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Leaping Through The Network: ECW Living Dangerously (3/21/99)

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New Jack ECW Dive

As this goes out on a Pay Per View weekend those that vote were given a selection of pay per views to vote on and almost half of you (a whopping 47% to be exact) voted to send me to the land of Misfit toys that is ECW. The number three promotion in wrestling during the 90’s with an emphasis on blood, guts and violence.

But was it any good.

There’s only one way to find out……

ECW Living Dangerously ’99
March 21 1999

We open with Steve Prazak talking with Taz about his upcoming match tonight. Taz says his strategy is to go after Sabu’s injured jaw and that he is better than Ric Flair and Steve Austin.

Joey Styles is in the ring and he welcomes us to the show and hypes the Taz vs Sabu match.

Super Crazy vs Yoshihiro Tajiri

Yes it’s THAT Tajiri. Joey Styles on commentary says the winner of this match wins the feud. No he won’t, these two will face off many times between now and ECW going out of business. A Collar and Elbow Tie-up is turned into a Headlock by Crazy. Taking Tajiri to the mat, he locks in a Front Facelock but Tajiri grabs Crazy with an Armbar and an Arm Wringer before Cazy counters with an Arm Wringer of his own. After a few cartwheels, Tajiri breaks the hold with a Monkey Flip and they have a stand off. Crazy wins a Test Of Strength and pushes Tajiri to the mat for a two count. Tajiri hits a Hurricanranna which Crazy rolls through and Monkey Flips Tajiri who Arm Drags Crazy. After Arm Dragging each other, they have another stand off to a standing ovation. Crazy boots Tajiri in the gut and shoots him into the ropes but Tajiri comes back with a Handspring Elbow and a Head Scissors. A Slap knocks Tajiri down but Tajiri sends a charging Crazy out of the ring courtesy of a Monkey Flip and Tajiri launches himself at Crazy over the turnbuckles with a Plancha before using the rope to throw himself at Crazy with an Asai Moonsault. Crazy gets back into the match with some inverted It Kicks and a springboard Moonsault before Tajiri hits Crazy with a Stratusphere.

Back in the ring, Crazy hits a Wasteland and the Triple Moonsaults for a two count. Crazy then lifts Tajiri to the top turnbuckle and hits Diez punches (a ten punch spot where the crowd count in Mexican) and a tree of woe Dropkick. An Asai Moonsault of his own gets Crazy a two but a Fireman’s Carry is turned by Tajiri into a Roll Up which gets him a two. Crazy gets control back with a kick and hits a second Wasteland but a middle turnbuckle Moonsault is countered by Tajiri who gets his knees up to block it and kicks Crazy in the ribs to follow and a tree of woe Dropkick of his own for a two. A couple of Roundhouse Kicks knock Crazy down. Crazy somersaults his way out of an Irish Whip attempt but still gets Dropkicked in the face for a two. A second Irish Whip attemt is countered into a Sunset Flip that gets a two for Crazy. A slingshot by Crazy is foiled when Crazy slips and fall from the top rope (lot of falling going on this week)and Tajiri encourages the chants of ‘You Messed Up‘ (What? My mother reads this) Focusing back on wrestling and Tajiri gets a two from a German Suplex. A Full Nelson by Tajiri is countered by Crazy who kicks Tajiri in his Nakamuras before hitting Tajiri with a huge Powerbomb that only gets a two. Tajiri attempts to Counter a second Powerbomb with a Hell’s Gate, doesn’t work and he gets Powerbombed anyway. Tajiri counters an Irish Whip with a Hurricanranna but Crazy, much like he did at the start of the match, rolls through it. This time he rolls it into a pin attempt and gets the pinfall.

Winner: Super Crazy

Backstage with Rob Van Dam, Sabu, Bill Alfonso and his whistle. Alfonso reminds Taz that he is no longer with Taz and that Taz is on his own. He discusses Sabu and says if he gets injured during the match he will either tape or glue Sabu back together. Van Dam says it’s a big night for Sabu as he gets to watch Van Dam defend the ECW TV Title. Van Dam tells Sabu that he’s going to beat Taz easily and it’s not even a challenge. The challenge for Van Dam is how he is going to carry all the belts AND Sabu. Ooh disention!

Steve Corino vs ?

Corino says he doesn’t take steroids and doesn’t need to wrestle in foreign lands. He been watching the Saudi Rumble or something? He issues an open challenge to anyone who wants to see just how Hardcore Corino is. and out comes……

Steve Corino vs Balls Mahoney

Balls starts with a seres of left jabs before a Right Hand knocks Corino down before Irish Whipping Corino off the ropes and Back Dropping him. A series of Clotheslines have Corino dazed but he manages to Back Drop a charging Balls out of the ring and then Baseball Slides Balls into the metal guard rail. A Plancha by Corino is caught by Balls who whips him into the shoulder of a charging Axl Rotten, Balls’ corner man. Back in the ring, Balls hits Corino with a Bodyslam and a huge Frog Splash that gets a two. Corino avoids a top rope Legdrop and hits Balls with a Spinning Heel Kick for a two. Corino gets a chair and threatens to hit Balls with it but instead he sits on it and applies a Chinlock but Balls pushes his way out of it and Superkicks Corino before smashing the chair across Corino’s skull for the pinfall.

Winner: Balls Mahoney

We see highlights of The Dudley Boyz hitting a 3D on a lot of people and injuring a few. Apparently New Jack was supposed to be next so, in an attempt to not let that happen, he brought in his former partner Mustafa. However, it was Mustafa that was setting New Jack up in the first place. He turns on New Jack hitting him with a guitar and setting up a match between the two later tonight.

Guido vs Antifaz Del Notre

No, me neither. Guido starts by slapping Antifaz. Guido ducks a Clothesline and applies a Waistlock which is countered and countered until Antifaz uses a Back Elbow to break out of it. Guido knocks Antifaz down with a Shoulder Block and an Elbow Drop to the spine that gets him a two. Guido grabs Antifaz’s arm and tries for a Cross Armbreaker but Antifaz is too close to the ropes and it is broken up. Antifaz hits Guido with a springboard Armdrag and a Superkick and a springboard Dropkick. Guido slinks to the outside but that doesn’t save him from Antifaz landing on him after a Corkscrew Plancha. Back in the ring and a slinghsot Sunset Flip gets Antifaz a two. A Hurricanrana is countered by Guido into a Powerbomb that gets him a two. Guido hits Antifaz with stomps and chops in the corner but Antifaz fires back with Chops of his own and a Front Suplex for a two. Antifaz spends too long climbing the buckles and Guido hits an impressive looking second rope Russian Leg Sweep that gets him a two. Guido then spends too long yelling at the crowd which allows Antifaz to roll him up for a two with a second rope School Boy. A Sleeper by Antifaz is countered into a Jawbreaker by Guido and the follow up Clothesline gets Guido another two. A Spinning Heel Kick by Antifaz sends Guito to the outside. A Plancha by Antifaz ends when Sal E Graziano, a 500 pound monster at ringside, catches him and Powerslams Antifaz through a table before throwing him back into the ring where Antifaz is a sitting duck for a second rope Legdrop and a Sicillian Crab (Liontamer to you and me) that gets Guido the submission victory.

