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Chairshot Classics: WWE SummerSlam 2002

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We just may have the best SummerSlam of all time on our hands here as The Rock squares off against the new hot, young commodity, Brock Lesnar. Shawn Michaels and his former friend, Triple H, have an Unsanctioned Street Fight. All this and so much more in this edition of The Chairshot Classic.

 

14,7997 people are in the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, in Uniondale, New York, as we travel back to August 25, 2002 for SummerSlam. There are another 540K tuned in on PPV at home. This is an amazing event we have here and some may argue “The Greatest SummerSlam of All-Time”.  The card features 15 men who either held a World Title or would go on to do so. This is impressive as the card only featured 18 men, so 83% of this SummerSlam held a World Title at some point. 2002 is the year of the dual branded WWE (RAW/SmackDown) and competition is few and far between for them, outside of their own Brand War. They company became World Wrestling Entertainment in May of this year after they lost a court battle with The World Wildlife Foundation.

 

The show opens without the use of a cool video and this was a disappointment. I really enjoy these opens and it is a shame there isn’t one here. Michael Cole is welcoming us into the sold-out Coliseum for this event, which sold-out in 90 minutes, and its strange not to have Jim Ross on the intro. Jim Ross and his usual colleague, Jerry “The King” Lawler call the RAW portion of the show. This leaves Michael Cole and Tazz in control of the SmackDown Microphones. The RAW announce team calls their matches from the top of the ring ramp and I’m sure it pissed JR off not being close to the action to call his matches. That means Tazz and Cole get the privilege of being ringside. Both shows would have different men as Ring Announcers, Howard Finkle for the RAW Brand and Tony Chimel for SmackDown. Chimel earned the job by beating Finkle in a Tuxedo Match in 1999.Its not long into the open before we hear the first participant’s theme song begin.

Kurt Angle starts to make his way down the aisle and for the first time since starting this coverage of SummerSlam, we hear the “You Suck” chant accompany him. This I found satisfying. The theme of Rey Mysterio  begins to play and this is his first PPV for the company. Mysterio didn’t come over in the InVasion angle (More on that here.), in the previous year, because he was making too much money from his leftover WCW contract. A lot of guys milked this till the end, and rightfully so. Time Warner had to pay the remainder of the contracts from when they acquired the brand, and some guys waited till this expired before joining the WWE because that would end the contract. I think it worked out better for some guys, like Rey, because they weren’t in the messy InVasion jumble. Mysterio doesn’t enter via the ramp, and appears on the apron behind Kurt Angle. Rey springboards off the top rope and hurricanranas Kurt Angle. Rey hits another one but eventually his moment is slowed when he attempts to German suplex Kurt. Angle hits some elbows and Mysterio soon finds himself in an early ankle lock. Mysterio eventually gets to the ropes but it takes a ref’s warning for Angle to break it. Mysterio lands a drop-toe hold that sets up a 619 attempt. Angle ducks under the finish though and leaves the ring. He is quick to pull Mysterio out to join him and the crowd has been electric this whole match. And frankly, so have the competitors.

 

It’s not long before Kurt returns Rey to the ring and stomps away on him. When Angle hits a suplex the crowd is really giving him some heat and he is giving it back. Kurt hits a German suplex next, after catching Mysterio, that looks seriously brutal. Angle keeps rolling and throws a few pin attempts in to no avail. The lower back now becomes Angle’s primary target and he continues to work it. When he stretches Rey with the ropes the crowd’s “Angle Sucks” chants are in full force. Kurt begins to torque the knee and lower back by putting Mysterio into a single leg crab. The crowd starts the clap rally and Mysterio escapes. He rolls Angle up for the pin but only gets a two. They both return to their feet but Rey is quickly laid back out with a clothesline. The tides start to shift after Mysterio hits a jawbreaker but they shift quickly back, after a belly-to-belly from Angle. Kurt pulls the straps of his singlet down and the crowd is popping. He attempts his finish, The Olympic Slam, but Mysterio rolls through it and takes him down with an arm drag. Kurt tries to charge but Rey ducks and sends Kurt over the top rope. Mysterio goes to dive from the ring but the official stops him. As the official is leaning through the ropes to check on Angle, Mysterio comes running and leaps the official. The crowd erupts as he hits Angle with a sunset flip. He returns Angle to the ring and springboards off the top rope for a leg drop. Rey goes for the cover but only gets a two. Mysterio hits the 619 and follows it with the West Cost Pop, a hurricanrana into the pin. The crowd is in a frenzy but Angle bring them back to earth by kicking out. Mysterio takes to the top turnbuckle but Angle is quick to his feet. Mysterio flips over him and lands on his feet. Angle then starts to climb the turnbuckle but Rey springboards off the ropes to dropkick him. Mysterio joins him up top but Kurt reverses the hurricanrana attempt and this sets up the ankle lock. Rey almost makes the ropes but Kurt drags him back to the center. This leads to Mysterio tapping out and Kurt Angle getting the submission. What a phenomenal match and these two individuals really set the bar high with this opener. It was impressive that Kurt adapted to Rey’s style here and allowed him to really shine. A must watch match and what a great first PPV appearance for Mysterio, even though he didn’t go over. Match Time: 9:20

