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Chairshot Classic: NWA-TNA, The Asylum Years Episode 1: Total Nonstop Talking

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I’ll admit, that I didn’t watch TNA in the beginning. I was living on my own and was struggling to pay rent and utilities and didn’t have cable. Plus, paying for a PPV every week was not something my parents would’ve been into, so I missed the first few years of TNA until it was available on free TV and enjoyed it for the most part, though I haven’t watched in a long time. So, when the Global Wrestling Network came out, I was quite excited to get a look at TNA’s early years.

I will preface this with a warning: I have never seen these shows before, so this article is my real-time reactions to what’s going on. Things in parenthesis is my color commentary.

The opening mimics and calls back the opening of the old wrestling shows of the territories. It’s got the old statue of two men wrestling and clips of the old NWA territories (I think). This promotion actually starts in the summer of 2002, over a year after the fall of WCW and ECW, so I’m assuming that none of these clips are of promotions owned by WWE. The TNA logo literally explodes out of this nostalgia, signaling that ‘Yes, this is the NWA, but we’re updating it and are more edgy’.

This actually looks a little like an opening to an 80s WCW show, to be honest, but the crowd seems hot, so let’s do this. Don West is introduced, he’s wearing an ugly shirt that could be Hawaiian and a pseudo-mullet from the 80s. He introduces Ed Ferrara, the person who took part in the mocking of JR back during the Monday Night Wars. Unsurprisingly, Ed, who is wearing dreadlocks for some reason, is not nearly as popular as Don West, but he gets crowd going. He says he’s all about T-n-A, and not just Total Nonstop Action (ew).  Ed introduces Mike Tenay as ‘The Professor of Vanilla’.

Tenay, the least sleazy looking one of the bunch, thanks us for joining the show and says that tonight’s show revolves around history, respecting it and making it. They brag about all the NWA legends being there and say that there will be a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion crowned that night. We get the rules for the Gauntlet for the Gold, which is basically the Royal Rumble until we get down to the final two, which will be fought as a straight fall match.

Jeremy Borash, with overly-frosted hair, introduces the legends that are in attendance: Harley Race, Dory Funk Jr, Jackie Fargo (Memphis legend, trained Jerry Lawler), ‘Bullet’ Bob Armstrong (Road Dogg’s father), Corsica Joe and Sarah Lee (no idea who they are), Bill Berhens (VP of the NWA), Ricky Steamboat, who is carrying the NWA Heavyweight Championship. The crowd loves this and is going nuts.

I really don’t like Ed Ferrara, I hope he doesn’t stay long because he is getting on my last nerve with his commentary.

Steamboat thanks everyone for coming, reminds them of his feud with Ric Flair, which is one of the best ever and says that winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship belt meant more to him than any other victory in his career.

(Okay, Tenay’s starting to annoy me too.)

Steamboat compares being NWA World Heavyweight Champion to the World Series and Wimbledon. He says Gauntlet for the Gold will consist of twenty guys, which I’m guessing is basically the TNA locker room, but giving a number sounds better.  Steamboat also says that he will be the special guest referee for the final part of the Gauntlet for the Gold.

Scratch that, the entire commentary team annoys me.

We are interrupted by Jeff Jarrett, who is the actual co-owner of this circus. Jarrett makes it clear that he thinks the whole Gauntlet thing is stupid, pointing out that Steamboat didn’t win the belt in a Battle Royal. He won by beating Ric Flair one on one (should I point out that Ric Flair won the WWE Championship in a Royal Rumble?). He then proceeds to insult the legends while making the point that none of them won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a battle royal. He then starts having words with Jackie Fargo, who tells him to kiss his ass. Fargo’s a little tough to understand but he’s chewing Jarrett out.

To be honest, I hope Jarrett beats some of these guys up, just to get them out of the ring.

Fargo then tells Jarrett that he (Jarrett) will the first entry into the Gauntlet for the Gold. Which means that Jarrett will have to outlast eighteen other men and win the one-on-one finish to be NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Jarrett accepts and predicts that he’ll win, which I’m pretty sure is the plan here. Some music hits and out comes Ken Shamrock, former WWF Intercontinental Champion.  I’m not sure what’s going on with Shamrock’s facial hair, but it looks really silly.

Shamrock agrees with Jarrett about the Gauntlet for the Gold, but indicates that he’s #20 in this match, which means Jarrett’s got to survive the Gauntlet match, including a fresh Ken Shamrock.

And they gripe about WWE being predictable, I’ve never seen this show before and I’m already sure Jarret’s winning.

Music hits again and it’s Scott Hall coming from the crowd (were they that strapped for talent?). Scott Hall also agrees that the Gauntlet match stinks. Hall doesn’t remember how many people are in this match, but he tells them to focus on beating one man: Scott Hall.

How much longer is this segment going to take?

Jarrett’s had about enough of this nonsense and tells everyone, Shamrock, Hall, and the Legends to stick it before warning Fargo that he’s going to regret this day as long as he lives before leaving and, thankfully, ending this segment.

We go backstage and a lady who says her name is Goldilocks who says the action is backstage and she’s got the action right here before introducing The Psycho Dwarf who says that the first match is going to be midgets (his words, not mine) because midgets are the true stars of the show. He cuts a very crude promo and Goldilocks looks like she’s torn between being disturbed and laughing, but she seems to be trying to take this seriously. The promo is interrupted by Jarrett throwing a tantrum.

