikki continues to control until Paige gets in a kick, goes for a roll-up into the bottom turnbuckle, Nikki botches it. Paige with a series of clotheslines and a dropkick for 2.
Nikki ducks a kick into a roll-up that gets 2. Paige connects with the kick this time for another near fall. Paige sets-up for RamPaige, Nikki counters to a facebuster, but Paige retorts with a side kick and crawls into a count of 2. Nikki is caught climbing up top, she counters Paige into a powerbomb for 2. Paige is able to set for the PTO, but Nikki gets the ropes before Paige fully locks it in. Nikki grabs Paige’s tights and hauls her face-first into the turnbuckle, then rolls her up and grabs the tights again for the win.
Winner and STILL WWE Divas Champion: Nikki Bella (Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: If this is headed in the direction that I think it is, which is the return of AJ Lee to help Paige…then shouldn’t Brie have gotten involved to help Nikki win? Maybe AJ is not the plan after all.
Match #5 For The WWE Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett
Clip of last Monday’s Raw, when Ambrose zip-tied Barrett to the ring post and forced him to sign the contract for an IC Title match. Both men connect with strikes, trying to prove who’s tougher, Ambrose with the advantage hits a crossbody and some rights, Barrett avoids a clothesline and ducks outside to regroup. Barrett back in, still can’t solve the puzzle of Ambrose, absorbs punishment until he catches Ambrose on the top with a big boot. Barrett sends Ambrose face-first into the steel steps before rolling him in and now he punishes Ambrose in the corner and grounds him. Ambrose gets a couple strikes in, but runs into Barrett’s boot and to the outside.
Barrett throws Ambrose in the ring, but he counters with a variation of the pendulum clothesline on the outside. Inside they go and Ambrose hits a tornado DDT and they double down. Ambrose is on fire now with a series of strikes and a running bulldog, he goes to the top, hops Barrett and rolls through. Barrett looks for Winds Of Change, Ambrose reverses into a roll-up for 2. Ambrose delivers a dropkick and a top rope diving elbow for a near fall. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds, countered into Wasteland, Ambrose gets out and takes a kick, springs off for a pendulum clothesline again countered and Barrett hits Wasteland for 2.
Barrett sets his sights on a Bullhammer, Ambrose into a roll-up for 2 and then hits with the pendulum clothesline and Barrett rolls outside. Barrett grabs his title and tries to leave, but Ambrose with a suicide dive. Barrett tries escaping through the crowd, but Ambrose gets him back in the ring. Barrett tries to crawl out again, Ambrose catches him and delivers a beat down in the ropes. Ambrose doesn’t break on the refs count and the ref calls for the bell.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Bad News Barrett (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Ambrose hits Barrett with Dirty Deeds, goes to leave, then comes back in and grabs the IC Title.
- EA’s Take: This was one of the more predictable finishes of the night, as its been rumored that they’re penciled in to go 1-1 at WrestleMania. Decent match that did what it needed to do and advanced the story and rivalry between Ambrose & Barrett.
In The Ring: The Undertaker’s druids come out carrying torches to a spiritual chant. Taker’s music hits and out comes 2 more druids, pushing a casket down the aisle and up next to the ring. The casket opens to reveal…Bray Wyatt. Bray says there’s a wicked feeling in the air tonight. He talks about the first time he saw The Undertaker and how he feared him, but now he has become like everyone else, weak and broken with his soul lost. Bray says it’s time for Taker to go home. He knows he can hear him and he wants Taker to know he’s not afraid anymore. He is the new face of fear. “At WrestleMania, I will claim the soul of The Undertaker.”
- EA’s Take: Great way to keep the suspense of whether or not Undertaker will accept the challenge by Bray. I’d leave Taker off until WrestleMania or perhaps even the Raw before. Bray Wyatt is pure gold and doesn’t need Taker to appear to make this feud interesting. Wyatt is a perfect example of someone when they’re firing on all cylinders.
Panel: Renee Young and the rest of the Kickoff panel offer their thoughts on what just happened with Bray Wyatt. Booker T, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton recap the nights events.
Video: The buildup between John Cena and Rusev, leading up to their match tonight for the United States Championship.
Match #6 For The WWE United States Championship: John Cena vs. WWE United States Champion Rusev w/Lana
They feel each other out and circle around, Cena floors Rusev with a right and grabs a headlock. Rusev with a big kick for 2, then begins to dominate Cena with strikes in the corner. Cena fights back and shoots Rusev in, but falls victim to a spinning heel kick and a count of 2, then goes back to beating Cena down. Rusev grabs another near fall off a corner avalanche, Cena’s out on the apron and Rusev drives him off into the barricase, rolls him in for a cover and gets 2. Rusev gets distracted by the crowd and hits a dropkick for 2, only to have the favor returned by Rusev for 2 as well.
