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: Impact Wrestling Homecoming 2019
Harry takes us on a few, more recent Impact Wrestling classics. He lends his experience to this new look Homecoming PPV! How does it stack up?
Harry takes us on a few, more recent Impact Wrestling classics. He lends his experience to this new look Homecoming PPV! How does it stack up?
Welcome back into ‘What I Watched’, everyone. As you all know, Rebellion has come and gone from Impact Wrestling. Andrew does an excellent job of covering the show, which you can see (HERE). The idea for ‘What I Watched’ was to cover the PPV prior to Rebellion as a way to get everyone hyped for the show. Thankfully, the United We Stand review going up when it did basically served that purpose. Now, I get the chance to take my time and give Homecoming a fair and honest shake as opposed to the rush job that would have had to happen to get it up in time. As far as where ‘What I Watched’ goes from here…obviously back to PROGRESS for Chapters 6 and going forward. Chapter 5 is already in the queue as discussed before. Having subscribed to IWTV (Independent Wrestling TV) for the time being at least, I now have access to new CHIKARA, Glory Pro, Black Label Pro and much more. Plus classic independent wrestling shows as well. The Club WWN thing is still in the planning stages as well, though that may be a tougher nut to crack.
That brings us to why we’re here today. As mentioned, Impact Wrestling had the Rebellion PPV on the 28th of April. As has been the tradition of ‘What I Watched’, I usually look at the PPV before it to see what they need to improve and what stood out from the prior show. I honestly don’t remember anything about the card for Homecoming since I’ve been focusing on looking at the build to Rebellion as well as my coverage of ‘United We Stand’. All this said, it’s into the way back machine where we head to January 6th, 2019 as ‘What I Watched’ presents Impact Wrestling’s ‘Homecoming’ 2019.
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. If you are interested in reading any of my previous reviews here at the Chairshot, feel free to click my name at the top of this article to go to my archive of posted material.
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.
Impact Wrestling: ‘Homecoming’
From: The Asylum in Nashville, Tennessee
Date: January 6th, 2019
Run Time: 2:50:01 (Impact Plus (the new GWN)
*GENERAL NOTES: The nostalgia is strong with this show. I can remember watching some of the early TNA weekly PPVs, so for them to be back where it all started almost seventeen years later is quite the feat. Looking forward to see how much of the history of the building comes into play and if they bring in any blasts from TNA/Impact’s past…the building looks really well set up and most importantly, full.
*COLD OPEN: Narrated by Johnny Impact. It’s not bad. I think I liked the Bound for Glory narrated by LAX more but part of that is LAX comes off as more themselves, where as Impact comes off as playing a character most of the time. Still a nice way to look back at days of TNA past. It does a pretty good job of letting us know a good portion of the card for tonight.
*Match #1: ‘Ultimate X’ for the vacant ‘X Division’ Championship- Rich Swann vs. Trey Miguel vs. Ethan Page vs. Jake Crist
The Who: Rich Swann is the former WWE Cruiserweight champion, After personal issues, he left the WWE and ended up in Impact where his wife also is. He defeated Dave Crist to get into this match. Trey Miguel (just Miguel in Impact) got here by beating Trevor Lee. He’s one third of the Rascalz as Wentz (Zachery) and Dez (Dezmond Xavier) came out to the stage with him but then went to the back. Ethan Page beat his mentor (and the man he teamed with back at Bound for Glory) Matt Sydal to qualify here. Still doing the ‘Third Eye’ gimmick here, he has thankfully since dropped that and gone back to the much more familiar ‘All Ego’ Ethan Page. Jake Crist got here by beating Willie Mack. He’s one half of Irish Airborne and (at this point) was one third of oVe (Ohio Versus Everything) with his brother Dave and the leader of the group who we will probably see later in Sami Callihan.
The Why: Brian Cage was the X Division champion, however he cashed in that belt for this opportunity at the Heavyweight title later tonight. On the road here, the four men listed above had the qualifying matches where they advanced to compete for the title in ‘Ultimate X’. I believe they used the same format back in 2012 when Austin Aries cashed in his X Division title for a shot at Robert Roode’s heavyweight title and I want to say that DJ Z (Zema Ion) won the title in that ‘Ultimate X’ match.
The Match: Having just watched the one at ‘United We Stand’, I’ll be curious to see how it compares. I know I’m not supposed to compare one match to another, but it’s human and reviewer nature to do so…opening bell goes here…Ethan is a little big by X Division standards. Doesn’t really wrestle the X Division style either. But I like him as a character and a performer so I wouldn’t have been opposed to him winning here…opening sequence is everyone rushing the belt and then dropping off into frankensteiner when they can’t get to it. Different way to start, I suppose…well, that’ll work. Page body slams Miguel off the top onto Swann and Jake…admittedly choreographed sequence with all the kicks, but the fans liked it…Josh announces that the X Division title went into abeyance when Brian Cage got his opportunity at Johnny Impact later. Man, they sign all the former WWE people…double cutter by Jake to take down Swann and Miguel…showstopper elbow off the cables by Page. Damn, son. Prove me wrong why don’t you…Swann catches Page with a beautiful handspring cutter. His reward for doing so is a double stomp to the back of the head by Trey…so, one cool thing about this match is the guys using the cables to amp up their moves. Does it make a bit of sense? No. But it’s visually impressive and that’s also part of the point of wrestling too…someone needs a Heel Section sign in that crowd…did someone just grab a ladder? That seems moderately unsporting in this match…Trey uses Swann as a projectile off the Ultimate X holder and does a moonsault off it himself. Again, visually impressive and took out all three opponents…different take on the Tower of Doom…just noticed that the ref is ‘Kid Ref’ Kris Levin…Tombstone on the floor. Fuck that noise…Crist tries going across the cables and Ethan spears him off. The one at United We Stand looked better though…leap of faith (Jigsaw) style ’rana by Swann. Miguel tries to return the favor but Swann lands on his feet and races to the other side. He travels down the cable and right as Trey tries to reach out to him, Swann grabs the belt to win the match at 14:01…well, as I said, it’ll be hard not to compare this to the ‘Ultimate X’ match we had at United We Stand. While I thought that match was a better athletic display, I think this one tells a better story with all four men being first time competitors in this match type. Ethan Page impressed me the most with the way he adapted his style to the ‘Ultimate X’ playground. However, I can’t be mad at Swann getting the win here as he’s one of the better Jr. Heavyweight or Cruiserweight wrestlers in the world. Call this one GOOD but a slight step below the ‘Ultimate X’ from ‘United We Stand’, in my opinion.