Winner: Guido

Rob Van Dam vs Jerry Lynn
ECW TV Championship

A Collar and Elbow Tie-up is turned into an Arm Wringer by Lynn but RVD pulls Lynn’s leg from under him to break the hold. On the mat, RVD puts Lynn into a headlock but Lynn breaks it with a Headscissors that RVD rolls through and gets a one count. Another Collar and Elbow Tie-up is turned into a Headlock by RVD. Lynn breaks it by sending RVD off the ropes but is knocked down by a Shoulder Block by RVD. Lynn leapfrogs RVD’s next move attempt only to see RVD Leapfrog his. Lynn kicks RVD in the gut and Irish Whips RVD who reverses it sending Lynn to the corner. Lynn leapfrogs backwards over a charging RVD and avoids a Moonsault attempt by RVD. Lynn hits RVD with a Cross Body. RVD knocks a charging Lynn down but Lynn avoids a Standing Thunder and we have a stand off to the applause of the crowd.

Another Collar and Elbow Tie-up is turned into a Headlock by Lynn, RVD pushes him off the ropes and Leapfrogs over him before bouncing off the ropes himself. Lynn tries to Leapfrog RVD but RVD catches Lynn with an Inverted Atomic Drop but gets caught by a Clothesline from Lynn. Collar and Elbow Tie-up again is turned into a Headlock by Lynn, pushed off the ropes by RVD who Leapfrogs Lynn and tries to duck a second run only to be Legdropped on the back of the neck by Lynn who Dropkicks RVD in the face and Clotheslines him to the outside. Lynn dives at RVD with a Cannon Ball from the apron which sends RVD into the rail.

Lynn gets into the ring and RVD tries to follow but Lynn hits RVD with a Baseball Slide that sends RVD into the front row. Lynn gets on the apron and launches at RVD, who is in the front row, with what can best be discribed as an Asai Cross Body. Back in the ring and RVD catches Lynn with a Dropkick and a series of Forearms. When RVD attempts a move from the top rope, Lynn kicks him off the top rope and out of the ring face first into the rail. Lynn follows RVD to the outside and Irish Whips RVD but RVD reverses it and sends Lynn into the metal barrier before jumping on the barrier and Legdropping Lynn before diving off the barrier at Lynn with a Cross Body into a sea of people. RVD then lays Lynn on the ring apron and Legdrops Lynn from a ringside barrier. A cover only gets RVD a two. Alfonso throws a chair into the ring and RVD lies on it while applying a Surfboard before throwing Lynn into the air and rolling out of the way so that Lynn comes crashing down onto the chair. Another two count. RVD sets the chair on the ground and plans to Monkey FLip Lynn onto the chair. Lynn has other ideas as he moves out of the way and hits RVD with a slingshot Sunset Flip sending RVD head first into the chair for a two count. Lynn tries to Piledrive RVD on the chair but RVD counters it into a Back Drop that gets a two count. Lynn goes for a DDT but RVD counters that with an Inverted Atomic Drop before Lynn catches RVD with a Reverse DDT for a two.

Lynn gets distracted by Alfonso on the apron. Lynn realises this is a ploy to distract him and turns to see RVD throw the chair. Lynn ducks it, Alfonso catches it. Lynn kicks RVD in the gut as Alfonso swigs the chair at Lynn who grabs the chair out of Alfonso’s hands. Lynn ducks a Spinning Kick from RVD by sitting the chair down on the mat. RVD tries to kick the legs from under Lynn but Lynn jumps over RVD’s leg and brings his own leg down across RVD when he Legdrops RVD onto the chair for yet another two. Lynn takes the chair and climbs to the top turnbuckle but Alfonso grabs his ankle preventing him from doing anything. Both men are now fighting on the second rope. Lynn hits RVD twice with the chair before RVD Van Daminators Lynn sending Lynn through a table at ringside. RVD rolls Lynn back inside the ring and somehow gets another two count. RVD hits Lynn with a World’s Strongest Slam befor placing a chair on Lynn’s chest but Lynn throws it in RVD’s face to counter a Split Legged Moonsault and a Sunset Flip gets a two for Lynn when RVD hits Lynn with the chair in the skull. Both men roll each other up for a series of two counts before Lynn hits a massive German Suplex for yet another two. Climbing to the second rope, Lynn grabs RVD on the ring apron and Tornado DDTs RVD onto the table which doesn’t break (I AM THE TABLE) Lynn rolls RVD into the ring for, yep, a two count. RVD gets a two of his own from a Legdrop. A Bodyslam followed by a Rolling Thunder again gets a two for RVD. It’s Lynn’s turn at getting a two this time from a Tornado DDT IN the ring. THe bell rings.

Winner: Time Limit Draw

The referee tries to award the belt to Jerry Lynn who refuses it asking for five more minutes. This starts a crowd chant of “Five more minutes” leading to…

Rob Van Dam vs Jerry Lynn
ECW TV Championship

Lynn charges at RVD hitting a Dropkick and a Piledriver for a two. Lynn Irish Whips RVD into the corner but RVD boots a charging Lynn in the face. Lynn catches a chair that Alfonso threw into the ring but he gets Van Daminatored in the face. RVD climbs to the top turnbuckle and flies at Lynn hitting him with a Frog Splash. RVD doesn’t need all five minutes as he gets the pin.

Winner: Rob Van Dam (still ECW TV Champion)

Paul Heyman narrates a video package hyping the Taz vs Sabu match later tonight.

Joey Styles introduces us to a moment earlier tonight when porn star Jasminn St Claire was in the ring. Francine came to the ring and both women exchanged words before Francine hit St Claire with a horrendously bad RKO.

