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: PROGRESS Chapter 2
Chairshot Classics continues to it’s foray across the pond thanks to Harry’s dedication. Let’s see what Harry thought about Chapter 2!
PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 2
‘The March of PROGRESS’
From: ‘The Garage’ in Islington, London, England
Date: June 24th, 2012
Run Time: 2:16:19
WITH SPECIAL THANKS: Ian Hamilton for some of the research that I did while working on this review. (http://www.backbodydrop.com)
Well, would you look at that? They are actually letting me continue doing these. Chapter 1 was a fun way to get back into reviewing, but man, I realized real quick just how rusty I was. I used to do two or three full length reviews a week for ‘Smash’ and it took me dang near three weeks to get ‘In The Beginning’ finished. Hopefully, you all enjoyed it. But even if you think I suck, thanks for reading all the same.
That brings me to why I’m here today. PROGRESS itself is coming off a critically acclaimed debut. They then proceeded to take off three months as the March debut was not followed up on until this show, all the way in the month of June. But we do return to the scene of the first chapter. Once again, we go into the way back machine with our date set at June 24th, 2012 as “What I Watched” presents ‘The March of PROGRESS’ or PROGRESS Chapter 2
*General Notes: the setup looks a lot cleaner this time. The hard cam is still set up by the sound table, but there is only one computer monitor visible with it being used for music. The angle towards the ring is a lot cleaner. The lighting on the ring is a lot better as well…
*Immediately, you can see them moving forward with storylines as the hype video package to open the show is to build to the main event, as ‘Show-Stealer’ Nathan Cruz defends the title in two-out-of-three falls against ‘Party’ Marty Scurll with promos from both to set it up. Sort of assumed this is where they were going for the second chapter, but the two out of three falls was not something I saw coming.
*Smallman does do his opening promo here, so all feels right into the PROGRESS world…not only does Smallman do his full opening interaction, but they actually use it to bring in a new talent in Stixx (or so I find out by the splash graphic before the first match). Stixx quickly establishes himself as a heel by running down Smallman, the crowd at the ‘Garage’ and the city of London in general. I’ll also take this opportunity to point out that Stixx is what would have happened if the Pitbulls from ECW would have still been in wrestling in 2012. Gary Wolfe, Anthony Durante and Stixx apparently (let’s all do Jaime Noble and Kid Kash a favor and let the WWE Pitbulls thing go)…the segment with Smallman and Stixx doesn’t really go anywhere, but does take us to our opening contest.
*Match #1: Lion Kid vs. Stixx
The Who: Well, let’s see. Lion Kid is a guy in what looks like a Halloween costume. Stixx, as I mentioned earlier, is a guy who looks he’d fit in better with the Pitbulls then in the current British independent wrestling scene. Upon looking for information (again, highly recommend Ian Hamilton’s work at BackBodyDrop): Lion Kid is apparently Wade Fitzgerald, who I believe I have previously seen in wXw in a team with Marc Redman. Stixx, well, looks like he’s just going to continue his cosplay.
The Why: I can’t say I have a viable reason for this one. I guess I’ll go with Stixx being an ass hat to Smallman and Lion Kid is sticking up for him. Sounds as good as anything at this point.
The Match: There was an attempt at a ‘Let’s Go Simba’ chant at the start of the match. Not so great attempt at humor. Now I gave the fans grief during my review of Chapter 1, but if whomever quoted Pride Rock scene from ‘Lion King’ afterwards right after the intros is reading this: good on you, mate. That was wonderful…Lion Kid gets a inset interview, Stixx doesn’t. But he did get the opening interruption…it’s once again *cough cough* Jimmy Barnett *cough cough* on commentary and he sounds a lot clearer this time…they cut the entrances, but what are the odds that Lion Kid comes out to ‘Lion Sleeps Tonight’?…noticeable size disparity here which will probably tell the story of the match…impressive springboard hurricanrana by Lion Kid early…and our first participant out of the ring happens at 1:48 into the first match…powerbomb into a ring post on the floor. Seems a bit excessive for the opening match, no?…fans quickly on Stixx’s case…will say for two guys making their debuts here to me, they have very good chemistry. Lucha spots from the big guy as well…and now the ‘Let’s Go Simba’ chant catches on. Sigh…cross body in the corner by Stixx. That’s a big dude to be doing that move…unique take on a grounded chin lock by Stixx. Still ultimately a rest hold, but at least it looks better…‘you wrestle, we shout things’. And that’s the PROGRESS fans in a nutshell…corkscrew enzugiri and then they badly blow a catch spot on a plancha attempt. I’m not sure who I’d put that one on…Lion Kid does mess a double springboard attempt but gets it on the second attempt…huge Black Hole Slam by Stixx…little later, a Splash Mountain attempt by Stixx is countered into a top-rope head scissors. Lion Kid goes for the Lionsault-DDT that AJ Styles likes to use but gets countered. Lion Kid reverses out and into a rolling prawn hold and that’s a three count at 10:24…they had a few rough spots, but managed to recover nicely from them. I wouldn’t call this a blow away start to the show, but it’s worth the ten minute run time and the crowd was pretty much into it. That’s ultimately what matters for an opener. After all, as Jimmy Barnett said: “You don‘t have to be a kid to enjoy saying rawr”. (AVERAGE)
*Match #2: BWC Scarlo Scholarship Title- Mark Andrews © vs. ‘Wild Boar’ Mike Hitchman
The Who: Mark Andrews is a pretty well known name, I feel. He’s not only had this run in PROGRESS, but he was in TNA as ‘Mandrews’ where I believe he won ‘British Boot Camp (have to look into that) and he now works for the WWE as part of their UK Division. Mike Hitchman is brand new to me and looks like Larry D from IWA-MS got shrunk in a dryer.
The Why: For the BWC Scarlo Scholarship. This same belt was defended on the first show back in February of 2012 and Barnett said the BWC belt would appear on all PROGRESS shows going forward. Two for two at this point. It was a triple threat on the first show that I thought was pretty good which involved then champion Xander Cooper, Zack Gibson and Darrell Allen.