Cena gets a short burst of energy and takes Rusev down, raining fists, hits a shoulder tackle off the rope, goes for another and gets caught in a fallaway slam. Rusev really in control and gets 2 off multiple elbow drops. Cena uses Rusev to get to his feet and throws some gut shots, whip into the corner and runs into a back elbow, before being grounded by Rusev again. Cena powers out of the hold and takes a kick, Rusev goes for a suplex and Cena reverses, then hits a big clothesline for a count of 2. Cena tries the AA, Rusev counters into a DDT for a 2 count. Splashes in the corner by Rusev only get another 2 and Rusev shows signs of frustration. Cena shows signs of life and makes the comeback, hitting the 5 Knuckle Shuffle and going for an AA, Rusev pushes off and kicks Cena’s head off for another near fall.
Rusev tries to go for The Accolade, Cena counters to the STF, Rusev pushes off and hits a Gunnslinger that Rusev can’t believe doesn’t get 3. Rusev charges Cena and runs into a boot, Cena to the 2nd rope hits a tornado DDT, Rusev kicks out at 2. They slug it out in the middle of the ring, Cena looks AA again, Rusev goes for another Gunnslinger, but Cena turns it into a crossface. Rusev just powers out of the hold and hits an Alabama Slam, Cena kicks after a 2 count. Rusev attempts The Accolade once more, Cena catches his foot and gets him in the STF, but Rusev makes it to the ropes. Cena sets for an AA, Rusev is out with an elbow then a kick, looks for another superkick and this time Cena connects on the AA, but still can’t get a 3 count.
Cena climbs to the top and goes for the leg drop, Rusev catches him into a powerbomb and immediately locks in The Accolade. Cena breaks the grip a couple times and is finally able to get to his feet with Rusev on his back. Lana enters the ring and distracts the ref, Rusev with a low blow and then a kick to the face. He slaps The Accolade on again and Cena passes out.
Winner and STILL WWE United States Champion: Rusev (The Accolade)
- After The Bell: Trainers check on John Cena, who is still unconscious, face down in the ring. Rusev & Lana celebrate and the Russian flag drops behind them. Cena starts to come-to, but has trouble getting to his feet. He fights off help and heads to the back.
- EA’s Take: Really liking the mid-card title scene since some of the bigger names have been getting involved. Both the IC & US titles have been begging for a revival and these kinds of feuds will do that. Lana’s interference allows for a logical reason to have the rematch at Mania, which is where this is headed. Hopefully, more layers can be added to the story to keep it interesting until then.
Panel: Back to the Kickoff Panel to recap the night before heading to the main event.
Video: The rising tension between Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns, as they vie for a spot in the main event at WrestleMania.
Match #7 – Winner Gets WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match At WrestleMania: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
They posture, lock up and break clean. Dueling Bryan & Reigns chants. They posture, lock-up and break again. Both men still trying to feel each other out, Bryan gains a headlock, Reigns powers out and reverses, catching Bryan with a shoulder, Bryan comes back with a roll-up for 2. Bryan catches Roman’s legs and attempts a surfboard, but Reigns powers out, leading Bryan to ponder his next move. Bryan kicks at Reigns, but is overpowered. Bryan flips over Reigns and hits the ropes, Reigns with a tilt-a-whirl slam, then clotheslines Reigns to the outside. Reigns follows him and viciously attacks Bryan using the barricade.
Bryan catches Reigns with a kick back in the ring, trying to cut Reigns down at the legs. Reigns breaks a submission with heavy rights, slingshots Bryan across the top, hits a Samoan drop and a flying clothesline. He charges Bryan, but Bryan with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle. Bryan charges and is hammered with a big clothesline that turns Bryan inside-out for a count of 2. Reigns hits rolling suplexes and his signature apron dropkick, then sets-up the Superman Punch. Bryan counters with a kick and tries to take advantage, but the ref is checking on Reigns to see if he can continue. The match goes on and Bryan works the mid-section, the same area that Reigns had hernia surgery months before. Cormer dropkicks precede a top rope hurricanrana attempt by Bryan, countered by Reigns into a powerbomb for a near fall.
Reigns crushes Bryan with clotheslines in the corner, props him up top, but Bryan counters and seats Reigns on the turnbuckle. Bryan lands a top rope back suplex that only gets 2. Bryan gets the Yes Lock, but Reigns drags him to the ropes and rolls outside. Bryan hits on 2 suicide dives, goes for a third and is caught into an overhead belly to belly on the floor. Reigns has Bryan in his crosshairs for a Spear, but Bryan side swipes him into the steel steps. Both men struggle to reach the ring before the count of 10, but do. Bryan comes off the top and is caught with a Superman Punch for 2. Reigns tries a Spear and Bryan catches him in a roll-up for a near fall. Bryan with a big kick, and then connects with Knee Plus, but Reigns kicks at 2.
Reigns on his knees and Bryan goes back to the kicks, tries for a head kick, but Reigns catches the leg. Bryan slaps Reigns and snatches the arm, worming down to the mat into the Yes Lock. Reigns finally powers out and mounts Bryan, hammering down with big forearms. Bryan grabs a triangle choke, Reigns is able to lift him up and slam him to break. They double down and then get into a striking contest on the mat, Bryan to his feet and hits the big head kick before setting up for Knee Plus again. Bryan charges and Reigns catches him with a Spear to get the victory.
Winner: Roman Reigns (Spear)
- After The Bell: Both men are in the ring, spent. Bryan grabs Reigns and turns him arounf. Face to face, Bryan tells Reigns he better win at WrestleMania and then offers his hand. Roman takes it and then celebrates.
