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In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede

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Ken Shamrock WWE

We take a random trip down memory lane to the In Your House series and today we are in “The Heart of the New West” Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede was the fourth pay-per-view the WWE had hosted at the time and was well received, drawing an attendance at the Canadian Airlines SaddleDome of 12,151 making 228K at the gate and an additional 60K in merchandise. This would break all revenue records at the time. The fans were pumped up on July 6, 1997 to hear Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and Vince McMahon call this short card. The feature match had the feuding self proclaimed, “Canadian Hero” Brett Hart, leading a team of Owen Hart, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Brian Pillman and The British Bulldog, facing off against Stone Cold Steve Austin and his group of outcasts. (Goldust, Ken Shamrock and the Legion of Doom). It was an interesting PPV as the rest of the world viewed The Hart Foundation as a Heel faction but in their home of Canada they were viewed as Baby Faces.

The opening vignette, done in black and white, is well put together and does a good job recapping the events that led to Canadian Stampede. The Narrator starts by telling us “We no longer live in a world of black and white, but gray rather”. He goes on to have some cool lines like “renegades receive a heroes embrace”, as the video shows Stone Cold pounding Steve-weisers. The video shows us Brett’s heel turn, including the iconic shot of Austin bleeding profusely as The Hitman applies the Sharpshooter at WM13, the creation of The Hart Foundation and the events leading to today. The segment ends with the Canadian Stampede logo flying through the dessert and pyro on the entrance stage. The crowd is popping as Vince introduces the event. Check these outfits out.

The first match on the card we see a future WWE Hall Of Famer and a already inducted WWE Hall Of Famer square off. The 2013 inductee, Mick Foley, as his Mankind persona, will meet the founder and producer of NXT and current executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative at WWE, Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Hunter would be joined, by his real life girlfriend at the time, “The Ninth Wonder of the World”, Chyna. Who would of thought that these two men would combine for a total of 17 Heavyweight Titles. Foley with four, if you count the TNA Title, and Triple H with 13, which is third all time, behind Flair and Cena. Oh, hindsight.

The 1997 King of the Ring winner, Hunter Hearst Helmsley enters the arena first, accompanied by Chyna, to a negative response. We see a vignette that compares Triple H’s “Blue Blood” upbringing to Mankind’s, which includes a clip from the early Dude Love promos Foley made as a teen. They are worth a look for any fan of the business. The video goes on to show highlights from there King of the ring match, that was full of outside interference from Chyna, in which Mankind took blows from both the Scepter and the Crown and a Pedigree through an announce table. Most likely the Spanish one. Mankind is on his way down next and I can’t forget how deranged and creepy I thought this was a kid. I Mean the dude would yank his own hair out for fun.

Triple H waste no time going for Mankind as soon as he hits the ring but he doesn’t take long to get back in the fight. Mankind hits the double armhook DDT and taunts Hunter with his own curtsy. The bumps are hard early and don’t slow down one step throughout. Mankind sends Helmsley over the top rope and hits his famous elbow drop from the apron. They continue up the ramp where Hunter takes a solid suplex and JR calls Mankind “The Prime Minister of Parts Unknown,” something I noticed and enjoyed. The crowd is really popping at this point and they are really into it early, understandably so. Mankind goes for an early finisher, The Mandible Claw, but this is where we get our first interference from Chyna. This leads to his really first offensive move of the match, Irish whipping Mankind to Chyna for the scoop slam into the steel stairs. Vince is quick to point out that Mankind hit his lower, left leg on the stairs. A statement that would prove to be Triple H’s work for the match. He waste no time going to work on the leg of mankind, a chair shot amongst other ways.

After some wear down, Hunter applies a figure four and uses the ring ropes for leverage behind the refs back, in perfect heel fashion. The ref breaks the hold after he catches Hunter in the act. This leads to Mankind countering a Pedigree with what Jim Ross calls an “inadvertent low blow. The King Continues with “now Chyna wont be happy about that”. Now there is a rib I am surprised Stephanie didn’t edit out. Mankind hits a brutal looking pull piledriver that shows exactly why the move isn’t in use much today. A double clothesline from Mankind sends both men over the top rope for yet another hard looking bump.  Mankind soon goes for a chair shot of his own but Chyna interrupts giving way for Helmsley to counter with a chair shot to Mankind’s injured leg. He goes for a second attempt that the referee foils but leaves a moment for Chyna to land a jarring clothesline on Mankind. Back in the ring Mankind counters Triple H’s attempt at a highspot and locks in the Mandible Claw. Only to have it spoiled by Chyna grabbing the leg and hitting a spread eagle low blow into the ring post. The match continues outside and into the crowd and before long, and obviously not ten seconds, we hear the bell sound. As the fight continue through the crowd we hear Howard Finkel announce a double count out. Soon thereafter Mankind slams Hunter in to the home team’s, The Calgary Flames, penalty box. Helmsley comes out of the box spotting some crimson on his face and the brawl continues with referees and Chyna in the mix until they can be separated.

Going into this match and watching Foley perform, I was expecting the hard bumps to fall on Mick. After watching it back i can say that Hunter took the hardest ones here but Foley didn’t disappoint. This match was amazing and watching it back I can see why these two Superstars went on to have the careers they did. It’s a shame things turned out the way they did with Chyna because she was also great here. I wish I could I have started this segment with TWO current Hall of Fame inductees and one future inductee.

There is a quick promo next for the Calgary Stampede that is taking place the same weekend as the Canadian Stampede. “The Greatest Outdoors Show On Earth”, The Calgary Stampede is a ten day, annual rodeo festival that the WWE modeled this event around. The promo shows the annual parade, which featured Miss Calgary 1997 Diana Smith, The wife of The British Bulldog, and The Hart Foundation.  Doc Hendrix, in his best FM radio DJ voice, would tell us that Brett Hart spent the whole day signing every last autograph. Bruce Pritchard would confirm this, on his podcast Something to Wrestle, saying that it was in fact true because someone never cut the line off and Brett didn’t want to disappoint someone who had waited. We also get to see a few bits of the Tug ‘O’ War match versus the local Calgary fire department. The only thing about this that I liked is they didn’t put the firefighters over on this charity event and beat them. This promo ends with The Hitman making an appearance at the Calgary Stampede to a great pop, of course. This leads us to Doc Hendricks, AKA Michael P. Hayes, interviewing The Hart Foundation.

