Open: ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage enters the arena, welcoming us to the brand new United Center in Chicago and the premier event, SummerSlam, which brought to you by the New Generation of the WWF.
Match #1: Irwin R. Schyster & Bam Bam Bigelow w/’Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase vs. The Headshrinkers (Samu & Fatu) w/Afa & Captain Lou Albano
Fatu & Bam Bam will get us started, Bigelow rips at the eyes off the opening lock-up shoots Fatu to the ropes for a big shoulder knockdown, hits the ropes for another and then goes to work in the corner with right hands. He whips Fatu to the corner and charges in, Fatu side-steps out of harm’s way, clocks him with a superkick and covers for a count of 2. Fatu looks for a body slam, can’t hold up the weight and The Beast from the East falls on top for a 2 count, Bam Bam quickly drills him with an enzuigiri, heads to the top turnbuckle for the Diving Headbutt, but misses the mark.
Fatu to the ropes and turns Bigelow inside-out with a clothesline, tag to Samu, The Headshrinkers whip him to the buckle, connect with a double superkick off the rebound, lateral press by Samu and he gains a near fall. Big chops to the chest now, Samu sends Bam Bam to the corner, The Beast from the East rebounds out with a high back elbow, tags out and IRS comes in to put the boots to Samu. Irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Samu ducks down for a back body drop, Irwin hops over the top of him, turns around and gets planted by a body slam, Samu following up with a hip toss and a superkick for another count of 2.
He goes to shoot Schyster to the ropes, irish whip is reversed, IRS tries a clothesline from the left side that misses, Samu coming back through leaps for a crossbody, but nobody’s home. Irwin looks to take advantage and attempts a crossbody of his own, Samu ducks it, The Tax Man flies over the top rope, spilling down to the floor. Fatu drops down off the apron and drives Schyster head-first into the ring steps, rolls him back into the squared circle, Samu delivers a big headbutt, hooks the leg and gets a 2 count. Tag to Fatu, The Headshrinkers drop Irwin with a double headbutt, Fatu picks him up to whip him to the ropes, it’s reversed, IRS ducks under a clothesline and Bigelow pulls the top rope down on the other side to send Fatu flying down to the floor.
IRS holds the official’s attention for Bam Bam to get in some cheap shots, he rams Fatu face-first into Schyster’s briefcase, tosses him back inside, Irwin drops multiple elbows and gains a near fall. The Beast from the East re-enters and shoots Fatu to the ropes, misses with a wild right hand, both guys go for a clothesline and connect, dropping to the canvas and doubling down. Tags on both sides, Samu fires away with fists to IRS, sends him to the ropes for a back body drop, Bigelow steps in to help out, gets met with punches for his troubles and gets sent to the ropes for a back body drop as well. Samu in total control, cracks both guys with headbutts, executes a body slam to Schyster, climbs to the 2nd rope for a diving headbutt, lateral press and Bam Bam’s there to break the count at 2.
Samu pushes Bigelow to the outside from behind, Fatu comes in and The Headshrinkers hit a double headbutt to IRS, plant him into the mat with a double forward russian leg sweep, Fatu goes up top for the Headshrinker Splash and makes a cover. DiBiase’s on the apron to distract the referee, The Beast from the East breaks up the pinning predicament, notices Captain Lou on the apron and decks him with a big right hand. Afa sees it and comes in after Bigelow with fists and headbutts, the ref finally turns around and calls for the bell.
Winners: Irwin R. Schyster & Bam Bam Bigelow (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Afa continues hammering Bam Bam, Fatu drops him with a superkick, triple headbutt for The Beast from the East and the brawl spills out into the aisle on the way to the back.
- EA’s Take: Decent opener that was originally scheduled to be for the WWF Tag Team Titles, however The Headshrinkers lost them at a house show the night before to Shawn Michaels and Diesel, which certainly took away from the importance of the contest. Ted DiBiase had returned to the company after retiring from in-ring competition and taking a brief hiatus, now becoming a manager and putting together his own stable, The Million Dollar Corporation, starting out with Nikolai Volkoff and Bigelow before adding DiBiase’s former partner IRS. The group would continue to grow throughout the year, even adding a new member later on this same night, while The Headshrinkers would be briefly down-sized. Samu decided to leave the company shortly after this match to recover from some nagging injuries, however never returned and was replaced by Sione, better known as The Barbarian.