New Jack vs Mustafa

New Jack hits Mustafa with a crutch and a computer keyboard before a golf club to the nakamuras. Mustafa fights back smacking New Jack across the skull with a child’s push toy and what may have been a tin of paint before whacking New Jack in the face with a wheelie bin and a baking tray. New Jack gets back into the match with another shot from the computer keyboard followed by a guitar. A low blow by Mustafa sends New Jack to the outside. Mustafa follows and they brawl through the crowd until Mustafa throws New Jack into a wall. Mustafa unloads on New Jack with punches, a chair shot an Elbow drop and more punches. New Jack fights back with an Uppercutt and a chair shot. New Jack sets up a table and then tapes Mustafa to it. New Jack then goes to an area some twenty feet above where Mustafa is and dives from it Splashing Mustafa through the table. At this point, security carry both men back to the ring where New Jack covers Mustafa for the win.

Winner: New Jack

Post match, Bubba Ray Dudley and D Von Dudley head to the ring and beat up New Jack. Bubba gets on the mike and issues an open challenge to any two in the back. So we get………

Bubba Ray Dudley & D Von Dudley vs Spike Dudley & Nova

Bubba and D Von smash their opponents with metal sheets. D Von punches Nova in the corner while Bubba lifts Spike for a Gorilla Press and throws him into the crowd. Spike bodysurfs through the crowd, he’ll be back later. In the ring, D Von hits Nova with a Whassup Headbutt and lifts Nova so Bubba can hit him with a second rope Powerbomb before they hit a 3D. To prevent further damage to Nova, officials step in which only leads to a 3D for the ring announcer. Bubba gets on the mike and says they have destroyed all the fans’ heroes with a 3D before extending his open challenge to anybody who has the guts or man enough. Juge Jeff Jones walks down the isle pushing a stretcher and he says he brings to ECW….. SID!!!!!!

Sid tries to Powerbomb D Von but Bubba hits him in the back with the mike. They pound on Sid with punches but when they miss a Clothesline Sid grabs them and Chokeslams both of them at the same time. He Powerbombs D Von and punches Bubba. Spike’s back (told you he would be) and he hits Bubba with punches and a top rope Legdrop while Sid Press Slams the stretcher onto D Von. Spike hits Bubba with an Acid Drop and gets the pinfall. Post match, Sid Powerbombs Spike in the ring and then Powerbombs him from the entrance ramp through a table

Winners: Spike Dudley & Nova

We see highlights of Shane Douglas threatening to retire and hand over the mantle of The Franchise. Justin Credible says it should be him. Lance Storm says it should be him. Shane Douglas says it’s Tommy Dreamer so Storm and Credible beat down Douglas, Dreamer and Douglas’ valet, Francine.

Lance Storm & Justin Credible vs Shane Douglas & Tommy Dreamer

Storm hits a knee and a punch to Dreamer before an Irish Whip that he follows with a Clothesline. Dreamer avoids a charging Storm but tastes a Right Hand from Credible Storm goes for a Spinning Heel Kick but Dreamer ducks the move as Storm accidentally clobers his own partner. Dreamer hits Storm with a Clothesline and a Neckbreaker before tagging Douglas who catches Strom with a Rolling Inverted Neck Snap. A tag to Credible who exchanges punches with Douglas who gets the better of that exchange before hitting Credible with Two Amigos and a Delayed Suplex. Following an exchange of chops that each get a ‘Wooooo‘ Credible takes a Flair Roll in the corner and lands on the apron. Credible ducks a Clothesline before hitting Douglas with one of his own. Credible launches himself from the top turnbuckle at Douglas who catches him with a Flapjack. Dreamer in and he gets a two from Demolition’s Decapitator. Credible catches Dreamer with a Punch to the ear but fails to follow it as Dreamer catches him with a Spinebuster. Dreamer applies an Abdominal Stretch on Credible, Storm in to break it but Douglas lifts Storm for a Gorilla Press bringing him down across Credible’s knee.

Douglas hits Credible with Right Hands before Storm, on the apron, Kicks Douglas in the back of the head leaving him open for a Superkick by Credible. Storm catches Douglas with a Dropkick before Credible chops him and punches him in the skull. Storm tries a Clothesline but Douglas ducks it and hits Storm with a Side Suplex. Credible hits Douglas with a Jawbreaker. Storm and Credible make frequent tags hitting Douglas with Chops and Elbows. Douglas moves out of the way of a Credible Baseball Slide into the corner which sends Credible nakamuras first into the post giving Douglas the time to tag Dreamer who lights up Credible with a series of Right Hands, a Leg Sweep and a Clothesline that knocks both men out of the ring. Dreamer doesn’t see Storm throw himself at Dreamer with a Plancha. Douglas Irish Whips Storm into the barrier and then deposits him nakamuras first into the ring post.

In the ring, Dreamer hits a Powerslam to Storm for a two count, same from a Side Inverted Tombstone. A Superkick knocks Dreamer down and allows Strom to choke him before a Knee Lift and stomps in the corner. A Chinlock on Dreamer by Credible slows things down before a Jawbreaker gets Dreamer out of the hold but a Heel Kick by Storm gets a two. A Suplex by Storm allows him to tag Credible who drives a second rope Elbow into Dreamer before Storm and Credible hit Dreamer with a Double Suplex on the entrance ramp. Credible dumps Dreamer back into the ring and tags Strom who rams Dreamer’s head into the turnbuckle but Dreamer counters a top rope Moonsault attempt by Storm and hits him with a Neckbreaker and hits a second rope RKO on Credible. Douglas is in and he pretends to form an alliance with Storm and Credible before Clothesline both men. Douglas dishes out Right Hands, Bodyslams and Dropkicks to both men before a Double Noggin Knocker. As he celebrates, Storm’s valet, Dawn Marie, runs in and nails Douglas with a low blow. Francine is in the ring and she hits Dawn with a Snapmare and we have a catfight!! Storm hits Dreamer with a Snap Suplex as Francine drags a ladder to the ring. Dreamer lays the ladder across a corner and carries Credible (chicken fight style) to the corner before dropping him face first on the ladder. On the other side of the ring, Douglas gets a two on Storm after a High Cross Body before he and Dreamer drive the ladder in to Storm and Credible’s faces, a cover by Douglas on Credible gets two. Douglas hits a Front Suplex on Storm followed by a Belly To Belly Suplex on Credible that gets a two. Francine kicks Credible in the back of the head and Douglas hits him with a Pittsburgh Plunge for the three

Winners: Tommy Dreamer & Shane Douglas

Joey Styles shows us highlights of this evening’s RVD vs Jerry Lynn match and we cut to Steve Prazak who is with the ref for the match. Ref says that he felt that Jerry Lynn deserved the TV Title and was ready to award it to him but Jerry Lynn turned it down demanding five more minutes. Rob Van Dam turns up. He calls Jerry Lynn a great competitor and challenges Jerry Lynn to challenge him for the TV Title at the next ECW pay per view.