Stone Cold would interrupt the interview at the start and be held back by Pat Patterson. Brett Would say “what’s it gonna prove if we beat up Steve Austin back here. It’s gonna prove he got beat up 5 on 1. That’s not what we want, we want 5 on 5.” This was different, as Brett has been a Heel in recent months in the WWE but would try to be made out as a Face in this promo.

The next match would start by Vince saying “some of the greatest athletes you’ll ever feast your eyes on, the light heavyweight division”. The match would feature The Great Sasuke squaring off against Taka Michinoku. This was an interesting match as it was different than what the WWE was accustomed to. This was a way to promote what would be a new title, The Light Heavyweight Championship. They really wanted Taka here but Michinoku felt like he owed one to Sasuke, as he was the owner and founder of Michinoku Pro Wrestling where Taka had gotten his start, so he came along for this match but would be gone soon after. The WWE would send Undertaker, Sunny and Chris Candino to Japan as part of the deal with Sasuke for a short tour. Enough of the setup and back to the mat.

Taka Michinoku would enter the arena first and The Great Sasuke would follow. When Sasuke enters Howard Finkels say “and also from Japan”. I found that entertaining as most of the commentary in this match is, as it is something different than what they normally call. The biggest take away from the commentary is that it seemed as only Jim Ross would know the names of the different moves used in this match.

The debut of these two Superstars is interrupted before it can begin as it is revealed that Hunter Hearst Helmsey, with Chyna still in hand, and Mankind still continue to brawl from the back and through the crowd. Hunter still wearing a “Crimson Mask”. This is another spot, like the lightweight guys, that is not familiar territory for the WWE at the time and is something, in my opinion, they acquired from watching ECW’s gaining steam.

After the interruption ends, the bell sounds and we are off to a slow start, but soon picks up and doesn’t miss a beat from there. After a few early 2 counts, off from some roll maneuvers, we get our first pop from the crowd with a nice roundhouse kick to Taka’s chest. The crowd is starting to really feel the match after some dropkicks, on Sasuke from Taka, that leads to a counter that sends Michinoku to the outside. The first big highspot comes when, off the top turnbuckle, Sasuke hits the face of Taka with, as JR would say, “a Martial Arts kick”. I expected a “what a maneuver” from Vince here to no avail. We get some more quality back and fourth that leads, to what I think is the biggest pop of the match, a springboard pancha from Taka off the top rope to the outside. Then we see our first false finish after Michinoku hits a hurricanrana on Sasuke. The next highspot would be a springboard moonsault from Sasuke off the second rope on the outside. More Pop. His momentum wouldn’t last long after a missle dropkick from the top turnbuckle is landed by Taka. He would follow up with a devastating Michinoku Driver, his finish, but would only get another two count. Michinoku would soon find himself in trouble when his highspot is countered with a dropkick to the midsection. The Great Sasuke would follow up with a “Razor’s Edge” type powerbomb and would get the three with a double armhook suplex/pin combination.

This match would show the level of the product that came from Japan at the time and that they still continue to produce until this day. I was entertained throughout the entire match and the high spots were amazing. The brutal kicks these two men took to the face were either amazing works or extremely dangerous. The crowd loved the match, as did I. This bout between The great Sasuke and Taka Michinoku is must see “Sports Entertainment”.

Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Mankind are at it again and this time outside in the back lot. Mankind bangs Hunter’s head off a bus before Chyna could grab hold of his arms. Helmsley soon unleashes a few punches on Foley that don’t appear to be pulled. Hunter would throw Mankind into some beer kegs before breaking a shovel over his back. They would find them self on top of some solid wood boxes and Triple H’s Pedigree would be countered. Mankind would ring Hunter’s head off a bus one more time before he is taken away by Gerald Brisco. The segment would end with a nice shot at Helmsley’s bloodied face. The way they continued this fight through the show was well done and would set them up for a steel cage match at SummerSlam 1997.

Vince and the boys would explain to use how Ahmed Johnson was originally supposed to get a Title shot here but succumbed to a knee injury in a tussle between the Nation of Domination and the biker gang themed, D.O.A. Vince was really pushing the gang angles here as they would be ever present in the coming months. I always liked Ahmed as a kid and it seemed like the company did too. Its a shame he was so injury prone.

Next we get a Vader promo where Doc asks, a strawberry blonde, Paul Bearer about the allegations of Undertaker killing his parents. Some strange shit I know. Bearer would go on about Taker murdering his whole family and some other nonsense about a mirror. This promo is the and goofy storyline is the only downside I found to this whole event thus far. We are introduced to the events leading to this match starting at The Royal Rumble. This is where we see Bearer betray The Undertaker with an urn shot to Taker’s head. Vader would land the Vader Bomb next and get the three count.

The challenger, Vader, makes his way down the aisle, accompanied by Paul Bearer first. This is the first real heat we are hearing here as Vader enter the arena and ring. The crowd goes nuts though when the bell sounds and The Heavyweight Champion, The Undertaker’s theme begins to play. This is a classic Taker entrance with the smoke, slow walk to the ring and purple lights. I found myself enjoying the whole mystique it presented, just as much as I did as an eleven year old watching this. When The Phenom hits the stairs and raises his arms “making” the lights come on, Vader has a truly spooked look on his face. Bearer is shown cowering in fear as Taker hands the title over and the bell sounds.

The Undertaker is first out of the gate with his lariat punches, a big clothesline and a leg drop, of the Hulk Hogan variety, for our first two count. The Deadman hit a big splash soon after that draws a positive reaction from the fans. Take goes to the top rope for his famous tight rope chop that if I don’t see in a Taker match, I am definitely disappointed. Another two count. Vader starts to gain some momentum after a splash, that Undertaker does his trademark sit-up from, but Vader is all over him with punches that are certainly making hard contact. It is been said by many Superstars that Vader didn’t pull his punches and when he hit you, he hit you. We see a sidehead lock applied by Vader next that is the only dull spot in the match and was probably used to regain their breath. The crowd rally behind Taker and he wiggles free and misses a big boot, that Vader still sells. I think he realized he had missed because he lands the next one and it sends Vader crashing over the ropes to the outside.

