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: What I Watched #16 – ECW Guilty As Charged 1999
Breaking up the 2018 time travel with a much deeper dive! Harry goes back to some prime ECW with Guilty As Charged 1999!
Greetings, salutations and welcome back. Harry here once again with another edition of ‘What I Watched’. As the calendar year turns to 1999 on my watch-through of all things ‘big three’ wrestling, I covered Starrcade 1998 in an earlier edition of WIW. I figured since this is probably the last year where all three major companies are relevant (at least at the start), it could be fun to compare and contrast how I feel about the respective PPVs when compared to some of the independent wrestling I’ve been covering recently. Or even going back to the PROGRESS or Impact Wrestling shows that I’ve covered before. I am fully aware there are going to be some bad shows in 1999. But there is also a lot to talk about in a drastically changing industry. Let’s do this, shall we?
ECW is in flux as talent losses haven’t yet gotten to what they would become but names like Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, Bam Bam Bigelow and others are no longer with the company. To make matters worse, the ECW-FMW relationship is falling apart now as well as a Chris Candido and Sunny (sorry, Tammy Lynn Sytch) no-show of a scheduled FMW appearance. Paul Heyman himself is the first person we see telling us the card is going to change…how much does it change? The WayBack Machine takes us to January 10th, 1999 in Kissimmee, FL as it’s time for ECW to be Guilty as Charged!
What I Watched #16
ECW Guilty as Charged 1999
Millenium Theatre in Kissimmee, FL
Runtime: 2:40:30 (Peacock)
Commentary By: Joey Styles (PBP)
- Match 1: Axl Rotten/Ballz Mahoney win 3 team tag elimination match, eliminating Little Guido/Tracy Smothers @ 10:44 (Danny Doring/Roadkill eliminated @ 8:15)
- Match 2: Yoshihiro Tajiri pins Super Crazy, dragon suplex @ 11:37
- Match 3: Psycho Sid Vicious pins John Kronus, powerbomb @ 1:31
- Match 4: Bubba Ray and D’Von Dudley def. New Jack/Spike Dudley, both Dudleyz pin Spike @ 10:05
- Match 5: ECW TV Title- Rob Van Dam pins Lance Storm, bridged German suplex @ 17:46
- Match 6: Justin Credible pins Tommy Dreamer, That’s Incredible on ladder @ 18:44
- Match 7: ECW Heavyweight Title- Taz defeats Shane Douglas © by KO, Tazmission @ 22:15
Three Team Tag Elimination Match
Started as a straight up 2 vs. 2, but within the first two minutes, Ballz and Axl (Axl making his return to the company after the passing of his grandmother) join the frey and it becomes your traditional ECW three team brawl. Nothing really stands out here but the overall work is good enough for what the match is supposed to be. The elimination of Doring and Roadkill is well done, as a FBI double-team fishermanbuster looks really cool and gets a decisive win for what was to be the original match. They do give the win to Axl and Ballz here, which I get given the fact they are a popular act, but I personally think that Guido and Tracy were a better team during the time frame. (**½)
Super Crazy vs. Tajiri
Yes, it’s the feud that never ends. But this is where it begins. Both men were relative newcomers to the American wrestling scene with both having had limited exposure on WWF TV (both were in the Light Heavyweight title tournament). This is a good match but not a great match and honestly, I think timing is the issue here. Eleven minutes may seem like a lot but knowing what these two would be capable of down the road once there is more of a fan and time investment into their matches, it ends up being a good starting point but probably not the blow away match that ECW was expecting to deliver here. (***)
John Kronus vs. Mystery Opponent
So, ECW fans are notorious for their belief that the “big oaf” style of the WWF and WCW wouldn’t work in ECW. Obviously, they are wrong. Guys like Big Dick Dudley and 911 became massive fan favorites due to their look, not anything they could do in a wrestling ring. You can add another name to that list, as Psycho Sid makes his ECW debut here (following an introduction by the ‘Judge’ Jeff Jones) and absolutely kicks Kronus’ ass in less than two minutes. Sid was never anything special in the ring but he is one of the more charismatic big men in wrestling history so the cult-like following is easy to understand. Too short to rate, but fun for what it was. (X)
