Hello all and welcome to a Chairshots Classic special to coincide with the 2MB Wrestling Podcast.
In 2001, the Monday Night War is over. ECW went bankrupt and out of business. WCW planned to sell to Eric Bischoff and a consortium of investors for somewhere between $10 Million and $!5 Million.
When an AOL Time Warner Executive named Jamie Kellner (the guy who really killed WCW) dropped WCW programming from the Turner Networks, the Bischoff deal fell through. With no TV to air WCW on, WCW was considered worthless and the backers backed out.
WWE and Vince McMahon stepped in. They had a TV deal of their own. They scooped up the WCW library, trademarks and the contracts of some WCW stars for a figure rumoured to be in theregion of just $3 million.
WWE had bought their competition and with that the Monday Night War was declared over on March 26 2001.
On TV, in a moment that aired simultaneously on the March 26th episode of WWE Raw (episode 409) AND the final episode of WCW Nitro (episode 288) it was announced that Shane McMahon’s name was on the contract and he now owned WCW. As Spring turned to Summer, WCW wrestlers began interfering in WWE matches on Raw and Smackdown.
Then on the July 9th Raw, members of Team WWE, Chris Jericho and Kane took on WCW representatives, Lance Storm & Mike Awesome. During the match, Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer came through the crowd and attacked Jericho and Kane. Bubba Ray Dudley, Justin Credible, D Von Dudley, Rhyno and Raven ran in to chase off the invading Van Dam and Dreamer only for them to join forces with Storm, Awesome, Dreamer and Van Dam to beat down Jericho and Kane. Paul Heyman would leave the commentary position and announce “This invasion has been taken to the Extreme!” as this group were representing ECW. Later in the show, the WCW and ECW teams would join forces forming The Alliance before announcing new ECW owner (on screen anyway) Stephanie McMahon.
The Invasion is on.
This all leads to…..
InVasion [July 22 2001]
Following an opening video package with stock footage of soldiers marching, bombs falling and a general theme of war, Michael Cole and JR welcome us to the show.
. Edge & Christian vs Lance Storm & Mike Awesome
Awesome starts with a kick and some right hands to Christian followed by shoulders in the corner. Awesome Irish Whips Christian into the corner but Christian avoids the charging Awesome and hits him with a Drop Toe Hold before tagging Edge. He hits Awesome with a couple of Right Hands before Awesome counters an Irish Whip and drops Edge with a Clothesline. Storm tags in and hits Edge with a kick to the ribs and a couple of Right Hands. An Irish Whip by Storm is countered by a Hurricanranna by Edge. Storm reverses an Irish Whip but Edge gets a boot up to stop the oncoming Storm before smacking him with a second rope Dropkick. From the apron, Awesome tries to Clothesline Edge but he ducks it and Dropkicks Awesome off the apron. Storm tries to take advantage of the distraction and charges at Edge who ducks him and Back Drops Storm over the top rope and he lands on Awesome. Christian then uses Edge as a springboard to help him Plancha onto the Alliance team at ringside. Edge drags Storm into the ring and gets a two count from a Backbreaker before tagging in Christian who gets a two from a double hiptoss.
Christian Irish Whips Storm but Storm catches a Monkey Flip attempt and tries to Superplex Christian only for Christian to push Storm off the top turnbuckle. Before Christian is able to mount an attack, Awesome pulls Christian’s legs from underhim and he falls chest first onto the turnbuckle pad. As a wounded Christian stands on the apron, Storm clatters into him sending Christian into the ringside barrier. While Edge protests in the ring distracting the referee, Awesome rams Christian into the ring apron and then back into the ringside barrier. Back in the ring, Christian tries to fight back with Right Hands but Storm catches him with a knee to the gut before sending Christian gut first into the ringpost. Awesome tags in and gets a two from an Elbow Drop. A Clothesline knocks Christian down as does a Bodyslam before he gets a two count from a Big Splash. Awesome stomps on Christian’s lower back before throwing him face first into Storm’s waiting boot. Storm then tags in and gets a two count from a Forearm Smash which he follows with a Gutbuster and catches Christian with a knee to the gut following a whip off the ropes that gets another two.
Storm whips Christian off the ropes but Christian ducks a Clothesline and hits a Cross Body. Storm is able to tag Awesome who prevents Christian from doing the same before lifting him up and dropping Christian down on the top rope before an Alabama Slam gets Awesome a two when Edge has to break it up. After the referee gets Edge back out of the ring, Awesome gets yet another two count after a Flying Clothesline. Storm tags back in and lays into Christian with kicks and stomps and a Backbreaker before tagging out again. Awesome climbs the turnbuckles and launches at Christian with a Frog Splash for a two count. Awesome follows an Irish Whip into the corner with a Clothesline before attempting a top rope Awesome Bomb that Christian Back Drops his way out of. Much like Awesome tags Storm, Christian is able to tag Edge who lays out Storm with Right Hands and a Clothesline before lamping Awesome with a Spinning Heel Kick when he tried to get involved. Edge then catches Storm with a Backdrop and Awesome with a Dropkick before hitting an Edge O Matic to Storm that gets a two count. Edge attempts a Sunset Flip but Storm grabs Awesome’s hands to prevent it. Christian gets on the apron and thumbs Awesome breaking his grip only for Storm to roll out of it but Edge rolls him up with an O’Connor Roll for another two count. Storm rolls up Edge with a Small Package but the referee is distracted by Awesome so Christian rolls both men over so Edge now has Storm rolled up, it gets a two count. Storm hits a Jawbreaker and tags Awesome, they go for a Double Side Suplex but Edge rolls out of it allowing Christian to hit Storm and Awesome with a top rope Clothesline. Edge runs at Storm for a Spear but he manages to leapfrog over Edge, Awesome doesn’t and he gets hit by the Spear for a two count. Christian Irish Whips Storm but is caught by a back elbow from Storm who lines Christian up for a Superkick. Edge pushes Christian out of the way and he eats the Superkick. Christian dives at Storm and both men go sailing over the top rope while in the ring Awesome manages to cover the fallen Edge for a two count. Awesome lifts Edge for an Awesome Bomb but Christian runs in and Spears Awesome allowing Edge to make the cover and he gets three.
Winners: Edge & Christian
Backstage, Vince McMahon celebrates Edge & Christian’s victory by attempting a five second pose. He is interupted by William Regal who says that Steve Austin and his wife Debra have arived at the arena. Vince tells Regal to give Austin some space and think about his own match with Raven later tonight. Vince says tosmear him into the ground like George Washington did to King George’s red coats in the Revolutionarry War.
. Earl Hebner vs Nick Patrick
For all those that think 2018 wrestling is a little on the odd side, the referees are going to fight. To keep things even, MIck Foley is here to be the referee.
Earl starts by shoving Patrick but he slaps Earl and Earl looks like he’s going to fall down. Earl kicks Patrick then shoves him into the opposite corner and procedesto unload on Patrick with more kicks. Earl grabs Patrick by the ankles and pulls him out of the corner and into the air getting a two count when Patrick lands. Earl attacks with punches but Patrick turns him over and gets in some punches of his own. Earl gets in some knees before Patrick pulls him out of the ring. As Earl slides back in the ring, Patrick stomps down on him but Earl gets to his feet punches Patrick into the corner and hits the 10 punches in the corner. Patrick hits Earl with a Low Blow before a Baseball Slide sends Earl out of the ring again. The WCW referees that accompanied Patrick to the ring attack Earl before the WWE referees chase them off and Mick Foley sends the WCW refs to the the back. In the ring, Patrick argues with Foley allowing Earl time to hit something vaguely resembling a Spear to get the pinfall victory. After the bell, Patrick argues with Foley and gets a mouth full of Socko for his troubles.
Winner: Earl Hebner
An ad airs for an upcoming episode of Tough Enough. I spotted Chris Nowinski and Maven in there. No idea who anyone else is to be honest.
Cole and JR hype the 5 on 5 main event tag match and we see footage from last Thursday’s Smackdown when Diamond Dallas Page kidnapped Debra only for Steve Austin to car jack a limo and give chase.
Back in catering, Debra is still angry at being kidnapped by DDP and dumped on a street corner. The Undertaker’s wife, Sara (who keeps calling him Mark) understands, she has had her problems with DDP before. Both women want to see DDP torn limb from limb.
. Faarooq & Bradshaw vs Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire
Right, now there are two separate reasons for this match. First one is simple: WWE Tag Team Champions versus WCW Tag Team Champions. Other reason is that Faarooq and Bradshaw are the guardians of the gate defending against the inVading WCW. Fun fact: a WCW Tag Team Champions versus WWE Tag Team Champions match happened three times on Pay Per View over the InVasion period. Each time it was different teams, that is six separate teams competed in these champion vs champion matches. A lot of titles switched hands a lot of times in this five month period.
The match starts immediately with O’Haire and Faarooq brawling on the inside and Bradshaw and Palumbo on the inside. Bradshaw’s punches seem to be winning and Faarooq, fresh from whipping O’Haire into the barriers, joins as they hit Palumbo with a Double Spinebuster. Eventually, the referee makes it one on one as he sends Faarooq to the corner. Bradshaw hits Palumbo with a Bodyslam and an Elbow Drop before lifting him for a Suplex that doesn’t even get a one count as O’Haire immediately breaks it up. Bradshaw clubs O’Haire as he exits the ring but gets Clotheslined by Palumbo. O’Haire tags in and unloads on Bradshaw with Right Hands before Bradshaw fights back with a knee to the gut and some chops. Bradshaw whips O’Haire off the ropes but he ducks a Clothesline and hits Bradshaw with one of his own before he mounts Bradshaw and unloads on him with punches. Back to his feet and Bradshaw hits O’Haire with a Side Suplex which allows him to tag Faarooq.
Faarooq hits O’Haire with Right Hands and a Back Elbow for a two count. Farrooq Irish Whips O’Haire chest first into the corner and lifts him for a Side Suplex that O’Haire rolls out of and lands on his feet (kind of) before hitting Faarooq with an elbow to the gut and a knee to the face that gets him a two count. O’Haire tags Palumbo who peppers Faarooq with punches and stomps. He whips Faarooq off the ropes and Faarooq ducks a Clothesline before hitting Palumbo with a Shoulder Block before tagging Bradshaw who unloads on Palumbo with punches in the corner before ramming his head into the turnbuckle and hitting him with more right hands. Palumbo reverses an Irish Whip and runs at Bradshaw for an Avalanche but Bradshaw catches him and hits a Fallaway Slam. Bradshaw goes for a Powerbomb but O’Haire is in and he kicks Bradshaw in the head. Instead of removing O’Haire, the referee choses to deal with a protesting Faarooq and doesn’t see O’Haire lift Bradshaw up for a Prophecy that, when the referee is paying attention, gets a two count. Palumbo whips Bradshaw off the ropes but Bradshaw clubs him in the back when he telegraphs a Back Drop before hitting a DDT allowing him to tag Faarooq.
Faarooq Irish Whips Palumbo who leaps over a charging Farrooq and catches him with a Waistlock that Faarooq reverses before Palumbo puls him into a Clothesline by O’Haire On the outside of the ring, O’Haire drags Faarooq out of the ring and whips him into the steel ringside steps before sliding him back into the ring where Palumbo covers him for a two count. Palumbo stomps Faarooq before tagging O’Haire and they whip Faarooq off the ropes and drop him with a double Back Elbow. O’Haire then whips Faarooq off the ropes again catching him with another elbow to the gut and a knee to the head that gets him a two count. O’Haire charges at Faarooq for something but it is countered into a huge Spinebuster.