The Match: I have always enjoyed what I’ve seen from Andrews, so my expectations of this are a little higher then they were of the triple threat from Chapter 1…both guys get inset promos. Neither one of them is anything to write home about, however…the snap amateur takedown by Hitchman early impressed me. That’s a move we see all the time in wrestling, but I’ve never seen someone do it as aggressively as Hitchman did. It made it look awesome, sound awesome and put over the aggression of Hitchman for his desire to win the title. Sometimes it’s the little stuff…nice bridge out of an attempted float over by Andrews. Like I said, it’s the little things…Barnett compares Hitchman to Tazz. ‘Not the fat annoying commentator in TNA either’. Big fish in a small pond still, Jim…don’t usually see a lot of mat wrestling on the Indies. It’s a nice change of pace from the opener which had the first dive attempt less then two minutes in…and the mat based crucifix gets two. Drago calls it ‘Tail of the Dragon’…and the first dive to the outside is a moonsault off the apron for the first ‘This Is PROGRESS’ chant…don’t know why everyone teases the German suplex off the apron. It’s not like any one every hits it…Hitchman with a DDT on the apron for the first fecal chant of the show…Hitchman is built like Bull Dempsey if that helps anyone…someone’s got a dirty face (TM Dave Prazak)…for the first time seeing him, Hitchman has impressed me. He’s very smooth in the ring and seems to have a good grasp of the what to do and when…counter sequence leads to a half nelson suplex and Andrews lands clean on his dome. Not wise, young Mark…you can’t powerbomb Andrews!!…standing sky twister gets two for Andrews. PAC (Neville) hits it cleaner, but still nice…Hitchman has Andrews in the tree of Joey Lawrence (WHOA) and hits a spear. I guess he kinda does look like a smaller Rhyno…back body drop into the turnbuckle by Andrews! Why? Like, why?…and Hitchman returns the favor with an exploder into the buckles…and now the fans are calling Hitchman Rhyno. So it wasn’t just me…and Mike Hitchman just Kevin Steen’d a bitch! Package Piledriver! And it only gets two! Strongly disagree with that…Hitchman looking for a top rope PPD. Andrews pushes him off and the Shooting Star misses!…another attempt at the Package PD is escaped by Andrews and into a small package for the three count at 14:05…and the BWC Scarlo lives up to expectations once again. Other then the Package Piledriver kick out (a move I strongly disagree with anyone kicking out of), these two put together a very good match that started heavily focused on the ground and then quickly picked up the pace at the mid point into a nice closing sequence. Andrews retains, but Hitchman definitely impresses and I’d like to see both of them back in PROGRESS sooner then later. (VERY GOOD)
*Post match, Mark Andrews is celebrating with the fans when a man in a suit and a t-shirt attacks him! That man is the former champion Xander Cooper. Well, that explains where he was and how Andrews got the belt. Cooper tries to belt shot Andrews, but Andrews ducks, gets in a dropkick to send Cooper to the floor and then chases him to the back.
*Match #3: Noam Dar (0-1) vs. Darrell Allen (0-0-1)
The Who: And for those wondering, this answers the question of the first guys to have matches on back to back PROGRESS chapters. Noam Dar was defeated by El Ligero in a PROGRESS Wrestling Staff’ qualifying match. ‘Dazzling’ Darrell Allen was part of the BWC Scarlo three way, where he ended up with a no decision as champion Xander Cooper pinned Zack Gibson.
The Why: To build some momentum going forward for one of them would be my guess. Dar got a pretty strong heel reaction on the first show. Allen’s high flying antics made him a crowd favorite, so it seems like a viable contest to me.
The Match: Both men get inset promos. Noam Dar doesn’t have a lot to say in his. Darrell Allen finds his inner Booker T. Yes, that Booker T promo. The less said the better, so let’s move on…apparently Allen dislocated his shoulder in the triple threat at Chapter 1 and finished the match. Having dislocated a shoulder before, that’s pretty impressive…little bit of miscommunication between the two early, but nothing that will greatly hurt the match…Dar is apparently a student of the Tracy Smothers school of wrestling as he tries to call a timeout…Dar with a dropkick while Allen tries to climb the ropes, catching Allen right in the injured shoulder. Spot on precision…Dar threatens to throw his gum at a fan before chomping back down on it. Good. Bodily fluids should never be a way to get heat from the crowd…airplane spin into a NLS as Barnett laments the lack of airplane spins in wrestling. I can agree with that. Very underutilized move…and now Dar shares his gum with Allen before chowing down again. That’s freaking gross…strike exchange see Dar get the better, but a superkick by Allen turns the tide…and another corkscrew enzugiri causes the double down for an eventual two…for all the people who complain about the overuse of superkick’s, I’d argue the enzugiri is just as overused…northern superkick into a rolling prawn for two by Allen…leg capture head kick by Dar. That’s new…crucifix knee bar is applied. Allen tries to fight out, but Dar pushes him back to the mat and starts kicking him in the face with Dar’s free leg. That gets a tap out from Allen at 11:04…Good, but not great. Don’t think the crowd was as invested in this match as they were in the first two and it kinda hurt the competitors. I know Dar is capable of much more. Allen was honestly just another guy here. The story telling of Dar being a dirty little prick works, but Allen doesn’t have the kind of following needed to get the emotional investment that a story like that needs. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
*Match #4: Danny Garnell vs. Jimmy Havoc
The Who: Up until watching this show right now, I would not have been able to pick Danny Garnell out of a lineup. I know nothing about him. Jimmy Havoc however, I’m very well aware of. As a follower of death match wrestling, the name Jimmy Havoc carries a lot of weight these days. He’d eventually go on to be a marquee player for this very company as well. How does he get there? Let’s find out…
The Why: So, this is where Ian Hamilton of BackBodyDrop helped. PROGRESS apparently sent out a tweet to its fans, asking them who they would want to see. Jimmy Havoc’s name came up a ton, so he’s being given the shot here. Ian also points out that Danny Garnell is Jimmy Havoc’s original trainer as well.