Backstage: Leslie Nielsen is walking around backstage in a segment similar to his Naked Gun movies, trying to solve the mystery of the two Undertaker’s. He would come across a man in a dark hallway that he believed to be The Undertaker, but it’s George Kennedy. George informs Leslie that he’s on the case as well and they take-off to continue their search.
Match #2 for the WWF Women’s Championship: Bull Nakano w/Luna Vachon vs. WWF Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze
Bull offers a handshake which Alundra unwisely takes and gets a kick to the breadbasket for it, Nakano shoots her into the the corner, levels the champion with a clothesline off the rebound and picks her up for a powerbomb. Blayze slips out the backside and hits the ropes, scores with a dropkick, goes back to the well for another, but the challenger swipes her away, then tosses her across the ring by the hair. Bull throws Alundra back across with another handful of hair, slams her by the head to the canvas, flattens her with a clothesline and delivers a leg drop for a count of 2.
The challenger grounding Blayze with a rear chinlock, Alundra works her way to the bottom rope to force the break, Bull pulling her back up and ties her in the ropes, wrenching back on the neck. She grabs another handful of hair and faceplants the champion into the mat, makes an arrogant cover for 2, whips her to the ropes, Alundra hops up into a hurricanrana, sits on top and gets a 2 count. She shoots Nakano to the ropes for a spinning heel kick, sends her back in for another, the challenger ducks it, lifts her up by the throat and drops her down to the canvas. Bull uses her chin across the throat to choke the champion, locks in a Boston crab, Blayze crawls her way to the ropes and again forces the break.
Nakano with clubbing shots to the back, crosses the legs and slaps on Bull’s Angelito, the challenger grabs a handful of hair and the official forces her to release the hold. Bull picks Alundra up and chokes her on the top rope, the referee backs her off, Luna taking the opening to continue choking the champion, Nakano stalks Blayze and gets surprised by a schoolboy for a near fall, but goes to a cross armbreaker off the kick-out. Bull switches to an armbar before letting go on her own accord, shoots the champion to the ropes, Alundra plants her with a reverse bulldog, goes back to the ropes for another, then a third time for a near fall.
She sets the challenger for a piledriver, Nakano counters with a back body drop, delivers a body slam for a 2 count, sends Blayze to the ropes, Alundra swings wildly with a clothesline and missses, Bull flattening her with one of her own. She shoots the champion to the corner and charges in, the champion hops up to the 2nd rope, over the top of the challenger, grabs a backslide and almost puts it away. Blayze goes to the ropes for another hurricanrana, Nakano blocks it, drives her down with a powerbomb, hooks the leg and gains a near fall.
She plants Alundra with a body slam and heads to the high rent district for a leg drop, Luna climbs to the apron as Blayze rolls out of the way, the champion kicks Vachon to the floor, hits the challenger with the Bridging German Suplex and retains.
Winner and STILL WWF Women’s Champion: Alundra Blayze (Bridging German Suplex)
- EA’s Take: This is about as good as it gets for women’s matches at this time period, Bull Nakano was the first real competitor that could equal Alundra’s talents in the ring and give her a legitimate threat to the title. While women’s wrestling had nowhere near the level of interest that it has today, this was really the benchmark rivalry in terms of in-ring ability for the WWF. The feud would continue over the next 8 months as Bull would win the title in an untelevised match from Japan in November just three days before Survivor Series, leading to an angle in which Bertha Faye attacked Alundra and “put her on the shelf” for 5 months. In reality, Blayze was taking time off to have some work done on her nose and get breast implants before returning in April 1995.
Backstage: Todd Pettengill is joined by WWF Intercontinental Champion & WWF Tag Team Champions Diesel & Shawn Michaels, Shawn stating that collectively the two of them have held the IC Title for 2 years, but they decided that they needed more gold and took the Tag Titles just last night. Big Daddy Cool speaks about his IC Title defense tonight against Razor Ramon, claiming his moniker should be Midas because everything he touches turns to gold. He informs The Bad Guy that he’s had a lot of chances and been unable to come through yet, wondering why Razor thinks it will happen tonight. The Heartbreak Kid claims that when they get finished with Razor and Walter Payton tonight, nobody will be able to recognize them.