Both men tag their partners and Bradshaw boots Palumbo in the face before whiping him off the ropes and catching Palumbo with a Back Elbow. Whipping Palumbo off the ropes a second time ends in a Powerslam that gets him a two count. A third whip off the ropes sees a Clothesline ducked before Palumbo throws himself at Bradshaw for a Cross Body that again is caught. Before he has a chance to hit another Fallaway Slam, O’Haire Superkicks Bradshaw causing Palumbo to land on Bradshaw for a one count which is broken up by Faarooq.O’Haire then lifts Bradshaw and Paulumbo Dropkicks him in the spine that sends Bradshaw into the turnbuckle in some kind of double Snake Eyes move. Palumbo Superkicks Bradshaw but this leaves him open for Bradshaw to hit a Clothesline From Hell that gets the three count
Winners: Faarooq & Bradshaw
Chris Jericho and Vince McMahon are backstage. Jericho says he’s been in all companies. He says WCW never had a leader but ECW have a psychotic and lunatic leader in Paul Heyman (pitty he doesn’t mention the WWE leader) Instead he fat shames Heyman. But he does warn that it’s because of Heyman that WCW and ECW will be coming on strong, but WWE aren’t going to get mad they are going to get Get GET even. Vince says The Alliance will never Eeeeever be the same again.
Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and for some reason Billy Kidman are watching Vince and Jericho on a monitor backstage. Stephanie says she hates Jericho and Paul Heyman can be seen face-palming in the corner. Shane tells Billy Kidman that they need to turn the tide and that he needs to beat X Pac to do that (so that’s why he’s in this scene) Heyman is furious that The Alliance is losing everything from matches to momentum and tells Kidman that they are at the point of no return and that he NEEDS to beat X Pac.
. Billy Kidman vs X Pac
Yo, you dealling with the X Factor.
JR tells us that because of the inVasion and because X Pac is on team WWE, he will be getting cheers tonight instead of the usual jeers. X Pac gets immediate ‘X Pac sucks’ chants. X Pac turns a Collar and Elbow into an Arm Drag. X Pac turns another Collar and Elbow into a Headlock then a Hammerlock before pulling Kidman’s ankles and sending him face first into the canvas. A third Collar and Elbow is turned into a Headlock again by X Pac but Kitman pushes him off sending X Pac off the ropes but the returning X Pac knocks Kidman down with a Shoulder Block. Both men counter each other’s attempts at a Hip Toss before Kidman ducks a Spinning Kick and pulls on X Pac’s ankles sending him face first into the canvas. Kidman takes X Pack down with a Drop Toe Hold which he turns into a Headlock. X Pac gets to hi feet and shoots Kidman off the ropes but the returning Kidman knocks X Pac down with a Shoulder Block. Kidman bounces off the ropes but X Pac catches him and throws him into the air (presumably for a Pop Up Powerbomb) but Kidman counters it with a Hurricanranna followed with an Enziguri that knocks X Pac out of the ring. What X Pac doesn’t see is Kidman who slides under the ropes with a Baseball Slide Faceplant which gets a two count once Kidman rolls him back into the ring. X Pac whips KIdman off the ropes but he ducks a Clothesline and hits another Hurricanranna. Kidman then charges at X Pac who catches Kidman and throws him over the top rope to the outside. As Kidman gets to his feet, X Pac springboards off the second rope, over the top rope and down onto Kidman with a High Cross Body.
In the ring, Kidman kets knocked down by a Standing Spin Kick which gets a two count before X Pack locks in a Chinlock. Kidman fights out of it only to be caught in a Sleeper Hold. Kidman elbows his way out of it, shoots X Pac off the roes and catches him in a Sleeper Hold but X Pac quickly breaks it when he turns it into a Side Suplex. With Kidman down, X Pac climbs to the top turnbuckle and leaps with some kind of Swanton like manouver, but Kidman moves out of the way and X Pac hits nothing but canvas. Kidman hits X Pac with a Right Hand, an Elbow, a Dropkick and a Sky High (shades of D’Lo Brown) that gets him a two count. X Pac staggers into the corner where Kidman hits him with six out of Ten Punches before X Pac Powerbombs Kidman and, despie having his feet on the ropes for leverage, only gets a two count. X Pac lifts Kidma for a Powerbomb that Kidman counters into a Facebuster (or an X Factor if you want to get technical) for a two count. KIdman climbs to the top rope and launches at X Pac with a flying who knows as X Pac counters it with an X Factor of his own which, amazingly, only gets a two count. X Pac drapes Kidman over th e bottom turnbuckle and goes for a Bronco Buster but Kidman counters it by getting a foot up to block (Referee! That’s a low Blow!). With X Pac down, Kidman climbs to the turnbuckle and hits the always impressive looking Shooting Star Press and gets the victory. WCW win something.
Winner: Billy Kidman
Backstage Shane, Stephanie and Heyman seem happier. Diamond Dallas Page is here (Page here) and is talking about when he kidnapped Debra on Smackdown. Shane tells him to forget Smackdown and focus on the likes of Undertaker and Steve Austin tonight
Stacy Kiebler and Torrie Wilson are shown. Torrie says it’s a pitty that the audience is going to see Trish Stratus in her underwear and not Torrie’s “big, voluptuous breasts“. Stacy says no body looks better in panties than her. They say it’s a pitty the audience won’t see them in their underwear tonight so they plan on giving Matt and Jeff Hardy a private showing. Women’s wrestling as come a long way since 2001, that’s all I’m saying.
. Raven vs William Regal
A Collar and Elbow ends with Raven backing Regal into the corner and he goes for a Right Hand but Regal ducks it and unloads on Raven with a series of lefts. He whips Raven off the ropes but telegraphs a Back Drop and is kicked in the chest by Raven who takes too long working out his next move that he gets Clotheslined by Regal. He follows that up by grabbing Raven and hoisting him up with a Double Underhook Suplex. As Regal tries to apply an STF, Raven pulls away from Regal and scuttles out of the ring. Regal goes out after him and strikes with some left hands before throwing Raven back into the ring. In the ring, a Left Hand and an Uppercut get Regal the first two count of the match. Raven reverses a whip against the ropes and tries to Dropkick Regal as he rebounds back. Instead, Regal catches Raven by the ankles and slingshots him over the top rope and out of the ring. Regal follows and throws Raven just far enough back into the ring so he can slam Raven down, chest first, onto the ring apron. Back in the ring, Regal charges at Raven who grabs Reagal and thows him over the top rope to the floor where Raven hits Regal with a Baseball Slide.
Raven slips out of the ring to meet Regal and Russian Leg Sweeps Regal into the crowd barrier. In the ring and in the corner, Raven rams his shoulder into Regal’s gut. Raven Irish Whips Regal chest first into the corner hits an awkward looking Clothesline to get a two count. Raven Snapmares Regal before applying a Chinlock. Regal is quickly out of it however and Suplexes Raven for a two count. Raven gets control back from a Shoulder to the gut before climbing to the second turnbuckle and clocking Regal with a flying Forearm Smash. A second one is stopped due to a Regal punch to the gut and it gives Regal room to hit a running knee to the side of the head but it’s a Small Package from Raven that gets the two count. Regal pounds Raven with Left Hands before Raven reverses an Irish Whip and catches Regal in the corner with a Right Hand and a Bulldog out of the corner gets Raven a two count. Regal counters an attempted whip with a Full Nelson attempt but Raven counters it with a hip thrust and a Sunset Flip that Regal rolls into a pin attempt for a two count. Same for a different roll up. Regal gets another two count from a couple of knees to the skull and a Back Elbow. A DDT attempt by Raven is countered by Regal following a variation of a Northern Lights Suplex that gets another two. An attempted Regal Cutter is countered into an attempted DDT that regal stops by driving Raven into the turnbuckles. An Irish Whip is counterd by Raven but both men run into each other and this knocks Raven out of the ring. With the referee’s atention on Raven, Tazz runs in and hits Regal with an Exploder Suplex. Raven then slides back into the ring and hits Regal with a DDT that gets the three count.
Vince McMahon, The Undertaker, Sara and Kane are backstage. Vince says WCW have won two in a row and WWE can’t afford for WCW to win a third. Vince attempts to motivate Undertaker and Kane by reminding Kane how ECW beat him down when they first joined the inVasion. Vince mentions Diamond Dallas Page stalking Undertaker’s wife, Sara and Undertaker grabs Vince by the throat and slams him against the wall. He says tonight we will see the best of The Undertaker. Vince smiles, happy his guy are motivated.
. Hugh Morrus, Shawn Stasiak & Kanyon vs Billy Gunn, The Big Show & Albert
Do not adjust your set, Albert really is wearing the Intercontinental Title and really held the title back then. To this day I have no idea why though.
The WCW lads attack Team WWE to start but WWE quickly fight back creating a cool visual where each man on WWE lifts an opponent for a Gorilla Press Slam. Gunn and Kanyon start with Kanyon ramming Gunn’s head into the turnbuckles and unloading with punches and Shoulder Blocks. An Irish Whip is reversed by Gunn and Kanyon tries to leap over Gunn. Instead Gun catches him in a chicken fight/doomsday device position and falls backwards hitting Kanyon with an Electric Chair Drop. Gun charges at Kanyon who hits some kind of Back Drop into a modified Northern Lights Suplex that gets him a two count when Gunn pushes himself up before rolling Kanyon with a Backslide that gets Gunn a two. Gunn hits some Right Hands but is caught by a Stasiak Forearm as he shoots himself off the ropes allowing Kanyon to hit a Russian Leg Sweep that he rolls into a Stroke for a two before tagging Stasiak. He lays into Gunn in the corner with Right Hands and stomps. Stasiak Irish Whips Gunn but Gunn catches in incoming Stasiak with a Back Elbow and a Neckbreaker. Gunn tags Albert who hits Stasiak with a Clothesline, an Irish Whip and an Avalanche. All six men enter the ring but WWE quickly clear house. Back to one on one, Albert knocks Stasiak down with a Pump Kick and a Baldo Bomb that gets a two count. Behind the referees back, Morrus hits Albert with a DDT before legally tagging in. He runs straight into a Powerslam by Albert. Gunn tags back in and he hits Morrus with a Clothesline and a Fameasser but can’t take advantaage as Kanyon is in the ring. With the referee distracted by Kanyon, Stasiak hits Gunn with a Reverse DDT (no matter who does it, I love this move) Morrus makes the cover and he gets the three count.
Winners: Hugh Morrus, Shawn Stasiak & Kanyon
Backstage Shane McMahon and Booker T are confident they are going to win tonight.
William Regal and Tajiri are in Regal’s office. Regal tells Tajiri that since coming to the WWE, Tajiri has been loyal to WWE. Tonight is his shot. Tonight he wants Tajiri to take the “foul, miserable, torag little gobshite, Tazz” (which the subtitles on the WWE Network amusingly translate as “foul, miserable total reckless will go upside, Tazz”) and pull him apart for Regal, for Vince McMahon and most of all the WWE. Regal tells Tajiri that he knows Tajiri can do it “So bloody well go and do it!” I love, Love, LOVE this segment.
. Tajiri vs Tazz
As Tajiri slides into the ring, Tazz kicks him in the head. Both men exchange Right Hands. Tazz wins the Battle of the Right Hands and whips Tajiri off the rope but he ducks a Clothesline and hits Tazz with a Spinning Heel Kick and a standing Moonsault that gets an early two count. Tajiri then rams Tazz into the corner and Chops him. An Irish Whip is countered by Tazz, Tajiri gets a boot up to counter a running Tazz but he then walks into a Capture Suplex. Tazz smashes Tajiri with Forearms to the shoulder blades. Tajiri counters a Suplex and unleashes a flurry of kicks and punches on Tazz but this time he runs into a Clothesline by Tazz. A Whip of the ropes into a Back Drop is scuppered by Tajiri who kicks Tazz in the chest but Tazz ducks a Spinning Kick before hitting a Snapmare and forearms to the face. Tazz chops and stomps Tajiri in the corner. Tajiri fights back with punches and kicks byt Tazz drops Tajiri to the mat with a UFC style takedown which results in a two count. Tazz locks in a Cross Armbreaker (oddly on the right arm, in wrestling it’s normally the left) but Tajiri is close enough to get his foot on the bottom rope. Tazz Irish Whips Tajiri who tries to leap over Tazz but Tazz catches him and Alabama Slams Tajiri to the mat for a two count. Tazz whips Tajiri off the ropes but Tajiri turns it into a Handspring Elbow that knocks Tazz out of the ring. Tajiri stands on the ring apron and tries to kick Tazz but he just grabs Tajiri’s ankle and yanks him off the apron and down onto the arena floor before throwing Tajiri into the ringside steps. Back in the ring, Tazz Irish Whips Tajiri but Tajiri manages to catch an oncoming Tazz in the Tarantula. Away from the corner, Tajiri hits Tazz with a running Dropkick that get him a two count. Tajiri rattles Tazz with two big Roundhouse Kicks to the chest but Tazz catches a third one and lobs Tajiri up and over with a Leg Arm Suplex. As Tazz attempt to lift Tajiri for his next attack, Tajiri spews green mist into Tazz’s face. With his vision obsured, Tazz is defenceless, this allows Tajiri to crack Tazz on the side of the head with another Roundhouse Kick for the pinfall victory.