 

We see the leader of SmackDown, Stephanie McMahon and she is telling a crew member to tell Eric Bischoff to top the last match. When he leaves and Stephanie enters her office, Bischoff is already in there. He tells her that they have to share the general manger’s office due to it being the only one. Bischoff joins Stephanie on a couch in front of a TV to watch the show. I get the idea of the brand warfare but this was lame.

 

We Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler and they are speaking of the rivalry of Stephanie and Bischoff. They then welcome us to the RAW portion of SummerSlam as Chris Jericho’s countdown begins on the TitanTron. There is a quick clip of what really turned the heat up on this feud. Ric Flair attacked Jericho with a garbage can, so Jericho returned the favor and ambushed him with one in the back. Flair got some color from this attack and he made sure to return the favor to Chris. He attacked Jericho as his band, Fozzy, was performing on the entrance ramp. Ric then proceeded to destroy the set and instruments of the band. All while sporting a crimson mask. This all took place on the go-home edition of Monday Night RAW. When the “WOOO” at the beginning of Flair’s theme comes on the place erupts. The former 16 time World Champion enters and the crowd shows their respect to the 52 year old legend. It’s amazing that Vince gave him another chance at this age, as he thought Ric looked to old in 1992 and wanted him to get a face lift then.

We get a few collars and elbows first and the crowd pops when Ric breaks one, slaps Jericho in the face and follows it up with a “WOOO”. Jericho leads the charge first and starts with some elbows in the corner. He sends Ric sky-high next for a back body drop that I couldn’t image taking at 32, let alone 52. Jericho attempts to drop an elbow but Flair moves and with every chop he delivers to the chest of Chris the crowd “WOOO”s. Ric tries to throw Jericho from the ring but he hold the top rope and flips back into the ring. But Flair is there to meet him with another chop and this time he “WOOO”s for the crowd. Jericho delivers some chops of his own next and the crowd even makes Ric’s signature sound for his chops. He sends Flair to the corner and Ric takes the bump in his normal fashion, the summersault that leaves him prone on the ropes. Jericho then sends him to the floor mats with a clothesline and the place is popping. Jericho joins him on the outside and exposes the top of the security rail. He bangs him off it then climbs to the top rope to really smash Ric’s face into the rail. This doesn’t really even connect but I guess it looked cool.

 

They return to the ring and the action picks up again when Jericho hits a missle dropkick from the second turnbuckle. Jericho goes for the cover but Ric kicks out. He tries again for another quick cover but another kick out. Chris attempts to remove a turnbuckle cove next but only makes it so far before the official stops him. The official has to make a repair to it, though, and this allows Jericho to choke Flair with his wrist tape. Jericho then lays Flair’s neck onto the ropes and jumps onto his back. Flair’s neck is the primary target of Jericho from this point forward. After a suplex, Jericho is quick to the top turnbuckle but Flair is right there to meet him and throw him to the mat. Chris tries a shoulder tackle next but he connects with the ring post instead of with Ric. Flair hit some more big chops and the crowd is still “WOOO”ing at every one. Ric lifts Chris for a back body drop next and the crowd is back on their feet at this point. Flair attempts a suplex that gets reversed and he soon finds himself in The Walls of Jericho. Before it is fully locked in, Flair manages to roll Jericho into an inside cradle for the pin attempt. He kicks out and both men are quick to their feet, but Ric is right on his back again after a clothesline. A running bulldog is next for Jericho that he follows with a Hogan-like “I can’t hear you”. He tries to Lionsault, but Flair rolls out of harms way. Flair tries to put The Walls of Jericho onto Chris but he reverses it. This leads to Jericho putting Flair’s own figure-four on him. After some build-up, Flair finally finds the rope and breaks the hold. He soon hits Jericho with a low blow and this allows Flair to put the figure-four onto Jericho. He soon taps out and another match is decided by submission. It is said that the original finish was Flair with an inside cradle but Jericho convinced McMahon and Flair that he should loose to the figure-four. Flair was said to be low on confidence at the time and didn’t think he was good enough to beat Jericho with his normal finish, as he wasn’t himself. This is were the famed “You’re Ric Freakin’ Flair” comes from, and as we saw, Jericho convinced them to change it. This was a great match and I have not one bad thing to say about it. Watch this one folks. This is shaping up to be an impressive card. With hindsight, just look at the four competitors that opened this show. All are legends and Hall of Fame worthy. Two are all ready in, Flair and Angle, and when Rey and Chris’s careers are over they will be too. Match Time:10:22