Match #3 for the WWF Intercontinental Championship: WWF Intercontinental Champion & WWF Tag Team Champion Diesel w/Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon w/Walter Payton
Razor takes his trademark toothpick and chucks it in the champion’s face, ducks under a right hand and scores with heavy punches, then drops the big man with a discus punch, Diesel quickly rolling to the outside to regroup with The Heartbreak Kid. Big Daddy Cool steps back inside, avoids the lock-up and goes to the ribs with a knee, pummels Ramon with elbows to the back of the head and buries forearm shots to the lower back. The Bad Guy fires back with shots of his own, Diesel ducks one, floors him with a short-arm clothesline, measures for a big boot, but the challenger avoids it and lays him out with a clothesline.
He shoots the champion to the corner and follows in, Diesel catches him with a high back elbow, throws him into the corner and uses a boot up under the chin to choke the challenger. Big Daddy Cool takes his eye off the ball for a moment, Razor scores with more fists, whips him to the ropes for a back body drop, the big man simply puts on the brakes and drives Ramon face-first into the canvas. The champion has some words for Walter, sends The Bad Guy to the ropes and locks on a sleeper hold, the challenger slips around, plants Diesel with a back body drop and breaks the hold.
The challenger looks to hit the ropes for a crossbody, Big Daddy Cool side-steps it and and sends him over the top to the floor, Payton comes around ringside to check on Razor, the official is distracted and Michaels climbs to the apron to expose one of the top turnbuckles. Shawn starts taunting Walter and gets stalked around ringside, the official slides out to back Payton off, The Heartbreak Kid takes the opening, runs around to the other side and jumps off the ring steps to deliver a clothesline to the challenger. The Bad Guy just makes it back into the squared circle before the 10 count, Diesel is there to meet him, sends him into the corner for heavy back elbows, buries knees into the breadbasket, looks to whip him into the exposed turnbuckle, but the ref spots it and blocks that corner off.
Shawn climbs up to the apron to argue with the referee, Diesel takes the opening and shoots Razor into the exposed buckle, plants him with a side slam, hooks the leg and gets a count of 2. The champion picks Ramon up over his shoulder, drops him face-first on a top turnbuckle, chokes him over the 2nd rope, builds a head of steam and drops his weight across the back with a seated senton. He pie-faces the challenger down to the mat, drops a big elbow across the lower back for a 2 count, posts his knee into Ramon’s spine and wrenches back on the head. The challenger finds a rush of adrenaline and finds a vertical base, hits the ropes, ducks under a right hand, but Big Daddy Cool clocks him with a big boot coming back through.
Diesel makes a cover and Razor gets a foot on the rope at 2, the champion looks to wear him down some more with an abdominal stretch, uses the ropes for additional leverage out of the official’s view, Walter finally points it out to the referee and he forces the champion to break the hold. Big Daddy Cool keeps his focus on the lower back with forearm shots, shoots him to the ropes to slap on another abdominal stretch, the challenger counters to one of his own, but Diesel powers out of it with a hip toss. He scoops Ramon over his shoulder and attempts to drive him into the exposed turnbuckle, The Bad Guy slips out behind, introduces Diesel to the steel instead, goes to a schoolboy and gains a near fall.
The big man quickly grabs Razor and sends him to the ropes for a back body drop, the challenger counters with a big knee lift, connects with right hands, whips him to the corner and charges in, Diesel gets the boots up, but Ramon slides under to the outside. He sweeps the legs and pulls the champion groin-first into the ring post, climbs back inside, goes to the 2nd rope for a bulldog, nearly putting the match away. The Bad Guy delivers a body slam for another 2 count, Michaels climbs up to the apron and gets dropped to the floor with a big fist, Diesel takes the opportunity to hammer the challenger from behind, misses with a wild right, Ramon props him on the top turnbuckle for a super back suplex, but the champion fights out of it and climbs back down.