Backstage we see Matt and Jeff Hardy. Matt says he is worried about Jeff’s match later tonight. He tells Jeff that the upcomming Hardcore Match is what Jeff’s opponent, Rob Van Dam, built his reputation on and that Jeff needs to finish the match quickly. Rob Van Dam appears like a puff of smoke and smashes Matt in the back with a chair and tells Jeff “You’re Next“. Matt seems hurt and most likely won’t be at ringside for Jeff’s match (you could say his appearance has been DELETED!)
In the WWE’s New York restaurant, Bob Holly is hapily signing autographs for fans. That is until one of them is wearing a WCW shirt. This angers Bob. He tears the shirt off the fan and threatens to kick his ass. (pretty sure the fan could sue here. Destruction of Property, maybe even Threatening with Intent but I digress)
. Rob Van Dam vs Jeff Hardy [Hardcore Title]
Jeff starts immediately with Right Hands. He shoots RVD off the ropes but it is reversed, RVD tries to duck under Jeff but Jeff tries to Legdrop RVD who moves and kicks Jeff in the face. Both men take turns at Legdropping each other but the other one moves out of the way. RVD tries to German Suplex Jeff but he reverses it and his attemt at a German Suplex on RVD is thwarded by a Back Elbow and an Arm Drag which Jeff gets out off with a Headscissors.
We have a stand off.
RVD chants can be heard around the arena and when RVD turns to acknowledge them he is Dropkicked from behind. Jeff Irish Whips RVD but RVD catches in incoming Jeff with a Back Elbow. RVD Irish Whips Jeff but Jeff leaps over RVD and Dropkicks him head firtst into the bottom turnbuckle for a two count. RVD sends Jeff off the ropes and tries to Monkey Flip Jeff as he rebounds back. Jeff sees it coming and catches RVD’s ankles before compacting him for a two count. RVD hits Jeff with some forearm shots before Jeff hits RVD with an inverted Atomic Drop. RVD ducks a charging Jeff and hits a standing Moonsault on a fallen Jeff for a two count. RVD hits Jeff with a Double Underhook Lifting Facebuster and a Rollng Thunder for a two count. RVD hits Jeff with some rights and some kicks before an Irish Whip which is countered by Jeff. RVD leaps to the top rope but is pushed off by Jeff and RVD goes face first into the ringside barrier. As RVD tries to get back into the ring Jeff catches him in the face with a Baseball Slide. Jeff goes to the outside and uses the crowd barrier as a platform to throw himself at RVD but RVD has the move scouted and knocks Jeff off the barrier and and into the crowd. RVD goes into the crowd after him where Jeff reverses an Irish Whip and RVD goes back first into another barricade. Jeff charges at him and RVD boots Jeff in the face before jumping on to the barricade and Moonsaulting onto Jeff for a two count. At ringside, RVD lifts Jeff onto the ringside barrier so Jeff’s laying with his chest on the barrier before leaping off the ring apron and striking Jeff with a spinning Legdrop for a two. RVD tosses Jeff back into the ring but again acknowledges the crowd. This allows Jeff to hit RVD with a Sunset Flip into a Powerbomb sending RVD from the apron back first to the ringside mats. Jeff drags a ladder from under the ring and sets it up at ringside.
Jeff climbs to the top of the ladder but RVD is back on his feet and pushes the ladder over sending Jeff crashing to the floor. RVD arms himself with a steel chair. Not even on his feet yet, Jeff smashes RVD in the face with the ladder. Jeff now has the chair and he gets revenge for Matt when he smashes RVD in the back with it. RVD is on his knees at the top of the isle begging Jeff not to hit him. Jeff takes a moment to think about it and that is all RVD needs as he leaps into the air and Van Daminators the chair into Jeff’s face sending him off the entrance stage. Tossing Jeff back onto the stage, RVD hits Jeff with a spinning Legdrop in the middle of the isle way for a two count. RVD throws Jeff and the chair back into the ring before mounting Jeff and unloading with punches. RVD dumps Jeff into the corner and Dropkicks the chair right into Jeff’s face but Jeff gets his knees up to counter a Split Legged Moonsault. Jeff DDT’s RVD right ontop of his skull and somehow only gets a two. A German Suplex by Jeff also gets a two. Jeff hits RVD with a Jawbreaker before climbing to the top turnbuckle and launching at RVD with a Swanton but RVD narrowly avoids it, moving at the last second and Jeff lands hard on the canvas. RVD places the Hardcore Title onto Jeff’s chest before climbing to the top turnbuckle himself and flying through the air and crashing down onto Jeff with a Frog Splash that gives him the victory and the title.
Winner: Rob Van Dam [NEW Hardcore Champion]
Backstage and Vince McMahon isn’t looking as confident as he was earlier. Kurt Angle (with hair) is here. Vince says Kurt needs to be in the right frame of mind if they are going to beat The Alliance. Kurt says at the Olympics he kicked ass (with a broken freaking neck probably) and he’ll do the same tonight. He’s going to kick some serious behind for his country, his company and mostly for himself.
Speaking of serious behind (Michael Cole’s words, not mine)
. Trish Stratus & Lita vs Stacy Kiebler & Torrie Wilson [Bra And Panties Match]
According to the video package that aired prior to this, this match is happening because Trish, Torrie and Stacy are all trying to seduce Matt and Jeff Hardy and Lita isn’t happy about it. Plus that pesky WCW inVasion thing.
Oh look, Mick Foley is here. He’s going to be the guest referee for this. Granted I’m not exactly sure HOW you referee one of these.
Trish and Lita start by mounting Torrie and Stacy and smother them with punches. Stacy escapes by rolling out of the ring while Torrie is now on top of Trish and is slamming her head againt the canvas. Foley sends Lita out of the ring so only two remain in the ring. Torrie kicks Trish in the gut and then Dropkicks her from behind and then stomps her in the corner before unleashing a fearsome Slap to the face. This angers Trish who Slaps Torrie who reverses an Irish Whip, but it does not do any good as Trish comes firing out of the corner and blasts Torrie with a Clothesline. Trish hits Torrie with a Suplex and then tries to remove Torrie’s top but Stacy attacks Trish from behind. Stacy and Torrie try to Double Clothesline Trish but she ducks it and Clotheslines them before tagging in Lita. Torrie and Stacy fight over who is legal (it should be Torrie) before Lita pulls Stacy into the ring and pulls off her top. Lita whips Stacy off the ropes but Stacy manages to “High tail it” to the outside. Lita follow and chases Stacy around the ring before Stacy slides back into the ring. As Lita slides in after her Torrie stomps her spine and holds Lita down while Stacy rams Lita’s head into the canvas and removes Lita’s top. Foley for some reason lifts up Stacy and carries her away, odd he never tried this with Earl earlier. Lita wraps her top around Stacy’s neck and uses it to Snapmare Stacy
“Is it a Snapmare because she’s a female?”
Lita rams Stacy’s head into the corner before grabbing Stacy by the hair and throwing Stacy across the ring. Lita climbs to the top turnbuckle and throws herself at Stacy but she ducks and Lita hits nothing but canvas. Trish and Torrie tag in and Trish knocks Torrie down with a series of Clotheslines. Torrie gets Irish Whipped but moves to avoid an incoming Trish before she grabs Trish by the hair and throws her across the ring. Torrie stands on Trish’s hair and pulls Trish by the arms. Torrie then pulls Trish’s top off but Trish rolls Torrie and pulls off Torrie’s tights. Trish Irish Whips Torrie into the corner and Trish and Lita hit Torrie with a Poetry in Motion and remove Torrie’s top. Trish hits a Bulldog on Stacy and Lita hits a Moonsault before they remove Stacy’s tights.
Winners: Trish Stratus & Lita
Shane, Stephanie and Heyman are with The Alliance team for the main event. Stephanie says it’s do or die. Heyman says they have a chance to create history, that they have a chance to show a winner from a loser. They could be failures or Gods. Shane says the time for talking is over.
Steve Austin and Debra are in Vince’s office. Austin says he isn’t here to sing, hug or play guitar. He says he’s here to whip somebody’s ass. Short and to the point I suppose.
. Diamond Dallas Page, Bubba Ray Dudley, D Von Dudley, Booker T & Rhyno vs Kurt Angle, Steve Austin, Chris Jericho, The Undertaker & Kane [10 Man Tag Match]
Undertaker goes to meet Page as he makes his entrance and this war is on. Austin lays into Rhyno with punches before throwing him into the steps. Austin turns his attentions to Booker T and Austin hits Booker with a Snake Eyes on the barricade. Austin throws Rhyno into the ring and the bell finally rings.
Austin kicks Rhyno a couple of times and kicks him low when the referee isn’t looking. Rhyno stumbles backwards into the corner where Austin ‘stomps a mudhole‘ in him before he punches Bubba and Page. Austin whips Rhyno off the ropes and knees him in the gut. Austin whips Rhyno off the ropes again and this time hits a Lou Thez Press and a series of Right Hands. Austin shoots himself off the ropes and drops an Elbow on Rhyno that gets a two count. Austin takes Rhyno and plonks him on the top turnbuckle and Chops away at Rhyno before bringing Rhyno down with a Superplex that gets a two count. Jericho tags in and Chops Rhyno before hitting a Flying Forearm. Jericho mounts Rhyno and unloads with a series of punches. Rhyno counters a whip off the ropes with a knee to the gut and a Clothesline and tagging in Booker who stomps Jericho in the corner. Booker then Chops Jericho against the rope before a Jumping Side Kick that Jericho ducks before applying Chops of his own. Jericho shoots Booker off the ropes and catches him with a couple of deep Arm Drags and a one handed Bulldog that gets a two count when Rhyno breaks the count but a springboard Dropkick sends him back out of the ring. A second rope Missile Dropkick gets another two count for Jericho. Kurt tags in and he lays in to Booker with right after right. Kurt whips Booker off the ropes and drops him with a Back Elbow. Booker reverses a second whip of the rops and he drops Kurt with a Spinning Kick. Booker tags D Von and he walks into Right Hands by Kurt. D Von reverses a whip off the ropes and he nails Kurt with a spinning Elbow. D Von Irish Whips Kurt but Kurt nails the oncoming D Von with a Back Elbow (seriously how many times has this same runing into the corner only to be either booted or Back Elbowed on this show alone?) and Kurt drops D Von with a Clothesline before tagging Kane.
Kane nails D Von with an Uppercut before throwing him into the corner. Kane then Irish Whips D Von and the oncoming Kane….. actually hits a Clothesline in the corner before Sidewalk Slamming D Von to the mat for a two count. D Von ducks a Clothesline by Kane but walks in to a Chokeslam that is only broken up when Bubba interferes. With Bubba gone after a Right Hand, Kane catches D Von with a Side Suplex. D Von taggs Bubba and Kane shoots D Von off the ropes but D Von ducks a Clothesline and hits a 3DB (a lift into a Neckbreaker as opposed to the 3D which is a lift into an Ace Crusher) which gets Bubba a two count. Bubba follows with a series of Elbow Drops for another two. Kane shoots Bubba off the ropes and Boots him in the face before climbing to the top turnbuckle and flying at Bubba with a Clothesline. Undertaker tags in un unloads with Right Hands, a Back Elbow and an Irish Whip. But a second Irish Whip is, oncoming, back elbow, we know. A Clothesline by Bubba gets a two count. Bubba shoots Undertaker off the ropes and he ducks a Clothesline by Bubba before catching Bubba with a Flying Clothesline and catches a day dreaming Page with a Right Hand that knocks him off the apron. Undertaker hits Bubba with a Legdrop that gets a two count. Undertaker grabs Bubba’s arm and hits Old School before hitting Booker, D Von and Rhyno with Right Hands. He misses a Right Hand to Page who pulls Undertaker down on the ropes leaving him open for Bubba to hit a Suplex. before tagging Rhyno. He hits Undertaker with Punches into the corner and then a running Shoulder (which technically is a Gore) and stomps. Page demands to tag in and Rhyno obliges. Page knees, punches, elbows and stomps Undertaker before a Short Arm Clothesline that gets a two count. Undertaker hits some body shots and an Uppercut that sends Page off the ropes. Page tries to Boot Undertaker, he blocks it but Page is able to hit Undertaker with a Clothesline for a two count. Page shoot Undertaker off the ropes (lot of shooting off the ropes on this show too) but Undertaker ducks a Clothesline only to run into a Back Elbow and a DDT that gets another two count.