- EA’s Take: Excellent main event match that exceeded my expectations. Easily, the best match of Roman Reigns’ career. A lot of people will attribute that to working with Bryan, but Reigns really answered the call and brought it. Bryan was the perfect opponent to get Reigns ready for Lesnar. Bryan is a very physical wrestler and working that style with Reigns can only help him going into an even more physical opponent, in Brock Lesnar.
EA’s Finisher: Overall a much better show than I was anticipating. I half-went in thinking most of the finishes would be DQ’s or count-outs so they could build to rematches at WrestleMania. Have to give WWE credit for coming up with alternatives as they could easily have taken that route, especially since this is free trial month and a lot of people are probably not paying anything for this. Bryan/Reigns exceeded all expectations I had and I applaud WWE for sticking to the plan this time around and not giving in to all the post-Rumble noise. Bryan can help out in other ways without being involved in the title picture right now. Doesn’t mean he’s out of it forever. Storylines for WrestleMania became a lot clearer, with Randy Orton returning for revenge on Seth Rollins. Cena never tapped to Rusev, so that will continue. Sting & HHH are already official for the big show and as an admitted Sting mark, I for one couldn’t be more pumped (eventhough that has been the direction since Survivor Series). Also, good to see Tyson Kidd & Cesaro putting themselves on the map. I really like the tandem, especially now that Kidd actually has developed a character to go along with the tremendous in-ring skills we all knew he had. Maybe he can pull Cesaro’s out too. Great segment by Bray Wyatt, which has to ultimately lead to The Undertaker accepting the challenge. Why else would they put the thought in our heads if it wasn’t going to happen?
Top Three To Watch
1 – Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
2 – Rusev vs. John Cena
3 – The Usos vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
Chairshot Classics: PROGRESS Ch. 3: Fifty Shades of Pain
Harry brings us another throwback episode of Progress! His play by play style will paint a picture so clear Bob Ross wouldn’t even need to add trees!
Harry brings us another throwback episode of Progress! His play by play style will paint a picture so clear Bob Ross wouldn’t even need to add trees!
Two of these reviews down. Let’s go ahead and make it a trifecta. Hopefully, you are enjoying the series as ‘What I Watched’ returns under the Chairshot Classics banner for PROGRESS (as well as Impact Wrestling. Hopefully, we can eventually cover some other promotions as well). I’ll be taking note of all the comments left on these reviews and addressing them as new ones get typed out. In the interest of a somewhat regular schedule of these posting, the first couple PROGRESS reviews are being typed out in advance of their release on the website.
So, to the reason of today’s gathering. PROGRESS has had two good (but not necessarily great) shows so far. Instead of going to a more regular occurrence, they stuck with the three months between shows model. Chapter 2 had us in June, whereas this show doesn’t take place until September. The bigger story to me though is that the main event is not what I though it would be at the end of Chapter 2. Instead of getting Nathan Cruz vs. El Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff, we are instead getting a tag match with Cruz and Ligero as partners. With that, we once again step into the way back machine and head to September 30th, 2012 as “What I Watched” presents ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’ or PROGRESS Chapter 3.
WRITER’S NOTE #1: My reviews will not be a play by play recap. I’ve done that style in the past and honestly, I don’t especially care for it. Instead, it’ll be more of a stream of consciousness review as I talk about the wrestlers, the matches, the storylines and whatever else happens to pop into my head while I watch.
WRITER’S NOTE #2: As much as I’d like to let everyone make their own decisions on the matches, giving away match results in the review will be a necessary evil. The reason being is that I will discuss what I think everything means going forward and maybe even doing a little fantasy booking of where I would go from where they presently are. I will still post the results as one big listing at the end of the articles as well as my ratings for the contests. The final show review will be after that as well as the ‘Final Reaction’ for the show. Going forward, I’ll have an archive to all of my previous reviews here on the Chairshot if you click on my user name.
MY RATING SCALE: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Above Average, Average, Below Average, Bad, Very Bad, Terrible and SKIP. Some matches will occasionally get a ‘N/A’ rating as well. That will be reserved for matches that I feel don’t warrant a rating.
PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 3 – ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’
From: ‘The Garage’ in Islington, London, England
Date: September 30th, 2012
Run Time: 2:08:49 (Demand PROGRESS)
WITH SPECIAL THANKS: Ian Hamilton for some of the research that I did while working on this review. (http://www.backbodydrop.com)
*Our opening video focuses on a tag match between the London Riots (James Davis and Rob Lynch) facing Danny Garnell and Darrell Allen. In addition, we see that Marty Scurll will be the special guest referee for our main event. Which apparently will not be the previously thought Cruz vs. Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff, but a tag match instead with Cruz and Ligero as partners…
*There is no Smallman opening promo, as I believe it was it edited into the opening video with Scurll being added to the main event as the referee. Disappointing start, as I find Smallman’s opening welcome to be a nice light hearted way to get these shows started.
*Match #1: Noam Dar (1-1) vs. Paul Robinson
The Who: Noam Dar is coming off a victory over Darrell Allen via ‘Champagne Super KneeBar’ at the last show to even his record up. Paul Robinson is making his in-ring debut for the company and he is replacing MK McKinnan, who was the originally announced opponent for Dar in this contest.