 

Paul Heyman is in the locker room and is joined by his client, Brock Lesnar. Even back then Paul backed the winning horse. He is getting Brock pumped up for his match with The Rock for The Universal Championship. Paul is telling him he needs to destroy him like Hulk Hogan because he is “The Next Big Thing”. Heyman was just as annoying back then as he is today.


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

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Chairshot Classics

Taking Over: Greg DeMarco’s Look at WWE NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way (9/11/14)

“Taking Over” continues as we see how Takeover Fatal 4-Way (9/11/14) holds up today!

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WWE NXT Takeover Fatal 4-Way Neville Tyson Kidd Tyler Breeze Sami Zayn

Greg DeMarco takes a look back at the second NXT Takeover in the first edition of “Taking Over” as we march towards WWE NXT Takeover XXV!

WWE NXT Takeover is turning 25 on June 1! Well, sort of… On June 1, WWE NXT will present the 25th Takeover event, a stand-alone show from Connecticut–which I wouldn’t call the heart of WWE, but the brain. I am taking a look back at the first 24 to see just how far we’ve come. Join me for “Taking Over,” my look back at the first 24 Takeover events.

Prior editions:

NXT Takeover Fatal 4 Way
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentary Team: Tom Phillips, Renee Young, and Byron Saxton

  • NXT Tag Team Championship: Lucha Dragons beat The Ascension to win the championships – A good match, but not great. It’s a far cry from what the Takeover opening tag team match would become. Big pop for the finish, though.
  • Baron Corbin beat CJ Parker – This was back when I hated Baron Corbin. Wait, that was yesterday. Anyway, this is a squash to elevate Baron Corbin, even though we didn’t get a true entrance for Corbin. Corbin’s hair didn’t look terribl ehere, in fact it looked better than CJ’s. According to commentary, this was Corbin’s NXT debut. Huge pop for the End Of Days. In fact, Crbin was crazy over here.
  • Hair vs. Hair Match – Sylvester Lefort vs. Enzo Amore – NXT was definitely more “developmental” at this time, and this match showed it. Both these guys had the personalities to excel, but never pans out. They worked hard and did get the crowd invested, which is job #1.
  • Hideo Itami NXT debut promo – Thi sis where he shifts from KENTA to Hideo Itami, , and he cut most of the promo in Japanese. The Ascension would come out and eventually attack, but Itami got the upperhand in the end. This was an insanely promising start to his WWE career. The visual of him sitting in a chair begging them both to get back in the ring was amazing.
  • Bull Dempsey vs. Mojo Rawley – Quick win for Bull Dempsey, who should have been a bigger deal. He’d be a great fit at NXT UK. His theme song is still the most underrated they’ve ever made.
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair successfully defended against Bayley – Bayley, just like everyone, was crazy over at Full Sail. Her “childhood dream” gimmick can only go so far, though. Charlotte Flair was the decided heel here, and showed signs of the greatness she’d achieve while also showing how green she was. Charlotte was absolutely ripped here. Charlotte nailed a terrible looking moonsault that the announce team didn’t know how to sell. Charlotte won with Natural Selection, which may have been an audible after the moonsault debacle as you can hear Bayley call for the spot. It’s amazing what Charlotte has become. Sasha Banks attacked Bayley after,and Charlotte
  • NXT Championship: Adrian Neville successfully defended against Tyson Kidd, Sami Zayn, and Tyler Breeze – One hell of a match, and I remember how great the build was. Breeze won a #1 contender match but had his title match interrupted by Kidd, Kidd and Zayn were eventually here to make it a Fatal 4-Way. I really thought Breeze would win here, but that was really wishful thinking on my part. This match was one-fall rules. Tyson Kidd’s Sharpshooter is criminally underrated. Neville shows heel tendencies here, pulling the referee out of the ring before he can count the three in Zayn’s favor (legal in a 4-way match), Neville would then superkick Zayn on the floor and pin Kidd after a Red Arrow. The story after the match was Zayn’s reaction and dejection, setting up the obvious main event for the next Takeover. I loved the character shift for Neville, winning “by means necessary” and showing signs of the amazing heel we’d see later.