The Match: Smallman telling Havoc to ‘fucking behave himself’ before the match is a nice touch and a bit of a nod and a wink as to how the behind the scenes workings are at PROGRESS as well…during pre-match inspections, the referee finds a spoon on Jimmy. At least it wasn’t a fork, Abdullah the Butcher style…the spoon then gets a series of crowd chants…Danny’s inset promo is where he admits he was Havoc’s trainer. Not sure if that’s something to be proud of or not…it’s the basic promo from Danny else wise. ‘I taught you all you know but not all I know’…Barnett is lamenting Havoc’s involvement in the show. Yeah, not suspicious at all…Havoc surprising people by holding his own on the mat. Similar to his American namesake, Danny…Havoc gets an inset promo as well. I’d like to see them do some post match interviews in the future…and a spoon happens. An actual spooning…fans chant for the ref to get some spooning too but he’s having none of it…dropkick takes Garnell to the floor and Havoc follows out with a plancha at about the four minute mark…and Garnell lariats the shit out of him as they come back into the ring. Jesus…body slam and a variation of the surfboard applied. Five minutes in and they go a rest hold. But Havoc able to surprise people with a spinning head scissors to escape…Garnell goes for another clothesline but Havoc is able to duck and take Garnell down into a Crossface. Garnell gets to the ropes as a ‘We Miss Benoit’ chant starts. Remember what I said about PROGRESS fans going too far sometimes? Yeah, this is one of those…Havoc with a running step up knee in the corner. He goes for a second but Garnell ducks and Havoc goes out to the floor. Garnell pulls him back in with a hanging DDT for two…half-nelson suplex and a snapmare driver both drop Havoc on his head, but again only two…Garnell goes for the dirty face, but Havoc moves and catches Garnell with a chest blower for two…and back into the Crossface for another Benoit chant…Havoc gets frustrated and grabs a steel chair. Referee talks him out of using it, but Garnell gets a rollup for two…Havoc turns a tilt-a-whirl attempt into another Crossface (Jimmy Rave’s ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’) but Garnell is able to flip Havoc onto his shoulders and cradles the leg to get a three count for the win at about 10:36 (there were stopwatch issues)…for a guy who is supposed to just be a ‘death match’ or ‘garbage’ wrestler, Havoc more then held his own here. I think Jimmy is a part of that hybrid group of death match guys that can work pretty much any style. Danny Havoc, Drake Younger, JC Bailey (RIP), Nate Webb and Rickey Shane Paige are among the names that spring to mind here. The story of Havoc fighting himself to stay within the rules of PROGRESS was well done too and I do like that it didn’t directly lead to the finish. Instead of Havoc’s temper getting the better of him, his trainer just managed to get one up instead. Good stuff here. (GOOD)
*Post match, Smallman gives Havoc his spoon back (that was nice of him) and compliments Jimmy on his performance, saying that he’ll give Jimmy another chance on Chapter 3. I feel like that may come back to bite him…and the segment ends with a Havoc/Garnell/Smallman triple spoon. ‘This is PROGRESS’ indeed.
*Match #5: Velocity Vipers vs. London Riots
The Who: The London Riots consist of James Davis and Rob Lynch. I’ve seen them once before on the review that Patrick and I did for Chapter 36 for Wrestling Unwrapped, but I’m still going to have a hell of a time telling them apart. The Velocity Vipers are Will Ospreay (yes, he of New Japan and PWG fame) and Alex Esmail. The comparison that I saw made for them was the team of Brian Kendrick and Paul London, and physically, that certainly pans out. In the ring, we shall see…
The Why: Well, this is the first tag match in the history of PROGRESS, occurring in match number twelve. My guess is this is the beginning of establishing something of a tag team division, but I could be wrong.
The Match: Vipers make their entrance and immediately get nailed from behind by Lynch and Davis…the pre-match attack continues on the floor as the Riots are just beating the hell out of both Vipers…Vipers turn the tables and get both Riots out of the ring. Esmail catches Davis (I think) with a somersault plancha. Ospreay tries to dive out of the ring, but gets the ever loving bejesus forearmed out of him by Lynch (I think)…and Barnett confirms that it was Lynch that caught Ospreay with the European uppercut, so that confirms that I did tell them apart correctly, even if I got the move he stopped Ospreay with wrong…Lynch is in bikers, while Davis has the singlet for those following along at home…and we finally get an opening bell with Lynch beating the tar out of Ospreay…it’s kinda cool to think where they’d end up seeing that Andrews, Havoc and Ospreay all debuted for PROGRESS with only a Noam Dar match in between…Fit Finlay roll by Davis. One of my favorite moves…followed by a partner capture piggyback senton. Impressive display…he’s gotten significantly more technically fluent, but man, early Ospreay was a sight to see with all the flying around the ring he did…that’s fucking disgusting. Davis spits on Ospreay’s mouth guard and puts it back in Ospreay’s mouth…and Davis just kicked the absolute crap out of Ospreay. This match is feeling like legalized assault…Esmail is trying to reach out to Ospreay for the tag. I’m sitting here thinking “why would he want any part of this?”…and that was a super flippy-doo. Corkscrew head scissors takedown…crowd chanting for Esmail by chanting ‘Bieber’. They aren’t wrong…and Lynch welcomes Esmail to the violence party with a brutal spear to a chant of ‘you killed Bieber’, as Barnett laments the lack of Justin’s demise…Esmail tries to chop Lynch. It ends poorly for him…release German by Lynch and looked like Esmail landed on his shoulder…at what point does referee stoppage due to empathy become an option?…Davis with a huge exploder for two, allegedly. It does not look like Esmail kicked out, but grabs the knee right afterward, so I’m guessing that’s not good…and the match basically stops until Esmail can tag Ospreay…handspring Pele kick. That’s a new one…and Lynch gets caught with Code Red for two…C4 style snapmare by Ospreay…and Ospreay misses the double moonsault. Yes, you read that right. I said the words ‘double moonsault’…one Lariat by Lynch later and Davis covers for the three count at 10:19…from what actually happened before Esmail got hurt, it was actually a fun little battle of aerial vs. strong style. When Ospreay and Esmail could get into the air, they had a chance. On the ground, they were taking an absolute ass kicking. Unfortunately, Esmail’s injury robbed us of the sequence leading to the hot tag and thus took the fans out of the match. My guess is they went home early after the injury. Fun effort, with an unfortunate injury to Esmail. (ABOVE AVERAGE+, BUT WAS ON WAY TO BETTER)
*Upon checking Ian’s review of the show, it wasn’t the knee that Esmail was holding. It was his leg. He broke it on the landing of the exploder. As I said, unfortunate for him. I don’t know that he ever returned to PROGRESS. I’d say it worked out okay for Ospreay though.
*Post match promo from Rob Lynch where he basically says what he said in his inset promo. Kinda defeats the purpose of those, no?