Vader reverses Undertaker’s Irish whip to the stair and Paul Bearer is done being scared and is now talking trash. We get some good back and forth but the crowd is electric and committed to the fight anfter Taker comes off the top rope for a clothesline. Another two count. For a 400 plus pound man, Vader takes another hard hump off an uppercut that sends him over the top rope and crashing to the outside. We get another trademark Undertaker move next, His backflip ring exit. He goes after Paul Bearer with his patented slow walk but Vader uses it to his advantage to blindside Undertaker. As the ref is telling Vader to re-enter the ring, Bearer goes to work on Taker with his shoe. Jim Ross would say “if the heel don’t get him the smell would”. Good ole JR. Vader and Bearer are getting great heat at this point when Vader hits a Vader Bomb for his first false finish. As Undertaker starts his rally back the camera is visibly shaking and the noise is at an insane level. Vader goes to work with some more of those big punches but Taker counters and is unloading some of his own punches. Watching these punches one thing is for sure, Undertaker didn’t sell a punch like Vader did, most likely because there was nothing to sell with Vaders, as they were real. The Phenom goes for a chokeslam but Vader counters with a low blow kick. Vader comes off the rope but is scooped into the Tombstone position. The spot next is a botched reversal from Vader on the Tombstone that ended up looking better than what the original called spot would have. The place is again shaking as Vader is on the ropes for another Vader Bomb but Taker lands a low blow of his own and that sets up for a chokeslam off the second rope. 1,2… kick out. Another chokeslam and another false finish that has the crowd on their toes. We see the “Throat Slit'” from The Undertaker with his thumb next and we get a successful Tombstone Piledriver on Vader this time and the classic Undertaker cover for the pinfall. This was another great match on the card and it didn’t disappoint at all. Vince tells as Taker is celebrating that we may see Undertaker’s brother at SummerSlam. I usually enjoy the bad matches, as its always fun to point out flaws, but this match, along with the PPV so far, have had few if any. Maybe the main event will have some…

There is a quick clip of more praise, from the Canadian fans, for the Hart Foundation along with more talk of a mile long line to meet Brett. Next is a quick promo vignette show the gang-style warfare, that has been present at the time. It starts, “The events surrounding the squared circle of late have made chaos and mayhem” an continues to show the feud between Crush’s DOA, Farooq’s Nation and the Savio Vega led, Los Baricuas. It would end with “nothing pales in comparison to the feud between Steve Austin and The Hart Foundation”. They hype the Canadian versus USA angle here, rightfully so as it created great crowd heat, and show the event leading to this match. Another great promo.

Doc has a quick spot with Austin’s stable were every gets some microphone work in. But when the mic comes to Stone Cold he just walks out and Finke introduces us to The Farmer’s Daughters, who will be singing the Canadian National Anthem. The Farmer’s Daughters best charting song was titled “Cornfields and Cadillacs”. By the title alone I’m sure it’s terrible. This was well done as it created heat with the people tuning in in the States. We are introduced to The Premier of the Providence of Alberta, Ralph Kline. No idea here. Next are The Hart Family matriarch and patriarch, Stu and Helen. The place pops for the Founder of Stampede Wresting, a promotion that was a Canadian staple until Vince bought it in 1985.

Goldust makes his way to the ring first and receives mostly boos from the crowd. Ken Shamrock, who’s next, receives some decent pop but the Legion of Doom get an even better response from the fans. But when we hear that glass break and Stone Cold Steve Austin enters the arena for the first time, the place is on fire with heat from the crowd. As he hits each turnbuckle the temperature surely rises. As Brian Pillman enters, waving his arms to pump the crowd, the buzz starts to gain. As Vince would say, “The Big Nasty Rhyno”, Jim Neidhart enters next and as each member enters the arena the rumble grows and grows in anticipation of their hero, “The Hitman”.  European Champion The British Bulldog, With Miss Calgary in hand, follows and Owen Hart is next, with his Slammys in hand and his IC belt around his waist. When the high pitch squeal of Brett Hart’s music comes on the place is electric.. This kind of response you will be hard pressed to find and is something you should watch as a wrestling fan. They make their way to the ring led by Brett, as they waited on the ramp for each other. Brett would put his glasses on his mother, a nice gesture from the heel.

Austin and Brett are on the ring first and are having a nice stare off. Here we hear JR mention that there are camera crews filming ringside for an upcoming Hitman documentary. This would go on to become Wrestling With Shadows. I would recommend this to any fan of from wrestling at the time as it offers some inside going-ons of the time. Brett would have to pick his spots in this fight as he was recovering from knee injury and his first one would set the pace for the fight. Austin lands some blows and is soon stomping a mudhole in the Hitman. If you listen carefully, you can hear Austin say “Fuck Off” to the Canadian fans. The crowd is giving the heat right back.

Everyone gets a chance to make an in ring appearance next, as the tags are spread around to give all the guys some spotlight. They go back and forth here shifting momentum and the crowd is reacting to every move, be it a suplex or a knee to the midsection. When Pillman comes into the ring we hear Jim Ross mention his run with the CFL team, The Calgary Stampeders. Every move Pillman does in the match is some kind of cheat tactic. Be it an eye rake, spiiting in someones face or breaking up a pinfall. He does an amazing job selling the fact that he is “The Loose Cannon”.  We get some more hot tags and momentum shifts. The crowd delivers their first dose of “Austin Sucks” chants that rumble the place. The first gang fight breaks out after the Hitman hangs Goldust in his corner and the boys go to work with their boots. When the fight breaks out the crowd is on their toes and the place is electric. The crowd is in this match 100 percent and erupts once again when Owen nails the missle dropkick from the top and does a kip up. His hype is cut short when the Legion of Doom about take his head off with the vicious Doomsday Device. Anvil stops the count ans our second gang fight breaks out. Austin is going to work on the knee of Owen, as he is pelted by ten dollar beers from the fans, when Bruce Hart grabs him from the crowd and exchange blows. The crowd heat is at an all time high and the “Austin Sucks” chants are in full effect.