Booker tags in and hits some Right Hands before sending Undertaker off the ropes and hitting a Leg Lariat. Booker hits Undertaker with punches to the ribs but Undertaker hits Booker with a DDT for a two count. Undertaker tags Austin who wrenches on Booker’s shoulder. Austin thumbs Booker in the eye before ‘stomping a mudhole‘ in the corner. Booker Irish Whips Austin but he comes out of the corner and nails Booker with a Clothesline. Austin attemts a Stunner but Booker pushes him away. A knee to the gut by Austin sends Booker out of the ring. Outside the ring, Austin throws Booker over the barrier and Suplexes him back over onto the ringside mats before throwing him back into the ring. Austin tags Jericho who Irish Whips Booker and yep. Jericho tries to apply the Walls Of Jericho to Booker but Page is in the ring so Jericho tries to apply the Walls Of Jericho to him. Jericho knocks Booker down and attemps a Lionsault. Booker rolls out of the way and Jericho lands on his feet. Jericho tries a Hurricanranna but D Von grabs him and pulls him down onto the ropes and tags in. D Von stomps Jericho down before throwing him into the corner where he unloads on Jericho with Right Hands. Bubba tags in and hit punches and Elbows. Jericho tries to fight back but an Eye Rake stops that before Bubba tags D Von back in. They Irish Whip Jericho but he ducks a Clothesline from an incoming Bubba and hits D Von with a Forearm and a Spinning Heel Kick to Bubba. Angle tags in and he hits Right Hand to both Bubba and D Von. An Irish Whip to D Von is followed by Angle ducking a charging Bubba and sends him crashing into D Von. It’s Overhead Belly To Belly Suplex City as Angle hits one to Bubba and one to D Von and a cover on D Von get a two count. A distraction by Page allows Bubba to hit Angle with a Bubba Bomb before he finally rolls out of the ring.
D Von hits Angle with a Stomp, a Bodyslam and a Legdrop for a two count. Rhyno tags in and he punches and stomps Angle in the corner before he hits Angle with a Belly To Belly Suplex for a two count. Bubba tags in and he and Angle exchange Right Hands before an Eye Rake by Bubba. D Von tags in and he stomps Angle in the corner before tagging Booker who hits Angle with a Scissors Kick. Page tags in and he Powerbombs Angle for a two count and gets the same result from a Clothesline. Bubba tags in and he and D Von hit Angle with a What’s Up Headbutt that gets D Von a two count when he makes the cover. Page tags in and he hits Angle with a Sleeper into a Slam for a two count before applying a Front Facelock. Angle Back Drops his way out of it and tags Austin. The ref doesn’t see the tag. Page hits Angle with a Diamond Cutter but Undertaker is in the ring punching at Page and pretty soon everybody is in the ring.
Rhyno accidentally Gores Booker. It soon comes down to four men: Angle who is still down, Booker likewise and Undertaker and Page who are still fighting. Undertaker hits a Sidewalk slam on Page and a Chokeslam. On thee outside of the ring, Booker pushes Austin into the steps while inside Undertaker hits WCW referee with a Last Ride. Austin is clutching his knee. Page makes an exit through the crowd and Undertaker follows. D Von throws Kane into the steps and sets up a table against the ringside barrier. Kane is back on his feet and Boots Bubba in the face before Chokeslamming D Von through the commentary table. Bubba clangs Kane on the head with a TV monitor. Bubba and Rhyno suplex Kane through the Mexican commentary table. Jericho, from the apron, throws himself at Rhyno and they go through the table at ringside. Bubba and Booker stomp Angle in the corner. Angle fights both men off with punches and hits a German Suplex to Booker followed by an Olympic Slam to Bubba. Booker tries to kick Angle but he grabs Booker’s foot and applies an Angle Lock. Booker pushes his way out of it and knocks Angle into the referee who falls out of the ring. Angle charges at Booker who hits a Flapjack. Both men are down. At ringside Vince has the WWE Title in his hand. He slides it into Angle but Shane intercepts it. Vince gets in the ring and is clocked in the head by Shane with the title. Shane tries the same to Angle but he clotheslines Shane out of the ring and Back Drops Bubba too. Angle hits Booker with an Olympic Slam and applies the Angle Lock. Booker taps but there is no referee so Austin slides the referee back into the ring. Ausin gets into the ring and kicks Angle in the head and hits Angle with a Stunner. He throws Booker on top of Angle. The referee counts and thanks to Austin’s defection, The Alliance win.
Winners: Diamond Dallas Page, Bubba Ray Dudley, D Von Dudley, Booker T & Rhyno
Austin celebrates his new team’s victory by drinking beer with Shane, Stephanie and Heyman and we are done.
Post Show: I enjoyed this. It’s easy to complain about this and point out the missing WCW stars like Sting, Ric Flair, Bill Goldberg and Hulk Hogan, but this is the first PPV of the inVasion. IF those stars are coming in, I’d expect to see them in later matches when there is a need for the ‘Big guns‘. Overall, WCW were made to look like a proper threat to WWE here and I enjoyed the show as a result.
Match Of The Night: Rob Van Dam vs Jeff Hardy. There was a few good ones here but this was a great one.
MVP: Steve Austin. Going in to the show everyone was talking about him, as the show ended people were still talking about him.
That is me done too. I can be found on Twitter @Callaweasy2220 or I can be found here covering Monday Night Raw from 1993 as part of Chairshot Classics. #UseYourHead and ALWAYS have an Angle!
Chairshot Classics: WWE Fastlane 2015 – Reigns vs. Bryan
Looking back at WWE Fastlane 2015 with Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan!
Eric brings you the details of WWE Fastlane 2015 in this edition of Chairshot Classics!
Open: A video talking about destinations and the Road To WrestleMania, highlighting the rivalries between Bryan/Reigns, Cena/Rusev and HHH/Sting.
Match #1: Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan & Ryback vs. Big Show, Kane & “Mr. Money In The Bank” Seth Rollins w/J&J Security
A clip from last Thursday’s Smackdown, which led up to this 6 man tag. Ziggler & Rollins kick it off, with Rollins leading the charge until Dolph gets a roll-up for a quick 2, goes for a superkick and Rollins ducks out for a breather. Crowd chants “You Sold Out” at Rollins. Rollins with a quick edge, thwarted by a Ziggler dropkick and he tags Rowan who overpowers Rollins. Rowan ducks a kick and gets a pumphandle backbreaker, followed by an elbow for 2. Rollins is able to worm away to his corner and tag Kane. Rowan with a body slam, leg drop and 2nd rope back elbow, but is pushed in the wrong part of town and Big Show tags.
Show unloads in the corner, catches a boot from Rowan, but Show sends Rowan to the outside. Show out after him gets pushed into the ring post, J&J approach but get scared off by Rowan, who then goes for a heel kick, Show moves and Rowan’s leg hits the post. Show works over the injured leg and makes the tag to Kane, who follows suit before making a tag to Rollins. Rollins hits a 2nd rope blockbuster for a near fall and then brings back Big Show. Show continues to punish the leg, goes for a Chokeslam, but is countered into a DDT. Show tags Rollins, who cheap shots Ziggler in the corner, but turns around into a heel kick by Rowan using the bad leg.
Rowan is finally able to crawl over and tag Ryback, who goes to work on Rollins with heavy offense. Rollins rolls away from a splash and goes for the Curb Stomp, but gets caught into a powerbomb. Ryback sets-up for the Meat Hook, but Kane slides in and ends up taking it. Rollins misses a move off the distraction, Ryback goes for Shell Shocked, then J&J Security hit the apron giving Rollins the chance for a roll-up that gets 2, immediately followed by a head kick for another near fall. Rollins to the top for a flying knee, Ryback ducks it but takes a kick on the other side. Rollins goes for another 2nd rope blockbuster and gets caught in Shell Shocked.
Show hits the ring and splashes Ryback and quickly rolls back out. Ziggler & Kane gets tags, Ziggler dropkicks Show on the apron, Kane looks for a Chokeslam that gets reversed and Kane is pushed into Show, knocking him to the floor. Jumping DDT by Ziggler for a near fall. Dolph goes for a Fameasser and gets caught in a side slam, countered and Ziggler with a superkick. Rollins tries to get in the ring and takes a Fameasser, then Dolph mounts Kane in the corner. Show hits Ziggler with a WMD from the outside and Kane covers to grab the win.
Winners: Big Show, Kane & Seth Rollins (Kane/Interference)
- After The Bell: The Authority celebrates in the ring and Rollins delivers a Curb Stomp to Ziggler. Ryback & Rowan come in, but the numbers game is too much for them. Ryback takes a Chokeslam and Rowan eats a Curb Stomp. They set Ryback up for a Curb Stomp, but out comes the returning Randy Orton, who proceeds to clean house. Noble suffers an RKO and Mercury gets caught coming off the 2nd rope with another. Rollins takes a kick trying to get in the ring with the briefcase and Orton sets him up for the IEDDT, but Big Show grabs Rollins from behind and saves him. Orton hits Kane with an RKO as Rollins retreats through the crowd and leaves the arena.
- EA’s Take: You had to figure it was about time for Orton to return, as he was never originally scheduled to be off for that long. The match itself was decent with the pace really picking up when Ziggler & Rollins would get in the ring, as you would expect. Rowan is in a really unusual state right now. He’s just not clicking as a face with the fans, as he continues to get little to no reaction. Unless you watch Smackdown, then he’s as popular as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Hopefully now we can see Ziggler, Ryback and Rowan go do something else, they need to get away from this Authority angle already.
Video: Reviewing the dissolution of the tag team and “cosmic” brothers, Gold & Stardust.
Backstage: In the locker room is Goldust. In walks his father, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. He talks about Dustin doing what he has to do, but not hurting his brother in the process. Goldust says tonight he’s not facing Cody and he has to beat Stardust so bad that he will never want to wear paint again. “Tonight, I’m not leaving that ring until I bring my brother Cody home.”
Match #2: Stardust vs. Goldust
They lock-up and Goldust back Stardust into the corner, tries to clean break and Stardust with a couple shoves. Lock-up again and Stardust backs Goldust up, pushes him again and then receives a slap in return that makes Stardust rethink his approach. Crowd chants “Cody” to Stardust’s extreme disdain. We get a nice back and forth, with neither man getting an edge until Stardust is arm dragged into a corner. More loud “Cody” chants. They go back at it with more back and forth, both men posturing until Goldust gets Stardust set-up for the Director’s Cut, but Stardust slips to the outside. Dusty Rhodes is shown watching on a monitor backstage.
Stardust tries for a running bulldog that gets countered into a backbreaker, Goldust follows up with a clothesline that dumps Stardust back outside. The “Cody” chants seem to be getting to Stardust. Both men are able to hit duck-under strikes, Goldust sets-up Stardust for Shattered Dreams, but he slips out onto the apron. Stardust goes for a sunset flip, but Goldust moves and heads to the 2nd rope and Stardust gets the boot up in the mid-section. Stardust goes to work on the boot, spilling Goldust to the outside and battering him into the ring apron before rolling him back inside and punishing Goldust’s torso. Stardust with a front suplex and an arrogant cover that gets 2.
Stardust just continues going to work on the rib area. Goldust misses a springboard back elbow, Stardust sets-up for Cross Rhodes, but Goldust counters into a roll-up and gets a very shaky 3 count.