The Why: My guess would be to get Dar more momentum going forward. I don’t imagine that Robinson is going to be added last minute and beat Dar, but stranger things have happened.
The Match: They still have the records on the name bar’s for the intros. I know that’s not something they do any more, but I’m curious how long it sticks around for…both guys get inset promos. Dar’s is by far the better, as he informs us that he’s going to keep winning so he can get the ‘big stick’ by which he means the PROGRESS Championship Staff, despite the crowd’s borderline racist chants towards him…opening bell rings and we’re underway…Robinson shows off the Chris Hero shoulder kips into the forward roll. Pretty sure that dates back to England before Hero, but Hero is where I personally remember first seeing it…commentary starts a little late, but there’s Jimmy Barnett, who claims he’s not affiliated with Jim Smallman despite sounding a lot like him. That cat is now long since out of the bag…backslide for two and then a super spinning backslide for another two. Seemed a little unnecessary but the fans enjoyed it. Know your audience, I guess…Paul Robinson is a very small guy. Believed the announced weight was just over one hundred forty. For a visual representation, think Spike Dudley…certainly a unique twist on the Garvin Stomp…Dar focusing on Robinson’s knee pays off the fans who have watched the previous shows and the ‘Champagne Super KneeBar’…Dar repeats the gum spot from Chapter 2. Gross. And the fans appropriately respond with a ‘you sick fuck’ chant. Not the most hygienic man in wrestling, is he?…lighting for this show is quite a bit better then it has been for previous shows…Robinson with a suicide dive, which could have been a disaster. There is almost no room between the ring and the front row of fans…said it before, say it again: the superkick and the enzugiri are the most overused moves in wrestling…airplane spin however, we could use more of…Robinson tries to drop the Guillotine Legdrop, but Dar moves and Robinson lands hard…pair of fisherman’s (both suplex and buster) lead to a grounded kneebar. Not quite the ‘Super Kneebar’, but it’s enough for the tap at 11:41…pretty basic match to kick off the show. The crowd was into it, which is good. But as a fan who watches a lot of wrestling, it never seemed to get out of the first gear and move into being more then just there. Dar’s personality make his matches an easy enough watch, but at same point, the in ring product has to be risen up to mean anything. (AVERAGE)
*Match #2: BWC Starlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © (1-0) vs. Xander Cooper (1-0)
The Who: Mark Andrews is a pretty well known name here in the States now. He’s coming off a successful title defense against Mike Hitchman at Chapter 2. Xander Cooper wasn’t in a match on Chapter 2, but did win a three way match at Chapter 1 with this title on the line,
The Why: Between Chapters 1 and 2, Andrews beat Cooper for the title. Andrews had his previously mentioned defense at Chapter 2 and after that match, Cooper came in through the crowd and attacked him. That led to PROGRESS management scheduling this rematch between the two for the title.
The Match: I believe only the second match in PROGRESS history to have been set up on the show before. The only match on Chapter 2 that was set up at Chapter 1 was the main event, if memory serves…‘Man for All Seasons’ is such a proper asshole nickname. I dig it…Cooper impressed me at the first show. Andrews and Hitchman had a banger at the second. My expectations are pretty high for this one…both get inset promos. Andrews has the best line: “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and you’re just a dick”…bell goes and we’re underway…the fans insinuate that Cooper has herpes. Somewhere, Rhett Titus is pissed his chant got taken…pace finally starts to pick up around three minutes in…Cooper busts out Miz’s old Reality Check combo. Personality wise, he kind of reminds me of Miz as well…Andrews with a Bubba Bomb. Not something you usually see a guy his size use…standing moonsault senton gets two and looks really cool in the process. Andrews was a lot like Ricochet and PAC early in his career. Not everything made sense, but most of it looked cool…stranglehold Golden Rule by Cooper. That’s a first for me…rope assisted enzugiri kick knocks Cooper back into the center of the ring. Andrews comes flying in with a Shooting Star Press (over-shooting just a bit, actually) and that’s the closing bell at 8:52…better then the opener, but a step down from what both of them did before. Took a bit of time to get out of the starting block, but once it did, it picked up quite nicely. I would recommend the three way for Cooper and the Hitchman match for Andrews more personally though. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
*Match #3: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) (1-0) vs. The Bastard Squad- Darrell Allen and Danny Garnell (debut as a team. Allen is 0-1-1 as a single. Garnell is 1-0 as a single)
The Who: London Riots were successful in their debut at Chapter 2 against Will Ospreay and Alex Esmail in what was shaping up to be a good match until Esmail got hurt (broken leg). Allen got a no decision at Chapter 1 in the three way for the Starlo Scholarship and was tapped by Noam Dar at Chapter 2. Danny Garnell won his debut match, pinning Jimmy Havoc at Chapter 2.
The Why: Damn good question and one I don’t presently have an answer for. I checked the history of PROGRESS that is maintained at Voices of Wrestling by Rob Reid and found nothing to give any reasons as to why this is happening. Maybe Jimmy Barnett will shine some light on the reason during the match itself.