Big Daddy Cool calls for the Jackknife, The Bad Guy counters out with a back body drop, says it’s time for the Razor’s Edge, again The Heartbreak Kid climbs to the apron to distract him and Ramon gets clobbered from behind by the champion. Diesel sends him to the ropes for a shoulder tackle, Walter has had enough of Shawn and chases him around ringside, Michaels grabs the IC Title, hops up to the apron, Payton gets his hands on the championship and pulls it away. The referee has some words for Walter as Diesel holds Razor for Michaels to deliver Sweet Chin Music, the challenger ducks it, Big Daddy Cool gets clocked instead, Ramon rolling to a cover and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WWF Intercontinental Champion: Razor Ramon (Outside Interference)
- EA’s Take: While this is certainly no technical masterpiece, the crowd was very hot for this one as Razor wins his 2nd Intercontinental Title in a match that was just as much about the outside antics as it was the action in the ring. This is the first time that there began to be some friction between Shawn and Diesel as the seeds had been planted that there was dissension between the two, which would continue into the fall. The inclusion of Walter Payton was a smart way for the company to give Razor an “equalizer” to Michaels on the outside and obviously played well with the Chicago crowd, adding another layer to his rivalry with The Heartbreak Kid.
In The Arena: ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage talks up Razor’s title win and speaks about the possible tensions arising between Diesel & Shawn Michaels.
Backstage: Todd Pettengill is in the locker room with Lex Luger & Tatanka before their match, giving the results of a poll that had 54% of people thinking that Lex “sold-out” to Ted DiBiase. Luger tries to explain himself, but The Native American interrupts, stating he’s sick of Lex’s excuses and the people have the right opinion. Tatanka claims that the whole world will know he sold out tonight, reminding us of all the evidence over the past number of weeks before walking off. Lex says that they can show all the footage and “evidence” they want, but he knows deep down that he did not sell out and never even considered it.
Match #4: Tatanka vs. Lex Luger
The official gives the instructions and we’re underway, Tatanka with some words for Luger accusing him of selling out, Lex takes offense to it and the referee gets in between them. They circle around and finally lock-up to a stalemate, another tie-up and they jockey for position, Luger backing The Native American into the corner and the official steps in to force a clean break. A third collar & elbow sees Lex gain a side headlock, Tatanka pushes him away to the ropes, Luger drops him with a shoulder block, but allows him to get back to his feet. They tie back up and this time The Native American goes to a wristlock, Luger reverses to one of his own, Tatanka quickly counters back to the wristlock and hammers away at the left arm before switching to an armbar.
Lex shoots him off to the ropes, misses with a clothesline, Tatanka scores with a crossbody for a quick 2 count, looks for a body slam, Luger counters to a small package and gets an early 2 count of his own. Both guys back up fast now and they exchange shots, Lex gets the better of it, whips The Native American into the corner, hip tosses him out and then plants Tatanka with a vertical suplex for a count of 2. He hits the ropes for an elbow drop that misses the mark, The Native American fires away with chops and right hands, shoots him to the ropes for a powerslam, hooks the leg and gets another 2. He starts going into his war dance, hits the ropes for a big overhand chop, goes back to the well for another, lateral press and Luger kicks out at a count of 2.
Tatanka with a vertical suplex of his own now, heads to the top turnbuckle for an overhand chop that’s on target, makes another cover, but again Lex is out before a 3 count. The Native American delivers a body slam, heads back upstairs for a crossbody, Luger side-steps out of harm’s way, levels Tatanka with clotheslines and we see ‘Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase make his way to ringside carrying a duffel bag. Lex shoots The Native American to the ropes for a powerslam, notices DiBiase at ringside with a pile of cash in-hand, Luger’s distracted, Tatanka seizes the opportunity and utilizes a schoolboy from behind to steal the victory.
Winner: Tatanka (Schoolboy)
- After The Bell: Lex is incensed and argues with DiBiase, has some words for The Native American as MDM steps into the ring, Luger turns back to Million Dollar Man and kicks the bag of money out of his hands. Tatanka ambuses Lex from behind, sends him to the ropes for a clothesline, plants him with End Of The Trail and continues to pummel Luger before hitting another End Of The Trail, then hugs DiBiase. He continues to put the boots to Lex, finally leaving with MDM after a group of officials are able to pull him off, but he comes back to dole out some more punishment and slaps on the Million Dollar Dream to put Luger out before shoving a $100 bill in his mouth.