Owen is led to the back as the match continues. Austin hits his first Stunner on Pillman soon after but Brett grabs his foot and leads him to the ring post were he goes to work with a fire extinguisher before applying a hanging figure four. The referees soon force Austin to the back and the back and fourth continues with some pop and nothing really worth noting, except a Powerslam from Davey Boy of the top turnbuckle that looked jarring. He gets the 2 as we see Austin limp back. We get a double hot tag next from Brett and Austin. The pair go back and fourth before Hart has the Sharpshooter applied and Animal breaks it up. This has the place shaking again. I cannot emphasis enough how much the crowd was into it. Must see stuff here. Austin applies a Sharpshooter of his own when we see Owen Hart limp back out to save his brother. Owen makes the hot tag but Austin sends him tumbling outside with a clothesline over the top rope and landing in front of his family. The top comes off the place when Stone Cold grabs Stu Hart but Bruce interrupts and is soon over the barrier brawling with Steve. Another battle breaks out as Austin gets back in the ring. But Owen makes the roll up, using Austin tights and keeping them Heels by doing so, ang gets the three. At this point the place just explodes. There is another tussel with all member in the ring, Hart family included, before the police break it up. Austin goes ballistic before he is cuffed and escorted out. The show goes off air with a nice moment of all the Hart family in the ring. This would be a highlight of the family as they are all here at this time.

This way an amazing PPV and was record breaking in all revenue. Dave Meltzer would rate the event high with the matches receiving 3,4,3.25 and 4.25 star ratings. I actually agree with Dave here, but think the last match could of gotten a 5 based of crowd heat alone. I would highly suggest watching this event.

Next week we will be taking a look at Badd Blood: In Your House that took place on October 5, 1997 with Shawn Michaels taking on the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match!


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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWE SummerSlam 2016

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Kickoff Match #1: The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch), The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) & Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) vs. The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley), The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) & American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable)
Breeze & Gable to kickoff the action, collar & elbow tie-up to start out, Prince Pretty backs Gable towards his corner, Chad goes to a waistlock and takes him down to the canvas. Tyler with a back elbow to break the grip and gains a wristlock, Gable rolls through, scores with a forearm, brings him back down with a spinning drop toe hold and slaps on an armbad. Tag to Jey who regains the wristlock, Breeze with a handful of hair to work him to the corner, Aiden gets the tag, drives Jey face-first into the top turnbuckle, then connects with heavy right hands. He shoots Jey across, Jey slides to a stop, drills him with an uppercut, delivers a body slam and makes a tag to Mojo.

Rawley with big fists to the breadbasket, drives his shoulder into English’s and locks in an armwringer, Aiden breaks it with a right hand, but a whip to the ropes is reversed for a back body drop. Mojo tags out and Ryder comes off the 2nd rope for a combination suplex/dropkick. Long Island Iced Z unloads with forearms in the corner, sets for the Broski Boot, every hits the ring now and the melee is on with The Ascension left standing.

American Alpha ascends the same turnbuckle for in-sync top rope clotheslines and shoulder blocks, Breezango pulls them to the outside, Zack comes running in with a baseball slide to them both, gets dragged under the bottom rope and Aiden rams him into the ring post as we hit a break….We come back from commercial and Gotch covers Ryder for a count of 2 before utilizing a chinlock, switches to an armbar, Long Island Iced Z works to his feet, gets backed to the wrong corner and Viktor tags in to put the boots to him in the corner for a 1 count. He grounds Zack with a rear chinlock, Ryder finds his footing again, escapes after a jawbreaker, reaches for a tag, but gets driven back into the wrong corner again.

Konnor tags in and crushes Zack with a corner clothesline, sends him into a high knee from Viktor for a count of 2, Prince Pretty tags back in, snapmares Ryder over for an elbow drop and hooks the leg for another 2. He grinds Long Island Iced Z down with a rear chinlock, The Broski battles up, gets taken down into a single leg crab, Fandango gets the tag and comes in with a slingshot leg drop for a near fall. Viktor re-enters the match and puts the bad mouth on Ryder in the corner, Long Island Iced Z tries scurrying to his corner and gets caught in a front facelock, gets pushed back to the wrong corner, Konnor tags in and The Ascension knocks all of Ryder’s partners off the apron.

The Ascension looks for another double team, Zack thwarts it off, crawls to his corner as Jimmy climbs back to the apron, Konnor slides in to cut him off with a Canadian backbreaker, but Ryder slips out of it into a neckbreaker. Tags on both sides now, Jimmy delivers clotheslines to Tyler, keels him over with a kick, scores with an uppercut, shoots him to the ropes for a clothesline, Breeze ducks it, but gets planted by a Samoan Drop instead. He lines Prince Pretty up for the corner hip attack, Konnor rolls in and cuts him off, blocks a kick, swings the leg around and Jimmy decks him with an uppercut.

He goes to send Breeze to the ropes, irish whip is reversed, Jordan with a blind tag as Jimmy attempts a crossbody that misses the mark, Jordan tossing Tyler with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Fandango comes off the top rope to help his partner, gets caught by a belly-to-belly for his troubles, Gotch makes a tag, steps into the ring and gets thrown with a leg-trapped suplex, covers, but Aiden breaks it up at 2. Gable slides into the ring and goes for a kick to English, it’s countered and Gable gets planted by a sit-out powerbomb. Rawley hits the ring next with a discus punch to Aiden, turns around and Breeze lays him out with the Beauty Shot, Prince Pretty catches Zack coming in looking for the Rough Ryder, elevates him into the air and Viktor flattens him with a clothesline.

He props Ryder on the top turnbuckle, Breeze & Viktor climb up for a double superplex, Mojo rolls in and plants them both with a powerbomb, Long Island Iced Z following with the ElBro Drop off the top. Fandango climbs the opposite corner and connects with the Last Dance to Ryder, Jimmy rolls in and disposes of Fandango with a superkick, turns around and Konnor’s there to elevate him up, Viktor coming off the 2nd rope with a knee to the jaw.