Winner: Goldust (Roll-Up)
- After The Bell: Stardust looks stunned about the end of the match. Goldust implores Stardust to shake his hand, Stardust grabs it quickly and rolls out of the ring, still looking in shock from the outcome.
- EA’s Take: Really an odd ending because of the count. Was it supposed to go that way? It almost seemed like it was meant to be part of the story with the way Stardust was reacting. I’d expect this to continue on into a match at WrestleMania for Goldust’s farewell.
Video: Seth Rollins from Monday Night Raw last week, referencing that he could host The Daily Show better than Jon Stewart. Jon Stewart has a few choice words for Rollins and then Rollins has a retort, and invites Stewart to show up at Fastlane.
Backstage: Dusty Rhodes and Goldust are talking about the previous match when Stardust walks up and says it looks like a family reunion, but they forgot to invite him. Stardust asks Goldust if he thinks they’re done and ambushes him, beating him down. Dusty implores Stardust to stop, calling him ‘Cody’. Stardust tells Dusty that he killed Cody, by sending him “this bag of bones” and that he is no longer living in Dusty’s shadow.
Match #3 For The WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) w/Naomi vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro w/Natalya
Video of the dinner between Kidd/Natalya and Jimmy/Naomi from Smackdown 3 weeks ago. Kidd & Jey begin with Jey getting the upper-hand after a flying forearm and a slam, then a tag to Jimmy. Double team move now, a combo backbreaker/top rope forearm gets a 2 count. Jimmy with heavy chops and he hits a corkscrew senton from the top for a near fall. Kidd backs Jimmy in for a tag to Cesaro, shoots Jimmy in and runs him into Cesarom Jimmy counters but Cesaro chops the leg. Jimmy tries to fight out of the wrong corner, Kidd gets a tag and langs Jimmy’s leg across the ropes.
Kidd works the leg and makes a tag to Cesaro, for more of that same prescription. Cesaro with a one-legged big swing into a single leg crab, Kidd tags and hits a slingshot leg drop for a count of 2. Kidd continues to work the leg, wrapping it on the ring apron, but Jimmy gets himself a small window of opportunity. Cesaro rolls kid back inside and gets the tag as Jimmy reaches Jey, who hits a flurry of moves exclamated by a Samoan drop. He lines up for the Umaga Hip Attack, but Kidd is on the apron with a distraction that allows Cesaro to get a roll-up for 2. Jey with an enzuigiri and this time connects on the Umaga Hip Attack, but Cesaro is out at 2. Jey ascends the turnbuckle, but Cesaro hits the ropes which crotches Jey.
Kidd makes a tag, Cesaro hits the Swiss Superplex and Kidd follows with a springboard elbow drop that nearly wins them the titles. Kidd wants the Sharpshooter, counter by Jey, Kidd hits the apron and gets a roll-up on Jey, but Jimmy made a blind tag. Uso’s hit Alley Us and Jimmy covers, but Cesaro breaks it at 2 and pulls Kidd to the outside. Jimmy eats a kick from Kidd and Jey with an outside dive onto Cesaro. Kidd takes out Jey with a kick and here comes Jimmy who misses a baseball slide, then counters a kick from Kidd to a Samoan drop into the barricade. Jimmy rolls in Kidd and heads to the top, Cesaro’s distraction on the apron is thwarted and Jimmy goes for the Samoan Splash.
Kidd gets the knees up and rolls Jimmy into a cover for a near fall, then locks Jimmy in the Sharpshooter. Jey breaks it up with a kick to the back of the head, Cesaro in now and they brawl to the outside as Jimmy crawls to a cover that’s only good for 2. Cesaro rolls Jey into the ring which distracts the ref, then swallows a kick from Jimmy. Kidd capitalizes on the distraction and hits the swinging fisherman neckbreaker to capture the gold.
Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (Kidd/Swinging Fisherman Neckbreaker)
- EA’s Take: Lillian Garcia – “Here are your winners and still….the new WWE Tag Team Champions…”. Why in the BLUE HELL did they let Justin Roberts walk again? Anyway, this was yet another example of why The Uso’s are the best tag team in the business. Not to discredit Kidd & Cesaro because they are great too and I like the different paths they could take with them going forward in terms of challengers. There’s a bunch of babyface teams right now with the breakup of Gold & Stardust and the eventual split of The Miz & Damien Mizdow. Add to that the recent call-up of Kalisto to add The Lucha Dragons into the mix.
Video: Triple H talking about his allegiance to WWE, 2 weeks ago on Raw and what has led up to Triple H calling him out for tonight.
In The Ring: It’s time for that confrontation and here comes Triple H, who is wearing street clothes and not his usual suit. Triple H talks about last week on Raw, when he was confronted by Ric Flair about Sting and how he regrets losing his cool and apologized to Flair, but doesn’t apologize for what he said about Sting. He says he is not standing in the ring as the COO, but as the heartbeat of WWE, The Game, The King of Kings and “Sting, I am waiting for you!”. He makes Triple H think about it for a moment and finally “The Vigilante” Sting makes his way to the ring. HHH says that they are past pleasantries and cuts right to the chase, he knows why Sting is here and isn’t mad about it, but feels sorry for him.
HHH says Sting backed the wrong horse by being undyingly loyal to WCW, but he respects that Sting “went down with the ship”. HHH says that guys like himself made that ship go down and he knows Sting came for him because without HHH & Stephanie the “WWE dies.”, but Sting failed and that’s what Sting does. HHH offers to let Sting have his legacy back and wants to do what’s best for business by putting all this behind them and doing business with Sting. All Sting has to do is walk away and HHH promises to make Sting bigger than ever by putting out DVD’s, action figures, loads of merchandise and possibly someday get him a Hall of Fame induction. Sting still says nothing and HHH takes his coat off and says the other option is the hard way, where he will beat the legacy out of Sting and he’ll be carried out and his legacy erased.
HHH says the choice is Sting’s, but he still doesn’t respond. HHH says he can tell by the look in Sting’s eye, he’s already made up his mind and tries to sucker punch Sting. Sting sees it coming and attacks The Game, but is hit by the microphone and HHH takes over. HHH beats down Sting, yelling at him “I gave you a chance!”, before rolling to the outside and grabbing his trusty sledgehammer. Sting pulls a baseball bat out of his jacket and catches HHH under the chin with it, pushing him into the corner until HHH drops the sledgehammer outside. He backs off and points to the WrestleMania sign with the bat, HHH tries to sneak attack, but gets pushed back into the corner and Sting points to the sign again. This time HHH agrees, Sting pushes HHH back again, points to the sign once more and begins to make his exit. HHH comes up from behind, but takes a ball-bat to the gut and receives a Scorpion Death Drop before Sting leaves.
- EA’s Take: Seems like they are paying homage to the Sting/nWo storyline here a bit, with The Authority playing the nWo role. Loved this segment, Sting didn’t have to speak to get his point across. I’m not sure the WCW vs. WWE part of the story is really something that needs to be played up as much as they have been, but they ultimately need to talk about Sting’s history for the younger crowd to really understand the mark he’s made in the industry.
Backstage: We see Daniel Bryan preparing for his match with Roman Reigns later tonight.
Video: Recap of the Kickoff Show, where The Miz’s guest on Miz TV was Paul Heyman. Heyman says it doesn’t matter who wins tonight, Bryan or Reigns because they will lose to Brock Lesnar and we can “believe that”.
Match #4 For The WWE Divas Championship: Paige vs. WWE Divas Champion Nikki Bella w/Brie Bella
Video of 3 weeks ago on Raw when The Bella’s sprayed Paige with tanner, then last week when they stole her ring gear and Paige had to wrestle in Rosebud attire. According to Lillian Garcia, Nikki is the Women’s Champion. Brawl to start and Nikki rolls out of the ring, Paige after her with Brie standing in the way, Paige catches Nikki in the ring, then goes for the knees on the apron that is countered and Paige spills to the floor. Nikki sends Paige into the apron and barricade, then back in the ring for a 1 count. Nikki grounds Paige and hits an Alabama Slam for a count of 2. Nikki continues to control until Paige gets in a kick, goes for a roll-up into the bottom turnbuckle, Nikki botches it. Paige with a series of clotheslines and a dropkick for 2.
Nikki ducks a kick into a roll-up that gets 2. Paige connects with the kick this time for another near fall. Paige sets-up for RamPaige, Nikki counters to a facebuster, but Paige retorts with a side kick and crawls into a count of 2. Nikki is caught climbing up top, she counters Paige into a powerbomb for 2. Paige is able to set for the PTO, but Nikki gets the ropes before Paige fully locks it in. Nikki grabs Paige’s tights and hauls her face-first into the turnbuckle, then rolls her up and grabs the tights again for the win.
Winner and STILL WWE Divas Champion: Nikki Bella (Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: If this is headed in the direction that I think it is, which is the return of AJ Lee to help Paige…then shouldn’t Brie have gotten involved to help Nikki win? Maybe AJ is not the plan after all.
Match #5 For The WWE Intercontinental Championship: Dean Ambrose vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett
Clip of last Monday’s Raw, when Ambrose zip-tied Barrett to the ring post and forced him to sign the contract for an IC Title match. Both men connect with strikes, trying to prove who’s tougher, Ambrose with the advantage hits a crossbody and some rights, Barrett avoids a clothesline and ducks outside to regroup. Barrett back in, still can’t solve the puzzle of Ambrose, absorbs punishment until he catches Ambrose on the top with a big boot. Barrett sends Ambrose face-first into the steel steps before rolling him in and now he punishes Ambrose in the corner and grounds him. Ambrose gets a couple strikes in, but runs into Barrett’s boot and to the outside.
Barrett throws Ambrose in the ring, but he counters with a variation of the pendulum clothesline on the outside. Inside they go and Ambrose hits a tornado DDT and they double down. Ambrose is on fire now with a series of strikes and a running bulldog, he goes to the top, hops Barrett and rolls through. Barrett looks for Winds Of Change, Ambrose reverses into a roll-up for 2. Ambrose delivers a dropkick and a top rope diving elbow for a near fall. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds, countered into Wasteland, Ambrose gets out and takes a kick, springs off for a pendulum clothesline again countered and Barrett hits Wasteland for 2.
Barrett sets his sights on a Bullhammer, Ambrose into a roll-up for 2 and then hits with the pendulum clothesline and Barrett rolls outside. Barrett grabs his title and tries to leave, but Ambrose with a suicide dive. Barrett tries escaping through the crowd, but Ambrose gets him back in the ring. Barrett tries to crawl out again, Ambrose catches him and delivers a beat down in the ropes. Ambrose doesn’t break on the refs count and the ref calls for the bell.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Bad News Barrett (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Ambrose hits Barrett with Dirty Deeds, goes to leave, then comes back in and grabs the IC Title.
- EA’s Take: This was one of the more predictable finishes of the night, as its been rumored that they’re penciled in to go 1-1 at WrestleMania. Decent match that did what it needed to do and advanced the story and rivalry between Ambrose & Barrett.
In The Ring: The Undertaker’s druids come out carrying torches to a spiritual chant. Taker’s music hits and out comes 2 more druids, pushing a casket down the aisle and up next to the ring. The casket opens to reveal…Bray Wyatt. Bray says there’s a wicked feeling in the air tonight. He talks about the first time he saw The Undertaker and how he feared him, but now he has become like everyone else, weak and broken with his soul lost. Bray says it’s time for Taker to go home. He knows he can hear him and he wants Taker to know he’s not afraid anymore. He is the new face of fear. “At WrestleMania, I will claim the soul of The Undertaker.”
- EA’s Take: Great way to keep the suspense of whether or not Undertaker will accept the challenge by Bray. I’d leave Taker off until WrestleMania or perhaps even the Raw before. Bray Wyatt is pure gold and doesn’t need Taker to appear to make this feud interesting. Wyatt is a perfect example of someone when they’re firing on all cylinders.
Panel: Renee Young and the rest of the Kickoff panel offer their thoughts on what just happened with Bray Wyatt. Booker T, Corey Graves & Byron Saxton recap the nights events.
Video: The buildup between John Cena and Rusev, leading up to their match tonight for the United States Championship.