*Match #6: #1 Contender’s Match- El Ligero (1-1) vs. Greg Burridge vs. RJ Singh
The Who: El Ligero was on the first show. He beat Noam Dar in the opener to advance to the four way, where he was the first person eliminated in the four way. Greg Burridge (which I originally read as Gurridge) is brand new to me. Have never seen or heard of him before. RJ Singh was supposed to be on the first show facing Colt Cabana in one of the qualifier’s, but didn’t make the show and was replaced with ‘Loco’ Mike Mason, who we don’t see on this second Chapter. Probably because he was basically less talented Davey Richards. And I’m not a huge Davey fan in the first place.
The Why: The graphic for the match said it’s for the number one contendership. What any of these guys have done to become number one contender is anyone’s guess. This could give an interesting sign of things to come in the main event though.
The Match: RJ Singh has a pair of managers. He didn’t have managers on the graphic. Hopefully Jim Smallman tells me who they is during the intros…I couldn’t make out what he said during introductions for them……I’ll keep looking and listening (there is a Jimmy Barnett still) and let you all know…Burridge gets the only promo and mentions what Smallman just mentioned that he’s the hometown boy. Ligero was also a crowd favorite on the first show, so it appears RJ Singh is the heel in this contest…nope, RJ Singh gets an inset promo too. It just happens a bit later. ‘This is PROGRESS and Singh is King’ is a strong line, give him that…Burridge and Ligero trade sissy kicks, until Burridge with a finger poke for a ‘holy shit’ chant…Singh comes back in and gets knocked right back on wallet…okay, I do like that they are mixing in spots with all three guys involved…and Burridge has fluffy dice hanging from his crotch. Because of course he does…Ligero’s reputation proceeds him, Singh is a nice little high flyer despite and Burridge is the charisma of this contest…Singh does like to focus on knee strikes…Barnett points out this is one fall to a finish, not elimination rules like the title match was…rolling hilo by Burridge. The Eddie Guerrero special from the big guy. If I had to give a build comparison for Burridge, I’d say Wade Barrett sounds about right…and the director for Singh gets an in ring face humping after attempted interference. No wonder these shows don’t allow kids…Ligero with a huge dive to take out Singh’s other second…Ligero with the Rings of Saturn that gets broken up with a back chop by Burridge. Back chops are for jerks!…RJ Singh applies a Camel Clutch, decreeing it’s name to the ‘Ethnic Submission’. That’s a whole lot of wrestling history wrapped up into two words right there…Ligero catches with the same DDT he beat Dar with, Burridge stops any attempt at a cover with a submission hold…they O’Connor Roll into the ropes, knocking Singh to the floor and Ligero ends up with the cover, grabbing the tights for the three count at 11:03 and the fans are pissed at Ligero for such dastardly tactics…match itself wasn’t bad, but nothing to write home about either. The finish is the big talking point as Ligero wasn’t seen as a guy who would have previously stooped to the level of using the tights in order to get a victory. I actually like him doing so here, because it keeps an air of mystery about the main event still. If Nathan Cruz wins, Ligero can go back to loveable baby face who did what was necessary to get the title shot. If Marty Scurll wins, Ligero can be the little bastard who will cheat against even his friends if it means being champion. Good story, average match. (AVERAGE)
*Post match, Burridge has a promo where he uses pretty much every curse word in the book and probably makes up a couple to describe the fact that Ligero cheated him out of the number one contendership. Definitely not a family show.
*Match #7: PROGRESS Wrestling Staff: ‘Showstealer’ Nathan Cruz © (2-0) vs. ‘Party’ Marty Scurll (1-0-1)
The Who: Nathan Cruz is the first PROGRESS champion, crowned at ’In The Beginning’ (available in my archive if you’ve not read). He won both a singles match over Colossus Kennedy and then the four way elimination main event. ‘Party’ Marty Scurll is the ‘Villain’ of modern day ROH and New Japan, but here he’s still more commonly known as one half of the ‘Leaders of the New School’. Scurll pinned Zach Sabre Jr at the first show in what I still feel is the best match in PROGRESS history to this point to advance to that four way.
The Why: The why here is simple and I touched on it earlier in the review. At ‘In The Beginning’, there was a previously mentioned four way. It came down to two people: Marty Scurll and Nathan Cruz. Scurll had a clear three count during the match, but the referee got knocked stupid. As Scurll was trying to resuscitate the referee, he was given a low blow by Cruz and then eventually Cruz’s sliding single foot dropkick spelled curtains for Scurll. On the PROGRESS YouTube channel (2012 and all, a company has to have a digital presence), Cruz challenged Scurll to the rematch, even letting Scurll pick the stipulation. Scurll choose ‘two out of three falls’ and here we are…
The Match: IT IS NOT A NAZI STAFF!!! Okay, maybe it is…interesting that the win-loss records on the chyron for Marty Scurll has him at 0 wins and 1 loss. Two things for that- first, they are completely ignoring him pinning Zach Sabre Jr. for that 0 wins total. Second, technically he didn’t lose the main event of Chapter 1. He just didn’t win. I personally consider that a draw, and therefore you see the 1-0-1 record that I have given to Scurll…Nathan Cruz’s chyron has him listed at 1-0, so I don’t know what the hell is going on…and the crowd once again gets on Cruz with a ‘shit Zack Ryder woo woo woo’ chant. Made me laugh the first time, makes me laugh the second…and Scurll spits his gum at Cruz. This has been a very unhygienic show…Barnett points out Scurll’s tan advantage. That checks…Scurll is quickly going after the arm and hand of Cruz. Makes sense to weaken a limb for what will probably be a long match…and Scurll busts out the Jim Briggs special. That move doesn’t get enough love…overhead chop from Scurll after a shushing. Wonder if he got that from Big Show or vice versa…Cruz fires back just as strongly with chops of his own…any chop you can throw, I can throw harder. I’ve never understood chops. Good for crowd reaction, but painful as all hell. In a business that supposed to look like it hurts without actually doing so…we once again go out to the floor for a brawl, because that’s exactly what this event needed. More crowd brawling like the main event of Chapter 1…slingshot back suplex by Cruz. Not sure if I’ve seen that one before…Cruz eats foot on a charge not once but twice, but a leaping knee strike gets two for Nathan…Barnett credits a delayed vertical as ‘shades of the late great Davey Boy Smith’…and it totals a fifty second delayed vertical, but I think it took as much out of him as it did Nathan…that suplex gets our second ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant of the match…Cruz went for the sliding kick again and nobody home. Eventually it leads to a tornado DDT for a close two count…looked like Scurll was going for a rack bomb there. Don’t think I’ve ever seen him use one of those…Scurll looks to be heading to the top fall here…Cruz catches him with an enzugiri while he’s on top. They battle up and Scurll manages to get a CIMA style Meteora with Cruz trapped on the buckles. Scurll lifts up Cruz into position for the Rack Bomb, but turns it into a double knee backcracker out of it. He calls it the ‘Hangover’ and that’s fall number one to ‘Party’ Marty @ 12:11