Where are they now:

  • The Ascension – Konnor & Viktor are on Raw, and are basically an afterthought after being repackaged as a ripoff of late 80s/early 90s tag teams like The Road Warriors.
  • Kalisto – Doing very little as a member of the Lucha House Party on Raw, but he’s also a former NXT Tag Team Champion and 2-time United States Champion, along with a former Cruiserweight Champion.
  • Sin Cara – Still wearing that cursed mask, so he’s injured.
  • Baron Corbin – Sucking on the main roster! He’s been a Money In The Bank briefcase holder (he lost his cash in), Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, and United States Champion. He was also Constable Corbin and the General Manager of Raw. He retired Kurt Angle. And he sucks.
  • CJ Parker – He is likely best known for being Kevin Owens’ first NXT opponent, and busting his nose in the process. He left WWE, and is now back to working as Juice Robinson in ROH and New Japan, where he is the IWGP United States Champion (although you wouldn’t know it by watching their product).
  • Sylvester Lefort – He ended up getting released in early 2016, went to TNA to be part of The Tribunal under his name Tom LaRuffa. He worked there through the end of 2016, before returning to Europe where he remains active to this day.
  • Enzo Amore – Ugh…he went to the main roster with Big Cass (on Raw) and Carmella (on Smackdown), working as a team until they broke up in what was actually a good angle. He eventually showed up on 205 Live, where he drew some good heat, but ended up leaving the company for outside the ring issues. He’s released some rap songs/videos, and made an ill-fated appearance at ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard.
  • Hideo Itami – Such a promising start, he had a good run in NXT that included a NXT Championship shot at Bobby Roode. He went to 205 Live, but failed to become Cruiserweight Champion. He eventually requested his release and returned home to Japan.
  • Bull Dempsey – He had a small NXT run before being released, and works as Bull James on the independents, mostly in the Northeast United States.
  • Bayley – She’d have a better run later with Sasha Banks, before moving to the main roster and holding the Raw Women’s Championship. She won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship with Sasha Banks, and is not on Smackdown.
  • Charlotte Flair – Just main evented WrestleMania, is an 8-time Women’s Champion, and is one of the very best performers of either gender on the main roster.
  • Sami Zayn – A mid-card player on the main roster, just recently returned from injury and is doing some great character work on Raw. Also (briefly) held the NXT Championship but was just the transitional champion from Neville to Kevin Owens.
  • Tyler Breeze – Moved to the main roster too soon, found some critical success with Fandago as the Fashion Police, has floundered during Fandango’s injury recovery, is back in NXT and working a program with Velveteen Dream.
  • Tyson Kidd – Career cut short by injury after holding tag team gold, and now works as a producer behind the scenes.
  • Neville – Had a respectable main roster run before taking over (pun intended) WWE 205 Live. That alignment led to his eventual downfall when he didn’t want to put Enzo Amore over strong after being pushed to the kickoff in his match with Austin Aries. He’s currently preparing to face Adam Page at All Elite Wrestling’s Double Or Nothing event.

Overall Impression

Renee young was better than I remember on commentary here. Overall this was a good show that, outside of the main event, wouldn’t hold up against the Takeover events of the past few years. But the foundation was being laid, and this should be evaluated as such. The main event was spectacular, and this was a rare Takeover with six matches. Those, plus two other in-ring segments, still went just under two hours. All four members of the main event wrestled on the Raw before this, and that decision, along with this match, can really be credited with the early rise in populary of NXT.

One additional thing that’s quite evident in watching these events, is now much easier it is for the talent to stay in perfect shape in NXT as they’re spending less time on the road. You can see the differences in Charlotte, Bayley, Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze, and others.


Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
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Taking Over: Greg DeMarco’s Look at WWE NXT Takeover I (5/24/14)

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WWE NXT Takeover Neville Tyson Kidd

Greg DeMarco takes a look back at the first NXT Takeover in the first edition of “Taking Over” as we march towards WWE NXT Takeover XXV!

WWE NXT Takeover is turning 25 on June 1! Well, sort of… On June 1, WWE NXT will present the 25th Takeover event, a stand-alone show from Connecticut–which I wouldn’t call the heart of WWE, but the brain. I am taking a look back at the first 24 to see just how far we’ve come. Join me for “Taking Over,” my look back at the first 24 Takeover events.