Dudleyz vs. New Jack/Spike Dudley
Sixteen year old Harry getting into ECW was a huge Joel Gertner fan. Thirty seven year old Harry going back and watching these shows is an even bigger fan of Joel Gertner. Granted, his shtick is incredibly juvenile but sometimes, you just want to laugh…
The match is your standard ECW garbage brawl. Most New Jack matches definitely have a similarity to them that does not hold up well for re-watching. I will openly admit to being a Spike Dudley mark and he does well taking an ass whooping from Bubba Ray. The Dudleyz definitely have their moments in ECW (the best is still to come in my opinion) but this isn’t one of their best performances. I will give props to New Jack for taking 3D on the ramp, even if it doesn’t come across the cleanest. About what you’d expect, but nothing more. (**)
TV Title- Rob Van Dam © vs. Lance Storm
Rob Van Dam vs. Masato Tanaka was the originally scheduled match and I think it could have been fun. However, Tanaka apparently has visa issues which prevent him from being able to get into the US for the show and thus ECW has to pivot quickly. I do have to give credit to Lance Storm for his pre-match promo here. For someone who is not known as one of the better talkers in wrestling history, he does a really good job explaining the situation with the 3 way that was supposed to happen (Storm vs. Spike vs. Jerry Lynn (cracked pelvis)) and then calling out Rob Van Dam since his opponent wasn’t there either. Storm has a really good closing line for the promo too: “I’m not the ‘Whole F’n Show’, but I am the best damn part of it’. That is one of the lines that sticks with you and you remember it.
The match itself is very good but not great. It is better than anything else on the show, so perhaps I’m rating it on a slight curve for that. Van Dam’s selling is sporadic but to be fair, Van Dam’s selling is always sporadic. The biggest thing for me is that despite that, they still keep an impressive pace and the match is by and large clean. There is a super weak chair shot by Storm (which the crowd gives him a good ration of shit over), but they do manage to turn that crowd around for the finishing sequence. A little surprised by the choice of finish, but I imagine that has something to do with telling the idea that Storm got caught and wasn’t soundly defeated like most of Van Dam’s prior opponents had been. (***½)
Stairway to Hell- Justin Credible vs. Tommy Dreamer
The problem for Credible in ECW is that Paul wanted you to believe that Justin was this huge deal but truthfully, the booking never actually treated him as such. Yeah, he won…A LOT…but more often than not, it was almost treated as an afterthought. He very rarely won the big matches on his own and while I get that as a heel, you want to give him that sense of dickishness, as a wrestling fan eventually you have to make it look like the dude could stand up on his own. Dreamer has long been a favorite of mine, even if he has overstayed his welcome in the ring on occasion. You know going in that win or lose, Tommy will bust his ass to give you as good a match as he is capable of.
As for this match, it never reaches that next level that you expect a gimmicked semi main event of a PPV to reach. It’s not actively bad or anything (in fact, probably up there for Credible’s best match in ECW to date) but with the stipulation and the gaga around it, it feels like there was so much more it could have been. The finish comes off really flat as well as it renders the whole point of the stipulation useless and only serves to put more heat on Credible by way of Funk. (**½)
Heavyweight Title- Shane Douglas © vs. Taz
So, I’ll be a little nicer to this match then some other reviewers I’ve seen for a couple reasons. It completely accomplishes the goal that Heyman set out for it. Taz comes out of the match looking like a world beater. Douglas comes out of the match as the face of the company who “went out on his shield” as the old phrase goes. Sabu looks like a lunatic and a viable threat to take the title at any time he damn well pleases. Candido comes off as a huge dick and sticks the final knife in Douglas’ back for the end scene. So the story telling is magnificent.