*Fall Two: For those wondering, I’m going to leave the clock running between falls, despite the both men on their feet rule…Cruz tries the Flair corner cradle right as the second fall starts but only gets two…it breaks into a slugfest before a Scurll cross body takes both to the floor…and Scurll uses beer as a weapon on the floor. I’m guessing that’s called the ‘Party Foul’…and a loud ‘we can’t see shit’ chant starts while they brawl on the floor. This is exactly why I advice against it. In larger crowds, it takes a portion of the crowd out of the match…Cruz traps Scurll somewhere and sprints back into the ring looking for a countout…but Scurll rolls back in at 8…and Scurll gets Irish (English?) whipped into a couple rows of chairs, where Cruz looks for the countout again…and the fans helped Scurll back into the ring at 8 again. I’m sensing a pattern here…once again out to the floor. This is getting repetitive, gentlemen…okay, that was almost worth it. Fireman’s carry slam on the sound desk by Cruz!…this time Scurll gets to the ring with a fan assist at the count of nine…Scurll eventually turns the table back in the ring with a series of windmill chops…Scurll busts out a move I’ve only see Cesaro (Claudio Castagnoli) use. A suplex from the apron back into the ring…a series of attempts at the figure four by Scurll are countered. Both men back up. Scurll tries for a tilt-a-whirl head scissors, but gets caught and dropped square on his dome with a Tombstone! That’s the second fall (and it should be. Tombstone is another of those moves that should not be kicked out of) @ 22:00
*Fall Three: The both men on their feet rule here helps Scurll. He’s out of it after that Tombstone…Scurll collapses at the bell, but the cover only gets two. Almost two minutes passed, so I can let that one go…Cruz looks to be setting up the sliding kick, but Scurll pops up with a rolling elbow and Barnett shouts out Mitsuhara Misawa. I went Masato Tanaka myself, but I’m an ECW mark…both men back up and punch drunk. Twenty five minutes in, it makes sense…series of pin attempts by Scurll, which I like. Puts over his desperation for the title…Scurll tries to run Cruz into a buckle but it’s the buckle where the ref is. Scurll puts on the brakes and Cruz’s trick knee acts up. Man, we’re hitting all the classic heel cliches in this one; aren’t we?…Barnett runs over the card for Chapter Three and he says we’re getting Andrews vs. Cooper for the BWC Scarlo…after trying to fight it most of the night, Cruz finally gets caught in the figure four by Scurll…Cruz keeps trying to get to the ropes, but losing his shoulers in the process…finally, Cruz to the ropes. It would have been a viable finish. Let’s see how Cruz sells it the rest of the way though…and Cruz pulls Chris Roberts into the way of a Scurll leaping knee…Cruz out to the floor and grabbing a chair. This is why not using the chair early means more…El Ligero comes out and pulls the chair away from Cruz. Cruz spits at Ligero, so Ligero delivers a superkick…to Marty Scurll as Nathan Cruz ducks. Ligero shrugs his shoulders about the whole thing and exits, as Cruz makes the cover…referee Roberts comes too and that’s a third fall, giving Nathan Cruz a 2-1 win @ 30:31…so, I get the idea here. And it makes sense given that El Ligero was facing the winner of this match on Chapter 3 that he would be an interested party. What I don’t care for is the fact that he stopped Cruz from using the chair. What does Ligero care if Cruz would have split Scurll’s wig with the chair? Either way, he ends up facing Nathan Cruz at Chapter 3 for the title anyway…that said, the match was very good, but I can’t give it excellent. Nor can I put it at the level of the Scurll-Sabre Jr match due to the booking involved. Just because I kind of understand the booking, doesn’t mean I have to like it. (VERY GOOD)
*Post match: Cruz celebrates with the staff and then exits…Scurll gets the microphone from Smallman before he can wrap things up and Scurll proceeds to lament the fact that this is twice in the first two shows in PROGRESS that he’s been screwed out of the title. He then makes a point to say that it doesn’t matter who is champion, he will be the man to be the PROGRESS Heavyweight champion in the future. With that, Scurll exits and we fade with a splash screen telling me that Chapter 3 will be subtitled “Fifty Shades of Pain”. So many jokes, so little time…after that, the credits roll and the website advertisements pop up, bringing us to a conclusion for Chapter 2.
Match #1: Lion Kid pins Stixx with a rolling prawn hold @ 10:24 (AVERAGE)
Match #2: BWC Scarlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © pins ‘Wild Boar’ Mike Hitchman with a small package @ 14:05 (VERY GOOD)
Match #3: Noam Dar taps Darrell Allen via ‘Champagne Super-Knee-Bar’ with head kicks @ 11:04 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #4: Danny Garnell pins Jimmy Havoc with a roll-up out of the Crossface @ 10:36 (ish) (GOOD)
Match #5: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) def. Velocity Vipers (Alex Esmail/Will Ospreay) when Davis pins Ospreay after a Lynch Lariat @ 10:19 (ABOVE AVERAGE+, BUT WAS ON WAY TO BETTER)
Match #6: #1 Contender’s Three-Way: El Ligero pins Greg Burridge with a tights assisted O’Connor Roll @ 11:03 in a match that also involved RJ Singh (AVERAGE)
Match #7: PROGRESS Wrestling Staff: Nathan Cruz © defeats ‘Party’ Marty Scurll by a score of 2 falls to 1 @ 30:31 to retain (VERY GOOD)
-Scurll, pinfall, Hangover, 12:11
-Cruz, pinfall, Tombstone, 22:00
-Cruz, pinfall, superkick by El Ligero @ 30:31
FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
I’m going to try to keep these a bit shorter then they were for Chapter 1. Mostly because this is already rocking almost ten pages here and I don’t want to go much more. They improved
the lightning in the building on the hard cam, but the roaming cam lighting is still hit and miss. With the amount of crowd brawling that went on in the main event, that becomes a seriously noticeable flaw.