The Match: Lynch has what I thought was a paddle but was corrected by Barnett is a cricket bat in his hand. Is cricket big in England? Thought that was more of an Australian thing…Barnett informs us that a poll on the PROGRESS website has dubbed Garnell and Allen as ‘The Bastard Squad’, so my why maybe just as a way to try to build up a tag division…as per the warning I issued during Chapter 2, it is entirely possible that I will screw up Lynch and Davis. If I do so, I apologize…then again, they appear to have keep the one in singlet, one in trunks look. I should be okay…and we’re off as a brawl breaks out…man, that one roaming cam is making me sea sick. Super wobbly…Lynch drops Garnell on the floor with a Michinoku Driver…and the official PROGRESS Chapter 3 chair of that fan has been broken…Lynch and Garnell just trading bombs in the center of the ring…high angle release German by Garnell. Lynch lands almost square on the back of his damn head…Allen and Garnell do have quite the big guy/little guy dynamic going for them…first ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant…Allen has Davis caught in a Octopus but Davis turns it into a wheelbarrow facebuster. Again, another first…Riots grind down the pace of the match on Allen, but it makes sense for them to do so. They have a significant size edge over Allen, why not use it?…one of these shows, I’m going to keep a running enzugiri count. If we don’t hit double digits, I’d be stunned…Barnett advocates the old Gorilla Monsoon stance of multiple referees for tag matches…Lynch with an overhead superplex on Allen and Allen lands square on his tailbone. I’m guessing that probably sucked…both men on the ropes and Allen with another enzugiri to knock Lynch to mid-ring. The same thing Andrews did to Cooper in the previous match…Allen tries to come in with a cross-body off the top but gets caught by both members of the Riot Squad. Lynch helps Davis pop Allen up and into a sit out powerbomb which gets the three count at 12:25…a few good moments here and there but not enough to make it anything really worth remembering. It followed the old school tag wrestling formula to a tee. The thing about formulas is that they become formulas because they work. It does here and while it’s not going to light the world on fire or anything, it produced an above average tag match that sees the Riot Squad continue their winning ways. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Post match: The Riots lay in a beat down to Garnell, as one of the chairs from ringside is used multiple times against the knee of Garnell, before they use the cricket bat into the chair to ‘Pillmanize’ the ankle of Garnell. Microphone time for Lynch afterwards and declares war not just on the tag teams in the UK but on PROGRESS as well, laying down an open challenge for any place, any where, any time. Guess this story will develop more going forward then…
*Match #4: Jon Ryan (0-0) vs. Jimmy Havoc (0-1)
The Who: Jon Ryan makes his PROGRESS debut here, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him before working for wXw out of Germany. Jimmy Havoc is back after a losing effort to Danny Garnell on Chapter 2 as a favor from his friend, Jim Smallman.
The Why: ‘Strictly No Blood, No Hardcore’ is the tag line for the match. Let’s just say that somehow I doubt this…
The Match: Ryan does get booed on his intro and the fans love Havoc, chanting ‘Jimmy’s Gonna Spoon You’, a call back to the great spooning debacle of Chapter 2…apparently Ryan was Havoc’s original trainer whereas Garnell was the one who trained him in the ways of technical wrestling…an attempted handshake by Havoc is met by a bitch slap from Ryan. That’ll end poorly for him, I feel…Havoc works in a spoon while on the mat to continue that bit…knowing Havoc’s reputation, it’s weird seeing him in normal matches…and as I type that, Havoc goes for dive and misses but lands on his feet. He turns towards Ryan, who thwacks him with a frying pan for the DQ at 3:36…normally, three minutes is about the mark where I would try to give a match a rating. I don’t feel like I can’t rate this here given what happens next, therefore I’m not going to…(N/A (ANGLE ADVANCEMENT))
*Post match- Havoc is understandably less then pleased about Ryan going upside his dome with a frying pan, which opened up Havoc’s forehead. He demands that Smallman restart the match under ‘Hardcore’ rules. Smallman warns people that don’t like this style of match to move away from the ring but as far as he is concerned: “fucking kill him, I don’t care.”