Taz vs Sabu
ECW Championship

Taz gets on the mike and makes this a Falls Count Anywhere Match. Didn’t know he had the power to do so but it’s ECW. Sabu lunges at Taz’s legs but he moves and tries to grapple Sabu who slips out and wraps his arms around Taz ‘s upper torso. Taz grabs Sabu’s arm in a Hammerlock and a quick roll up that gets about one and a half. A Collar and Elbow Tie-up ends in a Waistlock by Sabu but Taz reverses it and Sabu lunges at the ropes to break the hold. Taz wins an exchange of Right Hands but Sabu manages to block a cross face and Arm Drags Taz into an Arm Bar but Taz puts Sabu into a Head Scissors and wrenches on Sabu’s arm before Sabu manages to roll on top of Taz for a one. Another Collar and Elbow Tie-up this time ends in a Waistlock by Taz who takes down Sabu with a Belly To Back Suplex before he gets in the cross face smashing his forearms into Sabu’s jaw. Taz then bounces off the ropes catching Sabu in the skull with a Brooklyn Boot. Sabu reverses an Irish Whip by Taz before hitting what can best be described as a Slingshot Rear View followed by a somersault Legdrop for a two. Alfonso slides a chair into the ring and Sabu throws it at Taz’s head before using the chair to basically hit Taz with a Poetry In Motion. Taz slips to the outside for a breather but Sabu deposits him over the rail and into the crowd before getting in the ring and diving off the top rope at Taz who lifts a chair to protect himself smacking Sabu in the face with it. Taz and Sabu brawl through the throng of people, as was the main event style at the time, before Sabu sits a chair on the entrance ramp and uses it as a launchpad to throw himself at Taz before Taz tosses Sabu from the entrance ramp into the crowd and then back into the ring.

A Dropkick to the knee keeps Taz down long enough for Sabu and Alfonso to lean a table between the ring apron and the crowd barrier. Sabu hits a fury of Right Hands before Taz grabs him and hoists Sabu up and over with an Overhead Belly To Belly Suplex over the top rope and through the recently set up table. Taz picks up Sabu and Press Slams him, jaw first, into the barrier but Sabu throws another chair at the head of Taz. SabuOn the outside of the ring, Sabu prevents Alfonso from throwing in a towel before Taz (yet again) throws Sabu from the ramp into the crowd. Alfonso throws a chair at Taz who chases Alfonso to the back hopefully making this one on one. In the ring Sabu hits a jumping Fameasser to Taz that gets a two and, Damn it, Alfonso’s back. Alfonso’s slid a table into the ring and Sabu sets it up. Taz punches Sabu and lays him on the table before climbing the turnbuckles. Sabu gets up, throws the table out the way and hits Taz with a Hurricanranna from the second rope that gets a two. Taz standing Hurricanranna attempt into a Powerbomb that gets a two.

Outside the ring, Sabu reverses an Irish Whip sending Taz into the barrier. Sabu tries to Sunset Flip Taz from the apron to the floor but the gap between the ring and the barrier isn’t big enough and Taz ends up landing on Sabu. Either way Sabu makes a cover and gets a two. There is a table balanced on top of a guard rail and Sabu lays Taz on it, climbs to the top turnbuckle and Splashes Taz through it, gets two. Sabu hits Taz with a chair assisted Legdrop for another two. Taz gets a two from a Pump Handle Suplex. Sabu uses a chair to hit a top rope Monsault for a two and a Head Arm Suplex gets a two for Taz. Sabu uses the chair to jump to the top rope again, this time for a Legdrop, and he gets another two count. Taz dumps Sabu with another Head Arm Suplex and he lifts him to the buckles for a Head Arm Superplex and again he gets a two. Taz then Dragon Suplexes Sabu through a table. Alfonso throws the towel in the ring but Sabu throws it back out. In the commotion, Taz is able to lock in the Tazmission. Sabu is out. The bell rings.

Winner: Taz (still ECW Champion)

Taz gets on the mike and says Sabu gave him the fight of his life and that he respects Sabu. He tells Sabu he wants to shake his hand which Sabu does before leaving Taz in the ring to celebrate his victory as we fade out.

Post show: I thought this was a good show that had some really good wrestling on it. It’s easy to brand ECW as a ‘Hardcore‘ promotion that smack each other with weapons. There was only one match like that (Mustafa vs New Jack) and I’d say that match was the worst on the show.

Match Of The Night: Tajiri vs Super Crazy. It was this or RVD/Jerry Lynn. Both were outstanding matches but I felt that the RVD one went a little bit too long.

MVP: Jerry Lynn. everyone to this day knows what RVD is capable of but I felt that Jerry Lynn showed he is every bit as good as RVD and in a match that lasted over twenty minutes, Jerry Lynn went toe for toe with RVD and shone

Rating: 8/10

And that is me. I can be fount on Twitter @Callaweasy2220 where I live tweet my way through Raw, Smackdown, NXT and when there is one on (like this week: Backlash) Pay per view. Feel free to pop over and talk wrestling

As with most weeks, there is a vote for what YOU want to see on upcoming editions of Leaping Through The Network over on Twitter @theCHAIRSHOTcom

I’ll be back next week but right now the blue is surrounding me so all that is left to say is
#UseYourHead and ALWAYS have an Angle

“Tommy, you look like a sardine sitting on that couch.”

Oh boy.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: PROGRESS Chapter 4

Harry keeps chugging away on the back catalog of Progress! He lends his expertise and knowledge to help us learn where some of our favorite UK superstars began!

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Harry keeps chugging away on the back catalog of Progress! He lends his expertise and knowledge to help us learn where some of our favorite UK superstars began!

PROGRESS is coming off the worst of the three shows thus far (my ratings were 6.5, 7, 5.5 respectively). The main event was Nathan Cruz and El Ligero as tag partners took a loss to Dave Mastiff and Greg Burridge. Post match, it broke down into a brawl between the two and Jim Smallman announced that they would face here at Chapter 4 for the PROGRESS Championship. Previously, they have stuck with a three months between shows show time. This time, it’s only two months as we go from end of September to end of November (the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2012, I believe). I know of the main event and not a whole lot else in relation to this show, so we’re going to find out together. With that said, we once again go into our way back machine and head to November 25th, 2012 as “What I Watched” presents ‘The Ballad of El Ligero’ or PROGRESS Chapter 4.