The match itself? At least a good five to seven minutes too long for that story. I get wanting that epic storytelling to fold out but when you guys are down and low on ideas, it might not be the worst idea to take it home. The other issue is that by trying to serve so many masters, Heyman causes the main event to end up being epically overbooked. Granted, that is an ECW trademark but for what was to be the crowning moment for Taz, I don’t think the 73rd Airborne needed to be a part of it. Sabu could have just as easily returned post match to set up a run with Taz. Or Candido could have turned on Douglas post match to give him a direction going forward since Taz would be occupied with Sabu. I’m not saying it completely takes away the moment but it does make it mean less than it could or should have in the overall scheme of things. (**)
THE FINAL REACTION
- Best Match/Moment: Rob Van Dam vs. Lance Storm, although I do think their match at the first ECW PPV ‘Barely Legal’ (which I imagine I’ll eventually do) is better
- Worst Match/Moment: The main event. What could have been an awesome moment for the ‘Human Suplex Machine’ and the biggest ass kicker in the company is ruined with a boring crowd brawl (to the home viewer) and a couple of run-ins that either end up actively taking away from it.
- Overall Show Score: 5.5/10
- MVP: Joey Styles is the best thing about this show with his one man performance. There is a reason he was such a major influence on what I did as an announcer.
It’s not a bad show. It’s just not a particulary good one either. And while ECW would put out worse, it only barely outdoes Starrcade 98 to avoid the worst show of the return thus far.
So, where do we go from here? January of 1999 had no chill. The very next Sunday would see the first WCW outing of 1999, called Souled Out. The Sunday after that would be the 1999 edition of the Royal Rumble. I’m going to hit both of those but as a fair warning, I’ll probably try to mix an Independent show from 2018 in the middle of them. Hope to see you guys at Souled Out. And feel free to check out my archives by clicking on my name at the top of this review. Thanks for reading, everyone.
What I Watched #10b: All IN 2018
Harry decided to abridge his All In write up and bring us the blast from the past while he’s on vacation! With only a few weeks until All Out, reminiscing could be fun!
Greetings, salutations and what nots. At the time you are reading this, I will be away from home on vacation with my amazing girlfriend. In the interest of not want to lose everyone’s attention in the downtime, I decided to go back to one of my earlier reviews and reformat it to match the current style while giving people who may have not been interested due to the length of the previous review a chance to see what they may have missed as well as share my thoughts on a show that had quite the buzz when it happened.
I mention in my review of AAW’s Destination Chicago 2018 (full review available in my archive by clicking my name at the top of this review) that everyone was in Chicago for this particular show. Obviously, though it was presented as part of a deal with ROH (and to some extent New Japan), this ends up being what many consider the launching point for AEW. So join me once again as the WayBack Machine takes us to suburban Chicago on September 1st 2018 and we revisit ‘All In’ here on ‘What I Watched’.
What I Watched #10-B
ROH/NJPW/Friends ‘All In’ 2018
Sears Center in Hoffman Estates, IL
Runtime: 4:45:24 (45:27 on YouTube for the preshow, 3:57:57 on Fite.TV/HonorClub/NJPW World/traditional PPV for the main show)
Commentary By: Excalibur (PBP), Don Callis (Color), Ian Riccaboni (PBP/Color)
- Match #1: Zero Hour- Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky def. Jay/Mark Briscoe, Kazarian pins Mark with a powerslam counter to the Doomsday Device @ 12:35
- Match #2: Zero Hour- Flip Gordon wins the ‘Over the Budget Battle Royal’ @ 17:11, last eliminating Bully Ray
- Match #3: Matt Cross pins Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Shooting Star Press @ 10:07
- Match #4: Christopher Daniels pins Stephen Amell, Best Moonsault Ever @ 11:45
- Match #5: Tessa Blanchard wins four way, pinning Chelsea Green with the Buzzsaw DDT @ 12:43 of a match that also involved Britt Baker and Madison Rayne
- Match #6: NWA World Heavyweight Title- Cody Rhodes pins Nick Aldis ©, sitdown on sunset flip attempt @ 22:03
- Match #7: Adam Page pins Joey Janela, Rite of Passage off a ladder through a table @ 20:09
- Match #8: ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © pins Flip Gordon, Lethal Injection @ 14:25
- Match #9: Kenny Omega pins Pentagon Jr., One Winged Angel @ 17:48
- Match #10: Kazuchika Okada pins Marty Scurll, Rainmaker #2 @ 26:06
- Match #11: Kota Ibushi/Matt Jackson/Nick Jackson def. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio Jr., Matt pins Bandido after the Meltzer Driver @ 11:44