*Match #4b: Hardcore Rules: Jon Ryan (0-1) vs. Jimmy Havoc (1-1)
The Match: And thus the lack of rating for the previous match…opening bell once again here…and the first official weapon is a kendo stick. Which Ryan just beats the hell out of Havoc with. I think the kendo stick is one of those overrated weapons. Not enough reaction to justify how much those things actually hurt…cheese grater. It’s like every ECW brawl from 1998 on featuring New Jack…there’s not really a lot to discuss in a match like this. It’s basically just them hitting each other with a bunch of various shit…feel like throwing a bloody person into a group of people’s chairs is a bad idea…powerbomb through an ironing board. Not what those are intended for, but it looked cool enough…never cared for staple guns, myself. Similar to the kendo stick, but I guess a little easier to gimmick…staple to the dingus. Because of course he does…I’m guessing this is the match that leads into intermission so they have time to clean up the ring after it. It’s a combination of the old WWF hardcore brawls and the ultra-violent style matches you’d see from a CZW or a Big Japan…and now the thumbtacks make an appearance…DVD into the tacks. And the referee wusses out by grabbing a cookie sheet to count on. It was a smart move on his part, but not the most masculine….the problem with matches like this is it takes a while to set up the next spot. Spot, set-up, spot, set-up. Rinse and repeat as necessary…a ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant breaks out, followed immediately by a ‘No, it’s not’. That could make for an interesting way to go down the line with it. And a definite divide in the fan base for someone like Havoc…okay, that finish worked. They had set the BW board across two chairs. Havoc tries for a spinning head scissors and gets caught and dropped clean on his head with a package Tombstone (think Tombstone set-up and then Ryan cradled both legs under his own arms). Rather then go for the pin there though, Ryan adjusts his grip around Havoc’s waist and launches him through the BW board with a release wheelbarrow suplex. It was all over but the counting and the counting hits three at 14:36…this kind of match is going to be very divisive. There are fans of this genre and there are those who feel like it’s a black eye on the sport. I personally enjoy death match wrestling as long as we don’t go too over the top with it (needles, fire, stuff that can really hurt someone). I thought this was a pretty good match for the genre while not going too far in order to affect the crowd that may not be as interested in this style. We’ll go ‘above average’ for the rating, but your mileage will vary. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
*Post match- both guys get a nice ovation from the crowd and a ‘That was awesome’ chant. Let’s not go around tossing that out so freely. A sign of respect as a hug and handshake from teacher and student occurs and Havoc pops on the microphone once again to put over the crowd and Jon Ryan as well. He also asks the fans to buy him and Ryan beer and have a chat. Always working, that Havoc…
*Match #5: RJ Singh (0-0-1) vs. Rob Cage (debut)
The Who: RJ Singh returns after getting a no decision in the number one contender’s three way at Chapter 2. He still has his entourage with him as well. Rob Cage is a man that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of before so we’ll see what he can do in this match.
The Why: Can’t say I really have an answer for this. My guess would be to help flush out the roster with more people.
The Match: Can’t say my expectations are really high here, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised before. Mike Hitchman at Chapter 2 comes to mind there…the match graphic has Singh listed as 0-1. However, since he didn’t get pinned in the three way, I gave him a draw/no decision instead…inset promo for RJ Singh and the ‘Singh is King’ catchphrase remains in tact. It works for him. Promo wasn’t anything special however…opening bell goes as Singh’s accomplices make friends at ringside…apparently Rob Cage went the Jimmy Havoc route of campaigning on Twitter in order to get a spot on this show…I do still enjoy the fact that RJ calls his Camel Clutch the ‘Ethnic Submission’. It’s wrong on several levels, but still funny…Cage gets caught up with Singh’s crew and Singh gets a nice looking leaping neckbreaker, done Zig Zag style. That was smooth…running knee strike looks less smooth…Cage goes to the top and the ‘Director’ pushes him off while the referee was working on getting the other member of the Bollywood Empire out of the ring. That said, it happened so close to the referee that he had to have seen it. Really poor ring positioning…that leads to RJ Singh applying the ‘Ethnic Submission’ and it leads to a tap out from Rob Cage at 7:27…well, they reached my expectations with this. Worst match on the show thus far. I found RJ to be very entertaining for the role he had in the three way, so this was a major step down for him. As far as Rob Cage, not the best first impression made. For the first time on the show, I go with a ‘below average’ rating. It’s not awful, but if you are in a rush while watching this show, it’s seven minutes you can easily skip and not miss anything. (BELOW AVERAGE)
*Post match: it appears that all is okay as Singh offers his hand and Cage accepts it. Until RJ kicks Rob in the junk and puts him back in the Camel Clutch while his cohorts talk trash right in his face. The hold gets broken by the referee and Singh poses on the turnbuckle to celebrate his victory.
*Match #6: Stixx (0-1) vs. Lion Kid (1-0)
The Who: Stixx and Lion Kid both make their return after opening up Chapter 2 with a singles match. As previously mentioned there, I’ve heard that Lion Kid was the former Wade Fitzgerald, but have never seen any confirmation of this.
The Why: This one is easy. As mentioned, they had a match at Chapter 2. Lion Kid won. Stixx wants revenge. Pretty simple, really.