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 4
The Ballad of El Ligero’
From: ‘The Boston Dome’ in Tufnell Park, London, England
Date: November 25th, 2012
Run Time: 2:03:48 (Demand PROGRESS)
WITH SPECIAL THANKS: Ian Hamilton for some of the research that I did while working on this review. (http://www.backbodydrop.com)

*GENERAL NOTES: Obviously, the first thing to discuss is that we’re in a different place then we were for the first three shows. Rather this is a full time thing or just a one off remains to be seen when we get to Chapter 5. As far as how the set-up looks, hard cam doesn’t appear to be too bad. There’s a bit of a glare on the ring which could prove problematic as the show goes on.

*Our opening video focuses on the changes we’ve seen in El Ligero in his time here in PROGRESS compared to how he was prior. They focus on the underhanded way he beat Burridge at Chapter 2 and the ‘sorry, not sorry’ shrug after superkicking Marty Scurll during his match with Nathan Cruz at the same show.

*Once again, no Smallman promo to start the show. I do look forward to when those become a regular thing going forward. Jim has such an infectious personality that you can’t help but enjoy him clearly having the time of his life in the ring. Even if he does tend to run a little long with the openings on occasion these days.

*Match #1: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) (2-0 as a team) vs. The Hunter Brothers (Jim and Lee) (debut)
The Who: London Riots are clearly the class of the PROGRESS tag division. At this time though, that’s not really saying a whole lot. Davis and Lynch are coming off back to back wins at Chapters 2 and 3. Hunter Brothers are making their debut here and I can’t say I’ve heard of them before this. They do sort of physically resemble the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson).
The Why: While I can’t say for sure, my guess is that PROGRESS is attempting to flush out the tag division by adding a new team in the Hunter Brothers against an established one in the London Riots.
The Match: I believe Smallman called them Lee and Jim. My guess is another name for them would be ‘dead’ and ‘meat’, because I don’t anticipate much of a contest here…Hunter’s slide into the ring, the fisticuffs start flying and the opening bell rings here…quick tags after a breakdown see the brothers in control early until Lynch launches Jim with an exploder…fans getting on Davis’ case by chanting ‘London Diets’. That’s pretty funny…tilt-a-whirl face plant by Davis on Jim Hunter. Always liked that move. Looks cool with a minimal amount of effort and risk for both parties…huge double stomp by Lynch to the back of Jim. That’s a big dude to be using that…after that opening flurry, it’s been all Riots. Not that it’s much of a surprise…overhead belly2belly by Lynch. Everything the Riots have done has been really smooth in this match. You can see them gelling more and more from Chapter to Chapter…Jim and Lynch end up trading shots in an exchange that Jim wins. Suspension of disbelief something serious there since Lynch has Jim outweighed by probably a hundred pounds…superkick into a Code Red by the Hunters. It looked good…overhead throw by Lynch tosses Lee across the ring…drop toe hold into a stomach breaker. Again, looked good too…Riots go for that double powerbomb that they hit at the last show, but Lee gets out with a ‘rana…first ‘This is Progress’ chant after a top-rope ‘rana-frog splash combo by Hunter’s…Lynch appears to hurt his knee coming off the ropes, but I’ve seen this ruse before…and sure enough, ruse it is as Lynch and Davis deck the Hunters from behind. Upon the second attempt, the double team powerbomb (which according to my research would become known as ‘District Line’) gets the three count at 14:25…long for an opener, but a good enough match. I don’t think I like the cliché of the ‘fake injury’ being used in the opening contest. Hunter’s held their own against the established Riots and even though I had a few minor issues here and there in terms of believability, I got more out of this match then I was expecting. Call it an ABOVE AVERAGE way to start, minor discrepancies aside.

Post-match: More mic time for the Riots and more of the same that we’ve heard from them before. Nothing really comes of it other then the crowd once again getting to chant ‘London Diets’ and I believe Davis shoving a plant to the floor.

*Match #2: RJ Singh (1-0-1) vs. Paul Robinson (0-1)
The Who: RJ Singh comes off a win over Rob Cage at Chapter 3. The draw you see in his record above was from a no decision in a three way where El Ligero became the number one contender. He still has the biggest entourage in PROGRESS to this point. Paul Robinson was tapped out by Noam Dar in his debut on what was the opening contest.
The Why: Truthfully, I have no clue. My theory is to give Singh more momentum going forward, but Robinson did have a pretty good match with Dar at Chapter 3 whereas I found the Singh-Cage match to be just there.
The Match: Can someone get Paul Robinson a good sandwich? If he lost any more weight, he’d be transparent. Something about seeing a guy’s ribcage just doesn’t scream wrestler to me…bell goes and we’re under way once again…apparently Robinson has outside wrestling experience as a kick boxer, so I take back what I said earlier. I ain’t trying to get kicked…Robinson with the series of short kip-up’s that I first saw by Chris Hero into an arm drag…say this much, Robinson is technically skilled. He may not be the biggest dog in the fight, but he might be the most aggressive…basement enzugiri by Robinson and that’s a new one for me…Robinson takes out both members of Singh’s entourage and then a suicide dive takes out Singh (and almost a couple fans) on the opposite side of the ring…Singh with a pair of backbreakers (tilt-a-whirl and pendulum) to set up an attempt for the ‘Ethnic Submission’ later on, I’m sure…HOOK THE LEG, MAAAAAN…Robinson with a nice springboard flying forearm before a single foot basement dropkick. The issue I have is there is no sign of the back work that Singh was doing here…Robinson goes for a flying legdrop and it does not end well for his tailbone…little later, Robinson goes for a 619 (to the fans approval) but Singh moves and hooks Robinson up to hit ‘Welcome to Chicago, Motherfucker’ (double underhook into a backbreaker). Would that be ‘Welcome to Bombay?’…Robinson gets ‘Sliced Bread #2’ (with a shout out to Naomichi Marufuji) for two…both members of Singh’s entourage get involved again. Shah Boudica eats the 619 to save Singh. Director gets knocked off the apron, but the distraction of Robinson allows Singh to catch him with a Widow’s Peak. Singh then applies the ‘Ethnic Submission’ (Camel Clutch) and that gives us a tap out at 10:56…I think the one I would use here is inconsistent. Singh tried to work over the back of Robinson, but Robinson barely sold it at all. The problem with that is when the ‘Ethnic Submission’ gets put on, you look like a putz who just taps rather then a guy who has been worn down. The ring work was fine otherwise but while I would put the entertainment level at about the same as the opener, I would call this one only AVERAGE due to the fact that Jim and Lee Hunter actually sold the beating they were taking from the London Riots. Somewhat of a disappointment.