*Announcers run down the card. Don Callis attempts in vain to keep his cowboy hat in place. The card itself looks pretty good. There isn’t a match here that looks like it’ll be bad. Impact has had two good PPVs prior to this so they seem to be in good shape to keep that run up…we then go backstage to a Brian Cage interview with McKenzie Mitchell. Cage isn’t the best promo but when you look like he does, you don’t have to be. Mitchell isn’t a bad interviewer, but this would have been a good opportunity to go into the Impact past and bring back someone like Goldilocks here.
*Match #2: Allie/Su Yung vs. Jordynne Grace/Kiera Hogan
The Who: Allie is the former Cherry Bomb on the indies and is a former Impact Knockouts champion. Su Yung is a former champion as well, having lost the title in between the Slammiversary and Bound for Glory PPVs last year. Jordynne Grace is making her Impact PPV debut here, but had been on quite the roll in the company up to this point having not lost. At this point in time, she may be the most sought after female talent on the indies. Kiera Hogan, I honestly don’t know much about. I’m starting to go back and watch some of the SHIMMER and SHINE shows, but she’s the wild card here to me.
The Why: Allie was feuding with Su in an attempt to save her friend Kiera, even traveling to the Undead Realm to rescue Kiera when Su abducted her (it‘s Lucha Underground rules at Impact these days). However when she did, she made a deal with Father James Mitchell to get into the Realm at the expense of her soul. A darker and more vicious Allie began to emerge and she eventually sided with Su against her former friend. That led to Jordynne making the save for Kiera during a two on one attack and thus bringing us to this tag match.
The Match: Knowing what we know now (Allie has since left Impact Wrestling and signed with AEW), I feel like Jordynne pinning Allie would have been a good way to announce Jordynne’s arrival into the upper tier of the Knockouts division. As they say though, hindsight is twenty-twenty, so let’s see what did happen…what the sam hill is Kiera wearing? Did she steal Natalya’s side gig as a dominatrix?…Josh: ‘Is Jordynne Grace the most powerful Knockout you’ve ever seen?’ Me: ‘Not in a world where Awesome Kong existed. But she might be second’…I like Jordynne. I am happy to report that she would eventually take her place in said top tier of Knockouts, getting the title shot at the next PPV. Su is a strong character but I’m not sold on her in-ring work. Allie, I like and I always have. But she’s now part of AEW, so I guess that’s irrelevant around Impact these days…opening bell goes here…Grace goes for a powerbomb to open the match. Yeah, I got nothing for that…a snapmare into a sliding clothesline is a much more appropriate opening spot however…tags made on both sides…Kiera’s dropkick does not look good…the hip attack and sliding kick do look better though…lengthy distraction sequence leads to Su pulling Kiera into the buckle…Dark Allie and Su take over at this point…man, Allie has quite the ass (I’m a guy, sue me)…tree of whoa neckbreaker by Su looks really nice. She’s gotten better in the ring in the several years she’s been doing this…good double team work by Allie and Su with the Arachnidrana into a lungblower…neither Kiera nor Su throws a good looking strike. Even the forearms look like they wouldn’t break a piece of paper…Jordynne’s strikes look much better…I actually think Kiera’s gear may be actually be a Harlem Heat tribute. Just saw the flames on the back. Wonder if she broke into the business at Reality of Wrestling…double team suplex and cross body to the floor. Give Su credit, that is a hell of a bump, even with the mats…Allie goes to the eyes and Kiera tags herself in. Allie takes advantage of that, but Kiera catches a swinging fisherman’s suplex…Jordynne with a fall-forward slam to Allie at the same time as she powerbombs Su…Su mists Jordynne sending her to the floor. Allie catches Kiera with a Codebreaker. Instead of going for the cover, she crawls over to Su and gets the glove that Su has used for the Mandible Claw in the past. Allie then applies the Mandible Claw herself on Kiera and the referee notes that Kiera is out, calling for the bell at 8:52…better then I thought it would be, but it wasn’t anything you need to see either. Su is much more sizzle then steak and while Allie isn’t a bad worker, she’s nothing to write home about either. Jordynne has the potential to be something special down the line and while Kiera is getting better, she’s by far the lowest of the four on the totem pole. Again, knowing that Allie would soon be gone, I think I’d have given the win to Jordynne and Kiera here, but all in all, it’s an AVERAGE match with a strong finish due to the mind games that Su has worked on Allie.