We come back to scantily clad women dancing in cages, which I suspect Russo and/or Ferrara had something to do with, and our first match: A six-man tag team match.

X-Division Match: AJ Styles, Low Ki, and Jerry Lynn vs The Flying Elvises (Sonny Siaki, Jorge Estrada, and Jimmy Yang).

Styles, Low Ki, and Lynn come out to huge pops and we’re told that this is an X-Division match and are told what that means: Extreme wrestling and there isn’t a specific weight class, despite all six guys qualifying as cruiserweights. We cut to the Legends and they’re laughing and/or confused by the Elvises.

The teams exchange words before the Elvises get the jump on Styles and company.

No matter what Tenay says X-Division means, this is a cruiserweight match and is very hard to follow. However, all six guys are amazing competitors and this match is fun to watch.  I’m not really sold on Low Ki, for some reason, but the rest of the competitors are great. This match quickly devolves into chaos.

(can someone turn off Ferrara’s mic, please?)

Results: The Flying Elvises by pinfall after Yang pins Styles.

Highlights: A.J Styles is amazing to watch, even at the start of his career.

Comments: I really enjoyed this.

Midget Match (their words): Teo vs Hollywood.

The competitors get okay pops but this one is hard to follow, though there are midget jokes aplenty from the commentators. This match is sloppy in a lot of places, but these guys have plenty of fight. Scott Armstrong has his hands full with these two.

(Seriously, can we shut up Ed Ferrara? Don West is annoying enough, but Ferrara is unbearable).

Result: Teo by pinfall after a twisting Swanton.

Comments: Uh…yeah.

We’re getting an in-ring segment with Don and Ferrara, which means the sound’s going off because I’ve had just about enough of Ferrara and the show’s not half over yet.

We’re being introduced to the ladies who will be wrestling to be crowned Miss TNA, which seems to be a rough prototype for the Knockouts Division, though if Russo is involved, most of these women weren’t picked for their wrestling skills. To no one’s surprise, the Miss TNA match is a lingerie match, rather than an actual wrestling contest. However, we do see a very young Mickie James working as Alexis Laree. Francine (ECW’s Queen of Extreme) has had enough of West, Ferrara, and this whole set up and says that none of the women there deserve to be in the ring because they don’t compare to her. Never mind that Francine was never known for her wrestling prowess. The ladies take exception to Francine’s mouth and her claims of superiority over them.

Elektra (another ECW alum) grabs the mic and calls out Francine, points out that TNA doesn’t have ‘Extreme’ in the title and asks if Francine is ashamed because she singlehandedly bankrupted another company (ECW). Francine take exception to this, and I don’t blame her and the fight’s on. Francine rips Elektra’s top off and leaves, vowing to do the same to the other women.

West and Ferrara are having too much fun holding Elektra back, which makes this even creepier.

Backstage, Goldilocks is interviewing some dude called Mortimer Plumtree. Plumtree says his life has been full of torment which lead him to power. Apparently, he’s the manager of a tag team consisting of guys who used to torment him. Goldilocks looks really wigged out and I’m with her, this guy is creepy. He says his team does what he wants when he wants and don’t speak unless he allows them to, which probably isn’t often since he talks enough for three people.  His team is: The Johnsons.

(*slow clap*)

The Johnsons (with Mortimer Plumtree) vs Psychosis and Outlaw James Storm.

The Johnsons are two guys that are covered from head to foot in beige, including their masks. One of the commentators says that people were dissing the Johnsons without seeing what they can do first and that we should wait until after the match is over to diss them. (Fair enough)

Psychosis (without his mask) comes out with James Storm, who has, apparently, had the same gimmick since 2002.

The Johnsons aren’t great, but Psychosis and Storm are pretty good as a team.

Alicia (Ryan Shamrock for WWE fans, Symphony for WCW Fans) comes out and seems to be assessing the situation.

Back to the ring, Plumtree is berating his team to do better, but that might be a tall order.

(is Alicia going to do anything or is she just going to stand there?)

This match is bleh to say the least. Storm and Psychosis are okay, but the Johnsons need some work.

Results: The Johnsons by pinfall. The crowd isn’t having it. Alicia has a conversation with the ref and is paid some money by him. Okay.

Highlights: It ended.

Comments: Doing some research, I found that The Johnsons, aka The Shane Twins, aka Gymini, didn’t last long in TNA and were released after a few shows and I can see why.

Backstage, Goldilocks is catcalled by two hillbilly looking guys who are really gross. One of them looks familiar, but I’m not placing him.

(Some research has revealed that the guy doing most of the talking is a young Trevor Murdoch, who would be a WWE Tag champion during the first Brand Split with the late Lance Cade)

Goldilocks is trying to leave to film something, but the hillbillies seem to know what she’s going to film and come with her. In the locker room, we find a young lady dressed like an adult film version of Daisy Duke. According to Trevor, this lovely lady is his girlfriend and/or a cousin (oh dear). The Duke wannabes try to crack open some beers but a backstage person tells them that it’s not allowed because TNA doesn’t want intoxicated wrestlers in the ring.

(I wonder if that has something to do with a story Kevin Nash told about WCW’s party culture where the beer was on ice when they got to the arena)

Their lady…friend (according to Wikipedia, her name is Fluff Dupp) comments that there are a lot of sissies in TNA. Trevor and the other guy scoff at the idea of getting drunk on beer.