Gable comes in and low-bridges Konnor over the top, elevates Viktor to the apron, Viktor hangs on, The Ascension set him up for a double suplex, but The Usos slide in to prevent it with in-sync superkicks. Jimmy & Jey take flight to the outside with crossbody planchas, Simon rolls into the ring and peppers Gable with a stiff forearm, turns around and Jordan is there to spear him in the corner. Gable tags in, American Alpha hits Grand Amplitude, Jey with a blind tag and he comes off the top with the Uso Splash to Simon for the win.
Winners: The Hype Bros, The Usos & American Alpha (Jey/Uso Splash)

  • EA’s Take: Solid contest that was eerily similar to the one we saw on SmackDown. Only difference here is the heels got in some more offense and Jey tagged himself in to “steal” the pinfall. I don’t mind it, but there was nothing spectacular really. We get some teased tension between Alpha and The Usos at the end, I don’t see The Usos turning heel, but more building up the competition with these teams vying for the top spot.

Kickoff Match #2: The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) vs. Neville & Sami Zayn
Neville & D-Von to start out, D-Von goes to a wristlock off the tie-up, The Man That Gravity Forgot uses the ropes to flip over and counter to one of his own, then tags out. Sami maintains the hold and delivers shots to the shoulder, quick tags between Neville & Zayn now, trading off blows to the left arm. The Underdog from the Underground plants D-Von with a body slam, gets on all fours, Neville jumps off his back into a standing corkscrew moonsault, then they dump Bubba over the top and look for synchronized outside dives.

Bubba trips Neville up from the floor, D-Von takes the opening, puts The Man That Gravity Forgot in the corner and puts the boots to him, shoots him to the ropes for a spinning back elbow, covers for a 1 count and we go to a commercial….We come back and Bubba props Neville on the top turnbuckle, plants him into the canvas with an elevated neckbreaker, D-Von re-enters the match and covers for a count of 2. He locks on a nerve hold to the trap muscle, The Man That Gravity Forgot fights to his feet, gets clocked by a right hand, D-Von snapmares him over and drops a leg for another 2 count.

He puts Neville into the corner and unleashes a flurry of fists, Bubba tags back in and buries a punch into the ribs, rams The Man That Gravity Forgot into the top turnbuckle and talks trash as he pummels him with more right hands. Neville starts to fire up and gets clocked by a back elbow, Bubba goes to the 2nd rope for a senton, Neville avoids it, crawls toward his corner and we get tags on both sides.

The Underdog from the Underground with clotheslines for D-Von, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, D-Von tosses Sami into the air for a flapjack, Zayn clobbers him with a dropkick, ducks a clothesline and scores with the Blue Thunder Bomb, Bubba breaking the count up at 2. D-Von tags out, Sami battles off both Dudleys initially, he misses a wild right hand, The Dudleys plant him with 3D II, Bubba hooks the leg and now Neville saves the match at a 2 count.

The half-brothers take the 2-on-1 advantage and set Neville up for 3D, The Man That Gravity Forgot slips out of it, ducks a clothesline, Bubba levels D-Von instead, turns around and gets decked by the Helluva Kick. Neville tags in, connects with the Red Arrow and that’s all she wrote.
Winners: Neville & Sami Zayn (Neville/Red Arrow)

  • EA’s Take: More pretty standard stuff here, Neville’s corkscrew moonsault off of Sami’s back was impressive, but I’ve seen it before. Not that it makes it any less exciting. The Dudleys continue to have communication problems and although I don’t agree with it if that’s what’s going to happen, it looks as if a split is inevitable.

Kickoff Match #3 – Best Of 7 Series Match #1: Sheamus vs. Cesaro
Both guys a little tentative to begin, they lock-up and jostle for position in the corner, the official steps in to force a break, Sheamus tries an early Brogue Kick and misses, Cesaro following him into the opposite corner with a running uppercut. He pulls The Celtic Warrior out, Sheamus missing a wild right hand, The Swiss Superman springs off the 2nd rope for another uppercut, gets caught in the air, battles out of it and uses a double leg takedown to set for the Swing.

The Great White kicks his way free, Cesaro comes back with a double stomp to the chest, clotheslines Sheamus over the top to the floor, hits the ropes for an outside dive, but The Celtic Warrior surprises him with a right hand from the floor. He rolls into the ring and gets caught by a dropkick for a count of 2, The Great White staggers to the corner, uses the tights to pull Cesaro face-first into the turnbuckles, unleashes a flurry of uppercuts, irish whip across is reversed, The Swiss Superman follows in and gets elevated to the apron, landing on his feet.

Sheamus scores with a forearm shot and ties him in the ropes for the Beats Of The Bodhren, The King Of Swing blocks it, delivers uppercuts to the shoulder, Sheamus rips at the left arm in the ropes, drives him into the top turnbuckle and drops Cesaro with a clothesline. He drags Cesaro back into the ring and hits a vertical suplex for a count of 2, starts targeting the left arm with a top wristlock, The Swiss Superman finds his way to a standing position, powers Sheamus up into an alpamare waterslide, scores with a snap suplex and floats into a cover for 1.

The Celtic Warrior surprises him with a mule kick to the midsection, punts Cesaro in the face, shoots him to the corner and buries a shoulder into the ribs, then hits the ropes. Cesaro explodes out with an uppercut, The Great White fires back with a back elbow, sends him to the ropes for a tilt-a-whirl powerslam, hooks the leg and gains a count of 2 as we go to break….Sheamus has Cesaro grounded with a rear chinlock when we get back, The King Of Swing finds his footing, gets pushed to the ropes for a back body drop, prevents it with an uppercut, hits the ropes and gets cracked by an Irish Curse for a near fall.

The Great White lifts Cesaro up and they exchange shots, Sheamus gets the better of it, picks The Swiss Superman up for a rolling fireman’s carry, hooks him for a suplex, The King Of Swing blocking it and they both drop over the top to the floor. Both guys stagger to their feet and roll into the squared circle to just beat the count, The Celtic Warrior clobbers Cesaro with uppercuts and puts the bad-mouth on him, The Swiss Superman fires up with a barrage of uppercuts to back him to the corner, goes into the Uppercut Train, Sheamus reverses, gets propped on the top turnbuckle and then dropkicked to the apron.