The Match: The who and the why was pretty easy to get through. I fear the match may not be. These two didn’t exactly set the world on fire at Chapter 2. Hopefully, it was just nerves and we get a better performance here…we start hot as Stixx knocks Lion off the apron and proceeds to beat him around ringside before the opening bell…Stixx rolls back in and demands a count-out, despite the fact we’ve not had an opening bell (at least, not one I’ve heard)…appears Lion Kid caught a knee injury in the floor brawl, but we’re a go now with an opening bell and everything…huge Black Hole Slam forty seconds in and I thought that was three. It wasn’t, but it wouldn’t have surprised me. Looked really good…huge Flair shin breaker by Stixx. He’s definitely looked better tonight then last outing…Lion Kid looked for a reverse rana but Stixx powered him back up. Kid transitions right into a victory roll, which I believe is how he won at Chapter 2. It only gets two this time…Stixx with a nice looking variation of the half calf, but Kid does eventually get to the ropes…series of chops sees Lion Kid ‘roar up’, but a shot to the knee keeps Stixx in charge…half crab giant swing. That’s just a dick move…Lion Kid goes for a springboard and falls. Crowd chants ‘you fucked up’, but I don’t think he did. I think it was on purpose to sell the knee and if it was, bravo…the crowd continues the ‘roar’ chant to rally Lion Kid. As Jim Smallman said in the favorite chants video he did, it’s just fun to say ‘roar’…avalanche tabletop (fall away slam to vertical) suplex. Don’t believe I’ve ever seen that done from the buckles before…Stixx is being almost Anderson like in his focus on the leg here. These guys are putting on quite the show here…very cool turnbuckle sequence leads to the big guy coming in with a frog splash on the knee…Lion Kid with a series of roll-ups to put over how desperate he is. Psychology, psychology, psychology…Stixx tries the Black Hole again but Lion Kid counters into a tornado DDT. Lion Kid goes for a 450, but Stixx rolls in. Lion Kid lands on his feet. Normally, that’s a good thing. With a bad knee, not so much. Stixx hauls Lion Kid up and drives him into the mat with Splash Mountain (Crucifix PB set-up but into a standard PB finish. I dub it the River Stixx). After a quick debate of a submission attempt, it’s a three count instead at 12:21…well done, gentlemen. Way to make me eat my words. After being significantly less then impressed with their match at Chapter 2, they turned things around and put on in my opinion the best match of Chapter 3 thus far. A big credit for this goes to big man, Stixx. He put on a technical clinic in this match, which you wouldn’t expect from a guy his size. Lion Kid more then held up his end of the bargain as well. You mix psychology with solid in ring work and no noticeable blown spots, it makes for a happy reviewer. I would rate this match as ‘very good’. (VERY GOOD)
*Match #7: Nathan Cruz (3-0, PROGRESS Championship Staff Holder) and El Ligero (2-1, #1 Contender to Nathan Cruz) (debut as a team) vs. Dave Mastiff (debut) and Greg Burridge (0-1) (debut as a team)
The Who: Cruz and Ligero are the champion and challenger elect for the next time the PROGRESS Staff is on the line. Cruz won the four way on the first show for the Staff. Ligero won a three way on the second show for the number one contendership. Dave Mastiff is making his PROGRESS debut here. From what little of him I’ve seen on NXT UK, he’s impressed me. Greg Burridge took the loss in the three way at the last show. Marty Scurll is the referee and he’s probably not going to be an unbiased one as he has issues with both Cruz and Ligero.
The Why: If I’m being entirely honest, I don’t have a damn clue for this one. I expected we’d get Cruz vs. Ligero here, but instead it’s this tag match. Burridge wanting revenge on Ligero makes sense. Burridge wanting a crack at Cruz makes sense. Where Dave Mastiff fits into this is anyone’s guess. As for Scurll, that’s easy. He was cheated out of the title by Cruz at the first show. He had Cruz beat at the second show while the referee was down. Ligero attempted to interfere and superkick Cruz, but Cruz ducked and Ligero wiped out Scurll. Despite not hitting his intended target, Ligero didn’t seem especially upset about it. Cruz got the victory and Scurll got screwed once again. How does this all tie together? Hell if I know. Let’s find out…
The Match: Man, this is a clusterfuck and a half just based on the description I had to type…once again, Cruz is greeted with the ‘shit Zack Ryder’ chants. Probably still my favorite one thus far in PROGRESS…Scurll gestures that he’ll call it down the middle during intros. I doubt that…Ligero and Mastiff are both in NXT UK. I think Burridge is now retired. I think Cruz just came back to wrestling, but I’m not sure…Mastiff’s beard is not nearly as impressive as it is these days…inset promos for only Cruz and Mastiff. Nathan Cruz is laying on the Shawn Michaels impression a bit thick. He is not only the ‘Show-Stealer’, he’s also the ‘Leader of the New Generation’. Bloody hell, mate…opening bell and we’re underway…Burridge and Ligero to start, until Ligero tags out to Cruz…I can’t entirely tell with the accent, but I believe that Burridge is calling Cruz a ‘slag’…I believe Cruz and Burridge are the two biggest guys height wise in PROGRESS (maybe outside of Stixx to this point). I’m almost certain that Mastiff is the heaviest…tags made on both side and we go to Ligero and Mastiff…do believe that Mastiff just called Ligero a cat. Or something similar. It was of the feline variety…Mastiff with a massive delayed vertical…and Burridge comes in to beat the hell out of Ligero…Ligero turns the table by going to the knee of Burridge and takes control…and that explains why Scurll wasn’t allowed to wrestle on this show. It was around the time of his ‘British Boot Camp’ run with TNA. And TNA were being dicks about their people working elsewhere due to not wanting injuries…last few minutes of this match has been all Ligero and Cruz working over Burridge’s knee. Smart wrestling, but not always the most entertaining…the f bombs are flying in this one. Viewer discretion is advised…little bit of in-fighting between Cruz and Ligero leads to Burridge making the tag to Mastiff…even back here some six years ago, Mastiff moves very well for a guy his size…Cruz and Ligero try to work together to suplex Mastiff. It doesn’t go well. Mastiff takes them both over with a double vertical…Ligero clearly gets caught calling a spot. I usually try to get the guys the benefit of the doubt, but that was blatant…Ligero trying to trade shots with Burridge. Why would he want to do that?