Post-match: Director and Boudica come into the ring and attack Robinson after the match, only to be pulled away by Singh. Singh yells at both of them to leave and they exit the ring before Singh extends the hand to a now-risen Robinson. Interesting to see where a face turn for Singh could go. RJ seems to be a pretty competent wrestler, but the hijinx of his entourage have definitely hurt the quality of his matches thus far. I’ll be curious to see what he’s capable of against an opponent of a higher quality as well.

*Match #3: ‘Submission Match’- Noam Dar (2-1) vs. Jimmy Havoc (1-2)
The Who: Dar is coming off back to back wins here in PROGRESS, beating Darrell Allen and Paul Robinson by submission at Chapters 2 and 3 respectively. Havoc is coming off the absolute throw down with Jon Ryan in what basically turned into a death match at Chapter 3.
The Why: Unsure. It being a submission match is even more bizarre for me because to my knowledge, these guys have never been anywhere near each other in PROGRESS. That said, I’m actually looking forward to this as I am a fan of both guys.
The Match: Smallman’s ring intro is very biased…‘Spoon him up Jimmy, spoon him up’. PROGRESS fans, you glorious bastards…they then chant for a forking, but weapons are not legal…Jimmy does go for a spoon early but Dar is able to stay out…apparently, the bloodbath that Havoc had with Ryan at Chapter 3 was the end for Ryan. That’s unfortunate. I always thought he was a good hand…clean break by Dar in the ropes. Not something you usually see…Dar’s infatuation with his gum is borderline disturbing…Dar takes a tasty cake break and makes friends around ringside before eventually returning…Dar goes for the grapevine kneebar early but Havoc is able to escape and gets a dropkick while Dar is trapped in the corner…Havoc plans to fly, but Dar comes back in with a single foot dropkick before instinctively going for a cover. I would be shocked if that doesn’t happen more…Dar goes for a teabag but Havoc counters with the old Corino ‘thumb in the bum’. Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen…Dar is staying heavily on Havoc’s knee and Jimmy is actually selling it. Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson…the thing you learn in these early PROGRESS shows is Havoc is actually a competent wrestler. He just made his name as a death match guy…Jimmy Barnett compares Noam Dar to Brutus Beefcake on a sleeper before spinning that in a direction that is not appropriate for this review. Funny, just not appropriate…Havoc catches a Sharpshooter on Dar of all things. Been almost no work to set it up, but it does draw quite the pop from the crowd…and Dar empties a bag of thumbtacks in the ring. Havoc tries to DVD Dar into them, but the referee blocks that. A fireman’s carry throw puts Dar in the corner and Havoc sweeps up the tacks with a broom and basket…Dar has time to recover and takes Jimmy down before a top-rope double stomp to the knee puts Havoc down. Dar applies the Champagne Super Kneebar, but Jimmy is able to get to the ropes…they are just countering back and forth so fast that I can’t keep up with everything…Jimmy applies Mr. Socko (generic version) and puts on the Mandible Claw. Dar grabs the shoulder of Havoc to stop his hand from falling. That’s new…Dar brings a chair in. Ref gets rid of it and Dar pulls the Eddie Guerrero spot with a briefcase which leads to the referee ringing the bell on a DQ at 17:14…Smallman makes his way ringside and points out the shenanigans that Dar just attempted, restarting the match…Havoc takes Dar down into a Crossface. Dar once again gets to the rope. Dar is then able to catch Havoc in the ‘Champagne Super Kneebar’ once again and this time bites the foot. That’s just fucking gross. It also draws the tap out at 18:40…that was a lot of fun. They played the hits of a submission match and even tossed in a couple new school wrinkles with Noam Dar trying his best Eddie Guerrero impression. The finish, while gross, makes sense as well since Dar had been working the knee of Havoc for most of the match. The biting of the foot was just Dar being a dick and it protects Havoc a bit since it gives him an out that Dar had to do so. Fun match here and I’ll give it a GOOD rating. Best thing on the show thus far.

*Match #4: ‘Natural Progression’ First Round: Will Ospreay (0-0 as a single. 0-1 overall) vs. Mark Andrews (2-0)
The Who: Will Ospreay is obviously a big name now with his work for New Japan Pro Wrestling, however here he’s not nearly as big a deal. His only prior appearance for PROGRESS was a losing effort as one half of the tag team ‘Velocity Vipers’ with Alex Esmail. They lost to the London Riots in a match that was just getting good when Esmail broke his leg. Mark Andrews has been a staple since Chapter 2, defending the BWC Starlo Scholarship against Mike Hitchman and the former champion Xander Cooper. There is no mention of the Starlo here, so my guess is that three chapters is how long the PROGRESS/BWC relationship lasted.
The Why: First round match in what is deemed the ‘Natural Progression’ tournament. As to what exactly that means, maybe Jimmy Barnett will tell me and I can fill you all in on that. My guess would be a future title shot, but I honestly don’t know.
The Match: opening bell doesn’t go but goes, since it never officially rings, but the ref makes the motion…Barnett confirms the title shot for the winner as the tournament will continue over the next six Chapters…we stay on the mat early, but I don’t anticipate that will last long. Ospreay has gotten better on the mat over the years but both of these guys are much better fliers then they are scientific wrestlers…a high speed series of exchanges leads to Andrews getting in déjà vu (the double wrap around flying head scissors)…and Ospreay nails both Andrews a fan with a suicide dive. Her lap ate that dive. Make your own joke here…standing SSP gets two for Ospreay and he puts on a grounded Kimura. It’s the 2003 Brock Lesnar school of wrestling…I believe the mat portion of this contest is over. Of course, right as I type that, Ospreay puts on a seated chinlock…nice ‘dropsault’ by Ospreay. Almost as pretty as Paul London’s…tornado DDT out of back handspring by Andrews draws the second ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant of the night…Stomp 182 sets up a standing MS senton by Andrews. The flippy is strong with these two…impressive series of offense from Ospreay ends with a brainbuster for a double down…Ospreay has something ridiculous planned on the top, but Andrews has plans to drop him on his balls…avalanche reverse ‘rana draws a ‘he’s dead’ from Barnett. Andrews went all the way over and face planted on it…FIGHTING SPIRIT~!!!…Ospreay goes for a 450 but Andrews moves, leading to Ospreay landing on his feet. Andrews gets in a shot and heads to the apron himself, where a springboard in leads to him connecting with the ‘West Coast Pop’ (hurricanrana into a cradle) and that’s the three count at 10:29…man, if you are going to do one of these styles of matches, this is how you do it. Everything they did looked super clean and while there was no real selling to speak of, neither person had the advantage long enough for that to really be a complaint. They just traded bomb after bomb after bomb until eventually Andrews was able to put Ospreay’s shoulders down with that ‘West Coast Pop’ and advance to the semifinals on I’m guessing around Chapter 8 or 9. VERY GOOD match and definitely a sign of things to comes from both of these guys.