The King Of Swing climbs to the 2nd rope and pulls Sheamus up for a suplex back into the ring, lateral press for a count of 2. Cesaro grabs the legs for the Swing, Sheamus kicks him away, rolls him up for a near fall, The King Of Swing charges in, nearly gets caught in another Irish Curse, flips through it for the Neutralizer, but it’s countered into White Noise for another near fall. Cesaro rolls to the apron and Sheamus clubs him across the chest, climbs to the 2nd rope, deadlifts The Swiss Superman up and plants him with a 2nd rope rolling fireman’s carry, but still can’t finish it. The Great White calls for the Brogue Kick to end it, runs into a big boot, gets flattened by a clothesline, Cesaro into the cover, but still only gets a 2 count.

He rolls to the apron and ascends to the top turnbuckle, stands on the ring post, springs off the top rope for a crossbody, hooks the leg and can still only gain a near fall. He looks to the crowd and puts Sheamus in the Swing, steps into the Sharpshooter, The Great White quickly grabs the bottom rope to force a break, the official steps in to create separation, Sheamus taking the opening to sneak in a back elbow. The Swiss Superman picks the legs and tries for another Sharpshooter, The Celtic Warrior with a thumb to the eye, rams him shoulder-first into the ring post, follows with a Brogue Kick and finishes it.
Winner: Sheamus (Brogue Kick)

  • EA’s Take: No surprise here to me with Sheamus winning, it never really made sense to me for them to have a Best Of 7 when Cesaro has gotten the better of him 3 weeks in a row, so he needed it tonight. I don’t think there’s ever been a Best Of 7 Series in wrestling history that didn’t go the distance, so The Celtic Warrior had to pick up a win at some point. Not as good of a showing as their first match on RAW 3 weeks ago either, in my opinion.
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Chairshot Classics: WCW Starrcade ’91 – BattleBowl & The Lethal Lottery

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Open: The names of 40 top WCW Superstars were entered into a “Lethal Lottery” to randomly generate 20 tag teams. This created 10 tag team matches with the winners of each being entered into the main event: a 20 man battle royal to determine the sole winner of Battlebowl.

In The Arena: Eric Bischoff, Missy Hyatt and Magnum T.A. are standing by with all 40 participants are standing on the entrance stage. Hyatt and T.A. start to draw names, and Bischoff announces the first participants. We have our first surprise as The Fabulous Freebirds are on opposing teams.

Match #1: Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes & Tracy Smothers vs. Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin & Marcus Bagwell
Bagwell and Smothers start us out. Both Freebirds get the crowd clapping from the apron. There is a staredown and they exchange shoves. They hit the ropes and Bagwell takes Smothers down with a shoulder block. Smothers reevaluates his situation. The crowd chants for the DDT. Collar and elbow tie up and a deep arm drag by Bagwell. Another tie up, chain wrestling into a hammerlock by Smothers, reversed with a takedown by Bagwell. Smothers lectures a stalling Smothers. Collar and elbow, Smothers escapes a reverse waistlock with an elbow to the jaw and follows it with a shoulder block.

They run the ropes, Bagwell leapfrogs Smothers and delivers a hip toss. He follows with a drop kick and an arm drag, Smothers gets up and misses a drop kick before retreating. Smothers gets up and insists one or both Freebirds enter the match. Garvin is tagged in, Smothers taunts him, Garvin struts around and he is ambushed from behind. Smothers is shot into the ropes, they exchange leapfrogs before Garvin hits a hip toss and a drop kick. Smothers rolls to the apron, and he’s kicked in the face and out to the floor. Hayes checks in with his partner as the crowd cheers for the DDT. Smothers regroups in the ring, he offers a handshake but kicks Garvin in the gut.

Jimmy Jam lifts his cheap shotting opponent up for an atomic drop and he tumbles outside again. Back to the ring, Garvin grabs a wrist lock and tags in Bagwell. Bagwell enters with a double ax handle to the shoulder and locks in a wrist lock of his own. Smothers reverses with a knee to the gut and some clubbing fists. Hayes is finally tagged in, chop followed by an elbow off the ropes. Arm bar by Hayes is reversed with a take down by Bagwell. They jockey for position and Hayes uses a drop toe hold. He controls Bagwell with the arm bar and clubs Bagwell’s shoulder. Smothers is tagged back in and stays on the arm. Bagwell reverses, grabbing the other wrist, throwing Smothers over and landing a standing leg drop. Back to their feet and Bagwell stays on the shoulder. Smothers gets positioning in the corner, the referee calls for a break in the hold and The Young Pistol cheap shots Bagwell in the mid section.

The rookie escapes from the corner but Smothers is hot on his trail. Bagwell reverses a whip to the ropes and takes his opponent down with an arm drag. The fans get on the case of Smothers with some jeers. A knee to the gut off the tie up by Smothers, he lifts Bagwell but Marcus escapes and delivers a scoop slam. Garvin is tagged back in, and Smothers dives to his corner and forces a tag on Hayes. The partners smile as the crowd reacts. They shake hands and tie up. No one gets an advantage and it’s broken. Another collar and elbow and Hayes gets position on the ropes, the referee breaks them up. A fourth tie up and Hayes throws Garvin with the arm drag. Michael Struts. Garvin hits an arm drag of his own.

They tie up and Hayes goes for a quick schoolboy and a two count. Side headlock takedown by Garvin, countered with a leg scissor, broken quickly and they’re back to their feet. They each strut to their corners and tag in their respective partners as the fans cheer. Quick strikes and a superkick by Smothers. Bagwell is lifted for a scoop slam but he dodges the elbow. Garvin is tagged back in and hits Smothers with a back body drop. Garvin confuses his dazed opponent with some fast running across the ring and a running forearm. He tags in Bagwell who heads for the top rope, Garvin holds Smothers in place with a wrist lock and Bagwell gets two on a flying cross body.