*Post match- the attack on Kiera continues and it leads to the Undead Bridesmaids bringing a casket onto the stage, much the same way Madison Rayne found herself inside of it at Slammiversary…Su grabs Kiera and sends her toward the casket, calling for it to be opened. When it is opened, Rosemary pops out. It would be the first time we’ve seen Rosemary at ringside since she tore her ACL back in early 2018…Rosemary lays out a few of the Undead Bridesmaids before throwing a charging Su into the pack…Rosemary and Allie come face to face and Rosemary goes for the ‘bunny pat’ but Allie slaps her hand away and escapes the ring.
*Match #3: ‘Falls Count Anywhere’- Moose vs. Eddie Edwards
The Who: Moose is a former NFL player who has made the transition to wrestling, first stopping at ROH on his way to Impact. Eddie Edwards is, well at this point, a crazy person. He’s also one of the few who can claim they are an Impact ‘Grand Slam’ champion, having held the Heavyweight, X Division, Tag and Grand Championships for the company.
The Why: This match was supposed to happen at Bound for Glory, but Killer Kross got involved at ringside and the match got turned into a tag match between Kross and Moose against Edwards and Tommy Dreamer. That didn’t settle the score and Impact management has given them a ‘Falls Count Anywhere’ match here to hopefully settle their differences once and for all.
The Match: Video package before as is the norm and man, that powerbomb onto the ramp had to hurt like hell. Screw that noise…they put Eddie in a mental asylum. The irony of that is there have been times where Impact’s booking has made me feel like I should be in one of those myself…Raven being used in the build makes sense though, given that they are in the Asylum for this show…Moose makes his entrance and Eddie jumps him in the aisle way, giving us our opening bell…Josh calls Eddie a ‘loose cannon’. Let’s not go throwing that around so flippantly, shall we?…that plancha looked really awkward…the suicide dive catch into the apron powerbomb looks a lot better…and that’s a double your pleasure moment…Moose uses the ring steps (one piece ring steps) to bridge a guardrail off the side of the ring. This probably ends poorly for someone…if at first you don’t succeed, suicide dive again…weekly PPV flashback time as they begin to brawl all around the Asylum…start my own ‘I can’t see shit’ chant at this point…we finally catch up as they make it to what used to be Raven’s Nest…plancha out of the Nest by Edwards. Nice move…Josh points out that ‘Anarchy Rules’ in the Asylum. Don’s microphone goes silent for a bit as I assume that popped him…Edwards is on those ‘red equals green’ types. For the second time in a big singles match at a PPV I’ve covered, he’s busted open…Edwards chair chucks at Moose twice, hitting him in the head both times. Sabu wouldn’t show back up until ‘United We Stand’, so someone had too…superplex into a chair stack…strike exchange and it actually looks good. Both guys are very believable strikers…and Moose goes through the guardrail. Well, it is Wrestling 101. ‘He who sets it up usually goes through it’. Usually works for tables, but I guess guardrails bridged like a table works much the same…it’s Falls Count Anywhere, Eddie. Just pin him there…kendo stick shots to the quad. That’s such a jerk move…Eddie’s wife Alisha comes down and pulls the kendo stick from him, yelling that it’s enough. She then proceeds to beat Moose with the stick herself. When in Rome, I suppose…Edwards gets in one last shot himself that splinters the cane. Eddie follows up with a double arm DDT and that’s three at 13:20…so, I’m a little torn here. The match itself was very good. Exactly what it needed to be with the physicality and Edwards finally able to overcome the size disadvantage to stand tall. I don’t care for the ending. I get that Moose has been mean to Alisha as well as Eddie, but her going off on Moose with the cane seemed like she took Eddie’s moment to me. I’m still going with a GOOD rating here, but I think it’s higher if Alisha isn’t involved.
*Sami Callihan promo to get us to the next match, which will be Callihan vs. Willie Mack. Callihan delivers his usual strong promo here, but for as much as I like Willie Mack, I can’t help but feel like Sami is underutilized here.
*Match #4: Willie Mack vs. Sami Callihan
The Who: Willie Mack made his Impact debut right around Bound for Glory last year, where he teamed with Rich Swann to beat Ethan Page and Matt Sydal. Sami Callihan had my best match of 2018 in Impact with Pentagon Jr. at Slammiversary. Sami was also voted Impact Wrestler of the Year and for those more into the WWE, was briefly known as Solomon Crowe in NXT.
The Why: Guessing it goes back to Jake Crist beating Willie Mack to get into the ‘Ultimate X’ match. Willie wasn’t cool with that after Sami cost him the match and went after Sami, despite Rich Swann telling Willie that Sami isn’t a war worth fighting.
The Match: Sami makes friends with everyone around ringside before eventually yelling at Don Callis. Who does he think he is, Austin Aries?…as soon as Sami gets into the ring, Willie charges in with a clothesline and an opening bell…Willie with a tope con hilo and lands on his feet. I’ll point out at this time that if you aren’t familiar with Willie, he also weighs about three hundred pounds. That’s insane agility for a guy his size…weird to see Mack controlling the opening part of this match. I do like he’s getting the chance to showcase some of his moveset…Willie decides to go after Dave and it turns the tables to put Sami in control…bicycle knee while Mack is trapped in the apron. Unique offense…that’s just fucking gross, Sami…pretty lengthy rest hold here. Not what you’d expect from these two…jaw-jacker by Willie to escape another sleeper. Not the Stunner he was using back in Lucha Underground though…that Samoan Drop->nip-up->standing moonsault combo by Willie always impresses me. An incredible blend of strength and athleticism…jesus, that cannonball…Stunner attempts gets countered but Mack catches the Sky-High (called such by Matthews) for a close two…speaking of bicycle knees. (Callis cant help but call it the ‘V Trigger’)…Mack does get the Stunner but Callihan is able to get a foot on the rope. Mack to the top but while Sami has the ref, Dave Crist distracts Mack long enough for Sami to get over and bring Willie down with an avalanche DVD…for a ONE COUNT! DISRESPECTFUL!…burning lariat gets another one count…fans rally behind Willie as Sami lays in strikes. Willie tries a lariat of his own, but it’s ducked and Sami turns him inside out with another burning lariat. Callihan then catches Mack with a piledriver (Memphis style) for the three count at 10:20…there we go. Leave it to Sami to once again deliver. I’m not going to say excellent, because I don’t think it’s long enough to justify that. That being said, it’s one of the better ten minute matches I’ve seen. I’ll go with a VERY GOOD here and these Impact PPVs just keep killing it.