Post-match: A well deserved standing ovation for both competitors. A show of respect to each other as well and the fans chant ‘welcome back’ towards Ospreay as he makes his exit. Smallman puts over both guys on the house mic as well.

*Match #5: Stixx (1-1) vs. Marty Scurll (1-1-1) vs. Dave Mastiff (0-0 as a singles. 1-0 in tag matches)
The Who: Stixx is the guy who has faced Lion Kid (Wade Fitzgerald) on the last two shows. Chapter 2 was not so good. Chapter 3 was in my opinion the best match on the show. Here’s hoping his performance is more towards the second half of that. Marty Scurll is returning to in ring competition after TNA kept him off of Chapter 3, where he was just the special guest referee for the main event. In his most recent match in the company, he was defeated by champion Nathan Cruz in a ‘two out of three falls’ match for the PROGRESS Championship Staff at Chapter 2. Dave Mastiff who people may now know from the NXT UK TV show is making his singles debut here. He made his PROGRESS debut at Chapter 3, teaming with the now gone Greg Burridge to defeat Nathan Cruz and El Ligero, scoring the pinfall on the champion in the process.
The Why: The last time there was a three way in PROGRESS, it was a number one contendership match. One could argue that this could very easily be a de facto number contendership match as well. You have the best performer on Chapter 3 (Stixx), the man who took the champion to the limit at Chapter 2 (Scurll) and the man who pinned the champion at Chapter 3 (Mastiff), albeit in a tag match.
The Match: Would be wise for Scurll and Stixx to work together against Mastiff here, but we’ll see if that happens…we actually do get an opening bell this time…Scurll tries to make a friendship and attempts to double cross both Stixx and Mastiff. It doesn’t end well for him with either of them…Scurll tries an overhead chop to Mastiff and it has no affect. Following chops from Mastiff both stagger Stixx and knock Scurll down…Scurll slaps Stixx in the face. He’s just full of dumb ideas in this match, isn’t he?…huge clothesline from Stixx takes Mastiff over the top and to the floor. Not gonna lie, would be kinda interested in a one on one match between those two…Scurll comes after Stixx and Mastiff with a suicide dive. Both move and Scurll eats chairs on the dive attempt. That’s just a terrible idea and this is now a singles match, at least for the time being…wow, Marty came back a lot quicker then I thought he would. About a minute or so…Scurll hooks Mastiff and Stixx for a suplex but again, no dice…Mastiff tries a sit-down splash on Scurll and misses. Stixx then comes in and catches Mastiff with a rolling neckbreaker…at this point, Nathan Cruz makes his presence known and pulls Scurll out to the floor, brawling to the back with him…impressive escape by Stixx and a big flying shoulder block gets two…Mastiff with a Fit Finlay roll and a senton. That’s a big boy to be pulling off both those moves…Stixx with a backdrop counter to a powerbomb attempt. I believe these are the type of guys that led to the Hoss division becoming a thing in other companies. I think they add a belt down the line of that dimension here in PROGRESS, but I don’t know when…clothesline by Stixx is ducked and Mastiff with a release German into the turnbuckle. Mastiff creates a little space as Stixx slumps and a cannonball splash in the corner (Into the Void on NXT UK) spells the three count for Mastiff at 10:28…Cruz taking Scurll out of the match makes sense given their history but doesn’t given that Cruz is about to defend his title against El Ligero in the main event. What participation Scurll did have was fun, but it was minimal. As far as Stixx and Mastiff go, it was entertaining but never had the opportunity to reach another level just based on how short it was after Scurll got taken out. I stand by what I said earlier in wanting a proper one on one match between the two. Overall, it’s a GOOD match, but it could have been much better given what these men have proven capable of.