Second, the lack of decisive finishes kind of bothered me. I get that it’s early in the company’s run. But one of the trademarks (in my opinion) of ‘strong style wrestling’ are clean and decisive finishes. Off the seven matches on this show, two had dead in the center of the ring clean finishes that weren’t rollups. I don’t like that at all.
There was no one on this show that felt like they didn’t belong to me. Despite me not knowing who Mike Hitchman was, he really impressed me in his match with Mark Andrews. Despite not knowing who Danny Garnell was, the story that he and Jimmy Havoc told more then justified his involvement. The opener was kinda lackluster overall, but it was good for the spot with the Lion Kid gimmick being something that’s easy for a crowd to get behind.
I gave them credit on the first show for crowning a champion. I’ll give them credit here for knowing that they needed to set things up for future shows to keep the hype train rolling. Yes, PROGRESS got off to a strong start, but the company didn’t yet have the name they do now where they could continue drawing huge cards solely on the PROGRESS name. In addition to being able to do several things for shows down the road, they immediately set up at least two matches for the next show. Nathan Cruz vs. El Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff and Mark Andrews vs. Xander Cooper for the BWC Scarlo Scholarship title. Good forward thinking.
A better show then Chapter 1, but not the blow away show that we would eventually come to expect. We top out at ‘very good’ on the scale and a good portion of that is because of the booking. We’ll chalk this up to the learning curve though. So where does this leave us? Well, it leaves me about to come back to check out “Fifty Shades of Pain”. It leaves you guys hopefully wanting to see me do so. And I’m still hungry. I clearly need to eat more…
THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: I’m going with the BWC Scarlo match between Mark Andrews and Mike Hitchman here. Despite the main event earning the same rating, I was more pleasantly surprised by this one then I was by the main event.
Worst match/moment: Lion Kid and Stixx as far as in ring content went. I get that it was there to get the crowd hyped and I appreciate that but it was still really sloppy, mostly on Lion Kid’s part.
MVP: I’m going to issue co-MVPs here to Mark Andrews and Jimmy Havoc. Andrews for delivering the in-ring performance that he did and Havoc for telling the story that he did during his match. Credit to both Hitchman and Garnell, but clearly Andrews and Havoc were the stars of those respective matches.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10
Until next time: “This Is PROGRESS” and that’s “What I Watched”. Catch you all for Chapter 3: “Fifty Shades of Pain”.
Chairshot Classics: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 – One Versus All
Our road to the 2019 Royal Rumble continues with a look back at one from the past!
For only the second time in WWE history, the WWE Championship is on the line in the Royal Rumble Match!
Kickoff Show Match – Fatal 4 Way Royal Rumble Qualifying Match: The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) vs. Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs. Damien Sandow & Darren Young vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
Swagger & Young to kick the action off, The Real American with a side headlock, Darren pushes him off into the ropes and is knocked down by a shoulder for a quick 1. Swagger to a wristlock, Henry tags in and flattens Darren after a whip by The Real American. The WSM chokes Young in the corner, tag back to Swagger, Darren reverses a whip to the ropes, ducks a right hand and drills The Real American with a discus forearm. Sandow gets a tag to a nice ovation, plant Swagger with a russian leg sweep and connects with the Cubito Aequet.
Darren back in, lands a corner clothesline to The Real American, hits a bridging northern lights suplex and only gets a 1 count. Young to a rear chinlock, Swagger rolls him out of it and Konnor tags himself into the match, forcing Darren out of the ring. He delivers a haymaker to The Real American, shoves Mark Henry on the apron and all 8 guys step into the ring for a shoving match as we go to a break….Swagger has Konnor grounded with a rear chinlock when we come back, Konnor gains his footing, gets pushed into the ropes and The Real American with a greco-roman slam.
D-Von reaches over and tags Swagger out, hits the ropes and knocks Konnor down with a shoulder block, then a clothesline, looking for a neckbreaker and he gets pushed into the corner, dropping Viktor off the apron in the process. Konnor rushes into the corner, D-Von sticks the boot up into the chin, Viktor with a leg trip from the outside as Konnor keeps the referee’s attention. Viktor enters the match, The Ascension stomp away at D-Von in the corner, Viktor with heavy shots, brings Konnor back in and whips him into a corner clothesline, scores with a high knee and Konnor gets a count of 2. He looks to grind D-Von down with a rear chinlock, D-Von battles to his feet, hits the ropes and runs into a back elbow for another 2 count, Konnor going back to the rear chinlock.
D-Von fights up again, Konnor sends him into the corner, charges in and misses, going shoulder-first into the ring post and allowing Bubba to get a tag. Viktor tags in and runs into multiple clotheslines, Bubba squashes him in the corner, drops Konnor off the apron and plants Viktor with a uranage, getting 2 before Swagger is in to break it up. Sandow clears Swagger out, Henry lays out Sandow & Darren, then turns into a big boot from Bubba. He slams Young, D-Von heads up top and connects with the Wazzup Headbutt. The Dudleys call for tables, Viktor slides in and misses a clothesline, rebounding off the ropes into a 3D.
Bubba covers and Swagger again makes a save, dragging Bubba out and grabbing the Patriot Lock from the floor. The WSM takes advantage and hits a big splash to Bubba’s back, turns over, covers Viktor and advances to the Royal Rumble Match.
Winners: Mark Henry & Jack Swagger (Henry/Splash)
- EA’s Take: Fair Kickoff match this evening with the sentimental favorite picking up the victory. When this match was announced, I figured either The Dudleys or Swagger/Henry would get the win. Sandow/Young is just a thrown-together pairing (which reminds me, what the hell happened to the Primetime Players?) and The Ascension are the jobbers of the tag team division. If it weren’t for Mark Henry’s interview speaking about how this could be his last Royal Rumble Match earlier in the week, I probably would have never anticipated Swagger/Henry having a shot. The Dudleys were a favorite merely for the name value, while it’s obvious that none these guys will have much, if any kind of impact in the Rumble itself.
Open: A limousine pulls up in the back and out steps Vince & Stephanie McMahon. Jojo walks up asking Mr. McMahon about Roman Reigns tonight, Vince speaks about giving the champion the opportunity to make history tonight and successfully defend his title in the Royal Rumble. Steph agrees and says not only would he make history, but he’d go onto WrestleMania as champion. Vince is loving tonight, almost as much as he loves himself.