*Eli Drake interview with McKenzie Mitchell here about Monster’s Ball up next…forget the promo for a second here…how did Impact let this guy fall so far? Yes, he’s not exactly great in the ring, but the guy has the kind of promo skills that can carry a company. For the longest time, he did carry the company. I get the whole ‘he was fired because of disparaging remarks about Impact’ thing. At the same time, his character at this time is anti-Impact Wrestling management. There’s nothing there that couldn’t have been worked out. Honestly, I would not be surprised to see him signing with AEW or the WWE by the time people are reading this if not shortly thereafter.
*Match #5: Monster’s Ball- Eli Drake vs. Abyss
The Who: Eli Drake, I talked about just above. Former Impact world champion and while he’s not anything special in the ring, he can talk them into the building. Abyss is the most homecoming of all the people at this show as he broke out as Abyss here in the Asylum in the early (ish) days of TNA. He was even on the first weekly PPV for TNA as Prince Justice (though that wasn’t here in the Asylum. That was in the Von Braun Center, I believe)
The Why: Eli has been speaking out against hardcore wrestling. Who better in TNA/Impact world to defend it then Abyss? There was also the whole Abyss put Eli through a table with a Chokeslam at Bound for Glory situation too.
The Match: Eli brings out what looks to be an ore as weapon. Why the hell not?…and yet again, another jumpstart as Eli attacks Abyss before the opening bell at…Abyss throws his jacket at Eli and misses, but Eli catches it in time for continue what they had planned. That’s a professional…Abyss has a staple gun. Eli tries a sunset flip. This goes about as well as you would expect for Eli…we’re almost two minutes in and Eli still hasn’t gotten his ring jacket off…Abyss sets up tables and goes for a Chokeslam but Eli goes to the eyes…they then begin brawling into the crowd which would have been a lot more effective if Eddie and Moose hadn’t done it less then an hour ago…traveling case as a weapon. That works…Eli calls himself the ‘last of a dying breed’. Well, he break into TNA with Eddie Kingston…JESUS! Overhead belly to belly from the ring to the floor through the tables! That’s a dummy no for Eli…and Abyss has the thumbtacks…Abyss calls for the Chokeslam but Eli escapes. Drake gets a handful of tacks, but Abyss ducks and Kid Ref takes them in the face. With Levin being attended to, Abyss hits the Black Hole Slam, but there’s no zebra to count, despite the crowd’s best attempt…corner charge attempt by Abyss meets a chair that was placed there I think at the start…Eli has a chair. Abyss has Janice. Eli proceeds to beg before a gut shot with the chair. Eli tries to use Janice but Abyss catches Eli in a goozle and this time, it is the Chokeslam into the tacks complete with full ‘FML’ face from Eli…jesus christ, his back is a pincushion…face full of tacks to Abyss this time and Eli tries to use zip ties. That does not work, so instead it’s a series of chair shots. I lost count around 10…it was an attempt at the Rock-Austin Mania X7 finish but Abyss out at two…Eli grabs the paddle (the thing I thought was an ore) and breaks it over Abyss’ head. That’s your three count at 12:12…by Monster’s Ball standards, it was a little tame. Having the Falls Count Anywhere match earlier in the show may have taken some of the shine off it as well. That said, I enjoyed the match. I thought Eli looked really good here and for as long as it’s been for Abyss to be a regular competitor in Impact, he more then held his own. Eli getting the win here made sense too because you could use it to springboard him back up the card (which they kind of were going to with Eddie Edwards before Drake got fired). Neither one of these guys is still with the company, but it was an ABOVE AVERAGE match to go out on.
*Killer Kross promo backstage with McKenzie Mitchell…and his promo ain’t make a damn bit of sense. He seemed to still be channeling his Lucha Underground Rabbit Tribe gimmick then anything that checks inside of Impact. He does call out Johnny Impact and hopefully, that’s not foreshadowing his involvement in the main event.
*Match #6: Impact Tag Team titles- LAX © vs. Lucha Brothers (Fenix and Pentagon Jr.)
The Who: LAX (Ortiz and Santana) come into this match after having successfully defended their tag belts at Bound for Glory in the ‘Concrete Jungle’ match, teaming with Konnan to beat the original LAX of Hernandez and Homicide along with Eddie Kingston. Lucha Brothers come into this on a PPV losing streak for Fenix, as he dropped the fall in the four way at Slammiversary and alongside Brian Cage and Pentagon Jr., they were bested by the Crist brothers and Sami Callihan at Bound for Glory.
The Why: LAX wanted to know if they could beat the Lucha Brothers. Sometimes, you don’t need a complicated story. Just a battle for respect.