Goldilocks has had enough and excuses herself.

eremy Borash introduces Hervey Sadler (1993 Busch Series Rookie of the Year) and Sterling Marlin (the then points leader for the Winston Cup)

What? They are in Tennessee.

Tenay just said Marlin is the NWA World Heavyweight Champion of NASCAR. Yeah…no.

Sadler and Marlin get a good pop, but why they’re here is a mystery to me. Borash does an interview and the crowd is being very raucous.

Seriously, what are they doing here?

We’re saved from more of this by K-Krush (R-Truth, who had just been released by WWE, where he’d been wrestling as K-Kwik). Krush says he’s sick of racecar driving, which doesn’t go well with the crowd, and says that this is professional wrestling. He also said racecar drivers aren’t athletes. Krush says that he is an athlete, as are his ‘kind’ (I’m not sure if he means wrestlers or African Americans) and that Marlin’s ‘kind’ (NASCAR drivers or white people) drive a car around in a circle.

Never mind, this promo gets racial very quickly and Sadler steps in and asks how Krush expects anyone to take him seriously considering out he’s dressed. Things get nasty quickly as Krush gets a hold of Sadler, but Sadler is saved by Brian Christopher (Grandmaster Sexay of Too Cool), who starts fighting Krush.

Gotta say, the image of three white guys teaming up against one black guy while a mostly white crowd cheers them on is very disturbing.

Brian Christopher cuts a promo on Krush and challenges him to a match Krush’s ‘kind’ vs Christopher and the NASCAR guys.

Krush accepts the challenge and is dragged from the ringside area by some ‘security guards’.

We go backstage to find Jarrett assaulting Jackie Fargo (don’t think that’s a wise move Jeff) while the refs try to separate them. Jarrett says he wants Fargo to remember this night.

Back to the ring, it’s time for our next match, and it’s a tag team match!

Christian York and Joey Matthews (Joey Mercury) vs The Dupps (with Fluff)

York and Matthews are amazingly over! The Dupps are our hillbilly friends from earlier and aren’t quite as over, well Fluff might be.

Fluff scolds York and Matthews letting the Dupps get the jump on them, but York and Matthews quickly rally.

York and Matthews are great and Trevor is too, but Bo Dupp is a little too goofy, he does a bunny hop before going into a standing splash.

Results: The Dupps win it by pinfall after Fluff causes York to losing his balance that some how went unnoticed by Scott Armstrong, who was on the same side of the ring chastising Matthews and Trevor.

Comment: Oh heavens, what was that?

In what I’m assuming is a nod to the fact that TNA is in Nashville, Tennessee, aka Music City, USA, they do a tribute to the then CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, Toby Keith (who, at one point, tried to be a part owner of TNA) and his hit song ‘How Do Ya Like Me Now?’.

Seriously, what the actual f**k?.

Oh, there’s an actual point to the Toby Keith tribute, he’s going to sing before the Gauntlet for the Gold, but instead of the National Anthem, he’s singing ‘Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue’.

Jarrett interrupts the proceedings and Keith is pissed. Jarrett tells Keith to take his ‘Angry American’ ass out and says it’s time for the Main Event.

Gauntlet for the Gold. Winner becomes the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion.

Okay, this is going to be a little tough to follow. I can tell you that #2 is Buff Bagwell, who is quickly eliminated.

One difference between the Royal Rumble and the Gauntlet for the Gold is that we get a running clock of the full ninety seconds between competitors. Also, once someone is eliminated, the clock resets, no one gets a chance to catch their breath.

Why are there commercial breaks in a PPV?

Okay, Toby Keith is apparently an entrant in this thing and can do a basic suplex.

HOLD THE PHONE! Your humble reviewer has to eat her words. I’ve been thinking that this whole Gauntlet for the Gold was going to lead up to Jarrett being the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion, but Jarrett just got eliminated by Scott Hall and Toby Keith.

Okay, eliminating Jarrett seemed to be Keith’s objective and he’s out, but he’s following Jarrett up the ramp.

I don’t know why, but Gangrel has jumped in the ring, apparently, he’s an entrant, or Toby Keith was borrowing his number.

There’s a lot of former WCW and ECW guys in this match.

Okay, we are down to Malice and Ken Shamrock. Steamboat’s in the ring, let’s do this!

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ken Shamrock vs Malice. Special Referee: Ricky Steamboat

This match was pretty rough. Malice has a lot of power, but not a lot of finesse. Shamrock’s history in MMA speaks for itself, plus both guys are pretty tired from the Gauntlet match, especially Malice.

There seems to be a lot focus on whether or not Malice taps out. Apparently, the announcers can’t tell the difference between a slap on the mat from pain and tapping out. Thankfully, Steamboat can, or this match would’ve been over already. Shamrock and Steamboat are having some words over Shamrock not wanting to break the ankle lock.

Results: Ken Shamrock by pinfall, unbelievably. Shamrock enters an exclusive club and unlike Shane Douglas, Shamrock doesn’t throw down the belt. Shamrock is a World Champion, something he never accomplished in WWF/E. The legends come out to congratulate Shamrock. Backstage, Jarrett, Fargo, and Toby Keith are still fighting. Jarrett seems to think Fargo sent Keith out there to screw him out of the title, and that’s probably a safe bet.

Comments: That was interesting.  Lot of filler guys, not enough guys that really seemed to have a chance of being champion. The swerve with Jarrett was interesting.