- EA’s Take: Nothing spectacular here in terms of the action in the ring, this was much more about the angle surrounding it which saw Tatanka swerve everyone and turn heel. Although Luger never quite reached the level that he maybe should have in the WWF, having The Native American turn here was the right call as Tatanka’s popularity had waned with the fans since the demise of his winning streak after his debut. This isn’t the last we’d see of these two colliding as their rivalry would truck along through the remainder of the year.
Backstage: Gorilla Monsoon is in the WWF Hotline room talking about what we just witnessed, awaiting Ted DiBiase and Tatanka.
Match #5: ‘Double J’ Jeff Jarrett vs. Mabel w/Oscar
Mabel offers a handshake after the bell and Jarrett declines, they lock-up and the big man powers Double J away to the corner, Jarrett tries begging him off, ducks under a big shot and struts away. Collar & elbow tie-up and Double J hooks on a wristlock, Mabel tosses him across the ring to break it, mocks the strut, shoots Jarrett to the ropes, Double J ducks under a couple of shots, then hangs onto the ropes to avoid a big boot and struts again. He turns around and Mabel grabs him by the neck, lifts him into the air, puts him down and hits the ropes, Jarrett leapfrogs over, drops down, the big man puts on the brakes and drops an elbow to the lower back.
He plants Double J with a body slam and clotheslines him over the top to the floor, Oscar gets in Jarrett’s face to talk some trash, but pays for it and gets shoved into the steel steps. Mabel steps over the top rope to go outside after him, Jarrett sweeps the legs, slides into the squared circle and puts the boots to him, then comes off the 2nd rope with a fist drop. He goes back to the 2nd rope and connects with a double axe handle to the back, goes back to the well for another, looks to head to the high rent district for a third double axe, but Mabel catches him in mid-air with a bearhug. Double J rips at the eyes to escape it, scores with uppercuts that have no affect, Mabel whips him to the ropes for a clothesline that’s off-target and Jarrett hops on his back with a sleeper hold.
The big man backs to the turnbuckles and squashes Jarrett to break the hold, Double J jumps right back on him with the sleeper, Mabel squashing him in the corner again to get out of it. Jarrett staggers back to his feet and hits the ropes, The big man flattens him with a spinning heel kick for a count of 2, Abe ‘Knuckleball’ Schwartz is shown in the crowd holding up his “I’m On Strike” sign, meanwhile Double J attempts a running crossbody in the ring, gets caught and then planted with a slam, Jarrett getting his foot on the ropes at 2. Mabel argues with the ref about it, Double J sees the opportunity to rake the eyes, goes outside after Oscar again, but Mabel heads out and grabs him from behind, holding him for Oscar to deliver a slap to the face.
Double J staggers to the ring post, Mabel charges in and crushes him with a splash against the steel, back inside they go and the big man goes to the 2nd rope for a splash, but nobody’s home. Jarrett with a lateral press for a near fall, Mabel whips him to the ropes for a back body drop, Double J counters with a sunset flip, can’t get the big man over and Mabel tries dropping down on him, but again there’s nobody there, Jarrett quickly stacking him up for the win.
Winner: ‘Double J’ Jeff Jarrett (Seated Senton Counter)
- EA’s Take: Yuck, total filler match here that was billed as a “Rap vs. Country Music” battle. Very strange placement on the card if you ask me, this should have gone on a little earlier in my opinion and I think the Luger/Tatanka match would have worked better in this spot prior to the main events.
In The Arena: Leslie Nielsen & George Kennedy are in the aisle still searching for clues on the whereabouts of The Undertaker, a silhouette of The Deadman appears at the entrance, but when they turn around to look it’s gone.
Video: We take a look back at the sibling rivalry between Bret Hart & Owen Hart, which began last year at Survivor Series. The brothers seemingly made up as they challenged for the WWF Tag Team Championships at Royal Rumble a couple of months later, but The Rocket shockingly turned on The Hitman with an attack after their unsuccessful quest. They would finally meet one-on-one at WrestleMania and surprisingly, Owen defeated Bret, however the night ended with The Hitman getting the last laugh by winning the WWF Championship. The Rocket would equal his brother’s accomplishment from the year before by winning the King Of The Ring, leading us to our title match inside a steel cage tonight.