The Match: I really didn’t feel the need to the talk about the who much here. I’m actually debating dropping that going forward. I can talk about people here on the match section and for some of these people, the who becomes very redundant…having watched Rebellion live, I know what they did in the match that followed this. I’m curious to see how this goes without the stipulation to guide it…then again, Pentagon Jr. might just have been the hottest wrestler in the world at this point not named Becky Lynch…Josh and Don do bring up a valid point going into this match as LAX is not accompanied by Konnan. The last time they had a PPV title defense not with Konnan, they lost the tag belts. Though Josh and Don don’t name who, the answer is Eli Drake and Scott Steiner…there is a sign at ringside they keep showing that does make sense. “LAX vs. Lucha Brothers. Los Ganadores: Nosotros”. Despite my limited knowledge of Spanish, the sign translates to “LAX vs. Lucha Bros. The winners: All of us” or something similar…opening bell here…and the opening double team starts just about a minute into the match. If I’m the referee here, it’s Lucha rules. Let them go balls to the wall. Everyone wants to see it, why the hell not?…double stomp powerbomb combo lands Santana square on the back of his head. Oops…man, Fenix eats shit to the floor…once Santana is able to cause shit-eating, LAX brings the double teams. I go back to what I’ve said before. I think LAX is one of the top three best tag teams in the world when it comes to double team work. I’d also put the Lucha Brothers either in the top five or really close to it…Ortiz with a tope con hilo of his own and almost eats it into the barricade. The adrenaline is flowing for all four guys to start this one…top rope Asai Moonsault by Santana. Yep, balls to the wall…I don’t even know how to describe some of the double team work in this match…what the hell was that? Like an overhead throw assisted suicide dive by the Lucha Brothers. That’s a new one for me…you get a tope, you get a tope, you get a tope. Everyone gets a tope…your referee is Brandon Toll. Or as he’s known for this match: ‘that poor bastard’…360 kick by Fenix sets up a Codebreaker with double stomp combo…that’s it. I’m out. I got nothing. Top rope splash by Ortiz on Fenix. He goes the cover which Pentagon Jr. breaks up with a double stomp. Pentagon Jr. goes forward from that double stomp into a Canadian Destroyer on Santana as well…and a near standing ovation breaks out from it…that whole exchange looks cool but comes off really choreographed…double stomp Fear Factor lands this time but Ortiz throws Fenix into Pentagon to break up the count…Fenix is the man of 1000 double stomps. This one breaks up the cover after the Street Sweeper. He came from completely out of camera range to hit it, which did make for a nice visual…shortly after the breakup, Pentagon Jr. rolls out to the floor, leaving Ortiz and Fenix in the ring. Santana gets the tag and a series of moves that I don’t try to describe leads to a double team chicken wing into a facebuster that gets the three count at 11:31…exactly what I wanted from this match. I’d put it as good as the ‘Full Metal Mayhem’ match they’d go on to have at Rebellion. This match here though had none of the toys to work with that match had. Instead it was just four dudes going out there and busting their asses to entertain the fans in attendance and the paying audience at home. A VERY GOOD match here but given the four, that’s probably not that much of a surprise.
*Post-match: Konnan comes out and puts over all four guys as well as the building itself. Josh wants to see more and we would.
*McKenzie Mitchell is now backstage with Gail Kim, who has quite the little referee outfit on. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Gail may have had some work done…Gail mentions everything that’s been going on with Tessa and says that she’s here to call it down the middle to make sure the right women is the Knockout’s champion.
*Match #7: Impact Knockouts title- Tessa Blanchard © vs. Taya Valkyrie with Gail Kim as the special guest referee
The Who: Tessa Blanchard is the current champion and is a third generation wrestler (Grandfather is Joe, father is Tully). Taya Valkyrie is still relatively new to Impact at this point but was a key player in Lucha Underground. Gail Kim is the most celebrated Knockout in TNA/Impact history. However, she’s been retired from wrestling (as a competitor) since Bound for Glory 2017.
The Why: Tessa beat Taya at Bound for Glory, albeit under some controversial circumstances with a referee paying more attention to a ring apron than to Taya’s pin after the Road to Valhalla. Taya was granted the rematch and Tessa began disrespecting everyone, referees and staff alike at Impact to the point where Gail Kim stepped up and said she’d be the referee for the rematch here at Homecoming.