Jarrett comes out and is still bitching about the Gauntlet for the Gold and actually attacks a couple of the sturdier looking legends, which brings out Fargo, Toby Keith, and some security guards.  There’s a lot of yelling and threatening, and Fargo seems to think that Toby Keith being a good singer means anything in the wrestling business. Fargo also promises that Jarrett will get his ass whipped next week. Jarrett doesn’t want to wait until next week. Apparently, the match is going to be Jeff Jarrett vs Scott Hall. Hall run out from the back and the first TNA episode ends with Jarrett and Hall duking it while the security guards half-heartedly try to stop them.

Overall Thoughts:

So, how was the first episode of TNA? Like most first episodes of anything, it was very awkward. There was a lot of talking, I think the first segment took at least twenty minutes to get through before we got to an actual match.

The TNA locker room at this time seemed very lackluster. It seemed to consist of a lot of guys that were leftover from the collapse of WCW and ECW and either weren’t signed by WWE or were released after the Invasion angle ended towards the end of 2001. There is some young talent, but a lot of this roster seems to be made up of leftovers, which really isn’t surprising for what is basically a start-up/expansion wrestling promotion. However, there were also a lot of young guys that would become mainstays of the roster: Styles, Storm, and Harris.

The announce team was awful. Mike Tenay is a great source of wrestling information, but he is not a good lead announcer, at least not right now. He really needs a Jim Ross or Tony Schiavone type person to do the actual play-by-play. Don West and Ed Ferrara were both extremely cringe-worthy, though West wasn’t nearly as bad as Ferrara, but some research has assured me that Ferrara won’t be there much longer.

The Gauntlet for the Gold was an interesting match and had a pretty good swerve. I was convinced that Jarrett was going to win, but I wasn’t upset by Shamrock’s win.

The inclusion of NASCAR guys and Toby Keith was pointless, in my opinion, and the segment with the NASCAR guys and Brian Christopher ganging up on K-Krush was disturbing.

One thing I did notice was that, unless Jarrett was on camera, there was almost no mention of the Gauntlet for the Gold, which seems a little surprising considering that they spent the first twenty minutes of the show hyping it.

I will say that, for all the issues and eye-rolling, face-palming, moments, TNA showed a lot of promise. Jarrett showed that he could be a top guy to build a company around, something that really wasn’t evident in WCW. It looks like the Jarretts and company realize what they need to do to not only bring the NWA back into the mainstream, but make it a viable competition for WWE.

Stinkers: Oh, so many. I would have to say The Johnsons vs Storm and Psychosis just for sheer ‘WTF’.

Match of the Night: Gauntlet for the Gold was a surprisingly good match, even with a less than stellar roster.

Final Thoughts: This episode was very rough around the edges, but it showed promise and I did enjoy parts of it.


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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WCW Beach Blast ’93 – A Day At The Beach, A Night For Revenge

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Open: Eric Bischoff & Missy Hyatt open the show. They discuss title matches including the Iron Man match for the United States Championship, and Ric Flair pursuing the NWA title once again. Jesse Ventura is running late to be at ringside as he’s hanging out at a tiki bar with some ladies.

Match #1 for the WCW World Television Championship: WCW World Television Champion ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff vs. ‘All-American’ Ron Simmons
Simmons gets the crowd riled up as some chant “Paula”. Orndorff is irate. Simmons knocks him off the apron and goes on the attack on the floor. He rolls Orndorff back in the ring, kicks in the gut and knocks him down with a right. He sends Orndorff for a back elbow and follows it with a drop kick. A lateral press for two and Orndorff rolls out. The crowd gets on his case some more. He slowly steps back in. They feel each other out, drop toe hold from Mr. Wonderful but Simmons moves from the elbow.

Simmons grabs a wristlock and works over the arm.Simmons converts into a hammerlock, broken up with an elbow. Orndorff keeps striking with elbows and rights. Irish whip and Simmons moves out of the way. The All American goes back on offense and grabs an arm bar. They hit the ropes, Orndorff ducks a clothesline and jumps on Simmons’ back with a sleeper. He shoves the former world champion into the corner and scores with a belly to back suplex. Orndorff heads up top and Simmons dodges the knee. Ron works over the knee that he just landed on, stomping it down on the mat from behind. More kicks to the inside of the knee and Simmons uses the bottom rope for more leverage. Simmons locks in a figure four but Orndorff was too close to the ropes.

Orndorff rolls outside and baits Simmons. He pulls the challenger out to the floor and ambushes him. Simmons rolls back in and Orndorff is still on the attack, grabbing a reverse chinlock. Simmons works to his feet, breaks the hold and lands a shoulder tackle. Orndorff comes right back with a high knee lift, and he drops that knee across Simmons’ jaw. Front face lock by the champ, Simmons scores some body shots, breaking the hold. Irish whip but Orndorff gets his foot up. Lateral press and Simmons kicks out. Orndorff goes back to the reverse chin lock, the crowd cheers Simmons on. Simmons tries fighting from his knees, Orndorff measures him with rights.