Video: “Here stands a time-tested arena where warriors have solved what countless others cannot. Now, one’s immortality awaits ahead as 30 will battle to etch their place in history. But, fate twists it’s cruel head. An unprecedented event occurs.” For the first time in history it’s One Vs. All, as Roman Reigns defends the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against 29 challengers in the Royal Rumble Match.
Match #1 – Last Man Standing for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens
The bell rings and the brawl begins with both guys throwing bombs, The Lunatic Fringe getting the quick advantage and working over the champion in the corner. Owens fires back with rights and chops, Ambrose calls for more, turns the tables and serves some chops of his own. He whips the champion to the opposite corner, charges in with a running forearm and follows it with a bulldog The Prize Fighter rolling to the outside. The Lunatic Fringe flies through the middle rope with a suicide dive, the champion is sent across the announce table and lands on Michael Cole. Dean tosses Owens back across, jumps off the table and meets a right hand to the ribs.
The champion attempts to drive Ambrose into the steps, Dean reverses and Owens meets the steel, getting up at a count of 4. The champion reaches under the ring and pulls out a kendo stick, teeing off on Owens back in and then out of the ring.. The Lunatic Fringe with a big swing and a miss, hitting the ring post instead and the challenger counters with a superkick. Ambrose is propped up against the barricade, The Prize Fighter charges and connects with the Cannonball, exploding into the timekeeper’s area with Dean. The champion makes it up at 8, Owens returning the kendo stick shots, splits it in half and spears it into Ambrose’s midsection.
Owens levels The Lunatic Fringe with a short-arm clothesline, hits the ropes for a running senton, then tosses the champion to the outside, driving him into the ringside barricade once more. The challenger now looks under the ring for some toys, putting a pile of chairs in the ring. He rolls outside and hammers Dean in the back with one, rolls back inside and grabs a seat as Ambrose gets up at 5. Back in the ring, The Lunatic Fringe eats a big right hand, Owens sets two chairs up and builds a bridge, elevating the champion on his shoulders. Dean battles out of it, takes a forearm shot, bounces into the ropes and scores with a Lunatic Lariat.
Both men reach their feet at 6, the challenger utilizing the chair again to Ambrose’s ribs and pounding the back. Dean’s up at 6, The Prize Fighter looks to slam him on the chairs, Ambrose blocks it, bounces off the ropes again and meets a boot to the midsection. Owens tries a powerbomb on the chairs, The Lunatic Fringe counters with a back body drop and sends the challenger through them instead. Both combatants are up at 7, Owens rolls to the floor, the champion attempts another suicide dive and gets caught, then driven spine-first into the ring apron. The Prize Fighter gets real aggressive, driving Ambrose into the ring steps numerous time, Dean struggling to his feet at 8.
Owens drags a table out and sets it up at ringside, then gets another and stacks them as Dean pulls himself back into the ring. The challenger climbs to the apron, then pulls Ambrose up to the top turnbuckle to superplex him through the tables. The Lunatic Fringe fights it off, grabs a chair and tosses it into Owens’ face, the chair hanging off his head. The champion with a series of rights and chops, hits the ropes and runs into a superkick, The Prize Fighter looking for the Pop-Up Powerbomb and Dean counters into a hurricanrana. The champion ducks a clothesline, spikes Owens with Dirty Deeds and the challenger uses the ropes to get up at 8.
Ambrose spikes Owens with Dirty Deeds again, this time on a chair, but The Prize Fighter rolls out of the ring to get to his feet at 9. The Lunatic Fringe rolls outside, finds himself a table and sets it in front of the announce table. He drives Owens off the announce table, places him on the table, climbs to the top rope and comes off with an elbow drop through the table. The referee counts as both men are down, using the apron to pull up and back into the ring at an 8 count. The champion rolls out and slides another table into the ring, smacks Owens with a chair, sets up the table and props the challenger on the top turnbuckle.
Dean climbs up for a superplex, The Prize Fighter blocks and smashes Ambrose through the table with a 2nd rope fisherman’s buster. Owens to his feet at 6, Ambrose stumbling up at 9 with help from the table wreckage. The Prize Fighter scores with a Pop-Up Powerbomb, the champion barely up at 9, Owens delivering a vicious chair shot then building another chair bridge. He lays the champion on the chairs, climbs up top for a moonsault, Ambrose gets to his feet and pushes Owens forward, The Prize Fighter falling through the two stacked tables and he can’t make the count.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Dean Ambrose
- EA’s Take: Great opening contest that really got the crowd going to begin the night. A brutal brawl is what this should have been to be the blow-off to this rivalry as has been reported. I’d really like to see Owens stay in something relevant heading into WrestleMania, the guy is the best heel in the company right now. Ambrose could be involved in the main event heading to WrestleMania, but I suspect some kind of multi-man match for his IC Title could take place again. It would be a great way to showcase guys with so much up in the air right now due to injuries.
Match #2 for the WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) w/Xavier Woods vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
Prior to the match, Big E talks about The New Day being in mourning since Chris Jericho broke Francesca the trombone. Kofi calls for a moment of silence, but we hear a trombone in the background and out comes Woods. They welcome the newest member of New Day, Francesca 2. Jimmy & Kofi will begin, Jimmy with a waistlock, Kingston switches out, they trade side headlocks, Jimmy getting pushed off into the ropes. Kofi with leapfrogs, Jimmy stops short of one for a back suplex, Kingston lands on his feet and runs into a stiff right hand. Jey gets the tag, The Usos with a combination backbreaker/top rope foream and Jey tosses Kofi to the outside.
Jimmy levels Kingston with a clothesline on the floor as Jey distracts the official, rolls Kofi inside and covers for a count of 2. Kingston sneaks in a jawbreaker, makes a tag to Big E who charges into a right hand. Jey backs him to the corner, Big E reverses a whip across, Jey attempts to hop up and over, but E has it scouted and drives him shoulder-first into the ring post, falling to the outside. Big E follows him out, lifts Jey on his shoulder and charges toward the barricade, Jey slipping out and connecting with a dropkick to turn the tables. Woods gets involved behind the ref’s back, using the barricade to spring into a tornado DDT.
Kingston tags, drops to the floor and rolls Jey in to deliver some punishment in the corner, gaining a 2 count. He grounds Jey with a chinlock, Jey to a vertical base, gets backed into the wrong corner, Big E tagging as Jey battles out. Kofi & Jey both look for superkicks, Kingston hooking the leg and holding Jey down for a Big E splash for a count of 2. Big E pounds away at Jey’s chest, flattens him with a back elbow and covers, but is too close to the ropes. Kofi slingshots in with a stomp off the tag, hammers Jey in the corner, charges in and gets elevated to the apron, landing on his feet. Kingston gets a handful of Jey’s hair and pays for it, getting dropped to the floor by an enzuigiri.