The Match: Let me first say that I don’t dislike Taya. I’m just not a huge fan of hers. If I had to sum it up with one word, it would probably be indifference. That’s not a good thing. My adoration of Tessa is well documented by this point and I don’t wish to expand…the cameraman for Gail’s entrance is getting fired…crowd seems pretty evenly split here though…Gail and Tessa get into a verbal spat before the opening bell. Let’s go ahead and telegraph this one way out in front, why don’t we…opening bell here…and the opening collar and elbow looks awkward. Not a great start…most of the Lucha sequence that follows looks good, until a mess is made of a tilt-a-whirl head scissors attempt. Not on the same page at the start of this one…it has been the night of the double stomp. Taya with a standing one to Tessa’s back…DDT onto the apron turns the table, though…the Survivor schmucks they showed earlier (I did not make mention of it) have a “Dicks Out 4 Taya” sign. The fuck is wrong with you morons?…basement dropkick into the guardrail by Tessa. Looked vicious…well, that’s quite the arm bar…looked like a Zig Zag with the hair there by Tessa…Gail and Tessa goes nose to nose. It leads to Taya fighting back for a brief moment before Tessa regains control…release German by Taya looks good…charging hip attack by Taya leads to the double knees in the corner…Buzzsaw DDT attempt by Tessa is countered nicely into a northern lights suplex by Taya. Tip toe bridge too until Taya rolls back and hits another double stomp, this time to a flattened Tessa…Taya goes for and misses a moonsault leading to a Tessa spear for two…Taya ducks and Tessa drills Gail. Accidentally, but I don’t think Tessa cared. Tessa gets the Buzzsaw DDT, but Gail is down so there’s no count. Turnabout being fair play from the referee at Bound for Glory…Tessa grabs the belt, but by the time she tries to use it, Gail tries to pull it away from her. A tug of war leads to Gail smacking Taya with the belt as Taya smirks. Tessa demands a count and Gail does, not even looking at the shoulders for two…Tessa shoves Gail. Tessa with a second shove and Gail shoves back into a roll-up for two by Taya. Glad that wasn’t the finish…Taya also gets out of the corner trap chestblower. Tessa grabs Gail by the throat, forcing her into the buckle. Tessa takes a swing at Gail. Gail ducks and catches Tessa with Eat Defeat. Tessa stumbles forward towards Taya, who lifts Tessa up and plants her with Road to Valhalla. With no ring apron distraction this time, it’s a three count at 10:41…definitely had it’s ups and downs. The booking of the match made sense with the story they are trying to tell so I won’t be too upset about that. Unfortunately, there was a lot of other moments here and there where they didn’t seem to be on the same page that hurt the flow of the match. For as relatively good as I thought their match was at Bound for Glory, this is a bit of a disappointment to me. Call it AVERAGE, but slightly better then the tag match that went on second on this show.
*Post-match, Taya seems to be genuinely happy that she’s won the belt. I can’t hate that. Tessa looks furious and the stage is set for a Rebellion…we then go to Josh and Don who run down everything that’s happened before giving us the Impact to Twitch announcement. The announcers then set the stage for Johnny Impact and Brian Cage.
*Johnny Impact promo, once again with McKenzie. I still say they missed an opportunity with not using old Impact interviewers since they were back in the Asylum…Impact has become a little better at promos but he’s still not great.
*Match #8: Impact Heavyweight title- Johnny Impact © vs. Brian Cage
The Who: Johnny Impact is the former John Morrison, of course. He’s been the champion since Bound for Glory when he beat Austin Aries. At this point, he was still a baby face as well. Brian Cage was also loved by fans here (and still is). Bound for Glory was not so kind to him as he suffered his first loss in Impact when he was pinned in that previously mentioned six-man tag by Sami Callihan.
The Why: This is an ‘Option C’ match up, where Brian Cage cashed in his Impact X Division title for a shot at Johnny Impact and the Heavyweight title. To this point, I don’t believe Cage had been beaten in a singles match either.
The Match: Cage comes out looking like he found the Gauntlet from Lucha Underground…Josh puts over Johnny during his entrance. Callis then puts over Cage. I think we know who is siding with who here…I feel like Johnny’s and Survivor don’t mix. Whatever you do, don’t bring back Fairplay…opening bell here…Cage snuffs a single leg attempt and it ends up as a stalemate…Impact teases a test of strength before clocking Cage with a kick. Obviously, Impact is going to have to use stamina and intellect here…that was kind of a northern lights. I’m not sure what it was supposed to be but I’m guessing that’s not it…fans seem to be leaning Cage but Impact catches a pretty good looking springboard spear gets two for Impact…well, that’s one way to turn the match. Cage sweeps the leg and Impact goes back into the buckle before face into the mat…Cage’s strength does allow him to combine offense like few can…monkey flip. Because of course Cage does a monkey flip…Impact escapes a power slam attempt and sends Cage into the cover. Leverage is also going to be key for Impact here…Cheeky Nandos! And Callis gives credit to Will Ospreay on the call. Never change, Don! It sets up a really nice looking electric chair facebuster too…Cage going for more of a grounded match then I thought he would. It’s like he’s intentionally trying to throw Impact off his game…Impact with a big dive to the floor and flushes Cage in the face with his knee! Jesus, Johnny. Fans chant ‘TNA’ too, so they have been hit with the knee as well…that definitely turns the tide as Impact takes over…Johnny Impact with a discus forearm. He’s never been a strike guy though, so Cage takes over almost immediately thereafter…apparently Josh has forgotten that the neckbreaker is called ‘Moonlight Drive’…Impact goes for the Razor’s Edge Urinage but Cage escapes. Cage goes for the Drill Claw, but Impact escapes. Impact catches some, but not nearly all, of the rope-hang German suplex. Sometimes, I think Johnny’s offense is too fancy just for the sake of being fancy…that was a pathetic looking kickout…they are just trading bombs at this point…Impact out of the discus lariat which I believe was one of Cage’s primary finishers in Lucha Underground…Impact catches Starship Pain but it’s a clean kickout by Cage. I’m trying to remember if Aries kicked out of it at Bound for Glory. I think he did, but I’m not sure…Impact with a top-rope Spanish Fly. For one. Because of course…Cage looking for Weapon X and this time gets it, but Impact gets the rope at the last split second. Maybe even just after what would have been the three. Given what we know now, that moment makes a lot more sense in hindsight…and Cage launches a Survivor douche three rows deep with a shove. Hahahahaha!…Drill Claw but there’s no referee as he’s dealing with the Survivor schmucks. Referee finally in and it’s a last second kickout from Impact. Cage looks for the Cesaro superplex but Impact counters it twice. Impact finally swings around and it’s a sort of powerbomb kinda that just barely gets a three count (again, what we know now) at 19:12…the finish was blown to an extent but they recovered it enough to make it work for where it was going. In addition, I could have done without the involvement of the dumb asses from Survivor as well. As far as Impact and Cage alone go, the match was GOOD but never anything above just because it came off kinda clunky. Neither one of these guys is known as a match leader and it showed here as they battled some miscommunications. Middle of the pack match for the title, sad to say.