Match #6 For The WWE United States Championship: John Cena vs. WWE United States Champion Rusev w/Lana
They feel each other out and circle around, Cena floors Rusev with a right and grabs a headlock. Rusev with a big kick for 2, then begins to dominate Cena with strikes in the corner. Cena fights back and shoots Rusev in, but falls victim to a spinning heel kick and a count of 2, then goes back to beating Cena down. Rusev grabs another near fall off a corner avalanche, Cena’s out on the apron and Rusev drives him off into the barricase, rolls him in for a cover and gets 2. Rusev gets distracted by the crowd and hits a dropkick for 2, only to have the favor returned by Rusev for 2 as well.
Cena gets a short burst of energy and takes Rusev down, raining fists, hits a shoulder tackle off the rope, goes for another and gets caught in a fallaway slam. Rusev really in control and gets 2 off multiple elbow drops. Cena uses Rusev to get to his feet and throws some gut shots, whip into the corner and runs into a back elbow, before being grounded by Rusev again. Cena powers out of the hold and takes a kick, Rusev goes for a suplex and Cena reverses, then hits a big clothesline for a count of 2. Cena tries the AA, Rusev counters into a DDT for a 2 count. Splashes in the corner by Rusev only get another 2 and Rusev shows signs of frustration. Cena shows signs of life and makes the comeback, hitting the 5 Knuckle Shuffle and going for an AA, Rusev pushes off and kicks Cena’s head off for another near fall.
Rusev tries to go for The Accolade, Cena counters to the STF, Rusev pushes off and hits a Gunnslinger that Rusev can’t believe doesn’t get 3. Rusev charges Cena and runs into a boot, Cena to the 2nd rope hits a tornado DDT, Rusev kicks out at 2. They slug it out in the middle of the ring, Cena looks AA again, Rusev goes for another Gunnslinger, but Cena turns it into a crossface. Rusev just powers out of the hold and hits an Alabama Slam, Cena kicks after a 2 count. Rusev attempts The Accolade once more, Cena catches his foot and gets him in the STF, but Rusev makes it to the ropes. Cena sets for an AA, Rusev is out with an elbow then a kick, looks for another superkick and this time Cena connects on the AA, but still can’t get a 3 count.
Cena climbs to the top and goes for the leg drop, Rusev catches him into a powerbomb and immediately locks in The Accolade. Cena breaks the grip a couple times and is finally able to get to his feet with Rusev on his back. Lana enters the ring and distracts the ref, Rusev with a low blow and then a kick to the face. He slaps The Accolade on again and Cena passes out.
Winner and STILL WWE United States Champion: Rusev (The Accolade)
- After The Bell: Trainers check on John Cena, who is still unconscious, face down in the ring. Rusev & Lana celebrate and the Russian flag drops behind them. Cena starts to come-to, but has trouble getting to his feet. He fights off help and heads to the back.
- EA’s Take: Really liking the mid-card title scene since some of the bigger names have been getting involved. Both the IC & US titles have been begging for a revival and these kinds of feuds will do that. Lana’s interference allows for a logical reason to have the rematch at Mania, which is where this is headed. Hopefully, more layers can be added to the story to keep it interesting until then.
Panel: Back to the Kickoff Panel to recap the night before heading to the main event.
Video: The rising tension between Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns, as they vie for a spot in the main event at WrestleMania.
Match #7 – Winner Gets WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match At WrestleMania: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
They posture, lock up and break clean. Dueling Bryan & Reigns chants. They posture, lock-up and break again. Both men still trying to feel each other out, Bryan gains a headlock, Reigns powers out and reverses, catching Bryan with a shoulder, Bryan comes back with a roll-up for 2. Bryan catches Roman’s legs and attempts a surfboard, but Reigns powers out, leading Bryan to ponder his next move. Bryan kicks at Reigns, but is overpowered. Bryan flips over Reigns and hits the ropes, Reigns with a tilt-a-whirl slam, then clotheslines Reigns to the outside. Reigns follows him and viciously attacks Bryan using the barricade.
Bryan catches Reigns with a kick back in the ring, trying to cut Reigns down at the legs. Reigns breaks a submission with heavy rights, slingshots Bryan across the top, hits a Samoan drop and a flying clothesline. He charges Bryan, but Bryan with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle. Bryan charges and is hammered with a big clothesline that turns Bryan inside-out for a count of 2. Reigns hits rolling suplexes and his signature apron dropkick, then sets-up the Superman Punch. Bryan counters with a kick and tries to take advantage, but the ref is checking on Reigns to see if he can continue. The match goes on and Bryan works the mid-section, the same area that Reigns had hernia surgery months before. Cormer dropkicks precede a top rope hurricanrana attempt by Bryan, countered by Reigns into a powerbomb for a near fall.
Reigns crushes Bryan with clotheslines in the corner, props him up top, but Bryan counters and seats Reigns on the turnbuckle. Bryan lands a top rope back suplex that only gets 2. Bryan gets the Yes Lock, but Reigns drags him to the ropes and rolls outside. Bryan hits on 2 suicide dives, goes for a third and is caught into an overhead belly to belly on the floor. Reigns has Bryan in his crosshairs for a Spear, but Bryan side swipes him into the steel steps. Both men struggle to reach the ring before the count of 10, but do. Bryan comes off the top and is caught with a Superman Punch for 2. Reigns tries a Spear and Bryan catches him in a roll-up for a near fall. Bryan with a big kick, and then connects with Knee Plus, but Reigns kicks at 2.
Reigns on his knees and Bryan goes back to the kicks, tries for a head kick, but Reigns catches the leg. Bryan slaps Reigns and snatches the arm, worming down to the mat into the Yes Lock. Reigns finally powers out and mounts Bryan, hammering down with big forearms. Bryan grabs a triangle choke, Reigns is able to lift him up and slam him to break. They double down and then get into a striking contest on the mat, Bryan to his feet and hits the big head kick before setting up for Knee Plus again. Bryan charges and Reigns catches him with a Spear to get the victory.
Winner: Roman Reigns (Spear)
- After The Bell: Both men are in the ring, spent. Bryan grabs Reigns and turns him arounf. Face to face, Bryan tells Reigns he better win at WrestleMania and then offers his hand. Roman takes it and then celebrates.
- EA’s Take: Excellent main event match that exceeded my expectations. Easily, the best match of Roman Reigns’ career. A lot of people will attribute that to working with Bryan, but Reigns really answered the call and brought it. Bryan was the perfect opponent to get Reigns ready for Lesnar. Bryan is a very physical wrestler and working that style with Reigns can only help him going into an even more physical opponent, in Brock Lesnar.
EA’s Finisher: Overall a much better show than I was anticipating. I half-went in thinking most of the finishes would be DQ’s or count-outs so they could build to rematches at WrestleMania. Have to give WWE credit for coming up with alternatives as they could easily have taken that route, especially since this is free trial month and a lot of people are probably not paying anything for this. Bryan/Reigns exceeded all expectations I had and I applaud WWE for sticking to the plan this time around and not giving in to all the post-Rumble noise. Bryan can help out in other ways without being involved in the title picture right now. Doesn’t mean he’s out of it forever. Storylines for WrestleMania became a lot clearer, with Randy Orton returning for revenge on Seth Rollins. Cena never tapped to Rusev, so that will continue. Sting & HHH are already official for the big show and as an admitted Sting mark, I for one couldn’t be more pumped (eventhough that has been the direction since Survivor Series). Also, good to see Tyson Kidd & Cesaro putting themselves on the map. I really like the tandem, especially now that Kidd actually has developed a character to go along with the tremendous in-ring skills we all knew he had. Maybe he can pull Cesaro’s out too. Great segment by Bray Wyatt, which has to ultimately lead to The Undertaker accepting the challenge. Why else would they put the thought in our heads if it wasn’t going to happen?
Top Three To Watch
1 – Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan
2 – Rusev vs. John Cena
3 – The Usos vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
Chairshot Classics: PROGRESS Ch. 3: Fifty Shades of Pain
Harry brings us another throwback episode of Progress! His play by play style will paint a picture so clear Bob Ross wouldn’t even need to add trees!
Harry brings us another throwback episode of Progress! His play by play style will paint a picture so clear Bob Ross wouldn’t even need to add trees!
Two of these reviews down. Let’s go ahead and make it a trifecta. Hopefully, you are enjoying the series as ‘What I Watched’ returns under the Chairshot Classics banner for PROGRESS (as well as Impact Wrestling. Hopefully, we can eventually cover some other promotions as well). I’ll be taking note of all the comments left on these reviews and addressing them as new ones get typed out. In the interest of a somewhat regular schedule of these posting, the first couple PROGRESS reviews are being typed out in advance of their release on the website.
So, to the reason of today’s gathering. PROGRESS has had two good (but not necessarily great) shows so far. Instead of going to a more regular occurrence, they stuck with the three months between shows model. Chapter 2 had us in June, whereas this show doesn’t take place until September. The bigger story to me though is that the main event is not what I though it would be at the end of Chapter 2. Instead of getting Nathan Cruz vs. El Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff, we are instead getting a tag match with Cruz and Ligero as partners. With that, we once again step into the way back machine and head to September 30th, 2012 as “What I Watched” presents ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’ or PROGRESS Chapter 3.
WRITER’S NOTE #1: My reviews will not be a play by play recap. I’ve done that style in the past and honestly, I don’t especially care for it. Instead, it’ll be more of a stream of consciousness review as I talk about the wrestlers, the matches, the storylines and whatever else happens to pop into my head while I watch.
WRITER’S NOTE #2: As much as I’d like to let everyone make their own decisions on the matches, giving away match results in the review will be a necessary evil. The reason being is that I will discuss what I think everything means going forward and maybe even doing a little fantasy booking of where I would go from where they presently are. I will still post the results as one big listing at the end of the articles as well as my ratings for the contests. The final show review will be after that as well as the ‘Final Reaction’ for the show. Going forward, I’ll have an archive to all of my previous reviews here on the Chairshot if you click on my user name.
MY RATING SCALE: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Above Average, Average, Below Average, Bad, Very Bad, Terrible and SKIP. Some matches will occasionally get a ‘N/A’ rating as well. That will be reserved for matches that I feel don’t warrant a rating.
PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 3 – ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’
From: ‘The Garage’ in Islington, London, England
Date: September 30th, 2012
Run Time: 2:08:49 (Demand PROGRESS)
WITH SPECIAL THANKS: Ian Hamilton for some of the research that I did while working on this review. (http://www.backbodydrop.com)
*Our opening video focuses on a tag match between the London Riots (James Davis and Rob Lynch) facing Danny Garnell and Darrell Allen. In addition, we see that Marty Scurll will be the special guest referee for our main event. Which apparently will not be the previously thought Cruz vs. Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff, but a tag match instead with Cruz and Ligero as partners…
*There is no Smallman opening promo, as I believe it was it edited into the opening video with Scurll being added to the main event as the referee. Disappointing start, as I find Smallman’s opening welcome to be a nice light hearted way to get these shows started.
*Match #1: Noam Dar (1-1) vs. Paul Robinson
The Who: Noam Dar is coming off a victory over Darrell Allen via ‘Champagne Super KneeBar’ at the last show to even his record up. Paul Robinson is making his in-ring debut for the company and he is replacing MK McKinnan, who was the originally announced opponent for Dar in this contest.
The Why: My guess would be to get Dar more momentum going forward. I don’t imagine that Robinson is going to be added last minute and beat Dar, but stranger things have happened.