In The Arena: Vince McMahon & Jerry Lawler go around ringside and get some comments from Stu & Helen Hart, then make their way to the other side for statements from The British Bulldog, Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart & Bruce Hart.
Backstage: Todd Pettengill is joined by WWF Champion Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, the champion stating he’s going into tonight’s match with one thing in mind and that’s to prove he’s better than his brother and always has been. The Hitman says he doesn’t hate Owen and never did, but the problem is with The Rocket because jealousy is a horrible thing. Bret claims that Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart is likely the man that planted the seeds for all this in the first place, telling us that it breaks his heart things have come to this point, but it has to stop.
Match #6 – Steel Cage Match for the WWF Championship: ‘The King Of Harts’ Owen Hart vs. WWF Champion Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart
Bret steps into the cage and Owen goes right on the attack, whips him into the corner and unloads with a barrage of right hands, drives the champion face-first into the canvas, sends him back to the corner and goes to the 2nd rope for more fists. The King Of Harts puts the boots to his brother, The Hitman comes right back with an inverted atomic drop, floors Owen with a clothesline, but the challenger recovers first and goes to the eyes to retake control. He chokes the champion using the straps of his gear, attempts to ram him into the cage, Bret puts on the brakes and spikes him with a DDT, then crawls for the door.
Owen stops him and they trade punches, Hitman gets the better of it, delivers a leg drop, starts climbing the cage wall, but The King Of Harts pulls him back down by the foot. Stiff headbutts from Owen, he looks for a kick that gets blocked, brings the other leg around for an enzuigiri and scales the cage to the top, starting to get over, but the champion grabs him by the foot just in time. He brings Owen down to the mat the hard way with a back suplex, The Hitman tries going for the door, the challenger yanks him back in, delivers kicks to the knee and shoots Bret hard into the turnbuckles. The champion sneaks in a kick to the midsection, plants The King Of Harts with a running bulldog, goes for the door again to no avail and they trade-off trying to make it out, neither man successful.
The champion with an elbow drop to the back of the head, climbs up the cage, The King Of Harts reaches up to stop him, then slams him all the way back down to the mat and makes the climb himself. Owen gets to the other side of the cage before Bret grabs him by the hair to bring him back in, they pummel each other with punches on the top rope and The Hitman gets knocked to the canvas, the challenger coming off the top with a dropkick. He kips back up and leaps up the cage, the champion gets his hands on him to pull him back over, Bret gets caught straddling the top of the cage and they exchange fists.
The Hitman rams Owen spine-first into the steel to knock him down, both guys fall to the mat, Owen recovering first and he sets for a piledriver, Bret countering out with a back body drop. He gains a side headlock on his brother, The King Of Harts pushes him away to the ropes, drops down, Bret comes back through and they collide heads, both guys going down. The challenger crawls for the door and doesn’t make it, Hitman with a clubbing shot to the chest, drives an elbow drop to the sternum, scales to the top of the cage, Owen yanks him back down and the champion gets crotched on the top rope. The King Of Harts tries escaping out the door again unsuccessfully, Bret drags him back in, drops a headbutt to the lower abdomen, goes to the 2nd rope for an elbow drop, but Owen sees it coming and rolls out of harm’s way.
The challenger starts to climb up, Hitman grabs him by the head and hangs him over the cage, pulls him back into the ring and slams him off the top rope to the mat. The champion scales the steel once again, The King Of Harts pulls him back in, puts Bret on his shoulders and plants him with a Samoan drop. The challenger makes his way to the top of the cage before Hitman gets him by the leg to bring him in, Owen wants to ram the champion into the cage, but gets sent into the steel himself. Bret pulls himself to his feet and makes it just over the top of the cage, The King Of Harts gets a handful of hair to stop him from dropping to the floor, plants him off the top rope into the mat with a back suplex and both guys struggle back to their feet.