*Match #6: PROGRESS Wrestling Staff: ‘Showstealer’ Nathan Cruz © (3-0) vs. El Ligero (2-1)
The Who: Nathan Cruz is the inaugural PROGRESS champion, having won the title back at Chapter 1 in a four way match that included El Ligero, who was eliminated first. This will be his second title defense, as he beat Marty Scurll in the previously discussed ‘two out of three falls’ match at Chapter 2. El Ligero won a three way at Chapter 2 to become the number one contender, pinning Greg Burridge with a handful of tights. Ligero and Cruz teamed at Chapter 3, but it did not go well for them as Ligero kicked Cruz in the face, leading to Cruz getting pinned by Dave Mastiff. Post match, they got into another brawl and that brings us to the title match here.
The Why: This may be the easiest one of the evening. Tempers have flared over the last two Chapters and as the old adage goes, ‘if you can’t get along, you got to get it on’ so they will for the PROGRESS Wrestling Staff that represents their Heavyweight title.
The Match: Cruz has a pre-match promo that insults Ligero, Smallman and the fans to make Ligero the face for this match. In addition, Cruz demands that Smallman ban Scurll from ringside or Cruz is leaving and taking the Staff with him. Smallman agrees and the match is officially a go…again, the ‘shit Zack Ryder’ chant breaks out towards Cruz. He’s not wearing the single leg trunks this time, so it doesn’t have the same affect to me…opening bell goes and we’re underway…rolling sole butt leads to Cruz getting sent out to the floor less then a minute into the match…Ligero waits for Cruz to come back and it breaks down into a brawl in the middle…Ligero then proceeds to throw Cruz into the seats, about three row deep. Looks like we’re heading towards more crowd brawling here, which is something I absolutely don’t like for venues like this. Thankfully, this building is better lit then the previous one was, so we can actually see what’s happening…and there’s the ‘we can’t see shit’ chants. That’s not a good thing for your crowd to be chanting, guys…Cruz with lift and drop on the entrance and then a suplex onto the merch tables. Can’t help but feel like Smallman doesn’t appreciate this…Ligero pitches Cruz from the stage to the floor and then comes flying over with flipping dive, giving us the third ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant of the night…they briefly go back to the ring and then right back out…the moves on the floor are impressive and all, but I still feel like the match is best kept in the ring where the guys can go balls out…finally back in again and Cruz takes control with a huge release German suplex, throwing Ligero into a stomach first landing…fans chanting ‘Ole’ for Ligero. Reminds me of another masked guy they used to chant that for. Hope he’s doing well helping with the orphans…once we got back into the ring, it’s been all Cruz. On the floor, it was almost all Ligero…vertical suplex leads to a one count. Rare that you see the one count, but its Ligero’s way of telling Cruz that Ligero isn’t nearly done yet. I wish more people would use that story…Ligero gets the C4L (Crazy 4 Ligero) in ring (not the rope spring version) and that puts both guys down…Ligero gets a springboard enzugiri for a good near fall after Cruz went for ‘Show-Stolen’, the fireman’s carry Michinoku Driver…Cruz with a nice looking chest blower out of a pop up in the corner. For as much shit as the crowd gave him, he seems to win a good bit of them over during his matches…Cruz calls for the sliding single foot kick but Ligero moves. Ligero again wiggles out of ‘Show-Stolen’ and hits the Beach Break (down the back Tombstone) for two…trading blows back and forth here before Cruz again goes for ‘Show-Stolen’, turned into a roll-up for two…huge superkick puts both men down again. No count by the referee though. Ligero looks for C4L but Cruz counters with a Cutter which again leads to a double down, this time with a count from Chris Robinson…getting deep into this contest. Easily the longest on the show and not even close…Cruz looks for a superplex which could be a bad idea with this low ceiling…it’s countered, thankfully…top-rope splash by Ligero gets two. Fans are calling for flips, but I’m not sure the roof is high enough to support that theory off the top…Ligero gets the PROGRESS Staff. He looks to hit Cruz with it but the ref talks him out of it. The distraction leads to ‘Show-Stolen’ for a two count. A second ‘Show-Stolen’ only gets a one count…Cruz then hits the sliding single foot kick but that only gets two as well…alright, we’re on the verge of overkill here gentlemen. I get what you are trying to do, but killing Cruz’s move set isn’t the way to get there…Cruz tries to pick Ligero up and Ligero quickly catches him in a guillotine choke. Cruz tries to roll out but Ligero rolls through and has it hooked in from a seated position, bending Cruz forward. Cruz tries to fight but can’t and taps out, ending the match and giving the title to El Ligero at 26:51…I’m torn here. While I more or less enjoyed the match, there were definitely parts of it I did not care for. The constant crowd brawling that happens in the main events of PROGRESS shows has to stop. It takes the home viewer out of the experience. While it may be cool for the fans in attendance for the guys (or girls eventually) to make their way around the building, it’s a burden for the camera crew to follow along with and for the fans at home to follow. The overkill on the finishers at the end by Cruz was another thing that bothered me. I knew going in that Cruz was dropping the belt to Ligero here but in effect, you killed off most of Cruz’s main move set in the process with the repeated kick outs. That’s not to say the match was all bad. There was nothing blown, most of the exchanges looked really good and while I may not personally care for the amount of kick outs, I can understand the story they were going for. All in all, it’s a GOOD match to end the show and the Nathan Cruz era but for the time they got, I think I just expected more.

Post-match: Ligero is crowned king as they fans applaud his performance. Jimmy Barnett signs us off and the final images we get are that of El Ligero celebrating with the Staff after Cruz makes his way backstage to a ‘You Tapped Out’ chant. Credits roll and Chapter 4 is a wrap.

RESULTS
Match #1: London Riots (J. Davis/R. Lynch) defeat Hunter Brothers (Jim and Lee) when Lynch pins Jim (I think) after the ‘District Line’ powerbomb @ 14:25 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #2: RJ Singh taps Paul Robinson, ‘Ethnic Submission’ @ 10:56 (AVERAGE)
Match #3: ‘Submission Match’: Noam Dar taps Jimmy Havoc, ‘Champagne Super Kneebar’ with foot bite @ 18:40 (GOOD)
Match #4: ‘Natural Progression’ Quarterfinal Match: Mark Andrews pins Will Ospreay, West Coast Pop @ 10:29 (VERY GOOD)
Match #5: Dave Mastiff wins three way, pinning Stixx with the ‘Into the Void’ cannonball splash @ 10:28 of a match that also involved Marty Scurll (GOOD)
Match #6: PROGRESS Championship Staff: El Ligero taps Nathan Cruz ©, guillotine choke @ 26:51 to win the title (GOOD)

FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
Clearly a step up from Chapter 3, I’m not sure it quite reaches the heights of Chapters 1 and 2. The Ospreay and Andrews match is very good but there isn’t a match that gets an extended time to draw you in and push you to that excellent range like we got with Scurll and Sabre on Chapter 1 or the main event between Cruz and Scurll on Chapter 2. Times are definitely changing here, as the ‘Natural Progression’ tournament has started and that’ll give us something to look forward to as these shows continue. Plus, the era of the ‘Showstealer’ has come to a close as El Ligero goes from quasi dick challenger to now being the most hunted man in the company as the new champion. It’s a good show, but not the top-to-bottom great show that PROGRESS would eventually spoil fans with on a consistent basis.

So, where does this leave us all? Well, it’ll leave me coming back to watch ‘For Those About to Fight, We Salute You’, or PROGRESS Chapter 5. It’ll hopefully lead the readers here to give the show a shot themselves and form their own opinions. And for the fourth time in as many shows, I’m hungry after finishing one of these. I think it’s time for some pizza.

THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: Ospreay vs. Andrews for sure. It was a spotfest and a sprint, but it was a really good one.
Worst Match/Moment: I’ll go with all the crowd brawling in the main event. A couple of cool spots aside from it, it just seemed like a way to make the match go longer for going longer sake.
MVP: Going to give this one to the new champion El Ligero. While I personally may have enjoyed the Ospreay and Andrews match more, this was a big moment for Ligero and you could tell that it meant a lot to him. We’ll see where his title reigns goes.
FINAL SCORE: 6.5/10

Until next time: “This Is PROGRESS” and that’s “What I Watched”. Up next is Chapter 5: “For Those About to Fight, We Salute You”.

And make sure you guys check out the Raw Reaction every Monday night at 11:30 PM (EST) to hear Tony Acero, Andrew Balaz and myself break down important news of the week and cover Monday Night Raw over on the Chairshot Radio Network. (www.blogtalkradio.com/chairshotradio for more)


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWE Fastlane 2015 – Reigns vs. Bryan

Looking back at WWE Fastlane 2015 with Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan!

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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 TakeYou 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 TakeReally 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 TakeLillian 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 TakeSeems 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 TakeIf 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 TakeThis 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 TakeGreat 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 TakeReally 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 TakeExcellent 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 FinisherOverall 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


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