*Cage is fuming after the way the match ends, grabbing the belt from referee Johnny Bravo. Cage debates what to do before throwing the belt at Impact and storming off. Seems to be a theme around here…Impact slowly makes his way back up as Taya makes her way out to the ring. Fans are booing and I saw a couple water bottles chucked, but the final thing we see are Impact and Valkyrie celebrating their wins and titles…right as I type that Killer Kross jumps Impact. Valkyrie tries to defend Impact and Kross powerbombs her off the ramp into the crowd onto black shirt security (hey, a throwback) and Killer Kross celebrates as the last thing we actually see.
Match #1: ‘Ultimate X’ for the vacant X Division title- Rich Swann wins 4 way by grabbing X Division title @ 14:01 in a match that also included Ethan Page, Jake Crist and Trey Miguel (GOOD)
Match #2: Allie/Su Yung def. Jordynne Grace/Kiera Hogan, referee stoppage when Allie has Mandible Claw on Hogan @ 8:52 (AVERAGE)
Match #3: Falls Count Anywhere- Eddie Edwards pins Moose, double-arm DDT @ 13:20 (GOOD)
Match #4: Sami Callihan pins Willie Mack, piledriver @ 10:20 (VERY GOOD)
Match #5: Monster’s Ball- Eli Drake pins Abyss, series of paddle shots to head @ 12:12 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #6: Impact Tag Team titles- LAX (Ortiz/Santana) © defeat Lucha Brothers, Santana pins Fenix after a double team facebuster @ 11:31 to retain (VERY GOOD)
Match #7: Impact Knockouts title- Taya Valkyrie pins Tessa Blanchard ©, Road to Valhalla after Eat Defeat @ 10:41 to win the title (AVERAGE)
Match #8: Impact Heavyweight title- Johnny Impact © pins Brian Cage, quasi avalanche powerbomb @ 19:12 (GOOD)
FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
Another Impact PPV, another banger of a show to me. Was it to the level of Slammiversary or Bound for Glory? No. But to expect that on a consistent basis is to set yourself up for disappointment. There are two really good matches that are well worth your time (Sami-Willie and the tag titles) and two others that are almost to that level (Ultimate X and Eddie-Moose). That’s half the PPV at GOOD to VERY GOOD or above. You can’t argue quality like that.
THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: Whoever made the decision to let the Lucha Brothers and LAX go out there and just bust ass. The match itself, officially. But honorable mention to that guy (probably Scott D’Amore). You da real MVP.
Worst match/moment: Dark Allie and Su Yung vs. Jordynne Grace and Kiera Hogan. Wasn’t a bad match but was the worst thing on the show. The booking in the main event is the runner up.
MVP: They call him ‘The Draw’ for a reason. When I saw that Sami Callihan was facing Willie Mack, I was disappointed. I like Willie but Sami has been the best thing in Impact for close to a year now. The match itself was a ton of fun though.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10
The next time I come at you guys with a review will be when I cover “All In” right before the ‘Double or Nothing’ offering from AEW. After that, my next review that comes to you guys will be PROGRESS Chapter 5, “For Those About to Fight”. Hopefully, I’ll get some more shows into the archive for you guys as well. I would also hope that you guys will check out the Raw Reaction every Monday night at 11:30 PM (EST) to hear Tony Acero, Andrew Balaz and myself break down the important news and cover Monday Night Raw over on the Chairshot Radio Network.
Taking Over: Greg DeMarco’s Look at WWE NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way (9/11/14)
“Taking Over” continues as we see how Takeover Fatal 4-Way (9/11/14) holds up today!
Greg DeMarco takes a look back at the second NXT Takeover in the first edition of “Taking Over” as we march towards WWE NXT Takeover XXV!
WWE NXT Takeover is turning 25 on June 1! Well, sort of… On June 1, WWE NXT will present the 25th Takeover event, a stand-alone show from Connecticut–which I wouldn’t call the heart of WWE, but the brain. I am taking a look back at the first 24 to see just how far we’ve come. Join me for “Taking Over,” my look back at the first 24 Takeover events.
NXT Takeover Fatal 4 Way
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentary Team: Tom Phillips, Renee Young, and Byron Saxton
- NXT Tag Team Championship: Lucha Dragons beat The Ascension to win the championships – A good match, but not great. It’s a far cry from what the Takeover opening tag team match would become. Big pop for the finish, though.
- Baron Corbin beat CJ Parker – This was back when I hated Baron Corbin. Wait, that was yesterday. Anyway, this is a squash to elevate Baron Corbin, even though we didn’t get a true entrance for Corbin. Corbin’s hair didn’t look terribl ehere, in fact it looked better than CJ’s. According to commentary, this was Corbin’s NXT debut. Huge pop for the End Of Days. In fact, Crbin was crazy over here.
- Hair vs. Hair Match – Sylvester Lefort vs. Enzo Amore – NXT was definitely more “developmental” at this time, and this match showed it. Both these guys had the personalities to excel, but never pans out. They worked hard and did get the crowd invested, which is job #1.