Reverse whip to the ropes and Simmons scores with a powerslam and gets a two count. Orndorff with a shot to the throat, he sends Simmons to the ropes, a backbody drop is reversed with a sunset flip and the champ kicks out. Orndorff sends him again but Simmons stops short of a dropkick. Simmons sends Orndorff for a big clothesline, sends him again for a back elbow and Orndorff again kicks out. Front facelock and a snap suplex by Simmons but Orndorff is too close to the ropes. Orndorff changes momentum with a thumb to the eye, he sets Simmons up for a piledriver and it’s reversed with a backdrop over the top rope, prompting a DQ.
Winner and STILL WCW World Television Champ: ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff (Disqualification)

  • After The Bell: Simmons doesn’t realize he’s been disqualified and sets up Orndorff for a top rope shoulder tackle. The ref explains what happens and Orndorff tries to blindside Simmons with the belt. The challenger ducks and turns the fate on the champ. He poses with the belt as Orndorff retreats.
  • EA’s TakeIt’s been a while since I’ve seen Ron on a PPV. He was hot leading into his 1992 championship win, but his reign was somewhat underwhelming and then he got hurt. Great to see the fans give him a good response, but part of it was the fact that Orndorff was getting great heat as the injury really derailed all the momentum Simmons had prior.

Match #2: Marcus Alexander Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce
Pierce and Bagwell start us out and lock up quickly, Pierce with position in the corner. He breaks it off and the crowd boos at his taunting. Collar and elbow, side headlock by Bagwell, they hit the ropes and collide twice with shoulder blocks. They go for a third time, Bagwell with a baseball slide under Pierce’s legs, he ducks a clothesline and lands a cross body. Slazenger charges in, Scorpio helps his partner and they double team the big man face first on the mat. Scorpio tries to elevate over the top rope and it prompts an all out brawl on the entrance ramp. The Texan team bails to the floor and the babyfaces hold the ring.

Slazenger is tagged in to face Bagwell, he taunts Scorpio and they oblige with a tag. Scorpio dances and Slazenger doesn’t like it. Collar and elbow tie up, Slazenger with the side headlock into the ropes. Slazenger wins with a shoulder tackle. Scorpio hits the ropes and he is hit with a huge back drop. Slazenger sits him on the top rope. Scorpio blocks strikes and scores with a big cross body. He follows with a drop kick and an arm drag, and holds on with an arm bar. Bagwell is tagged back in for a double team hip toss. He latches on with a wrist lock and Tex fights out with forearms. Pierce is tagged back in, he’s caught with a drop toe hold.

They hit the ropes, Pierce with a shoulder tackle. Bagwell leapfrogs him twice and scores with an arm drag, hanging onto the wrist. Pierce with a forearm and a scoop slam. Tag is made to Slazenger and he’s met with an arm drag. Bagwell with a suplex and a two count. They hit the ropes and Pierce cheapshots Bagwell from behind. Slazenger takes advantage, elbows the skull and brings Bagwell down, going into the hammerlock. Pierce is tagged in and picks up where his partner left off. Quick tag back to Slazenger who stomps away. The fans rally for Bagwell who is head butted. They hit the ropes and Bagwell leaps with a sunset flip.

Slazenger kicks out and hits a vicious clothesline. Scorpio saves his partner from the pin. Pierce is back in and stays in control. He throws Bagwell into his corner and runs a distraction to get a double team. Snapmare into the reverse chinlock by Pierce on Bagwell. He’s held on the mat and Slazenger helps his partner get extra leverage. Bagwell works to his feet, breaks the hold with elbows he he’s caught with kick to the gut and a side saulto suplex. Lateral press and Scorpio makes the save again. Tag is made to Slazenger and he holds the hammerlock. They work back to their feet and Slazenger still has the arm bar.

Shots to the midsection by Bagwell but he’s brought down with a drop toe hold and a tag is made back to Pierce who drops a big elbow. Scoop slam by Pierce but Bagwell dodges the elbow drop. Tag is made to Tex and he cuts off Bagwell from his tag attempt. He lifts Bagwell on his shoulder, lands a shoulder breaker and Pierce is tagged in who drops the elbow. Cocky cover and Bagwell kicks out. Forearm to the back and Bagwell meets the turnbuckle. Irish whip and Bagwell moves out of the way. Marcus crawls under Pierce’s legs and he makes the hot tag to Scorpio. 2 Cold with quick strikes and a back elbow. Side kick to a charging Slazenger.

He whips Pierce into the corner and scores with a superkick. He heads for the top rope and lands a big splash. Slazenger saves the cover, Bagwell comes in to deal with Tex. They whip the heels into one another, Slazenger is drop kicked out of the ring. Double Irish whip to Pierce, Bagwell ducks a clothesline and hits a belly to back suplex. Scorpio heads for the top and lands a 450 splash for the win.
Winners: Marcus Alexander Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio (Scorpio/450 Splash)

  • EA’s TakeFans would better know Pierce and Slazenger as the Godwinn’s of the WWF in a few more years, but this might be some of the better in-ring work we will see out of the big bruisers. This team of Scorpio and Bagwell is a lot of fun, but this match could have used a little more 2 Cold in my opinion as he’s by far the most entertaining of the four at this time.

In the Arena: Missy Hyatt is joined by Paul Orndorff and someone they simply call The Equalizer. She knows a lot of people who want to take his TV title, but Mr. Wonderful explains why he’s the John Wayne of professional wrestling. He plays by the rules, and when things get tough he can handle it. Ron Simmons should be punished for tossing him over the top rope. Simmons can keep coming, but he’s going to keep on choking just like Florida State. A guy like Ricky Steamboat is too old to come after his title, they call him the old man by the sea.