The Match: They still have the records on the name bar’s for the intros. I know that’s not something they do any more, but I’m curious how long it sticks around for…both guys get inset promos. Dar’s is by far the better, as he informs us that he’s going to keep winning so he can get the ‘big stick’ by which he means the PROGRESS Championship Staff, despite the crowd’s borderline racist chants towards him…opening bell rings and we’re underway…Robinson shows off the Chris Hero shoulder kips into the forward roll. Pretty sure that dates back to England before Hero, but Hero is where I personally remember first seeing it…commentary starts a little late, but there’s Jimmy Barnett, who claims he’s not affiliated with Jim Smallman despite sounding a lot like him. That cat is now long since out of the bag…backslide for two and then a super spinning backslide for another two. Seemed a little unnecessary but the fans enjoyed it. Know your audience, I guess…Paul Robinson is a very small guy. Believed the announced weight was just over one hundred forty. For a visual representation, think Spike Dudley…certainly a unique twist on the Garvin Stomp…Dar focusing on Robinson’s knee pays off the fans who have watched the previous shows and the ‘Champagne Super KneeBar’…Dar repeats the gum spot from Chapter 2. Gross. And the fans appropriately respond with a ‘you sick fuck’ chant. Not the most hygienic man in wrestling, is he?…lighting for this show is quite a bit better then it has been for previous shows…Robinson with a suicide dive, which could have been a disaster. There is almost no room between the ring and the front row of fans…said it before, say it again: the superkick and the enzugiri are the most overused moves in wrestling…airplane spin however, we could use more of…Robinson tries to drop the Guillotine Legdrop, but Dar moves and Robinson lands hard…pair of fisherman’s (both suplex and buster) lead to a grounded kneebar. Not quite the ‘Super Kneebar’, but it’s enough for the tap at 11:41…pretty basic match to kick off the show. The crowd was into it, which is good. But as a fan who watches a lot of wrestling, it never seemed to get out of the first gear and move into being more then just there. Dar’s personality make his matches an easy enough watch, but at same point, the in ring product has to be risen up to mean anything. (AVERAGE)
*Match #2: BWC Starlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © (1-0) vs. Xander Cooper (1-0)
The Who: Mark Andrews is a pretty well known name here in the States now. He’s coming off a successful title defense against Mike Hitchman at Chapter 2. Xander Cooper wasn’t in a match on Chapter 2, but did win a three way match at Chapter 1 with this title on the line,
The Why: Between Chapters 1 and 2, Andrews beat Cooper for the title. Andrews had his previously mentioned defense at Chapter 2 and after that match, Cooper came in through the crowd and attacked him. That led to PROGRESS management scheduling this rematch between the two for the title.
The Match: I believe only the second match in PROGRESS history to have been set up on the show before. The only match on Chapter 2 that was set up at Chapter 1 was the main event, if memory serves…‘Man for All Seasons’ is such a proper asshole nickname. I dig it…Cooper impressed me at the first show. Andrews and Hitchman had a banger at the second. My expectations are pretty high for this one…both get inset promos. Andrews has the best line: “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and you’re just a dick”…bell goes and we’re underway…the fans insinuate that Cooper has herpes. Somewhere, Rhett Titus is pissed his chant got taken…pace finally starts to pick up around three minutes in…Cooper busts out Miz’s old Reality Check combo. Personality wise, he kind of reminds me of Miz as well…Andrews with a Bubba Bomb. Not something you usually see a guy his size use…standing moonsault senton gets two and looks really cool in the process. Andrews was a lot like Ricochet and PAC early in his career. Not everything made sense, but most of it looked cool…stranglehold Golden Rule by Cooper. That’s a first for me…rope assisted enzugiri kick knocks Cooper back into the center of the ring. Andrews comes flying in with a Shooting Star Press (over-shooting just a bit, actually) and that’s the closing bell at 8:52…better then the opener, but a step down from what both of them did before. Took a bit of time to get out of the starting block, but once it did, it picked up quite nicely. I would recommend the three way for Cooper and the Hitchman match for Andrews more personally though. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
*Match #3: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) (1-0) vs. The Bastard Squad- Darrell Allen and Danny Garnell (debut as a team. Allen is 0-1-1 as a single. Garnell is 1-0 as a single)
The Who: London Riots were successful in their debut at Chapter 2 against Will Ospreay and Alex Esmail in what was shaping up to be a good match until Esmail got hurt (broken leg). Allen got a no decision at Chapter 1 in the three way for the Starlo Scholarship and was tapped by Noam Dar at Chapter 2. Danny Garnell won his debut match, pinning Jimmy Havoc at Chapter 2.
The Why: Damn good question and one I don’t presently have an answer for. I checked the history of PROGRESS that is maintained at Voices of Wrestling by Rob Reid and found nothing to give any reasons as to why this is happening. Maybe Jimmy Barnett will shine some light on the reason during the match itself.
The Match: Lynch has what I thought was a paddle but was corrected by Barnett is a cricket bat in his hand. Is cricket big in England? Thought that was more of an Australian thing…Barnett informs us that a poll on the PROGRESS website has dubbed Garnell and Allen as ‘The Bastard Squad’, so my why maybe just as a way to try to build up a tag division…as per the warning I issued during Chapter 2, it is entirely possible that I will screw up Lynch and Davis. If I do so, I apologize…then again, they appear to have keep the one in singlet, one in trunks look. I should be okay…and we’re off as a brawl breaks out…man, that one roaming cam is making me sea sick. Super wobbly…Lynch drops Garnell on the floor with a Michinoku Driver…and the official PROGRESS Chapter 3 chair of that fan has been broken…Lynch and Garnell just trading bombs in the center of the ring…high angle release German by Garnell. Lynch lands almost square on the back of his damn head…Allen and Garnell do have quite the big guy/little guy dynamic going for them…first ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant…Allen has Davis caught in a Octopus but Davis turns it into a wheelbarrow facebuster. Again, another first…Riots grind down the pace of the match on Allen, but it makes sense for them to do so. They have a significant size edge over Allen, why not use it?…one of these shows, I’m going to keep a running enzugiri count. If we don’t hit double digits, I’d be stunned…Barnett advocates the old Gorilla Monsoon stance of multiple referees for tag matches…Lynch with an overhead superplex on Allen and Allen lands square on his tailbone. I’m guessing that probably sucked…both men on the ropes and Allen with another enzugiri to knock Lynch to mid-ring. The same thing Andrews did to Cooper in the previous match…Allen tries to come in with a cross-body off the top but gets caught by both members of the Riot Squad. Lynch helps Davis pop Allen up and into a sit out powerbomb which gets the three count at 12:25…a few good moments here and there but not enough to make it anything really worth remembering. It followed the old school tag wrestling formula to a tee. The thing about formulas is that they become formulas because they work. It does here and while it’s not going to light the world on fire or anything, it produced an above average tag match that sees the Riot Squad continue their winning ways. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Post match: The Riots lay in a beat down to Garnell, as one of the chairs from ringside is used multiple times against the knee of Garnell, before they use the cricket bat into the chair to ‘Pillmanize’ the ankle of Garnell. Microphone time for Lynch afterwards and declares war not just on the tag teams in the UK but on PROGRESS as well, laying down an open challenge for any place, any where, any time. Guess this story will develop more going forward then…
*Match #4: Jon Ryan (0-0) vs. Jimmy Havoc (0-1)
The Who: Jon Ryan makes his PROGRESS debut here, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him before working for wXw out of Germany. Jimmy Havoc is back after a losing effort to Danny Garnell on Chapter 2 as a favor from his friend, Jim Smallman.
The Why: ‘Strictly No Blood, No Hardcore’ is the tag line for the match. Let’s just say that somehow I doubt this…
The Match: Ryan does get booed on his intro and the fans love Havoc, chanting ‘Jimmy’s Gonna Spoon You’, a call back to the great spooning debacle of Chapter 2…apparently Ryan was Havoc’s original trainer whereas Garnell was the one who trained him in the ways of technical wrestling…an attempted handshake by Havoc is met by a bitch slap from Ryan. That’ll end poorly for him, I feel…Havoc works in a spoon while on the mat to continue that bit…knowing Havoc’s reputation, it’s weird seeing him in normal matches…and as I type that, Havoc goes for dive and misses but lands on his feet. He turns towards Ryan, who thwacks him with a frying pan for the DQ at 3:36…normally, three minutes is about the mark where I would try to give a match a rating. I don’t feel like I can’t rate this here given what happens next, therefore I’m not going to…(N/A (ANGLE ADVANCEMENT))
*Post match- Havoc is understandably less then pleased about Ryan going upside his dome with a frying pan, which opened up Havoc’s forehead. He demands that Smallman restart the match under ‘Hardcore’ rules. Smallman warns people that don’t like this style of match to move away from the ring but as far as he is concerned: “fucking kill him, I don’t care.”
*Match #4b: Hardcore Rules: Jon Ryan (0-1) vs. Jimmy Havoc (1-1)
The Match: And thus the lack of rating for the previous match…opening bell once again here…and the first official weapon is a kendo stick. Which Ryan just beats the hell out of Havoc with. I think the kendo stick is one of those overrated weapons. Not enough reaction to justify how much those things actually hurt…cheese grater. It’s like every ECW brawl from 1998 on featuring New Jack…there’s not really a lot to discuss in a match like this. It’s basically just them hitting each other with a bunch of various shit…feel like throwing a bloody person into a group of people’s chairs is a bad idea…powerbomb through an ironing board. Not what those are intended for, but it looked cool enough…never cared for staple guns, myself. Similar to the kendo stick, but I guess a little easier to gimmick…staple to the dingus. Because of course he does…I’m guessing this is the match that leads into intermission so they have time to clean up the ring after it. It’s a combination of the old WWF hardcore brawls and the ultra-violent style matches you’d see from a CZW or a Big Japan…and now the thumbtacks make an appearance…DVD into the tacks. And the referee wusses out by grabbing a cookie sheet to count on. It was a smart move on his part, but not the most masculine….the problem with matches like this is it takes a while to set up the next spot. Spot, set-up, spot, set-up. Rinse and repeat as necessary…a ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant breaks out, followed immediately by a ‘No, it’s not’. That could make for an interesting way to go down the line with it. And a definite divide in the fan base for someone like Havoc…okay, that finish worked. They had set the BW board across two chairs. Havoc tries for a spinning head scissors and gets caught and dropped clean on his head with a package Tombstone (think Tombstone set-up and then Ryan cradled both legs under his own arms). Rather then go for the pin there though, Ryan adjusts his grip around Havoc’s waist and launches him through the BW board with a release wheelbarrow suplex. It was all over but the counting and the counting hits three at 14:36…this kind of match is going to be very divisive. There are fans of this genre and there are those who feel like it’s a black eye on the sport. I personally enjoy death match wrestling as long as we don’t go too over the top with it (needles, fire, stuff that can really hurt someone). I thought this was a pretty good match for the genre while not going too far in order to affect the crowd that may not be as interested in this style. We’ll go ‘above average’ for the rating, but your mileage will vary. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
*Post match- both guys get a nice ovation from the crowd and a ‘That was awesome’ chant. Let’s not go around tossing that out so freely. A sign of respect as a hug and handshake from teacher and student occurs and Havoc pops on the microphone once again to put over the crowd and Jon Ryan as well. He also asks the fans to buy him and Ryan beer and have a chat. Always working, that Havoc…
*Match #5: RJ Singh (0-0-1) vs. Rob Cage (debut)
The Who: RJ Singh returns after getting a no decision in the number one contender’s three way at Chapter 2. He still has his entourage with him as well. Rob Cage is a man that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of before so we’ll see what he can do in this match.
The Why: Can’t say I really have an answer for this. My guess would be to help flush out the roster with more people.
The Match: Can’t say my expectations are really high here, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised before. Mike Hitchman at Chapter 2 comes to mind there…the match graphic has Singh listed as 0-1. However, since he didn’t get pinned in the three way, I gave him a draw/no decision instead…inset promo for RJ Singh and the ‘Singh is King’ catchphrase remains in tact. It works for him. Promo wasn’t anything special however…opening bell goes as Singh’s accomplices make friends at ringside…apparently Rob Cage went the Jimmy Havoc route of campaigning on Twitter in order to get a spot on this show…I do still enjoy the fact that RJ calls his Camel Clutch the ‘Ethnic Submission’. It’s wrong on several levels, but still funny…Cage gets caught up with Singh’s crew and Singh gets a nice looking leaping neckbreaker, done Zig Zag style. That was smooth…running knee strike looks less smooth…Cage goes to the top and the ‘Director’ pushes him off while the referee was working on getting the other member of the Bollywood Empire out of the ring. That said, it happened so close to the referee that he had to have seen it. Really poor ring positioning…that leads to RJ Singh applying the ‘Ethnic Submission’ and it leads to a tap out from Rob Cage at 7:27…well, they reached my expectations with this. Worst match on the show thus far. I found RJ to be very entertaining for the role he had in the three way, so this was a major step down for him. As far as Rob Cage, not the best first impression made. For the first time on the show, I go with a ‘below average’ rating. It’s not awful, but if you are in a rush while watching this show, it’s seven minutes you can easily skip and not miss anything. (BELOW AVERAGE)
*Post match: it appears that all is okay as Singh offers his hand and Cage accepts it. Until RJ kicks Rob in the junk and puts him back in the Camel Clutch while his cohorts talk trash right in his face. The hold gets broken by the referee and Singh poses on the turnbuckle to celebrate his victory.