Marcus gives Hayes a shot on the apron before turning to Smothers. Hayes takes offense and enters the ring to knock him with a right. Garvin turns Hayes around and Michael unknowingly clocks him with a big left. Scoop slam by Smothers in the middle of the ring as the Freebirds argue. Smothers goes for a high risk move but Bagwell gets the knees up. Bagwell hits a Fisherman’s Suplex and picks up the win. The Freebirds make up and shake hands.
Winners: Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin & Marcus Bagwell (Bagwell/Fisherman’s Suplex)

  • EA’s Take: I don’t think I’ve seen more than two consecutive PPVs where the Freebirds remain either heels or faces. They’re sort of the ‘Ric Flair’ of tag teams – you either love them or love to hate them. This was obviously a curious match of “will they/won’t they” in terms of fighting one another. Two times I thought they were going in a particular direction, but both times it turned out to be nothing. When the Birds were in the ring, I started laughing each time they locked up and broke it off on the ropes. I would have stuck with that, exaggerating the excursion from each tie-up and adding some more comedy before making the tags back after no moves were thrown. They ended up hitting one another with some arm drags, so the whole, “sure, we’ll fight each other… just kidding”, wasn’t as good as it could have been. When they got into it at the end, you thought maybe it was friction within the team, but instead they immediately made up. Oh well, decent match. The Birds know how to entertain.

Match #2: WCW Television Champion ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin & WCW United States Champion ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude w/Paul E. Dangerously vs. Van Hammer & Big Josh
Hammer and Austin start with a tie up and quick break. Another tie up, Austin takes position and it’s broken in the corner. Hammer lifts Austin for a scoop slam and Austin looks “Stunned”. Kick to the gut and rights by Austin. Hammer reverses a back body drop with a kick to the face, but Austin is right back up with a kick and an attempted vertical suplex. The big Hammer blocks and lifts the TV champ for one instead. Austin kicks out at two and jumps back up with a drop toe hold and a reverse chin lock on the mat.

Hammer reverses into a hammerlock on the mat and follows it with knees to the ribs. They work back to their feet and Austin takes him down with a series of snapmare takedowns. Hammer reverses the Irish whip, Austin moves and Hammer collides with the turn buckle. Strikes and another snapmare by Austin who tags in Rude to a sea of boos. Rude sends him for the ride and a clothesline before taunting the crowd. Knee to the mid section and clubbing forearms by the US Champ. Hammer tries to fight back with rights, but Rude rakes his eyes. Hammer is sent to the ropes and is flipped over by a knee to the gut. Rude holds him in place with his boot as he tags in Austin.

Clothesline by Austin followed by a side salto suplex. Rude gets the quick tag, and he clubs the back of Hammer’s neck. Reverse side head lock by Rude as Hammer tries to strength his way over to Big Josh. He’s able to make it, and Josh is fired up, giving a few strikes and sending Rude for a power slam. He stands on Rude for a log roll, but the US champ points out his abs are invincible to that move. Josh unsuccessfully tries striking his mid section, but he’s had enough and just clotheslines him. A quick kick out by Rude, but he goes down just as fast with a shoulder block. Rude kicks out of another lateral press, Austin rushes the ring but Josh takes him out. The Dangerous Alliance reels on the outside after having their heads knocked together.

Rude is back in, and Dangerously screams on his phone. Josh reverses a hammerlock with an elbow to the jaw, arm drag take down, Rude desperately reaches for a tag. He gets it, and Austin meets a similar fate. Austin works back to his feet, he breaks the hold with some rights. Josh reverses the Irish whip to the ropes, Austin takes him down with a shoulder tackle, but the second time Big Josh catches him and slingshots him across the top rope. A clothesline and a lateral press gets two and Van Hammer is tagged back in. Austin is worked down with the hammerlock. He adjusts to a wrist lock and makes the quick tag to Josh who hangs onto it. Austin breaks it with rights and breaks up Josh’s attempt at a back body drop.

Reverse waist lock by Josh, Austin ducks and runs toward the ropes and Rude clocks the outdoorsman. Legal tag is made to Rude and he goes for the top rope. Double ax handle knocks Josh to the mat, but there’s a kick out at two. Strikes from Rude and another tag to Austin. Boots in the corner by Austin and he holds his opponent on the middle rope. The ref pulls him away, Rude jumps down to the floor to keep him in place and Austin comes back with a leaping bronco buster. Austin gets two and a half on Josh. Front face lock and a tag back to Rude. Clubbing forearms and a snap mare. Rude holds on with a modified reverse chin lock, Josh manages to get back to his feet and Paul E. immediately gets on the apron.

Josh fights out of the hold but he’s blind sided by Austin’s boot. Dangerously is lectured down to the floor, and the referee questions is a tag was made to Austin while he wasn’t looking. Big Josh is dumped to the floor for abuse by Rude while Austin ties up the ref. Snapmare and a reverse chinlock by Austin. Josh is slow to get back to his feet as Hammer leads the cheering. The hold is broken with elbows to the gut, and he catches a leaping Austin with a power slam. Josh goes for the elbow but Austin moves. Josh is once again draped on the middle rope, Dangerously holds him in place while Rude provides the distraction.

Austin goes for another bronco buster, but Josh moves and pulls his manager in the way. Josh crawls across the ring to make the hot tag who goes right after Austin. Power slam by Hammer followed by a belly to back suplex. Austin is sent for the ride and eats a diving shoulder block. Rude makes the save and Josh takes offense. Back to the apron, Rude makes a blind tag as Austin hits the ropes. Hammer lifts the TV champ for the back body drop but doesn’t realize the US champ in the legal man. Rude spins Hammer around and hits the Rude Awakening for the win.
Winners: ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin & ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude (Rude/Rude Awakening)

  • EA’s Take: In two matches, they’ve already achieved my expectation to have some partners on opposite corners and others conveniently together with Austin and Rude. The Ravishing One’s debut at Halloween Havoc not only brought him into WCW, but opened the door for him to become leader of The Dangerous Alliance, one of the better factions that is often forgotten in time. With Rude and Paul E as the figureheads, being flanked by Arn Anderson, Larry Zbysko, Bobby Eaton, a young Steve Austin and Madusa was a pretty formidable. On top of that, Austin would quickly become Television Champion, Rude would pull off a tremendous ruse to get the US Title off of Sting and they had all the momentum in the world. Obvious winners just by reading the card.
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Chairshot Classics: WCW Monday Nitro Episode 12 – Sting vs. Hogan

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WCW Monday Nitro

Here is the go-home Nitro for World War 3!