Owen spikes The Hitman with a piledriver, crawls over the cage wall to climb up, the champion drags him back inside, gets dropped to the canvas by right hands, The King Of Harts loses his balance and crotches himself on the top rope, spilling to the mat. Bret inches his way to the door and gets stopped, rolls back in to unleash a flurry of fists, the challenger fires back with shots of his own, reaches for the door, Hitman drags him to the middle of the ring and catapults him into the steel. The Excellence of Execution pulls himself back to the door, Owen leaps to grab his leg and hold him in, shoots him hard into the turnbuckles, Hitman recovers first, looks for a body slam, The King Of Harts slips out behind to ram him into the cage, but the champion ducks down and Owen hits instead.
The Hitman’s knee hits the cage in the process, he struggles to his feet and heads up the cage, gets both legs up and over, but Owen gets him by the hair, drags him down to the mat, sends him to the ropes and connects with a spinning heel kick. The challenger ascends up the cage wall, The Excellence of Execution just gets him by the hair to keep him from winning, Owen with heavy right hands on the top rope, Bret delivers a big kick to the jaw and The King Of Harts falls flat on his back to the mat. Owen’s able to pull his brother back down and delivers European uppercuts, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, the challenger ducks a wild right, they collide heads and both go down again.
The King Of Harts climbs the corner and gets up and over the top of the cage, Bret quickly scales up to meet him, sets him for a superplex and both guys crash down to the mat. The champion scratches and claws his way to the door, Owen’s able to get ahold of his foot, yanks The Hitman to the center of the ring and slaps on the Sharpshooter. The Excellence of Execution grabs Owen’s foot, reverses into a Sharpshooter of his own, releases it, starts climbing up the cage, The King Of Harts sees it and quickly gets up to pull him in by the hair, scores with a right hand and both men fall to the canvas.
The challenger crawls over the his brother and starts to scale the cage, Hitman’s up to grab him, both guys step over the top of the steel to the outside, Owen gets rammed face-first into the cage, his leg gets caught between the bars and Bret falls to the floor.
Winner and STILL WWF Champion: Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart
- After The Bell: Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart has hopped over the barricade behind The British Bulldog & Diana Smith, clotheslines Davey Boy in the back, The Bulldog bumps Diana and they both fall over the barricade to the floor. Neidhart starts pummeling The Hitman and chokes him with his t-shirt, Owen joins in and they roll Bret back into the cage, stepping inside and locking the door behind them. Bruce, Smith & Ross Hart all try to climb up and into the cage to help Bret along with Bulldog, but Owen and The Anvil keep kicking them off to keep them out. Davey Boy finally cracks Owen with right hands and gets in, Owen & Neidhart climbing out the other side and WWF officials use boltcutters to break the door open. Todd Pettengill catches up with Owen & The Anvil backstage for a word, The King Of Harts incensed that Bulldog was cheering for Bret eventhough he’s his family too, Neidhart warning The Hitman that he will waste him if he gets in either his or Owen’s way.
- EA’s Take: A lot of people remember this match and recall it being a “classic”, but I’d have to disagree. There was a lot of realism in seeing the combatants constantly try to escape as that’s the whole point of the match, but it made for quite a boring watch to be honest. Dave Meltzer actually gave this contest a five-star rating, but I just don’t see it. Although it’s one of the best matches on the card, I’d call it decent at best with the repetition of continuously trying to escape the cage to no avail. Bret gets his win back from WrestleMania here, but Owen yet again gets the last laugh. Side note: if you watch the replay of Bulldog and Diana flipping over the barricade, she actually smashes her face into the steel bars, so she may have been legitimately hurt there.
Video: Earlier this year at Royal Rumble, The Undertaker lost a Casket Match to Yokozuna and hasn’t been seen since. Following his disappearance, people from all across the country claimed to have seen The Deadman, most notably Ted DiBiase who claimed he would be the man to bring Taker back to the WWF. Paul Bearer would deny DiBiase’s statements, but The Million Dollar Man would introduce him on an episode of Shawn Michaels’ Heartbreak Hotel, claiming to have control over him. Bearer would try to regain control of The Phenom with the urn, but DiBiase’s money would lure him back, leading Paul to believe it was not the same Undertaker we all know. On an episode of The King’s Court, Taker would grab Bearer by the throat at DiBiase’s direction, but the lights would start to flicker out, when they come back on Paul had escaped and proclaimed he found the real Undertaker.