…breaks down to Ligero and Mastiff in the ring. Top rope cross body attempt by Ligero just bounces off Mastiff. Mastiff tries to climb, but Ligero dropkicks the legs and then hits the Del Rio corner double stomp. Scurll refuses to count for Ligero and shit cans him to the floor…Cruz gets caught in a submission but manages to escape and hit his version of the Whiplash. Again, Scurll refuses to count though…Ligero goes for his tornado DDT, but Cruz tags himself in and sets up for his superkick. He goes for it on Mastiff but Ligero superkicks him mid-move. Ligero again shrugs his shoulders and rolls out of the ring as Mastiff lands on Cruz with a huge cannonball senton in the corner. He pulls Cruz to center ring and a follow-up cover gets the three count for the ‘Bastard’ Dave Mastiff at 18:10…took a bit to get going, but once it did, it was pretty entertaining. I’d say basically the first ten minutes of this match are a wash though, as it’s mostly mat wrestling and then leg work on Burridge that gets completely forgotten about in the closing stretch. I understand the idea of having Ligero and Cruz lose here. I even get the idea of Cruz taking the pinfall. To me, it would have made more sense for Burridge to get the pin since it would validate his point from the last show. Then again, we’d never see Greg Burridge in PROGRESS (to this day, I believe), so in hindsight, Mastiff was the right choice. The first half of the match was average, the closing sequence was pretty good. So we’ll settle in the middle and give this a good rating overall but easily the lowest quality of the three main events to this point. (GOOD)
*Post match: Mastiff gets mic time, saying that he did what he said he was going to do, which was something Scurll couldn’t do. He says that Cruz may be the man around here, but he’ll never be a ‘Bastard’. Mastiff and Burridge exit, with Scurll following shortly behind…Cruz gets the microphone as he’s recovering and points out that he’s still the champ and that picking up a win on the scraps of Ligero means nothing…eventually, it leads to Ligero making his way back out and security having to separate Cruz and Ligero. Smallman yells at them for screwing around at this end of his show and makes the title match official for Chapter 4. Smallman then cuts a quick version of his usual opening promo and we’re officially out for Chapter 3.
Match #1: Noam Dar taps Paul Robinson with a grapevined kneebar @ 11:41 (AVERAGE)
Match #2: BWC Starlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © pins Xander Cooper with a Shooting Star Press @ 8:52 to retain (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #3: Riot Squad (J. Davis/R. Lynch) defeat Darrell Allen and Danny Garnell when Davis pins Allen after a sit out powerbomb @ 12:25 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #4: Jimmy Havoc defeats Jon Ryan by DQ @ 3:36 (N/A (ANGLE ADVANCEMENT))
Match #4b: Hardcore Rules: Jon Ryan pins Jimmy Havoc with a release wheelbarrow suplex through a barbed wire board @ 14:36 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #5: RJ Singh taps Rob Cage with the ‘Ethnic Submission’ (Camel Clutch) @ 7:27 (BELOW AVERAGE)
Match #6: Stixx pins Lion Kid after a Splash Mountain Bomb @ 12:27 (VERY GOOD)
Match #7: Dave Mastiff and Greg Burridge defeat El Ligero and Nathan Cruz when Mastiff pins Cruz following a corner cannonball senton @ 18:10 (GOOD)
FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
Rather then do positives and negatives here, I feel it’s easier to save those for the Final Reaction going forward. Two reasons for that…one, the Final Reaction gets a bit redundant if I’m typing the same thing there that I am here. Two and just as importantly is it’ll help decrease the length of these reviews a bit.
As far as ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’ goes overall, I’d say it’s the weakest of the three shows thus far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad show. Once again, we top out with a ‘very good’ match on the scale. This time though, we do see the ‘below average’ make a return to the scale as well. Consistency is key and while top to bottom, the shows are watchable, there is nothing really blow away that the company would eventually be known for having show in and show out down the road. We see more stuff coming together for the future of the company and the cream is starting to rise to the top in guys like Scurll, Andrews, Ligero, Cruz and the London Riots.
So, where does this leave us all? Well, it’ll leave me coming back to watch ‘The Ballad of El Ligero’ or PROGRESS Chapter 4. It’ll leave you all hopefully wanting to come back and read when I do so. I’m once again off to find food. Honey Buns sound really good right about now.
THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: Has to be the surprise contest of the evening to me. The super redeeming effort that we got from Lion Kid and Stixx earns them best match.
Worst match/moment: That RJ Singh and Rob Cage match was rough. From both an in ring content and from a ‘suspension of disbelief’ perspective. I’ve seen better from RJ but Cage was a definite disappointment in his first outing here.
MVP: This one is going to go to Dave Mastiff, who debuted in the main event of the show for the company and didn’t even look the slightest bit out of place doing so. Not only did he get to showcase his impressive arsenal, he even got to pin the champion in the center of the ring, even if it was under somewhat dubious methods.
FINAL SCORE: 5.5/10
Until next time: “This Is PROGRESS” and that’s “What I Watched”. Catch you all for Chapter 4: “The Ballad of El Ligero”.
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