Match #3: Erik Watts vs. Lord Steven Regal w/Sir William Dundee
Watts comes in for a tie up and Regal struts away. They bluff once again and they finally attempt a lock up, Regal maneuvers out of the way. Finally a collar and elbow, Regal grabs a modified arm bar, moves it into the wrist lock. Watts reverses it on him and Regal dances around. Regal somersaults out and hits a monkey flip but Watts keeps hold of the wrist. Regal gets position for a snapmare and moves into an arm bar.  Regal ducks a kick to the head, Watts flips over and kicks Regal off of him.

Watts with a backdrop and he stays right on the arm. He drives the knee in. Regal jumps to his feet, reverses out of the hold with a wristlock takedown. Lateral press and Watts kicks out. Regal holds his wrists to the mat, Watts tries to bridge out, Regal jumps on top of him but Watts somersaults backwords and holds the wrists strong. Regal counters out of it with a top wristlock, driving Watts down to the mat. Test of strength on the mat, Watts makes it to his feet. Regal flips him over for a pin, quickly countered. Collar and elbow tie up, hammerlock by Watts. Regal moves him in corner, breaks the hold with an elbow and takes him down with a drop toe hold.

Watts spins out of a front face lock and scores with a hip toss. He holds Regal on the mat with the arm bar. He works into a standing hammerlock, Regal reverses with a backdrop but Watts hangs on for a sunset flip. Regal goes into an ankle submission. He lifts Watts for European uppercuts and forearm shots. Snapmare takedown, he moves the knee pad off but Watts dodges it. Whip to the ropes and Watts takes the legs out from under him. He sets up for the STF, locks it in but Sir William Dundee hits him in the face from the floor. Regal blindsides him with a schoolboy and we have our winner.
Winner: Lord Steven Regal (Schoolboy)

  • EA’s TakeA welcome to WCW PPV’s to one of the most underrated talents in professional wrestling history. I say that acknowledging he won his share of belts and that he continues on as the General Manager of NXT, but Regal was brilliant in the ring. The little things make all the difference in professional wrestling and Regal’s crisp technical skills, believable selling, facial expressions and mannerisms were always great from him. One of the competitors you couldn’t really appreciate until you’re older and have a better understanding of everything. Also, how is Erik Watts still employed?
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Chairshot Classics: WWF King Of The Ring 1994

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Despite all the controversy, WWE Crown Jewel is moving forward as planned on November 2nd and not only will the event feature the in-ring return of Shawn Michaels when D-Generation X meets The Brothers Of Destruction, but also the World Cup tournament. So today, we’re looking back at another past WWE tournament with the 1994 King Of The Ring! Following Bret Hart’s King Of The Ring win last year, his brother Owen looks to claim the throne for himself and step out on his own. However, the likes of Razor Ramon, Bam Bam Bigelow, Jeff Jarrett and The 1-2-3 Kid all have their sights set on the crown. Let’s jump into the action!

Open: Earlier in the day as the camera crews were setting up around the tournament bracket board, Jeff Jarrett showed up to do some premature advancing of his name. Owen Hart would walk in to correct him, followed by Bam Bam Bigelow and Irwin R. Schyster. Todd Pettengill then voices over highlights showcasing tonight’s card, including the first round tournament matches, our WWF Title match and Roddy Piper vs. Jerry Lawler.

In The Arena: Bill Dunn asks the crowd to please rise, as Ricky Medlocke of the band Blackfoot sings our National Anthem.

Match #1 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Bam Bam Bigelow w/Luna Vachon vs. Razor Ramon
Luna has some words for The Bad Guy and he tosses his toothpick in her face, Bam Bam ambushes him from behind as the bell rings, clobbering him down to the mat. He sends Ramon to the ropes for a shoulder block, whips him back in for another, plants him with a body slam, drops a headbutt and follows with a big leg drop. Bigelow to the top turnbuckle for the Diving Headbutt, Razor rolls out of harm’s way, scores with big right hands, irish whip to the corner is reversed and The Bad Guy hits the turnbuckles hard.

The Beast from the East looks to send him back across, Ramon reverses, follows in and slides under the legs to the outside, trips Bam Bam up and yanks him in an unforgiving position into the ring post. The Bad Guy climbs back in, comes off the 2nd rope with a bulldog for a near fall, starts to target the left leg with elbow drops and grabs a heel hold. Bigelow kicks him away, goes for a kick that gets caught, tries to bring his other foot around for an enzuigiri, Ramon ducks it and then staggers him with a clothesline. He goes to the ropes for another and can’t bring Bam Bam down, tries once more, The Beast from the East side-steps it and uses the momentum to dump Razor over the top to the floor.

Bam Bam goes out and hits a couple of rights before rolling Ramon back in, clubs him in the back, loud “Razor” chants and Bigelow puts the boots to him for a count of 2. He clocks Razor with an enzuigiri for another 2 count, drives headbutts into the lower back, then powers him into a torture rack. The referee checks the arm, Ramon doesn’t let it drop on the third attempt, Bigelow can’t hold him up anymore, flips him over to his feet for a side headlock and The Bad Guy counters with a back suplex. Both guys stagger to their feet, Ramon blocks right hands and returns fire, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Bam Bam charges in and The Bad Guy side-steps out of the way.

He delivers a body slam, lifts him up to prop him on the top turnbuckle, Bigelow with a big back elbow to avoid it, then plants Razor with a body slam of his own. He scales the corner to go for the Bam Bamsault, Ramon pops to his feet, plants him into the canvas, stacks The Beast from the East up and gets a 3 count.
Winner: Razor Ramon (Bam Bamsault Counter)

  • EA’s TakeThis has nothing to do with the match, but I need to address it right off the bat…why on Earth is Art Donovan on commentary tonight? Just awful. Anyways, good to open the night and tournament with this one as Razor is  over and Bam Bam was one of the best heels in the company. Honestly, either of these guys would have been excellent choices to win the whole thing. In case you’re wondering, after retaining his Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania against Shawn Michaels, Ramon would lose it just a few short weeks later to The Heartbreak Kid’s bodyguard, Diesel.