*Match #6: Stixx (0-1) vs. Lion Kid (1-0)
The Who: Stixx and Lion Kid both make their return after opening up Chapter 2 with a singles match. As previously mentioned there, I’ve heard that Lion Kid was the former Wade Fitzgerald, but have never seen any confirmation of this.
The Why: This one is easy. As mentioned, they had a match at Chapter 2. Lion Kid won. Stixx wants revenge. Pretty simple, really.
The Match: The who and the why was pretty easy to get through. I fear the match may not be. These two didn’t exactly set the world on fire at Chapter 2. Hopefully, it was just nerves and we get a better performance here…we start hot as Stixx knocks Lion off the apron and proceeds to beat him around ringside before the opening bell…Stixx rolls back in and demands a count-out, despite the fact we’ve not had an opening bell (at least, not one I’ve heard)…appears Lion Kid caught a knee injury in the floor brawl, but we’re a go now with an opening bell and everything…huge Black Hole Slam forty seconds in and I thought that was three. It wasn’t, but it wouldn’t have surprised me. Looked really good…huge Flair shin breaker by Stixx. He’s definitely looked better tonight then last outing…Lion Kid looked for a reverse rana but Stixx powered him back up. Kid transitions right into a victory roll, which I believe is how he won at Chapter 2. It only gets two this time…Stixx with a nice looking variation of the half calf, but Kid does eventually get to the ropes…series of chops sees Lion Kid ‘roar up’, but a shot to the knee keeps Stixx in charge…half crab giant swing. That’s just a dick move…Lion Kid goes for a springboard and falls. Crowd chants ‘you fucked up’, but I don’t think he did. I think it was on purpose to sell the knee and if it was, bravo…the crowd continues the ‘roar’ chant to rally Lion Kid. As Jim Smallman said in the favorite chants video he did, it’s just fun to say ‘roar’…avalanche tabletop (fall away slam to vertical) suplex. Don’t believe I’ve ever seen that done from the buckles before…Stixx is being almost Anderson like in his focus on the leg here. These guys are putting on quite the show here…very cool turnbuckle sequence leads to the big guy coming in with a frog splash on the knee…Lion Kid with a series of roll-ups to put over how desperate he is. Psychology, psychology, psychology…Stixx tries the Black Hole again but Lion Kid counters into a tornado DDT. Lion Kid goes for a 450, but Stixx rolls in. Lion Kid lands on his feet. Normally, that’s a good thing. With a bad knee, not so much. Stixx hauls Lion Kid up and drives him into the mat with Splash Mountain (Crucifix PB set-up but into a standard PB finish. I dub it the River Stixx). After a quick debate of a submission attempt, it’s a three count instead at 12:21…well done, gentlemen. Way to make me eat my words. After being significantly less then impressed with their match at Chapter 2, they turned things around and put on in my opinion the best match of Chapter 3 thus far. A big credit for this goes to big man, Stixx. He put on a technical clinic in this match, which you wouldn’t expect from a guy his size. Lion Kid more then held up his end of the bargain as well. You mix psychology with solid in ring work and no noticeable blown spots, it makes for a happy reviewer. I would rate this match as ‘very good’. (VERY GOOD)
*Match #7: Nathan Cruz (3-0, PROGRESS Championship Staff Holder) and El Ligero (2-1, #1 Contender to Nathan Cruz) (debut as a team) vs. Dave Mastiff (debut) and Greg Burridge (0-1) (debut as a team)
The Who: Cruz and Ligero are the champion and challenger elect for the next time the PROGRESS Staff is on the line. Cruz won the four way on the first show for the Staff. Ligero won a three way on the second show for the number one contendership. Dave Mastiff is making his PROGRESS debut here. From what little of him I’ve seen on NXT UK, he’s impressed me. Greg Burridge took the loss in the three way at the last show. Marty Scurll is the referee and he’s probably not going to be an unbiased one as he has issues with both Cruz and Ligero.
The Why: If I’m being entirely honest, I don’t have a damn clue for this one. I expected we’d get Cruz vs. Ligero here, but instead it’s this tag match. Burridge wanting revenge on Ligero makes sense. Burridge wanting a crack at Cruz makes sense. Where Dave Mastiff fits into this is anyone’s guess. As for Scurll, that’s easy. He was cheated out of the title by Cruz at the first show. He had Cruz beat at the second show while the referee was down. Ligero attempted to interfere and superkick Cruz, but Cruz ducked and Ligero wiped out Scurll. Despite not hitting his intended target, Ligero didn’t seem especially upset about it. Cruz got the victory and Scurll got screwed once again. How does this all tie together? Hell if I know. Let’s find out…
The Match: Man, this is a clusterfuck and a half just based on the description I had to type…once again, Cruz is greeted with the ‘shit Zack Ryder’ chants. Probably still my favorite one thus far in PROGRESS…Scurll gestures that he’ll call it down the middle during intros. I doubt that…Ligero and Mastiff are both in NXT UK. I think Burridge is now retired. I think Cruz just came back to wrestling, but I’m not sure…Mastiff’s beard is not nearly as impressive as it is these days…inset promos for only Cruz and Mastiff. Nathan Cruz is laying on the Shawn Michaels impression a bit thick. He is not only the ‘Show-Stealer’, he’s also the ‘Leader of the New Generation’. Bloody hell, mate…opening bell and we’re underway…Burridge and Ligero to start, until Ligero tags out to Cruz…I can’t entirely tell with the accent, but I believe that Burridge is calling Cruz a ‘slag’…I believe Cruz and Burridge are the two biggest guys height wise in PROGRESS (maybe outside of Stixx to this point). I’m almost certain that Mastiff is the heaviest…tags made on both side and we go to Ligero and Mastiff…do believe that Mastiff just called Ligero a cat. Or something similar. It was of the feline variety…Mastiff with a massive delayed vertical…and Burridge comes in to beat the hell out of Ligero…Ligero turns the table by going to the knee of Burridge and takes control…and that explains why Scurll wasn’t allowed to wrestle on this show. It was around the time of his ‘British Boot Camp’ run with TNA. And TNA were being dicks about their people working elsewhere due to not wanting injuries…last few minutes of this match has been all Ligero and Cruz working over Burridge’s knee. Smart wrestling, but not always the most entertaining…the f bombs are flying in this one. Viewer discretion is advised…little bit of in-fighting between Cruz and Ligero leads to Burridge making the tag to Mastiff…even back here some six years ago, Mastiff moves very well for a guy his size…Cruz and Ligero try to work together to suplex Mastiff. It doesn’t go well. Mastiff takes them both over with a double vertical…Ligero clearly gets caught calling a spot. I usually try to get the guys the benefit of the doubt, but that was blatant…Ligero trying to trade shots with Burridge. Why would he want to do that?…breaks down to Ligero and Mastiff in the ring. Top rope cross body attempt by Ligero just bounces off Mastiff. Mastiff tries to climb, but Ligero dropkicks the legs and then hits the Del Rio corner double stomp. Scurll refuses to count for Ligero and shit cans him to the floor…Cruz gets caught in a submission but manages to escape and hit his version of the Whiplash. Again, Scurll refuses to count though…Ligero goes for his tornado DDT, but Cruz tags himself in and sets up for his superkick. He goes for it on Mastiff but Ligero superkicks him mid-move. Ligero again shrugs his shoulders and rolls out of the ring as Mastiff lands on Cruz with a huge cannonball senton in the corner. He pulls Cruz to center ring and a follow-up cover gets the three count for the ‘Bastard’ Dave Mastiff at 18:10…took a bit to get going, but once it did, it was pretty entertaining. I’d say basically the first ten minutes of this match are a wash though, as it’s mostly mat wrestling and then leg work on Burridge that gets completely forgotten about in the closing stretch. I understand the idea of having Ligero and Cruz lose here. I even get the idea of Cruz taking the pinfall. To me, it would have made more sense for Burridge to get the pin since it would validate his point from the last show. Then again, we’d never see Greg Burridge in PROGRESS (to this day, I believe), so in hindsight, Mastiff was the right choice. The first half of the match was average, the closing sequence was pretty good. So we’ll settle in the middle and give this a good rating overall but easily the lowest quality of the three main events to this point. (GOOD)
*Post match: Mastiff gets mic time, saying that he did what he said he was going to do, which was something Scurll couldn’t do. He says that Cruz may be the man around here, but he’ll never be a ‘Bastard’. Mastiff and Burridge exit, with Scurll following shortly behind…Cruz gets the microphone as he’s recovering and points out that he’s still the champ and that picking up a win on the scraps of Ligero means nothing…eventually, it leads to Ligero making his way back out and security having to separate Cruz and Ligero. Smallman yells at them for screwing around at this end of his show and makes the title match official for Chapter 4. Smallman then cuts a quick version of his usual opening promo and we’re officially out for Chapter 3.
Match #1: Noam Dar taps Paul Robinson with a grapevined kneebar @ 11:41 (AVERAGE)
Match #2: BWC Starlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © pins Xander Cooper with a Shooting Star Press @ 8:52 to retain (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #3: Riot Squad (J. Davis/R. Lynch) defeat Darrell Allen and Danny Garnell when Davis pins Allen after a sit out powerbomb @ 12:25 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #4: Jimmy Havoc defeats Jon Ryan by DQ @ 3:36 (N/A (ANGLE ADVANCEMENT))
Match #4b: Hardcore Rules: Jon Ryan pins Jimmy Havoc with a release wheelbarrow suplex through a barbed wire board @ 14:36 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #5: RJ Singh taps Rob Cage with the ‘Ethnic Submission’ (Camel Clutch) @ 7:27 (BELOW AVERAGE)
Match #6: Stixx pins Lion Kid after a Splash Mountain Bomb @ 12:27 (VERY GOOD)
Match #7: Dave Mastiff and Greg Burridge defeat El Ligero and Nathan Cruz when Mastiff pins Cruz following a corner cannonball senton @ 18:10 (GOOD)
FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
Rather then do positives and negatives here, I feel it’s easier to save those for the Final Reaction going forward. Two reasons for that…one, the Final Reaction gets a bit redundant if I’m typing the same thing there that I am here. Two and just as importantly is it’ll help decrease the length of these reviews a bit.
As far as ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’ goes overall, I’d say it’s the weakest of the three shows thus far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad show. Once again, we top out with a ‘very good’ match on the scale. This time though, we do see the ‘below average’ make a return to the scale as well. Consistency is key and while top to bottom, the shows are watchable, there is nothing really blow away that the company would eventually be known for having show in and show out down the road. We see more stuff coming together for the future of the company and the cream is starting to rise to the top in guys like Scurll, Andrews, Ligero, Cruz and the London Riots.
So, where does this leave us all? Well, it’ll leave me coming back to watch ‘The Ballad of El Ligero’ or PROGRESS Chapter 4. It’ll leave you all hopefully wanting to come back and read when I do so. I’m once again off to find food. Honey Buns sound really good right about now.
THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: Has to be the surprise contest of the evening to me. The super redeeming effort that we got from Lion Kid and Stixx earns them best match.
Worst match/moment: That RJ Singh and Rob Cage match was rough. From both an in ring content and from a ‘suspension of disbelief’ perspective. I’ve seen better from RJ but Cage was a definite disappointment in his first outing here.
MVP: This one is going to go to Dave Mastiff, who debuted in the main event of the show for the company and didn’t even look the slightest bit out of place doing so. Not only did he get to showcase his impressive arsenal, he even got to pin the champion in the center of the ring, even if it was under somewhat dubious methods.
FINAL SCORE: 5.5/10
Until next time: “This Is PROGRESS” and that’s “What I Watched”. Catch you all for Chapter 4: “The Ballad of El Ligero”.