WCW Nitro: Episode 12
November 20, 1995
Macon Coliseum, Macon, GA

Bischoff, Heenan and McMichael are on commentary as usual getting us hyped for Hulk Hogan vs Sting in the main event. Bischoff is calling it the Super Bowl of professional wrestling, interesting they gave it away on free television.

Scott “Flash” Norton vs The Shark

The Shark attacks Norton on the entrance ramp and they brawl outside the ring. Bobby Heenan says that Shark is well over 500 pounds, who believes that??? The Shark gets control with a belly to belly suplex, but Norton starts no selling his strikes. Norton hits a scoop powerslam and gets the victory. This was a very lackluster match and seemed to be filler for a few minutes. John Tenta was so talented, it’s sad that he never caught on like he really could have.

Winner: Scott Norton via pinfall

Mean Gene interviews Taskmaster and Jimmy Hart at the entrance ramp. Hart is trying to rally Sting for his match against Hogan later, focusing on Hogan not being behind Sting as a talent. Taskmaster hypes up World War 3 and how the Dungeon of Doom has strength in numbers.

Disco Inferno is out to dance until Eddie Guerrero’s music hits and he runs off.

Eddie Guerrero vs Brian Pillman

This was supposed to be Ric Flair but he came out in street clothes with Brian Pillman in his ring gear. Flair cuts a promo about being so focused on Sting, that he’s having Pillman take his place. Replace one amazing competitor with another, I’m not mad. Guerrero in control early with a neck tie head scissors, big dropkick and belly to back suplex. He goes off the top rope but Pillman catches him with a dropkick to halt the momentum. Pillman hits his own belly to back suplex for a near fall. The two trade chops before Brian sticks a finger in Eddie’s eye and hits a snap powerslam for another near fall. Pillman suplexes Eddie out of the ring and misses a cross body on the railing. Eddie counters with his own MASSIVE cross body and brings Brian back in the ring. Eddie hits the brainbuster and goes to the top rope but Pillman crotches him up there. Eddie pushes Brian off the top rope and hits the frog splash to get the victory. A very fun match, I’m sure these two could seriously tear the roof off the place.

Winner: Eddie Guerrero via pinfall

We take a look back at Nitro from the previous week where the Dungeon of Doom and Lex Luger attacked Randy Savage and worked over his arm. Commentary is saying it is a serious arm injury that will need surgery. Eric Bischoff wonders if Macho Man is faking the injury to plot against Hulk Hogan.

Big Bubba vs Road Warrior Hawk

A rare singles match for Hawk and a younger Ray Traylor, I’m good with this. Hawk attacks Bubba to start and is in control after a back body drop. Hawk hits a scoop slam but misses a splash off the top rope. Bubba is in control now with strikes and a clothesline. Hawk makes a comeback but Bubba cuts him off with a big spinebuster before eating a right fist outside the ring. The men knock heads and Hawk goes to the top rope but Bubba counters it into a facebuster. Bubba pulls something from his pocket(maybe a roll of quarters?) and tapes up his hand. He goes to come off the ropes but Jim Duggan comes out of nowhere to trip Bubba who falls face first on the foreign object. Hawk makes the cover for the victory. Big hoss match, fun stuff.

Winner: Hawk via pinfall

Sting vs Hulk Hogan

This match has been hyped up all show as the be all and end all of professional wrestling. Sting comes out in red and yellow, fitting considering Hogan’s recent move to the “dark side.” We went to commercial before Sting’s entrance and apparently right after. Interesting television choices there.

Hogan’s music hit and there’s some boos in the crowd. Macho Man Randy Savage comes out and is motioning to the entrance for Hogan to come out for an uncomfortably long time. Hogan comes in through the crowd and postures to the crowd to mostly boos. Hogan is still clean shaven and dressed in black.

After the bell, Sting is on the offensive early with lots of strikes. Hulk takes control with strikes of his own and is getting a good amount of boos. Hulk misses a clothesline and tumbles over the top rope after 2 dropkicks. Hulk pulls Stinger out of the ring, puts his head into the guardrail and suplexes him at ringside.

Sting comes back in the ring with a running cross body and we are back on even ground. Hulk goes for a spinning toe drop and it looks awful and slow, same with his attempt at an armbar takedown. It’s obvious that he is wrestling out of his comfort zone. Sting takes control with crisp looking holds and transitions. Hulk rides a side headlock for a lengthy time before inexplicably just letting Sting go. Sting goes for a Stinger Splash and Hogan counters it into a bearhug for a few seconds before again letting him go.

Belly to back suplex garners a near fall for Hulkster and he hits a suplex for another near fall. Sting comes back and starts working over the leg before locking on the Scorpion Death Lock-that is good storytelling and psychology. Hogan powers out of it and starts his traditional hulk up comeback. Three punches, big boot to Sting’s face, but Sting avoids the leg drop. Hogan’s leg is hurting, Sting locks on the Scorpion Death Lock again.

The Dungeon of Doom comes down and attacks everyone but Sting and Hogan seem to overcome the 6 on 2 odds. The Giant comes down and goes to chokeslam Hogan and Sting. Macho Man hits Giant with a chair but eats a chokelsam for his effort. Hogan and Sting use a chair to clothesline The Giant over the top rope as we go to break.

Winner: No Contest via interference on both men

After the break, Taskmaster and Jimmy Hart are at the commentary table and are sent away by Bischoff. This is being billed as an appetizer to World War 3. Bischoff pushes the narrative that WCW is unpredictable and anyone could walk out of World War 3 as WCW Heavyweight Champion as Nitro goes off the air.

The build to World War 3 has been fun, it’ll be interesting to see how it progresses and changes the show going forward!


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