Backstage: Todd Pettengill is standing at the King Of The Ring board with Irwin R. Schyster & Mabel with Oscar, opponents in our next tournament match. IRS informs Mabel he’s not worried about him and then next up will be Razor Ramon, then says he hopes 1-2-3 Kid makes it to the finals before walking off. Mabel thinks Schyster needs to stop thinking about Razor and be concerned with him, then states if he meets Ramon then he will learn who the real Bad Guy is.

Match #2 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Irwin R. Schyster vs. Mabel w/Oscar
IRS tries to attack from behind after the bell, Mabel drives him head-first into the top turnbuckle over and over, levels him with a clothesline, then plants The Tax Man with a body slam. He hooks Schyster for a delayed vertical suplex, grabs a wristlock for clubbing blows to the back, brings him back to the canvas with a modified fireman’s carry takeover, then drops a massive elbow to the chest. Mabel shoots Irwin to the corner and follows him in for a splash, IRS side-steps it, delivers a knee to the back to send the big man to the outside and takes himself a breather in the ring.

Mabel rolls back into the squared circle, Schyster meets him with right hands, sends him off to the ropes and drops him with the Write-Off followed by multiple elbow drops for a count of 2. He attempts to pick Mabel up for a body slam, can’t lift the weight, Mabel counters to a small package for a quick 2 count and IRS swiftly starts putting the boots to him before slapping on a rear chinlock. The big man powers up to a standing position, backs Irwin into the turnbuckles to break the hold, hammers him with big punches, shoots him to the ropes and elevates him with a big back body drop.

Mabel runs him over with a clothesline, shoots Schyster back to the ropes for a high back elbow, then back in again for a sidewalk slam, nearly putting the match away. He drives IRS into the mat with another body slam, climbs to the 2nd rope, Irwin quickly shakes the ropes forcing Mabel to lose his balance, he crashes down to the canvas, Schyster with a cover using the ropes for leverage and he gets the win.
Winner: Irwin R. Schyster (Pinfall)

  • EA’s TakeHo-hum, pretty basic stuff here to get IRS to advance and meet Razor Ramon is the semi-finals. The company was trying out Mabel as a singles competitor for the first time as they still were enamored by Superstars of enormous size, but it wouldn’t last past the summer and he’d slide back into tag team action with Mo.

Video: Earlier in the day, Mr. Fuji & Jim Cornette were prepping Yokozuna & Crush for their match-up for the WWF Tag Team Titles tonight. Cornette says Fuji has his boys well prepared to take the championships tonight, Fuji stating he wants The Headshrinkers to be squashed and for his guys to walk out as the new champs.

Match #3 – King Of The Ring Quarterfinals: Tatanka vs. ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart
Owen steps into the ring after his entrance and Tatanka immediately meets him with right hands, the bell sounds and The Native American whips him back and forth into the turnbuckles, elevates him with a back body drop and gains a quick 2 count. He executes a vertical suplex for another count of 2, The Rocket goes to the eyes to stop the onslaught, slows things down with a standing side headlock, The Native American pushes him off to the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder block.

Hart goes back to the ropes, Tatanka drops down, leapfrogs over and catches him with a hip toss, shoots him back to the ropes for a Japanese arm drag, then grabs a side headlock of his own. Owen shoves him off to the ropes, Tatanka with a big shoulder knockdown, goes back to the ropes, The Rocket drops down and uses the momentum to toss him over the top to the floor. The Native American back to his feet, sweeps Owen’s legs from the outside and drags him under the bottom rope, connects with a series of overhand chops, Hart returns fire and whips him shoulder-first into the ring post before rolling back inside.

We go backstage where IRS & Razor Ramon are involved in a shoving match, WWF officials having to step in between them as Tatanka pulls himself back into the ring in the arena. Owen drops him on the 2nd rope and chokes away, hits the ropes and drops all his weight onto the back with a seated senton, then rakes Tatanka’s face on the top rope. He plants The Native American with a gutwrench suplex, heads upstairs for a dropkick, hooks the leg and gains a near fall before grabbing a rear chinlock. Tatanka fights up to his feet, hits the ropes and ducks under a clothesline, The Rocket slaps on a sleeper hold and The Native American starts to fade down to the canvas.

The referee checks the arm, Tatanka shows some life on the third attempt, battles his way up, Owen clocks him with fists, drives him head-first into the top turnbuckle over and over, but it has little affect and The Native American goes into his war dance. He pummels The Rocket with knife-edge chops and punches, makes a cover for a count of 2, irish whip to the corner is reversed, Owen follows him in and runs into a boot to the jaw. The Native American spikes him with a DDT for a near fall, plants him with a body slam, heads to the top rope for an overhand chop, but still can’t get a 3 count.