NXT Takeover
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentary Team: Tom Phillips, William Regal, and Byron Saxton

  • Adam Rose beat Camacho – A solid opener, which was more about furthering the character of Adam Rose and the Rosebuds. Notable Rosebuds on this night included Ryan Katz (currently Creative Producer for WWE/NXT), Becky Lynch (just main evented WrestleMania), Carmella (she’s F A B U L O U S, and is a former Smackdown Women’s Champion), and Braun Strowman (he’s in the Andre The Giant role).
  • NXT Tag Team Championship: The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) successfully defend against Kalisto & El Local – This was  a step above a glorified squash. The world likely won’t remember them this way, but The Ascension were total bad asses in NXT.
  • NXT Championship #1 Contender: Tyler Breeze beat Sami Zayn – Both guys were on their game here. Zayn of course went on to be NXT Champion and Breeze was called up to NXT too soon. Zayn would lose this match to Breeze, but both men would compete for the NXT Championship at the next Takeover. The crowd was insanely into this match, and it build beautifully to the finish. the finish, by the way, was amazing as Breeze blocked the Helluva Kick but inadvertently low-blows Sami in the process. One Beauty Shot later and Tyler Breeze is the #1 contender to the NXT Championship.
  • Rusev promo, with Lana, that’s interrupted by Mojo Rawley – I am pretty sure this is where Rusev’s theme introduction comes from. Mojo wasn’t ready yet, but he still owned his character…which at this point was a bargain basement “hype” John Cena. Rusev was already looking like the man.
  • Vacant NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair beat Natalya – Ric Flair accompanied Charlotte to the ring, who wasn’t taking the “Flair” name yet. Natalya was accompanied by Bret Hart because, well, symmetry. Charlotte was obviously green here, and didn’t have nearly the work done she has now. Natalya is actually in better physical condition now, five years later. The match served as a vehicle to get the NXT Women’s Championship onto Charlotte, and it served that purpose. Charlotte Flair would obviously grow into her role and is not one of the best performers on the main roster.
  • NXT Championship: Adrian Neville successfully defended against Tyson Kidd – Given their leadership roles on the main roster today, it’s no surprise that Natalya and Tyson Kidd were a part of the early success of NXT. The crowd was hot for this match, and both men delivered. Of note: before Neville hits the Red Arrow on Tyson, Tom Phillips notes that Kidd is in the drop zone. Take that, Michael Cole!

Where are they now:

  • Adam Rose – About to wrestle his last match, ever, against Bull James.
  • Camacho – One half of the Guerrillas Of Destiny as Tanga Loa, along with his adoptive brother Tama Tonga, running wild in Bullet Club and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • The Ascension – Konnor & Viktor are on Raw, and are basically an afterthought after being repackaged as a ripoff of late 80s/early 90s tag teams like The Road Warriors.
  • Kalisto – Doing very little as a member of the Lucha House Party on Raw, but he’s also a former NXT Tag Team Champion and 2-time United States Champion, along with a former Cruiserweight Champion.
  • El Local – The former Ricardo Rodriguez is no longer with the company, and is working the California independents.
  • Sami Zayn – A mid-card player on the main roster, just recently returned from injury and is doing some great character work on Raw. Also (briefly) held the NXT Championship but was just the transitional champion from Neville to Kevin Owens.
  • Tyler Breeze – Moved to the main roster too soon, found some critical success with Fandago as the Fashion Police, has floundered during Fandango’s injury recovery, is back in NXT and working a program with Velveteen Dream.
  • Rusev & Lana – Multiple time United States Champion, feuds with John Cena and AJ Styles just to name a few, and sadly not a lead heel on either brand like they should be. They’re also not supporting Russia, like, at all.
  • Mojo Rawley – Moved up in the first draft of the modern era, teamed with Zack Ryder before breaking up, cut a series of intriguing mirror promos, but hasn’t really done much. He did win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33, though.
  • Charlotte Flair – Just main evented WrestleMania, is an 8-time Women’s Champion, and is one of the very best performers of either gender on the main roster.
  • Natalya – Back on the main roster and serves as the veteran presence, and delivers in a big way nearly every time out.
  • Tyson Kidd – Career cut short by injury after holding tag team gold, and now works as a producer behind the scenes.
  • Neville – Had a respectable main roster run before taking over (pun intended) WWE 205 Live. That alignment led to his eventual downfall when he didn’t want to put Enzo Amore over strong after being pushed to the kickoff in his match with Austin Aries. He’s currently preparing to face Adam Page at All Elite Wrestling’s Double Or Nothing event.

Overall Impression of WWE NXT Takeover I

For starters, I love hearing William Regal on commentary–he adds so much. Nigel McGuinness should be playing this exact role. The commentary team also had longer spells where they let the action speak for itself, and it really worked (especially in the main event). Byron Saxton is also quite underrated as he was money tonight. Overall, this was a really good that followed the NXT Takeover 5-match format. The first two matches weren’t really in doubt, but things really kicked up for the last three. Great show.


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