Zero Hour- SCU (Frankie Kazarian/Scorpio Sky) vs. The Briscoes (Jay/Mark)
*Hell of a way to kick things off and the exact kind of match that you want to put out to people in order to get those on the fence to order the show. I don’t know about the $50 price tag that the PPV had, but this would have been enough for me to sign up for Honor Club for $10 to watch the show at least. I’m curious if ROH ever followed up on SCU pinning the ROH tag champions here. I’d imagine so even though the end is near for Kazarian, Scorpio and Daniels in ROH with AEW looming on the horizon. (***½)
Over the Budget Battle Royal
*It was fun for what it was. Maybe a little overcrowded, but there are several people who have got to make a name for themselves off this match. Marko Stunt is all over Game Changer Wrestling (and got a run in AEW as part of Jurassic Express) and Jordynne Grace, who got herself a deal with Impact, being two to spring immediately. I don’t rate battle royals but it was entertaining, which is all you can ask for sometimes. (X)
Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF) vs. Matt Cross
*Good little opener here for the main show. My misgivings on the rope hanging piledriver aside (MJF calls it the Heatseeker), they worked together well without throwing too much against the wall and burning out the crowd for later. I had hoped Cross would get a chance with AEW but we know that doesn’t happen, unfortunately. MJF does become one of the biggest creations AEW has up until this point, but no-one is really sure where his status lies with the company at present. Strong start to open the show and really happy for a genuinely good dude in Matt Cross to have gotten this opportunity. (***)
Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell (special guest referee: Jerry Lynn)
*When this show first happened, I heard a myriad of opinions on this match. Some thought it was really good, others thought it stunk. I fall somewhere in the middle here. Amell, for an actor, put in a pretty good performance here. I’m not saying he should do this full time or anything, but it’s not like he embarrassed himself either. Daniels had his own hiccups here as well though. So the blame doesn’t fall solely on Stephen. Overall, I’d call it above average given who Daniels’ opponent was. But I know first hand that Daniels is capable of much, much more. (**½)
Britt Baker (bay bay) vs. Madison Rayne vs. Chelsea Green vs. Tessa Blanchard
*Not sure if it was just me but the finish looks a little suspect. Tessa getting the win did make sense though at the time (I’d imagine this result changes with benefit of hindsight). As for the match, they worked hard and it by and large came together well. It definitely lost its way a bit towards the end, so I have to dock it a bit for that. All in all, I’d say good effort from the ladies involved and I’d even put it just slightly above the Daniels and Amell match it just followed. (***)
NWA World Heavyweight Title- Nick Aldis © vs. Cody (Don’t Call Him Rhodes)
*A very good match but a couple of little things keep it from the next level for me. First, the blatantly missed superkick. I’m not really as upset about that one as some people may be because I get it, shit happens in the moment. The blade job however, I can’t forgive. It was terribly obvious. I get the intent behind it to help Cody fight from underneath. I have no issues with blood in general (hell, I watch death matches). But if you can’t do the blade job more realistically there, it shouldn’t have been done. It doesn’t really factor into the match in the grand scheme of things. Also while I personally don’t mind the methodical pace, I do know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I dug the match as a whole though. And props to Brandi for eating it on that flying elbow drop. (****)
‘Chicago Street Fight’- Adam Page vs. Joey Janela
*This match won’t be for everyone. Some people like the old school ECW brawl and some people don’t. I do when it’s well executed but there seemed to be quite a bit of downtime in this one. Honestly, to me…Penelope Ford came out of this match looking like the biggest star of the three. All in all, I’d say good for what it was but nothing I’d probably want to go back and re-watch either. The finish was dope though. Janela is a crazy person for taking it. (***)
ROH Heavyweight Title- Jay Lethal © vs. Flip Gordon
*Let’s not kid ourselves. There was no way that they were going to change the ROH title on a non-ROH show. As much as they enjoyed having the belt defended, this defense was a lock for Lethal regardless of the opponent. Flip getting the match itself is the story here and his performance justifies it. I’d call it good but again, it’s nothing that you’ll want to re-watch again, despite the impressive agility of Gordon and the sheer nostalgia of Lethal busting out the ‘Black Machismo’ shtick again. (***½)
Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr.