Match #7: The Undertaker w/’Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase vs. The Undertaker w/Paul Bearer
The bell rings and the two Takers go face-to-face, Undertaker gives the “Rest In Peace” sign, The Imposter looks to deliver a right hand, but it’s blocked and Taker scores with kicks and shots to the throat. He shoot The Imposter to the ropes for a clothesline, The Imposter ducks under it, attempts a shoulder block, but The Deadman doesn’t budge and they go face-to-face again. Big rights from The Imposter now, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, The Phenom drops down, leapfrogs over, scores with a big boot and sends The Imposter outside with a shot to the throat.
DiBiase climbs up to the apron, The Imposter starts stalking Bearer on the outside, Taker reaches over the top rope, grabs him by the hair to pull him up to the apron, then suplexes him back into the squared circle. The Deadman grabs him by the throat and throws him over the top to the floor, Taker drives The Imposter face-first off the ring apron, rolls back in, reaches out and drags him back to the apron with a handful of hair. The Imposter drops Taker throat-first across the top rope, connects with a couple of fists, grabs a wristlock and starts to climb to the top rope. The Deadman gets him by the neck and slams him down to the canvas, Undertaker now goes to a wristlock of his own, scales to the top rope, walks to the middle and drives a clubbing blow across the back.
Irish whip to the ropes is reversed, The Imposter elevates The Phenom and drops him throat-first on the top rope, fires away with right hands, hits the ropes for a clothesline, then back in for another and he finally drops Taker. The Imposter hits the ropes for an elbow drop that’s off-target, The Deadman hits the ropes to deliver a clothesline of his own, scores with heavy punches, staggers him near the ropes, gets a running start for another clothesline, but gets elevated over the top rope and falls to the floor. The Imposter goes out in pursuit and drives Taker into the ring post, rams him face-first off the steps, slides back into the ring and The Phenom rolls in behind him. More big shots from
The Imposter in the corner, Undertaker seemingly absorbs the blows, whips The Imposter to the ropes for a clothesline, The Imposter ducks it ad plants him with a Chokeslam. He drops to his knees to make a cover, The Deadman sits up, The Imposter picks him up, spikes him with a Tombstone and drops down to cover again. The Phenom sits back up, The Imposter sets for another Tombstone, Undertaker reverses and hits one of his own. The Deadman picks him back up, plants him with a 2nd Tombstone, hauls him back up for a 3rd and covers for the 1-2-3.
Winner: The Undertaker (Tombstone)
- After The Bell: DiBiase runs away to the back, The Deadman rolls The Imposter into the casket and the druids wheel him away.
- EA’s Take: McMahon kept saying during commentary that the crowd was silent because they were “in disbelief”, but that’s not why. This match was brutal, that’s why the fans were so quiet. All the pomp and circumstance surrounding The Undertaker’s return was a cool touch, but as far as the action it was very sloppy. The Deadman had taken some time off to heal a legitimate back injury and while this was a good idea at the time to bring him back, The Imposter, played by Brian Lee, didn’t do it any favors. The angle was actually supposed to continue and see a couple more matches between these two, however the company must have noticed it was a dud and subsequently dropped it. Lee would move on to ECW for the next couple of years, but would return to the WWF eventually using a different gimmick.
Backstage: Leslie Nielsen & George Kennedy come across the casket that had The Imposter in it, open the lid and there’s nothing there. They notice a briefcase on the floor, Nielsen picks it up and George says the case is closed, they solved the mystery.
EA’s Finisher: Another in a long line of “duds” for the WWF’s pay-per-view line-up throughout the mid 1990’s. There was very little that stood out to me. The Undertaker’s return was big, but the match was rough at best and should not have main evented the show. Bret/Owen has been lauded by some as a great match, but I didn’t see it that was personally. It felt like all they did was take turns trying to escape the cage which logically makes sense, but was a bit boring to watch and didn’t provide much for entertainment value. In terms of in-ring work, the Women’s Championship match was arguably the best on the card eventhough women’s wrestling didn’t have anywhere near the popularity it has today.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart
2 – Alundra Blayze vs. Bull Nakano
3 – Razor Ramon vs. Diesel
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”.