- Hideo Itami NXT debut promo – Thi sis where he shifts from KENTA to Hideo Itami, , and he cut most of the promo in Japanese. The Ascension would come out and eventually attack, but Itami got the upperhand in the end. This was an insanely promising start to his WWE career. The visual of him sitting in a chair begging them both to get back in the ring was amazing.
- Bull Dempsey vs. Mojo Rawley – Quick win for Bull Dempsey, who should have been a bigger deal. He’d be a great fit at NXT UK. His theme song is still the most underrated they’ve ever made.
- NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair successfully defended against Bayley – Bayley, just like everyone, was crazy over at Full Sail. Her “childhood dream” gimmick can only go so far, though. Charlotte Flair was the decided heel here, and showed signs of the greatness she’d achieve while also showing how green she was. Charlotte was absolutely ripped here. Charlotte nailed a terrible looking moonsault that the announce team didn’t know how to sell. Charlotte won with Natural Selection, which may have been an audible after the moonsault debacle as you can hear Bayley call for the spot. It’s amazing what Charlotte has become. Sasha Banks attacked Bayley after,and Charlotte
- NXT Championship: Adrian Neville successfully defended against Tyson Kidd, Sami Zayn, and Tyler Breeze – One hell of a match, and I remember how great the build was. Breeze won a #1 contender match but had his title match interrupted by Kidd, Kidd and Zayn were eventually here to make it a Fatal 4-Way. I really thought Breeze would win here, but that was really wishful thinking on my part. This match was one-fall rules. Tyson Kidd’s Sharpshooter is criminally underrated. Neville shows heel tendencies here, pulling the referee out of the ring before he can count the three in Zayn’s favor (legal in a 4-way match), Neville would then superkick Zayn on the floor and pin Kidd after a Red Arrow. The story after the match was Zayn’s reaction and dejection, setting up the obvious main event for the next Takeover. I loved the character shift for Neville, winning “by means necessary” and showing signs of the amazing heel we’d see later.
Where are they now:
- The Ascension – Konnor & Viktor are on Raw, and are basically an afterthought after being repackaged as a ripoff of late 80s/early 90s tag teams like The Road Warriors.
- Kalisto – Doing very little as a member of the Lucha House Party on Raw, but he’s also a former NXT Tag Team Champion and 2-time United States Champion, along with a former Cruiserweight Champion.
- Sin Cara – Still wearing that cursed mask, so he’s injured.
- Baron Corbin – Sucking on the main roster! He’s been a Money In The Bank briefcase holder (he lost his cash in), Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, and United States Champion. He was also Constable Corbin and the General Manager of Raw. He retired Kurt Angle. And he sucks.
- CJ Parker – He is likely best known for being Kevin Owens’ first NXT opponent, and busting his nose in the process. He left WWE, and is now back to working as Juice Robinson in ROH and New Japan, where he is the IWGP United States Champion (although you wouldn’t know it by watching their product).
- Sylvester Lefort – He ended up getting released in early 2016, went to TNA to be part of The Tribunal under his name Tom LaRuffa. He worked there through the end of 2016, before returning to Europe where he remains active to this day.
- Enzo Amore – Ugh…he went to the main roster with Big Cass (on Raw) and Carmella (on Smackdown), working as a team until they broke up in what was actually a good angle. He eventually showed up on 205 Live, where he drew some good heat, but ended up leaving the company for outside the ring issues. He’s released some rap songs/videos, and made an ill-fated appearance at ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard.
- Hideo Itami – Such a promising start, he had a good run in NXT that included a NXT Championship shot at Bobby Roode. He went to 205 Live, but failed to become Cruiserweight Champion. He eventually requested his release and returned home to Japan.
- Bull Dempsey – He had a small NXT run before being released, and works as Bull James on the independents, mostly in the Northeast United States.
- Bayley – She’d have a better run later with Sasha Banks, before moving to the main roster and holding the Raw Women’s Championship. She won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship with Sasha Banks, and is not on Smackdown.
- Charlotte Flair – Just main evented WrestleMania, is an 8-time Women’s Champion, and is one of the very best performers of either gender on the main roster.
- Sami Zayn – A mid-card player on the main roster, just recently returned from injury and is doing some great character work on Raw. Also (briefly) held the NXT Championship but was just the transitional champion from Neville to Kevin Owens.
- Tyler Breeze – Moved to the main roster too soon, found some critical success with Fandago as the Fashion Police, has floundered during Fandango’s injury recovery, is back in NXT and working a program with Velveteen Dream.
- Tyson Kidd – Career cut short by injury after holding tag team gold, and now works as a producer behind the scenes.
- Neville – Had a respectable main roster run before taking over (pun intended) WWE 205 Live. That alignment led to his eventual downfall when he didn’t want to put Enzo Amore over strong after being pushed to the kickoff in his match with Austin Aries. He’s currently preparing to face Adam Page at All Elite Wrestling’s Double Or Nothing event.
Renee young was better than I remember on commentary here. Overall this was a good show that, outside of the main event, wouldn’t hold up against the Takeover events of the past few years. But the foundation was being laid, and this should be evaluated as such. The main event was spectacular, and this was a rare Takeover with six matches. Those, plus two other in-ring segments, still went just under two hours. All four members of the main event wrestled on the Raw before this, and that decision, along with this match, can really be credited with the early rise in populary of NXT.
One additional thing that’s quite evident in watching these events, is now much easier it is for the talent to stay in perfect shape in NXT as they’re spending less time on the road. You can see the differences in Charlotte, Bayley, Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, and others.
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