*Your mileage may vary for sure on this one. Everyone heaped a ton of praise on it and while it is very good, it does not raise to the level of excellence for me. The ridiculously spotty selling and the absolute disrespect to some of the most protected moves in wrestling cause me to take an issue. I do think they worked really well together and the styles meshed a lot better than I thought they might. But there was nowhere near the emotion here that came through clear as day on the Cody and Aldis match earlier. From a pure work rate aspect, it’s the best on the show so far. But personally, I prefer Cody and Aldis to Omega and Pentagon Jr. (****)
Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurll
*A little long. But they told a pretty strong story throughout.At the time of this writing, I had made it no secret that I was not sold on Kazuchika Okada as a draw in the US. Clearly, I was wrong. He had the entire crowd in the palm of his and Scurll’s hands for basically the entirety of this contest and it was one that I think both raised Scurll’s standing in the world of wrestling and confirmed what many people already feel about Okada. That being said, it’s a better match if you chop off five to eight minutes from it. (***½)
Young Bucks/Kota Ibushi vs. Bandido/Fenix/Rey Mysterio
*Clearly much shorter than it was probably supposed to be, they packed a ton of action into these almost twelve minutes. I’d have been curious to see what was possible with a full run time but with Rey already gone (he had just resigned with the WWE), there would be no chance to run this back. I think it was a good way to send everyone home happy and get all the marquee moments in, but overall it just ends up being a spotfest fluff match rather than anything that’ll be strongly remembered as standing out down the road. (***½)
THE FINAL REACTION
There is a lot to get through here. As you guys saw above, the totality of both Zero Hour and All In run almost five hours. While not all of that is well spent, there is more than enough to sink your teeth into here, even if you wouldn’t classify yourself as a traditional ‘Independent Wrestling’ fan. There are a couple of real good spotfests if you liked the ECW/WCW luchador/cruiserweight style. There’s a tremendous call-back to the old NWA days with how Nick Aldis vs. Cody plays out. There is a interesting take on the old ‘hardcore’ styles that both ECW and the WWF used to enjoy presenting in Janela vs the ‘Hangman’. You even get the chance to see the celebrities that get trotted out for the big shows in places like the WWE and Impact Wrestling. Does it all work? No. But a good majority of it does. As I said, it’s almost five hours. But by and large, it’s five hours well spent. Call it an 8.5 and while there is room for improvement (as with everything), a very strong start for Cody and the Bucks as promoters.
Best Match/Moment: I’ll go moment here and go with the obvious of Cody getting to hold the same NWA title his father did in what was an NWA stronghold town. It’s cool to see the torch passed like this.
Worst Match/Moment: The fact that the main event with arguably six of the best wrestlers in the world at the time ends up getting the second shortest amount of time.
Overall Show Score: 8.5/10
MVP: I’m going to give this one to Cody, both for the role he played as a producer/agent for the show as well as the performance in the match with Aldis as well. A good night for young Mr. Runnels.
And that wraps up the first of the ‘retro’ look backs at previous ‘What I Watched’ reviews. When I return, I will be coming back with ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999, the first pay-per-view of the last year of the 1900s. Following that, I know the WWF’s Royal Rumble 1999 is on the list. I’d imagine I’ll get to WCW’s Souled Out 1999 and when I do return to the Indies, promotions like IWA-MS, CHIKARA, Freelance, BEYOND, WWR and so many others are within my potentially planned scope. Hope to see you down the road and may you all enjoy quality time with those you care. See you next time and thanks for reading, everyone.
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