Tatanka sends Hart to the corner and charges in behind, The Rocket looks to hop up and over, gets caught on The Native American’s shoulders, but Tatanka gets frustrated after another 2 count. He argues with the official about the count, catches Owen trying to sneak up from behind, irish whip to the ropes is reversed by The Rocket for a back body drop, Tatanka goes for a sunset flip, Hart drops down on top, hooks the legs and advances.
Winner: ‘The Rocket’ Owen Hart (Sunset Flip Counter)

  • EA’s TakeAnother bit of a “ho-hum” contest, but much better than the previous IRS/Mabel match. Owen is really on fire as a heel following his win over Bret at WrestleMania, a quarterfinals loss here would have made no sense whatsoever, no matter how over Tatanka was at the time.
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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WCW Monday Nitro Episode 19 (1/8/96)

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WCW Monday Nitro

From the North Charleston Coliseum, in Charleston, South Carolina, comes WCW Monday Nitro! Set up from the last episode, we have Hulk Hogan teaming with Randy Savage to take on Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. The other advertised matches are very intriguing as Lord Steven Regal battles Eddie Guerrero and Sting faces Diamond Dallas Page. A solid sounding lineup, especially those under card matches. Let’s see how it plays out!

Chris Benoit vs Alex Wright

Wright comes out to a sizable reaction, he definitely was a fan favorite. Benoit jumps him quickly and hits a solid snap suplex and back elbow. Wright tries to come back but takes a beautiful bridging northern lights suplex for a near fall. Benoit throws Wright outside and distracts the referee while Pillman at ringside chokes Alex for a bit. Wright sends Benoit over the top rope and Heenan asks if that’s a DQ? Was that still illegal at this point? Alex hits Chris with a big cross body from the top rope to the outside. Wright sinks in a deep boston crab before transitioning into an STF before Benoit gets out. Pillman trips Wright, but Wright launches himself over the top to drop him. Coming back into the ring, Benoit gets the upper hand with knees to the midsection. Benoit hooks and drops a dragon suplex with a bridge to pick up the pinfall. Fun little match here, lots of fun back and forth action.

Winner: Chris Benoit via pinfall

Lord Steven Regal vs Eddie Guerrero

Great chain wrestling to start this matchup, they go back and forth, trading holds and counters. Eddie counters a double arm suplex with an arm drag before a nearfall exchange is ended when Regal pokes Guerrero’s eyes. Regal takes control with a big European uppercut and several more strikes before hitting a nice reverse suplex, a move that is very underutilized in my opinion. Eddie reverses a pinning attempt for a nearfall before eating a big back elbow from Regal. Regal is in control with strikes and out of nowhere, Eddie drops Regal with a backslide and picks up the shocking win. This was a very fun match, but I would have liked something twice as long.

Winner: Eddie Guerrero

Mean Gene is on the ramp with Sting and Lex Luger. Sting asks Lex about Starrcade why he pulled Sting down before he could get back into the ring, costing Sting a chance at the title. Lex claimed he got hurt and was reaching for help and asked Sting to give him a chance at redemption as a tag team against the Blue Bloods at Clash of the Champions. Sting agrees and it is set.

Sting vs Diamond Dallas Page

DDP gets Sting with the cigar in the eye to start the match and gains the upper hand. Sting counters with a double axe handle, a dropkick that sends DDP out of the ring followed by a cross body over the top rope. Strange spot where Sting goes for a leapfrog and initially it looked like Sting came up too early, but he sold like a low blow. No DQ, but DDP is in control with a belly to back suplex and swinging neckbreaker. DDP grounds Sting with a rear chin lock and plants his feet on the ropes but denies it to referee, Nick Patrick. Sting tries to counter out with a top wrist lock but DDP gets a handful of hair to drag him back down to the mat. Sting fights out with a facebuster and some big strikes before hitting a reverse atomic drop and big dropkick to send DDP into the corner. Sting hits the Stinger Splash but can’t get the Scorpion Death Lock in. DDP hits another neckbreaker and a thumb to the eyes out of a pinfall attempt. Sting counters a kick and locks on the Scorpion Death Lock and DDP taps out. This was another fun match with two great guys in the ring.

Winner: Sting via submission

Ric Flair and Arn Anderson vs Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan

Flair and Hogan start us off, and Hogan gets his hits in, a big boot, some clotheslines and bodyslams to both Flair and Anderson. Arn is tagged in and in comes Savage as well. Anderson tries to suplex Savage out of the ring, but Savage counters it, sending him to the outside with a big boot from Hogan. Savage hits a double axe handle from the top rope to the outside of the ring and one to the inside. Arn tags in Flair who tries to go to the top rope, but Hogan sends him off the top. Hogan and Savage lock on figure 4 leg locks but the Horsemen get out. Anderson sends Savage outside and into the guardrail before feeding him back in to Flair. Flair hits a big belly to back suplex and tags in Anderson. Flair is back in and hits a shin breaker and attempts the figure 4, but Savage rolls him up a couple of times for near falls. Flair comes back with a couple of vicious sounding chops. Savage gets the hot tag to Hogan and he’s in on fire. Back body drops, and clotheslines with a double clothesline to send them both outside. Anderson back and and hits a big spinebuster, but Hogan no sells it, Hulks up, big boot, leg drop, pinfall. Pillman and Benoit come down and fights with the Dungeon of Doom. The Giant comes in and gives chokelsams to both Hogan and Savage. Hogan barely got up in the air for it, looked kinda sad. The show goes off the air after that exchange.

Winner: Hogan and Savage via pinfall

So, we had a pretty fun show here with some good matches. Stories are still being made clear as we work towards Clash of the Champions. It’ll be interesting to see how the next few months play out as we are going to get into some intriguing angles.


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