Big E & Xavier assist him back into the ring, Big E makes the tag just as Jimmy hits the ring with a right hand, then knocks Kofi off the apron. Big E reverses a whip into the ropes, Jimmy ducks a right and delivers a kick to the midsection, drops Kingston off the apron again, ducks a Big E clothesline and scores with a samoan drop. Kofi springboards into the ring and gets caught in a samoan drop, Jimmy rushing him in the corner with the hip attack. He ducks another shot from Big E, scales to the top and hits a corkscrew senton for a near fall, then heads back upstairs. Kofi hits the apron, Jey pulls him to the floor, looking to toss Kingston into the barricade, but it’s reversed and Jey is sent into the crowd.
Back in the ring Big E crotches Jimmy on the top turnbuckle, plants him with a belly to belly suplex and covers for a 2 count. Jimmy rolls to the apron, Big E looks for a spear and meets a knee for his troubles, Kofi grabs the leg and gets kicked away, then taken out by Jey who dives in off the barricade. Jimmy is distracted and Big E spears him off the apron to the floor, all 4 men down outside, struggling to their feet. E rolls Jimmy inside and covers for 2, tag to Kofi for the combo Big Ending/top rope DDT, Jimmy slips out and shoves Big E into the corner, knocking Kingston to the canvas. Kofi looks to sneak in Trouble In Paradise, Jimmy ducks and hits a superkick, tag to Jey and he connects with an Uso Splash, Kingston getting a foot under the rope at a count of 2.
Woods has words with Jey from the floor, Jimmy takes him out with a suicide dive, but Big E is there to drive him spine-first into the barricade. Kofi looks to take advantage with a roll-up on Jey for 2, Jey rolls through and gets 2 of his own. Kofi hops to Jey’s shoulders in the corner, E making a blind tag, Jey drops Kingston down and connects with another superkick before scaling to the top rope. He comes off for another Uso Splash, Big E slides in and catches him in the air into the Big Ending to retain.
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day (Big E/Big Ending)
- EA’s Take: Part of me thought this could be the night that The New Day drops the titles given the way The Usos have been getting over on them of late. The problem is that New Day is just so entertaining that they are getting cheers, or as evidenced tonight, their opponents are getting booed. And that’s not a knock on The Usos because they’re a great team, that’s just how over New Day is. The match itself to me was a little ho-hum, I did enjoy the finish however.
Video: Last Monday on Raw, Brock Lesnar sent a message to the participants in the Royal Rumble Match before falling to a Spear from Roman Reigns. Then, The Wyatt Family showed up and took them all out.
Backstage: In a dark room is The Wyatt Family, Bray speaking about slaughtering everyone in his path. After tonight, he will truly have the whole world in his hands. “The apocalypse is here…run.”
Match #3 for the WWE United States Championship: WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto
Collar & elbow to start, Del Rio backs Kalisto into the corner, the challenger switches out and delivers right hands, Alberto doing the same. He snapmares Kalisto over for a kick to the head and a count of 1, then shoots the challenger sternum-first into the turnbuckles. The champion to the 2nd rope, reigns down right hands, Kalisto with a kick to the back that sends Del Rio outside, then hits the ropes for a suicide dive. He drives Alberto into the barricade, tosses him in the ring and climbs to the top, Del Rio sees it and drops him with an enzuigiri for a count of 2.
El Patron with a snap suplex for another 2, then looks to ground the high flyer with a rear chinlock. Kalisto fights to his feet, hits the ropes for a kick, back to the ropes and the champion splits him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Del Rio heads up top now for a double axe and a near fall, slides the challenger to the outside, dropping him face-first to the floor. Alberto outside after him, Kalisto with a hurricanrana out of nowhere, rolls the champion in the ring, attempts a headscissors takedown, Del Rio countering into a gutbuster that only gets 1. El Patron takes the fight outside, tosses Kalisto into the barricade, back into the ring and he props him on the top turnbuckle, trying to remove his mask.
The challenger fights Alberto off, comes off the top with a seated senton, into the ropes he goes, missing a 2nd rope springboard corkscrew headbutt, the champion following with a superkick and he nearly gets a 3 count. Alberto looks to finish with the Cross Armbreaker, Kalisto slips out of it, goes to the 2nd rope and spikes Del Rio with a tornado DDT for a count of 2. Kalisto this time scores with the corkscrew headbutt, hits the ropes and plants Alberto with a spikerana, covers and again only gets 2. He scales the top rope, El Patron crotches the challenger on the top turnbuckle, climbs up and brings him down the hard way with a top rope reverse suplex.
The champion toying with Kalisto and slapping him in the face, Kalisto fires back with a kick, follows with a roll-up and gets another near fall. He charges Alberto in the corner and meets boots the to face, Del Rio to the top, know he gets crotched on the turnbuckle. Kalisto climbs up to meet him, the champion with right hands, dropping the challenger and he’s caught in the tree of woe. Del Rio looks for the double stomp and misses, Kalisto goes into Salida Del Sol, covers and Alberto grabs the bottom rope at 2.
El Patron dumps the challenger outside to buy some time, Kalisto to the apron, springboards in and Del Rio turns it into a codebreaker, still unable to get a pinfall. He exposes the top turnbuckle, looks to drive Kalisto into it, the challenger blocks and connects with an enzuigiri. He charges Del Rio in the corner, Alberto elevates him towards the exposed turnbuckle, Kalisto landing on the 2nd rope. He comes off the with a hurricanrana that sends the champion into the turnbuckle, follows with a 2nd Salida Del Sol and regains the championship.
Winner and NEW WWE United States Champion: Kalisto (Salida Del Sol)
- EA’s Take: I have to admit that I’m a little surprised to see Kalisto regain the title. I keep thinking that Sin Cara will be back here fairly soon, but with the amount of momentum Kalisto has it could be best to keep him on his own. Although I don’t see him having the career longevity due to his age, you can’t help but see a lot of Rey Mysterio in him and the company certainly recognizes it. I think Kalisto should get a decent title run this time around, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this feud stretched out further, possibly into Fastlane.